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.
The voice inside Xander’s head (let’s cut the pretence, shall we? We all know it’s Albert) said, “We need to talk.”
“Thanks for breakfast, Mum,” Xander said, “do you mind if I pop around for a chat with Uncle Albert?”
“We can’t stop you, can we?” his father asked.
“No, but if you asked me not to, I wouldn’t.”
“Wouldn’t you?” his mother asked.
“I know you, lad,” his father said, “you’d shimmer. You’d go anyway and come back quick so we wouldn’t miss you.”
“You know me too well, Dad. See you.”
Xander trotted off to the garden and met up with Albert.
“What’s up, Unkie?” he asked.
“Listen, lad. You know as well as I do that I’m not your uncle or even your great-uncle, so there’s no point in calling me it. And, before you ask, I don’t want you or anyone else to call me granddad, grandpa, gramps, granfer or anything like that.”
“So what should I call you?”
“What’s wrong with my name, Albert?”
“But that seems wrong; disrespectful somehow.”
“Xander; you are my intellectual equal – well, almost – and in terms of abilities, strengths and weaknesses, you, Kr’veth’neq’is and I are complementary—”
“That goes without saying. But we are, together, more than the sum of our parts. Take any one away, and the whole is diminished. On that basis, I think we should all regard you as an equal partner, and as such, we should all be on first name terms.”
“Okay. I’ll try… Albert… but don’t be surprised if I slip up occasionally. Is that what you wanted to talk about?”
“It’s not. Tell me; how do you feel about your father?”
“In what way?”
“I’ve noticed that he’s starting to become very familiar with your abilities. I heard that last conversation, and he was talking about time travel as though it’s the most natural thing in the world for him. That’s not the Al we’re used to, is it?”
“I see what you mean, but what can we do about it?”
“We need to talk it through.”
“You, me, Kr’veth’neq’is and Jarvis.”
“Kr’veth’neq’is isn’t here. Can you call her?”
“Yes I can, Xander,” Albert replied, “but so can you.”
“Picture her face in your mind, then picture her in front of you.”
“What do you want?” Kr’veth’neq’is asked.
“Wow,” Xander exclaimed. Then again, “Wow.”
“Wow what?” Kr’veth’neq’is asked.
“I just thought about you, and suddenly, here you are.”
“That is so sweet, little bro. You thought about me. Aah. I’m really touched.”
“I always thought you were a bit touched, Sister dear,” Xander said.
“Do you want me to send you to sleep, Xander? I can, you know.”
“I know you can, but I was just playing. Sorry.”
“I thought so. But you still haven’t told me why I was summoned. I was having a nice sunbathe.”
Albert explained their conundrum. A serious air descended over the trio.
Jarvis sent his thoughts to them all. “Between us,” he said, “we need to decide whether we should act to remove some of this information from the man’s mind, or to try to unlock some of the potential that must be there; or whether we should just leave it be and let develop what will.”
“Pros and cons?” Albert asked.
“Firstly, leaving things alone,” Jarvis said, “highly dangerous. He knows things, but has no investment. There is a risk he may either let something slip accidentally, or blurt something out in a fit of temper, or bragging or whatever.”
Three minds signalled agreement.
“Secondly, removal of information. Clean, easy and quick. Very little by way of residuals; My preferred option.”
Albert agreed, though not wholeheartedly; Xander and Kr’veth’neq’is both felt that it was akin to violation.
“I can see how it would appeal to you,” Kr’veth’neq’is sent, “and my bitek half agrees. However, my human component rebels against it, and on balance, I don’t think I can support it. What say you, Bro?”
“I’m with you, Kr’veth’neq’is. Tell us more about unlocking Dad’s potential, Jarvis.”
Jarvis explained his thinking in that area, and what potential he thought would be there. After a great deal of discussion, the four agreed that Kr’veth’neq’is should put Al into a trance, examine his mind and let the rest know what she found.
“I think I need to do it here,” Kr’veth’neq’is said, “and we all need to be here in close proximity to him and to each other. Our combined abilities will give us the best chance of success.”
“What do you think is there now?” Albert asked, “Anything, or just potential.”
“Something, but it’s very weak,” she replied.
“Let’s the four of us summon him together,” Albert suggested, “see if our combined wills are strong enough to get through the fog that passes for a brain in humans.”
“Oi!” Xander and Kr’veth’neq’is complained in unison.
“Sorry. Let’s do it, on three… two… one.”
Back in the house, Al turned to Madge and told her that he was about to go out to see what his kids were up to.
“Can I come with you?” Madge asked.
“Not this time, love,” he said, “I wan to do this alone.”
Jarvis opened his door as Al approached. “Hi Al,” Albert said, “what brings you here?”
“I don’t know,” Al replied, “I was sitting at the table, talking to Madge, my wife, Xander’s mum, when I suddenly felt that I needed to come out here.”
Albert put his hands together, making a triangle with his fingers and thumbs. “Excellent,” he said, “Come in and take a seat. Stretch out on the couch.”
Al looked at the three of them; his father, his daughter and his son; as he reclined on what looked like a psychiatrist’s couch. Beads of sweat appeared on his forehead as his conscious mind rebelled against what it instinctively suspected and feared was about to happen…
This story was started in response to Kreative Kue 18, issued on this site on 30 March 2015.