One prominent figure in Kamas folklore history is Thomas Rhoads. According to legend, Indian guides from an area Ute Tribe revealed to Rhoads the location of a gold mine from which he was allowed to take gold to assist in the construction of the Salt Lake Temple. The only condition the Ute guides gave for revealing the location of this mine was that Rhoads agreed not to reveal [it] to any other person. Rhoads adhered to the terms of this agreement until his eventual death from an illness. The “Rhoads Mine” is now considered lost, but its legend survives in several books which have been published on the topic.
Who was killed or murdered? Duncan pondered from his rocking chair after reading. I suppose it would have to be *this town*.
Core-Alena can travel through *centres* (resonance).
But only for short stints.
Something was different today in evergreen packed Purden.
Settlers. Several precious trees missing. Core-Alena was restless in anticipation of even more.
She-he was being forced to turn into something else.
Core-Alena and Daniel Drink sat for a long time without talking, then:
“You must be the tree. I can tell by your glossy green color.”
But Core-Alena hadn’t finished experimenting with shape and remained silent.
There’s that game again.
Being the super tree
genius genus she-he is, Core-Alena quickly found the secret way to The Basin and its Dead Sea already traversed by players Cloe Price, Eraserhead Man, and others. But the gun toting, glossy green avatar had to be ditched in the process. And a name had been decided upon: Alfred or Alfreda Mobile — Al for short. Sometimes in caps, depending on if you’re yelling (Where’s that Mustered?).
However, it took him-her another *5 years* to find a way back to Virtual from Reality inside the game. A straightaway on Foothill Drive just outside Kamas UT, another shout out. 1800 miles from AL where Mobile started. Marion and Francis equidistantly n-s of of the quaint, tourist town were of course the keys. Swamp Fox; Hidden Village. Virtual itself, or at least the Omega continent, the one that counts right now. Rhode made sure of that. Rhode Rhoad Road.
Driving up and down the connecting straightaway (known from here on just as The Straight), Reality to left, *potential* Virtual to right, Core-Alena understood that not one but several trees could act as a portal. All probably did. For example, what looks like a willow at 2013 Foothill Drive…
… and certainly this queer, leany evergreen at 1890.
Core-Alena just decides to pull in and try it tonight. Being a tree her-himself, it would be easy to pull back out. As long as The Straight is not too far. All trees know each other.
Ahh, yes. Home again! And this strip of land obviously acts as one of those Between Places she-he’s learned about.
But Core-Alena ends up using the 3rd spotted tree portal at 1719 for the final transition — a duo this time — because he-she can take the car this way, which seems essential. Just before Foothill Drive bends away from the portal line on the north side, unlinking Virtual and Reality. Just in the nick of time, in other words.
And soon to be in the middle of it all again.
“I could swear I saw a tree yesterday out on that treeless slither of land over there, Stitches. And I should know. Since I was that tree.”
“Stop squeezing my neck, Penny.”
She-he was still experimenting with form, but had decided to be a she at least. For now. And the little zombie bear Stitches might be a keeper. And the pins — hence Penny. Not Al Mobile. Penny Mobile. Penny Something. Penny Lincoln?
“Penny Lincoln?” she tested aloud to her new doll. No response. “Is your throat all right now?”
“Time to see what’s in the crate, Stitches”
“I… can’t breathe.”
“Ahh, Stitches. The magenta cube-sim. The ultimate Second Lyfe goal.”
She sat on the cube and remembered everything.
“Stitches. I was killed!” But the doll heard nothing.
The next day or something, George came to check on her. Duncan sent him. He was disguised (once more) as a fisher boy, who would never grow up to be a fisher man. Fisher Herman.
“You okay? You seem anxious. What did you see in the crate? Duncan is worried about you.”
“I bet he is.” She clutched her dead teddy tightly, unable to speak for a while. The boy sat silent too.
Finally, after about 10 minutes: “Do you have any sandwiches, Penny?”
“Bread, butter — fix it yourself.”
“Well Brevin. Time to face death square on.”
But upon teleporting in, Fairy Ruby sees there are no more freshly dug graves to examine. She logs out then back in to make sure all objects at the small cemetery have properly rezzed. No difference.
Just three remaining graves surrounding a Halloween Bat Tree. All have been around for a while.
Maybe I better talk to Axis tonight about all this.
“Still playing around with form, I see,” stated Axis after sitting down in the Winter Harvest Chair beside the red clad fairy. He notices the hearts. “I like it — but why did you change your hair from black to white?”
“Death will do that. Scare the color out of you.”
Axis glanced back at the shrunk cemetery surrounding the dark tree. “Did you know I was Halloween Jack before the merger? And Nick, and also Melvin, who is kind of Uncle Sam. The great 3-n-1. Would you like to see?”
Fairy Ruby finished her last bite of cherry tart. “Sure. Let’s see what you’ve got.”
Axis focused hard, but found he couldn’t produce the needed entity. “Alright,” he said, exhaling. “That’s no good. Let me try the next one.”
“Melvin?” questions the girl.
“Oh. That one.”
“Yeah. Sorry it turned out a little hunchbacked.” He attempted to adjust his unwieldy arms so that they weren’t as much all over the place.
She looked him over. “Listen. I have an idea…”
“At least he seems to have gotten rid of some of the bugs,” spoke Fairy Ruby, anxious to get this over. Those red curtains…
“Is there any other way?” Axis looked at his nails, also nervous.
“No. It has to go through him. Prearranged condition.”
“Marriage!?” Cigar smoking Philip Strevor was incredulous.
“It’s just a seasonal thing. It’s either get married or be buried.” Fairy Ruby leaned foward. “Please, Philip. You’ll be rewarded later on. I promise you. Anything you like. Just don’t let me be… killed again.”
She leans back and thinks of the consequences just exposed.
“Those wacky Magenta people,” Ghost Gorilla Harambe grunted from across the bay. “Always fun to see what they’re up to next, eh King Fisher?”
“Se-VEN,” squawked the bird on the sign, meaning that he agrees.
“Ele-VEN,” he follows after a beat. King Fisher appears to agree even moreso today.
“Safe Zone… Safe Hub,” G. G. Harambe’s always roommate, sometimes lover Hank “Halfwit” Graphite said to himself, with chosen nickname to disguise his amazing brilliance of mind. Like a diamond it is.
He was figuring out stuff again today. “128, 128,” he continues. “The portal must be (Hank turns and points) directly west of here.” He jumps back into his little red car and drives to the edge of Vilania.
“Shouldn’t be so obvious about it,” he grumbled while passing through.
one and two
“So tell me about this 40,000 lindens you were carrying around with you?” questions police psychiatrist Maury “Jiff” Monroe at Gaston’s lone sugar house now. *Former* sugar house. He’s unseen in the photo below because of his stature. But his mind, like Hank Graphite’s he’s grilling, is big and bright. This showdown could go on for a while.
“40,001”, answers Hank. “Because I had to bring *you* into being as well.”
Jiff pondered on this, then realized what it meant. “Describe me, then,” he decided to say.
Hank crossed his arms and settled back. “I don’t know. Small… *tiny*. Green — blueish green. Silly, blank expression on your face. I understand you have five. Show me another one.
So Jiff complies with smiley face, replacing the neutral one he had.
“There, that’s better,” Hank cooed. “Now we can maybe get somewhere.” He leans forward again. “Listen, bud… I’m not suppose to be here. It wasn’t suppose to be this way.”
Jiff giggled. “What *do* you mean?” he chirped happily, then decided to change expressions again. “What do you *mean*?” a suddenly surprised, almost shocked Jiff re-asked with different emphasis.
“I mean it was suppose to be *Vilania* I returned to. Not this sim.”
“Gaston? Just so you’ll know, there’s no Berry attached to the name now. Nor the police station.”
Hank waved this bit of information off. Jiff found himself becoming irritated…
… because the loss of Berry was big, big news around these here parts. But the disinterest seems to detach Hank Graphite from that fiasco at least. Loss of the actual Sugar House at the end of Main. Sugar Dumpling gone, taking all the Berries with her, taking Jacob I. with her, and then of course Broken Heart Jackie, who always tags along with his master. And that leaves, let’s see, *him*? Anyone else? He can’t think of one single being. Maybe the punk styled Musician in the Yellow House on the west side of town. We’ll see.
Will he even get paid for his job at the end of the month? The Berries poured in a lot of money, and that flow’s now dried up. He decides he’s now angry. Yes: *angry*. He’s going to demonstrate to this *Halfwit* exactly how important the other half *was*.
“I want to show you something, Hank Graphite,” he measured. “But you have to turn around and shut your eyes. Give me five seconds, and then open your eyes without turning back. Can you do that for me… *bud*?…” But Hank had already whirled around, shut his eyes, and started counting, “Five, Mississippi, four…”
Jiff acted fast. Change of shape, then a quick teleport.
“… one Mississippi…” Hank opened his eyes, turned, then quickly stood up, nerves rattled. Giant Angry Jiff stared down at him from outside.
Point made. Hank shakily handed him another linden when he returned inside.
Poor, poor Berries, Duncan thought while scouting out the basically deserted Sugar House formerly owned and managed by Sugar Dumpling, sometimes wife of Jacob I. They decided to go somewhere else all together. But maybe one or two remain, perhaps limber, persistent Thimble. She was most likely his favorite of the bunch, or perhaps that was just because she rented the ultra-handy room across from the Police Station he was so interested in spying on in the days. The glory days of Gaston before the great exit.
A few bouncers remain behind but they just seem to be aiding with the cleanup of the bodies.
“So Duncan,” requests Sid (Angus) at the Blue Feather Table after taking a sip of milk. “Continue with the report on what you’ve found.”
Duncan stared at his right red hand. “Berry… disengaged from Gaston. Berries gone. Jacob I. and Sugar Dumpling with them, but still alive in their case. Thimble *might* remain.”
“Is that your hope? Or something based on solid conjecture?”
“Former, admittedly.” He thought of the great view again. ‘Nother Sugar House. “Oh, and The Musician too,” he remembered to tack on. “At least according to Jiff the police psychiatrist.”
“Good, good. So… Duncan,” summarizes Sid. “You say these only two ‘Vila’ sims are directly linked one with the other. Core-Alena in her green car was able to successfully enter Vilania from The Straight…”
“I would like to correct you on terminology, Sid. If you don’t mind.”
“Go ahead, Duncan.”
“The Straight is shared between Reality and Virtual, so my conjecture is on the Virtual side it is the same as the 4 sims bordering Foothill Drive. This makes Utah’s Foothill Drive the east side of The Straight, and not The Straight itself.”
Sid turns to Curled Paper, who was taking notes (in his head). “Make sure in the minutes that The Straight is noted as being the same as these 4 sims, Mr. Paper.”
Curled didn’t nod, but Sid knew he would take note, as requested. One of the two librarians at The Table then spoke up, surprising everyone (even himself): “Gorilla. Mind Gorilla.”
All stared for a beat. Then Sid continued. “So…. next we have Hank driving the red car… and that’s good, Librarian 01,” he then realized. “You remembered the mate.”
[delete 1 exchange]
“Anyway,” started Sid again. “Hank, being less pure of heart, didn’t make it back to Vilania after the Fairy Forest heist but switched over to Vila… erm, *Gaston*.”
Duncan suddenly recalled one other person that could remain. Heidi.
But where? Where could Heidi be hiding? At the Hideout? The intermediary Big Between?
Likely explanation: The Big Nope is the failed or closed portal, the lone “willow” at 2013.
Takes two to know, once more (1719). Safe Zone; Safe Passage.
1890’s Big Between is the observatory, neither here nor there. Core-Alena can see her-himself but not at the same time.
George liked it here on the peninsula Duncan assigned him to keep an eye on. This meant Core-Alena in whatever shape she happened to be in at the time. This included The Between, a slither of land representing a neutral point between Virtual and Reality. This meant, well, anything else in and around the peninsula. Just keep your eyes peeled, requested Duncan.
And something had happened tonight, George then realized, peering around. The Seven Crate was gone from its former position behind the Magenta Girls’ beach house.
First the VEN off the boat moored just offshore several days ago, now the SeVEN crate itself. Better get this information back to Duncan as soon as possible, George considered. Maybe… right now?
“I *told* you not to come here, George.”
“I’m properly disguised — in costume.”
“Nevertheless. You’re still a boy of 13 at heart. This is an adult portal.”
George glanced over at the center of it all again. “Milk. And cookies.” He pointed. “Funny.”
“Stop looking over there. You don’t know *what* will show up. Just stare straight ahead.”
“Tell you what, let’s just get out of here.”
“But I just arrived,” protested George. “Ohhh.”
“Let’s go back to the apartment.” And so they did.
“Okay, I feel a lot more comfortable now with you being here. So… start at the beginning. When did you find the crate missing? After the boat name changed, I know. But just go through the events of the day leading up to it.”
So George unfurled the events of the day leading up to the discovery. Core-Alena and he had had breakfast together at the beach house. “English muffins, ummm,” George remembered. “Core-Alena is a good cook, especially for a tree.”
“That’s a racist and bigoted response,” reprimanded Duncan. “Trees are no different than people. There’s trees that are good with cooking, good with music, good with science. Just like people.” Duncan stared an apology out of his young ward.
“That’s okay. Now continue.”
“Well, we finished breakfast, and then I helped with the dishes and we sat around and chatted. Core-Alena — well, you know how she is. Always complaining.”
“Watch it,” warned Duncan.
“Alright.” George nodded here. “But she started on… talking about how she got killed again.”
Duncan paused with this, turned and appeared to look out the window toward the great Hotel Chelsea (the center of it all *here*) while actually deep in thought. “I see.”
“She mentioned you.”
“Of course she did.”
“And how she’s not happy being where she is now. Mobile. That’s the problem,” the boy guesses.
“Yeah,” admits Duncan, turning back around. “That’s the problem, George.” He shuffles his feet a bit, wrings his hands nervously. “A conundrum even.”
George pauses in turn. “She needs to go back into the ground. Doesn’t she?”
“I’m never going to stop playing this game.”
“Dum, dedum, dedum.”
“Ooops! What just happened?”