Mission Of Honor – Snippet 06

Mission Of Honor – Snippet 06

“You mean we hammer them hard enough over the negotiating table, demand a big enough kilo of flesh for leaving them intact, to make sure no one else is ever stupid enough to try this same kind of stunt?” Abruzzi said thoughtfully.

“I don’t know.” Wodoslawski shook her head. “From what you said about the tone of their note and what they’ve already done, don’t we have to assume they’d be willing to go ahead and risk exactly that? Would they have gone this far if they weren’t prepared to go farther?”

“It’s easy to be brave before the other fellow actually aims his pulser at you,” Rajampet pointed out.

Several of the others looked at him with combined skepticism and surprise, and he grunted.

“I don’t really like it,” he admitted. “And I stand by what I said earlier — we can’t let this pass, can’t let them get away with it. But that doesn’t mean Omosupe’s idea isn’t worth trying, first. If they apologize abjectly enough, and if they’re willing to throw this Gold Peak to the wolves, and if they’re ready to cough up a big enough reparation, then we’ll be in the position of graciously restraining ourselves instead of hammering their pathetic little ‘Star Empire’ flat. And if they’re still too stupid to accept the inevitable,” he shrugged, “we send in however much of Battle Fleet it takes and squash them like a bug.”

It was obvious how he expected it to work out in the end, Kolokoltsov thought. And the hell of it was that even though Quartermain’s idea was probably worth trying, Rajampet was even more probably right. Wodoslawski was obviously thinking the same thing.

“I think we ought to do some risk-benefit analysis before we go embracing any military options,” she said. “Omosupe, you’re probably in a better position over at Commerce to come up with what kind of impact it would have if Manticore closed down our shipping through the wormholes they control. For that matter, just pulling their merchantships off the League’s cargo routes would probably hit our economy pretty damned hard. But whether that’s true or not, I can tell you even without looking at the numbers that our financial markets will take a significant hit if the Manties disrupt interstellar financial transactions as badly as they could.”

“So we take an economic downtick.” Rajampet shrugged. “That’s happened before, even without the Manties getting behind and pushing it, and it’s never been more than a short-term problem. I’m willing to concede this one could be worse, but even if it were, we’d still survive it. And don’t forget this, either, Agatá — if we go all the way, then when the smoke clears, the Manticoran Wormhole Junction will belong to the Solarian League, not the Manties. That ought to save your shippers a pretty penny in transit fees over at Commerce, Omosupe! And even if it doesn’t,” he smiled avariciously, “all those fees would be coming to the League, not Manticore. Relatively speaking, it probably wouldn’t mean all that much compared to our overall gross interstellar product, but it sure as hell ought to be enough to pay for whatever the war costs! And it would be an ongoing revenue source that brings in a nice piece of pocket change every year.”

“And it would get the Manties out of our hair in the Verge, too,” MacArtney said slowly. “It’s worst over around Talbott right now, but I don’t like the way they’ve been sniffing around the Maya Sector, either.”

“Slow down, everybody,” Kolokoltsov said firmly. They all looked at him, and he shook his head. “Whatever we do or don’t do, we’re not going to make our mind up sitting around this conference table this afternoon. That’s pretty much what we did with their first note, isn’t it? Correct me if I’m wrong, but that doesn’t seem to have worked out all that well, does it? And, for that matter, Malachai’s right on the money about the way we have to handle this for public consumption. I want to see how the Manties are spinning this in the ‘faxes, and before we start suggesting any policies, I want us to think about it this time. I want all the data we have analyzed. I want the best possible models of what they’ve really got militarily, and I want a realistic estimate on how long military operations against the Manties would take. I’m talking about one that uses the most pessimistic assumptions, Rajani. I want any errors to be on the side of caution, not overconfidence. And I want to see some kind of numbers from you and Agatá, Omosupe, about what a full scale war with Manticore could really cost us in economic and financial terms.”

There was silence around the table — a silence that was just a bit sullen on Rajampet’s part, Kolokoltsov thought. But it was also thoughtful, and he saw a high degree of agreement as he surveyed his fellow civilians’ faces.

“At this moment, I’m strongly inclined to agree with Rajampet’s reasoning,” Nathan MacArtney said after several seconds. “But I also agree with you and Agatá about looking before we leap, Innokentiy. And with Malachai about doing the spadework ahead of time, as well. For that matter, if the Manties have taken out Byng’s task force, there can’t be much left in-sector for us to be launching any offensives with. I know for damn sure that Lorcan Verrochio isn’t going to be authorizing any additional action by the handful of Frontier Fleet battlecruisers and cruisers he’s got left in the Madras Sector, at any rate! And I don’t think the Manties are going to go looking for yet another incident while this one’s hanging over their heads.”

“I doubt they are either,” Kolokoltsov agreed. “On the other hand, I think we need to put together a new note pretty quickly. One that makes the fact that we’re distinctly unhappy with them abundantly clear but adopts a ‘coolheaded reason’ attitude. We’ll tell them we’ll get back to them as soon as we’ve had an opportunity to study the available information, but I think we need to get that done more quickly than we did last time around. Unless there are any objections, I’ll ‘recommend’ to the Foreign Minister that we get a stern but reasonable note off no later than tomorrow morning.”

“Suit yourself,” Rajampet said, and there might have been just a flicker of something in his eyes that Kolokoltsov didn’t really care for. “I think it’s going to come down to shooting in the end, but I’m more than willing to go along with the attempt to avoid it first.”

“And there won’t be any unilateral decisions on your part to send reinforcements to Meyers?” Kolokoltsov pressed, trying hard not to sound overtly suspicious.

“I’m not planning on sending any reinforcements to Meyers,” Rajampet replied. “Mind you, I’m not going to just sit here on my arse, either! I’m going to be looking very hard at everything we can scrape up to throw at Manticore if it comes to that, and I’m probably going to start activating and manning at least a little of the Reserve Fleet, as well. But until we all agree a different policy’s in order, I’ll leave the balance of forces in the Talbott area just where it is.” He shrugged. “There’s damn-all we can do about it right now, anyway, given the communications lag.”

Kolokoltsov still wasn’t fully satisfied, and he still didn’t care for that eye-flicker of whatever it had been, but there was nothing concrete he could find fault with, and so he only nodded.

“All right,” he said then, and glanced at his chrono. “I’ll have full copies of the Manties’ note, Sigbee’s report, and the accompanying technical data distributed to all of you by fourteen-hundred.”

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37 Responses to Mission Of Honor – Snippet 06

  1. robert says:

    Isn’t that what is called “the Crandall eye-flicker?” So Rajampet is in on the Mesan strategy.

  2. Thirdbase says:

    I guess someone failed to mention the 71 Solarian SDs and screen already at Meyers to everyone else. I don’t know how it could have slipped his mind.

  3. HeavenlySword says:

    lol, the problem with sollies- too slow & too little- they aren’t going to realize the sledgehammer bearing on them…

  4. robert says:

    If I remember from the prior book, there are a couple of SL Intelligence analysts who are really aware of Manticore’s capability, but have to keep mum or be crucified. Will they stay quiet for now?

  5. John Roth says:

    @1 Robert

    Obviously he’s thinking of something, but it could just be Crandall and Filaretta. It doesn’t have to be that he’s in on the Mesa plan, and I suspect that he isn’t.

    I’m not sure he knows that Crandall is at Meyers. I thought she was supposed to be somewhere else (I something???) close by, and moved to Meyers when things blew up.

    @4 Robert.

    Well, it does seem like it’s about time they turned up again, if Weber is going to keep using them to show us what the thinking is in the Solly’s excuse for a research establishment. Unfortunately, it’s one of those tooth-grinding tricks to hide that it’s really an infodump — “As you don’t know, so I’m going to tell you…” Grrr.

  6. Mike says:

    Those SD are Battle Fleet, not Frontier Fleet. MacArtney must not know they are there. And if they get defeated (or even win a pyrrhic victory), it’s going to be a much bigger shock to these folks than losing a squad of BCs.

  7. robert says:

    Does somebody have a force appreciation for Henke’s command at Spindle or do I have to go back to Storm and find it. Seems like I remember that Terekhov showed up with a force and so did Oversteegen, but I forgot what they came with. And since we know that she is going to get intel from Meyers before Crandall shows up, she should have a well defined battle strategy for when they come. Something more than whack ’em before they close.

  8. robert says:

    @5 What he is thinking of is Crandall and the fact that she will go after Henke and start a full-blown war before any of the other yo-yos in the meeting know what is happening. And that is just what he wants to happen which is why Crandall is where she is and Filaretta is where he is, and we never did find out where that is.

  9. 4th Dimension says:

    Well acording to http://honorverse.wikia.com/wiki/Tenth_Fleet Henke has a CLAC division, two battlecruser squadrons, three cruiser divisions and a destroyer squadron. And I suppose they still have that obsolete SD on which that admiral is.

  10. Palmer Sperry says:

    @8 Of course, his expectation of said war is that it will be a *very short* full-blown war which ends with the SLN controlling the Star Empire of Manticore. At which point he’ll expect to apologise to his fellow bureaucrats about the lack of advance information, but since they’ll be happy having control of the Manticore wormwhole junction they won’t protest too much.

    We, OTOH, unlike him know it’s unlikely to be a case of “Admiral Crandall pushes through the Talbot Cluster and thence through the wormwhole to Manticore, driving all before her, where upon the Manties fall over themselves trying to (a) surrender and (b) suck up to the OFS”!

  11. Thirdbase says:

    @#7 In ships that matter, Henke’s BCs 6 at Spindle, 2 at Tillerman. Oversteegen’s BC Squadron, Terekhov’s Cruiser Squadron, and the surviving Destroyers of Chatterjee’s Squadron plus other Rolands. Plus the SD of Khumalo, whatever other (obsolete by Manticoran standards) ships are out and about patrolling the Quadrant, whatever picket is remaining at Lynx.

    So it looks like a dozen or so Nike’s (maybe 18), a similar number of Saganami-C’s and Rolands, one ancient SD, plus some number of obsolete CLs and DDs, and whatever LACs are around.

    Against:

    “There really were seventy-one Solarian superdreadnoughts, accompanied by sixteen battlecruisers, twelve heavy cruisers, twenty-three light cruisers, and eighteen destroyers orbiting the planet.” Plus supporting ships.

    Someone else may have better knowledge than me.

  12. Summertime says:

    How difficult is it, technically, for a force to approach and defeat the forts guarding a wormhole? Aren’t those things pretty tough? How are they armed? Do they have any of the Manticore long range missiles and warheads? Also, isn’t there a significant backup force just the other side of the wormhole, plus forts on the other side? Seems like a bad idea to force their way through the wormhole to attack Manticore, leaving aside Henke’s opposition in Talbott.

  13. 4th Dimension says:

    @12 If I remember correctly, all newer forts benefit from long range missiles, and improved data links. That should include Lynx terminus forts. But in the end they are still more or less stationary targets.

  14. jgnfld says:

    When “targets” maneuver at 700g or less and “attacking missiles” maneuver at about 100000g, I’m not sure the concept of stationary versus movable really applies!

    Of course for the Solarians and even Havenites, light speed limitations degrade “effective” maneuverability to some degree, true, as targeting information re. necessary maneuvering is uploaded at mere light speed (though there is onboard targeting as well which gets better at terminal distance I assume). Apollo, of course, wipes out even the lightspeed upload limitation almost completely.

  15. robert says:

    Thanks all. Beware that 4th Dimensions’ wiki link @9 is a huge snerker.
    So Henke has, in addition to the obsolete SD, Hercules,
    * Enderby’s 4 CLACs with over 400 LACs and
    * Henke’s own Battle Cruiser squadron consisting of 8 Nikes
    and Oversteegen’s 6 Nikes.
    * Terekhov’s CA Squadron of 8 Cruisers (CAs)
    and Tremain’s 4 Cruiser (CA) Division.
    * 5 Destroyers (DDs).
    Shan’t say more.

  16. Anthony says:

    Regardless of the snerker link, I don’t think anyone here would say that Crandall could win an all up engagement with tenth fleet. If she employed good tactics and had reliable information on Manty capabilities (on which to base her tactics) she could do some incredible damage to tenth fleet. But even with that defeating tenth fleet is unlikely.

    Imagine the shock value of having 12 BCs and ONE SD destroy 71 SDs. That has gotta hurt the morale.

  17. John Roth says:

    @12 Summertime

    The whole “attack through a wormhole” thing has been discussed numerous times, and the consensus is that it’s not possible, at least without something that’s not in evidence.

    @14 jgnfld

    Attacking the forts is a bad idea, because the forts are inside the zone around the wormhole where you can’t go into or out of hyper without destroying yourself. You’d have to start the attack from far enough away that the fort’s counter-missile fire would take out whatever you threw at it.

    Now if the Spider drive ships attacked the fort, that might be a quite different matter, but I have no idea if the author has that idea up his sleeve. In any case, Crandall doesn’t have that level of sneak in her arsenal.

    @9 4th Dimension
    @15 Robert

    Well, we knew that Heneke was going to be reinforced quickly – that destroyer division was only the first bit, and some of the rest was working up when she left Manticore originally. I’m not at all surprised at that order of battle. What seems to be missing is something that’s Apollo capable, and we know that they briefed her on Apollo, so there might be a surprise or two in that area as well.

  18. Anthony says:

    They don’t need Apollo to fight their first couple of battles with the SLN. Plain old MDMs will do just fine. After all if you can kill them from well outside their range then it doesn’t matter how big their ships are.

    After the first few battles I suppose it’s possible that the SL will do something to help their ships survive, but it will probably take longer than that.

    As for attacking through the wormhole DW mentioned how the attackers would always have surprise on their size, and that Manticore could not hold the junction from two seperate attacks through different terminus. Hence the whole Basilisk Station incident. I suppose that with MDMs they can put the forts farther away from the wormholes, giving more time for them to activate defenses, but it hasn’t been discussed yet.

  19. Daryl says:

    The author’s series of “The Stars at War” (with similar but not identical technology) did address the technical methods of attacking through a fortified worm hole, but it involved massive attrition which was accepted as the alternative was species extinction. Not likely to occur in the Honorverse.

  20. Daryl says:

    @15 Robert. Couldn’t help myself & looked. Don’t go there, be patient folks.

  21. Thirdbase says:

    Depending upon how fast Denton returns from Meyers and how long it takes Crandall to get there. Henke should have a 3 to 4 day warning, which isn’t really enough time to gather any reinforcements. I imagine Denton and possibly other old destroyers will be sent declaring a Case Zulu. (There seems to be a lot those going around.)

    Looks like I did pretty good on my estimates of the ships that are around Spindle. There was mention of 10th Fleet getting 2 more BC Squadrons, Oversteegen’s and an another. Plus a total of 2 destroyer flotillas, I’m not sure how ships in a destroyer flotilla though, and a second or third cruiser squadron.

  22. dcchipper says:

    @ 21 per http://infodump.thefifthimperium.com/entry/Harrington/59/1
    A DD flotilla consists of up to 32 DD and a CL flagship
    A Cruron is 12 CA or 16 CL

    note that this is listed for 1919 PD

  23. robert says:

    @20 Daryl, Daryl, Daryl. Now you might as well get the eARC.

    @21 There are also three ammo ships with names only our author could conjour up: HMS Mauna Loa, HMS New Popocatépetl, and HMS Nova Kilimanjaro – four million-ton units, which is a teeny, weeny, little snerker. The destroyers are the 3 remaining Rolands of Chaterjee’s command, including Naomi Kaplan’s and a couple already in the cluster, certainly Denton’s vessel being one. Don’t forget that Khumalo was promoted to Vice Admiral after Monica, so he gets to play alongside Henke, if there is a battle.

  24. Summercat says:

    @19

    The biggest issue with using the Starfire setting (BTW, recently picked up Starfire and Starfire II: Starfighters!) as an example is that due to interpenetration issues, each jump point could only be used with ships going through one at a time.

    It wasn’t until the 4th Interstellar War that the Federation and Khanate encountered a foe willing to risk interpenetration, although by then both powers had developed missile pods.

    In the Honorverse, those limitations are not to be worried about. There is no interpenetration when using a wormhole, an entire fleet can go through the junction at once – just it shuts down the junction for a bit. The larger the fleet, the longer the downtime.

    Huh. I wonder how hard it would be to attach hyper generators to a shitton of missile pods, and run them through a wormhole?

  25. obelow says:

    I started to reread the previous 2 books to get into the whole thing again, but I am unclear in what time-relation the ends of the previous two books are to one another and to the beginning of the upcoming book… does anyone know about that and shed some light on it for me? Are both ends of the previous books and the start of this one located at the same time? Or if not, what is earlier/later and by how much? At the moment I am confused what all the players know when, that makes it difficult to determine if for example the information Zilwicki and Cachat got on Mesa will be in time to do some good or not…
    I think if the story gets distributed in parallel running books, they should put a time-reference at the start of each chaper, that would make it sooo much easier to put the whole story together…

  26. jgnfld says:

    Zilwicki and Cachat are playing cards in the interstellar wastes for the present while some kid slowly machines a necessary part for the hypergenerator. We know their ship will be fixed at some point. We’ll just have to wait and see when they show up.

    Convenient way to put two utterly critical characters on ice but still almost instantly available whenever convenient to the writer (grrr). Nasty authorial trick, that.

  27. hank says:

    @27 Last chapter of ToF is dated April, 1922
    One wonders just how out of date Hercules is? Was she included in the fleet-wide update of wallers after White Haven took Trevors Star that delayed the formation of 8th fleet and the attack on Barnet for so long? Just how does she compare to the SL SD’s? Why do I suspect she’s going to go out in a blaze of glory?

  28. robert says:

    @25 At the end of Torch Zilwicki and Cachet finally arrive at Parmley Station (“trick” is right, jgnfld) and are ready to head out on an Erewhonese vessel to bring their info and Simoes to either Erewhon or Beowulf, not sure which and it does not matter as far as they know. This book essentially takes off from about the end of Storm From the Shadows, but prior to Anton & Victor leaving Parmley and arriving at Haven or Manticore or Erewhon or Beowulf or wherever with their game-changing news. It begins in December of 1921 PD and, according to the ToC, it ends in May of 1922 PD after 43 chapters, puff, puff. At the end of Storm, the MA Admiral indicates that they will have a nasty Christmas present for Manticore, so Oyster Bay is close at hand, I guess. If Christmas is still celebrated at about the same time, whatever time means in galactic terms.

    And at the end of Storm there is this from Honor to Elizabeth:

    “So I think it’s time we show Haven we can forego an advantage in the interests of peace, as well. We defeated them decisively here in Manticore, despite our own losses, and they know it. By now, they know we could destroy the Haven System any time we chose to, as well. So I suggest that we hold Eighth Fleet right here, close to home, in case we do end up needing it in Talbott. Instead of sending me to Nouveau Paris to hold a pistol to their heads and make them sign on the dotted line, send an accredited diplomat, instead. Someone who can tell them that we know we can destroy them, too, and that we’re prepared to do it if we have to, but that we don’t want to unless we have to. Give them the option and let them have a little time to think, a little time to approach the decision with dignity, Elizabeth, not just because they’re lying face down in the dirt with the muzzle of a gun screwed into the backs of their necks. Give them the chance to surrender on some sort of reasonable terms before I have to go out and kill thousands of more people who might not have to die at all.”

    To be (or being) continued…

  29. jgnfld says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot they arrived. Still, they are a long way from anywhere at the moment with no direct transport.

  30. John Roth says:

    @28 Robert

    There’s nothing in Chapter 63 of ToF that says that Z and C left Parmley Station on the Custis, and the last scene suggests that they’re still there, waiting on the spare parts to arrive. My guess is that rather than go to Erewhon, they’d go straight to Torch, pick up the Good Ship Lollipop (or whatever that frigate is called that Zilwiki uses to ferry himself around) and then head for either Manticore or Haven in person with copies of their report headed off in various different directions. They’ve had six months to work on it, after all!

    My suspicion is that they want to see Princess Ruth first, and give Simoes a chance to talk to Kare and the other guy, assuming they’re still there.

    Of course, I haven’t read the e-arc, so I have no idea if that guess is right or off in hyperspace somewhere.

  31. robert says:

    @30 John, your guess is as good as anyone’s.

    I didn’t say that they left Parmley, just that they were getting ready to, but you are correct that they may not leave on the Erewhonese vessel and that they may be headed for Torch. But I can’t see them waiting for the repairs to complete before they go. They know that the info they have is fairly important.

    As folks have commented, this snippet has given us some insight into the “strategy” that Rajampet will use in what seems to be his own personal war against Manticore: Use up hundreds of ships (and, oh yes, people, too) depleting their missile supply faster than it can be replaced and then send hundreds more to wipe them out. Unfortunately, that may work if Oyster Bay is effective in damaging or destroying Manticore’s manufacturing base. Oh, woe.

  32. jgnfld says:

    @31…I don’t really see how that strategy COULD work that would still have a viable HH series going! Manticore needs to suffer, true. But I just don’t see how it can be overrun by OFS and then retaken later. Well unless Elizabeth leaves and starts a govt-in-exile in Haven! :0

  33. Thirdbase says:

    @#22 dcchipper, Thanks but there seems to have been some changes. Rolands come with Flag Bridges, so the CL would be dropped. Apparently Destroyer Squadrons have shrunk also, as Commodore Chatterjee’s only had 8 instead of the 9 to 16. With 3 destroyed, that leaves 5, apparently anymore were short stopped to fill in the Home Fleet.

    @#23 robert, He has been using volcano type names for all the Manticoran ammo ships, so those names make sense. 3 of 8 destroyers destroyed leaves 5. Denton is in command of “HMS Reprise was only a somewhat elderly and increasingly obsolescent destroyer”

    @#27 hank, I think it was Terekhov that described the Hercules as being as almost old as he was. So who knows what kind of refits it has had. It probably is still better than any Sollie SD though.

    Anyone know what is going on with the post numbers? Some posts seem to be appearing late, or even moving.

  34. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Thirdbase, some posts get held by the system until somebody (like me) checks to see if they are valid.

    Some are spam and others are held for no reason that I can see.

    By the way, this is why I refer to a person not the post number. [Smile]

  35. Thirdbase says:

    Thanks Drak, for a while I wondered if I was just going further crazy or imagining things. The only problem with just referring to peoples names is in a case like my last post, robert got in 3 posts there.

    Keep up the good work. We all appreciate it, or at least I do.

  36. robert says:

    @33 Third (if I can use your first name), there were not 8 destroyers in Chaterjee’s command, there were 6:

    Division 301.1, Senior Officer – Commodore Ray Chatterjee
    HMS Roland, squadron flagship, CO – Commander John DesMoines
    HMS Tristram, CO – Commander Naomi Kaplan
    HMS Lancelot, CO – Captain (JG) Ellen Seacrest
    HMS Galahad, CO – Commander Edward Miskin
    Division 301.2, Senior Officer – Captain Jacob Zavala
    HMS Gawain, division flagship, CO – Captain (JG) Frank Morgan, Grayson Space Navy
    HMS Ivanhoe, CO – Commander Lindsey Szegdi

    Roland, Lancelot and Galahad were destroyed in New Turscany I. So only 3 DDs were left from DesRon 301.

  37. Thirdbase says:

    @#36 robert, I’m not sure if you’ll see this, but from Chapter 34 of Storm From the Shadows:

    “Terekhov found himself the senior officer commanding no less than sixteen ships—the eight cruisers of his own squadron and the eight destroyers of Commodore Chatterjee’s squadron”

    That would be 8 destroyers.

    Also when Henke went into New Tuscany she had 19 Ships, 6 of her Nike BCs (the other 2 were left at Tillerman), 8 Saganami-C CAs and the remaining 5 Rolands.

    Before you say I have the forces wrong there, from Chapter 45:

    “Admittedly, their ‘battlecruisers’ are bigger than ours—probably tougher, too, for that matter—but each of ours has as many missile launchers as one of theirs, and they only have six, ”

    Goulard, Commander Rochelle (“Roxy”), RMN—CO, HMS Kay.
    Rützel, Lieutenant Commander Tobias (“Toby”), RMN—CO, HMS Gaheris.

    I’m guessing those are the two Rolands missing from your list.

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