nineveh_uk: photo of lava (volcano)
I thought about writing up a longer version of this, but decided that (for now, at least) I’d let you use your imagination...

*

‘You know,’ said Illyan, ‘people seriously overestimate how difficult it is for the Chief of ImpSec to get laid.’

Six pairs of eyes turned to him in horrified fascination.
nineveh_uk: Photo of Rondvassbu in winter (rondvassbu)
Brought to you by memories of adverts for jobs in Greenland that emphasised the exciting opportunities for those who enjoyed the outdoor life. Miles might assume his preferences are universal, but I bet there’d be some people on Barrayar who’d just love the idea of a posting on Kyril Island.

Lots of planets have a north

Basic training was complete and next-stage assignments were through. The long line of trainees wound about the hall, dotted round with small groups and individuals variously opening and reading the flimsies handed out by the desk sergeant , discussing them with their comrades, and in a few cases staring glumly into a corner and swearing.

“Got it! Engineering, vehicle mechanics training in the best posting in the Empire, Lazkowski Base. Three years of ice-yachting here I come. All right, Gaillard, you’re next.”

The second man took a deep breath, turned over the plastic sheet, and exhaled an emphatic “Yes! Enhanced infantry physical, with assignment to the PT trainer course on passing at the end of two years – Lazkowski Base. Looks like Petukhov was right: ask for Camp Permafrost and you get it. Who’s next? Third time’s the charm.”

The third trainee looked at his flimsy – and swore. “Shit! Fucking shit, shit, fuckity shit. Ship duty.”

“Oh fuck. Sorry, Andrei. What is it?”

“The Prince fucking Serg. Apprentice weapons tech. I’m finished. Once they’ve got you on one of those space cruisers you never get a land posting. It’s all specialist galactic shite.”

“You get long leave, though.”

“Yeah, and spend half of it getting back to a planet with an ice-field, and when you get there the artificial gravity’s buggered your balance.”

“There’s always Plan B. Find some rich Vor bitch and get a gig as her armsman. They have to sign you out if a Count asks for it.”

“I might just have to. Come on, Beatrix, what have you got?”

Beatrix scanned his orders with some trepidation and shrugged. “Comms training, Vorhovis Base. Could be worse, there’s decent ice-climbing on the Black Escarpment, and there’s lots of postings for Comms down the line. You gonna see the sergeant, Andrei, and try for a switch?”

“And get marked down as a malcontent, no fear! Two years keeping my nose clean and apply for a transfer, that’s me. Maybe I can get a cruiser near Sergyar or something, get into the mountains on leave.”

“That’d be all right,” said Gaillard. “The cold climate hunting’s supposed to be stupendous. Besides, the grav might not be too bad. Everyone gets a personal programme from a medtech these days, and the gym on the Prince Serg must be pretty hot stuff. You might not lose much.”

“Yeah.” Andrei shoved the flimsy into his pocket. “Yeah, it’ll be all right. You wait, boys. I’ll be back on long leave creaming you all on the ice.”

“Kyril Island all-comers championships. Come on, final night on the town. Let’s go and get pissed.”
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
Not really fic, more some thoughts about a sub-plot of A Civil Campaign and Barrayar in general that I first had in fic form and have kept that way. They’ve been sitting on the bookshelf as a draft for ages, and it’s much easier to just type them up like this than to try to pull out the argument and make it coherent in essay form.

So, considerations of Dono Vorrutyer, legitimacy and inheritance.

‘A body birth?’ said Martya dubiously. ‘Isn’t that a bit of a risk?’ )
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
I had a very enjoyable evening on Sunday at the Royal Opera House in the company of [personal profile] antisoppist. We saw Puccini's La Rondine, which before seeing it I had mistakenly believed was his sole comedy*. It has twenties costumes, nice tunes, and Angela Gheorghiu, who I had never seen before.

On my return home, while waiting for the open window to cool my furnace-like bedroom sufficiently for me to get to sleep, the Penguin Opera Guide informed me that it was not, as I had assumed, based on La Ronde** and so all the characters would sort themselves out with the right people in the end. This was not the case. The eponymous La Rondine is a metaphorical swallow, and the plot is basically La Traviata-lite, with everyone unhappy because they are incapable of having sensible conversations.

Which led me to think of what operas would be like if people really did behave sensibly, and by a series of leaps, to the culture of opera on various planets in Lois McMaster Bujold's Nexus.

Barrayar and others )
nineveh_uk: photo of lava (volcano)
I had forgetten that I'd posted a WIP snapshot of this. It diverges in the fifth sentence: in this version, Lord Vorhallen is not accidentally married to his sister*. Anyway, Miles and Ekaterin get divorced.

It isn't that I don't like Miles and Ekaterin. I do. It's just that I feel their conventional Barrayarality gets the better of them. I don't think they get divorced in canon at all. I think that Ekaterin does her degree, learns to terraform, and spends the rest of her life as Miles's helpmate in Vorkosigan's district. At least (thanks to a post-war DLS letter) Peter Wimsey eventually ends up living off Harriet's blockbuster income, thanks to the unfortunate effect of the Blitz on making one's money through property.

Under the circumstances )
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
Is there a giant archive of Vorkosigan fic (in English) out there that I don’t know about? There are a bare sixteen Ekaterin/Miles stories on AO3. Anyway, what I want is long fic detailing what happens when Ekaterin and Miles separate or divorce after some years of marriage. Since it isn’t there, I have had to write a very short one myself.

You might have been sorry for him—or bewitched by him—or even badgered to death by him

They had said practically everything that two people who still loved one another could say. The relief that some things were un-sayable, that Miles had not once even raised the possibility that he could keep her children from her, was almost enough to make her change her mind. But not quite.

Now even Miles was running out of arguments.

‘There hasn’t been an amicable separation in the Council of Counts since Lord Vorhallen and his wife, and that was only because his wife discovered she was also his sister. Actually,’ he continued, briefly distracted from his own distress, ‘I’m not certain they really did separate more than was necessary for appearances. She lived in the dower house and the second Lady Vorhallen just happened to die in childbirth only three years later.’

‘Then we’ll just have to make history again.’
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
I have the most incredible, gorgeous, piece of total and utter batshittery at work, which unfortunately I cannot report on. It is agony. So in lieu of the most WTF-ery work post I could ever write, have my version of younger generation Vorkosigan fix-it fic (on the assumption that a childhood in which everyone grows up wondering whether you're going to cement your father's political power by marrying the Emperor's son needs fixing).

I

Count Aral Vorkosigan, home from Sergyar for a family Winterfair and feeling that perhaps there could not be so many of them left, watched the children playing in the snow-covered garden. Serg, a name said with a wince, but it had been necessary, and the boy was making it his own, Aral, his namesake, blessedly unlike him in every way, no ghosts of history there, Lizzie, short and stocky, and running to join them, calling so that they turned not so much to wait as to receive her, Helen.

‘She reminds me of someone,' he remarked absently, and turning to Illyan beside him, 'I don’t suppose you remember who it might be?’ Illyan smiled with a rueful shake of his head, but any words were cut off by the woman at the other window, Drou, suddenly as blank-faced as in the long-ago days she had guarded Kareen.

‘She reminds you of Ezar.’

II

The Betan Astronomical Survey keeps quota places for off-worlders, without which they could never hope to belong. But the idealism for which Beta Colony is so famous is not a blind idealism. The quota for offworlders, so often considered a typical Betan soft-hearted gesture, is nonetheless widely acknowledged to be a brilliant propaganda device (what child, dreaming of galactic travel, does not dream of a chance at the Survey?), and rather less often a pragmatic device for, among other things, ensuring the pick of galactic talent, a subtle form of cultural espionage, and a means of bonding a ship’s company together with something rather more than mere planetary loyalty. The competition is fierce. For certain planetary citizens, however, (Betan law assumes that everyone is a citizen) there is a catch.

Helen had expected the oath, to renounce all former allegiances, to swear loyalty to Beta, to her colonies, to free humanity and those she may find among the stars. She rattles through it. She has made oaths before, but she is a woman. No-one really expects her to keep any vow but that of marriage. This is no different. She knows it doesn’t matter what she says, here, now. It matters what she becomes, what the Survey makes her. Besides, Barrayar does not recognise the renunciation of planetary statehood. Only there is one last line to be read, one that wasn’t there at the morning practice. The Betan therapists are very, very good. She would have poured out her heart for Barrayar, if only Barrayar had wanted it. Beta wants her, and now Helen will give her anything.

There were no hands to place her own between, and no instructions to kneel, but she knelt.

‘I swear by my word as Vorkosigan.’
nineveh_uk: Picture of a wild rabbit with text "I hope your rabbit dies" (Default)
It’s not that I haven’t got the ideas, but meanwhile there is a student attending a lecture on Dementors in Wittenberg who has been trying to get out of the door before he is sick for far too long.

So, without in anyway saying "Write it, write it, write it" to other people, this is what I have decided my life is too short to write and wish someone else would do instead:

(1) I want to know about the Vor maidens who are paraded past Gregor, but fail to do the job. Imagine it: excited and expectant parents, girls being shown as a favour to their fathers, would-be fiancés wondering what is going to happen, and of course the women themselves. We see it from the POV of Alys and Gregor, but not from the meat in the meat-market.

(2) I am incapable of reading the words “Lord Vorhovis” without thinking of his counterpart, “Lord Vorburton”. Fields of wheat (Wheat! Wheat! Fields of wheat!) on the Southern Continent.
nineveh_uk: Picture of a wild rabbit with text "I hope your rabbit dies" (rabbit dies)
This was not what I intended to spend yesterday evening on. Never mind.
Another Vorkosiverse fic. PG.

Fifteen years after the events of Cryoburn, Cordelia faces her own mortality – and someone else faces something worse.

More irrevocable than misfortune )
nineveh_uk: Picture of a wild rabbit with text "I hope your rabbit dies" (rabbit dies)
I’ve been starting to looking around at Vorkosigan fanfic on AO3*, which I have been enjoying greatly, but occasionally it strikes me that there may be some over-optimism about the pace of change on Barrayar. And then I was reminded of a line from The Leopard, and another from the end of Diplomatic Immunity**.

If things are to stay the same, everything must change )

*Two one-shot recs, completely different: Equality, and a crossover, Where Some Klingons Have Gone Before

**Which if you haven’t seen, is very long and utterly wonderful. I must actually read the book before I go on holiday in September.

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