[LMB] SP: WG snippet translation (1/2) -- LONG

Vlatka vlatka55 at SoftHome.net
Fri, 20 Dec 2002 18:21:31 +0100

OOOPS, I sent the original from the non-registered address, so this is a 
repost. Anyway...

Here we go...

This is the first part of the WG snippet translated from the Algoritam 
website (pages 5-12 in the .pdf file).


The voice coming out of Armsman Roic's wrist comm belonged to the guard at 
the main entrance who laconically reported: "They're in. Main entrance locked."

"All right", responded Roic. "Lowering house shields." He turned towards an 
unobtrusive security control board, located next to the carved double door 
at the entrance to the main hall of the Vorkosigan House, pressed his palm 
to the pad and entered a brief code. Weak buzzing made by the energy 
shields guarding the big house went silent.

Roic was staring nervously through one of the tall narrow windows on the 
each side of the door, ready to open the door when the milord's groundcar 
stops under the portico. Equally nervous was the gaze he swept over his 
athletically built body, checking his House livery: half-calf length boots, 
polished like a mirror, trousers with fold sharp as a knife, shining silver 
embroidery, flawless brown fabric.

His face flushed when he shamefully remembered one less expected arrival to 
this same hall--also by Lord Vorkosigan accompanied by his respected 
guests--and the blasphemous scene they found there, which included 
Escobaran bounty hunters and slimy bug butter debacle. It was a moment when 
Roic looked like a fool, almost naked, except for an abundant coating of 
sticky slime. He could still hear reproachful, ironic voice of Lord 
Vorkosigan piercing his eardrums like a razor --_Arsman Roic, you appear to 
be out of uniform. _

_He thinks I am an idiot._ Worse, the Escobaran invasion breached the House 
security and, even though technically not on duty--_he was asleep_, damn 
it--he was in the house, and because of this on call in an emergency. 
Milord dismissed him from the scene just with a resigned _Roic... go get a 
bath,_ which sounded much sterner and reproachful than a shouted dressing-down.

Roic checked his livery one more time.

Long shiny groundcar stopped next to the paved path with hiss. The front 
canopy opened over a driver, a frighteningly competent Armsman Pym. He 
released the back canopy, and hurried around the vehicle in order to help 
milord and his company. The senior Armsman, in passing, managed to spare 
glance towards the narrow window, his gaze coldly passing over Roic and 
checking the hall behind his back, as to make sure that no unexpected 
dramas were waiting there. These were the Very Important Galactic Wedding 
Guests, Pym had gotten into Roic's head. Roic could conclude that by 
himself from the fact that milord went personally to the shuttleport to 
greet them--but then again Pym was there for the bug butter disaster. Since 
that day his instructions to Roic consisted of monosyllabic words, and no 
circumstances were ever left to chance.

A short figure in a well tailored grey tunic and trousers jumped out of the 
vehicle first: that was Lord Vorkosigan showing the house with sweeping arm 
movements, never stopping talking over his shoulder and proudly smiling in 
welcome. When the carved doors opened wide in one sweep, letting in the 
cold winter night Vorbarr Sultana air and few shiny snow crystals, Roic 
stood to attention and began silently matching people with the security 
list he received. The tall woman was holding a baby wrapped in a blanket; 
the slim and smiling guy bustled around her. These must be the 
Bothari-Jeseks. Madame Elena Bothari-Jesek was the daughter of the late and 
legendary Armsman Bothari; her right of access to the House Vorksigan, 
where she grew up together with the milord was undisputable, Pym made sure 
that Roic understood. He almost did not need the silver discs of jump pilot 
neural circuitry at the forehead and the temples in order to identify the 
shorter and middle aged man as the Betan jump pilot, Arde Mayhew--should a 
jump pilot look like he had a jump sickness? Milord's mother, the Countess 
Vorkosigan, was Betan as well; and the shuddering blinking pilot was one of 
the least frightening people Roic had ever seen. That, on the other hand, 
could not apply to the last guest. Roic's eyes opened wide.

The huge figure started to pull out of the ground car, got up... and 
continued getting up. Pym, almost as tall as Roic, couldn't even reach to 
the creature's shoulder. It fluttered the folds of a military cut 
grey-white coat and threw back its head. The light from above caught its 
face and reflected of were those _canines,_ folded over the protruding 
lower jaw?

The process of elimination led to the conclusion that the creature was one 
marked on the security lists as _Sgt. Taura._ Pym let Roic know that this 
was one of the milord's war comrades and at that--he should not be fooled 
by the rank-- the one of some _special_, although somewhat mysterious 
importance, as mysterious as was everything connected to the former Lord 
Miles Vorkosigan's service in the Imperial Security. Pym himself was also a 
former ImpSec man. Roic wasn't, a fact he was reminded of, oh, on the 
average, about three times a day.

On Lord Vorkosigan insistence the entire company spilled over into the main 
hall, shaking off snow covered garments, laughing and talking. The thick 
coat flew off these tall shoulders as a fluttering sail, and its owner 
turned deftly on one leg and folded the coat to turn it in. Roic flinched 
backwards in order to avoid being caught by the heavy mahogany colored 
braid that flew by him, so he swung forwards and found himself face in 
nose in looking straight in to the most unexpected cleavage framed by a 
pink silk in a deep [V shaped cut of the neckline]. Roic lifted his eyes. 
The protruding jaw was smooth and beardless. Strange eyes the color of pale 
amber, their irises framed by a thin line, lowered towards him. In those 
eyes, he could find, just as he was afraid of, a certain dose of merriment. 
_Her_ canine framed smile was distinctly unnerving.

Pym was efficiently coordinating the staff and luggage. Lord Vorkosigan's 
voice startled Roic and made him focus again. "Roic, have the Count and 
Countess returned from their dinner appointment?"

"About twenty minutes ago, my lord. They retired to their apartment to change."

Lord Vorkosigan addressed the women with the child that was attracting the 
cooing maids. "My parents would skin me alive if I didn't take _you_ 
straight to them. Come. Mother can hardly wait to meet her namesake. I 
predict that little Cordelia will have the Countess Cordelia wrapped around 
her chubby little fingers in about three and a half seconds. Max."

He turned and started climbed up the big curved staircase, leading the 
Bothari-Jeseks and shouting over his shoulder: "Roic, show Arde and Taura 
to their assigned rooms and make sure that they get everything they need. 
When all of you are freshened up or whatnot, we'll meet in the library. 
Refreshments will be served there."

So, this was Sergeant Taura. One could find such in the galaxy, and even 
milord's mother used to be a famous Betan military officer. _But this is 
one bloody enormous mutant officer,_ was the thought strongly suppressed by 
Roic. Such backcountry prejudice did not belong in _this_ household. Even 
though she was clearly bioengineered; there was no doubt about that. He 
composed himself enough to say: "May I take your bag, er... sergeant?"

"Oh... all right." With a suspicious glance she gave the bag that was slung 
over her shoulder over to him. Pink polish on her nails did not quite 
succeed in masking their claw-like appearance, as hard and efficient as 
leopards'. The weight of the bag almost dislocated Roic's shoulder. He 
managed to smile desperately, than started to dragging the bag up the 
stairs with both hands.

He took care of the tired pilot first. Sergeant Taura's second floor guest 
room was a modernized one, equipped with a private bath, and located just 
around the corner from the milord's own private apartment. She lifted her 
arm, drew her claw
over the ceiling, and smiled, clearly approving of tree meters head room in 
House Vorkosigan.

"So," she said, turning towards him, "does the Barrayaran custom consider 
winter weddings to be especially favorable?"

"They are not as frequent as the summer ones. I think this one is taking 
place now because the milord's fianci is on break between two semesters at 
the university."

Her thick bows rose in surprise: "Is she a student?"

"Yes, ma'am." He assumed that female sergeants should be addressed as 
_ma'am._ Pym would know.

"I wasn't aware that she is such a _young_ lady."

"No, ma'am. Madame Vorsoisson is a widow- she has a son, Nikki, who is nine 
years old. He is crazy about jump ships. Would you know--does that pilot of 
yours like children?" Mayhew was sure to work like a magnet on Nikki.

"Well, now... I don't know. I don't think that Arde knows himself. In a 
free mercenary fleet, he hardly ever meets any children."

So, this meant he would have to watch out that little Nikki didn't meet 
with a painful refusal. In the circumstances, milord and the future milady 
may not be able to give him all the customary attention.

Sergeant Taura walked around the room noting its comfortable furniture with 
approval--at least Roic hoped so, then threw a glance through the window at 
the back garden, covered with snow glittering under security lights. "Well, 
I suppose it makes sense that he had to marry one of his Vor women." Her 
nose rippled. "So are these Vor a social class, a military caste, or what? 
I could never get that form Miles's tales. To her him talking about theme, 
one would think it is matter of religion. Or at least _his_ religion."

Roic blinked, confused. "Well, no. And yes. All of that. The Vor 
are...well, Vor."

"So now, in modernized Barraryar, don't the other classes have any 
complaints against the hereditary aristocracy?"

"But they are _our_ Vor."

"Says the Barrayaran. Hm. So, _you_ are allowed to criticize them, but God 
help any outsider who would dare to do so?"

"Yes," he said, feeling relieved that she got the meaning despite his 
tongue stumbling over the actual words.

"A family matter. _I understand._" Her wide smile turned to frown that was, 
in fact, much less frightening--the canines were not so visible. The 
fingers clutching the curtains unconsciously clawed through the expensive 
fabric; flinching, she released her hand and put it behind her back. Her 
voice went soft: "So, she is Vor, all that is just great. But does she 
_love_ him?"