Dean John Allen was sitting at his desk in his nicely furnished office, behind him was a view from a high-rise, overlooking Lake Michigan. It wasn’t actually a real window, but a holographic display, because in the underground HCP complex under Sizemore Technical University in Chicago there was no natural light and he hated being confined; probably a by-product of having the freedom to go anywhere. He was reviewing the applications for the freshmen class when looking over at his wall clock he saw that he only had five minutes before his meeting in Washington DC, sighing, he set the folder aside, stood and opened a portal just to the right of his desk, the other end of the portal opened into a nondescript room in the Department of Variant-Human Affairs building in Washington. He could have opened the portal directly into the office of his DVA contact, but besides the fact that it’s considered rude; the government security in that building tend to get a bit uptight with unauthorized teleportation. He rushed to make his meeting, it would look bad if a teleporter was late.
John entered the office of Robert Samson, his DVA contact since he became dean of Sizemore three years ago. Robert was a typical Washington bureaucrat, middle aged, balding, a few extra pounds around the mid-section, and a cheap suit, a stark contrast to the dean himself, ten years of hero work gave him a nice nest egg that he used to get himself nicely tailored suits and expensive haircuts, he also stayed in peak physical condition, enough so to keep pace with a school full of young supers and the strength to keep his hero license renewed every year. “Morning Robert,” the dean said.
“Good morning, John. You’re late,” Robert said.
“I didn’t take into account the increased security. Anything I need to know?”
“Nothing that would affect your program. Just threats from a Manhattan level villain, but I understand the Intel is weak, so the threat should be downgraded by end of business. But as to why you’re here, your school has been chosen to host a unique group of students,” Robert said while handing Dean Allen a stack of files.
The dean quickly scanned a few of the files, but nothing stood out as unusual at first glance, “okay, just tell me what this is about; start from the beginning,” Dean Allen said.
“Alright, from the beginning. Three years ago a discrimination lawsuit was brought against the HCP and DVA. It claimed we were denying entry to qualified applicants because they were related to criminal supers, the case was bounced around to different courts, government agencies, senate sub committees, and back again, then six months ago the supreme court ruled the case had merit and ordered an impartial review, specifically, sending a small group of supers through the HCP to see if without the staff and students being aware of their past, could they excel at the program. We have been going back and forth for several months about how we were to execute this program, and we’ve come up with this plan,” Robert said.
“There is already a rule against discrimination in place, it’s called the ‘Sins of the Father’ clause. Why is this even an issue?”
“I’m pretty sure you can figure out that just because it exists, doesn’t mean it’s enforced. We have found over 200 applications in the last 15 years of people with connections to criminal supers. Only ten of them were admitted to the program. That’s five percent; across all the programs an average of 30% of applicants are taken. That’s an undeniable margin. And of those ten, not one of them made it to hero. Which is why it’s not just overstepping the administration and getting them in; that’s not the whole issue. It’s keeping it a secret so they have even footing and little interference.”
“So why my school?” Dean Allen asked.
“A few reasons, for one, several of the other HCP schools currently have unique programs that would interfere with our study. Secondly, because you have no deep telepath on staff, and we have also offered the only telepath applying to your school this year a spot in another program, there will be no one to oust them telepathically, and third, because of your school’s unique induction method we can get them admitted without raising suspicions. So if you use all of your choices on these students, the other professors won’t look too closely.”
“So I have to use all my choices for these students, displacing students I may feel deserves it more?” the dean asked, raising his voice a bit in irritation.
“In all fairness John, in the last three years you have only used your choices to admit five students, the other spots go to waste, second, if you have a student who you feel deserves a place more than seven of the eighteen options in those files, the DVA will give them a spot in another HCP program, nobody will lose a spot and basically seven new students will gain a chance they wouldn’t have otherwise had, it is a win-win situation for almost everyone involved . Any other questions, objections, or comments?”
“I’d like to go on record that I don’t like this.”
“Noted, but this argument has been going on for months, every detail has been proposed, negotiated, renegotiated, changed and changed back, this is the deal everyone could live with, and you’re going to have to live with it too. Make it work!” Robert said, very nearly losing his composer.
“Very well, give me the folders, I will make my choices and personally inform the students in a few weeks; that way I can get a feel for them myself.”
“That’s of course your prerogative, but make sure your actions don’t arouse suspicion among your staff, and make the student aware that the utmost discretion is required, to that effect we have also included in these files a back story for the students to avoid mention of criminal supers in their past. You should also be made aware that we have acquired a property on campus that the seven students will be living in, along with a DVA super and a super hired by the ACLU to make sure the details of the agreement are being upheld. They will be closely monitored at all time, it is up to you if you would like to tell them just how closely they will be watched.”
“Fine, thank you Robert, I guess, I will keep you updated, I’d appreciate if you’d do the same,” Dean Allen said standing up, grabbing the files and opening a portal behind him, the view on the other side showed his office, John stepped though, but just before he closed it, Robert had the last word.
“Good luck John, you’re probably going to need it.”