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Episode 4: Valley of Death

 

Review by Chris Guanche

February 24, 2008

 

Summary

 

The Gilgamesh convoy slow passes through the Manid Gorge. Up above, the members of the Berkoff squad take a break. Chirico sees Zaki staring at him, and Berkoff gets a a call from the major. Berkoff reports that they destroyed 40 Chabbys and have disarmed the base. In the lowest part of the base, a damaged Chabby reactivates and gets up. The major asks about the batteries, and Berkoff says they're destroying them just to be safe. Everyone gets into their Scopedogs to destroy the batteries, and Godan knocks Kochak aside. He says he's taking the Scopedog since his own was trashed. Having tripped on a rifle, Kochak hears a noise from inside the base and presses his ear to the floor. Godan sees the rifle vibrating and punches Kochak for not finishing off the enemy. Chirico and Zaki head into the base and ride down the elevator to find the Chabby. Berkoff tells Chirico that numbers mean nothing because the Balarant will attempt a cave in. Berkoff calls Zaki, but Zaki hyperventilates and thinks about Chirico. Chirico leads the way out of the elevator, and Zaki continues to panic. Chirico heads around a corner to check the situation, and Zaki opens fire on him. Chirico pulls away, but Zaki continues to shoot at him. Chirico easily dodges and slams into Zaki, knocking him down. He points his gun at Zaki's cockpit and says he doesn't know why Zaki wants to kill him so badly. Zaki pleads for his life and says he doesn't know why, but his head feels strange whenever he's around Chirico. Berkoff and Godan arrive, and a large cannon begins to move in the base's center. Godan spots the Chabby inside the cannon's control room and opens fire, but Berkoff stops him because he could hit the cannon's rounds and cause a cave in. As the cannon lowers out from the base, Zaki jumps onto it and hangs onto the side. Godan wonders what they should do, but Chirico volunteers to go help Zaki. The cannon raises itself into position and begins to point toward one of the gorge's walls. Zaki slowly walks alongside the cannon as a shell begins to load. He places his rifle inside the cannon's gears to jam it. The Chabby pilot continues to move the cannon, and Zaki falls off the side. The gears grind up the rifle, and the shell loading process continues. Chirico swings toward the cannon and opens fire on the control area. The Chabby shoots Chirico's rifle away, so Zaki gets out of his cockpit and tosses a grenade at Chirico. Chirico grabs the grenade and tosses it at the control area, destroying the Chabby. Berkoff orders Zaki to watch the ammunition and Chirico the control center. A new round begins loading, and Chirico finds that the control sequence has been set to auto. The cannon fires a round at the gorge wall, and the major wonders what that noise was.

 

Realizing that a cave in is imminent, the major orders his forces to retreat. Some have moved too far ahead, so he orders them to try and escape the valley. Chirico fires a line to a gorge wall and escapes with Zaki. The cannon fires again, and the surrounding area begins to crumble. The convoy's vanguard attempts to press forward, but many are destroyed by falling debris. Larger portions of the gorge begin to cave in, drowning transport trucks in a cloud of debris. Several Scopedogs and Standing Tortoises attempt to escape on their own, but they're all destroyed by falling debris. More and more debris continues to rain down on the convoy, destroying transport trucks and ATs. On the surface, Godan spots incoming Balarant fighters, which begin to carpet bomb the gorge and speed up the cave in. The base begins to crumble, and Kochak stumbles around on foot until he's picked up. The Berkoff squad manages to speed out of the base before it falls into the valley floor. The major's truck escapes, and he notes that the gorge and their elites are disappearing. Later, the casualties are taken back to the base, and Fuller reports to Yugunt that at least 1,500 are dead or MIA. The major adds that only the forces in the rear escaped unhurt. He blames the Berkoff squad and says they have embarrassed Yugunt. Fuller adds that the Balarant carpet bombing has destroyed the valley. Fuller gets a call that the members of the Berkoff squad have been found alive, and Yugunt and the major are shocked. Fuller asks what they should do, and the major says they should be court-martialed and perhaps executed. Yugunt decides against questioning them right now and says he wants a report by morning. Elsewhere, a hospitalized Pailsen is wheeled out to meet with Wockam. Wockam says he's the main who saved Pailsen from the military court, but Pailsen doesn't seem to remember him. Wockam moves in closer and whispers into Pailsen's ear that he wants to talk about Chirico. Pailsen suddenly remembers and begins to shake nervously. Back on Galeade, Chirico wonders why they weren't questioned after such a major screw up. He figures there must be an observer in the squad and wonders who it is.

 

Commentary

 

The title of this episode is very literal. At the end of the last episode, we saw that Kochak had failed to destroy one of the Chabbys. This has disastrous consequences, as that Chabby is able to activate the base's cannon and initiate a cave in, killing 1,500 Gilgamesh soldiers. That's a disaster by anybody's measure, and it's all Kochak's fault. With this planned ruined, I wonder how the military effort on Galeade will continue now. Zaki makes another attempt to kill Chirico, but he reveals that he doesn't know why he's doing that. From the looks of it, he's been subconsciously conditioned to kill Chirico. My initial guess would be that he's another one of Wockam's "tests" to see how strong Chirico is. Wockam and Pailsen return briefly at the end of the episode, and I wonder what kind of information Wockam is going to try and squeeze out of Pailsen.

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Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3.5 out of 5 stars
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VOTOMS Pailsen Files Episode 4 VOTOMS Pailsen Files Episode 4

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