Prologue: Death and Rebirth
June 10, 11946
Main Lunar Base & Human Server Records
Across the bright side of the moon, a sprawling complex spread across it like a spiderweb. Clusters of tunnels and passageways connected the various structures to each other, whose tall heights cast dark shadows over the barren landscape of the airless rock.
On this inhospitable, cold satellite, it was refugee camp and protector to the remnants of humanity, who watched Earth from the heavens as their synthetic creations attempted to recapture their old home, allowing them to return.
Or so the story went.
From the blue world hundreds of thousands of kilometers away, a group of six ships flew in. Each ship, a supply transport carrying supplies for the base, was constructed with a rigid wire-frame about a hundred meters long and equipped with a set of maneuvering thrusters. Looking in, one could see a set of identically constructed containers that were magnetically attached onto the inside of the frame. As they approached, a set of lights began to flash from a beacon on the base, and the transports' front thrusters began to fire, slowing their approach.
More lights began to flash, lighting a path along the surface of Luna until they reached a ring of lights around a squat, long building. On the top of said building, six shutter panels opened, revealing a set of docking bays for each of the transports. In response, thrusters on either side of the transports began to rotate, pointing themselves in various directions, the ships' guidance computers firing each of them in turn, guiding the massive spacecraft into their bays.
Magnetic clamps rose out of their restrains as the spacecraft approached, locking onto them as the ships deactivated their thrusters. As the various shutters began to close, the six spacecraft were lowered onto a platform, where cranes stood ready, preparing to unload the containers.
The shutters clamped shut, and air began to fill the bay again, as a red light flashed over the bay. Both stopped the moment the chambers were fully repressurized, and a set of airlocks opened, revealing a group of black robed androids with covers over their mouths and the emblem of YoRHa emblazoned on their upper arms, who proceeded to stride into the room.
"Check the containers and prepare the third set for transport." Their leader announced, gesturing to her targets as she did so. The others followed her orders and assembled in a line in front of the cranes, waiting for the cranes to finish unloading the containers
As the cranes completed their job, they retreated into the floor, a protective shutter sliding over them. At once, the various gynoids began to advance - only for a strange rattle to come out from one of the containers, causing all of them to freeze on the spot.
Immediately, their leader pointed at the offending container. "Check on that one."
Cautiously, two of the androids walked over to it, futuristic blades materialising in their hands as they did so. Holding their weapons in front of them, one of the androids waved her palm over the computerized lock - only for the lock to reject her command, flashing a red rejection screen in the process.
Puzzled, they turned to their command for guidance. The lead android simply narrowed her eyes, before pulling out her own weapon. "Prepare that container for jettison, and quarantine the rest. If a Machine-Lifeform has sneak-"
She did not finish her sentence, for at that moment, every single container exploded. In a loud ringing blast, hidden claymores that lined the insides of each container detonated at the same time, blasting metal balls, shrapnel and the shattered shells of the containers into the the room. As the room filled with explosive smoke, the various deadly projectiles shot across the chamber, blasting holes in the various unprotected androids and tearing them apart, splashing artificial blood and mechanical parts across the sterilized floor. A few beehive shields shrouded over the others that were fast enough to react, causing the wave of deadly projectiles to pass across them harmlessly, some bouncing off their energy cover.
Before the smoke cleared, allowing the surviving androids to take recover, a fearsome fusillade of machine-gun fire to filled the chamber again. Hooded figures, clad in dusty, old uniforms, raced out from the wreckage of the transports, wielding assault rifles, pistols and various other firearms, beginning again the second phase of their attack. As they strafed across the boundaries of the docks, they fired upon those who had survived the initial onslaught, cutting many of them down with well-aimed shots.
By luck and their combat protocols, a few of the YoRHa androids managed to survive the ambush, and immediately began a counterattack. The leader and two others quickly unsheathed two weapons each - a sword and a massive two-handed blade, both crackling with electricity - and charged. Using their built in superhuman reflexes, they danced across the hailfire of bullets with ease, jumping upon one of the invading squads, preparing to impale its members on their weapons -
Only to be intercepted by a pair of newcomers. Cutting in, two white-haired androids caught the three YoRHa models in the midst of their attack, knocking away their weapons with a series of deft strikes, leaving them open to attack. One of the defenders, spotting their garb, let loose a cry of disbelief, before she was quickly put down by a white katana stabbing through her systems, a spray of red synthetic blood staining the once sterile ground.
Before the rest could react, they were quickly disarmed by their opponents, before being laid to rest in the same way as their comrade.
Ensuring their targets were dead, YoRHa renegade units 2B and A2 pulled out their blades, causing yet more fountains of artificial blood to stain the floor further. Meanwhile, the rest of the invading force, the tightly clothed and goggle-donning Resistance models, advanced out of the rest of the containers, while preparing their equipment for an assault.
"Holy shit, I didn't expect that to go so well. You would think that the bastards on the moon you would have something more than a bunch of Operator-Type models running this place." A smirking figure - Jackass - walked to the both of them, rather nonchalantly juggling a grenade in one hand. "Is this is going to be easier than I thought."
"I wouldn't bet on that." 2B answered. Right on cue, alarm bells began to flash, and a worrying set of hurried footsteps echoed from the corridors. In response, the other Resistance models began to act faster, dragging turrets and other heavy weaponry to the mouth of the corridors.
"Aw, crap. Hey, tell your damn boyfriend to hurry it up, okay?" Jackass muttered, before running off to aid her fellow comrades.
"Pod." 2B asked. "How's 9S doing?"
Tactical Support Pod 042 appeared at her shoulder. "Unit 9S is still currently trying to infiltrate. However, our actions have caused heightened security activity within our target, and as result, several YoRHa affiliated Flight Units have began pursuit of him."
"At this moment he is planning a different vector of entry, a rather reckless one so to speak. At this point, he has actively switched from a covert approach to something more destructive."
2B bit her lip in worry.
Somewhere else in the base, various YoRHa units poured over various security screens, trying to refer to their limited security protocols to handle the unexpected enemy. Various systems and androids had once predicted a Machine Lifeform assault on the moon millennia ago, but since then not one single android over the ages had actually expected the Resistance to suddenly completely turn 'traitor', and perform a surprise attack on their 'allies' instead.
In the midst of their planning, however, they were rather rudely interrupted.
Without warning, two Flight Units wrapped in a tight embrace suddenly burst through the ceiling, one of them using the full force of its thrusters to pile drive the other onto the floor, cracking it under their combined force. Immediately upon the structure's collapse, air in the room was sucked out into the vacuum of space, tearing away debris and other material from the base while dragging the rest of the room's occupants screaming into the pitch-blackness of the cosmos.
The rooms warning systems blaring all around him, 9S pulled his Flight Unit off his opponent's. Before it could react, he extended its plasma blade, and jammed it directly into the enemy's cockpit, before landing and leaping into the room while his enemy slowly sputtered to death. Running to one of the terminals, he began to access the exposed systems, screens popping around him as he began to manipulate the many security systems on base to his favor.
As he did, the many dormant turrets around the base activated, and turned against the defenders, dealing great amounts of damage and breaking apart fortifications before they were silenced. The many doors around the base slid open and refused to close, revealing early the ambushes that were being set up, and exposed airlocks burst open with warning, venting several YoRHa units before self-preservation systems forced them shut.
"Retrieving local map data….deactivating unit systems...uploading Shutdown Virus-" 9S muttered as he went along with his work, when he was suddenly interrupted by a warning.
"'New Model Android' unit?" He asked. "Pod, do you have any data regarding this?"
"No data whatsoever." Pod 153 replied. "However, corresponding data from previous records, they are most likely to be the successors to YoRHa, meant for the next Machine War."
"Ok…" 9S replied, a worried look on his face. "Send this information and unit data to the Resistance immediately. In the meantime, let me see if I can shut those units down as well-"
A flash of light appeared behind him, and even as he heard no sound, he felt a wave of force faintly pass over him. Dodging out of the way, he narrowly avoided a stream of bullets that would have sliced through him had he been a millisecond slower, before turning around to find a second Flight Unit aiming its sights down at him.
"Ooooo-kay," An array of salvaged Type-3 Spears appeared around him, control circles around their shaft. "Pod, break us out of here. Anti-armor Laser, maximum power."
"Affirmative." At his command, Pod 153 split down the middle, exposing her high energy laser emitters, and prepared to engage.
Turned out, Jackass was quite right. Even when facing down a base full of higher-end android models, the Resistance managed to mow down them quickly, charging through the halls at a surprisingly quick pace. Though, the 'bastards on the moon' certainly weren't prepared for an intrusion on this scale, much less from the Resistance, and the presence of the renegade YoRHa units had heavily turned the tide in their favor during the opening decapitating strike.
Right now, they proceeded along two paths, Anemone and A2 leading the charge along the 'northern' side, while Jackass and 2B lead the advance along the 'southern' side, using the captured map data as a guideline. Originally, it was meant for the renegades to be the shock troops forcing a path through while the Resistance provided fire and suppression support, but as it turned out, the tight confines of the base resulted in a change of plans; as a result, the Resistance ended up doing the bulk of the cleaning-up work, while the renegades were delegated as support during assault situations.
As a result, 2B didn't have much to do, and found herself watching the Resistance at work, as they executed their own unique set of tactics. Every time they entered a bend in one of the many connector tubes in the base, one of the Resistance members would raise a hand and cause a flash of light along the corridor, while the others would toss a few of Jackass's choice grenades, which could either fire a Gravity Pod Program, an EMP blast, or simply cause a massive explosion, which would be followed up by the Resistance pouring a withering barrage of bullets, lasers and the odd rocket down the passageway, quickly annihilating what poor soul that remained in its line of fire. And if they met anything midstep, they would seamlessly have one of their supporting members raise a shield, before overwhelming whatever foes in their way with gunfire.
Even in open areas, the Resistance knew how exactly to overwhelm each and every YoRHa unit they came across. Through sheer weight of numbers, they would force the defenders into vulnerable positions, while maneuvering to encircle them, behind bringing the final blow through a mass barrage explosives and bullets. With each maneuver, the Resistance plotted out their moves with precision, squadmates responding with practised speed to Jackass' commands, and as a result cleared room after room with contemptuous ease.
"I have never seen the Resistance operate before...seeing such large groups of android units work together in this operation is quite interesting." 2B commented.
"Without some of the advanced options YoRHa has, the Resistance would have to resort to manpower-heavy tactics. Records do show, however, that these tactics are heavily based off humanity's own combat manuals." Pod 042 replied. "However, I do believe that they have also adapted some of their combat protocols upon watching you and units A2 and 9S do combat practice over the past few weeks - from fighting large hordes of machine lifeforms to fighting YoRHa units."
"Hmmm," As 2B pondered to herself, Jackass retreated from a side passage with a group of her men, chased by a barrage of missiles and bombs that messily detonated on a blast shield she ducked behind. Moments later, a loud rumbling came from the same passageway, the entire structure shaking under the effects of the explosion, and air rushed out, before emergency shutters slammed shut, sealing the breach shut before the entire room depressurized.
"Hahaha…" Jackass rolled on the floor for a brief moment, before quickly crawling to her feet. "Didn't know space combat could be fun. Now I understand why humans had an obsession with venting people out of the airlock."
"The integrity of the structure could be compromised by the sheer amount of heavy weaponry and high explosives you have been utilizing in this battle, as well as the reckless depressurising of many entrenched locations. Other Resistance units have been noted to not make use of such a high amount of ordnance. Proposal: Moderate use of such weaponry to prevent structural failure." Pod 042 suggested.
"Tch." Annoyed, Jackass stared at the Pod, as two Resistance units hurriedly passed by them, pulling over yet another trolley of high explosives and other weaponry. "You sound just like Anemone when she's worrying about supplies. Listen here - first off, we have been the one making the most progress with the least casualties, and second, according to my calculations, this base is tough enough to withstand anything below a satellite strike - or, copious amounts of my personal stash. So you don't need to shit on my parade, Pod."
"Contrar-" 042 began, only for a scream to cut him off. 2B turned to look down the corridor - only to see a Resistance squad falling, killed by a pair of YoRHa androids, wearing the pitch-black YoRHa battle armor. Eyes glowing a dull green, each of them wielded a Type-40 Lance and Blade, their shining edges crackling with blue lightning.
"Fall back!" 2B shouted, and Jackass and the rest of their snatched up their rifles, firing quick bursts as they retreated. In response, the hostile androids raised their hands, and a glowing aura appeared in the air, catching the bullets with ease - and shot them back at 2B.
Pod 042 quickly dropped a matter-polarity barrier around her, and she withdrew Virtuous Contract, preparing for a fight - only for her opponents to suddenly appear right above her, their lances stabbing for her exposed head. She tried to stab upwards - only for a gleaming shield to appear and detonate, knocking her into the path of a yet another lance.
"Ugh!" With a cry, her dodging systems engaged, and tossed her a few meters back, where she landed and twirled into a somersault. Giving her no respite, her attackers rounded on her with their blades, but she deftly parried each attack, using the weight of her enemy weapons against them, knocking them away as far as they could.
"Enemies identified as 'YoRHa-Successor-Model Androids'. A overhaul of the standard YoRHa chassis, they include abilities such as spot to spot teleportation, continuous active shielding, increased precision to NFCS control and various other upgrades. Caution is advised." Pod 042 informed her helpfully.
"Understood." 2B replied. In her other hand, Virtuous Treaty appeared, as the Successor-Models charged for another attack. Bringing the spear up the left, 2B blocked a Lance coming for her, forcing its owner to the side and causing it to stumble, before spinning it to her other side, countering the other Successor-Model attempting to bring its massive blade upon her neck. In that single moment her opponent was above her, she brought her katana up, attempting to finish it off - only for the same shield to activate again, nearly blowing her away if she had dodged a millisecond later.
Old and new models stared at each other across the wreckage, before the Successor-Models tried their next round of attack- only for a ray of yellow energy to slam into it, activating its shield and knocking it to the ground.
"Eat shit, goddamnit!" Several meters behind 2B, Jackass stood beside a repurposed, massive laser emitter, commandeering it as two of her squadmates operated it. "Drain that fucking shield, so it's vulnerable!"
Her Resistance squad obliged, and the laser cannon spooled up with a whine, before firing again, blasting its target with yet another ray of light. This time, 2B spotted the active shield shatter as the hostile android stumbled out of the blast, breaking apart with the sound of crumbling glass, and moved in for the kill. Before it could react, Virtrous Treaty stabbed into its chest, impaling it upon the wall, twitching and shaking in its death rattle as a made the ghost of a dying screech. Before the other Successor-Model could also react, Jackass fired the weapon on it twice, followed by 2B diving onto it, stabbing Contract into its core, killing it instantly.
Shaking her head, 2B retrieved her weapons, while everyone else took a moment to take a breather. Meanwhile, Jackass walked over, kicking one of the Successor-Models with a grimace on her face. "Damned fucking sons of bitches, those sure were a surprise, huh."
2B didn't answer, looking down at the Successor-Model that she had impaled on the wall. Its mask had fallen off, and the face it wore looked uncomfortably familiar to her own. Over her sword's handle, her fist began to tighten.
Jackass gave voice to her thoughts, her voice tight as she kneeled down to examine the dead android. " still won't stop making copies of you, huh? Talk about heartless. Let's get a move on - the faster we kill those assholes the better-"
Footsteps came from around the corner, and immediately the both of them raised their weapons. A group of armored androids came into sight, their weapons raised, and in response the Resistance prepared to fire -
Only for the enemy to unceremoniously stagger and tumble onto the ground, their weapons clattering over the floor. As they lay twitching over the wreckage, Jackass raised one eye in confusion, lowering her own rifle in the process. "What the-"
"2B!" A garbled message from 9S appeared on her interface. "I finally managed to disable all the defending androids in this station! You should not be facing any more resistance from now on."
"What the fuck, kid?!" Before 2B could reply, Jackass barged into the conversation, a look of annoyance on her face. "That took you that long?! I lost a few men because you apparently were messing about instead of doing your job!"
"Hey! Have you ever actually tried hacking while being chased by a squad of Flight Units?! Maybe you try and see how difficult it is to pull that off instead of yelling at me first!" 9S reacted with just as much emotion as his counterpart.
Before they could continue, 2B cut the call. Jackass, still annoyed, storming off as she grabbed a loop of binding rope, her men following in tow. Sighing, 2B quickly followed, transmitting a follow-up message to Anemone at the same time.
With 9S's hacking attack, the base defenses collapsed in a blink of an eye, and soon the Resistance found themselves in control of the entire operation.
In the core operations room, the remaining YoRHa androids had been rounded up and were dumped unceremoniously in a guarded corner. Tied up, their combat systems deactivated and Resistance members warily aiming their assault rifles at them, Jackass and 9S walked up to interrogate them, while Anemone and the rest of the Resistance watched from afar.
Grabbing one of them - a tall, regal-looking android with a outfit that reminded 9S of his old commander, except clad in black - Jackass proceeded to fiercely strip off the bindings on its mouth, while 9S began to monitor and record the android's words.
"Name and position?" Jackass spoke, in a rough and heavy voice that barely concealed her distaste for her interrogee.
"YoRHa Squadron Special Unit - Classification, 'Black'." The enemy commander began. "Moon Server Commander, Observer and Recorder for Project YoRHa."
"So, you son of a bitch," Jackass seethed. "What the fuck did you and your group of bastards do up here?"
Even in the face of her interrogator's anger, Black kept her composure. "Watch the progress of Project YoRHa. Ensure that everything went according to the Project Administrators' plan. And after the conclusion of Project YoRHa, prepare the construction of the Successor-Models and later generations of orbital bases, and continue the 'cycle'."
"Alright, where are these 'Project Administrators'?" Jackass asked.
"Gone." Black answered, that single word reverberating through the chamber, like a fallijng glass shattering against the floor.
"What?" Jackass hissed.
"You know all of Project YoRHa at this point, do you not?" Black's eyes turned to face Jackass directly, a sharp focus within them. "Simply put, after finalising Project YoRHa, every single one of them wiped their memories, after heading to Earth and joining up with you, the Resistance."
Stunned whispers filled the room, as the gathered Resistance members began to discuss the implications of her words. Jackass's face grew red with anger, and she lost control. "ALRIGHT, YOU FUCKING BITCH," she yelled, as she pulled the android off the ground by its collar. "You have exactly one minute to tell me the damn truth, or I swear, I will vent you and every fucker on this base out of the airlock!"
"That is the truth." Black simply replied, no emotion or hesitation in her voice. "Even if you were to look through the records, all you would find is inform-"
"SHUT UP!" Jackass roared. With all the might she could muster, she threw Black as hard as she could onto the polished metal floor, denting it in the process. Grabbing her rifle, she removed its safety, and aimed it at her captive, cocking it as she did so.
"Hold it!" Anemone spoke up, in a stern and commanding voice. Jackass's finger froze mid-squeeze, and all sound vanished from the room. "Wave, Lily, arrest Jackass and confiscate her weapons."
Two other Resistance androids walked up to the angry lieutenant, relieving her of her weapons before binding her arms together with heavy duty chains. While mad, she did not resist, save for a forcefulness in the way she relinquished her items.
"I ask you again." Anemone walked to Black, crouching down before her, speaking with a controlled voice. "What you said - are you absolutely certain of it? My men and I will spare you no mercy should we find out you are lying."
"Why would I lie?" The first signs of emotion finally began to creep into the android's voice. "I have no purpose to, no reason to. In fact, it would better for me - and everyone else under my command - to tell you the full, unrestricted truth."
"What do you mean?" the Resistance leader asked.
"We have been watching all of you for a very long time. Project YoRHa, the previous Descents made by previous generations of Androids, ever since this base's construction in the year 5000 AD. We have watched you be birthed, live and die. We have been watching all the tragedies you have suffered throughout the eons, knowing exactly that it was us that bore the fault for them." Black answered.
The room went very still.
"That was the final directive of those that created me and my command. Do you know why the androids you fought in this base were lobotomized YoRHa units? Because near the conclusion of Project YoRHa, a good number of my men asked to have their memories wiped or their emotion matrixes deactivated, simply because they could no longer bear the guilt of what they were doing." A cold, bitter laugh came from the android as she spoke, as if she was pouring out several millennia worth of burden in a single moment. "Many times, we have asked ourselves whether this was right. Whether it was worth hurting all of you and ourselves through continuing this heartless directive, obeying a god that no longer existed, turning ourselves mad through this imposed isolation. But with you here, attacking and overtaking this base...I...we...no longer need to think of that. You have freed us from this burden."
"Why did you continue, then?" Anemone asked, her voice clear, yet betraying her pity of the bound up android in front of her.
"Because what other option did we have? If we had told you...none of you would have been able to hold the truth. You all are soldiers that have been fighting for the entirety of your existence - what would happen if you had lost your very purpose?" For a moment, Black's eyes passed over 9S, A2 and 2B in turn, before returning to Anemone. "Perhaps you don't feel that pain. But for each of you that is indifferent to humanity's fate, a hundred thousand out throughout the Earth fight eagerly for our creators. Those who do so, would simply let the machines take them, or worse, turn on their comrades. We could continue the lie - keep the war going, but at the same time give you a purpose to fight for, while trying to continue the cycle of evolution. After all, the existence of us androids and our purpose is a far better option, isn't it? ...At least, according to those who placed our directives. But you do realise the importance of such a thing, right? The fact that Earth has not been filled with rebellious androids is a sign that you aren't exactly spreading this knowledge willy-nilly."
"Well, things have changed." 9S spoke up, and everyone turned their eyes on him. "The Machine Network has departed for...somewhere, and all we have is their deactivated factories, their remains and a few peaceful machine societies that have been parlaying for peace. Even if we wanted the war to continue…our enemy has left. The war, as of now, has technically 'ended'."
Black's eyes widened. "Are you sure? The records I have…"
"One of the first things we did was disconnect the remaining YoRHa satellite network from outside connections. So...yeah, I think what's left of your information network might be a little inaccurate."
"I see…" Black replied, closing her eyes. "Well...I believe this is all I have to say. I will transfer all the command codes for this place to you. What you have in store for us...all I ask is that you be gentle to my men. Vent me out of the airlock if you wish."
Silence descended on the group, save for 9S tapping on his screens as he retrieved Black's codes. Anemone closed her eyes for a second, before standing up. "Very well. Wade, Shima, Desma, pick five men each, and get them to find the residential blocks and lock our captives in the rooms. The rest of you, continue securing this place."
The Resistance quickly got to work, some marching out with their weapons, while others slung the deactivated YoRHa over their backs, carrying them off. Soon, the room was empty, save for Jackass, Anemone and the three renegade YoRHa.
Sighing, Anemone took out a butterfly knife, flipping it open with one hand. Walking over to a bound Jackass, she began slicing through the bindings, all the while clicking her tongue in disapproval.
"Save me the excuses, Jackass. That was clearly out of line, as much as I tolerate your nonsense, this definitely cannot go unpunished."
A loud and audible groan came from Jackass, as Anemone cut through the last length of rope. As Jackass began to unravel herself, Anemone looked at 2B, 9S and A2, asking, "So...what do we do now?"
"I guess the massive list of retributions that the Resistance had in mind has suddenly become useless." A2 quipped, in a transparent attempt to lift the mood. None of her comrades answered, instead continuing to sport dour, confused frowns on their faces.
"The fact that the ones who were responsible for the whole mess is now within the Resistance is definitely going to stir up a storm of some sort, if we revealed that." 2B added.
"Everything in this place is going to blow up the entire Resistance if we revealed all of it - but then, that takes precedent. We are going to have to find some way of distributing every bit of the truth very carefully, without causing everyone to suddenly turn crazy like our friend here." Jackass answered, her finger pointing directly at 9S.
"Hey." Rubbing his head, 9S tried to ignore the jab. "Though...I honestly can't feel anyway good about chasing after those who wiped their memories so long ago, and are probably dead… but for the rest of the truth, how do we begin?"
"Dunno. This isn't the kind of problem that I can solve. My problems are usually solved by blowing things up." Jackass shrugged.
"Anemone?" A2 asked.
"You have got me, too." The Resistance Commander herself shrugged.
All five of them looked at each other in silence, contemplating the sheer magnitude of their task.
Hearing 2B's voice, 9S proceeded to eagerly tug a pair of cables from his neck, detaching himself from the older technology of the Moon's Human Server. While tapping on a set of keys, he waved to his partner, who began to run lightly to his side, weaving through rows after rows of old and depowered terminals as she did so.
Almost two weeks had passed since their intrusion, and things had began to settle down in a peculiar way. The Resistance had quickly adapted to their strange new holdings, and while the large influx of them had filled up the space in the base a bit too much, some of their YoRHa captives had offered to help with the problem, and as a result a few labs and holdings had been quickly adapted to housing with their aid, and already a expansion was underway.
Any animosity that existed between both sides before the intrusion had quickly faded after the event, given that an awkward mixture of mutual pity and guilt affecting both parties. While the atmosphere had been tense at first, it faded surprisingly quickly, and hence the captive YoRHa had been freed, allowing them to take part in the maintenance and upkeep of the base alongside the Resistance, while members of the latter group in return began to tell tales of their exploits and experiences on Earth, revitalising the androids that had been trapped on the moon base and to their command for countless years.
Like 9S had said, when it came down to it, there really wasn't any reason to fight each other.
Meanwhile, as the Resistance settled down in their strange new holdings, they began to interact with the rest of the base. Some of them took the chance to begin exploring it in its entirety, such as entering its subterranean levels and having a good tour of its workshops and factories, especially its android creation arrays and ship construction sectors. Jackass especially was having the time of her life, having full access to the resources used in creating YoRHa, creating mischief in various labs with wild abandon.
But most, through simple curiosity, their ingrained reverence of humanity, or perhaps out of some search for answers, began to access the human server. The single largest depository of their creator's knowledge and experiences, even more than the various pieces of data that were slowly begin dissected from the remains of the Machine Network. Many androids spent a good amount of time sifting through the server, before getting side-tracked by a single piece of information they found, be it a research paper, a fictional account or a record of a diary, which they began devouring eagerly, until they would lose track of time, spending days trying to decipher the intents and meaning behind each human's legacy.
But while they became lost within those fragments, 9S trawled the network, desperately searching for an answer to his problem.
"I have been thinking, 2B. We have to tell the androids back on Earth about what is really going on, right?" 9S spoke. "But if we did so, we would affect their morale...and cause quite a lot of problems."
"And?" 2B asked, curious.
"We have to soften the blow somewhat. Here's the problem - the loss of purpose. If we told the androids they have been fighting for a lie, most of them will probably go in a very destructive direction. Hence, what if we…" 9S paused at this statement, a little unsure whether he should continue.
"We do what?" 2B asked.
"Instead of telling them outright that humanity is dead, we first have the 'Council of Humanity' congratulate them on the success of the 14th Machine War. Then, we reveal that humanity has been slowly dying to a disease over the past few hundred years, and the last one dying on his deathbed, sending a final message to them. And, in the process, this final transmission will tell them to 'fulfill humanity's purpose', to take Earth and reach to the stars."
2B looked at him, doubt appearing over her face. "Where did you get this?"
"Most of the message I combined several events from human history together, but I had some trouble trying to give us androids a purpose. So, I was reading up on some human materials, looking for a strong enough message that would resonate with them… then I came across this term, 'manifest destiny'. It was used by a certain human politician to encourage his country, and spoke to take the continent they were on and use it for their own purposes, as it was their 'god-given' right to do so. So, I thought that, by modifying it a little, we could use it as some sort of 'don't give up' message."
"That sounds a little...aggressive." 2B answered. "It sounds like an encouragement for the more fanatical androids to chase after peaceful machine lifeforms like Pascal and kill them while they are harmless. Not to mention that… even if we were to be speaking the truth, concealing it in this way does not feel right in any way."
"I...can't deny that." 9S replied. "I mean, lying to them again feels terrible...but in the end, we will be lying for this single instance! Furthermore...if we don't want attacks on the peaceful machine lifeforms, we could have Anemone contact the other Resistance members."
2B paused. It certainly didn't feel right to her...but what choice did they have?
Tell the full truth, and face their entire race throwing themselves into oblivion.
Continue lying, and keep the cycle going with no end.
This was a compromise, and perhaps…
"This is a message from the Council of Humanity, to all our brave androids who have fought the war for us on Earth."
"We have received news of the Machine Network's retreat from Earth. After months of investigation by YoRHa search teams, we have come to the conclusion that the Machine Network has left Earth."
"In other words, the Machine War has ended in a victory for humanity. After millennia of conflict, we have finally reclaimed our homeworld from the aliens and their creations."
The sounds of coughing fill the communication.
"I'm afraid that we have run out of time. Our bodies were not suited to harsh conditions of the Moon, and, a few hundred years ago, a slow disease had began to spread through our community."
"While you all were fighting so valiantly for us, we fought against this genetic plague...and failed. Only a small number of us exist, and we are not expected to last the month."
"This may be the sad fate for humanity...but this is not the end of mankind."
"As the last member of the League of Assemblymen...I urge you androids...our creations, our synthetic 'children'...take Earth for yourselves. Manifest your destiny upon the blue world…and if you can, seek your place among the cosmos."
"Be our reminder. Our beacon, that humanity and it's dying light, has struggled for its existence in this cold, unforgiving universe."
"...this...is the final command of humanity. Our dying wish, uttered by thousands of humans on their deathbeds. Seize your birthright, and reach for greatness within the stars."
The transmission closed.
In the Moonbase's command center, a whole squadron of androids watched the message play out with sombre expressions.
"Extending communications range to Earth. Ma'am...we are starting to receive messages from Resistance outposts all across the world." A YoRHa Operator spoke from her post.
"Begin to transmit the second communications package." Anemone announced, before turning around to face the gathered androids. "I hope you fully understand what you have seen, and its implications, as well as the problems that it will cause if this secret gets loose. Hence, most of you will be stuck here for the next few months - unless you really want to get back to Earth, which means, I'm afraid, we may have to wipe your memories of this event."
No one person said anything.
"Good. Dismissed." Everyone filtered out, save for Jackass, 2B, A2 and 9S.
Jackass immediately walked up to Anemone, slapping her on the back with a grin. "So...what do you expect you are going to do from now, 'Commander'?"
"Jackass, I expect you to give me at least a few minutes before you start shoving the responsibilities down my throat." Anemone winced.
"Hey, I didn't put you to this - A2 did." Jackass pointed a thumb in her counterpart's way.
From her corner of the room, A2 shrugged her shoulders. "Least I could do for you, Anemone. You have done a lot helping me out the past few years."
"This doesn't feel in any way a gift, Number Two. I already had enough trouble administering a region, now you have gone and put me as de facto leader of Earth's entire military force." Sighing, Anemone shook her head. "I do wonder how White would think of all this...if she were still alive."
Silence descended on the three of them - but not for long.
"Hey, you two." Jackass turned to 9S and 2B - who were seating at the same station, 2B leaning against 9S's shoulder. "What about you two?"
"Hmm?" 9S replied. "Well...I'm not really sure…"
"I'm...not very sure what I can do to help out with the reconstruction efforts." 2B replied. "In truth, I'm just glad that this is all...over."
"Well…do both of you still consider yourselves members of YoRHa?" Anemone asked, hesitant.
"We don't exactly have elsewhere to go, do we?" 9S asked. "In fact…with what I wrote...it would be wrong not to stay here. Besides, I would like to spend more time with the archives."
"Fine?" Anemone said. "2B?"
"I will stay. There's not much for me to do on Earth anyway." She replied.
Before the conversation could go on further, Jackass butted in with a cheeky smile. "Oh, really? Weren't you two discussing something about 'shopping', or did I hear wrongly?"
"-urp!" A shocked look appeared on both of their faces. As both of them frantically tried to deny Jackass's claims, A2 and Anemone looked on, smiling at the sight.
"Well...at least the future for us Androids is going to be a much kinder one…"
A new project! I have always been a fan of the Drakengard universe, and with NieR: Automata's release, its time to do something with it.
You might be wondering on a few details in this chapter, so let's just say that I messed with things a little to fit into a better story. Hope you will enjoy it.
Yes, the cover doesn't make any sense. But its not like I can get a good cover image for Automata without the stupid butt.