Pet Projects

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"How much longer 'til the food is ready, Alesha?"

"Not too long!" Alesha responded in a sing-song voice, looking back over her shoulder at her husband with a smile. "You've got time to show your friends your new toys though, if that's why you're asking."

Still chuckling to herself, Alesha turned back to the hot dogs on the grill and continued flipping. "Boys," she muttered with a smile.

It wasn't often that they had this much company over, so Alesha was relishing in every moment of it. It was more of a work get-together than anything, some colleagues and their spouses and kids, but Brad's birthday had been only a couple of days before so they dubbed the gathering an 'honorary birthday BBQ'--with balloons and leftover cake and the song and everything.

Not that Brad was too pleased about that; he wasn't exactly fond of celebrating the fact he was getting older.

As Alesha continued turning the meat, she tried to mind the conversations of the nearby gals, who were heatedly discussing the recent changes to the school board. They all seemed pretty opinionated, but at least they were talking and getting to know each other. 'Better than nothing,' she thought to herself. 'Rather that then everyone staring at the bottom of their glasses.'

In fact, for the most part, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves; the men were discussing business as usual...

... the Pesce twins were keeping themselves entertained...

... and the toddlers were having a blast getting dirty in the garden.

It was a success as far as Alesha was concerned, who just wanted everyone to be enjoying themselves, but after a moment she realized that amongst all the hubbub, two were missing: Margo and Ian.

"Jane, do you know where Ian is? I need to round up the kids so they can eat."

"Uuuhh, I'm not sure," Jane responded, scratching her head. "I think I saw him run around front a little while ago."

Olive nodded in agreement. "Yeah, I saw him kicking around a ball or something. He can't have gone too far."

Alesha nodded and started to move towards the house. "Can you guys finish setting up, then? I'll run around and get him after I fetch Margo."

"Wait," July said in shock, looking up at Alesha with a confused smile. "Margo is actually here? I haven't seen her at all, I figured she was spending the night at a friend's house or something!"

"No," Alesha sighed. "She's just... hiding."

"And then Mrs. Stripey said, 'I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, Mr. Piggy, I was just admiring how round you are!' 'It's okay, Miss Tiger, I forgive you! You can come with Pixie, Rex and I if you wa--'"

"There you are!" Alesha tried not to interrupt Margo, but the girl was so distracted by her stuffed animals that she didn't even look up when her mother entered the room. "You ready for some dinner? We've got hot dogs, your favorite!"

When Alesha spoke, Margo finally looked up, but for a moment she just looked like a doe caught in the headlights. She blinked, frozen, and unresponsive.

"Margo, you really should come eat. You can't stay in here all evening, sweetie."

"No thanks," she finally warbled, quietly. "I'm not hungry."

Alesha scowled; she knew Margo hated it when they had visitors over, but she'd never been quite this resistant before. Margo hardly ever turned down food--especially her favorite.

She knew she had to put her foot down. "Margo, you need to eat. You don't have to stay with us, but you need to come say at least say hi and be respectful, okay?"

"B... B... But--" Margo reluctantly slipped off of the bed, but she continued hesitating, her face falling more and more as Alesha's got more and more stern. "But Ian's out there, mummy."

"Sweetie, Ian will leave you alone, you just need to--"

"I can't mummy, I can't!" As if on the flip of a switch, Margo began bawling, burying her tears into her hands out of embarrassment. "All he does is make fun of my braces an' kick dirt in my face an an an an--"

"Ssssshhh." Alesha bent over and carefully hugged her arms around her daughter. "It's okay, sweetheart, you don't have to see him if you don't want to. Why don't you go into the kitchen, mm? I'll go find him--do you know where he is?"

Margo didn't have to answer--over the sound of her sniffles, Alesha heard a commotion just outside of the bedroom window.

Alesha didn't have to go far; she descended the front steps of the house and instantly found him, defiantly kicking over the horrific pink flamingos her mother-in-law had insisted they keep out front.

"Hiya! Take that! Stupid bird, ha!"

"Ian? Could you come here?" Alesha voice was stern, but she tried not to come across as being too upset; it's not like she liked the flamingos that much, either.

Ian still looked caught off guard, though, and he looked thoroughly put-out at having been discovered. With a grumble, he looked away and shoved his hands into his pockets.

"C'mere, come sit with me," Alesha said as she carefully plopped down onto the top step, tapping the space next to her. "I promise, I won't bite."

Ian didn't find this very funny; he just rolled his eyes. But, at the very least, he obeyed--one point for Alesha.

"You don't seem too happy to be here," Alesha said slowly, smirking. "Anything I can do to change that?"

Ian didn't need to say a thing for Alesha to get her answer; he rolled his eyes yet again, this time throwing his hands up in the air, disgusted. "No. This place is stupid and boring. I didn't wanna come, but my Dad made me. All there is is babies to play with."

"What about Marg--"

"I said, only babies."

Alesha took a deep breath. She'd heard quite a bit about Ian from his mother, Jane, and none of it sounded too promising. The Pesce's had been tossing up all sorts of things like 'boarding school' or 'counseling', but Alesha had been hesitant to advise that, despite his wayward behavior. He was too young; he needed a chance. She wasn't exactly sure where to start, but... anywhere was better than no where.

"Did your mom tell you I'm going to be your teacher this year?" Alesha asked, politely.
"Yeah." He toed the bottom step grumpily.
"You know, Ian," she started warily. "Once you start school, I bet you're going to find all sorts of kids you'll like to hang around, maybe even Margo--"
"Ya, right."
"You know, I bet Margo would surprise you, if you gave her a chance. Just like I bet you're going to surprise a lot of people with how smart you are. And I want to help you with that--will you let me?"

Ian glared at her suspiciously, and for a moment she thought she caught the hint of a scrunched nose; but, after  twisting his lips back and forth, he shrugged and gave a rather arrogant "Maybe." Well. It was a start.

"C'mon, let's go get some food--dare you to eat more than your brother!"

Ian ran off ahead of her, which gave Alesha a much needed breather; just being around that boy was like being stuck in a vacuum. But, she swore to herself, that was something she was going to right--even if she died trying.

"This must have cost a fortune," Thomas exclaimed as one by one, the men filed down the stairs. He was the first to reach the bottom, and his jaw nearly dropped to the floor when he saw what laid beyond the glass wall separating them from what possibly could be the cleanest room in all of Twinbrook.

"What's funny," Brad responded with a smirk. "Is that it's probably worth double what you'd imagine."

"And you just happened to have a bunker underneath your house? That's pretty lucky," Moe Pesce remarked skeptically.

"It was built when the Darer's owned the property, actually. We'd just never bothered to do anything with it before--lucky for us, it came in handy."

Handy certainly was the right word; there wasn't a lot of places in town for a lab like this. Not just any kind of lab; it was a very specialized, very high tech lab... and the kind that no one would want to insure on their property. No one except for Bradley Kane, of course.

"And you said it was all paid for by private investors? That's gotta be a fair few, by the looks of it," Moe commented as they begun entering the room.

"All of it, yeah. Not as many as you'd think though--this sort of business attracts all sorts of wealthy go-getters hoping to get their name on the patent. That, and plenty of people who'd kill their own mothers for a cure for HVV... so long as their names aren't made public."

"And here, of course, is why this development costs more than my house."

"Wait, is that... that's not... Tiberium?!"

"That it is," Brad said with a smirk. "Grade A, purified tiberium--nearly 20 kilograms. Impressive, mm?"

"Impressive? By the maker, I don't think I've ever seen more than a teaspoon of this stuff in my entire life," Thomas said as he knelt down to eye-level with the glowing substance. "How did you manage to get your hands on it--let alone, get this much?"

"Various connections through the science foundation--we had to trade some recent tech for it, but once we develop this, we certainly won't need all of that to stay in business."

They begun to leave the side of the tiberium, but Moe looked hesitant. "Bradley... This is an incredibly volatile substance--if you're not careful, the radiation alone could--"

"I know what I'm doing, Moe," Bradley scowled, dismissing Moe's notions with a wave of his hand. "I've taken all the necessary precautions. Besides, you yourself said that tiberium was the only catalyst that could manipulate DNA structures that precisely, didn't you?"

"Yes, but--"

"Then that's what we have to use." For a moment Moe looked like he was going to retort, but Bradley quickly usurped him again with a light glare. "I will not give my sister second best, Pesce. She's getting all that I can give her--and I'm going to make this work, with or without your help."

The two men didn't get a chance to continue their one-sided debate, because there was suddenly a wild gasp from the other side of the room.

"Oh man, you really didn't cut corners, did you?!" Lamont said with an excitable bounce on his heel. "This is one of those miniature particle accelerators from level 8!"

"At this rate, I'm starting to believe there's nothing this place is lacking," Thomas joked.

"Well... that's not entirely true." With a bit of a deep breath, Brad waved his hand towards the workbench and began. "I need help. I didn't ask you guys here just because your my friends or because I thought you'd be interested to see what I've built. I asked because I need partners. Thomas's knowledge in gene therapy, Moe's knowledge in neurology, Lamont's engineering--I need all of it, for this to work. I know it's a lot of work for not a lot of reward off the hop, but... Can I count on you guys?"

"Heck yeah!" Lamont said with a fist pump. "You don't even have to ask, bub."

Thomas snickered, but nodded. "Yeah, but only because your cousin would hang me by my toes if I didn't."

Bradley turned to Moe, biting his lower lip. The man was hesitant, but, there simply was no way he could say no. This was a once in a life time opportunity, and Bradley was indeed his friend--besides, they weren't going to get far fast without him. "I hope I don't regret this, but... I'm in."

For the first time in months, Bradley felt an overwhelming enthusiasm consume him; he wasn't sure why he'd been so worried, but he certainly wasn't any longer. This wasn't going to be easy, but part of the thrill of the mountaintop is the difficulty of the climb... and Brad was up for a challenge.

Clasping his hands together, he smiled at them and nodded. "Well then, I guess we're ready to get to curing some vampires!"

Alesha called loudly from the bottom of the stairs in the garage, "Can I come up?!"
"Sure, go ahead!" a mechanical voice called back.

The room above the garage had always been Lilobot's 'home', but until very recently it'd been a bit of a disaster. But, after Lil had finally adjusted to being a member of the family, they decided to help her redecorate the pad as she saw fit--and well... it gave Alesha's cornea's a nice tingly sensation every time she came up to visit, now. She wasn't sure she'd ever seen anything decorated so pink before--but, it's what Lil wanted, so it's what Lil got.

"I know you said you wanted to spend the weekend by yourself, but everyone would really like to see you, dear," Alesha began sweetly, trying to coax Lil off of her spot on the bed. "I even saved you a spot at the table--it's just not the same without you, Lil."

"I know, I just... really want to get some reading done. Thank you for asking, though."

"Well... I'll keep a spot for you just in case." Alesha smiled, twiddled her fingers in a wave, and slowly descended back down the stairs, as if hoping that Lil would change her mind and follow after.

Lil had had her mind made up from the moment she'd heard about the barbeque, though. It's not that she didn't like people--especially after her ascension to 'hero' in the eyes of Twinbrook's citizens--but it just felt... weird. She was different, and that's all people saw. She was a robot, and that's all they cared about; what about her hopes, he dreams, her loves? None of that mattered. At least, not to anyone outside of the family.

"Different" set you apart.

Yes, Brad's colleagues were understanding and very kind to her, but they were intrigued with her as a machine; they were constantly prying into parts of her existence she really didn't care too much about, or they marveled at her existence and achievements. If they'd just treat her normally, like they would any other person, it would be okay--but being put above everyone else was just as bad as being put lower.

Still... part of her wanted to go down there. In fact, she desperately wanted to--she wanted to be part of their world, she just couldn't be. Not the way she wanted to, anyways.

"Ugh, what's the use," Lilobot sighed with melancholy as she collapsed into her computer chair, swiveling to and fro as she set her chin in her hands and moped. "The only place I'll ever be normal is where I'm invisible."

To that, she looked up at her computer screen. In truth, she'd found a piece of that, online. She'd recently picked up all sorts of hobbies--duking it out on MMORPGs, role-playing on various fantasy sites under the guise of a fair maiden looking for love, and dipping in and out of chatrooms with people of similar interests.

For months, it had been fantastic... but nothing good lasts forever.

He had to ruin it all. Tanner. The man of her dreams, the dark horse riding into the sunset, the tech guru that had given her more attention than Lil had ever gotten from another human being--'that way', at least.

But, there were two problems:

One, Tanner Grey believed that Lil, or rather "Lily", was human.
Two, Tanner Grey had just moved to Twinbrook.

Faced with an impossible dilemma, Lil could do nothing but stare at his picture, hoping for a miracle. There had to be a way to fix this, but she simply couldn't see it. Would he still like her, if he knew the truth?

Lil sighed as she rubbed her shoulder longingly. "Probably not," she whispered. "But, I can dream."


Sara August 11, 2011 at 11:22 PM  

This was so not a boring post!! Gah. It was great. I really liked seeing everyone grown up, particularly the twins, whom I hadn't seen in your blog before! I love their looks. Ethan's so nerdy <3

Plus, I really like Margo playing her imaginary games. She's really quite adorable. I feel bad that Ian's basically made her a hermit! XD

And Lilo, poor Lilo... I am rooting for her and Tanner already! He's really quite hunky- she has good tase *eyebrow waggle*

Unknown August 11, 2011 at 11:29 PM  


Hahaha--well, after just finishing a Season where things basically exploded to epic proportions, the beginning of this season feels sooo slooooowww. I'm glad you enjoy it, though! :3 lol--and yes, Ethan is very nerdy. I lament he will not appear much in this Season, but he'll still be a teen by the time Margo is!

Don't feel bad about Ian, he ain't your fault! Evil sim + coward sim = just bad mojo. He is way adorable, though! Thanks for the good genes. >:D

Hehehehe--I'm really excited about Lil's storyline. It'll be interesting to introduce Tanner... I will not take credit for his hunkiness, though--he was created by the lovely Shannachka. C=

Thanks Amelia! ♥

Jen August 12, 2011 at 4:39 AM  

Awww, I loved this post! It was so family orientated. A change from all the drama, lies and deception. Not too mention murders. ;) (I love do love those other posts too though!)

Poor little Margo. :( I just want to reach in and give her a big hug, just like her mamma did.
She is so cute though, omg. The terror on her face from the thought of having to go outside and interact with anyone else, other than her family members, is just devastatingly sad.

I loved seeing all the men together in Brad's lab bunker. Hee hee, men will be men. lol
Awesome to hear that he is trying to create a cure for vampire-ism though. I sometimes wonder how Amelia is going.

And Lil has fallen in love! Awww. Human + robot + relationship = mighty difficult. lol I wonder if Brad could help her out a little here. ;)

So good to see you back writing, looking forward to more as always! :)

Jen August 12, 2011 at 4:41 AM  

Sorry about some of the typos. I was a tad excited to see you had a post out! <3

Unknown August 12, 2011 at 2:13 PM  

Hehe--yeah, this post (this whole season, really) takes a really solid step back from drama and deception for a while and focuses on family-ish things, which is a nice change of pace--it does feel so very strange after the end of last season, though!

Margo is very much inspired by Younger Me so unfortunately, I know exactly what it's like to be in her shoes--the journey ahead for her is not an easy one. But at least she doesn't have to do it alone.

The cure for vampirism is def underway, huzzah! Poor Amelia sure needs it--you'll get to see a bit of her soon enough, so I won't say much about her predicament.

Could Brad help Lil? Perhaps, perhaps! You'll have to wait and see.

Thank ya doll! <3 Hopefully I can get back to writing more frequently... I sure could use the diversion now and then! *hug*

PiB - Nicarra August 13, 2011 at 1:40 AM  

Nice party, it's a good way to introduce us to who is important in this season. Work colleagues and spouses and offspring.

How odd seeing a teen Sophie. LOL

Aren't the toddlers in the garden sweet? I suspect I know where that boy got that hair from.

Poor Margo, she really stresses easily. Rather hide then have her fav dinner. But Ian looks to be quite the handful.

Handy Brad had a bunker to build a lab in. And found some serious backers. Let's hope for Mia's sake that he's on the right track to kill the virus. I'm glad he convinced the guys, though Moe was a tough sell. Lamont was easy enough.

Lil - well, love online does have hazards. Maybe he can accept you if he finds you.

I'm beginning to really like this season. More time spent on relationships and people. :)

Thea August 13, 2011 at 2:21 AM  

I love this episode! It really shows a lot of depth to each of the characters. I can see there is going to be lots of drama and intrigue to come and I can't wait ^_^

Unknown August 13, 2011 at 3:10 PM  


Haha--this season is definitely focusing quite a bit more on repairing the damage done by last season than anything, so a lot of it is indeed focusing on relationships. I figured it'd be right up your alley, lol! ;) Glad you're enjoying it so far! <3

Unknown August 13, 2011 at 3:13 PM  


Thanks, lovie!! That's awesome to hear--these characters are all sorts of fun for me to design, I'm glad it's showing through! :3 ♥

Chrysame August 13, 2011 at 7:41 PM  

Yay Lil! She's the best roleplayer in MMORPG history! Go on with your little cyber self, Lil. Heehee.

I hope Alesha can get through to Ian. If anyone can do it, it's her.

Brad is such a geeky scientist. Geeks rule so that's a good thing.

The toddlers are adorable. It's so nice to see a Kane family oriented post. Very happy to see you back in the saddle, Kaleeko.

Tender Wolf August 13, 2011 at 8:32 PM  

Hurray, a new chapter!!! Great job again Kaleeko! I love seeing what's going on with everyone. I'm glad Brad is getting closer to finding a cure for Mia. I hope Ian stops acting like a jerk. Poor Margo! At least she has Kenzie. :D hehe And Lil, falling in love? Didn't see that coming! Brad must have programmed some human emotions into her. I wonder how Tanner will react if he meets her in person...great job, can't wait to read more!

Unknown August 15, 2011 at 7:08 PM  


Hehehe--as a robot, Lil would totally kick ass at video games. I imagine she has to pretend to be bad just to seem normal--but I love that you gave me that idea in the first place. It fits perfectly! :D

It def is great getting back to focusing on the family for a bit--and it's nice getting back in the swing of writing again. C= Thanks, Chrysame! <33

Unknown August 15, 2011 at 7:16 PM  


One step closer to a cure for Mia, but still a long ways off. :( Sucks what she has to go through in the meantime.

Ian's a big turd, but you're definitely right--as least she has Kenzie. Margo'll never be completely alone!

Brad did program most emotions into Lil, but most of the 'new' emotions she's feeling she actually programmed herself; Lil's been accumulating all sorts of knowledge and is making all sorts of tweaks to herself... It didn't really come up because it's not too relevant, but that's why she's "evolving"; Lil's a bit of an inventor in training, herself. :D

Thanks, TW! <3

Seaweedy,  November 18, 2011 at 6:19 AM  

I am slowly getting caught up with this season. It is excellent! Margo is such a little sweetheart.

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