Mission Of Honor – Snippet 10

Mission Of Honor – Snippet 10

Which was true enough, but hadn’t prevented the Battle of Manticore from killing better than two million human beings. Nor did it change the fact that Honor had demanded the surrender of his intact databases as the price for sparing his surviving superdreadnoughts. She’d been within her rights to stipulate whatever terms she chose, under the rules of war, yet she’d known when she issued the demand that she was stepping beyond the customary usages of war. It was traditional — and generally expected — that any officer who surrendered his command would purge his computers first. And, she was forced to concede, she’d had Alistair McKeon do just that with his own data when she’d ordered him to surrender his ship to Tourville.

I suppose if I’d been going to be “honorable” about it, I should have extended the same privilege to him. He certainly thought I should have, at any rate.

Her lips twitched ever so slightly as she remembered the seething fury which had raged behind his outwardly composed demeanor when they’d finally met face-to-face after the battle. Nothing could have been more correct — or icier — during the “interview” which had formalized his surrender, but he hadn’t known about Honor’s ability to directly sense the emotions of those about her. He might as well have been bellowing furiously at her, as far as any real ability to conceal his feelings was concerned, and a part of her hadn’t cared. No, actually, a part of her had taken its own savage satisfaction from his anger, from the way he his sense of failure burned so much more bitterly after how agonizingly close to total success he’d come.

She wasn’t proud of the way she’d felt. Not now. But then the deaths of so many men and women she’d known for so long had been too fresh, wounds too recent for time to have stopped the bleeding. Alistair McKeon had been one of those dead men and women, along with every member of his staff. So had Sebastian D’Orville and literally hundreds of others with whom she had served, and the grief and pain of all those deaths had fueled her own rage, just as Tourville’s dead had fanned his fury.

So I guess it’s a good thing military courtesy’s as iron bound as it is, she thought. It kept both of us from saying what we really felt long enough for us to stop feeling it. Which is a good thing, because even then, I knew he was a decent man. That he hadn’t taken any more pleasure in killing Alistair and all those others than I’d taken in killing Javier Giscard or so many of Genevieve Chin’s people.

“Thank you for coming, Admiral,” she said out loud, and this time there was nothing halfway about his smile.

“I was honored by the invitation, of course, Admiral,” he replied with exquisite courtesy, exactly as if there’d been any real question about a prisoner of war’s accepting an “invitation” to dinner from his captor. Nor was it the first such invitation he’d accepted over the past four T-months. This would be the seventh time he’d dined with Honor and her husband and wife. Unlike him, however, Honor was aware it would be the last time they’d be dining together for at least the foreseeable future.

“I’m sure you were,” she told him with a smile of her own. “And, of course, even if you weren’t, you’re far too polite to admit it.”

“Oh, of course,” he agreed affably, and Nimitz bleeked the treecat equivalent of a laugh from his perch.

“That’s enough of that, Nimitz,” Tourville told him, wagging a raised forefinger. “Just because you can see inside someone’s head is no excuse for undermining these polite little social fictions!”

Nimitz’s true-hands rose, and Honor glanced over her shoulder at him as they signed nimbly. She gazed at him for a moment, then chuckled and turned back to Tourville.

“He says there’s more to see inside some two-legs’ heads than others.”

“Oh?” Tourville glowered at the ‘cat. “Should I assume he’s casting aspersions on the content of any particular two-leg’s cranium?”

Nimitz’s fingers flickered again, and Honor smiled as she watched them, then glanced at Tourville once more.

“He says he meant it as a general observation,” she said solemnly, “but he can’t help it if you think it ought to apply to anyone in particular.”

“Oh, he does, does he?”

Tourville glowered some more, but there was genuine humor in his mind glow. Not that there had been the first time he’d realized the news reports about the treecats’ recently confirmed telempathic abilities were accurate.

Honor hadn’t blamed him — or any of the other POWs who’d reacted the same way — a bit. The thought of being interrogated by a professional, experienced analyst who knew how to put together even the smallest of clues you might unknowingly let slip was bad enough. When that professional was assisted by someone who could read your very thoughts, it went from bad to terrifying in record time. Of course, treecats couldn’t really read any human’s actual thoughts — the mental . . . frequencies, for want of a better word, were apparently too different. There’d been no way for any of the captured Havenites to know that, however, and every one of them had assumed the worst, initially, at least.

And, in fact, it was bad enough from their perspective as it was. Nimitz and his fellow treecats might not have been able to read the prisoners’ thoughts, but they’d been able to tell from their emotions whenever they were lying or attempting to mislead. And they’d been able to tell when those emotions spiked as the interrogation approached something a POW most desperately wanted to conceal.

It hadn’t taken very long for most of the captured personnel to figure out that even though a treecat could guide an interrogator’s questioning, it couldn’t magically pluck the desired information out of someone else’s mind. That didn’t keep the ‘cats from providing a devastating advantage, but it did mean that as long as they simply refused to answer, as was their guaranteed right under the Deneb Accords, the furry little lie detectors couldn’t dig specific, factual information out of them.

That wasn’t enough to keep at least some of them from bitterly resenting the ‘cats’ presence, and a significant handful of those POWs had developed a positive hatred for them, as if their ability to sense someone’s emotions was a form of personal violation. The vast majority, however, were more rational about it, and several — including Tourville, who’d had the opportunity to interact with Nimitz years before, when Honor had been his prisoner — were far too fascinated to resent them. Of course, in Tourville’s case, the fact that he’d done his dead level best to see to it that Nimitz’s person had been decently and honorably treated during her captivity had guaranteed that Nimitz liked him. And, as Honor had observed many times over the five decades they’d spent together, only the most well armored of curmudgeons could resist Nimitz when the ‘cat set out to be charming and adorable.

He’d had Tourville wrapped around his furry little thumb in less than two weeks, despite the still thorny emotions crackling between the Havenite officer and Honor. Within a month, he’d been lying across Tourville’s lap and purring blissfully while the admiral almost absently stroked his coat during meetings with Honor.

Of course, I have to wonder how Lester would react if he knew I can read his emotions just as well as Nimitz can, she reflected for far from the first time.

“I’m sure he didn’t mean to imply anything disrespectful,” Honor assured Tourville now, and the Havenite snorted.

“Of course he didn’t.” The Republican admiral leaned back in his chair and shook his head. Then he cocked that same head at Honor. “May I ask what I owe the pleasure of this particular invitation to?”

“Mostly it’s a purely social occasion,” Honor replied. He raised a skeptical eyebrow, and she smiled. “I did say mostly.”

“Yes, you did, didn’t you? In fact, I’ve discovered, if you’ll forgive me for saying so, that you’re most dangerous when you’re being the most honest and frankly candid. Your hapless victim doesn’t even notice the siphon going into his brain and sucking out the information you want.”

His amusement, despite a bitterly tart undertone, was mostly genuine, Honor noted.

“Well, if I’m going to be frank and disarming,” she said, “I might as well admit that the thing I’d most like to ‘siphon out of your brain’ if I only could would be the location of Bolthole.”

Tourville didn’t quite flinch this time. He had, the first time she’d mentioned that name to him, and she still couldn’t decide if that stemmed from the fact that he knew exactly how vital a secret the location of the Republic’s largest single shipyard — and R&D center — was, or if he’d simply been dismayed by the fact that she even knew its codename. In either case, she knew she wasn’t going to pry its location out of him, assuming he actually knew what it was. He wasn’t an astrogator himself, after all, although he undoubtedly knew enough about it for someone to have put the pieces together and figured out the actual location with his cooperation. Expecting Lester Tourville to cooperate over something like that would be rather like a Sphinxian woodbuck’s expecting to negotiate a successful compromise with a hungry hexapuma, however, and that was one piece of data which hadn’t been anywhere in any of the computers aboard his surrendered ships. It once had been, no doubt — they’d confirmed that at least half his surrendered ships had actually been built there — but it had been very carefully (and thoroughly) deleted since.

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43 Responses to Mission Of Honor – Snippet 10

  1. no one says:

    Blah blah blah. 30 paragraphs to say “Hello”.

  2. zathras says:

    Only half of his ships built there. I would have thought higher. I know that Haven is building ships at other yards, but I would have thought, given the build times, that most of the fleet would have come from bolthole.

  3. Thirdbase says:

    At least half, which means anywhere from half to all.

  4. no one says:

    Think about it: half of 340 is 170. Bolthole built ~170 SD(P)s in about 5 years? They also do most of their R&D there. This is a very large installation. It should not be difficult to find.

  5. jgnfld says:

    Let me play “40”, “50”, or “As Many as I Feel Like” Questions with a prisoner using a perfect lie detector and I can get ANYTHING out of that prisoner I want to using a variant of the “Guilty Knowledge Test” (or ‘peak of tension” or other variants) to literally spell out character-by-character things like Boltholes’s location). Weber is basically assuming the “normal” and provably unreliable and invalid “Control Question Technique”. But with treecats to reliably record when something “emotional” is hit, the field is wide open to use techniques which are provably quite valid and reliable.

    Example: Let’s get all the astrogators together and a passle of treecats to “listen in”. Question 1, “Is the first coordinate of the location of Bolthole ‘1’”? …”Is it ‘2’”? …etc. When I hit the right character, some large percentage of the astrogaters–those with the “guilty knowledge”–are going to react. I’ll get the coordinates in an hour or two just by observing the rise in peaks as I hit the correct characters and the treecats record which characters those are.

    Ah well, I guess we can’t expect to have David be an expert in psychophysiology as well as military history!

  6. robert says:

    @1 no one.
    Not so much blah, blah. We never did learn any details about what happened right after the Battle of Manticore. So this is Chapter 70 or, at least, Chapter 69 1/2 of At All Costs. There was always the question of whether any info about Bolthole was in Tourville’s computers. Now we know there wasn’t. There was a question about what use the Treecats could be in assisting in the war effort. And now we have one answer. What other questions are answered, if any? On Monday…

    This book is the next in sequence after At All Costs, so one expects that what was left hanging would come out here. And it is clear that she is leaving on a Mission of Honor, presumably to present peace terms to Haven. So is this her setting up to tell him that, or her sounding him out about Havenite politics, or to tell him that she’ll be bringing him along as a goodwill gesture? I guess we ‘ll have to wait for Monday. These snippets are too short.

  7. robert says:

    @5 jgnfld
    Perhaps the only folks who actually know where it is are the ones who ferry the ships, material and people back and forth, Bolthole to Haven, round trip. Skeleton crew ferries the SD(P)s from Bolthole to Haven, drops them off, then returns to Bolthole via the round trip ferry. Only the ferriers know where it is besides Theisman and his courier crew. And Madam President. And of course the people working there.

  8. Thirdbase says:

    @ #4 no one, according to NASA, if Bolthole were within 50 ly of Haven, Manticore would only need to search about 1800 star systems. Within 5 parsecs of earth, the average star density is .12 per cubic parsec. NASA figures that with this area of our spiral arm that that number should be fairly constant. I’m not sure how big across the Republic of Haven is, it looks to be between 100 and 150 ly across, which would be between 14,500 and 49,000 star systems to search. Checking 1 star system per day, it would take between 40 and 130 years. It’s a mighty big galaxy out there.

  9. wyrm says:

    @8 Thirdbase

    I don’t think the problem is anywhere the scale you suggest.

    By now there should be some valuable knowledge about Bolthole’s location – it’s distance from Haven. We know that a number of senior Haven naval officers travel to Bolthole (even if this hadn’t been stated by David, it is fairly obvious that it would be necessary) We also know that (with the exception of the streak drive and the Grayson compensators) ship speeds haven’t changed for generations. Assume that Haven officers with known absences travelled to Bolthole. Any absence then defines a maximum distance from Haven. (In practice, it will be shorter, as we can expect that they will spend some time at their destination.) Over the course of years, periods of unexplained absence will tend to cluster around the time for a round-trip to Bolthole. Graph these times, and look for an inexplicable spike. Yes, there will be a lot of effort involved, and yes, there is complexity caused by the speed of individual ship classes, but there should be an observable pattern. The journey to Bolthole. Then instead of a massive sphere, you have a reasonably thin spherical shell.

  10. Daryl says:

    The silver lining to this cloud is that Mesa doesn’t know where Bolthole is either.

  11. Thirdbase says:

    @ wyrm

    Let’s say that ONI does that and determines that Bolthole is between 40 and 50 ly from Haven, that leaves 885 stars. If it is between 90 and 100 ly then it is 3900, if ONI is incredibly on the ball, and determines between 99 and 100 ly from Haven, that leaves 430 stars. Like I said, Space is huge.

  12. John Roth says:

    From the infodump database, added October 22, 2002, so it’s fair game for anyone who knows where it is:

    (“Bolthole,” by the way, is simply the code name assigned to a system which already had a fair population — well up in the hundreds of millions — before the yard was moved in. The system in question, however, was “off the charts” as far as foreign intelligence agencies were concerned for several reasons. The main one is its extreme distance from Haven — there’s a reason Theisman can only get out there once or twice a year. It’s way far on the other side of the RH’s space from the SKM, and in an area which, overall, was never noted for its industrial or economic muscle before, in essence, the CoPS moved in and established its “Five-Year Plan” to turn the system into an industrial powerhouse. And, BTW, they never even attempted to give it any other industrial capacity. Basically, this is an entire star system which is one, huge production line for warships and an R&D base and nothing else at all.)

    Hope this answers a few questions.

  13. Anthony says:

    Even using senior Havenite officers absences is problematic. First Haven will be employing counter-intelligence to prevent this method, second not all officers who are absent will be going to Bolthole (and some of those who aren’t will have travel times close enough to what the Manticorans are looking for to throw off the calculations by a little), and third are the Haven ships able to use grav waves when traveling there, if so do they use one wave or multiple waves, how much farther does this allow them to go, etc. Yes wou can narrow it down some, but you are still talking hundreds (more likely over a thousand) star systems to check.

  14. wyrm says:

    @ Thirdbase

    Yes, space is large, but this simple calculation would reduce the problem by at least one order of magnitude. If ONI were able to obtain data from a second origin point (say the prisoner drafts from Cerberus that didn’t go to any known destination), the problem would turn into the intersection of two spheres.

    I’m not saying that it’s easy, but it is far from the hopeless task you depict.

    The other factor to remember is that the search can be conducted ‘in parallel’ Most of these systems will be uninhabited, so should be able to be scouted by a courier boat. It may be cold-blooded, but a failure to return provides almost as much information as returning with positive information. Send 200 courier boats out, each with instructions to search 20 planets in close proximity, and you will have searched every uninhabited planet inside the 10 light year shell you propose. OK, you may lose the courier who found Bolthole (if he emerged close to a picket ship) but his non return suggests that Bolthole is on a short-list of 20 systems.

  15. Sigh says:

    Who cares where Bolthole is, send a fleet to Haven’s capital system and demand unconditional surrender, Including the location of Bolthole. This time make sure you DONT give Shanon Foraker back though. She’s too damn scary.

  16. Thirdbase says:

    wyrm

    Prior to Honor being captured they had no knowledge of either Hades or Bolthole so trying to identify where these prisoner drafts went would be problematical. I doubt that even Rob S. Pierre would send POWs or political prisoners to a base do super secret, he didn’t even tell the rest of the government about it.

    The problem with the second is these courier ships are traveling about enemy territory, how many will just randomly run into a warship traveling from A to B, that increases the number of planets to be searched by 20 for each ship lost. As was pointed out by John Roth, Bolthole is located at a populated planet. Since they have to check populated planets, the loss rate will be even higher.

    I never said it was a hopeless task, just very time consuming, and very dangerous.

  17. jgnfld says:

    @16 No, they really bad odds at all…there is little reason for the dispatch boat to get close to the hyperlimit even, let alone get closer as long as it has even a minimal sensor suite that would notice a huge military base.

  18. John Roth says:

    @17 jgnfld and others

    What’s this about a dispatch boat? If I was going to look for Bolthole, I’d equip a few obsolete cruisers with very high quality radio telescopes and send them off to do the survey.

    If you drop out into the middle of nowhere and put four receivers in a tetrahedral pattern a light minute apart it ought to take less than a day to survey every system in a 50 to 100 light year radius. Of course, you don’t want to go out that far — you want to get close enough to capture output at least 5 years after Bolthole was founded. So, say 20 light years.

    Granted, space is huge, but I suspect it would take longer to trek out from Manticore to the other side of Haven and back than it would be to survey a 100 ly thick hemisphere just outside of Haven’s known limits.

    Oh, and while you’re doing it, you might want to check if any of those stars have the “signature” for a wormhole.

  19. wyrm says:

    @ Thirdbase

    In one discussion after Honor’s return, we had Admiral Givens stating that from their debriefing of rescued prisoners, there were prisoner drafts taken from Hades which she could not locate any destination, and she surmised that the destination must have been Bolthole. We also know that Honor stripped the base’s computers when she left. Manticore has an important source of information

    And there’s no reason not to send prisoners to be a labour force at a secret base – as long as they’re kept at Bolthole, the base remains secret!

    One of the reason why I suggested courier ships is they are *faster* than other ships, so as long as they keep to *unimhabited* systems (as I suggested), they are unlikely to run across the Haven navy, unless they either find Bolthole or run across units concentrating in an empty system before an offensive.

    So what about the inhabited systems? Well, as stated in the Infodump article “Stability of the Republic of Haven and system secession” there are less than 200 planets in the Republic of Haven, a sufficiently small number that they could be visited with larger forces.

    And, by the way, the Manties do not know that Bolthole was an already populared world. (They don’t have a copy of the Infodump “Origin of Bolthole” article!) Givens’ last reported specualtion was that Bolthole was on an an unpopulated world, possibly outside Haven space, and I was following up from the ONI opinion to show that the problem was practically soluble. Once the Manties know that Bolthole is on a populated world, we have a far simpler question to solve. (We already know that it can’t be any of the worlds on the Manticore side of the Haven Quadrent which were visited by the 8th fleet under current or previous management.) So, once uninhabited worlds have been eliminated from the equation, and we know the distance from Haven, we are going to be left with a handful of the Republic’s 135+ systems.

  20. Sigh says:

    Look you’re making this more complicated than it has to be, just find someone who knows where bolthole is and make them talk. Preferably by threatening to destroy their fleet if they don’t tell you where it is. Then you capture bolthole and use it to make more Manticorian ships, because Manticore is going to need shipyards soon unless they get lucky.

  21. robert says:

    @19
    “And there’s no reason not to send prisoners to be a labour force at a secret base – as long as they’re kept at Bolthole, the base remains secret!”
    Not necessary. You could even repatriate them. They have no idea where they were sent or how to get there. They were sardined into a ship, sent to place, worked at whet they were told to work on, and then sent elsewhere. Could be anywhere.

    @20 Oh, that should be easy. Here they captured a whole fleet-full of people and even with Treecat help could not find out where Bolthole is. I maintain that anybody who knows where Bolthole is goes nowhere else but to Haven or to Bolthole. Certainly not on any ops where they might be taken prisoner. Otherwise the security fails. Also, and for shame, you are implying that Manticore should violate the Deneb Accords, which ain’t gonna happen.

  22. Sigh says:

    @ 21
    Hell you aren’t on the same page at all. Here’s what you do, get a fleet, any apollo fleet will do. You mosey on down to neveraou paris (i cant spell french) and demand that Haven surrenders UNCONDITIONALLY! That means you get to make up as many conditions as you want as you go along. The location of bolthole would probably be #1 on the list. You see as long as a fleet has apollo you can shoot as many missiles as you can carry without taking any return fire. Haven is done, stick a fork in her. The only question is how long Manticore puts it off. With they way things are going, the longer they wait the worse it gets.

  23. TimC says:

    @21,22
    You are all discussing how to fight the wrong war. Manticore needes Bolthole together with their new Havenite allies to defeat the Mesan Alignment and their Solarian puppets!

  24. Summertime says:

    The book cover for MISSION OF HONOR on the Baen book website shows a planet being attacked by different looking ships. What planet is it and who is attacking? Is it Manticore being attacked by the Mesans or is it another conflict? Anyone know?

  25. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Summertime, its the Alignment’s “late Christmas present”.

  26. robert says:

    @24 Summertime
    As Drak said, it is the Christmas present from the MA to Manticore. The attacking ships are the new stealthy ones that Mesa developed. From the hints dropped on the Bar before the eARC came out, and from the conversations Detweiler had with his various minions in Storm and Torch, the attack plan was to have pieces of the damaged or destroyed space stations to “accidently” kinetically fall onto the planets of the Manticore binary, evading the E. Eridani Edict. I expect that there will be many human and Treecat deaths. My expectation is based on a snippet that Weber put out on the Bar quite a while ago which had, in my opinion, Honor’s reaction to the attack.

  27. Daryl says:

    @23 I agree 100% with your statement.

  28. wyrm says:

    @ 23 TimC

    Manticore may (and probably will) need the Repubic of Haven, including Bolthole. However, the stronger Manticore’s military position is vs. the RoH, the stronger their negotiating position is. We (the readers), though not in the omnipotent position of David Weber, know information not available to any member of the Manticoran Alliance. Honor will travel to Haven not knowing that Mesa suckered Haven into restarting the war. Even the Havenites don’t know that yet, as they believe it was just personal ambition. So Honor needs to carry the biggest stick possible, even if she doesn’t intend to use it.

    Manticore needs a method to find Bolthole if the RoH turns out to be unreasonable in negotiations (we know that is unlikely to be the case, but the Manties don’t). Haven needs to know that Manticore can find Bolthole, so Manticore doesn’t have to prove this by destroying Bolthole.

    It’s not “fighting the wrong war”. It’s being able to negotiate from a position of strength.

  29. hank says:

    @28 wyrm “Even the havenites don’t know that yet, as they believe it was just personal ambition.”
    Not quite right. Look at the conversation between Pritchart & Usher in the last few pages of Chap. 44 of AAC.
    A few relevant quotes:
    “…Usher replied. “The Manty lieutenant who tried to kill Harrington was apparently acting under some form of compulsion. From…Doesn’t that sound like what happened to Grosclaude to you?”” pg 551 sfbc ed.
    “”So now you’re saying Arnold may have been actively working for someone else to provoke fresh hostilities between us and the Manties?” Pritchart wished she’d…” pg 552 ibid
    and finally, the last line of the chapter is:
    “But I do know this–my instincts all tell me that so far all we’ve seen is the tip of an iceberg.” [Usher speaking]
    So they don’t know who yet but the are looking. And they have spotted the link to Lt. Meares.
    Timewise the above took place just before the cabinet meeting where it was decided to send Mike home with a proposal for talks.

  30. robert says:

    @29 Good catch

    Imagine the giant “Aha! I knew something was funny” and head slaps when Zilwicki and Cachet return with Herlander Simoes and tell everyone who dunnit. And imagine the teeth gnashing when they all find out about Oyster Bay after the fact.

  31. John Roth says:

    @30 Robert

    It’s not so much that they’ll suddenly realize what’s up. I can’t imagine that either Cachet or Princess Ruth hasn’t been keeping Haven’s FIS and Manticore’s ONI appraised of what they’ve found on Torch — with appropriate laundering, of course. FIS probably has it right up there, while ONI is probably ignoring it as low priority. However, that’s most likely changed following Admiral Gold Peak’s report.

    The new information is the data chip that Zilwiki got from Jack McBryde detailing the assassination of Admiral Webster, and the verbal description of how it’s done. Simoes doesn’t have anything to do with that thread.

  32. robert says:

    John, you are right about McBryde’s info leading to the facts about Mesa manipulating Haven and Manticore into this war. But Simoes knows about the new propulsion systems. Once Oyster Bay is over, and assuming that our intrepid spies don’t get back in time, everyone will be able to add 2 and 2 to get who did it and how it was done.

  33. John Roth says:

    @32 Robert.

    That isn’t necessarily true. It is very unlikely that anyone would point a finger at the Solarian League, and Mesa is not known for advanced weapons and other gadgets. It could be a super-weapon that was cooked up in Bolthole, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that’s the first assumption people jump to. If I understand the hints, OB is probably in January or February, and Cachet, Zilwiki and Simoes don’t get back until April. I wouldn’t be surprised if David has arranged things for maximum confusion, running around in circles and pointing the finger in the wrong direction.

    We also don’t know what Simoes knows about the Spider drive. He was working on improvements to the Streak drive. I suspect he knows something, but it might not be more than a couple of paragraphs. Those could be a couple of very fascinating paragraphs, of course, especially if it includes a pointer or two for how to detect it.

  34. Thirdbase says:

    @#33 John Roth,

    Simoes was so essential to his project that they kept him in it well beyond the point where they would have canned another person not as essential. Whichever project he was working on, he will know enough to give SEM and RoH a good chance at building there own version. He was sending threatening letters to a high ranking member of the LRPB. I get the feeling that this would have been like a scientist working on the Manhattan Project sending threatening letters to a member of Roosevelt’s Cabinet. He would have to be essential, so as not be removed or arrested. It was also mentioned that there was no one person that could have replaced him.

  35. Rod says:

    I love a good intersetellar who’dun’it!

  36. Rod says:

    probably getting way ahead of myself here, but does anyone know what book/series will be next after this one? i.e. Shadow, Torch, Main Storyline etc.

  37. Thirdbase says:

    The title will be:

    A Torch Casts a Shadow of Honor. :P

  38. John Roth says:

    @35 Thirdbase

    Yes, Simoes knows a lot about his field, but he’s not represented as being a hardware guy. I think you’re also overestimating the danger he posed — Mesa is not the US during WW II. It’s a much more secure environment.

    @37 Rod.

    I’d guess another Talbot Cluster novel. That got left with the Crandall cliffhanger, which has to happen in late December or January, so it’s lagging. The next Torch novel, possibly, but I don’t have a (right or wrong) idea of where that’s going.

    As of right now, the mainline is farthest along in the timeline, and since David is writing both the mainline and the Talbot Cluster novels without a collaborator, that won’t be next.

    Actually, though, the next Honorverse book planned is another collection, to the best of my knowledge.

  39. robert says:

    @38 Yes, another collection. It seems that he won’t even begin hearing about the next Honorverse book until about a year from now. He won’t start writing it until a whole bunch of other commitments are satisfied, including a non-Safehold book for TOR. As far as a Torch collaboration with Eric Flint, well we know Eric also has nothing else to do, right?

    It appears to me, and what do I know-I haven’t read it-that this book starts the process of drawing the threads together, especially the mainline and the “Saganami” threads. But even the Torch threads are drawn into this book, at least by Chapter 38 or so, based on the ToC. My understanding is that this book also follows up the ending of Shadow of Saganami and the Crandall stuff-that’s the book’s “big” battle. I expect the next book, aptly named by Thirdbase, to knot the threads (end of analogy, no more) but not deal with the REAL bad guys yet.

    @33 John, yes I agree that there will be a lot of confusion and “who did this” kind of finger-pointing. Four months worth, in fact. And the loss of life and the physical devastation of the Manticore system will certainly be worse than anything that went before. It is only a story, but I hate when that happens.

  40. saul says:

    I still don’t get why the super spies didn’t send a coded ’email’ to Manticore saying ‘sneak attack on the way’. It would have surely been trivial to do, and they knew their escape plan had a decent chance of failure.

    Courier boats must carry batched emails along their journeys after all.

  41. John Roth says:

    @40 Saul

    They didn’t know about it.

    Seriously. There’s no indication in ToF that anyone they were in contact with knew about Oyster Bay. The upcoming attack on Torch, yes, because Cachet was being courted as a possible member of Luff’s task force. However, neither McBryde nor Simoes had any reason to be in on the military planning side of things, and given the compartmentalization of “the onion,” they certainly shouldn’t have known.

  42. robert says:

    Once everyone knows about the onion and the new propulsion systems they will be able to figure out most of the rest.

  43. saul says:

    Ahh, well, its been a while since I read it :)

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