Roberia’s Braver spots the two buggies and closes in to attack. The two buggies speed up, and Elizabeth tells the students to hold on to something. Roberia opens fire from above and comes close to hitting them. The trucks split up, but one of them drives into the dead end of a canyon. Roberia is about to open fire and is hit from behind by Layzner, allowing the buggies to escape. Eiji immediately comes under attack from Gosterro’s Bullgrenn and flies through the canyon, firing calf missiles at the canyon wall to halt his pursuers. Gosterro switches to infrared sensors to try and pick up the trail. The buggies and Layzner seek refuge inside a large cave that leads to an unmanned American observation base. The students are tasked with searching the base for rations, and David angrily looks up at Layzner. Eiji asks Rei to calculate how much longer before the sandstorm ends. Roberia inquires about Gusten, but Gosterro changes the subject to the sandstorm and says they should get some rest. When Roberia presses the point, Gosterro lies and claims that Eiji killed Gusten. Gosterro notes that they both came from the same training camp, and Roberia adds that they’re from the same town. Gosterro eggs Roberia on and tells him that he should fight to avenge Gusten. The UN staff try to contact the American base, but the jamming is too heavy to get through. They start to wonder if the base was attacked by the Soviets or the aliens. One of the men dismisses the idea of aliens as ridiculous and thinks the SPTs are just some country’s weapons. They ask for Elizabeth’s opinion, and she comments that Eiji doesn’t seem to be crazy. The American base responds, but the signal is almost immediately lost. Arthur divides up rations for everyone, and Roanne suggests giving some to Eiji, but David snatches the rations up and goes off alone.
Eiji asks Rei for an analysis of their probability of survival and then cancels the request. David walks out with the rations and deliberately drops them on the ground when Eiji tries to take them. He rips open a bag of food and tells Eiji to pick it up off the ground if he wants to eat it. David blames Eiji for all the deaths and asks why Eiji won’t fight him. He then charges into Eiji and starts punching and kicking him, but Eiji does nothing in response. Anna pleads with David to stop, and the UN staff have to pull him off of Eiji. David yells that he doesn’t want to be protected by someone like Eiji and runs off. Elizabeth asks Eiji if he’s ok, and he answers that he is. Simone starts picking up the food and brings it over to Eiji. She says that David is going to stay miserable at this rate and that Eiji is too stuck up. After the storm clears, everyone decides to make a run for the American base. Watching from a distance, Gosterro switches the output on his rifle to snipe human targets, and he fires a shot that grazes a woman’s helmet. Rei picks up the heat signature, so Eiji starts searching the area. The buggies leave, and Arthur asks David to lay off Eiji. Gosterro blows out the tire of one of the buggies and snipes a woman named Mei. Gosterro laughs and tells Eiji that he’s going to kill them all one at a time. He then snipes two more people and gets Eiji’s attention while Roberia attacks. Gosterro and Eiji trade shots while the remaining buggy escapes. Gosterro asks Eiji to come at him for real and boasts about having killed his comrades. He then tells Roberia to avenge Gusten by fighting Eiji, so Roberia opens fire. The buggy drives over the hill and spots the intact American base in the distance, which boosts everyone’s hopes. However, the base fires nuclear missiles just before being destroyed by a nuclear missile strike.
Things definitely take a turn for the worse this time out. Eiji has to deal with both Gosterro and Roberia, who are on his tail. We learn that Gusten and Roberia were friends, and Gosterro takes advantage of this to manipulate Roberia into fighting Eiji. I’m guessing that Roberia doesn’t know about Eiji’s no kill record, or else he would be more suspicious of Gosterro’s story. On top of that, Gosterro takes his mission to a new level by narrowing his rifle’s laser beam to snipe human targets. He uses this to gleefully kill several of UN staff like animals, which of course terrorizes everyone else. On top of that, the hope they feel when they find the American base is very short-lived since it gets nuked in front of their eyes. I can’t think of a worse downer in their current situation. If that wasn’t bad enough, David is becoming ever more unhinged with all his misplaced anger against Eiji. It’s a testament to Eiji’s temperament that he took that beating and didn’t retaliate, but he probably really should’ve just to shut David up and put him in his place.