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Phase 17: His Reasons

 

Review by Scott Richardson

June 14, 2006

 

Summary

 

Hachi runs on a treadmill and dreams of the Von Braun's engine, which is far more powerful than anything before it. Tanabe walks in and sneaks up behind him when he fails to notice her entrance. It seems that Hachi completely forgot about their date today. Later on, Tanabe complains about him to Lucie, who simply suggests that she hurry up and sleep with him, in order to 'seal the deal.' Tanabe is unconvinced. Meanwhile, Hachi is out drinking with his buddies. The topic of their discussion is the Von Braun, which will soon need a crew. Cheng-Shin is trying out, but states that he'd have an easier time trying out for the Olympics. Those who do go, however, will go down in history as the first humans to visit Jupiter. Hachi asks Cheng-Shin what he'll do about his family or girlfriend if he does get picked, as he'd be gone for seven years. Cheng-Shin says that having a girlfriend wouldn't fly, as who could ask a girl to wait for seven years? The next day, Claire is visiting the OSA office on official business, and tells Hakim that this is the last time she'll be coming here, as she's been replaced for making too many mistakes. Hakim is a bit surprised, but asks her what she meant back when she said she'd never be one of the nobility. She replies that no matter how good the meal, she could never enjoy it if the peasants who made it were starving, despite the fact that that was exactly what she was working toward. Back on Seven, Dr. Locksmith, the man in charge of the Jupiter Project and the main designer of the tandem mirror engine, makes his way down to Debris Section looking for Hachi, while also giving instructions regarding the testing of the tandem mirror engine. When told his plan is too risky, he happily accepts full responsibility if anything goes wrong. Hachi is shocked, but very excited, to meet the famous Dr. Locksmith, but is let down when Locksmith asks if Hachi knows where his father is. Locksmith explains that Goro Hoshino is rather famous, having made five trips to Mars as chief engineer, and Locksmith wants him as the Von Braun's chief engineer. Annoyed at his continued inability to locate Goro, Locksmith leaves Hachi behind. With Locksmith safely out of the office, a life-size Nora costume hidden in the back of the office starts moving--startling Tanabe. Taking off the headpiece, Goro Hoshino happily greets his somewhat estranged son. 

 

Goro explains that he was tired of playing cat and mouse with Locksmith and his goons on the Moon, so now he's here to hide in Earth orbit. Debris Section seems happy to have him there, with the exception of Hachi who can't understand why Goro would turn down a position on the Von Braun. Hachi goes into a speech about how, if it can be tapped, Jupiter's deuterium and helium could be a near-limitless source of energy for all of humanity. Goro remains extremely unimpressed, and says that he's ready to go back down to Earth. Later, Goro places a call to Mrs. Hoshino on Earth, telling her that he's going to take a job at an astronaut training center on Earth. She notes, with surprise, that he actually sounds like he's serious this time. He promises to follow through this time, and apologizes for being away all the time. She tells him she'll be waiting, but she won't be holding her breath. Hachi, waiting near by, berates Goro for choosing a woman over space after all these years, before launching into another 'Jupiter is important to humanity' rant. Goro chuckles and asks him if he knows the quote, "Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever." Hachi identifies it as a quote from Tsiolkovsky--the father of space flight. Goro tells him that it was Tsiolkovsky's great lie. Tsiolkovsky dreamed of space flight and used that quote to convince humanity that his personal dream was their own personal goal. Goro explains that he came to space because he wanted to and he's leaving because he's tired of it. Space is never going to be developed by guys who are afraid to put their own dreams first. Hachi takes this in as they notice a commotion brewing. Something seems to have happened on the dark side of the Moon, causing Control Section to suddenly bustle with activity and cancel all outgoing flights. Locksmith confirms something over the phone and then tells his lackeys that Goro will have to wait, he needs to call a press conference right away. It seems that the number two tandem mirror engine was being put through some tests when it melted down--wiping out the entire lab and all the people in it. Locksmith will hold a press conference to explain his actions and take full responsibility for the accident. Locksmith's flunkies seem to think that Locksmith will be fired, but Locksmith brushes off their concerns saying that they wouldn't replace him even if he blew up two or three labs. He smiles, and tells them that this is because he is a genius who can't love anything but spaceships. Hachi, Tanabe, Fee, Yuri and Goro gather in Debris Section to watch Locksmith's press conference. Goro postulates that Technora might be in trouble, as it is a major backer of the Jupiter Project and Fee notes that the Moon's orbit will probably be crawling with debris now. On the monitor, Locksmith explains that they are currently trying to verify the status of the 324 employees who worked at the lab. The press goes crazy asking all sorts of questions regarding design flaws and personal culpability and someone asks Locksmith how he will take responsibility for the estimated two trillion dollars in damage. Without showing a shred of emotion, Locksmith responds that he's satisfied with the data that they obtained from the engine before it exploded and informs the press that the next one won't fail. Shocked by his incredible lack of regard for human life, the members of the press fall silent as Locksmith walks off stage. Reaction in Debris Section is mixed, as Goro is mightily impressed by Locksmith while Tanabe thinks Locksmith is a monster. Hachi merely looks thoughtful. Later, Goro calls Mrs. Hoshino and tells her that he's not coming home after all. She reacts predictably and hangs up on him. Hachi asks him if he's really going to join the Von Braun's crew, and Goro says that Locksmith interests him. Even disregarding his lack of humanity, Locksmith didn't even try to hide how self-centered he is. As Goro puts it, "A heartless bastard like that is gonna to do some fine work." Time passes, and Tanabe once again finds Hachi running on his treadmill. Tanabe notes that Goro has already left and Hachi didn't even see him off. Hachi stops running and recalls that the ship that will go to Jupiter is named the Von Braun--Locksmith himself named it that. Wernher von Braun was a scientist who developed the V-2 rocket for the Nazis during World War II. When they finished the rocket which would later rain down on London, one of von Braun's colleagues famously said, "Today marks the birth of the spaceship." And twenty years later, von Braun sent the first men to the Moon on his Saturn V rocket. Tanabe asks him what his point is and Hachi says that he thinks that he might be the same kind of man von Braun was, and returns to his running. 

 

Commentary

 

To accomplish something really amazing and ground breaking, is it really necessary to throw off your humanity and become utterly self-obsessed? The real Wernher von Braun is considered the father of the U.S. space program and some say that, if not for him, we would still be trying to land a man on the Moon. However, von Braun originally worked in Germany and when the Nazi party took over and banned civilian rocket-research, von Braun joined the Nazi party and even became a member of the SS in order to continue his research as a military project. During World War II, it is well documented that von Braun used concentration camp slave labor to help build the V2. In fact, more people died working on the V2 than people that were attacked with the V2. Yet, after surrendering to the Americans, he went on to help design the Saturn V and became an integral part of NASA. Werner Locksmith, who is based on von Braun, certainly doesn't seem to mind that hundreds of people died because he wanted to push the limits of his engine. Is Hachi now headed in that direction? How far would you go for your dreams?

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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