The three women and Junichiro are on a floating restaurant on the bay near Tokyo. Mai is seasick. The group is having a Christmas dinner, on Bith's expense account, in preparation for the big attack that night. Junichiro has low hopes for their success, seeing them as a low-grade "Charlie's Angles". But they have no choice but to try anyway. Bith arrives in a powerboat, and drives the group to their destination. Along the way, Junichiro comments that he'd checked up on Bith's story. Turns out that there is a large volume of data that attaches itself to a player character's data file, then quickly disappears again – in some way, this seems to be the "outside" that Harald brought into the game world. Bith speculates that what Harald had intended, when he wrote Fragment, was to leave behind the child of him and Emma Wielant. Mai thinks that this child might be the girl (Aura) she saw in the game before Skeith attacked her. Bith continues, saying that Harald used the game to collect personal data regarding the players running in the game. The personal data would be collected by a target system in order to feed it to Harald's child – the "ultimate AI". An AI that would tolerate "wavering". The big data files, then, are the personal data of the PC's being passed back and forth through the trading of weapons and items. The problem is that the system used for the transfer of data became self-aware, and did not like the idea of existing only in order to give birth to Aura. Once the system gives "birth", there is no longer a need for it, so it is doing everything it can to prevent the ultimate AI's birth. Which would explain the strange events taking place in The World. They arrive at the Maritime Information Backup Center, in Tokyo Bay. There are no guards, but there is an automatic security system, which is why they came by boat instead of by car. The reason Helba hasn't hacked the security system to shut it down is that she doesn't want to do anything to attract Morganna's attention to what they're about to do. Bith hacks the security door, and they enter the building. He deactivates the silent alarm that he's triggered, and hopes that the guards doing security rounds will view it as a false alarm. They go to the main backup system control room, where Junichiro has only 15 minutes to set up the computers. The girls are getting snippy, and Junichiro sends Yuki to get some canned coffee from a nearby vending machine. Turns out that the girls were friends through the game, but don't really like each other now that they've met in person. The security guards arrive to check out the alarm, and Yuki almost runs into them at the front lobby as they're looking in through the glass doors. The guards return to their car and are about to leave when one of them pulls up a computer display and notices that the vending machines were just used a few minutes ago. Junichiro is having problems in downloading the amount of information required from the computer. Kyo is sent to the front gates to help Bith. Turns out that the security guards have called for back-up; a second car arrives, bringing the numbers up to 6 guards. Junichiro finishes his data download, and sets up a server on the Maritime system's mainframe. He tries to link up with Helba's server, while Mai enters the game and checks for unusual activity there. Kyo and Yuki barricade the doors, making it harder for the guards to get in, then they follow Bith back to the vending machines. Mai announces that the Wave is approaching, but when Junichiro hits the Enter button, the link to Helba's server is denied. The guards get into the building, and Kyo and Yuki try to slow them down. Two of the guards have found Bith's boat. Two others go to the Control room, while the other two return to their car. They do spot the two girls, but the lead guard wants to ignore them in favor of finding everyone else in the building. Strange data shows up on the computer screens, and Mai discovers that Kasumi is still within the game, fighting for his life. In the hospital, the doctors rush into Kasumi's room, where the boy shows signs of heightened mental activity. His eyes open slightly. Junichiro keeps trying to set up the link, confused that it's not working. He just barely realizes that Mai is in trouble, and catches her just before she passes out and hits the floor. Bith returns to the Control room and decides that it's too late and they've lost. Mai says that she's seen everyone fighting within the game – including Kasumi and Orca – trying to defeat the Wave. Junichiro surprises Bith by refusing to give up now. Junichiro decides to try disguising his server to look like that of the main system and then link up that way. Two of the guards have spotted Yuki and Kyo and give chase. The other two guards try to break into the Control room, and Bith makes a call to Helba to give her an update. The timing will be critical, but Helba is willing to stand by and wait for her cue. Mai is back in the game, wobbling and ready to fall over again. Junichiro has his finger over the Enter key, waiting for the exact right moment. Mai stumbles, and Junichiro presses Enter. The Control Room door opens and the guards stumble inside. Bith is sitting with his back to the door. He welcomes the guards, and says that he is there to check the Maritime Center's security systems as Network Security Analyst. He tells them that the Backup Center has a number of security holes, and that they should return to the main office to discuss the details. Yuki and Kyo are cornered, and their two guards are hoping that they'll put up a fight. Junichiro and Mai attack the guards from behind. All four of them get ready to return to the boat, but one guard grabs Junichiro by the legs and holds on to him. Junichiro tells the women to return to the boat, while he gets his chance to play the hero for once. The other guard recovers and radios their backup for help. Yuki can't leave things alone, and kicks the other guard in the butt; this guard then chases the girls to the boat, but falls into the water as the boat leaves the dock. Three of the guards have converged on Junichro, and proceed to beat him to a pulp. Mai tells Yuki and Kyo what had happened in the Control room, adding that everything will be ok now, because that's the will of the ultimate AI that is trying to be born. Suddenly, fireworks go off over the city (Christmas fireworks). They see an image of a laughing Aura in the sky, and then realize it's snowing. Junichiro is finally allowed to limp out of a security office building. He tries to get a cigarette, but discovers that he's all out. His face is bruised and puffy; he gets ready to throw the empty pack to the ground when he sees the three women standing, waiting for him. Mai greets him, saying that it looks like they've lost their "evidence" (of CC Corp's misdoings). Junichiro pulls out a micro hard disk from his pocket and says "did not". He adds "Let's go get something good to eat". The girls grab him, cheering, and start dragging him to a restaurant.moreless
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