Originally Posted by Helbagate
he Infection Grows
At the same time that Junichiro contacts Mai, a 14-year-old boy logs into The World as "Kite". He is a friend of the famous Orca, of the Azure Sea. Orca has talked Kite into trying out the game. But soon after, they see Aura flying through the dungeon, being chased by Skeith. Aura tries to give the Book of Twilight to Orca, but Skeith is right behind her and Data Drains Orca, putting his player into a coma. Kite receives the Book, which rewrites his character data and gives him the power to perform Data Drain and to hack into areas of The World that are otherwise sealed off. Helba has been monitoring Skeith's activities and sees what has happened to Kite. From this point on, Helba acts as Kite's guide, providing information about The World that the game's Sys Admin is trying to delete. Kite encounters Black Rose, a new player that has entered the game to learn why her brother, Kazu, has fallen into a coma. They team up and start exploring The World. Eventually, Kite fights Skeith and Data Drains it, turning the infinite-hit-point monster into something killable. Skeith is defeated, but this has caused a server reset (which knocks out power and phone service to large sections of Yokohama in the real world). The World's Sys Admin, Lios, gets involved and tries to delete Kite's character data before any more damage occurs. (He fails.)
Kite makes friends with a few other players in the game, including Wiseman - one of the only people online that still has a copy of one of the earliest versions of the Epitaph of Twilight - and Mia, a player that looks like a cross between a rabbit and a cat. Kite and Wiseman win over Helba, Lios and Balmung of the Azure Sky (a friend of Orca's and another fighter for the cause of justice in The World) to create a team that can take on the remaining Phases while minimizing the damage in the real world. Kite defeats Innis, Magus, Fidchell and Gorre, leaving three Phases left to fight, and causing more server resets, and more havoc around Japan in the real world. One of Skeith's final acts was to split Aura up into 3 parts. Kite tracks down two of the parts, but every time he tries to talk to her, a different Phase, Cubia - the Hidden One - arrives and interferes. Rather than getting beaten, Cubia fights for a short time then runs away. Kite's team tries to quarantine the area of The World where the Phases are originating from, with the intent of eliminating the remaining 3 Phases, Cubia, and ultimately the Wave itself. The hope is that once Aura is fully restored, she will reset the game as Harald had originally intended.
Kite also finds Skeith's weapon, a large red cross, hovering in one of the dungeons. Kite approaches the cross, and it dissolves, turning back into Sora. Sora thanks Kite, gifts the boy with his twin blade weapons, and disappears. Presumably, this means that the real-world Sora has finally recovered from his coma.
The Blending of Borders
Back in the real world, Junichiro visits Kyoko in Gifu, Japan. Helba is monitoring their e-mails and phone conversations, as well as putting her retainer, Bith the Black, on their tail. Helba is also watching Mai and Yuki. She sends cryptic clues to each of them, directing Kyoko and Junichiro to different locations around Gifu. Gifu is an isolated prefecture in the mountains of Japan, where supernatural events tend to occur. Each of Helba's clues send the duo to sites of unusual, or psychic activity that has taken place, in an attempt to prepare them for an explanation of what Harald had been up to. Eventually, they come face to face with Bith the Black. Bith explains that the current problem in The World comes from the blending of boundaries between the real world and the game world. Harald had managed to take the essence of a human and merge it into the game in the computer. Unfortunately, that essence - Morganna - isn't assimilating into its new environment well. Bith wants Junichiro and teammates to make the final plunge to help that essence along on its ultimate path - this plunge involves breaking into CC Corp., and risking getting arrested and booked as criminals.
The stories of Junichiro and Kite start to dovetail now. Kite, Wiseman and Helba devise a plan where Kite is to lure the Wave to a particular field, and then Lios is to contain it and Helba is to infect it with a virus. After a couple of false starts, Kite encounters Mia - the cat rabbit - at the bottom of the dungeon. Mia is actually a redesign of the Maha code, and had been allowed to wander The World on her own, when she'd teamed up with Kite's party. Along the way, Mia had picked up a weak-willed boy running a twinblade character named Elk (Morganna was probably talking to Elk at the end of .Hack//Sign). Elk is in love with Mia, and follows her everywhere. As a software-based Phase, the constant server resets have really screwed Mia up, but she tries to resist Morganna's command to revert to her true form. Eventually, Mia becomes Macha - the Temptress - and attacks Kite's party. Kite defeats Macha, killing her. Elk witnesses this, turns traitor, steals Helba's virus and gives it to Morganna. Morganna develops a vaccine, prompting Helba to develop a new virus. Kite goes on to defeat the next Phase, Tarvos, the Avenger, and finally gets a chance to talk to Aura. Aura is whole again, and she warns Kite to stay away from Cubia. Cubia and the Bracelet are opposite halves of the same code. If Cubia is defeated, the Bracelet will be destroyed. Undaunted and wanting to get things over with, Kite confronts Cubia. Realizing that a direct assault on Cubia is impossible, Kite tells Black Rose to attack the Bracelet. Black Rose does so, and both the Bracelet and Cubia are destroyed.
Unfortunately, Kite no longer has a way of Data Draining Corbenik. The team proceeds with their plan anyway, and Kite faces the final Phase in battle. The party is helpless without the Bracelet, and Corbenik seems destined to win. Then, Kite calls out for any help he can get, and ends up attracting every single PC that had been Data Drained and trapped within the game, including Kazu, Orca and Sieg. With their support, Kite breaks Corbenik's code and sees a chance for final victory.
In the real world, Junichiro, Mai, Yuki, Kyoko and Bith enter the Tokyo Maritime Backup System Center in Tokyo Bay and proceed to hack into the Center's main computer. Security guards discover the break in and attempt to capture the trespassers. Junichiro and Mai set up a server on the main computer, and try to link up with Helba's server. Mai has entered the game, and she passes out with the approach of the Wave. But, she's seen Orca and Sieg, still fighting in The World. This causes Junichiro to try harder. He links up with Helba, downloads evidence of CC Corp's involvement in the players falling into comas, and escapes from the control room. Two of the guards break into the room, only to find Bith, who claims to be checking on the security of the Maritime Center. He wants to go to the main office with the guards to report his findings. The three women escape safely, but Junichiro stays behind to hold off the remaining guards. Junichiro gets his moment to play hero, and ends up getting beaten to a pulp.