Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Vehrec
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Vehrec »

Black Admiral wrote:Aside of the points mentioned by others, Thunder of God/Saladin and Principality/Breslau are, from Haven's perspective, easier to control than general tech transfers (since the majority of both ships' critical personnel, and their COs (plus Saladin's Marines) are regular Havenite personnel "on shooting leave" (to borrow an old euphemism)) and provide a couple of options if everything goes Pete Tong on them for diplomatic footwork as far as forestalling an angry Manticoran response goes. Providing the Masadans with modern weaponry - assuming for the moment that they could integrate it into their existing ships (which as discussed is unlikely) - is something that's a lot harder to keep some control over if the Masadans decide to do something ill-advised with them.
Maybe, but I don't think that my suggestion is that out of place. A limited stock of missiles is inherently limited-they can't build more. Arms sales are decidedly an old-hat thing, even to dubious states. And I didn't suggest 'modern' missiles, but pre-modern types like first generation laser heads or late sidewall burners. More advanced, but not so advanced that there can't be some edge maintained-like say putting a string of code into their software to make them self-destruct on command, or knowing their strengths and weaknesses exactly and exploiting that. And even such limited upgrades available in small numbers could have a marked effect considering how small the Masadan and Greyson navies are.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Crazedwraith »

Batman wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:They kind of did cripple her with those nukes. In a battle against a roughly comparable opponent she'd be dead meat.
I think we're working with different definitions of 'crippled'. 'Thunder of God' was hurt, and badly, but she was still at least partially (I'm inclined to say mostly, in the strict 'better than 50 percent' sense) combat effective afterwards. Well would have been if she hadn't been crewed by people who were still in week 1 of 'how to properly operate a warship'.
This is mostly true. The after action report for that battle (page 402 of my copy of Honor of the Queen) though states they have 1,200 dead. (The Haven portion of the crew 'less than six hundred' strong and about a third of the Saladan/Thunders's crew, maknig normal complement less than 1,800. So that's a lot of the crew. Though its mentioned 2/3s of them are the extra troops the Masadans crammed aboard to take it from the Havens)

The impellers were down to 21% and the port broadside was down to five lasers and six tubes. (Honor wiki tells me it mounts in total, 4 capital lasers, 12 anti-ship lasers, 12 Grasers, and 46 missile tubes, so for the broadside that's approx twenty missile tubes, 6 lasers of both types, 5 grasers. [half armament minus a few for chasers] ) So just 70% of their missiles gone, all the grasers. a couple of lasers.

All his gravatics and half his other sensors are gone. Sidewalls are down to 1/3rd strength.

Now this is from the battle as a whole not just the nuke attack and you're right in the sense you can all this 'heavily wounded' rather than crippled if you really want to. But I think it's also fair to say Simon has a point: if Harrington had been fresh and at fully capability right then. It would have made mince meat of Thunder. The greater acceleration/ engine power would let it control the engagement and stay in Saldan's weakspot and fuck it up basically.

And to relate this back to the original point of dispute; the LAC attacks on Harrington. That was two nukes on a battlecruiser. Harrington was worried that if she took 13 nukes to her heavy cruiser unprepared she'd be destroyed. Given her ship would be taking more nukes and is more fragile. I'm thinking this is totally justified. Even if you think Masadan missiles aren't as good as Manticoran ones; and the text generally mentions impeller strength/penaids/laserheads as points of distinction there not warhead size, the added numbers should make up the difference.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Terralthra »

A nuke. Four survive to laser cluster range. Two survive to detonate. One of those two hits the sidewall and is essentially harmless, one penetrates the sidewall to detonate close enough to do damage (though not a skin hit, which would presumably have been ridiculously destructive).
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Crazedwraith »

One nuke then. And I realised that my nuke count for what Harrington face was low as well. It was 39 nukes from the three LAC for the first volleys. But they were using lasers on Troubadour. So that fire is divided between Apollo and Fearless so it was approx 20 nukes on Fearless which if she didn't defend would have all gone through.

Then a second volley of the same size.

So yeah. Harrington was probably justified in thinking it could have destroyed her.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Vehrec wrote:Maybe, but I don't think that my suggestion is that out of place. A limited stock of missiles is inherently limited-they can't build more. Arms sales are decidedly an old-hat thing, even to dubious states. And I didn't suggest 'modern' missiles, but pre-modern types like first generation laser heads or late sidewall burners. More advanced, but not so advanced that there can't be some edge maintained-like say putting a string of code into their software to make them self-destruct on command, or knowing their strengths and weaknesses exactly and exploiting that. And even such limited upgrades available in small numbers could have a marked effect considering how small the Masadan and Greyson navies are.
Under normal circumstances the LACs would play no role in a Masadan attack on Grayson. And Haven doesn't care about helping Masada do anything except attack Grayson.

Since the LACs most likely use entirely different hardware than the Masadan starships due to the difference in size and tactical role, this suggests that the Havenites simply elected to not waste money upgrading the systems of useless Masadan LACs.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Mr Bean »

Simon_Jester wrote:
Vehrec wrote:Maybe, but I don't think that my suggestion is that out of place. A limited stock of missiles is inherently limited-they can't build more. Arms sales are decidedly an old-hat thing, even to dubious states. And I didn't suggest 'modern' missiles, but pre-modern types like first generation laser heads or late sidewall burners. More advanced, but not so advanced that there can't be some edge maintained-like say putting a string of code into their software to make them self-destruct on command, or knowing their strengths and weaknesses exactly and exploiting that. And even such limited upgrades available in small numbers could have a marked effect considering how small the Masadan and Greyson navies are.
Under normal circumstances the LACs would play no role in a Masadan attack on Grayson. And Haven doesn't care about helping Masada do anything except attack Grayson.

Since the LACs most likely use entirely different hardware than the Masadan starships due to the difference in size and tactical role, this suggests that the Havenites simply elected to not waste money upgrading the systems of useless Masadan LACs.
Exactly it's observed by Yu several times that the battlecruiser on her own could take the entire Grayson fleet in a single action and survive. And that's not the only modern unit that Haven sent. Why upgrade worthless LAC's when your already committing a small task force?

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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by chornedsnorkack »

In a pre-Prolong society, people commonly do not live to see their great-grandchildren, and rarely see great-greatgrandchildren.

People expect to be independent adults, with their parents dead, by their middle age.

Now, the second post-Prolong generation would have been the first whose parents did NOT die off so soon. Thus, they would have been the ones stuck waiting for their parents to die.

Now, Crown Prince Roger delayed marriage and childbearing, over the objections of his mother and Prime Minister. But his stated reason was that he was not in any hurry - he expected Prolonged lifespan.

This was conscious, rational reasoning.

Were there any, or many, of his peers in the first Prolonged generation who did go on to marry and breed young, because they had no reason to object to the expectations of their elders and because they were horny and in love?
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Probably a fair number; otherwise there would be virtually no people in their 50s and 60s alive as of the start of the series. Honor herself was born in 1859 PD to parents who may well have been the first in their families to get prolong. Though... her mother was born in 1816 PD, which was near the start of the prolong era in Manticore, though the techniques were already mature enough on her own homeworld of Beowulf that she got 'second generation' treatment which froze her age at about thirty. Thus, it might be that her parents have prolong as well; I don't know.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Ahriman238 »

"Just a moment, Captain!" Houseman's interrupting voice was strained, almost strident, unlike the polished enunciation whose edge of smug superiority Honor remembered so well, and he leaned forward over the conference table.

"I don't think you understand the situation, Captain Harrington. Your primary responsibility is to the Star Kingdom of Manticore, not this planet, and as Her Majesty's representative, it's my duty to point out that the protection of her subjects must take precedence over any other consideration."

"I fully intend to protect Her Majesty's subjects, Mr. Houseman." Honor knew her personal dislike was coloring her voice, but she couldn't help it. "The best way to do that, however, is to protect the entire planet, not just the part of it Manticorans happen to be standing on!"

"Don't you take that tone with me, Captain! With Admiral Courvosier's death, I am the senior member of the delegation to Grayson. I'll thank you to bear that in mind and attend to my instructions!"

"I see." Honor's eyes were hard. "And what might those 'instructions' be, Mr. Houseman?"

"Why, to evacuate, of course!" Houseman looked at her as if she were one of his slower students at Mannheim University. "I want you to begin immediate planning for an orderly and expeditious evacuation of all Manticoran subjects aboard your ships and the freighters still in orbit."

"And the rest of the Grayson population, Mr. Houseman?" Honor asked softly. "Am I to evacuate all of them as well?"

"Of course not!" Houseman's jowls reddened. "And I won't remind you again about your impertinence, Captain Harrington! The Grayson population isn't your responsibility—our subjects are!"

"So my instructions are to abandon them." Honor's voice was flat, without any inflection at all.

"I'm very sorry for the situation they face." Houseman's eyes fell from her hard gaze, but he plowed on stubbornly. "I'm very sorry," he repeated, "but this situation is not of our making. Under the circumstances, our first concern must be the safety and protection of our own people."

"Including yourself."

Houseman's head jerked back up at the bottomless, icy contempt in that soft soprano voice. He recoiled for just a second, then slammed a fist on the conference table and yanked himself erect.

"I've warned you for the last time, Captain! You watch your tongue when you speak to me, or I'll have you broken! My concern is solely for my responsibilities—responsibilities I recognize, even if you don't—as custodian of Her Majesty's interests in Yeltsin!"

"I was under the impression we had an ambassador to look after Her Majesty's interests," Honor shot back, and Langtry stepped closer to her.

"So we do, Captain." His voice was cold, and he looked much less like an ambassador and much more like a colonel as he glared at Houseman. "Mr. Houseman may represent Her Majesty's Government for purposes of Admiral Courvosier's mission here, but I represent Her Majesty's continuing interests."

"Do you feel I should use my squadron to evacuate Manticoran subjects from the line of fire, Sir?" Honor asked, never taking her eyes from Houseman's, and the economist's face contorted with rage as Langtry answered.

"I do not, Captain. Obviously it would be wise to evacuate as many dependents and noncombatants as possible aboard the freighters still available, but in my opinion your squadron will be best employed protecting Grayson. If you wish, I'll put that in writing."

"Damn you!" Houseman shouted. "Don't you split legal hairs with me, Langtry! If I have to, I'll have you removed from Foreign Office service at the same time I have her court-martialed!"

"You're welcome to try." Langtry snorted contemptuously.

Houseman swelled with fury, and the corner of Honor's mouth twitched as her own rage raced to meet his. After all his cultured contempt for the military, all his smug assumption of his own superior place in the scheme of things, all he could think of now was to order that same despised military to save his precious skin! The polished, sophisticated surface had cracked, and behind it was an ugly, personal cowardice Honor was supremely ill-equipped to understand, much less sympathize with.

He gathered himself to lash back at Langtry, and she felt the Grayson officer standing mutely to one side. It shamed her to know what he was seeing and hearing, and under all her shame and anger was the raw, bleeding loss of the Admiral's death and her own responsibility for it. This man—this worm—was not going to throw away everything the Admiral had worked and, yes, died for!

She leaned across the table towards him, meeting his eyes from less than a meter away, and her voice cut across the beginning of his next outburst like a scalpel.

"Shut your cowardly mouth, Mr. Houseman." The cold words were precisely, almost calmly, enunciated, and he recoiled from them. His face went scarlet, then white and contorted with outrage, but she continued with that same, icy precision that made each word a flaying knife. "You disgust me. Sir Anthony is entirely correct, and you know it—you just won't admit it because you don't have the guts to face it."

"I'll have your commission!" Houseman gobbled. "I have friends in high places, and I'll—"

Honor slapped him.
Obviously a mistake, and one that would haunt her later. Still, Houseman was obviously panicking and getting in the way. Still a nice showing for Honor's anger management problems.

"Then you're being naive, Captain," Langtry said. "If this planet is going to be defended, your people are going to do the lion's share of the fighting—give Garret credit for understanding that much. And as you yourself said, no Grayson officer knows how to use your capabilities to fullest advantage. Their plans are going to have to conform to yours, not the other way around, and that makes you the de facto SO. Garret knows that, but he can't admit it. Not only would it be an abandonment of his own responsibilities in his eyes, but you're a woman." The ambassador glanced at Commander Brentworth but continued without flinching. "To Admiral Garret that means, automatically, that you're unfit for command. He can't entrust the defense of his homeworld to someone he knows can't handle the job."

Honor bit her lip, but she couldn't refute Langtry's assessment. The old warhorse behind the ambassadorial facade knew too well how fear could shape human reactions, and few physical fears cut as deep or killed as many people as the moral fear of failing. Of admitting failure. That was the fear which made a commander out of her depth cling to her authority, unable to surrender it even when she knew she couldn't discharge it, and Langtry was also right about the way Garret's prejudices would dovetail with his fear.
I do like that even an obstructive character can be understood and isn't a straight-up bag guy, just in an impossible situation informed by his prejudices.
"All right then. Ambassador, you're going to tell the Grayson government that unless I'm allowed a direct, personal meeting with Protector Benjamin, I will have no alternative but to assume that Grayson doesn't feel it requires my services, in which case I will have no option but to evacuate all Manticoran subjects and withdraw from Yeltsin within the next twelve hours."

Brentworth gawked at her, his enjoyment of a moment before turned suddenly to horror, and she winked at him.

"Don't panic, Commander. I won't really pull out. But if we put it to them in those terms, they won't have any choice but to at least listen, now will they?"
That's a great way to calm fears that the woman on whom the fate of Grayson rests may be unstable by virtue of having lady-parts. Honor and co. decide that if the Admiral running the Grayson Navy won't work with her or defer to her superior experience, knowledge and possession of the most powerful ships available along with knowledge of their capabilities, well she'll just have to go over his head. Which means triggering a minor constitutional crisis and restoring the power of the Grayson monarchy because it's a crisis and they have no time to deal with committees.
"Of course they realize how insulting it is!" Jared Mayhew snapped. "No one could have put so many insults into one package by accident!"

The Protector leaned back in his chair and regarded his cousin with a mix of weariness, patience, disagreement, and exasperated affection. Unlike his own father, his Uncle Oliver had steadfastly refused to have any of his sons contaminated by off-world education, and Jared Mayhew was bright, talented, and the quintessential product of a conservative Grayson upbringing. He was also next in line for the Protectorship after Benjamin's brother and ten years older than Benjamin himself.
"I'm not at all sure 'insult' is the proper word, Jared. And even if it were, surely we've given them just as many 'insults' as they've given us."

Jared stared at him in astonishment, and Benjamin sighed mentally. His cousin was a gifted industrial manager, but he was so confident of the rectitude of his own beliefs that the notion anyone else might find his attitudes or behavior insulting was irrelevant. If they didn't like the way he treated them, then they should stay away from his planet. If they insisted on contaminating his world by their presence, he would treat them precisely as God wanted him to, and if they felt insulted, that was their problem.
Debate over Honor's request for a personal meeting. Meet Jared Mayhew, the Protector's hidebound traditionalist brother, and next in line for the throne after Benjamin and his son. He's not terribly worldly for an "industrial manager" but then, Grayson is very socially and religiously homogeneous.

"All right, then," Councilman Tompkins said. "If there's a real possibility this woman will abandon us, do we stand any chance at all of holding off the Faithful without her?"

"Of course we do!" Jared Mayhew snapped. "My workers are drawing weapons, and my shipyards are converting every freighter we have into missile carriers! We don't need foreigners to defend ourselves against scum like Masadans—just God and ourselves!"

No one else said a word, and even Clinkscales looked away in discomfort. Jared's fiery hatred of—and contempt for—Masada had always been very public, but no amount of rhetoric could hide Grayson's nakedness. Yet even though they all knew Jared's strident assertions were nonsense, no one had the will—or the courage—to say so, and Benjamin Mayhew surveyed the council room with a sense of despair.
Awkward. I'm glad they're thinking proactively in converting freighters into missile carriers, but they'd still be even more fragile and slower than LACs. Hardly a threat against the Masadans normal ships, let alone Principality and Thunder.

Though, that does raise an interesting question, the short story Promised Land (a prequel of sorts to this story) mentioned that the Masadans have a fair number of privateers, including many in Q-ships and a couple in foreign purchased frigates. Accepting it's been some years since then, where did they go? Why aren't they here, at the push to realize all Masada's dreams?

The Council had chipped away at the protectorship's authority for a century, hemming successive protectors about with more and more restrictions. Benjamin himself was little more than a figurehead, but a figurehead who'd always known the Protector retained far more authority in the eyes of Grayson's citizens than the Council knew, and now the men in this room faced a decision they wanted desperately to avoid. They were frozen, their supremacy over the protectorship singing with the crystalline brittleness of ice, and he suddenly realized history and Captain Honor Harrington had given him a hammer.

He drew a deep breath and brought that hammer down.

"Gentlemen." He stood, assuming a dominant stance none of them had ever seen before. "This decision is too grave, and time is too short, for us to debate it endlessly. I will meet with Captain Harrington."

Breaths hissed all around the table, but he continued in that same, firm voice.

"Under the circumstances, I would be criminally remiss as Protector of Grayson not to act. I will meet Captain Harrington and, unless her demands are totally unreasonable, I will accept them in Grayson's name."
Four sentences begin the Mayhew Restoration. From humble beginnings indeed.

He watched Captain Fox, the head of his personal Security detachment, bristle like a terrier confronted by the tall elegance of a borzoi and felt an almost uncontrollable desire to laugh. Fox had been Mayhew's personal guardsman since boyhood, and laughing would have been an unforgivable insult to his utterly loyal henchman, but Harrington was twenty centimeters taller than he, and Fox was only too obviously irked by that.
Graysons are shorter than galactic average, and Honor is rather tall, leading to an 8 inch height difference here.
Mayhew rose from his armchair as Fox escorted her across the room to him. Unlike his Security team's commander, he'd spent six years at Harvard University's Bogota campus on Old Earth. That gave him a degree of experience with off-world women virtually no other Grayson could match, yet even he was struck by Captain Harrington's assurance. Her height didn't hurt any, but neither that, nor her startling, unconventional attractiveness, nor even the gliding grace with which she moved, explained it.

She paused, tall and erect in her black-and-gold uniform with the snarling, scarlet-and-gold Manticore shoulder patch, and removed her white beret. Mayhew recognized the gesture of respect, but his Security men exchanged grimaces behind her as she bared her short, curly mop of close-cropped hair. Grayson women were spared the veils of their Masadan sisters, but none of them would have dared wear trousers in public, and tradition still forbade uncovered female heads in the presence of men. Besides, no Grayson woman would ever cut her hair so short.
Apparently 6 years off-world makes Mayhew as great an expert on outsiders as anyone on Grayson. Their God help them. Grayson women wear headscarves, not exactly uncommon.
Clearly her host had decided business, and any potential unpleasantness, could wait until after supper. Conversation flowed amiably as they worked their way through the sumptuous meal, but it was restricted largely to discussion of the differences between Grayson and Manticore, and Lord Mayhew and Elaine Mayhew were fascinated when she requested a plate for Nimitz. The Security captain looked ready to burst, but Lord Mayhew and his sister-in-law took turns slipping Nimitz tidbits . . . which he accepted as his just due. He was on his best behavior, though. Even when Elaine discovered his fondness for celery, he managed to devour the crunchy sticks neatly despite his carnivore's teeth, and his obvious comfort with these people was the most reassuring element yet. Honor had brought him along partly to make a point, but even more because of his empathic sense, for she'd learned to rely on him as a barometer of others' emotions long ago.
Another trendsetter, using treecats to decipher other people's true feelings.

"Tell me, Captain," Mayhew said lightly, "are you a student of Old Earth history, by any chance?"

"I beg your pardon, Sir?" Honor blinked at the question, then shrugged. "I'd hardly claim to be an authority on the subject, Sir."

"Neither was I, before my father sent me to Harvard, but you remind me rather strongly of Commodore Perry at this particular moment. Are you familiar with his career?"

"Perry?" Honor thought for a moment. "The . . . American commander at the Battle of Lake Champlain?"

"Lake Erie, I believe," Mayhew corrected, "but that was Oliver Perry. I was referring to his brother Matthew."

"Oh. Then I'm afraid the answer is no, Sir."

"A pity. He was a bit on the pompous side, I'm sorry to say, but he also dragged the Empire of Japan kicking and screaming out of its isolation in the Fourth Century Ante Diaspora. In fact, it was Japan that got me interested in Perry, though the parallel between Grayson and the Japanese only goes so far, of course. They wanted to be left alone, whereas we've been trying for two centuries to get someone—anyone!—to 'drag' us into the present, but I'm beginning to suspect you're going to have as big an impact on us as Perry had on them." He smiled faintly. "I trust we'll avoid some of their worst mistakes—and they made some big ones—but the social and domestic consequences of your visit may prove even greater than the military and technological ones."
Perhaps I'm an odd duck, but I had to look up Oliver Perry and knew Matthew Perry off the top of my head. The parallel had also occurred to me. First dating of the Diaspora, or the first colony ship's leaving Earth, as Perry's White Fleet (1907-09) was during the 4th Century AD. In the next book, a quote from Erwin Rommel is dated 160 AD, which seems a bit of a divide.
Fox frowned as the new arrivals approached him, then relaxed as one of them extended a dispatch case. He reached out to take it . . . and Nimitz suddenly catapulted from his stool with a snarl like tearing canvas.

Honor's head whipped around as the treecat landed on the back of the Security man closest to her. The guard howled as the treecat's true-feet sank centimeter-long claws bone-deep into his shoulders, and his howl became a shriek of raw, terrified agony as Nimitz's uppermost limbs reached around his head and scimitar-clawed fingers buried themselves to the knuckles in his eyes.

Blood and fluids erupted down the shrieking guard's cheeks, and his hands rose frantically to clutch at his assailant. But his sounds died in a horrible, whistling gurgle as the clawed hand-paws of the treecat's middle limbs ripped his throat open to the spine.
Well that's one way to ruin the afterdinner conversation. Sheese, Nimitz just claws a guy's eyes out before removing his throat. Mayhew and his security must really trust Honor and Nimitz to ever let them in a room with the Protector again.
The dead man crumpled like a felled tree, but the 'cat was already somersaulting away from him. His rippling snarl rose even higher as he slammed into a second newcomer, all six sets of claws ripping and tearing, and Fox and his men stared at him in horror. They'd been surprised by the length of his sixtycentimeter body when he uncoiled from Honor's shoulder, but he was narrow and supple as a ferret, and they hadn't realized he massed over nine kilos of bone and hard muscle. It wasn't really their fault—Honor had grown so accustomed to his weight over the years that it scarcely even inconvenienced her, and they hadn't made sufficient allowance for how easily her own Sphinx-bred muscles let her carry him.

Yet whatever their reasoning, they'd dismissed him as a simple pet, without guessing how powerful and well-armed he actually was. Nor had they even suspected his intelligence, and the totally unexpected carnage stunned them. But they were trained bodyguards, responsible for their head of state's safety, and their hands jerked to their weapons as the beast ran amok.
Yeah, never making that mistake again.
Honor saw it all only peripherally. She'd always known Nimitz could feel her emotions, but she'd never knowingly felt his.

This time she did—and as she also felt the emotions of the fresh "Security detachment" through him, she exploded out of her chair. The heel of her hand slammed into the face of the newcomer closest to the Protector, and cartilage crunched horribly as she drove his nose up into his brain—just as his companion dropped the dispatch case, raised his other hand, and fired at pointblank range into Captain Fox's chest.

The handgun made a whining noise and a sound like an axe sinking into a log, and the Security captain flew backward, his pistol less than half-drawn. His corpse knocked Mayhew to the carpet, and a corner of Honor's mind cringed as she recognized the sound of an off-world sonic disrupter.
First time Honor feels people's emotions through Nimitz. Also, sonic disruptors, weapons never used or mentioned again.

A horde of fresh "Security" men charged through the door, all armed with disrupters, and Honor snatched a heavy metal tray from the table. It flew across the room, as accurate as Nimitz's frisbee but far more deadly, and the leading intruder's forehead erupted in blood. He went down, tripping the man behind him, tangling them all up briefly, and then the chaos became total as the Protector's bodyguards suddenly realized who the enemy truly was.

Gunfire thundered across the dining room, bullets crisscrossing with the solid-sound fists of disrupter bolts. Bodies went down on both sides, and aside from the disrupters, there was no way Honor could tell who was friend and who was foe.

But Nimitz was unhampered by any confusion. The high-pitched snarl of his battle cry wailed in her ears as he hurled himself into the face of another assassin like a furry, six-limbed buzz saw. His victim went down shrieking, and the man beside him swung his weapon towards the treecat, but Honor flew across the carpet towards him. Her right leg snapped straight, her boot crunched into his shoulder, breaking it instantly, and a hammer blow crushed his larynx as she came down on top of him.

All the Mayhews' guards were down now, but so were many of the assassins, and Honor and Nimitz were in among the others. She knew there were too many of them, yet she and Nimitz were all that was left, and they had to keep them bottled up in the entry alcove, away from the Protector and his family, as long as they could.

The killers had known she'd be here, but she was "only" a woman. They were totally unprepared for her size and strength—and training—or the mad whirl of violence that wasn't a bit like it was on HD. Real martial arts aren't like that. The first accurate strike to get through unblocked almost always ends in either death or disablement, and when Honor Harrington hit a man, that man went down.
Assassins underestimate Honor and Nimitz both. The little guy is pretty handy in a fight, not least because everyone wearing the same uniform doesn't stop him from attacking the bad guys.
A sledgehammer smashed into her face. She heard Nimitz's shriek of fury and anguish as it hurled her aside, twisting her in midair like a doll, but all she could feel was the pain the pain the pain, and then she crashed down on the side of her face and bounced limply onto her back.

The pain was gone. Only numbness and its memory remained, but her left eye was blind, and her right stared up helplessly as the man who'd shot her raised his disrupter with a snarl. She watched the weapon rise in dreadful slow motion, lining up for the pointblank final shot—and then her killer's chest exploded.

He fell across her, drenching her in steaming blood, and she turned her head weakly, hovering on the edge of the blackness. The last thing she saw was Benjamin Mayhew and Captain Fox's autopistol smoking in his hand.
Mayhew uses a gun in his own defense after Honor is hit and goes down.
"Not as bad as it might have been. You were lucky, Ma'am. You only caught the fringe of his shot, but if he'd been a few centimeters to the right, or a little higher—" The doctor paused and cleared his throat. "Your left cheek took the brunt of it, Skipper. The muscle damage isn't as bad as I was afraid, but the soft tissue damage is severe. It also broke the zygomatic arch—the cheekbone just below your eye—and you broke your nose when you went down. More seriously, there's near total nerve mortality from your eye to your chin and reaching around to a point about a centimeter in front of your ear. It missed your ear structure and aural nerves, luckily, and you should still have at least partial control of your jaw muscles on that side."

Montoya's was a doctor's face; it told his patients precisely what he told it to, but Venizelos' was easier to read, and his definition of "lucky" clearly didn't match Montoya's. Honor swallowed, and her left hand rose. She felt her skin against her fingers, but it was like touching someone else, for her face felt nothing at all, not even numbness or a sense of pressure.

"In the long-run, I think you'll be okay, Ma'am," Montoya said quickly. "It's going to take some extensive nerve grafting, but the damage is localized enough the repairs themselves should be fairly routine. It's going to take time, and I wouldn't care to try it, but someone like your father could handle it no sweat. In the meantime, I can take care of the broken bones and tissue damage with quick heal."

"An' m' eye?"

"Not good, Skipper," the surgeon said unflinchingly. "There are an awful lot of blood vessels in the eye. Most of them ruptured, and with muscle control gone, your eye couldn't close when you hit the carpet. Your cornea is badly lacerated, and you put some debris—broken glass and china—through it and into the eyeball itself." She stared at him through her good eye, and he looked back levelly.
Damage from getting winged with a sonic disruptor. It didn't kill her outright, but it sure took her out of the fight.
"I don' regen'." She clenched her fists, hating the slurred sound of her voice. "M' mom check' m' profile years 'go."

"Well, there's still transplants, Skipper," Montoya said, and she made herself nod. Most of the human race could take advantage of the relatively new regeneration techniques; Honor was one of the thirty percent who could not.
About a third of people don't respond to regeneration therapy.

What she saw shocked her, despite his warning. Her pale complexion and the startlingly white dressing over her wounded eye made the livid blue, black, and scarlet damage even more appalling. She looked as if she'd been beaten with a club—which, in a sense, was exactly what had happened—but what filled her with dismay was the utter, dead immobility of the entire left side of her face. Her broken nose ached with a dull, low-key throb, and her right cheek felt tight with a sympathetic reaction; to the left, the pain just stopped. It didn't taper off—it just stopped, and the corner of her mouth hung slightly open. She tried to close it, tried to clench her cheek muscles, and nothing happened at all.
A lifelong injury, though she gets artificial nerves later, they forever lag just a fraction behind her natural ones. Also, the artificial nerves can be disabled.

"Well, if you're sure." Truman sounded doubtful, but Honor nodded firmly and the commander shrugged. "All right—and, yes, he and his family are all unhurt. It's been—" she checked her chrono "—about twenty minutes since my last update, and only about five hours since the assassination attempt, so I can't give you any hard and firm details. As far as I can make out, though, you wound up square in the middle of a coup attempt."
Honor is out for 5 hours after sonic disruptor hit. Including the time it took her to get dressed and walk out of sickbay over her XO and doctor's objections.
"What's the status on Troubadour's alpha node?"

"The Grayson yard people confirm Alistair's original estimate," Truman replied. "It's completely gone, and they can't repair it. Their Warshawski technology's even cruder than I thought, and their components simply won't mate with ours, but their standard impellers are a lot closer to our levels, and Lieutenant Anthony got with their chief shipwright before I sent Troubadour off with the freighters. By the time she gets back, the Graysons should have run up jury-rigged beta nodes to replace the damaged beta and alpha nodes. She still won't have Warshawski capability, but she'll be back up to five-twenty gees for max acceleration."
So Grayson Warshawski sails are incompatible with Manticore (at this time) but their normal impellers can work with some sweating and cursing.

"We're just starting to put it all together," Mayhew went on in that same wretched tone, "but Security got several assassins alive, mainly thanks to your treecat. Aside from the first one he attacked, he seems to have settled for blinding his opponents. I'm afraid only one of the ones you hit survived."
Did she get her treecat from Sphinx or Constantinople?
"I thought you might like to hear who was behind the coup."

"You know?" Honor leaned forward and felt Venizelos and Truman stiffen with matching interest.
"Yes." Mayhew looked almost physically ill. "We've got his confession on tape. It was my cousin Jared."

"Your cousin?" Honor gasped before she could stop herself, and he nodded miserably.

"Apparently all his anti-Masadan rhetoric's been nothing more than a cover, Captain. He's been working for them for over eight years. In fact, Councilman Clinkscales now thinks he was the second 'Maccabeus,' not the first. He thinks my Uncle Oliver passed the position on to him when he died."

-snip-

"Apparently Masada's been building a fifth column out of our own reactionaries ever since the last war. We never even guessed—something else Howard blames himself for—but that was because, religious fanatics or not, these 'Maccabeans' apparently realized their ideals were too divorced from the mainstream for them to achieve anything by open resistance or guerrilla warfare. So instead of coming into the open and alienating the population as a whole—not to mention warning Security of their existence—they've been waiting until they thought they had a chance to decapitate the state in one blow."

"And replace you with your cousin," Honor said flatly.

"Precisely." Mayhew's voice was equally flat. "None of the assassins had ever actually met him, but the support they'd been given—genuine uniforms and IDs, the exact guard schedule, detailed maps, Palace Security's challenges and countersigns—all pointed to someone inside the palace itself. And they could tell Howard's people how to locate the 'Maccabean' communications net, which led him to a couple of plotters who did know who 'Maccabeus' was."

Mayhew looked away for a moment.

"Howard was devastated. He and Jared have been close Council allies for years, and he felt personally betrayed. But instead of arresting him immediately, Howard confronted him in person, and Jared was stupid enough—or desperate enough—to admit he was Maccabeus. Apparently he hoped Howard shared enough of his beliefs to join him. I imagine he thought the two of them together could still kill me and put Jared in my place. Instead, Howard recorded the entire conversation, then called in his people to arrest him."

-snip-

"It seems Jared's position as Minister of Industry was the key to the entire plot. His father, my uncle, held the same position before him, and they'd placed entire crews of Maccabeans on some of the mining and construction ships. The Masadans have been slipping in and out of Yeltsin for some time—Mike tells me it probably wasn't difficult if they translated into n-space beyond detection range, then came in under minimal power—and Jared's Maccabean crews have been rendezvousing with them as his couriers to Masada.

"Howard isn't positive, but he now believes this war was launched not as a genuine bid to conquer us militarily but to create panic. According to one of Jared's people, the plan was for him to have Michael and myself killed at what he judged was the proper psychological moment. That would have made him Protector, and if there'd been enough fear and confusion, he could have made himself dictator, as well, on the pretext of dealing with the crisis—at which point he would have 'negotiated an end to the hostilities.' Ending the war without Masada's actually attacking the planet itself was supposed to cement his hold on power, after which he'd have appointed like-minded cronies to positions of power in order to 'reform' us into voluntarily accepting the Masadan line and, eventually, amalgamating with Endicott."
Timeline and details of the Maccabeus scheme, laying that subplot to rest. Of course, Yu and the other Havenites were never told that the Council of Elders had an inside man and an actual plan. Maybe out of reflexive distrust of the foreign help with their own agendas, perhaps, as Alice Truman suggests, because the Havenites would never commit to such a long-term plan with so many moving parts and points of failure. At least not to the extent of risking mixing it up with the Manticoran Navy this early.

"Because the entire idea was to place responsibility for my death on Captain Harrington," he said quietly, and all three Manticorans stared at him in disbelief.

"That was why they were armed with disrupters, Captain. Those aren't Grayson—or, for that matter, Masadan—weapons. The plan was to claim your demand for a meeting was only a pretext to get close to me, at which point you were supposed to have produced your off-world weapon, murdered my guards and family as part of a Manticoran plot to seize Grayson, and then been shot down by other Security people when you tried to escape."

"He 'as ou' 'f his mind!" The right side of Honor's face tightened as the clarity of her speech vanished, but Mayhew seemed not to notice, and she went on doggedly. "No one would have believed that!" she said more distinctly.

"I don't know about that, Captain," Mayhew admitted with manifest reluctance. "I admit it would have sounded insane, but remember what a pressure cooker Grayson is right now. With me dead and your body as 'evidence,' he probably could have produced enough panic and confusion to at least get himself into office and summarily break off the negotiations. If he managed that and informed Commander Truman your ships were no longer welcome in Yeltsin space, what could she do but leave? Especially when he could construe any decision to remain as further 'proof' of a Manticoran plot to seize Yeltsin's Star?"
And the final piece, a summary end to the relationship with Manticore. If Jared achieved nothing else, that would thoroughly screw Grayson.

"Not precisely." Her good eye narrowed, but Mayhew smiled almost naturally at her. "I've managed to save face a little for him, Captain—which is important, given the state of nerves down here right now. Instead of relieving him, I've appointed him to command Grayson's fixed orbital defenses. Commodore Matthews has been promoted to admiral, and he'll command our mobile units. I've made it very clear to him that that means he's to adapt his movements and resources to yours, and he has no problem with that."
A nice touch. They can't afford dead-weight or an officer who simply can't cooperate, but they can put him in a position where he can cooperate fully without running into his ego.

Also, video of Honor foiling the assassination is quite intentionally leaked to the Grayson media, doing wonders for her PR and cutting down drastically on the mutters of how a woman is unfit for command.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Vehrec »

Simon_Jester wrote:
Vehrec wrote:Maybe, but I don't think that my suggestion is that out of place. A limited stock of missiles is inherently limited-they can't build more. Arms sales are decidedly an old-hat thing, even to dubious states. And I didn't suggest 'modern' missiles, but pre-modern types like first generation laser heads or late sidewall burners. More advanced, but not so advanced that there can't be some edge maintained-like say putting a string of code into their software to make them self-destruct on command, or knowing their strengths and weaknesses exactly and exploiting that. And even such limited upgrades available in small numbers could have a marked effect considering how small the Masadan and Greyson navies are.
Under normal circumstances the LACs would play no role in a Masadan attack on Grayson. And Haven doesn't care about helping Masada do anything except attack Grayson.

Since the LACs most likely use entirely different hardware than the Masadan starships due to the difference in size and tactical role, this suggests that the Havenites simply elected to not waste money upgrading the systems of useless Masadan LACs.
Uggggh, see this is why I don't 'get' this universe. It's 'napoleonic war with the numbers filed off' except no, it isn't. It's broadsides with ships of the line, except nobody actually wants to look at what was involved in that and we go off and do something completely different. And here, rather than having things be easily cobbled together or building a squadron of LACs from spare parts with no definite purpose, as you might knock together a ship's boat from lumber, we run into a very 20th century style of thing. Then again, I don't think Webber likes having clever and inventive villains who actually show up his heroes. Or even just ploddy but well-equipped ones. Bringing a small task force not a medium sized one, is part of that. Haven has the numbers to splurge with ships here, even to send a battleship or two, but they don't.

That's one of the curious things about the series, in that Haven keeps loosing despite having a better set of officers than the French, and overall numerical superiority, which the French never had. It seems very contrived and dull when they keep failing to actually achieve anything with those numbers.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Dominus Atheos »

In what universe does Haven have a "better set of officers" then Napoleonic France? The Legislaturist officer corp is stated to be poor to middling, and after the purge and People's Commissioners it's even worse.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Ahriman238 wrote:Obviously a mistake, and one that would haunt her later. Still, Houseman was obviously panicking and getting in the way. Still a nice showing for Honor's anger management problems.
Yes. This had very real, negative consequences for her (it got her shot full of holes, and damn near got her killed when Houseman and Hauptmann found a way to get revenge four books later). If they'd kept that character defect I think it would have made Harrington a lot more interesting, among other things because she might actually have real enemies who dislike her for real reasons like "punched me in the face during a meeting."
Awkward. I'm glad they're thinking proactively in converting freighters into missile carriers, but they'd still be even more fragile and slower than LACs. Hardly a threat against the Masadans normal ships, let alone Principality and Thunder.
Well, dumping out a pile of missiles into the face of a Masadan starship might actually work. Sure, it'd be a case of murder-suicide for the freighter since the Masadan missiles would kill the freighter right back. But if the GSN were to, say, put its entire missile stockpile (probably considerable) aboard freighters, they might at least make a dent in the Masadan ships. Plus, they still have their LAC force.

If all the modern ships were off the table, Grayson might still have a chance- but not a good one.

But yeah, it's also interesting that Jared 'doth protest too much-' he makes a very vivid point of how anti-Masada he is.
Though, that does raise an interesting question, the short story Promised Land (a prequel of sorts to this story) mentioned that the Masadans have a fair number of privateers, including many in Q-ships and a couple in foreign purchased frigates. Accepting it's been some years since then, where did they go? Why aren't they here, at the push to realize all Masada's dreams?
Many of them probably have such inferior performance that the Masadan high command might not even bother sending them- it would make more sense to just skim off the privateers' crews and use that pool of trained manpower to better operate the real warships Masada already has.

The frigates are another story- on the other hand, they may be so crude and inferior that they're more like conventional Masadan warships than like modern ones. Sort of like how the only Solarian weapons Grayson can afford are the military-surplus autocannon even the Sollies are actively stripping off their ships to make room for more modern point defense lasers.

Another possibility is that in the wake of the incident in Promised Land, the RMN proceeded to engage in some pretty beefy antipiracy sweeps and roll up a lot of those privateers.
Apparently 6 years off-world makes Mayhew as great an expert on outsiders as anyone on Grayson. Their God help them. Grayson women wear headscarves, not exactly uncommon.
Well, almost anyone on Grayson. Also, Mayhew got this experience at a young age when he was still flexible enough to actually learn some new habits, which matters.

[Also, it's a really hellacious environment. Heck, I'd be tempted to wear a headscarf too, if I routinely went outside into an atmosphere laden with heavy metal dust. It's easier to wash the dust out of a cloth than to wash it out of my hair. Big, bulky, loose outer garments really would make sense as unisex clothing, just for that purpose.]
Perhaps I'm an odd duck, but I had to look up Oliver Perry and knew Matthew Perry off the top of my head. The parallel had also occurred to me. First dating of the Diaspora, or the first colony ship's leaving Earth, as Perry's White Fleet (1907-09) was during the 4th Century AD. In the next book, a quote from Erwin Rommel is dated 160 AD, which seems a bit of a divide.
Well, it's not like Weber's never screwed up math, but yeah, since Perry's visit to Japan took place less than ninety years before Rommel's death, those numbers don't quite fit.

Then again, nobody said Mayhew got the date right; he might honestly think Commodore Perry went to Japan in the 1700s. Sort of like thinking that Seneca and Cicero were contemporaries. ;)
Well that's one way to ruin the afterdinner conversation. Sheese, Nimitz just claws a guy's eyes out before removing his throat. Mayhew and his security must really trust Honor and Nimitz to ever let them in a room with the Protector again.
Someone probably pointed out that if they wanted to assassinate Mayhew they could have just stood back and chilled out while someone else did it for them.
First time Honor feels people's emotions through Nimitz. Also, sonic disruptors, weapons never used or mentioned again.
They really are less effective than pulsers and flechette guns for most applications.
Assassins underestimate Honor and Nimitz both. The little guy is pretty handy in a fight, not least because everyone wearing the same uniform doesn't stop him from attacking the bad guys.
Yep. Being psychic is handy that way.
A lifelong injury, though she gets artificial nerves later, they forever lag just a fraction behind her natural ones. Also, the artificial nerves can be disabled.
Although, if you wanted to get gruesome about it, so could the real ones. [shudders]

...Why did I think that? I'm a terrible person. :(
"We're just starting to put it all together," Mayhew went on in that same wretched tone, "but Security got several assassins alive, mainly thanks to your treecat. Aside from the first one he attacked, he seems to have settled for blinding his opponents. I'm afraid only one of the ones you hit survived."
Did she get her treecat from Sphinx or Constantinople?
That's nobody's business but the Zanzibarans'.

More seriously, Nimitz was just trying to neutralize enemy troops as fast as possible, and a quick claw-slash through the eyes is one of the easiest ways for a six-limbed predator the size of a small bobcat.
Timeline and details of the Maccabeus scheme, laying that subplot to rest. Of course, Yu and the other Havenites were never told that the Council of Elders had an inside man and an actual plan. Maybe out of reflexive distrust of the foreign help with their own agendas, perhaps, as Alice Truman suggests, because the Havenites would never commit to such a long-term plan with so many moving parts and points of failure. At least not to the extent of risking mixing it up with the Manticoran Navy this early.
Also because Haven could not contribute meaningfully to the strategy's success, and because anyone who actually knew Haven's objectives would suspect them of NOT really wanting to let Masada gain solid control of Grayson. At least, not in a way that would leave Masada able to survive without Havenite support.

If Masada had openly conquered Grayson, then they might well need Haven to stop the RMN from kicking their butts up between their ears. But this way, the transfer of power would be a 'bloodless coup,' and the new ruler is a legitimate-ish replacement within the Grayson system. Manticore would be less likely to intervene, and Haven would therefore be of less use. So even if the Havenites had known about the plan, they would probably have actively gotten in the way of implementing it.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Terralthra »

Simon_Jester wrote:
Perhaps I'm an odd duck, but I had to look up Oliver Perry and knew Matthew Perry off the top of my head. The parallel had also occurred to me. First dating of the Diaspora, or the first colony ship's leaving Earth, as Perry's White Fleet (1907-09) was during the 4th Century AD. In the next book, a quote from Erwin Rommel is dated 160 AD, which seems a bit of a divide.
Well, it's not like Weber's never screwed up math, but yeah, since Perry's visit to Japan took place less than ninety years before Rommel's death, those numbers don't quite fit.

Then again, nobody said Mayhew got the date right; he might honestly think Commodore Perry went to Japan in the 1700s. Sort of like thinking that Seneca and Cicero were contemporaries. ;)
He's only off by fifty years. The diaspora technically began in 2103 CE, and Perry went to Japan in 1854. That's 249 ante-diaspora, the middle of the third century AD. Not all that far off for events that happened 23 centuries ago...
Simon_Jester wrote:
Ahriman238 wrote:Timeline and details of the Maccabeus scheme, laying that subplot to rest. Of course, Yu and the other Havenites were never told that the Council of Elders had an inside man and an actual plan. Maybe out of reflexive distrust of the foreign help with their own agendas, perhaps, as Alice Truman suggests, because the Havenites would never commit to such a long-term plan with so many moving parts and points of failure. At least not to the extent of risking mixing it up with the Manticoran Navy this early.
Also because Haven could not contribute meaningfully to the strategy's success, and because anyone who actually knew Haven's objectives would suspect them of NOT really wanting to let Masada gain solid control of Grayson. At least, not in a way that would leave Masada able to survive without Havenite support.

If Masada had openly conquered Grayson, then they might well need Haven to stop the RMN from kicking their butts up between their ears. But this way, the transfer of power would be a 'bloodless coup,' and the new ruler is a legitimate-ish replacement within the Grayson system. Manticore would be less likely to intervene, and Haven would therefore be of less use. So even if the Havenites had known about the plan, they would probably have actively gotten in the way of implementing it.
They do, really. As soon as they figure out about Maccabeus, Yu and the Ambassador to Masada try to figure out a way to delay the Masadan op long enough to get real Havenite ships involved. To my mind, this more or less papers over the flaw Vehrec sees - yes, at this point, the PRH could afford to throw away bigger ships on this op, but it ruins their veneer of being an "ally." Masada could, theoretically, afford Saladin. Start tossing around ships of the wall, and it gets a little obvious to everyone else that the PRH is engaged in proxy war against Manticore, with potentially huge negative diplomatic side effects down the road.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Crazedwraith »


Debate over Honor's request for a personal meeting. Meet Jared Mayhew, the Protector's hidebound traditionalist brother, and next in line for the throne after Benjamin and his son. He's not terribly worldly for an "industrial manager" but then, Grayson is very socially and religiously homogeneous.
No, he's not. He's the Protector's cousin. See the reference to the protector's Uncle Oliver? And The Protector doesn't have a son, just a younger brother.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Terralthra »

He has sons, just not at this point in the story.

HotQ takes place around 1903 PD, and his first son, Bernard Raoul, is born in 1913-14 (during the time Honor was on Cerberus in IEH). His second, Lawrence Hamish, is born around 1915-16, around the end of AoV or just thereafter.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Vehrec »

Dominus Atheos wrote:In what universe does Haven have a "better set of officers" then Napoleonic France? The Legislaturist officer corp is stated to be poor to middling, and after the purge and People's Commissioners it's even worse.
I'm specifically talking about Naval officers here-and as bad as Haven is, Poor to Middling is better than the Shameful to Abysmal display of un-skill that was the Battle of the Nile. Seriously, 1/3rd of the french fleet just sits there and watches Nelson tear into their fellows? You can't get away with such blistering incompetence in fiction.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Simon_Jester »

Vehrec wrote:Uggggh, see this is why I don't 'get' this universe. It's 'napoleonic war with the numbers filed off' except no, it isn't. It's broadsides with ships of the line, except nobody actually wants to look at what was involved in that and we go off and do something completely different. And here, rather than having things be easily cobbled together or building a squadron of LACs from spare parts with no definite purpose, as you might knock together a ship's boat from lumber, we run into a very 20th century style of thing.
Why is this a complaint?

Honestly, this ISN'T Napoleonic Wars in space, please check your assumptions at the door. It's "Space Wars in space, with periodic shout-outs to the Napoleonic Wars."
Then again, I don't think Webber likes having clever and inventive villains who actually show up his heroes.
Theisman. Tourville. McQueen.
Or even just ploddy but well-equipped ones. Bringing a small task force not a medium sized one, is part of that. Haven has the numbers to splurge with ships here, even to send a battleship or two, but they don't.
The ships they sent were perfectly adequate to the task, if they had been handled competently, rather than Masada forcing a screwy operational plan to achieve its own hidden political agenda. Theisman and Yu are both reasonably clever and competent, although unfortunately only Theisman manages to achieve anything against the Manties directly in this novel (Theisman puts one hell of a dent in Honor's plans by mission-killing the cruiser Apollo).
That's one of the curious things about the series, in that Haven keeps loosing despite having a better set of officers than the French
No they don't.
Vehrec wrote:I'm specifically talking about Naval officers here-and as bad as Haven is, Poor to Middling is better than the Shameful to Abysmal display of un-skill that was the Battle of the Nile. Seriously, 1/3rd of the french fleet just sits there and watches Nelson tear into their fellows? You can't get away with such blistering incompetence in fiction.
By Book Four, the internal climate of the People's Republic Navy is basically that of Russia during the Stalinist purges of the late 1930s. Incompetence is flagrant, though it more often takes the form of "fight foolishly" than "don't fight at all."
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

Post by Batman »

Heck even during the Legislaturist era they had competent officers. Theisman and Yu though they were small fry, and what about Parnell? Sure, he got his ass handed to him in Third Yeltsin but White Haven himself commented on how he was impressed by how Parnell still managed to get about half his force out (battered but alive) out of what was a picture perfect ambush by vastly superior forces.
The problem the RHN/PRN had for most of the series was that, Legislaturists and New Order alike, actual competence was considered a secondary commodity over loyalty to the system, so even in the early books piping up and saying 'Um-this is an incredibly stupid idea' wouldn't result in your superiors rethinking the idea, you'd get punished and somebody who toed the party line would replace you. This got infinitely worse under the Pierre administration, where failing at the impossible would result in not only you, but a lot if not all of your family being executed, with the expectable results in fleet performance. Ever since Pierre took over, they were essentially letting their paranoia towards the Navy guarantee that the personell most likely to be able to swing the war their way were the ones most likely to be eliminated for calling their lords and masters stupid.
Notice how the tides shifted after Theisman retire St. Just for keeps and was working with an achievement-oriented officer structure when the Manticorans went over to putting yes-men in positions of power in what remained of their Navy.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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"At the same time, Masada used nuclear weapons against planetary targets thirty-five years ago and has repeatedly stated its willingness to do so again. Now that 'Maccabeus' has failed, we must assume they'll do just that. Under the circumstances, I believe we must keep them as far from Grayson as possible."
Masada did get close enough last time to nuke Grayson. This isn't empty rhetoric, they've done it before and will again.

"You're correct, Commander. But there are offsetting considerations." She spoke firmly, minimizing the slurring of her words. "They know where Grayson is. If their goal is simply to bombard, they can launch from extreme range at near-light velocity. Once their missile drives go dead, even our sensors will have trouble localizing them for point defense. My ships could intercept most of them, but we're talking about nukes. We have to catch them all, and our best chance for that is while they're still in boost phase."
The feared c fractional strike. Seems less of a beast then I'd remembered, Honor isn't worried about stopping any of them, she's worried about stopping all of them.

"Yes, Ma'am." Alistair McKeon faced the Grayson officers. "What Captain Harrington refers to, gentlemen, is a newly developed reconnaissance drone. RDs have always played a role in our defensive doctrine, but like every surveillance system, light-speed data transmission has always limited the range/response time envelope. In essence, the RD can tell us someone's coming, but if we're too far out of position, we can't respond in time."

He paused, and several heads nodded.

"Our R&D people have been working on a new approach, however, and for the first time, we now have a limited FTL transmission capability."

"An FTL capability?" Calgary blurted, and he was far from alone in his astonishment, for the human race had sought a way to send messages faster than light for almost two thousand years.

"Yes, Sir. Its range is too limited for anything other than tactical purposes—our best transmission radius is only about four light-hours at this time—but that's quite enough to give us a marked advantage."
First FTL comm on recon drones. If we buy into "With One Stone," and enough crossover happens between the short stories and the main series for me to consider them canon, then Hemphill just came up with the idea two to two-and-a-half years before now, and had half the parts she needed already in production or research as part of her LAC swarm pet project.

Also, 4 light-hour range for early FTL comms, the range is one thing I'm not entirely sure they ever improved on.

"Basically, Admiral," he said, "it's a reversion to old-fashioned Morse code. Our new-generation RDs carry an extra gravity generator which they use to create extremely powerful directional pulses. Since gravitic sensors are FTL, we have effective real-time receipt across their maximum range."

"That's brilliant," a captain with Office of Shipbuilding insignia murmured. Then he frowned. "And difficult, I'd imagine."

"It certainly is," McKeon said feelingly. "The power requirement is enormous—our people had to develop an entire new generation of fusion plants to pull it off—and that's only the first problem. Designing a pulse grav generator and packing it into the drone body came next. As you can probably imagine, it uses up a lot more mass than a drive unit, and it was a monster to engineer. And there are certain fundamental limitations on the system. Most importantly, it takes time for the generator to produce each pulse without burning itself out, which places an insurmountable limit on the data transmission speed. At present, we can only manage a pulse repetition rate of about nine-point-five seconds. Obviously, it's going to take us a while to transmit any complex messages at that rate."
Workings of the FTL comm. Also, they can only manage roughly one pulse every 10 seconds.

"That's true," Honor put in, "but what we propose to do is program the onboard computers to respond to the most likely threat parameters with simple three or four-pulse codes. They'll identify the threat's basic nature and approach in less than a minute. The drones can follow up with more detailed messages once we've started responding."
How fortunate such a code already exists, as alluded to in Honor's earlier reference to Morse.

"I understand, Captain." Garret plucked at his lip, then nodded. "I understand," he repeated, and she was relieved at the absence of acrimony in his tone. "If I'd realized you had this capability, I would have approached the entire problem differ—" He stopped himself and smiled crookedly. "Of course, if I'd bothered to ask you, I might have known about it sooner, mightn't I?"

Honor saw amazement on more than one Grayson face, as if they couldn't quite believe what they'd just heard him say, and she wondered how to respond, but then he shrugged and smiled more naturally.

"Well, Captain, they say there's no fool like an old fool. Do Manticorans use that expression?"

"Not to senior officers, Sir," Honor said demurely, and Garret startled her by bursting into laughter. His guffaws reminded her of a neighing horse, but no one could have doubted their genuineness. He couldn't get a word out through them, though he pointed a finger at her and tried hard, and she felt herself grinning lopsidedly back at him.
See? Get Garret out of an impossible situation where his sense of duty conflicts with itself and his ego and sense of propriety are weighing in on one side, and he becomes a decent human being. Would that more characters could be so nuanced.

That's probably unfair. Even Clinkscales and Hauptman eventually come around, though one could wish for a middle ground between adoring Honor and being an unreasonable jerk.

"Well, Sir, as you know, we've evacuated our own noncombatants aboard our freighters." Garret nodded, and Honor shrugged. "Commander Truman's report included an urgent request for reinforcements. I'm certain that request will be granted, but those are slow ships, Sir. I'd have preferred to send one of my warships, but I can't spare Apollo if we may be facing two modern cruisers, and Troubadour's node damage would restrict her to impeller drive. More, she couldn't get much above the gamma band without reliable Warshawski sails. If one of your hyper-capable ships could be sent—?"
Seems Manticore is evacuating the noncombatants after all, including Houseman, and sending them home with an urgent plea for reinforcements. A warship or dispatch boat could make the trip in 10 days, figure twice that for the freighters and response, roughly a month before reinforcements can make it. True, ten days could be shaved off by sending a warship with the SOS, but the only one Honor can spare is the damaged Troubadour, which with it's drive damage would barely be faster than the freighters and of far more use here.

As for sending a Grayson ship...

"We can do it, Captain, but our hyper technology is much cruder than yours. Our ships are restricted to the middle gamma bands, and our Warshawski sails won't let us pull anywhere near as much accel from a given grav wave. I doubt we could cut more than a day or so off your freighters' time. Under the circumstances, I think we'll be better employed keeping what's left of the Masadan Navy off your back while you deal with the Havenites."
Grayson FTL lags a ways behind.

"He doesn't know anything about the Havenite ships' actual classes," the councilman corrected himself, "but he does know that Masada's put in an advanced base in this system."
And torture used to learn about the secret Masadan base.
"Something about towing their LACs over here," Clinkscales said, and Honor's eye widened in surprise. She'd never heard of anyone trying that! Which didn't mean it was impossible. And it certainly explained how they'd gotten them here. But if they had modern ships, why were they wasting time bringing over something as crude as Masadan LACs in the first place?

-skip-

"I don't think there's any way to know without actually trying it ourselves. No one else ever did it, as far as I know. In fact, I don't think they could have, if Yeltsin and Endicott were any further apart. As for how fast they can make the passage, they'd probably have to take it pretty easy, but as for how easy—" Truman shrugged.

"A lot would depend on what they're using as a tug, Skipper," McKeon offered. "The mass ratio would be fairly critical, I'd think. And they'd have to use something with enough tractor capacity to completely zone a LAC, too."
Limits of LAC towing.

"Oh, it's reliable, Captain," he assured her in a chilling tone. "They've put in a base on Blackbird—that's one of Uriel's moons," he added for Honor's benefit, and she nodded. That made sense. Uriel—Yeltsin VI—was a gas giant larger than Sol's Jupiter, with an orbital radius of almost fifty-one light-minutes, which put it well beyond sensor range of anything Grayson had.

"What sort of basing facilities do they have?" Admiral Matthews asked sharply, and Clinkscales shrugged.

"That I don't know, Admiral, and neither does he. Not in any detail." The councilman produced an old-fashioned audio tape. "I brought along everything he could tell us in case your people could make a better estimate from it. All he could tell us for sure is that 'Maccabeus'—" the old man refused to use Jared Mayhew's name "—diverted some of our own construction ships with Maccabean crews to help them build it. His wasn't among them, unfortunately, but he heard one of the other captains commenting on the fact that they've put in modern sensors. They may have a few Havenite heavy weapons, as well, though he's not sure about that."
Blackbird Base, and how it was built.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Ahriman238 wrote:First FTL comm on recon drones. If we buy into "With One Stone," and enough crossover happens between the short stories and the main series for me to consider them canon, then Hemphill just came up with the idea two to two-and-a-half years before now, and had half the parts she needed already in production or research as part of her LAC swarm pet project.

Also, 4 light-hour range for early FTL comms, the range is one thing I'm not entirely sure they ever improved on.
I think it is improved, but not by very much. What is really drastically improved is bandwidth. Here, in 1903 PD, the system is so limited that they are basically reduced to using code groups like Napoleonic flag signals. 15-20 years later, it's improved to the point where they can put fire control telemetry and videoconferencing through it.
How fortunate such a code already exists, as alluded to in Honor's earlier reference to Morse.
Actually, Morse code would be grossly inefficient for this. For example, to say the word "battlecruiser" in Morse takes 32 code groups. Even saying "BC" takes eight. But since Honorverse ship classes have only about eight kinds of ships total in the universe, they might as well just use "000" through "111" to represent them and leave it at that.

The most compressed data I can think of would be to have the first three pulses indicate the ship class, then a string of pulses in binary to indicate 'how many,' then the next ship class. It would still take several minutes to fully describe a large task force in the form "14 of the wall, 17 battlecruisers, 42 escorts."

Morse Code is pretty well optimized for a code designed to take the Latin alphabet and map it one-for-one into pulse trains. Not so well for anything else.
"We can do it, Captain, but our hyper technology is much cruder than yours. Our ships are restricted to the middle gamma bands, and our Warshawski sails won't let us pull anywhere near as much accel from a given grav wave. I doubt we could cut more than a day or so off your freighters' time. Under the circumstances, I think we'll be better employed keeping what's left of the Masadan Navy off your back while you deal with the Havenites."
Grayson FTL lags a ways behind.
Also, the Grayson ships are plausibly being employed just to keep the Masadans busy. This makes sense in the context of, say, an energy-range engagement, not so much in the context of a missile duel. But as we see, when Honor actually does tangle with the Masadan fleet, energy combat is involved.

[By the way, I really like the Battle of Blackbird, not least because it's practically the only battle in the entire series that goes the way people expected naval fights to work, as of the time the series began]
"He doesn't know anything about the Havenite ships' actual classes," the councilman corrected himself, "but he does know that Masada's put in an advanced base in this system."
And torture used to learn about the secret Masadan base.
Since you didn't quote the bit about torture, I'm not sure what you mean. Though I can believe it.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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The word torture is never used, but Mayhew believes that Clinkscales very carefully didn't tell him how they got the captured Maccabeans to speak so quickly. Then Clinkscales is eerily convinced that they know everything the Maccabeans in custody know, and that it's accurate.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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"Yes, Sir." The exec followed him from the cabin. "We only picked them up about five minutes ago," he went on. "We've been getting some funny readings from in-system, some kind of discrete gravity pulses." Theisman looked at him, and Hillyard shrugged. "Can't make anything out of them, Skipper. They're scattered all over the place, and they don't seem to be doing anything, but trying to run them down had our sensors looking the wrong way. They may have been decelerating for as much as thirty minutes before we picked them up."
Theisman and his people pick up the FTL comm pulses, but don't realize the significance.

"They're down to two-six-oh-five-four KPS, Sir," Theisman's plotting officer reported as Principality's captain stepped onto his bridge. "Range niner-two-point-two million klicks. They should come to rest right on top of us in another one-one-eight minutes."

Theisman crossed to the main tactical display and glowered at it. A tight-packed triangle of impeller signatures came towards him across it, decelerating at the maximum three hundred seventy-five gravities of a Grayson LAC. Three brighter, more powerful signatures glowed at its corners, but they weren't Harrington. Principality had good mass readings on them, and they had to be what was left of the Graysons.
375 Gs of accel/decel for Grayson LACs, that will change a lot. Theisman gets decent mass readings at 92 million klicks, at least enough to ascertain none of the ships he can see are Manticoran cruisers.

On the other hand, Harrington was good. The People's Navy had studied her carefully since Basilisk, and she might just figure she could take Thunder if the Graysons kept the Masadans off her ass while she did it. Theisman couldn't imagine how she'd do it, but he wasn't prepared to say categorically that she couldn't. Only, in that case, where was she?

He looked at the Grayson formation again. If she was out there at all, she was behind that triangle, following it closely enough for its massed impellers to screen her from any gravity sensors in front of it.

The only thing was, her record said she was sneaky enough to send in the Graysons like this to make him think just that while she was someplace else entirely . . . like waiting for any Haven-built ships to abandon their Masadan allies and make a run for it.
Uncertainty, never something your enemy can have enough of.

His eyes switched to a direct vision display filled with Uriel's bloated sphere. The planet was so enormous it created a hyper limit of almost five light-minutes—half as deep as an M9's. That meant Principality would have to accelerate at max for ninety-seven minutes before she could translate the hell out of here, and Harrington might have her cruisers smoking in on a ballistic course to pick off anyone who tried to run. With her drives down, he'd never see her coming till she hit radar range, but she'd see him the instant he lit off his impellers. That would give her time to adjust her own vector. Probably not by enough for a classic broadside duel, but certainly by enough for two cruisers to reduce a destroyer to glowing gas.
Gas giants can create a hyper-limit of their own.

"The task force will form up behind Blackbird as planned. Our base launchers will engage when the Apostate enter their range. Should any of the Apostate—or your Manticorans—survive that, we will be able to engage them with equivalent base velocities at close range."

"I see." That was probably the stupidest battle plan Theisman had ever heard, given the quality of the two forces, but short of running on his own, there was nothing he could do about it. And, from Franks' expression, he suspected the Masadans had their energy weapons dialed in on Principality. If they thought she was pulling out, they'd blow her out of space themselves.
The Masadan battle plan is to have their ships hide behind Blackbird, which will engage with their Havenite missiles. Missiles that are both heavier and longer ranged, even if the Grayson Navy wasn't driving hard towards them, than Theisman has.

The commander of Blackbird is, incidentally, the same who lost so many forces engaging Madrigal and stubbornly insists his tactics were correct and only Madrigal's impressive missile range made the whole thing so costly. I'll leave it you how much this informs his tactics here.

His own sensors were blind from back here, but the base's systems were now feeding Principality's displays . . . for what it was worth. The tight wall of LACs had just spread, revealing the far stronger—and larger—impeller signatures behind it. It was Harrington . . . and she was just as good as ONI said she was, damn it! Even as he watched, her ships were sliding forward through the Grayson wall, spreading out into a classic anti-missile pattern and deploying decoys while the Graysons vanished behind them.
Hiding larger ships behind LAC impeller wedges, interesting. Of course, if the base had sensor platforms out a ways, they could easily see around the ships blocking their view. But a good insight into how gravitic sensors work that objects can be shadowed that way.

Also amused that both Manticore and Haven intelligence use the same acronym.

Now it was time to see if that confidence had been justified. If those missiles had the endurance she estimated, they would accelerate to an incredible 117,000 KPS and reach eight-million-plus kilometers before burnout. Given their ships' closing velocity, that equated to an effective powered engagement range of well over nine million kilometers, and that meant the base should be launching right . . . about . . . now.
Haven missile ranges and performance.

There were thirty missiles in the salvo, more than Honor had expected, and they were big, nasty, and dangerous. Each of them massed a hundred and sixty tons, more than twice as much as her own missiles, and they put all that extra mass into tougher drives, better seekers, and penaids no shipboard Havenite missile could match.

But she'd suspected what was coming, and Rafe Cardones and Lieutenant Commander Amberson, Apollo's tac officer, had the squadron in a classic three-tiered defense plan. Fearless's counter missiles were responsible for long-range interceptions, with Apollo's and Troubadour's taking the leakers. Any that got through both missile layers would be engaged by the massed laser clusters of all three ships under Fearless's control.
The "classic" missile defense plan. Honorverse ships networking their missile defenses to avoid duplication of effort. Oh yes, and apparently the missiles provided for Blackbird Base are bigger and meaner than any haven shipboard missiles, which raises some interesting questions as to why Haven provided them to the Masadans in the first place.

A second missile salvo launched. It contained exactly the same number of birds, and she nodded as she checked the time. Thirty-four seconds. ONI estimated three-round ready magazines and a firing cycle of thirty to forty seconds for the newest Peep ground-based systems, so the launch times suggested thirty tubes were all there were. Now the question was how many missiles each tube really had.

She looked back to the first salvo. Their ECM was better than ONI had predicted. Fifteen of its birds had broken through Cardones' outer intercept zone, but his computers were already updating their original solutions and feeding them to Apollo and Troubadour. The attacking missiles' powerful drives gave them an incredible velocity—they were already moving fifty percent faster than anything of Fearless's could have managed from rest—but simple speed was no magic wand, and the range gave lots of time to plot intercepts.
More launcher stats and of course, both missile defense and offense improve as they refine their data on the opposition.

Good as Harrington's point defense had proven itself, her systems had to be working at full stretch. If Franks had been willing to hold his follow-up salvos till the range closed and she had less response time . . . But, no! He was trying to swamp her with sheer volume, when anyone but an idiot would have realized timing was more critical than numbers.
Bit of news to me, but maybe that's because I've gorwn accustomed to the sort of missile spam that's in the later books.

One of the missiles disappeared as Apollo responded to Wolcott's commands and blew it away, but two more kept coming. Fearless's computers had counted them as already destroyed before Point Defense Three put itself out of the circuit; now they were scrambling frantically to reprioritize their firing sequences, and Honor braced herself uselessly. It was going to be tight. If they didn't stop them at least twenty-five thousand kilometers out-
A point defense laser rejects instruction, but the master system reads it's target as destroyed anyways, forcing them to re-do things on the fly, at short range, and letting a missile in. Fortunes of war.

Her port sidewall caught a dozen lasers, bending most of them clear of her hull, but two struck deep through the radiation shielding inside her wedge. The composite ceramic and alloys of her heavily armored battle steel hull resisted stubbornly, absorbing and deflecting energy that would have blown a Grayson-built ship's titanium hull apart, but nothing could stop them entirely, and damage alarms screamed.

"Direct hits on Laser Two and Missile Four!" Honor slammed a fist into her chair arm. "Magazine Three open to space. Point Defense Two's out of the loop, Skipper! Damage Control is on it, but we've got heavy casualties in Laser Two."
So it seems Grayson doesn't have battle steel, which is both metallic and ceramic?

She couldn't know exactly what she was up against, so she wasn't taking any chances on getting her units caught in isolation by something big and modern. It was the smart move, since anyone who hoped to take her would have to hold his forces together or run the same risk of defeat in detail. But there was no way in hell Franks was going to beat her. That meant Principality wasn't going to survive anyway, and the options were different for a kamikaze.
Theisman. He's pretty intense sometimes.

The numbers were very nearly even, and the Grayson LACs were bigger and more powerful than their opponents while nothing in Masada's order of battle even approached Honor's ships. But Blackbird Base's sensors were feeding them targeting data before their enemies even saw them, and they got off their first shots before even Fearless could localize them.

The cruiser shuddered as a shipboard laser blasted through her starboard sidewall at pointblank range and a direct hit wiped away Laser Nine. A Grayson LAC blew up just astern of her, and Apollo took two hits in rapid succession, but fire was ripping back at the Masadans, as well. Two of their LACs found themselves squarely in Covington's path, and Matthews' flagship tore them apart in return for a single hit of her own. The destroyer Dominion locked her batteries on Saul and reduced the Grayson ship to a wreck, but Troubadour was on Saul's flank, and her fire shredded the Masadan ship like tissue paper. Dominion vanished in a ball of flame, and a pair of Grayson LACs went after her sister ship Power in a savage, twisting knife-range dogfight.

Ernst Franks cursed hideously as enemy ships tore through his formation. Solomon's lasers killed a Grayson LAC, then another, but the action was too close and furious for her computers to keep track of. She fired again, at a target that was already dead, just as Power blew apart, and then some sixth sense jerked his eyes to the visual display as HMS Fearless flashed across his flagship's bow.

The cruiser's massed beams ripped straight down the open throat of Solomon's impeller wedge, and the last cruiser in the Masadan Navy vanished in an eye-tearing flash as her fusion bottles let go.
Most of the battle of Blackbird. As they say, pretty much a knife-fight, but one the Masadans went into with sensor lock on the enemy.

It was too late. The destroyer behind her had timed it perfectly, and her first broadside exploded just behind the open rear of Apollo's impeller wedge. X-ray lasers opened the light cruiser's port side like huge talons, and damage alarms screamed like damned souls.

"Bring her around!" Truman shouted. "Bring her around, Helm!"

A second broadside was already roaring in, and a corner of her mind wondered why the Peep was using missiles at beam ranges, but she didn't have time to think about that. Her cruiser clawed around, interposing her sidewall, and two of the incoming missiles ran physically into it and perished before their proximity fuses could trigger. Four more detonated just short of it, stabbing through the sidewall into already shattered plating, and a seventh streaked all the way past her and detonated on her starboard side. Smoke and screams and thunder filled Apollo's bridge, and Truman's face was bloodless as her starboard sidewall went down and the Havenite closed in for the kill.
Theisman heavily damages- no, mission-kills a heavy cruiser with his dinky little destroyer.

Principality slewed to starboard, presenting her reloaded port broadside to Troubadour, but the Manticoran destroyer saw her coming, and her skipper knew his business. Theisman's entire body tensed as the Manticoran fired a laser broadside three times as heavy as his own into him, then snapped up to present the belly of his wedge before the missiles could reach him. Principality heaved in agony, and the plot flickered. Two of his birds popped up, fighting for a look-down shot through Troubadour's upper sidewall, but her point defense picked them off, and Theisman swore as the Manticoran rolled back down with viperish speed to bring her lasers to bear once more.

But Principality was rolling, too, and her starboard broadside fired before Troubadour had completed her maneuver. His ship bucked again as energy blasted deep into her hull, but this time one of his laser heads got through. There was no way to tell how much damage it had done—there wasn't enough time to tell what his damage was!—but he knew he'd hurt her.
On a bit of a roll, even as the damage mounts.

He never made it. Fearless came screaming back on a reciprocal of her original course, and a hurricane of energy fire ripped through Principality's sidewall as if it hadn't existed.

"Sidewall down!" Hillyard shouted. "We've lost everything in the port broadside!" The exec cursed. "Emergency reactor shutdown, Skip!"

Principality went to emergency power, and Theisman's face relaxed. His ship was done, but she'd accomplished more than Franks' entire task force, and there was no point throwing away those of her people who still survived.

"Strike the wedge," he said quietly.

Hillyard looked at him in shock for just one instant, then stabbed his panel, and Principality's impeller wedge died.
End of Theisman's Run, and killing the wedge as a sign of surrender. Or battle-damage rendering the wedge inoperable. Or the ship lying doggo, though it won't do that in the middle of a fight. Point is, it's a bit quicker with comm delays than calling the other side and saying "we surrender" which should probably be your next move.

"And now, Commander?" she invited. "Was there something you wanted to tell me about why the People's Republic attacked Her Majesty's Navy?"

"Captain Harrington, I'm a registered Masadan citizen," Theisman replied. "My vessel is—was—the Masadan Naval Ship Principality."

"Your ship was the destroyer Breslau, built by the Gunther Yard for the People's Republic of Haven," Honor said flatly. His eyes widened a fraction, and the mobile corner of her mouth smiled thinly. "My boarding parties found her builder's plaque, as well as her splendidly official Masadan registry, Commander Theisman." Her smile vanished. "Shall we stop playing games now?"

He was silent for a moment, then replied in a voice as flat as hers.

"My ship was purchased by the Masadan Navy, Captain Harrington. My personnel are all legally Masadan citizens." He met her eye almost defiantly, and she nodded. This man knew his duty as well as she knew hers, and he was under orders to maintain his cover story, patently false or not.
Shooting leave indeed.

"Captain, I don't know what you intend to do about the base on Blackbird, but I thought you should know. There are Manticoran personnel down there."

"What?!" Honor half-stood before she could stop herself. "If this is some kind of—" she began ominously, but he interrupted her.

"No, Ma'am. Captain Y—" He cleared his throat. "One of my superiors," he went on carefully, "insisted that the survivors from HMS Madrigal be picked up. They were. Thereafter, they were delivered to Blackbird to be held by . . . the appropriate local authorities."
Manticoran prisoners on Blackbird.

"They could have been worse, but they're bad enough, Sir." Her slurred soprano was grim. "Apollo's impellers are undamaged, but she has almost two hundred dead and wounded, her port broadside is down to a single laser, and her starboard sidewall is beyond repair out of local resources."

Matthews winced. He had far more casualties, and his entire navy had been reduced to two cruisers—one of which, Glory, was badly damaged—and eleven LACs, but it was the Manticoran vessels which truly mattered. Everyone in this room knew that.

"Fearless got off more lightly," Harrington went on after a moment. "We've lost our long-range gravitics, but our casualties were low, all things considered, and our main armament, radar, and fire control are essentially intact. Troubadour has another twenty dead, and she's down two tubes and her Number Five Laser. She's also lost most of her long-range communications, but her sensor suite is undamaged. I'm afraid Apollo is out of it, but between them, Fearless and Troubadour are still combat effective."
Damage wrought by Theisman and the Masadans.

The two of them had agreed he was the only choice to demand Blackbird's surrender, lest seeing a woman on the other end of the com link push the fanatics below into suicidal defiance—not that they seemed inclined towards reason, anyway. "They continue to refuse to surrender. I think they hope they can stall us long enough for their other Havenite ship to return and rescue them."
A concession to Masadan sensibilities, so they can try and get them to surrender, not that it works. Still, it was eminently sensible.

"I'm sure of that," Matthews agreed, plucking at his lower lip. "Unlike yours, none of our ships carry Marine complements, but we do have some smallarms aboard."
No marines on Grayson ships. Huh. Given that there are Masadan privateers who love to capture Graysons (particularly Grayson women) and take them home to be "saved" you'd think they might spring for some. But of course, there are no woman on GSN ships, and no Masadan privateer is likely to board one.

"Basically, Admiral, I have three companies aboard Fearless." Ramirez's accent differed from most of the Manticorans Matthews had heard, with liquid consonants that were oddly musical in such a massive man. "Apollo has another company embarked, although they suffered about twenty casualties in the engagement. That gives me the better part of a battalion, including just over a company's worth of battle armor. Our best current estimates suggest the Masadan base is much larger than we'd originally thought, with a complement of about seven thousand men. How many of those have the training and equipment to be considered combat effective is an unknown, but the total numbers give them a considerable edge over our own five hundred troopers.
The new Fearless has a lot more marines than the old one. Also, an underground base of 7,000 personnel? Constructing that unnoticed must have been a pain.

"I doubt any pure Masadan ground force could stand up to our battle armor, but the Peeps may have given them modern weapons, and three-quarters of my people would be in skin suits. In this kind of environment—" He shrugged, and Matthews nodded.
Skin-suits as make-do battle armor, they'll stop a small caliber pulser, it's said.

"Bearing all that in mind, the best plan I can come up with is one the tactics instructors back home would bust me to civilian for suggesting. Visual and radar mapping of the base have identified three main entry points, including the hangars for their small craft. I intend to pick one of those entries—the hangar area—and use brute force to blast my way inside, then punch right through anything in front of us and just keep going until we find our people, the central control room, or the power plant. Finding the prisoners would be the best-case option and allow us to pull straight back out. Failing that, the garrison will have no choice but to surrender once we control their life-support systems—or put ourselves in a position to shut them down by blowing their reactors. I hope."
The plan for storming a base with prisoners who may or may not be used as hostages. Well, I didn't quote it but at the chapter end Honor admits that any risk to the hostages from their rescue plan is probably still a lot safer than leaving them in Masadan hands while they starve the base out.

It wasn't supposed to happen like this. As Blackbird Base's CO, he'd known about Maccabeus, known all the military maneuvers were but window dressing for the real operation, and he'd wondered, deep inside, if perhaps the Elders weren't being just a bit too clever. Yet they'd spent decades creating the Maccabeans, and the Apostates' security had never suspected a thing. Surely that had been a sign God approved! And then the heathen Havenites had offered the final, crucial ingredient, the means to create the crisis Maccabeus needed. What better proof of the workings of God's Will could there be than the opportunity to use infidels against the Apostate?

Yet Williams had doubted, and in the nightmares which had haunted him since Jericho—and especially since the bitch's return—a fresh doubt had tormented him. Had his lack of Faith turned God's Heart from them? Had it been he who allowed Satan's bitch and her ships to thwart the Work?
Uh-huh. Don't think even self-righteous fundies think that way. Moving right along...

"Launch your birds! Launch your birds!" the weapons officer sang out, and two waiting fingers squeezed.

Quad-mounted fifty-centimeter rockets ripple-fired like brief-lived, flame-tailed meteors. Twelve of them blasted ahead of each pinnace—twenty-four one-thousand-kilo warheads with a yield man once could have gotten only from atomic weapons—and the pinnaces charged onward down their wakes.
So apparently pinnaces in ground attack mode can carry 12 missiles, each with a kiloton warhead. We don't hear a ton about pinnaces or assault shuttles attacking ground targets, so this should be a bit of a treat.

The final rockets smashed home, and the pinnaces' bow-mounted pulsers opened fire. Thirty thousand thirty-millimeter shells per second ripped into the smoke and dust billowing in Blackbird's thin atmosphere, and then they flashed directly over their targeting points and the plasma bombs dropped.

Most of the men guarding those portals were already dead; the rest died instantly as the heart of a sun consumed them.
Pinnace pulser fires 1,800,000 rpm, say what? Also, I noticed this in Mutineer's Moon and Honorverse short stories too, whenever Weber mentions plasma weapons he waxes rather poetic without a lot of the specific details he gives everything else.

They'd blown their way over a hundred meters into the base! Emergency blast doors slammed, and the captain licked his lips in terror as troop shuttles grounded two kilometers from the breaches and began disgorging hundreds of suited figures.
Apparently how deep the missiles and plasma bombs dig in.

The Masadan defenders went flat, rolling off into side passages wherever possible, and then the entire base leapt and convulsed again. This time each pinnace fired only a single missile, but those missiles' onboard radar took them straight into the airlocks their predecessors had blown open and down the passages inside them at eight thousand MPS. They carried no explosives, but their super-dense "warheads" struck the first sets of internal blast doors with the force of twenty-three and a half tons of old-style TNT apiece, and another two hundred odd Masadans died as the doors disintegrated in white-hot gas and murderous shrapnel.
And 23.5 kt kinetic impactors. Is it really a great idea to be using these things around people you're planning on rescuing?

"Launch your birds!"

Fresh rockets streaked downward, but these were much lighter than the ones which had ripped the vehicle entrances apart. Their warheads massed barely three hundred kilos each, and hangar doors blew open and surface domes peeled back like broken bone. A hundred and twenty battle-armored men and women fell from pinnace belly hatches like lethal snow, riding their counter-grav down into the gaping holes, and four hundred more Royal Manticoran Marines debarked from cutters and shuttles to follow in their wake.
And there goes the assault, preceded by a lighter flight of missiles.

Captain Hibson's people went down the passage with the speed only battle armor allowed. There wasn't room to use thrusters, and their exoskeletal "muscles" were real energy hogs, but in this gravity they let them advance in gliding, thirty-meter jumps, and terror went before them like pestilence.

Here and there a firearm barked and metal slugs whined off a Marine's armor, but Hibson's troopers carried tri-barrels and plasma rifles, and they moved with the smooth precision she'd drilled into them for months.
Moonwalk your way to victory. Interesting that the enhanced musculature is cited as the big energy hog, even over the thrusters.

The Marines' belt-fed tri-barrels pumped out a hundred four-millimeter explosive darts per second, with a muzzle velocity of two thousand MPS. That kind of firepower could chew through armored bulkheads like a hyper-velocity band saw; what it did to unarmored vac suits was indescribable.
The tri-barrel, sort of the Honorverse SAW fires 6,000 rpm with a 2 kps muzzle-velocity. Not quite twice a modern rifle's.

A terrified lieutenant turned to run, and Williams shot him in the back. The man went down, and his shriek of agony galvanized the others. They darted through the hatch, and Williams howled curses after them, firing until his magazine was empty. Then he turned back to the control room, and his eyes were mad as he calmly replaced the empty magazine and switched the selector to full auto. The sobbing lieutenant dragged himself towards the hatch, his blood a thick, crimson smear on the floor, and Williams stepped over beside him.

He emptied the entire magazine into the dying man.
Final stages of the commander's breakdown.
"This is Captain Susan Hibson of the Royal Manticoran Marine Corps," the cold, flat voice said. "We are now in possession of your central control room. We now control your blast doors, sensors, and life support. Lay down your arms immediately or face the consequences."
Bringing the ground attack portion here to a close.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Ahriman238 wrote:
Quad-mounted fifty-centimeter rockets ripple-fired like brief-lived, flame-tailed meteors. Twelve of them blasted ahead of each pinnace—twenty-four one-thousand-kilo warheads with a yield man once could have gotten only from atomic weapons—and the pinnaces charged onward down their wakes.
So apparently pinnaces in ground attack mode can carry 12 missiles, each with a kiloton warhead. We don't hear a ton about pinnaces or assault shuttles attacking ground targets, so this should be a bit of a treat.
Um-I think assuming a KT yield out of a one ton warhead just because of 'we'd have needed a nuke for that back in the old days' is something of a stretch. Any yield beyond one ton would likely require us to use a nuke, because, well, a conventional one ton warhead has a yield limit of-one ton? That doesn't necessarily make them KT level, especially with Weber not calling them that when he's not particularly shy about stating KT/MT levels in the series.
The final rockets smashed home, and the pinnaces' bow-mounted pulsers opened fire. Thirty thousand thirty-millimeter shells per second ripped into the smoke and dust billowing in Blackbird's thin atmosphere, and then they flashed directly over their targeting points and the plasma bombs dropped.
Most of the men guarding those portals were already dead; the rest died instantly as the heart of a sun consumed them.
Pinnace pulser fires 1,800,000 rpm, say what?
There was more than one pinnace and they presumably have more than one pulser, but yeah, that was perhaps a bit excessive. Given the number of times Weber mixed up gs and kps squared during the series I wouldn't be particularly surprised if what he intended was '30,000 rounds per minute' which is decidedly doable with modern hardware and several craft (or even a single gunship with several multibarrel cannon), but the book says what the book says.
The Masadan defenders went flat, rolling off into side passages wherever possible, and then the entire base leapt and convulsed again. This time each pinnace fired only a single missile, but those missiles' onboard radar took them straight into the airlocks their predecessors had blown open and down the passages inside them at eight thousand MPS. They carried no explosives, but their super-dense "warheads" struck the first sets of internal blast doors with the force of twenty-three and a half tons of old-style TNT apiece, and another two hundred odd Masadans died as the doors disintegrated in white-hot gas and murderous shrapnel.
And 23.5 kt kinetic impactors. Is it really a great idea to be using these things around people you're planning on rescuing?
Off by three orders of magnitude by your own quote? 23.5 tons of old-style TNT? Not something I'd use to blow up the door to the actual cell block to be sure but to blow open the airlocks to a facility the size of Blackbird with the prisoners probably somewhere deep within? Yes, 23.5 KT missiles would probably have been contraindicated. Probably why they didn't use any :D
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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:oops: :banghead:

First the Protector's family, now this. Sorry, I swear I can do math sometimes. Yes, 1 and 23.5 tons, not KT. And it's ambiguous whether 1 ton meant the missile's own mass or the yield, though I'm coming to suspect the former.


None of Fearless's small craft had yet returned, so she'd grabbed Troubadour's number two cutter. Commander McKeon, still dealing with his own ship's damages, would much preferred to have told her she couldn't have it. Unfortunately, she was senior to him, and since he couldn't keep her upstairs where it was safe, he'd assigned Lieutenant Tremaine as her pilot. Now the lieutenant trotted down the ramp in her wake, and Honor's lip twitched as she saw the heavy plasma carbine slung over his shoulder.

Pockets of Masadans still held out inside the base, and the chance of walking into trouble couldn't be totally ruled out—that was why Ramirez had assigned a full squad to babysit her and why she herself wore a sidearm—but Tremaine's weapon of choice seemed a bit extreme.
Honor orders McKeon to part with a cutter, a shuttle with thrusters instead of an impeller-equipped pinnace in case you forgot, so she could visit Blackbird base herself. Return of Scotty, now packing the sort of heat the Terminator wished he had.

"What's so funny, Corp?" a private asked over the section circuit.

"He is," Liggit replied, gesturing at Tremaine and chuckling even harder as he did a hop-skip-hop to catch back up with the Captain.

"Why? What about him?"

"Oh, nothing much . . . except for the fact that I used to be a small arms instructor at Saganami Island, and I happen to know he's qualified High Expert with the plasma carbine." The private looked at Liggit in disbelief for a moment, and then she began to laugh.
Scotty is a man of many talents, even before Chief PO Harkness got to him.

"I still think it would have been wiser to delay your landing." Major Ramirez greeted Honor in the mess hall which had become a POW cage. "There's still shooting going on in here, Ma'am, and these idiots are certifiable. I've had three people killed by grenade attacks from 'surrendered' Masadans."
Boo! Bad form!

"Captain Williams," she said courteously, "I regret—"

He spat in her face.

The glob of spittle hit the dead skin of her left cheek. She couldn't feel it, and for just one moment she couldn't quite believe it had happened, but Major Ramirez's left arm shot out. Armored fingers twisted in the neck of the Masadan's one-piece uniform, and exoskeletal muscles whined as he snatched Williams off his feet. He slammed him back against the wall like a puppet, and his right fist started forward.

"Major!" Honor's voice cracked like a whip, and Ramirez diverted the blow in the nick of time. His gauntlet smashed into the stone wall beside Williams' head like a mace, so hard flying stone chips cut the Masadan's cheek, and the red-faced, strangling captain flinched aside with a gasp of terror.
Power armor can apparently shatter stone walls, at least enough for flying splinters to be an issue if you're right next to the impact site. Probably wouldn't have done good things to the Captain's face.

"I understand your feelings, Major," she said quietly, "but these people are our prisoners."

"Yes, Ma'am. I understand." Ramirez drew a deep breath and turned his back on Williams while the captain wheezed for breath. "They're scum, and one of them killed a medic trying to patch him up, but they're our prisoners. I'll remember that, Ma'am."
That's going to be a touch ironic in just a little bit. Also, seriously killing the medics trying to save your life? The Masadans are just not making a good case for their captors to treat them well. Granted, the ship has probably sailed on that. Still, in their position and knowing that Graysons torture for information, I'd feel a lot like finding the nearest Manticoran and flinging myself upon his mercy.

They waded forward through the smoke and debris, past bodies and bits of bodies and blood-splashed corridor walls. A few Marines were down, for if none of the Masadan infantry weapons were remotely equal to theirs, these defenders had had a little more time to prepare, and the most fanatic among them had charged from concealment with suicide charges of blasting compound. Few had reached their targets, and most of those they'd hit were only lightly injured, thanks to their armor, but such rabid fanaticism was frightening.
And suicide bombers, can't forget those.

"We've found six dead so far, Ma'am," Ramirez grated without preamble. "Apparently this bastard—" he jerked a savage gesture at the headless Masadan "—just started walking down the corridor shooting prisoners when our point broke into the cell block. I—"

He broke off as the senior medic rose from beside the petty officer. He met the ajor's gaze and shook his head slightly, and Ramirez swallowed a savage curse.

Honor's single eye burned as she stared at the body, and the memory of how she'd kept Ramirez from smashing Williams was gall on her tongue while the major got himself back under a semblance of control.

"I'm afraid this isn't all of it, Ma'am," he said in a harsh, clipped voice. "If you'll come with me?"

-snip-

The young woman clung to her companion desperately, trying to shield her with her own body, and Honor stepped forward numbly. She knelt beside the bunk, and the young woman—the girl—on it stared at her with broken, animal eyes and whimpered in terror.

"Ensign Jackson," Honor said, and a spark of something like humanity flickered far back in those brutalized eyes. "Do you know who I am, Ensign?"

Mai-ling Jackson stared at her an endless moment longer, then jerked her head in a spastic, uncoordinated nod.

"We're here to help you, Ensign." Honor would never know how she kept her voice soft and even, but she did. She touched the stiff, matted hair gently, and the naked ensign flinched as if from a blow. "We're here to help you," Honor repeated while tears slid down her face, "but you have to let us have Commander Brigham. The medics will help her, but you have to let her go."
Masadan treatment of captives. May not actually be that typical, though Promised Land seems to assume this is so, it is mentioned that Captain Williams took out a great deal of his doubts and frustration on the captives "punishing the servants of Satan" so God would once again look favorably on the Masadans and their crusade.

Captain Williams looked up as if he felt her hatred, and his face paled. She walked towards him, shoving people out of her way, and the voice calling her name was even louder as its owner pushed and shoved through the crowd behind her.

Williams tried to twist away, but her left hand tangled in his hair, and he cried out in agony as she slammed his head back against the wall. His mouth worked, gobbling words she didn't bother to hear, and her right hand pressed the muzzle against his forehead and began to squeeze.

Someone else's hands locked on her forearm, shoving frantically, and the sharp, spiteful explosion of a pulser dart pocked the mess hall roof as her pistol whined. She wrenched at the hands on her arm, trying to throw whoever it was off, but they clung desperately, and someone was shouting in her ear.
Honor tries to execute the captive commander of Blackbird. Another probably career-ending mistake, but easy enough to see. Still shows that she has a temper at this stage in her life.


"but your lieutenant's right. You can't kill him." She stared deep into his eyes, and something inside her eased as she saw the agony and shame—and fury—in his soul.

"But?" she didn't recognize her own voice, and Matthews' mouth twisted in contemptuous hate as he glared down at the sobbing Masadan captain.

"But I can. Not without a trial. He'll have one, I assure you, and so will all the animals he turned loose on your people. They'll be scrupulously, completely fair—and as soon as they're over, this sick, sadistic piece of garbage and all the others responsible will be hanged like the scum they are." He met her eye levelly, and his icy voice was soft.

"I swear that to you, Captain, on the honor of the Grayson Navy."
Seems Grayson has a death penalty then. You know, along with the torture and the trial by combat.

Nineteen. Nineteen of Madrigal's people were alive, and that figure had been enough to crack Commander Theisman's reserve at last. There was no record of any survivors in the Blackbird data base. Apparently Williams had erased it, but it was Theisman who'd picked up Madrigal's survivors, and there had been fifty-three of them. Twenty-six had been women. Of that number, only Ensign Jackson and Mercedes Brigham were still alive, and Fritz Montoya's face had been terrible as he described Brigham's internal injuries and broken bones.
Not good numbers at all. I'm thinking Williams is not going to get out of the gallows.

"I believe you, Commander," she'd said wearily, then inhaled deeply. "Are you prepared to testify before a Grayson court on the matters of which you do have personal knowledge? No one will ask you why you 'immigrated' to Masada. I have Admiral Matthews' promise on that. But very few of the real Masadans are going to voluntarily testify against Williams and his animals."

"Yes, Ma'am." Theisman's voice had been cold. "Yes, Ma'am, I'll testify. And—I'm sorry, Captain. More sorry than I'll ever be able to tell you."
Thomas Theisman, continuing to be awesome by agreeing to testify against the command staff of Blackbird in a Grayson courtroom. Seriously, the whole series would have been entertaining if it was just Honor and Theisman going up against each other.

She had one damaged heavy cruiser, one damaged destroyer, and one completely crippled light cruiser, and she faced an eight-hundred-and-fifty-thousand-ton battlecruiser. What was left of Grayson's Navy didn't even count. She might as well shoot their crews herself as commit them against a Sultan-class battlecruiser . . . and her own ship was no match for one, either. A Sultan carried almost twice her armament, five times her ammunition, and sidewalls far heavier than her own. Despite Fearless's superior electronics, there would be very few survivors if she and Troubadour went toe-to-toe against Thunder of God.
Thunder of God has twice the armament of Fearless, 5 times the ammo, and is 850 kilotons. With a worrying margin of superiority in all but EW.

"But we know, Ma'am." McKeon's voice was quiet. "The freighters won't even make Manticore for another nine days. Add four days for the Fleet to respond, and—" He shrugged.
"I know." Honor looked at Truman. "Apollo's nodes and Warshawski sails are in good shape, Alice. You can cut five days off that response time."
13 well, now 8 days til they can expect reinforcements with Apollo (which has intact drives but gutted weaponry and sidewalls) racing to deliver the SOS.

Rage clogged his voice and smoldered like lava in the back of his throat as he admitted it. If only Tractor Five hadn't gone down. If only it hadn't turned out even the flux coil was shot. Twelve hours of repairs had turned into twenty, then twenty-five, and then that fat-headed, stupid, incompetent fucker Simonds had cost them another full day and a half with his fits and starts! If it hadn't been so insane, Yu would have sworn the idiot was trying to delay their return to Yeltsin's Star!
The beauty of it being that Simonds was trying to delay Thunder, to allow time for Maccabeus, instead he cost them the chance to be there for Blackbird.

"What are Masada's chances now, Captain?" Lacy asked after a moment.

"They'd have better luck putting out Yeltsin's Star by pissing on it, Sir. Oh, I could take Harrington. I'd get hurt-Star Knights are nasty customers—but I could take her out. Only it wouldn't do any damned good. She must have sent for help. All her warships were present at Blackbird, but if she sent her freighters away first, she could still have a relief force out here in ten or twelve days. And there will be a relief force—one that'll come in ready to kick ass and take names, Sir. We've destroyed at least one Manticoran ship; from Blackbird's final report, we killed some more Manticorans there, and Harrington undoubtedly has proof Principality was Haven-built. Whatever the Staff and Cabinet may think, the RMN won't take that lying down."

"And if Masada were in possession of Grayson when they arrived?" It was clear from Lacy's tone that he already knew the answer, and Yu snorted.

"It wouldn't matter a good goddamn, Mr. Ambassador. Besides, I doubt Grayson will surrender if they know help is coming, and that idiot Simonds is just likely to order demonstration nuclear strikes." He clenched his jaw. "If he does, Sir, I'll refuse to carry them out."

"Of course you will!" Yu relaxed just a bit at the ambassador's response. "There's no possible moral justification for slaughtering civilians or violating the Eridani Edict, and the diplomatic repercussions would be catastrophic."
Even the bad guys don't want to go throwing around nukes all willy-nilly, for reasons already discussed here. Good thing those Masadans are such rational people and know how to take a step back and say, "Ok everyone, good game, but it's not gonna be this-" just kidding, of course.

"In a lot of ways, I'd like to simply wash our hands of the entire situation, but once Grayson signs up with Manticore, we'll need a presence in Endicott worse than ever. And much as I'm rapidly coming to despise the 'Faithful,' they'll need us worse than ever with Manticore and Grayson both itching to chop them up. The trick is going to be keeping them alive long enough to realize that."

"Agreed, Sir. But how do we go about doing that?"

"We stall. It's all we can do. I'll send my courier boat off to request a 'visit' by a battle squadron or two, but it's going to take at least a T-month for anything to come of that. Somehow, we're going to have to keep Masada from doing anything stupid—anything else stupid, that is—while we simultaneously fend off any Manticoran counterattack against Endicott."
Good luck with that. You know, if I were Manticoran, or anyone living in the Haven sector, I'd be pretty skeptical by now of all these Haven "goodwill visits" and "routine maneuvers."

"All right. Then what we'll do is this. You'll stall Sword Simonds while I work on his brother and the Council of Elders. If we can prevent any further offensive against Grayson and keep Thunder intact, I'll try to run a bluff if Manticore moves to punish Masada. When they turn up, Thunder will revert to being PNS Saladin, an official Republican unit defending the territory of a Republican ally."

"My God, Sir—Manticore will never buy it!"

"Probably not," Lacy agreed grimly, "but if I can get them to hesitate, even briefly, over committing an open act of war against us, I'll have a toe in the door. And if I talk fast enough, and if Masada agrees to make massive enough reparations, we may just be able to prevent outright invasion of Endicott until our reinforcements get here."

"Mr. Ambassador, Masada doesn't have anything to pay reparations with. They've bankrupted themselves with their military budgets."

"I know. We'll have to bankroll them . . . which will be one more hook in our favor, if it works."
The new Haven gameplan to try and salvage something, a fleet base on Masada, out of this mess.

"Have we not known from the beginning that Manticore is weak and decadent? If our forces are in possession of Grayson, and if none of the Harlot's ships survive to dispute our version of how that came to pass, then what can she do? She will recoil from the Light of God, and His Hand will uphold us as He has promised It will always uphold the Faithful. And can you not see that He has given us the means to that end?"

Huggins' eyes burned with messianic fire, and his hand shot out to stab a long, bony finger at Deacon Sands' tape recorder.

"We know the infidels' plans, Brothers! We know they intend to divert and desert us, to enmesh us in their net-but they don't know that we know!" He turned his blazing eyes on the sword. "Sword Simonds! If you held undisputed command of Thunder of God, how long would it take you to secure Yeltsin's Star against the Manticoran ships there?"

"A day," Simonds said. "Perhaps less, perhaps a little more. But—"

"But you don't hold undisputed command of it. The infidels have seen to that. But if we pretend to be duped by their lies, if we lull them by seeming to accept their delays, we can change that." He stabbed the sword with another fiery stare. "How much of Thunder of God's crew is of the Faith?"
"A little more than two-thirds, Brother Huggins, but many of the key officers are still infidels. Without them, our men would be unable to get full efficiency out of the ship."

"But they're infidels," Huggins said very, very softly. "Strangers to the Faith who fear death, even in God's Name, because they believe it is an end, not a beginning. If they were forced into combat, where they must fight or die, would they not choose to fight?"

"Yes," the sword almost whispered, and Huggins smiled.

"And, Chief Elder, if the infidels of Haven were saddled with responsibility for an invasion of Yeltsin before the eyes of the galaxy, would they not be forced to at least pretend to have supported us knowingly? Endicott is but one, poor star system—would their credit survive if the galaxy learned that such as we had duped them into serving our ends, not their own?"

"The temptation to avoid embarrassment at any cost would certainly be great," the elder Simonds said slowly.

"And, Brothers," Huggins' eyes swept the table once more, "if the Harlot believed Haven stood behind us, with its fleet poised to grind her kingdom into dust, would she dare confront that threat? Or would she show her true weakness before the Light of God and abandon the Apostate to their fate?"
And the Masadan plan going forward. Step 1) agree with whatever Captain Yu says lulling him into a false sense of security before 2) seizing his ship, using it to 3) wipe out Honor's Squadron and secure the Yeltsin system so 4) ??? 5) PROFIT!!

OK, seriously, then they'll hope that Haven backs up their play to save face, intimidating Manticore into letting the new status quo stand. Neither of these last two steps seems terribly likely.
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Re: Bit of Analysis: Honor Harrington

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Ahriman238 wrote::oops: :banghead:
First the Protector's family, now this. Sorry, I swear I can do math sometimes. Yes, 1 and 23.5 tons, not KT. And it's ambiguous whether 1 ton meant the missile's own mass or the yield, though I'm coming to suspect the former.
Erm-the comment about us needing nukes to get that yield is a pretty good indicator that yes, Weber is talking mass (and it's not the missile, it's just the warhead).
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