A new entry in The Omicron Matter – Conflicts of Interest. Winifred Stanhope finds John Smith and asks her question. What is this negotiation really about? Smith remains enigmatic on this matter initially. Winifred’s short patience is tried sorely, but there is a method to Smith’s madness.
Look for more tomorrow
For those who are new the Omicron Matter, the home page is a good place to start.
This was a very fun section to write. They don’t (or shouldn’t) trust each other. But there is an interest between the two. But she has much to learn. Smith will be telling a great deal tomorrow.
Smith Explains the Rules (pt 1)
Smith was jotting notes in his notebook when Winifred Stanhope arrived. She came in purposefully and sat herself down on an armchair. Smith glanced up but returned to finish the notes in his book.
When he was done, he looked up and smiled at Winifred and said, “To what do I owe this pleasure, Winifred?”
Winifred smirked back and said, “Alfred has said I need to look to the future more frequently. Since my future is tied to yours, I would like to know a bit more about what is going on.”
Smith folded his hands in his lap and said, “Mr. Redman continues to be your best asset. What is going on, you ask. About what?”
Winifred said quickly, “Try to be less condescending. This meeting with Morgaine is about more than a business transaction. You’ll trade some goods and possibly Simone’s contract. She’ll hand you the plans to some magnificent technology. You could have managed all that with couriers in the time we spent on Skilly.”
Smith said, “I expect she’ll want a great deal more for the license to sell that ‘magnificent technology’. But you are correct, there is much more.” Smith got up and pressed a button on the fireplace. Shortly an attendant arrived and he ordered a tea service. He looked at Winifred who nodded assent while rolling her eyes. The attendant scurried away quickly.
Smith said, “I find such conversation is more pleasant over a drink and it is too early for something harder.” Winifred took a deep breath and closed her eyes, Smith noted. Good. She is learning to control her temper.
She said, “You are dawdling and I find it annoying.”
Smith sat in his chair and stared back at her and said, “I am controlling the pace of this conversation. Your annoyance is of no consequence to me. I could have given you that information when you walked into the room. Then you would have left to do who knows what. Instead, we are going to enjoy a proper tea.”
Winifred snarled, “You are losing your mind. The overrun of the house and the weeks on Skilly have finally addled you.”
Smith said, “You were doing so well at holding your temper in line. As for my mind, it is as sharp as it was when I gave you a different contract from the others.” Smith made a steeple with his fingers, “I am making a point. That you are annoyed means I am making it well. You want to know what my meeting with Millicent is about? It is about information and knowledge and who controls it. She and I know better than you possibly can, that those who have the most information and knowledge will ultimately rule one way or another.”
Winifred said, “Those of us who want that information might revolt if we don’t get we want. You try my patience John Smith. Seriously? Are we waiting for tea?”
Smith said, “Your patience is being tried for 10 minutes. Morgaine and mine have been tried for decades. We are waiting for tea if you want your information.” Winifred clenched her teeth, but said nothing more. She got up and moved around the reception room of his. The window overlooked the docks. Her hands, clasped behind her back, were clenched tightly indicating her frustration. Smith smiled at the thought. Finally the tea arrived. The attendant served the tea and left the room hurriedly. Smith watched as Winifred sat down and used her robotic hand to prepare her tea. She lifted it up to her nosed and inhaled the scent in and said haughtily, “I do find Darjeeling so aromatic.” She took a sip and set the cup down and said harshly, “There, we’ve had tea. Can we dispense with further bullshit ?
Smith said into his cup as he drank, “Language Winifred! This isn’t your basement chamber of amusement and I am not one of your street urchins.” He set his cup down and said, “What is this about? It is about the control of knowledge and information. Your annoyance at that little restraint put on you was telling. And you have no idea how big a restriction you really work under.”