Basara is woken up by a large crashing sound and sees his Excalibur being loaded onto a transport trailer. He runs outside to ask what’s going on, and Ray explains that he’s just taking it in for regular maintenance. Basara says he doesn’t like the idea of other people poking around inside it, but Ray assures him it’ll be ok because the mechanics are old friends and drives off. Mylene thinks about that and asks what Ray used to do, but Basara says he doesn’t know either and makes it a point not to snoop into people’s pasts. After he returns to sleep, Akiko pulls up and tells Mylene she was looking for Ray to discuss the upcoming concert. Mylene asks Akiko what Ray used to do, and Akiko explains that he was an elite military pilot. At a Valkyrie hangar, mechanics work on the Excalibur, and one of the engineers comments that the VF-19 is a masterpiece. Outside, Gamlin tries to get in and have a look at the Excalibur, but a guard blocks him because he’s not authorized. Ray meets with Max and another officer, who says that Operation M is being delayed. He says they’ll have to reschedule if things don’t go according to the tests, and Ray asks for more time. Max comments that Basara is a good pilot, but nowhere near as good as he was at that age. At the concert hall, a surprised Basara notes that the audience today looks different, and Mylene explains that Akiko invited magazine editors and video producers. The band opens with “Planet Dance” and Akiko notices that both the industry pros and the regular fans outside the gate are into the song. Above the stage, a Varauta vampire scans Mylene and notes that her Spiritia level is rising. The vampire then jumps onto the stage in front of Mylene, causing the crowd to panic and run away. Basara throws his guitar at the vampire, and more drop down and chase them into another room. Basara locks the vampires out of the room, but more drop down through the air ducts. A guard tries to line up a shot, but because Ray and Akiko are in the way, he tosses Ray a pistol. Ray picks up the pistol and has a quick flashback that causes him to hesitate, and the vampire tosses him onto the jagged metal edge of an air duct, wounding him. The guard opens fire, forcing the vampires to escape. Ray is rushed to the hospital, but the doctor says it’s not a problem since there was no internal damage. Akiko apologizes because Ray was trying to protect her, but he says it was just an accident. Mylene asks why he didn’t shoot, and he says he doesn’t know how to use a gun. Akiko says they need to fill out paperwork and leaves with Mylene and Veffidas. A battle alert is sounded, and Basara asks Ray where his Excalibur is.
Battle 7‘s Thunderbolt squads are launched, followed by Diamond Force’s Nightmares. Basara asks again where the Excalibur is, and Ray tells him to wait in the Acshio. Akiko and the others return to Ray’s room and find it empty. At a phone booth, Ray calls the Valkyrie hangar and tells them where to deliver the Excalibur. Despite his injuries, he gets into the van and drives off. Mylene wants to look for Ray, but Akiko says there’s no point since he left because he wanted to. Akiko brings up Mylene’s earlier question and says that Ray refuses to fight. She explains that he was a U.N. Spacy pilot before the Macross 7 launched, and together with Kinryu and a man named Stephan, they were the Pink Pecker squadron. In particular, Ray was very close to Stephan. One day, the squad was attacked by rogue Zentradi Queadluun-Raus. Ray rushed in to attack despite Stephan’s advice, and Stephan was killed by the Zentradi while trying to stop Ray. Afterward, Ray felt responsible for Stephan’s death and retired from U.N. Spacy. Mylene asks Akiko if that’s when she became friends with Ray, and Akiko explains that Stephan was her boyfriend. She says that Ray cheered her up when she was depressed, but it has tough for him too. After several years, Akiko thinks that Ray is finally happy again because he’s found a new dream: working with Basara. Ray cuts through traffic and walks through a forest to a tree equipped with a military phone. After delivering a coded message, he calls Basara to come over. In space, Gamlin fights an Elgersoln and asks Kinryu where Basara is, but Kinryu replies that the karaoke ninja probably quit. Basara wants to help Ray back to the van, but Ray tells him to launch quickly in the Excalibur because they’re secretly using a military hatch. Gamlin engages Gigile, but he’s interrupted when Basara arrives and fires speaker pods into the Elgersolns to broadcast “Charging Love Heart.” The other Elgersolns attack, but Gigile tells them to back off because Basara is his target. The Varauta retreat, and Basara thinks that he sang better than usual today. Ray passes out in the van and is rushed back to the hospital. Gamlin tries to ask questions at the hangar again, but the guard refuses to answer. Later, Ray is taken back to the Acshio to recover, and Akiko tells the band that she has a rough cut of their promo video. Mylene tells Ray that another part of his dream is being fulfilled.
Things are certainly going better for the band, as they now have some exposure with the media. This episode reveals Ray’s connections with the military and explores a bit of his past. Operation M is mentioned, and that clearly has to do with why they even let a civilian like Basara have a state-of-the-art VF-19. Ray is injured during a vampire attack, and this prompts some exposition from Akiko to explain his past to Mylene. It’s interesting that Ray and Kinryu were in the same squad (although who picked the name Pink Pecker?), and it explains Ray’s connection to Akiko via her dead boyfriend. Despite his injuries, Ray really goes the distance to help Basara sing in battle. We also see that Gamlin is still preoccupied with finding out more about Basara, but his attempts are blocked this time.
Original Review: May 12, 2000