“Okay, kid. Who are you?”

Oddly, the monster’s voice was a rather pleasant tenor. From his appearance, you’d have expected a basso profundo with an undertone of gravel being poured down a chute.

The expression on his face was a surprise, too. There was more than a hint of humor in those heavy features. Relaxed humor, at that. Brice would have expected something more along the lines of what he thought a troll probably looked like, while glaring in fury.

“I’m, uh, Brice Miller. Sir. The two guys — kids — with me are James Lewis and Ed Hartman.”

“And where did you come from?”

“Uh . . . Well. Actually, we live here, sir.”

“Not here!” yelled Ed. Yelped, rather. He and James had come out of the compartment also, by then.

“No, no, no,” Brice hastily agreed. “I didn’t mean we live here. With the slavers.”

“The stinking dirty rotten slavers.” That was James’s contribution, spoken in a rush.

“We live . . . well, somewhere else. On the station, I mean. With Ganny Butre and the rest of our people.”

“And who’s Ganny Butre?”

“She’s, uh, the widow of the guy who built Parmley Station. Michael Parmley himself. He was my great-grandfather. She’s my great-grandmother.” He hooked a thumb at James and Ed. “Theirs too. We’re all pretty much related. Except for the people we adopted.”

“Those were slaves we rescued,” added Ed.

“From the stinking dirty rotten slavers,” said James. Again, in a rush.

One of the female commandos rose from her crouch. She was the buxom one who’d been passing herself off as a pleasure slave. Somehow or other, she’d gotten her hands on a flechette gun and looked like she knew how to use it. Raging fourteen-year-old hormones be damned. Brice wasn’t even tempted to stare at her bosom. The last two males who’d behaved offensively in her presence were now dead-dead-dead.

“Talk about the well-made plans of mice and men ganging aft agleigh,” she said. “What do we do now, Hugh?”

To Brice’s relief, the giant commando in front of him had lowered his weapon.

“I’m not sure yet,” said the man. He spoke into his com. “Hold off on the nukes, Richard. Turns out we got civilians aboard the station, after all.”

Brice couldn’t hear the reply. But a few seconds later the commando — Hugh, apparently — shrugged his shoulders. “Got no idea. I’ll ask him.”

“How many of you are there, Brice?”

Brice hesitated. “Uh . . . about two dozen.”

Hugh nodded and spoke into the com again. “He claims two dozen. Seems like a good kid, loyal to his own, so he’s almost certainly lying. I figure at least three times that. You ought to be able to find them with another search, now that you know there’s something to be found. And before you start whining, no, that’s not a reprimand. If the kid’s telling the truth and these are Parmley’s own descendants, they’ve had decades to conceal themselves. Not surprising we didn’t spot them with a standard search.”

Brice took a deep breath. He didn’t see any point in delaying the inevitable.

“Ah . . . Mr. Hugh, sir. Are you folks from the Audubon Ballroom?”

A smile spread across the commando’s face. It was a big smile, and it seemed to come very easily.

“No, we’re not — and that must be a relief.” He shook his head, still smiling. “Come on, Brice. Do we look stupid? There’s no way a whole tribe of you has been living here for more than half a century unless you worked out some sort of accommodation with the slavers. Probably took bribes from them to keep you from being a nuisance. Maybe did some of their maintenance work.”

“We never did a damn thing for them!” said Ed.

Hugh swiveled his head to look down at him. “But you took their money, didn’t you?”

Ed was silent. Brice tried to think of something, but . . . what was there to say, really?

Except . . .

“Unless we were going to die, we didn’t have any choice,” he stated, in as adult a manner as he could manage. “We’re broke. Have been since way before I was born. We had no way to leave and the only way we could stay was by making a deal with the slavers.”

“The stinking dirty rotten slavers,” added James. Brice thought that was probably the most useless qualifier uttered by any human being since the ancient Hebrews tried to claim the golden calf was actually there as a reminder of the evils of idolatry. And Yahweh hadn’t bought it for one second.

The commando just laughed. “Oh, relax. Even the Ballroom . . . ” He cocked his head slightly and glanced at Ed. “Did I understand you right, earlier? That you’ve adopted slaves into your group. And if so, where did they come from?”

“Yeah, it’s true. There’s about . . . ” He paused, while he did a quick estimate. “Somewhere around thirty, I figure.”

“Thirty, is it? Out of twenty-four total.”

Brice flushed. “Well. Okay, there’s maybe more than just two dozen of us, all told. But I’m not fudging about the thirty.”

“It’s thirty-one, actually,” said James eagerly. He seemed to have become addicted to useless qualifiers. “I just did an exact count.”

“And where’d they come from?”

Brice raced through every alternative answer he could think of, before deciding that the truth was probably the best option. The commando questioning him might be built like an ogre, but it was obvious by now that there was nothing dull-witted or brutish about his mind.

“Most of them come from way back — I wasn’t even born yet — before we’d, well, worked out our arrangement with the slavers. There were a couple of big fights then, and we freed a bunch of slaves both times. Since then, of course, some of them have had kids themselves, but I wasn’t including them in the thirty figure since they weren’t born slaves.”

Hugh scratched his heavy chin. “And who’d they marry? Or whatever arrangements you folks have. What I mean is, who are the other parents? Other slaves, or some of you folks?”

“Both,” said Brice. “Mostly some of us, though. Ganny encouraged it. Said she doesn’t want any more in-breeding than necessary.”

The commando nodded. “That’ll help. A lot, in fact. And where’d the rest of the slaves come from?”

“People who escaped later. There aren’t many of them, though.”

“Sure there are,” insisted James. “I count four, all told. That’s actually a lot, when you think about it.”

It was, in fact. There shouldn’t have been any at all, except the slavers who’d operated at the station were pretty sloppy about their work.

But Brice was intrigued by something the commando had said. “What did you mean? When you said, ‘that’ll help.'”

Hugh’s grin was back. This time, though, Brice didn’t find the sight all that reassuring. There was something about that cheerful-looking grin that was . . .

Well. Wicked-looking, actually.

“Haven’t you figured it out yet, Brice? The only way you folks are going to get through this is by cutting a deal with the Ballroom. Sorry, but there’s no way we’re going to allow this station to fall back into the hands of slavers. And there’s no way you people can stop that from happening on your own, is there?”

Brice stared up at him. Maybe the guy was joking . . .

Alas, no. “And we’re not going to take it over ourselves,” Hugh continued. “Not alone, anyway.”

“And who exactly are you?” asked Ed.

“I’ll leave that question unanswered for the moment,” said Hugh. “Just take my word for it that we’ve got no reason to take on the headache of keeping this white elephant intact and running. But I’m thinking the Ballroom might. More precisely, Torch might.”

“Who’s Torch?” asked Brice and James simultaneously.

The commando shook his head. “You folks are out of touch, aren’t you?”

The female commando named Stephanie supplied the answer. “Torch is the planet that used to be called Congo, when Mesa owned it. By everybody except them, anyway. They called it ‘Verdant Vista’ themselves. The swine. But there was a slave rebellion assisted by — oh, all kinds of people — and now the planet’s called ‘Torch’ and it’s pretty much run by the Ballroom.”

Brice was wide-eyed. “The Audubon Ballroom has its own planet?”

“Oh, wow,” said Ed. “I can see why they might want this station, then.” Stoutly: “Every planet should have its own amusement park.”

Hugh laughed. “It’s a bit far away for that! Still, I’m thinking . . . ”

He shrugged again. “Something Jeremy X mentioned to me, the last time I saw him. It’s a possibility, anyway.”

Brice was wide-eyed again. “You know Jeremy X?”

“Known him since I was a kid. He’s sort of my godfather, I guess you could say. He took me under his wing, so to speak, after my parents were killed.”

Brice felt a lot better, then. The idea of cutting a deal with the Ballroom still sounded dicey to him. Kind of like cutting a deal with lions or tigers. Or sharks or cobras, for that matter. On the other hand, Hugh seemed pretty nice, all things considered. And if he had a personal relationship with Jeremy X himself . . .

“Did he really eat a Manpower baby once, like they said he did?” asked Ed.

“Raw, they say. Not even cooking it.” That contribution came from James.

And if Brice — no, it’d probably take Ganny — could keep his idiot cousins from opening their fat mouths again . . .

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39 Responses to TORCH OF FREEDOM — Snippet 24

  1. Thirdbase says:

    Mmmmmm, raw slaver baby, with BBQ sauce.

  2. Maxim says:

    This developement I like.

    Does anybody have an idea what Hugh means:”Something Jeremy X mentioned to me, the last time I saw him. It’s a possibility, anyway.”?

  3. robert says:

    @2 Maxim, he probably meant that the Ballroom would “take over” the station and use it as a lure. Kill slavers that show up and rescue the slaves that are brought there. Or maybe not. Weber and Flint are cleverer than I, so they surely have something nifty in mind that is beyond my power to figure out.

  4. jabulani says:

    Yeah, Maxim…remember when Berry and Ruth first asked Thandi to become head of the Torch Military? Whilst they were still trying to convince her, she started to think about another Manpower-owned planet and how easy it would be to attack it – I think that she and Jeremy between them are planning to build or occupy forward bases from which to attack Mesan shipping (and quite possibly, Mesa itself someday)! And Hugh might just have thought that Parmley Station would serve quite well in that capacity – so yeah, I think Robert has the right of it.

  5. Maxim says:

    I thought It was something in this direction, but I didn’t remember the considerations to atack another Manpower-owned planet. Thanks folks!

  6. Some One says:

    Thet’re not going to be attacking anyone with 3 frigates. However there are 60-odd pod superdreadnoughts sitting around in Manticoran orbit, just rusting away (figuratively speaking). They’re Haven-built, and some are rather badly shor up. But others aren’t badly damaged at all, and getting spare parts would be easy enough from the Havenites, assuming there is some way to pay for them.

  7. saul says:

    Another, less likely option, or an extra bonus

    They might also need the mining resources. It may not have normally been cost effective to mine there, but torch is a special case as they are isolated. It may be worth it to them. Also, the station culture is anti slavery. It might have only been cost effective to mine with heavy worlder slaves, back when it was founded. Slaves might have been banned before. Now torch probably have lots of them who would like a mining contract.

  8. saul says:

    Hmmm, on reflection, if this area was expected to be useful for raids or mining, they wouldn’t have been planning to blow it up. They would have planned to capture it from the get go. After all, it took the commando all of 5 seconds to change plans……it was a fairly obvious idea whatever it was.

    Even finding civilians, they would have just evacuated all the civilians and blown it up anyhow.

    Something changed. I suspect that was a legal issue. Rather than being an empty station that no living people had rights to, its now an inhabited place. The legal rights might come from the first owners, or there might be some clause about property that slaves recover/capture stuff from the slavers.

    Since there are people there with rights, They may have legal right to the system this elephant is in. As they include freed slaves, they might be able to be come part of the Torch state, expanding the Torch to a two system power.

    This might be done to establish precedent, or just to make a propaganda point.

    Another option
    They can give credit to the slaves for freeing the station, so they don’t have to blow it up to hide evidence of Beow commando’s flying around. Now their op can stay secret without blowing up the station.

  9. Douglas says:

    I’m starting to wonder – is it just coincidence that a personal friend of Jeremy X is serving in the Beowulfan BSC? Or is there an…arrangement between the two? (I’ve been reading Weber too long – I’m already starting to use his ellipses.)

  10. dac says:

    @6 – has the attack on Manticore occurred yet? My head hurts from too many books covering too many angles, all weaving in and out of one timeline

  11. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Douglas, yes and no. There are reasons mentioned later in the book involving Hugh’s connection with Beowulf and Jeremy X so the odds aren’t that high.

    On the other hand, the odds of this slaver station being raided by somebody with these conncections is high but that’s fiction for you.

    Dac, we haven’t reached the Haven attack on Manticore yet. For that matter, we haven’t reached the point of the assassination attempt on Berry.

    Saul, they can’t just evacuate the civilians. While their ship is outwardly a slave ship, the ship doesn’t have working ‘slave quarters’.

    As for ownership of the station, there’s the idean that the clan doesn’t really own it if they can’t prevent slavers (or others) from setting up shop.

  12. Maxim says:

    @6 Some One,These 60 odd Superdreadnoughts are needed to cover the Homesystem. Even if the peace with Haven is achieved, it is out of question to uncover the Homesystem for at least a year it will take to build the new generation of ships. Also do not forget, that these Superdreadnoughts are absolete. It would make more sense to upgrade them first.

  13. Daniel says:


    While they couldn’t prevent the slavers from setting up shop, the slavers don’t have run of the station, or uncharged use of the section they occupy. If the slavers have to pay rent, and get fined when their their personnel get summarily executed for attempted assault, I’d say they don’t own the station.

    The clan on the other hand, is the original builders/owners of the station. While they have a criminal organization on board as unwanted tenants, they still have legal ownership, and control of the majority of the station.

  14. Drak Bibliophile says:

    People, the question about the captured Haven SDs was answered by David Weber some time ago. Since I can’t find it in “Pearls Of Weber”, I posting it below.

    From: “David Weber”
    Subject: An authorial take on refitting the captured wallers
    Date: Tuesday, December 20, 2005 5:27 PM

    Okay, somebody I owe a favor to dropped me a query about what’s going to happen to all of the captured Havenite superdreadnoughts following the Battle
    of Manticore. I am not going to read all of the posts on this thread, because I simply don’t have the time. As I understand it, however, the question revolves around whether or not the Alliance will be refitting the ships for service, and the debate about whether or not that would be done revolves around the need for additional wallers, the cost involved in refitting them, time constraints, crew availability, and long-term maintenance requirements.

    (1) The need for additional wallers: While the Alliance will see a definite need for additional ships of the wall, it will NOT see any need for ships of the wall which are not and cannot be equipped with Apollo. Without tearing these ships apart, they can’t be equipped with Keyhole II, which means they can’t be equipped with Apollo, either. In addition, the Alliance has a great many Apollo-capable units of its own about to come out of the yards, and is going to be stretched pretty much to the max finding manpower for THEM, much less ships as personnel-intensive as these designs are. According to the e-mail which was sent to me, some people have suggested that they might be deployed to Silesia or even the Talbott Cluster. They don’t need wallers in Silesia, and while these ships would probably show up well against Solarian designs, if they’re going to commit the manpower needed to man them to the defensive Talbott, it would make an awful lot more sense to put those men aboard modern ships. Which, again, are going to be coming forward from the yards in quite large numbers very shortly, at a time when the Havenites have suffered sufficient losses that they literally cannot take the offensive against the Alliance.

    (2) The cost involved in refitting them: As I believe I pointed out quite some time ago in relationship to the question of refitting pre-pod designs and refitting capital ships generally, the nature of the construction of a ship of the wall makes major relocation/replacement of components difficult. For example, you simply CAN’T refit a pre-pod ship into an SD(P), and replacing existing missile launchers or energy weapons is a nightmare task because of the armored compartmentalization you have to work your way through. It can be done, but it ties up a lot of yard capacity and costs a LOT. Trying to put Keyhole platforms into an existing ship of the wall not designed for them would be considerably more difficult than attempting to simply change out or rearrange the broadside armament. In fact, one of the reasons the Andermani refits ran as far behind as they did, was that to incorporate Keyhole required them to be modified on the ways, at a relatively early stage in their construction. (The original plans which Hamish discusses early in AT ALL COSTS were drawn when people didn’t realize how vital Keyhole II was going to be. The objective at that point was to get as many offensive platforms out there as they could [not using Apollo, because they didn’t know for sure if Apollo was even going to work] and relying on Keyhole I ships to provide missile defense for the less capable units. Once the testing program for Apollo revealed just how big an advantage it was, the refit plans had to be redrawn, which led to the Keyhole-dominated delays.) Those new Andermani units which had already passed that relatively early point in their building process either were completed WITHOUT Keyhole (i.e., according to the plans Hamish discussed early in the book), or — if they weren’t TOO far along — ripped apart to get them back to a point at which Keyhole could be accommodated. I would say that the cost involved in refitting these Havenite ships to Apollo standards would be quite high. Not as high as the cost of a complete new build ship, perhaps, but a significant percentage of that.

    (3) Time constraints: The time required to refit the ships, for the reasons discussed in point (2) above, would also be significant. The amount of time/manpower hours which would have to be committed to it would, in my opinion, not be remotely commensurate with the value of the ships.

    (4) Crew availability: Crew availability is a serious problem for the Alliance at this time. They probably GOOD provide the manpower for the ships, but they just finished losing the old-style MANTICORAN ships which were going to provide the cadre for their own new build construction. Now, quite a few of the new ships already have significant percentages of their commissioning crews assigned to them, so it’s not as if all of those new units are sitting there without any personnel at all. However, they are going to require a LOT of additional manpower, and BuPers is already being pushed hard meeting manning requirements. The ALLIANCE is not going to look favorably on coming up with all of the warm bodies needed to man what are, after all, at best second-tier units by the standards of current Alliance hardware.

    (5) Long-term maintenance: IF there were a critical, short-term need for wallers, and IF these ships could be pushed through the refit process within a reasonable time frame, and IF the resources to pay for those refits were available, and IF the Alliance didn’t face manning constraints (or IF the ships weren’t personnel-intensive propositions), then it MIGHT make sense to put the ships into Alliance service. However, it makes absolutely no sense on any long-term basis, and at this point in the war, knowing what the Manticoran Admiralty knows about Havenite losses at Manticore and the relative efficacy of Apollo versus non-Apollo ships, the Admiralty is thinking end game in terms of its procurement strategies. Given all of the new construction which will be available well before the ships could be pushed through the refit process in the first place, there’s no practical use for them in the Alliance. (Mind you, IF the Alliance . . . strongly suspected that it was about to go to war against the Solarian League, THEN the Admiralty would no longer be thinking end game, and their evaluation of the utility value of
    the ships might change. But whatever readers may know [or think they know], the Admiralty DOESN’T know/suspect that war with the League is just over the horizon. They are concerned about the possibility, perhaps, but not to a degree which is going to destabilize their existing procurement priorities.) Not only that, but the reason I stuck this under “long-term maintenance,” trying to keep the ships in service for any period of time would be a logistical nightmare. In order to provide them with the technical support they would require just for routine refits, they’d have to be basically completely gutted and refitted with “made in the Alliance” technology. Otherwise, every time you had a major breakdown, you’d be looking at building “one-of-a-kind” components for that specific breakdown. That’s why there are no longer ANY captured Havenite ships in Grayson were Manticoran service. The superdreadnoughts provided to Grayson were provided because it was the only way to get wallers into Grayson hands at that time. As soon as new construction was available, the ex-Havenite ships were taken out of commission and scrapped.

    In conjunction with (5), I should probably add that at the beginning of the Havenite Wars, many of the disadvantages of putting captured ships of the wall into service were either overlooked or less significant than they have since become. When the Grayson’s refitted the ex-Havenite wallers they were given, they didn’t change out missile launchers, energy weapons, many of the radars, etc., because THERE WAS NO NEED TO DO SO. All of the long-term maintenance questions applied, but, again, at that time Manticore and Grayson most definitely were thinking about a very pressing short-term need for additional units. Moreover, at that time, there was no difference between the manning requirements of Havenite and Manticoran designs. It didn’t take any more people (at least within very narrow bounds) to man a Havenite superdreadnought than it did to man a Manticoran superdreadnought. Obviously, that’s no longer true. And on top of all of that, the electronics currently mounted in Manticoran designs are still qualitatively advanced over Havenite designs and have assumed sufficient importance — and require sufficiently different support structures — that ships are literally designed around
    their EW suites. They have to have the proper bays for Ghost Rider platforms,
    if they’re going to mount Keyhole, they have to be designed for that, etc.
    In other words, there is a greater current difference between THE PHYSICAL
    STRUCTURES of Havenite ships and Alliance ships than there was at the
    beginning of the war. So, in order to equip the ships for service with the
    Alliance, you’d have to do a much more thoroughgoing refit, you’d be faced with
    the question of where you found spare parts when something broke down (if
    it wasn’t something you’d completely changed out), and you’d have to come
    up with the manpower to man them.

    On balance, I’d have to say that unless something very significant comes along to change my mind between now and the next mainstream Honor novel, I can’t see any legitimate reason for the Star Kingdom or its Allies to put the ships into Manticoran service. It may be that if (and I DIDN’T say “if”) a shooting war with the League or a significant portion thereof breaks out, there will be someone in Manticore who will say “You know, it’s a real shame we didn’t put all those captured prizes into the refit pipeline; they may be pieces of crap, but they’d have been better than anything the Sollies have right now!” That, however, will represent a case of wisdom after the fact for people in the novels.

    “Oh, bother!” Pooh said as Piglet came back from the dead.

  15. robert says:

    Thanks Drak. So now we know that Torch also can’t use the ships because of training and manpower requirements. They do not have the human resources available to either man the ships and to train the crews. How well educated is a population of purpose-built slaves? And we also know why David Weber’s books are 800 pages. So many words to say “NO WAY.”

  16. Harpoon says:

    If Manticore and Haven were to join up against the Mesa/SL, I’d imagine Manticore would give back all those podnaughts and their crews.

  17. RobertHuntingdon says:

    Robert, part of the reason it takes him so many words to say “No way” is that his readers won’t accept less. They’ll nitpick him to death and respond with a hundred objections unless he exhaustively covers it the first time around. Heck even then people will still try to find a way around it. I suppose that this is really a good problem to have, but it does make it harder for him to spend time doing what we all want him to do most. (Although admittedly his infodumps on the bar are a close second.)


  18. Drak Bibliophile says:

    RH, there are even people who will argue with David Weber after he tells them that they’re completely wrong about one of his characters. [Wink]

  19. robert says:

    @16, @17 So RH, which character did David Weber tell you that you were wrong about?

    @15 An interesting thought. What did/will Manticore do about all the captured Havenite crews? We probably won’t know until the Mission of Honor book is out. And whether Haven and Manticore join forces when they both learn how they have been played by Mesa is also something we may not know until then, if even then. But reading the “Salamander” snippet from the book that David Weber put on the Bar some weeks ago was just fascinating.

  20. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Robert, it wasn’t RH that argued with David Weber about a character. Don’t remember the individual but after David Weber posted a big post saying “Queen Elizabeth isn’t a nutcase”, he kept trying to tell DW that DW had written her as a nutcase.

  21. Richard says:

    I wonder if the MSN (Masa Space Navy) will mistake the captured RHN (Republic of Haven Navy) SD’s for RMN (Royal Manticor Navy)SD’s and blow them up instead of the RMN SD’s. We know the RMN SD’s are compleating construction early and may have left for working up. The RHN SD’s may be in orbit around Manticore being examind by ONI and MSN may make a mistake.

  22. robert says:

    @20 Richard, it did not appear (from my reading) as though Mesa was going to attack ships because they did not seem to have any kind of considerable missile launch capability in their small ships. It seemed, at the end of Storm From the Shadows, that they were about to attack the space infrastructure around Sphinx (and harm the planet by having a large debris fall) and destroy the giant Hephaestus shipyard using whatever weaponry they had. And piss off Honor a lot!

    I am trying to figure out the rationale for this attack as the damage they will do will not be enough to cripple Manticore for long. And if they think that Manticore will blame someone else for the attack, then their intel is very bad because Honor and Elizabeth are already smelling a Mesan odor.

    All this is way aside from snippet comments. I think that the snippets are really getting interesting at this point. Unfortunately we already know a lot of what is coming from At All Cost, etc., which is about where in time we are.

  23. robert says:

    Sorry–I meant @21 not @20.

  24. John Roth says:

    @22 Robert

    You’re right, this is the wrong place for that speculation. However, to continue it (grin), Detweiller and company have said they’re entering the “end game,” which means that setting the Manticoran capital ship building program back by 5 years or so (it will take a while to rebuild Hephasteus, if they actually manage to damage it) will be critical. So showing their hand with new military capability is fine.

    They’re basically trying to get Manticore out of the way so that their projected end game can continue the way they’d planned it.

  25. Nomad says:

    You know all those trained spacers and ships can be a very useful in right circumstances. There is already a precedent set by “Admiral” Goldpeak for paroling PoWs to be used in unrelated areas.

    I wounder if Honor can arrange a “parole” for all those personel (and even more generously ships) to be used in far off areas (cough Erewohn) (Cough Torch), It would be really bad news for “some” unsepecified system defence force. Afterall those ships are just 3 generation old compared to latest generation Manty Pod layers, and more importantly they are unstoppable monsters compared to rest of Human space :P

  26. robert says:

    @24 John, if that is correct then their intel is really bad. They would have to have have no idea about Maya’s plans, they probably know nothing about Anton’s and Victor’s visit to Honor (why would they?) and they must expect the SL attack on Talbot to be successful, despite the fact that Terekhov has just returned to Talbot and reinforced Henke’s command which they may not know). So the Manticore system will get hammered again, but I can’t help thinking that the raid (for it is more of a raid than a full bore attack, I believe) will be less successful than they wished.
    Meanwhile, back on Parmley Station…

  27. saul says:

    Thanks for the timeline tidbit. I had no idea Torch was that early.

    As for the fact they had no space for refugees, then they would have also had no space for slaves if they happened to be on the station. For others out there, there is a thread on this on snerkers at “roller coaster station and torch thoughts”

    As to the SD’s. Couldn’t they sell them? Or, is it just to hard to find buyers for SD’s in general. I guess the maintenance would be to difficult for anyone else in the galaxy as well.
    Maybe you could sell a few to other distant large human empires who would want to reverse engineer the higher tech?
    I won’t even get into my long and much attacked thread on what to do about captured crews and ships :) Apparently in my first foray into the Honorverse universe I proved I was insane :)
    (thread was “Ideas, FTL communication, surrender terms, and wacky tech”, different discussions in the honorverse and snerkers forums, as I posted first to the wrong one)

    Thanks for the Salamander bit, I had not seen it at all :(
    After finding it thru the web, I discovered that thunderbird (search broken) also spontaneously decided not to download any messages from july. June, yes, August, yes, July No…..sigh
    (the thread starts 14th of July)

    Please be gentle with me if I violated some rule by posting the forum references :)

  28. Mike says:

    I’m sure they could manage to squeeze in the crew, call another ship, or something. The problem is that 1) the novel requires this space station in the first place, and 2) they would now be nuking the home and property of some people who have never really harmed them.

    1) is, of course, a meta issue.

    2) is questionable policy, in case it becomes known who is doing stuff like that. Ideally they want to be on friendly terms with people like this family, not enemies with them.

  29. Bamics says:

    Torch war plans at these stage (with their warship and trained personnel limitations) will consist of commando attacks on lightly held Mesan stations. U know, guerilla warfare while Torch is protected by (mostly) Erehwonese Navy + whatever RMN/Haven/Barrego’s naval and intel units. With a secure base(Torch) to train/rest/refit/construct needed war materiel and units, they should be able to keep Mesa occupied until the Big Guys (RMN/Havenite Navy) can turn their attention on Mesa.

  30. KenJ says:

    Not to mention that once Shannon Forkker and Horrible Hemprell get on the same side and combine with Manty R&D/Education and Haven resources(in another 5-10 books?)the rest of the universe needs to watch its collective A…Tailfeathers ;)
    Then, there are the treecats. Has anyone ever considered a treecat in powered armor (say hexapuma size with forceblade claws…) Or treecat technicians who can zip down conduits and do fine repairs using four hands at once. The possibilities are endless once they mobilize (say after Sphinx is attacked) and now that they can communicate they can probably be educated like any human. Not only that, once ONE learns something, they ALL eventually learn it thanks to the Memory Singers.
    (Oh it’s so FUN to speculate)

  31. RobertHuntingdon says:

    Well, KenJ, yes and no. The treecat ideas would be really cool in some ways but there are significant differences in the way they think and the way humans think. And until they can grasp higher mathematics than simple addition and counting, they aren’t going to be able to master high tech on a “repair tech” level. They’ll be able to use it, sure, Nimitz already proved that with his spacesuit… but not repair or create it.

    And so far at least their reliance on “hands” to count is crippling them. Perhaps they will learn base-10 and writing now that they understand signing — AND if they can learn to think in those terms instead of translating them mentally back into hands and then translating back out to base-10 — then the possibilities are endless. But some genius treecat has to get their heads wrapped around base-10 first and unfortunately the genius types of treecats are VERY rare. Unless Golden Voice herself gets Strong Heart to help her with it I don’t see many other options. Unfortunately Laughs Brightly, genius though he may be in at least some ways, is useless in this effort since he can’t transmit to other cats anymore (unless they fix that first too). So for now it’s all up to his wife (or some other new genius ‘cat Weber wants to invent, but unfortunately with the extreme rarity he’s portrayed for them it might be a bit hard to justify).


  32. RobertHuntingdon says:

    Oh and Drak @20… I know full well that QE3 isn’t a nutcase. For that matter, very very few people no matter how completely wrong they are aren’t actually nutcases (or stupid). Blind possibly, misinformed perhaps, wrong certainly, but you don’t have to be a nutcase even if all three of those are true.

    But on the other hand, I did see that guy’s point. QE3 does SEEM like a nutcase IFF you forget/neglect to eliminate from your thinking everything we knew that she didn’t. But he couldn’t seem to manage to do that for some reason, and so instead he came across sounding like the nutcase.


  33. catboy says:

    tree cats might not be able to do math beacuse their brains may not be set up that way. Im just saying. I think all tree cats are very smart but not in a way humans normuly think of as smart. I think QW3 is too emochemal at times but honor took care of that. I think QW3 should look to honor in regieds to this issue. beacuse honor did not let her eomnes run weild when she meet Lester.

  34. Thirdbase says:

    After the Battle of Manticore, the Star Kingdom has, along with all of those SDNs they captured, several thousand LACs that they also captured, along with any lighter ships (none were mentioned in the capture list, but some of them had to survive). I would bet that Torch could use some of the LACs, and perhaps a DD or two. They wouldn’t be able to man them right away, but with a little help from Haven and Erewhon, they could crews trained up fairly quickly. Spare parts would be less of a problem, since they probably trade with Haven and who knows what the Erewhon military industrial complex is now producing.

    While QE3 isn’t a nutcase, she is a bit obsessed.

    Does any one remember what this snippet is about?

    @#3 (Yeah it was a while ago) The problem with using the station as a trap, is that the slavers will quickly realize that it is a trap, “Hey how come all those ships never come back from Parmley Station?” What they do then comes down to a few choices. Stop going there, send someone to investigate, or just blow it up. I think the slavers would go with stop going there, but just blow it up comes a close second depending upon their vindictiveness.

  35. Some One says:

    Is there any reason that the ‘surplus’ captured SD(P)s couldn’t be commissioned into the Royal Talbott Navy? Remember that there is a civilian shipyard at Rembrandt that could likely repair them. It would take time, but training the crews will take time also. There is a vast potential in Talbott once they are brought up to Manticoran tech level. The ships are not the best, but the officers and crew will at least have actual ships to train on, and will contribute mightily to the security of the quadrant. Once the industrial base to build naval shipping is in place there, then newer model ships will come rolling out of the yards in very large numbers. This will take time, however, and the prize ships will help buy that time. With 60-plus SD(P)s with which to work, it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep 30 or so in commission. I keep wondering why we’re not hearing much about the shipyard complexes that should be being built in the quadrant. Certainly there is a large enough tax base there to build yards and start constructing ships within a couple of years. One point that I’m not sure on: did the Havenite fleet train surrender at Manticore? Or did the terms of surrender not cover them? If they surrendered, then there will be no need whatsoever to build pods for the prize SD(P)s.

  36. robert says:

    @34 3rdbase, that assumes that the slavers all talk to one another someplace else. Maybe and maybe not. It does not have to work forever.
    @35 Someone: the Talbot navy IS the RMN now. Talbot is in the Manticore Empire. For reasons given by Drak, above, the whole idea won’t work anyway because Manticore will not be able to maintain those vessels or waste time training people to do so, and any Talbotian (?) who wants to join up will be joining the RMN (or army or marines) and will be trained up to RMN technology, etc. Weber has never said, but the military as a place to “make” citizens should work. It works for the U.S. military and the British military and will for Manticore, too.

  37. dac says:

    me thinks that Rozack could use those SD (snippet 6)

  38. Thirdbase says:

    @36 Someone owns the slaves and sent the ships, and someone at the other end is expecting the slaves. When it is discovered, if the slavers choose the nuke the station, it is pretty hard on the residents.

  39. germanWeberFan says:

    Dear Robert, You said:
    “But reading the “Salamander” snippet from the book that David Weber put on the Bar some weeks ago was just fascinating.”
    I’m getting desperate,
    otherwise I wouldn’t dare to ask:
    How to access that ?
    Many Thanks in advance

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