Lance turned 100.
He celebrated by running 3 miles and then pumping iron for six hours straight.
Afterward, he looked… well, pretty much the same as he always looked. His days of bulging biceps and pulsating pectorals were long past, and he tried to take the truth with equanimity.
Lance couldn’t quite grasp the idea that his glory days were past. And the more he thought about it, the more he couldn’t let go of his last trip to Egypt with Charles, where they had been blocked from completing the tomb of the Sphinx.
The thing was, he knew exactly what they needed to smash those boulders. It had been hanging on the wall for ages as the prize trophy of his adventuring days.
“All, right, Charles my boy, we are going back to Egypt, and this time we’re going prepared.”
Ada looked up from mixing paints. “You’re going where?”
“Charles and I, we have an unfinished date with the Sphinx,” Lance said with a twinkle in his eye.
Ada beamed. “All right! Just give me a minute to pack!”
“You want to go?” Charles asked in surprise.
“I am SO not going to let you go without me,” Ada retorted.
“But you’re just a little girl.”
“Ha! And it was OK when you were a little boy?”
It was hard to argue with that, even for Charles.
Ada was sure to make sure her mother was all right with things. Nobody mentioned how Lance had whisked Charles away without so much as a by-your-leave.
“I’m going to see the world, Mom! And learn how to ‘walk like an Egyptian’, you know.”
“Ada! You’re one quarter Egyptian! They walk just like everyone else.”
“It’s a joke Mom….”
“I don’t get it.”
“I love you anyway, Mom.”
“What about you, Layla?” Lance asked. “Come with us.”
“That’s all right. You kids have fun.”
“Don’t you miss your homeland? What about your sisters?”
Layla smiled wistfully at her husband. “Lancelot, my love,” she said. “I am an old woman. My joints ache. I hate flying. I like staying home and working in my garden, and my sisters and I do just fine with email. I keep waiting for you to notice that you’re an old man, but you don’t seem to have noticed yet.”
“Eh,” Lance said a bit awkwardly. “Maybe I’m still in denial.”
But she saw them to the airport and made sure everyone had one her amazing perfect apples to eat on the plane.
Ada gasped when they arrived. “It’s so beautiful! So amazing!”
“It’s a campsite,” Lance pointed out. “There’s a lot more than this to see.”
“I have to PAINT IT!” Ada cried.
Charles, on the other hand, was still petrified of flying. It was just unnatural to be tossed through the air in a big tin can. Lance knew to look for his jitters this time and had an idea how to fix them.
“Have I ever taught you any Sim-fu meditation?” he asked.
“No. What’s that?”
“Here, let me show you. First, get comfortable. Yes, like that. Now, let your mind expand.”
And then something amazing happened.
“I’m solid! I can’t believe it, Grandad! Thank you!”
“Ooof! You’re welcome! Who knew the power of Sim-fu?”
Ada dropped her paintbrush and dashed over.
“You don’t look like a ghost at all anymore! Well, maybe a little bit, but it’s a fabulous look. I can’t wait until I can paint your portrait!”
Charles was pleased to see that he really could have it all. He hadn’t lost any of his so-called super-powers. He could still float, pass through solid objects when he wanted to, and teleport all over town. And he could be just as scary as he was before if he choose to be.
But now he was both more visible, and more substantial.
Lance gathered the kids up into Fabian’s patrol car, which he just happened to have with him, and they headed out to the Sphinx.
Ada stayed outside to paint it, while Lance and Charles headed inside for adventure.
Charles had never felt so powerful in his life.
He and Lance made a great team.
And the final conclusion, at the center of the Sphinx, filled him with awe.
Afterward, they took some time to drink in the beauty of the place in their own ways.
On their final day, Lance cooked breakfast on the camp site’s stove.
“You two should appreciate this hot meal! Back in my day, we didn’t have the luxury of a stove at the Egyptian camp site! We had to eat cold cereal out of the refrigerator and like it!”
(Seriously. I had to install a mod just to add that stove. China and France have base camps with stoves, but not Egypt. Why? Don’t ask EA those silly questions.)
Charles got a little bit of exotic fishing in.
And Lance and Ada a little fun.
(Plus some games of tag that looked horribly inappropriate whenever I tried to photograph them. Sigh.)
And they finished their time bonding around the fire, talking of their adventures and future plans.
All too soon, it was time to catch the plane home.
(Herein, I get sick of never being able to see Charles either. What I’m actually doing is using the “Deghostify” option in EA’s testingcheats, made easier to use by Twallan’s DebugEnabler. He still floats and has sparkly ghost effects, but now he is in full color. I downloaded a metallic silver skintone for him so that he could continue to look ethereal. He would have had Cycl0n3’s pasty white skintone, so I made him very pale silver. The hair is just what looks like a ghostly hair color to me. He would have had Layla’s all-black hair. He also inherited Cycl0n3’s ice-blue eyes, which are a nice genetic touch in the Sample family.)