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datatime: 2022-10-05 16:12:11 Author:SJEmGwzk

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.

Farr seemed to sense her wariness; he flushed slightly. Excuse me. I seem to have found myself in a rather painful domestic situation, and I don't know why. It took me by surprise. But... but you see... about six weeks ago, Marie told me she was going out of town on a field project for her department, and would be back in about five weeks, but she wasn't sure exactly. She didn't give me any comconsole codes to reach her, she said she'd probably not be able to call, and not to worry.

Your aunt was not sure if things were working out happily for you. Do you dislike Komarr?

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.

And yours is? She blinked that thought away.

Maybe Tien would stay with this Komarran post. How could he ever garner the rewards of promotion and seniority, the status he hungered for, if he never stuck with one thing long enough to earn any? His first few postings, she'd had to agree with him, had been mediocre; she'd had no problem understanding why he wanted to move on quickly. A young couple's early life was supposed to be unsettled, as they stretched into their new lives as adults. Well, as she'd stretched into hers; she'd been only twenty, after all. Tien had been thirty when they'd married...

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.

When she looked up, she noticed a good-looking young Komarran man who had stopped by the outer gate to the restaurant's patio and was staring at her. After a moment, he entered and approached their table. Madame Vorsoisson? he said uncertainly.

He does seem to have been rather, ah, restless. He raised his eyebrows at her, inviting... what?

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.

Your aunt was not sure if things were working out happily for you. Do you dislike Komarr?

Your aunt was not sure if things were working out happily for you. Do you dislike Komarr?

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.

Your aunt was not sure if things were working out happily for you. Do you dislike Komarr?

Maybe Tien would stay with this Komarran post. How could he ever garner the rewards of promotion and seniority, the status he hungered for, if he never stuck with one thing long enough to earn any? His first few postings, she'd had to agree with him, had been mediocre; she'd had no problem understanding why he wanted to move on quickly. A young couple's early life was supposed to be unsettled, as they stretched into their new lives as adults. Well, as she'd stretched into hers; she'd been only twenty, after all. Tien had been thirty when they'd married...

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.

No, not really. Ekaterin had met the young Komarran woman perhaps three times, at carefully choreographed Project events. She had usually been too conscious of herself as a representative of Tien, of the need to cordially meet and greet everyone, to get into any very intimate conversations. Had she intended to talk to me?

When she looked up, she noticed a good-looking young Komarran man who had stopped by the outer gate to the restaurant's patio and was staring at her. After a moment, he entered and approached their table. Madame Vorsoisson? he said uncertainly.

Ah. It's good you're making friends.

Yes. Anyway, time went by, and time went by, and I didn't hear... I finally called her department head, Administrator Soudha. He was vague. In fact, I think he gave me a run-around. So I went down there in person and asked around.

He does seem to have been rather, ah, restless. He raised his eyebrows at her, inviting... what?

Yes. Anyway, time went by, and time went by, and I didn't hear... I finally called her department head, Administrator Soudha. He was vague. In fact, I think he gave me a run-around. So I went down there in person and asked around.

Oh, I like Komarr just fine, she said quickly. I admit, I've been a little homesick, but that's not the same thing as not liking being here.

How was she to respond to that? Defend a choice she did not herself agree with? Admit she thought Tien wrong? If she once began complaining about Tien, she wasn't sure she could stop before her most fearful worries began to pour out. And people complaining about their spouses always looked and sounded so ugly. Well, connections for me, at least. Not that she had been able to muster the energy to pursue them as assiduously as Tien thought she ought.

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