Chapter 16:

Would You Rather?

New Leaf!

“Hey Mr Morales, I have a question.”Bookmark here

“Oh? What is it?”Bookmark here

I spoke in my usual tone of voice.Bookmark here

We were currently eating dinner that Camryn prepared; a simple pan-seared pork chop meal. Like the fried rice that she prepared for my lunch earlier, this slightly strayed from my instructions. There was more seasoning than usual and the meat was slightly overcooked, but I decided not to complain. Besides, it was her who prepared this, so I have no right to do so.Bookmark here

“Oh wait, no sorry, this isn’t really a serious question, it’s a “would you rather” question.”Bookmark here

“O-okay.”Bookmark here

Her statement caught me off guard. “Would you rather,” huh? I remember that Connie asked me one once, but to be honest, I have never understood what those types of questions were for. How did they differ from regular questions? Could they be related to what was happening at the moment? Dinner… after work… evening… I did not know.Bookmark here

“Okay! Here is the question.”Bookmark here

Camryn smiled and her eyes lit up. However, her smile and her lit eyes seemed off.Bookmark here

“Um… Would you rather… have the natural ability to breathe underwater, or the natural ability to breathe in space?”Bookmark here

“Hm…”Bookmark here

I looked down and started to stroke my chin with my left hand. Underwater or in space… Out of the two, the best ability to have is the ability to breathe underwater. The reasoning behind this is simple — people are more likely to be underwater than in space. Bookmark here

“The better skill to have is the ability to breathe underwater.”Bookmark here

“Woah, you responded so quickly that it was like you didn’t have to think about it. Why choose to breathe underwater?”Bookmark here

“Well, whether it be boating or swimming, humans are more susceptible to being submerged underwater. Therefore, an ability to breathe underwater would be more efficient than an ability to breathe in space.”Bookmark here

“Hm… You sure?”Bookmark here

Wait, am I wrong. If she is confirming whether that is my final answer, I am most likely incorrect. Then I have to think more. Bookmark here

But it was a bit harder to do so. I felt something — something physical was pestering me. In my right arm, between my triceps and shoulder, something was pestering me. I covered that area with my right hand. This feeling… I have not felt this in a while. The sensation… It was like that area was throbbing in pain. I tilted my head downwards. I need to ignore the pain and think more — I always do this whenever the sensation appears.Bookmark here

I need to question why she is asking me this. I initially thought she was asking what ability would be better for individuals to have, but maybe that is not the case. Maybe what ability would be more efficient for the entirety of mankind? Yeah, maybe that is it.Bookmark here

Well, having the ability to either breathe underwater or in space would lead to one common thing — breathing equipment would no longer be needed. I see… So that means that additional costs for breathing equipment would be voided for both underwater and extraterrestrial exploration. Bookmark here

Then the question is asking which is more useful to mankind. First, there is underwater exploration. The main reason why people explore underwater is to observe the wildlife and to make discoveries that could potentially benefit mankind… However, that is also a primary reason for space exploration. Okay…Bookmark here

Then the question asks what contributed greater to the development of mankind. Space exploration or underwater exploration… I think the answer is underwater exploration. With underwater exploration, people have found many things that benefit mankind such as food, medications, or even simple decorations. Compared to the achievements accomplished from space exploration, underwater exploration is clearly superior. Bookmark here

However, there is the potential for space exploration to provide greater things. Yes, mankind has only gone as far as reaching Mars and the Moon. That means that there could potentially be greater things currently uncovered. And since there are no costs for breathing equipment, people can focus more on other concerns such as research, possibly allowing them to explore further. But, that is similar to underwater exploration. A decent percentage of the world’s oceans have not been explored, and like with space exploration, exploration can be advanced. Then the answer is the ability to breathe in space because the amount explored is far less, correct? Well, the new discoveries made in space could either be helpful or trivial… and with the high costs for space travel, spending money for the risk of something either progressive or not may not be feasible…Bookmark here

This was a hard question to find a definitive answer for. There were so many factors that could change my current answer, but a lot of the indecisiveness came from the fact that luck was a big factor — whether something new can be discovered or not. Hm… If I cannot find an answer, then I should think about the question differently. Hm…Bookmark here

After what felt like a couple of minutes, I decided on my final answer. When I looked up from thinking, I saw that Camryn was mostly finished with her food.Bookmark here

“The better skill to have is actually the ability to breathe in space.”Bookmark here

“Oh, you changed your answer? Okay. Well, why choose to breathe in space.”Bookmark here

I nodded.Bookmark here

“The reason is a bit more complex, but simply put, having the ability to breathe in space also grants the ability to breathe underwater.”Bookmark here

Camryn’s face filled with curiosity.Bookmark here

“Really? Please explain.”Bookmark here

I nodded again.Bookmark here

“Basically, your question was asking two different things: should people have the ability to survive without oxygen, or should people be biologically similar to fish or other aquatic creatures?”Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

I sat up straight in my chair.Bookmark here

“Well, most living creatures require oxygen to survive. Underwater may seem like a place like space where there is no oxygen, but there is. One piece of evidence is that water’s chemical name is dihydrogen monoxide.”Bookmark here

“Oh yeah!”Bookmark here

“People cannot survive underwater because they are incapable of breathing the oxygen in the water. However, fish can. With their gills, they can filter out the oxygen from water and deliver it to their respiratory system.”Bookmark here

“I see…”Bookmark here

“If people had the ability to breathe in space, it means that they do not require oxygen to survive. Since that would be the case, there would be no oxygen concerns underwater.”Bookmark here

“I-I see…”Bookmark here

Camryn’s head was tilted downwards and she was thinking. Did I give her the correct answer? Scientifically, having the ability to survive in space would solve both problems posed in the question.Bookmark here

And this throbbing sensation… It was not gone, but I knew how to get rid of it. I just needed to wait for a response.Bookmark here

After a moment, Camryn looked up and smiled.Bookmark here

“W-wow, you’re super smart! Good job!”Bookmark here

I… was correct. I felt relieved. And the pain in my arm… slowly faded.Bookmark here

Camryn stuck her thumb up in approval.Bookmark here

“That’s so interesting… A-anyway, let’s finish our meals.”Bookmark here

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Camryn’s POV:Bookmark here

I was currently washing the small number of dishes we used while Mr Morales was presumably working on his laptop in his room.Bookmark here

Mr Morales sure is an interesting person. He deciphered my party question with science — he proved that the things asked in my conversation starter were unfair. I’ve never been able to use that conversation starter, and finally being able to do so just to get it shut down — honestly, I was a little upset. Personally, I was expecting something like “Space because I want to explore other planets or see the stars,” or “Underwater because the fish and reefs are pretty,” but whatever.Bookmark here

Mr Morales’ response was so technical, wasn’t it? Didn’t he know that it was a question just for fun? Like, it wasn’t supposed to have a definitive answer. Is he a school teacher? Wait, no, he told me that he just had an office job. I guess Mr Morales just thinks differently — objectively.Bookmark here

Hm… I don’t think that having a mindset like that is as beneficial as it seems. Ignoring personal feelings in exchange for efficiency… On paper, it seems better, but in practice, it can be really painful — I think I’m speaking from experience...Bookmark here

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