Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 50

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L

Richard couldn’t help but mutter and curse under his breath as he thought about his plan.Having thought about it, he might actually not be able to pull it off. “I need… but how would I get that…” He wasn’t too surprised when his father caught his eye and raised an eyebrow, but Richard just shook his head. His father probably wouldn’t be able to help here, even if he could hear him muttering from a dozen seats away. Richard thought for a moment, and decided it probably wouldn’t hurt to ask his father, though he would have some trouble explaining exactly what he needed, and that might be the end of it. However, before he could ask, Hiroshi showed up next to him. “Hey. You look like you have a plan. Anything I can do to help?”

Richard almost shook his head, then a lightbulb went off. “Actually… do you remember when we first met?”

“Of course.”

“I mean… umm… like, the date? I didn’t keep track of that, but it matters for something.”

“I do, actually.”

“Great. Now there is a slight flaw in my plan, because I just realized the information we need is a week’s travel away, and even if I had a friend who was a ninja, I suppose they would have trouble acquiring some security tapes related to the incident where we first met, given that distance.”

“Nah. Gimme like five minutes.”

“Seriously? Umm…”

“Maybe a bit more, but it’s not like I have to go there in person, you know? Computers exist. Just to be clear, you want video footage of that time Jerkface slapped you? Being vague is great and all, until you get the wrong information.” Richard nodded. “I can get that. Just need to leave this room for full access to the internet.”

Hiroshi scurried off, and Richard sighed. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the all he needed. He looked over at Elena, who was having an intense whispered discussion with her parents and brother. The anger was obvious on their faces and in their postures. Richard managed to get lucky, and got Carl’s attention, waving him over.

“This isn’t a great time,” Carl said, “But you have a serious look. What do you need?”

“I need to make some very quick, but possibly unreasonable requests, and you seem like the guy who is most likely to entertain them. What I want is access to that video equipment-” Richard pointed to the display behind Geran. “To show a clip that is necessary for what I need to do.”

“Sure, that can be done. It will be a huge breach of protocol since I’m not the current speaker, but if it leads to Geran getting slapped in the face, which I think it will…”

Richard paused and stared for a moment, then continued. “How did you know?”

“Know what?” Carl tilted his head, “Anything else you need? I’d love to help.”

Richard shook his head to clear it, “Oh, well. I need a doctor here asap, preferably one capable of treating Noxian poison and doing a fertility test, if possible.”

“So… any doctor? Not a problem. The Royal Doctor is always on call and can be here any time. Err, is it an emergency? I don’t see anyone…”

“No, it’s not an emergency, but it might be useful to have them around.”

“Okay. Make sure this is worth it. I don’t mind getting in a little trouble if it is. Heck, I wouldn’t mind getting in a lot of trouble if it’s worthwhile.”

“Don’t you want to know what all of this is for?”

“What? Yes. No. Better to not tell me. That way, if anyone asks, I can say I didn’t know. Though I’d say we’re pretty good buddies considering we only met two days ago, I’d like to minimize the amount of trouble I get in if things go wrong… or right, even.” He paused for a moment. “You sure this will work?”

“I’m quite confident. Even if it doesn’t go exactly as planned… you’ll definitely be pleased by the initial results. If things go poorly… any major consequences should fall on me.”

“Good. While I may like to cause problems for people, I like to keep any problems with my family to the level of entertaining prank. Here… I’m trusting in my sister’s judgement of your character. I guess I should go arrange that stuff. Good luck.”

As Carl went off, Richard went to look for Jot. Richard got a pensive look on his face. “Look, I’m going to do something stupid, and if it goes poorly, I’d like you to not follow up with something stupid of your own. Not that I can stop you.”

Jot nodded. “I don’t do stupid things. Nothing done for friends is stupid. To make things easier though, why don’t you just succeed?”

“You… nevermind, I get your point. I’m going to do something.”

Richard had a few minutes of unpleasant waiting until Hiroshi came back, and then a few more minutes coordinating Carl and Hiroshi. Upon being told that they were ready, Richard thanked them, then walked toward the front of the auditorium. As he passed by people, Jot and his father just nodded. Hiroshi and Carl gave awkward smiles. Elena just looked confused as she saw Richard heading toward the front, but her outstretched hand and gestures didn’t stop him. Richard kept walking, not heading for any of the various groups of Noxians scattered around the auditorium. He didn’t even slow as he stepped up onto the center stage, though there were gasps from the audience and then shouting as he did so. His stride didn’t slow, and he kept walking toward Geran who was saying something Richard didn’t bother to take the time to have translated. Then, two steps from Geran, he pulled off the glove he was glad to have on his right hand, and took a final step closer. With both momentum from his movement and force from his arm, he slapped Geran across the face. The slap violently turned his head to the side, and the sound echoed throughout the auditorium. “I accept your challenge.”

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