GTI 2.5

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 forbearswere 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 two, scene five

Training the human scientists, mathematics and engineers in the fundamentals of inter-gap travel took a day longer than they had planned. Willi had finished with the borborygmi on schedule, a day earlier and it came down to join its sibling to give a final push. Many of the attendees wanted to know how it was that their moon-based colleagues completed their training on time. They were convinced that the timetable was unrealistically ambitious, given the sheer amount of information they needed to absorb, and would have preferred five or even six full days to cover everything fully.

Of course, the Jinthae were loath to suggest that, perhaps, the borborygmi, as a species, were brighter than humans, but that was the truth of it. Channelling Jinnis Keet’s diplomatic skills, Willi Navilli simply pointed out that the borborygmi are genetically predisposed to the more rapid acquisition of knowledge, as they only have one sixth of the lifespan that the human race typically enjoys.

“That would make sense,” Andrea offered, “I did notice that my borborygmi contact, who is only eight years old by our reckoning, has already surpassed me in some fields – and I’m said to be quite quick.”

“And what did you think of the pace of the course,” Willi asked.

“With the ongoing support we’ve been promised, I think it was probably about right—”

“The original or the extended?”

“The original plan would have been okay, except that a number of our people wanted to delve into some of the concepts in greater detail than the plan envisaged. As it is, I wouldn’t have liked to try to do it in less than the full four days.”

“And would you have liked longer?”

“In the absence of the support commitment, yes; although I think there are some who would have liked longer anyway, to give them the freedom to explore concepts away from the syllabus.”

Addressing the entire body, Kitara said to everyone present, “In that case, people, my sibling and I will leave you now. You each have an expanded information pack geared to your particular discipline and needs; Willi and I, in fact, the entire technical team, are at your disposal should the orbiting devices be unable to give the answer to any question you have. For the sake of good order, any requests for help should be passed through Vice Admiral Winstanley’s office, via Commodore Smithson or your team leader – the head of mathematics, the head of science or the head of engineering. The borborygmi have similar instructions.”

“Please accept our thanks for your work here, Kitara and Willi,” Andrea said, “and we wish you a safe journey back to Grintsk.”

“No need, Commodore. Gap Travel is foolproof.”

“You haven’t worked with humans for very long, have you? We live by Murphy’s Law.”

“We don’t know that one. I thought we’d examined all your theories and laws.”

“Murphy’s law is the simplest of all laws, and it is both universally applicable and immutable.”

“What is its main tenet?”

“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

“I see. One of your jocular laws.”

“Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s related to entropy or, as the twentieth-century songwriter Paul Simon put it: everything put together sooner or later falls apart.”

“Unless it is managed and well-maintained.”

“Okay, Kitara, I’ll grant you that. Farewell until we meet again.”

“Farewell,” it said as the two travellers phased out of view.

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