Carrying König, a young boy runs through Hobbes City with two security guards from Colonel Payne's juvenile infantry school in pursuit. As they corner him in an alley his cries for help attract the attention of Alita, who is out with mini-Sechs perched on her shoulder. One of the goons confronts Alita and is taken out by her, while Sechs handles the other with the Hertza Haeon. Alita learns that the boy's name is Giraud but he refuses to say where he came from. She tries to call Ping Wu but is informed by Martin Tsang that he has gone out and is advised to hand Giraud over to the Adminipolice. Before she turns him over, Giraud gives König to Alita, who finds him familiar.
Zazie and Queen Limeira are following a tracker which leads them to König, who is being carried by Alita. Limeira swiftly pounces on him while Zazie is suspicious of how Alita obtained him. König reveals that he was put down by Limeira while she was having tea and was stolen by a little boy. When Alita replies that she turned him into the Adminipolice, Zazie lifts her off her feet and asks if she knows what will happen to him. Alita is puzzled at the response and after Limeira demands that Zazie explain, she throws Alita into a wall, explaining to the queen that unlike in the Mars Kingdom Parliament, children have no rights. She surmises that the boy escaped from a juvenile infantry school and will be returned to the school's owner, where he faces certain death in "combat training". Sechs is intrigued at the idea but Alita is heartbroken that she betrayed Giraud's trust and punches the wall in frustration. Limeira quickly steps in to remind them that they cannot give up and König adds that LADDER has given them funding which they can use.
At Expendable Toys, the main juvenile infantry office, Limeira finds Giraud and decides to buy his platoon. She decides to go ahead with the transaction although it has been sent into the Combat Chamber and lacks a communications device so it cannot be recalled. Alita and Zazie with Sechs thus enter the Combat Chamber to locate the platoon. While scaling a bluff Zazie informs the others that the platoon is going after a flag ahead of them and reveals that she used to be a former juvenile infantryman herself before serving Queen Limeira. The flags in the Combat Chamber have bounties on them and can be fought over by whoever wants to. Sechs then steps up and questions Zazie on what the essential quality of a true warrior is. The latter responds that it is loyalty to her master and when Sechs scoffs at this, elaborates that this can be a cause greater than oneself and an ideal that never wavers even in the face of death. Sechs asks Alita if she has a master and the latter answers that it is herself, which has always been her answer, but starts to question this idea. Zazie states that finding one's master will take time and Alita wonder to herself if she had someone to guide her.
After scaling the bluff they discover that Giraud's platoon has been annihilated in battle over the flag, with Giraud himself blown in half. Alita breaks into tears as Zazie explains that the children are told that they will be reunited with their parents as a motivation to fight. Payne then arrives via helicopter and is pleased at the carnage, stating that they can recover the platoon's bodies if they want for salvage as cyborgs. Zazie asks him if he recognises her and he quickly replies that he does, calling her one of his school's finest graduates. He brushes off an insult and justifies what his school does as giving the children's short lives some meaning instead of killing them more expeditiously. Alita recovers and asks if he recognises her. Payne answers that he does, but cannot state her name just before he is hit with an electromagnetic punch that also kill his bodyguards and destroys the helicopter. Payne is decapitated and as Zazie prepares to finish him off, his final words are that life is slavery at is core.