A new entry in the Omicron Matter – Building a Coalition Revisited. Millicent has been introduced to a group of Uycarrans. Smith was correct that her family is remembered fondly by most. But some have less fond memories. While Millicent was raised by the Guild, others received no special treatment and harbor the resentment of years.
For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start
It is a little late, but I am getting it out on Wednesday. I am having problems starting the next section. In general, I know what I want to write. But like the Coyote and Acme Boulder at the top of a cliff, I am struggling with that first push. Like the Coyote, I am sure it will all land just where I expect it to with perfect timing if I jump up and down on it.
Millicent is facing some of those left behind to face the aftermath of war. Losers rarely come out well. Those that were in leadership positions face retribution. Punishing an opponent’s family is almost primal -history of such vindictiveness goes back to Biblical times and probably before. Benevolence towards the vanquished is only recently in vogue (see World War II for citations) and only spottily applied (see Iraq war, Arab Spring uprisings, multiple civil wars for citations). Despite claims of superior civilization, it is hardly surprising the Guild would seek to crush the spirit of rebels. It is a tried and true technique.
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Reunions and Commitments
Millicent shouted, “Let him speak…Let him speak. What he says is true.”
There was a silence and the man shouted, “She forfeited her right to loyalty when she allowed…she allowed herself to be the Guild’s toy.” There were shouts again.
Millicent stood up. She glanced at her notebook. Charles provided the man’s name, Gavin of the house Nimue. The family had been loyal to House Modron for many years. Consequently, they received harsh treatment from the Guild. His parents were sent to prison planets. Unlike Millicent, or even Smith, he and his sister had been reduced to servants. He broke free, found a ship and traded actively on the black market. The black market she had tried for years to suppress. She glanced at Smith, “Friend of yours?”
Smith pursed his lips but shook his head no saying, “Kindred spirit. He’s far to squeamish about some transactions for my tastes.”
She looked at Gavin and tried to quiet the noise. Finally she shouted, “Quiet!. Quiet all of you.” The shouting subsided. She looked around the room said, “He’s right.” There was shouting again. She turned to Gavin and said, “Gavin Nimue, You are right!” In the quiet she lowered her voice, “I was a cats paw, a mouthpiece, a pawn for the Guild.” She shrugged and lifted her hands, “When the end was near, I was only 5 or 6. My mother bundled me up and told me to stay with my uncle, be strong and listen to my heart. That…That was the last I saw of her. His ship was captured fleeing. My uncle tried to hide my identity but I was found out quickly. He was sent to join my parents and I was raised by a Guild mentor.”
Gavin crossed his arms scowling, “I saw the shows. While you were playing with ambassadors, my sister and I were cleaning floors…and worse.”
Millicent crossed her own arms and scowled, “The Guild needed proof of their benevolent nature. ‘Do as we say and we won’t hurt you. You can be an aristocrat.’ I think the totality of the war shocked even the council.”
Gavin sneered, “You ain’t helping your case.”
Millicent lashed out, “I was a child, dammit. How is a six year old with no parents, no family supposed rise in rebellion?”
Smith leaned back and said, “She has a point. I was to be a show piece as well. I was old enough to see the facade. After a few…incidents, I was exiled into the far reaches.” He shrugged and said, “She had no more choice than you.”
Gavin pointed his finger and then his voice almost pleaded, “You were raised with a silver spoon. But you had to know…had to…and you did nothing.”
Millicent smiled weakly, “You would be surprised at what we can pretend not to see. But yes… I started seeing more of the truth and more of our history.” She shrugged, “I couldn’t live the lie anymore. I…found a ship and found work on remote planets. One in particular.”
Turieann said, “She really did drop off the map. Back every 10 or 20 years with some human contractors and then back.”
Gavin waved his hand and said, “Means nothing. She supports the Guild.”
Millicent pleaded, “Yes..Yes… I worked for the Guild catching pirates, smugglers and slave traders. And making life hard for everyone in this room…It is all I knew. It was all they told me. I left. I gave it up. What would you have me do?”
Gavin sneered, “You said the Guild can change. Prove it…go try to change the Guild.”
Millicent looked at Smith and smiled. Brian Tuireann looked alarmed. Smith quirked a smile, “In for a penny…”
Millicent sat back down and crossed her hands on lap. “You want me to try change the Guild. I will. I will challenge the Guild in its Hall. But you need to be ready and willing to act. No more waiting for more resources. No more hiding in the shadows. Are you willing to act? Because we need to know how many will stand.”
Gavin looked at her with narrow eyes and said, “What are you going to do?”
Millicent leaned forward saying, “The Guild has sanctioned another planet. It is one in my and Smith’s interest. Sanctioned because the people advance too quickly.” She leaned back and said, “I am going to plead its case before the Guild Hall.” There was shouting across the room, but Gavin Nimue stared at her silently. She stared back until there was quiet. She asked, “If I go before the Guild and plead this case, will I have the right to be a part of this group? Will I have the right of my house name back? Will you support what is coming?”
Gavin sat then put his arms behind his head smiled thinly at her, “Sure, I’ll say you have the right back. You can claim your house. But fat lot of good it will do. You will be rotting with my parents and yours.” There was an uproar again.
Millicent said quietly, “Maybe I will be rotting with yours. Not mine. They were executed. They made me watch when I was 7.”