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Stage 1: Wilderness

 

Review by Chris Guanche

April 14, 2005

 

Summary

 

In September 7213, the Gilgamesh Confederation and the Balarant Union sign an armistice to end the Hundred Years War that has devastated the Astragius Galaxy. In a barren desert, a young man named Merowlink Ality fires his anti-AT rifle at a Melkian supply truck. The truck's driver manages to jump out of the truck just before it explodes. Merowlink gives the driver a pair of dog tags and asks him to pass a message to Captain Dogman that he's come back from hell to see him. At the Melkian base, two surveillance officers watch a stripper performing on video before switching to external cameras and spotting the truck driver on foot. In another room, Dogman plays poker with a woman named Lulucy Ramon and a Melkian intelligence officer named Keik Carradine. Keik asks Dogman about the Plan Bang Doll scandal in which a large amount of jijirium was stolen as Dogman commanded the Melkian retreat. Dogman says he knows nothing about that and increases his bet beyond the chips that Keik has. He then pulls a gun on Lulucy and threatens to kill her if she folds. They both up the ante with their bets until Lulucy is almost out of chips. Dogman tells her she can bet her body if she's short on money. The truck driver reports to Dogman, and Dogman is shocked when he sees the dog tags. He stabs his knife through the table to cover his cards and heads to the control room. He puts the base on alert and insists that it was a Balarant attack despite there being no evidence of that. Lulucy asks Keik if the dog tags have anything to do with the Plan Bang Doll scandal because she thinks the Balarant are sick of war and wouldn't stage an attack. Dogman sends several armored personnel carriers to search the desert. Merowlink plants landmines in the ground and hides when he sees an APC approaching. As the APC drives over the trench, Merowlink jams a pipe into its tank tread to make it stop. When the operator opens the hatch, Merowlink tosses a gas grenade inside the cockpit. He then returns to the base in the APC and tells Dogman that he's having engine trouble. Once inside the base, Merowlink accesses a computer terminal and examines the base's layout. He then plants several explosives and sets them off.

 

Dogman runs to the garage and orders his men to search for Merowlink. Merowlink appears on the video monitors and accuses Dogman of framing the Schweppes Platoon for the theft of the jijirium. He also accuses him of taking away their ATs and leaving them with only anti-AT rifles to fight. Dogman shoots the screen and orders his men to kill Merowlink on sight. Merowlink runs out of the control room and uses a large crate as cover from the machine gun fire. He knocks out several men and ducks when two soldiers fire at him. He asks them not to shoot because his only target is Dogman. As Dogman arrives on the scene, Merowlink tosses a smoke grenade. As he escapes, Dogman fires his machine gun and accidentally kills two of his own soldiers. Merowlink runs into the room where Lulucy and Keik are, and Lulucy tells him it's best to hide underneath the table. Merowlink gets underneath the table just before the soldiers enter, and he points his rifle's barrel at Lulucy's torso. When the soldiers leave, Merowlink gets up to go, but Lulucy tosses a card at him. She asks him if he's going to thank her, and he says he'll pay her back some day. He heads for the door, but she tosses another card at him and suggests using the air vent instead. Merowlink returns to the garage and jumps into an APC. He blasts his way out of the base, and Dogman fires a bazooka at him. He orders his men to pursue Merowlink, but no one says a word. One of his officers asks about Plan Bang Doll, and Dogman insists that soldiers must be sacrificed. Keik tells Dogman he'll have to pursue Merowlink alone and settle things. Lulucy asks Dogman if he only fights opponents he knows he can beat. Dogman threatens to court-martial everyone as he takes off in his custom Scopedog. Merowlink waits in the open desert and watches as Dogman approaches. Dogman fires his machine gun, and Merowlink smears his face in blood when he's cut by a rock. Merowlink targets Dogman's Scopedog and blows off its left arm. Dogman chases Merowlink and receives further damage when he slides over a landmine. Merowlink climbs a hill and sets off one of the landmines. He then jumps over the hill in his motorcycle and sneaks up behind Dogman. Dogman fires, but Merowlink jumps onto the Scopedog and drives his pile banker into the cockpit before firing. At the base, Keik examines Dogman's cards and tells Lucy that she owes Merowlink because she would've lost to Dogman's hand.

 

Commentary

 

Merowlink begins with an air of mystery and poses many questions that will likely be answered later on. From what this episode tells us, Merowlink was an armor hunter and he was framed by Dogman (and others) for an incident involving large-scale jijirium theft. The question is, what was that jijirium stolen for? Was it out of Dogman's own greed, or was it perhaps for the Secret Society and their Perfect Soldier Project? Whatever the reason, Keik is investigating Dogman. With the corrupt Dogman dead, it looks like Keik will have to follow Merowlink around if he wants to find the truth. Although he seems young and inexperienced, Merowlink is certainly quite skilled to singlehandedly infiltrate a base and take on an AT with just an anti-AT rifle. Also, who is Lulucy exactly? If she has a reputation as a gambler, what's she doing in some backwater base in a desert?

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Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Merowlink Episode 1 Merowlink Episode 1

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