Of Space and Bachelor’s Degrees Chapter 96

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XCVI

Normally, someone who had just become a doctor wouldn’t run their own research lab, or even their own section of it. However, Elena being a princess had some advantages… and Richard’s parents helped to pay for some of the equipment. That said, it was just a small section of the lab as a whole. They could have worked in some other section for those more experienced- there would have been nothing bad about that. However, Elena had her own ideas… and Richard wanted to help with that.

As of now, they were just getting used to the environment. Elena looked over the equipment. “So how much did this stuff cost?”

Richard shook his head. “I don’t know. Rather, I didn’t ask. It’s at least… well, it’s expensive, more than the stuff I asked for.” He shrugged. “I’m not going to turn it down, and my parents have money. They wouldn’t have bought it if they didn’t think we would make good use of it.”

“Still, this is better than some of the stuff in the main lab…”

Richard shrugged again. “If anyone complains about favoritism, remind them that this equipment didn’t come from Noxian pockets. You just found a big sponsor… which is basically true.”

“Where did your parents get the money?”
“Savings, probably, from whatever my parents did as jobs back when they have jobs. I don’t count my dad’s recent stint as a teacher.”

Elena nodded. “So… why are you here instead of out fulfilling your dreams?”

“What do you mean?” Richard tilted his head inquisitively. “I figured I’d spend a handful of years here, then when you’ve finished saving your people I can go do something else. I have time.”

Elena raised an eyebrow. “You think this can be solved in a handful of years? Are you joking?”

“Am I?” Richard frowned. “Do you think it can’t? I know it’s been a problem for generations, but you are a very intelligent woman… Plus, I’m here. Now, I’m not saying we’re the most brilliant minds to grace this galaxy, this planet, or possibly even this lab… but we have some special advantages. Maybe I’m overestimating us, but even if it takes longer, it will be worth it. Besides, nothing else I do would be more important than this… and I’m not without personal investment in Noxian affairs.”

“I can’t say I expected this, but I’m glad you’re here.”

Richard grinned. “Sure, you are now, but in a few years you’ll have seen enough of my face to never want to see it again.”

“I don’t know about that. Can’t you just get a new face?”

“I suppose I could… but why downgrade?”

—–

Richard could tell whether people could produce viable offspring, sometimes without thinking about it. At first, it seemed like a pointless but interesting ability. However, after he thought about it more, it was strange. He knew where the information came from, but he wasn’t sure how his energy part got it exactly. Even if he subconsciously scanned DNA, that would only work so much. After all, if DNA got passed onto a child, that meant it must have been viable at least in some cases. Perhaps they were recessive genes, only failing when paired with another of the same. However, there must have been more to it. After all, how could he really know? Without replicating the entire process, there was no way to be sure.

It turned out that he could be wrong- but the more chances he got to exercise that ability, the more accurate it became. He could judge other things about people too, but they weren’t as relevant to his current area of research. It was useful, but it would be even more so if he could determine what he was doing to know such things. It was mostly a subconscious process, but there had to be some effective criteria or it wouldn’t work. The real question was how to be more conscious about it. If they could figure out exactly what was going on with the Noxians, or even learn some new factors, it would be much easier to come up with a solution.

That was easier said than done, so Richard had to settle for more conventional means of research for the time being, though he never stopped working on conscious control. That mostly involved collecting large amounts of data. DNA sequencing, hormone levels, diet, and anything they could think of, from fertile Noxians and infertile alike. There was already much of this data, but more of it was better. Besides, Elena and Richard thought of a few new things to track. It would be nice to catalogue every single piece of people, but that was extremely difficult. A particular sample of blood or tissue could only be tested for so many things, as many of the processes singled out only a few types of things. It would be nice to have a magical scanner that could produce a list of everything without harming patients, but sadly that wasn’t possible.

Richard actually frowned at that. Was it impossible to have a magical scanner? He hadn’t considered that magic was real, though he also knew it wasn’t nearly so convenient as “magic” that people wanted. Maybe there was something there that could help. At the very least, it wouldn’t hurt to ask. Richard only knew one person who dealt with magic in the more pure sense of magic and not in the guise of ki. He didn’t talk with his grandmother all that often, but he still got along well with her. At the very least, she would be able to provide a general answer to the idea of magic being able to help. He wasn’t sure where she was at the moment, but it wasn’t like he needed her to answer or show up in person in an urgent manner. He sent off a message. It would get to her, at some point, and he was sure she would respond. There was no immediate response, which was somewhat surprising since there weren’t really many locations that didn’t have access to the net. Perhaps she was in transit on a ship without TDD communication, or perhaps she was just being old fashioned and didn’t have her computer on at all times, waiting for messages. Regardless, Richard had sent the message, so now things were in her hands. He went back to doing what he could, which mostly involved petri dishes at the moment.

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