EMBEZZLER'S QUEST

by Dan Katz

Solution: MACHINE GUN KELLY (or MACHINE-GUN KELLY)

The text given is a transcript of a text adventure game, with all of the user command words replaced by new words of the same length. This is hinted by the flavortext, in which the two sentences consist of a series of words of corresponding lengths:

Win this game and find success and wealth beyond your wildest dreams!
Our vile ways can bank dollars for worthy devils that connive archly!

Comparing the sentences side-by-side, the only letters that match spell ANSWER. This indicates that you should figure out all the real user commands (which can be determined by logic and intuition) and then read the letters that correspond (of which there are twenty-four, all in different commands.) They spell FLICK WITH MOREY AS FANDANGO. An IMDb search reveals that Morey Amsterdam played Fandango in the film MACHINE GUN KELLY.

Here's the transcript, with the correct commands given below the fake ones, and with matching letters in bold.

You are sitting in your office crying, which is rather disorganized since that pesky auditor showed up and everybody started panicking. There is a metal file cabinet in the corner, an oak desk in the center of the room, and an exit to the south.

On the desk you see a red file, a yellow file, a portable shredder, some documents, and some certificates.

>SNAP LIGAMENT
>TAKE SHREDDER

That's going to be hard to do until you stand up and stop crying.

>FLOAT ON
>STAND UP

Okay.

>DRAW MONKEY
>STOP CRYING

*sniff* Okay.

>OPEN PRESENTS
>TAKE SHREDDER

Okay.

>CAUSE INTERFERENCE
>SHRED CERTIFICATES

Bzzzzzz!

>DRIVE CARS
>SHRED FILE

Which one?

>SCULPT
>YELLOW

Bzzzzzz!

>WAIL
>LOOK

This is your office, which is rather disorganized since that pesky auditor showed up and everybody started panicking. There is a metal file cabinet in the corner, an oak desk in the center of the room, and an exit to the south.

On the desk you see a red file and some documents. On the floor you see lots of white strips of paper and lots of yellow strips of paper.

>UP DAISY
>GO SOUTH

Hall

This is the main hall of the financial offices of Ripov & Taksdadj, decorated with your firm's accomplishments... well, actually most of them seem to have been removed from the walls hastily. Your office and your partner's office lie in opposite directions. There is another exit to the west.

There is a desk against the east wall with a single prominent drawer.

>SELL VIDEOS
>OPEN DRAWER

It's locked.

>IMPROVISE
>INVENTORY

You have:

A portable shredder

A key to a desk drawer

>ATTACH PUZZLE
>UNLOCK DRAWER

Click.

>PLAY TENNIS
>OPEN DRAWER

Okay.

Inside the drawer you see a book of matches, a flashlight, and an eyepatch.

>LIFT BARBELLS
>TAKE EYEPATCH

Okay.

>ICKY BLEMISH
>TAKE MATCHES

Okay.

>TAKE FLASHLIGHT

Okay. (You know, "TAKE ALL" would be a lot faster.)

>BE WARY
>GO WEST

Lobby

This is the public face of Ripov & Taksdadj, where your clients wait while you stall them as long as possible. The angry-looking auditor has been waiting for at least an hour for you to present all of the firm's financial records. He is tapping his foot and his face is red. A door to the south leads to the elevators, and a passageway to the east leads toward the firm offices.

There is a round table in the center of the room with a lovely fruit basket on it.

>SWIM AT PIRANHA
>TALK TO AUDITOR

"I don't have time to chat, Ripov. Bring me those records and bring them NOW."

>IT BITES
>GO SOUTH

The auditor steps in front of you and blocks your path. "Am I talking to myself? You're not leaving this building until I have your records."

>FIRE POPGUN

Grammar lesson for you: "Look" is an intransitive verb. If you want to look at something specific, examine it.

>GLORIFY DEMONS

That's better. It's got an apple, an orange, and a banana in it.

>HOLY MOSES
>TAKE APPLE

Okay.

>SPIT FLAMES
>TAKE BANANA

Okay.

>TRAP QUEEN OF PIRATES
>GIVE APPLE TO AUDITOR

He waves it away and glares. "You can't bribe me with fruit. I'm a government official. Now get me those records!"

>IN ROME
>GO EAST

Hall

>WE PINCH
>GO SOUTH

This room is pitch black. You can't see anything. (Yes, I know you're right next to a well-lit hallway. Work with me here.)

>MOVE TO BEATS
>TURN ON LIGHT

You flip the switch and nothing happens. Taksdadj likes to disconnect things.

>KEEP IT DELECTABLE
>TURN ON FLASHLIGHT

Click. Nothing. No batteries, probably.

>ENJOY MUSIC
>LIGHT MATCH

Okay.

>AHOY
>LOOK

Taksdadj's office is almost entirely empty.... It looks like your partner relocated in a hurry, and there is no evidence he was ever here. There is an oak desk near the window and a large window on the south wall.

You see a memo on the desk.

>TAKE MEMO

Okay.

>SPIN TOPS

"To All High-Level Employees: In case of emergency, the new combination to the bribe safe is 'fraudulent.' Thanks, Accounts."

>SAUNTER AWAY
>EXAMINE MEMO

Hmmm. It's printed on the back of an invoice which indicates that you stole seven million dollars from the shareholders.

>CARVE BIRD
>SHRED MEMO

Bzzzzzz!

>MAKE SUPPER
>OPEN WINDOW

Okay.

A cold wind rushes in, scattering strips of paper throughout the room.

>AT EIGHT

>GO SOUTH

Ledge

You are (somewhat stupidly) standing on a window ledge fifteen floors above the Financial District. You probably shouldn't look down. The ledge ends abruptly to the west, but extends further in the other direction.

There is a friendly pigeon on the ledge with you.

>WHAT IS HUBERT
>TALK TO PIGEON

"Coo!"

>MY LION
>GO EAST

Ledge

More window ledge. More potential grisly death below. The window into the building is open.

On a ledge just above you, there is a shiny credit card.

>WILLFUL LITTLE BRAT
>EXAMINE CREDIT CARD

It's an American Express Steel card (made of actual steel!) A line on the bottom says "Credit Limit" followed by the Gross National Product of Taiwan. As a convenient plot device, it can be used by anyone.

>SINK PURPLE BUOY
>TAKE CREDIT CARD

You can't reach it.

>CD CASES
>GO NORTH

Secret Lobby

This room is reasonably nondescript, apart from an open door to the north, a window to the south, and a Cyclops staring at you menacingly.

>I IGNITED?!?!?
>A CYCLOPS?!?!?

Yes, a Cyclops. It's a text adventure, this sort of thing happens.

>VEIL OF MYSTERY
>TALK TO CYCLOPS

"Braaaggghhh! No one pass me without get hit hard on head!"

>SIR BENJAMIN IS SHAKING
>PUT EYEPATCH ON CYCLOPS (or USE EYEPATCH ON CYCLOPS)

Okay.

He thrashes about, screaming "Braaaggghhh! No can see!" You instinctively step aside as he flails past you. He moves directly in front of the open window.

>RISK TROUBLE
>PUSH CYCLOPS

Okay. (You bastard.)

He tumbles down, his screaming becoming more and more distant until it is no longer audible. Well, that's that taken care of.

>GO NORTH

Inner Sanctum

This room is unnecessarily lavish, with intricate wall sconces and murals centered around a conspicuous painting of the firm's board of directors, located on the east wall. The north wall is suspiciously bare.

>TWINKLY NECKLACE
>EXAMINE PAINTING

In a surprisingly irreverent move, the chairman of the board has allowed himself to be painted as a clown. Or maybe that's a large red button in the middle of his face.

>LOVE HOCKEY
>PUSH BUTTON

Okay.

The painting automatically slides away, revealing a wall safe.

>OPEN SAFE

There's a keypad lock on it. What combination do you want to enter?

>FRAUDULENT

Click. The safe swings open.

Inside you see a note and a magnet.

>JUMP HIGH
>TAKE NOTE

Okay.

>FALL HARD

"Sorry, I decided to take the money with me. Good luck. Jack Taksdadj. PS - I wouldn't touch the magnet if I were you."

>HOLD SEANCE
>TAKE MAGNET

Okay.

An extremely loud alarm goes off. The north wall slides open and an ogre emerges with an enormous club.

>NERVOUS FEAR
>EXAMINE OGRE

Dude, it exactly looks like an ogre who wants to kill you. Run.

>OH FUDGE
>GO SOUTH

Secret Lobby

You hear the ogre chasing you, close behind.

>AN EAGLE
>GO SOUTH

Ledge

You hear the ogre chasing you, close behind.

>WHY STRESS
>EAT BANANA

Okay.

It tastes good, but your priorities seem a little misplaced.

The ogre is having trouble getting through the window.

>DUST ROOM
>DROP PEEL

Okay.

It lands on the ledge, near the window.

The ogre is just about through the window.

>LA RAMS
>GO WEST

Ledge

To the east, you hear the sound of someone very large slipping on something in a comedic fashion and falling fifteen stories.

>KA BOOM
>GO EAST

Ledge

>FIX VACUUM
>USE MAGNET

You hold it up to the credit card, and the credit card flies into your hand. Nice.

>IN NAVY
>GO WEST

Ledge

>LOOK DOWN

Didn't I tell you not to do that? You see a lot of traffic being obstructed by a dead ogre and a dead Cyclops.

>CC RIDER
>GO NORTH

>AL BUNDY
>GO NORTH

Hall

>BY JOVE
>GO WEST

Lobby

The auditor looks at you with rage in his eyes. "Where are those records, Ripov?"