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forwardmomentum ([personal profile] forwardmomentum) wrote2015-08-23 02:31 pm

[community profile] thisavrou APP

Player Name: Madi
Are you 16 or older: ye
Contact: [ profile] runawayballista
Current Characters: nah
Tag: miles vorkosigan

Name: Lord Lieutenant Miles Naismith Vorkosigan
Canon: The Vorkosigan Saga
Canon Point: After Brothers in Arms
Age: 25

History: OH BOY ARE YOU READY FOR THIS ONE. I’m sorry in advance about how long this is a lot of complicated shit happens to Miles

Brief overview of relevant setting shit: wormhole jumping technology exists, humans have been settling other planets all over the place. A Russian wormhole survey expedition discovered the planet that would be Barrayar and began terraforming, but shortly after the would-be colonists jumped over, the wormhole unexpectedly collapsed, leaving them stranded. They had no choice but to settle the half-terraformed planet, and as time went on and their resources were drained, they lost the advanced technology that had brought them here. Barrayar was stranded for about six hundred years, a period Barrayarans refer to as the Time of Isolation, and in that time Barrayar wound up reverting to a feudal society with a ruling military caste. The Time of Isolation came to an end when a new jump to Barrayar was discovered, and Barrayar went from horseback to spaceflight in a single generation. Such a rapid change shook up their culture, their entire way of being, and trying to adapt -- or deciding whether or not to -- to the influx of new ideas within the context of their own culture turned their society a bit schizoid. It wasn’t helped by the fact that the Cetagandan Empire, the largest planetary empire in the Galactic Nexus, staged a full-scale invasion of Barrayar only twenty years after they were rediscovered. Their war lasted another twenty years, a war of attrition won by the Barrayarans out of sheer force of will and extensive guerilla tactics. As a result of their peculiar history, Barrayarans are regarded by the rest of the galaxy as both tenacious and backwards, even savage.

Miles was born to Count Aral Vorkosigan -- one of the Vor, the ruling military caste -- and Cordelia Naismith, who was not Barrayaran but rather a survey astrocartographer from egalitarian Beta Colony, technologically advanced even by Nexus standards. This mixed parentage gave Miles a curious insight of dual perspective.

Due to an assassination attempt on his parents while Cordelia was pregnant with him, Miles’ in utero development was severely interrupted, and it nearly terminated Cordelia’s pregnancy altogether. But thanks to a series of experimental treatments, Miles survived to infancy and was carried to term in a uterine replicator -- although not without leaving Miles significantly disabled. Due to stunted fetal growth and extraordinarily brittle bones, Miles stands at only 4’9, with a head that looks to be too large for his body and a wizened face that makes it difficult to discern his actual age. Miles spent the first four years of his life in traction, unable to walk, and compensated by learning to become wildly charming and perceptive, and he talks almost as fast as he thinks.

When he was seventeen, he failed out of the Imperial Service Academy due to his physical disabilities, despite his best efforts. While on an off-planet trip with his bodyguard Bothari and his daughter, Miles’ attempts to help a nearly obsolete jump pilot and a down-on-his-luck Barrayaran deserter lands them a cargo transport job smuggling weapons past a blockade where two planetary governments are in all-out war with each other, one side having hired a mercenary fleet to aid them. Their attempts to get past the blockade did not go especially well, and in a series of quickly snowballing events spurred on by Miles’ spectacular bullshitting skill, he wound up accidentally acquiring an entire mercenary fleet using the alias of Admiral Naismith, powered all the while by a particularly intense manic episode. Despite the sudden and violent death of Bothari and a continued string of challenges, Miles not only managed to somehow completely incorporate the rest of the fleet into his own -- the Dendarii Free Mercenary Fleet -- but also turned the tables of the war completely. Upon his decidedly tumultuous return home, Miles was admitted into the Imperial Service by way of the Imperial Security division, and due to a Barrayaran legal technicality about private armies, Miles narrowly escaped a treason charge and the Dendarii became a covert asset to Barrayar via Miles’ Admiral Naismith persona.

Shortly after graduating from the Imperial Service Academy, he wound up rescuing the escaped and then captive Emperor Gregor in order to avoid becoming the next Emperor of Barrayar, as he is next in the line of succession. He manages to prevent a Fourth Cetagandan War (yes, Cetaganda went to war with Barrayar two more times and lost every time, there’s a lot of bad blood between them) from taking place, and upon his return to Barrayar he is promoted to lieutenant. Not long after, Miles was sent on a diplomatic mission to Cetaganda with his cousin Ivan and got immediately wrapped up in a framing plot to spark yet another war between Barrayar and Cetaganda, because the Cetagandans just don’t know when to fucking quit. And once again, with nothing but his own wits and a lot of forward momentum, Miles managed to foil the plot and save the day and narrowly avoid some more war. Over the next couple of years Miles became more involved with Dendarii operations as Admiral Naismith such as extracting certain personnel of Barrayaran interest and infiltrating a Cetagandan POW camp in order to liberate their opponents and reignite the war effort.

An unplanned, extended stay on Earth during some Dendarii maintenance brought Miles’ two personas -- Lieutenant Vorkosigan and Admiral Naismith -- into the exact kind of proximity he so carefully maneuvered to avoid. While trying to dig the Dendarii out of a suddenly vast pit of debt and reporting to the Barrayaran embassy as Lieutenant Vorkosigan with Ivan, Miles failed to keep his two identities completely separate, and quickly spun off a story about Admiral Naismith being a clone; if it were to come out that the two were the same, Barrayar’s completely secret connection to the Dendarii would be exposed. Turns out there really was a clone of Miles running around, much to his horrified dismay -- part of a plot by a terrorist group to replace Miles with the clone and have the clone assume rule of Barrayar, because some people have no imagination. With Ivan’s help, Miles foiled yet another plot, though not without pain and difficulty, although he failed to convince his clone -- whom he firmly refers to as his brother, as by certain planetary laws (such as those on Beta Colony), their shared genetic material makes them legal family. Miles tried to convince his brother to return to Barrayar with him, but ultimately failed, and let him go off on his own, after which Miles returned to Barrayar with Ivan.

and that brings us up to speed on Miles Vorkosigan (JAZZ HANDS)

He heard and knew the familiar, drawling voice before he turned. "—brilliant, sure, but hyper as hell. You think he's going to slip his flywheel any second. Watch out when he starts talking too fast. Oh, yeah, that's him all right."

"Ivan," Miles breathed, closing his eyes. "How, God, have I sinned against You, that You have given me Ivan—here..."

Miles spent the first four years of his life in traction, unable to walk, and in order to compensate for what he couldn't do with his body, he learned to do with his mind and his mouth. From an early age Miles learned to be wildly perceptive and charismatic; he can talk at least as fast as he thinks, usually a notch or two faster. He's used to being a disabled person in a pretty ableist society with a heavy prejudice against birth defects, which carry a heavy stigma on Barrayar. Reasonably, Miles has developed quite the chip on his shoulder about it, and takes issue with the old-school authority in particular. He's keenly aware of how others perceive him with retgards to his physical disabilities and he resents it -- but he uses it to his advantage where he can, too. He's developed a wry, occasionally morbid sense of humor -- shattering your bones repeatedly and growing up in and out of hospitals will do that -- and he's sardonic and facetious, and he fails to keep his mouth shut on occasion. Adding to the chip on his shoulder are his carry-on-sized baggage of daddy issues. Although Count Vorkosigan couldn't be more proud of his son no matter what he does, Miles perceives himself to live in his accomplished father's long shadow. He gets defensive at the notion that anything he's worked for has been handed to him by his father, and he wants badly to prove himself on his own merits.

Miles is insanely clever and, with his substantial people skills, is pretty decent at manipulating people in a pinch. His usual MO is "act now, figure out the rest later", which often snowballs -- yet somehow he manages to come through if only by sheer force of will. He's seen the unintended consequences and casualties of his actions, though, and experience has taught him some measure of caution, given more weight to his decisions. "Forward momentum" is his very own motto -- it's what keeps him going when nothing else does. It's a delicate balancing act, but walking that fine line is where Miles excels.

He is an incredibly powerful personality -- people gravitate toward him, even if initially out of scorn. He leaves an impression, and he's a natural leader with a good eye for personnel and reading people. It helps that he is a world-class bullshitter and a pretty good actor to boot. He knows how to put on a persona and take it off. He thinks incredibly quickly on his feet -- this is really where he shines, how he makes such big impressions on people -- but when he crashes, he crashes hard. Miles is pretty significantly bipolar, running on manic episodes for days to weeks at a time, often with dips into black depression in between, such that even his cousin Ivan has said he's never really seen Miles anywhere in between. His notably manic personality is what drives his forward momentum ever onward, and is also a significant part of the big impression he leaves on people.

Miles has a wide collection of traits and skills that could easily make him into kind of a shitty guy, but when it comes down to it he's actually a pretty sweet and compassionate guy with his father's strong moral compass. More than anything -- rather than wanting power for power's sake -- Miles wants to dedicate his life to service, in true Barrayaran fashion. Miles' personal struggles have made him resentful, but not jaded; he sees himself in other people struggling with society in one way or another and he wants to reach out to them. Also in true Barrayaran fashion, he puts a lot of weight on people's word and on keeping his own, and he's got that Vor sense of pride and honor.

"His crème de meth just wore off," Mayhew explained. "Drops you in a hurry, doesn't it, kid?"

Miles mumbled, an inarticulate groan. Bothari growled something exasperated under his breath about "deserve," picked him up, and slung him unceremoniously over his shoulder.

"Well, at least he'll stop bouncing off the walls, and give us all a break," said Mayhew cheerfully. "I've never seen anybody overrev on that stuff the way he did."

"Oh, was that liquor of yours a stimulant?" asked Elena. "I wondered why he didn't fall asleep."

"Couldn't you tell?" chuckled Mayhew.

"Not really."

Miles twisted his head to take in Elena's upside-down worried face, and smile in weak reassurance. Sparkly black-and-purple whirlpools clouded his vision.

Mayhew's laughter faded. "My God," he said hollowly, "you mean he's like that all the time?"

There is more to Miles than just his life as a Barrayaran Imperial Serviceman. The Admiral Naismith persona that founded the Dendarii Free Mercenaries was only ever intended to be a temporary fiction became a necessary fixture when the Dendarii covertly became a Barrayaran asset -- unbeknownst to the Dendarii themselves. Miles regularly goes on operations for Barrayar as Admiral Naismith, and Naismith is his own person, in a way, with the affectations and mostly-artificial story he’s built around the persona. Naismith is from Beta Colony, for instance, and when he’s doing Admiral Naismith, Miles puts on his best imitation of his mother’s Betan accent. Naismith gets to act with much more authority and has the freedom to be a bit more of a loose manic cannonball, being an admiral to Miles Vorkosigan’s lowly lieutenant. Maintaining the distinction between the two -- and ensuring that Miles’ dual identity is never discovered -- is of paramount importance, as Barrayar uses Admiral Naismith and the Dendarii for operations they don’t want traced back to their own government. This is easily achieved by making sure that Miles Vorkosigan and Miles Naismith never show up in the same region of space at the same time -- making it easier for Miles to keep the two separate. But it’s difficult to maintain two personas that aren’t radically different, and having to be both at the same time in rapid oscillation starts to make his head spin. He’s aware that the layers of his own identity are in a fragile balance at best -- forward momentum keeps them straight, as always -- and that if he tips too far in either direction he’ll lose his grip on them altogether, and then the entire house of cards would come falling down. Miles has only skirted with confronting his complicated identity issues, though the real risk isn’t a schism, but an inseparable convergence.

Abilities/Skills: Miles doesn’t have anything in the way of powers, but he does have a firm grasp on military tactics and politics and is proficient in the use of a variety of handheld weapons. He is also a world-class bullshitter. And he can ride horses I guess

  • “if you can’t be seven feet tall, be seven feet smart”
  • extraordinarily clever and analytical; can run/keep track of a lot at once and is an extremely out-of-the-box thinker
  • tenacious to a fault
  • is a pretty outstanding officer, particularly as Admiral Naismith -- his tactical and operational expertise are pretty advanced and backed by plenty of experience
  • pretty good at carrying on a ruse/cover/knows how to play the part, thinks well on his feet
  • as is mentioned above, a world-class bullshitter
  • really good with people

  • soft, shitty body
  • seriously, his bones snap like twigs
  • that’s really the main thing
  • tends go at a thousand miles an hour when he’s in a manic mood and then crash really hard; his mood is just overall unpredictable and prone to extremes
  • has a thing for flouting authority, extraordinarily stubborn, if he thinks he’s got a better idea then he tends to just ignore orders

Items: Barrayaran Imperial Service dress uniform, an antique knife inherited from his grandfather, standard officer sidearms (stunner, plasma arc, nerve disruptor)

Network Sample:

[ miles appears onscreen, looking quite annoyed and just a little humiliated. the shot is mostly chest-up, but even then it’s pretty apparent that the uniform he’s wearing doesn’t fit. even in the smallest size, he’s practically swimming in it. someone is snickering in the background. ]

Miles here. Does anyone here have experience with clothing alteration? I seem to -- Ivan, quit it!

[ he twists in his chair and snarls at ivan off-camera, looking quite sour now. ]

I’m, uh, a little small for standard sizing. I was fortunate enough back home to have clothing tailored to fit, but all I’ve got with me here is my dress greens. Not really the right uniform for this ship. If anyone would -- Ivan!

[ ivan keeps laughing in the background anyway, sounding like he’s put a hand over his mouth. miles presses his fingers to his forehead and closes his eyes, drawing in a breath. when he opens them again he grins tightly, tapping his fingers on his leg. ]

If anyone would be willing to help me out, I’d be happy to work out some kind of trade. I’m a little tired of tripping over my trousers.

Prose/Action Sample: miles & tony @ the TDM