GTI 6.3

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 three

“I’ve got page eighteen here, Jason,” Andrea said, “we must be almost there now.”

“Three pages to go: six, twenty-seven and forty-three. Is that them under the desk?”

Andrea picked up the three pieces of paper from the floor and held them under the black light. “Twenty-seven, forty-three and… six. Yup. That’s them,” she said.

“Who would have thought that putting a D6E file back together would be so difficult,”

“Perhaps we should have cleared the desk in a more controlled manner.”

“Water under the bridge, Andrea.”

“Or paper under the desk,” she chuckled.

“Do you have a way of converting this lot to normal, readable print?”

“Not that I know of, but I’m sure if I talk to Arty he can have his people modify a scanner. Perhaps he can replace the normal lamp with a black-light source and scan it. Once it’s done, we should be able to play about with it to make it printable.”

“Good. You can keep the original on file here, but I want one I can read in bed. There’s a lot of detail in there and I can’t take it all in with just one sitting.”

“Especially when you have other things on your mind…”

“What, you mean—”

“No, the whole gay thing. Did you think I didn’t sense that you weren’t committed to reading your briefing?”

“Yeah. Sorry about that. But we’re okay now?”

“Oh, yes,” she said with what, on any other face, would be called a leer.

“Okay, I’ll read this tonight, if you can get me a copy in time.”

They left the lab and indicated to the technicians that they could go back in. Walking back towards her office, Jason said, “We should probably deal with Tarquin now.”

“I suppose so, but I have to admit to being less keen than I was earlier.”

“How will you deal with that after… you know.”

“Leave it with me, Jason. Will you sit in?”

“If you want me to.”

“Please.”

In her office, Andrea called security and had them bring Tarquin back.

Flanked by two burly marines, Tarquin entered Andrea’s office. The two marines saluted, turned and bounced out again.

“Welcome back, Captain,” Andrea said.

“Some welcome,” Tarquin mumbled in reply.

“You have something to say to the Rear Admiral, Captain?” Jason asked sternly.

“No, Sir. Thank you, Ma’am.”

Andrea got up from her desk, walked across and seated herself on one of the two three-seater sofas that faced each other across a coffee table. Looking at Jason, she patted the seat beside her. Extending her arm towards the opposite sofa, she indicated that Tarquin should sit there.

“Tarquin,” she said, “we all have new orders. Well, most of us do. Your job as Human/Borborygmi liaison is unchanged.”

“To make sure they have everything they need—”

“And nothing they want,” she interrupted, “precisely. You will report to Commodore Strangename, who will report to me.”

“May one be permitted to enquire as to the nature of the Commodore’s job?”

“Of course,” Jason said, “I have three jobs: one is to supervise you, making sure you have everything you need—”

“And nothing I want?”

“Don’t interrupt me, please, Captain. My second job is to act as Human/Jinthae liaison, a job that the Rear Admiral has had under her wing until now. That will free her to do the technical, scientific and mathematical work at which she excels.”

“And what’s your third job, Sir?”

“Above your pay grade, Captain.”

“You mean if you tell me, you’ll have to kill me?” Tarquin said, laughing.

“Yes,” Jason replied – not laughing.

Tarquin stopped laughing.

“Ready to meet Arty?” Andrea asked Tarquin.

“I suppose I have to do this,”

“You do. I’ll page him on the Tannoy.”

Andrea activated the public address system and called, “Head Anemologist Artivon Grumpblast to Command office, please.”

“You call yourself Command now?” Jason asked.

“Shorter than Rear Admiral Smithson.”

Tarquin laughed. “Didn’t think anyone was shorter than Rear Admiral Smithson,” he guffawed.

“Thin ice, Tarquin,” Jason said, “thin ice.”

“So— ouch!” Tarquin fell off the sofa and held his cheek.

“Get up, Tarquin,” Andrea said as Arty ducked through the door and took a seat beside Tarquin who, by now, was more sore-faced than sour-faced.

“How can I help you, Andrea?” Arty asked.

“Couple of things. First, do you have a scanner that emits black light?”

“No. Do you need one?”

“Yes. I have a fifty-page D6E dossier that I want to scan and store.”

“No problem. D6E is easy to read. Let me take it and I’ll have it scanned for you.”

“It’s a top-security document set, Artivon. The three of us are the only officials on the moon with clearance to see it.”

“Three of us?” Arty asked, “there are four of us here.”

“Oh, I’m not allowed to see it,” Tarquin said, “I’m just a Captain; Far too lowly—” the assumed impact sent him careening towards Arty with such force he almost knocked him off the sofa, too.

“I’ll go with you,” Jason said, “can we scan it directly to my laptop?”

“We’ll find a way. What was the other thing?”

Andrea nodded towards Tarquin.

“Right. Okay. Ahm. Listen; Arty. Ahm. You remember when I was—”

“Standing in for your Rear Admiral? Yes, I do, Tarquin. Only too well.”

“Yah. Look. Can you hold on to me, please?” Arty held Tarquin’s shoulders in a firm grip.

“I’m… that is I…”

“Just say it, man,” Jason said.

“I’m so— ouch. I’m so— ouch. It’s no good. I can’t say it. What I did was wrong and I shouldn’t have done it. I promise I’ll never do it again, if—”

“You won’t do it again because I’ll never leave you in charge again,” Andrea said, “Arty, are you happy with that or shall we make him apologise publicly to all your people?”

“On behalf of all the borborygmi on the moon, Tarquin, I accept your apology. Can we draw a line under it now? We quite like having Tarquin around and, in a funny kind of way, we’ve missed him.”

“You’ve missed him?” Jason asked, “How?”

“We’ve not had a good laugh for months!”

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