Log 5.37: Chicken Crossing

[This is part of the #wheresfree collab – more info here.]

Free-Jon had been looking forward to adulthood for much of his life. No school, no homework, no more of this “everybody telling you what to do just because they’re older than you” stuff – instead, a sim could be and do whatever he or she wanted, no matter how outlandish it sounded to others. Childhood was for trying on ideas and adulthood was for living them out, right?

He hadn’t decided yet, though, what he wanted to be when he grew up – he needed a little more play time in order to accomplish that, and it seemed that the adult world put a serious damper on play time.

Why can't I play on this thing?
I see the steps, but they might as well be ninety billion quadriplexles away!

What Free-Jon really needed, he decided, was a rewind button. He was gonna have to ask Ace about that once he got done talking on the phone.

“Like the one Sterling Rover has on that old cassette recorder of his,” Free remembered aloud. “I bet Ace could make me one of those!”

A familiar voice interrupted his thoughts.

“Now, what if I come in from the opposite angle..”

At first he wasn’t sure if it was coming from inside his head or outside of it.

5.37-dad

“Dad??” Free-Jon asked.

“Hey now – maybe I should be calling you that!” the man laughed good-naturedly, referring to their age difference.

5.37-dad-dude

This was, of course, not Free-Jon’s dad. This was the original Elder Wolff, many moons after he’d been saved to the Gallery to become the copy of Elder Wolff that would go on to be Free-Jon’s father. This Elder remained behind only so that his first family could remember him if they needed to. His parents, now long gone, wouldn’t. But his sisters Edelweiss and Easter Lily, though occupied with their own lives and children, sometimes did. And while that arrangement probably seemed sad to players and Simselves, Elder Wolff was perfectly content with it.

Free-Jon understood all this. But standing right here, looking right at him, Free-Jon still felt that this Elder Wolff was his dad. His eyes started to get watery; he couldn’t help it.

5.37-sad-baby

“You seem to be carrying a heavy load, friend,” Elder noticed.

“Want to talk about it? I’m a pretty good listener.”

Where to start? That he missed his mom and dad? That he was really far from home and didn’t know how to get back? That he had misplaced his best friend and felt lost without her?

“Ace thinks I should take off my hat,” Free-Jon blurted.

Well, that was specific. Elder stifled his chuckle, as he could tell the subject wasn’t so funny to the man. He thought for a moment before answering.

“And what do you think?” he asked.

“I like hats,” Free-Jon said. “They’re fun. I don’t wanna have to be serious just ’cause I’m old now.”

“That makes sense,” Elder nodded.

“But he says this one is dangerous.”

“Well, I could see that, too,” Elder agreed. “But only because it might make it real easy to forget to take breaks between exercise sometimes.”

Free-Jon considered that.

“They do make other animal hats, you know. Like my personal favorite..”  Elder bent down for a second, and spun into his own animal hat.

BAWWWWWWWK
“BAWWWWWWWK!”
“I’ve been practicing that! Ha, ha!”

Free-Jon snorted, “A chicken? No way! I gotta get one of those!”

Elder slapped his knee. “Well, it just so happens I’ve been looking for a home for this one.”

“NO WAY!!

“Way!” said Elder. “I never wear it – might as well give it to someone who can appreciate it.”

“Thanks, Da– dude!”

“You got it.”

Free-Jon put on his new hat and immediately felt like a weight had been lifted. Ace probably would have said something lame like, “Because that -40 Comfort debuff finally wore off,” but Free-Jon knew better.

5.37-happy-kidman

“Hey, we have the same shoes!” Free-Jon noticed.

“Well, look at that!” Elder laughed. “Great minds dress alike?”

“Yeah!”

5.37-same-shoes

“Hey, do you want my Owl hat?” Free-Jon asked. “I don’t need it now.”

Elder smiled. “Sure, why not?”

Free-Jon gulped and handed his old hat over.

Elder put it on.

“How do I look?” he modeled.

“‘Totally awesome,’ right?”

“You look like a plum.” Free-Jon chuckled.

“Excellent!” joked Elder. “Just the look I was going for.”

“Well, it’s been great meeting you,” Elder said, “and thanks for the hat! But I’ve gotta fly. Smell ya later, dude?”

“Smell ya later,” Free-Jon said back.

5.37-bye

“.. Dad.”

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Log 5.36: Apocalypse Later

[This is part of the #wheresfree collab – more info here.]

Ace Sloan stayed the night at the apocalypse bunker with his strange guest. He decided to let Free-Jon sleep in the next morning while he tidied up a bit.

5.36-sleepin-freej

Since Ace’s parents Stuart and Reagan split up, his pop had been spending most nights there. Not because he didn’t get along with Reagan any more; their relationship remained amicable. Stuart just felt safer there. Ace had been checking in on him a few times a week.

But he still won't clean up after himself.
Sometimes the water is actually in the planters..

Stuart had initially built the bunker to specs for an Apocalypse Challenge, convinced that the Get to Work game pack would bring about the End Times. It hadn’t, but Stuart had been living as though it had.

To everyone else, the bunker mostly functioned as a retail space, selling collectibles and seeds and whatever odds and ends the family had been hoarding over the years. Ace remembered helping his pop set up the business.

"I know - we'll call it Thunderdome!"
“I know – we’ll call it Thunderdome!

“That’s the cage that people fight in, dad,” Ace had corrected. “The market was called –”

“Naw, it’s from Mad Max, y’know?” Stuart had interrupted. “Thunderdome!

.
“You know, with the guy with the hair! FREEDOMMM!

“How about Bartertown?” Ace had suggested gently. “That’s also from Mad Max, and might be a bit more inviting to customers.”

“Ooh, I like how you think, boy. Bartertown!” Stuart had decided, and Ace considered it a victory even though Stuart still had his Mel Gibsons mixed up.

5.36-stuart-1
“I gotta get me one o’ them kilts.”

Ace owed his abysmal high school grades in part to having to look after his pop. But it wouldn’t be entirely accurate to blame Stuart — it was also true that Ace often just had better things to do with his time than attend class.

5.36-distractions-3

For a legacy brat, Ace’s best friend Freesia Wolff was pretty cool. She had this theory that coffee shops were the perfect place to try on new identities: the staff pretty much had to engage you in conversation about your day and stuff, and they couldn’t really challenge what you answered so you could talk a lot and refine your story. So the two of them would ditch school and pretend to be newlyweds, travelling dignitaries, out-of-town college students, or whatever else came out of her mouth at the moment.

"Hello, class. Welcome to Creative Lying 101."
“Hello, class. Welcome to Creative Lying 101.”

Of course by now they were pretty much regulars at the Belltower Bakery, so it was a bit more difficult to pass themselves off as other sims. But they found other ways to entertain themselves.

You had to sit by the boob lamp.
“You had to sit by the boob lamp.”
x
“I dunno, I think it looks more regal than mammary. Sort of like a jellyfish.”
v
“It’s like a glowing, jellyfish oracle.. Maybe we should ask it a question.”
“O, Wise Queen Jellyboob! When will you look upon us and deliver us from the mindless servitude that is High School?”

Ace wouldn’t see Freesia today, though; he had another Free to help, and that one was proving to be a different kind of handful.

It was, he imagined, a bit like babysitting a puppy.

5.36-energized-owl

Free-Jon panted. “I’m Dangerously Tired but I feel like running!”

“You shouldn’t do that,” said Ace over the sizzle of the frying pan. “Elderly overexertion is on the list of death types for Legacy points.”

"That one's pretty common, too - I'd be careful!"
“Our player doesn’t have that one yet, either – I’d be careful!”

“But I’m still Energized!” whined Free-Jon.

“That’s just your hat,” Ace explained. “It’s feeding you a steady stream of artificial mood boosters.”

“Nuh-uh!” Free-Jon gasped.

"Is this like when you called me a cyborg?!"
“I already told you, I don’t watch those creepy cyborg movies!”

“Take it off and see.”

“No way!”

“Because you believe me,” Ace posited.

“No I don’t!” Free-Jon denied. “I just like it, okay??”

Ace shrugged. “Okay.”

Even if you were right
“Even if you were right, and I’m not saying you are, I would still wear it! So there!”

“Fine,” Ace conceded. “Keep the hat.”

“You stink,” grumbled Free-Jon after a silent huff.

Ace ignored him and continued cooking.

“You stink like Limburger,” Free-Jon pouted.

“Good thing you like cheese,” Ace said, finally presenting him with lunch.

5.36-lunch-is-served

You made grilled cheese?!
“You made grilled cheese?!”

Free-Jon snort-laughed. For all his complaining, he was starting to like his host. And he especially liked the grilled cheese sandwiches.

5.36-grilled-cheese

“I wish you were my cousin,” said Free between mouthfuls.

5.36-gracious-host

Ace smiled. Though he had the body of an old man, Free-Jon was really still just a kid. And he wasn’t all that bad once you understood that.

“Eat up,” Ace winked. “There’s a park near here we can go check out afterward.”

. . . .

Thanks to Jordan for Emelia; CathyTea for Free-Jon; BilMonaghan for the Sloan DNA; and RachelRosebud for the lovely Belltower Bakery. ❤

Log 5.35: Time/Space Oopsie

[This is part of the #wheresfree collab – more info here.]

As the fourth generation spare to the Johnson Legacy family, and daughter of the self-proclaimed supervillain Fey Johnson, Emelia Johnson’d had a lot of strange days before. But this one took the maple-bacon cupcake.

The last thing she remembered doing was delivering a carefully worded warning to her young friend Free-Jon about the importance of timing to what they were about to do. That conversation replayed in her mind now.

Free:  “You’re sure we can’t stay just a little bit longer?”

Em:  “Not if we don’t want to get sucked into an infinite time vortex that will simultaneously age us up and down and eventually destroy our coding forever.”

“Yeah..” Emelia regretted aloud, “I really shouldn’t have said that.”

But it was a bit too late to take it back. Here she was, hurled across time and space only to land a familiarish place, in the relative present.. in a rapidly-aged body.

“I think the best one can say in a situation like this is, ‘Whoops!‘”

Emelia ran her fingers over the network of wrinkles that now stretched across the top of her right hand. Wow, she thought, old lady skin is soft.  Being something of a scientific Genius, she was quite curious about the changes her body had just undergone – were she at home, she could run some tests.. But there wasn’t time to dilly-dally now.

Emelia and Free-Jon had come here because he wanted to visit his cousins, the Wolffs, who he hadn’t seen since his grandmother Cooper’s funeral. But the portal they’d stepped through to get here was nowhere in sight, and neither was Free-Jon. Luckily, Emelia had a powerful tool at her disposal: a device known in the common vernacular as a Time/Space Thingy.

5.35-em-thingy

Emelia had acquired her Time/Space Thingy during her months in Bilmonaghan’s world. Many important people there carried them – it enabled them to safely travel between locations, across saved games and even to different hard drives. This device was specially attuned to her – all she had to do was hold it and concentrate her intentions, and she could find familiar places or people just like that.

“All I have to do is just..”

Take me to Free-Jon.
Take me to Free-Jon.

But it wasn’t working.

“What the frick-frack?! Why won’t it work!”

Emelia refocused her intentions and concentrated with all her will, but the Time/Space Thingy just sat in her hand like a Kitchen Upgrade Part. It didn’t seem to recognize her at all.

Oh no..
Oh no..

“The device isn’t damaged,” she observed, “but I might be — my coding must have degraded! I need to get to a lab.”

Emelia wandered along the sidewalk, muttering to herself, trying not to allow the creeping panic that seemed to be following her set in. She was almost to the center of the map when she spotted a familiar face.

You!! You’re Reagan Sloan!”

I bet you would know about the thingy!
“You came from Le Dynastie d’Angers! I bet you would know about the Thingy!”

Emelia knew she probably sounded a wee bit overexcited – but, man, she finally felt like she was getting somewhere!

“Ehhh..”
“I’m Emelia Johnson! I’m like you!”
“Whoa! You can stop right there.”

.. Or not.

“I’m afraid you have me mistaken for someone else,” the woman said.

“Someone who isn’t happily just a Sim here.”

Emelia wasn’t one to judge how someone wanted to live her life. Hell, she’d been through all that existential stuff herself. But she really needed Reagan’s help.

“Reagan, believe me -” Emelia said, “I don’t want to cause you any trouble or interfere with what you’ve got going here. But I’ve got to find my friend and get us back home, and you have to help me. You’re the only one here who understands this stuff.”

Reagan sighed. She was not interested in living as a Game-Aware Sim, nor all the drama that came along with it. But it was obvious that this woman wasn’t going to leave until she got what she came for, and the fact that Emelia needed her help was a bit flattering..  

Damn that old ex-servant mentality, Reagan cursed to herself. But Emelia had already noticed the change in her demeanor, and Reagan had to look away to hide her smile.

5.34-em-reg-2

“Well. Let’s get off the sidewalk then, shall we?” Reagan suggested. “Unless you aim to hobnob with Elder Wolff Prime in a second here.”

“Ours lives alone. He’s extra chatty.”

5.35-elder-wolff-prime

“Don’t have to ask me twice!” said Emelia, quickly scooting after Reagan into the house.

. . . . . .

Thanks to Jordan for Emelia; CathyTea for Free-Jon; and BilMonaghan for Reagan & the inception of the Time/Space Thingy.