I was somewhat expecting the battle of Iserlohn to start here. Instead, Kircheis is given another episode in which to develop his character as something other than Reinhard’s sidekick. He does a pretty good job at that as well it can be said.
This episode title “The Kastrop Rebellion” begins with a story of a previous finance minister embezelling money, and after his death the Empire wants the money back. The finance minister’s son, Kastrop, not only wants to keep the money, he’s actually put it to good use in defending his isolated Roman-themed planet.
Using the “Artemis Necklace” (really just a remote satellite defense system) he purchased from Phezzan, he easily defeats a 3000 strong force from the Empire. Then, he abused some of his servants.
Closer to home, Reinhard has formed his own elite group of Admirals from outside of the nobility, which includes Kircheis as a Rear Admiral. Reinhard’s first mission for Kircheis is to put down the rebellion using just 2000 ships. Reinhard does this for political reasons to cement his own power amongst the high nobility at the top of the Empire.
Initially, Kircheis does not command the same level of authority as Reinhard amongst the troops. Hans Eduard Bergengrün openly drinks in front Volker Axel von Büro and Kircheis as they discuss strategy for the upcoming battle with Kastrop. Bergengrün comes away impressed enough with the tactic that Reinhard and Kircheis have come up with that he decides to sober up.
Kircheis then has a flashback to the meeting with Reinhard and Annerose that would have occurred immediately after the last episode. Annerose insists that Kircheis is the only person who can prevent Reinhard from destroying himself, and that Kircheis can only do so as long as Reinhard is willing to listen to him.
The plan involves concentrating a number of engineering ships in such a way as to slip into the orbit of the planet and create a cloud of explosive gas, which will in turn destroy all of the satellites when one of them fires. The plan comes off perfectly to the shock of Kastrop.
With all chance of victory gone, Kastrop thinks of a plan to escape to Phezzan. Kircheis, though, has offered to deal mercifully with those involved in the rebellion, as he wants to end this without shedding blood. That offer, along with Kastrop’s order to one of his servants to burn his face as a disguise ultimately leads to his downfall.
Pretty much everyone sticks a knife in him, and his prone body lays on the steps of the chamber. The rebellion is over and only one person has died.
Kircheis is hailed as a hero in the Empire for bloodlessly putting down the rebellion. However, he feels bad that Kastrop had to die in order for his plan to work out the way it did. Reinhard reminds him that he is still a kind person.
Other Thoughts: This episode reminded me of two things, an arc within Crest of the Stars where Jinto and Lafiel are trying to escape from a distant outpost, and various episodes of Star Trek (the original series) where each planet would seemingly have a completely different look to it…I’m guessing that the next episode will go back to the Alliance and Yang’s preparations for Iserlohn…After an incident like this, surely the Empire would place some sort of embargo or blockade on Phezzan.