"Major Cecil was a man of about fifty, lean, even-tempered, watchful. Very watchful. Though he was not the titular head of Personnel, that administrative job belonging to a higher-ranking officer, Miles had spotted Cecil long ago as the final-decision man. Through Cecil's hands passed at the last every assignment for every Academy graduate. Miles had always found him an accessible man, the teacher and scholar in him ascendant over the officer. His wit was dry and rare, his dedication to his duty intense."
―Miles's opinions about Major Cecil[src]

Major Cecil served in the Imperial Service Academy for Barrayar's cadet officers. An observant, smart man, he realized that the biggest trouble Miles Vorkosigan was likely to have as a young officer was learning to obey not-very-bright superior officers (and to extract obedience from similar people below him).

He therefore gave Miles a very special first posting – take six months on the worst base on all of Barrayar, Lazkowski Base, and learn to interact with the worst the service has to offer. If he managed it, then he would be allowed the most-coveted posting possible – a position on the biggest, fastest ship around, the Prince Serg.


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