Futeki! Tensai Shojo no Chosen
(Daring! The Girl Genius Challenger!!)
|The second episode opens with a prologue detailing the events of the last moments of the Luxion. Admiral Yuzo Takaya
is surveying the damage done to his fleet, which has been reduced to nothing but scrap metal. The alien fleet was brutal
in its attack, and the loss of human life is staggering. Takaya receives word that all life pods are full with space for just
one more man. He gives up his space in favor of a seriously wounded man, Koichiro Ota. But Ota does not want to
abandon his commanding officer. Takaya practically forces Ota into the escape ship, telling him that he has many things
left to do in his life. Ota is put on board the ship and it launches. Admiral Takaya watches this from the bridge of his ship,
while also staring at a holographic picture of his daughter, Noriko. The Luxion then explodes.
Seven years later, Kazumi Amano is waking up Noriko, telling her they are almost to the Silver Star Space Station. Noriko
stares out the window next to her seat and sees the half-built frame of Earth's newest battleship, the Exelion. She makes
a comment about it being really small, but Coach Ota chides her on not paying attention to lessons taught earlier in class.
He mentions that due to the vastness of space, large objects can seem really small. Noriko realizes this when they pass
close by the Exelion. The ship is huge.
Once aboard the space station, Noriko and Kazumi are introduced to their commanding officer, Captain Tatsumi Tashiro.
There is also someone else there, a Russian female pilot by the name of Jung-Freud. Kazumi notices Jung's stare, and
realizes the Russian pilot recognizes her. There is a tense introduction, and Noriko feels that this new relationship is not
getting off on the right foot.
Later on that day, Captain Tashiro is addressing the crew. He explains that the Exelion will be battle ready within seven
months and that the time spent until then will be used for combat training. It's not long after that Coach Ota is giving the
RX-7 squadrons their flight orders. Noriko and Kazumi are teamed up as partners. After the launch, the pair are
confronted by Jung and her partner, Linda Yamamoto. Jung wants to challenge Kazumi to a fight, and Kazumi accepts.
Kazumi and Jung are pretty well matched, and the fight takes them into the super-structure of a military defense
installation. Noriko is separated from the pair, and begins to search for them. While the combatants continue to spar,
Kazumi stops dead in her tracks and stares at something which makes the blood freeze in her veins. She turns her
floodlights on to get a better look as Jung spins around. Noriko enters the scene and the same sight greets her. It is the
remains of one of the alien drones, suspended in space. Noriko breaks down and begins sobbing, realizing that this
creature was one of many like it which killed her father. It is at this same instant the installation's security grid turns on.
After a serious reprimand from Coach Ota, Noriko and Kazumi are in the Womens' Bath, with Noriko telling her friend
about her father. Not long after, Jung walks in as if nothing had happened between them. She apologizes to the two
young women, explaining that she had to see just how good the Rose Queen really was. Jung invites them to her
birthday, with no hard feelings. Noriko realizes that she and Jung share the same birthday, and Jung begins to make
plans for a double birthday celebration.
In the command center, Captain Tashiro is receiving news that an object is heading for Earth at roughly the speed of light.
Its point of origin is the Perseus Arm. Asking Coach Ota what he would recommend, Ota states that a reconnaisance
mission would be needed. He volunteers Noriko and Kazumi. Tashiro reluctantly agrees with the decision to use Noriko,
favoring Jung, but allows the mission to take place.
Once the mission is under way, Ota explains to his team that they have ten minutes in which to complete the mission. He
brings up the time dilation factor, explaining that for every minute of time spent in warp, three months would pass on Earth.
Noriko and Kazumi understand this and are finally sent on their way.
Intersecting the part of space the object is traveling, Kazumi is the first to spot it. She recognizes it as an Earth ship with
large amounts of damage. She is startled when she sees the name stenciled on the side of it. It is the Luxion.
All at once, hell breaks loose. Noriko suddenly takes action as Ota screams out an order for her not to. She jumps off of
her booster rocket and latches onto the Luxion. Noriko then breaks into the ship. Ota then gives orders for Kazumi to
rendevous with the pick-up ship and stand by while he goes after Noriko. He orders her to drop back to sub-light once the
ten minute window is up. Kazumi reluctantly acknowledges the order.
Aboard the Luxion, Noriko is finally at the doorway leading to the bridge. Although seven years have passed since she
last saw her father, the ship's chronometer is reading two days since the initial attack on the ship. Noriko realizes that her
father could still be alive and opens the door to the bridge. What she sees horrifies her. The bridge is completely gone,
open to the void of space. Noriko screams for her father as Ota appears and begins to drag her from the ship. Outside,
Kazumi receives word from Ota and moves in for pick-up. Blasting a hole in the side of the ship, Ota pulls Noriko and
himself aboard the recovery ship. He asks Kazumi how much time has elapsed past the mission time. She replies: "Twelve
Back in Earth's orbit, the mission team is being received aboard the Exelion with a celebration. Noriko's birthday had
come and gone as a result of the extended stay in warp. They had overshot by six months. Jung tries to comfort Noriko
about her father, but Noriko breaks down and flees the reception area. Alone and crying uncontrollably, Noriko recalls a
time when she was a small girl, perched on her father's shoulders. She was telling him she wanted to be a pilot. Now
haunted once more by the ghost of his memory, Noriko realizes he was lost to her forever.
To be continued...
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