A new entry in the Omicron Matter – The Start of a Journey. Millicent has resolved to tell the crew the rest of the story. They assemble in the environment lab which allows Millicent and Charles to use the screens. Not surprisingly, most of the group is bothered to have been kept in the dark for so long.
For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.
So the group finally finds out about the “third option” – there is a coalition that may act to support Millicent and the Earth. Millicent has always been one to keep secrets. Some may have expected full honesty. Others, such as Rachael, were more skeptical. Rachael knew from her first contact with Millicent that Millicent does not reveal everything. Now she alone, is prepared for the revelation…and there is more to come.
Look for more on Friday – the final installment of this chapter.
Liam at the meeting
Liam headed to his quarters. He sat and looked up at the ceiling and said, “She’s worried, ain’t she.”
Charles replied, “Millicent tied her fortunes to the Guild long ago. Now she is about meet with rebels. This break doesn’t come easily for her emotionally. Plus the Guild isn’t known for its understanding ways. But there is more to consider. Camille and I can’t figure out what Stanhope accomplished. Nobody can know for sure what she hoped fo, but it is possible that she made difficult matters even more challenging.”
“Why does Guild have power?”
“Same as anywhere: money, power, and fear applied in liberal doses.”
Liam snorted and poured himself a glass of water.
After an hour, he headed to the environmental lab. Everyone but John was there. John was taking his turn on Smith’s ship. Rachael was parked near the front. Felicity was sitting at the far end of the long table with her notebook open and ready to take notes. Michael stood behind her. Eleanor, Simone, and Jason took places along the table. Millicent nodded at Liam and indicated he should be in front. He took a position to her right and a little behind and clasped his hands at his back.
Millicent was wearing her dark blue tunic and slim trousers. Her hair was braided. She clasped her hands behind her back and stood a bit rigidly at the front and began.
“We are over halfway to our first destination. We have a little over a week in our time left although Rachael is telling me that we might trim that down a bit. Charles has estimated that three days of regular time will have past when we arrive at the station. Not the three weeks we have felt. Not the normal six months of transit. Not the 10 years of relative time it normally takes – three days of regular time to cross 1500 light years.”
Jason and Rachael whooped and pounded the table while the rest applauded politely. Liam glared at Rachael who shrugged and then got Jason to stop.
Millicent said, “We have revolutionized space travel. And when we arrive at Kepler 35, we are going to make a very tidy profit selling your devices.” There was more whooping and clapping. Millicent calmed the crowd on her own this time. “But I have told you there will be opposition from the Guild.” She paused and said, “and Smith has said the Guild is ready to rein in your planet’s propensity to innovate.” There was silence in the pause this time. “I have suggested you speak before the Guild to plead your case.” She walked around and looked at them and then said, “You won’t be first to make that plea.” Liam watched her took a breath and closed her eyes. He wondered if her planet had sent someone to plead its case. Who had it been? Her voice tightened as she continued, “But the history of successful pleas of mercy before the Guild would be a very thin book.” She began to walk around the room as she talked. “I hope that you will still make that plea however small its chance for success. I will be right there pleading with you.”
Jason muttered, “Why make a pointless stance?”
Millicent stopped behind him and put hands on his shoulders and said, “Because it won’t be pointless to others. And because there is a part I haven’t told you.” Liam saw Rachael try to hide a smile. Millicent said, “Yes, Miss Weiz there is something I haven’t told you. First, there is a substantial coalition of planets and traders who are tired of Guild restrictions and interference.” There was muttering in the room until Liam shouted, “Hoy…let her finish!”
In the silence, Rachael asked “How long have you known about the coalition?”
Millicent eyed her narrowly and said, “What a very astute question.” She turned to the group and said, “There has always been a low grade opposition like there always is to any government. However, Smith brought more than a summons to me. He is the one that told me about that sizable coalition.”
Eleanor hissed, “Then they will be little better than the Guild.”
Millicent stared at her and said, “This coalition is an alliance of the moment. Most are good, honest people and councils who resent the restrictions but try to work in the system to make things better. It also has those who simply don’t like the rules and see this as an opportunity.” Eleanor said nothing but jutted her chin out further. Then Millicent said, “Most of the coalition leaders are descendants of my planet.”
Jason muttered to Eleanor, “I’d chew that foot carefully before I opened my mouth again.” Eleanor smacked the back of his head hard but never took her eyes from Millicent. Rachael looked at her fingernails and said, “That explains a great deal. Liam, how long have you known?”