A short Barrayaran fanfic for the Emperor's Birthday

by Paul Ciszek

"Good afternoon, Colonel Gibbs." Miles tried his best to project a air of this-isn't-your-fault-we-just-want-to-know-what-happened. Unfortunately, the entire Impsec culture was working against him.
"Good afternoon Lord Auditor, sir. May I presume you are here to talk about the incident involving that unfortunate clerk in Ser Cappella's office?"
"Yes, in a way. I have reason to believe that the 'unfortunate clerk' was actually a Cetagandan agent. Almost certainly a telepath, as a matter of fact."
The color --what little of it there was-- drained from the accountant's face. "My god! But I hardly merit such attention... there are so many others who know, well..."
"Her original mission no doubt involved someone else entirely. Nevertheless, I have to consider the possibility that she was taking advantage of the opportunity to read your mind at the time of the, uh, incident. Can you recall what you were thinking about?"
"I was just reviewing Ser Cappella's tax records, as I explained in my report. Nothing more." Despite Miles' attempt to be reassuring, Colonel Gibbs squirmed as if he were confessing treason before the Council of Counts.
"No one is accusing you of concealing anything. I just wanted to know if your mind may have unconsciously wandered to any other subjects."
The Colonel seemed to take this as a professional insult. "Sir, as the acknowledged Komarran bastard of a Count's heir, Ser Cappella's tax situation is positively fascinating. I was thoroughly engrossed in the ingenious way that he had offset his Komarran profits with Barrayaran losses when, uh, well..."
"When the telepath's head exploded. I think I get the picture now. Thank you, Colonel. Your testimony has been an enormous help to the Imperium."

© 2003 by Paul Ciszek (pciszek at pobox dot com)

Current version by Michael Bernardi, mike@dendarii.co.uk

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Last updated: March 10th 2003