The Fourth Battle for the Moon rages as the United Earth Forces hold their own against a vast Jovian fleet. A Chulip begins to open in the middle of the battle, and the Earth forces are shocked to see the Nadesico emerge. Unfortunately, the entire crew seems to have been rendered unconscious by the journey, with the notable exception of Ruri. On the observation deck, Ruri manages to rouse Yurika, who wakes up to find Akito and Inez sleeping next to her. None of the three have any idea how they got there. Ruri projects the current situation on the observation deck’s screens and Yurika, seeing that they are surrounded by unfamiliar vessels, freaks out and orders a wide-spread gravity blast. Unfortunately, the blast grazes the Earth forces. Yurika gets chewed out by the commanding Earth Admiral, but fortunately, the Nadesico caused very few serious injuries. The crew is more interested in what, exactly, Akito was doing on the observation deck with Yurika and Inez, but no information is forthcoming. The second wave closes in and the Nadesico joins forces with the Earth fleet. The Nadesico‘s Aestivalis pilots quickly find that their tactics aren’t working as well as they used too–it seems that the enemy’s distortion fields have been substantially improved. Ryoko and her wingmen maintain the advantage in hand-to-hand combat, but Akito is quickly surrounded and feels a familiar fear grip him. Before Ryoko can rush in and save him, a mysterious new Aestivalis rescues Akito and tells the Nadesico pilots to pull back. Suddenly, twenty percent of the enemy’s fleet is wiped out by a multiple barrel Gravity blast cannon. It seems that the second battleship created by Nergal–the ND-002 Cosmos–has been completed. The new Aestivalis lands on the Nadesico, and the crew wonders when Nergal had time to develop a new model. The new unit’s pilot, a long-haired, confident man named Nagare Akatsuki, emerges and informs them that it has been eight months since the Nadesico disappeared on Mars, during which time Nergal has been working with the United Earth Forces and reinforcing its arsenal. After the battle, Nergal orders the Nadesico to dock with the Cosmos for repairs and debriefing. Inez finally wakes up to explain that, not only does the Chulip move things through space, but also through time–thus explaining their eight month absence. In that time, Nergal made up with the United Earth Forces and helped them reclaim the moon with their advanced technology. Yurika announces that she’s just been informed that the Nadesico and her crew are to be integrated into the United Earth Navy Far Eastern Command. The crew isn’t very excited about being drafted into the military, but Akatsuki (who seems to have joined the Nadesico of his own volition) doesn’t see what everybody’s problem is and begins to hit on Minato. Akito isn’t happy about abandoning Mars.
Akito watches Gekiganger in his room, but suddenly notices Akatsuki behind him. Akatsuki doesn’t have much interest in silly anime shows, but suggests that if Akito likes things like that he should welcome the Nadesico joining the military. Akito wonders what is wrong with leading a life that has nothing to do with war. Akatsuki retorts by asking him if he’s afraid. Akito asks if he’s picking a fight and, with the enemy approaching, Akatsuki suggests that they settle their differences on the battlefield. Unfortunately, Akito goes out and is quickly rendered useless with fear. A Jovian robot smashes into him and, unable or unwilling to let go, he allows himself to be pushed away from the battlefield and into the moon’s shadow, effectively marooning himself. After the battle, Yurika manages to secure a standard fighter from the Cosmos to go and retrieve Akito (who’s air supply probably won’t last much longer). Megumi tags along in a fighter of her own, while Ryoko broods on the observation deck. With his Aestivalis in energy-saving mode, Akito blows off his Aestivalis’ legs, creating thrust and sending him moving in the right direction. He spies a battle in the distance, which turns out to be Yurika and Megumi being attacked by a couple of Jovian stragglers. Surprisingly, Akito manages run the grasshoppers off, but Yurika and Megumi’s fighters are ruined. With the three of them crowded into Akito’s cockpit, only thirty minutes of oxygen remain. Akito detaches the entire Aestivalis frame from the cockpit and raises the emergency solar sail, but they are still forty minutes from the Nadesico. They find that, with only two people they could make it back to the Nadesico in thirty minutes. The two that make it back could send help for the one left behind, and since Akito has to pilot, Megumi and Yurika leave the choice of who gets off to him. Without hesitating, Akito asks Yurika to get off. But, after a moment, he reconsiders this and decides that sacrificing one to save two is the military way. Akito decides that all three of them will make it back through their wits and guts, and begins singing the Gekiganger theme song. Thirty minutes later, the Aestivalis’ power gives out, and Akito realizes that he’s made a big mistake. With not much time left, Yurika and Megumi begin to argue over who loves Akito more and finally ask him to settle it. Backed into a corner, Akito doesn’t know what to say. Suddenly, Minato, Ryoko, Izumi and Hikaru all pop up, saying they’d be interested in knowing his answers, as well. With repairs only half complete, Jun pulled the Nadesico out of dock to come pick them up. Akito tells Akatsuki he’s decided to stay on the Nadesico, because he has something he wants to protect. Megumi and Yurika are excited, but Akito lets them down by saying he wants to protect Gai’s spirit–a person who wanted to protect the Earth, but wasn’t eager to fight a war. Ryoko remarks that that sounds like something Akito would say. Shortly thereafter, the Nadesico is assigned a ‘new’ admiral: Munetake, as well as Erina Kinjo Won: a new co-helmswoman (whom Mr. Prospector recognizes as Nergal’s chairman’s secretary). Later, in a darkened room, Erina and Akatsuki look over security camera footage of Akito from right before the Nadesico‘s boson jump back to Earth. Akito disappears while in his room watching Gekiganger and reappears in the observation room, unconscious. Akatsuki and Erina begin to take a special interest in him.
The plot thickens. With the Nadesico already fresh from their failures on Mars, they are thrown right back into battle alongside the guys they had previously antagonized. Even worse, their new pilot is a narcissistic pretty boy with something to hide, and they’ve been reassigned the treacherous Admiral Munetake. The humor in this episode keeps it very entertaining–Akito winding up trapped in close quarters with Yurika and Megumi and falling back on super robot show logic to save them all. The only downside of the increasingly repetitious nature of Akito’s coward/hero cycle, but it doesn’t stop this episode from being a lot of fun.