Well, Anne McCaffrey needs no introductions from me.
I do have to admit that I wasn’t familiar with her work outside of the Pern novels, so I found one of her hard SF stories from the mid-80s: Duty Calls, a story told from the POV of a human-brain piloted ship providing and escort mission for an alien infiltrating a hostile planet.
I like how the story assumes some things of the reader, like knowledge of C/Speed of Light travel, and uses the challenges of moving a massive fleet at the speed of light, including strategic planning. This story feels like the groundwork for a series, and it looks like there were at least a few other stories in the same universe.
I found Duty Calls in McCaffrey’s collection The Girl Who Heard Dragons.
This episode is sponsored by The Messenger by JN Chaney and Terry Maggert