Nimitz, known as Laughs Brightly among his own kind, was a male treecat who bonded with Honor Harrington when she was 12 T-years old and he about 50 T-years. They were steadfast companions thereafter.
He made history as one of the first treecats to settle on a world other than Sphinx, as one of the first pair of bonded treecats ever to mate and have kittens, and the first ever to do so away from any clan.
Nimitz was about 65 centimeters long as an adult, not counting his tail, and weighed about nine kilograms. Like all males, he was cream and gray colored and had bright grass green eyes. (HH1)
He accompanied Harrington to the RMN Academy, and during her subsequent Naval career, helped develop an especially intense bond which allowed them to share images and even small "clips" of live eye sight. (HH8)
Laughs Brightly was born on the planet Sphinx as a member of the Bright Water Clan in the early 19th Century PD. A young and adventurous scout, he had no desire to adopt a human, as he had enough plans of his own for the future. However, during a ranging with his younger brother, Sharp Nose, they encountered young Honor Harrington, who had wandered close to a family of peak bear. They protected her and helped to fight off the aggressive creatures, and Laughs Brightly was injured; once he regained consciousness, he and Honor bonded immediately. She later named him after Admiral Chester W. Nimitz of the United States Navy of Old Earth. He had to learn how to cope with human society, including such things as table manners; he even sometimes wallowed in his dinner plate at first. (HHA6.4: TBLP)
Nimitz was at Harrington's side during her terms at the Royal Manticoran Navy's academy on Saganami Island. Cadet Lord Pavel Young, before attempting to assault Harrington alone in the showers, drugged Nimitz' food to ensure that he would be left behind in Harrington's dormitory, but fortunately failed to administer a lethal dose. (HH3)
In 1903 PD, he followed her to her assignment aboard the newly commissioned Fearless, and became a "keel plate owner". He was severely stressed by Honor's distress when she learned of the death of Admiral Courvosier; unusually, he was unable to help her cope with her dismay and regret. After returning to Grayson, Nimitz accompanied Honor to a dinner with Protector Benjamin IX at his palace. He liked Michael Mayhew and Benjamin Mayhew's wives as they passed him tidbits during the dinner. Elaine Mayhew discovered that Nimitz loved celery and fed him pieces throughout the dinner.
During the attempt on the Protector and his family by the Brotherhood of Maccabeus, Nimitz was the first to notice what was happening, sensing the assassins' intent. His rage and fear reached Honor through their previously one-way bond, and Honor could reliably sense his emotions thereafter, and through him, the emotions of other humans. He launched an attack at the nearest approaching assassins, killing one and blinding the rest of those he reached. During the melee he also saved Honor's life at least once. He was present later when Harrington regained consciousness aboard Fearless, and later accompanied her to Grayson Command Central.
Nimitz was usually confined in his life support module during engagements, there being no protective vacuum gear for treecats, as for instance during the Battle of Blackbird, in the Grayson system after the assassination attempt. He was with Harrington when she learned of MNS Thunder of God's arrival in the Yeltsin's Star System. He only went into his survival module after he and Harrington finished a meal. (HH2)
In 1904 PD, Nimitz accompanied Honor on a vacation to the shore of the Tannerman Ocean on Sphinx. He would accompany Honor to her new command, the HMS Nike. (HH3) Thanks to Paul Tankersley Nimitz began wearing a prototype skinsuit for Treecats and was able to join Honor on the bridge instead of being confined to his life support module. He soon became an expert at zero-gee maneuvering and acrobatics, although he was less than pleased with the plumbing connections. (HH4)
In a subsequent deployment, he met and mated with Samantha; they had a litter of 'kittens. Leaving Sphinx for Grayson with Harrington and the kittens, he and Samantha took a few members of his Clan to help raise the 'kittens and established the first treecat colony on another planet. (HH6)
Both Nimitz and Samantha were very strongly motivated to learn sign language (a variant of a human sign language adapted to fewer fingers) after Nimitz was gravely wounded by StateSec guards during Harrington's capture and lost the ability to 'speak' telepathically. It had been tried before without success, but Dr. Allison Chou Harrington suggested that it be tried yet again; this third time the treecats cooperated. (HH7, HH9)
Afterward, they taught other treecats to sign and as a result, humans and treecats could communicate with each another directly for the first time. (HH10)
Behavior and tastes
Like all treecats, Nimitz loved celery. He was an avid Frisbee player, and was passably accurate throwing tennis balls at swimming humans. On at least one occasion, he was notably less successful in dodging return fire. Like most treecats, he was less than fond of swimming and getting wet, causing a long running difference with Honor, who enjoyed swimming and did so for both exercise and enjoyment. Also like most treecats who encountered human children, he enjoyed playing Frisbee keep away and "Catch the 'cat"; in his case, the Mayhew children were frequent participants. Honor came to affectionately call him "Stinker", largely because of his mischievous, prank-prone, nature. (HH1)
Nimitz was bonded to Honor Harrington in approximately his 50th T-year. He was mated with Samantha, a memory singer. The 'kittens from their first litter were Jason, Cassandra, Achilles, and Andromeda. (HH7)
He also had a younger brother named Sharp Nose, and was a cousin of the memory singer Songstress. He and his brother descended directly from Lionheart, the first treecat to bond with a human. (HHA6.4: TBLP)
- Nimtz and Samantha had convinced the Bright Water Clan's elders that, as long as treecats lived only on one planet, they were in danger of extermination during an interstellar war, and that it would be sensible to begin spreading to other planets. This proved to be a wise move in 1922 PD, when an entire treecat clan was nearly wiped out during Mesa's Operation Oyster Bay. (HH12)