Previously in A Corporate Conspiracy… Stanley James had moved to Pleasant View, began his work to set up the Paranormal Re...
“ Well, to be honest, I’m not sure where to begin. It’s been a while since I spoke with a therapist.” Cassandra smiled, “O...
“ Do you see it? The odd egg shaped object below the capacitor?” Stanley leaned farther into the device. Down at the botto...
“ I have no idea. And that’s the problem. The machine is working perfectly now but I have no idea how it gets the power to...
“ Why would someone sabotage one of your inventions?” “ It’s not mine. I inherited this beast from someone else. Honestly,...
“ Ahh… are you sure that it’s safe to turn on?” Stanley back away a bit as the device hummed to life. “ It’s fine. I teste...
“ What is going on out here? I was inside studying and then all the sudden I got the worst headache ever and the fire unde...
“ As the device shut down, I thanked Dr. Long for bringing it over and told him I would look into the power supply issue w...
“ I take it you were unaware that your assistant was a warlock?” “ That was surprise number one of the day. He looked a li...
“ I found him in his office which had changed considerably since the last time I had been in there. It was all dark and we...
Ignoring the barb, Stanley looked around himself. “Where did all this stuff come from?” “ This isn’t even half of it. I ha...
Jason scowled at that name. “Look boss. I like you. You’re a nice guy but you are a little too trusting. I’m not so sure y...
“ I want you to tell me everything you know about alien abductions.” “ So what did he tell you?”
Stanley sighed before continuing, “A whole lot of things that terrified me. Everything he knew was secondhand from the Cur...
“ What did the voice say?” “’ What are you waiting for?’ Like it was trying to convince me to use the telescope. Then ther...
“ No. And that’s what scared me the most. I’ve been under so much stress lately. And I was frustrated about our unplanned ...
Later… “ All right Stanley, we’re done for today. I would like to see you next week, sooner if you have any problems. Call...
“ I have a zombie at my lab who claims she was eaten by a cow plant while visiting the Trueheart family home and subsequen...
Today Melinda and Kellie were having their mutual birthday. Mel was the slightly more outgoing of the shy, inseparable pai...
Outside in the new spring sunshine, Catalina was dealing with some issues of her own. Her illness during the last pregnanc...
“ It was strongly suggested that I not wear it for a while. I’m still getting used to the idea. Why didn’t you call me soo...
“ Well, I suppose that it really didn’t occur to me to do so. What with all the vomiting and exhaustion. You can’t possibl...
“ I love cake! And birthdays! And cute little babies. Speaking of which, isn’t their someone I should be meeting?” Cat lau...
“ Cat, she’s beautiful. They all are really. Is Stanley doing okay with her?” “ He adores her. We were a little worried. L...
Nemo headed out into the living room, “Stanley.”  “ Nemo. You seem to be missing something.” “ You don’t miss much there, ...
After a diaper change and a feeding Laurel was put down for a nap and Cat scooped up Mel to take her to her birthday cake....
She soon joined the ranks of the thousands of children who discovered they had bigger fingers. “  Yea! Now I can go outsid...
Kellie was next to puff out the flames and do the wiggle dance.
Both girls grew up nicely. They were not quite identical twins. Kellie happily jumped from foot to foot. “Dad can we get a...
Catalina recognized the aggravation in Stanley’s voice. “Boys play nice. Who wants some cake?” A chorus of ‘I do’s’ rang o...
That afternoon Melinda went out with her sister to play in the vast yard for the first time. She had no luck in catching t...
They were out past sundown that first day and Kellie had an unfortunate run in with a wolf. “Moommie! Help!” She ran from ...
The next morning found Cat trying to prepare some breakfast for her family but her mind wandered from what she was doing a...
The fireman soon arrived and put out the fire which had almost engulfed the stove. Normally well centered, Catalina jumped...
It wasn’t the first meal she had ever burned but it was the first fire she had ever started. Her already poor mood soured ...
Once the excitement had died down the girls headed for the house’s only bathroom to shower and Stanley sat down intent on ...
Cat watched his face as he struggled to eat the meal. She waited for the inevitable comment but it never came. Stanley cho...
“ Oh God, they’re awful!” She nearly vomited. She began to laugh “I’m so sorry.” Stanley chuckled with her. “They’re terri...
The next morning after the fire was the first day of school for the twins and they were up early with the anticipation of ...
“ Whee! My pony can fly!” Kellie whirled the plastic horse around in the air. “Do you think daddy will get us a swing toda...
“ It was a girl wolf.” “ I don’t care! I don’t like dogs.” Kellie went back to playing with the horse “ Wolves aren’t like...
Cat shuffled the girls off to school and her husband off to work and all the sudden the house was very empty. After a diap...
Later that day the girls got home from their first day of school and played in the sunny yard with some friends. As soon a...
Cat called everyone in for Laurel’s birthday but they took so long to get there that Laurel just went ahead and grew up al...
Laurel giggled and clung to her mother’s shoulder. The rest of the family cheered and then went back out to play while the...
Stanley’s raise meant that the family now had a new downstairs bathroom and a proper bedroom for the adults up stairs. Lea...
“ Deciding on what?” Kellie was intrigued “ On whether or not you are going to have another brother or sister. I think. It...
The dishes were cleared and the homework was done and Cat sent Mel and Kellie off to bed. She herself passed out from an e...
“ Okay. I’ll think about it.” “ You don’t have time to consider this. You have about seven days then they will be gone and...
Sometimes you just have to take a deep breathe, pinch your nose closed and step off the cliff. And when you step off that ...
Tonight, it was Stanley’s time to fall. The first lightening bolt of a fast moving storm passed through the scope and then...
His heart was pounding so hard and there was an intense ringing in his ears. Inexplicably he felt the need to run somewher...
Somehow he found his way into the new bathroom. He felt his pulse slow and then his muscles simply gave out and he collaps...
She found him a last, just as the Reaper was making his call. “Please! Please don’t take my husband! I’ll give you anythin...
“ You chose…poorly and now we must go .” Cat stood there stunned. “Wait! Give me another chance! No! Please wait.” It was ...
Leaving nothing behind except an ash gray urn that held all that was left of Stanley Thomas James.
She stood there stunned for a moment. It all happened so fast! Her tears returned and overwhelmed her for a moment. Stanle...
Cat trooped up the stair to the attic to bring down the hideous item Stanley had brought home just a few days before. As s...
Cat put the grotesque phone down on the floor. She knew she needed money to get Stanley back, lots of it if she didn’t wan...
She picked up the receiver and made the call. An all too familiar voice answered.  “It took you longer that I thought. How...
“ All right. If you are sure. But I don’t think you are going to be happy with your purchase. No exchanges or refunds are ...
“ Hey! I’m alive! Cool!” Cat felt a sense of relief at the sight of him. He was still sooty and disheveled but most defini...
“ Cat?” He hugged her close and then stepped back, “Hey! Babalicious! Thanks for the save. I’ll be in the shower if you ne...
After a quick shower which left a puddle on the bathroom floor, Stanley inspected himself in the mirror. “Man do I need a ...
As he passed through the nursery he stopped and picked up the little girl who was sitting there sucking her thumb. “Hi the...
“ This place is kind of empty. We need some furniture.” Cat sighed, “I had to sell most of our belongings to get you back....
Her eyes narrowed. “Stanley. Who am I?” He looked at her thoughtfully for a minute or so. “Cat? Right? I…think we used to ...
“ Nemo? Hello? Can I speak to Nemo please? Its an emergency.” Catalina waited as she heard the phone being set down and a ...
“ He’s not a zombie is he?” “ No. But he’s acting completely different.” “ How much did you pay Grim when you called?” “ I...
After a few minutes Nemo came back to the phone.  “Sarah suggests that you could kill him again and re-resurrect him payin...
“ The only thing I could think of was getting him back as soon as possible. Before the girls found out. What am I going to...
Cat made sure the girls got out to the school bus quickly and had very little contact with their father. She wanted to tal...
A bit later across town… Heidi wasn’t sure how to start this conversation. They had gotten so far only to suffer such a po...
“ Yes? What is it?” G adjusted his tie and checked the trim on his goatee. The stupid barber always cut the left side just...
“ Dr. James was killed but his wife was able to resurrect him this morning. She…” “ Why didn’t you say that to begin with?...
“ I swear this little pet project has been the biggest thorn in my side. I suppose he will be absolutely terrified of the ...
G slumped onto the antique sofa and stared at the cold fireplace in front of him. He didn’t really see what the Board want...
“ You could just get rid of them Goopy. Sneak into their offices and cut their bloated, useless throats. You could run thi...
“ God, I need a drink.” He stood and grabbed his coat. Heidi could handle the emergency without him.
“ Oh yes! That’s a much better choice. Pickle your brain on alcohol and bad music. No wonder you never get anywhere in thi...
Next time in A Corporate Conspiracy… “ How could I have missed that?”    Click
“ What the…? What just happened?”
“ Oh my god! No no no no no no! Don’t die Stanley! Wake up wake up wake up! Faster! What! She lost!?”
“ What do I do now?” No, I’m not over emoting. Stanley James died. On the first night I sent him out to the telescope. He ...
I pulled out my books. The family had a total of 200 plus simoleons in their account. After selling back every thing I tho...
You get a sim who is the opposite of himself. This could work. Stanley lost a whole lot of skill points and flipped his pe...
I decided to go with the flow and accept the hard curve ball the game threw at me. In some ways it will make Stanley’s cha...
Stats for Laurel Jane James (seen here playing with Kellie) : Virgo (10/2/10/6/7); high interest in science fiction. She i...
Just to show where the family is building wise, here are some pictures of the house taken before the addition of another b...
The second floor. The large empty space will eventually become a master bedroom/bath and skilling area.  After the lighten...
<ul><li>The Queen of Hearts cheats at chess and steals newspapers! </li></ul><ul><li>Thanks for reading! I hope you liked ...
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A Corporate Conspiracy Chpt 1.2 When Life Gives You Lemons...

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A Corporate Conspiracy Chpt 1.2 When Life Gives You Lemons...

  1. 2. Previously in A Corporate Conspiracy… Stanley James had moved to Pleasant View, began his work to set up the Paranormal Research Division of SFO Corp. and had married his fiancée Catalina. They had the twins they planned on and Catalina had become pregnant accidentally giving the couple a third daughter. Stanley was asked to look into the phenomena of alien abduction and impregnation by his superiors. He also experienced a most disturbing night out by the telescope where he thought he heard voices. Now… “ Good morning Stanley. What should we talk about today?”
  2. 3. “ Well, to be honest, I’m not sure where to begin. It’s been a while since I spoke with a therapist.” Cassandra smiled, “Okay, Why don’t we start by having you share what happened yesterday with me.” “ Everything?” “ Everything.” Stanley thought for a moment, “Let’ see…First thing in the morning I had a meeting with Dr. Long to discuss a problem with a weather control device.”
  3. 4. “ Do you see it? The odd egg shaped object below the capacitor?” Stanley leaned farther into the device. Down at the bottom was the object Dr. Long was referring to. It didn’t seem to be out of place but looked like no battery he had ever seen before. “Yeah, there it is. What is it?” He stepped away from the device and wiped his hands on a towel.
  4. 5. “ I have no idea. And that’s the problem. The machine is working perfectly now but I have no idea how it gets the power to actually ionize the air. The obvious battery only powers the control panels. The energy for the ion beam comes from that orb. It has no seams or openings of any kind. I x-rayed it and it is completely hollow. No circuitry at all.” Stanley pushed his glasses up and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Do you know what caused the explosion?” Ben nodded, “sabotage. There had been some purposeful changes to the wiring configuration that lead to a critical failure.”
  5. 6. “ Why would someone sabotage one of your inventions?” “ It’s not mine. I inherited this beast from someone else. Honestly, I don’t know who created it or why anyone would want to blow it up. Maybe a corporate spy from a competitor? There wasn’t much left of the altered wiring and I doubt the police will be able to track anything down.” Ben turned on the control panels and adjusted the frequency dials. “I think the orb is some kind of energy collector. The question is what kind.”
  6. 7. “ Ahh… are you sure that it’s safe to turn on?” Stanley back away a bit as the device hummed to life. “ It’s fine. I tested it several times at my lab.” The machine began to vibrate a little as the curious orb began to glow. “Mechanical devices and circuits are my area. Weird power sucking orbs are yours. See what you can figure out. I need to go see the boss and tell him about the sabotage.” Just then the pair of scientists were interrupted. “Excuse me?”
  7. 8. “ What is going on out here? I was inside studying and then all the sudden I got the worst headache ever and the fire under my cauldron went out.” Ben and Stanley turned to look at the newcomer. Stanley spoke first, “Jason, what are you wearing?” “ My warlock robes. Can we turn that thing off? It’s feels like it’s sucking the life out of me.” Stanley turned, “Ben, if you don’t mind…” “ Sure. Anything for the witch.” “ Warlock.” “ Whatever!”
  8. 9. “ As the device shut down, I thanked Dr. Long for bringing it over and told him I would look into the power supply issue with my team. Ben didn’t seem to like my assistant Jason very much. I think they have a bit of a history.”
  9. 10. “ I take it you were unaware that your assistant was a warlock?” “ That was surprise number one of the day. He looked a little silly. Still, I have a lot of respect for Jason. He gives me the impression that not too many things frighten him.” “ And why do you respect that particular trait?” “ Because I am exactly the opposite. Everything frightens me.” Cassie shifted in her chair, “tell me some more about your day.” “ Well, I went inside after Ben left to talk to Jason…”
  10. 11. “ I found him in his office which had changed considerably since the last time I had been in there. It was all dark and weird and there was a cauldron sitting in the corner.” “ Jason, I didn’t know that you were a practitioner of magic.” “ It was on my resume.” “ I ah…never really got around to reading them completely. I must have missed that part. Are you feeling better now? Is your headache gone?” Jason ran his hand through his hair. “Yeah. I think Dr. Longnose’s machine out there caused it and my magical fire to go out.”
  11. 12. Ignoring the barb, Stanley looked around himself. “Where did all this stuff come from?” “ This isn’t even half of it. I have more boxes on the way. I collect mementos wherever I go. A jade dragon from China, a pygmy cow plant from India. You name it. If it’s supernatural, I collect it.” “ No wonder Miss Swenson thought you would be right for this department.”
  12. 13. Jason scowled at that name. “Look boss. I like you. You’re a nice guy but you are a little too trusting. I’m not so sure you should believe everything Swenson tells you.” “ So…you’re not the right guy for this job?” “ Oh no! I am. I just don’t trust her or her employer.” “ You work for them too, you know.” “ For now. Is there something I can do for you?”
  13. 14. “ I want you to tell me everything you know about alien abductions.” “ So what did he tell you?”
  14. 15. Stanley sighed before continuing, “A whole lot of things that terrified me. Everything he knew was secondhand from the Curious brother’s in Stangetown. Jason was there for the abductions and the births.” “ Did he help you feel more comfortable with the idea of abduction?” “ How can anybody be comfortable with that?” “ Many sims are. Some even crave the experience. Stanley, I would like to talk about the voices now. Would you tell me about them? Be specific.” He knew this was coming. “The first voice was masculine and I smelled Ginseng and fur, I think.”
  15. 16. “ What did the voice say?” “’ What are you waiting for?’ Like it was trying to convince me to use the telescope. Then there was a young woman’s voice that giggled. The next voice was male too but really unpleasant. It said ‘What are you thinking? Who knows what those green freaks might do to you!’ Then the woman’s voice asked me to look at her and that she was right behind me. The only thing behind me was the scope. My panic attack kicked in then and I ran into the house.” Stanley wasn’t proud of his behavior. Being frightened by imaginary voices was just silly. “ Have you ever heard these or any voices like these before?”
  16. 17. “ No. And that’s what scared me the most. I’ve been under so much stress lately. And I was frustrated about our unplanned pregnancy. Strangely, it was little Laurel that made me feel better that night.” “ That's a good thing Stanley. Family is often the thing that grounds us and keeps our minds focused. I’m going to suggest that we work on some stress management techniques for you and I want you the try and get some kind of exercise everyday, even if it is just a short walk on your lunch break. For now, I don’t want you to worry about the voices. If you hear them again call me but try not to focus too much on it.” Cassandra stood up, “Let’s try some deep breathing, all right?”
  17. 18. Later… “ All right Stanley, we’re done for today. I would like to see you next week, sooner if you have any problems. Call my service if you have an emergency.” “ I would like to ask you a couple of questions before I go. They apply to some of my research.” “ What did you want to know?” “ Your last name is now Goth-Trueheart. Correct?” “ Yes. It seemed important to keep my families name since my romancing brother is unlikely to have any legitimate children.”
  18. 19. “ I have a zombie at my lab who claims she was eaten by a cow plant while visiting the Trueheart family home and subsequently resurrected as a zombie on purpose. I don’t suppose you know anything about that?” Cassie closed her eyes and thought, “That was a while ago. I remember the cow plant. It disappeared sometime after I last saw it. I’m afraid I don’t know much about it, except that Tess and Joe Trueheart were having problems with my father around then. Maybe my husband knows or your could contact his mother. She’s a vampire and may still recall something of the incident.” A little disappointed, Stanley thanked her for her help and headed home. Today was a big day for the James family.
  19. 20. Today Melinda and Kellie were having their mutual birthday. Mel was the slightly more outgoing of the shy, inseparable pair. They did everything together.
  20. 21. Outside in the new spring sunshine, Catalina was dealing with some issues of her own. Her illness during the last pregnancy had kept her bed ridden for a long time and her best friend wasn’t very happy with her for keeping it a secret. “Nemo! Where is your helmet?”
  21. 22. “ It was strongly suggested that I not wear it for a while. I’m still getting used to the idea. Why didn’t you call me sooner? I would have been happy to come over and help with the girls or clean up.” Still stunned by actually being able to see his face, Cat didn’t really hear what he said. “I didn’t know you wore glasses. You look a whole lot like my Stanley.” So much so that Cat couldn’t help but feel a little attraction for the strange man she met in a restaurant downtown. Or, maybe it was just the spring air. “ Quit trying to change the subject. My best friend is deathly ill and she didn't call me!”
  22. 23. “ Well, I suppose that it really didn’t occur to me to do so. What with all the vomiting and exhaustion. You can’t possibly be really mad at me.” “ Not mad, no. Just, if you ever need anything Cat. Anything at all. Call me. I can help.” “ That’s really sweet Nemo.” Was her heart beating faster? “It’s the twin’s birthday today. Care to stick around for some cake?”
  23. 24. “ I love cake! And birthdays! And cute little babies. Speaking of which, isn’t their someone I should be meeting?” Cat laughed, “Her crib is in the kitchen.”
  24. 25. “ Cat, she’s beautiful. They all are really. Is Stanley doing okay with her?” “ He adores her. We were a little worried. Laurel was a few weeks early but she seems to be all right.” Nemo cuddled the babe until a distinctive odor reached his nose. “Here you take the poop machine. I need to play with Kellie.” Cat took the squirming baby, “I thought you were here to help?” “ I am helping. I’m occupying Kellie while you change a diaper.”
  25. 26. Nemo headed out into the living room, “Stanley.” “ Nemo. You seem to be missing something.” “ You don’t miss much there, do ya Stanley?” His eyes narrowed. Stay away from my wife, Stanley thought to himself. He watched the odd man play with Kellie and her favorite music toy. He looks like someone I know. I just can’t put my finger on who. Kellie who was whacking randomly on the toy xylophone looked at the person who sat down next to her and exclaimed, “buwket man! Buwket man funny!”
  26. 27. After a diaper change and a feeding Laurel was put down for a nap and Cat scooped up Mel to take her to her birthday cake. Mel saw Nemo in the corner behind Cat and stared intently at him as her mother began to sing. “ She likes you Nemo. Both the girls do.” “ They seem to be more interested in my helmet or lack there of.”
  27. 28. She soon joined the ranks of the thousands of children who discovered they had bigger fingers. “ Yea! Now I can go outside and catch flutterbys and look at the birdies!”
  28. 29. Kellie was next to puff out the flames and do the wiggle dance.
  29. 30. Both girls grew up nicely. They were not quite identical twins. Kellie happily jumped from foot to foot. “Dad can we get a swing now?” “ Yeah! I want a swing too!” “ Girls I’ll see what we can do. I’m up for a raise but we really need a second bathroom now. No promises.” “ Aww!” “ I can get the girls a swing if you’re a little short on cash Stanley”, Nemo chimed in. “ I will take care of it, it just won’t be today. Thank you any way.” Who does he think he is?
  30. 31. Catalina recognized the aggravation in Stanley’s voice. “Boys play nice. Who wants some cake?” A chorus of ‘I do’s’ rang out and she cut the dessert. They can’t argue while their mouths are full . She made a note to herself to limit Nemo’s visits in the future.
  31. 32. That afternoon Melinda went out with her sister to play in the vast yard for the first time. She had no luck in catching those ‘flutterbys’ as she called them but enjoyed the sunshine and fresh air just the same.
  32. 33. They were out past sundown that first day and Kellie had an unfortunate run in with a wolf. “Moommie! Help!” She ran from the unfriendly beast but it pursued her intent on terrorizing the little girl. “Ahh! Help!” It was Mel who came to the rescue, “Bad goggy! Shoo! Shoo!” Kellie sprinted into the house crying and Mel decided the fun was over as she heard her mother yelling for her to come in.
  33. 34. The next morning found Cat trying to prepare some breakfast for her family but her mind wandered from what she was doing and the pan burst into flames. The smoke detector began sounding as she jumped back from the stove. “Oh! Darn it! Stanley! Fire! Get the girls out of the house!”
  34. 35. The fireman soon arrived and put out the fire which had almost engulfed the stove. Normally well centered, Catalina jumped about in a panic as the girls were attracted by the smell and the sound of the fire. “Out! get out!”
  35. 36. It wasn’t the first meal she had ever burned but it was the first fire she had ever started. Her already poor mood soured even more. “Dammit! I can’t do anything right anymore.” She extracted the burnt pancakes from the pan and set the table for breakfast.
  36. 37. Once the excitement had died down the girls headed for the house’s only bathroom to shower and Stanley sat down intent on eating the charred cakes without making a fuss. Cat was edgy enough without him teasing her. Unfortunately, a particularly crispy bit got caught in his throat and he couldn’t help but make a face as he choked it down.
  37. 38. Cat watched his face as he struggled to eat the meal. She waited for the inevitable comment but it never came. Stanley choked down the bite and continued eating without comment. “I’m sorry Nerd. I know they are awful. I…don’t know what happened.” Stanley cleared his throat, “accidents happen. That’s why we have the alarms. I’m just glad you weren't hurt. And they’re not that bad, really.” He dutifully took another bite struggling not to spit it back out. Cat stared at him appreciatively and picked up her fork.
  38. 39. “ Oh God, they’re awful!” She nearly vomited. She began to laugh “I’m so sorry.” Stanley chuckled with her. “They’re terrible.” The two of the laughed together and set to work trying to complete their breakfast. Stanley decided a change of subject was in order, “Hopefully my raise goes through. Outfitting the girls room really tapped our savings and I imagine at some point they might like some carpet and paint up there. Do you think the swing is a good idea? They could hurt themselves pretty easy on it.” “ I think they would love it. Mel really likes the outdoors. Kellie had a run in with a wolf last night and doesn’t seem to want to go out now. I hope she will be okay.” “ She’ll be fine. Wolves are scary to everyone.”
  39. 40. The next morning after the fire was the first day of school for the twins and they were up early with the anticipation of making new friends and seeing the world outside of their yard. Both of the young ladies had inherited their parents neat genes and there was no need for anyone to ask them to make their beds. There was plenty of time for the pair to sit down and play before school.
  40. 41. “ Whee! My pony can fly!” Kellie whirled the plastic horse around in the air. “Do you think daddy will get us a swing today?” “ He said he would.” Mel watched her younger twin for a bit, “were you really scared by the wolfie the other night?” “ He was going to bite me. I could see all his teeth.”
  41. 42. “ It was a girl wolf.” “ I don’t care! I don’t like dogs.” Kellie went back to playing with the horse “ Wolves aren’t like real dogs. They are wild and don’t know any better. She was probably scared by all your yelling.” “ I still don’t care.” Their discussion was ended by the sound of their mother telling them to get dressed for school or they would miss the bus.
  42. 43. Cat shuffled the girls off to school and her husband off to work and all the sudden the house was very empty. After a diaper change she tickled Laurel and gave her a raspberry on her tummy. The littlest James girl wiggled and laughed. “Today is your birthday little one. Then no more diapers.” She might have regretted getting pregnant with Laurel initially but now she wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world.
  43. 44. Later that day the girls got home from their first day of school and played in the sunny yard with some friends. As soon as Stanley stepped out of the car pool Mel ran over to welcome him home. “Daddy! Did you get your persmosion?” “ Pro mo tion”, he sounded out the word, “and yes, I did.” “ So we can have a swing set?” “ As long as you girls are careful on it, yes.” “ Yay!” Mel ran off to tell her sister the good news.
  44. 45. Cat called everyone in for Laurel’s birthday but they took so long to get there that Laurel just went ahead and grew up all on her own. “I guess we can save that cake for the next birthday” she mused as she reached out to catch the toddler.
  45. 46. Laurel giggled and clung to her mother’s shoulder. The rest of the family cheered and then went back out to play while the sun was still up. Stanley was confused, “was she supposed to do that?” “ Well, she was early when she was born and now she’s early to become a toddler. It seems to be a trend.”
  46. 47. Stanley’s raise meant that the family now had a new downstairs bathroom and a proper bedroom for the adults up stairs. Leaving the dinning room to be used as a dinning room for the first time that night. Cat made the girls some mac and cheese and sat down to eat. “Where is your father?” Mel responded with a full mouth, “looking at the telescope.” “ Swallow then talk please. Looking at the telescope or looking through it?” “ At it. He did that last night too. It’s not broken I could see the bridge through it just fine today. Why doesn’t he just use it?” Cat sighed, “because he is deciding on something.”
  47. 48. “ Deciding on what?” Kellie was intrigued “ On whether or not you are going to have another brother or sister. I think. It’s complicated girls.” “ Babies come from the telescope? Eww!” No. Well, some babies do come from the telescope.” “ Gross!” “ Eww! I touched it!”
  48. 49. The dishes were cleared and the homework was done and Cat sent Mel and Kellie off to bed. She herself passed out from an exhausting day. It was near eleven at night when Stanley got a call from Jason, his assistant at the lab. “Jason it’s really late. I was about to go to bed. Can’t this wait until tomorrow?” “ No it can’t. You need to hear this. If you want to meet the aliens and get impregnated then this is the week to do it. The stars are all aligned perfectly. It will happen now or never.” “ What do you mean ‘the stars are aligned’?” “ This mystic stuff is still a little new for you, isn’t it? Now is the time. The aliens are in the area. If you want to get abducted you need to try now.”
  49. 50. “ Okay. I’ll think about it.” “ You don’t have time to consider this. You have about seven days then they will be gone and it will be too late. You don’t have to be afraid of this boss. They will return you the next day and you will be fine. I promise.” Stanley sighed. Things were working against him and his fears. “I will see you tomorrow evening at the lab Jason. Thanks for calling.” He hung up the phone slowly. He had time tonight to use the scope as his new hours didn’t require him to be at work until nine the next night.
  50. 51. Sometimes you just have to take a deep breathe, pinch your nose closed and step off the cliff. And when you step off that cliff you either float or you fall.
  51. 52. Tonight, it was Stanley’s time to fall. The first lightening bolt of a fast moving storm passed through the scope and then his flesh like a searing hot knife.
  52. 53. His heart was pounding so hard and there was an intense ringing in his ears. Inexplicably he felt the need to run somewhere safe. Anywhere but the yard and that damned telescope.
  53. 54. Somehow he found his way into the new bathroom. He felt his pulse slow and then his muscles simply gave out and he collapsed to the floor, dead. Catalina, asleep in their bed upstairs, jolted awake at the sound of the lighting strike and leapt from the bed as she heard the slamming of doors and a loud thump from below. She raced down the stairs, “Stanley! Nerd where are you?” She ran through the house searching every room.
  54. 55. She found him a last, just as the Reaper was making his call. “Please! Please don’t take my husband! I’ll give you anything!” The tears rolled down her face uncontrolled. “Please…” The reaper shook his head sadly and motioned for her to stand. “ You have one and only one chance to save your husband’s life right now. You must choose. If you choose wrong he must go with me .” “ I can do that! I choose the right hand.”
  55. 56. “ You chose…poorly and now we must go .” Cat stood there stunned. “Wait! Give me another chance! No! Please wait.” It was too late, Grim was gone and Stanley’s spirit along with him.
  56. 57. Leaving nothing behind except an ash gray urn that held all that was left of Stanley Thomas James.
  57. 58. She stood there stunned for a moment. It all happened so fast! Her tears returned and overwhelmed her for a moment. Stanley had saved her life once and she was unable to return the favor. She stopped crying and took a deep breath. “You can’t have him! I won’t let you keep him!”
  58. 59. Cat trooped up the stair to the attic to bring down the hideous item Stanley had brought home just a few days before. As she went she mumbled to herself, “you can’t keep him. He is mine.” Catalina was not the only sim awake during the tragedy. Poor little Laurel had been up playing in her nursery when her daddy died. She began to cry and no one came to comfort her.
  59. 60. Cat put the grotesque phone down on the floor. She knew she needed money to get Stanley back, lots of it if she didn’t want him to be a zombie. But they were nearly broke after making all the improvements to the house. She sold it all back plus some more things like the desk and computer. Nothing was going to stop her from getting him back and she had to do it now before the girls woke up.
  60. 61. She picked up the receiver and made the call. An all too familiar voice answered. “It took you longer that I thought. How much is he worth to you?” She felt her skin crawl, “I’d trade myself for him if I could but somehow I don’t think that is what you want.” “ I stopped trading spirits for other spirits some time ago. I always seemed to get the short end of the deal. I only accept cash now. How much are you willing to give?” “ All we have, 7,253 simoleons.” She was on the verge of crying again. “ Are you sure you don’t want to pay more.” “ I don’t have more to give you. Now give me my husband back you bastard!”
  61. 62. “ All right. If you are sure. But I don’t think you are going to be happy with your purchase. No exchanges or refunds are allow if the product is defective.” A loud disconnecting click sounded and she hung up the receiver. As she did a turquoise haze spilled from the phone and the fog made Cat cough violently. When she looked up she saw a haggard form standing in the mist. “Stanley!”
  62. 63. “ Hey! I’m alive! Cool!” Cat felt a sense of relief at the sight of him. He was still sooty and disheveled but most definitely intact and not a zombie. “Thank the heavens you brought that phone home the other day Stanley. I don’t know what we would have done. Umm… Stanley?”
  63. 64. “ Cat?” He hugged her close and then stepped back, “Hey! Babalicious! Thanks for the save. I’ll be in the shower if you need me.” He then finger gunned Laurel who sat sadly by the teddy bear and walked out of the room. She just stood there stunned. The man who hugged her looked like Stanley but sounded and moved nothing like her husband. She took a deep breath and looked over at Laurel. “I suppose it’s to be expected since we didn’t have enough money.” She picked up the little girl and hugged her. “I’m sure he will be fine once he’s had some rest.”
  64. 65. After a quick shower which left a puddle on the bathroom floor, Stanley inspected himself in the mirror. “Man do I need a hair cut. I look like a dork. No wonder my babe acted so weird. I guess the after life turns you into a geek.” Still, as he looked at his reflection, something didn’t seem quite right about what he saw. It was as if he was looking at a totally different person.
  65. 66. As he passed through the nursery he stopped and picked up the little girl who was sitting there sucking her thumb. “Hi there…ah, pumpkin. You are quite a big girl aren’t you? What’s your name?” “ Dada?” “ No I’m pretty sure that’s my name. What’s yours?” “ Laurel!” She smiled, “I wov u Dada.” “ Laurel huh? Well, I guess I love you too. You are mine. Right? You look like me.” She giggled and kissed him on the cheek. “You’re sweet kiddo but there’s a hot looking blonde out there waiting for me.” He gently set Laurel down on the floor.
  66. 67. “ This place is kind of empty. We need some furniture.” Cat sighed, “I had to sell most of our belongings to get you back. Even that stupid telescope.” “ Whoa! You just can’t go and sell a man’s telescope. How am I going to get abducted now?” “ We needed the money,” she replied through gritted teeth, “to resurrect you.” “ And I appreciate it a lot. The after life was a boring scene. No babes, no juice. Just one big slow moving line of sims with suitcases. They need some more staff to handle the overflow.”
  67. 68. Her eyes narrowed. “Stanley. Who am I?” He looked at her thoughtfully for a minute or so. “Cat? Right? I…think we used to be married.” “ You think? There must have been some kind of brain damage when you died.” “ Well, that would explain some things. I seem to be missing some time. I was looking at the Crumplebottom Nebula and then bang I was hanging out with the dead and then poof I was here.” His speech pattern was animated and he waved his hands around like they had minds of their own. “I’m a bit hungry. You want something?” “ No thank you.” As Stanley walked away she rushed to the phone.
  68. 69. “ Nemo? Hello? Can I speak to Nemo please? Its an emergency.” Catalina waited as she heard the phone being set down and a British female voice yell. There were sounds of laughter and a video game playing in the background. At last the phone was picked up, “Nemo!” “ Hi Cat. Why are you calling this early in the morning?” “ Stanley was struck by lightning last night and was killed.” “ What! Are you and the girls all right?” “ We’re fine. Nemo, I resurrected him with this phone thing he brought home from work and now he’s all weird.”
  69. 70. “ He’s not a zombie is he?” “ No. But he’s acting completely different.” “ How much did you pay Grim when you called?” “ I gave him everything we had 7,253 simoleons. I had to sell dry wall and tile to get that much.” “ Well there you go. You got him back but his personality has been flipped. Grim does that when you don’t pay enough. Hold on a second Cat. Let me see if anyone here has any ideas.” She could faintly hear the discussion with the ladies Nemo lived with.
  70. 71. After a few minutes Nemo came back to the phone. “Sarah suggests that you could kill him again and re-resurrect him paying the same amount His personality should flip back to something close to the way he was but he may lose some more knowledge.” “ I can’t do that! “ You want me to come over and kill him? I can be there in about 15 minutes.” “ No!” She paused and sighed, “this is a nightmare.” “ I wish you had called me before you called Grim. We could have given you the money you needed.”
  71. 72. “ The only thing I could think of was getting him back as soon as possible. Before the girls found out. What am I going to do now?” “ If you are not willing to kill him then there isn’t much you can do except learn to like the new Stanley or…you know, pray for another bolt of lightening.” “ How can you be so callus about this? We’re talking about a life Nemo. This isn’t some kind of game where you are God and get to randomly change peoples lives.” There was a moment of silence on the other end of the line. Then, “Do you need me to come over Cat?” “ No. I guess I will just have to make the most of what has happened. Thanks anyway.” Numbly she hung up the phone.
  72. 73. Cat made sure the girls got out to the school bus quickly and had very little contact with their father. She wanted to talk to them about what happened before they experienced the “new Stanley”. In the dinning room, Stanley inhaled a plate of spaghetti and mumbled a good bye to the girls as they rushed down the stairs and to the bus yelling “bye daddy” as they went. Cat quietly closed the front door and picked up the phone. Other people needed to know about what happened.
  73. 74. A bit later across town… Heidi wasn’t sure how to start this conversation. They had gotten so far only to suffer such a potentially fatal setback. The board was not going to be happy. Deep breath Heidi. This wasn’t your fault. How was I supposed to know he would be struck by lighting? “Umm…Sir? I apologize for the interruption but we have an emergency.”
  74. 75. “ Yes? What is it?” G adjusted his tie and checked the trim on his goatee. The stupid barber always cut the left side just a little bit too short. That’s the last time I go see that stupid servo. “ Stanley James was struck by lightening on his first night stargazing. He was killed…” G spun around quickly, “What!?”
  75. 76. “ Dr. James was killed but his wife was able to resurrect him this morning. She…” “ Why didn’t you say that to begin with?” “ I…, you interrupted me sir. His wife was able to resurrect him but there have been some significant alterations to his personality and he seems to be missing bits of his memories. “ But he’s still alive and he still knows he is a scientist?” “ It appears so. I requested that Dr. Krug get him down to the lab to run a full evaluation on him as soon as possible.”
  76. 77. “ I swear this little pet project has been the biggest thorn in my side. I suppose he will be absolutely terrified of the telescope and we have no chance of getting an abduction now?” “ It’s certainly a possibility though Mrs. James said that he was upset about the telescope being gone. I will know more tomorrow after his exam. The family took a huge financial loss to get Stanley back. I thought I might reimburse them the costs…” G’s head felt like it was going to pop. “It’s a good thing that we have a big budget for this little fiasco. Fine. Whatever they need. Just get him back in front of that telescope.” “ Yes sir.” Heidi quickly headed back to her desk to make some calls.
  77. 78. G slumped onto the antique sofa and stared at the cold fireplace in front of him. He didn’t really see what the Board wanted with this project. What kind of profit was there in alien babies? A freak chance of nature and everything may have just gone down the drain! “What the hell do I tell the Board?” He muttered to himself.
  78. 79. “ You could just get rid of them Goopy. Sneak into their offices and cut their bloated, useless throats. You could run this business a hundred times better than they can. All you need to do is…”
  79. 80. “ God, I need a drink.” He stood and grabbed his coat. Heidi could handle the emergency without him.
  80. 81. “ Oh yes! That’s a much better choice. Pickle your brain on alcohol and bad music. No wonder you never get anywhere in this would G.” The door closed with a click. “Don’t worry though, I’ve got your best interests at heart. Eventually you will come round to my way of thinking. They always do.”
  81. 82. Next time in A Corporate Conspiracy… “ How could I have missed that?”  Click
  82. 83. “ What the…? What just happened?”
  83. 84. “ Oh my god! No no no no no no! Don’t die Stanley! Wake up wake up wake up! Faster! What! She lost!?”
  84. 85. “ What do I do now?” No, I’m not over emoting. Stanley James died. On the first night I sent him out to the telescope. He was fine and there was no rain and then Bam! He ran into the house, his icon disappeared and I had to make some very quick decisions.
  85. 86. I pulled out my books. The family had a total of 200 plus simoleons in their account. After selling back every thing I thought the family didn’t need plus paint and tile and the walls to the adult bedroom up stairs I was still short. Do I kaching them until the have enough? That really is cheating. Do I exit without saving? I have never done that before. It’s just not my style. Stanley is dead and if I don’t get him back much of my planned story will be gone. What happens if I don’t pay full price but still have enough to not get a zombie?
  86. 87. You get a sim who is the opposite of himself. This could work. Stanley lost a whole lot of skill points and flipped his personality. Pre lightening bolt Stanley (10/1/6/1/7) versus post lightening bolt Stanley (0/9/4/9/3).
  87. 88. I decided to go with the flow and accept the hard curve ball the game threw at me. In some ways it will make Stanley’s changing superego make more sense. And I have more material to write for Catalina now as she deals with his changes and the fact that she is no longer married and attracted to one particular passive, aggressive simself.
  88. 89. Stats for Laurel Jane James (seen here playing with Kellie) : Virgo (10/2/10/6/7); high interest in science fiction. She is a personality clone of Melinda but we won’t hold that against her.
  89. 90. Just to show where the family is building wise, here are some pictures of the house taken before the addition of another bathroom downstairs (behind the stairs- it’s were Stanley died.) and the lightening strike. There is a sink, alarm and smoke detector in every room being used.
  90. 91. The second floor. The large empty space will eventually become a master bedroom/bath and skilling area. After the lightening bolt the master bedroom walls were taken down but the handicap required items stayed. At the time of this picture the space was basically a pass thorough.
  91. 92. <ul><li>The Queen of Hearts cheats at chess and steals newspapers! </li></ul><ul><li>Thanks for reading! I hope you liked it. </li></ul>

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