The students are cramped in the transport plane. Kyoko is worried about Chidori and thinks that Shinji is crying about Sousuke, but he’s just happy he saw an M9 in combat. The transport helicopter pilot informs Mao that the operation is over and that enemy reinforcements are approaching. Mao protests that they haven’t heard from Weber or Sousuke and Chidori yet. Another helicopter reports that they’ve found an M9 wreckage near the river but can’t confirm the pilot’s safety due to heavy smoke. Mao asks for a minute to look for the missing people but Kalinin radios in and prohibits her. He orders the other helicopter to destroy the M9 wreckage over Mao’s protests, and orders her to dock with the transport, to which she grudgingly obliges. Near the destroyed wreckage, Gaulon is standing outside his unscathed but inoperable Codarl. He complains that it became useless after just one use. He gets called on the radio and informed that the guards saw two people near the west fence. In the forest, Sousuke is leaning on Chidori when it starts to rain. They decide to rest under a tree and Sousuke asks Chidori to hand him a metal case from the jacket pocket. As she does, a photo falls out and she picks it up, asking who the people in it are. Sousuke replies that they were his comrades. He pulls out the piece of shrapnel and pours disinfectant over the wound. He tells Chidori that they need to move now before the enemy catches up, but she screams at him to stay away. He says that he understands her suspicions, but he can’t think of another way to get her home safely and asks her to trust him. Sousuke senses someone and runs towards him, only to find Weber who shortly collapses. On the Tuatha de Danaan, Mao asks for an hour to go out and search for her men, but Kalinin flatly refuses. She asks why he has to be so cold, and he replies it’s because he needs to be. On the bridge, Tessa says that, while very difficult to do, she would like to rescue Sousuke and the others. Kalinin says that they might have to use the Arbalest arm slave. Sousuke is pushing Weber on a wheel burrow while the latter can’t figure how his M9 got destroyed despite shooting Gaulon at close range. He felt as though he was hit by an invisible hammer. At the outskirts of the forest, Sousuke notes that they have to cross an open field before reaching the ocean, but Chidori notes that they’ll be spotted by the enemy. Sousuke tells her that he’ll stay behind with Weber to distract the enemy while she runs for the coast. He gives her a communicator so she can contact their friends when she gets there. He tells her it’s their job to protect her and that she has the right to survive. Chidori yells that she won’t do it and calls him an idiot. She won’t accept him sacrificing himself to satisfy his egotistical fantasy, and tells him to think of a way to save all of them. He repeats that there’s no other way and she refuses to budge. Sousuke yells that she has to go and points his machine gun at her.
Chidori asks if Sousuke will shoot her if she refuses, and he replies that it’s better to die than suffer through the crippling experiments. Chidori puts her hands on Sousuke’s face and reminds him that she came all the way here because she trusts him. She asks him not to say such depressing things. Sousuke drops his machine gun and embraces her. They stare at each other for a while before Weber coughs to remind them of his presence. Weber laughs and tells Sousuke that he lost. He thinks that Chidori’s idea to start a forest fire for distraction is a good one, especially since the rain stopped. Sousuke insists that it’s pointless, and Chidori suggests that they might be spotted by a friendly plane. Weber remembers that they were shown satellite photos of the base prior to deployment, and both he and Sousuke realize that a spy satellite will be passing over them in forty minutes. Sousuke remarks that the clouds need to clear or it’ll be difficult for the satellite to spot them, but goes to find oil nonetheless. Chidori makes him promise her that he’ll come back safely. Chidori asks Weber if he knows why people are after her, but he says that they were just following orders to protect her and know nothing else. Sousuke starts pouring oil on the grass near an abandoned farm while Weber inquires about what they did to Chidori. She begins to recount the experiment and involuntarily starts spouting random bits of classified information about arm slave technology. She can’t figure out why she knows any of this and starts hallucinating about a hung girl. She freaks out and rips the front of her robe. Weber tries to comfort her and collapses from his wounds again, but not without getting an ample look at her exposed cleavage. As the clouds clear, Sousuke ignites the oil. After the fire clears soldiers begin inspecting the sight. Back at the outskirts Sousuke finds Weber lying face down and asks if anything happened. Chidori simply replies that people like Weber live long. Chidori asks Sousuke what he’ll do if they get rescued; he replies that he’ll move on to a new mission, which means he won’t be coming back to school. Sousuke notices that they’ve been found and pushes Chidori down. They’re surrounded, and Chidori notes that this just like a movie she saw. Sousuke asks what happened to the characters, and she says the ending was ambiguous. She notes that main characters die easily in old movies, and thinks that all movies should have happy endings. Her movement scares off some pigeons and causes the soldiers to open fire on them. Chidori says that this is reality, and Sousuke apologizes for not being able to go back with her. She says she regrets nothing and is glad she met him. As Weber shoots a soldier, Sousuke notices a cruise missile ejecting the Arbalest, which lands nearby. Sousuke runs for it and jumps into the open cockpit. A voice recognition system asks for his name and ID and registers him. A recording from Kalinin starts playing and informs Sousuke about the arms slave and its AI unit Al. One minute past 0430 hours, the Tuatha de Danaan will surface at the coast for a sweep and attempt to escape with them so they must rendezvous with it in time. Al informs Sousuke that enemy arm slaves are approaching. They begin firing, and Sousuke jumps towards them.
Yet another slow episode. Nothing much happens here except some relational development between Sousuke and Chidori, as well as some fan service snuck in for good measure. It seems like they purposely dragged it on so they could neatly finish the Khanka arc in the next episode, which’ll probably be a Sousuke vs Savages battle royale with Gaulon thrown in if he can get his Codarl up and running again. Speaking of which, how did Gaulon manage to destroy Weber’s M9 and escape without a scratch despite being shot at from such a short distance? We’ll see how Arbalest fares against that.