As Grace prepared the Dimension Eater on Gallia 4, she had remote conversation in her head with several other people. They asked her why she was laughing about the impending destruction of her birthplace, and she said it was all finally ending. Another woman said this would be the prelude to the true beginning. Somewhere in the Macross Frontier fleet, Grace’s mind is transferred to her new body. She asks whether they should abandon their initiative, but a man says no. At the SMS hospital, Ranka complains to a staff member about not being able to see anyone since her return, and the staff member tells Ranka that the government requested the quarantine. Ranka is surprised when she sees Alto in the hallway and jumps over to hug him, not realizing that it lifts up her hospital gown. As a result of the damage sustained during battle, resources become scarce on the fleet and the damaged Island 15 is ejected. As they discuss the situation, Howard tells Leon that with the Vajra around, resources are the least of their worries. Grace speaks with her group and discusses the progress of Operation Carnival, which began with the galactic tour of Sheryl, codename Fairy-9. After 18 months of study, the group selected the Macross Frontier to conduct its experiment because it’s a bioplant fleet and cyborgs are rare. In addition, the ship’s destination at the center of the galaxy coincided with their objectives. They discovered that Ranka, codename Q-1, had been on the fleet for 11 years, even though she’d been presumed dead. The group discusses how they were the ones who led the Vajra to the Macross Frontier fleet. With hostilities increasing, Grace calculates their rate of accomplishment as 72 percent . A man states that they underestimated the abilities of SMS, and the prototype YF-24 Evolution was developed by LAI into the Messiah, which was more powerful than they expected. Another woman states that their biggest miscalculation was the way Ranka displayed her abilities. When they sent Brera to investigate a Vajra mothership, he intercepted a fold wave communication that had Ranka mixed in, which they see as a stroke of fate. Grace states that the discovery of Ranka caused them to drastically alter Operation Carnival. Later, Grace visits Sheryl in the hospital and secretly switches out a blood sample that a nurse just took from Sheryl. Sheryl asks about the Macross Galaxy, and Grace says they probably escaped with an emergency fold. She tells Sheryl to cheer up because she’ll get home one day. Sheryl decides that she needs to get back to work, but Grace wants to cancel her jobs until she gets better. At night, Grace destroys the blood sample and says she’s surprised Sheryl came back when she was supposed to die. She tells the others that Sheryl is a failure and will have to be disposed of. She states that their plan will move in a new direction, focusing on Ranka.
Cathy rides with Ozma and talks about Brera and the appearances of the Lucifer. Ozma thinks it’s strange that Alto has been suddenly promoted and has received a direct summons from SMS owner Richard Birla. Cathy wonders if it’s a cover up, but Ozma thinks it’s something bigger. Cathy says her father isn’t involved, but Ozma doesn’t suspect him. She’s done some investigating on her own, and they both agree that Leon is the most suspicious person. Leon looks over Ranka’s file and is surprised that he was right about her. Elsewhere, Alto and Ranka visit Sheryl in the hospital. On TV, Ranka’s live performance on Gallia 4 has become a big hit, and Sheryl walks with Alto and Ranka. Alto thinks Sheryl should rest, but she insists she’s ok. Ranka is surprised when a video of her cover of “What ’bout my star?” plays on TV. Ranka thinks it’s embarrassing, but Sheryl thinks it’s great. Ranka comments that Alto helped her with the paper airplane she spotted, and Sheryl also thanks him for his help. Alto comments that he was also saved when the two of them sang at Sheryl’s last concert. Ranka is surprised that their song reached him, but she says it could’ve just been his imagination. Sheryl suddenly starts singing along with the song and playfully gets near Alto. Ranka starts singing and joins in on the act. On the floor below, patients and visitors are surprised to see Ranka and Sheryl singing. Everything stops when Sheryl suddenly begins coughing and falls to her knees. She tells them she’s ok, and two of Howard’s men come to pick up Ranka. Just then, Alto gets a phone call and heads to Birla’s mansion. He recalls Ozma tells him not to say anything unnecessary to Birla. Grace watches Alto, but he disappears from surveillance as soon as he approaches the door. Ranka meets with Leon and asks him why he’s set up a project team for her, and he explains that her singing may be their trump card against the Vajra. He then introduces Ranka to her manager, Grace and her bodyguard, Brera. A maid brings Alto to Birla, and he’s surprised to find himself in a room with full size Zentradi Birla and his Zentradi-sized model trains. The group wonders what Birla plans to do with a pilot like Alto, and Grace notes that Alto has already had a big influence on the current situation. A woman comments that the actors have been assembled and the stage has been set. In deep space, the Macross Galaxy hides in an asteroid field.
Anyone who’s been coming to this site for a long time knows I’m not a fan of clip shows, which is pretty much what this episode is. However, there are some new scenes, and even during the clips, a lot of information is being revealed. We see that Grace is indeed alive and well, and she can download her mind from body to body. She’s also got a little conspiracy group going, and they talk about the failed Sheryl project, their plans for Ranka and how they led the Vajra to the Macross Frontier fleet. At the same time, both Cathy and Ozma are on the right track about suspecting that Leon is involved in fishy business. That business now involves using Ranka’s singing as a weapon against the Vajra, with Grace in charge as her manager and Brera as a bodyguard. We finally get to see Birla up close, and he’s a rather freaky looking guy who obviously has a thing for model trains. We also get to see that the Macross Galaxy is not damaged at all, and given all that’s going on, I wonder if they staged the attack on their own ships to draw the Macross Frontier fleet further into conflict with the Vajra. About the only odd thing in this episode is the singing duel between Ranka and Sheryl toward the end. It really was pretty useless and dorky, and it comes across as a way to just kill a few minutes.