Chapter 30 – Coming of Age Part 1A Piratical LegacyChapter 30: Coming of AgePart 1
"Yeah, its gonna be HUGE! Of course you can invite your neighbor--the more the merrier. See you all at seven!"
And with those immortal words, the biggest party at Arravast House yet began.Of course it was started by a huge traffic ja...
Ian and Angora never did make it into the party, much to the relief of the other party-goers. That much cuteness was coma-...
Shih made her way downstairs, turned on a radio, and started                Unc Green," she said. "Next year Ill be the on...
"Now, now," Green admonished as the three of them were joined by         Shih, and were on the same page about most things...
"Like what?" Livs first shot had been successful so she lined up a second."Well, its about our house," Nick chimed in. "Yo...
"Well..." Liv considered. She turned to her sister-in-law. "What do you think, Lainey? Are you willing to be mom and dads ...
"Well then," Liv said, pursing her lips as she finished the shot and moved out of Laineys way, "I accept.""Terrific," Gree...
Speaking of Livs mother, Orikes was upstairs, participating in a much larger group slapdance than the one Shih was attempt...
Toby walked into the room and his eyes immediately lit on the object of his affection... or possibly obsession. He hadnt a...
"Oh, right," Toby said, blushing. He shook his head in confusion--he     nodded.never blushed! "Uh, enjoying the party, Op...
She turned back to rejoin the dancing crowd. "Ill think about it, okay?""Dont think for too long," Toby said in frustratio...
As the party began to wind down, Coxinga Buccaneer convinced his younger sister to go outside with him for a few minutes."...
"Aww, thats sweet of you," Shih grinned. "Of course Ill join. How long is the pledging in period?""Twenty-four hours of co...
Once all of the guests had left, Toby finally allowed himself to give in to the jubilation he was feeling. With a gleeful ...
Parties at the Greek house were a regular occurrence that semester, and by the time the next one rolled around Shih was mu...
Toby being Toby, he still managed to parade an array of women in and out of his bedroom despite his upcoming date with Oph...
...the mail carrier...
...and several fellow students.However, Toby somehow doubted that Ophelia would have such disastrous results.
"Woooooooot!" Ching Shih barrelled into her brothers bedroom,pounding on her chest and grunting like a Bigfoot.           ...
"All the dormies smell so bad," Shih complained. "But I guess I can     "Life aint fair, kid," Zing grinned. "And the char...
In the kitchen downstairs, a very awkward game of kicky-bag wastaking place.                                              ...
Perhaps the threat was why Lainey didnt warn Toast that the ghost of the stupid dormie was right behind her.Lainey snicker...
Justinian, meanwhile, had escaped outside to avoid the pseudo-fight     sim," Justinian protested.between Toast and Lainey...
Coxinga was busy. He and Shere Khan were working on a way to enable male pregnancy, so that same sex couples could conceiv...
He was concentrating so intently, he didnt even notice when Toby set the kitchen on fire a few minutes later.Fortunately, ...
While Zing hadnt noticed the fire initially, he certainly soon realized that his clothing needed to be washed in the worst...
A few minutes later, after Zing had lost his third game in a row, he suddenly waved his arms in frustration. "Aaaaaah!""Wh...
"Tobys been in the bathroom for an hour and I really gotta pee!"Shih snickered. "You know, there are two other washrooms i...
She crossed the kitchen. "Hey, Toby... this pizza any good?""Hmm? Yeah!" came the muffled response.Shih shrugged and took ...
In the living room, Ian Legacina was dancing away. In fact, he was trying to warm up; hed spent a considerable amount of t...
"Whats up?" Ian asked, as Angora continued past him to plant herself in front of a large green easy chair."Nothin," Angora...
"Visible me," Shere Khan, occupant of the green easy chair, said. "Does you want a cookie?""I just heard a crazy rumor abo...
"Yeah," Shere Khan said, grinning. "We promises caek. Once we has unsuspecting guinea pigs - er, volunteers, we finds if c...
With a happy smile, Shere Khan plopped out of the chair and onto the floor. He reached under the chair and grabbed a noteb...
A few days later, a very nervous Toby Biggs strolled down a bustling Paris street a lot more confidently than he actually ...
"I live just around the corner," she shrugged. "Saw you coming a mile off. I figured since Im doing you such a huge favor ...
"Wow... I cant believe you got a reservation at Londoste," Opheliasaid approvingly as she followed Toby into the restauran...
"Dont be afraid to order whatever you like," Toby said once theyd been shown to their seats. "The skys the limit, Ophelia....
Before long, their food arrived, as well as the very expensive champagne Toby had ordered."Id like to propose a toast," To...
Once their drinks had been replaced (to the disapproving sniff of the        why have you been saying no, if you dont mind...
"I guess youre not as unnatural as I thought," Ophelia conceded after   got to say that youre the hottest woman Ive ever k...
As soon as theyd finished their dinner, Toby jumped out of his chair and pulled Ophelia to her feet as well."Whoa... I tho...
In response, Toby pulled her close and kissed her soundly."Hmm... I think Id like some more of that," Ophelia said breathl...
"So... how did you like dessert?"
Ophelia sighed contentedly and swung out of bed. She hastily donned her clothing and waited until Toby had done likewise, ...
"Guess what?" Robin said to Lucretia as they checked the bulletin board in their dorms cafeteria to see if there was anyth...
While they were out, Robin found the perfect opportunity to do what shed been wanting to do for a long time: propose to Lu...
When they got home, a particularly pretty dormie walked past and caught Robins attention. For a moment she wondered if she...
Besides, Lucretia was as faithful and attentive as Robin herself was.
"So... the two of you got engaged, huh?" Snoopy said when he noticed the shiny diamond rings both women sported. "Congrats...
"Ew!" Robin shuddered.                                                           "He... lied, didnt he.""Thatd be a no," L...
"Shere Khan!" Guido Thayer said happily outside the dorm while the       "Yeah," Shere Khan said proudly. "But I needs leg...
Shere Khans research was progressing rapidly. While he had the main sequence figured out, he was constantly refining the p...
However, he also made sure he took the time to relax. When he wasnt working or with Zing, he was usually found in front of...
"I sure hope this is the last snow of the year," Ian Legacina complained as he looked out the lounge window of his dorm, j...
"Yeah, and I bet you have big plans for the break," Cassandra Deity said with a grin. She was a new student at the dorm th...
"Arr!" a small, plush bear in pirate clothes called from the floor. "Thweather on me home island is as fine as can be, mat...
Angora just ignored him and beckoned Ian over to dance with her."And dont ya be ignorin me when Im talkin to ya, love!" th...
Delia wasnt the only one finding things impossible. Toshiko was starting to get tired of fending off undesirable dormies. ...
"At least you got him to leave you alone," Ian pointed out when he joined Toshiko for breakfast the next morning. "He was ...
"Normally Id agree with you," Toshiko said, "but hed started following me everywhere... it was getting creepy. And he woul...
"Well, your looks arent bad," Ian said. "Cant blame the guy there.But if theres no chemistry, theres no chemistry. Do you ...
For Ching Shih Buccaneer, college life was much as shed expected,    "Nope," Justinian said, yawning and getting out from ...
"Finally," she breathed when hed closed the door. "I can finish this paper, and then I can call Jim and chat for a bit." S...
Shih finished her paper quickly and spent the rest of the evening talking to her long-time friend Jim Reeves on the phone;...
"Pancakes," Shih said as she picked up a plate from the counter. "Again. This is starting to get awfully monotonous."
"Its not any better in the Greek house, you know," Athena, who was just finishing her breakfast, pointed out to Shih. "The...
To Shihs ears, it sounded like Athena wished she was still dating Toby, fiancé notwithstanding. But she wisely said nothin...
One thing Shih had looked forward to when she learned her dorm            summer break myself... to see an old friend. Do ...
"Do tell," Shih said encouragingly."He is called Captain Dregg, I believe," Lainey said. "And he is responsible for the Se...
"I would be delighted to be on such an informal basis with you...         "I am glad that her college career will overlap ...
Serious conversation done, they headed into the cafeteria to listen to a new CD Shih had picked up recently. She wanted to...
"Hey, youre not mad at me for kicking you out of my room, are you              He gulped nervously. "Thats what Im afraid ...
As the term carried on, the students living in Shihs dorm settled down to studying, for the most part. Oh, there was still...
Shih threw herself into her studies with abandon; shed always had a love of learning, and now she could finally indulge it...
Evenings were spent either hanging out at the Greek house, or studying the stars overhead. It was cold out, but Shih had a...
Drama struck again, though at least this time Athena wasnt involved. Instead, it was her niece Diana who was caught cheati...
"You know, David, if you want a less drama-filled life, you just have to stop dating the Goddess offspring," Shih said sag...
"I think you should buy a cell phone," Shih said. "Then, whenever you feel the urge to fool around with one of the Dramati...
"No, Ill try to remember," David said. "Ill give the old rubber band trick a try.""Now youre thinking," Shih said encourag...
"No problem," Shih grinned. "Hey, have you seen the newest slap dance modification?""Not yet, no," David said. "I heard ab...
Shih was still practicing when Mitch walked through on his way to the washroom. "Yowza... lookin hot, Shih!" he called as ...
"Hey, theres no harm in looking," Mitch said, stopping and turning to talk to her."Just dont let Athena catch you," Shih s...
"You know you like what you see," Mitch smirked."Youre not my type, Mitch," Shih said bluntly. "I prefer my men... uncompl...
Uncomplicated men were the furthest thing from Shihs mind when she sat down to breakfast the next morning, though. The ter...
That evening, once her homework was finished, Shih finally worked up the courage to place the call. She didnt want to leav...
Twenty minutes later, Shih was very tired of the elevator music shed been subjected to. So there was considerable venom in...
Several minutes later, and several thousand simoleans poorer, the ticket was booked."Its a good thing Im moving to the Gre...
"I hope Shih is safe, travelling so far by herself this summer," Lainey said worriedly to Justinian as she whacked him ove...
"Gah, that can be dangerous!" Justinian said. "I think we should go with her.""I have already looked into it," Lainey said...
"Aaah!" Lainey cried, dropping her pillow as well. "Do not stop distracting me, Justinian! We are not five feet from the p...
That night, just as the mass of dormies were returning home from class, they were startled to find another of their fellow...
"TOO LATE NOW," a familiar skeletal form boomed in a sonorousvoice.                                                       ...
Shih included a rundown of the tragedy when she emailed her flight times to Jim later that evening. He responded with symp...
However, when the taxi pulled up the next morning she was the picture of calmness. Either the visit would go well... or it...
And with that, she stepped outside and climbed into the waiting taxi. Next stop... Twikki Island!
With the advent of summer break, Shere Khan was spending the majority of his time in the laboratory--as a student working ...
"So, Ash... tell us why youre interested in participating in our research," Zing said. He quickly added, "Theres no financ...
"I can dig that," Ash nodded. "Just let me dig around a little in my man-purse."He rummaged for a moment and then produced...
"Thats... nice," Zing said, passing back the passport after hed given it a cursory glance. "Your ID checks out, anyway, an...
"Visible multi-purpose scanning device," Shere Khan said. "Wear the funny hat.""This looks kinda like a lie detector machi...
"Auuugh!" Ash yelped as tens of volts coursed through his body.
"Eeeeexcellent," Shere Khan said, steepling his fingers as he read the results on the screen. "U can has cookie, Ash. Teh ...
The mad scientist opened a small refrigerator, took out a labeled vial, and dropped the entire swab into it. He added thre...
Shere Khans fingers flew across the keyboard as the centrifuge whirled the substance, spinning it down. It stopped momenta...
"Taek," he said finally, holding out the weirdly-glowing bottle."Battreez not included."                                  ...
"Jack," De said, approaching her fellow legacy immortal in the hall of the manor they both now lived in with their respect...
"Thats what Im getting at," De said. "Shes spending the summer here with Bart and I. While shes here... do you think you c...
A short time later, Toshiko herself was striding down the sidewalk to her grandmothers house. As she passed by a large col...
"Toshiko!" De said warmly, catching sight of her granddaughter approaching. "Its so good to see you! Your grandfather and ...
Toshikos vacation passed quickly, and it wasnt long before she          "I engage in wholly legitimate business endeavors ...
"Well, I blow things up," Toshiko said. "I use music to devise            "Do go on," Toshiko said.exquisitely complicated...
Dont stop now... on to Part 2!
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A Piratical Legacy Chapter 30 Part 1 - Coming of Age

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A Piratical Legacy Chapter 30 Part 1 - Coming of Age

  1. 1. Chapter 30 – Coming of Age Part 1A Piratical LegacyChapter 30: Coming of AgePart 1
  2. 2. "Yeah, its gonna be HUGE! Of course you can invite your neighbor--the more the merrier. See you all at seven!"
  3. 3. And with those immortal words, the biggest party at Arravast House yet began.Of course it was started by a huge traffic jam at the front door of the Greek House."Is it always like this?" Ching Shih Buccaneer, newly minted freshman, asked to herself. She looked around, taking in the whole scene--and tryingto see if she knew anyone. Shed only been on campus about 12 hours and was feeling slightly overwhelmed.As she turned her head she caught sight of her old friends, Justinian and Toast, sharing a moment on the sidewalk."Yeah... how different from home can it be?" Shih grinned. Her confidence returned, she spun around and headed towards the back door, eager tobe inside but practical enough to avoid the traffic pile-up.
  4. 4. Ian and Angora never did make it into the party, much to the relief of the other party-goers. That much cuteness was coma-inducing.
  5. 5. Shih made her way downstairs, turned on a radio, and started Unc Green," she said. "Next year Ill be the one throwing thedancing. She was alone for the time being, but she knew few could parties... and theyre going to be absolutely fantastic. Anyway, momresist the siren call of the Slap Dance. and dad could hardly leave me in the hotel room while they partied the night away, now could they?"And it wasnt long until she was joined by a few others: relatives, inthis case. They ignored the radio and headed straight for the pool "I suppose not," Uncle Nicholas said pensively. "But still... stay awaytable. from the juice bar, you hear me?""I cant believe Little Liv is old enough for a college party," her uncle "They dont even have a juice bar," Liv said disgustedly. "They dontGreen said, pretending to dash a tear from his eye. even have a pineapple keg! My brother and my cousins are such dorks."Liv fixed him with a look, then grinned. "Im a high school senior,
  6. 6. "Now, now," Green admonished as the three of them were joined by Shih, and were on the same page about most things."Livs future sister-in-law, Lainey. "You dont need juice to have agood time." "What?" Shih looked up from her dancing at the sound of her name."I know," Liv said, walking around the table to take her shot, "but "Just saying were going to be a dream team of Toga Partythey should at least give people the option. Seriously, when I move in goodness," Liv grinned.this place isnt gonna know what hit it." "You bet," Shih said, then turned back to the dancing."When you move in, your brother and cousins will have graduated,"Lainey pointed out. "Well, in any case..." Green began. "Your uncle and I are glad youre here, Liv. We wanted to talk to you about something.""Even better," Liv said. "Then the only person I have to argue with is
  7. 7. "Like what?" Livs first shot had been successful so she lined up a second."Well, its about our house," Nick chimed in. "Your uncle and I dont have any kids, just puppies. And wed really like the house to stay in thefamily. Were planning on doing a few renovations to add a second bedroom and a full bathroom... if we do, would you move in with us after youfinish university?"Liv nearly dropped her pool cue. "Youre asking me to be your heir?""Thats what we were thinking, yes," Green said with a smile. "We changed your diapers, after all. Youve been a good niece to us, and we havemissed your company now that we live on our own."
  8. 8. "Well..." Liv considered. She turned to her sister-in-law. "What do you think, Lainey? Are you willing to be mom and dads dutiful daughter-in-law? Live in their house, give them grandbabies, all that jazz?""I think that would be wonderful," Lainey said with a smile. "And Hugo will not protest. Already he gives our future children names of their own."
  9. 9. "Well then," Liv said, pursing her lips as she finished the shot and moved out of Laineys way, "I accept.""Terrific," Green beamed. "And since it will be your house in the future, Liv, your uncle and I would like your input on the plans for the expansion.Why dont you come over for dinner when were all back from this trip?""Ill be there with bells on," Liv grinned. She thought for a moment. "Actually, I might even have an outfit with bells on it. Awesometastic!""Youve been reading your mothers stories again, havent you?"
  10. 10. Speaking of Livs mother, Orikes was upstairs, participating in a much larger group slapdance than the one Shih was attempting to get started.Well, everyone else was slapdancing. Orikes was trying to learn the hula.
  11. 11. Toby walked into the room and his eyes immediately lit on the object of his affection... or possibly obsession. He hadnt actually seen or talked toOphelia since their disastrous kiss at the last party the Greeks of Arravast had thrown."Toby, my face is over here," Ophelia said sternly, tapping Tobys chin with one perfectly manicured finger and tilting it so he was actually lookingat her.
  12. 12. "Oh, right," Toby said, blushing. He shook his head in confusion--he nodded.never blushed! "Uh, enjoying the party, Ophelia?" Toby took that as encouragement. "Listen, Ophelia, that kiss last"Its not bad," she replied, shrugging. "Lots of slapdancing going on, time..."which can be boring. And theres no juice, which is limiting. Butother than that its okay." "That was a bad idea," she said quickly."My sixteen-year-old cousin Liv is complaining about the juice thing, "Maybe," Toby said cautiously. "But I havent been able to stoptoo," Toby said, rolling his eyes. "We ordered a pineapple keg, but thinking about it. What do you say to letting me take you out to atheyre backordered. Anyway, our parties are plenty fun without fancy dinner somewhere? Just one date... no pressure... just twojuice." people enjoying each other’s company.""Hmm," Ophelia said noncommittally, eyeing him up and down. She "I dont know," Ophelia said hesitantly.apparently approved of what she saw, because she eventually
  13. 13. She turned back to rejoin the dancing crowd. "Ill think about it, okay?""Dont think for too long," Toby said in frustration. "I could always ask somebody else!""But you wont," Ophelia said with a knowing grin. "You cant resist me, Toby Biggs. Fine, Ill go on one date with you... better make it a goodone, though, cause its the only one youre getting.""You tell him, Opie!" Orikes crowed from behind her.Ophelia whirled around, ready to chew out whoever had been so bold as to call her by her nickname. Few had that privilege. But when she sawwho it had been... "Oh... hi, Voice," she said meekly.
  14. 14. As the party began to wind down, Coxinga Buccaneer convinced his younger sister to go outside with him for a few minutes."Now we can actually hear ourselves think," he said."Yeah, its pretty loud in there," Shih agreed. "So what did you want to talk about, elder sibling mine?"Zing just stared at her for a moment. He couldnt believe his little sister had grown up so much while he was away for his first few years of college.He cleared his throat. "Oh, nothing too major," he shrugged. "Just wanted to ask you to pledge. Theres supposed to be this whole formal bit whereI ask if youre worthy and all, but I already know you are."
  15. 15. "Aww, thats sweet of you," Shih grinned. "Of course Ill join. How long is the pledging in period?""Twenty-four hours of community service at the house or on behalf of the house," Zing said."No probs," Shih said in response. "Im so far ahead on my classwork its not funny. Itll be a relief to get out and do something. Speaking of which,I am not writing Tobys term paper.""Eh, he usually gets the cow mascot to do that," Zing said, shrugging. "So youre off the hook."
  16. 16. Once all of the guests had left, Toby finally allowed himself to give in to the jubilation he was feeling. With a gleeful grin, he scooped Fuzzbutt outof his cage and danced around the room with him."Ive got a date with Ophelia Smith!" he crowed triumphantly."Squeak!"
  17. 17. Parties at the Greek house were a regular occurrence that semester, and by the time the next one rolled around Shih was much more confident.This one was being thrown by Toby, which meant that the guest list was a bit different than usual.
  18. 18. Toby being Toby, he still managed to parade an array of women in and out of his bedroom despite his upcoming date with Ophelia. He knew thatshe wouldnt begrudge him the chance to get some woohoo, in any case. In his position she would have done the same thing--right down to wooingthe professor...
  19. 19. ...the mail carrier...
  20. 20. ...and several fellow students.However, Toby somehow doubted that Ophelia would have such disastrous results.
  21. 21. "Woooooooot!" Ching Shih barrelled into her brothers bedroom,pounding on her chest and grunting like a Bigfoot. "Just what I said," Shih grinned. "Hugo certified my application not ten minutes ago! When can I move in?""Err?" Zing scratched his head in confusion. "Not till next year," Zing said absently. "The college has this rule"My service hours are done!" Shih grinned, pumping a fist excitedly. about freshmen having to live in dorm.""Im a full-fledged member now! That means no more ordering meabout, best of brothers!" "Thats a stupid rule," Shih said scornfully.""Im your only brother," Zing said. "And what do you mean, youre "I dont make em, I just enforce em," Zing shrugged. "Besides, dormdone?" is kind of fun."
  22. 22. "All the dormies smell so bad," Shih complained. "But I guess I can "Life aint fair, kid," Zing grinned. "And the charter rules specificallysurvive. Youd better start moving your stuff to the empty room say first come, first serve."across the hall, though. Im the heiress... Im taking over this roomwhen I move in." "I suppose," Shih grumbled. Then she perked up. "If I cant move into this room right away, can I at least drive the sports car?""I dont think so, junior," Zing smirked. "You can have it when Imove out, and not one minute sooner." "Forty simoleans a day, plus you refill the gas tank," Zing said automatically."But thats no fair," Shih made a face. "Aww, some things never change," Shih giggled.
  23. 23. In the kitchen downstairs, a very awkward game of kicky-bag wastaking place. "I did not wish to cause more awkwardness," Lainey shrugged. "But... I am sorry, if hearing that makes you feel any better. I did not"So, I hear you slept with my fiancé," Toast said conversationally to know Justinian was involved with you."Lainey, while Justinian cringed. "Err... can we stop talking about this?" Justinian asked, his face very"You are a remarkably blunt individual, Ephemeral Toast," Lainey pale. "It makes me nervous."said, not missing a beat with the game. "I had hoped we could let thewhole affair die down, since it has been ended, apologies have been "No, garden shears should make you nervous," Toast snickered. Thenmade, and forgiveness has been received." she glared at Lainey. "Well, I accept your apology. But if it ever happens again, you arent exempt from garden shears either.""You never apologized to me," Toast pointed out.
  24. 24. Perhaps the threat was why Lainey didnt warn Toast that the ghost of the stupid dormie was right behind her.Lainey snickered, and went merrily on her way downstairs.
  25. 25. Justinian, meanwhile, had escaped outside to avoid the pseudo-fight sim," Justinian protested.between Toast and Lainey. Instead, he was making nice to Robin andLucretia. "What bothers Robin bothers me," Lucretia declared, and was rewarded by a warm smile. "Cmon, Robin, lets throw him in the"Dont even talk to me," Robin sniffed. "I saw how you treated Toast. swimming pool for his crimes."Youre a sad, sad example of a human being, Justinian Toyonaga." "Oooh, that sounds like a good idea!""Err... ditto," Lucretia chimed in, shrugging. Justinian suddenly realized that he needed to get back to his dorm to"I wouldnt think it would bother you, seeing as youre a Romance finish his term paper. He ran very, very quickly.
  26. 26. Coxinga was busy. He and Shere Khan were working on a way to enable male pregnancy, so that same sex couples could conceive their own,biological children without medical intervention, though it must be said that part of Zings motivation was the line of male maternity clothing hewas commissioning. The technology itself, they intended to donate to the world, but he had still found a way to make at least some profit.In any case, the theories developed by Shere Khans ancestor Eddie were nearly at the testing phase, and Zing and his lover were looking for aguinea pig. To that end, theyd started posting on classified websites looking for someone to volunteer. It was Zings job to weed through theresponses and forward the serious ones to Shere Khan."Not that any of these look all that serious," Zing complained. Still, he forwarded the one that sounded least like a hoax to Shere Khan anyway.
  27. 27. He was concentrating so intently, he didnt even notice when Toby set the kitchen on fire a few minutes later.Fortunately, the fire department got it easily under control.
  28. 28. While Zing hadnt noticed the fire initially, he certainly soon realized that his clothing needed to be washed in the worst way. It was permeatedwith the stench of burnt macaroni. With a sigh, he went upstairs and changed into his only clean outfit: his Greek toga."Nice outfit," Shih smirked when her brother came back downstairs. "Red hands?""Red hands," Zing agreed.
  29. 29. A few minutes later, after Zing had lost his third game in a row, he suddenly waved his arms in frustration. "Aaaaaah!""What is it?" Shih asked, concerned.
  30. 30. "Tobys been in the bathroom for an hour and I really gotta pee!"Shih snickered. "You know, there are two other washrooms in this house.""Yeah, but I like the one down here the best," Zing complained, dancing from foot to foot.There was the sound of a flush, and a few minutes later Toby sauntered out."Finally!" Zing said with relief, and dashed in that direction. A few minutes later there was a choking sound. "Gah! Toby, what did you eat?""And thats my cue to leave," Shih chuckled.
  31. 31. She crossed the kitchen. "Hey, Toby... this pizza any good?""Hmm? Yeah!" came the muffled response.Shih shrugged and took a slice of the fuminating pie. She took a bite, and immediately spit it out. "Gross! Toby, you liar! This stuffs rotten!""What?""I said, the pizza is rotten!""Grab a slice of the one in the fridge," came the shouted response. "The one on the counters been there for a week.""Eww... now he tells me," Shih shuddered. She only hoped she wouldnt end up with food poisoning." (She didnt.)
  32. 32. In the living room, Ian Legacina was dancing away. In fact, he was trying to warm up; hed spent a considerable amount of time snowball fightingoutside and it was cold out there. He figured the exercise would have him toasty in no time."Oh, there you are!" Angora said happily as she came into the room.
  33. 33. "Whats up?" Ian asked, as Angora continued past him to plant herself in front of a large green easy chair."Nothin," Angora shrugged. "Just wondering where youd gotten to. I was actually looking for Shere Khan."
  34. 34. "Visible me," Shere Khan, occupant of the green easy chair, said. "Does you want a cookie?""I just heard a crazy rumor about you and Zing," Angora said excitedly. "Is it true? Have you figured out how to get men pregnant?""Well... kinda," Shere Khan admitted. Angora was his oldest friend, not to mention his cousin, and he didnt hide stuff from her. "But invisibleresearch until we can test it properly. And we cant eated our own cookie... college kittens DO NOT WANT.""True," Angora said. "Well, I really hope it works for you. Have you figured out how youre going to test it?"
  35. 35. "Yeah," Shere Khan said, grinning. "We promises caek. Once we has unsuspecting guinea pigs - er, volunteers, we finds if cake is lie. Pirate Islandpeeples is best for science-nom... invisible FDA, thanks to legacy spare Great-great-grandfather Eddie is a legacy spare. Mad science not Epic Failthere: here is DO NOT WANT.""I see," Angora nodded. "I think.""My uncle was working on something like that back home," Ian said. "If you like, I can put you in touch with him and you can comparetechniques!""We can has data peer review?" Shere Khan nodded. "Is can has mai maispace. Kthxbai!""Cool!"
  36. 36. With a happy smile, Shere Khan plopped out of the chair and onto the floor. He reached under the chair and grabbed a notebook. Quickly, hemarked a checkmark next to a couple of notes."SOON."
  37. 37. A few days later, a very nervous Toby Biggs strolled down a bustling Paris street a lot more confidently than he actually felt.To his surprise, Ophelia was already there.
  38. 38. "I live just around the corner," she shrugged. "Saw you coming a mile off. I figured since Im doing you such a huge favor I might as well show upon time.""Well, you look great," Toby said, reaching forward to touch her face.Ophelia scolded him, but didnt remove his hand at the wrist with a pair of scissors, so Toby figured he was ahead of the game.
  39. 39. "Wow... I cant believe you got a reservation at Londoste," Opheliasaid approvingly as she followed Toby into the restaurant. "This "Ze young monsieurs mere est un frequent patron of ourplace has a three-month waiting list!" restaurante," the mâitred said smoothly."Its all about who you know," Toby said arrogantly. Ophelia digested that for a minute. "Wait a sec... your mom got us in here?" She giggled."And who do you know?" Ophelia asked flirtatiously. "Hey! Shes very well-connected. She meets everybody!" He thought"Err..." Toby blushed. for a moment, and then added: "Eventually."
  40. 40. "Dont be afraid to order whatever you like," Toby said once theyd been shown to their seats. "The skys the limit, Ophelia. Price is no object. Imhaving the lobster, myself!""Let me guess... youve worked out an arrangement to wash dishes for the rest of the night once our date is over?" Ophelia smirked."What? No!" Toby scowled. "Ill have you know, Mademoiselle Smith, that my family is an old and wealthy one. I might not have the connectionsto get into this place on short notice... yet... but Ive certainly got a high enough credit limit to pay for a good meal.""Well, Ill go easy on you anyway," Ophelia said after shed perused the menu. She turned to the waitress, who was unobtrusively hovering off tothe side. "Une salade avec des champignons, des oignons, pas des jalapenos, et plus des tomates, sil vous plait."Toby blinked. Hed grown up in an affluent Paris neighborhood and his command of the French language wasnt nearly as competent as Ophelias.
  41. 41. Before long, their food arrived, as well as the very expensive champagne Toby had ordered."Id like to propose a toast," Toby said, raising his glass. "To one night in a million.""I can drink to that," Ophelia said coquettishly, fluttering her eyelashes. She clinked glasses with Toby and took a sip. Hastily, she put down herglass."Ewww..." Toby said, wrinkling his nose. "Expensive champagne tastes like rotten mushrooms! Do you want me to order a nice house wineinstead?""Thatd be great," Ophelia said, relief evident in her voice. "I appreciate the gesture, Death-boy, but obviously expensive champagne isnt to eitherof our taste. I think Ill just stick with expensive clothes."
  42. 42. Once their drinks had been replaced (to the disapproving sniff of the why have you been saying no, if you dont mind me asking?"waitress), they settled in to companionable conversation. "I dont date supernaturals," Ophelia said. "Too much trouble follows"I dont know what it is about you, Ophelia," Toby confessed, "but I them around."cant get you out of my mind. Theres just something about you..." "Im not exactly a supernatural," Toby pointed out quickly. "My"Maybe its just that Im the first girl whos ever said no to you," moms... unconventional. My dads part alien. But thats not thatOphelia said. unusual these days. Its not like Im a vampire. Although Ill bite your neck if you want me to," he added with a leer."No, its not just that," Toby said. "I get turned down all the time. Justask Hugo or Zing--theyll set that record straight. Besides, you agreed "Whoa... down boy," Ophelia snorted.to go on a date with me, and I still cant get you out of my mind. But
  43. 43. "I guess youre not as unnatural as I thought," Ophelia conceded after got to say that youre the hottest woman Ive ever known," Toby saidtaking a dainty bite of her salad. "At least, no more than I am. My in a low voice, deciding to see how far he could push things.birth father is a werewolf, and my foster mother is a vampire. Mybirth fathers wife is a zombie, and my half-sister is an alien." "Mmm," Ophelia nodded, not taking her eyes off of her date. "Toby, youre weird-looking. Theres no getting around that. But youre also"So in other words, were both normal people connected to extremely damned sexy... and theres no getting around that either."strange people," Toby said. "Does that mean I can hope for a second date?""Thats a good way of looking at it." "Lets see how dessert turns out first," Ophelia breathed."Well, from one freakishly-connected normal person to another, Ive
  44. 44. As soon as theyd finished their dinner, Toby jumped out of his chair and pulled Ophelia to her feet as well."Whoa... I thought we were having dessert!" she complained."We are," Toby grinned. "Just not here.""Oh?" Ophelia looked at him coyly. "What did you have in mind?"
  45. 45. In response, Toby pulled her close and kissed her soundly."Hmm... I think Id like some more of that," Ophelia said breathlessly when they came up for air. "With a cherry on top."As they hurriedly left the restaurant, Orikes shook her head. "Poor Toby... hes bitten off more than he can chew with that one!"But she couldnt help grinning anyway.
  46. 46. "So... how did you like dessert?"
  47. 47. Ophelia sighed contentedly and swung out of bed. She hastily donned her clothing and waited until Toby had done likewise, though he grumbled abit as he did so. "I was hoping youd want seconds," he pouted.Ophelia licked her lips and shook her head regretfully. "Not that I wouldnt like to stay, Toby... but Ive got to get home. I have a paper duetomorrow.""Will I at least get a second date?" Toby asked hopefully."Hmm..." Ophelia pondered that for a moment, and Toby took the opportunity to kiss her again. "Yeah... I think you might get a second date," shesaid a little shakily. "Later, freak.""Ill call you," Toby grinned.
  48. 48. "Guess what?" Robin said to Lucretia as they checked the bulletin board in their dorms cafeteria to see if there was anything being shown at any ofthe local theatres."What?" Lucretia asked with a wide grin."Ive heard that the poker games can get pretty good at the Lucky Shack downtown," Robin said. "How about we head down there and see howmuch money we can win?""Beats hanging around the dorm for the rest of the evening," Lucretia said with a shrug. "Besides," she added, leaning in to whisper in Robins ear."Ooh!" Robin grinned. "Promise?"
  49. 49. While they were out, Robin found the perfect opportunity to do what shed been wanting to do for a long time: propose to Lucretia.Lucretia immediately accepted."But I dont want to get married right away," Robin said emphatically. "Just engaged. So you wont drop from any matchmaker requests.""Fine by me," Lucretia said, staring at her ring. "Boy, this sure is shiny. Anyway, I keep getting dropped for men, and you can imagine howawkward that is."
  50. 50. When they got home, a particularly pretty dormie walked past and caught Robins attention. For a moment she wondered if shed made a wrongchoice. Then..."Nah."
  51. 51. Besides, Lucretia was as faithful and attentive as Robin herself was.
  52. 52. "So... the two of you got engaged, huh?" Snoopy said when he noticed the shiny diamond rings both women sported. "Congrats!""Thanks," the ladies responded in unison."Any chance I could... join you some evening?" he added with a hopeful leer.
  53. 53. "Ew!" Robin shuddered. "He... lied, didnt he.""Thatd be a no," Lucretia clarified helpfully. "Bingo.""Aw, man..." Snoopy complained. "Toby has all the luck." "Im going to go and stare at the wall over there for a while," Snoopy"What do you mean?" Robin demanded. stammered, blushing furiously."Well its just that you... and he... and..." "Thatd be for the best," Lucretia nodded."And?" Lucretia asked icily. "Going now."
  54. 54. "Shere Khan!" Guido Thayer said happily outside the dorm while the "Yeah," Shere Khan said proudly. "But I needs legally unprotecteddrama was going on inside. "Hows it hangin dude?" He tried guinea pig. Why do you ask?"clumsily to imitate the traditional Twikkii Island greeting. "Sawyer and I are engaged now," Guido replied. "And Im such a"I has a cookie," Shere Khan acknowledged. "Absent Guido is Family sim its not funny. I just wanted to let you know there are a lotabsent. I havent seen you around the dorm much lately." of people hoping youre successful.""Yeah, thats what I wanted to talk to you about," Guido said, falling "Thanks," Shere Khan grinned. "If cake no is lie... youll be theinto step beside his cousin. "I heard from Angora that youre working second to know. After Zing, of course."on making it possible for gay couples to have biological kids. Is thattrue?" "I cant wait to hear!"
  55. 55. Shere Khans research was progressing rapidly. While he had the main sequence figured out, he was constantly refining the procedure at the schoollaboratories. When they were closed, he took his research into the dorm cafeteria, much to the annoyance of his fellow dormies."I made me a research, and you eated it!""Sorry," said Snoopy. "It looked like cake.""THE CAKE WAS A LIE!!!1!""... did he just say 1?"
  56. 56. However, he also made sure he took the time to relax. When he wasnt working or with Zing, he was usually found in front of the stereo, dancinghis heart out."Sexeh cat is sexeh.""Silly cat is scaring the neighbors.""Sexeh cat is not listening to invisible Guido."
  57. 57. "I sure hope this is the last snow of the year," Ian Legacina complained as he looked out the lounge window of his dorm, just down the road fromwhere Shere Khan was dancing. "Its almost end of term!"
  58. 58. "Yeah, and I bet you have big plans for the break," Cassandra Deity said with a grin. She was a new student at the dorm this semester. "Going backto Pirate Island to meet Angoras parents?""Exactly," Ian said. "But I sure hope the weather is better there than it is here!"
  59. 59. "Arr!" a small, plush bear in pirate clothes called from the floor. "Thweather on me home island is as fine as can be, mates." "Arrr... college be no place for an honest pirate, savvy. I just wants me rum, mates!"Angora jumped about six feet straight up at the sound of the bearsvoice, nearly crashing into the desk where Delia was writing her term "Pineapple kegs backordered," Angora said automatically as shepaper. "Gah! Dont do that, Grandpa Jack!" started dancing to the music that was playing."Are ya sayin a bear cant be talkin to his grandchildren then, love?" "But whys the rum gone?"the bear demanded. "I just told you!""Just give a little warning first!" "That was no answer, missy. If one source o the rum dries up, ya"No kidding," Delia said, glaring at both the bear and the jumper as finds another, aye?"she straightened her research notes.
  60. 60. Angora just ignored him and beckoned Ian over to dance with her."And dont ya be ignorin me when Im talkin to ya, love!" the bear complained."Stop dancing on my homework!" Delia complained."Maybe we should go somewhere else," Angora giggled. She looked down. "And maybe I should get dressed, huh? Bit late for pajamas.""More like early," Ian teased her, looking at his watch. "Just one more wart, huh? Staying in your pajamas all day.""Aaah! Im going to the library!" Delia cried, shutting off the computer with a bang. "Its impossible to get anything done around here!"
  61. 61. Delia wasnt the only one finding things impossible. Toshiko was starting to get tired of fending off undesirable dormies. She wasnt looking forromance, but some of them werent really willing to accept that."I said no," she said in exasperation. "And if you cant figure out what that means, fashion disaster person, Ill have to start carrying moreexplosives than I already do."The clueless dormie gulped, and though he glared murder at Toshiko from that point on, he didnt bring up the subject again.
  62. 62. "At least you got him to leave you alone," Ian pointed out when he joined Toshiko for breakfast the next morning. "He was kind of quivering onthe floor in the washroom when I went in there last night, actually. He seemed to think youd wired the urinal with plastique.""Well, maybe I did," Toshiko grinned, taking a bite of pancake. "But then again, maybe I didnt. A little fear is good for idiots like that. Besides, aslong as he doesnt whistle Beethovens Eroica symphony while he does his business, hell be fine.""His only crime is asking you out," Ian said. "Maybe youre being a bit hard on him?"
  63. 63. "Normally Id agree with you," Toshiko said, "but hed started following me everywhere... it was getting creepy. And he wouldnt take no for ananswer.""Maybe if youd agreed to date him he wouldnt have followed you.""Maybe, but hes not exactly my type," Toshiko said. "I like the guy well enough--or did. Ive talked to him a few times, and he seemed niceenough, but he and I dont have much in common. Heck, I cant even remember his name right now. I think he just likes my looks, not who I am."
  64. 64. "Well, your looks arent bad," Ian said. "Cant blame the guy there.But if theres no chemistry, theres no chemistry. Do you think youll "Well, people from Pirate Island seem to end up coupled more oftenever settle down, Toshiko?" than not," Ian said. "Somebody staying single is out of the ordinary.""Eventually, I suppose," she shrugged. "Im in no hurry. Im not sure "I suppose," Toshiko shrugged. "But I wonder how many couplesif I want to have kids, and if I get married you know everyone will from previous generations wish they could have stayed single."start bugging me about that." "Some, maybe," Ian said. "Maybe youll set a good example for"Thats one of the downsides of getting married when you have other future generations, huh?"relatives," Ian chuckled. "I blow things up for fun, Ian. With musical accompaniment.""Exactly," Toshiko said. "Id rather work for a while... see theworld... have fun. You know, it seems like I have this conversation "Good point."an awful lot."
  65. 65. For Ching Shih Buccaneer, college life was much as shed expected, "Nope," Justinian said, yawning and getting out from under Shihsin many ways. There was the frenetic socialization of the Greek covers. "Athena. You know how she can get."House, the drama of life in a dorm, and of course the ever-presenthomework. She enjoyed most of it, but occasionally had to lay down "I do," Shih said sternly, "but still. Stop sleeping in my room! Illthe law as far as boundaries were concerned. expect you to wash my bedding after you make up the bed with my spares. Theyre in the dresser in the corner.""Justinian, for the last time... this is my room," Ching Shih saidsternly as she closed the door behind her and sat down at her desk. "Fine," Justinian grumbled."Honestly, Im going to have to start locking my door... what wereyou doing in here? Hiding from Lainey and Toast again?" "Id be more willing to give you a break if you didnt bring it on yourself," Shih called as Justinian stomped out.
  66. 66. "Finally," she breathed when hed closed the door. "I can finish this paper, and then I can call Jim and chat for a bit." She typed quickly for severalminutes, until she gradually realized that there was someone standing right behind her.She whirled around, just in time to see the llama mascot burst into a round of cheers."Ah! Dont sneak up on me like that!" she complained. "And Im trying to work here, for that matter. Get out!"The llama shrugged and Vo-Gerbitzed out the door."Stupid mascots... if only they werent a protected species..."
  67. 67. Shih finished her paper quickly and spent the rest of the evening talking to her long-time friend Jim Reeves on the phone; they talked until wellpast midnight. So it was with somewhat bleary eyes that she dragged herself into the cafeteria for breakfast the next morning. However, despite hertiredness she couldnt help but appreciate the hotness of her pajama-clad fellow dormies as she passed them in the hall.
  68. 68. "Pancakes," Shih said as she picked up a plate from the counter. "Again. This is starting to get awfully monotonous."
  69. 69. "Its not any better in the Greek house, you know," Athena, who was just finishing her breakfast, pointed out to Shih. "The food, I mean.""Thats cause Hugo and Toby do most of the cooking," Shih said. "Once I move in, thatll take a turn for the better. Do you spend a lot of timethere?""I used to," Athena said. "Toby and I dated a bit during Freshman year, but Im engaged to Mitch Thayer now and Tobys seeing someone namedOphelia."
  70. 70. To Shihs ears, it sounded like Athena wished she was still dating Toby, fiancé notwithstanding. But she wisely said nothing. It does not pay topoint out the personal problems of petulant pantheonic personages. They zap.
  71. 71. One thing Shih had looked forward to when she learned her dorm summer break myself... to see an old friend. Do you have anyassignment was finally getting to know her cousin Hugos long-time advice?"love, Lainey. Shed met the islander briefly during a long-ago familyvisit to Twikkii Island, but they hadnt had a chance to re-acquaint... "Make sure you visit the old pirate ship," Lainey said. "That isuntil now. Shih was fascinated by Island culture and was eager to definitely a sight worth seeing. And it is haunted by a ghost, or so thepump Lainey for all the info she could get. caretakers say.""Im actually from Singapore, though," Lainey pointed out when Shih "Ghosts are nothing new," Shih said. "Ive been spooked by grandpashad expressed her interest. "I just spent summers on the island." ghost tons of times.""Thats more than Ive done," Shih said. "Ive just had the one "This is a different ghost," Lainey said.vacation, and that was years ago. Im planning to go back over
  72. 72. "Do tell," Shih said encouragingly."He is called Captain Dregg, I believe," Lainey said. "And he is responsible for the Sea Chantey, or so the Twikkii Island legends say.""I wont tell Toshiko that," Shih said. "She might try to blow him up. Or steal the secret.""It is extremely pervasive, is it not, Ching Shih Buccaneer?" Lainey agreed."Oh, you dont have to be so formal," Shih said with a wave. "Just call me Shih. Everyone else does."
  73. 73. "I would be delighted to be on such an informal basis with you... "I am glad that her college career will overlap with mine for a year,Shih," Lainey said. "Not even Hugos younger sister has invited me then," Lainey said. "Do you know which dorm she is being assignedto be so familiar. I do not think she likes me." to?""Livs my best friend, and she likes you fine," Shih said reassuringly. "I dont think theyve sent them out for next year yet," Shih said. "But"Shes been talking about being a bridesmaid nonstop since you and I did recommend that she try this one."Hugo got engaged." "I cannot wait," Lainey said excitedly. "I have not had a sister before,"Really?" either. Neither have I had a girl friend.""Really. Livs always wanted a sister." "Well, you have one of those, at least," Shih smiled.
  74. 74. Serious conversation done, they headed into the cafeteria to listen to a new CD Shih had picked up recently. She wanted to listen to it."This is great!" Shih said enthusiastically. "And the beat... you can definitely slapdance to it!""It is well-suited," Lainey concurred."I wonder if it works as well for the smustle..." That was Shih all over. She was always looking to try new things, even such mundane things astrying to smustle to a new CD she hadnt heard before.
  75. 75. "Hey, youre not mad at me for kicking you out of my room, are you He gulped nervously. "Thats what Im afraid of. Im glad we were neverJustinian?" Shih asked when she ran into her childhood friend a little later. really involved, Shih.""Nah," Justinian said, stifling a yawn. "Its cool. I found my room key, so "Me too," she nodded, crossing her fingers behind her back. "It would haveIm just keeping Athena locked out." totally ruined our friendship... it almost did, since you tried to date me while simultaneously going steady with Toast.""Good for you," Shih said encouragingly. "You havent fooled around withher, have you?" "Yeah, but that was because of those Romans," Justinian grimaced."Umm..." Justinian blushed. "Not since Toast and I made up." "I heard rumors..." Shih said, prompting him to continue."I see," Shih gave him a Look. "You know, Justinian, that libido of yours is "Nah, Id rather not talk about it."going to get you into a lot of trouble someday." "Suit yourself."
  76. 76. As the term carried on, the students living in Shihs dorm settled down to studying, for the most part. Oh, there was still drama occasionally, but ithad died down for everyone who Athena wasnt stalking.
  77. 77. Shih threw herself into her studies with abandon; shed always had a love of learning, and now she could finally indulge it fully. With some of herscholarship money, she bought herself an antique violin and spent hours attempting to master the intricacies of the complicated instrument,occasionally with Toshikos assistance, although those cases necessitated playing in a soundproofed and lead-lined room.
  78. 78. Evenings were spent either hanging out at the Greek house, or studying the stars overhead. It was cold out, but Shih had a warm (and extremelystylish) jacket, so she didnt really mind.Once, she even thought she saw a UFO dart past overhead, but it was gone before she could confirm the sighting. Still, she emailed Shere Khanabout it immediately--he had an interest in such things.
  79. 79. Drama struck again, though at least this time Athena wasnt involved. Instead, it was her niece Diana who was caught cheating with Mitch Thayerby David Ottomas (who was dating Dianas sister, just to make things even more confusing).Yes, Mitch is Athenas boyfriend. Yes, Diana is engaged to Amar Ramaswami.Yes, I have trouble keeping track of all the cheating myself.
  80. 80. "You know, David, if you want a less drama-filled life, you just have to stop dating the Goddess offspring," Shih said sagely to David a few dayslater when they were both hanging out in the study lounge. The bright red slap mark on Davids cheek had finally faded, but half the campus hadseen it, though few knew the reason for its existence."Thats easier said than done," David said ruefully. "I know I should stay away from Diana and Athena. Theyre more trouble than theyre worth--not like Cassandra. Shes great, and way uncomplicated. But she lives all the way next door, and they live here...""So in other words youre just lazy," Shih said disgustedly."Pretty much, yeah."
  81. 81. "I think you should buy a cell phone," Shih said. "Then, whenever you feel the urge to fool around with one of the Dramatic Duo, give yourgirlfriend a call. Itll save you a lot of grief in the end, dude.""I already have one," David said. "I just never remember to charge it.""Geez, you are pathetic," Shih said. "Well, dont say I didnt try to help."
  82. 82. "No, Ill try to remember," David said. "Ill give the old rubber band trick a try.""Now youre thinking," Shih said encouragingly. "If you like, I can remind you when youre being an idiot.""Umm... thanks," David said. "I think."
  83. 83. "No problem," Shih grinned. "Hey, have you seen the newest slap dance modification?""Not yet, no," David said. "I heard about it, but thats all.""Its pretty good," Shih said. She launched into a complicated series of maneuvers. "Kinda like this, though I havent mastered it yet.""Wow, thats pretty cool!" David said.
  84. 84. Shih was still practicing when Mitch walked through on his way to the washroom. "Yowza... lookin hot, Shih!" he called as he strutted past her."Keep that thought bubble to yourself, Mitch," Shih shot back at him, though she smiled to herself. It was nice having confirmation that she wasntentirely repulsive to look at.
  85. 85. "Hey, theres no harm in looking," Mitch said, stopping and turning to talk to her."Just dont let Athena catch you," Shih said, shuddering. "I have absolutely no desire to get caught up in her idea of drama. I like trying new things,sure, but getting zapped... no thanks.""I think her mom took her zapping powers away," Mitch shrugged. "Either that, or she never heard about that incident with Diana and David theother day.""Id say she just didnt hear about it," Shih said. "Anyway, you go off and do your own thing, Mitch. You can talk to me when youre wearing moreclothes."
  86. 86. "You know you like what you see," Mitch smirked."Youre not my type, Mitch," Shih said bluntly. "I prefer my men... uncomplicated. And not associated with risks of vengeful electrocution."
  87. 87. Uncomplicated men were the furthest thing from Shihs mind when she sat down to breakfast the next morning, though. The term was nearly over,and she was ready to book her plane ticket to Twikkii Island for summer break... and visit Jim.Since shed begun to relate to her former mentor on an adult level, Shih had realized that she had an enormous crush on Jim Reeves. And now shewas an adult, like him.She had pins and needles whenever she thought of the upcoming trip.
  88. 88. That evening, once her homework was finished, Shih finally worked up the courage to place the call. She didnt want to leave such important plansto the vagaries of the internet."Id like to book a single return ticket to Twikkii Island," she said. "Departing on the twenty-eighth of this month and returning seven days later,please. Yes, I can hold."
  89. 89. Twenty minutes later, Shih was very tired of the elevator music shed been subjected to. So there was considerable venom in her voice that shedidnt succeed at concealing when a human finally returned to the line."You want me to pay how much?" she shrieked. "Geez... what an outrage!"
  90. 90. Several minutes later, and several thousand simoleans poorer, the ticket was booked."Its a good thing Im moving to the Greek house in the fall," she said to herself. "My poor bank account! At this rate I wont have any spendingmoney--or tuition money--left at all!"
  91. 91. "I hope Shih is safe, travelling so far by herself this summer," Lainey said worriedly to Justinian as she whacked him over the head with ademilitarized pillow. They were closer to the photobooth than she liked, but she was certain they were both suitably distracted and could refrainfrom hopping into it and doing something they would regret later."Whys she going all the way over there anyway?" Justinian asked, returning the blow."To meet a man she met on the internet," Lainey said.
  92. 92. "Gah, that can be dangerous!" Justinian said. "I think we should go with her.""I have already looked into it," Lainey said. "The flights are all full until after she is scheduled to return. Besides, I promised Hugo that I wouldvisit with his family over the summer and get to know them better.""Well, I guess well just have to trust Shih to be safe," Justinian shrugged. "Its too late to do anything else. Besides, if its Jim shes going to visit,shes known him for years. Is it a romantic visit?""I think she hopes that it is," Lainey said. "But nothing has been said, or even hinted.""Hed better not hurt our Shih," Justinian growled, dropping his pillow. "Shes a good kid, and she deserves a guy who will treat her like gold."
  93. 93. "Aaah!" Lainey cried, dropping her pillow as well. "Do not stop distracting me, Justinian! We are not five feet from the photo booth! Bad thingscould happen!""Do you feel like woohooing with me?" Justinian asked."Well... no," Lainey admitted."Me neither," Justinian said. "I think were cured, Lainey.""Oh, thank Jumbok," Lainey said happily. "Free at last from the curse of chemistry!"
  94. 94. That night, just as the mass of dormies were returning home from class, they were startled to find another of their fellow dormies on her knees insome sort of distress on the front sidewalk."Whats wrong with her?" Shih asked."Stupid dormie syndrome," Mitch said sadly. "Ive heard it affects quite a few around here. She forgot to eat all semester.""There must be something we can do!" Shih cried. "Somebody call an ambulance!"
  95. 95. "TOO LATE NOW," a familiar skeletal form boomed in a sonorousvoice. "I AM SORRY, BUT IT IS TOO LATE NOW.""Cant you let us plead for her, Auntie Susanna?" Shih asked. With a sigh, Shih conceded defeat. "Ill tell the boys in case one of them wants a pet zombie, then.""NONE OF YOU KNEW HER WELL ENOUGH TOINTERCEDE," the Grim Reaper replied "SHE WILL BE SAFE IN THE AFTERLIFE UNTIL THEN," Susanna responded, before disappearing with the corpse and leaving"But... ectoplasm! All over the carpets! That stuff stains!" a tombstone behind.
  96. 96. Shih included a rundown of the tragedy when she emailed her flight times to Jim later that evening. He responded with sympathy right away, andalso mentioned that he would stop by her vacation house after shed had a few hours to settle in and make herself at home.The number of butterflies in Shihs stomach multiplied exponentially.
  97. 97. However, when the taxi pulled up the next morning she was the picture of calmness. Either the visit would go well... or it wouldnt. She was only aFreshman; she had plenty of time to find someone to father her children, if Jim wasnt a good candidate."Have a great summer, Shih!" Mitch called as she walked past him with her suitcase. "See you in the fall!""Ill be in the Greek house next fall," Shih said. "But Im sure Ill see you at least a few times.""Yeah, Im a member," Mitch said. "So I make it to most of the parties.""Well, Ill see you then," Shih said, with a smile and a wave. "Have a good summer!"
  98. 98. And with that, she stepped outside and climbed into the waiting taxi. Next stop... Twikki Island!
  99. 99. With the advent of summer break, Shere Khan was spending the majority of his time in the laboratory--as a student working on his senior thesis, hehad free access to the campus facilities."Reality eated my guinea pigs. Only one usable subject," he said to himself as he read over the spreadsheet hed created over the past weeks. "Thelist is a lie."Just then there was a knock at the door, and a moment later Zing walked in with the next subject.
  100. 100. "So, Ash... tell us why youre interested in participating in our research," Zing said. He quickly added, "Theres no financial remuneration; this isstrictly volunteer.""I know," Ash said. "But Ive got this, like, boyfriend. And I totally dig him, and I was thinking that it would be far out if he and I could have a kidtogether, dude. You know?""Sincere Ash is sincere. Yay for kittens WANT," Shere Khan said. "But unethical experiments are unethical unless Ash has proper PI citizenshipdocumentation and signed consent form. The French Police are not a lie, and invisible research in jail."
  101. 101. "I can dig that," Ash nodded. "Just let me dig around a little in my man-purse."He rummaged for a moment and then produced a somewhat soggy-looking Pirate Island passport. "That what you wanted to see, dude? Dont mindthe sticky stuff... its just that I keep popsicles in my man-purse to ward off attacks of extreme hotness, but they keep melting.""... Mai brain hurts. Infected with teh dumbz nao."
  102. 102. "Thats... nice," Zing said, passing back the passport after hed given it a cursory glance. "Your ID checks out, anyway, and your citizenship. Sowere good there. Shere Khan will run the tests now." He turned to his partner. "Better add an IQ test," he whispered."im in ur planz, beatin u to it," Shere Khan grinned. He stood up and gestured. "Dis way, plzkthxbai, Ash-hooman."
  103. 103. "Visible multi-purpose scanning device," Shere Khan said. "Wear the funny hat.""This looks kinda like a lie detector machine, dude," Ash said dubiously. "The kind that zaps you if you answer wrong.""Lie detector is a lie: nao is visible multi-purpose scanning device," Shere Khan confirmed. "No worries: u is fien. But in case u isnt, the dog didit."With a disarming grin, he pushed a giant purple button.
  104. 104. "Auuugh!" Ash yelped as tens of volts coursed through his body.
  105. 105. "Eeeeexcellent," Shere Khan said, steepling his fingers as he read the results on the screen. "U can has cookie, Ash. Teh research is not a lie.""I can?" Ash sounded surprised. "Awesome, dude! What next?""I can has DNA?" Shere Khan said, brandishing a cotton swab. "U scraeps mouf with Q-Tip nao pls."Ash complied and handed the swab back to Shere Khan.
  106. 106. The mad scientist opened a small refrigerator, took out a labeled vial, and dropped the entire swab into it. He added three drops of a pink solution,then sealed the vial and placed it into a large centrifuge connected to a computer."Mad mad scientist skillz, I has them."
  107. 107. Shere Khans fingers flew across the keyboard as the centrifuge whirled the substance, spinning it down. It stopped momentarily and a syringeinjected a greenish liquid from a reservoir into the vial. Then the machine started spinning again.When it stopped, the half-tiger carefully decanted the supernatant into a larger bottle and diluted it down with a blueish fluid. He shook the mixturevigorously for a moment.
  108. 108. "Taek," he said finally, holding out the weirdly-glowing bottle."Battreez not included." "Sounds pretty easy, tiger-dude," Ash grinned. "Ill send you an email if Ive got any, like, questions or anything."Ash took it gingerly. "What do I do with it, dude?" "I said kthxbai already. Out!""Teh bottwe says drink meh," Shere Khan said. "But not until backto Pirate Island and invisible FDA. Is a retrovirus to caption ur DNA. With a carefree wave, the black-haired man strode jauntily out of theInvisible dormant genes then is visible, maek andro-womb. Dont office... carrying the sum total of Shere Khan and Zings hopes andlaugh at the name. Then u can has kittens. U msg meh when new dreams with him.visible symptom, kthxbai."
  109. 109. "Jack," De said, approaching her fellow legacy immortal in the hall of the manor they both now lived in with their respective spouses, "could I aska favor?""Indeed," Jack Buccaneer replied. "I shall endeavor to render any assistance you may require, Miss De.""No need to be so formal, Jack," De laughed. "But Im glad to hear that. Its about my granddaughter, Toshiko.""A formidable example of feminine accomplishment," Jack nodded. "Given to over-enthusiastic use of unlicensed incendiary devices withingenious harmonic detonation systems. She would be an asset to many an organization."
  110. 110. "Thats what Im getting at," De said. "Shes spending the summer here with Bart and I. While shes here... do you think you could kind of feel herout for a role in your... company? I think shed be a good fit, but Im kind of biased since Im her grandmother and all. You could evaluate herduring her visit and if you think shed suit, offer her a job. She graduates at the end of next year and I dont think she has anything lined up yet.""An unexpected proposition," Jack said, his eyes widening. "To which I naturally shall accord every consideration. Should Toshiko prove ascompetent as intelligence indicates, I will happily extend her an employment opportunity within the Syndicate. It is the epitome of ineptitude topermit others to acquire assets which would be more beneficially employed in ones own establishment."
  111. 111. A short time later, Toshiko herself was striding down the sidewalk to her grandmothers house. As she passed by a large collection of Elixir in theyard, she blinked. But then she filed away the knowledge for later; it probably had something to do with her grandmothers immortality, but shedcheck to find out.
  112. 112. "Toshiko!" De said warmly, catching sight of her granddaughter approaching. "Its so good to see you! Your grandfather and I have been lookingforward to your visit for weeks! But wheres your luggage?""I had to send it on a military transport," Toshiko grumbled. "The commercial airlines all refused to carry it because it limits the airspace they canfly over. Anyway, it should be here before supper time.""Good," De said. "If it isnt, well raise holy heck and move mountains and all that fun stuff. Now, why dont you come inside?""Sure," Toshiko grinned. "Im excited to see your new place, though its weird to think you dont live with mom and mom anymore--and that theydont live in the old house either! Do you know if they took all my old stuff with them when they moved into their new house?""I think they left a box of your stuff at the old house, and that Pierce and Rani agreed to store it for you," De said. "You can pick it all up when youmove back to the Island after you graduate. Now, inside!"
  113. 113. Toshikos vacation passed quickly, and it wasnt long before she "I engage in wholly legitimate business endeavors whilst subsidizingfound herself in conversation with Jack Thayer, a distant ancestor, of the economies of several independent political entities," Jack said. "Isorts. manage a wholesale procurative organization colloquially referred to as the Syndicate.""Great-great-uncle," Jack clarified. "But please do not feel obliged toreference me by that complex antecedent title, Mademoiselle. You "Ive heard of you," Toshiko nodded. "Actually, I get a lot of mymay address me as Jack." supplies from you. Military surplus.""Ill do that, Jack," Toshiko said with a smile. "So what do you do, "Merely one of our numerous product lines, albeit one of the morewhen you arent enjoying the immortal life in this fabulous mansion presently lucrative," Jack agreed. "And for which presumably legallywith my grandparents?" ambiguous purposes do you employ our pyrotechnic products, Toshiko?"
  114. 114. "Well, I blow things up," Toshiko said. "I use music to devise "Do go on," Toshiko said.exquisitely complicated and effective detonation devices, and theexplosives are controlled to do exactly what I want them to do. Ive "There will be protective services unit work," Jack said. "That will beoften thought that I might offer my services to the SCIA, or possibly your principle role. Also, recovery operations and surveillance."the local police." Toshiko thought about that for several minutes. Then: "When do I"Such employment would squander your formidable talent," Jack start?"said. He thought for a moment. "Toshiko, the Syndicate wouldbenefit exceedingly from an associate of your calibre, if you will "An education is an invaluable tool in the Syndicate," Jack said. "Weexcuse the plebeian witticism. You are eminently suited to the will converse again when you graduate."lifestyle such an officer would lead... and I have a special assignmentfor which I need someone of your unique abilities." "Deal."
  115. 115. Dont stop now... on to Part 2!
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