[LMB] Martya and Enrique

James M. BRYANT G4CLF james at jbryant.eu
Mon Feb 12 22:28:41 GMT 2007

All from ACC

"You think Enrique is normal?" said Kareen
to her sister, wrinkling her nose.

"Well . . . at least he's a change from the
sort of Lieutenant Lord Vor-I'm-God's-Gift-
to-Women we usually meet in Vorbarr Sultana.
He doesn't back you into a corner and gab on
endlessly about military history and ordnance.
He backs you into a corner and gabs on endlessly
about biology, instead. Who knows? He might be
good husband material."

"Yeah, if his wife didn't mind dressing up as
a butter bug to lure him to bed," said Kareen
tartly. She made antennae of her fingers, and
wriggled them at Martya.

Martya snickered, but said, "I think he's the
sort who needs a managing wife, so he can work
fourteen hours a day in his lab."

"Only nine individuals still missing," Enrique
went on happily. "Less than five percent
attrition; an acceptable loss for an accident
of this unfortunate nature, I think. As long
as I have you, my darling."

He turned to Martya, and reached past her to
lift the jar containing the queen Vorkosigan
butter bug, which had been brought in only
last night by Armsman Jankowski's triumphant
younger daughter. He tipped the jar and coaxed
the bug out onto his waiting palm. The queen
had grown some two centimeters longer during
the rigors of her escape, according to Enrique's
measurements, and now filled his hand and hung
out over the sides. He held her up to his face,
and made encouraging little kissing noises at her,
and stroked her stubby wing carapaces with his
fingertip. She clung on tightly with her claws,
drawing blood, and hissed back at him.

"They make that noise when they're happy,"
Enrique informed Martya, in response to her
doubtful stare.

"Oh," said Martya.

"Would you like to pet her?" He held out the
giant bug invitingly.

"Well . . . why not?" Martya, too, attempted
the experiment, and was rewarded by another hiss,
as the bug arched her back. Martya smiled crookedly.

Privately, Kareen thought any man whose idea of a
good time was to feed, pet, and care for a creature
that mainly responded to his worship with hostile
noises was going to get along great with Martya.
Enrique, after a few more heartening chirps, tipped
the queen into the steel hutch to be swarmed over,
groomed, cosseted, and fed by her worker-progeny.


The Commodore gave him an acerbic look. "You understand,"
he added after a moment, "just on principles of propinquity,
I always figured my girls would go for the bright young
officers. I expected I'd end up owning the general staff,
in my old age. Though there is Duv, I suppose, for
consolation. Not young either, but bright enough to be
downright scary. Well, maybe Martya will find us a future

At the bug butter table, Martya in a mint-green gown had
stopped by to check on the success of the operation, but
stayed to help dish out ambrosia. She and Enrique bent
together to lift another tub, and the Escobaran laughed
heartily at something she said. When Mark and Kareen
returned to Beta Colony, they had agreed Martya would
take over as business manager, going down to the District
to oversee the startup of the operations. Mark suspected
she would end up with a controlling share of the company,
eventually. No matter. This was only his first essay in
entrepreneurship. I can make more. Enrique would bury
himself in his development laboratory. He and Martya
would both, no doubt, learn a lot, working together.
Propinquity . . .

Mark tested the idea on the tip of his tongue,
And this is my brother-in-law, Dr. Enrique Borgos . . .
Mark moved so as to place the Commodore's back to the table,
where Enrique was regarding Martya with open admiration and
spilling a lot of ambrosia on his fingers. Gawky young
intellectual types were noted for aging well, Kareen had
told him. So if one Koudelka had chosen the military,
and another the political, and another the economic, it
would complete the set for one to select the scientific . . .
It wasn't just the general staff Kou looked to own in his old
age, it was the world. Charitably, Mark decided to keep this
observation to himself.

I think there's something there,
and isn't the first line of the
second paragraph of the second quote lovely?


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