Lily brings 2B and 9S to their ad hoc base, and does not get into why she shoots so many intent looks in 2B’s direction. Could Lily have known a former version of this 2B? Did she know 2A, since she recognized her as “Number Two”? We also meet Jackass, who really wants to take the YoRHa androids apart to “collect data”, but is content to drive them to their recon site.
The truck ride, and really all establishing shots in NieR succeed in creating a vast sense of both scale and desolation, especially when we see the half-buried ruins of our familiar civilization (Saturday is apparently post-apocalypse day for me—not that I’m complaining). The grandeur is enhanced with the score, with themes perfectly suited to the base, desert, and the orbiting YoRHa base.
When they encounter Machine Lifeforms wearing tribal masks and markings, 2B and 9S get to work trashing them. But when 9S hacks the biggest bot, he gets a lot more than he bargained for. These MLs are among those that have absorbed knowledge from the library of humanity of yore, and he ends up in the middle of a Mesopotamian-style ritual.
With this group of bots defeated, 2B, 9S and Jackass trudge on into the ruined city, where all communications to YoRHa HQ are being jammed by an unknown power source. They keep exploring, and locate a group of android corpses, including the missing YoRHa liaison. That the corpses aren’t totally destroyed but in various states of dismantlement bodes ill for our two androids.
2B and 9S fall though quicksand and into a yawning undergeround complex. They come upon a circle of yellow-eyed, non-hostile MLs both reciting and emulating various human emotions and activities, including copulation and childrearing. All of this makes 9S particularly uneasy, since this is not the way the enemy should be acting. But then things get even weirder when one comment from a red-eyed ML—“this cannot continue”—sends the yellows into a frenzy.
The MLs climb columns made of the fossilized bodies of their dead, and huddle together in to the super-brain thingy teased last week. The mass opens and out pours an approximation of an android that quickly grows skin and stands up, part Terminator, part Sephiroth. 2B and 9S’ first instinct is to kill it ASAP, even though he is not immediately hostile to them.
While they successfully break his energy shield and impale him with their blades, a second, unharmed ML android emerges from the lifeless body, good as new, and this one is a lot more aggressive. 9S is just able to grab 2B and leap out of the way of the android’s devastating main weapon. The resulting cave-in apparently crushes the android, but as we saw that’s not going to be enough to do it in.
We learn from Commander White up in space that she didn’t send 2B and 9S to assist the resistance, but to use the resistance as a shield and decoy in order to facilitate their real mission, which has now borne fruit. Not only do they know what became of the liaison, but they’ve uncovered a potentially game-changing development in their once-primitive foe.