The Omicron Matter – Animus Possidendi – Getting Into the Tea Room


A new entry in The Omicron Matter – Animus Possidendi. Liam and Alfred, having consulted now head into the tea room. The maitre d of the posh hotel is not used to such earth characters and is initially resistant. But Liam and Alfred convince him that it is in his best interest to take them to Smith and Millicent. Having arrived, they inject themselves into the negotiations which disrupts Smith’s and Millicent’s original flow and annoys both. Millicent, in particular, is annoyed with Liam.

For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.

Author’s notes

This is a long entry. I might have been able to break it up, but it just sort of flows from one scene to the next. This chapter and the next start to throw antagonistic characters together and see where it will go. Liam is an East-ender with cockney accent. Alfred is more refined but still working class. Both are in service (albeit different types).  Liam also is now placed in a position where he needs to contradict Millicent and this  may cause problems.

With the slowed cadence, I am getting a decent backlog built up and I may return to a slightly more frequent posting. My readership has dropped off significantly and I want to build it back up, but I am not going to go rushing back in to daily posts.

Happy reading and thanks for your support.

Getting Into the Tea Room

The two men headed up the stairs. Inside the building, they slipped off their coats. Liam was aware of the staff staring at them as they walked about. Redman moved as if he was not aware.  He simply gestured Liam toward the tea room.

At the front of the room, the maître d stopped them and said, “I’m sorry …gentleman. We are booked for the morning.”

Redman frowned looking over the room with empty tables.  Liam addressed the officious man saying, “Seems to be plenty of seats.”

The maître smiled unctuously saying, “These are all reserved.”

Alfred shook his head and then straightened his sleeves and said, “No matter, sir. We’ll be joining two others already here.” He moved to walk into the room, but the maître d stepped in front of him and said, “If you’ll give me your names, I’ll see if you are expected.”

Liam saw Redman smile thinly. He also noticed one hand seemed to slip in his vest as he said, “We are really going for a bit of surprise.” Redman turned to Liam and said, “Mr. O’Hannigan. Are you as tired of this prig as I am?” Suddenly a he had a long knife out and was cleaning his nails.

Liam understood his role in this dance and leaned into the now shaking maître d and said, “Everyone thinks he’s the polite one what with his fancy dress and Southender accent. Just shows clothes don’t make the man. Ain’t that right, Alfred.” Alfred only smiled darkly at the maître. “Now me, I understand service and all the duties. You’re just doing your job keeping us waiting.  But now you’ve made Alfred impatient and gotten on his bad side.” Liam nodded to Alfred who narrowed his eyes and pretended to inspect a newly cleaned fingernail. Liam said, “So are you going to let us in to see our friends?  I can guarantee a nice tip…Or do I go outside for a bit and let me associate convince you?” Alfred stopped cleaning his nails and stared at the maître.

The maître gulped and pulled at his collar a bit and then said, “Most unusual. Most. Who are these people you want to see? I’ll take you to them, if only to correct this scandalous behavior.”

Liam put his arm around the discomfited maître d and smiled broadly at Redman saying, “Now see, Alfred. He’s trying to meet us half way. I told you he could see reason.”

Redman flicked his knife away quickly and said, “Mr. Smith and Miss Morgaine. As Liam, here said,  we’ve brought them here so we should be no big surprise.”

The maître nodded vigorously and looked a bit less nervous with the knife now gone. He turned a page and said, “Ah yes, the table by the window. Follow me.” The man slipped away from Liam and moved quickly and glanced back multiple times as Liam and Redman followed him through the tables. Other patrons stared at them, but Liam now longer cared. They turned a corner and arrived at a lone table next to the window with Smith and Millicent. Liam handed the man two crowns and then said, “Mr. Smith and Mr. Morgaine. These two demanded to see you. They were most insistent and in most uncouth terms.”

Smith and Millicent looked at the two and then at each other.  Smith pinched his brow and said, “I have no doubt you were forced in some fashion.”

Millicent stifled a smiled and then said, “Thank you for bringing them over. Mr. Smith and I will deal with them. Now if you will bring over a second tea service for these two, I will make sure the inconvenience won’t be too onerous.”

Liam put his hand on the maître d, who flinched at the touch and said quietly in his ear, “See? You’ll get another tip on top of that pound I just slipped you. It’s all good.”

The maître bowed to Smith and Millicent and said, “My apologies for this disruption. Please talk with these men about proper stations in life.” He turned on his heal and stormed off.

Liam shouted at his back loud enough for other patrons to here, “Oy! Chairs! For a pound, we ought to some fancy chairs.”

Millicent hissed, “Mr. O’Hannigan. A bit of decorum.”

Redman said in a friendly voice, “Mustn’t be too hard on Mr. O’Hannigan. To be honest, I had grown tired of that man’s delays and I took a …more direct approach. Mr. O’Hannigan was the soul of diplomacy by comparison. “

Millicent looked at Liam and then rolled her eyes.  Smith finally asked, “We expected some contact considering the meetings between you and Miss Weiz. However, I think we both expected a bit of notice.”

Liam shifted on his feet, but Redman stepped in and said, “Again, this is my initiative rather than O’Hannigan’s. The organizing group felt showing a bit of urgency and a unified front will make our…requests? Positions? Seem a bit more forceful.”

Millicent smiled behind the napkin and said, “And you two will be representing the joint group of contractors?”

Smith tapped his finger and said, “Winifred and Findley agreed to this?”

Redman frowned a bit, paused and then said, “After a bit of convincing, Winifred conceded that she might not be viewed favorably by Miss Morgaine’s group.  After this epiphany, she convinced or at least silenced Findley. I won’t say she was happy.  But she is relieved that Miss Morgaine’s group is not represented by Miss Weiz.“

Millicent rolled her eyes at the exchange and then looked at Liam, “You agreed to this,  Mr. O’Hannigan?”

Liam coughed into his hand and said, “Rachael and John were most insistent and no one else would take the position. “

Smith laughed as the second tea service and chairs arrived. Tea was served. Liam and Redman relaxed a bit as they sat down and prepared their cups.

Smith asked, “And what are your…requests?”

Liam set his cup down, squared his shoulders and said, “No more telling us what is going to happen. If you are deciding about Earth, we get consulted and get input. “

Redman added, “Until appropriate representation from Earth is determined.”

Millicent said, “And what decisions do you want to consult on?”

Redman said, “ The obvious one. What to do or how to respond to this Guild Sanction.”

Smith tapped his finger on his knee, pursed his lips and said, “What if the Guild refuses to speak with you?”

Liam said, “We’re the Biscuit and Cookies [1]here. We know you are the ones they’re gonna listen to. We gonna need you to convince them to listen to us. “

Millicent said, “There is another…”

Liam saw Smith make a quick hand signal and Millicent stopped and frowned, but said nothing more.  Smith continued for her, “Another complexity will be who we deal with when we get there and what you need to say.” He nodded said, “I see no problem with this request. We can discuss your roles before we get to the Guild complex. What else?”

Redman had seen the exchange and tilted his head in response. He paused for a moment straightened himself and held his lapels as he said, “Mr. O’Hannigan and myself get authority to resolve disputes between the groups. We need you two to say our word stands.”

Smith smirked a bit and said, “Again, you managed to get Winifred and Findley to agree to this?”

Millicent asked Liam, “Jason agreed to this?”

Liam shrugged and said, “I think it took some convincing on both sides. Practically speaking, if we are going to work together, there are going to be squabbles. Our group agreed to abide with rules.  Charles and Camille will assist.”

Smith said, “We’re going to need some agreement on what punishments are ‘adequate’, but that is one less headache for me.”

Millicent nodded her own assent.

Redman said, “I thought you’d agree. The last bit is more commercial in nature. We want some clarification on the contracts regarding jointly discovered patent profits.”

Smith smiled broadly and said, “You people have remarkable promise.”

Millicent said, “They have rarely disappointed me. “

Smith said, “I should think a 50/50 split between the groups.”

Liam said, “Begging your pardon, but we currently have 5 engineers plus Felicity and myself. Six if you count Simone.”

Smith said, “Simone signed away any patentable profits. As did Millicent’s, I might add.”

Millicent signaled for Liam to hush, but he continued on, “You have four in hand plus Mr. Redman here.  Simone wouldn’t have done any of that work if we hadn’t rescued her.” Smith frowned at that phrase. Liam leaned forward and said, “50/50 seems unfair.”

Smith glanced sideways at Millicent and said, “So Simone’s done significant work…that does overall negotiations a bit.” Millicent ground her teeth and stared and Liam. Liam looked back at Smith. Smith smiled at Millicent and said, “My contract will take precedence at the Guild and you know it.” Liam looked confused. Smith turned to Liam and said, “As it turns out Miss Morgaine and I were starting to hammer out the details surrounding our …membership at the moment. It seems  your input could be valuable. Don’t you agree, Millicent?”

Millicent folded her arms and said, “I am not sure. This is a discussion of trading resources and does not involve earth directly.”

Smith countered, “Just where you and I do our work.”

Millicent snapped, “Who does the work is of no concern?”

Liam and Redman watched the exchange like a badminton match with the comments flying back and forth.

At the last comment, Redman raised his hand and said, “Since the resources in question at the moment are the people we will be representing, I think we have a consultation role here.”

Smith said tightly, “Stop helping, Alfred.”

Redman glared back at Smith and said, “Strangely enough…John, I am doing my job and representing the group’s interests. Perhaps O’Hannigan and I can be more helpful, if we know all the arrangements on the table?”

Smith looked at Millicent and made a small nod. Millicent remained mute. Then Smith steepled his fingers and said, “Miss Morgaine and I were discussing the disposition of my contractors. She has expressed interest in assuming the contracts of some of my contractor. Campbell’s , Wayland’s  and Carter-Fraiser’s specifically. “

Redman smiled and said, “I’m not sure Neville will thank you for that.”

Millicent said, “I’ve been told as much.”

Smith smiled and nodded to Millicent, “Right now, Morgaine is offering 30% share in profits from the Omicron devices developed from Mr. McNeill’s notebooks in exchange for the contractors and support in front of the Guild, but no rights to work here. I am asking for 50% rights in the Omicron devices and rights to work on your planet in future, in exchange for Campbell and Wayland plus support in front of the Guild.  There are some other details of no consequence to be worked out, but that is the summary. “ Millicent’s eyebrows raised slightly at the last comment.

Liam eyed the two carefully and said, “Seems like you’ve plenty of room for negotiation.”

Smith smiled broadly saying, “My thoughts exactly.”

Millicent said quickly, “Mr. Smith. I think it might be valuable for the two of us to consult privately with the two representatives.”

Smith pursed his lips for a moment and then said with a smile, “An excellent idea. However, let’s make it interesting. I meet with O’Hannigan and you meet with Redman.”

Her eyes narrowed tightly, “I would really rather meet briefly with Mr. O’Hannigan first.”

Smith said, “Now he would hardly be considered an honest broker if you told him what to do.”

Liam gulped a bit. Millicent said slowly, “Very well. I’ll meet with Mr. Redman.  Liam, don’t you dare give away the house.”

Before Liam could respond, Smith said, “Excellent, then we should go discuss matters on the table.” Smith got up and signaled for Liam to do the same. He glanced at Millicent who merely nodded in Smith’s direction. She grimaced and said, “I look forward to Mr. Redman’s insights on an equitable split.” Redman glanced at Smith with narrowed eyes and said, “Any information that will help us move forward.”

Smith grabbed Liam’s elbow and said, “Mr. O’Hannigan come along. We can talk in the lobby.” Liam followed along as the tall man led him back through the tea room.

[1] Biscuit and Cookie – Rookie

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