Professor Marcus Quimby
The only language he doesn't speak is love. Oh, and Albanian.
Prof. Marcus Belisaurus Quimby IV, PhD, DD, NCLA Chair, Dean of Arts and Letters of the University of New Connecticut, descends from the original colonists who came over on the Battleship Intrepid and settled Suriname as New Connecticut. Three of the nation’s Governor-Generals have come from the Quimby line (Marcus’ grandfather, great-uncle, and father, respectively) and Quimbys have long held important posts in the New Connecticut oligarchy.
Always skilled in languages, as a young man, Marcus held several diplomatic posts, including Foreign Minister and Liaison to the UN. But after a bloody coup spelled the end of his father’s rule, Marcus lost his home and his high status-but not his linguistic aptitude. He spent his wilderness years in several institutions of higher learning—LSU, Mauritius State, the Sorbonne, Meiji, Minnesota-Mankato, U Montreal—collecting relevant degrees and teaching experience. When the political climate shifted back in back in his family’s favor—after the marriage of his sister Velma to the new Governor-General—Marcus was able to return home and take a position at the nation’s most prestigious university.
Marcus is a pure linguist of the classical variety, with a firm grip on most Romance and Germanic, and Slavic languages, as well as Chinese, Navajo, Zou, with a smattering of Bantu and, more recently, Coptic. His translation of the Voynich Manuscript was a global sensation—but that was thirtys years ago. Now that things are better for the Quimbys, with his brother now in charge of the National Bank and his nephews in key military positions, Marcus has had little to contend with and grown soft in recent years. He is an academic gray eminence.
Marcus views the Zao expedition as a chance to return the Quimbys to international prominence and cement their position at home. Despite his distinct capacity for the work, Marcus was not the top candiate—Philo Means, who created the Zou translation matrix, was the obvious choice. Luckily, the UN Secretary General’s daughter is a student at the University of New Connecticut; the situation was easily leveraged in Marcus’ favor, and Means was given a more junior position on the team.
Marcus is incredibly intelligent and well-read, especially on matters of linguistics, but also in arts and culture more broadly. He believes strongly in class hierarchies and is a capable manipulator—and yet, somewhat paradoxically, his experiences dictate a belief in humanist principles and a revulsion at violence or murder. A milquetoast sort of guy, he is nonetheless affable and a pleasant conversationalist, if a bit of a gossip. He remains a bachelor, married to his work, and has published more than three dozen papers, four books on language acquisition, and a high fantasy novel. It sold poorly.
Professor Quimby’s designation for the mission is “Earth Cultural Liaison.”