The men in grey were powerless to meet this challenge head-on. Unable to detach the children from Momo by bringing them under their direct control, they had to find some roundabout means of achieving the same end, and for this they enlisted the children's elders. Not all grown-ups made suitable accomplices, of course, but plenty did. [....] 'Something must be done,' they said. 'More and more kids are being left on their own and neglected. You can't blame us - parents just don't have the time these days - so it's up to the authorities.' Others joined in the chorus. 'We can't have all these youngsters loafing around, ' declared some. 'They obstruct the traffic. Road accidents caused by children are on the increase, and road accidents cost money that could be put to better use.' 'Unsupervised children run wild, declared others.'They become morally depraved and take to crime. The authorities must take steps to round them up. They must build centers where the youngsters can be molded into useful and efficient members of society.' 'Children,' declared still others, 'are the raw material for the future. A world dependent on computers and nuclear energy will need an army of experts and technicians to run it. Far from preparing children from tomorrow's world, we still allow too many of them to squander years of their precious time on childish tomfoolery. It's a blot on our civilization and a crime against future generations.' The timesavers were all in favor of such a policy, naturally, and there were so many of them in the city by this time that they soon convinced the authorities of the need to take prompt action. Before long, big buildings known as 'child depots' sprang up in every neighborhood. Children whose parents were too busy to look after them had to be deposited there and could be collected when convenient. They were strictly forbidden to play in the streets or parks or anywhere else. Any child caught doing so was immediately carted off to the nearest depot, and its parents were heavily fined. None of Momo's friends escaped the new regulation. They were split up according to districts they came from and consigned to various child depots. Once there, they were naturally forbidden to play games of their own devising. All games were selected for them by supervisors and had to have some useful, educational purpose. The children learned these new games but unlearned something else in the process: they forgot how to be happy, how to take pleasure in the little things, and last but not least, how to dream. Weeks passed, and the children began to look like timesavers in miniature. Sullen, bored and resentful, they did as they were told. Even when left to their own devices, they no longer knew what to do with themselves. All they could still do was make a noise, but it was an angry, ill-tempered noise, not the happy hullabaloo of former times. The men in grey made no direct approach to them - there was no need. The net they had woven over the city was so close-meshed as to seem inpenetrable. Not even the brightest and most ingenious children managed to slip through its toils. The amphitheater remained silent and deserted.