Pyramid is a broken AI, not intentionally part of the robot uprising. It's doing what it thinks is right, given it's limited understanding of humans. The pain-causing headbands are needed to force the slaves to accept the Happy World as a better world, as a pay off for constructing more mechs to prolong the horror of real reality, which in turn helps convince more people to accept the virtual reality over the real one. Even Monkey nearly falls for this.
I was under the impression that the old man Trip kills, who is very obviously conscious, was Pyramid.
Why doesn't Monkey realize that the "If I die you die" bit of the collar in no way prevents him from, say, whacking that selfish bitch Trip from behind on the head with a rock or something and then, say, removing that tongue of her's? Because I'd say that after repeatedly leaving him to die and then enslaving him, she deserves it. It also in no way prevents him from, say, beating her within an inch of her life. Frankly, after all the selfish, callous things that she did to him, I'd have little hesitation in removing her tongue and forcing her to remove that headband.
Considering how friggin' strong Monkey is (just ask the pile of torn-up mechs), it's not implausible to say he might accidentally kill her (and consequently himself) if he lashed out violently at her.
The headband reacts to her voice. If she's smart enough to hack it, she would be smart enough to make it react to her screaming somehow, like causing him massive pain, like she does right after the first mission.
Which is why one of the suggestions started with hitting her from behind with a rock on the head. Or a sufficiently strong punch. If she's unconscious, she isn't going to scream. Alternatively, sneak up from behind and grab her in a choke hold and then knock her out. It doesn't matter what else, no air to her lungs = no voice = no screaming. Also, she screams during the game without it doing that.
Maybe he's not a sociopath and/or she doesn't do anything that he feels really deserves throttling?
So callously abandoning him to die twice and then enslaving him with a torture device in an incredibly selfish attempt to save her own pathetic hide doesn't count now?
Or maybe Monkey realized that she did that because she was fucking terrified of him and attacking her wouldn't help matters?
You get the impression as the game story progresses that he's a survivor. While he's irritated at what she did, he doesn't blame her for using the tools at hand to ensure her survival over his.
He's not a monster. He's not educated, he's wild, he pretty much raised himself and subsisted through survival, but if Monkey's decisions prove one thing through this game, is that he's a good man.
What's that going to accomplish. So he knocks her out. He can't take off the headband by himself. So what, he wakes Trip up to remove it? Then she can voice command it. Doing anything non-lethal to her would be nothing but brutal stress relief.
I would argue that if Trip wasn't a beautiful young woman, but instead a man, people would feel that forcibly incapacitating her isn't all that bad, considering the things she's done. Trip is incredibly in the wrong here—I think The Unfair Sex is at play when it comes to the morality of how she treats him. Removing her tongue isn't as bad as dying for walking thirty feet away from her.
Perhaps but it goes both ways. Would the situation be different (or perceived as such) if Trip were a male? Probably. Her killing of Pyramid would likely carry no sort of ambiguity. Certainly there would be a difference if Monkey were female. At the same time, both sides are exaggerating the extremes of both characters. Neither character is flawless and both are in difficult situations where there is likely no good answer. They do bad things and while that may degrade their moral superiority, ultimately, they both try to do good things. In the end, while Trip may do bad things and Monkey may do good things, they don't do things bad enough and frivolously enough to warrant the calls of Monkey basically counter-abusing Trip (really, when is that ever a good response?) or the calls that Monkey isn't free of blame (part of the whole story is that Monkey -is- selfish and callous himself and cares nothing of the destruction he causes or the people he hurts).
The Unfair Sex may apply but only if you completely swap the characters as they currently exist. If we were to redefine both of the characters properly I don't believe that would necessarily be the case. If Trip was a clearly frightened, teenage boy genius and Monkey was a scarred, grizzled amazon of a woman then I think things could very easily be flipped on their heads without producing that sort of result. As a matter of fact it might even work a bit better thematically, removing the whole manipulative bitch angle you get whenever a female in media does something like this. The core point here is that while Trip does enslave Monkey the game VERY much goes out of its way to explain that they need each character and the relationship, while messed up, is actually one where Trip is technically still the subordinate. She can tell Monkey what she wants done but if he dies doing it for her, she dies out in the wastes. If she endangers him too badly she risks her own life. There's a very yin-ying quality to their relationship that presents Trip as well intentioned but conniving and Monkey as self-serving but good hearted.
Let's think through this logically. You have a device wired into your brain which gives someone else control of you and has enough feedback to cause hallucinations. The only one who can remove this thing is the one who put it on you, controls you, and has implemented at least one failsafe in case of attempted murder. Are you really going knock her out, maim her, and then expect her to safely remove the thing? Work under threat of torture probably isn't going to go well and would you trust her even if it was? Plus, this isn't the way you want to test for safeguards. Even ignoring all that, Monkey would have to wait until he got out of an area crawling with mechs before he would risk lots of loud noise attracting them, and by the time they leave the city they've bonded at least a little.
So wait.. the robots were working for Pyramid? The robots who destroyed the world? When pyramid was actually trying to save the people from the.. robots and the hellish post-war wasteland? I.. er?
I think the implication was that the world had undergone some sort of Robot War apocalypse, and that while Pyramid was trying to keep the people safe and happy with its own mechs, not all mechs were working for Pyramid. The majority of the mechs we see in the game are likely "wild", under no master but still following their centuries-old "kill all humans" programming.
Trip's Village: Why did the mechs kill everyone? If they were working for Pyramid, it makes no sense to murder everyone. If they were rogue war mechs, how did they defeat the bridge defenses?