Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 12

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In class, Richard looked at the green girl. He was still afraid. She was dangerous. Still, he kind of wanted to be her friend, seeing her sitting there all alone. The glowing told him something weird, and he wasn’t really exactly sure how to interpret the data it gave him. So he tried to ignore it. Richard couldn’t help but think about her though. Maybe he was suicidal.

In Galactic History, he had a very different experience. Most people were normal. Well, as normal as having different amounts of glowing could be. When Richard looked at his father, he felt like he would go blind. There was a completely ludicrous amount of glowing to be seen around his father. Large amounts of unexplained data were bombarding Richard’s head. He couldn’t make any sense of it. He was getting dizzy, and felt like he would fall out of his chair. If only it would stop. Then, it did. He could turn it off, and on, and apparently off again. Why would a sense turn on and off? Now Richard was confused, and his head hurt.

As the first two weeks of classes went by, Richard practiced his new sense more. He was still unsure how it worked, but it wasn’t really sight. For one thing, he could sense, and recognize, people he was not looking at. Sometimes. If he was thinking about it. He never used it around his father again- there was something strange going on there, because most humans just showed up with a faint glow, like a candle. Maybe a dim candle. After further observation, the glow seemed sort of tied to species, but only vaguely.

During this time, Richard also spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about the Noxian girl. Still no friends that he had seen. He wanted to run away from her, but he also wanted to be her friend. Although he was trying to deny it, he also wanted something impossible. It was strange, but he wanted to be her husband. Not even boyfriend, but he felt like he wanted to have children with her. Of course, his rational mind knew it was crazy and just… impossible. Only a small part of his mind felt that way anyway. Unfortunately, a larger part of his floaty-glowy-second brain like thing wanted that. It didn’t even seem to acknowledge the possibility of danger. At least it was also interested in the idea of being friends, which was much more sensible.

At the end of the two weeks, Richard felt like he would go crazy. Although, he wasn’t actually sure he wasn’t already crazy. At the very least this was true because he hadn’t gone to get his head checked out. Maybe he would.


Richard didn’t go to get his head checked out. From a physical standpoint, he felt perfectly healthy. As for mentally, enough of him felt fine that he wasn’t bothered. Though how he was determining that it was enough of him was rather odd. About half of him was worried. However, another half of him was not, and all of him felt fine. Richard wasn’t a math major, but that didn’t mean he didn’t know his way around numbers. One half plus one half plus one was two, not one. That was the same conclusion he was inevitably coming to. Though, it was also possible that he was having trouble judging what portions of him wanted certain things. He could easily think it was a quarter, another quarter, and a half. However, Richard wasn’t sure why the last quarter and half still felt like they weren’t the same thing, except that part was just not worried and part was fine.

There were ways to test what he was thinking, however. What he was thinking was maybe that he had two brains. While it was a somewhat crazy idea, it was relatively easily testable. He could just try to do two things at once. Not something like multitasking, but two completely separate things. Richard thought that would be good enough. He tried having a conversation with Jot while writing something. It was a complete failure.

So, he was done. Hypothesis tested.

Of course, that wasn’t really sufficient. It wasn’t so much a problem of not having the mental processes available to do both things, but rather he couldn’t see the paper and also look at Jot. It was hard to write while looking at the paper and talking to him as well, though. Richard thought of several other options to try. He tried participating in one conversation and listening to another. That didn’t really work either. He was beginning to realize that the idea of having something like a second brain was pretty ridiculous anyway.

Except, he could talk to somebody and think about a math problem, or any other kind of question. While that wasn’t necessarily unique, he didn’t remember being able to do that before. More importantly, he couldn’t think about a problem and also talk to somebody. While that may seem like the same thing, it wasn’t. Specifically, if the part of him that felt normal and like it had always been around wasn’t the part he “assigned” to do the talking… nothing happened. In fact, his body was entirely under control of his “normal” brain. Thus, he couldn’t really multitask physical activities. However, he still felt as if he could assign certain thoughts to what felt like a second brain, but could also have just been a different part. If he wasn’t intentional, however, he could be thinking about something and then a conversation would start. If he was thinking about something in the way he was used to, that would get interrupted as normal. Sometimes he could continue thinking and talk, and sometimes not. It depended on the complexity of the thought as well as the conversation. However, if his theoretical second brain was thinking about the subject, there was no interruption. If he was thinking about something and wanted to transfer between brains, he ran into an interesting snag. The thoughts basically started over at the beginning, instead of continuing where he left off. Richard couldn’t exactly say why, but his thoughts seemed to be working through different methods. Perhaps running on different operating systems, if he were a computer. Richard was very sure none of this was normal… but he did find it quite interesting. However, he was sure he must be appearing very strange from everyone else’s perspective as he experimented with these things. Fortunately, it was mostly Jot, and Richard felt comfortable around him.

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