Episode 29 of Legend of the Galactic Heroes focuses on Phezzan’s attempt to shape events before the Empire’s attempt to take Iserlohn. As a result of their strategy, the perceptions of Yang play a large role in the episode and in the course of events.
The episode begins on Phezzan where Adrian Rubinsky has a meeting with the Terraist cult priest Degsby. Rubinsky lays out his plan on supporting Reinhard’s efforts to unify space under his command. After he does so, Rubinsky plans on having him assassinated and the Terraist cult will be able to seize control. Degsby believes that someone like Oberstein will not fall for such a plan so easily, but Rubinsky points out that Reinhard doesn’t exercise full control of everything and uses Kircheis’ death to point that out. Rubinsky urges Degsby to allow his strategy a chance because a small, concentrated government would be easier to manipulate, and they should settle for allowing a Lohengramm Dynasty to happen in exchange for being able to rule after.
Degsby though worries about the effort some of the cult members put in toward allowing Truniht to survive the coup. Letting the Alliance collapse would make that move pointless. Additionally, Phezzan essentially controls the Alliance economy through massive loans. This would make all of that a waste of capital. Rubinsky, though, argues that the economic control will make their situation easier because they have greater influence and can threaten to withdraw aid. Rubinsky then states his belief that all nations eventually start to rot from the top down, but Degsby is quick to back-handedly point out that Phezzan is also a nation. He also asks Rubinsky to remember what happened to the last one who was in his position.
After the meeting, Kesselink talks to Rubinsky. While bemoaning the religious fanatics who control his fate, Rubinsky uses the example of Christians in the Roman Empire as a comparison to the current situation. He thinks the original plan to allow both countries to fail because the leaders do not understand that controlling the ensuing turmoil takes more time and effort than they realize. Kesselink contrasts the two plans where Rubinsky’s ends with control after essentially power sharing with Reinhard’s government, the church’s plan ends with space unified under a theocratic government. Rubinsky asks whether the people would take the Grand Bishop over the Kaiser and he uses the Crusades as an example of minorities being oppressed by theocratic rule. Rubinsky does not want a similar thing to happen here.
At Iserlohn, Julian is cooking a meal before he is interrupted by a call from Frederica. She informs him that he has been promoted to Master Sargeant. He asks her what Yang would think of the promotion, and she says he is pleased but would never show it outwardly. Julian then remembers the first time he met Yang. Julian shows a desire to become a great soldier while Yang continuously reminds him of what he wanted to be and how dangerous the military is to people.
Back on Phezzan, Kesselink meets with Henslow, an ambassador from the Alliance, about financial situation of Henslow’s country. Kesselink says they can extend the loans, but the political stability of the country must be maintained. He then expresses a view that Yang could present a danger to the state. Henslow is doubtful about such an idea, but Kesselink says he could have avoided destroying all of the satellites in the Artemis Necklace. There would now be little resistance if Yang wanted to attack Heinessen. Kesselink says Yang should be brought in front of the High Council to explain his actions.
Back on Iserlohn, Yang and Julian arrive for a small celebration at Alex Cazellnu’s home. After dinner and drinks, the tone shifts. Cazellnu thinks Yang should be worried about protecting himself, and while Yang thinks it will take away from his naps, Cazellnu says that Yang simply does not want to think about it. The situation involving Truniht also has Cazellnu worried. Truniht seems able to survive any crisis unscathed because Amlitzer and the coup should have ended his political career. Instead he is at the top, and his appointments have turned the military pro-war. The heads of the military are tiring of constant interference, and long-term they could end up being replaced by Truniht lackeys. Yang happily says he would resign if that were to happen. Cazellnu is upset at that response and asks Yang to think about the soldiers he would leave behind if that were the case. He also wants Yang to think about Julian, and how devastating it would be for him to lose another guardian.
The conversation then turns to parenting. Yang acknowledges that he is an imperfect guardian to Cazellnu, the one who assign Julian to live with him. However, he says it is because he is a bachelor who was brought up in a broken home. Cazellnu responds by saying that imperfect parents are good for a child because they can be anti-teachers who allow children’s sense of independence to develop. Yang says that he thinks that statement is harsh. Cazellnu then proposes that Yang get married to approach perfection as a guardian. Yang responds by spitting out his brandy and protesting that the war isn’t even over yet. Cazellnu says that man’s greatest responsibility is to pass genes on to the next generation, to create new life. Yang agrees, but says the greatest crime is to kill or allow others to be killed, which happens to be what soldiers do.
Yang leaves and Cazellnu pulls Julian along for another conversation. He essentially asks Julian to act as a protector to Yang. Julian says he was unaware that the situation was so bad. Cazellnu says that Yang’s talents are needed because there is a war with the Empire, were that to end his talents would become a problem to those in power. Yang returns to say that he is aware of the situation and he has no intention to become a puppet of Truniht.
On Heinessen, Truniht has received word of Phezzan’s threat. Truniht sees Yang as a definite threat in that he could run for office and win anytime he wanted to. Truniht, though, is already putting a plan into place to hinder Yang.
Back at Phezzan, Rubinsky summarizes the choices that confront all of the players at this point. Yang’s existance is only guaranteed by Reinhard’s existance because of Alliance fears. Rubinsky wants to bring the two closer together so to limit Yang’s choices to being purged or taking power. While there would still be the faint possibility of Alliance and Imperial cooperation, the next phase of the Phezzani plan will be to make cooperation between the two nations impossible.
At Geiersburg, the plan to move the fortress is raising several issues because of its theoretical nature. Is it possible to get 12 engines to synchronize perfectly? Could they send the fortress into the void for eternity should they miscalculate? Kempf realizes they need to ask Reinhard for more help.
Meanwhile, Kesselink talks to the Empire’s ambassador Jochen von Remscheidt. He has an idea he wants passed on to Reinhard. Remscheidt is confused by the fact the plan seems counter to Phezzan interests, but Kesselink says they are more worried about Reinhard’s rapid pace of reforms above anything else, and this could slow things down a bit.
On Odin, Reinhard reads over Kempf’s request and approves it. He understands the theoreticals make this plan difficult and he could use the extra help. Hilde comments that Kempf is doing well, and if the plan fails they will lose another capable admiral. Reinhard, though, comments that Kempf is the kind of man would be useless if he lived too long.
The episode ends with Hilde at Kircheis’ grave. She thinks that only he would have been able to reason with Reinhard. Since he is gone, she wonders what anyone living can do?
Thoughts: So we have the first what would happen if Kircheis were still alive moment…Would it be such a bad thing for the Alliance to just print more money to pay off Phezzan even at the risk of certain hyper-inflation?…On Yang’s marriage possibilities, I’m pretty sure the women in his life who would be available have been trimmed down to a rather convenient number of one unless I’m mistaken…I would also be angry at some guy at a robe getting picked to go meet the ruler ahead of me even though I was there first.