A new entry in the Omicron Matter – A Second Meeting. Millicent has arrived at the meeting hotel and proceeded to the tea room. Smith is waiting. They consider what Earth could become if it was left alone. Smith has been impressed with the work done and sees an opportunity.
Look for more tomorrow
For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.
I am finding that having Smith and Redman negotiate makes it hard to keep them “villainous”. My editor noted that Smith seemed to easy. I added a few bits to try and make him a bit more like his old hedonistic, ruthless self.
In the Tea Room
Millicent left her coat at the check room and headed to the dining room. John Smith was waiting there. A tea service was already in place. He was reading a paper while drinking a cup. Millicent sat opposite him and put a notebook down on the table. Smith said nothing. He folded the paper and then poured her a cup of the smoky Lapsang Souchang. Millicent prepared her tea and the spoon clinked in the silence. Finally she said, “I suppose I should hear their offer.”
Smith said, “That’s it? No tirade. No outrageous demands. I really had hoped for a bit more of a bargaining session. You don’t even know what the options are.”
Millicent squinted one eye and said, “Options? What options? Deal and get some paltry amount of control or don’t deal and get nothing.”
Smith put his hands out and said, “Yesterday, I said you had choices. Indulge me. What are your choices?”
Millicent put her cup down and folded her hands and looked at him for a moment. Then she looked out the window and said, “The same as our planet had. Accept the deal, whatever you’ve brought, and have junior standing in the Guild. Or don’t accept the deal. The Guild comes in force, takes over and I lose everything.” She looked at him coldly.
Smith smiled saying, “Distasteful, isn’t it. And they sent me; your family nemesis to deliver the terms. You must be questioning if the Guild is on the side of the angels at this point.”
Millicent snapped, “The Guild has no sides least of all with angels. You’re enjoying this aren’t you?”
Smith raised his hands and shrugged as if he was caught and said, “Your discomfiture? Immensely. Delivering this shake down of a deal for a group of unimaginative boors? Not in the slightest.”
He poured some more tea for each of them and then said, “Winifred has designed and produced two additions to her new hand. Pitiful Neville helped her with the electronics.”
Millicent prepared her tea and said, “I shudder to think what she added.”
Smith laughed and said, “They are remarkably innocuous. An adjustable set of micro wrenches and a variable magnifier. Now her designs in development…” he wagged his finger, “Those will raise an eyebrow or two.”
Millicent looked up at the ceiling and said, “Please spare me the details. Besides if you are showing off, I should recommend a visit to Modechai’s Watch Shop.” Millicent pointed to the notebook on the table and said, “and then there are the three who managed to decode a good portion of that.”
Smith said with a smile, “If we left them alone, the potential for patent profits is simply staggering. And they seem so remarkably adaptable.”
Millicent stayed quiet for a bit and then asked, “I don’t suppose there is a clause in the Guild’s offer that keeps this all going?”
Smith drank his tea and grimaced saying, “Hardly. It is exactly what you should expect. If you agree, you can set up a few endeavors in some isolated locations. Everything else will be brought under Guild control. ‘For the good of all and the betterment of a lesser race’ is the justification clause.”
Millicent said bitterly, “Pompous, righteous, hypocritical, self-serving, ignorant asses”
Smith smiled and said, “My thoughts exactly.” He leaned forward and looked at her intently, “And quite a few others.”