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TL;DR

A novel about a female spaceship captain where her empire is at war. Her empire follows a moral codes, they don't attack, just defend.

They are losing the war and their enemy is on the verge of securing an alliance that could mean the end of her empire.

Her planet got attacked, her relatives have been executed because of her position on the fleet.

She decides to set aside those moral codes and do anything to avenge her planet and win the war. She plots a conspiracy to frame her empire's enemies of spying on their new allies.

She releases a dangerous criminal, trades away equipment from her ship and gives powerful weapons as payments to execute her plan.

I'm looking for a novel, where the protagonist is a female spaceship captain (or second in command), she lives in a spaceship, where the resources are limited and there's a lack of food/good food and equipments.

She's from (let's call it Empire 1) and their enemies are Empire 2 while Empire 3 is neutral.

One of the problems that face her Empire is that they have a very ideal ethic and moral codes, they don't even attack their enemy, they just defend.

And it was going fine so far, but now the tides are turning and they starting to become in a vulnerable situation, also it seems that's there's an alliance is set to happen between Empire 2 and Empire 3, (which obliviously will make a bad situation much worse).

The protagonist is not in a good place herself, her girlfriend left her and she's having a drinking problem, she starts doubting the pragmatism of these moral codes and wonders if there's away a round them. To her surprise, she realizes that some of her superiors, while believing in this ethic codes, they are not strict as they once were, which make her realize the severity of her empire situation.

The tipping point was when her planet got attacked, and (with the exception of the people who manage to fly/run away) all it's population got killed, her relatives (she don't have immediate family) were executed because of who she is (a captain at Empire 1 fleet).

She starts plotting a scheme where she try to frame (a high ranking member) of Empire 3 of being a traitor and a spy for Empire 2 (probably not someone in particular, just that Empire 2 have one).

She starts gathering resources and individuals to make this plot works, without her supervisors or subordinate knowing. For example, she releases a dangerous/known criminal into her custody to help set (a money trail?) between the one she's framing and Empire 2, to get some equipment she needs, she trade stuff from her ship (air filters may be), She gives criminals/rebels a powerful weapons as a payment for other stuff she needs.

Things obviously don't go smoothly, for example, the prisoner in her custody try to escape and kill people in his attempt.

In the end (I remember vaguely) when she meets a prominent member from Empire 3 in an isolated place/planet, to deliver this "evidence" to him, things go wrong, he somehow knows it's fake. He and his men try to arrest her and arrest whom with her.

They fight (with weapons), the prominent member is losing, so he flee with his ship (a small personal one). She follows him and destroys his ship (she's also in a small ship, alone).

She returns, get drunk, find that her ex girlfriend returned to help her with her problems (drinking and may be work related), but the protagonist is in despair, thinking it's to late and expecting her plot to be uncovered and she'll end up in jail.

In the morning, soldiers wake her up, tell her that she's needed at her superior's office. He informs her that there was a major development. A high ranking member from Empire 3's ship has been destroyed, there were some "evidence" that he was working with Empire 2 (not sure of the details) and it looks like Empire 3 might responds harshly against Empire 2.

It's a relatively new novel (definitely from no longer than 10 years), it wasn't especially good, but I like it. The main character name might have been "Kate".

The predominant question throw the novel was "will you go against your ethics in order to win, or will you stick with them no matter what, even if it means losing?

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    Take a look at this guide to help jog your memory and edit any more details. Specifically things like when you read it, or where? – Edlothiad Mar 23 '17 at 23:38
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    Character names would really help, as would any dialogue you can remember – Valorum Mar 23 '17 at 23:38
  • @Edlothiad I'll try remembering anything else (especially any unique details as mentioned). Valorum, I don't remember any names or memorable dialogue. If I had to guess her name maybe Kate! – madmada Mar 23 '17 at 23:46
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    @madmada: Why did you delete your answer? You are allowed to answer it yourself. – FuzzyBoots Mar 24 '17 at 14:20
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    @FuzzyBoots I know, I was looking for a more detailed synopsis and was going to post a new answer. – madmada Mar 24 '17 at 14:23
5

Found it.

It's Road to Hell by Krista D. Ball.

Captain Katherine Francis is about to disobey every Ethics Law the Union of Planets throws at her. After the Union’s enemy destroys her home planet and murders her family, she makes the decision to bring an end to the war—whatever it takes.

When an opportunity arises to ally with the neutral Alliance and turn the tide of war, Katherine throws aside her moral code, partners with a known spy, and risks sacrificing the very core of who she is. And when faced with choosing between her conscience and stopping the bloodshed, she realizes that, either way, she’ll lose.

4

This is probably not what you're looking for but the story you describe is eerily similar to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode In the Pale Moonlight.

...the protagonist is a female spaceship captain (or second in command), she lives in a spaceship, where the resources are limited and there's a lack of food/good food and equipments.

The protagonist of the episode is Captain Ben Sisko, a male. His second command is female, but she's not really in the episode. He's in command of Deep Space Nine, a space station.

She's from (let's call it Empire 1) and their enemies are Empire 2 while Empire 3 is neutral.

Sisko belongs to the Federation. The Federation is at war with the Dominion. The Romulan Empire is neutral.

The tipping point was when her planet got attacked, and (with the exception of the people who manage to fly/run away) all it's population got killed

The episode begins with casualty reports of the deaths of people Sisko knows. He receives a report that Betazed (not Sisko's home planet but strategically important) has been attacked and overrun.

She starts plotting a scheme where she try to frame (a high ranking member) of Empire 3 of being a traitor and spy for Empire 2 (probably not someone in particular, just that Empire 2 have one).

Sisko initially goes to Garak, a disreputable Cardassian, for help getting proof that the Dominion has a plan to attack the Romulans. Garak fails, but suggests instead that they manufacture the proof. Against his moral code, Sisko agrees.

She starts gathering resources and individuals to make this plot works, without her supervisors or subordinate knowing. For example, she releases a dangerous/known criminal into her custody to help set (a money trail?) between the one she's framing and Empire 2

Garak convinces Sisko to arrange the release of Grathon Tolar, a forger, from a Klingon prison.

Things obviously don't go smooth, for example, the prisoner in her custody try to escape and kill people in his attempt.

Within a day of arriving on the station, Tolar is involved in a stabbing and Sisko must bribe the victim to keep it quiet. Sisko keeps his subordinates completely in the dark.

to get some equipment she needs, she trade stuff from her ship (air filters may be), She give criminals/rebels a powerful weapons for other stuff she needs.

In order to make the evidence look real, it needs to be on a genuine Cardassian optolythic data rod, which are extremely difficult to obtain. Garak finds a seller, but the price is 200 liters of biomimetic gel; an extremely dangerous controlled substance that can be used to make terrifying bioweapons, but which the station's doctor has legitimate access to. Sisko ultimately agrees to the trade.

she meets a prominent member from Empire 3 in an isolated place/planet, to deliver this "evidence"

Sisko invites a member of the Romulan senate to the station. He arrives in a cloaked shuttle and no one else on the station is aware of his visit. He watches the faked holographic evidence and says he will check its authenticity.

things go wrong, he somehow knows it's fake.

He figures out that it's fake and is furious.

They fight (with weapons), the prominent member losing, so he flee with his ship (a small personal one).

There's no fight but the Romulan leaves in his small personal ship, to return to the Romulan Empire and tell them of Sisko's duplicity. Sisko does not follow.

In the morning, soldiers wake her up, tell her that she's needed at her superior's office. He inform her that there was a major development. Some high ranking member from Empire 3's ship has been destroyed, there were some "evidence" that he was working with Empire 2 and it looks like Empire 3 might responds harshly against Empire 2.

Spoilers below

The Romulan's shuttle explodes on his journey home. It turns out that Garak snuck aboard while Sisko was meeting with him and planted a bomb to make it look like the Dominion was involved. When the Romulans investigate, they find evidence implicating the Dominion along with the forged data rod, which has been damaged just enough to mask any imperfections in the forgery. This was Garak's plan all along. The episode ends with Sisko reflecting to the camera that the price (his guilt for violating his ethics) was worth it, and he can live with it.

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    Wow! I think I should start looking for novels "inspired" by this episode! It's definitely the same story/idea with a few changes and different characters. – madmada Mar 24 '17 at 0:41

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