A new entry in The Recruiting Matter – Mission to Save Eleanor. Millicent has worked her way into the house while Smith retreated into the basement. In exploring the office, she finds an important device of Smith’s. As Smith returns from the basement with his recruits he brings shattering news which changes everything. Millicent finds herself forced to negotiate with Smith.
Look for more tomorrow.
Millicent- in the house
Millicent stayed low at the base of the stairs as an occasional shot came out of the shattered doorway. She hadn’t kept track, but Smith had to run out of bolts sometime. She returned fire in short bursts to annoy Smith with the knowledge he hadn’t hit her. There was a loud muffled scream of a woman and then heard Smith curse, “Dammit, how hard can it be?” Millicent couldn’t see Smith and he now seemed to be gone. Millicent headed up the stairs quickly and sheltered behind the wall and glanced in. She could see three maids, trembling and crying quietly at the top of stairs going to the upper floors.
Millicent stared at one and said, “Get out. I won’t hurt you. Just leave. Now!” Whatever doubts they had were overcome with Millicent’s command tone. They ran down the stairs, out the broken door and out into the street. Millicent could hear whistles in the distance. The commotion was finally attracting the local constabulary.
Millicent worked her way into the house. Her feet crunched on broken glass and brick as she walked in the hallway. She looked right and saw a room with a large desk. She ducked into that room and looked at the desk. There was a copy of Smith’s full contract. She slipped it into her satchel. She checked the drawers. They held the usual assortment of stuff: ink wells, pen nibs, drying sand. In a bottom drawer was a notebook. Millicent’s eyes brightened. She didn’t look at it; she simply put it in her satchel. Another drawer held a standard pistol. She took that and put the beam weapon in her belt and armed herself with the pistol.
There was a commotion in the hall. She headed to the door and looked about. Neville Carter-Fraser burst up into the hallway from the basement. She didn’t hesitate. She fired the pistol and Neville grunted and fell to the floor. She could hear Smith’s voice snarl, “Get up you wimp and head to the back. We’re done here. Move Carter-Fraser”. Neville groaned but crawled towards the back door and out of Millicent’s sight. Smith fired his beam weapon down the hall scorching the floral wall paper toward the office. He shouted, “Morgaine, I tried negotiating. My sponsor said you wouldn’t, but I tried.”
Millicent pulled out her own beam weapon and fired towards the basement door. She shouted back in outrage, “Negotiate? Negotiate? You imprisoned, raped and tortured one of my recruits after you killed her brother.” She fired her weapon at the door again. “You call that negotiation? You shouldn’t even be here. But if you wanted to bloody well negotiate you should have announced yourself. But no! You just started poaching on my territory.” She fired again.
Smith shouted back, “I’m leaving Morgaine. We’re not done here. But I am leaving. Now we can keep trading shots until our weapons fail. But I’ve lost my patience. Stanhope needs help and a couple of your ruffians need tending to. You let me out the back with Stanhope and Carter-Fraser and you get to pick up the pieces in the basement. What say?”
Millicent fired her weapon. “Not enough. Leave my planet.”
Smith fired back and said, “I’m only leaving this building, Morgaine. Decide fast. Miss Weiz was having trouble breathing. It seems Miss Stanhope got a luck shot in.”
Millicent heard a slurry, “not lucky”. Millicent’s heart started beating faster and she shouted, “Smith, what have you done to Rachael?”
Smith shouted back, “Not me. Miss Stanhope. I can’t say for sure. But ‘spine injury’ comes to mind. Still not negotiating?”
Millicent shot the beam at the roof in frustration.
Smith persisted, “Those are tricky even with our technology. God help her in this septic backwater. Mr. O’Malley’s quite distraught. That hanger on of yours took some acid to her face as well. Neville was useful for a change.”
Millicent closed her eyes. She opened them and stared at her hands as if they were strangers. She croaked out, “Smith, leave. Leave now before I change my mind. Jason McNeill is in the back. Leave him unharmed.”
Smith shouted back, “I knew you could be reasonable in a pinch, Morgaine. If that strapping young man isn’t already hurt, he won’t be harmed by me. But call that brute off now.”
Millicent pulled back from the hall and leaned back against the wall, “Charles, tell Jason to stand down. Tell him to let Smith and the others out and come in afterwards.”
Charles replied, “Relaying message”
Smith came out into the hallway. He was holding Winifred Stanhope up. She had red spots around her face and head. She was limping. But the worst were her arms. Both were bent at funny angles. But one was bandaged, bloody and shorter. She felt a small degree of satisfaction until she heard Liam shouting, “Millicent, we need help.”
For those who are new to the recruiting matter, The Recruiting Matter Home Page is a good place to learn and start the story. Thanks for your support.