A new entry in the Omicron Matter – Fallout and Recoveries. It has been five days since Winifred Stanhope and Findley Brown escaped with the help of Alfred Redman. Rachael Weiz knows finding them will grow harder with each day they are gone. Taking a page from their early life, Rachael and John O’Malley begin canvasing the poor houses and soup kitchens of the station in search of their quarry. The station is large and there are far more poor than they imagined.
For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.
It seems to be a sad fact of life that, no matter how abundant a society is, there is need for charity for the poor. Even in Japan, an incredibly wealthy and civilized culture, there are homeless who beg on the streets. And, as Europe is finding out now, there are always refugees from war and poor economies. As much as I hope for a time when such is not needed, I expect there will be a Salvation Army post set up shortly after the first colony is established on Mars.
I will confess I am splitting this section in two. The second half will be posted on Monday. I am nearly done writing the next chapter and have found a fun, quirky twist to Winifred’s exotic tastes in entertainment – all strictly implied and safe for teen viewing.
Thanks for your support and look for more on Monday.
Rachael pushed herself along the smooth hallways to the next destinations. Her arms were tired and she knew she due for a therapeutic soak after visiting three poor houses. John took long strides to keep up with her fast pace which was as much due to frustration as to a second wind.
They had been calling on soup kitchens for the indigent. As civilized as the rest of the galaxy claimed to be, apparently poverty was still something it held in common with Earth. She was appalled that, for all the technology and the Guild’s claims of Earth’s lack of culture and compassion, Tau Ceti still had people who could not afford food or a place to sleep. Apparently the station masters did not believe poverty was a concern and made soup kitchens and shelters difficult to find.
Typically, the kitchens were serviced by Kaum Legit or Menanggung. And the kitchens welcomed every species including humans. That softened her cynicism about galactic advancement. John muttered, “We are chasing a wild hare.”
Rachael snapped, “They stayed in one of these holes. Imagine…some poor foreign sot sneaks off a ship in the docks of London. Where will they find a bed? Where will they find a bed? You and I both know the answer to that. Alfred likely did as well.” She looked around and found the next stop and moved towards it. She muttered, “And he would not pick one close to our ships.”
John sighed, “Can we at least find a decent restaurant afterwards? The fare is boring and poorly prepared.”
Rachael snapped, “A little too like home? Need a bit of posh to cleanse your palette?”
John said nothing for several steps and then said with his most carefully cultivated accent and clipped words, “Yes. A little too much like home. Da’ didn’t make it home often. Or he forgot to buy the food. Our Sisters of Mercy served warm thin beet soup with stale bread on Tuesdays and stale bread and thin beet soup on Thursdays. If we went to Mass we got a cookie after the service to go with our thin potato soup and fresh bread.”
Rachael paused and looked ahead. “I am sorry. That was uncalled for.” She rubbed her eyes saying, “I am angry with them… I shouldn’t have taken it out on you.”
John paused and said, “You get snippy when you haven’t eaten. I want them too.” He gestured to the signs offering food and shelter, “Can you imagine Winifred or Findley tolerating this for long?”
Rachael pursed her lips and said, “Not for long. But foreigners without papers and hiding aren’t spoiled for choice.”
He wave expressively with both hands at the shelter saying, “So we have another cup of broth of something…probably not kosher. And we hope they have some information.”
Rachael smiled, “Probably not, but according to the Aggadic Midrash there were deeper meanings to the food restrictions…” Rachael continued her exegesis on being Kosher in foreign ports until they arrived at their destination. John looked almost relieved to get to the door. They were greeted warmly by a Menanggung, “Welcome strangers. Welcome please. How may this den help you?”