The Puzzle: Side Content - Chapter 3 - Aushina (2024)

Chapter Text

“Science will pay you back for this, I promise. Now… FIGHT!” Jackass commands, slapping a monitoring device onto the YoRHa androids and shoving them down into the hollow. Well, 9S gets shoved down. 2B is able to stand firm against it but follows after the bewildered Scanner. She leaps at the Medium Biped before sliding all the way down the slope, elegantly flying over 9S’s head. 9S shakes his head in annoyance at the situation they’ve ended up in and joins in on the fight. Despite finding itself rather pathetically stuck in a hole, the machine is a tough one and puts up a good fight. But 2B and 9S strike it down with easy teamwork born of experience.

“Oh man. Oh man. Oh man,” Jackass crows from atop the slope. “That was GREAT! Hey, did you know that android battle fever is actually quite similar to the human emotion of ‘love’? So if we want to know what all those old human records are always going on about, all we need to do is let our fists fly! Makes this whole thing feel more romantic, don’t you think?”

"What?" 2B questions sharply.

9S’s voice wavers as he asks, “Is that what you learned from the data you just collected?”

“What? No.” Jackass sounds annoyed, as if the answer should have been obvious. “You’re not the first androids I’ve run this test on. I just need data from the newest models to finish my research.” 9S relaxes. Maybe he and 2B don’t have that weird quirk built in. “But the readings y’all gave me does support it.” 9S straightens back up in shock. “But I need to run more tests before I can actually put this information to use. So get back in there and fight!”

There’s a rumbling and 9S turns around to see three more Medium Bipeds. Where they came from, 9S isn’t sure. Most likely there’s a well camouflage door in one of the walls that someone opened to let the machines out into the hollow. But the why’s and how’s are unimportant. There are machines for them to kill and a question that 9S is more interested in answering on the other side of them. They go through two more rounds of tests before Jackass has enough data for another breakthrough. She shares the readings with 2B and 9S before they’re even able to join her at the top of the slope. 9S is sure that if she were able to physically shove it in their faces, she would.

“Here, look at this. See this reaction? It proves that android brains contain an algorithm which allows them to derive pleasure from battle! Without that, we’d probably have stopped fighting a long time ago. What a brutally efficient piece of evolution! It’s possible this is based on an identical pleasure center in the human brain. Man, those fleshbags really were something!”

So it’s not love. It’s pleasure. In humans, it would be the release of dopamine. Many things could trigger it. Exercise, eating, achieving a goal. It’s a part of their reward system. That makes more sense to 9S. It makes so much sense to 9S now that Jackass has spelled it out that he's surprised no one else has realized it. Of course the humans would want to motivate their soldiers. It’s not romantic; it’s practical. 9S can feel a relieved grin tugging at the corners of his mouth but something the researcher had said still bothers him. “‘Were’?”


“You said humans ‘really were something’.”

Jackass waves her hand dismissively. “Were, are, whatever. It’s not like I’ve ever seen a human. Might as well be extinct for all I know. Or care.”

“How can you not ca-”

“If you two could just help me with one more test. I just need a teensy bit more data…”

9S isn’t even annoyed when he and 2B plunge back into the hollow. Jackass seems to have him beat when it comes to single-minded curiosity.

Jackass is visibly vibrating when they finish the last test. “Bloody hell. Blood, nasty, gut-strewn HELL! Do you know what I just discovered? The excitement we feel in battle is caused by a type of pleasure-generating chemical produced in our circuits! Anyway, I think I can localize this substance and turn it into a drug that will help expand our combat capabilities. All these advances, and it’s all thanks to YOU!” Jackass puts her hands and her hips and puffs out her chest proudly. “See? I told you science was the best. Anyway, keep an eye out for that drug. Once I get it synthesized, it’s all yours. Oh, by the way, I got a fish I want y’all to try. To study how its oil affects a YoRHa unit. You know? For science? Anyhoo, it’ll only take a second.”

“I think it’s time for us to head back to camp,” 9S replies quickly.

Jackass shrugs. “Oh, well. I’ll be here if you need me. Or if you want to try that fish. Thanks for all of the help!”

The Puzzle: Side Content - Chapter 3 - Aushina (2024)
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