In 2048, Ranshe argues with Grace about the Vajra with her children Ranka and Brera watching. Ranshe disagrees with sacrificing the Vajra, and Grace says that combining her implant network theory with the Vajra’s zero time fold communication will change the world. Ranshe begins coughing, and Grace asks her why she’s hiding her condition. When Ranka looks at Brera, she wakes up from her memory just as the Lucifer de-folds next to the Vajra homeworld. At a government meeting, Leon and other officials discuss the fleet’s current situation. Having purged two more damaged Islands, the fleet environmental balance is at a critical level. One official suggests requesting help from NUNS and points out that the rumors about SMS’ desertion are spreading. Leon says that soon their journey will end because they’re aiming for a higher goal. Flying patrol in his Super Nightmare Plus, Alto looks at a purged Island and thinks about how fragile they are. A pilot named Maruyama asks Alto if it’s true that he’s dating Sheryl and stayed behind because of her, but Alto refuses to answer. He then brings up the Valkyrie pilot’s curse, saying that whoever teases someone about a woman during a mission will suddenly get shot down. Maruyama then freaks out when she sees Sheryl standing at an observation port and waving at Alto. On Island 1, the government advises citizens to carry oxygen masks with them due to declining oxygen pressure. Later, Alto cooks Sheryl and tells her it was a pain to hide being with her from everyone. When they start eating dinner, Sheryl sucks down the alcohol and compliments Alto on the food. She lies down on the couch after dinner and signals for Alto to carry her to bed. As he carries her, she asks him to stay with her forever, and he says he will. Elsewhere, Ranka thanks Brera for coming with him. He tells her that his orders are absolute since he has no memories, but hearing her songs awakened something in him. She asks him again how he knows “Aimo,” and he tells her it’s the only memory he has. Suddenly, a large Vajra fleet de-folds in front of them. Brera flies in closer, and Ranka starts singing “Aimo” as a large Vajra force approaches them. In deep space, a NUNS pilot in a recon Nightmare Plus picks up Ranka’s fold wave, as does the Macross Quarter 25. Brera plays “Aimo” on his harmonica, and Ranka recalls doing that as a child. He then gives her the harmonica so that her wish will come true. However, red Vajra suddenly attack Ai and the Lucifer. Alto meets with Leon and a holographic image of Birla. Leon tells Alto that they’ve detected Ranka’s fold wave, as well as the Vajra homeworld. Alto asks why he’s being told this, and Birla says he has great faith in him for the upcoming battle. Alto then asks of the purpose of the battle is to obtain fold quartz, and Leon answers they must survive by eliminating the Vajra. He adds that the Vajra plan to destroy humanity by using Ranka.
Brera dodges the Vajra and says they can’t get along, but Ranka doesn’t think that’s true. Leon tells Alto since humans think with their brains, if another life form does the same, they can understand each other. However, the Vajra have no brains and instead use a system of intestinal bacteria to emit fold waves and transmit information. That network spreads across the entire swarm, making them a race with no individuality that acts as one. Birla describes them as a networked life form existing on fold waves, and Alto points out that they understand Ranka’s songs. Leon asks Alto if he’s ever wondered why that is and says that the bacterium won’t infect a human’s intestines, but it will invade the brain and kill the host. As an exception, Ranka must’ve been infected in the womb, and Leon believes she’s chosen to coexist with them. Brera tells Ranka he’ll protect her at the cost of his own life, and she tells him she wants to stop the fighting. Ranka then exits the cockpit to speak to Ai, but it suddenly grabs her with its tail and flies off. Several Heavy Soldiers grapple onto the Lucifer, and Brera tries to chase Ai, which is riding on a Mobile Soldier. The attacking Heavy Soldiers are destroyed by Grace’s Lucifer, and she tells Brera that turning off the tracer won’t cut off their connection. She asks him if the flight with his sister was fun, and he’s shocked to learn Ranka is his sister. She then says that time is over and activates force mode to take control of Brera. At the hospital on Island 1, Luca explains to Sheryl that her medicine slows down the infection’s progress, and she says her strength has increased since she stopped taking them. She says that if they’re going to use her as a tool, it’s better for them to remain heartless to the end. Waiting outside, Alto spots Ranzo and Yasaburo. Alto comments about how small and frail Ranzo looks, and Yasaburo asks him one last time to come back home. Alto says he can’t because he’s a military pilot, and Yasaburo asks him if fighting and killing is what he wants. He says that Alto is fighting based on current events and asks if he would’ve become a pilot whether or not there was an enemy. Later, Alto sits in Nanase’s room and thinks about what Yasaburo told him about knowing what it is he desires. Ranka is held on the surface of the Vajra homeworld and recalls singing with her family while the Vajra fly overhead. She also recalls the crash landing of the Global, as well as Brera shoving her into an escape pod. Grace is ecstatic because she can hear the “little queen” and believes the door is opening to a new reality. Outside the hospital, Klan asks Alto what he’s going to do. He asks her why she joined SMS, and she answers that being in the military is her clan’s tradition. He thought it’d be the same for him as an actor, but he left home and eventually met Ranka, which led him to join SMS so he could protect her. As they talk, Sheryl overhears without them noticing. Alto says that if Ranka becomes a tool of the Vajra, he’ll kill her. Klan asks if that’s his love, and Sheryl cries and says it’s just as she thought. Leon gets the scout report on the Vajra homeworld and announces that the fleet will perform an emergency 30 light year fold to the Vajra homeworld. Sheryl tosses a paper plane into the air, but it quickly falls to the ground.
We’re only two episodes away from the end now, and it looks like this is the lull before everything hits the fan. Although it’s very brief, the images of ruined buildings and civilians wearing oxygen masks really establishes how desperate the situation is. Alto and Sheryl seem to have a nice domestic existence, but they both know it’s not going to last. Speaking of their supposed relationship, Alto has a great line with the Valkyrie pilot’s curse, which is an obvious reference to DYRL? when Kakizaki was shot down for teasing Hikaru about women. The final endgame is being set up here – the Macross Quarter and the Macross Frontier are on their way to the Vajra homeworld, and I suspect the Macross Galaxy will show up too to cause trouble for everyone. After many episodes of blatant hints, they finally came out and stated directly that Brera is Ranka’s brother. Since she now remembers him shoving her into an escape pod, perhaps he was seriously wounded and found by Grace, who would’ve turned him into her cyborg tool. When Sheryl overhears the discussion between Alto and Klan, she gets the impression that Alto’s heart is with Ranka, but I don’t see it. Unless Alto has been hiding these feelings the whole series (and he’s too dense for that), I’ve never seen him show any interest in Ranka aside from protecting her in a big brother way. Although the last two episodes will probably feature lots of fighting, it’ll still be interesting to see how the love triangle resolves.