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Section 9's Tachikoma fleet is down for routine maintenance. While the technicians inspect the fleet, the think-tanks begin a philosophical discussion on the Individual Eleven case and the implications and motives behind it. Gradually, this discussion shifts to the topic of the self and the reason that the Tachikomas have felt the sensation of looking down on themselves. Meanwhile, Togusa, Batou, Batou's personal Tachikoma, and the Major report to SPring-8 to gather evidence collected by the staff from the ten deceased members of the Individual Eleven. While there, an explosion rocks the facility, and Batou, Togusa, and the Tachikoma dash to the scene. Having learned that a man named Asuda may have been in the building, the team regroups aboard the tiltrotor for a trip to Niihama Airport. Along the way Batou and Togusa learn from the Major that Asuda is the inventor of the Tachikoma AI, and may be attempting to defect to North America to obtain patent rights, which he cannot get in Japan as a state-sponsored scientist. Asuda is taken into custody in the airport lobby, and on the return leg of the trip to Niihama shares an important secret about the origin of the Tachikoma AI system with the team before bonding with Batou's personal Tachikoma. Asuda's information helps solve the mysterious "out of body" feeling the Tachikomas have been experiencing; it turns out that this new fleet's AI and central server are located on a satellite in space. He also admits that he had secretly inserted a program to have the Tachikomas instinctively remember him as a way to have his achievements recognized.
Read More at Afternoon of the Machines – PAT.