TCTF Regional HQ
- (a.k.a. TCTF HEADQUARTERS in the intro splashscreen)
Shortly after the events of CHAPTER 05 . HOT PURSUIT, the regional headquarters of the TCTF is raided by Strikers, led by Barabas as Muro instructed (and also, apparently, by Muro's companion comguy): they easily overwhelm the night shift of the TCTF and cause massive damage to computers and structural elements. Konoko manages to enter the building just before the lockdown. As she starts ascending through the building, the Strikers shut down the power, disabling static defenses (turrets). Before Konoko can reach the Command Chambers, the Strikers invade the whole building and Barabas kidnaps Shinatama. Konoko continues her ascent with a typically theatrical feat: she cuts the elevator cables so that the counterweight can drag her up the shaft. Eventually Konoko reaches the roof, just in time to see Shinatama taken away in a helicopter. Waiting for her on the helipad is Barabas, eager for a rematch. Upon killing him, Konoko experiences an ecstatic surge of power, which is apparently not noticed either by Griffin or by Konoko herself. She then sets out to rescue Shinatama.
- The raid
- Konoko's diary and the initial mission objective note three important things about the raid: the attack is taking place during the graveyard shift, whereby the defenders are outnumbered over 3 to 1; neither the helicopters nor the van were detected by the network of drones patrolling the city; the attackers quickly brought down the static defenses by deactivating the power substations. Apparently the lockdown triggered by the van was also part of the plan. All this intelligence can be explained by Muro having some informants/agents at the TCTF (or in other relevant branches of the WCG) and/or by the superior hacking skills of Muro's men: Mukade and the Comguys come to mind, all the more so as the raid seems to be coordinated by Muro's "personal comguy".
- The attack starts simultaneously at the top and at the bottom of the building. A van crashes into the lobby, triggering a lockdown: from then on, neither side can expect external backup from the ground level. Apparently the lockdown has no effect at the top of the building, and the Strikers seem to rely on an improbable air superiority: airborne backup for the TCTF is unlikely, whereas the Syndicate helicopters can shuttle a large number of Strikers from nearby rooftops, even if there are only two of them. Thus the attackers come essentially from the top: the van could only carry about two dozen troops, the mission of which was to trigger the lockdown, secure the few bottom floors adjacent to the car park and blast doors, and possibly to try and disable the power substations.
- The chronology and topology of the raid is a bit tricky. Shinatama seems to be the main (and only?) target of the raid: her seat is at the top of Damocles, at the center of what seems to be the Command Chambers. She is eventually captured by Barabas and taken to the roof, but not before the "Syndicate Henchman" known as Kojiro shuts down the power on the level below and orders "all units" to "converge". It would seem that the static defenses were holding off Barabas and most of the Strikers just above the Command Chambers, and that Kojiro somehow made it through to the power substations with a few Strikers to cover him. It is not clear if Kojiro's team reached the substations from the top (through the Command Chambers and past Shinatama) or from the bottom (past active SMG and Mercury Bow turrets): since several Strikers are seen wearing force shields, it is definitely not impossible for a small team to break through either way.
- When Shinatama is taken away, the other helicopter is nowhere to see. It has apparently left earlier, with Kojiro on board (unless he is in the cabin of the one carrying Shinatama). The helicopters are headed for the Atmospheric Conversion Center and are successfully tracked by the TCTF, even though they failed to be detected earlier.
- The ecstasy
- In this chapter, we see Konoko experiencing her first "ecstasy" (or "powerup") upon beating Barabas, of a total of three. The second one occurs at the end of CHAPTER 07 . A FRIEND IN NEED after Konoko defeats a Fury and her two Striker sidekicks (arguably a boss fight). That second ecstasy is described as "consistent with the waveforms of a Daodan spike, but far more powerful". The final ecstasy takes place after Konoko beats Muro in CHAPTER 14 . DAWN OF THE CHRYSALIS, and this time it is powerful enough to knock back bystanders or even kill them.
- It is unclear what triggers the ecstasy exactly, but there seems to be some sort of feedback between Konoko's emotions (or "hormones") and the Chrysalis inside her (which neither Konoko nor the player knows about as of CHAPTER 06 . COUNTERATTACK ; the Daodan terminology used by Shinatama & Kerr and hinted at by Muro is still cryptic at this point). The first idea is a particularly high peak of adrenaline. Then again, if Konoko should feel stress or anger, it is during the fight or before it, with effects similar to fight-or-flight response or second wind. What makes the most sense afterwards is a sort of triumphant relief, most similar to a runner's high or an orgasm (it sounds a lot like the latter, too). Konoko raises her arms in an uncontrolled spasm, and also becomes oblivious to her surroundings (notably, she never seems to remember going through the spasms herself), which further characterizes her state as an ecstatic trance.
- It is possible that the Chrysalis is using the immediate aftermath of an intense fight as an opportunity to "come forward" and "grow" significantly, responding to physical damage and taking advantage of momentary psychological weakness. If the host is to stay unaware of the symbiosis, major physiological upgrades can only take place during a trance, or maybe while the host is asleep (although anesthesia may be necessary, as was the case during the invasive surgery experiments mentioned in CHAPTER 12 . SINS OF THE FATHER). See the Daodan article for more facts and speculations on the process.