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In Alphabetical Order

In Alphabetical Order

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In Alphabetical Order

Länge:
138 Seiten
2 Stunden
Freigegeben:
Mar 31, 2020
ISBN:
9781528963824
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

Ranging from unaided space travel to unexpected results from a computer application; from acquiring unusual talents to being given a second chance in life in a most surprising way, D T Enicas' first collection of short stories is compelling and diverse. Through a series of distinctive and intriguing narrative voices, the reader is taken into different situations; some ordinary, some fantasy. A variety of themes are contained in this eclectic mix where justice does not always prevail…
Freigegeben:
Mar 31, 2020
ISBN:
9781528963824
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor

An Italian background, European and American connections, living in different UK cities and being a great observer of life, all serve to fuel D T Enicas' stories.

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In Alphabetical Order - D T Enicas

Wannabe

About the Author

An Italian background, European and American connections, living in different UK cities and being a great observer of life, all serve to fuel D T Enicas’ stories.

Copyright Information ©

D T Enicas (2020)

The right of D T Enicas to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with section 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers.

Any person who commits any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library.

ISBN 9781528922579 (Paperback)

ISBN 9781528963824 (ePub e-book)

www.austinmacauley.com

First Published (2020)

Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd

25 Canada Square

Canary Wharf

London

E14 5LQ

Acknowledgment

C, D and S, thank you for the rose.

Acorns to Oaks

Ever since he was a small child, he had been interested in plants. His bedroom was filled with reference books on the subject and, unlike his school friends, he would spend all his pocket money on plants for his bedroom. He had an assortment of cacti and various other potted plants. He loved them all, but his favourites were two bonsai trees, both in royal blue pots. He always helped his parents with the gardening. He studied the different types of plants and their many variations: algae, fungi, embryophytes, etc. He learnt how plants benefit the environment, and therefore, man, by not only removing carbon dioxide from the air and giving off oxygen but also by growing from the earth and providing food, medicine and drugs. They also give back to the earth through compost and fossilisation. He admired how they could effectively harness the sun through photosynthesis to synthesise their own food and how they had varieties that could live naturally in extreme conditions on earth. Man could not do these things. In fact, Simon had a theory that plants were the true dominant species of this planet.

It was not surprising, therefore, when he told his teachers that he wanted to be a botanist. His primary interest was plants’ structure and the way they grew. His parents were pleased that he could potentially make a living/career out of something that interested him. He attended university and got a first-class degree in Botany. Subsequently, he went on to do an MA and a PhD. He then gained a Research Associate post. However, experimentation and dissection during the course of research often meant destruction of the plant which was still a living thing. The job also involved some travel which he did not enjoy. He, therefore, decided to apply for a post as a horticulturalist, where he spent most of his time outdoors or in greenhouses, nurturing plants which suited him better. However, nurturing meant that he was no longer involved in the development of plants. So, although happier in his job, he felt he still needed to find a middle ground.

He still kept in touch with one of his university housemates, Jon, who was now a university lecturer in advanced materials in Germany. Jon had always been a little nerdy and with his boyish looks and mop of light brown hair, he looked like the eternal student. In fact, in his wedding photos, if he had been a little shorter, he would have looked like the pageboy standing next to the bride. He had always been a good and reliable friend, so when Jon said that he would be attending a conference near where Simon lived, Simon insisted that Jon stay at his house overnight and not at the conference hotel. They had not seen each other for over a year and it would give them a chance to catch up face to face.

Over dinner, at the local Italian restaurant, Simon updated Jon on his life in general and how his job was not 100% perfect. In turn, Jon explained that he had left his post in Germany and was now back in the UK doing some research for a new space agency. The project was top secret and he really shouldn’t be talking about it, hence why he had not said anything about it in their email exchanges.

Listen, Simon, there is another reason why I wanted to see you face to face other than just catching up. The conference was just good timing; I would have come up to see you anyway and judging by what you have just told me about your frustration over your job, I think you are ready for a change and to put your talents to more far-reaching use. How would you feel about going back to a more research-based role?

Simon started to explain his dilemma with research work, but Jon cut him off mid-sentence.

I understand how you feel but there could be a role for you on this project. In fact, I have already recommended you.

Simon was understandably puzzled.

It’s working in plant research but not anything you have been doing before. There is no dissection involved. It’s cutting edge and if it succeeds, it will have far-reaching benefits for all of us. It could change the way we live.

It sounds great, said Simon in a tone that could have been misunderstood as incredulous. Are you going to tell me what it is?

I would love to, but I’m not authorised. My job is to sound you out. If you are interested, someone else will be in touch to explain things to you.

I feel like I’m in a spy movie with all this cloak and dragger stuff going on.

Simon caught a reflection of himself in the mirrored panel in the restaurant. His green eyes stared back at him. He wanted to do more with plants and if this project was cutting edge but did not harm plants, then why not.

He turned back to Jon.

OK, he said and ran his hand through his thick brown hair. He made a mental note to get his hair cut as he realised it was getting a little unkempt, which was OK for working outdoors with plants, but a space agency was a different ballgame entirely.

In no time at all, Simon found himself being put through all sorts of inductions, introductions, tests, document signing and orientations. He was now part of a UK team working on this project, and like everyone else, he was to live onsite during the week and go home at the weekends. They were discouraged from working at the weekends which suited most people who had a family. Simon lived alone. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to the plant research section. As Jon promised, this did not involve harming plants. Instead, it was studying the molecular structure of the cell wall of plants in order to shrink the plant and then reconstitute it to full size. They would also be tested for survival in different hostile environments. He was not told why until a few weeks after joining the project – an added security measure.

It was not news to him that various space agencies around the world were looking to colonise other planets in order to anticipate the inevitable future over-population of the earth and to alleviate all the negative consequences that that would bring for mankind. This project was not concerned with finding a suitable planet, but rather how to transport, in the most efficient way possible, all the things that man would need to continue life on the new planet. Obviously, if things were smaller, more could be transported, making journeys to and from the planet very economical and efficient using space shuttles and it would speed up the whole colonisation process. Hence, objects would be shrunk for the journey and then resized when they reached their destination, be it the new planet or back to earth. For now, the research and experiments were limited to plants and equipment, tools, building materials and all foods not derived from plants such as dairy products and eggs. If these were successful, tests on animals and humans would follow.

The project was in its early stages and there were lots of hurdles to overcome with living matter. This was not surprising, given the variations and the myriad of anomalies of each living being. The research seemed to be progressing slowly. Despite this, Simon was happy in work; not only was he working in an area he loved but he was contributing to the continuation of mankind long into the future.

Simon and Jon had not had a chance for a proper catch up since Simon started his new job, so Jon invited Simon to his house for the weekend. With her curly blonde hair and blue eyes, Emily, Jon’s four-year-old daughter was growing to look like Rosie, Jon’s wife, more and more. Simon remarked on this. Emily insisted that Uncle Simon see her dolls’ house and took him upstairs to her bedroom. Jon followed them saying that he too wanted Simon to see it and explained that every stick of furniture in the toy house had started off full-sized and that he had used them to perfect the shrinking process. Jon pointed out the earlier pieces which were clearly imperfect and then moved on to the later pieces which got progressively more and more perfect. He jokingly pointed out that if, for whatever reason, the project failed, at least his daughter would get hours of fun with the dolls’ house. And as if to prove him right, they left Emily in her room happily playing with the dolls’ house. The first thing she had to do was to rearrange everything as her father and Uncle Simon had not put the furniture back in the right place. She was very particular about her dolls’ house. Boys always make a mess, she thought.

Have you tried re-sizing objects after shrinking them, as will be the case for the space mission? asked Simon over an after-dinner coffee. Rosie was on the phone with her mother in the other room. She was not interested in such things.

Oh yes. The pieces are back on site. We’ve tried all sorts of things, not just furniture. The process is not 100% perfect, but I know how to tweak it to make it so. How are you getting on with the plants? That must be a lot harder than bits of furniture.

Well, your team has made much more progress than us. We are a long way from perfecting the process but I’m sure, with a little time, we will get there. It’s a little annoying that they discourage us from working in the weekends. We would be able to get a lot more done.

Frustratingly, Simon’s team made little progress the following week and were not getting the results they wanted. On Saturday night, as he was falling asleep, an idea came to Simon. He couldn’t wait to try it out, so he decided to break the rules and go into work the following day, Sunday. As he drove in there, no one was around apart from the security guard at the gate who recognised him and waved him in. Once in the lab, Simon made a few adjustments to the control panel of the main

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