a tale in weekly parts
You can see the full story so far at this link.
“Okay Mum, Dad,” Alex said, “Alice and I are off to do some reproducing.”
“Don’t be disgusting,” Madge screamed, “I will not have any child of mine commit such a mortal sin.”
“Not with each other,” Alice said. “We have second cousins on a planet we visited recently; Albert is their grandfather, too. There is a boy of Alex’s age and a girl of mine. We’ll talk to them, explain the situation, and invite them to join with us—”
“For a night of debauchery?”
“In an attempt to save the planet from certain destruction and the human race from annihilation.”
“And I suppose you think that makes it alright, do you?”
“Yes, Mum, we do,” Alex said.
“And I agree with them,” Al added.
“When I want your opinion, Aloysius Grahamson, I’ll ask for it.”
Alex and Alice disappeared.
“Now look what you’ve done,” Al complained. “We’ll be lucky if they ever come back again. What’s happened to you, Madge?”
“What’s happened to me? I’ll tell you what’s happened to me. I’ve escaped from under the yoke of your oppression, that’s what’s happened to me. I’ve developed a mind of my own and the will to use it. I refuse to be the little woman at home any longer. That is what has happened to me, and you’d better get used to it, mister. Don’t walk away when I’m talking to you. Where are you going?”
“I’ll be back later,” Al said, slamming the front door behind himself.
“I thought you’d be along,” Albert said as the siblings materialised in front of him.
“Hiya, kids. Where are we going?” came Jarvis’s cheeriest voice.
“Take us to Terra, Jarvis,” Alice said.
“What’s the magic word?”
“Try again,” Jarvis said, using his impatient voice.
“For goodness’ sake, Sis. Just say please.”
“Okay. Would you be so kind, please Jarvis, to please take us to Terra, please?”
“I think I preferred covfefe,” Jarvis said, as he fashioned acceleration couches for the ride. “Strap in, we’re off.”
The voyage from Earth to Terra, across seven dimensions, through time and space, took the equivalent of about five elapsed days. Alice and Alex slept through the entire journey, in fact needing to be awakened on their arrival.
“Hi, kiddies. We’re here!” Jarvis intoned with nauseating cheerfulness. They stepped out into a scene that resembled a mix of historical tableaux and speculative futuristic scenarios. People were dressed variously in Tudor, Elizabethan (first and second) and even prehistoric garb, while mixing with others wearing apparel that wouldn’t have been out of place on the set of Space 1999 or any of the incarnations of Star Trek. None of the people present gave any indication that they were even aware of the light drizzle; there wasn’t a single umbrella held up, no raincoats, cagouls or anything suited to the inclement weather. In fact, they seemed to be dressed for a warm summer day.
“It’s like déjà vu all over again,” Alex exclaimed with a grin.
“You can say that again, brother,” Alice said.
“It’s like déjà vu—”
“That doesn’t mean you have to. It was an expression, like ‘you could knock me down with a feather’. Doesn’t mean you need to look for a feather to hit me with!”
“Okay. I’m going to find Xander. Coming?”
“What about his sister… for you?”
“We’ll ask,” Alex said, running off to the town centre. Alice followed him closely. In the main street, they saw their second cousin talking to a young woman who looked disarmingly like Alice. As they approached, the lad looked up and beamed.
“Xander!” he said, “You will came back.”
“Yeah. I call myself Alex now, like you.”
“I’ll had changen back to Xander. I will tired of Alex. This have be my sister, Kris. She will told me about her next adventure she haven just caming back from.”
Much hand-shaking, hugging and air-kissing followed, as their common grandfather, Albert, approached.
“I’m glad I’ve got you all together,” he said, “there’s something I need you all to agree on.”
The five entered a café, where Alex tried, unsuccessfully, to order coffee for them all. He rejoined the group, looking seriously confused.
“Willen you having difficulty, cousin?” Kris asked.
“I ended up having to pay for the coffee, but didn’t get it,” he said.
“Will you had money?”
“No. I said you or Xander would pay.”
Kris caught the eye of the barista and gave some form of a signal with her hand. A waiter appeared with five coffees and the change from the payment which, from Alex’s and Alice’s point of view, had not yet been paid. They looked at each other but said nothing.
Albert started to explain the situation that Alex and Alice were trying to resolve and the part that Xander and Kris could play. Kris interrupted him.
“That had explaining why I’ll been pregnant!” she exclaimed.
“Who’s the father?” Alex asked.
“Silly question. You haven be, of course.”
Still not fully appreciating the random nature of the passage of time on this planet, Alex looked at Kris (the way a young man looks at a young woman that he’d quite like to… you know…) with an air of dejection and a feeling that he had, perhaps, been cheated somehow.
“When?” he asked.
“Willn’t understood the question,” Kris replied.
“When did we… you know?”
“Ah. I thought I will saw what you haven meaning,” she laughed, “yestermorrow, I thunkening.”
Xander sidled up to Alice. “Did we?” he whispered.
“Did we what?”
“You will known.”
Alex and Alice turned to Albert and looked at him with eyebrows raised quizzically.
“We need to think about logistics,” Albert said, fading from view.