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Honorverse favorite passages

Join us in talking discussing all things Honor, including (but not limited to) tactics, favorite characters, and book discussions.
Re: Honorverse favorite passages
Post by cthia   » Mon Sep 07, 2015 1:53 am

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Storm From the Shadows
A hungry, wordless sound flowed across HMS Tristram's bridge as rapiers of focused x-rays stabbed deep into Jean Bart.

No, not "rapiers," Abigail Hearns thought from behind the hard, cold anger of her eyes as the fury of the bomb-pumped lasers ripped huge splinters and mangled chunks from the battlecruiser's hull. That's too neat, too precise. Those are axes. Or chainsaws.

The Mark 23 was designed to kill superdreadnoughts, ships with incredibly tough armor that was literally meters thick. Ships which were intricately compartmentalized, honeycombed with blast doors, internal bulkheads, and cofferdams—all designed to contain damage. To channel it away from vital areas. To absorb almost inconceivable hammerings and remain in action.

But SLNS Jean Bart was no superdreadnought.

Her wedge stopped dozens—scores—of lasers. Her decoys attracted still others away from her hull. But more dozens of them were neither stopped nor decoyed, and they blasted through her battlecruiser sidewalls and battlecruiser armor with contemptuous ease. They ripped at her vitals like the talons of some huge demon. And then, abruptly, she simply . . . came apart.

Abigail Hearns watched the next best thing to a million tons of starship disintegrate, and her stony eyes never even flickered. Deep within her, there was a sense of horror, of terrible regret, for the thousands of human beings who had just died. Most of them had been guilty of nothing worse than obeying the orders of a criminally stupid and arrogant superior. She knew that, and that inner part of her mourned for their deaths, but not even that could dim her sense of triumph. Of justice done for her ship's murdered squadron mates.

"Behold, I will make you a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, and make the hills like chaff," her mind recited the old, old words coldly as the wreckage began to spread on her tactical plot. "You shall winnow them, the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them."

But all she said aloud was—

"Target destroyed, Ma'am."

Tester's Hammer! -- Mjolnir has met its match -- Abigail Hearns!

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Honorverse favorite passages
Post by Hutch   » Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:30 am

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So I've browsing through Crown of Slaves, and I come across the first real meeting of Victor Cachat and Anton Zilwicki (I don't believe they had been properly introduced in the short story "From the Highlands").

And of course Ginny Usher steals the scene, as she does every time she appears...

rather long, but I couldn't stand to cut any of it.

Anton started to add something; but, sensing the presence of an approaching person, broke off and glanced up. And froze.

Froze so abruptly, in fact, that both Berry and Ruth bumped into him. Curious, the two girls peered around his shoulders at the odd apparition who'd caused this highly unusual state of affairs. Captain Zilwicki, to put it mildly, was not known for being easily taken aback.
The young man standing in front of Anton cleared his throat. "Good evening, Captain Zilwicki. I hadn't expected to meet you here."

Anton's throat-clearing was a lot noisier. "Good evening, Citiz— ah . . . what is your title these days?"

The smile on the young man's face was much like the face itself: on the square side, a bit gaunt, and mostly made up of angles and edges. "Just 'Special Officer Cachat,' " he said. "I'm no longer in the, ah, foreign security side of things. These days I'm a cop instead of a spy."

Anton's self-possession was back. "I see. Usher took you along with him, then."

Cachat nodded. "But I'm forgetting my manners. Ginny—" The young Havenite officer turned half around and more or less hauled a shortish woman away from her conversation with one of the guests. "Captain Zilwicki, may I present Virginia Usher, the wife of our new director of the Federal Investigation Agency. Virginia, Captain Anton Zilwicki, formerly of the Royal Manticoran Navy."
The woman in question was shapely, beautiful, and possessed of a smile that was even more dazzling than her costume.

"Oh, Victor!" she laughed, extending her hand to Anton. "I'm quite sure Captain Zilwicki knows exactly who I am. Even if I did manage to stay out of his sight while we were all having our little adventure on Terra."
The last remark caused Berry and Ruth's eyes to widen.
"Oh!" Berry gasped, staring at Cachat. "You're the one—"
She broke off, fumbling for the words. Anton, despite the fact that most of his brain was simultaneously cursing fate and listening to alarm bells going off, decided that straight-forwardness was called for.

"Yes, he's the one. Saved my daughter Helen's life—and Berry's, most likely." He gave Cachat a deep nod, almost a bow. "I never really had the chance to thank you properly at the time. Please allow me to do so now."

Cachat looked uncomfortable. Virginia Usher laughed again. "Look at him blush! It still amazes me, as many times as I've seen it. S'about the only thing Victor does that makes him look his age instead of"—here she poked his rib cage playfully with a finger—"a crazed cold-blooded assassin."

Now, Victor's expression was pained. "Ginny, 'crazed cold-blooded assassin' is the silliest oxymoron I've ever heard."

"Nonsense!" She grinned at Anton. "You were there, Captain. So what's your opinion?"

For a moment, Anton's memory flashed back to a weirdly lit grotto in the subterranean depths beneath Chicago's ancient ruins. He'd come to the scene just a bit too late to witness it himself, but Jeremy X had described it to him afterward. Seeing the carnage, Anton had had no difficulty believing him. The way a young State Security officer named Victor Cachat, driven by a semi-madness Anton thought he could understand—more or less—had stood his ground at point blank range and methodically slaughtered a dozen Scrags and StateSec goons hunting Anton's daughter Helen. It had been a sheerly suicidal act on Cachat's part; even if, amazingly enough, Cachat had come out at the end covered with blood and gore—none of which was his.

"Victor Cachat is not an assassin," he said abruptly. "Of that, I'm as sure as anything. On the other hand . . ."
He shrugged. "Sorry, Special Officer Cachat. I think if there's anyone who's ever done something simultaneously cold-blooded and crazy, it's you. Oxymoron or not."

"See?" demanded Virginia triumphantly. She wagged a finger in front of Cachat's nose. "And you won't find a more expert opinion than Captain Zilwicki's, let me tell you! Speaking of which—"

In that quick and indescribably charming way the woman had about her, Virginia was now facing Anton again. The grin was as infectious as ever.

"—what are you doing here, Captain? I mean, besides pretending to be paying your respects to the not-so-grieving daughter, like we're pretending to be doing."
"Ginny!" Cachat choked.

"Oh, pfui. Captain Zilwicki is certainly not going to believe our cover story—what a ridiculous notion—so why bother with the rigmarole? We're here on some kind of desperate and dangerous secret mission—when are you going to tell me what it is, anyway?—and you can be sure the Captain is doing the same." She bestowed a look of great sympathy on Ruth and Berry. "I'm sure he hasn't told you either. Aren't men a pain in the butt?"

Berry and Ruth made little sounds that bore a suspicious resemblance to suppressed laughter. Anton scowled. Tried to, anyway; he was fighting down a laugh himself. He started to make noises about loose lips in public places but Usher's wife drove right over it.

"Oh, don't be silly. Manticoran scrambling equipment is the best in the galaxy, like almost all your electronics. That's why Victor and I are wearing it ourselves. My husband—bless the man—swiped it somewhere or other."
Finally, she fell silent, just gazing up at Anton and smiling cheerfully. Still waiting for the answer.
He couldn't stop a laugh from coming out. "Damnation, Ms. Usher—"

"Call me Ginny."

"Ginny, then. Manticore and Haven are still officially at war. So I am not going to tell the wife of the Republic of Haven's chief of police what my secret mission is." He cleared his throat again, noisily; and sounding, even to himself, like an idiot. "If I were on a secret mission in the first place. Which I'm not, much less a desperate and dangerous one."

He placed a fatherly hand on each of the girl's shoulders. "Would I have brought my own daughter and one of the royal princesses with me if I were?"

"Sure," came the instant response. "Makes a great cover." Again, her lithe finger flew to Cachat's rib cage; tickling him, this time. "Just like me and Victor are pretending to be hot and heavy lovers. Works like a charm."

Cachat tried to fend off the finger. For a moment, he and Anton exchanged a look of sheer sympathy. Then, failing to see any other workable tactic, Anton fell back on pell-mell retreat.

" 'Fraid it's past the girls' bedtime." Ruth and Berry scowled. "Okay, then—it's past my bedtime. We gotta go. Nice meeting you again, Special Offi—ah, Victor. And you too, Ms. Ush—ah, Ginny. S'been a pleasure, really has."
***********************************************
No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow.

What? Look, somebody's got to have some damn perspective around here! Boom. Sooner or later. BOOM! -LT. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5
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Re: Honorverse favorite passages
Post by timmopussycat   » Mon Sep 14, 2015 5:10 pm

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Also from Crown of Slaves: why President Pritchart is exasperated with some of her junior colleagues.

"Don't even try feeding me that crap, Kevin," hissed the President of the Republic of Haven. Eloise Pritchart leaned so far forward in her chair that she was almost standing in a half-crouch. The palms of hands were planted flat on the desk, supporting much of her weight. Her eyes were slitted, her face pale with anger.

"You planned this from the very start! Don't try telling me that Cachat just—what did you call it?—'accidentally stumbled into an unforeseen situation.' Bullshit!"

Kevin Usher tried to snort derisively. The sound was . . . feeble.

"C'mon, Eloise! You're an experienced op yourself. You know damn good and well nobody could have 'planned' something like—"

"Cut it out, damn you!" Now, Pritchart was fully on her feet, leaning still farther over the desk. "I know you didn't 'plan' it that way. So what? I also know that you told Cachat from the get-go to see what he could stir up on Erewhon—and then run with it."

She glanced angrily at Ginny Usher, who was seated on a chair next to her husband. "That's why you wanted Cachat. All that stuff about Ginny was a smokescreen. Cachat is your gunslinger—your damn shoot-from-hip specialist. I know his record, Kevin! That lunatic can and will improvise anything on his feet. This stunt he pulled on Erewhon was even hairier than what he did in La Martine!"

Her eyes fell on the now-empty display screen on her desk, where she'd spent several hours studying the report Virginia Usher had brought back from Erewhon the day before. "Hairy?" she demanded. "Say better—'furry,' as in grizzly bear. For God's sake, he deliberately set up the killing of an entire unit of the Queen's Own Regiment!"

"That's not true!" burst out Ginny.

Pritchart glared at her, but Ginny stood her ground. Sat up straight, at least.

"Well, it isn't," she insisted. "The attack was launched by Templeton and his fanatics. Victor had nothing to do with it."

Pritchart's snort wasn't feeble in the least. "Oh, splendid. But he knew about it, before it happened. Didn't he? He could have warned them—in which case dozens of people wouldn't have been slaughtered, half of them completely innocent civilians."

Ginny's expression was mulish, but she said nothing. Eloise continued her tirade.

"Not to mention the possible murder of a member of the Star Kingdom's royal house—whom he left right smack in the middle of a gunfight! Do you—either of you—have any idea what an unholy mess you'd have landed me in if it ever became known to the Manticorans that a Havenite agent . . . "

Her words trailed off, ending in a groan. She slumped back into her chair.

"Oh, I forgot that, didn't I? The Manticorans do know about it. Cachat—that maniac!—dragged the princess herself into the scheme afterward."

"He didn't drag her," Ginny muttered. "It'd be better to say, she jumped at the chance."

Before Pritchart could respond, the fourth person in the room cleared his throat and said: "You're really not being fair, Ms. President."

She swiveled her head and stared at Wilhelm Trajan, the director of the Federal Intelligence System. Her lips quirked into a half-grimace.

"Et tu, Wilhelm? I'd think you—of all people—would be even more pissed than I am. Among other things, this whole shaggy operation was a complete slap in the face to you."

Trajan shifted uncomfortably in his chair, his shoulders moving in a little shrug. "Yes. On the other hand, who's to say it wasn't a deserved one?" He gave Usher, seated across from him in the President's office, a none-too-friendly glance. "I can't say I appreciate it personally, of course. But the truth is—"

He planted his hands on his knees and leaned forward. "Madam President, let's start from what is in fact the key point. However he did it, Victor Cachat seems to have laid the basis—helped it along, anyway—for a break between Erewhon and Manticore. And, possibly, the beginning of an alliance between them and us."

He paused, cocking his head, waiting to see if she chose to dispute the point. Pritchart's expression was sour, but . . . she said nothing.

"Right," Trajan continued. "And I'd point out that, if push comes to shove, I'm a lot more impressed by the possibly tens of thousands of Republican soldiers' lives which may be saved as a result of what he did, than I am with the death of some Erewhonese civilians and some Manticoran soldiers. With whom, by the way, we are still officially at war. Sorry, I know that's ruthless, but it's a cold universe."

Pritchart's face was very sour. But, still, she said nothing.

"Right," repeated the FIS Director. "So I think that before we climb all over Cachat, we at least need to give the devil his due."

" 'Devil's' the word, too," hissed Eloise. "Or demon."

Trajan smiled thinly. "Well . . . what's that old saying? 'He's a bastard, sure—but he's our bastard.' Face it, Ms. President. Cachat is brilliant at this kind of thing. The real problem we've got here—the reason, being blunt, that he had to use what you call 'furry tactics'—is because FIS is still such a shuffling mess. If I'd been able to get this outfit turned around fast enough . . . if we hadn't had such an incompetent FIS staff on Erewhon . . ."

The FIS Director's face sagged wearily, and he lapsed from his usual formality. "Look, Eloise, face it. I'm not really cut out for this. You know—I know—Kevin knows—that Kevin would be ten times better at it. And, on the flip side, if we didn't face such a delicate political situation, I'd do a lot better as the head of the police force. I'm just not cut out for this work. I'm not incompetent, and I'm honest. But, other than that . . ."

He shrugged. "I don't have what it takes to give a foreign intelligence service the kind of panache and self-confidence it needs. It's as simple as that. And with so many of the real experts from the old Saint-Just regime now tossed out, that means I'm left with a cadre that's prone to sluggishness and excessive caution. And I just can't turn it around."

Eloise rubbed her face, which, in that moment, looked as tired as Trajan's. "Wilhelm, I can't afford to lose Kevin as the head of the FIS. Whatever else, I've got to make sure there aren't any more coup d'etats. And I don't know anyone except him who'd really do any better than you running the FIS."

Trajan smiled crookedly. "Of course you do. It ought to be blindingly obvious by now."

She frowned with puzzlement, for a moment. Then, when his meaning penetrated, gasped. Partly with shock, partly from outrage.

"You can't be serious! Cachat?"

Trajan's smile remained on his face. And his gaze remained level. "Yes, Eloise. The 'demon' himself. Again—start with the key point. He's loyal. Whatever else about him irritates you, I know you don't have any doubts about that. And he is a wizard at this work."

"He's a maniac!"

Ginny shot to her feet. "He is not!" Then, as if realizing who she was talking to, she flushed a little. "Okay, maybe a little. But he's not a 'maniac.' That just isn't fair." She plopped back into her chair. "It isn't," she insisted.

"I'm not proposing to replace me with Cachat immediately, Madam President," Trajan said softly. "I agree with Ms. Usher that he's not a 'maniac,' but . . . ah . . . there's no question he could use some . . . ah . . ."

"Civilization?" Eloise demanded sarcastically. "Massive anti-testosterone treatments?"

Hearing a suspicious choking sound from Usher, she moved her eyes to him. "What are you trying not to laugh about?"

Usher waved a large hand. "Ah, never mind. Someday, after you've calmed down, Ginny can fill you in on some of the more private details of Cachat's, ah, operation on Erewhon."

Pritchart rolled her eyes. "Oh, marvelous. I had a hunch there was more to that renegade Solarian Marine officer than the reports said."

"She's not a renegade," Ginny growled.

Kevin sat up, discarding any traces of his previous—and very atypical—abashment. "No, she isn't. And cut the crap yourself, Eloise. You know the reality of the Solarian League. The woman's from Ndebele, for Pete's sake. Even if she were a 'renegade' from the SLN, so what? More power to her."

Pritchart rubbed her face again. "All right, all right," she grumbled. "Forget I said it. So Cachat's finally got a girlfriend, huh? Yes, yes—I'm sure she's a paragon of virtue."

Finally, the President's underlying sense of humor surfaced. Her shoulders rippled with a little laugh. "Figures, though. Who else but an Mfecane superwoman wouldn't be intimidated by the maniac? Ah, sorry, Ginny. 'Excessively irrepressible agent of, God help us, the Republic of Haven.' How's that?"

Ginny chuckled. "I can live with that."

Eloise studied Trajan. "Are you really serious about this? And, if you are, how do you propose to train him properly? I warn you, there is no way—no way, Wilhelm—that I'd agree to promoting Cachat to that extent until I'm satisfied he's under some kind of control. Self-control or otherwise."

Trajan looked at Usher, his eyes not quite hard, but . . . close.

After a moment, Kevin nodded. "I'll give him up, Wilhelm. And no tricks. I'll make clear to him you're his boss from now on."

"Good enough." Trajan looked back at Eloise. "This doesn't have to be done all that quickly, Madam President. For the moment, I think what's probably needed most is to give Cachat a major and important assignment. An official one. I'll go out there myself, as soon as possible, to spend some time with him. But let's give the young man a chance—for once—to show what he can do when he isn't being forced to circumvent authority at the same time. He'll be the authority."

Eloise frowned. "Go out there yourself? What 'there' are you talking—oh."

Her eyes widened. Then, a cool smile came to her face. "Hm. Hm. You know, I think I like that idea. Victor Cachat, chief of station on . . . Erewhon? Or Torch?"

"Both, I think," replied Wilhelm. He cocked his head at Usher, soliciting his opinion.

Kevin nodded. "Yes, both. We'd be crazy—I'm just being blunt, Eloise—to yank him out of Erewhon now. From everything I can tell, he's got an inside track with the Erewhonese. If we yanked him, that would certainly send them exactly the wrong message."

"True," agreed Eloise. "But why add Torch to the mix?"

Ginny started to say something, but choked off the words. Pritchart glanced at her. "Should I take it that he'd be visiting Torch every chance he got anyway?"

Ginny nodded. Pritchart's smile remained cool, but spread a little. "Not a casual girlfriend then, I gather. Well . . . who knows? That might help things, too."

"Besides," Kevin interjected, "Victor's got the inside track with the Torches also. If you send anybody else out there, he'll just—ah—"

"Run rings around them?" Eloise jibed. "Leave them lying flat on their back in a cloud of dust?"

"Something like that."
The President of the Republic of Haven moved her eyes to a blank spot on the far wall, which she examined for a minute or so. Then, leaning forward, she planted her hands on the desk again and spread her fingers.

"All right, we'll do it. And since we need to send someone official to attend the coronation of the new Queen of Torch in a few weeks—Kevin, you're it. I'll let you break the news to your protégé that he's now an Official Maniac. Which means if he pulls a stunt like this again, I'll flay him alive."

Usher nodded, looking as innocent as a lamb.

"You're not fooling me, Kevin," growled Pritchart. "Your lamb imitation wouldn't fool Little Red Riding Hood."

But she was laughing softly when she said it. And then added: "I'd love to be there myself, actually. Just to watch you and Ginny having to act like a respectable married couple, for a change."

It was Ginny's turn to look innocent. She managed it about as well as Kevin. "You mean I can't wear that sari I bought on The Wages of Sin, the day before I left?"
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Re: Honorverse favorite passages
Post by cthia   » Sun Sep 27, 2015 10:59 pm

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At All Costs
The battle no one had been able to adequately envision was over in 11.9 minutes from the moment the first missile launched.

* * *

"My God," someone whispered on HMS King Roger III's flag bridge.

Theodosia Kuzak didn't know who it was. It didn't matter. The imagery coming in from the FTL surveillance platforms was brutally clear.

Home Fleet was . . . gone. Simply gone.

This passage leaves me speechless every time. Unimaginable threat environment. In 11.9 minutes an entire Home Fleet was sent to the breakers.

The SLN wouldn't have believed this even if they had their own high-res scans.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Honorverse favorite passages
Post by Dauntless   » Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:50 am

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it is a stunning testimonal of the carnage that MDM pods are capable off.

about the only other is Foruth Yeltsin and even then Honour only took out it's battleship core.

Tourville destroyed the entity of the Manty home fleet. ok it had more older SDs then it should have done but it did also have a core of modern SD(p)s and tourville trashed it all.

and then went on to do the same to most of third fleet as well
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Re: Honorverse favorite passages
Post by cthia   » Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:00 pm

cthia
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Dauntless wrote:it is a stunning testimonal of the carnage that MDM pods are capable off.

about the only other is Foruth Yeltsin and even then Honour only took out it's battleship core.

Tourville destroyed the entity of the Manty home fleet. ok it had more older SDs then it should have done but it did also have a core of modern SD(p)s and tourville trashed it all.

and then went on to do the same to most of third fleet as well

Indeed Dauntless. It just leaves me - to borrow one of my British wife's favorite terms - gob smacked!

I wasn't going to bring it up, because I knew I'd get thrashed for it. Lambasted even!

But you did it for me...

WHY THE HELL DID HOME FLEET HAVE ANY OLD GARBAGE IN ITS ORDER OF BATTLE? Much less so much of it! WTFG?

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Honorverse favorite passages
Post by JeffEngel   » Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:15 pm

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cthia wrote:
Dauntless wrote:it is a stunning testimonal of the carnage that MDM pods are capable off.

about the only other is Foruth Yeltsin and even then Honour only took out it's battleship core.

Tourville destroyed the entity of the Manty home fleet. ok it had more older SDs then it should have done but it did also have a core of modern SD(p)s and tourville trashed it all.

and then went on to do the same to most of third fleet as well

Indeed Dauntless. It just leaves me - to borrow one of my British wife's favorite terms - gob smacked!

I wasn't going to bring it up, because I knew I'd get thrashed for it. Lambasted even!

But you did it for me...

WHY THE HELL DID HOME FLEET HAVE ANY OLD GARBAGE IN ITS ORDER OF BATTLE? Much less so much of it! WTFG?

Any waller is better than no waller. It's not like they had a lot of empty SD(P)'s hanging around unused. This was the same period when Eighth Fleet was doing system raids to keep Haven off-balance with whatever ships they had to do it with - including BC(P)'s being used like wallers just because they had the missiles to do it and the RMN really, really needed it done.

If in fact SD(P)'s fell like mana from heaven into Manticore orbit, the point would stand. In any other universe, it doesn't.
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Re: Honorverse favorite passages
Post by Dauntless   » Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:15 pm

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Jeff has the right of it.

too many newer ships lost during thunderbolt.

No-one though haven would seriously take a stab at the home system they thought they could get by with sending more of (what little they had of) the new construction to eighth fleet and home fleet would make do with older but still capable ships.
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Re: Honorverse favorite passages
Post by Hutch   » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:21 pm

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Location: Huntsville, Alabama y'all

I'm re-working my way back through the "Flint-Weber" trilogy and am halfway through Torch of Freedom. I know some folks don't care for this 3-book side-story, but I've always found Flint and Weber together (both here and in the Ring of Fire) to be a good read. And there are a couple of passages worth adding.

First is during the first meeting between Honor and Victor Cachat (also in AAC), where both manage to impress the other...

Honor leaned back slightly, gazing at him thoughtfully. It was obvious from his emotions that he had no idea she could actually taste him. And it was equally obvious he was telling the truth. Just as it was obvious he actually expected to be detained, probably jailed. And—

"Officer Cachat," she said, "I really wish you would deactivate whatever suicide device you have in your right hip pocket."

Cachat stiffened, eyes widening in the first sign of genuine shock he'd given, and Honor raised her right hand quickly as she heard the snapping whisper of Spencer Hawke's pulser coming out of its holster.

"Calmly, Spencer," she told the young man who had replaced Andrew LaFollet, never looking away from Cachat herself. "Calmly! Officer Cachat doesn't want to hurt anyone else. But I'd feel much more comfortable if you weren't quite so ready to kill yourself, Officer Cachat. It's rather hard to concentrate on what someone's telling you when you're wondering whether or not he's going to poison himself or blow both of you up at the end of the next sentence."

Cachat sat very, very still. Then he snorted—a harsh, abrupt sound, nonetheless edged with genuine humor—and looked at Zilwicki.

"I owe you a case of beer, Anton."

"Told you so." Zilwicki shrugged. "And now, Mr. Super Secret Agent, would you please turn that damned thing off? Ruth and Berry would both murder me if I let you kill yourself. And I don't even want to think about what Thandi would do to me!"

"Coward."

Cachat looked back at Honor, head cocked slightly to one side, then smiled a bit crookedly.

"I've heard a great deal about you, Duchess Harrington. We have extensive dossiers on you, and I know Admiral Theisman and Admiral Foraker both think highly of you. If you're prepared to give me your word—your word, not the word of a Manticoran aristocrat or an officer in the Manticoran Navy, but Honor Harrington'sword—that you won't detain me or attempt to force information out of me, I'll disarm my device."

"I suppose I really ought to point out to you that even if I give you my word, that doesn't guarantee someone else won't grab you if they figure out who you are."

"You're right." He thought for a moment longer, then shrugged. "Very well, give me Steadholder Harrington's word."

"Oh, very good, Officer Cachat!" Honor chuckled as Hawke stiffened in outrage. "You have studied my file, haven't you?"

"And the nature of Grayson's political structure," Cachat agreed. "It's got to be the most antiquated, unfair, elitist, theocratic, aristocratic leftover from the dustbin of history on this side of the explored galaxy. But a Grayson's word is inviolable, and a Grayson steadholder has the authority to grant protection to anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances."

"And if I do, I'm bound—both by tradition and honor and by law—to see to it you get it."

"Precisely . . . Steadholder Harrington."

"Very well, Officer Cachat. You have Steadholder Harrington's guarantee of your personal safety and return to Pottawatomie Creek. And, while I'm being so free with my guarantees, I'll also guarantee Eighth Fleet won't blow Pottawatomie Creekout of space as soon as you're 'safely' back aboard."

"Thank you," Cachat said, and reached into his pocket. He carefully extracted a small device and activated a virtual keyboard. His fingers twiddled for a moment, entering a complex code, and then he tossed the device to Zilwicki.

"I'm sure everyone will feel happier if you hang onto that, Anton."

"Thandi certainly will," Zilwicki replied, and slid the disarmed device into his own pocket.

"And now, Captain Zilwicki," Honor said, "I believe you were about to explain just what brings you and Officer Cachat to visit me?"
***********************************************
No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow.

What? Look, somebody's got to have some damn perspective around here! Boom. Sooner or later. BOOM! -LT. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5
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Re: Honorverse favorite passages
Post by Hutch   » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:25 pm

Hutch
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1830
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Huntsville, Alabama y'all

And the second passage from Torch of Freedom. 'Scrag' and 'Heroine' share no letters and certainly haven't been used together...until now...

Harper S. Ferry and Judson Van Hale were still ten meters from the New Age Pharmaceutical representative when Tyler looked up and saw Berry. Unlike any of the other commercial representatives in the room, he took a step towards her the moment he saw her, and Genghis's head snapped up in the same instant.

The 'cat reared high, ears flattened and fangs bared in the sudden, tearing-canvas ripple of a treecat's war cry, and vaulted abruptly from his person's shoulder towards Tyler.

Tyler's head whipped around, and Harper felt a sudden stab of outright terror as he saw the terrible, fixed glare of the other man's eyes. There was something . . . insane about them, and Harper was suddenly reaching for the panic button on his gun belt.

The pharmaceutical representative saw the oncoming 'cat, and his free hand flashed across to the briefcase he was carrying. The briefcase with the "perfume" of which no one at New Age Pharmaceutical had ever heard . . . and which Tyler didn't even remember taking from the man who'd squirted that odd mist in his face on Smoking Frog.
Genghis almost reached him in time. He launched himself from the floor in a snarling, hissing charge that hit Tyler's moving forearm perhaps a tenth of a second too late.

Tyler pressed the concealed button. The explosive charges in the two massively pressurized canisters of "perfume" in the briefcase exploded expelling the binary neurotoxin which they had contained under several thousand atmospheres of pressure. Separated, its components had been innocuous, easily mistaken for perfume; combined, they were incredibly lethal, and they mingled and spread, whipping outward from Tyler under immense pressure even as the briefcase blew apart with a sharp, percussive crack.

Genghis stiffened, jerked once, and hit the floor a fraction of a second before Tyler, left hand mangled by the explosion of the briefcase, collapsed beside him. Harper's finger completed its movement to the panic button, and then the deadly cloud swept over him and Judson, as well. Their spines arched, their mouths opened in silent agony, and then they went down as a cyclone of death spread outward.

* * *

Lara and Berry did their best to maintain suitably grave expressions, despite their mutual amusement, as they walked towards Berry's chair. They were about halfway there when the sudden, high-pitched snarl of an enraged treecat ripped through the throne room.

They spun towards the sound, and saw a cream-and-gray blur streaking through the crowd. For an instant, Berry had no idea at all what was happening. But if Lara wasn't especially well socialized, she still had the acute senses, heightened musculature, and lightning reflexes of the Scrag she had been born.

She didn't know what had set Genghis off, but every instinct she had screamed "Threat!" And if she wouldn't have had a clue which fork to use at a formal dinner, she knew exactly what to do about that.

She continued her turn, right arm reaching out, snaking around Berry's waist like a python, and snatched the girl up. By the time Genghis was two leaps from Tyler, Lara was already sprinting towards the door through which they'd entered the throne room.

She heard the sharp crack of the exploding briefcase behind her just as the door opened again, and she saw Saburo and Ruth Winton through it. From the corner of her eye, she also saw the outrider of death scything towards her as the bodies collapsed in spasming agony, like ripples spreading from a stone hurled into a placid pool. The neurotoxin was racing outward faster than she could run; she didn't know what it was, but she knew it was invisible death . . . and that she could not outdistance it.

"Saburo!" she screamed, and snatched Berry bodily off the floor. She spun on her heel once, like a discus thrower, and suddenly Berry went arcing headfirst through the air. She flew straight at Saburo X, like a javelin, and his arms opened reflexively.

"The door!" Lara screamed, skittering to her knees as she overbalanced from throwing Berry. "Close the door! Run!"
Berry hit Saburo in the chest. His left arm closed about her, holding her tight, and his eyes met Lara's as her knees hit the floor. Brown eyes stared deep into blue, meeting with the sudden, stark knowledge neither of them could evade.

"I love you!" he cried . . . and his right hand hit the button to close the door.
***********************************************
No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow.

What? Look, somebody's got to have some damn perspective around here! Boom. Sooner or later. BOOM! -LT. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5
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