Using her new enormous wealth, Gamora founded the Avalon Astronomical Society and funded a deep-space research facility.
She also began a research program into the scientific underpinnings of fulfillment and happiness.
This involved a lot of experiments around laughter.
“Whatever that is, don’t point it at me,” Aunt Abby said, backing away.
“It’s not going to hurt you,” Gamora said. “It’s part of my observational research into laughter.”
“I’m to tired to laugh,” Abby said. “Our son Hans is running us ragged. I’m not sure what we were thinking, waiting this long to adopt.”
“None of us had any idea what you were thinking,” Gamora pointed out.
“”He’s a great kid,” Abby said. “We’re just…. really tired. A lot.”
Roderick’s face lit up when he saw her walking toward him across the market square. “You look amazing,” he said.
Vickie blushed. “I look the same as I do every day,” she said.
“That’s what I mean,” Rod said. “Amazing. Sometimes I just can’t believe you’re my girlfriend.”
“Come on!” he said beckoning her into the movie. “This movie is by an indie director who has really inspired me. His use of the colors red and blue are just revolutionary.”
Victoria hesitated outside and took a couple of deep breaths.
“Oh hey,” Rod said as she sat down beside him. “What kept you? The movie is starting.”
“I just needed a little air,” Victoria said.
“See what I mean about the color red?” he murmured to her as the film rolled. “The symbolism is really profound. And wait till you see what he does with blue.”
Rod continued his narrative about how the color filters and cinematography demonstrated the movie’s message. Vickie nodded at the right places. Her thoughts were scattered, and it was hard to track what was happening on the screen anyway. She was grateful Rod didn’t expect her to have any opinions on the director’s style.
When the movie was over, Rod sprang out of his seat. “Why don’t we have a drink at the bookstore coffeeshop and talk about the film?” he said. “I’ve been talking your ear off. I’d love to hear what you think.”
“Maybe a drink is a good idea,” Vickie said.
“It’ll be my treat,” Rod said with a grin. “I can still do some of that boyfriend stuff.”
Before he reached the barista, Vickie knew she couldn’t let this go on any longer.
“Rod, wait,” she said. He turned around in surprise at the sound of her voice. “I… I really like you, Rod, but this isn’t working out.”
Rod froze and stared at her. She could see the shock and the beginning of heartbreak plan on his face.
“Are you breaking up with me?” he asked.
“I– yes, I am,” Vickie said, trying to make her voice firm. “It’s not you. You’re a great person, and we’ve had a lot of fun, and–”
“It’s not me, it’s you??” Rod snarled. “You can’t possibly be using that line on me. If I’m so much fun, we could work it out. Just talk to me about what’s wrong.”
“I don’t think we have enough in common,” Vickie said quietly, unable to meet his eyes. “I think you’ll be a wonderful boyfriend for someone else.”
“So that’s it?” Rod cried. “I told you I love you, and you’re going to drop me like we’re nothing? We’re magic together. I won’t believe you don’t feel it. Whatever I’m doing wrong, I can fix it. Just talk to me.”
He reached for her, and she stepped back.
“I’m sorry, Rod,” she said, feeling tears well up in her eyes. “I’m so sorry. I have to go.”
She ran away from him and out the door. He didn’t try to follow her.
When she burst through the front door, Edmund was grabbing a late lunch at the breakfast bar. He looked up at her face and stopped mid-chew. “Are you all right?” he asked.
“No,” Vickie said. “But I’ll be all right. I don’t want to talk about it yet.”
“You broke up with Roderick, didn’t you?”
“I’m not going to confirm or deny right now.”
“All right, sister. Just let me know if you need anything.”
Connery jumped up from his bed and hurried up to meet her as fast as his old legs could take him.
This was the kind of companionship she wanted right now.
“Who’s a good boy?”
Later, she called Judith to tell her the news.
“I’m so sorry!” she cried. “You come over right now. I’ll make hot chocolate, and we can watch a sappy movie.”
“Please no movies,” Vickie said.
“OK, the hot tub then.”
“What about Mason?”
“Don’t worry. It’ll just be us, like old times. Mason works nights.”
There was an odd tone to her voice as she said it, but Vickie didn’t have the heart to ask right then.
While Vickie was visiting Judith, Winston was not having his best performance.
He went home and soaked in the tub for a long time. At least most of his hair survived.
With all their kids gone, Andria and Dylan had plans for the evening. But the received a surprise.
It was Dylan’s time.
Dylan had no regrets. He greeted Grim with a bow and shook his hand before fading away.
Andria was left alone.
Well, that ends the post on a low note.
I adored Dylan, and I’m so sad sad to see him go. Not as sad as poor Andria, though.
In lighter (?) news, Roderick is taking his breakup hard. He threw himself right to the rebound queen of the town, Claire James. I have no idea what her traits are, but I believe she has gone steady and broken up with every single sim in town for two generations. Oh, dear.
Andria was waiting on the steps when Winston and Vickie returned from Barnacle Bay. “How was your vacation?” she asked, a sly look in her eye.
“The diving there was beautiful,” Vickie said. “I’ve never seen crystal caves like that…”
“And what about that boy of yours? Roderick is his name? Did you have fun with him?”
“Yeeeess… What are you getting at, Mom?”
“I just think he seems like a nice boy,” Andria said. “Maybe the kind of boy to settle down with and, you know, give me some grandkids.”
“Mom!” Vickie said. “That is way too personal!”
“I’m just not getting any younger,” Andria said. “I thought you could use a reminder.”
Vickie decided to go sailing for the rest of the day.
On the spur of the moment, Gamora called her dad and invited him to dinner. She and Sawyer didn’t see each other nearly as much as they used to.
“It’s nice to see you, but you don’t have to eat food to keep me company,” Sawyer said.
Gamora shrugged. “I like the irony of a plant chewing on meat.”
Gamora caught up on Sawyer’s genetic research, and she shared some carefully curated insights from the future. Neither of them brought up Gamora’s mother Manisha or the asteroid that had strangely hit her house. Gamora had to admit that it felt good. Her father was the closest she really had to a loved one, and she was aware of that in a way she’d never been before.
“We should do this more often,” she said as they got up to leave. “I want to know what the rainbow radiation does to your siminovium bacteria cultures.”
Sawyer opened his mouth to share more bacteria trivia when a fanfare erupted on the patio.
“You played the lottery,” Sawyer said. “And won?”
“I did!” Gamora crowed. “Isn’t it amazing?” She looked very pleased with herself and not nearly surprised enough.
Sawyer, on the other hand, didn’t look pleased at all.
“You did this with knowledge from the future!” he shouted at her. “Do you know what this could do to the space-time continuum? We could all dissolve into our component molecules? How dare you take that risk for some extra funding!”
“Oh that’s just great!” Gamora shouted back. “Can you give me a little credit? How stupid do you think I am? When is the last time you solved a tachyon combustion equation anyway?”
“I don’t do research that could blow up human lives,” Sawyer snarled.
“You did with me!”
They stood there for a long moment, staring at each other. Gamora could tell that underneath Sawyer’s scowl, her barb had hit home.
“I didn’t grow you to hurt anyone,” he said quietly. “I grew you because I wanted a child. A child who was just as special as I could make with science.”
“Wait,” she said. “I don’t want to fight. It’s not what you think.”
Sawyer let out his breath with a whoosh. “If you give me more data, I can think something else.”
“The future has already been contaminated,” Gamora said. She couldn’t bring herself to admit that it might be her fault. “I want to fix things, and the lottery is the first step. I wasn’t even sure that I’d be able to use information from the current future to inform this present. This experiment proves that the rest of my plans should work.”
Sawyer pondered this for a moment. “If what you say is true, it has enormous consequences to the Theory of the Immutability of Time Travel,” he said. “I won’t interfere with your scientific work, but I’d appreciate it if none of us die of time paradox.”
“You won’t,” Gamora said. “I’m going to make sure of it.”
Sawyer nodded. “1.5 million simoleons is a lot of money,” he said.
Gamora grinned. “Yes. It’s a lot more than I was expecting. With this kind of funding, I can expand my project.”
She bade her father goodbye and jumped on her hoverboard to return to her lab. She thought about Sawyer and Manisha and Manisha’s husband and their adopted kid. She heard Emit’s accusatory voice and remembered the trash piled up in the polluted haze of the future. She wondered which exact choices she had made were the most important to this time stream.
If she’d been a different kind of person, perhaps one who placed more value on her impact on others, what might have gone differently?
Vickie ventured back to the house around dinnertime. She found Winston in the living room, ready to leave for an evening performance. He looked anything but psyched to perform.
“Still no word from Luisa?” she asked?
Winston shook his head. “She’s not going to call,” he said. “I don’t know how I misread that whole situation. Why didn’t she just say she wasn’t into me? I thought… wow, I thought we really connected. I wish I knew what I did that drove her away.”
“Maybe she didn’t want to fight for your attention from all the other girls,” Vickie tried to tease him, but the look on his face told her that was a bad call.
Winston scowled. “I’m not that much of a player,” he said.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with you. I know you’ll find someone, and she’ll be lucky to have you for a boyfriend. Maybe… Luisa didn’t think she could handle something long-distance, but she didn’t want to wreck the moment when you were both having a such a good time. …Maybe she couldn’t facing hurting you when she could see what a great guy you were.”
Winston gave her a probing look. “Things are not going well with Rod, are they?” he asked.
Vickie cringed. “I didn’t mean to make this conversation all about me.”
“Here’s to two wrecks on the love train.”
Edmund waited patiently at the market until nearly midnight. The plaza was nearly deserted, save for a few sims who drifted in and out according to the theater’s schedule.
Finally his quarry arrived.
Edmund placed a bookmark in his book and rose deliberately. “Anton Pierce!” he called across the plaza.
The other man looked around to see who was calling him. “That’s my name,” he growled. “Or so they tell me.”
“You’ve troubled Avalon for more than three generations,” Edmund said. “Your time is up.”
Anton met Edmund’s gaze with unnerving, luminescent eyes. “Oh. Now I understand. I heard of you and what you did to Marisella Flynn. I wondered when I would see you.”
“I’m going to clean up this town, one vampire at a time,” Edmund said. “Now is your turn.”
Before Anton could react, he raised his hands.
Anton was caught mid-strike. Terror flashed across a face that had not shown fear in a very long time.
As the magic enveloped him, color returned to his deathly skin, and the glow in his eyes faded. He let out a surprised sound, half-grunt, half-growl. “Yarrrrgh… that–”
“This feels amazing…”
“I– I never thought I’d be saying this,” Anton stammered. “But thank you. I had forgotten what it was like to be alive. It’s wonderful.”
Edmund smiled. “I didn’t expect to say this either, but you’re welcome.”
Anton took a deep breath, clearly relishing the air in his lungs.
Without another word, he got back into his car and drove away.
Andria met Victoria at the front steps after her return from vacation travel to ask her for grandchildren. Way to go, mom. LOL.
The whole winning the lottery animation is bizzarre. You get showered with confetti and a gigantic check appears from nowhere. There are no other sims involved. There wasn’t much of a way to build a story around that, so I just hung a lampshade on it.
Edmund is actually using the strong cure elixirs made by Andria to cure vampirism. Cure elixirs are supposed to apply to his Healer LTW. Unfortunately, it appears that the ONLY thing that applies to this wish is reversing transformation curses. Too bad. So out-of-story his doing a lot of transforming sims in and out of frog state.
Sleeping in Oasis Landing is always a performance — More so than in World Adventure worlds. I should do a time lapse of sims wandering in to watch, point at, and photograph Gamora all night as she sleeps.
I wanted to try out the dystopian bug-eating, but Gamora doesn’t eat. Then again, I don’t think she views bugs the same as human sims either!
She likes it!
There’s clearly a lot of gameplay in the dystopian and utopian versions of Oasis Landing. It makes me thinking about running a challenge that is explicitly about living in the various futures. Alternately, I wonder if the various map tags and world identifiers could (or have been?) used to create custom worlds.
I wonder about, for example, messing with an EPIC challenge that starts in dystopia and advanced through normal and utopia as the generations advance. I don’t think I will ever do another 10 generation challenge if I ever finish this one, though, so I’ll need to develop an accelerated version for any future challenges.
I have so many game ideas that I will die or Sims 3 will cease to run on modern hardware before I’m done.
Maybe it would be better if the household sim who doesn’t eat should also NOT COOK.
Just an invisible sim talking under the floor. What’s your problem? (By the speech bubble, that’s Winston.)
Ewww. C’mon guys. She’s your grand… um, great-great-great-great grandmother!
Gamora and the magic mirror trade Evil secrets.
Leeeeroy Johnkins! Why did nobody tell me this sim exists in Barnacle Bay??
Barnacle Bay has some great sims. I always got the impression from the marketing that it was originally intended to be a vacation world to expand World Adventures, but then WA wasn’t successful enough to justify store content of this size for it. (I loved WA, btw. It looks like Sims4 has done some interesting stuff with quests/plotlines in some of their worlds — Strangerville?)
As it is, I’ve seen very few players ever used Barnacle Bay, which is too bad. If I ever get back to my ISBI, maybe they’ll move there next.
NRaas Traveler was not wild about Barnacle Bay, and it showed off pretty much all its glitches. The first time the family arrived there, it erased all the relationships. I didn’t notice until Victoria attempted a romantic social to Roderick, and he reacted like this.
I mean, he gave her the worst tongue-lashing. I’d never seen some of those angry animations.
I returned to be my pre-travel save and traveled again, and this time their relationships transferred. But then it did the same thing with the new relationships formed during the vacation. Thus the tragic end to Winston’s promising romance.
Not to be too critical or anything, but the animations that go with Irresistible socials are AWFUL. I mean, Rod looks cute here, but who wants their Irresistible sim to look like this?
Finding a shot of, “Blow a kiss” that doesn’t look skeezy is a huge challenge. And don’t even get me started on “Wink.”
Way to fail, EA, seriously. With better animations, I’d have a ton more fun with Vickie’s Irresistibility.
And then… there was the full moon.
These terrifying monsters invaded the resort, ate at the buffet, and flirted offensively with the patrons.
I don’t think they attacked anyone.
We didn’t see much of Edmund in the post because I failed to give him much of a storyline. He was hard at work, though. He’s finishing up the last of his Magical Healer LTW.
First, he magically upgraded every toilet on the lot to finish out his spellcasting skill.
Then he transformed a few zombies back into humans.
Then he transformed more townies into frogs so that he could cure them.
Some of those townies found the entire experience incredibly hot.
And like being a frog more than they liked being human.
Dawn in Oasis Landing was pretty much the same as dusk – orange-gray hazy and the stink of pollution.
Gamora was ready to put this place behind her. Permanently.
Gamora rose early, not that early and late looked all that different. She had one more place to go before she returned to the time machine — the Oasis Landing Library.
She needed to now a lot more about the future history that brought her here.
That errand finished, she found herself on the roof of the visitor’s center, staring again at the enigmatic glow of Emit Relevart’s little holiday project.
“All right,” she said to herself. “I hope this works.”
And then she was home, with a backache this time.
“Are you here for the Simfeset?” the asked the proprietor of Coffee Under the Sea. “What name should I put on the list?”
“Twisted Tiberious,” Winston said brightly. “Maybe you’ve heard of me.”
The proprietress chuckled as she pocketed his entry fee. “Nope, and I never heard of that guy either. You’re up after the magic act.”
Winston had to admit that Josie Sample-Ursine’s performance was getting pretty polished these days.
The vanishing cabinet routine still could use some work, though.
Winston hated to admit it, but watching Josie screw up made him feel more confident. If the vanishing-cabinet-that-wasn’t was the best he was up against, this contest was his to lose.
Which he did.
The prize went to Daniel Ibari.
When Winston trudged home for a shower, he found Gamora and Victoria’s boyfriend having a shouting match on the porch.
“I don’t care who you’re sleeping with, you step on my flowers, I will cut you!”
“So, you live her too? Vickie didn’t say anything about a wicked — is your hair made out of leaves?”
“None of your business!”
Winston shoved his way between them. “Pardon me, I actually do live here.”
When he made it through the door, he found Victoria standing in the middle of the living room, glowering at her phone. “I have got to get out of here for a while,” she declared.
“I’m coming with you,” said Winston.
“Did someone say vacation?” Roderick chimed in. “I’ve heard you plan some truly amazing vacations.”
So she took them to Barnacle Bay, a lovely seaside village turned resort town.
Gamora was not invited, but she made it clear she had other plans anyway.
Victoria found them rooms at The Blue Bridle Inn, a cozy bed and breakfast that had been renovated in recent years and now billed itself as a luxury hotel.
“Let’s drop our bags behind the counter and get out on the water!” Vickie exclaimed as they burst through the front doors.
Rod grabbed hold of her hand. “Let’s check out our rooms first,” he said. Vickie shrugged and allowed him to lead her up the stairs, hauling her rollerbag behind her.
He opened the door with a flourish, and Vickie looked around. Rod puffed out his chest. “I slipped the receptionist a 20 and got us the honeymoon suite,” he said.
“This is our first trip away as a couple. I want us to have all the romance.” He pulled her into his arms.
Victoria fumbled with her bag. “Um, just give me a sec,” she said, finding a corner to stash it behind her. “Now I’m ready.” Roderick grinned a pulled her in for a kiss.
“You sure you want to go back outside?” he murmured in her ear. “The bed looks so comfortable.”
Vickie hesitated, processing what he said. Sure, the room looked nice, and the bed might be more comfortable that the one she had at home, but it wasn’t SO different. Why would she go on vacation just to stay inside?
“A bit later?” she asked sheepishly. “We can’t go sailing after the sun goes down.”
Rod’s smile didn’t falter, but his eyes showed his disappointment. “Sure, make me wait,” he teased.
They changed quickly and ran out the back deck to the semi-private beach. Victoria’s face lit up. “They have windsurfing!” She dashed down into the stand where the resort offered complimentary surfboards. Ankle deep in the water, she looked back to Roderick. “Join me?”
“I’ve never windsurfed,” he admitted.
“I could give you some pointers,” Vickie suggested.
“That’s all right. I’m still a bit jetlagged. I’ll just watch you.”
She was on the sea with the wind in her hair within minutes, feeling free as she never did on the shore.
Rod grabbed a cocktail from the bar and sat down to sun himself. As he sipped his drink, his eyes drank in Victoria’s expert movements too and fro across the waves. “She’s amazing,” he whispered to himself. “I’m so lucky.”
Edmund settled for some lower-key swimming.
Winston, on the other hand, was distracted before he made it out the door.
“Hey there,” the hot blonde called as she caught him as he walked past the bar. “New to Barnacle Bay?”
He took in her face and body in a glance and moved closer. “Never been here before in my life. Do you have advice?”
She smirked. “My friend and I were just heading to the hot tub.”
“You know?” that sounds like a great idea to me too.
The rest of the family never really missed him.
The sun was well below the horizon when Vickie returned to the short, and Rod was waiting for her.
“Did you have a nice time?” she asked. “You didn’t have to stay sitting around the whole time.”
Rod waved her worries away. “Not at all. The sun felt wonderful.”
“Well, I’m famished,” Vickie continued. “I wonder what’s at the buffet.”
“So… I was thinking,” Rod said with a twinkle in his eye. “What say we call room service? It’d be nice to get some time alone together on our first night.”
That didn’t seem like such a bad idea. Vickie met his seductive glance with one of her own.
“All right then,” she said. “I think I can be persuaded.” She blew him a kiss.
“Is it getting hot in here?” Rod asked, fanning himself. He took her hand, and she could barely get up the stairs fast enough.
At the top of the stairs, Roderick held the door to the honeymoon suite open for her. “Ladies first.”
Vickie laughed. “Don’t be full of such crap.”
He looked into her eyes, the teasing crinkle smoothing from the edges of his to show the longing he tried to keep hidden. He adored to the depths of his soul, and she could feel it. He drew close to her, and she nestled into his arms. “Is it all right?” he asked in a small voice. “I don’t mean to be a jerk.”
She rested her head on his shoulder and breathed in the scent of him. “No,” she said. “You’re being sweet.
She pulled away and drew them to the bed.
This part, this part felt good. They fit together so well.
Vickie had to admit that Rod had been right. This place, and this bed, were a very nice place to spend part of her vacation.
As they came up for air, Roderick drew back and gazed into her eyes. “Oh, Victoria,” he whispered. “I love you.”
She froze. “You… I mean I…”
“Shh,” Rod said, “You don’t have to say anything.”
So she didn’t. She let her mind shut off and fell back into the easy part, the part that always felt right.
But she lay awake, curled against him, long after she could feel the gentle rise and fall of his breath as he slept.
He loved her. What did it mean? What should she do? What was she supposed to feel?
Was this what love felt like?
She rose at dawn. Rod murmured muzzy nonsense against her lips as she kissed him.
Then she grabbed her gear and made out to the beach for an early dive.
The air was chill, and thick mist rolled in from the sea.
But the fabled undersea crystal canyon glittered with its own light.
It was just as beautiful as she’d been led to believe.
Back at the hotel, Winston made it downstairs as far as the masseur.
Then he spent some time at the bar, which was hosting a karaoke night…. well, karaoke afternoon.
After a few drinks, he teamed up with a local sim to sing a few ballads.
He thought she’d said her name was Luisa Libros. She was pretty hot. Oh, and she had a pretty good voice.
At least he thought so. The peanut gallery wasn’t so sure.
He thought he felt a connection, but there had been so MANY hot women at the resort he’d connected with. She headed out before he could ask for her number.
Edmund took in the view from his room and pondered the meaning of life.
When Victoria returned from diving, she found Roderick in an alcove off of the dining room.
“Did you realize they have a screening theater here?” he told Vickie excitedly. “The proprietress says they host a film festival in the fall. We should totally come back then! Here, you should really see this. This director uses light like I’ve never seen. It’s almost film noire, except not really.”
“Oh, wow,” Vickie said. “I’m so glad you had a good time. But did you go outside at all?”
Rod blushed. “Well, I… no, no I didn’t. Their film collection has some classics I’ve never seen before.”
“Wow,” she said.
He patted the seat beside him. “You should sit down and rest. I’d love to share this film with you.”
“Thanks,” she said, “But I’m pretty tired after diving, and I’m crusted with salt. I’ll see you at dinner.”
They called an early night.
Which was a good thing because a couple of drunk regulars woke everyone up with a loud pillow fight at one AM.
Winston was back in the hot tub for the evening when he was met with a surprise.
“Luisa? I thought you went home!”
“I did go home silly. It wasn’t far away. I thought I’d come back and see if you were still around.”
“I’m still around,” Winston said. “Definitely still here!”
She turned out to be just as fun as she was hot. They were up late, laughing and talking.
He couldn’t imagine the vacation could go better.
In the morning, Vickie caught Winston at breakfast. “How was the night?” she asked slyly. “You sure seemed to be having a great time when I went to bed. Who was the girl?”
“Luisa,” Winston said, “And… I think I need to spend more time in this town. Maybe a lot more time.”
“My wild and crazy brother couldn’t be taking some girl seriously?” she asked.
“Come on,” Winston wheedled. “I’m not that wild and crazy.”
“I’m really not feeling so hot,” Rod admitted. “I think I’m coming down with something. Air travel, the hotel, you just never know what you might be exposed to.”
“Don’t worry about me, though. There’s a special screening this afternoon, and I hear they booked the mayor.”
Vickie leaned in to kiss him, then thought the better of it. “Just so long as you’re having a good time,” she said.
“Don’t worry about me,” Rod said. “Everything your brothers told me about your vacationing is true. I’m having a fabulous time.”
So she left him watching a science fiction robot thriller
and went cave diving.
Winston spent his last evening in Barnacle Bay out under the stars with Luisa.
“I’d really like to see more of you,” he told her earnestly.
She gave him a secretive smile. “Well, you have my number.”
“I’ll call as soon as I get home.”
“I’ll be here.”
He did call as soon as he was back in his room. The phone number she gave him connected to a local restaurant.
He never saw her again, and he never found out why.
I wrote a post! I wrote a post!
Yeah… so Winston and Luisa REALLY hit it off. I thought he’d finally found The One and was going to get into a serious relationship.
The NRaas Traveler erased their entire relationship when he returned home. Sadly, the whole travel process was glitchy going and coming.
I’m sure that if I sent him back, the whole romance would have been right there waiting for him, but I took it as a sign that the story was going somewhere else.
Gamora fell out of the time machine onto her butt. Again. She was never going to figure out how to handle that thing gracefully.
She stood, rubbing her backside, and took in the view from the Oasis Landing traveler’s center.
“Maybe it’s sunrise,” she thought to herself, squinting at the orange haze. “Or sunset? The air can’t be that bad.” But the truth was she knew better. Her photosynthetic skin was already absorbing the polluted air, and it tasted terrible.
She walked down out of the traveler’s center to the grubby street. It was dotted with empty buildings and huge mounds of twisted metal. She watched a local sim walk up to a mound and drop some old clothes onto what looked like a protruding chrome bedframe, then walk away looking satisfied at a job well done.
Unable to help herself, she bent down to examine what the Oasis Landing sims were throwing away.
The answer shouldn’t have been surprising. Everything. Disposable food cartons. Broken digital viewscreens. Old plumbing.
While she was digging, cautiously, in the detritus, a plumbot ran up and threw an arm onto the pile — presumably she’d just had it replaced. Watching a being of metal littering bits of herself just seemed impossibly ironic. Gamora stifled an appalled giggle.
Appalled giggle? Was that even a real thing? Apparently so.
She wandered back to the travelers’ center at dusk. It was unchanged from what Gamora remembered from previous visits, which now made it an island of cleanliness and repair in a sea of yuck.
Emit Relevart was standing just inside the door, waiting for her.
Gamora looked at him nervously. “I can’t possibly be responsible for this,” she said.
“You’re certain?” Emit asked.
He went on to recite what sounded like a history text. “After a mysterious asteroid destroyed the home of the Sample-Baerwyn family of Avalon, the couple divorced over disagreement stemming from the cause of the explosion. Husband Ash Sample-Baerwyn went on to found the Smashed Earth Society, a community of sims who believed that the destruction of the planet by asteroid strike was inevitable. The Smashed Earth Society was the beginning of generations of destructive behavior toward our planet.”
“Still think this has nothing to do with you?”
The more Gamora heard, the more she felt herself shrinking into herself. “You’re going to blame me for generations of bad decisions made by other sims?” she shouted defensively. “Sims don’t need my help to ruin their lives!”
“I invite you to find me something else from Oasis Landing that contaminated the past since your last visit,” Emit said.
“Watch me,” Gamora retorted.
She stormed into an empty bedroom, then stood staring at the dream pod for a long time, trying to sort her thoughts. This mess of a future couldn’t possibly be her fault, could it? All she’d wanted to do was make Manisha’s life hell. She hadn’t intended to make everyone’s life hell.
She lay down in the pod, her thoughts racing far too fast for sleep. But dream pods have one job, and they’re very good at it. Sleep came to her much faster than she expected.
Much later, someone else walked into her bedroom.
In the morning, such as it was in the haze, she drifted into the common room to listen to the other time tourists gossiping over breakfast. She didn’t eat human food, but the thought of photosynthesizing in the polluted soil made her queasy.
“Have you been to the hot springs yet?” she heard one traveler ask her companion. “I hear they’re the best part of Oasis Landing.”
“This is my third trip,” the other said loftily. “The hot springs no longer hold much magic for me.”
“So everything isn’t bad here,” Gamora thought to herself. Maybe this “new” future was really a benefit in disguise.
It was bad.
The water was a nice temperature, but Gamora had to be skeptical of the “natural” claim as she swam between one trash heap and the other. The water had an oily feeling. She didn’t want to think about what her skin might be absorbing.
Things got worse when she climbed out of the water, only to stumble into a glowing hole in the ground only a few feet away.
That wasn’t a radioactive rift in the space time continuum…. right?
“Human sims are disgusting pigs,” she murmured to herself as she scrambled back to the surface. If she thought the oily water was bad, the residue of the rift was horrifying. She danced around, trying to brush the unknown glowing dust off her skin. She felt queasy.
She returned to the traveler’s center on the antigrav monorail, which mostly worked. It only sent them into free-fall once during the trip, and it recovered just fine.
She slept, but her dreams were troubled, and she had late-night company once again.
The next day, the polluted haze had receded somewhat. She climbed on her overboard and went to explore the dry ocean bed that bordered Oasis Landing.
That, at least, seemed much the same. She collected some lovely rogue nanites.
On the edge of the dusty sea was a decaying boardwalk that stood as if it still overlooked the water. Gamora drifted in that direction and was surprised to find that it was actually in use as a hangout. Perhaps there was nothing more aesthetic in this dystopian vision of Oasis Landing.
Two of the locals caught her eye immediately. She knew immediately who they must be.
“You’re one of those time travelers, aren’t you?” the woman exclaimed, abandoning her chess game. “I’m Marcella Sample, and I’m sure you’re right! When are you from! I want to hear all about what my ancestors were doing.”
Gamora made her story interesting. She might have embellished just a little bit. It hardly mattered, since none of her cousins were likely to go time-traveling.
As they spoke, Marcella’s companion wandered over to examine some flowers. It was nice to know that flowers could grow in this polluted climate. Gamora wondered who took care of them and how many extra chemicals it took to keep them healthy.
There was something about him that kept catching her eye. “Your brother’s quite the florist,” she said to Marcella.
“J.C.?” Marcella said, laughing. “He’s not my brother. He’s my husband. He’s not partial to flowers. He’s just like that about everything aesthetic. He tried to be a professional art critic, but he we never able to make it pay.”
Husband? Ooof. J.C. was clearly a descendant of Edmund, and Marcella just had to be carrying the genes of Edmund’s girlfriend Jean. So either the Sample family tree looped, which she had to admit was possible, or things weren’t looking good for Edmund.
Gamora drifted over to speak to him, and his face lit up as she approached.
“Do you see the contrast of the flowers to the landscape behind them? Such use of color!”
Since the flowers were the only color she could see on any of the landscape for miles around that wasn’t a dirty yellow-gray, Gamora hadn’t to admit that the flowers were striking.
“It looks great,” she agreed. “And it makes you smile, which is even better.”
She just said what?
There was just something about this guy…
“That was a lousy line,” she amended lamely. “Not sure what got into me.”
JC grinned. “It was kind of adorable,” he said.
They stood there, staring at each other for a while.
Gamora felt uncomfortable with his gaze on her, something she’d never felt before.
“I’m Gamora…” she began. “Uh, just Gamora. I’m just a time traveler passing through.”
“Really?” JC exclaimed with that smile that lit up the smog. “Are you staying at the time visitor’s center? I’ve always wanted look around inside. It’s much nicer than any other place in Oasis Landing. The Time Tourist Board really takes care of that place and makes sure it has all the best our time has to offer.”
Gamora thought of the grime that covered every surface in this horrible version of Oasis Landing. Once you got used to the advanced tech, the visitor’s center wasn’t that impressive, but she could believe it was the best this timeline had to offer.
“I’d be glad to give you a tour,” she said, aware that her voice sounded entirely too hopeful.
“You’d do that for someone you just met?” JC said. “You’re such a good person. Thank you!”
They took the rickety grav-rail back to the center. Gamora escorted JC through the entrance, past a time traveler hanging out in their underwear, as they were prone to do. JC didn’t react as if it were strange at all.
“Here you are,” she said. “Does the place live up to your expectations?”
“It’s gorgeous!” JC said, though Gamora could see it was anything but.
“I’m glad it makes you happy,” Gamora said. She started to step closer, but of course a journalism-bot showed up at that moment to take their picture. The center was lousy with those things.
“Will you go away?” Gamora demanded.
“My entire programming is to record visitors to the time center,” the bot said without remorse. “What else do you propose I photograph?”
“Someone has to be doing something anywhere else,” Gamora snarled.
“Hey!” JC called from the lounge. “There’s free food!”
“Join me for a meal?” he asked.
Gamora grimaced. “I don’t eat,” she said. “It’s not personal. I’m a plant.”
“Oh, I thought there was something leafy about you. I don’t mean to offend.”
“No,” she said. “It’s fine. You eat and I’ll chat. I’m used to it.”
“The food tastes amazing,” JC said. “You can never get anything this fine from the replicator at home.”
“I’m sure it’s the best that science can buy,” Gamora said.
JC stood up to drop his plate in the recycler, and they stood there staring into each other’s eyes once more. Gamora felt a longing she couldn’t describe.
In the fresher air of the time center, Gamora’s nose caught the unpleasant odor of his skin. It hadn’t been detectable outside because everything outside smelled unpleasant. The entire planet stank.
“I’ll let you in on a secret,” she said.
JC’s eye widened. “What’s that?” he asked.
“There’s a hottub in the basement that’s almost never used,” she said. “It’s the best place to get clean and have fun.”
JC stepped back, looking perplexed. “I didn’t bring a swimsuit or anything,” he said.
“I don’t have one either,” Gamora said. Desire made her voice breathy. “We wouldn’t need one. Just you and me, in our skin down there alone. Nobody would see us. I, uh, am sure you look great under that jacket.”
JC’s face fell. “Oh, I’m so sorry Ms Gamora,” he said. “I didn’t mean to give you the wrong impression. I have a wife and kids at home.”
“I can keep a secret,” Gamora insisted. “I can’t believe I’m the only one who feels this connection.”
JC sighed. “Ms Gamora, you are the most beautiful, desirable creature I have ever met,” he said. “If we’d met before, I would have gone to the ends of the earth for just one frolic with you. I was stupid to come here now, knowing how you make me feel.”
Gamora felt anger and incomprehension rise, burning, in her throat. She glared at him. “Then why not do something about it? I’m not asking you to leave your wife. This might be the only time we see each other. You know we’d be great.”
JC looked at her sadly, almost with pity. “Of course we would. I’ll always be sorry I missed it. But Marcella trusts me, and her trust is worth everything to me. Is there nobody in your life whose trust you value?”
Gamora looked away. “No,” she said. She wasn’t even sure what it felt like to be trusted.
“I’m sorry,” JC said. “I better go.”
“Yeah,” Gamora said, feeling hollow. “I’m sorry.”
He gave her one last, said, longing look and left.
Gamora stood there in silence after he left, trying to collect her thoughts. What had just happened to her? Who was this guy to challenge the standards she lived by? What did it matter about his wife anyway if she was never going to know? It all sounded like a load of preachy crap.
So why did she feel dirty? It wasn’t the pollution.
She went downstairs alone and sat in the hot tub for a while, her skin drinking in the cleanest water source she could find in this place. That made her feel a little better.
Then, close to midnight, she went looking for a dream pod.
She found Emit Relevart’s pod. It’s not like she didn’t know she’d been sharing her dream pod for the entire trip. Turnabout was fair play.
Now she just needed the pod to do its job.
She looked out again at the orange haze burning under the city lights.
“I can fix this,” she said.
Then she slept.
I fully intended Evil Gamora to take a quasi-incestuous spin with her first cousin a bajillion-times removed. She went to all the work of talking him up and inviting him back with her without his family. Then, even with her high charisma and a good conversation level, he rejected her not once but three times.
It had worked. Edmund had cured Marisela’s vampirism. Edmund was on top of the world.
High on his own success, he found the courage to call Joy Reacher and ask her out on a date. He felt most comfortable in darkness, he suggested a walk under the stars. She seemed to like the idea.
They walked to Persephone Hot Springs and stopped to gaze at the sky.
And each other.
Edmund had never felt so at ease. Even with Joy, who always left him feeling tongue-tied and cloudy-headed, he had fresh confidence.
Joy stood up suddenly. “It’s clouding over. I thing it’s going to rain. This is probably a signal we should call it a night.”
Edmund moved close to her. “I’ll see you again soon, I hope?”
She reached up to touch his face, tentatively, as they drew together. “Sure,” she said. “I had a nice time. I don’t find that many people who appreciate a long walk and some silence.”
Rain began to fall on their shoulders.
“Do you want me to go?” he asked. “I don’t mind the rain.”
She laughed softly. “You’ll get soaked,” she said, “And it’s starting to get colder.”
“I’ll call you,” he said.
Winston’s mentor, Tyrone Biggs, decided Winston was ready to begin performing his own shows. The only good thing about his debut was that almost nobody had showed up to see it.
He managed to keep a smile on his face until the end, through all the stumbles and failed stunts, but it felt like plastic molded onto his face.
When he dragged home, he found Vickie outside, having returned late from sailing.
“Wow, you look like your dog died,” Vickie said. That might have been a big close to home. Connery was getting old. “Are you all right?”
“It was awful,” Winston admitted. “I think maybe I made a big mistake. What if I’m not cut out to be a performer.”
“Hey,” Vickie said. She grabbed his shoulders and pulled him into a hug. “I’m sorry it sucked so much,” she said, “but I don’t believe for a minute you’re in the wrong career. You’re amazing.”
“Thanks,” Winston said. “I needed that.”
“Get some sleep,” Vickie said. “You’ve got to be exhausted.”
In the morning, Winston blew off steam by dueling with Edmund.
That probably wasn’t the best choice. He was out of practice, and let’s face it — Edmund was scary. But at least it made him eager to get back to acrobatics training.
Vickie still loved the feel of working with her hands. When she wasn’t out on the water, she was repairing or tinkering with something.
Either the traditional way, or the more creative Sample way.
She even took on the repair of her cousin Gamora’s weird sleep contraption. Considering there were no plans and she could identify half of the components, she thought the whole thing went off pretty well.
It was a good thing for Gamora. She was reminded several times that she could go back home to her dad, but she didn’t like being so far from her lab.
A shipwreck was discovered off the coast of Avalon. It was the Mango Marauder, a legendary pirate vessel that disappeared two hundred years ago with its hold full of treasure. Victoria couldn’t resist the chance to explore it before the site became a tourist site and all discoveries had been looted.
The wreck was in incredible shape. She could almost see what it was like as it sunk. And it was filled with beautiful sea life.
Dylan felt that his lifelong passions — photography, painting, and nectar making — were missing something after all the time. He decided to take up the guitar. “It’s never too late to pick up a new hobby,” he declared.
Andria and Connery appreciated his efforts, though the tunes were simple. “I love a man who isn’t afraid to learn a new skill.”
“Let’s take that new creativity upstairs,” she suggested.
The family received a surprising phone call from Dylan’s sister Abby and her husband Chaim.
“We’ve adopted a little boy!” they crowed in unison on the other end of the phone line.
“Wow,” Victoria said, stunned. “What led you to decide to do that… now?”
“We talked about it for a long time,” Abby admitted. “We couldn’t have children of our own, and then there just never seemed to be the right time with my acting career and Chaim’s work in law enforcement. We decided to finally do something before it was too late.”
Woo. Victoria hung up the phone and shared a look of astonishment with her mom. Chaim was quite a bit younger than Abby, but he also retired from the police force quite a while ago.
“I hope he’s a good kid,” Andria said, “and that they know what they’re getting into at their age. I’m glad your dad just decided to take up the guitar!”
The next phone call that arrived was not nearly so much of a surprise. Judith wanted Vickie to be her Maid of Honor.
It was a small, intimate ceremony with just a few friends and family. After everyone recovered from the wedding and reception, the Jameses invited Vickie and Roderick out for their first night on the town as a married couple.
“Not bad for some bling I plan to wear for the rest of my life!” Mason declared as he showed off his wedding ring.
“I always knew you two were perfect together,” Vickie said. “You make such a great couple!”
“I’ll have your most romantic drink,” Mason said. Judith just grinned.
The bartender busted out his best moves.
“Late as usual,” Judith teased as she finally saw Roderick wander in the door.
“Thanks for saving a drink for me at least,” Rod said. “I have a good reason, since you didn’t ask.” He winked.
Rod drew himself up and puffed out his chest. “You’re looking at the new personal assistant to renowned director Derik Simborg on his new project Lizards Take Sim City!”
“Wow!” Victoria gasped. “That’s amazing! I’m so happy for you!” She had no idea who Derik Simborg was, and that sounded like a terrible movie, but Roderick was clearly proud enough to bust his buttons.
Across town, Winston got his parents out to the festival grounds for some summer fun. “Come on!” he shouted, “What kind of aim was that? You all need glasses!”
“Just you wait,” Dylan announced. “I already have glasses.”
“I think it’s starting to rain,” Cristina Pierce announced.
“I’m too wet to notice,” Andria said.
The evening at The Sphinx ended as it should have — with dancing.
Judith and Mason never stopped looking in each other’s eyes, and they kept up their romantic, swaying dance no matter what music was playing.
Victoria wondered how they must feel. Was love what she felt for Roderick? He was a fun dancer and good company, but the look in Judith’s eyes left her with a longing sadness. If she mentioned her feelings to Rod, he’d be crushed.
Then Mason stepped on Judith’s foot, and the mood was broken.
Just as well. This was more fun.
Meanwhile, the Time Machine crackled, and Emit Relevart stepped unexpectedly into Gamora’s basement lab.
“Hey there!” Gamora said. “You’ll never guess what I invented! Did you know that meteors can be attracted by –”
Emit’s face was livid. “What did you do?” he demanded.
Gamora’s stopped mid-sentence. “What are you talking about?”
“I warned you not to play with the time stream,” Emit said. “We created Oasis Landing as a safe future destination for travelers like yourself to visit so that you wouldn’t be tempted to experiment with things you don’t understand. Whatever you did, my timeline is now in catastrophe.”
“But… but I didn’t do anything with the time stream!” Gamora said. “I just invented a meteor magnet right here in the present! I was looking for a way to punish my mom…”
“I’m really not interested in your personal grudges,” Emit said. “Can you swear to me that your interplanetary invention contained no technology you learned from the future?”
Gamora froze. “I didn’t realize.”
“It looks like you better spend some time thinking about it,” Emit said. “When you’re done, meet me in what’s left of Oasis Landing, and I’ll see if I can clean up the literal mess you created.”
He turned around, jumped back into the Time Machine, and was gone.
If some of my previous posts seemed too short to me, this one probably should have been two posts, but I’m not going to take the time to break it out now :). At least everyone got a bit of screen time.
Story Progression went on a kind of crazy adoption spree, including some pretty old couples. It was nice to see Abby and Chaim have a kid. I was kind of surprised that they didn’t make one the traditional way, since neither of them had any counter-indicating traits, and kids are half of what this game is about. I don’t see how they can possibly live long enough to see this kid to adulthood, though.
Also, I tried to get Victoria et. al to dance ON THE DANCEFLOOR at the nightclub, but even though I clicked the dancefloor, they all decided to dance behind the bar. I took pics dodging the bartender. Sims.
Sasha Saunders-Ibari passed away after long illness. Daniel was by her side, holding her hand at the moment Grim was called.
The funeral was held at the local Cemetery.
“I’ve never known someone so passionate about living every day to the fullest,” Danial shared in his eulogy. “I’m blessed that she was in my life. The hole she leaves in my life will never truly be filled.”
Victoria was there to give her respects. Danial had been a treasured friend over the years. Her heart ached for Danial, and yet she was privately hopeful that now his life could begin again. He’d spent so much time setting himself aside to take care of Sasha, she wasn’t sure she fully knew himself anymore
When his eulogy was over, Danial finally broke down.
Vickie rushed to him and wrapped him in her arms.
“Sasha was blessed to have you too,” she said. “Never forget that. You stood by her even in the hardest moments.”
“Thanks,” Danial said. “We had so many plans we could never begin. I’ll let you in on a secret, though. We froze some of her eggs when she was healthier, and I’m considering carrying her child. We always wanted kids, but it didn’t seem like something we could take on while she was hospitalized. Maybe someday, her ghost will haunt us, and I could introduce our kid to their mom.”
“Wow,” Vickie said, internally shuddering at the thought of kids. “That’s a lot of responsibility to take on. Don’t go too fast, ok? Just be you for a while. You have time.”
Danial offered her a crooked smile. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
“When you’re ready, let’s hit the the club sometime. You’re a great dancer.”
“I think I found it!” Edmund whispered.
Buried in the Fae Council’s ancient tome, the last piece of the puzzle lay in the middle of a boring paragraph on ghosts and Ambrosia.
If it was right about the conflict between lay lines and the undead, all he needed to do would be….
He called Marisela Flynn immediately. “I’m sorry it’s late, but I think I have it. When can we meet?”
“I’ll make time right now,” Marisela said. “Meet me by the the entrance to the forest outside Vetinari’s Restaurant.”
Edmund blinked. “Now? Outside?” He looked out the window into the darkness. “You realize it’s pouring rain?”
“I don’t want my father involved,” Marisela said. “He won’t think to look for me there.”
“I can see why…” Edmund said. “All right. I’ll be there.”
He traveled as fast as his broom could take him.
They stood, sopping wet in the downpour, and Edmund tried to describe to her what he’d discovered.
“If I’m right, the shackles that have bound you will drop almost immediately.”
“All right then,” Marisela said. “What do you want me to do?”
“Give me a moment to connect with the lay lines running through your body,” Edmund said.
“Well, now I feel like an idiot,” Marisela said. “I hope this works.”
“Me too,” Edmund admitted. “Are you ready?”
“I’ve been ready for years,” Marisela said.
“What…!” Marisela began as the blast of magic force struck her in the gut.
She stood transfixed as the glow in her eyes dimmed and the pallor of her skin gave way to the healthy, natural glow of blood pulsing beneath her skin.
She opened her mount to take a deep breath of air, revealing teeth remarkably devoid of points.
“You did it!” she exclaimed. “The vampirism is gone. I’m truly alive!”
Edmund looked more relieved than pleased. But her joy was infectious, and he couldn’t help smiling back at her. “I’m glad it worked,” he said.
“The curse is broken. I feel amazing. I can’t wait to tell Brock! We can have a family at last! Thank you. Thank you so much!” She threw herself at him and wrapped him in a tight hug.
“You’re welcome,” Edmund said puffed. “Enjoy the rest of your life.”
I haven’t felt much like writing, but I’m playing like crazy. Hopefully this breaks the most recent block.
I managed the funeral using Ani’s “Have Coffee With Me,” following a tutorial she posted on YouTube long ago about staging a community meeting. The University podium has great animations, but I wish sims would spontaneously sit down and listen without the unwieldy lecture all tables.
Roderick was finishing film school and just starting out as grip in a movie crew. His eye was on directing. He knew almost every film Vickie had ever heard of and could dissect its cinematography, acting, and art style. And there were certain movies that he idolized that he was eager to share. Vickie found herself sitting in front of a screen more than she could ever recall doing before. When Rod talked about them, movies seemed like so much more than a mindless distraction.
He also pulled her into other intellectual hobbies. Vickie had always been a creature of action. She was happiest outside with salty ocean breeze blowing in her face. But she had to admit that there was something differently stimulating to staying in one place and *thinking* about things really hard.
When she tried to get Roderick out on the water, he begged off. “I get really seasick,” he admitted sheepishly.
That was all right. When the sea called her, Vickie wasn’t sure she wanted company anyway.
With a bit of cajoling, she did get Rod to join her in other active, outdoor fun.
Gamora got some welcome news. It wasn’t *good* news to anyone but her.
The asteroid strike had leveled half of Manisha and Ash Sample-Baerwyn’s house. Nobody had been killed, but their home insurance was balking at the wildly implausible event of an asteroid falling on someone’s house without damaging anything outside their property. There were lawsuits and assets held in dispute, and it was going to take years for everything to be sorted. Meanwhile, Manisha and Ash seemed to be staying separate hotel rooms for the moment.
Gamora took the afternoon to bask by the pool in the glow of victory and schadenfreude.
Manisha Kapoor Sample-Baerwyn chose not to be Gamora’s mother.
Now payback time had finally arrived.
Edmund finally earned permission to bring a few mystic tomes home to study on his own time. He delved deeper into the nature of life, death, and the anchoring of the soul.
He felt he was getting close to the revelation he needed.
That, however, was not it.
And we close with the couple who never lost that lovin’ feeling.
There’s no Winston! Also, none in the next post, so don’t hold your breath :(. Stuff will happen for him eventually?
It took me a while to figure out why Gamora spends most of her idle time in the pool. Hydration, duh.