16. The Beginning of Nadesico’s War

With Megumi and Minato in his shuttle, Tsukumo heads back to Jovian space, desperately trying to avoid Minato’s “improper” teasing. The resultant rocking of the craft makes the pursuing Nadesico shuttle wonder if Megumi and Minato are resisting their captor, but when their quarry enters Jovian-defended territory, they have no choice but to break off the pursuit.

Fleeing from the Jovian defences, Yurika realises that Tsukumo seems familiar somehow- his hairstyle and love of Gekigangar are reminiscent of Gai. Ruri agrees, and Seiya even goes so far as to suggest that Gai was a spy who faked his own death- just the kind of storyline a Gekigangar fan would have liked. Akito won’t hear of it, however- Gai loved the Earth, and would never have betrayed it.

The Nadesico heads to the moon to dock at the facility where its sister ship, the Shakuyaku, is being built. No one can ignore the import of the truth about the Jovians- not only do they have the ability to pull off organic boson jumping, but their human nature means that they could easily have spies amongst the Earth forces. This is of especial concern to the Nergal employees; holding a secret meeting away from the main Nadesico crew, they conclude that the enemy must already know of their plans to use the Shakuyaku in yet another assault on Mars. The Nadesico will act as a decoy in this mission- and neither the crew nor the UEAF are to know Nergal’s true aims and objectives.

Munetake may not know what Nergal’s plans are, but he knows that they have secrets, and half-drunk, he stumbles into their secret meeting, determined to find out the truth of their ‘evil schemes’. In a surprise move, Erina claims that she will tell him the truth- if he can handle it.

Whilst Seiya prepares a heavy artillery frame for Akito’s Aestivalis, and the other pilots analyse the Jovian’s jump patterns, Erina lets Munetake in on the truth. Much to his distress, Nergal has known about the Jovians being human all along. But as Munetake turns abusive, Akatsuki shows up as well, and lets Munetake in on a whispered secret. Secretly looking in on their conversation, Prospector excitedly awaits the juicy part- only to watch as the security system cuts him off.

Prospector’s hacking may not be up to the task, but Ruri is well able to manipulate the security systems so they can listen in on Erina, Akatsuki and Munetake- and thanks to her manipulations, the whole crew can watch the broadcast. This is the kind of revelation that everyone needs to know.

Meanwhile, Megumi and Minato have arrived aboard the Jovian ship, and despite nominally being prisoners, the Superior Male Forces that crew the ship treat them as guests- treating women properly is integral to their sense of honour. Tsukumo takes the two women on a tour of the ship, and it soon becomes clear the Superior Male Forces are all Gekigangar fanboys. In fact, their whole society is modelled after the ideals embraced in Gekigangar, and their top officers all have to be ace pilots capable of handling their Daimajin-class giant robots.

Moving along, Megumi and Minato learn the Superior Male forces represent the small percentage of the Jovian population that are able to boson jump. Due to their limited numbers, they rely heavily on unmanned weapons, and for the first time the two women see non-hostile Jovian “bugs” carrying out various duties on board the ship.

Minato takes in the sights easily enough, but Megumi is more withdrawn- she can’t reconcile these friendly seeming Jovian forces with the people who have cause such destruction in the war. Hearing her, Genichiro (the officer who battled with Akito last episode) claims that the Earthlings have done far worse things to them. True, the Jovians attacked Mars first, but it was a pre-emptive strike launched after they heard Earth would be attacking them.

Whilst Genichiro begins to explain the true history of Earth to Megumi and Minato, the rest of the Nadesico crew hear the same story, thanks to Ruri’s broadcast of Erina, Akatsuki and Munetake’s conversation. A hundred years ago, there was a civil war on the Moon between those who wanted it to become independent from Earth, and those who were content to remain under Earth’s control. The United Earth forces secretly played both sides against each other, inciting voiced opinions into out-and-out conflict, before finally driving the independence-seeking rebels away from the Moon entirely.

The survivors of the conflict fled first to Mars, only to be attacked again, this time forcing them to relocate to the asteroid belt and the satellites of Jupiter. After that, all record of these survivors was erased from Earth’s history, allowing those in power to retain a good reputation as well as the profit margin that an independent Moon might have denied them.

In the normal course of things, the survivors would have probably been able to do little more than eke out an existence on Jupiter’s moon, never having the means to return to Earth, but that all changed when they discovered a mysterious artefact in orbit of Jupiter- a factory that allowed them to build phase transition engines, chulips and unmanned weapons, everything they needed not only to survive, but to strike back at Earth.

Finally revealing that the crew has been listening, Yurika berates Erina and Nergal for keeping such important facts a secret. Erina responds that the true identity of their enemy makes no difference to the war, but Yurika disagrees. And their opposing philosophies are about to be put to the test, as Genichiro boson jumps his Daimajin to the moon- on a mission to destroy both the Nadesico and the Shakuyaku.

As Genichiro attacks, the colony’s distortion field starts to fail- and the incomplete Shakuyaku is crushed under falling debris. Now it is up to Akito and his new heavy Aestivalis frame to defend the Nadesico, but with a limited supply of missiles, he can’t afford to waste ammo. Fortunately, the crew have already cracked the Daimajin’s jump patterns, giving Akito the advantage.

Whilst the battle continues, the crew pick up evacuees from the attacked colony, and Yurika orders that the Y-Unit from the crushed Shakuyaku be wired into the Nadesico. It could either give the ship some much needed extra power or blow it up, but Yurika has faith that Seiya can make it work. Meanwhile, Akito seems to have the upper hand in the battle against Genichiro, but even as he holds his own against one Daimajin unit, another appears. It is Tsukumo, and Megumi and Minato are with him in the cockpit.

The two women contact Akito to tell him the truth about the Jovians, only to find out that Akito already knows, and he doesn’t seem to care. It doesn’t matter who started the war; there is no going back now, and above all, Akito is no longer going to back down when it comes to protecting the Earth and the Nadesico.

Using the power from the Y-Unit, the Nadesico surges into battle, and traps Tsukumo in its distortion field, evening up the odds against Akito. Yurika correctly guesses that Tsukumo won’t risk Megumi and Minato’s life by boson jumping out of the trap- instead the Jovian is unable to assist as Genichiro’s Daimajin is disabled.

Before Akito can finish Genichiro, Tsukumo proposes that the two of them fight instead- he will let Megumi and Minato off so that they can have a proper one on one duel. Megumi doesn’t want Akito to continue fighting now that the war seems so senseless, but he won’t back down- he no longer wants to turn away from the horror when he could be facing it down.

The duel does not go ahead however- watching from afar, the UEAF forces decide that now is the time to intervene, and the Jovians withdraw. The Nadesico may have won this battle, but Erina reminds Yurika that this time it was just blind luck, and it won’t be too long before she really has to dirty her hands to come through a skirmish intact.

But for all the new threads that have been started with recent events, there are those that must come to a close. Upset over Akito’s actions, Megumi admits that it was his very passion and commitment that made her love him in the first place, but now she wishes that they had never even met. Unable to say anything that can put this right, Akito can only watch as Megumi leaves, and even worse, notice that Jun, Seiya, Goat and Akatsuki were eavesdropping. And as the Nadesico heads for a new colony to drop off all the evacuees still on board, it is Ruri who succinctly sums up recent events by claming that “we’re all idiots”.