The second episode of The Retriever takes place entirely inside Alliance space as the Hässliche Entlein tries and then succeeds in catching the transport carrying Helksheimer. They arrive at the exit of the Phezzan Corridor and receive information that the transport had already left, after debate on which ship to chase Reinhard makes the call. They catch up to the right ship at the right moment. In the aftermath, they still have many problems to solve before they can return to Iserlohn.
The episode begins with the story of the Hässliche Entlein’s trip between the Iserlohn and Phezzan Corridors. They use military sources to navigate as the Phezzani merchants would not sell their routes to anyone for any price, unlike anything else. On the journey, they are delayed by a day in hiding from an Alliance patrol.
They do make it to the entrance of the Phezzan Corridor and immediately receive information from their source that Helksheimer’s ship had left earlier with a single escort ship. After Bendling convinces the others that the curious timing of the message was just it being beamed to a single spot in space, they proceed with the chase.
Since their source had managed to block the exit for a period of time, the number of ships carrying Helksheimer would from amongst a small number. With it down to five ships, Reinhard asks his officers which one they should go after. Wahlen says the slowest one since the rest would be merchants trying to make up for time. Bendling argued they should go after the fastest one as he thought Helksheimer would be desperate to defect to the Alliance, though interestingly he calls them the Alliance at first before catching himself and referring to them as the rebels. Reinhard finally asked Kircheis who concurred with Wahlen, and that was the choice Reinhard figuring the Helksheimer would want to restore pride after shamefully fleeing to Phezzan. He then ordered them to chase after the slowest pair of ships. After more arguing from Bendling about their lack of navigational information, Reinhard reminded him that he was to have no input on tactical decisions as a condition of being on board.
They quickly approached an inhabited planet that was still a day away, but Wahlen deduced that there would be a fleet stationed there. Only being 3 hours behind the 2 ships, Reinhard decided they had to move at that moment. He ordered a surprise attack in which fighters would take out the escort ship while Kircheis would lead a group of men who would take control of the transport ship. They would quickly take Helksheimer and the device and then evacuate before the patrol fleets would arrive.
The attack went pretty much according to plan. The escort was destroyed quickly, and Reinhard ordered the Valkyries to be on guard in case the patrol fleets were alerted. The Hässliche Entlein then anchored itself to the transport and Kircheis led a group of men through private security forces who ran the ship. One group of officers found the device in one part of the ship, while Kircheis struggled to find Helksheimer even after securing the bridge. While Bendling received authorization to check on the device from Reinhard, eventually Kircheis’s group found a secret door in one of the suites which was pressurized, only to discover that Helksheimer and all but one of his family had died trying to pressurize themselves into escape pods.
With the patrol fleet closing in, and with little time to check on Helksheimer, Reinhard had Kircheis follow the Hässliche Entlein in escaping from the scene. Reinhard would fatefully say that returning would be the hard part. Fortunately, he figured correctly that the Alliance would spend time at the attack site trying to determine what happened before they knew an Imperial ship was involved in the incident.
Later, as Bendling was working on the device. With Helksheimer’s death, they had no way of knowing what the password was to unlock the device. Kircheis told him that he doubted any of the hired crew would know what that was, but when he tells him that one of the family members was still alive, Bendling demands to see them. Kircheis takes Bendling to the infirmary and Bendling is alarmed that there was only one guard. That is until Kircheis revealed that the survivor was Lady Margareta, Helksheimer’s daughter. Just then, Margareta woke up and immediately demanded to know who was there.
As Reinhard predicted, the return journey would be much harder than the trip out.
Thoughts: A surprisingly action filled 2nd episode of this arc. Kircheis got to kill quite a few people, though the animation looked like it was reused. There was argument among Reinhard’s subordinates, which became commonplace later on. Then finally, we got the spoiled child of nobility. It has been a while since one of them had featured. I think the next episode will focus on the child and trying to get the password to the device before the Alliance can track them down. That doesn’t seem quite as interesting as this episode.