She paused as Adenauer half-raised a hand.

            "Yes, Dominica?"

            "It sounds like you're saying all the Agamemnons are being retained here at the front, Ma'am."

            "That's exactly what I am saying," Michelle agreed. "The Nikes were designed for this sort of duty from the beginning. We're bigger than the Agamemnons, we've got larger crews, and we've got more Marines. And we're not a pod design. Unlike us, the Agamemnons can load their pods with all-up Mark 23s, whereas we're limited to the Mark 16."

            Adenauer nodded, although it was evident she didn't see exactly why that was particularly significant, given the traditional battlecruiser's role and tactical doctrine. Then again, Commander Adenauer knew even less about a fire control system called Apollo than then-Rear Admiral Henke had known prior to the Battle of Solon . . . and considerably less than Vice Admiral Henke hoped to know about it in about two days' time.

            And this isn't the time to tell her about it, either, Michelle thought.

            "I'm sure another aspect of the Admiralty's thinking is that the Havenites have MDMs of their own, whereas the Sollies — as far as all of our intelligence sources know, at any rate — don't. The new laser head modifications are going to turn the Mark 16 into a much heavier hitter, and if we do find ourselves in a shooting situation with the Sollies, the Mark 16 is also going to outrange anything they've got. Which, unfortunately, is not the case where Haven is concerned."

            Adenauer nodded again, this time more firmly, and Michelle shrugged.

            "Unless present plans change — and Lord knows they're entirely likely to do just that — we'll be seeing a total of at least two and probably three squadrons of Nikes in the Cluster within the next few months. And, also unless present plans change, those squadrons will be integrated into a new fleet, designated Tenth Fleet. My understanding is that Vice Admiral Khumalo will remain Talbott Station SO, and that the entire Cluster will be integrated into that station. Tenth Fleet will be his primary naval component, and Achilles will become Tenth Fleet's flagship when it's formally activated."

            Cynthia Lecter's eyes widened, and Michelle restrained an urge to chuckle at her expression. Michele's own expression when Cortez and First Space Lord Caparelli had sprung that additional little surprise upon her had been considerably more flabbergasted than Lecter's was.

            From prisoner-of-war to fleet commander in one easy jump, she thought. What would life be like without these little surprises to keep us on our toes?

            "That's, ah, the first I've heard of that, Ma'am," Captain Armstrong said after a moment, and Michelle snorted softly.

            "I did say plans are likely to be subject to change, Captain," she pointed out. "Despite that caveat, however, I also have to say Admiral Caparelli and Admiral Cortez made it quite clear they don't expect this particular plan to change. The reason I'm mentioning it at this point is that we all need to be thinking outside the 'single-squadron' box. That's where our thinking has to be right now, of course, for a lot of reasons, but I want all of us to remember what's coming at us from the other side of the horizon. Not just because of its implications for our own responsibilities, either. When we begin interacting with the Talbotters — and, for that matter, with any Sollies in the vicinity — it should be with the understanding that in a very short time you people are going to be the staffers and flag captain, respectively, not of a single battlecruiser squadron, but of an entire fleet. We need to be careful about the sort of relationships we establish with the Talbotters, and we need to be both firm and cautious from the outset where the Sollies are concerned."

            Heads nodded soberly, and she nodded back.

            "In addition to the purely military dimensions of our duties in Talbott," she continued, "there are the diplomatic dimensions. At the moment, unfortunately, our military and diplomatic responsibilities are rather . . . intimately interwoven, one might say. Not only that, but the entire Quadrant is in a transitional stage. We're still going to be involved in what are essentially diplomatic missions, even though officially all of the ratifying star systems are now member systems of the Star Empire of Manticore."

            She wondered for a moment if those last four words sounded as bizarre to the others as they still did to her.

            "It's going to take some time for them to settle into their new relationships with one another and with us," she went on. "While that's happening, we're still going to be acting much more in the role of someone refereeing disputes between independent entities. At the same time, however, we have to act in a fashion which clearly indicates that as far as we're concerned, the annexation is an accomplished fact. And it's just as important we indicate that to the star systems — and the navies — of anyone who hasn't ratified the new constitution. I'm thinking in particular of systems like New Tuscany, but that also applies to the Office of Frontier Security and to the Solarian League in general.

            "And, of course, in our copious free time, we'll be doing all those other little things navies do. Chasing down pirates, interdicting the slave trade and generally making ourselves pains where those bastards on Mesa are concerned, updating charts, surveying for dangers to navigation, rendering assistance to ships in distress, disaster relief, and anything else that comes along.

            "Any questions?"

            The other five officers looked at one another speculatively for several seconds, then returned their attention to her.

            "I think that's all reasonably clear, Ma'am," Armstrong told her. "Please note that I didn't say that it sounds easy, just that it's clear," she added.

            "Oh, believe me, Captain, any suspicion I might have cherished that the Admiralty, in the kindness of its heart, was trying to find some simple, uncomplicated billet for a recently released prisoner-of-war to fill went right out the airlock at Admiral Givens' first briefing. And I'm sure that, after tomorrow's briefing, the rest of you are going to be just as well aware as I am of the dimensions of the job waiting for us. Mind you, getting to play with all of the new ships as they become available is going to be fun, I'm sure. Unfortunately, this time around, one other thing I'm sure of is that we're all going to be earning our pay."



About Eric Flint

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32 Responses to STORM FROM THE SHADOWS — snippet 41

  1. lkan says:

    …So lots of Nikes… and what of the super and dreadnaughts at Lynx? Shouldn’t the flagship be one of them? Or are Lynx and Lynx Terminus still separate in administration from Talbot Station and Talbot Cluster?

  2. Karsten says:

    So it seems to be. Khumalo gets what should be the core of the new 10th Fleet (all vessels down of wallers) with Henke as CO to cover the quadrant – the Terminus itself, though, seems to be a totally different kettle of fish.

  3. ErikM says:

    The Lynx contingent guarding the wormhole terminus there probably aren’t organic part of tenth fleet but detachments from home fleet to be recalled at need. Remember that the cluster worlds themselves are at least a day or so away from the terminus and tenth fleet will be attached to the cluster, not the terminus.

  4. baldbastard2 says:

    so it looks like tenth fleet is going to be no wallers, and a butt-load of BC’s and below. i suppose they could just use wolf pack tactics on a fleet with wallers.

  5. John Roth says:


    IIRC, fleet coverage of the terminus was supposed to be temporary until the forts came online. They were partially built as of SoS.

    John Roth

  6. MadMcAl says:

    We know that an Sag-C could propably under exceptional circumstances an pre-MDM-tube-waller. With lots and lots of luck, but it can.
    A Nike is so much stronger than an Sag-C that it is no longer funny.
    It can easily outrun any solarian waller regardless of age (as far as we know the SLN has no Grayson-compensators yet). It has about 50% greater range of the weapons. With the mentioned new laserheads it sounds as if every hit will hurt an waller much more than everything an BC could use before.
    In other words, an Nike against an solarian SD will be an Hit&Run-game. Not a very good defensive option but much better than anything below a waller.
    And these, we know are desperately needed elsewhere.

  7. Dylan Tullos says:

    There is no way that ships of the wall are going to go to Talbott. Shortchanging Eighth Fleet just before a huge offensive is not going to happen. Shortchanging Eighth Fleet(now Home Fleet) after Beatrice is DEFINITELY not going to happen. For the immediate future, Admiral Henke will have no chance of getting wallers, especially Apollo-equipped wallers. Besides, hunting pirates and slavers works better with more numerous smaller ships. There is no way to fight Haven and the SLN at the same time, so there is no point in dividing Apollo-capable ships; it would be against the principle of concentration of force, and White Haven and Admiral Caparelli would never allow the defensive use of next-generation ships against a potential enemy they might not even fight, especially when the RHN is hammering at the gates.

  8. Gil says:

    Well, well, well.. I wonder how the strategy will change after the BOM, However I think these “Crusers” will do just fine against the Solie Wallers… Especially with the new “toys” these “Crusers” will have to play with. Haven is not going to be a real factor, for some time and the “new” Mesa/Solie equations are going to be the governing threat. A lot of doing a lot of something with very limited resources is going to take place where the Manty tech edge is going to go a looooong way in offsetting the Solie numerical advantage. It all bodes to be a TON of fun!!!! :-)

  9. Eddie says:

    If the Nikes are to be Equipped with Apollo they could probably defeat a fleet of enemy wallers before before they could get into range.As seen in “At All Costs” the all out battle between ships of the wall has just been consigned to history.

  10. Dave says:

    Nikes cannot be equipped with Apollo. KH2 platforms are too big.

  11. Olegreyowl says:

    Dave I believe the fifth paragraph (count the tiny one sentence ones) strongly indicates that Henke’s ships will indeed be equiped with Apollo. I could be miss reading it but that’s the way it looks to me.

  12. David says:

    Olegreyowl, I understand your interpretation of that passage, but I believe it is more in reference to the Agamemnons than the Nikes. My understanding, which in this could be incredible flawed, is that the Agamemnons can have pods carrying Apollo compatible missiles and the reason these are with the home fleet is that while they can be fired from the Agamemnons they need an Apollo SD to control them. What I do know from the passages in previous books and posts Weber has made is that at this time nothing smaller than a SD can carry Apollo, aka Keyhole II. Notice how big the control units are said to be in this Weber post on Baen’s Bar:


  13. MadMcAl says:

    Actually the Nike’s carry already Keyholes. They where incorporated into the design from the beginning. But they can’t launch the Apollo Control Missiles. These are just to big for an broadside-launcher.

    An combination of Nike’s and Agamemnon’s on the other hand, with the Nike’s providing KH II and the Ag’s the Apollo-pods… as divisions of 3 ships, 1 Nike, 2 Ag’s.Well they would have short staying power, and with the new SD(P)’s coming out of the yards such an combo won’t be needed in the foreseeable future. But each of these divisions could counter an pre-MDM-tubewaller-division easily.

  14. Wyrm says:

    The Nikes may or may not be Apollo equipped, but the new junction forts at the Lynx terminus should be equipped with the system defence Apollo missiles. If OFS send a fleet to the Terminus, following Mesa’s earlier plan, that fleet will end up in very small pieces!

  15. Robert Krawitz says:

    Nobody would know it yet, but I wonder if Henke is going to get the captured Haven SD’s after the Battle of Manticore. Of course, there’s the little problem of crews, since I don’t think even now Havenite ships are as automated as Manticore ones.

    Of course, it really comes down to when Haven and Manticore get tired of fighting each other, since that would at least free up some of 8th fleet. If Haven figures out who the real bad guys are, and Haven and Manticore trust each other enough (presumably mediated by HH and Nimitz), then we’re going to see a *very* different situation. But something tells me we’re not going to be seeing that for at least one more book

  16. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Robert, a while back DW posted a comment on the captured Haven wallers.

    Short answer was they were scrapped.

    You mentioned one reason, the manning problem.

    Next, the cost in terms of time and money to convert them to use Apollo would almost be as much building new Wallers.

    Third, spare parts. Manticore would have to create factory lines just to provide parts for the Haven Wallers for long term use.

    Fourth, Manticore already has all the Wallers that they could man (or believe they’d need) in the process of being completed.

  17. lkan says:

    The captured ships from BM shouldn’t be a problem at Talbot since, they can be distributed one per system, and local infrastructure can take over manning and maintenance. They’d form the core of each system defense fleet.

    If OFS sends a fleet to Lynx Terminus, it’s not an inhabitted system so they can use high-Tau bombardment runs with really large rocks or missiles, and saturate the area of the wormhole and forts. The Eridani Edict does not apply in that system.

    Khumalo or Lynx station should get the obsolete wallers, atleast Haven won’t show up there, while they might at Silesia.

  18. Robert Krawitz says:

    My opinion is that it does indeed make more sense to scrap them. That’s an awful lot of ships to try to integrate, and without enough people to do it. It’s likely to cause more disruption for exactly the reasons cited.

    Think about what it would take for even local infrastructure to staff and maintain just one. Old-style SD’s need what, 5000 crew? And maintenance on such a big beast, without existing orbital yards, would be a nightmare (think about how many RMN people would be required to train everyone). Not to mention the danger of one falling into unfriendly hands (Talbott systems might not be able to do much, but OFS probably could — and they’d learn quite a bit from even a Havenite ship, such as MDM’s).

    Khumalo/Henke’s staffing is structured around the equipment they have; they aren’t going to have hundreds or thousands of people to spare for staffing or even training people who have no clue about this stuff. Remember what happened on Split; the locals didn’t have anything like the gear and training the Manticore Marines had. Kaczmarczyk was being polite and professional with his local counterparts, but both of them knew that the Split defense forces had neither the gear nor the training to even help out in any material fashion.

  19. Dylan Tullos says:

    Actually, in At All Costs, what we learned is that there is nothing capable of stopping a massive force of MDM-equipped wallers except ANOTHER massive force of MDM-equipped wallers. Obviously, ships of the wall are not going out of business anytime soon, unless Mr. Weber intends to make some pretty radical changes. Or unless he intends to finally introduce the upgraded grav lance, a handheld weapon which can kill ships of the line at greater ranges than Apollo through their impeller wedges. Read the various gravity lance suggestions; after a while, they get pretty funny.

  20. MadMcAl says:

    Every single one of these SD(P)’s is damaged to a degree. Every single one of these SD(P) is nearly shot dry on its pods.

    To give them over to the cluster, the RMN would first have to repair them, and then rearm them.

    The repair would involve substantial research and design work to either copy the havenite systems or build manticorean into the ships.
    It would further tie up a massive ammount of slips in the yards, that would be missing for new constructions.
    The repair would propably take 1 or 2 month less than to build an Invictus and would cost arround 3/4 of the price of the Invictus.
    For that ammount of work and money the RMN would get an rather obsolete, manpower-crazy ship with substandard weaponry.
    Or, in other words you can man up to 6 to 7 RMN-SD(P)’s for one of the havenite ones. And these ships would not be Apollo cappable.
    Or they actually would convert them to KH II, upping the repair-time by 6 month at least and the costs by 30-50%.
    At the same time BuWeps would have spend manpower to either build an pod suited for the havenite SD(P)’s and RMN-MDM’s or copy the RHN-MDM’s (including the pods), set up manufactoring lines for either option (and thus diverting further manpower from better weapons) and then would have essentially 2 complete different SD-pods, what would complicate the support extremely.

    In other words, the RMN would be forced to build the same number less Invictuses to get the havenite SD(P)’s combat worthy. They wouldn’t get an significant cheaper ship or one they can use much earlier. They would reduce their own weapon-production substantially and lower the ammount of ammunition stored in the supply ships and the bases for the more powerfull manticorean ships. And for all this they would get ships that are not even half as powerfull as an Invictus even without Apollo.

    There is abolutely no need for them to do that.
    For the high-Tau-attack on the Lynx-terminus… you are aware that there are some squadrons of SD(P)’s stationed at the Lynx-terminus?
    That the RMN will patrol the whole area with RD’s?
    The OFS will feel like it run into an buzzaw, as it has only lighter units and relative few of them.
    Or did you mean the SLN?
    Well, in this case the admiral in question will sacrifice his career as the complaint about the attack will reach Sol faster than the spin doctored version of the admiral. And without an declaration of war and or an clear and present danger from the RMN against the SL he is in violation of the law.

  21. Petrus says:

    Essentially, by ‘modern’ – ie Solarian League or Havenite Sector standards there IS no infrastructure in the Quadrant. It is not just that there is no physical infrastructure – bad enough. There is largely no indigenous infrastructure to build the requisite infrastructure. More damning, the manpower of the sector does not have the basic education to run the systems or even build much of the infrastructure. Manticore has to drastically update educational systems (K-12 equivalent) in the sector even as it tackles post-secondary. While doing so it must run equally, or more, massive retraining programs for adult and near-adult workers to get them up to speed. I would not be at all surprised if this was not a HUGE opportunity for the educational establishment from Grayson as they have more recent experience in transitioning an older style knowledge infrastructure to a Manticore-level one ASAP. Manticore will also have educational upgrade experience from trying to reform the Grayson’s old opponents and even from upgrading Sidemore. However, that said, you have relatively few experienced people to do the job v. the size of the Quadrant. Countering this, of course, is the fact that courses can be packaged electronically and distributed widely and quickly.

    Likely, the way to start the locals off is to have them build LAC components and build them up to building LACs locally, if you want to start them on building military infrastructure – again, Grayson has the expertise here. However, while the investment is less the knowledge and skill of the workforce required is NOT less.

    As an aside, the whole of the Quadrant and large parts of Silesia are, again, HUGE opportunities for Grayson as so many places need to be drastically upgrade in terms of human capital as well as physical capital.

    As always, in the real world there are dollar and cents issues, as well and most Quadrant systems are either revenue neutral at best or will prove to be ‘eaters’ (…slang investment term for assets with negative cash-flow), at least in the short-term. Dealing with base economic issues – and quickly – to prevent a gigantic hemorrhage from Manticore Treasury has to be on the Empire’s agenda – as it has to be with Silesia as well. IF – and I say, IF, the economies of the Quadrant can be put on a ‘growth’ path, quickly, you are looking at annual rates of growth north of 10% which, will quickly turn even ugly ‘eaters’ into net contributors to the Treasury, at least in the sense that their surplus’s can be turned back into new infrastructure investment. Then there is the issue of handling local currencies vs. Manticores’ (…think of the West Germany/East Germany Mark conversion debacle of the early 90s…. Lots and lots of fun and all interacting with the military dimension.

    Hmmm…getting off topic… LOL

  22. John Roth says:


    I agree, education, LACs and munitions are going to be the short term (1 – 3 year) development objectives. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Apollo-capable pods for the system defense version of Apollo are somewhere in the plans as well. The control elements for the system defense version of Apollo will almost certainly be built in Manticore for the foreseeable future – without the capability to build SDs, there’s no real point.

    Once the hostilities with Haven are resolved, I can see a huge market for Havenite education as well: they’ve had to upgrade their own education system recently.

    And one thing I haven’t seen mentioned: with the SEM spread out on one flank of the SU, there is no longer a frontier so it’s expansion is cut off in that direction. The OFS is seeing a complete end to its bureaucracy in that direction. Of course, that may not have occurred to them yet.

    John Roth

  23. David says:

    I would like a clarification of your #13 comment. I assume the infodump link you posted was to support your statement that the Nikes have keyhole II, but the article linked does not say that. The word keyhole is not in it and Apollo appears twice at the end only in reference that the Agamemons are too little to be equipped with it.

    Also I do not see how the Nikes could have Keyhole capability as Weber has said, “Moreover, the platforms themselves are larger than people seem to be assuming. These are big suckers, Richard. These aren’t deployed from boat bays; they are deployed from specifically designed and fitted broadside bays, and they are substantially bigger than any Ghost Rider drone currently in use. In fact, they are closing in on the size of a LAC, and they are actually larger than some of the LACs which have been built.”

    That was quoted from the link I have in post 12. I am not able to see how a BC even one old style BB sized like the Nikes could spare that much extra space.


  24. lkan says:

    The fleet elements at Lynx terminus are supposed to be replaced by forts, forts can be bombarded, and even if it’s ships, an unpowered missile is hard to detect until it homes in on its final run-in. There’s also those assassination missiles.


    The damaged ships can be shipped in a damaged condition to each Talbott system, if they can get the sails up. The workup to repair the ships will form the local defense industry up to snuff, with the revamp into Manticore standards. Manning them will train the locals in modern naval ships.

    Besides, Grayson operated a fleet of Haven ships previously, so it’s not like it’s a big leap to do it again in a new book.

    Even a damaged Haven ship will give OFS something to think about if it’s a waller.


    I wonder if there’s a repair station at Lynx Terminus, or is all the fleet infrastructure at Lynx System?

  25. John Roth says:


    Hm. Missiles against a fort. That’s a slightly different problem because the forts can’t move. However you’ve still got to get the missiles moving, which means that they can be tracked. And they’ll come in ballistic, which means on known trajectories, unless they’re at least dual drive, and the Sollies don’t have any of those – yet.

    If I was going to take out a fort, what I’d probably do is take a freighter or six, install sidewalls and bow walls and aim them at the dang thing.

    John Roth

  26. D says:

    Forts can move, just not all that fast, there is text ev that they have sublight engines – can’t recall which books it’s mentioned in though. A missile coming in at high-Tau bombardment speed is not going to be able to deviate very far from it’s course. So it becomes a question of if the forts see the missile launch far enough away in order to be able to move to the side enough to let them go harmlessly past.

    If as someone else mentioned they use big rocks instead, well then you don’t have to move as far to dodge it.

  27. Drak Bibliophile says:

    lkan, the differences between Haven wallers and Manticore wallers were minor at the time Grayson got those wallers. By the time of the Battle of Manticore the differences were much greater. I’d also note that David Weber has said that it is not worth the time and money to reuse the captured wallers.

  28. Mike says:

    “I’d also note that David Weber has said that it is not worth the time and money to reuse the captured wallers.”

    Yeah, but what does he know about it?

  29. Dylan Tullos says:

    The simple fact is that Manticore can make more ships than they can man with trained personnel. If they wanted to draft Talbott “navy” personnel, random merchant spacers, and a couple of their own officers, they could probably “crew” some RHN wallers. But the ships would be target practice for the League, since they wouldn’t have the crews they needed to actually function. Manticore’s limiting factor has ALWAYS been crews, and they aren’t going to throw away trained personnel after having lost several hundred thousand of them. Talbott CAN’T man those ships, and Manticore WON’T use lots of trained personnel to do so. So it’s unlikely that Talbott will get ANY wallers and almost totally impossible that they will get Apollo wallers.

    Talbott will improve. But their lack of advanced shipbuilding capacity, effective educational systems, and trained personnel makes them, at this time, a decided drain. In the future, they won’t be. But for now, except for some of the most advanced regions like the Rembrandt Trade Union, they can’t build or man ships. Admiral Henke will not have wallers, as far as I can tell.

  30. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Ah Mike, was that a Joke? On Baen’s Bar (Honorverse), we’ve had people actually tried to tell David Weber he was wrong about one of his characters. [Wink]

  31. Mike says:

    For the record, yes, that was a joke.

  32. Drak Bibliophile says:

    No problem then. [Smile]

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