Albert and Jarvis part 12

a tale in weekly parts


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 12

The dreams that Alex had in that long, long sleep were more weird than any he had known before. He saw a shepherd’s hut turn into his father, who was immediately sent back in time to the era of dinosaurs, where he morphed into a lump of something disgustingly gelatinous that looked like a cross between a slug and stuff from someone’s nose; someone with a very bad cold. When a tyrannosaurus moved to eat the mass, it promptly turned back into his father and began beating the monster reptile with a cricket bat. He then saw himself as a boy of some five years, not that he’s much more than that now, but where his head should have been was a computer screen with his face on it. In his dream he was explaining to his father, in minute detail, why it was so important that his body be presented at an angle of exactly 90 degrees to the ball. He then, in his dream, spent ages going through every pair of jeans he owned, looking for an anomaly which, of course, he never found.

Thus did his mind sort, catalogue, rationalise and store all the information it had received from Albert, Jarvis and Kr’veth’neq’is; and by the end of his sleep, he was, subconsciously at least, at peace with what he now knew himself to be. Consciously, though, Alex was still a small boy of only ten years, with all that entails.

“When are we off to now, Unkie?” Alex asked, “and can we go back and get Chav? He’d love the trip.”

“Maybe next time for Chav,” Albert replied. “We’re off now to meet someone I’m sure you’ll find fascinating.”

“Who?”

“It’s a traveller from another world, lad,” he explained. “He moves through space, not through time, but his people have some interesting ways of covering incomprehensibly vast distances in the blink of an eye.”

“How’s that work, then?”

“I’ll let him tell you himself; you’ll love it. For now, I’ll just say that his people manipulate space the way Jarvis manipulates time. Fascinating; fascinating…”

And with that, Albert seemed to drift off into a dream-like state from which he didn’t recover until Jarvis flashed a few wake-up volts through him.

“It’s not that fascinating, love,” Jarvis said, “If you understand the true significance of the Lagrange points, you’ll see it’s all pretty straightforward, really.”

“Are you talking about wormholes?” Alex asked.

“Nope; guess again,” Jarvis replied. “On second thoughts, don’t. You’ll never get it. Even when he explained it to me, I didn’t get it for, ooh, at least three and a half nanoseconds. Course, with your partly bitek but mostly simian brain, you should get it within a couple of weeks.”

“Don’t be cruel,” Albert said, “the boy’s quite bright.”

“Sure, for an ape’s descendant, he is, but do we want humans to know about this technology? Have you thought what this primitive, war-like race would do if they had that ability, if they had instantaneous access to the entire galaxy and who knows what, beyond that?”

“As you are fully aware, J, I think about it all the time,” Albert said. “I dread to think what the result would be of allowing humans that access. But do we have the moral right to deny them this knowledge; knowledge whose by-products could allow them to deal, at a stroke, with climate change, poverty, starvation and most diseases that blight them?”

“Do I have any say?” Alex asked.

Kr’veth’neq’is, who had been silent through all this, spoke up. “The boy Alex will need wisdom to deal with this. Knowledge and ability won’t be enough. Let me put him to sleep and activate wisdom for him.”

“Not sure that’s such a good idea,” Albert said.

“Again. Do I have any say?”

Albert took Alex by the hand. “Trouble is, lad, if Kr’veth’neq’is activates wisdom, it will make your mind like that of a much older man, moulded by time and experience. Yes, you will understand things, yes you will be able to discuss deep matters with others, but it will take away your childhood, your innocence. You will have nothing in common with your peers. Are you sure you want that?”

“Can it be activated, then de-activated?” Alex asked.

“In theory, yes,” Kr’veth’neq’is replied. “However, as you are the first hybrid; like, ever; we don’t know for sure.”

“Okay,” Alex said after some thought, “why not activate it, jump forward a while and de-activate it, then jump forward some more as see how it works out. If it goes wrong, then jump back to now, and don’t activate it.”

“You little scamp,” Jarvis said. “You’re suggesting we play fast and loose with time. What a dearie you are, learning the new rules already. I’m impressed.”

“And?” Alex asked.

“And we’ll do it as you suggest,” Albert replied. “Kr’veth’neq’is; can you prepare him and make it so, please?”

“Aye aye A,” she replied. She had Alex lay on a bunk that appeared in front of him. Once he was in place, the sides of the bed moulded themselves to his form and held him fast. Kr’veth’neq’is leaned over him, thought him into a trance and instructed his bitek part to activate the wisdom of a man in his forties. She then jumped forward two weeks and found Alex in discussion with Albert.

“What’s the topic, guys?” she asked.

“The positive and negative roles of religion in international relations during the last four centuries,” Albert replied.

“And I’m whooping him good,” Alex said, playfully, “he’s being out-smarted by a ten-year old.”

Albert looked at him reproachfully. “You, young man, are holding your own in a complex debate. You are not, as you put it, whooping me.”

“You’re a poor loser, Unkie; that’s the truth of it.”

Kr’veth’neq’is put Alex into a trance and turned to Albert. “What’s your assessment of his wisdom, A?”

“He has the wisdom I would expect of a man in his forties with Alex’s intellect. However, despite his ability and his wisdom, Alex is still a ten-year-old boy, as that little taunt shows.”

“Excellent,” was all she said as she disappeared.

Returning to the present; whatever that means in the context of these guys’ relationship with time; she thought Alex out of the trance he was in, and helped him up.

“Well, young’un,” she said to Alex, “that’s that done.”

“And?”

“And I’m not going to tell you what we plan to do with you. The more you know about your processes, the less natural your reactions will be. It’s better that you don’t know what parts of your mind I have made active. Trust me to do what’s best for you, and just be who you are. You’ll be fine.”

“Promise?”

“Promise.”

“Let’s go meet Jinniskeet,” Albert said.


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 13 of this collaborative tale.


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