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 four, scene one
The following morning, in her office, Admiral Meredith Winstanley was taking her first double-espresso of the day with Patsy.
“So, Patsy,” she said, “do you feel ready to take on this One Dimension group?”
“Pretty much,” Patsy replied, “I’m glad we had the chance to talk it through last night, but I think I need to put a plan together then run it past you, if that’s okay.”
“One thing did occur to me, though. Their people may not be easily swayed by a junior officer.”
“Not much I can do about that, Ma’am. Lieutenant is my rank and that’s it. I only need to get them in a receptive state, then I can work my borborygmi magic on them.”
“Yes, once they’re receptive.” Meredith paused and rolled a pencil back and forth across her desk. She looked up and faced Patsy square in the eye. “No,” she said, “My mind is set. I’ve decided to make you up to Commander, effective immediately.”
“Wh-what? Two steps? Wow. I take it that’s a temporary, acting rank.”
“No, it’s substantive.” Meredith tapped away on her computer terminal. “That’s done,” she said, “I’ve messaged HR to set it up. Congratulations Commander Pratt.”
“Wow. Thank you, Ma’am. I don’t know what to say.”
“I’m sure you’ll think of something, Patsy. Ooh, I do love this job. Now – is the Sir Prijs still in orbit?”
“I believe so, Ma’am. On the way down, Captain Strangename said something about three days’ layover for evaluation of the SEP, whatever that is.”
“Good.” Meredith called out to her PA, “Pipsqueak!”
I’ll bet you were wondering what became of Reggie’s adjutant, Captain Algernon Pippington. Well, he’s still at the same rank and, as you can see, serving as PA to the Admiral. He came into his boss’s office.
“You called, Ma’am?”
“I did. Find out where Captain Strangename of the Sir Prijs is, will you? I want to see him urgently. Do this well, and there may be a new post in it for you.”
“A new post, Ma’am? For me?”
“Yes, Pipsqueak. A new post for you. If you do this little job well.”
“May one be permitted to enquire as to the nature of this new post?”
“Pipsqueak; does this look to you like you’re doing as I have asked you? Because it doesn’t to me.”
If he did say anything as he rushed out of the office, no-one heard it.
“I’ll be in the library, working on my plan,” Patsy said as she left Meredith alone.
Some time later, Meredith’s intercom buzzed.
“Yes,” she barked.
“Begging your pardon, Ma’am. Pippington here—”
“I know it’s you, Pipsqueak, unless someone has invaded your office, which I very much doubt. What is it, man?”
“Captain Strangename has arrived, Admiral.”
“Good. Show him in. And you’d better come in, too.”
“Just do it.”
The door opened. In strode two men in captain’s uniform, one with the bearing and appearance of a battle-ready commander, the other… well… not so much.
“Pipsqueak,” Meredith said, “I’m giving you command of the Sir Prijs.”
“For God’s sake, Pipsqueak, is that all you can ever say? Get out of my office, get yourself to HR and organise the paperwork before I change my mind. And ask them to assign your replacement, stat.”
Captain Pippington left Meredith’s office probably faster than he had ever done.
“Now, Jason. How long have you had command of the shuttle?”
“Since Joan Weinberg left, Ma’am.”
“And how have you been enjoying it?”
“I’ve done my duty, Ma’am. It’s not the job I expected when I joined up, but I will always follow lawful orders. My enjoyment is immaterial.”
“Good. I have another job for you. How much do you know about the project that’s being developed here and on the moon?”
“Very little, Ma’am, except that the SEP device the boffins fitted on the Sir Prijs is a spin-off from it.”
“Excellent. So no pre-conceptions, then. Okay,” she handed a file to him, “here’s a briefing document. It will tell you everything you will need to know about the GTI project.”
“You’ll understand when you’ve read it. You should be aware that your clearance is not enough for every aspect of the project, so you will see an amount of redaction in the document I’ve just given you. Nothing that is missing will have any effect on the job I’m planning to offer you. Is that clear?”
“Good. Now, go off and study the brief, then come back to see me tomorrow at 0930. By then, security should have completed their work which I hope will allow me to release the redacted text to you, and we can go into detail about the job I have in mind for you. Okay?”
“Oh-nine-thirty tomorrow, Commodore.”
“I beg your pardon, Ma’am?”
“Did you call me Commodore, Ma’am?”
“Oh yes. Sorry. A bit premature. I forgot to mention that the job carries that rank. Off you go.”
Newly promoted Commodore Jason Strangename saluted, turned and left Meredith’s office with a spring in his step that hadn’t been there when he entered.