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Sergyar was one of the three planets that comprise the Barrayaran Imperium. The other planets were Barrayar and Komarr. The entire planet was officially the personal property of Barrayaran Emperor Gregor Vorbarra.

It was one of six planets orbiting a G-type star; it had six continents and active tectonics.


Sergyar was first discovered by Barrayar shortly before the Escobar War. It was also the site where Cordelia Naismith and Admiral Lord Aral Vorkosigan first met when her Betan Astronomical Survey ship landed a party to explore and catalogue the planet and its biome, unware of the Barrayarans' earlier territorial claims on the planet.[1]

Judging from the on-planet events described in Shards of Honor, a Sergyaran day was not too different from an Earth day in length, say within a few hours.[2] Gravity was slightly lighter than that of Beta Colony.[1] There were seas on the planet; the waters did not dissolve human skin (unlike Ylla's seas), and sailing was feasible.[3]

Strategic Importance[]

Sergyar served as a link from Komarr to Escobar, and then to Beta Colony, which significantly opened up trade in the wormhole nexus for Barrayar.[4]

In all, there were four known wormholes in Sergyaran space; one led to a nexus on the route between Komarr and Rho Ceta of the Cetagandan Empire; another led to Escobar; a third was not commercially usable but was the route taken by Captain Naismith and her crew of the Rene Magritte of the Betan Astronomical Survey; the fourth had no known useful destinations.

At first, the planet's sole use by the Barrayarans was as the site of massive caches of ordnance and other material for their abortive attempt to invade and conquer Escobar.[5] After the war, it was opened for colonization. One export was hard white cheese.[6]

Mail between Sergyar and Barrayar could travel in somewhat more than a day; people and things generally required almost two weeks to make the journey.[7]

Native Life[]

Native life on Sergyar typically had radial symmetry or was hexapedal, with most larger lifeforms being hexapeds. While there were no known native sentient life forms, there was a diverse ecology. Species of animals included large predators referred to as 'fuzzy crabs' that hunted in packs, their 'hexapedal' herbivorous prey - large, six-footed grazing animals, and skatagators, creatures somewhat like Earth's alligators. Smaller radial creatures included ant-like colonies that lived underground with yellow cones of sand at the entry to their homes. Another type of radial creature was referred to as 'vampire balloons' – airborne lifeforms, similar in appearance to jellyfish, that floated through the atmosphere, supported by gas-filled sacs; these descended from above to leech blood from larger lifeforms, which did not appreciate such attention. The gas was mostly hydrogen, and exploded when exposed to fire.[2]

The Sergyaran worm plague was a hazard to early Sergyaran colonists.[8][9][10]

Naming Scheme[]

Sergyar was posthumously named for Crown Prince Serg Vorbarra, the son of Emperor Ezar Vorbarra and father of Emperor Gregor Vorbarra. The colony on the planet was nicknamed "Chaos Colony" by certain of its residents, including the Viceroy and Vicereine.[11] Cordelia told Oliver Jole she loved everything about the planet save the name; in internal dialogue, she expressed hope to rename the planet once Prince Serg's fame had waned.


Directly owned by the Emperor of Barrayar, Sergyar became a Barrayaran viceroyalty under the governance of a Viceroy. After one Viceroy begged to come home, Gregor Vorbarra appointed Count Aral Vorkosigan and Countess Cordelia Vorkosigan co-rulers of the colony.[12] A steady flow of immigrants from Barrayar and Komarr made new homes on Sergyar, resulting in a population of approximately one million people by the time of Memory[13] and around two million a bit more than a decade later in Gentleman Jole. After Vorkosigan was appointed Viceroy, many of the residents of the Vorkosigan's District followed him there.[13]

Security and intelligence for the planet was handled by the newly-established Department of Sergyaran Affairs within Imperial Security on Barrayar.[13] It is likely that ImpSec had a presence on Sergyar itself as well. Apart from the viceroy/vicereine, most of the government was democratic in form, with regular elections.

The Viceroy's Palace was not very palace-like, being a low, rambling house with a particularly excellent garden designed by Ekaterin Vorkosigan.[13][14]


The viceroy/vicereine were the last resorts for appeals. The death penalty was an option on Sergyar.

Places on Sergyar[]

Famous Sergyarans[]

Behind the Scenes[]

  • The ecology of the area surrounding the capital city of Kareenburg on Sergyar was based on the landscapes and ecology of East Africa as experienced by Bujold on a biology tour during her college days.
  • The biology behind the Sergyaran worm plague was described in some detail in "Re: Questions for Lois II: Billy Budd".
  • The government of Sergyar, in particular as it related to how Sergyar was attached to the Barrayaran Imperium, was discussed in 059225.html.

See also[]

Notes and references[]