CHAPTER 13 . PHOENIX RISING
TCTF Regional HQ
Konoko infiltrates the TCTF HQ single-handedly, only to have Griffin escape by a hair's-breadth, retreating to his Omega Bunker, the most secure location in the heavily-secured building. Upon finally descending into the Bunker, Konoko finds that Griffin has constructed his own security cell, using the partially-salvaged and rebuilt Shinatama as the defensive AI. As the one that knows Konoko the best, she is the best choice for such a position. As Konoko progressively defeats higher levels of security and shuts Shinatama down, Shinatama begs Konoko to kill her. In the end, Shinatama's crude substitute for her lost body breaks free from the Deadly Brain frame, and advances on Griffin, who shoots it down. Konoko suddenly steps in and brutally disarms her former boss, turning the pistol on him.
Now she has to choose: exact her deserved revenge by pulling the trigger -- or walk away in a show of mercy. (This is a choice made by the player, and so the end of the next chapter has two possible variants, marked as A (player killed Griffin) and B (player spared Griffin).)
- If there's one tragic figure in this story, even more so than Kerr, it's Shinatama. Killed just to get at Konoko, then resurrected as a machine to kill her friend again, in the end she desires only death. Being an SLD obviously puts limits on her free will, as she can only protest, but not actively fight the Deadly Brain frame that she is plugged into.
Shinatama does seem to experience a freedom of action at the very end when the frame is shut down and she is able to extricate herself from it, and although she is unable to protect Mai from Griffin directly, her actions give Mai time to move in on Griffin. In some stories, the notion of a "soul" or simply the "true human nature" that separates us from the animals, is tied to free will. If that's applied here, then in the end Shinatama did in fact have a moment of humanness when she finally turned on Griffin; perhaps she had a soul after all, a silicon soul, if you will.
- On a lighter note, Griffin's override code (whatever it was supposed to do), his final hope, fails to work for no explained reason. Or is it so unexplained?