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 twelve, scene one.
“You’ve been there and back?” Meredith asked.
She raised her eyebrows. “And?”
“And the Borborygmi want to go home.”
“What do you mean, they want to go home?”
“Just that. They’ve learnt that the gene pool on Borbor is weakened by their absence. Theirs and the other sections of the diaspora. And before you say anything, the science is good and we believe they’re right. Their species is in decline and reincorporation of some of the diaspora populations should strengthen it.”
“How will that affect what we’re doing?”
“We don’t expect much difference. We saw the work with the Borborygmi as a separate project to the work with you.”
“When and how will they go? Surely they’re not planning to fly back conventionally; it took thousands of years for them to reach here.”
“We have a team working towards accelerating the work with the Borborygmi so as to transport them all to their home planet within one of your years.”
“All of them?”
“Do you know how many there are?”
“Five hundred and thirty-seven.”
“As of this morning, yes.”
“And you can be ready to transport that many after only one year?”
“Yes. It’s a one-way trip, don’t forget. The most complex part of the pod design is the undo and redo functionalities – getting the travellers back and re-sending them. Also, the error checking is more straightforward and the redundancy requirements are less onerous because we are looking at a one-way operation, not a round trip.”
“And the people who will be working on it—”
“Will be drawn from the group currently working on the Borbor home-world and on your Borborygmi colleagues’ project. So no impact on your work.”
“So you support this, Meredith?”
“Not necessarily. I only said okay to signify that I had understood what you said. I’ll need to discuss it with Joan and Andrea – we three are the command team – and I’ll let you know. Oh, before you go, can I have this in—” Jinnis looked at Kala, who handed him a substantial file of papers, which he passed to Meredith. “Impressive,” she said, flicking through the pages, “and this is—”
“Not only a full statement of the new Borbor project, fully detailed and costed, of course, but also a restatement of your project taking account of the revised workload.”
“I thought you said there would be no impact on our work.”
“I did, and that is substantially true.”
“There is no negative impact. However—”
“I knew there’d be a catch. Go on,” Meredith said, a note of resignation in her voice.
“However, if we can, as we project, finish this in one year, it will free up engineers and scientists to work on your tasks.”
“The nett effects of which will be?”
“A slight change in the wording of the overview. Instead of ‘which we hope to complete within three elapsed earth years’ it now says ‘which we predict we can complete within three elapsed earth years’.”
“That’s a very fine distinction.”
“Is it? From aspiration to intention, from hope to plan, from an ambition to a realisable objective.”
“When can you let me know if your colleagues agree with your approval of the scheme?”
Meredith pressed the call button on her intercom. Patsy answered.
“Were Joan and Andrea in on that?”
“Of course. I can’t ignore the signal, can I? They’ve both responded affirmatively.”
“You mean they said yes.”
“There’s your answer gentle… peop…”
“Doesn’t matter what you call us, Meredith, as long as we’re all clear it’s us you’re addressing.”
“Okay. We have a green light.”
“Excellent. We’ll be back in a few days.” And with that, the three Jinthae blinked out of existence.