As Chiaki continues normal pirating activities posing as Marika, Marika, Gruier and the Bentenmaru enter a stormy corner of space where the ghost ship was last seen and explore. They discover a Serenity surveillance buoy network and Coorie hacks into it. Using it, they discover a massive spacial anomoly that is most likely the ghost ship, but a large fleet of Serenity warships are also in the vicinity. Marika orders them to intercept the smallest of the fleet’s three squadrons and successfully disable their sensors. Gruier offers to make them stand down, but it would give up the game too early in Marika’s judgement. Her plan is to stay silent, shadow the fleet, and swoop in when they find the ghost ship.
Funny; a minor can command a pirate ship into ion storms, but she can’t legally work more than eight hours a day. In any case, our confusion about Gruier joining the yacht club was cleared up, leaving us feeling quite foolish in retrospect: it’s supposed to be a secret that she and Marika are off in search of the ghost ship. Thus, as far as anyone’s concerned, Marika is pillaging cruise ships, Gruier is on a practice cruise with the club, and Bob’s theoretically yer uncle. We like the subterfuge…and it seems Chiaki likes Maria’s pirate uniform – after a couple minor alterations.
Our concerns of the series getting too “comfortable” in the Tau Ceti system were also put to rest, as we join the Bentenmaru deep in remote, stormy “seas” being pelted by cosmic debris. Marika shows she’s her father’s daughter once again by taking charge, making quick decisions on the fly, and sticking to them. Her daring charge on the two Corbacks was a great little maneuver, and denying Gruier’s request to clear up the “misunderstanding” with their opponents was a good decision. The Bentenmaru can observe the fleet’s search, thus hastening its eventual discovery.
Princess Gruier orders the Serenity ships to stand down, and the Bentenmaru docks with the Corback they were chasing, which bears a royal chaimberlain who provides the princess with a parcel that contains the chip that contains the info on the Serenity Golden Ghost Ship. Back at the Yacht Club, Chiaki tells Marika that other pirates, including her father, have been contracted to find the ship and eliminate anyone in their way. After the club makes Gruier an honorary member of the Yacht Club, she and Marika rejoin the Bentenmaru, which has extrapolated the likely path of the ghost ship, and they set off in search of it.
Not a lot actually happened, and some of it didn’t make much sense. Why was a ship fulfilling the wishes of the princess being pursued and even fired upon by her own defense forces? Why did she have to dress up as a pirate to tell them off? Why did Gruier need the Yacht Club member for their “attendence faking” skills when she’s not a real student anyway? Unless, of course, the king/queen of Serenity aren’t on board with their daughter’s plan…but we know nothing about Serenity’s motives; only Gruier’s.
Finally, knowing there’s something of a race to find this ghost ship, why did Marika go back home at all? Perhaps so she and the crew could have a nice meal at a messy restaurant run by a most surly chef. We’d be a little more forgiving of the dawdling this week, as the series typically does dawdling very well, but this was the second episode in a row of building up. We’re ready to go explore that ghost ship now. Bottom line: pleasant enough episode; we were just hoping for a little more progress.
As the Odette II’s practice cruise around Tau Ceti continues, Marika and Chiaki detect what they believe to be an enemy masquerading as the ghost ship Alcyon, lost more than a century ago. Marika informs the crew that she’s a candidate for the captaincy of a pirate ship, which is why the enemy is targeting them. Jenny already knows who she is, but agrees with the plan to take the fight to the ghost ship rather than ask adults for help and risk a ban on future cruises. Marika draws up the battle plan, which Dolittle approves. Only Kane and Misa know the truth: this is all an elaborate test of Marika’s skills.
Sometimes the chops required of successfully commanding a ship are naturally inhereted by one’s offspring, and that certainly seems to be the case with Marika Kato. She’s picking up on things at a strong and steady clip, impressing her pirate observers and fellow Yacht Club members alike. But the series doesn’t forget that this is still a training ship full of students, with no battle experience, so this impending battle won’t put the Odette II in mortal peril, the crew believes that’s exactly what they’ll be in, and act accordingly. This is for all the marbles: if they fail, they know they’ll risk having the Odette II taken away.
The episode is full of preparation and urgency, and we’re starting to learn a little more about some of the huge group of students. Important ones like Jenny and Lynn are touched upon, and the latter’s hacking abilities are integral to Marika’s plan. We like how ships can fool one another depending on the scan thrown at them, how basic analytical methods are used by Marika and the crew, and especially how Marika draws up both a strategy and specific tactics despite not being quite certain of the distinction between the two. This is seat-of-the-pants spacefaring; learning as she goes the conventions and pitfalls of space combat. Next week, we’ll see how she and the Odette II do against the pirates’ faux attack.