Mission Of Honor – Snippet 59

Mission Of Honor – Snippet 59

“From what I’ve seen of the tech readouts from their battlecruisers’ databases,” Caparelli replied for the earl after a moment, “and assuming the count on Crandall’s SDs is accurate and Admiral Gold Peak fights as smart as she’s always fought before, I’d say her chances range from about even to fairly good. There’s no way she could survive in energy range of that many superdreadnoughts — I don’t care what class they are — but I very seriously doubt that any Solarian superdreadnought’s going to survive to close to energy range. Their missile armaments are light, even by our pre-pod standards, and from our examination of the battlecruisers’ counter-missiles and those ‘Halo’ decoy platforms of theirs, they still don’t have a clue what the new missile threat environment really is. For that matter, assuming the stats we’ve pulled out of the computers are really accurate — which, to be honest, in some instances I find a little difficult to believe — at least two thirds of their reserve fleet’s still equipped with autocannon point defense, not lasers.”

“You’re joking,” Langtry said, his expression eloquent of disbelief.

“No, I’m not.” Caparelli shook his head for added emphasis. “As I say, it’s hard to believe, but that’s what the data says. In fact, it looks to Pat’s analysts as if they’ve only just recently really started to become aware of the increased missile threat. From the reports we’ve had from Second Congo, at least someone in the League’s been experimenting with extended-range shipkillers, but whatever Mesa may’ve told Luft and his lunatics, there’s no evidence the one doing the experimenting is the SLN. They’re upgrading their current-generation anti-ship missiles, but only marginally, and according to our captured data from Byng, the improvements are to seekers and EW capabilities, not range.

“Defensively, there’s some information in the data about something called ‘Aegis,’ which is supposed to be a major advance in missile defense. As nearly as we can tell, though, what it really amounts to is ripping out a couple of broadside energy mounts, replacing them with additional counter missile fire control and telemetry links, and then using main missile tubes to launch additional canisters of counter-missiles. It’s going to thicken their counter-missile fire, but only at the expense of taking several shipkiller missiles out of an already light broadside. And to make things worse from their perspective, their counter-missiles themselves aren’t as good as ours; the fire control software we’ve been looking at was several generations out of date, by our standards, at the start of the last war with Haven; and even on the ships where they’ve converted the autocannon to laser clusters, they don’t appear to have increased the number of point defense stations appreciably.”

He shook his head again, his eyes bleak with satisfaction.

“I don’t doubt that they’ve increased their anti-missile capability from what it used to be, Tony,” he said. “And it’s going to take more missiles to kill their ships than it would have before they did it. But the end result’s going to be the same, and if Admiral Gold Peak doesn’t have Apollo, she’s got at least four missile colliers stuffed full of Mark 23 flatpacks, her shipboard magazines are full of Mark 16s, mostly with the new laserheads, and every one of her Nikes has Keyhole One. Trust me. If this Solly admiral’s stupid enough to ram her head into Spindle, Admiral Gold Peak will give her the mother of all migraines. She may not be able to keep Crandall from taking control of the planet’s orbitals if she’s willing to suck up the losses involved, but she’ll be damned lucky if she has ten percent of her ships left when Tenth Fleet runs out of ammo.”

“Which will only make this mess even messier from a diplomatic standpoint,” Langtry pointed out. “Especially with this new story O’Hanrahan broke.”

“Oh, thank you, Tony!” Grantville snorted. “I could have gone all week without thinking about that one!”

“It was a master stroke, wasn’t it?” Elizabeth said sourly. “If there’s one newsy in the entire Solarian League no one could ever accuse of being in Manpower’s pocket, it’s Audrey O’Hanrahan. In fact, the way she was beating up on Frontier Security, Manpower, and Technodyne over Monica only gives this new ‘scoop’ of hers even more impact.”

“I still don’t understand how they did it.” White Haven shook his head. “It’s obvious from her past accomplishments that she’s got contacts that should have spotted any forged data, no matter how well it was done. So how did they manage to fool her this time around?”

“Well, Pat’s own analysts have all confirmed that the data she’s using in her reports carries what appear to be genuine New Tuscan Navy security and ID codes,” Caparelli said. “It may’ve been doctored — in fact, we know what parts of it were, and we’re trying to figure out how to demonstrate that fact — but it certainly looks like the official record of what happened. And to be fair to O’Hanrahan, she’s never claimed that she’s been able to confirm the accuracy of the data on the chips — only that all of her ‘informed sources’ agree it came directly from the New Tuscans and that it’s been certified by the New Tuscan Navy . . . unlike the data we’ve supplied.”

“Which only makes it worse, in a lot of ways,” Langtry observed. “She’s not the one beating the drums, just the one who handed them the drumsticks. In fact, in the last ‘faxes I’ve seen from Old Terra, she’s actually protesting — pretty vehemently — that other newsies and talking heads are reading a lot more into her story than she ever meant for them to.”

“So she’s got good intentions. Great!” White Haven said dourly. “If I recall correctly, Pandora wasn’t all that successful at stuffing things back into the box, either.”

“Fair enough,” Langtry agreed. “On the other hand, I detect Malachai Abruzzi’s hand in all this, as well.”

“But there’s no way this is going to stand up in the end,” Elizabeth protested. “Too many people in New Tuscany know what really happened. Not to mention the fact that we’ve already got the New Tuscan Navy’s sensor records for the period involved, complete with all the same security and ID codes — and time chops — and the real records don’t begin to match the ones someone handed her.”

“With all due respect, your Majesty,” Langtry said, “we have exactly the same kind of evidence and substantiation where our prewar diplomatic correspondence with Haven is concerned. In fact, I have to wonder if our little disagreement with the Peeps isn’t what suggested this particular ploy to Manpower. Or to Mesa, for that matter.” The foreign secretary grimaced. “It’s almost like some kind of’ perfect storm,’ isn’t it? First Mesa drops Green Pines on us, and then O’Hanrahan, of all people, gives us the follow-up punch with this cock-and-bull story from New Tuscany.”

“I think it was deliberately orchestrated,” White Haven said grimly. “Both stories came out of — or at least through Mesa — after all. I’ll lay you any odds you like that the whole business about dispatches from New Tuscany’s a complete fabrication. Somebody in Mesa planned this very carefully, and I’ll also bet you they deliberately set O’Hanrahan up to front for them exactly because she’s always been so careful to be as accurate as possible. And the fact that she was one of the few Solly newsies questioning their version of Green Pines and demanding hard evidence to back up their claims only makes her even more damaging on this story, since no one in the galaxy could possibly accuse her of carrying water for Mesa in the past.” The earl shook his head. “Playing her this way was probably a little risky from their perspective, but look at how it’s paid off for them.

“And even if the truth is staring them right in the eye, people like Abruzzi and Quartermain and Kolokoltsov are capable of projecting perfect candor while they look the other way,” Grantville added. “They’ll swear the version that suits their purposes is the truth, despite any evidence to the contrary, and figure that when the smoke clears and it turns out they were wrong, they’ll get away with it by saying ‘oops’. After all, it was an honest mistake, wasn’t it?”

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23 Responses to Mission Of Honor – Snippet 59

  1. Scott says:

    I can feel an arse kicking coming on!

  2. Richard Young says:

    My copy came from Amazon on Friday. I am almost finished with it. I won’t give away the plot but it seems to end in the middle of the story which will obviously be finished in a following book.

  3. frederic says:

    well, even if the Netherlands, I got my copy on Sunday. So I suppose snippets will stop soon.

    No snerking, but yes, the stages seems sets for the next book. Nothing that we haven’t already seen previously in the serie, of course ( eg In ennemy hands )

  4. Mark L says:

    Without giving anything away, I would say the book has the best last page ever.

  5. Grant says:

    I *hate* the last page. It’s going to be torture waiting for the next book now.

  6. robert says:

    Hello. I enjoyed the book and am about to reread it.

    The next book will be a sequel to Storm From the Shadows (aka SoS 3) and will likely be out in the late Spring of 2011 as the draft is already 1/3 complete and DW knows exactly where he wants it to go. This is all according to Duckk, who was blogging on Weber’s web site from Origins.

    Actually, as I have said, I found Chapter 7 to be the best one DW has ever written.

    I think that the last snippet will be the next one. But remember that some people will be waiting for the paperback, so no snerking.

  7. Maggie says:

    My copy just arrived. TTFN!

  8. Jeremy DuCharme says:

    On Sollie (lack of) point defense. One wonders if the SDs with autocannon PD stations are simply older reserve ships that haven’t yet received planned ‘activation’ upgrades to laser clusters, AEGIS, and Halo, or if they figure ‘armor still beats missile’ in Waller combat and thus putting in better anti-missile gear takes away from necessary equipment, like big honking energy broadsides and the Admiral’s solid gold head. ::) OTOH even if it is planned, like the heavier deck armor of the Hood, or the Scharhorst and Gneisenau planned main gun conversion from triple 11″ to twin 15″ turrets, such refits could be left undone by the precived need to get more ships out there, and you can’t spare the time in the shipyard to get it done (either you need the yard for other work, or just can’t have a capital ship laid up for the time required to do the work).

  9. ronzo says:

    Autocannons verses C-Fractional missles? in space? I wonder how effective that would be even when it was top of the line? The sollies really don’t have a clue what they are about to step in, nor will they actually have a full appreciation for what the RMN’s actual wall of battle will be capable of after this fight either. They will end up throwing a great deal of those obsolete reserve fleet wallers at the home system with desasterous consequnces. I am also interested in what has happen in terms of development in screening element’s sure we have seen some top of the line destroyers get flattened but how as the new missle combat changed their development. Have defensive needs off set some offensive power in order for them to have a chance in hell of surviving a pod launched MDM Storm?

  10. Jeremy DuCharme says:

    According to various info dumps lasers heads were only considered practical once someone worked out a grav generator trick to effectively make them shaped charges. That was only a century ago, before that it was proximity nukes only, and if you can get a wall of lead between you and the missile’s vector they might have been effective then. Heck pre-pod missile duels, even between Haven and Manticore were not considered the primary ship killer against roughly equal sized forces, but rather a way to lame the slightly inferior fleet to force it to accept an energy range engagement (and to soften the targets up before such a fight) rather than just rolling wedges and accelerating for the hyperlimit.

    And I don’t think the reserves will be in on any initial attempt to hit Manticore, particularly if they try to crash through the wormhole. They’d use ships already worked up, it is the emergency afterward if the Sollies jam two or three dozen of the Wall through on a mass transit and get them trashed. Then would probably come the panicked reactivation.

  11. no_one says:

    Where will the trained crew come from for the re-activation? The officers and NCOs, not just the spacers, will all have to be inducted and trained before they can go aboard their ships. Given that, I’d say there’s plenty of time to run the ships through the yards and update them before re-commissioning. The problem will be deciding what new systems to put in. There will need to be at least 50 million crew to man the whole reserve.

  12. tootall says:

    #11 -During WW2, the allies had lots of extra machines, so when we lost tanks or planes, if the crew survived, we had replacement machines. Seems that recrewing after a space battle would be-“tougher”. And in this case the Sollie experienced crews will be lost even when they survive.

  13. robert says:

    Remember that the entire reserve is composed of SDs. The screening is supposed to come from the Frontier Fleet according to doctrine. If that is so, then who will be putting out the fires that are bound to break out in the areas in which FF has jurisdiction or whatever it is called?

    Also remember that the SL still has no idea about the full capabilities of the Manticoran (& their allies’, new and old) missiles, no matter what will happen at Spindle. Whatever does happen, they will still never have even seen what a modern SD(P) is capable of. Finally, does anybody think that there is even one tactician in the entire SLN on a par with Honor or Shannon Foraker (heh)? Of course we have only seen the really dumb SLN Admirals because that is how Mesa set things up.

  14. John Roth says:

    @2 Richard Young.

    David has said there will be several more books in the series. I’ve forgotten exactly how many, but it’s more than one.

    @3 fredrick.

    I believe Drak said he’d to to the end of June, so Wednesday’s snippet should be the last one.

    @4. Mark L.

    I thoroughly agree, it’s an excellent ending.


    Please remember that the SL has been riding on its reputation for a long, long time, and Mesa has been making sure that the people in charge are gross incompetents. What I’m wondering is how many of those reserve SDs even exist.

    @13. Robert

    Shannon isn’t a tactician. She’s Haven’s equivalent of Admiral Hemphill. You may be thinking of Lester Tourville.

  15. Jeremy DuCharme says:

    I’m sure the SLN has competent, even good and great tacticians. Somewhere if by dint of shear size and probability. The problem can be illustrated by the American Civil War. The giants did not start out at the top. Lee was a Colonel in the Army of Northern Virginia. Grant wasn’t even in the Army anymore. The head of the Union Army? George B. McClellan, a wonderful organizer and logistical man, and a complete disaster as a field general. The problem is the SLN has been at peace so long the empire builders, organizers, and logistical wizards rose to the top, and have fooled themselves into thinking that is all they need to prosper.

    I’m sure the SLN is hiding someone of Tourville’s, Mike Henke, or even Honor’s level, its just that without the need for such brilliance they haven’t rose to positions they can effect the SLN’s policy. OTOH the SKM might be about to set a fire to clear out the deadwood above them.

  16. robert says:

    @14 John–You mean “the TAC Witch” is not a tactician? I thought that she not only oversaw the weapons development but developed the tactics to use them effectively. In Honor Among Enemies and In Enemy Hands she is a tactics officer, if it is as I remember (which could be legitimately questioned).

    According to Duckk’s blog David has just said that there are 5 more books ’til THE END. So at the current pace, around late 2015 it will all be over. Alas.

  17. NewAgeOfPower says:

    I have the new book… Incredible. Waiting another ~2 years is going to be such a pain in the…. behind.

  18. TimC says:

    There are instances in WW2 of technically inferior equipment winning through numbers. Look at the Tiger and Panther tanks in Normandy against the Churchill and Sherman, and the 88mm AA gun the Germans used as an anti tank weapon, in the overall result these small numbers of superior weapons did not prevail. In addition the Allies were invading a defended frontier through the several beachheads- so the analogy with the wormhole is not exactly applicable. Now if it turned out (not having read the book) that there was a wormhole in, oh for example Torch, allowing the SLN to get inside the Haven Sector then who knows!

  19. Grant says:

    @TimC: There’s “technically inferior” then there’s what the Solly military hardware is relative to Manticore, which should require a new term.

    Yeah, the Sollies could win with numbers and their current tech level… if we’re talking about enough numbers that Manticore runs out of ammunition to shoot at them. Otherwise forget it, they need to do some serious R&D or they’re just feeding their miltary into a wood chipper.

    And what do you mean “allowing the SLN to get inside the Haven sector”? They can get inside it any time they want, it’s not like there’s a wall around it. It’s what they do when they get there that’s the problem.

  20. Mark L says:

    @15 A better example might be the Royal Navy during the War of 1812. The United States Navy had about 20-25 captains. The Royal Navy had somewhere around 2000 on the captain’s list. While the worst USN captains were well above the 50th percentile of the British captains, the Royal Navy had so many captains that they could comb out 50 that were more capable than the best captain on the USN’s list. At the start of the war (with one or two exceptions like Philip Broke) these “ace” Royal Navy captains were serving in European waters, where they were more likely to fight the French, Britain’s active enemy at the start of the War of 1812. North American Station was a backwater where the dullards could safely be sent.

    The result was a string of American victories in 1812 as USN captains, with superior combat sense, overwhelmed the British third-string captains. But by 1813 the Royal Navy was shifting its aces to North America, and the USN became less effective. The best illustration of this was the capture of the President in 1815. President’s commander — Stephen Decatur — was the USN’s most brilliant captain. To escape from New York harbor, he had to run a British squadron. Decatur succeeded in breaking the blockade, but ended up getting run down the next day by the British squadron. The squadron was commanded by John “Magnificent” Hayes, perhaps the best captain in the Royal Navy. Decatur got caught because Hayes was able to place himself within Decatur’s mind and anticipate what Decatur would do based upon Decatur’s past behavior and history. Hayes moved his ships where he thought Decatur would be assuming Decatur would not be returning to port and going where Decatur anticipated the British were unlikely to go. In other words, Hayes out-thought Decatur, perhaps the first (and only) time that the brilliant Decatur was out-thought in his career.

  21. Drak Bibliophile says:

    I’d like to remind people that if you read the EARC or the complete book to not comment on anything that hasn’t been posted here.

    A certain individual (not naming the person) posted a spoiler from the end of the book. Fortunately, the system held the comment (for some reason) and I deleted it.

  22. Jeremy DuCharme says:

    @20 However the RN had the Napoleonic Wars to sharpen those Captains and know who those ‘aces’ were. The SLN has been at peace (barring any pirate hunting) for over a century since even the last minor dustup. How well would the RN do without that time to hone ‘wartime’ captains, or even know who they are?

  23. Bob G says:

    @14 Shannon is a brilliant and experienced tactical officer, a “tac witch”, and was involved in many combat situations before being sent to head Bolthole.

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