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 forbears
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 one, scene four
“Wh- wh- what’s happening?” Tarquin asked as the strong smell of ammonia dragged him out of his state of unconsciousness.
“You fainted,” Andrea said, making some very strange movements with her hands.
“What on Earh are you doing with your hands?”
“You’ll see,” she replied, then started humming what sounded like a bunch of random notes.
“I don’t think I know that tune. What is it?”
Andrea raised an index finger and touched it against her lips to silence him.
“Gosh,” he said, “that’s the first time I’ve ever been jealous of a finger.”
Andrea raised her eyebrows and carried on humming, content in the knowledge that the spanner had hit its mark. “Trust me,” she said finally, “you will get to know this little tune, and you’ll grow to like it.”
“What’s it called?”
“I call it Une Heure Heureuse.”
“Unless I’m very much mistaken, that’s French for a happy hour.”
“So it is, Tarquin. So it is.”
At Andrea’s suggestion, Tarquin laid back and closed his eyes, whilst his friend traced intricate patterns on the palms of his hands with her fingers. After some minutes, she pulled away from him, stood up and, while easing down the zip of her tunic, asked, “How are you feeling now, Captain?”
“Never better,” he replied with a wicked leer and started to replicate Andrea’s efforts on his own attire.
Suffice to say, the EPHS worked, and both parties were well satisfied with its results. When Arty came back, Andrea was dressing the spanner-shaped wound on Tarquin’s head.
“Everything alright?” Arty asked.
“I should say so,” Tarquin replied, perhaps a little too enthusiastically, “shame I bashed my head, but it seems to have done me a bit of good, somehow. Hope it lasts.”
“Let’s see, shall we?” Andrea purred whilst slowly, gently and sensuously sliding her hands downwards over his still exposed chest, “Shall I try…” she didn’t get any further before Tarquin swooned again.
“So you worked out how to switch off the EPHS, then?” Arty asked.
“Quite straightforward, really, Arty. There’s a simple but compelling logic to the whole thing. All I did was to reverse the steps. The hardest part was humming the tune backwards, until I realised that it’s not a tune, but an untranslated Borborygmi incantation. All I had to do was to work out what the reverse incantation would be in English and let the translator render it in Borborygmi. My main concern is that I don’t want poor Tarquin to be going around as though he’s permanently overdosed on Viagra!”
“I can see how that would make life hard for him,” Arty replied, having no idea of what he had just said.
Andrea laughed. A lot. Then she laughed some more. “I see what you did there. Brilliant!”
“I’m not sure what… Oh!” Arty said. Interestingly and appropriately, the word that the translator rendered as ‘Oh’ sounded, in the original Borborygmi, uncannily like a spinning penny slowing to a halt.
“Quite,” Andrea said, “now let’s get down to work. Have the specifications arrived from the Jinthae yet?”
“Which specifications, the suit materials or the pods and support equipment?”
“I found three sets on the shared drive; presumably Meredith – I mean Admiral Winstanley – put them there. One set covers the materials for making our protective suits. I can get them to our engineers and have them start designing the machines to make them. We’ll work with your people to make a procurement plan for the raw materials.”
“I imagine you will make all the special fabric here; all three thicknesses; and ship the 3mm stuff down to our guys for tailoring.”
“We can do that.”
“Fine. You said three sets of specs.”
“Yes. The other two cover the pods. One, which is for your teams, is based on Earth gravity and atmosphere and human characteristics, the other on Lunar values and Borborygmi. It will take some time for either of our people to understand the physics involved, and the mathematical formulae are horrendous.”
“We have access to all the computing power of the Jinthate satellites.”
“True, that should allow us to find answers to all our questions.”
“So where’s the problem?”
“We need to know what questions to ask, and we need to be able to understand the answers.”
“Good point. Do we still have the mindspeak cell, do you know?”
“Jinnis Keet left it with the admiral, as I recall. I assume she still has it. Why not give her a call, Andrea? I’m sure you’re keen to speak to her anyway.”
“You are, aren’t you? Well, aren’t you just the sweetest thing? Are you missing her already?”
“A little, yes,” Andrea admitted, “that doesn’t mean I don’t value our time together, because I do.”
“And Tarquin, too.”
“Well, yes, but for different reasons.”
“Don’t worry, Andrea. I fully understand your needs, and I have no wish to claim exclusivity with you.”
“You really are a treasure, Arty. Can you stay with Tarquin for a few minutes? He should be coming around soon, and I don’t want him to be alone when he does. He’s likely to be in a fragile state until he comes to terms fully with the arrangement here. I’ll be in the comms room.” Andrea left her support team and walked through to the communications cell.