Albert and Jarvis part 13

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 13

“Let’s go meet WHO?” Alex asked.

“Jinniskeet. It’s the traveller I told you about.”

“So where, when do we meet him?”

“Where is easy; it’ll come to us. When is a bit more tricky. Do we have a plan, Jarvis?”

“Hey,” Jarvis replied, “this is me we’re talking about. Of course I have a plan, as you well know. Don’t take this separation malarkey too far, Albert, we are still one.”

“We may be, Jarvis, but when we’re separated, not all functions break out and I can’t access navigation or planning.”

“Will you two stop squabbling,” Alex demanded, “unless you’re trying to prove that you’re so inept that you are losing an argument with yourself!”

“Does that sound like a ten-year-old, Albert?” Jarvis asked, “I ask you; honestly. Kr’veth’neq’is, which functions did you turn on?”

“Only what we agreed,” she replied, “and anyway, I’m not going to elltay ouyay in ontfray of the oybay, am I?”

This last exchange exasperated Alex. “Now I’ve heard it all,” he said, “highly advanced bitek constructs using pig-Latin to try to keep me from owingknay atwhay ouyay aidsay. Pathetic!”

“He’s got a point, love,” Albert said, to whom wasn’t clear.

“Okay girls, listen up,” Jarvis said, in a tone that had Alex thinking of a row of pink tents. “JK will arrive at our location at a precise time and date, and we need to be there when it materialises, so we really need to arrive a bit before.”

“When is it due?” Kr’veth’neq’is asked. “Give me the temporal co-ordinates and I’ll merge and set things up.”

Jarvis sounded somewhat less confident. “Don’t you have that? You were supposed to get that, weren’t you?”

“Not my job, J. I was sunbathing in Dubai when you should have set that up, remember? Can’t you multi-present?”

“Not with the boy on board. Can you imagine how messed up his brain would be by being in the same place in multiple time-lines. I don’t think even you can cushion him from that.”

“Tell you what I’ll do. I’ll multi-present myself in that place until it starts to materialise. Then I’ll re-merge, come back and give you the co-ordinates. You’ll need to be careful, though, ’cause I’ll still be there when you arrive. I’ll make myself scarce before you go then.”

As Alex looked at Kr’veth’neq’is, she seemed to shimmer briefly, then she announced, “23 February 2318, 11.35am local. Be there by 11.30.”

Kr’veth’neq’is then disappeared and Jarvis started to shudder. Alex screwed his eyes closed and once again felt remorse for every glass of water he’d ever consumed.

“Open your eyes, lad, we’ve arrived,” came Albert’s voice, though Alex couldn’t see him anywhere.

“Where are you, Unkie?” Alex asked.

“We needed to combine, so we did it while your eyes were closed.”

Suddenly, right in front of Alex, there appeared someone, something that looked vaguely human, but clearly wasn’t.

Wearing a dark blue blazer over a white shirt and light green trousers, it was about four and a half feet tall, and was quite plump. The overall impression was reminiscent of Billy Bunter from the 1950s Comet comic. With skin tone approximating to a southern European or Mediterranean hue, its head was large and hairless, with no mouth, but with very large eyes. It also had a wide, shallow nose with a single horizontal nostril, and one slit on each side of the head that Alex thought were most likely either ears or perhaps even gills. Its hands sported four digits – two obviously fingers, one clearly a thumb and one other digit that seemed to function as either finger or thumb. Despite its appearance, it exuded an air of intelligence beyond that of many adult humans.

In one of its hands was a small box that looked to be made of a material not unlike dark mahogany. In the other was what looked like a high-tech briefcase.

“A-a-are you J-j-jinniskeet?” Alex asked. No reply came.

“Excuse me,” Alex said, louder, “can you hear me?”

Despite it having no apparent external orifice to speak through, Alex heard it say, “I am sorry, I was talking with Jarvis. Did you say something?”

“I didn’t hear you talking.”

“You don’t mindspeak?”, Jinniskeet asked.

“Are you talking about telepathy?”

“Yes, telepathy. You don’t have it?”

“No, we don’t. Well, there are some stage acts that claim to, and some people say that there’s telepathy between identical twins and such, but most people don’t. So how am I hearing you?”

Jinniskeet explained, “I will tell you how mindspeak is working. I think of something I want to tell you, my mindspeak then sends those thoughts as impulses to your primary auditory cortex. Your brain is converting these impulses into words as though the sound was coming through your ears. We have ears, so I can hear your speech. Do you understand what I am saying to you?”

“Absolutely,” Alex replied, “but is there any chance I could learn this mindspeak stuff?”

Jarvis spoke next. “Afraid not, lad,” he said, “Kr’veth’neq’is says that your bitek gene doesn’t give that ability.”

Alex looked around and realised that he couldn’t say which direction Jarvis’ voice came from. “Do you use mindspeak to talk to me?” he asked.

“Not exactly, but something like,” Jarvis said, “the clever thing with mindspeak is that what you receive is concepts rather than words. Your brain supplies the voice and accent, even the words. That means Jinniskeet will sound exactly as you expect him to, in the language you expect to hear. It also means that he will sound different to each ‘listener’.”

“That is so cool,” Alex said.

As he did, Jinniskeet faded out of existence. “What happened, Unkie?” Alex asked, “where’s Jinniskeet?”

There was no answer.

Only a silence so total that Alex could hear the blood flowing through his veins.

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 14 of this collaborative tale.

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