The final episode of The Retriever sees a surprising decision from one crew member and the intervention of other future players to help Reinhard and his crew return to Iserlohn. Reinhard, Kircheis and Bendling make the deal with Margareta to get access to the zephyr particle machine and the secret information that was stored inside which would shake the foundation of the dynasty were it revealed. In response to all he had seen and heard, Bendling makes the decision to defect with Margareta as her guardian. Though she is disappointed that Kircheis would not make the decision, she understands Kircheis’s decision once Reinhard tells her he is his friend. The Hässliche Entlein then uses the machine to break through the Alliance blockade of the corridor with some outside assistance. Finally, Reinhard uses the information to advance his and Kircheis’s career another step.
The episode begins with the Hässliche Entlein and the transport continuing to follow a route provided by the contact on Phezzan. The officers on the ship meet to discuss the situation with the need to obtain the directional zephyr particle machine becoming more urgent as they approached the Alliance blockade of the Iserlohn Corridor. Reinhard announces his plan to make a deal with Margareta. Bendling objected and then suggested betraying her after making the deal, then Reinhard had Kircheis explain her situation which shut Bendling up.
The issue of the secret program is also raised, which Reinhard accused Bendling of trying to obtain in secret. Bendling eventually admitted he was under orders to retrieve or destroy the information, though he did not actually know what the information was.
The deal went ahead and Margareta trusted the 3 of Reinhard, Kircheis and Bendling enough to agree to it. She pulled a key out of the teddy bear that Kircheis had returned to her. Bendling then went to work entering in the password while Reinhard asked Kircheis if he would defect to protect the girl. Kircheis seemed to object to the idea, though he did not completely dismiss the idea he was thinking about it.
After Bendling unlocked the information what was in the system could shake the core of the Empire. Helksheimer had been under orders from Littenheim to look for information that could undermine Braunschweig, his political rival. He discovered that Braunschweig’s daughter had a genetic disease, which under Rudolf’s laws would make her ineligible for the throne. However, since Braunschweig’s daughter and Littenheim’s daughter were related, they would have both had the genetic defect. Therefore, Littenheim turned on Helksheimer and tried to poison his family to try to prevent the information from getting out. This triggered the decision to defect to the Alliance.
After the device had been moved to the Hässliche Entlein, Bendling announces his intent to defect to the Alliance so he can protect Margareta. Wahlen objects immediately, but Reinhard tells him to calm down before asking Bendling questions intended to see if he had thought this through. As Bendling said he had no family back in the Empire it would seem ideal for him to take on this role, and he asked that it be reported that he died under enemy fire. Reinhard accepts Bendling’s decision and would report him as missing. After Bendling left the room, Wahlen pondered how much the higher-ups in the military knew about his orders, but Reinhard told him to remember as little as possible about this.
Back on the transport, Margareta is told what the decided on. She is disappointed that Kircheis was not the one traveling with her, but he says that he had already promised someone else he would follow them forever. She then Reinhard what his relationship with Kircheis was, and he said Kircheis was his friend. She turned to Bendling and said that since there were no established social classes in the Alliance she would like him to be a friend to her. Before they departed, Margareta grabbed a smaller bear from her bag that she had made for his upcoming birthday. She said she had modeled it after the larger bear which she renamed Siegfried. They wished each other well before the 2 ships went their separate ways.
As they watched the transport leave, Kircheis and Reinhard expressed their amazement in how well Margareta acted. They looked ahead ten years when she could in theory be fighting against them, though Reinhard said he would have to conquer them before then.
The episode then moved on to the breakthrough of the Alliance blockade. We first learn that the machine works by sending nanomachines out which would attract the zephyr particles in a certain direction, but the device works little over 50% of the time. In this case they would only have a chance to use it once. Kircheis turned on the machine and aimed it at the fleet of Alliance ships, after a brief delay, the particles finally traveled over to the opposing fleet. This, however, sapped most of the energy out of their own ship, meaning they would only be able to fire one shot of their main cannon. They did so, and blasted a hole in the Alliance formation, which they broke through. Without the ability to use the cannon, they were no reduced to using mines while their escape speed was limited as well.
The mines took out one of the pursuing Alliance ships and bought them enough time to catch a friendly supply ship without escorts. The supply ship began retreating, while transmitting that it would be dropping the supplies for them to catch. Reinhard quickly figured out what they were trying to do and sent his men out to physically catch the supplies. Wahlen then learned that the supply ship is captained by Eisenach. Wahlen informs Reinhard of Eisenach’s well-known reputation as a man of few words. After the supplies were picked up, Reinhard used the little energy they had to power the ship to the corridor believing the the Alliance ships would no longer bother them, which proved to be a correct assumption.
Back on Iserlohn, Reinhard was debriefed by Arbentraut, who congratulated him on a job well done. Reinhard quickly turned the tables and said he brought back the true objective of the mission. Reinhard later walked out of the room and began to walk with Kircheis. Reinhard said they would now both be promoted after Reinhard turned 17 and making him a captain. Kircheis then told Reinhard he found out some information about their contact on Phezzan. It turned out to be none other than a 22-year-old named Müller. The thought excited him to bring together all the talents under him some day, though at this point no one believed him but the two of them.
Thoughts: That was a good conclusion to what has been the only really positive story arc within this 2nd Gaiden series. The name checking of certain characters was a bit annoying, but it would at least explain how they all ended up in prominent positions under him in the future. The next few months will see a return to the 1st Gaiden series and what should be better times ahead.