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Trader: The boat and prosthetic body floaters are at this address. That's the hell of a lot of firepower, though. Can't help wonder what you're planning to do with it.

Man: I'm going to give them some incentive to free the refugees.

Trader: They must have it pretty rough, too. But I really don't give a damn as long as I get my money. All right. What's going on? What is that?

Man: Right on time.

Trader: Darn! You bastard! You sold us out, didn't you!?


DU: Rhapsody - The Melody of a Bygone Nation; Pu239/94


Motoko: Have you IDed the man with the high-spec prosthetic body who attacked the Prime Minister?

Batou: I'm focusing on people with military affiliations, but as of yet, there's no match.

Ishikawa: Ever since that AI helicopter incident, military computer security's been tighter than usual. And regarding that high-spec body, there are no records except for one. There used to be a unit in the Self-Defense Army that had been dispatched as Peace Keeping Force and came equipped with this model. But for some reason, the roster of the PKF at the time, and even their operational records have vanished without a trace.

Motoko: Maintenance-free bodies being used in the PKF? Togusa, what about the group you said was operating during that Shinjuku nuclear plant incident?

Togusa: I haven't turned up anything concrete yet.

Motoko: A public agency that was formed right after the new Cabinet had taken office. And their people who have strong connections to the Self-Defense Army to boot. Eleven runaway helicopters. There's the Individual Eleven, which had initially presented itself as if the two were somehow connected. Then, to top it off, we learned that a nuclear power plant was concealed deep beneath Shinjuku...

Batou: We sure got a lot of problems heaped on our plate, all right. And now I hear the Chief's being summoned to our ladyship's place again. The old man's at her beck and call because of that stuff they dug up at the nuke facility?

Motoko: Yes. You have a problem with that?

Batou: Damn right I do. Don't you think the whole situation here is screwed up? Section 9 was supposed to be an offense organization, correct? But as long as she's holding us by the scruff of the neck like this, we can't get a chance to go on the offensive.

Motoko: I don't disagree with you. But I have to say that the Chief feels the same way about it.

Batou: What? Well then, why!?

Motoko: Let me ask you this. What do you think the greatest threat to Section 9 is?

Batou: What brought that on? What do you mean?

Motoko: Numbers, that's our greatest threat. An organization like ours would be powerless in the face of overwhelming material superiority. We'd be utterly defeated. If this current circumstance is in actuality an intentional attack directed against us, don't you think it's conceivable that somewhere, something is beginning to make its move?

Kayabuki: Mr. Aramaki, I assume you're aware of the fact that plutonium fuel rods were recovered in the course of re-burying the Shinjuku underground nuclear installation?

Aramaki: It has come to my attention, Prime Minister.

Kayabuki: Here is the fact of the matter: a top-secret plan to transport those fuel rods was set into motion recently, but that information was apparently leaked to terrorists beforehand. "In response to the foolish actions taken by the government under the very feet of the refugees who are being made to wait for liberation as new citizens, we intend to mete out divine retribution. In our judgment, it is only just that the items uncovered from the refugees' land with their own hands should be returned to the refugees." Signed, the Individual Eleven.

MHA: Look, it even has the logo on it, too. Right after they got that warning, the Coast Guard made a raid based on the tip they got, and caught them by surprise while they were in the middle of the major arms deal, but it looks like there's a pretty good chance that a huge amount of firearms changed hands before they arrived.

Kayabuki: In our original plan, the transportation of the rods was to be done via ship. However, we found a bill of sale left by the terrorists. It leads us to expect that they'll attack by sea. Therefore we've decided to make a last-minute change in plans.

Aramaki: And I presume you asked me here to say that you want Section 9 to oversee the land route transport?

CCS: That's precisely right. Your group immediately came to mind because it doesn't officially exist. I can think of no one better suited to the task of transporting prewar relics that aren't supposed to exist in the first place.

Aramaki: Yes, I see. Madam Prime Minister, what are your thoughts on this?

Kayabuki: I think our decision to do this is right.

Aramaki: Understood, Madam. Prime Minister, would you mind if I ask you something?

Kayabuki: What is it?

Aramaki: With regard to the existence of the nuclear installation, just how much did you know about it?

Kayabuki: I first learned of it when I received word that plutonium had been found at the site.

Aramaki: Oh yes, I see. If you'll excuse me.

Aramaki: Details of the operation are as I said earlier. We'll take the plutonium they uncovered in the nuclear power plant. Once we have it, we'll ferry the stuff out of the refugee district by land.

Togusa: What the hell's going on here? I know what I saw. That was a top-secret excavation under government control. So why are they...

Batou: Old man, exactly when did we change jobs and become the errand boys for the Prime Minister?

Aramaki: Nothing's changed about our job.

Batou: Then why are we...!?

Motoko: It's just that somebody else has the upper hand for the moment, that's all. Isn't that what's up, Chief?

Batou: Aren't you...

Goda: Ah, hello there. You can't imagine how extremely happy I am that you're accompanying me on my very first air drop operation.

Batou: I don't know who you think you are, but you've really got some nerve, showing your face around here. And just what does "accompanying you" mean?

Goda: I can relate. I swear, why do I have to go deal with some pointless wartime artifact? A waste of my time. I'm so angry. Oh, thank you for your excellent work earlier.

Togusa: Who is that man?

Motoko: Representative Aide, Cabinet Intelligence Service, Strategic Influence Research Committee, Kazundo Goda.

Goda: Sorry to foist such an unpleasant job.

Togusa: That's who.

GSDA Operator: Commander, we just received word that the relief unit left out of Niihama right on schedule.

Commander: They have? I sure hope it stays quiet until they get here.

GSDA Operator: I know what you mean.

Personnel 1: Here. Hahaha! Just like monkeys in a zoo, aren't they?

Personnel 2: Cut that out. Don't say anything that'll rub them the wrong way.

Personnel 1: If they cross the fence, they'll either be shot dead or deported. Even these characters ought to be able to figure that one out.

Aramaki: Let me make sure I understand this. You're saying the Self-Defense Army troops down there haven't even been told what it is they're supposed to be guarding?

Goda: Yes, you're correct. There are lots of things in the world that one doesn't need to know. We want to keep the count of those who were privy to the truth to a minimum in order to carry out data manipulation as quickly as possible once we're done.

Togusa: You're CIS, so then why not carry out the whole operation by yourselves? For one...

Motoko: Togusa.

Goda: It's the first time we've met I'm sure, but I feel I've seen you somewhere...

Togusa: Mm...!

Motoko: Ishikawa.

Ishikawa: Yeah. Just about there, Major.

Motoko: Saito, Paz, Borma. I want you track down some trucks, and meet up with us at 2200 hours.

3 Men: Roger.

Motoko: And take Tachikoma with you.

Goda: I'm sorry. I have to ban the use of your think-tanks this time out.

Batou: Why, you little...

Goda: I don't want to provoke the refugees.

Motoko: Mr. Goda, I understand that you have overall authority on this operation, but you're obligated to follow our instructions whenever we're in the field, or I can't guarantee your safety. You'll tandem jump with Batou there.

Goda: I can't wait.

Motoko: We're going first.

Batou: I guess we oughta get going, too.

Goda: I'm not very keen on this.

Batou: Well, that's something I'm happy to hear.

Goda: Ouaaaaugh!

Aramaki: Now, get going.

Batou: Get off your ass. Let's move!

Commander: I tell you I've been sweating bullets ever since we found out. No one bothered to tell us this stuff was plutonium.

Motoko: Good work. We'll take it from here and transport the material safely out of the refugee district.

Commander: I can't let you do that. Because there's a possibility that the troops were exposed.

Goda: You needn't worry, there's no risk of that.

Commander: What do you civilian suits know!?

Goda: You can have as little faith in civilian officials as you like, but this is government policy. And each department has their set job to carry out. Deal with it or feel free to take off that uniform. However, I don't expect that would really be enough to ease your minds. On that note, then, could you do me one favor? We'll talk by data link.

Batou: Hey!

Goda: Don't worry, cleaning up messes is part of a civilian official's job.

Personnel: Excuse me. The trucks have just arrived, Commander.

Commander: I see. I'll send my adjutant and two sentries. That's the way it's gonna be.

Motoko: Fine. As soon as we finish reinforcing the trucks, we'll leave here.

Motoko: All right. Move out!

Togusa: This place is kinda creepy, isn't it?

Motoko: I certainly wouldn't deny that the Individual Eleven might be planning to commandeer the plutonium. It's a real possibility. But they don't deal with refugees directly. Staying alert on your toes is always your best option, but don't jump at shadows.

Togusa: You have a point there.

Motoko: What's got me more worried though, is the source of that leak about the sea route transport.

Togusa: That's true.

Goda: I'll wager they'd get the shock of their lives if they ever happen to find out this vehicle was carrying plutonium.

Batou: Look, I'm not really interested in chitchatting with you.

Goda: Hm-hum. Well, unlike you and your teammates, making small talk is my strong suit.

Personnel: That's cute. She's racing with us.

Goda: Say, have you heard? Just recently, over in the Nagasaki residential district, a little girl about the same age took a shot at a policeman.

Personnel: Uh...!

Batou: What's with you, trying to spook the soldiers?

Goda: Hm. I couldn't resist. Your crew, however, is rather well trained. Your lady commander seems especially scary.

Batou: Well, I wouldn't say that.

Goda: Oh? I'm curious, why did you join up with her unit? You aren't in love with her or anything like that, are you? Of course not. You couldn't be.

Batou: This bastard's a real comedian.

Motoko: Ishikawa, how's our route scan look?

Ishikawa: I'm sending you the satellite data now.

Motoko: It leads to an overpass. Isn't that risky?

Ishikawa: Once you get to the old expressway, you'll be out of the refugee district. After that, just hand over the cargo to the people coming from Yokosuka Base, and the job's done. It's the beltway roads you have to watch out for. Almost all of the buildings around that area are collapsed and abandoned, so both sides of the road are blocked off. If the terrorists ambush you there, you won't stand a chance.

Motoko: Some plan this is. What's going through this Goda guy's mind? Ishikawa, after you've given our route once-over, run a background check on him and see what turns up.

Ishikawa: Yeah, that's just what I was thinking.

Togusa: It's been 30 years since the war. The Kanto region's turned into a wasteland. I bet the reason it was left lying like this is because the refugee issue's been kept up in the air this entire time. Perhaps the situation is finally reaching the breaking point.

Motoko: Ah...

Personnel: Mm? Hey.

Motoko: I see it. Batou.

Batou: I see it here too. I've got a bad feeling about this.

Motoko: Ishikawa, do you see this?

Ishikawa: Yep. What happened, did they roll over?

Motoko: I can't tell. I'll go check it out.

Goda: From a safety standpoint, we should make a detour. Considering the nature of our cargo, we should do our utmost to avoid anything that could result in a combat situation. We can't risk the mission or our lives.

Motoko: I know that. So we're camouflaged to blend in here. But we'll scout it out first. And if there are terrorists mixed in with these people, we'll just have to be prepared for the worst.

Goda: Very well. So, who will you send?

Motoko: Saito and I are going in. Batou, you're in command here.

Goda: If it's all right with you, I'd like to come along as well. I'm actually popular with the refugees. And we'll take a GSDA man. Your men tend to be a bit trigger-happy.

Motoko: What happened here?

Refugee 1: What? Can't you tell?

Refugee 2: You're from the western district?

Motoko: Sort of. We'd like to be on our way as soon as we can.

Refugee 1: Yeah, so would we.

Motoko: Sorry, but we don't have time to stay and give you a hand. We have to be going on ahead now.

Refugee 1: Suit yourself.

Motoko: There's enough room to the side of the truck for the bus to pass by. Move in slowly, and if anything seems remotely fishy, break through and leave us behind.

Batou: Roger.

Motoko: Looks clear so far. Keep moving.

Refugee 3: What have we here?

Motoko: Batou.

Batou: Yeah.

Refugee 4: Reinforcements, huh?

Goda: Look, in his hand, he's carrying a pistol.

Motoko: Togusa, go! Floor it!

Paz: Get in!

Motoko: How's it look?

Borma: All clear.

Paz: All clear.

Saito: All clear.

Batou: This ain't right.

Motoko: Were they just refugees?

Saito: Then killing those men was pointless.

Aramaki: Good job, everyone. It appears the intel about terrorists was just a bluff.

Motoko: Luckily, all that effort was for nothing.

Goda: Excellent work, Mr. Aramaki. I appreciate what you and Section 9 have done especially on my behalf.

Batou: You trying to be funny?

Goda: No, I mean it.

Aramaki: Mm?

Batou: Hey!

Togusa: No, don't open those!

Batou: You bastard, back there you...

Goda: By now, the improvised second GSDA unit that left the refugee camp is likely to have shipped the plutonium out by sea.

Aramaki: So you used my team as a decoy.

Batou: You son of a bitch! Who the hell do you think we are!

Goda: The real question you should ask is who you think you are. An Elite special unit of the handpicked chosen few? If your little group has been confronted by an angry mob of refugees, and they had come at you with those smuggled weapons, you know you couldn't have stopped them! Try to rein in your ego and be thankful that you got to play the role of decoys under my direction. Now if you'll excuse me.

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