Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 72

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Richard looked at the injured enemy he was facing, and thought he wasn’t much better himself. No, he was definitely worse, since Richard’s opponent was managing to avoid all of Elena’s shots even while injured. Richard could move forward to try to distract him, but that would mean Elena would no longer have a clear shot. Before Richard had time to make the decision, the enemy started backing away with the strange speed that they all seemed to display. However, before he got to the edge of the shield, blood sprouted from his neck, and he fell to the ground.

Looking around, Richard found that all of them were dead… or at least unconscious. Meanwhile, his friends were all standing. Elena and Susan had stayed in the middle with him… and only one person had managed to slip past the outer defenses. He’d given Richard a nasty stab, but Richard was mostly alright. At least, he was still conscious and felt he would stay that way. Jot and Jessica were still uninjured… but Hiroshi was bleeding from a gash on his chest. Even so, he still approached Richard. “Are you alright?”

“I should be. What about you?”

Hiroshi shook his head. “I’m fine.” Though it was the kind of thing people would say to reassure others even when they didn’t mean it… he seemed healthy enough.

Soon after, they both found themselves being treated. Apparently, Hiroshi and Jessica both had first aid kits on them, if small ones. Now that the situation had calmed down, Richard tried to relax, but he couldn’t help but continue to think about the whole situation. The ever present Null Reflector didn’t help the situation, and Richard still felt like he was in a black void. Jot didn’t seem relaxed either, as if he was watching for more people to appear. Richard didn’t sense any, but that didn’t mean they weren’t just a bit out of his range.

The first thing that Richard thought about was that Hiroshi and Jessica could fight. He knew that Hiroshi trained in martial arts, but the three dead people where Hiroshi had been guarding said that it wasn’t just for exercise. Still, he called himself a ninja, and Richard had already somewhat known. Jessica was more of a surprise, since she had never claimed to be a ninja, nor had he seen her do anything extraordinary. Mostly, she just stood around, occasionally entering conversation. Yet, she had a similar number of bodies over where she had been. That told a tale of more than just cousins with the same hobby. Even so, there were things that bothered Richard more than that.

“…Why didn’t they use guns?” Richard asked to the group in general.

Hiroshi answered almost immediately, “Oh, the ZPR fries electronics that pass through it.”

“Why doesn’t it fry people?”

“It does. Only a little though. If it actually tried to atomize slow moving objects it would use a lot more energy than necessary.”

“Huh.” Richard pondered for a few moments. “Where did it come from?”

“Oh, it’s mine.”

Richard looked over at Hiroshi. “How did you get one? Aren’t they pretty… military?”


“Hiroshi!” Jessica interjected.

Hiroshi shook his head. “Do you really think there’s any point of keeping secrets now? Besides, in situations like this I’m authorized to tell him anything he asks.”

She shook her head. “Fine.”

“Anyway,” Hiroshi continued, “I got it through my work as a bodyguard.”

“I’ve never seen you- oh. This is work, then?”

Hiroshi smiled sheepishly. “Well, yeah.”

“Hmm.” Richard thought for a few moments. “So, Jessica’s here to protect Susan?”

“That’s right.”

“Which means you were hired by my dad?”

“Pretty much.”

Richard sighed. “I’m not sure how I feel about that. Though, I suppose I should say thanks still. I seriously doubt I’d be alive without both of you… and Jot.” Richard turned to Jot, “You’re not here as a bodyguard, right?”

Jot shook his head. “Nope, just as a friend. I thought it was pretty obviously they were bodyguards though.”

“Was it?” Richard shook his head. Susan caught his eye and nodded, but Elena just shrugged. “Oh, umm… sorry for involving you in this, Elena.”

“Well… that’s not necessarily the case.” She walked over to the bodies, and took off the headgear. “Human, I think. That doesn’t really mean much though. Still, it’s possible they were after me instead.”

“Eh, probably not.” Hiroshi shook his head, “Not that you aren’t important enough, but these don’t look like mercenaries for hire… and any more militarized forces after you would probably be Noxian.”

Elena thought for a few moments. “Well, I’ll trust your expertise. So… how long do we stay here?”

“Well, until the barrier runs out of power, or we get communication from Richard’s father.”

Richard frowned. “Won’t the police or even military be called for something like this? Well, maybe nobody saw the shooting but people should recognize a Null Reflector… even if it’s a bit creepier than in movies.”

“They’re probably already on the way, or maybe they’re here. However, even if they could communicate with us we have no way to know it’s really them.”

“We can’t communicate with them?”

Hiroshi shook his head. “This thing blocks sonic attacks… and thus sound in general. Most other forms of communication too, but it’s not like they have our phone numbers anyway.”

“Then how will my dad contact us?”

Hiroshi pulled out a small device. “FTL radio. The signal is kind of never in the intermediate spaces, so it’s not blocked by the field.”

“So, that’s it? We just wait here for the field to drop or for him to send you a message?”

“Pretty much.”

“Hmm.” Richard rubbed his hands together. “It’s actually getting kind of cold.”

“That’s a side effect. Thermal energy can be dangerous too. Don’t worry though, it won’t get to dangerous levels before time runs out. Just uncomfortable.”

“So, how long will this take?”

“Minutes, maybe half an hour. It depends on how much shooting they did at the outside. It’s not something that can be destroyed with just some small arms, but it doesn’t have infinite power either. It could be a while-”

At that moment Richard saw the shield fade away, like a popped bubble, and light streamed in. It was just normal sunlight, but it was blinding after having only a small amount of artificial light. Still, Richard wasn’t worried. Though he couldn’t see, he felt a familiar presence. “Hi, dad.”

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One Reply to “Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 72”

  1. Thanks for the chapter! Finally it’s revealed to him, or rather he (probably) stopped lying to himself about who they really are. Nevertheless I hope Hiroshi actually feels like a friend.

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