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 nine, scene two.
“How do you know Niamh Newton?” Meredith asked Forbes when he and Finlay entered her office and were seated.
“Steady on, Merry,” Forbes complained, “aren’t you going to offer us coffee or something before you start the inquisition?”
“When you answer my question I’ll offer coffee. And while we’re at it, Forbes, in this place, I am generally addressed as Admiral.”
“And I am accustomed to being granted the honorific of Your Lordship,” Forbes replied with a mix of sarcasm and annoyance, “however, as you and I go back a long way, I think we can waive the formality, don’t you?”
“Very well, Forbes, but I must insist that you call me Meredith, not Merry. We’re not uni chums any longer.”
“Okay, Meredith. Right. To answer your question, I wouldn’t say that we actually know Lady Newton, not as such, but let’s just say her cause has come across our radar a few times.”
“And you thought it would be alright to give her information about our contacts and relationships with other races?”
“Couldn’t see any harm in it.”
“Notwithstanding that it was made clear when I and my team visited your home to meet the Jinthate that the meeting and any information coming from it were to be treated as matters of national security and subject to the Official Secrets Act?”
“I didn’t sign anything.”
“Irrelevant. You were told of the situation and agreed verbally in the presence of my staff. The information you gave to Niamh Newton was, in my view, in breach of the undertakings you had both given. Any comment?”
“Cripes. Hadn’t thought of that. Look. Finlay and I went to a lot of trouble when this Jinnis Keet chappie came along, fixing up meetings with you and so on. And don’t get me wrong, we were happy to help; felt it our duty to do what we did and only sorry we couldn’t do more. What we weren’t happy about, was the way we were sidelined immediately afterwards and ever since. We know what the alien came for and we made it possible for the alien’s message to get to you. I think we deserve better, don’t you?”
“As it happens, Forbes and Finlay, I do. I was hoping we could make use of your diplomatic skills, Forbes, and much of what we are doing with the Borborygmi and the Jinthae is a good fit with Finlay’s area of specialism—”
“That’s splendid, Meredith.”
“Let me continue, Forbes. I was hoping we could have made use of your skills, had you not aligned yourselves with Niamh Newton’s campaign. As it is, you have set your faces against everything we are trying to do here and joined with those who seek only to thwart our efforts.”
“We only did it so you’d maybe take notice of us,” Forbes mumbled.
“And the money will come in handy,” Finlay whispered to his friend.
“What money?” Meredith asked.
“Cnut simply covered our expenses,” Forbes said.
“Then why is Finlay blushing and fidgeting? How much were you paid?”
“Twenty thousand,” Finlay admitted.
“And how much of that relates to your costs in getting to the meeting?”
“Well. Actually, they sent a car for us.”
“Yes. But we had to take time out of our busy schedules, as we have had to this morning.”
“Right,” Meredith said, “here’s what is going to happen. I am going to leak to the press that you were paid by Cnut for what you said at that meeting. You will either admit it and retract your statements, or face legal consequences.”
“That’s a bit harsh,” Forbes complained.
“Is it? Do you have an alternative suggestion?”
“Perhaps,” Finlay said.
“What?” Forbes asked.
“Ever fancied being a double agent?”
Visibly intrigued, Meredith asked, ”What do you have in mind, Finlay?”
“I thought we could change the narrative as far as what we tell Cnut—”
“You mean lie to them?”
“I wouldn’t have put it quite like that—”
“Yes. Feed them misinformation. Then we can report back to you about what they’re up to.”
“Will they let us, Fin?” Forbes asked.
“Will who let us what?”
“Will Cnut let us spy for them?”
“We’ve already started. All we need to do is to massage the facts a little.”
“One second, Finlay,” Meredith said, “how will I know whether you’re telling me truths or falsehoods?”
“I can answer that,” Forbes said, “poor old Fin blushes wildly, fidgets and stammers whenever he tells fibs.”
“So how will he get the misinformation to Niamh’s people?”
“He won’t. I’ll do it.”
“Forbes is very good at telling lies convincingly,” Finlay said.
“Have to in my job,” Forbes said, “part of the training. Have to be able to lie convincingly.”
“What job might that be?”
“Didn’t you know?” Finlay asked, “Forbes is being groomed for high political office.”
“Absolutely. Tipped for government spokesman in the Lords. And if I do well and if I like it, I might just run for elected office. How does Prime Minister FFS sound?”
“Couldn’t be much worse than the last few we’ve had,” Meredith replied.
“So, what do you think?”
“What do I think? I think we should gather our people together and work on a strategy. You two go back home and carry on as normal. I’ll be in touch.”
“When?” Forbes asked, “I’m a busy man, you know.”
“No, you’re not,” Meredith said.
“No, he’s not,” Finlay agreed with no trace of a blush, a fidget or a stammer.
“Okay. When will you call me?”
“When I have something to say.”
“Can you say roughly?” Forbes asked.
“When I have something to say,” Meredith said roughly.
“No, seriously.” Forbes asked.
“When I have something to say,” Meredith said seriously.
“Come on, Fin,” Forbes said, storming out of the room and slamming the door behind him.
Meredith looked at Patsy with a quizzical expression. “What?” she asked.
Did I not mention that Patsy was seated in the corner of the room throughout the interview? How very remiss of me.