The tower overtook her, her systems shutting down one by one.
Ah... Everyone... I'll be with you soon.
She smiled to herself as her sensors began to black out. Heh... How long had it been since she did that? Her own blood felt warm around her as the ground crumbled beneath. She looked up to the sky and noticed something moving... but paid no mind to it. It didn't matter now.
She'd have to apologize to 2B though when she got to.. wherever she was headed. Accidentally killing someone wasn't exactly the same as saving them.. But maybe it was the best for him. Maybe this, too, fulfilling his revenge like this brought him peace. It was the best she could hope for.
As the tower crumbled, silence filled the void.
It was so calming, she could almost cry.
A white light filled her sensors as clouded sunlight came into view. She gasped for air and-
Wait. Gasped? Air?
Her eyes darted around, her consciousness slowly growing clearer as her system started up. Diagnostics came into view. Her hair was long again, how she had it before she killed 2B...
But killing her wasn't a dream.
Neither was the Tower, or battling that kid.
She instinctively clenched her hands to her stomach, but there was no wound there. Instead, there was cloth- almost completely new
No. No, no no...
A2 looked down at her hands- at herself. It was like the day she was first deployed- Her flesh renewed, with the old battle dress she'd worn at first.
She clenched her fists as tight as she possibly could. The temperature in her chest was burning hot; All of her anger came out in one full burst.
WHY AM I STILL ALIVE!?
She pounded her fists against the concrete floor, her arms shaking from the pure force of it all. She should be dead with the others! DEAD! That brat-- 9S? Nines?-- Didn't he stab her through the stomach!? Didn't the tower crumple on top of them!? What the hell is this, some sort of afterlife?
She continued to pummel the structure in berserk spurts, trying to feel if maybe, somehow, this was all some shitty nightmare in limbo. How could she be robbed of the one thing that finally brought her comfort, the one thing that would reunite her with her comrades-- Is this her punishment for existing? For failing to keep 2B's promise? For WHAT?
A small white pod flew into view. "This is Pod 042 to Unit A2." They chirped "Good Morning, A2. I see you have regained functionality and-"
She caught the pod off guard by grabbing it by its sides and swinging it to the ground with a loud crack. The pod's arms came flying off as it skidded down the concrete. "WHAT'S SO GOOD ABOUT THIS, HUH!?"
"Ow." The pod buzzed out. "Such-ch violence is unnecessary."
"SAYS YOU, YOU STUPID POD!" Dammit, Dammit, Dammit, Dammit....! This want supposed to happen... This wasn't...
She broke down, sobbing, pulling at her hair and at her dress.
"Warn-n-ning: Black Box signal ris-s-sing to dangerous le-"
She gave all she could and kicked the pod out the window, sending it flying to god knows where. 042 sputtered out a broken "R-R-Rud-d-de." as it was sent flying.
She hunched over herself and continued to sob, sinking into the reality that she was born anew and didn't want to be.
Months would pass as A2 wandered though what little of the world she knew. At first, she was adamant about killing more machines- maybe kicking around some of the tower pieces that laid about- just to blow off some steam. It ticked her off even more when she found that all that most machines were already dead, no thanks to herself and the others. The tower pieces still did nicely as really hard punching bags.
She'd return to the resistance camp more than once, only to find it all in ashes. Anemone had gone missing, and the two red haired twins were nowhere to be found.
She envied that maybe, somehow, they found peace where she couldn't.
She avoided the machine village entirely for the time being. Pascal was probably there alone, and probably din't recognize her either. She felt a sense of dread rise deep within her every time she saw the entrance to it.
She went back into the forest castle once, but immediately left when she noticed another android unit patrolling inside. They looked to be a scanner model when she thought about it... probably infected though- not the way she wanted to go out. Maybe she could come back to fight them another day.
At the end of the day, she would return to that empty concrete building she'd slowly come to call home. It wasn't the greatest, floors and walls crumbling all over the place, but at least it sheltered her when the weather decided to turn for the worst.
Sometimes she wished she hadn't thrown 042 out like that. At least their annoyance would fill the silence. She'd go look for the pod one of these days...
One day she was exploring though the City Ruins, she found an even more deteriorated building that looked perfect to survey on. There was moss all over it, indicating that there hadn't been anyone there in a long time. It was also taller than most of the buildings in the area, and if she needed to, she could jump off it for the hell of it. She scaled the stairways one by one, and as she walked out on the rooftop, she noticed... Androids?
Wait, no, she recognized these two. As she grew closer, she realized they were none other than 2B and 9S, laying peacefully side by side, as if nothing had ever happened to them. They were so calm, as if they were just sleeping.
"Unit A2, Hello." A black pod popped itself up from one. "Query: Where is Pod 042?"
A2 said nothing, completely preoccupied with the fact that she wasn't the only one remade, reborn.
She wasn't completely alone.
"I repeat, A2:" The pod sounded to have emotion in its voice this time "Where is Pod 042?"
"They're sleeping." She blurted out, not wanting to waste time with this conversation. She knelled down next to 2B and 9S to check- They definitely had black box signals. They we're alive, in some way, and she needed to make sure they were alright.
A2 attempted to hack 2B first and got in a little too quickly. She snorted at the fact that the security wan't as strong as she hoped- maybe they didn't need to really worry about someone coming up and hacking them anymore. It was then she felt a sudden twinge and realized that Hey, she was invading 2Bs privacy like this. She quickly preformed a system check up and pulled herself right back out.
However, when she tried to hack 9S, she... couldn't check anything. In fact, it was like there was nothing to check. His system was completely open, almost blank, with no firewalls, no security or anything. There were chunks of data pathways missing and A2 couldn't make a clear path to check on him fully. As she came back to her senses, she couldn't help but... worry.
"Pod," A2 turned to the floating unit "What's going on with 9S?"
"Unknown." They replied "Black box temperature is low. He is experiencing standby mode as normal, but there is no thought functionality. Possibility: Unit 9S's consciousness data has been lost"
A2's tone flat lined "... What do you mean?"
"9S cannot awaken without his consciousness data. Proposal: Unit A2 should preform routine maintenance on Unit 2B as a precaution, and continue maintenance on Unit 9S's system to recover said data."
She sighed, thumping the scanner unit on his wrist. "How's that gonna work? I just zip in and pray?"
"I... do not know. I am worried for him, A2." 153's tone changed again to one that was somber "I hope he will regain thought functionality soon."
A2 scoffed at the idea. If he lost his consciousness data, then hes probably gone for good.... And yet, something within her circuits compelled her to try anyway.
Was it 2B's memories doing this to her? They had become so integrated in her being that it was hard to tell. But... Maybe she could wait it out, maintain them a bit until they woke up, at least. Maybe it was worth it- after all, the memories were still fresh in her mind. Whether she liked it or not, she grew fond of these two, no matter how much she wanted to haul 9S into oblivion. Plus, 153 was here... She winced at the thought.
Geez, These two really are something. As she stood up to stretch, she also realized that she needs to back track before anything: 042's gonna need some maintenance when she finds them.
"Lets get to work, I guess."
It would be another 50 years before 2B woke up.