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The chapter opens with a guy named Lewis Pirenne working at his desk. It's been fifty years since the foundation of Foundation, and they're finally only five years away from publishing the first volume.
Fifty-five years for one volume? Yeesh.
The doorbell interrupts Pirenne's working reverie, and one Salvor Hardin enters the room.
Hardin sits down and flips a coin until it gets under Pirenne's nerves, forcing Pirenne to talk with him. Let The Odd Couple antics begin.
Pirenne doesn't want to hear city talk; he has the encyclopedia to deal with after all. But Hardin's got more important news.
Seems a Royal Governor became king of a planet called Anacreon. So? Hardin points out that this means the Foundation is now cut off from trade with the rest of the Empire. Hardin sure seems to think trade is important, but Pirenne is kind of ho-hum about the whole affair.
Hardin asks Pirenne to call an emergency meeting of the Board of Trustees, and that sure gets the man's attention.
Local politics, according to Pirenne, isn't allowed to interfere with work on the Encyclopedia. No way, no how, nothing doing.
Hardin tries to point out the obvious—Terminus, as a planet, is awful, and they have to trade to survive.
Not a problem, Pirenne says; they're under the protection of the Empire. You get the feeling this argument is getting nowhere?
At last, Pirenne puts his foot down. Encyclopedia FTW.
Not happy with winning just one argument, Pirenne starts up another. The love in the room diminishes by appropriate degrees.
Seems the Terminus City Journal wants the opening of the Vault—a room of unknown purpose left by Hari Seldon himself—to be a time of celebration, but Pirenne and the Board think it's just their concern.
Although Hardin argues for freedom of the press, Pirenne shoots him down again. That's Pirenne two, Hardin zip.
But Hardin gets the last laugh. On his way out the door, he informs Pirenne that a special envoy from Anacreon is coming in two weeks. When Pirenne asks what for, Hardin tells him to guess and leaves.
Boom! And Hardin wins by TKO.
Now we've got all the information to know what happened since the exile, so let's move on with this story.