The origin of the Manticoran technical edge
Why do the Manticorans have such a pronounced tech edge?
I'm actually planning on doing a short story for the next anthology which will touch on this very question, so I'm not going to go into very much detail here. Suffice it to say, that the Manticorans are profiting from the fact that they are a "maritime" empire. By the nature of things, they have a very open, very mobile society (despite the existence of an overt aristocracy), with a strong profit-seeking tradition, exposure to the entire range of technological diversity in places ranging from the Solarian League, to the Silesian Confederacy, to the erstwhile People's Republic of Haven, and that from the days of Roger Winton himself, Manticore has always been biased in favor of aggressive education and the application of the latest technology. When you couple that with the fact that the House of Winton (and the Admiralty) saw the war with Haven coming literally for decades before it actually began and realized from the very outset that they could never go toe-to-toe with Haven on a manpower/tonnage basis, it was probably inevitable that the government of Manticore would be investing very heavily in naval technology applications. The fact that Manticore has one of the largest merchant marines in the galaxy, and certainly the largest merchant marine for a political entity with its population (not to mention the security concerns inherent in the Manticoran Wormhole Junction), has also given the RMN an institutional interest in the development of naval technology that works. In a sense, the entire Manticoran Navy has been in the position of the Sollies' Frontier Fleet from the moment of its creation. That's bound to have an impact on the mindset of your officers and technical branches. Although it's worth noting that even with that tradition, Sonja Hemphill often found it extremely heavy going when it came time to sell another of her brain children to the Navy establishment.