Mission Of Honor – Snippet 19

Mission Of Honor – Snippet 19

“That would be . . . discomfiting for everyone concerned, wouldn’t it?” Anisimovna observed with an almost blissful smile.

“It most certainly would. Of course, so far, it doesn’t look like we’re going to need to do very much more to fan that particular flame. At the moment, Kolokoltsov and his colleagues don’t seem to have missed very many things they could have done wrong.” Albrecht’s smile was evil. “And our good friend Rajampet is performing exactly as expected.”

“And Crandall?” Anisimovna asked.

“We can’t be positive yet,” Benjamin replied. “We couldn’t give Ottweiler a streak drive, so it’s going to be a while before we hear anything from him. I don’t think there’s much need to worry about her response, though. Even without our prompting, her own natural inclination would be to attack as soon and hard as possible. And” — his smile was remarkably like his father’s — “we happen to know her appreciation of the Manties’ technology is every bit as good as Byng’s was.”

“Good.” Anisimovna made no effort to hide her own satisfaction. Then she frowned. “The only other thing that still worries me is the fact that there was no way for me to hide my fingerprints. If New Tuscany’s looking for some way to appease Manticore, they’re damned well going to’ve told Gold Peak about our involvement. Or as much about it as they know, at any rate.”

“Unfortunately, you’re exactly right,” Albrecht agreed. “They did roll over on us, and the Manties have broadcast that fact to the galaxy at large. On the other hand” — he shrugged — “it was a given from the outset that they were going to find out in the end. No one could have done a better job of burying his tracks than you did, so don’t worry about it. Besides,” he grinned nastily, “our people on Old Terra were primed and waiting to heap scorn on the ‘fantastic allegations’ and ‘wild accusations’ coming out of Manticore. Obviously the Manties are trying to come up with some story — any story! — to justify their unprovoked attack on Admiral Byng.”

“And people are really going to buy that?” Anisimovna couldn’t help sounding a bit dubious, and Detweiler gave a crack of laughter.

“You’d be astonished how many Sollies will buy into that, at least long enough to meet our needs. They’re accustomed to accepting nonsense about what goes on in the Verge — OFS has been feeding it to them forever, and their newsies are used to swinging the spoon! Their media’s been so thoroughly co-opted that at least half their reporters automatically follow the party line. It’s almost like some kind of involuntary reflex. And even if John Q. Solly doesn’t swallow it this time for some reason, it probably won’t matter as long as we just generate enough background noise to give the people making the important decisions the cover and official justification they need.” He shook his head again. “Like I say, don’t worry about it. I’m completely satisfied with your performance out there.”

Anisimovna smiled back at him and nodded in mingled relief and genuine pleasure. The assignment she’d been handed was one of the most complicated ones she’d ever confronted. It hadn’t come off perfectly, but it hadn’t had to come off perfectly, and from everything they’d said, it sounded as if the operation had accomplished its goals.

“And because I am satisfied,” Albrecht told her, “I’m probably going to be handing you some additional hot potatoes.” She looked at him, and he snorted. “That’s your reward for pulling this one off. Now that we know you can handle the hard ones, we’re not going to waste you on easy ones. And, frankly, the fact that we’ve lost Isabel is going to have us looking harder than ever for capable high level troubleshooters.”

“I see.” She put as much confidence and enthusiasm into her voice as she could, but Albrecht’s eyes twinkled at her.

“Actually,” he told her, “now that you’ve reached the center of the ‘onion,’ you’ll find that, in a lot of ways, my bark is worse than my bite.” He shook his head, the twinkle in his eyes fading. “Don’t misunderstand. There are still penalties for people who just plain fuck up. But, at the same time, we know the sorts of things we’re assigning people to do. And we also know that sometimes Murphy turns up, no matter how carefully you plan, or how well you execute. So we’re not going to automatically punish anyone for failure unless it’s abundantly obvious they’re the reason for the failure. And, judging from the way you’ve handled this assignment, I don’t think that’s likely to be happening in your case.”

“I hope not,” she replied. “And I’ll try to make sure it doesn’t.”

“I’m sure you will.” He smiled at her again, then leaned forward in his chair, crossing his forearms on the edge of the desk in front of him.

“Now, then,” he continued more briskly. “It’s going to be another couple of T-weeks before anyone can ‘officially’ get here from New Tuscany. That means the Manties are going to have that much more time to get their version of events out in front of the Sollies. Worse than that, from the Sollies’ perspective, it’s going to be leaking into the League’s media through the wormhole network faster than the government’s version of events can spread out from Old Terra. From our perspective, that’s a good thing . . . probably. It would take an old-fashioned miracle for those numbskulls in Old Chicago to do the smart thing and offer to negotiate with the Manties, so I think we can probably count on them to take the ball and run with it where . . . creative reinterpretation, shall we say? . . . of events in New Tuscany is concerned. Despite that, it’s entirely possible that there’s at least one — possibly even two — honest newsies on Old Terra. That could have unfortunate repercussions for the way we want to see this handled. Fortunately, we have people strategically placed throughout the League’s media, and especially on Old Terra.

“What I want you to do now, Aldona, is to sit down with Collin and Franklin. They’ll bring along some of our own news people, and the three of you will work with them to come up with the most effective way to spin what happened in New Tuscany to suit our needs. Given our allegations about Green Pines, a good sized chunk of the Solly media is going to be salivating for anything that puts Manticore in a bad light, which should help a lot, and now that you’ve brought us all that raw sensor data from both incidents — not to mention those nice authentication codes — we can get started on a little creative reinterpretation of our own for the Sollies. I’ve got a few ideas on how best to go about that myself, but you’ve demonstrated a genuine talent for this sort of thing, so sit down and see what you can come up with on your own, first. Thanks to the streak drive, we’ve got two weeks to massage the story here on Mesa any way we have to before it could possibly get to us by any normal dispatch boat. I want to use that time as effectively as possible.”

“I understand.”

“Good. And, in the meantime, although you really don’t have the need to know this, there’s going to be another little news story in about two more T-months.”

“There is?” Anisimovna glanced around, puzzled by the sudden, predatory smiles of all three Detweilers.

“Oh, there certainly is!” Albrecht told her, then waved at Benjamin. “Tell her,” he said.

“Well, Aldona,” Benjamin said, “in about another two months, a little operation we’ve been working on for some time, one called Oyster Bay, is going to come to fruition. And when it does –”

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14 Responses to Mission Of Honor – Snippet 19

  1. Thirdbase says:

    Does March really qualify as a late Christmas Present?

    I wonder how long Honor will take on her Mission? She left right after Christmas. That gives her 9 to 13 weeks before Oyster Bay hits Manticore.

  2. Anthony says:

    “Their media’s been so thoroughly co-opted that at least half their reporters automatically follow the party line.” If only half the reporters today followed the party line.

    Don’t think Honor is going to be there for Oyster Bay. She probably took her fleet to Haven to demand peace form Prichart, or else. After all Manticore has much bigger problems than Haven now.

  3. robert says:

    It is Chapter 4 and still December 1921 PD, so “…in about another two months…” it will be February. In January Honor is, according to the ToC and Sample Chapters, at Haven. And that is all that we can know, so far.

  4. Mike says:

    OK, so “Oyster Bay” is seeming more and more like a direct allusion to “Pearl Harbor”. Running with that, I assume that the sneak attack will do a lot of damage and set the Manties back quite a bit, but that some key elements of their attack force will be spared because they happen to be somewhere else when the attack goes down.

    In other words, like Pearl Harbor, the attack will be big enough and bad enough to really enrage the Manties, but not big enough and bad enough to win the war for Mesa.

  5. John Roth says:

    @4 Mike

    That’s exactly what Oyster Bay is supposed to be — it’s David’s pun on Pearl Harbor. However, from what we’ve seen so far, there is one real big difference: they’re aiming at infrastructure, not ships. The Japanese hit the ships in the harbor, and pretty much ignored the infrastructure. There’s a school of thought that if they’d hit the infrastructure they’d have denied the US a forward base for a lot longer. I’m not enough of a military buff to have an opinion in that matter.

  6. Randy says:

    I think Oyster Bay may show what would have happened at Pearl Harbor had the defenses been fully manned and prepared for an attack. Most people did not consider an attack on Pearl Harbor to be a real threat. The Manties are no longer under any illusion that about the reality on an attack on Manticore. Given the reference to new system defense pods in Chapter 7 of the sample chapters, the Mesans may be in for the surprise of a lifetime, or not.

  7. Bewildered says:

    Pearl Harbour saw the supremacy of the Battleships wane and the rise of the carrier. Any likelihood of something comparable? Fighters with miniaturised overpowered missile control systems so they can assume Apollo control at extreme range? Thus while the SDP’s/Freighters/Missile Ships launch waves of missiles from the other side of the system the stealthed fighter wings can fly them home. A long shot I know but I like fighters even if they don’t fit in with the original Napoleonic theme or DW’s old comments. The Shrikes etc were more MGB/MTB than starfighters so a true X-Wing/Raptor/Spitfire equivalent would be interesting.

  8. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Bewildered, based on my reading of the EARC, I don’t see a major change in Honorverse fleet make-up similar to the rise of the Aircraft Carrier after Pearl Harbor.

    Please remember that the LACs are not the Honorverse version of aircraft. Aircraft could survive to get into attack range of Battleships but LACs are very unlikely to get attack range of SDs.

    As for the Spiderdrive Warships, we would get into “Snerk Territory” if we discuss the further information that hasn’t been posted as snippets.

  9. John Roth says:

    @6 Bewildered

    That’s what the CLAC is supposed to be: it’s Manticore’s equivalent of a carrier. I haven’t seen any notion of being able to put a worthwhile missile control on a LAC, though. The closest I’ve seen to that concept is in ToF, where Maya Sector has a light cruiser class (or maybe a destroyer class) with extra fire control that can take over missile pods dumped from a freighter.

    In any case, the system defense version of Apollo is supposed to make that concept unnecessary. At least if it’s installed, which may be a while for all of the Talbot sector and Silesia systems the SEM now has to defend. The Grav Pulse coms run at 64 times the speed of light, and the system defense missiles have their own control missile with its own single-use fire control AI.

    David’s emphasized that it’s the fire control officers and senior ratings that make ship-board fire control as good as it is. Putting a seasoned fire control officer on each LAC might stretch resources to the limit, and without a seasoned fire control officer, the AI in the system defense version of the Apollo is likely to do the job as well, or better.

    However, we shall see.

  10. John Roth says:

    @6 Bewildered.

    Something I wanted to check before I said it. Right at the end of Chapter 3, there’s a short segment that has the Mesan Alignment task force planting guidance platforms for the Oyster Bay missiles. So that’s another use of the concept.

  11. Thirdbase says:

    @ @5 John Roth,

    The only mentioning of infrastructure that I specifically remember was an interview with an American Admiral, whom after WWII had asked surviving Japanese officers why they hadn’t attacked the US fuel depots at Pearl and other places on Hawaii. The response was, that the Japanese had assumed that the US had so much fuel that the loss of what was there wouldn’t have bothered the US operations. They didn’t realize or forgot that the distance from Hawaii to California meant that getting fuel back to Hawaii would have been difficult and there wouldn’t have been anyplace to store it until the storage tanks were rebuilt.

    @ #7 Bewildered,

    The problem with a fighter, or fighter/bomber is power. A LAC is powered by a full up fission plant, missiles are powered by fusion plants, these can be, I believe, turned on once and turned off once, but that is it. I suppose that you could build a “fighter,” but it wouldn’t be very effective. It wouldn’t be able to carry an effective “gun” or missile load. You would probably be better just adding a drive to missile pod and using that to boost the range of your missiles.

  12. John Roth says:

    @11 Thirdbase

    This isn’t as unreasonable as it seems. Granted, replacing the fuel and fuel tanks would have taken several months, but building a battleship or carrier takes a lot longer, and requires shipyards that take even longer to build from a standing start. So it makes sense from an either-or decision. If the Japanese had been able to launch enough fighter/bombers to take out both, that would have been a better tactic, but I don’t think they had that many.

    My understanding was that there were other facilities that had grown over time, and would take a long time to replace. As I said, I’m not a military buff, and I was just reporting things that had been discussed elsewhere.

    On your comment to Bewildered. I don’t recall that a LAC’s fission plant is turned on once and then not turned off until it’s decommissioned (or destroyed!) That doesn’t make sense.

  13. robert says:

    And I thought Oyster Bay was this place:

    The attack on Pearl Harbor was a failure because the carriers were all at sea on exercises, and the failure to hit the Navy’s fuel tank farm was very important because it enabled the carriers to “go to war” immediately without having to wait until fuel was available again. During that early period of the war the carriers were very effective. What the results of OB will be we shall know in 90 days or so.

  14. Thirdbase says:

    John Roth,

    I was talking about the fusion plant on the missiles. I believe that they are on a run until out of fuel or a shut off, but cannot be restarted.

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