Motoko enters into an online chat room devoted to the Laughing Man to see if she can find any new information on him. What she discovers is a spirited debate among the self-proclaimed "fans" of the Laughing Man, but very little hard evidence.
As Togusa and Bato track down Nanao, Motoko and Paz are attempting to protect the Superintendent-General at a press conference about the police misuse of interceptors. When the virus does hit, Motoko and Paz have to act fast to save the intended victim. Meanwhile, the road to Nanao=A hits a dead end.
Section 9 is on the trail of Marcelo Jarti, a South American revolutionary hero who has arrived in Japan. However, Jarti is a hard man to catch because he employs look-alikes to deceive people. Nevertheless, Section 9 is convinced that the one they're tracking is the real thing, and after a rather out-of-control gunbattle in an upscale hotel, they track him to an old warehouse. When they split up, Togusa, Batou, and Motoko each encounter Jarti--at the same time!
Motoko's friend Courtin asks her to come to the hospital where she works. It seems a little girl just received a heart transplant, but the donor's family doesn't remember ever agreeing to donate the heart. Seeing the little girl reminds Motoko of her own past. When she mentions this story to Aramaki, he tells them to determine if this is tied to a ring of black-market organ smugglers supposedly run by the mafia.
The CIA arrives in Japan with a request to help them hunt down a serial killer. The killer, a former CIA operative, has recently gone rogue and has turned up in Japan. He is an especially brutal killer, preferring to skin his victims alive in the pattern of a T-shirt. This sparks an odd reaction in Batou, and his normally laid-back demeanor is replaced with one of furious determination. What is the link between Batou and this man?
Batou goes undercover on a military base to shadow one of his former heroes, a man named Zaitsev who was an Olympic silver medalist. Now, however, he's under suspicion of espionage. Batou befriends him easily, and the two really seem to get along--which is unusual for Batou. But when Batou learns the truth behind his hero, he must make a very difficult decision.
While at an international police conference in London, Aramaki drops by to visit an old flame who's now in the wine brokering business. She asks him to help her put a stop to the corruption in her company, but he tells her that it's out of his jurisdiction. Just then, however, two thieves break into the building and take them hostage. With a corrupt police official on the outside, it's up to Aramaki to keep them alive and buy enough time for the Major to figure out what's going on.
Aramaki attends the funeral of an old war buddy, and is greeted by his departed friend's daughter. She tells him that her brother is acting very strangely, and she fears that he may be up to something illegal. Aramaki sympathizes, but says there's nothing he can do legally. Later, Section 9 is assigned the task of protecting the Chinese Foreign Minister from being assassinated. And when they start searching for suspects, the son of Aramaki's friend is at the top of the list!
Section 9's next case is a rash of mass-kidnappings. Rumor has it that a crime syndicate is harvesting organs and selling them on the black market. As they research the case, they realize that time is running out. If they don't find the kidnapped girls soon, it will be too late. And to make matters worse, there's a Russian cyborg operative who has gone rogue and is now working for the syndicate.
Togusa is on the trail of the Laughing Man again, and this time, his investigations lead him towards both a leading micromachine corporation and an NGO called the Sunflower Society. As he visits with one of the officers of the Sunflower Society, however, the building is attacked by especially well-armed troops!
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