A new entry and a new chapter for the Omicron Matter – At Tau Ceti Space Station. The ship has docked at the space station. Millicent is getting her contractors ready to work in the galaxy. The first thing is to equip them with a proper uniform. Her uniform has some features that Her Majesty’s Royal Navy had not thought of.
For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.
This is the opening entry in our intrepid teams encounter with new races. Michael has evolved considerably since his first encounter. He started deeply skeptical of anything he couldn’t understand. Unfortunately Millicent quickly provided him with many things he could not understand. Then Felicity was hurt in the rescue of Eleanor and his attention swung to her and away from his insecurities. He is handling change much better.
Look for more on Monday. And watch for Recruiting Matter entries over the weekend.
Michael – Learning New Tools
Millicent made everyone put on new clothes before leaving the ship. They were one piece suits made of black and blue cloth. The suits fit closely and seemed vaguely indecent on women. Felicity was uncomfortable with the clingy nature – there was little to the imagination on her curves and she thought they were unseemly. Millicent made a crooked smile and said, “They are far more conservative than other options.” She looked the group over gave a crisp nod and said, “You need to blend in more. Corsets, ruffles and high collars with ties might be proper in London, but not here.” She then said, “Besides these suits are a great deal more than covering. They can be emergency space suits. They have armor built in.”
Jason interrupted saying, “The suits provide knowledge. Touch your wrist and ask a question.”
Michael watched John eye his suit with a raised eye brow and then touch it and ask, “Where are we relative to London, England?” Michael could see a screen of light appear and a diagram that showed stars. John pursed his lips and said, “It answered the question. Can’t say it provided it much context.”
Michael touched his wrist and asked, “What is the station made of?” A screen like those of the labs showed up and long list of materials appeared. Many he did not recognize. He commented, “I am going to have to work on what I ask.”
Felicity pursed her lips saying. “Charles was more helpful.”
Millicent said sharply, “He isn’t here and we’ve explained why. That will be the last I hear that subject or that name. We are in Guild territory now. Watch what you say at all times.” She moved towards the door and said, “You will see many things that will seem strange. You will need directions. You may need protection. The suits will explain matters, provide locations and directions, and your suit will protect you. If you touch the other wrist, you will be able to communicate with everyone else.” She looked around and said “The answers may not be helpful if your question isn’t worded well as Michael and John have found out. Keep questions simple until you are au fait with your new reality. The knowledge has been collected by me and …my assistant to help you deal with the complexity of life on the station and elsewhere.”
Felicity huffed and then touched her wrist and said, “What’s the point of this suit?” Michael could see a list of features. At the bottom, Felicity read with a crinkle in her eyes, “Millicent can’t follow you everywhere.” The others chuckled and she said, “It almost sounds like…your assistant.”
Millicent said, “On some matters, he is hard to hide. Now, for those who are interested in their useful features in protection, follow me to the gym. The rest of you start figuring them out.” Michael heard John ask, “What is the nature of matter?” and then heard him say, “Well that’s bloody simplistic.”
Michael considered the suit. When he was learning a new task or tool, he started with basics. At his console he asked, “What is the purpose of this console?” A paragraph displayed explaining the console’s ability to survey the surroundings of the ship. He asked “What can it find in a survey?” He got a long list of capabilities, ranges, and tolerances for the substances the device could detect. He then asked, “How can it be improved?” The screen remained blank save for text saying, “Insufficient Information available.” He moved around the bridge and repeated the process. Felicity’s station was more complex than he imagined. There was more to record management than he imagined.
Millicent slipped in as he was reviewing the navigation panel. From behind him, she asked, “Any questions, Mr. Richards?”
Michael looked at her and then looked at the wrist of his suit. He said, “I am beginning to understand the knowledge base pretty well at this point. At least I’ll know why I get useless answers.”
Millicent sat down at the operations station and said, “Then you are ahead of Mr.O’Connor and Miss Weiz. They keep arguing with the suit.” Michael smiled at the thought. She leaned back and said, “You have progressed remarkably well, Mr. Richards…Michael.”
Michael’s mouth opened. Then he snapped it shut looked away. He could feel a flush. He said, “I suppose I sounded rather silly a few months ago that first day in the warehouse.”
Millicent put her finger to her chin, squinted her eyes and said, “You sounded perfectly normal…human one might say.” She relaxed and spun to work on the panel. “I have been pushing everyone hard for months. Charles has been chiding me since the encounter at Smith’s flat.” She looked around and then said, “Others express their stress in different ways. Jason loses patience. Rachael gets angry. John… well John retreats.” She said, “Your stress and frustration at the beginning may have made my later demands…less difficult. Regardless, you have been an excellent student.”
Michael blushed and shuffled. He then looked at the communication station and said, “I suppose I have had help staying focused.” His eyes watered a bit thinking of Felicity’s recovery. He choked a little and said, “It’s bit much to winge when others are facing worse.”
Millicent’s face softened a bit and said, “Just so. Focusing your help on someone can screen out other noise.” Then she got up and said, “Well if you thought this ship was impossible, I can hardly wait to hear what you call a walk in the halls of this station.”
Michael made a show of stiffening to attention and said, “This crewman will endeavor not to embarrass the captain,” and made a sharp salute with the back of his hand on his forehead.
Millicent came over, put her hands on his shoulder bent down close to his head and said, “You never have, Michael. And you never will.”