April 24, 2012
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare's database has been hacked into, and classified material has been stolen. Section 9 traces the hack and determines that the hack job originated from a facility that helps people with Cyberbrain Closed Shell Syndrome. Togusa goes undercover to investigate the social welfare facility, and immediately encounters suspicious behaviour from the facility's supervisors. Togusa manages to learn that a person called "the Chief" visited the center during the week that the MHLW was hacked, but before he can determine the significance of this information Togusa is discovered; simultaneously, the facility's security system unexpectedly goes online, and Section 9’s databases are subsequently hacked, leading Kusanagi and Batou to make an emergency insertion to evacuate Togusa. The Chief is revealed to be the alter-ego of a boy named Aoi, who seems to have vanished after the incident, with no evidence remaining that he was ever a patient at the center, save for Togusa's testimony. But when Togusa draws Aoi's face from memory, the others are surprised to find that Togusa has drawn the infamous Laughing Man logo.