A new entry in the Omicron Matter – At Tau Ceti Station. Liam O’Hannigan is leading the group from the doctor’s office to a provisions shop. Millicent has supplied the name of a contact there. As they walk through the halls, he can now understand the chatter and not all of it is pleasant. Millicent was right -the galaxy is not a friendly place. At least not to humans right now.
For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.
In the 1800s you went to a shop and bought what was on the shelf. The shelves were probably behind a counter and you handed the clerk a list of what you wanted and he returned with the goods. If the clerk was good, he would try to upsell you on other items. Food was purchased from the back of carts. So while there were similarities to how shopping was done, there are going to be some significant differences.
The next chapter is edited. I just need to get the edits in. There is one more entry to this chapter before we start doing even MORE interaction with aliens.
Thank you for your support. Look for more on Wednesday.
Liam walked with more confidence than he felt. Millicent had provided a list of the foods and sundries, a shop address, and a contact. Getting the goods didn’t worry him. He expected, with her name and bank account, they would get stock without a problem. It was other things that were starting to bother him.
He could now understand all the conversations and announcements around him. That made the craziness he saw in the hallways tolerable. The bright colors, strange beings and other strange sights were starting to feel common, if not normal. With a few days, he might even think it was normal.
However, now that he understood the conversations, there was a dark undertone in them that he had not expected. People moved out of their way. But they were not moving to be polite to the new comers. They were parting out of fear. The whispers were occasionally translated and he could snatches like “careful, you don’t want to mess with them,” and “watch yourself, you can’t know what they’ll do.” He had no idea what was going on but making friends was going to be harder than he had hoped.
He checked the map on his wrist and turned another corner. The map now flashed a green spot on the screen indicating the shop was down this passage way on the left. As if on cue he heard John ask, “Liam do you know where you are going? Because I’ve got no clue and I am not convinced we are going to get back to the ship.” Liam turned around to respond only to see Michael whispering in John’s ear and pointing to his wrist. John blushed a bit and said, “Michael was explaining something. Still, are you sure?”
Liam said, “Millicent gave me the location.” He pointed down to the shop down the passage. He motioned to John to join him and the big man moved forward. They continued walking. Liam said in a low voice, “We are in a strange port. I am smart enough to get directions and the lay o’ the land before striking out on my own.” He paused a to look at a poster that seemed to be advertising some food item and then said, “although there was a fine establishment close to our ship that bears further investigation.” John laughed and moved back to join Michael and Felicity and walked a bit more confidently as they arrived at the shop.
The interior was unlike any shop Liam had entered. There were no shelves of food and goods. Instead there were long tables with screens like what was in the environmental lab. The only similarity with the shops of home was the clerks who seemed to attach themselves to customers looking at the screens.
Michael looked around and said, “Now what?”
Liam said, “Wait a moment lad and I think you will have an answer.”
Sure enough there was a tall being who looked like the doctors of the clinic they had just left. The being had the same rainbow color smock as every clerk in the shop. The clerk was tall and very thin. The face was heart shaped with large dark almond eyes that never seemed to blink. The skin color was grey but seemed to change to a light red when it came up to Liam and asked, “How can we serve you?”
Liam smiled and said, “My employer recommended Ciom Olo. Millicent Morgaine has worked with him before.”
The clerk stared at Liam for a moment and blinked once slowly. The clerk said, “Ciom Olo is currently helping another. Can I assist?”
Liam looked around, scratched his chin and said, “We’re new here and I’d rather stick with someone I know, if you catch my drift.”
The clerk stared again. This time there were two slow blinks and his skin went a darker pink red. The clerk turned to one side and Liam could see a screen like his own glowing. The skin changed to a light blue. After a few moments, the clerk returned and said, “Ciom Olo expects to be another 15 minutes. He informed me of Millicent Morgaine and her needs. You can wait for Ciom Olo or I can help you until Ciom Olo is available.”
Liam scratched his chin again and then said, “No need to wait I suppose if you can get us started.” He nodded to Felicity, John and Michael and said, “They will have the lists and such.”
The clerk nodded to Liam and then turned to the group and said, “My name is Oexan Lili. With whom do I have the pleasure of working?”
Liam could detect no sign of pleasure or discomfort in the look or body frame. But after years of working as a taxi hack, he could recognize the effort made in customer service. Liam responded, “I am Liam O’Hannigan.” He pointed to the others in turn, “The big one is John O’Malley – ship engineer. The woman is Felicity Richards – communications and organization. Attached to her is her husband – Michael Richards. They will be doing the shopping.”
The clerk bowed slightly to each and pointed to an open screen. As they moved towards the screen, the worker said, “I have never worked with humans before. Please excuse any rudeness.”
Felicity, bless her, replied, “Well, we have never shopped like this before and I appreciate your patience while we figure things out.”
The screen lit and the clerk began the pitch saying, “We will see a list of available food stuffs suitable for humans.”