Albert and Jarvis part 52

a tale in weekly parts

Episode 52

The next morning, straight after breakfast, Xander and Kr’veth’neq’is joined Albert behind the Leylandii.

“Episode 52,” Xander said. “Are we planning to celebrate?”

“Hardly,” Albert replied.

“Why not?”

“Allow me to explain, young Padawan,” Jarvis intoned.

“Go on then,” Xander said, “but don’t call me that.”

“Why ever not?”

“Firstly, because I’m not your apprentice, and secondly, because this isn’t Star Wars!”

“As you wish. Now. Why are we not celebrating? Let me ask you a question. What is the basis of the celebration you seek?”

“Duh! Fifty-two episodes, fifty-two weeks, one year.”

“When did we start this adventure?”

“Fifty-two weeks ago. I thought you were smart!”

“What date?”

“I can’t remember that!”

“Then it’s a good job I can. It was the first day of April.”

“And you know that because it was All Fools’ Day?”

“I know that because I remember things. What is the date today?”

“Eleventh of March.”

“So three weeks short of a year, then.”

“How does that work? Fifty-two weeks makes a year, doesn’t it?”

“One day short of. Two days, this year. Don’t forget that there were a couple of bonus episodes during the year. We have a choice. We can celebrate on the actual anniversary of the first episode, or we can celebrate the last episode of the first year. That means either 25th March or 1st April. Give it some thought, and let me or Albert know your preference.”

“We’re clearly not celebrating today, then,” Kr’veth’neq’is said, “so where/when shall we go?”

“I fancy another visit to Newtonia,” Xander suggested, “that place was well cool.”

“We went there in 32,” Albert said, “Let’s try something new. I have an idea.”

“Where?” Kr’veth’neq’is asked.

“Inevitabilia,” Albert replied.

“What?” Xander and Kr’veth’neq’is called out in unison.

“Inevitabilia, Dimension 6 Earth analogue. You’ll love it.”

“What is it?”

“Jarvis?” Albert said.

“Inevitabilia is an Earth-like planet in the sixth dimension,” Jarvis recited, “It is unique in that it runs on a fusion and profusion, not to mention confusion of time lines.”

“Isn’t that what Newtonia was all about?” Xander asked.

“There are parallels, young pada… man, but they are only partial. On Inevitabilia, all time lines exist and progress in parallel. Crossing time lines is like changing platforms at a busy railway station. There are signals, signs when changing is available, but the window is rather narrow, and you must change promptly, if you wish to follow a time line other than the one you are currently riding.”

“So why Inevitabilia?”

“Why are we going there, or why is it so called?”

“The latter.”

“The world is called Inevitabilia because everything that can possibly happen has happened, in one or more of its time lines. And because it is inevitable that everything that can happen has happened, is happening or will happen, depending on your location in the time line; and because switching between time lines is relatively easy – one might even say trivial – it is inevitable that some events will find themselves in a time line other than the one in which you would expect to find them. Is that all clear?”

“As pastis with water freshly added,” Kr’veth’neq’is replied for them both.

“Good. Strap in,” Jarvis said, redundantly and figuratively. “Apparent journey time will be twenty perceived minutes, although by whose measurement is anyone’s guess. Do your stuff, Eddies.”

Just over an hour later, Jarvis announced that they had arrived.

“That was more than twenty minutes, Jarvis,” Kr’veth’neq’is complained.

“Trick I learned from your father,” he replied, “he always says he’ll be there in twenty minutes, whereas his real arrival delay depends on an almost infinite number of variables, not all of which obey the accepted laws of mathematics or even physics. Nonetheless, we’re here now.”

“Place and time?” Albert asked.

“Come on, sweetie. We share a brain. You know as well as I do.”

“Be that as it may, old chum. I’m asking for the children,” he replied. “I think they ought to know.”

“Very well. We are approaching a town close to the Franco-German border, mid-twentieth century. We are close to a transit point and I recommend using it.”

“Where are we in relation to the Second World War?” Xander asked.

Jarvis answered by rendering the side panels transparent.

“Ah,” Xander said, gazing out on scenes of war that would have made a fortune for Hollywood directors and possibly even earned them an Oscar or two, although lacking incidental music and, at that stage of the conflict, American uniforms.

“Does that answer your question?”

“Sure does. It also explains why we should take the first available transit gateway. When is it?”

“Thirty-five seconds,” Jarvis replied.

“How do we use it?” Xander almost screamed.

Albert, in a most excellent rendition of Al’s voice, simply said, “Bloody shimmer.”

“Can’t you do it and take us all, Jarvis?” Kr’veth’neq’is asked.

“Nope. We’re all individuals. We each have to do it ourselves. The official motto of this system is chacun pour soi. Twenty seconds.”

“Count us down from ten, please,” Albert said.

“Of course.”

…pause…

“Ten… Nine… Eight… Seven… Six… Five… Four… Three… Two… One… SHIMMER!”