A new entry in the Omicron Matter – Fallout and Recoveries. Alfred Redman finds himself stranded in the Tau Ceti station with Winifred Stanhope and Findley Brown. Winifred has managed a meeting with the Guild Station Master to plead her case. After navigating the bureaucracy, she seems to have found an ear that will listen.
For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.
Refugees have a challenging start in any land. Especially undocumented refugees. Why would anyone listen to your claims of injustice and brutality? Unless you brought concrete proof and it fit with the current narrative of your destination country.
That is far more cynical than my true beliefs. Many come to America seeking better lives and the opportunities they don’t have at home. Some are lured here with promises of easy jobs and, lacking proper documentation, they are then horribly exploited. Many of these lost souls believe they will be persecuted if they complain to the authorities and so they suffer in a revised form of slavery. History has shown countries are rarely kind to refugees.
This will be short chapter. But there is a lot of good emotion in here. I am typing up the next one which is considerably longer. Look for more on Monday.
Refugees – Alfred Redman
Alfred Redman read his book on a screen in the non-descript office. He found the method intriguing but unsatisfying. The book pages showed up on a screen he could call from his suit. When he finished a page, he pressed a button and the next page appeared. It was remarkable, efficient and atrociously sterile. He missed the heft of the book and the turning of pages. The only positive he could discern was the amount of literature available at his beck and call. He could access the entire collection of Jonathan Swift. That alone would fill a trunk they did not have.
He glanced over his reader at his charge. Winifred Stanhope sat in a chair staring at her restored hand practicing its manipulation. Findley paced moving from one object to the next with nothing holding his interest. Winifred commented, “This office makes the British Empire seem positively efficient.”
Alfred pressed the button to view the next page and said, “Perhaps. Although, I doubt a foreigner from a hostile land without proper papers showing up to Whitehall saying she has important intelligence would be greeted by the Prime Minister.”
Winifred’s hand closed in a fist and she glared at Alfred saying, “I would hope Britain’s finest would at least pour them a cup of tea before they were shown the door.” Alfred snorted at the thought.
Another creature appeared at the doors and managed to look haughty despite its small stature. The creature had dangly arms, brightly colored hair piled up in an impossible structure all while wearing a suit that looked as much like a harlequin as any from Drury Lane. He cleared a long thin throat saying, “The Guild Master can see you. We have managed to find 10 minutes to listen to your tales.” Brown clinched his fists but Winifred stilled him with a glare and a wave of her hand. The three, followed the official who opened the door with a barely concealed sneer. They entered a much larger office. A large well proportioned man with light blue skin and jet black hair sat behind the desk. His eyes were a deep red. Other than the skin and eyes, he looked remarkably human. Alfred referred to the index in his suit and he was identified as a Chiss. As individuals, they were remarkably non-violent. However as a species, they have no compunction engaging in proxy wars to further their benefit. Not surprisingly, they control a majority of the seats in the Guild. The room held no chairs save his own and so the group remained standing. Alfred took a position behind Winifred’s right shoulder. The Guild Master presented an unctuous smile and asked, “How can the Guild help lost souls?”
Brown snapped, “We are not…”
Winfred snapped, “Silence, Findley.” She smiled just as unctuously and said, “We’ve been stranded by a pair of ships. I am hoping the Guild will assist in getting us home.”
The Guild Master’s eyes drooped and he waved a hand, “There are charities better suited for such matters.”
Winifred looked at her hand and said, “The ships were piloted by John Smith and Millicent Morgaine.” There was a cough behind Alfred from the pompous secretary. The Guild Master looked confused. Winifred smiled directly, “But if that is no matter, I am told there are other ventures that might assist us.” Alfred heard a very distinct cough from the Tymbrimi behind him.
The Guild Master looked alarmed, “I am sorry Miss…”
Winifred smiled graciously saying, “Miss Stanhope. Winifred Stanhope. And my associate Findley Brown.” Alfred pursed his lips at being left off the list, but that was Winifred.
The Guild Master recovered himself saying, “I am sorry I hadn’t understood your circumstances, Miss Stanhope. I might be able to help but I will need to consult with my secretary on the matter. Could you and Mr. Brown return…” he paused and looked past Alfred’s shoulder and then said, “in two days? I believe we might have more help for you then.”
Winifred looked at her hand saying, “We are in desperate straits. The two just left us and we have been making due on the kindness of your charities. We will certainly return in two days. But I simply cannot abide another night in those flop houses. Findley thinks he heard of some traders who would provide room and board in exchange for work.” Alfred rolled his eyes at the lie, but behind him the secretary burst out, “I will see that you get proper accommodations and meals during your stay here. It takes some time for us to …round up information but there is no need to contact anyone else. But we simply need some time to …review our resources.”
Winifred smiled at Findley and touched her heart dramatically, “I knew there was someone who would help.”