|Isabel Twist. Explorer, Intellectual, Archaeologist Extraordinaire.|
There comes a time, in every sim's life, when they must make a choice to walk a straight path, or diverge and go where others may not care to travel.
Isabel was at this crossroad point in hers.
Careful communication, daily, with her shifty 'employer' was beginning to get tiresome.
|"Why yes, of course I'm keeping careful records of my daily recovery finds. All itemized findings are in the logs at the discovery vault as requested."|
In reality, she had a new accomplice - she just didn't know it yet.
(There's her accomplice, pretending to look preoccupied and bored in the background)
|"I'd like to discuss a more detailed compensation report and other options in ways I can assist the project."|
Isabel's contact in Al Simhara for stage two tomb exploration was Layla's sister Nabiya Lufti, and she was a lot less friendly and cut her off from talking pay with a scowl.
"We will NOT discuss full remuneration until the entirety of your contracted recovery efforts are completed to our satisfaction!!"
Nathan, though still young, had an uncanny knack for numbers and finances. Once he had heard the figures discussed between his sister and her relic acquisition manager, he knew he had to do something to help Isabel's profit become a gain and not a loss.
|Now, you see, why Nathan was so intrigued with reading the business ledgers of the local merchants...|
His knowledge of computers and the online world was also growing now that he did all his schoolwork there. It was only a matter of time, and a little research, before he had a plan.
Getting Isabel to see the brilliance of this plan was easy. They met outside one of the famous tombs Isabel was to work in the next day. They had bought better head gear too. The sun was killer here.
|Nathan reveals his plan to make money and advance Isabel's career.|
"So here's the deal," Nate waggles an eyebrow playfully, looking like a small cars salesman.
"We work together on this, they don't even know I can use a computer, let alone speak. I'm just a dumb kid hanging around the marketplace all the time."
He goes on to reveal a complicated system of buying and trading using anonymous online sources.
"I upload your inventory files before you take them to the catalog facility. We find interested buyers on the more lucrative pieces, and split the loot. Part goes to the project, and specific parts go to the...err, more discreet buyers. What do you say sis?"
Isabel can't quite believe she's listening to her kid brother talk. He's years beyond his age in cleverness, which of course they share in common.
"So you're basically saying we steal the finds from Morcucorp's black market deals and sell to our own black market dealers?" Isabel laughs at Nate in disbelief.
|"Hey, its not like your bosses aren't already doing shady business, am I right?"|
It doesn't take a genius (even though she is one) to see the potential mass of simoleons they could make if they pulled this off. Isabel, however, wants more solid proof.
So that night, she takes Nate with her inside one of the smaller pyramid tombs to make some quick estimates.
|"You ready for adventure, little boss?"|
Isabel's the one with the bravery and super logic for breaking in tricky tombs. Nathan's the mastermind for money-making off her talents.
He stands back and lets her work.
|"Just ... a ... few ... A-HAH! -- there's the trigger switch ... "|
"YES! We're IN!"
Ancient gears and pulleys groan and crack under thousands of years disuse.
Nate is duly impressed.
|"C'mon baby, open sesame!"|
Isabel, fearless as ever, heads right in, leaving Nathan to cough and sputter and start to worry about toxic gasses, deadly explosive booby traps, and government officials in dark suits arriving on the scene...
(He is, after all, a neurotic worrier)
|*cough cough* "Uh, is this safe?"|
But once they've cleared the secret entrance, Isabel's excitement and wide-eyed wonderment convinces Nathan to come in and view the magnificence of ancient civilizations long gone.
They take a quick survey with some webcam shots of potential relics.
Isabel uploads the data on her tablet, this is small and easy to carry in her pocket, and unnoticeable by officials outside the tombs.
|"Remember, use the encrypted cell phone frequency I gave you for the outbound files ..."|
Nate may not be a genius, but he's definitely a budding computer whiz. His clever adaptive learning gets him further than academic book smarts and he intends for it to make him rich too.
Once certain there's no wire taps inside, they have a talk in one of the luxurious royal rooms of the tomb. Nate needs to know what Isabel knows about Morcucorp.
It isn't much.
|"When we were back in Appaloosa Plains, I thought it was Wolfson's Science Center who worked for Morcucorp."|
Isabel explains how the job offer came, and all of the mystery surrounding Dr. Midden's sudden retirement and their Dad's cryptic last phone call. Nate agrees with Isabel that something fishy is going on with the science centers of the Sim Nation, and none of his conspiracy theories even make sense this time.
|"I don't know what's going on, or who's in charge - but I don't think the fire was an accident."|
Now, this job is getting personal. Both Nathan and Isabel have a deep desire to solve the mystery and to exact revenge on whoever may have done this terrible act. If Morcucorp is involved, then they will not only get to the bottom of who did it, they'll make sure they pay for it.
Ripping off a mega-corporation who isn't afraid to commit possible murder to shut sims up is definitely a dangerous idea however.
|"We can totally pull this off Izzy, we just have to stick together and be smart about it."|
Isabel has always been adventurous and a risk taker. Involving her little brother might be a bad idea, but it was his idea, and she really wants to go for it. She promised him they would stick together, and a promise is a promise.
"Ok. I'm in."
They head back to town, where Nate works his magic on the internet while Isabel distracts the merchants with mindless chatter and praise for their Falafel.
|"Mmmrpf - Mmmgf - Mmmm! This stuff is delicious!"|
Nate is quickly able to locate several third party buyers who may be potential clients for Isabel's relics. He will do some further investigation to ensure they are not Morcucorp plants and quickly makes an inventory list of those relics they can safely ship back to St. Claire, along with a cooperative no-questions-asked cargo shipping service.
While Isabel collects unregistered buried treasure, and delves into tombs, Nate maintains auction operations at base camp. Isabel uploads data to him as she uncovers relics.
|"I wish it were in the name of science... but in the name of simoleons is also a good thing as Nate says..."|
Nathan has carefully maintained his kid-like innocence routine. The merchants are used to him hanging around, and no one questions him.
|Nate thinks to himself: "27 listings today. We'll have over 100 by the end of the trip. The kaching commences!"|
Nabiya is a tough boss, and she keeps a careful eye on Isabel's every movement. She does not, however, know anything about Isabel's little brother.
|"This girl is working out well for us Samir, we shall make great gains for the corporation's project this year."|
She's also a tough critic on Isabel's work. Fortunately Isabel's ability to reconstruct nearly flawless relics keeps Nabiya satisfied. For now.
|"Not bad. Not bad at all..."|
With Nate's help, Isabel continues to query Nabiya on the values of her finds.
|"I'm just curious, you know, as an archaeologist, if any of these bits of rubble are worth much outside of museums..."|
Nabiya's smart, but she's also greedy and vain. Her greed causes her to brag about the wealth of rare finds being stored in the vaults and who they'll be sold to and for how much. She obviously does not think Isabel has any intentions of using this information for anything.
|"This is great news for the Archaeology Team. I'm sure our grant will be extended next year too, right?"|
Nate has been listening and recording the information carefully the whole time.
Isabel channels a little bit of her Mother Emma's talent for schmoozing and makes sure to stroke Nabiya's ego and flatter her as much as possible to keep the relationship strong.
|"You're a very smart and savvy woman Nabiya. I'm proud to work with you and intend to bring in many new relics."|
Of course, it works like a charm. Nabiya's snobbish trait means she loves to talk about herself and receive compliments.
Now the real work begins. Isabel's schmoozing earns her entry into one of the least explored tombs of all Al-Simhara. Nabiya thinks she has what it takes to uncover vast riches. Just how vast is a mystery and Isabel will enter the tomb alone due to the dangers reported within.
Before she leaves to enter the tomb, Isabel talks to Nate about their plans over breakfast. He's to remain at base camp, unnoticed, and transmit information back and forth as she explores, via her portable tablet.
|"This is awesome Nate. I feel like a treasure hunter, or a pirate embarking on a great hunt!"|
Nate's just worried about his brave sister getting sliced in half by whirling blades of doom from hidden traps.
He's got other plans though, while she's down in the tomb.
Isabel gave Nate a cute mummy teddy bear to play with one day, while they were at a dig site.
|"I shall name you TP Bear!"|
No, not Toilet Paper (though he does look like he's wrapped in it).
Transmission Perpetrator Bear.
If you remember back, Nate has a theory (not all of them are crazy!) about those food trucks that keep getting stuck in the sand. He's cleverly designed an electronic listening device inside the doll. Now all he has to do is leave TP Bear in some inconspicuous location nearby.
|"Ok, get to work TP!"|
Now all there is to do is wait. Track data from Isabel inside the tomb, and listen for transmissions from the food truck.
|"You want fries with that?" *snicker*|
Isabel successfully figures out the required offerings to trigger the opening of a tomb never before explored by modern Sim-kind.
Her Adventure begins...
|"It says here, an ancient offering and a gift from the skies..." *RUMBLE RUMBLE* "Yep, that's it!"|
Tune in next chapter to find out what mysterious riches and dangers await within ...
Go HERE to read the next chapter: 2.6 - "Tomb Raider"
Totally fun chapter to write. I got so many great screenshots it was hard to narrow them down to fit one chapter, so I'm cutting this one in half and putting the actual tomb-raiding shots in the next chapter along with more double-agent scamming from our fearless Adventure team getting rich from the relic black market right under Morcucorp's noses!
Nathan will end up being a computer whiz for his teen-age trait - I've played ahead a bit (saving up shots in case Seasons EP bombs my game next week and I can't play while I sort out any problems with mods). So many great surprises to come as Nate ages up.
I know I probably made him a bit too smart for his age (he's not a genius like Izzy) but he's actually one day away from his teenage stage during this trip, so I'm considering him to be a very clever 12-13 year old. haha!