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