The 8th episode of Spiral Labyrinth features Yang’s arrival at his latest assignment, secretary at a prison camp on the desert planet of Econia. Patrichev picks him up and walks him through the important details of working at the base. Then, Yang talks to a few men who happened to be at the 2nd Battle of Tiamat. Finally, Yang tells Patrichev about the investigation into Ashbey’s death.
Desert Planet Econia
The setting of this prison is very much like a lot of prison settings. Alcatraz, the planet featured in Banner of the Stars II and most applicable the Siberian gulag. These are essentially prisons where guards are significantly outnumbered by prisoners, but the location makes any attempt at escape suicidal. On Econia, this seemed to also have an effect on the Alliance officers stationed there.
Patrichev’s conversations about the lack of promising officers, Yang’s assistant being much older than himself, the Superintendent who was characterized as incompetent and the 2 officers clearly jealous of Yang’s reputation all create the impression that the POWs may have it the easiest of all. Yang is supposed to stick it out for six months, but by the end of the episode it appeared that time frame may move up a bit.
Far Too Many Coincidences
One of the running themes in this episode was the fact that Yang kept running into so many people who had been at the 2nd Battle of Tiamet. He was shocked when the Superintendent had served under Jasper. Former Imperial noble Kefenhiller had also fought at the battle, which was why he was held prisoner there. Finally, the man sent to help Yang had served Warwick for a number of years.
While it did help reawaken Yang’s curiosity into his investigation, it took revealing the assignment to Patrichev to really start moving things. While Yang thought that someone may have thought the remaining members of the 730 Mafia provided a potential target a crutch to justify killing Ashbey, they probably didn’t realize that they lacked the talent and judgement of Ashbey. None of these facts are really anything new, but the setting and surprising assignment surrounded by Tiamat veterans suddenly give Yang a chance to reopen the case.
Thoughts: This was one of the weaker episodes so far. The cliffhanger where Yang is the target makes for something potentially interesting happening in the next episode. However, as this is back story, Yang will come out of it okay, probably with the help of Patrichev. I suppose I could have focused on Yang’s relationships with women yet again. He essentially holds out hope for unattainable women who are either committed to someone else, or consider him just a friend. This yearning for Jessica Edwards at least makes the early episodes of the series more believable.