Richard spent the next few weeks working on transcribing as much information as he could from the “rock”, when he wasn’t doing classwork, so that it wouldn’t be lost. There was a lot of biological information, but no history or cultural information. He found that odd. Then, he came across the messages. They were sometimes short, sometimes long, but what startled him was how many there were. Messages from his people, for him. He wasn’t sure how many there were. Certainly, it couldn’t be everyone on the planet, because they would never be able to even reach the same place for even a second each. He still knew he couldn’t get through what there was in any sane period of time, but he would try.
Richard started carrying the stone everywhere with him, and spent most of the attention of his energy side listening to the messages. However, it also distracted his human side quite often. From the perspective of others, he seemed to be walking around like a zombie. Jot finally brought it up.
“Richard. Stop making me worry about you.”
“Hmm?” Richard shook his head as if to wake up. “There’s no reason to be worried.”
“I don’t mean just now, although there’s obviously reason now as well. I mean the entire time I’ve known you. You’ve been hospitalized three times, and now I’m worried you’re going crazy.”
“I’m not crazy. Just… there’s an entire planet of people waiting to be heard. I have to listen to them. I don’t even know if I can hear them all in the time I’m alive.”
“That does sound like a monumental task. However, you have time. The messages will still be there later, and… I suspect you will find that taking it a little bit at a time is better. Besides, if you don’t rest, you can’t give any of the messages proper respect.”
“You’re right. Sorry, Jot.” Richard smiled. “I’m still bringing them everywhere, though. After all, they’re the only ones just like me, even if it’s just a memory.”
Jot didn’t have anything to say to that, and just nodded his head.
“Jot! My parents!” Richard said out of nowhere.
“Richard! My reaction!”
“Sorry, I tried to… anyway, I got to the messages from my birth parents.”
Richard paused. “They told me… that I should just live however I want, as whatever I want. Even if our species dies with me, if it was my choice, then everyone would be content. Also, they told me to listen to my adoptive parents.”
Jot nodded, and waited for Richard to continue.
“Well, actually, it’s weird. I mean, my parents are my parents, and the people the message is from feel more like the ones not related to me. Well, the advice part is pretty solid though. My mother always helps me make good decisions.”
Jot nodded again. “To Xevaronians, those who raise you are much more important than any biological connections. Shared genetics are much less important than the actions others take. It is similar with friendships. When action is involved, friendships are deeper. As it should be with all relationships between people.” Jot paused for a moment. “I notice you didn’t include your father in good decisions.”
Richard laughed. “That was on purpose. Well, it’s not like he doesn’t have a lot of wisdom to share, but he is a bigger proponent of somewhat foolish and interesting actions. As long as nobody gets hurt, anyway.”
A head popped around a corner. “That’s right nobody better get hurt! Including you!”
“Dad! Can you at least pretend to not hear every conversation I have?”
Mr. Smith nodded. “Of course I don’t hear all your conversations. I just walk by at opportune times.”
“…When you’re supposed to be in class?”
“…Speaking of which.” Richard’s father disappeared around the corner.
“Your father is a strange man.”
“He is,” Hiroshi confirmed.
Richard smiled. “Of course, how do you think I was brought up to be like this?”
Richard settled into a more sustainable routine. He’d spend about an hour a day with the “rock”, and the rest doing the other activities he’d come to expect- classes, homework, and just spending time with his friends. He did have a new thing to worry about, but he tried to keep worrying time to a minimum. Besides, it wasn’t necessarily his business. Still, he couldn’t help but think about what Elena had said about the Noxians. They were dying out, too, it seemed. It wasn’t exactly going to be soon, but each generation had less of them. The population was already in an uncomfortably swift decline.
When Richard was alone with Jot, he asked about the Xevaronians, in case there was something similar. He didn’t think so, but asking directly was the best option. The answer was that Xevaronians were all fine and dandy, in different words of course. Well, Richard had been around enough of them to know there weren’t any real physical problems, and Xevaronians seemed to have their social and political spectrums figured out, even if they were a bit strange.
Although he wanted to do something, the situation with the Noxians wasn’t something he was knowledgeable enough to handle, even if they wanted outside help, which it seemed they didn’t. Well, he was continuing his education to become more knowledgeable. After thinking about it, he knew why Elena was working so hard. She didn’t have to say it, but the worry on her face when talking about the Noxian situation told Richard the exact reason why she was studying what she did. Bioengineering, with the intent to fix whatever genetic issues the Noxians had. Richard thought she could, with her drive and talent. He wanted to support her, and he would try to do so without intruding.
In general, though, Richard was feeling better. His arm was better, and he was about to start up training with Jot again. Richard had already verified that all of his muscles, tendons, bones and such seemed to be the “new” type. That made him wonder about his dad, and what was different about him. However, as he was wondering about that, he got a message from his mother. She was actually going to come visit. She already would have, except she’d been very busy with important business of some sort.