There was a pain beyond measure in Miles’ chest. The chamber careened around him. Wait, he thought, outraged. I haven’t –
finished. Miles spun round wildly, weapon pointing first at the window, then the fire in the hearth, and finally ending up leveled at his grandfather, sitting in his armchair, carefully sharpening his cavalry sword.
“Granda?” he said, incredulously.
“Miles,” his grandfather acknowledged him. “I see you found yourself a proper soldier’s death,” he said approvingly. “It’s more than I ever managed.”
When Piotr had first passed over he’d been welcomed by his wife, daughter, and eldest son, other family and friends lost to Yuri's Massacre, and hundreds of his men eager to see their General. Even more had wanted to greet Miles, but Piotr had warned them off. He didn’t think his grandson would appreciate the stark reminder of his failures any more than Piotr had.
The surprise party wouldn't have gone over well, in any case. Most men accepted their own death, after the fact, with a certain tranquility; Miles seemed determined to argue his way out of it.
“No, you don’t understand,” Miles said. “Mark’s got my Dendarii cornered in a Bharaputran compound like rats in a trap.”
Piotr didn’t hide the disgust he felt for ‘Mark Pierre Vorkosigan’. He still regretted not gifting his name to Miles before he died, but that abomination didn’t deserve any one of the three names Miles had bestowed upon him like a witch at a name-day celebration.
“There’s got to be some way,” Miles said, pacing. “Some way that I can see what’s going on; help Quinn get them out of there.”
“There’s nothing you can do,” Piotr assured him. Finished with the sword, he summoned a disruptor out of the air and began field-stripping it.
Miles stopped pacing and turned to stare at him. “You’re lying,” he accused Piotr. “There is a way.”
“I never said there wasn’t a way,” Piotr corrected him. “I said you couldn’t do it.”
It worked, as it always had. Miles jerked his chin up proudly and narrowed his eyes. A command helmet appeared in his hands and he eagerly pulled it over his head.
It had taken Piotr over a year to master that trick. He smiled proudly at his grandson. Miles didn’t see it, his senses already engaged in the battle.
“Damn it, Quinn, you can’t just dump Phillipi like that,” Miles muttered. “Norwood, you know better. Alright, fine, but get them moving, Quinn, the Bharaputrans are closing in. Down through the tunnels, Mark. Go, go, go!” He was gesturing wildly as he faded from Piotr’s study.