101 Road to Nowhere, Smith Residence
“Must be Ophelia. She’s early,” muttered Johnny Smith, as he made his way to the door. A heavy cloud had hovered over the atmosphere of the Smith house, in the aftermath of the death of their beloved patriarch Pollination Technician #9 (PT9) Smith. Johnny hoped that Ophelia Nigmos’ friendly presence would help to ease his aspiration meter.
Besides, his parents – now his mother – had never allowed him and his sister, Jill, to visit Ophelia’s house, due to the long-standing controversy surrounding the reputation of Ophelia’s aunt, Olive Specter. However, as Ophelia had proved to be a good-natured and well-behaved girl, she was always welcome as a guest in the Smith house.
Johnny opened the door. Instead of Ophelia, there stood…
PT9 Smith. His late father, apparently in flesh-and-blood form, just as Johnny last remembered him.
“What? Dad? I thought you died…?”
“No, son. I’m not dead.”
Johnny was too stunned to move, or speak any further.
“Come, touch my hand, Johnny. See for yourself.”
Johnny reached out and touched PT9’s hand. It felt warm and coporeal enough. Johnny’s hand moved up his father’s arm, which felt equally lifelike. He stared into PT9’s dark eyes.
“Dad, please come in. I should call Mom and Jill too.”
Just as Jenny and Jill were exchanging hugs with PT9, the doorbell rang again.
This time, Ophelia and Ripp Grunt greeted Johnny at the door.
“Hey Johnny! Hey, are you alright, dude?” Ripp thought Johnny’s bewildered expression was very unlike him.
“Come in, you two, and see for yourself. I don’t know how to describe this.”
Ripp thought it was awesome for Johnny to get back his father, albeit under such unusual circumstances. Some time ago, Ripp himself was anguished at his mother’s disappearance, which had the dire consequence of him living under the demanding shadow of General Buzz Grunt, his military father, and his annoying, military-conforming older brother, Tank. Had it not been for Buck, his neutral younger brother, Ripp’s home life without their mother would have been completely intolerable.
When he last heard about PT9’s death, Ripp had felt awkward about the fact that he had regained his mother around the same time that Johnny lost his father. Now, Ripp was feeling genuinely happy for his friend.
While Ophelia put on a happy face for the Smith family, she did so to hide her innermost suspicions. After all, PT9 did die and was buried. Yet now, he had “inexplicably” returned.
This reminded Ophelia of the increasing number of strangers loitering around her house. Her Aunt Olive had assured Ophelia that they were her guests.
But Ophelia had also noticed that the arrival of these “guests” coincided disturbingly with the diminishing number of tombstones in Aunt Olive’s yard.
Ophelia decided to take a look at the spot where PT9 was buried.
What she saw did not surprise her. The Smiths wanted to believe that they got their miracle, so she did not have the heart to tell them anything.
On the other hand, Ophelia was unsure about the exact circumstances of Ripp’s mother’s disappearance and return, so she decided to reserve her judgment on this matter.
1 Tesla Court, Beaker Castle
The first wave of zombie(*) attacks began when Specter’s first batch of minions stormed Beaker Castle an hour past midnight, hoping to take Loki and Circe by surprise.
The Beaker couple had Nervous Subject safely sedated, before planning to enjoy a steamy night in. But the smashing sounds downstairs were getting impossible to ignore.
When Loki and Circe came downstairs, they were greeted by the dismal sight of damaged furniture and destroyed lab equipment.
“Circe, dear, get Kit #2035. Under the mahagony desk. I’ll protect Nervous.”
As soon as Circe darted back upstairs, Loki had to dodge two zombies, who were attempting to punch him in the gut, and hit his head. It was hard for him to ignore the painful sight of his devastated laboratory.
If Nervous Subject was all that old woman Specter was after, why did she bother destroying his lab? Loki balled his fists. Specter will pay for this… but how will he execute any major plans without his main equipment?
Just then, Loki spotted a zombie emerging from the stairway, dragging the unconscious Nervous Subject behind him. Loki recognized neither the zombie form of Earl E. DeMise, nor would he have known Earl E.’s name and history with Olive Specter. None of these mattered, because right now, Earl E. was simply a zombie minion doing Specter’s bidding. Loki waited for them to complete their ascent.
Loki pulled Nervous away, then pinned Earl E. against the fence…
… before pushing the zombie downstairs into Nervous’ basement prison.
As soon as Earl E. hit the ground, he disintegrated into a pile of dust. Loki rubbed his hands in glee, wondering what wonders he could uncover by investigating the zombie dust. This may be just what he needed to beat Specter at her own game.
The sound of a vacuum cleaner broke his train of thought. Circe had returned, with a SimVac in her hand. She also had a literal Thinking Cap on top of her head, for protection.
Circe had used the SimVac successfully on zombie Brenda Zaidi, who seemed significantly weaker after the process. Unfortunately, Circe was so busy gloating, that she did not notice zombie Danielle Greaves creeping up behind her. The pizza girl knocked the SimVac out of Circe’s hands, then proceeded to smash it repeatedly on the ground.
Suddenly, all the zombies seemed to get up from what they were last doing, and made their way in unison towards the front arches.
As the Beaker couple watched them go, Loki took a quick glance behind him. Nervous was still safely sedated on the floor.
After Loki brought Nervous downstairs to his bed, he quickly rushed to the spot where Nervous’ attempted zombie rescuer had fallen.
To Loki’s dismay, the pile of dust was nowhere to be found. Further tests with his decimated equipment and reagents revealed no traces of this coveted foreign substance.
Adding to their frustration, Circe could find no trace of zombie essence whatsoever in the destroyed SimVac.
What magic was this?
What were they really up against in their enemy, Olive Specter?
Loki thought it would be a good idea to ask Erin Beaker to stay in Beaker Castle for a while. Good thing she was still living with her female roommates, as Loki thought Ajay Loner’s presence would only complicate matters for the Beakers. His loyal sister could help guard Nervous Subject and watch over the trivial matters of the house, for as long as he and Circe needed to repair their main equipment.
In the meantime, if they could not get back at Olive Specter yet, someone else would have to pay…
Meanwhile, the zombies were seen in a public march down Beaker Hill, then along the main street of Road to Nowhere, before going to 13 Dead End Lane. They groaned so loudly that several Strangetown residents got out of bed just to catch a glimpse of them.
Specter had initially dispatched the zombies on a quiet march to Beaker Castle via an alternative, less high-profile route, behind the community lots. She planned for the main street march from Beaker Castle to Specter Yard to be the first sighting that most Strangetown residents were treated to.
After knowing the contents of Kit #2035, Specter now knew what she was up against, and would strengthen the zombies accordingly.
45 Road to Nowhere, Loner Shack
A few hours later, Ajay Loner was roused from his sleep by his ringing mobile phone.
“Hello. This is Ajay Loner spea…”
“Ajay Loner, this is General Buzz Grunt. I order you to come to my house immediately.”
“I was sleeping. It’s 6 AM. What’s this about?
“This is about a favor that you owe me. Remember your first day in Strangetown?”
“I’d rather not talk about it. You know that.” Ajay yawned.
“When you first moved to Strangetown, two members of the Llama Outlaws thought it was a good idea to rob your house in broad daylight. When they found out you didn’t have any furniture, they tried to beat you up, and steal the 2,500-simoleon lotto check you visibly placed on your table…”
“… Luckily for you, I was one of the visitors on your welcome wagon. I subdued both of those sons of boolprops. I remembered the exact words you said after the police carried them away. ‘Thanks, General. If you ever need a favor, feel free to call me.’ Now, are you a man of your word, or not?”
“What kind of favor do you need, Grunt? I haven’t got much left from that prize money.”
“No, what do you think I am? A loanshark? Since you gave me your word, I can count on you when I need help. I need you to come to my house at 51 Road to Nowhere, and assist me with something really serious.”
“OK, I’ll be there in an hour after I’ve finished my breakfast. Can you elaborate more on this favor? How serious is it?”
“You have to join ‘Team Grunt’. More details when you get here.”
“‘Team Grunt’? What do you mean?”
The General had hung up. So Ajay had to wait to find out, after his rushed breakfast.
|Specter||Brenda Zaidi||Earl E. DeMise|
(*) Specter’s flesh-and-blood minions are not technically “zombies” in terms of pure Sims gameplay, as their skin is not gray and rotted. However, due to their overall zombie-like mannerisms, and the fact that they are forced to mindlessly obey Specter, the term “zombie” would be used interchangeably with “minion” for these characters.
For the POLL on Ophelia Nigmos, vote according to what happened in your game,
or what you like to happen in your own story.
Should the Smiths be suspicious about their “miracle”?
How will the StrangeTown residents interpret the “zombie sighting”?
What is “Team Grunt” all about?
Find out in the [next chapter]…