A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.8 The Progeny of Death

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Chpt 2.8 of my 10 generation sims2 legacy story

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A Corporate Conspiracy Chapter 2.8 The Progeny of Death

  1. 1. Previously in A Corporate Conspiracy... Darwin learned that he was about to become a father once again. Brooke lost her boyfriend to another woman but a chance encounter may have put another fellow within reach. Marie Gray double crossed her alien conspirators and made off with the plans for a sonic controller called The Signal. Now... “Aggh! Sun! I need sun!” Darwin winced in pain as the full brunt of the sun's rays began to burn his vampire afflicted flesh. The plant sim part of him was being driven mad with need. Behind him Melinda and George broke from their conversation about the car George had just finished refurbishing to run and try and help the struggling Darwin.
  2. 2. “Darwin! What are you doing? You'll burn to death out here!” He collapsed onto the sidewalk, the pain of his back striking the concrete shocking him back to his senses. “Sis?” “Are you all right? Get back inside.” His mind was reeling. The vampire part of him was screaming in pain at the blinding sunlight while the plant in him was relishing the exposure. At the same time he felt as if every ounce of strength was being drained from him. “Do you need help getting back inside?” “No! No, I can do it.”
  3. 3. He climbed to his feet and willed himself to teleport back into his small apartment above the garage.
  4. 4. The act was draining in itself and the plant portion of him screamed at the sudden denial of the life giving sun.
  5. 5. Darwin sank into the soft cushions of the wizard throne he had constructed and he instantly began to feel somewhat better as the magic of the chair rejuvenated him.
  6. 6. Jason found his way up into the room and stared at him. Darwin looked up at him meekly, “Did my sister call you?” “No, I just had the feeling that I should stop by today. I guess I was right. How are you feeling?”
  7. 7. “Better now. I couldn't stop myself from running out there.” “You could have been killed. I did tell you to install lots of sunlamps. The only way you will survive being both a vampire and a plant sim is to have some form of artificial sunlight.” Darwin pointed up at the single lamp above the TV, “I do have some in here and out in the greenhouse I built. How many more do I need?” “Let's install one over your coffin. That way you will get as much exposure as possible. I'll take care of that. You get back in your coffin for now.” Darwin headed down into the garage and Jason waited for George to get done with his phone call so that they could hang that lamp and hopefully prevent Darwin from cooking himself to death.
  8. 8. Later that evening... Darwin wandered in to join the family for dinner though he wasn't really hungry. “Feeling better now?” “Much.” He looked at the plate of food. “I'm not very hungry tonight though.” Jason studied him with a critical eye, “I would suspect that will happen from time to time when the differing aspects of your condition don't quite mesh. Being a vampire means that your flesh wants to be static but the werewolf in you is quite the opposite.” Darwin nodded, “Excuse me for a moment.” He pushed back his chair and walked a short distance from the table not wanting to interrupt everyone's meal.
  9. 9. “These pork chops are excellent George. You really out did yourself.” “Thanks. Is your Hannah a good cook?” “Very. Being good at potions and herbs makes her very capable in the kitchen but she never seems to make any pork chops.” “I can send home my recipe if you want. It's pretty easy to prepare.” Behind the casual conversation, Darwin shifted into his werewolf form and Mel couldn't help but be a little disturbed by it.
  10. 10. “Sorry Sis, I didn't mean to interrupt your dinner.” Mel couldn't help but show her alarm. “I... I've seen you all furry lots of times but I've never witnessed you actually changing. Are you all right?” Her concern for her little brother was evident in her tone. “I try to do that in the garage or outside so I won't upset you. I'm fine. It doesn't really hurt anymore.” “Are you sure?” He reached out and pulled her into a hug. “Yes I'm sure.” His sister had always been pretty capable of handling the odd things that happen in her house. It was easy to forget that Mel was actually pretty shy and quiet from time to time. “Let's go finish dinner, okay?”
  11. 11. Once dinner was over and Jason said his goodbyes, Darwin found himself sitting down next to the newest member of the household. The familiar cat named Anima had become quite popular in the house and was frequently found in the kitchen convincing George to feed her tidbits of whatever it was that he was cooking. “Fat lot of help you were today. Where were you while I nearly cooked to death?” “Most likely napping. I do that a lot you know.” “I was under the impression that familiars were supposed to be helpful. Aren't you supposed to protect me from harm or something?” The cat glared at him, “I do more than my fair share to protect you and your family. Only yesterday I stopped a pair of mice that had plans to infiltrate the attic and start building a colony there. They were quite tasty.” “You didn't kill them?! You're supposed to be a good familiar.” “Please. I'm a cat. Cats by their very nature are above your petty concepts of good and evil.”
  12. 12. Darwin wasn't convinced, “Then why do you change colors if your master changes alignment?” “To be fashionable, of course. If you ever actually wore your robes you would realize that my glorious white coat complements it perfectly.” “Uh huh. Pull the other one.” “If you don't believe me then ask someone else. I'm sure their answer will make about the same amount of sense.” Darwin leaned forward and rested his face in his hands. He was about to become a father again. He should be happy and amused by the quirky cat that agreed to bind itself to him. “This is all going horribly wrong Anima.”
  13. 13. “I could have told you that Mister Obvious. You managed to blunder your way into a ridiculous situation and now you are stuck. I find it quite amusing.”
  14. 14. “How about a little sympathy for your master?” “Please! You are no more my master then the sky is green. I agreed to help you because you are entertaining and like me, a bit odd. As far as sympathy, you dug this hole for yourself.” As much as he hated to admit it the annoying cat was right. The only way out of this was to find someone powerful enough to remove the bonded spirits that made him this way. But where exactly do you find those sorts of entities?
  15. 15. A few blocks away... The sound of the car door slamming startled the stray cat that was sniffing about in the flower bed near the front door of the home of Mary Sue and Daniel Pleasant. A masculine voice followed the next slamming car door, “Angela! Come back here young lady! We are not finished talking about this!” “I don't care Dad. I don't want to talk about it.” Angela searched her pants pocket for her key to the front door. “Don't you walk away from me! I'm your father!”
  16. 16. Angela shoved her key into the lock and felt the door swing away from her hand without the lever being depressed. From behind her the sound of her sister Lilith exiting the car incited a new argument between her and their father. “Watch what you are doing Lilith. The car is brand new and I don't want the paint scratched.” “Like I care about your precious little whore-mobile. Its a crappy color anyway!” She intentionally slid her book bag along the fender causing small parallel scratches to form. “Get away from there!” “Take your hands off of me!” Daniel released his daughter's arm and ran his hand over the scratches in the fire engine red paint. “You little brat! You are grounded for the next two weeks and you are going to pay to have those buffed out!”
  17. 17. Angela tentatively pushed the front door open, “Mom?” Behind her, her sister was storming up the front walk. “You can't ground me Dad! You don't live here anymore, remember? Mom threw your two timing ass to the curb!” “I'm not finished with you! Come back here!” Daniel turned from his wounded car to follow his daughters into the house. “Wait till your Mother hears about this!” Lilith rushed up the front steps and brushed past her sister who was standing still, blocking most of the doorway, “Watch it dork!” “Lil?”
  18. 18. Angela turned to face her twin, “What?!” “Somethings wrong. The door was open.” Angela pressed ahead through the dark foyer and into the entrance to the kitchen.
  19. 19. “Mom?! Daddy! Help!” Angela cringed at the sight of her mother lying still and prone on the cold tile in a pool of warm blood.
  20. 20. Lilith walked back and into the adjacent dining room. 'What is your damage?” Her eyes widened at the carnage, 'Dad! Help!”
  21. 21. Daniel, still fuming about his daughters acting out and damaging his brand new mustang barely heard the yells for help. “Where is your... mother? Mary Sue?”
  22. 22. He covered his eyes hoping that it was all just an illusion that would be gone when he opened them again. Across the room, Angela was wailing and he heard Lilith whisper, “Mommy?”
  23. 23. The horrible scene was still there when he removed his hands and Daniel ran to his wife's side. “Girls! Go call 911, now!” He knelt down beside Mary Sue as Lilith grabbed her bawling sister and pulled her into the living room and the closest phone not within site of the kitchen. Daniel reached out and touched his wife's neck hoping for some indication of a pulse.
  24. 24. Lilith fumbled to dial the numbers, the sight of her mother's blood coating the kitchen floor leaving her dazed. “My mother's hurt! There's blood everywhere! Please help us!” Angela wrung her hands in desperation as Lilith answered the operator's questions the best she could. “Tell them to hurry! She dying!” Lilith glanced at her twin. The look in Angela's eyes was mirrored in her own.
  25. 25. Back in the kitchen, Daniel found no signs of a pulse in Mary Sue's neck and he moved to lean down and listen for a heart beat, “Please Baby. Don't leave me this way.” “She can't hear you anymore.” The voice was cold and flat and Daniel felt a chill run down his spine. He pushed himself back up to a kneeling position.
  26. 26. He didn't turn to see who was standing behind him. It didn't matter. “Please, my girls...” “Will be better off without out you. Both of you.”
  27. 27. Lilith hung up the phone. “Aren't they coming? Why aren't they here!” “They're on their way. All we can do is wait.” “But... Mom. She's dying.” “I said, all we can do is wait.” Lilith heard herself growl at Angela and she regretted doing it instantly. “Mom will be okay.”
  28. 28. Daniel's body slumped forward with a thud. The sound of a police siren coming up the street urged the attacker out the back door and into the darkness.
  29. 29. The patrol unit arrived quickly, being only a few blocks away dealing with a regular complaint about wolves barking and howling in front of one particular house around the block. The officer quickly rushed into the home to find the bodies of Mary Sue and Daniel Pleasant in the kitchen and their twin daughters sobbing and distraught in the living room. The discovery that their father too had been killed while they stood only feet away elicited more wails of grief .
  30. 30. Once the officer had entered the house and before anymore responding units could arrive, Nervous hopped the front fence and walked quickly down the sidewalk away from the Pleasant home. “They're better off now. They're better off without out them.” He wrung his hands nervously, smearing the blood on them. “Won't be tortured anymore. No more lies. No more anger.” An uncontrollable giggle escaped his mouth and he stifled the sound with his hand.
  31. 31. Nearby... Marie gazed up at the clear night sky. There was no moon up yet but even so she thought about the decaying corpses she and Theron left up there so recently. Soon enough others of their race would discover the deaths and come looking for her for an explanation. I 've really outdone myself this time, she thought to herself. Bringing the full brunt of the Alien war machine against earth will definitely make everyone pay more attention to me. And when it happens and my army saves the day they will have no choice but to accept me as their Supreme Feminine Overlord. Not that she cared about saving the sim race. For the most part they were annoying little fleas on the back of the world, though they did occasionally have their uses. But someone has to be in charge and why shouldn't it be her? Even the ancient elves and the tribes of witches, vampires and werewolves were simply passing amusements except when they proved to be helpful in turning one particularly gifted and easily manipulated sim into the monster she needed to lead her army. Darwin was a troublesome sim for her. Stanley James left a very strong genetic influence on the boy but he had to go and acquire himself a tendency to be sweet and kind when what she really needed was a vicious pit bull. The werewolf virus he contracted will soon rub off the niceness and then we can begin in earnest. Still, it seems all too convenient that the wolves accepted him so quickly. The sound of wolves howling in the distance followed by the barking to the neighborhood dogs disturbed her thoughts. I wonder if She is behind that? That's something I'll have to look into, not that She can stop me.
  32. 32. Marie closed her eyes and smiled. Things had been going her way for quite sometime and it pleased her that this time around the sims were more accepting of her presence. Last time she had tried being nice and cordial and tried explaining that it was all for their benefit but it seemed the nicer she was, the more they resisted. Now she was ruthless and cunning and they followed her like sheep. They don't want a friendly god, the sheep need fire and brimstone from their deities or else they don't believe in them anymore. It just so happened that destruction and death was something she had always been good at. About then her revelry and self admiration was interrupted by the nearby sounds of sirens. By the differing sounds both police and ambulances were being summoned somewhere nearby. What now?
  33. 33. For Nervous, the backyard of Marie's opulent home was like an oasis. He had stopped at the nearby park to wash the blood off his hands but then hurried right straight home. Marie sighed, knowing full well that the cause of all the noise had to have something to do with her own personal psycho killer. Admittedly, he was a natural at it but he tended to be sloppy and that was something she was going to have to train out of him. “Your father is never this careless.”
  34. 34. He stopped short at the sound of her voice. Marie was really the last person he wanted to see right now. She would be angry about him hunting so close to home but there was nothing redeemable about Mary Sue and Daniel Pleasant and he simply could not pass up the opportunity. “My...father? You know my father?” “Only too well. We have met many times over the years.”
  35. 35. Nervous crossed the patio to stand closer to her. “What do you know about my father?” Marie smiled and turned her head towards the sounds of the sirens, “What did you do?” “Answer my question! What about my father?” Her head snapped back towards him and her eyes grew cold. “I am in charge here little boy and I ask the questions. Now answer me!”
  36. 36. Nervous crossed his arms over his chest and scowled at her. He wasn't frightened of her in any way. Someday he would die just as violently as his victims and he had no doubt that her hand would be behind it but that didn't trouble him. Still, it was easier not to argue with her. “I shoved my knife into Mary Sue Peasant's back about seven times while she was making hamburgers and slit Daniel's throat when he came to check on her.” “Why?” “Why do you care?” “I don't but I'm curious as to how you selected them as victims.” “He was cheating on her with the maid and several other women around town and she cared about nothing but money. Their daughters were being tortured by it and now I've ended their pain.”
  37. 37. “I see. Don't you think the girls will be just as tortured by their parents horrible deaths?” Nervous thought about this for a minute. “I... think death is a release from pain and now those girls are free to make their own lives free from their parents manipulation.” “So this was more about your issues with the Beakers than with the Pleasant girl's issues with their parents?” He sensed that she was trying to trip him up somehow. “Are you saying I shouldn't have a reason for my actions?” “Not at all. Kill for any reason you choose. It's in your genes to be surrounded by death but, remember that all actions have consequences and when you affect others in such a manner there will be some kind of backlash. You did it to your adoptive parents. What's to keep Angela and Lilith Pleasant from doing it to you?” “They didn't see me and I didn't leave anything behind this time.” “Good. At least you are paying attention to your lessons.”
  38. 38. “Now, what about my father?” “I'm not certain you've earned the right to that knowledge yet.” It was an evil thing to say and Nervous responded predictably. “You bitch! Someday, someone is going to spill your guts all over the carpet and I hope it gets to be me!” He strode towards the back door determined to put as much distance between himself and her as possible. “Nervous?”
  39. 39. He stopped and turned to face her. “What?,” he snapped. “Your father is very special and you have inherited many gifts from him. Things your mother, your real mother, could never see and the Beakers managed to twist with their tests. Where, do you suppose that knife of yours comes from?” “I don't know? When I need it it's just there and when I don't it goes away.” “You never thought that was strange?” He felt a wash of coldness come over him, “What am I?,” he asked quietly. “One of many who, like you has never met the specter called Death face to face and yet must call him father when they do.” “What are you trying to say?” “Simply that your mother cast a spell and conceived a child with the Grim Reaper. That child is you and death is your nature.”
  40. 40. “You lie!” “I do not. I twist and I manipulate but I never lie. I don't need to. Your story is so twisted on it's own that it needs no help from me. You are the son of the Grim Reaper and you're not the only one. Many have dared to steal some of The Reaper's essence over the years. The only difference about you is that the Beakers in their rush to test their personality transplant process twisted your mind and made you into the killer that you are.” She smiled at him and he felt a shiver run down his spine. Could it be true? Was he the bastard child of an entity that only showed it's face when someone died? Wait! “I've never seen Death at any of my kills! Not the Beakers or the man maid or tonight. I was in the Pleasant house for minutes after Mary Sue died and he never came. Why not?” “That's not really all that surprising if you think about it. The Grim Reaper didn't come because there was no spirit to collect. Those souls are yours to carry with you for all eternity and he has no right to them.” It was an awful thing to consider. He wasn't taking lives, he was collecting souls! Nervous's face turned ashen and he spun on his heel and rushed into the house and away from the woman who stood smiling at him devilishly.
  41. 41. Marie wasn't surprised when Theron materialized behind her. The stealthy elf watched everything she did. “That was quite cruel. And unnecessary. You risk making him worse or causing him to seek help in curbing his impulses.” “The little weasel needed some poking and I don't think that a little taste of the truth will hurt him much.” Marie's eyes hardened, “ It occurs to me that the Pleasant girls are going to be in some need of... assistance. Young Lilith shows a great deal of promise and Angela is easy to manipulate. I think I will pay them a visit tomorrow, out of respect for their poor dead parents, of course.” “Of course.” The next day in another nearby house...
  42. 42. He swirled the brush through the paint on the palette trying to create the perfect shade of orange. The sound of a protein shake can being opened behind him made him jump just as he was about to put the paint loaded brush to the canvas and he sighed.
  43. 43. Jay Trueheart, unaware of the disturbance he caused took a big drink of the chocolate flavored shake, “So you pack this drunk vision of loveliness into a cab and you don't even get her name or her phone number?” Avri gave a distracted reply, “That's right.” “You don't' know anything about her at all.” “I think she's attending college over at Sim State. She looked about that age.”
  44. 44. Jay shook his head at Avri's back, “And you want me to try and find her? One long haired blonde with tan skin and the face of an angel. That should be easy. How many of those can there possibly be on a college campus?” Jay's attempt at humor wasn't lost on Avri, “I didn't say it would be easy but your days of hanging around there flashing your genitals at everyone you met should have netted you a few friends. Or at least a few admirers.” Through the back door of the garage they heard a female voice yell, “Lunch!” Jay set the can down on the floor, “You go ahead. I'm not that hungry and I'm going to try and work out some.”
  45. 45. Olona grabbed another sandwich off the plate and turned to find Avri sitting down but no sign of her husband. “Jay's not coming in?” Avri shook his head as he watched the pregnant sim waddle towards the table. “He wanted to get in some more work out time.” “It was his dream to play professional soccer. I just don't think he realized how much time he would be spending in the gym in order to achieve it.” She sat down next to him.
  46. 46. “I really appreciate you letting me live here for a while. It's not like you really had to when Jay asked.” She smiled, “I wish we had a bit more space for you. The garage has to be a bit chilly but with the baby on it's way...” “No! It's fine. I completely understand. Besides, I spend a lot of time camping at events and stuff so I'm used to the cold and the space heater works very well.” “It is nice to have someone here during the day when Jay is a work anyway. So far my pregnancy has been pretty easy but having someone around just in case isn't a bad thing.” Avri smiled. The green skinned woman sitting beside him was one quarter alien and Chief of Staff at Pleasant View Memorial Hospital and yet she had to be the nicest woman in the world. “I don't get Jay and you. I mean he's not exactly handsome and yet he managed to catch a beauty like you. How'd he do it?”
  47. 47. “It was arranged by the matchmaker. I had already met Jay during a party at school when he showed up naked and freaked everyone out. I was pleasantly surprised when she pulled him out of her hat and it was true love almost from the start. Even if I am still getting used to his nudist behavior.” She took and swallowed a bite of sandwich, “That reminds me, don't be too shocked when you catch him wandering around the house naked. He does it all the time. He was even nude during our wedding much to the shock of my parents.”
  48. 48. He smiled. Jay and he had been friends for a while so he was quite familiar with Jay's former life as a streaker. “Jay tells me that you met someone special yourself. Is it serious?” “To be honest, I don't even know her name. She came into the bar one night, got snockered on one drink and I sent her home in a cab. The bar was busy and I completely forgot to ask for her name. She was beautiful though, I'd love to paint her portrait.” “Ohh... A mystery woman. How romantic. You should definitely find her. Sometimes the best relationships come right out of the blue. My grandmother fell in love by accident twice in her life and both marriages were wonderful.”
  49. 49. The next morning over at Sim State... Beep Beep Beep. The alarm clock pulled Brooke Number Two out of a deep sleep and an odd but nice dream about a beach and a mostly nude, muscular guy named Kyle. She sat up and slid out of bed looking over at the girl she shared a room with.
  50. 50. Brooke Number One groaned and pulled the cover over her eyes when her roommate turned on the lights. “Wake up sleepy head! You've got class this morning.” “I'm awake.” “Sure. I'm going to hit the shower before Decker takes it over for an hour. You better get up or you will be late.” Brooke rolled over and mumbled something unintelligible and Brooke Number Two looked at watched her with a worried eye. It was no use prodding her to move. It would happen when it did and she didn't want to lose the race for the bathroom.
  51. 51. When she returned she found Brooke sitting up with her head in her hands. “Well, at least you are vertical, that only took twenty minutes to achieve.” Brooke grimaced, “I'm just really tired, that's all. I can't seem to get enough sleep.” “You would have better luck with that if you weren't up at all hours of the night thinking about him.”
  52. 52. “Are going to drop that someday soon.” “Not until you do. I know you loved him and that he was your first boyfriend and all that but it's time to move on. Chewy isn't the only guy in the world, you know?” “I know that and I want to just forget about him but I can't seem to do it. It's like he's attached to me with velcro or something. Whenever I'm busy I'm not thinking about him and I feel fine but as soon as I'm bored or it's quiet, it all comes right back.”
  53. 53. “You don't think I'm crazy do you?” “Crazy? No. Depressed, yes. It happens to us all at some point but you seem to be carrying it to the extreme girl. Now get up and get dressed! It's a beautiful day, Alicia is already poking Decker about something and I would love some of your blueberry pancakes for breakfast.”
  54. 54. Brooke slowly placed her feet on the rug and stood. “See? Doesn't that feel better already?” Brooke Number Two had been Brooke's friend since they were children. So much so that she often thought of her as the nice sister she never got. Brooke tried to smile at BNT. “I suppose. I should go and try to shower before I cook breakfast.” “Always a good idea. Nothing helps you feel better than a hot shower and some fresh clothes. Between you and me, you are starting to get a little ripe.”
  55. 55. Brooke gave a halfhearted laugh. “I can't possibly smell worse than Decker. How does he live with that?” “I'm not sure but I think that's why Alicia hates him so much. You know how much of a neat freak she is.” Brooke smiled properly and BNT reached up and brushed a stand of hair out of her face. “That's a much better smile. Come on now, let's see if we can get you into the bathroom before Decker manages to get away from her. I sure will be glad when the contractor is finished with the new bathroom. This place is way too small for all of us plus Fisher and Chelsea who are arriving next week.”
  56. 56. With a shower and breakfast out of the way Brooke headed off to class with a slightly lighter heart but the reality was that while the breakup had been incredibly cordial, her heart was hurting horribly. He had a new love and she had nothing. How was that fair? And what about that wish she had made in the fountain on Twikki Island? Was it all in her head that something special happened that day? After class Brooke knelt down in front of the broken dishwasher with a sigh. “Why am I always to one to fix things when they break?” She was happy that Brooke Number Two had joined Alicia, Kira and herself at college as the routine housework load had been reduced a little except that the other new arrival in the house, her cousin Decker was messy and constantly breaking things. At least Alicia loved to clean so the bathroom stayed pretty nice but the two of them had become outwardly hostile toward one another and Brooke couldn't help but think that if her uncle Darwin knew about the fights he wouldn't be very happy. In the other room she could hear her sister Kira on the phone with their mother.
  57. 57. “Yes Mom, they got here fine and they registered for their classes.” “...” “I don't know. Do I look like a secretary?” “Brooke? She's fine, I guess. She's always moping around her for some reason. It's been particularly bad here for the last couple of days.” Alicia looked up from the computer screen, “She got dumped by her boyfriend.” “Alicia says she got dumped by her boyfriend.” “...” “Why would I care Mom? He was a bit of a dork if you ask me anyway. It probably for the best.” “...”
  58. 58. “Mom, ask uncle Darwin why he felt he needed to inflict us with Decker. He's a huge slob and he's always tying up the only bathroom in the house with his bubble baths and tub pirating.” “...” “Fine. Just remember I didn't volunteer for the position of Den Mother. Don't get mad at me when something horrible happens to one of them. I'm hanging up now Mom. Bye.” Kira slammed the phone down into it's cradle. “It's like she thinks I have nothing better to do then babysit all the whiny brats.” Alicia clicked the computer off. “I swear if he leaves one more puddle on the floor I'm gonna mop it up with his hair.”
  59. 59. Back in Pleasant View... “One, two three! Scissors!” “Rock!”
  60. 60. “Ha! I win again!” Fisher threw his arms up into the air and danced. “Arrgh! Again?! You're cheating somehow.” “You can't cheat at this game Dad. It's pure luck.” Darwin ran his hand over the fur on his head pushing the hackles down. “Again! One, two, three!”
  61. 61. This time Fisher's luck ran short and he found his scissors beat out by his father's rock. “Yes! Who's the man!” “Not fair. I have a cramp in my hand. It could be tendon damage so we should stop playing now.” Fisher headed for the freezer and the large supply of ice packs he kept there. Darwin shook his head. His father Stanley was a hypochondriac too so it wasn't too surprising that someone in the family popped up with the trait but Fisher was an opportunist hypochondriac. Whenever things weren't going his way he suddenly had a cramp or a bout of asthma or something similar that would deflect attention away from matters at hand. From across the room, “Dad?”
  62. 62. He lurched over to his daughter Chelsea who had just hung up the phone. “What's up sweetie?” “Should Mom's eyes be going all crossed like that?”
  63. 63. “Ahhh, no. I'm pretty sure they shouldn't.” Chelsea giggled. Cassidy wasn't finding her husbands attempt at humor funny at all. “I'm going into labor you twits! Help me!” This was Cassidy's fourth child and while the pregnancy had been fairly uneventful except a couple mornings when she had to pop out of her coffin and run for the toilet, the labor was proving to be a fair bit more painful. “Darwin,” she murmured in between contractions, “this doesn't feel right. Something's wrong.”
  64. 64. The evening's fun was over and Darwin payed close attention to the birth. “Just breathe and push honey. Everything is going to be fine.”
  65. 65. The labor was difficult but in the end Darwin and Cassidy welcomed a blue eyed baby girl into the clan. “Look at her eyes. They're huge! Your alien genes sure are strong Dar.” The new father studied the little girl. “She seems no worse for wear from the long delivery. Maybe she was just a little shy about coming out.” “What are we going to name her?” “How about Selena?” Cassidy cuddled the baby, “I like it. Selena James it is. Welcome to the world little girl.”
  66. 66. A few weeks later... “Hi Dad!” “There's my girl.” George pulled his somewhat reluctant daughter into a hug. “It's nice to see you too Alicia.” “Hi, uncle George.” “Where is your sister?”
  67. 67. “She's moping along behind us, as usual. Honestly, I really don't get what is wrong with her. So her boyfriend dumped her. What's the big deal?” “Your sister has a much more tender soul than you do Kira. She takes things more to heart. Just give her some time to heal.” “Ugh! It's been six weeks already. I don't think I can stand much more.”
  68. 68. “And what about you picking out one nice young man and settling down? Your mother and I do expect some grandchildren after you graduate you know.” “I'm too busy for rug rats dad.” “Have you even decided on a major?” “I'm studying art.” “Art. And you plan on becoming... what exactly?” “Well, I was thinking about switching to Law but I'm not sure.” “Law is a good start. You would make an excellent lawyer.” Inside the house...
  69. 69. Brooke had settled in to a singles game of pool doing her best to ignore Alicia's intent stare. “What do you want?” Alicia considered her question carefully before asking. “Are you going to mope over that guy forever? He's really not worth it.” “It's really none of your business,” Brooke snapped back. “Why don't you just leave me alone?” Alicia's eyes widened, “Ohh, you're actually kind of mad.” She resisted the urge to poke her cousin on the shoulder. Few things delighted her more that picking and finishing fights. “Maybe you should call up the gypsy woman and have her set you up on a blind date. Anything to stop you from being a lump on the couch.” “Not interested.”
  70. 70. Kira joined them in the family room after finally escaping her dad's inquisition and grabbed the darts off the board. “She's still testy. I thought you said she would brighten up when she got here.” Kira glanced back at her younger sister and shrugged, “Eh, so she isn't miss sunshine. I kind of like the less bubbly version myself.” “I'm getting tired of her always being in the way. She never leaves the house except to go to class.” “And who would want to leave when you keep us so entertained by beating the heck out of Decker and Fisher every couple of hours.” “I can't help that. They... bug me.” Alicia's right eye twitched.
  71. 71. Mel and George settled on the love seat and called Kira and Brooke over to join them. “Since it's getting close to graduation time for Kira we wanted to talk to you both about who would be inheriting the house. I know it's not something anyone really wants to talk about but the reality is that your father and I won't be around forever.” George glanced over at his wife, “I have no intention of passing away anytime soon.” “That's not what I meant and you know it. I just want the girls to have a chance to get used to the idea of who is going to carry on the traditions of the family. Your grandfather was a very unusual man and I'd like to see that this family never forgets him.”
  72. 72. Kira grimaced, “Look, I'm not sure who you picked but I'm not all that interested in kids and the happy homemaker scene so why don't you just give it to Brooke.” Brooke looked at her, “Me? Why?” “Because you are more likely to find one guy that you want to marry and be faithful to.” Brooke shook her head. “I don't want it.”
  73. 73. “Why not honey?”
  74. 74. “Because I'd just screw it up like everything else I do! Kira's the oldest she should be the one.” The frustration was obvious in her voice and for the first time ever her parents saw her angry.
  75. 75. Darwin, who had just arrived home from work, slowly lowered himself into his chair. From the moment his car had pulled into the driveway he had sensed the heavy, sullen banes wandering around the house and he was quite certain that they hadn't been there when he left. Across from him his youngest and favorite niece was acting abnormally and he could now see that she was the focus for the odd spirits. “Sorry I'm late. I had some extra paperwork to finish up.”
  76. 76. “What's wrong Brooke? I know you were fond of Chewy but I thought you two had separated on peaceful terms. He's not harassing you is he?”
  77. 77. “No Daddy, he isn't harassing me. I'm just... having a hard time dealing with it that's all. I still don't want to inherit the house though.” Mel frowned, “What do you want to do?” “I'd like to go back to campus and study for my test that I have tomorrow.” “I really thought that you would want to be the one honey. It's obvious that you're not feeling well right now. Maybe you will change your mind after a while.” “I doubt it.”
  78. 78. “Well, then I suppose Kira you will just have to accept being heiress”
  79. 79. “What?! No! I already said I didn't want it. Give the house to someone else. How about Decker? Or Alicia?” Alicia looked up from the pool table, “Hey! Leave me out of this.” Mel shook her head, “I was the first heiress to this house. It has to be one of mine and George's descendants I have two and only two children, both of whom are sitting on that couch refusing to inherit a house and money. One of you is doing it and that's final.”
  80. 80. Mindful of the banes that hovered around Brooke and the obvious fear that Kira had towards commitment, Darwin interrupted. “There's still plenty of time before graduation. Is there really a need to decide this right now? Things change fast when you are in college. Once Brooke is feeling more like herself she might change her mind or Kira may find a different outlook on life.” Mel sighed, “I suppose you're right. I'm just a little annoyed that my daughters aren't a little more excited about this.” “It's a big decision.” “It wasn't for me.” “Yes, but you are not them. It will sort itself out on it's own.”
  81. 81. In the end Melinda relented on naming an heir in favor of giving the girls some time to think about it. Brooke's outburst was concerning to her though. She expected Kira to be dour and abrasive but Brooke almost always had a smile on her face. Darwin wandered out onto the back porch to shift into his werewolf form and George and Kira reclaimed the pool table from Alicia leaving Brooke sitting on the end of the couch staring at the fireplace. “Do you want to talk about how you are feeling honey? I hate to see you so upset.”
  82. 82. “No thanks Mom. I'm just a little depressed about how sucky my life is right now. It's not a big deal.” “Are you sure?” Mel was mindful of her own issues. “You don't have some weird guy in purple pants whispering over your shoulder do you?” Brooke looked up at her confused, “What? No. I'm just feeling sorry for myself and Kira and Alicia don't help any with their jokes.” She frowned, “A guy in purple pants?”
  83. 83. “Oh it's nothing. Just silliness. You do know that you can talk to your dad and I about anything, right? I mean we both were your age once too. I remember how bad I felt when I thought that I was going to have to leave George behind when I went to school. It's hard to lose someone you love but 'if it wasn't meant to be...' ”
  84. 84. “ 'Then it never will be.' That's something uncle Darwin says. I think it means that you can't make something into something else. Or make someone love you when they have already found true love.” “I think he learned it from his spell book. I really want you to think about taking the house honey. I believe it's the right place for you.” “I will Mom. Just not right now, okay?” “Okay.”
  85. 85. Darwin caught up with Brooke before she left. “You seem a little depressed munchkin. Should I pick you up and toss you in the air like I used to when you were little? I can do it but we should probably go outside so you don't smash into the ceiling.” She couldn't help but laugh, “I'm a little sad, that's all.” “More than a little. I see no less that seven banes around you right now including a little tiny one in the corner hiding behind the stereo. He thinks I can't see him back there, but I can.” “What are banes?” “They are the spirits that haunt us when we are very sad, or angry. Sometimes they make us stay that way for a lot longer than we really want.” “So, they're bad spirits” “They can be if left too long to their own devices. When we dwell on sad things for too long they can get very strong. You need to get rid of yours before they latch on good and tight.”
  86. 86. “Okay. How do I get rid of them.” “Simple. You think happy thoughts.” She giggled again, “This isn't a fairy tale uncle Darwin. Kitten whiskers and rainbows won't make you fly.” “True. But thinking about those things help you to forget the bad things that happen around you. And when you stop dwelling on those, the banes will go away. Or you could try eating some chocolate. That always works for me. It's not terribly good for your teeth or your waistline but,” he shrugged. “Is that why you eat so much sugar? To stay happy all the time?” “No. I just happen to like sugar.” He tilted his head, “Do you think I'm happy all the time?” “I've never seen you without a smile on your face.” “Sadly, it's not true. All adults are sad or angry sometimes. Life would be a little bit boring if we didn't feel unhappy now and then. Don't worry about losing your boyfriend I'm sure there is someone else even better just waiting to find you.”
  87. 87. Brooke watched her uncle wander away to care for his beloved plants and wondered at how someone could be so odd and yet so comforting at the same time. Elsewhere in the house, Mel tracked down her oldest child... “Kira, I want you and Alicia to take it easy on Brooke.” “We're just teasing her. We don't mean anything by it.” “I know that and she most likely does too but it's not helping her get over the breakup. Try and be a good big sister for once in your life.” “Maybe she needs to grow a thicker skin. I'm not going to molly coddle her Mom.” “Just try to be nicer to her. Take her out to a club to meet some other people.” “Tried that already. She sat on a chair and ignored everyone. Including Jess Thompson, the quarterback of the football team who asked her to dance.”
  88. 88. “Well, keep trying. And call me if she gets worse.” Mel pulled her into a hug that Kira reluctantly returned. “Yes Mom.” “I love you.” “I... love you too Mom. We have to go now or we will miss the bus.” Mel slowly let go of her and Kira gave her a small smile.
  89. 89. Despite her best efforts Brooke's depression continued to hang on and it was only worsened by the arrival of spring and watching her cousins beginning to find lovers of their own. Kira continued to date profusely, which was really no surprise while Alicia found love in the arms of one of her instructors. Decker had developed a strong crush on a sorority girl named Brittany Upsnott and Fisher had fallen for the sister of the woman who stole Chewy away from her. While Angela was very nice and Fisher seemed quite smitten with her, it was painful to have someone so close to Chewy near by. To avoid all the kissing and hand holding, Brooke took to visiting the parks around the campus and Bluewater Village. Today it was Miller's Pond. A quiet, little place that she had mostly to herself and a man who brought his dog for some playtime.
  90. 90. “That's a good boy. Here you go. Go get it!” The little dog and his master were quite oblivious to the odd sight wandering into the park behind them. The suit of armor only paused for a few seconds to watch the little dog scamper after the stick with complete abandon.
  91. 91. Brooke wandered the park ignoring the drizzling rain though she did wish she had worn some different shoes as the ground had become a bit soggy. The fresh air and blooming flowers did help lift her spirits some and it was nice to get away from the crowded college house. The little place was fine for two or three sims but there were seven James children shoehorned in all together and she wondered why they hadn't just packed up and moved to another rental on campus. So focused on her problems, Brooke was not paying attention to the movements of others in the park.
  92. 92. The suit of armor too had it's mind elsewhere. The park was just a shortcut to the road he needed to travel and his attention was still focused on the little dog.
  93. 93. The collision wasn't catastrophic but the weight of the armor meant that the man won and Brooke was knocked onto her backside onto the soggy ground. “Oh! Excuse me! Are you all right?” It's her! Brooke felt the water seep into her dress leaving her with a wet bottom. “Watch where you are going you big...,” she looked up at the man, “walking suit of armor?” Avri smiled under the helmet and reached down to gently help Brooke to her feet. “My fault. I should have watched where you were going.”
  94. 94. She accepted his help and once on her feet plucked at her dress so that the wet fabric wasn't clinging to her, “Umm... I think you mean 'where I was going'.” “That's what I said.” “No, I... don't think so. Why are you wearing that?”
  95. 95. “Hmm? Oh! The armor. I'm a member of this group that goes out and pretends it's still the middle ages. We just had a war recreation over at Pleasant Field, hence the tin suit.” He banged on the breast plate with a gauntleted hand then removed the helmet with a flourish.
  96. 96. “My name's Avri GilsCarbo.” He reached out and shook her hand. “You're the bartender at Lucky's!” “Guilty as charged. Last time I saw you, you were a little drunk. I remember, because when you came in the first thing I saw was your beautiful hair.” She felt her cheeks blush, “I'm Brooke James. GilsCarbo? Are you related to Goopy GilsCarbo?” “He's like a great, great uncle or something. I've never actually met him.” Avri tilted his head, “ You look a little sad. Is there anything an errant knight can do to help?” Brooke frowned and walked over to a nearby bench.
  97. 97. “No, thanks. It's private.” She sank down onto the wooden seat and fussed with her damp skirt.
  98. 98. “I'm a bartender. Nobody keeps secrets from me for long.”
  99. 99. “I... My boyfriend broke up with me.” She wasn't certain why she told him. It just came out. Avri paused and looked over her head at the grove of trees looking for the right thing to say.
  100. 100. Finally he choose to sit down next to her. “Ahh... I'm... not sorry.” She scowled at him, “That's an awful thing to say!” “It's the truth. Sure, it's not really politically correct but I refuse to be anything but honest. Since I saw you for the first time that night I've had a hard time thinking of anything else. I didn't get your number or even your name and I've been kicking myself ever since. Now the Fates have pushed you in front of me again. I must be blessed.”
  101. 101. Brooke pushed herself back to her feet. “I need to get home.” This guy was cute and just a little too forward and he was making her uncomfortable.
  102. 102. He jumped up quickly from the bench as she turned to leave, “Will you give me your phone number?”
  103. 103. “I don't know you. Why would I do that?” “What do you want to know? Just ask?” She crossed her arms defensively and he continued uninvited, “I'm twenty two years old. I was born in Pleasant View and my mother died of pneumonia when I was twelve. My dad has worked his whole life as an auto mechanic and is fairly disappointed that I don't really like cars. I didn't go to college. I work three different part time jobs trying to help my dad pay down some gambling debts. I'm currently living in a friends garage and I like to paint.” “I'm sorry. I'm sure you are a really nice guy, but I just can't.”
  104. 104. He sensed that she was being more than a little hesitant but he wasn't willing to give up just yet in his pursuit. It seems a suitable time for a strategic withdrawal, “The knave has wounded your trust as well as your heart. I understand. Fear not fair maiden, for time heals all wounds.” He bowed dramatically and she couldn't help but smile a little. “Farewell. I'm sure we will meet again.” His deep blue eyes were fixed on hers for only a few seconds but she felt a flush of warmth and her heart started to race.
  105. 105. Avri walked past her towards the sidewalk and her eyes followed him until he was out of sight. “Bye.” The has to be the oddest guy I've ever met. He's cute though.
  106. 106. Next time in A Corporate Conspiracy.. “Hi and welcome back to Pleasant View by Night. I'm your host Dina Caliente. Tonight we have a very special guest. None other than our own mysterious Captain Hero! He and I will be talking about our fair city's future and the rampant increase in criminal acts being committed within our midst. It's sure to be fascinating, so stay tuned.” Click →
  107. 107. * beeping sounds * And, action! “What did you want me to do?” You are the powerful Marie Gray. You've just told Nervous that he is the son of the embodiment of death and you are hatching a plot to do something with the now parent-less Pleasant twins. Give me your best evil look. Theron you should look serious and focused. All right? Action!
  108. 108. “Like this?” That's pretty good but could you drop your hand and Theron what are you doing? “I'm about to sneeze!” Achooo. Cut! Makeup! His ear fell off!
  109. 109. “Right! While they come and fix allergy boy's prosthetic, let's look at some out takes and informational slides. Roll the clips!”
  110. 110. “This has to be one of the ugliest babies I have ever seen. You can just tell right from the start that her face is going to be a train wreck. Honestly, why do these two keep breeding?” Selina James: fourth child of Darwin and Cassidy.
  111. 111. “Not only is she ugly but she seems to have the ability to levitate. Which might be useful to me later on. I'll have to keep an eye on her.” Chelsea and Selena
  112. 112. “Argh! He's just so sickeningly sweet! How can anyone stand to be around him? Don't worry, soon all his clownish activities will be in the past.” Darwin James looking cute.
  113. 113. “Okay this was a bit disconcerting. I'm far to close to my goals for him to run out and fry himself on the sidewalk!” I thought I had enough sun lamps but apparently not.
  114. 114. “Ahh the nudist and the sweet doctor. These two are close neighbors of mine and more than a little annoying. He actually mows the laws naked! Trust me when I say that, that face attached to a naked body is the last thing you want to see at nine am pushing a John Deer around the yard. They don't even have a fence to hide the lower half of him! I fear for the babies mental well being. The red head staying with them now is kind of cute though and I hear him at all hours playing his radio and painting in the garage. Perhaps I should go introduce myself as a fellow artist.” Olona and Jay Trueheart: Spares from my Officially Wacky Boolprop Challenge. Olona is ¼ alien and great granddaughter to Tess Trueheart. Jay was one of the Sim State streakers and if you haven't played one in your game, their coding to be naked sticks with them until they die. Hmm... I wonder if you could get a naked ghost from them... Avri GilsCarbo: Cutie and Brooke's next beau though she doesn't know it yet.
  115. 115. “How many sims are allowed by code to live in a college house of this size? There's seven of them all competing for one bathroom! It's ridiculous!” All of generation three except the now toddler Selena. From the left: Chelsea (Darwin and Cassidy), Kira and Brooke (Melinda and George), Fisher (Darwin and Cassidy), Brooke Number Two (Adopted: Laurel and Esther), Alicia (Kellie and Ted) and Decker (Darwin and Cassidy) Also, you might notice I've been remodeling the college house a bit. This room was blue but now the house has some nice wallpapers throughout and a new larger bathroom upstairs though they all want to use the tub on the first floor.
  116. 116. “What awful clothes! The dorkiness just oozes out of this family!” Fisher James Sagittarius 1/6/9/10/1 Pleasure/Romance LTW: 50 first dates Hobby: Games
  117. 117. “I'm not even going to comment on this.” Chelsea James Gemini 4/8/10/5/8 Fortune/Romance LTW: 5 top businesses Hobby: Fitness
  118. 118. “This Alicia is a girl after my own heart. She attacks her cousins Fisher and Decker like clock work. I hear that they have been trying to work out their differences lately with little success” Brooke has passed her sophomore year and re-rolled her aspiration and I tweaked her turn ons just a bit because there is only one Servo in town and I don't want him in the family. She is no longer a shy popularity sim! New Aspiration: Fortune/Grilled Cheese New LTW: Earn $100,000- another impossible want I need for points! Woo!
  119. 119. “I'm not sure about this one. She bugs me a bit. She has all the same potential as that Alicia girl but never really uses it. Oh sure, she treats her sister like garbage but she doesn't really mean it. Still, she has given me lots of good information through her relationship with Nervous. She must not have any sense of his true nature since she trusts him enough to woo hoo with him.” Kira too re-rolled for junior year. New Aspiration: Fortune/Pleasure New LTW: Top of the Law career
  120. 120. “The only problem with Alicia is she became one of those full fledged cheese freaks. They can be fanatical! I have even heard of a Grilled Cheese cult that claims to be headed by their own deity! One day I hope to inspire that kind of worship myself, only without all the Gouda.” Alicia also re-rolled. New Aspiration: (Other than kicking Fisher and Decker's butts) Grilled Cheese/Knowledge New LTW: Eat 200 Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  121. 121. “I can't wait for you to be ready my pet. Soon the whole universe will tremble at my feet!” Okay, we're ready to try again. Everyone back to your locations. Theron try not to sneeze this time. Catalina James's ghost: She didn't scare him. In fact, neither her nor Stanley have frightened anyone yet. I suspect they are saving it up for when I have a pregnant sim in the house. Thanks for reading! And a big thanks to all the folks who make the custom content that makes my game prettier and more sane.

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