In which Vepal and Sanchez go for a walk.
Commander Sanchez’s “easy security job on Panore” rings a bell; in “Quiet Knives”, Panore is the holiday planet for rich people that the protagonists were always saying they’d go visit some day.
When Erthax said that the target was a planet occupied by mercenary forces, I figured that ruled out Surebleak.
It turns out that one of Korval’s enterprises for bringing Surebleak into the galactic economy is to offer part of it to Miri’s old friends in the mercs as a training ground. That’s a neat idea; apart from bringing people and money in, it means that once the training centre is up and running there will continually be a large number of soldiers present on the planet with an interest in seeing that it’s well defended.
What I don’t think I understand is why Sanchez and Cheladin think this makes Surebleak a more tempting target. Possibly the idea is to attack before the training centre is fully up and running, but after the hard work of setting it up and supplying it has been done, so that the mercs who take part in the attack can claim it as booty and use it for themselves.
Cheladin says she has been unable to send a warning pinbeam because of how her ship is docked. I wonder if Vepal’s ship is similarly restricted.