A new entry in the Omicron Matter – Joint Ventures. Working arranges have been settled and now the test vehicles need to be built. Rachael and John, by agreement, are working on Smith’s ship which is now settled in Bristol. While Rachael might be willing to set aside difference in light of the larger threat, not everyone is and that makes working with Winifred Stanhope a challenge.
For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.
These next two sections with John and Rachael provided me with some of the best dialog and scenes in a while. Meanwhile, work is continuing on the next chapter. I am almost done with it. I will be spreading this one out a bit to give me a chance to finish typing the next chapter.
Thanks for your support. Look for more on Wednesday.
A warehouse in East Bristol
Working on the Drones
Rachael swore quietly as she tried to winkle the hoops into place. “Too many damn moving parts. Ow! Dammit!” Another knuckle was scrapped on some exposed switch or lead.
She heard Stanhope’s voice say in a sing song tone from the other drone, “Problems, clock maker?”
Rachael rolled her eyes and thought not being “Yid” or “Bitch” was a significant improvement. Rachael said back, “In the clock shop, I can take the works out of the case. I have scraped every knuckle on both my hands.” She leaned around the drone she was working on and said, “But that is less of a problem for you.”
Stanhope pulled her head out of the drone hatch and said, “Very true.” She pulled her hand out. The metal fingers were extended and bent in odd directions. She looked at the strange configuration appraisingly, “I am finding it much easier to do some types of work.”
Rachael watched the fingers rearrange and configure themselves into the conventional hand shape she was used to. She pointed to her own hatch and said, “You can probably mount this faster than it would take for you to explain your superiority.” She bowed in her chair and said in a mocking voice, “If it wouldn’t be too much trouble…”
Stanhope walked over to Rachael and Charles’ drone and said, “Happy to help you finish your job for you.”
Rachael rolled back from the drone. Rachael watched Stanhope lift the hoops device with her mechanical hand. Stanhope’s remaining hand steadied the device as she moved it into the chamber. It slipped easily in place. Rachael then only heard whirring as Stanhope tightened the attachments. Then there was the sound of gas.
Rachael asked, “What are you doing now?”
Stanhope said, “Welding it in place.”
Rachael said, “How convenient.”
Stanhope pulled her mechanical out and lit the welding torch in one of her fingers. She said, “I am find it so.”
Rachael rolled up and looked at the newly emplaced device with its multiple hoops. It was similar in design to the picture in the book and was a smaller version of the one restored from the pond. The four concentric hops moved easily to her touch. Rachael stared at the attached wires making sure they matched her diagrams. She asked, “Very neat.” She turned around and said, “I still don’t understand why we couldn’t remove the drone casing and work that way.”
Stanhope answered quickly, “To preserve the hull integrity. After all, we’re sending passengers up there.”
Camille piped up, “That is not really true, Miss Stanhope. The hull case is self-sealing and everything that matters is vacuum safe. “
Rachael saw the frown and heard a strain in Stanhope’s voice, “A precaution then. We wouldn’t want our passengers to be uncomfortable.”
Camille said quietly, “I might.”
Rachael finished with the last wires and said, “They’re rats, Stanhope. I want them alive so we can study effects of travel. But I won’t shed many tears if they die…but that seems unlikely.” She paused and looked one more time.
Stanhope tapped her foot impatiently and snapped, “I would have that done ages ago. If you can’t handle the small work Weiz, get out of the way and I’ll do it right.”
Rachael closed the panel and pulled away. She bowed and said, “Done yer high and mightiness.” Then straightened up and said, “And you and your fancy hand would never have wound these hoops without my help.” Rachael glanced at the open hatch and said, “Camille, check the circuits please.”
After a pause, Camille responded, “Everything is functioning with parameters. There is one anomaly.”
Rachael turned and asked, “What is it?”
Stanhope interrupted Camille and asked, “Will it affect the device or the drone’s flight?”
Camille paused and said, “No…the anomaly is in the…”