The 4th episode of Pirates sees the students on the Odette II become ever more aware of the potential trouble ahead as they prepare for battle. Jenny’s radar observation provides the clues that there are 2 ships that are chasing after them. Chiaki and Marika then discover the signature of a ghost ship as one of the two before they ultimately have to take the issue to the rest of the students. Marika finds her audience surprisingly receptive to the prospect of being in a battle and that her troubles were well known.
A fairly sizable chunk of this episode is devoted to the art of deception, both in tactical terms and between characters. The crew on the Odette II finds themselves in the middle of a plot to be attacked as soon as they are in the most dangerous portion of their journey. Jenny caught a glimpse of three ships that did not have their transponders on to hide their identities. One of these was the Bentenmaru which was keeping tabs on Marika. Chiaki discovers one of the ships was giving a signature of a long vanished Federation ship. Chiaki then tries to determine what Kane is trying to transmit. Jenny discovers they bug in the captain’s office, which forces Marika to go to the yacht club where Jenny reveals that she knew about the Bentenmaru’s connection to Marika the whole time. Marika’s plan for dealing with the enemy ships relies entirely on deception. Finally, after Misa gives more information about Jenny and yacht club vice-president Lynn who happened to have a history of cracking into computer systems. Finally, Kane decided that they would have to continue deceiving the club by feigning ignorance of what was happening.
There’s a lot to digest in that last paragraph summation, but it has simplified significantly. Kane and Misa are only trying to deceive the yacht club, the yacht club is trying to deceive both Kane and Misa as well as the ships planning to attack them while the attackers employ a strategy of confusing the Odette II and intercepting communications should they try to send out a distress signal. There are just a variety of tactics being employed here.
Which is where Marika’s plan and her discussion with Jenny about its implementation comes in. Jenny, as captain of the yacht club, actually gives some useful advice on the difference between strategy and tactics to the future pirate captain. Marika drew up a strategy of making the enemy think that their own tactics were working and that they knew nothing. The tactic Marika thought they should employ was duplicating the Odette II’s computer system and letting them attack the duplicate. Marika didn’t quite grasp how tactics and strategy were different, but Jenny told her it was important to keep in mind that the two be considered different.
The final thing that had me interested from this episode was just the general reaction to the idea they would be involved in battle from the rest of the yacht club. It’s generally perceived to be an exciting event for the yacht club rather than danger. I can only guess that it means that there has been little in the way of conflict in this part of the universe for a long period of time. It’s actually unsurprising that they respond to Marika’s plea to fight them for the future of the yacht club. The whole independence from adults is at stake if anything would happen on this journey, so they have to do it themselves.
As far as other thoughts I had on the episode, the pace is creeping along slowly, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say it is problematic. I don’t think there will be a mad rush to conclude the story in 22 weeks time. The Lynn conveniently being a hacker just screams contrivance, but I think we’d really have to know more about how these characters ended up in the yacht club to begin with. Jenny could have known about each of these characters and their talents as they were brought in to the club. That would require precious time away from Marika though it may be rewarding if that is the case.