- "'We went on a jumpship, to come here. It was a Vorsmythe Dolphin-class 776 with quadruple-vortex outboard control nacelles and dual norm-space thrusters and a crew of twelve. It carried a hundred and twenty passengers. It was full up, too.' Nikki's face grew reflective. 'Kind of a barge, compared to Imperial fast couriers, but Mama got the jump pilot to let me come up and see his control room. He let me sit in his station chair and put on his headset.' The spark had become a flame in the memory of this glorious moment."
- ―Nikki's love for jumpships first shows through[src]
Soon after Etienne's brother died in an accident, Etienne learned that it had not actually been an accident, but rather that his brother had discovered that he suffered from a genetic condition known as Vorzohn's Dystrophy. Etienne had himself and Nikki tested, and found that they both carried the gene as well. Due to the stigma on Barrayar of any "mutations", Nikki's parents chose not to share this information with their son, and planned to seek treatment for him privately.
At the age of eight, Nikki moved with his mother and father to Komarr. The journey was exciting to Nikki, and he developed an interest in jumpships, deciding that he wanted to become a jumpship pilot. Later, Nikki's father was killed on Komarr as part of a plot against Barrayar, though Nikki was not told why his father died at the time. After his father's death, Ekaterin got treatment for her son, and all traces of Vorzohn's Dystrophy were erased.
While they were living in the Vorthys home, Alexi Vormoncrief questioned Nikki about Miles Vorkosigan's role in his father's death. Nikki ended up confused about the circumstances of the death, and began asking questions. Unable to give him answers, his mother took him to see Miles, who then took the boy to see Emperor Gregor. The Emperor explained the circumstances surrounding Etienne's death, including the fact that Etienne had accepted a bribe and would have ended up in prison if he hadn't died, and gave Nikki his own private comcard; enabling the boy to make use of a direct connection to the Emperor.
Later, when Vassily Vorsoisson, Nikki's legal guardian, attempted to remove Nikki from his mother (acting as part of a plot from Richars Vorrutyer, Nikki refused to go with him. When Vassily then tried to take him by force, Nikki escaped, and used his private card to call Emperor Gregor. Gregor dispatched an ImpSec team to bring Nikki, Vassily, Ekaterin, the Professora and Ekaterin's brother Hugo to a private meeting where he explained that Richars' insinuations were false, and that Nikki would be safe staying with his mother. Nikki was then a witness to his mother's proposal to Miles Vorkosigan in the Council of Counts.
Nikki went to live in Vorkosigan House when his mother married Miles Naismith Vorkosigan. His younger half-siblings were, in order, Aral Alexander Vorkosigan, Helen Natalia Vorkosigan, Elizabeth Vorkosigan and Taura Vorkosigan.
Personality and traits
Nikki was somewhat shy at the start of Komarr, due to having had to travel often. He had a passion for jump ships that lasted at least through Diplomatic Immunity. At the time of Komarr, he had child-light hair that was beginning to turn dark.
While he was initially spooked by learning of his "mutie" status, he adjusted well. By the time of A Civil Campaign, he was becoming close friends with Arthur Pym, Armsman Pym's son.