Deep within his foreboding lair, a figure cloaked in black was at work. He added each ingredient to the test tube with extreme care, knowing that it took him one step closer to his goal.
As the sparks flew into the air, he raised the container to the sky in triumph. He had succeeded. He had-
“Lor, what are you doing?”
Morgan watched him with curiosity as he quickly put the tube down.
“I’m making myself a brother or sister, so you and Mama won’t have to.”
He ignored the sound of spluttering that came from behind him as he gazed at the serum. Maybe this time it would be a success.
Verixe had settled into a gentle routine on this planet. Yoga, whilst it looked like you were just contorting your body into weird shapes for no good reason, turned out to be quite fun. It was a relaxing way to start the day, at any rate. She would play with Moo, who had turned out to be surprisingly good at ‘catch’, and then explore the rest of the neighbourhood. She could see why Lissa had been so reluctant to leave. It was peaceful here.
Well, she amended as she caught the end of Lissa and Morgan’s conversation, it was mostly peaceful.
“He was doing what?”
“Trying to make himself a sibling out of pomegranate powder, baking soda and lemons.”
Her grandson must be awake, then.
“We should probably talk to him. Do you think he’s lonely?” Lissa asked, a worried expression on her face.
“I don’t see how he could be with so many of us in a small house. Maybe he needs to meet more people his own age, though.”
Verixe walked over to the couple, smiling at them as she waved. Morgan smiled back. She had grown to like the older woman, and valued her opinion. Verixe had raised multiple children back on Sixam, so maybe she’d be able to shed some light on the situation.
“Lissa was my first child, so for a while it was just me and her. She was lonely for a while as there weren’t many children on Sixam at the time. Do you remember visiting Sita a lot when you were little, Lissi?”
“I do,” she said with a smile. She’d liked the teen from the first meeting. Sita had grown up on a different planet, but her parents hadn’t been able to cope when she’d started developing her powers. She’d been sent away.
“Well, she was quite a bit older than you, so I’d been unsure whether you would get along at first. You were so much happier with her around, though. I would have adopted her if it hadn’t been so close to her young adult birthday. Then my team got assigned to this planet and we started getting more children. Sita helped you take care of the little ones whilst I was at work.”
“I remember. There were so many of them we hardly got any sleep.” Lissa said, reaching out to stroke Moo. The cowplant had been begging for attention for a few minutes, nudging their shoulders and making soft plaintive noises.
“She was your first crush, wasn’t she Lissa?”
Lissa turned, flustered to see the knowing look on her mother’s face. She peeked at Morgan, but luckily her wife seemed more amused than jealous.
“Anyway, I don’t think it’s the amount of people that he’s lacking, but the fact that they’re all within the family. He might not realise it yet, but I don’t think he would be that much happier with a sibling than he is now. The boy needs to socialise outside more.”
Lissa thought about it. Maybe it was time to arrange that meeting, after all.
“I’m going to make a phone call, ok? I’ll be back soon.”
“You’re finally going to do it, then?”
Verixe looked first at Lissa, then at Morgan as Lissa walked off.
“What’s this all about, then?”
“Well, we’ve been thinking about it for a while…”
The rest of the day passed uneventfully. Verixe had discovered, to her chagrin, that her Simlish level was far lower in reading than speaking. Hopefully working through the bookshelves would help. Lord of the Swings was pretty interesting for a children’s book, she thought as she finished that night’s chapter. She still kept a dictionary nearby for some of the harder words, but she was improving.
Lissa walked around to the agreed-on meeting place. Hopefully she would arrive on time.
“Professor! Thank you for coming.”
“It’s no problem, I pass by on my way home anyway. How is the child?”
“Lorcán is doing well! He’s a lovely boy.”
“I’m glad. Now, for business. You want to turn this lot into…”
“A park, yes. I know that it was your department that made it possible for me to live here in the first place, so I want to be sure that buying another lot and remodelling this one wouldn’t be against the terms of my stay.”
Cassandra looked thoughtful as she studied the woman in front of her. “Why do you want to do this?”
“The neighbourhood is lonely. There aren’t any facilities or places to gather or even any other houses. It’s just us. I was thinking that if we could improve the area a bit maybe more people would visit.”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
“Lorcán? Breakfast is ready!”
Lor sighed and put down his potions. Foiled again. He stepped outside and made his way to the kitchen. Verixe, on the other hand, was still waking up.
“Mmmm breakfast. Don’t mind if I do!”
“I’m alright. Just give me a minute.” Verixe stood up and wiped her face. “I think I’m going to have a shower.”
“That’s probably best, yes.”
Lissa picked up a plate and carried it over to Morgan. She’d made something special this morning.
“Yes it is.”
“We haven’t had this since our wedding!” Morgan’s heart melted as she looked at the hopefulness in her wife’s eyes. “I love it. Thank you” she said, leaning forward and kissing her cheek as she took the plate. She sat down at the table and was soon joined by a now clean Verixe.
“What is this?”
“It’s french toast. We had it at the wedding, though I’ll admit that along with the wedding cake pretty much everything we had on offer was sugary.”
“A wedding cake? How strange.”
Morgan looked up, surprised. “You don’t have wedding cakes on Sixam? I would have thought that with all the other reasons for cake you have, weddings would be a given.”
“No, not at all. Cake isn’t really a special occasion thing for us. It’s very… everyday. For weddings we have a dish made out of root vegetables and spices – seasonings aren’t very common on our planet, so to have something so strongly flavoured is a treat.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“I wonder if it can be imitated with ingredients found here. I’d like to try.”
“You’ll have to ask Lissi, she’s the flavour wizard around here.”
“It just means that she’s good with flavour.”
“Ah. I see.”
“Mum… I don’t feel too good…”
Morgan fought down the rising panic. He’d never been sick before – what if it was something in his DNA going wrong? Or an Sixanite illness? Ok, she thought to herself, just relax and take in the symptoms. Dizziness, Swirls on the skin…
Lor flapped at something invisible by his head, and Morgan breathed a sigh of relief. Delirium. It was only ‘Starry Eyes’ – common enough and easily treated.
“Lor sweetheart, this medicine should help”
“But I don’t want to drink it. It’s laughing at me.”
“If you don’t take it, you’ll end up turning into a massive dizzy dinosaur, like this:
…and you don’t want that. You’ll fall into the river!”
He swallowed the medicine and grimaced. That was the single most disgusting thing he’d ever tasted. However, he was beginning to feel a tingling in his fingers. It rushed through his body and filled him with energy.
“Mum! I’m going to go play on the monkey bars!”
Oh dear, Morgan thought. He’s hyper. She’d hoped the pharmacy would have fixed that side effect by now. Lorcán jumped up, not bothering to finish his food, and ran across to the small play area.
“Don’t worry, I’ll keep an eye on him” Verixe said, and set off in the same direction.
Lor loved the monkey bars. He couldn’t remember if he’d liked them before, but they were amazing now. He swung higher and higher on the middle bar, finally letting go and flying as far as he could.
He looked around, surprised to see that he’d attracted an audience.
“Bet you I can go further!”
Verixe watched from the picnic bench. It was good to see him playing with others. She sat there, enjoying the sun until she was brought back to the present by her phone ringing. She was still confused by the blasted contraptions, but she at least knew how to answer it.
“Hi Mum. Morgan’s sister has come to visit, and she’d like to see her ‘favourite nephew’.”
“She has other nephews?”
“Not as far as I know. I think it’s a Sim thing.”
“I’ll bring him over.” she said, hanging up. “Lorcán! It’s time to go now.”
“There’s a surprise visitor who wants to see you.”
Lor’s eyes lit up and he jumped down from the bars. He waved at the boys and took off home, leaving Verixe to walk at a much more leisurely pace.
“Hey there shortie. How’s my boy?”
“I’m really good! I was playing on the bars~”
“Let’s hope he doesn’t say that when he’s older” Siobhan said, winking at Morgan over his shoulder. “Anyway, I have some amazing news.”
“What is it?”
“He proposed whilst we were on holiday, and we ended up having the ceremony there.”
“I’m so happy for you!”
“We’ve got to take a picture right now.”
“What’s going on?” Lissa asked, coming over from her garden.
“If only Mum and Dad were here to see this.”
Morgan hugged her sister. “They’d be so pleased for you. I bet they’re watching with ghost-y smiles right now.”
“I’m not sure if that’s comforting or creepy, sis.”
Siobhan looked around at the sound of footsteps and her eyes grew wide.
“You must be Morgan’s sister. I’m Verixe, Lissa’s mother.”
“Nice to meet you too?”
“I’m sorry, I was just surprised. It’s nice to meet you, I’m Siobhan.”
“Lor?” Lissa said, gazing out across the grass.
“What would you think about moving house. We need to expand anyway, especially with your grandma living with us. I was thinking about turning this place into a park.”
“A park? With games and things?”
Lor looked around at his home. It was a very large lot for so few sims, he had to admit. It would be nice to have somewhere to hang out, too. But moving? This was all he’d ever known.
“I don’t know, mama.”
“I don’t have permission yet, but I thought you had the right to know that I was thinking about it.”
“Then I’ll think about it, too.”
Verixe threw herself into painting. Her encounter last night had made her think about many things. She really wasn’t going back to work. She’d called it ‘time off’ but she now knew it for what it was. Retirement.
Nothing like being abducted by ex-colleagues to drive that point home. Sure, they’d treated her well and they’d chatted, but it was clear that she wasn’t one of ‘them’ anymore.
This was her life now, and she was going to make the most of it.
She had read all the children’s books on the shelves now, and it was unexpectedly useful.
She took the time to learn about the world around her, and found it beautiful.
“Mama! Grandma! I did it! I got an ‘A’!”
“I’m so proud of you!” Lissa said, bending down to hug her son.
She watched as he ran over to his grandmother to tell her the news. She could hardly believe it. It felt like only a few days had passed since he was a baby, and here he was getting top grades in school. She’d been unable to help with his education, due to never having been to school herself – that had been Morgan’s area. Morgan, she thought happily, was going to ‘flip’. In a good way.
Lor was clearing away the dishes when the strange lady arrived. He’d never seen her before, but she seemed to be staring at him.
The woman jumped, shook her head and come out of her daze. “Hello there. You must be the Centauri boy.”
“My name is Lorcán”
“Hmmm… it looks like the potion was a complete success.”
“Professor Goth! I didn’t know you were coming.”
“I just wanted to let you know the outcome of our last talk. Do you remember the wording of the letter we sent you when you arrived?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t.”
Cassandra Goth cleared her throat and recited:
“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. “
She paused, revelling in the tension. “I would say that not only does building a park not break the rules, it actually takes them a step further. You have permission to build the park, and buy any other lots of land as they become neccessary. After all, you have to turn this into a thriving area some day. Don’t worry-” she said, putting up her hand to stop the panic she saw in Lissa’s face, “you won’t have to do it all right now. It will be slow going, but a few generations from now who knows what this town will be like. We may put in requests every now and then, however.”
“Thank you so much.”
“When were you thinking about starting this project?”
“Ah, well we need to make sure everyone is in agreement first.”
“I think this would be a really nice park. Can I have a bigger room in the new house?”
Lissa laughed. She’d been so worried that Lor wouldn’t want to leave.
“We’ll see what we can do. Now,” she said, turning to Cassandra, “I have a couple of questions about planning permission…”
Lor went back into his room and looked around. He’d be taking all of his things with him, of course, but it would be different. He was tempted to go back out and listen in to the conversation, but he would have felt awkward to be quite honest. Then he remembered. Mama has telepathy, he thought to himself, maybe I do too.
Nope. No telepathy, just a headache.
Meanwhile, Verixe stood in her rooftop bedroom, looking around at the scenery. She’d soon have a different view to get used to.
That night, after finishing the last of her intelligence research, Morgan opened her email programme.
Hey there, Sis.
Have I got news for you…
End of Generation 1