When in Rome 2: Far from Home — 18 of 22

Emily Short

Release 1

Section 2 - Major Plot Events

To leave space:

say paragraph break; say paragraph break;

say paragraph break; say paragraph break.

The current level is medium.

To simplify the game:

choose a random row in the Table of Alien Characteristics;

while the difficulty entry is not the current level, choose a random row in the Table of Alien Characteristics;

change moon of the creature to moon entry;

change mood of the creature to attitude entry;

change the odor sensitivity of the creature to nostrils entry;

change metabolism of the creature to feed time entry;

change gravity of the creature to the mass entry;

change speed of the creature to the dexterity entry;

change carrying capacity of the creature to the arms entry;

if carrying capacity of the creature is 0, change carrying capacity of the creature to 2;

follow the setup rules;

change food of the creature to taste entry;

if food of creature is meaty, change tongue of creature to "sharp carnivore teeth";

if food of creature is wood-pulpy, change tongue of creature to "a long raspy tongue";

if food of creature is earthly, change tongue of creature to "a round pink tongue";

if food of creature is textile, change tongue of creature to "a forked tongue";

change intelligence of the creature to brain entry;

if the creature lies nearer than Luna, change the color of the creature to a random color between red and yellow;

if the creature lies beyond Venus and creature lies nearer than Mars, change the color of the creature to a random color between yellow and cyan;

if the creature lies beyond Luna and creature lies nearer than Saturn, change the color of the creature to a random color between green and purple;

if the creature lies beyond Jupiter, change the color of the creature to a random color between tan and grey;

if the moon of the creature is Triton, change the color of the creature to grey.

The sampler platter is a portable supporter. The description of the sampler platter is "One of Esther's brainwaves, based on a few months of this work. If you let her, she'd probably add toothpicks and pimientoed olives."

After examining the platter when something is on the platter: say "Arrayed on the platter are [a list of things on the platter]."

The scrap of wrapping paper is a papery thing on the platter. The knitted scarf is a wearable thing on the platter. The meatball is an edible thing on the platter. The meatball is stinky and fleshy. The carrot is an edible thing on the platter. The description of the carrot is "It looks almost distressingly healthy: if you were an alien, you wouldn't want any part of it." The description of the meatball is "Fetched from the shop down the road, which is more than Esther will do for you these days. It is spiced." The description of the scarf is "Unattractively tartan[if we have not examined the scarf]. Esther has a variety of hideous accessories, gifts from her mother. 'She doesn't want me dating,' was Esther's response, when you dared comment[end if]." The description of the wrapping paper is "Festive, with little snowflakes on the outside."

When play begins: change the right hand status line to "[time of day]";

remove the sack from play; remove the salami from play;

change the time of day to 10:13 AM;

move slide to the player; move ballpoint to player;

move sampler platter to the desk;

move the glue to the drawer; move the Guide to the drawer;

move the blank label to the Kit;

move the paperwork to the drawer; move the lamp to the desk;

move the creature to the Office;

if the player wears the jacket, silently try taking off the jacket; if the player wears the fedora, silently try taking off the fedora; remove the jacket from play; remove the fedora from play;

change the left hand status line to "Tuesday, July 13, 1954";

simplify the game.

When play begins:

leave space;

center "[story title]";

center "[story headline]";

center "by [story author]";

leave space;

pause the game;

say "Weeks go by; the weather turns hot. Communist spies are investigated, Alan Turing commits suicide, Britain ends food rationing. The Yankees win nine games in a row.

You, you spend many hours within the grey walls of the Office of Alien Protocol. Your blood is tested for alien pathogens. You take memory tests and guess what cards are hidden behind a screen. You have a physical roughly once a week. You are, as you tell Esther, probably the healthiest specimen in New York City, to which she says, 'Hunh.'";

pause the game;

say "[paragraph break][bold type]Tuesday, July 13, 1954[roman type] [paragraph break]'Sir--' Esther pokes her head in. 'I can bring the radio in later, if you like.' In case you're not done by 1:30, she means, when the All-Star game begins.

'Whitey Ford is starting pitcher,' you point out.

'I understand the significance of this moment,' she says, withdrawing. You're making progress."

After going to Office:

say "'Oh, and the boys said it might be getting hungry, they didn't know,' Esther calls after you. 'They fed it twenty minutes ago.'

'Did they say [italic type]what[roman type] they fed it?' you holler back. But she's already out of range, and the only answer you get is the clacking of the typewriter.";

continue the action.

Table of Happy Endings

moonending
Luna-X"You've seen pictures of that companion moon, with its scowling face, its fury.

Esther cuts off your thinking. 'You've got a meeting in five,' she reminds you.

'I know.' You watch the pod take a turn around the top of the Empire State Building and vanish from view. 'Esther, why do you think they come here, if they don't like us?'

'I come in to work, don't I?' she says.

'Thanks, now I feel better.'

'Any time, boss.' Esther taps the doorframe a couple of times and goes out, leaving you to gather your thoughts before your debriefing."
Deimos"'After a while they all start to seem alike,' says Esther from the doorway.

'The critters? It's true that there isn't as much physiological diversity as you might reasonably expect, considering the differences between their home-worlds. I've been working on a theory that many of them actually come from the same genetic stock some way back and only diverged at a relatively recent point in their evolution... of course, I can't get the A. P. boys to confirm this for me, but it would explain a great deal. I also don't have an explanation for how they traveled between worlds when many of them still seem to be at an entirely pre-technological stage of evolution, but perhaps--'

'Men. I meant men,' Esther cuts in.

'Ah. Your date last night?'

'Disaster,' she says, peeling herself away from the doorframe. 'And I was really hoping with this one.' She gives you a little hurt smile. Poor girl."
Phobos"It watches out the window with resentment, and you have the distinct impression that you will see it again.

You try to explain your concerns to the boys at the Office of Alien Protocol, but they refuse to listen. 'It's under control,' they say, and 'we know more about the political aspects of this than we can share.'

Pushed very hard, one of them finally blurts, 'We have reason to believe it just wanted to take you home for dissection.'

There's a pointed silence while everyone stares at the blurt-er. They all look alike, A. P. types, but this one has a slightly rounder chin and was obviously the kid that got picked on in class.

'For science,' he adds weakly."
Jupiter"Esther comes in to watch it go. 'That one was bad,' she says, nodding towards [the list of visible damaged things]. 'You should make the boys bring you a tranquilizer gun.'

'I like doing it the old fashioned way,' you say. 'Like Daniel Boone wrassling bears.'

Esther raises her eyebrows. 'I think you'd better be grateful that they land one at a time and not by transport-ship. It could be Normandy here.'

Memory and imagination transpose, and you imagine short strong furry animals in the streets of Rome; swarming monkey-like over the Colosseum, up the sides of the villas, smashing the statuary. Visigoths.

She touches your sleeve. 'Sorry,' she says. 'I didn't mean to remind you of anything.'

You shake your head. 'I wasn't in Normandy; I was in Rome, with General Clark. They threw a parade for us.' It was the fighting afterward that was bad, not Rome but the smaller towns. Not a story that Esther needs to hear."
Uranus"'You may not know this about me,' says Esther from the doorway. 'But I'm not very good at men.'

You raise your eyebrows, seeking a safe response. 'If you'd like me to offer an opinion on your latest beau,' you begin--

'No, thanks!' she says, holding up a hand. 'It's the A. P. courier. I've been trying to keep him distracted, but I think he's gotten impatient. He wants you to come along right away.'

'Don't blame yourself.' You gather what you need for the trip. 'Those aren't men except in a very limited technical sense. I'm not sure I've ever even seen them eat anything.'

'I don't often see you eat anything,' she says, rallying. Yes, that's the Esther you know.

'That's because you refuse to bring me lunches from the corner,' you reply. 'But if you want to see me eat dinner, and possibly eat some yourself--'

The A. P. man, refusing to be further stalled, walks in. 'You,' he says. 'Car. Right now. Serious concern about this case. Case presenting similar symptoms turned out to be highly-- you've already sent it?'

'It's headed for Uranus,' you answer brightly.

'Ah.' All the tension goes out. 'Well, the boys will want to hear.'"

To decide whether (inner - a thing) lies within (external object - a thing):

if external object encloses inner, yes;

no.

To decide whether (inner - a thing) lies outside (external object - a thing):

if inner lies within external object, no;

yes.