“I've always thought tests are a gift. And great tests are a great gift. To fail the test is a misfortune. But to refuse the test is to refuse the gift, and something worse, more irrevocable, than misfortune.”
“The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in that future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present — they are real.”
“An honor is not diminished for being shared.”
“The good face pain. But the great? They embrace it.”
“But when he’s cut, I bleed.”
“Yes," Vorkosigan agreed, "I could take over the universe with this army if I could ever get all their weapons pointed in the same direction.”
“It was hell to be so tired, and still care.”
“He wanted to know what I saw in you. I told him..." he paused again, and then continued almost shyly, "that you poured out honor like a fountain, all around you."
"That's weird. I don't feel full of honor, or anything else, except maybe confusion."
"Naturally not. Fountains keep nothing for themselves.”
“And this was your friend?" Cordelia raised her eyebrows. "Seems to me the only difference between your friends and your enemies is how long the stand around chatting before they shoot you.”
“They stared at her curiously, and she caught snatches of conversation in two or three languages. It wasn't hard to guess their content, and she smiled a bit primly. Youth, it appeared, was full of illusions as to how much sexual energy two people might have to spare while hiking forty or so kilometers a day, concussed, stunned, diseased, on poor food and little sleep, alternating caring for a wounded man with avoiding becoming dinner for every carnivore within range - and with a coup to plan for the end.”
“Women shouldn't be in combat," said Vorkosigan, grimly glum.
"Neither should men, in my opinion.”
“No, amusing me only, I wonder if they realize how they are used?"
"Not a bit. They think they are the emperors of creation."
"That's not how I'd describe them."
"I was thinking of animal sacrifice."
"Ah. That's closer.”
“the unknown breeds dragons in map margins”
“Leadership is mostly a power over imagination, and never more so than in combat.”
“He said that permitting private judgments to turn my duty in the smallest matter would be just like getting a little bit pregnant -- that the consequences would very soon get beyond me.”
“Wait." He paused, and she held out a hand to him. His thick fingers engulfed her tapering ones; his skin was warm and dry, and scorched her. "Before we go pick up poor Lieutenant Illyan again..."
He took her in his arms, and they kissed, for the first time, for a long time.
"Oh," she muttered after. "Perhaps that was a mistake. It hurts so much when you stop."
"Well, let me..." his hand stroked her hair, gently, then desperately wrapped itself in a shimmering coil; they kissed again.”
“I thought you saw meaning in that sort of thing," said Vorkosigan.
"In the abstract. Most days it's just stumbling around in the dark with the rest of creation, smashing into things and wondering why it hurts.”
“It must be quite a shock to suddenly find out you're pregnant, seventeen times over—at your age, too.”
“Koudelka puzzled over this attempted readjustment of his point of view, then let it bounce harmlessly off his impermeable habits of thought.”
“A Caligula, or a Yuri Vorbarra, can rule a long time, while the best men hesitate to do what is necessary to stop him, and the worst ones take advantage.”
“I believe," she said slowly at last, "that the tormented are very close to God. I'm sorry, Sergeant." He”
“It was a curious insight into Vorkosigan that he should so automatically accept her bare word as binding; he evidently thought along the same lines himself. The”
“Barrayar is bred in my bones. I cannot shake it, no matter how far I travel. This struggle, God knows, has no honor in it. But exile, for no other motive than ease—that would be to give up all hope of honor. The last defeat, with no seed of future victory in it.”
“Are you glad, or sorry?” “About children?” She glanced at his face. He seemed to have no awareness of having hit a sore point dead on. “They just haven’t come my way, I guess.” The”
“So in the physics of the heart, distance is relative; it's time that's absolute.”
“I am surprised.” She scanned the script rapidly. “Th-this is a p-pack of lies!” He looked worried. “Have you always had that little speech impediment?” he asked cautiously. “N-no, it’s my souvenir from the Escobaran psych service, and the l-late war. Who came up with this g-garbage, anyway?” The line that particularly caught her eye referred to “the cowardly Admiral Vorkosigan and his pack of ruffians.” “Vorkosigan’s the bravest man I ever met.” Gould took her firmly by the upper arm, and guided her to the shuttle hatch. “We have to go, now, to make the holovid timing. Maybe you can just leave that line out, all right? Now, smile.”
“If only the president hadn’t tried to dodge, he would have been all right. As it was, the toe of her jackboot caught him in the groin with perfect unplanned accuracy. His mouth made a soundless “O” and he went down behind the rostrum. Cordelia,”
“You will,” said Vorkosigan wearily, “sit in that fortified palace that half the engineers are going to be tied up constructing, and party in it, and let your men do your dying for you, until you’ve bought your ground by the sheer weight of the corpses piled on it, because that’s the kind of soldiering your mentor has taught you. And then send bulletins home about your great victory. Maybe you can have the casualty lists declared top secret.” “Aral, careful,” warned Vorhalas, shocked.”
“Nevertheless this was life. I could wish that life was fair and that things were different, but this is what it was and I was determined to make the best of it. I needed to move forward, and fight the battles put in front of me and cherish the friendships that surrounded me.”
“The thing was, if I had found a way to escape- even for just a little while- I knew the pain would be there waiting for me when I got back.”
“Its really most remarkable how the human race is so seldom satisfied with what its got. Give a man the world and he's pining for the moon.”
“It’s like watching a caged animal try to escape. I can tell she wants to, she wants to let me in so bad, but she really doesn’t know how.”
“did she love you?
only as an extension of herself.
what else can love be?
the common sense to care very much for something very good. it needn't be related by bloodline. it can be a red beachball or a piece of buttered toast.”
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