a tale in weekly parts
(formerly Albert and Jarvis)
In episodes 1-88, Albert and Jarvis told the story of a bitek construct that had been in the lives of the Grahamson family for three generations. Appearing in the form of a shepherd's hut (Jarvis) and its elderly occupant (Albert), an earlier experiment had resulted in the birth of Aloysius, a non-manifesting human/bitek hybrid. Alice and Alex, the two children that Aloysius had fathered with his wife, Magdalen, displayed strong bitek capabilities from an early age, though Alice was significantly more precocious than her younger brother. Albert and Jarvis nurtured and enhanced these capabilities through many adventures until the point where, to prevent a global catastrophe, the two needed to act together. The action needed more power than the two possessed. To produce stonger hybrids, Alex's seed was used to produce a young in a distantly related hybrid female in another dimension, while Alice was impregnated using her own bitek components. Albert and Jarvis absented themselves from the lives of the Grahamsons to allow Alice's pregnancy to progress in a safe, normal environment.
You can see the full story so far at this link.
“This should be good”, Al said.
Alex started to explain.
We adults phased into Jarvis, leaving Zara and Zak to their own devices.
“Do you think they’ll be alright on their own?” Alice asked.
Kris responded by pointing out that although Zara was, at that point, only ten years old, she had potentially lived all her life and so possessed a level of maturity very different from her apparent chronological age. I had some trouble processing that, even though I knew that Zak had been given the maturity of a middle-aged man.
“So is she aware of her birth and death?” I asked, perhaps somewhat naïvely.
Albert suggested that I was trying to simplify something very complex, something that didn’t lend itself to reduction to timelines, sequences, cause and effect.
“The trouble with your argument, Alex,” he said, “is that it is based on a linear understanding of time.”
“Of course it is,” I replied, “that’s all I know.”
“Correct. And even though you fully, I believe, comprehend the mechanics as well as the implications and potential pitfalls of time travel, it’s still all linear-based.”
“So you’re saying that what our cousins experience isn’t time-hopping?”
“Then what is it?”
“You remember the analogy I offered you some time ago?”
“Being above and seeing the entire parade, beginning to end?”
“Exactly. In that analogy, I suggested that you could drop down and join the parade at any point along its length, effectively moving back and forward from the centre point; traversing time.”
“Yeah, I get that. Isn’t that how this works?”
“No. Imagine now that the whole parade has been corralled into a circular arena and, like sheep in a pen, the people wandered around within the arena, without any plan or structure.”
“So they’d all be mixed up like the ingredients of a cake.”
“More like the balls in a lottery machine…”
“With no order and no structure…”
“Exactly. That is the analogy you need to carry to understand how time works in this dimension.”
Whilst this was going on, Xander and Kris were watching and listening intensely. This was the first time they had heard what they think of as normal described to someone who considered it to be anything but. I was still struggling.
“But I still don’t get how it’s possible, without any structure, to do anything.”
“I’m not with you, Alex,” Albert said.
“Okay. Take eating a meal. You stick your fork into, say, a potato, then you raise the loaded fork to your face and put the potato in your mouth, where you use your teeth to extract the food from the implement. You then chew the food and swallow it. That’s all a sequence. It has to be done in that order. I don’t see how anything can be done without a sequence. Even talking: the words have to come in some kind of order to be understood. Things grow by cell division. That implies a sequence. A cell can’t divide until after it has come into existence. Sequence.”
“I take your point. Kris – care to explain?”
“We will not understood the problem,” Kris said, “it’ll was the objects.”
“Quite,” Albert picked up, “you’ve studied photography, haven’t you, Alice?”
“You know I have. What’s that to do with this?”
“Circles of confusion.”
A light bulb appeared above Alice’s head. “Stop that, Jarvis. It’s not helping.”
“Sorry, Love. I saw that she’d realised what you’re saying and thought a visual effect would help.”
“No, he’s right,” Alice said, excitedly, “as you get closer to an image, you see that points aren’t points at all, but small circles. Close to, the picture is fuzzy, indistinct, unfocused. So you’re saying time here is like that? How?”
“Actually,” Xander said, “the exact opposite. Something close to the way you shall experiencing time existent within small… we had calling them objects, but you might made up your own word—”
“Think of them as the people in the arena,” Albert suggested.
Xander continued, “Each object followeding a sequential structure that I thunken you woulden understood—”
“Black boxes,” Xander shouted excitedly, “we’re back to coding.”
“By George, he’s got it,” Jarvis intoned, immediately morphing everyone’s dress into attire suitable for a performance of “The Rain in Spain” from “My Fair Lady”.
“Jarvis,” Albert said, “change our clothes back.”
“I don’t think I want to. You all look rather fetching.”
“Yes, but fetching what?”
“And that, dear parents, is how we came to be dressed as we are.”
“He’s right,” Albert said, “and Jarvis is refusing to change us back.”
“Is that it?” Madge asked, “Is that what you went all that way for?”
“We went all that way so Zak could meet Zara and get to know her.”
“And did he?”
“You bet I did,” Zak said, “and I want to see her more often. The trouble is, it’s difficult with she being in Dimension eight and we being in Dimension… which Dimension are we in, Albert?”
“Depends who you ask, Zak. From your perspective, it’s Dimension one, but ask someone in a different Dimension and they’ll have a different view.”
“But aren’t the first four dimensions space and time?”
“Semantics, Lad. Semantics. Early thought was that the other dimensions were just that, extensions of space and time. Now we know that what we call Dimensions are in fact discrete universes, but old habits die hard. Okay?”
“Okay. But how can I get to see Zara more often?”
“Yes,” Alex said, “and I’d like to see Kris, too.”
“I bet you would,” Alice said.
“Don’t try telling me you don’t have a bit of a thing for Xander, Sis.”
“Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. But it’s my son we’re talking about here.”
Albert held up a hand in an attempt to stop the argument. “Leave it with me. I’ll see what can be done. Because Xander, Kris and Zara are all part-bitek, it should be possible for us to create an internally sequential object where you could all be present for as long as you want, as often as you would like. That okay?”
“Could we get to meet Xander, Kris and Zara, too?” Madge asked, “they are family, after all.”
“One step at a time, Madge,” Albert said, “One step at a time.”