Back in the busy canteen, the loudspeaker reminds "all staff" that the tables are now "self-cleaning," and Adam's sitting in a crowd. Rose offers him a paper cup: "Try this. It's called 'Zaphic.' It's nice. It's like a...Slush Puppy." Adam asks her what flavor, and Rose tastes it again: "Sort of beef?" Adam wigs, and they laugh, but Adam's having his own "End Of The World" moment: "It's like everything's gone. Home, family...everything." Rose takes out her zapped cell phone -- "The Doctor gave it a top-up" -- and holds it out. "But that's 198,000 years ago!" Adam moves around like he doesn't believe her, or needs a special Earth 2012 dialing code, and finally dials, reaching his parents' answering machine. "Hi. It's...it's me," he says, as a little dog comes hopping through the door, and starts sniffing the phone. "I met these people...and we've gone traveling together. But, um, I'm fine, and I'll call you later. Love you." (He's not so bad, right? I really just hate him because every time I try to type his name I end up typing "Adama.") He's, of course, overjoyed by the zapped phone, and starts to go off about it, but an alarm sounds, and everybody starts to whiz around and disappear off back to work. Rose and Adam stare around, at a loss, and the Doctor appears, calling them to him. Rose, grinning hugely, hops over to him, and Adam hangs back. The music goes nuts, as Adam shoves Rose's phone in his pocket, because, if you didn't know this already, Adam doesn't understand teenage girls at all. Like she's not going to notice.
Back on Floor 500, the Editor gets a "security check cleared" from the computer, but he's not buying it. "I can taste it. Tiny little shift in the information," he says. The Editor orders two more corpsicles to double- and triple-check our group, and to follow them.
The Doctor, Rose, and Adam join Cathica and Suki for an intensely overthought journalism ritual in which a circle of seated work areas surround a raised chair, and Cathica climbs up into the chair -- all while talking "Management" Doctor through the process: "Okay, so. Ladies, gentlemen, multi-sex undecideable robot...My name is Cathica Santini Kadainy." She kisses more of the Doctor's ass, about "Cathica with a C," and it's only the acting that keeps the character from sliding off into ridicule. The Doctor just grins and jerks his head at her. Cathica continues, "The process of news gathering must be open, honest, and be non-biased. That's company policy." Suki corrects her: "Actually...it's the law." Seems like management brown-nosing, turns out not to be. Cathica tells Suki to chill out, and climbs into the chair. The other reporters at their stations hold hands out over sci-fi hand pads, and the walls light up behind them as they do so. Cathica snaps her fingers, and a little door opens in her forehead. It's gross. Even the Doctor is icked out, although Adam leans forward a little bit. Cathica: "And three...two...and spike." Laser blue light comes down into the little door, and the Doctor gives the answer to an Excellent Question nobody asked: "Compressed information, streaming into her. Reports from every city, every country, every planet, and they all get packaged inside her head. She becomes part of the software. Her brain is the computer." First off, I don't mind the blah-blah this time, because it's an important smokescreen for the essentials of the plot, but also because it's another parallel to the implicit theme: if you don't swallow your TV and digest it and taste it with your salty and sweet and bitter and whatever parts of your tongue, it doesn't matter what you watch. Two hours of Big Brother is equal to sixteen hours of the History Channel or a single episode of Laguna Beach, if you look at it right. If you want to see war strategy in action. Whether it's the nightly news or a sci-fi show, a show is not brainless if you engage with it; the quality of the entertainment is always directly dependent on the quality of the viewer, how much you are willing to risk in engagement. It's about intimacy, interaction, the quality of how you choose to spend your time, and what you do with the information. It's about intimacy. "If it all goes through her, she must be a genius." The Doctor knows otherwise: "Nah. She wouldn't remember any." They walk around and look at the tranced-out journalists, Suki among them. "The brain's the processor. As soon as it closes, she forgets." The other journalists have chips in their heads, connecting them to Cathica, and they transmit the six hundred channels, and...so I guess they're picking up the information and giving it to Cathica, and she's synthesizing it? (What's a cathode ray do? Ugh, hold on...In a vacuum, if you heat the cathode it transmits to the anode and that's what makes your old-school TV glow. Satellite Five's in a vacuum, and it's hot in there, but so far there's no signal.) The Doctor: "Every single fact in the Empire beams out of this place...now, that's what I call power."