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"It wasn't until the day the revolt died that I became a free man. The day he died. Free to look with my own eyes, make my own judgments, choose my own life."
―Duv Galeni[src]

Duv Galeni by gemmiona

Duv Galeni (DUHV geh-LEHN-ee) (born David Galen (GAY-ln)) was a Komarran native who joined the Barrayaran Imperial Service and rose through the ranks to become a Commodore and head of Barrayaran Imperial Security's Komarran Affairs department.


Early life[]

"There are places a child, idly playing, can pass where an adult would be stopped. Before my fourteenth birthday I had helped kill men..."
―Duv Galeni[src]

David Galen was the son of Ser Galen and the nephew of Rebecca Galen. Before the Barrayaran invasion of Komarr, his family had been very wealthy and ran the Galen Orbital Transshipping Warehouse Cartel. David's aunt Rebecca was a Komarran Counselor who was killed in the Solstice Massacre when the Barrayarans invaded Komarr. Ser Galen joined the Komarran resistance in response, and became a terrorist. During the Komarran Revolt, David was his father's teenage apprentice.[1] His elder brother and all of his close relatives died during the revolt except his father, who faked his own death and escaped off-world.[2]

Joining Barrayaran service[]

"... I can't recommend the choice. I suspect you're being quixotic about this one out of guilt. And guilt is a luxury you cannot afford. If you're acquiring a secret desire to be shot in the back, please let me know at least twenty-four hours in advance, so I can activate my retirement."
―A private memo from Simon Illyan to Aral Vorkosgian[src]
"Put him back on the list, Simon, and leave him there this time. This issue tires me, and I don't want to be dragged over it again. Let him run, and prove himself -- if he can."
―Vorkosgian's response to Illyan[src]

Galen changed his name to the more Barrayaran-sounding Duv Galeni, and earned a doctorate in Barrayaran history from Imperial University in Vorbarr Sultana. He became a professor of history at the College of Belgravia, but when he was twenty-six, the Barrayaran Imperial Service opened to Komarran recruits; Galeni quit his professorship and entered the Imperial Service Academy as a cadet. Chosen for the Academy as part of Prime Minister Aral Vorkosigan's program of introducing Komarrans into Barrayaran governmental service, he started out as a point of contention between Vorkosigan and Chief of Imperial Security Simon Illyan, who protested that Galeni was a security risk and that Vorkosigan's reasoning was clouded by guilt over the Solstice Massacre and Rebecca's death.[3]

Embassy duty[]

"So now we come to Galeni. He's in the Service - an officer - has a post in Security itself. Must have worked his tail off to get here. Highly trusted - for a Komarran."
―Miles Naismith Vorkosigan[src]

Galeni was assigned to Imperial Security, and eventually requested the post of military attaché on Earth. As the attaché, he was in charge of both Service Security and Imperial Security for the embassy. While he was assigned to Earth, Lieutenant Miles Naismith Vorkosigan reported in to him. Vorkosigan and his Dendarii Free Mercenary Fleet had just completed a mission to Dagoola IV for Imperial Security, and urgently needed eighteen million Barrayaran Marks to fund the fleet he was responsible for. Galeni sent to Sector II headquarters on Tau Ceti for the money, but instead received orders assigning Vorkosigan to the embassy staff. After the courier returned a second time with no funds for the Dendarii, Vorkosigan suggested to Galeni that something might be wrong with the communications chain.[4]

Galeni, suspecting the Barrayaran courier officer might have been suborned, released Vorkosigan on leave to handle Dendarii matters. He then received a message from his father, the Komarran terrorist Ser Galen, who he had long thought dead. Galeni met his father for lunch, but refused to cooperate with his plot against the Imperium. He was then kidnapped and held captive in a house in London.[5]

After being subjected to several days of hostile fast-penta interrogation, Galeni spoke with a man he thought was Miles Vorkosigan, but in fact was his Komarran-produced clone. After pretending to be Lieutenant Vorkosigan for several hours, the clone revealed his true identity and his plan to usurp the Imperium.[6]

The next day, Galeni acquired a fellow captive, Lieutenant Vorkosigan himself. Ser Galen's terrorist group had successfully switched their clone for him. The two prisoners shared reminiscences about their past in between interrogation sessions. Galeni had attempted escape once before Vorkosigan arrived, but he tried again in Vorkosigan's company. However, the two of them were stunned, and after they woke up they were taken to be executed.[6]

Vorkosigan had set Commander Elli Quinn of the Dendarii to the task of finding Galeni before his capture. She tracked Ser Galen to the London house, and rescued the two men before they were killed. Galeni and Vorkosigan then returned to the embassy to arrest the clone, but found that he had been detained by local police. They then went to retrieve him from the London Municipal Assizes, but found that Ser Galen had beaten them to it.[7]

Upon his return to the Barrayaran embassy, Galeni began to write his report but was interrupted by the arrival of Commodore Destang from Sector II Security Headquarters. Destang had come to Earth to supervise the removal of Ser Galen as a threat to Barrayar, and suspected Galeni of collusion with his father. After a long and hostile debriefing, Galen was confined to quarters.[8]

Hostage rescue[]

"We've got one last chance to make it come out right. Not a good chance, just the last one. Are you with me?"
―Miles Naismith Vorkosigan[src]

While so confined, Galeni was given half of a comlink by his subordinate Ivan Vorpatril, who was escorting the wife of the Ambassador to a garden show. Through the comlink, he stayed in touch with Vorkosigan, who had similarly been commanded to remain in orbit so as not to interfere with Destang's search for Ser Galen and Vorkosigan's clone.[9]

The two of them were forced into action when Galen kidnapped Vorpatril and threatened his life. Galeni disobeyed orders and left the embassy, meeting Vorkosigan, Ser Galen, and the clone at the Thames Tidal Barrier. After unfruitful negotiations, Galen produced a nerve disruptor and told Vorkosigan's clone to kill the two Barrayarans. The clone hesitated before killing Ser Galen instead and fleeing into the barrier. Vorkosigan, his backup Elli Quinn, and Galeni split up to give chase.[10]

Galeni did not find the clone, but he did find ghem-Lieutenant Tabor of the Cetagandan Embassy. Tabor was coordinating a Cetagandan death squad sent to kill Admiral Naismith, and stunned Galeni. However, Galeni evaded the worst of the blast. He pretended unconsciousness before jumping Tabor and another Cetagandan, incapacitating them both with his bare hands. He took a plasma arc from them and went looking for Vorkosigan.[11]

Galeni encountered Vorkosigan, Vorpatril, the clone, and the unconscious Quinn escaping the barrier, and led them to the unconscious Cetagandans. After dropping them off at their embassy, and leaving the clone at public transit station, Galeni returned to the Barrayaran embassy. He was debriefed again by Destang, but allowed to return to his normal duties.[11]

Rising through the ranks[]

"A Komarran, to head Komarran Affairs...?"
―Guy Allegre[src]

Afterwards, Galeni had a posting with ImpSec counterintelligence on Komarr, where he worked once more with Miles Vorkosigan[12] and went to the Massacre Shrine with him to burn a death offering for his aunt.[13] He was then assigned to Imperial Security Headquarters as a Komarran Affairs analyst. During his time there, he was framed for the crime of destroying Chief of Imperial Security Simon Illyan's memory chip, and arrested. The true culprit, Illyan's second in command Lucas Haroche, was caught by Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan and Galeni was freed. After his superior Guy Allegre was promoted to Chief of Imperial Security, Galeni was promoted to Head of Komarran Affairs and became a commodore.[14][15]

As the new head of Komarran Affairs, Galeni was in charge of security for the half of Emperor Gregor Vorbarra's wedding that took place on Komarr. He was therefore part of the planning for the wedding in addition to his other duties. When a slander accusing Miles Vorkosigan of the death of Etienne Vorsoisson arose, Galeni was forced to do the intelligence analysis due to critical security implications.[16]

Duv Galeni married Delia Koudelka soon after the Imperial wedding.[17] He had been courting Laisa Toscane before she became the Empress of Barrayar, although she did not take him seriously as a suitor.[18] Galeni was among the guests at Miles Vorkosigan's wedding to Ekaterin Vorsoisson.[17]

By the time of Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, he and Delia had two children, one of whom was a toddler and the other an infant. He continued to write papers and contribute to books, though some of his work had to wait for publication due to security reasons. At the end of the tale, due to his historical training and security clearance, Commodore Galeni was given the task of clearing and inventorying the newly-discovered bunker full of Barrayaran and Cetagandan artifacts.[19]


"Dark hair. Hooded, nutmeg-brown eyes. A hard, guarded mouth, fleshy blade of a nose sweeping down a Roman profile that matched his officer’s haircut."
―Miles describing Galeni during their first meeting on Earth.[src]

Galeni could be stiff and humorless, and his default personality tended to be brisk and academic. However, he was passionate about certain subjects, including the preservation of historical documents, his family, and his loyalty to Barrayar.  However, when angry Galeni could slip back into a Komarran accent with guttural street language; fortunately, this was rare.

Galeni was idealistic, or at least pragmatic, enough to believe in the Komarran integration scheme proposed by Aral Vorkosigan, and was working to effect that change with his own service. He was also ambitious, having stated that after his twenty years of military service were up, he intended to work for a ministerial appointment, and make his way up the ranks, possibly with an ambassadorship or position on the staff of the Imperial Counselor of Komarr. Galeni also thought that Delia Koudelka would make an excellent political hostess, due to her brains, looks and connections. Miles Vorkosigan thought that Galeni would make the best Imperial Counselor Komarr was likely to have. 

Behind the scenes[]

  • Duv Galeni was templated from the character Kerr Avon from the British science fiction television series Blake's 7.

Notes and references[]

  1. Brothers in Arms chapter 9
  2. Brothers in Arms chapter 8
  3. Brothers in Arms chapter 7
  4. Brothers in Arms chapters 1-6
  5. Brothers in Arms chapters 7-11
  6. 6.0 6.1 Brothers in Arms chapters 8-11
  7. Brothers in Arms chapter 12
  8. Brothers in Arms chapter 13
  9. Brothers in Arms chapter 14
  10. Brothers in Arms chapters 14,15
  11. 11.0 11.1 Brothers in Arms chapter 16
  12. Memory chapter 9
  13. Komarr chapter 4
  14. Memory chapter 28
  15. Komarr chapter 5
  16. A Civil Campaign chapter 14
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Winterfair Gifts"
  18. Memory chapter 4
  19. Captain Vorpatril's Alliance chapter 24