A Rising Thunder – Snippet 26

A Rising Thunder – Snippet 26


Barregos frowned thoughtfully, his eyes focused on something only he could see. He stayed that way for a while, then inhaled deeply and refocused on his host across the table.


“All right, I’ll give you that,” he said, deliberately reusing Rozsak’s own words. “And you’re right about where their attention’s likely to be focused … assuming they don’t just go ahead and steamroller the Manties after all. But that could still happen, especially after the Yawata Strike.”


Rozsak nodded soberly. No one in the Maya Sector was yet clear on exactly how much damage the Manties had taken from that surprise attack. It had happened barely five weeks ago, and the Maya System was ten days from the Manticore Binary System by dispatch boat even using the shortcut from the Manticoran Wormhole Junction via Hennessy, Terre Haute, and Erewhon. What they did know, though, was that casualties — civilian casualties this time, unlike those suffered in the Battle of Manticore — had been horrific, and it sounded as if Manticore’s industrial capabilities had taken a major blow. That had to have serious implications in any conflict with the League, and the absence of any evidence as to who’d actually attacked the Manties increased the uncertainty quotient exponentially.


“I’m not going to say the Manties aren’t in a deep crack,” the admiral said. “We don’t know how deep it is, but it’s not someplace I’d like to be. On the other hand, they’ve been in cracks before, and it’s usually worked out worse for the other side than for them, so I’m not prepared to write them off. And even if they do go down, they’re not going easy. Old Chicago’s still going to be concentrating primarily on them for at least a while, and the fact that Erewhon’s no longer part of the Manticoran Alliance works for us, too. No one on Old Terra’s looking in Erewhon’s direction at the moment, and if our reports go on stressing how our investment in the system is giving us additional clout to suck them deeper into the League’s pocket, we can keep it that way for quite a while.”


“Probably,” Barregos conceded with a nod. That had been part of his own core planning from the outset, after all.


“Well, new construction’s already more than replaced everything I lost at Congo,” Rozsak pointed out. “We’re two and a half T-years into our master building program, too, and the Carlucci Group’s actually a bit ahead of schedule on the wallers. Not a lot — we’re still looking at somewhere around two more T-years before we’ll be able to put the first SD into commission — but the light units will be ready a lot sooner than that. They’re already starting to supply us with all-up multidrive missiles for our arsenal ships, as well, and however long the podnoughts are going to take, we should have the first pod battlecruisers in another ten months or so. Call it mid-October for the first units’ builder’s trials. Whatever happens with the Manties, I’m pretty damn sure they’ll last at least that long against anything a thumb-fingered ‘strategist’ like Rajampet can throw at them, if only because of the transit times involved! And, like I say, Kolokoltsov and MacArtney are going to be a lot more occupied with the unrest that’s headed for them out in the open than by our own discreet activities. On that basis, I’d say we’re almost certain to get at least a few squadrons of wallers ready for service before Rajampet decides we’re another nail that needs hammering.”


Barregos nodded again. It wasn’t as if Rozsak were telling him anything he didn’t already know. And as the admiral had also suggested, Oravil Barregos had known from the beginning that his plans were going to require fancy footwork. He’d seen this storm coming long ago, even if he’d never counted on actual hostilities between the League and someone like the Star Empire. The cataclysm poised to demolish the League’s arrogant complacency was going to come as an even greater shock to the men and women who thought of themselves as its masters than his original plans had dared anticipate, but to reach his destination he’d have to embrace the storm, use its downdrafts and savage crosscurrents.


And skydiving in a thunderstorm never was the safest hobby, was it, Oravil? He asked himself dryly. I guess it’s time you find out whether you’ve got the intestinal fortitude to really do this after all.


He took another sip of wine, thinking about all the years of effort and careful planning, of cautious recruitment and trust-building, which had led him to this point. And as he did, he realized that however nervous he might feel, what he felt most strongly of all was eagerness.


No one who’d ever met Oravil Barregos could have doubted for a moment that he was intensely ambitious. He knew it himself, and he’d accepted that he was the sort of man who was never truly happy unless he was the one wielding authority. Making decisions. Proving he was smarter, better, more qualified for the power he possessed than anyone else. Nor, he admitted, was he averse to wealth and all that came with it.


That, in many ways, was the perfect profile of an Office of Frontier Security commissioner or sector governor, and it explained a great deal about how he’d risen to his present position. But it didn’t explain all of it, and that was important, because the bureaucrats who’d accepted him as one of their own had made a fatal mistake. They’d failed to recognize that unlike them, Barregos actually cared about the people he governed. That he’d recognized the rot, seen the corrosion, realized the reaction Frontier Security’s abuse of the protectorates must inevitably provoke.


Whether or not he and Luis Rozsak and the other men and women committed to the Sepoy Option succeeded, the storm was coming, and the League’s confrontation with the Star Empire of Manticore could only speed the day its winds swept over the explored galaxy. And that was really the point, wasn’t it? When that storm broke, the chaos and confusion, the warlordism and the violence, which followed the shipwreck of any empire, were going to sweep across the protectorates, as well. They were going to sweep across the Maya Sector, and Maya’s wealth could only make it even more attractive to brigands and pirates and potential warlords.


That wasn’t going to happen to the people Oravil Barregos was responsible for. On oh so many levels, it wasn’t going to happen. And for him to prevent it, he and Rozsak had to build the strength to stand against the hurricane.


To stop the warlords, they had to become warlords…and the biggest, nastiest warlords on the block, at that.


“You’re right, Luis,” he said, setting the glass down with a snap. He looked across the table at the admiral who was not simply his accomplice in treason but his closest friend and smiled. “You’re right. So let’s just consider my cold feet warmed up.”


Rozsak smiled back at him and raised his own glass.


“I’ll drink to that,” he said.



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24 Responses to A Rising Thunder – Snippet 26

  1. Stan Leghorn says:

    Hope this interlude is not the precurser to Maya being the example sector that the MAlign and the mandarins are hinting at. Still think Beowulf has that honor, though…

  2. Matthew says:

    This seems like it’s going to be a repeat of the collapse of the Qing Empire and early days of the Republic of China. Each military governor building their own powerbase, with varying degrees of conscientiousness to their subjects. Maya would be the equivalent of the Guangxi Clique under Chen Jitang famous for trying to build a “model” province for the rest of China to follow.

    But they’re going to find out how hard it is to run good government and fight for your life at the same time is.

  3. dave o says:

    It’s sort of a surprise that Barregos and Rozsack think they have enough navy to start their revolt. Especially after Torch. It seems clear that the SL attacks on Manticore are going to get reamed, and their battle fleet brutally pruned.
    Then the Mandarins are faced with a two front threat. My guess is that they will give the Maya sector priority: hold what you have, although that could go either way. In any event, it looks like they will not be able to concentrate on Manticore much longer.

    MAlign has reached this point by being sneaky and concealing their power and motives. I wonder whether they’re mentally suited to succeed when they come out in the open.

  4. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @3 – dave o

    The members of the MAlign’s leadership are the products of thousands of years superb genetic engineering. They are vastly superior to normals. Why wouldn’t they be more than suited to succeeding when they come out in the open?

    Extracting tongue from cheek … now.

  5. kenny says:

    @3 I didn’t read it that way. They think they have enough navy to survive the initial chaos, with everyone distracted on other targets. Thing is we know the MAlign is aware of their plans, which means they are now the target of the MAlign. Can’t allow anyone to set up a “good” competitor to their private genetically engineered club. I have a feeling that MAlign will only allow “evil” warlords to prosper, which will make MAlign’s quashing them in the endgame look like goodness.

    My thinking is the MAlign thinks Manicorn is neutralized (long term after they blast away SL’s ships using up their missile). And might find the new alliance very upsetting.

  6. ET1swaw says:

    AFAIK last snippet from sample chapters, so the next snippet will be brand new except to EARC readers. Hip! Hip! Hurrah!

    @3 dave o: They still have the SDF fleet that the SLN thinks they have (outmoded as –Maya– knows it is) . They have more than made up the difference in losses of Arsenal ships and ‘modern’ (near par to Buttercup; –with– early gen MDMs) DDs, CLs and CAs (more than capable of destroying SLN BCs and escorts; as proven at Torch; and the SLN –won’t– have cataphracts). They have their own python lump of BC(P)s coming in less than 10 months (possibly capable of SLN SD destruction). And are planning to maintain their low profile as long as possible. Unless MAlign dips in their hand (and they may to get Maya to kick off the secessions) IMO Rozsak is correct.
    Right now Manticore is the primary target with possibly Beowulf being set up for a fall.
    The SLN has to do something to counteract the Laocoons (of which Maya is most likely well aware; the Erewhon WHJs are close and they are a Erewhon ally) as well!
    Rajampet (even if not a MAlign agent/catspaw) looks more ‘get a bigger hammer’ and ‘punish Beowulf for their betrayals’ type to me. Unless Barregos shows –overt– defiance (and he is aIvery good politician; so –highly– doubtful) I believe the SLN FF will be otherwise tasked if not already shattering among the OFS prefects/protectorates.
    As of BF: the Mandarins and Rajampet –know– Maya Sector only has a couple of squadrons of destroyers and cruisers (barbarian built or SLN hand-me-downs); so a minor task force should overawe them easily. Remember as far as –anyone– knows the Battle of Torch was fought by –Erewhon– forces with Rozsak in distant support (and I seriously doubt that the capabilities (but not the intention for an EE violation) of the attacking forces were not ‘minimized’ in any Maya Sector reports back to the SL).
    NTM Maya is in a premiere position for knowledge-of/assistance-from the GA (both of their ‘partners’ (Erewhon and Torch) have very close ties to Manticore –and– Haven both.

    This is all predicated that MAlign doesn’t meddle. And agreeing with @5-kenny posts, that might be a faint hope.

  7. dave o says:

    #6 ET1swaw Yes,Yes.YES! new chapters coming.

    You are probably right about Rajampet’s reaction. But I don’t think that after losing two fleets, he’ll be in any position to call the shots. The Mandarins have at least a clue that he’s a brainless idiot, and their concerns are different from his. Their main concern is keeping their hands on all the money flowing through the system. Which means that if they lose Maya, they lose a lot of power.

    Both the Mandarins and Rajampet probably want to stick Beowulf with as much blame as possible. It’s hard for me to believe that too much will stick after they lose one or two fleets.

    As for MAlign, they’re going to be busy setting up their own rebellions. I doubt that they have enough forces to move against Maya in the immediate future, while still grabbing up as much as they can. However they may try black operations.

  8. John Roth says:

    @6 ET1swaw

    Yeah, I think this is the last snippet from the free chapters. We should get Chapters 9 and 10, possibly into 11. Hopefully.

    I’m not so sure it matters if Maya kicks off the wave of secessions and revolts. The situation is unstable enough that it might start somewhere else. The big reveal of Mesan complicity (if they don’t keep it utterly secret, and I don’t see why they would) is going to change a lot of people’s thinking; Filaretta’s fleet being sliced and diced is going to be icing on the cake.

    I’m not seeing what Erewhon is going to do; they’re in an interesting position with treaties with Haven and Torch and technically on the outs with Manticore while the Maya Sector has a treaty with Torch as well. The coming Manticore-Haven and whoever else they can get alliance is going to throw Erewhon’s alignments into turmoil. It’s also going to make Torch reconsider its policy of strict neutrality except for Mesa because there’s a common enemy. Fun political machinating.

  9. Drak Bibliophile says:

    John, the snippets are thru Chapter Eleven.

  10. ronzo says:

    Erewhon has SEM alliance infrastructure to post butter cup levels available and due to the fact they have been building it for Barregos and Roszak means they are actively producing war materials. So now that Haven and Manticore are playing nice may be they will be able to use that to their advantage im terms of refilling magazines with pre apollo mark 23’s and 13’s (which are enormous better than the Sollies will have in numbers for years) and working on getting apollo back in the pipe quicker than initially indicated in Mission of Honor. If the MA really wanted to throw a monkey wrench in alot of peoples plans Erewhon would be an ideal target a spider drive enabled EE violation.

  11. ET1swaw says:

    @8 John Roth: Yeah, IMO Erewhon’s offer in CoS to the Manticore –crown– looms even larger now.

    @10 ronzo: I thought Erewhon was (a half to a full)-gen pre-Buttercup when they broke with the Manties and treatied with Haven. Unlike Grendlesbane, etc. they were not a Manticore Alliance shipyard/new-build-provider AFAIK. Even early Ghostrider, FTL comm, and CLAC/LAC technology were not theirs yet IIRC.
    And Haven’s Tech hasn’t filtered to them fully as they have only a defensive support treaty, not a full alliance (And Haven kicked off Thunderbolt not long after the switch!).
    Even more interesting if Rajampet wants to duplicate his proposed Beowulf WHJ attack at Erewhon. And IIRC the area has further WHJ connections (counting multiple link chains) that expand access to the SL even more.

  12. Bewildered says:

    @8 Does Torch need to reconsider it’s policy of neutrality? If the SL is shown to be a Mesan puppet and the SEM & Haven are allied against said puppet perhaps a temporary alliance against said old foe and puppets whilst retaining neutrality in all other areas and returning to neutrality as soon as Honor et al mop up the SLN/MAN? Okay that might take a few books :)

  13. Drak Bibliophile says:

    IIRC Torch’s neutrality was only neutrality in the Haven-Manticore war.

    Since that war is now over and Haven & Manticore have allied against the Alignment, Torch would be involved (at least in the intelligence gathering) in that war.

  14. TimC says:

    @8 Keeping the MAlign secret. I get the impression that Manticore and Haven will keep the MA involvement secret initially so as not to reveal the information gained from their defector Hernando ? (with the Spanish name which I can’t look up being on holiday in Sri Lanka!). That way they can get some work done on spider and streak. Also it protects them from ridicule about their fears of a ‘1000 year genetic conspracy…’ Mind you I expect they will share intel with Beowulf.

  15. John says:

    I see Webber has the same problem Stephen King has, the editor is a afraid to edit the unneeded blather in his books anymore. Mr. Webber Just tell the damn story! all these backround yack fests are just getting out of hand. Damn no one cares to here 15 different thouoghts on why the situation is so dire. No one needs to here 10 different peopels thought process for why they had to do wht they did….. Mr editor do your job and edit out the crap. Look at the first books in this sereies they told a tale, they were fast and full of action. Now we spead 20 pages listening to characters backround thoughts for why they went to the bathroom and its consiquences to star systems away. I used to love reading these boks no I flip through ten pages and still dont miss anything important to the story line.

    Please please just tell the story

  16. ronzo says:

    @11. Erewhon is building BC(P)’s and SD(P)’s and multidrive missles for the Maya Sector those are all buttercup level manticoran technology. Granted they haven’t mentioned CLACs, LACs, Ghostrider, But at minimum they have some FTL com capability (Its been around since the outset of the war and a major strategic edge). Having the capability to build any of that means they have the tools to build it, and hopefully can reproduce those tools. Even that isn’t the case having a manufacturer Multidrive missles of any generation build to fit manticoran tubes and pods is going to end up being a god send. Any time that the SEM canshave of the rebuilding time of its heavy industry by potentially having Erewhon as partner is a win as well.

  17. dave o says:

    #16 John: I’m in the middle of re-reading Weber’s earlier work. I don’t see any difference in the amount of background. Did it occur to you that he’s trying to build a really complicated plot? Or that he has always been as interested in the politics as much as the military action. I like shoot-em-ups as well as anyone. But Weber is almost unique in being able to present a wider, more adult picture.

  18. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @15 – John

    To each his own. While some people dislike or even dread DW’s verbosity (and you seem to be one of those people), I actually enjoy the attention to the background development of his characters that he gives. It isn’t just about the action and the storyline, it is about the characters in the story that I have come to “feel” (for lack of a better term). It makes the story more enjoyable for me in many ways.

  19. John Roth says:

    @15 John

    As Robert Woodman said, tastes differ. David is writing an epic where there are lots of different characters and lots of places where action occurs. Right now the series is up to 20 books, which will be 23 as soon as ART, Shadow of Freedom and Eric’s next Torch book come out. By the time it’s done, I expect it will be around three dozen books.

    Looking at the first 8 chapters, the only one that I think is redundant is this one, that is Chapter 8, and it’s only redundant because I expect the next Torch book will cover the same ground.

    You’ll see some action as soon as Filaretta arrives at Manticore. Unless he’s intercepted in hyper by giant space bats.

  20. robert says:

    @14 TimC
    Not Spanish, Portuguese. Simões. The tilde over the o sort of nasalizes the o sound. Anyone from Portugal will hate for this, but Portuguese is really, really a Spanish dialect. More so than even Catalan, which is really a typical border dialect. Enjoy Sri Lanka.

  21. robert says:

    @20 hate me, not just hate.

  22. Dave says:

    I kind of wonder what the Mayan/Erewhonese BC(P)s will look like. Their “light cruisers” were rabadged Star Knights with primary armament upgraded to Mark 17s (the Erewhon/Maya version of the extended-range single drive missile we saw on the Saganami-B CA Gauntlet). Erewhon doesn’t have an off-the-shelf Manticoran Alliance design they can tweak, since the Aggies were a Manticoran solo projact and the Courseveir IIs were a Grayson solo project. I’m not aware of a Havenite BC(P) design either. So I think whatever they built is going to be their first independent design; even the wallers they’re building are likely rebadged Medusa/Harrington-class ships.

  23. justdave says:

    count me as another glutton who doesn’t mind the MWW’s info dumps and back ground chapters

    doing the regular series reread in anticipation of next book, altho I do usually skip the nonSEM political stuff, reread enough to know where it’s going I guess

  24. Chad says:

    I’d fathom the Erewhon/Maya SD(P)’s will be closer functionally to the Sovereign of Space class, since they don’t have the tech level to *make* a Medusa, yet.

    SoS was also a relatively quick tweak of the ‘next’ Havenite SD – overall it isn’t that hard to make the jump from an SD to SD(P), esp if you already know how to do a hollow core design ala BC(P).

    Overall, a second-rate space navy, but better than what almost anyone *else* has.

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