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The chapter opens with a discussion of how Hardin used the freedom of the press to wiggle his way into Board of Trustee meetings. This guy really is tricky.
We're introduced to the rest of the Board: Tomaz Sutt, Jord Fara, Lundin Crast, and Yate Fulham. And let's not forget Pirenne.
Pirenne opens the meeting with confirmation that Lord Dorwin, Chancellor of the Empire, will arrive at Terminus to smooth out affairs with Anacreon.
True to form, Hardin isn't so sure that Dorwin will accomplish anything.
The Board (Sutt, Pirenne, and Yate) argues that Hardin is way out of order. Of course the Emperor's Chancellor will help them. He's got the Emperor backing up his corner, so what's the problem, Hardin?
Hardin gets annoyed. The Emperor is light years away, and they need to deal with their own problems. He wants to buy time by convincing Anacreon that they have nuclear weapons.
The Board just argues that any weapon-y type stuff would take men away from the Encyclopedia. The Encyclopedia, first and foremost: it's basically their motto.
You can almost feel Hardin's frustration in the pages here:
First, he argues that there are people on Terminus who consider the place home, not just a project to work on.
Second, he points out the mission of the encyclopedia was established fifty years ago. Time to pick up and move on.
Third, what kind of scientists just collects knowledge and stagnate rather than building on and improving that knowledge?
Finally, the "Galactic Empire is dying!" (II.3.38).
Preach it, brother!
The others label his remarks as out of order, but it's Jord Fara that ultimately gets the floor.
Fara reminds everybody that in one month the Vault will open. Notice how that's a very convenient inconvenient time? Maybe our mathematical guardian angel Hari Seldon foresaw this crisis and has already got a solution to it.
Hardin admits that could be the case. For the rest of the meeting, he thinks about Seldon and the problems: psychology is the key.