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"I will point out, jailing Tung is like cutting off your right hand before heading into battle."
―Admiral Naismith to Admiral Oser[src]

Ky Tung by gemmiona

Ky Tung (KAI TUHNG) was a career mercenary and ship captain who rose to high rank in the Dendarii Free Mercenary Fleet.


Tung was born on Earth in the People's Democracy of Greater South America,[1] and had numerous cousins living in Brazil.[2] His early mercenary experience included time served as a junior lieutenant in the Selby Fleet that was contracted to defend Komarr during the Barrayaran conquest.[1]

Thirty years later, Tung was captain and owner of the pocket dreadnought Triumph. He contracted his ship to the Oseran Free Mercenary Fleet during the Tau Verde Ring war; the Oserans were working for the government of Pelias. After a time, the opposing government of Felice hired Miles Naismith to smuggle Betan arms into the system through the Oseran blockade. When he arrived, Naismith successfully captured the Oseran warship Ariel, and convinced its crew to join him and his fictitious Dendarii Free Mercenary Fleet. He then used the crew of the Ariel to capture Tung's ship, the Triumph.[3]

Tung was taken prisoner by the Dendarii, but escaped during a subsequent battle. Upon his return to the Oseran fleet, he was given grave insult by Yuan Oser, their leader; as a result, he decided to defect to the Dendarii. He helped orchestrate the Dendarii victory over the Oserans, and was rewarded with the rank of commodore and the post of Chief-of-Staff/Tactical in the fleet.[4]

Naismith was forced to leave the Dendarii to combat a charge of treason, and left the fleet in the care of Commodore Baz Jesek, Tung, and Oser, who had joined the Dendarii with his remaining forces. However, Oser orchestrated a coup after a year or two and gained command, demoting Jesek from titular command to fleet engineer, and Tung to personnel officer, with the rank of Captain.[5]

The Oseran mercenaries then took contract with Aslund in the Hegen Hub. Rumors of Admiral Naismith's return began to circulate in the fleet. Naismith was arrested by Oser's forces on the Aslund military station and nearly spaced, but was rescued by his allies in the fleet. Tung met with him and offered his assistance in retaking the fleet, but Naismith declined and traveled to Vervain.[6]

To divert suspicion from the rest of Naismith's allies, Tung picked a fight with Oser and struck him. He was then arrested and held aboard the Triumph. Meanwhile, Admiral Naismith returned and retook the Dendarii, freeing Tung and arresting Oser. Tung returned to his role as tactical commander and played a critical part in the following battle against the Cetagandan Empire at the Vervani wormhole exit to the Hegen Hub. After the battle, Tung was invited aboard the Barrayaran warship the Prince Serg, where he had lunch with Admiral Aral Vorkosigan.[7]

Commodore Tung served as a mentor to Miles Naismith in the following years. The cap of his career was running the Dendarii side of the mass prisoner of war escape from Dagoola IV.[8]

After Dagoola, the Dendarii conducted repairs in Earth orbit. Tung took leave to visit his family and new granddaughter, and met a widowed cousin in Brazil. He retired from the fleet to marry her and help her run a tourist boat on the Amazon River.[9]

Personality and traits[]

"All diplomacy is a continuation of war by other means. Chou En Lai, twentieth century."
"What are you, a walking reference library?"
"No, but Commodore Tung is. He collects Wise Old Chinese Sayings, and makes me memorize 'em.
―Miles Vorkosigan and Ivan Vorpatril[src]

Tung was Eurasian in descent and appearance, squat and powerfully built with a shaved head. Middle-aged during his career with the Dendarii, he had a long prior history as a mercenary officer.

He took insults to his pride very seriously, and had something of a temper. Notably obsessed with military history[1][10][2], Tung enjoyed teaching what he knew, and required all of his junior officers to read Aral Vorkosigan's Komarr Report, which he thought was a masterpiece of strategy. He expressed admiration for Vorkosigan's retreat from Escobar, and felt a pair of memoranda should have been published together.[1] In addition, he recommended military memoirs such as Seven Pillars of Wisdom and Sun Tzu to Admiral Naismith and other Dendarii officers.[11]

While Tung was not a part of the Inner Circle of Dendarii that knew Naismith's true identity, he and Bel Thorne deduced it before he left the fleet;[12] Tung obliquely revealed this when he told Vorkosigan of his advantage over other mercenaries, "You don't have to turn a profit," shortly before retiring.[9]

Notes and references[]