[update: chapters two and four turn out to be twice as long as one and three, so the next update will be a little while. Teaser: 「女の子同士なのに、なんでどきどきしてるのよ」. It seems the yuri is strong in this one.]
Prologue is Marika’s duel with Kane and their discussion after, with the only significant changes being the descriptions of the crew backing up Marika; Schnitzer’s appearance is apparently quite different. Amusing note: the two girls Kane is flirting with are referred to as “long-hair” and “short-cut”. Oh, and this might not be Marika’s first mission; the last line has her looking back to her life as an ordinary schoolgirl six months ago.
Chapter one opens much the same as the anime, with a lot more background detail due to the lack of moving pictures. There’s more of a crowd in the café, and Marika is a bit clumsy navigating her way through it after taking their order, leading Kane to call her a bit of a dojikko, which Misa thinks could be a problem; however, with a tray full of drinks, she navigates the crowd smoothly.
In conversation, Misa is much more direct, and Marika is a bit wary when she claims to be an old friend of mom. Misa doesn’t ask something as simple as “have you ever been to space?” and Marika doesn’t chat about the school yacht club or the relay station:
Misa: “Do you like space?”
Misa: “How about becoming a space pirate captain?”
Misa (correcting herself): “Are you interested in becoming the captain of a space ship?”
Marika (laughs and nods in appreciation of recognition of her aspiration): “Space ship captain? If I could have a space ship of my own someday, I could go wherever in space I wanted.”
Misa: “It’s possible, for you”.
At the house, much the same (including sign/countersign), with a few interesting notes. First, dad’s full name is given as Gonzaemon Kato Yoshiro (ゴンザエモン加藤芳郎), and several times Ririka refers to him familiarly as Gonza (権左). She also shows Marika a holo of him that’s stored in her pendant, and looks chagrined when Marika looks at his smug face and says (roughly) “I didn’t think this was your type”.
After the history lesson and explanation that the letter of marque makes them legal privateers, Marika still firmly refuses to accept the job. Why? Because if she did, she’d be forcing her own children down the same path, before she’s even found a partner. Shocked, Misa asks Ririka if this is really her child. Visibly proud of her daughter, Ririka assures Marika that neither she nor Gonzaemon believed in forcing her down this path; it’s her decision, of her own free will.
Ririka then asks Kane why he’s been so quiet. Pretty reticent for someone so young, hmm? He mumbles about how delicious the food is, but she presses, and he answers, “how could an ordinary guy like me cut in between our scarier-than-the-captain Bloody Doctor and the legendary Captain Ririka”. Marika freaks, Ririka looks chagrined again:
Marika: “Wait. The famous legendary lady pirate Captain Ririka was you, mom?”
Ririka: “I did a lot of crazy things when I was young.”
Marika: “Seriously, mom, you went rampaging around as an embarassing cosplay space pirate?”
(Misa busts out laughing)
Ririka: IT WASN’T COSPLAY! The business depended on popular favor, so wearing a flashy costume was just Service.
Marika: “Service? What kind of service are you saying pirates do?”
Misa (still laughing): “These days space piracy is a service industry. Sorry I can’t give you the details right now; trade secret.”
On a side note, Misa is absolutely terrified of Ririka’s cooking, which makes it all the more amusing when she reports that Gonzaemon died of food poisoning. When they’re leaving, Misa thanks her for the food and comments that she’d never thought she’d say that to Ririka, who answers that Gonzaemon always loved her cooking…
[on to chapter two!]
[note: it did not take me two weeks to read this chapter. Rather, it took two weeks of medical tests that failed to find the cause of my chronic fatigue, leaving little time and energy for reading. It’s surprisingly depressing to hear doctors and technicians keep telling you that every system’s in excellent shape, when just carrying your laundry upstairs has you breathing hard.]
So, the morning after the revelatory dinner party, Marika oversleeps and frantically bikes to school. To her surprise, Misa, in a conservative business suit, pulls up alongside and offers her a ride. Making a snap judgement to trust this near-stranger, Marika accepts, and without waiting for Misa to pull over, gets her bike close, opens the rear door, puts one foot up on the outside rail, and tumbles into the back seat, bike and all. A rather surprised Misa makes sure she’s okay, and as she drives, explains that with the piracy business on hold, she’s taken a side job as the school doctor (the current doctor suddenly took a long vacation…). Asked if she did it so she could persuade Marika to accept the captain job, Misa answers that no, she’s there to protect her.
So when Mami excitedly informs Marika that they have a new homeroom teacher, and he’s a good-looking young guy, Marika figures out that it will be Kane before he walks in. Transfer student Chiaki is still a surprise, and in another difference from the anime, she stumbles as she heads to her seat, with a quick-thinking Marika grabbing her sleeve and saving her from a nasty fall. Kane looks around to see if someone tripped her, but Chiaki straightens herself up and apologizes, explaining that she’s always had a problem with tripping over her own feet. As she continues to her seat, she whispers, “thank you, Marika-san”. Hey, wait, how did she know my name…(Continued on Page 4321)
(no, I have not magically finished book 1 and read 8 others recently. I’m almost through the first one, I’ve just been distracted by health issues. Also, it’s twice as long as a typical light novel, and considerably harder to read due to being actual science fiction, liberally peppered with accurate terminology, thanks to the author’s expertise writing non-fiction books on space)