The 60th episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes starts with an action taken by Merkatz regarding the decommissioned ships mentioned a few episodes ago. This leads to trouble for Yang as rumors begin to spread about his involvement. Oberstein gets involved and pushes things forward on the Imperial side. Meanwhile, Yang’s subordinates have been planning on their own and start to act to protect Yang.
The episode begins with the destruction of Alliance ships in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Barlat. Everything seems to be going to plan for the commander Mascarni, when several ships are spotted. They appear to be friendly and asking to assist, though Mascarni can’t remember there. The ships claim radio communication is poor and ask to dock with the flagship, which Mascarni agrees to this over objections since the war is over and there aren’t any enemies to worry about.
A few minutes later, the ships are revealed to be battle cruisers and they move in on the flagship. Unable to make a move on the attackers, they have to listen to a message broadcast by the rebels. The message states their opposition to the current situation and asks for anyone who wishes to join them. Soldiers leave their stations en masse, while Hamdi Asure tells his subordinates that joining the rebels is preferable to destroying their fleet. In all 4000 men switched sides on the spot leaving Mascarni to face an inquiry where he explains that they could not do anything surrounded by 500 ships.
This plan seems to go a little too well for my liking, but it points to weaknesses in Lennenkampt’s administration. Clearly the remaining Alliance forces are too large and dependent on conflict in their own interest. At the first sign of longer term devotion to a cause, they jump at the chance to switch sides. Leaving the Alliance to destroy their own ships was probably asking too much as well, even though that was a condition of the treaty. Also, wouldn’t the failure in this task trigger a condition for the Empire to move in and seize control?
Asure requests an audience with Merkatz when they arrive at the supply base. He asks Merkatz what his intentions are behind leading the rebel force, and says that he cannot believe Merkatz could lead a force in the name of democratic reform. He says Merkatz fought for the Empire then fought the Empire in the name of restoring the Goldenbaum Dynasty. Merkatz responds by stating that he does not intend to restore the Goldenbaum dynasty. Asure accepts his word, but says Merkatz doesn’t have the necessary attraction to lead a fight for democracy. He says Bucock would, but he is too old as are Sitolet and Lobos. Schneider suggests that who they really want is Yang, but Asure says simply saying his name would give him problems. Either way, the struggle would not be solved immediately and Asure says he will accept Merkatz’s orders for now. Schneider gives Asure an assignment and they depart.
Schneider says Asure is full of ideals to Merkatz, but he can be trusted, while Merkatz says Asure was correct since a few years ago he was fighting against democracy for the Empire. If he were to lead the fight for democracy, he would be judged by history as a man with no honor. Schneider tells Merkatz he is being too hard on himself and that he has always been limited by circumstances, but Merkatz says there really is no one other than Yang who could lead a fight for democracy, which is why even the Alliance government fears him.
After this incident, rumors spread that a still living Merkatz had taken orders from Yang, who was really behind the incident. Those opposed to Yang believed the rumors presented an opportunity to bring him down, so they sent letters to Lennenkampt. After reading the letters, he tells Ratzel that his surveillance is too lax should any of the accusations be true. Ratzel refutes the letters and says Yang would be stupid to act now and that he has had better opportunities to act and not done so. He goes on to question the informants who seem quick to stab Yang in the back, though they owe him a lot.
As Ratzel leaves, he struggles to understand what Lennenkampt is thinking. Lennenkampt for his part knows the letters are probably false, though he hopes they are true. Funmel then adviced Lennenkampt to arrest Yang for violating a national security act; advice which Lennenkampt took. At the same time, he ordered a squadron of grenadiers to be made ready.
At the High Council building, Huang Louis and Lebello debate arresting Yang. The former says it is unreasonable and a retrospective application of laws enacted after the treaty was signed. Lebello takes an opposite stance and gives justification based on an unsubstantiated timeline of events. Louis disagrees and says there’s not a shred of evidence, he then says that there will be men who will likely try to free Yang if he is arrested, and that the Empire may be trying to cause fractures in the Alliance just to justify cracking down. Lebello insists the soldiers would think of safeguarding the Alliance first over acting for Yang.
The next day, Lebello took advice from Oliveira from the National Central University (and one of Lennenkampt’s informants) and they day after had Yang arrested. Yang was in the middle of writing a treatise on the justification for war when agents showed up to arrest him. Yang went quietly with them, though he sarcastically stated that they wouldn’t execute him without a trial since it was a democratic country. This leads Frederica to ditch her apron and put her military uniform back on for a fight.
I found it pretty interesting that Lebello and Lennenkampt both turned to outside advisers to help make their decisions regarding Yang. I don’t know if this was simply to provide cover should it not work out, though I think that may play a role. Also interesting is both characters belief that other charactersmust do something (Yang organizing a rebellion or Alliance forces not supporting Yang) despite all evidence to the contrary.
Later, Lennenkampt gets a call from Oberstein, who starts by questioning Lennenkampt’s decision to arrest Yang. He justifies it by saying it is for the long-term protection of the Kaiser, and that it has nothing to do with revenge for defeat on the battlefield. Oberstein accepts that reasoning and then suggests an idea for dealing with Yang and Merkatz at the same time and says it would mean his accomplishments would pass both Reuenthal and Mittermeyer’s. Lennenkampt eagerly accepts his advice, which consists of announcing that he will bring Yang to Imperial territory at which point Merkatz should emerge to save him. Then, Lennenkampt can attack. However, Lennenkampt is skeptical that it could play out that way, but Oberstein says that if Merkatz doesn’t come out they will at least have Yang in Imperial territory and they can kill him when they want to or use him to root out anti-Imperial resistance. Lennenkampt then asks if Reinhard knows about Yang being arrested, and Oberstein says he doesn’t know, but says Lennenkampt can always tell Reinhard about executing Yang and see what he says about it. Lennenkampt angrily cuts the communication.
Considering the track record for foreshadowing in this series, Ferner’s thoughts about the manner of Lennenkampt’s potential fate coming back to haunt Oberstein have me worried.
As Oberstein compares admirals to animals, Ferner interrupts him to point out that Lennenkampt might not actually succeed. The entire Alliance government could rally around Yang and oppose the Empire. Oberstein says that if Lennenkampt fails they could just send someone else to finish the job. Ferner immediately thinks Lennenkampt’s death would lead to a war to finish off the Alliance once and for all, and he would also end up being a sacrificial lamb alongside Yang. Oberstein stops and says that Lennenkampt will not become a Grand Admiral while he lives, but if he were to die he would, and being alive is not the only way to serve one’s country. Ferner thinks Oberstein is right, but it doesn’t make it acceptable, especially when one could suffer Lennenkampt’s fate in the future. He thinks some day someone may speak out against Oberstein because they hate him, but Oberstein probably realizes it already.
At the Central Prosecutor’s Office, Yang is questioned about Merkatz. Yang acts surprised with each revelation from his interrogator, and when it is stated that Yang was supposedly behind allowing Merkatz to escape, Yang asks if he has been arrested on the basis of unverifiable rumors.
Yang realized the situation was grim if he was being arrested for something with no legal basis. His subordinates also realized this because of an intensified level of surveillance. Attenborough is followed into a restaurant and he sits with Schenkopp. Attenborough asks if Yang has been arrested, and Schenkopp says that Frederica told him he was, so it must be true. Attenborough says Yang hasn’t been publicly charged and wonders what he could be accused of before Schenkopp finishes his thought by saying the rules have been rewritten by those in power. Attenborough thinks killing Yang is asking for trouble since it would lead to a rebellion, but Schenkopp thinks that is exactly what the Empire is hoping will happen. They essentially want to use Yang as bait to get the anti-Imperialists. Attenborough wonders if the government will be silly enough to go along with this, and Schenkopp says there are people in government see right through this trap. However, Schenkopp believes there is no other choice but to fall into the trap since it will spring eventually. Attenborough sees why because failure to hand of Yang would violate the treaty, until he thinks that the Alliance government could execute Yang on its own.
Schenkopp says that scenario would play out with anti-Imperialist forces rising to protect Yang only to realize that he doesn’t want to fight. They then call him a traitor and the Alliance forces move in to exterminate the agitators and Yang is killed in the crossfire. Yang then becomes a symbol for protecting the nation’s principles. Attenborough thinks they would play the role of the leaders of the agitators in that scenario and he is angry that they would be used for something like that. Schenkopp looks at the table where the surveillance team is sitting and says that group is hoping they are talking about opposing the government and that they should not let them down.
The two drive off and Schenkopp tells Attenborough there is no going back once they move on the plan. Attenborough says he is single and really has nothing to leave and he believes Schenkopp is in the same situation. However, Schenkopp reveals he has a daughter, Katerose von Kreuser, who took her mother’s name. Attenborough assumes that her mother must have also been a refugee from the Empire, and Schenkopp says that is probably true. Attenborough questions him again and Schenkopp insists he can’t possibly remember every woman before going on to say that he acted shamelessly when he was younger. Attenborough asks how he came to know he had a daughter, and he says that he received a letter from his daughter before Vermillion saying that her mother had died. He is then asked if he tried to look for her, and he says that there was no return address and he asks what it would accomplish anyway.
I guess Schenkopp never bothered to see who was going over to support Merkatz’s forces. Though that would be in line with his character to be fair.
At that moment, the police ask them to pull over. They aren’t speeding so there is no reason why they would be in trouble. Attenborough asks if they should follow their orders and Schenkopp says he doesn’t care for taking orders. The police chase them through Heinessenpolis with the police taking most of the damage until there is an explosion in the distance.
Thoughts: Looks like the rebellion against the Alliance government and Lennenkampt is officially on. I don’t see how it could take a long time for Yang to end up back in space and commanding Merkatz’s fleet. Karin’s story line will also be interesting to watch, but I think that will take a while to develop.