Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer

Aaron was quite obviously not your ordinary student. He was several years younger than any of the others at the university, but clearly far smarter. His appearance was a little eccentric, clothed in a mix of fifties white collar littered with popular current brands. His thick framed Buddy Holly glasses could have been either stylish or awkwardly obsolete, one couldn’t be quite sure.

He appeared almost out of the blue, and I tried several times to learn where he’d come from, what his background was, but he was unwilling to talk about himself. He would stammer before derailing the conversation towards a math problem he was solving, or some complex area of physics he’d become fascinated with. Somehow he could draw you into that conversation, and make you forget until later that he’d sidestepped your initial question altogether.

Some of our lectures he would simply not attend, preferring to spend the time in the lab or the library. Several lectures I think he came to only to engage the professors in heated dialogue about the theories they were positing, deliberately taking an informed but always contradictory stance. The professors appeared on the one hand to enjoy Aaron’s intellectual jousting, but on the other seemed to resent the fact that someone so young could expose such glaring gaps in their knowledge.

One morning, Aaron was found alone in a classroom, every inch of blackboard space covered with complex mathematical formula. His dusty hands shaking and his hair greasy and disheveled, it appeared that he’d been there all night, solving equations. They closed the room for a few days while the faculty reviewed and trascribed his proofs, and the school echoed with whispered comments for weeks afterwords.

Something was clearly not natural about Aaron, but no one could quite put a finger on what exactly that something was. His uncanny ability to solve equations most professors could not themselves understand; his extreme beyond the box questions; his apparent disinterest in girls, in liquor and often in sleep. The name calling stopped early in the year, people just began to keep a silent uneasy distance from him, and he didn’t seem to mind.

It wasn’t until Aaron immersed himself in the works of Sergei Krasnikov and his tube theories that I became concerned. Later when he began delving into the Alcubierre metric I myself became truly unsettled.

It was clear to me that he was far too intelligent. I simply had to consume him before he figured out what I was.

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