|Rescue Mission to Hell|
Drake uses a zone of black holes to set a trap for the unwitting Garrison expedition.
- Japanese title: (needs transcription)
In the Rugger Guard cafeteria, the Rugger Team provides an eager audience for the chef, who is singing and playing guitar. During the performance, Keats gets an odd look before he gets up and leaves. Kirigas joins him in the corridor. Their Miran sixth sense has triggered, putting them both on edge.
Keats and Kirigas take their concerns to the bridge. The radar officer notices nothing out of the ordinary, and the Rugger Guard continues its present course to star system eleven.
Aboard Teles' command ship, Teles briefs Drake about the force that led to Rackal's downfall. The foreign force's ship contains great battle machines, and their home planet is unknown. Drake plots an offense involving a zone of black holes along the Rugger Guard's present course; if the Rugger Guard can be driven into that zone, it might be destroyed. Teles is impressed and directs Drake to proceed with his plan.
Back on the Rugger Guard, Keats is still worried, and Aki tries to talk him down from it. Keats' anxiety is affecting the others. Suddenly a nebulous light appears in front of the ship; the Rugger Team gapes in awe, but a moment later it's gone again.
The bridge immediately drops orders a speed. The mysterious light stands between the Rugger Guard and their destination, this system's fourth planet. Asimov orders a detour around the obstacle, but a crewman reports that he's detected a distress signal from inside the bright area. Ise dispatches Keats Team to investigate the signal.
Keats reports that the light area pulses with destructive shocks. Each shock zaps a little power from the Sea Rugger, and the Rugger Guard notes that it's affecting their radar. Izumo notices some "shining things" behind the Sea Rugger; The destructive energy's adverse effect on the radar prevents them from identifying them further. They notice that the path is getting narrower. They debate turning around, but keep pressing forward because of the distress signal.
Another destructive blast nearly pushes the Sea Rugger off-course, but they are able to regain their heading. They've lost 20% of their energy. After a little longer, Izumo notices that the shock waves have gotten weaker, and the team realizes that they're nearing the zone's exit. Strangely, they still haven't found the source of the distress signal. Asimov informs them that they are close, and directs them to keep searching. The Sea Rugger is at 68% energy.
As they near the exit, Keats' sixth sense is triggered again. The Rugger vehicles' instruments regain normal functionality, and they detect that the distress signal is on the other side of a meteoroid just outside the exit. They hurry their approach, only to be surprised when a Galveston battle machine appears from behind the meteoroid! Enemy units quickly move in behind them to prevent their retreat.
Drake and Roche observe from his command ship. Drake's plan is working perfectly!
Space combat begins with the Sea Rugger taking fire from two sides. They split up to make smaller targets.
The Rugger Guard has lost contact with Keats Team. Worried, they send out Aki Team and Walter Team. They fly into the zone hoping to find and aid their lost teammates.
Keats Team is staying alive, but barely. They are outnumbered and outgunned, the battle machine starts moving in.
Aki Team and Walter Team finally reach the exit, and sees the furious combat. They move in just in time to take the pressure off of Keats Team. They form Dairugger and engage the enemy battle machine. Aki wants to activate the Dairugger Sword, but Keats stops him; the zone is still causing Dairugger to lose energy. They must get outside the zone before using a high-energy attack.
They exit the zone, and as they travel toward the meteoroid, a Galveston battleship moves out from behind it! Roche pushes for an attack, but a crewman alerts him to the rapidly approaching Rugger Guard, which has taken a detour around the zone. Disappointed, Drake orders a retreat.
Dairugger moves to chase Drake's ship, but is stopped when the battle machine grabs it with tentacles. Dairugger breaks loose with the Wing Beam, and finishes it off with the Dairugger Sword.
The Dairugger team reunites with the Rugger Guard, and together they head for their
Rugger Guard/Survey Team:
"Keats. You sensed something too, didn't you?"
"Yeah. I sense something strange ahead of the Rugger Guard."
—Keats and Kirigas' Miran sixth sense has them on edge
"Just one ship?"
"The problem is what's apparently inside it: the battle machines. They were more than Rackal could handle."
—Drake gets briefed by Teles
"It's rare for Keats to be nervous, but it's downright unprecedented for Aki the hothead to be the one calming him down. Ha ha ha ha ha!"
—Cliff is kinda-but-not-really joking
"The destructive energy of that area has reached 50Q."
—a Rugger Guard crewman. What the hell is a Q?
"Still, sir, look how desperate they were to track down a fake distress signal. I would say these people really are easy marks."
"So it would seem, Roche."
—Roche and Drake demonstrate callous disregard for helping others
"Keats, now I know full well not to ignore your ESP."
"It didn't keep us out of this trap, though.
—Aki and Keats
"These guys seemed different this time around. They must have really taken notice of us."
—Cliff comments on Galveston's current plot
- Dairugger weapons used:
- Dairugger Kick
- Dairugger Sword
- First appearance of Drake and Roche
- While the Miran ESP has been mentioned before, this is the first time we've seen it portrayed.