A new entry in the Omicron Matter – Joint Ventures. John and Neville Carter-Frasier have gotten the console in place. But matters are still not settled between John and Findley Brown. A conversation on their respective roles follows the work.
For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.
There is a fair amount of implied history in this chapter. John discusses his history in more detail in Chapter 24 of the Recruiting matter.
Thank you for your support. Look for more on Wednesday.
Working on the Console
Brown responded, “Go ahead and start. I’ll be back in a moment.”
John shook his head as the relationship played itself out. He gestured to the far side of the engine room. Behind some crates, Brown swung his fist. John easily blocked it and threw his own punch hard into solar plexus. Brown collapsed at his feet with his mouth working like a fish out of water as his shocked diaphragm refused to work. John lifted Brown up and set up on a crate and said, “You’re an idiot. Do ya’ think you’re the first to try and surprise me in an engine room? Da’ sent men to fight me when he couldn’t beat me proper.” John straightened his shirt cuffs and said, “Don’t imagine your father taught you those lessons.” John made a show of straightening Brown’s collar as breath returned. “I took your snide remarks and rude comments for four years thinking it was some odd game you all played. I thought if I played it right, you’d hire me on to a proper engineer’s job.” John brushed some dirt away from Brown’s shoulder. Brown slapped his hand away. John’s eyes narrowed and he said lowly, “I’ve had almost a year to contemplate that mistaken idea.”
Brown stretched and said in a high pitched voice, “God, you were so boring with all that philosophy and high manners.” John cracked his knuckles and leaned against a crate. “ Brown stood up and said, “My father hire you? Winifred’s or Edward’s? Maybe to sweep the halls.” Brown rubbed his sore belly and said, “You were the exotic East Ender we could take to parties. Your airs were a private joke to us. Nobody took you seriously.”
John smiled thinly and said, “I found that out eventually. “
Brown pointed back to the pedestal, “That little episode just shows blood tells. You’re a brawler with a lot of useless books. Your type are good for the heavy work. Leave the managing to your betters.”
John stepped towards Brown who stepped back. John snapped, “My better?” He grabbed Brown’s shirt again and lifted him up, “I stopped taking orders from you a year ago. And you showed your true colors when you spent a week raping Simone and Eleanor by turns to show how much better you were going to be.” He threw Brown against the crate. He said quietly, “I’ve got no use for your ideas of better.” And headed back towards the working area.
Brown stood up again and said, “Don’t be so sure, you Irish ox. Things can change back and they just might. When they do, I will remember today.”
John turned around and said, “And I will be remembering coming into the basement. The only reason I tolerate your presence is because I am told to and you know a bit about mechanics.” He narrowed his eyes and said, “Otherwise I would beat you to pulp and then leave you for Simone and Eleanor to finish.”
Brown laughed and said, “I don’t know whose face I will enjoy more when things fall apart. Yours or McNeill’s.” Brown paced around and said, “You really don’t get it. This little adventure is doomed to failure. Your Morgaine can’t prevail. I don’t think Smith even thinks it’s going to work. Bully me all you want now. But sides are being picked again and you don’t want to be on the wrong one again.”
John watched Brown pace with nervous energy and John said, “There might be sides, Brown, but I am taking my home’s side. Our planet, dammit.”
Brown threw his hands in front and said mockingly, “Our planet. Our planet will be ruled by someone else when this is over. Best to side with the group that is going to win.”
John said, “You should read history, Brown. I don’t think worked for the Africans, Indians or Chinese.”
Brown said, “It did for some. I think the rajs are doing rather well. I certainly would rather be the raj than the coolie. You can switch John. You know the paces now.”
John laughed and then said, “Even if I was willing to sell England for a pound, I’ve heard this song before Brown. It did not work out for some reason.”
Brown waved his hand in a dismissive fashion, “You’d never work out in our office. Despite a smooth accent, cultural references and fancy clothes, you would never be anything but an invader of the norm. This is different. It’s Cortez and the Aztecs. It’s the East India Company. Both of them had their local patronage. There is plenty to share here and the old order will be swept away.”
John said simply, ”With you and Stanhope in charge.”
“Like we should be, O’Malley. Like we should be.”
John shook his head said, “You’re delusional. But at least you’re honest now.” He crossed his arms and said, “I still don’t see how you are going to get past Millicent and Smith.”
Brown got quiet and said, “Doesn’t matter. This is all hypothetical.” He brushed his hands and said, “I’ve got work to do and headed back towards Carter-Frasier.