The Omicron Matter – At Tau Ceti Station – Getting Supplies Concluded

A new entry in the Omicron Matter – At Tau Ceti Station. This concludes the chapter. Liam is watching the shopping going on when he is joined by Ciom Olo , the sale rep Millicent had recommended. Ciom Olo  discusses the local politics while the shopping continues and Liam discovers that the Guild has been very busy making things very hard for humans.

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

Author’s note

Propaganda is a powerful tool. Some nations even had ministers in charge of propaganda.  And I suppose a press secretary is obliged to put the most positive spin on a story possible. Or, as we saw 13 years ago in the US, be so selective in the intelligence that you create a case for a war.  We managed to convince everyone, including ourselves, that there were weapons of mass destruction.   It is an old and honored tradition to vilify your future enemy. How else would you get sane beings to risk their lives in attack someone in a foreign land?

Getting Supplies

Liam found a bench to lean on while he waited.  Felicity, Michael and John discussed foods and equipment. Millicent had warned them not to expect chicken and beef, but there would be good substitutes.  As Liam waited, another clerk came up and said, “You are Liam O’Hannigan?” Liam looked over the clerk who was another of the tall thin creatures.  Liam replied, “I am.”

The clerk was wearing the same rainbow colored smock. but there were badges on it. The clerk bowed and said, “I am Ciom Olo  . I apologize for not being available. I trust Oexan Lili is helping you?”

Liam relaxed a bit and said, “The young ‘uns are doing the shopping. I have been told to negotiate the bill with you by Millicent.”

The clerk turned a bright blue and waggled fingers and said, “Millicent Morgain will negotiate with Death for the pennies on her eyes.” He bowed slightly and continued, “You will be given a fair price Liam O’Hannigan. I have no wish to face Millicent Morgaine if she felt cheated.” The being blinked once, the color toned down a little and then he said, “But I see no reason to make your work easy.”

Liam chuckled and said, “I’ve no problems with a bit o’ profit. But even Millicent needs to watch her funds with you lot or you will drain her dry.”  Ciom Olo  waggled fingers again and the two watched the shopping proceedings. Liam asked, “Ciom  I  am new here and I do not have the lay o’ the land.  I’ve heard some strange things in the halls on the way here.”

Ciom Olo blinked eyes and said, “The translator has difficulty with your colloquialisms. But I understand the last. And what strange things did you hear Liam O’Hannigan?”

Liam watched the group as they worked with the clerk.  They pointed to items and talked. The clerk’s color was almost neutral with a hint of red. Liam pulled up the explanation of the species the Kaum langit.  They are highly intelligent and highly sensitive to the moods of other people. Their skin color will change to reflect moods: anger, fear, contentment.  Liam said quietly, “People fear us. People fear humans. Even your clerk seemed…nervous…when he approached us.”

Ciom Olo  puffed out small cheeks. The skin went pale. The big eyes blinked twice. Then Ciom Olo  put a four fingered hand on Liam’s shoulder and said, “Friend Liam O’Hannigan. I call you friend because of your association with Millicent Morgaine. Friend Liam O’Hannigan, I know there is nothing to fear from you or other humans. But you should know there has been much …talk and news in the past years since Millicent returned to Earth.”

Liam narrowed his eyes but continued to watch the shopping and said, “Talk and news? I guess a simple man like myself needs some explanation.”

Ciom Olo’s head wagged from side to side a motion Liam’s screen interpreted as a chuckle. Ciom Olo continued, “if you are simple, then our negotiations shall be quick and profitable.”  Ciom Olo lowered his voice and said, “News stories appear that talk of your home world. It seems you are barbaric. You have horrible wars, enslave others, have little regard for the future of your world and generally lack culture.”

Liam turned and said, “That’s crazy.” He huffed and said, “Even if all of that is true, and I’ll grant it is, it ain’t fair. We can learn if we get half a chance.”

Ciom Olo nodded and pointed in the direction of the shopping saying, “I know. The young ones show no fear and are quite adept. Oexan Lili is completely at ease.”

“Selling us beads no doubt.”

Ciom Olo said, “That reference doesn’t translate, but if I guess…maybe, but not too many or I will hear from Millicent Morgaine. You will be treated fairly here Liam O’Hannigan. But your story is being created for you .”

Liam grimaced and said, “I suppose it should all sound familiar to me. Lord knows Jolly old England does the same damn thing. Someone needs to justify our…civilization.”

Ciom Olo tighten the grip for a moment and said quietly, “Then you understand.”

Liam rolled his eyes and said, “Do I need to ask the source of this news and talk?”

Ciom Olo pulled the hand back and said, “I think not. No need to state the obvious and some things are best left unsaid in busy shops.”

Liam said, “Does Millicent know?”

Ciom Olo waggled fingers and said, “She will hear the same chatter you did on the way over.  She is neither deaf nor stupid. She knows by now.”

Liam said, “Will Millicent’s friends and allies still be interested in meeting with her?”

Ciom Olo paused and blinked slowly once.  Ciom Olo said, “I think those that know her well and those who have worked with humans see the absurdity of the messages. Others less knowledgeable  will have questions.”  Ciom Olo waved at the transaction happening at the screen and said, “You and your friends need your own campaign. Call it an effort to rehabilitate your image.”

Liam groaned and said, “Lovely. Perfectly, bloody well lovely.”

They watched and the shopping appeared to be finished. Felicity waved at Liam while Oexan Lili blinked in the direction of Ciom Olo. Ciom Olo said, “It seems shopping is done. Now it is a matter of negotiating the price.”

Liam straightened up  and brushed off his one piece suit and said, “Finally something I can understand.” He looked at the price that was shown on the screen and took a shocked look saying, “Good lord, man. You’ll bankrupt us.”

Ciom Olo’s head wagged from side to side and said with


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