A Piratical Legacy Chapter 24 - The Roman Scheme
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A Piratical Legacy Chapter 24 - The Roman Scheme A Piratical Legacy Chapter 24 - The Roman Scheme Presentation Transcript

  • Chapter 24 – The Roman SchemeGreetings, readers, and welcome back to another installment of A Piratical Legacy! I suggest you read my previous updates if youve never readthis story before - if you dont, I think much of what follows will confuse you.Also, if youre having trouble figuring out who is who, I recommend visiting http://purplebunny.tribalpages.com for the Buccaneer family tree.Everyone who has been born into the family to this point is listed, along with their spouse (if any). Apparently tribalpages doesnt support same-sexmarriage, though, so occasionally a wife or husband is listed as the opposite. Sorry about that but if youve read the legacy youll be able to pick outwhos who (probably).
  • When we last left the Buccaneer family, Grace Buccaneer had succeeded at getting three businesses to level ten. Here I present to you the fourth:Bayside Beach. Engaged couples can get married on the beach, rent the spacious hall for their reception, and purchase everything they might needfor their nuptials in the attached boutique.This was the beachside park where Grace and Lee had gotten married so many years previously, and when it went on the market Grace had to snapit up.
  • While the store was a popular one, business was slow at first. Nadine Fitzhugh wasnt the most competent of people to work the cash register,initially at least, and the lines occasionally got pretty long. Nor were the denizens of Pirate Island the most patient of customers. Still, the businesspopularity gradually crept upwards.
  • "Uncle Jack, you really want to buy a wedding arch, dont you," Grace said winningly, flashing a dazzling smile at her several-times-great uncle."My esteemed niece, I crossed the threshold of the consecrated state of matrimonial ecstasy some centuries previously," Jack said. "And yet, yourverbal communication is extraordinarily compelling to me. I feel I must acquire said bridal portico without further ado.""If youll just step this way, then," Grace said, leading Jack towards the cash register. "You wont regret it, Uncle Jack. This arch is the epitome ofwedding arches.""Indeed," Jack said, reaching for his wallet. "Though I shall have to acquire additional grand-offspring-in-law to attain any measurable use fromthis exceptionally frivolous product."
  • Occasionally, the wedding parties renting the facility would want some extra decorations, ones that really enhanced the whole beachfront weddingexperience. Grace was happy to provide said decorations - for a fee, of course.
  • And if the clients didnt pay up immediately? Well, that was no skin off Graces back. She would quite happily destroy decorations rather than let anon-paying customer have the use of them.Now, whether this was due to her cheapskate nature or just because she liked a good smash was up for debate. With pirates it could go either way.
  • In any case, it wasnt long before Graces wedding business was awarded the best of the best award from the wedding industry itself. The awardwas sure to bring in additional customers quickly, and Grace felt certain that it wouldnt be long until her boutique/hall/wedding service would berecognized as the best and most profitable on the island.
  • Therefore, she really didnt feel guilty about leaving the business in car!"the capable care of her employees occasionally and spending timewith her family. "Now, kids... theres plenty of cars and abductions for everyone," Roche, ever the peacemaker, said soothingly. "So no more arguing,The family that plays video games together is a happy family indeed. okay?""But I wish that you guys would just play Used Car Salesman with "Fine," the children chorused in aggrieved unison.me sometime," Zing complained as he passed off his controller toShih. "I bet if you tried it youd like it." "Thats enough gaming for today anyway," Grace said. "Come on, all three of you - time to brush your hair and change into clean clothes."Id rather be abducted by aliens," Shih declared. "Thatd be way The headmaster will be over tonight."more fun than selling someone a rotten old dirty smelly stinky used
  • "Ah, Mr. Walter," Lee said, shaking the headmasters hand firmly, "so nice of you to join us tonight.""Merely a formality, merely a formality," Vince Walter said with a smile. "The Buccaneer family is, of course, always admitted to our illustriousranks. Why, it would be breaking tradition to deny entrance to your presumably wonderful children, Mr. Buccaneer.""Thats good to hear," Lee said with a smile. "Still, I dont believe youve been here since my father-in-law redecorated... would you like a tourwhile Andrew finishes preparing dinner?""That would be great."
  • "I dont see why we gotta wear these stupid uniforms," Shih and electroplate silver onto a copper penny!"grumbled the next morning as she and her brother headed to thewaiting school bus. "We look like dorks!" "Uh, I think the Professors specialty is acting and Shakespeare and stuff," Zing said."It means that were better and more important than the otherstudents," Zing said loftily. "And besides, we get to go to private "Well, as long as I get to do lighting and tech," Shih said. "Notschool for free because of how important our family is. Thats a boring stuff like acting."pretty big honor, Shih. You should be proud." "Hurry up you two or the bus will leave without you!" Grace yelled"Well, I hope our new teacher lets us do more fun stuff," Shih said. from the kitchen, and the kids took off at a run."Like I wanna dissect a frog, and freeze a flower in liquid nitrogen,
  • "So?" Gertie asked once the kids were home again that evening. scale, and Im supposed to capture a butterfly and keep it alive til"How was your first day of private school?" tomorrow and bring it to class to study!""It was awesome!" Shih giggled, not taking her eyes off of the TV "How come youre still wearing your uniform if you got to changescreen. "Okay, now left, Zing! Left! Right! Left! Yeah!" out of it?" Mr. Flavius asked, suppressing a grin."What was so awesome about it?" Alans friend, who the kids "Cause were not supposed to tell... any... one... oops."referred to as Mr. Flavius, asked. "Its okay, I wont let on," Mr. Flavius grinned. "So do you like your"Well, Professor Butters let us change out of the dorky uniforms as new teacher?"soon as we got there, for one thing," Shih said enthusiastically. "Andshe taught us about color palettes and painting, and I learned a C "Yeah!"
  • Even though Shih and Zing might display unmistakeable signs of sibling rivalry from time to time, the truth was that they were incredibly close toeach other and considered each other their best friend above all others.
  • The last time I chronicled the story of the Buccaneer family, some questions were raised. Two mysterious figures in Roman attire began to concocta nefarious scheme... now it is time to learn a few answers... and perhaps raise a few more questions.The man in Roman red is Sejanus Toyonaga, heir to the Toyonaga lineage of the extended Buccaneer family. He is a nice, kind, good, and friendlyfamily man who wants nothing more than to graduate three children from college with the help of his wife Ellen.Taking his first uncertain steps from Sejanus reassuringly strong arms is Ellen and Sejanus firstborn child, a boy they named Justinian.
  • Before long, Justinian was ready to celebrate a birthday and Sejanus and Ellen were awaiting the birth of their second child.In attendance at the party were Sejanus parents (Scipio and Tara Toyonaga), Ellens parents (Aspen and Denise Avidreader*), and Sejanus auntand uncle, Septimus and Octavia.====* simself of avidreader2466
  • Justinian shoveled down his cake and then immediately began chatting up his maternal grandparents. Denise, at least, was more inclined to spendtime playing video games than talking to her grandson, but Aspen was quite happy to bond with the boy."Do you think youll end up dressing Roman or Piratical or Puritanical?" he asked the boy enthusiastically."Daddy says I can decide for myself," Justinian responded. "But I think I wanna be a Roman like my dad.""Thats pretty cool even if you do have to wear a dress most of the time," Aspen nodded."But Grandpa, how come you and Grandma arent old like my other grandparents?""You can thank your Grandma Denise for that," Aspen said. "Simself powers and all."
  • "Yuck!" Justinian declared as Aspen and Denise got off of the couch and proceeded to stalk each other. "You guys are gross! Just like my momand dad!"
  • "It is good to see that you continue the familys Roman tradition," Octavia Toyonaga said to her brothers and her nephew as they ate their cake inthe dining room. "Traditional names... traditional dress... nephew Sejanus, you do our family line proud. In fact, you do the entire Buccaneerlineage proud.""Thanks... I guess," Sejanus shrugged. "But its not really anything special... I mean, we dont go out of our way to do it. We just all seem to like ahealthy breeze about our privates. The skirt and toga really is liberating."
  • "If you say so," Septimus chuckled. "Personally, I think we owe it to our ancestors to be all that we can be, you know? Embracing our heritage isonly part of that. Did you know that in Rome our family rules the entire empire?""I was aware of that, yes," Sejanus said. "But what does that have to do with us on Pirate Island? Were thousands of miles and years from AncientRome.""But are we?" Septimus asked softly. Sejanus didnt hear him and thus, didnt respond.
  • Sejanus gave little heed to his strangely obsessed uncles words because he and Ellen were more than preoccupied with their growing family.Scipio passed on, but the family was soon joined by another baby boy, Crassus.Worry about anything was the farthest thing from the familys mind.
  • Sejanus was a man who had been thoroughly blessed with uncles, and so we now visit his Uncle Benjamin. Benjamin Toyonaga had married intothe tiger-skinned branch of the Buccaneer family and could often be found singing the sea chantey with his son, Rajah, and his grandchildren,Shere Khan and Angora."Cmon, Khan," Angora said eagerly to her cousin, "Lets go see if Zing wants to play Used Car Salesman!""Do Not Want!" Shere Khan protested."Nah, me neither," Angora said. She grinned devilishly for a moment, pulled a pillow out of her inventory, and attempted to whack Khan over thehead.Khan ducked at the last possible minute and danced out of the way of the pillow while he drew his own. "FAIL." he giggled.
  • "Did you kids remember to pick up all the feathers after you finished playing?" Angoras father, Pierce, asked the kids as they sat down to anevening meal of pancakes."Yes, Uncle Pierce," Shere Khan said glumly. "Why we had to clean da mess?""Because we dont want feathers getting into the swimming pool," Rani, Pierces wife, chuckled.Shere Khan nodded and shoveled his pancakes into his mouth. "Nom nom nom."
  • "Hey mom, guess what?" Angora cried the next afternoon when she got home from school. "I got all As and so did Shere Khan!""Thats great!" Rani said enthusiastically. "Now you can go to Professor Butters private school with your cousins!""Oh good," Angora said. "Schools been pretty boring without them."
  • "My mom said we get to go to school with Zing and Toshi and the others," Angora said later while sh and her cousin were upping their fun bars."Isnt that great?""Thanks be to Ceiling Cat!" Shere Khan cheered. "I heard the professor is pretty cool, Angie. This is going to be so much fun! Well, as much funas school can be.""Yeah, no kidding," Angora said. She dropped her hands. "Well, my fun bar is maxed out, Khan. Im gonna do my homework now. You coming?"
  • A little ways down the road, another little girl was dreaming, but there were no sugarplums dancing in her head.No, what Toshiko Buccaneer usually dreamed about would have her on permanent watch by the Department of Homeland Security if they knewabout her, though whether as a suspect or a possible recruit is uncertain.
  • "Boom!" she cried, propelling her toy ICBM around the room. "Take that, you dirty terrorists! And that! And that!"She set the rocket down for a moment and pulled a pennywhistle out of her pocket, playing a few notes. "Okay, guys, that was a great drill. Nextattack, key of C. Take the note from me."
  • "Hey Zing, what did you think of our homework? Did you finish already?"Whatever Toshiko Buccaneer heard from her cousin on the other end of the phone, it evidently didnt satisfy her."I cant believe you think that, Zing," Toshi said incredulously. "Its obvious that the answer is ICBM. In a B-sharp chord. No, I dont think that theanswer is Alaska. I still say its ICBM."
  • The conversation continued for several minutes and moved on to lighter topics. "Of course Ill check with my mom. Maybe she can set us straight."Toshi hung up the phone and went in search of one of her moms.
  • Meanwhile, upstairs Bart Buccaneer was pounding the ivories - not because he had any special musical talent, but because he loved to hear thesound reverberating through the house.
  • "Youre awfully hot when you play like that," his wife De purred as she listened to him.Even after three kids and two grandkids, they still acted like newlyweds.
  • Bart finished flirting with his wife and headed outside to do hisgardening. Toshi, meanwhile, had found her mother Kelly outside "I said it was ICBMs, but Zing said it was Alaska," Toshi grumbled.and posed the homework question that had her and Zing so stumped. "An Im sure Im right, but he says that he is too!""Mom, what was a major cause of tension between Russia and the "Youre both right," Kelly said, laughing a bit at the look of disgustUnited States in the twentieth century?" Toshi asked as she danced that then crossed Toshikos face. "Sometimes theres more than oneon her mothers toes. right answer, Toshi.""What do you think it is?" Kelly asked. "Mines better," Toshi said sullenly.
  • "My kids the smartest kid on Pirate Island," Kelly said to herself as she "danced" in the living room later that evening.
  • "How did you and Zing do on your homework assignment?" Kelly asked the next afternoon when the entire family was seated for a late lunch."We both got full marks," Toshi said happily. "But I still think my answer was better."
  • "What was your homework about?" Bart asked. He was curious about such things as he was heavily involved in the education system in hisposition of Education Minister."The Cold War," Toshi responded, taking a bite of her grilled cheese sandwich. "Zing and I had completely different answers and we both got thequestion right!""Good for you," Bart chuckled. "Do you like your teacher, Toshi?""Yeah, shes pretty cool," Toshi said after a moments consideration. "Shes teaching me more music, but she wont let me build rockets in theclassroom."
  • However, Toshi built enough rockets at home to more than make up for that lack in her education.
  • Little Liv Pseudo was the only one of her cousins who wasnt quite big enough to go to school yet. However, she kept her days filled with the giantrabbit head and her red potty, so she didnt feel the lack.
  • She also spent some time with her Uncle Nick and Uncle Greens dog, Rags, and cat, Kilo. The two of them were always happy to have toddlersnuggles.
  • Livs big brother, Hugo, was big enough to go to school with his cousins, but he didnt necessarily like it very much. While he wasnt nearly aspleasure-minded as his mother, Orikes*, he would definitely rather jump on the bed than do his homework or go to class.===* simself of orikes360
  • "You said Alaska? And Toshi said missiles? But I thought the answer was Cuba!" Hugo yelped into the phone. It was a good thing ProfessorButters encouraged cooperative efforts in her classroom because her students certainly engaged in it.
  • "Mommmmyyyyyy... bunny is broken!" Liv protested. "Wanna make it bubbles, but no bubbles, just noises like aminals. Dis toy is boring!""You can play with bubbles when youre older," Orikes said fondly. "Right now, you build up that charisma skill in case you want to be aprofessional party guest, okay?""Bubbles!""Later, darling."
  • "Grandpa, do you know what caused all the problems between Russia and the USA during the twentieth century?" Hugo asked Roche."Oh, I didnt pay attention in class," Roche chuckled. "Barely passed and made my way through college. Dont look to me as an example ofscholarly pride, Hugo mlad.""I do pretty good," Hugo said solemnly as he held out his hands for Red Hands. "Did my dad do good at school?""Yes, all of my children were great students," Roche said proudly. "As are my grandkids! Didnt take after me in that regard at all."
  • Speaking of teachers, the Professor* herself, while fully immersed in her teaching duties, did have other responsibilities as well. She was a wife, amother, and a pet owner, as this picture clearly shows. Since her husband, Flavius Marius, was often exhausted after a long days work in the PirateIsland military, the Professor often found herself making dinner in the evening. It was a fair trade-off, though - Flavius fed the cats in the morningand got their daughter Lucretia out of bed and dressed as well.As for the cats... well, theres a story behind their acquisition which youll have to read in one of my previous volumes. Suffice to say, Circe andLoki arent nearly as hungry as their careful study of dinner-in-progress would make them appear to be.===* simself of Loolooloo16Play, aka ProfessorButters
  • "How was teaching?" Flavius asked as he waltzed into the kitchen. "Broaden any minds? Meet Anyone New?""Just the same kids Ive been teaching for the past several months," the Professor said. "Theyre good kids, though.""And Lucretias the best of them!" Flavius said."Id feel a lot better if she didnt look so much like Cassius," the Professor said sternly."Shes a Squeaky Clean, Roman girl with good morals," Flavius said. "Like all the Romans here on Pirate Island.""Flavius, sometimes youre too optimistic for your own good," Professor Butters-Marius said fondly. "Now go change Lucretias diaper, and thenwe can spin her to child."
  • "I wish you kitties were nicer," Lucretia said that evening when shed changed into an outfit befitting a Roman princess. "I think youre the meanestkitties Ive ever met. Ow! Loki, no biting!"
  • Ching Shih stopped by to visit for a few minutes before it got dark out."How are the cats?" she asked sympathetically while Lucretia rubbed her scratched hand."Theyre evil," Lucretia complained. "And they wont even have kittens!""That stinks," Shih commiserated. She gave her friend a spontaneous hug. "But if they do ever have kittens, can I have one?"
  • Across town, another group of Romans was gathered together and though they were sharing dessert it wasnt birthday cake."Sejanus, nephew, how good of you to join us at such short notice," Octavia purred. "My brother and I were afraid you would already have plans.""I have a few minutes before I have to head home," Sejanus shrugged. "So what did you want to talk to me about? It sounded important over thephone."
  • "Its about the future of our family," Octavia said. "Im afraid if we dont act now, our entire lineage will be doomed!""Thats awfully melodramatic," Sejanus observed. "Just get to the point, Auntie. What do you want?""The government of Pirate Island has gone to the dogs," Octavia continued after sharing a glance with her twin brother. "And so has the Buccaneerfamily. We Toyonagas are the only ones capable of running the island properly. Its time for a coup, dear nephew."
  • "What?!?" Sejanus choked on his gelatin. He coughed, and Septimus helpfully smacked him on the back. "Youre talking about ... mutiny?""Hes quick, Octavia," Septimus said approvingly. "Very quick. Yes, nephew, we plan to mutiny against the Buccaneers and place one of ourbranch of the family in the position of island chieftain. Its a few steps down from Emperor, but its what there is to be had, here.""And just who do you propose to raise as chief?" Sejanus spluttered, still coughing. "Not me! Thats for sure!""Of course not you," Octavia said in a silken voice. "But... your son... he would be a good choice.""I dont think so," Sejanus said angrily. "My family is not getting involved in your crazy schemes. For what its worth, I think Grace is doing a greatjob, and Coxinga or Ching Shih will do a great job after her. So just get the idea of running the island out of your heads - its not going to happen."
  • "Now thats where youre mistaken, my dear nephew," Septimus said with a twisted grin. "Im afraid, Sejanus, that if you arent for us... youreagainst us... and we cant have you blabbing things to Grace or Lee.""What?" Sejanus choked... and went on choking.
  • "Thats right, my dear nephew," Octavia said, getting to her feet as Sejanus clutched one hand to his stomach and the other to his throat. "Thegelatin was poisoned. If youd agreed to join us, we would have slipped you the antidote, and none the wiser. As it is..." she reached into the foldsof her gown, withdrew a vial, and took a healthy slug before passing it to Septimus."As it is, Sejanus, we wont let you stand in our way," Septimus echoed, smacking his lips as he swallowed the remainder of the antidote.
  • With a disbelieving, pleading look, Sejanus crumpled to the floor and died.Sometimes I hate this job, Susanna Buccaneer, aka the Grim Reaper, thought to herself as she arrived to collect Sejanus soul. Its not right, takingsomeone so young. I wonder what happened to him, anyway?"Stop gawking and get it out of here," Octavia snarled, glaring at Death."NO NEED TO BE RUDE," Susanna complained. She glanced at Septimus. "BY THE WAY, NICE LEGS. MAYBE WE CAN GO OUTSOMETIME.""Uhh... thanks," Septimus said. "I think.""WHAT? CANT A REAPER THINK A GUY IS CUTE? GEEZ..."
  • "Well, that was easier than I anticipated," Octavia said once the Grim Reaper was gone."He reacted much as we expected," Septimus nodded. "Now... this is the part of our plan that I find really distasteful. Shall we, my sister?""Theres no time like the present," Octavia shrugged. She stooped down, picked up Sejanus urn, and headed into the bedroom.
  • Picking up a very ... special ... phone, Octavia dialed a number from memory.
  • "Ahh... much better, " she said a few moments later, when the reanimated corpse of Sejanus stood before her. "Welcome to undeath, dear nephew."The zombie glared at her and opened his mouth to speak. Nothing but a moan issued forth.
  • "Thats right," Septimus said, smiling evilly. "You cant talk, Sejanus. Weve stolen your tongue. What a shame, huh? And the same fate awaits therest of your family unless you let us take over the ... education ... of your son, Justinian. He will sit upon the chiefs chair and rule both the islandand the Legacy, and thats final!"Sejanus moaned sadly in reply.
  • Pirate Islands private elementary school was a small, one-room building that mostly benefitted because of the favorable student-to-teacher ratio.Of course, the building was pink, having been designed by Professor Butters herself. Lets take a look inside at a typical day in the life of itsstudents, shall we?
  • There were fourteen students attending Pirate Island private school at this point in time: Angora Buccaneer, Toshiko Buccaneer, CrassusToyonaga, Coxinga Buccaneer, Shere Khan Buccaneer, Diana Deity, Ching Shih Buccaneer, Lucretia Marius, Justinian Toyonaga, Mini-Toast*,Mini-Robin**, Athena Deity, Cassandra Deity, and Hugo Pseudo.===* childified version of simself of EphemeralToast** childified version of simself of omgrobinnn
  • "Here you go, PB," Mini-Toast said, placing a bright orange reader on her teachers desk."Thank you, Toast," the Professor nodded. "Okay, students. Everybody pick up your readers and sit back and your desks. Well be reading "Catcherin the Rye" today and creating illustrated flipbooks, so make sure you pay attention to what you read."The students trudged to the back of the classroom to pick up books and returned to their desks.
  • "Psst... Toasty, what do you think the motivation for the character of Holden Caulfield is?" Justinian whispered as he pored over his book."I dunno, draw your own conclusions," Mini-Toast said. "Im not doing your work for you, okay?""But you already did school once!" Justinian protested. "You know all the answers! You used to be a grown up!""Going back to school and doing homework was not part of the deal I made with Sarah," Toast muttered, and turned a page. "I refuse to do it."
  • "I said silent reading, Toast," the Professor snickered. One suspects that as a simself herself, she was perversely enjoying Toasts annoyance athaving to go to school. "And since youve read the story before, I expect your flipbook to be twice as long as everyone elses!"
  • "Thats what the internet is for," Toast muttered to herself under her breath as she flipped happily through the pages of her comic book.* "I wonderwhat Aesculus is up to, anyway..."===* The Roots of the Willow, a Legacy by PurpleBunny and ChrisTheS in comic book form.
  • "Professor, Toasts reading comic books again," Mini-Robin announced once silent reading was over and everyone but Mini-Toast had put awaytheir books."I see," the Professor said sternly. She walked over to Toast and confiscated the comic. "Well, at least she has good taste. Toast, you may do abook report on your comic instead -- after Ive finished reading it. Ill drop it off at your place on the weekend.""I dont know whether to be happy that I dont have to read Catcher in the Rye or annoyed that I have to do homework on my comic," Toastcomplained."Prof, can I do my paper on the comic as well?" Robin asked.A few moments later, the entire assignment had been changed to a report on either the prologue chapter of The Roots of the Willow or theintroductory Sim Spade adventure.
  • After silent reading and response, it was time for oral reports on subjects previously assigned. It was Toshikos turn on this fine day.The class listened politely while the Professor tried not to look too alarmed at the way Toshiko related the bombing of terrorists to her favorite typeof cake and how to make it."Thank you, Toshiko, for that illuminating report," the Professor said as Toshiko took her seat once more. "Okay, students, time to split up into finearts groups. Music students, get your instruments and start practicing quietly at the front of the class. Dramatists, youll meet in the aisle. Painters,at the back."
  • "Oh," the Professor added as an aside as the students started to move from their desks. "Remember the subject for this weeks art project - family."
  • Lucretia Marius sighed as she picked up a book of plays off of the shelf. "Cmon, actors," she said. "Lets start practicing. I finally picked a play. Ithink A Dolls House would give a pretty good interpretation of family. What do you think?"The rest of her cast agreed emphatically while the sounds of squawking instruments filled the classroom.
  • The five students who had chosen to focus on the graphic arts, meanwhile, got out canvas and mixed their pants. Before long, all that could beheard in the classroom was the sound of paintbrushes slapping on canvas, actors arguing over who got to play which part, and musical instrumentsbeing tortured.
  • "So what are you painting, Shih?" Robin asked."My mom," Shih said. "Shes really pretty. Who are you painting?""One of my legacy sims, Nessarose Darling," Robin responded. "Who do you think the others are painting?""I dunno," Shih said. She called over to the other kids. "Hugo, Toshi, what are you guys painting?""Im painting Grandma Marie," Hugo responded."Im painting Grandpa Bart," Toshi replied. "Only hes carrying a flapjack bomb in his hand in case he sees any terrorists."
  • "And what are you painting, Justinian?" the Professor asked, prowling around the canvasses."My dad," Justinian said, smearing the canvas liberally with blue paint."My, youve made him awfully blue and decayed-looking," the Professor said. "Why, he almost looks like a--"
  • "A zombie," Justinian said, nodding. "Hes been that way for a while.""Oh... Im sorry," the Professor said awkwardly. "I hadnt heard. Are you doing okay?""Yeah, its fine," Justinian said. "Only he smells kinda bad now, and my moms sad cause she wanted another baby. But I think babies are as stinkyas zombies. I just wish they would stop hanging around.""They?""Nevermind," Justinian shrugged, studiously applying more paint. "I have to finish my painting now."
  • After class, several of the children ran out to play on the playgroundwhile they waited for their school bus. "I dunno," Justinian shrugged. "Professor said she wanted to talk to her.""Push me higher, Hugo!" Lucretia giggled, pumping her legs into theair. "Higher!" "Hope youre not in trouble!" Khan said encouragingly.For some reason, Hugo was always playing with girls. "Nah," Justinian said. "I havent done anything.""Hey, whats your mom doing in there anyway?" Khan asked "Thats what they allll say," Zing smirked.Justinian as he pushed his friend on the swing.
  • "I didnt do anything," Justinian insisted. "Stop bugging me, you guys!""Aww... were sorry," Shere Khan said contritely."You should be," Justinian muttered, but nobody heard him.
  • "Mrs. Toyonaga, you can see why Ive called you in for this meeting," Professor Butters said, gesturing towards Justinians now completedpainting. "Is it true that your husband is now a zombie?"
  • Ellen Toyonaga took one look at the canvas and burst into tears. "Its awful," she sobbed. "He just ... came home that way... and ... and ... his auntand uncle have been hanging around and theyre awful. Im sure they had something to do with it, but he wont tell me anything - he cant speak!Except whenever I want to tell his aunt and uncle to scram, Sejanus gets all upset, like theyll do something to hurt Justinian or Crassus!" With awail, she buried her face in her hands.
  • "I... see," the Professor said, wringing her hands sympathetically. "My poor dear, you must be very careful. Obviously, some sort of nefarious plothas invaded this legacy and your family has been caught in the middle.""You think?" Ellen sobbed. "What do I do?""Leave it in the hands of the simselves," the Professor said soothingly. "Ill get in touch with your mother and make sure she knows everything...and well get to the bottom of this.""Oh... thank you! Thank you!" Ellen gulped back her tears and reached across the desk to embrace the professor. "Thank you for ... for taking careof things. Ive had no one to turn to ... and my babies... I know you and my parents and the other simselves will do everything you can.""You just take care of your boys and stay strong," the professor said. "Leave everything else to me."
  • Back at one of the Buccaneer households, it was a very specal day indeed."Okay, Granpa Jack, this is it," Toshiko said solemnly, holding the bear and staring out of the window. "Its my birthday today, and there arent anykids invited. Is that a cop out or what?""Arr, missy. Methinks ye are a wee bit too explosive fer yer own age group."
  • "Aww, cmon. I dont blow things up all the time." She frowned. "I dont get to blow things up at all, actually. They dont let me play with realsplosives.""Yer maters arent as gormless as they seem sometimes, lassie. Yell have plenty o time fer uncontrolled combustive reactions when yere ateenager.""Really?""Captains honor, lass. All the fiery chemical wossnames ye can handle, and more.""Awww, yere just saying that, Granpa.""Trust me, missy, its true. Ooooh, its so true."
  • "Mom, mom!" Toshiko said excitedly as Morgan arrived home from work a little later that afternoon."Guess what?""What?" Morgan asked, ruffling Toshis hair affectionately."Granpa Jack told me I get to have chemical wossnames once Im a teenager!" Toshiko squealed.Morgan pondered the statement for a moment. "You know, I think hes right." She smiled. "Is everything ready for your party, love?""Yeah, come on inside!" Toshi said, tugging her mom by the arm towards the house. "Grandma and Grandpa just finished decorating!"
  • All was in readiness for the party, as Morgan found when she walked into the ballooned living room."Morgan, your parents are flirting again," Kelly said with a note of annoyance. "They werent very helpful at all what with all the heart-farting andwolf whistling. Next time you have to take a day off work and help, okay?"
  • A short time later, as many family members as could make the time were waiting patiently around the living room for Toshiko to blow out thecandles.
  • Well? What do you think?The general consensus amongst the Buccaneer family is that Toshi ended up pretty cute. Brains and beauty... the terrorists wouldnt stand a chance.
  • "Auntie Rose, do you know if they offer courses in Advanced Explodology at the Academie?" Toshi asked."I... will have to get back to you on that," Rose said after a moments thought. "What do your parents think of your interest in blowing things up?""I think they try not to," Toshi laughed.
  • With her birthday money, Toshi redecorated her bedroom. The new look, she felt, was much more conducive of an atmosphere for a futurecounter-terrorism agent.
  • "Dad, its my birthday today!" Hugo said excitedly as he greeted his father after work outside the Pseudo household."Sure is," Will agreed. "Come on. Lets help your mom and uncles get everything ready for the party."
  • "And how about you, Liv?" Green Boolprop, Livs uncle-by-marriage, asked as he scooped the little girl up into his arms. "Are you ready to blowout the candles and become a big girl?""Can fish come?" Liv asked, pointing at the aquarium that graced the upstairs bathroom."I dont think theyd have a very good time, since their aquarium is upstairs and theyd have to leave the water," Green said. "Come on, Liv... theguests are all downstairs!""Party!" Liv giggled. "Yay!"
  • The entire extended family was over for the ceremonial blowing out of candles for both Pseudo children. Unfortunately, the birthday cakeswouldnt fit in the house so they had to blow candles out on the lawn.
  • "Wish for bubbles!"
  • "I wish... that I have the best teenage years ever with all of my cousins and friends!"
  • "Happy birthday!" the guests all cheered."Woo! Go kids!" a random simself* who had come home from work with Will chimed in.====* simself of Netsfn1427 (Blite27)
  • "This is awesome!" Liv crowed from the bathroom once shed finished changing. "Finally! Big enough for bubbles! And... stuff! Fun stuff! This isso much better than being an infant!"
  • "Hmm... not bad, if I do say so myself," Hugo said, eyeing himself appraisingly. "Hugo, the ladies are going to love you. Well, the right one will...hopefully."Hugo was pretty confident in himself. But he didnt want to romance all the girls. Just one, preferably. What he really wanted was a steadygirlfriend.
  • Marie had plenty on her social plate these days, not just birthdays of relatives. She was still working hard towards her goal of twenty woohoos.Rhys Fitzhugh at home was number ... oh, around number ten or twelve.
  • She ran her business on-site rather than trusting her manager to run it for her most days. Customer interaction meant more chances to meet men shehad chemistry with. Of course, some she didnt have any chemistry with at all, but at this stage in her life she wasnt supremely picky about that.
  • Of course, some nuts were tougher to crack than others.
  • But not even Vidcund Curious was totally immune to her charms.
  • "Uncle Don, do you know when my mom is coming over to visit again?" Toby Biggs asked one of his five honorary uncles.Toby was being raised by a group of six single men who shared a giant bachelor pad in downtown Paris."Hopefully shes not too busy with work these days," Don agreed. "Your mom isnt in the most friendly line of work, and when shes busy it usuallymeans somebody else is pretty sad.""I know," Toby said.
  • Being raised by six bachelors meant that Toby was exposed to all kinds of things that other parents might not necessarily find age-appropriate."Toby, who would win in a fight?" Tobys dad, Gavin, asked over breakfast one morning. "Chuck Norris or Jean-Claude van Damme?""Thats easy," Toby said with the air of a connoisseur. "Chuck Norris, of course!""Dont mess with Chuck!" Borealis agreed.
  • "Ive got a present from Chuck just for all of you," Tycho Biggs, Gavins twin brother, smirked as he stood up."Hehe," Toby giggled. "Nice one, Uncle Ty.""Dude, in the dining room?" Holstein complained. "Thats just wrong!"
  • "I dont see the appeal in rockets," Toby said after a few moments consideration of the model that one of his cousins had sent him recently. "Allthey do is hurt people. Id rather drive cars... oh yeah."He put the rocket in the toy box and pulled out a toy hot rod instead. "This is more like it."A few minutes later his playtime was interrupted by the sound of a knock on the front door.
  • Toby flew out of the house and down the stairs. "Mom!" he squealed, giving his mother, Susanna Buccaneer, a giant hug. "You came!""Hows my favorite man?" Susanna smiled fondly, smoothing Tobys hair back. "I swear, Toby, youre bigger every time I see you!""Itll be my birthday in a few more weeks," Toby said proudly. "And then Ill be even bigger!""Its not fair," Anna sighed. "I wish I could keep you a kid forever.""Yeah, but then Id have to go to school forever," Toby said disgustedly. "Cmon, mom! Dad will be waiting for us inside."
  • "So, how long are you staying this time?" Gavin asked once Toby had gone to bed. "Can you at least stay til morning? It would mean a lot toToby.""Well... if I dont get any work calls," Anna said after a few minutes consideration. "You know I love spending time with my house full of men."
  • Fortunately, Annas pager didnt go off once that evening.
  • Of course, that did lead to Toby being horribly scarred by the sight of job it wouldnt be very easy to settle down anyway."his mom in her underwear the next morning before school, buthaving his mother stay over was a special enough occasion that he "I dont want to settle down when I grow up either," Toby decided.just made sure he kept his eyes on her face. "Youve got lots of time to make up your mind," Anna said"How come you and dad never got married?" Toby asked. indulgently. "Now, shouldnt you get ready for school?""You do save up the hard questions for when I come over, dont you," "Will you be here when I get home?"Anna chuckled. "If I dont get any work calls," Anna promised. "Otherwise, Ill be"Thats cause Dad and Uncle Ty tell me to," Toby explained. here in time for your birthday for sure, and maybe even sooner!""Figures," Anna said. "Well, the reason your dad and I never got "Youd better!"married is because neither of us wanted to settle down. And with my
  • "ZOMG! So I totally aced my speling test! Irony FTW!" Mini-Robin announced proudly to the first of her simself guardians she could find whenshe got home from school."Thats terrific," Pen* said with a smile. "Of course you do have the advantage of having gone through school twice.""I think its stupid Toast and I have to keep going," Robin grumbled. "But I guess I understand why. If we didnt go, none of the other kids wouldwant to go either so we have a responsibility. At least we dont have to do high school over again."====*simself of penguingirl0384
  • "Im starting to sympathize with our legacy sims," Ruby* said as shetook a long sip of her juice. "Im not too keen on this parenting "I think its too late for that," Michelle *** pointed out with a wrything." chuckle."Hey, both Mini-Toast and Mini-Robin got their report cards back "At least they go to bed early," Ruby pointed out.today and they have straight As," Pen said with a shrug. "Obviouslywere not doing that bad of a job." ==== * simself of Ah Rubyblue"I still think parenting those two is going to drive us all to drink," ** simself of Jnnfr123770, aka NdainyeJenn** said with a shudder as she tossed back her own juice. *** simself of Michael Fobbs, aka MichelleFobbs
  • "Gnight, Robin," Toast said as she got under her stereotypical goth covers.
  • "Gnight Toast," Robin replied as she did likewise. "Hey, do you know why they made us decorate our bedroom all goth-like?""Something about helping out a fellow simmer show off Teen Style Stuff," Toast said sleepily. "Go to sleep Robin. Im not talking anymore."It hadnt taken Toast long to learn that Robin would talk for half the night if given the chance.
  • "Michelle, its official. We are now and forevermore labelled as Bad danger of firey death," Michelle pointed out.Sims," Jenn said. "Is it my fault the firefighters are cute?" Jenn demanded. "Hey,"What?" Michelle asked, looking around. shouldnt we begin panicking now?""The microwave!" Jenn said, panicking. "Its on fire!" "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea," Michelle agreed."Well, if youd take your ramen out when it was finished instead of Fortunately, they did have an alarm and neither of them died.waiting for the cute firefighters to do it, maybe we wouldnt be in Simselves. Pah.
  • The man-maid had just given up cleaning the kitchen in disgust and the girls finished their homework when there was a knock at the door. Michellewent to answer it and was surprised to find Professor Butters standing on the doorstep."Prof!" she said. "What brings you here? And wont you come in?"
  • "Its about the girls," PB said as she preceded Michelle into the house."What have they done this time?" Michelle asked, rolling her eyes and pushing the door closed. "Can I get you a juice?""No, Im fine and theyve been remarkably well-behaved, aside from reading comic books instead of textbooks," the Professor reassured Michelle."I just need to talk to Toast for a minute.""Ill call her down," Michelle nodded. "She and Robin got a new computer and had to load Sim City 4 on it right away. But she usually comeswhen we call. I think its because it usually means one of us has cooked something."
  • A few minutes later, a slightly annoyed Mini-Toast was downstairs."If its about Artemis and the pink full-body tattoo, I had nothing to do with it," Toast said hurriedly when she saw her teacher/fellow simselfwaiting in the foyer.The Professors eyes widened. "Youll have to tell me about that later, but thats not why Im here. Its about Justinian.""The creepy Roman kid with a zombie dad?""Thats the one," the Professor affirmed. "Theres something going on with that family, Toast. Something... plotty. And I think you and Robin aregoing to be instrumental in solving the mystery."
  • "Us?" Toast asked, blinking in surprise. "But were just kids! What can we do?""Grow up with him. Befriend him. Get him to take you into his confidence," the Professor said. "Im stopping at Justinians grandparents housenext, but I wanted to get you and Robin on board first.""Wait..." Toast said suspiciously. "Does this meen we have to be teenagers? Cause thats just not fair.""Yes, youll have to grow up," the Professor said patiently. "But... well... I dont think anyone else on the island can get close to Justinian like youcan. The legacy kids could, but I think they might be at risk. They should be spending less time with Justinian if they can help it. Anyway, Imtrusting that you and Robin can act as our child informants. Some of the simselves and I will work at it from more conventional angles but youreour aces in the hole.""Well.. when you put it that way," Toast shrugged. " I guess it couldnt hurt. But I am not doing pimples."
  • "Level eight, huh?" Lee looked his wife up and down appreciatively. "Thats fantastic, dear! Im not quite at the top of my career yet so you stillhave time to catch up.""I love it when you talk money at me," Grace purred.
  • "Mom, I really like it when we dance instead of talking about is worried were going to lose money, but thats still money-centric.money," Shih said happily as she and her mom slap-danced around But your aunts and uncles arent nearly as worried about finance, andthe living room. your grandparents... well, I think what they like best is having a good time, in their own ways.""It is a good idea to take a break sometimes," Grace agreed. "Youreally dont like money, do you, Shih." "Exactly," Shih said."Its a tool, just like everything else," Shih shrugged. "I can see its "Yes, I think youll do," Grace said with a small smile. "Honey, dovalue in the grand scheme of things, but I dont feel the desire to you know what a legacy heir is supposed to do?"amass more of it. Id rather use money to find things out and do stuff,you know?" "Uh-uh.""I suppose I can appreciate that sentiment," Grace said. "I mean, I "Let me tell you..."like getting money and your father likes getting money. Your brother
  • With one worry off of her mind, Grace headed to her shop to put in a few hours of work before the kids got home from school. She was groomingNadine to take over as manager once the store reached top level, and so that meant rotating her through all of the positions so she could get hersilver badges. That meant that Grace had to spend time restocking instead of interacting with customers, but she didnt really mind.
  • Unfortunately, that meant that Ash Thayer (great-uncle Jacks youngest son) was working the till, and he wasnt very fast. The customers startedgetting annoyed and Grace ended up closing up early to clean up the mess several of them made when they flung their bags down on the floor andstalked out of the store in disgust."Sorry boss," Ash said sheepishly as he helped pick things up."Its okay," Grace said magnanimously. "Youre still learning. But I do expect to see some improvement tomorrow, okay?""I wont disappoint," Ash promised.
  • Grace got home just as her kids were getting off of the school bus and she was delighted to find out that both Shih and Zing had stellar report cards."And mom, we brought friends home from class!" Shih said excitedly. "Can they stay over and play until supper time?""Of course!" Grace smiled.
  • "Yay!" Zing said, overhearing his moms permission. "Okay, Justininan, youre it!""No way!" Justinian protested, but he took off after Zing down the sidewalk at a run."Hey, what are they doing?" Zing asked, stopping short and allowing Justinian to tag him."Girl stuff," Justinian said with a grimace. "Im sure glad I dont have a sister. Having an aunt is bad enough.""Lets see if they want to play too," Zing suggested.
  • "No boys allowed to play this game," Shih said sternly when her brother and Justinian walked over. "Why dont you two boys run off and play.""Yeah!" Liv chimed in. "This is a girl game.""Well, if you put it that way," Justinian said, "we dont want to play anyway. Come on, Zing. Lets play tag some more!" And he took off at a run.
  • "Good, theyre gone," Liv said. "That kid Justinian kind of creeps me out.""Me too," Shih said. "But I guess he cant help that his father is a zombie. Poor guy."
  • Zing and Shihs playmates left and the guests soon began arriving for Zings birthday party. He was excited to think that he was almost old enoughto get a job."I wish... for my sister to be the heir and take over the family debts!" Zing said to himself. He was careful not to voice his wish aloud. Then heleaned forward and blew out the candles.
  • "Oh yes," he said appreciatively once hed changed. "This is what Im talkin about."
  • Outside on the patio, Anna approached Grace somewhat hesitantly."I need to talk to you," she said slowly."Oh? What is it?""Its... about something I saw at work a few weeks ago," Anna said, biting her lip nervously. "I shouldnt even be telling you this, Grace, but Imworried. A few weeks ago I was called to a house here on the island. One of the Romans was lying dead in someones kitchen... poison.""What?!?"
  • "It was murder," Anna said. "And... to make things worse, they raised him as a zombie not an hour later.""Why would they do that? Grace asked."I can only think they have some nefarious plot in mind," Anna said. "Things have been quiet with this family for far too long... I think you andyour kids are all in danger, Grace.""Dont be silly," Grace said with a laugh. "Well be fine. We have Andrew here to protect us. We have nothing to worry about, Anna.""I wish I could be so certain..."
  • "So? What happens next?" my husband asked eagerly."Wouldnt you like to know?" I chuckled. "Youll just have to wait for the next update like everyone else, my dear..."To be continued...-->
  • "Hmm... technique isnt bad. Sloppy use of colour, but great concept just the same.""Nicholas ... get out!"