Summary: Ed just escaped getting frostbite around where his automail is attached. The Briggs doctor explains that normal automail won’t work properly in the extreme cold and that they have created automail made out of a combination of light weight cold resistant metals and Al’s head is still stuck in one of them… The doctor advises Ed to switch to a cold climate automail even if it means calling Winry all the way up north from Rush Valley while Al is sad that his “hair” is gone and how he looks stupid now. After being handed a cup of coffee and subsequently being charged 100 centz for it after taking a sip…
… and commenting how it is worse than the coffee at Eastern Headquarters, Major General Armstrong appears just as Ed was venting his anger about her. She asks how Alex is doing and after hearing he is as muscular and cheerful as ever, she is noticeably pissed off by this news.
Moving right along from this she begins “interrogating” the Elrics about their motives for coming to Briggs and why Al’s armor is empty. When Ed says it’s something that could get him court-martialed she brushes it off claiming to have done many things that could get her a court-martial. Al realizes she won’t allow them not to tell her anything; Ed decides that they should tell her everything except the things related to the homunculi. After hearing their story, General Armstrong points out just how stupid they are and would kick them out of Briggs if not for her interest in eastern alchemy. Despite eastern alchemy being primarily used for medical purposes, General Armstrong intends to develop it into a weapon to help fight Drakma. After ordering that the Elrics not leave Briggs, she tells Major Miles to find some work for them to do since if you don’t work, you don’t eat.
After leaving the Elrics she deems them to still just be brats on the inside and reveals to Captain Buccaneer that she knows they are still hiding some secrets from her. While following Major Miles, Ed asks him what his story is, when he refuses to say anything Ed claims that having to tell them their life’s story and then be ignored is unfair. Miles asks if they really want to know.
Ed is confused since all Ishbalan soldiers were eradicated from the military before the extermination. Miles goes on to explain that his appearance comes from his grandfather who is the only Ishbalan in his heritage. He remarks how the Amestrains destroyed the land of his ancestors towards Ed who replies with how the Ishablans burned down his home town and killed his friend’s parents. Miles apologizes for putting them on the spot, how Ed was the first one to talk back after knowing Miles’ heritage, and how he was getting tired of people always looking at him with pity after that war.
Ed tells him that he believes people can talk to each other as individuals equally without worrying about race. Miles reveals that he has been General Armstrong’s assistant since right before the extermination and that he narrowly did not qualify for the purge conditions. When Ed asks Miles if he came to hate the military, Miles notes how Ed doesn’t hesitate to ask anything and after hearing the reason he asks such things is that he hates being ignorant along with an apology if it was a sore topic, Miles tells him. When General Armstrong did not get rid of him he angrily asked her why she was keeping someone like him around that might cause friction in the ranks. In Briggs there is no time for racism as everyone must be strong to follow the general’s commands and that if his Ishbalan blood ever made him go crazy she would accept a duel from him anytime as a representative of the army.
Ed thinks it’d be easy for her to say that with a battalion backing her, but Miles contradicts that by adding her eyes were saying that she’d kill him in a one-on-one duel.
Miles tells them that Briggs is a survival of the fittest place and that there are no underlings or bosses, nor are there any distinctions between race, gender, and elasticities. Just as he gets done telling them all this Ed trips and in doing so avoids being killed by a falling icicle, knocking the icicles off the roof just became the job the Elrics had to preform (even though with a long pole, Ed is still too short to reach them). While on the job, now promoted from Warrant Officer to 2nd Lenient Falman greets them, having been transferred from Northern HQ to Briggs. Since he is in charge of knocking down icicles, both the Elrics determine this will probably be his last promotion.
After finishing up their job, Falman shows them around the Briggs interior where all the new weapons and technology are developed under General Armstrong’s orders. The lowest level of Briggs is next on the tour, it’s the heart of Briggs that will remain unscathed even if a full attack is launched on the surface, a warm massive underground chamber filled with equally massive pipes. When the Elrics arrive down there with Falman, the pipes are being inspected for loud noises, as if someone is digging under them. Meanwhile, General Armstrong is informed of Kimblee being hospitalized at the foot of the mountain and is requesting Briggs full cooperation in his mission before hearing about the intruder from underground.
Ed and Al are worried that the hominculi figured out what they are planning and sent it to deal with them… only for Sloth to fall asleep and wonder who they are until he remembers how he is supposed to be digging. Captain Buccaneer fires on Ed again believing him to really be a spy since he saw him talking with Sloth as if he knew him. Sloth realizes that he’s in a big warm room by now and wonders if that means he does not need to dig anymore only for the Briggs soldiers to open fire on him with no effect as he lazily wonders about. Before long, Sloth finds himself on a lift to the technological development floor. Before the engineers try attacking him, General Armstrong appears and fires a bazooka at him.
After that also has no effect, she orders the alarm be shut off so Drakma does not become aware of the situation and gets into one of the tanks that her engineers had developed firing a round off at Sloth with it. This also has barely any effect and Sloth just regenerates what little damage he took from it saying how much of a bother it is to feel pain. The second shot he just casually throws aside and then remembers his job is to dig with ignoring the barrage of tank shells now hitting him. After Ed saves the fleeing workers he tells General Armstrong that it won’t die no matter what. Annoyed, she tells Ed to answer everything that he can answer.
After telling her that they are not spies, that the intruder is probably not a spy nor does it know them, that he cannot answer what it is or who is commanding it to act, and asks her to realize why he cannot answer, she asks them if they are allied with Briggs; Ed replies that he just does not want to see anyone die. General Armstrong asks what it is made of and Ed tells her that it is most likely identical in makeup and constitution to that of a human giving her an idea to pour tank fuel on it and show it something far worse than flames.
Manga notes: (spoilers impending) This time adapting from chapter 65 pages 4 – top half of page 28 and the bottom half of page 39 – end of chapter with differences including Ed not being told not to expose his arm and leg to cold weather lower than -7C for anymore than 3 hours, the Elrics thoughts are missing that maybe she does care for her brother when she asks before the “tch” remark upon hearing that he is doing well, Oliver expressing her dislike of the concept of “equivalent exchange” is missing, Ed being looked down upon by the other icicle removers for not being able to do the job (as well as those other removers) is all absent. Going into chapter 66 bottom half of page 4 – 25; differences including less badmouthing of the Elrics for talking to Sloth like they knew him, Oliver threatening to kill the Elrics if they lie to her when she questions them about Sloth is missing, other than all those really trivial differences, it’s a faithful adaptation.
Blogger’s observation: There were a lot of really weird close-ups of Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong’s crotch in this episode… when she’s talking to the Elrics, when she’s in the tank and a few other times… some kinda fan service for all the M people out there in her fan club maybe…
Sloth is just too precious… a slow witted single minded idiot like him picking things up and looking under them while ignoring tank shells bouncing off of his body is just priceless…