Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hartley Bequest (Patron)

Founded by an illustrious (formerly notorious) Scientist-Condottieri during the close of the Irrational Interregnum as a bulwark against the encroaching forces of ignorance, intolerance and short-term greed, the Hartley Bequest provides sponsorships, scholarships and financial support to thousands of qualified students, researchers and even a few adventurer/explorers.

There are dozens of small, innocuous-looking micro-campuses sponsored and financed by the Hartley Bequest scattered across the academic landscape. None of them have ever been closed. Would-be protesters likewise have not had any success in attempting to sieze a micro-campus under whatever pretenses. These small but self-sufficient places of advanced learning and open information exchange are accorded all the rights and privileges of a full embassy, which is often over-looked by those governments who do not appreciate the principles of free scientific inquiry, self reliance and no tolerance for tyranny.

Unlike many of the surviving NGOs that have morphed into world-spanning logistical networks that have increasingly become politically ineffective due to their emphasis upon care-giving, the Hartley Bequest remains fully independent, outside of all governmental regulation, and very adept at making those politicians who attempt to interfere with them to quickly leave politics or just plain disappear.

Some people feel that it is a bit strange that an organization that is mostly just a dispensary of scholarships or a source of funding for research would also have a very elite security branch. They do. In fact the Scientist-Condottieri of the Hartley Bequest are some of the most well-trained, heavily-armed, best-equipped and ultra-mobile professional mercenaries that can be hired...but they seldom work for simply money.

The Hartley Bequest is dedicated to protecting and expanding the body of knowledge available to all sentient beings who voluntarily agree to the basic principles upon which this organization was founded:

Liberty, Reason, Equality, Fraternity, or Death.

But what kind of a trust fund would have a motto such as that carved above the primary entrances to every walled and fortified micro-campus they sponsor or support? Maybe the rumors about the Hartley Bequest having secret bases outside the boundaries of most stellar states are more than half-true...

Suggested Reading:
H. Beam Piper's Condottieri, or Mercenaries (and just about everything else he wrote...)
Heinlein's Have Spacesuit, Will TravelThe Cat Who Walks Through Walls (Among many others...)
Gordon Dickson's Dorsai (As well as all the rest of the Dorsai/Childe Cycle series...)

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