Author's Introduction:

Well, it's nice to be back after my break for the summer!

A Flickering Light got the most incredible reception when I was uploading it. You guys couldn't see me freaking out every time I got updates on comments or favorites. Special shout-out to user LegacyReturns, who basically wrote me a book report on the story and followed up months later. Unfortunately, the sequel that I teased is taking a lot longer than I hoped it would, and now I'm getting distracted by other projects, so who knows when I'm going to finish it?

Before I get to that, I wanted to get this up.

Life in a Dead World is my first fanfiction for NieR: Automata. It is almost entirely motivated by the Gamer's Little Playground cutscene movie up to ending A ( watch?v=538QUYPeBkw ). When I later learned that there were more endings, I watched that too, and was highly disappointed to find that everything I loved got killed, emotionally traumatized, or both. Usually both. This led me to the creation of Life in a Dead World.

Personally, I think that LiaDW is much higher quality than A Flickering Light, mostly because I created my own storyline that let me work with the characters a lot more than I did in my last story. It is also much shorter. Since the NieR fandom on here is much smaller than Kingdom Hearts, I don't expect to get quite the same numbers, but I hope you enjoy nonetheless.

May your heart be your guiding key.


"Operator 2O to unit 5R. Good morning."

"Morning, 2O." 5R sat up from the rough stone, stretching his shoulders stiffly. "Any new assignments?"

"Just the usual. Command wants mapping data and general recon on the dark zone marked on your map."

5R looked out over the canyon below him. It was late in the morning, and sunlight was creeping through the leaves of the massive trees that had sprung up everywhere in humanity's wake.

"Any idea what I should expect?"

2O giggled. "If I had that sort of data, Command wouldn't be giving this mission to you."

"Guess you're right. Ranger class and all that." 5R hopped from the ledge and slid down the slope below to come to solid ground. He started running north, towards the blank area on his map.

"Hey, 2O?"

"What is it, Fiver?"

"Why do I sleep?"

"Analysis: Files on maintenance procedures available." Pod 113 cut in. "Proposal: Initiate file exchange with main server."

"Proposal denied, Pod." 5R said. "And I was asking 2O."

"Well, you don't technically sleep, you're an android. When you 'sleep', you're actually undergoing a process called an Inactivity Purge."

"Inactivity Purge?"

"Yes. There's a few levels to your AI matrix's computations. Conscious processes are the main ones, how you think and act. But there's also a bunch of lower-level computations that your matrix performs. Inactivity Purge stores your memory and shuts down all your processes."

"Why bother? Why not just let them work to conclusion?"

"Unconcious processes are...tricky. They can spawn as byproducts of conscious processes, or be generated by themselves. They're typically less stable than conscious processes. They tend to develop glitches, and those glitches will often compound if the process continues to run with them. The most efficient way to handle them is for the unit to shut down, and allow the Operator - that'd be me - to interface directly with their matrix and close all unconscious processes. Then I can restart your unconcious and conscious processes, and you wake up."

"Couldn't you do that with my conscious processes still running?"

"Well, yes, but it's less efficient and less effective. The maintenance takes longer, and not shutting down means you're still generating unconscious processes, so I'm more likely to miss some. Plus, it's sort of weird to be poking around in someone's head while they're still in there. If you'd like, I can change the procedure so you stay awake during it."

"No. Like you said, it's inefficient. Besides, I like sleeping. It makes me feel...human. So do other models undergo Inactivity Purge?"

"Not as commonly. There are automated systems here at the Bunker that perform a similar process in minutes, especially with how often those units visit and the bandwidth in places they tend to be. They're pretty much exclusive to Ranger units such as yourself, since you spend so much time away from command and out of uplink range. Plus, R-class units are a bit different anyway. Your matrices aren't directed at a single focus the way most other unit classes are. With a more complex matrix, more unconscious processes develop. Combine that with your long times away from Command, and..."

"Bad." 5R agreed, turning to go around the building in front of him. "How'd they come up with this, anyway? If this process was so important, you'd think they'd hardwire something in."

"Well, R-class isn't the first model to have this sort of multipurpose matrix. First were J-class, the Journeyman class. They didn't have the Inactivity Purge."

"I've never met a J-class unit."

"The series was cancelled and they were later replaced by Ranger class."

"Just because they didn't have the Inactivity Purge? What happened?"

"Too much error propagation. It started messing with their unconcious processes, then their conscious processes. Eventually, their whole AI matrix would become corrupted. They went insane."

"Yeah, I'll take the sleep over that." 5R checked his map. "Okay, I'm approaching the dead zone. I'm going to close this channel and focus on my reconnaissance. I'll call you back tonight for my report and maintenance. See you, 2O."

"Good luck, Fiver. 2O out."

Author's Note:

So, Chapter 1 is mostly technobabble, but I kept it for the intro of the characters and the world we're working in. I wrote this chapter before I really planned on LiaDW becoming as big as it did, so it's a little flat.

I'm going to try to keep a consistent upload schedule, I'm thinking Sunday and Wednesday for uploads. There's only 15 chapters to this, so it won't take as long as A Flickering Light did.

Thanks for reading!