Director: I suppose it's time for the next phase of the Schedule... this is where things might get dicey...
Captain: Corporal Dalia will handle the next phase.
Director: Dalia? Isn't she a bit... abrasive? I don't know whether Eisen will choose to cooperate with her.
Captain: He won't have a choice, Sir. The Advocate must be reactivated. Dalia will be acceptable.
Director: Well, there's no denying that she's loyal. But Corporal Dalia sometimes lacks... a gentle touch, shall we say?
Captain: Not yet, Sir. But he will be found.
Director: Good - I want you to offer him a position with the Agency. We can't let his talents remain unattached... otherwise someone might use them against us. Plus, if Eisen refuses to reactivate the Advocate, we might need a Slicer.
Director: That is all, Captain.
The Captain leaves.
Director: ... ... ...
The Director walks up to the window.
Dalia: Nothing! His personnel file is completely clean - no disciplinary infractions at all! Well, this is inconvenient. If he'd told off his supervisor, or tampered with the machines, at least I'd have something to report. I don't want to have to go to the Captain empty-handed.
Dalia continues searching through the files.
Dalia: Hmm - nothing here to report either.
The Captain enters the room.
Dalia moves to meet her superior.
Captain: That won't be necessary, Corporal. We have another assignment for you.
Captain: You are to go to the Tasgarde Military Base and get Professor Eisen to reactivate the Advocate.
Dalia: Yes, Sir!
Captain: A mobilized transport is waiting outside the factory to take you to Tasgarde. That is all, Corporal.
Dalia: Yes, Sir!
The Captain leaves.
Dalia: Hopefully this assignment will be more exciting than sifting through all these disciplinary records. I wish they'd assign me to the pursuit of the assassin - who cares whether this Advocate thing gets reactivated or not?
Dalia here has a Portable Console pic, but nothing else.
The various workers and Dessen have a line or two to say, but none of it's really interesting. Let's leave.
Dalia: Do your duty, driver.
The grey block there is Tasgarde.
Dalia: At ease. I have orders from the Captain. I must speak with professor Eisen.
Guard: I'll open the door, Corporal.
The door opens.
Guard: You're all set, Corporal. The professor should be in his lab. He always is. I'll call ahead to the other guard station and have him open the door for you.
Dalia: Thank you.
Dalia continues deeper into the base.
Another door opens.
Dalia: Thank you. Is he expecting me?
Guard: I don't think so. Honestly, we rarely see the professor. He keeps pretty much to himself.
Dalia: I see.
Dalia enters the lab.
Dalia: It's not my place to make the Agency's decisions for it, I guess. My superiors know better than I what should be done with the taxpayers' money.
Dalia: I guess.
We can look around, but there's not much to see. Let's go bother the old man.
Eisen ignores Dalia.
Dalia: Professor Eisen, can you hear me?
Dalia: I think he's hooked up to a simulation of some sort - there's got to be a way to deactivate it somewhere in this room.
Back to the 'awaken' console.
Dalia flips the switch, and Eisen awakens.
Eisen looks around.
Eisen: What happened to my simulation? What?
Dalia: My name is Corporal Dalia, and I am here by order of the Agency to have you reactivate the Advocate.
a brief pause.
Eisen: Oh. Oh my... my, oh my...
Eisen goes back into the Simulation!
Dalia: He's back in his simulation! I don't believe this!
Dalia flips the 'Awaken' switch again.
Eisen: Will you stop that, little girl?
Eisen: Oh, hush. I heard you the first time. Can't an old man relax in his retirement? What's the world coming to? Me, oh my. Harumph!
Eisen leaves the simulation.
Dalia steps back.
Dalia: Why am I letting him get away with talking to me like this? He's just an old man. That must be it.
Eisen walks to the center of the room.
Dalia: Because the Agency has ordered you to. It is your solemn duty to carry out -
Eisen: Bah. So they sent me a dyed-in-the-wool spear carrier, eh? What?
Dalia: What's that supposed to mean?
Eisen: Just an old expression. You probably wouldn't understand. I suppose you'd be "loyal to the last," for this wonderful Agency of yours, eh? What?
Dalia: Of course! Serving the Agency is the greatest honor anyone could hope for! And promotion to the Catch Colony is the highest reward for those whose hearts are most loyal!
Eisen: So they built the damn thing. Bah.
Dalia: How dare you besmirch -
Eisen: Settle down, little girl. My, you certainly are excitable. I can criticize the Agency all I like - Lord knows they've criticized me enough, in my day. Eh?
Dalia: this old man is off his rocker. I think he's been in one simulation too many.
Dalia: Just turn on this Advocate thing and I'll leave you yo your simulation.
Eisen: Kids. Always so eager to finish chores so they can run and play. Harumph!
Dalia: I am NOT a -
Dalia: Well... it's a computer program that... was built to assist construction of the Catch Colony, back before the Shortage.
Eisen: ... ... ...
Eisen: So be it.
Dalia: Fine. I'll listen to your story. But make it quick.