A Rising Thunder – Snippet 25

A Rising Thunder – Snippet 25


Chapter Eight


“I don’t know, Luis.”


Governor Oravil Barregos paused and took a sip of the really nice Mayan burgundy Admiral Luis Roszak had chosen to accompany dinner. It wasn’t actually very much like Old Terran burgundy, despite the name. Fermented from the Mayan golden plum, not grapes, it reminded Roszak more of a rich, fruity port, but no one had consulted him when it was named, and it was one of Barregos’ favored vintages. The governor’s expression was not that of a man savoring a special treat, however, and he sighed as he lowered the glass.


“I don’t know,” he repeated, gazing down into its tawny heart. “After the way you got hammered at Congo and given how that maniac Rajampet seems to be calling the shots, I have to admit I’m feeling at least a minor case of…cold feet, let’s say.”


Roszak sat back, nursing his own wineglass, and studied the Maya Sector Governor across his small kitchen table. He’d known Oravil Barregos a long time, and “cold feet” were something he’d never before associated with the other man. Especially not where the “Sepoy Option” was concerned.


Then again, the admiral thought, we’ve never been this close to actually pulling it off, and none of our calculations considered the possibility of an outright shooting war between the League and someone like the Manties. Throw in “mystery raiders” with invisible starships, and I suppose even Alexander of Macedon might experience the odd moment of trepidation. And Oravil, bless his Machiavellian little heart, never believed he was a demigod to begin with!


“I agree we got hammered,” he said after a moment. “And when it comes right down to it, it’s my fault we did.”


He made the admission unflinchingly, and raised his free hand in a silencing motion when Barregos started to contest his self indictment.


“I’m not saying I made wrong decisions based on what I thought I knew,” he said. “I am saying I was too damned complacent about thinking that what we all thought we knew was accurate. Or, rather, that we understood all its implications, let’s say.” He shrugged. “We knew Mesa was using Luft and his people as deniable mercenaries, and we assumed — on the basis of what happened at Monica with the Manties — that they might reinforce them with heavy Solarian-built units, which is exactly what they did. Our mistake — my mistake — was to assume that if they were using Solarian-built units, they’d be using SLN missiles, too. I built all my tactics around the assumption my opponents would be range-limited, unable to reply effectively.” He shrugged again, dark eyes bitter with memory. “I was wrong.”


“If you were wrong, so was everyone else,” Barregos pointed out. “Edie Habib and Watanapongse both thought the same thing.”


“Of course they did. They’re no more mind readers than I am, and it was a logical assumption. And there was no sign they had any missile pods on tow, either, since they didn’t. If they had been towing pods, though — if we’d seen something like that — even I might have remembered those long-ranged missiles Technodyne provided for Monica and at least considered the possibility that Mesa had given something similar to Luft.


“My point, Oravil, is that I was the commanding officer. There’s an old saying, one I think too many officers and politicians routinely ignore: ‘The buck stops here.’ I was the commander; the responsibility was mine. And what made it my fault we got hammered was that if I’d thought about it at all, I didn’t have to close as far as I did. Even with those ‘cataphract’ missiles, we had them out-ranged. But I wanted to get right in on the edge of their powered envelope, get the best accuracy I could while staying too far away for them to fire effectively on us. If I’d been more cautious, settled for poorer firing solutions and just accepted that I was going to expend more ammunition, they wouldn’t have been able to hurt us anywhere near as badly as they did. In fact, we probably wouldn’t’ve gotten hurt at all.”


“I still say it’s not your fault.” Barregos shook his head stubbornly. “You have to go with the information you’ve got when you plan something like a battle. I may not be an admiral, but I know that much! And no plan survives contact with the enemy. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard you say that, and it’s as true in politics as it is in the military. It works both ways, too. They may have surprised you with the range of their missiles, but you surprised the hell out of them, too! And your deployment gave you the reserve to run the table once you’d taken out their battlecruisers.” The governor shrugged. “You got hurt a lot worse than we ever anticipated, but you still won the battle — decisively — because you were prepared to deal with Murphy when he turned up.”


“All right, I’ll give you that.” Rozsak nodded. Then he smiled, and his eyes narrowed. “And where I was headed, using the strategy of the indirect approach, was to point out that you do a pretty good job of disaster-proofing your plans, too. We always knew we were going to have to make a lot of it up as we went along when the token finally dropped, Oravil. You’ve laid your groundwork; despite all the people I managed to get killed at Congo, we’ve still got most of our critical senior personnel in position; and I can’t really think of something closer to producing the conditions Sepoy envisioned than what’s going on with the Manties now. We just have to be ready to improvise and adapt when Murphy starts throwing crap at us on the political front, as well.”


Barregos gazed at the admiral for several seconds, then snorted in harsh amusement.


“‘Indirect approach’ is it? All right, you got me. But this is a little different from defending Torch against an Eridani violation, Luis. If I push the button on Sepoy, it’s for all the marbles. We have to come out into the open, and that’s going to put us up against Frontier Fleet, maybe even Battle Fleet, and we’re nowhere near the Manties’ size and weight!”


“I think your plans for staying in the shadows a bit longer will hold up,” Rozsak demurred. “Oh, there’s a risk they won’t, but don’t forget the rumblings we’re getting from other Frontier Security sectors. I think the situation’s going to go a lot further south on Kolokoltsov and Rajampet than they ever imagined. It’s going to happen a lot faster than even you and I assumed it would, too, and this confrontation with the Manties is what’s driving it, because it’s destroying the League’s perceived omnipotence among the independent Verge systems. I’m sure the fear of where that’s going to lead is a big part of what’s driving Kolokoltsov to back MacArtney and Rajampet, but they don’t seem to’ve considered that a lot of the more restive protectorates may have read the evidence the same way as the independent systems. I think they’re in for a rude awakening on that front sometime really soon now, and when the shitstorm hits, they’re going to be so busy worrying about outbreaks closer to home that we’re going to sort of disappear into the general chaos, at least at first. They aren’t going to be sending any major fleets out here while they’re dealing with forest fires in the Core’s front yard. Especially when we keep explaining that we’re really good, loyal OFS thugs just doing what we have to maintain order in the League’s benevolent name.”


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29 Responses to A Rising Thunder – Snippet 25

  1. ET1swaw says:

    Less than 20 lines to the end of sample chapters and less than a month to publicatation.

    A look back at Maya Sector in a non-Shadows novel. I wonder where it is going?!!

  2. ET1swaw says:

    Publication —– apologies fingers stuttered and I didn’t notice before submission

    Not Shadows, the other Honorverse subset (CoS, ToF, etc.). (Sorry!!) Though with the new YA and the anthology subsets there are 5 now (mainline, Talbott, Torch/Maya/Erewhon, ABF, anthology).

  3. justdave says:

    Wages if Sin IIRC

  4. justdave says:


    damn fingers

  5. dave o says:

    I agree with ET!swaw. And by the way, EF’s new (revised) novel The Kremlin Games is due out in June. When do we see snippets of that??? I hated the Grantville Gazette version: Russia at that time was NOT going to adopt modern technology. It took Peter the Great and a lot of ruthless tyranny to start modernization a half-century later. And the orthodox church would have opposed it to the last gasp. But maybe Flint will improve it. Maybe.

  6. John Roth says:

    After reading this chapter a half dozen times, it finally occurred to me – is Admiral Rozak one of the Mesan sleeper agents? We know from Detweiller’s speech to the Alignment heads of state that (MoH ch 39) they’re expecting Maya to secede first, but we haven’t seen any sign of Mesan influence there.

  7. robert says:

    @5 dave o
    I think that Eric will take up right where the GG’s left off. I recollect that he is reported to have told the GG editors & writers to stop writing/publishing the Butterflies stories because he was going to do the book.

    Meanwhile, what will we see from the Maya folks in this book? I can’t imagine how they fit in, anymore than how Torch would fit in, unless there are actions from Mesa that impinge on them. I view the 3 story “branches” as being more about three sets characters (with some overlap) with whom David Weber and Eric Flint are interested, and less about the action. So, for example, it is not so much about what happens with the pact between Erewhon and Haven now that Manticore and Haven are BFs, but rather what will Maya’s, Erewhon’s and Torch’s movers and shakers do now that the events elsewhere SL, Manticore, etc.) have moved to a completely different place. And if that aspect of the saga is covered in this book, then we should see the battle with Filareta next week. But we won’t and this book should not have anything to do with events in Maya, Torch or even Erewhon. Just like it should not have anything to do with the Quadrant. It should all be mano-a-mano Haven & Manticore vs. the SL.

    But I just read ’em, not write ’em.

  8. robert says:

    @6 John Roth
    So that’s why Rozak defeated the folks who were sent by Mesa to destroy Torch? And that’s why Rozak took the lead in making Torch an independent planet for the ex-slaves in Crown of Slaves, taking it away from Manpower?

    Even Detweiler does not plan such convoluted, and frankly, inexplicable, actions. Don’t get carried away like that John. Please.

  9. Drak Bibliophile says:

    IMO neither Rozak or Barregos are associated with the Alignment.

    Their actions upon learning about the upcoming attack on Torch show that more than anything.

    As for Detweiller’s knowledge about what’s happening in Maya, IMO it is very likely that some Alignment agents have discovered Barregos & Rozak’s plans.

    Their general plans don’t appear to really threaten the Alignment plans so the agents haven’t taken actions against them.

    While Barregos & Rozak actions defending Torch could be considered a threat to Alignment plans, the Alignment agents may not have been in a position to do anything.

    IIRC, Barregos & Rozak kept their plan to defend Torch tightly wrapped in secrecy.

    So the Alignment agents may have learned about the operation after the fact.

  10. John Roth says:

    @7 robert

    Well, the original version of ART included the Talbot sector action. The book was split so the Talbot sector book is now called Shadow of Freedom. Last I heard Eric is working on (and may have completed by now) the corresponding Torch book; I’ve forgotten the tentative title. One should be out late 2012 and the other early 2013, at least according to rumor. Which one goes first is up to Baen and DW.

    I see this current chapter with Barregos and Rozak as showing that they’re confirming their plans, which aren’t the same as Deteweiller’s expectations. He’s expecting them to set off the chain reaction of defections, etc, and they’re planning on staying under cover as long as they can hold the charade together.

  11. robert says:

    @10 John
    Shadow of Freedom was not exactly “split” off from ART as much as it was extracted from it. From what I read in the Weber Honorverse Forum, the time frame of the events in Manticore & Earth and the events in the TQ largely overlapped, but did not neatly line up at the beginning or end. That is why we see Henke, in the snippet, setting strategy based on her pre-Alliance, post-Yawata, knowledge. I am sure that once she learns of Pritchart’s arrival at Manticore and the formation of the Alliance, she will receive a very different force mix and new orders (go to Mesa, kill ’em?). What Weber and Flint are doing, according to a post by David as runsforcelery, is outlining and divvying up the writing on the next Torch book. Once they figure out what it will be and when the stuff in it happens, they will decide which book, the new one or SoF, will be published first.

  12. dave o says:

    MAlign intended to use the Maya Sector’s insurrection as the trigger for its own. I think their plan was to direct SL attention to Maya, in the hopes the SL would send whatever was left of their fleet against Maya, and leave their own plans with less opposition. This would be consistent with MAlign’s approaches, using catspaws to get Manticore in a war with the SL, assassinations, and in general, remaining covert as long as possible. What will happen if Maya doesn’t start its insurrection on time, due to the lack of a battle fleet is more than I can guess. Well, because MAlign’s secrecy is about to be blown. . .

  13. justdave says:

    while we’re under 4 weeks to pub of aRT, I couldn’t find anything besides the eARC and the 3/4 version at Baen???

    seems to me we should be able to pre-order the ebook by now???

  14. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Justdave, we’ve never been able to “preorder” individual ebooks from Baen’s ebook site. [Frown]

  15. Drak Bibliophile says:

    By the way Justdave, the individual ebook of ART should be available for purchase around March 20th. [Smile]

  16. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @11 – robert

    From what DW has said on his website, things are going to get much worse for the “good guys” (SEM, Haven, and allies) before they get better. I doubt that Henke is going to get orders to go to Mesa and kill them. If she does, it may turn out to be a death trap. Having said that, we all know that Filareta doesn’t stand a chance against the combined Haven-SEM naval forces, and if the SLN is serious about sending forces through the Beowulf wormhole, well, those 30 SD’s are dead. But going back to my point about DW’s posts that claim things will get worse for SEM before they get better, I expect to see some serious curve balls thrown our way that turn great plans by SEM and her allies into smoke and ash.

  17. John Roth says:

    @16 Robert H. Woodman

    That statement was several years ago, before Oyster Bay. I don’t doubt that the MAlign has several things left that the Alliance doesn’t expect, like the Felix terminus, the Detweiller class SDs, Darius and [redacted].

    However, I think they’ve turned the corner.

  18. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Well John Roth, one thing to remember is that the Alliance has no evidence (according to David Weber comments) for who is part of the Alignment.

    If Mesa “goes away”, the Alliance has no idea where to look for the Alignment.

    So the Alignment is still going to be free to make trouble for the Alliance without the Alliance knowing who to strike back against.

  19. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @17 – John Roth

    Yes, that statement was several years ago before Oyster Bay, but DW (writing as runsforcelery) on his website, has repeatedly made the point in the forums there (nit, the plural of forum is fora, NOT forums … but it’s his website) that the SEM will not recover from Oyster Bay quickly, and the recovery will be painful. He also keeps dropping hints at his website that there are some nasty surprises still awaiting the SEM.

    From the perspective of readers, we are all fairly sure that the SEM will come through this trying episode, but if we immerse ourselves in the SEM’s reality, things look both bleak and scary at the moment and for the foreseeable future.

  20. John Roth says:

    @18 Drak

    Since I’ve just gotten done castigating someone on DW’s forum for one phrase, I suppose I shouldn’t use the term Idiot Ball, but I’m awfully tempted. It’s got to occur to [i]someone[/i] that a six century plan to destroy the League, Haven and Manticore has to have an encore, and to speculate on what it is. Once they do, it ought to occur to someone to look at the couple of dozen systems with the largest SDFs and see what they’re doing since it’s hardly likely that the plan would involve a lot of dirt-poor hard-scrabble planets.

    Yeah, they’ll try to fade into the background, but half the effectiveness of doing that is misdirection – nobody thinks there’s anything to look for. Now they do know, although it’ll undoubtedly take a while to dig them out.

    @19 Robert H. Woodman.

    Nit – the plural of forum is forums. The word forum has been dragged into English, naturalized and so thoroughly assimilated that using the Latin plural is arrant pedantry. Granted, dictionaries do say fora is the alternate, non-preferred plural. That’s what putting it second means.

    It’s not as bad as using octopi as the plural of octopus, however.

  21. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Correct Robert, it will take the Alliance a while to “dig them out”.

    The big problem for the Alliance is that David Weber has said that only a few within the Renaissance Factor are aware of the Alignment.

    Even among the leadership of the Factor, only a few are Alignment members.

    While David Weber has not said this (to the best of my knowledge), IMO it is very possible that there will be plenty of groups besides the Factor forming from the remains of the Solarian League.

    It would not surprise me if the Factor, at first, isn’t an open enemy of the Alliance.

    That is, some of the other groups are more hostile toward the Alliance than the Factor.

    The Factor will be more busy strenghening the ties between its member systems and gaining more allies/territory than they are taking open action against the Alliance.

    While the Alliance intelligence groups are looking for the Alignment, they may have other situations to worry about.

    Made-up example, the Huggins group isn’t part of the Alignment but is threatening the Alliance so Alliance intelligence is worrying about the Huggins group and checking out the Factor is lesser importance to the Alliance.

  22. JeffM says:

    @11, Robert, might I ask what “snippet with Henke”? I must have missed that one…

  23. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @20 – John Roth

    The use of fora instead of forums makes me an arrant pedant?

    Guilty, Your Honor! You may throw the book at me! :-)

    Quisquam orator in Latin sanus profundus.

  24. ET1swaw says:

    @21 Drak: In addition there is textev supporting that (like the newswoman alpha mole on Earth) the RF systems are widely known for their anti-Mesa/Manpower stance and possible adherence to the Cherwell Convention (anti-slavery). They were also probably the most vocal in support of Torch’s independence.
    If the MAlign planets hold their security (as onion-like as Detweiler’s Mesa setup), how is the GA supposed to sort them out from the herd?

    As for ‘Dark Times’: a) Does anyone think holding together and implementing a Manticore-Haven alliance will be more than barely tenable(?); b) Grayson has suffered (even with inclusion of Yawata Strike) more from Oyster Bay than Manticore. That has got to hurt the cause badly overall; c) The Andermanni are —not—- going to want to take on the SL in any way (there goes another major source of allied naval strength); d) Like Talbott (in Henke snippet), both Silesian Quadrant and Manticore Alliance (from Haven war) are massive areas requiring protection; e) With Laocoon in effect, Manty interstellar trade is in the crapper; with the requisite effect on their economy (and during a recovery from the edge of survival; f) Mandarin actions seem bound and determined to drive Manticore (and any who assist them) under (from political manuevering and severe anti-Manticore spin to dispatching almost 20% of their active fleet to attack without declaration of war); g) Torch has been repeatedly threatened (including a planned EE violation) and Manticore has been unable to assist; h) MAlign has an unknown back door (with massive military assets) easy WH jumps away (Torch then Erewhon direct to Manticore); i) There are technical (streak and spider drives; genetic moles and nano-programming) posible game changers where Manticore is in a similar position to MAlign that SLN is to SEM Navy; and j) more hits that are getting too numerous to continue posting about.
    All of the above is EVEN WITHOUT FURTHER ENEMY (MAlign or Mandarin) ACTION (apologize for the shouting but I can’t emphasize it enough)!!!!!!!! NTM any nasty suprises our favorite Author has cooked up.

    Even if Beowulf and other Manty allies in the SL secede and join with Manticore and Haven in the GA, that is just more territory to defend with an already thin-spread Navy. Only so many straws before even the Manties might hurt too much.

  25. dave o says:

    #25 ET!swaw Yes, there’s the possibility of bad things happening to Manticore. However, I think you are a little too certain about them. I’m only going to discuss your point e), in order to keep this post within reasonable scope.

    1) The members of the SL clearly have a large degree of autonomy. Some will object to the Mandarin’s policy, and some will find their economy so damaged they will have to ignore the policy.
    2) Both will be looking for any means possible to restore inter-system trading.
    3) Manticore has the ships to do that. No one else does.
    4) If necessary, Manticore can tell it’s merchant marine to operate under other flags. Haven, the Andermanni, Grayson, Erehwon, and who knows who else will be glad to cooperate for a price.
    5)Shipping cost will skyrocket because Manticores’ merchant fleet has been withdrawn. All Manticore has to do is be a little cheaper than SL competition to be as dominate in interstellar trade as they have been.

  26. John Roth says:

    @25 ET1swaw

    Just to comment on a few things.

    a) The alliance will be rocky, but it will hold.
    b) Yes, getting Grayson back up will be a significant issue
    c) You’re missing one issue with the Andermani – the MAlign used their assassin weapon to attempt a hit on a member of the Andermani royal family. I doubt if Gustav is going to blow that off. Exactly what he will do remains to be seen.
    d) Yes, so?
    e) Yes, there’s an impact on trade, however only one of the Manticore junction’s terminals is in Solarian space; there’s no bar on trade in the others. Also, one of the more immediate effects of the alliance will be opening the junction to Haven-registered freighters.
    f) Yes, the Mandarins have a few bites left before they become irrelevant.
    g) The political situation has changed with the elimination of High Ridge and the Haven alliance.
    h) The Torch wormhole needs to be protected, agreed. More problematic is that there are two other terminals to the Felix wormhole that nobody knows about.
    i) I can’t see any of those failing to be addressed. With the Alliance, you’ve got two really good tech shops plus Herlander Simoes; Beowulf is going to be frosted with news of the nano-tech assassin technology. Finding the moles is going to be harder.

  27. JeffM says:

    @23–thanks, Drak.

    You guys forget that when L2 kicks in, the Sollies are going to be even more choked off from wormholes, and will doubtless spend their resources on that front rather than raiding the far off reaches of Silesia. Matter of fact, the wormholes that give the Sollies ready access to Talbott might well one of those early stages of L2. Makes sense to me. Wasn’t that where all of Crandalls SD’s staged out of? The Sector HQ? Sorry, no books handy.

  28. John Roth says:

    @28 JeffM

    Lacoon 2 has already kicked off. There’s no evidence that Crandall staged through a wormhole; the only thing that was said is that she was conducting a fleet exercise near McIntosh, which is not that far from Meyers. True, she could have staged through Visigoth -> Mesa or ? -> Mistletoe (??); the latter is only on the Illegible Map and not in any of the books, but it doesn’t matter. She was at McIntosh when things went south.

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