19. White Contract

A Heterodyne has appeared in Hokkaido, and the Japanese Self-Defence Force has been sent out to engage it. Taking to the skies, two fighters attempt to fire on the creature, but it is too cold to register on their heat-seekers. Finally, they manage to get a lock, not on the Heterodyne, but something else entirely…

Back at 21st Century, PR Division 2 is settling back into the office, and coming to terms with the fact that Saeki is still going to be working with them. Saeki informs them that the army will still be overseeing Dai-Guard’s operations, and that they had better learn to work together fast, thanks to the appearance of the latest Heterodyne. The Defence Force was supposed to be dealing with it, but no one in the office even knows what the outcome of that operation was.

Meanwhile, there are other problems closer to home to take care of. During his short time as president, Nishijima was very busy with plans and contracts-including a proposal to deploy Dai-Guard as a weapon in various war zones, an idea which isn’t well received by any of the team. But whilst that is only a proposal, there are more pressing military matters occupying the present. Ookouchi, Nishina and Shirota are lobbying to alter the legislation so that the Self Defence Force can legally assist in fighting the Heterodyne. Unwilling to allow unrestricted use of firepower, even if it is only to be used against the Heterodyne, the government refuses to amend the legislation.

Another parting gift from Nishijima is a contract agreeing to send to send Dai-Guard to the Sapporo Snow Festival. Despite the fact that the contract is technically null and void, Ookouchi decides to honour it; Dai-Guard and the majority of PR Division 2 will be flying north, whilst Saeki will be dispatched to help the Self Defence Force with the Heterodyne.

In Sapporo, preparations for the Snow Festival are underway, and even the Self Defence Force are helping out with the creation of the giant snow sculptures, including a snow Dai-Guard. Arisa, the head of the Festival’s Organisation Committee, explains that she wants the real Dai-Guard displayed in its three separate units. As it wasn’t even her decision to bring Dai-Guard here, she doesn’t much care to see it fully assembled, and would rather the pieces just remain separate and stationary for the three day duration specified by their contract. The team aren’t too happy about Arisa’s paranoid dislike of Dai-Guard, but have little choice but to go along with her wishes.

There is one member of the team who already knows Arisa, however- Aoyama. They went to university together in Hokkaido, but when Aoyama graduated, he left for Tokyo straightaway, and they haven’t seen each other since. Meeting in a café, the pair drink coffee together, and Aoyama tries to convince Arisa to give Dai-Guard a little more freedom. Arisa isn’t interested in that, however- she is still angry with Aoyama for his self-centred attitude, especially the way he left Hokkaido without telling anyone. To her, he has always been the kind of person who starts off by fighting as hard as he can, only to run away when it looks like he might get hurt. And if Aoyama wants to prove to her that he has changed, then it is time to stop running away- he must honour the contract and stay in town for three days.

Elsewhere, Akagi is watching the Self Defence Force build a snow Dai-Guard, but something doesn’t look quite right about the sculpture. Together with a Self Defenc Force member named Ishihara, he tries to convince the others to adjust the arms and antenna, but they aren’t interested in listening. Finally, a short scuffle breaks out between Ishihara and his colleagues, and poor Akagi gets accidentally hit in the face.

Leaving the others to their work, Akagi and Ishihara head to a café for some food and tea. Whilst Akagi talks about his experiences fighting against the Heterodyne, Ishihara complains about his own life. He didn’t choose a military lifestyle so that he could build snow sculptures- he wants a more proactive role.

Just as Akagi is showing Ishihara the key-card he uses to activate Dai-Guard, their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Ijyuuin and Irie. Irie draws their attention to the latest news report- the Heterodyne, now encased in a giant iceberg, is just about to reach the coast.

With the arrival of the Heterodyne, Saeki asks that the Self Defence Force co-operates with him, but they are only prepared to do so up to a point. They will form a defensive line and aid with disaster relief, but the use of firepower is out of the question. The first time they tried to engage the Heterodyne, they accidentally locked onto a foreign scout plane, almost starting a war. It is because of this incident that the legislation allowing the Self Defence Force to aid in the attack hasn’t been passed- leaving Dai-Guard as the only line of defence against the creature.

Unfortunately, going out to fight the Heterodyne means that Akagi and the others will have to break the agreement to remain in Sapporo. Angry and disappointed, Arisa tells them that she has heard nothing about the Self Defence Force being grounded- as far as she is concerned, if they leave, then they are breaking their contract and running away to play hero. With no time to convince her that their actions are necessary, Akagi and the others can only leave her behind as they head into battle.

Unable to attack, the Defence Force has no choice but to withdraw from the iceberg-Heterodyne’s advance. Fortunately, Dai-Guard is under no such restrictions, and, equipped with two Drill Arms, the robot goes on the attack. Jumping onto the ice, Akagi activates both Drill Arms and begins boring through the ice, hoping to reach the Heterodyne encased inside.

The spiky crystalline Heterodyne is eventually exposed, but drilling through the ice has used up almost all of Dai-Guard’s power. There is just enough left to destroy the Heterodyne, but even as Akagi targets it with the Drill Arms, the creature rises up out of the ice and flies away. Now completely out of power, Dai-Guard is left stranded on the iceberg below.

Returning to his room later, Akagi plans to get some food and rest before the Heterodyne reappears, and is only too happy to see Ishihara waiting for him- they can share a meal and a few drinks together. An exhausted Akagi immediately falls asleep afterwards, but Ishihara doesn’t leave straightaway. It seems he had an ulterior motive for visiting Akagi’s room, but what exactly are his plans? And what about the Heterodyne- it is still flying around in the blizzard, but surely it is only a matter of time before it returns…

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