Stage 19: Enter the Hellstar
Review by Peter Laliberte
June 2, 2007
Everyone is shocked at Neviim's appearance and Lune wonders if it's from the Aerogators. Masaki think it's a fortress and everyone is ordered to return to the ships, which Ingram thinks is the best idea. Atad reports the retreat and Levi says the Earthlings are at least that smart. Levi orders Atad to send the Megillot bugs to where Barshem is and start the harvest. Hoards of bugs warp to Japan where Federation fighters and tanks engage them. Thanks to the bugs' barriers, the EFA units easily get shot down. A pilot tries to run away but a bug chases after him. Another pilot ejects from his fighter but a bug approaches him. Izu monitors the situation and reports the Hagane and Hiryu Kai have returned. Laker has the ships split up and help other bases. Hans reports that bases all around the world are under attack as well. He figures it's time he jumped ship. A bug tries to tear open a tank, but Haruma manages to shoot it off. More bugs surround him but the Hagane arrives. Rai and Aya shoot more bugs over while Ryusei tells Haruma to retreat. Haruma recognises his voice and says he didn't expect to be saved by him again. Ryusei says they'll handle it but Haruma replies that his team is still out there. Ryusei says he'll help them and Aya gives him the ok. Rai and Aya try to shoot down some bugs, but are surprised by their barriers. Ryusei fires at a bug with his boosted rifle, but the barrier blocks it. He charges forward and manages to destroy it with his T-Link Knuckle. He sees another bug rip open a tank and beam up the pilot. Ryusei drives it away before it can take the other pilot and Ingram tells him not to chase it. The bugs retreat and Ryusei wonders what exactly they were doing.
Hans contacts Adler and says the Aerogators have finally begun their attack. Adler says the Earth Cradle is safe. Hans requests a rendezvous and Adler tells him not to show up empty handed. Adler tells him to bring ‘her' since she's excellent sample material. Shine worries about the others and says that their true enemy has begun to act. Shine senses something as Hans enters the room. The Hagane returns to Izu base while Hans leaves in a car. Ingram tells Kusuha she'll become a pilot because she has an aptitude for it. He says he has a special training program and a SRX Project mech for her. She says she's just a nurse but he reminds her of the situation. With the arrival of the Aerogators' ‘White Star' he needs all the pilots he can get. Ingram brings up data for the Grungust Type 2 and says defeating the Aerogators will lead to saving more lives. Kusuha leaves and Aya enters. Ingram tells her he's having the R-2 finished while the R-3 will have to be delayed. Aya sees the Grungust's data and asks if Kusuha will pilot it. Ingram says he gave her time to think but already knows her answer. Aya says it's best she experience combat first but Ingram says Kusuha, Bullet and Ryoto have the same aptitude. He adds that they don't need to know the particulars of the T-Link System and apologises for giving Aya such a role. He says he needs her as well and asks her to trust him for a little longer. In the cafeteria, Ryusei tells the others what he saw and Lune asks if the bugs have abducted people before. Radha joins them and says there haven't been any previous cases. She adds that all of those taken have been pilots. Giado runs in and tells everyone that Shine is missing. They see Joyce in the medical room and he tells them that Hans took her. Sakae enters and says they've lost Hans and Latooni figures he'll meet with the DC remnants. Rai wonders if Hans had ties to the DC for a while and Sakae says they're investigating. At the Earth Cradle, Shine undergoes brainwashing while Adler, Tenzan, Hans and Egret Feff watch on. Alder says she's a good sample and Hans asks him how long he's known of her. Adler explains that her father had ties with the EOTI and that Shine's power surpasses her father's. Alder says they must take Geneva and they'll have to rely on the mass produced Valsion and the GEIM System. He adds they'll exploit the fact that the EFA is busy fighting the Aerogators. Hans suggests they stay in the Earth Crade but Tenzan says he's not going into cryo-sleep. Adler says it's a gamble. In the hangar, Tempest looks at the Valsion Custom.
The plot gets back on track with the Aerogators beginning their invasion. Their Megillots are a lot stronger now and even PTs have trouble taking them down. They also abduct pilots for some unknown reason. I doubt it's just for some anal probing. It was a little surprising to see Haruma again and it makes you realize how far along Ryusei has come since their first encounter. Ingram finally makes his move and makes Kusuha a pilot. That was probably his intent from the very beginning. It's also become blatantly obvious that Aya has feelings for Ingram. Despite getting their asses kicked by aliens, leave it to humanity to still fight amongst themselves. Hans finally shows his treachery and kidnaps Shine. Alder doesn't waste any time in brainwashing her and is ready to attack Federation HQ with mass produced Valsions. It's finally time for DC's last stand.