Tag Archive | gamora

7.11 How to know

“Hey, Gamora,” Winston said. “You’re doing homework too? What did you get for Question 37 in math?”

Gamora put down her pencil and glared. “You really think I’m working on homework for school?” she said. “I finished all the exercises in the math book last week.”

“Jeeze, okay,” Winston said. “It sure looks like you’re doing homework. Why are you sitting in here if you got it all done?”

“I’m doing an efficiency analysis on the plant-animal crossbreeding program at the Sufficiently Advanced Technology Center,” Gamora said. “Of course.”

“Of course,” Winston said wryly.

GamoraScience

After her report was finished, Gamora made sure nobody was watching her and sneaked up to the rec room to watch the latest episode of Steamy Amazon Love.

Victoria was back in the ocean.

In addition to shells and antiquities, there turned out to be a decent market for live-caught marine creatures.

She no longer panicked at the sight of a shark. They weren’t terribly difficult to avoid if you knew what you were doing.

In the afternoon, she returned to the Arcane Institute to talk to Manu about her most recent haul.

“Where’s Manu?”

“Oh!” the antiquities shopkeeper said. “You must be Victoria Sample. My father told me all about you.”

“You’re Manu’s daughter?” Victoria said. “I didn’t know he had a daughter. It’s nice to meet you!”

“I arrived last night,” the shopkeeper said. “Dad died suddenly of a heart attack. I guess I’m taking over the business.”

“He died?” Victoria said. “I’m so sorry! Does Mom know? He had your dad were such good friends.”

“I’ll make sure everyone knows,” the shopkeeper said. “But I’m trying to focus on some good things too. Can you show me your wares? Dad says you bring the very best inventory, and I can’t wait to see it!”

After such a sad and surreal consignment meeting, Victoria almost felt guilty for catching coffee with Judith. She and her best friend had been so busy building their post-graduation lives that there’d barely been time to do more than text in ages. It was so good to sit down and really take the time to catch up.

“I can’t believe you’re still dating Mason James!” Victoria teased. “He was such a dork in school!”

“He’s a fantastic dancer,” Judith said, “and he’s really smart. It’s actually kind of serious. We’re talking about moving in together.”

Victoria blinked. “Wow. That’s like one step from being married. That seems so… grown up.”

Judith laughed. “Being grown up isn’t all bad,” she said. “What about you? Is there a man in your life?”

“Nobody special,” Victoria said defensively. “Different guys at different times, you know.”

“Vickie the heartbreaker,” Judith said, her eyes twinkling.

“No, really, it’s not like that,” Victoria insisted. “I’m not ready for a serious commitment. How would I know if I found the right guy anyway if I don’t know what guys are like? I want to know what my options are.”

“You really haven’t been in love yet,” Judith said.

“I guess not,” Victoria replied. She really wanted to change the subject. “I’m having fun, though. Tonight I’m going out with a guy I met on Simmy-Cupid.”

Judith was aghast. “You have an online dating account? Do you have any idea the kinds of creeps that hang out on places like that? Tell me you’re going to meet in a public place?”

“Relax, relax!” Victoria said. “Lots of people make dates on the Internet. Anyway, we’re having dinner at The Round Table. It’s perfectly public and safe.”

Rosie Winter met Dylan and Andria at the door. “I’m so glad you could make it on such short notice!” she said. “The papers just went through. This is my first dinner party as a single woman!”

“It feels odd to say, ‘Congratulations for being divorced,'” Andria said, “but single seems to suit you.”

“I brought a lime mead up from the cellar to commemorate the occasion,” Dylan said. “I propose a toast.”

“Hey, Mister and Missus Sample,” Roderick said as he walked in the door. “Thanks for coming to celebrate with Mom. Just curious, but did Vickie come to dinner too?”

Andria gave him a sympathetic look. “I’m afraid not. She told me she had a big date tonight.”

“A date?” Roderick said. “I, um, hope she has a good time.”

Andria snagged a goblet from Dylan’s tray. “Before we toast Rosie’s new life as a single woman, I’d like to raise a glass to my old friend Manu. I guess, at our age, I can’t say that we lost him too soon, but I guess the truth is it’s always too soon.”

Rosie and Dylan raised their glasses. “To Manu.”

“Wow!” Rosie said. “I think this is the best nectar of yours I’ve ever tasted!”

dylanpomelolifenectar

Frederick Rudolph suggested that he and Victoria meet on the beach before dinner, just to get acquainted. Victoria couldn’t think of many things more romantic than the ocean under the stars. This seemed like a good start.

She had to admit that he could use more hair, but at least he didn’t make a big deal out of hiding his baldness, and otherwise he seemed fairly attractive.

They chatted for a bit about her career as a diver and his as a Sing-A-Gram Professional. It felt so weird to call what she did a “career,” but that seemed to be how grownups talk, and here she was supposed to sound mature.

Frederick was just at the beginning of a singing career, but he had big dreams. His favorite dessert was also fruit parfait. They collected all the standard smalltalk about each other.

Suddenly, her phone rang.

“I’m sorry, Fred, do you have a moment?”

“Oh, sure! Take your time.”

“Hi Vickie!” the voice on the other end of the phone chirped. “I was wondering if you were free tonight.”

“Rod?” Victoria gasped. “Is that you?”

“Sure. I was just thinking about you and thought maybe we could go out for drinks.”

“This isn’t a very good time, Rod,” she said. “I have someone here.”

Rod laughed. “You aren’t out with a guy, are you? After the Love-o-Meter said we were meant to be?”

“You know!” Victoria hissed. “You know full well I’m on a date!”

She felt a hot blush creeping up her face. She hung up the phone without saying goodbye and set it to silent. “I’m really sorry about that,” she said.

“Oh, that’s all right,” Frederick replied. “It gave me a chance to finish another chapter. You really ought to try this book. I just can’t put it down.”

After that, they headed to dinner. Frederick offered to pay, but Victoria found a way to gracefully refuse. He seemed fine with that.

The smalltalk continued. Victoria talked about how much she loved her new house. He shared funny stories about sing-a-gram customers and the big audition he was preparing for.

I’m supposed to feel something, aren’t I? she thought to herself as she looked across the table at Frederick. He was a nice guy. She enjoyed talking to him. But wasn’t there supposed to be a spark or something? Wasn’t she supposed to know if she wanted to go out with someone a second time?

What was he thinking?

Dinner ended. They bade each other farewell and promised to send messages on Simmy-Cupid. Victoria waved to him as he sat down in his cab. Then she lingered, caught in her own thoughts. Did she have any idea what she was looking for? Would she even know if she found it?

“Hey, Vickie!”

She didn’t recognize the voice at first, but the face was familiar. “Kain? Kain McWilliams?”

“I saw you over there with that guy, and it kind of looked like you were on a date. You wouldn’t go out with another guy behind my back, would you?”

“B-behind your back?” Victoria stammered. “Kain, we haven’t gone out since before graduation. I never said I was your girlfriend.”

“Are you kidding?” Kain said. “How can you deny the magic when we’re together? Can you really pretend we’re not meant for each other?”

Victoria took a step back. She was suddenly very glad that they were at a public restaurant. “I’m sorry, Kain,” she said, working to keep her voice calm and steady. “I don’t want to see you again.”

“I can’t believe you,” Kain spat. “I’m a nice guy. I’m way better than that loser you were with. I hope he breaks your heart.”

He turned and stormed away.

Victoria went inside the restaurant and called a cab. She stayed inside while she waited and watched for it through the window.

While she waited, she transitioned from shocked to furious. Kain didn’t own her. She didn’t owe him anything.

Judith had worried about a guy from an online dating site, but guys you met in person could be just as scary.

Was dating and romance really worth it at all?


I’m baaack! Or, at least, I hope so. My job is going fabulously, but the new life routine has been rocky. My kid starts kindergarten on Tuesday, so even more disruption. But it sure felt good to write the Samples again.

Grump. Manu has disappeared — deleted by the game. He was an Elder, and it’s possible he really did die of old age. It would have been nice to get a notification or something, considering he was Andria’s best friend outside of the family. I guess it serves me right for making friends with role/service sims.

So, I didn’t make this stuff up — Rosie’s partner was Dylan’s old highschool flame Corina. They never actually married (because SP is weird sometimes), but they lived together for most of their adult lives and had four children together. Any place would call that common-law marriage.

Right after I got the breakup notification for Rosie and Corina, Rosie invited Andria to a party. As usual, they were the only ones to show up, but Roderick came home during the visit. At the same time, Vickie was out on her randomly-generated date, and she got a phone call from — you guessed it — Roderick.

After Vickie’s date left, I noticed Kain on the lot. Vickie had never been able to get him into a conversation so she could, “Just be friends” to get rid of the lingering romantic interest status from prom, so I did it here. Here’s a gripe — you can send a breakup text, but you can’t send a just friends text, so it’s harder to get rid of RIs than it is boyfriends. And yet RIs can still trigger cheating. Argh.

Just to clear up any concerns about family relationships, I’ll just remind you that all the Gen 6 Samples are half siblings. Rosie Winter is Sawyer’s cousin through his other mum. Roderick Winter is Rosie’s son, and he’s Gamora’s second cousin, but he’s not related to any of Dylan’s kids.

This has been your incest false alarm. Dude, my breeding population is about 100 sims, and it doesn’t take long for everyone to be related to everyone else.

 

7.10 By the Seashore

“Great Watcher, how can this be?” Edmund gasped.

“What?” Andria cried, rushing in from the hall. “Are you all right?”

Edmund sighed and closed the tome. “I’m fine,” he said. “It’s just that the answer isn’t here. The longer I look, the more questions and half truths I find.”

“So many mysteries of the supernatural realms,” Andria mused. “If only you had someone to ask, someone wise who devoted her life to the study of magic. A family member perhaps?”

“I don’t mean to question your expertise, Mother,” Edmund said. “It’s just that this is a subject too deep in the dark corners of the supernatural world for you to be able to help me.”

“Really?” Andria asked archly. “I’d be more inclined to believe you if you told me what you were trying to do.”

“I seek a spell to grant life to someone who is trapped as an undead.”

Andria let that sink in. “Oh.” She said. “You want to cure a vampire.”

“I suppose that’s another way of saying it,” Edmund agreed.

“Well, I can see why you are stymied,” Andria said. “You’re looking in the wrong place. You need to start working with potions. I have never attempted something that involved, but I can point you to the standard references.”

“The standard–” Edmund began. Then, “Thank you.”

So Edmund began working with potions.

At last, he was making progress.

With Sawyer and Emily woohooing at all hours in their small house, Gamora spent most her time at her Uncle Dylan’s home.

She set up bot design equipment in her father’s lab.

The rest of the Samples seldom saw her. She preferred to work at night. Sometimes she stayed up until dawn.

Daytime was more useful to her as a time to rest, and she had no real reason to return home to sleep. She had discovered a way to replenish herself that was unique to her bioengineered body.

Photosynthesis. Rain made it even more nourishing.

Her time away from her father’s house also meant she could be sure she wasn’t around when Sawyer discovered some surprises she’d left for him.

“Gamora! Why??”

Connery was growing more sleepy in his old age. His favorite place was on the sofa, dreaming of playing games with his people.

One evening, Dylan found Andria standing the back yard at bedtime, sadly surveying her garden.

“It’s beautiful,” Dylan said. “I have never seen plants as beautiful as yours. I guess it is, quite literally, your magic.”

Andria sighed. “Even with the help of my magic, I can’t keep up with all of this anymore. I’m growing old, Dylan. It’s not a great feeling.”

Dylan took her into his arms. “We both are in our twilight, my lady. But it’s a golden twilight.”

She held him tight. “You make everything seem more elegant,” she said, “even something as lousy as old age. There’s no help for it. I need to downsize to a much smaller garden.”

They sat down with the family the next morning and discussed their options. In the end, they decided to look for a new home. Victoria longed to be closer to the ocean. She scoured real estate listings to find a home for the family by the sea.

At last, they said goodbye to the stately home that Dylan had lived in since he was a teenager.

And moved to a lovely home a the end of Isolde Way that backed up to a private beach.

Victoria, who desperately wanted her parents to approve the house, made arrangements for a greenhouse to be built before they moved in.

Andria loved it. She had wept the night she left her garden to its new owners, but in her heart, she was relived to leave it in the capable hands of the new owners. Here, she could make a fresh start with something smaller and less taxing.

Victoria was first to enter the house on moving day. She walked around the first floor, drinking in the soothing feel of the place.

She could hear the rolling waves gently in the background and watch the surf from her window.

This was truly her home.

Then the rest of the family thundered in and made themselves at home.

Dylan set up his canvas on the second floor deck.

And his photography equipment in their new bedroom.

Andria began feeding everyone.

Edmund surprised everyone by suggesting some exercise options for the back yard.

Edmund had never really shown interest in physical exertion before now, but he said the workout cleared his mind.

Beneath the greenhouse was Dylan’s nectar cellar, and to the back of the cellar was a portal that could only be Gamora’s.

Now she had a lab that was truly hers.

Connery was as delighted as the humans with his new digs. After a hard day of watching the humans move their stuff, followed by a big meal, he needed a long rest.

“Come dance with me, my lady love,” Dylan said, and he twirled her to the sound of the music box that his grandfather Charles Sample had once given to his grandmother Veronica as his first expression of love.

Then they retired to their new bedroom to sleep.

When everyone was asleep, Victoria set about putting a few more personal touches on the home. A few wards here, a few repairs there.

There were so many practical uses for her magic, and she was just beginning to discover them. Who knew you could use it to prevent a sink from breaking?

Or that you could enchant the home against unwanted visitors? So many possibilities.

This was just the beginning, and she knew it.


This was a bit longer than I planned because I discovered that I’d set the bit between Edmund and Andria aside for a future post, and this was the last one it could be used in before the move.

I like to have each generation move to a new home that suits their personality. It took me a bit longer to find a house that I thought suited Victoria.

On a personal note, I thought I’d mention that this is my 401st post! The 400th was that Simantics post, and I forgot to make note of it. Yes, I know I’m insane.

Also, I GOT A JOB. Not just a job, but THE job — a perfect match for my skills and interests. I start on August 1. I’m really excited. Since I’ve complained on this blog about my miserable job hunt, I thought it was important to mention that it worked out!

 

7.9 Joint Ownership

The next evening, Sawyer got off work with a purpose.

He hopped into his experimental wish-powered automobile.

And headed straight to Emily’s house.

“I couldn’t wait to see you,” Sawyer said. “I have something to ask you.”

“Sure,” Emily said. “But come inside. It’s freezing out here.”

“Where is Greggory?”

“Don’t worry. He’s tending to the horses.”

Sawyer didn’t ask why Emily still lived with her ex-husband. It was one of those things he’d never felt comfortable expressing affection toward his girlfriend while Greggory was around.

As soon as they stepped inside, Sawyer pulled Emily to him.

“Wow!” Emily said. “Elderhood has brought out the passion in you!”

“That’s not the reason,” Sawyer said. “I wanted to ask–”

“Can’t you two get a room?” Greggory asked.

Sawyer cringed. “This is my room!” Emily shouted back.

“Now, what was it you wanted to say?”

“I, uh, have an experimental medical treatment. I wanted you to test it out for me.”

Emily looked stunned. “That’s not what I was expecting, but all right. I trust you that this won’t hurt me.”

“That’s a lot of trust….” Sawyer admitted.

Afterward, she grinned a huge grin. “That was amazing!”

EmilyExperimentalTreatment

“Fabulous,” Sawyer said. “I was hoping it would have a useful effect. Underground Pharmaceuticals is paying me a lot of money to test it on people.”

SawyerExperimentalTreatment

“Is that what you came here to ask me?” Emily said. “I should be annoyed at you, but this drug makes me feel too happy.”

“Actually no,” Sawyer admitted. “I just got nervous. Actually, I wanted to ask–”

“Yes?”

“Would you like to move in with me?”

Sawyer didn’t think that Emily could look happier, but her face lit up. “Really? I thought you’d never ask!”

“You were always welcome to ask yourself.”

Emily shrugged. “I wanted to hear it from you.”

“When do you think you might move?”

“Let’s do it tonight! I just have to collect a few things….”

She sent Sawyer to her bedroom to gather her clothes. Greggory wandered in.

“So you and Emily are taking the big step?” Greggory said.

“Yes,” Sawyer agreed. “It was about time. I also think it’s disturbing that she’s been living with you since your divorce.”

“It made financial sense,” Greggory said. “Since she keeps getting demoted at work, we could maintain a better lifestyle this way.”

Sawyer nodded. “That’s reasonable.”

“I wanted to offer a bit of friendly advice,” Greggory said. “Emily is more than a bit… high maintenance. She expects you to deliver the world.”

“Stop there,” Sawyer said. “I don’t want advice from someone whose marriage failed.”

“There’s no space in your car,” Emily said. “We’ll have to pack mine. But I have to warn you. That car is out to get me.”

EmilyHatesHerCar

“The place looks so nice, now that I know it’s mine too! I can think of just a few dozen improvements I’d like to make.”

“I’ll draw up the mortgage papers,” Sawyer offered. “Until then, I think we should celebrate.”

“Wow,” Emily said. “The kiss of a joint mortgage holder has so much more passion!”

“Come upstairs,” Sawyer said, “and we’ll investigate this further.”

“I programmed the sleeping pod just for you.”

Emily drew back. “If I’m going to move in with you,” she said. “There’s something you should know first.”

 

Sawyer stood up, suddenly concerned. “What is it, Emily?”

“It’s this,” Emily said. In a whirl, she changed her appearance.

Sawyer blinked. “What is that? What are you doing with that cardboard?”

Emily too his hand. “I consider this my true form,” she said nervously. “I’m a robot trapped in a human body. I- I hope you can live with this.”

“Wow,” Sawyer said in astonishment. “I knew you were my perfect partner, but I never knew how much.”

“Let me show you how I can deal with your true self.”

“Now, come to bed.”


This was originally one post with Sawyer’s birthday, but enough happened that I thought it ought to get its own post.

This is Sawyer leaving the household. Mechanically, he asked Emily to move in with him, which brought the household up to eight sims. After this scene, I had the household sell its second house (Sawyer’s house), then had Sawyer and Emily move out and buy it. So they live in the same house, but it is no longer an active house.

Which is just as well, because having the active household live in two houses was a pain the butt. Not saying I wouldn’t do it again.

Emily was under my control just from the time she accepted Sawyer’s offer until the end of this scene, during which time I discovered she’s a Bot Fan! What an appropriate surprise for the love of Sawyer’s life.

I screwed up and failed to note Sawyer’s LTH when he left the household. Fortunately, inactives don’t gain happiness, so I should be able to look it up the next time I load the game.

7.8 Baby Brother

“There’s so much of your fae heritage you haven’t experienced,” Andria said, “And now you’re already an adult.”

“It’s all right, Mom,” Victoria said. “I’ve learned a lot.”

Andria grinned. “Well, since I’m such a lousy teacher, I whipped you up something to help you learn anyway.”

Victoria stared at the sparkly powder. “Wh– what is this?”

“Try it out!” Andria prodded. “Just keep in mind that it doesn’t last. You have to catch as much of the Wisdom of The Fae before the effect fades.”

“All right….”

“Wow…. this is amazing!”

The wisdom of a thousand years of magic rushed into Victoria’s mind.

Along with access to powers she’d never imagined.

“Edmund!” she cried. “I have to try this out. Cast your strongest spells on me!”

“Really?” Edmund said. “If you say so….”

They picked neutral territory for their magical duel.

“I don’t want to hurt you–” Edmund said.

“Hee! Missed!”

“Take that!”

“Haha!” Victoria squealed. “I’m more powerful than you are!”

“Not without help, you aren’t,” Edmund said.

“Well, sure, but let me relish this moment anyway.”

Sadly, supercharged fae powers didn’t make everything better, as she discovered when she accidentally touched the stereo.

That evening was a special evening for the Samples. Andria stood outside in the night, communing with her garden.

Dylan saw her alone and went out to find her. “Are you all right, my love?”

Andria sighed. “I’m fine. I just wanted to enjoy the silence for a moment.

Dylan chuckled. “It’s true that we don’t get much silence in this household.”

At that moment, the doorbell rang.

“Aunt Rosie!” Victoria said. “Sawyer will be so happy to see you.”

Still high on the Wisdom of the Fae, Victoria regaled their guest with stories of the origin of rain while the family assembled.

“I have to do this, don’t I?” Sawyer grumbled.

Gamora grinned. “Of course you do, Dad.”

“All right then, let’s get this over with.”

But he did stand a little taller when he saw everyone, especially his sister Rosie, assembled to cheer for him.

“Happy birthday to you…!” they sang.

“Don’t let your age get you down!” Gamora chided.

So Dylan’s baby brother became an Elder.

With characteristically bad timing, the doorbell rang just as Sawyer blew out the candles.

But for Sawyer, the interruption was worth it.

“Emily! I thought you had a late shift!”

“I got demoted again,” Emily said.

“Oh,” Sawyer said. “They have never appreciated you at the hospital!”

“I’ll deal with the hospital later,” Emily said ominously. “But it meant I could come to your birthday.”

“Good,” Sawyer said. “I had some ideas about how we might celebrate.”

“But for now,” come get some cake.


And Sawyer ages up!

This feels like such a momentous time for Generation 6, even though they all finished their point-generation functions a long time ago.

 

7.7 Time After Time

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.

“Aieeee!”

Her eyes were filled with blinding light, her ears with the crack of thunder.

“Well then.”

“That was deliciously dramatic.”

“Whoaaa…!”

“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

SawyerSkinnyDipWish

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.

7.6 Catch a Falling Star

Springtime is the season of growing things. Andria, as a plant fae, felt Avalon’s rebirth in a special way.

She knew exactly what to do with all her extra energy.

“I’ve barely seen you leave your books for days,” Victoria said. “Are you all right?”

“Hush,” Edmund said. “I think I’m finally getting someplace.”

Victoria went to bed late, but was up early with a lonely old dog.

“This is what I get for all the love I give you? All right, then, have some more. Maybe you’ll bark loud enough to wake up the rest of the family.”

Before she could work Connery into a frenzy, her phone rang.

“Aunt Abby? No! You can’t be! Well, I guess if I can’t talk you out of it. At least I can do something about the rain.”

Great-grandmother Veronica’s weather machine was the perfect solution to two weeks of rain.

“You want me to go to a party?” Gamora demanded. “For an aunt I never see? I have research to do!”

“You can’t live on science alone!” Sawyer shouted. Then he stopped. “What am I saying? Of course you can. You can stay home if you like.”

By the time Victoria arrived at Little Cottage Park, the sun had already dried the grass.

The guests began to arrive.

Emily was first, though she was mostly just interested in some time with Sawyer.

Rosie Winter, Sawyer’s half-sister, surprised everyone by accepting her invitation.

Cousins Ash and Gina Sample-Baerwyn.

Abby’s half-brother Stanley Marmalade.

Along with his husband Jody Ursine-Sample and two older sons Chancey

and another kid whose name nobody caught.

Everyone gathered near the picnic benches

Where the guest of honor arrived.

“I’m so glad all of you are here to help me celebrate my retirement!” Abby said.

AbbyRetired

“Excuse me, Ms. Sample,” The festival vendor interrupted. “Do you mind if I take your picture?”

Abby gave her an ironic smile. “You realize that I’m now an ex-actress?”

“You’ll always be a celebrity to me!”

After she’d given Aunt Abby the applause and congratulations she deserved, Victoria had a wonderful time hunting for Easter eggs.

And so did Cousin Ash.

But she couldn’t resist the lure of the kissing booth.

“Five simoleons? This better be an amazing kiss!”

“Trust me, miss. You’ve never had one like it.”

“You’re a great salesman. Now I have to know!”

Afterward, the kissing vendor looked as if he’d lost his breath. “I should have paid you!” he gasped.

Victoria laughed. “That’s all part of the service, isn’t it?”

“Kisses!” called the cute girl at the booth next door. “Everyone welcome! Come and get a Love Day kiss!”

Chaim Sample-Erickson stopped by the kissing stall to think about it. “You think Abby would mind?” he mused.

“Come on,” girl said. “The wife has to let you have a little fun!”

Chaim chuckled. “You’re right. I think I’ll have that kiss.”

“Wait!” said the girl. “That wasn’t how this was supposed to go.”

“Oooh! Two hot men together!” Abby said. “Can I join in?”

“Eww!” Victoria cried. “I really didn’t need to hear that, Aunt Abby!”

“I heard sims only use 10% of their brain,” Jody Ursine-Sample told Sawyer. “Do you have any idea what might happen if we unlocked the other 90%? I have so many ideas!”

Sawyer scowled at him. “Do I even have to answer that? This is why you leave neuroscience to the experts.”

“You tell him, Sawyer!” Emily cheered.

“Like minds should stick together,” Sawyer told her.

“You seem to have found right mate at last,” Abby said. “Come have a snowcone with me.”

Sawyer nodded. “Emily’s intellect is second only to mine, though she’s had a difficult time convincing her colleagues at the hospital of her brilliance. I don’t have that sort of problem.”

Abby chuckled. “If she’s so much like you, little brother, I can just imagine.”

“I’ve been wanting to offer you personal congratulations, but it seems we’re so busy these days,” Sawyer said. “We used to spend so much more time together when we were younger.”

“I expect to have a lot more time on my hands now,” Abby pointed out. “Have you considered retirement yourself?”

Sawyer was aghast. “Never!”

Abby grinned. “All right. Let’s do lunch at the hospital then.”

It was time for a good old-fashioned pie eating contest!

“Ready! Set! Go!”

And up for air!

“This always seems like a good idea until I do it!”

A photographer from the Avalon Times was there to catch everyone at their most embarrassing.

“I won!” Victoria exclaimed. “What’s my prize? Oh…. more pie. Thanks.”

“Please!” Andria wailed. “No more pie!”

“You’re looking at Avalon’s reigning pie-eating champ!” Victoria crowed to Danial. “I’m not even sick to my stomach!”

Danial laughed. “Congratulations. The best sim won. I didn’t know you had such an iron stomach.”

“I didn’t expect you here at Aunt Abby’s retirement party,” Victoria said.

“Abby’s practically an aunt to me too,” Danial said. “You know my mom, Aminali, and your aunt were best friends, don’t you?”

“I guess I did sort of forget,” Victoria said. “I could never forget Aminali Ibari. I just sort of forgot you were her son.”

“She was an amazing woman,” Daniel said. “I’m lucky to be her son. I guess I’m kind of here to represent her spirit.”

Elsewhere, Abby was still gracious to her fans, though it was clear celebrity had lost a lot of its luster over time.

“Perhaps Abby can settle down now for a dignified retirement,” Dylan mused.

Jody waylaid him on his way to the dance floor. “Your brother is a bit of an arrogant prig, you know?”

Dylan nodded sagely. “True. That’s not news.”

“Wait! Did you just eat dirt??”

“Ha!” Jody chortled. “It’s all part of my act! Have you seen my magic show?”

“I think I will avoid it now,” Dylan said.

“I think it’s time to dance!” Danial shooted. “Woo! Vickie, have you tried the Smustle?”

“I know it, but I’m not very good at it,” Victoria said dubiously.

Danial grinned at her. “Come on. Dance like there’s nobody watching.”

“There better be nobody watching,” Victoria said.

“Doesn’t this hurt your back?”

“Maybe your trying too hard,” Danial suggested.

 

Then Victoria’s eyes caught someone across the lawn. “I’ll be back, guys. I just want to say ‘hi’ to someone.”

“Hey, Rod! What are you doing here?”

“Vickie! Oh, I’m supposed to meet my sisters at Camelot to fill out some inheritance paperwork. They’re late, so I thought I’d kill some time here.”

Victoria looked at the Love Meter gave Roderick a teasing look. “So, what does the Meter think of your romantic prospects? Is there a hot girl right around the corner?”

Roderick smirked. “I have a better idea. Let’s see what it thinks of us.”

Victoria hesitated. “Oh, I don’t know.”

“Aw, Vickie. It’s just a game. I won’t hold you to it.”

“All right! Let’s see!”

Victoria felt him place his hand over hers, firm but not too tight. What do I feel? she wondered. What should I feel?

The Love Meter lit up.

VictoriaRoderickLoveMeter

“Ha!” Roderick exclaimed in triumph. “I’ve never seen a reading that high!”

“Clearly, we’re the two hottest people at this party,” Victoria said.

“I can’t argue with that,” Roderick agreed. “Our hotness must have overwhelmed the poor thing.”

“Well, I gotta go,” he said abruptly. “My sisters have to be waiting for me by now. Call me!”

Victoria found herself both disappointed and relieved to see him go. At least he’d gotten her out of the Smustle.

The sun began to sink, and the party was still going strong. Even Gamora decided to make an appearance near the end.

“These old muscles just don’t dance the way they used to,” Dylan complained.

“Here,” Andria said brightly. “Let me help you with that.”

“You two are so adorable!” Gina cooed. “I hope I’m that cute when I’m your age!”

“You’re not that much younger than I am,” Andria pointed out.

Abby bade everyone goodbye at dusk, and they headed home feeling tired and happy.

Though Victoria felt extra preoccupied. Flirting was guys was so much fun, but she was starting to want a whole lot more fun than that.


So. Much. Party. For a sim without the Party Animal trait, Victoria sure acts like it. OTOH, she does seem to have a real preference for the swinging single lifestyle, and her Irresistible trait feeds into it.

Finally remembered to turn on Dylan’s can in southern gentleman walk style. I can’t think of a character better suited to it.

Ha! I guess Chaim is bi. It was funny to see him go kiss the male kissing vendor just as Abby walked by. Guess they’re very secure in their relationship.

I was a bit disappointed that sims dancing the smustle on the same dance floor don’t synchronize. That would have been an awesome feature.

7.5 Exploring

At last Avalon began to warm up. It had been a long hard winter. Never had rain been so uplifting. It certainly brought out the romantic in Winston.

It was a good thing that the rain was welcome because it rained nonstop for a week.

Gamora celebrated by testing for her green belt in Sim Fu.

Then going back inside to play video games with her father.

As soon as she was safe from hypothermia, Victoria returned to the dive site she had scouted during the winter.

She couldn’t wait to get beneath the water and discover what might be hidden there.

It was nothing like diving at Isla Paradiso. It was cloudy and raining above, so the light was dim. Visibility was further reduced by debris from the ocean floor that were stirred up by recent rainstorms.

The low visibility led to a close encounter of terrifying proportions. It was all Victoria could do to control her breathing as the enormous shark swam by close enough to brush its fin against her leg.

But at last she found her way through underwater boulders to a place of clearer water.

At last. This place looked promising. She was able to collect a few rare shells, but there was so much more to explore.

She returned from her dive to a secluded beach. The rain had not let up.

She took a few moments, standing in the chilling rain, to watch the beautiful herd of wild horses on the beach.

They weren’t terribly happy to see her, though.

Then it started to hail, and both human and animal ran for cover.

She hadn’t found much on her first exploratory dive, but Manu was pleased. Exotic shells weren’t as valuable as antiquities, but he had a market for them.

As she stepped out of the Arcane Institute, she heard a sort of roaring, chanting sound. She followed it toward the fortress of Camelot down the street.

It turned out there was some sort of protest going on.

A protest about jellyfish?

Curious, Victoria drifted through the palace gate, where she saw a familiar face.

“Roderick?” she said. “What are you doing here?”

“Vickie! Oh, hi!” Roderick set his sign down against the wall. “Fancy meeting you here!”

“What is all this?” Victoria said.

“You didn’t know?” Roderick said in surprise. “I was sure I told you. I’m the president of the local chapter of Avalon Tree Huggers. We march every month. This month is about invasive Pirate Jellyfish destroying our reefs.”

Victoria was aghast. “There are jellyfish destroying our reefs?”

“We’re almost completely sure Angelina saw one at the beach last Thursday.”

“Wow,” Victoria said. “I didn’t know you were such an activist.”

Roderick shrugged. “I don’t like to sit around waiting for things to happen. If I care about something, I get involved.”

“I’d never thought about it that way,” Victoria admitted. Was she just waiting around for life to happen to her?

Her thoughts were cut short by the sound of keyboard music. “Rod, I think your protest is over,” she said.

Celebrity songwriter Mickie Jameson had started an impromptu concert in the Camelot courtyard. Everyone clustered around him. There wasn’t a sign in sight.

“Wow,” Roderick said. “I guess that’s it for today’s protest.”

Victoria held out her hand. “Well, at least it stopped raining.”

Roderick was staring at her.

Victoria flushed. “What??”

“Come with me to dinner,” Roderick said.

Victoria’s eyes widened. “Are you asking me out on a date?”

Roderick’s lips twisted tauntingly. “Does it matter? Will you come?”

“All right! I will!”

“Follow me!” he cried and set off at a run.

“Hey!” she called from behind. “No fair!”

“Are you done killing that boss?” Gamora asked Sawyer. “I have an idea.”

“Don’t distract me!” Sawyer snapped. “10 more damage!”

“I finished reading the time traveling guidebook,” Gamora said. “I’ve planned my first time, and I’m ready to leave.”

“What?” Sawyer said, looking away from the screen for a moment. “Noo! He killed me! This is your fault!”

Sawyer stood up. “You’re planning to travel in time?” he demanded. “That is incredibly dangerous. You’re still a minor and should not be taking that sort of risk.”

“This is my project,” Gamora reminded him. “I have the guidebook. I’m pretty sure you can’t stop me.”

“Besides, there’s the possibility to study exotic future lifeforms and possibly aliens!”

“You make a persuasive argument,” Sawyer said. “But I’m coming with you.”

“Are you kidding?” Gamora said. “Of course you’re coming with me.”

“Wow,” Victoria said. “All of a sudden the weather is gorgeous. I never thought the rain would clear.”

“See what I mean?” Roderick said. “You have to seize the moment.”

“And this is delicious!”

“So long as you don’t order what he’s having!”

“Oh, there’s Uncle Chaim!” Victoria said.

“He looks like he’s on duty, so we can’t chat. But you should really meet him. He’s a wonderful guy. I think he’s going to be Chief of Police someday.”

“You have a pretty amazing family,” Roderick said. “I like watching you talk about them.”

“You mean listen to me, right?” Victoria said.

“No, I meant watch. Your face just lights up.”

“Oh, see that lady?” Roderick said.

“Who’s that?”

“She’s Sam Pistachio. You wouldn’t believe it to look at her, but she plays a mean guitar. I’ve heard her play down at the park.”

SamGuitar

“She’s also insane, I think.”

They lingered over their meal and talked about their new life after high school. At last, Victoria stood up. “I have to get home,” she said. “It’s late, and I think we’re both tired.”

“Thank you for a wonderful evening, Rod.”

“Anytime,” Roderick said. “I mean anytime. You can call me any time.”

“Maybe I will,” Victoria said. “You’re so spontaneous. I like that.”

And she blew him a kiss.

“Wow, Vickie,” Roderick said. “If you could bottle that up and sell it, you’d make millions. I’m serious. Call me.”

They said farewell. Victoria watched him walk away and wondered.


Here we finally see how Roderick grew up. He turned out hot!

7.4 One More Drink

Note: Wow, the writer’s block has been really difficult to shake off, but here I go…

———-

Victoria had to return to reality. As much as she might wish otherwise, tropical vacations were not a direction in life.

“But what do I do now?” she complained to Mom after dinner one evening. All I want is the ocean, but ‘beach bum’ isn’t exactly a profession.”

Andria gave her a sly smile. “I have so much water fae in you,” she said. “You’re practically a naiad. Maybe you don’t need a traditional profession.”

“I don’t think I’m made for a life of leisure either,” Victoria protested. “I don’t want to be useless!”

“Hmm,” Andria said. “Why don’t you go talk to my friend Manu at the Arcane Institute? I think he will have some ideas. Don’t assume there’s nothing you can do with your life’s passion.”

That, at least, was advice Victoria could act on.

Manu did have ideas. Lots of ideas. The first thing he did explain to her just how valuable the ocean antiquities were that she had collected on her vacation. Museums were desperate for these relics.

It had never occurred to Victoria that her that her hobby might have that kind of value.

 

That afternoon, she rented a boat to scout the deeper oceans around Avalon Island.

The island was a frosty wonderland, far too cold for swimming or diving, at least with a wetsuit. The sun sparkled off the ice coating the branches of the winter trees.

Victoria was in luck. There were signs of a promising dive site within sight of Camelot. She would return in the Spring to see what there was to see.

At home, Edmund was developing new spells.

And experimenting on his family.

 

Gamora turned out to be especially vulnerable to his Animale enchantment.

She was not at all happy about it.

Edmund, on the other hand, was thrilled. He would have to watch his back, though, in case his cousin took the whole thing too personally.

Victoria made sure that Connery got proper affection when he trotted across the street from Aunt Abby and Uncle Chaim’s house. He was an old dog and deserved all the cherishing he could get.

One of Victoria’s high school friends, Roderick Winter, called her up one day. “The gang is having a mixer at Shady’s tonight. You totally want to go.”

Victoria didn’t need a whole lot of persuading. A night out dancing was just the sort of thing she wanted to get her mind off being an adult.

“You should come with me!” she told Edmund.

Edmund scowled. “Dancing and drinking aren’t really my thing.”

Victoria grabbed his arm and offered him one of her disarming smiles. “Come on, big brother!

And that’s how they both found themselves on the dance floor of Shady’s Nightclub.

Danial Ibari-Saunders found his way to Victoria while she was ordering a drink at the bar.

“Heeeey, Vickie Baaaaby!” He exclaimed. The slur in his voice told her he’d already had a few drinks.

Ugh.

“Hi Danial,” she said.

“You’re looking hot tonight!” he said. “Come dance with me!”

“I’m sorry, but I have other plans for this party,” he said cooly.

“I’m being an ass, aren’t I?” Danial asked a bit more soberly.

Victoria relented a little. “A little bit, anyway,” she admitted.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I just get carried away. I don’t mean to be insulting or anything.”

“Ooooh!” Jake Pradis cooed over Danial’s shoulder. “You two look so cute together!”

“Do I know you?” Victoria demanded.

“Hey, barkeep!” Java Weaver shouted. “Get some hot wing for my roommate before he makes a bigger ass of himself!”

This conversation looked like it was about to get really annoying. “Hey,” Victoria said quickly. “I see Roderick. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Hey!” she called. “Great party, huh?”

Roderick laughed. “I don’t know. I just got here. I was reading for an audition, and it just ran later and later. I hope that’s a good sign.”

RoderickJob

“Oh! I didn’t know you were going into acting! My aunt is an actress.”

“Believe me, I know!” Roderick said. “It’s not like there’s anyone who hasn’t heard of Abby Sample. In fact, if you ever have a chance to put in a good word with me, I’d really appreciate it. This field is all about who you know.”

“Yeah, Aunt Abby says the same thing,” Victoria agreed. “She says you have to be very careful. There are so many people who can take advantage of new actors.”

Roderick looked embarrassed. “Yeah,” he said. “I noticed.”

Sensing that she was treading in territory not suitable for a dance party, Victoria guided the conversation back to safer topics about who was doing what after graduation.

 

When Roderick turned in for an early audition, Victoria found herself back on the dance floor. She’d had a few drinks and was ready to dance!

So was Danial.

“Ha! You’re really good at this!” she had to admit.

DanialFamilyOriented

DanialPartyAnimal

“Dancing is life! Life is dancing!” Danial replied.

“Yeah!” Vickie agreed.

Danial tried a bit too hard to be the life of the party, Victoria decided. When he relaxed more, he was more fun. He was even kind of attractive, though it wasn’t terribly appropriate to think that about a married man.

DanialCapricorn

Where WAS his wife, anyway?

Meanwhile, Edmund ran into Joy, who looked equally uncomfortable with the loud music and the press of people.

“Would you like to dance?” Edmund asked awkwardly. She smiled at him. They both remembered prom.

“How is this supposed to go, anyway?” Joy asked.

“Like this, maybe?” Edmund suggested.

The both laughed at how stupid that looked.

“Let’s get a drink and get out of here,” Joy suggested. And that’s what they did.

After Joy left, Edmund found himself outside the dance club, waiting for Victoria to finish up whatever it was she did at parties like this.

Edmund’s eye caught a familiar figure lurking in the shadows.

“You,” he said. “Marisela Flynn. I’ve been trying to find you again.”

“Why would you want to see me again?” Marisela asked. “I’m not exactly a safe companion.”

“I’ve been doing research,” he said. “I know what you are.”

She gave him a half smile, and the moonlight glinted off her unnatural teeth. “So, what do you think now?”

“I want to know what your life is like,” Edmund said earnestly. “I’m also a create of magic, though I’m very different from you. There’s a lot we could learn together… don’t you think?”

Marisela sighed. “Life,” she said. “I’m not sure if you can call what I do life. Your magic is a happier sort than mine.”

“You sound like you don’t want to be what you are,” Edmund said.

“You’re very perceptive,” Marisela said, though it was hard to tell if she was serious or not.

“Hey Edmund!” Victoria called. “It’s dying out in here! You want to go home?”

VickiePartyAwesome

It was well after midnight when Edmund and Victoria returned home.

She looked around at her brightly-colored, nautical-themed room. She’d converted the nursery into her own bedroom long ago, and she kept another bed in case Gamora wanted to sleep over.

For the first time in her life, she could see how…. young it looked. Some day, she might want to bring a guy home. How would that even work?

Andria noticed her daughter’s lost look. “Not really your thing is it?” she said.

“I guess it’s time to think about redecorating,” Victoria said thoughtfully. But what, exactly, did she want to represent her as grown woman?

It was too late to think about it now. Now she needed to sleep off the party.

Andria should have gone to sleep once she knew her children were safe in bed, but age hadn’t made her more practical.

There was romance to be had under the stars instead.

 


I’ve been staring at this collection of pictures for over a month. Gah. I hope I have kick started myself back to writing.

The bring drink to sim interaction is a total lag failure. I kept trying to buy drinks for other sims so that we could walk around drinking and talking together, but my sim kept struggling to find a place to put down the !@#$ drink platter, so she was never drinking at the same time as her conversational companion.

Roderick is three days younger than Victoria, and his birthday was on this party. I tried to age him up before the party so that everyone could be an adult, but the game would just not do it. So we have to wait to see his adult look and get a sense of his final trait.

 

Sadly, Manu seems to have disappeared. This has me highly annoyed, since he’s been Andria’s best friend outside of the family for quite a while. I’m not sure what happened to him, since I have NRaas homeless management turned off.

7.2 New Direction

Graduation Day dawned crisp and clear.

Then, right before the ceremony, the clouds opened up, turning the melting snow into slush.

The graduation ceremony was mercifully inside.

At least both of the graduates had a lot to brag about.

EdmundGraduate

VictoriaGraduate

Joy Reacher walked alongside Edmund. He had to admit that he enjoyed the company. They both had a wry appreciation for the pomp and circumstance that Victoria didn’t share.

Her favorite part was the end. Free at last!

By evening, the rain had abated. Aunt Abby took time out of her busy promotion schedule for her latest moving to meet the new graduates at The Round Table for a dinner celebration.

“I’m not as young as I used to be,” Abby admitted, “but there are some interesting roles for old ladies!”

Everyone brought their orders outside and shuffled to find places to sit down.

Edmund asked Joy to join them. “Mom has something planned at home,” she admitted, but she couldn’t help but smile at Edmund’s disappointment. “I can drop by for a little while, at least.”

Edmund at down, and his family immediately crowded in around him. “This didn’t work out quite the way I intended,” he told Joy apologetically.

Joy laughed. “It’s all right. I have to leave anyway.”

Edmund watched her back as she left.

“I can’t believe my kids are adults already!” Andria exclaimed.

“I am so proud of you,” Dylan told Victoria. “You’ve grown up into an amazing young woman. I am proud to be your father.”

“Wow, Dad,” Victoria said. “I don’t know what to say.”

“Feel the burn!” Winston interrupted.

“Firecracker shrimp, just the way I like it!”

Sawyer ate alone.

As they finished their meal, the chef sidled nervously up to Andria. “Are you Andria Sword Sample? The fae activist?” she asked. “You’ve done so much for us. Could I have your autograph?”

“I’ve done so much?” Andria said. “Really?”

“Because of you, the Fae Council is letting us come out of hiding. Thank you so much.”

The chef wasn’t the only fae who showed up at the restaurant.

“Are you… are you a fairy?” Edmund whispered.

The winged woman laughed “Some people call us that,” she agreed. “It’s as good a name as any.”

“I’d love to get some pointers on how to make people do your bidding,” Gamora said to Aunt Abby.

“Why do you think I can help you with that?” Abby asked.

“Well, you ARE a successful actress,” Gamora said.

“I don’t think acting works the way you think it does….”

“Oh, my stomach!” moaned one of the restaurant guests. “Is there a doctor in the house?”

Sawyer sighed. “I never get a day off of this job.”

“Here, hold still. This won’t hurt a bit.”

“Hey man, are you sure? Oh, wait that does feel better!” He grabbed Sawyer’s hand and shook it vigorously. “Thank you! Thank you!”

Sawyer cooly extracted his hand and shook off the other man’s sweat. “You’re lucky I was here. Gutbusteritis can have serious consequences.”

“This is for making amazing babies,” Andria said, and she swept Dylan off his feet.

“I think it’s time to go home, Dylan murmured.

So they did.

It snowed in the night, and in the morning it was clear that Spring would be pushed off again.

“This winter just goes on and on,” Victoria complained to Edmund. “It’s even too cold for safe diving.”

“This last cold snap doesn’t seem fair,” Edmund admitted. “Even the family weather manipulator can’t handle something like this.”

“Wait, I just had an amazing idea!” Victoria cried. “Let’s get out of Avalon and go someplace warmer! We’re adults now. We can make our own airline reservations. Let’s just go!”

“Take a vacation?” Edmund said thoughtfully. “I admit it never occurred to me.”

“Will you come with me?” Victoria asked.

“I would love to see a tropical climate myself,” Edmund admitted. “Of course. And you know Winston will never forgive you if he can’t come too.”

“I’ll talk to him. He’s going to a culinary magnet school. I’m sure we can make some kind of arrangement.”

Within hours, she was on the computer, making airline reservations.

Off to sunny Isla Paradiso!

———-

I was pretty sure that Victoria’s birthday was on the first or second day of spring, just when the snow had all melted. Then there was some gap in time before I played the game again, and we were back to snow covered landscapes. Not sure what was up with that. It’s likely that some of the Options settings for season length got tinkered while I was messing around with game mods, but usually the game keeps you in the season you already have.

So, the result is that Avalon gets an unseasonably long winter, and I get to try out NRaas Traveler!

Joy Reacher was included in the group that I sent to The Round Table to have dinner, but for some reason she didn’t actually stay to eat. Sigh.

The game created a fairy paparazzo, which kind of fed into Andria’s storyline, so I went with it. She did kind of get hit with the ugly stick, though. Then again, I really really enjoy all the different kinds of faces my gene pool produces.

Oh, and Andria and Dylan are all over each other autonomously, as you’ll notice. I only take shots of half of their shenanigans. It’s so adorable.

7.1 Creature in the Night

Edmund saw her across the street from Morgana Beach clubhouse as he left Victoria’s party. She was just standing there, silently, as if waiting for someone. Edmund could feel the waves of magic radiating from her. He was drawn like a moth to flame.

“My lady?” He called into the silence. Do you need help? May I be of some assistance? ”

She whipped around. “You,” she said. “Who are you?”

“I am called Edmund Sample” he said. “I am at your service.”

A smile played over her lips. “I would be careful pledging service to strangers you meet in the dark,” she said. “Anyway, I’m Marisela Flynn.”

You look like you’re searching for something, ” Edmund said. “This is an odd place to wander at night.”

“I’m always searching for something,” she said. “Sometimes I find it.”

As she spoke, the moonlight glinted of her teeth. Edmund started in surprise. Before he could be sure of what he saw, they were gone.

“I see that I’ve badly overstepped the bounds of propriety,” Edmund said. “It’s no business of mine what you’re looking for. I had the sudden thought that I could help. I’ll leave you in peace.”

“No!” Marisela said. “I’m sorry I have been so cold. I’m not used to people noticing me when I wander at night. Please stay. I’d like to know more about you.”

Edmund found himself talking about his fae blood and his quest to understand the unique magical underbelly of Avalon.

He even introduced her to Kalai.

Marisela hung on his every word and encouraged him to tell her more.

At last, Edmund realized just how lopsided the conversation was. “Now you know everything about me,” he said, “but I know almost nothing about you. I know you are magical as well. Tell me how.”

Marisela hesitated. “You’re right,” she said. “It’s not really a magical gift like yours, though. It’s more of a curse.”

“A curse!” Edmund said. “I have never encountered such a thing. Let me try to help.”

“I think you can help,” Marisela said, “but probably not the way you intended.”

She caught his hand, and suddenly he couldn’t pull away.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’ll try to make this hurt as little as possible.”

Then she sank her teeth into the tender flesh of his wrist.

Edmund gasped, unable to cry out. His wrist burned as she drank his blood. She held him firmly against his involuntary flinching so that her teeth tore his flesh as little as possible.

“What have you done to me?” he rasped as she let him go.

Marisela looked at him tenderly. When she spoke, her voice was sad. “I’ve done you no permanent harm. I’m sorry. It’s what I am.”

Before he could move again, she was gone.

He returned home, so lost in his brooding that he barely noticed the world around him.

He stumbled distractedly to a chair, where he could rest and let the last of the tremors from the blood-sucking subside.

Which left him victim to another one of Gamora’s pranks.

“A whoopie cushion? Seriously? Are we five?”

“What’s up, big brother?” Victoria asked. “You left the party early. Did you have a good time?”

“I think I have stumbled upon a creature of the night,” Edmund said without preamble. “I should have guessed that if fae lived on Avalon, there could be more sinister monsters as well.”

“There are rumors that one of our ancestors was a vampire,” Victoria said. “I guess it doesn’t shock me. There’s a lot about Avalonian magic that we don’t understand. Like, almost all of it.”

“It’s true,” Edmund mused. “There have been so many secrets for so long. We understand so little, even about ourselves, much less anything else magical here. It doesn’t have to be this way. I want to help bring enlightenment to our home.”

“I’m sure you can do it,” Victoria said. “Dark magical things are right up your alley.”

Edmund no longer felt sick. He felt energized. He hurried up to his room to begin sorting through old tomes of magical lore.”

There was a lot to find.

———-

I’m happy to kick January on the ass on the way out. I’ve played a lot ahead at this point, but I have had absolutely no inspiration to write. It feels like a victory to get something out! We’ll see if I can keep it up.

Marisela Flynn is Sean Flynn’s daughter from before I remembered to turn off fertility for him and Forest. She’s not Forest’s daughter. She and Edmund not only have heart-farts, they seem to have a lot of autonomous chemistry. I don’t know what her traits are.

Edmund is still sort of casually dating Joy Reacher. The threads are not resolved by current gameplay, so we’ll have to see how they all play out.