Richard signed up for a number of classes covering differing aspects of biology. If he wanted to specialize on just humans, that was possible, or any of a large number of other species. However, Richard was currently more interested in a broad approach. He only had a limited amount of time, so he couldn’t take classes covering all the groups of sentients, at least not all in one year. Richard was also interested in various animal lifeforms. He didn’t want to lock himself into a particular area of study just yet, and there were many directions he could go in later.
Jot’s studies were more focused on Xevaronian biology, but not exclusively. His current path could lead him to becoming a physical therapist, doctor… or perhaps a martial artist that knew all of the weaknesses of any sort of body. As a martial artist, there were those mainly interested in entertainment, and those who were into competition. Richard knew that winners could make quite a bit of money, and while Jot was very strong and talented, Richard wasn’t sure about the level of competition he would face if he went in that direction. Thinking about martial arts also made one thing about military, but realistically martial arts shouldn’t usually be relevant in a war. After all, that’s what guns were for. Jot had expressed interest in reaching the level of a grandmaster of Xevaronian martial arts, but Richard wasn’t sure if that was a career or not.
Susan was taking a wide variety of courses. She quite understandably didn’t know what she wanted to do in the future. This was the first full year she would be attending university, and she actually had the chance to pick out what classes she wanted. She was taking classes on philosophy, sociology, and even a class in dance.
Elena was taking classes focused on biology, specifically including Noxian physiology, as well as genetics classes. If the issue Noxians had was simple, it would long have been solved, but she had to start somewhere. It did seem to be a genetic issue, but it was not caused by a single gene, and the interactions were complex. It would be years before Elena was ready to even attempt anything, but she focused on her studies intensely regardless.
Hiroshi shared a few classes with Richard and a few classes with Susan. Richard couldn’t imagine what kind of qualifications he was going for, but he seemed confident. Maybe he was just testing the waters too.
About a month into the year, there were reports of suspicious characters on campus. Students and teachers were told to keep a watchful eye, and report anything the noticed to security. According to the reports, the suspicious characters had only accessed publicly available spaces, but they hadn’t committed any crimes. They just hadn’t seemed like they had any real business anywhere.
Richard wasn’t sure what actually qualified people as suspicious characters, but their existence bothered him. Of course, it could just be a paranoid student or two, but if there was actually something they were up to, it could be bad. Richard trusted that campus security could resolve any actual incident that arose, but that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be problems before then. If Richard’s curse had anything to say about it, it might involve him, even if the suspicious characters had no particular designs towards him.
“This is my cousin Jessica.” Hiroshi paused after his sudden appearance and statement, waiting for a reaction from the group of friends. “She’ll be attending here starting this year.”
Richard looked at Jessica, then back at Hiroshi. “Your cousin?” His eyes returned to Jessica who possessed fair skin and distinctly asian features, compared to Hiroshi who had very dark skin and a complete lack of asian features aside from his name.
“That’s right.” Jessica nodded. Richard was expecting more, but it seemed she was done talking.
“Well, actually…” Hiroshi continued, “She’s a second cousin, so we’re a little bit more distantly related. Though really our families… well it’s easier to just say cousin.”
Richard nodded. Then he concentrated for a while.
As he was doing so Jot shrugged. “Vastly different skin pigmentations are already strange, but it is a bit moreso to see that among relatives.”
“It is weird,” Richard finally said, “but they’re definitely related.”
“Umm… why would they be more different just because there was another cousin born before her?” Susan timidly asked.
Richard tilted his head. “What? Oh. Second cousin means that, instead of sharing a grandparent like… real cousins, they share a great grandparent, one generation further back.”
“I see. Saying cousin is indeed easier, like with us. Of course, they explained it anyway so I suppose that ruined the point.” Susan paused and turned to Jessica. “I’m sorry, we never introduced ourselves did we? I am Susan. Pleased to meet you.”
Everyone went around introducing themselves. Perhaps Hiroshi had already told her their names, but it was still polite. Jessica nodded in response to each. After that, there were a few moments of awkward silence where people were expecting her to respond in kind. It was possible she thought Hiroshi’s introduction was adequate, because she remained silent.
“Yeah…” Hiroshi said, “She doesn’t talk a lot. That’s probably because-”
Jessica made a sudden move and grabbed Hiroshi’s lips between her fingers. “Because I actually have a verbal filter.” She sort of glared at Hiroshi before letting go.
Hiroshi rubbed his lips in an exaggerated fashion. “Well, if you guys see her around you’ll know who she is. Be nice to her okay? She could use some friends.” That line got him a swift punch in the gut. Though her arm moved with surprising speed, she only really had enough reach to just barely touch Hiroshi. Even so, he doubled over in mock pain. “Alright alright. This is what I get for trying to be a nice cousin.”
With the introduction of Jessica, Richard remembered he had some family matters of his own to deal with. It was obvious his parents were different from normal humans, and not just because of their activities. Richard wanted to find out just how much. Partly because he was curious to know… but he also wanted to be aware of how far his own body could go.