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Eagleeye

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  • »Eagleeye« ist der Autor dieses Themas

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Freitag, 15. September 2017, 14:27

Snippets zum nächsten Roman "Uncompromising Honor"

Da David offensichtlich entschieden hat, uns mehr oder weniger regelmäßig (etwa 1x pro Woche) mit Nachschub zum nächsten Roman zu versorgen, werde ich die regulären Snippets an dieser Stelle zusammenführen. Die übrigen Snippets bleiben aber im "Neues von David"-Thread.
Snippet 1, Teil 1

Zitat von »David Weber«

JULY 1922 POST DIASPORA

Unicorn Belt
Manticore B
Star Empire of Manticore

The shuttle drifted through starlight and emptiness, a minnow threading through a pod of dead leviathans.

If there was a sadder sight in the entire universe, Captain Philip Clayton couldn’t imagine what it might be. He sat in the pilot’s couch, his copilot silent beside him, gazing out through the cockpit’s armorplast at a Sargasso Sea of starships, and wondered yet again what he truly felt.

It shouldn’t be that hard to figure out, really. He’d fought hard enough to create this mass of murdered ships, after all. Yet it had been an act of murder, not war. Not really. Not when the Solarian League Navy had been so utterly outclassed.

And not when it had been offered the opportunity to survive . . . and rejected it.

“I never get tired of seeing it, Sir,” Lieutenant Kalet said. Clayton looked at his copilot, and the tall, broad shouldered Manticoran shrugged. “It’s . . . it’s like nothing else in the galaxy,” he murmured, looking back out from his own side of the cockpit. “I mean, look at it.”

“I know,” Clayton said quietly.

Two hundred and forty-two warships – or what had been warships a T-month ago — floated in their lonely parking orbit, keeping deathwatch station on Manticore-B’s Unicorn Belt. A hundred and eighty-nine superdreadnoughts, eleven battlecruisers, twenty-three light cruisers, and nineteen destroyers. The superdreadnoughts alone massed over 1.3 billion tons. Compared to that, the battlecruisers and lighter units were a mere nothing, less than seventeen million tons. And here they lay, abandoned — aside from caretaker crews on half a dozen of the undamaged SDs — waiting.

Waiting, as it happened, for Phil Clayton, and he wondered again how he’d drawn the duty. Oh, he had the engineering background for it, but so did a lot of other officers, and he hated his new assignment. Maybe they had been enemy vessels, but they’d been ships, and he’d loved the inner magic of ships for as long as he could recall.

His earliest memories were of standing with his nose pressed to the window on the south side of his parents’ modest house, watching the atmospheric counter-grav freighters drive across the heavens, splashed in sunlight and cloud shadow, gleaming like the Tester’s own promise of beauty. Pygmies compared to the doomed ships outside his shuttle at the moment, of course, but enormous for pre-Alliance Grayson.

And even more so for the imagination of a little boy who’d realized even then that ships had souls. That anything that lovely, that graceful — anything that many men had given so much of themselves to — had to be alive itself. He’d watched them summer and winter, in sunlight, in driving rain, in snow. He’d watched them at night, roaring low overhead in a bellow of turbines, flanks gleaming with their own private constellations of running lights. By the time he was ten, he’d been able to identify every major class by sight. And when he’d climbed up into the attic (which he’d been able to do only when all of his moms assumed one of the others had him in sight), he could actually get an angle down onto Burdette Port’s docks, where those massive constructs landed.

Oh, the cargoes he’d summoned from dreams of other steadings! The pallets and boxes, the containerized cargo, the nets of fruit and vegetables. He’d watched stevedores unload the cavernous holds — there’d been far more muscle power and far less automation at the time — and wished he was one of them. And he’d devoured everything he could find in print and on vid about not just the atmospheric ships, but about the freighters that called on Grayson, however rarely, from far beyond his own horizons. He’d ingested anything and everything, from the ballad of the Wreck of the Steadholder Fitzgerald to the mystery of the colony ship Agnes Celeste and her vanished crew, and he’d known what he wanted.

Not that there’d ever be much chance he could have it.

His parents had been relatively well-off, by Grayson standards, but certainly not wealthy, and like all too many Grayson families, he’d been the only boy. Besides, Grayson was the backside of nowhere. The atmospheric freighters that fascinated him so spent their time hauling purely Grayson products and produce, because there was none from anywhere else. What chance did a boy from Burdette Steading have of ever seeing another star, smelling the air of a planet that didn’t try to poison him every day of his life?

That had been his father’s opinion, at any rate, and all of his mothers had loyally shared it, although Mom Joan had seemed just a little less convinced than the others. She always had appreciated that stubborn streak of his.

He never had gotten aboard one of the atmo-freighters. For that matter, he’d never gotten aboard a space freighter. But he’d gotten into space, anyway, and now, as he gazed at that endless vista of captive warships, looked at the torn and shredded armor — at the ink-black holes punched deep into core hulls and the blown out scabs of armor where life pods had erupted into space — he remembered another ship, in other battles. He remembered GMS Covington and the Battle of Yeltsin, the Battle of Blackbird. He remembered the stench of smoke and burning flesh through the ventilators, the scream of damage alarms, the incoming missiles and the indescribable shockwave of hits lashing through her hull.

He remembered a young lieutenant, who’d known he was going to die defending his planet.

But that lieutenant had lived, instead, because a foreign-born woman, already wounded from the battle which had saved his Protector’s life, had flung her ship and her crew between someone else’s world and those who would have killed every human being on it without her. Which was how a considerably older captain of the Grayson Space Navy, serving in the Protector’s Own, found himself here, playing sorter of the slain to the Solarian League Navy.

“What’s the latest from Seven, David?” he asked Lieutenant Kalet.

“They’re about ready for the first tranche,” Kalet replied, keying up the report on his uni-link, and grimaced. “They’re due to finish the last of the Yawata Strike wreckage by Tuesday.”

“I don’t know which is worse — that, or this.” Clayton waved at the silently waiting starships.

“Believe me, Sir, it’s the Yawata wreckage.” Kalet’s expression was grim. “These people,” he twitched his head at the same starships, “got hammered because they frigging well deserved it. We didn’t go looking for them; they came looking for us. I’m sorry it got so many of them killed, but that’s what happens when you attack somebody without bothering to declare war first. And at least every damned one of those ships was at battle stations, with everybody aboard in skinsuits. Not so much for the Yawata Strike.”

The lieutenant turned to stare out at the barely visible cluster of working lights that marked the enormous Unicorn Seven asteroid refinery. Unicorn Seven had been repurposed as one of the Manticore-B reclamation centers, processing the wreckage from the orbital infrastructure which had been torn to pieces in the Yawata Strike less than five T-months ago.

“The reclamation crews are still finding bodies Search and Rescue missed,” he said. “Last week, one of the Seven crews found their own forewoman’s cousin.” His nostrils flared. “I’m sure we’ll find a few bodies when we start scrapping these, too, but at least they won’t be our damned relatives!”

Clayton nodded. He was grateful he’d been spared from the cleanup after the Blackbird Strike, but he knew enough men — and women, now — in the GSN who hadn’t been.

“There was a curse back on Old Earth,” he said. “I don’t know if you Manties have it, but we still have it back on Grayson. It goes ‘May you live in interesting times.’”

“‘Interesting times,’ is it?” Kalet snorted. “Well, that’s one way to put it, Sir. More ‘interesting’ for some than for others, though.”

“Look at it this way,” Clayton turned back to the flight controls, “one day we’ll all be in the history books and some idiot child — just like the idiot children you and I were, once upon a time — will dream about how exciting and glorious it all must have been. Maybe they’ll be luckier than we are and not find out how wrong they are.”

DRM (...) represent(s) an exercise in mindless stupidity that would shame any self-respecting dinosaur
Eric Flint; http://www.baens-universe.com/articles/principle
Random pithy quote: Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.. (jiltanith.thefifthimperium.com)

Dieser Beitrag wurde bereits 4 mal editiert, zuletzt von »Eagleeye« (15. September 2017, 14:38)


Eagleeye

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Freitag, 15. September 2017, 14:32

Snippet 1, Teil 2

Zitat von »David Weber«

HMS Imperator
Manticore A
Star Empire of Manticore

“Excuse me, My Lady, but that report you asked for is here.”

“Don’t you mean that other report I asked for?” Admiral Lady Dame Honor Alexander-Harrington, Steadholder and Duchess Harrington, asked wryly, looking up from the readiness report on her desk display.

“Well, yes,” Commander Angela Clayton acknowledged. She wore the blue-on-blue of the Grayson Space Navy with the salamander flash of the Protector’s Own, but her accent was Manticoran. In fact, it was pure Gryphon Highlands. “You did ask for it, though,” she pointed out with something close to a twinkle.

Commander Clayton was a new addition to Honor’s staff, serving both as a liaison with High Admiral Judah Yanakov and as Grand Fleet’s logistics officer. A sturdy, no-nonsense sort, Commander Clayton. Although she’d been born in Rearson, the same barony as Anton Zilwiki, she’d become a citizen of Harrington Steading following five years of “loaner” service with the GSN, which explained why she habitually addressed Honor as “My Lady” rather than “Your Grace.”

“And what does Phil have to report?” Honor asked now.

“His survey crews are finished with the first half-dozen superdreadnoughts, My Lady,” the commander replied. The almost-twinkle in her eye had faded and she sighed. “He purely hates the assignment. Says it makes him feel like a swamp grubber.”

Honor grimaced at the simile. She knew Captain Clayton, just as she’d made it her business to know all of the Protector’s Own captains, so she understood what Angela was saying, but he was being grossly unfair to himself. The Grayson swamp grubber was one of the more loathsome carrion eaters in the explored galaxy, and it was none too picky about how its meal turned into carrion.

“That aside, his report’s about what we expected, except that his techs are a bit more impressed by the Sollies’ current graser mount than anyone anticipated.” Clayton shook her head. “I glanced at the specs, and he’s right; that is an impressive piece of hardware, My Lady.”

“Nobody ever said the Solarian League doesn’t have good tech,” Honor pointed out. “Their problem is they don’t always have the right tech when they need it.”

“Coupled with the fact that they think they do,” Clayton agreed.

“Point,” Honor conceded. She tipped back in her chair. “So, Phil’s impressed by it?”

“Yes, My Lady. He did point out that he can’t imagine what we’ll do with all of them, though.”

Honor nodded. No doubt quite a few people were wondering the same sorts of things, but they had to do something with the wreckage of Massimo Filareta’s Eleventh Fleet. That was why its surviving units had been moved to Manticore-B after the Second Battle of Manticore. The Massacre of Manticore, really, she thought, eyes darkening in memory.

Under normal circumstances, they might have been parked somewhere as a potential bargaining chip to be returned to the other side following successful peace negotiations. Nobody seemed likely to be doing any negotiating anytime soon, however, and even if they’d been inclined to, no one would want Filareta’s orphans back. In an era of pod-launched missiles, they were deathtraps, hopelessly obsolete both tactically and conceptually, however good the technology with which they’d been built.

Failing the possibility of repatriation, they’d normally have been sent to the ship breakers to be sawn up into chunks and run through the smelters and refineries for reclamation and separation. No one would have worried too much about the technology; all they would have wanted were the raw materials from which Manticore’s voracious orbital industry would have built the newer and far more useful technology the Star Empire needed.

But that orbital industry had been hammered into ruin by the Yawata Strike in February. Five months later, it remained less than a shadow of a memory of what it once had been. The fabricating plants to use the raw materials were only beginning to be rebuilt, and even with every gram of assistance Beowulf and the Star Empire’s new Havenite allies could provide, it would be at least six months before the fabricators and nano farms were back online once again. Even then, they’d possess only a fraction of their pre-Yawata capacity for a long time to come. Which was why Phil Clayton and his combined Manticoran-Grayson-Havenite salvage crews were crawling all over the captured Solarian ships. Their internal systems might be of Solarian manufacture, with all the compatibility headaches that promised, but they already existed. Under the circumstances, it made sense to see what could be removed for reuse — from fusion plants to reconfigurable mollycircs to point defense lasers — before the gutted hulks were consigned to the reclamation platforms.

For that matter, Sandra Crandall’s surviving units were Manticore-bound with minimal passage crews to share exactly the same fate. Hopefully they could find someone besides Captain Clayton to deal with them when they arrived.
DRM (...) represent(s) an exercise in mindless stupidity that would shame any self-respecting dinosaur
Eric Flint; http://www.baens-universe.com/articles/principle
Random pithy quote: Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.. (jiltanith.thefifthimperium.com)

Eagleeye

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Freitag, 15. September 2017, 14:34

Snippet 1, Teil 3

Zitat von »David Weber"«

“Well,” she said now, “if nothing else, we could probably use the grasers for hellacious wormhole ‘minefields.’ Have you seen the design Admiral Foraker came up with for that?”

“No, I haven’t, My Lady. I’ll bet it was . . . interesting, though.”

“Admiral Foraker does have a tendency to think outside the box,” Honor acknowledged with a smile. “In this case, though, what she’s suggested is basically an array of remotely deployed energy weapons. Capital ship-sized weapons, as a matter of fact. She’s thinking something like Moriarty, not Mycroft. In fact, she’s already worked out the quickest way to run up a remote platform tied into the central fire control system of a standard terminus fort.”

“I thought that was what the minefields we already have were for, My Lady.”

“Oh, they are! But those are basically one-shot, bomb-pumped platforms. She’s talking about feeding these things with broadcast power for the plasma capacitors. If her numbers hold up, they’d be good for at least five or six full-power shots each before the platforms had to shut down until the maintenance crews could recharge the capacitor reservoirs. So if these Solly grasers are as good as Phil seems to be suggesting, and given the fact that a Joseph Buckley-class SD mounts — what? sixty-four? sixty-five? — grasers, stripping a couple of hundred of them could let us build a really nasty defensive array, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, I think you could call it that,” Commander Clayton said, her expression suddenly very thoughtful indeed. The thought of what nine or ten thousand ship-of-the-wall-sized grasers could do to any target emerging from a wormhole terminus — when it could have neither wedge nor sidewalls for protection — was . . . sobering.

“I’m not sure how well it’ll work out in the end,” Honor said, “but I’ve observed that Admiral Foraker tends to get what she goes after. And now that Admiral Hemphill’s finally taken the Weyland R&D staff out to Bolthole . . . .”

Clayton nodded. The notion of sharing the Star Empire’s latest technology and research projects with a star nation with which it had been at war — cold or hot — for the better part of a T-century had . . . sat poorly with quite a lot of the RMN. In fact, there’d been enough passive resistance and foot-dragging to provoke a display of the famous Winton temper. Clayton hadn’t been present for the meeting at which Empress Elizabeth had made her feelings on the subject abundantly, one might almost have said super-abundantly, clear, but Duchess Harrington had. And it was remarkable how quickly things had begun moving after that little interview.

On the other hand, the commander thought with a mental smile, it would appear there’d been just as much foot-dragging on the Havenite side when it came to telling their erstwhile enemies and present allies exactly where Bolthole itself lay. Not surprisingly, since it was so much closer to the Manticore System than to the Haven System. In fact, it was the next best thing to six hundred light-years from Nouveau Paris . . . and less than three hundred and fifty from Landing City.

No wonder ONI never found it, she thought. We were busy looking for something in the Republic. It never even occurred to us to look on the far side of Manticore for it. And even if it had, a ‘lost colony’ would’ve been the last thing we looked for!

Still, Bolthole’s location did explain why the Legislaturalists had selected it as a site for their secret naval base once the system more or less fell into the People’s Republic’s lap. And as a Gryphon Highlander — not to mention someone who’d married a Grayson — Angela Clayton had a better idea than most of what it had taken for the people of the planet Sanctuary to survive until Haven’s survey crew rediscovered their existence at the end of the J-156-18(L)-KCR-126-06 warp bridge.

And how they found the place is a lot less important than what they’ve done with it since, she reminded herself. After the Yawata Strike’s devastation here in Manticore, Bolthole had become easily the largest single shipbuilding facility of the entire Grand Alliance, not to mention the site of the redoubtable Shannon Foraker’s R&D command.

So if there’s one place in the galaxy none of us want the people behind the Yawata Strike to find, it’s damned well Bolthole!

“Do we know how Bolthole’s coming on Mycroft, My Lady?” she asked, and Honor smiled as she followed the commander’s obvious chain of thought.

“It’s going to be a while before they get the system fully up and running,” she said, “but Admiral Hemphill’s taking along an entire squadron of Invictuses to provide Apollo and Keyhole-Two coverage in the meantime. And I understand Admiral Foraker’s already rung in some new variations on her sensor platforms. Once she and Hemphill sit down and put their heads together, the rest of the galaxy better hang onto its socks!”

“A thought that doesn’t break my heart at all, My Lady,” Clayton said. “Not one little bit.”
DRM (...) represent(s) an exercise in mindless stupidity that would shame any self-respecting dinosaur
Eric Flint; http://www.baens-universe.com/articles/principle
Random pithy quote: Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.. (jiltanith.thefifthimperium.com)

Eagleeye

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Freitag, 15. September 2017, 14:40

Snippet 2

Zitat von »David Weber«

SLNS Québec
Dzung System
Solarian League

“Well, Sir, all I can say is that it’s about frigging time,” Captain Gabriella Timberlake growled, standing at Admiral Vincent Capriotti’s shoulder as they gazed at the latest dispatch on Capriotti’s display. The fact that the Dzung System was just under seventy light-years from Sol meant Task Force 783 had gotten the new general order sooner than most of the rest of the Solarian League Navy, and Capriotti wondered how the Navy’s other flag officers were going to react to them.

For that matter, he wasn’t entirely certain how he felt about them.

“I can’t say I disagree, Gabby,” he said finally. “On the other hand, if the stories about what happened to Eleventh Fleet and Admiral Crandall are anything to go by, this could get . . . interesting.”

“One way to put it, Sir,” Timberlake agreed. “On the other hand, I think I like the thinking behind this. The bastards can’t have those killer missile pods and their damned superdreadnoughts everywhere!”

“They don’t need to have them ‘everywhere’ to ruin our whole day,” Capriotti pointed out dryly. “They only have to have them wherever we turn up.”

“I know, Sir.” The admiral’s flag captain shrugged. “Sooner or later, though, we’ve got to take it to them. And given what they did to Admiral Filareta, it looks like fleet engagements are going to be a really bad idea until our tech people can figure out how to match their damned missiles.”

Capriotti nodded soberly. The Solarian League did need to “take it to” the Manties after the series of massive black eyes the Star Empire and its allies had handed the SLN. Despite any misgivings he might feel, he agreed with the captain about that. He just wished to hell he was more confident those in charge of the taking in question had at least a vague notion of what they were doing.

He wasn’t prepared to wholeheartedly accept the Solarian news reports’ version of what had happened to Massimo Filareta. According to the Manties, Eleventh Fleet had opened fire after being summoned to surrender. According to the “usually reliable sources” talking to the newsies “speaking off the record” because they weren’t “authorized to disclose classified information,” Filareta had accepted their surrender terms, then been blown out of space in an act of cold-blooded mass murder. And according to any official ONI analyses, no one in Old Chicago could find his arse with both hands and approach radar well enough to give one Vincent Capriotti a single damned clue which of those diametrically opposed analyses the Navy shared.

Not a good sign, he thought again. Of course, Intelligence has been caught with its trousers around its ankles every step of the way this far. Maybe the real bad sign would be for the idiots to actually think they did know what happened!

Vincent Capriotti was Battle Fleet from the ground up, and he’d known dozens – scores — of men and women in the ships Crandall and Filareta had lost. Like Timberlake, he wanted payback, and not just out of bloody-minded vengeance, although he was honest enough to admit that was a great deal of his motivation. In addition to that, however, Capriotti had a rather better idea than many of his Battle Fleet compatriots of just how critical the Office of Frontier Security’s unofficial empire of “client star systems” truly was. And along with that, he recognized that OFS’s arrangements were far more fragile than they might appear. The Solarian League literally couldn’t afford what would happen to the federal government’s cash flow if Frontier Security started shedding clients, and unless they demonstrated that they could stand up to the Manties, that was precisely what was going to happen.

On the other hand, the one thing of which Capriotti was certain was that if the Battle — or massacre, or whatever — of Manticore had been as short as both sets of reports suggested, he did not want to tangle with the sort of defenses Manties seemed to think were appropriate for major star systems.

Fortunately, judging from the synopsis of “Operation Buccaneer,” that wasn’t what Admiral Kingsford had in mind. So maybe someone in Old Chicago did have a clue what he was doing.

Maybe.

“All right,” he said finally, turning away from the dispatch to gaze at SLNS Québec’s main astrogation plot. “I need to get Admiral Helland and Admiral Rutgers up to speed on this. I’m sure they’ll both have useful input. Once Rutgers stops warning us not to be overly optimistic, of course.”

His lips twitched and Timberlake actually chuckled. Rear Admiral Lyang-tau Rutgers, Task Force 783’s operations officer, had started out in Frontier Fleet and transferred to Battle Fleet barely twenty years ago. That hadn’t been long enough to completely free him of the basic Frontier Fleet attitude that Battle Fleet would have made an excellent paperweight, especially if that got it out of the way of the people doing the Navy’s real work. Along the way, he’d been known to offer pithy analyses of just how out of date Battle Fleet’s strategic and tactical thinking might have become and he’d argued strenuously that training simulations and fleet problems should be restructured to match the Navy against true peer competitors, despite the fact that “everyone knew” there were none in real life. When confronted with that fact, he’d suggested that it might be better to train against an opponent better than anyone one might actually have to fight. At least that error was unlikely to get anyone killed. Not, as his attitude had made evident, that he’d expected anyone in Battle Fleet to give much thought to that possibility.

The flag captain was pretty sure that attitude explained why an officer of Rutgers’s obvious competence and with the Rutgers family’s military and political connections was still only a rear admiral. But it was rather refreshing in a lot of ways, and she knew Capriotti both respected and genuinely appreciated his contrarian viewpoint.

Vice Admiral Angelica Helland, TF 783’s chief of staff, on the other hand, reminded a lot of people of a smarter Sandra Crandall. Of course, she could hardly have been a stupider Sandra Crandall, now that Timberlake thought about it. The contrast between her aggressive near-arrogance and Rutgers’s voice of caution made for occasionally fractious staff meetings, but it also offered Capriotti a robust debate between differing viewpoints. That was something he’d valued even before anyone started shooting at the SLN, which had been rare, to say the least, among Battle Fleet four-star admirals.

At the moment, Helland and Rutgers were in transit back to Québec from observing a training simulation aboard the battlecruiser Bavaria, the flagship of TG 783.12. Thanks to the classification level of the dispatch, they had no idea why they’d been summoned home so abruptly.

Be interesting to watch their reactions, the flag captain thought.

“Just between you and me, I’m all in favor of our not being ‘overly optimistic,’ Sir,” she said aloud, and Capriotti nodded.
DRM (...) represent(s) an exercise in mindless stupidity that would shame any self-respecting dinosaur
Eric Flint; http://www.baens-universe.com/articles/principle
Random pithy quote: Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.. (jiltanith.thefifthimperium.com)

Eagleeye

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Freitag, 15. September 2017, 14:43

Snippet 3

Zitat von »David Weber«

“You and me both,” he agreed. “Please have me informed as soon as they come back aboard. In the meantime, I’m going to the flag briefing room. I want to go through this ammunition manifest. And I especially want to review ONI’s most recent estimate of Manty missile capabilities.”

He shook his head, his expression turning grimmer.

“I’ve only skimmed it so far, but I’m inclined to think it’s still . . . overoptimistic, let’s say.”

Timberlake raised an eyebrow at him. She, too, had skimmed the new estimate. There’d been no time to go through the analysis itself, but the conclusions section had been depressing. Intelligence’s current metric gave the Manties and their allies a three-to-one advantage in throw weight, a thirty percent advantage in penetration aids, and a maximum powered envelope of thirty million kilometers. That was more than enough to be going on with, in her opinion.

“I’m not saying Manties are ten meters tall, Gabby,” Capriotti said wryly. “And the new Cataphracts can match any range they’ve got . . . if we incorporate a ballistic phase. But you and I both know Lyang-tau is right on the money when he says we totally underestimated what the Manties could do to us. Shouldn’t have taken a genius — or so damned long — for ONI to realize that, either, which says some pretty unfortunate things about our prewar analysts. Since the shooting started, though, the Manties’ve made Lyang-tau’s point for him painfully enough not even our brilliant masters can miss it. I’m delighted they’ve sent us these new missiles, and I understand that Technodyne’s tweaked their performance again. But until I’ve got something just a little more solid than ‘our best guess’ about enemy capabilities from the same idiots who brought us Sandra Crandal and Eleventh Fleet, I’m not going to make any rash assumptions about miraculously level playing fields.”

“Works for me, Sir.” Timberlake shook her head. “Better we overestimate them than underestimate them!”

“Fortunately it sounds like someone back in Old Chicago’s figured that out, too.” Capriotti twitched his head at the dispatch they’d just finished viewing. “I can’t say I’m delighted at the notion of blowing up anyone’s star systems. That’s not what I joined the Navy to do, and I have friends living in Cachalot, for that mattter. But whoever came up with this idea, whether it was Admiral Bernard or Admiral Kingsford himself, I think it’s the best one available to us at the moment. If we can cause enough pain to their peripheral star systems or the independent star nations trading with them, they’ll have to disperse at least some of their forces to commerce and infrastructure protection. And the more we can keep them dispersed, the more likely we are to encourage a certain . . . circumspection on their part until Technodyne finally figures out how to build a genuine multidrive missile of our own.”

Timberlake nodded, although both of them understood the additional point Capriotti had chosen not to make. Operation Buccaneer wasn’t just about forcing the Manties and their allies to spread themselves thinner. In fact, that wasn’t even what it was primarily about. Its real purpose was to warn anyone who might even think about signing up with the Manties, whether as ally or simple trading partner, that the decision would be . . . unwise. That the SLN would consider that anyone who sided with Manticore had just sided against the Solarian League, and that the consequences would be dire enough to discourage anyone else from following her example.

In fact, it was a terror campaign, directed against those unable to defend themselves. And if anyone might have missed that little point, TF 783’s assigned target would make it abundantly clear.

The Cachalot System, 50.6 LY from Dzung and only 49.6 LY from Beowulf, was an independent system which had opted against joining the Solarian League when it was initially founded. It was also a prosperous, heavily populated system which had been a Beowulf trading partner for the better part of a thousand years . . . and depended on the Beowulf System Defense Force to provide its rapid response security force. Its organic “military forces” consisted of no more than a couple of dozen frigates and LACs, because no one would be insane enough to attack someone so closely associated with one of the League’s founding and most powerful star systems.

Until now, at least.

She wondered just how explicitly Kingsford or Brenner, the CO of Strategy and Planning, had admitted Buccaneer’s true objectives in the detailed operational orders. And, while she was wondering, she wondered how many of those independent and nominally independent star systems would recognize that the League was choosing to target them because it dared not attack the members of the “Grand Alliance” directly.

Bit of a potential downside, there, Gabby my girl, she reflected, then shrugged mentally. Maybe that’s another reason to pick Cachalot. It’s close enough to Beowulf that systems farther out in the Fringe may not realize how lightly defended it is. Even if they do, we’ve got to do something, though, and thank God no one is planning on sending us after one of the Manties’ primary star systems! Given how quick they smashed up Filareta . . . .

Her thought trailed off, and she nodded again, more firmly.

“I just hope Technodyne – or somebody — gets its thumb out and moves right along with that multidrive missile of yours, Sir!”
DRM (...) represent(s) an exercise in mindless stupidity that would shame any self-respecting dinosaur
Eric Flint; http://www.baens-universe.com/articles/principle
Random pithy quote: Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.. (jiltanith.thefifthimperium.com)

Eagleeye

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  • »Eagleeye« ist der Autor dieses Themas

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6

Freitag, 22. September 2017, 21:48

Snippet 4

Zitat von »David Weber«

GSNS Protector Oliver I
Manticore Binary System
Star Empire of Mantiocre

“Honor!”

Michael Mayhew turned with a smile as Honor and Mercedes Brigham followed the earnest-faced young ensign who’d been their escort from Protector Oliver I’s boat bay. Soft music played in the background, stewards circulated with trays of finger food and wine glasses, and conversation hummed in the background as he held out his hand. Honor gripped it firmly, smiling back at him, and Nimitz chittered a greeting of his own from her shoulder. Mayhew laughed and extended his hand to the treecat, in turn, and Honor chuckled. Even as she did, though, she couldn’t avoid the reflection that Mayhew, who was twenty years her junior, looked at least ten years her senior. That was the difference between the third-generation prolong she’d received as a child and the first-generation prolong he’d received when he was already adult. And even so, he looked far younger than his older brother, Benjamin.

“It’s good to see you,” Mayhew continued, then grimaced. “I know — I know! We see each other a lot, either on the com or in person, but that’s always official business. I suppose this is, too, in a way, but at least the two of us don’t have to talk shop tonight!”

“That will be something of a relief,” she acknowledged. “There are times I find myself forgetting I’m an honest spacer, given all the time I spend in conferences, discussions, planning sessions, worry sessions . . . .”

She shrugged and Mayhew nodded.

“I know. And it’ll get even worse after the Beowulf referendum is certified. Getting them integrated into the Alliance is going to take some doing.”

“With all due respect, My Lord, not as much as you might be thinking,” another voice said, and Honor turned with a smile as a blue-eyed man in the uniform of a Grayson rear admiral joined the conversation.

“Michal!” she said. “I was wondering where you were?”

“Well, I wouldn’t want to say anything about the heirs of a planetary ruler short-circuiting proper military etiquette or anything like that,” Rear Admiral Michal Lukáč, commanding officer of First Battle Division, Sixth Battle Squadron, GSN said dryly. “But as I’m sure you and Commodore Brigham understand perfectly, the correct procedure is for you to be greeted by Captain White first.”

Honor looked around quickly, then back at Lukáč.

“At least you waited until that poor ensign wasn’t around to hear you,” she said severely. “It wasn’t his fault Michael here short stopped me!”

“Excuse me,” Mayhew said with a smile, “but unless I’m mistaken, I’m the brother of a planetary despot. That means I get to jump the queue when I feel like it.”

“The fact that you’re in a position to abuse your authority doesn’t make it right,” Honor told him. “And Michal is completely correct.” She craned her neck, looking for Captain Zachary White, Protector Oliver’s commanding officer and Lukáč’s flag captain. Since White was easily six centimeters taller than she was, he was seldom hard to spot. This time, though —

“Where is Zach?”

“Actually,” Lukáč said, “at this particular moment, he’s helping Misty deal with a slight emergency. Edward and a tray of canapés were in a head-on collision.”

“Oh, my!” Honor shook her head. “I am so not looking forward to Raoul turning eight!”

“Young Edward is actually very well behaved, especially by the standards of Grayson males,” Michael Mayhew told her.

“Yes, and this wasn’t his fault,” Lukáč said. “Despite Zach’s centimeters, Edward’s still not very tall, you know. The steward just didn’t see him. In fact, the real reason Zach’s helping deal with it is that Edward’s upset. He thinks he ruined his dad’s party, so I told Zach to nip off to reassure him and that I’d hold the fort until he got back. I think I remember reading somewhere that a good flag officer always has his flag captain’s back.”

“That’s what I’d heard, at any rate,” Honor said. “But what was this about ‘not as much as you might be thinking’? From where I sit, getting Beowulf fully integrated’s going to be something like Hercules and the stables.”

“I don’t think so,” Lukáč disagreed respectfully. “Oh, it’s going to take a lot of work, and a lot of details will need hammering out, but the truth is that Beowulf’s already effectively part of the Alliance. I mean, who’s ships do you think are out there helping rebuild after Yawata? And unless I miss my guess, Beowulf’s also who’s building the Mark 23s in our magazines. So what we’re really going to be doing is regularizing something that’s been going on on a de facto basis for months now.”

“That’s actually true, in a way,” Michael Mayhew acknowledged. “It’s the regularizing and the hammering out I’m not looking forward to.”

“No reason you should, My Lord,” Lukáč told him. “And, in fairness, it’ll be a lot easier for us ‘honest spacers’ who only have to worry about shooting at the enemy. Besides —”

“Is Michal already bending your ear, My Lady?” another voice asked, and Honor turned as Captain Lenka Lukáčová joined the conversation. Lukáčová was about four centimeters shorter than her husband. She wore GSN uniform with the four golden cuff bands of a captain, but she also wore the Chaplains Corps’ crosses on her collar, not the sword insignia of a line officer.

“He promised he wouldn’t do that,” she continued, gold-flecked green eyes dancing.

“And he isn’t, Lenka, as you know perfectly well!” Honor told her. “In fact, he’s hardly started making his points forcefully at all yet.”

“Give him time,” Lukáčová suggested.

“I’m sure. And how are you? Any problems adjusting?”

She’d tried to stay in the loop as Task Force Three, the Grayson component of Grand Fleet, settled into place. It helped that Manticorans and Graysons had been serving — and dying — together for two T-decades. But there were still differences between them and a much larger percentage of the entire Grayson Space Navy had been permanently stationed here in Manticore following the Yawata Strike and the emergence of the Grand Alliance. Despite the enormous strides Honor’s adoptive homeworld had made, Grayson remained a highly religious, theocratic society. The Manticore Binary System as a whole had less experience than the RMN’s officer corps with Graysons, and quite a few thousand Grayson civilians and dependents had arrived in Manticore to help support TF 3. Sliding them comfortably into a society whose basic constraints were sharply at odds with those of the society which had produced them was a nontrivial challenge. Lukáčová, as the senior officer of the Chaplains Corps assigned to TF 3 had a ringside seat for that sliding.

“Quite well, actually,” the captain said now. “Archbishop Telmachi couldn’t have been more helpful, although I think that most of your fellow Manties are still a little . . . bemused by the entire notion of official shipboard chaplains. Fair’s fair, though. Most of our people are still having problems with the notion that the Archbishop is only the senior prelate in a society which specifically rejects the notion of a state church. Some of my chaplains seem to have a little trouble understanding that he can’t simply wave his crucifix and make all of our stumbling blocks go away. You really are a deplorably secular bunch, aren’t you?”
DRM (...) represent(s) an exercise in mindless stupidity that would shame any self-respecting dinosaur
Eric Flint; http://www.baens-universe.com/articles/principle
Random pithy quote: Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.. (jiltanith.thefifthimperium.com)

Eagleeye

Rear Admiral

  • »Eagleeye« ist der Autor dieses Themas

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7

Donnerstag, 28. September 2017, 16:22

Snippet 5, Teil 1 von 2

Zitat von »David Weber«

“We stumble along as best we can,” Honor said dryly. “And let’s not forget that it was the example of our ‘deplorably secular bunch’ that got Father Church to reconsider his position on priests who didn’t have Y chromosomes.”

Michal Lukáč flung up his hand in the gesture of a Grayson judge at a fencing match, and his wife laughed.

“I’ve missed you, My Lady,” she said. “But you’re right, of course.” She rolled her eyes. “I can still remember all the apoplexy when Reverend Sullivan ordained me. I thought at least three of the Elders would be carried off to glory that afternoon.” She smiled in fond memory. “And the way they waffled about titles!” She shook her head. “Do you know how close I came to being Brother Lenka? The Sacristy had actually written a learned dissertation about the ‘sanctity’ of the title. Thank the Tester the Reverend cut them off at the ankles!”

“For some reason,” Michael Mayhew said to no one in particular, “for the last twenty years or so Grayson seems to have been producing an unconscionable number of uppity females. Can’t imagine how that happened.”

“Well, it’s certainly not my fault,” Honor said austerity. “In fact, it’s probably more Mercedes’ fault. Or hers and —” Honor looked over Lukáč’s shoulder as two more officers approached “— Captain Davis’s.”

“Whatever it was, I didn’t do it,” the dark-haired captain — one of the two dark-haired captains — approaching the small conversational group said.

“Her Grace was just explaining that it’s not her fault Grayson females are getting out of hand,” Brigham said dryly, holding out her hand.

“Oh, no!” Captain Elizabeth Davis, Lukáč’s operations officer said. “How could anyone possibly think that?!”

“Not enough we have to produce them in a homegrown variety, but we go around importing them,” Mayhew observed, still to no one in particular, and Davis laughed.

Her own accent marked her as a native of the Star Kingdom’s capital planet, but like quite a few of the officers who’d been “loaned” to the modern Grayson Space Navy in its infancy, she’d decided she liked Grayson. In fact, she’d become a Grayson citizen almost ten T-years ago. Lord Mayhew rolled his eyes at her laugh, but he also held out his hand.

“And we’ve been damned lucky to get them — all of them,” he said in a quieter tone. “Homegrown or imported.”

“I have to agree,” Honor said. “But you know, the really remarkable thing to me, even after all these years, is how well Grayson’s grappled with all the changes.”

“Part of that’s the example we’ve been given,” Lukáčová said. “And Reverend Hanks’s input at the very beginning was huge.” Her eyes darkened, and so did Honor’s as she recalled how the gentle Reverend had given his life for hers. “And Reverend Sullivan’s been just as strong in his own way, of course. But the bottom line is that unlike those lunatics on Masada, we haven’t forgotten the Book is never closed. They not only refused to stop listening to God, they started lecturing Him on the way things were supposed to be.” She shook her head. “We’ve had our own iterations of the Faithful to deal with, of course, but by and large, they did us a huge favor. All we had to do was look at them to see exactly what God didn’t want us doing.” She shrugged. “With that example, how could we not get it right . . . mostly, anyway.”

“I think you’re probably right,” the officer who’d accompanied Davis said. He was a good twenty centimeters taller, stocky and very squarely built, with a ship’s prow of a nose and a ponytail that reminded Honor’s Paul Tankersley’s. Unlike Davis, he spoke with a pronounced Grayson accent.

“It’s good to see you, James,” Honor said.

“And you, My Lady.” Captain James Senna, BatDiv 1’s chief of staff said. “Actually, though, I’m even happier to see Commodore Brigham. I was wondering if —”

“Stop right there,” Rear Admiral Lukáč said, raising an index finger.

“But, Sir, after that exercise yesterday, we’ve got to figure out —”

“You’re on dangerous ground, James,” Lukáč said solemnly.

“Sir?” Captain Senna regarded his superior with a suspicious eye, and Honor’s lips twitched.

James Senna was one of the GSN’s outstanding administrators. Although he was an excellent combat officer — one of the best — he was far more valuable in his current position. He didn’t like it, because he would far rather have been on a battlecruiser’s command deck somewhere, but he wasn’t the sort who complained. He was a no-nonsense, focused, very much to the point individual, however, and there were times when he found his admiral’s puckish sense of humor more than a little trying.

“Lord Mayhew just informed us, immediately before your arrival, that we are not to talk shop tonight,” Lukáč said firmly, blue eyes twinkling. “And as obedient subjects, it behooves us to obey him.”

“It’s a good thing it’s my brother who’s the despot — and owns all the headsmen — and not me,” Mayhew observed.

“Oh, I’m sure!” Honor said.

In fact, everyone in the GSN knew Michael Mayhew had been “navy mad” since childhood. Only the fact that it had taken his older brother so long to produce the male heir the Grayson constitution required had kept him out of uniform before Grayson had joined the Manticoran Alliance. And only the fact that Benjamin had needed him so desperately as his personal envoy had prevented him from seeking a naval career afterward. That was the real reason officers like Lukáč and Senna were prepared to be so informal with him. He was one of their own, and he’d always had a very special, very personal relationship with the GSN and its personnel. They knew how deeply he loved the Navy, and they loved him right back.

“Ah!” Mayhew said now as an extraordinarily tall officer approached them. “Captain White!”

“My Lord.” Zachary White bowed to Mayhew, and then to Honor. “My Lady.” He shook his head. “I’m sorry I wasn’t here to greet you, Lady Harrington. My son —”

“Admiral Lukáč told us about it, Zach,” Honor said, shaking her head as she held out her hand to the much shorter woman who had accompanied White across the crowded compartment. She was one of the relatively small number of civilians present, and on her, the traditional Grayson gown looked good. Although her particular version of it wasn’t quite as “traditional” as many. Honor doubted she was wearing more than three petticoats.

“Is he all right, Misty?” she asked, and Madam White smiled.

“I think he’s pretty much indestructible,” she said. “He was just so upset over ‘messing up Dad’s party.’”

“He really was,” Captain White agreed, and looked at Lukáč. “I really appreciate your taking over the host’s duties, Sir. His mom could tell him I wasn’t mad at him, but he was upset enough with himself that I think he needed the paternal reassurance.”

“Lenka and I may not have any of our own, Captain, but I’ve got five siblings,” Lukáč said dryly. “And thanks to Skydomes and our little population explosion, the last time I looked, I’ve got somewhere around — the number is subject to change without warning, you understand — thirty-seven nieces and nephews, at least four of whom have started producing children of their own!”

White chuckled, and nodded greetings to the other officers clustered around Mayhew.

DRM (...) represent(s) an exercise in mindless stupidity that would shame any self-respecting dinosaur
Eric Flint; http://www.baens-universe.com/articles/principle
Random pithy quote: Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.. (jiltanith.thefifthimperium.com)

Eagleeye

Rear Admiral

  • »Eagleeye« ist der Autor dieses Themas

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Wohnort: Halle/Saale

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8

Donnerstag, 28. September 2017, 16:23

Snippet 5, Teil 2 von 2

Zitat von »David Weber«

“How’s he doing overall — here in Manticore, I mean?” Honor asked Misty, and she shrugged.

“He misses his friends and his classmates, My Lady,” she said, “but it’s not like he’s not making new ones, and he’s actually ahead of his age-mates academically.” Her smile might have held a slight edge. “I don’t think those new classmates of his expected that. And the experience of actually living somewhere besides Grayson is going to be really, really good for him.” She shrugged. “Besides, the truth is that everyone here in Manticore is bending over backward to make all of us Graysons welcome. It shows, believe me.”

Honored nodded. As a steadholder — and, aside from Mayhew, the only steadholder in the Manticore Binary System — she’d felt a personal responsibility to represent the Grayson dependents who’d accompanied the GSN. Unfortunately, she couldn’t. There simply weren’t enough hours in the day, and so she was enormously relieved by how well things seemed to be going. And one reason they were going so well was the smiling woman standing beside her towering husband.

In many ways, Misty White was Lenka Lukáčová’s civilian counterpart. While Lukáčová dealt with the Chaplains Corps’s issues, Madame White was attached to the Grayson Family Support Command. Technically, that was a military organization, headed by Captain Leonard Fitzhugh and she was only a “civilian advisor.” Fortunately, Fitzhugh was smart enough to stay out of the way when Misty White rolled up her sleeves and went to work.

“I’m glad it’s going well,” Honor said now. “I’d heard reports that it was, but I’m behind the curve on a lot of things.”

“I can’t imagine how that could possibly be the case My Lady,” Misty said dryly.

“I’m sure you can’t,” Honor said warmly, slipping her left arm through Misty’s right. “But unless my eyes deceive me, it looks like Michal’s flag lieutenant is headed this way to tell us that now that the two of you have rejoined us, it’s time for dinner. And as you may have heard, I’m from Sphinx.” She smiled at the others. “Which is to say, I’m hungry . . . again.”

“My Lady,” Lukáčová said frankly, “I would kill for your metabolism. I really would.”

“Oh, yes?” Honor gave Misty a conspiratorial smile. “Well, if you think three o’clock feedings are bad for most children, you should think about trying to keep somebody with the Meyerdahl mods fed! My mom’s made a few . . . pithy comments on that task over the years. They include references to somebody named Sisyphus.”

“Oh, my!” Misty laughed. “I hadn’t even thought of that, My Lady!”

“Trust me, Raoul’s going to be repaying my karmic debt to my parents for the next — oh, seventeen or eighteen T-years. There are some aspects of parenting I look forward to less than others.”

“Maybe, My Lady,” Misty said, smiling as a petty officer came forging through the press of senior officers, towing a small, spotlessly clad boy child towards them. “But trust me, when the dust settles, it will have been worth every minute of it. Every single minute.”

“Oh, I believe you,” Honor said softly as she and Misty moved to greet young Master Edward White. “I believe you.”



Hillary Indrakashi Enkateshwara Tower
City of Old Chicago
Sol System
Solarian League

“Either there are an awful lot of these moles, or our search algorithms need some serious tweaking.”
DRM (...) represent(s) an exercise in mindless stupidity that would shame any self-respecting dinosaur
Eric Flint; http://www.baens-universe.com/articles/principle
Random pithy quote: Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.. (jiltanith.thefifthimperium.com)

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