A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.7 Changes Part Deux
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  • 1.  
  • 2. Previously on A Corporate Conspiracy… Darwin discovered that playing with supernatural fire frequently results in permanent burns and he managed in a course of a few days become a werewolf and a plant sim. His wife Cassidy experienced a side of Darwin she had never seen before and as a result became a vampire too. The family confirmed that Nervous Subject was definitely in town and on the hunt but Heidi was confident that armed with that evidence they could get an arrest warrant for Marie Gray for hiding him from the authorities. Kira began college life by making enemies with the Cow Mascot and meeting a man named Ryan. Now The moon. Tucked in a small crater where it couldn’t be easily spotted by an alert sim with a high powered telescope, sits a small outpost where the aliens are planning their invasion and the destruction of their enemies. They say that Fortune frequently smiles on the bold.
  • 3. Sometimes, ‘they’ are wrong. “ You summoned, I came. Let’s make this quick. I’m a very busy woman you know.
  • 4. High Commander Hoek detested having to work with a lesser being like a sim but as the leader of the mission to reclaim their ancestral homeland it was necessary. At least this sim was useful. “It is your place to come at our command sim. Something you seem yet to learn properly. Soon enough we will be your masters and you will learn proper obedience.”
  • 5. Why do they all make it so easy?
  • 6. Unimpressed by Marie’s smile the Commander continued, “We require an update on your progress with our army and our new General. How soon will we be ready to begin?”
  • 7. “ The cloning of the warriors has begun. One hundred thousand plus the many of your hybrid children already on the planet shall make up a quite formidable force. Assuming you can in fact control those hybrids as you have suggested.”
  • 8. “ All the descendants of our Poli-Techs are quite within our control. When the time is right they will have no choice but to join our effort. You need not worry about that.” To the High Commander’s left stood a female that Marie only knew as Sub Commander Seeva. Her true function within the hierarchy was still a bit of a mystery but she did seem to be the most level headed of the ones Marie hand dealt with over the years. Marie tilted her head, “You came to me wanting help in planning your little war. I won’t be held responsible when things go awry on your end. For me to plan properly I need to know all of the details, including how you plan on controlling the other hybrids. If your process interferes with any of mine this could be the shortest invasion ever.” Make them worry they will fail. High Commander Hoek stood and motioned for his associates to follow him. “We will confer on this.” “ Of course. Take your time.” The sarcasm wasn’t lost on the Commander and he scowled at her as they stepped away from the desk. Make them question their trust in me.
  • 9. The trio stepped out of ear shot of the odd sim with Captain Nilis jumping to speak first. “She does not need to know our processes. I and our controllers can take command of the clones once they are ready. She is useless to us after that.” “ We have made promises and arrangements with her. Until the High Council orders me otherwise we must abide by those promises Captain Nilis. Seeva, what risks would we take by releasing knowledge of the Signal?” Seeva looked thoughtfully out the window at the pockmarked surface of the moon, “She could sell it or try to subvert it for some other use but it is logical that she will need the information at some point to coordinate the invasion.” Hoek nodded thoughtfully, “This is truth. Must we release this information now?” “ Not having seen her equipment and processes in action, I can not fairly judge on this.”
  • 10. The group moved back across the room to speak with Marie again. She in the mean time had stood up to stretch her legs and look out at the lunar landscape. After all, it isn’t everyday that she got to travel to the moon. “ If you reveal your technology for your control modules for the clones to us we will ensure that there will be no conflict with our process to control the hybrids.” “ I don’t think so Commander. I’ve worked too hard on this process. Spent too much time. I’m not turning over decades of research and technology to anyone. You want your war? You tell me how the hybrid control system works.”
  • 11. Nilis could no longer hold his tongue, “Do you think that we are incapable without your assistance sim?!” So easy.
  • 12. “ Obviously you are or you wouldn’t have come to me for help in the first place.” She stared directly into Captain Nilis’s eyes. He might be in charge of security here on this outpost and he might be a great fighter but Marie had dealt with his type many times over the decades. Push the right buttons.
  • 13. Nilis glared back at her. The stare was a challenge and she knew it. Seeva interrupted the tense scene, “Captain Nilis, I do not think that arguing with her will solve this issue. Miss Gray is quite correct in stating that we require her assistance. She can move freely about on the planet and has resources we have never been able to acquire.” “ I do not like her! She is untrustworthy.” His hand clenched as he fought the urge to grab up the weapon on the desk and blast a hole right through the impudent woman standing before him.
  • 14. “ I’m not here to be liked! And I don’t really care what you think of me Captain since you don’t make the decisions around here. Why don’t you go play with your toys and let the adults talk!”
  • 15. “ Please. This is getting us no where. Commander with your permission?” Hoek looked from his security chief to the un-intimidated sim who were still locked in an intense stare down. The Council had their misgivings about Marie Gray but things were too far along to change course now. Eventually she would be expendable but for now… “Proceed.” Seeva stepped closer and drew Marie’s attention from the fuming Captain, “Within the DNA coding of each hybrid is a gene that when triggered by a specific sonic frequency will induce a highly suggestive hypnotic state. Through the use of this same frequency which only hybrids and sims with heightened senses can hear, commands can be issued that the hybrid can not disobey without experiencing extreme pain and eventual death. We call it the Signal.”
  • 16. So that’s how they do it. “Now see, that could be a problem. Such a frequency could cause problems with much of the high tech equipment the men will be supplied with. I will need to know these frequencies so that we can make adjustments. I’m sure you don’t want your army carrying useless weapons or getting lost because their GPS signals are being interfered with. Or worse yet, your General being overcome by this Signal and unable to open the gateway when it is time.”
  • 17. “ As the technology is sensitive, we will not provide the frequencies until just before the invasion begins.”
  • 18. “ Then it will never begin. I’m sure your superiors will be quite happy to hear how you single handedly derailed centuries of planning Commander Hoek, all to preserve one small piece of information that is vital to all parts of this invasion.”
  • 19. “ Once again you make grand assumptions sim. There is very little preventing us from killing you and sending our agents to take over your portion of the project. You are just as expendable as the rest of your kind.”
  • 20. “ I wouldn’t be so certain about that if I were you,” she hissed at Nilis. “Commander, I won’t be returning to your base again. If you do not provide me with the required data then we have nothing more to discuss. I’m sure I can find any number of political despots planet side that will pay for the fruits of my work.”
  • 21. Commander Hoek held up a hand towards Nilis, “Hold! Seeva, if you please.” Seeva signaled to the crewman at the command console behind them. The elf set to work pressing buttons to transmit the data to a computer station on the planet that they had used before to communicate. Once the download was done the elf looked up and nodded to Seeva. “ The information has been transferred to your terminal for you to examine. I will of course need to see any modifications you make based on that information before we proceed.” Hoek leaned close to Marie, “You understand that this must remain a secret between us. If this information is misused or improperly distributed, you will suffer for it sim. And as usual, I expect exceptional results from your work.” “ I never do anything unless it is exceptional. Including this…”
  • 22. She snapped her fingers and the three stood there looking at her confused by the terrestrial gesture.
  • 23. Little did they know that the snap was a signal for Theron to make his presence known and the mercenary elf did so with a flash. Popping into the control room from someplace nearby where he had been hidden throughout the meeting. He crouched low, sword already in hand and the lower half of his face covered by some sort of breathing apparatus, he snarled at the green skinned elves before him. “Foul blood traitors! I bring death on swift wind for all of your clan!”
  • 24. Theron’s sudden appearance sent the room alight with action as Commander Hoek turned his head to avoid the bright flash and Seeva covered her eyes to protect them. Marie just watched them all jump about like puppets giggling at Theron’s overly dramatic words.
  • 25. Captain Nilis however, did not fall for the ruse of the flash bang grenade the elf had dropped when he teleported in but instead lunged for the weapon sitting on the desk and wheeled around to face the attacker. “Intruder! Guards!”
  • 26. Once he had turned Nilis came face to face with the assassin who had stood up holding his weapon above his head in what looked like a clumsy attempt to strike at him. Nilis smiled and began to squeeze the trigger on the gun.
  • 27. What Captain Nilis missed was the elf's right hand as it removed a flechette from inside his gee. Thereon threw the tiny dart with deadly accuracy striking him in the chest piercing his heart. The toxin worked fast and the last thing Captain Nilis ever did was reflexively pull the trigger of his gun firing a single shot into the ceiling as he fell. Theron didn’t even flinch when the weapon fired but he did smile.
  • 28. The Captain’s body hit the deck with a thud, the weapon clattering as it struck the metal floor.
  • 29. As all of this was happening, a grey fog began filtering into the room and drifting down to the floor.
  • 30. Marie laughed, “The gas you are beginning to choke on is a little concoction of my own making. The toxin of the Chondrodendron tomentosum plant also known as curare, modified to work only on the nervous systems of elves if inhaled.” She looked across the room at Theron, “I see the tachyon interference device works well.”
  • 31. “ I never even made a blip on their sensors. We should go Mistress. I placed gas canisters throughout the complex and every compartment will soon be flooded displacing the oxygen we require to remain.” “ I suppose we should. ‘Foul blood traitors’? I never knew you were so melodramatic.” He cast a scathing look around the room at the choking elves, “I loathe them.”
  • 32. “ Yes, well you won’t have to worry about them for much longer.”
  • 33. High Commander Hoek struggled to remain on his feet and reach the base’s atmosphere control panel but the curare worked fast and within seconds his respiratory system was paralyzed.
  • 34. Marie and Theron leapt into the air and teleported away, filling the room with even more choking smoke.
  • 35. Sometimes, Fortune just favors the one most willing to sacrifice others to win.
  • 36. Back on earth, on the second floor of a supposedly abandoned warehouse… Three sims slip through an open window.
  • 37. G knelt down behind the dressing screens that someone had carelessly placed near a window. He looked out between the panels at the contents of the room. “Good job ladies. This is definitely the right place.” Tess studied the scene before her, “Whatever is happening here is big.”
  • 38. “ This room seems to have a special function and only a few cloning chambers. The rest of the warehouse is packed full with green men all held in some kind of stasis. We tracked this place down by checking the power grid. The electricity used in this one building on one single day could light the whole of downtown for a week.”
  • 39. Wren shook her head, “Thousands of clones. Waiting to do what?” G moved down closer to the edge of the screen. “We still don't have all the details but from what we do know, this is an army designed to wipe out that last remains of an ancient race. I don’t see anyone. I’m going to go out and take a closer look. You two stay here.”
  • 40. “ And do what exactly?” “ Keep and eye and an ear out for security guards.” Tess rolled her eyes. G had always been just a little bit of the mind that women always need protecting. It was charming and annoying at the same time.
  • 41. But before G could get very far and before Tess could point out that he was over protective, the quiet of the room was broken by a soft popping sound as two sims appeared from out of nowhere in a cloud of smoke.
  • 42. It happened so suddenly that the three intruders were taken by surprise and G was forced to scramble to get back behind the screen so as to not be seen by the new arrivals.
  • 43. Marie and Thereon both landed deftly on their feet and recovered from the long distance teleport.
  • 44. “ Damn it,” G whispered, “we can’t be caught in here. Out! Back out the window. Now!”
  • 45. Long time vampress Tess, morphed into a bat and fluttered effortlessly out into the night.
  • 46. Wren had none of her grandmother’s mystical talents but instead gracefully hopped through the open panel being careful to not bang against anything and dropped down to the exterior ledge they had used to gain entrance to the building in the first place. G waited for just a bit in the hopes that he might over hear something interesting and to give Wren time to clear the building.
  • 47. Thereon sheathed his sword and approached the somewhat satisfied looking woman he had been working with for some time. “You do realize that their High Council will not let this act pass without consequence?” Marie smiled and ran her fingers through her hair to push it back from her face. “Something I have already considered and accounted for. They most certainly will come after me and when they do, I have something extra special planned.” He frowned at her behind the respirator, “You’re intention is to wage war on them?”
  • 48. She chuckled, “Not necessarily. But they do have all sorts of technology I very much what to get my hands on and some very well timed events will make sure that happens. This was one of them. Now, you should go decontaminate yourself. We wouldn’t want you being exposed to that curare gas by accident.” Thereon turned and headed for the showers his mind quite distracted from his surrounding. If he had been paying attention his elfin hearing might have caught the sound of G slipping out the nearby window.
  • 49. Marie quickly settled down in front of the computer terminal which the data should have been sent to and looked through the files. “It’s here. Perfect. This should be incredibly useful.” Across town…
  • 50. The alarm went of at six am and Cassidy could hear her children already bumping about downstairs as they got ready for school. The three of them were already very self sufficient which she appreciated greatly as it kept her from having to get up early to make breakfast. It had been a late night. All attempts to cure Darwin of his various supernatural ailments had failed and Jason was quite sure that until someone more powerful came along her husband was going to remain a hodgepodge of ‘B’ flick monsters. She crossed the room still half asleep. Right before bed she had taken the potion Hannah had made for her that they hoped would cure her vampiric infection and it had seemed to work…
  • 51. But she was greeted with no reflection and was bolted wide awake. “Crap!” She reached up and felt the fangs that protruded from her upper jaw. “You’ve got to be kidding me! I’m stuck this way too?” “ Look at the size of it!”
  • 52. “ It’s huge! And disgusting!”
  • 53. Decker pointed at Chelsea's forehead, “Have you ever seen a zit that big?”
  • 54. Chelsea wasn’t disturbed by Decker’s poking at all. “You have ‘em too. It’s all the sugar we eat.” She scooped up a huge spoonful of chocolate frosted sugar bombs and chewed noisily on them. “Maybe we should start eating some vegetables or something.”
  • 55. Chelsea's twin brother Fisher looked down into his bowl. “Who wants to eat slimy lettuce and stinky broccoli?” He glanced at the untouched bowl of cereal, “Why isn’t Mom coming down for breakfast?” Decker shrugged, “She and Dad were out pretty late last night. Maybe she’s sleeping in.” “ Do you think she’s still a vampire?” “” How would I know? I don’t understand half the stuff Dad does. For all I know, he plans on biting us all.” Fisher frowned, “Why would he do that? I don’t want to be a vampire.”
  • 56. “ So we can all live forever silly and he wouldn't have to be alone. Don’t you ever watch the movies? He’s the tragic hero who doesn’t want the princess to grow old and die. Then he will bite us too so that his children can be with him as well.” She closed her large eyes and smiled, “It’s all so romantic.” Fisher rolled his eyes, “You weren’t saying that last night when he was biting on her.” “ Well, that was a little scary, I must admit. But now I understand and it’s not so bad.” Outside the bus pulled up and began honking it’s horn and the boys inhaled as much of their breakfast as they could before they were forced to rush out the door.
  • 57. After school the three did the normal things that all teenagers do. Decker got his first kiss. He was leaving for college soon and didn’t want to arrive there without at least being kissed once.
  • 58. Fisher goaded his big brother into a game of ‘who can cheat better at chess’ to waste some time before dinner and Chelsea spent some time on the new exercise bike. For the most part it was a quiet day.
  • 59. The evening however, wasn’t as quiet. As soon as the sun set Darwin crossed the street to see his family and was greeted by his still pale skinned wife. The look in her eyes told him volumes. “It didn’t work?” “ No. It didn’t.” “ I’m really sorry Cas.” “ Stop saying that.” “ I really am. I… I don’t have a good excuse for attacking you except that I couldn’t stop myself.” “ I know. Just because I’m a mediocre witch doesn’t mean that I don’t understand that vampires and werewolves have animalistic natures. I’m just worried that you might bite the children or worse yet, I do. Is there any way to prevent that?”
  • 60. “ Jason mentioned that I shouldn’t let myself get too hungry as that can be a trigger. I don’t know of any herbs or potions that stop the urge entirely. I suppose I could ask the Countess, if anyone would know it would be her.” Cassidy nodded. She needed to focus on more positive things. “Decker will be leaving for college in a few days. I told him that he would have to accept the transformation into a warlock pretty soon. He wasn’t happy about it.” “ Trust me. I know how he feels. It will be all right. I’ll take care of everything when the time comes. I also called Kira and Brooke and told them that our three would be staying at the bungalow with them through college and Kellie went over to see about getting an addition added to the place. It’s a little small for seven sims to live in at once.”
  • 61. Darwin leaned closer, “You know you look really pretty tonight. I don’t suppose you wouldn’t like to go on a date with this guy I know. He’s a little impulsive and really hairy but I think you two would get along well.” “ Can we skip the date part and just go upstairs?” “ I was trying to be romantic. I thought ladies liked that kind of stuff.” “ We do but I have to be at work early tomorrow and I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to do that being as vampires tend to burst in to flame when the sun comes up.” “ Actually it’s more of a smoldering, not that that is any more comfortable but it gives you time to run and jump into the car. Then just stay indoor. You will be really tired when you get home and will need to rest for a while.”
  • 62. Later… “ I love you.”
  • 63. “ You do? Even after all this mess?” “ Yes I do. And on the up side, I now get to spend eternity doing this with you.” Darwin grinned, “It is kind of fun.”
  • 64. The next evening and Darwin wasn’t able to come over to visit. Cassidy found herself rushing to the bathroom to vomit and she knew instantly what was happening.
  • 65. “ I’m pregnant? I didn’t even know vampires could get pregnant.” This was a problem. All her children were getting ready to head off to college and she was about to have another baby? She flushed the toilet and stepped over to the sink to brush her teeth. I need to go see Darwin and tell him. I hope he won’t be too upset.
  • 66. Across the street… “ Well it’s about time. I was about to give up on you two showing up.”
  • 67. “ Sorry, Hex got into a fight with another wolf and we had to coax her down from out of a tree.” “ You said you had something you wanted to do to the house?” “ Your werewolfishness is very concerning. The odds of you deciding to go off and run with the pack increase with every night you transform so Hannah and I have formulated some runes that we want to inscribe in front of the exterior doors and the perimeter of the yard.” “ What? Like some kind of electric fence? I’m not really an animal you know.” Hannah shook her head, “It’s nothing that will hurt you but for you to be able to leave home you have to be in enough control of your faculties to cast a simple spell. Like a key to open a lock.” “ It will help prevent you from doing something foolish and making it easy for Marie to get at you. Whatever she wants, you are at the center of it and if we keep you away from her…”
  • 68. “ Great! Just one more thing to keep me caged in. My wife and my kids hardly ever see me, I’m awake at night and asleep during the day so a barely get to see my sisters. I’m getting really tired of this.” Darwin’s frustration was written all over his face. But that was nothing compared to the anger that washed over Jason’s. “It was your choice to become a vampire. You! You did that. Without talking to me or Trista about the possible consequences. You choose to talk with the werewolf knowing full well that they could be dangerous. Stop playing the victim!” “ I don’t have to take this from you. You are not the one who missed his children growing up and you are not the one that some pycho bitch has plans for! I am the victim!”
  • 69. “ Right. Because you are the only one who has suffered because of all of this, you get to be selfish. Well guess what Darwin, I’ve suffered too! I’ve lost my sight for this cause, for you. So by all means, point the finger at me as the bad guy here. When all I’ve ever done is try to protect you.” Hannah looked nervously between the two of them. If they decided to physically fight it was going to be bad. “Boys? Enough of this. It doesn’t solve any problems for the two of you to be at each other’s throats.” “ Stay out of this Hannah! You have no real idea what all this feels like.” “ Don’t you talk to her like that. It’s time for you to grow up Darwin. No more games.” “ I am grown up. I have three children about to start college. They…”
  • 70. “ Having children doesn’t make you an adult or a man.” Jason turned and walked down the sidewalk away from him. “Since you don’t appreciate my help or my advice I’ll just be going home.” Darwin stared at his back and a sudden realization that he might be about to lose his best friend washed over him.
  • 71. Hannah was stunned. “Jason, you can’t…” “ Shhh.” He walked past her and she watched the emotions play over Darwin’s face. Finally Darwin spoke, “I’m sorry. I’ve been saying that an awful lot here the last few nights.” Jason stopped walking but didn’t turn around. “You’re right. Most of what I’m going through right now is my fault. I just don’t think things all the way through sometimes.” Jason turned on his heel to face his friend. “You’re mercurial nature is part of your charm but it’s really not helping us right now. Do you want us to inscribe the runes or not.” “ Will they be harmful to anyone else?” “ No. They will be visible but others can pass over them without any effect.”
  • 72. “ Then I suppose yes. What do you need from me?” “ Some of your blood to mix into the ink.” Hannah took her time carefully drawing the intricate lines and symbols. One mistake and the whole thing would need to be removed and redone.
  • 73. The two men watched Hannah work for several quiet minutes. “So what does it do? Shock me.” “ Nothing so crude. When you are in werewolf form the rune will ‘encourage’ you not to go through the door by making you think that you shouldn’t. If you are in your right mind you can choose to cast the key spell and pass over it. If you’re not, then you will forget about going out the door at all.” Hannah sat up on her knees and pushed a stray hair out of her eyes. “We considered a more stringent deterrent but as you said earlier it seemed too much like an ‘electric fence’. This way it is mild and almost unnoticeable. If we have to make it stronger we can.” She capped the bottle of ink and wiped the tip of the pen off with a cloth. “This one is done.”
  • 74. Darwin knelt down to examine the rune. “I’ve seen a rune similar to this before. Around your cauldron at Dad’s lab.” Jason nodded, “That’s right. That one was there to discourage people from touching the cauldron or it’s contents.”
  • 75. “ I know this seems a bit extreme but we really do have to be careful. The stories of werewolves ravaging entire villages are not just fairy tales to frighten children. Those events were quite real and combined with your vampiric appetites and your magical capabilities, I’m a little worried that you will unwittingly hurt more people. Even if Gray doesn’t get a hold of you. Darwin sighed, his life just kept getting worse and worse. “You’re not worried about the plant sim part of me?” Hannah smiled, “Plant sims are, for the most part, by nature pacifists. If you were just a plant sim we would be more concerned with making sure you get enough water and sun.”
  • 76. “ I want you to know that I have no intention of completing the homunculi process. I didn’t really intend to do it at all.” “ That’s good seeing as how you have to die and be resurrected as a zombie.” Jason’s face became a bit more serious. “Darwin I need you to let me know if anything changes with you. If you get a new ability or some kind of new spirit shows up, anything out of the ordinary. For you to lead this army, Gray needs you to be able to step into the spirit world. If you become able to do that we need to know right away.” Darwin agreed and the three of them made their way around the yard placing a rune in front of every door including the garage door and every so many feet along the perimeter of the yard. Hannah taught him how to use the runes and then the pair flew off into the night leaving Darwin alone with his plants.
  • 77. Right on time he transformed in a werewolf. He ignored the urge to find a stick and chew on it. Instead he dropped down to his knees and smelled the lilies that he had planted that spring along the front walk. He could smell the compost in the soil and the delicate scent of the flowers mixed with the scent of a stray cat that had recently visited the house. While he was down there he chatted with the flowers until a different scent caught his attention. Spiced pear and sandalwood. He smiled, Cassidy was coming for a visit.
  • 78. She swooped in down from the sky, choosing to fly rather than walk across the street.
  • 79. Darwin gave her an enthusiastic greeting. “Hello beautiful.” Cassidy was a little hesitant when he lunged at her given that the last time he did so he turned her into a vampire. Once she realized it was just a kiss and she wrapped her arms around him and nuzzled his furry neck. “I was feeling a bit lonely tonight and thought I’d come over. I hope that’s alright.” “ Why wouldn’t it be? This is as much your home as the other one is. Besides, here we don’t have the kids bouncing off the walls. Let’s go upstairs.” He took her hand and led her up to the studio apartment above the garage.
  • 80. As they entered he turned on the stereo and Barry White’s deep baritone voice flowed out of the speakers. Darwin leapt onto the bed and stretched out. He patted the comforter beside him, “Why don’t you join me.” Cassidy just laughed, “I came here to talk not to woo hoo.” The look on Darwin’s face fell. “Oh don’t give me those sad puppy eyes. I have something important to tell you.” “ Well you can tell me over here on the bed can’t you?” “ I suppose.”
  • 81. She joined him and he instantly wrapped his arms around her pulling her into another deep kiss. “ I thought you said we were going to talk?” “ I can’t help it if my libido is through the roof Cas. You are the most beautiful lady in the world and I just want to keep on kissing you forever.” “ That’s kind of why I’m here.” He started kissing down her neck. It felt really good. “I… umm. Oh what the hell!” She pulled him closer and gave in to the urge.
  • 82. Later, she twined her fingers in with his looking at the wedding band on his hand. “ Do you regret marring me Cas?” “ No! Not even for one second. I do wish you would talk with me a bit more about what is going on but I have never regretted falling in love with you.” He pulled her hand to his lips and kissed it. “Things may get worse from here on out. I promise I will do everything I can to protect you and the kids. That’s part of the reason I haven’t shared too much with you. I didn’t want you to worry about things you have no control of.” “ That’s very noble of you but I think I would rather know.” Darwin released her hand and slipped out of bed, “Excuse me for a second.” She watched as he shifted back to his normal self and came to the sudden realization that it was almost morning.
  • 83. She leapt out of the bed and rushed around to hug Darwin. “I have to go! The sun will be up soon.” She kissed him and Darwin felt the inherent strength that came from being a vampire in her arms. Cassidy quickly dressed and rushed for the stairs. “ Wait! You came over to tell me something!” She was already halfway down the spiral stairs and called back up to him, “I’m pregnant! Call me tonight! I love you!” He watched her rush out to the street, summon her broom stick and rush over to her house. Just as she reached her front door the first rays of sunshine crested the hills and Darwin squinted in the bright light. “Pregnant? We’re pregnant?” He stepped away from the window and the invading sunlight. “I’m going to be a father again?” Over at Sim State University…
  • 84. College life was proving to be difficult for Chewy to handle. Just when he thought his life was going to move on and he would no longer have to spend an eternity as a teenager with all the troubles that come with it, life went and slapped him in the face with reality. He loved Brooke but he loved Carrie more and the two of them were having a hard time keeping their hands off of one another. Mandy rolled her eyes at the sight of the pair making out in the dorm cafeteria, “Aren’t they just disgusting?” Angela watched her sister slide her hand down to Chewy’s backside and give it a squeeze. “They remind me of our parents. They do that all the time.”
  • 85. “ Wow!” Carrie giggled, “Thanks. I’ll take that as a complement.” Chewy felt all kinds of conflict running through him. “This is so wrong. I don’t want to hurt Brooke’s feelings but…” Carrie let go of him. “I’m not the kind of girl that is willing to share Chewy and I don’t know Brooke but I bet she isn’t either. You’re gonna have to choose.” “ I know you’re right. It’s just really hard. I can’t deny that my feelings for you are a whole lot stronger. I wish I had gotten to know you better before I met her.” Carrie pulled him back for another kiss. “Just be honest with her and things will work themselves out.” She tickled his ear, “Now, about that help with my economics paper…”
  • 86. Later… Brooke arrived in front of Chewy’s dorm practically floating on air. Kira and Alicia had been too busy with their own lives to mess to much with hers which meant that should could just focus on the happy things in her life. Today it was a date with her boyfriend. Chewy was waiting outside the building for her. She walked up and rubbed her hand across his cheek. “Hi.” “ Hi. How was your test?” “ Not too bad. I’m a little worried about the fact that I haven’t settled on a major yet. I just can’t decide but underwater basket weaving doesn’t really sound so appealing.” Chewy shrugged, “I picked politics. I may change it later though.” She looked at the relatively new dorm building. “Can I have a tour? I heard each room has it’s own bathroom.” “ Ahh… Well, we do have reservations at the restaurant.” He wasn’t certain that he wanted her to meet his dorm-mates.
  • 87. Brooke sensed the evasiveness in his answer. “Why can’t I see your room?” “ It’s a mess and it’s really kind of small. There isn’t much to see.” E xcept Carrie sleeping naked in my bed. “ So show me the rest of the place.” Brooke watched his eyes closely. She was getting a really bad vibe from him today.
  • 88. “ I could… but we’d be late for our table and the wait list for One-Twenty-Five is really long. Maybe tonight after dinner?” She looked down at the ground and sighed, “Who is she? Someone who lives here with you?” Chewy knew that Brooke sensed his uncertainty. “Please, can I explain over dinner?” “ You just don’t want me to cause a big scene in front of your other girlfriend!” “ No,” he replied carefully, “I don’t want to have any interruptions. You deserve to know the truth but I really don’t want the llama jumping up and down behind me while I do it.” Her head was spinning. Chewy was about to break up with her and he wanted to drag her to a public place to do it! “ Please? I promise to answer your questions.”
  • 89. The cab ride was a silent one and Chewy was aware that Brooke had made a point of staring out her window and avoiding and eye contact with him during the trip. Once they were at the restaurant and seated, Chewy found that talking about this wasn’t going to be as easy as he thought and his mouth was suddenly dry. He quietly sipped at his water while Brooke looked over the menu not really thinking about food.
  • 90. Brooke couldn’t deal with the continued silence. “I guess I’ll have the pork chops. How about you?” Chewy cleared his throat. “That sounds good.” They sat in silence watching the other patrons of the restaurant until their server arrived to take their order. “ Chewy… If you have fallen in love with someone else, it’s okay.” He looked up at her sharply, “It is?” She nodded, “I realize that we dated through our senior year but we never really made any promises to each other. That doesn’t mean that I’m happy about you dumping me, just that I understand.”
  • 91. The server returned with their plates and Chewy picked up his fork and took a small bite. He was aware of her watching his every move. “I didn’t intend for it to happen. But, she moved in at the same time I did and we became friends then… I do love you, you know?” “ I know. And I love you too. If she’s ‘the one’ then you can’t let her get away.” Brooke picked up her fork and pushed the greens around on her plate. It was all she could do to keep from bursting out into tears. Why aren’t I ‘the one’? Maybe Brooke was right about the wish just being coincidence. “ She could be ‘the one’. No, no she is the one. You are a sweet, beautiful girl Brooke and I hate that I might have hurt you with this. Someday, your Prince Charming will come along and sweep you off your feet.” “ That’s nice of you to say but I don’t think that’s really going to happen. I had thought that you were special, that you had been kind of promised to me but obviously I was wrong.”
  • 92. “ What do you mean promised?” “ It’s silly. I made a wish when my family went on vacation and I thought you were the cute boy I wished for.” The two watched as one of the other guests had a plate of lobster dumped on their head by a clumsy server. Once the excitement was over she looked down at her plate, “It was just a fantasy. And now it’s over.” “ Maybe it’s a good thing Brooke. I’d never be able to live up to a fantasy. I’m messy and annoying. Love, real love requires honesty and trust and an understanding that no one is perfect. You’re really okay with all of this?” He expected her to be angry or in tears. Not that he wanted that any of that, just that she had always been a little fragile. “ I’m okay. I’m sad and a little disappointed but I’m okay. I don’t suppose we could talk about something else so I can keep from crying?” The pair talked about classes and annoying instructors. Anything other than the fact that he had found his true love and she was now alone.
  • 93. After dinner Chewy took her are to pull her close despite her protests. “Stop. Let go.” “ Wait a second.” She let him pull her close. “You will always be special to me and I want you to know that if you ever need anything, anything at all, you can come to me.” She frowned and looked away. “I mean it.” She nodded and pushed herself away from him. “I’d like to take my own cab home if you don’t mind.” “ You sure? Pleasant View isn’t exactly safe anymore.” “ I’ll be fine. I just need to space to think.” Another date and another restaurant…
  • 94. “ Wow! They really went for the dark and decrepit look in here didn’t they?” Kira nodded, “The Hellion is a fairly new club here on campus.” She looked around at the dark paintings and twisted graffiti that adorned the walls. “I kind of like it. It’s better than that place on the other side of campus that looks like it’s stuck in the sixties.” They sat waiting for their server to stop flirting with the bartender.
  • 95. Nervous scanned over the menu while they waited. He never really knew what to order. “ What looks good?” He shrugged, “I don’t really have a preference.” “ You don’t have a favorite food? Everyone has a favorite.” “ I don’t know, coffee? Or anything with chocolate or sour flavors.” “ Eww, that’s not healthy. You sound like my uncle. He can eat a whole cake by himself and somehow doesn’t ever get fat.” He looked up from the menu, “You have an uncle huh?” “ And two aunts. You?” “ I don’t really know. I was adopted. I don’t know too much about my mother’s family and nothing about my father.”
  • 96. The server came and took their order and stomped off towards the kitchen. “ Oh, I didn’t know you were adopted.” “ It’s not like its tattooed on my forehead or anything.” “ How about your adoptive parents. Were they nice?” “ I’d really prefer not to talk about them.”
  • 97. “ Not good parents huh?” “ They were first and foremost scientists. They didn’t care about me, just their little tests. I’d really rather talk about something else.” “ I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you.”
  • 98. Their food arrived and the surly waitress slid the plates onto the table, “Enjoy,” she muttered as she strode away. Nervous watched Kira as she smiled at the plate of fried chicken in front of her. “You’re in a good mood tonight.” He caught her chewing the first bite food from her plate, “Hmm?” “ I mean, you’re normally poking fun at me or someone else. That waitress deserved a good chewing out but you just ignored her. What’s up?” “ What? I have to be unpleasant all the time?” “ You usually are.” “ It’s been a good week. I managed to get past my freshman finals without having to play grab ass with the teacher, who I loathe by the way. And more of my cousins are moving in so I will have less of my sister’s whining to listen to.”
  • 99. Somehow he needed to bring the conversation back around to her uncle. “You have cousins too? How many?” “ Let’s see, my aunt Kellie has one, Alicia. My aunt Laurel has one adopted daughter named Brooke and my uncle Darwin has three kids, Decker who’s starting school this term and Fisher and Chelsea who will most likely be here the term after that. I guess that’s five. Why?” “ I guess I’m curious what it’s like to live in a normal family.” She snorted, “Normal?! Are you kidding me? There is nothing normal about any part of my family. My grandfather was a paranoid hypochondriac that filled his home with alarms and sinks. My mother talks to herself all the time and my half alien uncle is also a vampire, a werewolf and a plant sim!” “ So what’s special about you?” “ You mean besides my awesome personality?”
  • 100. She shrugged, “Nothing I suppose. I get a kick out of making people miserable or twisting them to do what I want.” “ So you’re not crazy or horribly accident prone?” She set her glass down and rested her chin on one hand, “Ryan? What is it you want?” He set his glass down as well. At first he was concerned that she was on to him, “What do you mean?” “ Out of life. What do you want?” Nervous leaned back in his chair a bit taken aback, “Nobody’s ever asked me that before. It would be a pretty complex answer.” She raised her eyebrows and tilted her head. “What do you want?” “ No no. I asked first.” He thought about it for a minute. “To be satisfied. Because I never really seem to be. Nothing fills up the hollow inside me.”
  • 101. With dinner finished, Kira smiled and took his hand. “Let’s go dance.” She dragged him to the other side of the building where the dance floor was. “ I don’t really know how to dance.” “ Sure you do. You just move your body to the rhythm.” He followed her lead. It felt nice to hold her close even through the thick layer of her coat. “You didn’t answer my question. What do you want?” “ Oh that’s simple. To be happy. Whether it’s by making someone else miserable or seducing another man into professing his undying love to me, it all leads to me being happy. By the way I should warn you, it’s your turn tonight.”
  • 102. Later… Kira wrapped her arm around Nervous’ waist and pulled herself closer to him enjoying the warmth of his body. “Do you?” His eyes popped open, “Do I what?” “ Do you love me?” “ Yes. Yes I do.” And that’s a problem.
  • 103. Back in the heart of downtown… Brooke wandered into Lucky’s looking for any place that was not around her family or her now ex boyfriend. The smell of the place struck her as soon as she walked through the door. Stale beer and old wood. Maybe just a hint of vomit. The place was fairly quiet except for the jukebox in the corner and a couple of people gathered by the pool table. Perfect. I can be alone in public.
  • 104. She climbed onto a barstool and ordered a drink. “I need something strong.”
  • 105. Avri had watched her come into the place. He got all sorts of customers into the bar but usually this late a night it was the rougher crowd so the young woman with silky blonde hair and the designer dress really stood out. “Strong like knock me off the stool strong or make me forget strong?”
  • 106. “ Make me forget strong will work.” The bartender set about mixing various alcohols and Brooke couldn't help but watch him work. He had interesting hands. Strong hands with calluses formed from physical work. He glanced up at her once while making the concoction and she looked away quickly and chewed nervously on one finger. He smiled. He was used to the girls looking at him and he tended to get good tips from the ladies because of his handsome face.
  • 107. “ Here you go Miss. One ‘Make Me Forget’.” She paid for the drink and he walked back to the register to ring up the transaction. She’s cute. There’s no ring on her finger. I wonder if she’d seeing anyone. “Who are you trying to forget?” “ What makes you think it’s a who?” “ It usually is. As a bartender I get to hear about all kinds of problems. When people want to forget, it’s usually a who.”
  • 108. Brooke raised the glass and took a deep drink and nearly choked as the alcohol burned it’s way down her throat. She was used to fancy, iced drinks. This was like drinking pure liquid fire. “ You did ask for strong.” Brooke nodded. “ Are you alright? I can make you something else. Maybe a margarita?” “ This is fine,” her voice was raspy from the drink, “Can I have some water please.” Avri chuckled, “Sure thing.” He brought her a glass of water then was distracted by other customers needing attention. Brooke sipped at the drink finding that small sips allowed her to actually taste the flavors. It was good but she was going to have a headache for sure in the morning.
  • 109. Brooke took her time finishing her drink and was feeling quite buzzed from it by the time it was gone. She climbed carefully off the stool and wandered around behind the bar. “I want to tell you something,” she slurred. Avri was a bit surprised by her presence as he had been busy and hadn’t seen her move around behind him. “I’m not supposed to allow anyone back here Miss.” “ You have amazing hands.” Why did she have three extra fingers? That was one strong drink. “ Thank you. Ah, maybe I should call you a cab.” “ I’m not ready to go home yet. I just wanted to tell you that you have amazing hands and I think I’m really drunk. What did you put in that thing.”
  • 110. “ Oh, it’s a special recipe.” He watched her wave her hand around in front of her eyes. “I take it you don’t drink much.” He caught a hold of her arm as she swayed. “Why don’t we go sit down and I will call you a cab. Okay.” “ Okay.” She was fascinated by his hands. They looked strong. “Can you do me a favor?” He smiled at her, “Anything.” “ Can you make sure that cab doesn’t spin. I feel like I’m gonna puke.”
  • 111. The cab arrived quickly and Avri helped the drunk girl into it. He was used to sending people who had a little too much to drink home but he was a bit sorry to see the beautiful blonde leave the building. “ Damn! I didn’t get her phone number!”
  • 112. The next morning found Brooke Number One struggling with an intense hangover and a bad case of cotton mouth. She was so bad off that she couldn’t pull herself out of bed to greet her cousins when they first arrived at the house that morning. Somehow she had managed to find her bed after crawling out of the cab but awoke to find that she was still dressed. It wasn’t until after Brooke Number Two and Decker returned from clothes shopping that she managed her way downstairs and to the medicine cabinet for some aspirin and some water. “ You look terrible.” “ Thanks. I feel terrible. I don’t think I’m cut out for drinking.” “ Is everything all right? Alicia said you were out until almost three in the morning.”
  • 113. Brooke shook her head. That drink didn’t really live up to it’s promise. “Chewy broke up with me last night. He said he had fallen more in love with someone else. After he told me I walked into a bar and ordered a drink.” “ One drink did this to you. What was in it? Draino?” “ I’m not sure. I can’t remember too much after that except that the cute bartender was really nice to me.” “ I’m sorry about Chewy. Was it awful?” “ Actually, it was very… friendly. He didn’t want to hurt my feelings and I guess I understand. I just thought that it was something special, you know?” She pressed her fingers to her eyes hoping it would help stop the throbbing and the tears that wanted to well up. “ I do know. There will be other guys Brooke. Someone better.”
  • 114. Pleasant View, in front of a quaint little cottage with a beautiful garden… God I love tight fitting denim. G watched Heidi dig in the soil pulling small weeds out from among the lush flowers.
  • 115. “ My my Miss Swenson, how does your garden grow.”
  • 116. She pushed herself up to her feet and brushed the dirt on her hands off on her jeans. “Goopy, how long have you been there.” “ Long enough, “ he teased. “Please don’t let me interrupt. I was just enjoying the view.” “ Well since you’re here you might as well actually come into the yard.” G pushed the white garden gate aside and strode up the stone path. “What brings you here?”
  • 117. “ Just checking in. My friend managed to find the lab where Grey is growing her clones. I was going to take a closer look around when she and a red skinned elf appeared out of nowhere. I didn’t stick around long but it sounded like they were returning from a meeting of some kind. I got the impression it didn’t go well for the other party.” “ A real elf?” G nodded. “I guess Jason wasn’t lying about that.” “ Any word on those warrants?”
  • 118. “ My superiors say that without really strong hard evidence they aren’t willing to risk it. If we can capture Nervous and somehow connect him to Gray, then they are willing to get a judge review the facts. They don’t want to risk moving too early and having the charges dropped due to insufficient evidence.”
  • 119. “ So, all we can do is look for a man who could look like almost anyone. Wonderful! Any ideas on where to start?”
  • 120. “ Nope. I think we are just going to have to wait until a better opportunity comes along.” Heidi looked up at the sun, “I didn’t realize it was so late. Would you like to stay for lunch?” “ I’d love to. It will give me a chance to tell you about the charity ball the city is having in a few months. It seems that I’m in need of a date.”
  • 121. Next time on a Corporate Conspiracy… Click 
  • 122. Well that was… different. This is my neighborhood’s version of simself De (AKA fireflower 314). She was just a little too happy about the newly installed pool table at Lucky’s bar. I suppose it is understandable since she and Doc and Animeangel are currently living in the temple from a few chapters back. There isn’t too much to do there. Don’t you just love that smile?
  • 123. Brooke number two and Decker arrived at college with her feeling a bit formal and Decker dressed a little too much like his father. New clothes were to be had all around.
  • 124. Decker’s face didn’t change too much at transition. He still looks Asian to me. I guess it’s the tilt of his eyes. Decker’s Stats: Sagittarius 1/6/9/10/1 Popularity/ Grilled Cheese LTW: Top of culinary Hobby: Games He wanted to major in political science for some reason
  • 125. Brooke is only the second sim to be pulled from the adoption pool and is still one of the prettiest sims in my game. I do have replacement face templates in so all newly generated sims come out with those faces but the set I have still has some pretty exaggerated features available. Brooke Number Two’s stats: Aries 5/8/6/3/3 Fortune/Family LTW: Top of Law career track Hobby: Music and Dance
  • 126. This is a dormie rooming with Chewy. See the bubbles? I have never seen this glitch before. Chewy threw a party and of course there was a keg. I suspect she dropped the cup but the bubbles stuck to her hand. It was just strange.
  • 127. It wasn’t my intention to have Chewy dump Brooke Number One for Carrie but it turns out that Chewy and Carrie are a three bolt couple and with ACR in place… It’s all right though as Brooke found herself another guy really fast.
  • 128. I had spotted Avri when Stanley was going through school and thought “He needs to be married in at some point” so I’ve had all my girls check him out and it turns out that Brooke really likes him. So I made him playable, gave him a slight makeover and moved him in with some other playables I have in the neighborhood. I’m spoiling the “surprise” a bit but I have some good story ideas for him and Brooke and I wanted to show off his cute face. Here was the other clincher- his full name is Avri GilsCarbo. 
  • 129. Kira managed to convince the Cow not to come back…
  • 130. I just don’t want to know where she found the head.
  • 131. Jason and Darwin gave me lots of great expressions all on their own for this scene. I’m not sure what Jason has against elephants but it really upset Darwin. Darwin is slowly losing his nice points and he also had arguments with Cassidy and Brooke Number One over bugs- of all things. Darwin loves to talk about nature.
  • 132. Left: This has to be the most fight prone bunch I have ever taken through college. Angela, Carrie’s sister hates this dormie and they have had at least three fights so far, all of which Angela has lost. Right: This a little ahead of the story but still funny. That is Alicia and Decker in the dust cloud. I’m not sure what started the fight. Most likely Decker poked her in the nose as he is prone to that sort of behavior but what I saw was Decker and his brother Fisher gossiping about Stanley’s death and then all of the sudden Alicia flew into a rage! There was only one session of slapping then straight to the fight. Alicia won.
  • 133. Then Fisher just had to get in on the act. He and Alicia were friends before this. Now they are enemies with the red faces and everything. Sadly the two boys stand no chance against Alicia she has 7 body points while they have five between them.
  • 134. Back at the main lot it appears that Anima, Darwin’s familiar, hates Ted. Ted is generation two spare, Kellie’s husband and father of Alicia. Anima chased him all over the living room hissing and swatting and I have no idea why except that Ted owns a womrat. Maybe she can smell it on him?
  • 135. I hope you had fun with this update. There are big things in store for many members of the James family including a new baby and a blossoming romance (it is spring after all). Feel free to leave me comments or criticism at boolprop or LJ. I check them both. PetTech