Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 33

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Richard pondered over the fact that he now apparently had a cousin. Of course, his first reaction was doubt, since he had never heard of her before, and his mother had no siblings. Yet, this young woman was supposed to be related to him. The interesting part was Richard could feel she was genetically related to his mother, though he hadn’t really had the time to figure out exactly how. The part of him that was made of energy could tell those sorts of things, but he hadn’t been able to do that for most of his life. It was the first time he had seen his mother in person since he’d found out what he was. He had been looking forward to talking to his mother about how things were different, but she had left so quickly there hadn’t been time. Talking through messages just wasn’t the same… and since she was going to be “busy”, there likely wouldn’t be time for video conversations. All of that, though, brought Richard back to his cousin, who was definitely related to him. He was in a strange situation, being adopted, and yet definitely blood related to his father. Maybe it was better to say genetically related, since it seems he had adopted those genetics as a child, subconsciously. However, Richard could also tell from the brief moment with his mother and cousin that they had been related, and were both related to him.

As for his cousin Susan, the opinion Richard had formed about her so far was that she was strange. She seemed smart- he saw her in classes, and she absorbed the knowledge like a sponge. However, she also seemed to be ignorant on many common topics. This was most obvious in one of the earliest questions she asked Richard. “Richard… what is a cousin?”

“Umm… what? It’s how we’re related.”

“Okay. What relation does it show between us?”

“It means we share a grandparent.”

“Okay. What is a grandparent?”

Richard wasn’t sure if she was joking, but if so she was very good at hiding it. Richard started with parents and children, explaining that children (mostly) randomly got half of each parent’s genetics. After that, it was fairly quick to explain other relations. Susan listened intently and absorbed all of the information- though it really wasn’t that much. “So… why didn’t you ask my mom?”

“Umm… Aunt Anna?” Susan’s eyes darted about for a few moments. “She’s… scary.”

Richard had never thought of his mother as scary. Though when she was serious, Richard would admit that she could certainly be intense, and she was stubborn enough to get her way if she really wanted to. Still, scary wasn’t a word he would have ever used. “Why is she scary?”

Susan got a look of intense concentration on her face. “I believe… that is a secret.” Unlike Hiroshi, Susan was actually quite good at keeping secrets. Not that Richard though she had many. So far, it had only been things about Richard’s mother and her own past that were secret. Unfortunately, Richard felt like those were some of the most important things for getting to know her. Still, Richard found they got along pretty well, and it wasn’t actually any trouble to take care of her. As long as she knew how to do something, she could take care of herself. All that she needed Richard for was to ask questions. Of course, she could have looked up the answers on the internet. She didn’t, because in her own words, “I do not know how to tell what is truth there, and what is lies. At least you will not attempt to deceive me.”


Richard had been worried that Susan might not get along with his friends. After all, even though he thought everyone involved was a good, reasonable person, that doesn’t always mean they would enjoy each other’s company. Richard had particularly been worried because she was afraid of Jot… though that wasn’t an unreasonable first reaction.

However, after Richard had told her that he wouldn’t hurt her, and she had some time to get to know him, she stopped being afraid. Richard found their interactions funny, however. Jot, although he looked serious all the time, liked to joke around. Not that he told jokes- he wasn’t the kind who talked about people walking into bars, or one of something saying something to another. Instead, he was more interested in situational humor, based on what was actually happening. However, he always kept a serious tone, and it was only through getting to know him that Richard had been sure when he was joking- though some of the time it was obvious to anyone. At least, anyone who knew about jokes, which Susan apparently didn’t. Richard couldn’t imagine what kind of environment she had grown up in, but it couldn’t have been a good one if she didn’t know about jokes. As it was, Richard enjoyed watching her looks of surprise when Jot talked about throwing someone through a window, or exaggerated something. However, Jot was very patient, and when he saw she misunderstood, would explain that he was joking or exaggerating. Then, when she laughed at him talking about throwing someone through a window, he explained he had actually done that one… and Richard was glad that she still laughed, because it was still a somewhat comical story, even if it wasn’t intended to be.

Hiroshi’s interactions with her were interesting as well. When Hiroshi told her he was a ninja, she just asked what a ninja was, and he ended up explaining it. Richard only heard part of the story, but it involved something about two competing villages of farmers who eventually unified together into one ninja clan. Richard thought he would have to ask more about that story later.

As for Elena, Richard wasn’t sure how they got along, except it seemed to be well. Specifically, most of their conversations were whispered to each other in a conspiratorial manner. Richard supposed he could have probably listened in, but that would have been rude. Besides, he was pretty sure they were mostly doing it precisely to make him worry what they were up to.

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