Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 47

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Unfortunately, the time for introductions quickly passed, and events moved on to much more boring avenues. Elena had indeed been the furthest away noble, though Geran, having delivered the summons letter, had not arrived much earlier. The rest of the nobles had generally arrived days in the past, though a good number of them were already on planet. Regardless, Richard found himself almost immediately funneled into a large room. Rooms such as this were not unfamiliar to Richard, and in fact he saw something similar almost daily. It was a large, semicircular auditorium. Although the ones at Maropa University were not always the same shape, they suited the same purpose. This particular auditorium was a bit more formal and political, with chairs seated behind long curved tables, rather than the kind that had small individual desks that could be flipped up. The seats also looked more comfortable, but Richard thought that comfort would fade after some time, and there would potentially be a lot of time involved.

What little of the planet he had seen pictures of and in his glimpses out the window looked normal. That was actually somewhat odd feeling, given that the planet had a toxic atmosphere. The skies looked just about the same, and though the sun was a slightly different color than the other planets Richard had been on, it didn’t look much different. Of course, it wasn’t like toxins always advertised themselves with a green color, or even any color at all. There were a good number of transparent gasses that were toxic, and the Noxian atmosphere contained several of them. Though, Richard had heard that those numbers were down significantly. Though it wasn’t immediately deadly to the Noxians themselves, some of the atmosphere had still been unhealthy. That meant reduced lifespans, and so over time they had taken the effort to reduce the levels of harmful toxins in their atmosphere.

However, for all of the filtration devices, the atmosphere in the auditorium felt worse. Not that there was anything wrong with the air itself… just the people in it. Richard got the distinct feeling of different factions, if not from the staggered seating arrangements, then from the various glares being cast around. Though the veils concealed some of that, reading a Noxian expression through a veil was still easier than reading a Xevaronian expression, unless that particular Xevaronian wanted you to know something.

Richard and the rest of those who had come with Elena sat down in the section that seemed to have the royal faction. Then, Richard braced himself for what he had been told would be a long and boring process. Two hours later, Richard still didn’t know what the particular reason the emergency meeting had been called was. Not that he wasn’t paying attention or understanding what was happening, just that nothing important had been said yet. The man who currently held the floor was apparently a member of the traditionalist faction. Currently, he was in the middle of a long and drawn out talk on Noxian history. Presumably, this had something to do with the reason the meeting had been called. However, with the level of detail being given Richard felt that almost had to be the case. After all, if you covered the entire history of a race, some part of the explanation should be applicable to everything. Though Richard learned a few details he hadn’t learned on the way over, there was also a large amount of pointless fluff, and it was presented in the most boring way possible.

This was one of the problems with old rules in politics. Although a person certainly had the right to say what they needed to, if no real time limit existed then people would mostly end up saying a large amount of things that were completely unnecessary. Richard imagined that the whole thing could have been summarized by “you all know the history of our people… that is why…” and then the actual point could be brought up. Given that politicians were involved, it would even be reasonable for the same thing to be said in different ways or possibly for some reason repeated in the same way for ten minutes or half of an hour… but that would still be more sensible than just sitting around listening to someone talk. Richard was almost regretting coming, but in the end this gathering would have to be important to the Noxians and therefore to Elena. Richard just wasn’t sure how yet. As another hours passed, Richard idly wondered if there was any way to get the speaker down from the stage without him choosing to be done.

Fortunately, Richard wasn’t restrained to just sitting and listening. That said, he wasn’t able to just fiddle around with his computer like he might want. However, there were resources available to distract himself. Unfortunately, though computers were involved, the only options available were basically notetaking, and looking through some libraries. Richard was glad that the information could be translated, but the libraries weren’t exactly fiction. Instead, it was a number of histories and codices of laws and legal precedents. This wasn’t much better, but Richard found that reading bland histories was still more interesting than listening to this particular person talk about them. Plus, he found some interesting rabbit holes of strange or at least marginally interesting laws to wander down.

In the end, the entire day went by without the point of the emergency meeting being raised. Unfortunately, nobody seemed too surprised, which didn’t bode well for the upcoming days. Richard still had to take some time to do schoolwork, because if not he might as well have dropped for the semester. He also talked with Elena and her family, but they had no real guess as to the actual point of this particular emergency meeting. After that, Richard spent some time talking with Carl and joking about how boring the speaker had been, though there was still the vaguely realized dread that the next day would likely bring more of the same. Of course, Jot didn’t let Richard forget to exercise, and there was much more room here than on the ship. Richard found it was rather nice, though, to be moving around. He also felt that everything seemed easier for some reason, but he wasn’t sure exactly why. His strength had been growing, but not suddenly. Then, Richard slept, and hoped the next day would be more fruitful.

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