Mission Of Honor – Snippet 02

Mission Of Honor – Snippet 02

Even if it would have been helpful if he’d been able to give a modicum of his attention to dealing with this other little problem, the diplomat thought grimly.

“I’m talking about the Talbott Cluster, Rajani,” he said out loud, letting just a trace of over-tried patience into his voice. “I’m talking about that incident between your Admiral Byng and the Manties.”

“What about it?” Rajampet’s tone was suddenly a bit cautious, his eyes wary, as instincts honed by a T-century of bureaucratic infighting reared their heads.

“It would appear the Manties were just as pissed off as their original note indicated they were,” Kolokoltsov told him.

“And?” Rajampet’s eyes turned warier than ever and he seemed to settle back into his chair.

“And they weren’t joking about sending their Admiral Gold Peak to inquire into matters on the ground in New Tuscany.”

“They weren’t?” The question came from Wodoslawski, not Rajampet, and Kolokoltsov glanced at her.

She was twenty-five T-years younger than he was — a third-generation prolong recipient with dark red hair, gray eyes, and quite an attractive figure. She was also fairly new to her position as the real head of the Treasury Department, and she’d received it, following her predecessor’s demise, only as a compromise between the other permanent senior undersecretaries. She knew perfectly well that she’d been everyone else’s second choice — that all her current colleagues had allies they would really have preferred to see in that slot. But she’d been there for over a decade, now, and she’d solidified her powerbase quite nicely.

She was no longer the junior probationary member of the quintet of permanent undersecretaries who truly ran the League from their personal fiefdoms in the Foreign Ministry, Commerce Department, Interior Department, Department of Education and Information, and Treasury Department. She was, however, the only one of them who’d been out-system and unavailable when the first Manticoran diplomatic note arrived. As such, she could make an excellent claim to bearing no responsibility for how that note had been handled, and from her expression, Kolokoltsov thought sourly, she was thoroughly aware of that minor fact.

“No, Agatá,” he said, moving his gaze to her. “No, they weren’t. And just over a T-month ago — on November the seventeenth, to be precise –Admiral Gold Peak arrived at New Tuscany . . . to find Admiral Byng still there.”

“Oh, shit,” Permanent Senior Undersecretary of the Interior Nathan MacArtney muttered. “Don’t tell us Byng opened fire on her, too!”

“If he did, I’m sure it was only because she provoked it!” Rajampet said sharply.

“With all due respect, Rajani,” Permanent Senior Undersecretary of Education and Information Malachai Abruzzi said tartly, “I wouldn’t bet my life on that.” Rajampet glared at him angrily, and Abruzzi shrugged. “As far as I can tell from the Manties’ first note, none of their ships did a damned thing to provoke him the first time he killed several hundred of their spacers. That being so, is there any reason we ought to assume he wouldn’t just as cheerfully kill a few thousand more for no particular reason?”

“I’ll remind you,” Rajampet said even more sharply, “that none of us were there, and the only ‘evidence’ we have of what truly happened was delivered to us, oh so generously, by the Manties. I see no reason to believe they’d be above tampering with the sensor data they provided to us. In fact, one of my people over at Operational Analysis commented at the time that the data seemed suspiciously good and detailed.”

Abruzzi only snorted, although Kolokoltsov suspected he was tempted to do something considerably more forceful. The vast majority of the Solarian League’s member star systems looked after their own educational systems, which meant, despite its name, that Education and Information was primarily concerned with the information half of its theoretical responsibilities. Abruzzi’s position thus made him, in effect, the Solarian League’s chief propagandist. In that role, it had been his job to find a positive spin to put on Josef Byng’s actions, and he’d been working on it ever since the Manties’ first diplomatic note reached Old Chicago.

So far, he hadn’t had a lot of success. Which wasn’t too surprising, Kolokoltsov thought sourly. When a Solarian admiral commanding seventeen battlecruisers opened fire without warning on three destroyers who didn’t even have their wedges and sidewalls up, it was going to be just a trifle difficult to convince even the Solarian public he’d been justified. Nor was there much chance that any reports or sensor data the Navy finally got around to providing were going to make things any better — not without an awful lot of “tweaking” first, at least! Rajampet could say whatever he liked about the data the Manties had provided, but Kolokoltsov agreed with Abruzzi’s original analysis. The Manties would never have sent them falsified data. Not when they knew that eventually the League would be receiving accurate tactical data from its own people.

“All I’ll say, Rajani,” Abruzzi said after a moment, “is that I’m just glad the Manties haven’t leaked this to the newsies . . . yet, at least. Because as hard as we’ve been trying, we haven’t been able to find a way to make them look like the aggressors. And that means that when this does hit the ‘faxes, we’re going to find ourselves in a very difficult position. One where we’ll probably have to apologize and actually offer to pay reparations.”

“No, damn it!” Rajampet snapped, betrayed by anger into forgetting, at least briefly, his former wariness. “We can’t establish that kind of precedent! If any pissant little neobarb navy decides the SLN can’t tell it what to do, we’re going to have a hell of a problem out in the Verge! And if Byng’s been forced into another exchange of fire with them, we have to be even more careful about what sort of precedents we set!”

“I’m afraid you’re entirely correct about that one, Rajani,” Kolokoltsov said, and his frigid tone snapped everyone’s eyes back to him. “And, unfortunately, I’m equally afraid Nathan’s mistaken about the Manties’ degree of discretion where the newsies are concerned.”

“What the hell do you mean?” Rajampet demanded. “Go ahead — spit it out!”

“All right, Rajani. Approximately ninety minutes ago, we received a second note from the Manticorans. Under the circumstances, the fact that we decided to opt for a ‘reasoned and deliberate’ response to their original complaint — and refused to let anyone think we were allowing ourselves to be rushed by any Manticoran demands — may have been less optimal than we’d thought. I don’t imagine getting our response to their first note a couple of days after they banged off their second note to us is going to amuse Queen Elizabeth and her prime minister very much.

“And the reason they’ve sent us this second note is that when Admiral Gold Peak arrived in New Tuscany she issued exactly the demands the Manties had warned us about in their first note. She demanded that Byng stand down his ships and permit Manticoran boarding parties to sequester and examine their sensor data relative to the destruction of three of her destroyers. She also informed him that the Star Empire of Manticore intended to insist upon an open examination of the facts and intended to hold the guilty parties responsible under the appropriate provisions of interstellar law for the unprovoked destruction of their ships and the deaths of their personnel. And” — Kolokoltsov allowed his eyes to flip sideways to Abruzzi for a moment — “it would appear it wasn’t all part of some sort of propaganda maneuver on their part, after all.”

“I don’t –” Rajampet’s wrinkled face was darken and his eyes glittered with fury. “I can’t believe anyone — even Manties! — would be stupid enough to really issue demands to the Solarian Navy! They’d have to be out of — I mean, surely this Gold Peak couldn’t possibly have thought she’d get away with that? If Byng blew her damned ships into orbital debris, the only person she’s got to blame for it is –”

“Oh, he didn’t blow up any of her ships, Rajani,” Kolokoltsov said coldly. “Despite the fact that she had only six battlecruisers and he had seventeen, she blew his flagship into . . . what was it you called it? Ah, yes! Into ‘orbital debris.'”

Rajampet froze in mid-tirade, staring at Kolokoltsov in disbelief.

“Oh, my God,” Omosupe Quartermain said quietly.

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26 Responses to Mission Of Honor – Snippet 02

  1. Summercat says:

    I’m sorry, but when/where did this happen, book/story wise?

  2. Anthony says:

    More recap here. Lets move to the inevitable (and lousy) decision.

  3. Anthony says:

    It happened in the book “Storm From the Shadows”

  4. robert says:

    Storm From the Shadows is where it happened. Or, rather, is the book in which it happened. The Talbot cluster is where all the action takes place.

    You’ll remember that Henke is sent home from Haven with an offer for a peace conference providing she does not engage in the Haven-Manticore conflict. So the Admiralty sends her to Talbott in command of a bunch of new BCs.

    This book, Mission of Honor, is the start of the coming together of the three threads, the mainline/Honor thread, the Talbot/Shadows thread, and the Torch thread. Not having read beyond Chapter 7, I don’t know any details, but there’re guesses galore.

  5. Thirdbase says:

    Storm from the Shadows, I don’t have a copy with me, so I can’t tell you exactly where.

    • Rihaan says:

      Most of the type of plomrebs that you’ve seen are CONTROLLER plomrebs. Whether in software or hardware.Since I’m handling the controller portion all on my own, a normal PC drive can handle reads and writes for variety of different formats(most 3.5 , 300rpm, low density or high density), including PC and the Amiga formats.Thanks.

  6. robert says:

    @2 There’s at least two more snippets worth of SL yada, yada in this chapter, Anthony. But it is important stuff, as far as I can tell. Per Storm, remember that another SL fleet is on its way to Spindle with blood in its Admiral’s eyes to confront Henke. And these yo-yos don’t know a thing about it.

    If you haven’t, it is time to reread Storm From the Shadows.

  7. saladin says:

    this yada yada is important because it tells us who calls the shot in the sl and what they think/how they will likely react in the future (those who will try to hold together the sl)

  8. Alan says:

    I’ve read the ARC and love this book. But there’s a but. I may have to scream if all effective power in the Solarian League is held by a small G group of four to go along with the Euromanticharisian houses of commons, houses of lords and crown loyalist parties. It’s a source of more than mild relief that the former People’s Republic of Haven did not have a crown loyalist party.

  9. Anthony says:

    I know this is all important I just want to see if the bureaucrats try to (ineffectively) put the brakes on the whole thing, or if they start sending orders to mobilize fleets. And yes I know there is a fleet on the way. Admiral Crandall will probably try to attack the junction forts, and the attack will probably occur right after the MA’s attack on Manticore. Making it look like it was a coordinated offensive.

  10. John Roth says:

    @9 Anthony

    Why would Crandall attack the junction forts?

    As I see it, she’s got four possible targets: Spindle, New Madrid, the junction forts or someplace else. I don’t think she’s stupid enough to attack the junction forts. She’s got less than a hundred SDs, and she knows Manticore has several hundred. Even if she still thinks that her SDs are better than Manticore’s, she’s got to know that the force ratio is very unfavorable.

    Going to New Madrid seems awfully lame – Admiral Henke is unlikely to be there any longer. There might be something in splitting her task force and attacking a number of different Talbot Sector planets, but I suspect she’ll head right for Spindle.

  11. John Roth says:

    @8 Alan.

    Remember that one of the Mesan Alignment’s goals has been to weaken the League so that it will fall apart when they’re ready to pull the trigger on Prometheus. Having a small cabal of professional bureaucrats in charge seems to be a result of the MA’s machinations. If Rajampet was actually competent at being a Navy admiral, he’d have made sure that the League Navy was actually battle ready, and he’d have had an honest assessment of the military potential of the Haven Sector. The MA doesn’t want competent bureaucrats, they want bureaucrats whose only real expertise is in acquiring and maintaining their own personal power.

    That’s similar to what they did with the Legislaturalists in Haven, and what their moles tried to do with the High Ridge government in Manticore.

    I’m not going to say more because this discussion is supposed to be without spoilers.

  12. robert says:

    I agree that Crandall will not go for the Lynx wormhole junction forts. Based on what I read in Storm From the Shadows, Chapter 50, Crandall is too stubborn to think about what she should do, and is going after Henke at Spindle. But Henke has already been reinforced and has or will have enough warning, thanks to Capt. Denton’s command and Gregor O’Shaughnessy.

    If she does go for the forts, she will get just as creamed, both by the forts and by 8th fleet coming through the junction. But it is Spindle she is going for.

    The point is that these bureaucrats who run the SL have no idea that Crandall is about to become SKM chow. But the SKM (SEM?) has no idea that both a Mesan Alliance and a another SL fleet (Filaretta’s) are about to attack. Actually we don’t really know where Filaretta is or what he knows, so it may be wrong to say he is about to attack.

    It is no secret nor is it a snerker that Sample Chapters 1 – 7 are available via the eARC web page. Unfortunately they are from the eARC and have a lot of very annoying wrong stuff in them.

  13. Alan says:

    #11 John
    No real problem with the Solarian League’s bureaucracy, just the amazing resemblance between all the Euromanticharisian sets of institutions and political parties, right down to their names.

  14. robert says:

    @13 DW has always been a monarchist at heart, it seems. Not just the current two series but also Empire of Man, etc. have constitutional or benevolent monarchies. However, aside from Manticore and the Andermani Empire (and maybe Torch) none of the other polities in the Honorverse seem to have monarchies–there are corporate governments, representative democracies, oppressive totalitarian regimes, theocracies and everything in between and alongside. And the same goes for Safehold, I think. But the good guys are always monarchies, it seems.

  15. @14
    Meyers was a Kingdom until it was liberated by the Invincible Solarian League Navy.

  16. RobertHuntingdon says:

    @14, well Robert, there is one exception: The Apocalypse Troll. We never found out much about the “original future” government type, and the “near future” version he came up with for his setting was pretty heavily democratic.

    And come to think of it the Hridani weren’t a monarchy, were they? Maybe they were headed that way, but they weren’t really there “yet”.

    But most of the rest of the time, yeah, he does. And I don’t really have a problem with that. I mean, every fictional story is going to have some bull crap in it. And the idea that you can maintain a monarchy as a stable, benevolent system for significantly longer than you can any other is, well, bull crap. (Not that any other system is really going to be benevolently stable much if any longer either….) But if it makes it easier to tell a good story, I’m all for it.


  17. robert says:

    @16 RH, I think the Apocalypse Troll was a completely different kind of book. There was no politics in it, if I remember correctly. I read it a long time ago and it was only memorable for the battle stuff. It was shallow, not very textured and nowhere near as well done as any of the Honorverse books. More like a Kratman book, cardboard characters set up so the battle stuff can go off the way the author wants it to.

  18. Daryl says:

    An old saying is that the ultimate government is a benevolent dictatorship, and you can substitute king/queen for dictator or president for life or whatever term you want for the supreme leader. I personally don’t agree, but acknowledge that many so called democracies are anything but and hopeless as well. Just possibly the ultimate government is actually a well trained constitutional monarch heading up a parliament elected by well informed voters all of whom have long enough lives to gain wisdom (or Manticore, eg an idealised future Britain). In modern warfare (or international conflict) it does appear the the most efficient and most inclusive (use all citizen assets) states will prevail over the others even if they seem to be the more warlike and testosterone driven. Check Israel and the Arab states.

  19. Alan says:

    The benevolent dictatorship saying is actually by Gibbon who used it to justify his passion for the alleged Five Good Emperors, a name actually first sued by Machiavelli.Sadly the Five Good Emperors do not really stand up to scratch as a test case for Gibbon’s claim.

  20. Mark L says:

    Well, both heaven and hell are said to be absolute monarchies. But on this side of the grave I would bet that hell’s form of monarchy is more typical of what is experienced long term with an absolute monarchy than heaven’s monarchy.

  21. robert says:

    It strikes me that the SL is a slightly more advanced version of an international quasi-governmental organization kinda, sorta like the U.N. but with more denture (e.g., a navy). The mainline ‘states’ (think U.S., Russia, China, etc. per the UN Security Council) don’t want to give up their sovereignty and have veto power, so the organization does not function well as a government, but it is OK as a policeman. All the non-mainline states (think UN General Assembly) don’t have much to say. And, indeed, the bureaucrats run the day-to-day operations. And there is corruption–they are human beings, still, some decent, some venal, some competent, some useless.

  22. Summercat says:

    I always thought of the SL as Qing China.

  23. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Summercat, DW has said that there is no exact counterpart to the SL in Earth’s history.

    However, I agree that there are similiarities to the SL and Imperial China.

    For one thing, the Chinese bureaucrats were the real power in China not the Emperor.

  24. wyrm says:

    (21) robert, (22) Summercat, (23) Drak

    Weber has always been big on taking ‘examples’ from history. However, IMHO you are both missing a key element in the model for the SL. During the 17th and early 18th century, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was one of the largest European countries, and if DW was not previously aware of the Commonwealth (which I would find surprising), he would have come across it when looking for models for the Honorverse. I know that it ‘died’ just before Napoleon got started, so it is not strictly contemporaneous with revolutionary France but it was a close temporal neighbour and, for over a century, a major European power. Significantly, in the 17th & 18th century Polish kingdom’s sejm (parliament) unanimity was required, so nothing ever got done – exactly as we are told occurs in the SL. The country’s neighbours (Prussia, Austria & Russia) took advantage of this institutional activity to slice pieces off the Kingdom in the latter half of the 18th century – very similar to Honor’s proposal for handling the SL. There are a number of other similarities. It’s worth reading about the Commonwealth, and seeing for yourself whether the analogies I draw ring true.

  25. robert says:

    @24 Maybe DW did know about the Polish-Lithuanian government because of his involvement with Eric’s 1632 series. There’s a thread in the Grantville Gazettes that is involved with that government and the Russian government. I am going away now to read about that in one of our old college European history books. Which bookshelf was that…

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