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Timeframe: 1902 PD
While preparing for a boring convoy duty run in the Silesian Confederacy, Lieutenant Rafael Cardones is transferred from the heavy cruiser HMS Fearless to a special mission with the Office of Naval Intelligence’s Tech Team Four: Admiral Sonja Hemphill sends the team of specialists to Silesia to collect information about a mysterious new weapon that seems to be an advanced version of the grav lance used by Honor Harrington in the First Battle of Basilisk. Seemingly, it can take down the impeller wedge of a starship from a million kilometers away.
While Cardones and Tech Team Four travel to the Arendscheldt System, Captain Honor Harrington leads Fearless into convoy duty, protecting a small fleet of five merchantmen. Shortly into her mission, her convoy encounters IANS Neue Bayern, an Andermani battlecruiser searching for a lost light cruiser, IANS Alant. Once he hears Harrington's name, the ships commander, Kapitän der Sterne Lanfeng Grubner, becomes very interested in meeting her, and the two commanders eventually decide to coordinate their efforts.
Unknown to the Manticorans and Andermani, the ship carrying the mysterious new weapon is in fact the battlecruiser PNS Vanguard, a People's Navy warship armed with the "crippler", an advanced gravitic heterodyne weapon which was given to them by an enigmatic arms dealer they only know as Charles. While Captain Avery Vaccares is in fact suspicious of the seemingly overwhelming success of their new equipment, his superior, Commodore Robert Dominick wants to continue their mission, which has the ultimate goal of alienating Manticore and the Anderman Empire by using the captured Allant in actions against Manticoran commerce.
Tech Team Four travels to the Arendscheldt System aboard the Shadow, a modified fast dispatch boat. Once there, they investigate the remains of the Manticoran merchant ship Lorelei, which has been destroyed by the secret weapon. They soon realize that all the impeller nodes went into simultaneous overload.
Next, Captain Elayne Sandler and Lieutenant Cardones visit the Sun Skater Resort on the surface of the comet Baltron-January 2479 in the Tyler's Star System. Acting as a couple on their honeymoon trip, they are able to observe an unidentified ship's attack on the freighter Harlequin. It is then that Cardones realizes that ONI has actually been feeding information on ship positions and movements to the Havenites in order to lure them to certain target areas. After escaping from the resort, he and Sandler return to the Shadow.
Soon after, Tech Team 4 commandeers the merchant ship RMMS Dorado and performs a rearrangement of the vessel's impeller nodes, making them invunerable to the "crippler" attack through the use of circuit breakers. When the convoy led by Fearless is attacked by Vanguard and Alant, which has been renamed PNS Forerunner, the circuit breakers allow Dorado to bring its wedge back up after being hit. Captain Sandler, however, decides against this in order to keep the fact that the RMN could counter the crippler a secret. Realizing that ONI is ready to sacrifice Fearless and the convoy, Lieutenant Cardones disobeyes her direct order and brings the wedge up; the crew then abandons the freighter and, deactivating the inertial compensators and security interlocks, sets a collision course. Vanguard tries to destroy the incoming ship with her grasers, but the two vessels' wedges intersect, completely destroying them both. Meanwhile, Captain Vaccares tries to escape with Forerunner, but Neue Bayern is already waiting for them. Under threat of total destruction, the Havenites surrender.
After his return from the mission and a reprimand from Admiral Hemphill, although she decides not to court-martial him, Cardones returns to his duties aboard Fearless.
This story contains a number of references to On Basilisk Station, the first Honor Harrington novel which was written many years prior to the publishing of The Service of the Sword; those include the grav lance, Harrington’s building reputation as a leader in battle after First Basilisk, and the Havenite efforts to destabilize Manticoran space prior to the outbreak of the First Havenite-Manticoran War.
The enigmatic figure of Charles, who seems to be either a private arms dealer or someone working for an unknown faction, appears a decade later in Timothy Zahn's second Honorverse short story, An Act of War, involved in another plot, this time aimed at inciting war between the Star Kingdom of Manticore and the Andermani Empire.
Honor Harrington's method of flickering her impellers to signal Neue Bayern to join the battle may also have been one of the main inspirations for the development of the grav pulse communication technology.
Simon Bokusu | Rafael Cardones | Charles | Jack Damana | Robert Dominick | Stephen DuMorne | Lanfeng Grubner | Honor Harrington | Sidney Harris | Jessica Hauptman | Sonja Hemphill | Colleen Jackson | Killian | Koln | James MacGuiness | McLeod | Nimitz | Iliescu | Joyce Metzinger | Olbrecht | Georgio Pampas | Elayne Sandler | Nathan Swofford | Trent | Huang Trondheim | Avery Vaccares | Andreas Venizelos | Stockton Wallace
Star Kingdom of Manticore
HMS Basilisk | HMS Fearless | HMS Iberiana | HMS Provisioner | HMS Shadow | RMMS Dorado | RMMS Flagstad | RMMS Harlequin | | RMMS Jansci | RMMS Lorelei | RMMS Nightingale | RMMS Poor Richard | RMMS Sable Chestnut
People's Republic of Haven
- Anderman Empire
- People's Republic of Haven
- Star Kingdom of Manticore
- Silesian Confederacy
- Solarian League
Arendscheldt System | Baltron-January 2479 (Sun Skater Holiday Resort) | Crippler | Ellyna Valley | Grav lance | Gregor Terminus | Imperial Andermani Navy | Logan Freedom Fighters | Merchant Fleet Academy | Royal Manticoran Merchant Marine | Royal Manticoran Navy | Tech Team 4 | Telmach System | Tyler's Star System | Walther System | Zoraster Freemen