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Mission Reports

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“What’s the weather like today?” Haroche glanced toward the closed door.

Illyan’s secretary grimaced, “Cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms. A pretty good chance. He’s reading Lord Vorkosigan’s latest mission report.”

Haroche frowned at the name, “Well, even a precious little Vor lordling can’t get into too much trouble just running messages around the Nexus.”

The secretary gave a non-committal mumble.

“I suppose he’ll be busy for a while. I’ll come back later. The weather might be better then.”

The secretary watched his retreating back and muttered, carefully quietly, “I wouldn’t bet on it.”


Illyan stared at the data chip.

It lay on the desk.

He stared some more, but it didn’t feel the urge to do anything interesting.

Finally he surrendered, grabbed the chip, shoved it into the read-slot and leaned back.

The familiar Miles-ness of the report washed over him. Every word was chosen for the right effect, every phrase carefully orchestrated to show the Dendarii in a good light. Didn’t the boy realise that the Dendarii really WERE effective, that he didn’t have to add all those clever little touches, trying to show them in the best possible light? And just how necessary to Miles was the little Admiral? It was a problem that Illyan and Gregor had discussed several times lately.

Of course, it helped to be able to decode the damn thing, and translate Miles-speak into something a normal person would recognise.

He’d actually started a list, in case he dropped on the spot one day and some other poor sod had to take over. It was vital to leave a translation key for his replacement.


Interpretation guide for Dendarii field reports:

In accordance with mission objectives… = He decided to follow orders, at least for a while.

Seeking additional intel = He sent out his own spies because he didn’t trust Impsec.

A slight adjustment to mission objectives = He decided to change the whole mission.

Widening the scope of the mission parameters = Something else looked interesting so he did that too.

…due to new intel…. = He found a good excuse to do what he wanted to do.

Preemptive strike = He was feeling bored so he cleared out some bad guys for the fun of it.

To maintain my cover identity = He uses the fake identity of a hyperactive egomaniac to mask his real identity as a hyperactive egomaniac.

…conditions on the ground were not exactly as predicted… = In other words, normal for a mission.

…under heavy fire….= Again, normal conditions during a mission.

…forced to improvise… = He did something brilliant, dangerous and probably illegal on any civilised planet.

Spirited resistance = If Them, they threw everything in the planetary arsenal at the Dendarii. If Us, the Dendarii went through them like a hot knife through butter.

Modified weaponry =Just remind him again that imploder lances are not indoor weapons.

Maintaining fleet order and discipline = Using force of personality to charm the fleet into doing just about anything.

…placed in a secure location… = Put them in the brig. (Usually applies to anyone who outranks him)

Neutralised hostile personnel = Killed them all. Or recruited them all. Or framed them for assorted crimes and delivered them to local police. Or invited them home for tea with Gregor. Or all of the above. (Unless hostile personnel means anyone who outranks him, in which case see above.)

Minor inconvenience = Anything from a bumpy shuttle landing to three months in a body cast.

In accordance with the highest ideals of the service = He’s just done something breathtakingly insane but he thinks he had a really good reason.

A positive result = He had fun doing this. Oh, and did most of what I actually wanted, probably by accident.

Successful conclusion of the mission = He did everything I wanted, and all the extra things he thinks I would have wanted him to do if I’d thought of it.

An expected level of losses = A five-figure replacement bill.

Slightly higher than predicted = Seven figures maybe.

Costly exercise = This might need something extra in the Impsec budget to cover it.

Reporting in person = Delaying the report as long as possible while he tries to think up a positive spin.


Illyan leaned back, took a deep breath, and then smiled grimly as he picked up a stylus and started to correct the report in front of him. Time to give Lord Vorkosigan some homework. By the time the boy got back to Barrayar this report might be in an acceptable state.