Story and art by Ryuko Azuma
See the original pages at Web NewType here
Narrative reads right to left
After the devastating hit taken by Vimana station, Abbey Yan lies unconscious. A Mifune android tells Alexei that she has only a mild concussion, no broken bones. Linne radios in for a status report, and is told that the station still has life support, but several sections are closed and casualties are unknown.
Laine tells Linne to break off and go defend the station while he continues forward. Yu’s ship is under enemy control, but while it’s powering up its Wave-Motion Gun, all its other guns are offline. Laine will take advantage of that for his approach.
Right side: Laine vows that no matter what, he will save Yu. On Vimana, Commander Carlos Jones is on a private comm line.
Left side: the leader of the secret organization Nirvana speaks directly to Carlos, ordering him to bring the Mark X (still unseen) into the fray and release the Space-Time Crystals on Yu’s ship, the Mark 6. A death sentence. But there is “no other way.”
Right side: Carlos barks an order to dismiss the Mark 6, regardless of its pilot’s condition. All defenses are to be turned on the Seireness. Laine retorts: “I won’t let that happen! I’m the one who lured Yu to the Topness! I’m the one who changed Yu’s life! Yu saved everyone’s lives many times! Are you gonna throw him away after he fought for humanity with his life?”
Left side: Other pilots appear in support of Laine: “We’ll never abandon Yu! We’ll never abandon you, Vimana! That’s what Topness is all about!”
Linne renews her charge toward Yu’s ship. Suddenly, a shot comes out of nowhere to pierce the giant Seireness clutching the Mark 6. Linne is shocked. “No way…Mark X…”
Right side: Carlos listens silently as the Topness pilots call out for Yu and ask where the shot came from. Alexei is stinned to see another wormhole has opened up, eclipsing Yu and the wounded Seireness.
Left side: “What the hell is going on,” Alexei asks. “Why is there a wormhole here?” A flustered controller says its source is the Space-Time Crystals on board Yu’s ship. Carlos continues to brood as Alexei calls out for someone to help Yu.
Right side: “Yu is being consumed by a Space-Time Crystal!!!”
Left side: Laine slams his ship forward and the Seireness’ hand reaches out for it.
Right side: a horrific vision of Yu’s arm reaches upward from the Mark 6. Inside, Yu screams as his right hand crystallizes. He hears an echo of Lain’s voice: “Yu…wait for me…”
Left side: As Yu’s arms and legs shatter into crystalline fragments, he shouts for the others to stop Laine. “Laine is going to die!!!”
Right side: Hugo and Nina watch helplessly as Laine’s ship is caught in the giant Seireness’ hand and slowly crushed. The others yell for him to escape with Disjunct, but he only answers, “No…this is fine.”
Left side: “What are you saying, Laine?? Get the hell out of there!!” He says that if he leaves now, he can’t help Yu. “Everyone…take care of the rest…”
Panel 1: “Yu,” Laine yells defiantly, “I’m so glad I met you!”
Panel 2: Part of Laine’s ship breaks off to kamikaze into the body of the Seireness
Large panel: Laine’s ship explodes INSIDE the giant enemy’s body, Bind Needles spearing outward to kill it
Last panel: “Sorry…Naya…” (with a memory of fishing in Hawaii)
Right side: Hugo, Nina, and Marina scream in shock at Laine’s death.
Left side: Aisha closes her eyes as the word goes out from Vimana: “Mission complete. The enemy Seireness has been destroyed.” Angry, Alexei glances aside. Abbey remains unconscious.
Chapter title: Laine
Laine and Yu are together in a dreamscape. “Laine, why are you here?”
“It’s all over, so I’m back on Earth.
“What do you mean, it’s all over? Did you go somewhere?”
“Yeah to Jupiter.”
Right side: “Are you serious? That’s awesome! You actually became a Topness!”
“Well…but today I came to say goodbye. I have to go now.”
Laine walks away and Yu calls after him in vain. Last panel: “See ya…Yu.”
Left side: Yu sits up in a hospital bed on Earth, remembering what brought him here. His limbs have all been replaced.
Right side: Hospital staff reacts as Yu screams at the top of his lungs: “It can’t be! It just can’t be! You can’t die, Laine! Why would you say that??”
Left side: Unable to control his new limbs, Yu has flopped onto the floor, still calling out for Laine “You’re still in danger! I know you’re still out there!!” The staff officer calls out for a sedative.
Right side: Yu lies still. “Laine…”
Left side: Some time later, a doctor inspects Yu’s now-upgraded limbs, saying they will take some getting used to. “but with some rehabilitation, you’ll be back to normal in no time.” Yu asks how long it will take for him to get back to Topness, and someone in the background shouts his name.
“You can’t go back to Topness! You lost your limbs and you almost died!”
“Why can’t I just die?”
“No one should just die! You can’t be like Maya!”
“Huh? Who’s Maya?”
“She was your mother!”
“Uh… I don’t have a mother, do I?”
The other person yells at Yu to get himself together, obviously a much more difficult prospect than everyone thought.
TO BE CONTINUED