The Garrison forces finally start to understand their enemy, at great cost to a planet.
- Japanese title: (needs transcription)
The Rugger Guard is docked on the planet's surface. Ise and Asimov stand on the deck discussing the enemy, whose identity and motivation are still unknown. Ise worries about the effects these skirmishes are having on the crew.
Kai and Mutsu walk the base chatting about when the construction team will arrive. Suddenly a work vehicle nearly runs them down! An argument ensues between Mutsu and the driver. Sick of the driver's taunts, Mutsu tackles him and starts a fight, even though he's no match for his much larger opponent. Suddenly Aki steps in; he rolls up his sleeves and makes the fight his own. He's winning handily, but Walter and Keats show up to stop the fight. With Aki distracted, the driver lands another punch to Aki's face.
Cut to the commissary: Aki (sporting a black eye) and the driver are having drinks and winding down after their fight. Keats and Walter crack a joke, and Aki's temper suddenly flares up again, this time at his comrades! Patty steps in before he starts another fight, and tells everyone that Ise has ordered the Rugger Team to scrub the deck. Ise wants to keep everyone busy so they can't engage in any more shenanigans. The team skulks off.
Back on planet, the Rugger team is exhausted after their chore. They wax poetic on the beauty of the planet, then retire to the commissary for some drinks. Suddenly they spot a fleet coming in! Alarm subsides when they see it's the construction team. The crew is excited and relieved.
Suddenly a transmission comes in. It's Rackal with an ultimatum: leave the planet "by 1 p.m. space time" or face attack. Asimov tries to respond, but Rackal's channel closes immediately. The signal's origin indicates that the enemy is nearby.
On Earth, the Galaxy Garrison Director and his chiefs discuss the situation. Is this a bluff? Can their fleet handle the threat? The chiefs advocate a full military response, else the enemy may halt the exploration mission, or worse, threaten Earth directly. The Director holds off; he wishes the Rugger Guard attempt a dialogue before such an action is taken.
The Rugger Guard travels to approach the source of the transmission and continues to attempt communication. Teles refuses to respond until the Garrison leaves the planet. Finally the deadline of the ultimatum arrives. Teles orders Rackal's forces to attack; they launch proton missles at the planet and deploy their fighter fleet.
Analysing the weapons, Ise and Asimov finally understand: the Galvestons do not care about the planet. They only wish to threaten and drive the Garrison fleet away, if not outright destroy it, and they're willing to sacrifice a planet to do it. The Rugger Team is launched to destroy as many photon missles as possible.
Try as they might, the Rugger Team can't get them all, and some missles start touching down on planet and on the base. The fleet on base lifts off to assist; many ships are struck and destroyed before they can leave. The base construction team gets hammered.
The Garrison reinforcement fleet engages with Rackal's forces in orbit. During the fight, Rackal deploys a team to the planet, which commences assault on the remaining Garrison base personnel. The Rugger Team moves to defend the base. Meanwhile, the damage taken by the planet is starting to show: continents split, volcanos erupt, magma start to flow.
Akagi's fleet is outmatched; he orders a retreat. Rackal's fleet moves to land on the surface, and the Rugger Team changes plan to target the landing fleet. They form Dairugger, but realize the planet has taken too much damage and that there is no time to for further attack; Dairugger flies away. Rackal too realizes this and orders liftoff, but he is too late. The multiplying eruptions on the planet destroy his ship and his fleet.
From space, the Rugger Guard (including the now-returned Rugger Team) watches the
planet's death throes. It burns up and dissipates. Asimov gets on the PA and
announces that he is naming the late planet Achilles, and swears to Achilles
that the Garrison will never allow this to happen again.
Rugger Guard/Survey Team:
Galaxy Garrison on Earth:
"That one punch really hurt! You really know how to throw 'em, though."
—Aki is a gracious loser
"We keep fighting battles that make no sense... and the construction
team's late, so irritation's understandable."
"Even without all that, Aki's hotheaded, so we can't afford not to keep an eye on him."
—Keats and Walter don't seem to mind that their co-leader has such a short fuse
"Even if you did make a tactical error, this enemy seems formidable. I'd really like to see them with my own eyes."
"I'm joking, Rackal. This is your last chance, though. I won't allow failure!"
—Teles is a funny guy
"Aki, don't ship rules prohibit the unauthorized consumption of alcohol?"
—Shut up, Keats
"The source appears to be 20 space kilometers to our east."
—A Rugger Guard crewman notes the use of cardinal directions... in space?
"Those sons of bitches!"
"No, we're responsible too."
—Izu and Nagato pontificate on the planet's destruction
- Dairugger doesn't use any of his weapons today, as he really didn't fight at all.
- There is no indication that any translation was needed to enable the Rugger Crew to understand Rackal's message. (Surely the writers just didn't want to bore us with technobabble.)
- This is the first time the Galvestons and the Garrison have any communications contact, and the first time that the Garrison hears the name "Galveston."
- Rackal's ultimatum cites some kind of universal "space time" that apparently two planetary civilizations that have never met both use to set their space clocks.