Posts Tagged ‘Vorberg’

Welcome to the future!  You’ve been with us since the dawn of time, at least in the world of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga, and now here it is again, another couple of chapters in the exquisite novel Memory, a transition point in the story of Miles Vorkosigan, as Miles achieves what he might not have realized was one of his lifelong ambitions…

Chapter Fifteen

A week passes, and Miles gets ever more impatient at the glacial progress of the Illyan situation, complaining to Gregor about it at their daily updates.  All they’ve managed to do is rule out some possible causes of the problem, such as stroke, and confirm that the chip itself is damaged somehow.  They haven’t ruled out psychological issues caused by the chip, but Miles says that he doesn’t buy it, since everyone else who succumbed to that did it much earlier in the process.  Gregor points out that Illyan is the only person in existence who’s had a memory chip this long, so there’s no data to compare him to.  Miles ponders that he’s getting third-hand information, from the ImpSec physicians via Haroche via Gregor, and wishes he had more raw data to work with, to find small details that the others may be dismissing.

When Lady Alys returns from Komarr, she calls Miles, mostly to complain about the situation with Simon Illyan, and the fact that none of them “young louts” had seen fit to inform her.  Miles pointed out that she was already en route to Komarr at the time, but admits that he hadn’t realized she’d want to know.  He asks about her Komarr trip, and she says that Laisa’s parents are very anxious about the situation, and she tried to soothe their fears.  Countess Vorkosigan, on her way home from Sergyar, will stop in and talk to the Toscanes as well; Miles isn’t sure that his mother’s bluntness will be quite appropriate, but Alys assures him that Cordelia has a way of talking people into things despite themselves.  The wedding is officially on, but Lady Alys hopes to have any potential tensions defused long before the event.

She complains that when she tried to stop in to see Illyan, General Haroche wouldn’t let her in, and asks Miles if he can do anything about it.  He protests that he’s out of the ImpSec loop right now, and reflects that for years he’s considered himself an ImpSec representative, but no longer.  He asks her to talk to Gregor, and she says even he was no help.

“Maybe he didn’t want to distress you. I gather Illyan is in a pretty disturbing mental state right now, not recognizing people and so on.”

“Well, how can he, if no one he knows is allowed to see him?”

“Um. Good point. Look, I have no intention of defending Haroche to you. I’m pretty annoyed at him myself.”

“Not annoyed enough,” snapped Lady Alys. “Haroche actually had the nerve to tell me — me! — that it was no sight for a lady. I asked him what he had been doing during the War of Vordarian’s Pretendership.” Her voice trailed off in a hiss — Miles’s ear was not quite sure, but he thought it detected suppressed barracks language.

She said that Gregor seems to be concerned with not antagonizing Haroche right away, since they’ll be working together for years, and Haroche may have convinced him that it’ll undermine his position if there’s too much interference right off the bat from people like Lady Alys.  Illyan never had a problem with Alys’s unofficial position–he’d considered her part of Gregor’s support team.  Miles says that Haroche is basically in control of the information that reaches Gregor right now, and finds that more concerning than he had when it was Illyan in that position.  He jokes that Alys could go on strike–no more wedding planning until Gregor deals with Haroche–and she says she’s seriously considering it.

The next morning Martin wakes Miles early to announce the arrival of “another ImpSec stick”–this time, Lieutenant Vorberg.  Miles tells him to arrange some coffee and some pastries and bring them, then throws on some clothes and goes to find out what Vorberg wants.  Vorberg says he’s just coming off shift–he’s been running the night security for the ImpSec clinic; this instantly gets Miles’s attention, since this means Vorberg is one of Illyan’s guards.  This must be ideal, since Vorberg is cleared, the job isn’t physically demanding, and Vorberg’s ties to anyone at HQ are looser, since he was a courier.

Vorberg’s voice went tight, almost angry. “I do think it’s bad form of you, Vorkosigan. Almost petty, under the circumstances. Illyan was your father’s man for years, passed the message on at least four times. Why haven’t you come?”

Miles sat very still. “Excuse me. I think I’ve missed the first half of something. What, ah . . . could you please tell me exactly what’s been going on in there?”

Vorberg says Illyan has been kept restrained almost all the time, and he babbles when he’s not sedated, and mumbles when he is.  He keeps flashing through various time periods in his memories, but when he seems most clearly aware of the present, he asks for Miles.

“At first I thought it was the Count your father he wanted, but it’s definitely you. Miles, he says, and Get that idiot boy in here, and Haven’t you found him yet, Vorberg? It’s not like you can mistake the hyperactive little shit. Sorry,” Vorberg added as an afterthought, “that’s just what he said.”

Miles says that sounds like Illyan, but this is the first he’s heard of it; this puzzles Vorberg, since he says he’s put it in his nightly report for days now.  Miles knows that it must be Haroche who’s not passing it on, since Gregor wouldn’t have failed to convey that.  He asks if there’s any medical testing going on, but Vorberg says he hasn’t seen any, so it must be during the day shift.
Martin brings in the coffee and pastries.  After he leaves, Vorberg says he’s heard some interesting things from Illyan’s maunderings during the late hours, before they sedate him again, and he’s figured out that Miles was never a courier; Miles confirms that he was high-level covert ops.  Vorberg says he doesn’t know why Illyan terminated him, but that even when Illyan seems to remember Miles was fired, he still asks for him.  He’s told Haroche that twice, and Haroche has remained noncommittal.  Miles finds this interesting, and tells Vorberg that they better not have had this conversation, and encourages him to substitute their earlier conversation instead.  Vorberg says he’s not sure what Miles is up to, but he’s encouraged that Miles seems to still be willing to do his Vor duty, which so few seem to be these days.

An hour later, Miles is heading once more to ImpSec HQ.  He thinks about how Haroche is more concerned with guarding Illyan, making sure his secrets don’t leak out, than making sure he gets the best medical treatment, which makes him little more than a prisoner.  He wonders if Haroche is paranoid and stupid, or just overwhelmed.  Up to now, in Domestic Affairs, Haroche has mostly dealing with subordinates, with Illyan dealing with the Emperor and the Vor.  Illyan treated Alys Vorpatril as a valuable resource, whereas Haroche dismisses her as someone with no apparent power.  Miles agrees that Haroche should be cautious with Illyan’s head full of secrets, but he should be tempering that with some human concern and respect.

Miles marches into the foyer, trailed by Martin, and asks to see Simon Illyan.  The clerk says he’s not on the list, but Miles says he’s on the doorstep, and will stay there until he’s allowed in.  Once again Miles works his way up the chain of command to Haroche, who once again refuses Miles’s request, saying Illyan is “in no condition to socialize”.  Deciding to try a blunt approach, Miles asks what Haroche’s problem is, and says he’s trying to help; Haroche tells him to remove himself.  Miles says he won’t leave; Haroche says he can have Miles removed, and Miles says he will return.  Haroche admits he can’t have Miles shot if he persists, but he can arrest him for illegal trespass, or resisting arrest, and can have him stunned at any time.

He wouldn’t dare. “How many times?”

“How many times do you propose to make it necessary?”

Miles said through his teeth, “You can’t count past twenty-two even with your boots off, Haroche.” It was serious insult to imply extra digits, on this mutation-scarred planet. Both Martin and the listening clerk watched the rising temperature of this exchange with increasing alarm.

Haroche tells Miles again to get out, and follows it up with armed guards who manhandle Miles out the door and out to the sidewalk.  They tell the gate guards that Haroche has ordered them to stun him the next time he tries to enter the building.  Miles sits down on a nearby bench, humiliated and angry, and briefly considers leading a covert-ops-style raid to free Illyan, but decides that it would end up getting him killed.  He realizes that he’s been so intent on proving that he could succeed on his own merits that he’s been neglecting the Lord Vorkosigan side of himself.

Naismith was obsessed with winning at all costs, and being seen to have won.

But Vorkosigan . . . Vorkosigan couldn’t surrender.

It wasn’t quite the same thing, was it?

Vorkosigans throughout history have failed to surrender, preferring to die instead, and he’s just the latest; he just happened to get brought back to life.  The joke is that the Vorkosigans are too stupid to know that surrender’s even been offered, so they just keep fighting.  Admiral Naismith stole most of Lord Vorkosigan’s life, but he can’t take away the dumb hillman at the core–the owner of radioactive Vorkosigan Vashnoi.

Miles threw back his head and laughed, tasting the metallic tang of the misting rain sifting into his open mouth.

“My lord?” said Martin uneasily.

Miles cleared his throat, and tried to rub the weird smile back off his face. “Sorry. I just figured out why it was I hadn’t gone to get my head fixed yet.” And he’d thought Naismith was the sly one. Vorkosigan’s Last Stand, eh? “It struck me as funny.” Hilarious, in fact. He stood up, stifling another giggle.

He tells Martin to take him home, showers, and changes into his Vorkosigan House uniform; he’s avoided it for years, preferring military dress uniforms instead.

Counts and their heirs, honorably retired from more active Imperial service, were permitted by ancient custom to wear their military decorations on their House uniforms, in recognition of the Vor’s official and historical status as — what was that dippy phrase? “The Sinews of the Imperium, the Emperor’s Right Arm.” Nobody’d ever called them the Brains of the Imperium, Miles noted dryly. So how come no one had ever claimed to be, say, the Gall Bladder of the Imperium, or the Emperor’s Pancreas? Some metaphors were best left unexamined.

Miles has never bothered to get out all of his medals at one time, mostly because the vast majority of them are for Naismith’s classified achivements.  He lays them out now–more than one row of wound badges, a medal from the Vervani, one from the Marilacans, five Barrayaran Imperial Stars of varying metals, and even the Cetagandan Order of Merit.  When he gets them all out, it looks ridiculous, and he’s surprised at how much he’s actually accumulated.  Nonetheless, he fastens them to his house uniform and dons it ceremoniously, including his grandfather’s dagger.

“If you expect to open a can of worms,” he spoke aloud for the first time, “you’d best trouble to pack a can-opener.”

Martin does a double-take when he sees Miles; Miles says they’re going to the Imperial Residence.


Once again resisting the urge to overquote (not by much); go read the medal scene, I love it.  Miles is mustering the resources he has left to him, and is preparing to remind the Emperor what exactly he has managed to accomplish.  When I read these books originally, in publication order, it struck me that the previous book was Cetaganda, so this was the first time Miles could actually have taken out the Order of Merit.  (I suppose it would have been more mysterious if Miles had referred to it in an earlier book and it wasn’t until Cetaganda that we found out how he earned it.)  Anyway, it struck me when I was first reading it.  It is, as Miles recalls, one of the few medals that Lord Vorkosigan earned, not Admiral Naismith.

I’m still not quite sure I follow how Vorkosigan stubbornness explains why Miles hasn’t gotten his brain examined yet.  Is it just that he refuses to surrender to the seizures, to his body’s debility?  Well, I suppose that would be in character, for Lord “Who Cares If My Bones Are Brittle As Fine China, I Want To Be A Soldier” Miles Vorkosigan.

I’m not sure what Miles expects to accomplish with his second attempt to see Illyan.  Did he think that Haroche would change his mind, when he’d already dismissed Lady Alys so summarily?  Miles hadn’t added any new cards to his deck, no new backup, no new persuasions, just stubbornness.  Haroche was easily able to muster resources to dismiss him.  I guess he was just hoping that Haroche would not prove to be as unreasonable as he was.  He keeps excusing Haroche’s behaviour, finding it explicable, even as he deplores it, so I guess he just needed to convince himself that he had to make an end run around Haroche if he wanted to accomplish anything on the Illyan front.

And both Alys and Vorberg seem to think that it’s his responsibility to do it.  Alys lacks the access, and Vorberg wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything with it if he had it, because he’s not one of the people Illyan wants to see.  (I wonder if Vorberg, who by now has figured out that Miles was part of the Dendarii Mercenaries, has figured out Miles’s responsibility in his bisection.  If so, he doesn’t seem to hold it against Miles, at least.)

Chapter Sixteen

Gregor received Miles in the serene privacy of his office in the Residence’s north wing. He was seated behind his comconsole desk, perusing some visual display, and didn’t look up till after the majordomo had announced Miles and withdrawn. He tapped a control and the holovid vanished, revealing the small, smoldering, brown-uniformed man standing across from him.

“All right, Miles, what’s this all ab — good God.” Gregor sat up, startled; his brows climbed as he began to take in the details. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you come the Vor lord with intent.”

Miles says that he’s willing to bet that Haroche is concealing from him how bad things really are with Illyan.  Gregor admits that Haroche has to summarize, but Miles says that he’s failed to mention that Illyan has requested Miles’s presence specifically, which he found out from a reliable anonymous source.  Gregor says he’s heard that Illyan’s grip of current reality is tenuous, and Miles says they don’t know how bad it is, because they can’t actually see him–Lady Alys has been turned away, and Miles himself has been threatened with stunning if he returns.  Gregor asks how much of a pest Miles was being, and Miles says he can surely requisition the recording if he wants to, but he points out that he has a Vorish obligation to Illyan which takes an end run around ImpSec’s chain of command.

Gregor asks Miles if he thinks something’s fishy, and Miles says it may just be stupidity and incompetence.  He recalls his bout with cryo-amnesia, and bets that Illyan’s suffering something just as bad, if not worse.  Either Haroche is just mishandling the matter and needs to be corrected, or else there’s some kind of deliberate sabotage going on.  Gregor admits that Haroche has asked him to restrict how much information he passes on to Miles.  Miles says he wants in–not just to see Illyan, but to see all the raw data.  To give him the requisite authority, he asks Gregor to assign him an Imperial Auditor.  He doesn’t know what he’s looking for, but he wants to be able to get any information he needs.

Gregor asks which one he’d want, but says that Vorhovis in en route to Komarr to use his diplomatic skills to facilitate the wedding.  Vorlaisner, Valentine and Vorkalloner are a bit too conservative to Miles’s tastes, and he’s afraid they’d take Haroche’s side, and General Vorparadijs is of course mostly senile.  Gregor says that he doesn’t think Miles would be satisfied with whatever Auditor he picks anyway, if they didn’t do just what he wanted all the time.

“An Auditor,” said Gregor, “is not just my Voice. He’s my eyes and ears, as well, very much in the original sense of the word. My listener. A probe, though most surely not a robot, to go places I can’t, and report back with an absolutely independent angle of view. You” — Gregor’s lip twisted up — “have the most independent angle of view of any man I’ve ever met.”

Miles’s heart seemed to stop. Surely Gregor couldn’t be thinking of —

“I think,” said Gregor, “it will save ever so many steps if I simply appoint you as an acting Imperial Auditor. With the usual broad limits on a Ninth Auditor’s powers of course; whatever you do has to be at least dimly related to the event you are assigned to evaluate, in this case, Illyan’s breakdown.”

Miles says that Haroche will know it’s a scam, and Gregor says that he will be wrong.  He’s also been worried about events at ImpSec, but wasn’t sure what he could do about it, until now.  Miles gushes about how awesome it will be to finally not have to deal with the chain of command getting in his way all the time.  He gratefully accepts Gregor’s proposal, and Gregor has an Auditor’s chain of office fetched for him, as well as the electronic seal that grants him full systems access.

Miles says that traditionally Imperial Auditors make their first visit unannounced, but he wonders if it’ll really work at ImpSec if he gets stunned before he can make himself known.  He asks Gregor if they should call ahead, and Gregor says they should try it without, and “see what happens”.  He says that apart from the Simon Illyan matter, Haroche seems to be doing a decent job as acting head of ImpSec, but Gregor would like to test him a little further before deciding whether or not to confirm his appointment, to see if he screws things up on Miles’s visit.

Gregor notes that if what happened to Illyan’s chip was sabotage, he’d have expected some kind of followup attack to take place shortly after, or before, his indisposition, and nothing like that has occurred.  Unless, Miles suggests, the motive was just personal revenge on Illyan himself.  Gregor asks if Miles has any suspects, and Miles says the list is huge–anybody who was, or felt, victimized by ImpSec during Illyan’s tenure; it’ll be easier to start with the chip and work backwards.

He cleared his throat. “There’s still the problem of not getting stunned at the door. I hadn’t intended to take on ImpSec single-handed. I’d assumed I’d have a real Auditor to hide behind, one of those portly retired admirals, say — and I still think I would like to have a witness. An assistant, to be sure, but really, a witness. Someone I can trust, and you can trust, someone with the requisite amount of security clearance but who is not himself in ImpSec’s hierarchy.”

“Do you have someone in mind?” asked Gregor.

“My God,” said Ivan, unconsciously echoing Gregor, as he gaped at Miles. “Is that real?” His finger reached out to tick the heavy gold chain of the Imperial Auditor’s rank and office now hanging around Miles’s neck.

Ivan says he thought it had been some sort of emergency to yank him off work like this, and asks if this is a joke.  Gregor says it’s far from a joke, and that Lord Auditor Vorkosigan’s first request was for an assistant.  Ivan says he just wanted a donkey to carry for him, and Miles says that the problems at ImpSec could leave him carrying a load of explosives–he wants someone he could rely on.  Ivan settles down, glad that somebody’s finally going to be doing something about Illyan’s problems, which should please his mother, at any rate.

Miles arrives at ImpSec’s front gate with two Imperial Guardsmen as well as Ivan, and tells the gate guards that the Imperial Auditor requests and requires his presence at the front gate.

“Aren’t you the same fellow we threw out of here this morning?” asked the sergeant in worry.

Miles smiled thinly. “Not exactly, no.” I’ve been through a few changes since then. He held out his empty hands. “Note, please, that I am not trying to enter your premises. I have no intention of throwing you into the dilemma of trying to choose whether to disobey a direct order, or else commit an act of treason. But I do know it takes approximately four minutes to physically get from the Chief’s office to the front gate. At that point, your troubles will be over.”

It takes four and a half minutes for Haroche, accompanied by Illyan’s secretary, to arrive at the gate.  Miles takes a second to enjoy Haroche’s consternation as he takes in the details.  Haroche exclaims in disbelief at the Auditor’s chain, but Miles points out that it’s a capital offense to impersonate an Auditor, and Haroche grudgingly acknowledges him.  Miles informs him that he has been tasked with auditing ImpSec’s handling of the situation, and asks to repair to Haroche’s office to continue the discussion; Haroche agrees.

Haroche, Miles and Ivan head into Illyan’s former office, currently Haroche’s, and admonishes himself to remember not to reassume the reflexes of obedience that he was used to.  Miles says that Gregor is displeased with ImpSec’s handling of Illyan’s breakdown, and so he demands to see Illyan, to talk to his medical staff, and have access to all of their information, and after that he’ll see what’s next.

Haroche says that he will of course comply, but he’s in a bit of a dilemma–his list of potential saboteurs of Illyan’s chip had Miles on it, near the top.  Suddenly Miles realizes why Haroche may have been blocking him.  Haroche says that now, unfortunately, Miles has made himself untouchable, so he can no longer keep Illyan safe from any further reprisals from him.  Miles sees Haroche’s dilemma, but decides it’s too bad; Haroche formally registers a protest.  Miles asks about motive, and Haroche says that Illyan’s termination would be considered sufficient, especially considering his falsification of reports.  Miles protests that it was one report, one time, and that Gregor is aware of it; he realizes that he’s been underestimating Haroche, who has managed to undermine his momentum by bringing this up.  Haroche says flat out that he doesn’t trust Miles, and Miles says he doubts Haroche can muster the political resources to have him impeached, and Gregor is unlikely to sympathize with his suspicions.  Though he admits that, in Haroche’s position, having to deal with untouchable but likely guilty adversary, he’d try his damnedest to nail him to the wall.  Haroche says that he hopes the whole thing is academic, that there was no sabotage, and Miles agrees, thinking that maybe he can work with Haroche after all.

Haroche’s study of Miles hung up on the magpie collection of military baubles on his tunic. His voice went unexpectedly plaintive. “Vorkosigan, tell me — is that really a Cetagandan Order of Merit?”


“And the rest of it?”

“I didn’t clean out my father’s desk drawer, if that’s what you’re asking. Everything here is accounted for, in my classified files. You may be one of the few men on the planet who doesn’t have to take my word for it.”

In the corridor on their way downstairs to the HQ clinic, Ivan murmured, “I’ve never seen a general tap-dance sitting down, before.”

He points out that Miles was practically pulling an Admiral Naismith on the General, except without the Betan accent, which Miles hadn’t thought of at the time.

Miles doesn’t enjoy the medical odours of the ImpSec clinic, which remind him too much of the times he’s been laid up there.  Right now, there are no other patients besides Simon Illyan.  A Dr. Ruibal appears to take Miles to Illyan.  Illyan is restrained, eyes glazed, unshaven, and naked; Dr. Ruibal explains that Illyan is too unruly to deal with them having to dress and undress him all the time, and Miles sees the doctor and guards all show signs of violence.

Miles addresses Simon, who is glad to see him, asking about the success of a mission from five years ago, and a moment later is asking to be released so he can supervise the Emperor’s Birthday ceremony.  Miles tells him that his memory chip is malfunctioning…over and over again, and Illyan keeps coming back from different memories.  Dr. Ruibal says the speed has increased–six times on the first day, six an hour the day before, and seems to be twice that now.  Next time Illyan insists that Miles Vorkosigan is five years old, and advises him to be careful around his grandfather the Count.

Finally Illyan references Vorberg, and Miles realizes he’s actually in the present.  Illyan grabs Miles’s hand and asks him to swear as a Vorkosigan that Miles’ll kill him if they can’t fix it.  He then time-shifts again, and after five more times Miles has to leave the room, nauseous.  Miles insists that Ruibal have Illyan washed, shaved, and dressed in some of his own clothes.  Ruibal says that Illyan seems to behave better in Miles’s presence, and asks him to stay around to give them a better chance of accomplishing it without getting pummeled.  Miles does, and Illyan is soon clothed and eating peacefully.

Afterwards, Ruibal says the briefing is ready for him, and asks if he can return afterwards to keep Illyan behaving.  Miles agrees, and in the meantime…he turns to Ivan.

“I would rather,” stated Ivan quietly, “charge a laser-cannon site naked than be in here by myself.”

“I’ll keep it in mind,” said Miles. “In the meanwhile — stay with him till I get back.”

“Yeah.” Ivan took over the chair at Illyan’s elbow as Miles vacated it.

As Miles followed Ruibal out the door, he heard Illyan’s voice, for a change more amiable than stressed: “Ivan, you idiot. What are you doing here?”


And so Miles becomes a temporary, acting, Imperial Auditor.  Craftily introduced in this book as a venerable Barrayaran institution, explained to offworlder Laisa Toscane earlier, and only alluded to once since then (by Tsipis), and now Miles’s option of last resort.  Gregor is probably correct that just having an Auditor to work with, and one he probably couldn’t order around with impunity, wouldn’t be a viable option.  Miles would be constantly trying to justify to his Auditor why the Auditor should request this or that bit of information, or order someone to do this or that thing.  Luckily Gregor sees through this and comes up with the solution that Miles didn’t dare conceive, though one wonders if he had ever one day fantasized about it.  Perhaps not–he was too busy fantasizing about being Admiral Naismith (while being Admiral Naismith), where he was very near the top of his chain of command, to have to come up with another way to be near the top of the chain of command.  And if they’re mostly retired, conservatives bores of Admirals and Generals, it might not have been the kind of thing to appeal to a younger, pre-Naismith Miles Vorkosigan, who would probably have been satisfied with just being a regular Admiral or General.

Ivan’s comment about Miles “coming the little Admiral at him” was quite perceptive.  Maybe it’s just that Miles already knows what to do when he’s in absolute charge, from his Naismithing experience, and so automatically reverts to that behaviour when he’s Auditor…or maybe, if Naismith was already some kind of dissociated personality (which I’m not as convinced of as Mark and Cordelia were), it’s a sign that he’s being reintegrated into Lord Vorkosigan.  At least he didn’t slip into Betan accent or anything.

It suddenly occurs to me how much Illyan’s memory disorder is like a horrific version of Alzheimer’s Disease.  One wonders if Alzheimer’s has been dealt with in galactic medicine–though Auditor Vorparadijs is described as “senile”, so it may still be an issue on Barrayar.  …Not much more to say about that.  Hey, I’m glad to see that the ImpSec doctor actually has a name!  Not just another anonymous physician like so many utilitarian medical non-characters in this series…

Ivan’s return to the plot is quite welcome, too.  While he’s right to protest that he’s just there to serve as Miles’s “donkey”, Gregor and Miles are right to hold him in high enough estimation to think he might be useful.  He is trustworthy and loyal (if lazy and work-averse), so he’ll make a good assistant for Miles.  But the best part is how it turns out Miles isn’t the only person that Simon Illyan will always recognize.  I gotta laugh every time I read that “Ivan, you idiot!” line at the end of the chapter.  One supposes that the Count or Countess Vorkosigan would serve as well too, which may be one reason why the author has them both on Sergyar right now.  One wonders if Aral would have been able to cut through the ImpSec issues by now, too, if he were there.  Perhaps not–he’d have more political concerns tying his hands, like Gregor, and be just as willing to send Miles in.

So now that Haroche is out of the way as an obstacle, it’s time for Lord Auditor Vorkosigan to really cut loose, and find out what’s actually going on!  Whoever’s behind Simon’s problems, though, they seem to be pretty canny.  It’ll take some time for Miles to run them to ground…  We’re past the halfway point now, in chapters and in pages, but there’s still quite a few left.  (And after last week, I managed to persuade myself not to read further ahead, so I’m now caught up with blogging the chapters I’ve read; now I’ll have to see if I can hold myself back to two chapters this week.)  Until next week…

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