Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hey guys!

I have a couple orders of beez-nees today I'd like to talk about, so I'm gonna try and cover them as quickly as possible so I don't bore you with too much non-story stuff:

♥ First ♥

I noticed something kinda cool today:
... @____@

Now, I am gonna say--pageviews and followers, as numbers, don't mean a whole lot to me. Until blogger put them directly on the dashboard, I didn't even really pay much attention how few or many I was getting. I write this story because of how it makes ME feel, because I LOVE to write... anyone who decides to join me along the way is just a really big, awesome bonus that serves to keep me motivated when life tries to tell me I shouldn't waste my time writing anymore.

 But, I really am humbled by the support you guys have given me. Seriously. I know there will always be bloggers and writers who get more numbers, but it really matters so little to me because I treasure what I have, not what others do that I don't. And I really do treasure you guys. A lot.

 I'd like to come up with a way to really thank you guys in a more meaningful way, but I got nothin'. For now, at least. I just feel like, after reaching both a milestone in followers and pageviews, I should at least say something. I want to be grateful for what I have, always--and you guys are so awesome!! So, if you have any ideas for things you'd like me to do--shoot em at me!

♥ Second ♥

Updates on Desperate Sims have been really slack lately, and I want to apologize for that, because I kept promising to update more often and... it just hasn't been happening. I also keep falling way behind on you guys' blogs numerous times, which I know some of you don't mind, but I really don't like falling behind anyways.

he main reason it's been happening? I've just been feeling really 'meh' lately about the Sims. I got frustrated with the lag in my game, and then just frustrated with the Kanes.

 No, I'm not bored with the Kanes--in fact, I feel the exact *opposite* towards them. The problem is that I've had Margo's entire life mapped out in my head for over 6 months now--and I've been so excited about what'll happen later in her life that getting through this section feels a little tedious, as important as I know it is. Amelia knows exactly what I'm talkin' about--she's so excited about getting to the next part of her story that the finale to this one is acting like one big giant roadblock. (So let's all cheer Amelia on because we know her finale will be FANTASTIC.)

 Anyways, I finally decided on a solution: I started a new story.

NO, I am not giving up on the Kanes! If anything, I'm doing this for them; I've written exclusively DS material for so long that I feel stagnant, and dividing my efforts will make the Kanes feel more fresh when I do write about them.

 Also, the premise behind 'Dipped' has also been floating around in my head for forever, and was even supposed to be part of Desperate Sims at some point--but I decided 'what the heck' and not only split it into a separate story, but a separate universe!

 And, don't worry--if you don't want to read Dipped, you don't have to! I don't expect anyone who reads this story to read everything I write; it'll be cool if you do, but I know Berry Sweet sims aren't some peoples thing. (They definitely weren't mine, a year ago!) Yes, it will keep updates on DS slow for the time being, but consider that a good thing.

♥ Third ♥

This is super minor, but, I switched out the comment system on my blogs to Disqus, to make responding to them a little more practical. If you experience any issues with it, PLEASE let me know on twitter or email or something. There may be some kinks, and if there's too many I'll revert back to standard blogger. 

Anyways--thank you guys again for everything. And, if you do decide to check Dipped out, I hope you enjoy!! I'm really psyched to be trying something new--it's just the pick me up I need.



First Contact

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Speak up, sweetie, I can barely hear you," lulled Alesha's voice as she looked down at her daughter's trembling face.

Margo did attempt to say it louder, but Alesha still had to strain to make out anything through the mumbling. No matter how hard she tried, Margo couldn't get the courage to do anything but squeak what she wanted--probably because she knew what the answer would be.

Finally, Margo managed to squeeze out something barely audible to her mother, followed by the weakest and most pitiful "Please?"

"Margo, I told you last night," Alesha sighed, trying very hard to sound gentle. "No."

"Just for today? Please? Pretty please? I promise, I'll take the garbage out for a week an-an-and weed the garden for daddy and--"

"Sweetie," Alesha said as softly as she could. "Why don't you want to ride in the bus with the kids your age? You'll get to meet some of your classmates before you even get to school! You don't even need to talk to them if you don't want to... you'll just get used to being around them."

"I just..." Margo dug her toe into the floor. "Don't want to."

"Look, honey," Alesha began, her heart sinking. "I wish I could let you ride to school with me, but we both know that if I do, you're going to ask to be driven every day, and you're never going to get used to using the bus. It's better for you to dive in and give it your best now while it's new for everybody, okay?"

Margo's head hung even further, but she knew her mother was right. Or, at least, knew her mother firmly believed she was right. It was useless to argue. "Alright," she finally sighed.

Trying to put on a weak smile, Alesha placed a gentle hand on her daughter's shoulder and gave it a light squeeze. "You are so brave, Margo. You can do this--just remember to believe in yourself."

Those words were long forgotten by the time that Margo finally arrived at the Westlake School of Primary Education. She had somehow managed to endure the bumpy trip down the hill to the school, hiding in one of the empty middle rows so long that when everyone dispersed from the bus the driver nearly locked Margo from being able to exit.

No orientation could've prepared her for the emotions she felt looking up at the massive four pillars at the front of the school. It all looked so much larger than it ever had. So much more... menacing. She could feel herself quivering in her thick-soled rubber boots--the boots that wouldn't be able to protect her beyond those doors.

Margo gulped, and made her way inside.

By the time she found her classroom, it appeared that everyone else had already arrived before her. The room was absolutely full of kids her age, making a remarkable amount of noise with their introductory chit-chat--all except for one, who Margo swore was waiting by the entrance,  just for  her.

"Uuuuggggh, what's that smeelllll--oh, yeah, that's you, I forgot how much you stink," Ian whistled as he reached up and squeezed his nose. "Does it just not come off in the bath or something? Eeewwwww..."

Margo bit her lower lip and shrugged. "I dunno, I... I try..."

"Not hard enough," he leered back.

"Alright everyone, time to take your seats!" came a loud voice over top of the other students. Alesha's voice was like an angel's to Margo's ears. "You can sit anywhere you want today, but tomorrow I'm going to post a seating chart, so don't get too comfy!"

Most kids would rather dive headfirst into a vat of hot lava than have to endure having their parent for a teacher, but in Margo's case, it was one of the reasons she didn't turn tail and run the second she got into the classroom. As embarrassing as it might be, she was glad she didn't get put into Mrs. Vandenburg's class instead. Her mother was the best safety net she could ask for.

"Hello everyone!" her mother continued, once everyone was seated. "I know most of us have met, but my name is Mrs. Kane, and I'm going to be your teacher this year!"

"To start off, I thought we might all come up to the front of the class and share something about ourselves, so all of you can meet and get to know each other a little better before we start learning the big stuff."

Alesha turned her eyes towards the front row, and nodded to the first boy on her left. "Joshua! Why don't you come up and take a seat? You don't have to say much, just introduce yourself, maybe tell us about your family or your hobbies?"

The boy--Joshua--was watched by over a dozen pairs of eyes as he bravely climbed up onto the stool at the front of the class. Of all of them, though, Margo watched the most intently.

She hadn't realized, as she'd taken the last vacant seat (which of course was at the front of the class, knowing her luck) who exactly had been sitting next to her, but as the boy became the center of attention, everything else suddenly faded away.

Joshua. Margo had never been so captivated in her entire life.

He began to speak, but his all his words slowly faded away out of her conscious thought.

Instead, Margo was carried along by nothing but the gentle sound of his voice. Her imagination flew high above such trivial things such as 'football' and some nonsense about his family and some town called Greenland Bay. She went somewhere far, far better.

In her mind, Josh wasn't just a boy. Josh was a knight--a knight in shining armor. The most handsome, decorated man she'd ever seen. Tall, rugged, noble, and kind, Prince Josh had left his kingdom years ago in search of the maiden's tower, hidden far behind the seven seas and the growing mist of the Age of Doom. He'd battled monsters and evil wizards, climbed mountains and crossed vast, treacherous seas. Though he was tired, he would stop at nothing, nothing to get to the woman that he--

"Margo, it's your turn!" came a sudden voice from beyond Margo's imagination, pulling her back to the harshness of reality. Her eyes grew as she looked to see Josh sitting back next to her, and her mother/teacher staring at her from the front of the room. "Come up front?"


"D...Do I have to?" A smattering of snickers erupted from behind her at her stutter, turning her face even redder from embarrassment.

"It'll be alright, Margo. Just tell us a little about yourself!"

About yourself... about yourself... about yourself... The words echoed in the vast, suddenly empty hole of her mind.

Who was she, again?

A stool had never seemed so tall, before. Margo could have sworn it grew as she attempted to climb it--that was the only way to explain why her feet kept missing the steps up to the top, and why there was a barrage of giggles from behind her as she did so. Was this all just some big practical joke to them?

But finally, she settled on the top, biting her lower lip.

There was so many kids, and they were all looking at her.



"M... My n-name is M-Margo M-May Kane.. I like flowers an an an puppies--"

"Everyone likes those," came a male voice from the class.

"Mr. Pesce, this is your first warning. Please be polite. Margo, continue."

Margo gulped. "I-I like to draw... An I like stories, an making up stories--"

"I bet they suck."

Mrs. Kane had had it. She'd had a brief discussion with Ian before class about his outbursts, and though she knew it was something that was a bit of a work in progress--which was why she was trying to be so tolerant--this simply was not going to work. Ian had had enough chances.

"Ian, that is enough," Alesha spoke loudly, making even Margo cower backwards on the stool. "You are being very rude and inconsiderate. You will meet me after school for detention--understood?"

Ian slowly slumped back in his seat. It didn't feel so great, when the leering eyes of the class were focused on him, instead. "Yes, Mrs. Kane."

"Speak out again and I'll continue adding detentions. I have no problems taking away your time if you feel the need to take away others'. Have I made myself clear?"

"Yes, ma'am," Ian responded weakly.

"Good. Margo, if you're finished--Jace, would you like to go next?"

Margo had been unable to concentrate on anyone else's introduction. She'd perfected the art of making eye contact with her boots during that time, only briefly looking up when Kenzie gave her speech and made special mention of Margo. If anything, that made Margo smile.

Unfortunately, by the end of it all, she was already back to over-analyzing her poorly worded speech and the way everyone had laughed at her clumsiness; it was hard to focus on how she had a friend when she couldn't even understand why someone would like her in the first place.

"Margo, where you going?!" called a voice behind her as she barrelled out of the classroom at lunchtime. It was Kenzie, closely followed by a girl that Margo didn't recognize.

"Bathroom," Margo mumbled, trying to wipe away her tears before either girl saw them.

Kenzie closed the distance quickly, the other girl bouncing at her heels. "Oh, well, I wanted you to meet Veronica, my desk buddy!" Kenzie began excitedly. "She's got two older brothers, and a twin, and her family just moved here from Egypt! Isn't that awesome?!"

"... Yeah... That's really cool," Margo mumbled, attempting a weak smile as she looked at this 'Veronica'. "But... why'd you move here?" Twinbrook wasn't exactly a nice location after some place like Egypt.

"Well, my dad's a photographer," Veronica said as equally bubbly as her desk partner. "So we travel around all sorts of places. He wanted to settle us down somewhere a bit more normal and quiet, though, so we came here! I don't mind it so much, actually. Egypt was way too hot. My dad still does a lot of traveling for work, though."

"So, he takes pictures? That's cool..." Margo said, unsure.

"Yeah!" Veronica bounced a little on her heels. "I asked Kenzie if she wanted to come over after school and see some he's taken, and some other stuff we brought from Egypt--do you wanna come, too?"

"Well, I'll have to ask my mom, but... I guess--"

"You better watch out, Veronica." The sound of the classroom door shutting suddenly made the three girls aware of a fourth that had just exited, if her curt words had not. "Margo's so clumsy she might break all your Dad's relics just by breathing on them. She's cursed, just like the rest of her family."

"B-But I--" Margo turned, looking at the blonde with a hurt, defeated frown.

What looked back, though, was something the likes of which Margo had never seen before. She'd heard all sorts of insults from Ian--this was nothing new--but that look... It was different. With Ian, Margo was just a toy, a plaything, something he messed with for the sake of amusement, and it showed in the way he smiled and laughed at her embarrassment.

This girl, though, looked at Margo with anger. With Pure. Seething. Hatred.

None of them had any time to make any sort of response, though, because the blonde disappeared down the hall as quickly as she'd appeared.

The air escaped all of their lungs at once; even Kenzie had been holding her breath. "Who was that, and what is her problem?" Veronica asked, bluntly.

"I don't know," Margo said in a small voice. "I've never even met her before."

"Well, I don't like her," Kenzie responded fiestily. "She's trouble. Trouble for my fists, if she comes back!"

"Kenzie, you can't do that, you'll get in trouble," Margo protested, suddenly worried. She didn't want to get her friend involved in this.

"So what? She started it! She doesn't know who she's messing with, and she should."

"Yeah," Veronica chimed in. "People can't just talk to you like that and get away with it!"

"Still, I don't want you guys to get hurt, too! They only hate me, I don't want them to hate you too."

"Like we care! We're your friends, silly!" Kenzie exclaimed, so exuberantly her glasses nearly slid off her nose. "And we're gonna take care of you, whether you like it or not!"

Veronica nodded enthusiastically. "Exactly. We don't care what they think. Besides, it's easy to pick on one person, not so easy to pick on three! We'll be like... a team!"

"A... team?" Margo paused. Though she'd never wish her troubles on anyone else, her heart warmed instantly to imagine them as a team. A trio, like Jimmy Sprocket and his friends, or the band in the Fellowship of the Plumbob! She wasn't much on her own, but together... together, she wouldn't have to be afraid.

Or alone.

"Ya! Now let's team up and get some food... I'm starving."

Margo wasn't sure what she'd done to get their loyalty, or what she'd have to do to keep it, but for the first time since she'd been introduced to the 'world', she felt... happy. It wasn't perfect, but, at least school wasn't going to be so bad, after all.

"Lil, hold still! I'm getting hydraulic fluid all over your rotator cuff."

"Sorry! I'm trryyiinngg..."

"Alright, that should do it," Dick Norman announced, sounding rather pleased with himself as he tightly screwed the cap shut at the nape of Lilobot's neck. "Good as new! I'm no doctor, but if that doesn't make you run smoother, I ain't sure what could."

"No, no, I'm feeling better already! My joints feel much less resistant... I must have a leak somewhere, I'll have Mr. Kane take a closer look when I get home."

"Why you still botherin' with that 'Mr. Kane' nonsense? He's like yer father, ain't 'e?"

"Yeah, I guess," Lilobot said slowly as she pulled away, testing the compression in her fingertips as she walked. "It just... does not seem right to say in casual conversation, I suppose."

"'Ey Lil... Is everything alright?" Mr. Norman tilted his head, looking at the back of Lil's. "You don't sound like yourself, today."

Dick Norman was a sweet old soul. For the past few months he'd become a rather good friend to Lil. What started as coming in for occasional tune-ups became something of a working relationship for her, where he taught her about engines and she helped do all the jobs he was getting too "rusty" to do. It was actually the relationship he valued most, since his wife passed away a few years back and his business was all that kept him going--and for Lil, it was nice to be around someone who saw cars so lifelike that she seemed just as flesh and blood to him as he.

But no matter how good a friend he was, she knew he couldn't possibly understand. "It's just... I've gotten myself in a really sticky situation, and I'm not sure what to do," she sighed, wheeling back around to face him.

"Sticky situation? What happened?"

"It's... complicated." Lil frowned. Even if Mr. Norman could understand, she didn't want anyone knowing that she'd lied about her identity to someone she was in a romantic relationship with. Even Mr. Norman would disapprove.

"Uh huh... I see."

"I'm sorry, I wish I could say more, it's just really personal. I'd rather not get into it."

"No, no, Lil, don't worry," Mr. Norman said with a smile. "I understand completely. Just try not tah be so hard on yerself, a'ight? I need a stable head on those shoulders if I'm tah have you workin' here."

"Don't worry sir!" she responded perkily. "I'll be back to normal in no time! Just got pre-occupied while I was dozing, it won't happen again!"

"Good, good, that's great tah hear--I'm gonna need all the help I can get with this beauty here, can't afford not to have my protege at her best." Mr. Norman steered Lilobot towards the car sitting in the main hub of his garage--but once Lil got a good look at it, she was quickly taken aback.

"Wait... This. This car." The color, the model, the funny scratch over the left headlight--she knew this car."Where did this come from?" She could swear she heard something uncomfortable rattling around in her belly.

"New boy in town brought it 'round this mornin', wants to give her s'more power and a fancy new set o' rims. He actually should be droppin' by any time now to work out the specifics--"

"He's--He's coming here?! Now?!"

"Yeah, he--wait, see, there he is right there!" Mr. Norman gave a solid nod towards a man who, as far as Lil was concerned, appeared out of no where at the end of the garage.

"Am I interrupting something?" he asked politely, with a pleasant northerner's accent to Mr. Norman's heavy southern drawl.

"Not at all, not at all! Come in come in!"



"Mr. Grey," Dick said excitedly. "This is Lilobot Kane, my assistant-in-training. Very bright little lass, she'll be a better mechanic than I am in a couple o' weeks if she puts her mind to it. Lil, this is Tanner Grey, our newest customer."

"Fascinating!" Lil's heart sank when she heard Tanner's first words. "I knew Twinbrook had simbot prototypes in the populus, but I never imagined I'd actually meet one! She's quite exquisite--how much did you have to pay for her?"

"Mr. Norman didn't pay for me," Lil answered promptly, trying incredibly hard not to feel hurt. "I'm his employee..."

"And she talks! AMAZING!"

"You know... I'm standing right here," Lil said in a muffled voice, casting her eyes away.

"Oh, I'm sorry--I've just never... Wow. Fascinating."
"Yeah... I get that quite often."

After a moment, Tanner quickly shook his head and broke eye contact. "Sorry, I--I really don't mean to stare. Just. Ya know. Weird. Anyways, thanks for taking a look and helping out with my car--I'm sure you'll get her better than new. And if you could, touch up the spot above the left headlight? My girlfriend's been on me about that... She really fancies the car, I want it looking spiffy for the first time I get to take her around for a spin in it. Can you handle that?"

"I--er--um... Yeah. Yeah I can," Lil said slowly, trying to sound enthusiastic.

"Great, thanks--you're the best! Talk to you later, autobot. Get it? Autobot, because you work in an autoshop, and you're a robot? Haha... yeah, peace!"

As he walked away, Lilobot felt herself getting weak in the knees--and not in a good way. Great. Not only did he not know that she was this 'girlfriend' of his, but she was working on his car as a present for herself. Fantastic.

Lilobot sighed. "Well... I guess I know what irony feels like, now."

Time to crack the egg, Bradley thought at he looked down at the massive tiberium sample sitting peacefully on the pedestal in his laboratory.

All the preparations had been made; even Moe, the reluctant mother hen, had been able to give Brad the go-ahead. They'd equalized the element's radiation enough to handle--at least for a brief amount of time. It was long enough for Brad to get the sample he needed so he could get to work, and finally get another step closer to his sister's cure.

Unfortunately, even genuises can make mistakes.

"Easy... easy does it... Beautiful," Brad mumbled to his test tube. "The reaction is completely neutral."

"Now, let's just add this to the soluti--hey, what the..?!"



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