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Old 25th Nov 2015, 12:11 AM Default2.19 – The Return of Madness #26
FluffyMao!
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Lab Assistant

Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 67
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2.19 – The Return of Madness


Chloe’s PoV

“Are you completely, absolutely, 100%, unequivocally sure that this is the right temple?”


“Positive,” Donovan replied with a cheeky grin.

“Really? Because that’s what you said about the other three!”

“Hey! Egypt’s full of ancient temples! And they all run together after a while!”

“Guys!” Lucy jumped between us. “Calm down. Donovan, it’s been three months and we’re all just a bit tired. Chloe, everyone makes mistakes. Let’s all just take a deep breath and calm down.”


“Besides! This is the tomb Ms. Lufti directed us to.”


“Whatever. Let’s just get in and get out.”

I was so…tense. I wanted information so very badly. But we couldn’t get information until we found the MorcuCorp Headquarters, and we couldn’t find the MorcuCorp Headquarters until dear Ms. Lufti was satisfied that the relics MorcuCorp were looking for were never found. Which meant we had to find them. Which entailed crawling over the entire Egyptian desert, through various tombs and ancient temples, searching for said ancient relics. Risking life and limb. But it would all be worth it! If I can get my hands on—no, stop, focus! I shook my head and entered the temple after Donovan and Lucy.


“Did everyone bring their swimsuits?” Donovan asked.

“Yes, why?” I was preoccupied with the symbols engraved on the entryway walls. A different dialect? Interesting…

“Because we’re swimming,” Donovan replied, stripping down to his trunks.

“Cowabunga!”


“No. Just, n—Lucy! What’re you wearing?!”

“Well, I…I grew out of my old swimsuit, and…well, there’s never really been time, or a place, to get a new one, so…so I just made one.” She shuffled her feet as Donovan and I stared at her.


She had a point. I’d, thankfully, stopped growing years ago, so what clothing I’d brought with me from the Valley still fit. But Lucy…she’s almost fifteen now. It boggled my mind, how time had flown by. She had breasts, for Euclid’s sake! And Medea and Shaye…they’ve grown too!

“Well, uhm, well…you’re very talented.”

Lucy smiled up at me.

“Come on, slow pokes!”

“Yes, yes, we’re coming!” We jumped into the water after Donovan.

&&&&

“Donovan, don’t you think you’re just a bit lost?” Lucy quavered.

I stared at the map we’d been making as we’d journeyed through the tomb. It doesn’t make sense!


“We should be back at this junction, but this doesn’t look familiar at all!” I gestured to the dirty paper. Donovan rubbed his chin. We poured over the paper.

“It doesn’t make sense!” I sighed finally, pinching the bridge of my nose. Great, just great.

“I wonder if we took a turn here.” Donovan pointed to the map.

“Where?” Lucy attempted to peer over his shoulder, not easy with her height.

“I’ve been kind’a distracted, but that sort of looks like my short hand for a staircase.” Donovan twisted his head, still staring at the paper. “Yeah, the more I think about, the more I’m certain that we’re a level down!”

“Great! Fantastic…” I sighed again. “Who remembers where those stairs are.” Two blank faces stared back at me. “Okay. Donovan! How much farther do you think the pyramid’s center is from our current location?”

“Um…”


“Approximately 53 meters that way!”

“Great!” Lucy exclaimed.

“But that’s as the parrot flies, I’m not sure which corridor will take us there.”

Lucy deflated, looking like I felt. Hopeless.


I sighed again. “Okay. How do you normally go about this whole tomb business?”

Donovan perked up. “I explore!”

“Okay…and how do you do that?” By this point, I’d been through three tombs with Donovan and Lucy, but, apparently, they had all been previously explored by Donovan, almost completely. Apparently, he had been missing some keystones or something.

Donovan stared at me, then flashed his cheeky grin. “Like this!” And he pushed past me to a wall and started…sniffing it?

“What?”

And then the wall opened.


We found a desert garden on the other side. There were plants growing there that I’d never seen before.

“Interesting…” They’re thriving here! Does the underground pressure construct on artificial atmosphere better fit for life than the desert ground?

Lucy snapped a few pictures, while Donovan gathered some samples.


I began briefly analyzing the samples. After all, it would be a shame to have them wilt due to poor understanding of their biology while still traveling.

“Guys! This way! It’s time for exploration!”

“Donovan!”


“Chloe! Move that statue over there!”

“What?”

“C’mon! It has to be simultaneous!”

“Oh, Euclid!”


For the most part, Donovan led the way. This was his world, his passion. Lucy and I were just spectators and, at points, an extra pair of hands. We took our turns dragging great stone statues across the floor to stand them on pressure plates in order to activate…stuff. We rummaged through holes for hidden switches and felt along the walls for secret doors. We found ancient artifacts and buried treasure. We also found ancient traps and secret, underwater tunnels. Donovan and I both drew the line at those. Lucy was made to sit those out. We had more mechanical knowledge than she did. And we could both swim, something Lucy had never been taught. Something I would remedy at some point.

&&&&

“See! That’s how you explore!”

“There was lightning coming from the floor!”

“I know!” Donovan grinned maniacally. “Wasn’t it great!”


I leaned against a stable-looking wall, trying to catch my breath. Donovan sure could explore…if exploring was sticking you arm in every nook and cranny and running down seemingly random hallways because, and I quote, “They looked adventurous.”

Something creaked behind me. “I swear, Donovan, if you’re opening another—”

“Hi there!”


&&&&

Thanks for reading! ^_^

No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite.
-- David Hilbert

Old 26th Dec 2015, 5:03 PM Default2.19 – The Return of Madness #27
FluffyMao!
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Lab Assistant

Join Date: Oct 2014
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2.19 – The Return of Madness


Chloe’s PoV

“Are you completely, absolutely, 100%, unequivocally sure that this is the right temple?”


“Positive,” Donovan replied with a cheeky grin.

“Really? Because that’s what you said about the other three!”

“Hey! Egypt’s full of ancient temples! And they all run together after a while!”

“Guys!” Lucy jumped between us. “Calm down. Donovan, it’s been three months and we’re all just a bit tired. Chloe, everyone makes mistakes. Let’s all just take a deep breath and calm down.”


“Besides! This is the tomb Ms. Lufti directed us to.”


“Whatever. Let’s just get in and get out.”

I was so…tense. I wanted information so very badly. But we couldn’t get information until we found the MorcuCorp Headquarters, and we couldn’t find the MorcuCorp Headquarters until dear Ms. Lufti was satisfied that the relics MorcuCorp were looking for were never found. Which meant we had to find them. Which entailed crawling over the entire Egyptian desert, through various tombs and ancient temples, searching for said ancient relics. Risking life and limb. But it would all be worth it! If I can get my hands on—no, stop, focus! I shook my head and entered the temple after Donovan and Lucy.


“Did everyone bring their swimsuits?” Donovan asked.

“Yes, why?” I was preoccupied with the symbols engraved on the entryway walls. A different dialect? Interesting

“Because we’re swimming,” Donovan replied, stripping down to his trunks.

“Cowabunga!”


“No. Just, n—Lucy! What’re you wearing?!”

“Well, I…I grew out of my old swimsuit, and…well, there’s never really been time, or a place, to get a new one, so…so I just made one.” She shuffled her feet as Donovan and I stared at her.



She had a point. I’d, thankfully, stopped growing years ago, so what clothing I’d brought with me from the Valley still fit. But Lucy…she’s almost fifteen now. It boggled my mind, how time had flown by. She had breasts, for Euclid’s sake! And Medea and Shaye…they’ve grown too!

“Well, uhm, well…you’re very talented.”

Lucy smiled up at me.

“Come on, slow pokes!”

“Yes, yes, we’re coming!” We jumped into the water after Donovan.

&&&&

“Donovan, don’t you think you’re just a bit lost?” Lucy quavered.

I stared at the map we’d been making as we’d journeyed through the tomb. It doesn’t make sense!


“We should be back at this junction, but this doesn’t look familiar at all!” I gestured to the dirty paper. Donovan rubbed his chin. We poured over the paper.

“It doesn’t make sense!” I sighed finally, pinching the bridge of my nose. Great, just great.

“I wonder if we took a turn here.” Donovan pointed to the map.

“Where?” Lucy attempted to peer over his shoulder, not easy with her height.

“I’ve been kind’a distracted, but that sort of looks like my short hand for a staircase.” Donovan twisted his head, still staring at the paper. “Yeah, the more I think about, the more I’m certain that we’re a level down!”

“Great! Fantastic…” I sighed again. “Who remembers where those stairs are.” Two blank faces stared back at me. “Okay. Donovan! How much farther do you think the pyramid’s center is from our current location?”

“Um…”


“Approximately 53 meters that way!”

“Great!” Lucy exclaimed.

“But that’s as the parrot flies, I’m not sure which corridor will take us there.”

Lucy deflated, looking like I felt. Hopeless.


I sighed again. “Okay. How do you normally go about this whole tomb business?”

Donovan perked up. “I explore!”

“Okay…and how do you do that?” By this point, I’d been through three tombs with Donovan and Lucy, but, apparently, they had all been previously explored by Donovan, almost completely. Apparently, he had been missing some keystones or something.

Donovan stared at me, then flashed his cheeky grin. “Like this!” And he pushed past me to a wall and started…sniffing it?

“What?”

And then the wall opened.


We found a desert garden on the other side. There were plants growing there that I’d never seen before.

“Interesting…” They’re thriving here! Does the underground pressure construct on artificial atmosphere better fit for life than the desert ground?

Lucy snapped a few pictures, while Donovan gathered some samples.


I began briefly analyzing the samples. After all, it would be a shame to have them wilt due to poor understanding of their biology while still traveling.

“Guys! This way! It’s time for exploration!”

“Donovan!”


“Chloe! Move that statue over there!”

“What?”

“C’mon! It has to be simultaneous!”

“Oh, Euclid!”


For the most part, Donovan led the way. This was his world, his passion. Lucy and I were just spectators and, at points, an extra pair of hands. We took our turns dragging great stone statues across the floor to stand them on pressure plates in order to activate…stuff. We rummaged through holes for hidden switches and felt along the walls for secret doors. We found ancient artifacts and buried treasure. We also found ancient traps and secret, underwater tunnels. Donovan and I both drew the line at those. Lucy was made to sit those out. We had more mechanical knowledge than she did. And we could both swim, something Lucy had never been taught. Something I would remedy at some point.

&&&&

“See! That’s how you explore!”

“There was lightning coming from the floor!”

“I know!” Donovan grinned maniacally. “Wasn’t it great!”


I leaned against a stable-looking wall, trying to catch my breath. Donovan sure could explore…if exploring was sticking you arm in every nook and cranny and running down seemingly random hallways because, and I quote, “They looked adventurous.”

Something creaked behind me. “I swear, Donovan, if you’re opening anoth—”

“Hi there!”


No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite.
-- David Hilbert

Old 26th Dec 2015, 5:12 PM Default2.20 – Run Like Mad! #28
FluffyMao!
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Lab Assistant

Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 67
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2.20 – Run Like Mad!


Thomas’s PoV

I sighed and learned back. “It’s a pretty nice day,” I murmured, just staring into the sky. “Wouldn’t you say so?” I turned to my companion.


“Just peach—,” Medea grumbled.

“I love it!” Shaye screamed, running past us and cutting Medea off. “I love this desert!” She flopped on the sand and began making an angel.

“Damnit, Shaye! Did you get Sun Madness again?!”


So much for peaceful. I shook my head, chuckling, and helped Medea get Shaye out of the sun. Medea began berating Shaye again. It had turned into a daily routine. Shaye would wander off, collecting odd bugs and plants, catch some Sun Madness, wander home insane, and Medea would beat her up for being stupid.

It’s her way of saying she cares, I thought, watching them, Medea screaming and Shaye giggling madly. Ever since Chloe had gotten herself poisoned by a cactus, Medea had become paranoid about anyone wandering into the desert alone. Seeing Chloe like that had scared her more then she’d admit.

Shaye catching more sun then was healthy wasn’t the end of the world. The locals had become quite good at curing it, after living in the desert for thousands of years. I’d gotten pretty good at it myself. But that didn’t settle Medea. She never went to sleep until she’d seen everyone back at camp, safe and sound.

&&&&

Chloe’s PoV

“Donovan!” I shrieked. “Get back!”

“Um…” Donovan took a tentative step back.

The…thing growled at him. Donovan stopped. I held my breath. Time seemed to stand still.

Then the creature lunged! Donovan tried to run, but it grabbed him!


“No! Donovan!” Lucy started running towards him as the thing tackled him to the ground.

“No, stay back!” I pushed her back against the wall. “Run!” Thankfully, she listened.

Oh, god, what do I do?! I could only scream and grip my hair as I stared at the dust cloud.

Then Donovan was in front of me, holding his side, but otherwise whole! We ran!

“This way!” Donovan jerked me around a corner.

Down a corridor, up a staircase, over some fire traps, down a different (maybe?) staircase. Up, down, left, right. My head was spinning and my heart was beating too fast, but Donovan seemed to know what he was doing, so I just followed. Even if I’d been in the right frame of mind to, I couldn’t have pulled away, he held my wrist in an iron grip.

A flash of white in the darkness caught my eye. “Is that—” I began.

“Lucy!”

She screamed and swung her camera at us, her eyes squeezed tightly shut.

“Lucy! It’s us! Stop it and c’mon!”

With barely a pause, Donovan grabbed her too and turned another corner. He shoved open a hidden door in the dim light, ushered us through, then slammed it shut again.

“Do you think we lost it?” I whispered, staring back down the corridor, searching for that thing and praying I wouldn’t see it.

“Yeah,” Donovan choked out. “I think we lost it.”

We all collapsed against the wall, struggling to breathe. Lucy began to quietly cry.

“Wow,” Donovan mumbled. “Never seen one of those before. Do you think it was a real, live mummy?!”

“What?! No! There’s no such thing as mummies!” No, not at all, I don’t want to think about!

“Then what was that thing?!” Lucy whispered, clearly terrified. Why did I let her come along?!


“I—” The words died on my tongue. I swallowed hard. “I’m not sure,” I admitted, turning to look down the corridor.

“Well, no use worrying now.” Donovan stood up abruptly, dusted his pants off, and cracked his knuckles.


“Huh?”

“I’m fairly certain we’re near the end. And that means that relic has to be close too!” Donovan grinned.

Despite myself, I did as well. Almost done!

Sure enough, another hour and another swim and we’d reached the end! Donovan opened the chest.


“Yup!” He drug out the large relic and held it triumphantly. “Now, to get outta here!”

&&&&

It wasn’t the only relic, just one of three. Lufti ran us ragged all over the god forsaken desert searching for those damned relics. But, finally, we found them all. Each one had to be turned over to he. I’d wanted something else. Maybe to hide them in a different pyramid or tomb! Maybe destroy them!

Donovan talked me out of it. Instead, I settled for draining the Agragorium from the interior of all the relics. It took me a while to construct a container of Mummitonium to hold it all, but I did it! The container, with the Agragorium inside, was kept on my person at all times. With the relics safe for Donovan to handle, and thus leave out in the world, we handed them over to Lufti, and, from there, to an Egyptian museum, to “display the rich and vibrant history of Egypt.” As long as Donovan was safe, they could bury the relics in a sandbox for all I cared.

In exchange for the relics, Lufti gave us the location of the MorcuCorp Headquarters.

“Finally.” Payback time.


No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite.
-- David Hilbert

Old 26th Dec 2015, 5:22 PM Default2.21 – A Method to the Madness #29
FluffyMao!
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Lab Assistant

Join Date: Oct 2014
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2.21 – A Method to the Madness


Chloe’s PoV

The plan was simple: sneak into the MorcuCorp Headquarters, bribe the guards, and copy any and all files that could be located. At least, it had sounded simple last night.

Donovan was committed to going in. Nothing was stopping him. I went along in the hopes of getting some kind of useful information: proof of tax evasion or embezzlement, dirty dealings with locals, anything that would give me an upper edge for dealing with these people. Lucy was coming along to act as an extra pair of eyes and ears. Her camera wasn’t bad either. We’d all come this far, risking life and deportment, none of us were backing out now.


Click. The lock popped open easily in Donovan’s hand. He glanced behind at Lucy and I.

“Ready?” he whispered.

Lucy and I shared a glance and nodded. He pushed the door open. No going back.

The place was a house. The owner was some foreign person who’d wanted a vacation home but never seemed to have the time to visit. Someone by the name of James Vaughn. At least, that was the story according to Ms. Lufti. The person’s name sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place it at the time. Occasionally, someone would come by to keep the house in good repair, but today was an Egyptian day of rest, a holiday of sorts. In short, no one was home. We entered.

“Downstairs,” I muttered, staring at the map Lufti had scribbled for us. “We’re looking 2 to 3 levels down.”

Donovan nodded, then winced. “Could you think a bit quieter Lucy? No one’s gonna die!”

Lucy blushed, but nodded.

“It’s locked,” Donovan muttered. “And I’m not that good with lock-picking.”

I looked around. There has to be something— “What about this?” I asked, pointing.

“Hmmm…” Donovan fiddled with it. “I think—” He grunted. “There’s a switch…Yes!”


Something whirred behind the walls and a part of the floor dropped open, revealing a staircase.

Of course there’s a secret staircase, I thought. Why wouldn’t there be? I was beginning to feel uneasy, but I shook my head and followed Donovan down the stairs.


We marched down the steps, only to be confronted with a dead-end corridor.

“This place gives me the creeps,” Lucy muttered with a grimace, staring at the mildew on the walls.

“You’re not alone,” I responded, staring at my phone. I was picking up some network signals through the modifications I’d made. And they seemed to originate from somewhere in the building. The people in the village above didn’t have wireless internet…or any kind of internet, so I could only assume that the signals were coming from wherever we were supposed to be going. There’s a server somewhere here. I grinned at the thought.


A soft click sounded somewhere beyond us, and Donovan giggled. The tile of flooring he was standing sank a bit.

“Pressure plate,” he said, catching my look. “I think we’re in an old tomb below HQ. Ms. Lufti mentioned this, old access tunnels that could get us in. Sort of a back door thing.”

Of course, I thought. Of course. I followed my siblings through the door.

“Now what?” Lucy asked, staring into the gloom ahead of us.

“Um…” I began. I stared at our only source of direction, a map drawn by a person who’d failed “Stick Figures” class.


“Don’t touch the floor!” Donovan hissed. “I think there’s pressure plates down there!”

“Okay!”

Room after room of pressure plate puzzles. Each one had a specific sequence that had to be stomped down before the doors leading forward would open. As we passed through each room, that foreboding feeling I had earlier grew. This all just felt…too easy. Like we were meant to be there.


Donovan was good at puzzles, I’d give him that. Down an offshoot of a corridor we’d found some chests, empty. Donovan played around with them, opening them in different sequences. Then he’d told me to open one. Then he’d ran over, opened a third chest just as the other had snapped closed. There was another click and Lucy had opened the last chest and there was a sandstone key inside, shaped like a crescent moon.


The crescent moon key opened up a slab of solid stone wall. The corridor beyond that had another hidden pressure plate, which opened up another chunk of what I’d assumed to be just a regular wall. At this point, I was definitely feeling “the creeps”.

“You don’t have to stare suspiciously at every wall, Chloe,” Donovan whispered, a small frown on his narrow face.

I felt my face heat. I hadn’t realized I was so obvious!

He chuckled softly. “Don’t worry! I know how to recognize secret bits from regular bits of wall.” He grinned and went back to probing at another innocent looking wall.

“Yep!” he crowed a few minutes later. He threw a grin over his shoulder at me, then pulled another moon key from his bag. He inserted it into the hole that had appeared from behind a camouflage panel.


A whirring sound started up from behind a nearby wall. I heard a few squeaks, then the whirring seemed to travel higher. Up the wall, across the ceiling, then farther up. From high above us came a soft click. Then everything was silent.

“How much you wanna bet that was first locked door we saw up there?” Donovan grinned cheekily.

“No bet,” I responded, dead-pan.

Lucy looked from me to Donovan and back. “Should we…?” She gestured in the direction of the stairs.

“Might as well!” Donovan grinned again, then set off.

The door we came in and the previously locked, stainless steel door were the only things up there. I turned the handle on the latter. It opened easily. I glanced back at Donovan and Lucy before pushing the door completely open.

It wasn’t what I’d expected. A room full of bookshelves and a few rows of desktop computers.


Donovan quickly found what he was looking for. The computer was at the very back of the room, and was marked with a star on Lufti’s map.


A matching star was drawn on a separate room. And it looked close by, according to the map. I wandered over while Donovan inserted the flashdrive given to him by Lufti. I’d already scanned it. It was just a set of files meant to replace any files pertaining to the Relics of Life and Death. Not the most efficient, but effective enough. I guess.

Lucy kept on eye out in the hallway while I searched the bookcases. Nothing relevant. No files. A few books on egyptology. Most of the shelves contained classic hardbacks that looked like they’d never been cracked open.

I poked around on MorcuCorp’s system for a bit, but the computers in the room were just lines to the server. I needed a more direct link.


I was feeling very downtrodden by the lack of useful resources by the time Donovan finished replacing the files on the first computer. There’s nothing here. What files I could find were records of business transactions. Everything in order and very precise. MorcuCorp seemed like a well-run and very legal company. That wasn’t what I’d expected to find. I needed something to hurt them! Some kind of leverage to make them convince Langraab Labs to leave us alone! And I wasn’t finding anything.


When Donovan moved on to the second star on the map, the main office, I pulled out my computer. I was getting a strong network signal. It was most likely the same network the dektops were running on, but I still held onto a smidgen of hope.


“What’re you doing?” Lucy asked, looking up at me.

“Searching for something,” I mumbled in response, a bit more distracted than I usually was.

There was a second network! I took a deep breath and calmed myself. Most corporations had a second network. At least, most smart ones did. It was often a safety measure in case the main crashed. That way no data could be lost.

This one was harder to access. It might have been impossible for anyone without my brain. Just saying.

Tax records, business transactions, stock information. Everything’s here! I downloaded it all, skimming as I went. My spirits sank a little. Just like on the first network, everything on this database was extremely legal, not a hint of tax evasion or the like. MorcuCorp might have been a cutthroat business screwing over an entire group of people, but they weren’t stupid.

I moved on. Every database and file storage I could find, I copied over. My computer didn’t really have a harddrive, but I had plenty of secure cloud storage.

“Hey, what’s that?” Lucy asked, pointing.

I scrolled back a few pages. And froze. “Um…Check on Donovan!”

Lucy gave me a strange look, but shrugged and went to stand behind Donovan, watching as he copied files.

I stared at what Lucy had found. Too good to be true, I muttered to myself. My hands moved. I ran a few worms. Then a few keygens. I frowned. What bank is this? Simica National.

“Hmm…” I stroked my chin and chewed my lip. I wanted to hurt the company. Through hitting MorcuCorp, I’d be hitting Landgraab Labs, at least, indirectly. I couldn’t go about it the legal way, MorcuCorp was too smart for that. But maybe

I took a steadying breath and cracked my knuckles. I was never very good at questions of morality.

No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite.
-- David Hilbert

Old 26th Dec 2015, 5:27 PM Default2.22 – How Fast Can You Run? #30
FluffyMao!
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 67
Thanks: 66 in 1 Posts
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2.22 – How Fast Can You Run?


Chloe’s PoV

It took me a while to transfer everything, but I did it. I drained the entire account. I put a tag on it and set it adrift in my personal pocket of cyber space. That was a trick I’d picked up a few years ago. Most companies never noticed pennies missing, but if you wanted to take more you had to be sneaky. Transferring money was always sketchy at best and stupid at worst. The best thing to do was let everyone think it had simply vanished. It was how I’d paid for Mom’s funeral.

I stared at my holographic screen. A grin slowly spread across my face. I did it!


“I did it!” Donovan called from behind me. “It’s done!” He jumped up and held up a hand for a high-five. I indulged him.


“It’s done! MorcuCorp won’t even know what hit them!”

You have no idea, I thought, still grinning.

Donovan fist-pumped the air and twirled Lucy around. He grinned at me. “Did you get everything you needed?”

I allowed my face to settle into a smirk. “I did.”

“Awesome! Now! On to the next adventure!”

“Um, guys?”

Lucy’s small voice managed to cut through mine and Donovan’s celebrations. We turned to look at her.

“Should that light be blinking?”

“Uh, I don’t think—”

The computer exploded.



Somewhere, an alarm blared into existence.

“Run!” Donovan shrieked. He took off for the exit, Lucy and I right behind him.



Somehow, we managed to make it outside and behind a dune before some men in military gear arrived. They stormed into the house and we crept back to base camp.

It was later then I’d expected by the time we all got back to the camp site. The sun had long disappeared behind the sand dunes. The only person still awake was Thomas. He was sitting at the table, tapping his fingers on his thigh and staring into space.


“Hey!” he called out upon seeing us. “Thank god you’re okay! I heard some kind of alarm earlier and I wasn’t sure where you guys ran off to and—”

“We need to go,” I interrupted.

Thomas stared at me.

“Now,” I pressed. “We. Need. To. Leave. NOW.”

No other questions. Thomas ran over to his tent and started shoving his sleeping bag into its carrying case. He nudged the next tent with his foot until a head popped out.


“Wh-whuh?” Medea mumbled blearily, rubbing her eyes. “Wuzzup?”

“Pack up, we’re heading out,” Thomas told her with a small smile. “We’re finally getting out of this desert!”

“Can’t we go in the morning?” Medea grumbled. But she stood up and drug her nest of blankets out of the tent.

Lucy had already woken up Shaye and was getting her moving, so I packed up the remains of our food and unlocked the van. I checked our fuel supply while there. Depending on terrain, we could last another few months. Back to civilization, I guess, I thought.

We left the tents where they were. No sense alerting anyone to our leaving. I felt sad I hadn’t even needed to explain that to Thomas. He just…already knew.

&&&&

Thomas’s PoV

This’s getting too familiar, I thought to myself. The whole “midnight-run” thing was getting old. The whole “Chloe-knows-exactly-what’s-going-on-but-won’t-tell-anyone” thing was getting really old too. I sighed.

I was driving now. Chloe had gotten really good at fast, reckless driving, but Egypt and its treacherous sand dunes were miles behind us now, so I’d taken over. I’d found some kind of highway and was following it. I hoped it’d lead us out of Africa.


I glanced over at the passenger seat. Chloe was staring out the window at the grasslands as we passed through. Every now and then the road would dip suddenly and flick her glasses up. The only reason I knew she was even awake was because she’d fix them back in place. That and her hands. She was twiddling her thumbs. Left on top, now right, now her index fingers were coiling around each other, a squeeze, now the left thumb was on top again.

I sighed again. Damnit Chloe. “What happened?”

Chloe glanced at me, then her hands. She pushed her glasses farther up the bridge of her nose.

“Um, what…” She took a shaky breath. “What would you do with 42.8 trillion dollars?” She looked over at me.

My lips moved. 42.8 trillion doll— I glanced at her, then fought to focus back on the road. “What?”

&&&&

Thanks for reading! ^_^

No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite.
-- David Hilbert

Old 26th Dec 2015, 5:33 PM Default2.23 – On the Road Again #31
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2.23 – On the Road Again


Thomas’s PoV

Chloe told me everything. It was…a lot. And it all culminated with her stealing 42.8 trillion dollars from a company in an effort to bankrupt another company. The funny part? It was working.

After we left Egypt we stayed on the road. It wasn’t like the other times where we’d drive for a few weeks, a couple months, then crash somewhere for a year. No. This time we stayed in the van for a good eight months. Maybe we spent a few consecutive nights in one town, but never longer. Now I had two siblings on the run. One for being born and the other for stealing 42.8 trillion dollars from an international company!

That’s not exactly true. No one knew Chloe had stolen the money. No one had any idea where it was, but she was never linked to the crime in any way. But I wasn’t taking any chances.

It was a big crime. Made international news. Repeatedly. “MorcuCorp! The Company that Sank Overnight!” was a headline I saw many times in multiple languages. And the only lead anyone had was that the money was there one day and gone the next. Without a trace. They were calling it the Perfect Crime.


I made Chloe swear to donate it all to charity the first chance she got.

The thing went on for months, but, eventually, MorcuCorp had to declare bankruptcy. That, in turn, hurt their investors. And, just like Chloe had predicted, Landgraab Labs’ DNA-OD program had a gigantic portion of its funding cut. Finally, after months of legal bitching, DNA-OD got shut down to save other projects.

I never told Chloe about my little involvement with that.

Funding’s one thing, but Dr. Sabrina Funke was pretty damn good at getting funding for her pet projects. She’s one of those people who’re really smart and also really good at talking to people. And not just talking, but getting people to do things for her. Charisma. Dr. Funke’s got that in spades. But I picked up a few things from my mom. Some pointers, a military jacket, and a lot of big-wig contacts.

So, I notified a few of my mom’s old colleagues, anonymously, of course. Some weren’t only military meat-heads. After all, you had to be brave, strong and smart to be an astronaut. I just let ‘em know that some experiments were going down at the Landgraabs Laboratory in Sunset Valley and the funding had been cut. And that someone else had the money to save the Labs from bankruptcy if they complied to a few conditions.


They were quick to agree. Landgraab Labs did a lot of weapons research, after all.

And that’s why we were headed to France. It was a nice, neutral ground to talk business. I’d have to buy a suit.

&&&&

I've added a Downloads page if anyone wants a Mayfield for their very own.

I hope your Holidays were happy this winter! Thanks for reading! ^_^

No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite.
-- David Hilbert

Old 8th Jan 2016, 9:38 PM Default2.24 – Bienvenue en France #32
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2.24 – Bienvenue en France

Chloe’s PoV

I wasn’t sure what to do after Egypt. All I knew was that we had to disappear. Again. We were getting good at it. Once we were across the border though, my mind drew a blank. What are we going to do?

The thrill was gone. All that was left was the fact that I had stolen 42.3 trillion dollars from an international company. What if they found me?!

But Thomas took over. Driving and direction, keeping Medea calm and Shaye in the car. He took us through Greece and Germany and Poland. Then he decided we should head for France.

“I’ve got an idea,” he said with a smile. “Just trust me.”

If it had been anyone else…but it was Thomas. And whenever I’d gotten into something I couldn’t get out of, Thomas always knew what to do. It was just a skill he’d mastered. So, I did. I sat in the passenger seat and watched the miles pass. It was…nice, not having to worry about what to do. Just let someone else take over. Clean up the mess of our lives that I’d only made worse. Consistently.

He did make me swear to donate the money to charity. Not surprising. And better than what I’d thought of, which was just let it float around cyberspace until someone else found it and it became their problem.


“Hey, Shaye?”

“Yup?”

“What’s your favorite charity?” I vaguely remembered her donating her allowance every chance she got. It was a long time ago. Before our lives spiraled into the current semi-chaotic stability.

“Huh?” Shaye scratched her head, a look of extreme puzzlement coming over her face. “I don’t really have a favorite. Just any that needs a bit of help and I can help with.”

Okay. Incorrect word usage. “If you had the money right now, at this moment, what’s a charity you’d donate to?”

Shaye’s eyes got brighter and she beamed at me from the middle seat. She opened her mouth—

“FRANCE!!!!! Ohmygod!!!!”


Lucy’s screech caused Thomas to swerve a bit and Donovan to spill his soda all over the back seat. And, thus, Medea.

“That’s enough of that!” Thomas said firmly after Medea started cursing. “Where’d you learn that?!”

“It’s just the border sign!” Medea snapped. “How many of those have you seen?! Like, fifteen! It’s nothing new! It’s a sign! It means nothing but we’ve crossed an invisible line drawn over the ground by stupid people! It’s stupid!”

Lucy eyes started to water.

“Ah, fuck, I’m sorry, Luce. I snapped. I’m sorry. I’m just tired and cramped up and sick of this van! Please, don’t cry!”

While the twins sorted things out and Donovan attempted a clean up, I dug around the empty fry boxes and old petrol station coffee cups for the map.

“We should be coming up on a bridge soon,” I told Thomas.


“Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Oh! My! GOD!”

“Easy, Luce. Remember to breathe.”

“Champ Les Sims! They have the absolute best art school in the world! In this tiny little town! Ohmygod!”

“Lucy…you’re turning red.”

Thomas just laughed. “Yeah, yeah, we’ll make a point to stop by, okay, Luce?”

A giddy shriek was her response.

“First, we need to find that bed and breakfast. I dunno 'bout the rest of you, but I want a shower. Le Feuilles et de Fleurs, right?”

“Correct,” I replied, digging out another map. This one hand drawn, transcribed from Google Maps onto a convenient napkin. It was crumpled and stained with coffee and jam. “Um, looks like the next right. And…a left?”

“We’re here!”


&&&&

Thanks for reading! ^_^

No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite.
-- David Hilbert

Old 15th Jan 2016, 9:35 PM Default2.25 – New Duds, New Plan #33
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2.25 – New Duds, New Plan

Chloe’s PoV

The first thing we all did, as always, was visit the local market for local-styled dress.


There were stores. Actual stores! With windows and doors and brand new merchandise! Not that we bought new clothing. I may have stolen over 40 trillion simoleons, but we didn’t have that in cash. We had a few hundred on us. It was all that was left of the 20 grand we’d started out with two…three years ago?

We visited an older looking shop, a second-hand store, and spent a few simoleons on cleaner, less tattered clothing.


Shaye finally let go of the dress she’s been hanging onto all these years…the one she’d gotten too tall for back when she was twelve. She found a pair of old bell-bottoms and a tie-dye t-shirt. Lucy immediately zeroed on a rack and vanished, dragging Medea with her. And I let myself browse. There were options! Of all the countries we’d been through, not many (at all) carried my…erhm, size. I found a nice top that fell over my hips and Lucy talked me into a pair of leggings. Not very practical for the lack of pockets, but they were comfortable. Definitely a new but welcome experience.


Thomas seemed to be looking for something in particular. In my opinion, he looked ridiculous, but the shop was out of anything else that fit his shoulders.

“How’s it feel?” I grinned at him.

“Alright, alright! I’m sorry for teasing.” He tried to adjust the shirt and we both heard the riiiiiip. “Damnit!”

“I can fix it!” Lucy volunteered brightly. Medea just looked bored with the whole situation.



“Yeah, sure.” Thomas ran a hand over his face.

I frowned. He looked tired. And troubled. More so than usual, at least. And I didn’t know why.

“Thomas?”

“Hmmm?”

“Are you alright?”

For a second, I thought I saw…but then he flashed a smile and shrugged. “I’m fine! Just not used to these European sizes.”

I watched my younger siblings run past the shop into the center park. Thomas sat down with me on a bench and we watched Shaye and Donovan attempt to scale one of the old trees while Medea yelled at them. Lucy ignored them and snapped a few photos of the architecture.

“We’ll be thrown out of France for disturbing the peace at this rate,” Thomas joked.


“Are you really okay?” I asked bluntly. I’d never seen dark rings under Thomas’s usually happy eyes. And it disturbed me.

He shrugged, but leaned towards me, whispering, “I’m gonna try to end this mess.”

“What?” Does he mean—?

“I’ve got a plan, well kinda. If it works,” he paused, taking a breath. “We might not have to worry about the Labs ever again.”

I stared at him. “Seriously?!” Could he really fix this whole mess?!


“I need you to trust me on this.” He was so serious, I could just nod. “I’ll tell you more later.” And he sat up as Medea stamped over.

I took a deep breath and tried to look nonchalant while Medea ranted about “stupid, hippy wild-child!”

&&&&

Sorry this took so long to get up. Thanks for reading! ^_^

No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite.
-- David Hilbert

Old 27th Jan 2016, 7:54 PM Default2.26 – Chloe's Ways are Interesting #34
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2.26 – Chloe's Ways are Interesting

Minor language ahead! Considered yourself warned!

&&&&

Chloe’s PoV

We took a few days for ourselves. Thomas made a few calls every once in a while, but it was the weekend and no one was answering. Donovan and Lucy had already run off to some haunted mansion or something. Preposterous.


Medea had gone into the backyard of the bed and breakfast and hadn’t come back in for hours. She looked extraordinarily calm, so I wasn’t going to disturb her.


That left Shaye and myself in the house. Thomas as well, but when he wasn’t looking up phone numbers he was practicing what he would say in the mirror.

So…just Shaye and I. We’d never really talked. She was just so…different. At least Lucy and Medea were passionate about certain things. Shaye just wanted to go with the flow. Or leap in a river. Same thing.

“We’re in France,” I mentioned to Shaye. “Is there anything you want to do?”

She pondered this, scratching her head.


“Maybe the nectary? That’d be cool.”

I wasn’t exactly thrilled, but I had asked. And I still needed to figure out what charities to donate the money to. Looked like I was spending time with Shaye at the nectary.


The Champ Les Sims Nectary was fascinating! We’d joined a tour, but Shaye had ran off to the garden soon after our arrival. I was curious about the technology they used and so stuck around.


I sampled a few different nectars. A few were too strange for me. But I really did like the blackberry nectar. It was very refreshing and sweet. I had a few glasses.


At some point, Shaye turned up and we tried a few other nectars together. I talked her into trying out making nectar, and she declared it her new favorite hobby.


Shaye did mention a few charities she remembered donating to. And, as it seemed nectar was a good way to jog her memory, I let her drink as much as she wanted. We ended up splitting a bottle and not getting back until after dark.

It was a good day.


&&&&

Thomas’s PoV


“Yes. Thank you for your time, ma’am.” I ended the call. I stared at the receiver for a moment. I had a week before the official landed. One week to plan my argument. One week to prepare any counter-arguments. One week to set up a backup plan. One week.

I went to shove my hands in my pockets and grumbled when I just felt smooth cloth. I took a deep breath, smoothed my vest and exited the building.


“How did it go?” Chloe asked immediately. She’d been waiting outside the entire call, fiddling with her vest.

I sat down and ran a hand through my hair, trying to find the right words. I couldn’t. “Okay. It was okay. Things are moving.”

“But?”

“But.” I took a breath. “It’s not a hundred percent that this’ll work.” I looked across the table at Chloe. She was chewing her lower lip. “I need you to do me a favor.”

The effect was instant. She sat up taller, folded her hands neatly on the table and stared right at me. “What do you need?”

Good ‘ol Chloe. I took a breath, then leaned forward. “You’ve got access to…information, right?”

She looked confused, but nodded. “What kind?”

“I got a name.” I passed her the slip of paper I’d been crumpling for the past ten minutes. “Find anything you can. I just wanna know who I’m dealing with.” We’d agreed that’d I’d be the one talking. Chloe’d sit in the van and do tech stuff.

Chloe sighed and grinned. “That’s easy. What else?”


“Well, maybe look into…a backup plan? Maybe a way to force them into releasing rights to Donovan? Or a distraction for escape. Anything.”

A grim look crossed her face. She nodded once.

“Any thoughts?”

“Well, I could blackmail them.” She pulled out a pad of paper and started to flip through it. “Blackmail. Extortion. I could sell Landgraab Institute secrets to their competitors. I could bankrupt them directly, but that could set the world back a generation in terms of scientific progress. I could collapse the European economy. I could—” She glanced up at me.

I couldn’t breathe. It’s a weird feeling, knowing your sister could collapse countries. “Um…” I tried to smile.


Chloe reached over and steadied me. “Should I not tell you?” She handed me her water bottle.

“Yeah,” I wheezed. “That’d probably be best. In fact, don’t tell anyone. Ever. That’s all we need. Heh.” I gulped down some water.

We settled into a silence. Her staring out into space before making furious scribbles. Me just sitting, focusing on not focusing on her. I had told her to pull out all the stops, no holds barred. I might’ve opened Pandora’s box.

But this was a last ditch effort. All or nothing. If I succeeded, we could settle down. If I failed…well, then it’d be Chloe’s turn. My goal was to not let it get to that. Collapse the European economy. Holy shit.

&&&&

Thanks for reading! ^_^

No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite.
-- David Hilbert

Last edited by FluffyMao! : 12th Feb 2016 at 5:26 PM.
Old 12th Feb 2016, 5:24 PM Default2.27 – Build Up #35
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2.27 – Build Up

Minor language ahead! Considered yourself warned!

&&&&

Thomas’s PoV

Five days. The less time I had, the more focused I became. I spent nights awake, scribbling notes on what to say, practicing arguments in front of the mirror.


Chloe didn’t say where she’d gotten her info, not that I asked, but it was invaluable. At the very least, it gave me a few openers. An ambitious man, and lucky enough to be born into a wealthy family. The guy also had a wife and a kid. I could ease into a discussion about the relinquishment of the DNA-OD project rites. Start with something a bit light but more substantial than, “Oh, how’s the weather? You don’t like rain? That’s too bad.”


And, as Chloe’d been quick to point out, it also gave me an edge over him. Knowing about the guy’s family, the address of his kid’s prep school, where his wife got her hair done. Yeah, things like that could turn a conversation. It was my backup plan. If I couldn’t talk him into an agreement, I could blackmail or threaten. I didn’t like it. But it was that or…collapse the European economy.

And this’s what my life’s become. I rubbed my eyes tiredly. Fuck.


&&&&

Chloe’s PoV

Four days left. Thomas and I kept to ourselves, rarely conversing with anyone else. He had to account for every possible counter-argument he could. I helped with that. I wasn’t president of the debate club back in high school for nothing. But he had to spin everything in such a way that he sounded like he had the best possible business plan for Landgraab Labs.

I had several plans in place just in case Thomas couldn’t get through to the agent. A few keystrokes and the seventh circle of hell would be unleashed. Figuratively speaking, of course.



These things I didn’t mention to Thomas. He flinched whenever I took out my computer. It got to the point that I just researched charities whenever he was in the room.

With a few suggestions from Shaye, I’d decided to partition the lump sum out to multiple charities, in order to have a better chance of avoiding detection. I’d donated the first hundred million simoleons to a charity helping children learn to read. The second went to a no-kill animal shelter in Appaloosa Plains. The third to an art school in Bridgeport. The fourth to a veterinary in Aurora Skies. The fifth to a government drop library in Lucky Palms. The list went on and on. And it hardly put a dent in the money.


After another day of trawling through lists of charities Shaye, Thomas and Daddy had ever donated to, I took a break. I drug up some energy and started looking into escape plans. A cheap bottle of nectar, some bleach, a box of baking soda

&&&&

Thomas’s PoV


Three days.

Wake up. Shower. Feel the hot water and think about nothing else. Get dressed. Get to work. That had become my schedule. I couldn’t handle anything else at that point.


As time crept closer and closer to the date, I got closer and closer to losing it completely. Peace and stability for all of us were right there in front of me. If I fucked up, peace was the last things we’d have. It was okay. It was fine. All I had to do was convince an international laboratory to give up their research right at the forefront of extraterrestrial study. Yep.

&&&&

Chloe’s PoV

Two days. Stay calm.

I hadn’t achieved sleep for days. I hadn’t stopped working for 34 hours. My last cup of coffee had been seven hours ago. I was exhausted. But I couldn’t sleep. Every time I tried, I would lie awake, staring up at the ceiling. If I closed my eyes, I would picture the network detailing how everything could go wrong. There were only three branches on that convoluted tree that lead to happy endings, and they all hinged on Thomas’s talk.


Damn you, Murphy.

&&&&

Thomas’s PoV

One day. Oh my god.

Every morning I woke up and had a brief freak-out. Just let out all the anxiety, take a hot shower, then get to work. I worked better that way. Could focus more. It also helped cut down the number of times I’d space out, just staring at a wall gibbering.



I spent the day wracking my brain, trying to find some angle I’d forgotten to cover. I’d practice my arguments repeatedly, then drag Chloe out of her hole to pick them apart for me. She was good at it.


Over the week, I think both of us saw daylight a grand total of three times. The room I shared with Donovan had a window, so it might not count for much. Chloe had taken to hiding in the cellar, muttering numbers under her breath and sketching out bits of chemical equations by a weak lamplight.

If it wasn’t for Donovan, I think both of us would’ve starved.


&&&&

I don't know if I mentioned this, but I've started using a custom skin and some replacement default eyes as of the last couple of chapters. The skin is Gumdrop by Simtzu over on tumblr, and the eyes are Ultra-Plain Eyes by tamo here on ModTheSims. In case anyone was curious.

Thanks for reading! ^_^

No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite.
-- David Hilbert

Old 12th Feb 2016, 5:42 PM Default2.28 – Blow Out #36
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2.28 – Blow Out

Minor language ahead! Considered yourself warned!

&&&&

Chloe’s PoV

3 hours. 10800 seconds…10728 seconds…10664 seconds…10527 sec

“If you keeping pacing, I swear to GOD I’ll kill you!” Medea snarled from the breakfast table, stabbing at her pancakes.


I forced myself to stop. Then to sit down.

“So…”

“Please don’t,” Medea interrupted, giving me a LOOK. “We all know you suck at small talk. Today’s the big day. Everyone knows what to do. Thomas’s gonna talk down some dude. Shaye and Lucy’re gonna camp out in the woods, and I’m sticking to Donny like glue. If you give the signal, we all know what to do. It’s all good. We got a game plan. No sense in worrying before the first play.” She glared at me. “So shut up and eat!”


I’ll never get used to her. But I got up and grabbed a plate of pancakes.


It was true. Thomas and I had broken the news the night before. Neither of us saw a good reason to keep the plan from our siblings. They needed to know. After all, if Thomas succeeded, we could settle down, maybe work on getting a house. And if he didn’t… “They have the right to know that we’re all fucked,” as he had put it.


Speaking of which… I watched Thomas come down the stairs, his smile somewhat tense. Shaye stumbled in after him, grabbing some breakfast before collapsing at the table.


“Good,” Thomas began, rubbing his hands together. “We’re all here!”

I glanced around. I hadn’t seen Donovan enter, but who else would have actually cooked? Hearing my thoughts, he gave a cheery wave at me. Lucy sat next to him, engrossed in her monologue on camera film. Shaye still looked a little bleary-eyed but awake.


“Alrighty, you all know what to do, right?” Thomas asked. We all nodded. “Okay then. Let’s hop to it!”

We scattered.


Thomas headed for town square. He would meet up with the agent at the cafe. Depending on how that talk went, he’d give me one of two signals. Good or bad


Donovan ran off towards the edge of town, Medea trailing behind him. She’d grumbled all night, but we all knew who the most physically capable of us was and it wasn’t Thomas. If anyone could keep up with Donovan and keep him out of harm’s way, it was Medea. He’d been told to hide out somewhere inaccessible.


Shaye and Lucy had orders to leave town, camping out if necessary until I gave the signal. Lucy had offered to stay with Donovan, but Thomas and I had agreed that we’d all be better off if we stuck to very small groups. Besides, someone had to keep an eye on Shaye.


As for me, I took the van out of town towards a high outlook. It was the only spot outdoors that could bee seen from anywhere within a five mile radius. It also gave me a good view of the center of town. Everyone looked like ants, but I could distinguish Thomas. It was perfect. I set up my gear. And then the waiting began.


&&&&

Thomas’s PoV

I’m starting to really miss pockets, I grumbled to myself, having again tried to stuff my hands in pants pockets that just weren’t there.


As I walked down the street towards town center, I went over my opening arguments again. First point, lack of funding to the project could mean an overall loss to other projects and result in the Labs losing scientific prestige. Second point, selling the rights to the experiment would provide funding to other areas of the Labs, preventing bankruptcy. Third point— I glanced up.


The agent stood alone by a table outside the cafe. It looked like he’d just arrived, but was already impatient, glancing around. André Lefebvre. One of the younger agents they could have sent, but incredibly skilled. There’d be no fooling about with this guy. All or nothing.

I took a deep breath and squared my shoulders. Game time.

“Ah! Monsieur Thompson! I am pleased to meet you at last!”


&&&&

Chloe’s PoV

Oh, god! My heart leapt into my throat when Thomas greeted the blond man.

“Stay calm,” I reminded myself. “Stay calm.” I took a steadying breath and peered through my binoculars again.



They were talking. Of course, that is the entire point, I chided myself. But that’s all. I scrutinized the plaza. Despite the time, there was hardly anyone around. There was the general store shopkeeper and that funny little merchant and the owner of the cafe. No one else.

I wasn’t entirely convinced. I stared hard at every nook and cranny until my eyes watered and the sun slowly fell. There were no other agents or persons listening in on the conversation.


Not a soul. I pondered that. Maybe this is really it. Maybe…it can all be over

I crossed my fingers and trained my binoculars back on Thomas.


&&&&

Thomas’s PoV

Practicing had definitely paid off. After I’d laid out my proposition, he’d started firing off questions, but I had a logical answer for everything he threw at me.


And he liked what he heard!


“And that’s how the Labs can further their research without infringing upon patent laws,” I concluded.

Lefebvre made a few notes in a small notebook before smiling at me. “Monsieur Thompson, thank you for your insight into the Landgraab Industries financial plight. I believe what you have proposed is quite sound and will agree with both our organizations.”

“Please, my client is merely a private investor looking to the continued advancement of the sciences,” I lied through my teeth.


“Of course,” and he smiled. “I shall report back to my superior and we shall contact you shortly with the rights to the DNA-OD experiment. I’m afraid, as I mentioned early, all specimen are unobtainable at the moment, but the rights to which will also be given to you in exchange for your client’s financial backing as soon as possible.”

“I believe we are done for today! Again, I thank you for your time and generous contribution!” He grabbed his coat, smiled again and turned away.

Oh, god, was it over?! Did I

“Oh!”

My head jerked up and I stood to attention. “Yes, Monsieur Lefebvre?”

“I trust that this discussion will remain between the two of us? If word of the Industries, shall we say, shaky financial standing, it would not be pleasant for either of us.”


“Not a word, monsieur. My client is a rather private individual. You can rest assured that this meeting travels between the Industries and my client and no farther.” I smiled.

“Thank you, again, Monsieur Thompson. And good day!” And he walked off.


I turned around and marched towards the cafe before collapsing into chair. After a few minutes of just sitting after standing for the last few hours, I ordered a coffee. I smiled and sipped it. I did it!


Chloe would handle the rest. Sure enough, a few minutes later I heard the soft popping of a firecracker.

&&&&

Chloe’s PoV

I watched the agent turn to leave, then turn back to Thomas. I held my breath. Why would he turn back?! His lips moved and he nodded once, but ended up leaving after a few tense minutes. I couldn’t breathe, all of my being focused on the figure of Thomas. He stood still. Then, once the agent was completely out of sight, marched into a storefront.

“The cafe!” I leapt to my feet, then jumped again, just for the sheer joy. “He went to the cafe! We’re safe! It’s over! Fuck! YES!” I just laughed and laughed, barely remembering to light the fuse on my homemade firecracker.


I ran down the hill towards the van, covering my ears and laughing as the slowly darkening sky light up in brilliant red sparkles.

It’s all over!



&&&&

Woo! All done!

Thanks for reading! ^_^

No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite.
-- David Hilbert

Old 12th Feb 2016, 6:09 PM Default2.29 – Ce Que le Cœur Veut #37
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2.29 – Ce Que le Cœur Veut

Google translate says that the title is: "What the Heart Wants"

Minor language ahead! Considered yourself warned!

&&&&

Chloe’s PoV

True to his word, the agent had the rights to Donovan to us within a week. It was the happiest day…in a long time.


I was finally rid of most of the money I’d taken. A good chunk of it was sent off to Landgraab Industries, as an investing donation from ‘Molly Briggard’, one of my many aliases. Most of the rest to various charities. Now that his mind was free of troubles, Thomas was more than happy to share our misbegotten wealth with the world.


And the rest? The last 300 thousand simoleons? I eventually had an idea for that money.

&&&&

Thomas’s PoV

I stared at the shop. In there was a phone for public use. Local calls were free, but the international fees weren’t bad. I still had a fiver on me.


This is stupid, I told myself as I stood up. I stretched out my arms, just to prevent myself from walking forward. My back cracked from sitting for so long.

I was supposed to be looking into jobs around town, something long term. Chloe was looking into schools for our siblings. Lucy was ecstatic about the possibility of attending the local art school. Medea was looking forward to getting a learner’s permit for driving, and Shaye, well…Shaye was still Shaye. Donovan was his own person! He had an official birth certificate now! Everything was straightening out after the fucked up journey we’d gone through.


Are you really gonna toss all that away? I asked myself.

Chloe’d said how word probably hadn’t gotten to Dr. Funke yet, so we should still be careful. But it was more a matter of avoiding cause for lawsuit than the risk of losing our brother.


I found myself walking through the cafe’s front door. I picked up the receiver and dialed a number burned into my brain since high school. It rang twice before a voice crackled over the line.

“Hello?”

My breath caught in my throat. Of everyone who could’ve answered…Her voice was beautiful.


“Hello? Is anyone there?”

I slammed the phone down and leaned against the wall, breathing hard. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

I ran back outside and down the street.

You moron! She’d sounded lovely. What if Funke finds us? A bit irritated, but the voice of an angel. Stupid!

I slowed to a stroll and took the road out of town up towards the nectary. I balled my fists tight against my sides, as I still didn’t have pants pockets.


I imagined another universe, one where I’d actually stayed on the line. One where she’d known it was me.

“Hello, yeah, it’s been a while.”

She’d ask me what I’d been up to.

“Not much. How ‘bout you?”

She’d talk about her day. How her job was going. How her brother was still an asshole.

And I couldn’t think of anything else. Nothing that could be communicated over a phone call. I shoved my hands in my pockets and laughed. “I don’t even know why I called her!” Yes, you do! I squeezed my eyes shut and stopped walking, taking a deep breath.


“I just wanted to hear her voice again.”

Stupid!

&&&&

Chloe’s PoV

I was feeling very good. I wasn’t sure why exactly. Must be an excess of dopamine after all the stress. Whatever the reason, it had caused me to agree to take Shaye to the nectary again. She wanted to learn more about nectar making. Lucy was along so I could drop her off at the art school for her first lesson. She wasn’t fully enrolled, and Thomas and I were still in the consideration process, but one or two art classes would keep her happy for a while.

“You have your phone?” It was one of the first purchases I’d made once I’d known we were safe, the latest in communication technology. But that hadn’t stopped Shaye from cracking the screen on hers the first time she even held it.


Lucy nodded, waved at Shaye and I, and ran off across the lawn.

“Call me when you’re done!” I shouted after her.


Then it was on to the nectary.


Shaye was quite happy to be left to it, but I had to stay in the building. Something about teenagers having a responsible adult near in case of emergencies. I resisted the urge to correct the man’s label of me as "responsible" in any meaning of the word. My track record spoke otherwise.

I had no desire to watch my sister destroy fruit with her feet, so I made my way to the lounge to do something I hadn’t done since high school. I played a computer game.


It was an MMORPG I’d gotten sucked into the month before. So far, I’d joined a small guild and had taken part in a few extragalactic missions. I was working on owning my own spacecraft.

I was just idly grinding when something caught my eye. Something you could do was set up a billboard to advertise something, sometimes a new planet or a shop that had opened. This was land on Centos 6: Buy a beach house right on the Grivvard Volcanic Lake!

It got me thinking.



I did some cursory research and was pleasantly surprised with my findings. I checked the family funds. That’s plenty! I’d have to speak to Thomas about it, but I had a feeling he wouldn’t be opposed. After all, he’d been humming tunes and scribbling music bars for the past month. I hadn’t seen him so musical since high school!

I wonder what real estate is available

&&&&

Thanks for reading! ^_^

No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite.
-- David Hilbert

Old 24th Feb 2016, 7:10 PM Default2.30 – Finding Home #38
FluffyMao!
Original Poster

Lab Assistant

Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 67
Thanks: 66 in 1 Posts
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2.30 – Finding Home

Thomas’s PoV

“What do you think?” Chloe asked.

I didn’t trust myself to answer.


Go back to Sunset Valley?! The place where all our troubles had started?! Where we’d been running from for four years?! Where She was.

Unbiased, Thomas, unbiased, I reminded myself. But damnit! I wasn’t good at purely logical like Chloe was! All I could think was seeing...Her. Actually seeing her! Talking to her! Watching her lips move as she spoke.

“Thomas?”

Damnit, focus!

“Uh…”

“I know it’s a bit contradictory to everything we’ve discussed previously, but…” Chloe trailed off, chewing her lip. Then she took a deep breath. “I’d really, really like to settle down!”



“In Sunset Valley?” I asked, just to be sure. She gave a sharp nod.

“Oh, god…you know I’m all for this!” I ran a hand through my hair. “I just don’t know if it’s a good idea for Donovan!” Unbiased, unbia— “Chloe! What’re the odds that we’ll have problems with Funke if we move back to Sunset Valley?”

Chloe was probably the most unbiased person I knew. Even if she was for something, she could still analyze it without emotional attachment. If she says it’s not good, it’s not good. We’ll stick with

“She retired.”

I stared at Chloe, my entire thought process derailed. “What?”

“Dr. Funke retired from Landgraab Industries.” She passed me a printout of a newspaper article. The newspaper was the Valley Daily.


“She’s retired,” she repeated as I read. “Dr. Bunch took over for her.”

“Holy shit,” I murmured. I glanced back up to Chloe. “We can go home!”

She smiled and nodded, looking as giddy as I felt.


Chloe’s PoV

It took time. Getting everyone’s travel papers straightened. Transferring funds from my cyber-storage into an actual bank account. Finding the right house. But six months later, we were on the road again. This time traveling home.


Surprisingly, it was Medea who caught on first.

“Is that…” she trailed off, then leaned forward. “Was that the Simica border?”

Thomas and I kept carefully silent. She pursed her lips and leaned back. She continued to stare out the window, unmoving.


“Holy shit! That’s the Valley!” Medea hollered several hours later. “I fuckin’ knew it!

“Medea! Language!” Thomas immediately chided, but his words were swiftly drowned out with the shrieks and babble suddenly emitting from the back of the van as four excited teenagers fought for window space.

I smiled as we drove through the town square.


“The Valley’s really expanded,” Thomas muttered to me, staring out his window. “I don’t remember so many shops being on main street.”

“No,” I agreed, glancing at the once empty lots, now filled with shops of all kinds. “Those are definitely new.”


We drove through the main town before taking the road up towards Summer Hill. That had been expanded as well.

“The Altos have company now!” Thomas whistled softly.


“I heard that Mrs. Alto is considering retiring from the political scene.”

“Really?!”

“Yes, Malcolm was talking about it. Apparently, his mother was ecstatic.”

“You got back in touch with Malcolm?!”

“Of course. Why wouldn’t I?”

Thomas didn’t respond. He peered backwards, down towards the main valley, a wistful look in his eyes.

I followed the road past the Alto’s huge and very pink estate and back down towards the ocean front.


“So,” Medea began. “Where’re we going?”

I smirked.

“Well,” Thomas responded, turning in his seat to face her. “We’re going to our new home.”

I’ll always treasure the absolute speachlessness that came over Medea the moment our new house came into view.


&&&&

The world I'm using is Sunset Valley Second Edition by LynxAQ, specifically the Final version (thank geeks for higher laptop specs!). It's a regular Sunset Valley map that's been opened up, with more space for houses and new lots. Things have been rearranged a little, but I've tried to make sure everything matches up with the original Sunset Valley. If you're interested, the new abode of the Mayfields is located at 100 Landon's End.

Thanks for reading! ^_^

No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite.
-- David Hilbert

Old 29th Feb 2016, 8:41 PM Default2.31 – House Tour #39
FluffyMao!
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 67
Thanks: 66 in 1 Posts
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2.31 – House Tour

Chloe’s PoV

It was a very large house. And very empty. That was the first thing I noticed.


The large entrance was over two stories high and completely empty except for the fireplace. It sat in the center of the room, looking very lonely.

Of course it’s empty, I thought. We hadn’t ordered any furniture. There hadn’t exactly been much money left over. But Thomas and I had made sure to have kitchen appliances and bathroom amenities installed before we arrived. I peeked through the closest door. A small bathroom. Or…powder room?


The bathless bathroom was proof that the installations had taken place. Now, where’s that kitchen?

Donovan’s squeal of glee answered my question.

Tucked into the far corner of the overly large entrance was a small, but fully outfitted kitchen area.


“Everything’s stainless steel?!”

I nodded while Medea snickered.

“We figured if you’re gonna cook, you might as well have the right equipment,” Thomas said with a smile.


While Donovan squealed over His kitchen, Thomas and I continued touring the house. There hadn’t been many pictures available online. But finding a house with a minimum of 5 bedrooms wasn’t exactly easy, and we ended up just buying the first one we saw that could fit us all.

There were the stairs to the promised basement, and a set leading up to the second floor.


“There were apparently some washer and dryer fittings already installed down there,” Thomas said, pointing down. “So the laundry room should already be set.”

I nodded and peeked through the next door. A full bathroom.


Across the hall were two bedrooms. The large windows bothered me a bit, but I already had a plan to tint them.


The first floor ended with a large open area, windows on all sides looking out towards the sea.


“You gotta admit,” Thomas murmured as we stood there. “The view’s pretty amazing.”

“It is,” I sighed. “It really is.” Even if it was dreary and rainy, the view was still beautiful.


Eventually, we made are way upstairs. There was supposed to be another two bathrooms and four bedrooms, as well as a way up to the third floor studio. And that’s what we found. As well as a bickering set of twins and Shaye flopped on the floor of what she declared to be Her Room.

“The energy here is amaaaaaazing,” Shaye drawled out.

“Shut up, Shaye!” Medea yelled.


“Why should you get the room with the window room?!” she continued to Lucy, in the midst of some kind of argument.

Surprisingly, Lucy didn’t back down. Instead she smiled sweetly and said “So you can get that amazing balcony overlooking the ocean. It’s a perfect outdoor training area! For all your martial arts…stuff.” She leaned closer to her twin. “It’s also the furthest from Shaye’s room!”


Medea’s head whipped up from where she’d been glaring daggers at the floor. She glanced at the door of Shaye’s room and back towards a pair of doors. She seemed to be calculating.

She gave Lucy a nod. “You got it,” and she marched away.

Lucy grinned and ran after her.


Thomas looked at me incredulously. “What was that about?”

“Deciding who gets which room, I guess?” I shrugged. I’d never seen Lucy so…shrewd. I suppose when you share a room with someone for so long, you learn how to handle them. I shared a glance with Thomas.

The second floor was as open and empty as the first floor had been.


“We’re gonna have to find something to fill in all this space,” Thomas said, spreading his arms wide and smiling.

“Indeed,” I responded, nodding. I glanced over the railing at the floor below. “Donovan! The twins are taking all the good rooms!”

“Oh, gosh!”

I heard frantic scrambling before Donovan’s head poked over the stairwell.

“Too slow, buddy,” Thomas chuckled. “Shaye’s got that one, Lucy’s got that one, and Medea took the corner room. That leaves you that one.”


Donovan pouted a moment before bounding through the door. The room quickly filled with declarations of how “this room was clearly the best, of course” and “where’s my relic collection gonna go.”

“I guess that leaves us with the two downstairs rooms,” Thomas chuckled.

“I suppose.” I began thinking of that tint and what I’d require to make it.

“Unless you want to camp out in the basement,” Thomas continued, heading back downstairs.

The idea had appeal. “Actually, that’s not a ba—”

“Christ, Chloe! No! I was joking! You’re not living in the basement! Jesus Christ!” And my dear brother stormed away, muttering about vampires and mad scientists.

“Thomas, I was joking. Thomas?"


It was good to have a home.


&&&&

I've updated a lot of the Miscellaneous and Family Album pages over on The Mayfields blog. I've also put some Mayfields up for download (stored on Google Drive).

Thanks for reading! ^_^

No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite.
-- David Hilbert

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