Counterfeit Monkey — 123 of 292

Emily Short

Release 5

Section 10 - Customs House

[The player is never going to leave via the Customs House. But for a portion of the story, it seems likely that he's going to need to -- so we keep the location here as a bit of misdirection, while trying to make it clear that there's nothing *yet* available to do in this location. (Otherwise, the fact that nothing is implemented as a way to leave the island would be a clear signal about the twist endings to come.)

The people entering and leaving are light local color, but they're not meant to be interesting enough to hold the player's attention long, as he does have other things he is supposed to be doing.

At least, that's the theory. In practice, there's massively more complex output than there needs to be, mostly because making this stuff up is fun.

In an earlier version of the game, the player *did* leave via the Customs House, after first solving a puzzle of manipulating the exit lines — the challenge was to distract multiple officers by creating fake humans and animals, so that everyone manning customs was kept busy dealing with these frauds while the player snuck into a back room to rescue Brock. But this puzzle proved fiddly to explain to the player and not actually very much fun, so we axed the entire sequence. At that point the game was also perhaps a half or two thirds its present length: not only was it missing the escapades in the Bureau basement, but it also lacked the traffic circle and the dead drop/map store sequence. ]

The Customs House is east of the Docks. It is indoors. "This one building handles both people entering Atlantis by sea and those leaving, so there is an entry line (which feeds out into the city by the door we used) and an exit line (which snakes through from here to the point where boats and ferries board their passengers).

There is a [long line] of people waiting to leave Atlantis, even on Serial Comma Day."

The introduction is "No one is paying any attention to us [i]yet[/i], but I wouldn't advise spending much time here."

Sanity-check entering the long line:

say "We can only afford to try going through this line once, and it's going to have to be when we're really ready to leave. Which we're not." instead.

The assorted side rooms are scenery in the Customs House. Understand "private" or "room" as the assorted side rooms. The description is "The side rooms provide auxiliary services: quarantine for linguistically unsuitable objects, kennels for animals that will need to undergo alignment therapy, holding cells for suspects."

The long line is a scenery enterable container in the Customs House. The description is "The line is made up mostly of businessmen and scientists and the occasional professor with academic leave to go elsewhere, as well as departing tourists." Understand "entry" or "exit" or "professor" or "academic" or "academics" or "tourist" or "tourists" or "vacationer" or "vacationers" or "businessman" or "businesswoman" or "businesspeople" or "businessmen" or "businessperson" or "businesswomen" or "scientist" or "scientists" or "man" or "men" or "woman" or "women" as the long line.

Some local-officials are scenery in the Customs House. Understand "officials" or "official" or "customs" as the local-officials. The printed name is "customs officials". The description is "The officials are at the far end of a very long line."

An Atlantida propaganda poster is fixed in place in Customs House. Understand "old" or "war-time" or "wartime" or "war" or "war time" as the propaganda poster. The printed name is "old war-time poster". "An [Atlantida propaganda poster] on the wall shows Atlantida striding boldly forward." The description is "The poster is huge, almost as tall as [you] are, and covers most of a wall. Atlantida, dressed in blue, walks towards the viewer from a bold sunrise background. The legend reads THE SPIRIT OF OUR PEOPLE.

It was part of a propaganda campaign to get the Atlanteans to think of Atlantis as inherently invulnerable, on the off-chance that the belief would create the reality.

And we never were invaded, for whatever that's worth, though the Axis would certainly have found the island a useful base.".

[I wanted to reinforce the idea of Atlantida several times in the mid to late game as establishing shots for the endgame. The idea of the propaganda poster specifically comes from the gazillion KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON posters one sees everywhere in the UK right now: a nod to the phlegmatic courage of the past.]

The uninteresting posters are a scenery thing in the Customs House. The description is "The nearest one depicts a man having his foreign-language dictionaries confiscated."

Every turn when the location is Customs House:

if a random chance of 9 in 10 succeeds:

say "[one of][mini-group] [multi-passersby] [heads for the Docks][entry-comment][or][mini-group] [multi-passersby] [quiet-chat][or][Random-passerby] [comes-in][optional-exit][or][Random-passerby] makes it through the entry line[*and*] heads into Atlantis[or][Random-passerby] [acts bored][or][line-advance][or][one of]A new lane opens up at the front, speeding up the line a little[or]One of the officials at the front goes on break, slowing down the line[cycling][or][Random-passerby] [one of]provokes[or]starts[or]begins[or]gets into[at random] [interaction-type] with a [random-official][private-room][or][Random-passerby] [punks-out][or][hubbub][or][random-once-event][as decreasingly likely outcomes].".

[These events are too memorable to happen more than once; therefore we have them on a stopping cycle with the last event being a generic again.]

To say random-once-event:

say "[one of]A man arrives to deliver a parrot to the linguistic alignment rooms. '[i]Allo?[/i]' inquires the parrot. Embarrassed, the parrot's owner covers its cage with a blanket[*and*] meets no one's eye until the quarantine room is ready to accept them[or][Random-passerby] explains to a neighb[our] in line that [it-they] is visiting Atlantis for gender reassignment with a homonym paddle[or]There's a percussive noise from a side chamber as some abandoned luggage is exploded for safety[or]An Authenticator walks along the line, looking people over through a monocle[or][Random-passerby] takes several French-language articles out of a [luggage-item][*and*] tosses them into a reclamation bin[or][Random-passerby] waves cheerfully at a security camera[or][Random-passerby] tries a pick-up line on [its-their] neighb[our]. [Random-passerby] shuts this down hard[or][Random-passerby] [comes-in][stopping]".

To say private-room:

if a random chance of 1 in 2 succeeds:

say "[one of]. 'Come with me, please,' says the official, very bored[or][*and*] is led away into a private room[or]. The official does not seem impressed[or]. A moment later, the official escorts [it-them] into one of the side rooms. The door shuts firmly[at random]".

To say hubbub:

say "[one of]The noise increases[or]Raised voices come[or]There's a bit of a hubbub[or]Interested whispers pass back[or]Sounds of argument filter back[at random] from the [one of]front of the room[or]head of the line[or]bank of official desks[at random]. ";

say "[one of]It appears someone left a [luggage-item] unsupervised, and it now has to be scanned. 'I hope they blow it up,' says someone[or][Random-passerby] is having [its-their] cell phone confiscated[or][Random-passerby] has foolishly asked to see a supervisor[or][Random-passerby] turns out to have a tattoo of a quotation in German all down [its-their] right leg[or][Random-passerby] was trying to bribe a [random-official] with a packet of [currency] notes, but was rebuffed[at random]";

To say comes-in:

say "[one of]comes[or]walks[or]steps[or]strolls[or]saunters[or]stumbles[or]strides[or]wanders[at random]";

if a random chance of 1 in 2 succeeds:

say " in";


say " [one of]in[or]through[at random] [one of]the door[or]the east door[or]the door from the Docks[at random]";

To say optional-exit:

if a random chance of 1 in 2 succeeds:

say "[*and*] [one of]gets in line[or]joins the exit line[or]stands in line[or]gets into the line to leave the country[at random]"

To say *and*:

say "[one of]. [It-they][or] and[or], then[as decreasingly likely outcomes]".

To say punks-out:

say "[one of]looks at the exit line[*and*] suddenly gets cold feet[*and*] leaves[or]climbs under the line divider[*and*] gets out of the exit line[or]abruptly starts moving back out of the exit line[or]gets out of line[*and*] heads for the restroom[at random]".

To say interaction-type:

say "[one of]a disagreement[or]an involved conversation[or]a tiff[or]a heated altercation[or]an exchange of words[or]an innuendo-rich conversation[or]a flirtation[as decreasingly likely outcomes]".

To say line-advance:

say "[one of]The line shuffles [minutely] forward[or]The line advances[or]The line advances [minutely][or]The line moves forward [a random number between 2 and 4 in words] steps[or]Everyone in line takes [a random number between 2 and 4 in words] steps ahead[or][Random-passerby] shoves a [luggage-item] ahead in line with [its-their] foot[or][Random-passerby] emerges from an oblivious fog long enough to notice that a substantial gap has opened up in the line[*and*] hurries to close it[or][Random-passerby] nudges the next person to point out that the line is moving ahead, and there's no reason to stand still gawking at posters, thanks very much[as decreasingly likely outcomes]".

To say minutely:

say "[one of]a little[or]minutely[or]a few paces[or]slightly[or]very gradually[at random]"

To say heads for the Docks:

say "[one of]entering Atlantis brush past us and head out to the Docks[or]emerge from the line[or]come through the entry line and head for the east exit[or]go to the east exit[or]pass us heading for the Docks[at random]".

To say acts bored:

say "[one of][looks-bored][or][consults-watch][or][luggage-item-activities][or][hums][or]taps [its-their] foot[or]beats a tattoo on the line divider[as decreasingly likely outcomes]";

if a random chance of 1 in 5 succeeds:

say "[*and*] [acts bored]"

To say luggage-item-activities:

if a random chance of 1 in 5 succeeds:

say "[one of]idly[or]absent-mindedly[at random] ";

if a random chance of 4 in 5 succeeds:

say "[one of]kicks[or]tries to peel a claim-check sticker off[or]fishes around inside[or]rearranges the contents of[or]shifts the weight of[at random] a [luggage-item]";


say "[one of]unzips[or]opens[at random] a [luggage-item] and feels around inside".

To say looks-bored:

say "[one of]looks bored[or]yawns[or]stifles a yawn[or]stares slackly into the middle distance[or]assumes an expression of the most severe ennui[as decreasingly likely outcomes]"

To say consults-watch:

say "[one of]looks at[or]looks pointedly at[or]consults[at random] ";

say "[one of][its-their] wristwatch[or]a cheap wristwatch[or]the time[or]a watch[at random]".

To say hums:

say "hums ";

say "[one of][music-type][or][music-adverb][or][music-adverb] [music-type][or][music-type] [music-adverb][at random]".

To say music-type:

say "[one of]a traditional folk song[or]the ballad of squid-farmers[or]the tune of a public service advertisement[or]an advert for the washing power of a washing powder[or]a pop tune[at random]";

To say music-adverb:

say "[one of]tunelessly[or]nasally[or]pleasantly[or]through the nose[or]off-key[or]with perfect pitch[or]at a lugubrious tempo[or]loudly[at random]";

To say entry-comment:

if a random chance of 1 in 3 succeeds:

say ". '[one of]New record: [a random number between 40 and 90 in words] minutes[or]That certainly took long enough[or]Now, how about [if current daytime is early afternoon]lunch[otherwise]snacks[end if]? I'm starving[or]Now, which way is the Fleur d'Or? Let's drop our luggage[or]Ah, the Atlantean heat wave as soon as you open the door[or]After all that I wish I [i]were[/i] smuggling something[or]I was starting to think we weren't going to get out of there in time for the evening fireworks[or]Funny place for a destination wedding[or]Is this the place where you can swim with sharks or is that Mauritius? I can't remember[or]For the price of entry visas around here, they could lay on a few more staff[or]Just think: it's [time-elsewhere][at random],' one of them says".

To say mini-group:

say "[one of]A small group of[or]A few[or]A couple of[or]Some[or]Several[or]Two[or]Three[or]A trio of[as decreasingly likely outcomes]".

To say quiet-chat:

[This is like rolling a pair of dice to produce a stronger probability of middle-range outcomes than others:

1: 1 + 0

2: 1 + 1, 2 + 0

3: 1 + 2, 2 + 1, 3 + 0

4: 2 + 2, 3 + 1

5: 3 + 2]

let X be a random number between 1 and 3;

let Y be a random number between 0 and 2;

let N be X + Y;

if N is:

-- 1: say "[one of]murmur together[or]are speaking in low voices[or]are talking just about a whisper[or]are talking in a conspiratorial whisper[at random]";

-- 2: say "[one of]are chatting quietly[or]chat quietly in line[at random]";

-- 3: say "[one of]are talking[or]are chatting[or]are having a placid conversation[or]are standing in line talking[at random]";

-- 4: say "[one of]talk loudly in line[or]are having an excited conversation[at random]";

-- 5: say "are [one of]arguing[or]disputing[or]disagreeing[at random]";

if a random chance of 1 in 2 succeeds:

say " [one of]fiercely[or]hotly[or]loudly[or]in elevated voices[or]heatedly[at random]";

if N is greater than 3 or a random chance of 1 in 3 succeeds:

say " about [one of]the movie selections to be found on cruise ships[or]the [currency]-[currency] exchange rate[or]transportation security[or]whether this year's mosquito population is larger and more voracious than last year's[or]the relative culinary merits of squid and octopus[or]which is the best restaurant on the island[or]whether it's worth it buying a first-class ferry ticket to Portugal[or]whether it's fair for the French government to subsid[ize] linguistic tool research[or]whether they're likely to need long trousers in [random-spot][at random]";

if a random chance of 1 in 3 succeeds:

say ". [paragraph break]'[one of]You're mad[or]I wouldn't bring that up around here[or]Hush[or]That's a more political remark than you real[ize][or]I agree completely, but you should keep it down[at random],' says the nearest one abruptly";

if N is less than 4 and a random chance of 1 in 3 succeeds:

say ". One of them [acts bored]";

To say currency:

say "[one of]euro[or]pound[or]yen[or]US dollar[or]Canadian dollar[or]Australian dollar[or]krone[or]peso[or]won[or]rupee[or]ringgit[at random]"

To say Random-passerby:

say "[one of]A tourist[fm][or]A scientist[fm][or]A businessman[m][or]A scientific-looking individual[fm][or]A businesswoman[f][or][A person-adjective] man[m][or][A person-adjective] woman[f][or]A man[m][or]A woman[f][at random]";

if a random chance of 1 in 3 succeeds:

if a random chance of 1 in 2 succeeds:

say "[one of] with[or] carrying[or] dragging[at random] a [luggage-item]";

otherwise if a random chance of 6 in 7 succeeds:

say "[one of] carrying[or] with[or] holding[at random] [odd-prop]";


say "[one of] in a wheelchair[or] in [earth-color] trousers[or] wearing a [primary-color] and [secondary-color] hat[at random]".

To say odd-prop:

say "[one of]a package of dried squid treats[or]a jar of pickled [random vegetable][or][metallic-color] sunglasses[or]a coat suitable for a more northerly climate[or]a small dog on a leash[or]a cane[or]two liters of premium vodka in a duty-free bag[or]a [color-pick] umbrella[or]a huge bouquet of [flowers][at random]".

To say flowers:

if a random chance of 1 in 2 succeeds:

say "[one of][pastel-color][or][primary-color][or][secondary-color][as decreasingly likely outcomes] ";

say "[one of]tulips[or]roses[or]lilies[or]daisies[at random]"

To say primary-modifier:

say "[one of]vivid[or]bright[or]vibrant[or]faded[as decreasingly likely outcomes]"

To say secondary-modifier:

say "[one of]neon[or]sickly[as decreasingly likely outcomes]".

To say pastel-modifier:

say "[one of]pale[or]light[or]iridescent[as decreasingly likely outcomes]".

To say primary-color:

say "[one of]red[or]crimson[or]blue[or]cerulean[or]yellow[or]canary[at random]".

To say secondary-color:

say "[one of]teal[or]violet[or]chartreuse[or]purple[or]magenta[or]lime-green[or]green[or]cyan[or]orange[or]tangerine-col[our]ed[at random]".

To say pastel-color:

say "[one of]lavender[or]pink[or]sky blue[or]mint green[or]peach[or]daffodil-yellow[or]salmon[or]mauve[at random]".

To say earth-color:

say "[one of]beige[or]olive-drab[or]khaki[or]tan[or]dun[or]sienna[or]chocolate[or]brown[or]camel-col[our]ed[at random]".

To say tone-color:

say "[one of]white[or]ivory[or]cream[or]black[or]grey[at random]".

To say dark-color:

say "[one of]black[or]navy[or]dark brown[or]maroon[or]wine-col[our]ed[or]midnight blue[as decreasingly likely outcomes]".

To say metallic-color:

say "[one of]silver[or]gold[or]gunmetal[or]pewter[or]platinum[at random]"

To say patterned:

if a random chance of 1 in 3 succeeds:

say "[one of][pastel-color][or][earth-color][or][tone-color] and [tone-color][or][secondary-color] and [secondary-color][at random] ";

say "[one of]pin-striped[or]herringbone[or]checked[or]tweed[or]plaid[or]paisley[or]floral-patterned[or]camouflage-patterned[or]leopard-spotted[or]tiger-striped[or]tortoiseshell[or]zebra-striped[or]polka-dot[at random]".

To say color-pick:

say "[one of][tone-color][or][pastel-color][or][primary-color][or][secondary-color][or][earth-color][or][dark-color][or][patterned][or][metallic-color][at random]".

To say A person-adjective:

let N be indexed text;

let N be "[person-adjective]";

let P be character number 1 in N;

if P is "a" or P is "e" or P is "i" or P is "o" or P is "u" or P is "A" or P is "E" or P is "I" or P is "O" or P is "U":

say "An [N]";


say "A [N]";

To say person-adjective:

say "[one of]tall[or]fit[or][nationality][or]slim[or]muscular[or]tanned[or]short[or]freckled[or]young[or]older[or]elderly[or]thin[or]pudgy[or]gaunt[or]well-dressed[or]thin-lipped[or]short-sighted[or]squinty-eyed[or]stooped[or]cross-looking[or]pug-nosed[or]frizzy-haired[as decreasingly likely outcomes]".

To say nationality:

say "[one of]South African[or]English[or]Irish[or]Australian[or]American[or]New Zealand[or]Canadian[or]Scottish[at random]".

To say random-official:

say "[one of]official[or]customs official[at random]"

To say f:

now the prior named noun is a random woman which is not plural-named.

To say m:

now the prior named noun is a random man which is not plural-named.

To say fm:

if a random chance of 1 in 2 succeeds:

say f;


say m.

To say multi-passersby:

if a random chance of 1 in 7 succeeds:

say "[person-adjective] ";

say "[one of]tourists[or]vacationers[or]businessmen[m][or]businesspeople[or]businesswomen[f][or]academics[or]scientists[at random]".

To say luggage-item:

if a random chance of 1 in 4 succeeds:

say "[one of][dark-color][or]newish[or]scuffed[or]soft-sided[or]hard-sided[or]small[or]large[or]massive[or]outsized[or]bulging[or]broken[or]shabby[or]plastic-wrapped[or]travel-worn[or]leather-trimmed[or][tone-color][or][earth-color][or][secondary-color][or][patterned][as decreasingly likely outcomes] ";

say "[one of]wheelie suitcase[or]laptop bag[or]carry-on bag[or]suitcase[or]messenger bag[or]camera bag[or]guitar case[or]trunk[or]cosmetic case[or]golf bag[as decreasingly likely outcomes]"

Sanity-check going nowhere when the location is Customs House:

try entering the long line instead.

Test Customs with "tutorial off / look / x side rooms / x line / x tourists / x scientists / x officials / x private room / z / z / z / z / z / z" in Customs House.

[This is a bit of game archaeology: very early on, when the terms of the Atlantidan world weren't very well established, I'd written the "Confiscated Articles Room" as a bit of fantasia. Later it became obvious that I couldn't seriously make a full game in which articles mattered at all. So I commented it out, but didn't ever actually erase it from the code.

The description of the Confiscated Articles Depository is "A room brightly but unsympathetically lit, whose walls are lined with shelves; and on the shelves are dozens and dozens of confiscated articles, both definite and indefinite."

Some shelves are scenery in the Depository. The description of the shelves is "Ordinary metal shelves, painted beige."

The dead articles are on the shelves. Understand "confiscated" and "definite" and "indefinite" as the articles. The articles are scenery. "Plucked from their nouns, they are limp and pale. The ones in front are a typical mix of 'le' and 'il' and 'gli', 'der' and 'die' and 'la' and 'des'. Towards the back they get more interesting, though little more than husks now [--] I'm sure I see a 'τῶν' wedged back there, and in a contraband alphabet at that." Instead of doing something other than examining with the articles: say "There is bound to be an alarm." ]