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 three.
“Can you really see those two as double-agents?” Patsy asked.
“I can’t, but it’ll be an awful lot of fun watching them try. Are they likely to be amenable to your special talents?”
“Do they need it? Forbes is a politician – he’s trained to lie and everyone expects it. As for the other guy, he has such a strong tell, there’s no point in him lying.”
“I’d like him to be able to.”
“Well, I don’t want to do that.”
“Why ever not?”
“Firstly because he will act as a foil to His Lordship, and secondly because his inability to lie is so… well, charming. I find it very attractive.”
“Let’s compromise, shall we? Can you just fix him so he won’t blush, fidget or stammer when Forbes lies?”
“I can do that.”
Meredith pressed the speak button on her intercom “Swann? Put out an announcement, please. I want the Earl of Arblington and Dr Robertson back in my office. Stat.”
Meredith’s PA made the announcement. Three minutes later, Forbes and Finlay were back in her office.
“What is it this time, Meredith?” Forbes asked tetchily, “I thought you wanted to be rid of us until you had something to say.”
“Maybe I have something to say now,” she replied, all sweetness and light, “Sit down here, please. Finlay, can you go over to Patsy in the far corner?”
Finlay walked to the corner where Patsy was seated. Patsy moved the two chairs so both she and he were facing the corner.
“Whilst the Admiral is explaining the new situation to His Lordship, I’d like to offer you some stratagems to help you deal with those times when what His Lordship is telling the people from CNUT is, shall we say, not necessarily the full, unvarnished truth.”
“You mean when he’s lying?”
“You may very well think that, Doctor, I couldn’t possibly comment.”
“How do you do that?”
“Lie without lying?”
“That’s what I’m going to teach you, Doctor.”
“Please, call me Finlay. So, what do I do?”
“Just sit back and relax. We’ll start with a gentle, relaxing back and shoulder massage.”
Finlay did as he was told, and Patsy did what Patsy does. Some minutes later, Finlay awoke and asked, “Have you started? Did I miss it?”
“Finlay,” Patsy said in her most reassuring manner, “I’ve finished. You missed nothing.”
“But I don’t remember anything.”
“You used hypnotism?”
“Not exactly, but something like. Wanna test it?”
Finlay agreed, and Patsy made a pre-arranged signal towards Meredith. She and Forbes approached Finlay.
“Forbes,” Meredith said, “have you had dealings with a woman called Niamh Newton?”
“Name doesn’t ring a bell,” Forbes replied, matter-of-factly, “can’t say I’ve ever heard of the dear lady.”
“What say you, Finlay?” Meredith asked.
“If Forbes says he doesn’t know her, then it cannot be otherwise,” he replied with, to his own surprise, no trace of a blush, a fidget or a stammer, “it is universally acknowledged that Lord Arblington is an honourable man.”
“A Right Honourable one,” Patsy suggested.
“Quite,” Finlay agreed.
“Very well,” Meredith said, “you have your brief, Forbes. Go get ‘em.”
“Come on, Fin,” Forbes said, “we have work to do. Ta-ta old gal.”
Forbes and Finlay left the building.