LAP 31
Traces Of You

It has been four years since the death of Jody's brother, Andy Summer, and she visits his grave before returning to town, reflecting on the changes since then; when they were officers, Mute City was a crime-ridden battleground... but now, it could almost be described as peaceful. She spots a man in the crowd that's the spitting image of her brother, but he vanishes before she can track him down.

She visits the police morgue, just to confirm what she saw... and she it turns out she may be right - Andy's body is nowhere to be found! Even all data about him has vanished from the databases. She passes this info on to Dr. Stewart before beginning her own investigation. Ryu enters just as she leaves, and the doctor has a favour he wants him to run...

Jody visits the lakeside park to speak to a man who claims to have been a guide at Memory Park when her brother's body was brought in. However, it's too long ago for him to recall. She and Ryu take their questions across the city, but have nothing to show for it.

News of this reaches Dark Million thanks to Baba, their undercover spy, and Miss Killer tries to think of a way she can work this into an evil scheme. The old man at the park is visited by Ryu, asking the same questions, but he reveals something new this time: all the workers at Memory Park were laid off just before the incident... by Jody's command, apparently! He walks off, leaving Ryu to stew on that factoid.

Driving back to HQ, Ryu remarks to Jody that the affair surrounding her brother is most suspicious, but she demands to know how he came to know about it. She tells him to drop the issue - they have a race at Red Canyon to prepare for, after all!

Adjusting her machine before the race, Jody is approached by a shifty-looking ape-man asking for her help. He says he's a subordinate of Miss Killer, assigned to eliminate her competition, but he'll face punishment if she loses. The racers are lining up on the starting grid so there's no time to chat, but the stranger tells her something before he goes: he knows a thing or two about the death of her brother.

As the starting grid is filled, Mr. Zero introduces a newcomer to the F-Zero races; the Mad Wolf, piloted by the ape-man Billy! The lights turn green and Jody's White Cat takes the lead in an instant. Jack and Ryu compliment her on the lead, commenting she appears to be giving this race her all, but she claims it's business as usual.

The Mad Wolf quickly approaches her machine and begins ramming her, though she's reluctant to react, unsure if there's a hidden ploy behind Billy's actions. Ryu and Jack boost in and ram him off the course, eager to save their boss...

... but off the track, Billy is pursued by a trio of Dark Million drones! They box him in and begin ramming his machine maliciously, prompting Jody to summon Ryu as the two go off-course and follow after. Miss Killer smiles; this race just got a lot easier.

The two of them catch up and take care of the Dark Soldiers, driving them off of cliffs and crashing them into walls to save poor Billy. Jack, meanwhile, has the privilege of fighting Miss Killer for first place, fighting her machine in an attempt to wear it down.

While he distracts her, Dr. Stewart boosts past with ease in his Golden Fox, looking like he's got this victory in the bag... only for the Blue Falcon to overtake at the last second, snatching victory from beneath him!

After the race, Billy joins the Platoon in the stadium garage and explains himself: he used to work for Dark Million and was one of many trainees at their pilot training base, where they were put through cruel and difficult exercises. Many trainees died there, including some of Billy's friends.

One of his pals is still being held there and was once a guard at Memory Park, so it's possible he may have known Andy Summer. He requests the Platoon to rescue him before he too is killed, but Jody refuses. The Platoon will offer him protection, but she doesn't believe his story. Just out of sight lies the Blue Falcon, and Captain Falcon has been listening to every word...

Back at HQ, Jody is about to bring the issue to Tanaka when Ryu catches her in the hallway and asks why she's dismissing the possibility Billy's pal really knows something. Telling him their own database states Andy is dead, Ryu tells her, "he's not dead so long as he's in your heart." She tells him to bog off.
Ryu tries to cool down at Falcon House, but the issue still hounds him; if her brother meant so much to her, why is Jody so reluctant to share this problem with others? Burt suggests he not get involved with her burden; "maybe destiny has something in store."

In a surprise move, Ryu quits the Galaxy Mobile Platoon and sets out on his own investigation - his first stop, the Dark Million training grounds! Jody catches wind of this and knows Billy is to blame, having told them where they were located but refusing to come along. The Platoon rush out to find Ryu, but scold Billy for lying to them. The poor lug cries in a corner as they leave.

The warp gate leads Ryu to a cold, inhospitable planet. A race track surrounds a training facility, where broken F-Zero machines lie in wreck and ruin. The place appears abandoned, but inside the building is a prison cell containing a huddled figure covered in rags...

As Ryu approaches it, a computer screen boots up and Miss Killer mocks him for being such a dope; she'd hoped the whole Platoon could've been here, but beggars can't be choosers. The figure in the cell rises and grips the bars, tearing the entire door off with ease - it's Blood Falcon! Miss Killer wishes him luck, but the clone smashes the screen, proclaiming he does what he wants, and what he wants isn't very nice.

Ryu tries to attack him, but Blood Falcon is too strong to even react to his blows, and knocks him on his back by smacking him with the door. He prepares to impale him on the bars, only for an F-Zero machine to crash straight through the facility walls: it's Captain Falcon!

The very sight of him sends Blood Falcon into a sputtering rage, and he lunges at the Captain with punches and swipes, but he manages to evade most of the attacks. Ryu stands up to assist, but finds himself being pulled down by Dark Soldiers bursting from beneath the ground!

The battle of the Falcons appears equally matched, the two exchanging blows at an equal pace, until the robots grab Captain Falcon as well! Blood Falcon uses this chance to wail into him, punching and crunching against the Captain's torso...

Suddenly, explosions ring out across the training grounds. The Galaxy Runner has arrived, Jody, Jack and Stewart zooming towards the base as their ship opens fire on the facility. Ryu frees himself just in time to see all his allies approaching for a full-on assault.

The two Falcons depart the exploding facility in their machines, and the Blood Hawk knocks the entire Platoon on their asses; they're no match for him! The Dragon Bird catches him by surprise, catching Blood Falcon's machine on his hood and scraping him across the ground before he wriggles free.

The clone performs a u-turn and takes another shot at Ryu and Jody, racing towards the two in a dangerous game of chicken. His confidence is shattered when the Blue Falcon enters his path, but he can't turn in time - Captain Falcon's machine smacks him across the side, barely damaging but definitely angering him.

Enraged, Blood Falcon catches up to him and tries to crush him against the mountain wall, but even Captain Falcon's too good for that - he drives up the wall, dismounts and slides across the Blood Hawk's roof. The two stop and face each other, before the clone comes barrelling towards him!

The Blue Falcon kicks into reverse, keeping ahead of his enemy but only by a fraction - the Blood Hawk is gaining closer and closer. Just when it looks like he's nowhere left to run, the Captain swerves to the side and watches Blood Falcon keep driving - right off the side of a cliff!

Watching the clone and his machine explode at the bottom, Captain Falcon makes his exit as Jody watches, pondering how he knew they were here. The Platoon catch up to Ryu and simultaneously praise and scold him - they can't tell if it was brave or stupid of him to come here, knowing fully well that it would be a trap.

Jody, however, thanks Ryu for his hard work. He's helped clear the doubts she held, and the words he told her earlier have helped her come to terms with her brother's death; so long as she remembers him, he will never be gone. She also relays a message from Tanaka onto him: about his resignation... is he still going ahead with that? The rest of the Platoon answer for him: no way!
At Platoon headquarters, Billy receives more harsh words from Jack and Ryu, eager to know if anything he said was true. He did receive training on those grounds, but he simply wanted as much distance between him and Dark Million as possible. Despite the trouble he's caused them, Jack claims Billy's got potential to be an excellent pilot someday, which cheers him up tremendously.

Enjoying a coffee in the city, Jody listens in to a brother and sister reuniting, a little wistful to the relationship she lost. As she drinks, the same very person she thought to be her brother passes by and smiles without her noticing...

Burt's F-Zero Classroom: Burt thanks the viewers for sending in a birthday present: an apron and tea cup for when he's serving in Falcon House. Clank also sent him a present, but Ryu and Jack forgot all about his birthday - the scoundrels!

This episode features a unique title card.

EAD has a coffee mug shaped like his face.