Category: GTI

GTI 5.2

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 five, scene two

The rest of the group passed through Patsy’s hands in a similar vein. Two of the twelve showed a little more resistance than the rest but were both of the same mind as their colleagues by the time they passed into Jason’s care.

Once they had all been through, Patsy entered the third room and nodded towards Jason. Jason tapped a table and coughed for attention. The room was silent.

“Now you’ve all seen what the project entails, how do you feel about it?”

A rising hubbub signalled they were all happy. Mr A, who you will recall felt himself to be the group’s de facto leader, said, “I think I can say on behalf of all of us that we support what you are doing. One hundred per cent.”

Patsy sent a warm feeling around the group.

“But you thought it was awful,” Patsy said.

“I know. Can’t for the life of me understand why. I can only assume we were delusional; either that or we’d been relying on incorrect or at least incomplete information.”

Another warm feeling.

“What worries me now,” Jason said, “is the large number of followers of One Dimension who are still opposed to our work.”

“Don’t worry about them,” Mr A said, “we’ll soon bring them around to the right way of thinking.”

Warm? Practically sizzling!

The meeting broke up and the twelve left, each of them vigorously shaking hands with both Jason and Patsy, promising to keep in touch and thanking them effusively for correcting their unfortunate early impressions.

“Patsy, that was absolutely brilliant,” Jason said after the last of them had gone.

“Thank the borborygmi,” she replied.

“I wish I could.”

“Be careful what you wish for,” Patsy admonished him as they walked back towards Meredith’s office.

Arriving in the Admiral’s ante-room, they were met by a young officer who looked as though he’d have been more at home in a school uniform than in that of the regiment. Standing no more than 150cm in his white dress uniform, he was slight of build with a pasty complexion topped by a mop of the brightest ginger hair that either of the officers facing him had ever seen.

“Can I help you, Sirs?” he asked.

“Yes,” Patsy said, “you can let us pass so we can see Admiral Winstanley.”

“Is the admiral expecting you, Ma’am?” he asked, firmly but respectfully blocking their way.

“Probably not, but as we’re here… be a good chap…”

“Who should I say wants to see the admiral?”

“Very well,” Patsy sighed, “Commodore Strangename and Commander Pratt.”

As the young man pressed his intercom button, Patsy whispered to Jason, “Honestly – have you ever seen anyone look more like a Swan Vesta?”

Jason giggled.

“You can go through, Sirs,” the young man said.

“What’s so funny?” Meredith asked as the two walked into her office laughing.

“Is that the new Pipsqueak?” Patsy asked.

“Sub-Lieutenant Swann—” They laughed even harder. “What?”

Being the more familiar with the admiral and thus feeling freer to be, shall we say, less conscious and certainly less in awe of her boss’s rank, Patsy ventured, “We were just saying how, with his ginger top, pale face and white uniform, he could easily pass as a Swan Vesta.”

“And he’s called Swan!” Jason blurted.

“Not Swan, Swann. And if it’s any easier, you can call him by his given name – Nigel.”

“Never met a Nigel who’s not a prat,” Jason said morosely.

“Oy!”

“Sorry, Patsy. Perhaps I should say dimwit instead.”

“Only kidding. Pratt by name only, me. Not by nature.”

Meredith frowned. “I have a cousin called Nigel,” she said.

“Is he a prat?”

“Not exactly, but something like.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Patsy asked.

“Well… yes, I suppose he is, truth be told.”

“Thank you,” Jason said, smugly.

Meredith put her serious face on, looked at herself in the mirror beside her desk, decided she didn’t like it so took it off and put the silly one back on instead. “How did it go?” she asked.

Jason and Patsy both looked crestfallen, eyes down and heads drooped.

“Oh,” Meredith said, “that bad?”

“GOTCHA!” the two officers shouted in unison.

“Seriously?”

“Not with that face on,” Patsy said.

Meredith decided that the needs of the job should outweigh her personal vanity and put her serious face back on. “Seriously?”

“No. It was brilliant,” Patsy said.

“You were brilliant,” Jason corrected her, “I had practically nothing to do with it.”

“Either way,” Patsy continued, “it worked better than we could have hoped. And now, every time any of them says something nice about our project, they will be bathed in a warm, cosy feeling of well-being.”

“And if they say something negative about us?” Meredith asked.

“They won’t,” Jason said.

“They can’t,” Patsy corrected, “but what they can do and what they will do is pass the good word around their unenlightened, deluded followers.”

“So we’re in the clear?”

“I reckon.”

“Swann!” Meredith shouted, “Three coffees, stat.”

“And some biscuits?” Jason asked.

“And some biscuits,” Meredith added.  Turning back to Jason and Patsy, she said, “Now, whilst waiting for refreshments, let’s talk about where we go from here.”

Picking up her handset she called Rear Admiral Weinberg’s office. “Joan, Jason and Patsy are with me. Care to join?”

“Be right there,” Joan replied.

Meredith used the intercom to speak to her man, “Make that four please, Nigel,” she said.

 

GTI 5.1

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 five, scene one

The following morning, after a brief meeting with Meredith, Jason and Patsy – both in full dress uniform – entered the first of the three rooms. Seated around the central table were the ten most senior members of One Dimension, the group that was so vehemently opposed to the GTI project.

Jason spoke first. “Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen, and thank you all for coming to see us today. The Royal Space Regiment is aware of your reservations—” He was interrupted by a muttering of ten people all talking at the same time, that quickly rose to a crescendo. “We are aware of your reservations about our work,” he repeated, loudly and forcefully, “and we are keen to do what we can to allay your concerns.”

The ten people looked around and at each other. The atmosphere was not one you would call affable.

“Thank you, Commodore,” Patsy continued, “My name is Patsy Pratt and I am a commander in the Royal Space Regiment. Don’t worry; I’m not here to roll out our standard sales patter. It’s not what you need and it’s not what you deserve.”

“That’s right,” Jason continued, “and it wouldn’t show the proper respect for your deeply-held concerns. What we want with you is a dialogue; one-on-one by preference—”

“Why can’t you talk to us all together? Divide and conquer, is that your plan?” one of the group shouted out. The rest joined in.

“We’re not trying to divide you,” Jason replied, “we are determined to show each and every one of you the respect that your positions deserve. Your questions must and will be heard, and they will be answered. Very possibly you all have different questions. Similar, but not identical. As well as being members of a campaigning group, you are all individuals with particular doubts, reservations and worries. We want to address those doubts, reservations and worries and we feel that we can do that better individually than collectively. So, are you ready to hear how we are planning to do that?”

Grunts, nods and assorted reluctantly affirmative noises came from the group.

Patsy tapped the table and continued, “Here’s how we’re planning to handle this. You will start here as a group. I will call you, one by one, into the room next door,” she pointed to the door at the end of the room, “In there, you will see a brief presentation of our project, its aims and objectives. I will then speak to each of you in there and listen to your concerns. I expect it to take no more than five minutes, but we have to be flexible. Whether I affect your viewpoint or not, at the end of the chat, you will pass through to a third room, where Commodore Jason Strangename will be on hand for any group discussion you may want. He will also offer refreshments. Whilst you are waiting to be called, you won’t be left alone. Members of our technical teams will come in and answer any questions you may have that fall within their discipline. You will need to remember, though, that these are technicians, not policy-makers. They will be able to talk to you about such issues as operations, safety and security. I will address matters of policy after which Jason will be available to discuss anything that you wish. Is everybody happy with that?”

More grunts, nods and affirmative noises.

“At your request,” Jason said, “we aim to respect that, for the purpose of this session and only for the purpose of this session, we see you not as individuals but as representatives of a large group of people. For that reason, and again at your request, we shall refer to you by the letter on your badge, not by your name. We will start with Mr A. If you could go through with Commander Pratt, please. I shall remain here until Ms B is called, at which time I will go through to the third room and signal our first technician to come in here. He will bring coffee and biscuits with him.”

“Why can’t we come back in here after we’ve been done?” Mr I asked.

“We thought long and hard about that,” Jason replied as Patsy and Mr A passed through into the interview room, “but finally decided that it would be better if each of you enters the one-on-one stage in the same condition, without anyone else’s take on the chat. We are trying to be fair, as well as respectful. We know that what we are doing represents a major step for the entire human race. Like all big moves forward there are physical and metaphysical risks and there are people with serious concerns. Let’s see how we all feel on the other side, okay?”

In the soundproofed interview room, Patsy was preparing Mr A. He had wanted to be the first through because he saw himself as the leader. Deal with the largest ego first, and the rest should be easier was the strategy agreed by Meredith, Jason and Patsy. On a large screen opposite his seat, Mr A watched a brief promotional film that introduced the borborygmi, the FLATUS and Ubiquitron drives and the reasons for scrapping them. Of course, the incidental music and the subliminal images and messages worked to prepare the subject for the final onslaught of EPHS. Most of the conditioning was delivered through another film that introduced the Jinthae and gap travel. Again, the pictures and descriptive soundtrack were incidental to the message of the film which came courtesy of less obvious media. By the time he was halfway through the second film, Mr A was oblivious to the steel-drum music, and to Patsy’s hand movements both in the air and on his person. [Stop it! No inappropriate touching took place. Application of EPHS includes lightly touching various pressure-points in non-contentious parts of the subject’s body. I’m really disappointed that you could think otherwise]

When the film finished, Mr A sat back, his face flushed. He looked at Patsy with a broad smile and said, “Why couldn’t you have explained it like that in the first place? I can see now why you have to do it. You’d be doing a massive disservice to humanity if you didn’t follow through on this tremendous opportunity. Thank you. Thank you all.” He stood, shook Patsy’s hand and walked through to the departure lounge.

Patsy called for Ms B who came in with Jason. For his part, Jason continued through the room and joined Mr A in the departure area.

GTI 4.5

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 four, scene five

Jason and Patsy entered Meredith’s office. Patsy approached Meredith (without, it has to be said, springing smartly to attention, saluting or any of the respectful moves that protocol requires and expects) and whispered into her ear. Meredith pressed a button under her desk.

“We’re secure,” she said.

“You need to listen to this, Admiral,” Jason said as Patsy respectfully brushed her commanding officer’s hand from her rear pocket, extracted the recorder and placed it on Meredith’s desk.

“What is it?”

“It’s a digital recorder, but that’s not important right now. Just listen.” Patsy located the recording at the point where Jason was asking Joan about the security of her office and pressed the play button. She stopped the playback at the point where Jason asked if she was recording.

“Is it my imagination, or is Joan sounding a bit, how can I put this, less Joan than usual?”

“A little vague, do you mean?” Jason asked.

“Yes. That’s exactly what I mean.”

“That may be my fault,” Patsy said.

“How so?” Meredith asked then, looking at the expression on Patsy’s face, she added, “Oh. Yes. I see.”

Jason had that look on his face again. The one he had after looking through the fluted glass.

“This recording. What are you saying?” Meredith asked.

“I’m saying nothing,” Jason answered, “I’m merely wondering how Pippington can have known that Joan had mentioned the first of the month. Unless he had been listening, of course.”

“So you think Pipsqueak has bugged some of our offices?”

“Is he ever in here alone?”

“He’s always here when I arrive and he never leaves before me, so I suppose he is, yes.”

“And is this office swept at oh-six-hundred every day?”

“So they say, but I’m never here to see it. Let me get them in now.”

“Can you do that without tipping Pippington off?”

“I have a direct line and a side door, so yes, I can.” She called security and requested an immediate sweep. Less than five minutes later, two NCOs appeared at her side door and identified themselves as Warrant Officer Bligh and Chief Petty Officer Fletcher. Their sweep revealed three devices, thankfully all rendered ineffective by the electronic security zone Meredith had activated. The CPO deactivated and removed the bugs.

“You might like to check a few other senior officer’s offices,” she said, “starting with Rear Admiral Weinberg’s. Meanwhile, you may well find that my PA knows something about this.”

“Do you have any evidence of that, Ma’am?” WO Bligh asked. Meredith connected Patsy’s recorder to her computer, uploaded the conversation file and dropped it onto a memory stick which she handed to him.

“It’s largely circumstantial, gentlemen, but I think you’ll find this informative,” she said. Disconnecting the secure field, she called Pippington in. “Captain Pippington, go with these gentlemen, please.”

“Where to, and what for?” he asked.

“Just want to have a little chat, Sir,” CPO Fletcher said grabbing him by the arm and gently persuading him to walk between them.

“What made you ask Joan about her security?” Meredith asked Jason.

“Gut feeling, Ma’am.”

“Well done, anyway. Good call. Trouble is, I don’t have anyone to replace you on the Sir Prijs.”

“You can’t send me back there, Admiral. Ship’s establishment calls for a Captain to command, not a Commodore. Unless you plan on cancelling my promotion.”

“Not my intention. Do you have a suggestion for your replacement?”

“Whoever it is will have to be capable of doing the XO’s job as well, unless they can get rid of Postlethwaite.”

“That’s not a problem. Farquharson’s out of the picture now, so the lad has no-one to fight his corner any longer.”

“In that case, Ma’am, I’d recommend Ishmael Al-Kawazi for the job. He’s been chief engineer on Sir Prijs for a good few years and done a stand-up job. Probably overdue for a promotion. His deputy can be made up to chief and then let the promotions trickle down.”

“That will leave a gap—”

“For a youngster to step in at engineer third class level.”

“Good idea. So, the chief engineer’s job will go to Al-Kawazi’s deputy—”

“Inigo Montoya, Ma’am.”

“That name rings a bell.”

“Named after a character in a film, they say.”

“I meant his surname.”

“I gather his father worked here as a driver until—”

“That’s right. Juan-Pablo. I remember him. Good man as I recall. Left to go indy, didn’t he? How about his son – is he any good?”

“He’s been number two in engineering for as long as I’ve been aboard. Wouldn’t have lasted long if he weren’t.”

“Can you have HR set all that up, Pats? And while you’re at it, chase up Pipsqueak’s replacement.”

“Sure thing, Ma’am,” Patsy replied.

“Great,” Meredith said, “I think we’re getting somewhere. You both ready to meet the group?”

“Can’t wait,” Patsy said.

“Jason?”

“We’re ready, Admiral.”

“Okay. I’ll set it up for ten-hundred tomorrow. What’ll you need?”

“Three adjoining rooms.”

“Three?”

“Let’s call them reception, treatment and consolidation.”

“Like a production line.”

“Exactly.”

“Okay, Patsy. Are you happy with that, Jason?”

“Completely.”

“Good. Dismissed. See you tomorrow, in here, oh-nine-thirty.”

Jason and Patsy stood, saluted, turned and left. They walked together to HR where Patsy passed on Meredith’s instructions and Jason chased up his promotion paperwork.