Shoal               Yup. No one but the Rowley brothers and me have ever been out of the enclosure.

Sailor              Will you tell them about me—when you go back?

Shoal               Of course! One Beta on a whole colony? They probably won’t believe it.

                                    Hey look—Debars is having it out with them again.

Sailor              Gosh, he looks so tired.

Shoal               Sweaty too.

Sailor              Yeah, he still hasn’t cut that hair on his face. It’s a whole lot longer, too. Poor guy.

Shoal               Let’s go see what it’s about this time.

Sailor              He won’t like it.

Shoal               Well, we’re living on this colony along with everybody else—we have as much a right as the Alpha to know what’s going on.

Debars standing before colonists

                        [standing with Sailor at a distance] Ah man, they’re talking about the dining hall again.

Debars             Listen, it’s my job to understand your concerns and work with you on the Advancement, not against   you. It’s also my job to advance this colony, and there are certainly changes involved, some bigger than others.

1 colonist        Work with us? You’re telling us we have no choice!

2 colonist        I just don’t see how getting rid of the dining hall is advancing the colony.

3 colonist        It’s the one place we have where everyone can meet together! We hold everything in that room—ceremonies, marriages, funerals—not to mention we come together as a family to share meals twice a day.

Debars             Yes, I am aware of all the purposes the hall serves at the moment, and I assure you that Ms. Faraday and I have weighed them well with the assistance of Chief Foster. These are all important things, no doubt, and   while we aren’t going to sacrifice them, the building itself is obsolete.

3 colonist        How is it obsolete if we use it every day?

Debars             It is obsolete under the confederation. Congress wants civil centers now: town halls, if you will.

1 colonist        But demolition! It sounds so drastic—can’t you just refurbish the room?

Debars             We would love to, but the building won’t hold up to the new requirements. The foundation no longer meets the standard and we have plans for a central temperature system, which won’t work with age-old material like plaster and brick. Besides, the room simply too small. Think about how much your colony is going to grow in the coming years, once you begin to support a whole Beta Generation.

Shoal               [whispering to Sailor] They’re talking about us.

1 colonist        So we can’t just renovate it and make it bigger?

Debars             As I said, the structure is not contemporary and unsound for addition.

Shoal               [coming forward] Yeah, especially since, next time, the expansion will be upward.

1 colonist        [chortling] Look at who’s been listening in.

Shoal               I knew the argument would come my way eventually.

2 colonist        What does he mean, “upward expansion”?

Debars             With a new civil center that has a proper foundation and design, we will be adding stories during the next Advancement.

Shoal               Because buildings aren’t the only things that take up too much space around here—so do people.

The End

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