middlingalong: (g ~ wine)
Ivan Xav Vorpatril ([personal profile] middlingalong) wrote2014-07-13 11:17 am

bioestheties exhibition

The following day they visit the 149th Annual Bioestheties Exhibition, Class A, Dedicated to the Memory of the Celestial Lady. This dedication, though rather last-minute, makes it a key stop for offworlders on Eta Ceta for funerary proceedings. Lord Vorreedi is, unexpectedly, present too; he may be hard to slip.

The exhibits are gorgeous. Unnatural colors of various flowers are sufficiently routine to be used as borders for the real show - fish with clan marks on their scales (this exhibitor is about twelve), a pet unicorn (this one is possibly not even an exhibit), a tendril of vine that attempts to entrap Ivan's foot (its keeper dislodges it), and a kitten tree.

Ivan is displeased by the kitten tree, believing there to be glue involved in the attachment of kittens to their pods. He picks one in a determined rescue attempt. It is not ripe; the kitten expires when detached. Vorreedi offers to discreetly dispose of the poor beast, for which Ivan is intensely grateful.

Their erstwhile friend Yenaro is present. When Ivan notices, he points the man out to Miles.
thisvorlunatic: (⑪ theoretical)

[personal profile] thisvorlunatic 2014-07-13 07:14 pm (UTC)(link)
Miles can't actually see the ghem-lord in question - the height of the balcony railing prevents him from peering over the edge at a steep enough angle. But he takes Ivan's word for it.

"He could be here for totally coincidental reasons," he says. "Artistic appreciation... hoping to catch the eye of a winning lady at the award ceremony later..."
thisvorlunatic: (⑧ business)

[personal profile] thisvorlunatic 2014-07-13 07:29 pm (UTC)(link)
"Nothing springs to mind. Keep your eyes open."
thisvorlunatic: (⑨ obstacles)

[personal profile] thisvorlunatic 2014-07-13 07:30 pm (UTC)(link)
"...Now?" he murmurs.
alicornucopia: (Default)

[personal profile] alicornucopia 2014-07-13 07:30 pm (UTC)(link)
"No. Meet me at the west entrance in thirty minutes."
thisvorlunatic: (⑪ theoretical)

[personal profile] thisvorlunatic 2014-07-13 07:31 pm (UTC)(link)
"I may not be able to achieve precision," he cautions.
thisvorlunatic: (⑥ ivan)

[personal profile] thisvorlunatic 2014-07-13 07:39 pm (UTC)(link)
"I'm not far enough off the ground to rub shoulders with haut-anyones, Ivan. I just happen to be well-placed to help save their empire..."
thisvorlunatic: (⑨ obstacles)

[personal profile] thisvorlunatic 2014-07-13 07:47 pm (UTC)(link)
"Fast-penta is illegal here for anyone but the police and the imperials, isn't it?" inquires Miles.
thisvorlunatic: (⑤ miles)

[personal profile] thisvorlunatic 2014-07-13 07:50 pm (UTC)(link)
Miles counts the passing minutes in his head as he and Ivan move on to admire some less animate floral displays.
thisvorlunatic: (⑧ business)

[personal profile] thisvorlunatic 2014-07-13 08:03 pm (UTC)(link)
He finds himself strangely resistant to Lady Benello's charms. Ivan can have all the oozing ghem-women his heart desires; Miles's heart has loftier goals. He doesn't quite go as far as physically stepping away when the lady chooses to walk beside him, but he responds no more than politely to her flirting.
thisvorlunatic: (⑫ complexities)

[personal profile] thisvorlunatic 2014-07-13 08:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Miles takes a sniff that might be construed as polite investigation of the fabric's scent. In fact he is looking for just about anything his nose can tell him - surely there is no subtle drug concealed in the exhibit, since Yenaro is standing right there inhaling regularly - then again, he drank the zlati ale, too - and there is something familiar in the air, if only Miles could separate it out from the dozens of perfumes wafting from the ghem-gaggle and assorted nearby entries...
thisvorlunatic: (⑭ vorkosigan)

[personal profile] thisvorlunatic 2014-07-13 08:18 pm (UTC)(link)
The sight of the pitcher closes the circuit of memory. Miles comes on full alert. "Grab that pitcher, Ivan!" he says urgently. "Don't let him spill a drop!"
thisvorlunatic: (⑪ theoretical)

[personal profile] thisvorlunatic 2014-07-13 08:24 pm (UTC)(link)
Miles drops flat, putting his face as close to the thick green carpet as possible - the carpet that is only present at this particular entry - and inhales, confirming his suspicions.

"What are you doing?" laughs Lady Benello. "The rug isn't part of it!"

Not part of the entry, no. But part of something else. Miles gets to his feet and takes a few steps Ivanward, away from the edge of the dangerous rug. "Hand me that pitcher, very carefully. Then give that carpet a sniff and tell me what you smell," he instructs.
Edited 2014-07-13 20:24 (UTC)
thisvorlunatic: (⑦ negotiation)

[personal profile] thisvorlunatic 2014-07-13 08:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Miles retreats farther from the carpet, handling the pitcher with exquisite care, and lifts the lid for a quick sniff. The not-quite-vanilla-orange scent of the liquid inside removes all doubt.

"Ivan, pull a thread or two while you're down there," he says. "I think it's time we took Lord Yenaro aside for a discreet private chat. Excuse us, please, ladies. Um - man-talk," is the best vague excuse he can summon on the spot. Rather to his surprise, it works. He leads Ivan and Yenaro - assuming the one will drag the other along bodily if necessary - to an unused and unoccupied nook several spaces away from the scent-fabric exhibit with its unlucky carpet.

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