The Omicron Matter – The Start of a Journey – Winifred in her quarters

A new entry in the Omicron Matter – The Start of a Journey. Winifred has been confined to her quarters for days now.  Her boredom has only be broken by the arrival of meals and the occasional book. She has been communicating with Findley and laying out possibilities. She knew confinement was likely when she sent off the drone.  She will suffer this indignity now knowing it will be avenged later.

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

Author’s note

It’s 3 AM and I am staring at the ceiling. An idea comes to my head – put all the antagonists in a room and have an argument.  Perhaps I should eat earlier and work on better sleeping habits.  Nevertheless, Winifred has some plans and we need to start preparing her for their fruition.

Thank you for your support. Look for more on Friday

Winifred  – in her quarters

She wore the bright blue jumpsuit today and paced her room.  The ship was in a jump again.  Smith hadn’t needed to collar her to torture her. The lack of information and the lack of control was driving her mad. He had also taken precautions in isolating her Camille and the ship network. Winifred operated lights manually. She adjusted the temperature on her own. The furniture was fixed and other amenities that Camille had managed were now inert or manually worked. Winifred even had to operate the shower manually.  On top of this, Smith had added one more indignity. He removed her mechanical hand and scoured her room of all her attachments. She was left with an inert replacement that was little better than a hook. The forced handicap was the most painful deprivation and one she would not forgive. She had lost that hand in his service and he had no right to take it.

After the pair of ships had left Earth, Smith moved Winifred and Findley into confinement.  He had found out about the rat early and had warned her. Once the missing drone had been discovered, there was really no option. Now, he said, he was out of patience.  Findley, he confronted more forcefully. Findley protested his innocence with predictable results. After a day of intense …discussion (she could hear the screams through the walls), Smith got Findley to spill his portion. It seems Findley had also taken a beam weapon back on Earth and given it to friends.  Smith was not happy. Findley tried to placate Smith by fingering Winifred as the instigator.  That earned derision and a loud “Of course she’s the instigator, Findley. You couldn’t plot a graph let alone subvert me.” And then he shouted at the wall, “Winifred. I am disappointed. You underestimated me. Wasn’t my offer enough?” He switched back to beating Findley and then there was silence. He never again visited her. She was bothered by that in a way that was difficult to define.

Contact with others was limited. Three times a day her food was delivered by Alfred or Neville.  Smith periodically sent her a book with a meal. She was surprised he had any of those, but he was a dealer in antiquities.  The isolation had some advantages. She went to the wall and tapped three times.  After a moment, there was a response of two taps.  If there was a positive in the sequestration, it was that she and Findley could plan without much worry of observation.

Neville arrived with her final meal of the day, if day had meaning in this environment. It was a supper of a chop, potatoes, some vegetables and the usual water. She was not even granted a decent glass of wine. Neville was less fidgidity and more upright than usual.  She eyed him carefully and then said, “You seem more chipper tonight. Boffing the Jew?”

Neville jumped and then, to her surprise, scowled at her. He said sharply, “Not need to be vicious just because you got caught. You would have done quite well without plotting whatever it is you were plotting.”

Winifred sneered at him, “This is just temporary. So choose your words carefully, Neville. I’ll remember whose loyalty I can count on.”

Neville set the tray down on the bench by the door. He looked at the tray and then her and said, “I am in a good mood now, Winifred. I am in a good mood without help. And you can’t change that when I leave this room. And for once, you need me more than I need you.” He bowed slightly, left the room and closed the doors quickly.

Winifred clenched her fists: one real and one phantom. She screamed and swiped the tray of the bench. Smith would pay dearly when she got off this ship.


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