On Basilisk Station

On Basilisk Station
On Basilisk Station  
Author(s) David Weber
Country United States
Language English
Series Honor Harrington series
Genre(s) Science fiction novel
Publisher Baen Books
Publication date 1993
Media type Print (Paperback) & E-book
ISBN ISBN 0-671-57793-X
OCLC Number 40331058
Dewey Decimal 813/.54 21
LC Classification PS3573.E217 O5 1999

The first novel in David Weber's popular Honor Harrington series, On Basilisk Station,[1] follows Commander Honor Harrington and Her Majesty’s light cruiser Fearless during their assignment to the Basilisk system. Though Basilisk has become a dumping ground for misfits and rejects from her home colony of Manticore, Honor is determined to discharge her duty regardless of the circumstances.

The story follows Honor and her crew as they deal with the responsibilities of their assignment. When their duty leads them to discover events that would lead to an invasion of Manticore, they have no choice but to act.

In addition to Honor Harrington, the story includes the first appearances of Alistair McKeon, Hamish Alexander, Lord Pavel Young, Andreas Venizelos, Rafael Cardones, Paul Tankersley, Mercedes Brigham and Allen Summervale.


Plot summary


Sidney Harris, the Hereditary President of the People's Republic of Haven, discusses the economic and military situation with his cabinet. The Secretary of Economy Walter Frankel presents the latest economic projections which look very bad. He blames the naval budget. Admiral Parnell points out that the fleet is required to hold on to recently acquired star systems. He blames the increases of the Basic Living Stipend for the bleak economic situation. Frankel responds that the BLS increases are the only thing keeping the mob in check. The resulting discussion leads to the realization that additional income is required to finance the BLS and a military that can hold on to the current star systems. Following the DuQuesne Plan the source of these income should be new conquests. Moving southwards towards Erewhon is rejected as too dangerous as the Solarian League could see it as a threat. Moving westwards towards Silesia is seen as the better option, but the Basilisk system is in the way. The Basilisk system contains a terminus of the Manticore Wormhole Junction. The decision is made to take over the Manticore system and Admiral Parnell is tasked with drawing up plans to that effect.

The story

Commander Honor Harrington, freshly graduated from the Royal Manticorian Navy’s Advanced Tactical Course, assumes command of CL-56 Fearless as it is completing an extensive weapons refit.

A successful young officer with a promising career in the service of her Queen, Honor’s delight at her new command soon turns to dismay as she realizes Fearless has been nearly stripped of her normal weapons and turned into a tactical testbed for new technology. After initial success in the opening rounds of fleet war games, Fearless suffers defeat after defeat as opposing officers correctly determine the safest way to deal with the light cruiser’s refitted weapons is to deny her the chance to use them.

Banished to Basilisk Station by officers eager to sweep their so-called “secret weapon” under the carpet, Honor is even more dismayed to learn the commanding officer of the other Queen’s ship assigned to the system picket is an old Academy nemesis. Captain Lord Pavel Young has learned of Honor’s assignment, and has set her up for failure to discharge her duty. After taking his heavy cruiser Warlock off to Manticore for a “desperately needed” refit, Young leaves Honor and Fearless as the sole RMN unit responsible for the Basilisk system’s security. When the widely contradictory picket requirements cause Fearless to stumble in its duty, it will be Honor, not Young, who takes the bullet for the failure.

Grimly buckling down, Honor kicks and drags her crew after her as they address themselves to the tasks set for them. With hard work and clever use of resources, Honor soon has revitalized the RMN’s presence in Basilisk and amazed the other Manticorian personnel assigned to the system. Having grown used to the backwater dumping ground circumstances of Basilisk, the Junction and planetary mission staff are delighted to realize they now have a competent and dedicated officer to partner with. Even though short handed and lacking full resources to properly address all the requirements of their duty in Basilisk, Fearless and her crew rise to the circumstances as Queen’s officers are expected to.

And none too soon, as the rival star nation of Haven, a bloated conqueror which has been slowly strangling on its own economic policies for over half a century, has set its eyes on the Star Kingdom. The plan Haven has evolved begins with a coup de main against Basilisk; whipping the low-tech native aliens into a killing frenzy that would sweep across the planet in a haze of blood was to provide the interstellar pretext Haven desires to swoop in and take control of the system before Manticore can respond. This would provide the means to invade of Manticore through the two Junction termini Haven would then possess: Trevor’s Star and Basilisk.

But through the proper attention to duty, Honor and the Manticoran planetary personnel stumble into pieces of the plan. Assembling the fragments of information into a coherent whole, Honor deduces Haven’s intentions and is left with no choice but to act firmly or stand aside while Haven moves into launch position for an invasion. Honor leads Fearless and her crew into a desperate engagement against a fleeing Haven Q-ship. Overmatched in everything but courage, Fearless is pounded into scrap during the chase, and suffers terrible casualties among her officers and crew.

Despite this, Fearless succeeds in its desperate mission; Honor manages to lure the Q-ship within range of their secret weapon and to destroy it. Manticore reinforces the system in time to greet the “visiting” Haven task force, who leave after a suitable interval to inform Haven of failure. After extensive repairs just to get the mauled light cruiser underway, Honor returns to the Star Kingdom to a hero’s welcome. Promoted to Captain, Honor is given command of the heavy cruiser Fearless, a newly constructed Star Knight-class vessel hastily redesignated to replace the aging, gutted, and scheduled to be scrapped CL-56 which had given so much in Basilisk.


The Star Kingdom of Manticore is gearing up for a likely war with Haven. However, some political factions do not believe that the war is inevitable and therefore hinder the Government's plans, including the necessary reinforcement of Basilisk. The Government, whose majority is slim, has little choice than to acquiesce and leave Basilisk almost undefended — until Honor Harrington is assigned there.

The People's Republic of Haven finds that its economy is increasingly strained due to its welfare state and massive military budget, thus forcing their leaders to end their standoff with Manticore by any means necessary. Possession of Basilisk and its wormhole terminus would give Haven a strategic advantage over the Star Kingdom.



HMS Fearless

  • Honor Harrington: Commander, Royal Manticoran Navy
    The new captain, a young and talented Manticoran naval officer with a successful career behind her.
  • Nimitz: Honor Harrington's treecat.
  • Alistair McKeon: Lieutenant Commander, Royal Manticoran Navy
    Her executive officer. He resents that his career has not been as successful Honor's; he is, in fact, older than Honor Harrington.
  • Dominica Santos: Lieutenant Commander, Royal Manticoran Navy
    Chief engineer.
  • Andreas Venizelos: Lieutenant, Royal Manticoran Navy
    Tactical officer.
  • Mercedes Brigham: Lieutenant, Royal Manticoran Navy
    Sailing Master.
  • Rafael Cardones: Lieutenant (Junior Grade), Royal Manticoran Navy
    Assistant weapons officer.
  • Samuel Houston Webster: Lieutenant, Royal Manticoran Navy
    Communications officer.
  • Nikos Papadapoulos: Captain ("Major"), Royal Manticoran Marine Corps.
    Commander of the Marine contingent on board Fearless.
  • Lois Suchon: Surgeon Commander, Royal Manticoran Navy
    Ship's Medical Officer, and an incompetent coward.
  • Fritz Montoya: Surgeon Lieutenant, Royal Manticoran Navy
    Assistant surgeon.
  • Prescott Tremaine: Ensign, Royal Manticoran Navy, known as Scotty
    Small craft pilot.
  • Horace Harkness: Petty Officer, Royal Manticoran Navy
    Non-commissioned officer; the ship's resident bootlegger.
  • Sally McBride, bosun or senior Non--commissioned officer.


  • Dame Estelle Matsuko
    The Star Kingdom's Resident Commissioner for Medusa.
  • Barney Isvarian
    Head of the Native Protection Agency (the de facto police force of Medusa).
  • Michel Reynaud: Captain, Astro Control Service
    Senior Astro Control Service officer assigned to the Basilisk System and commander of Basilisk Transit Control.

HMS Warlock

  • Lord Pavel Young: Captain of the List, Royal Manticoran Navy
    Commanding officer of the heavy cruiser and a longtime enemy of Honor Harrington. Son of the Earl of North Hollow.
  • Paul Tankersley: Commander, Royal Manticoran Navy
    Executive officer.

Senior officers

  • Lord Hamish Alexander: Admiral of the Green, Royal Manticoran Navy
    A senior Manticoran naval officer, on half-pay status at the time of the novel, and one of the leading tacticians of the Navy.
  • Sir James Bowie Webster: Admiral of the Green, Royal Manticoran Navy
    First Space Lord (equivalent to Chief of Naval Operations) of the Royal Manticoran Navy.
  • Sebastian D'Orville: Admiral of the Green, Royal Manticoran Navy
    Commanding admiral of a task force in the Manticoran Home Fleet.
  • Sonja Hemphill: Admiral of the Red, Royal Manticoran Navy
    Although not seen in the novel, Admiral Hemphill (head of the Weapons Development Board) is responsible for the modifications made to the weapons systems of HMS Fearless.


  • Klaus Hauptman: Leader of the powerful Hauptman Cartel and therefore one of the Star Kingdom's most powerful and influential merchants and businessmen.


PMSS Sirius

  • Johan Coglin: Captain, People's Navy (Reserve)
    The captain of the armed merchant Sirius and an undercover agent for Havenite Intelligence.
  • Jamal: Lieutenant Commander, People's Navy
    One of Sirius’s senior officers in charge of her weapons.


  • Wallace Canning: Havenite Consul in Medusa, working for Havenite Naval Intelligence.
  • Bryan Westerfeldt: Colonel, Havenite Army
    Assigned a post at the consulate in Medusa, involved in setting up the revolt.


  1. ^ David Weber. "On Basilisk Station by David Weber - Baen Books". http://www.baen.com/library/067157793X/067157793X.htm. Retrieved 17 February 2009. 

External links

Preceded by
Preceding Short Story:
Changer of Worlds
 (sub-series: Worlds of Honor #3) 
Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington

On Basilisk Station
Honor Harrington books

Central figure: Honor Harrington

In Chronological Order:

First Novel in book series

  Publication order: First work published
(1993 MMPB,1999 HC)

Succeeded by
The Honor of the Queen

(1993 MMPB)

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