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Guardian Protocol Snippet #3

David's and Jacob Holo's newest alternate, cross history novel.
Guardian Protocol Snippet #3
Post by runsforcelery   » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:06 am

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2418
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

“So essentially I’m supposed to respond to anonymous accusations without benefit of even hearing exactly what those accusations are? And your position is that, on that basis, I should accept whatever recommendation you choose to make rather than turn this into a confrontation before the Dean, the Senate, or the Chancellor?” he asked after a moment.

“Really, Doctor Schröder,” O’Hearn said in moderately offended tones, “that’s not a very constructive attitude. Having said that, though, I do feel the proposed . . . solution would be simplest — and fairest — all around. I think it’s clear you don’t feel you contributed to a hostile classroom environment for your students. As your department head I’m fully prepared to believe you sincerely feel that way and, indeed, that you had absolutely no intention of causing such distress to Ms. Kikuchi-Bennett or to any of her fellows. Obviously, however, whether or not that was your intent, it’s what happened, and that makes it almost worse, in a way. I’m sure the thought of causing such distress unintentionally must be as painful to you as it would be to me, and, as you know, our student body is one of the most diverse in American education. It’s going to grow only increasingly diverse in the future, and I would think that any professor who desires a long-term association with this institution — and, especially, one whose family has always been so deeply invested in it and in its core missions— would prefer to be equipped with the best tools available for encountering that diversity.”

Oh, I’m sure you would, you sanctimonious prick, Schröder thought. The mere fact that I don’t think I contributed to a hostile classroom environment because I [i] didn’t [i]doesn’t mean one damned thing to you, does it? In fact, in your world, the fact that I don’t think that only proves I did do it in the first place!

Of course his opinion didn’t mean anything to O’Hearn. But it was abundantly evident where the department head was going to come down, and there was no doubt that Helen Thompson, who just happened to head the tenure committee, would come down in exactly the same spot. Allen Rendova, the University’s Chancellor, on the other hand, almost certainly wouldn’t, for several reasons. Including the fact that he was more than smart enough — and had bothered to learn enough about one Benjamin Schröder and his family — to see exactly where this was going to end.

O’Hearn didn’t plan on its going as far as the Chancellor’s office, though. Benjamin Schröder was still a semester short of attaining tenure, and O’Hearn was counting on the fact that he’d never acquire it if he fought this bullshit allegation. He figured the administration would opt to get rid of a troublesome professor by quietly denying him tenure rather than risk the sort of public auto de fé Kikuchi-Bennett’s version of events would almost certainly inspire. After all, the tenure denial wouldn’t be directly linked to the way he’d embarrassed the University, now would it? And if that just happened to let the department head put the blocks to a brash, younger professor with whom he disagreed profoundly — and who’d already published more independent research than O’Hearn had managed in his entire career — well, every cloud had a silver lining, didn’t it?

He really should have done a little research on me before he decided to go here. And if I felt like a nice guy — which I don’t, at the moment — I should probably ask him if he’s ever met my brother or checked into some of Mom’s non-academic credentials. Or Dad’s, for that matter! Not that I’m going to look a gift horse in the mouth. If he wasn’t such a prick, I’d thank him for this! And wouldn’t that blow his mind?

He leaned back in his chair, his expression grim, and reminded himself of why he was at Castle Rock University in the first place.

Once upon a time, before CRU became the sprawling university it now was, it had been known as Castle Rock College. The small, privately endowed college, founded shortly after the Civil War by a tiny group of Quakers, Huguenots, and Methodist pastors, had opened its doors specifically to the sons and daughters of freed slaves, but it had never been one of the historically all-Black colleges. Its founders had believed that bringing Black and white students together — engaging them and mutually educating one another, as well as themselves, in the same classrooms — was the best way to break down barriers between them.

That attitude had been less than popular in 1868 North Carolina, and the college’s entire initial enrollment had been only thirty-three students, just six of whom, all the children of its faculty members, had been white. But to its critics’ amazement, it had survived despite every legal — and extra-legal — impediment thrown in its path, including half a dozen “mysterious” fires in its first ten years of operation. It had also become known as much for its intellectual diversity and exacting academic standards as for its radical notions about race and equality. One of its founders — and its first president — had been Marc-Antoine Martineau, an abolitionist Huguenot who’d immigrated from Canada to the United States in the late 1840s and run a Virginia station on the underground railroad for ten years before the first shell was fired at Fort Sumter. Marc-Antoine’s son, Jourdain, had chaired the Castle Rock Department of History for twenty-three years, and Benjamin’s mother, Joséphine Martineau Schröder, had graduated summa cum laude in 1963 and gone on to graduate studies at Duke University, McGill, and Oxford as part of her own outstanding academic career.

And while she was doing that, Castle Rock College had become Castle Rock University, with an explosive growth in enrollment that began in the sixties and seventies and continued into the nineties. The school’s century of dedication to civil rights and minority education had been a big part of that growth, but it had stalled over the last fifteen or twenty years. In fact, O’Hearn’s comments notwithstanding, enrollment had begun to shrink. Benjamin had his own suspicions about why that had happened, and he was enough his mother’s son to want to do something about it.

Patrick O’Hearn had no intention of allowing him to do anything of the sort, and not just because he saw the younger man as a threat to his own position. As much as Benjamin despised him, he never doubted the sincerity of O’Hearn’s beliefs. Those were what Benjamin truly threatened, in the chairman’s eyes, and the steady growth in the size of Benjamin’s classes — graduate and undergraduate, alike — underscored that threat. Benjamin was one of those right-wing, fascist hatemongers. He might never say or do anything overtly to betray his hate-fueled political agenda, but it had to exist. O’Hearn had plenty of evidence of that, given the way he required students to defend their logic and their facts and persisted in introducing “alternative viewpoints,” all of which were clearly designed to allow the oppressive poison of racism, misogyny, and homophobia back into the academic community from which they had finally been banished. It was beyond intolerable that a cretin who believed all of that should actually be one of the two or three most popular professors in his entire department, with waiting lists to get into his classes.

That attitude and sincerity made his determination to either hammer Benjamin into the proper mold, or else get rid of him before he acquired tenure, perfectly understandable.

Contemptible, perhaps, but understandable.

This is just so damned petty, though, he thought. I can do the frigging “gender sensitivity” standing on my head. It’s only a matter of giving them back the answers I already know they want. And it would probably look good on my resume. After all, it would show what a good, twenty-first-century, forward-thinking sort of fellow I am. There are probably even some good points in there. God knows I’d’ve loved for someone to have been a bit more “gender aware” when David came along! But I know the idiot they have in charge of it here, and David and Steve would laugh their asses off listening to him!

I wonder how much of this has to do with the fact that Granddad’s portrait is hanging on the wall outside his office and Great-Granddad’s is on the wall in
Rendova’s office? Maybe he resents that even more than I thought he did. Or maybe the connection makes him so scared of me that he has to stomp out the flame right now. Can’t have one the founders’ great-great-grandkids’ kicking up a stink and challenging the school’s mission, after all.

Hell, from his perspective, he’s got a point! I
am here to fight tooth and nail for genuine intellectual diversity. In his eyes, that is challenging the CRU mission. Of course, he and I differ rather profoundly on exactly what the mission is, don’t we? It may be too late, but I at least owe Castle Rock my best shot at it.

The temptation to tell O’Hearn exactly what he thought of him — and warn him where this was headed — trembled on the very tip of Schröder’s tongue, but he sat on the impulse. However personally satisfying it might have been, he already knew O’Hearn’s plan wasn’t going to play out the way the older man thought it would. Under the circumstances, the last thing he wanted was to give the department chair even a shred of a claim that he’d been “confrontational, arrogant, and personally abusive” when O’Hearn invited him to a civil fact-finding discussion. There were better and more effective ways to win this war, he thought, and he had no intention of throwing away his opponent’s mistakes.

He reminded himself of that as he settled further back into his chair, crossed his legs, and gave O’Hearn a smile just as false — and just as deliberately false — as any the department head had ever given him.

“You’re perfectly correct that I don’t feel I contributed to any ‘hostile environments’ in my classroom, Doctor O’Hearn,” he said pleasantly. “In fact, I’d go farther than that. I’m positive I didn’t. Of course, at the moment I haven’t quite attained tenure, which — obviously — means I haven’t been with the University long enough to . . . acquire total submersion in all the finer nuances of its current challenging intellectual diversity. That’s something I look forward to understanding more fully and completely in the fullness of time. And, of course, you’re correct about my family’s long-standing relationship with CRU. Because of that, I hope to make my own small contribution to its robust and stimulating intellectual climate over the next twenty-five or thirty years.”

O’Hearn’s face tightened, and Schröder allowed himself to smile a bit more broadly as he dwelt upon the vision of O’Hearn forced to tolerate him as a tenured member of his department for the next decade or two. Clearly the Chairman found that prospect unpalatable. Well, Schröder wasn’t exactly thrilled by the prospect of putting up with all the crap he knew he’d face — not just from O’Hearn, who wasn’t even the university’s most strident voice, to be fair — over that same decade or two, either. But it would be worth it just to contemplate the damage to O’Hearn’s cardiovascular system. Besides, he’d known what was coming when he joined Castle Rock’s history department. He hadn’t deliberately created this opening — hadn’t really planned on opening his campaign in earnest until he had acquired tenure, really — but it was here now, and as his parents had always told him, nothing worth doing came easy.

“When did you say that gender sensitivity seminar begins?” he asked. 




Chapter Two
Denton, North Carolina, 2017 CE


Crack, crack, crack!

The magazine emptied and the slide locked back as the X-ring of Benjamin Schröder’s fifty-yard pistol target disintegrated. There was one flyer in the 8-ring, and he scowled at it as he ejected the empty magazine and laid the pistol on the bench in front of him. The North Carolina summer afternoon was hot, but the shooting positions were covered by a light roof to keep the direct sunlight at bay. He didn’t like to think what his ears would have felt like under that cover if he’d been stupid enough to come to the range without ear protection, but he was incredibly grateful for the shade.

“My, my, my!” His younger brother’s murmured comment was perfectly clear over the electronic shooting muffs’ microphones. “I think Dad would have had a thing or two to say to you about that, big brother.”

Benjamin transferred his scowl from the target to his brother, and to the short, compact fellow standing behind him.

“I believe my running score is still higher than yours,” he observed.

“Oh, I can’t believe you!” David Schröder laughed out loud. “Of course it’s higher! I haven’t fired this round yet.”

“And there’s no reason to believe you won’t have a round go astray,” Benjamin pointed out.

“And when was the last time that happened, exactly?” David asked, stepping up to the shooting position and closing the cylinder on his S&W 686.

“Shooting two-handed, with those wimpy little .38s instead of mags, and thumb-cocking between every round, you mean?” Benjamin inquired just a bit nastily. “And with a six-inch barrel, I might add!”

“You are in a pissy mood today, aren’t you?” David inquired genially, and proceeded to squeeze off six rounds, rapid fire, double-action . . . and put all six of them into the X-ring of his target, so close together they made one large, five-petaled hole. He snapped six more rounds into the cylinder from a speed loader, then proceeded to make the hole perhaps a half-inch wider.

“Goodness!” he observed. “I seem to have inched in front somehow. How do you suppose that happened?”

“‘When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom,’” Benjamin replied. “And, for that matter, ‘Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.’ I wouldn’t want to say anything of the sort is headed your way, but this . . . unmannerly gloating ill becomes you.”

“Nonsense,” Stephen O’Shane-Schröder replied, reaching out and cuffing the back of David’s head gently. “Given how often he does it, he’s obviously of the opinion that it becomes him very well, indeed.”

Benjamin chuckled as he began thumbing fresh rounds into his H&K USP’s magazine. He really preferred the .45 ACP version, which was what he usually took to the range, but today he was shooting the .40 S&W. He would have liked to blame that single errant round on the change in pistols, but he knew better.

“Seriously, Ben,” David said as he cleared the brass from his revolver’s cylinder and set it down, the cylinder swung out for safety’s sake, and began refilling his speed loaders. “Something’s been eating on you all day. I’d love to beat you fair and square — Lord knows we’re both insufferable enough when we get to take home the bragging rights! — but I’ve got a feeling the big reason you invited Steve and me out here this afternoon was that you really, really needed to put some holes in a piece of paper. I remember that’s how Dad used to work out frustration, too.”

“Yes, it was,” Benjamin agreed with a sad smile. Their father had been in the South Tower on 9/11. “‘Concentration on something that requires minimal thought and maximum focus is always a good way to let go of things that won’t stop eating on your brain,’” he quoted.

“Yeah.” David shook his head. “God, I still miss him so much sometimes.”

“Me, too,” Stephen said. He wrapped an arm around David and hugged him for a moment. Then he turned back to Benjamin. “On the other hand, I think David has a point. Just what is it that’s ‘eating on your brain,’ Ben? And is there anything we can do to help?”

“Actually, it really could be something I could use your insight on — both of you,” Benjamin said.

“Like how?” David raised his eyebrows.

“Well, it all started in my Modern US History class last Tuesday,” Benjamin began, still snapping rounds into the magazine. “One of my students apparently took one of my comments amiss. It seems —”

“You’re shitting me, right?” David asked disbelievingly when Benjamin finished his explanation twenty minutes later. He could have gotten there sooner if not for the combination of incredulous interjections and cracks of laughter coming from his audience. “I mean, this idiot — O’Hearn — thinks you need gender sensitivity training?”

“To be totally fair to him — which, to be honest I don’t want to be — I think he’s dead serious about my obviously Neolithic attitudes towards gender and sexuality,” Benjamin replied. “Mind you, we’ve never even discussed them, so he’s got exactly zero first-hand evidence upon which to form any opinions about them. I have, however, made myself a genuine pain in the ass as far as he’s concerned by refusing to hew to his chosen political narrative in other areas. I don’t think he knows what my political beliefs really are. In fact, he’d probably be surprised to find out that there are actually a few things he and I agree on. The problem is —”

“The problem,” David interrupted, “is that you’re Mom and Dad’s son, you have a working brain, and they left out ‘reverse’ when they installed your transmission. No wonder this jerk has really, really pissed you off, because he obviously doesn’t. Have a working brain, I mean. In fact, he sounds like an intellectually-challenged, morally-blinkered moron.” He considered that for a moment, then shrugged. “To put it kindly.”

“But otherwise, Ms. Lincoln, what did you think of the play?” Stephen asked him dryly, and he snorted.

“Point taken. But you and I both know how hard it is to be a respectably married gay guy and a political conservative at the same time, and idiots like this only make it a lot harder by poisoning the entire conversation. How many times has someone told us we’re traitors because we don’t see eye-to-eye with them politically or do think strict constructionalism is a good thing in a Federal judge? Jumping all over someone who’s actually demonstrated bigotry’s one thing, but this asshole’s simply assuming it and then forcing the evidence to fit his preconceptions. People like that don’t convert anyone. In fact, they mostly confirm real bigots’ bigotry and push away people who might have been on their side!”

“Be fair,” Benjamin said. “I run into just as many people on the right who get pissed off because of my stance on gay marriage and gay rights. I guess all three of us flunk the ‘ideological purity’ litmus test. Heck, just look at where we are right this minute!” He snorted, gesturing around at the pine trees surrounding the Denton Rifle and Pistol Club’s shooting range. “How can we possibly be trusted on social issues if we’re such dangerous, right wing, fascistic supporters of the evil gun lobby! It’s bad enough Dad raised both of us as Bambi-killers, but did we have to go and get concealed carry permits on top of everything else? Obviously O’Hearn has to assume someone so lost to all sense of decency on those issues has to be a misogynistic, homophobic, genderphobic neo-Nazi, as well.”

“Oh, he so doesn’t want to bring Nazis into this!” Stephen laughed. “Not where this family’s concerned!”


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: Guardian Protocol Snippet #3
Post by Dilandu   » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:11 am

Dilandu
Admiral

Posts: 2136
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

A good one! And about pretty actual theme, frankly! The idea of "politically correct science" is pretty... alarming, must admit.
------------------------------

- 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: Guardian Protocol Snippet #3
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:59 am

DrakBibliophile
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Another LIKE! :D
*
Paul Howard (Alias Drak Bibliophile)
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Sometimes The Dragon Wins! [Polite Dragon Smile]
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Re: Guardian Protocol Snippet #3
Post by Dilandu   » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:37 pm

Dilandu
Admiral

Posts: 2136
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

Aaaaand, I must apologize :( to RFC for assuming that he just didn't want the major gay character in "Safehold" series discussion. My apologies; I was obviously wron.
------------------------------

- 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: Guardian Protocol Snippet #3
Post by Dilandu   » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:39 pm

Dilandu
Admiral

Posts: 2136
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

P.S. Er, why this snippet is called "Guardian" instead of "Gordian"?
------------------------------

- 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: Guardian Protocol Snippet #3
Post by runsforcelery   » Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:03 pm

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2418
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

Dilandu wrote:P.S. Er, why this snippet is called "Guardian" instead of "Gordian"?


Because my voice recognition software misunderstood me. :lol:


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: Guardian Protocol Snippet #3
Post by TFLYTSNBN   » Mon Dec 10, 2018 10:10 am

TFLYTSNBN
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Posts: 1708
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I can guarentee you that I am NOT hoping for any shower scenes in this book.
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Re: Guardian Protocol Snippet #3
Post by Jacob Holo   » Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:58 am

Jacob Holo
Midshipman

Posts: 9
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TFLYTSNBN wrote:I can guarentee you that I am NOT hoping for any shower scenes in this book.


I can guarantee that there are no shower scenes in The Gordian Protocol. ;)
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Re: Guardian Protocol Snippet #3
Post by Dilandu   » Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:49 pm

Dilandu
Admiral

Posts: 2136
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: Russia

Jacob Holo wrote:I can guarantee that there are no shower scenes in The Gordian Protocol. ;)


...How could you be so cruel? :( I'm utterly devastated by that revelation...

(actually no, of course, but considering TFLYTSNBN reaction I just could not hold a pun ;) )
------------------------------

- 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)
Top
Re: Guardian Protocol Snippet #3
Post by isaac_newton   » Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:25 pm

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Posts: 932
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Location: Brighton, UK

Jacob Holo wrote:
TFLYTSNBN wrote:I can guarentee you that I am NOT hoping for any shower scenes in this book.


I can guarantee that there are no shower scenes in The Gordian Protocol. ;)



HAHAHA - when I first saw this, I had not quite twigged that Jacob is in fact the esteemed co-author.

I was just thingking to myself - how on earth can he possibly know that???
:lol: :oops:
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