13. Things That Can Be Forgiven, Things That Can’t Be Forgiven

It is December 28th, the last day of work before the office closes for New Year. Dressed as Santa Claus, Akagi reminds everyone to hurry up and get all their work done- the sooner they finish, the sooner the Christmas party can begin.

And today, there’s an old face back at the office- Shirota has been reassigned as Dai-Guard’s tactical advisor. Technically, he should have been punished for disobeying the army in the last Heterodyne confrontation, but the pragmatic Colonel Nishina realises it is more practical to have him back with Dai-Guard. After all, with Kokubogar badly damaged and unusable for the foreseeable future, Dai-Guard is the only line of defence against the Heterodyne. Shirota is needed, and 21st Century is willing to have him back- thanks to the positive effect it should have on their profit margin.

Welcoming Shirota back to the company, Ookouchi reminds the tactical advisor that a lot is expected of him, and hands him a Christmas bonus to spend on PR Division 2. Elsewhere, however, more sinister discussions are taking place- Director Nishijima is planning to move to dismiss Ookouchi, and he is looking to gain the support of Director Mutou. Mutou doesn’t seem too impressed with Nishijima’s poorly veiled plans to take Ookouchi’s place, but Nishijima has a trump card to play. He knows something about Ookouchi’s past, something that is sure to make the other directors turn against the current president.

Back at the office, the return of Shirota has not gone down well with everyone- especially Tanigawa. Akagi, however, is friendlier towards the tactical advisor, and, having somehow finished all his paperwork early, asks if Shirota wants to help him trim the tree. Feeling that he isn’t welcome, Shirota refuses, and hands Akagi the money Ookouchi gave him. Unwilling to leave it at that, Akagi invites Shirota to come to the office party later, but Shirota merely replies that he’ll think about it.

Either way, it looks like the party might have to wait a little- a Heterodyne has been sighted. Shaped roughly like a giant vertical dumbbell/dog bone, with two antennae dangling from its upper section, the creature has been sighted near an army exercise facility. After picking up their new standard issue helmet, Dai-Guard’s pilots prepare to move out, only to receive word that the operation has been suspended.

The army has just issued a live broadcast explaining that they will take care of the Heterodyne themselves; they don’t want the embarrassment of Dai-Guard coming out to their exercise facility to fight the Heterodyne for them. Although this means the Christmas party is back on, Shirota reminds them not to relax too much- they are still on standby.

Hoping that they can score a victory to erase the disgrace of Kokubogar’s failure, the army goes ahead with plans to attack the Heterodyne. An analysis reveals that its outer body is made of carbon- in principle it should be straightforward to blow apart the body and destroy the fractal knot.

Back at 21st Century, Ibuki comes to Shirota’s office to talk to him. Although she understands why Shirota betrayed them, she reminds him that he will need to re-earn the team’s trust. When Shirota acknowledges that he is well aware of this, Ibuki tells him he can make a start by learning to have fun with the team- and where better to begin than the Christmas party?

Whilst the army prepares for its offensive, Shirota is busy winning the hearts of PR Division with his amazing cooking skills- certainly his impressive looking cake has Tanigawa singing his praises. Things aren’t going as well for the army, however- not only does their attack less effective than expected, but the Heterodyne easily repairs what little damage they did manage to inflict.

With the army’s failure, PR Division 2 has had to go on alert, which means moving the part from the office to the somewhat less welcoming hangar. Meanwhile, the army attempts a second offensive, but despite the increased firepower, it has even less effect- somehow, the Heterodyne is adapting to their attacks. The army is backed up against a wall- they made a promise on live television to destroy the Heterodyne, but now they might not be able to follow through. Back at 21st Century, Ookouchi worries that his greatest fear might come to pass- to keep their promise, the army may go so far as to deploy a deadly and destructive OE weapon against the creature.

Indeed, with no time to assemble the full might of their entire force, the army is already beginning to consider the use of OE weapons. Fortunately, Ookouchi has moved already- ignoring the army’s notification to stay grounded, he has already ordered Dai-Guard to move out and engage the Heterodyne.

The original fractal knot is in the centre of the Heterodyne- an easy target for the Knot Punisher. All Dai-Guard has to watch out for is the creatures antennae, but if they can analyse the pattern of their movement, it shouldn’t be too hard to avoid them.

On Shirota’s command, Dai-Guard charges toward the Heterodyne, and Aoyama powers up the flywheel, ready for a Knot Punisher attack. As they get within range, Ibuki analyses the movement of the antennae, and orders Akagi to attack as they move clear of the main body. Grabbing the centre of the Heterodyne with the Knot Punisher, Akagi engages the flywheel, driving the Punisher’s piston through the fractal knot and disintegrating the Heterodyne.

The day may have been saved, but as always, there is a price to pay- and Ookouchi is about to pay it. The army has submitted an objection to the launch of Dai-Guard, and as 21st Century’s main stockholder, this makes the perfect excuse for Nishijima to make his move. After citing this as only one of many Ookouchi’s reckless and dictatorial acts in regards to the army and the Heterodyne, Nishijima tops off his speech with his trump card about the president’s past- when the first Heterodyne appeared twelve years, it was Ookouchi himself who authorised the use of an OE weapon against it.

Nishijima proposes that Ookouchi be dismissed, and with no objections, the directors move to vote. The proposition is carried, and the board adjourns until the afternoon, where they will begin discussing new candidates for the presidency. It is for sure that Nishijima has his eye on that spot- but what will that mean for Dai-Guard, and for PR Division 2?

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