[LMB] Re: Nikki & being a jump pilot

Divya divyasatyam at satyam.net.in
Tue, 25 Mar 2003 15:05:21 +0530

<content snipped>
 RosinaRowantree at aol.com wrote:
> > And I still think that being a jump pilot is not a high status job,
> > and that
> > Nikki will grow out of
> > the wish to be a jump pilot when he is older and more open to other
> > opportunities.

<content and responses snipped>

I've been following this thread with great interest, and have a couple of
comments to add.

First, with regard to the status of jump pilots. The analogy that leaps to
mind is not train drivers, but test and fighter pilots in today's military.
On "military-mad Barrayar", surely being the equivalent of the person who
flies B2s or F-15s or MIG 29s would be considered pretty high status?
Fighter pilots are certainly considered the elite of the cream, and the
cheapest way to get pilot certification, here as on Barrayar,  is to enlist
and get the government to pay for your training. Nikki wants to be an
Imperial Jump Pilot and go places, until Miles tells him that if he wants to
go to exotic galactic locations, he'd be better off in the Komarran Trading
Fleet (in _Komarr_). I guess that would be like piloting Boeing 747s or
Airbus A380s.

To qualify for that expensive government or private training (ref. Miles
thoughts on Corbeau when he first meets him in _Diplomatic Immunity_), you'd
need to be pretty special in intellectual and physical terms, as well as
possibly having a special quirk in the brain (mentioned in _Labyrinth_ when
Miles asks Taura if she experienced any odd time stretching effects during
the wormhole jump, and eliminates her as a candidate for Jump Pilot

Later in DI, Miles tells Corbeau that "If you went through military jump
pilot training, you have already shown that you can study hard, learn fast,
and make confident, rapid decisions affecting other people's lives."

All in all, you don't entrust extremely expensive pieces of equipment like
jump ships to people who aren't significantly bright and very well-trained
indeed. So I have to disagree that "jump pilot" is likely to be a low status

Second, on the assumption that Nikki will most likely grow out of his
childhood dream. Several other people have noted that Miles and Ekaterin are
most likely to be supportive of Nikki's dreams - after all, Miles decided he
wanted to be a military strategist like his father and grandfather, and he
got to live his dreams - why not Nikki? Sure, most kids who dream of being
astronauts "grow out of it";  but a handful do get to fulfil their
ambitions. Given the nature of Nikki's new family, including his mother,
step-father and the rest of the Vorkosigans, it's hard to see Nikki not
getting any and all encouragement he'd need.



For now the time of gifts is gone
O boys that grow,
O snows that melt,
O bathos that the years must fill.
 -- Louis MacNeice