A new entry in the Omicron Matter – Arranging a Demonstration. Iti Greeneyes led John Smith’s group into the ship. In the office cabin, sits Abu Silverbeam tending to some business. Like Greeneyes, he is Tymbrimi. He is short; has long brightly colored hair and pixie ears. Hardly the image of one of the most feared space pirates in the galaxy.
For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.
I am back on schedule with Monday, Wednesday and Friday (barring poor connections). Smith and his entourage finally meet Abu Silverbeam. I cultivated Silverbeam after a character in another book by David Eddings – Caalador. Caalador was well read, versed in etiquette, affected a refined accent but was ruthless in his business dealings.
Also in a side note, the reference to a painting by a “talented nephew” is a shout out to my own nephew who will be graduating shortly with a double major in Art and Criminal Investigation.
Thanks for your support. Look for more on Friday.
Abu Silverbeam, also a Tymbrimi, sat at the end of a long table looking at a screen and working. On the walls were various pieces of art. Some were trifles – pretty with interesting ideas, but unknown artists. Others were artists that Smith recognized. Smith moved to one and examined it. He put his hands behind his back and viewed it. Finally Smith said, “I have always found Eir Verdandi moving. A scene by her has so many layers.” He pointed to the picture saying, “There is the party. But there is the expression of each person. Each character tells a story and then there is the subtext of the location of the party.” He viewed it for a few moments and then said, “This one has been missing for a while.”
Abu Silverbeam continued to work and spoke without looking up, “I almost feel good about stealing that one. I took it from a man who commissioned another theft. He and I had a disagreement over expenses. This made up for the difference.” He looked up and considered the picture and said, “It fills a nice hole between two paintings by my children.”
Smith turned and smiled and said, “I think Verdandi would approve.” He moved to a different painting and said, “I don’t recognize this painter. Realism is so rare these days.”
Silverbeam closed the screen and leaned back in his chair saying, “A talented nephew. He is studying to be an artist or an investigator.”
Smith raised an eyebrow said, “That could end up awkward. Your family is full of complexities.”
Silverbeam shrugged, “So I am told. Yours had its share.” He gestured at a chair and said, “You said you have an opportunity.”
Smith pursed his lips and said, “So quick to business? When did we last have a conversation, Silverbeam?”
Silverbeam looked over at Neville and Alfred and then back at Smith who graced a smile. He said, “A bit over a year. You were poor at small talk then too.” His eyes narrowed and said, “Your associates are new. Where did you acquire them?”
Smith feigned shock and said, “How rude of me. This is Neville Carter-Frasier of London, England, Earth. An excellent electrician, decent physicist and he shows promise as a pilot. Next to him is Alfred Redman. Butler and major domo. He handles delicate tasks with discretion and a minimum of fuss. Also of London, England, Earth.
Silverbeam looked in Redman’s direction and said, ”You may wish to compare notes with Iti. She seems to handle delicate tasks with discretion around here.” He leaned on the table and returned his gaze to Smith. “Such pleasantries from you rarely lack cause. Who did you acquire them from?”
Smith sat at the table opposite and put one arm on the table and waved Carter-Frasier and Redman to take a seat. They eyed Silverbeam, who frowned. They remained standing. Smith smiled and said, “No one. I got them from Earth…last year.”
Silverbeam leaned up and then laughed loudly and pounded the table hard, “Gods Fortunate, Smith. I don’t which is the opportunity. How you got here or access to Morgaine’s pet planet?” He waved to seats and said, “Sit gentlemen. You’ve come far and, despite rumors of my disposition, I do have manners.” Carter-Frasier sat as did Greeneyes. She eyed Redman as if assessing a competitor. Redman, to his credit, gave a small wink back, sat and placed two weapons on the table.
Smith said, “Which is the opportunity? Both really. At the moment, my partner and I will be giving an exclusive demonstration of the FTL drive in two days. You are invited.”
Silverbeam raised his eyebrows, “Your partner? Ucayranns work alone. Hell, I’m not sure how you procreate. Who could stand you?”
Smith pursed his lips looked at Carter-Frasier and Redman and shrugged saying, “Millicent Morgaine.”
Silverbeam had a coughing fit and gasped, “You’re joking.”
Smith sighed deeply, “There were compromises on both sides.” He leaned on the table facing Silverbeam saying, “Morgaine is finding herself out of favor. She and I have a working arrangement on a number of matters.” He sat back and said, “Neville, explain to Mr. Silverbeam and Miss Greeneyes a bit about the devices.”
Carter-Frasier stumbled at first, “There…There are two devices really. One creates a field that isolates the inside from…the universe I suppose. The second device gathers energy and propels the ship at tremendous speeds. We traveled thousands of light years in a matter of weeks.”
Silverbeam looked at the ceiling saying, “FTL is not new. How is yours different?”
Carter-Frasier steadied his voice and continued, “McNeill could explain the physics and theory better. But ours is better for two reasons, if I understand …the archives correctly.” Smith smiled at Carter-Frasier’s euphemism for Camille. Carter-Frasier continued, “First, because we are outside the universe while we travel, the time we leave and arrive are virtually instantaneous relative to the end points.”
Smith added, “Our demonstration will prove that.”
Carter-Frasier leaned on the table now warming to his topic, “The second is energy. The device uses dark energy so there is no real energy cost to travel.”
Silverbeam and Greeneyes stared at Carter-Frasier, but said nothing.
Smith mused, “Interested?”
Silverbeam said, “You have no idea.”
Smith smiled saying, “Oh I think I do. We Ucayranns are very good at that. Then I’ll see you at our little excursion.”
Silverbeam leaned back and said, “It will be worth the time just to see a Smith and a Morgaine work together. I might even buy something at the end.”