HHA5 InFireForged cover1


An Act of War
Let's Dance!
An Introduction to Modern Starship Armor Design

"An Act of War", written by Timothy Zahn, is the second short story in the fifth Honorverse anthology, In Fire Forged, first published in February 2011.

Timeframe: 1913 – 1914 PD

Plot Edit

In the Havenite capital of Nouveau Paris, the enigmatic weapons dealer known as Charles is trying to sell electronic cloaking systems, the Echo (stealth technology) and the Redactor, to two representatives from a Havenite tech firm when news of Honor Harrington's miraculous return from the prison planet Hades arrives. The two agents leave, and moments later Charles is arrested by State Security.

During his interrogation, Charles gives the Havenites a message for Secretary of State Security Oscar Saint-Just: he knows about "Ellipsis", and in three days so will everyone else. Shortly after, he is brought to Saint-Just's office, where they have a talk about Charles' activities in the People's Republic. Charles also gives the StateSec director his information on the Manticoran heavy cruiser HMS Ellipsis, which the People's Navy captured early in the war and which Saint-Just now wants to use for a covert operation. Charles is taken aboard the Ellipsis along with a StateSec officer named Thomas Mercier, and ordered to install his stealth technology.

Meanwhile, Lyang Weiss, assistant military attaché in the Anderman Empire's embassy on Haven, receives a note from Charles, advising him to keep an eye on the Karavani System three weeks from now. He asks to speak with the ambassador, and is soon sent to a mining station in Karavani to investigate.

Eventually, the Andermani courier boat Hase detects two incoming ships, identifying themselves as the Solarian transport Winter Vixen and the Havenite freighter Figaro. They discover that the ships are on a rendezvous course. Just then, another ship appears, and the Winter Vixen turns to flee, but is soon destroyed by the newcomer. Hase's crew discovers that the energy spike from the newcomer appears consistent with a wormhole transit. The unknown ship is actually Ellipsis, having produced a false spike in order to fool the Andermanis into believing there is a wormhole terminus in the Karavani System that the People's Republic has not discovered, but the Manticorans have.

Weeks later, Charles meets with Weiss and feeds him more information on the "wormhole". By now, Andermani intelligence has identifyed the Manticoran intruder as the HMS Charger, just as Charles wanted them to. At this point, he tells Weiss that the "Karavani terminus" is connected to another one in the Andermani Empire, possibly in the Irrlicht System, near the Silesian Confederacy. Weiss concludes that the junction must be somewhere near Yeltsin's Star, and that this is the reason why the Manticorans allied with Grayson. Plans are made to have Charles and his "new partner" (Mercier) taken to the Empire to verify their claims.

Meanwhile, Ellipsis has been sent to Irrlicht to make it appear a Manticoran ship travelled there through the alleged wormhole. Captain Tyler, however, has made his own plans, and engages an Andermani convoy in the Mischa's Star System.

As a reaction, Hase changes course to Mischa's Star, where Weiss and his "informants" rendezvous with IANS Derfflinger, Großadmiral von Rabenstrange's flagship. They are brought aboard and questioned. Afterwards, the Derfflinger and two LACs travel to Irrlicht, just as Captain Tyler wanted them to – he has planted a minefield for the Andermani ships to sail into.

Admiral Rabenstrange, however, manages to evade the mines, and engages the "Manticoran" vessel, which identifies itself as HMS Charger, Captain William Grantley commanding. Yet, on the manipulated image of Charger's brigde, Honor Harrington appears in the background, making the Admiral realize the whole affair is a fake. Mercier tries to take Rabenstrange hostage, but is killed by the Herzog's Totenkopf Hussars. When Tyler realizes that his plan has failed, he scuttles his own ship with everyone still aboard.

In another interview with the Admiral, Charles tells him he works for a secretive group in the Solarian League that wants to change the war in Manticore's favor. How much of this is true remains unknown, and as Weiss later tells Honor Harrington when informing her of the entire incident, the mysterious weapons dealer has once again vanished without a trace.

Background Edit

This story is a sequel to "With One Stone", and takes place just after Honor Harrington's return from Hades in Ashes of Victory.

References Edit

Characters Edit

Chien-lu Anderman, Herzog von Rabenstrange | Armond | Charles | Fisher | Forman | Honor Harrington | Greg Ibo | Ling | Thomas Mercier | Miklos | O'Hara | Rob S. Pierre | Preis | Ragli | Rubell | Oscar Saint-Just | Chiro Schmidt | Tyler | Avery Vaccares | Vien | Lyang Weiss

Starships Edit

Stations Edit

Locations Edit

Alizon System | Andermani Empire | Earth | Grayson | Haven | People's Republic of Haven | Irrlicht System | Karavani System | Karavani 5 | Mischa's Star System | New Berlin | Smith-Nobuko Mining Center | Silesian Confederacy | Solarian League | Star Kingdom of Manticore | Nouveau Paris | Yeltsin's Star System

Other Edit

Clauswitz Conglomerate | Crippler | Echo | Eridani Edict | Grav Lance | Imperial Andermani Navy | Heavy cruiser | LAC | People's Commissioner | People's Navy | Redactor | Royal Manticoran Navy | Seydlitz-class | Solarian credit | Solarian League Navy | Star Knight-class | Star Universal | superdreadnought | technology | Totenkopf Hussars Regiment | Office of State Security | wormhole junction | wormhole terminus

Main Honor Harrington series
HH1 On Basilisk Station HH9 Ashes of Victory
HH2 The Honor of the Queen HH10 War of Honor
HH3 The Short Victorious War HH11 At All Costs
HH4 Field of Dishonor HH12 Mission of Honor
HH5 Flag in Exile HH13 A Rising Thunder
HH6 Honor Among Enemies HH14 Uncompromising Honor
HH7 In Enemy Hands
HH8 Echoes of Honor
Spin off Series
Crown of Slaves Saganami Island
CS1 Crown of Slaves SI1 The Shadow of Saganami
CS2 Torch of Freedom SI2 Storm from the Shadows
CS3 Cauldron of Ghosts SI3 Shadow of Freedom
SI4 Shadow of Victory
Star Kingdom Manticore Ascendant
SK1 A Beautiful Friendship MA1 A Call to Duty
SK2 Fire Season MA2 A Call to Arms
SK3 Treecat Wars MA3 A Call to Vengeance
HHA1 More Than Honor HHA4 The Service of the Sword
HHA2 Worlds of Honor HHA5 In Fire Forged
HHA3 Changer of Worlds HHA6 Beginnings
Tales of Honor Comic Series
TOH1 Tales of Honor #1 TOH4 Tales of Honor #4
TOH2 Tales of Honor #2 TOH5 Tales of Honor #5
TOH3 Tales of Honor #3 TOHV1 Tales of Honor Vol 1