GTI 6.2

Waist of Space, part one of the Unlikelihood series, followed Commanders Tarquin Stuart-Lane and Meredith Winstanley; hapless heroes of the Royal Space Regiment; who were sent on a mission to the Moon from which they were not expected to return. There they met with a group of aliens who had forged a living under the surface of the moon, and whose forebears were testing a new kind of spacecraft.

In part two, FLATUS, our dynamic duo help the aliens (and the RSR) build their own multi-locatable craft. Will the ships be built and if so, will the drives work? What are the possible effects of having three such craft in space at one time? FLATUS — Fantastically Large Assembly for Travel at Unbelievable Speeds. The most unlikely spacecraft never built?

Part three follows the preparation and development of the Gap Travel Initiative (code named GTI) and the developing relationships among and between species, races and genders. Will humankind achieve the nirvana of limitless travel and if so, at what cost. Stick with Tarquin and Meredith as they navigate their route through an uncertain future.


GTI. Chapter six, scene two

“Really?” Jason asked, “Duncan de Sauderley?”

“Don’t blame me,” Andrea replied, “it’s his name. I didn’t make it up.”

“It’s that damned writer again, isn’t it? Trying to be funny. I wish he’d just stick to the story and leave jokes to those who know how to make people laugh.”

Stop complaining. Just do the lines you’ve been given. Anyway, some people think the names are funny.

“What, like Edna Bucket and Rik van Winpell?”

Exactly.

“And you don’t think I’ve noticed that a lot of the borborygmic names relate to farting? Even the name Borborygmus! According to my dictionary, it means ‘a rumbling or gurgling noise made by the movement of fluid and gas in the intestines’. How did you think that was an appropriate name for a race of aliens?”

I can write you out, you know. Just as easily as I wrote you in. You aren’t exactly vital to the story.

“But you won’t will you?”

Won’t I? Why not?

“Because you know I’m right.”

And you know I am writer.

“See, you’re still at it.”

“Who are you talking to?” Andrea asked, her brow furrowed in concern.

“Oh, no-one.”

“Perhaps we should postpone this meeting until you’ve had time to rest after your journey.”

“Rear Admiral—”

“Andrea, please.”

“Andrea. I have been aboard spacecraft for more years than I haven’t. I don’t get affected by space-lag and I don’t need a rest.”

“So what was that all about?”

“Don’t let it worry you. I’m fine and I’m fit for duty. You and I need to discuss my role here.”

Jason handed over the sealed envelope containing his orders. “I’m supposed to give these to you,” he said.

Andrea opened the package and withdrew what must have been about a fifty-page dossier. As she looked at the front page, a look of confusion passed over her face. She flicked through the file. “They’re all blank,” she said.

Mwaahahaha!

“Are you sure?” Jason asked, breaking into a cold sweat. Andrea handed the papers to him. He looked through the file. Nothing. All blank sheets.

“I have a job here,” he cried out, his eyes raised to the ceiling, “You can’t take that away from me just on a whim!”

“Who was that aimed at?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Fate?”

Andrea got out of her chair and walked around behind Jason, rested one hand on his shoulder and gently stroked the side of his face with the other. “Do you have some personal issues you need to tell me about, Jason?” she asked.

“No!” Jason bellowed, abruptly jumping to his feet, “Someone is…” he looked at the back of the envelope and read the inscription in small print at its base. “A-Ha! Problem solved. See that code number – B613D6E34B?”

“Isn’t that a batch number?”

“No, Andrea. That is the production code. B613 is the originating department and D6E is the printing technology used. It means that the document can only be read under black light.”

“And 34B?”

“That’s the typist’s—”

“What? How does it help to record her…?”

“If you’re thinking what I think you’re thinking, it isn’t.”

“What is it then?”

“It’s the compiler’s location – third floor, room four and group B.”

“Oh.”

“Anyway, do you have a black light?”

“Not in this office. Let’s take it to the lab.” They walked together to the secure lab, where a couple of technicians were studying samples of the GTI suit material. “Can we have the room, please?” she said. The technicians left.

“What’s going on in here?” Jason asked.

“They’re trying to reverse-engineer the suit material so we can produce it in situ.”

“Why would you need to? Is there a cost issue? A delivery problem?”

“No. It’s a pride thing. Anyway. The black-light is over here,” she said, leading Jason to a side room. Jason took a seat and spread out his papers.

Andrea stood behind him, placed her hands on his shoulders and slowly, softly and gently ran her hands down his torso. “Jason,” she drawled, “you’re so much stronger than Tarquin, aren’t you?”

“I’d love to help you, Andrea, really I would. But I’m gay.” Jason paused, blanching, his heart racing. “What the… wh… why did I—”

Ha ha ha. Got you!

“That’s fine, Commodore, no problem at all,” Andrea said, quickly resuming her seat, “let’s look at these orders of yours.”

“B… b… but I’m not—”

“I know it can be difficult to accept, Jason, but ten out of ten for owning it. Don’t forget, though, denial isn’t just a river in Egypt. Your orders…”

They read through the orders together. Andrea’s brain was fully engaged trying to take in the nature and extent of the authority and power given to Jason. His mind was working even harder than hers, but his aim was to engineer a way out of the impossible situation he’d found himself in. He had declared himself to be gay, and although he had never had an issue with people who were, he knew in himself that he wasn’t. He made an excuse to Andrea and went through to the room inexplicably and perhaps anachronistically marked ‘head’.

Once there he looked at the ceiling again and spoke aloud. “So, what’s the deal, eh? Why did you have me say I’m gay?”

Maybe because you are.

“I can’t be.”

Okay, Jason, point me to a single relationship you’ve had with a woman.

“You’ve never written me one.”

Ever wondered why?

“Okay, you win. I’ll do as I’m told.”

Go back to Andrea.

Jason returned to the side room where Andrea was still studying his orders. He stepped behind her and mimicked the action she had used on him earlier. Andrea squirmed in her seat and sighed. She reached behind her and smiled.

Kreative Kue 211

Kreative Kue 210 asked for submissions based on this photograph:
P1020155a
John W Howell is the author of the John Cannon trilogy of My GRL, His Revenge, Our Justice and Circumstances of Childhood, co-author of The Contract, and blogs at Fiction Favorites.

The Lesson by John W. Howell © 2019

“Now my son. It is time you learned the ways of the sea.”

“Ways of the sea? What do you mean Papa?”

“Soon you will be a man and the duty of providing for your family will fall to you.”

“I don’t have a family except for you, Mama, and sister.”

“There will be a time when you will take a spouse, my son.”

“That is a long way off I hope.”

“Yet that time will come. And then you will have children.”

“Wait, Papa. I don’t want to rush into anything.”

“Just so you are prepared to be able to provide for them it is time we begin your lessons of the sea.”

“Can we hurry. I have a baseball game this afternoon.”

“The first lesson is very brief, my son.”

“Are you sure we need to begin this future life thingy now?”

“The mysteries of the sea will take years to learn. There is no time like the present to begin.”

“Very well, Papa. I will try to do my best. What is the first lesson?”

“Now you make me very proud, my son. My heart is bursting with my love for you.”

“Thank you, Papa. What do I need to know first?”

“See the water, my son. It is filled with millions of fishes and other good things to eat. If you know its ways, you can live a fine life from its bounty.”

“I love to eat fish, Papa.”

“So here is the first thing you need to know.”

“You have my attention.”

“Take this, my son.”

“Your phone Papa?”

“Yes. Dial 210-555-5555.”

“Okay now what?”

“Tell them this is a pickup for four orders of the deep-fried fish and chips with cole slaw.”


And this from Kristian, who blogs regularly at Tales from the mind of Kristian.

A Picture by the Sea Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 14/March/2019

I took a picture of you,

Standing in the sea,

the water lapping at your feet,

as you smiled up at me.

Those days were simply perfect,

Though we didn’t know it then,

That life, as often happens,

Would change and change again.

Not long after the picture was taken,

I said farewell to you,

I watched you sail from my life

I cried for a week or two.

That seems a lifetime ago,

In many ways it was,

Our lives have drifted far apart,

And I’m to blame, because,

I left those words unspoken,

I didn’t tell you how I felt,

And that’s why our lives were broken

By the bitter hand, fate dealt.

Each and every day I wander,

By the water’s edge, I lurk,

Gazing at the sea that took you

Into the darkness and the murk.

It’s here I took a picture of you,

Standing in that sea,

How I wish that here and now,

You were smiling next to me.


Meanwhile, my effort was:

Time and tide…

I know that you’re trying to portray
This scene at the fag end of day
But I think that you might
Want what’s left of the light
So make haste, let’s have no more delay

The tide’s coming in rather fast
This photo may well be your last
Set me back on dry land
Plant my feet in the sand
Ere the beauteous moment has passed.

The sun is now sinking apace
It’s so dark you can scarce see my face
There will only, quite soon,
Be the weak light of moon
To attempt to illumine to the place.

It is forecast that in this locality
The moon will eclipse in totality
If it’s as I recall,
You won’t see me at all
Does your phone offer flash functionality?


KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAOn to this week’s challenge: Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at keithchanning@gmail.com before 6pm next Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here.

Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries next Monday.

Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 2.2

Knight after Knight250

In Knight & Deigh, Hannice Knight suffered a back injury that left him without the use of his legs. Sophie Deigh, physiotherapist and recent widow, devoted herself to supporting him.

As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and soon they found themselves in a relationship they had neither anticipated nor intended, and for which neither was fully prepared.

A bump in the Knight followed Hannice as he juggled business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.

Knight after Knight is the third and final part of the Hannice Knight story. Starting after the marriage of Hannice and Sophie’s only son, David to Jess, the only child of Jason and Noelani Reeves of Hawaii, it traces the Knight family’s progression through the generations.


Knight after Knight. Chapter two, part two.

While Jen went to the kitchen to arrange tea and biscuits, I took the opportunity to have a man-to-man with Pepu.

“Tell me something about your background, Pepu,” I asked.

“What do you want to know, Sir?”

“When you came to this country and why.”

“Why I left Zimbabwe or why did I come here?”

“Both.”

“Okay, Sir. I had to leave Zimbabwe when I was twelve because my father was an opponent of the president. He was rounded up with many of his friends and shot. My mother took the family, three boys and two girls, and fled. You see, Sir, sons of the president’s opponents were believed to be as dangerous as their fathers.

“We travelled partly in the backs of lorries and partly by jumping onto trains, but mostly on foot, until we reached a port. In the port, we were spotted by some bad people. Mother and the girls were taken – we knew that was a risk, but Mother thought it was worth taking. As far as I know, they were probably forced into sex work. My brothers and I were seized, too. I don’t know what happened to my brothers, but I managed to escape and hide on a ship. I didn’t know or really care where the ship was going; it was taking me away from Zimbabwe and danger, and from the bad people in the port city.

“I thought I’d be okay hiding in one of the ship’s lifeboats, but they found me when they did a drill. They threw me into some kind of cell on the ship and told me the captain would come and deal with me. The captain, an English man, questioned me about why I had hidden on his ship. When I explained my situation to him, he said I’d suffered enough and deserved a break. He put me to work as a kitchen-hand. When we arrived at the ship’s destination, which was Southampton, he handed me over to the authorities.

“I told them my story and they asked me if I was applying for asylum and told me what that meant. I agreed it was what I wanted. As a thirteen-year-old boy with no family in England, or anywhere else for that matter, I lived in a lot of temporary homes, being looked after by different people. I went to school, too, and even passed some exams.

“When I became eighteen, I had to leave the family I was with and start to look after myself. By then I had the visas and permission to remain as a refugee. At a hostel in London, I met Jen. Her story was even more horrific than mine. Her father was also a dissident, and she had suffered all manner of abuse on her journey and since. We did a lot of different jobs but never had a proper home. Getting married helped in some ways but not in others. You see, Sir, it’s easier for a single person to find somewhere to live and a job than it is for a couple. That’s why we are so grateful to you and Mrs Knight.”

“And you are very welcome, Pepu. We want you to feel welcomed and at home here. As long as you do your jobs well, and are straight and honest with us, you have a secure and safe home.”

“One thing we would ask, Pepu,” Sophie said, “if you have any problems, any difficulties, whether with work, with money or anything else, anything at all, for goodness’ sake, come and talk to us about it,” seeing Jen, enter with tea and biscuits, Sophie added, “That goes for you, too, Jen. Don’t try to fix it on your own.”

“That’s right,” I said, “we have a big organisation behind us. When you work for me, you become part of the Knight Global Trading family. And we look after our own.”

Jen sat at the table and wept. Pepu comforted her. Once she’d calmed a little, she said, “We never, ever expected to find such kindness. Thank you. Thank you so much.”

“Are we interrupting anything?” Eddie said as he and Martha entered the lounge.

“No, Dad, but you’re too late for tea,” Sophie said.

“Are these the people you told me about, Hannice?” Eddie asked.

“They are. Eddie, Martha, meet Pepu and Jen Kunonga. Pepu is our new driver, groundsman and general handyman, Jen, his wife, is our new cook/housekeeper. Pepu, Jen, these fine people are Mrs Knight’s parents, Mr and Mrs Beard.”

“Eddie and Martha, please.”

“You are very old,” Jen said.

“Jen, that’s rude,” Pepu insisted, “nice English people don’t say that sort of thing.”

“No, but perhaps they should,” Eddie said, “it’s true, we are very old, over eighty, both of us. I like your honesty… Jen, is it?”

“Yes, and I’m sorry if I was rude.”

“Nothing to apologise for, but a cup of tea would be nice. Ooh – do I see double-chocolate chip cookies?”

“Yes, Mr Eddie,” Jen said, “I’ll get you both some tea.”

“I like this girl,” Eddie said as Jen prepared to go through to the kitchen, “such a pretty thing.”

Pepu looked at Eddie with an expression I had difficulty reading. Was it annoyance? Pride? Whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t a smile. He looked back to his wife and took her hand in what seemed to be a protective gesture.

“Down, tiger, you don’t want to start your palpitations again,” Martha said, trying to take the edge off the situation.

“I’m sorry, Sir,” Pepu said, “but my Jen has suffered some bad treatment from white men, especially older ones. And it usually started with them saying she was pretty.”

“No, I’m sorry,” Eddie responded, “I didn’t mean any harm. I was just trying to be nice…”

Jen just looked at Eddie, smiled, and said, “Thank you, Mr Eddie.”

“It’s good that you like them, Eddie,” I said, “because they’re going to be around for a while.”

“Can I ask you something, Sir?” Pepu said to me.

“Of course.”

“When we move our clothes into the flat in this house, is there a back entrance we can use to come and go, so we don’t disturb Sir and Mrs Knight?”

“There is, but I don’t think you need to use that unless you really want to. Provided we continue to get on well, you will be treated like family. You can use the front door. It has an electronic lock that responds to numbered badges and facial recognition. I’ve organised a badge for each of you.” I handed the two badges to Pepu and Jen. Each was on a long lanyard. “Hang them around your necks – under your clothing is fine – it will prime the door lock. I’ll record your face details in my office after we’ve had our tea, then you’ll be set.”

“Will you show us how it works, Sir?”

“I have things I have to do now, Pepu, but I’m sure Eddie will be happy to walk you through it.” I cast a look at Eddie. He nodded and smiled.