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.
“I think I have an idea how we can do it,” Zak said to Albert in the middle of one of their tutorials.
“Can you see the flaw in what you just said?” Albert asked.
“I didn’t explain what I was talking about?”
“Not really. I knew what you had in mind, possibly before you did.”
“I sensed the thoughts forming in your mind.”
“Well, if that’s not the flaw, what is?”
“Either you have an idea or you don’t. To say you think you have an idea is… what?”
“Not exactly, but something like.”
“Okay. I have an idea how we can meet up with Xander, Kris and Zara regularly.”
“Well. The difficulty we need to address concerns perception of time, yeah?”
“That’s right. What’s your idea?”
“Simple. We all get into Jarvis and he forms a bubble that suspends time.”
“I was hoping you’d come up with that. It shows you’ve been listening.”
“So you knew about it all along?”
“So why haven’t you said anything?”
“Because if I bring all the ideas, you’ll never learn to think for yourselves; and I don’t just mean you; your mum and Alex, too. I have to stretch you all so you’ll be the best you can be.”
“But doesn’t that mean that some things will happen a lot later than they could have if you’d let us know the answers?”
“You know how I’m going to answer that, Zak. Or at least, I hope you do.”
“It’s about time…”
“Exactly. It’s about time you realised that, too.”
“I see what you did there. Ha ha. So, anyway, even though it takes us a long time to come up with the answers…”
“…things always happen at the most appropriate point in time…”
“…because you and Jarvis…”
“Precisely! Can we get back to work? Can you remember what we were discussing?”
“Yes, Albert. We were thinking about event horizons, and how they impact on universe boundaries.”
Later, at supper, Al, Madge, Alex, Alice and Zak were gathered around the dining table. Having finished their meal, they were talking through their day.
“How did you get on with Albert today, Zak?” Madge asked.
“Good,” Zak replied. “We were looking at event horizons, and how they impact on universe boundaries.”
“Sounds like a laugh a minute,” Al said.
“We didn’t laugh, but it was interesting,” Zak replied, “Oh – I must tell you. We’ve found a way that we can meet up with Zara and her family without them having to deal with our time or us having to fathom out theirs.”
“How’s that?” Alex asked.
“Not out,” Al said, chuckling.
“Ha ha. So?”
“Jarvis,” Zak said.
“Of course,” Alice agreed. “Why didn’t we think of that?”
“You would have, Mum. We just got there first.”
“So was it you or Albert?”
“Albert knew all along, but he waited for me to realise it.”
“Am I missing something?” Madge asked.
“You want the full list?” Al said, “Or just the big ones?”
“Shut up, Al,” Madge barked.
“Thing is, Gran,” Zak said, “when we travel across dimensions in Jarvis, he creates a bubble where time as we know it doesn’t exist. All we need to do is to get us and Zara’s family in there together, in suspended time, and it’ll be the same for both of us.”
“Sounds straightforward enough. Why didn’t you think of it, Aloysius?”
“Cos I’m not one of bloody them, am I?” he answered.
“In fairness,” Alice said, “it sounds straightforward, but the science is horrendous. We’re talking about something that the best brains on the planet say isn’t possible.”
“Well, will we be able to come, too?”
“Sorry, Mum. Whenever we take you anywhere in Jarvis, he has to stay in normal time. The human brain can’t cope with the kind of travelling we do as a matter of routine.”
“I’ll bet the bloody dogs can go,” Al said, “not that I care. Take all three of them as far as I’m concerned.”
“They’d have the same trouble, Dad,” Alex said, “Haven’t you noticed, we hardly ever take them with us. Their enhancements only really give them communication skills.”
“So me and you mother have to stay behind and dog-sit while you lot go gallivanting around the universe—”
“Universes. What we call dimensions are, in fact, separate universes. That’s why crossing between them is so hard.”
“Yeah, whatever,” Al said, storming out of the room.
“Mum,” Alice pleaded.
“Okay, Love. I’ll go and calm him. He’s just disappointed, you know. I know it comes out as anger, but it isn’t, not really.” Madge got up from her seat and went off in search of her husband.
“So it’s decided?” Alex asked Zak.
“Only the how, not the when.”
“Let’s go see Albert and talk about the when,” Alex said. The three winked out of existence in the dining room, reappearing where they expected to find Jarvis.
Only he wasn’t there.
All they found was a patch of dead grass the size and shape of the footprint left by a shepherd’s hut.