Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 5

No chapter of Blood today. Have this instead!



Richard realized he had entirely too much stuff with him. Not that he had more than he needed, perhaps he was even a little behind. No, it was more of a practical matter of carrying it. Specifically, it was now twice as heavy. Richard stared down his bags, but they refused to yield. So he gave up, and picked them up. He staggered. Maybe… maybe he could just leave one bag here. He didn’t really need to change his clothes ever, did he?

However, shortly after the initial trouble Richard got his balance, and the bags didn’t even feel all that much heavier. The concrete that they appeared to be carrying now felt like hollow concrete blocks, which was at least progress. He struggled his way to a shuttle which would take him a few blocks from his school. There, he was surprised to see Jot. Then, he felt stupid for being surprised. They had the same departure point and destination at the same time, so why would they end up in different places along the way?

They both arrived at the school, and were directed to a place where they could leave their bags. Richard sighed in relief. Jot, meanwhile, didn’t seem to notice that he had set down around ninety kilograms of matter, which was more than Richard could have carried in the gravity he was used to. Richard was briefly jealous, but he quickly got over it. After all, Richard could have done a much better job of carrying his own things if he were more fit.

Richard and Jot got separated again during the orientation process. There were a very large number of people around, and they vaguely separated people into groups by intended major. They signed up for classes, which Richard wondered why they had to do now… and in person. It seemed likely to make the process slower. Still, it was rather interesting to see the large groups of different kinds of people around him.

Although there were a lot of interesting people, Richard didn’t want to talk to them. He still listened to their conversation. He confirmed that, like at any school, some people were more serious about their education than others. Quite a few people were already talking about partying, and although Richard wasn’t opposed to partying in general, he had the feeling he would disapprove of the kind they were planning. This was mostly because he didn’t want to make a fool of himself and see large numbers of other people he didn’t know do the same. Plus, he had enough trouble paying attention to what was going on around him without any artificial attention modifying substances.

Then there was a tour which touched on all the major buildings on campus, which took quite some time. Then they visited some less important buildings. Then the sports fields. One of the cafeterias. Finally, they were shown the dorms, and deposited at the location in which they would be living.

Richard met the resident assistant, who was about five feet tall, had green hair, and talked at hundreds of kilometers per hour. This was still within reason for a human, although the green hair wouldn’t have been natural, but the rows of pointed teeth he possessed showed him to be something else. Richard supposed he would really have to learn quite a bit more than he knew. So many types of people existed, he was excited that he would learn about them eventually.

“Hey how ya doin’ you’re let’s see here,” he paused for the barest fraction of a second, “Richard right Cool anyway on this list here it says you were ok with a different species roommate right that’s good because there are never enough of those and never enough to make even pairs of everyone anyway your room’s down the hall marked five-oh-seven here’s your key your roommate came by earlier but he said he won’t be back till morning cuz of a party or something but he did say you can move his stuff if you want because he doesn’t have a preference for which bed he’s in or whatever. Any questions?”

Richard had many questions, such as when this person stopped to breathe. However, he just held out his hand, and the key was dropped into it. He walked down the hall and used his key to enter a room that turned out to be mostly symmetric, with two beds in a bunk configuration, desks, and dressers. Choosing accommodations was basically academic, since everything was identical.

In the middle of the room were a large number of bags, presumably carrying items belong to Richard’s roommate. Richard claimed the top bunk with his sheets and a pillow, and one of the dresser by storing his clothes in it. Then he went to dinner and had a random choice out of the class-A food consuming section. Then he came back and fiddled around with his computer and got it used to its new environment, and then he went to sleep in his bed, which seemed a bit longer than he was used to.

He woke up and got dressed shortly before his roommate arrived, as stated, in the morning. He went to introduce himself, but before he could…



“So, we meet again.”

“Indeed, it seems to be that way.”

“Wonderful! What are the odds?”

Richard knew Jot didn’t actually mean that question to be answered. Richard also knew that he was going to answer it anyway. “Well, first of all we couldn’t be paired with females, so that cuts out half of the possibilities. Also, new students are always paired with new students, so that cuts out almost three quarters of the remaining. About half of those are comfortable in this kind of living conditions. Others literally cannot share a room, and others still cannot share a room with another species. Then, of course, there are those who won’t. All things considered… probably still less than one percent.”

“Or we could have just said it was fate.”

“But then I wouldn’t have gotten to show off my knowledge!”

“Hmm, good point. Either way, I’m glad it’s you. Since we already get along fairly well and all, this will be much easier as long as we avoid killing each other over trivial things.”

Richard grinned. “I’m all for not killing each other.”

Richard helped Jot unpack his things, and Jot told Richard why he had been gone overnight. Jot had needed to visit the other practitioners of Xevaronian martial arts who attended the school, and then he had had to spar with every one of them. After that, however, they had spent the rest of the time getting to know each other better. Apparently it was important for Xevaronians to spend as much time with new acquaintances as possible. Perhaps they just had a better understanding of how they developed relationships with each other.

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