Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 35

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XXXV

In front of Richard, he saw Hiroshi. He had pushed Richard back about a step. However, he could also see that Hiroshi was reaching forward as well. That arm reached forward to what Richard could only assume was Jot, but Hiroshi blocked most of his vision. He could, however, see the I-beam sticking out to the sides. That was encouraging, because it was not all the way to the ground, and thus it probably hadn’t crushed him.

Elena screamed, and Richard had to admit that was a perfectly reasonable reaction. He had adopted the “stand in shock” approach, along with Susan. Hiroshi still seemed to be attempting to pull on Jot. Then, there was a loud clanging-clash, as the I-beam fell over to the side. Perhaps it would be better to say it had been pushed off. Richard had now moved to the side, and had a better view of what was going on.

Jot was… well, he looked fine. Richard couldn’t say the same about the I-beam, however. He hadn’t noticed in the moment, but upon seeing it on the ground, he could tell it was slightly curved. Jot was rubbing his right forearm.

“Are you okay?” Richard asked.

Jot nodded. “Fine. I’m glad everyone else looks okay as well.”

Then along came a series of swearing and apologizing constructions workers. Swearing was their natural reaction to almost everything, but especially things going wrong. “We’re so sorry! That cable was brand new, there was no way it should have snapped like that!” For their part, everyone did seem more genuinely worried for the safety of everyone than things like the possibility of losing their jobs.

Jot assured them that he was fine. It did make Richard feel slightly better when he showed his arm. It was slightly bruised. In the situation he had been in, Richard supposed that counted as basically uninjured. Actually, although Richard kind of thought of Jot as invincible, he hadn’t known exactly what the limits on that were. However, it seemed somewhat amazing still. Richard knew that Jot was strong, and that he was dense. However, so were I-beams. The momentum behind it must have been huge, and yet Jot hadn’t been knocked over… and beneath him, the ground wasn’t damaged at all. Richard had also seen something like a brief flash. Not with his eyes, but rather with his other senses. It was like a tiny amount of the aura people had. Except, Xevaronians didn’t show that. He could still feel it at contact range, but he’d never “seen” it.

—–

In the end, Jot convinced everyone that he was fine. Richard thought that was true. He didn’t know what a bad bruise looked like on a Xevaronian. Human bruises ranged from red to purple-green-black-yellow colors. Yellow wouldn’t necessarily be bad on a Xevaronian, since they were already yellow. On the other hand, it might. Jot’s arm was red. Richard thought it could be used to measure exactly how wide the i-beam had been.

“Sorry, Jot.”

Jot looked at Richard and raised an eyebrow. “What for?”

“You got hurt because of my curse.”

“So what if I did? You did not make me jump underneath it, or even ask me to. I did it because you are my friend… though it turns out my help was unnecessary.”

“Thanks, though. I’d say I don’t want you to get hurt helping me… but on the other hand, I also don’t want to get crushed by a huge piece of metal.”

Jot shrugged. “It is not much for me. At most, my arm will be a bit sore for a day or two. Besides, you have helped me out in the past as well.”

“Have I? I don’t remember jumping in front of a car for you or anything.”

“You helped me finish some assignments.”

“That’s… hardly comparable. I didn’t get hurt.”

“On the contrary, you had to stay up late to finish your own work. That threw off your sleep schedule for a few days, causing some discomfort. I’d say it’s pretty comparable to this. Now, if I put myself at risk of real harm, that would be different. I probably would though.”

“I’m not sure if I would risk my life for you though Jot. That seems a bit unfair to you.”

“You wouldn’t?” Jot didn’t sound offended, just curious. “And why is that? Let’s pretend there was a bullet heading for me, would you jump in front of it?”

“Sorry, no. I’d probably just get killed.”

“Good, that would be stupid. However, what if instead of a bullet it was a dart laced with a poison that is lethal to Xevaronians, but only very unpleasant for humans?”

“Umm, sure, I guess. Can I try to catch it or deflect it?”

“Of course.” Jot smiled, though it was mostly only visible by a slight change in his eyes. “See, I feel you would act similarly to me. It is not that Xevaronians will help their friends at any risk to themselves. If we have no time to think, we will act to help those we are close to. If we do have time to think, we will avoid stupid choices. For example, if there was something that would hurt you, even a lot, but I had to risk my life to save you, I wouldn’t. After all, that just makes a worse situation in the end. Still, if I think I will get hurt less than you, then there is no reason not to help even at some risk to myself.” Jot paused for a few moments. “In this situation, I had a few moments to think. I could have pushed you out of the way, but that might have hurt you if I did it wrong. I knew I could stop it that way, though, so I did. Of course, Hiroshi reacted in time to safely move you and even attempted to pull me away as well.”

“Oh yeah. Well, thanks Jot.” Richard turned to Hiroshi. “Thanks for saving me, Hiroshi.”

“No problem. It’s what I’m- It’s what I do.”

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One thought on “Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 35

  1. Figures he’s hired…. I just thought maybe he was in that ‘world’ so he knew about Richard and maybe his father approached him for that reason. Still I hope his feelings as a friend are genuine.

    Like

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