Anglic Union

“On the last of these, I can be of some help,” Victor said, “namely I have a number of friends who passed through mostly American universities before the Interregnum, were lucky enough to be able to afford the immortality treatment while it was still available on Earth, are still here and would be happy to support with their time such a university.  There also people who are actually still doing engineering and scientific research, not very many of them, but a few of them are quite good and quite determined. Admittedly, most of them do theory and numerical work, since experimental equipment is rare, expensive, and difficult to acquire.”  

“I’m sure you will find that list of your friends very helpful,” Elektra said, “assuming you are agreeable.”  

Chelan looked out at the ocean. This actually was a beautiful office, it had a wonderful view, the amount of work he had to do had relaxed from the frenetic down to dutifully performing that which was needed, but he suddenly suspected that something more was afoot.  

“What have I agreed to, assuming that I agree?” he asked.  

“There seems to be agreement that you would be the ideal choice to serve as a new Chancellor. Even Victor Terhorst, who strongly disagrees with almost all of your political opinions, thinks that you are the one alternative who can pass through the Senate. Indeed, it is fortunate that the National Front will support your appointment, because it is an excellent guess that the Social Democrats will bring most of the Popular Democrats with them in saying that the recent changes in the College been in the right direction, and therefore we should leave the current Chancellor in place.”  

Oh, joy, he thought. I suppose I should ask a few key questions first.  

“To what extent will I have hiring authority?” Chelan said.  “More important, to what extent can I fire people?  There is a relevant story, pre-Interregnum, here.  Once upon a time, there was a large engineering school.  They decided that the basis of engineering education needed to be changed, to include a much stronger basis in the fundamentals.  The current faculty were not useful for this direction. For better or worse, they made needed changes.  First, they fired all the physicists.  I am not saying that is the answer here, but … I would prefer that you did the firing before I take the job.”  

“You may not have seen it yet,” Elektra said, “because it is a quasi-final draft only, but a copy was leaked to the College.  The Senate has a resolution condemning the academic administration and lead faculty for failing to maintain the quality of the institution and lying about it to the Senate.  As a result, most administrators and many faculty signed an open letter to the Senators and Lords saying that they completely supported what had been done and would resign if we made any major changes, such as replacing the Chancellor.”  

“There is a very old phrase,” Victor said, “the circular firing squad. I would have to review the list of signers, to see if there is anyone we would want to keep.  Do I recall that that letter, sent to the Senate, is legally binding?”

About George Phillies

science fiction author -- researcher in polymer dynamics -- collector of board wargames -- President, National Fantasy Fan Federation
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