“The will to be stupid is a very powerful force, but there are always alternatives.”
“Miles clutched Quinn's elbow. "Don't Panic."
"I'm not panicking," Quinn observed, "I'm watching you panic. It's more entertaining .”
“No, no, never send interim reports," said Miles. "Only final ones. Interim reports tend to elicit orders. Which you must then either obey, or spend valuable time and energy evading, which you could be using to solve the problem.”
“The man who assumes everything is a lie is at least as mistaken as the one who assumes everything is true.”
“How fortunate that science hasn't cracked human immortality. It's a great blessing that we can outlive old wars. And old warriors.”
“I had to discover and teach myself all kinds of tricks to get people to respond to the inside of me, and not the outside.”
“. . . people do get hypnotized by the hard choices. And stop looking for alternatives.”
“The will to be stupid is a very powerful force—”
“Some attitudes couldn't be changed, they just had to be outlived”
“I know my limits." "No one knows their limits till they've gone beyond them.”
“You make yourself sound like a Venn diagram. ‘The set of all sets which are members of themselves’ or something.” “I feel like it,” he admitted. “But I’ve got to keep track somehow.” “What contains Lord Vorkosigan?” she asked curiously. “When you look in the mirror when you step out of the shower, what looks back? Do you say to yourself, Hi, Lord Vorkosigan?” I avoid looking in mirrors . . . “Miles, I guess. Just Miles.” “And what contains Miles?” His right index finger traced over the back of his immobilized left hand. “This skin.” “And that’s the last, outer perimeter?” “I guess.” “Gods,” she muttered. “I’ve fallen in love with a man who thinks he’s an onion.” Miles”
“We’re just good friends,” caroled Miles, and laughed hysterically. He lunged for the comconsole—the guards grabbed for him and missed—and, climbing across the desk, snarled into the vid, “Stay away from her, you little shit! She’s mine, you hear, mine, mine, all mine—Quinn, Quinn, beautiful Quinn, Quinn of the evening, beautiful Quinn,” he sang off-key as the guards dragged him back. Blows ran him down into silence. “I thought you had him on fast-penta,” said the clone to Galen. “We do.” “It doesn’t sound like fast-penta!”
“How does a kidnapping grab you?” She giggled inexplicably. “Absolutely not!” “Oh, you’re going to make an exception in this case,” she predicted with confidence, even verve. “Elli . . .” he growled in warning. She controlled her humor with a deep breath, though her eyes remained alight. “But Miles—our mysterious and wealthy strangers want to hire Admiral Naismith to kidnap Lord Miles Vorkosigan from the Barrayaran embassy.” *”
“The door was locked. The control had been buggered. Miles ripped it apart, shorted it out, and heaved the door open manually, nearly snapping his splayed fingers. She lay in a tumbled heap, too pale and still. Miles fell to his knees beside her. Throat pulse, throat pulse—there was one. Her skin was warm, her chest rose and fell. Stunned, only stunned. Only stunned. He looked up at a blurred Ivan hovering anxiously, swallowed, and steadied his ragged breathing. It had, after all, been the most logical possibility.”
“Mon Dieu, it’s the little admiral,” she said cheerfully. “What are you doing here?” Ignoring the anguished scream inside his skull, Miles schooled his features to an—exquisitely—polite blankness. “I beg your pardon, ma’am?” “Admiral Naismith. Or . . .” She took in his uniform, her eyes lighting with interest. “Is this some mercenary covert operation, Admiral?” A beat passed. Miles allowed his eyes to widen, his hand to stray to his weaponless trouser seam and twitch there. “My God,” he choked in a voice of horror—not hard, that—“Do you mean to tell me Admiral Naismith has been seen on Earth?” Her chin lifted, and her lips parted in a little half-smile of disbelief. “In your mirror, surely.” Were his eyebrows visibly singed? His right hand was still bandaged. Not a burn, ma’am, Miles thought wildly. I cut it shaving . . . Miles came to full attention, snapping his polished boot heels together, and favored her with a small, formal bow. In a proud, hard, and thickly Barrayaran-accented voice, he said, “You are mistaken, ma’am. I am Lord Miles Vorkosigan of Barrayar. Lieutenant in the Imperial Service. Not that I don’t aspire to the rank you name, but it’s a trifle premature.” She smiled sweetly. “Are you entirely recovered from your burns, sir?” Miles’s eyebrows rose—no, he shouldn’t have drawn attention to them—“Naismith’s been burned? You have seen him? When? Can we speak of this? The man you name is of the greatest interest to Barrayaran Imperial Security.” She”
“He let his head rest against the crisp cloth of her uniform jacket a moment longer. She shifted, her arms reaching toward him. Was she about to hug him? If she did, Miles decided, he was going to grab her and kiss her right there. And then see what happened— Behind him, Galeni’s office doors swished open. Elli and he both flinched away from each other, Elli coming to parade rest with a toss of her short dark curls, Miles just standing and cursing inwardly at the interruption. He”
“People do get hypnotized by the hard choices and stop looking at the alternatives. The will to be stupid is a powerful force”
“I make no apology for this digression, especially as this is an introduction which all young people and those who never like to think (and it is a bad habit) will naturally skip. It seems to me very desirable that we should sometimes try to understand the limitations of our nature, so that we may not be carried away by the pride of knowledge. Man's cleverness is almost indefinite, and stretches like an elastic band, but human nature is like an iron ring. You can go round and round it, you can polish it highly, you can even flatten it a little on one side, whereby you will make it bulge out the other, but you will never, while the world endures and man is man, increase its total circumference. It is the one fixed unchangeable thing -- fixed as the stars, more enduring than the mountains, as unalterable as the way of the Eternal. Human nature is God's kaleidoscope, and the little bits of coloured glass which represent our passions, hopes, fears, joys, aspirations towards good and evil and what not, are turned in His mighty hand as surely and as certainly as it turns the stars, and continually fall into new patterns and combinations. But the composing elements remain the same, nor will there be one more bit of coloured glass nor one less for ever and ever.”
“The more honest I try to be, the more the right words recede into the distance.”
Beside a living, breathing human
being who cares for me. I can see
it in the cool lagoons of his eyes,
hear it in the timbre of his voice
when he speaks my name.
Where the warmth of his skin
tempers the February cold and
the thinnest beam of his inner
light overcomes winter's pall.
He is a candle in the wilderness.
Where the omnipresent specter
of death takes flight, awed
by the power of the two of us,
hearts beating in unison, as we
stumble through the darkness
toward one another.”
“Rhymes make me feel better when I'm down...When you say the words and the sounds match, it feels like everything in the world is in its place and whatever you say is powerful and true.”
“Nicholas is gay, isn't he," she says, her voice dripping with dejection.
I shrug, again remembering his proposition from last night. "Not necessarily. The jury's still out. There's hope for a Christmas wedding yet," I tell her.”
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