15. The Significant Other From A Star Far Away

The existence of a Gekigangar merchandise-filled cockpit inside the Jovian robot indicates that the mech must have had a pilot, and to Munetake’s thinking, that means that most likely said pilot is still aboard the ship. Not wanting to panic the crew by revealing that there is an alien on board, Munetake orders Jun, Seiya and the maintenance crew to carry out a discreet search for the intruder.

In the recreation room, Prospector and Erina are busy with other matters. Despite being under UEAF control, the Nadesico is sneaking off on an unauthorised mission to the moon to pick up Akito. Prospector wonders if Erina is the latest woman to fall for Akito, but she quickly denies this. Erina is only interested in him for her boson jump experiments- a fact that annoys the newly arrived Yurika no end.

Not wanting to listen to Yurika’s protectiveness, Erina tries to explain just how important Akito is to the development of organic boson jumping. Sensing an explanation, Inez rushes to the recreation room as quickly as she can; she misses out on the explanation, but there is still enough time to give a summary. Hearing their words, Yurika immediately puts her own spin on the Nadesico’s boson jump- it must have been Akito’s love for her that allowed it to happen.

Elsewhere, Jun and Seiya have begun their search for the intruder. Seiya has decided to lure the enemy right to them by leaving Gekigangar merchandise all around the place, and poor Jun even dresses in a Gekigangar III costume, leaving the bewildered Howmei girls to wonder if he has become the latest fanboy.

Up on the bridge, Minato finds that the added presence of Gekigangar models is the least of her problems. Goat still wants her to leave the Nadesico- he just doesn’t feel comfortable having her in both his professional and personal life. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Minato suddenly realises that Ruri has been there the whole time she and Goat were talking. Ruri insists that a child like herself couldn’t possibly understand their adult conversation, but an embarrassed Minato decides the slip out and “powder her nose” anyway. And once she leaves, Goat discovers that Ryoko, Hikaru and Izumi were listening as well, having hidden behind Ruri’s console.

Watching Gekigangar in her quarters, Megumi finds herself actually quite engaged by the plot, although then again she is a better voice actor than Nanako’s seiyuu. As she goes to switch off the show, however, her human-sized rabbit soft toy suddenly tells her not to. It looks like the intruder has been hiding out in Megumi’s quarters, just so he can watch Gekigangar.

Meanwhile, the other women of the Nadesico (Yurika, Erina, Minato, Inez, Izumi, Hikaru and Ryoko) decide to spend some time in the sauna. Erina wants to know just why Yurika wanted to be captain the first place, considering that her priority seems to be chasing after Akito. Yurika explains that here on the Nadesico she can make a difference, be somebody other than “the admiral’s daughter”, and of course win Akito’s heart- not a very impressive answer to Erina’s way of thinking. She just can’t believe that Yurika could care so little about the importance of her position, or about setting goals for the future.

Whilst Minato defends Yurika, Inez seems more sympathetic towards Erina’s position- she too wants to know just what Yurika’s goals are. To Yurika, the answer is simple- this is wartime, and her duty is to protect her crew. Erina still isn’t quite satisfied, however. She can’t understand Yurika’s apparent lack of ambition- Erina herself plans to become head of Nergal within the next three years, and acquire the power to influence the very future of humanity.

The women continue to argue their opposing views, little realising that Seiya and the maintenance crew are spying on them from outside. Finally, they cotton on to the presence of their undesired audience, and so to cover himself, Seiya has to reveal that he and his crew have been searching for an intruder, which of course meant that the women’s locker room had to be kept under surveillance.

On the moon, Akito has been living with a family who run a restaurant. Thanks to his jump through time, he has been on the moon for over two weeks, but only recently managed to get a message through. Now he feels guilty that, thanks to being stuck in a hospital and then being debriefed by Nergal, he wasn’t able to send his message in time to save Seelie’s life. The family try to make Akito see that what happened wasn’t his fault, but Akito isn’t quite ready to let go of his guilt just yet.

Back on board the Nadesico, everyone now knows about the intruder, and the search is on in earnest. Still angry over Goat’s behaviour, Minato wanders through the corridors, only to see Megumi still in her quarters instead of on the bridge. Megumi tries desperately to conceal the existence of the man inside the rabbit, but when Minato steps on the remote and switches off Gekigangar, he accidentally gives himself away.

Taking off the rabbit head, the perfectly human-looking intruder introduces himself as Lt Commander Tsukumo Shiratori of the Jovian Federation’s Superior Male Forces. Tsukumo claims that his people control everything outside of Jupiter’s orbit, despite the fact that Earth’s history claims that no human has ever gone beyond Mars. But there is no time for further explanation now; security is searching the ship, and they want all the crew to assemble in the cafeteria.

Unwilling to hand over Tsukumo just yet, Megumi and Minato hide him in a laundry trolley of women’s underwear (complete with tissues to prevent a double nosebleed). But when Goat stops them and begins another argument with Minato, Tsukumo can’t help revealing himself- his chivalrous nature requiring him to defend his would-be protectors. Naturally, all he manages to do is get himself arrested.

Plagued with nightmares, Akito finds himself unable to sleep, and talks with Kumi instead- only to have his conversation interrupted by an enemy attack. It is the Jovian mech that Akito boson jumped to the moon, and just like Tsukumo, the pilot is human. Determined to avenge Seelie’s death, Akito climbs into an Aestivalis frame and prepares to fight back. And Nergal would prefer it if he can finish the battle quickly- they don’t want the UEAF showing up and finding out about the secret new Nadesico-class ship that they have been building.

The Nadesico lab report identifies Tsukumo as an Earth human, albeit with slightly modified DNA. Erina wants Yurika to deal with both him and the “traitors” Minato and Megumi, but the captain has more important matters to deal with- they have just received a distress call from the moon, and helping Akito must of course come first. Akatsuki disagrees, however, and whilst escorting Tsukumo to confinement, he concludes that Earth is better off thinking of the Jovians as inhuman lizards and decides to remove the evidence to the contrary- by shooting his prisoner.

Fortunately for Tsukumo, Megumi and Minato are still on his side, and they knock Akatsuki out with a frying pan before can finish off the Jovian. But even as they persuade Tsukumo to run, Jun approaches, demanding that he stop. Apologising, Tsukumo picks up Akatsuki’s gun, and fires…

After getting knocked around by his adversary’s initial attacks, an angered Akito finally lands a crushing blow on the Jovian’s forward weapons array- only to receive a visual transmission from his enemy. Trying to come to terms with the revelation that his opponent is a human, Akito is interrupted by a transmission from Yurika, and has no chance to question his adversary before the Jovian boson jumps away.

Tsukumo, Minato and Megumi are gone, leaving an injured (but very much alive) Jun behind. There is no choice as to the crew’s next move- Ryoko and Akatsuki must take a shuttle out after them, and an insistent Yurika and Akito won’t be left behind. But as the shuttle takes off to pursue both the escapees and the truth about the Jovians, Yurika can’t help noticing that something about Akito has changed, hardened even…