The Omicron Matter – Joint Ventures – Planning

A new entry in the Omicron Matter – Joint Ventures. Millicent’s crew has returned from Prague and work on the devices is to begin in earnest. As per agreement, the devices will be built for both ships. But that requires a degree of cooperation. Smith is short on people and doesn’t have the plans. The groups will need to find a way to work together. Before such things can happen, a meeting to arrange things must take place. Winifred Stanhope comes and then adds an unexpected requirement into the mix.

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

Author’s Note

I am sure in one of my writing books, it says “add protagonists and antagonists and stir thoroughly.” This chapter is the “stir thoroughly chapter”.  Through the course of the writing, I have made several pairings that made for very interesting conversation.  I have also introduced some important plot twists to watch for.  This is a long entry but it opens up a very long chapter.  I will also note this section “Building” (note to self – pick better section title) is long and will get longer. Part of this is that the sections represent key markers and I need to get to those markers. And in the normal cycle of a book there are four markers.  I may revisit this later for organization sake.

Look for more on Friday


Millicent, Liam and Rachael waited in the large room at the Savoy in London.  Liam paced up and down the intricate Persian carpet. Rachael muttered, “will you stop pacing? You’re wearing a path in the carpet.”

Liam snapped, “You’re a fine one. Winifred Stanhope will be coming to this meeting and you’re acting like it is tea and crumpets with the Sunday ladies.”

Rachael set her cup down and said, “Because it is. And it is because I want it to be that way.”

Millicent sat her own cup down and said, “What a fascinating idea. Have you been spending too much time with John and Charles?”

Rachael smiled and said, “Probably. But, that’s not why I say that.  I simply will not let those people annoy me before they even get here. And if they try, my not being annoyed will perturb them further. “ She drank her cup calmly and said, “Winfred spent four years feeding off the annoyance of myself and others. I have no intention of feeding the beast further.”

Millicent picked up her cup and drank her tea and said, “You can learn a thing or two from her, Liam. Stop pacing…” At that moment there was a knock, “Regardless now. Our counterparts have arrived. Liam, the door?”

Liam straightened his coat, nodded to Millicent and Rachael and then opened the door.  Alfred Redman strode in, surveyed the room and then waved in the others. Winifred Stanhope came in first. She removed her cloak, tall hat and gloves and placed them on settee . She flexed her robotic hand smiling darkly at Rachael and took a seat on the couch with her outer garments.  Alfred took off his long dark coat. He wore a colorful vest that concealed bulges of a lethal nature. The tall Smith came in and handed his coat and hat to Liam. Liam rolled his eyes and placed the items without care on the reception desk in the room. Liam muttered “Prig.” Smith merely smiled and took his place on the settee with Stanhope and crossed his legs.  Liam moved behind Millicent and observed the group.

Rachael smiled at Redman and said, “Looking dapper as ever, Mr. Redman.”

Redman bowed slightly and said, “The pant dress suits you well.”

Rachael smoothed the cloth on her lap a bit and said, “I had to get Michael to draw a picture and the seamstress still had doubts. I would prefer a narrower cut, but I refuse to buy clothes from a man’s tailor.”

Winifred Stanhope snorted as she sat saying, “Where did you go before? I’m sure I couldn’t tell.”

Liam hissed, “Prissy bitch.”

Millicent put her hand on Liam’s arm to quiet him. Liam heard Smith say, “Winifred, you promised to be civil. Good or ill… you will work with Miss Weiz.”

Liam smiled slightly as he saw Stanhope flush and then glare at Smith. She then turned to Rachael and said, “Excuse me the trip has me a bit confused. What I meant to say is …you must find the outfit convenient with your…condition.”

Liam saw Alfred roll his eyes, but Rachael smiled and said, “I imagine you have quite the collection of gloves. I’ll be happy to show my collection of feminine trousers for a glance of your stash.” She glanced up the clock and said, “Shall we trade insults, Winifred? Or figure out how we will be cooperating? Frightening and appalling as the thought is, you and I may be best qualified to work together.” Liam grinned. Stanhope tapped her metal fingers on the table making an odd clacking sound.

Then Stanhope said, “Appalling as it is, there isn’t much choice is there? Smith warned me I would have distasteful tasks when working on his contract.  I hadn’t figured it would be so soon. Let’s get this meeting over with so I can get some fresh air.”

Rachael leaned forward smiling and said in a low conspiratorial tone, “Couldn’t agree more. It has gotten unaccountably stuffy in here in the last few minutes.”

Liam could tell Millicent was rolling her own eyes as she said, “Now that we have the pleasantries out of the way. I’ve sent over the plans and material requirements via Charles.”

Smith said, “We have a surplus of Uranium. There are some very good sources out of Africa. However it seems someone has cornered the local market on Yttrium. “Liam kept his face blank.  The little exchange in Prague might have been more expensive than he would like, but it was worth it to see Smith’s annoyance.

Millicent smiled as she said, “I am certain  we have enough Yttrium to help finish devices for the two ships.”

Smith leaned back and said, “No doubt.”

In this moment, Stanhope asked, “Have these devices been tested on anything?”

Rachael said, “The notebooks listed some test results on plants. There seemed to be no damage.”

Stanhope looked at the ceiling and said, “Plants!? Plants! We are gambling our lives on ‘plants showing no damage’?”

Liam eyes narrowed and he said, “Scared Missy? Doesn’t seem like you.”

Charles spoke from a notebook and said, “I have a set of rats we can use.”

Camille added, “If you don’t like his, there are plenty trying to get into my warehouse.”

Stanhope ignored the comments and said, “Right now we are planning full scale models. We are assuming Morgaine’s band of pretenders got it right.”

Millicent snapped, “Fine, Miss Stanhope. What do you propose?”

Stanhope filled in  quickly, “We build a smaller version of the devices on one or two of the drones and send rats.”

Camille added, “Do we have to bring the back?”

Charles said, “Excellent question.”

Smith eyes narrowed, “Whose drones?”

Charles and Camille said simultaneously , “Hers” and “His”

Stanhope said, “One of each…If it works, there might be a market for such small devices traveling like that.”

There was quiet for a moment and then Millicent said, “If we could notify multiple parties at once…”

Smith coughed loudly into his hand interrupting. He glanced at Alfred Redman, and then back at his fingernails.  Redman merely stared back.  Smith said, “If one had such needs, they would be invaluable.”  He looked from Rachael to Stanhope and back and then said, “Can you stand being around each other long enough to design and build two?”

Liam watched Rachael and Stanhope stare at each other for moment. Rachael spoke first, “It’s Winifred’s idea.  Testing is a good idea. She has my help if she wants it.”

Stanhope said, “You said I face unpleasant situations.” She looked at her hand and then said, “Weiz knows her way around miniatures and labs. It will go quicker with her. We do the work in my shop.”

Liam shouted, “Now wait just a second.”

Rachael put her hand to Liam and said, “Simone and Eleanor will kill her in her sleep on our ship.” She nodded to Stanhope and said, “Your lab, but John will be there to assist with the start of the full scale model.”

Millicent asked, “We can start work on the full scale before you finish your toys?”

Rachael said, “Simone can start producing the wire. Jason can start building the console on our ship. Neville can probably build it on theirs. Eleanor can help with the large machine work on ours. John’s the best man at that stuff and he’ll be with me on Smith’s. The consoles are knobs, dials and wires.”

Smith said to Millicent, “Your people are crawling over my ship and I have no one on yours.”

Rachael cocked her head at him and said, “Who do you think would last the week from your crew?”

Smith eyed Rachael narrowly and then said, “That is problematic…very well but only for this test and consulting as necessary.”

Rachael said, “Wouldn’t want to overstay our welcome.”

Smith coughed into his hand and said, “Patents.”

Millicent straightened and said, “Right…Mr. O’Hannigan and Mr. Redman will you please stay so we can manage the patent splits with you.”

Liam groaned, but Redman bowed and said, “I will need to attend to Miss Stanhope’s transportation needs first.”

Winifred Stanhope protested saying, “I am hardly invalid, Alfred.”

Alfred Redman looked her sternly and said, “I must insist.” He paused, smiled at John Smith and looked at Rachael and said, “so many ruffians today and they disguise themselves so well.” Smith steepled his fingers but said nothing.

Millicent gave no clue that she saw anything and waved them out.  Rachael followed, leaving Millicent, Liam and Smith.

Liam said, “Since we all are in the know, am I the only one who thinks that drone idea is bit pen and ink?”

Millicent said, “Redman knows something.”

Smith frowned and said, “He knows something. The question is what he told Miss Stanhope.” He folded his hands, leaned back and said, “She has such potential, but her ambitions will be her undoing.”


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