The 2nd episode of Mutineer sees the title of this story begin to make sense. Reinhard starts to make connections with the enlisted sailors, so as to educate himself on the proper action to take should the circumstances arrive. That situation arrives quickly as Reinhard is thrust into command during a surprise attack by the Alliance and comes into conflict with Beltram as a result. After the crisis diminishes, Beltram has Reinhard put under arrest in his quarters even though the danger was not yet over.
The brothers from the last episode offer to let Reinhard and Kircheis in on the stories behind their little group over brandy. Kircheis, as security chief, doesn’t have a problem, though it is ultimately Reinhard who has to remind them that they are underage.
The older brother began to talk about the backgrounds of the others. Rolf was an artist who was drafted in and they were put on the same ship together. This is unfortunate because their father was approaching retirement, and if the ship went down their parents would have no one to pass the father’s factory onto. Then Schmitt, who was the astrophysics student, had his exemption from the draft run out so he had to start at the very bottom. The other member of their group, Bunto, seemed to live an isolated life, but that was because he cut ties suddenly with his wife and family when he was suddenly drafted. He didn’t want to tell them what happened because he wanted to leave them with some hope that he was alive somewhere.
The older brother began crying at the thought of how sad the stories were making him. However, all he really wanted was for the officers to be able to understand the pain the sailors felt. Reinhard responded by saying he wanted to know more about them so he could learn about that pain and issue the right orders with those feelings in mind. The older brother was impressed by Reinhard’s attitude and began to talk some more.
On September 2nd, the Hameln II was on a routine scouting mission in the most dangerous part of the Iserlohn Corridor to navigate. Reinhard was ordering the navigators to pay attention to areas that had not been mapped, but the captain called him over to tell him to ease up on them. Suddenly, irregular patterns appeared on the radar and Reinhard was the first to identify them as the enemy.
Alliance cruisers popped out from the asteroid field and began firing, and the Hameln II was hit. In the explosion a piece of debris hit the captain, incapacitating him. Before he fell unconscious, he did have enough time to issue the order for Reinhard to assume command. Reinhard then asked for damage reports just as the doctors arrived to treat the captain. Reinhard issued his first order, which was to turn in the opposite direction from the rest of the Imperial ships.
Beltram then arrived on the bridge, and got an update on the situation from Reinhard. He then issued the order to turn around and follow their allies. Reinhard interrupted him and told him that order was a terrible idea as they could fall into a trap, or if not they would easily be caught due to the damage they suffered. Beltram pointed out they would be stuck in enemy territory alone, but Reinhard argued that once they had time to make repairs they could escape easily given the nature of the Alliance forces there.
Beltram tried to end the discussion by implying he had command by default, but Reinhard refused to concede command. The two argued in front of the rest of the stunned officers over who had the right to command given the circumstances. That quickly ended as the remainder of the Imperial ships ran into a trap set by the Alliance. Reinhard then asked one of the officers to disguise their escape by detonating a mine, while asking another officer to turn off their radar precisely when the explosion happened. Moments later, the mine exploded, they turned off the radar then listened to the last communications coming from their allied ships. Reinhard then ordered them to find an asteroid to tie themselves to so they could begin repairs.
A suitable asteroid was found, and Reinhard was given an update on where the Alliance forces were believed to be heading. With the situation calmed down, Beltram demanded command authority which Reinhard gave to him. Beltram then ordered Reinhard to be placed under arrest as he was charging him with mutiny and he planned on having him put in front of a court-martial on their return. Kircheis was then asked where his loyalties lied, and he said they were with regulations as he then accompanied Reinhard back to his quarters.
Beltram then gave command up to another officer as he went to check with the chief engineer on the extent of the repairs. The rest of the officers then entered into a philosophical discussion. They believed Beltram went too far, however, there had to be some method of enforcing regulations. With those regulations, they all most certainly would have died, which left them all in a bit of a moral quandary.
As they walked back to Reinhard’s quarters, Kircheis was told he did the right thing because someone had to watch what Beltram was up to. Reinhard was beginning to have suspicions about Beltram, but he would leave things up to Kircheis.
Kircheis then went to check on Beltram down by the engineer’s station. Beltram quickly dismissed him, but allowed him to stay when the engineer said it was okay for Kircheis to assist with repairs. After the engineer explained that the problem had to do with acceleration. Schmitt then approached them with an idea based on his astrophysics background. He essentially charted solar flares from the nearby star and suggested they use this to accelerate them much faster than they would otherwise. Beltram was not so confident and dismissed the advice out of hand while telling Schmitt to focus on his real work.
Then, a communication from the bridge told Beltram that a large number of ships from the Alliance were approaching quickly before they would have a chance to finish repairs. While Kircheis looked a picture of calm, Beltram looked anything but.
Thoughts: I think the point of this episode was to show that the officers themselves are corrupt regardless of their background when given authority. Reinhard just happened to save all of them with his first use of command in his military, which makes Beltram look bad. I suppose this is all heading to a climax where Reinhard has to usurp power and save the day using all he has learned from the enlisted sailors. It’s a heck of a way to build up grassroots support.