25. Being Myself, Being Yourself

It is twelve hours after Tsukumo’s assassination, and Vice-Admiral Kusakabe has put his very best spin on events. According to him, the Jovians only wanted to extend the olive branch, but the savage Earthlings murdered their brave commander, leaving them no choice but to fight. The audience seems entirely roused and convinced by his words- all except Genichiro, the one other man who knows the full truth about Tsukumo’s death.

Akito, Yurika, Ryoko and Inez have been invited over to the Kakitsubata- Akatsuki and Erina’s new ship. Inez and Erina have planned a new experiment, but with no time for explanations, all Yurika and Akito are told is to focus their thoughts on Mars. As the Kakitsubata releases a cloud of chulip crystals around the ship, Inez urges them to think back. Glowing with blue lines of energy, Inez suddenly boson jumps away, followed shortly by Yurika and Akito.

The trio reappear a few minutes later on the Kakitsubata’s observation deck- and Inez explains that there seems to be a subconscious need for boson jumpers to ‘see’ where they are going; in fact, that is why the three of them ended up on the observation deck when the Nadesico jumped back from. Now, Mars is their intended destination, and Inez once again instructs Yurika and Akito to concentrate on their memories of the Utopia colony.

As Akito finds his mind overtaken by memories of his time on Mars with Ai and Yurika, the Nadesico crew can only watch in amazement as the Kakitsubata disappears- boson jumping courtesy of the cc’s and the three Martians. Whilst the Nadesico sets course for Mars in the more conventional manner, the Kakitsubata emerges from the chulip that dropped onto the Utopia colony- and both ship and crew are intact.

Yurika isn’t happy about the risk Akatsuki took in boson jumping the entire ship, but Akatsuki is dismissive of her concerns. The crew knew the dangers, and the success of the jump has been a major stride forward. Inez confirms that they have unlocked the secret to boson jumping, but can’t help worrying about the implications. Instantaneous travel would seem to break all the accepted laws of physics, and Inez has yet to come up with a satisfactory explanation. Akatsuki isn’t too worried, however- they are bound to find out all the answers once they reach the ruins.

Back on the Nadesico, Prospector is busy explaining about these ruins to the crew. Nergal accidentally discovered them whilst drilling in Mars’ polar ice cap. The ruins consist of a vast underground complex made of the same material as the cc’s, parts of which are still active. Everything that Nergal knows about the advanced ancient technology comes from researching the ruins, and during their time there they also discovered that the purpose of the ruins seems to be to control boson jumping itself.

On the Kakitsubata, Erina is explaining the exact same thing to Ryoko and Akito, and notes that whoever controls the ruins can effectively dictate the outcome of not only the war, but also the future of mankind- no wonder everyone wants it. Akatsuki plans to be the one to come out on top, however, which is why he has convinced Yurika that their two ships should secure the ruins together in a co-operative effort, following the plan that he has devised. It may seem like a moral compromise on Yurika’s part, but she has no intention of being anything other than herself- and that may just have consequences that Akatsuki has yet to appreciate.

Back on the Nadesico, Yurika informs the crew that they will be working with the Kakitsubata, and despite their reluctance, everyone has to agree that they have no choice. With both the UEAF and Jovian forces only 12 hours away, it won’t be long before Mars becomes a battleground.

The Nadesico prepares for the upcoming conflict, but not everyone wants to be part of the battle. Still depressed over Tsukumo’s death, Minato remains in her quarters, whilst Akito has no intention of fighting just for the sake of Akatsuki and Nergal. Ryoko reminds him that, far from selling out, Yurika promised to remain herself- Akito should have faith that his captain will do the right thing.

As the Nadesico takes out the first wave of Jovian attackers with its P.T. cannon, everything seems to be going Akatsuki’s way. After reminding Yurika that he wants to be the first one to set foot in the ruins, the Kakitsubata dives into the Jovian forces, cutting a swathe through them with its gravity blast cannon. In response, the Nadesico prepares to fire the P.T. cannon again- not at the Jovians, but at the ruins.

To Yurika, destroying the ruins is a logical step- without them, there will be no reason to carry on fighting. To Akatsuki’s distress, the P.T. cannon is fired, but instead of vaporising the ruins, it is harmlessly absorbed by an energy barrier. A second shot has no more effect than the first, and with insufficient energy remaining, a third blast won’t be possible for another twenty minutes.

Akatsuki isn’t about to give the Nadesico the time they need to fire again. Launching his Aestivalis, he intends to take a squadron over to the Nadesico, but in response, the Nadesico’s own Aestivalis wing launches, with orders to keep Akatsuki occupied.

Laughing at Yurika’s view that destroying the ruins will end the war, Akatsuki accuses her of being as deluded as “Gekigangar fanboy” Akito. Akito replies that he has no love for Gekigangar anymore, not when the simplicity of the show allows its message to be twisted to suit anyone who watches it. As the two men continue to argue, they get drawn into a duel, and send orders to their colleagues to step back and let them have it out one-on-one.

As the two duel, Akito is knocked down into the shaft leading to the ruins, with Akatsuki chasing after him. Unfortunately, Ryoko and the others are unable to help out- instead of standing back, Akatsuki’s wingmen have decided to fight them instead.

Akito isn’t doing too well in the duel- not only does Akatsuki have a missile lock on him, but his “spear” is about to punch through Akito’s defences. Fortunately, help arrives from an unexpected source- Inez sends a transmission telling him to boson jump out of trouble. Listening to her, Akito successfully pulls off a boson jump, without the aid of a chulip crystal.

Ruri realises that the ruins acted as a cc for Akito’s boson jump, and Inez agrees. Somehow, Inez has gone down to the ruins, and now she transmits her explanation in the form of the final instalment of “Get to Know the Nadesico”. Inez believes that boson jumping is not a form on instantaneous space travel, but actually a form of time travel mediated by a special particle (which she has named the retrospect) that can travel backwards in time. The ruins on Mars act as a central computer that regulates the movements in time and space resulting from a boson jump. One of the reasons that Inez came down to the ruins was to test her hypothesis, but it wasn’t the only reason. Talking to Akito, she tells him that there is someone down here for him to meet.

Slowly, Inez begins to describe the person in question, and as she does so, someone begins to materialise next to her in the ruins. Inez comforts the new arrival, a scared and upset little girl whom Akito should immediately recognise as none other than his Martian friend Ai…