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SPOILERS: Commentary and Speculationi for _To End in Fire_

Join us in talking discussing all things Honor, including (but not limited to) tactics, favorite characters, and book discussions.
Re: SPOILERS: Commentary and Speculationi for _To End in Fir
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Mon Oct 18, 2021 4:54 pm

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Robert_A_Woodward wrote:20) Punch, not Tap

Galton’s first missile strike was an over strength probe, which revealed too much information. Subsequent strikes were picked up much earlier and were much less effective. If your weapon system depends on stealth to get close, you don’t do probes with it. You do full scale strikes; after all, you can use cataphracts with a ballistic phase to do probes. Idiots.


Not the only mistake and mistakes weren't done only by the Alignment. Why was Honor sitting still at the hyperlimit? We've been arguing for months in the "Attack on Darius" thread that sitting idle means sitting duck for stealth weapons. The fact that they didn't find any evidence of spider drive is not evidence that there weren't any in the system, so it was reckless to do that.

In any case, this attack was noticed before it crossed the perimeter of the LACs, though it wasn't enough. The Hastas were detected not by their drives, but by the bowshock of their passage in the interplanetary medium at 0.4c. That's something I've been meaning to discuss with cthia when he finishes reading the book, because it could be used to detect spider torpedoes going at the same speed.

Meanwhile, we were told that the Ghost Rider was sitting at 200,000 km from a fortress and didn't get detected until it started transmitting. Just think on what this means for Mistletoe.

Honor did a probing attack of hers too, which revealed the CM pods. That was actually a good probe: she didn't reveal anything that the Alignment wouldn't already know and she did expose a defence of theirs, for a mere 5000 missiles, less than 0.01% of her load-out. This is another point we've been discussing: the defenders have to take every feint seriously. Dying with loads of CMs unfired is stupid.

16) Galton Sensor Net

The Oyster Bay strike force emerged a whole light month from Manticore (and despite extreme care, was still noticed though as a likely false positive which was investigated). Is three light weeks enough even though the ships involved have a total mass less than 1 Shark? They don’t want to be noticed at all.


Looks like retcon to me so the timelines would fit. Not that I understand why timelines had to fit in the first place: it's not like extending the book by another 3 months would make a difference. I'd have to go back to check the book to see if the number of 1 light-month is accurate, but it is a number we've been talking about for years. Now, we're told that the Manticore hyperdetection net is 2.5 light-weeks...

Another detail is that they added half a light-week to that number... a mere 20% margin. That was... reckless. I'd have added a minimum of 50%.
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Re: SPOILERS: Commentary and Speculationi for _To End in Fir
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Mon Oct 18, 2021 5:15 pm

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Last one.
Robert_A_Woodward wrote:2) So what could had been stored in the secure server at Jessyk’s Warner Station?

There are several possibilities. The most likely, IMHO, is a list of special (i.e., with MAlign crews) freighters and couriers, which could be a clue for Silver Bullet (the special MAlign drones that were inserted into the Beowulf to destroy the Mycroft command nodes). For that matter, there could be other references to Silver Bullet (the delivery went through Warner after all and from Darius, not Galton, which could be a clue for Darius’s existence). Another possibility are references to the ships used for Operation Houdini. If Director Harris was in direct communication with Darius (IMHO, known MAlign security protocols would forbid this), the fact that it was about 10 light years from Mannerheim (which means that a wormhole, either bridge or junction, was about 10 light years from Mannerheim) would be apparent. She probably was in communication with Galton, which would have reinforced Anton’s conclusion on the destination of all those slave ships.

3) Could the other data found at Warner-Mannerheim Bridge hint at Darius?


The most likely scenario is that it indeed had clues to ships departing for Felix, especially recently with Houdini's execution..

Old data about the colonisation of Darius was probably not there at all. It would have been scrubbed a long time ago since it didn't need to exist any more. Even if there were corrupt middle management trying to extort the company, they wouldn't be using 150-T-year-old records.

A discrepancy I've noticed in how the RF is described is that it was a regional grouping... but we know Visigoth, a member of the League, was supposed to be one and it isn't close to Mannerheim or Warner. So my guess is that Visigoth hasn't declared its membership yet. Which in turn means the Mannerheim-Warner bridge office probably had records of excess of traffic between Mannerheim and Visigoth.

4) Will Anton and company find anything hints of Darius at Galton?

The Detweilers certainly tried to keep the system clean of such clues. The Alamo Option eliminated the handful of people with direct knowledge of Darius (even if they didn’t know where it was). However, there is a possibility that Zach’s contributions to Galton’s R&D will might attract attention when an attempt to find the author fails. Of course, Zach isn’t there (but they can’t exclude the possibility that something happened). It should be possible, using the preserved records of Mesa’s Traffic Control System to identify most, if not all, of the people supposedly killed by various “terrorist attacks” or “accidents” but were actually evacuated by the MAlign. While most went to Galton, some went to Darius. Close questioning of the evacuees (assuming no suicide protocols in place) at Galton might reveal interesting information about the missing (i.e., the ones who went to Darius). By interesting, I mean information that would cause team Anton to realize that the missing were not the victims of random chance.


Zach's content was reviewed and sanitised by others. So it's unlikely that he managed to slip something by them and into the Galton's databases. I don't think Anton & company will find the location of Darius there.

But discrepancies, sure. Darius had been controlling the research in Galton for a long time, both inserting data and curbing lines of research that the Onion didn't want Galton to explore. So for the same reason that they realised that Manpower wasn't operating Verdant Vista with a profit motive, they should realise that someone was controlling the research. The next step from here is not logical by itself: that the entity controlling was actually not present in the system. But if you add to the complete absence of a spider drive debris or research, that leap can be made.

And, as you said, that they'll be able to correlate who was evacuated from Darius with who showed up on Galton. Oh, there'll be gaps: we know some people were intercepted on the way, and the records on Mesa weren't perfect to begin with. But as you say, there'll be just too many missing to be accounted only by external events.

So, yeah, the evidence piles up.

5) How can Darius be found?

Finding the Felix Junction, which won’t be easy, is only the first step. While I don’t remember any mention that the Darius terminus is fortified, I expect that it is (and if it isn’t at the end of _To End in Fire_, it should be heavily fortified within years). Thus, it can not be forced without horrendous expenditure of blood (this isn’t Starfire where a fleet could pump millions of armed drones through a warp point). Finding Darius will require either a breakthrough in the understanding of wormholes (i.e., determining the approximate location of the other end) or an exhaustive survey of star systems that are within a sphere centered on Felix (BTW, the maximum known wormhole length is over 900 light years, that is over 3 billion cubic light years). Fortunately, if the search is done as shells around Felix, then they only have to search a sphere with a radius of 130 light years (the Felix-Darius wormhole is rather short). This will require searching only about 20 thousand star systems (many will have 2 or more stars).

6) Finding the Felix Junction

Besides tracing inadvertent breadcrumbs, it is possible that the Felix junction could be found the hard way. Since, the Galton survey was false, the Solarian League might start the very lengthly process of checking every uninhabited system in the survey database just to see if more bad data had been snuck in. Thus, the Mannerheim taskforce guarding the Felix junction will be faced with a quandary when the survey ship shows up. Destroying it won’t work, because the follow up mission will probably be harder to destroy and then they will be in real trouble. Of course, if a ship transits to Felix from Darius (or “SGC-902-36-G”, the back door to Torch) while the survey ship is in system, then they will also be in real trouble.


Brute-force is impractical. It's a bit less than what you calculated because a radius of 900 light-years necessarily moves off the galactic disk and therefore there are fewer candidate stars, but that doesn't reduce by nearly enough to make practical.

Felix doesn't appear to be a faked survey, unlike Galton. It was just incomplete because the survey ship didn't realise there was a junction there. So the report is actually accurate, as far as the survey ship knew.

The problem for them is that the Mannerheim-Warner bridge has got a spotlight on, which puts a spotlight on Mannerheim. Added to Director Ganon's suspicion of the RF, Mannerheim's ability to protect Felix is diminished. Can they take the risk that someone follow them to see why they keep going for exercises that often?

So, I don't know how Darius or Felix will be found. My wild guess is that the Darius Resistance has a means of communicating off-planet.

PS: I was glad to see Allen Higgins too.
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Re: SPOILERS: Commentary and Speculationi for _To End in Fir
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Mon Oct 18, 2021 5:17 pm

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tlb wrote:We know that is not right from chapter 17 of A Rising Thunder, where Bejamin and Albrecht Detweiler are talking about new information from Mesa:
They're talking about virus-based nanotech assassinations, the streak drive and the spider drive and they're naming names about something called 'the Mesan Alignment'
...
- all about the Mesan plan to conquer the known universe.


Thanks. So unless this gets retconned as the Detweilers interpreting the information they've received, indeed the GA knew for sure there was a stealth drive.

And like Houdini, looks like Alamo wasn't updated to take changing conditions into account.
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Re: SPOILERS: Commentary and Speculationi for _To End in Fir
Post by Bluesqueak   » Mon Oct 18, 2021 5:25 pm

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tlb wrote:I think that there is still a discrepancy within the universe (outside the universe, it is the difference between Flint and Weber): Manticore has many ties to Beowulf, which is very close to the Sol System. In fact we know the following from Honor Among Enemies, chapter 3:
Lots of things on Sphinx wouldn't mind finding out how people taste, and most adults and older children pack guns in the Outback as a matter of course."
"But not antiques like that one, I'll bet," LaFollet returned, gesturing at the pistol case under her left arm.
"No," she admitted. "That's my Uncle Jacques' fault."
"Uncle Jacques?"
"My mom's older brother. He came out from Beowulf to visit us for about a year when I was, oh, twelve T-years old, and he belongs to the Society for Creative Anachronisms. They're a weird group that enjoys recreating the past the way it ought to have been. Uncle Jacques' own favorite period was the second-century Ante Diaspora—uh, that would be the twentieth-century," she added, since Grayson still used the ancient Gregorian calendar "—and he was Planetary Reserve Grand Pistol Champion that year
So, if he studies the twentieth century, then he should be aware of whatever knowledge of it there is on either Beowulf or Earth; to include films (or movies) that show his period in action. So Honor might not know personally; but the knowledge banks should be there.


I agree that in the outside universe, there’s every sign that the two authors have picked up on a discrepancy in that one set of characters know about films, whereas another set don’t. However, I think they’re using the ‘film’ versus ‘movie’ as a way to get out of it. Honor, after all, has figured out that ‘movies’ were a visual entertainment medium, so if it’s simply that she knows perfectly well what a film is, but doesn’t realise ‘film’ and ‘movie’ are synonyms - that works well enough. The Seven Samurai has been lost in the two millennia since it was made - also works. The historians have no idea whether The Seven Samurai (if it existed and wasn’t some Grayson legend) was a ‘film’, a ‘musical’ or possibly a ‘video game’ - also works. Some kind of visual entertainment, they won’t commit further.

The thing is, I think I’d go with Eric Flint on this. As you say, there is no way that Uncle Jaques wouldn’t know about films if any knowledge of them has survived - and how the heck would all knowledge of a major, worldwide, twentieth century art form be completely lost? In our world we’ve got some Ancient Greek plays, Roman plays, fragments of Sanskrit plays - but in the Honorverse the millions of copies of films vanished while the antique firearms survived?

Casablanca survived, The Seven Samurai didn’t. The word ‘movie’ is lost to history because the historians always used ‘film’. I can live with that as a workaround.

Weber can do film quotes, though - he does quite a few outside the Honorverse. Heirs of Empire, for example, which was written solo. Mircea in Out of the Dark is also a film buff. I think Merlin may do a quote or two, as well.
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Re: SPOILERS: Commentary and Speculationi for _To End in Fir
Post by tlb   » Mon Oct 18, 2021 5:43 pm

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Bluesqueak wrote:Casablanca survived, The Seven Samurai didn’t.

The Princess Bride survived and The Seven Samurai did not?

That's the "that word you keep using ... I don't think it means what you think it means" reference.

Perhaps one of the systems settled by Japanese descendants would have all the films of Akira Kurosawa.
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Re: SPOILERS: Commentary and Speculationi for _To End in Fir
Post by Loren Pechtel   » Mon Oct 18, 2021 10:17 pm

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Robert_A_Woodward wrote:2) Galton Not Cleared for the Spider Drive


Yes, this is a major blunder. All it takes is one slip-up to reveal Galton wasn't the whole thing and this will do it.

3) Galton’s Oyster Bay Plan is too Phony


If they're not going to reveal the Spider they didn't have a choice. It still exposes that there is another layer, though.

14) The Defense of Galton System

The MAlign didn’t want a defense to be necessary, since that meant that it had been discovered and all of its resources will be lost. But, they really should have done a better job at it (yes, I am harping about the spider drive and the poor use of the improved Hasta, see comment 20). The Detweilers will have to to sit tight in Darius for several decades secretly building up strength and connections for Prometheus II. However, the lack of graser torpedoes (with spider drive) should cause sane intelligence types to realize that Galton was just another false front. BTW, the Galton System appears to be systematically under defended in Gail’s scenarios. To begin with, system Alpha had only one big fortress, Galton had three. She should have had several million missile pods to work with and the actual missile defense systems for the fortresses do not appear to have been included in her models.


They don't have anything like Apollo and they were shooting at very long range--I think they were limited in how many they could control. I think the final volley was blind-fired.

While there are no doubt a ton of missile pods they were basically useless--they had to get an attack within the hyper drive cycle time or it would find nothing but LACs there. While picking off the pods wasn't mentioned I'm sure Honor had sanitized the space she was going through before approaching.

16) Galton Sensor Net

The Oyster Bay strike force emerged a whole light month from Manticore (and despite extreme care, was still noticed though as a likely false positive which was investigated). Is three light weeks enough even though the ships involved have a total mass less than 1 Shark? They don’t want to be noticed at all.


Galton had little reason for a huge sensor net like Manticore has.

17) The MAlign was hoisted by their own petard.

Looks like their standard procedure of killing off loose ends backfired on them when they hid the true survey of Galton. It appears that the Intelligence agencies of the Grand Alliance have learned to recognize the Jackal from his claw mark.


Without first locating the likely location that information wasn't relevant. Nor was it decisive, they would have surveyed all likely candidates until they found it.

18) Just how many people know that Honor can read emotions?

I thought that detail was tightly held, so how did Audrey find out and why did Honor admit it so casually?


Yeah, that was a big surprise. Audrey would know Nimitz could but why was it revealed she coudl??

20) Punch, not Tap

Galton’s first missile strike was an over strength probe, which revealed too much information. Subsequent strikes were picked up much earlier and were much less effective. If your weapon system depends on stealth to get close, you don’t do probes with it. You do full scale strikes; after all, you can use cataphracts with a ballistic phase to do probes. Idiots.


The first strike was probably what they could control. And once Honor learned what to look for it wasn't going to work again, she could just hyper out. The Catapphracts were basically useless--missile traces are obvious, she was beyond the hyperlimit.

21) Graser Warheads Provide no Advantage over Laser Heads


Ouch, yup, you're right. She knew something was coming, wedges would be rolled.

22) Two-stage counter missiles and counter-missile pods

David Weber shot both ideas down in a post dated August 23, 2004 (not certain where it was posted, it might had been on an earlier version of Baen’s bar), but Galton used both with an initial success.


Tech has improved, I don't mind.

23) The Alamo Contingency

As ruthless as the MAlign (or the Detweilers to be specific) have been, I wonder why the Alamo Contingency didn’t destroy the habitats (rather than attack the Grand Fleet). Because it didn’t, that left a lot of inner onion people to be identified, let alone interrogated (or were they all equipped with suicide nanotech?).


There shouldn't be anyone on Galton that knows about Darius. And blowing the habitats would reveal that there's another layer.

5) How can Darius be found?


Only by leaks or by checking each of a vast number of systems for signs of habitation.

Given what we've seen I expect Darius to be exposed by people already on it.
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Re: SPOILERS: Commentary and Speculationi for _To End in Fir
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Mon Oct 18, 2021 11:33 pm

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Bluesqueak wrote:I agree that in the outside universe, there’s every sign that the two authors have picked up on a discrepancy in that one set of characters know about films, whereas another set don’t. However, I think they’re using the ‘film’ versus ‘movie’ as a way to get out of it. Honor, after all, has figured out that ‘movies’ were a visual entertainment medium, so if it’s simply that she knows perfectly well what a film is, but doesn’t realise ‘film’ and ‘movie’ are synonyms - that works well enough. The Seven Samurai has been lost in the two millennia since it was made - also works. The historians have no idea whether The Seven Samurai (if it existed and wasn’t some Grayson legend) was a ‘film’, a ‘musical’ or possibly a ‘video game’ - also works. Some kind of visual entertainment, they won’t commit further.


Also remember that they don't speak 20th/21st century English. 2000 years is the difference between the Latin spoken by Caesar and by Augustus and modern Italian. A quarter of which was with printing presses. And it's not like we've forgotten Latin, we've just evolved off it (and people get some pronunciations wrong; veni, vidi, vici was pronounced "weni, widi, wiki").

Current Icelanders can read the 800-year-old sagas, with some difficulty, but that's an exception. Try reading Chaucer. I can't barely read prose or verse just over 500 years old in my mother tongue. Many languages even change intentionally to absorb changes in pronunciation, unlike English and French (and Greek, I think, aside from dropping the tone markers).

So it's possible the words changed meanings several times in the intervening two millennia, to the point where the original distinction or equality was lost, regained, lost again, etc.

Don't forget Honor Harrington was reading Horatio Hornblower with a dictionary and as confused that "pound" was both a unit of currency and a unit of weight (and the coin worth one pound didn't weigh one pound).
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Re: SPOILERS: Commentary and Speculationi for _To End in Fir
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Tue Oct 19, 2021 12:01 am

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Loren Pechtel wrote:They don't have anything like Apollo and they were shooting at very long range--I think they were limited in how many they could control. I think the final volley was blind-fired.

While there are no doubt a ton of missile pods they were basically useless--they had to get an attack within the hyper drive cycle time or it would find nothing but LACs there. While picking off the pods wasn't mentioned I'm sure Honor had sanitized the space she was going through before approaching.


I don't think they were limited in control links. The Galton defenders were talking about firing bigger salvos (and did), so it stands to reason there wasn't a limitation this early. So it really does sound like a mistake to fire something that isn't best Sunday punch but exposes

The Hastas are pretty self-sufficient and, by the time the missile launches from them, they're WAY past telemetry range from any non-FTL link. The Grand Fleet was sitting at the hyperlimit, about 10 light-minutes away.

Oh, BTW, has anyone noticed how the Apollos now can be controlled at 10 light-minute range, but couldn't when Honor fired at Tourville at 8 light-minutes?

Galton had little reason for a huge sensor net like Manticore has.


I disagree. The fact that you've pulled this attack on someone means you should be prepared for it to be used on you. You can't call Dibs on the strategy.

The first strike was probably what they could control. And once Honor learned what to look for it wasn't going to work again, she could just hyper out. The Catapphracts were basically useless--missile traces are obvious, she was beyond the hyperlimit.


See above for quantity. But I agree on the rest.

21) Graser Warheads Provide no Advantage over Laser Heads


Ouch, yup, you're right. She knew something was coming, wedges would be rolled.


And this is both interesting and disappointing. It's interesting that even graser missiles pushed by Hastas managed to make so comparatively little damage. And disappointing because later, mere Cataphracts did more damage.

There shouldn't be anyone on Galton that knows about Darius. And blowing the habitats would reveal that there's another layer.


I don't see how that conclusion would follow. The fact that the remnants of the fortresses blew themselves up instead of letting be captured in Adebayo's Khan moment would be completely understandable for habitats too. The Alignment was perfectly willing to kill even their on on Mesa, which they needed to evacuate. Why not make collective suicide?

On the other hand, if they did blow themselves up, any survivors may be able to tell that. Whereas if Honor had returned fire, even if allowed under the rules of war, could be pushed by survivors as (another) atrocity.
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Re: SPOILERS: Commentary and Speculationi for _To End in Fir
Post by Bluesqueak   » Tue Oct 19, 2021 5:20 am

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tlb wrote:
Bluesqueak wrote:Casablanca survived, The Seven Samurai didn’t.

The Princess Bride survived and The Seven Samurai did not?

That's the "that word you keep using ... I don't think it means what you think it means" reference.

Perhaps one of the systems settled by Japanese descendants would have all the films of Akira Kurosawa.


Yes, I noticed that. But in fact, The Princess Bride is more likely to have survived because it's a movie adapted from a book (so two possibilities - the movie survived and the book survived). It's also possible the quote now survives as a proverbial saying, the way that 'To Be or Not To Be' will be quoted by people who've never actually seen Hamlet.

Saburo is also one of the collection of 'characters who've lived on Old Earth'. If, in later books, we note that the film quotes are strictly confined to people who've lived on Old Earth, then the two authors have solved the discrepancy by making 'films' very much Old Earth's equivalent of Ancient Greek Plays. They're not as massive as Shakespeare, but it's surprisingly possible (in the UK, at least) to find people who've seen a live performance or been exposed to the topic at school/college.

From that school/college exposure, I'd say a daft comedy surviving while a great tragedy is lost is exactly what happened with our two thousand year old dramas and comedies. We've got one and a half satyr plays but we've lost some of Sophocles' work.

As you say, hopefully we'll discover that The Seven Samuri still exists in a Fringe system colonised by people who trace their ancestry back to ancient Japan... I bet the Graysons would be delighted.
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Re: SPOILERS: Commentary and Speculationi for _To End in Fir
Post by Relax   » Tue Oct 19, 2021 3:29 pm

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
Also remember that they don't speak 20th/21st century English. 2000 years is the difference between the Latin spoken by Caesar and by Augustus and modern Italian. A quarter of which was with printing presses. And it's not like we've forgotten Latin

DW has stated that due to the printing press and voice caches, English has remained roughly the same with some obvious discrepancies.

Of course, it could always be worse... the Star Trek, SG-1 hilariousness where everyone speaks English... modern English.... Even in distant galaxies... Oh yea.

Meanwhile here on earth, if I listen to a couple of my Irish friends speaking "ENGLISH" ... I literally have NO IDEA what they are saying as a native English speaker
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