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Gordian protocol Snippet #2

David's and Jacob Holo's newest alternate, cross history novel.
Gordian protocol Snippet #2
Post by runsforcelery   » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:14 pm

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Okay, I wasn't going to do this, but here is a small additional snippet from The Gordian Protocol.

I'm going to try really hard not to give into the temptation to hand out more of these, especially since Jacob and I still haven't done the copy edit with Baen, but still . . . .

________________________________________________________

Chapter One
Castle Rock University, 2017 CE


“You’re kidding me.” Benjamin Schröder sat back in his chair, shaking his head in disbelief. “You’re serious about this crap?!”

“I’m very serious, Doctor Schröder,” the thin, sharp-faced man seated behind the large, polished desk informed him severely. Patrick O’Hearn, the History Department’s chairman, was a good twenty years older than Schröder, but he’d always struck the younger man as a spoiled brat who’d never quite grown up. Schröder knew he wasn’t the most tactful or “process oriented” of individuals, but O’Hearn possessed a unique ability to make him think longingly of utterly inappropriate physical responses to “micro-aggressions.” Of course, in O’Hearn’s universe, the clarity of his understanding — thoroughly validated by everyone else living inside his bubble — meant he was incapable of micro-aggressions. All he was doing was “speaking truth to power” . . . especially when he dragged in a junior member of his own department for “counseling.” Aside from his voice, which was actually a surprisingly pleasant baritone, the older man represented every single thing Schröder disliked about academia . . . except for the whiny students unalterably opposed to enduring the contamination of alternative viewpoints. The only reasons students like that bothered him less than O’Hearn — and he had to admit, they ran a very close second — was that he kept reminding himself of what his mother had taught him as a teenager: ignorance and even narrowmindedness can be fixed; stupid is forever. And willful stupidity like O’Hearn’s was especially galling. He suspected that the two of them would have cordially disliked one another under any imaginable circumstances; under the circumstances which actually applied, “dislike” was far too pale a verb.

“What happened to my right to file a response?” he demanded now. “I’ve got ten days to respond even to a formal grievance, let alone an Administrative Review!”

“Of course you do, Doctor.” O’Hearn emphasized the academic title with a certain spiteful courtesy. “And if you choose to exercise that right, no one would even consider denying it to you. That right is absolutely guaranteed under the Student Grievance Policy and Procedures. I simply thought — purely as a courtesy to a professional colleague, you understand — that it might be expedient to . . . advise you in this matter.”

Schröder clenched his teeth and cautioned himself against dwelling any further on those politically incorrect but highly satisfactory responses to O’Hearn’s bright smile. The most satisfactory item on the menu would have included a direct kinesthetic rearrangement of the smile in question, which would hardly help his case at the moment. Some of the verbal responses which sprang to mind would have been almost equally unhelpful, however well-deserved and apropos they might have been.

“Should I take it, then,” he said instead, after counting slowly to ten, “that Dean Thompson’s taken an official position on this?”

“Oh, by no means! That would be highly inappropriate at this stage of the process.” O’Hearn shook his head, blue eyes gleaming with poorly disguised satisfaction behind the lenses of his wireframe glasses. “She would never attempt to intervene or pressure anyone at such an early stage of the grievance process. At the same time, of course, she has to be aware of remedial options and any . . . potential sanctions. And, as your department chair, I thought it best to ascertain from her on your behalf exactly what those options might be after Ms. Kikuchi-Bennett raised her concerns with me.”

“How kind of you,” Schröder said, then bit his tongue mentally as O’Hearn’s eyes flickered with mingled anger and satisfaction.

“You are a member of my department,” the chairman pointed out. He didn’t add the words “unfortunately” or “for the moment, at least,” Schröder observed. Or not out loud, anyway. “And I’m sure you’re aware of how seriously Castle Rock University takes any potential discrimination or harassment, especially by faculty.”

“Oh, I’m well aware of that,” Schröder replied. “I’m still a little confused about exactly how I’m supposed to have discriminated against or harassed Ms. Kikuchi-Bennett, though.”

“The creation of a hostile classroom environment is the very definition of harassment, Doctor,” O’Hearn said rather more frostily. “And attacking an undergraduate’s gender identity and political views in front of an entire class certainly creates exactly that sort of environment.”

“I’m not aware of having attacked Ms. Kikuchi-Bennett’s gender identity — or political views — in any way.”

“Sarcasm, ridicule, and denigration constitute ‘attacks’ in most people’s view, Doctor.” O’Hearn’s tone was positively icy now, but the satisfaction in his eyes was brighter.

“No doubt they would . . . if I’d done any of them.” Schröder felt his own temper rising and stepped on it firmly. It wasn’t easy, and he felt the ghost of his father standing at his shoulder. The old man probably would have already ripped out O’Hearn’s tonsils and wrapped them around his neck for a bowtie.

Not the best image for him to be dwelling upon at the moment.

“I’m afraid three independent witnesses support Ms. Kikuchi-Bennett’s interpretation of your remarks, Doctor.”

“And am I permitted to know who these three independent witnesses might be?”

“I’m afraid that’s privileged information under the University’s privacy procedures. At this time, of course.” O’Hearn flashed another of those thin, smug, satisfied smiles. “If the process continues to the formal grievance stage, however, I’m sure you’ll receive copies of their statements.”

“But not their identities?”

“It’s the content of their statements, not their identities, that would be relevant,” O’Hearn pointed out, “and the University has a legal and moral responsibility to protect their privacy, if only to avoid any appearance of retaliation against them. I’m sure you can understand the Chancellor’s position on that point, Doctor. You would certainly be within your legal rights to seek that information if you should choose to appeal the Grievance Committee’s formal ruling in other venues. Of course, at that point the Legal Department would be legally and morally obligated to protect that information until such time as the courts directed its disclosure.”

“Oh, of course.”

Schröder wished O’Hearn’s attitude had surprised him. Given academia’s taste for witch hunts, though, the surprise would come from any other response. Besides, he had a pretty shrewd notion which of Kikuchi-Bennett’s friends had chosen to support the transgender student’s allegations. If he was right, the frightening thing was that at least two of them were undoubtedly completely sincere in their belief that he had, indeed, brutally and viciously assailed Kikuchi-Bennett in front of their entire class. Their hypersensitive, exquisitely quivering antennae would have left them with no other conclusion, especially after Kikuchi-Bennett “rebutted” his comments not by refuting — or even considering — his reasoning or his evidence, but by scorning them as “typical of the racist and homophobic patriarchy’s callous dismissal of any dissenting viewpoint.” In his experience, once those labels were deployed, any possibility of rational discourse had left the building.

He thought — briefly, and not very seriously — about pointing out to O’Hearn that what he’d said was simply that women hadn’t acquired the franchise in the United States at the point of a gun, but by convincing the majority of men that in a just society interested in living up to the Declaration of Independence’s nobly espoused principles they should have had the franchise all along, just as African Americans should have had their freedom all along. The suffragettes' victory in the 19th Amendment had been achieved because their stance had been correct all along and their moral pressure had convinced enough male voters of that to support the amendment’s passage. Since the discussion had been about the evolution of legal and societal viewpoints in the United States, and about the fashion in which protest movements and organized political pressure groups had achieved change, it was difficult for him to see that as even misogynistic, far less racist, homophobic, or gender phobic.

It was Kikuchi-Bennett who’d raised a hand, rejected his argument, and asserted that only someone speaking from the “privileged platform of the white male patriarchy” could possibly have made such a ludicrous assertion. As someone who was neither female nor black, his “patronizing dismissal of their struggle” both demeaned them and revealed his own “blinkered” inability to see the truth hidden in the “so-called history written by that same white male patriarchy,” and segued from there into the necessity for “free speech zones” where such “hate speech and shameless historical revisionism” as his — which was particularly offensive coming from someone speaking from a “privileged position of power” — would not be tolerated.

Maybe I should have pointed out that my family probably knows a little more about that whole African American thing than most non-Black families, he thought. In fact, he’d considered doing just that, although not very hard. Claiming personal credit for the moral superiority of ancestors who’d been dead for a century or two was about as intellectually dishonest as an argument came. Besides, it would have been totally irrelevant to her. And certainly not germane to the course’s subject matter.

Aware that Kikuchi-Bennett’s passion, however misguided he found it, was completely genuine, he’d dialed back his instinctive response. Apparently replying with the observation that “traditionally, college is where we’re supposed to challenge our own conceptions and preconceptions” had been . . . an insufficient dial-back.

Personally, he would have preferred to demonstrate the illogic and inconsistency of Kikuchi-Bennett’s arguments in a reasoned debate from which both of them might have learned a little something, if only respect for opposing viewpoints. It would have been nice if, failing that, he’d at least been able to shut the tirade down in less than the fifteen minutes of the rest of his students’ time which had been squandered to absolutely no good purpose. And, oh, for the long-vanished days when he could have suggested that Kikuchi-Bennett was always free to depart his classroom and refuse to return to it ever again.

I wonder how Mom would’ve dealt with this? he wondered, only half whimsically. In fact, he had a pretty good idea how Doctor Joséphine Schröder would have responded, especially here at her own alma mater. Of course, we probably shouldn’t call it an alma mater anymore, either. “Mother” is so sexist. Alma parente would probably be better . . . of course, that’s a masculine gendered noun, isn’t it? Damn, Latin is such a sexist language! Just like French, Spanish, and Italian. I guess we’ll have to find a new noun that’s neither.

Fortunately for her, his mother had acquired tenure at Emory two years before Benjamin’s birth. The climate had been just a little different then, and by the time the rot had truly set in, it would have taken a very hardy individual to pick a fight with “Doctor Joe,” who was famous for her ability to vivisect faulty reasoning and absolute death on fabricated or cherry-picked “facts.” Besides, even the faculty members who’d most strongly disagreed with her politics — aside from a handful of much younger, recent additions — had admired and respected her too deeply to consider this sort of nonsense, and her own students had loved her.

And the truth was that as infuriating as O’Hearn was, the man was about to do exactly what Benjamin wanted him to do. Under the circumstances, mentioning anything about rabbits, tar, or brier patches would probably send the man’s blood pressure through the roof, but really . . . .
Last edited by runsforcelery on Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:44 am, edited 1 time in total.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: Gordian protocol Snippet #1
Post by fallsfromtrees   » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:55 pm

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Shouldn't this be snippet #2?</pedantic mode>
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The only problem with quotes on the internet is that you can't authenticate them -- Abraham Lincoln
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Re: Gordian protocol Snippet #2
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:48 am

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Like!!! :lol:
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Sometimes The Dragon Wins! [Polite Dragon Smile]
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Re: Gordian protocol Snippet #2
Post by TFLYTSNBN   » Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:49 pm

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Any admiration for the morality of the American men who were persuaded to vote for women's sufferage should be tempered by an awareness of the tactics that were used to persuade them. The sudden decline in birth rates in they years prior to passage is proof that those "NO JUSTICE, NO PIECE" protest signs were no bluff.
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Re: Gordian protocol Snippet #2
Post by Dilandu   » Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:01 pm

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TFLYTSNBN wrote:Any admiration for the morality of the American men who were persuaded to vote for women's sufferage should be tempered by an awareness of the tactics that were used to persuade them. The sudden decline in birth rates in they years prior to passage is proof that those "NO JUSTICE, NO PIECE" protest signs were no bluff.


It would really amaze you, but the dropping birth rate is directly linked with the improving living conditions.
------------------------------

- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
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Re: Gordian protocol Snippet #2
Post by TFLYTSNBN   » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:44 am

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Dilandu wrote:
TFLYTSNBN wrote:Any admiration for the morality of the American men who were persuaded to vote for women's sufferage should be tempered by an awareness of the tactics that were used to persuade them. The sudden decline in birth rates in they years prior to passage is proof that those "NO JUSTICE, NO PIECE" protest signs were no bluff.


It would really amaze you, but the dropping birth rate is directly linked with the improving living conditions.



You missunderstood the joke. The joke is in how the word is spelled "PIECE" rather than "PEACE". "PIECE" is an American slang referencing a woman's willingness to have sex. As you can see by the data, birth rates were steady prior to passage of the 19th Amendment and declined aftereards.

https://www.prb.org/us-fertility/

Birth rates in the US generally increase during years of prosperity with the 1920s being an exception.
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Re: Gordian protocol Snippet #2
Post by Jacob Holo   » Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:49 am

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There were two aspects of working on the collaboration with David I was nervous about and focused heavily on while writing my scenes: historical fidelity and character voice. I think the first is going to be obvious for people who know me. I have an extensive engineering background, so I'm very comfortable with the technical aspects of what we set out to achieve with The Gordian Protocol. However, my skillset simply can't compare with the depth and breadth of David Weber's knowledge of history.

The second issue (character voice) is definitely relevant to this early scene, since David had a clear vision of how Benjamin Schröder should be portrayed. I think it's safe to say that some characters are more mine than David's and some are more David's than mine. Benjamin is very much a David character. Therefore, it was my responsibility to support his vision for the character in the scenes I wrote after he established the character in this a few scenes following it. This is easier said than done, especially in this case since Benjamin goes through some . . . difficult times, shall we say? . . . as the story progresses.

My approach to addressing both these points was actually the same. In any scene where I wrote the first draft, I always strove to establish a strong foundation first and foremost (in terms of what is happening and how it ties into the underlying skeleton of the plot). That way, even if I didn't get the historical details quite right (<cough> wrong guns being used by Ukrainians in 1958 <cough>) or messed up the voice for one of the characters, I'm still handing a scene over to my senior partner that fundamentally works (I hope, anyway! :D ). That then makes his job easier when it comes to fine tuning certain details or adjusting a character's voice to his liking.
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Re: Gordian protocol Snippet #2
Post by runsforcelery   » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:25 pm

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Jacob Holo wrote:There were two aspects of working on the collaboration with David I was nervous about and focused heavily on while writing my scenes: historical fidelity and character voice. I think the first is going to be obvious for people who know me. I have an extensive engineering background, so I'm very comfortable with the technical aspects of what we set out to achieve with The Gordian Protocol. However, my skillset simply can't compare with the depth and breadth of David Weber's knowledge of history.

The second issue (character voice) is definitely relevant to this early scene, since David had a clear vision of how Benjamin Schröder should be portrayed. I think it's safe to say that some characters are more mine than David's and some are more David's than mine. Benjamin is very much a David character. Therefore, it was my responsibility to support his vision for the character in the scenes I wrote after he established the character in this a few scenes following it. This is easier said than done, especially in this case since Benjamin goes through some . . . difficult times, shall we say? . . . as the story progresses.

My approach to addressing both these points was actually the same. In any scene where I wrote the first draft, I always strove to establish a strong foundation first and foremost (in terms of what is happening and how it ties into the underlying skeleton of the plot). That way, even if I didn't get the historical details quite right (<cough> wrong guns being used by Ukrainians in 1958 <cough>) or messed up the voice for one of the characters, I'm still handing a scene over to my senior partner that fundamentally works (I hope, anyway! :D ). That then makes his job easier when it comes to fine tuning certain details or adjusting a character's voice to his liking.



Well,*I* think it worked out fairly well! :lol: :lol:


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: Gordian protocol Snippet #2
Post by Dilandu   » Wed Dec 12, 2018 3:06 pm

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Jacob Holo wrote:(<cough> wrong guns being used by Ukrainians in 1958 <cough>)


Exactly which Ukrainians, may I ask? You see, being Russian I'm a bit... sensitive about western authors, writing about pretty complicated question of Eastern European relations) No hard feelings, you probably feel the same about our writers trying to work with American history) ;)
------------------------------

- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
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Re: Gordian protocol Snippet #2
Post by Jacob Holo   » Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:24 pm

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Dilandu wrote: Exactly which Ukrainians, may I ask?


These particular scenes take place quite a ways from the timeline's divergence point, so the geopolitical landscape is vastly different from the one in our history books. Other than that . . . I probably shouldn't say more. ;) Though I will say there are about 20,000 words of alternate history notes that David wrote going from the divergence point to our modern era, and it's AWESOME stuff! Some of those notes are represented in the novel, but a lot of it is simply deep background material for the two of us. Regardless, I feel confident you'll enjoy the alternate take on events we present in The Gordian Protocol.

Dilandu wrote: You see, being Russian I'm a bit... sensitive about western authors, writing about pretty complicated question of Eastern European relations) No hard feelings, you probably feel the same about our writers trying to work with American history) ;)


Totally understand where you're coming from. I've actually had similar experiences when watching anime. I've been a big fan of anime for quite a while, but by this point I've become fairly desensitized to unusual portrayals of Americans (both contemporary and historical) in Japanese entertainment. :roll:
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