Shadow Of Freedom – Snippet 03

Shadow Of Freedom – Snippet 03

Not that it had done any good. And not that either of the LLL’s members had won reelection after the news crew went home. President MacMinn hadn’t even pretended to count the votes in the next general election, and that was the point at which Megan MacLean had listened to Tammas MacPhee, the LLL’s vice chairman and MacFadzean. She’d maintained her party’s open organization, its get-out-the-vote and lobbying campaigns, but she’d also let MacFadzean organize the Liberation League’s thoroughly illegal provisional armed wing.

It had probably been a mistake, she thought now, yet she still couldn’t see what other option she might have had. Not with the Unified Public Safety Force turning more and more brutal — and worrying less and less about maintaining even a pretense of due process — under Secretary of Security MacQuarie. Except, of course, to have given up the effort completely, and she simply hadn’t been able to do that.

And now this. Seven years of effort, of pouring her heart and soul into the liberation of her star system, and it ended this way, in death and disaster. It wasn’t even —

She looked up again as the door opened and MacFadzean walked back into what passed for their command post.

“I got a runner off to Tad,” she said, and her lips twitched in a mirthless smile. “Somehow I didn’t think I should be using the com, under the circumstances.”

“Probably not a bad idea,” MacLean agreed with what might have been the ghost of an answering smile. If that was what it was, it vanished quickly. “It was bad enough with just the Uppies tapping the coms. With the damned Sollies up there listening in…”

Her voice trailed off, and MacFadzean nodded. She understood the harsh, jagged edge of hate which had crept into MacLean’s voice only too well. They had Frinkelo Osborne, the Office of Frontier Security’s advisor to MacMinn’s Prosperity Party, to thank for the for Solarian League Navy starships in orbit around the planet of Halkirk. Officially, Osborne was only a trade attaché in the Solarian legation in Elgin, the Loomis System’s capital. Trade attachés made wonderful covers for OFS operatives assigned to “assist and advise” independent Verge star systems when their transstellar masters felt they stood in need of a little outside support. And if an “attaché” required a certain degree of assistance from the SLN, he could usually be confident of getting it.

We could’ve taken MacCrimmon and MacQuarie on our own, MacFadzean thought bitterly. We could have. Another few months, a few more arms shipments from Partisan and his people, and we’d have had a fighting chance to kick the LPP straight to Hell. Hell, we might have pulled it off even now, if not for the damned Sollies! But how in God’s name are people with pulsers and grenade launchers supposed to hold off orbital bombardments? If I’d only been able to get word to Partisan –!

But she hadn’t. They hadn’t been supposed to move for a minimum of at least another four months. Partisan had been supposed to be back in Loomis to lock down the final arrangements — the ones she hadn’t yet discussed even with MacLean — and there hadn’t been any way to get a message out when the balloon went up so unexpectedly.

She glanced across the room again, wondering if she should have told MacLean about those arrangements with Partisan. She’d thought about it more than once, but secrecy and security had been all important. Besides, MacLean wasn’t really a revolutionary at heart; she was a reformer. She’d never been able to throw herself as fully into the notion of armed resistance as MacFadzean had, and the thought of relying so heavily on someone from out-system, of crafting operations plans which depended on armed assistance from a foreign star nation, would have been a hard sell.

Be honest with yourself, Erin. You were afraid she’d tell you to shut the conduit down, weren’t you? That the notion of trusting anybody from outside Loomis, was too risky. That they were too likely to have an agenda of their own, one that didn’t include our best interests. You told yourself she’d change her mind if you could prevent a finished plan that covered all the contingencies you could think of, but inside you always knew she still would have hated the entire thought. And you weren’t quite ready to go ahead and commit to Partisan without her okay, were you? Well, maybe she would’ve been right…but it wouldn’t have made any difference in the way things’ve finally worked out, now would it?

She looked up at the command post’s shadowed ceiling, her eyes bitter with hate for the starships which had rained down death and ruination all across her homeworld, and wished with all her exhausted heart that she had been able to get a messenger to Partisan.


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16 Responses to Shadow Of Freedom – Snippet 03

  1. George Phillies says:

    Sooner or later, some of these people someplace are going to become too annoyed with the Solarian League to care about consequences for them, and are going to start staging large impact violations of the Eridani Edicts, targeting lesser systems that do not have the massive defenses that Sol does. After all, if the SL is already at war with you, the EE contains absolutely no threat or motive for you not to start taking out the other guy’s planets.

    • ronzo says:

      You really don’t want to get the whole population of the Solarian league to angry by making violations of eridani edict. Right now all of whats going on is the bureaucracy that runs the league is dictating policy, and it keeps getting its fingers slammed in the door to certain degree and some popular support with each failure. If you wipe entire worlds you will have trillions of scream mad people willing to do any to flatten you.

      • ronzo says:

        My previous post was pure eloquence. I should have learned by now no writing before coffee in the morning.

      • Dave says:

        Really, no one who isn’t suicidal wants people thinking EE violations are an acceptable way to wage ware. They’re too easy to do with Honorverse tech, and some ungodly high percentage of the human race would be killed off before things stopped.

    • Richard H says:

      I don’t entirely understand the apparently level of cackling glee some people seem to have ready to greet EE violations. Besides, I really can’t see Manticore doing that. If they were as large as the League, I think they’d be volunteering to enforce it too.

      The Mesan Alignment, though… those guys, I could see doing it just to stir the pot.

  2. hank says:

    What I’m wondering is if these people we’re meeting will be important later or if they are all Red Shirts, just here to demonstrate how Evil Frontier Security et al are.
    Also, what about Silesea?

    • John Roth says:

      While I haven’t read the eARC, I understand that there are several planetary pots being stirred, and a couple of them aren’t going to be resolved in this book. The interesting thing about this one is that the planet is named Halkirk, and there’s a star that might be named either Selkirk or Halkirk on the Illegible Map. If that’s it, it’s to the northwest of the Talbott Quadrant, which is a bit far afield to be part of the Madras Sector.

      Why would Silesia be any kind of an issue? While there’s some Mesan involvement (see In Fire Forged, etc.) Frontier Security doesn’t have its hand in that pot, so there’s no Frontier Fleet involvement either.

    • marcel says:

      Forget Silesia, it is mentioned exactly once in the ARC.
      Frankly, this entire novel is about as relevant to the Honorverse storyline as “Ms. midshipman Harrington”. After “Torch of Freedom” & “A Rising Thunder” it is an utterly disappointing book.

      • robert says:

        “…an utterly disappointing book.”

        Not utterly, just a little. And it certainly left me on tenterhooks wondering why the next book isn’t coming out in May 2013.

        • John Roth says:

          Unless the schedule has changed, the Honorverse Companion is scheduled for May. That will have a novella titled “To Build a House of Steel,” that fills in some more backstory. Hopefully there will also be an Official Map.

  3. Hans Rancke says:

    One thing puzzles me. How is what Frontier Fleet is doing here not a violation of the Eridani Edicts? Or is it a violation, but they’re confident they can keep it from becoming public knowledge?

    • Drak Bibliophile says:

      Under the Edict, you are allowed to do orbital attacks on military targets if you control orbital space and your opponent refuses to surrender.

      Under the Edict, if somebody has placed a military target in civilian areas, you can still attack the military target without worrying about civilians being killed. However (for example), if the military target is in New York City’s Central Park, you can’t just destroy *all* of New York City but you don’t have to worry about civilians neighboring Central Park.

      Note, under the Edict the White House in Washington DC would be a military target.

      • Randomiser says:

        Besides which this isn’t a war situation with anyone attacking this planet. This is a police action where the legitimate government of the planet has asked for help in suppressing some armed terrorists. There, doesn’t that make you feel better about it.

    • dmlewis says:

      The Edict does not forbid kinetic energy strikes. Basically, it forbids long-range strikes against planetary populations

      It says you first have to occupy the high orbitals and invite a surrender.

      If the people don’t surrender, you may then go ahead and (metaphorically) “nuke ’em from orbit”.

      That’s exactly what’s happening here.

  4. Bewildered says:

    Even calling it a police action seems a mite extreme. I mean seriously, orbital bombardment is not a police action, and nuking a village because something moved in it? Fair enough if grounds troops call down orbital support but FF seems to be all too ready to shoot stuff. In this bit the practically outlawed opposition revolts against the totalitarian regime in power and FF blows them away. If ever a group like this succeeded in attaining power, as might be the case if the RMN neutralised FF, they’re not likely to view the EE as something to worry about, they’ve already suffered effective violations.

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