45 Road to Nowhere, Loner Shack
Ajay Loner was woken up by the buzz of his mobile phone.
It was a text message from his girlfriend, Erin Beaker, informing him about her decision to continue living at Beaker Castle, because her widowed sister-in-law, Circe Beaker, needed her.
Ajay was resting after suffering multiple bruises in the battle at Beaker Castle not more than 24 hours before. He was amazed that he managed to survive two missions with Team Grunt, without sustaining any major injuries.
The night before, Team Curious and Team Grunt had retreated from Beaker Castle with their respective fallen comrades. When Ajay got home, Erin had cried over the phone about the death of her brother, Loki Beaker. Ajay had been mostly quiet throughout that conversation, but he managed to comfort her a bit.
Besides, after the nasty encounters with both Loki and Circe in the battles, Ajay was sure that he did not like Erin’s family.
Loki had accused him of being a traitor. Maybe he was right after all. Ajay had betrayed Team Grunt because of Erin. Ajay heaved a sigh of relief that Team Grunt’s major losses were not a result of his treachery.
On the other hand, his Team Grunt comrade, Kristen Loste, had saved him. Ajay reflected on Kristen’s bravery in battle: her finesse in holding off the zombies, and her impeccable calm when confronted with Lyla Grunt’s secret. Ajay and Kristen had upheld their agreement to keep that secret to the very end.
While Kristen would probably understand if he shared his misgivings about Loki, Ajay could not imagine Erin tolerating any negative discussion about her brother.
His phone buzzed again. It was another text message from Erin. “Are you awake? Please pack up quickly and be ready to move into Beaker Castle too.”
Ajay typed his reply. “No, Erin. I prefer my own house.”
“Do you love me or not? Do you even want to live with me?”
“Erin, I’m sorry that Loki died. But after all the things your brother did yesterday, I don’t think I am comfortable with your family.”
“Ajay, what are you talking about?!!” Erin was so shocked that she began to weep again.
“I’m sorry, Erin. I need to clear my head… and rest.”
Ajay put down his phone. As he was about to leave his bedroom, the buzz of another text message stopped him in his tracks. Ajay frowned. Why wouldn’t Erin stop?
The message was from Kristen Loste.
“Hey Ajay. Are you feeling better today? Do you know that the Grunts and Curiouses have been invited to Specter Yard for some important meeting?”
Ajay paused for a moment, before typing his reply.
“Kristen, do you want to come over? I think we need to discuss something important too.”
13 Dead End Lane, Specter Yard – Reconciliation Meeting
“General and Ripp Grunt, Pascal and Vidcund Curious, thank you for coming today. I’m sorry about the deaths and disappearances in your families, which I regret to admit were the results of the meddling of my Aunt Olive Specter.” Ophelia Nigmos was succeeding in memorizing her formal speech to her bereaved neighbors.
“On behalf of my aunt, I sincerely apologize for the pain caused to your families, though I know any apology in itself is inadequate. But my aunt left behind something which may make amends to some extent.”
Ophelia unveiled the skull phone. All the guests stared in amazement.
“This is Aunt Olive’s prized possession. Nervous Subject left this with me, so one of you can use it to bring back a loved one…”
“What do you mean by bringing back a loved one?” interjected Pascal.
“Only one of us?” The General looked askance.
“Only one perfect resurrection. I can only repeat the message from the skull phone.” Ophelia handed them a sheet of paper, which they passed around:
“This phone will perform ONLY ONE full resurrection, before it disappears forever. One dead sim fully restored as they were in life, with no deficiencies. Which sim would you like to resurrect? Choose wisely.”
Ripp was the last one to read it. Suddenly, a hand snatched the sheet away.
“Gimme that!” snapped Circe Beaker. Despite her multiple injuries, she had arrived at Specter Yard, her wheelchair pushed by Erin Beaker, sister of the late Loki Beaker.
“I knew it!” yelled Circe triumphantly. “I knew this gathering was something important! Let ME use the phone to bring back my beloved Loki. He never deserved to die!”
“Mrs Beaker,” Ophelia tried to be diplomatic. “I don’t recall inviting your family to this gathering. The choice is between the Curiouses and Grunts only.”
Erin Beaker quietly read the piece of paper, before returning it to Ripp.
“Circe, you have the nerve to show your fringin’ face here, after what your evil husband did to Lazlo.” Vidcund glared at her.
“You, Vidcund, are no better, for having murdered my beloved Loki,” Circe retorted.
“Vidcund wouldn’t even have touched Loki, if he hadn’t killed Lazlo in the first place!” snapped Pascal.
“Lazlo was innocent. He was only doing his job. He was a kind and humorous man. Strangetown would be a more cheerful place with him back.” Vidcund looked down, in an attempt to hide the tears forming in his eyes.
“My Tank is innocent too,” the General added. “He may be rash and immature, but his heart is in the right place. I was sure that he would learn to be an honorable man, if he lived to join the army. He’d always wanted to…”
The General broke down and wept openly. Ripp continued. “Tank and I had our differences. But deep down, we’re still brothers. Nobody deserves to die at such a young age. How are we going to tell Buck that Tank and my Mom are gone?”
The Curiouses nodded. They could not imagine how their sister Jenny Smith was going to tell Jill that PT9 and Uncle Lazlo are gone. Both Buck Grunt and Jill Smith were enjoying themselves at a summer camp, blissfully ignorant of the heartbreaking outcomes of the battles.
“But if we get Tank back, then we only need to tell Buck about Mom…”
“Ripp, you’re not the only one who misses your brother,” Pascal said gently. “We Curiouses did everything together. It’s so painful to think how my little Newton will never know his Uncle Lazlo…”
It was Pascal’s turn to tear up and cry.
“Pascal and Vidcund, I understand why you’ll miss Lazlo. He’s the most fun-loving of you three, and is probably best with kids.” The General had composed himself, and tried for some empathy. “But Tank never got a chance to grow up, unlike Lazlo…”
“I want Loki back! I’m nothing without him!” Circe wailed.
“Circe, I miss Loki too,” said Erin gently. “But we’re gatecrashing this meeting. We should go now.”
“No!! I’m not leaving until we get Loki back!”
Ophelia rolled her eyes. She gave Erin a quick sympathetic look, before turning back to the men.
“We all miss someone. But we need to come to an agreement, because the phone will only allow one resurrection.”
The Curiouses and Grunts looked hard at each other. Someone had to give in soon, before Circe Beaker could make any attempt to take the phone by force…
VOTE for the victim you think deserves most to return.
For the POLL on Loki and Circe, vote according to what happened in your game, or what you like to happen in your own story.
Who would give way, the Curiouses or Grunts? Or will Circe force her way through?
1. The Pleas
Olive Specter’s Timeline (STSYC Prequel)