May 13, 2012
It's clear now that Bentenmaru, and presumably the other pirates, get a fair amount of work because they are in a gray area legally. They offer "plausible deniability". They can, and will, take jobs for which there aren't really any more legitimate options. Bentenmaru also has a reputation for being trustworthy, and for doing quality work. And Marika is beginning to get a reputation for miracles...
Now Bentenmaru owns the Silent Whisper. It occurred to me that this opens them up for a lot of new kinds of jobs they couldn't do before. The Silent Whisper is a state-of-the-art spy plane, with terrifically sensitive sensors of various kinds. And word will get around, among the kinds of people who know and care about such stuff. Theirs is probably the one one in the galaxy not belonging to a government or a big corporation. Its services are now for hire, because that's the kind of thing Bentenmaru does.
"We need to do this but we don't want to do it officially." That describes about half the work Bentenmaru gets (not counting pirate theater), like meeting that Serenity fleet in ep 8. Bentenmaru can do things and keep them off the books. And they don't ask stupid questions, like "Why do you want to do this?"
So when someone, a company or a government, needs some snooping done, or wants to scout some place, they now can hire Bentenmaru to do it. It'll be rewarding work, too; Bentenmaru is going to charge high for those jobs. The Silent Whisper is a scarce resource and Misa knows what it's worth.
In ep 19, we see that the Silent Whisper takes a crew of two. The pilot sits in front, and the electronics guy sits in the back. When we saw it, Ai-chan was flying it and Grunhilde was in back, snooping on Marika.
When Bentenmaru uses it on a job, who do you think will end up being the crew?
I see pretty much three possibilities: Marika pilots, with Hyakume in the rear; Kane pilots with Marika in back, and Kane plus Hyakume.
Our experience so far is that Marika never sends anyone into danger without going herself. And she leads from the front. She always takes the most dangerous assignment herself, such as during the confrontation on the Golden Ghost Ship. It isn't in her to send someone out into danger without going herself. It doesn't fit her concept of her duty as captain.
That's why I lean towards the first choice: Marika pilots and Hyakume runs the electronics. He's their expert on sensors and snooping; he's the logical one for that position. Marika herself is a hot pilot, and if Ai-chan can fly the Silent Whisper, so can Marika.
The usual mission would be for Bentenmaru to carry Silent Whisper to near the mission point. Silent Whisper unloads and does the spying, then returns to Bentenmaru. If someone starts shooting at the Silent Whisper, Bentenmaru is nearby and can offer covering fire or other help (EW). In extreme situations, both ships jump and meet up somewhere else.
I think it unlikely that Silent Whisper would jump to the mission point. Silent Whisper is stealthed, but you can't disguise FTL activity. Whoever they're spying on will know that something just showed up. If they can't tell who, they're going to start searching.
But if there's an FTL jump touching down and then they see Bentenmaru way off in the distance (perhaps without recognizing it because its transponder is off), they may not suspect that the Silent Whisper is looking around.
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Also, I hate unsolicited suggestions and advice. (Even when you think you're being funny.)
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