Albert and Jarvis part 3.

a collaborative tale

This story is open for suggested continuations. I will publish here, with links to your own blog, all I receive. The one I like best will become (or form the basis for) the next segment of this collaborative tale.

Episode 3

“You and Uncle Albert are one?” Alex said, incredulously. “What on earth is that supposed to mean?”

“Do you want the easy version or the hard version?” Jarvis asked.

“Excuse me,” Alex said, “I am ten years old you know. And I study science at school. And I understand a lot more than the teacher thinks I do.”

“Very well, young Junior Scientist of the Year; the hard version it is.”

“Are you sure you want to hit him with that, Jarvis?” Albert interrupted. “It’s hard enough for us to understand, let alone a young human child.”

“What’s going on here?” Alex demanded, “Unkie; are you or are you not human?”

“Not,” Albert replied calmly.

Somewhat less calmly, Alex exploded. “WHAT?”

“Well, dear boy,” Jarvis intoned, “you said you wanted the hard version.”

“But… but… but…”

“It’s okay, Alex,” Albert said to Alex then, looking up, “Jarvis, freeze time.”

“Okey dokey, Mr Boss Man,” Jarvis replied, and the whole interior seemed to start shimmering. Not in a stomach-turning, vomit-inducing way, but gently, more hinting at it than actually doing it.

“You … just … froze … time,” Alex said. “But that’s impossible.”

“Of course it is,” Albert replied. “That’s why we did it.”

“So where are we now?” Alex wanted to know.

“Here,” Jarvis replied. “And before you ask the next obvious question, I’ll answer it. Now.”

Alex had read some science fiction; kids’ editions, of course; and seen some on video and TV, so he was, in his own estimation at least, pretty clued-up. “Define ‘now’,” he said to no-one in particular.

“In what context,” Jarvis asked.

“Don’t be deliberately difficult,” Albert said, “give the lad current date-time coordinates according to the Earth standard Gregorian calendar.”

“Yeah, that,” Alex agreed.

“By Earth standard Gregorian calendar, we are currently static at 17 October 1962.”

“Wow. Can we see anything outside? Where are we?”

“So many questions,” Jarvis complained. “Albert, be a love and explain to this child why we can’t see anything outside.”

“Do you mean apart from the lack of windows?” Alex asked.

“Yes, of course I mean apart from the lack of windows,” Jarvis snapped.

Albert assumed his calmest, most placid voice and said to Alex, “We are still exactly where we were when we came in, but we are no longer when we were. When travelling, we accept time as a dimension every bit as physical as up, down, east, west and so on, and we travel along that path. When Jarvis freezes time, he places himself, and anything inside him, in a stasis bubble. Do you know what a stasis bubble is?”

“I remember seeing a Star Trek episode where the Enterprise was trapped inside a generated universe that was shrinking1. Anything like that?”

“No. Well, similar, perhaps. From inside a stasis bubble, nothing exists outside. From outside, the bubble doesn’t exist.”

“So a lot like it, then,” Alex said in his most smart-Alex manner. “And that’s why we can’t see outside, because nothing exists outside of our bubble.”

“Ooh, get him,” Jarvis said. “I can see I shall need to promote him from cockroach to ant.”

“So now I know that,” Alex said, pointedly ignoring Jarvis, “will someone please explain to me what Jarvis meant when he said that you and he are one.”

“Go on, love,” Jarvis said, “I’m dying to hear this.”

“Okay, Alex. Let me first tell you what Jarvis is.”

“I thought you didn’t know.”

“I don’t. At least, when I’m in this body, I don’t have total access to the part of me that does know.”

“So what are you going to tell me?”

“I’ll let you into a little secret. I’m going to make something up. If it sounds good, and if Jarvis doesn’t ruin it by laughing, we’ll declare it true. How does that sound?”

“Sounds like cheating to me.”

“Okay, that’s fine. Let’s do it.”

“Ahem. Excuse me, dearies. One minute, if you please. Do I get any say in this?” Jarvis asked.

“Of course you do, Jarvis,” Albert said, “but only if you take over and tell the lad the pure, unvarnished truth.”

“Oh, it’s pure, unvarnished truth you want, is it?”

“Yes,” Albert and Alex chorused in unison.

“Before you do, Jarvis, I want to ask Unkie something,” Alex said. “Unkie, if there’s a part of you that knows, but you can’t get at that part…”

“Yes,” Albert drawled.

“What and where is that part?”

“That’s easy to answer,” Albert replied. “That part is Jarvis.”

1‘Remember me’; Star Trek TNG, season 4, ep. 5

This story remains open for suggested continuations. All I receive will be published here, with links to your own blog. The one I like best will become (or form the basis for) episode 4 of this collaborative tale.

This story was started in response to Kreative Kue 18, issued on this site on 30 March 2015.


  1. lisabuiecollard

    I’m thinking T.A.R.D.I.S. here but loving that Jarvis can actually talk! I think Unkie ought to take Alex on a little trip… maybe show him some past or future, or even another world? Love this idea. There is another blogger on the A to Z doing something similar in that it’s a collaborative story. Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @


    • Keith Channing

      The idea is modelled on Dr Who’s vehicle, but Albert and Jarvis are much more closely linked. Jarvis says that he and Albert are one, and Albert says the part of his brain he can’t reach is Jarvis.
      As yet, I don’t fully understand what that means.