Thursday, 26 December 2019

Close Encounter Academy - The Pries Misadventures: Part Five

We rejoin the happy couple during a trip to Oasis Springs. Isaac has ventured back to the Pries homestead, asking his siblings and his father to meet him there so he can share some important news. Misty joins him, longing to meet the family, and to offer her husband emotional support.

Issac's hand trembles as he knocks on the door. When Erwin answers, he takes one look at his son, and beams from ear to ear.

He's going to be a grandfather!

(To clarify, in my established Sims lore - The Miskin Legacy, Michael Lee Harker: Intergalactic Sim of Mysteryetc. - it is always the male who carries the baby in any kind of Sixamian pregnancy. If that works that way with abducted Sims, then I take it as read that it's the same for the species in general. Zara van Halen Miskin was an exception, but thus far, she has been a unique case, and technically speaking, she was assigned male at birth. Such pregnancies are possible without cheats thanks to the game's diverse gender options.)

Our current wearer of the Glowing Crown of Government Paranoia (a term coined by LuckyDucky, and one that made me laugh hysterically) is well into his second trimester by now, having become pregnant during one of several passionate intergalactic trysts with his new bride.

However, Issac hasn't used his delicate condition as an excuse to rest on his laurels. Determined to squeeze in a promotion or two before he's wheeled into the delivery room (and even then, he'll probably have an improving book open in his hands), he's taken up a regime of more relaxed, appropriate workouts, and spent the evenings working on his rocket. In short, the all-round agenda is "growth and development", in more ways than one.

As soon as Erwin feels the little one's kicks, Isaac finds himself being passed around the Pries family like a plate of hors d'oevures - everyone taking their turn at putting their hands on his baby bump. 

Lincoln is particularly intrigued, asking Isaac endless questions about his health. After all, if he ever falls in love, he may one day share his brother's fate! 

(And that may well happen: I've selected Lincoln as the unofficial "heir presumptive" to the Pries dynasty, and he is the only sibling still living with Erwin in Oasis Springs, to ensure the house and land stay within the family.)

Isaac's visit is a brief one: Misty has taken up work at a fast food restaurant, and needs to get ready for her evening shift. Not to mention, Isaac relishes every moment he can get to prepare for the baby's arrival and advance his own career. 

As Erwin gives his son a goodbye hug, he makes it clear how excited he is to meet his grandchild, and promises to be there at the birth - supporting Isaac through the whole ordeal as he stands at his side, along with his new daughter-in-law.


Sadly, Erwin's promise is one he won't keep.

Some time later, in the very early hours of the morning, Isaac - now in his third trimester, and the big day growing ever more imminent - is stirred out of sleep by his mobile phone ringing. As he answers and hears the news, his blood runs cold.

The speaker is a nurse from Oasis Springs Hospital.

Within the hour, a weeping Lincoln is at Isaac's door.

"It was a stroke," he explains. "It was all so sudden - totally unexpected. I wanted to call you right away, but Dad refused - he said he'd didn't want to cause you any stress, what with the baby's due date being so near. I was with him in the ambulance. They tried to save him, but..."

He breaks down, unable to finish the sentence. Shaking, but with a sense of duty, he hands Isaac a golden urn.

"He wants to be buried in Strangerville," he continues. "Later, once it's safe for aliens there. In his will, he asked for his remains to be placed in the care of you and your family, until the ceremony can be held. He said he didn't care how long he had to wait, as long as he got his wish someday."

After consoling Isaac and sharing a pot of coffee, Lincoln heads home - leaving each brother with their respective grief. No doubt Miranda and Cassie are hurting badly too. 

Once alone, Isaac places his father's ashes in a prominent position: beside the lamp he received from him the day he became an adult. As he looks at it, the gold-plated urn glistening in the lamplight, he weeps bitterly.

Dear Watcher, why now? He should still be alive. He should have been there to meet his grandchild.

Misty does her best to console her husband. This is indeed a very sad time, but Isaac needs to look ahead to the future, and think about their baby. By all means, they should grieve for Erwin, but they mustn't allow sadness to spoil the happy event that is to come. Plus, Isaac should stay motivated and keep up his hard work. His father may have passed over, but he can still make him proud.

Isaac knows Misty is right. To distract himself, he plunges deeper into his work - getting up each morning, squeezing himself into his ever tightening suit, and helping to run various space missions from the Windenberg control room.

His devotion pays off. After months of effort, Isaac is finally accepted as a candidate for the astronaut program, and named as a Space Cadet. However, his rigorous training schedule is postponed until after the birth, for obvious reasons.

As for Misty, she uses her free hours during the day to satisfy her nesting instinct, and converts the spare room into a nursery.

Very soon afterwards, Isaac undergoes another rude awakening in the small hours. However, this time, the thing rumbling isn't his phone, but his belly. Waking up to a puddle on the mattress, and experiencing ever-more-frequent painful pangs, he swiftly realises that he's gone into labour.

Within minutes, they're on their way to the hospital - Misty holding her husband's hand tightly, reminding him to breathe.

As Issac, clad in a ducky-covered robe, lay on the bed of the Cesarean section machine in the delivery room, his eyes fall on the empty space beside him.

"That's where Dad should be," he says to himself.

He blinks back tears - but then reconsiders, allowing himself a small smile as he looks back at the space. Logic and science may rule his life, but he can still be open-minded about some things. Like the spirit world, for instance.

"Then again," Isaac thinks, "maybe he is here."

He can't dwell on the subject for long. As another contraction almost makes him bend double in agony, the doctor tells him that it's time for this baby to make its entrance.


As the moon rises again that evening, Genesis Pries is placed in her cradle by her adoring father.

Inheriting his emerald skin, she is the most beautiful baby Isaac has ever seen. He utterly adores her - and Misty feels exactly the same way. Time will tell if she will be Isaac's heiress, but no matter what happens, she will always be treasured and loved.

After some lullabies and goodnight kisses, Isaac and Misty retreat to their own bedroom - and enjoy a passionate loving celebration. Afterwards, as the astronaut's head hits the pillow, he drifts off to sleep satisfied - somehow knowing that Genesis won't be alone in the nursery for very long.

What he doesn't know is that she's not even alone right now...

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Close Encounter Academy - The Pries Misadventures: Part Four

Today is a very special day in the Pries household.

Not only is it someone's birthday...

... it's also their coronation.

Little Isaac Pries is all grown up, and has inherited both the honoured duties of this challenge and his father's colander crown - following a unanimous win in the Heir Poll.

(Seriously... you folks knew you had more than one choice, right?)

As birthday gifts, the father hands his son two leftover treasures from his days running the Curio Shop: a plumbob-shaped lava lamp, and an alien abduction poster. Two items that, coincidentally, Erwin put on display in the lounge earlier that week. He wants Isaac to do the same with his in his new home... so they'll each have reminders of the other.

Erwin couldn't be prouder of his precious heir. With his wise, logical mind, he's bound to flourish out there in the big wide world. With one last loving goodbye embrace, it's time for him to spread his wings and leave the nest.


With his ancestors' home town of Strangerville still off-limits to aliens, fixed as it is under the Government's ever-observant gaze, Isaac settles on the more scenic and peaceful Windenburg as his new homestead: taking up residence in a small house in a grassy glade, not too far from the lake. 

The first items he unpacks are his father's gifts - wiping a tear from his eyes as he does so. He's a little sad at having to leave the only home he's known, but at the same time, he's excited for the challenges ahead.

Once he's settled in, Isaac decides there's no time like the present to start preparing for his future career. Astronomy and space, naturally, appeal to him - but unlike his father, he doesn't want to merely watch it from the distance through a telescope. He wants to be out there exploring it. Luckily for him, the Windenburg Space Programme is taking on new applicants, and he swiftly secures an internship. 

If all goes as planned, he'll soon be known as Isaac Pries - astronaut!

Isaac, geeky genius that he is, knows he has the smarts needed to achieve his dreams. His body, however, has quite a way to go. His slender, scrawny frame isn't the physique usually favoured by intergalactic explorers. Therefore, he spends his first paycheck on some exercise equipment - teaching himself to spar so he can fight off any renegade space pirates.

After earning a couple of promotions, and securing the role of Command Center Lead (snazzy new suit included)...

... he is able to invest in a weight machine.

He also decides to make his exercise regime a socialising opportunity by taking out a membership at the Harbor Quarter Gym. His personal trainer, Phoenix, is very supportive if his endeavours -

- and he even sees a few familiar faces from time to time.

(Good thing that pale gentleman thought twice about hitting on Cassie, or our aspiring astronaut would have knocked his lights out.)

Within a few weeks, Isaac's post-gym selfies are getting a lot more likes on Simstagram.  

(This is the son of Erwin Pries, folks. Erwin Pries of StrangervilleLook at that six-pack again and remind yourself of that.)

Isaac is flattered. He thinks people must really like his choice of tracksuits.

(Yes, Isaac - that's what they're all gawking at. You lovable doofus.)

The online compliments do wonders for his confidence. Issac likes what he sees in the mirror, and even talks to his own reflection to practice some flirtatious conversation - improving his charisma in the process. 

After all, the true key duty of any heir is to produce the next one, isn't it? Isaac is all too aware of this. If the Pries bloodline is to continue flowing, he needs to able to seduce someone, let love blossom and settle down into domestic bliss. And when it comes to Step One, practice makes perfect.

Don't worry, though. Isaac hasn't devolved into some dumb, macho muscleman who chats up anyone who even smiles at him whilst being scarcely capable of ordering a protein shake. In both mind and hobbies, Isaac is still very much his father's son. He knows both his body and brain must excel if he wants to see the stars for himself. When his muscles ache too much for him to go on at the gym, he relaxes with a good book, plays computer games, or practises his chess moves. 

The local lake also offers some marvellous fishing spots. Some fresh air and extra income never hurt anyone!

Then, of course, there's Isaac's other major project. The construction of his own rocket.

The one world Isaac longs to see out of them all is the one that gave him life - Sixam. However, WSP Mission Control would never authorise a voyage there - the rumours ("And nothing more!") about alien abductions are still enough for them to consider it a hostile planet. If Isaac wants to beam down onto its surface any day soon, he'll have to go it alone.

Using saved wages to bribe a few technicians for spare parts, Isaac completes his rocket, and manages to get hold of one key component - a wormhole generator. Wormhole travel is the only way he can get to Sixam and back fast enough to ensure he still has time to meet someone special and father his heir. Otherwise, he'd be flying through space so long, he'd die old and alone in the shuttle cockpit.

One moonlit night, after a few final wire weavings and screw turnings, the rocket is completed. Isaac can't hold back his excitement a moment longer. Donning a spacewalk suit he "borrowed" from work, he boards his homemade vessel, and blasts off.


As he approaches his maternal homeworld, Isaac is surprised when his system scanners inform him that he can survive on the planet surface without a spacesuit. Still, being at least half-Sixamian, it's not too far-fetched a notion. Plus, he's thrilled to learn that he'll actually be able to feel the breezes and smell the scents of this mysterious yet familiar planet. 

Stripping the suit off, he drives the shuttle into a slow, constant orbit around Sixam, and ventures down.

The low blue light that covers the landscape. The neon-like glow of the vegetation. As Isaac journeys around the terrain, gathering up rocks and plants he's never seen the like of before, he feels strangely.. at ease. At home. 

Having worn his human disguise all of his life, he has almost forgotten what it is like to go without it. But here and now, he feels an urge to become - for want of a better word - naked. He strips away his human trappings, revealing his true green-skinned self to the universe as he continues his explorations.

He's not alone. Through cliff-surrounded pathways and across fields of glowing moss, native Sixamians venture forth to meet this stranger and greet him warmly - somehow knowing that, although he comes from afar, he is one of their own. Hopefully, their interest in Earth culture, and the current fashion of wearing Earthling clothing, will put him at ease.

(Side note - I've no idea why the Sixamians wear human clothing in my game. I think it's a CC bug of sorts. Let's roll with it, huh?)

One Sixamian, though, is a little more shy than the others. A young adult female, with icy-blue skin, she watches the visitor from the distance for a while. His bulging muscles and toned physique are enough to get her heart racing, but his eloquent talk in Simlish - a known Earth language - is a sure sign of an advanced intellect, and the two factors combined damn near makes her swoon

Drawing a deep breath, she steps forward slowly, and makes her introduction.

The woman is able to say Isaac's name easily enough, but not knowing Sixamian, the lady's complex, detailed name is hard for Isaac to wrap his tongue around.  Only the first two syllables really stick: sounds along the lines of "mest - taye".  As politely as he can muster, Isaac asks his new acquaintance if he may refer to her as "Misty". Giggling, she agrees.

As time passes, it become clear that the two have a lot in common. They are both a tad erratic, with an interest in intellectual pursuits. Even their differences are compatible - Misty longs to visit Earth, whilst Isaac is keen to learn about Sixam and its history. The pair could easily help and support each other. Not to mention, the young woman is funny and clever, and really rather charming. 

Isaac feels his own heart skip a beat. It's love at first conversation, if not first sight. During a pause in the chatter, he takes a chance, and pulls Misty into his arms, locking lips with hers in a passionate kiss.
Thankfully, the blue-skinned Sixamian returns his emotional outburst with equal vigour.

"Misty," Isaac pleads breathlessly, once the two break away. "I beg you... come back to Earth with me. Be my bride."

Always organised, Isaac had prepared for this eventuality on the off-chance it should happen - crazy as it seemed to him at the time. Dropping down onto one knee, he produces a ring from a pocket in his Sixamian vestments, offering it up to his beloved.

"'Bride'?" Misty asks, puzzled... but hopeful. "Isaac, are you asking me to become your life-mate?"


Misty gasps in delight, but soon after, she calms herself - and continues to hesitate.

"I... I want to have children," she states clearly. "And soon. You would support this?"

"I'd encourage it!" laughs Isaac.

"Even if I want several?"

"The more the merrier!"

"I do not know if you know this, Earth-born," Misty goes on, "but as a Sixamian... even one of half-blood... it is you, as the male, who would carry and bear our progeny."

"I know that," Isaac replies. "My father, a male human, was the one who bore me, after all."

"And you are prepared to do this?"


"But... but your physique..."

Isaac sighs, casting his eyes downwards. He flexes his stomach muscles as he contemplates.

"It'll be a sacrifice, I know," he concedes. "But it'll be worth it to have my own big, happy family. Our family."

Looking up again, he gazes deeply into Misty's own shining eyes.

"Please, Misty," he begs. "I know it's sudden, but... I just know we were meant to be together. I love you."

Blinking back tears, Misty nods.

"I accept, Isaac Pries," she says confidently. "Come. Let us bind ourselves to one another."

Putting both of her hands in his, Misty pulls Isaac to his feet, reeling off what appears to be rhyming verses in Sixamian. A sort of wedding service, Isaac concludes. A pledge between life-mates. In response, he recites the traditional marriage vows he has heard at the weddings of friends and co-workers, and seals his promise with the exchange of two further rings. 

Isaac had hoped to leave Sixam with a space rock, but didn't really expect it to be on his finger. Still, the heart wants what it wants.

Isaac hurries back to his rocket, his blushing bride in tow, and sets off back towards the wormhole that will return them to Earth. The journey is brief, but still offers the pair enough time for them to consummate their marriage: a wonderful, tender tryst enjoyed in zero-gravity.

When they arrive back at the rustic residence in Windenberg, Isaac re-clothes himself in his human skin and retreats to bed, waiting for Misty to join him. As he lay between the sheets, he pats his stomach sleepily, wondering whether or not he is already carrying his potential heir. He and his wife should really try again. And again after that, just to be certain.

Misty, meanwhile, retreats to the bathroom. If she is going to stay on Earth, she'll need a disguise of her own - something that she can live with, and which will also please her life-mate. After some careful thought, and after trying lots of different looks, she finally settles on her new face.

And I, for one, have a feeling that this woman was born to be a Pries.