Convinced that the pilot of the dismembered mech is loose somewhere on the ship, Admiral Fukube orders Jun and the maintenance crew to search the ship. Uribatake argues that that’s a job for security, but it seems that the military is attempting to orchestrate a cover up. Elsewhere, Mr. Prospector wonders why they’re being allowed to go to the Moon to retrieve Akito, despite the fact that the Nadesico is supposed to be working as part of the military now. Erina responds that they want to exchange crews with the fourth vessel before it comes under military control. Mr. Prospector wonders if Erina has fallen for Akito as well, but Erina balks at this, saying she’s only interested in him as a research subject. Yurika pops up and requests that Erina not do any more strange things to Akito. Erina decides to explain it to her clearly, and reminds her of Akito, Inez, and Yurika’s strange disappearance from their posts when the Nadesico returned to Earth. Yurika explains that this probably happened due to her and Akito’s deep love for one another, causing Inez to pop up to explain things properly. Erina believes that Akito was able to boson jump to escape Mars, and if the Earth forces can figure out how he did it, they can send sophisticated manned weapons to attack the Jovians directly, thus turning the tide of the war in their favor. Elsewhere, Jun, dressed up as Gekiganger and playing the Gekiganger theme song, asks Howmei and her staff if they’ve seen anything peculiar recently. It seems that the maintenance crew’s plan for tracking down the Jovian entails spreading Gekiganger stuff all over the ship in an attempt to draw him out. On the bridge, Minato notices Hoary approaching her and tells him she’s won’t leave her post and wonders what keeps him here if he’s so intent on having her leave. He responds that being on the Nadesico is his job and he doesn’t like to mix work and personal matters. She asks him if she’s a part of his private life, and he responds that he doesn’t want to come to work everyday expecting to protect women. Minato’s disposition turns sour at this and she decides to leave the bridge to clean up, asking Ruri to cover for her. Meanwhile, Megumi is off in her room watching Gekiganger, relating the heroine’s plight of her friends having to fight her brother, who has gone over to the dark side, to her own loss of Akito to the Nadesico and the war. She goes to turn off the monitor causing the stuffed rabbit behind her suddenly springs to life to prevent her from turning it off. The stuffed rabbit, animated by someone hiding inside of it, jumps at the monitor and identifies the episode as the 13th episode of Gekiganger III. In the Nadesico‘s women’s bath, Erina asks Yurika why she came to the Nadesico in the first place. She responds that anywhere else she would be living in the shadow of her father. On the Nadesico, however, she can be her own person, and she plans to stay for as long as the crew will have her. That, and she’s also here to win Akito’s heart. Annoyed, Erina points out that she’s just thought of as a figurehead and asks what she has actually achieved as captain. Minato defends Yurika, saying that she likes her as captain. Erina keeps at it, however, wondering how Yurika can do her job if her head is always filled with romantic thoughts. Yurika eventually responds that her main concern is keeping everybody alive through this war, but she doesn’t see what’s wrong with enjoying her life as best she can under the circumstances. As the group exits the bath area, Ryoko asks Erina what her goal is, and Erina announces that in three years she plans to be at the top of Nergal, in charge of the restoration of Earth after a victorious conclusion to the war. Outside the changing area, Uribatake and several maintenance men are deeply engrossed in their ‘security sweep.’ Hikaru catches them, however, and Uribatake quickly announces that they are merely searching for the intruder. With the cat out of the bag, Admiral Fukube is flooded with messages from the female crew members asking about the supposed pervert on the loose.
On the Moon, Akito has apparently been living a pretty decent life over the last couple of weeks, working at another ramen shop. He’s happy about finally being able to contact the Nadesico, but laments that he was too late to save his replacement. Back on the Nadesico, the ship is put on full alert. Yurika muses that, despite their long war with them, they really don’t know much about the Jovians. Minato goes to see Megumi, and discovers the Gekiganger-watching rabbit. Caught in the act, the rabbit reveals himself as Lieutenant Commander Tsukomo Shiratori of the Anti-Earth Cooperative Federation of the Jovian Realm–he seems surprisingly Japanese for a Jovian. According to Shiratori, the Jovian nation has prospered near Jupiter for the last hundred years–despite the common knowledge that humanity has never established colonies beyond Mars. Security officers come to the door to inform Megumi that all crew is to report to the cafeteria, and Minato unexpectedly covers for Shiratori. The two women hide him in a laundry cart and begin to wheel him to safety. Minato says that she doesn’t mind sticking her neck out for a cornered person, and admits that she’s also doing it to spite Hoary. Coincidentally, Hoary chooses that moment to appear and scolds the women for doing laundry while they’re under security alert. Minato reacts coldly to him, and he claims that he’s just trying to look out for her well-being. At that point, Shiratori decides to blow his cover, and is immediately pounced on by Nadesico security personnel. Back on the Moon, Akito is suffering from a reoccurring dream of a mysterious glittering black complex of some sort. Suddenly, the nearby Nergal laboratory comes under attack from another Goliath-type robot, piloted by yet another Gekiganger fan. Akito is given a new lunar frame Aestivalis with an onboard phase transition engine in order to protect the new Nadesico-class vessel–the Shakuyaku. Akito’s benefactor informs him that Nergal built it as part of their secret campaign to take back Mars and they do not want any UEF reinforcements to discover it. Akito agrees to go out, but he won’t be fighting for Nergal, or the new ship, but simply because he can’t forgive the Jovians, or himself for turning his back on fighting. On the Nadesico, Shiratori is found to be a full-blooded human. Before the questioning can begin, Ruri pops up and informs Yurika of the situation on the Moon. Yurika decides that saving Akito is more important that the immediate handling of the prisoner and the two that hid him and heads to the bridge. Akatsuki is tasked with escorting Shiratori to the brig, but stops him in a remote corridor, stating that it would be best if the Jovian Lizards continue to be thought of as a mysterious army of unmanned robots. Fortunately, before Akatsuki can kill Shiratori, Minato and Megumi knock him unconscious and tell Shiratori to run. Jun comes running down the corridor after the two women, causing Shiratori to jump for Akatsuki’s fallen weapon and fire at him. Back on the Moon, Akito finally manages to disable the Goliath’s gravity blast cannon with a well placed punch, but while in direct contact with the Jovian robot, the enemy pilot contacts him and delivers a Gekiganger-worthy speech about protecting his country even at the cost of his own life. Shocked, Akito wonders if this is the true face of the Jovian Lizards. But before he can get any more information, the Nadesico arrives, and the Goliath boson jumps to safety. On the Nadesico, Jun is being treated for a gunshot wound to the leg and a search party is formed for the prisoner and his two collaborators. Akatsuki and Ryoko prepare to launch the Hinagiku and are joined by Yurika, who feels responsible for letting Megumi and Minato get away, and Akito, who is raging at the idea of the Jovians being human after all.
After finally seeming to come to terms with the Jovian Lizards as the faceless monsters who destroyed his home and threatened the Earth, Akito’s world-view crumbles with the stunning revelation that the Jovians were fellow humans all along. Nadesico is playing an interesting balancing act with our suspension-of-disbelief here. While the idea that the alien threat from Jupiter is actually rather terrestrial in origin is pretty easy to swallow (mankind will always be its own worst enemy, and all that), does that balance out the weird fact that they all seem to be Gekiganger fanatics–to the point of yelling their attacks and using Gekiganger costumes as uniforms? Probably not, but it’s all pretty horribly amusing and there’s still plenty of mystery to go around, so we’ll forgive them for now. Also, though it’s easy to forget in the face of all this Jovian weirdness, Nergal is once again, up to something.