YoRHa Facility Somewhere…

YoRHa Unit 10H gasped painfully as she limped toward the remaining gate. She couldn't return to the facility. Outside the remaining gate, she'd been told, was 10,000 meeters of seawater- she would be crushed alive. Yet, if she returned to the facility, they'd be the lasers of hundreds of combat pods facing her.

She wished there was a third way out, but she couldn't think of any other option. Staying here indefinitely was a no-go.

No doubt the pods were hiding something, outside the outer gate. If she was going to die anyway, she might as well see what that secret was- if she wasn't flattened by water pressure first.

She reached the valve. A shocking, sizzling sound erupted, and her fingers were instantly roasted by high-voltage electricity.

"What the…?!" She stared at her brunt fingers. "This… this isn't right… why?"

Why would there be such a function on the interior of the gate? If it was a defensive mechanism, it should have been on the outside. Unless, it was meant to keep people in… keep her in…

10H seized the valve again, and her hands being fried by electricity. But she continued to turn the valve, screaming in agony as she did so. Her vision became blurry and red. With great endurance, she finally turned the valve to the end of its rotation.

That… must have been the reason for the black trails she'd seen prior. Someone had come through here before, and burned their hands with electricity. The black marks were their burned skin.

She unlocked the gate, and her broken hand hovered over the button. With one simple press… she'd die. She glanced back to watch the inner gate, which was buckling quickly under the onslaught of numerous combat pods. There wasn't much time.

She pressed the button and the gate opened. But the crushing water pressure she expected never came.

Instead, a blast of force knocked 10H outside… and she found herself surrounded by deafening silence. After rolling around to a stop a couple meters away, she pushed herself up with her elbows, and slowly rose to her feet.

Sand? Her hands, face, and body were covered with a layer of sand, and there wasn't a drop of water to be seen anywhere.

She looked up and received another rude awakening. A large blue body hung in the sky.

That is… Earth. So then, I'm… on the moon.

Everything in her life began to click together. Her drinks came with a lid, her shoes and even chess pieces having magnets on them… were all to keep her from finding out how light the gravity was around her.

Someone must have tampered with her controls and sensors so she wouldn't feel unusually light.

Why… am I here? What… was I made to do?! Her mind racing, 10H thought of the expansive and seemingly-wasteful entrance room, the complex interior, the server and broadcast room. How she was always forbidden from entering the entrance room every time they were "on air". But if it was just a relay point, as Pod 006 claimed, it shouldn't matter if anyone was inside.

So… the servers in this base weren't for backup… they were for the Council of Humanity broadcasts! That was the secret the Pods tried so hard to hide!

But if the Council of Humanity doesn't exist… then is humanity itself… gone? The humans we've been fighting for all along… are extinct?

Her knees gave way and she sunk to the ground. A deep pain sank into her, accompanied by a strange feeling like something was crushing down on her chest. A pain that had nothing to do with her physical wounds and condition.

Out of the corner of her eye, hundreds of pods were pouring out of the ruined base entrance and closing in on her.

She was in no position- physically or mentally to fight. So she raised her hands in surrender. Her memories would be wiped- something she surmised must have already happened before at least once. The shock, grief, pain she was feeling now would all be erased, and she'd return to her boring but "good, old days".

"Poor thing, it's happened again, the 47th…"

A white flash abruptly lit up the sky, and all the pods suddenly wheeled around, 10H temporarily forgotten. More bright flashes streaked through the sky, casting strange, transient shadows across the surface of the moon.

Huge anti-aircraft turrets mounted on the base ceiling were firing into the dark sky, flashes of brilliant light lancing across the sky. The rhythic, silent strobing gave it an almost… artistic atmosphere.

10H made up her mind. She turned and fled. Fled into the vast, empty, desolate wasteland, cratered by impacts. She didn't know where she was going, what she was going to do. She just ran.


Resistance Space Transport Progress VII, Descending Toward Lunar Surface...

"Anemone, the Enterprise XII has been hit by anti-air fire! They've taken heavy damage and are breaking away!" Diana, the sensors officer for the flagship Progress VII declared. "Their range is greater than we thought!"

"Break away! Pull us back!" Anemone ordered. "This is Progress VII to all ships! Pull back now! I mean it, Jackass!"

"Aww…" Jackass sighed, audibly disappointed. She'd constructed her ship precisely for this operation. "But my high-explosive- "

"Weren't need anyway," Anemone cut her off tersely. "This needs flight units." She turned to the three ex-YoRHa androids behind her. "2B, 9S, A2, you ready?"

"As we'll ever be," 9S answered for the three in a hardened voice. "We'll take it from here."

The three elite androids rushed to the Progress' cargo bay and clambered on their flight units.

When they signaled the all-clear to Anemone, she opened the cargo bay doors and dropped them toward the moon below.

Watching them take off toward the maw of danger, Anemone muttered, "Good luck." Then she turned to her own comm channel. "This is Progress VII to all ships. They are doing their part- it is time for us to do ours. Setting landing coordinates in the Manilius Crater!"

The small flotilla of ships et down on the lunar surface. Two of them, the Belgrano III and Mikasa V, opened up to reveal a pair of Goliath tanks. They had been captured inert when the Machine Network collapsed, and were now been hacked and repurposed by two surviving S-type units- Scanners 4S and 18S. 18S was accompanied by his adoptive "father", who provided emotional support.

The tanks trundled forward to take the vanguard while Resistance infantry from the ships Progress VII and Enterprise XII followed in their wake.

Only a handful of the Enterprise's infantry were in shape for combat, however- the ranks had been decimated by the anti-air attack it had taken.

Nureyev, a Supply Trader for Anemone's Resistance cell, worked frantically to administer emergency repairs to mass casualties of wounded androids pulled from the mangled sections of the Enterprise. Other support androids did their best of help, setting up a makeshift clinic on the rocky ground.

Since there was virtually no air with which to speak, they conversed with private comms (those lucky enough to have one), while the rest passed about a handtool display and typed messages on it. It was frustratingly slow, but many wounded were in no shape to be moved onto another ship yet.

Meanwhile, the main Resistance offensive force was pushing toward the objective of this attack- the moon server that the Devola and Popola model had launched into space millenia ago, now housed in a YoRHa military facility. The attack group's infantry were divided in two, each following closely behind one of the Goliath tanks, the sturdy behemoths shielding them from enemy fire.

Enemy fire being the two forward turrets now firing at them from either side of the entrance into the YoRHa bunker ahead of them.

The Resistance closed the distance on the enemy turrets without incurring any android casualties, though the Goliath tanks took a huge beating, absorbing enemy fire like a sponge.

The left tank stalled out just meters from its target turret, sparking spectacularly. The other managed to ram the right YoRHa defense turret, smashing it entirely, but also irreparably mangling the front of the tank.

Resistance members clambered over the remains of the right tank and blasted the left turret, already heavily-damaged from tank fire, from the side, reducing it to slag.

Seeing this, the attack leader, Jackass typed and transmitted a message back to Commander Anemone at the Landing Zone, informing her they'd reached the bunker entrance. Then, with a grin, she gestured wordlessly for everyone to stay back, and began attaching explosives at key parts of the bunker door.

OK, there! She thought to herself and vaulted herself over the remains of one of the destroyed tanks. Then she pressed the red button. A series of calculated explosions blew the bunker entrance wide open.

All the Resistance fighters gathered around the entrance stayed in cover, tensely aiming their weapons at the gaping hole, watching wind whip out of the fatally-damaged airlock.

After a few minutes with nothing happening, a Resistance member messaged Jackass. "Do you think that it's unmanned after all?"

That's when it happened- a massive swarm of YoRHa pods poured out of the bunker, dozens of them, firing lasers, bullets, and missiles every which way.

Jackass watched a Resistance fighter collapse next to her, mouth contorted in a silent scream at her loss of a leg to a missile blast.

The Resistance kept firing, destroying pod after pod, but they seemed endless. Then-

BOOM! An explosion engulfed the entrance, annihilating the hostile pods. Jackass looked up to see A2, 2B, and 9S in their Ho 229 flight units.

Well, well, looks like the cavalry is here, Jackass thought to herself.

Shortly after, she received a message as A2, 2B, and 9S disembarked.

"We've cleared out the anti-air guns and other ground defenses. Anemone has been notified and will be joining us shortly. We'll take the vanguard from here, 2B."

Jackass sent an affirmatively and watched as the three ex-YoRHa stormed into the bunker. Most of the Resistance strike team (that wasn't wounded or caring for wounded) followed suit.

It wasn't long before they found themselves surrounded by computer servers- along with dozens of pods servicing it. Seeming them, they began to open fire, albeit with weaker ones.

Jackass surmised it was to minimize damage to the servers around them. This made it all the easier for A2, 2B, and 9S to close the range and make quick work of them by melee or hacking.

In short order, they fought their way through the servers, through what looked like a small living space, and soon arrived at another sealed door.

Jackass moved as if to take action, but 2B gestured for her to wait.

A holographic display emerged in front of the door with the words, "Enough! I know I cannot keep you from entering. Please come in."

The door opened, leading to a rush of air, revealing it was still pressurized.

The androids stepped in with trepidation- and the door sealed again behind them.

Ahead of them was what appeared to be a large command center, similar to that on the bunker, albeit without any consoles for Operators, just a lone access console.

A male face appeared on the central screen, and spoke. "I am Commander Noir. I suppose… you must have many questions if you have made it this far."

Everyone there felt a shiver- it was the all-too-familiar voice of the so-called "Council of Humanity" broadcasts.

""Yeah, yeah, I know all about your goddamn lies, how humanity is already extinct, how YoRHa and the bunker was designed to fail to preserve the lie, all that bullcrap!" She aimed her rifle at the screen. "What I want to fucking know is who the hell is behind all this?! You? Someone else?!" Jackass was practically frothing at the mouth in rage.

"I am merely a caretaker," Commander Noir replied smoothly, showing not hint of being cowed by Jackass' rant, murderous glare, or implicit threat. "Programmed to oversee this facility and the YoRHa Project. As for the masterminds behind it all… the Central Command Council… a number of them are already dead- killed or took their own lives.

The remainder wiped their own memories and joined the Resistance. Whether they live or not, I do not know. I couldn't recognize them if I wanted- their faces have been scrubbed from my databanks."

A new chill ran down the spine of everyone present. Many an android had underwent a memory wipe before- many weren't even aware if they'd been memory-wiped before or not. If what Noir was saying was true… then potentially any one of them here, or any one of their friends back on Earth could be...

"No! NO!" Jackass raged in frustration. "This. Stupid. Fucking. Plan! Damn it, White, why did you have to go along with this bullshit! Why?! Why'd you have to die!" She faced Commander Noir again. "Commander White died because of this, you bastard!"

She fired madly at the central screen, riddling it with bullets.

Commander Noir re-appeared moments later on an auxiliary screen to her left. "You cannot kill me like that. I am dispersed throughout the lunar server. Purging me would almost certainly risk fatal damage and corruption of server data."

His voice held no gloating or triumph, only a hushed, matter-of-fact sense of resignation. "If that is what you choose, I won't stop you."

"You bastard-!" Jackass raised her weapon again.

"Stop! That's enough, Jackass!" A sharp voice stopped Jackass in her tracks.

Anemone had entered the room, accompanied by several other Resistance officers.

A2, 9S, and 2B were more taken aback by what they escorted in.

"You're… YoRHa?!" 9S exclaimed.

Only a small handful of YoRHa units had escaped corruption when the logic virus flooded the bunker server.

The female YoRHa, a Healer-type, didn't reply, only sobbed inconsolably. The skin on her hands were completely burned, and she had multiple laser wounds on her body.

"Affirmative, she is YoRHa Unit 10H," A group of pods state helpfully in unison as they floated into the room from a service duct.

"Look alive!" 9S shouted, gripping his weapon.

2B tensed, but Commander Noir spoke up. "Don't worry, I've ordered the remaining weapons pods in this facility to stand down."

"Anyway, we found her running a few hundred meters from the base, hysterical and crying her eyes out." Anemone faced Noir while jabbing her finger in the direction of 10H. "Care to explain, mister?"

"My name is Commander Noir, by the way. 10H there is the YoRHa maintenance staff, the only android stationed here. This facility was designed to be operated by as little staff as possible. YoRHa operations protocol stated all androids need to be kept in the dark, and 10H was no exception.

That is why we maintained the lie she was stationed 10,000 meters below the sea, and lined her shoes with magnets to conceal low gravity. Still, this is the 47th time she's escaped… we wiped her memory the previous 46 times."


"Me and Pod 006, the only other consciousnesses in the base."

"You guys are fucking messed up, you know that?!" Jackass threw Noir a middle finger.

"I am not qualified to pass judgement on moral issues," Noir replied simply. "I merely executed orders according to my programming. That said, I cannot deny sometimes feeling… uneasy. Perhaps it is just errors building up in my code over the centuries, but sometimes I almost feel like some semblance of emotion has… emerged in me. Oh well, what do you intend to do?"

"We will have our experts question you, and coordinate the facility's maintenance. Since most of the androids now know the truth, we can drop the masquerade of the Council of Humanity, but you'll otherwise continue to supervise this base."

"You've got to be kidding- !"

"Jackass!" Anemone glared, cutting off Jackass' protest. "We can't reasonably get rid of him, and he knows this facility best."

"Oh, one more thing," Noir interjected. "Before the back door of the bunker activated… I… downloaded all the back-up memory data from the Bunker. I was never intended to do that, but perhaps… a part of me hoped this chance would one day arrive."

"You mean-" 9S gasped, flabbergasted.

"Even… Commander White?" Jackass looked up, tentative hope in her eyes. "All of it, Commander White included." Noir confirmed.

"6O… Commander…" 2B whispered quietly to herself.

A2 glanced over at Anemone, who was glancing mournfully at her feet.

No doubt she's thinking of Rose, Lilly, Dahlia, Shion, Margaret, Gerbera, Sonia, Ericaand all her earlier friends I've never met. They didn't have the luxury of any backups.

Neither did Number 4, Number 8, Number 16, Number 21, and all other fallen comrades I barely had a chance to know… Granted at least their YoRHa factory resets would still be here, but that… wouldn't really be them, would it? Like 2B and I… the same initial personality parameters, but completely different experiences…


Several hours later…

A2 walked back onto the bridge of the Enterprise XII for the first time since the assault began. "Anemone… how are you holding up? You've… been fighting for… longer than any of us."

"I'm… fine…" Anemone took a deep breath. "I've… notified Resistance forces on Earth about the success of our operation, and our plans. They're calling a summit in Camp Delhi, for leaders from all the Resistance cells, and inviting representatives from the Peaceful Machines as well. It'll be next week. They want me and one of you YoRHa to be present as well. So… we'll probably have to leave in a couple of days."

A2 put a sympathetic hand on Anemone's shoulder. "But you're still... worried, aren't you?"

"Number Two, did we… make the right decision?" Anemone's face displayed a rare look of vulnerability, desperate for some vindication. "I know how you felt about being lied to by Commander White and the superiors that came before her… but did we make things worse by revealing humanity's extinction? Android morale will drop once more. What did Rose, Lilly, 21… even die for? What will be our purpose? What will we even do?"

"We weren't wrong," A2 asserted, hugging Anemone. "Fighting for a nonexistent cause is just as bad as not having one. Besides, the secret couldn't have been held forever. Rose, Lilly, Number 21… none of their deaths were in vain. It kept us alive long enough to reach today. As for what we do… well, every android will have to determine that for themselves, won't they?"

"I… just wish everyone could see things your way," Anemone whispered back, gazing up at Earth in the distance through the window of her spaceship.