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Double Standards

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The arena falls silent the moment 2B enters. A hoard of machines stand before her with their weapons ready, awaiting the MCs sound off. Their piercing red eyes glare right at her as they remain still.

Just the same as the matches prior.

"Show no mercy! Grant no quarter! Rip and tear and gouge and poke and slice and crush and maim and destroy!"

The emcee's excitement runs rampant as they announce the upcoming violence to the point of breathlessness. 2B readies her sword as Pod 042 floats closely by her side.

"Now FIGHT!"

2B rushes towards the machines, destroying them all in one swift strike. "We only want to live in peace!" shouts a survivor as it crawls along the floor.

"Why do you do this to us?" asks a newcomer as it swings its axe towards 2B. She dodges with ease and counterattacks with a powerful blast from her Pod. More machines start to arrive in waves, begging 2B to stop attacking. As they plead, however, they continue to attack, shooting a multitude of energy bullets while attempting to take 2B head on. The machines continue to beg for their lives, just as the ones before them. They wail as she cuts through them one by one as other mourn over them.

It still baffles her how the machines have evolved to speak like humans. They try to adapt and act like the very species they fought against. She couldn't help but wonder as to why that was. As she thought on it, 9S' words come to mind.

"They don't have any feelings. They're just imitating human speech."

...Could the same be said for androids?

The androids cheers immediately warp into demands for bloodshed the moment three powerful machines descend into the arena. 2B looks at her opponents, gripping her sword close.

"Curse you! Curse your entire species!"

They charge towards 2B and she jumps high into the air, switching her sword out for the Machine Head bracers. She tosses one towards the ground, creating a shockwave that swallows the machines and immediately causes them to crumble. She then orders Pod to launch a laser attack at the remains, reducing it to rubble.

The alarm sounds off, signaling the end of the match.

---

The receptionist hands 2B her prize the moment she approaches the booth. It's a piece of 'woman's revealing clothing' that humans used to wear, the receptionist tells her. She examines the thin blue garment and the included accessories momentarily before storing them in her inventory. "You want to see something exciting?" they ask, as they lean against the counter. Then, they point over to the corridor on their left, "Have a look over there. You'll love it!"

When she enters, she sees a resistance android standing close to a cage filled with benign machines. They huddle close at the corner, begging for help. The resistance android laughs, relishing in their fear. He glances over at 2B with a crooked grin, "Every resistance member here lost someone important because of the machines. Some saw their loved ones cut to pieces, others had their friends eaten right in front of their eyes."

2B stays silent as she keeps her gaze at the machines. She recalls the machines crying out for their loved ones as she hacked them into pieces during the matches. She remembers another resistance android abusing a machine for failing a match, threatening to destroy their family if they lost again.

"Do you blame us for getting together in a place like this?"

She does not answer.

The resistance android talks about dunking several machines into water to 'watch the sparks fly'. He offers 2B to watch the supposed spectacle, but she shakes her head. He scowls at her response, "You didn't forget your bloodlust when you were trashing these guys earlier, right?" 2B turns her head away from the android, her eyes--hidden by her visor--narrowing in disdain. A moment later, he walks off, muttering, "This is wasted on you."

Moments later, Pod 042 chimes in, "Analysis: The androids in this arena are exhibiting unusual emotional depth. Hypothesis: They have begun to inherit the cruelty inherent in humanity."

Machines have faced the wrath of androids due to their losses. Androids have faced the wrath of machines due to their own losses as well. They were completely different species and yet... Both parties fight for their humanity, for their right to live.

The realization leaves her somewhat remorseful.