…and I mean that literally.
Meet Lissa Centauri – the eldest of 15 children. Her mother, Pollination Technician #3, had looked after her well, but with more and more humans returning their alien progeny her home had gone from cosy to… well, cramped if we’re being honest. When a visiting scientist had mentioned that a new neighbourhood had been built and was looking for tenants, Lissa had jumped at the chance. However, upon arriving she realised that ‘built’ was a bit of an overstatement. Her one piece of furniture was a letter box. A very beautiful letter box, but not particularly useful at this point in time. She looked closer, and caught sight of a piece of paper sticking out of the door.
I apologise for the deception, but if you had known the extent of the development still needed you would most likely not have agreed to come. You see, we here at FutureSim Labs are conducting some research into the relationships between our species. Many sims are wary of aliens, thinking that our kinds are too different to ever live together peacefully.
With the increase in alien children being born on this planet you would think that we would have plenty of test subjects already, but the subsequent disappearance of these children back to Sixam is an obstacle we haven’t yet been able to overcome. The stigma of having alien or part-alien child is something that not many parents are willing to work through.
This is where you come in. This neighbourhood is empty, other than a couple of basic public amenities. We would like you to make this into a place that people will be proud to call their home. With some hard work, and your cheerful outlook, we hope that the public will realise that Sixanites and Sims are not so different after all.
I truly hope you will stay.
Dr Maria Blake, EE. (Extraterrestrial Explorer)’
Well, that certainly put a new spin on things. Lissa sighed. She should have known this was too good to be true. Still, it was a beautiful place. The words of the letter played through her mind. The transport to Sixam only ran once a week, so she was stuck here for that long at least. What would be the harm in giving the project a trial run?
First things first, she thought, where will I find food?
Fishing, she decided, was harder than it looked. 2 hours later, and nada. Zip. Zilch.
“Maybe you should try a different area.”
Startled, she turned to see a young woman with a kind smile and laughter filled eyes.
“Oh!” Lissa flushed, embarassed at being caught in her moment of failure. “I guess maybe I’m not cut out for this.”
“You just picked a rough area, the river over there has some much easier fish for beginners. Besides, you aren’t from around here, are you? You weren’t to know.”
“Thank you.” Lissa looked up and smiled sheepishly. ‘I guess it’s pretty obvious that I’m not a local, huh?’
“You could say that.”
“My name’s Morgan, what’s yours?”
“Lissa, Lissa Centauri”
Morgan grinned and turned to the side putting her fingers up in the shape of a gun and pressing them to her mouth. “The name’s Lissa, Lissa Centauri.”
“I thought it was Morgan” Lissa said, growing more confused by the minute.
“You’ve never seen Jack Pond?”
“I’ve only just arrived, you are the first person I’ve met.”
Morgan laughed. “Jack Pond is a film series about a secret agent. He always says ‘The name’s Pond, Jack Pond.’ when introducing himself.”
“That seems rather silly for a secret agent. Wouldn’t he rather people not know his name?”
“Ok, we are totally going to have a movie marathon at some point” Morgan said, still smiling.
‘I think I’d like that’
‘Where are you from anyway, Lissi?’
‘It would be easier to show you at night, but if you were to see it from here it would be right behind that cloud there”
“The one that looks like a frog with a flower on its head?”
“Exactly” Lissa grinned.
“AH! I’m late for a meeting!” Morgan jumped up suddenly and started to turn away, but then looked back and held out a hand to Lissa. Getting up, she found herself drawn into a one-armed hug.
“Say ‘Grilled Cheese’!!”
“What’s your phone number? I’ll send it to you”
“Got it. I’ll see you soon, star girl!”
As Morgan ran off, waving, Lissa’s phone buzzed. She opened the message and smiled. If this is what all humans were like, she could see herself staying for a long time.
Lissa looked at the sun and gasped. It was mid-afternoon, and she’d barely managed to do anything! She needed some money, or at least some food. She’d heard that the scientists would buy many of the plants and rocks that could be found, so that seemed like a good place to start.
Over the course of the afternoon, Lissa collected everything she could find. There were only a couple of crystals and minerals visible, and very few of the plants were harvestable, but she had hope that there would be more of a variety tomorrow. She looked down at those she had picked and sighed. None of these were edible. If she sold everything she would have… 115 simoleons. That wasn’t anywhere near enough for a tent, or even a fire to cook the tiny fish that she had caught.
Time to try something else.
As slimy as it felt, Lissa found herself quite enjoying herself as she finally grabbed hold of the little leaf frog and lifted it carefully out of the log. As she pulled her hand out, her fingers brushed past something solid and… metallic? She reached back in and pulled out a strange box. Curious, she opened it.
Inside there was a small statue. She looked at it closely, and noticed a name engraved on the bottom of it’s feet. ‘Leaf’. She brushed off the slight layer of dust, and smiled. It was adorable.
She put it in her pocket, stood up and brushed the dirt off of her knees.
“Hey, are you ok?”
Lissa saw a figure waving in the distance, and jogged over to meet her.
“Are you ok? You were kneeling down over there for quite a while. I was worried that you were hurt.”
“I’m fine, sorry for scaring you. I found something in the frog log and I was admiring it – I must have lost track of time. I’m Lissa.”
“Siobhan. If I see you kneeling down in random places I’ll try not to worry next time.”
Siobhan seemed fine with the fact that she was talking to an alien. Morgan had been, too. Maybe the situation wasn’t as dire as Dr Blake had feared.
“Do you live around here?” Siobhan asked.
“I’ve just moved onto that lot over there.” Lissa pointed at her little patch of grass.
“Your stuff will be arriving soon, right?”
“That is my ‘stuff'”
Lissa looked back and saw the horrified look on Siobhan’s face.
“Where are you going to sleep?! Where are you keeping your food?! What if it rains?”
“Umm… I kind of thought there would be a house there. I’m collecting things to sell, but I’ll probably sleep on a bench tonight. As for food, there are plenty of fish. I just need to catch one.”
“Look, Lissa, I can’t help with the place to stay, but come with me and we’ll sort out some food.”
She followed her new friend over to the play area.
“Look, someone’s grilled some fruit. There’s plenty there, so eat your fill, ok?”
“Won’t they mind?”
“Don’t worry. It’s kind of an unwritten rule that when you use the public grills you make more than you need so that everyone can have some.”
Lissa looked at the food longingly.
“I’ve got to go back home, but make sure you eat as much as you need. Hopefully next time we meet you’ll be doing better.” Siobhan waved goodbye.
The food smelt amazing. Lissa sat down next to a man who seemed to be taking pictures of his empty plate. What a strange thing to do.
As she ate, she noticed him watching her intently. He didn’t seem to be scared or angry, so she ventured a greeting.
“Hi. My name’s-”
Lissa looked at him, stunned. What had brought this on?
“Go back to Sixam. We don’t want you here. Can you even eat that food? Don’t you need to eat brains or something?”
“Th-that’s zombies, sir”
“Well you clearly don’t have any brains of your own” the man yelled.
He got up and walked away, leaving her shaken and hurt. Why had he turned on her so quickly? Was he that mean to everyone, or was it just her?
She finished her food, and sighed. She walked back to her new home, and sat next to the letter box. Things had been going so well. She reached into her pocket for her phone, and felt the little statue. She took it out, and felt a small smile return to her face. She could sell him, but she felt attached to him already, as foolish as it sounded. She wasn’t a child anymore. Still, she couldn’t bring herself to do it. She placed him on the floor.
“You’ll guard this place for me, won’t you Leaf?”
The sun was beginning to set, so she staked out a bench for the night. Looking at the river, she felt calmer and more content. Of the three sims she had met, only one encounter had been negative. That wasn’t so bad. After a few games of ‘Blockmania’…
… which she soundly lost, Lissa opened up the messaging system on her phone.
Today has been interesting. I’ve got a lot of work to do if I want to live here, but I’m starting to think that it may be worth it. The people here have mostly been kind to me, and there is a thing called ‘grilled fruit’ that I think you would love! I’ll write up the recipe for you when I’m settled. How are you doing? Are the kids behaving?
p.s. LOOK AT THIS PLACE!
With that final task done, Lissa curled up on the bench. It had been a long day, and tomorrow would be longer. She fell asleep to the sound of the babbling water and the soft, distant croak of frogs.