Mission Of Honor – Snippet 05

Mission Of Honor – Snippet 05

“They’ve already released the news?” Abruzzi seemed stunned in a way even the news of Jean Bart’s destruction had failed to achieve.

“That’s what they tell us.” Kolokoltsov shrugged. “When you get right down to it, they may not have a lot of choice. It’s been two months since the first incident, and the communications loop from New Tuscany to Manticore’s only about three weeks. Word of something this big was bound to leak to their newsies pretty damned quickly after Byng managed to get himself blown away.” Rajampet’s eyes glittered at his choice of words, but Kolokoltsov didn’t especially care. “Under the circumstances, they probably figured they couldn’t keep it under wraps much longer even if they tried, so they’d damned well better get their version of it out first — especially to their own people.”

“Then the bastards really have painted us all into a corner,” Rajampet snarled. “If they’ve gone ahead and broadcast this thing to the entire galaxy, we’ve got even less choice about how hard we respond.”

“Just hold on, Rajani!” Abruzzi said sharply. The admiral glared at him, and he glared right back. “We don’t have any idea at this point how they’ve positioned themselves on this. Until we’ve at least had a chance to see the spin they put on it, we aren’t in any position to decide how we want to spin our own response to it! And trust me on this one — we’re going to have to handle it very, very carefully.”

“Why?” Rajampet snapped.

“Because the truth is that your idiot admiral was in the wrong, at least the first time around,” Abruzzi replied coldly, meeting the admiral’s eyes glare-for-glare. “We can’t debate this on their terms without conceding that point. And if public opinion decides he was wrong and they were right, and if we handle this even slightly wrong, the hullabaloo you’re still dealing with over Technodyne and Monica’s going to look like a pillow fight.”

“If it does, it does,” Rajampet said flatly.

“You do remember the Constitution gives every single member system veto power, don’t you?” Abruzzi inquired. Rajampet glared at him, and he shrugged. “If you wind up needing a formal declaration of war, don’t you think it would be a good thing if nobody out there — like, oh, Beowulf, for example — decided to exercise that power?”

“We don’t need any frigging declarations of war! This is a clear-cut case of self-defense, of responding to an actual attack on our ships and personnel, and the judiciary’s interpretation of Article Seven has always supported the Navy’s authority to respond to that kind of attack in whatever strength is necessary.”

Kolokoltsov started to respond to that statement, then made himself pause. Rajampet had a point about the judiciary’s interpretation of Article Seven of the League Constitution . . . historically, at least. The third section of that particular article had been specifically drafted to permit the SLN to respond to emergency situations without waiting weeks or months for reports to trickle back to the capital and for the ponderous political mechanism to issue formal declarations of war. It had not, however, been intended by the Constitution’s drafters as a blank check, and if Rajampet wanted to move the Navy to an actual war footing — to begin mobilizing additional superdreadnoughts from the Reserve, for example — someone was going to point out that he needed the authorization of that same formal declaration. At which point someone else was going to support Rajampet’s position.

At which point we’ll wind up with a constitutional crisis, as well as a military one, Kolokoltsov thought grimly. Wonderful.

He wondered how many of his colleagues grasped the true gravity of the threat they faced. If Rajampet was able to crush Manticore quickly after all, this would almost certainly blow over, as many another tempest had over the course of the League’s long history. But if the Navy couldn’t crush Manticore quickly, if this turned into a succession of bloody fiascoes, not even the most resounding ultimate victory would be enough to prevent seismic shockwaves throughout the entire tissue of bureaucratic fiefdoms which held the League together.

He suspected from Abruzzi’s attitude that Malachai, if no one else, had at least an inkling of just how dangerous this could turn out to be. Wodoslawski probably did, too, although it was harder to tell in her case. Rajampet obviously wasn’t thinking that far ahead, and Kolokoltsov honestly didn’t have a clue whether or not MacArtney and Quartermain were able to see beyond the immediate potential consequences for their own departments.

“I agree with you about the historical interpretation of Article Seven, Rajani,” he said out loud, finally. “I think you’d be well advised to consult with Brangwen about the precedents, though. And to make sure the rest of her people over at Justice are onboard with you for this one.”

“Of course I’ll check with her,” Rajampet replied a bit more calmly. “In the meantime, though, I’m confident I’ve got the authority to respond by taking prudent military precautions.” He smiled thinly. “And there’s always the old saying about the best defense being a strong offense.”

“Maybe there is,” Abruzzi said. “And I’ll even agree that apologizing later is usually easier than getting permission first. But I’d also like to point out that this one’s quite a bit different from ‘usually’. So if you intend to sell that to the Assembly in a way that’s going to keep some of the busybodies over there from demanding all sorts of inquiries and holding all kinds of hearings, we’re going to have to prepare the ground for it carefully, anyway. Some of those people over there think they really ought to be in charge, you know, and the ones who think that way are likely to try to use this. As long as there’s no strong public support for them, they aren’t going to accomplish much — all the inertia in the system’s against them. But if we want to deny them that public support, we’re going to have to show everyone that you not only have that authority but that we’re in the right in this particular confrontation.”

“Despite what you just said about my ‘idiot admiral’?” Anger crackled in Rajampet’s voice.

“If the adjective offends you, I’m sorry.” Abruzzi didn’t waste a lot of effort on the sincerity of his tone. “But the fact remains that he was in the wrong.”

“Then how in hell do you think we’re going to convince that ‘public support’ of yours we’re in the right if we smash the Manties like they deserve?” Rajampet sneered.

“We lie.” Abruzzi shrugged. “It’s not like we haven’t done it before. And, in the end, the truth is what the winner says it is. But in order to rebut the Manties’ version effectively, I have to know what it is, first. And we can’t make any military moves until after I’ve had a chance to do the preliminary spadework.”

“Spadework.” This time, Rajampet’s sneer was marginally more restrained. Then he snorted harshly. “Fine. You do your ‘spadework’. In the end, it’s going to be my superdreadnoughts that make it stand up, though.”

Abruzzi started to shoot something back, but Omosupe Quartermain interrupted him.

“Let’s not get carried away,” she said. The others looked at her, and she shrugged. “No matter what’s happened, let’s not just automatically assume we’ve got to move immediately to some sort of military response. You say they haven’t ruled out the possibility of a diplomatic settlement, Innokentiy. Well, I’m sure the settlement they have in mind is us making apologies and offering them reparations. But what if we turned the tables? Even the Manties have to be capable of doing the same math Rajani just did for us. They have to know that if push comes to shove, any qualitative advantage they might have can’t possibly stand up to our quantitative advantage. So what if we were to tell them we’re outraged by their high-handedness, their unilateral escalation of the confrontation before they even had our response to their first note? What if we tell them it’s our position that, because of that escalation, all the additional bloodshed at New Tuscany was their responsibility, regardless of how Byng may have responded to their ultimatum? And what if we tell them we demand apologies and reparations from them on pain of an official declaration of war and the destruction of their entire ‘Star Empire’?”

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33 Responses to Mission Of Honor – Snippet 05

  1. Tabasco says:

    Yes, dig the hole deeper. That wasn’t bedrock you just blasted through, just a hard spot. > <

  2. Joseph says:

    It’s almost like watching a train wreck in slow-mo…

  3. newbie says:

    What I don’t understand about these snippets is why are they starting with chapter 1 if there are first 7 chapters already at http://www.webscription.net/chapters/A1439133611/A1439133611.htm . While chapter by chapter discussion is interesting it’s not much of a fan service publishing something in pieces what’s already available elsewhere.

  4. NinjaKittens says:

    David Weber has another Safehold book and anothe Honor book

    *drools*

    CAN
    NOT
    WAIT!!!!

  5. Peacoats says:

    True, true….hey Drak, aslong as we’re discussing the various balls that DW has in the air, any idea what is happening with the Hell’s Gate multiverse? Or when it might happen?

  6. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Newbie, normally we try to have the snippets prior to the EARC and the sample chapters.

    In this case, the snippets got delayed. I don’t post them until I get permission.

    Peacoats, the only thing I know is that Linda Evans is working on the next “Multiverse” book but we have no idea when David Weber will have the time to do his part.

  7. KenJ says:

    Frankly, I wasn’t overly impressed by Hell’s gate. I would rather see expansion on the Fury universe or more War God.

  8. John Roth says:

    @2 Newbie

    I’m rather puzzled by the publishing sequence as well. Part of the answer is that David had to pull the book and fix some stuff to correspond to Torch of Freedom, and that wasn’t done until around Christmas. Breaking chapter 1 up into six snippets, though, seems like more than a bit much. Chapters usually get broken up into three or at most four snippets. And there’s no real reason why the e-ARC had to be released quite this early — if I remember the schedule correctly, the first third of the edited version should start in Webscriptions in April or May for a July release date.

    @7 KenJ.

    I agree about Hell’s Gate. I found the first couple to be positively Shakespearian: Lots of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Sorry to be so harsh, but my reaction to the book is a big ‘so what?’.

  9. Drak Bibliophile says:

    John, Eric Flint posted snippets of around 1500 words and I’m following his practise.

    This chapter is larger than normal (IMO) for David Weber so it takes more than the normal number of snippets.

    Also, David Weber had decided that the snippets should only cover about a third of the book.

    As for why the EARC was offered so early, I suspect Toni (the top person at Baen) was getting so many requests of the EARCs.

    Using the 1500 words per snippet and posting only a third of the book would have pushed the snippet start date into March.

    Thanks to the early EARC date, you’ll be seeing more of the book in snippets than ‘normal’.

  10. robert says:

    @7 and @8 Re: Hell’s Gate. I actually never finished the first book. I bought both in paperback and after 100 or so pages I gave them to the library for the book sale. I found almost every character and sentence to be wooden, stereotyped and predictable. Wish it weren’t so, but… I, too, would rather see another Furies book or two. Actually I would much rather see another Honorverse book way sooner than Summer-Fall 2011 or 2012.

    One third of the book is about 200-250 pages. And is it true that this book was originally longer but was cut in two because it was too much like a door stop?

    “And what if we tell them we demand apologies and reparations from them on pain of an official declaration of war and the destruction of their entire ‘Star Empire’?”
    So they really have no appreciation of Elizabeth’s personality. What a bunch of dopes.

  11. 4th Dimension says:

    1500 words approx per update. Sooo *some number crunching later* if the snippets are rounded to 1500 that would mean we have some 24 remaining snippets until we catch up with sample chapters. Considering there are 3 snippets per week, that’s 8 weeks = 2 months. So we’ll catch up somewhere during the end of April beginning of May.

    Can’t wait!

  12. John Roth says:

    @10 Robert

    They still don’t know about Crandall, so they may not get the chance to declare war first. Since I haven’t read the e-ARC, I’m not sure about the time sequence involved. However, we’ve got a dispatch boat from Spindle to whatever the OFS HQ is, then Crandall heads out (presumably for Spindle) two days later. How long that takes? Grav waves aren’t symmetrical, and she’s probably not going to use the higher bands anyway, so make that maybe three weeks. Then two weeks for the report to reach Manticore, possibly with a couple of Solarian SDs for analysis, a day to make the response and another week to get it from Beowulf to Earth. Maybe two months? It looks like Oyster Bay may be in the middle.

    @9. Drak

    Thanks for the explanation.

  13. Anthony says:

    Of course they have no appreciation for Queen Elizabeth’s personality. She’s just one more neobarb ruler, who doesn’t know when to control her navy and let the League have its way. While they are high and mighty bureaucrats who never have to be accountable for their decisions, after all they aren’t the elected officials that the voters can kick out of office.

  14. robert says:

    @11 Wow, John. I find an assumption buried in your timeline. Or maybe a snerker? “…possibly with a couple of Solarian SDs for analysis…” So Henke wins, huh? At Spindle? I would never have guessed that. Well let me further speculate. She blows Crandall into smithereens from a gazillion miles away and gets the rest of her (Crandall’s) fleet to surrender intact, including the computer data. A recurring scenario in the (so far) undeclared the war against the SL.

  15. Summertime says:

    What damage does the Oyster Bay plan do to Manticore, et al? How do they counter and eliminate it? When do the revelations that Zilwickie and Cachat brought back from Mesa get to be general knowledge? Do Manticore and Haven bury the hatchet? Do they join forces against Mesa, joined by Beowolf, Torch, etc.? What will be the repercussions in the Solar League when the Mesan plan to take it over is revealed? How many more books will it take to sort it all out? Can Drak or anyone comment on any of this? Geez, I’m full of questions!

  16. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Summertime, some of your questions will be answered by the end of this book, but others won’t be.

    I’d also like to say that people who’ve read the EARC should not be commenting here on what they’ve read.

  17. lethargo says:

    I kind of like the Hell’s Gate books myself (although not as much as the Harrington or Safehold series.) Granted, they seemed slow at times, but I really enjoyed some of the characters, and I enjoyed some of the interpersonal relationships, situations and dilemmas they found themselves in.

    But back to the Mission of Honor snippets…um, wait, no, another tangent!

    I remember people commenting awhile back about life extending technologies being a consistent feature of David Weber’s worlds. Perhaps anti-aging research could solve some of these dilemmas of waiting for books. Living longer might not make me wait patiently for the next Weber book, but I REALLY like the idea of good authors living long enough to write more books (and me living long enough to read them…among other things…although I should probably do a little more with the life I’ve already got.)

    But back to the Mission of Honor snippets…

    Kolokoltsov seems to have at least an inkling that this affair or war with Manticore could mean big trouble for the Solarian League’s current power structure. I wonder if he’s smart enough to see the possibility of the League breaking up? Probably not.

    Also, I wonder if Kolokoltsov is almost a first amoung equals among the league’s ruling 5, or if it just seems that way to me because this Manticore issue falls mainly in his sphere of authority within the beauracracy. (The ruling 5 seem to get along pretty cordially and casually for individuals with such power and influence. That’s nice…I guess)

  18. @10

    Was cut in two…? SUCH GLORIOUS NEWS! That means the other half is out there, ready to be printed. Just think, two HH novels could appear in as many months. What could better? (Well, our illustrious author here could give us several more Rivers of War and some more 1636.)

  19. D says:

    @11 and @13 why bother analysing a bunch of obsolete junk. Copy the operational data from a few of them and junk the rest.

  20. Summercat says:

    Tossing in something, because I don’t know where else to place it:

    If I ever write a military scifi novel, I will have the GGN Joe Buckley be the winningest ship in the fleet, that always beat the enemies, and no ship tagged has ever been destroyed or heavily damaged in combat.

    /because I’ll forget later.
    //Good Guy Navy.

  21. robert says:

    @17 We should be so lucky, but it won’t be that way because that is the way I would like it to be. Anyhow I posed that as a question, not a fact.

    @18 Okay D, I agree. Furthermore, when Givens gets hold of the contingency plans from the New Tuscany “battle,” that data alone could blow the SL apart, from what I read in the last snippet. And if that is true, then why bother to wage war. Just release the data to the news agaencies, sit back and watch all the fires burn, and laugh a lot as the SL Fleets run around trying to put them out.

  22. robert says:

    @14 Gee, if Drak were to answer all those questions then why would you buy the book? The answers, per Drak, are in the eARC, and if you burn with curiosity, you should buy it. I avoid the Webscriptions page because my will power is waning. In this forum, the answer to all your questions really is “What do you think?” And then we all have fun seeing who is wrong (me, mostly).

  23. Thirdbase says:

    @#18 You examine “obsolete” junk, because there just might be something in there that you didn’t think of.

    The fission plants that Grayson were using were considered obsolete junk, of course they are now used to power LACs. The same thing with the Grayson compensators, they were made of obsolete junk, but proved to be more efficient than state of the art Manticoran ones.

    You never know, the Sollies may have a superior design for the Head.

  24. jgnfld says:

    @14…It’s been obvious for years that Manticore and Haven are like fighting alcoholic spouses who’ll unite and turn on any outsider in a second. If it doesn’t happen around now, finally, then I think David needs to blow one of them up, or something!

  25. Anthony says:

    I say that Haven and Manticore will at least work together (if not unite, or form an alliance) to defeat Mesan interests. After all that is their one area of agreement. And Zilwicki and Cachat returning with the information on the alignment, and the amount of damage the Oyster Bay could do to Manitcore will mean that they need more help.

    As for other nations fighting the League I bet Grayson will stick with Manticore, the Andermani might, and if Haven joins in the SLN will have a really hard time of it. When word gets out that the League is Doing Mesa’s bidding Beowulf will secede and the other worlds it has the most influence with will follow (they mentioned daughter colonies in Torch of Freedom).

    These are my guesses to what happens in this book to early in the next.

  26. robert says:

    @24 And Maya will begin the atomization of the SL.

  27. 4th Dimension says:

    @25 Andermani? Doubt it. There is nothing for them to gain. Unless they think they are threatened and there is no way to appease the SL. Besides, isn’t their current alliance to Manticore only in order to get Silesia in exchange for helping with Heavenites? They could claim they fulfilled the terms of the agreement with the theoretical end of the war with Heaven. Tough they might try to help Manticore silently, in order to stall SL, because they don’t want them on their border.

  28. Anthony says:

    The general attitude of the Andermani is while I said “might.” I don’t know how likely it is, but if the League is willing to destroy Manticore, when any unbiased observer will realize the League is in the wrong, then how long will it be before an “incident” with an Andermani Ship occurs.

    The Andermani may arrive at the conclusion that no one is safe, and Sign on with Manticore because standing together gives a greater chance of their survival. That’s assuming that they believe there is a chance to survive (much less win) that war.

    As for the current their current alliance with Manticore I don’t believe the specifics have been discussed in detail. not that it matters if Manticore ends up at war with the League then they can get out of any alliance (Manticore won’t have the capability to punish them for it).

    I forgot that little bit about Maya. I think that Barregos wants to pull the trigger on the split when he is ready. It won’t be right away, he will wait until the League is really distracted, i.e. they have had a fleet or two (aside from Crandall’s) completely crushed.

    Again all guess work.

  29. Summertime says:

    The Anderman Empire may or may not be willing to fight the Solar League, but they sure will be willing to join in the crusade against Mesa when they find out that Mesa was behind the attempt on the life of their Prince. By the way, can anyone tell me why the Andermanis have one German name and one Chinese name? I must have missed the explanation in one of the Honor books years ago. Thanks.

  30. Thirdbase says:

    @#29 Summertime.

    Gustav Anderman I saved a Chinese settled planet and was made Emperor of the world. It was explained near the end of Ch. 10 of Honor Among Enemies.

  31. lethargo says:

    If the Sollies, after losing enough battles, realize they want Manticoran tech as soon as possible, they might start trying to get it from allies or former allies? If so, the Andermani might not sign on for a war against the League, but they could still help Manticore some by stalling/dissembling/lying/refusing to give the League the Manticoran tech tech the Andermani now have.

  32. saul says:

    Just a note, if the Maya sector is thinking of pulling away, doesn’t that suggest the S empire is actually very weak/unstable. Its one thing for the Manties to be backed into a corner and forced to fight. Its another thing for a member area to plan to succeed.

  33. jgnfld says:

    @32…

    Honor made this exact point at the end of AAC, I think it was. My analogy, but basically she compared the Solarian Union to a crystal: Hit it along the proper lines, at the proper place and time, and it just shatters.

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