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A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.4 Where Mortals Fear To Tread


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Chpt. 2.4 of my sims2 legacy

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A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.4 Where Mortals Fear To Tread

  1. 2. Previously in A Corporate Conspiracy… Jason Gross, warlock, seer and Darwin’s best friend traveled to the wilds of Northern Canada to confer with his mentor and the few elves who lived hidden away there. He hoped to discover more about what was really going on and to find a solution to his troubled visions. Prompted by the elder elf Aranhkil his drank a potion and promptly passed out. Melinda got her interview with the elusive Captain Hero though it wasn’t the one she had planned on. Heidi Swenson and local corporate CEO Goopy Gilscarbo convinced her to keep their secrets in exchange for slightly false alternate story. Knowing what Darwin and her father had been trying to do she agreed. Now…
  2. 3. Darwin awoke to find that he wasn’t feeling too well. His stomach cramped angrily and it was all he could do to keep from vomiting all over the carpet. After a few seconds the sensation seemed to pass. “I guess I should have stuck to cake and not eaten the sandwich I found in the trash.”
  3. 4. After a few deep breaths he thought the worst might have passed only to have his stomach spasm in a desperate attempt to rid it’s self of the bacteria laden meal.
  4. 5. He barely made it to the toilet in time before his ‘snack’ from the previous day came back to visit him again. Gasping for breath he leaned on the rim of the toilet and groaned. Another wave of nausea and another spasm forced him to violently heave again. The fetid smell of vomit filled his nose and he weakly reached up to depress the lever to flush the toilet. He was sweating all over and at the same time freezing cold. He had never felt like this before. In fact, no one in the house had ever been sick before. Not even with the sniffles. Mel had to spend some time in bed after her head injury years ago but that was it.
  5. 6. After a few minutes he forced himself up to a standing position only to find his muscles felt weak and he was slightly dizzy. Leaning against the wall he closed his eyes and took a few more deep breaths trying to clear the spinning sensation. “I really need to stop eating out of the trash. I feel like my stomach is trying to pop.” Once again he was assaulted by a stomach spasm and he sunk to his knees and gripped the edge of the toilet bowl.
  6. 7. Three more vomiting episodes and things finally settled down enough for Darwin to stumble out to the phone and use the intercom function to speak with his dad. Stanley had long ago made it a rule that anyone getting sick would need to be isolated from the rest of the family until they were well on order to prevent the spread of any germs. “It’s just food poisoning Dad. I’m sure of it.” Stanley was adamant and Darwin relented and called in sick to work using up the one and only vacation day he had saved up. Fortunately he had a long weekend coming up and hopefully his boss would understand about the other two days. It was going to be a long, boring week. The worst of the vomiting was over but the chills and sweating continued and Darwin spent most of the day resting in bed watching football and old black and white westerns on the TV. The bonsai tree that had been in his possession for years now kept him company as well.
  7. 8. The door leading up to his studio apartment was locked and Stanley called several times a day to check on him as well as carry out some already prepared food in case he got hungry.
  8. 9. Across the yard in the main house Darwin’s illness was all anyone could seem to talk about that evening. Mel and George settled down on the loveseat in the study just as Kira came in to start her homework. “Maybe I should go check on him?” George rubbed his hand on his thigh, “I’m sure he’s fine Honey. Stanley’s been keeping a close eye on him.” Mel sighed and fidgeted, “I just feel so helpless. My little brother is sick and all I can do is talk to him on the phone. I know Dad has his reasons for isolating him but if it’s just food poisoning… None of us can catch that unless we ate the same thing Darwin did.” “ For the most part that is true though there is always a slight chance of cross contamination due to poor hygiene and I’m pretty sure that Darwin doesn’t always wash his hands after using the bathroom.” Mel wrinkled her nose. Darwin had inherited some of her Dad’s newer, less charming habits and it was common that she would have to scrub the kitchen counters after their forays into the kitchen.
  9. 10. Trying to deflect some of his wife’s worry George changed the subject. “Did your editor say anything about your article when you turned it in?”
  10. 11. “ You know he really didn’t. I kind of expected a bit more excitement, maybe some jumping up and down but he just glanced it over and handed it over to the typesetting department. I’m sure once the owner of the paper sees it I will hear something back.” She sighed, “All that effort and so far I have nothing to show for it.” “ I’m sure that once they realize what they have they will give you a call. They can’t all be oblivious to your talent.” Mel smiled, “I love you.” “ George winked and smiled back, “I know.”
  11. 12. Kira groaned. Her parents were beyond mushy sometimes. “Do you guys mind? I’m trying to do my trigonometry home work. You’re grossing me out!”
  12. 13. The next morning Darwin was feeling much better. The nausea was gone and the idea of consuming milk didn’t make him want to retch. Still his father was adamant. Darwin would have to stay in his apartment for the remainder of the week.
  13. 14. Even though his garden was suffering through an early snowfall and he was inches away from a big promotion with the SCIA, he had to stay put. Out his window he could watch the patch on cucumbers he planted a bit late in the season start to wither and die. The fact that they survived the first frost at all was a testament to Darwin’s abilities.
  14. 15. Before heading of to yet another day of work Mel stopped and pulled up the plants that had succumbed to the frigid temperatures to be composted. She looked up at the window and waved to her brother. She missed him being underfoot in the morning as she helped the girls get ready for school.
  15. 16. So distracted by her concern for Darwin, Mel had forgotten to pick up and read the morning edition to see her article. George was quick to grab the paper once he was up. Her story was headline news! He read the whole thing, inwardly smiling to himself. She’s going to be so happy. Maybe I can convince her to go on that vacation I’ve been wanting to take.
  16. 17. When Melinda returned home she felt some sense of satisfaction. Not only had the paper’s owner loved the story and the increase in paper sales it caused but he suggested that she take a position in management. She was happy… Still, there was this little nagging sensation in the back of her mind that she could do more. That evening, down the street from the James household, a certain member of another significant Pleasant View clan had returned to town. Vampress Tess Trueheart and her great granddaughter were spending some time catching up…
  17. 18. “ I really appreciate you letting me move in with you Grandma Tess. I really didn’t have a plan for after the bachelorette challenge.” “ Please. That’s what great grandmother’s are for. Besides I’m sure Ocean will appreciate some company while I sleep during the day.” “ I just really didn’t want to move back home with Mom and Dad. As soon as I find a job and an apartment I’ll be out of your hair.”
  18. 19. “ There’s no hurry. Take your time and find something you really like.” Tess eyed her granddaughter critically. Wren had grown into a lovely and hotheaded young woman. Seeing her in such an obvious state of confusion was difficult. “You seem a bit depressed. Is there anything I can do?”
  19. 20. Wren glanced up from the pawn she had just moved. “I’m not depressed. I’m…disappointed. That’s all.” “ I take it this young man that all this fuss was over was something special?” Wren smiled and bit her lip nervously, “You could say that. I’m not upset that he choose Moon over me. I just feel that had I pushed just a little bit harder I could have won the game.”
  20. 21. “ That’s all this… what was his name?” “ Djor Carter” “ This Djor means to you? A prize to be had?” “ I didn’t say that.” “ So you do love him?” Wren paused for some time before quietly answering, “Yes.” “ Then I shall go and bring him back for you. This Moon woman be damned!” “ Grandma! Stop teasing me.” “ Who said I was teasing? We Truehearts do not simply concede defeat. If you want him you shall have him.”
  21. 22. Wren shook her head, “Please don’t do that Grandma.” Tess Trueheart and her second husband Ocean were heads of a crime syndicate and Tess’s threat wasn’t just a bunch of hot air. She could really make that happen. “Djor was cute and fun and had a tight little backside you could bounce a quarter off of but we would have been terrible for each other. Moon was the best choice for him. She will love and cherish him and I would have picked fights and been jealous of anyone paying just a little too much attention. I’m sure the make up woo hoo would have been amazing, but we wouldn’t have been happy. Moon will make him happy.”
  22. 23. Tess leaned back from the chess table, “You shouldn’t give up so easily my dear. Your Grandfather Joe and I argued frequently when I first started courting him. Eventually he came around and we were very happy together. If you really want this Djor, then you should simply take him.” “ I’ve already made up my mind Grandma. Thank you though.” Wren glanced over the board then, “Look! An African stick bug on your wall!”
  23. 24. Tess turned sharply towards where Wren was pointing. “What! Where? Ocean is deathly afraid of bugs…”
  24. 25. “ Young lady! You should know better than to try and cheat me! Of all people…” Wren did her best to look innocent, “What? There was a bug right there on the wall. It’s not my fault you have fast bugs in your yard.” A smile slowly slid over the vampire’s face allowing her fangs to gleam in the dim light of the courtyard. “Very good my dear. You should come work with me. We could use another sharp wit.” Tess moved the pawn that Wren tried to cheat with back to it’s starting position. “Just because I love you doesn’t mean that you can pull the wool over my eyes. When you change your mind about the young man let me know. It will be no trouble at all to have him nabbed and brought here to Pleasant View.” Elsewhere…
  25. 26. Blackness. Cold, hard stone and the sound of gushing water. Footsteps? Jason struggled to clear the fog from his mind. Where was he? The smell of moist, cool air and ancient stone lingered around him broken only by the slightly warmer rush of warm air scented with flowers that flowed by occasionally. He shivered from the cold and goose bumps rose on his skin.
  26. 27. From the standpoint of the three gowned women standing around him, things were much better. One of them giggled and spoke in a hushed tone, “He’s naked.” Another sighed, “And early. We’re not ready for him yet. Not everyone is here and not all of those who are are in costume.” “ I guess we just have to improvise.” “ I can do that!” The voice was a little too loud and Jason’s eyes popped open and he began to stir. “ Now he’s awake. Quick! Places. Someone turn out the lights!” The room darkened just as his eyes were becoming adjusted to the light, forcing him to blink and try to refocus them.
  27. 28. An involuntary groan escaped him lips as he pushed himself to his hands and knees. “Ungh! My head. What the hell was in that potion.” The sound of gushing water continued and Jason got the sense of being near a large fountain.
  28. 29. Slowly he pushed himself up to a standing position. In the dim light he could just make out the shapely figures of what must be statues in the fountain. Beyond them was windowed doors that overlooked a fancy pool and garden. “Where am I? And why am I naked?” A giggle from the direction of the fountain pulled his eyes back towards the center of the room. “Who’s there? I know someone is here. I can hear you.” Jason scanned the room looking for any movement at all. Almost imperceptibly one of the statures shifted position. Jason tensed his muscles and prepared to cast a spell.
  29. 30. It was a good thing that he no longer needed sleeves or pockets in which to keep a wand. “Illumino!”
  30. 31. A light flashed into being over the pool and one of the ‘statues’ cringed in pain as the bright light blinded her, “Aghh! My eyes! Watch what you are doing with that!” Once he saw that the statues were in fact real women and not some kind of harpy or Naga he moved the light back away from the pool. “Who are you?” The woman with the blue ribbon in her hair straightened her dress and stepped up into line with the other two.
  31. 32. The trio answered in unison, “We are the Makers. The Creators of worlds. The enemies of stasis and the bringer’s of life.” The woman in the pink gown had a hard time keeping a straight face looking at the well built, nude sim. “Welcome.”
  32. 33. Jason’s face darkened. “What the hell is going on!”
  33. 34. Jo cringed, “Oh he’s mad! I told you he would be mad.” Shady shrugged, “Well we’re not really very good at this acting thing. “ It’s not entirely our fault. You’re early and we didn’t get everything set up right. Also some people forgot to practice their lines.” Angela tugged nervously at her hair ribbon.
  34. 35. Jason’s attention was pulled from the three nervous ladies standing shin deep in the fountain to three more who entered the room through the large windowed doors. As they entered the lights around the room flashed on illuminating the room and the three hallways that ran away from it. Doc stopped mid stride and looked stunned, “Why is this sim naked? That wasn’t in the script.” Lea shook her head in confusion but didn’t look away. The scholarly red head behind them smiled, “I made a slight change to the script. It seemed more dramatic for the oracle to be naked and vulnerable when confronted by deities.” Angela pointed at Professor Butters, “And she made tons of changes at the last minute. We didn’t have time to rehearse properly.” Lea raised her hand, “Angela please. I don’t think there is any reason to try and carry on the charade and certainly no reason to point any fingers. Here Jason, let me fix the naked issue for you.” A snap of the fingers and…
  35. 36. He found himself dressed in robes similar to the one’s he wore for meditation. “Thank you.”
  36. 37. Oblivious to what was happening inside, Blue Berry Pie and Ephemeral Toast wandered in. “Ladies has he arrived… Oh! Never mind. Whoops.” “ Ahh. I missed seeing the cute guy naked! You just had to play on more round of hoops.” BBP shrugged, “Sorry. I guess we blew the plan.” Lea smiled, “Don’t worry about it Dear. We already had a failure on our hands.”
  37. 38. While the three ladies stepped out of the fountain, Jason crossed the stone floor to stand next to the very familiar looking Lea, “Umm… Hello? Is anyone going to tell me what is going on here? Or should I assume Aranhkil's potion was really a poison and I’m in some sort of drug crazed coma?” “ I’m sorry Jason. It gets a little crazy around here sometimes and obviously we got a little confused about what time you were supposed to arrive. We wanted to do a kind of Greek myth thing for you but it didn’t really work out.” “ Who are you?” “ We are just who Angela, Jo and Shadey said we are. Steph just gave us a slightly different name, ‘The Maker’s’. We all have created worlds of our own and sims just like you.” “ So you all are Gods?”
  38. 39. “ Well, I don’t think most of us think of ourselves that way except maybe Purple Bunny. For the most part we hang around and keep an eye on things.” “ And take up space on bubble blowers,” ET added. “ Yes. The bubble addiction issue is pretty big with us Creators.” Jason shook his head, “The whole lot of you live across the street from the Goths and I’ve seen you and him coming out of the fancy house across the street from the James family home all the time. You’re all residents of Pleasant View. Why for one minute should I believe that you are The Maker’s or any other type of deity for that matter?”
  39. 40. Doc interrupted, “Are you familiar to the multi-verse theory?” “ That there are simultaneous versions of everything in existence that deviate from on another only slightly?” Doc nodded. “Yes, I’m familiar.” “ Well, in each of our own verses we are the Creators with full abilities. In other verses we have only the power that the owning Creator allows us. We reside here while at the same time exist in multiple other places, usually at the request of the resident Creator or ‘Maker’. Though I can see how it would be easy for you to not believe us.”
  40. 41. Jason looked around the room and approached BBP. “Which one of you is my Creator.” BBP smiled nervously and pushed up his glasses, “She’s not here at the moment.” “ Then why am I here?”
  41. 42. “ We were asked to help you make a critical choice about your future. Once that choice is made then you will get an opportunity to learn a bit more. You are a good warlock Jason, but to help defeat what may be coming you need to be a great wizard. This means that you need to be familiar with all aspects of magic. Not just the middle road. Do you understand?” He looked around viewing each hallway in turn. One was lined with white marble and gleamed with brilliant light, the next was grey and somber and very familiar. The third was black as the darkest night and ominous gargoyles guarded the doorway beyond. “Yes. I think I do. So I just pick a hall way and walk through the door? Then what?” “ Which hallway would you choose?” “ The black one.” The answer was fast and sure. “ Why?”
  42. 43. “ Pleasant View has more than it’s share of white witches already with more up and coming. The dark path can lead to a consuming temptation but we may need those more aggressive spells to win the day.” “ Not a bad answer. The one individual who can answer all your questions is behind that door. Just keep in mind that there may be a terrible price for those answers. Should you wish to leave now we can send you back to your body unharmed.”
  43. 44. Jason walked across the hall towards the ominous black hall. Hardly any light escaped from the place. He could just make out the frame of the ornate doorway ahead of him. He paused for only a moment before passing down the hall and pushing the heavy door open.
  44. 45. He wasn’t too surprised when the door vanished behind him giving him no choice but going forward. He was surprised that the guardian of the next door was a werewolf with fiendish yellow eyes that gave him a slight smile as he approached. “Hello Jason.” “ I know you too. You live next to the Truehearts. Are you a visiting deity as well?” “ No. I’m your creator.”
  45. 46. He just stood and stared at her. There was no pretenses or giggling. She just stood there staring at him like she could see through his skin. “You don’t look like a god.” “ And what exactly is a god supposed to look like?” “ Ah, I don’t know. More regal or something.” “ What you see is what you get.” “ So are you like the ones out in the hall? Do you exist on other planes too?”
  46. 47. “ Here and there. I’m not as popular as some deities. Surely you have more important questions to ask me than wanting to know about my social life?” Jason gaped at her, “Yeah of course! Dozen’s!” “ Try to pick out the most important ones. Our time here is limited.” His mind raced, “Okay, umm… Who is Marie Gray and why is she so interested in Darwin?” “ That’s my boy! Straight to the point.” The werewolf before him smiled a toothy grin. “Marie is… complex. Let’s just say that she is very, very old and very driven by her need to be in control. She is extremely dangerous and Darwin and yourself will need to build your strengths before you try to face her again. As for her interest in Darwin; his genetics are the key.”
  47. 48. “ It can’t just be alien genes she’s after. There are alien spawn all around the world she could have just used any one of them. She told Darwin it was because of his father, because of Stanley that she picked him.” “ You see, you know more than you think. It is because of Stanley. Sometimes mental issues are passed on to children and Stanley has a unique one. Stanley was, before your potion put a stop to it, able to pass into and out of the shadow lands in his dreams. His nightmares were what he remembered of those trips. In time Darwin will develop this ability too.” “ I don’t understand. Gray wants an alien army that can travel into the umbral realms?” “ Yes.” “ That’s it?” “ Yes. The better question is why?”
  48. 49. “ Why?” “ Have you ever wondered why the aliens choose to spawn with the sims of this world?” “ All the time but no alien hybrid could tell me.” “ What if the aliens weren’t really aliens at all? What if long ago they left this world for another and are now returned to continue their war.” Aranhkil’s words were now beginning to make sense. “The aliens are really elves?!” “ Yes. Long ago they retreated from this world to another and bided their time. Now they are returned to finish what they began. They were a tribe of elves that loved machines over magic. Logic over chaos. Their need for order was all consuming and was the cause of their war. They breed with the sims here and eventually each and every hybrid will feel the call to arms and with Darwin to lead them… they will be unstoppable.” “ You could stop them.”
  49. 50. “ Why would I?” “ Because it’s your world! Because thousands of innocents will suffer and die!” “ Hmm… and?” “ How can you be so callus towards your own creation?” Again the werewolf smiled, “Because I know how it ends. And I’m not one to jump into the middle of things when they are going along just fine and entertain me. Plus, I’m a werewolf. We’re all a little twisted.” “ Darwin would never lead this army.” “ Are you sure? It didn’t take much to push Stanley to the brink. Don’t you think that a few poorly timed events might just cause him to make some errors in judgment? Or even become downright deranged?”
  50. 51. “ Then what am I supposed to do? He’s my friend and I don’t believe in predetermined destiny.” “ You shouldn’t. Nothing is written in stone until it is done and then sometimes exceptions can be made. You want to save your friend? Then continue being his friend and being there for him and his family. They will all need you.” His Creator moved away from him, “Our time is nearly finished.” “ But I have more questions! Who is this dark specter in my visions? Why am I having trouble seeing certain things? When does this invasion begin?” “ All very good questions but you will have to find out those answers for yourself. I will leave you with a small gift that should help you some.” The werewolf waved her hand and a monitor appeared on the wall before him.
  51. 52. Jason studied the image before asking, “This is your gift?” She laughed, “No. That I will leave for you to discover on your own.” “ Why? Why won’t you just tell me?” “ I thought you were smarter than this.” She sighed, “Because it amuses me. Now pay attention. Do you know these two?” “ The woman could be Heidi Swenson. The man, I don’t know.” “ These two may in some ways seem to be your enemies but you and Darwin will need them if you truly wish to prevent Darwin from slipping over to Gray’s side. Trust me. You do not want that to happen as once her army is done with the fae she will turn them loose on the prime plane as well.” Jason was still struggling with the idea that any creator would allow their world to be so horribly ravaged without trying to intercede in some way.
  52. 53. “ Please before you send me back, I need to understand. You know all these things were going to happen but you refuse to do anything about it. As a Creator you could wipe it all away but you won’t because it entertains you?” She closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths before trying to explain. “As a warlock you understand the idea of opposition. That night must have a day and for something beautiful to be truly splendid one must also look upon the hideous. Also, according to one particularly famous playwright, ‘every rose has a thorn’. Everything must exist in balance. When you chose the dark hallway you did so to try and achieve some sort of equilibrium. I think if you think hard about what all that means you will come to understand why I don’t just snap Marie Gray and her machinations into oblivion. Now, I must go but I have one last thing to take care of and I’m afraid it is going to hurt. A lot.”
  53. 54. “ What is?” The werewolf didn’t answer but bared her fangs and growled at him. He was accustomed to werewolf behavior so he wasn’t really frightened by the act. Then the burning sensation formed behind his eyes.
  54. 55. As the pain swelled and he was consumed by blackness once again he heard her voice say, “I’m afraid that I can’t let you remember anything specific about me or the other Creators. It would cause trouble. Eventually you will come to understand.” All Jason understood right now was pain. Searing, unending pain that burned right to his brain. Finally his body could take no more and he collapsed to the floor unconscious.
  55. 56. Back in the real world… Heidi frowned a little as she watched G peck at the computer key board. His typing skills were incredibly poor and she found it hard not to just shove him out of the chair and take over herself. “I sure hope you fight better than you type.”
  56. 57. “ Huh. Just give me a minute. I’m almost in.” G entered a few more lines of code and the computer’s newly installed program hummed to life and started sifting through all the possible password combinations. “It should only take a few minutes to sort out the pass code and then we are into the main frame.” “ Who gave you access to the main frame computer?” “ Anna down in Information Technologies.” “ Shy Anna? How did you get her to do that?” G glanced up at Heidi and raised his eyebrows, “Do you really want the details? Cause if you’re into that I can work with it.” “ That’s disgusting! She works for you for heaven’s sake. Do you want to be sued for sexual harassment?” G grinned at her, “It was her choice. I didn’t force her into anything. You may find this difficult to grasp but some women actually find me attractive.”
  57. 58. Of course they do. Heidi shook the thought out of her head. “Just what are you looking for in accounting?” “ Anything that might give us some leads. Without any evidence we won’t be able to prove anything. I don’t know, altered books, front companies, odd expenditures. Something.” G focused on the monitor but was keenly aware of Heidi’s subtle perfume. Unlike so many women, she never used too much. Just a hint. It also was a wonderful spicy scent not the hyper floral that most companies were manufacturing. Heidi, wary of his sudden silence, tensed and rolled her eyes. “What are you doing?” “ Nothing!” “ I don’t believe you.” “ I like your perfume. That’s all. It’s nice.” “ Un huh.”
  58. 59. “ Really. It’s a compliment.” The search program came to a stop with an abrupt sound. G leaned in toward the screen, “Would you look at that.” Heidi leaned forward placing her hand on the back of his chair for balance. He was acutely aware of her fingertips as they accidentally brushed his shoulder. “Who on earth would need a hundred thousand incubation chambers?” “ Who indeed. I think we have our lead.” Across town…
  59. 60. For Darwin the tedious week long confinement continued. The studio apartment had every thing he might need except the closeness of his family. Phone calls help stave off the loneliness that one feels when isolated but it wasn’t quite the same as the family meals and his daily trips to play with his children or to spend time with Cassidy. All the quiet time had allowed him to catch up on some of his studies when it came to his magic and it was this that he and Cassidy discussed today. “ I found the formula for the homunculus in my book last night. I can’t believe I haven’t seen it before.” “ And? What do you think? It just seems so odd that such an evil thing is in a good witch’s book.” “ I don’t believe that anything is inherently evil. What if the subject wanted to be transformed in order to accomplish something?” “ Who in their right mind would put themselves through such a thing Dar? I mean, we are talking eventual death and resurrection as a zombie. Not just being a vampire or a werewolf.”
  60. 61. “ Still I can see merit in the idea.” “… You’re not thinking about doing this, are you?” He closed his eyes and paused to collect his thoughts for a few seconds. “ Dar?” “ I don’t want you to freak out about this Honey but I am considering asking the Countess to bite me.” “ What?! Are you insane?” “ No. I’m just being a little bit rational. Everyone around us is growing old and dying except Marie Gray and her minions. Granted it might be better if I aged and died so that she couldn’t try and use me anymore but I really don’t think that is going to stop her. I need to be around for a while. Being a vampire will let me do that.”
  61. 62. He spent the next few minutes trying to calm his distressed wife down but was adamant about his decision. He could sense how Cassidy felt about the issue and did his best to assure her that he had thought it through very carefully and becoming a vampire was a viable solution to his impending elderfication. And time was most definitely slipping away on him. If he looked out his window he would have seen the guests arriving for Melinda and George’s birthday.
  62. 63. “ Are you sure we have to do this?” “ Just blow out the candles Dad.”
  63. 64. “ I can’t be the only grey hair of this generation, so get a move on George.” Stanley stood quietly behind Kellie and watched the proceedings. All these birthdays left him with on simple fact on his mind. He would soon be joining his wife Catalina in the afterlife.
  64. 65. George took his spin in front of the cake then quickly stepped aside so that Mel could make her wish too.
  65. 66. Stanley smiled, “Well at least you did better than I did sweetheart.”
  66. 67. “ Nice old lady suit Mom. You should go join Crumplebutt down at the bar.” Mel surveyed the damage. “Hey! If I was a school teacher this would be a great outfit but it hardly seems fitting for a managing editor of the biggest paper in town. I think it’s time for a shopping trip.”
  67. 68. The party continued on and members of the family gathered in the family room to play pool and dance. Kira, feeling a bit impish, grabbed Brooke around the neck and pushed her head downwards so that she could apply a time honored tradition of all bullies, the noogie. “ Ow! Stop it! That hurts!” Brooke tried to push away from her sister only to find that the effort caused her to be choked by Kira’s arm. “Let go!” Kira finally released her struggling sister.
  68. 69. Brooke rubbed the top of her head and fixed a barrette that had been disloged. “That hurt.” “ Oh you’re such a whiner. ‘That hurt’”, she mocked Brooke’s voice. “ Why are you always so mean to me?” “ Because you’re such a pathetic loser. You can’t even make friends right. The only number in your phone is Brooke Number Two’s.” Brooke lower lip trembled and she turned and started to walk away. “ Oh baby’s going to cry now!” “ Kira!” Startled by the voice she turned around to see her father sitting on the sofa.
  69. 70. “ Leave your sister alone.” “ Yes Daddy.” “ And go apologize to her. You know better than to treat her like that.” “ Yes Daddy.” Kira turned and followed Brooke’s path into the dining room and out of sight. George worried about Brooke constantly. Not only did she have her sister’s crude behavior to contend with but she seemed to have a terrible time making friends. She was shy and uncertain and very unhappy. Maybe a little vacation would help her feel better. We could all use one.
  70. 71. Brooke found her way into the bathroom and away from Kira’s teasing. She quietly washed her face to clean away the tears that seemed to come so easily here lately. Kira was right, she just couldn’t seem to make any friends. She was too nervous to speak with anyone new and most of the other girls at school were almost as bad as her sister or her cousin Alicia. “Kira’s right. I am such a pathetic loser.” She reached to turn off the tap and was sprayed right in the face with a jet of icy water. “Ahhh!” She pushed her hands down over the spray to deflect it away from her eyes. “Can this day get any worse?” Downtown near the city docks a very unusual meeting was taking place…
  71. 72. The stack of clay poker chips clinked as they slowly dropped from his hand.
  72. 73. The deck of cards was shuffled and the dealer paused before sliding the top card off the deck to begin the hand. “I’m fairly certain that you didn’t really come here to play cards.”
  73. 74. “ What makes you say that?” “ Well first of all, you’re a terrible poker player. You have obvious tells and tend to flirt with any pretty lady present at the table rather than pay attention to what you are doing.”
  74. 75. “ And secondly, you have a very focused look in your eyes that tells me that either you are intending on trying to be inappropriate with me or that you are up to something. Since I know you know better than to make a pass at me I will assume that it is the latter. What is it you want?” G smiled, “You know me too well Tess.” “ You have been coming into my clubhouse for years G. I probably know you better than almost anyone. I saw your picture in the paper the other day. That suit shows off your backside quite nicely” “ Now who’s flirting? And thank you for noticing.”
  75. 76. Tess studied her cards while G raised the bet. “Back to business. What is it you want?” “ You remember how I promised to not interfere with your little theft ring?” “ Yes, and I recall that I countered with the ‘I won’t tell the world who you really are’ ploy.” “ True. But I was hoping that I might also get a little assistance from you and Ocean with something of major importance.” Tess called his raise on the bet. “This has something to do with the head of SFO Corporation doesn’t it?” G looked surprised, “Is this town full of mind readers?” “ I’m… not exactly sure what you mean by that but I don’t have to be a mind reader to know what is going on in this town. I’ve been alive for six generations. My phone book is so full I have to keep it closed with a rubber band and what I don’t know my daughter in-law Cassandra tells me.”
  76. 77. “ I need to find out where someone might store one hundred thousand sim sized incubation chambers. That many crates coming into town can’t be easily hidden but I’m only one man. You have eyes and ears all over the city that you can trust.” “ You’re female counterpart can’t help you with this?” “ You know about her too?” Tess laid her cards on the table, “Two pair. Aces over eights, I win.” She scooped up the pot and began stacking the chips. “Of course I know about her. When I asked Melinda James to send Captain Hero to talk to me it was really her I wanted to see but since you’re the one who showed up I choose to deal with you.” “ Oh. Well, she’s a bit restricted in how she does things. I on the other hand am not and can choose to use whatever resources for information available to me. Can you help?”
  77. 78. “ What’s in it for me?” “ My continued complicity in keeping your operation out of the police blotter?” “ I could manage that on my own. No you will have to do better than that if you want me to start digging into Miss Gray’s business.” “ How about… a date with yours truly?” “ Be serious.” “ Why does no one believe that I’m a good guy to spend time with?” “ Because sometimes G you act like an infantile teenage boy hyped up on testosterone. Most women don’t trust you to be faithful and that is what most women want. Someone they can trust not to hurt them.”
  78. 79. G considered the statement as he shuffled the cards for the next hand. “How about… one hour of free, unsupervised access to SFO Corps main frame computer. You have to supply the talent of course and if you get caught it’s on your head.”
  79. 80. “ Hmm… I’m intrigued. This includes their R&D?” G nodded, “You should be. The information alone could be worth millions to the right buyer.” “ But dangerous to have let alone acquire.” Tess evaluated her hand before tossing the cards onto the pot conceding the hand. She watched as G pulled the chips toward him. “Alright I accept but I also want one ‘get out of jail free’ card to be used at my discretion. No questions asked.” “ That could be tough. I have a lot of friends in the department but someone still might ask questions.” “ Take it or leave it.” “ I have limited options so I will have to agree. I need the location, pictures and a list of names if possible.” “ Easily done. I give you a call when I get it.”
  80. 81. “ Now remember G, I’m trusting you to honor this agreement. No matter how badly it might go for you.” “ You my dear have nothing to worry about. Let me know when you are ready to get the data and I’ll handle the arrangements.” Somewhere in the middle of nowhere…
  81. 82. Jason moaned a little as he rolled over into a more comfortable position. He was vaguely aware of noises from somewhere below him but couldn’t quite bring himself to open his eyes. His muscle felt stiff and heavy and the warmth of the blanket was almost too tempting.
  82. 83. Downstairs it was early morning and the residents of the hidden valley were up and moving. “ Good morning Scout. Did you sleep well?” The Australian Shepherd wagged his nub of a tail and gave Hannah a bright look. “ I don’t suppose you’re hungry?” This elicited an even more excited tail wag that soon encompassed almost the entirety of the dog’s body. “ I’ll take that as a yes.” She patted him on the head and walked towards the kitchen
  83. 84. Adeline focused on trying to learn how to play the violin that she had ordered. She had never had a chance to study music as a child and now seemed as good a time as any but she was having a hard time of it. The vile thing seemed to create more screeching noises than music.
  84. 85. Her other students occupied their time with other kinds of study…
  85. 86. And practice. “Okay. Wring the hands then laugh. No wait. Is it laugh then wring the hands or do I do them both at the same time? Who knew it was so hard to be evil?”
  86. 87. Upstairs Jason forced himself upright from the bed and reached out to try and steady himself. “Ahhh!”
  87. 88. Hannah stopped her attempt to plug her ears from the sonic assault that was Adeline’s attempt to make music when she heard the cry of pain from upstairs. “He’s awake!” She bolted up the stairs as Adeline set the violin down on it’s stand and turned to calmly follow her.
  88. 89. “ Jason? You’re finally awake. It’s been almost a week. Are you alright?”
  89. 90. He gingerly rubbed his right hand, “Yes. I burned my hand on the candle. It’s not bad though.” “ Do you want me to make you a poultice?” “ No… I might have a different problem though.” He carefully turned around to face her.
  90. 91. She gasped as he turned to look at her. “Jason! …
  91. 92. “ Your eyes!” Back in Pleasant View…
  92. 93. Now I’ve told you this once before You can’t control me If you try to take me down you’re gonna break I feel your every nothing that you’re doing for me I’m picking you out of me You run away
  93. 94. I stand alone Inside I stand alone
  94. 95. You’re always hiding behind your so called goddess So what you don’t think that we can see your face Resurrected back before the final fallen I’ll never rest until I can make my own way I’m not afraid of fading
  95. 96. I stand alone You and your sting down inside me I’m not dying for it I stand alone Everything that I believe is fading Inside I stand alone
  96. 97. And now its my time (now its my time)
  97. 98. Its my time to dream (my time to dream)
  98. 99. Dream of the sky (dream of the sky)
  99. 100. Make me believe this place isn’t plagued
  100. 101. By the poison in me
  101. 102. Help me decide if my fire will burn out
  102. 103. Before you can breathe
  103. 104. Breathe into me
  104. 105. I stand alone Inside
  105. 106. I stand alone You and your sting down inside me
  106. 107. I’m not dying for it
  107. 108. I stand alone Everything that I believe is fading
  108. 109. I stand alone Inside
  109. 110. I stand alone Inside
  110. 111. I stand alone Inside
  111. 112. I stand alone Inside
  112. 113. … “ I stand alone” by Godsmack (from their IV album)
  113. 114. “ Perfect.”
  114. 115. Next time in A Corporate Conspiracy… A hazy rain begins to fall Click 
  115. 116. Howdy! As you can see my simself is sporting a new outfit courtesy of Gelydh at Club Crimsyn. I had too many social townies also wearing the same outfit and it was time for a change. I’d also like to thank All About Style for several of the dresses my ‘goddesses’ were wearing. They are both great sites for custom clothing for your sims as well as a few other goodies. Check ‘em out when you have time. This chapter update was all about firsts. The first illness where I had to deal with the one week confinement rule tied to my hypochondriac handicap and the first time that any character has become aware of the simselves in the neighborhood. I also took an opportunity to let the readers in on some of the more complicated plot. Wasn’t that nice of me?
  116. 117. Let’s see… I’ll start with the elderfying of my spares. Kellie went first in the rotation. This is was taken on the patio of Kellie and Ted Thompson's new home. A Spanish influenced ranch home that I reproduced from an on line floor plan. The house came out quiet nice and is very playable. Most of the family was able to gather for the duel birthday party.
  117. 118. Kellie transitioned well and into clothes that I liked. I did adjust her makeup and give her some glasses.
  118. 119. Kellie’s husband Ted followed right after. The suit stays but the hat and glasses have to go. Ted is now Mayor of Pleasant View giving Alicia even more stuff to brag about.
  119. 120. Mel and George were next in line followed promptly by Laurel. For some reason Stanley found it necessary to blow that horn right in Laurel’s ear and she doesn’t look too happy about it. By the way the woman with the blue braids in the back of this picture is Esther, Laurel’s life partner. I haven’t managed to catch her in too many pictures.
  120. 121. The clothing choice is all wrong and I may have to head back to the internet to find me some decent elder clothes. Laurel has always been dressed nicely but most of the Maxis stuff is so dowdy.
  121. 122. Laurel had to rush of to work after blowing out her candles but the rest of the family gave me a nice photo op. Conspicuously absent is Darwin who due to his confinement has been purposely left off the guest list. No cake for the trash eater!
  122. 123. Decker’s father Darwin came by almost every day to read stories and give snuggles and baths up until he got sick. Darwin is a really great dad. He took care for Brooke at the main house and his own children get them same extra special care when he is around. This day was Decker’s birthday.
  123. 124. The hair and clothing are terrible but the face did improve some. I just wish he was green. As a reminder: Decker Elwyn James Sagittarius 1/6/9/10/1- he’s going to be fun a college Hobby: Games
  124. 125. Fisher and Chelsea became toddlers the very next day. Fisher Sagittarius 1/6/9/10/1- personality clone of Decker (I forgot to randomize) Chelsea Gemini 4/8/10/5/8 Nine-ten active points all the way around. The last thing these kids need is sugar!
  125. 126. Another first for me. I have never had a sim reach the top of the toy making badge and I was sweating as to whether or not Stanley would manage it before his time ran out. But now I have a water wiggler. This seems to be acceptable to me for the family to use. Pools and hot tubs, as Lea once pointed out would be something a hypochondriac would avoid but fresh water from a running hose should be acceptable. Anyone disagree?
  126. 127. This scene was a tough one to shoot. I had thirteen sims on the lot (not all got their pictures took) and some issues with the game taking forever to switch between one sim and the next. Did you know that sims can be left or right handed? I didn’t until I started to try and take a picture of these three. I gave them all the exact same command at the same time while paused. When I hit play, Angela and Jo gestured with the right hand while Shadey gestured with the left. EVERY SINGLE TIME!
  127. 128. My original written dialogue for this scene did not call for Professor Butters to admit any re-writing of the scene but after observing her simselfs behavior I changed things a bit. This is not one heart fart. It’s three separate events. Finally I sent Doc over to talk with her so she would stop messing up my pictures.
  128. 129. Even I make the occasional silly face. Either that or I have something in my eye.
  129. 130. Another first for me. This chair is awesome! It’s a shame that the neutral witches didn’t get one too.
  130. 131. And for those of you who didn’t read thls0 (Lea’s) bachelor challenge (Why haven’t you?) for the ever so nummy Djor Carter, this is the runner up Wren Trueheart. Great Granddaughter of Tess Trueheart the female vampire that has been showing up in my story. Wren was one of my favorite spares from the OWBC I did with Tess as the founder but I hadn’t done anything with her. She’s a mean pleasure sim with a bit of a punk edge that she gets from her mother Sim State dormie Sarah Leong. Now she’s back, sadly without Djor in tow and I have some plans for her. Expect to see Wren from time to time. Also congrats to Orikes for the win in the challenge. Her odd, mute darling Moon stole the show and the prize! I kind of knew she would. 
  131. 132. I just kind of like this picture. The new lighting mod makes for great moody scenes and Tess seems to glow with the pale skin vampire mod I have in. This is Ocean Copur her second husband. He’s the cute downtownie with the green eyes. Tess’s first husband was Joe Carr. They were a two bolt couple and all through their marriage Ocean here would phone stalk Tess to go on an outing with him. After Joe died, I decided why not and discovered that Tess and Ocean have a natural three bolt attraction which explains the stalking. Now they live in a comfy manse fulfilling all their fortune sim wants for eternity.
  132. 133. I set Nervous and Theron down to play some chess and stay out of the way while I shot the pictures of Marie for this update. Every single move was a cheat! Finally Nervous caught Theron but they immediately went back to the back and forth cheating.
  133. 134. That’s all for this go around. Thanks for reading and feel free to leave me any comments questions or suggestions you might have. 