Albert and Jarvis part 35

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.

You can see the full story so far at this link.

Episode 35

Xander awoke in a comfortable bed just outside Jarvis’s control room. Kr’veth’neq’is was seated on a chair beside him, and Albert was standing at the foot of his bed.

“How is he?” Albert asked Kr’veth’neq’is. “He seemed a little overwhelmed back on Terra.”

“I don’t think it’s right to say he was a little overwhelmed,” Kr’veth’neq’is said. “Had his brain been artificial, its circuits would be totally fried by now. But don’t worry, I’ve sorted him out.”

“Thank you.”

“He won’t remember anything about it, though; I’ve had to remove the memory to prevent it doing damage again.”

“What won’t I remember?” Xander asked, his eyes scanning from one to the other.

“Should I tell him, Albert?” Kr’veth’neq’is asked.

“You’re the expert,” Albert replied, “do what you think best.”

Kr’veth’neq’is explained to Xander what had happened, but she added undertones that allowed Xander to accept it without finding it too strange; well, no more strange than any of the other strange things that he had experienced of late.

“And that’s about it,” Kr’veth’neq’is concluded.

“Thanks for that, Sis. It certainly makes you think about what time is, what space is, and how closely the two are linked.”

“As you develop,” Albert added, “you will eventually see the truth; that there is no such thing as time, and no such thing as space; certainly as discrete concepts. There is only space-time, which is unitary and discrete only at the dimensional level.”

“Don’t make it worse, please,” Xander pleaded. “Besides, I never think of time as discrete; I usually see it as indiscreet!”

“Who wrote that awful pun?” Albert asked.


“No more this week, eh?”


“So,” Xander asked, “Where/when are we now, and where/when are we headed?”

“You are headed home, young man,” Albert said, “and you’re heading home right now. I think you need a few days’ rest and recuperation. Give your brain time to  consolidate all this new information.”

Xander found himself deposited in his own bed, where he awoke the following morning feeling rather the worse for wear.

At the breakfast table, Al, his father, said, “You look rough, son. You coming down wi’ summat?”

“Why do you keep talking with a funny accent, Dad?” Xander asked, “It’s not as though you come from the north.”

“Sorry, Son; I only say what’s written. You’ll have to take that up with the responsible party.”

“Ah, but who knows what dimension he’s in?”

“Fair point, Son; fair point. But why are you looking rough?”

Xander did his best to explain to his father, using more simple terms than his sister had employed when telling him, what the past couple of days had been like.

“And you experienced all that in the few hours you were away from here?” Al asked, “No wonder your head gave up on you for a while. So what you’re telling me is that there’s a planet, like Earth, but where time is all jumbled up together. Did I get it right?”

“As far as I know, Dad. Kr’veth’neq’is told me that my brain couldn’t handle it, so she had to wipe the memories. I only know what she told me when I came round again.”

“But there’s a lad exactly like you, except you changed from Alex to Xander, and he changed from Xander to Alex.”


“And he has a sister they don’t see very often, because she keeps disappearing.”


“Tell me one thing, lad…”


“This Alex. Does he shimmer?”

“I don’t know, Dad.”

“I’ll bet he does, Xander; I’ll bet he does.”

The front door opened and closed again.

“That’ll be your Mum, back from the shops. Not a word to her about this, you hear? I’ll tell her what I think it’s safe for her to know, when I think it’s safe for her to know it; okay?”

“Okay, Dad,” Xander said.

Mum entered the room. “Hello, Xander. Ooh, you don’t look well. I’m saying he doesn’t look well, Father. What do you say?”

“I said he didn’t look well when he came down, love.”

“I didn’t see him then, though; I were out shopping.”


“Sorry lad. I was out shopping. Better?”


“So what’s wrong with you?”

“He’s a bit run down, is all. I’ve told him to stay indoors and rest for at least two days.”

“No, you haven’t,” Xander protested.

“I have now,” his father said, “and that means no bloody shimmering, either.”

“Listen to what your father says, Xander.”

“Do I get a choice?”

A voice inside Xander’s head told him not to be cheeky to his parents. It was, of course, Albert, who had been eavesdropping on the entire conversation.

“Sorry Mum; sorry Dad. Of course I’ll listen. I’ll spend a couple of days in bed, reading.”

Another voice in his head, Jarvis this time, said, “Two days off, then have we got an adventure for you!”

Xander beamed.

“What’re you so cheerful about all of a sudden?” Dad asked.

“Nothing new, Dad. I was just thinking how lucky I am to have such great parents.”

“Keep an eye on him while I’m at work, Mother. He’s up to something. Either that or he’s after something. Either way—”

“Leave it to me, Father. Leave it to me,” Mother 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 36 of this tale.

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


    • Keith Channing

      I haven’t done too well with suggestions from readers so far, but it (and MS Waist of Space) gives me an outlet for exploring concepts that differ from the usual run of stuff; basically playing with the nature of time (parts 33 and 34) and space – and introducing some real nonsense.