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 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 nine, scene two

After the meeting, the three Jinthae returned to Grintsk with samples of the various materials that the human and Borborygmi scientists and engineers had spent the previous few months looking at, with a view to producing a barrier between the leaky engine components and the outside world.

Two weeks later they were back again.

“As you like to say,” Jinnis Keet said, “I’ve got some good news and some bad news.”

“Give us the bad news first,” Meredith said.

“The bad news is that none of the materials you gave us to look at is suitable for your needs. They all have enough radiation shielding, but none of them is quite strong enough to withstand conversion back from the energy state.”

Tarquin said, “You said there was some good news.”

“There is,” Kala said.

“Go on then, tell us what it is—”

“Don’t be so impatient, Tarquin,” Andrea said. That alone was enough to turn Tarquin to jelly.

“Okay, Andy,” he said. “So— ouch!”

“Whatever’s the matter, Tarquin?” Andy asked in that sultry, sexy, irresistible way that only she can (according to Tarquin, anyway).

“Don’t worry about him,” Patsy said, “he’s just not allowed to apologise.”

“Is that still working?”

“Sure is.”

“Poor love…”

“Don’t offer him sympathy,” Meredith advised, “I did once, and it took me months to shake him off.”

“Did you want to know the good news?” Kala asked. Had it possessed a voice, it would have been tinged with impatience, but that’s just not possible when all you have to work with are concepts and constructs.

“Yes, please,” Joan said, “whatever the others are talking about, I still want to talk about this project.”

“Well,” Kala explained, “as I said, none of the materials is up to it… on its own. However, our specialists melded two of them together, samples three and seven, in such a way that the resulting material might just do it.”

“Might just do it?”

“Okay, I meant would be up to the job. It’ll work.”

Chief Marshgass was excited by this development. “Does that mean some of us will be able to use the device?”

“Yes, I guess it does.”

“From day one?”

“It means more than that, chief. It also means that you can, with the new material, make a suit like the ones you use to go outside on the moon. That will be enough to support you here on Earth.”

“Really?” the chief asked, hardly daring to believe such an advancement would be possible.

“And there’s more,” Kala said, “Suits made from ten millimetres of that material will be enough for transport, six millimetres for living on Earth.”

“Wow,” just about everyone in the room said in unison.

“And,” Kala added, “a thickness of three millimetres will be enough for humans to go through conversion to energy and back… with no physical training whatever. Obviously, the mental hardening will still be needed, but that’s all.”

“That is excellent news,” Meredith said, “I think we should now be in a position to press on with the substantive project.”

“We have to go back now, Meredith,” Jinnis said, “we just wanted to give you the good news. We’ll transfer down a batch of the material and the technical specifications so you can make it yourself… shall we say this time tomorrow?”

“Sounds good,” Meredith agreed, “We’ll reconvene here, fourteen hundred tomorrow, and I’d like full status reports from all departments.”