Detweiler’s jaw tightened in an involuntary, almost Pavlovian response to that name. The automatic spike of anger it provoked was the next best thing to instinctual, and he reminded himself yet again of the dangers of allowing it to affect his thinking.

“I doubt even Beowulf will be able to put it together quickly,” he said after a moment. “I don’t doubt they could eventually, with enough data. They certainly have the capability, at any rate, but given how quickly the nanites break down, it’s extremely unlikely they’re going to have access to any of the cadavers in a short enough timeframe to determine anything definitive. All of Everett’s and Kyprianou’s studies and simulations point in that direction. Obviously, it’s a concern we have to bear in mind, but we can’t allow that possibility to scare us into refusing to use a capability we need.”
“I’m not saying we should, only pointing out a potential danger. And, to be frank, I’m less worried about some medical examiner’s figuring it out forensically than I am about someone reaching the same conclusion — that it’s a bioweapon and that we’re the ones who developed it — by following up other avenues.”
“What sort of ‘other avenues’?” he asked, eyes narrowing once again.
“According to our current reports, Elizabeth herself and most of Grantville’s government, not to mention the Manty in the street, are absolutely convinced it was Haven. Most of them seem to share Elizabeth’s theory that for some unknown reason Pritchart decided her initial proposal for a summit had been a mistake. None of them have any convincing explanation for what that ‘unknown reason’ might have been, however. And some of them — particularly White Haven and Harrington — don’t seem very convinced it was Haven at all. Since the High Ridge collapse, we no longer have enough penetration to absolutely confirm something like that, unfortunately, but the sources we still do have all point in that direction. Please bear in mind, of course, that it takes time for information from our best surviving sources to reach us. It’s not like we can ask the newsies about these things the way we can clip stories about military operations like Lovat, for example. At this point, and even using dispatch boats with streak capability on the Beowulf conduit, we’re still talking about very preliminary reports.”
“Understood. Go on.”
“What concerns me most,” she continued with a slight shrug, “is that once Elizabeth’s immediate response has had a little time to cool, White Haven and Harrington are still two of the people whose judgment she most trusts. I think both of them are too smart to push her too hard on this particular issue at this moment, but neither of them is especially susceptible to spouting the party line if they don’t actually share it, either. And despite the way her political opponents sometimes caricature Elizabeth, she’s a very smart woman in her own right. So if two people whose judgment she trusts are quietly but stubbornly convinced that there’s more going on here than everyone else has assumed, she’s just likely to be more open-minded where that possibility is concerned than even she realizes she is.
“What else concerns me is that there are two possible alternative scenarios for who was actually responsible for both attacks. One, of course, is that it was us — or, at least, Manpower. The second is that it was, in fact, a Havenite operation, but not one sanctioned by Pritchart or anyone in her administration. In other words, that it was mounted by a rogue element within the Republic which is opposed to ending the war.
“Of the two, the second is probably the more likely . . . and the less dangerous from our perspective. Mind you, it would be bad enough if someone could convince Elizabeth and Grantville that Pritchart’s offer had been genuine and that sinister and evil elements — possibly throwbacks to the bad old days of State Security — decided to sabotage it. Even if that turned around Elizabeth’s position on a summit, it wouldn’t lead anyone directly to us, though. And it’s not going to happen overnight, either. My best guess is that even if someone suggested that theory to Elizabeth today — for that matter, someone may already have done just that — it would still take weeks, probably months, for it to reach the point of changing her mind. And now that they’ve resumed operations, the momentum of fresh casualties and infrastructure damage is going to be strongly against any effort to resurrect the original summit agreement even if she does change her mind.
“The first possibility, however, worries me more, although I’ll admit it would appear to be a lower order probability, so far, at least. At the moment, the fact that they’re convinced they’re looking at a Havenite assassination technique is diverting attention from us and all of the reasons we might have for killing Webster or Berry Zilwicki. But if someone manages to demonstrate that there has to be an undetectable bio-nanite component to how the assassins are managing these ‘adjustments,’ the immediate corollary to that is going to be a matching suspicion that even if Haven is using the technique, it didn’t develop the technique. The Republic simply doesn’t have the capability to put something like this together for itself, and no one as smart as Patricia Givens is going to believe for a moment that it does. And that, Albrecht, is going to get that same smart person started thinking about who did develop it. It could have come from any of several places, but as soon as anyone starts thinking in that direction, the two names that are going to pop to the top of their list are Mesa and Beowulf, and I don’t think anyone is going to think those sanctimonious bastards on Beowulf would be making something like this available. In which case Manpower’s reputation is likely to bite us on the ass. And the fact that both the Manties and the Havenites’ intelligence services are aware of the fact that ‘Manpower’ has been recruiting ex-StateSec elements is likely to suggest the possibility of a connection between us and some other StateSec element, possibly hiding in the underbrush of the current Republic. Which is entirely too close to the truth to make me feel particularly happy.
“That could be bad enough. If they reach that point, however, they may very well be willing to go a step further. If we’re supplying the technology to some rogue element in Haven, then what would keep us from using it ourselves? And if they ask themselves that question, then all of the motives we might have — all of the motives they already know about because of Manpower, even without the additional ones we actually do have — are going to spring to their attention.”

About Eric Flint

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15 Responses to STORM FROM THE SHADOWS — snippet 75

  1. lkan says:

    Well… the next three books just got mapped out (if it keeps on going glacially…)

  2. JN says:

    This isnt glacial, its just overly ornamented. What is distressing is that even with all the foreshadowing and preparation, it will all come down toa single climactic incident, and the story will abruptly end right there. I generally would like a better sense of residual effects in DW’s books.

    All that being said, this is just mapping out what I commented Mike had on her plate. The elements are laid out, and the biggest problem is to see the forest in all the trees. When it comes out, a lot of people have flat foreheads.


  3. Tim says:

    Three more “Honorverse” books seems plausible, and deity knows how many more Safehold and Hell’s gate books. Mr. Weber seems to have found a measure of job security.

  4. Robert Krawitz says:

    The Ancient Illuminated Seers of Mesa prepare to immanentize the eschaton. Albrecht Detweiler, meet Wolfgang Saure. But Honor Harrington doesn’t even remotely resemble Hagbard Celine. Fnord.

    According to Wikipedia, Weber has stated that there will be at least 5 more books *each* in the HH, Wages of Sin aka Crown of Slaves, and Saganami Island series (this was post-AAC). That would be something like 35 books total. I suppose the Hardy Boys and such had more total books (if not pages), but those were really separate books with no significant connections.

  5. Chuck S says:

    Last time I checked only Cussler’s Dirk Pitt had beaten ERB’s Tarzan for total series sales. If you make the argument that Tarzan appears in the Pellucidar series I suspect the margin would be closer & the winner a tossup.

  6. maria says:

    I think that the set up is good but Weber is taking forever to get anywhere. I almost prefer his War God’s Own series. I am still waiting for the next volume in that series. There things actually moved and things happened while we were learning all these fasinating facts about the characters, the plans, and the history. Can’t Weber do that for the Harrington world sereis?

  7. Thirdbase says:

    @2 You are right this isn’t glacial, glaciers actually move.

    As a general note, we can see that Mr. Weber has picked the most politically corrupt city to be the Capitol of Solarian League. Anyone want to buy a seat in the Senate?

  8. lkan says:

    35 books…

    there’s like 20 Foundation books…
    … 20 Aubrey books (single author) …
    … 25 Sharpe books (single author) …
    … 15 Flashman books (single author) …

    I think some fantasy series (single author) have more total wordage, since the HH books started as standard sized, and not 1-tonne tomes (some fantasy series are all 1-tonne tomes)

    Though if he did a tightly integrated Star Wars thing… with lots of authors, it wouldn’t take 15 years for those 15 books to come out.

    Hmm… doesn’t Known Space and Pern have alot of volumes… though integration in those series isn’t so tight.

  9. Long series, thick books? Robert Jordan and WHEEL OF TIME, Harry Turtledove and alternate civil/world war, L. Ron Hubbard and alien invasion. Those come to mind as substantial bodies of work.

  10. Mike says:

    Just a side comment, some “series” (like Asimov’s stuff) was never intended to be a linked series until late, when it is retconned and/or revised into one giant series.

    One thing I liked about Harry Potter was that even as the later books grew a little bloated, at least the author stuck to a plan and finished the series when she said she would.

    But if you really want a contrast, consider Pride And Prejudice. Austen edited and rewrote that book for years and years, and what’s left is a brilliantly polished gem. Of course, that’s not really the ideal way to make a living off of your writing, but it does get you onto the very short list of books that is constantly in print hundreds of years after your death.

  11. lkan says:

    >> consider Pride And Prejudice. Austen edited and rewrote that book for years and years

    I think the record goes to JRR Tolkien and his decades and decades of revisioning, that went on until he died, and then his son took over… and we get Silmarillon and Children of Hurin

  12. Thirdbase says:

    Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books are up in the mid 20s + several anthologies, but she hasn’t let her books grow into massive volumes, and she has just started another set in the series.

  13. Sam says:

    @12 wich new series? I have not heard of anything.

  14. Thirdbase says:

    @13 The Collegium Chronicles, the first book Foundation came out in Oct, a new anthology should be out now or in a few days, Moving Targets…

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