Chapter 24 – Rachael and John Arrive at the Pub


Rachael and John Arrive at the Pub

John Jr. urged the frightened horse on through the streets. Liam shouted,” turn right at the next intersection. “

“Turn left up by the park ahead and slow down. Betsy’s frothing and no one is following us now – they have their own issues.” Liam shouted and then sat back and closed his eyes.

The pace of the taxi slowed and the panting of the horse could be heard now.  John made a left at the next intersection.  “Pull in front of the pub ahead about 200 yards. See it?” Liam shouted again.

“Aye, how you doing, Liam?” John shouted.

“I ache, I am bruised, I feel like shit, but I will kick your sorry butt tomorrow, you lunk, if you keep asking me stupid questions,” Liam replied testily.

Rachael was a bit surprised. “Mr. O’Hannigan, he doesn’t know you’re not bleeding and I am not sure I don’t but I don’t’ see any. He is concerned.”

“Let him be concerned about driving my cab.” Banging on the roof, “Stop here John. We’re here kiddies.”  The taxi pulled up in front of a non-descript pub. “John, you can get your own damn luggage down. I am heading inside.“ Then to Rachael, “Miss Weiz, if you can assist me down and in, I’m might grateful. Miss Morgaine is inside. I ‘spect it is gon ta be a busy night so we best step to.”

Rachael stepped down and headed to the other side of the cab. John was there and more or less caught Liam as he fell out of the cab. Liam said crabbily, “Let the lady help me, boy, I’ll be fine.”

“You were shot Liam!” John said.

“And me magic vest stopped the bullet” showing him the mushroomed cartridge that Rachael had retrieved. “Now get your luggage inside, and I hope this place has someone who will groom Betsy – she had a horrible fright.  Miss Weiz – to the door please.” He draped his arm around her neck and she held him up sort of and they wobbled a bit to the door. She opened the door and dragged Liam through. Michael Richards was the first to seem them and came to the entrance quickly.

“Rachael – Mr. O’Hannigan what happened. “ Michael asked sounding paniced.

“Lad, stop being daft and help me in. Miss Weiz is wilting under my weight. “ Liam said.

“Mr. O’Hannigan, I am not wilting. Michael open the door and let us in. He’s been shot, but he seems to be ok. We were attacked on the way here. “ Rachael said.

Michael paused for a moment and then went to get Millicent.  Liam whispered in her ear, “You will do just fine with Millicent lass, just fine.”  The two of them stumbled to the bar. Millicent rushed up and asked quickly “What happened?”

Liam answered, “We were attacked on the way here.  Three people, John stunned one; Rachael cut another and I shot one. One of them got a shot off at me and hit me just chest high on the right. That vest of yours worked just dandy but I can barely breathe. “

Millicent examined his back and then pulled his jacket off and handed it to Liam. She palpitated the area expertly and Liam winced. “I expect you have a cracked rib – that is going to hurt for a few days. The good news is that if you take it easy, your inoculation should speed things up a bit on healing.”

“My jacket is ruined,” Liam protested.

“Hardly Mr. O’Hannigan – a hole. A bit of patching will fix it if it bothers you,“ Millicent said holding the jacket up and put a finger through the hole.

“It was me good one,” Liam said.

Ignoring Liam, Millicent turned to Rachael, “You and John are ok?”

“Yes ma’am. Liam here gave us some things to mind ourselves and one doesn’t grow up in the Stepney without known’ a bit o’ defense.” Rachael finally took in the place. It was a pub with a mirror bar.  The room was well lit with tables around. One side of the room had an area for snooker and the other side of the room had a set of dart boards.  Rachael’s eyes got big when she realized that one person playing darts was the Dean and another was his secretary.  She looked back at the writing on the mirror. The name of the pub was  “The Bottle and Glass[1]”. Rachael looked sternly at Liam, “Tell me these people ain’t Cockney.”

“As Bow’s Bells, Miz Rachael. As Bow’s Bells. They’s good folk and make a fine meat pie.”  John bent over laughing at the badly hidden joke and moved two of his suitcases to the wall. He headed back out to get the book box.

Rachael considered Michael Richards being recruited to make sense.  Once you were in the service, you tended to stay in the service and Michael had bigger visions.  Millicent waved her over to the darts game.  Rachael, remembered her father’s note and said, “Here Miss Morgaine, Da’ said to give you this. “

“Thank you. And I’ll not be having you call me ma’am or Miss Morgaine. It is to be ‘Millicent’, is that understood?”

“Yes, Ma…Millicent.”

Millicent waved a barmaid in their direction and returned to ministering to Liam. “Other that a jolly great bruise, how are you feeling?”

“Like Betsy’s been running on me,“ Liam groaned.

“The inoculation is finally kicking in. Stay as long as you can and then head up stairs. Drink water. I’ll see if I can get some ice for your chest.”

The barmaid arrived and greeted her with the clipped tongue of her old neighborhood, “What’ll ye have?”

Deciding to embrace her roots a bit she  requested, “An apple fritter and a dog’s eye”. The waitress grinned “One bitter and a meat pie for the cuddle and kiss. And for you lad?” turning to John.

“A glass of wine”

Rachael smirked as the waitress called out “A porc for the sir. Any scoff’?” She asked John.

John grumbled “Fine, Bangers and bash.” He lugged the book box to the wall with the rest of the luggage. Millicent eyed his luggage and said, “You haven’t seen the agreement.”

John said, “I’ll take my chances. Da’ is getting worse. One of us was going to get hurt. And if you don’t work out, I might see if I can get to America. They seem a bit less class conscious. “

“We’ll go over the agreement later. Rachael, I am so glad you’re here,” Millicent said.

“Papa wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s quite smitten with you. Perhaps you should work with him,” she said a bit acidly.

“He is a dear and has performed wonders with you. But I want the creator of the track. When see him next tell him I appreciated the note,” Millicent said.

Rachael wondered what he had said. Instead she bowed and then presented her notebook, “I have some other designs you might want to see.”

Millicent looked at the notebook and smiled, “Marvelous. You are getting into the spirit.  Don’t let me forget – I shall want to see that later. However, you need to eat and I need to settle a few things not least of which is dealing with poor Liam here.”

She nodded to the bar keep who gathered the few bar patrons over at the snooker side of the room for a tournament of rings.  She called John and Rachael over to the darts game. They each brought their drinks. Michael came over and shook their hands.  “Millicent said she was going for quality. She wasn’t joking.  Good to see you Rachael. John – you didn’t get a job?”

John lapsing in to the Cockney singsong, “’eems I were a bit too earthy for me previous mates.” And then back in to what had become his normal pattern, “They weren’t interested in helping and I lost sight of good people.  You have some great ideas Michael. I’d like to help with them.”

The waitress arrived with food for John and Rachael and then left. Millicent moved to the front of the crowd in the darts alley. “Folks. Gather along the rail so you can all see me. I assume you know one another. If not, I will handle introductions later.” People shuffled to be able to see her.

“I will start straight away. I needed you all here because your association with me means some unintended and unpleasant consequences. John and Rachael were attacked on the way here. The assailants had no problem with shooting at Liam, but didn’t shoot either Rachael or John.  I suspect the goal was to abduct them and I will explain why later.  Rachael, if you would explain the circumstances of your attack,” Millicent asked.

Rachael quickly summarized the attack from the blocked street to the people attacking on either side. She also said that Winifred Stanhope was her attacker and it looked like Charles Wayland was the on the street standing by.  People were shocked by Stanhope’s and Wayland’s presence.

“How did Liam survive?” “What was the device John used?” questions were shouted.

“Please… Please… we’ll get answers” Millicent interrupted.  “But I want you to hear the Dean as well. Dean, if you would describe your experience yesterday.”

The Dean stood up and straightened his vest. “Certainly Millicent. I have been working with Millicent for 20 years now. Every so often, she appears and asks for some equipment or, occasionally, qualified students. She is annoying as hell, but has always been an honest broker. I tell you this because yesterday I was visited by a man as mysterious as Millicent. I have known her for 20 years, but, until recently, I haven’t known her origins, her goals, or her reasons for what she does. This man wanted pieces of equipment and he wanted names of engineers. Yesterday, he asked for your names – the names I had given Millicent. When I refused, he used some type of device on me and I gave him your names as if it was completely decent. I knew as I gave him your names that I should not, but I could not refuse his request. I would apologize, but Millicent assures me there was really no choice on my part. I feel terrible regardless.”

“Thank you Dean. Do any of you have questions for the Dean?” Millicent said.

Michael spoke, “What’s to say you aren’t compelled now?”

The Dean smiled and said, “Your skepticism was your best friend and worst enemy, Mr. Richards. I can’t prove to your satisfaction that I am not compelled now. I will say that during the experience I was unable to speak in the slightest. It was as if he had control of portions of me. But not all.”

Millicent continued for the Dean, “Michael, the device used forces a victim to perform a specific, command. The person cannot object or fight the compulsion. The good news is that the device really can only be used once. Your minds are powerful and build resistance pathways quickly. “

Michael continued, “This person has our names – so what?”

Rachael was appalled. “Michael. This isn’t a bloody philosophy class. These people attacked John and me.  The Dean was compelled against his wishes. What’s to say that doesn’t happen to us? Frankly, between the attack and this story, I am very scared. “ Looking at Millicent, she asked, “Why do I deserve such attention?”

Millicent tried to look sympathetic but was frustrated, “In the past, I did not have a competitor. I could take time to convince candidates.  I could take time to convince others like you.  Or you could simply be left alone. I found out about this man from the Dean. And after some sleuthing, I found out he was unscrupulous to the extreme. He has his own candidates, but he is employing ever more scandalous techniques to do make them do what he wants. You may know Charles Wayland, Neville Carter-Fraser, Simone Campbell, and Winifred Stanhope.

Michael commented, “Yeah. They were a bunch of posh prats. I am surprised John wasn’t on that list. “ His fiancée punched him in the shoulder hard.

John looked him and said, “If I agree with you, will you shut up and let her finish? I called Charles and Simone my friends. Apparently West Enders had a different view o’ that than we Stepney folk. “

Michael’s fiancée punched him in the shoulder even harder, if that was possible, and said, “E’ll behave or his shoulder will be a fine rainbow tomorrow. Go on Miss Morgaine, you’ll not be hearing boo from Michael till its proper.”

“Thank you Felicity. I think you could grow on me.  Mr. Smith, my competitor, is using a more advanced form of control on your classmates. Rather than a ‘one time only’ affair such as the Dean and Miranda experienced, he is using an inoculation and a combination of pain and pleasure to ‘train’ them as one might train an animal to obey him. I can prevent this from happening to you via my own vaccine. You do not have to sign any agreement to get this vaccine. I simply do not want you to be subject to the agonies your classmates face.”

There was a silence. John asked “There is nothing you can do for them?”

Millicent sighed. “No. I’m sorry. To be honest, I’ve met them and Michael is right – they are prats. I truly found them snobbish beyond toleration.  But nothing excuses what is being done to them now. It is the same as those barbaric Americans and their ‘peculiar institution’ only with less hope. The process having been begun is almost always associated with a ‘kill switch’. Were Smith to believe that I was interfering in his dominance, he would flick a switch and they would die.  I WILL stop this interloper, but I fear your classmates will not benefit. I can only prevent it happening to you because you have not been exposed.”

“What of the Dean and his Secretary?” asked Felicity.

“What was done to them was different in its method and is short term. I will be giving them the serum as well because I fear Smith will lash out at my friends, “ and she smiled at the Dean and the Secretary.

“What of my papa and our families?” Rachael asked.

Millicent spread her hands and said, “I know it is hard to believe but your father is removed enough that I don’t believe Smith will use this technique on him or your other families.  The process is costly in time, effort and money. You would be valuable as a slave. Him, as endearing as I find him, far less so. “

Michael asked somewhat defensively, “What of Felicity?”

“Michael, I invited her here so that she will get the vaccine as well. And I should like to discuss that further with you two later,” Millicent said simply.

Rachael looked to the Dean, “Why should we believe her? How can we know she is any different than this Smith bloke?”

The Dean stayed seated, “Miss Weiz, I have found Millicent mysterious, annoying, disrespectful and even arrogant. But, I have always found her an honest broker. She has never threatened me, or to my knowledge, ever tricked me. Mr. Smith came with requests as Millicent does and I fulfilled those requests. Then he kept coming back for more and more. Those requests grew imperious and even threatening. When I would not pass your names…well I’ve given my story on that matter.  Millicent has given me some glimpse into what is going on between Smith and herself. It is politics”

Millicent voiced a protest.

The  Dean waved away her protests and said, “Millicent, from my point of view it is politics. But like Italy between Austria and France, the politics will be played out here with apparently devastating consequences. I have trusted her in the past and never regretted it. If she is worried then I should be alarmed.”

Millicent stepped up, “For now, I would like to start with the inoculations. Are there any other questions?”

No one said anything immediately, so Millicent continued, “If the ladies will follow me to my room, I will attend to them first. Gentlemen, enjoy yourselves – you’re next.”

In an odd sort of pecking order, the Dean’s wife led followed by Miranda and then anchored by Rachael and Felicity.  The group of ladies went upstairs to one of the four rooms. There was a bed, a desk and a small wardrobe. On the bed was a leather bag. Millicent emptied the contents onto the desk: there was a notebook as well as items for the inoculation.  This included the bottle of serum, the syringe and needle, alcohol and swabs and bandages. Millicent sat on the chair. “Dorothy, do you want to be first?”

“I suppose it makes sense, “ said the Dean’s wife.

“Sit on the bed. I need to see your arm to the elbow.” Dorothy unbuttoned her sleeve and pushed it up the arm. Millicent quickly found a vein, swabbed and administered the serum.  She put a bandage in the crook of the elbow had her raise her arm.

“Miranda?”

“Millicent, this is not tea,” Miranda said in protest.

“No, but I think we are all due for a holiday in a day or two. We will have a proper tea on the train.” Millicent apologized.

“Piffle.  I haven’t time for a holiday.” Miranda said but there was a smile in her voice.

Dorothy responded, “Henry is due for one, Miranda. There is no point in you working if he is out of town. Besides, I think a tea with you would be lovely.“

Miranda snorted, unbuttoned her sleeve and pushed it up. Millicent made quick work of it. She looked to Michael’s fiancée and asked, “Felicity?”

“Ma’am, can’t say as I like the needle,” Felicity said with a shake in her voice.

“Close your eyes. You will hardly notice –  I assure you. The after effects will be far worse than the shot,” Millicent said.

“Tain’t helping ma’am,” Felicity said with a snort.

Millicent got stern, “Felicity, sit. Rachael hold her hand and Felicity, if you do not start calling me Millicent, you shall regret it.  Ask Liam if you want to know how much. “

Felicity sat a bit nervously on the edge of the bed.  Rachael sat down next to her and held her hand. Dorothy pulled her own sleeve down and moved to the other side and held the hand of the arm to be injected.  Millicent pushed the sleeve up and swabbed the arm. She wrapped the rope around and pinched it twice. “Just a couple of pinches to bring up the vein.” She pulled out the needle and swabbed the arm, injected and swabbed again. “Hold up your arm.”

“That was it? Twas naught but a pinch,” Felicity said.

Millicent smiled and said, “But you didn’t know that. That was quite brave. Rachael?”

“Just a pinch you say?” to Felicity

“Maybe more, but it weren’t long,” Felicity said holding her arm up.

Millicent pushed Rachael’s sleeve up and then put a rope on her upper arm. Rachael was fascinated as her veins seemed to emerge from her arms. She read of William Harvey’s discoveries and experiments and was now seeing it in action.

Millicent said, “Some people prefer to look away.”

Rachael replied, “Not a chance. This is too much like watch repair.”

Millicent smiled and said, “Interesting comparison. Very well” and slid the needle in. It was a bit more than a pinch – more like a bad sting. The serum going in momentarily bloated the vein and burned a bit. Millicent pulled the needle out and put a swab on and said, “keep your arm raised.” Then she addressed all the women at once, “You are going to have some aches and a fever tomorrow morning. Drink lots of water tonight. I have arranged several pitchers of pure water at our tables. Keep drinking it. And eat a bit too – especially protein. I will give you something that will help with the headache and aches later. “

“How bad?” someone asked.

“You probably won’t want to leave bed tomorrow morning,” Millicent said.

“Lovely,” Rachael said.

“Miranda and Dorothy, you can go home tonight. Felicity and Rachael, I want you to stay here tonight. You aren’t to leave my sight until you get a bit of protection. I’ve got four rooms so we can work out arrangement later,” Millicent said.

Rachael started to protest and Felicity asked “What about my work? I might get the sack especially if Michael and I are out after curfew together.”

Millicent took her hands and said, “Felicity, you know that Michael is good at design”

“The best. He’s even designed a house for us,” Felicity sounded defensive.

“If you marry him, it won’t matter if you get the sack, will it? I can almost guarantee he will have a job – whether it is with me or one of my partners in Europe. You do not have to be a maid anymore. Unless you want to be, “ Millicent added. “You will be able to do as you choose. Cooking? Sewing? You will not have to be a servant any longer.”

“I’m sorry Ma… Millicent. It just seems so quick. I was going to wait for Michael to get a job before we married,” Felicity stammered.

“That’s smart. I like that. I am sorry that this is rushing you,” Millicent said.

“Well to be honest, the head butler and maid were staring to be nosy.  This invitation – Michael said it was a big chance but that it was a tough choice,” she said.

Millicent turned to the two older women. “Miranda and Dorothy, why don’t you head down. The girls and I will be down in a bit. Tell the gentlemen to drink some water. “ The two left the room and Rachael and Felicity were left with Millicent. Millicent sat back in the desk chair.  “If you and Michael join me, you will be leaving everything and everyone. You won’t be able to contact anyone and when you get back, you won’t be able to see your friends or family. This job is impossibly remote. “

“I would be with Michael though,” Felicity said.

Millicent said, “That will help and he has made it clear he won’t go without you. But who would you miss? Rachael – who would you miss? Who would be hard to say good bye to?”

“You are being disingenuous. You know it is my father.  He is all that is left of my family. Apparently the Cossacks killed his younger brother and his older brother took ill some years ago,“ Rachael said a bit angrily.

“No aunts?” Millicent asked.

“They were around but they never really understood me the way Papa and Uncle Morris did,” Rachael shrugged.

“Felicity?” Millicent asked.

“I left home when I was fourteen for the service. I got this job three years ago. Mummy and Daddy died not too long after I left. I have a sister, but she is in Scotland and I haven’t seen her since I took this job. I suppose the house and service become your family,” Felicity said.

“So leaving wouldn’t hurt you so much,” Millicent asked.

“Thinking on it, nay…wouldn’t be a hard thing,” Felicity said.

“You do need to ask yourself what you will do with yourself if Michael is working. You may find you have far more idle time than you expect,” Millicent said.

Rachael said, “And what of me?”

“I read your father’s note.  He said it well – I am offering you a chance to flee these civilized Cossacks to a place that doesn’t even know what being Jewish is.  You would be judged on your talents and free to worship as you please. I don’t know if you will be able to organize a Minyan[2]. We might be able to talk to some other clients and organize some get togethers  around the holidays. Let’s not worry about that now.  Show me your notebook, I want to see some of the music box designs that you have been working on.  Felicity, I want you to stay as well,” Millicent said.

Rachael opened her book to a page with a music box that had a figured that shifted, turned to the time of the music. The timing would be have to be nearly perfect for it to execute right. The figure was articulated to the wrists and ankles so could do all of the ballet positions.

Millicent comment “All this is driven by springs?”

“I might be able to use gravity if the model were significantly larger. But this is for a desk or table,” Rachael said.

“I might be able to suggest some transfer mechanisms to improve the efficiency so you get the timing right,” Millicent said.

“That would be a grace. I don’t really care for the figures that just spin and dip without any connection to the music. Don’t look right,” Rachael said.

“No, but it is impressive in its own right. This would bring people to your door. You would probably get a royal contract,” Millicent said.

Rachael blushed, “I don’t’ know about that. Besides it isn’t made.”

“True, but I want it made. Now, before I show you this next object,  you need to understand I want you to see what is possible. You have designed something amazing that should be completed. However, I think you can do more with me.“ Rachael looked at her quizzically.

Millicent pulled a box with switches out of the satchel and set it on the desk.  She depressed a switch and music of some sort started, although Rachael and Felicity couldn’t identify it. The box opened and inside was a small chorus of animals dancing – some were swaying to the music, one twirled and one leapt. All of it was contained in a box that was no more than a foot on each side.  Felicity clapped and laughed and tapped her foot. Rachael stared at it intently.

“That is impossible,” Rachael said.

Millicent smiled and said, “I believe Michael said something like that at my demonstration for him. I may start to question the University’s training in observation.”

Rachael protested, “They are so small. You can’t make gears that small. The one that leaps – it loses contact so there is no mechanism. That implies the mechanism is in the figure. That can’t be done with gears.”

Millicent smiled and said, “Then perhaps they don’t use gears. Maybe the energy necessary is transferred in different ways. “

Rachael frowned and replied, “I would have to see it close up to understand.”

Millicent smiled, “Yes, you would.  You would have to work under a lens or two. I will tell you something else.  That serum that I gave you was really a set of machines.  Extremely tiny. So tiny they are grown rather than made. Those machines will repair your body and fight other like machines that might attack.”

Rachael stared at Millicent and said, “How is any of this feasible?”

“Eventually, your world will have this technology. I am guessing in about 175 years. But, you, Rachael Wiez, will have access to it now – IF you work for me.” Millicent paused and let the animals dance.  “What could you build with such a technology? A self-sustaining automaton? A watch the size of a tupence? An artificial heart? You tell me.”

Rachael was silent in the wake of the revelations and watched the fantastic music box. Felicity asked, “What of me?”

Millicent responded, “That, Felicity,  is an excellent question. I may actually have Liam talk to you. He has asked the same question and is finding his niche. I have some ideas, but it will be very different from your current job.”

“All I’ve done is be a maid,” Felicity looked down at her hands.

Millicent snorted and replied, “All you’ve done is organize, execute instructions, and allocate your time in an efficient fashion. There will be a place for such skills. Your husband and others will need such help. You can be a familiar face to provide it. I’ve just heard you left your home for the unknown once before. Something the others won’t have done. “ Felicity looked embarrassed at the compliments. “Now you will have to forget that wallflower look in this crowd. Watch Eleanor or Rachael for pointers. I won’t have those males spouting nonsense about the weaker sex and all that.  Down we go. I need to deal with the real babies in this lot.”

Rachael and Felicity laughed at the bit of sisterhood as they headed down the stairs. At the bottom, Millicent called to the Dean, Michael, John and Miranda’s husband to join her upstairs. Felicity looked to Rachael and said, “Join me in a drink for a bit.”

“Sure. Why not?” Rachael said.

[1] Bottle and Glass – ass

[2] Minyan – quorum of adults necessary for certain Jewish obligations.

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4 thoughts on “Chapter 24 – Rachael and John Arrive at the Pub

  1. Pingback: The Recruiting Matter – Chapter 24 – Rachael and John Arrive at the Pub | The Finder's Saga

  2. Pingback: Felicity’s Journal – Rachael | The Finder's Saga

  3. Pingback: The Omicron Matter – A Door Chime is Finished – Installation Begins | The Finder's Saga

  4. Pingback: The Omicron Matter – Joint Ventures – Working on The Console 2 | The Finder's Saga

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