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

"Lets Dance!", written by David Weber, is the third short story in the fifth Honorverse anthology, In Fire Forged, first published in February 2011.

Timeframe: 1899 PD

Plot[edit | edit source]

Commander Honor Harrington, captain of the elderly destroyer HMS Hawkwing, is on anti-piracy duty in the Silesian Confederacy. She and her crew capture a pirate vessel in the Hyatt System and return their prize to the Saginaw System. Once there, Harrington gets the impression that Governor Leokadjá Charnowska is doing her best to keep her sector in order, but that others, including a number of officers in the Silesian Navy, are less than eager to make that job any easier.

On the surface of the planet Jasper, Harrington makes the acquaintance of Commodore Mieczyslaw Teschendorff of the Confederate Navy. He invites her to his favourite retaurant, and after he leaves, Honor is approached by one of the waiters, who tells her that he is an old friend of the Beowulfan arm of her family. He informs her that the pirate ship she captured has vanished along with its crew. When she aks about his identity, he introduces himself as John Brown Matheson, a former genetic slave and member of the Audubon Ballroom.

Honor learns that the infamous Mesan slaving company Manpower, Incorporated is conducting large-scale slave trade from a base in the Casimir System. After bringing this information back to the Governor, she is surprised to be forbidden to enter Casimir, and begins to investigate further. The Ballroom feeds her more information about the slave depot, and lets her know that they control a transport vessel that might be helpful in sabotaging the Casimir operation.

Back aboard Hawkwing, Honor informs her senior officers of her plan to attack the slave depot on her own authority. They support her decision, and some time later, the ship's company meets with the Ballroom transport, Reprisal, which is filled with well-trained Ballroom fighters. Plans are made, and eventually they approach Casimir Station posing as the slaver Rapunzel. Scanners detect an Andermani freighter that turns out to be none other than the Evita, the slaver they captured at Hyatt. Once they are close enough, Reprisal seperates from Hawkwing, which it had towed along in its sensor shadow. Evita is destroyed by a single salvo from the Manticoran destroyer's laser batteries before the pirate crew even realizes what is happening.

After neutralizing the station's weapons with her point defense clusters, Honor orders the surviving slavers to surrender, threatening to kill them all if she has to. The depot's commander, Edytá Sokolowska, tries to stall the Manticorans until the corrupt system governor can come to her aid, thinking that Captain Harrington has only a single platoon of Marines at her disposal. Honor informs her that she has almost a thousand Audubon Ballroom terrorists just waiting to be set loose. Sokolowska dares her to do it, but at that point Kamil Mazur, the depot's senior engineer, shoots her from behind and surrenders. Honor orders him to protect the slaves from the fanatics among his own crew until the Ballroom arrives.

Led by Honor herself, the Ballroom and the Marines board the depot and fight their way past the Manpower crew. They find most of the station's original crew battered, but alive.

Five days later, a Silesian heavy cruiser arrives at Casimir, and turns out to be the Feliksá, Commodore Teschendorff's flagship. He informs Honor that he is "shocked" about her unilateral actions, and that "luckily" his arrival could prevent any further escalation. During a recorded interview aboard his ship, he officially reprimands her for the way she handled the Casimir situation, but allows Hawkwing, the Ballroom, and the freed slaves to leave the system.

Once back in Manticore, Hawkwing is sent to be overhauled, and her crew given three weeks leave. Honor Harrington is summoned to the office of First Space Lord James Bowie Webster, who informs her that her actions have caused quite a diplomatic fuss, and that none of the guilty parties will be punished based on the "illegally obtained" evidence. The whole affair will be completely ignored by both star nations. Honor is relieved of command of the Hawkwing, and registered for the next training cycle of the Advanced Tactical Course, meaning the Admiralty actually wants her fit for senior command as soon as possible. Lastly, the First Space Lord informs her that they will keep an eye on her from now on, and that she will not get away with something like this again.

Back home, Honor is astonished to discover that her mother knows everything about the Casimir affair, since the Reprisal has arrived safely on Beowulf. Allison Chou Harrington tells her daughter that she is very proud of her.

Background[edit | edit source]

The events of this story were briefly mentioned in the earlier story, "From the Highlands".

The title refers to the battle cry of the Audubon Ballroom.

References[edit | edit source]

Characters[edit | edit source]

Baker | Rose-Lucie Bonrepaux | Florence Boyd | Leokadjá Charnowska | Jacques Chou | Raoul Courvosier | Henri Christophe | Ezzo Damasco | Thomas Dwyer | Queen Elizabeth III | Alfred Harrington | Allison Chou Harrington | Honor Harrington | Holt | Frederic Hutchinson | Shafiqa ibnat Musaykah | Edward Janacek | Everett Janacek | Nat Turner Jurgensen | Kayleigh Keegan | Emmet Lawson | Wallace Markham | Betsy Ross Matheson | Boadicea Matheson | John Brown Matheson | Aniella Matsakis | Ottomar Mason | Kamil Mazur | Angelina Grimké McCutcheon | Taylor Nairobi | Mauricio Neukirch | Nimitz | Obermeyer | Aloysius O'Neal | Osmulski | King Roger | Mahalia Rosenberg | Kgell Rønningen | Edytá Sokolowska | Allen Summervale, Duke of Cromarty | Mieczyslaw Teschendorff | Wolfe Tone | François-Dominique Toussaint | Tsien | Julian Watanabe | James Bowie Webster | Mikolaj Wozniak | Samson X | Gianfranco Zadawski

Starships[edit | edit source]

Stations[edit | edit source]

Locations[edit | edit source]

Anná | Basilisk System | Beatá | Beowulf | Caldwell System | Capital Spaceport | Casimir System | Copper Wall Mountains | Earth | Elsbietá | Elsbietá-3 | People's Republic of Haven | Hillman Sector | Hyatt System | Hyperion System | Jasper | Medusa | Mikolaj Wozniak Memorial Park | Onyx | Pelzer System | Saginaw Sector | Saginaw System | San Martin | Silesian Confederacy | Solarian League | Sphinx | Trevor's Star System | Verge | Yawata Crossing

Other[edit | edit source]

Admiralty House | Anti-Slavery League | Audubon Ballroom | Beowulf System-Defense Force | Beowulf Marines | Chez Fiammetta's del Shenyang | Cherwell Convention | destroyer | Diaspora of Man | Falcon-class | Foreign Office | freighter | genetic slavery | heavy cruiser | Jessyk Combine | Judge Advocate General Corps (Manticore) | Lanzhou Dark | Manticore Wormhole Junction | Manpower Incorporated | Medusans | Middy cruise | Office of Naval Intelligence | Royal Manticoran Marine Corps | Old Tilman | pinnace | Royal Manticoran Navy | Royal Manticoran Merchant Marine | Saginaw Traffic Control | sailing master | Silesian Confederate Navy | Silesian Ministry of Justice | Timmerman Yards | treecat | Trevor's Star Terminus

Main Honor Harrington series
HH1 On Basilisk Station HH8 Echoes of Honor
HH2 The Honor of the Queen HH9 Ashes of Victory
HH3 The Short Victorious War HH10 War of Honor
HH4 Field of Dishonor HH11 At All Costs
HH5 Flag in Exile HH12 Mission of Honor
HH6 Honor Among Enemies HH13 A Rising Thunder
HH7 In Enemy Hands HH14 Uncompromising Honor
Spin off Series
Crown of Slaves Star Kingdom
CS1 Crown of Slaves SK1 A Beautiful Friendship
CS2 Torch of Freedom SK2 Fire Season
CS3 Cauldron of Ghosts SK3 Treecat Wars
CS4 To End In Fire SK4 Fools In Peril
Saganami Island Manticore Ascendant
SI1 The Shadow of Saganami MA1 A Call to Duty
SI2 Storm from the Shadows MA2 A Call to Arms
SI3 Shadow of Freedom MA3 A Call to Vengeance
SI4 Shadow of Victory MA4 A Call to Insurrection
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
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