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.
Chat! Chat! Chat!
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 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?
Togusa goes undercover at a hospital for patients with Closed Cyberbrain Syndrome, a hospital completely cut off from communication with the outside world. Disguised as a staff worker, he learns that the patients' unique conditions make them exceptional at programming and hacking defense barrier programs.
One of the Tachikomas decides to take a little stroll through the city. It meets a little girl, Miki, who is searching for her lost dog and it agrees to help her. On their journey, the Tachikoma finds a strange box. After the adventure with Miki is over and the Tachikoma returns home, the members of Section 9 discover the box, and find that within it is a movie theater that contains the Ghosts of all those who saw the movie. Will Motoko be the next victim?
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!
After being shot, Togusa's in the hospital and about to go into surgery, but he is desperate to pass on what he's learned to the rest of Section 9. As Togusa fights for his life, the rest of Section 9 takes over the case, but others within the government have learned of the investigation and are not happy. A special forces unit is dispatched to intercept them with a state-of-the-art Armed Suit.
Motoko is about to be fitted for her new prosthetic body. But when the doctor arrives and begins the procedure, it's clear that she has no intent of letting Motoko out alive. With Motoko's friend Courtin waiting outside and unaware of what's going on, Motoko must fight for her life. Meanwhile, Aramaki receives a disturbing message that his brother has been kidnapped.
The Laughing Man returns! And, just as he did six years ago, he kidnaps the president of Serano Genomics without being detected. Section 9 arrives at Serano's house too late, and sets out to find him. The Laughing Man and Mr. Serano discuss what happened six years ago, and why Mr. Serano hasn't fulfilled his promise. This time, however, things are going to be different, with or without Serano's help.