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.
Kr’veth’neq’is put Al into a trance and started probing his mind. Thanks to the links between them, especially at such close quarters, Albert, Jarvis and Xander were able to see what Kr’veth’neq’is saw.
“I’m not sure I should be doing this, guys,” Xander sent.
“Why ever not?” Albert asked.
“Because he’s my father, the man who brought me up; my role model; in some ways my hero.”
“Very touching, Bro,” Kr’veth’neq’is responded, “but he’s my father, too, and I’m the one fiddling about inside his head.”
Albert agreed, “Don’t forget we are doing this for his good. The alternative would be to wipe whole sections of his memory and leave him less of a man.”
Jarvis showed less concern. “Ewww,’ he sent, “how can anyone live in a mess like that? It’s awful. Makes me want to go in there with my feather duster and clear the cobwebs away.”
“It’s not that bad, surely,” Xander sent, “Don’t forget Kr’veth’neq’is and I have to live somewhere very similar, as do billions of humans, worldwide.”
“But look at those pathways; they’re like motorway junctions designed by primates with anger-management issues. Please, Kr’veth’neq’is, straighten them out; give them some structure, some order. I’d be shuddering if I knew how to.”
“No can do,” Kr’veth’neq’is informed Jarvis, “That would destroy his humanity, make a machine out of him. That’s not what I see as my job here. My job is to discover what he has of Albert in him and how much of it we can safely enhance; how, and over what period.”
“Ooh, get you, sweetie-pie. That’s your job, is it?” Kr’veth’neq’is, Xander and Albert could hear the rabbits ears around the word job.
“Jarvis, love, stop being precious,” Albert intervened. “Al is important to both of these kids, and it would be wrong for us to do anything to diminish him.”
“Wrong says who?”
“Wrong says the prime directive,” Albert suggested.
“We don’t have a prime directive,” Jarvis insisted.
“But if we did, it wouldn’t allow Kr’veth’neq’is to do what you are asking her to do.”
“Oh, very well. Do what you must. But don’t come crying to me when it all goes wrong.” Jarvis sent the words in an envelope of pure, undiluted petulance.
Rooting around Al’s synapses, Kr’veth’neq’is found enough bitek pathways to give him an understanding of her and Xander’s powers, and the capacity to join with them in mindspeak, albeit only over short distances.
“Apart from understanding and mindspeak,” Xander asked, “does Dad have any actual bitek abilities?”
“None. What I propose doing is to unlock and enhance those areas he does have, then I’d like to implant a sense of the dreadful responsibility that gives him.”
“To what end?” Albert asked.
“To ensure that he will never mention it to anyone. It won’t diminish his knowledge or understanding, or his ability to communicate with us, but it will lead him to believe that something terrible will happen if he speaks to anyone about it.”
“Something like what?” Xander was uncharacteristically confused.
“I’m not with you.”
“Have you ever been overwhelmed by a feeling that something really bad is about to happen, but you don’t know what, when or even why?”
“And nothing does, but you can’t shake the feeling?”
“Lots of times.”
“Oh, I get it.”
“Good. Are we all agreed then? Xander?”
“I’ll take that as a ‘yes’, then.”
Kr’veth’neq’is joined with Al in his trance, while Albert and Xander gave her support and Jarvis sulked. An hour later, Al was drinking a cup of tea and eating some biscuits that Jarvis had produced.
“How’re you feeling, Dad?” Xander asked.
“It’s queer, Son, but I feel like I do when I’ve just given blood; a little light-headed but otherwise fine.”
“That’s probably the tea and biscuits bringing back the memory.”
“Could be.” Turning to his daughter, he asked, “What did you do to me while I was under?”
“Nothing bad, Dad,” Kr’veth’neq’is said, “we just wanted to help you to make sense of the things that have happened to you recently.”
“What, with hypnosis and such like?”
“But I don’t feel any different.”
“You shouldn’t, but maybe a few things that you found confusing before will be less so now.”
“Go back to Madge,” Albert said, “she’ll be wondering what’s happened to you.”
Al returned to the house and found Madge still seated at the dining table, her face lined with worry.
“Where on Earth have you been all this time?” she asked.
“Just in that shepherd’s hut, talking with Albert and the kids.”
“Nothing really. I understand a little more about them now, though. Everything’s fine.”
Madge rose to her feet, folded her arms and said, “Well I don’t understand very much at all. You have been talking there for more than an hour, and all you’ve got to say for yourself is that you understand a bit more. How does that help me?”
Al wanted to explain to Madge some of the things that were now clear to him but that he could not himself take part in; things like time travel, dimension-flipping and morphing; but a hot, hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach told him that it wouldn’t be wise to follow that course. He stood beside his wife and wrapped a protective arm about her shoulders.
“It’s alright, love,” he said, “everything is okay. We’re fine; the kids are fine; even Uncle Albert is fine.”
“Are you sure?”
“I’ll trust you, then. Is there anything you can tell me?”
“I’d love to,” he replied, trying to sound sincere but failing miserably, “The trouble is, a lot of what they said has to do with higher maths and I barely followed it myself.”
“No point trying to explain anything mathedematical to me, Al,” Madge joked.
“That’s what I thought, love,” Al confirmed with a barely perceptible sigh that carried both satisfaction and relief, “that’s what I thought.”
This story was started in response to Kreative Kue 18, issued on this site on 30 March 2015.