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 forbears
were testing a new kind of spacegoing vessel that had the ability to be in many places at the same time.
Part two, FLATUS, follows our dynamic duo as they help the aliens build their own multi-locatable craft (and the RSR to build one, too). Will the ships be built and if so, will the drives work? What are the possible effects of having potentially three such vessels in finite space at one time? Will the ineptitude of key personnel result in disaster, or avert it?
FLATUS — Fantastically Large Assembly for Travel at Unbelievable Speeds. The most unlikely spacecraft never built?
FLATUS. Chapter five, scene two
The information that Jinnis Keet had promised arrived by courier the next day.
“This is going to be a bit of job for someone,” Meredith said to Joan and Patsy as they were enjoying their morning coffee with a plate of the most delicious apricot Danish pastries either of the senior officers could ever remember sinking their artificially whitened teeth into.
“How so?” Joan asked, “It’s only one memory stick—”
“Containing more than three terabytes of data,” Meredith added, “My mind is performing seemingly impossible aerobatics just parsing the directory structure.”
“You do know, don’t you,” Patsy said, “that what you’re saying means nothing to me.”
“Let me explain it to you,” Meredith said, … No. I’m sorry. I can’t go there. It’s all too rude, and most definitely the sort of thing that should be private between two… oops… three consenting adults. Do you know, there are some jurisdictions where I could be brought up before a magistrate (no, not vomited, let’s just call it taken to court) on charges of, if not public indecency, at least indecent intent. So let’s just leave it that, between them, Meredith and Joan gave Patsy an in-depth, detailed explanation of the intricacies of interstellar travel. Patsy then showed the two senior officers what she knew. By the time they were once again presentable and ready to carry on with their duties, everyone’s thirst for knowledge had been fully satisfied.
Meredith called Andy into her office.
“Andy, here’s the data that Jinnis Keet promised.”
“Are you okay, Ma’am?” Andy asked.
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Well, you sound out of breath, as though you’d just run a marathon.”
“It’s tiring work, commanding this crew,” she said. Andy shrugged, then looked at the item Meredith had just given him.
“Is that it? Just one stick?”
“Three terabytes of data,” Patsy said – as if she had any idea what the words meant.
“Wow,” Andy said.
“I know,” Patsy replied.
“When you’ve finished,” Meredith interrupted, “can you make three copies of the stick, please? One for me, for archiving, one for your team of mathematicians and one for the Borborygmi team.”
“And the original?”
“Upload its contents to the RSR cloud, alongside the data drawn from the original craft.”
“Thanks, Andy. Dismissed.”
Once Andy had left, Joan asked Meredith whether she was comfortable losing physical control of what was, at that time, the only copy of the data.
“I didn’t come up the river on the last banana boat, Joan,” she said, “One of the reasons it took me so long to examine the directory structure when I had it in my machine was because the Google sync software was copying its contents to my personal space in Google’s cloud. Anything I plug in any of my computers is automatically backed up there.”
“Three terabytes? Can you have that much?”
“I pay Google a lot of money for unlimited storage. Or at least the regiment does, on my behalf.”
“Meredith…” Patsy said in what was, for her, not a bad impression of coquettish, “when you say everything, does that mean literally everything?”
“Including photos and movies?”
“Can I have your password, please?”
“Let me think about that carefully. Right, I’ve thought about it.”
Meredith pointed to the insignia of her rank.
“I hate it when you do that,” Patsy said, pouting.
Meredith again pointed to the insignia of her rank and raised her eyebrows.
“I hate it when you do that, Ma’am,” Patsy said, her manner switched from coquettish to apologetic.
“Don’t you have duties, Lieutenant?” Meredith asked.
“Yes, Ma’am,” Patsy mumbled in reply.
Turning to Joan, Meredith said in an exasperated voice, “I don’t know why I put up with that girl.”
“Oh, I do,” Joan replied, her tone suggestive and sultry.
“Yes. So do I,” Meredith said with calm resignation, “Call her back, will you?”