The Omicron Matter – Return to Times Past – Tea in the Desert

A new entry in the Omicron Matter – Return to Times Past. The group is in a large dining room. Liam O’Hannigan is approached by another alien who exchanges pleasantries.  Liam is far from pleasant after finding out they are trapped on the planet. Anton Tiitus gives him a bit of history of Millicent and her time on this planet and then suggests there may be more going on than meets the eye.

Author’s note

Part of the inspiration for this chapter was the Police song, Tea in the Sahara.  I will admit that it is a stretch connection, but the song’s image so utterly British and Victorian. A march across the desert, to meet in a sheltered courtyard only to find you are captive. “I know  – Let’s have luncheon!”  The chapter is long and has a lot of back story, but Anton does offer something interesting for Liam to hold onto in the.

I am making good progress on the chapter after this. The editing on this chapter is done, so I will be setting up the presentation over the next couple of weeks. I am also starting to use Scrivner to set up some activity on other days. I still have a day job so it depends on my available time, but I have a place to collect ideas now.

Thanks for you support. Look for more on Wednesday.

Tea in the Desert

Liam trailed the group as they were led into a large circular dining hall. The center was dominated by a circular table that could easily sit 20. It reminded Liam of the etching from “Le Morte d’Arthur” he had read in school so long ago.
Staff were setting the table so Liam and the others waited on the side as the final silverware was placed. Another person with the pink skin and green eyes of Sigmund moved next to him and said, “I was not present during introductions.” He turned and offered his hand, “My name is Anton Tiitus. I serve as Sir Hilboor’s assistant.”
Liam eyed him sideways but ignored the hand, “Suppose I ought to be civil… I’m Liam O’Hannigan. I serve as Millicent Morgaine’s …assistant.”
Tiitus looked at his stretched hand and then withdrew it. He turned and watched the table being set. He asked, “Was the reception not acceptable?”
Liam crossed his arms and rolled his eyes. He sneered and said in a high tone,“Was the reception not acceptabl?” He looked at Tiitus saying “This whole bloody trip has been one big trap. The garden is pretty and dinner looks tempting, but we are prisoners. That is going to affect my view of your reception.”
Tiitus smirked a little, shrugged and said, “Ah… I can see that would be off-putting. Sometimes circumstances override our best intentions.” He gestured to the table and said, “May I join you? I think we may have things to discuss later.”
Liam waved a hand and moved to the table saying, “Fine…whatever. I’ll play nice for now.”
A cold cream soup of vegetables was served. Liam had spent enough time around Millicent and in strange places, that he knew to try it first before rejecting it. The cool, crisp soup was refreshing after the walk across the desert. He ate his silently as Tiitus seemed to babble about nothing.
“I was here when Millicent Morgaine was brought here. Poor girl was dazed. Didn’t speak a word. Never smiled. Halboor spent hours with her, but nothing seemed to reach her.”
A new course arrived that looked like sandwiches. The filling was a salty vegetable paste. Liam craved a fine beef sandwich, but enjoyed the light sandwich with water and the crisps served in open bowls. Tiitus babbled further, “Halboor arranged lessons in cloud sailing. Finally she started to smile. She was beating the entire staff before long. She brought home several trophies from competitions.”
Liam took a drink and said, “I suppose if prison is like that, it won’t be all bad.”
Tiitus stared at him for a moment. He remained quiet long enough for Liam to finish a sandwich. Then he spoke again, “Halboor knew she would leave eventually. You can’t hide history. He and the staff…we tried to…”
Liam looked at him and said a sneer, “Make up for mistakes?”
Tiitus concentrated on his fruit. “I suppose. Some of us were appalled at the action. And more appalled with what they did to that child.” He looked up and said, “How do you find the ship?”
Liam eyed him narrowly, “It’s comfortable enough.”
Tiitus leaned back and pushed his plate away. “The cloud sailing had gotten her to open up. Then some Kanvian…same as that same pestilent creature that greeted you in the courtyard…took her away on the year anniversary of the ‘Guild’s Success’. They paraded her around to Uycarran refugees and Guild leaders.”
Liam muttered, “Bastards.”
Tiitus paused and said, “That translates well. Anyway, she came back and lapsed into silence again. Halboor Sigmund was furious. He threatened to organize a boycott of Kanvia if they touched soil here again.” He looked over at Millicent. “We missed the girl sailing in the clouds.” He took a crisp and some dip. “Again,Halboor tried everything. Finally he found something that worked for the long term. He had to pull strings and pay off I don’t know how many officials to get that ship. It was an old Uycarran family ship set for salvage. He brought it here and put it in the hanger.” Liam said nothing. Tiitus said, “The AI was so damaged, the Guild deemed it safe. Halboor brought Millicent to the hanger and said, ‘make it yours.’”
Liam forgot his food and water, “Did she fix it?”
Tiitus smiled, “I think repairs went in both directions.” He signaled to a server and desserts were brought. It was a light pudding with a vanilla and mint flavor. Tiitus said, “The ship became her retreat when times were bad. Despite Halboor’s threats, tours continued. But they were less brutal. Chiss became the escorts and they are …friendlier. After each tour she spent a month working on the ship. She seemed to find comfort in it.” He said with a smile, “We never tried to figure out why she enjoyed time on the ship so much.”
Liam ate his pudding and said, “Why are you telling me this?”
Tiitus finished his dessert and set the dish on the table. “I thought you might night to know where she got that remarkable ship you came in on.” He leaned back in he chair. “You should also know Halboor Sigmund objected to the action against the Uycarrans. And he objects to the action against Earth. He we was ousted for his opposition and Guild officers have been here constantly for the last year.”
Liam narrowed his eyes, “There was no warning as we approached.”
Tiitus snorted, “Do you think we control communications?”
“What is going to happen?”
Tiitus smiled, “Fill your drink Liam O’Hannigan. I would like to show you an amazing fountain sculpture.”
Liam eyed him. Tiitus filled his glass with a green liquor and nodded to the door back to the courtyard.  Liam filled a glass of his own with the green liquor. He stopped by Jason and Michael saying, “Do not leave Millicent. I’ve got business to attend to.” And then followed Anton Tiitus to the courtyard.


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