"HC" is the name of a character. I'll not give the background, but will say that he's in trouble:
HC would never back down. He was a linguist, and therefore he had pushed the bounds of obstinacy well beyond anything that is conceivable to other men. He had been through the Iliad and the Odyssey and each time he had come to a word he did not know he had looked it up in the Liddell and Scott and written it down, and if there were five words in a line he had looked up five words and written them down before going on to a line in which there were four words he did not know, and at the age of 14 he had worked through Tacitus in this way and at the age of 20 he had read the Mugaddimah of Ibn Khaldun and at 22 the Dream of the Red Chamber.