As we reach the tenth episode mark, the curtain has finally arisen for
the main act of the show, with most of the factions and individuals now
introduced. The Earth Federation is caught between a rock and a hard
place. On the one hand, they are having to deal with some of the
leftovers from the war against the Divine Crusaders, the fanatical group
that believes it is best capable of dealing with the threat of enemies
from beyond the stars. The remnants, christened the Neue DC, intend to
pick up where they left off, planning to seize control of the Earth.
They have competitors though. A new group of aliens different from the
Aerogaters of the past have appeared: these new beings, calling
themselves The Inspectors, have come to conquer Earth and take back the
"toys" that the Earthlings have been playing with: the advanced
technology that they had acquired or developed during their wars against
the Aerogaters and the DC. Some of this technology had otherworldly
origins, and The Inspectors have decided that play time is over. They
quickly overwhelmed the North American region of the Earth, and plan to
move forward elsewhere.
In the meantime, the Federation has decided that their first target has to be the Neue DC group that has seized control of Riksent, an independent Dukedom in Europe ruled by Princess Shine, who herself has some piloting skills. So, the EFA forces go onto the attack to liberate Riksent.
Riksent desperately needs liberating, as it is being held by the despicable Archibald Grimms. The writers make sure to tell us what a contemptible person he is on a regular basis, this time showing us that he is perfectly comfortable with using the civilian population of Riksent as human shields against the Federation forces. Sadly, Grimms is a competent tactician, and he sees through the decoy operation that the Hagane is running, waiting for the Hiryuu Kai to appear with the real attack group. The ATX Team shows up right on schedule for Grimms. The only thing that he does not seem to be able to control is the exasperation of one of his pilots, Ricarla Borgnine, who feels that they should fight honorably, not in the underhanded ways that Grimms does. Her superior Yuuki Jaeger, however, dismisses her idealism in front of Grimms.