"894-332-04394-02, your attention please." Movement froze across the floor. Hundreds of indentured scholars looked up, styli clutched in suddenly damp fingers; hundreds of screens strobed impatiently, awaiting review. At the end of the hall, a door far too narrow and tall for a person folded open. A Proctor slid in, tall form crackling with power, and indexed smoothly into the room (down five rows, over three) and halted before a desk. The occupant looked up slowly at the proctor's cameracelled head.

"894-332-04394-02, please upload current document." The stooped figure continued to gaze at the proctor for a moment, then bent its head. Pulling a cobalt and samarium plate from beneath its shirt, where it hung on a cheap chain, it slotted the plate into its desk and sat back, hands clasped across its lap. There was a brief pause. Then:

"In your fourth major case, you offer as supportive proof for your thesis the fact that troops of the Akademorok bypassed the University of Genoa during the final Diktat."

"Yes." The voice was low, husky.

"However, you fail to offer a citation for this. Where is your evidence that the University of Genoa was, in fact, bypassed and spared?"

"I was there." There was slight anger audible now. Other scholars looked at each other and began subtly moving away from the desk before which the Proctor hovered, humming.

"Anecdotal evidence is not proof. Anecdotal evidence is of no supporting use in constructing rational, reusable intellectual tools of understanding. Do you not comprehend?"

"If you read the case, Proctor, you will see that all that is required for the case to support the hypothesis is for two conditions to apply. One, that the University of Genoa to have survived the debate, and two, that it have survived not due to a successful defense but to a decision by the Akademorok not to engage. Were I speaking to the motivations or battle order of the Akademorok's forces, then a single anecdotal source would be insufficient; however, since all that is necessary is to show that these forces were in the vicinity and did pass the U of G by, then that single voice is amplified."

click. "Incorrect. The solitary nature of this report is in no way altered by the position you have adopted. Repeat: Query: Why should dispassionate readers and scholars accept the word of a single observer without supporting evidence be it archival, image, or citation? A citation is required for your assertion. Why should the Akademorok accept your argument? Be specific."

There was a silence.

The indentured scholar looked up, something burning in his eyes. Around him in a wave, scholars began to dive underneath desks or bolt for the (distant) exits.


The gun came up.

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