Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 92

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“What’s that, Richard?” Jot looked quizzically at the pot in front of him.

“What does it look like?”

“I would say… a tiny little tree.”

“What kind of tree?”

“Umm…” Jot leaned closer, and plucked a fruit that was merely a centimeter across. “Cherry? No wait, is this some kind of apple? Is the secret project you’ve been working on for the last few months a tiny apple tree?”

Is it a tiny apple tree?” Richard spun it around so the other side was facing Jot. “Look again.”

“Okay, let’s see… Oh, there’s a different tiny little fruit over here.” He pulled it off and looked at it. “I don’t think I know what this orange fruit is.”

“It’s an orange.”

“An orange what?”

“Just… an orange. I think they named it after the color because they couldn’t think of a good name. How have you seen apples but not oranges? This completely ruins the joke.”

“You spent this long on a joke?”

“No. I mean, I did spend this long on it, but the joke part wasn’t really hard. There’s a saying- ‘It’s like comparing apples to oranges’. It means trying to compare two very different things.”

“Ok.” Jot nodded, “Humans are crazy. These are both fruit. That immediately makes them comparable.”

“Well, yeah, I know that. Otherwise I wouldn’t have tried this. They had to be at least a little bit similar. The point is, this tree grows both!”

“Impressive! Why is it so small though?”

“Well… because it was a test. Also, that was honestly the biggest thing I could do.” Richard frowned at the tree that was a third of a meter tall. “Honestly, it’s kind of like two trees mushed together. See here, where the bark transitions?”

“Hmm, I guess.”

“On each side, the leaves are different too.”

“Hmm.” Jot leaned in close again. “I wouldn’t have noticed. So, is this feat of genetic engineering for some class?”

Richard shook his head. “Nope, it was just for me. I wanted to see if I could do it.”

“I see. And what is ‘it’ exactly? Just this?”

“Well, this kind of thing. Working with genetics of other things.”

“Of course you can. You’re smart and determined.”

“Yeah but I mean, without special equipment. I did this with just me… and so many apples and oranges. And pots and dirt and water… Anyway I’m sure you get the point.”

“So you did this with?”

“The energy part of me. I can mess with my own DNA… terrifyingly easily, actually. I wanted to see if I could do it to something else, and the answer is yes. A little bit.”

There was a knock on the door- though it was open. Susan was merely announcing her presence. “Hi Richard. I was wondering if you wanted to go Soldier of Revenge 6? I know 3, 4, and 5 weren’t great but I heard this one might be. Plus the movie theatre is near that ice cream place.” She walked closer. “What’s this plant.”

“It’s an apple and orange tree.”

“Oh, okay.”

“Okay? Okay? I mixed apples and oranges!”

“Oh, is that good?”

Richard sighed. “Man, nobody knows about apples and oranges anymore.” Richard pondered. “Maybe that’s just my dad.”

Jot chimed in, “Probably. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that phrase before.”

Susan shrugged. “Can I touch it?”

“Go ahead. You can even eat the fruit if you want, though uh… they’re not that filling. Also, the seeds are huge.”

Susan managed to nibble at a tiny apple, but squashed the orange when she tried to peel it. “I see what you mean about the seeds. They’re like half seeds. Couldn’t you make the seeds smaller?”

“Well, yeah probably, but then the seeds would be pointless.”

“Do they have a point now?”

“Same as all seeds- they make new trees.”

“Oh?” Susan held up one of the seeds from the apple, “So if I plant this I’ll get an apple tree?”

“Nope, you’ll get an apple and orange tree. Same the the other seeds.”

Jot blinked. “Really? This hybrid can actually reproduce?”

“Yep. Some of them end up growing a lot more apple, and some more orange… this is the only one that was balanced, but I don’t think the seeds will make more just like this. It’s really whatever part gets the advantage during early growth.” Richard snapped his fingers, “Oh yeah I still need to show this to Elena!”

“Show me what?” Elena stood outside the room, “I heard we might go get ice cream. I really needed a break from studying anyway.”

“I made an apple and orange tree!”

She leaned over to look at it. “Cool. Is it grafted?”

“Nope, they’re normally incompatible. This one’s a citrus, and this one isn’t.”

“So then how…” She looked it over, carefully pulling branches and leaves to the side. She shook her head. “Did you make it in a lab?”

“Nope, just me… well, and my second self, I guess.”

She nodded. “Does that… work?”

“It does. The only problem is I can only work on small things. I didn’t just grow this one small- if you take the seeds, none of them will grow to normal size. I had to work on the tree itself and not the seeds, so it couldn’t be big. It also took a long time. Still, it proved I could, so maybe I’ll be able to make something more useful in the future.”

Elena nodded. “This is good. Are you going to show this anywhere?”

“I don’t plan to. I can’t really tell people how I did it. Besides, at this level it’s just a curiosity. I do have some more ideas for the future though.Everything else will probably take a real lab though… and probably a lot more years of study.”

Elena shrugged. “That’s what we’re here for, isn’t it? Everything takes time and effort to get good at.”

Richard nodded. That certainly was the case. Though it didn’t take too long to get competent at something, to be truly good or great took time. For what he wanted to accomplish… it might take decades, but that was fine. After all, pursuing something great with your life was probably one of the best ways to spend it.

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2 Replies to “Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 92”

  1. Thanks for the chapter!~ That’s pretty awesome! I’m hoping that eventually he’ll be able to change bigger things, such as Humans, Xevaronians etc…. Would be really interesting to see what he’d do with that ability.

  2. Thanks! :3

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