Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 55

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LV

Richard went to find Jot- never a difficult task, but he wasn’t always right next to Richard. “Hey, Jot. What are your plans for the future?”

“I am going to have lunch.”

“I was thinking a bit more… distant.”

“Dinner.” Jot smiled in the very minimal manner Richard had come to expect. “First, I will be completing my degree here. That is why I came, after all.” He paused for a moment. “I’ll probably be a physical therapist. I might change my mind along the way though.”

“Cool. Any ambitions in the area of martial arts? Are you planning to become a master? Or… a higher ranking master, I guess.”

“Hmm…. yes. I don’t think I will give up on that path either. I plan to become at least a tenth rank master.”

Richard blinked. “Isn’t that the highest rank? I’m not saying I don’t believe you can make it, but that’s a pretty ambitious minimum.”

“Maybe. There used to be another tier, the level of grandmasters. It seems that nobody has met those standards lately. I would like to bring that back.”

“Well, now that’s a good ambition. I’ll be cheering you on.”

—–

Richard already knew what Elena’s ambition was, at least her biggest one. She likely had other things she wanted as well. Still, Richard didn’t feel the need to ask her about it at the current time. Hiroshi was next on the list. “So, Hiroshi, do you have any ambitions? Life goals?”

“That’s a secret.”

“Wow, that was… different. Usually you give away half of the secret on accident.”

“Well, that’s the difference between professional and personal secrets. You see… I should stop here. Anyway, my goal is a secret because it’s rather silly. Not because it actually needs to be secret.”

“Okay, can you tell me the scale of your goal? Is it big?”

Hiroshi looked at the space in front of him, moving his hands around something like an imaginary box. He continued like that for a few moments, until he seemed to come to a conclusion. “It’s probably not that big. Oh, you mean important? It’s very important, or at least meaningful. What about you, do you have an ambition?”

Richard shook his head. “Not yet. That’s why I’m asking.”

—–

Susan was next on the list. “A goal or ambition? Umm… I’d like to make some more friends, maybe. I’d also like to get to the point where I can be independent instead of relying on others.”

“Wow those… are entirely sensible and moderate goals. I’d help you get more friends, but you’re already friends with all of my friends so… Yeah. I’m sure you’ll be able to be independent in no time, now that you have a chance to experience the real world. You’re smart, so you’ll be fine.”

“Am I smart? I feel like I don’t know anything, and I don’t understand the basics. Everyone else seems to have everything figured out.”

“Well, there is one thing you have to learn for sure. It’s that… everyone’s just faking. Nobody has any idea what they’re doing… especially not people our age, but really older people are just making it up as they go along too.”

“Really?”

“Yep. Just ask my dad.”

“He’s right.” Mr. Smith appeared from around the corner.

“Umm… hello, uncle Gilbert.”

“Hey dad. Do you have any ambitions for the future?”

He shrugged. “I suppose… to leave the world better off than if I never existed.”

Richard grinned. “That… sounds like a good one. Straightforward and simple.”

“Something like that. Sometimes it’s hard to determine what will actually make the world better, though.”

“Yeah, I bet. I’m not even sure what’s good for just me.”

—–

Richard found that the biggest deviation from his normal life had actually just been the places he went to. Instead of visiting classrooms and the cafeteria at regular times, he had basically stayed in the same place, getting video of the lectures. It just wasn’t the same, since the context was different. Even if there were no major problems with his schoolwork, it felt weird. There was one activity where being in a specific location mattered, or at least the right kind of location. Training with Jot on the ship had been very limited, and was basically only good enough to keep him in shape. He was glad he had done it though, because if he hadn’t he might have had a hard time against Geran… or lost.

As it was, it had been easy. In fact, it was surprisingly easy. Geran obviously didn’t know much about unarmed combat, but it was more than that. Immediately afterwards, Richard had gone unconscious then been distracted by other things, so he hadn’t really thought about it. However, now that things were going back to normal, he wondered about it. “Hey, Jot. You watched my duel with Geran… obviously. I felt it was surprisingly easy. He seemed so light. Was I just in particularly good form?”

Jot shrugged. “I would say your form was good, but not better than normal. Though he was in shape, he wasn’t particularly muscular. That made him effectively light and weak.”

Richard frowned. “Wasn’t he about my size?”

“Sure, but he was only around seventy kilograms, I imagine.”

“So am I.”

“Are you? When was the last time you measured that?”

“Umm…” Richard thought for a few moments. “I don’t remember.”

Jot reached over and picked Richard up. It looked almost effortless, but then Jot got a look of concentration on his face.

Richard looked down at Jot. His arms had a firm but not painful grip on Richard… but Richard couldn’t move at all. “Umm, are you going to let go at some point?”

Jot’s eyes refocused on Richard’s face, and he set him down. “Of course. I was just doing some calculations. I’d say you’re over one hundred kilograms.”

Richard looked down at himself. Though he was muscled, he didn’t feel like he had that kind of bulk. He supposed what he appeared like didn’t necessarily mean anything, since Jot was much heavier than he looked as well. “Oh, wait. Did you take the gravity here into account? We’re at 1.5 standard.”

“Of course I did. I don’t promise a completely accurate measure, but it should be within about five kilos in either direction.”

“Oh.” Richard thought for a moment. “I figured out what it was. Nox was about 1 standard. I guess I didn’t really notice.”

“This coming from the person who was floored by the gravity when we first came here. You’ve changed.”

“Have I?”

“Physically, quite a lot. Other than that… well, you’re still a bit of a strange fellow, but I imagine you have changed in various small ways. People are always changing.”

Richard looked at himself, not just with his eyes but also the other part of him. Though the energy was still much weaker than it had been, it felt healthy, and so did Richard’s body. Even not counting that part of him, Richard felt he was different. Hopefully, he was a better person. While he might not have a specific goal to work towards, making himself into a better person would never be a poor choice. Having seen what other people could be like, Richard determined that at the very least, he would avoid becoming a worse person, the kind that didn’t care about others at all.

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