The 6th episode of Spiral Labyrinth sees the conclusion of the 2nd Battle of Tiamat as well as the end for Bruce Ashbey. The battle is portrayed with the typical ebb-and-flow that has been a trademark of the series. After the conclusion of the story of the battle, Yang remains left with a number of questions to answer.
The 730 Mafia’s Last Stand
As the narrator indicates rather early in the episode, the talented group of admirals at the head of the Alliance military was breaking up from within. It was only a matter of when the split would finally happen. As the Alliance fleets were resupplying for the next phase of battle, Warwick, Fag and Jasper all had issues with Ashbey’s tactics and lack of explanation. Eventually, they all capitulated to their leader’s commands.
The actual battle itself was a topsy-turvy affair. The Imperial forces attempted a maneuver they aborted in the first phase to half-envelop the Alliance fleets. Ashbey anticipated that and soon the two sides were caught in a spiral formation similar to that of Astate. Eventually the Kalterborn fleet of the Empire got impatient and tried to attack through the middle, which made the rest of the Imperial fleets panic for a brief period when the tide turned against them.
As the battle progressed to its conclusion, the situation was looking bleak for the fleets of other Allied admirals. The fleets of Bertini, Fang, Warwick and Jasper were struggling with the significant numerical disadvantage when compared to the Imperial side. Then, Ashbey stormed in with the main fleet and broke off the left flank of the Imperial fleet before breaking through the heart of their formation. A generation’s worth of damage in admirals killed was done to the Imperial forces as they scrambled to retreat, and the Alliance had its decisive victory.
That was not without its cost. Bertini had been killed prior to the game changing maneuver by Ashbey, who lamented that someone would beat him to the title of Fleet Admiral. However, the ultimate tragedy came at the end of the battle as a fluke shot from an Imperial ship directly hit Ashbey’s flagship and he was mortally wounded by flying debris. A total victory had turned into a complete defeat simply from one shot.
There’s quite a few things to note about the 730 Mafia in this battle. Ashbey comes off as though he is starting to believe in his own legend in a way. He is so convinced of his talent and desire to get to that position of Fleet Admiral that he completely throws the rest of his team under the bus without explanation. He simply wasn’t able to really command the respect of the admirals who served under him, so betrayal could have become a distinct possibility.
The Gang of Suspects
After Yang is finished reading up in Rosas’ library, he is left with a belief that a conspiracy would be plausible. The dangers of the 730 Mafia having political ambition similar to that of Rudolf Goldenbaum meant that an Alliance victory and the death of Ashbey would be an ideal outcome for those in power. Someone could have plausibly given away Ashbey’s location to an Imperial ship when the result of the battle was obvious, but there was no concrete reason behind it.
Then, as Yang was leaving he had a conversation with Rosas’ granddaughter. She was convinced that Ashbey stole Rosas’ accomplishments. Yang had thought that Ashbey was actually his friend, but she scoffed at that possibility. Yang tried to put on a brave face to her, but she saw that he was being disingenuous. The story then took another turn when Cazellnu informed Yang that Rosas had died under suspicious circumstances after Yang had left.
This last twist in the story seems rather contrived, but its worth examining. From my rather inexperienced perspective of dealing with detective stories, I can only guess that Rosas gave away the location, and with Yang investigating he told his granddaughter the truth before something happened that resulted in his death. That isn’t to say that Rosas wanted Ashbey to die, but rather wanted to give him a warning.
Thoughts: With the story of the battle over, I hope the series moves on to something exciting. I’m not that optimistic. I fully expect Spiral Labyrinth to return to the pattern of dullness and cameos that have been established in the 6 episodes already.