The Story so far...
In the first half of the episode, the Bentenmaru finally encounter the Grand Cross head-on. At once, the crew find themselves in an uphill battle as Marika barks out a plan that will help them evade the Grand Cross, whose speed, shields, and armor outclass theirs. After a tense few moments in which the Grand Cross peppered the Bentenmaru with beams, Kane skillfully pilots the ship past the Grand Cross under Marika's orders. As the others in the crew confirm that the Grand Cross isn't tailing them, Hyakume confirms that the ship is being repaired, and Marika orders and FTL jump to their destination -- the Pirates' Nest. Upon arrival, Hyakume and San-daime get to work with supervising the repairs of the ship, pulling up plans that Marika has sent them, all while sending their "Lady in the outside" to fetch parts. The scene shifts to that of a young woman with long, blonde hair, wearing an outfit that shows off her curves, and getting the attention of a few young men along the way. Toward the end of the episode, as she talks with a guy with a ladylike voice about her search for repair crews and merchants, the young lady switches her tone of voice, and reveals herself to be none other than Coorie, the Bentenmaru's tech specialist.
In the second half of the episode, things start to get a bit serious. While Hyakume and the others continue to work on the ship, Luca, the navigator, approaches Misa with a concern about Kane. Meanwhile, at a restaurant, Kenjo proceeds to report that a bevy of Pirates are on their way, with a few getting knocked out by the Grand Cross, while others may take three days to arrive to their spot. After the two split, Marika walks with Chiaki to the one area where the Pirates are supposed to meet, and parts ways with her, headed for the meeting hall alone. It was there that Marika meets the captain of the Grand Cross -- Quartz Christie -- in person. Quartz then explains to Marika how the pirates have become a shell of their former selves with the Letters of Marque, of how they've mostly become traveling showmen. She then explains that as the reason why she targets the pirates, in addition to them being good experimental fodder. As Marika counters with the explanation that she's wrong, Quartz merely employs stealth, as Schnitzer and a few other crewmen armed with guns come to her aid. In another part of the Pirates' Nest, Luca had been tailing Kane, to which Kane responds by turning around and telling Luca to reveal herself. At that very instance, Misa also emerges from the Shadows, and fires her gun -- at Luca. Misa then explains how the real Luca only cares about work, thus arousing her suspicions over the other Luca. However, upon finishing the fake (read: gynoid) Luca off, Misa proceeds to confront Kane, explaining that he has secrets of his own, while Hyakume confirms the identity of the Kane Misa is facing down. It is then revealed that the Kane that had been piloting with them -- the guy with a portion of his bangs sticking up periodically -- observes the show for a bit, and walks away. Toward the end of the episode, Marika gets a call from Ririka, who reports to her daughter how she's taking a relaxing space cruise, while Marika reports how she's stuck waiting for the Bentenmaru to get repaired. As the two finish talking, Ririka is revealed to be riding in space -- in the pirate ship Parabellum, with Captain Ironbeard.
From the very flow of the episode, from the head-on encounter with Grand Cross, to the revelations that went on, the tension is running high in the series at this point. Though the tension and excitement, in my opinion, comes more with the latter, as the revelations and the confrontations among the crew members may spell disaster for Marika -- meaning that the crew she's known and trusted may not be who they seem. It may also spell doom and disaster for her and anyone that she may actually be able to trust, as the teamwork they exhibited may not be there when it is time for her to have the final showdown with Quartz Christie to defend the way of life of every pirate in the galaxy. The same applies to Ririka, as she may actually have to explain to her own daughter why she signed on with the Parabellum after seemingly retiring from the business to raise her. Overall, I feel that the biggest arching theme in this episode is "secrets", and of how each member of the Bentenmaru carried them. This also leaves us with a mystery: Who can Marika actually trust? Any one of them, including Misa, has the capability of committing mutiny against the young captain. However, that question is likely to be answered next week. Same Marika time, Same Marika channel.
^Quite shocking, isn't it?