A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.6 Haphazard


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Chpt 2.6 in my Sims 2 Legacy

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A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.6 Haphazard

  1. 2. Previously in A Corporate Conspiracy… Jason returned from Canada only to discover that one of his best friends was only hours away from dying and he struggled with coming to terms with his damaged eyes. Family founder Stanley Thomas James died, again. Darwin, finally freed from his isolation convinced the Countess to bite him thus turning him into a vampire and a virtual immortal. He then proceeded to be named head of the SCIA but has yet to visit with his wife and children after such a long absence. The family took a short vacation to Twikki Island where Kira was bored and Brooke received some very special gifts. Now…
  2. 3. “ Sis, have you seen my good pruning shears?” Darwin stopped with a start, not realizing that Melinda had guests.
  3. 4. The two men embraced like brothers. Darwin held onto Jason tightly sensing the changes in him. Sadness, worry and fear surrounded him. Besides the troublesome emotions Darwin also was keenly aware of his heartbeat and the vital blood that flowed though veins just inches from his fangs. He ignored it. “I’m so glad you are back. I knew you were here when Dad passed on but I…” “ It wasn’t the day for reunions. Don’t worry about it.” Jason felt the coldness of Darwin’s skin. “If it’s so cold out you really should get dressed before stepping outside. You might get sick.”
  4. 5. “ That’s fairly unlikely seeing as I’m a vampire now. Let me see the damage… How much can you see?” “ A vampire? When did this happen? Why didn’t you brew up a cure? I know you can.” Darwin smiled nervously and scratched his head, “Well, I asked the Countess to bite me. My birthday was supposed to be this weekend and it seemed like maybe I should do everything I can to stay young and fit if I’m going to be able to fight.” Jason stared at the shadow of his friend, “That’s just it. The more you do to try and fight her the more you are playing right into Gray’s hands. It would be better for you to let things be as they should be and grow old.”
  5. 6. “ How is Darwin becoming a vampire a wrong move? His longevity will ensure that he has time to help us learn what it will take to bring her down.”
  6. 7. Jason sank down onto the sofa. “This may be a little hard to explain. On my trip I learned about part of what is really going on but… you may not believe me.”
  7. 8. “ Why? Because we’re not magic users like you?” “ Partly, yes. It deals with things that most sims believe to be part of childhood fantasy and works of fiction.” “ Surely having overseen a paranormal research and development lab makes us better qualified then most.” “ It does. I believe I am right in thinking that you both are on the same side of this situation as we are, though we may have differing motivations. I hope that I can trust you with all of this.” Heidi smiled, “We want her gone too but it has to be done right.”
  8. 9. Jason paused for a bit before continuing, “I was informed by what I believe to be a reliable source that all of this is about an ancient feud between two different factions of elves.” “ Elves? Like pointy eared, tree dwelling elves.” “ Yes. It seems that the entities that we call aliens are really a displaced tribe of elves that fled our world when the war they started turned bad for them. Now they are back and have for some reason made a deal with Marie Gray to help them build an army to finish what they started. What she gets out of the arrangement seems to be use of this army here in our world for some yet unknown purpose.”
  9. 10. “ I’m part elf?” “ Yes. I don’t know why they began trying to reproduce with us sims. I made some phone calls to some old friends in Strangetown and now it seems that the abductions have all but stopped all over the world. Right around the time that Stanley published his report on alien DNA and his abduction.” “ It seems they succeeded in what they were trying to do then.” “ It appears so. They wanted a particular set of genes. A sim that exhibited certain abilities that would help them achieve their goals. You, Darwin are that sim and we gave them access to your DNA without even thinking about it. Gray supposedly distributed it to several genetic research labs on the premise that they were going to use their research to develop medical cures.”
  10. 11. “ That explains the large number of incubation chambers that Gray ordered through a dummy corporation. Over one hundred thousand. Enough to build a small army of Darwin clones that can be produced quickly and quietly somewhere here in the city. Except, she would need to train and equip them and as far as I know she doesn’t have the facilities to do something like that without drawing a lot of attention.” Heidi frowned, “Actually, the training part may not be as hard as you think. Some things make more sense now. Gray sent samples of that DNA to Loki and Circe Beaker in Stangetown. The people I really work for suspected that they were working on some technology that would let you basically copy the memorys of one sim and overwrite portions of another sim’s memory with them. Initially the work was supposed to be aimed at correcting deviant behaviors in sociopathic individuals but the early tests went poorly according to the reports. All of the Beaker’s research and the DNA samples were collected by Miss Gray after their deaths. One could assume this included this memory overwrite process.”
  11. 12. Mel considered what they knew about the Beaker’s deaths, “That has to mean that the young man that supposedly killed them must have been one of their subjects for those tests. Obviously it didn’t work very well.” Heidi nodded, “That would be a logical conclusion. It would also make sense that Nervous didn’t run away but has been hidden away by Gray for some other purpose”. Jason sighed, “I know Nervous from my time working with the Beakers. I wasn’t privy to these memory experiments but even back then I could tell there was something very unique about him. If Gray does have him stashed away somewhere… his parentage might be an asset to her.” “ How so? My research turned up he was birthed out of wedlock by a Miss Olive Specter. There was no father listed on the birth certificate.”
  12. 13. “ Olive Specter is what is commonly called a Black Widow. She has her own private graveyard of sims who mysteriously died during a visit to her home. I always got the sense from Nervous that his father might be more than just an ordinary sim.” “ What do you mean?” “ Well, what happens when a sim dies?” “ The Grim Reaper comes to collect their spirit… Are you implying that this Specter woman conceived a child with a spirit of death?” “ The Reaper is a very potent spirit which can project it’s self into our world at will. It’s not unreasonable to think that Olive found a way to conceive a child in the Reaper’s presence. With the right kind of magic it could be done and the resulting child would be very special indeed.”
  13. 14. Suppressing a shiver, Heidi couldn’t help but feel a little ill. “Are you telling me that we have a psychotic child of the Reaper and a crazy woman roaming the streets of Pleasant View?” “ There was an odd death a few days back.” G rubbed his hand nervously on his thigh, “A male housekeeper was killed in an alley from a single knife thrust to the chest. There didn’t seem to be any motive and the only piece of evidence got lost.”
  14. 15. “ Are you telling me that the PVPD lost the only piece of evidence in the first murder we’ve had in years?” “ You didn’t hear that from me but yes, we have no way to trace who might be responsible.” “ I would suspect Gray had a hand in the disappearing evidence.” G nodded, “I know. And I find it highly disturbing that a police force I used to run is now working for her.”
  15. 16. “ Are we just going to assume that this Nervous committed the crime?” “ He’s the most likely suspect.” “ Yes, but I for one would like to know for sure. Mr. Gilscarbo I don’t suppose you could arrange for Jason and myself to visit the crime scene?” “ I suppose I can but why?” “ There are more witnesses in that alley than the detectives are aware of. We can confirm or disprove our theory about Nervous and maybe if it was him find out where he is hiding. It needs to be after dark, of course.
  16. 17. G, you take the boys to visit the alley and I will go speak with my superiors. We just might have enough evidence to move against Gray, especially if she is harboring Nervous. Whether or not he is guilty of murder here, he most certainly has to be in Stangetown and the last time I checked aiding and abetting a criminal is a federal offence. She might have just made the mistake we needed her to make.” Later…
  17. 18. That same evening in front of his wife Cassidy’s home Darwin caught up with and old friend. “Hey boy. What are you doing over here?” “ Waiting for you.” Darwin knelt down and scratched the wolf under the chin, “You know I don’t really like you hanging around my kids or my nieces. I keep getting the feeling that you are trying to get at them.” “ Not to worry, I won’t be hanging around as much after tonight.” “ Why is that?” The wolf’s glowing yellow eyes seemed to glaze over just as he bit down on Darwin’s hand. Darwin jerked back in alarm. “Ow! What the hell was that for?” “ You’ll see.”
  18. 19. Darwin stood and looked at his hands. The burning sensation was intense and he could literally see the venom of the wolf’s bite clawing its way up his currently vampiric veins towards his heart.
  19. 20. The pain grew stronger and he felt the heat of the venom deep within his body. The sensation of hair sprouting from his skin head to toe created an unbearable itch.
  20. 21. “ Ahhhh! AOOOOOOO!”
  21. 22. The pain lessened and Darwin fought the urge to drop to all fours. “What have you done to me?” “ I would think it would be obvious but you do seem to be a little slow from time to time. I turned you into a werewolf. It’s nothing personal, just orders.” “ Orders? Orders from who?” He was finding it hard to think straight. The scent of the hedges, grass and the nearby trash can were over whelming his senses. “ The Alpha Wolf. Someday maybe you will get to meet her. She gives awesome belly rubs. Well, see ya. Got lots of things to do tonight. Good luck explaining this to your mate.” With that the wolf trotted off into the darkness chuckling to himself and leaving Darwin standing bewildered on the sidewalk. He looked at his fur covered arms and felt the fur on his face, “Cassidy is going to kill me”.
  22. 23. But before he could make it into the house he had to pass by that trashcan and it’s siren song was just too strong for him to resist given his now heightened sense of smell. Decker, distracted by the young lady who had come home from school with him, didn’t notice anything different about his father’s form rummaging in the can. “Hi Dad.” “ Don’t stay out here too late. I’m sure you’ve got home work to do,” Darwin commented between bites of the old, rotten boiled egg he had found.
  23. 24. Cassidy also was too occupied on the phone when he entered the house to notice anything odd about him. Darwin made his way up to the master bath to take care of an urgent need and once she had hung up the phone, she cornered him there.
  24. 25. She stood dumbfounded for a minute looking at his furry back as he used the toilet. Finally, “Darwin I thought we had discussed you becoming a vampire not a werewolf.”
  25. 26. After flushing he zipped up and turned to face her. “I know. I didn’t plan on this. The wolf was standing outside your gate when I got here and he just bit me. I feel all weird and fuzzy but not in a good way.”
  26. 27. “ And you’re going to cure it right?” “ Of course! I just don’t have any pre-made potions on me. I’ll do it tomorrow night before I come over. I swear.” Cassidy looked at him closely, “Are you a vampire too?” “ Yes. I am. I know that you weren’t really happy with that idea but given everything that’s going on it seemed to me to be the right choice. This whole furry face thing… a complete accident.” “ So you aren’t going to get any older now but the rest of us are?”
  27. 28. Darwin sensed her anxiety, “I know this is awfully hard Cas. With us being separated so much and now all of this. It makes sense that you are upset.” “ Don’t patronize me. I’m not an idiot. I just don’t like that fact that you do all these things without including me.” “ I explained it to you on the phone...” “ But you didn't ask me if I agreed. You told me what you were going to do and why but you never asked me if I was okay with it or even if I thought it was a good idea. You have three children downstairs that I now have to explain to that Daddy decided to be a vampire now and will be here even less than before because he can’t come over during the day.” Darwin closed his eyes and sighed. All of it was terribly unfair to his entire family and he couldn’t even give them good reasons why they couldn’t have a normal life together. “What do you want me to do Cas? Just tell me and I’ll do it. Do you want me to move over here tonight? I’ll do it in an instant all you have to do is say so.”
  28. 29. She looked down at the wedding band on her finger. When she said yes to Darwin’s proposal she knew full well what she was getting herself into but that hadn’t made it any easier. “No. You can’t do that. You’re much safer across the street and Trista’s wards are keyed to me and the kids here.” She hung her head and sighed, “It’s just that you’ve been gone so long and now all of these changes… I’m feeling a little lost.”
  29. 30. “ That’s perfectly understandable. I’m feeling a bit lost myself at the moment.” He pulled her into a hug. “I didn’t come here tonight for all the seriousness. It’s been days since I’ve even gotten to kiss you and that last thing I want to do is stand in the bathroom with us both feeling sorry for ourselves.” Cassidy step out of his embrace, “I’m not sure that I’m up for freaky werewolf woohoo. Aren’t you infectious now?” Darwin considered the point, “Well if I am I will just have to make you a potion too.” He smiled a sharp toothy grin. “Please?” “ Oh all right. But no shedding on the sheets.”
  30. 31. Over at Sim State…
  31. 32. Kira on her first night “alone” at college had already developed some trouble with the indigenous wildlife. “ Ha Ha! She farted!” “ I did not!” “ Just ignore him”, her date said from the couch. “The Cows send their mascots over here to stir up trouble.”
  32. 33. Kira scowled, “I’ll show you trouble you smelly bastard.”
  33. 34. “ Oh yeah? What’s the freshman baby going to do about it? Huh? Are you going to cry? Boo hoo, freshman baby is going to cry.” The cow made his second mistake of the evening, he poked her. “ Guys I’m trying to play here.” Kira pressed her hand to her chest where the cow touched her, “Oh you so did not just put your filthy hoof on me.” “ Guys?”
  34. 35. “ If you ever lay a hand on me again I’m going shove your horns up your ass! Now get out of here! I’m try to have a date!” “ Guys? I can’t see the TV.” “ It doesn’t matter George. Turn it off and get your butt upstairs. Last bedroom at the end of the hall.” George looked from the cow to his date. He debated arguing but really it wasn’t worth it. This girl knew what she wanted. “Yes Ma’am.”
  35. 36. Kira chased the cow out of the house but discovered that just about the time she and George were going to make out that the cow hadn’t actually left. Instead he unwisely followed them upstairs. “ Oh, come here and give me some of that sweet booty too, since you’re handing out free samples.” George stood up and pulled his pants back on, “I’ll come back tomorrow when you’re not so busy.” Kira shoved her hand against the cow’s nose. “You’re disgusting! George get those pants back off. We are not finished here!” George opened his mouth to argue then thought better of it and pulled his jeans back down. “ Now cow twerp, get out of my house before I kill you, turn you into chili and feed you to your own football team!”
  36. 37. Wisely the cow decided to take his leave and George wasn’t unhappy that he followed orders.
  37. 38. Downstairs Kira fixed herself a little snack before it was time to wake George up and get him out of the house. Her day had been busy. The course professors were ancient and uninteresting but the shops had been crawling with interesting men. Tall ones, short ones, red heads and mohawks. George was just one of four phone number she had collected. “So many men, so little time. When am I going to find time to do my course work? I guess I’ll just have to convince someone else to do it for me. Maybe that stupid cow…”
  38. 39. The next morning back at the James homestead… “ You look fine. Stop fussing.”
  39. 40. Mel froze and stared directly into the mirror. “ You can’t keep avoiding me. I’m not going to go away.”
  40. 41. “ You are nothing but a part of my mind that wants excitement and adventure. You don’t control me and I’m getting too old for your adventures.”
  41. 42. “ If you want to think that go right ahead. It doesn’t really change the fact that the only reason you sense me at all is because you need me. You like how you feel when exciting things happen around you.”
  42. 43. “ I have a comfortable home and a husband and children who love me. I don’t need anything else. All the risks I took just to get a promotion were unnecessary and verging on insane.” “ Hmm… Interesting choice of words.” “ I am not insane. That was a figure of speech. You are just some faulty wiring caused by head trauma, not a psychosis.”
  43. 44. “ Following my advice led us to very big things. We can do better. We can help bring Marie Grey down and make sure she pays for all the horrible things she has done. Your spandex wearing friends know things they aren’t sharing with you. I can show you just where to go.”
  44. 45. “ Just stop! I don’t want to hear it. You push and push me but I’m not going to fall for it again.”
  45. 46. “ You don’t sound very convinced of that. We could still do so much more. Rock climbing, hang gliding. We love the outdoors.”
  46. 47. “ So I can fall and break my neck? I’ll stick to my hikes thank you.”
  47. 48. “ So you want to just slowly rot away? That’s not like you at all. Come out and play with me Mel.”
  48. 49. “ There has got to be a way to get you to go away.” CC shook his head, “I’m with you till you die.” “ Till you kill me you mean.” “ I have never taken you anywhere where you would have been in mortal peril. At least not yet. Is that what you want?” Mel closed her eyes. “No! Of course not. That would be…” “ Insane?”
  49. 50. Elsewhere… Stanley sat on the warm grass and looked around the garden he had visited many times in his dreams. It had changed some since then. “I wonder why I’m here? Is this what my afterlife looks like?” “ Stanley?”
  50. 51. He jumped to his feet, “Kitty Cat?” He looked her over closely, “Are you real or just a dream?” “ I’m real. I’ve been here for a little while now. Wherever here is.”
  51. 52. He pulled her into a tight embrace enjoying the sense of safety and comfort he always felt in her arms. “I’m so happy to see you. I’ve missed you so much.”
  52. 53. “ I can’t believe you’re here.” “ Where exactly are we Nerd.” “ According to Jason this is some sort of pocket dimension. He called it an “umbral realm”. This is one of the places I was seeing in my nightmares.” “ This place seems pretty peaceful. Why would this make you lose sleep.” “ This garden is fine but there were other places that were terrible and some of the people here are really strange.”
  53. 54. He pulled her into a kiss. His first in many years since she passed away.
  54. 55. “ Hi Stanley.”
  55. 56. “ You? You are distinctly different from the last time I saw you.” “ I got older.” “ So I see.” “ Who is this Stanley?” “ A pixie according to her, who said she was trying to help me. I don’t think I ever got your name.” “ I don’t have one yet.” Cat looked at her incredulously, “You don’t have a name? What parent doesn’t name their child.” “ I don’t have parents. I’m a pixie. We come into being whenever a small child laughs for the first time.”
  56. 57. “ Why am I here? Why is Cat here? We both died of old age back in Pleasant View.” “ Well, that’s kind of up to you. I’m sure you have figured out by now that you are not a normal sim. You wanted to be at peace and to see your wife again, so here you are.” “ Are we flesh and blood?”
  57. 58. “ No. That part of your existence is over. Here you are pure spirit, like all of the rest of us. You can stay as long as you like.” “ What waits for us if we leave?” “ Sims tend to have rather boring afterlives. Only the truly exceptional go any farther. Your wife for example, is only here because you willed it to be so. Her spirit hasn’t the strength to manifest itself in such a manner. Beyond here, for the very strong lies an endless supply of realms and alternate worlds for you to explore if you wish it.” She looked over at the lone figure sitting at a white linen draped table, “If you will excuse me. I want to go talk to him.” Stanley looked over at the table, recognizing the odd man who had at one time suggested that he commit suicide rather than suffer through all the pain and fear of his nightmares and the pain that he caused his family because of them. He took Cat’s hand and pulled her close, “That’s one of those ‘strange’ people I was talking about.”
  58. 59. Ignoring that man at the table the reunited couple laid down on the grass and held each other close. “What are we supposed to do now Stanley?” “ I don’t know. Have you ever wanted to see what life is like on another planet?”
  59. 60. “ Time is against me.”
  60. 61. The pixie wandered over to the grand table set all around with cups of tea and fresh bread with butter and jam. “ No room! No room!”
  61. 62. “ You always say that. There’s plenty of room, you never have any guests except me. No one can stand you, you’re too depressing.”
  62. 63. “ Still, it’s rude to assume you are welcome, and I don’t really care what others think of me. I’m perfectly happy to spend my life here drinking tea.”
  63. 64. “ I really am getting tired of your attitude.” “ And I’m quite tired of your company, so we are even. I don’t suppose he’s going to let me out of here any time soon?” She looked over at Stanley and Catalina, “I thought you were content to hide here. Now you want to leave?” “ Time is against me. That’s what I get for murdering him.” She picked up her cup and sipped the tea, “You’re really are quite mad, you know.”
  64. 65. Back in the relative reality of Pleasant View… Time had passed and Brooke Number One had finally got a chance to gossip with her best friend Brooke Number Two. “You are not going to believe what happened.” “ What happened?” “ You know that odd boy at school who every one calls Chewy? The one with the weird ears?” “ Yeah?” “ Well…
  65. 66. “… he came home with me after school yesterday to help me study for our mythology test. He’s like a wiz with all that god and goddess stuff. Anyway, afterward we decided to play a game of darts.”
  66. 67. “ Okay. What’s the big deal about playing a game of darts?” “ Let me finish.”
  67. 68. “ After I won, and I think he let me win, he told me that he thought I was really cute and had always wanted to tell me that he thought so. He touched my cheek and everything!” “ Wow! He is pretty cute but I always thought he was a little strange.” “ Me too. It gets better though.”
  68. 69. “ He actually kissed me! It was amazing! I was worried that my Dad might come and ruin it but he didn’t.
  69. 70. Then he asked me out on a date! A real date. I couldn’t believe it.”
  70. 71. “ It was amazing.” “ You’re a pretty girl Brooke. It was bound to happen eventually.” “ No. You don’t understand. When we were on vacation on Twikki Island I made a wish in a fountain and one of the things I asked for was a cute boy to like me. It came true!” Brooke Number Two shook her head, “I think that’s just a coincidence. You can’t actually believe that a fountain made Chewy like you.” “ Why not? It makes as much sense as anything else.” “ Because it’s not logical.” “ Have you met my family?” That evening around the corner from a coffee shop…
  71. 72. G led the way down the short alley, the flashlight he carried barely cutting through the darkness of the poorly lit space. Jason kept pace with him using the sound of his footsteps to help guide himself since his opaque eyes no longer collected enough light to safely navigate in such a dark environment. “ This kind of darkness lends itself to criminal activity. You’d think the city would do something about this.” G chuckled to himself, “These lights used to be much brighter but then the city stopped replacing all the bulbs. ‘Cost savings’ they called it. I had more than one patrolman injured in alleys like this one when I was in charge.” Jason slide his foot carefully along after it came in contact with a piece of cardboard on the ground and he felt G’s hand rest on his forearm to guide him around the soggy box. “Surely the Mayor would put a priority on places like this.” “ The old Mayor didn’t care much about the ugly parts of town other than to try and hide them.”
  72. 73. “ Kellie’s husband Ted is the Mayor now. He’s a good man. Things will change.” G rolled his eyes in the gloom, “Not if Gray has anything to say about it. We haven’t been able to prove it but we suspect she has promoted some of the criminal activities to help cover up some of her own illegal activities. Her money helped keep the previous Mayor blind.” “ Ted loves money but he won’t give into that kind of corruption.” “ Then he’ll be gone in no time. My source on the inside inform me that Gray has most of the city council under her wing.” Darwin eyed a rat grooming itself inside a discarded drawer, “How well do you trust them? Your sources, I mean.”
  73. 74. G came to a halt near the end of the alley, “Better than I trust you.” He focused his flashlight in the crusted blood on the asphalt. “Here it is.” He glanced around nervously, “Make this quick huh? They aren’t investigating this scene anymore but that doesn’t mean someone might not come around to watch the area.”
  74. 75. Darwin stepped closer to the dumpster and knelt down. The blood was dried and smelled of sickly sweet iron. He closed his eyes and concentrated, searching out the resident spirits of the alley. There were many and most weren’t too friendly. Darkness and rot spirits were the most common but they avoided him. Spectral rats ran the edges of the walls seeking someplace away from the invasive light they brought with them. He needed just one spirit of a neutral nature to converse with but this place was overburdened by fear, despair and filth. “This may take a while.”
  75. 76. G turned away from the dumpster scanning the open end of the alley for any signs of life, “Great. I’ll just wave to the people on the street and offer to sign some autographs to pass the time.” Jason smiled, “Conversing with spirits is not an exact science. Quite frequently they want to have nothing to do with us as we are as alien to them as Darwin’s other father would be to us. He shouldn’t be too long.” Goopy nodded then remembered than Jason most likely wouldn’t be able to see the gesture, “Okay. Not to change the subject but are you going to be filing a resignation with the company? Since…umm, you know?” “ Since I was blinded? I don’t really see any value in continuing to work there, especially since Stanley has passed on. I will stop by the lab tomorrow and complete the paperwork.” “ I’d love to put you in for a pension or something but Gray checks that kind of stuff personally and I suspect she won’t let it through given that you were injured while ‘on vacation’.”
  76. 77. “ Don’t worry about it. I’ve saved up a fair amount over the years and the Covens are letting me live in one of their safe houses for now. It’s a bit rustic but very private.” From behind them Darwin groaned in frustration, “Oh! Not now!” G and Jason turned to face Darwin…
  77. 78. Only to find a fiery light erupting from Darwin’s skin. “ This is not a good time.”
  78. 79. But the little lycanthropy sprits didn’t care. The moon had risen and it was time to be furry. G recoiled back a little from Darwin’s writhing frame and glanced over at Jason who stood calmly to the side as the transformation continued. “What’s going on?”
  79. 80. Jason watched the dapples of golden light drift in front of his eyes. His sight as it was, this was all he saw but he could hear Darwin’s growling and the sound of fur and bone forming. “It would seem that somewhere Darwin has come into contact with a werewolf and has been bitten. It’s nothing to worry too much about.” G turned and looked towards to street, “Except his little light show might attract some attention.”
  80. 81. Darwin resisted with all his might the primal howl that desperately wanted to escape his mouth.
  81. 82. “ You’ve got to be kidding me? An alien, warlock, vampire, werewolf?” Jason shrugged, “It can happen.” Darwin scratched at the fur on his chest, “Sorry about that. Just umm…” His nose was re-assaulted by the smell of the dried blood and other bodily fluids of the dead man and his stomach lurched. “I…ahh.” He pinched his nose closed and tried breathing through his mouth.
  82. 83. It took a few seconds but the blocking of the odors helped enough to where he thought he could proceed. “Man! The stink of it. “I found a blow fly spirit that would talk to me but I don’t think it’s going to help us locate Nervous. I suspect it was him that did this though.” “ A fly? What did it say.” “ That the Reaper killed the man. “ I think your fly is confused, The Reaper collects the soul. It doesn’t do the killing.”
  83. 84. “ Unless the killer is a Reaper in the flesh.” G looked at him incredulously, “He’s going to do it again. Isn’t he?” “ I don’t think its possible for him not to given his known mental state.” Darwin groaned, drawing their attention again.
  84. 85. He dropped to his knees and began to vomit. The smell of the blood and offal was just too much to handle with his now magnified sense of smell. G watched him closely. “ Are you all right?” He asked once the worst seemed to pass. “ Yeah. Sorry about that. There’s just so many things we can’t normally smell that really stink to a wolf.” He leaned back on his haunches and wiped the vomit from the fur around his mouth. G reached down and helped Darwin stand. “Would you be able to recognize Nervous’s smell if you encountered it again?” “ Sure except I wasn’t planning on staying a werewolf. I promised Cassidy I would cure it tonight.” Jason add, “I suspect that Darwin would be able to pick him out if they come face to face. A spirit as strong as the Grim Reaper leaves indelible traces that no amount of surgery could erase.” Goopy smiled, “Good. I’ll leave you two to find your own way home. I’ve a friend I want to catch up with.”
  85. 86. G jumped up and took flight over the building walls. Leaving Jason and Darwin standing in the gloom.
  86. 87. “ You’re mad at me. I can tell.” “ When were you going to tell me about this?” “ It happened last night and it was an accident. This wolf that had been hanging around the house just decided to bite me.” “ I know how lycanthropy works Darwin. Those wolves don’t attack on a whim.” “ Well, he did say that it was the Alpha Wolf’s orders but he left before I could ask him anymore questions and then there was the hard boiled egg and then I had to try and explain it to Cassidy who got upset and by the time I left her house it was really late and I figured you would already be asleep. I was planning on brewing a cure up tonight but we needed to come do this, so…” He shrugged.
  87. 88. Jason stared at the dark area he knew to be where Darwin was standing, “Do you have any idea how dangerous being a werewolf can be! A vampire can be focused, their physiology lends them to calm, thoughtful states but werewolves are ruled by chaos. At any time you might have an undeniable urge to go run with the pack leaving the safety of your home! You could have jeopardized everything!” “ I said it was an accident. I don’t know who this Alpha Wolf is and I don’t know why she wanted me to be bitten but I’ll cure it tonight and everything will be fine.” Jason rubbed his temples, his eyes were throbbing in pain. “Let’s get out of here.” He turned and started to slowly walk towards the better lit street.
  88. 89. “ You do believe me, right?” Jason stopped when his foot hit the soggy cardboard again. “Yeah. I believe you but you’ve been reading about homunculi, haven’t you?” “ Maybe.” He walked till he caught up to Jason and took his arm to help him. “Did you know that homunculi have been known to protect entire fortresses from invading armies.” “ Did you also read that a homunculi must always have a master too?” “ I guess I missed that part. Hey! Kind of like the Jedi, right?” “ This is the real world Darwin. Sometimes the Empire wins.”
  89. 90. The next afternoon downtown… Nervous made his way into the tiny city park. He looked around at all the color and happy people. His hometown had nothing like this at all. Everything was dry and brown and people rarely ventured out during the middle of the day because the heat was just too much to handle. Pleasant View was a nice place to live.
  90. 91. Nervous settled down at the chess table ignoring the elderly woman who stood nearby knitting furiously. But she wasn’t ignoring him. Mrs. Crumplebottom recognized trouble when she saw it and this young man was trouble with a capital T. She would have to keep a close eye on this one. For Nervous this day was the start of a plan. He had become acquaintances with one of the dispatchers of the local cab company and had convinced the man to call him when ever Kira James left her house to go anywhere other than classes. Which turned out to be frequently as the young lady seemed to be on the hunt for new boy toys almost daily. Now all he had to do was wait and she would come to him. Of course, this all hinged on Nervous being able to actually make friends with Kira which was something he had a hard time doing.
  91. 92. Sometimes he found it strange how things so frequently fell into place for him. If he was a man of faith it would have been logical but he wasn’t so the fact that Kira arrived in the park and seemed instantly drawn to him was just one of those lucky events. For Kira, the day’s hunting had been slow. Lots of men out and about on the beautiful clear day but none she really took a liking to until she spotted the odd man at the chess table. He wasn’t pretty or well built and his eyes had this sad puppy dog look but there was just something about him… Nervous smiled to himself, This couldn’t be easier could it? Kira came to a stop behind his chair and executed her best vulnerable woman voice, “Excuse me. I don’t suppose you would know where I might find a hot dog cart?” Hot dogs? Nervous moved a piece on the board not looking up at her, “Umm… maybe next to the museum.” Kira was disappointed by the response, “Ohh. I don’t suppose you could show me where that is?” At least turn around and look at me you jerk!
  92. 93. Nervous pushed his chair back and stood to face Kira. He started to speak, but found himself faltering a bit. He had seen her picture many times but now that she was right in front of him his shyness kicked in a bit and he was uncertain how to deal with her. “Ahh… You just go down the street about three blocks and make a right. The museum is right there.” What are you doing? You’re supposed to trying to gain her trust not push her away! “I could walk down there with you if you want.”
  93. 94. Kira smiled at his response, “No that’s all right. I’m sure I can find it on my own.” Now that he was standing she took a good look at him. “My name’s Kira.” “ Umm… Ryan. It’s nice to meet you.” He looked around the park to see if any other members of her family were about. “Would you like to play a game of chess with me?” Kira narrowed her eyes, He’s shy. They are always a challenge. “No thanks. I have to do enough of that kind of stuff for school.” “ Are you attending college here? That’s great. What are you studying?” “ Art for the moment.” She leaned close and whispered, “They don’t offer courses in dating.” Taken aback a little by her forward nature, Nervous looked at her wide eyed. “Dating? I’m sure your parents wouldn’t approve.”
  94. 95. “ Seriously? You really think that I care about what my parents think?” “ Don’t you? Most parents would be horrified by the thought of their little girl wandering the street looking for guys.” “ I’m an adult. I don’t need their permission for anything.” She faltered for a moment, “Wait. What makes you think that I’m looking for guys?” “ Well for one, the cheesy hot dog line and two, you were the one who brought up dating as a major. Three, you are having a very personal conversation with someone you met less than three minutes ago and four, I do happen to be a guy.” His shyness started to recede, “And if you are interested I’d love to get to know you better but I have to warn you, I might be a dangerous man.”
  95. 96. Kira folded her arms across he chest, “Oh please. You? Dangerous? Only to mirrors.” Nervous frowned at her then remembered that she loved to manipulate and provoke people. “Oh ha ha! That’s funny. You’re one to talk. What happened to your face? Did your mommy step on it when your were a baby?” She bit her lip. Only her cousin Alicia talked to her that way. “I don’t date just anybody you know. I do have some standards. I can get past the droopy eyes if you can convince me that you are worth dating.” “ Oh? Like a test?” “ Exactly like a test. You’ve got five minutes to convince me.” She strutted past him to the edge of the park being sure to shift her hips slightly.
  96. 97. Taking her lead, Nervous trailed after her his shy streak coming back to the surface. He decided to start with a complement, “I really like the fact that you speak your mind.” “ That’s it? That’s the best you can do?” “ I wasn’t finished! And I don’t really think your face is that weird.” Kira raised an eyebrow.
  97. 98. He leaned forward, “And I bet that we could have a lot of fun together poking people in the chest and trying out the best way to use a hand buzzer.”
  98. 99. Kira looked up at the sky as she thought, “A hand buzzer? Is that a sexual reference or were you really talking about electrocuting people?” “ Kinda both.”
  99. 100. As strange as the come on had been Kira had to admit that it had worked. This guy was a lot like her and she felt her skin flush in response to his words. The shyness was kind of cute too. “Okay. Not too bad. One more test, kiss me.” “ Kiss you? Here? Now? In front of all these people?” He glanced around the park. No one was really paying attention to them. “ Yes now. If you can’t give me one simple kiss in front of all these strangers then I’m not interested on going on a date with you. So kiss me.” She leaned forward so he could give her what she suspected would be a quick peck on the lips.
  100. 101. He looked at her closed eyes and pursed lips. He had never kissed a girl before. Well, not really. There was that quick stolen kiss with a girl back in Strangetown when he was a teen but it had been quick and he had managed to grab her chest while he was doing it and ended up with a slap to the face. This woman wanted him to kiss her and he suspected that there would be slapping if his hands strayed to second base this time too but it was worth the risk.
  101. 102. Nervous didn’t go for the soft peck. He wrapped his arms around Kira pinning her body to his and pressed his lips forcefully to hers, taking her quite by surprise. Kira jumped when he grabbed her so quickly and his lips were a little off target initially but he soon recovered. Eventually he released her and stepped away his shyness returning once again. “Not too bad Ryan. You may have some potential.” “ Thanks.” “ There’s a bar just down the street. Why don’t we go get a drink and get to know each other a little better.” She didn’t wait for an answer because she knew that the prospect of more kissing would be enough of a lure for a guy like Ryan.
  102. 103. Nervous watched her walk away and smiled. That was easier than I thought it would be. He ran to catch up to the romance minded sim.
  103. 104. Once at the bar, there was more flirting and some small talk.
  104. 105. And the shared joy at watching a sim try to dance…
  105. 106. And fail horribly. Nervous watched her laugh at the idiot on the dance floor. She thinks the same things I think are funny, are funny too. Wow! This assignment won’t really be all that hard.
  106. 107. They shared little bits of their past and got to know one another better because for Kira it wasn't about the woohoo it was about being in love and while the woohoo made things more entertaining, it wasn’t a substitute for the feeling of trust and closeness that one feels with someone they love. Plus the more I know about them the more I can make them squirm. Nervous was just pleased that she seemed so open to his advances. Most women just ignored him or made fast excuses of needing to be elsewhere when ever he tried to speak with them. He never knew that women washed their hair so frequently until he started to ask them for dates.
  107. 108. Jo walked past the pair and couldn’t help but stare, “Oh dear. This going to end badly. I just know it.”
  108. 109. After their date ended Kira had to hurry off saying something about her sister and cousin moving to college that evening but that she would call him soon for another date. Nervous sat down at the bar and stared at the display of bottles. Finally the bartender was freed up enough to come take his order. Nursing his drink he mused over his next course of action. The afternoon was fruitful and despite knowing that this was really just a job and that he wasn't really going to have a real relationship with Kira, part of him knew that under different circumstances the two of them would have most likely been good friends.
  109. 110. An hour later and Nervous sat in the kitchen of Marie’s house watching the housekeeper clean the stove top. As she leaned over, he caught a glimpse of the tops of her thigh high stockings. I wonder who came up with these uniforms? Who ever they are they deserve an award. His appraisal of the maid’s rear end continued until it was interrupted by the cold presence of his boss.
  110. 111. She sat down next to him and they both continued to watch the maid do her work in silence.
  111. 112. Finally the maid finished her work in the kitchen and excused herself with a smile and a nod to the odd pair.
  112. 113. “ I find those skimpy costumes to be quite sexist.” “ If you say so. I don’t mind the view.” “ You met Kira today.” It wasn't phrased as a question but he knew better. “Yep. Caught up to her at the little park downtown.” She waited for more information. “And?” “ We went on a short date and I gave her my cell phone number. I think she kind of liked me.” “ Did she give you any information? Anything about her uncle?” Nervous raised his eyebrows at her agitation, “Nope, but it was a short date. She had to get back to school to meet her sister and one of her cousins this evening.”
  113. 114. “ The cousin must be Alicia Thompson, the new Mayor’s daughter. I don’t really care about them. When are you seeing her again?” “ She said she’d call. Maybe tomorrow. I don’t want to be too pushy you know, or she might get suspicious.” “ When you see her again talk about her family. Find out what you can about Darwin. I need to know how far along he has gotten.” “ Gotten with what?” Marie frowned, “You never pay attention to me. I suspect he will feel pressured into becoming a vampire in order to counter my activities. I need to know what else has happened to him. Does he still talk to spirits? Does he have anymore children? Whatever she is willing to divulge. He keeps to his homes and his work and I can’t spy on him in those places.”
  114. 115. “ Did you ever stop to think that maybe you’re a little too involved with this guy?” “ All my plans are balanced upon him. I need him to be powerful and I need him to be vulnerable. And, this is where you come in, I need to know just when is the right time to bring him in to start the new phase of his existence. Do you understand?” He took a deep drink of his beer, “Not really.” He slid off of the stool and tossed the empty can into the compactor. “But then, I suspect if I did. I wouldn’t be around for much longer.” Later that evening back at Sim State…
  115. 116. Kira watched her sister Brooke walk into the house and immediately pick up the phone to call for a cab. She clicked the mouse to close the window for the campus directory which she had found useful for scouting out potential dates.
  116. 117. “ Hey little sis. Welcome to college.” “ Hi. Isn’t is awful?” The boots with the shorts you mean? Yeah, pretty bad. I take it you are going shopping right away.” “ I can’t wear this.” Brooke looked down and the ensemble she grew up into. “I can’t let Chewy see me like this. It’s ridiculous.” “ Chewy? Who’s Chewy.” “ My boyfriend. Mom didn’t tell you?” “ She might have left a couple of long messages on the machine but I’ve been busy.”
  117. 118. “ Oh well, I have a boy friend and he’s coming to college this year too. He was going to stop by tomorrow to visit. You can meet him then but please be nice to him.” “ Me? I’m the paragon of niceness. I would never pick on someone named Chewy.” Brooke scowled at her. “Is he cute?” “ Yes,” she replied carefully. “ Well then I will make sure to be extra special nice to him.” Kira laughed at Brooke’s expression and wandered towards the bathroom. Brooke stared down at the floor. Why is she always so mean to me. Maybe I should use the doll on her and force her to be nice.
  118. 119. Early the next morning the doorbell rang and Brooke rushed to get it before her sister could step outside and say something awful. Finding Chewy standing on the sidewalk, she grabbed him and planted a very excited kiss on his lips. “ Hi” Chewy recovered from the assault, “Hi. I hope I’m not too early.” “ No. In fact your just in time for breakfast. Alicia is cooking this morning if you want something.” “ I hade an omelet at the dorm before I left.” “ Oh, well come on in. I was in the middle of fixing the computer but make yourself at home.”
  119. 120. Once Chewy had finally made it past the door, Brooke finished up fixing the computer that Alicia had broken sometime during the night. From the kitchen came the sound of Alicia cooking breakfast and the smell of butter and toasted bread drifted through the house. “Breakfast!”
  120. 121. Brooke looked at the plate, “Are were having grilled cheese sandwiches for breakfast?” Kira took a bite of hers, “Apparently it’s all she knows how to make. It’s going to be murder on my waist line.”
  121. 122. “ I don’t think I can take four years of grilled cheese. Maybe I should take over the kitchen duties.” “ So we can have cereal for every meal? I’ll take the grilled cheese thanks.” “ I can make lots more things than cereal. I do want to be a chef you know.” Kira inhale the last bite of her sandwich. “I don’t care who cooks as long as I don’t have to do it. Sort it out between yourselves.”
  122. 123. Alicia who had eaten her sandwich as soon as it came out of the pan settled down to play some chess with Chewy. Two moves into the game she thought she found an opportunity to get ahead. “Look! A Pleaseiousaur!” Chewy looked up at her sharply.
  123. 124. “ Firstly, it’s pronounced ples-io-saur and second, do I really look that gullible. Dinosaurs are extinct and if it were alive a plesiosaur was a water dwelling creature and it would need at least a lake as opposed to the field behind your house. If you are going to try and cheat at least use something believable.
  124. 125. “ Yeah well, you’re dating Brooke. I had you figured for a dim wit.” “ I’m sorry? What exactly did you mean by that?” “ She’s a pathetic little twit.” “ She’s your cousin.” “ That doesn’t change the fact that she’s pathetic.” Chewy pushed his chair back, “I think we’re finished now. Excuse me while I go hang out with my ‘pathetic’ girlfriend.” Alicia cleared the board putting all the pieces back into their specified slots under the table making sure that each one faced up the proper way. “Loser.” The next morning back in Pleasant View…
  125. 126. The sun crept through the curtains casting it’s beams around the quiet room. Hannah was awake but not quite ready to move. Jason’s warm body was wrapped around hers and she was far too comfortable to disturb him.
  126. 127. Hannah’s eyes popped open. The sound of Hex playing with her cat nip toy traveled through the door. The little bell on it’s tail tinkled as it was batted about. Don’t you ever sleep? Hannah stretched and felt Jason shift behind her. “Might as well get up now. Wake up sleepy head, we have work to do.” “ It’s too early.” He rolled over, “Five more minutes.” “ Fine. I’ll go fix breakfast but if you sleep through that I won’t make you anything else till noon.” “ I can make my own food,” he mumbled into his pillow. She sat up and rubbed the sleep from her eyes, “I’ve tasted your food. I’d rather go hungry.” She stood and headed for the bathroom to get dressed.
  127. 128. Later, as she was setting the table with the freshly made pancakes Jason emerged from the bedroom and headed purposefully towards her. “ Good morning sleepy head.” He smiled.
  128. 129. He reached out to find her arm and pulled her into an embrace pressing his lips to hers. “ Mmm. Hello.” He kissed her again his hands roaming down her back and finding the hooks on her bra. “Come back to bed,” he mumbled against her lips. “ The pancakes will go cold.” “ Then we’ll reheat them.” He nimbly unhooked her bra and slid a hand up under her shirt. Hannah smiled and pulled his hand out from under her bra, “Come on then.” She led him back through the door and to the bed.
  129. 130. Later still and play time and breakfast were gotten out of the way, the pair set about working their way through the new braille spell book Jason was using to learn to read. She wasn’t fully comfortable handling the dark tome still being a neutral witch herself, it gave her goose bumps just to touch it. But, she understood why Jason had chosen this particular path to study. She took hold of his hand, “Now, like before.” She rested his fingers on the page. “The top, sides and bottom have index marks so you can tell where your hand is. The only hard part about these books are the illustrations and runes. They don’t translate well into braille but the writer has used an ink that raises up off of the vellum so you can trace them out.” Jason ran his hand across the page. It was frustrating not being able to read the words but he wasn’t going to let that stop him. “Are the runes imbibed with power? If I focus on them are they going to activate?” “ No. Not without the verbal and somatic gestures. That keeps you from blowing yourself up. Each rune has a key below it that tells you what is needed to make it work.”
  130. 131. Hannah let go of his hand and Jason began to read. Distracted by Hex playing with a bug she looked away as he worked. “ These low level spells really are a bit twisted.” “ That’s why they call it ‘black magic’ as opposed to ‘slightly bad magic’.” Jason chuckled and using magic flipped several chapters ahead in the book. “Here it is.”
  131. 132. “ Here what is?” She turned to look at the page to which he had flipped. The page was adorned with a grotesque drawing of a creature covered in coarse fur and large teeth that grinned evilly up from the page. Jason slid his finger quickly over the raised bumps on the page. “This is a homunculus. They are creatures that the wizards of old created to help protect themselves or act as assistants during rituals.” “ They look foul.” “ This one does but I seem to recall that they can be of any temperament, based on the spirit of the subject. This talks about trapping and transforming the subject by force but it can also be done voluntarily.” “ Why the interest in these?” “ Darwin. He was bit by a werewolf the other night and Hex tells me that her cat friends overheard him talking about this with Cassidy. He tells me he wasn’t planning on trying this but after finding about the wolf bite… I’m not so sure.”
  132. 133. Hannah leaned over and looked at the writing closely, bushing Jason’s arm in the process. “It looks like he has a ways to go if he is trying it. Becoming a plant sim isn’t too hard but a zombie? He’d have to die and be resurrected into one. I don’t think anyone is really willing to try that on a whim without a really good reason.” Partially distracted by the contact Jason only nodded. “Still, I think we should have a good strong talk with him about this. He doesn’t really understand what it means. We should do that tonight.” Hannah smiled, “Ohh! We could invite him and Cassidy over for dinner. It’ll be great to have some company for a change.”
  133. 134. After sun set at the James house… Darwin hummed to himself as he went about riding the tree of a aphid infestation. “There now. Isn’t that better. I’ve tried speaking with them but they refuse to leave you alone. Apparently your fruit is just too good for them to resist.” “…” The tree sung back to Darwin. “ I know. I’ve ordered some lady bug houses this year. If they won’t stay away because I ask them we will just have to bring in the Marines. It’s like a little bug war.” He spotted another cluster of the pesky creatures. “Here let me get these too.”
  134. 135. “ You sure have grown a lot this… Ack!” Suddenly there was a hissing sound from the sprayer and Darwin found himself enveloped in a fine mist of the chemical he had been using. The chemical was pulled into his lungs while he was speaking and he dropped the sprayer and grabbed his throat as he gagged on the toxic spray. He tried desperately to expel the lungful of stinging pesticide but just couldn’t quite seem to manage it. A flash of quick thinking and Darwin cast a quick spell to stir up a breeze to dissipate the cloud.
  135. 136. “ That worked. Funny, I tried so hard to cast that spell that I forced myself into my robes and this stupid hat.” He reached up to pull it off and felt the leaves on his head. Slowly it dawned on him what had happened. “I think I’m in trouble.” He headed upstairs to brew the cures he needed.
  136. 137. But soon found himself standing in front of his wife hoping she would understand and find someway to help him. “Cas, I know that I promised to cure the werewolf thing as soon as possible but I seem to have run into a problem.”
  137. 138. “ What is it this time? Does being a werewolf make you impervious to backstabbing by crazy CEO’s?” “ Ahh, no. At least I don’t think so.” He rung his hand nervously and resisted the urge to run and douse his head under the faucet at the sink. “I was spraying the fruit trees in the yard earlier and well…” “… And?” She closed her eyes, “Oh God you’re a plant sim now too?” “ I’m really sorry! It was a complete accident, I swear! Please don’t be angry at me.” Cassidy squeezed her eyes shut and took a few deep breathes. For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health… “Why didn’t you take the cures?”
  138. 139. “ I did. Five times. Nothing worked. I even tried curing myself of being a vampire but that didn’t work either. I’m really stuck!” “ Well, we should go talk to Jason then. He should know what to do or maybe Trista…” “ Jason is kind of expecting us over for dinner. Didn’t you get my message?” “ Message? I just got home from work.” Decker who had just settled the sofa to play a video game spoke up, “Oh yeah! Dad left a message on the machine saying that you’re going to dinner at Jason’s house tonight. Do we get to go?” Darwin frowned, “I don’t think so. Not this time. I don’t suspect it’s going to be much of a dinner anyway, though I am really hungry.” “ Aww Man! We never get to go anywhere.”
  139. 140. Cassidy felt the hair on the back of her neck stand up as she watched the change come over Darwin’s face. “Honey? Are you all right?”
  140. 141. “ I’m really, really hungry.”
  141. 142. Darwin focused his will on his wife and Cassidy shook her head as if trying to shake off impending sleep. Chelsea came over, “Mom? Dad? Guys! Something weird is going on!” Inside Darwin, the still rational part of his brain was screaming at himself to stop. He knew what was about to happen and he was all but helpless to stop it. Not in front of the kids! Her brother’s hadn’t really heard what she had said and Chelsea stood mesmerized watching until her father leapt at her mother, his fangs bared.
  142. 143. Cassidy gasped as she felt his teeth sink into her throat and his claws dug into her shoulder holding her tight. “No!,” she cried weakly, a last effort to stop her husband from consuming her blood but he was long past hearing anything. The beast in him had taken over and everything was smell and taste for him right now. Chelsea turned away unable to watch as her mother was transformed into a vampire. “Mom?”
  143. 144. Having his fill of the vital blood in his wife’s veins Darwin stepped back and released her from his powerful grip. The magic of the embrace took over and as she transformed the rational side of Darwin slowly returned. “What have I done?” For Cassidy the event was bizarre. She hadn’t really even been frightened when Darwin lunged at her all claws and fangs. Now she felt a bit cold but very strong. “ Mom?” She looked up at her daughter’s worried face. “I’m okay. Your Father just lost it for a second there. We’ll go see his friend and everything will be right as rain in the morning.” She turned to stare at her husband, “Right?” “ I’m so sorry!” “ You keep saying that. Let’s go. I’m not spending an eternity as a vampire.”
  144. 145. Over at the quiet millhouse where Jason was now living, dinner was long forgotten…
  145. 146. “ Hannah I really need your help. I got an overdose of bug spray tonight and got changed into a plant sim. I tried to cure myself of everything repeatedly but nothing worked. Not even a tickle. Then I managed to attack my wife and now she is a vampire too and really, really mad at me.” “ Oh dear. Are you sure you brewed the potions correctly and used fresh ingredients? It’s really easy to use spoiled pickled frogs since they smell bad no matter how fresh they are.” “ Positive. I don’t understand it. Why won’t they work?” She called for Jason to come in from his studies, “Hop up here on the table and let’s take a look.”
  146. 147. Darwin sat on the edge of the old oak table as Jason came in the back door. Cassidy stood in the corner by the fireplace, her arms crossed across her chest and a sour look on her pale face. Jason looked back and forth between the two of them, “What’s happened?” Darwin recounted the evening’s events and Jason looked sharply over at Cassidy when he got to the part about attacking her. “ Now I can’t cure myself. I even tried talking to the all the spirits that are bound to me now and they won’t leave! What am I supposed to do?” Behind Jason there was a quiet knock at the front door and Hannah let Melinda into the house and offered her a chair. Darwin leaned over and watched her sit down, “Mel? What are you doing here?”
  147. 148. Melinda grimaced, “Jason thought that I might be able to help convince you to give up being a werewolf and a vampire. Strange thing is, I didn’t know you were a werewolf.” Jason took Darwin’s arm and ruffled the fur feeling for the tell tale vines and leaf markings that adorned all plant sims. “Now it’s gotten worse it seems. Tonight he also was turned into a plant and bit his wife making her into a vampire.” He released Darwin’s arm and rubbed his hand over his face. “Darwin, I need you to tell me the truth. Did you plan any of this at all?”
  148. 149. “ Only the vampire part. I was talking to the wolf because it was talking to me from time to time and the plant spray thing was because my trees were being over run by aphids that refused to leave.” Hannah interrupted, “The wolf came to speak with you several times and said it had ‘orders’ to bite you and the aphids refused to leave even after you explained that their staying meant their deaths?” “ Didn’t I just say that?” “ Jason, someone is causing this to happen. It can’t all be coincidence.” She collected some things from a shelf, “I’ll brew some potions myself and see if they work.” She headed out the back door to her cauldron. Jason closed his eyes and thought about how valuable his gift of foresight would be right about now. “Wait! You said the wolf had orders from someone he called the ‘Alpha Wolf’ and he implied that she was female?” “ Yeah…” He wasn’t sure where this train of thought was going.
  149. 150. “ I’m confused. Why would She want you to become a homunculus? It would seem to play right into Gray’s plans for you to have that kind of power. Unless, She thinks that you can avoid coming under Gray’s sway and bond to a different master.” Mel continued to frown, What’s he talking about? Who’s She and what is a homo-whatever he said.” Darwin stared at his friend and mentor as Jason began pacing back and forth muttering to himself about chaotic gods and lack of empathy. “I don’t know who he means by ‘She’ but a homunculus is a created being made up of all different parts, different supernatural creatures. At this point I’m one step away from being one.” “ She… Is the one who blinded me! And she claims to be our Creator. She also happened to take the form of a werewolf when we met and I suspect that She is this ‘Alpha Wolf’ the wolf that bit you mentioned.” Darwin watched his friend closely. He had seen that look in his own father’s eyes from time to time when things were going really bad for him. “Okay. That makes a little sense. But why can’t I cure it?”
  150. 151. “ Because She doesn’t want you to. I doubt nothing short of Her or one of her friends could, or maybe a potent spirit of some kind.” Mel thought about questioning Jason’s belief that some all powerful entity was manipulating their lives but given her odd bathroom conversations of late she choose to keep her mouth shut. Maybe it was true. Who was she to say otherwise.
  151. 152. Cassidy pushed herself off the wall and walked past the spectral cat that was playing with some fluff under the chair. “So he’s stuck this way? What about me?” Jason shrugged, “I don’t know. We can try and cure you. If it works, then great. If not… It’s possible for your infection to be tainted by his. We’ll just have to try it and see.” Darwin looked down and his hands, “I couldn’t stop myself from biting her. Am I going to be a risk to everyone around me now? I really don’t want to hurt anyone else.”
  152. 153. “ I have no way of saying for sure. Some homunculi in the past have been able to control their baser instincts but to be honest Darwin I don’t know if you have that kind of self control. This little mishap does show use that you are going to need to be very careful. Make sure you eat regularly and get plenty of sun.” “ But he can’t go out into the sun. He’ll turn into a pile of ash.” “ Hmm, that’s right. You’ll need lots of sun lamps instead.” Darwin slid off the table, “I guess I’m going to have to be extra careful from now on. I can’t afford to hurt anyone else.”
  153. 154. Cassidy crossed over to him and pulled him into a tight embrace. She had to admit that for the moment being a vampire wasn’t that bad and it did mean that she too wouldn’t age and die giving her a possible eternity with her husband. “I love you Dar and I don’t mind spending forever with you but so help me, if you hurt the kids…”
  154. 155. He smiled at her effort to be tough. “I promise it won’t happen again.”
  155. 156. Next time in A Corporate Conspiracy… “ You summoned, I came. Let’s make this quick. I’m a very busy woman you know.” Click 
  156. 157. Hey! I’m still on my mission to recover all the unwanted newspapers in Pleasant View. There was a lot going on in this update and some of it doesn’t flow very well plus I’ve discovered that I’ve gotten lazy about taking enough pictures. The flow thing I can’t do too much about but I will try to focus on getting more scene related pictures taken. I tend to shoot first and write later which doesn’t always work out so well. Anyway, here some fun and odd pictures for you to enjoy.
  157. 158. First, my second set of twenty five elixir bottles. My point total is up to 14 if I’ve done it right. Also, George wanted a junker car to work on in his spare time so you will see that in future updates.
  158. 159. Darwin really does make a good vampire and I liked the olive green his skin turned with the pale skin overlay I’m using but I won’t be seeing much of that now. As you saw Stanley and Catalina are not gone from my story forever.
  159. 160. I wasn’t able to work her into the story because of my failure to get enough good pictures but this is Anima, Darwin’s familiar. She’s a big hit in the house and while I have a rule about no real pets allowed (that whole hypochondriac thing), a spectral cat is allowed. After all, she’s not really there.
  160. 161. Finally my ghosts showed up. I was worried that there was something wrong with Catalina’s ghost as she had never haunted even once until the night after Stanley’s death. Then they both came out and wandered around. They were both well behaved but I suspect Stanley will be a problem in the future given his mean nature.
  161. 162. Stanley spent most of his time upstairs around his bed.
  162. 163. The bar where Kira and Nervous ended their date is the one with the two poker tables and the kind of old west theme. I remodeled it to look a bit grungier and added a pool table and stuff. Jo wandered in as you saw and got herself into a high stakes poker game. Sadly, I have to report she lost- to Brandon Lillard.
  163. 164. This is what Kira grew up into at college. While it’s not a bad dress it doesn’t suit her at all and her hair didn’t transition properly. She ended up in the red jacket and white pants because I just couldn’t pick anything out for her that I loved. A little reminder of her stats: 4/6/9/9/1 Sagittarius Romance/Popularity 20 simultaneous lovers Loves: Formal wear and witches Hates: Mechanical skill
  164. 165. This is Brooke’s transition pic. Once again, not her. Stats: 5/1/10/8/8 Sagittarius Popularity/Family Celebrity Chef Loves: Makeup and Servos Hates: Red Hair
  165. 166. Alicia did pretty well and for the mean time she will keep this outfit. It may change come junior year. Stats: 10/3/9/9/1 Scorpio Popularity/Grilled Cheese 5 top rated businesses Loves: vampires and face paint Hates: werewolves
  166. 167. Her face improved nicely with age too. Her dad has a huge nose that she didn’t get (fortunately) and she prefers girls so we won’t be seeing any offspring from her. She may adopt if she wants.
  167. 168. Chewy found his way into my story at last. Initially he was just going to be first kiss fodder (sorry Chewy) but then I came up with some good ideas for storyline for him and Brooke. He didn’t grow up too bad at all. He is sharing a dorm with three spare girls from my OWBC that I decided needed to get on with their lives.
  168. 169. These two are sisters and are the daughters of Laurie Trueheart (a granddaughter of Tess). Short hair is Carrie- Darwin went on a date with her when he was a teen and the long hair is Angela.
  169. 170. And this is Mandy Goth-Trueheart, daughter of Cassandra Goth and first gen. spare Oscar Trueheart. These three have been roaming around a while as teens and I figured since I have to play Chewy through uni. I might as well do a few more. They may pop up as secondary characters here and there.
  170. 171. Two things with this one: First I know my lighting mod is making some of my outdoor scenes a bit dark but I love how the sparkly effects and stuff show up with it. The pictures are much better in a dark room. Two, I was unaware that the LOTP could bite a sim on a lot where he (the sim) was not active so this caught me by complete surprise. I had story line to build up to this you two! *Shakes fist at screen* This was of course immediately followed up by Darwin becoming a plant sim and developing some skin overlay issues which I have sorted out. However, his progress towards the ultimate “Black Sheep” has rushed forward a bit faster than I planned and I will have to bring certain plot points to light faster than I wanted. After all, I just got generation three into college. If I hit the big crescendo now what will I do for the next six or seven generation?
  171. 172. I love this picture. It has a “Bride of Frankenstein” thing going as ACR kicked in and they are headed to the bed for some woohoo. Or maybe the scene from the first Ghostbusters when the “Gate Keeper” and the “Key Master” meet. I also apparently moved a window when I added on to the house and failed to move the curtain as well.
  172. 173. I threw a little sim self party at my house and it went like most parties involving simselves do. Pictured left to right: Jo (JoandSarah77), Orikes, Angela (thePipers5), BBP (BlueBerryPie360), Chewy (Chewableish), Lea (thls0) and you can just see the elbow of Ephemeral Toast. Not visible are: Lorin (Lorinsv60), Shadey (Mountainshade1), Dr.SupremeNerd, Nemo (Little Nemo).
  173. 174. I didn’t prompt this, but it seems that my version of Nemo has a very strong need to be involved with a lady. First it was Catalina, now Angela.
  174. 175. And I can’t say that she wasn’t responsive to his innuendos.
  175. 176. What good party doesn’t end with someone exploding? What was funnier still is that Lea came over to tell me a joke and patiently waited while I transformed. She didn’t worry or act surprised or anything. She just proceeded to tell me the joke. See I told you Shadey was there.
  176. 177. The party ended with two busted sinks, one clogged toilet and someone let Miles (my parrot) out of his cage and he was flying all over the lot! So it was a good one.
  177. 178. Evil Jason is still cute.
  178. 179. Hannah is very limber. This was take one of this scene. Jason hadn’t yet transformed to the dark side and spectral cats don’t seem to be affected be free will off settings. She kept interrupting for hugs and what not. Then Jason popped over to the evil witch garb and I had to start all over.
  179. 180. “ What does that say?” They looked shocked.
  180. 181. I make Nervous into a monster in my story but to be honest despite his lack of nice points he really is a very sweet family sim. Falling in love was very important to him. He couldn’t stop thinking about it.
  181. 182. Lol! *Insert your own caption here* Honest. I’d love to know how you guys would caption a picture like this. He was ordering a drink. I swear!
  182. 183. “ How you doin’? Well, that’s it for this time. I hoped you enjoyed the read or if not I hope you tell me why. The next update will most likely be about a month away as real life has stepped in a bit to take up some of my extra spare time.