Tachikoma: Hey! You awake? Rise and shine! We're supposed to synchronize our data after every mission, so why am I the only one who's not updated? Mr. Batou's natural oil! Oh, boy! It's full of information!

SA: Tachikoma Runaway/The Movie Director's Dream; ESCAPE FROM

Tachikoma: Woo-woo! This is amazing! My experience points are piling up!

Miki: Locky! Excuse me, have you seen Locky?

Tachikoma: "Locky"? Hm?

Miki: The pet I keep. It's my dog. His name's Locky. He's lost, I'm trying to find him.

Tachikoma: Keep? Lost?... I haven't seen him.

Miki: Will you help me look for him?

Tachikoma: Well, you see, I was kinda hoping to go into town.

Miki: I'm on my way through the town. It's a place called Seaview Hills Park. He's probably somewhere around there.

Tachikoma: Hmm. Okay, we can go together but only as far as the town.

Miki: You mean it? Thank you! By the way, do you have a name? I'm Miki.

Tachikoma: I'm Tachikoma.

Miki: Tachikoma? Well... I'm pleased to meet you.

Miki: Aha! I bet you Locky's gonna be hungry when I find him. I'm buying him one of these.

Tachikoma: I, uh... really don't think that's a good idea.

Miki: Why not?

Tachikoma: Um... Woo! Look. There's a dog over there. Maybe that's Locky! Well? Is this animal your pet?

Miki: Locky's not scrawny like that dog. That's not him.

Tachikoma: Huh.

Miki: Hey, Tachikoma! That was mean!

Tachikoma: Mean? But it wasn't Locky. That dog is of no use to you.

Miki: So what if it wasn't him? You didn't have to be mean to him. Understand?

Tachikoma: I wasn't mean. He was simply unnecessary.

Miki: If you ever do that again, you'll make me really mad.

Tachikoma: Huh? What's this? I've got a feeling it's something amazing! Oh, wow! I bet it's a cyberbrain! Huh? But it doesn't have a barrier. Could this be our version of the kaleidoscopic vision I've heard about, what humans are supposed to see the instant they die? Hm? You're me? And I'm all of you? Uhh, there's a Ghost!

Miki: What are you doing, Tachikoma?

Tachikoma: Uh... Uh-oh, nothing.

Miki: Don't, lie. I saw you take something. And if you took something without asking anyone, that's stealing. I'll keep you on a leash if you can't behave. Now, give me whatever it is you're hiding!

Policeman 1: Excuse me, young lady? What in the world are you doing in this place?

Policeman 2: What's your name, miss? Or do you have something that would show us who you are?

Policeman 1: Is that your pet robot, sweetie? Where's your house? Do you know where you live?

Tachikoma: Hey there, officers! I'm her guardian. For your information, I was critically wounded during the war. My brain, the only part of me left intact was put inside this tank as a temporary measure. But as things turned out, my mind fused with it and I've been this way ever since. And let me tell you two, calling a patriot and veteran of battle who lost his body in the service of his country a "pet" is downright rude! You kids today are just plain babied and spoiled you don't even know what war is...

Policeman 1: I-I'm sorry for the misunderstanding...

Miki: Wow! It was the ventriloquism?

Tachikoma: Something like that. Hey, let's try looking for that Oceanview Hills Park you mentioned.

Miki: Huh? You mean you'll go with me?

Tachikoma: Sure. There's nothing else here that looks interesting. Locky's probably waiting there, right?

Miki: Um-hm. Thank you, Tachikoma.

Miki: Gosh, we've had Locky ever since I was born. He was a puppy when we got him. He always played with me and ate with me and slept at the foot of my bed at night.

Tachikoma: Wow, you two must be the best of buddies.

Miki: Yep.

Tachikoma: But then, how did Locky wander off and get lost? He was always with you, wasn't he?

Miki: Yeah... Tachikoma, there's a story called "The Secret Goldfish," you know it?

Tachikoma: The Secret Goldfish? Nope.

Miki: It's a story about a little girl who's sort of like me and almost my age.

Tachikoma: A story, huh?

Miki: Yeah. This girl owns a goldfish, but she doesn't want anyone to see it, she won't show it to anybody. And when her friends and family ask why they can't have a look at her fish, it's because she bought it with her own money she tells them. Naturally, the grownups start to worry about her thinking to themselves, "how strange that girl's behaving." But her goldfish was dead already and had been for some time, so that's why she doesn't want anybody to look at it. Otherwise, the grownups would find out her secret.

Tachikoma: Huh? I don't really understand. I mean, the goldfish was dead, right? She should have used her allowance and found a way to get it fixed up like new.

Miki: That wouldn't fix it. If a goldfish dies, you can never bring it back. The girl didn't want any of the grown-ups to, um, feel that she would be sad or upset if they found out her little fish passed away. She'd already said goodbye to her pet and cried enough.

Tachikoma: Is... this the place?

Miki: Actually, I knew all along. When I got home from daycare on Thursday, Locky wasn't there. He hadn't been feeling very good for a long time. But mommy and daddy said that he'd gone outside. I told my parents that we should go look for him on Friday or Saturday. But they told me, "No, it wouldn't help." Even though I really knew Locky was dead, I went out and pretended to look for him anyway. Cause if I didn't, mommy and daddy would know that I knew the truth.

Tachikoma: Humans certainly seem to feel sad whenever a friend or family member they love dies, don't they? I can't comprehend the concept of death. I think it's due to the fact that I don't have a Ghost, I also fail to understand the whole idea of sadness. I guess it must be because I can't die.

Miki: You won't die, Tachikoma?

Tachikoma: Nope. Because I'm an AI.

Miki: Even if I keep you as a pet?

Tachikoma: Nope.

Miki: Or get run over?

Tachikoma: Nope.

Miki: I see... But, right now I...don't think I want any more pets...

Tachikoma: It's getting late. Maybe you should head back home. Your mom and dad are probably feeling sad because you're not there.

Miki: Yeah...

Batou: Phew...

Tachikoma: I wish you wouldn't look so serious, Mr. Batou. It's no big deal. I mean it's not like I ran away...

Batou: Hey, will you shut up!

Ishikawa: Listen up. Here's what I found, Batou. There were trace amounts of protein from the neurochips of the Tachikoma's AI system. Those proteins dissolved into the natural oil you've been giving it. The only reason it happened is because you use this Tachikoma exclusively. Now there's a possibility that the data which leaked out into the oil gradually caused a buildup, and the Tachikoma's AI reproduced behavior memory.

Togusa: Batou, you pamper your Tachikoma like it's a pet cat. They're simply machines.

Tachikoma: That's a discriminatory remark!

Tachikoma: We demand a retraction!

Tachikoma: Togusa's a bigot!

Tachikoma: Machines need love, too!

Ishikawa: This would be news if it happened at the Artificial Intelligence Research Agency, but the Major is gonna rip you a new one, pal. Pack your bags up.

Togusa: Huh? What the heck is this?

Tachikoma: Uhh, that's... Ah, fine morning to you, Major!

Motoko: Sucking up won't work. The use of natural oil is banned from this point forward. Understand, Batou? Togusa, get that box over to the crime lab. And Ishikawa, I want you there as an observer.

Tachikoma: Awww...

Ishikawa: The jig's up, old man. The Major's always on top of things.

Batou: Wonder how she finds out? Roger.

Ishikawa: Surprising. I can't believe it's been online this whole time.

Motoko: Are the contents of that box, dangerous at all?

Ishikawa: Well, our guy here dove in a while ago and hasn't come up since. I was able to track him part of the way, but we lost communication all of a sudden. What the hell is this thing, Major?

Motoko: After finding this, the Tachikoma interacted with something inside it, instantaneous synchronization evidently occurred with its AI unit and data was dumped into the Tachikoma. At first, I thought it might be some type of brainwashing program, but that wasn't it at all.

Ishikawa: Well, I was thinking that it may be a type of defense maze, but our backup program was fully operational, I didn't find anything. No sign of attack or program-induced backflow in the inspector's brain.

Motoko: What are you saying is that he doesn't want to come back?

Ishikawa: I can't determine that one way or the other.

Motoko: There's no possibility this is a virus? Show me the record of when you tracked him.

Ishikawa: It looks as though he's experiencing the sensation of being in some sort of building. He blurted out something about a long corridor? And see the part where he mentions a stairway at the end of the hall?

Motoko: I'll dive in and have a look.

Ishikawa: Hey, wait! Now you should hold off for authorization from the Chief. What if worse comes to worst, Major?

Motoko: The worst has already happened. It's serious when one of our inspectors doesn't come back. Come on, hook in. Image display complete. That's a lot of data for some dull graphics. I'm inside the hall, they were kind enough to design it so that you can only go forward.

Ishikawa: What's there besides the hallway?

Motoko: Nothing at the moment.

Ishikawa: Hey, Sleeping Beauty, I wish you wouldn't leave your eyes open.

Motoko: There's a stairway. I'm going.

Ishikawa: Keep an eye out for traps. The Major's safety takes priority.

Motoko: I can see a dim light.'s faint, but I hear voices.

Ishikawa: What's this?

Motoko: What thethethethethe......

Ishikawa: Hm? Major! What is it? Come in, Major! Can you hear me? Respond!

Yoshimura: No use, sir. Her Ghost left her body.

Ishikawa: A Ghost hack!?

Cromartie: No, it's something else. There's been no evidence of attack. Her barrier isn't active, either.

Ishikawa: Major! Major!

Man: I'm not so sure. I thought the critical turning point was the instant he made up his mind to live forever is the result of catching a glimpse of truth.

Motoko: What are you people doing here?

Man: Huh?... So you...

Motoko: Hey!

Kannazuki: Don't bother. I'm afraid you're just wasting your breath because everyone here is completely under its spell.

Motoko: Its spell, huh? What's it? Exactly what spell?

Kannazuki: Ha, ha. If it piques your curiosity, would you care to join us and find out for yourself?

Motoko: Wha...? Hey!

Kannazuki: Hurry, or you'll miss the beginning. There are no previews, you see. Ho, ho, ho, ho.

Audience: Shhh!

Motoko: A theater? Where have you been? What happened to you in here?

Matsui: Oh. Hi, Major. Uh, nice to see you. This is a mind-blowing movie.

Motoko: We're going back! Hey!

Kannazuki: What do you think?

Motoko: I have to admit for a movie, it wasn't bad. But diversionary entertainment is transitory, just comes and goes at the viewer's whim. That's the way it should be. But a film with no beginning or end that hooks an audience and won't let go of them is harmful no matter how wonderful you may have believed it was.

Kannazuki: Oh, you're a tough critic. Are you saying that we members of the audience have a reality to which we should return?

Motoko: Yes, I am.

Kannazuki: For some who sit and watch the film, misery will be waiting for them the instant they go back to reality. You're willing to accept responsibility for depriving these people of their dreams?

Motoko: No, I'm not. But dreams are meaningful for when you work toward them in the real world. If you merely live within the dreams of other people, it's no different from being dead.

Kannazuki: You're a realist.

Motoko: If a romantic escapes from reality, then yes.

Kannazuki: Hm-hm. A strong girl you are. If the reality you believe in ever comes about you, give me a call. When it happens that's the time, we'll leave this theater.

Ishikawa: Geez, you had me scared back there.

Motoko: Sorry about that. Trying to crossover the Ghost line was a real bitch, I couldn't respond, there was no time.

Ishikawa: We ran a match on the records by the way. The maker of the film is a generally unknown director, Wataru Kannazuki. He was so stubborn about maintaining the integrity of his offbeat style that he couldn't secure funding or a crew. He never released a single mainstream movie. He created his ideal film inside his cyberbrain. He must have had his own brain and part of his spine removed, installed a life-support system, and locked himself up in this box.

Batou: In other words, a mini-moviehouse was packed into a little box just to run a flick that the director made.

Ishikawa: Yeah. Something like that, I guess.

Batou: So, what's the movie all about?

Ishikawa: The director's work reportedly attracted a cult following. Some were so enthralled by the film that after diving into these boxes, they died without ever waking back up. Police have been trying to find and confiscate all of them. But the original remains out on the market according to rumor. What do you know, this happens to be the original box. It has a Ghost and everything.

Batou: I wanna know where my Tachikoma found the thing, little rascal.

Ishikawa: Do you know what completely floors me? The fact that it was the appeal of his film that kept the audience there. There was no trap and there was no hacking. That's some impressive talent. OK, what do we do? Mr. Director is still alive.

Motoko: Extract his brain and put it into a different shell so he can go online. Then assemble a list of viewers who fully regained consciousness. And arrest the vendor who was selling that box on suspicion of trafficking in humans. I'll notify the Chief and take care of the report. That's it.

Batou: Well, what a surprise.

Motoko: Batou, has a movie ever moved you to tears?

Batou: Oh, man. What did that come from? I'm heading back to the hangar now. 'Cause I gotta go switch out the oil on my Tachikoma. You know there was one time. I remember laughing so hard I cried from watching a Marx Brothers film.

Motoko: That sounds like you.

Batou: I know, let's you and I go together to see a movie sometime.

Motoko: Thank you. But when there's a movie I really wanna see, I make a special point to see it alone.

Batou: And the ones that you don't wanna see that badly?

Motoko: I don't see them.

Batou: Hm. Makes sense.

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