17. A Reunion That Came Too Late

Complete with its added Y-Unit, the ‘invincible’ Nadesico is on its way to a rendezvous with the mobile space dock ship, the Cosmos. Making her way to the bridge, Yurika is surprised to discover that Ruri is the only one there- the Nergal supervisors are in a budget meeting, and everyone else has gone to Ms Fressange for crisis counselling. Learning that the ‘Jovian lizards’ are really humans has affected almost everyone on the crew. Wondering if that means Akito could use some attention, Yurika decides to go and find him.

Outside Inez’s office, almost everyone has queued up to see her. Ignoring the rest of the crew as they chat to each other about their problems, Yurika wanders through the corridor, calling out to Akito. Finally, when she hears Inez talking to a pilot, Yurika thinks she has found him- only to discover that the pilot in question is actually Izumi. Unable to resist teasing the captain, Inez tells Yurika that Akito isn’t here- he and Ryoko are alone somewhere else.

In fact, Akito and Ryoko are together in the hangar bay, and both seem depressed over finding out the truth about the Jovians. Ryoko hates the fact that she was tricked into believing that this was a ‘noble war to save humanity’, and even though Akito feels the same, he vows not to turn away.

Desperate to break up any potential intimacy between Akito and Ryoko, Yurika rushes to find him, only to be stopped by Prospector, Erina and Goat. Their budget meeting has revealed that Uribatake seems to have been embezzling funds, and, when added to his new friendship with Hikaru, the whole matter looks very suspicious. Yurika agrees to carry out a special investigation, one which they will keep quiet from the excitable Admiral Munetake.

Dragging Akito along, Yurika begins the investigation. In a secret corner of the hangar bay, Uribatake and Hikaru are giggling together- immediately suspecting the worst, Yurika pushes Akito over to have a look. However, far from sharing an intimate moment together, Hikaru and Uribatake are in fact painting Aestivalis models.

Akito immediately wants to join in with the painting, but Yurika still has the embezzlement investigation to follow up. When asked to come clean about where all the money has been going, Uribatake shows off his latest project- a giant Aesitvalis which he has christened the X-Aestivalis (Extivalis for short). The new design combines the power of a heavy lunar surface frame with the mobility of a standard Aestivalis, which should make it a match for the Jovians.

The Extivalis is certainly impressive, and most impressed of all is Admiral Munetake. Not only do the military blame him for the Nadesico crew finding out the truth about the Jovians, but they have also threatened to demote him. He needs something to get him back in the top brass’ good books, and the Extivalis might just do the trick.

Uribatake isn’t too interested in finishing the Extivalis (or Aestiva-X as Munetake calls it) now that he knows the Jovians are human, but Munetake orders him to complete it. As Munetake rants about how nothing is more important to him than staying on top, Akito is once again reminded of Gai’s murder, and decides that is long past time to confront the admiral.

Whilst Gekigangar plays in the background, Akito has it out with Munetake. Akito wants Munetake to admit that he was the one who killed Gai, but the admiral continues to deny it, saying that his earlier report is indeed what happened. Neither man is willing to back down from his position, and so the conversation ends in a stalemate.

Hikaru and Uribatake have used the models they built to create a diorama, and as they add the finishing touch of baking soda ‘snow’, Uribatake tries to pluck up the courage to tell Hikaru his true feelings for her. Unfortunately, before he can even begin to speak, Munetake shows up, demanding to know why Uribatake isn’t working on the Extivalis as ordered.

In fact, the Extivalis is already finished, but in the end it turned out to be a complete write-off. The frame is so overpowered that firing its inbuilt gravity blast cannon would cause the whole thing to explode. Furious, Munetake insists that Uribatake continues working on it, and only Yurika’s intervention prevents the admiral from fully venting his spleen.

Later on, Uribatake finally gets another chance to talk to Hikaru. But as he tries to explain, Hikaru brushes him off- it was great to find someone whom she could share an interest with, but she only wanted to be friends, without any romantic attachment. If that’s the way that Uribatake’s thoughts have been turning, then perhaps it is better if Hikaru doesn’t spend time building models with him anymore.

As the crew prepares to dock with the Cosmos, a disorientated Munetake shows up on the bridge; having injected himself with some kind of drug in his quarters, Munetake has distanced himself from reality, convincing himself that the Cosmos is in fact the Jovians. Determined to strike back at the perceived enemy, he takes out the Extivalis, all the while imagining himself to a Gekigangar-style ‘hero of justice’.

Akito and the other pilots are sent out to bring Munetake back, but the crazed admiral has already started charging up the gravity cannon. In his mind’s eye, he sees Gai and Gekigangar III coming to help him defeat the enemy. With no choice but to fall back, the Aestivalis pilots and the rest of the crew can only watch as Munetake attempts to attack the Cosmos, only to overload the Extivalis systems and end up vaporising himself instead.

With Akito’s help, Uribatake puts the finishing touches to his Aestivalis diorama. The models are incredibly realistic, but Uribatake notes that he deliberately didn’t make the scene too realistic. It is machines of war he likes, not war itself, so he left out all the blood, violence and death.

Akito, meanwhile, is customising an Aestivalis, trying to make a replica of the one Gai used. Uribatake notes that he hasn’t got the design right- no matter how well you think you remember something, it’s easy for memories to become distorted.

And, talking of distorted, Yurika has a bone to pick with Uribatake- she wants to know why his model of Ruri is so well-endowed, whilst his Yurika model is extremely flat-chested. Whilst insisting that he make the model more ‘structurally accurate’, Yurika manages to break its arm. As Uribatake berates her for breaking his model, it is clear that, no matter what happens, there are some things that never change.

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