Also this bit (from Chapter 5) is possibly the best metaphor ever:
Ivan started the coffee, sat at his secured comconsole, grimaced, and fired it up to find out what all had arrived in the admiral’s inbox since last shift.
Ivan had developed a personal metaphor for this first task (after the coffee) of the day. It was like opening one’s door to find that an overnight delivery service had left a large pile of boxes on one’s porch, all marked “miscellaneous.” In reality, they were all marked “Urgent!” but if everything was urgent, in Ivan’s view they might as well all be labeled miscellaneous.
Each box contained one of the following: live, venomous, agitated snakes on the verge of escape; quiescent venomous snakes; non-venomous garden snakes; dead snakes; or things that looked like snakes but weren’t, such as large, sluggish worms. It was Ivan’s morning duty to open each box, identify the species, vigor, mood, and fang-count of the writhing things inside, and sort them by genuine urgency.