A new entry in the Omicron Matter – A Meeting of Friends. A week has passed since the brawl. The time has been spent cleaning the ships, training, and finishing up installations. Jason and the others are meeting one last time before everyone goes their separate ways.
I was not able to post on Monday. My apologies – work was a bit strange and very busy. This is a short chapter. It was part of the larger chapter that I have broken up. There are only three sections. I am nearly done writing the next chapter (good) but have not started typing it (bad). I am hoping to make good progress on it over the next couple of days.
Thanks for your support. Look for more on Friday.
Jason arranged a table where everyone could sit and Rachael to pull up to easily. Neville Carter-Frasier would be joining this meeting. He had found his place in the group. Eleanor, Simone and Felicity took no exception and Neville was right -they were the only ones who had the right to object. Jason sensed a wariness and coldness between Neville and Eleanor and Simone. But, if they had found a working arrangement then that was all he needed to know. Michael was still angry. But, Felicity had moved beyond her injuries so even he made no comments. Jason noted that Felicity tended to stay between the two.
Conversation was lively after a week of cleaning and training. Everyone was anxious to catch up. Jason had checked with Giggledust and she assured him that there would be no more altercations with the locals or other crews – the new humans had earned their stripes. John tapped his glass trying to get everyone’s attention to no avail. Finally Rachael shouted, “Hoy, you lot. You can drink and gab later. We’ve got business.” Conversation died down and the group faced John and Rachael. Jason raised his glass in Rachael direction. Rachael made a face in return.
She started, “We may not like it, but we will be heading in different directions in a week or two. The ships at this planet are nearly done and the crews have been trained. We need to spread the Omicron drives to other members of the coalition and the drives are the fastest way to get to our future customers. If you don’t like this sales strategy, talk to Millicent and Simone. It was their plan.” There was an awkward silence. Eleanor looked defensive. Simone stared at the table.
John added, “It worked for the early Church.”
Michael muttered, “That took 500 bloody years and a lot of martyrs. Ooof…”
Felicity said, “I think it is a fine plan.” Michael was rubbing his side.
Jason fingered his mug, “Those people were on foot, mules and rowboats. We are on anything but.”
Rachael said, “And everyone technical is separated. Even Simone will be with Oexab Lili and the Kaum Legit while Eleanor will be with Brian Tuireann and the Uycarrans.”
Simone went red and Eleanor stared at the table. Eleanor muttered, “Are you finished? We all get that we will be separate.”
Rachael grinned a little at her and then frowned saying, “We are all clear on what we will be doing for the next couple of months. But Millicent is vague on her plans for this time and even less clear on what happens after that.” She looked around the table and said, “Barring objections from you lot, John and I have a proposal to fill the gaps.” She waited for questions or comment.
Jason looked at the two at the end of the table, “You’ve been managing us from behind. Might as well step out in front.” There were nods of agreement around the table.
John said, “Thank you.Here is what we know. We all have work and obligations over the next few months. We are going to be split into pairs of technical folk. We’ll have the drones to help stay in touch, but we will need a rendezvous point after wards. So first suggestion – meet back here and wait for the rest of the group to arrive.”
Rachael said, “Neville and I will be with Smith so I can’t say when or whether I will be back here. Same goes for Jason, Michael and Felicity…you will have your own courses.”
Eleanor asked, “Why not the Tau Ceti station?”
Jason glanced at Neville and said, “For one, Neville is supposed to be dead or as near to it as possible. Seeing him might raise an eyebrow or two.”
Rachael grimaced saying, “Winifred has had two months to talk with the Guild Station Master. I suspect we will be noticed and detained immediately.” She leaned back and said, “The Tymbrimi and the Uycarrans have been working together since the end of the Uycarran war. This is as close to a home world that the Uycarrans have left. We will be as safe here as anywhere.”
Eleanor asked, “We meet here. Then what?”
John smiled thinly, “That is what we will need to agree to.”
Jason sat up and said,”You are waiting for Millicent, I assume.’”
Rachael pursed her lips and played with her mug. She looked at the table as she said, “What if Millicent can’t come?”
Eleanor stood and snapped, “What do you mean, ‘if she can’t come?’”
John stared at Eleanor saying, “Millicent is taking a large risk going before the Guild. The slave traders know it. Smith knows it. The Uycarrans know it. The Guild won’t let her go once she arrives.”
Eleanor sat abruptly. There were calls and objections. It made no sense. She was too important. Someone else could go.
Finally Rachael shouted, “Quiet!” There was a silence. “If you had been listening to anything she has said the last six months, you know this is the foreseeable outcome. Voice your objections to her.” She leaned on the table and said, “We have to plan for the worst.”
Neville said in the silence, “If Millicent’s not here, what do we do?”
John smiled thinly, “We spend some of our hard earned credit and return to Earth and defend it.”
Eleanor waved her hand and said acidly, “And do what? Throw rocks at the Guild ships?”
Rachael’s mouth quirked, “Actually, I was thinking of something just like that.”