2.13 Super-Genius

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Random fragments of his human childhood sparkled within Torth minds. Watching a cartoon show. Dipping his finger into a cold lake. His memories were being assimilated into the Torth Empire.

The boy formerly known as Thomas was determined to distance himself from those memories, to stop thinking about humans (when in public). At least the Torth didn't expect him to solve emotional problems. He wouldn't have to act as anyone's therapist.


What is therapy?


He examined nearby minds, and realized that the Torth Empire only had a vague understanding of his life on Earth. They'd examined his emotionally-saturated trigger events in order to test him, and flushed away everything else as unimportant background data.

Hmm. The boy formerly known as Thomas considered how to explain therapy to people who hardly felt emotions. Many humans suffer from emotional maladies, and seek treatment for those maladies.

Most of the Torth didn't fully understand, nor did they care to. Only a few dared to feel mild curiosity about primitive sociology. Ah, they thought.

Other minds joined in. Welcome to civilization,

reformed savage,

fledging innovator,


Yellow Rank.

Their many opinions of him coalesced. Dozens, then hundreds, and then thousands of Torth silently agreed upon a common description for the boy. They greeted him with his new title.


A slave lifted the sensory mesh, and Yellow Thomas was free to blink up at the starry night sky. He could taste the slave's fear. It had six limbs and orange fur, and although it looked similar to another slave he'd known (Gyatch), he reminded himself that its identity was meaningless.

The audience radiated approval. Slaves cannot comprehend Our superior minds.

Slaves (and primitives) cannot be trusted

to make (wise) rational decisions.

They are (therefore) fit only to obey instructions.

Yellow Thomas knew that humans did, indeed, often make poor decisions. By watching his entire life from the point of view of an emotionless outsider, he had seen humans for what they must truly be: Dogs. Cattle. Shallow creatures ruled by their emotions. They formed little packs and herds, and bickered over territory and mating privileges. He had attached far too much importance to their trivial concerns.

You didn't know any other way, the silent audience assured him. Now you do.

A suggestion blossomed. Change his eyes! Display his rank!

Their thoughts jumped ahead of one another, eager to introduce Yellow Thomas to civilization. All Torth begin adulthood as Yellow Ranks.

If you wish to gain more authority (power),

you must rise to (Brown and Orange) (Green) (or higher).

Apprentice yourself to a mentor

of your desired rank.

Different hues of yellow fanned through their minds: Lemon, gold, tawny, chartreuse. They emphasized that most Torth were satisfied to live and die as Yellows. Few earned a promotion.

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