scimitarsmile (scimitarsmile) wrote in fm_alchemist,

random thoughts thought I'd raise here, too

Got back this evening, and where did all this EMAIL come from? Gyah. Had time to think, though, while driving, so thought I'd crosspost these musings from my journal to here, to see what other folks have to say. I've seen through ep.22 - will be downloading the rest of 23 tomorrow - so if you've seen ahead or read ahead, please don't spoil me. If, however, all you have is speculation, that I'd love to hear.

In episode 22, there's the funny moment where Roy protests not having screen time. Ah, okay, amusing, but I don't think that was in there to be funny per se - Arakawa's better than that. I mean, the story's too tight, and of course, the timeframe is short. So, one would expect, in this circumstance, that the first person Hughes would call would be Fullmetal's commanding officer, right? Instead, we get Hughes saying that he doesn't need to tell Roy just yet. I wonder if having Roy actually on the phone - IOW, right there, and accessible - underlines Hughes' reluctance to tell Roy.

There could be two reasons - one that didn't occur to me until reading Ravenwood's latest short in which she posits Roy's unexpected behaviors (like challenging Scar in the pouring rain) are the result of that infamous control cracking. Damn the torpedoes, all that. So there's the possibility that Hughes didn't tell Roy because Roy's reaction might've been to go off, risk everything to continue protecting the kid. Not because of an emotional reason, but because (at this point) Fullmetal is a handy tool for Roy, and has gained him many points. The corrollary to that side is that Roy might've refused to do a damn thing, and insisted that Hughes wouldn't, either.

But the one that occured to me, on the way up and the way back, is that Hughes didn't tell Roy because it would've put Roy in a position of questioning loyalties that Hughes doesn't think Roy can handle having questioned.

See, I noticed the fact that the Fuhrer (man, I hate that translation - I'd much prefer Leader or Commandant) appears suddenly in the hallway, and Hughes doesn't say, "we were just coming to get you," but... "oops, sorry, didn't mean to wake you!" Hughes wasn't planning on including the Commandant, and Hughes also seems to be the only one lacking a starry expression when Bradley announces he'll lead the charge to save the two young alchemists. Fact is, Hughes looks downright suspicious.

That got me thinking. See, it's been bugging me. All these years, Mustang has kept the secret of Marcoh's disappearance. When he goes to Bradley to essentially turn himself in for protecting a deserter, Bradley says he supported Mustang's actions, and would not censure him for it. Now, given that Marcoh had such knowledge in his head (as became apparent by episodes 21-22), it seems unlikely that any intelligent leader worth his salt would happily lose such a resource unless it got him something in return.

Bradley may not be an alchemist, but the name of the game in politics is equivalent trade, too. So if Marcoh's desertion achieved only one thing - the development of Mustang from a wide-eyed, shellshocked young soldier into someone who watched his cards carefully and kept his own secrets - then perhaps this result is the gain Bradley was seeking in return for letting Marcoh go. After all, Bradley says clearly that he was aware of what Mustang had done. And Mustang's been up-to-date on Marcoh's location, so it stands to reason (to me) that Bradley may have been equally aware but chose to keep quiet for some reason. And I don't think treating it as a test of Mustang's loyalty - would he, or would he not, say something - really works. After all, Mustang doesn't speak up until all cards on the table and he has no other choice. If that's all, Bradley only gained the knowledge that Mustang honors his promises, which I'd expect would be patently obvious by this point in a hundred other dealings with Mustang, and the issue with Marcoh, then, is a waste.

Unless what Bradley was counting on was two-fold. One, Mustang went from naif to calculating, and is now a dedicated and dangerous ally/soldier, as a result of the belief that he must protect something/someone. Two, Mustang transferred his loyalty to Bradley, as a result of hearing that Bradley supported his actions. If Bradley had said, "I didn't agree, but it's water under the bridge," that's one thing - and it would've put Bradley in Grahn's camp, in terms of his priorities. But by saying he was secretly supporting Mustang, I wonder if Bradley said/did that solely to get Mustang to feel in debt to him and/or shift loyalty to him.

Previously, if Bradley had needed to jerk Mustang's chain, he could've raised the issue of Marcoh (since clearly he knew about it) and yanked Mustang into line with that threat. That's what I think might've been part of the idea, but once Mustang stepped forward and said something about it, Bradley could maneuver into a different where Mustang is grateful, surprised, and pleased to find his honor and Bradley's honor were on the same track. Mustang definitely sounded a bit more respectful of Bradley when he spoke to Hawkeye in the hallway...hard to tell if that was lacking, previously.

Granted, Mustang's original goal was to run the military, but that was before this exchange, wasn't it? Hmm, I think so. I seem to recall the bit about miniskirts was early in episode 13, when Roy's dealing with the fact that he's being told to fight Edward. But the discussion between Roy and Bradley occurs near the end of the episode, and I don't recall Roy speaking of his goals since then, so it's hard to determine if he's still hoping to replace Bradley...or if he's shifting his position to support Bradley as a result of this new information that Bradley is allegedly one of the good guys.

So there's a part of me that's thinking that Hughes wasn't willing to mention it to Roy, suspecting Roy might automatically follow the chain of command and alert his commanding officer - who I'm pretty sure is probably the Commandant. And I'd be willing to bet that Hughes wanted to get into the lab and get what information he could, without having to deal with the Commandant's troops destroying all the evidence.

Ah, I'll stop here. Need sleep... ;D

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