STORM FROM THE SHADOWS — snippet 88

STORM FROM THE SHADOWS – snippet 88:

“And assuming we could provide you with documentation of such harassment, just what would you do with it?” Pélisard asked.

“Why, we wouldn’t do anything with it.” Anisimovna widened her eyes innocently. “I’m sure, however, that if you were to draw these weighty matters to the attention of Commissioner Verrochio, he would feel constrained to take them most seriously. Especially after the fashion in which Manticore brutally assaulted the Union of Monica in time of peace. Under the circumstances, I feel positive that he would dispatch a significant force here to New Tuscany to fully investigate matters. And, should it transpire that your allegations of harassment are justified, that same significant force would be under orders to protect you from further infringements of your territoriality.”
“Forgive me for pointing this out,” Pélisard said, “but the naval resources Commissioner Veroochio personally controls are quite limited. I’m afraid a handful of destroyers, or even a cruiser division or two, would scarcely constitute a significant deterrent to the Manticoran Navy.”
“No, they wouldn’t,” Anisimovna agreed. “However, a full squadron or two of Frontier Fleet battlecruisers would, I suspect.”
“A squadron or two?” Pélisard blinked.
“Or even three,” she said calmly. “I just happen to know that a Frontier Fleet task force has been dispatched to the Madras Sector to reinforce Commissioner Verrochio’s OFS naval detachment. It’s under the command of an Admiral Byng, I understand. And it just happens I have a small file on him with me.” She extracted a data chip folio from her slender purse and laid it on the corner of Boutin’s desk. “It’s fascinating viewing, actually. Or I think so, at least. Admiral Byng would appear to be the sort of League officer who recognizes Manticoran arrogance and imperialism for what they are. The sort of officer who would be naturally disposed to at least listen to the complaints of some single-system star nation which finds itself being bullied and harassed by the ‘Star Kingdom.’ If Commissioner Verrochio — or, for that matter, your own government — were to request him to send a detachment here to New Tuscany to investigate matters personally, I feel confident he would agree.”
“And if it happened when he did that there was a . . . confrontation between him and the Manties . . . .” Pélisard’s voice trailed off, and Anisimovna nodded.
“Of course, by far the most likely outcome would be for the Manticorans to back down,” she said. “They may have been willing enough to take on Solarian battlecruisers in Monican hands — after all, the Monican Navy had neither the experience to make full use of them nor the industrial power to replace them if they were damaged or destroyed — but I suspect they’d be far more leery of facing battlecruisers crewed by the Solarian Navy. And if they were foolish enough to do anything of the sort, I’m sure the SLN would make short work of them.”
Pélisard looked less than confident of that last sentence’s accuracy. On the other hand, Anisimovna thought, he had to be aware of the enormous imbalance between the Solarian League’s resources and those of the Star Kingdom of Manticore. Ultimately, no other star nation had the wherewithal to resist the juggernaut might of the League. Which meant . . . .
She could almost see the gears turning inside his head as he worked his way through the implications of what she’d just said. She could tell the exact moment when he reached the end of the process, because his eyes narrowed suddenly and he looked at her very intently.
“In some ways, it would almost be a pity if they did back down, wouldn’t it?” he observed slowly.
“Well, it would mean the situation would remain . . . unresolved,” Anisimovna agreed. “It’s sometimes necessary to lance a boil to drain its poisons. It’s seldom a pleasant experience, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary in the long run. So, yes, it would be . . . suboptimal.”
“But if their local commander chose to be imprudent,” Pélisard said even more slowly, “and if there happened to be some sort of shooting incident, then this Admiral Byng you’ve mentioned would almost be forced to take steps.”
“Not just a minute, Nicholas!” Dusserre said sharply. “‘Shooting incidents’ are all very well, I suppose. But I’m not at all happy about the thought of having one of them right here in New Tuscany!”
“I don’t blame you a bit, Mr. Dusserre,” Anisimovna said calmly. “I wouldn’t much care for the thought of having something like that happen in my star system, either. As I say, though, it would be unlikely for anything of the sort to happen if Admiral Byng were present in strength. I’m thinking — as I’m sure Mr. Pélisard was — more of an incident which occurs somewhere else. One that could be . . . suitably tweaked, shall we say, to demonstrate the ruthlessness and viciousness of the Manticorans. Say, one of your warships, badly damaged or even destroyed by an unprovoked Manty attack. The trick would be to time the incident properly. Ideally, we’d have Admiral Byng already in the vicinity when we complain about this atrocity to Commissioner Verrochio.”
“At which point he would presumably move that detachment you referred to to New Tuscany immediately,” Pélisard said. “With orders not to allow any further Manticoran aggression. In fact, he’d probably sail straight to Spindle to demand an explanation, wouldn’t he?”
“Oh, I feel confident he would.” Anisimovna smiled. “And I imagine the odds of an unfortunate confrontation between him and the Manties would be considerably enhanced when he did. Oh, and I suppose I should also mention that my sources tell me a sizable force from Battle Fleet is also in this general neck of the galaxy. Carrying out training exercises in the McIntosh System, I believe.”
It was very, very quiet in President Boutin’s office. The McIntosh System was barely fifty light-years from Myers, and Myers was only a very little over three hundred light-years from New Tuscany. Which meant any task group carrying out exercises at McIntosh could reach New Tuscany in as little as thirty-two T-days.
“Given McIntosh’s proximity to Myers, I strongly suspect Commissioner Verrochio would send the Battle Fleet senior officer there a message, requesting her assistance, at the same time as he dispatched Admiral Byng — or one of the admiral’s squadrons, at least — to New Tuscany to investigate your allegations. Which would mean, of course, that even if some Manticoran officer were foolish enough to fire upon New Tuscan units or anything of the sort, Admiral Byng would have ample forces in close proximity which he could call upon to . . . stabilize the situation once more.”
The quiet was more intense than ever, and as Aldona Anisimovna listened to it, she knew she had their complete attention.

About Eric Flint

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26 Responses to STORM FROM THE SHADOWS — snippet 88

  1. Thirdbase says:

    So that is what she offering. They get to invite OFS to take over their planet.

    • Mark L says:

      Reminds me of the old joke after Challenger. NASA had a essay contest on the theme of "Why the Shuttle is a safe and effective means of getting into space. First prize was to be a trip on the third Shuttle flight after the resumption of flight. Second prize was a trip on the second Shuttle mission, and third prize was to be a flight on the first Shuttle flight. This offer has the same sort of feel.

  2. Gaurav says:

    Actually, they are inviting OFS to take the entire Talbott quadrant.

  3. hank says:

    So, are we finally gonna get to see how SLN equipment fares against Our Heros when the folk using it are Sollies instead of Weakling Scum?
    Also, am I the only one with a sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop wrt the news of the BoM arriving in Talbot?

  4. The answer is obvious. This time there will be Solarian warships commanded by Solarian officers who know the most important fact about interstellar warfare: The Solarian League Navy is Invincible. With Solarian officers, one Solarian League BC should have no trouble destroying a Manticorian squadron of Dreadnaughts. And if you don't believe me, ask the Solarian Admiral who is commanding those battlecruisers. He'll be happy to set you straight on this. (8^))

    • MadMcAl says:

      I assume you mean Superdreadnoughts, as there is nearly no such thing as an Manticorian Dreadnought anymore, much less a whole squadron.
      There is nearly no such thing as an Manticorean Superdreadought anymore. At least after the Battle of Manticore. Only Podnaughts and CLAC's.

  5. MadMcAl says:

    The New Tuscans should be a little bit smarter. They have seen the Hexapuma, at least had a good close look at Spindle. And they know that there are 6 brand new battle cruisers of the same ship-generation as an Sag-C in the cluster, with a bit of support. They should know that 2 or even 3 squadrons of solarian BC's won't stand a chance against this.
    And about the 100 of the Wall… well we know how 80 Podnaughts with modern defenses (modern as in geared toward the missile-storms of the new pod-age) fared against 38 Apollo-equipped Ships. 100 SD's without such upbeefed defenses won't last very long against even a smaller force.

  6. Three Squadrons? I sort of thought that Henke had at least 1 Podnought, with plenty of escorts, and at least 1 or 2 LAC Carriers. I think ever 3 Squadrons of Battlecruisers are going to blown to spacedust, Solarian League crews or not. I mean, 1 modern Manicoran heavy cruiser with a scratch squadron of lighter and older warships took on three Battlecruisers and destroyed them. I think the Sollies are DEAD. Anyone think different?

  7. Three Squadrons? I sort of thought that Henke had at least 1 Podnought, with plenty of escorts, and at least 1 or 2 LAC Carriers. I think even 3 Squadrons of Battlecruisers are going to blown to spacedust, Solarian League crews or not. I mean, 1 modern Manicoran heavy cruiser with a scratch squadron of lighter and older warships took on three Battlecruisers and destroyed them. I think the Sollies are DEAD. Anyone think different?

    • John Roth says:

      At this point in the story, I think Henke has one squadron of eight heavy cruisers, none of which have the new weapons systems. It's probably true that she's going to have more material soon, but that hasn't shown up yet.

  8. Thirdbase says:

    Henke has a squadron of BC's, 8 brand new Nike class BC's actually. The admiral guarding the wormhole junction has a small TF, with some ?nauts, I believe. So Henke should only be outnumbered 18 to 1or 2.

    • MadMcAl says:

      6 brand new Nikes. Not 8. So Henke will be numerically outnumbered 4 to 1. Considering that an solarian BC masses still under the 1 Megaton ( I would assume 900 kt) the solarians will outmass Henke 1.44 to 1. With the enourmous advantages of the MDM's, the buckler, grayson-style compensators, podnaught-age-defenses and Keyhole this should be a done thing.

      • John Roth says:

        Henke has 8. That little tidbit is in Chapter 13.

        – – – Chapter 13, Storm.

        There were undoubtedly other reasons for the White Haven Admiralty's new thinking, as well, but in combination, they explained why the 106th Battlecruiser Squadron consisted of eight units, not six. And, to be perfectly frank, Michelle didn't really care what other reasons there might have been. She was too busy gloating over the possession of those two additional battlecruisers.

        – – –

        By this time, she's probably also got a squadron of Roland class destroyers; they were in the final stages of working up when she left Manticore.

        John Roth

      • Thirdbase says:

        No, she has 8 BC's.

        There were undoubtedly other reasons for the White Haven Admiralty's new thinking, as well, but in combination, they explained why the 106th Battlecruiser Squadron consisted of eight units, not six. And, to be perfectly frank, Michelle didn't really care what other reasons there might have been. She was too busy gloating over the possession of those two additional battlecruisers.

        She's special. My assumption is also that a single ship or single division (hers) will be the only ones on scene when the fecal material hits the forced air node.

        • MadMcAl says:

          I missed this part. So bee it. And I don't think that Henke will fail to concentrate her forces when the harrassing starts.
          And even if the sollys can corner a single division, it will be not onesided. It will not without giving word to the rest of the squadron. And then the SLN will face the rest of the squadron, while it will lick its wounds from the previous battle.
          And if I interpret the hints right, a Nike is more or less the smallest ship that is Apollo-cappable. WIth flatpack-pods, an fleet collider nearby and 6 Nikes can take on 3 or 4 squadrons of pre-MDM-wallers.
          Won't that be a unpleasant surprise?

  9. John Roth says:

    The 100 "dreadnoughts" are Admiral whats-his-name's command, and it's not 100 dreadnoughts. It's 100 "of the wall", and that includes battleships, dreadnoutghs and superdreadnoughts. It might also include battlecruisers; I don't remember any more whether a BC is considered a waller. We don't know his real composition yet, or what his screening units are going to look like.

    • MadMcAl says:

      An BC is by some called the smallest of the wall, by others the largest below the wall. But this 100 of the wall won't propably have any BB's or DN's.
      I don't know where, but somwhere DW explained why the battle fleet nearly only has SD's. A DN is a much more cost-efficient peace-keeper than an SD. For the cost of 2 SD's you get 3 DN's, that can be used at 3 different positions and not only at 2 like the SD's.
      But that is bought with much smaller war-efficiency.
      The SLN has so much production capacity and money that they decided long agoe to only use SD's. But most smaller powers use DN's or even BB's as peace-keepers and a core of SD's as war-time-fleet.
      With the first havenite war coming for a long time, Manticore abandoned the peace-keeping fleet and built a full out war time fleet.
      The PRH used its much greater population and ressource base to build an war-time-fleet and an peace-keeping fleet. Booth where nearly completely destroyed in the first havenite war.
      After that…
      well today we have 5 powers with mayor war-time-fleets: SLN, RMN, IAN, RHN and GSN. Understandable as 4 of these are at this time at war.
      Of them only one has something of an peace-keeping fleet, and the SLN uses its SD's for that.

  10. What is this about 100 Dreadnoughts? Ansimovna said she'd give the Tuscans 3 squadrons of Battlecrusiers, not 100 Dreadnoughts. And the situation reminds me of A Short Victorious War, where the Legislaturalists are going to war, and they are thinking they can win easily. If you read S. V. W. from the beginning, you'll find a quote from the Russians, just before the Russo-Japanese War. Even though Honor had taken on a Battlecruiser with a Heavy cruiser, they were still thinking in terms of quick victory. The Solarians, when they think of Manticore at ALL, think of them as neo-barbarians. Their position is that of the late, unlamented People's Republic of Haven, and in fact it is even worse. The Havenites at least were within shouting distance of the Manticorans, and had tons of experience in real campaigns. The Solarians haven't fought a general fleet engagement since Farley's Crossing 300 or more years ago. The Solarians are screwed, in the long term. In the short term, they MAY inflict as much damage as Esther McQueen's offensive did. They do have a LOT of ships, and they may do damage with them. But they remind me of the Russians a lot, in that their ships may be good but their soldiers and sailors are screwed by their commanders, who have NO experience.

  11. mwhiddon says:

    Is it going to be something like Tsushima or worse?

  12. At Tsushima Togo wiped out the ENTIRE Russian Baltic Fleet, Henke can't do that, even if she wanted to. It will be more like the first day of the Battle of Hampton Roads, where the Virginia/Merrimac took on the steam frigate Congress and other wooden warships.

  13. Harpoon says:

    SLN Battle Fleet doesn't do peacekeeping. The lions share of the day to day work is done by Frontier Fleet. Battlefleet hasn't found a battle in 300 years, and even Frontier Fleet is only used to dealing with pirates, slavers and the occasional rouge system.

    http://infodump.thefifthimperium.com/Harrington/h

    • MadMcAl says:

      Not peacekeeping in a anti-piracy-way, that is frontier fleet. But peace-keeping in the showing-the-flag-way. Peacekeeping in the "there is no way to win against that"-way.
      Or in other words, they use the Battle Fleet in large parts like the PRH used its battleships. Just being there was enough to discourage adventurers.
      But as the SLN has way more money, building capacity and ressources they use the SD's for booth the peace keeping and (at least theoretically) for major battles.

  14. You know that the RMN has no DNs. The SLN may be somewhat surprised to learn that the RMN builds ships that large, other than freighters with a CL or two welded to the side.

    Also, the Solarian Admiral in question will be happy to explain that the Battle of Monica proves that NeoBarb navies are unable to deploy working antimissile defenses.

    • MadMcAl says:

      The RMN has no DN's or at least nearly no DN's anymore. They have CLAC's, that fall in the same size-bracket, but the DN's should be all phased out under the High-Ridge-goverment. And the SLN has many things to say. Only many of them will be a little bit off from reality. Especially against Nikes and bigger ships (maybe even an Agamemnon is large enough) the word missile-defense becomes a whole new meaning. If an ship has Keyhole it is very hard to kill by prepodders. We know that an old-style SD has fewer than 75 missiles per broadside.
      We know that an rather big old style BC has 25 missiles per broadside. We also know that an Harrington/Medusa B has a reduced missile-broadside of 40. So I would guess that an older SD-design would have between 50 and 60 tubes per broadside. Now each Nike has roughly the same missile-capacity (for a Nike can launch double broadsides). And we know that the Mk. 16 are only marginaly lighter armed than capital missiles. Combined with the greater effective range of the MDM's that will make the attacking solarian BC's looking into an enemy fire as if they would stand against 8 DN's or even SD's instead of 8 BC's. On the other hand are the solarian missiles not only shorter ranged but neither in the concentration nor in the penetration aids any competition. With 3 times the number of ships the SLN can be happy if they get half again the missile-density of smaller missiles into the space and half the hits on the targets.

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