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"Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington" is a short story written by David Weber that was published as the first story in the third Honorverse anthology, Changer of Worlds, even though it was actually the first one ever written.
It was one of the two Honoverse stories to be republished in the collection Worlds of Weber.
Timeframe: May 1878 PD
After her graduation from the Academy, Midshipwoman Honor Harrington embarks on the heavy cruiser HMS War Maiden for her Midshipman cruise, a mission which will take the ship to the chaos-ridden Silesian Confederacy. Several members of the ship's company are less than happy with her bringing her treecat Nimitz along, but the fact that Captain Thomas Bachfisch, War Maiden's CO, has in fact specifically requested Harrington helps her along.
However, Honor soon makes the acquaintance of Lieutenant Elvis Santino, the ship's assistant tactical and officer candidate training officer, who makes no secret of his dislike for her, and starts treating her unfairly right away. The welcome at her first dinner at the captain's table is much warmer; Honor gets to meet Captain Bachfisch and other senior officers, and as the junior officer present, gives her first toast to the king. The captain also assures her that Nimitz is welcome both on his ship and at his table.
Some time later, Honor and the other midshipmen face more harassment from Lieutenant Santino. Eventually, the ship's executive officer, Commander Abner Layson, is made aware of what is going on by Senior Chief Roland Shelton; the exec severely chastices Santino and replaces him as OCTO by Lieutenant Joseph Saunders, the assistant astrogator. In the following days, conditions in the midshipmen's berth improve both drastically and immediately, even though the young officer candidates still have to find a way of working with Lieutenant Santino on a professional level.
Meanwhile, War Maiden arrives in the Silesian Confederacy's Saginaw Sector to begin her anti-piracy duty and train her midshipmen. They soon encounter and board the Manticoran freighter Gryphon's Pride, which has been taken by Silesian privateers, with none of the original crew surviving. War Maiden goes on a hunt for the privateers. In a private conversation, Captain Bachfisch informs his first officer about his reasons for requesting Honor Harrington: his friend Raoul Courvosier, Harrington's tactics instructor at the Academy, had pointed her out to him as someone who had demonstrated "the potential to be the most outstanding officer of her generation". Both Courvosier and Bachfisch, who once served with Dimitri Young, the Earl of North Hollow, believe that the earl had Santino assigned to War Maiden to tamper Harrington's career in retribution for her beating his son Pavel up during an attempted rape at the Academy.
Elsewhere, Commodore Anders Dunecki, a member of the separatist Council for an Independent Prism and commander of the warship PSN Annika, hears of the destruction of another Prism warship by the Silesian Confederate Navy. He informs a mysterious figure only referred to as "the messenger" that his ship will soon continue its operations against the Silesian authority.
Some time later, the Prism frigate PSN Javelin arrives in the Melchor System, where War Maiden is disguising as a freighter in order to attract privateers. Unfortunately, Lieutenant Santino has the watch, and orders the bridge crew to execute a maneuver which is a dead giveaway of the fact that War Maiden is a warship. Javelin flees the system, and Santino, whom Captain Bachfisch now deems utterly incompetent, is given command of a prize crew to return Gryphon's Pride to the Star Kingdom. This way, War Maiden gets rid of him, and Honor Harrington is promoted to acting Assitant Tactical Officer.
Upon hearing of Javelin's findings, Commodore Dunecki decides to take Annika to Melchor and take out the unknown warship, which he believes to be Silesian. War Maiden, posing as the Hauptman Lines freighter Sylvan Grove, allows the other vessel to approach, her crew not knowing that the Prism crew knows exactly what she truly is. The ships fire their lasers and grasers at the same time across barely a third of a light-second distance, and both take terrible damage; an explosion at the bridge claims several of Honor's fellow officers and injures Captain Bachfisch. As the senior bridge officer still able to give orders, Honor takes command and orders the ship to roll and prepare for another broadside. Commodore Dunecki does the same, but an unexpected maneuver by Honor allows War Maiden to fire into a gap in the enemy vessel's sidewalls, and Annika is destroyed with all hands.
Some time after the battle, Midshipwoman Harrington reports to the captain's day cabin, where the captain and exec inform her that she and the other midshipmen have earned endorsement for successful early completion of their middy cruises. Midshipman Nassios Makira, who has died in battle, will be recommended for posthumous promotion to Lieutenant (junior grade). The captain also anticipates that he will have to face a Board of Inquiry once they return to Manticore, and even admits that he was, in fact, too confident of his ship's superiority. Also, in recognition of her examplary conduct during the battle, he promotes Honor to Ensign and makes her War Maiden's permanent Assistant Tac Officer for the remainder of the ship's voyage. After accepting an invitation to another dinner at the captain's table, Ensign Honor Harrington, now a fully instated officer in His Majesty's Navy, resumes her duties.
Several characters reappear much later in the Honorverse storyline: Elvis Santino, who rises to flag rank and causes the death of his entire picket in the Seaford Nine System, is mentioned in Echoes of Honor. Captain Bachfisch, then a civilian trader, comes to Honor Harrington's assistance in War of Honor.
Acedo | Allerton | Francine Alcott | Basil Amami | Thomas Bachfisch | Obrad Bajkusa | Baumann | Blackburn | Audrey Bradlaugh | Carras | Chiem | Raoul Courvosier | Jensen Del Conte | Dobrescu | Anders Dunecki | Henryk Dunecki | Ian Flanagan | Hartley | Honor Harrington | Heisman | Janice Hirake | Janssen | Jeffers | Kutkin | Basanta Lakhia | Irma LaVacher | Abner Layson | Livanos | Nassios Makira | Masters | Katingo McKinley | Nimitz | John Presley | Quinn | Elvis Santino | Yuri Sauchuk | Joseph Saunders | Roland Shelton | Stolar | Tausig | Tergesen | Traynor | Wallace | Wegener | Janko Wegener | Dimitri Young | Pavel Young
- PSN Annika
- PSN Astrid
- PSN Javelin
- PSN Margit
- PSN Lydia
- RMMS Gryphon's Pride
- RMMS Sylvan Grove
- HMS War Maiden
107FT | CIC | Coup de vitesse | Dillingham Cartel | Gregor System | Hauptman Lines | Hera System | Krieger's Star System | Manticore Wormhole Junction | Melchor System | Meyerdahl First Wave | Midshipman cruise | Lutrell System | Prism System | OCTO | Saginaw Sector | treecat | Tumult Sector