Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 63

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Richard went to find his father. Though he had learned a few things about him over the last year, most things were still a mystery. He and Richard’s mother were obviously not normal, and Richard supposed that extended to his grandmother too. Richard was old enough to be considered an adult, in most cases. There were still some weird cases, but the point remained. There wasn’t any point in waiting for some arbitrary milestone in the future before he was suddenly considered mature enough to hear his father’s past. Of course, there would be things he still didn’t want to share… but Richard knew that there would still be many useful pieces of information.

Richard considered bringing Susan along… but he imagined his father might be more reserved with her around. After all, she had only really known them for less than half a year. While she was family, she was somewhat more like a distant relative. Richard, however, had been raised as his son, and though he was adopted, that had never made a difference.

“You look serious,” his father said when Richard found him.

“I was hoping to hear some more about your past… and why you’re different from normal humans. Were you made in a lab or something?”

“A lab? Ha! Definitely not. Well, I suppose it’s about time I shared some. Do you want the abridged version… or the super abridged version.”

“Can I not get the full version?”

“You can’t. It’s waaaay too long.”

“Then… the regular abridged version, I guess.”

The two of them went to the apartment where Richard’s father was staying for the sake of privacy. “Well then… where should I start.”

“How about at the beginning?”

“While that sounds all well and good… It does have some complications.” Gerald sighed. “The beginning of my story has some things that I regret doing. How about I skip to a good part like when I met your mother?”

“Wasn’t there some stuff with grandma before that?”

“…Yeah. I suppose I really will have to start at the beginning.”


“I was born into a small village. It was a small family with just my parents, my sister, and myself.”

Richard couldn’t help but interrupt. “Wait, a village? Not a city, but a village? Where?”

“Yes, a village. On Earth.”

“Earth has villages still?”

“It had villages. Do you want me to tell this story or not?”

“My very early life wasn’t extremely exciting. I grew older, made some good choices, made more bad choices… I grew up strong, but pretty stupid and ignorant- not a great combination by any means. It didn’t take long for me to realize my family and village were different. As I was then, I thought that made us better. We were stronger and smarter, after all. Well, some of us were smarter.”

Mr. Smith cleared his throat and continued, “There were other villages like mine, those who were different. That said, we were still humans. As for the ‘normal’ villages… they were also humans. However, not all of us agreed on that. Each type felt that they were humans, but they didn’t necessarily feel that the others were. As for my form of human… we lived longer, and could therefore become stronger and more knowledgeable. Over time, such differences became very exaggerated… which was more than enough to cause conflict. After all, people will fight over a different color of skin, hair, or eyes. They will fight over resources as well- perhaps even more easily. I would like to say that the war started because of a lack of resources, and desperate people just trying to survive. Instead, it was started because people were stupid… and it went as far as it did because people, including me, continued to be stupid.”

Richard’s father went to get some glasses of water, and drank some of his own before continuing. “As I said, I had a sister. We disagreed on some things, but I still loved her. Maybe it was because we were family, maybe it was because I knew, deep down, that she was right. She thought it was silly to make a distinction between the types of humans. After all, it wasn’t possible to tell us apart just by looking. Talking didn’t reveal any differences either. The only real differences were that some of us were older, or could get older… and that some of us could grow to pick up bigger rocks. Unfortunately, I was in the group that could pick up big rocks- or a giant axe. That, and I had interest in participating in the war.”

Richard couldn’t help but interject again, “Wait, an axe? How did that matter against guns?”

“There weren’t any guns.”

“How long ago was this?”

“A long time. Anyway, I took part in the war. As I was then, I didn’t particularly care if a particular village was involved, if there were ‘fake’ humans, they had to go. Sometimes we burned their villages, or chased them out, or killed them. In a war with no real point, terrible things happen… even more than normal, anyway. Of course, our side was not the only one doing so. After coming back from a raid I found those in my village were dead- including my sister. That broke something in me. My hatred grew from something casual, if awful, into something terrible. I wanted to wipe out those ‘fake’ humans.”

Mr. Smith shrugged. “Fortunately, that was much easier said than done. They had children faster and grew to maturity and strength more quickly. There were also more of them to begin with. In a war, a few strong people isn’t that good- and a sharp blade can kill even a strong man. We continued to win battles, but we lost people. Some of them were killed, but some just became sympathetic. Others had never wanted a war to begin with. Even so, there were some of us who were determined to continue. Perhaps things would have gone differently, if it wasn’t for your grandmother. It was a good thing that I met her when I did… even if at the time I thought it was the worst possible luck.”

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