Monday, December 10, 2012

2.10 - No Name

The last thing in the world Isabel was expecting upon returning home was a baby laying on her front porch!

She hopes this is just a simple case of random abandonment and they could sort this out with social services help.

The only thing she could do was scoop the poor little thing up. She couldn't just leave it there!

"Aww hey, don't cry - you look kinda chilly out here ..."

As she picks the baby up, an envelope falls out of her pink blanket. Isabel stoops to pick it up. "Oh boy, the dreaded letter, begging us to take care of someone's unwanted baby ... here we go ..." but then, her heart drops when she sees the envelope has Nate's name written on the front. Things seem to be getting very strangely complicated, very quickly.

"Well ... let's go find Nate and hopefully this is just some kind of mistake ..."

Nate, completely oblivious, is in the middle of a big death match in some online shooter game ... sitting outside in his boxer shorts and fuzzy bunny slippers.

"Nate ... you need to get off the computer. I'm back and we have an issue ..."

"Oh hey Izzy, your flight back in was early. Hang on lemme get killed again, be right there."

"No, seriously Nathan Twist. Get off the computer NOW."

The next few minutes are as awkward as one could possibly imagine.


"Uh, what's that?" Nathan asks cautiously. "It's a baby, obviously," Isabel quips back in a sarcastic tone. "Any idea why it would be laying on our front porch?"

Nathan blinks, obviously as completely clueless about this as Isabel. He shrugs and then his eyes widen when he reads the name on the envelope as Isabel hands it to him. The letter is brief, and Nate scans it quickly. His eyes go from surprised to shocked, his mouth dropping open as he reads:

Hey Nate, sorry to dump this on you. Surprise. Just couldn't bring myself to come tell you and I was gonna put her up for adoption but I chickened out at the last minute and kinda bailed from the hospital without telling anyone. Then I panicked and din't know where to go.

Yeah, she's yours. I know we only messed around that one time, maybe that time in the hot tub too at the black box, I dunno ... but I stopped workin' for Claudia after that and din't mess with no other guys so she's gotta be yours. The paperwork's at the St. Claire hospital, you need to go down there and sign it to keep her.

I'm headin' outta town so don't go tryin to find me or make me go to court or nothin' - I don't wanna be found and I'm not exactly Mom material you know? You an' your sister got a lotta money, you take care of your kid.

- Coco

This is probably an appropriate moment to have a freakout.

Isabel grabs the letter and reads it herself. Her own reaction is a bit more like what you'd expect.

"Nate, are you kidding me?? How could you be so stupid, you're just a freakin' teenager!!"

Nate stands there and takes it all as Isabel rails at him about every possible thing she could think of to go off on him about. To his credit, he keeps his cool.

"Nathan this is amazingly irresponsible. How do you expect to take care of this baby, go to school, and also run our relic business??"

But Nate's already got the gears in his mind spinning how to make it all work out.

"School's online, I can do that whenever she's asleep, and keep running things from home for you too."

Of course, Isabel's got a dozen questions how this could happen and who this girl was and why he had gone and had unprotected sex with her.

She goes on to embarrassingly point out, "I can't believe you are already having sex!!  I didn't think I needed to have the 'birds and bees' talk since you're online all the time looking at porn anyways!" (Doh!!)

Where did he meet her? Who was this Claudia woman she worked for ... was she seriously a prostitute??

"Does this all have something to do with that music gig you told me about? How could you get into this much mess?"

(Nate isn't really given much opportunity to respond to all the rapid questions here)

After she had blown her anger out and asked every question she could think of, the only thing left to do was hand the baby over to "Daddy" and sigh in resignation.

Still not completely convinced, especially considering Coco's occupation, Isabel demands they go down to the hospital immediately to have a paternity test done and to get the baby's birth certificate if indeed she's Nate's baby. They don't even know if she has a name yet!

Nate is obviously quite awkward about holding the baby for the first time ...

"Wow ... she's like, really tiny. I don't know how to hold her ..."

They take a cab down to the hospital, immediately, just like Isabel said. She hopes this is all just a big mistake and the baby is actually someone else's so they can give it over to the social workers for adoption. She's not really that heartless, but right now she's mad, and reeling in shock from the fact that Nate's been having sex with a prostitute, so she's not thinking very clearly.

They pause at the doorway, and Nate looks down at the little baby girl in his arms and he gives her a small hug before they go in.

Nate whispers, "I'm sorry little girl ... I don't know what's going to happen to you yet ..."

The lab work takes a really long time, but at least the hospital here in the city is sophisticated enough to do it onsite and not send it away to a lab for weeks of waiting!

It's a match. Nate is the biological father of this little girl. Nathan signs his name to her birth certificate and they leave the hospital.

They're both stunned.

"Well, what do we do now? You ready to be a Father?"  

It's a big step to take and a huge responsibility for a young guy. Nate is going to need a lot of help.

Isabel, deciding to make the best of it, peeks over Nate's shoulder trying to see the birth certificate.

"Well ... what's her name Nate??"

Nate's looking away, trying to hold it together. "It says her name is Nona. Nona-Me Twist"

Isabel squints and eyes the scribbling on the paper. The nurse hadn't been very neat. "What kind of name is Nona ME?"

More squinting at a smudge on the paper where the ink had not dried right.

"Nate, I don't think that's right. I think the lady up in Labor and Delivery smudged it and the administrative lady downstairs didn't notice when she filed it." She tries to make light of it and laughs a little, "You know - when a baby is born and the Mom doesn't give it a name right away, they just put it's last name and leave it blank, or write in 'baby X' or whatever? Nate, I think the smudge is not a dash, it just says "Noname" all scrunched together!"

"Well you like that name, don't you Nona?"

Isabel sighs. Nate's still just an immature kid, and now he has a kid of his own.

Well a few things had to be dealt with immediately.

"Nate, you realize your uh, rather premature party days are over, right? Now every minute of your day (and night) is going to revolve around taking care of a baby. I still have to travel for my job, how are you going to handle it alone?"

"I still need you to help me run my relic sales - can you handle that and not let me down?"

Nate's not really sure yet how he's going to handle this, but he doesn't really have a choice. Giving Nona up for adoption was not an option. Her Mom had already abandoned her, and something protective inside of Nate went off like a bomb. Maybe its because he had lost his own parents so young, but Nate feels determined to somehow make it work out for this little girl and to be there for her the best he can.

He tells Isabel how strongly he feels about his decision as he holds little Nona close to him. She seems to be smiling and hasn't even cried this whole time they've been out!

"I'm going to do the best I can for her Izzy. She's our family now and I won't leave her without parents too."

Of course this has a pretty significant impact on Isabel who has probably been over-thinking this whole thing and not letting her heart have any feelings yet for the baby. She was their family now and Nate was right, there wasn't really another choice that would feel right. They'd do what they had to do.

They talk a long time on the cab ride back home and both feel a lot better, but still woefully unprepared when they arrive at the front steps of their still mostly bare home. They'd have to do a lot more shopping to deal with a baby in the house!

They stand outside for a moment, and Isabel glances at Nate holding his daughter.

"Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life, Nona Me Twist"



Nona is actually the biological offspring of Nathan and Coco, not an adoptee. You will have to imagine the woohoo'ing happening while Isabel was gone in France!  I used MC to do instant baby action on Nate with Coco as the 'donor' Sim so that the baby would be added to the Twist family as his daughter.

The same day Nona was "born" Coco aged up to young adult, and I had her removed from my game (saved to my sim bin of course) to fit with the story that she's left town for the great unknown. Some other city to start over in as a working girl I'm sure.

Here's a bonus shot of her that night, right after she aged up. She's a pretty girl with lovely medium dark skin and big hazel green eyes (I think she looks like she's from a tropical island race) and of course the yellow tips on her black hair. Nona should grow up interesting looking, but I haven't peeked yet!

"Coco Pie"

Saturday, December 8, 2012

2.9 - Nectar Comes in at the Mouth

After exploring the catacombs beneath the Nectary in Champs Les Sims, Isabel has been assigned some rather unusual work. She's been asked to get to know some of the locals and history of the town. Beatrice says there is rumor of an underground relic trafficking organization which is interfering with their archaeology project.

Isabel knows the truth about their Archaeology project. But alarms are also going off about this rumor. Considering she herself is involved in some underground sales. She would have to tread very carefully at this point. Very very carefully. She wishes Nate were here; he's always been the shrewd businessman factor in this game.

Choose your moves carefully Isabel. This is no ordinary game of chess you're playing.

Isabel decides to ask around town to see if anyone knows where she might be able to find some replica relics. Cheap knockoffs were big business for some of the merchants in Egypt, so perhaps here would be the same and lead her to secret black market sales. But where Egypt had plenty of tourists looking for a cheap trinket to decorate their home with Egyptian decor, Champs Les Sims did not seem to cater to the same sort of tourism. Most came here for the charming culture, food, and most of all - the nectar.

The only relic shop in town is, not coincidentally, run by the Bonnet family. Isabel is quite certain Beatrice would not be sending her on a wild goose chase to uncover her own family's black market business since they are obviously part of the corporation.

The Bonnet family "Heirloom" Shop. Real (or are they?) artifacts, high prices, corporate ownership.

Asking around town did not produce any results at all. In fact, most of the locals seemed annoyed by her invasive questioning. They were suspicious of a foreign sim asking too many questions. It was apparently considered gauche to suggest tourism was even encouraged or catered to here, unless you were buying expensive Nectar, of course.

Isabel is frustrated. She's not a private investigator, why is she being asked to do this sort of undercover work? Aren't her relic reconstructions and recoveries enough for those greedy bastards?

French woman: "Why would anyone care about old broken bits of pottery. Pffft! Non non non!"

She checks the 'adventure board' outside the Inn where she stays as base camp. There's the usual ads asking for photos and tours, etc. But one ad catches her eye because she recognizes the name of the contact. It's the same name Cyriaque Duval gave her back in St. Claire. Monsieur Yves Bernard, local Nectar specialist and apparently a social organizer for the town. He's asking for nectar tasters at an event to promote historical nectar making and ancient types of nectar never before seen or tasted.

"Well this is somewhere to start at least."

This seems as good a time as any to meet the contact she was recommended. Maybe he's involved and will know why she's asking when she tells him Monsieur Duval sent her there.

Isabel is also suddenly aware of the food truck sitting suspiciously outside the Inn. Just like the ones in Egypt, it seems oddly out of place here in a small quaint town in France. Pretending to be adding some notes from the board into her tablet, Isabel sends a quick instant message to Nate, who happens to be online at the time.

He says for her to go near it and talk, so he can see if he can pick up anything via the spy bear he planted in the one in Al-Simhara or through her own sim-pad si-fi connection. If his theory is right, all of the trucks are 'listening' devices and he should be able to hear through their network computers inside. It seems far-fetched, but Isabel gives it a try.

"Err.... Hello?"

Nate's message beeps in her pocket. She takes that to mean he got a positive trace on the frequency in the truck. She pretends to do a few stretches and jogs away casually as if nothing is amiss.

The reply message from Nate says there's definitely tracking gear in that truck and she needs to steer clear of them. He also says there's a local man at the relic shop they are tracking right now, who may be an investigator. Isabel's bravery gets the better of her and she decides to meet with him.


The man Nate identified as connected to the trucks does seem strangely formal and dressed in an almost military crisp corporate suit. "Nondescript" comes to mind. And he's not french either from what she can tell. Introducing himself as "Adrien Langston." Isabel files the name away for future research.

Adrien seems overly cautious about Isabel too, and they exchange pleasantries inside the relic shop. The topic of the shop is easy to tie in with casual conversation and Isabel drops a hint that she's looking for less expensive relics to take home as souvenirs and the prices in this shop are too high.

Adrien does not disappoint her, and eagerly gives her a business card. Now she has a lead.

"Thank you, I appreciate the reference and hope to do business soon!"

First, she has to figure out  the connections. She feeds the details of her conversation back to Nate and he promises to do some digging on the names.

Isabel changes clothes and heads out to the Nectary for the tasting event Duval's contact there is hosting.

"Welcome to our nectar infusion event. Please come in and relax. Enjoy the flavorful delights within!"

Yves Bernard greets her and holds the door open for her, a perfect gentleman with a crooked smile and ruffled hair begging for a brush. Something about him reminds her of her Father, or an older Nate, and she instantly likes him.

"Bienvenue, mon ami!"

Isabel has brought along the mysterious bottle of nectar she acquired down in the catacombs. She reads the inscription written on it before pouring it into glasses on a serving tray.

"heureux au jeu, malheureux en amour"

("happy at the game, unhappy in love")

Odd, but perhaps fitting for her current adventure, eh?

"Well, here's to hopefully winning the game at least ..."

Maybe its his rumpled fuzzy sweater, quirky appearance with funny nose and bushy eyebrows, or his non-formal boyish demeanor that does it. Isabel isn't sure which it is, but she finds herself talking quite a long time with Yves over glasses of sweet nectar.

(If only Sims knew what we could see in those thought bubbles!)

While Isabel and Yves discuss good books, others are starting to feel warmed up by Isabel's unusual nectar ...

And ... Isabel and Yves too.

"I must be moonstruck right now ... I feel so warm and fuzzy inside."

The glasses of nectar go down too easily one right after the next. Isabel's flirting with Yves seemed natural and so easy to do.

Feeling light headed, Isabel loses herself to the sensations of strong (and maybe magic?) ancient nectar.

Yves quotes her poetry over another glass ...

"Nectar comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh."

(- W.B. Yeats)*

Isabel has no idea how she ended up in Yves' arms, but she didn't feel at all like stopping it.

"Kiss me."

And she doesn't really remember having any objections to going upstairs to the Inn rooms of the Nectary. Romantic getaway suites designed for just this type of romantic encounter.

Isabel thinks, fleetingly, "Am I really having a romantic fling?"

But the logical side of her brain, heavily subdued by nectar and woohoo, seems willing to admit this may have been the right time, and the right place. For now. Yves Bernard seems like an honest and open guy to Isabel, who has long kept her heart locked away.

 For once, she just wants to relax and feel cared for and wanted.

"You are most beautiful, mon amour."

That night, back in her own bed at the Base Camp Inn. Isabel has a lot of Nectar-muddled dreams about Yves, her worries over MorcuCorp, and even about her Father. She has a lot of unresolved concerns about everything.

"Commitment Issues" shining through in Isabel's dreams.

When she wakes up the next morning, she realizes she's made a mistake getting romantically wrapped up with a local who may or may not be somehow connected to her illicit operations. A professional Archaeologist does not engage in risky business of that sort while on the job!

"Ugh. What have I done?"

Despite several voicemails she does not reply to, Isabel manages to avoid seeing Yves for the next week of her work trip. She stays focused and brings in many exciting new relics for the Bonnet family business, which of course feeds the MorcuCorp involvement. Isabel sends back less relics to St. Claire this time, despite Nate's insistence they can get top dollar with Duval. Something is worrying Isabel about it all and until she confirms who the Langston person is, and whether or not Yves is also involved, she needs to keep a low profile.

Finally, she cannot avoid Yves anymore and needs to see him. Her trip will be ending soon, she'd been in France a long time.

Nate's super sleuth work had uncovered that Adrien Langston, was an alias and he was actually Adrien Landgraab, son of one of the notorious Malcolm Landgraabs in the long line of their legacy. Nate isn't sure what involvement the Landgraabs have at this level in France or with MorcuCorp though its well known they have in fact had involvement with them or against them over the centuries depending on where the simoleons were found.

Isabel doesn't know if she should give her info about Adrien and the spy-food-trucks to Beatrice Bonnet or if this will just be pointless since they are working in cooperation anyways. Nate suggests coming clean with Yves Bernard since he's Duval's contact. They need to know who he's in league with! Nate, of course, had no idea why Isabel is reluctant to go see Yves.

But she goes to his house and puts on her brave face and rings the bell.

Isabel is rarely ever nervous. Today is one of those rare times.

Yves is so happy to see her, and doesn't even seem upset she hadn't returned his call. His genuine gregarious good nature is a huge relief to Isabel, who confesses she was quite nervous about seeing him again.

Isabel learns that she is not the only one who is brave.

"Oh that's awesome. I knew there was a reason I really liked being around you!"

Yves laughs, and assures Isabel there are a lot more reasons why she would like being around him if she got to know him, and not just because they went to bed together, though he's confident that was definitely a plus!

"I know, it was fabulous for me too, but I am not going to pretend there's anything serious between us, agreed?"

What a relief. Yves is not interested in a long term or long distance relationship. He just wants to enjoy her company while she's here.

Finally, Isabel comes out with the real reason for her visit aside from wanting to see him again, of course.

She tells Yves all about the food truck, the meeting with the undercover Adrien Landgraab, an obscure and quiet artist relatively unknown in the Landgraab legacy, and her concerns about Duval's connection to the Bonnet family and MorcuCorp. It all spills out in a long flurry of words, what a confusing mess!

"And I just don't know who to trust. Even you, forgive me Yves, I just don't know what color pawn, black or white I'm actually playing against!"

Yves laughs and hugs Isabel tight. "I smile at your chess reference, but tis' true Mademoiselle, there is much to be concerned about and many players in this match."

Yves goes on to explain in more detail who everyone is, at least as far as he can tell. He's a Nectar specialist, not relics, but he knows enough about the local 'business' to have agreed to work with Duval in sourcing clean relics, not copies and not black market.

"Langston is the wild card here. If he is actually working with MorcuCorp, then that complicates matters a bit more," Yves smiles again and thinks carefully before continuing. "Duval, however, you can trust. He is actually a double agent working undercover to try and snag the kingpin leader of the relic black market. Your boss here, Beatrice, does not know you know of him, and in turn, Duval has promised her to 'keep an eye on you' from St. Claire. Does that make sense now how he is connected?"

Isabel tries to wrap all this intrigue and mystery around her brain. Genius or not, there's a lot of really confusing moves happening in this particular chess game! She nods and asks, "So does that mean the relics I've ...ahem, acquired on my own and sold through Monsieur Duval are off the record and safe?"

Yves grins and kisses her. "Yes! Your brother is quite a clever businessman to find such a resource right under the noses of your employers!"

Hugely relieved, Isabel agrees to spend the day on a date with Yves to celebrate.

"Would you do me the honor of dinner and a walk along the river Mademoiselle?"

After a lovely dinner and walk, they stop to watch the stars together on the bridge that goes across towards Paris. The Eiffel Tower can be seen in the distance along with the Parisian skyline.

Awww... how romantic. Yves is such a scruffy likable fellow.

Yves walks Isabel back to the Inn, and they sit for awhile and cuddle, and even make out a little. It's so much easier to be bold and carefree of what others think of you when traveling in a foreign country. You can be anything you want ...

And right now, Isabel wants Yves.

"This is my last night here, please, take me to bed with you again ..."

Bold Isabel, spends the night lovemaking with her french lover, carefree and happy. And this time there was no magical nectar to cloud things. Just pure desire, and possibly a little love.

But finally, all adventures end and Isabel's is nearly over. She and Yves promise to 'keep in touch' but that no serious commitments were expected as she never knew where her next adventure would take her or when she would be able to return to France. Yves agrees that when things settle down a bit in their future, he would like to come visit her and his old school friend Cyriaque in St. Claire.

"I should like very much to see you again one day, mon amour ..."


Isabel returns to St. Claire with a smile on her face, and much more confidence about her association with Duval. She trusts her instincts, and Yves to lead her the right direction. She makes arrangements to meet with Cyriaque the very next day after her arrival back in St. Claire.

It's mid evening when the taxi drops Isabel off out front of her townhouse in the historic Bradford district of St. Claire. She's stretching her tired muscles and thinking how she needs to get the porch light bulb replaced. It's far too dark out front.

"Ugh, my neck is so stiff. I need a hot bath!"

She's thinking of her big business meeting with Duval tomorrow and how exciting it is to be on her way to comfortable wealth when she heads up the steps and nearly steps right on a small bundle wrapped in a pink blanket ...

"What - is ... that?"

Of course, it's not a stray kitten.

It's a baby.

"Oh great. Just when things were going perfectly fine ..."

Onward to chapter 2.10 - "No Name" 



Yay - a FUN cliffhanger this time! =)

I hope you enjoy the suspense of this, and it surprised you. Of course, some of you may already be putting the pieces of the puzzle together and have your own suspicions. Don't worry, no spoilers in talking about it here if you want. I expect to release the followup pretty quickly this weekend as I'm going to be super busy next week and won't be able to write.

Also, as necessary, it's important I give proper credit to the poem I took liberties with and changed the word wine to be nectar, to better fit with the Sims version!

A Drinking Song, by W.B. Yeats (1865-1939). Responsibilities and Other Poems. 1916.

It's a poem I heard given as a toast once, and I've always loved it! It seemed so fitting for Isabel and Yves.

Yes, Yves is a 'resident' sim of Champs Les Sims, and Isabel really did start flirting it up with him at the nectary. I decided to let her have her way, and her romance!

The Landgraabs are often named in connection with MorcuCorp though its uncertain why or how. I wanted another character who could possibly make a future appearance if the plot thickens more for Isabel's investigation. Nate's hunch was right, and the food trucks are in fact spy trucks!

Adrien (Langston) Landgraab, btw, is the son of Malcolm Landgraab in the Xbox 360 version of the Sims3, which my own son played briefly.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

2.8 - Traveling at the Speed of Life

St. Claire - City of lights, sophisticated lifestyle and cuisine.

Beautiful sunset and moonrise over the city.

It was also known for some of the better nightlife along the Simpacific Northwest coast ... and Nate, our budding teenage social networker, has just discovered how much fun it can be when you're on the VIP list!

Nate discovers he has some mad DJ skillz!

The regular DJ even asked him if he wanted to come back a couple nights a week and spin records while he's off. Nate readily accepts. He might be developing the party animal trait!

"Awww-yeaaah, I could get used to this!"

He and Coco hit it off immediately. She thought he was really funny, in a childish way.

"You're a crack up Nate. This is the most fun I've had in a long time"

Isabel's so wrapped up in her online chess competition, she doesn't really pay attention to how late it is or even when Nate got home.

"You're going DOWN buddy ... four more moves at most  ..."

They discuss the next trip over a late night bowl of cereal and some online chatting. Nate casually suggests he might be better off staying behind in St. Claire this trip.

"What do you mean you don't want to go with me to France? Seriously?"

 Nate explains how being onsite with her may not be the safest tactic for their operations. If he remains here, he can more easily connect with their business clients and the networks are far more secure.

"It's like ... living under a microscope in the computer world. You have to really be cautious and cover your tracks."

Isabel gives this some serious thought, and of course, it makes logical sense to her, so she agrees.

"Hmm... ok. I can see your point. Plus, you could meet with people here more easily as we upload the relic files."

Naturally, Isabel has some concerns about her little brother staying here alone. (She clearly has no idea just how much trouble Nate's intending to get into) Nate smoothly reassures her he can handle himself and that he's got everything covered.

"No worries sis, I can take care of myself and hold down the fort while you're gone."

Of course, there's the ever casually mentioned new nightlife hobby motivating Nate to want to stay behind as well. Careful wording helps downplay things a bit.

"Besides, I've got a new gig making some digital music and I need a better computer setup here for sound mixing."

Smooth moves Nate.

Plans made and reassured Nate can handle himself fine, Isabel takes off immediately for her next big job. She meets with her Mom for coffee, and asks her to keep an eye on the house (and Nate). Emma also sets Isabel up with some Parisian fashion for her trip as a "bon voyage" gift.

Emma holding her new kitten "Pudding" and wishing Isabel bon voyage.


Arriving in Champs Les Sims, Isabel feels quite sophisticated in the travel outfit her Mom picked out. She's thankful her Mother is up on the latest Euro-sim fashions as she herself is clueless.

The weather in France is much cooler than St. Claire, and the seasons were now changing. Isabel was thankful for matching hat, scarf, gloves and boots.

"What a pleasant and inviting town. So different from Egypt!"

Excited to get to work immediately, Isabel agrees to meet her new French 'contact' for relic operations at a nearby park to begin.

France also had really cute little scooters to ride around town.

(Some weird graphical glitch caused this one to have a neon green shine to it.)

Beatrice Bonnet is nearly as abrupt and unlikable as Nabiya Lufti had been in Egypt. Isabel's starting to wonder if this is a routine method for management in Morcucorp's secretive relic trafficking or was she just unlucky to get two bad apples in a row?

Careful introductions and job negotiations are required. The French are a much more uptight lot overall.

Beatrice instructs Isabel on how to enter the catacombs beneath the nectary to retrieve a very important item she has left there and to recover any unknown relics deeper inside. Word of Isabel's success in Egypt had reached the French team and they were eager to get their hands on ancient artifacts.

Isabel's counting on getting her own hands on a lot more than they'll know exist.

"Lets get busy!"

The object Beatrice wants her to find is easily located on the first floor of the cellars. A baseball.


Isabel inspects it carefully and decides there is definitely something odd about this baseball. So, she leaves it behind in a small sack by the steps to retrieve on her way out as she delves deeper into the lower levels.

While definitely easier to navigate and less dirty, back-breaking work, the french catacombs are darker and somehow a lot more sinister feeling than the pyramids of Egypt.

"This is an easy one ..."

Isabel isn't quite sure how to describe the feeling of cold, dark silence here - but the sense of wonderment at uncovering a new hidden passageway and secret rooms full of treasure never ceases to amaze her sense of adventure and wonderment.

"Woooooah ..."

The sense of cold uneasiness gives way to curiosity and reflection as Isabel unlocks a hidden room by reconstructing a heart shaped keystone most unobservant explorers would have missed.

The words reflected in the blue glow read:

"L'amour fait les plus grandes douceurs et les plus sensibles infortunes de la vie."

Her french is somewhat rudimentary at best, but Isabel is able to translate it to roughly mean:

"Love is responsible for the greatest pleasures and the worst problems in life."

"I will definitely take that advice to heart and remember it."

Long passageways and dark musty rooms provide many more treasures for Isabel to collect.

This statue seems to be peering over his shoulder and saying "Hey that's MY LOOT! Hands off lady!"

Crates upon crates of ancient Euro-sim pottery and artifacts are revealed stored in the silent cold crypts. Isabel catalogs as much as she can for later retrieval and takes the best examples for her inventory.


The next level holds a very curious tomb. Strangely realistic but obviously artificial shrubbery is designed in a maze of some sort. Throughout the maze are found various ancient relics and even more strangely, super rare bottles of nectar are scattered about. The connection to the Nectary is obvious, but who is the stranger this tomb belongs to?

"Hmmm... this is curious!"

Not a relic, but seemingly left here so invitingly. Isabel wants this bottle of nectar!

One of those brief moments where your Sim seems aware of your presence, and says ...  "What. are. you. looking at??"

Upon reaching the gravestone at the center of the maze, Isabel reads the inscription and is suddenly overcome by a moment of both guilt for what she's doing for a living as well as sorrow for the loss of her Father.

The tomb reads:

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
 love leaves a memory no one can steal.”

"Oh, I'm so sorry!"

Crying over the tombstone mysteriously opens a hidden switch location!!

"That was unexpected."

 Isabel regains her composure and brushes off the predictable creepy crawlies inside the hole to locate the switch.

"Ugh. Come up with something better than bugs!"

Descending into a very creepy hidden tomb ...

"Did you die for this gem brave ancient Sim?"

And through yet another series of secret hidden panels to the final tomb beyond ...

Isabel gasps in awe at the dazzling display of mystical lights and treasure near the graves.

"This is epic!"

She retrieves more treasure and another conspicuously placed ancient bottle of nectar.

Our "Tomb Raider" gains many rewards and riches.

 Her inventory of treasure grows and grows ...

"You, my fine friend, are going into my personal collection"

Isabel thanks the ancient keepers for their treasures and concludes her exploration. On her way out she pauses to reflect and wonder if what she's doing isn't somehow just as bad as Morcucorp plundering these riches for themselves. 

"Moral obligation seems a fleeting concern in the face of great adventure, and science of course!"

Returning to town late that evening, Isabel meets with Mademoiselle Bonnet, who is anxious to hear about more than the recovery of her baseball it seems.

And her shop seems weirdly eerie and green after the dark depths of the catacombs.

"I don't know ... there seemed to be little else further below but some musty old crypts and a few bottles of nectar ..."

Isabel hands over the oddly precious baseball and casually asks what such a seemingly worthless item would be doing down there and why.

"Give me the ball please ..."

Isabel shrugs and is about to leave when Beatrice says something that makes Isabel stop in her tracks.

"Yes, its just a baseball. A very ... special baseball. Thank you."

Hadn't she just heard Monsieur Duval the underground relic dealer say that same thing about those weird color changing jellybeans?!

Coincidence. It had to just be coincidence, right?

"Thank you and now your extended Visa level will allow you a longer stay. There is much work to be done Ms. Twist."

It seems she has passed her 'test' phase of the operation and will now be sent on more intriguing missions over the coming weeks or months even. Isabel hopes Nate can take care of himself this long, but that only worries her for a brief moment. There's so much to do in preparation for her next assignment here.

Isabel has some time on her hands between now and then, so she decides she'll get to know the locals, the countryside, and meet with the man Cyriaque Duval sent her to see while here as well.

There's also lots of time for some side projects. Digging for relics in the fresh air and scenic countryside is a nice change of pace.

"This batch of relics will take weeks of work to analyze and reconstruct."

Meanwhile, back in St. Claire. The other half of the Twist enterprise business duo is busy managing his own... affairs.

Yeah ... we didn't see this one coming, did we Nate? =)

 To Be Continued ...

HERE! (Chapter 2.9 - "Nectar Comes in at the Mouth")



Another fun tomb exploration chapter! I mixed up the sequence of events in the french catacombs so as not to be a 'walkthrough' of how it's done. There was only one minor spoiler in there, sorry!

The idea behind this chapter was to convey a sense of diversion between Nate and Isabel now that Nate has grown older and starting to find his own way in the world and test the limits of that world. It's often hard to convey a sense of time passing when in reality Sims lives play out over days instead of years!

Nate and Izzy remain close, don't worry. They will re relying on one another for a long time to come yet and things for both of them are soon to get very interesting. I know I hinted at romance, but I had to get through some of these setup scenes and tomb exploration first. Romance (and other surprises) are in next chapter, I promise!