FMP! The Second Raid – 12
As tensions between the two Chinas heat up, the MITHRIL dispatched team of M9s arrive in Hong Kong. In a warehouse by the sea, Gates inspects Xia Yu Lan’s dead body, then taunts Xia Yu Fang when she calls him. And Hunter, the MITHRIL Intelligence Department operative, gets a very familiar sounding visitor at his office. Meanwhile, Sousuke is on a hunt around the city looking for the purpose of the message he saw in the newspaper. He’s given a special map at an electronics store that takes him to a park where he picks up a ringing cell phone out of a trash can. He’s told to board a nearby taxi that drives him to the Kowloon part of the city. Xia Yu Fang directs him upstairs, and he goes into an apartment with his gun drawn. He’s surprised to find a bedridden Gauron who, grinning as wickedly as before, explains that the Lambda Driver on his Codarl allowed him to survive their last encounter. Gauron continues on saying that he is using the Codarl he stole to wreck havoc (through Xia Yu Fang), so that he could catch MITHRIL’s eye and get them to send Sousuke. Sousuke wants more information, so Gauron explains that Amalgam is in the weapons business, but that this havoc in Hong Kong is his own doing. At this point, the Codarl appears in the window, and Gauron bids her farewell. She starts to rampage again, destroying two Chinese ASes. An Amalgam unit somewhere in the city, led by Gates, gets ready to join the battle. Sousuke asks Gauron about the Whispered in Amalgam, with the focus of his questions on why they still target Chidori. Gauron replies that they were trying to figure out what type of information Chidori had in her. Gauron then reminisces about the first time he met Sousuke and the type of killer Sousuke was back then. On the Tuatha De Danaan, Tessa orders the Arbalest to be prepared for launch. Mardukas questions her actions and argues that she’s going against headquarters and is relying on someone who abandoned his mission. Tessa defends Sousuke by listing all of his accomplishments, forcing Mardukas to fall silent. Tessa admits that she likes Sousuke, but also says that Sousuke is strong and kind. After she asks Mardukas if he trusts her, he complies and orders the Arbalest to be readied. On their radios, the deployed Urzu team heard the entire argument, including the part where she wished everyone to get back safely. Motivated by her words, they spring their trap on Xia Yu Fang’s Codarl. Back in that small dark room, Gauron starts to deride Sousuke about how weak he’s become. Sousuke gets pissed off enough to fire his gun, but the bullet only hits Gauron’s pillow. Gauron reveals that he sent Xia Yu Lan to get rid of the biggest cancer to Sousuke: Chidori. He recites to an increasingly shocked Sousuke the details of how she died. At his limit, Sousuke fires several shots straight at Gauron. The heart rate monitor nearby flat-lines and above the noise, Sousuke hears a beeping. Realizing Gauron booby-trapped the room, Sousuke dives out the window as the apartment explodes.
They crammed a lot of conversation into this episode; that’s partly why the summary is so long. The biggest surprise is that Gauron’s back! This absolutely floored me when I first read it in the novels. The element of surprise wasn’t here anymore for me, but I can relate to how several of you probably feel. And Gauron seems to be like his old self, even if he is a quadriplegic now. He does a lot of explaining: Amalgam’s purpose, his reason for attacking Hong Kong, why he thinks Sousuke is weak, etc. But Gauron knows that his time is near and really wants to go out in style by pulling Sousuke in while he creates chaos around the city through Xia Yu Fang. And in the end, he literally goes out with a bang.
Aside from all the Sousuke/Gauron stuff, the other notable moments of this episode include the argument between Mardukas and Tessa that was omitted last week, the start of the battle between MITHRIL and the Codarl (you can count on Amalgam getting involved too), and the arrival of you-know-who at Hunter’s office. Next week is the thrilling conclusion of FMP! The Second Raid! There’s gonna be a lotta fighting and I have my hopes very very high for the finale.