Manticore and Haven will team up to take on Mesa and the Solarian League
Everything points to this happening, and it would be awesome
. The two best navies in the galaxy going up against the biggest one? Honor Harrington and Thomas Theisman commanding a joint attack on the Mesa system? Shannon Foraker gets her hand on Manticoran EW systems? Tester, let it be so!
- That's not even a guess — that's what more or less was explicitly said to happen in the books to come. Only MWW likes to be coy and tease the reader in his snippets only to take some shocking swerve later, so there might be some surprises.
- As of Mission of Honor it's confirmed. Also, given that transit time from Gregor to Potsdam is not that large, I doubt that anybody would beat around the bush and not get Gustav XI involved.
- I expect the Andermani will get involved (again) eventually, but it's going to be a tough sell. Of course, they also had an improbable assassin that fits with the known assassins altered by the Alignment.
- Not that tough, IMNSHO. These guys might be somewhat self-serving, but stupid they aren't. Their self-serving nature is actually advantageous to Manticore at this point — they "love" League no more their neighbors do, so alliance against Sollies is salable by the same logic as against Peeps. If they were willing to risk fighting one conqueror encroaching on their turf, why they should cop out when the other one appears? BTW, remember Benjamin musing about Solly reaction to the Grayson personnel aboard Manticoran warships when the shit hits the fan? Andies are basically in the same position.
- Additionally, it's pretty clear that Mesa assassinated one of the Emperor's family (the Crown Prince, IIRC) so if the Alliance can convince them of that fact ("This is a mission for Victor Cachat!") then they should be easy to bring on board.
- Word of God has been really vague on this point and refused to answer questions about the Sillies or Andies.
- As of later books, the Silesian Confederacy is no more. Now what was the Confederacy is parts of the Anderman Empire and the SEM.
- And amusingly, the Andermani have not formally joined the Grand Alliance only because Manticore and Haven asked them not to; if the Andermani are not part of the alliance, then they are not at war with the Solarian League. And if they're not at war with the Solarian League, they're perfectly free to sail through Solarian space and declare war on another officially non-Solarian planet. Named Mesa.
- Unless the Andies are already on their way, Mike is going to beat them there.
- Though given the plans for Houdini's acceleration, that's going to be a right fucking mess for Manticore if she does...
- Confirmed in Cauldron of Ghosts. Mike, leading Tenth Fleet, reaches Mesa at the climax of the book and forces the regime surrender, saving Victor and Thandi from certain death in a doomed last stand in the process. The Alignment has already executed its accelerated version of Houdini by the time she arrives, though.
Manticore will begin incorporating treecats into its military
If nothing else, it will provide them with additional numbers against the Solarian League. To start, treecats who have bonded with naval officers will undergo special training courses and receive officers' commissions, while sign language becomes mandatory among the RMN. They will then be assigned postings on warships, freeing up human officers for other postings. The ultimate end result, of course, is elite units of treecats used for infiltration... and Nimitz becoming Admiral
- Sorry to disappoint, but if This Troper remembers correctly, Weber is personally against the idea, at least for now. And to further complicate the matter, 'cats themselves do not generally care for the organized warfare. However good fighters they could be, their very society is not well suited to the regular military. And most of them are rather ambivalent to space (Nimitz notwithstanding). If one could really organize 'cats they'd make fantastic Marines, but I couldn't imagine putting a 'cat through The Crusher.
- This Troper is of the opinion that treecats would make very poor marines. Excellent infiltrators and bodyguards definitely but not marines. Their primary advantages over humans are their built in weaponry, empathic abilities and the fact that people tend to ignore them. These are all useful in small encounters in enclosed spaces against unarmored opponents but in a large battle against well equipped troops who know they're around these abilities are pretty much neutralized. At which point the fact that humans have a much higher body mass (and can therefore carry larger guns and more equipment) shifts the advantage firmly in the humans direction. A custom built warship crewed entirely by treecats would offer some advantages though. Primarily in the fact that treecats would presumably have significantly lower volume requirements for life support and living quarters.
- We seem to have a conflict of definitions here. In modern understanding, or at least usage, under which you seem to be laboring, marines are essentially a rapid reaction army units, not dissimilar to paratroopers etc — a relatively small and lightly armed, but highly trained force specialized in small-to-mid-scale, high-intensity conflicts, and they are used accordingly. I couldn't remember any real large-scale amphibious landings for at least three last decades, anyway. In Honorverse, on the contrary (or, at least, it seems so to me), marines are less these elite infantry units and more special forces — there are relatively few of them on each ship, and all real Marine action we see in the novels are quick commando-style operations, not securing a beachhead or something like that. And as for efficiency of 'cats as commandos — I think the novels speak for themselves. ;)
- There are several examples of Marines used as regular military units. The best examples off the top of my head are the fight against the native Medusans in the first book and the attack on Blackbird Base in the second. Additionally it's mentioned in a few places that the marines are providing garrison forces for captured Peep planets (and Masada). While cats might work reasonably well as infiltrators sneaking in to plant explosives, gather intelligence or possibly assassinate someone in a stand up fight against an armored human the Treecat would almost certainly lose.
- But what about armored treecats? ;)
- Building effective power armor for something the size of a treecat would be quite difficult; by historical standards the job of design would most likely take years. Even then, the 'cats lose all but one of their advantages over unprotected humans in combat: all that's left is their telepathy. It's just not worthwhile, especially when the total treecat population is so low (they're hunter gatherers) and the vast majority of their population has no experience with technology.
- Paul Tankersley had built several skinsuits for Nimitz essentially as a hobby project in his spare time, and officers don't have much of it, really. ;) And there are two major Powered Armor types in Honorverse — one is essentially a souped-up skinnie, with some protective plates and muscle fibers added, so it's neither difficult to produce (see above), nor would it limit 'cat's mobility etc. Heavy PA (read Astartes/Elemental type) is another kettle of fish, and adapting it for 'cats would indeed need a major design effort, but why should it limit their effectiveness I really don't see. Remember, we're talking about the civilization, that routinely defends against massive RKV attacks — which would require FTL computing, to be realistic. Why couldn't this civilization built a PA for the species with slightly quicker reaction than humans — I don't get. And from pure engineering standpoint, the shorter the limb the easier are quick and accurete movements, so designing a quick-acting PA for 'cats should be actually easier than for humans.
- The problem is what advantage does a power armored Treecat have over a power armored human in a fight? Defeating power armor requires quite heavy weaponry and the extra size of the human means he can carry significantly more and larger weaponry than the cat. The two primary advantages cats have over unarmored humans are that they are hard targets to hit and they have built in weaponry. The power armor essentially negates these advantages. Their claws are (obviously) useless and the computer support in the power armor would negate their ability to dodge shots. They would have a small stealth advantage (smaller power signature and all) but that wouldn't compensate for the fact that they would need to carry smaller guns and would probably have less ammo for them than humans. This means that they would have a much harder time killing a power armored human (due to less powerful weapons) and a shorter combat duration. There would be some benefit to have Treecat crewed starships (less mass for life support = more mass for weapons) and Treecats would obviously make excellent infiltrators but realistically infantry is one of the places where size matters a lot (heck, one of the characters says as much in the short story "The Hard Way Home").
- No, what they should do is just automatically give 'cats the same rank as their person. Nimitz still gets to be an admiral, and everybody wins.
- Collateral damage from the Mesan attack wiped out an entire treecat clan - one percent of all treecats in the universe. The 'cats might just declare war on their own.
- Remember, 'cats have two categories of enemies: those that have been properly dealt with, and those that are still alive. Ten bucks says that when Honor and Eighth Fleet show up at Mesa for their Roaring Rampage of Revenge, they'll have a colony of treecats with them. And after that colony gets dropped, any forces following to mop up are going to need literal mops.
- Confirmed by Word of God. The cats will not necessarily be bonded, but will be integrating in to the service after the Colony Drop convinced them on the need to integrate to survive and their chief role will be initially searching for modified humans. Also will be on Havenite ships!
- More specifically, in A Rising Thunder, Sorrow Singer tells Honor that the treecats have just as much of an interest in wiping out the perpetrators of Oyster Bay/the Yawata Strike as the humans do. To that end, unbonded treecats will now make themselves available as a kind of "early warning system" against any humans that have been programmed by Mesa's mind-control nanovirus. They can't sense such programming when it's dormant, but the instant the programming kicks in the affected human's mindglow will show definite signs that the 'cats can detect. It will probably provide only a couple of seconds' warning at best.
Pritchart and Theisman get adopted by treecats
The 'cats are smart, insightful and very pragmatic, plus they've shown an ability for long-term thinking—extremely long-term. They're already setting up colonies on other planets (smart of them, given the events of Mission of Honor).
Pritchart and Theisman are decent human beings, with extremely powerful "mind glow". It is possible, if not likely, that they will be visiting the actual Manticoran planets—where there are treecats.
I therefore speculate that either or both the Head of State and Chief Military Officer of a nation that has been at war with Manticore for over twenty years... will get adopted by small, furry, adorably cute and incredibly lethal
The 'cats gain access to an entire star nation (with dozens of human-compatible planets) that they can start colonizing in the long term. Pritchart and Theisman get little furry lie detectors that prefer to get paid in celery and petting.
And the Manticorans get a direct, albeit non-official link to the Havenite President's Office.
The only people that don't get a win-or-lose condition out of this are Pritchart's public relations people; they're going to have to explain to the paranoid populace that, no, the two of them have not had their brains washed, pressed, and dry-cleaned by Manticoran monsters.
- For starters, Havenite population is not paranoid. And they are just as tired of that damn war as Manties are, if not more. And as for 'cats — well, they do have their names for the pair already, and given their regard for the two (Theisman's name is Dreams of Peace, for Gods's sake!) — that might be a more that possible development. But we still have to wait a couple of years more.
- Why not Shannon Foraker? If anyone deserves a treecat, she does. She's almost as cute as they are, in a nerdy geek-girl sort of way.
- Treecats don't choose their adoptees for their cuteness.
- 1 will, 1 will not While Shannon gets a Love Interest and a Cat and a new friend in Hempril.
- Confirmed and Jossed. Neither are adopted and bonded, but the treecats decide to work as a bodyguards for important human allies as a way of becoming partners in the war against those who killed the Black Rock Clan. Theisman, Pritchart, and Tourville all get non-bonded companions who match their personalities well — Springs from Above, Sharp Claw, and Lurks in Branches.
- If any Havenite is going to get adopted, it is going to be Thomas Theisman.
- Why is it that every WMG page gets infected by people being cute with crossover ideas? It'd be nice to save them for things that conceivably could be true. Grumble grumble.
- Needless to say, his greenhouse is his TARDIS.
- But Wesley Matthews has been inside it too and he said nothing - unless he's his Companion?
This is why she is so very, very
good at all things combat-related. She's very careful about only using personal essence when using Charms to pull off the impossible, which is why nobody else knows.
Board Chairman Joan Kubrick is chairwoman of Beowulf's Board of Directors
She's the only member of the Alignment's heads of state that doesn't have their home system identified. We know Beowulf is run by a Board of Directors, there's no one the Mesans are more likely to keep an eye on, and having Beowulf as a founding member of the Renaissance Factor would be a surefire way to proof themselves from any accusation of being Mesan puppets.
Detweiler also, I'm sure, appreciates the irony of using their old nemesis as a cornerstone of Mesa's eventual triumph over Beowulf.
The largest reason Manticore had to go was because it was an alternative to the Factor for Beowulf; when the League falls apart, with the Manticoran Alliance still a going concern, Beowulf will just sign onto that, assuming it doesn't just go whole hog and request annexation by the Star Empire; with the way things are going, it's possible that Beowulf joining with Manticore will be the beginning of the League's collapse.
Word of God is Honor's distant cousin is the Director of Beowulf. That doesn't Joss it though because it means Honor herself might have Mesan roots but is unlikely since her family has ties to the secret war against Mesa.
- Doesn't work out that way. Penetrating Beowulf that deep 1) takes too much effort and resources that may be used elsewhere more efficiently, and Alignment works more on a indirect approach, rather than on such hands-on ideas, and 2) it takes too much time. It's very difficult to ensure a proper succession of a sleeper agent to his kids — who just don't feel the need to be a spies or agents against what for all intents and purposes is their homeland. Which, actually, was discussed in more or less the same language in Torch of Freedom. And, 3) penetration of that depth is possible only if Beowulf does not possess anything remotely resembling a functional counter-intelligence agency (which, judging by the efficiency of their intelligence agencies, it most emphatically does possess), and even then it runs too high a risk of blowing the cover.
- Are those their real names? Wouldn't those alone blow any "cover" by suggesting a pre-existing connection? ... "No, no... see it was the other way round. First we were an intergalactic club of people with 20th-century movie director names - then we got interested in politics."
- The Theme Naming, I believe, is just a Flint's Author Appeal — after all, it was Flint who made Kevin Usher a movie buff. ;) And it's explicitly said to be a rare and peculiar hobby, so to make this connection alone would require a rather unorthodox mind and a great deal of luck. And the point of problems with deep penetration still stands, I think.
- Seriously? The Alignment's biggest strength is that they're running one of the longest games in fiction outside Dune. It's very hard to detect an agent who is in place decades or more before they're tasked with doing anything. The biggest stumbling block, admittedly, is the problem of skirting the line between having kids that come across as Draco Malfoy vs. having the kids swallow the opposition's dogma.
- And that's exactly why I'm not buying it. If you want to successfully indoctrinate a kid, you must do it openly. Kids are pretty uncomplicated, really, and all fancy stuff you can use with adults, like subversive media, hints, indirect speech, etc. tend to fly over their heads pretty high above. Another problem, that it has to be done fairly early — teens are already too late. But if you tell your preschool kid that you're really a foreign spy and (s)he will be too, in future, you may rest assured that anyone in the kindergarten or primary school will know about at by the next day. Oops.
- Apparently jossed, if you read the Dramatis Personae list at the end of Mission of Honor. Kubrick is listed as being the board director of the "Maxwell Association." Whether that system has any ties with Beowulf or not is, of course, up for debate.
- In addition to that, it is specifically stated that all of the Renaissance Factor systems are in the Verge. Beowulf is, of course, a Core World.
- Aaand, Jossed again. The Chairman of the Beowulf Planetary Board of Directors is finally given a name in A Rising Thunder — Chyang Benton-Ramirez.
The Alphanes were a massively genocidal race of xenophobic pricks and/or ran right smack against the Great Filter
Let's do the math, here: There are 1000 F, G, and K class stars within 100 light-years of Earth, meaning that there would be 1,000,000 within one thousand—the radius of the explored galaxy in the Honorverse. In that volume there are "about a dozen" known sentient species. About 10% of stars in the galaxy are these classes, so if we take a conservative estimate of the number of stars in the galaxy, 100,000,000,000/10*12/1,000,000=120,000. There should be 120,000 sentient species in the Honorverse' Milky Way. Yes, they can "only" go some 40,000 times the speed of light, but still, we should have bumped up against someone more advanced than we are by now. Did the Alphanes kill them all? Or is whatever happened to the Alphanes the fate that awaits all sentient life in the Honorverse? (When I brought this up at the Honorverse wiki, someone said that there were more than a dozen sapient species in the Honorverse—which, if true, only makes things worse!
- Although there are "about a dozen" sentient species within a thousand light-years of Sol, only one of those species (the nuke-wielding apes from Planet III) have actually built interstellar spacecraft. There are doubtlessly other sentient aliens out there, but none of them have ever left home.
Mesa will use the Manticorian Threat for their own ends, doing acts in the name of Manticore to force them into decisions
Yep. Firebrand is back and purporting to work for Manticore offering support to various anti-OFS resistance groups in the vicinity of the Talbot Quadrant and planning to then leave them twisting in the wind. Word of some of the resistance groups has gotten to Mike and she's sending ships around to assist. Sadly, we don't get to see Firebrand's reaction when the Manties show up.
- Confirmed as a side plot in Shadow of Freedom. Mesan operative Firebrand is going to planets taken over by the OFS offering advanced weapons and claiming to speak for Manticore. The idea being that when these movements act and, more likely than not, fail, evidence that they were working with Manticore will appear, suggesting that Manticore offered them help and left them in the lurch, horrendously damaging their PR. So far luck's been on Manticore's side, One instance of this plan succeeding was averted when the rebel movement, and evidence linking them to Manticore, is completely destroyed. Another case had the movement contact Manticore independently of Firebrand, alerting the Star Empire to the plan.
Nimitz (or some other treecat) will get elected into parliament!
[[caption-width-left:250:You know it, baby!]]
Somewhat building on the above: Treecats will get humanity help them draft a formal declaration of war on Mesa.
- Treecats have been gradually becoming a more active part of galactic society. Not quite to the point of election to Parliament, mind you. But then, their adoptions by powerful people make them almost Almighty Janitors in a sense, anyway. They could get humans, like Elizabeth or Honor, to help them draft a formal declaration against the perpetrators of the Oyster Bay attacks. Maybe even a formal alliance with the rest of the Manticoran Alliance and/or Torch.
- 'Cats don't need any such pesky details like declarations and other useless paperwork. ;) They are direct, uncomplicated people. If they decide that they need Alignment dead, they'll see to that, plain and simple.
- Death by a thousand cats!
- You're probably right, but imagine the look on Albrecht Detweiler when he reads the declaration.
- ''Hiss, Hiss, Hiss, Screech... purr." - Nimitz
- This is effectively confirmed as of A Rising Thunder. While not put down on paper, Sorrow Singer negotiates to make the entire treecat race bodyguards for potential targets of Mesa's assassin nanotech, as they can detect the emotions of a person when it activates.
Mesa will get caught in the crossfire of the war they manipulated
Well, it's not that far off from the Talbott cluster or the Solarian League, if a massive Manticoran fleet were to "accidentally" end up in their system and a few hundred missiles "just happened" to impact Mesa...
- No, no, no, no, NO! If Manticore's going to do it, they'll do it proper. Which leads to...
Shit's about to hit the fan and get WIERD!
OK, not really a WMG for the title...more like "writing on the wall". Actual WMGs:
- The SLN fleet heading to Manticore won't even pause to realize that the folks defending the system aren't all the same folks that own the system...but will get curbstomped just the same.
- Shannon Foraker will get access to Manticoran R&D - after the week-long nerdgasm, she'll start improving on Apollo (much to Sonja Hemphill's chagrin). Haven's production lines will start churning out the joint designs just as existing stocks run out.
- Hell, just consider the potential effects of having Shannon Foraker and Sonja Hemphill in the same room. Technological singularity within five minutes.
- A Rising Thunder ends with Manticore R&D staff leaving for Bolthole.
- Haven goes after the Sollies for the deaths of their servicemembers killed in the Second Battle of Manticore. Meanwhile, Eigth Fleet goes for Mesa's jugular - along with a clan or three of treecats.
Hmmm. I better stop. The drool's starting to threaten to spatter on my keyboard.
- What I like to see (and I think will be seeing) is Renaissance Factor rearing its head with all the fanfare, only to be stomped to dust by Haven, as they steamroller the entire Solarian League. If anybody has the technology, population, industry and the will to do it post-Oyster Bay, it is the Republic, and Tom Theisman would probably gleefully dismantle every single plan Mesa had ever concocted and every hope they had.
- MWW most probably won't let him. ;) If you read his infodumps at Baen's Bar, you can see for yourself that he's a sneaky bastard and abhors the concept of a magic bullet with a passion. So Haven might try, but they most definitely will stumble into some unintended consequence of the RF plans, or will have some another block, whatever. After all, who kills a gold egg-laying goose? ;)
- The problem there is that Manticore and Haven are unlikely to realize that the Renaissance Factor are a part of the Alignment (at least initially). The Alignment's strategy is based around discarding Mesa and creating a new splinter state that has absolutely nothing to do with those murderous Mesan bastards. While Haven and Manticore have some information about the Alignment's long term strategy and goals they probably don't have any specific information about the more short term aspects so from their point of view once the League starts unraveling there isn't any obvious differences between the Renaissance Factor and other splinter states that may form (of which the Maya sector is likely to be one).
- The Mesan Alignment intends to destabilize the Solarian League and grow its Renaissance Factor out of the chaos to take its place. Manticore's plan, as proposed by Honor, is to destabilize the Solarian League into smaller forces which could be dealt with individually (either diplomatically or militarily) in order to avoid being squished by the sheer mass of the unimaginably larger Solarian League as a whole. I strongly suspect we will see the SL fracture, with some groups more closely allied with Mesa and some with Manticore. Then they will fight it out.
- The Renaissance Factor may even ally itself with the Grand Alliance against the Mesan Alignment, as part of a vast False Flag Operation to further screw with their enemies.
- Oh how delicious that would be...
Wix and Kare will develop a Spider Drive detector
1) Wormholes have been described as holes between hyperspace and normal space. 2) Spider-drive ships punch holes from normal space into hyperspace to move. 3) Manticore has the galaxy's most experienced team of wormhole detectors on staff. 4) Said team was very conspicuously kept alive when Harvest Joy was lost.
- So you're saying they'll develop some sort of Spider-Sensor?
- I had a thought on this earlier: Spider drive works by grabbing the hyper wall with massively powerful tractor-beams right? (go re-read that bit in Mission of Honor if you want to check) And grav-pulses are detected faster than light because they ripple along that hyper wall right? Well, seems not unreasonable to me that while a Spider drive might not produce a grav pulse along the hyper wall, they might just create regions of that wall which don't propagate grav-pulses correctly. Maybe which even cause pulses to reflect back towards where they came from. Kinda like how big hunks of metal reflect electro-magnetic waves back in the vague direction of where they come from. Which for the benefit of any laymen who've wandered in is exactly how radar works IRL.
Beowulf will join the Star Empire.
Given the fact that the united Havenite/SEM Force will propably utter Curb-Stomp Battle
the Solarians in the Second Battle of Manticore the League will use this to officially declare war (instead of a police action) and scare the hell out of the Assembly to do so. Beowulf will object (and veto) and in response gets kicked out of the League (it is an option, according to Worlds Of Honor).
Then the SLN will try to take over the Beowulf junction (which the Beowulf System Defense Force controlls) only to find out that the BSDF has the same toys as the RMN, while the Board of Directors negotiates to join the Star Empire as "Beowulf Quadrant"...in the end supporting Mesas plans to fracture the League
- Confirmed. This is the major story arc of A Rising Thunder. All of the above pretty much happens, with a few minor details off. They aren't starting a "quadrant" or joining the Empire itself, but they are leaving the SLN and several neighbors are considering leaving with them. And they are all but stated to have joined the Grand Alliance.
- One more small difference: not only BSDF have all the latest Manticoran toys (which they prefer not to advertise having, though), but the Sollies coming to get them meet the RMN itself. Luckily for the people involved, their commander was smarter than Byng and Crandall, and, unlike Filareta, her ship didn't have Mesan agents.
Queen Elizabeth is a Mesan deep-cover agent
For one thing, we already know she's a Genie, like all of the members of the Alignment are. Also, she has proven quite effective in the past at screwing things up exactly in Mesa's favor. And as of Torch of Freedom and Mission of Honor, it seems like every other person in the galaxy is a Mesan deep cover agent at this point, so why shouldn't she join the club too?
Everybody is a Mesan deep-cover agent
It is a Kansas City Shuffle
the likes of which has never been seen, and everybody
is playing a part in the same grand Mesan plot and have no idea that they are all on the same side.
Everybody is either a Mesan deep-cover agent or under treecat mind control
The whole series is actually a game of Xanatos Speed Chess
between Albrecht Detweiler and Ariel (Elizabeth's 'cat).
- Albrecht Detweiler is actually trying to prevent Mankind's grim fate, the tyranny of six-limbed puppet masters.
- Come to think of it...treecats are now perfectly in place near all positions of authority in Grand Alliance space. Every fleet admiral has a treecat bodyguard to prevent their mesassination, same for any important government official. Key infrastructure is guarded against sabotage by treecats. And so on...Hmmm.
Honor and Nimitz are going to end up in a hand-to-hand fight with Albrecht Detweiler
And he will prove to be far more of a handful than they could have expected, thanks to his various augmentations. Possibly he will have assistance from his Alphabetically Aligned offspring.
- He'll need it. Treecats go through unarmored humans like a hot chainsaw through butter.
- If they can get to them without getting shot first. Remember what happened to the treecat who tried to take out the programmed assassin on Torch.
Honor got the note added to Scotty's personnel file
In book 12, a personnel officer finally reveals that they're well aware of the tricks Scotty and Harkness have been pulling to get assigned to the same ship and they were unnecessary since there is a note on his file to keep them together. At the end of book 1, Honor asks Andreas Venizelos whether he has fixed an unspecified crew list mix-up, to which he replies that BuPers has accepted the fault and it should be all sorted out. In book 6 she is aware of the kinds of tricks they employ and wonders to herself whether they're even necessary. Finally, in book 1 they were treated almost as heroes, albeit mostly because they were the ones bringing in the high bounties for intercepting smugglers and thus making the entire crew comfortably wealthy.
- But how do we know that it wasn't Harkness who added the note, just in case...?
- Because BuPers were well aware of his hacking and still considered the note to be genuine, indicating they either checked its authenticity, or simply went to someone senior with Scotty and Harkness' records and decided to let the note stand as their performance justified it anyway.
- In Ashes Of Victory, after getting knighted and awarded Manticore's highest honour Harkness mentions that he has spoken with someone high up about reforming in exchange for being let off over certain past indiscretions. Reading between the lines, the deliberately vague mention of BuPers could mean that he simply asked nicely while he was in their good graces.
"Charles" works for Beowulf Intelligence
"Charles" the supposedly rogue arms dealer has shown up in two short stories trying to scam the Peeps by selling them flashy, but ultimately useless, military hardware. Given that he could likely make just as much money selling useful military hardware to the peeps and a few hints in the second story that he is more than he appears he is presumably not a rogue arms dealer. So who is he working for? Beowulf Intelligence would seem to be the logical choice. Beowulf is known to have a good intelligence agency and a willingness to clandestinely act in Manticore's interests.
- It is, of course, also possible that he was a Mesan Alignment agent who was making sure that the Manties and Havenites stay balanced in order to keep either one from consolidating control in the Haven Quadrant.
- The problem with that idea is that the stuff he was selling the peeps was not particularly useful and them adopting it would actually help Manticore since they'd be wasting resources.
- Possibly Mesa believed Manticore would lose the war with Haven (not knowing they are the protagonists, obviously) and had to do everything they could to keep them in the game. Mesans aren't clairvoyant, after all.
The Mesan Alignment was not expecting the Haven-Manticore Alliance
And thus, their carefully-plotted plots are about to very quickly unravel beyond their control
. They wanted
a war between the Manties and the Sollies to destabilize the League and give them an opportunity to make their power grab, using their secretly developed technology to give them a foot up on any League loyalists, and to serve as a rude surprise to the Manties and their friends. They did not
want Haven and Manticore to realize what they were up to, have key information on some of their new technology land in their laps, and team up to form a united front
against the Sollies and Mesans.
They want the League to disintegrate amidst an atmosphere of general chaos, with the Manties fighting major wars against both the League and the Republic. Having the Republic and the Empire join forces not only means the Manties are not fighting a two-front war, but it also
means they have received significant reinforcements, and they all know who their real
enemies are. Assuming the more bloodthirsty Manties and Havenites can be kept in line, of course. There's nothing to say the Mesans can't try to fervent some revolutionary fervor amidst the Havenites against their government. It's not like that'd be a new
development for Haven.
The basic principles of both universes' technology line up in that the main thing that they run on is gravity manipulation. Some other things like tactics for dreadnoughts and fighters/LA Cs
match up as well, being long range slugfests and swarming respectively.
- Unless my memory fails me completely, HH predates Mass Effect. Also, Mass Effect very much still uses reaction drives for primary thrust - remember that the Tantalus (? - the gravity-only drive the Normandy uses) drive isn't in general use as it's too freaking expensive to use up that much eezo.
- OP here. It's not perfect but the basic premise is the same, just developed in different directions. And Mass Effect could be an alternate universe of HH too. Anyways, the idea was too awesome to pass up.
Mesa will be occupied very quickly
While they aren't quite aware of the Alignment, Haven and Manticore are aware that Mesa is a threat. Once they start pushing into League space, they will have no reason not to take Mesa as soon as possible. Of course, by this point, the Alignment will have moved to other worlds, and part of the plot will be finding
their base of operations.
- Entirely likely. Mesa is only about 150 lightyears (Less than a month's travel for current Manticorian/Haven warships) from the Lynx terminus.
- Don't forget that the wormhole, which the Harvest Joy was destroyed studying, is heavily implied to lead to the secret Alignment homeworld. That's probably a major Chekhov's Gun.
- It only takes one person to spill the beans, and as of the end of Cauldron of Ghosts, Zachariah Mc Bryde, Jack Mc Bryde's brother, who has been evacuated along with the rest of the onion - being forced to leave his family behind in the process, and having seen his closest remaining friend gruesomely killed - is well and truly disaffected. Don't be surprised if the next novel in the Anton/Victor series has as its main plot our heroic Spook Duo hunting down the location of the Alignment's bolthole, while Zack, on his own end, is looking for a way to pass the location of said bolthole to the good guys.
- Entirely likely. In the only chapter focusing on Mesa in A Rising Thunder, they prepare to put into operation a plan called "Houdini" which will involve vanishing several core onion members. They discuss the use of additional nukes on their own capitol to cover up more disappearances. It seems likely that the Mesan Alignment planned to abandon Mesa from the beginning. This has been confirmed, in all its gruesome details, in Cauldron of Ghosts. We even get rough numbers for the numbers of "onion" personnel evacuated, anywhere between 5,000 - 30,000.
- This could also have the interesting result of Mesa officially or unofficially beginning to fight against the alignment if its control over Mesan politics turns out to be not strong enough.
- Or the Grand Alliance sponsors a slave uprising on Mesa shortly after Houdini, and Mesa turns into Torch 2.0.
- Close. In Cauldron of Ghosts, Victor, Anton, Thandi, and Yana return to Mesa and instigate a seccy (decedents of manumitted slaves) uprising in Mesa's capital city. The book ends just after Mike shows up and prevents them from being overrun by Mesan forces.
- As of the end of Shadow of Freedom, Mike is headed to Mesa, on her own without orders from home, with most of 10th Fleet. Whether she'll manage to outrun Houdini is anyone's guess.
- As of the end of Cauldron of Ghosts, Mike's arrival has forced the surrender of Mesa, saving Victor, Thandi, and Co. in the process. Houdini has already gotten all of the Alignment's personnel out. Anton has figured out the existence of Houdini and arrived back in Manticore with that knowledge, but has no idea where Houdini took them. Though that will change if and when somebody puts two and two together and gets a hunch as to what actually happened to the Harvest Joy.
Forget Honor and Hamish, Eloise and Javier or even Elizabeth and Justin. The true one true pairing of the series, the romance that was meant to be and will be beautiful to behold is to be between Shannon Foraker and Thomas Theisman.
- I prefer Shannon and Scotty. The hot-shot "fighter" pilot and the tech-geek :).
- Shanon is David Weber's wife name and a homage to her. Now the first author avatar was Hamish. It turns out David Weber has said there's a second one Herlander Simões
- Shannon Foraker x Herlander Simões. A dream team on multiple levels.
- They could make it a three-way with Sonja Hemphill....
- Word of God is Shannon and Sonja do become instant BFFs...
- Meanwhile, Eloise finds Second Love with Thomas Theisman.
- Shannon Foraker, Launcher of a Thousand Ships.
- Quite the Stealth Pun if you consider her recent assignment as commander of one of Haven's biggest shipyards.
- And, of course, Gwen Archer and Helga Boltitz.
- Abigail Hearns and Michael Oversteegen. Go on, read the last chapter of "The Service of the Sword" and say the foundations aren't there!
- Augustus Khumalo and Estelle Matsuko. We all know how Weber loves his Huge Guy, Tiny Girl pairings, after all, and their relationship has become considerably warmer of late...
Sandra Crandall was not shot by a Mesan operative
She was fragged the old fashioned way by one of her surviving officers who blamed her for having gotten 1/3 of their personnel killed in a Curb-Stomp Battle
. That, or she was delusional enough to suggest trying to overwhelm and take down the Manticoran boarding team, and someone shot her before she could get anyone else
- You silly goose, you don't really believe Sandra Crandall was as dumb as she liked to portray herself, do you? She was clearly a Mesan plant who knew her purpose in life was to get herself killed while delivering the Solarian League a resounding defeat. She expected her Flag Bridge to get destroyed in the battle, but because it wasn't, she killed herself and made it look like an assassination attempt.
- I'm not convinced that she's really dead. It's not as if she was using her brain, so why should taking a pulser there do anything to slow her down?
- She was shot in the back of the head. What sort of rubber-boned contortionist do you think she was?!? Nah, my guess is that Bautista was her Mesan handler (or had gotten dosed with the old nano-tech) and shot her when she was of no further use. Either that or Shavarshyan utterly disgusted with the outcome, and, recognising that his career was over either way (he had after all made the ultimate sin of being right when his superior officers were all wrong), shot her in punishment for her incompetance/arrogance/continuing existence.
Steve Westman will join the Manticoran military
While he has no military experience, he has proven to be an effective paramilitary commander. On top of it, he has a personal vendetta against Mesa for using him. So, really, who better to be the first Montanan commander in the RMN? Also, we could get lines like this:
Dumbass SLN Captain #45168018: Surrender now or I will open fire!
Captain Steve Westman, RMN: Now, I'd think twice before you did that. See, this here ship is a Manticoran ship, with all the latest gadgets your dumbass superiors don't think exist. I'm still not quite up on all the technical details, but I'm fairly certain that I can blow your ship to kingdom come before you so much as get off a shot. So why don't you just skedaddle before I have to do that?
- More likely, he'll join the Talbott Guard, and end up commanding a nice chunk of its ground troops. It'd be hilarious to see him commanding the Mesan occupation force.
- Or Manticore will decide to set up its own version of the Beowulf Biological Survey Corps, to carry out unconventional warfare against Mesa. Anton Zilwicki will, of course, head it up, with Victor Cachat as the Havenite liason. But in order to fill out their numbers, they'll draft Westman and half of the former Montana Independence Movement.
The reason Honor became an empath is due to generations of Harringtons bonding with treecats
As far as we know, Honor is the only 'adoptee' to be able to communicate with a treecat as fully as she can. Also she is the only person who developed empathy. It's possible that all of the generations of Harrinngtons bonding to treecats has caused a growth in the brain causing the Harringtons to slowly develop the ability.
- The problem with that is that it assumes that Lamarck Was Right, a more likely answer is that Honor is the result of an unintentional breeding program. The Harrington's have almost all had very strong mind-glows so it seems likely that there was a genetic predisposition for telepathy in the family already (possibly related to the genetic mods they have). This meant that a large number of them got bonded to Treecats. Now when someone with a Treecat gets married they are going to choose a partner who gets on well with their Treecat and the cats in turn are likely to respond better to people with strong mind glows which would mean that a lot of Harringtons ended up marrying people who also had a genetic predisposition for telepathy thereby strengthening this trait in their descendants. So Honor is the end result of an unintentional breeding program but doesn't realize it (and neither does Nimitz who merely assumes she is a bit more sensitive than normal for a two-legs). When assassins come to kill the Protector Nimitz acts on instinct sending out a telepathic "call to arms" as he would if other Treecats were present not actually stopping to think that no one else present would receive it. Afterwards he comes to the realization that Honor was able to receive it (at least somewhat) and that she must be less mind-blind than he thought. However Telepathy is like a muscle, you have to practice to build up strength and since Honor didn't realize she could do it she never bothered to practice and is extremely weak. Over the years after that she and Nimitz spend time practicing (even if Honor doesn't think of it that way) which strengthens her abilities to the point that she can use it herself instead of needing Nimitz to relay through the permanent connection he's already made to her.
- The short story Beauty and the Beast in the Beginnings anthology adds some weight to this theory as it tells us that Alfred Harrington has some degree of telepathic abilities and has a treecat-ish bond with Allison.
The SLN will occupy Manticore.
In a few books, the Mesans will give the Sollies some sort of qualitative edge that turns the tide, and allows them to actually use their crushing numeric superiority to hit the enemy hard - at Manticore. This will split up the cast for a while into two major groups. One will be the Grayson/Havenite faction, including Honor, and generally most of the sane people in the Alliance. They will be engaging the SLN directly, trying to overcome their new technical advantage. The other group will be the Talbott/Torch faction, including Elizabeth (who has ended up establishing a temporary capital on Spindle), Michelle Henke, Victor Cachat and Anton Zilwicki, everybody on Torch, a sizable treecat contingent, and absolutely no concept of sanity or self-restraint. Alternatively, if MWW wants to go for a real Player Punch
, he'll kill off Elizabeth and the immediate Royal Family, and Michelle Henke will assume the throne. They will take the fight to Mesa, fighting through the decaying outer League (the SLN having attacked Manticore via Beowulf), occupying the Mesa system, and eventually finding the Alignment homeworld.
- VERY unlikely. It goes against all established intentions of every involved party, including the Alignment. Remember, Renaissance Factor was specifically planned to go into action after the League starts going apart. If Detweiler plans to buff up the League military and go for a direct occupation, why then he would continue with RF plan? And, anyway, Alignment's style is geared towards the lancet, not the sledgehammer.
- True, but at this point, the Alignment has the problem of dealing with the Manticore/Haven alliance, and they don't have any long-range plans for that. They'll have to improvise, and throwing an upgraded SLN at Manticore would at least buy them some breathing space. As a side benefit, it also would prevent the Mandarins from trying to use the SLN to hold the League together with naked force. Basically, the Alignment would be using the Sollies to occupy the Manties and Havenites for long enough to abandon Mesa, so that by the time Elizabeth shows up in the Mesa system, the Alignment has shifted its operations to the Renaissance Factor and covered their tracks.
- First of all, Alignment cannot care less for Mesa and, if you read the novels carefully, already moved much of its operations to its own secret homeworld, on the other side of the Lynx junction. They only need to evacuate key personnel and leave Mesa to fend for itself, which is exactly what happens in Cauldron of Ghosts. Second, you can be sure that once the anvil drops, no self-respecting SLN commander would ever listen to Rajampet's blabbering and it will be massive race for grabs, much like Chinese Revolution. Third, the whole thing is only a short-term damage control, little more than robbing Peter to pay Paul, and is simply, you know,... unprofessional. Inelegant. Not something that The Chessmaster of Detweiler's caliber would resort to.
They try to shape the long-term political makeup of the entire galaxy. They surreptitiously implant programs into people that override their normal behavior. They're so secret that only a handful of people even know they exist. They were put into place by visionaries many centuries ago. They are masters of an esoteric science that can make people better than normal. And just when you think you have them figured out, you might discover that you were playing right into their hands. If that ain't Hari Seldon's psychohistorians to a "T", then I don't know who is.
Several plot elements from On Basilisk Station
turned out to be Chekhovs Guns
, such as Dame Estelle Matsuko, Denver Summervale, and Honor being convicted in absentia by a Havenite court. I have no idea what role they will play, but I think they will play one.
Shannon Foraker is an actual witch.
explain a lot.
- Would that mean that Honor was also genuinely in league with the devil?
- Probably. And in return, old Beezelbub gets one hell of a commander for Armageddon.
- So Satan gets both Honor Harrington and Shannon Foraker... OK, Heaven is screwed.
- Heaven gets Tom Theisman no question. It's not that unbalanced, especially given the likelihood that Adam Gerrick is there already.
- Gerrick won't help - he's an engineer. And while Theisman vs. Harrington is close to even, Theisman vs. Harrington & Foraker is no contest.
- But Heaven also gets Victor Cahact. But everyone just assumed he was on Satan's side right up until the point where he opened fire.
I'm trying to figure out how exactly she'd call the quarters in deep space.
The Eridani Edict is about to be put to the test.
Think about it: The EE has always been so effective because any violation was absolutely guaranteed to bring the full wrath of the Solarian League down upon the offender. Now the galaxy is starting to realize that the SLN is a paper tiger...and there's probably a few nations out there hating each other as much as Grayson and Masada did, with only the EE keeping them from going for the orbital genocide option. If one of them pulls, say, a Colony Drop
on its enemies and the SLN has to admit that given the total clusterfuck they're in right now they can't intervene, all hell is going to break loose until another authority capable of enforcing something like the Edict arises. The Alignment might even be planning to set up a situation like that to give its new front organization a chance to shine, but if it happens before they are ready to move they could be facing a far worse mess than they wanted to create...
- The SLN is a paper tiger if you either part of the Grand Alliance, the Anderman Empire or the Mesan Alignment. The rest of the known universe is still pretty much fucked if they piss of the SLN. And pissing of the SLN at the current state might be...fatal. Especially if either of the afore mentioned powers is not going to lift a finger to save a bunch of orbit bombing mass murderers. There might however still be somebody who's simply stupid enough to push it. As a matter of fact, if somebody does it, I can see the Grand Alliance enforcing the EE too.
- Pretty much confirmed in Cauldron of Ghosts. The point is made that even if the Solarian League can't enforce the Eridani Edict anymore, other signatories, such as Manticore and Haven, still can, and they will be very, very displeased with Mesa's regime dropping kinetic-energy weapons on its own population.
- What we might get is various minor systems, who think that the SLN is no longer a threat AND that the GA will be too busy to notice, deciding to settle some old scores.
- Essentially, both are formations of units put together to launch deep raids into enemy territory, targeting infrastructure to knock the enemy back on their heels and force them to disperse their forces in a Defense-in-Depth posture. Of course, it could just be a coincidence, as the Mighty 8th did not have advanced long-range missiles or electronic countermeasures either, and in fact relied on Havenite-style Zerg Rush and More Dakka tactics to overwhelm the German air defenses.
We will eventually see a Grayson Armswoman
A native Grayson woman has managed to talk her way into the military, it's only a matter of time. The politics will be complicated.
- Has happened as of A Rising Thunder. Corporal Anastasia Yanakov is Allison Harrington's personal armswoman and there are stated to be at least 10 more elsewhere in the Harrington Guard, Mayhew Guard, Palace Security, and the guards of some of Grayson’s more progressive steadholders. The politics are not elaborated on.
The collapse of the Solarian League is going to be far bloodier than anyone - even the Alignment - expects.
As more worlds start to leave the League, the Solarian government - the REAL one - will either adopt what amounts to martial law, or simply be overthrown in a military coup. They will basically ignore the Grand Alliance, and focus on holding the League together through naked force. The Alignment will use this as an excellent pretext to unleash the Renaissance Factor, and Barregos will activate the Sepoy Option...Even though the collapse is only just beginning, as of Cauldron of Ghosts the Sepoy Option appears to be beginning to go into effect, as the Maya Sector is forming a tripartite alliance with Erewhon and Torch.
And then the SLN declares that the Eridani Edict is hereby repealed, and commence orbital bombardment of any planet that offers serious resistance. Casualties will be in the billions, pushing the Grand Alliance to abandon its careful strategy, and go for an all-out invasion of the League, with Honor and Theisman leading the push against Sol itself. Mesa will be scrambling to prevent the Rennaissance Factor from getting obliterated.
Had it not been for the discovery of the Lynx Terminus, Bernadus van Dort's ultimate plan would have seen the Talbott Cluster unite into a single star nation.
It's a pretty logical extension of what he's been doing. Once the RTU had raised the Talbott Cluster's economic strength to something that could hold off piecemeal absorption by OFS, they'd start attracting pirates (possibly backed by OFS under Case Buccaneer). In response, the RTU would probably build up its own security forces. To help finance this, and to ensure the widest base of support, van Dort would push to expand the membership of the RTU, offering its member worlds stock in the RTU, giving them voting power. By the time OFS realized what was going on, the RTU (possibly under a new name) would be a functioning star nation with a corporate government, with van Dort as the CEO.
- Yes and no. I'm sure that Van Dort would definitely embrace it as a means of fending off OFS if he had the time and thought it would work. The problem is that he almost certainly didn't have the time and that it probably wouldn't work. He repeatedly mentions that the RTU wasn't intended to fend of OFS indefinitely (and actually doing so would be next to impossible anyway) the goal was to make the planets prosperous enough that they could convince OFS that they will get more money out of them with a light touch as opposed to the virtual sale of the planets they normally use.
The Alignment will frame Michelle Henke for a violation of the Eridani Edict.
Somehow, Mesa will get warning of Tenth Fleet's imminent attack (maybe via streak boat). They will time the final stage of Houdini to occur during her attack. They will use kinetic strikes and nuclear detonations to turn Mesa into a billiard ball, then claim that she did it out of revenge. It would be a major propaganda coup against Manticore, and it would also eliminate any possible suspicions that the Factor is influenced by Mesa, given that there ARE no Mesans.
- That would be an incredibly stupid thing to do, especially after the example of McBryde. The Detweilers already foresee problems with the coverup for Houdini because some of the people being evacuated are bound to disagree with their neighbors and friends not on the list being nuked to cover their escape, as has been confirmed in Cauldron of Ghosts. Doing it to the whole planet would create a whole army of potential McBrydes. I could see them doing it on a small scale (one or two explosions in the right place...) but large-scale destruction of Mesa would be self-defeating.
- True. Though they could easily do a small-scale version - make it seem as if Henke blasted several major Mesan cities out of revenge/savagery. Or they could do it last-minute out of desperation. I'm envisioning a scene where Benjamin Detweiler is aboard a fleet of spider-drive ships in the Mesa System, shortly after Henke finishes off the Mesan Navy, holding back tears as his brother Collin - still on Mesa - tells him to fire everything he's got, since they can't afford any chance of the Manticorans finding a clue that could lead them to Darius or implicate the Renaissance Factor.
- Jossed, at least in part, by the events of Cauldron of Ghosts. The Alignment did commit numerous terrorist outrages, culminating in a series of nuclear detonations, to cover Houdini, and the "official" Mesan government did drop kinetic-energy weapons on seccy strongholds in an effort to break their resistance. However, Mike Henke and 10th Fleet reached Mesa in time to rescue the seccy rebels - including Victor Cachat and Thandi Palane - and stop the regime from wrecking the planet completely.
The Alignment will frame the Solarian League for violations of the Eridani Edict.
Specifically, they will attempt to frame the SLN for Edict violations against the GA worlds. If it worked, it would cripple the GA for years, while turning public opinion against the League, possibly followed by the downfall of the current Solarian government. Of couse, I doubt it will work out for them all...
The Grand Alliance will develop grav-lance missiles.
- Hemphill is still a major player on the R&D side, and the grav lance was her baby.
- Power budgets for missiles have been continuously increasing.
- The grav lance would be a heavy force-multiplier for missile salvos, as a successful hit would multiply threat ranges on the laser heads by a tremendous margin.
- It would be one of the best Brick Jokes ever.
- The Word of God is so vehemently denying it will happen, that it is bound to happen. Possibly developed by Foraker&Simoes.
- Word of God vehemently denies it will happen because he unintentionally wrote the Grav Lance too OP and needed scrap it as a plot point to avoid ruining the drama of space combat. It's not going to happen. And if it did, it would be a bad thing for the books because it would turn into the magic bullet (which is what the author recognizes).
- Is it really any worse than the kind of extreme-range kill ability that Apollo already grants?
- Well, currently, Sidewalls offer at least protection towards Apollo missiles. Its just that there is usually a LOT of them. GL-Missiles would make ships naked to the other missiles, which would up the kill rate incredibly.
Torch will deploy the Q-ships from hell.
As a star nation that will be waging asymmetrical warfare for the foreseeable future (according to Word of God
), it would make a lot of sense for Torch to deploy Q-ships similar to those Honor used in Honor Among Enemies
. Barregos was already talking about something like this, so they'll probably be custom-built in Erewhon. But unknown to anyone outside Torch or the GA, the Torch Q-ships will be equipped with Apollo - by the time they're finished, Beowulf should be turning out plenty of pods. And just as Barregos pulls the Sepoy Option and the SLN starts its last-ditch mobilization... the Torch Q-ships wipe Yildun off the map.
- No Apollo or anything, but in Cauldron of Ghosts, Torch tucks a pair of their frigates and several assault shuttles up the sleeves of the Hali Sowle and uses it to punch out a slaver depot.
Someone will carry out an Edict violation against Earth itself.
Not the Grand Alliance, or even Mesa for that matter. But as the League begins to unravel, a hundred insurrectionist movements will appear. And while people like the Factor or Maya break away, some will be brought to heel by the SLN. At which point, some diehard fanatic will decide to hit Earth, similar to the Ballroom operative who took out Green Pines. Unfortunately for a lot of people, this will help unify the Core, if not the Shell, and possibly even produce genuine reform. At that point, the League may very well try for a negotiated settlement with the GA, even if they have to surrender half the Shell.
Frontier Fleet will score the Solarian League's first win against Manticore.
A great deal has been made of the fact that the majority of Battle Fleet and its officer corps are pretty much Too Dumb to Live
. Frontier Fleet, but contrast, has officers who have been shown to be generally more reasonable. Meyers top officer, Thurgood, takes the implications of events at Monica in Shadow of Saganami
very seriously. The whole Byng subplot in Storm from the Shadows
was because the FF captain wanted a realistic appraisal of Manticore's potential ability. While the vice-admiral at Saltash does
badly underestimate the Manties, a good deal of it falls under Entertainingly Wrong
, using genuine logic but still turning out wrong. She and her crew made a legitimate effort and failed largely due to not realizing the sheer size of their technology gap. She still understood they were potentially outclassed but just couldn't not
That said, if enough time passes that the tech gap between the Grand Alliance and the Solarian League starts to narrow (or if an especially savvy FF commander shows up as the Right Man in the Wrong Place
), it will be Frontier Fleet, not Battle Fleet, who either scores the first win against Manticoran ships, or at least bloodies their noses in a way that no other Solarian commander has yet managed.
- Frontier Fleet has virtually no wallers of their own — most of their units never have had anything heavier than the battlecruiser, and when they do operate SDs it is most often the Battle Fleet detachments. While it is true that the tech gap is so bug that destroyers are routinely trumping battlecruisers, wallers would offer at least a chance of survival after being hit, while picking up the fight with the Frontier Fleet's current force mix is an outright suicide. And for closing the tech gap — well, it is easier said than done. It took Havenites at least five years and Shannon Foraker to at last get somewhat close to the Manties' level, while Sollies aren't just behind the curve — they're actively in denial that they are! Even when they'd finally see the writings on the wall (Kingsford at least has a functioning brain, unlike Rajampet) it would take them no less than several years to even try to close that gap — just building one SD from scratch takes at least tree to four years. So until all these plays out, their only chance of win would be if the Manty commander screws up by the number.
There's another player waiting in the wings.
Take a look at any decent map of the Honorverse. Notice what is at the bottom? Earth and the Solarian League. But Word of God
and common sense say that the whole of the Honorverse is larger than that. There are no doubt several major regional powers on the far side of the Solarian League, probably with their own feuds and reasons to fight. I don't think there have been any major wars over there, otherwise we'd have heard about them, but maybe nobody's bothered to mention the Cold War
(and accompanying Lensman Arms Race
) between the Ambrosian Union and the Commonwealth of Typhon. And if they haven't been actively fighting, nobody might have realized that the Ambries and the Typhies have independently developed some of the same tech as Manticore and Haven... and some of the tech they haven't. Think about all the advancements the United States and the Soviet Union made in naval technology during the Cold War
Normally, this wouldn't be relevant, but the Manticoran-Solarian war (and the collapse of the League) is set to be the biggest war in the history of humanity. Nearly everyone is going to get involved. And it would be just like the Mesans to have a few people in those distant nations to push them into helping Mesa. So Manticore and Haven might be fighting their way through the Solarian League... and then meet someone with their own set of tech surprises.
The Alignment's efforts to hide Houdini will return to bite it in the ass, big-time.
Honestly, this isn't so much WMG as Captain Obvious
in some ways. A major subplot of Cauldron of Ghosts
is the execution of Houdini, and the extremely harsh measures the Alignment has taken to protect the operation's secrecy - splitting families and relationships and going so far as to have the evacuees escorted by "bodyguards" who have orders to kill their charges if they come into danger of falling into enemy hands or the operation otherwise comes into danger of being exposed - have had the effect of turning at least Zachariah Mc Bryde, the brother of Jack Mc Bryde, against the Alignment. Once he reaches the onion's secret base/homeworld, it's almost certain that he's going to be pushed that last little bit into full-on treason and start looking for a way to spill the beans to the Grand Alliance.
There's also Audrey Hanrahan to consider. A close reading of her character shows that, Alignment agent or no, she's genuinely and deeply committed to her role as an Intrepid Reporter exposing government malfeasance and oppression, and she's shown to be truly angered by the incompetence and brutality of the "official" Mesan regime. Moreover, even though she's not part of Houdini and therefore has no formal knowledge of it, she's worked out that the "onion" is evacuating its core members. The combination of her conscience and her smarts might well cause her to do a Heel Face Turn, assuming that she doesn't have nanobots planted in her to kill her if she so much as spills a single bean...
Ganny El will become the first member of the Torch aristocracy
After all she's done for Torch, Berry will conclude that the only thing to do is to make her a titled noble: the Matriarch of Parnley Station.