Timeframe: 1900 PD – 1901 PD
Cover Summary Edit
- Having made an Admiral look foolish, after succeeding in making a way out idea work once, she's been exiled to Basilisk Station in disgrace and there set up for ruin by a superior who hates her.
- Her demoralized crew blames her for their ship's humiliating performance during Fleet exercises and for their posting to an out-of-the-way picket station.
- The aborigines of the system's only habitable planet are smoking homicide-inducing hallucinogens.
- Parliament isn't sure it wants to keep the place; the major local industry is smuggling; the merchant cartels want her head; the star-conquering, so-called "Republic" of Haven is Up to Something; and Honor Harrington has a single, over-age light cruiser, with an armament that doesn't work, to police the entire star system.
- But the people out to get her have made one mistake. They've made her mad.
- David Mattingly was unhappy with honor's face on this cover and did this revision:
Commander Honor Harrington, freshly graduated from the Royal Manticoran Navy's Advanced Tactical Course, assumes command of the light cruiser HMS Fearless as it is completing an extensive weapons refit.
A successful young officer with a promising career in the service of her Queen, Honor's delight at her new command soon turns to dismay as she realizes Fearless has been nearly stripped of her normal weapons and turned into a tactical testbed for the new grav lance technology. After initial success in the opening rounds of fleet war games, Fearless suffers defeat after defeat as opposing officers correctly determine the safest way to deal with the light cruiser's refitted weapons is to deny her the chance to use them.
Banished to Basilisk Station by officers eager to sweep their so-called "secret weapon" under the carpet, Honor is even more dismayed to learn the commanding officer of the other RMN ship assigned to the system picket is an old Academy nemesis: Captain Lord Pavel Young has learned of Honor's assignment, and has set her up for failure to discharge her duty. Taking his heavy cruiser Warlock off to Manticore for a "desperately needed" refit, Young leaves Honor and Fearless as the sole RMN unit responsible for the Basilisk System's security. When the widely contradictory picket requirements cause Fearless to stumble in its duty, it will be Honor, not Young, who takes the bullet for the failure.
Grimly buckling down, Honor kicks and drags her crew after her as they address themselves to the tasks set for them. With hard work and clever use of resources, Honor soon has revitalized the RMN's presence at Basilisk and amazed the other Manticoran personnel assigned to the system. Having grown used to the backwater dumping ground circumstances of Basilisk, the Junction and planetary mission staff are delighted to realize they now have a competent and dedicated officer to partner with. Even though shorthanded and lacking full resources to properly address all the requirements of their duty at Basilisk, Fearless and her crew rise to the circumstances.
By her staunch enforcement of the anti-smuggling laws, Honor makes an enemy of Klaus Hauptman, head of the powerful Hauptman Cartel. However, when Hauptman threatens Honor and her family, her first officer, Alistair McKeon, comes to her defense, pointing out the Cartel's indirect involvement in illegal activities on Medusa, and threatening to drag Hauptman before a court for collusion in treason. The business magnate leaves in shame, while Honor and her XO finally begin to connect.
The People's Republic of Haven, which has been slowly strangling on its own economic policies for over half a century, has set its eyes on the Star Kingdom. The plan Haven has evolved begins with whipping the low-tech native aliens into a killing frenzy that would sweep across the planet Medusa in a haze of blood, which will provide the pretext Haven desires to swoop in and take control of the system before Manticore can respond. This would provide the means to invade of Manticore through the two wormhole termini Haven would then possess: Trevor's Star and Basilisk.
But through the proper attention to duty, Honor and the Manticoran planetary personnel stumble over pieces of the plan. Assembling the fragments of information into a coherent whole, Honor deduces Haven's intentions and is left with no choice but to act firmly or stand aside while Haven moves into launch position for an invasion. Honor leads Fearless and her crew into a desperate engagement against the Havenite Q-ship PMSS Sirius. Overmatched in everything but courage, Fearless is pounded into scrap during the chase, and suffers terrible casualties among her officers and crew.
Despite this, Fearless succeeds in its desperate mission; they manage to lure the Q-ship within range of their secret weapon and destroy it. Manticore reinforces the system in time to greet the "visiting" Havenite task force, which leaves after a suitable interval to inform Haven of the failure. After extensive repairs just to get the mauled light cruiser underway, Honor Harrington returns to the Star Kingdom to a hero's welcome. Promoted to Captain, she is given command of HMS Fearless (CA-286), a newly constructed Star Knight-class heavy cruiser hastily redesignated to replace the aging, gutted, and scheduled to be scrapped CL-56 which had given so much on Basilisk Station.
Finally, Andrew Yerensky of the Weapons Development Board approaches Honor, asking her to give them her combat evaluation of the grav lance in person. Honor eagerly agrees, obviously looking forward to giving the Board hell about the whole concept.
Unhappy with the original result, David Mattingly reworked the cover art of the book years later, giving Honor Harrington a more mature and slightly more oriental look.
A 20th anniversary special edition of On Basilisk Station was released on April 2, 2013. Directly through Baen Books, it is also available personally signed by David Weber.
A comic adaptation of On Basilisk Station was released in 2014, starting with a first book of the same name.
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- Anderman Empire
- Republic of Erewhon
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- Star Kingdom of Manticore
People's Republic of Haven
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Star Kingdom of Manticore
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Royal Manticoran Navy
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Beta node | capsule | Combat Information Center | Counter-grav tubeway | forceblade | hyper-capable | Hyper Log | hyperspace | Impeller band | Impeller drive | Impeller wedge | Inertial compensator | intrasystem | Intercom screens | gravity generator| Q-ship | power room | Prolong Treatment | sidewall | Warshawski sail | Yard mech
A.L. | First Battle of Basilisk | cocoa | coffee | Dauguaar | Earth Time Standard | Erewhon System | gross system product | Kingdom of England | Madcat Mountains | Sandalwood System | Sentience scale | Sheldon System | Sir | Sol System | Star Types | space stations | Trevor's Star System | Zurich
- On Basilisk Station on Wikipedia
- On Basilisk Station from the Baen Books Honorverse CD
- On Basilisk Station at Baen Ebooks
- Baen Reading Guides 2011, including a Teacher's Guide to On Basilisk Station
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