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About Honor Among Enemies and other stuff

Join us in talking discussing all things Honor, including (but not limited to) tactics, favorite characters, and book discussions.
Re: About Honor Among Enemies and other stuff
Post by MaxxQ   » Sat Apr 26, 2014 11:14 am

MaxxQ
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Dr. Arroway wrote:
jgnfld wrote:You mean sometimes she could be a "copper plated bitch"???!!!

Ehm, I don't get the meaning of the post, sorry.. :/


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Re: About Honor Among Enemies and other stuff
Post by runsforcelery   » Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:55 pm

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Dr. Arroway wrote:
jgnfld wrote:You mean sometimes she could be a "copper plated bitch"???!!!

Ehm, I don't get the meaning of the post, sorry.. :/

Crown Loyalist wrote:Shannon ended up being the only reason Honor and Nimitz lived through In Enemy Hands, so I'd say it worked out.

That's true enough, but Honor didn't know what would happen, and, for that matter, Shannon was a big reason she ended up a prisoner in the first place (unless I'm mistaken).

You guys all make very good points (and thanks for the in depth responses).
Still I have something to add.
I appreciate everything about plot points and the future evolution of the war and of the characters, but I'm only judging Honor's actions in the limit of that single story.

Let me try and organize.
In support of the release we have:
- Honor's own gallantry (which was never in dispute)
- The consideration that restoring decent people among the ranks of the enemy can offset the presence of the more vicious ones.
- Generally spread the seeds of a better understanding
- Let a "message" arrive to Haven, as Honor herself explains.

These are good points, but it still feels to me that in balance they're not enough (banning foreknowledge of the events on Honor's part) to justify the choice.
She still is enabling dangerous, competent officers to go back and do what they do best against Manticore.
She cannot assume anything different.
How many times we see Honor take precautions even against the most UN-likely of the ill-chanced scenarios? Even if it costs her "discomfort"?
Yet this time we hear her saying things like "your spies surely have reported enough information already". Of course she should allow for the possibility, but she should NOT take it for granted. If Haven spies still haven't picked up relevant information, she would be the one rendering it available by releasing the prisoners, therefore putting at least some of her people at risk when there's is no need for it.
And I second what munroburton says about the pods.
Also information from spies is not the same thing as direct, extended observation made by capable officers, from the inside of Manticoran ships.

I don't know, the whole turn seems a bit "off" to me somehow.

All in all the way I prefer to see this episode is a mistake made in good faith on Honor's part, but one that turns for the better in the long run precisely because it's a mistake generated by her decency.

@cthia: I don't remember what happened at Cerberus, sorry, but I should be getting close with my current run :)

EDIT:
I'm just reading the passage where Commodore Yeargin's task force is annihilated by Foraker's surprise attack: basically thousands of Manticorans getting killed because Honor let Foraker free...


This is another one of those points where people can certainly have legitimate differences of opinion. As the author, I can tell you that I felt what Honor did was completely in character and that it is unreasonable to assign Honor credit for future advantage (like, for example, not getting killed at Cerberus) or blame for future disadvantage (like what happened to Commodore Yeargin).

From the perspective of what she knew at the time and could fairly have been expected to take into consideration:

(1) There was no way in the universe that Peep intelligence resources in Silesia hadn’t already figured out everything that Caslet and his people might be able to report to their own intelligence people. Honor wasn’t making any unjustified assumptions in regard to that; she was simply stating something that everyone present already knew was true.

(2) Caslet and his crew were legitimate prisoners of war, since the Star Kingdom and the People’s Republic were at war with one another. The fact that they were captured in neutral space after going to the rescue of what they believed was a merchant vessel does tend to muddy the waters somewhat, however. Honor would have been legally justified in returning them to Manticore as POWs, but it would have been an iffy situation from a lot of perspectives, and if the Peeps found out about how they'd come to be prisoners in the first place — which they would have, under the Deneb Accords — and Manticore hadn't voluntarily repatriated them, Cordelia Ransom could be counted upon to turn the entire episode into a huge interstellar blackeye for Manticore.

(3) By returning them to the Peeps, on the other hand, Honor (and through her the Star Kingdom) garnered quite a bit of “good press,” if are no other reason because of the way in which her behavior contrasted with the sort of behavior for which the People’s Republic was well known.

(4) From a pragmatic strategic perspective, Honor is sending home officers who have seen what a single Manticoran Q-ship can do that without having seen any of the actual hardware used to do it. That is, they can describe what the weapons did and how they were employed, but they aren’t going to be able to provide the Peoples Navy with any instruction manuals. The fact that Wanderer and her consorts had used missile pods — and LACs — against pirates, and that those pirates (in many cases) had been turned over to the Silesian authorities guaranteed that someone in Silesia would have provided all of the information Caslet and his people could possibly have possessed to the Peeps. Honor was completely right about that. But by sending home officers who had been aboard one of the Q-ships in question, she emphasized to the Peoples Navy that commerce raiding in Silesia was going to be a very, very, very dangerous proposition. And please note that at the time she was sending that message home, Manticore was scraping the bottom of the barrel to find ways and means of protecting its Silesian commerce, on the one hand, while she had proof that the Peeps had been committing entire battlecruiser squadrons to attacking its Silesian commerce. In other words, she was deterring future similar attacks without firing a shot. I’m not saying that she wouldn’t have sent them home anyway; I’m simply pointing out that she was dealing with a current strategic problem of the Star Kingdom and that she had found an effective way to do it.

In regard to the situation with Commodore Yeargin and the fact that Shannon is a brilliant tactical officer, as well as a superb techno-nerd, there really wasn’t any way for Honor to know that about her at the time, anymore than there was any way for Honor to know what would happen at Cerberus. And, I would point out that what happened at Cerberus was actually the result of Lester Tourville’s actions, since he was the one who erased the imagery in question. Shannon probably would have done that on her own if Tourville hadn't caught her at it, but the point is that her CO took responsibility for doing it. And, frankly, one of the reasons he did was because he believed Honor deserved far better treatment than she had received from his star nation. And one of the reasons he believed that, was the fact that Honor had returned Caslet and his officers earlier when the tables were turned. The reputation that she enjoyed among the members of the Peeps officer corps didn’t “just happen;” it grew out of things exactly like her decision to repatriate Caslet and the others. What Shannon did accomplish that Lester didn't, of course, was to prevent Nimitz from being killed when he and Honor attacked their guards.

I think it’s equally unreasonable to blame Honor for whatever additional damage to the Star Kingdom Caslet and/or Shannon Foraker might have inflicted as it is to give Honor credit for having sent back to the People’s Republic what turned out to be some very dangerous Trojan horses by the time the dust settled. So the only real basis for evaluating what she did, in my opinion, is the extent to which it was the morally “right” or “wrong” thing to do. And in that regard, I would point out that one of the things which makes Honor Harrington who Honor Harrington is is the rigor with which she holds herself responsible for making moral decisions and choices.

The bottom line is that all of the arguments for or against her actions are being made after the fact with benefit of knowledge that neither she nor anyone else in-universe had at the time she made the choice she made. One can argue the merits of her decision either way, but what I think can’t be argued against is the fact that the decision she made where Caslet and his officers were concerned was, in the fullness of time, absolutely critical to the survival of the Star Empire following Oyster Bay. If Shannon hadn’t been Lester Tourville’s tac officer, Lester and Javier would undoubtedly have been purged by StateSec. If Shannon, Lester Tourville, and Javier hadn’t been available as Theisman’s deputies and the folks who ran Bolthole for him, the course of the hostilities between Manticore and the Republic of Haven — and of the Republic of Haven’s technological and doctrinal ability to come to Manticore’s assistance against the Solarian League and the Mesan Alignment — would have been totally different.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: About Honor Among Enemies and other stuff
Post by drothgery   » Sat Apr 26, 2014 4:37 pm

drothgery
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runsforcelery wrote:The bottom line is that all of the arguments for or against her actions are being made after the fact with benefit of knowledge that neither she nor anyone else in-universe had at the time she made the choice she made. One can argue the merits of her decision either way, but what I think can’t be argued against is the fact that the decision she made where Caslet and his officers were concerned was, in the fullness of time, absolutely critical to the survival of the Star Empire following Oyster Bay. If Shannon hadn’t been Lester Tourville’s tac officer, Lester and Javier would undoubtedly have been purged by StateSec. If Shannon, Lester Tourville, and Javier hadn’t been available as Theisman’s deputies and the folks who ran Bolthole for him, the course of the hostilities between Manticore and the Republic of Haven — and of the Republic of Haven’s technological and doctrinal ability to come to Manticore’s assistance against the Solarian League and the Mesan Alignment — would have been totally different.
Though Empress Esther I of Haven probably wouldn't have been fond of the Mesans either ...
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Re: About Honor Among Enemies and other stuff
Post by roseandheather   » Sat Apr 26, 2014 5:11 pm

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Damn, I love it when RFC steps in and cleans up the debate floor. :mrgreen: *immediately starts popping popcorn*
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Re: About Honor Among Enemies and other stuff
Post by Dr. Arroway   » Sat Apr 26, 2014 6:12 pm

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@RFC
Thanks for finding the time to clarify these points!
I surely didn't mean to "summon" you, I actually now feel guilty for diverting you even temporarily from much more important activities :D

I believe you've managed to squash all of my uneasiness on this issue (which mainly, I admit, springs from my "frustration" at "seeing" Foraker killing Manticorans).
Despite the clarity and the amount of detail with which the stories are presented, I somehow managed to overlook some of those aspects.
It's a testament to the quality of your work that one can analyze it going "as deep as required" and always come back up with a coherent image as a result.
So again, thanks for the additional insight!

But to be clearer myself, I never meant to imply that a theoretical mistake (if a partial one) on Honor's part would be cause to shock or anything. She's human after all, and actually she makes so few of them that I liked the idea that a minor slip of hers could end up having good effects (down the road) precisely because it has originated from an "excess of good intentions". :)
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Re: About Honor Among Enemies and other stuff
Post by Weird Harold   » Sat Apr 26, 2014 7:57 pm

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Dr. Arroway wrote:I believe you've managed to squash all of my uneasiness on this issue (which mainly, I admit, springs from my "frustration" at "seeing" Foraker killing Manticorans).

runsforcelery wrote:In regard to the situation with Commodore Yeargin and the fact that Shannon is a brilliant tactical officer, as well as a superb techno-nerd, ...


RFC didn't mention that he's provided any number of brilliant tactical officers who could and would have taken advantage of Commodore Yeargin's tactical dispositions. Shannon's boss at that point, Lester Tourville, for example.

In other words, Shannon didn't kill millions of Manticorans, Commodore Yeargin did.
.
.
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Answers! I got lots of answers!

(Now if I could just find the right questions.)
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