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  • Let's start off with the Crowner of Crowners[1] so far as the Vorkosigan Saga is concerned: The Shopping Trip from Barrayar.
    • Cordelia, Droushnakovi, and Bothari shanghai Koudelka into helping them recover the Uterine Replicator containing Miles' fetus (which had been captured by enemy forces and will fail from lack of regular maintenance within a week) and Princess Kareen, explicitly against Aral's wishes.
    • After infiltrating the capital -- which is solidly held by "Emperor" Vidal Vordarian -- the group finds that the missing Alys and Padma Vorpatril are hiding near the not-so-safe-house they've picked. Cordelia runs an Indy Ploy to try to rescue them. It's only partially successful: Padma is killed in the crossfire, but Alys and baby Ivan are successfully exfiltrated from the capital by Kou.
    • Using Drou's knowledge of the Palace grounds from her training as Princess Kareen and Prince/Emperor Gregor's bodyguard, the remaining three successfully enter the residential wing and locate the Replicator. Cordelia Turns Kareen to their side...with a shoe. Unfortunately, Kareen's reaction is a bit extreme, and she is killed in the scuffle; most of the wing is set ablaze. Faced with the problem of leaving the palace grounds with a very uncooperative hostage (Vidal Vordarian), Cordelia has Bothari take more direct measures to deal with it. As an afterthought, she decides to put a souvenir of the expedition in a plastic shopping bag she picked up from the residence.
    • Upon returning to Aral's headquarters (with Replicator and Vordarian) the classic exchange occurs. (This also counts as CMoF material to many.)

 Piotr: Good God, woman! Where have you been?

Cordelia (Holding up the plastic bag): Shopping. Want to see what I bought?

Vordarian's head is rolled out on the conference table to a mixture of shock, horror, and grim amusement.

Aral: [deadpan] But of course. Every Vor lady goes to the capital to shop.

Cordelia: I paid too much for it.

Aral: That, too, is traditional.

    • This is followed by a comment to some of Vordarian's men in the room.

 Cordelia: Officers. I recommend that when this conference resumes, you surrender unconditionally upon Lord Vorkosigan's mercy. He may still have some[2]. I'm tired of your stupid war. End it.

    • The War of Vordarian's Pretendership comes to a rapid conclusion, and a Barrayaran legend is born.
  • Cordelia and Bothari executing Vordarian counts even just by itself! Think of it as a CMOA within a CMOA.
  • From The Vor Game, Miles' scheme for rescuing Gregor from Cavilo, culminating with the Shoot the Hostage gambit. Bonus points for Gregor picking up the ball and completing his own rescue by seducing his seducer, convincing her she can marry him and become Empress, and then leads her into scrapping her own plans before Miles gets him to safety. This is the time where Gregor gets to shine, and his gloating to Cavilo says it all:

 "Commander Cavilo, both my parents died violently in political intrigue before I was six years old. A fact you might have researched. Did you think you were dealing with an amateur?"

  • Ekaterin scores a nice one toward the end of Komarr. Her Adrenaline Makeover prods her into creating a mess that even Miles would be proud to call his own. (Start with a standard Sick Old Lady ploy to distract your guard. Run for a sealed control booth in the resulting confusion. Use the remote control for a float pallet on which a Nefarious Device is loaded to first raise it to a height of 4 meters, invert it, then shut off the anti-grav. Bounce the rubble on the floor a few times just to make sure. Then use the comconsole in the booth call for help.)
  • Cordelia and the couch from A Civil Campaign. Also a Crowning Moment of Funny.
    • The same couch that Kou and Drou used to umm... consummate their relationship in "Barrayar"
      • It was just as awesome when she got Kou and Drou together by doing pretty much the same thing in Barrayar. While on a covert mission deep in enemy territory, no less.
  • In The Vor Game, Miles not only brags to Cavilo that he got paid three times over, including from the planetary government she betrayed, but foils her last attempt to annoy him (by wearing perfume he has a severe allergy to) by producing nose plugs.
    • Cavilo has her own Crowning Moment when she kills Metzov with his own nerve disruptor, after he'd raped her: "Stanis, darling. 'Spread your legs for me, you bitch, or I'll blow your brains out'."
  • Miles and Gregor messing with Cavilo. The earlier scene of the negotiations leading up to this moment had Elena rolling on the floor.

 Miles: Deactivate your weapons and freeze, or I'll blow Gregor to atoms!

Gregor: His meds must be further off dose than I thought. No, watch—he's bluffing. I'll prove it.

  • Ekaterin's marriage proposal. In front of the entire Council of Counts in session. Also a Crowning Moment of Funny. "Twit." That scene was arguably a CMOA for several other characters as well. Ivan, Dono, and Count Vorhalas all had a hand in the awesome there.
  • Mirror Dance. Mark, when he realizes he can deal with Ryoval: "You see me, Baron. But I see you, too."
    • Mark's hands down CMOA are these words and the action that precedes them "I am too a Vorkosigan. The one who was trained as a deep-penetration mole and assassin. It really pisses me off when people underestimate me, y'know?"
    • The medal ceremony. Full stop. Also counts as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
  • Aral has a very low-key one in Barrayar when confronting his father after Piotr tries to have Miles' fetus dumped. As Cordelia mentally remarks, One day only: The Irresistible Force Meets the Immovable Object. Tickets, five marks.
  • Silver gets one in Falling Free when she breaks her slave mentality and overpowers a tech trying to sterilize her.

  She was stronger. She had been stronger all along.

  • "The Assault on Cockroach Central" in Memory shows Miles' Guile Hero talents in all their glory. He's not just a master of the Indy Ploy; given time to set up his Batman Gambit, he can plot with the best of them, doing an admirable job of covering all the bases and setting up his supporting cast to supply needed lines at the proper time. (Granted, Bujold follows the Unspoken Plan Guarantee trope by not letting the reader in on the scheme in advance, helping to ensure it goes off without a hitch...)
  • In Cryoburn, Consul Vorlynkin holding off the ninjas arsonists attempting to torch a cryo-clinic, saving hundreds (or even thousands) of lives in the process. Single-handedly. With a crowbar. Which he took away from them; he was empty-handed at the start of the fight.
  • Cordelia's Shopping Trip was preceded by a long string of awesome moments.
    • After her shrink has a Critical Psychoanalysis Failure, Cordelia is about to be forcibly taken for "treatment." Two of her superior officers and a mook are there to make sure she goes. Cordelia holds the shrink's head in a fish tank to find out where the others are, and then faultlessly IndyPloys her way to safety.
    • Infiltrating the Anti-Mutiny on the General Vorkraft and stunning every man there, before escaping back to her own ship. This is when the other best idea was a head-on assault into battlefield-grade weaponry through a choke point deliberately designed as a defensive killing ground.
  • "Borders of Infinity" is one big CMOA for Miles. Drop a single man in a prisoner camp. He's a dwarf with brittle bones. He has nothing, not even clothes on. What do you think will happen ? He liberates the whole camp, of course.
  • In Shards of Honor, Vorkosigan's first truly badass scene where he gives the guy a gun and turns his back to him.
    • I told him I couldn't work with a man who made my shoulder blades itch, and this was the last chance I was going to give him for instant promotion.
  • The Zero-G Quaddie ballet in Diplomatic Immunity. After that slice of awesome, Miles thinks to himself that nobody could see that and imagine that the Quaddies were some kind of cripples or mutants.

Notes

  1. Possibly equaled, unlikely to be surpassed.
  2. Unspoken but nonetheless clearly heard are the words, I certainly don't
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