a tale in weekly parts
You can see the full story so far at this link.
Jarvis travelled back to the little corner of England that he had come to think of as home. Albert, Alice and Alex exited the vehicle and went back to the Grahamsons’ dining room, where Al and Madge were still trying to resolve their positions, much to the dogs’ amusement.
“Gather round, team,” Albert said.
“You can cut that tone, Albert,” Madge said angrily, “you storm out of here without a word and the youngsters have to chase after you and drag you back again. Explain yourself.”
“I said explain yourself, or face the consequences.”
“M-Madge,” Al stuttered.
“Shut up and keep out of this.”
“Magdelene Grahamson,” Albert barked, “will you please calm down and get off that high horse of yours.” Calmly and softly, he continued, “You are in the presence of people with abilities you cannot begin to understand. You have experienced the power of the Eddies, power that enables and guides your husband and children, and your dogs, but which is not available to you. You, on the other hand, have strengths that we lack. You possess depths of empathy, of compassion and, yes, of rationality that are closed to us. These attributes complement ours. Stop trying to use them to control us. We are a team. We value your input, but you must recognise that, in the most literal sense, you can’t go where we go.”
Madge became pensive, her eyes tilted to the ceiling and with a distant look to her gaze. “I remember playing cowboys and Indians with my brother and his friends. I always had to stay behind to clean the wigwam and cook dinner while the boys went out play-fighting. I resented it then I and I resent it now.”
“The difference, Mum,” Alice interjected, “is that when you were young, that was the role of women; stay behind and keep house while the men go out to work. It’s not like that now, I know, but the situation here is different. As far as I understand it, there’s no way to give you our abilities, so the choice is either you stay here as our enabler, our supporter, our…”
“No, Mum; not our lackey. You’re far more important than that. Anyway, if you don’t help us like that, we either go ahead and do it anyway, or stay here with you and let the world self-destruct!”
“I wondered how long it would take you to pull that one out: ‘do as we say or we’ll let the world destroy itself’. Honestly. Talk about emotional blackmail. Okay, I’ll do it. No choice really.”
“Good,” Albert said, “Now. Here’s what’s happening. Kris is pregnant on Terra, with Alex’s child, which, as you can tell if you look at his face, we achieved without his active participation.”
“Difficult to explain, Madge. It involved Jarvis manipulating time to twist it over on itself. But, what we need to do now, is to impregnate Alice.”
“Yeah. That didn’t happen, either,” Alice complained. “Can we go back again?”
“Alice. Do you remember the one incident that, above all others, really annoyed you?”
“You mean when you got me pregnant?” [episode 65]
“Yes, that. You’ll recall we did that by modifying your body by redirecting some of your bitek nanites while you were asleep. According to our calculations, that will produce a child stronger even than one made by two F2 hybrids.”
“So why didn’t you do that with Kris, too?”
“Because life is ornery. It doesn’t always behave as the calculations show. We; and the Eddies agree; felt it safest to use both methods. We need two hybrids to achieve the objective, and this seems the best and safest way.”
“One thing I don’t get,” Al said, “You have a casual relationship with time, yes?”
“But what is time?”
“Just coming up to half past three,” Alex said.
“Shut up Alex.”
Al continued, “And you can flit around, backwards and forwards through time?”
“Why can’t you just stop the war happening?”
“That’s what we’re trying to do, Al. Time isn’t as compliant as we’d like. When we move forward through time, we enter a future that is not yet fixed. It is a possible future; a potential future, built from an infinite number of variables. That’s why, if we want to stop the war happening, we have to make a change a long time beforehand. Were we to act too close to the event, we could well be in the wrong timeline. We have followed the chain of causation that will lead to the war. It leads us to a rape that appears to form the root of all the strongest projections that culminate in the destruction of this planet.”
“But what if you’re wrong?” Alex asked.
“We will have tried, lad. The past is easy. It’s happened, and there are mechanisms in place, backed up by some pretty severe punishments, to stop it being changed. The future is less certain, and the further forward you go, the more uncertain it becomes. We do what we can, Alex, and trust the Eddies to guide us.”
“Does that mean,” Madge asked, “that these Eddies are like God?”
“They are the stuff of which the universe is made, Madge,” Albert explained, “they interface with bitek constructs and enhanced life forms, so maybe. But we don’t worship or pray to them; as far as we know they don’t interact with ‘normal’ people or other races and they’ve never taken human, or any other form; so they don’t fit the general definition of gods.”
“Can we get back to me?” Alice asked petulantly, “Are you saying you want to do that again; put me to sleep and do things to my body?”
“How can I best put this?” Albert asked. “Yes.”
“I need to think about this,” Alice said, as she disappeared from view.