a tale in weekly parts
You can see the full story so far at this link.
“You there, J?” Alice asked aloud.
“Sure am. Still listening.”
“Well don’t. I’ll signal to you by raising my right hand when I need you. Until then, like Greta Garbo, I want to be alone.”
“You’re never alone with the Eddies, Alice.”
“And neither do I want to be. I just want you and Albert to leave me alone to think.”
“But Albert isn’t here.”
“Do you see him?”
“I don’t need to. Must I quote back to you what he has said in the past?”
“If it makes you feel better…”
“It does. How about ‘I am Jarvis, and Jarvis is me. We are one’ or ‘Even when we are physically separate, we share a single mind’.”
“I remember saying that. So?”
“Leave. Me. Alone.”
“Are you are saying that you don’t value our input into your thought processes?”
“No. I’m saying that I don’t WANT your input into my thought processes.”
“We can’t actually leave you, you know. We’re joined at too deep a level for that.”
“When I was young, I often shut Alex out by sticking my fingers in my ears and singing ‘la la la’. Do that.”
“Sorry, no fingers.”
“Are you trying to tell me that a big, powerful, bitek like you can’t absent yourself long enough for me to think clearly and in private?”
“♫La la la♫, can’t hear you.”
As soon as Jarvis faded from Alice’s consciousness she started wrestling with the decision she was obliged to take.
On the one hand, her humanity and her instincts told her that although there were many valid ways to have a child, the natural way, the way she felt she wanted to follow, would involve another person – one of the opposite gender. She smiled at that prospect. On the other hand, her purpose in having a child would possibly be served better by following Albert’s proposed route: there’ll be plenty of time for having fun once she has fulfilled what seemed to be her destiny, her purpose.
At its simplest, the question is whether an F3 hybrid formed by splicing pure bitek to an F2 would be more powerful, more likely to achieve its goals than one formed from the union of two F2s. And the only way to know that is to try both and compare the outcomes.
Alice raised her hand and immediately sensed Jarvis’ presence.
“What did you decide?”
“You mean you don’t know?”
“I blocked myself like you asked. Well, insisted.”
“Thank you, J. Thank you for respecting my wishes. Can you take me home now, please?”
Alice entered Jarvis and they headed back.
Jarvis spoke to her. “What did you decide?”
“I’ll tell Albert and my family when we get back.”
“You do know that I can access your mind and read your decision, don’t you?”
“Yes, but you also know that I can dismiss you, Albert and the Eddies if you do. I’ve done it before, I’m not afraid to do it again.”
“There’d be a cost to you if you did.”
“I may feel it would be worth whatever the cost was.”
“Okay, you win. Do you want to sleep now?”
“No. I don’t trust you not to act against my wishes if I’m not awake and able to resist.”
They spent the rest of the journey in silence. Once Jarvis landed, Alice phased back into the dining room, to join the others.
“You’re back,” Alex said.
“Good of you to notice. How long was I gone?”
“That’s just it. You went and came back again almost straight away.”
“Have you reached the decision you needed to make?” Albert asked.
“Indeed I have,” Alice replied, “It wasn’t easy, and it goes against every instinct in me, but I think I have to go along with your plan, Albert.”
“Are you sure about that?” Madge asked. “You don’t have to follow his plan. It’s your body and it has to be your decision.”
“It is my decision, Mum. Just this once, I have to put what I have to do ahead of what I want to do. There’ll be plenty of time for me to do what I want to do with my body once this is done.”
“Just take one piece of advice from your old mother, will you?”
“What you’re talking about; what you want to do…”
“What about it?”“In my experience, it’s a much-overrated pastime,” Madge said. And the look she shot her husband stopped him short before he could open his mouth to comment.