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"We live to serve."
―ImpSec's motto and part of their oaths of service[src]

Imperial Security, better known as ImpSec, was a branch of the Barrayaran Government devoted to protecting the Empire from threats within and without. It had both civilians and military employees, and, as an organization, was distinct from the Barrayaran Imperial Service. The Chief of Imperial Security reported directly to the Emperor of Barrayar.

ImpSec's assigned tasks included: Bodyguard and general personal security, both close and as outer perimeter, for high level Barrayaran Government employees; Nexus-wide espionage activities, both through embassies and through covert operations; and observation of Vor and other subjects of the Imperium.

Officers publicly assigned to Imperial Security wore two silver departmental insignias in the shape of an Eye of Horus (as seen above) on each lapel. These were issued one set to a solder; one was right-facing, the other left. The back had name and serial number engraved on them. The pin was "built up in molecular layers of tarnish-proof silver in a hidden pattern".[1]



Imperial Security had three major intelligence departments and one minor one:

Other departments in Imperial Security included:

  • Communications (on Komarr)[4]
  • Cryptography[5]
  • Finance[5]
  • Food Service[5]
  • Forensics[6]
  • Housekeeping and Physical Plant[5]
  • Biowar Intelligence and Analysis Section, aka the "Nightmare Barn"[7]

The major departments were commanded by commodores.


Chief of Imperial Security:

Past Chiefs of Imperial Security:

Department heads:

Past department heads:

Chief of Imperial Security - Komarr:

Other senior officers:

Imperial couriers[]

One of the most routine yet vital public roles of ImpSec was that of their Imperial couriers, who shuttled sensitive documents between embassies. Couriers were also a convenient cover for more deep cover operatives.

Notable couriers included:


ImpSec employed many operatives who worked undercover in the field. Some were military specialists, whilst others were civilian hires who were recruited for their specialties and access. Local non-military operatives were graded from IS-1 to at least IS-9, IS-9 representing the highest level of security attested to in the Vorkosigan Saga.[11]

Some Imperial Security operatives worked within mercenary groups across the Nexus, as with the one who was assigned to Ky Tung's ship while he was a member of the Oseran Mercenaries and three who were given the task of observing the Dendarii, possibly including the original one.

Known operatives:

See also[]

Notes and references[]

  1. Memory chapter 5
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Memory chapter 4
  3. Memory chapter 19,23,24,25,26,27
  4. 4.0 4.1 Cetaganda chapter 11
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Memory chapter 22
  6. 6.0 6.1 Memory chapter 23
  7. Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen chapter 13
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Memory
  9. Komarr chapters 6,18
  10. 10.0 10.1 Brothers in Arms
  11. A Civil Campaign Epilogue