Counterfeit Monkey — 273 of 292

Emily Short

Release 5

Section 8 - Brock

[ Brock underwent several major character revisions over the course of development. Rescuing him was always a major goal of the game (though in earlier versions, the goal was to rescue him from inside the Customs House, where he'd been captured trying to escape through the standard channels).

In the first draft, he was a love interest for Andra but one whose feelings for her were still undeclared. But as I wrote, that scenario began to feel increasingly childish and contrived. Here were two adults who had been living together in very close quarters for years. Imagining that their feelings had somehow gone unspoken and unexplored required that they either be people with major hangups about love and relationships, or that they conform to that television logic that dictates that people will postpone starting any new relationship until right at the end of the story, even when they've been perfect for one another for all seven seasons.

So I decided to revise.

Next I recast Brock as a significantly less-nice figure, one who mildly harassed Andra and bossed her around without having any genuinely romantic feelings for her. In this version, Andra was motivated almost as strongly as Alex by a sense of being trapped in circumstances, unable to do what she wanted to do or be who she wanted to be. Though she felt bound by duty and circumstance to help rescue Brock, she was really very angry at him. The dynamic here was about Andra's need to develop a more assertive sense of self, against the background of a domineering family and a present-day environment in which she was used and taken for granted.

But as I worked on this, I started to feel that I'd made Andra too unsympathetic as a character: bullied by her family and then her colleagues, she was a resentful survivor. But there wasn't really enough time in the story to explore her struggle to define herself, so what came across was mostly someone embittered and miserable. We rarely saw any indication of warm feelings from her, and the dialogue written from 'her' voice tended to be anodyne and devoid of personality, or just plain sour.

In light of that, I decided to revise Brock yet again. While I'd still like to write a story like the one I originally envisioned for Andra, there isn't room for that story to be inside Counterfeit Monkey. Instead, I made Brock a cocky character but one that Andra does love and with whom she has a history. I added the various memories about their relationship, to establish that they've grown together and that Brock helped Andra through some weird stuff.

That puts a lot of weight on this one scene. Though we've heard from and about Brock all game long, we never meet him until now, and we won't be allowed to interact with him again until the denouement. Moreover, we've just come through a somewhat tense and very linear passage. So the goals here are:

-- provide a less-linear gameplay sequence in which the player has several simple challenges doable in any order, something that feels like a relaxing oasis between the tense bureau entry and the even-tenser conflict with Alex's father

-- sketch in as rapidly as possible the emotional landscape between Brock and Andra: mutual affection and respect, some joking around, and a few not-too-buried resentments on Andra's part about the trouble he's caused -- though their relationship is healthy enough that she can bring those up without spiking the whole thing

-- present Brock as a fairly playful figure who reacts to a number of the things Andra does in his presence, so that even the mechanical puzzle-solving bits feel a bit expressive and communicative

-- let Brock earn a little of the player's goodwill (as well as Andra's) by having him be actively helpful -- turning up props to use, getting things out of the t-inserter when they're in our way, and so on. This is a fine line to walk, because we don't really want Brock to actually solve the puzzles for us, certainly not before the player has had a chance to do so

-- to make Brock seem sufficiently human, present, and likeable that the choice about whether to betray him seems like a genuine concern

]

Brock is a man in the repository. "Brock is preternaturally still.". The current mood of Brock is neutral.

Brock is alert. The description of Brock is "He looks a bit haggard to me, but I don't think anything too horrible has happened to him[one of]. So perhaps you can stop worrying[or][stopping]."

Brock-argument is a scene. Brock-argument begins when the location is the Equipment Testing Room and Brock is in the location.

When Brock-argument begins:

if the location does not enclose an it-derivative:

now Brock carries the last-sign.

Definition: a thing is it-derivative:

if it is the spill or it is the pita or it is the piece or it is a sign:

yes;

if it is proffered by the spill or it is proffered by the pita or it is proffered by the piece or it is proffered by a sign:

yes;

no.

Brock-argument ends when Brock is not in the location.

Before inserting something into the t-inserter when Brock is in the location and the t-inserter contains something (called target):

say "'[one of]Here, [the target] [is-are] in your way[or]Let me get that for you[or]Here[or]I've got that[at random].' [run paragraph on]";

try Brock taking the target;

if Brock is carrying the target:

try Brock dropping the target.

Report Brock taking something:

say "Brock fishes [the noun] out of the T-inserter. [run paragraph on]" instead.

Report Brock dropping something:

say "He tosses [it-them of the noun] in the corner." instead.

Rule for beat-producing when Brock is the current interlocutor:

say "[one of]He pauses, listening for noises outside[or]He stands back, regarding the T-inserter thoughtfully[or]He runs a hand over [the random thing which is part of the t-inserter][or]He knocks on the top of the T-inserter[or]He runs his fingers over the surface of the machine, checking for hot spots[or]He cranes to look around at the back of the machine, but doesn't find anything interesting[as decreasingly likely outcomes]. [run paragraph on]".

Report Brock saying hello to the player for the first time:

now the player knows brock-found;

complete "Find Brock";

assign "Test T-inserter on making creatures" at Sensitive Equipment Testing Room;

assign "Test T-inserter on making abstracts" at Sensitive Equipment Testing Room;

assign "Test T-inserter on situations where it could build more than one thing" at Sensitive Equipment Testing Room;

assign "Escape the Bureau" at Abandoned Shore;

queue weird-you-look as postponed optional instead;

First conversation-reply rule when the current interlocutor is Brock:

[if suggest we get out of here is available:

make no decision;]

if the location is Cold Storage:

make no decision;

if Brock is not urgently eager-to-speak and Brock does not recollect what-day:

queue what-day;

otherwise if Brock is not urgently eager-to-speak and "Test T-inserter on making abstracts" is completed and "Test T-inserter on making creatures" is completed and "Test T-inserter on situations where it could build more than one thing" is completed:

queue getting-out-now;

otherwise if Brock is not urgently eager-to-speak and "Test T-inserter on making abstracts" is completed and Brock does not recollect good-abstracts and an r-abstract thing is in the T-inserter:

casually queue good-abstracts;

otherwise if Brock is not urgently eager-to-speak and "Test T-inserter on making creatures" is completed and Brock does not recollect seems-lifelike:

casually queue seems-lifelike;

otherwise if Brock is not urgently eager-to-speak and "Test T-inserter on situations where it could build more than one thing" is completed and Brock does not recollect stability-results:

casually queue stability-results.

The random-commentary rule is listed after the character pursues own ideas rule in the conversation-reply rules.

This is the random-commentary rule:

if the current interlocutor is not Brock:

make no decision;

follow the Brock-suggestion rules.

The Brock-suggestion rules are a rulebook.

First Brock-suggestion rule:

if Brock-argument is not happening:

rule succeeds;

if the time since Brock-argument began is less than 1 minute:

rule succeeds;

if Brock carries the last-sign:

say "Brock roots around in his pockets and fishes out a sign. 'I picked this up in the hallway, if it's any use,' he says. [run paragraph on]";

try Brock dropping the last-sign;

rule succeeds.

A Brock-suggestion rule when Brock does not recollect suggest we get out of here:

try Brock discussing suggest we get out of here;

rule succeeds.

A Brock-suggestion rule when Brock does not recollect test-abstracts or a random chance of 1 in 3 succeeds:

unless "Test T-inserter on making abstracts" is completed:

carry out the beat-producing activity;

try Brock discussing test-abstracts;

rule succeeds.

A Brock-suggestion rule when "Test T-inserter on making abstracts" is completed:

if Brock does not recollect test-creatures or a random chance of 1 in 3 succeeds:

unless "Test T-inserter on making creatures" is completed:

carry out the beat-producing activity;

try Brock discussing test-creatures;

rule succeeds.

A Brock-suggestion rule when "Test T-inserter on making abstracts" is completed and "Test T-inserter on making creatures" is completed:

if Brock does not recollect test-stability or a random chance of 1 in 3 succeeds:

unless "Test T-inserter on situations where it could build more than one thing" is completed:

carry out the beat-producing activity;

try Brock discussing test-stability;

rule succeeds;

otherwise:

try Brock discussing still-cool;

rule succeeds.

A Brock-suggestion rule when Brock can see a noisy thing:

try Brock discussing interference-gelling;

rule succeeds.

A Brock-suggestion rule when Brock can see a self-object and Brock does not recollect surprisingly-handsome:

try Brock discussing surprisingly-handsome;

rule succeeds.

A Brock-suggestion rule when Brock can see a fake person:

if Brock does not recollect getting-crowded or the number of people in the location is greater than 3 or a random chance of 1 in 4 succeeds:

if a random chance of 1 in 3 succeeds:

say "[creepy stare][run paragraph on]";

otherwise:

say "[A random fake person which can be seen by Brock] stare[s] at us. [run paragraph on]";

try Brock discussing getting-crowded;

rule succeeds.

A Brock-suggestion rule when Brock can see a naughty-sounding thing which is not the cock-ring:

if Brock does not recollect naughty-remark:

try Brock discussing naughty-remark;

rule succeeds.

A Brock-suggestion rule when Brock does not recollect half-a-mind:

say "[creepy stare][run paragraph on]";

try Brock discussing half-a-mind;

rule succeeds.

Last Brock-suggestion rule:

if a random chance of 1 in 3 succeeds:

say "[creepy stare][run paragraph on]";

say "[one of]I look away again[or]This is like a very surreal blind date[or]I take some comfort from the idea that he wouldn't hit on me if I were in my own body[or]Your boyfriend is starting to creep me out[or]If you don't mind, when I get my body back, I think I'm going to avoid him[or]I can feel us blushing[or]This is weird[stopping].".

To say creepy stare:

if Brock recollects brock-smoochies:

say "[one of]When he thinks we're not looking, he ogles our backside. [or]He catches us looking at him and smiles wryly. [or]I look at Brock. He looks away from us. [or]You try to give Brock what I can only describe as a lustful stare, which I manage to interrupt. I think he notices. [at random][run paragraph on]";

otherwise:

say "[one of]He watches us with a slightly disturbing intentness in his eyes. [or]He's looking at us, but when I look back, he cuts his eyes away. [or]He's studiously looking around the room. [or]Brock is looking at everything but us. [at random][run paragraph on]";

To say Next:

say "[one of]First[or]Next[or]As our next trick[or]After that[or]Next[stopping]".

what-day is an NPC-directed quip.

The response is "Brock stands, dusting himself off. He looks us up and down without expression, without any sign of recognition. 'What day is it?' he asks.

'Still Serial Comma Day,' you say. 'Brock, it's me. And Alex, but I'm here.'

The waxen look melts and he grins. 'Thank god. It's harder than you'd expect being a rock.'"

weird-you-look is an NPC-directed quip. The response is "'It's weird [--] you have a different face but the expressions are still yours. It's like you have a really good rubber mask on.'"

suggest we get out of here is a performative quip. The comment is "'You've been a lump of igneous all day,' you say. 'It's getting dark out there. If we don't get out now, we're going to get caught by some janitor with a privative affixer.'".

It mentions yourself, bureau, security.

The response is "'I didn't have time to run the tests I wanted to run on the T-inserter. It'll take three minutes and then we can go. We need to do abstracts, animates, and a stability check.'".

It quip-supplies Brock.

It is restrictive.

insist on leaving immediately is a performative quip. The comment is "I say, 'If we get caught down here, we'll all be put on trial, my father could lose his job, the professor who helped me get in here might face prosecution...'

'Not to mention the part,' you cut in, 'where we all get stuck on a shelf to eternally contemplate the spelling of [']knickknack['].'".

It mentions yourself, bureau, family, security.

The response is "'Four consonants in a row, baby,' he murmurs. 'You know what makes me hot.'

'Brock.' The warning tone in your voice gets through to him, whereas apparently he has zero interest in the welfare of my entire social circle.

'Three minutes. The value of that data could be in the millions.'".

It quip-supplies Brock.

It directly-follows suggest we get out of here.

accept Brock's lunacy is a performative quip. The comment is "'I suppose it's pointless to argue,' you say. I'm glad this makes [i]you[/i] feel warm and fuzzy. 'Let's do this thing and get out.'".

It mentions t-inserter, yourself, plans.

The response is "'You know it.'".

It quip-supplies Brock.

It directly-follows suggest we get out of here.

An availability rule for complain about Brock's recklessness:

if Brock-argument is not happening:

it is off-limits;

if the time since Brock-argument began is greater than 4 minutes:

it is off-limits;

make no decision.

complain about Brock's recklessness is a performative quip. The comment is "'This was rash, even for you,' you say. 'Wandering into the heart of the Bureau with no back-up and no escape plan, when we had a timed extraction to complete? You could've taken me and Slango down with you.'".

It mentions Brock, yourself, bureau.

The response is "'Sweetheart, don't,' Brock says. 'Don't do this now. You're not yourself.'".

It quip-supplies Brock.

remind Brock that synthesis was necessary because of him is a performative quip. The comment is "'Not myself,' you repeat coldly. 'I wouldn't need to be synthesized if Andra's face hadn't been caught on film. And whose fault was [i]that[/i]?'".

It mentions Brock, yourself.

The response is "Silence. 'I'm sorry that that happened,' he says, very deliberately. 'But you're not breaking up with me down here, with a spy inside your head. We'll do this later if we do it at all.'".

It quip-supplies Brock.

It directly-follows complain about Brock's recklessness.

defend Alex is a performative quip. The comment is "'Alex is not a spy,' you say. 'He's naive and[--]' I make us stop talking right there, thanks very much.".

It mentions Brock, yourself.

The response is "'He's us,' Brock replies. 'Come on, let's just get this over with and get out of here. We can talk this all out when we're all feeling more like ourselves, okay?'".

It quip-supplies Brock.

It directly-follows remind brock that synthesis was necessary because of him.

accept his advice is a performative quip. The comment is "'Fine.' I can feel the adrenaline from your anger coursing through us. It makes me want to take a swing at something, but you have it under control.".

It mentions yourself.

The response is "'Okay[casually queue you-okay].'".

It quip-supplies Brock.

It directly-follows remind Brock that synthesis was necessary because of him.

An availability rule for discover why Brock got stuck here:

if the number of quips recollected by Brock is less than 2:

it is off-limits;

make no decision.

An availability rule for discover why Brock got stuck here:

if Brock-argument is not happening:

it is off-limits;

if the time since Brock-argument began is greater than 4 minutes:

it is off-limits;

make no decision.

discover why Brock got stuck here is a performative quip. The comment is "'How did this happen?'".

It mentions Brock, yourself, security, bureau.

The response is "'How do you think? I hung back after a demonstration earlier, trying to collect the extra information I needed, but before I could finish, they'd noticed I was missing from the group and sent someone back to look for me. And better to go inanimate than to be definitely caught in human form.'".

It quip-supplies Brock.

rejoice that brock seems okay is a performative quip.

The printed name is "rejoice that Brock is okay". The true-name is "rejoice that brock seems okay".

Understand "is" as rejoice that brock seems okay. The comment is "'That was a lot narrower than I like,' you say. To my horror, we are tearing up a little. 'I thought you might be in Cold Storage already.'".

It mentions yourself, Brock.

The response is "'Hey, hey. I'm here.' He puts an arm around our shoulder, hugs uncertainly[casually queue you-okay].".

It quip-supplies Brock.

It is restrictive.

It directly-follows what-day.

you-okay is a weakly-phrased NPC-directed quip.

The response is "'You okay?'"

Report smiling when the current quip is you-okay:

say "[You] smile a little wistfully[casually queue weird-you-look]."

Report shrugging when the current quip is you-okay:

say "[You] shrug. He watches us thoughtfully for a moment, then says, 'Right, okay.'"

Instead of saying yes when the current quip is you-okay:

try discussing claim-to be fine.

claim-to be fine is a performative quip. The comment is "'Fine,' you say. 'It's like running in a three-legged race all day, and I don't welcome the interference, but I'll be fine.'". The printed name is "claim to be fine". The true-name is "claim-to be fine".

Understand "claim" or "to" as claim-to be fine.

It mentions yourself, Brock.

The response is "'Good.' He pauses. 'New you is kind of hot, but I miss the old version.'".

It quip-supplies Brock.

It directly-follows rejoice that brock seems okay

test-abstracts is an NPC-directed quip.

The response is "[one of]'[Next] we should see whether this thing can reify abstracts.'[or]'If it can't do abstracts, the market value is going to be a lot lower because of the limited-depth trees.'[or]Brock goes on about the importance of abstracts.[stopping]".

test-creatures is an NPC-directed quip.

The response is "[one of]'[Next] it would be good to see if this thing can build animates.'[or]'If it can't do animates, that might be down to a legal restriction, of course, rather than a technical one, but I imagine that they'd be demo'ing a fully-capable product in this context.'[or]'Have you got anything that's just a T away from being a living animal?'[or]Brock mentions again that he'd like to see whether the machine can do an animate.[stopping]".

test-stability is an NPC-directed quip.

The response is "[one of]'[Next] we need to look at the stabil[ization] performance,' Brock says. 'Inserters sometimes run into trouble if there's a case where the same base word could be expanded to multiple derivatives [--] for instance, if you S-inserted CREAM, it wouldn't know whether to make CREAMS or SCREAM or SCREAMS.'[or]'Some inserters,' Brock goes on, 'have controls to let you insert the minimum or maximum possible number of letters.'[or]'Of course,' he says, 'even min-max controls don't completely disambiguate, since as in the example of CREAMS and SCREAM, you might have two one-letter insertions that are possible.'[or]'What really makes a machine like this valuable is the combination of power and flexibility with control. An anagramming gun has a great deal of power but almsot no control, which is the problem with it.'[or]Brock's lecture on the technology of insertion continues.[stopping]".

good-abstracts is NPC-directed quip.

The response is "'[if Brock recollects test-abstracts]Right. It's good on abstracts, then[otherwise]Hm, an abstract. That was something I wanted to check[end if],' Brock says[if an r-abstract thing is in the T-inserter], contemplating [the random visible thing in the T-inserter][end if][if the tattle is in the T-inserter]. 'Lord, that thing is annoying.'[otherwise].[end if]"

seems-lifelike is an NPC-directed quip.

The response is "'No problem creating creatures,' Brock says judiciously."

stability-results is an NPC-directed quip.

The response is "'The fact that it made [the list of multiply-made things] means that the stabil[ization] is inconsistent at best,' Brock says. 'And I don't see any min-max calibrator on the outside. Remind me to check the plans again when we get back to the yacht. They may not have tried to handle that problem at all.'"

still-cool is an NPC-directed quip.

The response is "He puts his hand on the surface of the machine. 'Still cool,' he comments. 'Must have an efficient heat-sink.'"

half-a-mind is an NPC-directed quip.

The response is "'I've half a mind to explore a little while we're down here just about unsupervised,' Brock says reflectively.

I glare at him.

'I know there's no time,' he says. 'But there are supposed to be all sorts of things in the Bureau sub-basement that have never seen the light of day. DCL projects that went wrong, secret government experiments, possibly a buried command cen[ter].'"

what buried command center he heard of is a weakly-phrased questioning quip. The comment is "'Buried command cen[ter]?' you ask. 'Isn't there a pretty unsecret command center above-ground?'".

It mentions Bureau, Brock.

The response is "'Sure. But you hear rum[our]s that the instructions come up from the sub-basement. Their chief leader, maybe.'".

It quip-supplies Brock.

It directly-follows half-a-mind.

Instead of showing a self-object to Brock:

say "'Tell me what you see,' we say. ";

try Brock discussing surprisingly-handsome.

surprisingly-handsome is an NPC-directed quip.

The response is "He cocks his head to look at [the random visible self-object]. 'I have surprisingly good hair for someone who has just been a rock.'

'Objects in mirror may appear more attractive than they are,' we remark."

getting-out-now is an NPC-directed quip.

The response is "'Check,' says Brock. 'And that's all we need here. Now...' He hesitates. 'One person escaping is easier than two, I suppose.'

You start to object, but I say, 'Yes, you'd better return to petrified form.' You know I'm right. He'll be easier to carry.

A little grimly, he produces his own letter-remover and repeats the B-removal that made him in the first place[if a fake person is visible]. We're alone with [the list of visible fake people][otherwise]. Once again we're alone in a room with a rock[end if]."

interference-gelling is an NPC-directed quip.

[The response is "'[one of]Just in case anyone out there is listening[or]Let's try to keep the noise to a minimum[or]That's more peaceful[at random].'"]

naughty-remark is an NPC-directed quip.

The response is "He eyes [the random naughty-sounding visible thing which is not the cock-ring]. 'Oh for a homonym paddle.'"

getting-crowded is an NPC-directed quip.

The response is "[one of]Brock steps to the side to make room for [the list of fake people enclosed by the location][or]'We're going to need to install stadium seating in here,' Brock comments, nodding at [the list of fake people enclosed by the location][or]'If any guards come, we can use [the random fake person enclosed by the location] as a decoy,' Brock remarks[at random]."

After Brock discussing interference-gelling:

let interference be a random visible noisy thing;

say "[if the prior named noun is Brock]He[otherwise]Brock[end if] touches some gel to [the interference]. '[one of]Just in case someone out there is listening[or]In the spirit of keeping the peace[at random].' [run paragraph on]";

gel-convert the interference;

Report Brock discussing getting-out-now:

move Brock to the repository;

now the rock is not proffered by anything;

now the rock is proffered by Brock;

change the current interlocutor to nothing;

record "profiling the T-inserter" as achieved;

move the rock to the location.

Instead of putting gel on something which is proffered by Brock when Brock recollects getting-out-now and the location is not Cold Storage:

say "Brock seems to have learned all he wants to know at the moment."

Sanity-check touching or squeezing or rubbing Brock:

try kissing Brock instead.

Instead of asking Brock to try kissing the player:

try kissing Brock.

Instead of kissing Brock:

if Brock does not recollect Brock-smoochies:

try discussing Brock-smoochies;

otherwise:

say "That is not happening again."

Brock-smoochies is an unlisted questioning quip.

The printed name is "ask Brock to kiss you".

The comment is "You put our arms around Brock. He looks surprised, then pulls us in."

The response is "'I thought we would leave this kind of thing until you were gelled,' Brock comments after a moment, pushing a bit of [if the player is wearing the wig or the player is wearing the hairpiece]fake [end if]hair out of our eyes. 'Does your passenger not mind?'

I mind, for the record. I totally mind. And the fact that this body is enthusiastic about kissing Brock just makes it weirder.

He reads the expressions crossing our face and lets go. 'Come to think of it, maybe [i]I[/i] mind.'

An awkward pause."

It quip-supplies Brock.

Test kpbug with "tutorial off / talk to girl / topics" in dormitory room.

Rule for listing peripheral quips during Brock-argument:

if a quip is peripheral:

prepare a list of peripheral quips;

say "[quip-suggestion-phrase][the prepared list delimited in disjunctive style][get-to-work]."

Rule for listing plausible quips during Brock-argument:

if a quip is plausible:

prepare a list of plausible quips;

say "[quip-suggestion-phrase][the prepared list delimited in disjunctive style][get-to-work]."

To say get-to-work:

say "[one of]. Then again, we could just get to work so we can be out of here faster[or]. Maybe it's not worth it, though[or]. Or, then again, there's always finishing the job[stopping]".

Test Brockscene with "tutorial off / autoupgrade / unmonkey / open tub / gel rock / suggest we get out / insist / ask about buried command / wave g-remover at sign / put sin in the t-inserter / gel stint / wave g-remover at sign / wave s-remover at sin / i / put sin in t-inserter / wave s-remover at stint / wave n-remover at tint / wave t-remover at tit / put i in t-inserter / wave t-remover at tit / put i in t-inserter / get rock / i" holding the tub in the Equipment Testing.

Test Misdirection with "tutorial off / autoupgrade /unmonkey / sw / n / w / e / open tub / gel rock / e" holding the tub and the apple and the roll of bills and the piece in Bureau Secret Section.

Test BrockAlt with "tutorial off / autoupgrade / unmonkey / open tub / gel rock / put seer in t-inserter / x automaton / turn on automaton / gel automaton / put seer in t-inserter / x automaton / turn on automaton/ x automaton / put the roll in the t-inserter / gel the troll / wave d-remover at chard / put char in t-inserter / wave c-remover at chart / wave r-remover at hart / get hat / x hat / wear hat / remove hat / put hat in t-inserter" holding the tub and the seer automaton and the chard and the roll in the Equipment Testing.

Instead of putting gel on the rock when Brock-argument has happened and Brock-argument has ended and Cold Dilemma has not happened:

say "No, we leave him in rock form for now. One of us will have an easier time slipping out than two."