In an attempt to explain what happened on Mars, Inez Fressange starts broadcasting a show called “Get to Know the Nadesico”, starring Yurika dressed in a rabbit suit and a rather less willing Ruri. Most of the crew are suitably amused, except for Goat. He’s more worried about the damage to the Nadesico- damage so extensive that they can’t even generate enough thrust to leave Mars’ atmosphere.
Yurika insists that she wants to make the video to tell everyone what happened, because she feels responsible for the deaths of the colony survivors. Inez doesn’t really seem to care about that- she was found out in the Martian desert when she was eight years old with no memory of her earlier life. With the topic of conversation rapidly slipping out of his control, Goat makes no further protest as filming continues.
Meanwhile, Akito has problems of his own. Waking up, he discovers that someone has taken his limited edition Gekigangar III model, but when he takes off to find it, he runs straight into Admiral Fukube. Instead of being angry, however, the admiral comes into Akito’s quarters to give him a cup of iced tea- laced with something a little bit stronger.
Unsure of what Fukube wants, Akito feels a little awkward, until he catches sight of his Gekigangar model being used on “Get to Know the Nadesico”. Rushing off to the filming room, he discovers that Inez has lost the arm-piece, and a frantic search ensues. Watching Akito and Yurika crawl around the floor, Ruri and Inez talk about the Nadesico’s phase transition engine. Ruri has just been explaining how it works, but she is curious about who invented it. Inez explains that no one invented the PT engine- the technology was discovered on Mars.
All good things must come to an end, and with Prospector not wanting to spend too much on electricity, the first instalment of “Get to Know the Nadesico” has to come to an end- just as well, really, as no one seemed to understand it anyway.
In the mess hall, Akito hands the rest of the iced tea over to Howmei. Whilst she takes it away, Inez seems surprised to discover that Akito’s surname is Tenkawa. She seems to think it surprising that Akito would want to work on the Nadesico at all. Akito has no idea what she is talking about, but Inez seems unwilling to elaborate. And before Akito can press the matter too much, Yurika calls them both to the bridge.
The crew have discovered something interesting- the wreck of the Crocus, one of the two Earth ships which was sucked into the chulip before the Nadesico left for Mars. The fact that is has shown up on Mars is clear evidence that the chulip functions as some kind of gateway, but the absence of the other ship (the Pansy) indicates that the gateway can go to more than one place.
Prospector, Yurika and Fukube begin debating as to whether to stop and search the Crocus for survivors, but their debate is cut short by the late arrival of Akito. He has only just discovered that Fukube was the one in charge when the Jovians attacked Mars- he was the one who let a chulip fall on the Utopia colony. Worse still, this was common knowledge as far as everyone else was concerned- Prospector deliberately kept the truth from Akito when he joined the crew.
Fuelled by his memories of the attack on Mars, Akito angrily lashes out, attacking Fukube. The crew are forced to restrain him, and it is clear that some kind of punishment will have to be decided upon, but what?
Prospector is less interested in that than in reaching their next destination- a Nergal research facility at Mars’ North Pole. It is likely to contain the replacement PT engine they need to make the journey home. Hearing this, Fukube decides they should send the Aestivalis’ ahead to check it out.
Whilst Ryoko pilots the heavy weapons land frame, Hikaru and Izumi take out their regular Aestivalis frames on the search for the Nergal lab. At first, all they find is snow, but soon Izumi senses that there is something else out there. Her intuition is proved correct when a Jovian “bug” leaps up out of the snow, knocking over Izumi’s Aestivalis, and jumping straight onto Ryoko’s.
Unable to dodge or shoot the bug off at this close range, Ryoko can only watch as the thing points its drill straight at the cockpit. Crying out in terror, Ryoko calls for her fellow pilots, even the absent Akito. Responding to her calls, Izumi and Hikaru push to bug off and begin shooting at it. With the machine now further away, Ryoko is finally able to use her heavy arms to shoot it out of the sky. But the battle isn’t over for her- now she has to fight off Izumi and Hikaru’s teasing about her calling out for Akito.
Thanks to the pilots’ report, the crew now know that the Nergal lab is surrounded by five chulips. Going in would be suicide, but Prospector insists that they retake the lab- it is a requirement of their contracts. No one else is happy about risking their lives so recklessly, so Fukube suggests a different plan; they can take the lab using the Crocus instead- and he will pilot it.
As punishment for his earlier actions, Akito takes Inez and Fukube over to the Crocus in his Aestivalis to make an initial survey. If the ship had made the same journey as the Nadesico, it should only have on Mars for a couple of weeks, but the state of the ship indicates that it has been there for around two months. Given that the Crocus has only been missing for around that time, it seems as if the Chulip must somehow provide almost instantaneous travel between points.
There does seem to be a catch, however; the journey doesn’t seem to have left the ship with any survivors. In fact, the only thing the survey team run into is a Jovian bug.
As the bug drops from the ceiling, Akito pushes Fukube away and tries to shoot at it. Unfortunately, his gun jams, and the bug jumps at Inez, who quickly dodges, leaving it to Fukube to shoot the thing down. Rising, Fukube can’t help wondering why Akito bothered to save him. Still angry, Akito claims that he only acted without thinking.
Finally reaching the bridge, the team begin their survey of the ship’s systems. Fukube claims that the propulsion nozzles are clogged with ice, and orders Akito and Inez outside to clean them. On leaving the ship, however, they realise that the propulsion nozzles are fine- Fukube was only looking for a way to get rid of them so that he could launch the ship by himself.
Activating the Crocus’ weapons, Fukube aims them- but not at the enemy. With his guns pointing at the Nadesico, he insists that the ship changes course and enters the open chulip in front of them. Realising that this will damage the ship, the crew protest, and Akito immediately assumes that the admiral just wants to destroy them to cover his earlier mistakes.
As always, there is little time for debate, as the Jovians arrive, ready to launch another attack. If the Nadesico doesn’t want to fight a two-front war against both the Jovians and the Crocus, then they will have to enter the chulip. Fortunately, unlike the ill-fated crew of the Crocus, the Nadesico has a distortion field to protect them in their journey. Picking up Akito’s Aestivalis, Yurika decides to put her faith in the admiral, and orders the Nadesico to enter the chulip.
Whilst the Nadesico continues its journey into the chulip, the Crocus takes up a position between the Jovians and the chulip entrance. If the ship self destructs, then it will prevent the Jovians from being able to follow the Nadesico. This is what Fukube planned all along- to trade his life in exchange for getting the Nadesico home. And as he blows up the Crocus, cutting off the entrance to the chulip so that the Jovians cannot follow the Nadesico, it looks as if the trade has gone exactly as planned.
Yurika is devastated at the loss of her mentor, but Akito is more scornful. Fukube wasn’t courageous, or honourable, he did what he did because he had run out of options. Trying to convince him that there was more to Fukube than that, Howmei gives Akito a note that he had hidden in the tea carrier- it was the only thing he left behind, and he left it for Akito. Unimpressed, and unable to forgive Fukube for what happened to the Utopia colony, Akito tosses the note aside.
The rest of the crew have mixed feelings about what happened. Was it a noble act, or just a way of evading responsibility? Either way, Fukube’s sacrifice has allowed the Nadesico to leave Mars and hopefully return to Earth, where Nergal’s chairman and secretary have their own plans to set into motion…