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datatime: 2022-10-08 02:58:12 Author:GCTnAXOM

Do you, um, live with her?

I was tempted. But being a Barrayaran, an off-worlder, in a Komarran classroom might have been difficult for Nikki. You know how kids can gang up on anyone who's different, at that age. Tien thought this private school would be much better. A lot of the high Vor families in the Sector send their children there. He thought Nikki could make good connections.

The young man slumped in disappointment. I don't know. I thought you might have been friends, or at least acquaintances. I've talked to all her friends I can find.

Urn... oh? Ekaterin was not at all sure she wished to encourage this conversation.

She did think you would seize the opportunity to place Nikki in a Komarran school, for the, as she would say, cultural experience. Not that his school we saw this morning isn't very nice, of course, which I shall report back for her reassurance, I promise.

Yes. Marie Trogir. She's an engineering tech in the Waste Heat Management department. Or she was... Do you know her? I mean, has she ever talked with you?

She did think you would seize the opportunity to place Nikki in a Komarran school, for the, as she would say, cultural experience. Not that his school we saw this morning isn't very nice, of course, which I shall report back for her reassurance, I promise.

The idea of running away from a relationship and leaving no forwarding address made perfect sense to Ekaterin, but it was hardly her place to say so. Who knew what profound dissatisfactions Farr had failed to detect in his lady? I'm sorry. I know nothing about this. Tien never mentioned it.

Do you, um, live with her?

Urn... oh? Ekaterin was not at all sure she wished to encourage this conversation.

Urn... oh? Ekaterin was not at all sure she wished to encourage this conversation.

Urn... oh? Ekaterin was not at all sure she wished to encourage this conversation.

Yes, well... yes. She scraped at the last of the apple syrup on her plate.

She did think you would seize the opportunity to place Nikki in a Komarran school, for the, as she would say, cultural experience. Not that his school we saw this morning isn't very nice, of course, which I shall report back for her reassurance, I promise.

I did not have the impression that Nikki was socially ambitious. His dryness was mitigated by a slight twinkle.

He'd started every new job with a burst of enthusiasm, working hard, or at least, very long hours. Surely no one could work harder. Then the enthusiasm dwindled, and the complaints began, of too much work, too little reward, offered too slowly. Lazy coworkers, smarmy bosses. At least, so he said. That had become her secret danger signal, when Tien began offering sly sexual slander of his superiors; it meant the job was about to end, again. A new one would be found... though it seemed to take longer and longer to find a new one, these days. And his enthusiasm would flame up again, and the cycle would begin anew. But her hypersensitized ear had picked up no bad signs so far in this job, and they'd been here nearly a year already. Maybe Tien had finally found his- what had Vorkosigan called it? His passion. This was the best posting he'd ever achieved; perhaps things were finally starting to break into good fortune, for a change. If she just stuck it out long enough, it would get better, virtue would be rewarded. And... with this Vorzohn's Dystrophy thing hanging over them, Tien had good reason for impatience. His time was not unlimited.

When I finally pinned him, he said, Farr swallowed, she'd resigned abruptly six weeks ago and left. So had her engineering boss, Radovas, the one she'd said she was going on the field project with. Soudha seemed to think they'd... left together. It makes no sense.

She did think you would seize the opportunity to place Nikki in a Komarran school, for the, as she would say, cultural experience. Not that his school we saw this morning isn't very nice, of course, which I shall report back for her reassurance, I promise.

And yours is? She blinked that thought away.

Yes. Marie Trogir. She's an engineering tech in the Waste Heat Management department. Or she was... Do you know her? I mean, has she ever talked with you?

Urn... oh? Ekaterin was not at all sure she wished to encourage this conversation.

Yes. Marie Trogir. She's an engineering tech in the Waste Heat Management department. Or she was... Do you know her? I mean, has she ever talked with you?

And yours is? She blinked that thought away.

I... won't pretend that hasn't been difficult. That was true enough. Thirteen different jobs in a decade. Was this normal for a rising bureaucrat? Tien said it was a necessity, no bosses ever promoted from within or raised a former subordinate above them; you had to go around to move up. We've moved eight times. I've abandoned six gardens, so far. The last two relocations, I just didn't plant anything except in pots. And then I had to leave most of the pots, when we came here.

He'd started every new job with a burst of enthusiasm, working hard, or at least, very long hours. Surely no one could work harder. Then the enthusiasm dwindled, and the complaints began, of too much work, too little reward, offered too slowly. Lazy coworkers, smarmy bosses. At least, so he said. That had become her secret danger signal, when Tien began offering sly sexual slander of his superiors; it meant the job was about to end, again. A new one would be found... though it seemed to take longer and longer to find a new one, these days. And his enthusiasm would flame up again, and the cycle would begin anew. But her hypersensitized ear had picked up no bad signs so far in this job, and they'd been here nearly a year already. Maybe Tien had finally found his- what had Vorkosigan called it? His passion. This was the best posting he'd ever achieved; perhaps things were finally starting to break into good fortune, for a change. If she just stuck it out long enough, it would get better, virtue would be rewarded. And... with this Vorzohn's Dystrophy thing hanging over them, Tien had good reason for impatience. His time was not unlimited.

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