Joseph Pike is Richard’s best friend.  Just who is this human, anyway?

Joseph Pike lives on earth (duh).  He also attended a high school with Richard, as he explains here:

I am planning to surround up a few of my friends from high school who are still on Earth. I know it has been a few years, but I have been able to maintain contact with a lot of them since then, and I even managed to locate a couple I had lost contact with.
In this moment, I am contacting Joseph Pike, my best friend from high school. He works for a big industrial firm there, but I cannot remember what it is called. I have it written down here somewhere. Here it is—Matterhorn Power, Industry & Electronics. Hmm. I guess they make generators and electronics.

Richard Tyberius

Joseph Pike, friend of Richard Tyberius, works at a manufacturing plant.  If you knew anything about where this is, you’d realize this isn’t much of a stretch for believability.  It would be more surprising how little has changed there after dozens of decades.  Oh well.

Joseph is not just anybody, though.  Consider this little tidbit:

As they walk up to the receptionist counter, young woman, sitting behind the counter, typing away, stops, seeing the pair approach her. “Can I help you?” she asks politely.
Joe looks down to her, smiling. “It’s me. I’m here to see Mr. Matterhorn,” he causally remarks.

Joseph Pike

You do remember the name of the place he works, right?  It’s that Mr. Matterhorn.  And while you could be led to believe this is a small family company, I would suggest you read the book and decide that for yourself.  So Joseph does have a little more leeway than some when it comes to getting some free time.  And not just because he happens to know the boss.

One of the contributing factors is a project he is working on:

Joe snaps his fingers and displays a large grin. “See if you can guess what this is!” Joe goes back to the desk behind his own. It still has several books, not to mention papers, on it, but there is also something else on it. “This is what I wanted you to see.” Richard moved closer to the desk, to get a better look at what was on it.
“What exactly is this?”
Joe smiles proudly. “It’s a model for a mass displacement drive. This could easily be the fastest engine for a galactic starship ever built.” Richard gasps, pointing at the thing on the desk and stepping closer.
“Your senior paper was on this!” Richard looks down to recall a key thought. “You said in theory we could cross the Milky Way galaxy in a matter of seconds instead of ten to fifteen years with conventional light drives. This is an incredible breakthrough!” Richard excitedly exclaims.

Think about what Richard has just shared.  His best friend has developed the fastest form of propulsion ever conceived, as a school project.  Let that sink in.  This is your introduction to Joe.

He is basically a smart person.  And while that may seem stereotypical to include someone like this in a science fiction novel (I’d really have to think, but I can only think of maybe one or two that didn’t have any. But I’m not that well-read in the genre), you also have to consider that he isn’t as stereotypical as it may seem at first.

One example is that he is dating a girl.  But not just any girl.  A girl so unlike him, Richard is quick to raise an objection.  To the whole concept:

Richard jumps up. “Why?” he asserts. “You hated her in high school! Why, every time you two intersected paths, I was certain someone was going to be maimed!”
Joe laughs. “‘Hate’ is such a strong word,” Joe objects. “‘Strong-willed’ would better describe her. There are certain things she feels very strongly about. Once I realized that, well, we sorta hit it off.”
Richard looks intently at Joe. “You desired her all along, did you not?” Joe smiles. “That explains why we were intersecting paths with her so much.” Richard grins. “You were trying to, how you say, hitching up with her?” He shakes his head.
Joe blushes, looking down. “Well, it wasn’t until after high school we connected though. But we’ve been dating for almost a year now.” He stands up, his arms still folded, and steps behind his desk.
Richard’s eyes follow his friend. “A year? You are probably close to …” He watches as Joe pulls a small box from the top desk drawer. The paper dust lightly covering the heavy black velvet on the outside of the box indicates to Richard the box may have been there a while. “Asking her?”

Richard Tyberius & Joseph Pike

This is one best friend talking to another, realizing he’s missed something about his friend in the absence apart (maybe even in their time together).  But, it also shows Joe is more than a brain.  You’ll get to see more about this aspect later, but realize like Richard, and even Becky, there is more going on for him than what is touched on in the book.  Last month (Jan 2017) was the chapter introducing you to Joseph, who regularly goes by ‘Joe’ as well.  Suffice to say, he is only one of the people Richard knows on Earth.  When you meet his next friend Maice, you will see next week that Richard has a diverse friend pool.

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