"--the console room, and this is the bathroom." Agent Althea Gold kicked the bathroom door open, and shrugged. "It isn't much, but it..." She trailed off into puzzled silence, the concluded, "Well, it isn't much."

"Er, so... that's it?"

Althea had already started to turn back around. She looked over her shoulder at the freshly-initiated Agent Constance Sims. "Beg pardon?"

"What about... bedrooms, and stuff? The kitchen?"

Althea blinked. "Were you expecting them?"

"Well, the brochure said the living quarters were... hang on." Constance patted her pockets, then the pockets of her backpack, then unzipped the pack and started to rummage through it. She eventually found a crumpled, glossy brochure, tucked neatly into a box of granola bars. She opened it up and smoothed the pages out. "'The living quarters are spacious and luxurious, offering the latest amenities in the midst of opulent comfort,'" she read, her face dubious now.

Althea listened, fascinated. "That's not about the PPC."

Constance flipped the brochure closed again and turned it so Althea could read 'Protectors of the Plot Continuum,' emblazoned across the front.

"No way." Althea reached out and snagged a granola bar, then squinted at the brochure. "What else does it say? Does it say anything about paychecks?" She grabbed the paper out of her new partner's hand without waiting for an answer, and started to flip through it.

Constance sat on the floor and rested her face in her hands. "Does this mean there isn't actually a swimming pool, then?"

"Well," Althea said, chuckling at something under the heading 'Our Commitment to Our Valued Team Members'. "There's the Fountain of Bleepka. I don't believe in it, though."

Constance made a face. "And our yearly vacations, anywhere in the multiverse?"

Althea laughed aloud. "I'm sorry, sweetheart. You've been lied to." She settled on the ground next to Constance, still thumbing through the brochure. "Where did you get this?"

Constance shrugged. "In the post, on my eleventh birthday." It was almost true; the details weren’t worth going into.

Althea lifted her eyebrows. "Huh. Well, I've never seen a bigger pack of lies in my life." She shrugged and handed the brochure back to Constance.

Constance made a face, and shoved it into her pocket. "There aren't any health benefits either, then, are there?"

Althea paused in the middle of taking a bite of her granola bar, and considered. "Eh... Medical's pretty good, actually" She took the bite, chewed, swallowed. "Unless you die. Not much we can do if you die. Well, it's--"


"--business as usual, I see," Althea said, giving her wide-eyed, cowering partner an encouraging pat on the back. "Welcome to the team, Agent Sims."