tel: Copper maple branch sculpture (Default)
[personal profile] tel posting in [community profile] vorkosigan
Naturally, major spoiler warnings. This is a transcription from poor audio, and is perhaps 95% there. I don't think I missed anything critically important.

Tej was conscious of the customer from the moment he walked in the door, ten minutes before closing. When she'd started this job two months ago, in hopes of stretching her [inaudible] dwindling resources, she'd been hyper-conscious of all the customers who entered the shop. A job that exposed her directly and continuously to the public was not a [inaudible] choice, she realized almost at once, but it'd been the entry level position she could get with the limited fake references she could [inaudible].A promotion to the back office was [inaudible phrase]. It was being slow in opening up, though, and she wondered if the boss was stringing her along. In the meanwhile, her jagged nerves had slowly grown habituated, til now.

He was tall for a local, quite good-looking too, but in a way that fell short of sculpted or gene-engineered perfection. His skin was Komarran-pale, set off by a long-sleeved, dark blue knit shirt, gray multi-pocketed sleeveless jacket worn open over indeterminable blue trousers. Shoes very shiny and new in a conservative masculine style that seemed familiar but annoyingly eluded recognition. He carried a large bag and despite the time [inaudible] around looking at the displays. Her co-clerk, Dot, took the next customer. She finished with her own, and the fellow glanced up and stepped to the counter, smiling.

"Hi there!" [inaudible phrase] dragged his gaze from her chest to her face. "[Nanja]?"

It didn't take that long to scan her name tag. /Slow reader, are you? Why yes, I get a lot of those.../ Tej returned the smile with the minimum of professional courtesy due a customer who hadn't actually done anything really obnoxious yet. He hoisted his bag to the counter and withdrew a large, asymmetrical, and astonishingly ugly ceramic vase. She guessed the design was supposed to be abstract, but it was more as if a party of eye-searing polka dots had all gotten falling-down drunk.

"I would like this package shipped to Miles Vorkosigan, Vorkosigan House, [Vorbarr Sultana?]."

She almost asked 'what Dome?', but the unfamiliar accent clicked in before she could make that mistake. The man was not Komarran at all, but a Barrayaran. They didn't get many Barrayarans in this quiet, low-rent neighborhood. Even a generation after the Conquest, conquerors tended to cluster in their own enclaves, or in central areas devoted to the planetary government and offworld businesses, or out near the civilian or military shuttleports.

"Is there a street address? Scanner code?"

"No, just use the scanner code for the planet and city. Once it gets that far it'll find him."

Surely it would cost this man far more to ship this... object to a planet five wormhole jumps away than it was worth. She wondered if she was obliged to point this out. "Regular or premium service? There's a stiff price difference, but I have to tell you, express won't really get there much faster." It all went on the same jump-ship, after all.

"Is it more likely to arrive intact with premium?"

"No, sir, it will be packed just the same. There are regulations for anything that goes by jumpship."

"Right-o, regular it is."

"Extra insurance?" she said doubtfully. "There's a base coverage that comes with the service." She named the amount and he allowed as it would do. It was, in truth, considerably less than the shipping charges.

"You pack it yourself? Can I watch?" He glanced at the digital hour display over the door. The task would run her past closing time, but customers were fussy about breakables. She sighed and turned to the [form?]. He stood up on tip-toe and watched over the counter as she carefully positioned the vase. A glimpse of its underside revealed a sale tag with four markdowns. She closed the door and turned on the machine. A brief hiss, a moment of watching the indicator lights blink hypnotically, and the door popped back open, releasing a pungent whiff that stunned her sense of smell and masked every other scent in the shop. She bent to remove the neat block of flexifoam. It was an aesthetic improvement.

/Ivan Vorpatril/, read the name on his credit chit, also with a Vorbarr Sultana home address. Not just a Barrayaran, then, but one of those Vor people, the conquerors' arrogant and privileged class. Even her father had been wary of -- she cut the thought short.

"Do you wish to include a note?"

"Nah, I think it'll be self-explanatory. His wife's a gardener, y'see. She's always looking for something to stick her poisonous plants in." He watched her slide the foam block into its outer container and affixed the label, adding after a moment, "I'm new in town. Yourself?"

"I've been here a while," she said [inaudible].

"Really! I could do with a native guide." Dot closed up the scanners and turned off the lights as a broad hint to the laggard customer. And, bless her, lingered by the door to see Tej safely free of the shop and him. Tej gestured him out ahead of her and the door locked behind them all.

The oldest human habitation on the surface of Komarr, Solstice Dome had a peculiar layout to Tej's eye. The [inaudible] initial installations resembled the space stations she'd grown up in, with their labyrinths of corridors. The very latest sections were laid out as separate street-linked buildings, but under vast, soaring transparent domes that mimicked the open sky the residents hoped to have someday when the atmospheric terraforming was complete. Middling areas, like this one, fell between, with much less technologically ambitious domes. You could still get glimpses of an outside where no-one ventured without a breath mask.

The passage that [inaudible inaudible] confronted was more street than corridor, anyway, too broad for the persistent customer to easily obstruct her.

"Off work now, huh?" he inquired ingenuously, with a boyish smile. He seemed a little old for boyish smiles.

"Yes, I'm driving home." Tej wished she could go home - really go home. But how much of what she'd known as home still existed? She couldn't magically transport [inaudible section]. Tension headache and heartache, too exhausting to bear.

"Wish I could go home," said the man, Vorpatril having unconsciously followed her thought. "But I'm stuck here for a while. Say, can I buy you a drink?"

"No, thank you."



He waggled his eyebrows cheerfully. "Ice cream? All women like ice cream, in my experience."


"Walk you home? Or in the park? Or somewhere... I think they have rowboats to rent in that lake park I passed. That'd make a nice place to talk."

"Certainly not." She could invent a waiting spouse or lover. [inaudible phrase]. "Let's go to the bubble-stop car. Uh, the bubble-car stop."

Dot gave her a surprised look, knowing perfectly well that Tej, [inaudible phrase], always walked home to her nearby flat, but she immediately turned away and [led off]. Vorpatril followed, not giving up. He slipped around in front, grinned some more, and tried "What about a puppy?"

Dot snorted and laughed, which didn't help. "A kitten?"

[inaudible phrase] customer politeness rules no longer applied, Tej decided. She snarled at him. "Go away! [inaudible]"

He opened his hands in apparent surrender, watching with a doleful expression as they marched past. "A pony?" As if in one last spasm of hope.

Dot looked back over her shoulder as they approached the bubble car station. Tej looked straight ahead. "I think you're crazy [inaudible]" said Dot, trudging with her up the pedestrian ramp. "I'd have taken him up on that drink in a heartbeat. Or any of the rest of it, even, though I suppose I'd have had to draw the line at the pony."

[inaudible] "You're married."

"Yes, but I'm not blind!"

"Dot, customers try to pick me up at least twice a week."

"But they aren't usually that incredibly cute. Or taller than you!"

"What's that have to do with anything?" said Tej irritatedly. "My mother was a head taller than my father, and they did fine." She clenched her jaw suddenly shut. Not so fine now.

She parted company with Dot at the platform, but did board a bubble-car. She rode to a random destination about ten minutes away, then disembarked and took another car back to a different stop on the other side of [her] neighborhood, just in case the man was still lingering out there, stalkerlike [inaudible]. She strode off crisply. Almost home, she started to relax, until she looked up and spotted Vorpatril lounging on the steps to her building. She slowed her steps to a dawdle, pretending not to have noticed him yet, raised her wristcom to her lips, and spoke a keyword. [Rish]'s voice answered at once.

"[Nanja]? You're late. I was getting worried."

"I'm fine. I'm on the outside, but I'm being followed."

[Her] voice went sharp. "Can you go roundabout and shake him off?"

"Already tried that. He got ahead of me somehow."

"Ooh. Not good."

"Especially as I never gave him my address."

[Rish sighed] "Very not good. Can you stall him for a minute and get him to follow you in the foyer?"


"I'll take care of him there. Don't panic, sweetie."

"I'm not."

She left the channel open [?? send only] so that [Rish] could follow the play, took her time closing the last two dozen meters, and drew to a wary halt at the bottom of her steps.

"Hi [Nanja]!" Vorpatril waved amiably without getting up [inaudible] lunging for her.

"How did you find this place?" she asked, not amiably.

"Would you believe dumb luck?"


"Ah. Pity." He scratched his chin in apparent thought. "We could go somewhere and talk about it. You can pick where, if you'd like."

She simulated a long hesitation while calculating the time needed for [Rish] to get downstairs. Just about... now.

"All right, let's go inside."

His brow shot up and his smile widened. "Sounds great, sure." He rose and politely waited while she pushed her remote out of her pocket and coded open the front entrance. As the sealed door hissed aside, he followed her into the small lift tube foyer. A female figure sat on the [inaudible phrase] hidden in her vest as if chilly, a voluminous patterned shawl hiding her bent head. A slender gloved hand flashed out, carrying a very business-like stunner.

"Look out!" Vorpatril cried, and, to Tej's bewilderment, lurched to try to shove her behind him. Uselessly, as it only cleared the target for [Rish]. The stun beam kneecapped him neatly, and he fell, Tej supposed, the way a tree was said to, not that she'd ever witnessed a tree do such a thing. Mostly the trees she'd seen before she'd fetched up on Komarr had lived in tubs and did not engage in such vigorous mayhem. In any case, he crashed to the tiles with a vague thrashing of upper branches and a loud "pa-lump" as his head hit.

"Oww!" he moaned hideously.

Date: 2010-11-08 02:05 am (UTC)
biichan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] biichan

Wait, what? There's going to be another? WHEN?

Date: 2010-11-08 02:09 am (UTC)
biichan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] biichan
Holy cow. I had no idea she was already working on new Vorkosigan. This is awesome.

ETA: And if it's set just after Diplomatic Immunity, that means SPOILER isn't SPOILER yet. So he might show up. I can hope. Eeeeeeeee.
Edited Date: 2010-11-08 02:10 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-09-29 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
A new Vorpatril, you mean?

Hi, biichan

Date: 2010-11-12 04:16 am (UTC)
ext_5417: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, she's writing The Ivan Book at last. All of us on the Bujold listserv are squeeing. So far it looks frigging wonderful. 8)

Date: 2010-11-08 02:25 am (UTC)
dira: Rose Tyler shines on. (Rose - Shine)
From: [personal profile] dira
Eeeeee, this is awesome! Thank you so much for transcribing it!!

Date: 2010-11-08 02:44 am (UTC)
isweedan: White jittering text "art is the weapon" on red field (Default)
From: [personal profile] isweedan
I appreciate you like crazy right now. ♥ ♥ ♥

Date: 2010-11-08 03:44 am (UTC)
theodosia21: sunflower against a blue sky (Default)
From: [personal profile] theodosia21
Oh, wow, this is awesome. Thank you so much!

And yay, Ivan finally gets his own book!

Date: 2010-11-08 06:30 am (UTC)
philomytha: girl in woods with a shaft of sunlight falling on her (Default)
From: [personal profile] philomytha
Thank you! :-)

A pony! Oh, Ivan. His pick-up started smooth, but went downhill fast... poor Tezh. Her backup was very effective, though.

Date: 2010-11-08 07:08 am (UTC)
edithmorningstar: Edith Piaf at the microphone, arms flung wide. Colorized. (Default)
From: [personal profile] edithmorningstar
Thank you so much for the transcribe! I'm getting so excited for this book.

My guess is the name's spelled Tej, from the way you're noting it.

Date: 2010-11-08 08:16 am (UTC)
feuer_flammenlos: blackberry flowers (Default)
From: [personal profile] feuer_flammenlos
A thousand thanks - I've been informed of the project A Book For Ivan (and bloody hell, it sounds good!) only recently, and since my English is shaky her readings are all but unintelligible.

*sets back to waiting*

Date: 2010-11-08 08:28 am (UTC)
shihadchick: text: "makes awesome injoke that references eight different fandoms, three different countries and also curling" (Default)
From: [personal profile] shihadchick
Thank you kindly for the transcription!

Date: 2010-11-08 12:12 pm (UTC)
archangelbeth: An anthropomorphic feline face, with feathered wing ears, and glasses, in shades of gray. (Default)
From: [personal profile] archangelbeth
Ahhh! Thank you for the transcript! *SQUEE*

Date: 2010-11-08 04:31 pm (UTC)
reginagiraffe: Stick figure of me with long wavy hair and giraffe on shirt. (Default)
From: [personal profile] reginagiraffe
Thank you for doing this!

Date: 2010-11-08 04:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for posting this!

Date: 2010-11-09 04:49 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Many happy squeeees.

Date: 2010-11-09 05:06 am (UTC)
mixofsun: (sun and clouds)
From: [personal profile] mixofsun
Thank you very much for transcribing this! An Ivan book - I'm most definitely looking forward to it. :)

Date: 2010-11-09 08:31 am (UTC)
nishatalitha: image: small black heron silhouette against sepia water and reeds (Heron  silhouette)
From: [personal profile] nishatalitha
Thank you! I am passing this onto people who will enjoy it.

Date: 2010-11-12 01:14 pm (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
Thank you for transcribing and sharing this!

Date: 2010-12-07 05:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ohhhh. Oh dear. Ivan's book? I've only been waiting years for this!! Thanks for the transcript (I floated through from Dira's) -- I had honestly thought Cryoburn would be the last. So glad to find out I'm wrong!

Date: 2011-04-25 07:20 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Best line is next to last, "before she'd [Tezh] fetched up on Komarr". So my favorite scenario of Ivan paired with a dominate Ghem is still a possibility!
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