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.
Albert stepped out of Jarvis in front of the trio. “I’ve brought you some visitors,” he said.
Sensing who the visitors were, Zak displayed more excitement than is good for a lad of his age. “Is Zara here?” he asked.
“She certainly is,” Albert replied, “and her mother and uncle.”
Zak made to run into Jarvis, but Albert stopped him. Not physically, you understand; these biteks are far too evolved to use physical restraint. No, Albert issued a doubt directly into the executive area of Zak’s frontal lobe.
Zak stopped, turned and looked at Albert. “Is it okay to go in?” he asked.
“Not yet,” Albert said, “you can enter the ante-room—”
“Jarvis has manifested a neutral area in your timeline; think of it like an airlock. Once you’re in there and the outer door sealed again, the door between the anteroom and the bubble can be opened and you can go in and see your … ahem … intended.”
“What would have happened if Zak had just burst in?” Alice asked.
“One of two things, or a mixture of the two,” he replied, “that there would have been a leakage between and a partial mingling of time-bases is a given. Whether it would have resulted in the expansion of the bubble into your garden or collapse of the bubble is less certain.”
“And how would that have affected things?” Alex asked.
“Leakage of the Dimension Seven time-bubble would have destroyed all life, animal and vegetable, within its influence, but Jarvis would be able to limit the damage by withdrawing the bubble and resealing the door. A collapse of the bubble would have exposed the terrans to Dimension One time which may well have killed them.”
“Good job I decided not to barge in, then,” Zak said.
“Isn’t it?” Albert replied with a wink to Alex and Alice who, of course, knew that he had inhibited the boy, “Let’s go.”
The four phased into a fog, with no visibility in any direction. The floor felt solid, and the air was dry and breathable, but they couldn’t even see each other, so dense was the fog.
“What is this?” Zak asked, squeezing the hand of whoever was on his right.
“It’s okay, Zak,” Albert replied, “nothing to worry about. Think of it as being inside an Odo.”
“What’s an Odo?”
“A one-dimensional object.”
“But that’s impossible,” Alex said, “by definition, a physical object cannot possibly be other than three-dimensional. Where are we?”
“Inside an Odo.”
“How can we be inside a one-dimensional object, when we are not, ourselves, one-dimensional?”
“The writer will be glad to hear that, although having us here is his idea.”
“And has he given us a way out of this place?” Alice asked.
“Of course,” Albert said, and they all phased into the bubble that Jarvis had manifested. They emerged into what had the appearance of a splendidly landscaped and lightly-wooded if somewhat other-worldly park. Above the dark orchid grass and fuchsia-leaved trees, hot pink clouds drifted across a lawn-green sky. Every so often a snow-white sun peaked past the clouds casting pastel shadows on the ground.
Alex and Alice looked around themselves with awe at the beauty that surrounded them. “Welcome to the land that forgot time,” Albert said.
Xander and Kris were seated on a teal-coloured bench while Zara was running around with a net on a long pole, trying in vain to catch one of the profusion of huge magenta, cyan and yellow butterflies that inhabited the area. Zak ran towards her.
“I’ll help,” he said and instructed three of the monster insects to fly into his cousin’s net.
“I could have done that,” she said, somewhat tetchily, waving them back out again.
“Sorry. I thought you wanted to catch them.”
“I don’t know. It’s your game.”
“The game, dear cousin, is to chase them, not to catch them. I try to predict their flight path and swing the net to intercept them, whilst they anticipate my moves and aim to evade me. It’s the classic game of life. Didn’t you know that?”
“I’ve never heard of it.”
“I’m surprised. It’s the game that predators and prey base their interactions on. Next time you see a falcon chasing down some pigeons, watch their moves; both of them; that’ll show you. Anyway, I’m stopping now.”
“I hope I didn’t spoil your game.”
“Not really, it was only a filltime.”
“Let’s join the olds.”
Returning to the bench, Zak turned to Zara and asked her, “Have you noticed anything?”
“You are talking like a linearist.”
“I’m not so. I was about to say that you sound like an aleator.”
Just then, they reached the others. “Albert,” Zak said, “I said Zara’s talking like a linearist, using our normal tenses, and she says I’m using aleatory language. What’s occurring?”
“It’s the bubble, kids. You’re actually on a level playing field in here; time is neither linear nor random.”
“So what is it?” Alice asked.
“It is what?”
“It just is. Don’t try to understand it or explain it at this stage. We can talk it through later. For now, just accept it and work with it. Okay?”
“If you say so.”
“Good. Now let’s get down to business. There are serious issues we need to address, plans we need to make. Firstly, it’s the writer’s silver wedding anniversary today, so shall we congratulate Mr and Mrs Writer, and give them our best wishes?”
“Of course, Albert,” Alice said.
“What’s a wedding anniversary?” Kris asked.
“Don’t worry, it’s a linearist thing.”
Alex proposed and Alice seconded a virtual toast. Three rousing cheers followed.
“Is that it?” Xander asked. “Is that why you brought us here?”
“Not at all. The main thing is, we may need to bring forward the birth of Zak and Zara’s child.”
“But I’m only ten,” Zara said, “and so’s Zak.”
“Don’t worry about that. We can get around these things.”
“So when do you expect my daughter to have this child?” Kris asked.
“Is she busy tomorrow?” Jarvis boomed in all their heads.