Counterfeit Monkey — 149 of 292

Emily Short

Release 6

Section 5 - Rotunda

The Rotunda is south of Tall Street. It is indoors. "Echoing space, marble floor, eye-like [skylight] many me[ter]s above us: so far, the Rotunda might belong to any 19th-century government bureau of means and self-importance.

What sets this one apart is the lettering, each sigil no bigger than a flea, carved over every inch of the walls. Inscribed here is, in fact, the [italic type]entire[roman type] [inscribed-text] of A New Orthodox Orthography[if the Rotunda is unvisited], which means that if [you] had a great deal of patience and many rolls of butcher paper, [you] could take rubbings and wind up with our very own volume.

[You] don't, of course. There are better things to do. More important places to go[end if]. The administrative part of the bureau is away to the south, and there is an exhibit of letter tools to the east, which is open to the public."

Instead of facing up in the Rotunda: try examining the inscribed-text.

The skylight is scenery in the rotunda. The description is "It is distant and perfectly round."

The inscribed-text is scenery in the Rotunda. Understand "new" or "orthodox" or "orthography" or "inscribed" or "text" or "lettering" or "inscription" as the inscribed-text. The printed name is "text". The description of the inscribed-text is "It is far too small to read, especially since the letters are not painted or inked, just carved into the stone surfaces." Instead of touching the inscribed-text: say "The letters are cool and tiny under our fingers."

The informational bulletin-board is fixed in place in the Rotunda. Understand "bulletin" or "board" as the bulletin-board. "Near the street entrance is a sizable [bulletin-board] advertising the services of the Bureau[if the bin is in the location]; and next to this, pushed back to be out of the way, is a [bin][end if]. [run paragraph on]"

The description is "[i]What Can Your Bureau of Orthography Do For You?[/i] inquires the bulletin board, in a sprightly casual font.

On a sheet labeled [i]From Plumbing to Medicine... 'And More'[/i], the bulletin board describes the tools available to the All-Purpose Officers, including a synthes[ize]r for combining two word-objects into one; Q- and Z-inserters (most letters are still under development); and even specially licensed equipment capable of producing living creatures.

For immigration and importation services, such as assigning Atlantean names to immigrants, neutral[izing] foreign-language pets, and approving imported goods, [you] are encouraged to visit the Customs House instead."

After examining the informational bulletin-board:

say "A handwritten note is tacked up after this, which adds that the synthes[ize]r is unavailable for public use through Dec. 19th because it is on loan to the university Department of Language Studies[if Samuel Johnson Hall is not visited][one of]. Hey, that's my department![or].[stopping][otherwise].[end if]"

A bin is a container in the Rotunda. It contains a shuttle. The description of the bin is "BUREAU PARKING, reads the bin, in thick black marker. DO NOT TAKE UNLESS AUTHOR[IZE]D."

The description of the shuttle is "It's a wooden device that holds a quantity of yarn, allowing the user more easily to pass the thread back and forth while weaving.

It is also a bit of a snarky joke on the Bureau's part. Atlantean land prices being what they are, the Bureau prefers not to have to build a parking garage. Instead they have shuttles that an All-Purpose Officer with a homonym paddle can easily convert into a full-sized vehicle for use, and back again for easy storage.

The shuttles in their untransformed state are no earthly use to anyone else, of course, which is why they can be left around unsupervised."