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"It was a ten-year investment."

"And you thought that was worth the risk."

"We didn't have anybody else with the same level of familiarity. We weighed the options."

"I'm sure you did. You did document your decision, didn't you?"

"That's standard procedure."

"I mean real documentation, not just what you thought would look good on paper."

"We were trying our best, you should know that."

"Then I should expect your documentation to be an accurate reflection of your thinking at the time."

"You know as well as anybody that we all bend the rules."

"So is this official admission that what we have on file does not accurately reflect what happened?"

"We were in the business of bending rules. You can't expect that to not rub off on how we handled internal rules as well."

"So we do still have to do a proper analysis of your decision, now that we've concluded the official paperwork was basically trash."

"Like I said, it was a ten-year investment. We had nothing else even remotely close to that."

"And because of the value you believed you were protecting, you were going to risk blowing up the entire project."

"We weren't sure how much of a project we would still have left if we let this fall through, if we had to rely on all the smaller developments we were working on."

"Well, you know now how that all came out."

"Actually no, we only got official reports on a need-to-know basis."

"You've seen the headlines. You've heard the news."

"You know as well as I do how much that can be trusted."

"You've heard through unofficial channels then."

"We were operating on limited information at the time. You can't blame us for not acting on information we didn't have."

"We're not trying to point fingers at you. We just want to find out how this happened."

"It doesn't look that way to me."

"It's not my job to prove anything to you. I am the one asking the questions."

"We made a value judgment, and took a calculated risk. Based on previous observation, we did not expect anything new from the subject."

"You will give me a pointer to those who prepared your observational reports, yes? I hope they're a bit more accurate than the paperwork that came out of your office."

"I don't think I like the tone of your voice."

"It's too late for that now. I don't think your office was solely responsible for the collapse but you may well have been the straw that broke the camel's back."

"As long as you don't send all the blame our way..."

"We're not talking about punishment. We're here to gather information for analysis."

"She was the longest-term investment that I knew of, unless you guys had something else you didn't care to share with us."

"No no, you're correct about that, as far as I know anyway. But the risk you took didn't quite go as planned, did it?"

"I don't know what else was going on out there. Maybe you can fill me in on the details."

"Not only did your gamble not work out, it compromised all our other investments as well. The project had to be completely scrapped."

"So we're all out then, is that what you're saying? My department and the others we don't even know about."

"No. It's been scrapped, but we've gone into salvage mode. All the roles have to be rewritten."

"Rewritten?"

"Yes, nothing will be quite like it was before. We may still have some residual value lingering from past investments, but they've all had the reset button pushed on them."

"What does that mean exactly?"

"First we'll see how far we can go with simple denial. Just deny everything. Deny until the subject returns to their former reality."

"And if that doesn't work?"

"It will be at least enough to leave some doubts in the subject's mind. That should give us a small buffer."

"Buffer for what."

"We'll have to start growing our investments again, only in a direction more compatible to the subject's new track."

"You think you can do that."

"We can draw from extensive experience if we need to. It won't be a walk in the park."

"You think the subject will go along with the plan."

"As before, if everything works as we hope, the subject will believe they are still in control. They will not see the tracks we lay out before them."

"And if everything does not work out the way you hope?"

"We have many possible last-resort strategies available to us, but I hope we won't have to use them."

"What makes you so sure your plans will work?"

"That's part of the fun of this job, isn't it? We never know."

"You find it funny."

"We've lost projects before. It's never an enjoyable experience. But we're hoping we won't lose this one. We're hoping to usher it into the new age."

"You think this might be the one that actually works."

"We're all biased towards the projects we personally work on, I suppose."

"So you don't know."

"Neither did you when you started compromising our assets in an attempt to save your oh-so-precious ten-year investment."

"It was a judgment call we made based on the best information we had at the time, and I stand by it."

"Maybe it was time for a change anyway. A new engine, a new direction, and the train might even end up much better than before."

"At least you have some optimism about this."

"That's the whole point isn't it? We're all involved in this project because we hope for a future better than what we have now."

"And you think you might get it."

"There were already calls from above that things weren't moving as quickly as they could."

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