Another entry in The Omicron Matter – Aftermath and Resolution. Eleanor and Simone meet Liam outside the ship. While there is risk in Simone accompanying Eleanor (Smith or others could activate the collar at any point), Eleanor has the device and can counter act it. Liam takes them to Eleanor’s family factory. Eleanor must face meeting the family after her brother’s death.
Look for more tomorrow
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The ride to the Woodson Family Factory
Charles spoke, “Miss Campbell, I have signal dampers here to protect you. The coil I had put on the collar will help outside, but only so much. You need to stay close to Eleanor and the control she can counter act any signals. When Mr.McNeill is thinking clearly, he and I can work on a more permanent solution.”
Millicent said, “I don’t know what Smith will do. Killing you will poison negotiations. But Winifred seems vindictive and Smith doesn’t control her fully.”
Simone looked down at her feet. Eleanor moved close and put her head on Simone’s forehead and said quietly, “You got me through last week. I will do what I can to help you now. We will make this work.”
Simone nodded a little then straightened and squared her shoulders and said, “I am tired of my life being dictated by Smith and Stanhope, or by my family before them. Is there a place where I can see how this horrid thing works?”
Millicent and Charles said simultaneously, “The Science Lab.”
Eleanor smiled. She had hardly known Simone before her week in Smith’s basement. But they had spent that week surviving between the visits of Winifred, Brown, Alfred and Neville. They talked. Mostly the talk was to restore sanity. But they also talked of family, of interests, of favorite spots in London, of what their dreams were. Prior to that week, Eleanor had viewed Simone as flighty, if very intelligent. Eleanor thought she would make some professor a lovely lab assistant cum financier cum inamorata. Simone had viewed her as intelligent but remote, socially backward and limited by her working class roots.
Simone had confessed that she had thought of inviting Eleanor to one of her costume parties as a bit of joke and was going to ask her to wear African garb. Eleanor had been angry when Simone had admitted to that bit of social treachery. But then Eleanor had shaken her head and explained that her father never would have allowed her out of the factory regardless of the inappropriateness of the costume. Simone had been shocked at how little freedom Eleanor had before the events of last week. Eleanor found that Simone had plenty of freedom as long as she understood that she would be joining the family firm working as an accountant. No matter that she had top scores in chemistry or metal work: Campbells worked in the firm managing insurance on other people’s risk. Simone was welcome to “slum” a bit at the university as long as she was ready to fill her place in the end. Smith’s offer of a 10 week holiday was just fine for her parents. At least for Eleanor being stuck at the factory seemed more honest.
The two bundled for winter with coats and hand mufflers and headed out the ship down the ramp. At the bottom of the ramp was a wiry medium height man who might have been in his thirties. He greeted the two of them, “Good morning Ladies…It is still morning. You are looking lovely and much better. I hope a couple of nights rest has helped with matters. I am Liam O’Hannigan esq. Your ride, assistant and gallant fop for today.”
Eleanor and Simone giggled at the introduction and curtsied in reply.
Charles, the voice, commented, “Ladies, you are just encouraging that rapscallion. Heed any of his advice with caution. He will ply you with cheap booze and make foolish advances.”
Liam rose from his bow and said, “I never ply with cheap booze and my advances are never foolish. Now ladies your carriage and noble mare await.” He then led them to the warehouse door. As they walked, Eleanor glanced back at the ship and gasped. Simone pulled her along to the door but she was sure she saw one light on the beautiful ship wink off and on.
Outside of the old warehouse, a standard black taxi waited with a gray mare at the front. The horse eyed the three. Liam went to the horse and said, “Those are the lasses we rescued a couple of nights ago. They need a proper ride now.” To Eleanor’s amazement, the horse bobbed her head towards Eleanor and Simone and then faced forward and tapped the ground with one foot. Liam patted the horse’s neck and said, “Good girl” and waved Eleanor and Simone to the passenger cab. As he assisted them in he said, “I expect we will get to your factory first Miss Woodson. “ Liam then climbed up to the driver’s seat and urged Betsy, the horse, on.
The taxi pulled in front of “Woodson and Sons” furniture factory. There was a black wreath on the door. Eleanor’s eyes grew teary as she thought of Thomas. Liam said, “Miss Woodson? I expect your family is waiting. They could stand a bit of good news.”
Eleanor dabbed her eyes, “You’re right of course Mr. O’Hannigan.” She climbed down from the taxi and waited for Simone. She sniffed a bit, straightened the front of her jacket and her hat and then turned around and headed to the door. Simone followed Eleanor as Liam climbed down from his high seat and curried Betsy.