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 five
“What can I do for you, Andy?” Meredith said when she saw Andrea’s identifier on her screen.
“Are we secure, Ma’am?”
“We are, and I’m alone. Can you turn your camera on?”
“Yes, please. It seems like ages since I’ve seen your lovely face.”
“Yesterday, wasn’t it?”
“Well, yes. But it feels like a lot longer.”
“Oh, Andy. Did you unbutton your uniform just for me?”
“Are you lying?”
“Sure am, Ma’am. I’ve just given Captain Stuart-Lane a thorough debriefing – his first since landing here. It went rather—”
Andy saw Meredith raise her hand to stop her. “Don’t want to hear it. Listen, Andy. I’ve got a meeting in ten with old Reggie and some MPs. Can I call you back later?”
“I’d love you to, Meredith, but I really called about work.”
“Do you still have the box the alien left us?”
“Who, Jinnis Keet?”
“Yes. The one with a call button on it.”
“I’m sure I do. Can I ask why?”
“You’re the admiral, Meredith. You can ask anything you want, and I have to answer you.”
“You do. Truthfully, honestly and fully. Ooh – I can see so many possibilities here.”
“The reason I need it is to do with the schematics you uploaded to the shared drive.”
“What about them?”
“We’re fine on the materials; it’s the pods. Arty and I have looked at the definitions and formulae, and we’re a long way short of understanding them enough to actually use them.”
“Didn’t the Jithae say we could use the computing power of their satellite array to help?”
“Yes, they did, but to do that we need to know what questions to be asking—”
“And you need to be able to understand the answers. I get that. So what? You want me to have Jinnis Keet come down, is that it?”
“Not necessarily him. I thought if our teams of physicists, mathematicians and engineers could have some kind of 101 from their training people, it would at least get us started on the right track.”
“Leave it with me, Commodore, I’ll make contact and get back to you.”
“Your party arrived, Ma’am?”
“That’s right, Commodore. As soon as I know something…”
“Thank you;, Ma’am.”
The two officers cut the line simultaneously.
“She’ll get back to us, Arty,” Andy shouted, straightening her uniform and buttoning it up to the neck in accordance with the regulations.
Just then, Arty entered the comms room accompanied by Tarquin, who was still a little unsteady on his feet.
“Still having trouble acclimatising to low gravity, Tarquin?” she asked.
“Still day one, Ma’am,” he replied, “I should be okay by tomorrow.”
“I hope so, Captain. We’re hoping to get some training people from Grintsk here soon to get us started on the next phase. I need your mind and body to be working at one hundred per cent.”
“M-my b-body, too?” he asked, hopefully.
“Can’t have you fainting in the middle of a training session, can we? How would that look to our partners?”
“Quite right, Commodore. Must be at my best on the morrow.” Tarquin clicked his heels and saluted smartly before reeling from what was, to all appearances, a healthy thwack across the face.
“What was that for?” Arty asked.
“Beats me,” Andrea replied.
“Blasted thing’s reading my thoughts now.”
“Did you think an apology?”
”No, Ma’am.” Tarquin blushed; not prettily, though. Only girls do it prettily and he’s a bloke, isn’t he?
“Can’t tell you, Ma’am. You might be offended.” He blushed again.
“In that case, it was deserved. But thank you for the compliment. Now, listen up. I’ve asked Admiral Winstanley to try to get the Jinthate training person—”
“Eaten Messe?” Arty asked.
“Don’t mind if I do,” Tarquin replied, “Haven’t eaten yet today, and I am utterly famished.”
“Captain Stuart-Lane,” Andrea barked, “we’ve been here before, haven’t we. The Jinthate Eaten Messe is a colleague of Jinnis Keet. It is not a strawberry and cream dessert. And besides, if I remember rightly, the Jinthate senior training manager is Katiri Vanilli, or something.”
“Kitara Navilli, Andy,” Arty corrected her.
Andy thanked him for correcting her. Happily, she was not under the influence of the EPHS that so blighted Tarquin. Had she been, her unspoken ‘whatever’ would doubtless have earned her a very healthy face-slap.
“So,” Andy began, only to be interrupted by the call tone of the comms unit. She opened the line.
“Okay, Commodore,” Meredith said, “here’s what’s going to happen.” Andrea, Arty and Tarquin could clearly see Reggie and the MPs in the background. Tarquin waved to his erstwhile mentor and went into a sulk when Admiral Farquharson didn’t respond in kind. “Kitara Navilli, Head of Training for the project, will arrive here at oh-nine-hundred UTC Wednesday to start the training for our people. Can you be here?”
“If you can get the Sir Prijs to rendezvous with us on Monday, Ma’am.”
“I’ll have Captain Strangename repurposed straight away. I’ll leave you to agree place and time with him. Good.”
“If I may, Ma’am?”
“What is it, Commodore?”
“What about the moon-based Borborygmi, Ma’am?”
“Sorry. I forgot to mention that Kitara Navilli’s sibling, Willi, will arrive at the plant there at the same time, to train the moon teams. That okay with you, Arty?”
“Thank you, Admiral. I assume Willi Navilli will be familiar with the different structural needs of the Borborygmi?”
“These are smart people, Arty. I’d be more than surprised if they aren’t ahead of the game on that, too. Captain Stuart-Lane?”
“You should remain moon-side. You’re aware of your brief?”
“Of course, Admiral. I’m to see that the Borborygmi have everything they need, and—”
“Thank you, Captain. That’ll be all.” Clearly, the Admiral did not want Tarquin to complete his brief which was, you will recall, to ensure that the Borborygmi have access to everything they need, but nothing they want. The comms unit powered down.