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Volume 5

 

Review by Chris Guanche

May 4, 2020

 

Summary

 

Bernadette’s automated mobile armor Elegolela is escorted by multiple Diona mobile suits. The Dionas suddenly come under attack from Tobia’s Crossbone X3 and open fire on him. Tobia tries to deploy his beam shield, but he finds that the Crossbone X3 instead mounts I-field generators. A cockpit display indicates that he can use the I-fields for 105 seconds, followed by 120 seconds of cooldown. Tobia sees that between both arms he has 210 seconds of total invulnerability to enemy beams, plus 15 seconds of complete exposure. Tobia grabs one of the Dionas by the head and calls out for Kincade. Elsewhere, Kincade receives Tobia’s message, but he’s currently engaged with the Death Gale Team. Kincade tells Tobia not to come, and he uses the Crossbone X1 Kai's screw whip to attack Giri’s Quavarze. Kincade explains that Berah set the Mother Vanguard’s self-destruct to go off in five minutes to give the crew time to escape. Kincade dodges Giri’s beam saw and lands on the ship’s hull, where he finds Zabine’s Crossbone X2 Kai waiting for him. Zabine vows that he won’t let Kincade escape, and he ejects both of his beam shield generators. Tobia pulls out his Muramasa blaster and slices into multiple Dionas. One of the Diona pilots thinks that Tobia’s fighting style is haphazard, and Tobia complains about the Muramasa blaster not working like a regular saber. A fake video transmission from Bernadette tells the Diona pilots to fall back so that she can fight the Crossbone X3. The Elegolela fires its mega particle cannon at Tobia, which he blocks with the I-field on his left arm. The left arm reaches its I-field time limit, and Tobia demands to know who the pilot is because he knows it couldn’t be Bernadette. Tobia grapples onto the Elegolela and hears the laugh of Dogatie, who reveals that one of his bio units is controlling the mobile armor. Bernadette asks Dogatie what he’s doing, and he explains that this is a test. He then opens the cockpit module so that Tobia can see Bernadette is held captive. Tobia asks how Dogatie could do this to his own daughter, but Dogatie doesn’t care. Dogatie says it wasn’t uncommon for parents and children to kill each other in the warring states era, and that the true nature of humanity is to fight for power. Dogatie thinks it’s normal to use his wife and daughter as hostages and dispose of them when he tires of them. Tobia’s right arm I-field reaches its limit, and he’s attacked by the Elegolela’s extendable attack unit. The Elegolela grabs the Muramasa blaster and turns off the safety release, which activates 14 beam saber blades on the sword. The Elegolela swings the Muramasa blaster, but Tobia catches the blade with his left hand.

 

Tobia tells Dogatie that he has no intention of fighting in a war, and he pushes forward to turn the Muramasa blaster back on the Elegolela. He then rips open the cockpit hatch to rescue Bernadette, but the Elegolela deploys its extendable attack unit. It then tries to fire its triple mega particle cannon, but Tobia slices the mobile armor apart with the Muramasa blaster. Bernadette breaks out of the cockpit pod and floats over to Tobia. Elsewhere, Kincade engages Zabine in a beam saber duel, and Zabine notes that Kincade is losing. Kincade then rips off the armor covering to show his Core Fighter’s canopy. With only two minutes left until self-destruct, Berah launches in the Crossbone X2’s Core Fighter and thinks about how Kincade (as Seabook) supported her when she escaped from Cosmo Babylonia. Zabine blames Kincade for everything and says that if Berah hadn’t fallen for a mere commoner like him, she wouldn’t have abandoned Cosmo Babylonia. Zabine damages Kincade’s left arm and knocks away his beam saber, and he attacks again with two sabers. Berah flies by in the Core Fighter and attacks Zabine with her beam guns. Berah tells Kincade to use the Core Fighter’s weapons, and Zabine tosses a beam saber at one of her wings. She ejects her weapons, and Kincade tries to grab the beam sabers. Zabine moves in more quickly and stabs Kincade’s cockpit with his beam saber. With half a minute left until self-destruct, the Crossbone X1 Kai drifts away lifelessly toward Earth’s atmosphere. Berah calls out to Kincade, but gets no response. Tobia arrives and grabs Berah’s Core Fighter just before the Mother Vanguard explodes. The EFF commander tells Dogatie that the operation is over and thanks him for the help. As fragments of the Mother Vanguard fall into the atmosphere, Dogatie laughs over his victory. A reentry capsule containing the Crossbone X3 and Berah’s Core Fighter lands on Earth. Tobia steps out onto the ground and is shocked when he runs into a deer.

 

Ten days later, Tobia, Berah and Bernadette are staying in a country cabin with an old lumberjack who uses a junior mobile suit to carry logs. The lumberjack yells at Tobia to finish the laundry or be thrown out. Tobia reflects on how the Mother Vanguard was originally intended to be Cosmo Babylonia’s flagship for its Earth invasion, so it was equipped with multiple reentry capsules. Berah had the idea of having the crew use the capsules to escape and blend in with the Mother Vanguard’s debris as it was pulled into Earth’s atmosphere. Tobia walks in on Bernadette while she’s changing and asks if she’s gotten used to walking on Earth yet, but she responds that it feels like she has lead weights all over her body. Bernadette tells Tobia that she thinks Dogatie might’ve put her on the front line to let her escape, and Tobia responds that he doesn’t know what Dogatie is like, so he’ll go by whatever she believes. Tobia is unable to sleep at night due to the lumberjack’s snoring, so he goes outside and finds Berah by the lake shore. She tells Tobia that there used to be a lake like this on the colony where she lived, and Seabook would often take her out on a rowboat. Tobia asks if that’s Kincade’s real name, and Berah answers that it is. She starts crying and says if she knew what would happen, it might’ve been better to do nothing at all. She mentions that Seabook decided to adopt the name Kincade Nau on the day that she declared she was going to fight the Jupiter Empire. Berah says that despite Kincade being by her side, she wasn’t able to understand his heart from that point on. Tobia asks if they were a couple, and Berah answers that they were, once. Tobia thinks that he understands Kincade and brings up how Berah used to call herself Cecily Fairchild. He believes Seabook thought of that as her real name, and he adopted the role of Kincade Nau to help her act in the role of Berah Ronah. Tobia is sure that Kincade isn’t dead, but Berah accepts that he’s gone. Later, Tobia and the lumberjack watch a news report about the Jovians initiating a nuclear attack on an EFF satellite. An EFF admiral calls Dogatie and asks what’s going on, and Dogatie answers that he’s declaring war on the Earth Federation. The EFF admiral states that Dogatie won’t get away with violating the Antarctic Treaty, but Dogatie laughs that off as something decided by people from the Earth Sphere that he never intended to abide by. Dogatie then states that in 48 hours, he’ll launch a nuclear strike on Earth. Dogatie addresses his people and proclaims that they must exterminate the vermin on Earth with a nuclear strike that will wipe out 60 percent of the surface. Even though they’ll be damaging Earth, he says there’s no other way to get rid of the Earth Federation. Despite that, he believes the undamaged parts will be a treasure for the Jovians to take for themselves. Jovian forces attack the EFF in space. On Earth, Tobia wants to hurry to town to buy parts, but the lumberjack tells him he’ll have to walk 12 kilometers. Tobia treks through the forest and complains that if this were a space colony, he could’ve scaled the entire inner wall by now. Tobia is amazed by the scale of things on Earth and recalls Bernadette telling him that Jovians don’t even regularly experience gravity. Tobia thinks about the deer he ran into, which was a new experience since the only animals in colonies were cats and dogs. He thinks to himself that the people attacking and defending Earth all come from space and don’t understand Earth well. He recalls Sherindon’s philosophy and thinks that humans aren’t evolving into Newtype, but into beings that don’t live on Earth. Tobia buys parts in town and hurries back to the cabin as night falls. He hears a sound and is shocked when he spots the Quavarze cutting through trees with its beam saw.

 

Tobia is taken captive and returned to the lumberjack’s cabin, where Giri holds everyone at gunpoint. A TV news report states that an EFF space port was destroyed by three Jovian suits, and Giri takes the credit for it. He explains that their strategy was to attack hard so that the EFF wouldn’t be able to mount a resistance. Giri is glad they were able to easily find Tobia, and Tobia asks if he’s going to kill everyone. Giri answers that if he wanted to kill everyone he wouldn’t go through the trouble of finding them since there’s only 38 hours until Earth is nuked. Giri says that most Jovians believe they’ll get to have undamaged parts of Earth for themselves, but he happily proclaims that the nuclear attack will destroy everything, which was the plan from the start. Tobia asks if they need to go this far to destroy the Earth Federation, and Giri answers that they intend to turn Earth into a world of death. Tobia asks why they would do this, and Giri explains it makes it easier to rule humanity. Since everything humans need to survive can be produced in space, Earth is unnecessary. Once the Earth’s surface is wiped away, the colonies will mine it for resources, and the population’s birth rate will be regulated by the ruling class to prevent overpopulation. Giri doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with this since it’s the way the Jupiter Sphere survives. Tobia asks Barnes if this is what he desires, but Barnes says nothing. Giri hates the loud, smelly, dirty Earth and shoots out the window, which frightens the lumberjack’s monkey Sebastian, causing it to escape. Giri then plays a holographic message from Karas, who states that the power of youth will be necessary for building the new order, so there’s no need for Tobia to die now. Giri decides to kill Tobia and take Berah and Bernadette back with him. He then grabs Bernadette and says that Dogatie doesn’t care if he takes her for his own. Tobia tells him to stop, and Giri says that Bernadette isn’t his type right now, but in a few years she’ll be more attractive. Despite being tied to a chair, Tobia stands up and rams into Giri. Before Giri can respond, Sebastian smashes through the cabin with the junior mobile suit. In the confusion, Tobia and the others escape by hover car. Tobia reaches the Crossbone X3 and installs the part it needs to function. Giri launches in the Quavarze and smashes the junior mobile suit, but Sebastian escapes safely. Barnes and Rosemarie launch in the Totuga and Abejo, and Tobia has trouble getting the Crossbone X3 to work. As Giri approaches, the lumberjack smacks the console, which causes the suit to activate. Tobia activates the left arm I-field to block Giri’s beam saw while everyone else escapes. Tobia jumps and has trouble adjusting to Earth’s gravity, which results in him crashing into trees. He pulls out two heat daggers as the Death Gale Team charges toward him. Giri laughs and asks Tobia if he thinks he can take all three of them on at once.

 

Barnes attacks with his hammer hand, but Tobia is able to dodge it and notices that the attack is late. Tobia dodges Giri’s beam saw and notices that the timing is delayed. He wonders if he’s getting faster, but then he concludes that the Death Gale Team also isn’t used to fighting on Earth. The gravity, air resistance and obstacles all impact performance, which Tobia thinks he can make use of. Giri transforms to mobile armor mode and fires his large mega particle cannon, which Tobia barely evades. The blast sets the forest ablaze, and Tobia sees that the Death Gale Team is breaking formation on their own due to their hesitation. Tobia fires vulcans at Giri and tosses multiple flaming logs at him. It’s enough to throw Giri off balance, and Tobia grabs the Quavarze by the tail and swings it around multiple times, tossing it into Rosemarie’s Abejo. Tobia stabs the Abejo with his heat daggers and tells Rosemarie to get out before he destroys it, which she does. Barnes charges in backwards with his spiked back and large beam shield, and Tobia falls back to the reentry capsule. Tobia stabs through the capsule into the Totuga, and Barnes finds himself stuck and unable to move. Tobia then stabs the Totuga with a beam saber and punches its head. Tobia asks Barnes if he’s ok, but he’s attacked from behind by the Quavarze’s tail. Giri tells Tobia that he did quite well, but in the end was too weak.

 

Commentary

 

It has been a trend in this series that things go from bad to worse for the Crossbone Vanguard, and that definitely continues in this volume. Although Tobia is able to use the power of the new Crossbone X3 to rescue Bernadette, he's not able to help Kincade, who is defeated by Zabine and presumed dead as his suit drifted toward Earth's atmosphere. Additionally, the EFF believes that the Crossbone Vanguard are criminals, the Mother Vanguard has been destroyed and the crew is scattered across Earth. Everything has gone according to Dogatie's plan, so he's now able to drop the mask and reveal his true face to Earth and his plan to nuke it. Of course, he doesn't quite tell the truth to his own people, because why would they want to fight so hard if he's going to completely destroy Earth and leave nothing for them? A brief interlude and a conversation between Tobia and Berah sheds some light on her relationship with Kincade and how things changed between them when they stopped being Cecily and Seabook. This is definitely information I've wanted since the start of the series, and this turned out to be a good moment to reveal it. The peaceful interlude is interrupted by the arrival of the Death Gale Team, which leads to a battle and the final cliffhanger for this series.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3.5 out of 5 stars
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