At last the tests were completed. Sawyer and Gamora made their way solemnly to Sawyer’s subterranean lab.
“This is it,” Gamora said. “Do or die.”
“That could be literally true,” Sawyer pointed out. “You did the final testing on the time machine. It is only right for you to do the honors.”
Gamora chuckled. “You make it sound like an honor, Dad, but I think you’re just trying to protect your own ass.”
“It can be both,” Sawyer said. “I’ll stand over here while you activate the device.”
“That’s fine,” Gamora said. “I’m ready for this.” She stepped forward without hesitation and activated the floor switch.
The time machine crackled to life.
Brighter and brighter. “Hmmm,” Gamora said. “This is not the way it behaved in my simulations.”
“Now might be a good time to take a step back,” Sawyer said.
“I’m sure it’s fine–” Gamora began. Then she gasped.
Her eyes were filled with blinding light, her ears with the crack of thunder.
“That was deliciously dramatic.”
“We’re here!” Sawyer cried. “We’re in the future!”
Gamora looked around. “But when in the future?” she asked. “This view doesn’t match my calculations at all.”
Just then, light flashed in front of them, and a familiar figure appeared. “Oh!” Gamora said. “Look who’s here to check up on us!”
“Greetings, junior time travelers!” crowed Emit Relevart. “I’m happy to see that you decided to join us here at Oasis Landing! This is the resort city of time travelers everywhere. Stay as long as you like and learn about the time stream.”
Sawyer scowled. “You again? Why are you following us around? And what do you mean by ‘junior time travelers’??”
Gamora shoved her father aside. “Don’t mind him,” she said. “I think he’s still recovering from the transfer.
“I want to learn everything you can teach me,” she said eagerly. “What is this place? This isn’t where I set our coordinates. How did we end up here?”
Emit smiled indulgently. “I am part of the protectors of the time stream,” he explained. “We pull all new time explorers to Oasis Landing so that they may learn the rules in a safe space. When you are ready, you may travel to other places along the time stream. But first you need to gain a little experience! An inexperienced mistake in the past could erase us all in the present!” He chuckled.
“So you and the, ah, ‘Protectors’ are watching us here to judge when we’re trustworthy?” Gamora asked.
“Don’t make it sound too sinister,” Emit said. “Think of yourself in an apprenticeship program. You’ll become a master soon enough.”
Until then, you look tired. Take a rest here at our Community Center. It’s open to everyone from anywhere and anytime.”
“Tired?” Gamora said. “I guess maybe I am.”
“Take your time,” Emit said. “I’ll be around if you have any more questions!”
And with another friendly wave, he produced a skateboard-like object from nowhere, jumped on it, and sped away.
Gamora watched Emit go.
Here she was, in a tourist trap for time travelers. She had imagined her first time travel experience in dozens of different ways, but this was not one of them.
She found Sawyer in the lounge overlooking the time portal, his nose stuck sullenly in a book. “Did our babysitter reveal all the secrets of the timestream for you?” he asked without looking up.
“Come on, Dad,” Gamora said. “You have all the subtlety of stampeding elephant. We have to learn what the rules are here before we can decide if we will follow them.”
Sawyer closed his book, took a deep breath, and looked up to meet her gaze. Gamora realized he was trembling with suppressed frustration. “What do you have in mind?” he asked.
“We can explore this building, to start with,” Gamora said. “All the doors are open. All we have to do is walk in.”
Behind the first door, she found a hoverboard just like the one Emit had been riding.
That would come in handy.
Then she looked out the window at the futuristic landscape beyond.
“Forget the Center, Dad!” she said. “We can explore here any time. Let’s get out on the town!”
Their first visit was to the Bot Emporium.
Sawyer and Gamora had never seen so much technology on display in the same place. They froze in their tracks, trying to process the sights and sounds.
Nearby, two customers — locals? other time travelers? — examined a bot for sale. “It’s top of the line,” one said. “Sure, but I think it would be terrible at woohoo,” said the other.
Gamora blinked. The possibilities in that one statement were endless.
Sawyer drifted to the nearest display. “This is a bot,” he said reverently. “What is its power source? How advanced is its artificial intelligence?”
“Are you?” someone said from behind him. “Could you possibly be Doctor Sawyer Sample?”
Sawyer froze. “I’m what?” he stammered. “Who? You know my name?”
“Of course!” the stranger chirped. “I know your face from my history of science text! Avalonian faces are even rarer here at Oasis Landing than they are in your time. I’m Bridget Mannin. Would you considering shaking my hand?”
“Ah, certainly,” Sawyer said. “I’m in your history book? Please tell me more.”
Before he could say another word, he was interrupted by another woman, who grabbed his companion’s shoulder and forced her way into the conversation. “Bridget!” she said. “Is this who I think it is?”
“Really, Ma!” she said. “It’s Sawyer Sample! I read that he traveled in time at the end of his life, but I never thought I’d get to meet him!”
Ma Mannin clapped her hands to her mouth and let out a strangled squeak. “Doctor Sawyer Sample! I’m a huge fan of your work! Your neuroscience research is the groundwork of all Plumbots!”
“I’m starting to see the merit of sending all time travelers to the same town,” Sawyer said.
“Would you– could you grant me an autograph?”
Sawyer smiled. “Of course. I’m always willing to contribute to my own posterity.”
Gamora didn’t hear a word. She had found a bot designer.
Her fingers moved across the holo-screen as if she had been using them all her life, drawing her into a paradise she could never have imagined.
“Oh, my stomach!” Bridget moaned.
“I’m sure my techniques are primitive to you, but I am a doctor,” Sawyer said. “I might be able to help.”
“Are you kidding?” Bridget said. “You’re Sawyer Sample! I can tell all my friends that you fixed my stomach!”
“Oh! I didn’t realize how much your primitive medicine would hurt!”
“That was amazing!” said a bystander. “Could I have your picture?”
“Hello, Doctor Sample! I’m honored to meet someone who contributed important theory to the construction of my brain!”
“I’m glad I could be of help to you,” Sawyer said.
“All right, Dad,” Gamora called. “You’ve had your ego puffed enough. Let’s explore!”
Later, they visited a futuristic nighclub.
Sawyer had more opportunities to introduce himself to appreciative plumbots.
Sample futuristic intoxicants.
Play some futuristic pool
And speculate about futuristic forms of entertainment
Gamora, on the other hand, was drinking in all the information about the future she could find.
She discovered that plumbots were watertight.
And that she had a strange sense of kinship with some of the residents.
She wondered if they were, in fact, kin. She would have to study the local documentation to see if they had a common ancestor. She had no intention of having any children herself, so she assumed they were not direct descendants.
They traveled around in style by hovercar.
Slept in futuristic sleeping pods at the time tourist hotel.
Ate futuristic delicacies.
And traded stories with other time traveling tourists among their staunchly restricted social contacts.
Gamora sifted through strangers’ mail to get an idea what day to day life might be like at Oasis Landing.
And stole whatever she could find.
Her favorite acquisition was a sort of digi-pet named Cornelius.
“My master forgot me and left me behind!” it chirped. “Thank you for finding me! We’ll be very best friends!”
“If you can handle being my best friend,” Gamora said, “then you’re more impressive than you look.”
Sawyer didn’t take to the futuristic tech as quickly as his daughter did.
Though he did get it working with a little help.
Later, they took the hoverrail outside of the city.
Gamora was surprised to find that the outskirts of the refined, sparking future town was such a wasteland. Clearly, Oasis Landing was not such an oasis. What had they done to their landscape? Did the rest of the simworld look like this?
Sawyer wasn’t terribly concerned by all these possibilities.
He was far more interested in his discovery of wild, self-replicating nanites.
Gamora left her father to his discovery to scout further on her stolen hoverboard
Which she had not yet mastered.
She discovered that the sparse plant life was uniquely intelligent.
Her plant nature gave her the ability to talk to vegetation. She just seldom did because they had nothing interesting to say. The vegetation of the Oasis Wastes were something else. She spent almost an hour discussing philosophy and creative ethics with a crystal flower.
At the plant’s advice, she took a cutting to grow at home. To heck with protecting the environment against invasive species.
And, at last, they went shopping.
Yes, shopping, in the galleria mall of the future, time travelers welcome.
They did find some fashions of the future to their liking.
The next morning brought fresh attention from Emit.
“You’ve been visiting for quite a while. I wanted to check in to find out if you need anything before you head back to your own time.”
Well, that was subtle.
“Don’t worry,” Gamora reassured him. “We’re headed home today.”
Well, she decided they were leaving at just that moment. She had learned what she could from what Oasis Landing would let her see. She needed to return to her own lab to study and decide what to do next.
“One last thing,” Emit said. “My holo-sprite says that you have a friend of his, and he’d like to say goodbye.”
“I have a what?” Gamora said. “Oh! Of course!”
In the evening, she and Sawyer met at the community time portal on the rooftop of the Time Traveler’s Community Center.
“This has been very educational,” Sawyer said. “I’m not sure what I make of this future community.”
“I know what I think,” Gamora said. “We’ll discuss it at home. Here we go.” And she jumped into the portal.
Back in Sawyer’s lab, Gamora watched him fall out of the Time Portal. “You’re going to have to figure out how to do that with more grace, Dad.”
“That portal must not be calibrated for me,” Sawyer said, scowling.
“It seems to be calibrated perfectly for us,” Gamora said thoughtfully. “It’s calibrated to take us to no place but Oasis Landing and back. We have learned the rules. Now we just need to learn how to break them.”
Nanites? Nanites?? You know those are supposed to be microscopic, right?? “Nano-” comes after “micro-” on the tiny prefix chain.
For some reason, I was really blocking on this post. It turned out to be a blast to write. I wanted to finish it before we left on our three-day camping trip, but I didn’t quite make it, so here it is on our return.
I have a mixed opinion of ITF. There just isn’t much TO Oasis Landing. The objects are fabulous. I think I’m in love with the holo-sprites. But I’m not totally clear why a player would want to visit the unmodified future more than once. I think it would have been way more fun of ITF had been designed like World Adventures, with multiple “vacation destinations” in different time periods, preferably with WA-style quests.
If anyone has any ideas of cool stuff to do there or fun lots to add to it, do let me know. There are apparently some opportunities involving ruins in the wastes that I didn’t get on this trip.
Gamora’s flower walk came back while she was in the future. It had been gone so long, I forgot about it. I love it. One of the Nraas mods keeps setting everyone’s walk style to normal human. It took me forever to figure this out, and it’s the reason that Charles started walking rather than floating, and Sky walked for most of her life.
I’m pretty sure the mod in question is GoHere. GoHere seems to have a lot of unintended effects. I first discovered issues with GoHere over with the Wonderlands, when Erin couldn’t complete stakeouts as a P.I. because the sims required for the opportunity were not arriving reliably. Removing GoHere seemed to fix that problem as well as a separate problem with the host of Late Night inactive parties leaving the lot when they were supposed to be hosting the party. Seasons parties, e.g. pool parties, feast parties, costume parties, et al seem to be unaffected by GoHere, but the celebrity parties are. I THINK GoHere might also be the reason I had so much trouble sending my kids trick-or-treating during Spooky Day, but I’ll test that next sim-Fall.
At any rate, the only way I know of to fix occult-related walk style is to remove the occult status and replace it. After this post, I start focusing on getting Gamora’s flower walk back.