24. Ubiquitous Righteousness

As the Nadesico heads towards Jovian space, Yurika cannot help but have doubts over their mission. Retaking the ship was the right thing to do, but even so, is there any way to get both Earthlings and Jovians to agree to end the fighting?

Minato has faith that they will succeed, and she has faith in Tsukumo, who even now is preparing to visit the Nadesico as a peace ambassador. Genichiro isn’t happy to see his friend go, especially not when Tsukumo is taking an engagement ring to give to Minato. How could Tsukumo have forsaken the ‘perfect’ Ms Nanako from Gekigangar in favour of marrying an Earth woman?

Tsukumo is adamant however, and use his giant robot to boson jump to the Nadesico. Welcomed on board, Tsukumo is delighted to see Minato and Yukina again, and even has a friendly handshake for Akito. Last time they met was during a battle on the Moon, and back then Akito swore to kill Tsukumo. Now, however, both men are willing to leave the past behind and become friends; in fact, Tsukumo has even brought a present for Akito- the complete series of Gekigangar in octophonic sound.

As Tsukumo is a VIP, it is considered only polite that the whole crew watch his gift, although Ruri manages to avoid it by remaining on the bridge. Despite the fact that many of the crewmembers are sceptical about a century-old giant robot show, they duly sit through it- only to find themselves unexpectedly moved. Yurika especially is taken with the show- anyone who understands and appreciates the ideals of honour, truth and justice embodied by Gekigangar will surely have no problem with accepting peace.

In an attempt to further immerse herself in the world of Gekigangar, Yurika has the crew organise and participate in a ship-wide Geki-Fest, with all the staples of cosplay, merchandise trading and a marathon screening of the entire series. As the marathon begins, Akito admits to Yurika that he hasn’t actually seen the final episode of Gekigangar- he always thought that watching it might change his feelings about the show. This time, though, he won’t stop at Episode 38- he is finally ready to watch the series right through to the end. And when the finale is over, it will be time to make peace with the Jovians.

The marathon takes a break for the evening, and everyone clears out of the cafeteria- all that is, except for Akito and Yurika, who are searching for the arm of Akito’s Gekigangar model. As they crawl around under the tables, Tsukumo and Minato enter, looking for somewhere they can be alone. As a member of the Male Forces, Tsukumo hasn’t been around women much, and having Minato hug him is an unfamiliar, if not unpleasant experience. Too embarrassed to reveal their presence, Yurika and Akito can only watch as Minato teaches Tsukumo how to kiss. Fortunately, they get a chance to sneak out when Tsukumo enjoys it so much that he gives Minato a long kiss back.

As they reach Yurika’s quarters, Akito says goodbye to the captain, but Yurika calls him back. If he is ready to watch the last episode of Gekigangar, then maybe he is also ready to make a decision about their relationship as well. Waiting for his answer, Yurika puckers her lips, and after a moment of uncertainty, Akito seems about to kiss her- at least until Yukina interrupts.

Yukina is looking for Tsukumo, and after Yurika lets slip that he is in the cafeteria, she is ready to go down there straightaway. Akito and Yurika try to delay her, and fortunately, just as things are getting awkward, Tsukumo shows up, smiling broadly. It looks like at least one Earth-Jovian relationship is going very well already.

On board the Jovian flagship, Fleet Admiral Kusukabe has good news- they have finally discovered the location of a ‘lost city’ that promises to replenish their dwindling supply of ancient technology. With their war machine on the verge of being resupplied, peace is no longer a priority for the Jovians; with that in mind, the admiral resolves to handle ‘negotiations’ himself- and he has a special task for Genichiro to carry out.

Back on the Nadesico, it is almost the last day of Geki Fest. Tsukumo wishes that it could continue for longer, but Akito reminds him that the most important part is still to come- the peace talks. Tsukumo already has dreams for his life after the war- he wants to marry the woman he loves and start raising a family. Akito wonders what his own hope are; for with the imminent screening of the final episode of Gekigangar, Yurika will be expecting him to make a decision.

The crew settle down to watch the final episode of Gekigangar, but as luck would have it, even as the title card flashes up, Ruri interrupts the show- a Jovian fleet is approaching. It is Kusukabe, and he has been authorised to start the peace negotiations as soon as possible. He will meet with the Nadesico representatives in one hour.

Escorted by Tsukumo and the Aestivalis pilots, Goat, Yurika and Minato take a shuttle over to the Jovian flagship. On board, Kusukabe hands over a document containing non-negotiable terms- not for peace, but for Earth’s disarmament and surrender.

None of the Nadesico representatives are happy about the documents, but it is Tsukumo who is the most vocal. He wants his fellow Jovians to understand that the Earth people are just like them- they share the same love of Gekigangar and its ideals. Hiding behind a screen, Genichiro hears his friend’s words, and knows that is time to carry out his assignment- as ordered, he shoots Tsukumo.

As guards rush in to surround the Nadesico crew, Kusukabe explains that the Jovians have their own interpretation of Gekigangar. Earthlings can never be allies to share the true “righteous path” of the heroes- they are an evil empire of oppressors who must be destroyed.

As Tsukumo bleeds to death, Goat realises that they need to get out quickly, and kicking out, he manages to knock a gun out of the hands of one of the Jovian guards. Catching it, Akito begins firing to cover their escape. Out in space, the Jovian ships also open fire; despite being outnumbered, the Nadesico cannot fall back, not until the captain returns.

Leaving the Jovian ship, Yurika and the others head back to the Nadesico in the shuttle, whilst the four Aestivalis pilots cover them. Unfortunately, the pilots soon run out of ammunition, and only the timely arrival of Akatsuki and Erina on Nergal’s new warship saves the day. As they launch an attack with their gravity blast cannon, the shuttle finally makes it back to the Nadesico.

The peace talks have failed, and now all the Nadesico can do is defend itself by firing the destructive and deadly P.T. cannon. Meanwhile, Tsukumo is rushed to the infirmary, but there is nothing that can be done- he is dying. After talking to Yukina, Tsukumo finally hands over the engagement ring he brought for Minato, and, with tears in her eyes, she accepts his proposal. But the engagement is all too short-lived, for, after a final few words to Akito, Tsukumo breathes his last.

For Kusukabe, Tsukumo’s death is nothing to mourn over. Not only has a traitor been dealt with, but framing the Earthlings for his assassination will make the rest of the Superior Male forces eager to fight for revenge. Peace must not stand in the way of his ambitions.

Back in his quarters, and upset and angry Akito wants nothing more to do with Gekigangar. Just as he only saw what he wanted to see in the show, so the Jovians twisted the message of Gekigangar to suit their own ends- how can he enjoy something that others can use to justify such horror? And as Akito cries, elsewhere on the ship, Yurika, Minato and Yukina must all deal with their own grief. Will it break them, or give them the strength they will need now more than ever?