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A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds
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A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.0 Gathering Clouds

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The start of generation two's control of the house and the birth of generation three.

The start of generation two's control of the house and the birth of generation three.

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  • 1. Last time in A Corporate Conspiracy… Melinda, Kellie and George McCarthy had all completed their college requirement and moved back to their homes leaving Laurel and Darwin still at Sim State. Darwin had two very important chance encounters. One with a witch outside the campus nightclub ‘Hellion’ and the other with an angel whose name he didn’t even get before she walked off. Marie Grey, head of SFO Corporation, hired a mysterious person to follow Darwin as well as ‘liquidate the board’ as she put it. Now… George looked at Melinda and thought, I’m getting married. Married! Mel looked around at the assembled friends and family and thought, Everyone just sit down! It’s not that hard people!
  • 2. In the guests defense, Mel had chosen to use the existing sofa in the family room to seat the guests and there wasn’t enough room for everyone to sit down. There was still plenty of room for everyone else to stand and watch the short exchange of vows and rings. “We might as well get started George. I don’t think they are going pay attention anyway.” “I could always drag in some chairs in from the dining room.” “No it’s fine.”
  • 3. The couple exchanged their simple vows and sealed the deal with gold wedding bands. For both George and Mel this was really just a formality. They both had known from the start that they would be spending the rest of their lives together.
  • 4. “Why was everyone staring at you mother during the ceremony?” “Mom’s not a great beauty or anything but she really attracts the attention of other men. It’s caused some trouble between Mom and Dad in the past. Here, have some cake before Darwin comes out and devours it all.”
  • 5. “MMMrgh!” Mel laughed as George struggled to swallow the huge piece of cake she shoved into his mouth. “Welcome to the family.” Once he had wiped away all the frosting George smiled, “I’ll get you back for that later you know.” “I’m sure you will.”
  • 6. Family and old friends gathered around the table to enjoy each others company and catch up on things that had happened since the last time they saw one another.
  • 7. “I didn't know you knew how to slow dance George.” He spun her in a circle and grinned, “I’m afraid there is still a lot you don’t know about me Missus James.” “Oh? Like what?” “How about… I hate it when people talk about their aches and pains and little Sally’s chickenpox scars.” “Oh don’t even get me started. I hate it when people do that too.” “You do?” Mel pulled him closer, “Yes I do.”
  • 8. Stanley took the opportunity to dance with Catalina in the living room. “So. One down, three more to go. How’s it feel Missus James?” “I’m a little depressed by it actually. They all grew up way too fast.” “Remember when we decided we where only having two? That was a long time ago.” “Not to me. It feels like yesterday and we some how ended up with four.” “That is not entirely my fault you know.”
  • 9. “Tomorrow is my birthday. We are having another party, right?” He spun Cat in a circle and pulled her back close to him. “If that’s what you want Nerd. We can invite Jason and Lori as well as the kids. I’m sure they would like to attend. Mel looks so happy. I’m glad George was able to accept the scholarship and go through school with her.” Stanley wrapped his arms around Cat and kissed her neck, “Now comes the hard part. The Corporation expects great things from him. I hope he is up to it.”
  • 10. The following day after cleaning up all the party requirements for the wedding, Cat joined Stanley in the very same bathroom he had died in so many years ago. She assessed her appearance in the mirror before bringing up something that was on her mind. “Do you think that you and George will be able to handle working together at the lab? I mean, the two have you have never really been close.”
  • 11. Stanley thought carefully about his answer. “I’m sure we will be able to work it out. Besides what better way to get to know your son-in-law than by going to work with him everyday. It may not be a big issue anyway. I’m getting close to retirement age and Lori will be taking over a lot of my duties now.” “Are you going to retire? I thought you loved going to work.” “I do.” Where does the time go? “It’s hard to believe that she and Jason are older than me. Why do you suppose that so many sims choose to extend their lives with elixir. It seems to me that it causes nothing but problems.“
  • 12. “I suppose it’s because so many of them are afraid of dying. It’s difficult to accept something you know nothing about. The whole town is filled with sims who choose to live longer than their natural life spans.” “Do you have any regrets about getting older Kitty Cat?” “No. It’s the way things are supposed to be.” She closed the medicine cabinet after replacing the moisturizer on the shelf. “What about you?”
  • 13. “Oh I’m pretty sure I moved beyond being afraid of the after life a long time ago. It’s time for me to play with my grandchildren and just relax. No one can say I haven’t earned it.” “That’s very true. Hurry up and finish your bath. Your guests will be here any minute.” Cat left Stanley soaking in the tub and set up the cake she had baked earlier.
  • 14. The number of candles required did make it a bit of a fire hazard. “Hurry up and blow those out Stanley or the frosting will be ruined by the wax.”
  • 15. Darwin came in just in time to hear the ‘ruin the frosting’ part. “Hurry up dad! Wax doesn’t taste good!” Stanley stood there watching his family and friends cheer him on. His birthday was a long time in coming and he was going to savior the moment. Frosting be damned!
  • 16. Finally he gave in and blew out the candles. Time and tide wait for no man and Stanley was more than ready to be old. Granted his fashion sense had not improved but overall everyone agreed he had aged very, very well. If anyone had ever told Stanley when he left for college that he would get to live almost two adult life spans he would have called them liars. The icy cold touch of the Reaper’s hand can affect a sim in many ways and for him it meant that while Stanley was just becoming a senior, his wife was in her mid seventies. “Oh! Doctor James what are you wearing?!” “You don’t like it?” “Well, it’s different.”
  • 17. While the party raged down stairs, Mel and George had snuck up to their room for a little private time. Because Mel had found work with the Pleasant View Times right away they had been unable to plan a honeymoon. This was as close as they were going to get for now.
  • 18. They snuggled together afterwards and Mel couldn’t help but ask, “So, Mister James. How does it feel to be part of a big family?” “Starting the reporter shtick already?” “Just answer the question.” “It’s a little weird living in a house with people I barely know. I suppose that will change with time.” She smiled and kissed him on the temple. “My mother is so nice she makes friends by osmosis. And my dad… Well, let’s just say that you are guaranteed to never meet someone else anything like him. We have some special rules in the house and I’m sure you’ve noticed all the sinks and alarms.” “I always did think that it was a little strange to have a burglar alarm in every room.” “It’s just my father’s way of keeping us safe. Eventually you will just learn to ignore them.”
  • 19. Alarms and sinks can be easily ignored. But multiple episodes of vomiting include one right as Mel stepped out of the car from work, could not. The next generation of James children was on it’s way. Over at Sim State University…
  • 20. Other things that couldn’t be ignored were also being discussed. “So Darwin have you learned anything else about the tree?” Darwin glowered at him, “You’re kidding right? You knew when you gave me this thing that it never shuts up. All she does is chatter about the weather or that she prefers bottled water over tap.” “So… You have begun to understand what she says. Good.” Jason smiled at Darwin’s sour face. “I’m fortunate that I can only understand a little bit of what she says. I’m sure it’s worse for you given the nature of your ability. Have you tried talking back to her?” “No. I thought about it but I really didn’t know where to begin. The sounds she makes I can’t replicate. Do spirits understand human languages?”
  • 21. “Some do. I know for a fact this one does. Most spirits have no reason to even try to understand sims. We are foreign to them or insignificant. I can’t really imagine that a spirit that resides within the rock of a mountain cares much about the insects that walk on it’s back.” Jason paused to allow that concept to sink in. “We really aren’t as important as we think we are. Is that what you mean?” “Sims are quite important. Some more than others. That being said, it is always important to remember that there is always something greater than yourself at work in the universe. I’m curious as to why you think the tree is a she.”
  • 22. Darwin smiled a little, “Please don’t tell her this, but the way this tree babbles on kind of reminds me of my sister Laurel.” Jason laughed. “I just get the impression that it’s a girl. I know that in reality the tree is both a he and a she but the voice just says female.” “Spirits are not governed by the same biological rules as you and I, so no spirit is male or female. They may give you the sense of a gender but that’s it.” “If there are no genders in the spirit world, how do they reproduce?” “Where there is a need, they exist.” “I don’t understand.”
  • 23. “To be honest, it’s pretty complex and I only know a little bit.” Jason searched his mind for a simple example. “At this point it should seem logical to you that things, both living and non, have spirits. But what if I told you that there are things like revenge spirits or love spirits. They have lots of different names depending on the sim culture that creates them.” “Are you saying that sims create spirits? But we don’t create trees or rocks. That doesn’t make any sense.” Jason nodded. “Believe me. I understand your confusion. Give me a vampire or a werewolf to investigate and I can tell you almost anything you want to know. But, when it comes to understanding the forces behind those beings… things get very murky. My mentor told me that most sims do not have the capacity to fully understand the spirit world. Elves and other fae creatures are the ones most in tune with the umbral realm and those who reside there. Only they can come close to really understanding when and how spirits come into being.” “That’s not really helpful.”
  • 24. “I know. Give it some time. Learn what you can from the spirits around you and from me. Maybe some day you can find an elf who can fill in the blanks.” He could see the disappointment on Darwin’s face. “A slight change of subject. Have you heard from Trista?” “The witch? No. I really think she didn’t like me.” Jason smiled, “It’s not her place to like you. She really is a nice person but she has to be selective in who she trains. It’s not worth her time to start to train someone who will ignore their studies or just decide one day that being a witch isn’t for them.” “I think she didn’t like the fact that I’m so friendly to everyone.” “You get that from your…” Jason paused to think back upon the convoluted circumstances that led up to Darwin’s conception. “I’m not sure who you get your niceness from but your outgoing manner you inherited from your dad. It’s not wrong to be friendly but you do need to be careful. Not everyone is as nice as you.”
  • 25. Darwin’s thoughts wandered back to the radiant creature he had met during Melinda and Kellie’s graduation party. He hadn’t even learned her name that day and he kept hoping that she would walk back by. “How do you know if someone isn’t what they seem to be?”
  • 26. “This is about the blonde girl isn’t it?” “How do you know that?” “I’m a seer. Remember?” He couldn’t help but poke fun, “You still don’t even know her name.” “That’s not really funny. I can’t stop thinking about her.” “I know. I’ve seen.” “Dude! That’s gross!” “That is my name. I can’t see that she’s any danger to you. Find out her name. Ask her on a date. I can’t guarantee that she won’t tear you up emotionally but she most certainly won’t stick a knife in between your shoulder blades.” “That’s always good to know.”
  • 27. The next morning found Darwin feeling a little depressed which was rare for him. Outside the window a spring rain was falling and the gray skies just added to the gloom. The little tree hummed her tune about the rain and how she wished she could be outside to enjoy it. “Fine. I’ll take you outside. I think it’s warm enough now.” He stood and stretched. “Man! I should have asked her for her name. I’m such an idiot.” Cassidy “What?” He looked at the tree in shock, “What did you say?” Cassidy He distinctly heard the name Cassidy. “How do you know that?” The tree didn’t answer but babbled louder about how she wanted to go outside before the rain let up.
  • 28. For Laurel, the start of her senior year was quiet. She got up in the mornings, cooked breakfast which she loved to do, and watched her little brother inhale it. A few years ago she wouldn’t have even considered cooking for him but after discovering that being popular did nothing for you when you were different from everyone else, she had come to value Darwin a whole lot more. “Great eggs Sis. As always.” He shoveled an overloaded fork into his mouth. “How can you tell? You hardly taste them when you eat that fast.” She glanced at the bonsai tree which sat dripping on the table. “Why is your tree all wet?” “She wanted to go outside.” The last word was partially obscured by the chewing of food. Laurel sat and looked at the tree for a while before starting to eat. She was skeptical, “You really can hear what it is saying?” Darwin nodded and finished swallowing the last of his omelet. “Jason once told me that some vampires can too. Did you, you know, hear anything while you were one?”
  • 29. “No. At least I don’t think so. I was only a vampire for three days. Maybe it takes longer than that. You could always ask the vampire lady who lives down the street from our house. She’s been one for a really long time. Like three or four generations or something.” She watched his face for a while. She wasn’t as close to Darwin as Kellie, but she could tell that there was most certainly something bothering him. “What’s wrong?” Darwin looked up from his empty plate. “I met a girl. She’s the most beautiful creature in the world.” “That’s great!” “I didn’t get her name.” “Oh. Well, I know a lot of students on campus. Tell me what she looks like. Maybe I know her.” “She has long golden hair that she keeps pulled back from her face and pale sapphire eyes and skin that almost glows. She wears a white rain coat with polka dots on it.”
  • 30. Laurel giggled at his lovelorn description. “I think you mean Cassidy Pederson though I’m not sure she quite lives up to your enhanced vision of her. I may know where she lives.” “Cassidy Pederson… Are you sure?” How could the plant possibly have known her name? “No, I can’t be sure until you meet her. Tell you what. I’ll arrange a blind date for the two of you. If it’s not her, you can meet someone new who is very pretty and if it is… Well, you can thank me by taking the bathroom cleaning duties for the next two weeks.” “Two weeks!” He slumped back in his chair, “I don’t think it’s worth it.” “Two weeks of scrubbing toilets for true love. Seems like a fair deal to me.” Darwin pushed his empty plate around on the table. What if it is her?
  • 31. Esther lined up her shot carefully. “So did he take the deal?” Laurel smiled, “He whined about it but yeah.” Esther swung the ball back at let it go down the lain for a perfect strike. “Yes! I win again. Pay up.”
  • 32. Laurel stood and hugged Esther. “I love to but You Know Who is here.
  • 33. “And I really don’t feel like getting pounded with a purse full of concrete and kitting needles just for kissing my girl friend.” “Awe, she’s not so bad. I feel sorry for her sometimes. She’s always alone.” “With good reason. I thought my dad was weird but at least he doesn’t talk to himself.”
  • 34. “She can’t complain about us dancing together. Come on.” Esther took her hand and pulled her under the lights. “Have you thought about what you want to do after graduation?” Laurel frowned, “Not really. I suppose that I would like to have a big family. Lots of grandkids. Beyond that…” she shrugged. “And who are you going to have all those kids with? Are you hiding a boyfriend somewhere I don’t know about.” Esther looked mad and Laurel jumped quickly to correct the issue. “Absolutely not! I was thinking about adopting.” “Oh. Don’t I look silly.” Laurel could see that Crumplebottom was busy chastising someone by the photo booth and snuck a quick kiss. “You wouldn’t be interested in having kids would you?” “Maybe.”
  • 35. Meanwhile… “Is this thing on? Can everyone hear me okay? Yes?
  • 36. Heidi stepped up behind G and whispered, “We’re all set.” G turned to face the small assembled crowd, “First of all, I wish to thank the members of the local press in attendance for joining us on such short notice. This emergency press conference has been called so that SFO Corporation can make a public announcement concerning this morning’s tragedy. Early this morning a private jetliner owned by SFO Corporation went down over the ocean near the coast of Twikki Island. The cause of the crash and the status of those on board is, as of yet, unknown. Among the twenty sims on board were six of the seven controlling board members of the corporation who were on their way to the island to attend leadership training courses being held there.”
  • 37. “We wish to offer our support and assistance to the families of those involved in this event. Our hopes are with the search and rescue teams already hard at work at the site of the crash and that any survivors will be located soon. In the interim, control of the company falls to the remaining board member and majority stock holder Marie Gray. Miss Gray and I have communicated several times since we were informed of the event and she wishes to inform the employees of the company that there will be no changes in the foreseeable future. We will not be answering any questions at this time but please reassure your viewers and readers that SFO Corporation is cooperating fully with the investigation and when we are allowed to do so by the FAA, we will release further information concerning this event. Thank you ladies and gentlemen.”
  • 38. “That went fairly well considering. I don’t suppose we will be kept in the loop on the progress of the search until they actually find something definitive. What an awful accident. I wonder what went wrong with the plane. Do you think there any chance of them finding someone alive?”
  • 39. G stared at her incredulously, “When did you get so gullible? This wasn’t an accident. The one person who stood to gain the most from the entire board vanishing is safe and sound in Strangetown and you don’t feel just a little suspicious about it?” “I agree the timing looks bad but we have no evidence that Miss Gray was in anyway involved. I think you are jumping to some very unsupported conclusions.” “It’s called a gut feeling Heidi and I’ve been having bad ones about her for quite some time now. Her holier than thou attitude and the way she all the sudden decided that Pleasant View was the place to set up her new household just after Darwin arrived is way too suspicious. She is up to something big. I can feel it.”
  • 40. “I and the rest of the world don’t care what your gut says. You used to be a cop. You know you need facts, evidence, to make those kind of accusations stick. I really think this more about the fact that she intimidates you and you don’t like being dominated by anything wearing a skirt.” “Are you calling me sexist?” “If the shoe fits.”
  • 41. “I really resent that. I love women. All women. I don’t care if they scrub sinks or run for office. I am not sexist.” He shook his head, “This woman is not what she seems and my feelings have nothing to do with her position.” Heidi removed her glasses and rubbed her eyes, “I’m sorry. That was really inappropriate. I’ve been awake since 3am and the thought of all these people dying…” “I understand but please, never mistake my flirting for disrespect.” “What is Miss Gray doing in Strangetown anyway?” “As she put it, ‘checking up on things’. I suspect it has something to do with the DNA samples we sent out.”
  • 42. Meanwhile high on a hill in Strangetown… Voice on the radio: It’s a cool 78 degrees here in Strangetown right now and the weather man tells Dave-O that there is a high chance of hail this afternoon followed by intense heat lightning. So you best stay inside and turn up the tunes because it’s going to be one wild afternoon!
  • 43. Dave-O’s taking you kiddies on a little trip back to the eighties with our next song. Back to 1989 when the band Aerosmith released their platinum album titled ‘Pump’. Here’s ‘Janie’s Got a Gun’…
  • 44. Dum, dum, dum, honey what have you done? Dum, dum, dum, it’s the sound of my gun. Dum, dum, dum, honey what have you done? Dum, dum, dum, it’s the sound.
  • 45. Janie’s got a gun. Janie’s got a gun. Her whole worlds come undone. From looking straight at the sun. What did her daddy do? What did he put you through?
  • 46. They say when Janie was arrested they found him underneath a train. But man, he had it comin’. Now that Janie’s got a gun She ain’t never gonna be the same.
  • 47. Janie’s got a gun. Janie’s got a gun. Her dog day has just begun. Now everybody is on the run. Tell me now it’s untrue. What did her daddy do?
  • 48. “The response to the growth hormones has proceeded as predicted with subject Alpha. The specimen is now ready for memory engrain algorithms.” He jacked a little bitty baby. The man has got to be insane.
  • 49. They say the spell that he was under the lightning and the Thunder. Knew that someone had to stop the rain. “When do we expect our ‘guest’?”
  • 50. “Any time now. I’m sure she will want to observe the memory implantation process.” Run away, run away from the pain yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Run away from the pain yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Run away, run away, run, run away.
  • 51. Janie’s got a gun. Janie’s got a gun. Janie’s got a gun. Everybody is on the run.
  • 52. “Where is Nervous? Normally, he’s downstairs playing video games.” “I left him upstairs reading a cooking text as the simpleton seems incapable of even preparing cereal without burning it.” Janie’s got a gun. Her dog day has just begun.
  • 53. Now everybody is on the run Because Janie’s got a gun.
  • 54. Janie’s got a gun. Her dog day has just begun. Bang! “Ahh! Nervous?!” Bang!
  • 55. Now everybody is on the run. Janie’s got a gun. Dj’s voice: All right! Let’s follow up that hit with another Aerosmith classic from 1987 called ‘Permanent Vacation’. I got a letter from a friend Click
  • 56. “Nervous! Loki help me!” Bang!
  • 57. “What have you done!” Loki stepped foreword as if to rush to Circe’s side. In a low growling voice, “Stand still.”
  • 58. Outside the hidden lab the sounds of the gunfire had been clear over the now turned off radio. Marie rested her hand on the book she knew operated the opening mechanism and paused, straining to hear the muffled conversation through the false wall.
  • 59. “You’ve lost your mind! Let me help her before she dies.” “Are you really surprised and no.” Nervous turned and fired another shot into her writhing torso. Circe stopped moving as a critical flow of blood had been severed. “What do you want from me? I suppose you want me to beg for my life.”
  • 60. “No begging needed. There is no other option for you except death.” “Now be reasonable! We took you in from that awful orphanage. We fed and clothed you. You’d be living on the streets without us. Things haven’t gone too far. We can fix this Nervous. Put the gun down.” “You’re an asshole!” Bang!
  • 61. Loki gasped in pain has the bullet entered his neck. No longer able to talk or breath he soon collapsed. Nervous stood over him calmly watching the show.
  • 62. Loki’s last moments passed as if the time/space continuum had entered slow motion.
  • 63. Marie pulled the lever and entered the lab quietly. She calmly witnessed Loki’s last gurgling gasps at life. Circe had already passed away. Her keen eyes quickly sized up the scene.
  • 64. The young man responsible for all the carnage quietly walked to the other side of the lab and put the gun on the floor. He just stood there staring at it like it was alien to him.
  • 65. The emotion of what he had done soon over swept him and Nervous began to sob. Ah jeez! He’s crying. Marie studied the grizzly scene deciding what needed to be done to recover her research without any suspicion falling on her. Of course the easy way would be to call the police and convince them that Alpha and the computer files concerning him were corporate property and would need to be removed immediately for security reasons. She could do that. Or… She could turn this event into an opportunity. Nervous had obviously reached a breaking point and was now in a very vulnerable state. He could be useful later on. Hmm… Decisions, decisions.
  • 66. “I can’t help you if you don’t stop crying. I don’t like whiners. If you are a whiner, I’m just going to call the police and turn you in.” Nervous turned and faced the sudden voice behind him. “Miss Gray?” He glanced around the room, looking for some kind of excuse. Finding none he simply said, “They had to die.” “Well, your timing was incredibly poor. I came here to collect my little project and you’ve gone and killed the two people who know anything about it. What an I going to do now?” Nervous perked up at the idea of her needing help, “I know all the passwords and where they kept the back up files. If I get them for you will you let me go? I really don’t want to go to jail.” “But you’re a murderer Nervous. It’s where you belong.” “Please! Please help me. I know you can.” Marie’s eyes narrowed as she smiled. “Oh, all right. But you have to do exactly as I say from now on.”
  • 67. “Thank you! I promise I will listen to everything you say. You’re not like they were. You don’t know what they did to me.”
  • 68. “Now, now. Everything will be fine. The bad, unnecessary scientists are all gone now. They can’t hurt you any more.” “I feel so numb. It all just sort of happened.” “Everyone has a little numbness after their first homicide. It will pass.” This couldn’t have worked out better if I had planned it.
  • 69. “Now that the mushy hugging stuff is all over I need you to go get cleaned up. Take a shower and change your clothes. Quickly pack your teddy bear and your undies. When you are done with that come back in here and help me get my data and Alpha out of the tank. It’s a good thing that Loki’s house is so far away from everyone else. Less chance of anyone hearing the gunfire.” “What about the gun. And the bodies?” “We’ll leave them where they are.”
  • 70. “But…My fingerprints and my bloody clothes. Everybody in town knows me. If I just up and disappear they will know it was me.” “I’m counting on that.”
  • 71. “You’re what?! I thought you were going to help me. I’m not going to jail!” Nervous bared his teeth and clinched his fists. What was one more murder after what he had already done.
  • 72. “Whoa! Take it easy tiger. I have a plan.”
  • 73. “You do?” “Yes. The one thing you should remember about me is that I always have a plan. Yes, They will suspect it was you that did this. Yes, they will be looking for you. But they can’t find what doesn’t exist anymore. A new face, some new clothes, some alterations to your fingerprints via surgery and Nervous Subject will be no more. A new identity for a new start.” Nervous sensed that there was a catch to this plan, “And what does all this cost me?” “I always have a need for effective minions. You’ve demonstrated that you’re not afraid to take a life. With a little training from the right people you can become very useful.” “For how long?” “Till you die. But in the mean time you will live a comfortable and prosperous life. You’ll want for nothing. Money, women or men if you prefer, cars. Anything you want.”
  • 74. Nervous nodded and started for the exit to the lab. He stopped a few steps away, “What if I change my mind?” “Then I kill you myself and move on. Remember, I always have a plan.” Back at Sim State University where things were much less disturbing…
  • 75. Darwin arrived at Red’s Diner right on time. Laurel had only given him the time and location. “The rest is up to you. If your ‘angel’ is there you should spot her right away. If not, ask the hostess for your reservation and she will steer you in the right direction. If I have the wrong girl then be polite, buy a nice dinner and make friends.” Fortunately for him, Laurel’s contact list was right on target and he found her standing near the podium waiting nervously. He approached slowly and when she finally noticed him, her face erupted in a smile. “You must be Cassidy.” “And you’re Darwin.” He stood there staring at her for what seemed like an eternity. “Ahh… Thanks for agreeing to go on a blind date with me. I know it’s kind of awkward.” “Oh, no it’s fine. Your sister explained to me that you really wanted to take me out and… I really liked the idea too.” She added the last part shyly.
  • 76. They got the hostess’s attention and she seated them in a booth. A quick perusal of the menu and they both decided on ordering a hamburger. The next few minutes were filled with an awkward silence and Darwin picked up his water glass looking for any kind of conversation topic that didn’t sound weird. Finally it was Cassidy that broke the ice. “So what are you studying? I’m taking economics.” “Umm, biology” He was never this nervous around people. What was wrong with him. “Are you going into the natural science field when you graduate?” “No. I want to join the SCIA so I’m studying forensics and stuff.” Cassidy looked nervously at her menu, “That sounds fun.” “Yeah. So… economics huh? That’s…” “Boring. I know. It was my father’s idea.”
  • 77. “He said ‘Cass you can’t rely on any man giving you everything you need. I want you to be an independent woman with options’.” She looked down at the table shyly. “I really don’t know what I’m going to do with it.” Darwin nodded, “My dad’s not really keen on me joining up after school.” He pressed down on his left leg which was twitching nervously. “You live in the dorm next to the coffee house?” “Yes.” “That must be fun.” “If you call terrible food and a leaking roof fun. I was hoping to get assigned to that new dorm they built but the wait list was huge. You and your sisters rented a house instead. I wish I had thought of that.” “Our dad wouldn’t let us live in the dorms. ‘they’re not safe. Who knows what kind of people live there’. No offence.” The waitress finally delivered their food.
  • 78. They sat in silence and ate for quite a while. Then Cassidy set down her food and sighed. “Why are we having such a hard time talking to each other?” Darwin kept his eyes straight ahead and focused on his food. “I guess partly because I’m really afraid that I will say the wrong thing and you won’t want to see me again.” She looked down and smiled, “I like you too.” He looked up sharply, “You do?” “Yes. I do.”
  • 79. She likes me! “I felt really bad when I didn’t get your name the day we first met. I really wanted to call you and ask you out then. Go figure my sister knows almost everyone on campus. I should have asked her in the first place.” “I didn’t want to intrude in your family's party. I guess I should have introduced myself or I knew where you lived, I could have called…” They looked at each other and laughed. The tension was finally broken and they spent the rest of their time eating sharing family stories and in general getting to know each other.
  • 80. Their meal being finished, Cassidy excused herself to use the rest room and Darwin waited patiently nearby. When she came out he playfully began tickling her. “Agh! Hahaha Stop! Stop! I can’t breathe.” He relented and she gasped for breath holding her ribs. “What do you say to finding someplace with a proper dance floor?” “Only if you promise to stop tickling me.” He threw his hand up in the air, “Scout’s honor.” “I didn’t know you were in the scouts.”
  • 81. The Church of the Poisoned Mind was right up the street and seemed a good choice as the DJ was playing some excellent dance music. Darwin and Cassidy found a spot on the floor. They both found it hard to take their eyes off of one another.
  • 82. The two of them danced the night away. Stopping to talk and flirt from time to time.
  • 83. Their first date was a huge success and Darwin wasn’t so innocent as to not invite Cassidy back to his place for the rest of the evening. Nice yes. Innocent? Not at all.
  • 84. Darwin was officially in love with his angel.
  • 85. Darwin spent most of the next day playing at the pool and in general goofing off. He did come to the pool for one other more devious reason however. Recalling that he had pressed Mel about marrying the first guy she ever dated, it seemed logical to look around just a little bit to see if someone else caught his eye and the pool seemed like a good place. He looked outside by the pools. He looked inside the hot tub room. He looked in the diner. He looked in the coffee nook. The place was crawling with girls but not one of them caught his eye like Cassidy did. Was it possible that he could also in up with the first person he ever fell in love with? Kellie had three and Laurel had two different ladies she spent time with. Though Esther was her favorite. In the end, it occurred to him that something's were simply meant to be and it was best to not second guess nature.
  • 86. The next morning dawned crisp and cool and Darwin found himself with a very unexpected visitor.
  • 87. “Miss Shaw? Wow! I really never expected to see you again. You didn’t seem to like me very much.” “Nonsense my boy. I like almost everybody but it was very important that you learn to be more cautious about those around you. Your sweet nature is charming but not everyone can be trusted.” “So why are you here?” “Your friend tells me that you have begun to understand the language of the spirits, is this true?”
  • 88. Darwin nodded, “The bonsai tree that Jason gave me asks to be put outside and even told me the name of my girlfriend.” “Have any other spirits been speaking with you?” “To be honest, I’ve been a little busy with classes. My junior year is finishing up soon and my class load has been kind of heavy.” “Understandable and acceptable. Any kind of learning is important learning as long as you put it to good use. This girlfriend you mentioned, is it a serious relationship? I hope you’re not busy chasing down as many skirts as you can.” “No. In fact I think that she’s The One.” “Excellent! There is nothing better than true love to keep someone strong.”
  • 89. The sun set as they stood there looking at one another. … “So, why are you here again?” “I have decided that you are suitable material for my training. You gift of spirit speech will serve you well in your studies and Jason is quite certain that you will need the trained ability of magic in the near future.” “That’s great.” Inside the house Darwin could hear the phone ringing. “Please excuse me for a moment. It’s probably my dad.”
  • 90. The witch quickly pulled out her wand as Darwin turned to walk into the house, “Ab ovo usque mala. Alea iacta est!* Let a new beacon of light be born!” The air around her shimmered with the magic of the spell she cast. *Translation: Ab ovo usque ad mala- From the beginning to the end (literally- From the egg to the apples); Alea iacta est- The die is cast
  • 91. “Hey! What the heck!” His body exploded with light unlike anything he had ever seen before. “Ahh! It tickles!”
  • 92. And in a mere matter of a few seconds the spell was done and Darwin was a warlock. As the good witch climbed onto her broom she called over her shoulder. “I left you some presents inside your house. Use them and study hard.” He looked up and down at the gaudy robes and hat he was now wearing. As if I’m not weird enough! “Do I have to wear the hat?” “No. But I do expect you to wear the robes when you come to visit me at my house. Farewell Darwin.” With that she flew away into the night with a gleeful laugh.
  • 93. After a quick change of clothes Darwin examined the book and cauldron which had appeared in the family room of the house. “Hmm… This seems fairly straight forward. Spell components that I can make. A wand to act as a focus and verbal keys to set the spells off. The hard part is going to be keeping the concentration needed for the spell.” He spent the better part of the night reading and making his first reagents.
  • 94. Back in Pleasant View… Mel had been forced into maternity leave after only two days of work at the paper. It was a little frustrating for her as motherhood was not high on her list of current priorities. There was a day when it was. But that was then and this is now. George, of course was ecstatic over the impending birth. “Isn’t wonderful? A tiny little life growing right inside there. I wonder who he will look like more, you or me?” “Well given what genes tend to be dominate, I’d guess my black hair and your brown eyes. And who says it’s going to be a boy. So far this family statistically favors girls.” “I can dream can’t I? Do you think you are up to attending your sister’s graduation party? It’s a long drive.” “As long as they have food, which knowing Laurel, they will…”
  • 95. “I’m good.” “So that’s when the Cow decided to bean him with a water balloon. Darwin said the he got mad and cast a spell on the cow to make him fat but you can’t tell with the costume on.”
  • 96. “I’m not certain that your brother should be using his magic so casually. It’s bound to make someone angry.”
  • 97. “Yeah, well, it’s a cow mascot Mom. They don’t really have feelings.” “But still. It reflects poorly on his character.” “You should probably tell him that instead of me.” Stanley walked into the kitchen behind them, “Where is your brother?” “At class Dad. He should be back before the party is over.”
  • 98. As the party grew to a close Laurel changed out of her graduation robes and prepared to move in to a small townhouse right next door to Kellie and Ted. Esther would be joining her once her finals were complete.
  • 99. That left Darwin all on his own in the house. It was only then that the value of his super neat sisters truly came into view. “Yar! Captain, we seemed to have taken on some barnacles and vegetation on our hull. Orders? Keep rowing men! We should be free of the mess soon enough!”
  • 100. The once pristine toilet suffered horribly and if Darwin had been paying any kind of attention he would have heard it screaming.
  • 101. The only ones not suffering from the lack of cleaning was the flies who were fat and well fed.
  • 102. And where was Darwin to be found if he wasn’t piloting the tub? Right in front of his cauldron learning how to bottle moonbeams or painlessly collect dragon scales. “Hmm? Wait! They have a spell that summons something to clean for you? Sweet! I wonder if it cooks too.”
  • 103. Darwin’s magical studies did occasionally have to be put on hold in order to maintain a passing score in his classes. His professors didn’t want excuses on why the assignments weren’t done, they just wanted the assignments.
  • 104. Meanwhile, back in Pleasant View… “Oh my…. George! Wake up!” George bolted up out of a dead sleep. ‘Huh? I’m up. I’m up.” The contractions strengthened and Mel couldn’t help but cry out in pain. “Go get my mother! Hurry!” George rushed across the hall and found his in-laws in the process of heading for the door. “I think it’s time.”
  • 105. Catalina arrived in time to welcome her first grandchild into the world. Mel cuddled her close and let her mother look the child over. “Everything seems to be in the right place. How are you feeling?” “Tired but okay.” George strained to see his first child over Cat’s shoulder. “So he’s okay. Can I hold him?” Mel smiled, “I should have made a bet with you. She is just fine. You have a daughter.”
  • 106. “A girl?” He looked closely and the tiny brown eyed infant that his wife was rocking. “You were right about the genetics too. She’s beautiful. What are we going to name her?” “I like Kira Gail.” George wiggled his fingers at the tiny sim. “Kira it is. Can I hold her now?” Mel handed the child over happily. “Absolutely. In fact, if I get back to bed now, I can get enough rest to head back to work in the morning.” “So soon? Don’t you want to spend some time with her first?” “Of course I do but I’m so close to a promotion right now and I don’t want to lose that momentum. Dad is home all but two nights a week now and Mom is home when he’s not. There will always be someone to take care of her when we can’t. She’ll be fine.”
  • 107. George brought Kira downstairs for a bottle and handed her off to Stanley before heading back to bed himself. Stanley hugged and kissed the tiny infant. “She’s perfect.” Cat nodded in agreement, “I suspect she’s going to look a lot like her father though.” “Our first grandchild. I can’t wait to teach all the things you need to know little girl.” Time passes strangely in Pleasant View…
  • 108. And soon enough the new uncle in the family was due to graduate from college and start moving on with his life. It’s right about then when things usually come to a screeching halt. “What do you mean it’s not safe for me to move out? I graduate today! I have to leave.” Jason could understand Darwin’s frustration, “I didn’t say you can’t move off the campus. I said that it’s not safe for you to live on your own.” “Cassidy and I…”
  • 109. “That’s not what I mean. For a long while now, something has been suppressing my ability to see certain things. I’m now very certain that there is more than one thing doing this. I can’t really explain because I don’t fully understand it myself. What I do know is that something has been watching you very, very closely. I don’t know who or why. At the same time I’m having to watch you I am also keeping an eye on your dad and a few others in town. It’s becoming a little hard to handle. I want, no. I need you to seriously consider moving back home with Stanley and Catalina. It will make things easier on me.” “But we wanted to get married and have kids and jobs. Mel and George aren’t going to want a whole other family underfoot. It’s not fair.” “I hate to say this kid, but the world’s not fair. I won’t be able to help you if you spread out all over town. Please, just think about it.”
  • 110. Jason’s request put a damper on Darwin’s mood. He and Cassidy hadn’t made any solid plans but he knew he wanted to ask her to marry him. She deserves to have a home and a family of her own just as much as he does.
  • 111. The party drew to a close and Darwin was now a fully fledged adult. The cab pulled up outside and he said goodbye to his guests and grabbed his bags to head back to Pleasant View. Despite the frustration, Darwin knew that Jason was right. He would be safer at home. How he was going to explain this to Cassidy was what was bothering him now.
  • 112. Next time in A Corporate Conspiracy… “Ugh! What’s that smell? Smells like burnt bacon. And why do I feel dizzy?”  Click
  • 113. Real me scoops out enough litter boxes for five people, so why is it that the man maid refuses to clean my simulated one? I really need to fire him. Anyway… Finally I get to chapter two and the start of my heir’s chance to start her family and my update has more Darwin than Mel. To be honest the main household has been pretty quiet except for the pending birth of generation three.
  • 114. So, first on the real legacy front. 25 bottles of elixir = 1 point. I think I’m up to about 9.25 points as of the posting. Yep. I’m keeping track.
  • 115. Darwin graduated with a 3.7 GPA from Sim State and as you read will be moving back to the main lot. For story reasons this is for his protection. For legacy reasons, he has to be living there for the black sheep points to count. I don’t think him becoming a warlock at college really matters as it’s so easy to do but the vamping, plantsimming and eventual zombifing do. “Dad? That really hurts.” Oh and on a somewhat disgusting note. Darwin has three bolts of attraction for Catalina. I know she’s not his real mother but still… Eww!
  • 116. A little potato chip munching Jason for you.
  • 117. Kellie and Ted Thompson moved into a little townhouse on the other side of town. Obviously Ted has some secret desire to become a pirate or my game is really digging deep into the clothes catalog. Right after this Stanley grew up to elder in the multicolored bodysuit. I’m still waiting for the gorilla suit to make an appearance.
  • 118. Ted is a family sim who wants to have 6 grandchildren which is not happening. I’m allowing them one child and that’s it. I don’t have any pictures but Laurel and Esther moved in next door to them and I may let them adopt one child as well. Maybe.
  • 119. Anyone else think it’s a bad idea to put these two together?
  • 120. The good witches can create meals out of thin air once they get up there a ways. I was curious to see what I would get when Darwin did this as he only has two cooking skill points. I was thinking sandwiches.
  • 121. But he gave me cheesecake! I write his character as a sweets/sugar loving sim and he goes and does this! It’s creepy how the game sometimes falls in line with outside stuff.
  • 122. And that’s all folks! Except for Jason showing off his geeky dance skills. Thank you for reading. I hope you liked it -Steph

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