“We’ve been hailed by the Monicans, Ma’am,” Captain Armstrong said from Michelle’s com screen. “Finally.”
Her voice was dust-dry, and Michelle chuckled as her flag captain added the final word.
“And they said?” she inquired.

“And they said we’re welcome to Monica, Ma’am. Personally, I expect they’re lying diplomatically through their teeth, given what happened the last time Queen’s ships came calling here, but at least they’re being polite.”
“Did they happen to mention their Solarian visitors?”
“Not in so many words. They did instruct us to assume a parking orbit a minimum of eight thousand klicks clear of the closest Solly, though.”
“Probably not a bad idea even if they hadn’t made the suggestion official,” Michelle said. “All right, Vicki. Go ahead and park as.”
“Yes, Ma’am. Clear.”
Armstrong nodded respectfully to Michelle, then disappeared from the display, and Michelle turned to Lecter, Edwards, and Adenauer, who stood in a loose semicircle around her command chair.
“So far, so good,” she said. “And God knows I don’t want to ruffle any Solly feathers any more than we have to. Nonetheless, Dominica, I think it would be a good idea to keep a very close eye on them. Let’s make it passives only, but if a gnat breaks wind aboard one of those ships, I want to know about it. And inform all units that we’ll maintain our own status at Readiness Two indefinitely.”
“Yes, Ma’am.”
Adenauer’s expression was sober, and Michelle didn’t blame her. Readiness Two was also known as “General Quarters.” It meant that all of a ship’s engineering and life-support systems were fully manned, of course, but it also meant her combat information center and tactical department were fully manned, as well. That her passive sensors were fully manned; that her active sensors were at immediate readiness; that her point defense laser clusters were active and enabled under computer control; that her counter-missile launchers had rounds in the tubes and backup rounds in the loading arms; that her passive defensive systems and EW were on-line, ready for instant activation; that her offensive missile tubes were prepped and loaded; and that the human backup crews for half her energy weapons were sealed into their armored capsules with the atmosphere in the surrounding spaces evacuated to protect them against the effects of blast. The other half of her energy weapons would be brought up and manned on a rotating basis to allow crew rest for the on-mount personnel, and twenty-five percent of her watch personnel from all other departments would be allowed rotating rest breaks, in order to allow her to remain at Readiness Two for extended periods.
In short, except for bringing up her wedge and sidewalls and running out her energy weapons, Achilles and every one of Michelle’s other battlecruisers, would be ready to respond almost instantly to any Solarian act of aggression.
Of course, it’s that “almost instantly” that’s the killer, Michelle reflected. Especially at this piddling little range. They could reach us with their damned laser clusters, far less their broadside mounts! Keeping our wedges and sidewalls up in parking orbit would certainly be construed as a hostile act by the Sollies or the Monicans, and rightly so. But that means that if someone else decides to pull the trigger, they’ll probably blow the ever-loving shit out of us before we can respond, anyway. Still, it’s the thought that counts.
“I don’t want to do anything that could be construed as provocative, Cindy,” she continued aloud, switching her attention to the chief of staff.
It wasn’t as if Lecter didn’t already know that perfectly well, but Michelle had learned a long time ago that it was far better to make absolutely certain of something like that than it was to discover the hard way that someone hadn’t in fact known something “perfectly” . . . or, for that matter, at all.
“At the same time,” Michelle went on as Lecter nodded, “I don’t have any intention of letting these people ‘Thunderbolt’ us while we sit here fat, happy, and stupid. So I want you to help Dominica ride herd on CIC. If we pick up any status change aboard any of those Solly ships, I want to know about it before they do.”
“Yes, Ma’am.”
“Good. And now,” Michelle drew a deep breath and turned her attention to Edwards, “I suppose it’s time I did my duty and checked in with our hosts personally. And, of course,” she smiled without any humor at all, “with our fellow visitors to this pleasant little corner of the universe. Please raise the Monican port admiral for me, Bill.”
“Yes, Ma’am.”
* * * * * * * * * *
The conversation with Rear Admiral Jane Garcia, Monica Traffic Control’s senior officer, went rather better than Michelle had anticipated.
Garcia didn’t even attempt to pretend she was happy to see Michelle’s battlecruisers, for which Michelle couldn’t blame her. Having been a prisoner of war herself, she had a better appreciation than many Manticoran officers might have of just how bitter a pill it must have been to see the destruction of virtually Monica’s entire navy. Undoubtedly a great many of Garcia’s personal friends — quite probably family members, as well, given the way military service tended to run in families in most star nations — had been killed along the way. And however much Manticore might have regarded Monica as a corrupt, venal tool of Frontier Security, the Union was Garcia’s star nation. Its ignominious surrender, and the fashion in which Manticore had dictated peace terms afterward, could only have made Garcia’s anger worse.
Despite that, the other woman’s demeanor had been crisp and professional. Although she hadn’t welcomed Michelle to Monica, she’d been surprisingly courteous otherwise. Her lips might have tightened just a moment when Michelle asked her to pass her compliments to President Tyler, but she’d nodded almost naturally, then asked if Michelle had any pressing service requirements.
With that out of the way, unfortunately, Michelle no longer had any excuse for not contacting the Solarian senior officer. Fortunately, Garcia had volunteered the Solly’s name.
“All right, Bill,” Michelle sighed. “Go ahead and raise Admiral Byng’s flagship. I suppose –”
“Just a minute, Ma’am,” Cynthia Lecter interrupted respectfully. Michelle paused and looked at her chief of staff, one eyebrow arched, and Lecter nodded towards the display in front of her at her own command station.
“I’ve just been looking at ONI’s records, Ma’am,” she said. “I punched in Admiral Byng’s name, and it looks like I got a direct hit.”
Both of Michelle’s eyes rose in surprise. The Office of Naval Intelligence did its best to keep track of the senior personnel of other navies, but its records on the SLN were sparser than on, say, the Republic of Haven or the Andermani Empire. Despite the Manticoran merchant marine’s deep penetration of the League’s carrying trade, the Solarian Navy had been assigned a far lower priority than more local — and pressing — threats over the past half-century or so. And the fact that the SLN was so damned big didn’t help. The same absolute number of officers represented a far smaller percentage of the total Solly officer corps, all of which helped to explain why it was actually unusual to find any given Solarian officer in the database.
“I think so, at any rate,” Lecter replied. “It’s always possible they have more than one Admiral Josef Byng, I suppose.”
“Given the size of their damned navy?” Michelle snorted. “I’d say the odds were pretty good, actually.” She shrugged. “Well, go ahead and shoot me whatever you’ve found.”
“Yes, Ma’am.”
The entry which appeared on Michelle’s display a moment later was surprisingly long. For reasons which became depressingly clear as she skimmed through it.
The file imagery showed a tall, aristocratic-looking man with chestnut hair, just starting to go gray at the temples, and sharp blue eyes. He had a strong chin and sported a bristling mustache and a neatly trimmed goatee. Indeed, he looked every centimeter the complete professional naval officer in his immaculately tailored dress whites.
The biographical synopsis which went with that sharp, taut imagery, however, was . . . less aesthetically pleasing.
“It says here he’s a Battle Fleet officer,” Michelle said aloud, and even to herself, her tone sounded plaintive, like someone protesting that there surely had to be some sort of mistake.
“I know, Ma’am.” Lecter looked profoundly unhappy.
“I hope — oh, how I hope — that either you’ve got the wrong man or else this is just a very unhappy coincidence,” Michelle said, and Lecter nodded.

About Eric Flint

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33 Responses to STORM FROM THE SHADOWS — snippet 91

  1. Richard says:

    It is interesting that the SLN Admiral Byng has the same name as the the British Amriral Byng who was court-martialled and shot for losing the Battle of Minorca. David weber seems to use a lot of British naval history in his stories. Could this be a hint of things to come?

  2. kingpaul says:

    And now we'll get to see Adm. Byng's contempt of the Manties.

  3. John Roth says:

    So. We've got 17 battlecruisers, and Admiral Byng is with them. Where's his command SD? Or doesn't he actually have one?

  4. MadMcAl says:

    Well, we know that even an Manticore-hating Battle-Fleet Admiral won't simply open fire without even the slightest provocation. If he would murder Henke (and such an opening of fire would be pure and simple murder) he would have to answer for it. When he really hates Manticore so much then he knows how Manticore stands to Beowulf. And Beowulf can bust his ass everytime. Even or better especially the bureaucracy of the SLN won't protect him if one of the most important member-systems of the SL demands his head. So we can expect countless small little infringments, hidden taunts and provocations aimed to let Henke make an error.
    If Michelle has learned the lessons Honor had to learn her first time in Yeltsin, then this can be solved peacefully. At least as peacefully as it can be.
    And with such a warning that Mesa just upped the ante… well we will see.

  5. Byng, a shithead or no, is not the Graysons, or the damn Masadans. They were nothing but lunatics, the Masadans I mean. I say this is more like Honor meeting the Andermani in Honor Among Enemies.

  6. Harpoon says:

    Henke know how outclassed the SLN, but she won't underestimate them. Byng, however, will have nothing but contempt for the RMN, regarding them as upity neo-barbs. If and when things come to a head, Henke will do whatever is require of her, while Byng won't let himself believe that ANYONE would be willing to take on the SLN. That will color his decision making, forcing him into what WE can see are bad decisions, but by his standards are reasonable and logical.

  7. John Roth says:

    Now that I look at the thing, I'm wondering whether or not Byng is in charge. This looks like the two Frontier Fleet squadrons that Anisnovma promised New Tuscany, and Byng may be hitching a ride to check out what's going on himself as well as see how well his second in command can handle the fleet for a few months.

  8. MadMcAl says:

    That is the problem. The SLN is not outclassed here. Without active impeller and sidewalls the Nikes are as vulnerable as an LAC. And even if they can get them up fast enough, the Nikes are long-range-ships. They can brilliance at long combat ranges. They can hold their own at what most navys still consider long ranges. At short ranges with room to move they can give as good as they get. At knife-ranges as they are now they are still very powerfull. But not powerfull enough to wittle down an numerical advantage of more than 4 to 1. When Byng decides to blow Henke out of the space he has the ability to do that whenever he wants. As everywhere quantity has an quality of itself.

    • Harpoon says:

      I was refering to the general tech advantage the RMN has in military hardware.

      In the specific instance of her sharing a parking orbit with Byng, I agree that 17 to 4 odds, with sidewalls down, are too much to overcome, but Byng would lose a lot more than he'd expect to.

      • MadMcAl says:

        You are making one significant thinking error. We think that the RMN-tech is way better than the SLN-tech. The Sollys also "know" that their tech is better than anyone elses. And as we actually have no real idea how modern solarian military hardware will fare against manticorean we don't know who is really superior. But I agree with you, that the Nikes are generally way better. But that is only suspicion.

        • Harpoon says:

          We know from the Battle of Monica that RMN military hardware is substantially better than SLN hardware. The refitted Technodyne BCs were fairly up to date, and the tech reps were paying attention to the reports coming back from the Havenite Wars. Even then, they substantially underestimated what deployed RMN hardware could do. The generally Solly tech base is very good, just look at the nano-tech used in the Mesan assassins, but the deployed hardward is lacking. This isn't to say that they couldn't quickly field hardware to counter the RMN advantage, but they don't have the decades of actual full scale combat experience, nor the doctrine, to use such hardware.

          Unfortunately for the RMN, the SLN is big enough to absorb massive losses while it learns what it needs to survive.

          • MadMcAl says:

            No, we know that the tech Technodyne gave Monica was somewhat inferior. And even there the stealth-capabilitys where damned good.
            About the losses the SLN is able to soak, yes that's true, but unfortunately for the SLN there are only a handful systems the SLN can survive to lose in the long run of a specific type. The military yards, especially of the capital type, are artificially few to allow them near-monopols. And if these few systems are trashed the SLN won't seeing modern ships in a few years.
            Or, in other words, we know that it takes Manticore 1 1/2 years to build an SD(P) of an proven, well worked in design on the at the moment most productive capital yards in known space (war-time footing, experience of litterally hundreds of ships build, on of the highes over-all techbases). We know that for the RMN this time goes up by 50% with a new design (the reason they didn't switch to Medusa-B's). We know from the infodumps that the SL-capital ship-yards are more comparable to a glacier than to the RMN-yards. So even if the SLN immediatly realizes they need SD(P)'s with MDM's they need arround a year to design them, and then arround 3 years to build them. And that is, if the RMN doesn't strike at the yard-systems. ATM the SLN has nothing cappable to stand in the way of the fleet the RMN is building right now. 50 Apollo-SD(P)'s are enough to kill 200 prepodder-SD's. The SLN simply has not the number of ships neccessary to protect their important systems from such a force. If the RMN takes Beowulf in the beginning and uses it as base, they can trash the vital yards of the sollys in about a year, maybe 2. We are now including the upbuild of the fleet, the journey to Beowulf and the trashing of the SL-yards at 2 1/2 years. Simply not enough to have SD(P)'s ready.
            Of course the SL has numerous systems that could build such yards. But there they have to first build the yards, then train the workers, then build the ships. Makes it arround 5-6 years.
            In these 7 1/2 – 8 1/2 years the RMN can capture and/or trash many different systems. And if the Frontier Fleet is distracted all these little fiefdoms in the verge, also known as OFS-protectorates, will suddenly see an opening to gain a bit of freedom.
            At the same time the whole political situation in the League will change. Much of the Leagues Bureaucracys power derives from the absolute knowledge that nobody can stand against the SL. If this knowledge is shattered the bureaucracy will be crushed. Especially when it becomes clear that the machinations of the bureaucracy where responsible for this war. Also not a few systems will propably leave the League.
            Or in other words, the League has a glass chin, and Manticore (in combination with its allied and propably the RHN) is in the position to hit it.

  9. MadMcAl says:

    I thought about the whole barrage of small petty insults coming from all the Graysons during her first stay in the system. Not after she came back with Jericho in full swing. But like the thing with Carolyn Wolcott. We can expect that the Sollys "knowing" their superiority, with an commanding officer not especially known for his love for Manticore and in a system that had just kicked its crap out from the RMN let the crews of the Nikes feel their disdain.
    And it will be much more like the Andermani in Honors War. In Honor Among Enemies the Andermani where actually quite friendly. And very professional.

  10. Erik Ker says:

    Knowing that Byng is Battle Fleet, not Frontier Fleet, starts to up the ante. And they have not even spoken yet. Tension ratcheted up one notch. I don't think there will be a fight here. I think we will see Frontier Fleet's nose bloodied before we see Battle Fleet's ass kicked.

  11. Why would Byng just attack?? Plus, with this being written by Weber, we Know that Henke won't be taken without OVERWHELMING force.

  12. JohnRoth1 says:

    He's obviously not going to do a surprise attack. Setting up a fight in orbit is just asking for an Eradnii incident.

    However, Admiral Henke has stumbled on something that's supposed to be a rude surprise sometime down the road, so he's going to try to take her out some way. At least that's the way I read it.

    Of course, he may not do that either, relying on the innate superiority of Sollys over neo-barbs to reassure himself that she doesn't know he's got an SD division waiting.

  13. One might propose that in this act the atomic shotgun is placed on the mantelpiece, and it will be a later act in which Admiral Byng demonstrates the overwhelming superiority of genuine Solarian technology, accept no substitutes. If the character is just there to die, one might propose that the author would have chosen someone we had seen earlier and forgotten.

    With respect to Admiral Henke, an orbit 60 light seconds out for three of her ships would satisfy the 'more than 8000 kilometers' request.

  14. MadMcAl you're right about the amount of time it would for them to build Podnaughts, IF they knew how to build them. It took the Havenites, what, 5 years to build their SD(P)s, with a truce! It will take at LEAST 2 years for them to even figure out the tech. And by that time, Manticore will be at the League's front door. It reminds me of WW2, except the League is the Japanese with the industry of the U. S. , and the morale of 1905 Russia

    • MadMcAl says:

      First, you are aware that with this new system you can directly answer to the specific post by clicking on reply? Makes the threat much easier to follow.
      And then, no, it is still somwhat comparable with the original WW2-setting. The SL has as at least as much industrial capacity advantage as the US had. Most propably way more. But the big difference here is that the industrial centers of the US where way out of reach of the Japanese, while the SL-industrial centers are very very vulnerable. Or, in other words, it would be as if the Japanese could bomb any part of the US when they want. That, combined with the early advantages may enable Manticore to win over the SL. But be aware of the may. It is a posibility, and nothing more. The SL is way to big to be written off even against an alliance of Andermani, Havenites, Graysons and Manticorians.

    • MadMcAl says:

      First, you are aware that with this new system you can directly answer to the specific post by clicking on post reply? Makes the threat much easier to follow.
      And then, no, it is still somwhat comparable with the original WW2-setting. The SL has as at least as much industrial capacity advantage as the US had. Most propably way more. But the big difference here is that the industrial centers of the US where way out of reach of the Japanese, while the SL-industrial centers are very very vulnerable. Or, in other words, it would be as if the Japanese could bomb any part of the US when they want. That, combined with the early advantages may enable Manticore to win over the SL. But be aware of the may. It is a posibility, and nothing more. The SL is way to big to be written off even against an alliance of Andermani, Havenites, Graysons and Manticorians.

      • I know. When I found out that the League had 2000+ Dreanought/Superdreadnought ships, I got cold shivers. There will be lots of fighting. It's the Chinese saying in Korea "so we lose a million men. So what?" the League can soak up HUGE loses. But their tech is a full generation behind. I said before on another post, that the potential League/Kingdom war would be like taking a modern 1920s navy and facing off against a 1880s navy . Except for 6 to 1 odds, that kind of matchup is the makings of a massacre. And to make the League's potential plight worse, their war fleet's personnel have NO experience, and haven't fought a battle in 300 years or more!!!

        • MadMcAl says:

          Not 2000+. We are talking about 1600-1800 active SD's and a myriad of old, mothballed ships, totally obsolete even for SLN-standards, without a crew. They need to brought up to the status of active targets by blocking yard-space for a year or so. Before that they aren't even that.
          About the experience, well, if the nation is able to soak up the losses, doesn't kill the officers for inexperience and has enough time the experience comes from alone. That was what happened to the PN, after they stopped letting St. Just and Ransome making the decissions about it.
          No, the thing that could break the SLN's neck is its outdated hardware and the lack of time to build modern weapons and ships.
          What could save the SLN is Frontier Fleet. As far as I understand the FF masses more than the complete RHN, RMN, IAN and GSN together. They can literally swarm the few SD(P)'s.
          The answer to that are the LAC's. They can swarm the FF in the battle, are way cheaper to build, and can with enough numbers kill BC's.
          And you can use personell not trained up to the full standard of the 4 aforementioned Navys, saying Silesians, Talbotters, Vergers, Torchers etc.
          Everyone who has a bone to pick with the OFS or Mesa.

          • Harpoon says:

            To quote Infodump:

            >>At the same time, however, please do bear in mind, Richard, that however bad Battle Fleet may be, Frontier Fleet is an entirely different animal, and it's big enough all by itself to substantially out-mass the entire Manty Navy, superdreadnoughts and all.<<

            • MadMcAl says:

              Thank's for the quote. It is practically what I had written. And of course don't forget that FF is actually an modern, well trained navy. Well, at least modern for everyone outside of the havenite war.
              BTW, you should sign up here. Lets us others give you points for your posts.

          • Actually 6-7000 in reserve. See infodump near the jiltanith site. Also, the oldest mothballed ships are always the first to be upgraded, and redefined as 'newest', so the oldest ships are quite modern and the intermediate mothballed ships are less so. New ships are quite few, and I gather the SLN needs 5-10 years to build an SD. I gather that the SLN does have a reserve system; I would expect that the reserve for each ship comes form one planets so that they can train together with some frequency. I am relying on direct writings of he author here and there.

            • MadMcAl says:

              I didn't look onto the infodump. But this ships in reserve are just that. Mothballed, overhauled every 50 years or so, partly several hundreth years old, small for their class and still totaly unmanned. And still nothing to throw into the way of an Apollo-Force. In the time the SLN has activated 100 of them, manned them (they are still old SD's with crews in the 5-8 thousands, and even the SLN will be hard pressed to wave its hands, mumble some words and magic trained military crews for these ships by) and is ready to send them against the RMN the RMN has 500000 Apollo-pods ready and waiting. It takes arround 50 to 100 pods to kill an modern SD(P) with state of the art missile defenses for absolutely sure. It will take 20 pods to kill one of these SD's with the same surety.
              They are just so much more targets. The RMN-ships are way faster, bigger, better armed, better defended, have an unbelivable amount of fire controll advantage.
              The main weapon of the SLN is its invincibility. Nobody in his sane mind will try to fight them. So they don't need training, standing reserves and the most modern technology.

              • Chris says:

                I think you overestimate the dificulty of activating the reserve. The SL is HUGE. The populations are HUGE. If each ship in the reserve is assigned to a sigle core planet, that is only, at most, a squadron per planet. That is still 40,000 people per planet. Even on the present day earth, 40,000 is not that many. All the SL needs is for 40,000 people to want to join the SLN. To get 40,000 people, you do not need to shift mainstream opinion, all you need is to tap a small portion of some group that has the drive, the fire, to mobolize.

                That being said, I agree that the ships won't be highly efficent, however, even with basic training any crew should be able to point the ship where it wants to go, and move forward (even the Francis manages this much).

              • MadMcAl says:

                You are right, of course. But that would be, well, not so experienced people. To train a good crew-person you need arround a year. If the SLN the minimum requirements analog to the PN then it will still take at least half a year to train them in the basics for their job. That is, what to do in combat. What to do for maintenance. What to do when the admiral wants his ass kissed.
                And that are the crews. The officers are a completely different matter. And while it may be right that any planet with 4-6 billion people can send 40k of them, only very few will have 4000 trained officers. 8 trained captains. 8 trained XO's. they won't need a flag officer, as we just learned, but the only ressources for trained officers will be Frontier Fleet and the SDF's.
                Then you need basic squadron training (as in SVW) to manage fleet operations beyond going in the same direction on the same day.
                Even then, without a real felt scare the people most likely being mobilized won't be the high qualified engineers, technicans etc. who have allready relative good paid jobs without the high possibility of death in combat, but the bottom of the food chain.
                The important word in my sentence was trained.
                And we know that untrained crews are a little bit underwhelming in their efforts. That won't be much better than, say, Masadans in a modern BC, or Monicans in 3 modern BC's, or silesian pirates in modern CA's.
                Way under worth.
                And even the SLN can't just throw a couple of hundred squadrons away for no gain.
                And still, when the SLN has brought the SD's out of storage, tested all the systems, and brought the cannon-fodder, ehm, crews onboard, how many apollo-pods will have the RMN build in that time?
                Lets say it takes a trained, fully staffed team of technicans 2 weeks to bring a SD from being mothballed to ready for the crews. What do you think how many of these trained teams does the SLN have? How many slips in the yards are available for that? Enough to bring its reserves into play in less than half a year? I don't think so. I think it will take at least an average of 1 month per SD. I think they don't have more than a couple of hundred spots. That are 25 month. More than 2 years. And the technicans and yard spaces aren't available for new builds and/or combat repairs.

                Or, in other words, the reactivating of the reserves may be the most wrong way to do the war. It sucks up ressources desperately needed elsewhere.
                But the SLN-leadership is so crusted, it will take months, if not years until they may finally accept that.

              • Harpoon says:

                This article from Infodump is very good:

                To quote a small part:
                >>They also have to find the personnel to man them, and by definition, these are all the old, manpower-intensive designs. Trust me, if Battle Fleet attempted to man the entire Reserve, or even a major fraction of it, on a genuinely emergency priority basis, it would soon discover that its personnel and manning plans are grossly inadequate to the job of doing so with any sort of rapidity.<<

                Even if the Sollies did come up with a crash training program, how effective would the crews be? A well trained crew is far more effective, and the Sollies training programs are also way out of date. They have no idea what modern missile combat is like, as an example.

              • MadMcAl says:

                The modern missile combat is no argument. Outside of the havenite war nobody knows how modern missile combat is. And even there is only on single formation that really can use it to its full extends.
                Or, in other words, there is one fleet commander with her flag officers that can unleash the most devastating firepower.
                But as I wrote above, the RMN even in the height of the first havenite war took a year to train fully qualified civilian techs for military positions.
                Under half a year and only one in a million is really able to do his job. And if you hire in the slums (where the people would jump onto the job in the navy) you can't even do that. They need a few years to lay the groundworks.
                And still there is the other factor. This reserves are at the moment sitting ducks in a relative few systems. Most propably systems where there is a capital ship yard to overhaul the ships and bring them out of the mothballs.
                Systems that are allready a priority 2 target for the alliance (priority 1 targets are Beowulf and Sol. Beowulf for obvious reasons and Sol to decapacitate the enemy AKA the bureaucracys of the SL).

  15. mwhiddon says:

    You know how DW sometimes uses a book to set up the next book,and somtimes to set up the next four books.This has a four feel to it,and with all the other irons he has in the fire,I may need prolong before Shadows get their just desserts.Admiral Byng is to good a name out of history to use for cannon fodder.

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