A book in development.
Seafly Lanser, Ph.D.
"Dad!" Said Tacelis.
"Yes," I said.
"It's Guest Parents day next Friday, and we've been asked to invite our parents to give a talk to the class about choices of professions available to us," said Tacelis. "Can I put your name on the list? They choose four names on Monday for those they invite that Friday."
"I know the school has confidentiality agreements for students of diplomatic parents. Do you want to give up that anonymity?" I asked.
"I'm pretty safe there," said Tace.
"Well, I don't know what I could tell them that would be of benefit. I didn't get to where I am by virtue of a college degree. The school may not want me to say such things," I smiled.
Tace smiled. "Yea. I know. That's why I'd like you to come. We have a pot full of professor-types that think education is king. If it weren't for the Emperor's endowment to professors, these guys would starve."
I agreed with the humor of it. "Yea, put my name on the list."
That Monday I got an e-mail from the school. "To Mister Lanser, Thank you very much for sharing your time with the students. If you could, would you please arrive at the school by 10:00 and have lunch with the faculty, followed by an open forum ending about 16:00."
I knew a daemon answered e-mail when I see it. Human hands had never touched this letter. Friday came around and lunch with the faculty started amiable enough. The first professor to greet me was the professor for the politics classes, Ms. Keeler.
"Minister Lanser, what a pleasant surprise..." she said.
"Please drop the Minister stuff. Just call me Mister Lanser, or Seaf." I said.
"We have to retain some degree of decorum, it will have to be Mister," she said with a smile and a handshake. She escorted me to a table with other professors and parents that looked like they would rather be elsewhere.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is Mister Lanser, young master Tacelis Lanser's father. I will let each of you introduce yourselves. Lunch will be served shortly.
"Mister Lanser," a professor stood up and introduced himself. "I'm Professor Hertzsprung, physics. Have you given any thought to what speech you would give? What business are you in?"
Professor Keeler lowered her head and closed her eyes in acceptance. Raising her eyes to meet mine, we both smiled. "Mister Lanser is a rather successful entrepreneur," she said, allowing me my anonymity.
"You're not an alumni of our college, are you?" said Professor Hertzsprung.
"No, I'm not," I said sheepishly. "I'm not an alumni of any college. I've had a few courses in various subjects, mostly electronics and computers. Most of my education has been at the shoulder of engineers who work for me."
"Your businesses are primarily in those fields?" asked Professor Hertzsprung.
"Most of them, yes, but not all," I said.
"But you do put a strong emphasis on the need for a good education, right?" he said, looking for assurance that I wouldn't be trouble.
"All the people who work in my laboratories swear that's so," I said. I could tell my answer and smile didn't make him any more at ease.
"Don't give us any reason to worry, Mister Lanser," he said. This guy had all the sense of humor of a second trust deed.
"Of course I won't. Tacelis is in your physics class, isn't he?" I asked. “Does he act like my influence on him has been anti-education?"
"I guess not," he said. "Young master Tacelis is one of my most brilliant students. He is a pleasure to have in the class, but I can see where he gets his rebelliousness from."
"What's the forum like?" I asked, changing the subject.
"The student council takes questions from the student body, or staff, and decides which to ask you. Some are directed at the guest panel, in general. Some questions are directed specifically at individuals. You are free to decline personal questions."
"Oh, tell him the rest of the story," said Professor Keeler. "Some of the guests are challenged with a major question. Like truth or consequences. If you answer the question, you get a reward, if not you have to pay a penalty. The proceeds go to the school funds."Most of the questions were career related. Whether or not there was still a future in pure math. Is clone research still being done? Are there career applications for degreed people in Literature? The challenge q