Author Topic: Let's be about it  (Read 25733 times)

Offline Silver Fox

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Let's be about it
« on: June 18, 2014, 07:35:43 AM »
Let`s be about it, an Honor Harrington Story

Part One: Conundrum

Commodore Davis Henke sat at his desk and stared at the flashing input cursor on his data terminal. Davis was torn between his desire to play “The Game” for his good friend and Academy-mate Thomas, and his duty to Her Imperial Majesty’s Navy. The truth was, Thomas was the best candidate for the as yet unfilled Captaincy of the Royal Manticoran Navy’s newest heavy cruiser. The fact that Thomas was of common upbringing, and had no known Fleet sponsor was ample proof of his capabilities. Thomas had just been promoted to Captain Senior Grade, or Captain of the List as it was sometimes known, barely a year after Davis has received his Flag upon promotion to Commodore. Davis was a member of the cadet branch of the Henke family though, and by extension a distant relative of Her Majesty Herself. Davis had had ample senior sponsorship.

No, the problem wasn’t Thomas’ capability, nor was it a lack of his desire to command a vessel such as the one on offer. The problem was the name of the ship in question. First of her class, and probably due to be a pure one-off design, she was a unique and powerful vessel that would see many independent actions. Davis was more than sure though that his friend James Thomas Kirk would rather command a garbage scow cleaning up Manticoran space than the command he was being offered. The problem was, the new cruiser needed the best commander available, and James Thomas Kirk was the right officer, in oh so many ways, to command HMS Enterprise.

Reason for edit, better titling/removed preamble
« Last Edit: June 22, 2014, 03:09:28 AM by Silver Fox »

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2014, 11:24:16 AM »
*snicker* Oh, that's so wrong and yet so right.  So, when in the Honorverse does this fall, before or after Mesa's attack on the Manticore and Grayson systems?  Given that BuShips and the ADB do produce, or convert, one-off ships on occasion (HMS Fearless from the first book in the series being a case in point), this is not implausible.  On the other hand, a Captain James Kirk on an Enterprise?   You know that's going to attract all sorts of "nonsense" to him.  Still, I'd love to read more of this story.

BTW, the title works so beautifully, since it's Dame Honor's favorite line.

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2014, 11:01:48 PM »
It takes place after Oyster Bay and before Second Manticore, and it will soon be clear why a ship ready for commissioning is without a CO. The action will take place in the Talbot cluster, where I am reasonably sure the SLN will NOT appreciate HMS Enterprise.

Thomas will meet his friend's distant cousin, the Honorable Michelle, there. He will also have two very different encounters with 'The Salamander' in Manticoran space.

Well, Nimitz would tell me that if it feels right to go ahead and continue. As there is another Honor Harrington fan in the house... "Let's be about it".

Reason for Edit, incorrect timline.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2014, 12:05:39 PM by Silver Fox »

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2014, 12:58:28 AM »
Part II: Into the Fire

Davis was lost in thought, attempting to decide if he should help his friend avoid a ‘fate worse than death’. He was so lost in fact that he never heard the outer office door open or his assistant saying “Go right in Ma’am, I’m sure the Commodore would always be pleased to see you.” His first warning was actually the happy, welcoming “BLEEK!” of his treecat Claudius. Davis looked up and saw Fleet Admiral Honor Alexander-Harrington striding into his office. He started to rise, a process complicated by Claudius trying to uncurl from his lap. “Relax Commodore, this is a social call. I intend to resolve a problem you are undoubtedly suffering from”, The Fleet Admiral’s rich contralto was friendly. “Ma’am! Ah… Please, make yourself comfortable. Would you like a refreshment? Perhaps a hot chocolate or a an Old Tilman?”, Davis stuttered, his face reddening. Admiral Harrington’s own treecat, Nimitz, regarded him with grass-green eyes and gave the ear-flick that indicated amusement. “Perhaps Nimitz would like some celery?” The answer to the last question came from his own Claudius and Nimitz in a powerful “BLEEK!” that over-rode whatever the Fleet Admiral had to say. Admiral Harrington giggled, and reddened herself. Behind her, her Grayson Armsman struggled to hide a grin. It was clear that he was completely comfortable in the presence of his charge.

 “Old Tilman would be fine Commodore, and I believe we can safely assume those two,” she pointed at the two treecats who were busy signing to each other, “would perhaps like some celery.” Nimitz responded to this by looking at his person with a haughty disregard and a loud ‘sniff’ before pointedly turning his attention back to Claudius. Claudius bleeked in amusement and Davis found himself relaxing. These two, he thought, make a formidable team. Davis was about to ask his assistant to bring the beers and celery when he felt Claudius’ true hands on his leg. Looking down he met Claudius’ eyes and saw the ‘cat signing to him. Turning back to the Admiral he said “Perhaps the Admiral would like something to eat?” It was clear she was about to decline… but a subtle clearing of the throat by her Armsman and a scolding chitter from Nimitz stopped her. “It appears I am outnumbered by my keepers Commodore, some sandwiches would be fine.” Davis passed the request to his assistant and he found himself in small talk with the Admiral while they waited on the food and drink to arrive.

“Commodore, can I safely assume the Nimitz and your Claudius conspired to have you suggest I eat?” Admiral Harrington’s tone suggested she already knew the answer. “Actually Ma’am, Claudius did remind me. I should have remembered myself though. Michelle told me shortly after I was promoted that should I ever find myself hosting you I had to remember three things. First, hot chocolate instead of coffee. Second, celery for Nimitz, but in small quantities. That I would have done myself, ‘cats love celery but it isn’t good for them as you know.” At this both ‘cats pointedly gave a loud sniff and turned their backs on the Commodore. Admiral Harrington laughed and said “Ignore them Commodore, they all react that way if we suggest they limit the celery intake. Please go on, what was the third thing Michele said?” Davis gave a timid smile and responded, “Well Ma’am, she said to offer you food. She wasn’t clear why, but she was adamant that I always offer you something to eat.”

At this Honor Harrington did laugh out loud, answered by a loud, amused “BLEEK!” from both ‘cats. “Well Commodore, I seem to find myself trapped with four keepers and a fifth here in spirit!” The food and drink arrived just then, and for a few minutes all parties were busy. For the humans it was sandwiches and frosty mugs of Old Tilman, for the ‘cats the loud crunch of celery and contented purring. The quiet social moment ended though, and Commodore Henke saw the woman known as “The Salamander” for the first time. “Perhaps Commodore you can explain just why James Kirk seems to want to avoid the heavy cruiser he is to be offered, and why you seem to agree that he doesn’t really want this opportunity?”

Davis swallowed reflexively, “Yes Ma’am, I’ll try. You see it started in those 2D entertainment cubes you brought back from Grayson. The ones about ‘Deep Space Nine’?” “I recall them Commodore, Grayson actually considered building a station similar to DS 9. It is an interesting design philosophy.” She regarded him coolly, “I fail to see what that has to do with James Kirk or HMS Enterprise though.”

Davis swallowed nervously again and continued, “Well Ma’am, those cubes were part of a series of similar entertainments. Once they had achieved a following here on Manticore a search of the old libraries was conducted on Earth. They found the other parts, including the earliest. It’s that earliest part that Thomas objects to.” Admiral Harrington’s gaze was distinctly cold now. “Let me get this straight Commodore. A RMN officer, a Captain no less, wishes not to be assigned a specific heavy cruiser in Queen’s Service because of ancient 2D entertainment cubes?” Davis hurriedly explained, “Ma’am, that earliest part? It’s about the adventures of a rather flamboyant starship Captain. The Captain is a womanizer of some reknown and known for flagrantly breaking rules, then getting away with it. That Captain Ma’am is James T. Kirk, of the starship Enterprise.”

Now Honor Harrington blinked, clearly taken aback. She recalled James Thomas Kirk from her time commanding “The Crusher,” the RMN’s command school. He had proved popular with the female students and staff to be sure, and she recalled that he was also the one who… “Oh dear! Your friend, Thomas he now prefers to be called? He was the officer who altered the Fleet simulation to allow his battlecruiser to use Apollo at full capacity in the Tank?” Davis nodded and Honor continued, “Surely he can’t have been named after the old fictional character? Those cubes can only have surfaced in the last 15 years or so!”

“Ma’m. He went by Jim in those days, until the comparisons started to be made. It was then that he changed to Thomas. Now we propose to give him Enterprise. He’ll never live it down, and he knows it.” Davis looked crestfallen. His friend Thomas was obviously close to him and the problem was very real. The confidence of a commanding officer was not a matter to be taken lightly. Honor considered the matter for no more than a few seconds. “Well Commodore, perhaps he doesn’t need to live it down. Perhaps he needs to live up to it, a certain panache is required of a cruiser commander. He seems to have it, he needs to use it.”

Davis was resigned, The Salamander more than anyone else would understand the pressures something like this could place on an officer. If she was in favour of the assignment, that was that. “I’ll make the posting right now Ma’am.” He made the required entries on his desktop terminal and announced “Done Ma’am.” Honor Harrington rose from here chair and Nimitz leapt into her arms before scrambling to her shoulder. “We both have other serious duties Commodore, let’s be about it.” She then left his office and went to put out whatever other fire had attracted the attention of the Fleet Admiral. In a way Davis was very glad she had come. Honor Harrington, The Salamander, had a way of bringing out the best in people. Now he would see if it would work at one remove.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2014, 01:05:32 AM by Silver Fox »

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2014, 07:06:05 AM »
Part III: Kirk to Enterprise

Enterprise was designed originally as an experimental Saganami-class CA (P). A heavy cruiser hull fitted to fire shoals of missiles from pods she could release from a hollow core. Long before building had started the RMN had decided that only the super dreadnaught “Ships of the Wall” would be pod armed. A limited number of Agamemnon-class BC (P)’s had already been completed, and these were valuable assets, but the follow on class was more conventional. In the newer battlecruisers, the change made them capable of firing the latest Marks of heavy capital missiles and provided the space for fire control systems required to make best use of those missiles. In the cruiser hulls though, the pods actually prevented the firing of the heaviest missiles a cruiser could normally carry, in favour of more volume of smaller missiles. The events leading up to the first Battle of Manticore had made it obvious that such a design philosophy was unworkable.

Enterprise
had then been redesigned for the space-control mission that had been the pre-war stock in trade of an RMN cruiser. Enterprise was essentially a Saganami C-class and was fitted with that type’s conventional broadside (although it bore more resemblance to a Grayson design than Manticoran) featuring heavy missile launcher tubes and beam weapons. Enterprise lacked a normal after chase armament though; in its place was a single large launch bay… suitable for the launch, recovery and re-arming of a Ferret-class Light Attack Craft. The mission of the Ferret was simple; a cruiser could not launch the sophisticated Apollo targeting missiles that would let her use multi-drive missiles to best effect from her internal launchers. The LAC could act as a persistent replacement for the Apollo though. A Ferret could creep close to its target and provide fire control for following missiles. The only disadvantage was that the Ferret had nowhere near the acceleration of a modern MDM. The Ferret would launch early and recover late, which might make life difficult for it’s crew if the parent cruiser had to run from an opponent. Of course, many pirates would regret catching a Ferret, considering that types missile armament and electronic warfare capability.

Enterprise had run through her trials, including exercise in the use of the Ferret, without a major incident. There were no engineering casualties except for a single beta-squared node, which had required re-tuning. Personnel had started to settle in, although there was the normal period of adjustment with so many of the ratings new to the Navy. All in all, she was a well-found ship off to a good start. The ‘good start’ ended with the attack on Manticore, which found her Captain having a anniversary dinner with his wife at the Dempsey’s location aboard Her Majesty’s Space Station Hephaestus. During that dinner, the missiles had struck the space station and the Dempsey’s location had been destroyed. Enterprise had been under command of her First Officer, who had taken the ship a short distance from Manticore; there to give the LAC decks crews some needed practice on LAC operations.

Now Enterprise awaited her new Captain. Filling a dead man’s shoes was nothing unusual in the RMN after so many years of war with the People’s Republic of Haven/Republic of Haven. Still it did cause one to reflect on destiny and one’s own mortality to a certain extent. James Thomas Kirk did reflect on destiny, especially the destiny that saw James T. Kirk being given command of HMS Enterprise. A heavy cruiser was nothing for a Captain of yeoman birth to sneeze at. Indeed, a heavy cruiser would likely be the last truly independent starship command an officer in Queen’s service was likely to see. The next step would be a battlecruiser, and solo operations in battlecruisers were rare. After that would come the ships of the wall, and probably the last chance to wear the white beret that an officer would get.

So, James Thomas Kirk now sat on a shuttle awaiting his arrival aboard his new command. If nothing else, the experience should prove… fascinating.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2014, 12:58:00 AM by Silver Fox »

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2014, 11:22:54 AM »
It takes place after Oyster Bay and before Second Manticore, and it will soon be clear why a ship ready for commissioning is without a CO. The action will take place in the Talbot cluster, where I am reasonably sure the SLN will NOT appreciate HMS Enterprise.

Thomas will meet his distant cousin, the Honorable Michelle, there. He will also have two very different encounters with 'The Salamander' in Manticoran space.

Well, Nimitz would tell me that if it feels right to go ahead and continue. As there is another Honor Harrington fan in the house... "Let's be about it".
No, I doubt the SLN will appreciate HMS Enterprise at all, given her capabilities for independent action and the standard of initiative that the RMN seems to instill in its officers.  Given all that's going down in and around the Talbot cluster, I daresay he's going to see plenty of "interesting times", even without the "attractor" phenomena that the combination of ship and captain's name are likely to produce.

Is Admiral Gold Peak Thomas' distant cousin or Davis'?  The first installment seemed to suggest the later.

Yeah, I've been a Honor Harrington fan since On Basilisk Station first came out and look forward to seeing where you take this.  Installments II and III were most enjoyable and I look forward to more.

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2014, 12:02:28 PM »
Commodore Davis Henke is a distant cousin of Admiral Gold Peak.

I mis-wrote when I said Thomas will meet his cousin. Thomas is of yeoman stock, unrelated to the Manticoran aristocracy. Original post edited to correct the error.

Nice catch. :)
« Last Edit: June 19, 2014, 12:06:08 PM by Silver Fox »

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2014, 12:25:52 PM »
I should warn readers that this is likely to be a very long story. There are at least two installments prior to Enterprise seeing independent action, and probably three or four after that before things really heat up. The climactic battle will be worth it... As will the return of Enterprise to Manticoran space. That scene I already have written, it's the true payoff for everything that comes before.

But you will just have to wait. :)

Offline deathjester

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2014, 04:25:44 AM »
I haven't read any Honor Harrington...yet!  But I like this story - looking forward to the next installments!!

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2014, 05:21:01 AM »
Almost impossible to write this without spoilers of things in the series.

Having said that... If my feeble efforts introduce you to Honor Harrington, then I am truly honoured. I have spent many an enjoyable hour riding along with Honor Harrington and her crews. Great reads, all of the books.

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2014, 06:34:55 AM »
Part IV: First Impressions

The assumption of command of a Queen’s ship was a formality well-understood by all participants. The new Captain-designate would come aboard, essentially a guest until such time as his, or her, orders had been read into the ship’s log. Even the simple courtesy of not sitting in the command chair on the bridge until those orders had been read was a long time tradition. Aboard Enterprise this was observed with stiff formality, some members of the ship’s company had heard that their new commander had not wanted the appointment. Thomas had followed his assumption of command with interviews with all senior officers, including the command pilot of his assigned Ferret LAC. Reading the resentment of some of those officers had been easy, they had heard the stories and wondered what was wrong with their ship that the Captain had not wanted them. Far worse, from Thomas’s point of view were the officers who stifled amusement. Those officers, he had no doubt, were fans of the ancient 2D cubes that had caused Thomas so much angst. Worst of that batch was the Ferret’s command pilot; Thomas had asked the name of the Ferret and had been told, with a grin, “Galileo Seven Sir!”

Orders for Enterprise to deploy to Talbot space arrived shortly after the assumption of command, but with an unusual provision. Enterprise was to rendezvous with Eight Fleet, and once there “Commanding Officer, HMS Enterprise is invited to repair on board the flagship for dinner with the Flag and Senior Officers.” Thomas thought this was no doubt a glorified mail run, the various senior officers would have vital messages or packages to be delivered to the Talbot Cluster. Undoubtedly many of those packages would be expensive liquors or other delicacies unavailable in the Talbot Cluster, and vital to the successful annexation of that area’s planets into the Manticoran Star Empire.

Enterprise made rendezvous with HMS Imperator, flagship of Eighth Fleet and made the normal courtesy of flashing her running lights to the senior vessel. Enterprise was nearly half a million tons of powerful warship, yet she was dwarfed by the nearly 9 million tons of an Invictus-class SD (P). Lt. Charles Cormier, the Communications Officer turned to Thomas and announced “Sir, the Fleet Flag Captain is one the comm for you.” Thomas nodded to the comm officer and said, “Thank you Charles, on screen please.” The viewscreen shifted to show the bridge of the massive superdreadnaught and Imperator’s Captain, a man barely older than Thomas himself. Barely older, but already Flag Captain to one of the senior officers in the Manticoran Alliance. “Captain Kirk? I’m Rafe Cardones, Admiral Alexander-Harrington’s Flag Captain. The Admiral has asked me to invite you to repair on board for dinner. Would seven be convenient?” Thomas suppressed the chuckle he always felt at moments like this and saw Captain Cardones’ eyes twinkle. Of course it was ‘convenient’ for a Captain to arrive whenever an Admiral suggested, at least if that Captain knew what he was doing. Apparently Captain Cardones also found the whole formality humorous as well. “Of course Captain Cardones, that would be most convenient. Shall I call away my own cutter, or would the Flag prefer to send its own?” Thomas cocked one eyebrow in inquiry. Rafe considered for one moment then said, “Your own please Captain, the Flag has a tendency to move quickly. I would prefer to not have to wait to recover a cutter if we need to move suddenly. The Admiral can be rather insistent about such things.” Thomas sympathized, “I understand Sir, my own cutter it is.” Rafe smiled, “Thank you Captain Kirk. Please allow me to extend my own welcome as well. You have an unusual ship there, I’m rather interested to hear how you might plan to employ her.”  With that Imperator cut the connection and left Thomas to consider what dinner aboard the Fleet Flagship might be like.

He had dined with Honor Harrington before of course. During his time at “The Crusher” it had been Admiral Harrington’s practice to invite command candidates to dinner at her house where they would take part in a training exercise for both senior officers and youngsters from the early form Tactics classes. The experience had been… unusual. The younger students actually competed to receive invitations beyond the one guaranteed place every student. Each invitation would mean extra assignments for the students, assignments that would generally bring forth far greater efforts than a simple classroom assignment ever could. Thomas couldn’t help but wonder if tonight would be more of a learning experience, did someone like Honor Harrington ever stop teaching?

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2014, 10:31:54 AM »
*laughs* Quite the delightful installment here and I doubt Dame Harrington ever stops teaching, including the finer aspects of the art of war to her enemies.

For those interested, the Baen Free Library has the first book in this series, On Basilisk Station available for free, in multiple ebook formats, at http://www.baenebooks.com/p-304-on-basilisk-station.aspx .

His dinner with Admiral Harrington should prove interesting, she always brings out the best in folks.

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2014, 12:25:48 AM »
Part V: Part of “The Test”

Twenty minutes before his scheduled departure Thomas was in his cabin getting dressed, or rather, being dressed by his Steward, Petty Officer Regina Strong. Thomas wasn’t quite sure how PO Strong had become his Steward. To be sure, PO Strong had been his Steward during his first command, but somehow he had always rather expected the woman to stay with the ship when Thomas was transferred. It hadn’t worked that way. PO Strong had simply packed her belongings up as well as her Captain’s and made the move alongside her chosen charge. Thomas had once asked a senior officer if this was normal. The answer was as confusing as it was informative, he was told “They pick us son, not the other way around.” Four postings now since PO Strong had come into his life, and somehow Strong was always there.  Thomas had no complaint, to be sure, life was easier with the steward around… but how had the attachment formed?

Strong finished fussing at her Captain’s uniform, flicking an imaginary piece of lint from one sleeve before pronouncing the Captain fit to be seen in public. “There you go Sir, ready for the Flagship.” She pronounced with a certain satisfaction. Thomas had thought himself ready almost ten minutes before, but a quick check in the mirror confirmed that he looked… better than he had then. PO Strong picked up a small duffel, “What was that for” he thought, and guided him out of the cabin. The Marine Sentry snapped to attention and was acknowledged with an almost absent “As you were.” To Thomas’ surprise, Regina guided him aft past the boat bays toward the stern launch cradle for the Ferret. “Petty Officer Strong? Where are we going, we just passed the boat bay access?” he asked. “Sorry Sir, I should have informed you. The First Officer is conducting evacuation drills. The cutter aboard Galileo was assigned for your trip. That’s why I had you dress early.” Thomas reflected that the First Officer seemed to pushing hard on the drills, but he could hardly be faulted for that! The ship did still have some rough edges that needed working out. Even the decision to use the Ferret’s cutter was a sound one, that cutter would be used during an evacuation for the Ferret’s hangar crew. They could practice evacuation drills while the ship was underway without impacting efficiency. So why did Thomas feel he was being maneuvered?

“Very well PO Strong, but my compliments to the First Officer, and would he please seek to inform me of drills?” Thomas said, “Even when I am not scheduled to be aboard.” Regina sounded contrite, but in that unapologetic ‘Steward’ way, when she said “Of course Sir! I’m sure he simply didn’t want to disturb you prior to your meeting with the Flag.” Thomas wasn’t mollified, but long experience told him he would get nowhere with the steward. He was about to ask about the duffel Regina was carrying when they arrived at the LAC hangar and Regina handed it off to the crew chief of Galileo Seven. The crew chief would be the pilot for the short trip to HMS Imperator. The duffel out of her grasp, and her Captain delivered to his craft, PO Strong strode quickly away to do… whatever stewards do when the Captain was absent. Thomas was ushered aboard Galileo and further aft to her small cutter bay and the waiting cutter. The cutter couldn’t launch within regulation while the LAC was fully docked, but the LAC deck crew was prepared for this. Galileo backed out of the bay to the extent of her docking arms, which allowed her aft clamshell doors to open and the cutter to launch.

Once the cutter was in space Thomas removed his white beret and curled it up before tucking it under his left shoulder board. It wouldn’t do to board another officer’s ship while wearing a Captain’s Beret. He had heard stories of officers who had worn their white beret aboard another’s command, but he was sure those were just stories. The insult offered by such an act would require the highest level of provocation, and surely, no Queen’s Officer would offer such provocation in the first place! To be sure, there were stories about Pavel Young and Admiral Harrington… but if anything had been between them it had ended on the dueling grounds of Landing City. Thomas’ musing occupied him until just before docking aboard the flag, and he had still forgotten to ask about that damned duffel!

The docking itself was smooth, with only the slight flutter as gravity aboard the cutter adapted to the slightly different field strength aboard Imperator. Thomas mused that the cutter pilot was a true master of the craft, “Perhaps I should make this arrangement permanent?” he thought. Exiting the cutter he made the ritual salute to the Queen, then to the Junior Officer of the Deck. He completed the formalities with a crisp “Permission to come aboard Sir?” The JOOD returned the salute with an equally crisp, “Granted Sir!” before both officers dropped their salutes and Thomas stepped over the line separating docking bay from Imperator proper. Captain Rafe Cardones stepped forward and after an exchange of salutes extended his hand to Thomas, “Pleased to have you aboard Captain Kirk, your duffel is being taken care of by my steward. If you will accompany me to the Flag Bridge, I can introduce you to Her Grace and both her senior officers and my own. Her Grace wishes to have a brief moment of your time before dinner.” Thomas must have looked alarmed because Captain Cardones went on, “Don’t worry Captain, it will be brief. Her Grace’s appetite being what it is, she’ll not long delay dinner.” The last was said with a smile, but tinged with some darker memory. Captain Cardones seemed to be remembering some period in which his Admiral had not been able to get enough to eat. Enroute to the Flag Bridge, Thomas reflected that he seemed to be the only one who didn’t know about that damned duffel!

The trip to the Flag Bridge was filled with the type of small talk two naval professionals will make when they find time alone. The two Captain’s discussed ship issues, the difficulty in getting trained personnel from BuPers these days, and the inevitable problems of getting the right stores and support from various other offices within the RMN. Thomas remarked, somewhat sarcastically, “Enterprise just received a complete nav update for Silesia, 6 hours after the message posting the ship to Talbot was received!” Rafe laughed, “Well Captain, the Flag has updated Talbot files that you can download. I’ll have my astrogator contact your ship.”

Upon arrival at the hallway containing both the Flag Bridge and the Admiral’s quarters Thomas hesitated for a moment. Guarding the Admiral’s quarters was the expected Marine guard, but also another person, obviously armed, in a green-on-green uniform. Captain Cardones was about to explain when Thomas snapped his fingers and said, “Of course! Harrington Steading Armsman, the Steadholders Own.” Rafe nodded his assent and approached the Marine Guard, “Captains Cardones and Kirk for Her Grace.”

The pair were obviously expected, as the Marine made no move to the intercom, instead merely passing both men with a curt “Please enter Sirs. Her Grace will be with you shortly.” The Admiral’s quarters seemed palatial compared to those of Enterprise’s Captain. The cabin showed that it’s occupant was a woman of simple, yet refined tastes. The only jarring element was the old-fashioned sword displayed on one bulkhead, and an almost-equally ancient chemical powered firearm beside it.

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2014, 06:20:00 AM »
Part VI: Thomas is ‘Honored’

The Admiral’s quarters were unoccupied, except for the Grayson Armsman standing behind the Admiral’s desk. Any thought that the man might have a purely ceremonial function was immediately dispelled by the hard, appraising look he gave both men. Uniformed Manticoran officers, aboard a Fleet Flagship and already passed by the Marine sentry outside the cabin, and still this man would make his own judgements about whether they were to be permitted into his Steadholder’s presence.

 There was little doubt possible, after seeing his eyes, that should he choose the men would leave. Peacefully, and of their own accord, or… otherwise. No threat would be left in his Steadholder’s presence while this man lived. Having assessed the man and his purpose, and considering the security concerns that had been raised recently, Thomas approved whole-heartedly. He gave the man a slight nod and was rewarded with an even more slight tilt of the head in return. Two professionals understood each other’s role, and space was a dangerous place at the best of times.

The Admiral’s steward appeared, as if by magic and announced “Gentlemen, Her Grace!” Then the steward disappeared as if teleported. Thomas mused that somewhere in the RMN there must be a school that taught advanced invisibility to stewards. The entrance of a tall, dark-haired woman interrupted his musing. She wasn’t attractive in the conventional sense, but she did possess a certain grace that spoke of years of martial arts training and a heavy-grav upbringing. Self assured, this was a woman who needed to justify herself to no one but her Queen. 

Both Captains braced to attention and Rafe announced “Your Grace, allow me to present Captain James Thomas Kirk, Commanding Her Majesty’s Starship Enterprise.” Face to face with Honor Harrington, The Salamander, Thomas was struck by the power of her presence. It had been noticeable at Saganami Island, but here in space the effect was magnified. It was as if Honor Harrington belonged among the stars, and only grudgingly accepted her visits to a gravity well.

Honor Harrington extended a hand to Thomas, “Welcome aboard Eighth Fleet Captain. I believe you prefer to be known as Thomas these days?” Thomas shook the offered hand, “Thank you Ma’am, and yes, I do prefer to go by Thomas.” Thomas then looked to Honor Harrington’s shoulder and the treecat perched there. “Extending his hand again he said, “You must be Nimitz, pleased to meet you as well.” Nimitz accepted the hand with a grave solemnity that showed he understood this was an ‘official’ function of his person. ‘Cats may not understand all of human society, but those around humans long enough to learn that there are rules to be followed. Nimitz had spent many years in his person’s company, those lessons he had learned well.

Thomas never noticed the softening in Honor Harrington’s eyes, or the more relaxed posture of her Grayson Armsman, but in the moment after Nimitz shook his hand he felt that he was fully welcome here. A member of the family, distant perhaps, but family none the less.

Honor began, “Captain, excuse me for not offering refreshments. Dinner will actually be served quite soon, but I wanted a moment of your time first. You see, it was I who ensured Commodore Henke made the appointment giving you command of Enterprise. You two are obviously close, he didn’t want to deprive you of the opportunity, or saddle you with the legacy of those old cubes.”

“I… see, Ma’am. Thank you for telling me.” Thomas was obviously confused, and perhaps overly sensitive to the issue. Admiral Harrington obviously read his mood, “Understand Captain, this is not an apology. I simply thought it best that you knew your friend was conflicted between his duty and his friendship to you. I cleared that conflict up for him is all.”

“Thomas?” Admiral Harrington offered a slight tilt of the head as if asking if first names would be alright. Thomas nodded and she continued, “I was unaware of the old cubes at the time. It wouldn’t have changed my decision in the slightest. Three Captains, Senior Grade, were available. You were the only candidate who had sat on the Tactics Board while LAC’s were discussed. I also recalled that you had presented a paper while attending The Crusher on independent operations of Heavy Cruisers in contested space.”

Now Thomas looked thoughtful and perhaps slightly chagrined. The woman known as ‘The Salamander’ was not one to give up any tactical advantage and she pressed home her point. “Thomas, you’ve been thinking of yourself and the pain this will bring you. That’s human nature, but you have to put it aside.” She softened then, recalling the pain notoriety had brought her, “I can tell you it won’t be easy. But, if being ‘Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise’ can bring you any advantage, you need to embrace it and use it. Your crew deserves no less.”

Now Thomas was openly embarrassed, he had been remiss in his duties and responsibilities as a Queen’s Officer. The Admiral was right, there may be advantages to the name and fame… and any tool that could be used in furthering his star nation’s interests deserved to be explored. He straightened, then looked the Admiral straight in the eyes, “Thank you Ma’am. You’ve put things into perspective for me.”


“You’re welcome Captain, and now it is time for us to meet the staff and then eat. Besides, I find myself oddly curious about the gift you brought with you.” When Thomas faltered Honor laughed, “Relax Captain, our stewards remember to do the incredibly thoughtful things we would have though of, if our minds weren’t so completely full of minor things like command.”

Admiral and Captain then left the Admiral’s quarters, and the Captain felt like a massive weight had lifted from his shoulders. He wasn’t himself, yet, but he would be.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2014, 09:04:19 AM by Silver Fox »

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2014, 06:31:06 AM »
10 Pages, 5282 words so far. :)

I'm not trying to make it long... but it's Honor Harrington. Avid readers will understand.

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2014, 11:21:17 PM »
yes, I understand completely.  Anything revolving around Honor Harrington and the universe that contains her is not going to be short, not even the shorter works Mr. Weber wrote for the various anthologies.

*chuckle* He probably should get Adm. Harrington to expand on her views and knowledge of how Captains and Stewards come together and stay together, given her experiences.  She is doing a good job of helping him adjust to the full realities of his situation and an outside perspective should definitely help him see the positives and strengths of his situation; then, again, her own experiences have to have given her plenty of material to work from.  It should be most educational to see what further perspectives she gives him.

BTW, I will definitely go through the profiles in House of Steel to get a feel for what HMS Enterprise looks like.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2014, 11:44:10 PM by elmayerle »

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2014, 01:07:28 AM »
Author's Note:

Reference to the Medusa-class BC (P) has been corrected to Agamemnon-class BC (P) for accuracy.

HMS Enterprise would look identical to a Saganami-C in profile. An aft view would reveal the Ferret hangar replacing the after chase armament. Other significant changes will be discussed over, or after, dinner. :)
« Last Edit: June 22, 2014, 01:20:24 AM by Silver Fox »

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2014, 02:19:58 AM »
Part VII: Designs within Designs

Honor and Thomas crossed the passageway to the Flag Bridge, where Thomas was duly introduced to the various members of both the Admiral’s staff, and Captain Cardones’. As was typical of many Allied units, there was a variety of uniforms on display, but predominantly the space-black of Manticore or the blue-on-blue of Grayson. Noticeable was the absence of Erehwonese uniforms, so long allies. Of course, the Erehwon Navy was neutral these days, pending the final outcome of the negotiations now going on between the Republic of Haven and the Star Empire of Manticore.

One stumbling block came when Thomas was introduced to a rather portly officer in Grayson uniform, the Fleet Chaplain. Thomas had thought himself prepared intellectually, but when faced with the reality he was still taken aback. Fleet Chaplain Winston Sullivan was understanding, “My son, part of my Test, as I understand it, is to bear the momentary lapses of good people such as yourself who forget the Grayson has a Chaplain Corps. It speaks well of you that the lapse upsets you, and you worry that I or other Graysons might be offended. Have no worries on that score, we Graysons are a hardy people, who have been Tested in far harder circumstances than a mere oversight.”

Thomas was grateful for the understanding, but more grateful still when he could move on to greet Imperator’s Weapons Officer and a safer discussion involving nuclear warheads and lasing rods. The ‘Meet and Greet’ was short-lived, soon enough the Admiral’s steward miraculously appeared to announce the dinner was served in the Flag Wardroom. Those invited to dinner filed out, lead by the most junior officers present. A few of those on the combined staffs were remaining on duty, most of those looked wistfully at the hatch door as the last dinner guests filed out.

Several of the assembled officers were senior to Captain Kirk, but Thomas found Rafe Cardones had taken hold of his arm to lead him to the Flag Wardroom early. The reason became clear when Captain Cardones showed him to the seat on what would be the Admiral’s right, while Rafe took the seat directly opposite. Thomas felt out of place with several Commodores and two Rear Admirals seated further down the table. Beside Thomas was Rear Admiral Sir Robert of Selleck, that officer leaned over and whispered in Thomas’ ear “Relax Captain, you are the guest of honour, or ‘Honor’ so to speak. You’re seated just where you belong.” In a louder voice he continued, “I’m rather anxious to hear your impressions on how a ship such as your might be used in control of space lanes or denial operations.” Thomas recalled that Sir Robert commanded the support fleet, anything that would protect or threaten the essential support element was of immense interest to this man.

Chatter stopped as the steward announced the arrival of their host. The gathered officers rose and remained standing while Honor took her place at the head of the table. She sat and waited as Nimitz climbed down from her shoulder and took his place in the high chair set beside her. There were no fewer than four treecats in similar chairs beside their persons arrayed around the table. The ever-present Grayson Armsman had followed Honor into the wardroom and as she sat, he took station against the wall behind her.

Honor offered an, “As you were” to the assembled officers as soon as Nimitz was settled. Side chatter started almost immediately and Honor turned to Thomas. “Thomas, I think you will find the dinner conversation both invigorating and instructional. I’ll admit that I loaded the guest list with officers who would benefit most from what you have to say about your ship and how you plan to use her.”

Thomas noted that with the exception of two very young midshipmen, one Grayson and the other Manticoran, the assembled officers represented the lighter units in Eighth Fleet. In addition to the Support Fleet, there were officers from the Battlecruiser and Cruiser screening units, as well as representatives of the fleet’s LAC carrier wings. The heavier superdreadnaughts were notable by their absence.

Thomas was addressed from down-table by the Commodore commanding the various cruiser squadrons, “Captain Kirk? I’m curious, why fit your ship for carriage of an LAC? I don’t see that it confers any practical advantage.” Thomas half-turned to better see the Commodore and explained, “Well Sir. In fleet operations, I would agree. In independent operations though, there the LAC can make a critical difference. The Ferret allows me to stand off at multi-drive missile ranges while using the Ferret for a close-in intercept of a vessel under investigation. The Ferret aboard Enterprise is as unique as Enterprise herself, Galileo Seven carries her own cutter. She can carry a naval boarding party to that vessel I’m investigating.”

This last comment caught the attention of the commander of one of the LAC Carrier wings, “A cutter aboard a Ferret? I had thought that only the original Shrike-A class had cutter bays. The bays were removed to allow for better aft defence were they not?” Leaning forward to better see down his side of the table Thomas agreed, “Yes Captain they were. This particular Ferret blew it’s aft end off during a power test on her drives. During the rebuilding it was decided to fit that ship for experimental tactics, such as I just outlined. I’m not sure myself if a Shrike-A might not be a better fit for the role. Missile and Electronic Warfare have their uses, but most pirates would think twice before giving anything that carries a capital ship grade graser a reason to demonstrate at close range.”

Appreciative chuckles sounded around the table, many officers knowing just how tempting it would be for the LAC crew to simply blow a pirate or slaver out of space. A few officers looked thoughtful and showed feral grins at what they were thinking, but it was the Grayson midshipman who put it into words. “Sir, aren’t pirates or slavers more likely to think the cruiser out of range and try to fight the LAC?”

“Why yes they are,” Thomas mused aloud, “and wouldn’t it be a shame if they died for their mistake?” The sound around the table was predatory now, most of these officers had witnessed the depredations of piracy and slavery first hand. There was no sympathy for either type of garbage if they made a ‘final’ mistake.

Conversation around the table faltered and stopped as dinner was served and mugs of beer or glasses of wine were re-filled. Several of the humans present noted that ALL of the ‘cats present had turned to the serving trays with a hungry expectation that couldn’t be mistaken.

12 Pages, 6412 words.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2014, 03:04:29 AM by Silver Fox »

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2014, 07:30:31 AM »
Very interesting, and it's definitely a fascinating read.  I look forward to seeing what all he does on independent command, especially given the initiative that the RMN seems to instill in its officers (at least the ones who make command).  I wonder if he'll be one of those left guarding the fleet's back when Adm. Gold Peak makes her strike on the real enemy.

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2014, 11:23:40 AM »
Part VIII: The ‘Cats Meow

Dinner was served, and it was apparent that the ‘cats present were on the edge of simply climbing on the table and wallowing on their plates. Honor was in the process of turning to her steward to ask what the ‘cats were being served, it was obviously not the same as what the humans present were receiving. Thomas suddenly exclaimed, “Of course, the duffel!” Honor turned back to Thomas with and arched eyebrow and a quizzical expression. “Ma’am, I shipped a quantity of Sphinxian rabbit and chipmunk in my personal stores. My steward must have remembered to send some over for the ‘cats even though I forgot.”  Honor’s expression changed to one of assessment now and she simply asked, “Why the rabbit and chipmunk Captain?”

Thomas looked abashed, like a small boy caught doing something thoughtful, but not sure himself if it’s ‘manly’. “Well Ma’am, it’s like this. We spend a great deal of time, both official and otherwise, on ensuring our crews have small delicacies or luxuries from home. No one does it for the ‘cats Ma’am, unless their individual person does. I thought ‘cats deserved the same consideration.”

Honor looked completely stunned. She was used to the ‘adopted’ being caring and considerate to the ‘cats in their company, and other ‘cats in general. It was a rare thing to see someone not regularly exposed to ‘cats share the same concern, and never in such a demonstrative way. She caught the eyes of every one of her guest who were ‘adopted’ and saw the very same emotion in the eyes of each.

In the eyes of her logistics’ officer though, she saw despair. That officer, looked like she was going to be physically ill. She started, “Ma’am, this is a failure on my part, I should have…” Honor interrupter her, “No Louise, we ALL should have thought of it and never did. General order for Eighth Fleet, entertainment stores for ‘cats to be stocked in relation to ‘cat population percentage. Funding from the normal sources, we’ll not short the ‘cats at human expense any longer. Please see to it.” The logistics’ officer gave a small nod, and a tight “Yes Ma’am!” as her only response.

Honor turned back to Thomas and asked “Captain, have you shorted your own supplies to do this?” Thomas gave a small grin, “Well, not really Ma’am. My personal vice is foreign beers. I’ll be in the Talbot Cluster with thousands to explore. It’s why I thought to use my allowance to benefit others.” “Be that as it may Captain, you have my sincere personal thanks, and I’m sure the thanks of all my officers and crew who have been adopted. It was a wonderful thing for you to do.” Those officers murmured their agreements, and all at the table watched Nimitz rise from his highchair beside his person.

Nimitz picked his way daintily across the table to stand on the corner of the table beside Thomas. Once there he turned to his person and signed a short message before turning back to face Thomas once again. “Captain, Nimitz has asked me to translate a message to you, “Nimitz and his fellow ‘cats in Eighth Fleet are honored to have met you. They say ‘Heart of the Stars’ will be welcome in any ‘cat range on Sphinx, any time you should choose to visit.” Nimitz made a deep bow to Thomas and then extended his true-hand to shake Thomas’.” Giving Thomas’ hand a small pat with his free true-hand, Nimitz then turned and carefully made his way back to his place at the table.

Honor turned back to Thomas with a genuine smile, “Apparently Captain, the ‘cats have chosen to name you. A rare honor for one not yet adopted.”

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2014, 03:34:40 PM »
Part IX: I would like to propose…

Dinner proceeded with a flurry of side commentary; questions about Enterprise, her Captain, old friends that various guests knew from previous postings… and turned to the old entertainment cubes. Numerous guests had seen the cubes, and several were fans. Notable amongst the fans was the young Manticoran midshipman. The midshipman was young enough to have watched the cubes as a child, and rather timidly admitted that it was the real-life exploits of Admiral Harrington, and the fictional exploits of Captain James T. Kirk that had inspired her to try for the Academy. Now she found herself dining with both.

Honor gave Thomas a meaningful glance and noted that, although he was not completely comfortable, the evidence that his name and ship might affect junior officers was striking home. She worried that it might go to his head, but that worry was alleviated when he addressed the midshipman, “Well Midshipman, the Admiral has more than earned the respect of all of us… and paid the price of earning that respect. I may have a famous name, attached to a famous ship, but only the name. We have a lot to live up to.”

The midshipman gave a shy smile and agreed, stating that “I’m sure you will Sir. History will never forget the name Enterprise.” Several guests, all fans of the cubes, seemed to swallow laughter. Thomas chose to ignore the idea that the midshipman might have slipped something by him and replied, “Thank you Midshipman, we will do our best.”

Dessert was served, or in Admiral Harrington’s case, served, and served… and served! No fewer than 3 servings of a rich chocolate cake that must have totalled nearly 4000 calories, and yet she ate it all with a gusto that suggested she might even snack later given the chance. Thomas was confused; the woman could not possibly eat like this on a regular basis, no matter how much time she spent in the sale practicing coup de vitesse.

Dinner and dessert done with, the young Manticoran midshipman stood and raised her glass, the assembled guests quieted. The midshipman nervously, but firmly intoned “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Queen." The assembled guest repeated the toast and drank. Now it was the Grayson midshipman’s turn to stand and offer, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Grayson, the Keys, the Sword, and the Tester!" Again the guests repeated the toast, and the midshipman gratefully regained his seat. More than a few of the assembled officers remembered when it was their turn to offer the loyalty toast, and how nerve racking it had seemed at the time.

Honor noted that Thomas had not stumbled over the Grayson Toast, she reflected that this was a sign of the new reality in the Alliance. Most Manticoran officers had served alongside Grayson long enough that it was now second nature to have both toasts at any formal dinner.

A few minutes of idle conversation followed as everyone enjoyed coffee, or in the case of Admiral Harrington, hot chocolate. Captain Kirk, honoured guest, I would like to propose we adjourn to the tactics simulator so that we can examine Enterprise, and her Captain in a little more ‘rigorous’ manner. I am anxious to see what they can do.” She smiled,  “Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s be about it.”

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2014, 02:07:11 AM »
Part X: ‘The Crusher', redux

The time spent in the large Flag Bridge using ‘The Tank” as a tactics simulator was about as ‘enjoyable’ as Thomas expected it would be. Admiral Harrington was a teacher of some skill and she never passed on an opportunity to pass along lessons to those officers under her command, or apparently, those she encountered. Several encounters between Enterprise and elements of Eighth Fleet were gamed out, all on the basis that the LAC capability of Enterprise was unknown to Eighth Fleet’s units. The officers Honor had gathered for dinner were excited at the independent possibilities offered by Enterprise and offered many suggestions.

The most interesting of these suggestions was the possibility of using the Ferret itself to act as chase armament. A lively discussion on possibilities followed, but none of those gathered could overcome the various difficulties offered, such as how to reload the Ferret’s missiles. A reload would require the Ferret to be nosed into its bay, whereas firing the missiles would require it to be nose-out. The various yeomen present took notes, perhaps the Admiralty could find a suggestion that would work in later classes of CA.

Soon enough the time available for examination of Enterprise and her Captain came to an end. Thomas was proud of how his ship, and himself had fared. The officers of Eighth Fleet were among the best in the Manticoran Alliance and he was sure that he had held his own fairly well. That impression was solidified when Admiral Harrington called a halt to the games by saying “Enough! Thomas, you’re too good, I can’t have you ruining the confidence of my officers. Go bother someone else.”

Honor’s comment was said with a smile, and all assembled chuckled appreciatively. A few of those chuckles were somewhat rueful though, Enterprise and her Captain had clearly got the best of Eighth Fleet’s screen on several occasions.

Rafe Cardones escorted Thomas back to the boat bay and his waiting cutter. They took their parting in a brief, but heartfelt, way. The two officers had much in common. They hadn’t met before, and it might be years before they met again in Queen’s service, but the start of a solid friendship was formed.

The cutter trip back to Enterprise was short, and Thomas found himself met by his steward. Regina collected the mysterious duffel, and Thomas noted that it was once again full. Surely whatever was in it was not the same as the meats which had gone to the Flagship. Undoubtedly the stewards had conspired to aid their CO’s, and Thomas was frankly just too tired to be concerned.

Upon reaching his quarters Thomas found the ‘Message Waiting’ light on his terminal blinking. Touching the control connected Thomas with the Bridge and Lt. Cormier, who was currently Officer of the Watch. “Good evening Charles, there was something you needed to tell me?” Charles nodded, “Yes Sir. We’ve received clearance to depart from the Flag.” Thomas considered for only a moment before passing on orders, “Thank you, I assume we have a course plotted for the Junction?” Charles grinned, “Oh yes sir, I’ve actually had one of our midshipmen updating the course by hand for several hours. We are updated and ready to go. By the way Sir, we received a complete and updated Talbot Cluster nav set from the Flag about two hours ago.”

Thomas grinned, “I assume Miss Davis has second seat on Astrogation then?” Midshipman Davis had acceptable, but weak Astrogation scores in the Academy. The extra practice was well warranted. The image of Charles grinned back “Good guess Sir, it is indeed Miss Davis.”

Thomas suppressed a yawn and decided that for a standard evolution he wasn’t needed on the Bridge. His crew was capable, time to demonstrate his confidence. “Thank you Charles, please get us underway for the Junction. Standard courtesies to the Flagship as we depart.” Charles’ response was crisp, “Of course Sir! ETA at the Junction now stands at”, Charles consulted the display in the command seat, “10 hours, 27 minutes.”

“Thanks you Charles. I’ll be asleep, but wake me for anything unusual. I will be on the bridge before we reach the Junction. Captain out.” Thomas closed the channel and drifted off to his sleeping cabin. He fell fast asleep and never noticed when his steward entered the cabin to gather the various uniform items strewn about. By morning, the uniform, like the man, would be ready to resume their duties.

16 pages, 8348 words

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2014, 02:20:39 AM »
My earlier estimates may have been off just a bit... fortunately the next installment will see Enterprise leave Manticoran space and arrive in Talbot.

I had calculated that arrival in Talbot was about 1/3 of the way into the story. That would place the story at around 50 pages total and perhaps 25,000 words.

Fun, but... ugh! :)

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2014, 06:38:49 AM »
Part XI: On Talbott Station

Transit to the Manticoran Wormhole Junction was uneventful, and for Thomas, restful. Waking two hours before arrival at the Junction he found himself refreshed. He was eager to get to Talbott and to find out what duties Admiral Gold Peak would have waiting for him. Traffic at the Junction was, as always, considerable. Discovery of the Lynx terminus had increased traffic considerably in the area of the Junction, not unexpected, as that leg of travel would allow vastly shorter transit times to the far side of the Solarian League.

Thomas noted the large number of Solarian hulls in the various transit queues. Some were outbound, heading off to Lynx and the Rim of explored space. Others were inbound, heading off to Beowulf and the remainder of the Old League. The sheer numbers of ships in transit was staggering and it explained the wealth of the Manticore System. No other Star Nation had a wormhole terminus with so many connections. The advantages it conferred on the possessor were obvious. The Junction was both Manticore’s greatest asset and its greatest weakness.

Thomas had Enterprise placed in the outbound lane for the Lynx terminus. Almost immediately there was an incoming message from Manticore Astro Control asking if Enterprise wished to exercise ‘military right of passage’. There was no great hurry in getting to Lynx, so Thomas had a response sent to Manticore Astro Control that Enterprise was willing to wait her turn. The relief in felt by Astro Control was obvious, expedited passage by a warship could throw the carefully plotted transit schedule into chaos.

Thomas looked at his Astrogation repeater and noted the Enterprise was number 9 for transit. He touched the communications stud on the armrest of his command chair, “Engineering, Captain.” The response was almost instantaneous “Engineering, Commander Jennings. How can we help you Captain?” “Samuel, we’re in the lane for transit to Lynx.” Thomas stated, “We’ll need the sails soon.” “Aye Captain!” Commander Jennings grinned, “I’ve been keeping the Astro plot on one of the repeaters down here, figured you would be calling right about now.”

Thomas grinned back, the chief engineer was an old hand who knew what to expect. “Thanks Chief, good to know you're watching my back.” The chief engineer said, “We’ll be ready when you are sir, can’t make the ship look bad after all.”

During the brief conversation with engineering Enterprise had dropped to sixth on the queue for transit. Thomas made a quick scan of the Bridge and saw all was in readiness. Senior officers or ratings manned the stations, and as always, the Bosun herself was on the helm. Midshipman Davis was on the number two console in Astrogation, figuring a course intently. Undoubtedly Davis was figuring a course from the Lynx Terminus to the Spindle system. Thomas allowed himself a small smile, the Astrogator would want the course ready before transit, but there was no reason to do the work himself after all.

The queue indicator slid down to two and Thomas locked open the channel to Engineering. “Rig foresail on my mark.” Thomas was barely aware of the response, as long as it fit the pattern he expected he would remain oblivious to anything but the demands of a smooth transit. The indicator dropped to one and Thomas commanded “Rig foresail!” Immediately the forward propulsion nodes converted from the normal stress bands of impeller drive to the  immaterial sail required for transit through a wormhole.

Enterprise crept forward under power of her after nodes only, and Thomas kept a close watch on the display which showed him how much power the foresail was drawing. As soon as the display showed that the foresail was receiving enough power to keep Enterprise in the lane he commanded “Rig after sail.” Enterprise slid forward, powered now only by the forces of the wormhole.

Transit was, as always, a jarring experience as human sense tried to decipher things that were not part of their normal experience. Most of the crew was used to it though, and the response was crisp as Thomas commanded “Rig for impeller drive” once Enterprise was clear of the Lynx terminus of the junction.

Thomas turned to the Astrogation station, “Miss Davis, can I safely assume that all your figuring was to provide a course for Spindle?” The midshipman reddened, but firmly stated “Yes Sir, course 315 mark 21 at 475 gravities.” Thomas turned toward the helm station, “Bosun, did you get that?” “315 mark 21 at 475 gravities. Aye Sir!” the Bosun respond instantly. Thomas allowed himself a small grin at the look on Midshipman Davis’ face when she realized no one was double-checking, “Very well Bosun, take us to Spindle.”
« Last Edit: June 24, 2014, 06:41:08 AM by Silver Fox »

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2014, 12:00:57 PM »
*wry chuckle* I've noticed the Honorverse tends to do that to stories, they always seem to grow.  I've noticed that between rough drafts that Weber's posted and the final version (heck, the final sometimes grows a tad from the ARC).  Definitely an enjoyable flag visit and it's clear that Thomas kirk knows his stuff as Adm. Harrington is not overly generous with praise; she doesn't stint but she's not over generous.  It should be most interesting to see what awaits them in the Talbot cluster.

BTW, if you've not read it, the latest Honorverse story collection, Beginnings, has both the story of how Honor and Nimitz met and the story of how Honor's parents met.