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Office Machiavelli

Introduction

Man: "Want me to help? It's easy, you just follow the instructions."

No thanks, I'll do it

That would be great, show me how

You've found photocopier machine M1.

There's a red error code on the screen. A man stands impatiently next to the machine,

"You gonna fix that or what?"

Eh, yeah sure

Abuse the man

Man: "New round here are you?"

You: "Eh, yeah. First day actually."

Man: "I thought so. You've brought the new toner cartridge with you?"

Yes

Eh, what?

😈: "Go get the toner cartridge!"

“Hey Buttface!

Cheer up already, it's your first day. You should be grateful - there's a whole lotta people out there who ain't got no job.

Now get over here, I got a lotta work for you to do.”

Enter Tony's Cupboard

You walk between the lines of expectant faces. Some angry. Some frustrated. Some downright murderous. There's not a lot of love in the room right now.

M3 waits for you at the end. A sultry, cantankerous, mechanical beast. A red light blinks in protest.

A voice calls out from the crowd, "Hurry up asshole!"

You reach M3

😈: "Enough with the abuse! Jeez. There's a time and a place for that for goodness sake and it's not now."

"Do try and learn some patience.": 😇

👿: "Whhaaat? You did read the guidance at the beginning of this caper didn't you?

Never. Do. The. Work. Yourself.

Got it?"

"You've upset him now. Surely you can find someone else to do it?": 😇

Man: "It means YOU get Tony's job! Congratulations. Now fix this goddamn jam and get all these people working again!"

The crowd part, leaving you a path to M3.

Walk the walk

Bolt for the door

Abuse Man

Deadly Weapon presents...

You open the small piece of folded card the geek extracted from M3.

There's a hand-written message scrawled in scruffy writing,

"Congratu-fucking-lations if you got this far. Now these people think they need an engineer - which means more work for you! Time to stop for the day or you'll make me look bad, Tony."

You feel glorious. Victory over the machine. And you didn't have to lift a finger. Except to cuff the geek, but that felt good too.

😈: "Nah. Press home the advantage you idiot."

"He'll work harder for you next time.": 😇

😈: "Please. Never grovel - it's demeaning."

"Unless it's part of a devellish scheme - in which case grovel away.": 😇

You: "Eh, yeah. Tony just gave me this list and walked off. He never said nothin' about this being urgent."

You shrug

Man: "I knew it! That Fuck Tony! Well this is the last time he does this. You tell him when he comes back - he's fired!"

The man points his finger at you.

Man: "And you know what that means?"

Shrug

Abuse Man

😈: "Get back there you pinhead! Besides, Doreen's watching..."

"Just think of something before you get to the machine.": 😇

😈: "You're not actually going to do the work are you?"

"What have we taught you? Think of something fast.": 😇

Shut up I need to think

😈: "Oh and you're gonna do what instead? Don't tell me YOU'RE going to try and fix it?"

"Because we wouldn't want that now would we.": 😇

A thin young man watches you nervously. He seems unusually interested in the machine.

Geek: "That's a mark 4 isn't it? Fully self-diagnosing with on-board instructions I think."

Abuse this pencil-neck

Tell the nerd to stand aside

Let the geek take the floor

You smile graciously at the thin young man. If he wants to have a go why not? You gesture with your hand and step back.

Geek: "Jeez, thanks! I always wanted to have a go at one of these things. They're amazing!"

He flips up the diagnostic panel and begins to read the glowing instructions avidly.

You turn to the crowd and pat the machine with pride.

You: "The mark 4. Self-diagnosing," you say grandly, "Anyone with a bit of technical nouse could fix it themselves."

The short, red-faced man glowers at you.

Berate the geek

'Encourage' the geek

You've chosen to replace the toner in 'M1'.

You know what you're doing right?

Nope

Yep

You've found Machine M5.

And Doreen.

Doreen: "Are you back again? You're giving me the creeps."

Doreen is polishing her nails. There is a birthday card on her desk, and a box of chocolates.

Say Hi to Doreen

😈: "Come on! It's only your first day. Get back to work dumbass!"

"Don't give up yet. The world needs your talents!": 😇

Smile sheepishly

Abuse Doreen

😈: "I wouldn't do that if I were you."

"Wait until you're somebody": 😇

You sidle up to Doreen's desk and slide your fingertips across the surface.

Doreen: "Not bad back there. I think Mr.Simmonds likes you too."

Reply to Doreen

😈: "It's not that hard. Find the machine named on the task list and replace or fix whatever it says. You could have worked that out for yourself."

You cuff the geek again.

You: "Next time just fix it yourself, right? You made all these people wait for an expensive engineer. These callouts cost money! And sort out that cut on your head - you're bleeding all over the paper."

The red-faced man is looking at you differently now. Perhaps with a grudging respect.

High-five the crowd as you walk away

Swing by Doreen's desk on the way out

😈: "Oh his time will come, don't worry."

"But I'd hold it in for now - he's the big boss around here": 😇

back

😈: "Eughh. Bet you didn't expect that did you?"

"Ah love. You never know where it will spring up do you? But now you do know it's worth holding on to these little secrets...": 😇

back

You take a quick glance at the birthday card on Doreen's desk.

It reads, "Happy Birthday Doreen! With love, Pat Simmonds xxx"

back

Doreen reacts a little strangely.

Doreen: "He's not that bad. And he gave you Tony's job didn't he?"

Take the hint

Double-down

Take a peek at the birthday card

You find machine M3 by chance.

A huge line of people waits to use the stalled device.

A short, middle aged man in a short-sleeved white shirt and tie stares you down. His bald red head glistens with sweat.

Man: "Where the hell have you been? We called you guys an hour ago. This should have been your first job! And where the hell is that prick Tony?"

Abuse Man

Blame Tony

Grovel

You: "Ohh, eh, yeah. I guess he's not as bad as he looks right?"

Doreen wrinkles her mouth.

You: "I didn't know about you and, eh Mr.Simmonds."

Doreen: "You what?"

You gesture at the birthday card.

Doreen flushes red and scowls.

Doreen: "That, was from his wife, Pat! Now get out of here you filthy-minded degenerate!"

Go back to Tony's cupboard

You: "Have you fixed it yet? What's taking so long? These people need to get back to work!"

Cuff the geek

😈: "At last. You're learning."

"We're so proud of you!": 😇

Huh

The man opens the box and takes out the new toner cartridge. You watch expectantly.

You: "You seem to know what you're doing."

Man: "Yes, it's easy. Look, you just take the old one out and pop the new one in like this."

The new cartridge slides in with a click.

Congratulations! You have completed your first task.

Back to Task list

You smile at Doreen.

You: "I'm, uh, here to eh, the machine, you know."

Doreen: "Over there, Creep. It needs paper."

Reply to Doreen

Abuse Doreen

Doreen: "Oh for goodness sake! I'll do it myself. You can barely speak, let alone fix a machine"

Back To Task List

The red-faced man relaxes a little. He likes that you care.

The geek bangs his head painfully on a hard metal edge on the machine. He has his hand so far inside its guts he looks like a vet assisting a difficult labour.

Geek: "I think I got it! There's ... something ... wedged in here ... just ... give me a moment. There!"

He hands you a piece of folded card. The geek steps back. The machine bleeps a tune like it's R2D2 and starts spitting out paper rapid fire. You can almost hear the trees scream.

The crowd clap their hands.

Cuff the geek

Thank the geek

Open the piece of folded card

😈: "Woah there tiger! You don't wanna get fired on your first day. There's time enough to abuse the staff later."

"Keep him on side and he might just help.": 😇

😈: "That might be what you WANT to do, but you're at WORK."

"That means you need to be scheming 9 to 5.": 😇

You read Tony's task list. The handwriting is scruffy and barely legible.

Tony walks away. He doesn't care.

Pick a task:

New toner in M1

✅ New toner in M1

New paper in M5

✅ Replaced paper in M5

Paper jam in M3

✅ Fixed Paper jam in M3

Well done! That's 3 tasks more than Tony would achieve in the same day, and you didn't have to do anything yourself.

Now choose how you want to spend the rest of your day:

Find things to do and look busy

Loaf about

Lurk near people's desks

Fuck this. I quit

😈: "That's more like it."

"Just pretend to be doing something useful, and see what you can find out.": 😇

Keep Lurking

Tony: “This is today's list. You're a college boy, you can read right?

Now grab these boxes, put 'em on the trolley and follow the instructions on the list.

Any problems - try harder.

I've got an appointment elsewhere. Don't Fuck up!"

Read the list

Lie, scheme and skive your way to the top. And make sure you never do any work yourself.

Real work is for losers.

😈: "What's with the abuse all the time? You are an angry young man."

"Think! This young geek might be useful...": 😇

😈: "Again with the abuse? Will you never learn?"

"She could have been useful...": 😇

You: Who have they got looking after this kitchen? It's disgusting!

The haughty woman pauses, sizes you up for a moment and says,

"You're pretty disgusting yourself. Are you the new guy working for that creep Tony?".

Abuse this bitch

Diss Tony

You: "Tony got fired. I've taken over. So next time you have a problem with the machines you know who to call."

The woman relaxes and puts out her hand,

"I'm Sarah," she says, "Welcome to the madhouse. I could tell you a few things about this place. Next time I see you maybe I will."

Shake her hand and smile

SLAP! She smacks you in the face and walks off.

😈: "Not good dude."

"She could have been useful...": 😇

😈: "That felt strangely unsatisfying. Like something's missing."

"You're just too nice to people sometimes.": 😇

Yeah

😈: "Wow. Violence worked."

"An interesting lesson after all.": 😇

Yeah

The haughty woman shrieks with disgust and runs away.

😈: "Euuugh! That was not nice."

"They're not a very sympathetic lot around here.": 😇

A rather haughty young woman steps in front of you and carelessly dumps her mug in the sink.

Swear and call her a filthy slob

Throw up

Loudly complain about the catering staff

😈: "Violence again?"

"It's not always the answer you know.": 😇

You: "Tony got fired. I've got his job now. Who are you?"

The man hesitates. He looks you up and down.

Man: "So, playing it straight are we? Well if you see Tony again, tell him Mike needs to speak to him."

The man turns and leaves.

Huh

😈: "You might want to take that back."

"Didn't you read that birthday card on her desk?": 😇

back

You check out the mug full of tea spoons. They are all dirty.

You: "What's wrong with everyone round here? Are you all this filthy at home?"

You open the cutlery drawer. It's empty.

"Hey jerkoff!. You're Tony's new bitch right?"

You turn around slowly and see a rather dubious character standing behind you.

Deck this fool

Patiently explain Tony's new found situation

Knee this jerk in the balls

You decide to make yourself a cup of tea. An excellent excuse to loiter near the sink with your back to a gaggle of co-workers. They are talking excitedly...

Search for a clean mug

Look for a clean spoon

Open random cupboard doors

Attack unopened packet of biscuits

You open random cupboard doors.

A box of cereal falls over, spilling the contents all over the floor.

You: "For fucks sake! Why can't you babies eat breakfast before you come to work?"

The chatter behind you goes quiet. You sense a shadow fall across you from behind.

You turn around. An enormous gut fills your view. You look up. The head on top stares at you with incomprehension,

"Yo, that was my cereal man. Why are you throwing my food on the floor?"

Something about this man warns you to be careful. He's huge.

Back away slowly

Apologise

Abuse this man-mountain

You plant your patella in the man's groin.

Ughhff!

He sinks like a beanbag.

Man: "Hey!"

He holds out one hand to fend you off.

Man: "I was just kidding! You know Tony and I have an arrangement. Did he tell you anything about that?

You: "No. He got fired before he could mention it."

The man appraises you carefully.

Man: "I see. I'm Mike by the way. And if Tony's not around any longer then maybe you and I should have a talk some time."

The man walks away.

Yeah, let's do that

😈: "I DON'T think so."

"You're being funny right?": 😇

😈: "Man you are harsh."

"Let's see if that will get you to the top": 😇

Huh

You: "I'm sorry, there's been an accident."

You look pointedly at Big Carl.

You: "What can you do?"

You shrug.

The cleaner looks at the cereal on the floor and then at Big Carl. She purses her lips then takes out a brush and begins to clean up.

Shake your head sympathetically

😈: "Nice."

"What about Big Carl?": 😇

Huh

You confront the cleaner,

You: "Look at this mess! Are you going to clean this up?"

The cleaner looks at you and then at the cereal on the floor. She says nothing but begins to sweep everything into a pan.

Big Carl stares vacantly.

All sorted then

Something isn't quite right about this guy. How did he even get a job here? I mean what kind of useless brainwipes do they hire in this place?

And then you remember. They hired you.

You back away slowly.

The huge man-tree stares at you impassively. You step on someone's foot behind you and crash into them.

It's Mr.Simmonds,

"Hey watch it new boy! What's going on here? Have you upset Big Carl?"

You think frantically. What subtle clues have you missed? You need to work things out fast before you blow it again.

Big Carl is Simmonds' demented son

Big Carl is Doreen's lil' brother

Big Carl is stoned as Fuck

Big Carl just has a weight problem, and eats special cereal

You look back and forth at Big Carl and Mr.Simmonds. There's not much resemblance, but nothing else could explain how this useless dumb fuck got a job here.

You: "I'm sorry Mr.Simmonds. I think I spilt your, eh, son's cereal. It was an accident. I'll clean it up."

Simmonds goes purple with rage,

"What are you saying you twerp? Do we look like we're related? Are you going to spend all day upsetting everybody? Clean up this mess and get back to work!"

Simmonds wipes spittle off his mouth and storms out of the room.

Big Carl stares vacantly,

"Yo man, my cereal..."

Pretend to look for a dust pan

You open a few more cupboard doors. Big Carl looks on uselessly.

A middle-aged woman pushing a trolley rolls round the corner and stops when she sees the mess in the kitchen. She's wearing a cleaner's uniform.

Smile sheepishly

Berate the cleaner