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.
The Laughing Man, having returned after a six-year absence, threatens to assassinate the Superintendent-General of the police. Everyone is in an uproar over his return. Aramaki, however, thinks it's a cover-up. He briefs Section 9 on the prime suspect, Nanao=A, an incredibly gifted programmer who developed the micro-machines that are currently the foundation of Serano Industries. Still, it's just too perfect. The team splits up and investigates.
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.
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.
A routine live-fire exercise goes wrong, leaving a fleet of AI controlled helicopters flying above a refugee area, firing on anyone who comes near. And a mysterious and creepy man known as Gohda arrives to tell Section 9 how to handle it.
An assassination threat has been made against Prime Minister Kayabuki; Section 9 is called to serve as bodyguards Meanwhile, investigation on the Individual Eleven turns up some interesting history.
A seemingly run-of-the mill hit-and-run turns into anything but when Togusa investigates. While in Tokyo, he discovers a secret from the past the GSDF is trying to keep hidden deep underground.
While on a stakeout of a Taiwanese vegetarian restaurant, Section 9 finds out that someone is pulling strings and feeding misinformation to the Public Safety Sections.
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