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A treecat looks over the work of a potential ancestress of the House of Winton.


Treecats Climb into Children’s Hearts


2014.09.10 CE / 346.05.36 AL (MNB) – Sci-fi fans come in all ages and sizes, yet despite the obvious numbers of midshipmen and cadet rangers in the Fleet, kids are often overlooked as a major element of the Royal Manticoran Navy’s success. However, Spacer 2/c Michaela Austin, HMS Excalibur, decided to match her joint loves of Honor Harrington and teaching children in her 5th Grade classroom at Parsons Elementary School in Lawrenceville, Georgia. It started simply, bringing in David Weber’s young adult series books to her class, reading A Beautiful Friendship aloud as their mentor text. A mentor text is a text that teachers' use to teach students writing strategies, and it serves as a model for students' writings. However, Spacer Austin added an additional incentive, bringing her treecat in

to her room and giving him a perch to taste the unencumbered emotions of her students.


Of course, this wasn’t completely altruistic. As Michaela admitted, ‘my dogs at home have a bad record with stuffed animals.’ Climbs Quickly (no one has yet asked him his treecat name) has become a member of their family, occasionally being passed from student to student, However, at the end of May, when it came time to transfer the class materials to a new room, a crisis emerged. The teacher explained that ‘at the end of the day, one of my little girls came up and said, "But you aren't really going to leave Climbs Quickly all alone all summer, right? You're just teasing us, right?" When I told her he would be safest on his perch at school, her lip started to quiver and she clutched him protectively with terrified eyes. I caved. I asked her if she could keep him safe over the summer.’


We knew treecats can sign, but they can write, too?!


After certain precautions were made, Climbs Quickly went home with the student over the summer, and true to her word, brought him back safe and sound the next year. The treecat himself was pleased with his treatment and made sure to write a letter to Spacer Austin thanking her for the opportunity. When Michaela’s captain, Captain (JG) Peter Howdeshell II heard about the amazing work that she was doing, he immediately awarded her the Naval Commendation Decoration.


Yet the story didn’t end there. Any official award report must pass across the desks of Admiralty House, and attention was brought to the civilian authorities all the way up to the Prime Minister. When David Weber, Duke Leutzen Vale, heard of the fine efforts that Spacer Austin had performed, he decided to make an official visit to her classroom. After a significant trip in their pinnance, the duke and duchess arrived, not only to address the eager fans of his writing, but also to bear them a gift. Thanks to the generosity of Baen Publishing, every student received four books each, to encourage a lifetime habit of reading.

The Duke and Duchess Leutzen Vale with Maddy aka Climbs High in Summer Branches.


In addition to the Prime Minister signing their new books, Climbs Quickly had an announcement for the class. After signing to the class the story of the great summer spent with the eager girl, the treecat decided to adopt her, giving the girl the name of Climbs High in Summer Branches. Her dedication earned a place among the six-legged inhabitants of the Weber clan.


The class was thrilled to have the opportunity to not only meet the author of their favorite books, but make a connection with the Honorverse directly. Certainly Spacer Austin has planted a seed in Third Fleet that will hopefully lead to more ships to come.


Spacer 2/c Michaela Austin and the Prime Minister in her classroom.


Article Copyright © 2014, Bureau of Communications, The Royal Manticoran Navy: The Official Honor Harrington Fan Association, Inc.
CPO Caitlyn Miller, Manager, Manticoran News Bureau, BuComm. All pictures used with permission or used in a way that qualifies as fair use under US copyright law.