Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 6

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There were still a few days until classes would be starting. Richard had wanted to familiarize himself with the campus somewhat before classes started, which is why he took the ship he did instead of a later one. Jot, meanwhile, had come from elsewhere, and had only ended up on Utopia as a stopping point. More traffic went there than Maropa, so it was used as a stopping point.

As normal, much of their time spent together continued to be meals, broken up by occasionally wandering the campus to explore. Richard would generally have considered things to be the other way, with meals interrupting whatever else was going on, but that certainly wasn’t the case at the moment.

The campus was almost like a city unto itself. It had instructional buildings, various places with food, and even some stores. Though, some of them were just rather expensive places to get books and supplies, for those who needed them immediately and couldn’t wait to get them on order. The campus was big enough that there were even transportation systems to bring people from various hubs to others. However, Richard and Jot weren’t in a hurry, so they still walked everywhere. The only thing that was different from a normal city was that the age ranges mostly centered around young adults and older adults- students and teachers, though of course there was some variety there as well. For example, there were those like Jot, who were no longer just entering adulthood, but still just starting to attend. Though, that didn’t mean Jot looked old by any means, just that he was already beyond that awkward transitory phase between child and adult sizes and looks.

After a few meals, Richard noticed something he wanted to ask Jot about. “Why are Xevaronians split into three groups?”

Jot smiled, slightly. Richard had noticed that he wasn’t particularly expressive, but that didn’t mean he didn’t feel anything. Likewise, he generally talked in what felt like a deadpan tone, but still joked around. Richard was having to get used to that. “The three groups are because of the two main trains of thought we have.” Jot gestured to the general area of the cafeteria that he and Richard were in, and another one, which Richard noticed were divided up between male and female. “These groups are… how shall I say this… the conservative groups. Xevaronian hormones are very powerful at certain times, leading to possible impulsive behavior. We recognize this, and have different ways of dealing with it. The conservative groups split apart males and females. This is because proximity to females often leads to fighting between males… and females, really, as well as other behavior. Basically, we reject our instincts and place restrictions.” Jot gestured to the third group, which consisted of both males and females. “The more ‘liberal’ group accepts their impulses as natural, and finds no reason to avoid them. However, though it might seem like it, our groups are generally not in conflict. We simply make different choices about how to live. There are also some who change their mind, moving between the two groups.”

“That’s fascinating. Humans probably aren’t as aware of such behavior among us… or perhaps not as intentional with our actions.” Richard looked around. There were plenty of human girls- women even, around. After all, this system had been first colonized by humans. Richard found some of them attractive, but he didn’t think he would get in a fight with another person just by being in a mixed group. Though, obviously that happened sometimes with humans, but generally not from mere proximity.

Richard noticed that the Xevaronians still had smaller social groups as well, but there were rather clear dividing lines between the three groups in the two categories, at least if you were looking for that. Otherwise, you would just see groups of male friends, female friends, and some of both. As he looked around, Richard didn’t see any other distinctions between other groups, but he wasn’t particularly familiar with enough of them to say for sure. He had only specifically looked around for Xevaronians because he was friends with Jot. With hundreds of people around, moving in and out, and especially eating at different times, he hadn’t noticed any other particularly interesting groups. Maybe he would.

After their current meal- a breakfast, Richard and Jot walked down a hallway. They were planning to go visit the building owned by the Xevaronian martial arts association. Richard was interested in seeing it, and Jot was planning to spend some time training there, even though it wasn’t really the regularly scheduled time.

Off in the distance, Richard saw something green. Quickly afterwards, he realized the correct term was someone green. They were covered from head to toe in green clothing, long sleeves that went into gloves, and legwear that flowed seamlessly into matching footwear. This person’s, no, girl’s head was also covered with a transparent, but still slightly green tinged veil of sorts. Her hair and skin underneath that also appeared to be green, but it could have just been the veil.

Richard had stopped listening to what Jot was saying, although he just realized that. He was going to apologize and ask him to repeat it, but just as she was going to pass by, the green girl tripped. Richard immediately offered her a hand to help her up.

Her hand went into his, and he helped pull her to her feet, not that she seemed to actually need the help. Her gloved hand was soft like silk, probably for a good reason, such as it being silk of some kind. He also felt something wet, but he wasn’t sure what. He rather nervously said, “H… Hello.”

“Hi,” she responded, with a slight smile.

Richard didn’t know what to do next, but he did finally let go of her hand. He again noticed that it was wet. He looked down at his hand, and saw that it was covered in a green liquid. His keen observation skills and practical common sense told him it was blood. “Hey! You’re bleeding! Are you o…”

That was as far as he got before the pain hit him and he fainted.

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