Mission Of Honor – Snippet 16

Mission Of Honor – Snippet 16

Chapter Four

“Have you got a copy of that memo from Admiral Cheng?” Captain Daud ibn Mamoun al-Fanudahi asked, poking his head into Captain Irene Teague’s office.

“Which memo?” Teague rolled her eyes in an expression she wouldn’t have let any other Battle Fleet officer see. In fact, she wouldn’t have let al-Fanudahi see it as recently as a month or so ago. Displaying contempt — or, at the very least, disrespect — for a flag officer was always risky, but even more so when the officer doing the displaying was from Frontier Fleet and the object of the display was from Battle Fleet. And especially when the flag officer in question was the Frontier Fleet officer in question’s CO.

Unfortunately, Irene Teague had concluded that al-Fanudahi had been right all along in his belief the “preposterous reports” of the Royal Manticoran Navy’s “super weapons” weren’t quite so preposterous after all. A point which, in her opinion, had been abundantly proved by what had happened to Josef Byng at New Tuscany. And a point which apparently continued to elude Cheng Hai-shwun, the commanding officer of the Office of Operational Analysis, to which she and al-Fanudahi happened to be assigned.

“The one about that briefing next week,” al-Fanudahi said. “The one for Kingsford and Thimár.”

“Oh.”

Teague frowned, trying to remember which of her voluminous correspondence folders she’d stuffed that particular memo into. Half the crap she filed hadn’t even been opened, much less read. No one could possibly keep track of all of the memos, letters, conference reports, requests, and just plain garbage floating around the Navy Building and its annexes. Not that the originators of all that verbiage felt any compulsion to acknowledge that point. The real reason for most of it was simply to cover their own posteriors, after all, and the excuse that there simply weren’t enough hours in the day to read all of it cut no ice when they produced their file copy and waved it under one’s nose.

She tapped a command, checking an index. Then shrugged, tapped another, and snorted.

“Yeah. Here it is.” She looked up. “You need a copy?”

“Bang one over to my terminal,” al-Fanudahi replied with a slightly sheepish grin. “I don’t have a clue where I filed my copy. But what I really needed was to see if Polydorou or one of his reps is supposed to be there.”

“Just a sec.” Teague skimmed the memo, then shrugged. “No mention of it, if they are.”

“I didn’t remember one.” Al-Fanudahi grimaced. “Not exactly a good sign, wouldn’t you say?”

“Probably not,” Teague agreed, after a moment. “On the other hand, maybe it is a good thing. At least this way if they listen to you at all, he’ll have less warning to start covering his arse before someone starts asking him some pointed questions.”

“And just how likely do you really think that is?”

“Not very,” she admitted.

If Cheng had so far failed to grasp the nature of the sausage machine into which the SLN was about to poke its fingers, Admiral Martinos Polydorou, the commanding officer of Systems Development was in active denial. The SysDev CO had been one of the masterminds behind the “Fleet 2000” initiative, and he was even more convinced of the inevitability of Solarian technological superiority than the majority of his fellow officers.

In theory, it was SysDev’s responsibility to continually push the parameters, to search constantly for improved technologies and applications. Of course, in theory, it was also OpAn’s responsibility to analyze and interpret operational data which might identify potential threats. Given that al-Fanudahi’s career had been stalled for decades mostly because he’d tried to do exactly that, it probably wasn’t surprising Polydorou’s subordinates were unlikely to disagree with him. After all, Teague was one of the very few OpAn analysts who’d come to share al-Fanudahi’s concerns . . . and he’d specifically instructed her to keep her mouth shut about that minor fact.

“There might be a better chance of getting some of those questions asked if you’d let me sign off on your report, Daud,” she pointed out now.

“Not enough better to risk burning your credibility right alongside mine.” He shook his head. “No. It’s not time for you to come out into the open yet, Irene.”

“But, Daud –”

“No,” he interrupted her with another headshake. “There’s not really anything new in Sigbee’s dispatches. Aside from the confirmation their missiles have a range from rest of at least twenty-nine million kilometers, at any rate, and that’d already been confirmed at Monica, if anyone’d been interested in looking at the reports.” He shrugged. “Someone’s got to keep telling them about it, but they’re not going to believe it, no matter what we say, until one of our units gets hammered in a way that’s impossible even for someone like Cheng or Polydorou to deny. Everybody’s got too much of the ‘not invented here’ syndrome. And they don’t want to hear from anyone who disagrees with them.”

“But it’s only a matter of time before they find out you’ve been right all along,” she argued.

“Maybe. And when that happens, do you think they’re going to like having been proved wrong? What usually happens to someone like me –someone who’s insisted on telling them the sky is falling — is that if it turns out he was right, his superiors are even more strongly motivated to punish him. The last thing they want is to ask the advice of someone who’s told them they were idiots after the universe demonstrates they really were idiots. That’s why it’s important you stay clear of this. When the crap finally hits the fan, you’ll be the one who had access to all of my notes and my reports, who’s in the best position to be their ‘expert witness’ on that basis, but who hasn’t been pissing them off for as long as they can remember.”

“It’s not right,” she protested quietly.

“So?” Teague had seen lemons less tart than al-Fanudahi’s smile. “You were under the impression someone ever guaranteed life was fair?”

“No, but . . . .”

Her voice trailed off, and she gave her head an unwilling little toss of understanding. Not agreement, really, but of acceptance.

“Well, now that that’s settled,” al-Fanudahi said more briskly, “I was wondering if you’d had any more thoughts on that question of mine about the difference between their missile pods and tube-launched missiles?”

“About the additional drive system, you mean?”

“Yeah. Or even about the additional drive systems, plural.”

“Daud, I’m on your side here, remember, and I’m willing to grant you that they might be able to squeeze one more drive into a missile body they could shoehorn into a pod, but even I don’t see how they could’ve put in three of the damned things!”

“Don’t forget our esteemed colleagues are still arguing they couldn’t fit in even two of them,” al-Fanudahi retorted, eye a-gleam with combined mischief, provocation, and genuine concern. “If they’re wrong about that, then why couldn’t you be wrong about drive system number three?”

“Because,” she replied with awful patience, “there are physical limits not even Manties can get around. Besides –”

Daud ibn Mamoun al-Fanudahi leaned his shoulders against the wall of her cubicle and smiled as he prepared to stretch the parameters of her mind once again.

* * *

Aldona Anisimovna walked briskly down the sumptuously decorated hallway. It wasn’t the first time she’d made this walk, but this time she was unaccompanied by the agitated butterflies which had polkaed around her midsection before. And not just because Kyrillos Taliadoros, her personal enhanced bodyguard, walked quietly behind her. His presence was one sign of how monumentally her universe had changed in the last six T-months, yet it was hardly the only one.

Then again, everyone else’s universe is about to change, too, isn’t it? she thought as they neared their destination. And they don’t even know it.

On the other hand, neither had she on that day six T-months ago when she and Isabel Bardasano walked into Albrecht Detweiler’s office and Anisimovna, for the first time in her life, learned the real truth.

They reached the door at the end of the hall, and it slid open at their approach. Another man, who looked like a cousin of Taliadoros’ (because, after all, he was one), considered them gravely for a moment, then stepped aside with a gracious little half-bow.

Anisimovna nodded back, but the true focus of her attention was the man sitting behind the large office’s desk. He was tall, with strong features, and the two younger men sitting at the opposite ends of his desk looked a great deal like him. Not surprisingly.

“Aldona!” Albrecht Detweiler smiled at her, standing behind the desk and holding out his hand. “I trust you had a pleasant voyage home?”

“Yes, thank you, Albrecht.” She shook his hand. “Captain Maddox took excellent care of us, and Bolide is a perfectly wonderful yacht. And” — she rolled her eyes drolly at him — “so speedy.”

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22 Responses to Mission Of Honor – Snippet 16

  1. Thirdbase says:

    So apparently there are a couple of Sollies, that can see that the light at the “end” of the tunnel is actually an oncoming train, with a few that are willing to admit that it could be a train, everyone else thinks the tunnel is about to end.

    I wonder if the defeat of a Sollie fleet, by a single ship of the wall, some BC’s and lighter units constitutes “our units gets hammered in a way that’s impossible even for someone like Cheng or Polydorou to deny.”

    Somehow I think that even they will be able to come up with some sort of justification for the losses.

  2. Tootall says:

    What’s interesting here to me, is the sort of lack of the “not invented here” syndrome in the Safehold universe. There, the Church has managed to convert away from galleys without the second (and third and fourth) bloody nose(s) that the Solarian League Navy seems to be insisting on. And in Safehold the opposition gets right into the new artilery, and the new sail plans, the new muskets, and the new numbers. Reading both, I am struck by the different mindsets.

  3. karina says:

    You could say in the Safehold universe the big power already got really, really hammered and were about to be hammered again with the 2nd fleet they were building, but FINALLY, someone – for political power reasons decided to pay attention to the person trying to warn them and started using the new tech. Finally, the Powers that be have a different version of ‘not invented here’ which is ‘it’s not supposed to be invented in the 1st place’ and is one of the reasons for the war.

  4. no one says:

    The problem with the Sollies is not that they see a light at the end of the tunnel, or that the light is an oncoming train. Their problem is that they don’t even realize they’re in a tunnel, and don’t know what the rails mean.

  5. Just Me says:

    Charis beat everything all their enemies and even potential enemies (and two should-have-been friends) could possibly bring to bear on them. Manticore has merely blown up a task force of the Solarian navy. Not to understate what Manticore has accomplished, but it doesn’t even constitute a bloodied nose to the Solarian navy, compared to the literal death blow and subsequent cremation Charis delivered to the fleets of its enemies.

    The prospect of being hanged concentrates the mind, but there’s still room for the Solarians to doubt that prospect. Not so much the Church of God Awaiting on Safehold.

  6. d says:

    which means fun for us as the crash happens :D

  7. joe6168 says:

    You forgot the part where they scratch their heads trying to figure out what that on coming light is. Assuming they aren’t activly denying that it exists at all.

  8. Richard Young says:

    This is likely to have been taken from history. In WWII the US Navy had a similar problem with its submarine torpedoes. For the first year of the war, in the Pacific, the torpedoes would hit but not explode. All of the commanders of the submarines were reporting the same thing but those in charge of designing and testing the torpedoes were in total denial. They thought it had to be something the submarine crews were doing. They totally rejected doing further testing because they “knew” that the torpedoes were good!

  9. jgnfld says:

    In a somewhat ironical twist…the Germans had almost the same exact problem with their torpedoes and the command structure reacted in much the same way. The failure rate of German torpedoes through the end of 1942 was estimated to be around one in three. Consider the Battle of the Atlantic with fully functioning torpedoes in that time period!

  10. John Roth says:

    @6 Richard Young

    I don’t think you need to take it from history, although comparisons to real incidents are always nice. Anyone who hasn’t been hiding in a cave is well aware of incidents where the vendor is in denial until they’re hit with a massive consumer lawsuit. Consider Toyota, to take just one current event.

  11. robert says:

    So now we see that there are three people in the SLN who are still alive and who understand the what the SLN is up against: the very lucky Lt. Askew (from SFtS) and the above two conspirators who we are meeting again, also last heard from in SFtS. Wait! Maybe there are four–the SDF Commodore who provided Askew with all his data. Is there nobody who is anybody that will listen to them?

  12. Thirdbase says:

    no one

    They know they are in a tunnel, the messages from Manticore have told them that. They are just assuming that their big “nasty” Navy will flatten everything in its path, and once they flatten that bit of Manticore, they will leave the tunnel. Unfortunately what they perceive as the end of the tunnel, is the small, relatively, very nasty Manticoran Navy, that is about to flatten whatever the Sollies throw at it.

    Now there appears to be two or three Sollies that realize that light is nasty train about cause all sorts of problems, and one or two that see a small train that is going to cause a bigger bump than everyone else thinks.

    Captain Daud ibn Mamoun al-Fanudahi and Lt. Askew both see a big train approaching. Captain Irene Teague sees a problem, but isn’t really expecting it to be that big of a problem. Since we haven’t really met the Commodore that did the reports that Askew used, we don’t really know how big a problem he sees.

    There are probably others, like those in the Maya sector, that have some idea that what is happening out there in the hinterlands have changed naval warfare. Beowulf comes to mind, the BSC will certainly have a clue.

  13. Anthony says:

    The defeat of a Sollie fleet by a single ship of the wall some BC’s and lighter units definitely will constitute “our units gets hammered in a way that’s impossible even for someone like Cheng or Polydorou to deny.” They Will try to attack the Manticore system directly, trusting in their numbers to win out. Especially after Oyster Bay hits.

  14. Thirdbase says:

    Anthony

    It looks though, from the previous snippet, that the Manty ship yards are working on the second wave of Apollo ships and that the first set is now over at Trevor’s Star working up. Which means that that Sollie fleet is going to run into a fleet of Manty ships or two, the newly reconstituted Home Fleet, and Honor’s 8th Fleet, plus anything from the GSN if they have a weeks warning.

    Richard Young

    It turned out that it was something that the submariners were doing too. They were using them in the proper way they were supposed to be and how they had been trained to use them. When the submarine captains determined that the contact fuses malfunctioned on a 90 degree impact, they began to change their angle of attack, they got more booms, until the fuse problem was fixed.

    I think a closer comparison would be the combative power of a Sherman tank vs the Panther/Tiger tanks (ignore the mechanical problems and reliability of the German tanks). The US was convinced that they had designed a great tank, it’s gun and armor though were weaker than the German tanks they faced. The US on the other hand produced almost 45,000 M4s to the Germans 8,500 Panthers and Tigers.

    Perhaps even better is the US M1 tank corps vs the Soviet/Russian tank corps. The Soviets were counting all their tanks in their numbers, including long obsolete WWII and post WWII designs, whereas the US has a tank that well outclassed the Soviet designs.

  15. robert says:

    Thirdbase an aside on tanks. Whenever a group of tankers and their tanks are sent to Ft. Erwin for training, the cadre at Ft. Erwin always beats them. Even after the trainees have learned their lessons, so to speak, they lose. The best should always train the rest and that is the problem with the SLN. I wonder what passes for Saganami in the League?

  16. Thirdbase says:

    robert

    I seem to remember hearing about the Ft Irwin cadre losing once, way back in the mid to late 80s when I visited it. The fights there are rigged though, so the cadre does win, or at least it was when I was there.

  17. robert says:

    Never went onto the base but passed it when going to Goldstone. Once a tank column was going by when we were out exploring the East Mojave and I was never so jelly-kneed in my life.

  18. Vince says:

    Sample chapters from Mission of Honor are up on the Baen website.

  19. John Roth says:

    @18 Vince

    It’s the same 7 chapters that have been up in the Webscriptions for the e-arc ever since the e-arc has been available. It looks like it’s been proofread, though. One of the major goofs I spotted isn’t there any more.

    I think it’s probably another 7 snippets to get to Chapter 8. That is, of course, a guess.

  20. Daryl says:

    @16 AND @17 Thirdbase & Robert, regarding tanks and attack helicopters, aerospace engineers design weapon systems while armoured vehicle engineers design targets.

  21. Daryl says:

    @16 AND @17 Thirdbase & Robert, regarding tanks and attack helicopters, aerospace engineers design weapon systems while armoured vehicle engineers design targets.

  22. John says:

    @20 (and 21) Indeed, in these times a tank needs air cover (or good anti-air missile coverage) to do their job.
    Just too easy to take out from the air, and little if any in the way of personal anti-air defense.

    Come to think of it, sort of like the SLN will be against the massive missile waves of the RMN. Without adequate anti-missile defense.

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