Mission Of Honor – Snippet 04

Mission Of Honor – Snippet 04

“In other words, they’ve told us their original interpretation of what happened to their destroyers has been confirmed, and that the admiral responsible for that incident has now been killed, along with the destruction of his flagship and its entire crew, because he rejected their demands. And they’ve pointed out, in case any of us might miss it, that Byng’s original actions at New Tuscany constitute an act of war under interstellar law and that under that same interstellar law, Admiral Gold Peak was completely justified in the actions she took. Indeed,” he showed his teeth in something no one would ever mistake for a smile, “they’ve pointed out how restrained Gold Peak was, under the circumstances, since Byng’s entire task force was entirely at her mercy and she gave him at least three separate opportunities to comply with their demands without bloodshed.”

“They’ve declared war on the Solarian League?” Abruzzi seemed unable to wrap his mind around the thought. Which was particularly ironic, Kolokoltsov thought, given his original breezy assurance that the Manticorans were only posturing, seeking an entirely cosmetic confrontation with the League in an effort to rally their battered domestic morale.

“No, they haven’t declared war on the League,” the diplomat replied out loud. “In fact, they’ve refrained from declaring war . . . so far, at least. I wouldn’t say there’s any give in their note — in fact, it’s the most belligerent diplomatic communication I’ve ever seen directed to the League, and they’ve made no bones about observing that a de facto state of war already exists between us because of our flag officer’s actions — but they’ve made it clear they aren’t prepared to foreclose all possibility of a diplomatic resolution.”

“Diplomatic resolution?!” Rajampet exploded. He slammed one fist down on the conference table. “Fuck them and their ‘diplomatic resolutions’! They’ve destroyed a Solarian warship, killed Solarian naval personnel! I don’t care whether they want a war or not — they’ve got one!”

“Don’t you think it might be a good idea to at least look at Sigbee’s messages and the data the Manties have sent along, Rajani?” MacArtney demanded tartly. The admiral glared at him, and MacArtney glared right back. “Didn’t you hear what Innokentiy just said? Gold Peak took out Jean Bart from outside Byng’s effective missile range! If they outrange us that badly, then –”

“Then it doesn’t goddammed matter!” Rajampet shot back. “We’re talking about frigging battlecruisers, Nathan. Battlecruisers — and Frontier Fleet battlecruisers, at that. They don’t begin to have the antimissile defenses a ship-of-the-wall does, and no battlecruiser can take the kind of damage a waller can take! I don’t care how many fancy missiles they’ve got, there’s no way they can stop Battle Fleet if we throw four or five hundred superdreadnoughts straight at them, especially after the losses they’ve already taken in their damned Battle of Manticore.”

“I might find that thought just a little more reassuring if not for the fact that all reports indicate they apparently just finished taking out something like three or four hundred Havenite SDs in the same battle,” MacArtney pointed out even more acidly.

“So what,” Rajampet more than half-sneered. “One damned batch of barbarians beating on another one. What’s that got to do with us?”

MacArtney stared at him, as if he literally couldn’t comprehend what Rajampet was saying, and Kolokoltsov didn’t blame MacArtney at all. Even allowing for the fact that all of this had come at the CNO cold . . . .

“Excuse me, Rajani,” the diplomat said, “but don’t our ships-of-the-wall and our battlecruisers have the same effective missile range?” Rajampet glowered at him, then nodded. “Then I think we have to assume their ships-of-the-wall have at least the same effective missile range as their battlecruisers, which means they outrange us, too. And given the fact that the Republic of Haven has been fighting them for something like, oh, twenty T-years, and is still in existence, I think we have to assume they can match Manticore’s combat range, since they’d have been forced to surrender quite some time ago if they couldn’t. So if the Manties managed to destroy or capture three or four hundred Havenite superdreadnoughts, despite the fact that they had equivalent weapon ranges, what makes you think they couldn’t stop five hundred of our ships if they outrange us significantly? At least the Havenites could shoot back, you know!”

“So we send a thousand,” Rajampet said. “Or, hell, we send twice that many! We’ve got over two thousand in full commission, another three hundred in the yards for regular overhaul and refit cycles, and over eight thousand in reserve. They may’ve beaten the crap out of the Havenites, but they got the shit shot out of them, too, from all reports. They can’t have more than a hundred of the wall left! And however long-ranged their missiles may be, it takes hundreds of laser heads to take out a single superdreadnought. Against the kind of counter missile fire and decoys five or six hundred of our wallers can throw out, they’d need a hell of a lot more missiles than anything they’ve got left could possibly throw!”

“And you think they wouldn’t still be able to kill a lot of our ships and a lot of our spacers?” Wodoslawski demanded skeptically.

“Oh, they could hurt us,” Rajampet conceded. “There’s no way in the universe they could stop us, but I don’t doubt we’d get hurt worse than the Navy’s ever been hurt before. But that’s beside the point, Agatá.”

Her eyebrows arched skeptically, and he barked a short, sharp — and ugly — laugh.

“Of course it’s beside the point!” he said. “The point of this is that a jumped up neobarb Navy’s opened fire on the SLN, destroyed one of our warships, and captured an entire Solarian task group. We can’t let that stand. No matter what it costs, we have to establish that no one — no one — fucks with the Solarian Navy. If we don’t make that point right here, right now, who else is likely to suddenly decide he can issue ultimatums to the fleet?” He turned his glower on MacArtney. “You should understand that if anyone can Nathan!”

“All right,” MacArtney replied, manifestly unhappily. “I take your point.” He looked around the conference table at his civilian colleagues. “The truth is,” he told them, “that big as it is, Frontier Fleet can’t possibly be everywhere it needs to be — not in any sort of strength. It manages to maintain nodes of concentrated strength at the various sector HQs and support bases, but even they get stretched pretty thin from time to time. And most of the time, we send a single ship — at most a division or two –to deal with trouble spots as they turn hot because we can’t afford to weaken those concentrated nodes by diverting more units from them. And what Rajani’s saying is that because we’re spread so thinly, there are a lot of times when we don’t actually have the firepower on the spot to enforce our policies. But what we do have on the spot is a representative of the entire Navy. Under the wrong circumstances, an unfriendly power may well have enough combat power to destroy whatever detachment we’ve sent out to show it the error of its ways. But they don’t, because they know that if they do, the rest of the Navy — however much of it takes — is going to turn up and destroy them.”

“Exactly,” Rajampet agreed, nodding vigorously. “That’s exactly the point. I don’t care how damned justified the Manties may have thought they were. For that matter, I don’t care how ‘justified’ they may actually have been, and I don’t give a damn whether or not they were operating within the letter of interstellar war. What I care about is the fact that we have to make an example out of them if we don’t want to suddenly find ourselves eyeball-to-eyeball with other neobarbs, all over the galaxy, who suddenly think they can screw around with the Solarian League, too.”

“Wait.” Malachai Abruzzi shook himself, then looked at Kolokoltsov. “Before we go any further, what did you mean about their ‘discretion’ where the newsies were concerned, Innokentiy?”

“I mean they officially released the news of Byng’s attack on their destroyers — and their response to it — the same day they sent us this note,” Kolokoltsov said flatly. Abruzzi stared at him in obvious disbelief, and Kolokoltsov smiled thinly. “I imagine we should be hearing about it shortly,” he continued, “since, according to their note, they intended to release the news to their own media six hours after their dispatch boat cleared the Junction headed for Old Terra.”

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35 Responses to Mission Of Honor – Snippet 04

  1. Robert H. Woodman says:

    From the snippet:

    “So we send a thousand,” Rajampet said. “Or, hell, we send twice that many! We’ve got over two thousand in full commission, another three hundred in the yards for regular overhaul and refit cycles, and over eight thousand in reserve. They may’ve beaten the crap out of the Havenites, but they got the shit shot out of them, too, from all reports. They can’t have more than a hundred of the wall left! And however long-ranged their missiles may be, it takes hundreds of laser heads to take out a single superdreadnought. Against the kind of counter missile fire and decoys five or six hundred of our wallers can throw out, they’d need a hell of a lot more missiles than anything they’ve got left could possibly throw!”

    “And you think they wouldn’t still be able to kill a lot of our ships and a lot of our spacers?” Wodoslawski demanded skeptically.

    “Oh, they could hurt us,” Rajampet conceded. “There’s no way in the universe they could stop us, but I don’t doubt we’d get hurt worse than the Navy’s ever been hurt before. But that’s beside the point, Agatá.”

    First, Rajampet is proposing to sacrifice millions of SLN lives just to prove that you don’t challenge the SLN. I wonder if he’s going to write all those letters of condolence to grieving mothers? I doubt it. Second, Rajampet and Kolokoltsov illustrate that famous truism that “generals always prepare for the last war, while diplomats try to avert the war they fear at the moment.” I wonder what happens to Rajampet (not to mention the whole SLN) when it turns out that the SLN is an enormous, toothless paper tiger suitable only for target practice by the “neo-barb” SEM navy?

  2. Summercat says:

    Outmaneuvered?

    Yup.

  3. Thirdbase says:

    Don’t worry they will run out of missiles before we run out of ships.

  4. Sigh says:

    @2
    Who is they and who is we in that statment?
    Missiles are expensive yes but could you not just churn them out of a factory? As opposed to ships which have to be assembled using heavy machinery.

  5. robert says:

    @3 Thirdbase was being sarcastic? facetious? mocking? He meant…oh well, you either get it or not.

  6. John Roth says:

    @3 Sigh

    “The Manties” will run out of missiles before “the Sollies” run out of ships.

    I wouldn’t bet on that. Rajampet still doesn’t know either how many missiles the Manties have been using in their broadsides, and he seems to have an entirely exaggerated idea of how many laser heads it’s going to take to kill one of his superdreadnaughts. The Sollies have been systematically ignoring all the reports from the Haven Sector for years. Granted, they’ve had a bit of help from Mesa in keeping the blinders on.

    On the other hand, if you read AAC, you can begin to hear the oysters baying.

  7. obelow says:

    The thing that Rajampet totally misses is, even if his navy can overwhelm the manticoran Navy they will loose an tremendous amount of ships doing it. And what will that do to the fear-factor of the solarian navy, if they loose 2 or 3 THOUSAND SD in destroying one “Neo-Barb” Kingdom? They will loose their advantage that everyone fears them either way…

    Another thing, I have thought about the mesan streak drive and come to the conclusion that it must have an ftl factor of at least 4200.. I cannot remember what normal dispatch boats or warships have… does anyone have the numbers at hand? I would appreciate if anyone could tell me…

  8. turol says:

    @6:

    http://infodump.thefifthimperium.com/entry/Harrington/95/0

    We get to hear more about the streak drive in a later chapter. It’s in one of the webscription sample chapters if you’re interested.

  9. Shadow says:

    @6: Both of your points are adressed latter in the book. MoH is excellent because it tie up a lot of loose ends. It gives details not only on the Alignement structure, but also on technical goodies like the streak drive and spider drive, another major aspect of Appolo, and a few other things, which I won’t spoil. The only bad thing about the book is that there’s little action in it.

  10. LuizdoPorto says:

    David, in the third paragraph from the bottom, Rajampet says: “… letter of interstellar war”.
    That’s got to be wrong.

  11. no one says:

    So apparently the Sollies DO know about laser heads, which someone claimed in a comment on the last snippet they did not. I can see the Manties picking off the flagship of some sollie force with Apollo at some outragious range and then sweetly asking the rest of their fleet to please surrender or die.

  12. Rod says:

    @8 lol I like that, sweetly surrender or die! Hell of a choice.

  13. John Roth says:

    @6 obelow

    The answer is at infodump.thefifthimperium.com. Click on Honor Harrington, then Expand All, and you’ll find a chart “effective speed by hyper band” about six or seven entries down. Assuming that the streak drive works by going up another one or two hyper bands, this chart (with some extrapolation) will give you what you want. This chart isn’t a reveal – it’s been around for a good long time. (There’s one reveal in this mass of material at infodump, but it’s clearly marked as a MoH spoiler.)

    @8 no one

    Oh, they know about laser heads, they just don’t know about the Manties’ and Havenites’ improved versions. Nor do they have a clue about the tactical shift in the last 20 years, from energy range to long distance missile standoff range. They still think than an engagement won’t be over until they get into graser range.

    Consider the chit-chat in Chapter 55 of ToF where they’re estimating that an Indefatigable with Ageis and Halo will have an anti-missile capability around 35 to 40% less than a Warlord (an obsolete Havenite design.)

  14. Summertime says:

    Rajani exhibits the same old elitist sputtering that Byng did. Doesn’t anyone in authority in the Solar League care about the enormous numbers of their spacers and citizens to be exterminated when thrown at superior forces? Of course, they don’t believe Manticore HAS superior forces; their belief system wil not permit them to do so. Yes, Manticore might run out of missles before the SL runs out of ships, if the SL chooses to throw them away like that. But what are the Sector Governors, like in Maya, going to be doing with the forces they have been gathering if the SL cencentrates all it’s forces on defeating Manticore?Moreover, there is Mesa in the background and they have been working for just such a chance to vanquish the SL.

  15. RoadKillCafe says:

    I honestly don’t think the Maya Sector would send there local fleets after Manticore. In fact I think whey would go ahead with there plan and leave the League and be one of the first that signs a mutual Def pack with Manticore.

  16. John Roth says:

    @11 Summertime

    I don’t see them as being at all the same. Byng seems to be a typically incompetent admiral who got where he is by his political connections and believing what’s convenient to get his superior’s approval, damn the evidence. The chowder between his ears is well past its sell-by date.

    Rajampet, on the other hand, is a power-monger, pure and simple. He’s on top, he intends to stay there, and anyone who challenges his system is going to get smashed, publicly and brutally. Notice that he didn’t even blink when he was told that Byng’s ship was destroyed from out of his combat range: he took it in stride and made a snap decision to bury the Manties under a tidal wave of SDs.

    Of course he doesn’t care about anyone else. The lower orders are cannon fodder.

  17. Anthony says:

    In the infodump.thefifthimperium.com site it explains some of the Solarian thinking on the superiority of their navy. They have literally been at the top of technology and economic superiority for centuries, to level never seen in the history of mankind (without present day analogies). While negligent of them to not be watching for changes in warfare (and possibly criminally so with the sensor data of Manty missiles in front of them), it is unfortunately human to assume that when you are at the top no one can knock you off.

  18. Daryl says:

    Over centuries up to and including World War 1 the British army was described as lions led by donkeys. The aristocratic leadership looked up on the common soldier as a resource to be used regardless of any moral scruples, that is when that incompetent lot thought at all. The reasons they dominated the world at the time was that their opposition was even worse, and they did have the best technology due to the industrial revolution. The Solar League appears to mirror the aristocratic incompetence, but they do have competent opponents with better technology & just don’t realise (accept?) it yet.

  19. Earl Dry Gulch says:

    I think that the SLN thinks that they will fight the “neobarbs” one at a time and Manticaore is doing all it can to make sure that the SLN has to fight more than one or two at a time.

  20. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @7. You raise a good point. Let’s say the SLN does commit everything it has to destroying the SEM. It will be the combined navies of the SEM, Grayson, Haven, and (perhaps) the Andermani, each of which by itself completely outclass the SLN. Oyster Bay has cost SEM, Grayson, and Haven dearly in terms of being able to fight, but combined together, with Bolthole’s ability to produce, and the Andermani essentially untouched, the SLN is fighting a war it cannot win. But let’s assume it does win the war. First, the SLN will lose tens of thousands of ships and many millions of navy personnel. Second, the “neo-barbs” will no longer fear the SLN, because, at least for a few years, there won’t BE a SLN. Third, Mesa will be engaged in ongoing efforts to dismantle the League, thus hampering (either directly or indirectly) the SLN’s ability to reconstitute itself.

    Even if the SLN were to throw 2000+ ships of the wall at the SEM and allied forces, though, I think another factor comes into play — morale. What happens to the naval forces if they find themselves in a battle where they cannot come to grips with the opposing forces because they are being destroyed in job lots by missiles coming at them from outside their own missile range? Remember the SEM/Havenite/Grayson/Andermani missiles have EW and ECW that are so far superior to SLN defenses that they are incredibly difficult for the SLN to stop, and these missiles have destructive capabilities far beyond anything the SLN imagines to be possible. I believe that Admirals may start fleeing for their lives or surrendering in droves just to avoid destruction. They will do that because some of them, at least, have human compassion for those under their command. They will do that also because SLN Admirals are simply unaccustomed to being on the losing side of any fight; the shock will cause them to surrender. If that happens, then all the SLN ships in the fleet won’t help.

    @17, @18. I had a discussion with my boss just today along the same lines, but in the context of business, not of war. We were talking about how, when people don’t face real challenges and struggles that compel them to get better, when companies are “the top dog” for quite a long time, it becomes much more difficult for them to recognize the potential of upstart companies that have a better idea and a better technology. Even if “the top dog” recognizes the threat, the general procedure is to buy out the upstart and co-opt the technology rather than innovate and improve from within.

    @19. Excellent point, and one that Honor herself pointed out as the way to fight the SLN. If you peel off the League systems that still resent being part of the league and let them become independent star nations, then the problems facing the SLN grow exponentially more difficult.

  21. The Manticorian tactical of blowing up the flagship, and sending a targeted message to the next commander in line ‘surrender or die, and by the way, not leaving your computer cores intact is not surrendering’. may also promote surrenders.

    The Harrington Strategy could usefully be amplified by ‘mobilize the Verge’. Verge ships may not be very good, but once the SS, err, OFS ships are wrecked the Verge is perfectly able to land forces to dispose of the OFS Gendarmie and government, and install something in its place.

  22. John Roth says:

    @20 Woodman

    I don’t think Oyster Bay attacked Haven. There was certainly nothing in the preceding stories that suggested it.

    The key concept here is that Mesa is intent on breaking up the SL and replacing it with its own organization. As far as Mesa is concerned, the whole Haven sector is a side issue that they’d prefer to take out of the picture. In a plan that’s been running for between 300 and 600 years, Manticore was barely a footnote until a decade or so ago, and then only because of the Manticore wormhole junction. That junction has only one confirmed terminus inside the Solarian League proper (Beowulf, a major Mesan enemy). I don’t think either Matapan or Phoenix are within the league, but I’m not entirely certain.

    Even so, it wasn’t very high priority until the discovery of the Lynx wormhole terminus and the organization of the Talbot cluster. That’s a problem only because it’s too close to Mesa itself, posing security concerns. They don’t want to see a Manticoran battle fleet show up with a “surrender or else” demand.

    They were much more concerned with Haven, but thought they had that under control with the Legislaturalists. Robspierre (sorry, Rob S. Pierre) was just another step in their plan to take Haven out of the situation. Then they thought they had Manticore neutralized with the High Ridge government.

  23. robert says:

    @10 He should have said (or DW should have written) “law”, not “war.”
    There are a lot of typos and misstatements in the Sample Chapters alone (of the eARC), from which this is taken, that I hope are corrected in the book.

    @20 I believe, not having read the eARC (except for the Sample Chapters) that, besides Torch, only Manticore and Grayson will be attacked by the Mesan Alliance or whatever the name is now that we know that Mannerheim and who else (?) is in it or associated with it. I don’t know if the Grayson attack is also called Oyster Bay or if it has another designation. But Haven is not in the MA’s plans for attacking its enemies. And Oyster Bay is more than an attempt to cripple Manticore. It is also meant to throw blame on the Solarian League, after the events in Talbot.

    @22 Good analysis. Just as the changes in the Haven and Manticoran governments required the MA to change their plans and create Oyster Bay and the Talbot failures, they now have a whole another issue to deal with. They have no idea that Zilwicki and Cachet got away and took Simoes and the MA’s plans (i.e., McBryde’s data chip) with them. So despite their plans and despite Manticore’s losses, Murphy will zap them again, and even harder this time. But that’s yet another book, not this one.

    And speaking of this book, if anyone has not yet read the Sample Chapters, you should. Reading them, especially Chapters 6 and 7, in one bite instead of 2 or 3 snippets each, is mandatory. Chapter 7 may be the best single non-battle chapter DW has ever written. I think so, anyway.

  24. John Roth says:

    @23. Robert

    It’s all Oyster Bay. I don’t see how they can expect Manticore to blame it on the SL. Maybe on Haven. It’s more likely that they’re just intending to cripple Manticore for long enough that the SL will have a chance when it attacks Manticore. As someone pointed out a couple of snippets ago, without something like Oyster Bay, Manticore is pretty close to invincible.

    I don’t believe that the data chip contains anything except the reports on the assassination of Manticore’s ambassador to the SL. Most everything else was in McBryde’s head, and died with him.

    I (and I think most of us) would like to take a fairly leisurely time discussing this, without the reveals in the sample chapters. Granted, I’ve read them, and I’ve also read a lot of the chit-chat on the Snerker’s Only forum at Baen’s Bar and at David’s site. It’s pretty hard to keep all that to the side when I’m saying things here, but I think I’m managing it.

    At a very rough estimate, the snippets will be past the sample chapters around the end of April. As far as Chapter 7 goes, it’s certainly different. Best? Not being a literary critic, I don’t feel the need to make that kind of judgement.

  25. catboy says:

    eARE is good now if we could just get the bar to load right and not shut off that would be great.

  26. Anthony says:

    @ 24 I believe that MA wants the SLN to get its rear handed to it, something about furthering their purposes. Oyster Bay was launched earlier than projected because of fear (new Manticoran super missiles) and opportunity (Most of Manticore’s fleet destroyed in the battle of Manticore). They weren’t happy organizing it with the current ships, but just couldn’t pass up the chance for a knock out blow.

    As for Manticore being invincible I wonder if anyone has thoughts on how to overcome Apollo’s targeting capability?

    @ 22 Not so sure the MA wants to break the League up, after all picking up all the pieces would likely be more difficult than picking up the whole. They just need the League government to become something with actual power over it’s members, while being under their control.

  27. saul says:

    yeah. Its been killing my opera newsreader.

  28. Duncan says:

    What happens if Beowulf vetoes any declaration of war ?
    Can Rajampet commit the SLN Battlefleet on his own authority ?

  29. John Roth says:

    @26 Anthony

    They seem to be building the capability for a simultaneous sneak attack. IIRC, there was a comment about the Spider drive being detectable, but not with current equipment, so the risk they’re taking with using it early is that someone will figure out the technology (which is disclosed in the free chapters, btw.)

    Given the capability for a sneak attack, presumably on Battle Fleet and several of the System Defense Forces which are likely to cause them the most trouble (Beowulf is almost certainly targeted) their strategy seems to be to break things up and pick up the pieces.

    I think what’s driving Mesa isn’t “galactic domination.” It’s “make the galaxy safe for genetic supermen.” For example, Detweiller seems perfectly willing to let Manpower become a casualty. I don’t think we’ve really seen where his grand plan is headed. Since I haven’t read the e-arc, I don’t know if that’s going to be revealed later in this book.

    I have the feeling that Detweiller doesn’t really care what happens to Mesa, other than that his family and so forth are there. He, and the Strategy Board, don’t seem like the kind of people to put all their eggs in one basket.

    @27. Saul

    As far as I’m concerned, the Bar is a piece of crap software. The only reason for the Bar’s software is that it supports the newsreader interface. Poorly. If you want to discuss the e-arc, the forums at http://www.davidweber.net give a much better user experiance.

  30. hank says:

    @22 Re: Mesa’s Oyster Bay targets. “…Oyster Bay was originally intended to strike manticore, Grayson, and all fo the havenite building centers simultaneously. … launch a modifed, downscaled Oyster Bay, targeted on manticore and Grayson only, within six T-months.”
    -SFtS, pg 443.

  31. hank says:

    interesting to know that we’re finally getting the info dump on Mesa’s new toys. I was just commenting to my daughter the other day that it was amazing that Mr. Weber had contented himself with just dropping hints for so long, given past history! :)

  32. robert says:

    @30 et al. What I never have understood is if the MAs actions are aimed at destabilization and disintegration of the Solarian League, why did they find it necessary to first plan on destroying the capabilities of Manticore and its allies AND Haven’s as well, with the non-scaled down original version of Oyster Bay? Why didn’t they just wait until they had the capability to actually defeat the SL? I know that Manticore and Haven were their enemies in the sense that they were so anti-slavery, genetic and otherwise, but that is just Manpower, which they could easily toss away after defeating the SL. All the R & D is well hidden on Mesa and the military might of the MA navy is off in the boonies where nobody ever goes. So what were they so worried about that they had to even contemplate Oyster Bay?

    In fact, on further thought, after being kicked off Beowulf why didn’t they just go off into some uncharted part of the galaxy and set up shop and ignore the rest of humanity?

  33. Daryl says:

    Just because someone is supposedly a genetically intellectual superman doesn’t mean that they won’t make mistakes from hubris and arrogance. While their optimal path may have been to ignore Manticore I can imagine them simply wanting to punish those who dared to presume to criticize them.

  34. John Roth says:

    @32 Robert
    @33 Daryl

    One of the driving forces is that there’s a hate-hate relationship with Beowulf. The Detweillers left Beowulf because of “irreconcilable differences” with the ruling mindset, and Beowulf hasn’t rested in trying to wipe them out. The Mesan mindset is elitist, the Beowulfan mindset is very egalitarian. I suspect they might not mind at all if the objective was to bring everyone up to the same level, but creating specialized groups and then exploiting them? Horrors!

    Another thing to look at is Chapter 50 of ToF. In particular, the fact that Mannerheim is riddled with Mesan Star Line genomes isn’t advertised, but it’s rather peculiar, and probably has a lot to do with Mesa’s actual strategy. Are they the only planet like that? Interesting question to contemplate, eh?

    Going off into the corner and sucking their thumb like a bad little boy who has displeased his betters isn’t really what Mesa is about.

  35. Bret Hooper says:

    @10 Luiz: The context makes it clear that “within the letter of interstellar war” was shortvox (vocal shorthand) for “within the letter of the rules of interstellar war.” Albeit he is a superarrogant bastard, I would suppose Ramjet* was justified in assuming that particular shortvox was clear to his audience.

    *Irreverence, not a typo.

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