Thursday, January 31, 2013

State of the Legacy Report: Generation 2

And we come to the end of generation 1, with a giant cliffhanger.  Just the way I like it.  The current plan is to post chapter 26 next, starting generation 2, and then write another special post(I built something cool :3) before launching into the rest of generation 2's story.  I promise, story threads will come together, even starting in chapter 26.

I've decided to replace the photos and trait information on the legacy information page with a family tree, viewable here.  It's currently updated through the end of chapter 25, and I will continue to update it as I go.  The page located on the blog will continue to contain generation summaries and rolls as well as a link to the family tree.  There's actually a lot of information on the new family tree, including supernatural-type information for all sims and trait, LTW and career tracking for those sims who were heirs, spares or spouses of the main legacy line.  Photos should also be present for all sims who were part of the main bloodline.  I'm a bit torn as to whether to use the adult pictures for sims that have grown old(for a better idea of where genetics came from) or to update it to an elder photo.  I can only pick one or the other, so...decisions!

I hope you enjoy the big reveal of James's plan, once I get it written up and posted!

Woods Random Legacy: Chapter 25 - Rewards

As James's high school days came to an end, he accumulated a shelf full of awards.  First, participation trophies for both clubs he'd been active in.  He'd also received another - smaller, oddly - trophy for being elected president of the debate club after a particularly harrowing debate.  On top of his after school accomplishments, he also graduated with honors.  Everybody in town thought that James Woods would go far!
James wasn't so sure.  The closer his plan came to execution, the more issues he found.  None were insurmountable, but what if there was something he was missing?  No, he couldn't afford to think like that.  He had to find the holes, patch them, and move on.  So there wasn't enough money to move his parents out and pay his own construction crew, he could deal with that.  They'd just have to live in the guest room.  Hopefully his father could manage to keep his mouth shut for the time he had left to live.
Another problem which presented itself to James was that of what method of deployment to use.  Sure enough, a solution soon presented itself - that stupid gnome.  He didn't know what it was or where it had come from - Greg probably wasted the house money on it - but the damn thing was always showing up in different spots around the house.  It was time for it to go.  James shuffled through the photos he had recording the various sightings, then suddenly paused, quirking an eyebrow curiously.
One of these photos wasn't like the others.  He liked that one, he'd have to find it and keep it.

James finally convinced his parents to allow him to have a party on his eighteenth birthday.  He invited three of his friends from school, all girls - the flirt.  Just before he was about to blow the candles out on his cake, Eliza's phone rang.  She apologized and stepped into the hall to take the call.
James thought he'd feel different once he was an adult, but he really didn't.  There were more responsibilities, especially with the weight of his inheritance on his shoulders, but the freedoms he now had easily outweighed the additional stress.  Life was good.
Eliza came back in with an announcement.  That was Lyle on the phone, calling from the hospital - Crystal had just given birth to a baby girl, named Talia!  James's party posse went to ooh and ahh over the camera phone pictures Eliza had received, and James leaned over a chair, smirking to himself.  Yeah, life was good.

And now it was time.

~ * ~

Short chapter, just wrapping a few things up.  Ah, those gnomes.

An outtake from the party: crap, I've been spotted!

And that's a wrap for generation 1!

Woods Random Legacy: Chapter 24 - Lives

File #17 - Tiberium Crisis
(1) Aliens want my tiberium
(2) Dad is an idiot
Possible Solutions to (1):
(a) Give it to them - unacceptable!
(b) Give it to authorities - too many questions/they deserve nothing
(c) Put it somewhere they can't find it - best choice, but how?  Think on this.
Possible Solutions to (2):
(a) Remove dad - last resort
(b) Put dad where he is harmless - preferable/inevitable, see file #12 section A
James had spent many hours considering what to do with the tiberium crystal, and had developed a tentative plan.  It wasn't that long until he would be an adult, after all, and his options would increase immensely once his position as the head of household was secure.  All he had to do was avoid attention until then.  He still didn't understand the crystal growth, or how the alien had tracked it to him - could his sister have told somebody about it?  As graduation loomed, his thoughts were with the potential extra-terrestrial crisis as much as they were with his coursework

Eliza, sick of the men in the household acting all strange, decided to visit her daughters and their roommate.  She was especially excited to meet Melissa, after hearing so much about her from Crystal.  What she found wasn't quite what she was expecting.
Eliza: "Oh, is that what young women wear in the city these days?  Such short shorts..."
Crystal: "Mom, is that you?  I'm in the kitchen!"
Eliza stepped into the kitchen to greet her daughter.
Eliza: "I'm not sure I approve of her.  I suppose I should be lucky you're wearing something that actually covers your thighs."
Crystal: "Mom, it's fine, she's just like that.  She's really nice if you get to know her, she just tends to project an air of, well, you know."
Eliza: "This is a small town, dear.  People'll talk."
Crystal: "I know, I'll keep trying to suggest other clothes.  That really is how women dress in Bridgeport, though."
Eliza: "Hmph, well, I'm glad I don't live in Bridgeport then.  I'm glad I caught any of you here, I was worried you'd all be at work."
Crystal: "Well, I work freelance, and Lissa is still looking for a job."
Eliza: "What's Faye up to these days?  I thought this was too early for Bistro work."
Crystal: "It is, I'm pretty sure she doesn't go in to work until later.  She's a spice runner now.  She's not living here anymore, though."
Eliza frowned.
Eliza: "What's that supposed to mean, not living here anymore?"
Crystal: "Uh, well, it means what it sounds like.  She left."
Eliza: "And why would that be?"
Immediately after Eliza asked the question, she regretted doing so, noticing Crystal take the deep breath that always preceded her dramatic tales.
Crystal: "Well!  It all started the other night.  Actually, no, it started before that.  It was sort of a slow burn, you know?  So, her and Lissa hadn't been getting along so well, I really don't know why.  It was entirely on Faye's end, because Lissa said she liked Faye just fine.  So, where was I?  Oh yeah, the other night.  So, we'd decided to have sushi rolls on Faye's night off, and she bought the ingredients and cooked them.  When we get to the table, Faye's telling us what all of them are, and can you believe that none of them were vegetarian?  She knew Lissa's been a vegetarian all her life!"
Eliza attempted to interject, but Crystal was on a roll.
Crystal: "So Lissa was remarkably polite, considering the circumstances, but she was still pretty much like, what the hell?  We talked about veggie rolls!  It turns out, that Faye wouldn't get the ingredients for veggie rolls, because none of them were available as local, organic produce.  So then Lissa got mad that Faye cared more about vegetables being shipped across the country by truck than about the lives of fish, and Faye got angry that Lissa didn't care about carbon emissions or pesticides, and then Faye started waving her arms around and yelling at us that we didn't care about her and Lissa jumped right up and yelled back, and before I knew it they were full-out arguing at the dinner table!"
Pausing to take a quick breath after that whopper of a sentence, Crystal plowed on before Eliza could get a word out.
Crystal: "So then we didn't see her all night, but we thought she was probably okay, off at her boyfriend's or whatever.  Then the next day, some moving guy knocks on our door and says he's here to get her stuff.  So of course we don't believe him, but he's got a video on his phone that Faye recorded saying that she couldn't stand living with someone who had such disregard for the environment, and that she was moving out."
Crystal: "So, you see, it was really unavoidable, with how things happened and all."
Eliza just stared at her daughter, not quite certain where to start tackling the situation.  After a few moments of silence, she finally spoke.
Eliza: "Do you know where your sister's gone?"
Crystal: "Oh, yeah!  She's shacked up with her boyfriend, Johnny Peacock.  I've got the address around here somewhere, she at least gave me that much."
Well, it looked like Eliza was going to have a talk with her other daughter.

She found the address without much trouble.  It seemed to be a charming enough little house, but Johnny Peacock was old enough to be Faye's father.  What was she doing with him?  Eliza approached the house, passive-aggressively trampling the lawn rather than using the sidewalk to show her distaste for old men who date innocent young women.
Stepping up to the door, she rang the bell.  Then again.  Finally, thinking that the buzzer might be broken, she resorted to knocking.  That's funny, there was a car parked on the street, but it appeared that nobody was home.  Or they just weren't answering the door for Eliza.
She sighed and pulled out her phone to call for a taxi.  There was only so much a mother could do once her children left the nest, but she wouldn't give up.  She couldn't let Faye make mistakes like this.

While his mother ran around town, James embarked on his next stage of research.  The fire department wasn't locked, so surely that meant anyone in town was free to come in and look around.  He didn't see anyone in the building, but he did find a corkboard with maps and timestamped logs of incidents.  Excellent, this was exactly what he was-
Voice: "Can I help you with something?"
James: "GAH!"
He jumped and spun around, nearly falling over backwards into the corkboard; however, he managed to recover in time, likely thanks to his athletics training for school.  There was a man in plainclothes and a leather mask, the purpose of which James mentally cringed to think about.  He hadn't checked the basement - what if there was some sort of fetish club down there?  He supposed that at least this man was wearing clothes, but-
He forced his mind to stop, closing his eyes for a moment and taking a deep breath to gather his composure, then opened them again and smiled politely to the man, extending his hand with a mental note to wash it later.
James: "Sorry, you startled me.  James Woods.  I was just admiring the variety of disasters the fire fighters of this town have averted."
The man extended his hand and shook James's.
Man: "Darren Brown.  Nice to meet you, and thanks.  We do our best.  Did you come all the way down to the fire station to ogle at our kitchen corkboard?"
James: "Oh, no!  I'd actually come down here hoping to talk to one of the fire fighters here.  See, I'm considering joining the force myself when I graduate.  Would you mind if I asked you a few questions, and maybe looked around a bit?  I promise I won't touch anything, and if the alarm goes off I'll find a wall and stick to it like glue."
Darren: "I know your reputation.  You're a fine young man, excellent student.  I'm sure you won't cause any trouble.  What did you want to know?"
They talked for the better part of an hour before James had the answers he was looking for.  After checking the alarm systems, he stepped out to the driveway to consider the truck.
The equipment here was adequate, but not the best.  He supposed that explained their usual slow response times to emergencies around the town.  There was plenty for him to work with, here, especially with the information he'd gathered from his conversation.  Time to get back to planning, and perhaps run a few test simulations.

Eliza was distracted by thoughts of Faye as she cooked pancakes one morning.  Where had she gone wrong as a mother?  Could this have to do with Faye's bad break-up in high school?  Eliza knew she should have insisted that her daughter have a few therapy sessions, but she'd seemed alright after a few weeks.  Clearly not alright enough, given how she'd started living her life.  Distracted by her thoughts, Eliza didn't notice where the flames sprung from, but within moments they were shooting up from her pan and the stove, billowing smoke everywhere.
Eliza: "FIRE!  FIRE!"
She yelled to get the attention of anyone in the house  - forgetting that with Greg at work and James at school, she was the only person still in the nearly-empty home - and ran outside.  Pulling out her cell phone, she quickly dialed the emergency number for the fire department.  Too many long minutes later, the fire department finally arrived, sending a fire fighter in to extinguish the blaze.
The stove, curtains, food processor and cabinets on either side had to be replaced.  A quick re-paint on the wall and ceiling solved any issues there, and the Woods continued with their lives for a few more weeks, until Eliza received a call one day.
Eliza: "Hello?"
Crystal: "Hey Mom, is this a bad time?"
Eliza flushed the toilet, standing up and gazing out the window.
Eliza: "Not at all, Crystal dear.  How have things been for you?"
Crystal: "Gross, Mom!  Are you using the toilet?  I can call you back."
Eliza: "No, no, I'm not your father.  I was just cleaning it, is all."
Crystal: "Oh, okay, sorry.  It's just that he called me the other day, and-ugh, nevermind, you can fill in the blanks.  Look, there's something I have to tell you about, something that happened."
Eliza: "With Faye?"
Crystal: "Ugh, Mom, no!  Why does everything have to be about her, lately?  Look, I have my own life and issues too, you know!"
Eliza: "Sorry sweetie, you're right.  What's wrong?"
Crystal: "Well, it's not wrong exactly.  It wasn't really expected, but it's okay, I'm actually kind of excited about it now.  So you know I've been seeing Lyle Andrews for a while, now?"
Eliza: "Of course."
Crystal: "Well, we just found out this morning.  I'm pregnant."
Eliza was stunned by the news.  She'd expected such things from some people, but her daughter?  Melissa - Melissa Hart-Bachelor now, after her shotgun marriage to that Ricky guy - had just moved out a few weeks ago under identical circumstances.
Eliza: "How could that happen?  Especially after what just happened with your roommate.  Weren't you careful?"
Crystal: "I was!  I guess there's just failure rates and all, and we got really unlucky.  But it's going to be okay, Lyle is staying with me, and we're going to have this baby together."
Eliza: "Are you getting married?"
Crystal: "I really don't know yet, Mom, but you'll be the first to know if we make plans to.  I promise.  He's a good guy, no matter what he won't leave me alone."

On the other side of a too-thin wall, James tried his best to block out his mother's phone conversation.  Didn't she know he was working in here?  Couldn't she take her drama downstairs?  All the tests had been a success, and he was getting close to being able to execute the plan.  The days were already warming - summer must be here.  Leisure Day sounded like a good target to shoot for, James thought.  Nobody would expect anything.
File #12 - The Plan
Section A: DIVERT
- make it seem like their idea
- house too empty?
- closer to work?
- more ideas needed, these aren't good enough:
- how am I going to pay for this?
- timed and spaced apart
- three at .5 .7 and .2 miles
- use T-4:30 T-4:00 and T-0:40
- note weather: wind direction, speed, rain
- evidence linked to target 0

~ * ~

Crystal is so Greg's daughter.  Look at those arm movements.  Just look at them.  Also, her hands are super-huge in that one picture.

Eliza turned into such an old prude.  I'm shocked.  I'm almost certain that she was wearing shorts just like Melissa's when I made her in CAS.

That is one filthy sink.  I mostly left Eliza and Greg to their autonomous selves at this point in the story, so the housework didn't always get done unless I was planning to shoot a scene.  Which the fire wasn't a planned scene, it just sort of happened, so I made up a significance for it.

James is potentially going to get himself into so much trouble.  Sometimes I hate my legacy rolls forcing me to take my characters down certain paths.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Woods Random Legacy: Chapter 23 - Visitation

James was buried in research about the rock he had taken from Faye.  As he'd suspected, it was an uncut sample of tiberium.  He wondered where his sister had gotten it from, then dismissed the thought.  She'd probably dug it up in the backyard when trying to plant something, or whatever it was she did when she was alone outside.  His research opportunities were limited until he was nominated from his class to take a short research internship at the science facility over spring break.  Suddenly having many more resources available to him, he quickly found the information he needed.  It was a poorly-kept secret that nobody, not even the top scientists, knew how tiberium was formed or where it came from - it certainly didn't originate on this world.  The current hypothesis was that samples crashed down from space when meteors hit.  Regardless of where it came from, the few properties that were known were enough to satisfy James.  This was exactly what he needed.

Of course, he didn't need the entire thing; only a few grams of powder would be enough.  It seemed a waste to grind the entirety of such a large sample down to powder, though, so James paid a visit to the gem cutting tool in the alchemy shop.  The shopkeeper taught him how to use it, then went back to the counter to mind the rest of the store while James removed the sample from his bag, glancing over his shoulder first to make sure nobody was watching.
Settling the sample carefully into the clamp, he set the dials and buttons to the size of gem and desired cut.  Checking the dust trap to make sure it was empty, he slid it back into the machine and grasped the lever.
James: "Well, here goes."
The machine clanked and whirred as it performed the specified operations.  Under the mechanical noises, James could hear the dust trickling down into the trap.  He checked to make sure that none was escaping onto the floor, but he'd pushed it in firmly enough to avoid that trouble.  After several minutes, the machine was done, and he picked up his spire-cut tiberium gem.  It would make an excellent decoration.
He slid out the dust trap and emptied it into a small bag he'd brought with him, making sure every speck of the dust was captured.  It wouldn't do to leave it lying around.

Back home, he set the gem on a table in the corner of Faye's old room, which he had converted into a study. 
All of his notes were on this desk, the most secret filed away in locked drawers while the lesser - or outright misleading - papers were left on top of the desk for snoops to find.  He kept the room locked, but it was still best to take multiple layers of precautions.
File #14 - Tiberium
* contraband - life imprisonment
* radioactive? (sounds like a LIE, search more)
* little info available, need access to science facility
* research of dr wayne miller
* extra-terrestrial
* radioactive but not harmful to humans - I KNEW IT
* signal-boosting capabilities
* highly flammable - keep away from heat
* government stockpiles - where?

That night, after James had gone to bed, a figure in a spacesuit approached the house.  While at first glance the figure might be mistaken for a man, closer inspection revealed that it most definitely was not.
The alien looked around the exterior of the house for a few minutes, occasionally consulting a device that he kept clipped to his belt.  His presence would have likely gone undetected if it hadn't been for Greg's late-night game of chess in the living room.  The old man, noticing the alien outside, grabbed his cane and sauntered outside.
Greg: "Good evening!  Do you speak Simlish?"
Surprised, the alien turned and looked at the human.
Alien: "I have translation software.  I can understand you."
Greg: "Well, that's good, because I sure don't speak alien!"
He cracked himself up at that, recovering after a few moments; the alien continued to stare at him, seeming very confused.
Greg: "I'm Greg Woods, do you have a name?"
Alien: "I am called Zharor Thobanob."
Greg snickered.
Zharor: "Is that amusing?"
Greg: "Tee-hee.  Throbin-nob."
Zharor: "Thobanob."
Greg: "Oh, I misheard.  Well, let's just call you Bob."
Zharor: "No, my name is Zha-"
Greg: "So, Bob!  What brings you to our fine corner of the galaxy?"
Zharor: "I am looking for something that was stolen by someone of your world.  Tell me, have you seen a glowing green crystal?"
Greg: "I sure have!  My son was carrying around something just like that earlier today.  I think he might have given it to the science lab, though, I heard him talking to himself about some Dr. Wayne Miller guy.  You don't think he stole it from you, did you?"
Zharor: "The theft was not the work of a child.  You are quite certain of that name?"
Greg: "Sure am!"
Zharor: "Then I am eternally grateful to you.  Please, enjoy your time of rest, and forget that I was ever here."
Greg: "Aww, you're just going to leave?  You haven't even experienced what we have to offer on this planet!"
Zharor: "I am afraid that I must continue my search."
Greg: "Just five minutes!  Here, I'm going to show you a special talent of mine.  I might not have those fancy gadgets of yours, but I know a few tricks, don't you worry.  Now, just let me align my mystical energies..."
He started waving his hands through the air.  Confused, yet somehow intrugued, Zharor leaned towards Greg, watching the movement of his hands.
Greg: "Oh great zalakaron, abracadabra, bobbity-boo!"
With no warning, his left hand shot across to Zharor's face, covering him from chin to forehead.
Zharor: "MMMmrrmrmrmrMMM!"
Greg: "I see great things ahead for you, Bob!  The love of your life waits for you, but you must defeat a great-wait, why are you running away?  Aw, nuts."
Upstairs, unobserved by anyone, the tiberium crystal grew and emitted a shower of glowing sparks with a soft "ping!"

The next morning, James came downstairs for breakfast to find Greg sitting smugly on the sofa.  This was usually a cause for concern, so James sat down carefully next to him.
James: "Dad?  What's going on?"
Greg responded in an annoying sing-song tone that James hadn't heard since the elementary school playground.
Greg: "I know something you don't know!"
James: "Well, that's just great.  Are you going to tell me what it is?"
Greg: "Nope!  You have to guess!"
James sighed.
James: "Dad, you know there's no way I'm going to guess it.  Just tell me."
Greg: "Alright, well, last night I met an alien.  Right outside our house!"
James stared at him, momentarily speechless.  Greg took that as a sign that he should keep talking.
Greg: "Someone had stolen some important crystal from him, and he wanted it back.  I told him about that one you had-"
James: "YOU WHAT?  Dad, why would you do that?  How did you even know about that?  It was an alien, you can't believe anything it said, you know!"
Greg: "Calm down!  With that reaction, I'm almost tempted to think you're actually guilty of something.  Don't worry, he didn't think you stole it.  I told him about that scientist guy you were mumbling about the other day.  Good move turning it over to the authorities, they'll be able to handle the situation.
James: "I can't believe you're my father!  How can you be so stupid?"
James stormed out of the room and up the stairs, slamming the door to his study behind him.
Greg: "Hmph, teenagers.  He must be having a mood swing."

Upstairs, James stopped dead as he noticed the crystal.  It was definitely bigger than yesterday.  He didn't know that it could do that.  He didn't like not knowing things.
Sitting down at his desk, he unlocked the bottom drawer and pulled out some files.  He would have to accelerate his plans, now that aliens were searching for the crystal.

~ * ~

Please ignore the holiday lights still being up in spring.  I did a fail.

Oh, Greg.  You just had to go and palm read that alien, didn't you?  If they decide to invade, it's all your fault.

I think this might just be my favorite picture of Greg ever.  The smug look on his face is pure gold.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Woods Random Legacy: Chapter 22 - Beginnings

It was springtime once more in Sunset Valley, the season of renewal and rebirth.  Faye took full advantage of this, chopping off the long hair that she'd been growing since childhood.
She wasn't a kid anymore.  In fact, she would be graduating in a matter of days, and moving on to her adult life.  It was time to put the past behind her.

Another chapter of the Woods family's life was about to be put behind them as well.  Their aging cat, Pudding, had been in poor health for some time.  But one morning, the cat was too weak even to eat, and everybody knew that the time was near.  By the time Greg got home from work, the Grim Reaper was there.
Pudding: "Mew?"
Eliza was taking it particularly hard.  Pudding had been her cat, purchased as a kitten just before she married Greg.  She knew that she should be thankful that Pudding had hung on for as long as she had, but Eliza couldn't help breaking down in tears right in the middle of the front room.
Faye comforted her mother, holding her until the sobs stopped.  It was hard on everybody to lose a family pet, but it had to happen.  After a certain age, it would just be cruel for an animal to have to stay alive just because they would be missed.
They collected the ashes left behind by the Grim Reaper and placed them in a jar, setting the reminder of their lost pet on top of the bookcase, next to where Eliza did her painting.

James wasn't at home when the Grim Reaper came, but he didn't mind much.  He had never been too close to the cat, and he knew that Faye could handle Eliza's grief.  Instead, he was at the gym, where he spent much of his time lately.  While he doubted he'd ever manage to be a track star, he'd earned himself a solid place on the team.  Integrating himself into the high school jock culture had been difficult, but rewarding, as he now found himself with a large casual social circle.  Girls actually wanted to date him now, believe it or not.  Despite his frequent wins in Debate Club, nobody would want to be his girlfriend because of that - it was nerdy!
High school wouldn't last forever, though, and James needed to work on his plans for afterwards.  The rock Faye had found - the girl never knew its value - was a start, but there were so many other pieces that needed to fall into place.  James made a concentrated effort to further improve his persuasive skills.  Logical argument was all well and good, but sometimes you just needed to inject some charisma into a situation.
He could see the effects of his practice almost immediately.  Being able to control people with a perfectly-timed wink, nod, or compliment was just as important as the ability to articulate details to make a point.  In fact, James suspected that, with practice, such conversation skills could carry more weight in everyday discourse than the logical arguments he'd favored so far, especially if the facts of a situation ran contrary to how he wanted it to turn out.
Which, really, was exactly the skill he needed.

Faye soon graduated, taking a job at the Little Corsican Bistro as a kitchen skullion.  She was excited for her new job, even though it would amount mostly to scrubbing dishes, but with her cooking skills she was confident that she would be able to advance quickly.
She moved out, into a small home near the middle of town, to prepare it for the arrival of her sister back home from boarding school.  A few weeks later, Crystal arrived back home and joined Faye in the house, starting her own career as a self-employed photographer, a form of art that she'd particularly enjoyed at school.
Melissa also came to Sunset Valley with Crystal, moving in with the two sisters until she could support herself.  There weren't many stage jobs available in the small town, and many around town wondered what the French-educated girl from the big city was doing here.

~ * ~

Spot the Discworld reference!

So I can't believe that cat lasted as long as it did.  I swear it was like two weeks past its expiration date.  Reminds me why I don't get pets in the sims too often, though.  It's almost more sad when they die than when sims die.

Forgot to take a picture of Melissa.  Boo.  She looks pretty much the same as she did as a teen, though.