A new entry in the Omicron Matter – Aftermath. Liam and Millicent are having a quiet dinner on the ship while the others are out. Millicent ponders what has happened and where things will go.
Liam and Millicent’s relationship has been on the back burner for a while. The author is of the opinion that it needs warming up.
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Millicent watched Liam as he served her a portion of the pasta and sauce and then carefully poured the wine. He had a towel over his arm as he poured. The look was almost incongruous, but not quite. She said, “I am impressed, Mr. O’Hannigan. When did you learn to cook all this?”
Liam straightened, snapped the towel, cleaned the bottle and placed it on the table next to the candles. “Since I were a wee one.”
“Bollocks, Liam. I’ve seen your home digs and I have had more than my share of ‘hearty English cooking.’ Felicity might know this but a street bred waif from the back alleys of London does not know about pasta and pork ragu with fresh vegetables.”
Liam sat with a humph, “Fine. Spoil me story. Felicity and Jason have been teaching me on the trip.” He pulled his napkin in place and said, “I grew up on potato soup served by nuns. We got a piece of meat on Saturdays after mass. If you’re starvin’ it tastes good.”
Millicent smiled, “It is nice that an old dog can learn new tricks.” Liam looked a little flustered. Millicent raised her glass, “To a moment of peace and respite.”
Liam lifted his glass and said, “Peace and respite.”
Millicent took a bit of the pasta and closed her eyes, “Oh. This is good. Do I detect bits of Gonadal and Barony?”
Liam dabbed his mouth with the napkin and took another drink, “Jason worked the recipe from his old digs at the pub. He’s managed to fit in local ingredients. Tastes a bit like that stuff we ate in Prague with some spice.” He took a fork full and said conversationally, “Brian Tuireann seems to have done well for himself.”
Millicent took her drink and smirked, “Jealous?” Liam coughed a little. Millicent said, “I am not surprised at his new position as Admiral. He is an organizer. He kept that fleet going and annoyed a Guild fleet for months if the interrogations are at all true.”
Liam leaned back, “He still supports you?”
Millicent took her drink and said, “Politics over dinner, Mr. O’Hannigan? How gauche.” Liam blushed again and took a drink. Millicent waved it away, “I jest. Brian and I have talked. He works for Abu Silverbeam but supports any ambitions I may have.”
Liam raised his glass, “And what does m’lady aspire to?”
“Flatterer. See if you try that after our gym workout tomorrow.” Liam groaned. She closed her eyes, “I am not sure. All I wanted at the start was for Earth to be left alone and my claim recognized.”
“Has that changed? Do you want more?”
Millicent fidgeted with her glass. “Halbor Sigmund was good to me. He taught me and cared for me. By all accounts, he was far better than other foster parents the Guild had supplied. He hid the flaws from me as best he could. I learned to trust Guild wisdom.” She took a forkful of the pasta, “But I’ve lost that naive faith in the fairness of order. I wish I could bring some of the fairness I remember back.”
“Sigmund seemed a decent sort. He meant well. His house people were sure decent.”
“I don’t fault Halbor for what is going on now. He had a good vision for what the Guild could be and now he is hiding because of it. He was what I believed the Guild to be. Not Admiral Borat or Bendiks Kaspar.” Liam took his own forkful but said nothing. She sighed, “But the Guild is now run by the Borats and the Kaspars and their like. And I have managed to start a war with them.”
Liam sat up and said, “Coddles-wop. You were defending yourself. You are defending a planet that would know a penny’s worth of what I’ve seen.”
“Those missiles I launched killed people. And a planet has been devastated.”
“They would have paraded you again to keep planets like Juthjath and Earth down. Borat and his toady staff caused the deaths and damage here. Not you. The Tymbrimi chose to resist. And good on them.” He leaned back, “I’ve seen the like before. In London, some damned politician wants to make a mark, so he orders Irish in London rounded up. It makes the toffs happy and the coppers get to break heads. Same thing is happenin here, Miss Morgaine. The Guild just wants to show who’s in charge. This time the Tymbrimi, the Hoon, the Kaum and, blast them damn slugs, even the Molocots are saying no.”
Millicent eyed him and took a sip, “I forget your history at times. What do you think of the executions?”
Liam shook his head, “Can’t say it feels right to me. But I wasn’t here and I am not local. The Guild officers are payin’ a price for killing thousands. In London, they hang a man for killing one.”
“When the coalition ships get captured, and they will get captured, the Guild will respond in kind. They will execute coalition crews.”
Liam shrugged, “It seems to me Guild was already imprisoning people willy nilly. Rachael says there were asteroids headed for this planet. Expecting a bit of mercy from the Guild is a pipe dream.” Liam took another forkful of food and said, “Enough of that drab topic. Where are we headed next?”
Millicent shrugged, “Jason needs more clues on where to search for his parents and how to get in. I need to spend more time with the Uycarrans. I am sure Brian Turieann and Abu Silverbeam will want to retaliate. I hope I can temper the worst of that. Smith and his lot will want to disrupt Guild operations for fun and profit.” She smirked, “How does ‘space pirate’ fit in your CV?”
Liam grimaced and closed one eye said, “Arrgah, matey…” He straightened up and said, “that uncle who taught me a few constellations seemed to be involved in smuggling off Penzance.” He scratched his chin and said, “Can’t say the hanging suits me, but I’ve got the ruddy good looks for it.”
Millicent laughed and raised her glass, “To Redbeard O’Hannigan…dashing space pirate.”