Friday, November 30, 2012

2.7 - Risky Business

The day they get back from Al-Simhara, Isabel's barely out of the taxi and she's already planning her next big trip. She doesn't care much about the downtime and business side of things, she just wants to go! An email arrived asking if she'd be willing to do some archaeology research in Champs Les Sims, a small historical town outside Paris. How exciting!!

"France next on the list for this adventurer!"

Nate's birthday was set the day after their return from Al-Simhara too. Being an ambitious Sim, he decides to spend part of his last day as a kid working on his business savvy skills at the park next to their house. He sets up a baked goods sale table ...

"The way to be a sharp businessman is to always look for opportunity"

But there weren't any baked goods for sale.

Except one ...

Nate, standing inconspicuously behind his empty table, hears her introduce herself to the sim on the other end of the line as "Coco Pie" ...

"Yeah ... I'm here where you told me to be. There's just some kid with a bake sale. I don't see any dude or chick lookin ..."

Annoyed, the pretty dark skinned teenager slaps her cell phone shut and tosses it in her hand bag and paces around nervously, chewing her gum and eyeing Nate while pretending to look bored.

Nate, being ever the opportunist, decides to introduce himself.

"Hail pretty lady in distress - do you need assistance? I am the Term1Nate0r - who are you?"

"I'm Coco."

"Is that your real name?" Nate asks innocently. "Yeah - of course it is", she grins at him. "Is that your real name?"

Coco eyes Nate suspiciously, "Ain't you supposed to be in school right now?" and Nate assures her he's right where he's supposed to be but quips back "Are you where you are supposed to be?"

"Yeah ... well, looks like my 'date' is late." she sighs and leans against the fence, checking her phone texts again before waving it at Nate's table and asking, "Where's all your stuff for sale anyways?"

Nathan, ever the clever monkey, explains that he's simply surveying the foot traffic here for potential sales before actually putting anything out, and making sure there wasn't any potential risk or danger of alien abductions in this area.

Coco just rolls her eyes at him and shakes her head in confusion. "I gotta go kid."

"Wait" Nate hands Coco a small, hand written 'business card' and tells her to call him if she's ever in trouble. He has no idea why he just did that, but Coco looks at him oddly for a minute and laughs. She tucks the card away. "Sure thing sweetie. If I ever need a kid for a boss, you got the job!"

Nate puffs up and tells her its his birthday tomorrow, he'll be 13 and that's plenty old enough to do business.

Coco nearly chokes on her gum. "Honey you ain't got a clue what kinda business I'm in," and saunters off.

It's getting dark, so Nate packs up his table and heads across the sidewalk to their little backyard, adjacent to the park. He stops to take a peek in Isabel's telescope. He can't help it, he has to spy on this strange girl to find out what she's up to!

"Who is this girl and who does she work for??"

He can't hear their conversation from here, but he watches as Coco's 'date' apparently shows up, as well as some woman arguing with her about something.

Nate suddenly realizes this girl isn't as old as he thought she was ... the others are adults, she's only a teen!

The older woman seems to be pressuring Coco about something. At first, Coco is all smiles and agreeable.

Nate wishes he could hear (I'm glad he cannot) !!

Some sort of deal is being made ... Nate's familiar with how this sort of thing goes down ...

But then, the 'dude' as Coco called him, starts to ask her some things, and Coco becomes visibly upset.

Whatever he's asking her to do, it isn't good.


This time, even without being able to hear, Nate can tell she says "NO WAY!"

"Coco don't go there, no way!"

The woman seems to be trying to both coerce Coco while calming the 'dude' down ...

A deal gone wrong?

'Dude' sufficiently rejected, slumps off down the street.

Coco and mysterious woman talk a bit more and head off in the opposite direction, laughing.

Nate has no clue what just transpired there in their tiny park, but he has a good hunch it was illegal, whatever it was. Perhaps St. Claire would end up being quite a profitable place to do business afterall!

(Oh Nate my little dear, not that sort of business!)

Nate stares blankly out the window that night, thinking about life, about his parents, and oddly, about Coco.

The next day is Nate's birthday and Isabel's got big plans. They go shopping for starters. They buy a lot of cool things to decorate the house with, as well as a new wardrobe of 'city clothes' so they feel more at home in their new life.

Isabel's Mom helps them with their shopping, encouraging her daughter to glam up a bit more, especially with an upcoming trip to France, where fashion was everything. Isabel plays along, and picks out some modern fashion for doing business in St. Claire. She also stops by a bakery Emma recommends and picks up a cake for Nate.

"You ready for the next big stage, lil' brother?" ... "Oh yeah" grins Nate. He was born ready.

Sadly, they haven't been in the city long enough to really make any friends yet, so Isabel celebrates Nate's birthday with him alone. She hams it up for him anyways.

"Please sim goddess, make my sister choke on that stupid horn!" - Isabel: TOOOOOT!!

And the sparkles tickle up his spine as he grows ...

And grows ...

"Happy Birthday Nate!!"

Nathan ages into a rather handsome young man. Same swooped over auburn hair, but his eyes have become more piercing blue and his features are strong and serious, with adorable kissable lips.

"Holy crap Nate, you're kinda hot!"

Sorry readers, Sim Goddess Envie is quite smitten with how Nate turned out (completely unassisted I'll add, except to re-add his original hairstyle).

You will have to endure another Eye-candy shot.

He definitely got his Mom's side of the family on the big hooked nose and the blue eyes! In fact, I see very little of Simon in there at all other than hair color and kinda squinty shaped eyes.

Isabel squirrels away in her newly set up 'Laboratory' in the basement. This was one of the main things she spent simoleons on in the house instead of furniture and other junk.

Here, she can spend her time poring through old historical records of artifacts and analyzing her relics to see how old they are and how much they will be worth.

Lots of good lighting, cabinetry, shelves for treasure, a computer for research, and chem lab for carbon dating relics!

Along with daily rounds of online chess, Isabel has added a passion for stargazing to her list of 'logic' pursuits that her genius brain requires (as well as the "live your trait" generation roll!)

Astronomy keeps Isabel's brain in top shape and she loves it since she gets to be outdoors too.

Isabel even takes a stab at that weird thing called "dating" ... but the guy her Mom set her up with (one of the junior chefs at her cafe) turns out to be a completely wrong match. So much for blind dates. Scratch that one off the 'been there done that' list ...

That awkward moment where you realize you're both polar opposites.

Next item on the agenda, Isabel follows the address Nate gave her for an arranged meeting with a relic dealer who has checked out clean (no morcucorp involvement) and is willing to do business with Isabel for her treasure trove brought back from Egypt.

Arriving at the strange, out of the way building to a place dubiously called "The Dragon's Lair" - Isabel wonders if Nate set this odd chance encounter purposely or was it fate?

There ... in plain view outside the entrance, is the remains of a creature Isabel has long dreamed of ...

"The object of all my childhood fantasy book obsessions!!"

Ok, small for a dragon, and probably not even real - but Isabel is excited nonetheless!

Twist of Fate has led her to this place ...

And ... to - this guy?

"Errr ... hello?"

Isabel shakes the man's hand as he introduces himself as Monsieur Cyriaque Duval, a distinguished Frenchman and Dealer in fine antiquities and artifacts. This was his building, which also housed a coffee house and gaming shop for fantasy table top roleplaying as well as the more mundane gaming pursuits. It also happened to be a well known Supernatural hangout, if you were interested in the stranger sorts of Sims.

Isabel raised an eyebrow and the scientist kicked in. "Do you realize you are a vivid shade of yellow Monsieur Duval? ... And that woman back there looks like a blueberry!"

Cyriaque kept a deadpan straight face. "Why yes, in fact, I do. Slight mishap with jelly beans. Very ... special jelly beans. Give me a moment to regain my normal appearance, my office is on the top floor, I will meet you there in 15 minutes."

Isabel decides to get a snack from the coffee shop, which is decorated in very elegant Euro-Sim fashion. The barista introduces herself as "Maddie" and seems fairly normal in every way. No Supernaturals hanging about.


She then wanders her way up to the third floor, passing by chess and dominoes gaming rooms, what appears to be an alchemist shop, and an arcade.

In a tiny attic room hardly big enough to be an 'office' at all, Monsieur Duval has many strange oddities on display. He arrives just ahead of Isabel and heads to his register to begin cataloging her file folder of relics.

"Please, do come in M'lady - you are welcome here!" (Isabel loves the formalities he gives)

"Yes, yes, I understand your hesitancy. You have been rubbing shoulders with the most despicable low-lifes in the underworld of the relic black market. And I am fully aware who your employers are. I am not concerned with that at this time. Your clever little brother may have done a thorough background check on me, but I assure you I have done the same for you."

Isabel is slightly taken aback by Cyriaque's abrupt and lengthy introduction speech.

Isabel hopes Nate's right about this guy ...

She laughs nervously, and explains that this is all very new to her and that she was very surprised by how everything went down in Egypt. She doesn't really understand it all yet, but she believes in her brother's recommendation and hopes they can do good business together.

"I want to remain as removed as possible from my ... err... employers in my personal dealings."

Cyriaque again reassures her that he has no desire to do business with large corporate entities and is a proud small business owner who has contacts all over the world. His clients are very sophisticated and have selective tastes in expensive artifacts for their private collections. He even gives her a personal reference for someone in Champs Les Sims, when she tells him she is going there next.

"My business clients prefer very discreet purchasing, far from prying eyes. We remain on the fringe of so-called 'big time' relic thievery such as Morcucorp deals in." His lips purse in a distasteful sneer.

Isabel decides she can trust this man, despite his odd way of speaking and uptight mannerisms. The list is reviewed, and Cyriaque decides which relics he wishes to purchase. Isabel promises to deliver them all within the week, as she is still analyzing, cleaning and reconstructing some in her lab.


While Isabel spends days holed up in her laboratory, Nate is growing restless as a newly hatched teenager.

He decides to follow Isabel to the Dragon's Lair to make sure her meeting goes smoothly.

While checking on some of his auction listings, and information from Cyriaque, a familiar voice speaks up nearby ...  "Hey sugar, don't I know you?"

**  "Then there she was ... like Disco Lemonade - yeah there she was ..."  **

It's Coco. She seems as surprised to see Nate as he is to see her. He looks a lot different (older) to her, but suddenly he feels a lot different about her ...

Ooo La la ...

(Cue Music)

(Coco's arrival into the story was inspired entirely by an old favorite of mine by Marcy Playground)

Coco slides into the empty barstool next to Nate and props a boot up on his leg, grinning at him slyly.

"Hey you said if I ever needed help to ask. Well seein' as you're some kinda computer geek, I could really use your help gettin' into a special club tonight. Wanna help a girl out?"

Nate, always up to a challenge, asks what she has in mind. Seems all she wants is on the VIP list to the Black Box, a private club downtown. Easy enough.

"You are one cool cat Term1Nate0r" Coco laughs and pours herself a drink.

Hacking is a relatively recent hobby for Nate, having just reached the ability to do so. This is good practice.

Adding Coco's name (and his own too) to the venue VIP list was a cinch. Outside as they're leaving, Coco stops to ask Nate about Isabel.

"What about your girlfriend in there, she gonna get pissed?"

Nate laughs. "That's my sister, and no, she doesn't care. I'm my own person, she's not my parental unit."

Getting past the bouncer was even easier with their names on the list.

"Sure honey... you and your date look a little young, but your names are on the list. Go on in..."

Nate has a sudden feeling this is really part of his calling ... get into the fast paced world of business or entertainment and live the life of a city hipster!

"I could seriously get used to this!"

If only Nate knew just how dangerous "Coco Pie" could possibly be to his big dreams.

"Who's that castin' devious stares in my direction ... Mama this surely is a dream ... yeah ..."

Read HERE for chapter 2.8 - "Traveling at the Speed of Life"



I apologize if this chapter got a little long, but I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Isabel and Nathan are just getting so much fun to think up new story lines about!

I was going to call this chapter "Sex and Candy" but decided not to be that blunt. Besides, it was too good to resist another 80's movie favorite title anyways! (Back when Tom was so young and adorable!)

Of special note, the scene with Coco's introduction was entirely by chance! I'm absolutely thrilled at how the immigration population of St. Claire is turning out. I turned on Twallan's "mix sims from Bin for immigration" function and its working out amazingly well. Almost ALL of the new residents moving into the city are really cool looking. Coco's name is really Coco (I added the Pie to it) and she's completely randomly generated. I instantly knew I wanted to use her in my story and started snapping pics at the park with Nate when the other two sims showed up and started arguing with her. It was too good to pass up the opportunity to make her a 'working girl' - and now Nate's getting wrapped up with her and has no idea!

Also, there's been some comments that some of you are worried about Nate and Isabel getting caught by Morcucorp. They are, at this point, only a minor 'fringe' element in the outer edges of what Morcucorp is about. Their Dad may have had more information of importance, and yes there is some concern if the fire was in fact a set up, but at this point in the story I have no plans to send Isabel or Nate on a Morcucorp retaliation trip. Neither of them is really built for that sort of super-hero action (as Calisim's Farrell Brannon is!). That doesn't rule out the possibility of a future run-in with them however!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

2.6 - Tomb Raider

When we last left our adventuring heroine, she had figured out a riddle to gain entrance to a tomb that had been carefully sealed and never before explored.

Getting inside was the easy part.

There were many barriers in the way, along twisting turns and dark passageways.

"Good thing I've been working out a bit more ... ugh!"

Traps were everywhere and had to be carefully found and disabled ...

"Why do I feel like I'm begging for my life ... at my job?"

Dangerous underwater tunnels had to be explored for secret openings.

"I gotta learn to hold my breath longer ..."

Hidden ledges in mysteriously clear pools of water revealed  special keyed treasure chests ... more work had to be done to open them.

"Now, where to find a star keystone ..."

And the clues leading to the answer were often riddled with even more terrifying traps!

"Ok ... this does not look good ..."

But Isabel is persistent and always brave. She forges ahead, deeper and deeper. Hours of hard work and careful exploration - hoping to hit the big payoff.

She even spends the night inside. Sleeping in a tomb definitely ranks right up there in the top 10 most exciting things she's done on-the-job so far!

"This memory needs a special sticker in my passport!"

Meanwhile, topside, Nate sleeps in his own sleeping bag, worrying about his sister. He hasn't had a text message from her in hours (her phone got wet) - and he's sure she's too deep in the tomb for transmitting anything via her tablet.

"She's smart, and brave, and tougher than most girls. I know she's ok ... unless a mummy got her ..."

Some of the traps were easy to figure out how to disable ...

"Just ... one ... more ... pull ..."

While others were deceptively hidden and easy to miss ...

"Uuuuurrrgh - that was more than a tickle!!!"

Adding insult to injury - a few of the access panels were booby trapped with things that would terrify a normal sim. But Isabel is brave. These creepy crawlies are no more than another minor inconvenience!

"An arm full of nasty bugs isn't going to keep me away from this activation switch!!"

Along with the keystone she needs - Isabel is rewarded for her persistence with riches and shiny things!

The face of a happy adventurer - reaping her rewards.

The Treasure is HERS!

"Eureka - it fits!"

And even greater treasures await within the deepest chambers of the tomb ...

"This should be the last door ... " (odd, that chain and lock look suspiciously modern, don't they?)

The wondrous treasures which lay beyond are hard to imagine. Rooms full of mystical statues and amazing architecture.

It would be impossible to 'steal' even a small portion of this historical monument honoring ancient civilization...

Isabel has finally reached her goal and successfully survived many pitfalls and traps along the way.

"This moment has made all the pain and suffering worth it ... though I am not quite picture perfect looking!"

Isabel spends many hours going through the rooms of treasure, inventorying the items, deciding what must go and what must stay. You see, she has no intentions of turning this all over to Morcucorp to plunder and destroy. She means to re-seal the tomb and leave everything but the 'gifts' left by the ancients in the chests. The historical integrity of the tomb shall remain forever a secret. It will take all of her genius to make sure she covers her tracks and re-sets all of the traps and to even make them harder to find or disable.

Laughing to herself, Isabel realizes, "I am smarter than any of the previous adventurers and this is going to make us wealthy beyond our wildest dreams. There is enough treasure here to satisfy Morcucorp's greediness and for me to live comfortably without destroying this beautifully kept secret!"

One last hesitant peek inside a few of the sarcophagus crypts reveals some interesting artifacts Isabel needs to reconstruct her own archaeology relics ... and no mummies were disturbed (yet) ...

"Wow... so fascinating ... I must study how these ancient civilizations acquired such advanced knowledge!"

By the way - Isabel learns that "Shower-in-a-can" truly rocks.

"Wooo - refreshing!"

And now, the process of re-tracing her steps back out of the tomb and making it nearly impossible to find these parts of the deepest rooms ever again ...

"I do not want this sacred place destroyed. I will make sure all of these traps and hidden areas work better than even their creators could build!"

It takes another day to put her plans (and traps) in place as well as remove the mass of relics she will be taking away with her. As planned, she contacts Nate via her tablet (who is relieved to hear she made it out alive!) - and the inventory of items is divided up accordingly. The pieces her employers expected (because they did not know about the deepest areas of the tomb) were delivered, and Isabel's first large scale tomb exploration is concluded.

"Uploading complete inventory and photos now ..."

Term1Nate0r: "omg UR ALIVE!!11! ... spent 2 days biting my nails off FRAKING out - did a mummy get U??"

Izzy:  No, Nate, I would not be standing here chatting to you if a mummy had gotten me.

Term1Nate0r: "cooli0 u roxx0r sis - uploading the relic pix 2 dealrs now!! we bling bling PHAT l00tz LOL"

Izzy: "I have absolutely no idea what you just typed. See you soon, I'm in need of a good dinner. Let's celebrate!"

"Shwarma dinner - on the house!" (Nate - "Term1Nate0r"  is busy managing their auction listings)

Actually, Isabel doesn't want to freak Nate out too much ... but there was one small incident  ...

"What is that horrible smell??"

That night, Isabel met with her previous employer after their dinner. Layla claimed she had been 'removed' from lead archaeology acquisitions by her sister Nabiya, and oddly enough, was interested in working out 'deals' with Isabel on the side. Ever wary of Dr. Midden's warning advice long ago, Isabel politely declined Layla's offers, suspicious that she was actually working under cover and testing Isabel's loyalty to Morcucorp.

"Are you certain you've no more relics you'd like to make a tidy profit from on the side Ms. Twist?"

Isabel was busy taking advice from Nate, who was just inside the cafe listening to the whole thing and feeding her text messages about Layla's suspicious offers. Plus, what was up with wearing her bathing suit to a business meeting?

"Thank you for supporting the Archaeology project Ms. Lufti, we're returning to St. Claire and I look forward to continuing work with the project lead Nabiya in the future."

This seemed to wrap things up neatly and hopefully proved Isabel was a straight up honest scientist not interested in 'shady deals' to cover their tracks out of Egypt with their shipment of relics.

Nate and Isabel returned to St. Claire exhausted but happy. In the taxi ride home from the airport, they discussed their 'winnings' and how they had pulled off a real heist.

"That was so awesome Izzy - we ROCK ... "

They were soon to be very very wealthy once Isabel met with a local middle-man dealer in relics Nathan had located in his many conversations online.

Tomorrow, Isabel had her first business 'deal' meeting.

It was good to be 'home' - though neither of them really felt settled in this empty old townhouse yet. It was time to renovate it and make it homey and comfortable inside.


Things were definitely going to be interesting!

Read onward, HERE for Chapter 2.7 - "Risky Business" 



I had no idea relic hunting was so lucrative! Once I had Isabel cataloging and analying her finds, it was obvious they would return from a 6 day (she has the lifetime reward to extend her visas) trip with enough simoleons to set them up for quite a long time and to decorate their 3 bedroom townhouse nicely!

I have built a new venue in St. Claire that wasn't there before and includes a relic merchant. He will make his appearance next chapter as will new characters in the Twist adventures back home as they settle in a bit more. Romance adventures do not go nearly as well as tomb raiding adventures!