- Are you sure this is going to work?
The five of them sat in the kids' game room, reviewing the video from the last attempt.
- She went berserk here and actually killed us all - that homicidal script... it gets triggered pretty much consistently after certain time I am beside her... doesn't seem like related to where I am, she pwnz me every time... Any ideas what went wrong this time?
- I think, one of us needs to be the story teller - Yumi said - having you tell what is happening and introducing other characters AND talking to her... it seems she actually gets you after a certain number of words you say... it doesn't look like it's the time factor to me.
- OK Yumi, noted. Would you be up for that ?
- Great. Please then, write yourself some story-telling lines and stage directions.
- Also I think we should try to actually talk less 'lines' and more our own minds - said Kimiko - the lines we got are still incredibly stiff for a story like that. Just talk to her normally.
- I think I should try to talk to her first - said Miho - use the element of surprise, you saw how she is reacting to me when she sees me.
- Are you all holding your nerves OK ? - Kimiko asked - you know, I am an actress. I am used to repeating scenes over and over until we get it right... but you aren't. I can see it in your faces - she smiled - it's excruciating sometimes.
- Yeah mainly when I have to die for the umteenth time - Piro pulled his laptop closer to him, like he was trying to shield his view of Miho who sat opposite.
- Now you and you all know, what I was feeling back then, before you saved me permanently - Miho replied quietly, but impatiently. - Only this time we are doing it to save you from having no conscience.
- And I'm grateful that you do... oh stop this nagging tone, Miho, you really think your story was the worst I had to deal with since? You know how much crap the nascent talent or completely untalented ones carry in to our offices every day or emails ...
Miho hid her face behind her long dark hair. - They are other peoples' stories. They don't have anything to do with mine...
- Actually, I am sure you know that too, Miho... you know there is a story that looks like someone carbon-copied your old one, literally every day... Luckily, I only get the reports from legal, that they zapped such attempt, so *I* don't have to deal with one any more. The employee turnaround in the legal department's area that deals with these, is like, 50% higher than normal. And so is the expense... I mean, you know, no expense spared here... and it's not just for you... the lead story writer did see the light when I explained to them, that letting such story in and producing it, will follow with a biggest disaster they can imagine... it wasn't easy to set up the system so that Lockart own the copyright to the general idea of your story... and no one, even the independents, can ever publish anything like that; I only get to deal with something that fell through the cracks, like once per year... but look even worse after dealing with that, than when it's my turn to read the Book. And that's another reason why I need my conscience being healthy... with no conscience, something could slip past me, and the entire fantasy we've built here, could be in danger, not just you. Think of Kimiko, if your old story lashed back, I fear to think of the implications of that... of what would happen to her...
- I know. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be nagging... it's just, I had to die so many times, it's hard to forget. You've only died what, 12 times since we started the wet dress rehearsals. And I, I had to die sometimes 12 times a year...
- We know. Relax. We understand y00, remember. That is where the Cycle comes from. Sigh... hate to break the mood, but do have a look and see what you think of this scenario.
- Slightly more natural - said Kimiko. - Let me work on your lines a bit.
- Flow seems to be better - said Miho - I see you are getting more comfortable with the sacrificed bit. - She smiled.
- Technicals seem to be checking out - said Yumi - are we getting these backups some time ?
- Yeah, Largo tracks the package - said Kirigashi - it should be here tomorrow morning.
- Do you think we need to bring some more old avatars ? I sort of hope, that we could find M0h somewhere...
- Piro, look, Seraphim is typing something...
- Let's see... CEA is getting you back on ? But you can't talk yet ?... Oh right, they recognized you for standing so long with me... conditionally? what do you mean conditionally... pending this mission is a success... right. OK. I get you...
- Any other remarks or can we call for another wet dress rehearsal?
- No, I think let's get on with it - said Kimiko - Likewise - said Miho - Green light - said Kirigashi - Thumbs up - said Yumi.
* * *
- OK everybody recovered ? Analysis... what went wrong this time ?
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