A New Entry in The Omicron Matter – Conflicts of Interest. Smith now has Stanhope’s full attention. The Omicron devices are just inventions that the Guild doesn’t approve of. Stanhope is appalled. Smith goes on to give the astonishing history of his and Millicent Morgaine’s planet. There is more to these negotiations than trading goods and rights.
The is the last entry in this chapter. More on Monday (good lord people – I have to write some time!)
For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the home page is a good place to start.
This chapter fills in some information that explains a great deal about his disregard of the Guild but calls into question Millicent’s loyalty to it. I did a calculation while in the shower the other day. If I put up roughly 800 words a day here, that means that I have to write 800 words a day (not including emails to disgruntled customers and annoyed bosses). That found me reaching the startling conclusion that I need to work in “days off” in which I actually write the story. I will be looking at patterns of reading and see when posting makes the most sense. I will still try to be frequent enough that regular followers (you dedicated 5 or so) won’t have to wait too long for the next installment.
Smith Explains the Rules (pt 2)
Smith got up this time and walked to the window and said, “Millicent and I come from the same planet. One that was very much like yours. Full of bright, inventive individuals. We were a world full of traders. When we finally got space travel, the galaxy was our market. Some of us were more rapacious in our dealings, “ he turned and took a small bow. “Others took pride in their honorable, if less profitable dealings…think Morgaine. Regardless of our differences in style, we were very good at controlling the markets. So much so that other traders in the galaxy formed a Guild as an economic defense. It took time, but with all the other members acting together, our home planet of traders suddenly found itself isolated and near economic collapse. We were offered limited membership in the Guild…the instrument of our collapse. If we refused, the Guild would take over and scatter us as a people and mine the planet to its core.”
Winifred was quiet now. She took a sip of the tea and said nothing. Smith nodded and continued, “You asked what this is about? I have been sent here, ostensibly under Guild request, to negotiate the transfer of control of Earth from Millicent Morgaine to the Guild.”
Winfred said quietly, “We are not the traders you and Morgaine seem to be.”
Smith smirked and said, “Hardly. The simplest child of my planet would not have been fooled by those absurd summaries I gave Neville, Edward and Simone. I learned to write contracts like that at my mother’s knee.” Smith sat down and drank some of his tea. “No…The Guild isn’t here to shut down your pathetic abilities to trade. It is worried about something much more important. You are far from the centers of politics and trade in the galaxy. That is how Morgaine and her family have managed to keep you hidden for so long. It is your abilities in science and technology that frighten the Guild.”
Winifred laughed, “That is absurd.” She held up her robotic hand and said, “This would be a hook if I didn’t die of gangrene.” She pointed to the notebook and said, “I don’t begin to understand how Camille exists or works. Your ship could burn the entire navy by itself.”
Smith said, “All of that is true. But like an older sibling who has a prodigy toddler, they can see the future. Right now they are better because they’ve been around longer. But you are catching up fast. Too fast as far as some are concerned.” He pointed to her robotic hand and asked, “How many additions have you designed now that you know its special capabilities?”
Camille, from the notebook answered for the sputtering Winifred Stanhope., “Three new designs are in testing stage. Two are still in design.”
Winifred glared at the notebook and then back at Smith, “I’ve come up with some new ideas. So what?”
Smith looked at his cup of tea and said, “The Guild fears your planet’s ability to learn and innovate just like it feared my planet’s ability to trade. It wants you controlled before things get out of hand.”
Winifred took a sip of tea and said, “And you’re here to offer terms to Millicent from the Guild.”
Smith smiled. It was a statement but it could have been a question. He steepled his fingers again and said, “You’ve never asked about the magnificent technology.”
Winifred rolled her eyes and said, “Tell me about this technology that is so wonderful.”
Smith said, “Jason McNeill’s parents managed to create not one but two devices that violate the Guild’s rules for advancement. Millicent Morgaine has the plans for two Omicron devices if the Guild’s readings are correct.”
Winifred raised her hands in exasperation, “Enlighten me. What is an Omicron device? And how did two country bumpkins from Earth manage to get the Guild in such a tizzy?”
Smith sighed dramatically and said, “We are going to have to work on your diplomacy and acting skills if you are to be any sort of ambassador. An Omicron device is a device that violates Guild approved rules. Sean and Martha McNeill developed a means to travel between the stars almost instantly and they harnessed a source of unlimited energy. They did this without Camille and without any of the gadgets you’ve seen.” Smith got up and walked to the window in the room. To put this in perspective, “I was dispatched here 20 years ago in relative time. With their fancy device, I could be back in front of the Guild in a month. With their device and energy source, they have made travel between the stars as inconsequential as a trip to Epping.”
Winifred sounded appalled for the first time that Smith could remember saying, “And the Guild wants to stop this?” Her voice rose in outrage.
Smith turned from the window and said, “Now you finally show signs of understanding. Yes, the Guild wants stop it. They stand to lose a great deal of money and power if the designs become public. Previously only authorized Guild personnel could use technology to travel so fast and it was tremendously expensive to do so.” He returned to looking out the window and said, “They will quash the technology and its creators. And they will use the same method on your planet as they did mine and Morgaine’s”
Winifred cocked her head and asked, “But your planet took the deal. You and Morgaine work for the Guild.”
Smith tightened his hands and said tersely, “Yes, Millicent Morgaine and I work for the Guild. But our planet didn’t take the deal.” He paused, collected himself and said, “I am told our parent’s generation put up a magnificent fight. That it took the Guild took months to rout all resistance. But the planet was too weak at that point and its collapse was inevitable. The Guild came in. Children below the age of adolescence were taken away. We were raised by The Guild and The Guild trained us to love the Guild, its ways and rules and made us itinerant traders and finders. Anyone older the adolescence was forced into factories and made to bleed the planet dry. My home planet, Morgaine’s, became the object lesson to any world that would oppose the Guild.”
Winifred said quietly, “And they are coming here. We don’t even know that people exist on other planets and now they are coming here.”
Smith said, “You wanted to know what this is all about. After we get the small business out of the way, I will be discussing old times with Millicent Morgaine and telling her about the Guild’s generous offer to help your backward planet.”