Timeframe: mid-1918 PD
Midshipwoman Abigail Hearns, the first Grayson-born female officer in the Grayson Space Navy, is assigned to the HMS Gauntlet for her midshipman cruise. Hearns initially resents the ship's CO, Captain Michael Oversteegen, as she perceives him to be among the group of Manticoran officers who behave in a condescending or contemptuous manner towards Graysons.
Gauntlet is sent to the Tiberian System to investigate the disappearance of the Havenite transport Windhover and the Erewhonese destroyer Star Warrior. Oversteegen directs Hearns, accompanied by Marine Sergeant Mateo Gutierrez, to lead the initial negotiating party with the Fellowship of the Elect, a religious society who form the system's sole inhabitants on the planet Refuge. The Elect are cooperative, but unable to provide any particular information.
Unbeknownst to the Manticorans, Manpower Incorporated is using the system as a staging area for one of their operations, with four Gladiator-class heavy cruisers crewed by hired Silesian pirates; it was these pirates who destroyed the Windhover and the Star Warrior. Two of the cruisers return to the system after a pirate raid; Gauntlet detects their hyper footprints and moves to investigate. Haicheng Ringstorff, the Manpower agent supervising the operation, orders all four pirate cruisers to engage.
When he discovers the threat he faces, Oversteegen orders Hearns and her party to take cover on Refuge. Gauntlet engages the pirates and destroys the Fortune Hunter, but is significantly damaged in the process. She escapes into hyperspace with two more cruisers pursuing; the Predator, unable to follow, instead moves to Refuge and begins searching for the Manticoran landing party.
The Manticorans are discovered, and the pirates begin pursuing them on the ground. In order to ensure the survival of at least some of her personnel, Hearns leads a decoy force to lure the pirates away from her companions. She and Gutierrez engage in a running battle with the pirates for several hours. Just when it seems they are about to be finally overrun, a badly damaged Gauntlet returns after having defeated her pursuers, and destroys the Predator. The remaining pirates are thus forced to surrender.
Hearns is returned to Manticore, having reconciled with her captain. She takes her oath as a Grayson officer and is presented with the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal in the presence of Oversteegen, her father Steadholder Owens, Queen Elizabeth, and Steadholder Harrington.
Abbott | Karl Aitschuler | Valeria Atkins | Howard Cates| Chantal | George Franklin | Arpad Grigovakis | Mateo Gutierrez | Honor Harrington | Abigail Hearns | Edward Janacek | Michael Janvier | Justinian | Dangpiam Kitpon | Shobhana Korrami | George Lithgow | Madison | Wesley Matthews | Dongcai Maurersberger | Merriwell | Juliette Morakis | Samson Lamar | Lewiston | Michael Oversteegen | Palmer | Eloise Pritchart | Posner | Haicheng Ringstorff | Roth | Tim St. Claire | Serena Sandoval | Seago | Stevenson | Templeton | Thrush | Tillotson | Jerome Tyler | Tyson | Vassari | Linda Watson | Williams | Wilson