Mission Of Honor – Snippet 34

Mission Of Honor – Snippet 34

“Leslie and Tony are here not only as representatives of the Cabinet but as representatives of two of our larger political parties,” Pritchart explained. “When I organized my Cabinet originally, it seemed pretty clear we were going to need the support of all parties if we were going to make the Constitution work. Because of that, I deliberately chose secretaries from several different parties, and Leslie is a New Democrat, while Tony’s a Corporate Conservative.” She smiled dryly. “I’m quite certain you’ve been sufficiently well briefed on our political calculus here Paris to understand just how lively meetings can be when these two sit in on them.”

Montreau and Nesbitt both smiled, and Honor smiled back, although she suspected Pritchart was actually understating things.

“As I explained in my memo,” the president continued, “I’ve decided, with your consent, to invite some additional representatives from Congress to participate in these talks, as well.”

“Of course, Madam President.” Honor nodded, despite the fact that she really wished Pritchart hadn’t done anything of the sort. She would have much preferred to keep these talks as small and private, as close to one-on-one with Pritchart, as she could. At the same time, she was pretty sure she understood the president’s logic. And given the fractiousness of Havenite politics — and the fact that selling anything short of victory to Congress and the Havenite people was likely to prove a challenging task — she couldn’t really disagree with Pritchart, either.

It’s an imperfect galaxy Honor, she told herself tartly. Deal with it.

“Allow me to introduce Senator Samson McGwire,” Pritchart said, indicating the man next to Nesbitt.

McGwire was a smallish, wiry man, a good twenty centimeters shorter than Honor. In fact, he was shorter than Pritchart or Leslie Montreau, for that matter. He also had gunmetal-gray hair, a great beak of a nose, blue eyes, bushy eyebrows, and a powerful chin. They were sharp, those eyes, and they glittered with a sort of perpetual challenge. From the way they narrowed as he shook her hand, she wasn’t able to decide whether in her case the challenge was because she was a Manticoran, and therefore the enemy, or simply because she was so much taller than he was. For that matter, it could have been both. According to the best briefing Sir Anthony Langtry’s staff in the Foreign Office had been able to provide, McGwire was not one of the Star Empire’s greater admirers. For that matter, his New Conservative Party was widely regarded as one of the natural homes for Havenite firebrands with personal axes to grind with the Star Empire.

Which is one reason we’re so happy to have Montreau as Secretary of State instead of that jackass Giancola, she thought dryly. I’m sorry anyone had to get killed in a traffic accident, but the truth is that dropping him out of the equation has to be a good thing for everyone concerned. In fact, I have to wonder what a smart cookie like Pritchart was thinking putting a New Conservative into that Cabinet post in the first place!

Not, she admitted, that our ending up with High Ridge as Prime Minister and Descroix as Foreign Secretary was any better. But it least Elizabeth didn’t have much choice about it.

“Senator McGwire’s the chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee,” Pritchart continued. She tilted her head to one side, watching Honor’s expression closely, as if trying to determine how much Honor already knew about the senator. “He’s here in his capacity as chairman, but also as a representative of the New Conservative Party.”

“Senator,” Honor said, reaching out to shake his hand.

“Admiral.” He made no particular effort to inject any warmth into the single word, and his handshake was more than a little perfunctory. Still, if Honor was parsing his emotions correctly, he had no more illusions about the Republic’s disastrous military position than anyone else did.

“And this,” Richards said, turning to a dark-haired, green-eyed woman about thirty T-years younger than Honor, “is Senator Ninon Bourchier. She’s the senior ranking Constitutional Progressive member of Senator McGwire’s committee.”

“Senator Bourchier,” Honor acknowledged, and tried not to smile. Bourchier was quite attractive, although nowhere near as striking as Pritchart herself, and she had a bright, almost girlish smile. A smile, in fact, which went rather poorly with the coolly watchful brain behind those guileless jade eyes. There was more than a touch of the predator to Bourchier, although it wasn’t in any sense as if she had an active taste for cruelty or violence. No. This was simply someone who was perpetually poised to note and respond to any threat — or opportunity — with instant, decisive action. And of someone who thought very directly in terms of clearly recognized priorities and responsibilities. As a matter of fact, her mind glow tasted a lot like that of a treecat, Honor decided, which wasn’t especially surprising, since like Pritchart, Bourchier had been a dedicated member of the Aprilist movement. In fact, ONI had confirmed that she’d been personally responsible for at least seven assassinations, and she’d also been one of the civilian cell leaders who’d not only somehow survived Oscar Saint-Just’s best efforts to root out dissidents but also rallied in support of Theisman’s coup in the critical hours immediately after the SS commander’s date with mortality. And these days she was an influential member of Pritchart’s own Constitutional Progressive Party, as well.

“I’ve been looking forward to meeting you Admiral,” Bourchier said, gripping Honor’s hand firmly, and Honor’s urge to smile threatened to break free for just a moment. Bourchier’s greeting sounded almost gushy, but behind its surface froth, that needle-clawed treecat was watching, measuring, evaluating Honor with that predator’s poise.

“Really?” Honor said. “I hope our efforts won’t be disappointing.”

“So do I,” Bourchier said.

“As do we all,” Pritchart cut in smoothly, and gestured to a moderately tall — he was only five or six centimeters shorter than Honor — fair-haired, brown-eyed man who was clearly the youngest person present. He was also the most elegantly tailored, and she felt Nimitz resisting the urge to sneeze as he smelled the fair-haired man’s expensive cologne.

“The Honorable Gerald Younger, Admiral Alexander-Harrington,” Pritchart said, and Honor nodded to him. “Mr. Younger is a member of our House of Representatives,” Pritchart continued. “Like Senator McGwire, he’s also a New Conservative, and while he’s not its chairman, he sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”

“Admiral Alexander-Harrington,” Younger said with a white-toothed smile.

“Representative Younger,” she replied, and carefully did not wipe the palm of her hand on her trousers when Younger released it. Despite his sleek grooming, he radiated a sort of arrogant ambition and predatory narcissism that made even McGwire seem positively philanthropic.

“And this, Admiral Alexander-Harrington,” Pritchart said, turning to the final Havenite representative present, “is Chief Justice Jeffrey Tullingham. He’s here more in an advisory role than anything else, but I felt it would probably be a good idea to have him available if any legal issues or precedents should happen to raise their heads during our talks.”

“That strikes me as an excellent idea, Madam President,” Honor said, at least partly truthfully, extending her hand to Tullingham. “It’s an honor to meet you, Chief Justice.”

“Thank you, Admiral.”

He smiled at her, and she smiled back, fully aware — though it was possible he wasn’t — that both those smiles were equally false. He wasn’t at all pleased to see her here. Which was fair enough, perhaps, or at least reciprocal, since even though Honor agreed with Pritchart that having a legal expert’s perspective on the talks was probably a good idea, she wished this particular “legal expert” were far, far away from them. Technically, as the senior member of the Havenite Supreme Court, Tullingham was supposed to be above partisan issues. In fact, although Manticoran intelligence still knew little about his history prior to his appointment to the Court, his mind glow strongly suggested that he was even more closely aligned with McGwire’s and Younger’s New Conservatives than the analysts had suspected. And despite a carefully cultivated air of nonpartisan detachment, the taste of his personal ambition — and basic untrustworthiness — came through her empathic sensitivity even more clearly than Younger’s had.

And isn’t he just a lovely choice to head the court that has the power of judicial review over every law their Congress passes? She managed not to shake her head, but it wasn’t easy. From Pritchart’s emotions when she introduced him, she obviously has a pretty fair idea what’s going on inside him. So how many dead bodies did he have to threaten to exhume — or personally plant — to get named to the Supreme Court in the first place?

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28 Responses to Mission Of Honor – Snippet 34

  1. Thirdbase says:

    Where’s Neville Chamberlain when you need him.

    OK we have:

    President Pritchart Constitutional Progressive
    Secretary of State Montreau New Democrat
    Secretary of War Theisman “Apolitical”
    Secretary of Commerce Nesbitt Corporate Conservative
    Senator Samson McGwire New Conservative Chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee
    Senator Ninon Bourchier Constitutional Progressive Senate Foreign Affairs Committee
    Representative Gerald Younger New Conservative House Foreign Affairs Committee
    Chief Justice Jeffrey Tullingham “New Conservative”

    That is way too may people to get anything decided quickly. But given DW’s predilection of having events happening simultaneously, or near simultaneously, I imagine that OB is going be taking place during the talks and they will get word of it during the talks.

    Now, I wonder who is on Honor’s negotiating team, and what sort of influence they will have.

  2. Lord Blackmane says:

    I myself imagine that the point of repatriating or keeping those hundreds of captured SD’s is going to be rendered moot in mid-negotiation. Until we reach that point in a chapter or two though, this would be the perfect time to introduce all the members of her team, drawn up not from different parties but different nations. Thus avoiding the possibility of High Ridge high-handedness that we’d been speculating about.

  3. robert says:

    It is interesting that DW has a Supreme Court with Judicial Review for Haven. The USA has Judicial Review, but there is no place in the Constitution where that power is granted. It has come about as the result of some very strong-minded jurists on the Court in the early days of our nation. So it is unwritten law come down as tradition. One would not expect it to have survived two millennia given all the cons and pros it has engendered.

    This is certainly an interesting group of politicians, and we know how Honor feels about politicians. I expect that we will see something like Honor saying to them, very diplomatically, “Oh, look, there is Eighth Fleet out there. See?”

  4. Thirdbase says:

    This is certainly an interesting group of politicians, and we know how Honor feels about politicians. I expect that we will see something like Honor saying to them, very diplomatically, “Oh, look, there is Eighth Fleet out there. See?”

    At which point Theisman will snort and try to cover the snort up.

    Honor’s negotiating team, probably consists, of her, Nimitz, an Andermani and Grayson admiral, someone from the Foreign Office, and some one from the Crown Courts. The last two are just to make sure the t’s are dotted and the i’s crossed. Oh and the rest of 8th Fleet. Or just her, Nimitz and the last two, and 8th Fleet.

    Those SD’s will probably be part of the reparations, while Anderman, Grayson, and Manticore will not want them, all those little one system states may want a few.

  5. Robert H. Woodman says:

    I’m wondering what Honor’s going to do during negotiations when she and Nimitz realize that some member of the Haven party is either lying through their teeth or deliberately concealing critical information. That could prove quite, um, interesting.

  6. jj says:


    Judicial review… reminds me of the situation in Costa Rica, where the Supreme Court deposed the president…

  7. JMN says:

    @3 Judicial review is found in the Constitution. It is not spelled in detail, but it is there. The Constitution refers to itself as the supreme law of the land. The various courts decide when there it comes into conflict with enacted laws, hence judicial review.


  8. Terranovan says:

    Shouldn’t “our political calculus here Paris” be “our political calculus here in Noveau Paris”?

  9. Cyane says:

    @ 2, 4

    Once Zilwicki and Cachet return and reveal all the dirt on Mesa, I wouldn’t be surprised if Manticore does some major upgrades on the captured SDs and gives them back to Haven with an understanding that they are to be used against the Alignment.

  10. lmwatbullrun says:

    I see in DW’s description of the history and evolution of Haven’s government many of the things that have happened to the United States. Review of Constitutionality is not a power specifically enumerated by the US Constitution, or constrained to the Judiciary branch alone, but there is some support for the notion that the Judiciary Branch is by nature entitled to rule on whether legislation falls within the strictures of Constitutional authority. This does not mean that the Judiciary is the sole arbiter of Constitutional authority.

    Jefferson, while President, stated that all three branches of the Federal authority had the right and the duty to repudiate un-Constitutional excesses, and I believe that several of his successors, Madison and Jackson among them, made similar declarations.

    It will be interesting to see how far DW intends to parallel the USA. It could be effectively argued that just as the dominant legal concepts of the Roman Republic served as a partial foundation for the United States, some 2000 years later, so the legal structure of the United States might serve as a template for future social entities

  11. robert says:

    @6 JMN.
    Article I Section 1 is pretty clear about who “makes” the law, but Article III would require a rather fine interpretation to come up with Judicial Review, which, by the way, I truly believe is a necessary judicial power. Hooray for John Marshall.

    From Chapter 2:
    Honor, speaking to Elizabeth prior to departure:
    “Actually, I could probably be ready to leave even sooner than that, especially since I’m taking Kew, Selleck, and Tuominen with me.”
    Is this her negotiating team? If so, who are they?

  12. hank says:

    @7 Robert. Could be her briefers.

  13. @2

    I thought the captured SD’s were going to BE Homefleet what with the horrendous losses it took in the Battle of Manticore. Why else did Honor insist their computers not be wiped before surrendering?

  14. Terranovan says:

    Shouldn’t “our political calculus here Paris” be “our political calculus here in Nouveau Paris”?

  15. Mark L says:

    @9 “Why else did Honor insist their computers not be wiped before surrendering?”

    She was hoping to find the location of Bolthole.

  16. no_one says:

    It’s not been THAT long ago, I think, that those prizes were taken, so they wouldn’t have been scrapped just yet. But the problem for the Havenites is not hulls, it’s experienced crews. They still have several hundred brand new SD(P)s working up. Thier loss was that the crews of the ones lost were their best crews and command staffs. Once peace is made those crews should be repatriated and sent to the ships now commissioning as cadre. the rest would start to man new ships still coming out of the yards. And I believe the number of prize SD(P)s was somewhere around 86, not ‘hundreds’. We never did get a number for how many of Admiral Chin’s ships managed to translate out before that force was destroyed. The RMN would never want to try to commission those ships, as they require too large crews (and they’ve just taken a major licking with regard to personnel. Selling them back to the Havenites is an interesting question, but isn’t Haven already going to be making major reparations payments? I would imagine they’d prefer to finish and commission new hulls already under construction (and paid for) before trying to move dozens of hulks across interstellar distances before repairing them.

  17. Thirdbase says:

    “Upgrading” the Havenite SD’s would take more work than building new ones from scratch.

    Manticore already has a new Home Fleet, if they didn’t 8th Fleet would still be Home Fleet. Plus they have new ships working up at Trevor’s Star.

  18. robert says:

    I don’t know why the subject of somehow using the captured Havenite ships keeps coming up. DW has already stated, quite firmly, that they will go to the breakers. Period! End of discussion! In fact they probably already have been scrapped.

  19. Terranovan says:

    Oh no. Sorry for my double posting.

  20. John Roth says:

    @18 robert

    Probably for the same reason that people keep coming up with uses for the grav lance, even though David has stated that he regrets inventing it, and that it will absolutely, positively, not under any circumstances reappear. Not everyone has read all the background material or participated in the discussions.

  21. justdave says:

    interesting suggestion of giving captured SDs to smaller allies, ala GSN’s ‘Manticore’s Gift’ class

    even without upgrades these SDs would make the SLN toast

  22. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Justdave, the problem of “giving captured SDs to smaller allies” is that the smaller allies *or/and* Manticore could not supply spare parts, replacement missiles etc for the captured SDs.

    At the time, Manticore gave the captured SDs to Grayson, the differences between Manticore SDs and Haven SDs were that great. Manticore could supply the spare parts etc.

    Just after the Battle of Manticore, Manticore would have to set up a special manufacturing line just to provide the spare parts etc.

    By the way, those captured Haven SDs are not currently in Grayson service.

  23. robert says:

    @19 The errors are the result of using the eARC for the snippets, as has already been stated. This is a pre-final copyedit version of the book so errors are likely to pop up.

  24. Michael says:

    hmmm …. i can only say that no Navy worth mentioning has SDs in service. The SLN beeing the sole exception. Quantity has a qualitiy of its own. (10.000 SDs can match the salvo density of about 200 SD(P)s. We don’t even need to talk about the defenses, even tho only the actives ones would be of real use.)
    Ereybody else uses SD(P)s ….. Haven, Manticore, Andermani, Grayson, Erewhonese and even all those small one System states that belong, or belonged, to the Manticoren Alliance.

    As we all know, the first thing the Graysons did with those SDs was a serious upgrade. And least back then David Weber made it sound like a refitt and upgrade of captured Haven SDs is way faster then bilding a new one.
    Refitting Andermani SD(P)s with Apollo was also faster then biling new ones.
    One can argue that back then Grayson didn’t have SDs in queue so no yard slip was taken from biling new one. And Manticore did send a large number of Enginiers ….
    But WHY is now, all of a suden, scraping captured SD(P)s the choice when years earlier it was not?

  25. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Michael, I’m going to post (as a separate post) David Weber’s comments on this issue.

  26. John Roth says:

    @24 Michael.

    It might be a good idea to mention that there’s a compendium of David Weber’s infodumps that’s legitimate background information for this (and other) discussions. As far as I’m aware, there is one spoiler in it, guarded by a spoiler warning.


    This will answer a huge number of questions, and is, as I’ve just said, legitimate for this and other discussions.

  27. justdave says:

    Drak, one last comment on the captured SDs and I’ll shut up as I’m sure MWW had this all worked out long before the 2005 infodump

    with Haven about to agree to peace w/SEM they now can go to the source to get them up to pasting Sollies

  28. robert says:

    Thanks Drak.
    And now it appears they won’t need those ships anyway. If these negotiations go well and with the return of Cachet et al the entire Haven navy will be allied with them.

    More on refits by DW can be found here:

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