A new entry in the Omicron Matter – Arranging a Demonstration. The ships have jumped 3 light years. The devices have proved they can work. Now a new negotiation begins with Smith and his customers.
For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.
So how will Smith sway the darker members of the coalition over to Millicent? That is the challenge. AND how to motivate the rest of the coalition to defend Earth – that might be the bigger challenge. In some ways, the Guild might have laid some of the ground work for the effort. Better to be allied with the scariest person than fighting them.
Smith – Negotiations at Theta Ceti
Iti Greeneyes and Unqong Oiksair verified John O’Malley’s data with their own resources. They confirmed they were at the nearest star to Tau Ceti and that Morgaine’s ship was nearby. Silverbeam turned to Smith smiling broadly, “You have my attention. This technology exceeds my expectations.”
Smith put his hands behind his back, rocked on his heels and said, “And you haven’t even seen the best part.”
Silverbeam muttered, “There’s more?” Sioubos At asked, “How many can you produce?”
Smith nodded to O’Malley who recited, “Four per week. The choke point will be installation. We can install one per week. We will train your staff so you can install your own.”
Smith said, “We’ll include the training free of charge if you buy more than four.”
Sioubos At eyed Unqong Oiksair and then said, “I can find smart…employees who want upgrades in status.”
Smith crossed his hands and waved a finger saying, “One other matter to discuss. I’m sure it is no surpise…my partner wants to join our common interest against the Guild.”
Sioubos At snapped immediately, “No…she cannot be trusted. Do you know how many of my operations she has shut down?” Silverbeam said nothing. He found a chair, sat and clasped his hands behind his head watching Smith and Sioubos At.
Smith nodded slightly in Silverbeam’s direction and then tried to calm Siobos At. “Her previous loyalties may not matter anymore. The Guild has decided to restrict her pet planet.”
Siobos At waved dismissively, “Why should I care? Hell, I get more business from that action.”
Redman coughed lightly. O’Malley cracked his knuckles. Smith smiled thinly, “I wouldn’t say that too loudly here. Not all of these people are mine. And I can’t vouch for the ones that are. Silverbeam might not be able to save you.” He glanced at O’Malley who was rocking on his toes, “Mr. O’Malley could probably throw you in an air lock by himself…and he will have help.”
Siobos At grumbled but said nothing more and moved to a table. Silverbeam tapped his finger on a counter and said, “Siobos At has a point, albeit crudely put. She is late to the game. She has cost us all a great deal. And,” He nodded to O’Malley, “as regrettable as it would be to lose such talent, I do not find myself sufficiently motivated to help.”
Smith took his own seat at the table and leaned back, “Then take her on. Because if you work with her, you get Turieann, Ciom Olo and all the others.”
Silverbeam smiled, “You seem very sure they will accept her and follow her.”
Smith steepled his fingers and said, “She’s a symbol. They will flock to her. She will draw the Uycarrans and our AIs in a way I can’t. The Kaum Legit and other free traders will follow. “ He put his hand up and said, “The Guild made two mistakes when they threatened Earth.” He showed a finger and said, “First, they made Morgaine angry.” He waved his hands and paced the bridge, “Oh she believes in the system enough to plead her case, however hopeless. Once the Guild threatened Earth, I just had to remind her of her own history. Before she shows up in the Guild Hall, she will have the Uycarrans breaking the Guild strangle hold on trade and just about everything else.”
Silverbeam raised his hands, “If she goes before the Guild, she will never leave. And then what?”
Smith held out his hands and said, “A martyr to the cause. Wars are won with such symbols.” He looked over a Sioubos At and said, “Which takes the teeth out of your concerns, Sioubos At, now doesn’t it.”
O’Malley hissed, “Smith, you bastard.”
Smith said over his shoulder, “Hush boy.” He thumbed over his shoulder at the large John O’Malley clenching his fists, “There is the Guild’s second mistake – it picked the wrong planet to bully.” He waved at the star on the screen, “They’ve done wonders in the months I’ve known them and they haven’t even seen weapons yet.” He looked at Sioubos At and said, “Miss Weiz battle plans for these devices will make the AI wars seem like a small distraction.”
Silverbeam frowned said, “That is why the Guild is acting in the first place. You’re throwing fuel on the fire.”
Smith laughed and got up and walked around, “You don’t get it…It’s too late. Morgaine has unleashed them and I’ve helped her. When we finish with sales, they will head back to Earth. “ He moved behind Redman and said, “I don’t know about you, but I want to be on the winning side. Morgaine has picked them and I think, for once, she’s right. The Guild is in for a very nasty surprise when they arrive at Earth.” Sioubos At and Silverbeam stared at the three scowling humans on the bridge.
Finally Sioubus At, “Bah… doesn’t matter. She will never work with me.”
Smith smiled, looked at the ship chronometer and said, “You get to solve that problem shortly. Your ride to Morgaine’s ship will be here in about 10 minutes.”