25. Walking on the Moon

On her way to the space umbrella, Galatea reflects on the reasons behind her creation and existence. Created from the anti-seed implanted into Sylia’s brain, she started life as a mere device, before evolving and taking on a more human form- and as her appearance changed, so did people’s reactions to her. No one could have strong feelings for something that looked like a machine, but in her human form she could inspire both love and hatred in those around her.

And yet becoming human did not seem to be Galatea’s intended purpose. Her brother Macky was labelled a failure for being too close to humanity, so it was clear that something else, something unique was required. But what for- to become the prototype for a new class of life form that would be subservient to humanity? Or was she intended not as humanity’s tool, but as its replacement?

Either way, young Galatea was sure of one thing- she didn’t want to be alone. Yearning for company, she reached out with the Sotay phenomenon, until ordered to stop and go to sleep by Dr Stingray. Not yet mature enough to resist the will of her creator, Galatea had little choice but to obey. And yet, even in her confinement she was still able to reach out, to see through the eyes of the boomers created by copying her core, and watch as they were turned into an underclass- watch, and wait.

But now the waiting is over. Galatea has reached the space umbrella, and events have moved to endgame.

Having finally made it to the umbrella on the skyhook, the Knight Sabers have to abandon ship when it becomes clear the brakes are no longer operational. Blasted out into space, Priss, Linna and Nene quickly gain their bearings and head for the umbrella. Time is not on their side- not only is Galatea already there, but in only fifteen minutes, the sun will strike the umbrella’s solar collectors, furnishing her with the power she needs to take over the entire planet.

Whilst Nene heads off to the main control room to try to lock off the umbrella, Linna and Priss begin searching for Galatea, although it soon becomes clear that Galatea isn’t just anywhere- she’s everywhere. Her presence is so strong that it even begins corrupting Linna and Priss’ hardsuits, forcing them to focus all their energy on keeping Galatea out and maintaining the suit’s integrity. There’s bad news for Nene as well; the computer refuses to accept her command to disperse the solar collectors, leaving the umbrella fully operational- and now there are only five minutes left.

But Galatea has more in store for the Knight Sabers. From the very floor in front of them, she models duplicates of their hardsuits, and sends them into battle against the real Knight Sabers. These extensions of Galatea reach into the Knight Sabers’ minds, dismissing their individuality and claiming that they must give in to a future in which all things become one with Galatea.

Rather than discouraging them, Galatea’s speech only spurs the Knight Sabers to fight even harder, and they soon find the strength to bring down their doppelgangers. But as the last doppelganger melts away, it looks like they may be too late. The sun has hit the collectors, and Galatea now has enough energy to fire the umbrella. Targeting it at Tokyo, she fires, destroying the city. And it’s only a matter of time before she has enough energy to fire again.

With no way to shut off the umbrella, the only other option seems to be to destroy the power centre. Priss wants to go alone, but the others aren’t about to leave her behind- they are a team, and they will face whatever Galatea dishes out together.

Inside, it looks like reaching the power centre is a plan doomed to failure. Not only must the Knight Sabers devote their energy to preventing the corruption of their hardsuits, but they must also fight off giant flying spheres of material. When it becomes clear that they will never make it time, Nene heads off to slow down Galatea by blocking up the barrel of the umbrella’s firing mechanism.

Having linked with the umbrella, Nene finds it impossible to force the barrel to alter its shape and block up whilst also maintaining the integrity of her suit. Flying out to help her, Linna links with Nene’s suit, hoping that their combined power can succeed where Nene alone cannot.

Having desperately held on against Galatea’s will, Nene and Linna watch as Galatea tries to fire again. With the barrel successfully blocked, the shot backires, and the whole firing mechanism explodes. But success is not without its price, for the force of the explosion sends both Nene and Linna spinning out into space…