Chapter Nine

            A concealed door slid silently open, and three men stepped through it into the luxurious office. They looked remarkably like younger versions of the fourth man, already sitting behind the desk in that office. They had the same dark hair, the same dark eyes, the same high cheekbones, and the same strong nose, and for good reason.

            They crossed to the chairs arranged in a loose semicircle facing the desk and settled into them. One of them selected the chair in which one of the two women who'd just left had been seated, and the older man behind the desk smiled at them with remarkably little humor.

            "Well?" Albrecht Detweiler said after a moment, tipping back his own chair as he regarded the newcomers.

            "It would appear," the one who'd chosen the previously occupied chair said, in a voice which sounded eerily like Albrecht's, "that we've hit an air pocket."

            "Really?" Albrecht raised his eyebrows in mock amazement. "And what, pray tell, might have led you to that conclusion, Benjamin?"

            Benjamin showed very little sign of the sort of apprehension Albrecht's irony evoked in most of the people who knew of his existence. Perhaps that was because his own last name was also Detweiler . . . as was the last name of both of his companions, as well.

            "That was what's known as a prefatory remark, Father," he replied.

            "Ah, I see. In that case, why don't you go ahead and elucidate?"

            Benjamin smiled and shook his head, then leaned back in his chair.

            "Father, you know as well as I do — better than I do — that at least part of this is the result of how thoroughly we've compartmentalized. Personally, I think Anisimovna might have done a marginally better job if she'd known what our real objectives were, but that may be because I've been arguing for years now that we need to bring more of the Strategy Council fully inside. As it is, though, I think her and Bardasano's analysis of what went wrong in Talbott is probably essentially accurate. No one could have allowed for the sort of freak occurrence which apparently led this Terekhov into stumbling across the connection to Frontier Security and Monica. Nor, I think, could anyone have legitimately expected him to launch some sort of unauthorized preemptive strike even if they'd expected him to uncover whatever it was he uncovered. And, unlike us, Anisimovna didn't have our latest appreciation on Manty capabilities. Let's be honest — what they did to Monica's new battlecruisers surprised even us, and she didn't have as much inside information as we did to begin with. Besides that, she didn't know that what we really wanted all along was for Verrochio and Frontier Fleet to get reamed, even if we did plan for it to happen considerably later in the process. If Bardasano had been allowed to tell her everything, it's possible — not likely, but possible — that the two of them could have designed in a fallback position for something like this."

            He shrugged.

            "Things like this happen sometimes. It's not exactly as if it's the first time it's happened to us, after all. The fact that Pritchart was able to turn what happened into an opening wedge for this summit of hers is a lot more painful, of course, but we've had at least a few other setbacks which have been at least as severe. The thing that makes this one smart as much as it does is that we're moving into the endgame phase, and that reduces our margin to recover from missteps. Which," he added just a bit pointedly, "is one reason I think we may need to reconsider how tightly we do compartmentalize things."

            Albrecht frowned. It was a less than fully happy expression, yet it was a thoughtful frown, not an angry one. His reputation (among those who knew he existed at all) for ruthlessness was well-deserved, and he'd carefully cultivated a matching reputation for the shortness and ferocity of his temper. That second reputation, however, was more useful than accurate.

            "I understand what you're saying, Ben," he said, after a moment. "God knows you've said it often enough!"

            A grin robbed his last sentence of any potential air of complaint, but then the grin faded back into thoughtfulness.

            "The problem is that the onion's served us so well for so long," he said. "I'm not prepared to just throw all of that away, especially when the consequences if anyone we decide has the need to know screws up could be so severe. It's one of those 'if it isn't broken, don't fix it' sort of things."

            "I'm not suggesting 'throwing it away,' Father. I'm only suggesting . . . peeling it back a little for the people trying to coordinate and carry out critical operations. And I agree with you that we shouldn't fix things that aren't broken, as a general rule. Unfortunately, I think there's a possibility that it is broken — or, at least, sufficiently inefficient to be getting dangerous — in this regard," Benjamin pointed out respectfully but firmly, and Albrecht grimaced at the validity of the qualification. It was entirely possible Benjamin was right, after all.

            The problem with a conspiracy embracing a multi-century schedule, he reflected, was that nobody, however gifted at skulduggery and paranoia they might be, could operate on that scale for that long without having the occasional operational faux pas stray into sight. So the approach which had been adopted by the Mesan Alignment all those centuries ago had been to establish what one of Albrecht's direct ancestors had christened the "onion strategy."

            So far as the galaxy at large was aware, the planet Mesa was simply an outlaw world, home to ruthless and corrupt corporations from throughout the Solarian League's huge volume. Not a member of the League itself, Mesa nonetheless had lucrative contacts with many League worlds, which protected it and its "outlaw" owners from Solarian intervention. And, of course, the worst of the outlaws in question was none other than Manpower Inc., the galaxy's leading producer of genetic slaves, which had been founded by Leonard Detweiler the better part of six hundred T-years before. There were others, some of them equally disreputable and "evil" by other peoples' standards, but Manpower was clearly the standardbearer for Mesa's incredibly wealthy — and thoroughly corrupt — elite. And Manpower, equally clearly, was ruthlessly determined to protect its economic interests at any cost. Any and all of its political contacts, objectives, and strategies were obviously subordinated to that purpose.

            Which was where the "onion" came in. Although Albrecht himself had often thought it would have been more appropriate to describe Manpower as the stage magician's left hand, moving in dramatic passes to fix the audience's attention upon it while his right hand performed the critical manipulation the Alignment wanted no one else to notice.


About Eric Flint

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30 Responses to STORM FROM THE SHADOWS — snippet 35

  1. Maria says:

    I knew it. We were about due to hear from the other side, so to speak. :)

  2. Of course, they have not quite yet learned that putting the invincible Solarian League Navy in position to defend Mesa against Manticore may not be entirely effective.

    Except as a target training exercise for junior Manticorian officers.

  3. Mike says:

    Actually, when I try to peer through the excess verbage, it looks to me like he is about to reveal that Mesa wants Manticore to heavily damage the Solarians, rather then the other way around. This is probably so that Mesa can take over the Solarian League or else accomplish some similar Evil Overlord(TM) overreaching goal.

  4. rickthomaskorea says:

    In Crown of Slaves something was mentioned about splintering the Solarian League. This may be referencing that.

  5. Alistair says:

    I just read at all costs again

    with the home fleet and 3rd fleet gone what chance does the Manties stand in stopping an invasion from the league?

    It seems to me that there only chance would be for a quick knock out blow maybe through beowolf terminus to Sol because once the Sollies got there act together.

    Yet with the war between haven and Mantcore still going on and there main fleets destroyed they have no quick reaction force left (8th fleet is now home fleet.) meaning that they would take a year or two rebuild during that time the Sollies with there 2000 systems would bury them (How will DW get them out of this?)

  6. Tony says:

    Methinks we know next to nothing about the motives of the Bad Guys at this point.

    We only know that their cover story is evil (Manpower Inc.) which kinda makes sure that they themselves are also evil.

  7. af says:

    I wonder if they’re being controlled by aliens :)

  8. Elim Garak says:

    This chapter sounds a bit disjointed. What secret door? What women were in those chairs? Is it a jump from the previous book, or a reference to a scene in several chapters (and therefore months) ago?

  9. Jeff says:

    Earlier snippets referenced how the Mesans would be the ‘future Masters’ of people. I bet they’ve been doing a fair amount of tweaking on their own genome.

    I also agree they’re going to make some kind of power grab.

    I wonder if they’ve ‘programmed’ the slaves in some way to kill the weasels who own them. Decapitate the most ‘corrupt’ worlds and step into the chaos…

  10. cedarcreekreader says:

    Although it’s snippet 35 here, over at the Jiltanith site, it was chapter 8, maybe the start of 9 by later today. Can’t remember a DW book which kept the main character offstage for so many opening chapters.

    Guess this book may be Michell Henke’s, not Aivers Terekhov’s.

  11. fester says:

    Alistair — the issue you are looking at is a timing issue and it is a small issue, especially given what we were just told in last week’s snippets — Henke gets the 106th during the end of April/early May 1921 PD, which is roughly 16 months after the start of Thunderbolt. We know that the RMN laid down as many wallers as they could afford to build as soon after Thunderbolt as they could. We also know that the RMN normal build time for an SD-P is between 22 and 24 months, so assuming normal practices, those wallers would be six to eight months from being launched. However we were just told by Adm. Cortez that significant corner cutting has been engaged in so build times are getting compressed by a decent percentage and the first war emergency wallers are now being launched.

    The Battle of Manticore happened in August 1921, or roughly 21 months from the start of the War. We now know that a the war emergency wave is entering the Fleet in decent numbers at this time. We also know that any large invasion force from the Solarian League either has to go through Beowulf or take a 6 month hyper space journey to get to Manticore. If that attack force was launched 10 days after the Battle of Manticore, that force is not arriving at Manticore Binary until January/February 1922 PD — by that time, most of the war emergency wave will be on active duty and might actually be worked up and competent for defensive operations. 8th Fleet’s core of veteran ships will be then available for offensive operations again.

  12. JN says:

    This is the first truly new tidbit in the book so far. Up to this point, in all the stories, Manpower/Mesa has been acting in its local and near term interests. Now we get hints of a vastly more comprehensive plan, spanning, not generations, but centuries. There can only be one thing worth that kind of effort: taking over the Solarian league, substantially in its entirety.

    To this you have to add the known factors about the Solarian government, and its bureaucracy. The main governement is essentially powerless to act, while the bureaucracies are thoroughly corrupt, and we now know why. Detweiler and company intend to break the League government, and put it back together again, with themselves in total control.

    On another front, it is obvious that DW wants to form an alliance between the reconstituted Haven Republic and Manticore. The brewing thrust by Detweiler will force a repost, by both Haven and Manticore, which will force them closer, and eventually together.


  13. Dave says:

    Alistair – following up on Fester’s point, the important thing to remember is that due to the new RMN construction coming online that Fester’s talking about, the IAN finishing their initial build of 110 SDPs (the first few dozen got tweaked to handle first-gen RMN pods, the second few dozen are most of 8th fleet’s wall of battle, another two dozen or so are expected Real Soon Now, and the rest should be finished within six months), and the normal 2 or so SDPs a month from Grayson, the Alliance should be adding over 250 SDPs to its wall of battle in the next six months, all Apollo-capable. And unless putting an Apollo system defense pod network in place takes a lot longer than I think it does, the Manticore binary system’s net should be up by then, too.

  14. Chuck says:

    I doubt Detweiler wants to have the Manties & the Republic join forces-else why the assassination of Jim Webber that stalled the Pritchart-Winton summit?
    I suspect they want to be the heroes that will save the league from total chaos and lead a crusade against the evil barbarians from the outer sectors. Of course that requires a degree of Chaos in the league to begin with, ideally caused by said barbarians.

  15. Robert Krawitz says:

    I don’t think Detweiler wants *any* kind of pitched battle between the Solarians and Manticore at this point. That would only draw attention to why Monica had the Solaris BCs at all (there’s a big difference between a rogue official in OFS doing a little self-dealing and outright Solarian involvement), and that trail would only lead places the Ancient Illuminated Seers of Mesa want to keep well-hidden. Given a choice between evils, Haven would rather deal with Manticore than with Sol, and vice versa — they’re both pretty much known quantities, and mysterious happenings out of Sol might just convince Elizabeth that there really is something going on behind the scenes.

    Mesa is certainly not ready to take on an alliance of Manticore, Haven, Anderman, and Torch. However, they’re certainly ready to sow terror and confusion that points elsewhere, and no combination of SDs and Apollo platforms will block those.

    @Chuck — (re)read _AAC_ to get an answer to your question.

  16. BD says:

    Hi all. I’m normally a lurker, but this snippet seemed very familiar and I finally tracked this down and the subsequent three snippets (next at the bottom of each page).

    All dated 23 May – snippets “One” and “Four” are repeated here, “Three” is probably comming up shortly but I suspect “Two” may be of the most interest… alhtough I haven’t read all of your comments yet so htey may have coem up before…

  17. D says:

    “8. This chapter sounds a bit disjointed. What secret door? What women were in those chairs? Is it a jump from the previous book, or a reference to a scene in several chapters (and therefore months) ago?

    Comment by Elim Garak ”

    It’s following on from a scene in one of the other books. I think it was in “At All Costs” however the meeting the women were attending was about the events in “The Shadow of Saganami”. This book follows on from tSoS, but starts around the middle of AAC. They all weave together to form the big picture.

  18. Alistair says:

    Thanks for your comments on the construction that is coming through… it should even the score particularly with some solly tech that there “wall” has is still only a little better than 1st Haven War.

    Still Once the sollies copy the new tech and churn out there own “emergency production” it will be a bit like the ww2 Japan vs US US got a bloody Nose or two but was able to eventually get it’s manifacturing base turned around and crush the fairly competent Japan Navy

  19. catboy says:

    hay bd I rembmer that websit.

  20. First, I suspect there’s no fear of a Solarian fleet bury the Empire under within a timeframe of 12 months. Inertia, red tape and everything that make Solarian foreign policies ineffective also make quick concerted military strategies impossible. Some squadrons under some military officers may react fast enough but that’s at level of small fleet (taskforce or equivalent), not enough to threaten Home System. To escalate the war, yes, but not much else.

    Second, it’s not as if The League is some peaceful federation that can free up a large enough force to act in case of emergency. This is no United States here. I suspect it’s quite like Roman Empire. Even at the peak of Pax Romana, when they got 40 Legions they can always wish for one more, since every legions they got had to cover some certain provinces, not as free to move as they wish. These thousands of planets or member systems are not universally peacful to not require some fleets or legions station here and there for “peace-keeping”. Withdraw them and rebellion at system level can occur.

    Will they risk internal rebellion just to crush some little upstart empires on the fringe. I dont think so.

  21. MadMcAl says:

    “Rear Admiral Michelle Henke was commanding one of the ships in a force led by Honor Harrington in an all-out space battle. The odds were against the Star Kingdom forces, and they had to run. But Michelle’s ship was crippled, and had to be destroyed to prevent superior Manticoran technology from falling into Havenite hands, and she and her surviving crew were taken prisoner. Much to her surprise, she was repatriated to Manticore, carrying a request for a summit conference between the leaders of the two sides which might end the war. But a condition of her return was that she gave her parole not to fight against the forces of the Republic of Haven until she had been officially exchanged for a Havenite prisoner of war, so she was given a command far away from the war’s battle lines. What she didn’t realize was that she would find herself on a collision course, not with a hostile government, but with the interstellar syndicate of criminals known as Manpower. And Manpower had its own plans for eliminating Manticore as a possible threat to its lucrative slave trade, deadly plans which remain hidden in the shadows.”

    That is the book-description on amazon.

    About the “upcomming war”, remember that it will be really hard for the bureaucracys of the SL to actually begin an full out war.
    A full out war would actually go against their grain. They did everything for centuries to stay under the radar of the puplic to avoid close scrutinys. If the involved bureaucracys manage to start the war, even if they crush the manticorean alliance, it will be very hard for them to dive under the radar again. So the internal fights per bureaucracy before the war even begins to emerge will be long and tedious.
    This bureaucracys are sprawled over the whole league, so even an simple voting of the important people will take months. The negotiations some months more. So I would say that it will be arround at least a year before the first bureaucracy begins with the spin doctoring to start an whole out war.
    Then they will have to convince the people that an war is the only possible solution. Remember that the invincibility of the SL is for everyone simply a fact. There is absolute no question that the SL is invincible. So it will take some very heavy work on the side of the bureaucracy to prove the population that this shitty little self-proclaimed empire and its shitty little allied are actually a danger to the SL.
    At the same time the SLN has to begin and actually invest its R&D-budget into R&D instead of into the pockets of the Officers and the representatives of the weapon manufactors, wich would be an very hard step.
    So now we have arround 2 years for the Mantys and the Havenits to realize that the SL is beginning to start a war.
    At the beginning of this the RHN sees itself eye-to-eye with arround 250 Apollo cappable SD(P)’s.
    And we allready know that Theisman has no hope to overcome this technological advantage. Maybe Shanon can actually build something. But the chances are against it.
    So if the SL begins breeding the war, the RH will propably desperately begin to negotiate with the mantys.
    So now 2 years of more or less desperate expansion of the allied fleets (with building times of 18-20 month per SD(P) normaly) will provide the alliance with between 750 and 1000 SD(P)’s. All Apollo-cappable.
    Now the bureaucracys in the SL begin the real campaigning for the war. They have to overcome some very harsh obstacles.
    Upmost front of course Beowulf. Beowulf was always on very friendly terms with the star kingdom.
    So lets say the war-efforts begin after 6 month of campaigning.
    Another 150-250 SD(P)’s.
    Until now the only units committed where from the frontier fleet.
    So nothing above a BC.
    Still everything under the radar of the solarian population.
    And, considering the sheer size of the frontier fleet, relative few units, thanks to the allready mentioned mass of area to defend.
    So the SLN has absolutely no idea what Apollo would mean.
    In the meantime, the alliance has accepted that there is no way to avoid the confrontation, and began extensive planning for this war.
    In effect, the alliance plans the attack on every (of the few) capital military shipyard the SL has.
    The moment they learn of the start of the war, this attacks go into motion.
    Arround 4-6 month later begin the first great battles with ships of the wall. With a slightly onesided outcome.
    Now the SLN realizes the worth of MDM’s, SD(P)’s, CLAC’s (with Next-Gen-LAC’s on board), and of course Apollo.
    It begins an frantic R&D to get this things.
    MDM’s require new wallers, regardless if tube-waller or pod-layer, thanks to the MDM-size.
    Even now the admirals that have not faced them will be a bit unwilling to belive the efficiency of the SD(P)’s, so there will be an MDM-tubewaller-design and an SD(P)-design. We know that the RMN (at the moment most propably the best warship-designers) took several years from the knowlege that the SD(P) was an potential force multiplicator over the first design to the first begin of the building. We also know that the RMN (in its instance as the at this moment best capital war ship builder) in its established hard yards needs 18 month to build a known SD(P)-class. We don’t know how long the SL will need, and (if the strategic planers of the RMN are worth their salt we will never find out) how long the established capital ship yards of the SL need to build an SD(P).
    But the only logical step for the alliance would be that THAT is the moment to commerce a Sanskrit-style deep penetration raid for this few shipyards.
    And that will hamper the SLN’s ability to fight the alliance seriously.
    Remember, at this moment there will be 1800 SLN-SD’s against 900-1250 Apollo-cappable SD(P)’s.
    And the alliance has good apollo-defended shipyards to build additional SD(P)’s. Shipyards the SLN no longer has.
    Of course the SL will use its numerous civilian shipyards with the neccessary size to build new SD(P)’s.
    So what?
    This shipyards have done nothing than to build freighters. And as we know solarian freighter-designs have been relative stable for a bit…
    The shipbuilders will have absolutely no experience with war ships. Along with the shipyards there will be a good sized part of the weapon-manufactorys, component-manufactorys and what not on warship-building infrastructure simply gone.
    So instead of 24 month (a in my opinion rather flattering guess) buildtime of an SD(P) the SL is now faced with 36 month, more likely 48 month shipbuilding time.
    36 month the alliance will use to convince as many of this ex-civilian yards to stop building SD(P)’s.
    36 month the alliance will use to build additional 1000-1250 SD(P)’s.
    Build them in its Apollo-covered shipyards, so that even the massive frontier fleet will be unable to do much damage.

  22. Mike says:

    “Then they will have to convince the people that an war is the only possible solution. Remember that the invincibility of the SL is for everyone simply a fact. There is absolute no question that the SL is invincible. So it will take some very heavy work on the side of the bureaucracy to prove the population that this shitty little self-proclaimed empire and its shitty little allied are actually a danger to the SL.
    At the same time the SLN has to begin and actually invest its R&D-budget into R&D instead of into the pockets of the Officers and the representatives of the weapon manufactors, wich would be an very hard step.”

    Sounds kind of like 2003.

  23. bfticardi says:

    Ok out of lurk mode…

    First off, big fleets require lots of manpower to, well, man them. Both RH and RMN have just lost a combined million or so experienced space personnel in their fleets. That will take a LONG time to replace. Ships they can build, but manning them, even with automation advances, will still take time to train up.

    I expect that in both fleets there will be a lot of fast tracked promotions of junior enlisted and junior officers into positions they have to grow into. The problem being that if you promote too many to fill out your manning rosters for the new builds you dilute your experienced ship companies and degrade your ships of experienced personnel. Takes time to train someone into a role of senior enlisted or officer…many decades in fact to teach them to be good in their jobs. So as I see it, you’re going to have manning issues limiting the size of your fleets in the short term for both Haven and Manticore. The Andies and Greysons less of a problem, since they haven’t lost so many personnel, but still there is a limit on their trained personnel well also.

    The Sollies though will have it hardest since it will take them longer to get organized for training up a lot of fleet personnel for new builds than the alliance will, and they have to motivate the populace harder than it will take the alliance.

    Other issues…money. If the Manties go to war with the Sollies, then there goes half their trade probably and a lot of their revenue from that for paying for a military buildup. Also Haven is still trying to rebuild its infrastructure after centuries of Legislaturist run down. How’s their budget for a long war? The Andies and Greyson, again, would probably do better at paying for a relative increase in their fleets than the others due to a more centralized political system, but they’ll eventually get strained too.

    Remember, by WWII end even the US was strained financially…we cut back on war production in 1944 too…and Britain was in the poor house for decades afterwards. They didn’t go off rationing for two years AFTER the end of the war!

    Lastly, you have war weariness for the cause. Democracies have a harder time than autocratic governments in sustaining a long war, but eventually every nation hits a wall where the populace is no longer eager or happy to contribute to the war. A lot of this has to do with casualties. The more you lose, the harder it is to get any more “volunteers” or “eager recruits” for the war effort.

    At the end of “At All Costs” the Mantie populace was motivated and happy scared, so they would probably do anything to help out the war effort, kind of like us after 9/11. Wait until the “telegrams” or whatever method the Manties use to notify next of kin about their losses starts up after a battle where hundreds of thousands of lives were lost in an afternoon. Then you’ll probably get a lot of grumbling and sadness…definite start to war weariness. Yep imagine whole blocks of married housing, whole groups of spacemen’s wives and mothers, fathers and assorted relatives all finding out at once that their loved ones have died. News faxes with stories about whole communities in Gryphon or Styx wailing over high percentage losses of their loved ones. Yep, lots of war weariness coming on in a short time frame. I wouldn’t like to be a public information officer in the Mantie navy then!

    Well there’s my lurker breakout, back to lurking. ;-)

  24. MadMcAl says:

    Interesting point of view.
    But not the real important. The RMN has lost awfully lot experience. But most experience from the first havenite war was lost to them through the scale-down of the Janaceck-admiralty. They are in the civic sector.
    Also, think about the time-frame I gave. That are 3 1/2 years. In 3 1/2 years you can build up the newly aquired regions quite a bit.
    Schooling and basic technology for example.
    3 years where enough for Grayson to lay down its own very first SD’s.
    So we can assume that the (loyality tested) Silesians and Talbottians will be there to be trained for the war.
    Oh, and about the numbers of crew… remember that in the first havenite war, fortress command bound several million people.
    You can man 800 Medusa-B’s with that.
    The Graysons may be at the very limit they can man, even with the automation, but the Andermani have an relative great pool.
    We don’t know how their ships go with automation, but they are the ones in the alliance still with large tube-waller-fleets.

    And my numbers came from the alliance at it is now. If we consider haven as member of the alliance then the numbers are off.
    With enough technological help from manticore the RH will get to the point to build manticorean classes, maybe a lot slower but much more of them.
    This would at least double the SD(P)-numbers.
    About the trade, well, yes, you are right to an extend.
    But there are some points that speaks against it.
    1. The verge will still trade with the RMM, as will many member-worlds of the league.
    2. The rebuilding of the Haven-sector gives enormous possibilitys of trade. IF there where no shooting war and no tech limitations than the Trade between Manticore and Haven would on one hand rebuild the RH so much faster and on the other hand help finance the war.
    3. Not every deep strike into the republik should be a raid. Some systems, and most importantly Sigma Draconis have to be taken.
    In the case of Beowulf propably on very friendly terms, saying “Sorry, we don’t want to do that, but you are part of the SL, and we are at war. So if you would be so good and park your warships over there, then we will evacuate the crews and officially take controll over the system. Is that all right?” but they HAVE to have Beowulf. So they have an trade-partner there.
    Also they have an (hastily fortified) bridge head into the hearth of the league (making the raids so much easier).

  25. Philby says:

    1st: Rationing in Britain did not actually end until 1953, eight years after the war ( I know, irrelevant).
    2nd: We have to stop seeing the SL as a cohesive unit. I rather think it is a house of cards. There are wealthy, poor, moral and immoral systems. The divisions between even the OFS are glaring, with one system commander supporting the Torch rebellion while others are in Mesa’s pocket. If Manticore and the League get into a shooting war I think we will see the fracture of the SL and possible civil war. All bets are off.

  26. lisablue says:

    Does Michelle Henke have any romantic interests, what about Terenkov?

  27. Mike says:

    He’s married, remember? She seems to be available, though.

  28. Mike says:

    But it’s tough for the admiral in charge of the squadron to hook up with someone who is not in her own chain of command.

  29. Tony says:

    One thing I am wondering about is the time frame in which the book occurs and in particular related to CoS II….
    Because there is ONE thing we know for sure from AAC, and that is that Victor Cachat and Anton Zilwicki are lurking behind enemy lines, looking for proof of Mesa conniving the Webster Assassination (plus that of Queen Berry, and the attempt on Honor herself…)
    I wouldn’t be surprised to have both books ending roughly at the same point of the story, leading to a new book in the “main series” right away.

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