[LMB] GJ&RQ - Chapter 17 - All for love

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Sun Dec 18 14:05:33 GMT 2016

Yesterday life-changing decisions were made. Today it's back to
work as usual. Oliver is busy recovering, Cordelia is back in the
office. And the internet is going crazy with pix of Oliver sans shirt,
(which is probably well worth seeing - what a shame this isn't a
graphic novel.)  Cordelia organises the public spin of the event,
and doesn't forget to have all the pictures of the radial swarm
sent to the university. The professor had been delighted to see
the swarm in action, the Escobaran students were terrified -
living on Sergyar is hardly the quiet retirement it was presented
to be, except possibly by comparison with Barrayaran politics.

Plas-Dan is smugly reminding her that she has to accept their bid.
Cordelia doesn't like them but needs them. Dammit. And they
know it. Double dammit.

Interruption - Ghem Soren wants to beg for asylum. A bit unexpected.
The consul isn't happy with the fuss about the garden. Interesting -
in the good old days it would have been useful political ammunition
against the Barrayarans, to embarrass them or force some
consessions, but now it's just a nuisance disturbing good relations.
Yes, times have changed. A lot.

Ghem Soren doesn't want to go home in disgrace, his career ruined.
And now we see that times really have changed, and not just on
Barrayar: Ghem Soren's family .... run a plumbing company. So much
for the proud Ghem warrior society - they've dumped that and gone
For the money. Ghem Soren was the one clinging to traditions,
and now he's too embarrassed to go home a failure. (Is embarrassment
a good reason for an asylum claim?)

He'd tried another tradition - asked Kaya to marry him. Her answer
was very clear. It wasn't yes.

Another interruption - it's the morning for them. This one is welcome,
it's Kareen on vid - she's in orbit. With a factory. Mark found one on
Escobar (now there's a man who'd be good at Christmas shopping.)
Suddenly the day is brighter. Not bright enough to get rid of that pile
of useless concrete mixer - you can't have everything.

Kareen knows that Miles and Ekaterin are there: "Mark said
something. Not sure where he got it from - it was either Miles or
Ivan or Tante Alys." I love the way the family are so strongly linked,
despite being scattered.

Ok, the day is better. Ghem Soren can be an asylumed plumber.
Sergyar needs a lot of things, but it needs plumbers more than it needs
perfume gardens, at least for now.  It'll be easy to deal with the Cetas,
there's probably rumours that the sensory garden was a bioweapon
plot; governing Sergyar seems to mostly involve dealing with rampant
rumours. And wow do the rumours spread fast - the wilder the better.

Finally, time with Oliver. He's handed the drunken attackers over to
Fyodor Haines - who is going to be very inventive with them.  Freddie
Haines is going to get a self-defence course from the commandoes
on the base - I'm wondering if one day she'll be out in the Nexus
committing Milesian-standard mayhem in the name of Barrayar.

Oliver finally gets a chance to update Cordelia - he's told Miles
everything, and he realises what a relief it is to Cordelia, to be
freed from the burden of keeping all those secrets. And Oliver isn't
taking the promotion - he's retiring instead, in a few years.

And Cordelia had guessed what he'd do before he knew himself.
She recognised where his subconscious was pushing him.

Finally next morning the family are leaving. Miles's experience at
moving small armies comes in handy. Miles is struggling with
the idea of so many new siblings.

I love this discussion between Cordelia and Miles - they speak
as equals, and as similar sorts of people - smart observers,
survivors. It also shows a final acceptance of Aral's death (*sniffle*),
and a recognition of all the things (and people) possible because
of his death. Not saying his death was good, at all, but that they've
been strong and moved on as he would have wanted. Life
goes on - the lesson Miles learned some time ago.

Cordelia fell for Aral because of his pain, she fell for Oliver because
of his happiness. Shadows and sunshine. Ekaterin is wrangling
children and garden plans, gradually the chaos resolves itself and
they leave - hate to see them go, love the peace, the usual reaction
when loved ones leave after a visit.

Yes, it's all about love - in so many different forms.

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