a tale in weekly parts
This story is open for suggested continuations. I will publish here, with links to your own blog, all I receive. The one I like best will become (or form the basis for) the next episode of this collaborative tale.
You can see the full story so far at this link.
While waiting for the following Thursday, Xander spent his early evenings with Albert, as was his habit. Albert’s task for much of that time was to keep Xander busy with a whole batch of mind-stretching exercises. Not being challenged at all while at school, the boy enjoyed these exercises immensely. While he was so occupied, Jarvis was busily carrying out some background work that would culminate in a strong mental link between him (and therefore Albert) and Xander. Using protocols developed by Kr’veth’neq’is, he was able to build the ability into Xander’s bitek part and test it, all without the boy’s knowledge.
The day before Kr’veth’neq’is was due to arrive, Albert looked Xander in the eye, and said, “Esterkha’a”.
Xander found a bed and slept.
During his slumber, Albert and Jarvis ran some last-minute tests, and gave Xander an innate knowledge of his new ability. He awoke refreshed and immediately joined in an unspoken conversation that was taking place between Albert and Jarvis, without for an instant feeling the need to use his voice.
“Do you know why you have this ability, lad?” Albert asked out loud.
Xander replied, “Is it so we don’t have to talk out loud when we’re together; so we can keep our conversations private?”
“Only in part, lad; only in part. Truth be told, that’s a negligible side-benefit. The main point is that we don’t have to be together for us to talk. We can have a conversation when you are in your house, and I am here; or anywhere else.”
“You’ve given me mindspeak. I thought you said I could never do that.”
“So we did, lad, so we did. And we were right, but your clever sister—”
“Indeed. She developed a way that we could.”
“Wow,” Xander exclaimed.
“Exactly,” Albert agreed, “so; when you’re in your house, I’ll be able to let you know the moment Kr’veth’neq’is arrives, and you can let us know that your parents are about.”
Jarvis intervened, “When Kr’veth’neq’is is here, she will want to add in a pathway to herself, so you’ll be able to communicate with her as well.”
“Can’t you do that for her, Jarvis?”
“No I can’t, Xander, and I’m glad I can’t.”
“If I could make connections between people I’m connected to, then they’d be able to make connections between us and their friends, many of whom I may not know or want to connect with. Just think, it’d be as bad as Facebook – worse, because we’re talking about direct mind-to-mind connections.”
“I see what you mean. Could be dangerous.”
“You go back home now,” Albert said, “and we’ll have a chat. But you mustn’t give any sign of it. That means no laughing, or even smiling, at anything funny; no reacting to anything at all, unless you are alone and can’t be seen by anyone.”
“That sounds hard,” Xander complained.
“You’ll work it out,” Albert said. “In the meantime, until you’re used to it and have learned to split your concentration, make sure you always have a book or something as a distraction. That way, people will think you’re reacting to something you’ve read. It wouldn’t do for anyone to suspect that you’re having a conversation inside your head.”
“Smart idea, Unkie.”
“See? I’m not just a pretty face.”
Although the entire conversation took place in bitek mindspeak, all three; Jarvis, Albert and Xander laughed out loud. The British Geological Survey recorded a disturbance of magnitude 2.3 on their seismometers.
After school on Thursday, Xander was in the kitchen, talking to his mother, when he felt a slight pressure on the left side of his head. Somehow, though he had no idea how, he knew this meant someone was trying to contact him.
“Just a minute, Mum,” he blurted out, “gotta go.” He ran out of the kitchen toward the downstairs toilet. He signalled the pressure to stop. Again, he had no clue how he knew how to do that, or whether it was even the right thing to do.
“Are they both there?” Albert asked.
“Mum’s here, Unkie,” he said, “Dad should be back from work any minute.”
“Okay, lad, make an excuse to come out here. Kr’veth’neq’is has arrived, and if your dad’s not home yet, she can patch you in to her channel while we wait.”
“How long will it take?” Xander asked.
“You haven’t really taken it on board yet, have you, lad?” Albert replied. “It doesn’t matter how long it takes, because we’re not doing it now, we’ll do it elsewhen, and come back to now after no delay at all.”
Xander went back into the kitchen.
“Better now?” his mother asked.
“Much,” he said. “When will Dad be home?”
“Ten minutes; why?”
“I want to pop and ask Unkie something about my homework.”
“Maybe your old Mum can help.”
“It’s about the minor earth tremor we felt yesterday. I know that Uncle Albert knows a lot about that sort of thing.”
“Okay, but be back in a quarter of an hour. No more, you hear?”
“Okay, Mum. Fifteen minutes.”
Stepping in through Jarvis’s door, he saw Kr’veth’neq’is. She was demurely dressed in a charcoal-grey pleated pencil skirt that stopped just below the knee, and a matching jacket over a crisp, white blouse decorated with pleats that matched the skirt. She wore black shoes with a modest heel and carried what looked like an expensive handbag.
Turning to face Xander, she said, “D’you think I’ll do?”
“For what?” he asked.
“I want to give the impression of a moderately successful management person.”
“No good asking me that,” he said. “You look okay to me, kind of important and official. A serious kind of person.”
“I’ll take that,” Kr’veth’neq’is said. “Now, Esterkha’a”.
Xander found a bed and slept.
When he awoke, some six hours later, he knew that he could communicate telepathically with his sister. He also knew that she had given him the ability to time-shift by an act of will.
He decided to try the communication protocol first. “So, Sister dear,” he thought, “we’re paired; like Bluetooth phones.”
“Exactly,” she thought back. “That’s an excellent analogy, Xander. We’re just like Bluetooth devices, only without the range limitations.”
“And there’s something else,” he suggested.
“There is. I’ve upgraded your bitek to give you the same ability the rest of us have, to step out of time. Be careful how and where you use it; in fact, don’t use it until I’ve been able to show you how to use it safely and sensibly. And when you do use it, don’t make the mistake I did.”
“Don’t use it in front of our father. It. Freaks. Him. Out!”
A disturbance of 2.5 registered on the seismometers. In the offices of the British Geological Survey, an emergency meeting was called to discuss the increasing frequency of minor tremors in the south of England. They formed a team, armed it with all the best instrumentation the BGS possessed, and given a brief to camp out near the indicated epicentres of these disturbances. They were to stay there until they could find the cause of the events and form an opinion on the threat level.
This story remains open for suggested continuations. All I receive will be published here, with links to your own blog. The one I like best will become (or form the basis for) episode 24 of this collaborative tale.
This story was started in response to Kreative Kue 18, issued on this site on 30 March 2015.