The Mutineer story continues the tale of Reinhard’s and Kircheis’s ascent up the Imperial military ranks. They receive their first fleet assignment as officers aboard the Hameln II. Even with the ship and crew divided along class lines, Reinhard quickly finds himself the target of both groups. Given a chance to prove his skills, Reinhard begins to set about changing minds.
The episode begins with Reinhard and Kircheis receiving their first assignment in the Space Fleet on the Hameln II. Reinhard would serve as the chief navigator, while Kircheis would be the security chief. They meet with the captain, who is impressed by Reinhard’s accomplishments to this point. He also takes the opportunity to introduce the two of them to Beltram, who also had impressive marks at the academy and plenty of experience to boot. He then comments that he is able to have an easy time as he gives Beltram all of his work, seemingly without irony.
Beltram then walks the two of them around the ship introducing them to the different groups of people. We learn that the captain is reasonable, despite his progression in the military being slow for a noble, he actually started as a captain of a merchant ship. Beltram takes them to the bridge, where their youth stands out. After they leave, the rest of the bridge speaks of Reinhard in derogatory terms saying he’s only there for appearance and because of his sister’s connection. They next go to the doctor Yaunzon, who says that Reinhard’s presence reminds him of his previous job, as a pediatrician.
They next head to the lower deck where the enlisted men are, and the quality of facilities drops noticeably. Beltram introduces the two of them to a group of enlisted soldiers who are shocked that the chief navigator could be so young. After they leave, the group of men begin talking in much the same way as the officers on the bridge about Reinhard and Kircheis. Rolf, the youngest of the men, is older than Reinhard. They put their ranks down to being aristocrats, while disparaging their captain for avoiding battle using his nobility. One of them comments that at least he delegates to Beltram, a commoner, rather than go through the horror story of an incompetent noble captain destroying their ship.
Beltram next takes the two of them to see Inmarman, the chief engineer, who complains about a lack of spare parts then pulls Beltram away to take a look at something. Reinhard and Kircheis take a moment to notice that the ship is aged, but well-maintained and that Beltram is well-respected by the whole crew.
At dinner, the enlisted men talks some more. They learn about Reinhard’s sister and that it explains how he got to where he is. One of the men, Schmitt, graduated in astrophysics from university and is believed to be more qualified to be a navigator, but Schmitt passes it off because he came from a liberal arts university. They joke that Rolf should have had a beautiful older sister rather than the brother who leads their group, but he responds by joking that he wouldn’t mind being the Emperor’s concubine. Rolf himself mutters under his breath about the whole thing being unfair.
Later, Beltram gives his assessment of Reinhard to the captain; proud, but too early to judge without seeing him on the battlefield, while at the same time Reinhard remarks that the ship lacks energy from top-to-bottom. Reforming the military will have a seemingly impossible degree of difficult, but it doesn’t seem to have any impact on Reinhard.
At the end of August, the Hameln II departed for its mission patrolling near Iserlohn. Reinhard went about his duties normally, while Rolf and his brother were having a philosophical discussion. The brother had always said that all people were equal, but he actually meant that everyone became space dust once the ship went down. Beltram stops them and then in a conversation says that he is unsure about Reinhard’s capabilities because of his connections and path of ascent through the military at such a young age which Rolf thinks is unfair. He then implies that he wants the two of them to test him in some manner before they enter into battle. Rolf volunteers to test Reinhard.
After finishing his shift, Reinhard is stopped by the enlisted men as he walked with Kircheis. They say they need some assistance with repairs outside of the ship, but that no one is confident enough to do them alone. Since Reinhard had training, he should be able to assist. Reinhard sees this as a challenge and he says he will do it. Kircheis tries to convince him not to go through with it, but the way he addresses Reinhard draws scorn from the enlisted men, and Reinhard ultimately decides to go through with it.
As Reinhard suits up, Kircheis notices that there is a low amount of propellant and oxygen in the suit. Rolf’s brother passes it off as trying to save time and resources. Kircheis expresses his concern again, but Reinhard only tells him to back him up in case something goes wrong. As Rolf and Reinhard stand waiting to go outside, Rolf’s brother runs through the details of the mission, which involves swapping thruster parts.
The doors open and the two of them tether themselves to the ship. Reinhard stands for a second and thinks that space is beautiful. Rolf then takes the opportunity to use propellant to try to get to the thruster first, which Reinhard tells him is reckless. Inside, Rolf’s brother knows something is wrong and asks Kircheis to help him prepare to go outside.
Rolf smirks as he leaves Reinhard behind only to then become disoriented as a star comes out from beyond the horizon of the ship. Rolf fires his propellant in all sorts of directions burning through his tether line in the process. Reinhard races to try to save Rolf, who runs out of propellant while drifting away from the ship. Reinhard approaches, but reaches the end of his line. He disconnects from it and catches Rolf. He spends a few seconds trying to calculate the angle to thrust back to the ship and then uses the last of his own propellant. As they approach the ship again, the vessel moves and Kircheis arrives with Rolf’s brother to save them. Reinhard had no doubts that Kircheis would save him.
The four of them get back on board and Rolf says that Reinhard saved his life, but Reinhard says he was saved by Rolf’s brother and Kircheis. The air lock opens to the sight of stunned enlisted men. Rolf’s brother asks why Reinhard saved a commoner’s life. Reinhard says that regardless of someone being a commoner or an aristocrat, they are all human beings. Rolf’s brother chuckled and said he was beginning to like Reinhard, at which point the rest of the men began laughing. Reinhard did not join in as he remained concerned that what had happened was not coincidental.
Thoughts: I went in dreading that the return to the 2nd Gaiden series would mean more Yang, but I was relieved almost instantly. I think this first episode bridged very well off of the events of Kapche-Lanke. The ship serves a good purpose of visually presenting the difference between the enlisted men and the officers. Beltram seems a bit suspicious, but there’s nothing like the obvious intent to kill Reinhard that was evident in the last Gaiden series.