26. Victory Song for Tomorrow

It has been an hour and a quarter since the army started their three hour countdown to the OE weapon launch, and Dai-Guard and Kokubogar have spent that entire time fighting through the forest of spikes that have sprung up on top of the Heterodyne. It hasn’t been easy, and both robots have sustained damage, but it finally looks as if they are nearing their point of entry into the Heterodyne’s body.

Whilst everyone else waits and worries down below, Dai-Guard and Kokobogar finally make it to their entry point- a series of green glassy panels on the Heterodyne’s back. However, as Akagi boldly steps onto the green panel, sharp spikes spring up, and Dai-Guard is only saved when Kokubogar pushes it out of the way. Kokubogar takes a spike in the knee, but Iizuka insists that they are fine, and the two robots continue their mission.

On the ground, PR Division 2 are busy handing out supplies and helping people get to emergency shelters. Most of the team is optimistic about Dai-Guard’s mission, but the chief can’t help being a little concerned- there is only one hour to go until the army launches its OE weapon.

As the two robots descend into the space between the two Heterodyne layers, it seems like an hour should be plenty of time- all they have to do is walk over to the central pillar and locate and destroy the fractal knot. The Heterodyne, however, has other ideas, and as the robots approach, Ibuki detects something emerging from the pillar. On visual, this new object looks like nothing more than the upper body of a giant robot- almost as if the Heterodyne has created a boss monster to fight them.

Attached to the Heterodyne by a long snaking lower body, the fake robot surges out for an attack, and knocks down Kokubogar with its first strike. With the damage to Kokubogar too great for it to even stand up, the battle falls to Dai-Guard. The robot and its pilots fight bravely, but they have the disadvantage- not only is Dai-Guard damaged, but even if they were at full strength they would still only be an even match for the creature’s speed. As the battle continues, Dai-Guard continues to lose strength and speed, and with only ten minutes until the OE bomb is launch, things look bleak.

Nonetheless, none of the PR Division 2 staff want to evacuate with the others- they have faith in Dai-Guard and Kokubogar, and want to be there to welcome them back on their return. With each passing minute, however, that return is looking less and less assured, as Dai-Guard is able to little more than block blow after blow from the fake robot. Dai-Guard manages to dodge a stab from the fake’s drill arm, only to leave its back exposed to an attack from the newly created spike arm. Desperate to repel the fake, Akagi blows the seal on their second parachute, and the billow of cloth forces the creature back.

The fake soon attacks again, only to be knocked back once more- this time by a shot from Kokubogar’s arm-mounted rocket launcher. As Kokubogar fires more rockets, the fake turns its attention away from Dai-Guard, and begins attacking the other robot instead. Determined to help out Iizuka, Akagi quickly comes up with a plan. After covering the fake with the opened parachute to blind it, he attacks with the Knot Punisher II whilst it is disorientated. Unable to evade the attack, the fake robot is destroyed.

As the countdown enters its final minute, Busujima becomes impatient to launch the OE weapons, but in the last thirty seconds, the situation changes. The defeat of the fake robot cause the Heterodyne’s growth to slow and stop, and the electromagnetic interference clears, allowing the army to observe the top of the Heterodyne.

It quickly becomes clear that Dai-Guard and Kokubogar have entered the Heterodyne, but with no clear evidence that they were not destroyed inside, Busujima decides to follow through on the plan anyway. He orders a bomb to be launched, and when his subordinate hesitates, decides to do it himself. Inputting the launch command, he hesitates for a second over the final launch command, before finally making up his mind to fire…

Fortunately, Saeki has been with Busujima the whole time, and the idea of an OE weapon being deployed has made the young tactical advisor uneasy. Before Busujima can fire, Saeki pulls his hand away from the console, and advises him to wait a little longer. Launching an OE bomb is not something to be done lightly.

As Dai-Guard locks onto the fractal knot, Ibuki and Aoyama realise that they have something else to worry about- what if Akagi put in a hole in their parachute, the one thing that can slow their five thousand metre fall back to the ground? Akagi insists that he was careful not to damage the parachute, but there is no time to debate the matter further- it is time to take out the fractal knot.

As the fake robot reactivates and comes rushing towards them, Akagi heads for the original fractal knot and activates the Knot Punisher II. As the weapon fires, the original fractal knot is shattered. Within moments, the fake robot and the rest of the Heterodyne finally begin crumbling to pieces. As the shattered remnants begin falling on Tokyo, Kokubogar opens its parachute and makes a graceful descent, whilst the less fortunate Dai-Guard begins plummeting towards the ground.

Fortunately, the parachute soon opens out to slow their fall- but even as the pilots sigh in relief, the fabric rips, and their high speed plummet begins once more! To the horror of those watching below, Dai-Guard plunges down into a nearby pond- and doesn’t come back up.

Shirota and PR Division 2 quickly rush to Dai-Guard’s landing point, but there is no sign of the giant robot. As they watch and wait, however, the giant robot rises up out of the muddy water- Dai-Guard is fine, and all three pilots survived the fall intact. They are the heroes of the hour, and everyone is delighted to see them.

21st Century’s main office was destroyed, but down at their secondary office, business soon continues as usual. Everyone seems to have come through the crisis okay- even Shirota. Despite being court-martialled for disobeying orders and launching Kokubogar, Shirota managed to get off with only a pay reduction- thanks to the testimony of Nishina and even Busujima.

Meanwhile, there is work to do- and with Dai-Guard still undergoing repairs, no excuse but to do it. As always, Akagi gets lumbered with a mountain of paperwork, whilst Aoyama plans to get away with selecting campaign girls- at least until Nakahara catches him.

As it turns out, everyone’s work is interrupted anyway- by yet another Heterodyne alert. Even though the actual fighting will have to be left to Kokubogar, they can still help with evacuation and supply distribution- all the things that they have become good at over the last months. If the Heterodyne really are here to stay, then it’s for sure that PR Division will continue to give their best to combat them. And good luck to them all.