Albert and Jarvis part 7

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 episode of this collaborative tale.

The full story so far can be found here.


Episode 7

They flew around the inside of the construct for a while. Albert showed Alex the tanks in which they grew the components that make up the final bitek product, and the assembly area where they put the components together.

“So, this is like a factory, then?” Alex asked his great-uncle.

“You could say that, lad, although what they are making here, what will come out of the factory gate, so to speak, will be a living, sentient being,” Albert replied.

“Is that why it looks more like a hospital than a factory?”

“Sure is. Come and take a look at this.”

They flew toward the very centre of the construct, where Alex saw being assembled, something that looked like a miniature version of the thing they were flying around. Or maybe it was a small version of Jarvis.

“What’s that they’re making here?” Alex asked. “Can we go closer to see?”

“Got to be careful here, lad,” Albert said, “don’t want to get caught up in the eddies.”

They circled around and hovered at some distance from the assembly area.

“What’s happening here, Alex, is impossible. The way they’re manipulating time can’t be done. At this stage in its development, this civilisation doesn’t have the knowledge, or the means to create bitek.”

“How come this one’s here, then?”

“It’s borrowed from the future, and the construct it’s building there, in the middle, is itself. It is creating the means for manufacturing bitek, of which Jarvis is one of the first examples.”

“So it’s a living, sentient being, then, not a building?”

“It’s both, lad. It’s a living, sentient building.”

“And it’s making a copy of itself?”

“No. It’s making itself. I told you it were impossible. Think on it, lad. What if it makes itself, but then finds that itself doesn’t work? What if it makes a mistake in the build or in assembling the parts? Why, it wouldn’t then exist in the future to come back and make itself, would it? Scares me, it does, and baffles me. Jarvis and I sometimes play fast and loose with time, but we always respect its basic integrity. There’s no respect here, and it’d be so easy for something to go wrong. Then what?”

“But it, or at leat the ‘it’ that it’s making, made Jarvis, so it must be okay, mustn’t it?” Alex asked.

“Must it? Ever heard of probabilistic time theory?”


“According to probabilistic time theory; or at least, our limited understanding of it; everything that ever happened, probably did; everything that’s going to happen, probably will. See what I mean?”

“Er… no.”

“The basic thing, lad, is that nothing is definite. But I can see I’m confusing you. Let’s go back to Jarvis and decide when to go next, shall we?”

“Probably,” Alex said with a giggle.

They flew back to where Jarvis was waiting. Albert’s wings vanished as soon as they touched the ground, and the pair re-entered through a door that Jarvis had fashioned for them.

“Ooh, we decided to come back, then. Enjoy our trip, did we?” Jarvis asked.

“I saw something impossible,” Alex exclaimed, “I saw this thing making itself.”

“Yeah, that was stupid and dangerous,” Jarvis said, “but it probably worked out alright in the end.”

“Probably?” Alex asked.

“Probably,” Jarvis and Albert replied in one voice, then burst into laughter.

Alex was confused. “Does Jarvis know what we were talking about inside the… you know?”

“You still don’t get it, do you, sweets,” Jarvis replied, “When Albert said ‘Jarvis and I are one’, what do you suppose he meant?”

“That you’re a team?”

“No, you stupid boy!” Jarvis exclaimed, “You obviously need to see it for yourself before you understand. Sit down and prepare.”

“Jarvis; we can’t. Not in front of the boy,” Albert said.

“Albert, we must,” Jarvis replied.

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 8 of this collaborative tale.

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