Disclaimer: this story has spoilers for Ashes of Victory and War of Honor, so I would recommend reading both of those books before reading this. As well, all these characters belong to David Weber, I'm just borrowing them for a bit.
Haven: A tale of Honor Harrington
Vice-admiral Shannon Foraker stood at one of the observation ports of the massive construction base Bolthole, looking out as crews worked to complete the latest of their missile pod based dreadnoughts. The resumption of the war between Haven and the Manticorian Alliance had put a rush on the construction, but she watched with pride as her people worked.
She still found it hard to believe she was here, now, when she had started out in such a different place. She had begun her career in the navy as a simple tactical officer, doing her best to match the more limited Haven technology against the high tech Manties. She proved to be so good that she was nicknamed a 'tac witch' by her commanders, and was forgiven her lack of political acumen. She survived the disastrous capture of her ship in Silesia by Honor Harrington and was returned to Haven and placed under the command of Lester Tourville.
Shannon smiled to herself fondly in memory....
Shannon felt a surge of nerves as she followed the others down the halls of the current headquarters of the leadership of Haven. The young officer was still trying to process everything that had happened, it was all so incredible!
First, Admiral Ester McQueen had attempted to stage a coup against the Committee of Public Safety and had nearly won until Saint-Just had detonated a concealed nuclear weapon beneath her headquarters in the Octagon. At around the same time Manticore unleashed their new Super Dreadnought designs and began cutting a swath through everything Haven could throw at them. Then a assassination attempt on the Queen of Manticore killed senior levels of her government and lead to the opposition seizing control in a maneuver that still perplexed Shannon. Saint-Just then managed to negotiate a cease fire just in time to get himself killed.
'Theisman, of all people...,' Shannon shook her head wryly. The admiral was supposedly a professional and very apolitical man, which made his shooting of Saint-Just even more shocking. If he had been able to hide his hatred of the Committee so well, what else could he be hiding? Imperial ambitions, maybe?
"You're thinking too hard," Admiral Lester Tourville smiled wryly as he dropped back to whisper to her.
"Sorry, sir," Shannon smiled back weakly. "It's just so...."
Lester patted her on the shoulder as he said, "I know Theisman pretty well, I think we're going to be okay."
"You'd better be right," Javier Giscard said seriously as they walked through another doorway.
Lester looked at both Javier and Eloise Pritchart as he said seriously, "Theisman is no Saint-Just or Bob Pierre. I don't know what he intends, but I know it won't be a dictatorship."
The guards leading them through the former military base reached a door then knocked. "Admiral Giscard and company, reporting," he announced.
"Send them in," a voice called and the doors opened. Thomas Theisman looked tired as he rose from his desk, moving around to extend his hand to be shook, "I'm glad you made it back. When I heard Saint-Just had recalled you, I feared the worst."
Lester shook his hand vigorously, grinning slightly as he said, "Actually, you can thank Shannon for that."
"Oh?" Thomas looked at her, smiling.
Shannon blushed, suddenly feeling everyone smiling at her. "Uh...."
Eloise shook her head, smiling. "Our friend here hacked the computers of all the State Security ships in our task force, and when the arrest order came in she destroyed them," she told him proudly as Shannon blushed harder.
Thomas smiled wryly as he said, "Well done!"
Javier nodded then his face took on a more serious look. "Thomas, why did you call us here? What's going on?" he pressed.
Thomas smiled slightly as he met each of their eyes, "I need you to help me save Haven."
'He meant it, too,' Shannon thought as she turned away from the view port, walking over to her cluttered desk and sitting down, her thoughts still distracted.
Thomas had asked Eloise to become the President of the Republic of Haven, working with him to restore the democracy that had once been a shining light in the quadrant. And he asked her to help rebuild the Navy, devising means to counter the superior technology of the Manticore Alliance. Working with the best minds Haven could assemble and using technology bought from the Solarian League Shannon had created their own pod based dreadnoughts and LACs.
To be honest, it scared Shannon a bit, knowing how much Haven was going to be relying on the technology she had created. All the new ships and their tactics had been tested out in the simulators, but there was still no way to know how well it would work in real life. If there was anything she had learned as a officer, no plan or tactic survived contact with the enemy. Murphy's law always cropped up somewhere.
The door chime drew Shannon's attention, and she called out, "Yes?"
"The shuttle is arriving soon," her Flag Lieutenant reported. "You mentioned you wanted to meet it?" he reminded her.
"Thank you," Shannon got up from her desk. Her thoughts raced a moment, "Clear the deck, I'll guide the shuttle in myself."
"Ma'am," the young man looked startled as she stepped out of her office into the hallway.
"I still remember how to do it," Shannon reminded the younger man with a smile as they moved through the halls of the station. She dropped her voice, "Besides, our guest wants things kept quiet."
"Another briefing," the young man guessed. Over the past several months both the Secretary of War and the admirals being given command of fleets had been brought out here, sometimes covertly, to be briefed on their new commands.
"Something like that," Shannon agreed as she added, "have someone send some food to my quarters, then you can call it a day."
"Yes ma'am," he nodded.
The main shuttle bay of the space station was cleared as ordered, the workers off doing other jobs. Shannon stepped up to the main console, guiding in the shuttle from what looked like a courier boat. The vessel docked with the station, seals and connecting hoses clamping as a safe passage formed between the ship and them.
Shannon stepped forward as the lights went green, a single figure moving along the entry tube before emerging from the opening. "Welcome to Bolthole," she said as she helped the woman out.
Eloise Pritchart smiled as she left the low gravity of the tube and stood on the deck, smiling at Shannon warmly, "You have no idea how much I've wanted to see you."
"Madam President," Shannon cautioned.
"Hush," Eloise ordered before she kissed Shannon firmly on the lips.
Shannon blushed redly even as she leaned into the kiss almost involuntarily, then she stiffened and pulled back. "Not here!" she yelped.
"Spoil sport," Eloise pouted. She sighed tiredly, "Can we go back to your quarters, please? It's been a long few months...."
Tenderly Shannon took her hand, "We'll be there soon."
To be continued....