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Original Tumblr Post: The Uncoordinated Counterattack
The Uncoordinated Counterattack
One of the things that fascinates me about the counterattack on the ark in Chapters 3-4 of TriMax Vol. 8 is, best we can tell, it’s not exactly a coordinated attack.
You have Luida and the people from Home timing their own attack to coincide with the attack from the Federation Military, but Home isn’t exactly talking with the Federation. Whether that’s because Knives already destroyed all communications or because Home wants to continue preserving their own isolation is anyone’s guess, but the point is they don’t have a Federation representative at their war table and they aren’t sending a runner or anything the Federation’s way. Their plan is just to show up at the right time and the right place.
Luida knows it’s a gamble. She’s taking it in hopes that Vash shows up, but it doesn’t seem like she knows what’s become of him. She suspects he’s been captured and/or is somehow fighting Knives on his own and needs their help, but she doesn’t know that. She’s just hoping that, if they give this their best effort, they’ll tip the scales in Vash’s favor so he can take care of the rest.
Except he can’t.
He’s being physically restrained, and seven months of constantly battling with Legato’s telekinesis has left him drained and weary. Even as the ark comes under attack, Vash remains stuck in his little oubliette, unable to do anything to help. Luida’s guessed much of the situation, but one thing she doesn’t know is they need a man on the inside to actually get Vash free.
We don’t have any real insight on how Wolfwood got on the ark at this point, so since the last place we saw him was fighting side-by-side (sort of) with Chapel and Livio, we kinda have to guess he’s still working with the Eye of Michael, especially since those two are shown to be on the ark, as well.
But that begs the question: why did Wolfwood wait so long to make his move?
I think Wolfwood kind of answers that himself as he goes up against Legato.
Wolfwood knows that, on any given day, Legato outmatches him, big time. If he’s gonna go after Legato and have even the smallest chance of success, he’s got to do it while he’s worn down.
Maybe seven months seems a bit excessive, but Legato isn’t Wolfwood’s only concern here. Aside from the Eye of Michael and Chapel, specifically, trying to make sure Wolfwood falls fully back under their influence, Wolfwood also has to worry about Elandira, who’s determined to see this through and outmatches him on a similar level to Legato. And then, of course, there’s Knives, who could not only make mincemeat of him as soon as look at him, but has the kind of keen awareness that makes it extremely difficult for anyone to do anything in his general vicinity without him noticing.
What Wolfwood needs is an opportunity. He needs a moment where not only is Legato worn down, but all three of the parties with their eye on him are distracted with other things.
We don’t really know what the Eye of Michael is up to before they show up to try and stop Wolfwood from escaping with Vash, but presumably they’re a bit distracted by the sudden fire the ark is coming under. Elandira is also distracted by the attack, but it doesn’t really become a focus for her until a fourth ally decides to make their move.
The Plants. All Knives’ sisters that he’s been absorbing take this very moment–while Knives is trying to defend the ark–to hit him with another vision, one of all the humans they remember. There’s a lot to take in with these people, but I want to focus on just one.
This lady here. At first glance, it might seem like she’s holding up a cloth of some kind, but if that’s the case, why isn’t the cloth bunched and draped where she’s holding it? No, this woman is cleaning the glass on the plant bulb, and smiling as she does it.
The plants are bombarding Knives with all their good memories of humans.
This takes Knives down so effectively that Elandira goes from having a light bit of fun to having to compensate for the defense and offense Knives is no longer providing. She’s good, but she’s not as powerful as Knives, so she’s a bit overtaxed trying to fill his role while he’s out of commission.
And that’s what clear’s the path for Wolfwood to finally make his move.
It’s difficult to say what exactly the Plants were thinking at this time. Their consciousness is a bit of a mystery to us as readers, and even to their brothers, who are the beings in the narrative that they are closest to. But I like to think they saw this opportunity to help their one brother and fight against the other, and they took it. It would explain why, when they showed their vision of the child and her mother thanking one of them, it was seen not only by Knives and Vash, but by Wolfwood.
But the one thing that really gets me is how this uncoordinated counterattack just flies in the face of Knives’ conclusion about humans in Chapter 2 of this same volume.
Knives concludes that if the strain he’s about to put on them just causes them to murder each other, then all they are good for is their own self-destruction. On the one hand, there’s been a LOT of death because of what he’s done, and a good chunk of it is absolutely due to human-on-human violence. But plenty of it is also due to exposure, with the bodies lying where they fell from exhaustion and heat and dehydration rather than due to infighting over what little was left.
When an organized chunk of humanity actually gets an idea of what’s going on (which is no small feat with their main source of communications destroyed), they don’t decide to hoard resources or thin the population further. They decide to put themselves at risk against superior technology to do their best to defend those who are left.
The Federation Military had no way of knowing they had help on the way. They weren’t planning for it or counting on it. Luida and the people from Home knew they risked their way of life and the continued preservation of their cryopods and their own resources if they helped, but they spent three months pulling every spare resource they could to build something that would help, and when they saw the opportunity to back up the Federation forces, they immediately decided to take it.
And Wolfwood… he probably could have lived out his days more simply (I hesitate to say “more easily,” since there’s nothing easy about what he does) if he’d just bowed his head and gone back to Eye of Michael. But he can’t just leave Vash there, even if it’s to save his own skin, even if chances of him making it out alive are slim.
When Knives takes away what slim resources humanity has, it absolutely causes more chaos and strife, but it also causes people to band together to do their best to look out for each other… for people they hold dear and for complete strangers they’ll never meet. Knives expects it to only bring out the worst, but it also brings out the best.
It’s that one thing Vash gets that his brother seems entirely incapable of seeing.