The Albion tracks the battleship Birmingham nearby heading for the EFF naval review. Sinapus says the EFF is doing it to show off its military power, but he thinks it won’t impress the Delaz fleet. In space, Kou, Keith and Burning run a battle simulation. Keith’s GM Cannon II loses, and Kou’s GP01Fb manages to get a target lock on Burning’s GM Custom and win. Burning has trouble performing high velocity maneuvers and wonders if he is becoming too old to be a pilot. As they are returning to the ship, Keith freaks out when he detects several large objects. Burning explains they are space colonies being moved from Side 1 to Side 3 as part of the Colony Reclamation Project. Kou returns to the ship, and Nina congratulates him on beating Burning. They flirt briefly, and she teases him about his fear of carrots. In the infirmary, Burning has a physical and is told by the doctor he is fine. Sinapus shows up to get his ration of alcohol and invites Burning to join him. In his room, Kou tries to beat his aversion to carrots when Keith shows up. He spills the carrots all over the floor and makes a fool of himself. Keith gives him Monsha’s pictures of Nina to show Kou that Monsha still has a thing for her. Keith says he should take the lead, and Kou tells Keith he loves Nina. Sinapus and Burning share a drink and talk about the next generation of pilots. Sinapus tells Burning he should take some leave after the mission to see his wife, but Burning says he is fine. At the Garden of Thorns, Gato’s man Karius brings him several Rick Dom II suits and tells him Cima is in the area. However, Gato was not aware that Cima was part of the current operation.
The Lili Marleen meets with General Green Wyatt’s Birmingham. A Columbus class supply ship docks with the Albion and delivers mail and supplies. Maura chases Keith for giving Kou the pictures of Nina. Maura confronts Kou and is about to kick his ass when Nina discovers some books he’s reading (such as On Spacenoid Females and Secrets of a Woman’s Body). Burning shows up and slaps Kou and Keith for not being at alert stations. Just then, a battle alert is sounded, and Nina finds a letter for Burning. Cima’s ship heads towards the Birmingham for a rendezvous, and Wyatt is angry when the Albion sends its mobile suits. He fires at Cima’s ships for show while the Gelgoog Marines attack. Cima launches in her Gelgoog Marine and figures she will teach Kou another lesson. However, the increased speed of the GP01Fb is too fast for her. Burning is attacked by a Gelgoog Marine and hides in the wreckage of a ship. He destroys the suit and notices that the pilot is handcuffed to a briefcase. He retrieves it just as Cima attacks him. Kou drives her off, but Burning’s GM Custom is damaged. As they head back for the ship, Burning congratulates Kou and Keith for their achievements. He says they have improved to the point where they can stand on their own. He asks them about Monsha’s pictures and tells them not to worry about it. He looks through the briefcase and discovers the complete plans for Operation Stardust. Just as he is about to reveal something, a spark sets off an explosion and destroys his GM Custom in front of Kou and Keith. Back on the Albion, the crew mourns Burning’s death, and Nina gives Sinapus a letter from Burning’s wife, Sylvia. Sinapus uses his authority to give Kou and Bate battlefield promotions.
Well, there’s a lot going on in this episode. An EFF admiral is meeting with Cima. Just what the hell is going on? Apparently it’s something that even Gato doesn’t know about. It seems like Kou made the first right move with Nina, but now he doesn’t know what to do. No one believes he shredded Monsha’s pictures (yeah, I’ll bet he kept one of them). In this episode, I could see Burning’s death coming a mile away. It is a constant in anime that when you’re going to kill a major character, you suddenly shift the focus of that episode to them. However, the manner in which Burning died was quite cliché. Just as he was about to say something important, he died. What’s more surprising is that this episode was written by Ryosuke Takahashi, most famous for VOTOMS and Gasaraki. Despite the clichéd ending, it was still a good episode.