Counterfeit Monkey — 271 of 292

Emily Short

Release 5

Section 6 - Professor Higgate

[ The professors were perhaps the easiest and most enjoyable characters to write. There are elements of caricature about each -- just as with the backpacking girl at the hostel -- but they're much more important figures in the plot and in Alex's life.

Professor Higgate is my favorite: genuinely and deeply committed to her subject, fond of her students, and so deeply part of her own academic culture that it's not always easy for her to see things as the world outside might. She's humane and well-meaning, she sees the pursuit of knowledge as a true and worthy calling in its own right, and yet she doesn't always understand what is happening to the world outside her doors, and that's what makes her defenseless in the end.

Higgate's dearness (to me) made her an obvious sacrificial candidate for the end of Act 3. I wanted to have something happen that would alarm Alex and make him feel that his world was under a true threat -- something more personal than the repressive but basically anonymous protest scene at the Roundabout. And the person Alex cares about most in an uncomplicated way is Higgate: she's supported and guided him through his career, almost another parent, except without the slightly stifling associations that his actual parents bring to bear. ]

The generic positive of Professor Higgate is "I suppose".

The generic negative of Professor Higgate is "[one of]not exactly[or]not really[at random]".

The generic adversative of Professor Higgate is "erm".

The generic confrontational of Professor Higgate is "er".

lojban-greeting is an NPC-directed quip.

The response is "She looks up when we come in. '.i xu do se bangu la lojban.' Higgate asks. She's asking whether we speak Lojban. For the present, I think it will raise fewer questions if we say no.".

It is restrictive.

english-greeting is an NPC-directed quip.

The response is "[one of]'Hello again,' says Higgate, obviously disappointed to see another non-Lojban speaker.[or]'You're back,' Higgate says[one of] flatly[or], putting aside her novel[or][at random].[stopping]".

Every turn when the current quip is lojban-greeting:

say "Higgate is still looking at us expectantly, so I jump in. ";

try discussing that we do not speak Lojban;

try Higgate discussing that we do not speak Lojban.

Instead of saying no when that we do not speak lojban is available:

try discussing that we do not.

Instead of saying yes when that we do not speak lojban is available:

say "I could, of course, but she'd then wonder where we picked it up. Better not.";

now that we do not speak lojban is listed.

Every turn when the current interlocutor is Professor Higgate and we do not speak lojban is available:

try discussing we do not speak lojban.

that we do not speak Lojban is an unlisted informative quip. Understand "no" as that we do not speak Lojban.

It mentions constructed language.

The comment is "'I'm afraid I don't understand,' we say, smiling faintly.".

The response is "Her face falls. 'Ah! I was hoping you'd be here for Conversational Lojban Tea.' The room is conspicuously lacking other Lojban conversationalists.[queue cucumber regret]".

It quip-supplies Professor Higgate.

It directly-follows lojban-greeting.

cucumber regret is an NPC-directed quip.

The response is "'I'd offer you some cucumber sandwiches,' Professor Higgate says. 'But I'm afraid I ate them all.'"

how Professor Higgate seems doing is a questioning quip.

The printed name is "how Professor Higgate is doing". The true-name is "how Professor Higgate seems doing".

Understand "is" or "she" as how Professor Higgate seems doing.

It mentions Professor Higgate.

The comment is "'How are you?' we ask.

Forgive me these irrelevant questions, but I haven't seen Professor Higgate for a few days, and she's one of my fav[our]ite people in the department. I worry about her a little.".

The response is "She looks taken aback, as though trying to figure out whether she knows us. Then she shrugs this off and decides to proceed as though she does.

'Oh, you know,' she says. 'It's that time of year when the energy's run out and the students have to be prodded with an electric rod to get them to do any work. And then I've got this book I've got to write, and Professor Waterstone keeps talking about how next year he would like to take a break from being Director of Graduate Studies...'".

It quip-supplies Professor Higgate.

It indirectly-follows that we do not speak Lojban.

what would be so bad about directing graduate studies is a questioning quip.

It mentions employment.

The comment is "'What would be so bad about being director of graduate studies?' I ask, a little surprised. I always thought she liked graduate students.".

The response is "'Nothing, nothing! It's just that I have this book I should be writing, and Professor Waterstone has done the job for so many years that he's[--]'

She pulls up short, apparently remembering that she doesn't, actually, know us at all. 'He's very experienced, and I am not sure he would enjoy watching someone else do it differently,' she concludes tactfully. 'Our personal styles are not very similar.'".

It quip-supplies Professor Higgate.

It indirectly-follows how Professor Higgate seems doing.

An availability rule for what the romance novel might be:

if heart to heart is not visible:

it is off-limits.

what the romance novel might be is a questioning quip.

It mentions heart to heart.

The comment is "'What are you reading there?' we ask, in our best earnest undergraduate voice.".

The response is "She blushes very faintly. 'It's a novel in Láadan,' she says. 'A relatively little-spoken language, but I'm trying to master it. It was designed as a language for women, which has interesting sociological implications, though I fear it was not as widely taken up as the designer might have hoped.'".

It quip-supplies Professor Higgate.

It is background-information.

[Originally the novel was in Fukhian, which I picked off a webpage on constructed languages because I liked the look of the script. But later, reading Arika Okrent's In the Land of Invented Languages as research, I ran across Láadan, which — with its highly elaborated vocabulary of body parts, and the sentence modifiers that mean things like 'I say the following in a loving fashion' — seemed a more likely language for constructed romance novels.]

whether Professor Higgate would translate part of the novel is a questioning quip.

Understand "she" or "if" as whether Professor Higgate would translate part of the novel.

It mentions constructed language, heart to heart.

The comment is "'Would you translate part of it for me?' we ask.".

The response is "The blush deepens. 'Well, some of the ideas are hard to express in single words of English. This suffix, for instance, has a pejorative meaning, so when it is attached to, ah, the word for experiencing a sexual act, that may suggest that the act was unsatisfactory.'".

It quip-supplies Professor Higgate.

It directly-follows what the romance novel might be.

whether she encountered activists is a questioning quip.

Understand "if" as whether she encountered activists.

It mentions activist, environment.

The comment is "'Did you by any chance encounter some activists on the way into the building?' we ask. 'I had a hard time getting in here because they wanted to talk to me about toxi waste.'".

The response is "'[i]Yes[/i],' she says. 'Now those kids! If we needed proof of the social value of what we're doing here, they're a perfect example. I admire their enthusiasm, don't get me wrong, but the whole idea of single-term manipulation is hopelessly wrong-headed, and if they spent a semester or two in a Language Studies class, they'd understand why.'".

It quip-supplies Professor Higgate.

It is background-information.

An availability rule for whether she might let us into the language studies seminar room:

if the seminar room is visited:

it is off-limits.

whether she might let us into the language studies seminar room is a questioning quip. The comment is "'Could you possibly let me into the Language Studies Seminar Room?' we ask. 'There's something I'd like to do in there.'".

Understand "higgate" or "her" or "professor" or "if" as whether she might let us into the language studies seminar room.

It mentions seminar door, key.

The response is "'Er... Do you have some student ID or something? You see, and this is a little embarrassing, I'm afraid I'm not quite placing you at the moment, and I'm not supposed to allow students into that room unless they have some affiliation with the department.'

Of course we don't have any ID, and no prospect of getting any. But she might be persuaded by some other evidence of affiliation[if the player does not enclose the Problem of Adjectives]. Maybe a book to return[end if].".

It quip-supplies Professor Higgate.

An availability rule for how we might return a book:

if the player does not enclose Problem of Adjectives:

it is off-limits.

how we might return a book is a demonstration quip. The comment is "'I need to return this book to the department library,' we say, holding out [Problem of Adjectives].".

Understand "can" or "could" or "might" as how we might return a book.

It mentions Problem of Adjectives.

The response is "'Oh! Yes, all right,' she says. 'Did you like it? It's a good overview of the subject, didn't you think? I'm afraid the author once annoyed Professor Waterstone at a conference, or we might have had her around to speak at one of our colloquia...'".

It quip-supplies Professor Higgate.

Instead of looking in Samuel Johnson Hall when Higgate is in Samuel Johnson Hall:

follow the room description heading rule;

say "We stand politely a few paces back from the southeast door, which is currently occupying Higgate's attention. [run paragraph on]"

Report approaching Samuel Johnson Hall when Higgate is in Samuel Johnson Hall:

say "We walk a little behind Higgate, who has a very long businesslike stride despite her heels." instead.

Rule for listing exits when looking in Samuel Johnson Hall when Higgate is in the location:

do nothing instead.

Report Higgate unlocking the seminar door with something:

say "She fiddles with her keys for a moment before finding the right one. [run paragraph on]" instead.

Report Higgate opening the seminar door:

say "'Here we you go,' she says, pushing the door open." instead.

Report Higgate getting off the chair:

say "Higgate stands, patting herself down as though worried she has forgotten something." instead.

Report Higgate going a direction when the location is Higgate's Office:

say "She walks past us through the office door." instead.

Report Higgate going southwest to the Seminar Room:

say "She steps inside." instead.

Report Higgate going a direction (called way):

say "She waves and heads back [way]." instead.

[From early on in the game, PAINT was an available object, since it's very linguistically productive, offering PANT, PINT, PIN, PAN, PAT, etc. At one point, the player got this paint from Professor Higgate's office, a remnant of the redecoration in progress there.

But ultimately, PAINT didn't fit too well into the puzzle structure I was building, and many of the things it offered could be created from other objects sooner or later. So I cut the object and commented out the associated dialogue passages.]

[An availability rule for whether she needs the paint:

if the paint is not visible or the paint is released:

it is off-limits.

whether she needs the paint is an unlisted questioning quip. The comment is "'Looks like you've got some paint left over from the trim job. Very pretty, by the way.'".

Understand "higgate" or "professor" as whether she needs the paint.

It mentions paint.

The response is "'Oh! Yes, I never got around to disposing of it, I'm afraid. The regulations have gotten so strict lately. It might be toxic, so you're not supposed to just throw it away, and of course I could transform it into something else but they look askance on the disposal even of transformed chemicals.'".

It quip-supplies Professor Higgate.

Instead of asking Professor Higgate to try giving the paint to yourself:

try discussing if we can take the paint.

Instead of asking Professor Higgate for the paint:

if the paint is released:

say "She has already said we could have it.";

otherwise:

try discussing if we can take paint.

if we can take the paint is a questioning quip. The comment is "'I'd be happy to dispose of the paint for you,' we say. 'It would be no trouble.'".

It mentions paint.

The response is "'Oh! Well, that's very kind of you. Make sure you do it properly!'".

It quip-supplies Professor Higgate.

It indirectly-follows whether she needs paint.

Carry out Higgate discussing if we can take the paint:

now the paint is released.

Before discussing if we can take paint when the player does not recollect whether she needs paint:

try discussing whether she needs paint;

follow the conversation-reply rules.

availability rule for whether she seems sure she doesn't want the pint:

if the player does not carry the pint:

it is off-limits.

whether she seems sure she doesn't want the pint is a weakly-phrased questioning quip.

The printed name is "whether she is sure she doesn't want the pint". The true-name is "whether she seems sure she doesn't wantthe pint".

Understand "is" as whether she seems sure she doesn't want the pint. The comment is "'You're sure I can't tempt you with this nice pint?'".

It mentions pint.

The response is "'Perfectly,' she says. 'Tea and water for me.'".

It quip-supplies Professor Higgate.

Before going from Higgate's office when the paint is released and the player does not enclose the paint:

try Higgate discussing paint-recycling instead.

paint-recycling is an NPC-directed quip.

The response is "[one of]'Wait [--] weren't you going to dispose of the paint for me?'[or]'Do take the paint with you now if you want it,' she says. 'I may be gone later.'[or]'You're forgetting the paint again,' she says.[stopping]". Before going from Higgate's office when the paint is released and the player does not carry the paint:

try Higgate discussing paint-recycling instead. ]

which conlangs she kens is a questioning quip.

The printed name is "which conlangs she knows". The true-name is "which conlangs she kens".

Understand "knows" or "what" or "languages" or "language" as which conlangs she kens. The comment is "'Which conlangs do you know, then?'".

It mentions constructed language.

The response is "'Esperanto, Volapük, and Lojban, naturally,' she says. 'Interlingua, a bit of Fukhian,' (she is careful to pronounce the h sound), '...Quenya, Klingon, Royeship, Toki Pona... and several others in which I am not fluent enough to speak, but know well enough for the purposes of study.'".

It quip-supplies Professor Higgate.