TORCH OF FREEDOM — Snippet 10:

January, 1920 PD

Chapter 5

“So,” Zachariah McBryde asked, watching the head of foam rise on the stein he was filling with the precision of the scientist he was, “what do you think about the crap at Verdant Vista?”

“Are you sure you want to ask me that question?” his brother Jack inquired.

Both brothers were red-haired and blue-eyed, but of the two, Jack had the greater number of freckles and the more infectious smile. Zachariah, six T-years younger and three centimeters shorter than his brother, had always been the straight man when they were younger. Both of them had lively senses of humor, and Zachariah had probably been even more inventive than Jack when it came to devising elaborate practical jokes, but Jack had always been the extrovert of the pair.

“I’m generally fairly confident that the question I ask is the one I meant to ask,” Zachariah observed. He finished filling the beer stein, handed it across to Jack, and began filling a second one.

“Well,” Jack gave him a beady-eyed look. “I am a high muckety-muck in security, you know. I’d have to look very askance at anyone inquiring about classified information. Can’t be too careful, you know.”

Zachariah snorted, although when he came down to it, there was more than an edge of truth in Jack’s observation.

It was odd, the way things worked out, Zachariah reflected, carefully topping off his own stein and settling back on the other side of the table in his comfortably furnished kitchen. When they’d been kids, he never would have believed Jack would be the one to go into the Mesan Alignment’s security services. The McBryde genome was an alpha line, and it had been deep inside “the onion” for the last four or five generations. From the time they’d been upperclassman in high school, they’d both known far more of the truth about their homeworld than the vast majority of their classmates, and it had been a foregone conclusion that they’d be going into the . . . family business one way or another. But Jack the joker, the raconteur of hilarious stories, the guy with the irresistible grin and the devastating ability to attract women, had been the absolute antithesis of anything which would have come to Zachariah’s mind if someone mentioned the words “security” or “spy” to him.

Which might explain why Jack had been so successful at his craft, he supposed.

“I think you can safely assume, Sheriff, that this particular horse thief already knows about the classified information in question,” he said out loud. “If you really need to, you can check with my boss about that, of course.”

“Well, under the circumstances, partner,” Jack allowed with the drawl he’d carefully cultivated as a kid after their parents had introduced them to their father’s passion for antique, pre-diaspora “Westerns,” “I reckon I can let it pass this time.”

“Why, thank you.” Zachariah shoved a plate loaded with a thick ham and Swiss sandwich (with onion; they were the only ones present, so it was socially acceptable, even by their mother’s rules), a substantial serving of potato salad, and an eleven centimeter-long pickle across the table to him. They grinned at each other, but then Zachariah’s expression sobered.

“Really, Jack,” he said in a much more serious tone, “I’m curious. I know you see a lot more on the operational side than I do, but even what I’m hearing through the tech-weenie channels is a bit on the scary side.”

Jack regarded his brother thoughtfully for a moment, then picked up his sandwich, took a bite, and chewed reflectively.

Zachariah probably had heard quite a bit from his fellow “tech-weenies,” and it probably had been more than a little garbled. Under a strict interpretation of the Alignment’s “need-to-know” policy, Jack really shouldn’t be spilling any operational details to which he might be privy to someone who didn’t have to have those details to do his own job. On the other hand, Zachariah was not only his brother, but one of Anastasia Chernevsky’s key research directors. In some ways (though certainly not all), his clearance was even higher than Jack’s.

Both of them, Jack knew without false modesty, were definitely on the bright side, even for Mesan alpha lines, but Zachariah’s talent as a synthesizer had come as something of a surprise. That could still happen, of course, even for someone whose genetic structure and talents had been as carefully designed as the McBryde genome’s. However much the Long-Range Planning Board might dislike admitting it, the complex of abilities, skills, and talents tied up in the general concept of “intelligence” remained the least amenable to its manipulation. Oh, they could guarantee high general IQs, and Jack couldn’t remember the last representative of one of the Alignment’s alpha lines who wouldn’t have tested well up into the ninety-ninth-plus percentile of the human race. But the LRP’s efforts to preprogram an individual’s actual skill set was problematical at best. In fact, he was always a little amused by the LRPB’s insistence that it was just about to break through that last, lingering barrier to its ability to fully uplift the species.

Personally, Jack was more than a little relieved by the fact that the Board still couldn’t design the human brain’s software reliably and completely to order. It wasn’t an opinion he was likely to discuss with his colleagues, but despite his complete devotion to the Detweiler vision and the Alignment’s ultimate objectives, he didn’t really like the thought of micromanaging human intelligence and mental abilities. He was entirely in favor of pushing the frontiers in both areas, but he figured there would always be room for serendipitous combinations of abilities. Besides, if he was going to be honest, he didn’t really like the thought of his theoretical children or grandchildren becoming predesigned chips in the Alignment’s grand machine.

In that regard, he thought, he had a great deal in common with Leonard Detweiler and the rest of the Alignment’s original founders. Leonard had always insisted that the ultimate function of genetically improving humanity was to permit individuals to truly achieve their maximum potential. Whatever temporary compromises he might have been willing to make in the name of tactics, his ultimate, unwavering objective had been to produce a species of individuals, ready and able to exercise freedom of choice in their own lives. All he’d wanted to do was to give them the very best tools he could. He certainly wouldn’t have favored designing free citizens, fully realized members of the society for which he’d striven, the way Manpower designed genetic slaves. The idea was to expand horizons, not limit them, after all.

There were moments when Jack suspected the Long-Range Planning Board had lost sight of that. Hardly surprising, if it had, he supposed. The Board was responsible not simply for overseeing the careful, continually ongoing development of the genomes under its care, but also for providing the Alignment with the tactical abilities its strategies and operations required. Under the circumstances, it was hardly surprising that it should continually strive for a greater degree of . . . quality control.

And at least both the LRPB and the General Strategy Board recognized the need to make the best possible use out of any positive advantages the law of unintended consequences might throw up. Which explained why Zachariah’s unique, almost instinctual ability to combine totally separate research concepts into unanticipated nuggets of development had been so carefully nourished once it was recognized. Which, in turn, explained how he had wound up as one of Chernevsky’s right hands in the Alignment’s naval R&D branch.

Jack finished chewing, swallowed, and took a sip of his beer, then quirked an eyebrow at his brother.

“What do you mean ‘on the scary side,’ Zack?”

“Oh, I’m not talking about any hardware surprises, if that’s what you’re thinking,” Zachariah assured him. “As far as I know, the Manties didn’t trot out a single new gadget this time around. Which, much as I hate to admit it” — he smiled a bit sourly — “actually came as a pleasant surprise, for a change.” He shook his head. “No, what bothers me is the fact that Manticore and Haven are cooperating on anything. The fact that they managed to get the League on board with them, too, doesn’t make me any happier, of course. But if anybody on the other side figures out the truth about the Verdant Vista wormhole . . . .

He let his voice trail off, then shrugged, and Jack nodded.

“Well,” he said, “I wouldn’t worry too much about the Manties and the Peeps being in cahoots.” He chuckled sourly. “As nearly as I can tell from the material I’ve seen, it was more or less a freelance operation by a couple of out-of-control operatives improvising as they went along.”

Zachariah, Jack noted, looked just a bit skeptical at that, but he really didn’t have anything like a need to know about Victor Cachat and Anton Zilwicki.

“You’re just going to have to trust me on that part, Zack,” he said affectionately. “And I’ll admit, I could be wrong. I don’t think I am, though. And given the . . . intensity with which the operatives in question have been discussed over in my shop, I don’t think I’m alone in having drawn that conclusion, either.”

He took another bite of his sandwich, chewed, and swallowed.

“At any rate, it’s pretty obvious no one back home in Manticore or Nouveau Paris saw any of it coming, and I think what they’re really doing is trying to make the best of the situation now that they’ve both been dragged kicking and screaming into it. Which, I’ll admit, is probably easier for them because of how much both of them hate Manpower’s guts. It’s not going to have any huge impact on their actions or their thinking when we get them to start shooting at each other again, though.”

Zachariah frowned thoughtfully, then nodded.

“I hope you’re right about that. Especially if they’ve got the League involved!”

“That, I think, was also improvisational,” Jack said. “Cassetti just happened to be on the ground when the whole thing got thrown together, and he saw it as a way to really hammer home Maya’s relationship with Erewhon. I don’t think he gave a good goddamn about the independence of a planet full of ex-slaves, at any rate! He was just playing the cards he found in his hand. And it didn’t work out any too well for him personally, either.”

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41 Responses to TORCH OF FREEDOM — Snippet 10

  1. NewAgeOfPower says:


    tell more…

  2. dcchipper says:

    I wonder where the wormhole goes? Direct to Mesa or perhaps to some facility that is very important to the onion. That may explain why Mesa is so insistant on trying to get Torch back.

  3. Nomad says:

    Nice to see that even the bad guys still contain “Human” traits.
    I wonder if (and this is a very very big if) we will see Mesan Aligment fracturing due to more and more control the leading cadre will have to use when they enter the war…

  4. obelow says:

    I muxt say as much as I like detailed plots I start to get a bit impatient over time… everywhere hints hints hints of things to come but no meat to go with them. The meat follows 1 or 2 or 3 books later… Over time the HH Universae plot has stretched and streched and streched.In the first books you got a closed part of the story in one book, then it expanded to 2 or later 3 books to get from one point where you have the feeling that a part got to an defined state to the next point. Now I slowly develop a feeling of being constantly dissatisfied because always most of the plot keeps hanging in the air “for later”. A complex plot that streches over a long line of books is in principle a nice thing, but I need some “resting points” where I get the feeling something got accomplished and -for a time- decided. At the moment there are so many strings in the development of the plot, so many different people, that the overall story has nearly come to a standstill. And the people the authors are following multiply every time I turn around as do the unsolved mysteries. Unclear mesan technologie with no explanation (weapons, ships and so on”, unclear, unknown properties of the Torch-wormhole, unclear goals of Mesa and total confusion what Mesa really is and is after… it gets a bit much.
    I think the plot should be consolidated and streamlined a little. It would certainly give me a more satisfied feeling as reader. That things are unknown to the people in the story is ok, but the reader should be a little better informed to be able to better follow the story.

  5. robert says:

    I think the wormhole goes to someplace even more interesting and important to the MA’s plans than Mesa. Either directly to the Sol System, for example, or to someplace even more interesting. And mind boggling.

  6. Karsten says:

    @dcchipper: Good point. Could really be, that one of the termini is near … Yildun, for example. And TIY is definitely very important to the onion.

    By the way, what are your guesses about the 3 termini? Where are they situated? I would like to see one near Old Earth – and the others in Yildun (like I said before) and – only for the icing on the cake – somewhere inside the Republic of Haven (like, oh … Lovat, let’s say ;))

  7. Shadow says:

    I suspect that wormhole goes to wherever the Alignement does it’s naval construction and R&D. Because I just don’t see the Alignement building top secret, radically new designs in mesa orbit… Probably an out of the way system, either relatively close to mesa, or linked with another wormhole to somewhere close to mesa…

  8. erispope says:

    I have received By Heresies Distressed and finished it a while ago. From what I remember of the snippets, they did not always contain the full text of the chapter (perhaps because of being based on an earlier version of the book). It may be that there’s more meat to the chapter. Also, the first parts of the book is likely to do some setup of characters to interface with during the book – the McBryde’s will probably meet up with the dynamic duo of Cachat & Zilwicki in one way or another.

    However, if you expect anything more from this book than the Mesan attack being thwarted and our spies to fish out some truths about the Mesan Alignment, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. It’s been made pretty clear that the “spy” books will contain peripheral / set-up actions and fleet actions limited to tactical skirmishes (with the proviso of the attack on Torch being tactical compared to the grand strategical assault on Manticore / Haven).

    Still, time to pre-order!

  9. obelow says:

    I know that I cannot expect more than you mentioned from this book. What I wrote was more in the line of making the author aware of my and maybe many other readers feelings about the way the series develops. Development here not in view of the actual plot, but of the way of delivering/distributing the plot in/over the books. My hope is to further an awareness that hanging totally in the air at the end of a book is not very satisfying for the reader when the next part might be a year away in the future… at least some culmination point should happen in every book, even so the main plot is not done. A good, positive example for that is Honors captivity. Each of the books in that part had some culmination point, which got you a feeling of having reached a stable point in the story and at the same time made you eager for the next book in order to see how they would go on from there!
    At the moment the sub-plots are multiplying and multiplying again and with it the relevant characters. That is a fragmentation that could destroy the enjoyment if it runs unchecked. How many subplots and relevant figures can an average reader keep straight? Especially if someone should try to start reading the series now? Not everyone followed the series from the very start like I did and probably most of the people commenting here. My opinion is that a series should enable newbies to enjoy it without having to read more than lets say 3 books in sequence. If you have to go back 10 books, that will make it unattractive for new readers.
    And I must confess, if after a year of waiting I have to reread 4 previous books to get all the persons and plots straight again before I read the new one, thats a bit much, even so I enjoy rereading the books in general…
    So I hope the headlong plunge into more and more subplots will not go on too long.

    By the way the book has been pre-ordered for over half a year now as will be probably every follow-up ever coming.

  10. Daryl says:

    @4 & @9, There are a number of IT tools (MS Project is one) that will enable us to create a timeline that joins the various threads together, with a central graphical “spine”, but also room to have prose explanations appended. Generally I hate over analysing any artistic creation, be it book, song, play or whatever as that takes away some of the magic; but if this becomes any more complex with long time gaps between refreshes I may have to; in order to keep track without too much revision. I can only assume that the authors have something like that already to avoid contradictions, and it would be nice if they could share it at least up to the last published point. Mind you, keeping in mind that the universe is infinite, and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle exists, some where now this is all happening and is as complex as it seems to be here.

  11. Bequimão says:

    @ 5,6,7 There was a place called Mannerheim mentioned elsewhere, which was firmly in the pockets of Mesa. I think one of the termini leads to that system.

  12. Mike says:

    I wonder if the wormhole is somehow artificial. If one could create wormholes to order, it would completely rearrange everything in this universe.

  13. robert says:

    @10 Daryl, go to
    then click on the “Honor Harrington scripted/unscripted” link.
    Then scroll down to Timeline and click on the “Honor Harrington series timeline” link.
    Then Good Luck–that is how dense this series is.

    I agree with you. As a matter of fact I have had to go back and re-read some of the short stories (novellas) to get everything straight. Sometimes I have missed a story like From the Highlands and when Crown of Slaves came out I was confused and had to go search it out. Same with the Victor Cachet back story. And I had to remember where Princess Ruth came from — that was also a short story and she was just a fetus. Part of the problem is that with prolong stuff happens over many years but adults are still much the same as they were 40 years earlier.

    Don’t worry. This will be a pretty good book because the Weber-Flint collaborations always are.

  14. Nomad says:

    Mike (12): I don’t think it is. Sure Mesa and Aligment have a very good research branches but they are primarly based on organic sciences. I guess the Torch Wormholes touch somewhere near Mesa system or maybe even ironically somewhere between Mesa and Talbott, A really long way out in the emptiness system that Mesa uses as his hidden rear area and one or more junctions that tie to the established realms (Thou I think they won’t be near the space from Andermani/Silesia to Havenite sector. More likely to tie into another Solarian League region or the untouched regions of Midgard, Asgard and so on)

    Lastly the only thing that is known about the new Junction is the fact that it has “At Least” 3 termini. The termini might all be totally unrelated to Mesa in space but if it has more than 3 termini than it would/could be a rival to Manticore Junction. Afterall there is nothing preventing it from having a lot of termini is it?

  15. robert says:

    Speaking of prolong brings up a question. Considering the backgrounds of Berry and Lars, is it possible they did not receive prolong treatments (or whatever it is called) at an early age? What are the implications of that?

    @8 erispope: My take on this book is that it’ll be much more character driven than event driven. That is, we will see our young heroines and heroes grow into their new roles and mature as events shape them and they shape events. There will certainly be a lot of yada yada setup because that is what Weber does. And there will be a battle or two because he does that so well, too. But I am sure we will get to know the main players very well and even learn some of their foibles (like lousy Danish cheese) because that is what Flint does.

  16. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Mike, if the Alignment could create wormholes they’d be so much more advanced than the rest of the Honorverse that nobody would have a chance against them. Honorverse ‘wormholes’ are the result of ‘super gravity waves’ touching normal space. Anybody would could create gravity waves would be unbeatable.

    Nomad, Mesa may be known for bio-resarch but there is no reason that they aren’t involved in other types of research. David Weber has made it clear that Beowulf, who is also known for bio-research, is also involved in other types of research.

  17. Nomad says:

    Of course they are. I guess I was a bit vague there but I meant that they would be at their best in organic techs. I know using/thinking in game terms is not entirely reliable but Honorverse is in the age that can be called gravity-age. (reliable artificial gravity, reliable nanobots, small scale replicators and so on). The ability to thread wormhole connections artificially out of thin… air? space? would be really too far fetched.

    I think the secrets of Mesan Superdrive and Silentdrive lie the same principles as the latest generation compensators from Grayson. The depend on a taken for granted, unnoticed sliver of technology that was passed over quickly.

    Robert: :Berry and Lars are most probably first generation prolong recipents as they were quite young when Helen found them and I don’t think their mother was a “fallen from grace” person who had prolong…

  18. Brom says:

    At time of “From the Highlands”, even Helen had not received prolong, so Berry and Lars would have received the 3rd gen prolong, just as Helen did. Recall Berry is about same age as Helen and Lars is younger, so they were in early to mid teens when rescued in Chicago.


  19. robert says:

    @16 Nomad. Thanks. But what exactly does first generation, second generation, etc. mean? I somehow missed that in whichever novel it was described. Gimme a cite and I’ll go read it, if you could. All I get is they live long, stay young and make for generation-spanning stories and the ability to fight a forever war.

  20. Bones says:

    Okay, I think I’m a bit behind the curve here. What’s the big secret about Mesa (or whatever the spelling is), and why are they the ones trying to keep Manticore and Noveau Paris duking it out? I thought that was Manpower. Guess I need to go back and read all the books not directly related to Honor.

  21. Karsten says:

    @Robert (16): There is no single cite, only hints here and there – for example, in Shadow of Saganami, when van Dort and Helen Zilwicki speak about his great love – and that she was to old to get the therapies for 1st generation prolong …
    In short: the later the generation, the earlier you have to begin with the treatments. How long the therapies will work is not clear – to date, noone with prolong is died because of age – but best estimate is at least for 250-300 years.
    Is is not clear, if there are differences in the projected duration of the lives, depending on the generation of therapies someone got: for example if 1st generation therapies work “only” for 220 years; 2nd generation therapies for 260 years and 3rd generation therapies for 300 years or so …(would be logical, at least to me – but I’m not the MWW ;)) but that’s more or less the gist of it

    Hope, I could help you.

  22. Bewildered says:

    Is the Prolong multigenerational or is there an inherited component? I never really scrutinised the books to see if Honor got the Mk III version or if Grandpa got it, as did Dad as did she ie is it like being a third generation dole bludger? :)

  23. Nomad says:

    By itself prolong adds something like 100-150 years to the middle age (30 to 60) period and 10 to 15 to the other age periods starting from teenage years. However it does (seem to) have a genetic inherited component that makes your prolong more effective if your parents had it too. 3rd generation prolong (like Honor) means the persons bothe parents and all grandparents had prolong treatment.

    Sure there are probably “better” prolong medicines in 1920 PD than 1820 PD that give you 150 years instead of 100 but it seems the “main” benefit of prolong lies in the part that becomes part of the genetic makeup naturally. In Honor’s and Henke’s musings about their academy days you can read that just by being a 3rd gen, Honor had a lenghty teenager period and with her own prolong she was still loking like a fresh faced 18-20 year old at the “On Basilisk Station”

  24. dcchipper says:

    @ 16 see and
    These explain the basics on prolong in the honorverse
    @ 6 I’m not super familar with the layout of the honorverse but I have a hard time with a terminus being near the sol system due to the gravitic arrays that would have picked up the recon ship when it came out on the first passage. I don’t think that even MA would be able to sweep that under the rug. I do see one of the termni at the primary construction site for the spider and streak drive ships. I could see one somewhere in Havenite space but in an unoccupied system. As for trying to guess where the third one goes I don’t have a clue.

  25. Mike says:

    Prolong is interesting to me primarily because I can’t think of a Weber novel that doesn’t feature people getting greatly extended lifespans. I guess maybe the Safehold books, but even there we have at least one person with a greatly extended lifespan.

    It seems to be something that Weber feels very strongly about.

  26. Thirdbase says:

    Prolong and the word “Generation.” Generation refers to the drug generation.

    1st generation being the earliest type developed, usable by people up to about 25 years old. van Dort’s wife was in her late 20s when they met.

    2nd generation is usable until about 21 years old. Neither 1st or 2nd generation are usable pre-puberty.

    3rd generation is usable until about 19 years old, and can be administered pre-puberty. Most of Honor’s generation and younger have received this version of the treatment.

    Queen Elizabeth must have been treated pre-puberty based upon her claims of spending “about fifteen years by insisting they find some camera angle that would keep me from looking like a flat-chested, no hips, androgynous mannikin!” Ragnhild Pavletic also received it very early, as she is described as looking liking a 13 year-old at the age of 21.

  27. Karsten says:

    @dcchipper (24): “Near the sol-system” could be relative. I admit, the termini we know about are no more than 10 lighthours or so away from the next star – but that doesn’t necessarily mean, all termini have to be located in this distance to a star. Maybe, this terminus is … 1 or 2 lightmonth(s) away? I mean – the resonance zone of the biggest junction we know about (Manticore) has effects only for no more than 7 lighthours or so – and here we are talking about a single terminus without any traffic at all (or only with a really sparsely one) How big a chance you think someone has to discover that terminus by accident? By the way – I wouldn’t count on a reliable net of gravitic arrays around the borders of the sol system. Maybe there was a good net in earlier times – about 1600 or 1700 P.D. – but after so long a time without a serious threat, the chances are more than even, that most of the net is out of service now. And if I remember correctly, the Congo-junction was detected only recently …

  28. obelow says:

    I guess that either the Torch wormhole has more Termini that are in interesting places or that it is a new TYPE of wormhole junction, one until know unknown or only theoretically known…

  29. Nomad says:

    Before speculating what is “special” about Torch Wormhole, remember that the presence of a wormhole is “enough” to uplift a single star nation to 2nd or 1st degree power in galactic (? universal? whatever :D) scale. Except Haven and Solarian Legue all of the multi system entities that are in Honorverse owe their existance to their junctions. Haven and SL are more of a classical entities consisting of main planet, its daughter colonies and the planets they shallowed with their military.

    The Torch Junction does not have to be anything extraordinary. Just it’s existance is enough to start serious troubles. (You can think of it as Panaöa and Suez Canals rolled into 1 and placed in Falklands islands or Granada to give a real world example)

  30. RobertHuntingdon says:

    Nomad you forgot the Andies. For that matter you forgot the Sillies as well. Granted the Silesians are no longer independent, but they were for quite a long time and they had no wormhole junctions (or even termini) in their territory and they were definitely a multisystem polity. And the Andies *now* have the Gregor terminus of the Manty WHJ in their territory, but they didn’t at inception or even for the first few hundred years of their existence. Oh and while we’re at it we might as well also mention Phoenix and Midgard as well, neither of which have known WHJs in their territories either (termini, yes, junction, no). In fact the only known multisystem polities that own WHJs are the Manties and Asgard.

    That said, I don’t think you are THAT far off. A properly used (and especially re-invested) WHJ could make any star system extremely wealthy and powerful relatively quickly (assuming of course that they can hold on to it). But as corrupt as the Sillies had been had they had just a junction I’m pretty sure it too would have just vanished into the pockets of admirals and bureaucrats. You not only have to have the WHJ, you have to re-invest the profits locally to “jump start” your industrial power.


  31. Nomad says:

    Me and my vague wordings :D. It doesn’t really need a whole wormhole junction, just a termini is enough to uplift and give enough clout (primarily economic but also technological and social) for its controller to weld a multi system nation around his own planet.

    Andermani are your genuine “Warlord” realm founded by a mercenary force. Their access to 2 termini (Gregor and Durandel) gave them the economical freedom to build their “empire” quickly, even if they dont own Gregor 100%.

    Silesia is/was not actually a “real” nation so to speak. Sure they had a confederation but it was just a bag of single star systems between Andermani and Basilisk. It wouldn’t suprise me to learn that it gradually came out of an economic or mutual defense pact or the “real” confederacy consisted of 10-20 out of 50 or so planets in the region.

    We dont have much data on other parts of the Honorverse but it would not suprise me to see similar to Silesia political entities between 2 termini (Gregor and Basilisk in Silesia’s case).

    RH: You are quite right and wrong. Even if place as corrupt as Silesia had a termini, sooner or later it would have to strengten/correct its act or a more focused and powerful neighbour would swoop in and take control of the place (Panama anyone?)

  32. Nomad says:

    *We dont have much data on other parts of the Honorverse but it would not suprise me to see similar to Silesia political entities between 2 termini like the region between….

    Now that I re-checked the map ( there isn’t any real free region of space between 2 other termini. Phoenix and Matapan are both build upon 2 terminus exits. Gregor-Basilisk side is Silesia (Carribean of golden age?), and the other side (Basilisk-Trevor’s Star) has been a battlefield last 75-100 years…

  33. Nomad says:

    4, 9, 10: Btw, (Honorverse Wikipedia page) has a rough timeline that shows which book or seperate story takes place when. you may want to use it as a shotcut for your work.

  34. David says:

    Been a long while since I commented here but this struck me as interesting:

    ““Why, thank you.” Zachariah shoved a plate loaded with a thick ham and Swiss sandwich (with onion; they were the only ones present, so it was socially acceptable, even by their mother’s rules),”

    Apparently being apart of the Onion has made it a somewhat taboo to eat onions.

  35. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Ah David, I suspect it has more to do with ‘bad breath’ than anything else.

  36. Wyrm says:

    Prolong “generations”

    I have a memory that somewhere in the Honorverse there is a comment that the later the prolong generation, the “older” your look stabilises.

    Can anyone confirm this (or even better, locate it)?

  37. robert says:

    Gosh! What a storm from the readers my little prolong inquiry has produced. Thanks for all the links and interesting ideas.
    I sure hope this book answers the wormhole question. I sure hope this book doesn’t just repeat the events we already know about from the Torch POV.

  38. David says:

    At 35: As always thanks for setting me straight Paul, you are probably right in it being a mundane reason and not the wild ideas I come up with.

    At 36:
    I was going to sumarize but realized it is easier to cut and paste this is from the info dump at

    The short of it is the lower number your generation of Prolong the younger the aging halts.

    “There are currently three generations of prolong. The term “generation” has nothing to do with descent or parentage; it refers to the version or variant of prolong available.

    First Generation Prolong: May be administered up to the age of about 25; may not be administered pre-puberty. It stops the aging process at the physical equivalent of the very late 30s or early-mid 40s. More effective for some than for others, depending on genetic makeup. Slows physical healing times and/or extends pregnancy periods, etc., without “quick heal” intervention. Hamish Alexander and Alfred Harrington are 1st generation prolong recipients.

    Second Generation Prolong: May be administered up to the age of about 21; normally administered about 18 or 20; may not be administered pre-puberty. Stops the aging process at the physical equivalent of the late 20s or early 30s. Much of the differential in effectiveness between recipients has been removed. Slows physical healing times and/or extends pregnancy periods, etc., without “quick heal” intervention, but not by the same degree as 1st generation prolong. Allison Chou Harrington is a 2nd generation prolong recipient.

    Third Generation Prolong: May be administered up to the age of about 18-19; normally administered about 16; may be administered pre-puberty but virtually never is. Aside from the case covered in the 3rd sentence of the next paragraph, 3rd generation prolong works equally well for everyone, regardless of genetic makeup. Stops the aging process in the early 20s. Does not slow physical healing times and/or extend pregnancy periods, etc.

    In addition to the above, 2nd and 3rd generation prolong are expected to extend the “frozen” aging process by about 20% and 33%, respectively, over 1st generation prolong. (That is, they will both stop the aging process earlier and keep it stopped longer.) Also, for reasons which are still subject to investigation, it does appear that the children of prolong recipients respond more strongly to the same or later generations of the prolong therapies. 3rd generation also plays less havoc with hormone balances and so forth than 1st or 2nd generation prolong.

    Honor is, in fact, 3rd generation, despite the error in the earlier book. She is also the daughter of prolong recipients on both sides. She did not receive the treatment until about the time she entered the Academy, which put her through puberty and most of her physical adolescence before it began taking effect.

    As for the “jail bait” aspect of her appearance which some people have commented upon, this is a woman who looks to be about 21 or 22 (which gets her out of the “jail bait” category in most jurisdictions). However, remember that she is also half-Chinese. It has always seemed to me that Oriental women appear physically younger (to Western eyes, at least) than Western women do. This is not a value judgment, only a statement of fact (or, at least, opinion), and I cheerfully acknowledge that it may be culture bound. However, one should also remember that the people to whom Honor seems so physically youthful have their own cultural baggage. Alistair McKeon is a 1st or 2nd generation recipient; Hamish Alexander is a 1st generation recipient (and, because of the culture in which he was raised, continues, deep down inside, to carry around a pre-prolong society’s views on physical aging); and Andrew LaFollet who, in Flag in Exile, thought of Honor as (I believe) “barely post-adolescent” in appearance is from a culture which (a) did not have prolong at all (prior to the Alliance) and (b) had virtually no ethnic Asians in its population. (And note that, nonetheless, he thought of her as post-adolescent.) The point I’m trying to make is that while Honor does look absurdly young for her actual age, she may not look quite as young as you think (by our standards), because you’re seeing her through the eyes of other people with other standards.”

  39. Just me says:

    Wyrm, I think you have it reversed – the earlier your prolong generation, the older you stabilize. Thus, Admiral White Haven, a 1st generation prolong recipient, looks late middle aged or so. Honor, a 3rd generation, looks to be in her 20’s, possibly early 20’s.

  40. wyrm says:

    @Just me

    You’re correct. That is what I intended to write, but I did a cut & paste on some clumsy wording, and messed up my logic. Your reference to White Haven was one of the cases I was thinking about, but couldn’t locate. Do you have any feel to which book it’s in?

  41. Thirdbase says:

    Wyrm, Honor Among Enemies.

    “Admiral of the Green Hamish Alexander, Thirteenth Earl of White Haven, wondered if he looked as weary as he felt. The earl was ninety T-years old, though in a pre-prolong society he would have been taken for no more than a very well preserved forty, and even that would have been only because of the white stranded through his black hair. But there were new lines around his ice-blue eyes, and he was only too well aware of his own fatigue.”

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