Albert and Jarvis part 4

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 4

“Wow,” Alex said, “now you’re starting to freak me out.”

“I know it sounds weird, Alex,” Albert said, “but let me try to explain.”

He paused, rubbed his chin and scratched his head. As he did, a cloud of foul-smelling gas escaped from his nether area.

“Where do I start?” he asked.

“Not there!” Jarvis interjected, “Not unless I can release a waft of atmospheric freshener first.”

“Unkie,” Alex said, “can I tell you what I think I understand so far, then you tell me how close I am? Perhaps Jarvis can help, too.”

“Okay,” Albert and Jarvis said as one.

“Right. Well. If I’m right, you and Jarvis are a single entity, but to be able to deal with other species, you somehow divides into two parts. One part is still Jarvis, the other becomes like a human. How’s that so far?”

“Quite close, Alex,” Jarvis said. “Not bad for an ant. Much more of this, and I’ll have to promote you to pig, or even dog; nah, not dog yet, pig. Okay, the thing is, the part of us that you see as Uncle Albert is not always in human form. It appears human to you because you find it easiest to deal with another human being. If the dominant intelligent species on this planet were, for instance, an elephant, that is the form it would take.”

“So you’re a shape-shifter, then,” Alex said to Albert.

“Yes and no, with a strong bias towards no,” Albert replied.

“Oh; this is too hard,” Alex complained. “Is Unkie a projection of part of you into my brain? Does he not really exist? Is this like a holo-deck?”

“Three questions there, young pig. Which one shall I answer first?” Jarvis paused. A few indicator lights flashed in various places on the consoles. Finally, he spoke again. “I’ll take them all together. The answer is no, except that it is also yes, with a strong hint of maybe.”

“W-What?” Alex stuttered, “Yes and no with a hint of maybe? That’s dumb.”

“Only because you don’t understand the questions,” Jarvis replied. “Yes, it is a projection, but not into your brain or any other brains. Albert is real. He is what you would call flesh and blood. Yes, he exists and has done, on and off, for hundreds of years as you measure time; but he only exists when he needs to. Yes, this is like a holo-deck in that it looks how you expect it to, but it is real, formed from solid matter. Don’t ask me how, though. Your sciences won’t be ready to understand that for a very long time yet.”

“So I have to take you on faith, right?”

“Right.”

Alex gave this some thought. Unlike Albert, though, his thought process didn’t involve the escape of any gases, smelly or otherwise, from any part of his anatomy. Finally, he asked, “Jarvis; are you God?”

“Define God,” Jarvis responded.

“Ah. This one I can do. We were talking about this in Comparative Religion in school last week. Teacher said that God can’t be defined. Ummm; he said that God is totally other. According to some religions, God is whatever you need Him to be.”

“Bingo!” Jarvis yelled, as much as it’s possible for a machine to yell.

“No, Alex,” Albert added, “Jarvis isn’t God. We are bitek; a life form that is neither natural nor artificial but is both. I think you should stop worrying about what we are, about the nature of things that the human race isn’t yet ready to understand or explain, and just enjoy the ride.” He turned to the nearest console, tapped a few keys and said, “Jarvis: unfreeze time and continue.”

“Sir, yes sir!” Jarvis said, demonstrating that even bitek constructs can master the ancient art of sarcasm.

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.

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