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The Color of Command

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These days, very few things irritate Gregor more than the sight of dress greens. Or rather, one particular set of dress greens. Whichever one Prime Minister Admiral Count Vorkosigan happens to be wearing.

Prime Minister retired Admiral Count Vorkosigan. Who gave up the office of Commander–in-Chief two years ago, but has yet to give up his uniform. And nobody, certainly not Emperor Gregor, would dare tell the Conqueror of Komarr he can't wear greens. If Aral Vorkosigan doesn't have that right, no one does.

Nevertheless, there are times when Gregor finds the insult almost too much to ignore. His own too-gaudy uniform feels awkward and humiliating, perfectly tailored to his body but ill-fitting to his mind. Unlike his foster-father and former Regent, he has not earned it.

Aral is sitting at Gregor's right hand now, but it is for all practical purposes the head of the table. Men look to him for orders and he gives them as he always has, only now everyone has to pretend they're suggestions to Gregor. And Gregor suppresses his annoyance and agrees, he always agrees, because he knows his Prime Minister is right.

That, he reflects, is the most irritating thing of all.