20. Run Silent, Run Deep

As Earth engages the Jovians over the Indian Ocean, the Nadesico crew sit back and watch- they have been assigned to rear guard duty 100 km behind the front lines. Much to Erina’s disgust, the crew don’t seem too bothered about not being at the centre of the action; naturally, however, even as Erina starts fantasising at being at the forefront of events, things start to get more interesting- and not in a good way. As enemy ship starts heading straight for the Nadesico, Ruri picks up increased numbers of boson particles in the hangar bay and Y-Unit, followed shortly by explosions in both locations.

Under normal circumstances these blasts would have destroyed the ship, but fortunately for the crew, they have Uribatake onboard. His innovative distortion blocks contained the damage, thus saving the Nadesico.

The enemy ship is still closing in, however, and to everyone’s surprise, Yurika decides that they must make a run for it. On her orders, the Nadesico begins an upward climb into space- and just in time, as a third warhead suddenly materialises and detonates in the space the ship just vacated.

As expected, it is Inez who has worked out an explanation- and she even has refreshments to accompany it. The explosives that damaged the Nadesico are identical to existing Jovian warheads; it seems that they have adapted their boson jump technology to allow them to teleport warheads right into the Nadesico. The distortion field is powerless against this new weapon, which Yurika proposes they name the boson cannon.

The Jovians already have a name for their weapon- the leap cannon- and the first officer of the ship armed with the cannon is delighted at the way the Nadesico ran from them. The ship’s captain warns him to be less overconfident; running away was the only logical thing for the Nadesico to do.

According to Inez, the one weakness of the boson cannon is its limited range, which is approximately equal to their sensor range. This doesn’t seem like a lot to go on when planning a counterattack, however, and the crew soon becomes divided amongst those who believe there must be a way to fight back, and those who have already discounted the situation as hopeless.

Whilst the crew takes a short break to think about what to do next, Akito sadly comments that Ms Howmei had promised to teach him how to fish whilst they were over the ocean, a promise that now can’t be fulfilled in the near future. Hearing Akito talk about fishing gives Yurika an idea, and she orders the crew to get to work on her latest plan. Under Uribatake’s supervision, the ship’s missiles are set for timed detonation, whilst the Aestivalis’ are reconfigured for zero-gravity, complete with special ‘spears’ that can temporarily neutralise distortion fields. Meanwhile, down in the kitchen the Howmei girls prepare boxed lunches for the pilots- and it looks like Akito, Akatsuki, and even Ryoko have secret admirers from amongst the Howmei Girls.

Finally, everything is in place, and the plan can go ahead. Under Yurika’s orders, the Nadesico shuts down its power systems; now, they are undetectable by the Jovians, but, as Erina is quick to point out, they are also vulnerable. Whatever the captain is planning had better be good.

Deciding to err on the side of caution, the Jovian captain orders his ship to slow down. Meanwhile, the Nadesico crew implement the next phase of Yurika’s plan-their engines may be off, but by using jets of pressurised air, they can move the ship whilst remaining undetected. Unfortunately, however, Yurika’s chances of coming across as a brilliant strategist are spoiled a little by the fact that she forgot to strap herself in before the gravity went off, and is instead floating all over the bridge.

As per the next part of the plan, the five Aestivalis pilots head into space via a manual launch, and deploy their solar sails, waiting in formation for their part of the ‘fishing’.

The Jovian ship fires its gravity blast cannon at the last recorded position of the Nadesico, only to miss thanks to the Nadesico’s air jet manoeuvring. Now the Nadesico is in position to release all their missiles in the direction of the Jovian ship, before returning to their original course.

As the Jovians come into contact with the missiles, the captain realises that they have stumbled onto a trap; if they enter the missile field, then the Nadesico will detonate the missiles and destroy them as well. With that in mind, the Jovians move away from the missiles, causing Prospector, Goat and Erina to think that their trap has failed. As they are about to see, however, the missiles were never the real trap.

Avoiding the missile field has led the Jovians into the range of the Aestivalis’, and right on cue, Akito and the others drop their solar sails and assume attack formation. At Yurika’s command, the Nadesico powers up, initialising the energy feed to the Aestivalis units.

Charging through the enemy interceptors, the five Aestivalis’ activate their spears and begin punching through the Jovians’ distortion field. As the field goes down, the Jovians prepare to respond by firing the boson cannon. Detecting the increased boson reactions from the cannon, Akito homes in and blows up the cannon before it can fire.

The battle isn’t quite over yet, however, as the ship’s first officer boson jumps onto the battlefield in a giant Dinjun robot. The robot is much larger than an Aestivalis, but it has one major weak point- its backside. Exploiting this, Akatsuki attacks from behind with his spear, damaging the Dinjun. As the Dinjun explodes, the pilot boson jumps away to prevent the main ship from being caught in the blast. Ejecting from the exploding Dinjun in a lifepod, the pilot requests a pickup, and the Jovian ship withdraws to collect their first officer.

Whilst the Nadesico picks up the Aestivalis pilots, the Jovian ship finally leaves, but not before sending a message to the Nadesico. The enemy captain expresses his admiration for the bold and courageous leader of the Nadesico’s crew- what a dashing man of action he must be. Hearing this, Yurika can’t quite take the message in the spirit it was intended- she is no man of action, she is a cute and adorable young woman.

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