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.
“What’s up, Albert?” Alice asked.
“Nothing. I’m fine,” he lied.
“I can see you’re not fine. What’s happening with the kids? I’m not sensing them.” She looked around at her brother and cousins. They all indicated, by shrugged shoulders or raised eyebrows, that they were in the same position.
“It is narrowcasting to me,” Albert said, his voice trembling.
“The unit we… I created.”
“Wait a minute,” Alex said, confusing Xander and Kris, neither of whom knew the word, “what unit are you talking about? All I can see is the four of us, the two kids and you.”
“What you think of as the two children is, in fact, a single entity; one mind in two containers.”
“And by containers you mean?”
“Two bodies. They are not individuals.”
“You kind of implied that when you said that their bond could cross dimensions.”
“I did, but I didn’t realise the full nature of the bond.”
“But you do now?”
“But I do now.”
“I’m afraid I’ve been at this too long. I missed some vital signs.”
“Yes, you did,” Zak and Zara suddenly exclaimed, their voices harmonising in perfect unison.
“What is happening?” Kris asked her daughter, “I am your mother, Zara. I gave birth to you—”
“You gave birth to our female body,” they replied, “but that is not us. We are so much more than the sum of our constituent physical parts; more than you can imagine.”
“Children,” she said, “you’re beginning to frighten me.”
“It is right that you should be frightened, for we are not what you perceive us to be.”
“Then what are you?”
“We aren’t children, for a start. These bodies may, in linear time, be relatively new, but we are not.”
Xander was becoming agitated. “We didn’t ask what you’re not,” he said, “we asked what you are. Surely you can—” His speech centre stopped working. There was no pain, not even a modicum of discomfort. He just found himself unable to speak. Not physically, just not knowing which muscles to trigger to form and utter words.
“Albert knows,” they said, “he understands, don’t you, Albert?”
Albert fell to his knees, his hands pressed hard against his temples as if to fight off a major headache. “Yes,” he said, “I very much fear that I do.”
“Then be so kind as to tell your grandchildren, will you?”
“If you’ll release me—” The sensation that had gripped his head stopped. He stood to his feet again. “This entity … what should I call you?”
“Zed will do.”
“This Zed is not of this time. It is very much of the future—”
“I can’t see how that can be,” Alex said. Xander would probably have said the same thing if he could remember how. “We can see them in front of us, therefore they must exist in the present.”
“You’re right,” Zed said to itself, “he hasn’t fully grasped the concept of time as we understand it. Continue, Albert, if you please.”
“Of course. Zed is not only of the future. Zed predates time itself.”
“Puh-lease,” Alice said, “We all know that linear time started with the Big Bang, and that questions such as ‘what came before the Big Bang’ are non-sequiturs because ‘before’ is a concept that forms an intrinsic part of linear time.”
Zed was laughing. “Linear time, as a concept, is in error”, it said, “Time is a sinusoidal circle.”
“That’s as close as we can get in your language. It is like a sinusoidal waveform, but when it reaches its nadir, instead of starting another wavelet, it performs what composers of fine music call an ‘al capo’, endlessly repeating the same wavelet.”
“Like a cosmic Groundhog Day.”
“If you like.”
“And when it goes al capo, does that mean the whole business repeats, from the Big Bang to the Big Crunch?”
“Exactly the same each time.”
“And how many times has this happened so far?”
“Impossible to say. Each instance is effectively the same one.”
“So this isn’t the first time we’ve had this conversation?”
“True, but we’re the only one that knows it.”
“Does Albert know about this?”
“I’m afraid I do have a slight inkling,” Albert said.
“That still doesn’t explain why you looked so scared earlier.”
“Tell them what you know, Albert,” Zed said.
“Zed has a plan,” he replied, falling to his knees again.