Albert and Jarvis part 72

a tale in weekly parts

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

Episode 72

“Where are we now?” Alex asked, looking around at the alien landscape in which he found himself. Gone was the manicured lawn. The seats and benches scattered around the area were no more. Nor were there any buildings. As far as he could see in any direction was grass, but not a grass that he’d seen before. This grass was much coarser and more grey than green. The few trees that were scattered around resembled emaciated camelthorn. No sound came from anywhere. No birds and no animal life, save what looked like an improbable cross between ants and cockroaches.

“Either the Eddies have read my mind, and created a virtual environment from what I’ve been reading recently, or we’ve been moved forward and Jonathan Schell was right, after all.”

“Jonathan Schell?”

“I recently read his work ‘The Fate of the Earth’. He suggested that after a nuclear war, all life would fail, leaving behind only an ‘empire of insects and grass’.”

“Whatever. Let’s talk about what we want to do.”

“Alex! Have you considered that maybe the Eddies have a purpose for us?”

“What sort of purpose?”

“Maybe they want us to prevent this from happening.”

“Puh-lease. Like we can stop a global nuclear war from happening.”

“Open your mind to the Eddies. Listen to what they are saying.”

“Why would the entities that make up five-sixths of all the matter in the universe bother themselves with the fate of one small planet orbiting a star that is destined to die in the blink of an eye, astronomically speaking?”

“Are you familiar with the concept of the fundamental interconnectedness of things?”

“Yeah. Douglas Adams wrote about it in the Dirk Gently series. You mean he was right?”

“It wouldn’t be the only time he stumbled on one of the underlying truths of the universe. Apart from which, what’s the difference between that and some aspects of chaos theory?”

“You’re suggesting that a very minor thing that we do in our time could have a knock-on effect that means global nuclear war won’t happen?”

“Listen to the Eddies, Alex.”

“But hang on. If we fail to do whatever the minor thing is, we will fail to prevent the war. That means we’ll effectively cause the end of the world by not doing… WHAT?”

“Listen to the Eddies. Be guided by them.”

“You know what I’m thinking?”

“What?”

“First, we find the dogs. They’ve run off somewhere. CHAV! IXUS!”

“Don’t shout, Alex. Use your mind.”

Chav, Ixus. Come back now.”

On our way, Alex.”

The two dogs appeared from some distance away, muttering apologies.

That was silly; running away like that. You don’t know where we are,” Alex said.

We haven’t moved. We’re in the same place.”

Okay, so we moved in time.”

No. We moved dimensions.”

Which dimension are we in?

“I can tell you that,” Alice said, “We’re in dimension 6.”

“You mean…”

“Yes. We’re on Inevitabilia.” (ep 52)

“That reinforces the other thing I was thinking.”

“Which was?”

“To get back and call Albert. I don’t feel confident to do this on my own.”

“I think you’re right, Bro. We’ll go back without time adjustment. All agreed?”

The dogs both signified approval of the plan, the Eddies sensed the agreement, and the familiar surroundings of the park re-appeared.

Alex and Alice put the leads back on the dogs and ran back to the beach, where the firework display had, judging from the way people were moving, recently finished.

“Did you hear the fireworks?” Al asked the pair.

“No, Dad,” Alex replied, “we went somewhere quiet. Chav and Ixus didn’t hear any of it.”

“Where did you go?” Madge asked, “Somewhere nice?”

“Not really,” Alice said, “a bit boring really.”

“Your uncle Albert popped down to see us while you were away. He’ll be sorry to have missed you. He’s parked just up the road. Maybe we’ll see him on the way back,” Al said.

Alex looked at Alice and winked. His sister replied, “We’d like that. We’ve got something we want to talk to him about anyway. What’s he in?”

“You may well ask. It looks like a bonfire. He’s lucky no-one set fire to it.”

“That won’t be a problem. Remember Rocamadour (ep. 28). He has a way of concealing himself, so no-one will notice him.”

“I saw him.”

“You expected to.”

“One day, I’ll understand what you people are talking about,” Madge complained.

“No you won’t,” Alex and Alice chorused with a laugh.