Albert and Jarvis part 66

a tale in weekly parts

Episode 66

Xander really was too young to have to deal with this kind of thing. At breakfast the next morning, he decided to enlist some help.

He spoke to his father. “There’s something I need to talk to you about, Dad,” he said.

“What is it?” his mother asked.

“No, Mum; it’s boy stuff. I know you’re the best mum in the world, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to you about it.”

“That’s alright, Son,” his father said, “your mother understands that, don’t you, Mother?”

“Yes, Al. Of course I do. It’s just a pity that Alice or whatever she’s calling herself these days, never had the chance, or never chose to confide in me. I could have helped her, you know.”

“I know, Madge, I know,” Al said then, turning to Xander, “walk with me to work, lad. We’ll talk on the way.”

“I don’t want to be late for school, Dad,” Xander said.

“Happen you’ll find a way of getting around that, lad. Come on, let’s go.”

The pair marched off toward the office where Al worked.

“How’s the new job going, Dad?” Xander asked, “It’s such a shame you lost the last one over that silly argument about time travel.”

“Well, I wasn’t going to let them get away with all the nonsense they were talking, was I? But the new job is good. I’ve had a promotion already.”

“Wow. What did Mum say about that?”

“I’ve not told her yet, Son, and I’ll thank you not too, either. I want to tell her in my own time, in my own way; and it won’t be until I’m sure it’ll work out.”

“What have they got you doing now?”

“Well; and keep this strictly to yourself; it seems the firm is looking to buy up some of the competition, as well as a few smaller firms. Diversification, you see. I am responsible for two parts of these takeovers: due diligence and compliance.”

“I have no idea what either of those mean.”

“Neither do I, lad,” Al replied, “not yet, anyway. But I will. Mark my words, I will. Now, what did you want to talk to me about?”

“I need to tell you something, Dad; but I have to know you won’t fly off the handle. I need help to think about it calmly and rationally.”

“Sounds ominous. What is it?”

“You remember what Jarvis did to your mother?”

“Yes, made her pregnant with me.”

“That’s right. You inherited your mother’s humanity and Jarvis’s bitek state. Then you fathered Kr’veth’neq’is and me.”

“And you are both three-parts human, but more active in the bitek division than ever I was. I’ve spoken with Albert about that; he says it’s not like a recessive gene, it’s more that the bitek needed another generation to mature.”

“Yeah, he’s probably right. Anyway, Kr’veth’neq’is told me that she’s pregnant with a little boy, and Albert says he’s responsible. You know what that means, don’t you?”

“It means,” Al suggested, “that her son and I will have the same father. I will be the boy’s grandfather and his brother, so he will be his own great-uncle. You will be his uncle and his nephew; I will be your sister’s son-in-law and her father, and you will be her step-grandson, as well as her brother.”

“And that’s just the start. Imagine the effect of injecting extra bitek into one of us.”

“Never mind that. I want to know how he did it. Did he rape her? Because if he did, bitek or not, he’ll have me to deal with.”

“No, Dad. I asked Albert. He said there was no sexual stuff involved; they just modified her body while she was sleeping. Don’t ask me how, though. I’ve told him that as far as I’m concerned, doing that without her knowledge and consent is as bad as rape, though he can’t see it.”

“What does your sister have to say about it?”

“I haven’t spoken to her since she told me. She’s gone off to think.”

“Can you get her back?”

“I can try.”

“Do that. We’ll have a family meeting to sort this out once and for all.”

By this time, they had reached the door to Al’s work. He walked into his office, and Xander phased himself to school, arriving just in time for the bell that signalled the start of his day.

Albert and Jarvis part 65

a tale in weekly parts

Episode 65

“Four twenty-five,” Xander said to himself, “that’s no time for a growing boy to be awake. And alert.”

“Better a Lert than a Mendatian,” a voice inside his head said, “although there are worse beings in this universe than even Mendatians.”

“Name five,” Xander challenged.

“Grinches; Dongs, especially of the luminous-nose variety; Vogons; Krikkiters and duplicitous bitek constructs.”

“You’re back early, Albert,” Xander said.

“Yes, we are,” Albert replied.

“Want to tell me why?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“There are things, Xander, that the human brain, even enhanced with bitek components, is not ready to understand. Were I to go into detail about our unexpectedly early return, it would only serve to confuse you.”

“Try me.”

“Very well, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Are you ready?”

“Yes.”

“Sure?”

“I said so, didn’t I?”

“Positive?”

“Shoot.”

“Okay; you asked for it. The reason we are back early… you really won’t get it; it’s nothing like you would expect…”

“Go on.”

“Is…”

“Yes?”

“It didn’t take as long as we thought it would.”

“And why would I not understand that?” Xander asked.

The voice of Albert that was inside Xander’s head chuckled dismissively. “You have no concept of the complexity of the mathematics that underlie our expectation of how long it would take. How can you possibly grasp the reasons for it taking less time than Jarvis and I, using our combined processing capabilities, calculated it should take?”

“Let me tell you something about humans, Albert.”

“What can you possibly tell me that I don’t know already?”

“What happens when someone throws a ball in my direction?”

“You extend your arm and catch it.”

“But how do I know exactly where it will be at the point I reach out for it?”

“That is simple ballistics. You take as input the force and vector of the throw, factor in gravity, air resistance, wind speed and direction, the weight of the ball and its surface qualities, then plot an intercept point. How else?”

“Observation and estimation, Albert. I see how the ball is moving through the air and use that to forecast an intercept point, then constantly modify the forecast during its flight, using a simple feedback mechanism.”

“You mean you guess?”

“Mostly.”

“No calculations?”

“Nope.”

“And yet you catch it.”

“Not every time, but usually.”

“Amazing. You live your lives by guesswork.”

“Never mind that. What do you know about Kr’veth’neq’is being pregnant?”

“Oh that. Yeah, that was us.”

Xander sat bolt upright in his bed. “You raped her! That’s so wrong.”

“No. There was no sexual activity involved; we simply modified her body while she was sleeping.”

“Did you have her permission to make her pregnant?”

“No.”

“Did she even know about this?”

“Not as such, although it is something we had discussed before, and she seemed okay with the idea.”

“Seemed okay with the idea? What did she say, exactly, when you proposed doing this to her?”

“Wrong question, Xander. We didn’t propose doing it to her; we were talking about how your father came to be, and when we got to the part where we modified his mother’s body while she was asleep, Kr’veth’neq’is simply said that it was a crafty move.”

“And on the basis of that single word, you assumed she would approve of you doing the same to her?”

“Of course not. Why would we need her approval?”

“Because this is her body we’re talking about. Because you can’t just mess around with people’s bodies or minds for your own amusement.”

“Now steady on, sunshine. This has nothing to do with amusement. This is scientific experimentation.”

“Albert… Can’t you see how immoral this is?”

“Morals has nothing to do with it. It’s science.”

“Leave me now, Albert.”

“What?”

“Please go away.”

“You don’t know what you’re saying.”

“Go away and leave me alone.”

“Okay, I’ll leave now. Come out and see me when you’re ready to talk about this more rationally and without human emotion.”

“If I’m ever ready, I will. But I don’t know if I want any more to do with you, if this is the way you’re going to carry on.”

Albert and Jarvis part 64

a tale in weekly parts

Episode 64

“You’re what?” Xander mentally screamed.

“Pregnant,” Kr’veth’neq’is replied.

“How did that happen?”

“Oh, I forgot. You’re still young. Even so, it’s not my job to give you basic sex education. Don’t they cover it in school?”

“Of course they do. That’s not what I meant.”

“Then say what you mean, dumbo.”

“What I mean is… how far advanced are you, do you know the identity of the father and what was the location of your tryst – in other words, when, who, where? And while I’m at it, why?”

“Hmmm. When? According to the test kit, I’m about five weeks along. That puts it in the time I was with the Mendatians. Who? Probably one of the Mendatians. Where? I would guess Menda City. Why? You’ll have to ask them; if it was them; but you know Mendatians – well you don’t, but I can tell you – they are compulsive liars.”

“Are you sure?”

“That Mendatians are liars?”

“No; that it was a Mendatian.”

“I’m guessing that from the time.”

“And these tests are reliable?”

“Probably not deadly accurate, but a good indication.”

“Can I wake the dogs?”

“What for?”

“Second opinion.”

“If you must.”

Xander gently woke the dogs. Chav can be awakened without any ceremony; he’s been used to it all his life, but if Ixus wakes up too suddenly, all manner of protective instincts kick in, and it takes some effort to calm her. He addressed Chav.

“Chav. Kr’veth’neq’is says she is with child.” Chav and Ixus sniffed around her, conferred and agreed.

“She is,” Chav said, “About half-way through the first quarter, we think. And it’s a boy.”

“What do your noses tell you about the father, guys?” Kr’veth’neq’is asked.

“Unclear,” Chav said.

“Not human,” Ixus added.

“Humanoid?” Xander suggested.

“Not biological, as we understand it,” Ixus explained.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked the lady with the bump – well, not yet, but she will have.

“The father is not a life-form as human science understands the term.”

“Eddie?” she demanded.

“Not Eddie. Something—”

“Not Albert,” Kr’veth’neq’is breathed, “Please tell me it wasn’t Albert.”

“Okay,” Ixus said, “It wasn’t Albert.”

“Are you sure?”

“No.”

“Then why did you say it?”

“Because you asked me to, and I’m a nice doggie. I do as I’m told.”

“So? Was it him?”

“We can neither confirm nor deny that,” Chav said. “Your scent says that it could be Albert, or Jarvis, or both; but that scent could come from any of a number of inanimate entities. Do you, for instance, have any personal devices that you use for… for…”

“Stress relief? Is that what you’re asking?” Kr’veth’neq’is fumed.

“Any such object could have been compromised…” Chav said hesitantly.

“WELL I DON’T!” Kr’veth’neq’is yelled.

“Don’t take it out on the dogs, Sis. They’re only trying to be helpful, and that was a useful possibility to eliminate,” Xander said.

“I suppose you’re right. Sorry, Chav.”

“That’s okay. Apart from that, we got nothing.”

Kr’veth’neq’is shivered. “You know what this means, if it was Albert or Jarvis?” she asked.

“It means,” Xander suggested, “that your son will have the same father as your father. His grandfather will also be his brother, so he will be his own great-uncle. You will be his mother and his niece; your father will be your son-in-law, and I will be your step-grandson, as well as your brother.”

“Not what I had in mind, stupid. If Albert/Jarvis is his father, he will be fully bitek on his father’s side and half bitek on mine. That will make him seventy-five percent bitek at least.”

“At least?” Xander asked.

“Look. Dad is half bitek, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Which makes you and me quarter bitek. However, because of the dominant regressive bitek gene, we are functionally about eighty percent bitek.”

“Which will make your son ninety percent.”

“Unless the gene is dormant in him.”

“We need to talk to Albert about this, Sis.”

“Damn right, we do.”

Chav looked at the two part-humans with those eyes he reserves for special occasions, such as when the masters have food, and pleaded with them, “Can we go back to sleep now? I was having a smashing dream.”

“We know you were,” Xander said, with a grin and a wink aimed at his sister/grandmother. “Go on, then.”

The two dogs curled up on their blankets and were, within seconds, fast asleep again.

“I need to do some thinking,” Kr’veth’neq’is said, and promptly phased away, leaving Xander as he was before; alone in silent darkness. Only now, his head was spinning with thoughts of what had come out in the last minutes. The time was 4:25am. Xander would not sleep again that night.