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Aliens Stole My Alien Parents


  • luciusstormluciusstorm Posts: 630 Member
    @mightysprite, I think if you're having fun with it, I'll enjoy reading it.
  • NRoweNRowe Posts: 7,346 Member
    Caught up. Nice to see Cassie and Mara so happy, but now time for adventure!
  • EllupelluelluEllupelluellu Posts: 3,909 Member
    Okay what happens next? I wanna know now, wanted to know yesterday! :D

    My love, my love, my fearless love, I will not say goodbye..
    Sea may rise, sky may fall, My love will never die..
    My heart, my heart, My drowning heart, Oh all the tears I've cried
    Oh I may weep forevermore, My love will never die..
  • SnowBnuuySnowBnuuy Posts: 1,194 Member
    Comment time!
    I always love how seamlessly you blend gameplay and story. and YES they are married! My heart ;-; I loved Bella just picking up the phone to answer her daughter than just getting straight back to her labour casually XD Ohh man the tension rises...I hope they will be safe ;-;
    they/them or she/her - remember to only support ethical CC creators! -
  • mightyspritemightysprite Posts: 3,398 Member
    edited November 16
    Interlude: Bella

    Tracking organized crime is nothing new for me. It's my main area of expertise at work. But this string of thefts was a little unusual.

    Art works, sure, and other valuable items-- but also normal items like garden tools, keys, shoes. Especially shoes. In fact, it was the shoes that helped me make the connection between so many separate incidents. There was also the fact that when witnesses did see the thieves fleeing, they frequently reported a strange skin color: purple, or blue, or green. And vague reports of flashing lights and strange humming noises as the thieves escaped.
    It's still early days in our contact with the Sixa. People at the top want to proceed with great caution, and I've always felt people need to be brought along slowly when it comes to big changes, otherwise they respond in fear and even hatred. We don't want to start massive amounts of trade and immigration and then have a backlash among the population. At first I simply thought those reports of funny-colored thieves were a little bit of fear-mongering in themselves. In part because the reported colors varied so much.

    Over time, though, as I investigated the thefts and tried to trace the money, I identified what seemed to be an organization of some complexity, going by the name of Moonshot Logistics, and using an off-world banking system. My superiors didn't know anything about them, and my contacts who do business with Sixam didn't seem familiar with them either.

    The case became an obsession. I studied everything. I ignored other responsibilities to my team. I had never been able to learn what had happened to me during the time I was gone, those years ago. I remembered only intense and troubling feelings, not images or sounds. Sometimes Mortimer suggested aliens might have been involved. I always thought those abduction stories were silly. So different from what real Sixa people are like. But there was enough doubt in the back of my mind that this case got a deep hold on me and wouldn't let go.

    When Cassandra met Mara at school, and they became best friends, I wasn't happy about it. The girl's dads were missing, a sad tragedy for any young person, but they were Sixa and it seemed suspicious to me... and I felt guilty for having that be the reason I was suspicious. And that canny, entrepreneurial streak of hers kept bothering me. I kept trying to be open-minded. This teenage girl was no intergalactic thief. She was just a teenage girl, like my daughter. Who had to face challenges of her own every day. Eventually I was able to see her as my daughter's friend, someone who brought something good into Cassandra's life, and bit by bit my suspicions dwindled.

    And then I learned that a crime ring we'd also been researching had put a bounty on the heads of any Moonshot Logistics employees, dead or alive. It seemed I wasn't the only one trying to track down Moonshot Logistics. Fair enough. If I solved this, maybe we could capture operatives from both sides. That crime ring was dangerous though. Something about the danger is always tempting in its own way.

    I made contact with someone involved in the crime ring who was looking for a possible career change. Getting out of those organizations can be delicate. I learned that she had been tasked with retrieving a painting that had been stolen from a house that her boss and a few associates used as a meeting place. The people who stole the painting were most likely associated with Moonshot Logistics. The painting was valuable, but more than that, it was of sentimental value to the boss. The boss wanted it back. In exchange for an offer of help in finding her next career, I arranged to have her bring the painting to me, for a period of time, before returning it to the boss.

    I analyzed everything about that painting. Every trace that could have been left on it by the thieves. Fingerprints. DNA. Not knowing much about Sixa fingerprints and DNA didn't help.

    Fortunately, I knew a Sixa young lady who was more than happy to sell clothing she'd worn online. I wondered if she knew the possible consequences. I can't be the only one curious about alien biology. I bought a couple of those outfits, to her evident delight. I analyzed every flake of skin, every slight difference from what you would normally find on a used piece of clothing, comparing it with the chemical composition of everything on the painting, trying to shed some light on where that painting had been, and with whom.

    Only my family kept me from becoming completely lost in the case. Mortimer and I unexpectedly found we were going to have a baby, and then I became pregnant again soon after. Cassandra and Mara's relationship developed into something more serious. I hoped Mara would help bring Cassandra some joy and peace in her life, as Mortimer and I have always enjoyed and comforted each other. My daughter has always been naturally gloomy, and I'm afraid she may be spinning her wheels on this gap year of hers. While she does love the violin, it seems more and more that it's just another source of irritation for her. I have had frank conversations with her teacher. He is convinced she could become a professional if she wants to, but he says she is not progressing well because she does not apply herself well in her practice time, preferring to throw herself at music that is too hard for her, rather than working on the exercises he assigns. She then becomes frustrated when she is unable to learn the too-difficult music.

    Chasing the impossible challenge rather than sticking with the ordinary assignments. It's no mystery where she gets that from. How long have I spent on this case now? One evening recently, Cassandra was violently tackling the same phrase over and over and over again. It sounded terrible. It sounded terrible in the same way every time.

    "Sweetheart, why don't you take a break? Or try playing something else?"

    "This is a Paganini caprice. I should be able to play these after so many years. They're required audition pieces for some of the music programs I want to apply for. I just watched some little kid on the internet play it perfectly. I don't know why I can't do it!"

    "There's always going to be some little kid on the internet-- Is that your phone ringing?"
    "I wish everyone would stop bothering me!" She picked up her phone and ducked into her room. I heard her say "Hi Mara" and then "Just leave me alone" and hung up.
    And she picked up the violin again, a sour look on her face.

    Sometimes I imagine Cassandra's worries like a swarm of angry bats hovering around her head. I want to attack them, trap them, but they're too fast, they dart away before I can get close enough, and then they're right back a moment later.
    I hate seeing her like this. Right now, I can't change it.
    We can't fix our kids; all we can do is give them love, and time, and help them know that we are listening whenever they have something to say.

    I was so happy when Cassandra and Mara got married. I know they will be good for each other. I was distracted at the time because I'd received two tips: one about a shakeup at the top of Moonshot Logistics and a large sum of money going missing, and one from my contact at the crime ring saying that Mara had just offered to give her a similar sum of money in exchange for information about her dads' disappearance.

    Something was about to happen. And Mara might lead me right to it.

    Then Cassandra called wanting to use the plane for a "honeymoon."

    Of course!
    I had spent all that time analyzing the physical evidence on the painting (and on Mara's clothes) that I had completely overlooked what was right in front of me. The painting depicted a scene in Tartosa. It was of sentimental value to the boss. I had never considered that the location might be important. In fact, there were two buildings in the picture that seemed of particular interest: one featured in the center, made of brownish stucco, and one on the right that seemed to have been shoved into the scene a little unnaturally, yellow with blue shutters.

    I would have jumped on a plane myself, except that I was delayed by a small matter.
    It was a very cute small matter.

    The next day, however, I was ready to go.

    "I wish I could come with you," Mortimer said.
    "I'll be fine, I've done this kind of thing so many times before, and there's no way I'm going to sit out this part of the case after so long. And I need you here. As you know, Alexander is useless with the children."

    "You just gave birth. You need rest."
    "I'll rest on the plane. My body knows how to do this by now."
    "Don't disappear on me again."
    He says that every time I go to work.
    "I'll come back every time. I love you."

    Tales of San Myshuno
    See What Happened In Your Game Today. Index in link here

    Aliens Stole My Alien Parents
  • DaniRose2143DaniRose2143 Posts: 5,503 Member
    edited November 16
    @mightysprite This was one of the best chapters yet. We learned so much.
    I missed some obvious signs in Cassandra's demeanor. In the game I never equated gloomy with depression, but it is. I struggle with depression myself and it looked a lot like her. Depression destroys your self esteem and leaves you feeling worthless. Even though I wanted friends and romantic partners, I'd push them away because they were going to eventually see me the same way I did and that would be the end of that. Why let them in at all? It spared both of us the misery. That was how I justified it. That's Cassandra, and I can't believe I didn't see it before.
    My Gallery ID: DaniRose2143
    Under The Tartosan Sun
  • luciusstormluciusstorm Posts: 630 Member
    @mightysprite, very interesting. Very, very interesting. I love it.
  • mightyspritemightysprite Posts: 3,398 Member
    Thanks @luciusstorm :)
    Oh, that's hard. I'm sorry to hear about your struggles with depression.
    Cassandra has some depressive symptoms, for sure. I think she is very hard on herself. She's caught between her high-achieving parents, her useless younger brother, and helpless toddler sister (and at that point the fourth baby was on the way). She wants to be like her parents, but deep down she isn't sure she will ever measure up. I think also that she can become easily overwhelmed/irritated by things that feel like interruptions or extra tasks. Even a phone call from someone we love can be that, at times.
    That's very insightful about depression leading a person to think that essentially no one can help, because they won't be loved if they are seen as they are. The hard thing, for a partner of a person with depression, is to know when to reach and ask and try to get in, and to know when to not intrude and allow time and space. Mara is a natural reacher and asker, but also, with Cassandra, Mara is a little extra nervous about being too intrusive.

    Tales of San Myshuno
    See What Happened In Your Game Today. Index in link here

    Aliens Stole My Alien Parents
  • NRoweNRowe Posts: 7,346 Member
    Ohh, exposition.
  • mightyspritemightysprite Posts: 3,398 Member
    @NRowe Why, yes.
    I realized I'd left it all to the end lol


    Tales of San Myshuno
    See What Happened In Your Game Today. Index in link here

    Aliens Stole My Alien Parents
  • SnowBnuuySnowBnuuy Posts: 1,194 Member
    Yessss I love that the Bella Goth mystery is mentioned!
    'We can't fix our kids; all we can do is give them love, and time, and help them know that we are listening whenever they have something to say.' DARN that OOF line right there. Bella is right. There's no quick fix for these sorts of things, just time and often patience. The new baby is adorable though, and that Avoid Children moodlet is just me permanently XD
    they/them or she/her - remember to only support ethical CC creators! -
  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,625 Member
    This is interesting.

    I hadn't considered the fact that Mara selling clothes she had worn would mean some people might think of analyzing them for alien DNA. That was a clever twist!

    I love how Bella is so nonchalant about giving birth. :lol::joy: Like it was just this minor inconvenience that interrupted her work day.
    Seventeen & Maldusk Forum thread link
  • mightyspritemightysprite Posts: 3,398 Member
    edited November 20
    Thanks @SnowBnuuy and @GlacierSnow ! Yes, Bella Goth is a first-class mother. So loving, so insightful, and yes she can give birth and pull a James Bond operation the following day.

    Interlude: Sovey

    Everything changed the day I met him.


    My interplanetary history professor, Benoy Zeezoob. He was brilliant. He was beautiful. He was fighting for his place in the historical academy. He bounced around the room with irrepressible energy anytime he talked about the landscape and culture of Earth. He studied several inhabited planets, but Earth was his specialty. He had been teaching for a decade or so; I was a second-year university student.

    He was everything I thought of as important and impressive, gathered into one blaze of light.
    I wanted him completely, from that first day in his classroom.

    Soon we were walking together after class. He took an interest in me, and in my upbringing. My family had lived for a number of years on the desert planet that serves as an aerospace hub for Sixam, for my mother's job. I had gone to school with desert alien children, spoke their language, could cook some of their food. Benoy hadn't yet been off-world, despite his research interest. He didn't have many opportunities growing up. He was determined to create his own.


    I didn't know exactly what I wanted in life yet, but I was certain I wanted it to include him.

    We only blurred the lines a little, before the term was over.

    Benoy spent his first "sabbatical" finally traveling to Earth, building out a business, and then promptly resigned from the university. We had a dream to pursue together.

    We were adventurers.

    We gathered artifacts from Earth, and brought them back for study, and well, perhaps also for sale. I loved the things the aliens used in their everyday lives. Benoy was awed by their art, their oldest sculptures and jewelry, and also he had a fascination with their shoes.

    Benoy always thought of Earth aliens as being incredibly beautiful and brave despite great hardship. Their world didn't have enough resources to support all of them, so they were always at risk of hunger and disease, not to mention crime and warfare. Their bodies couldn't handle great extremes of temperature, and yet everywhere on their planet was meltingly hot, or freezing cold, or prone to insane seasonal fluctuations, due to the way the planet had been tragically tilted on its axis. They only had one sun and the planet rotated, so that half their time was spent in darkness. They could neither see in the dark, nor look at their own sun, due to the weakness of their eyes. Despite all of this, they had developed a magnificent culture-- no, many magnificent cultures, full of art and spirituality, literature and dance and incredible food. They had made lights for their darkness, first from fire, then from candles and eventually electricity. They had been forced to make many different kinds of clothing in order to protect their fragile bodies from their planet's elements, and yet they weren't satisfied with that, they carried on to make their clothing beautiful and special, spending precious resources to adorn themselves in so many ways that we will never understand the exact significance of.

    About their shoes, Benoy liked to say, "Their feet are so fragile and their harsh planet hurts them. And yet, they have not only protected their feet, they have made them beautiful."

    The idea of not only surviving harsh conditions, but creating something beautiful there, always brought a tear to Benoy's eye. Of course I thought it was the most romantic thing in the galaxy.

    Our business was called Moonshot Logistics, an Earth-nerdy reference to the aliens' own word for their first trip to a place off-world. We hired employees. We had children. We gave them Earth names. We made plans to move to Earth, the better to understand it, and the better to explore.

    And we carried on adventuring.

    Sometimes we befriended aliens. Sometimes, we had to run from them, artifacts clutched in hand or hidden in our suits.

    (I know I should be proudest of the friendships, but the running was awfully fun too, I must admit.)

    We were celebrated for our finds, which were shown in the most important museums on Sixam.

    Until one day our luck ran out.

    We were in a beautiful spot with beaches and mountains. Benoy had found a structure that was full of the most amazing artifacts. Some recent, some quite old. We decided to collect a painting that depicted the house along with other parts of the local area. It was a beautiful example of primitive alien art. We didn't realize that the camera outside could actually pose a problem for us.

    The structure, it turned out, was used as a hideout by a criminal gang of aliens. Their camera had filmed us, and they had connections to some unusually advanced flying craft. We didn't realize they had any idea who we were until it was too late. We had just bought our house in a charming town called Copperdale, and were out on what was meant to be a short mission, when one of our employees tipped us off that the aliens were onto us and that they wanted the painting. I realized we might need to be gone for longer than expected. I asked Benoy to land our craft quickly near whatever town was closest, and I used the aliens' own postal service to send the painting to our house for safekeeping. I had heard the postal service was both the slowest and the most reliable alien institution. I hoped both were true.

    And then, suddenly, they had us.

    It was ironic that they decided to hold us prisoner in the same house we'd stolen the painting from. We figured we'd be released quickly, that it was a ransom for money (which Moonshot Logistics could easily pay). But perhaps it was more complicated. Maybe some sort of ploy in the aliens' own political sphere as they discussed interplanetary trade and immigration. They have quite the involved political structure and it seems some decisions can take an absurd amount of time. Or maybe it was as simple as a criminal gangleader with a grudge against the guys who stole his favorite painting.

    We were not released quickly.

    We tried to escape at first, of course, but the door was surprisingly secure, and their security system included monitoring in the ground all around the basement, so we couldn't tunnel out. At first Benoy threw heavy objects at the walls over and over every day, just to have the satisfaction of making the alarm go off. He went a little crazy after a while. Then he got better. Then I went a little crazy for a while. And he helped me get better.

    Having each other is the only reason we made it this long.

    And we would imagine what our children were doing. Resourceful Mara. Gentle, logical Oliver. Both so smart. They are the best of both of us. They had each other, and they had the house, and they had their natural abilities. We hoped they would be okay. But every parent worries, and being locked away as we were, we worried all the more.

    We had both been dead set against giving the aliens any information about Moonshot Logistics for a long time. It was Benoy's life's work. The artifacts we brought back were the pride of Earth studies, the jewels of every museum's Earth collection. But time went by. Mara and Oliver would be ready for college by now, or starting lives on their own. If they couldn't have us, maybe we could help them somehow.

    I thought of a deal.

    Benoy and I discussed it, and finally he agreed.
    We offered the aliens some information on our company, in exchange for a certain sum of money.
    We specified that the money had to go to our children.
    My hand shook as I wrote the address. I prayed, to the old gods no one really believes in anymore, that this wouldn't bring the criminal aliens to our children's doorstep. I prayed that instead, the money would give them a good start in life.

    Our children, all grown up. They grew up without us.
    I missed them all the more.

    Tales of San Myshuno
    See What Happened In Your Game Today. Index in link here

    Aliens Stole My Alien Parents
  • NRoweNRowe Posts: 7,346 Member
    Best chapter yet
  • mightyspritemightysprite Posts: 3,398 Member
    Thank you @NRowe :)

    Tales of San Myshuno
    See What Happened In Your Game Today. Index in link here

    Aliens Stole My Alien Parents
  • _Gina_Gina Posts: 54 Member
    I love this one. Well meaning, romantic criminals with a dash of goofy. It's so outta the box, I love stuff like that. :D
  • luciusstormluciusstorm Posts: 630 Member
    @mightysprite, I'm loving the different perspectives on the story these new chapters provide. Very interesting and clever.
  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 1,625 Member

    Loving the twist on who the "aliens" are that stole the parents in this scenario. This story is just so much fun to read.
    Seventeen & Maldusk Forum thread link
  • mightyspritemightysprite Posts: 3,398 Member
    @Metior_Ice Thank you :)
    @_Gina I love weird stuff!
    @luciusstorm I really do feel that being able to see a situation from multiple perspectives is a great gift that the Sims games have to offer.
    @GlacierSnow Indeed... who really is the alien?

    Tales of San Myshuno
    See What Happened In Your Game Today. Index in link here

    Aliens Stole My Alien Parents
  • GalacticGalGalacticGal Posts: 23,661 Member
    @mightysprite I really love the amount of detail you put into this 'interlude'. This is a great piece of back story. Can't wait to see what's up, next. Great job!
    You can download (free) all three volumes of my Night Whispers Star Trek Fanfiction here: You'll need to have a pdf reader. New websites:
  • DaniRose2143DaniRose2143 Posts: 5,503 Member
    @mightysprite I look forward to each new episode because you do a wonderful job of keeping me off balance. Just when I think I'm seeing where this is going, you take it somewhere else. I love that you don't stick to a particular formula.
    My Gallery ID: DaniRose2143
    Under The Tartosan Sun
  • mightyspritemightysprite Posts: 3,398 Member

    Tales of San Myshuno
    See What Happened In Your Game Today. Index in link here

    Aliens Stole My Alien Parents
  • mightyspritemightysprite Posts: 3,398 Member
    A climactic episode! It's a long one. Maybe make yourself some tea or something before you settle in...

    Act Two Day 9

    The driver parked the van under a bridge, and the curly-haired woman jumped out, pulling Mara along. "This way."

    They climbed up the embankment and saw a little yellow house with blue shutters.
    "That house is in the painting," Mara said, astonished.
    "Maybe that has something to do with why the boss wanted it back," said the woman.
    A very unobtrusive jeep glided to a stop on the street and Cassandra got out.
    "What is this?" asked the woman.
    "Uh, what a coincidence," said Cassandra. "Hi Mara."
    "You're not very good at international intrigue, are you?" asked Mara.
    "Not much practice," Cassandra said.
    "This is messed up," said the woman. "I've gotta go. I could get seriously hurt just for telling you this place exists."
    "Can I at least have my phone back?" Mara asked.


    At that moment, Cassandra's phone rang.
    "Hi Mom."
    "Brown stucco, or yellow with blue shutters?" asked Bella.
    "Um... it's yellow with blue shutters. How did you--"
    "I'll see you tomorrow, sweetheart. Better keep your distance till then. I'm finding us both places to stay right now. Don't let Mara do anything foolish." She hung up.

    Mara said, "Hey, we better stay out of range of the door cam."
    Cassandra said, "This is pretty spooky. Whose house do you suppose it is?"
    Mara was already on her phone. "Oliver! What do you know about door cams? Could you disable one remotely? Oliver? What's the matter with you?"
    Cassandra said, "I think it's pretty early in the morning, his time."
    "No Oliver, I can't just throw rocks at it! If it creates an online feed, it will broadcast pictures of me throwing rocks right before it breaks, fool! Okay, call me back tonight. Er, early evening for you. It would be cool if you could disable one by this time tomorrow. Oh yeah, there might possibly be more of a security system. Maybe door locks too. ... He says he'll see what he can do," Mara reported as she hung up.

    Bella arranged a rental house for Mara and Cassandra. Happy honeymoon, she texted along with the address.

    Mara and Cassandra didn't do much honeymooning that day. They slept the sleep of the jet-lagged.

    Act Two, Day 10

    "Hi Oliver. Isn't it really early there?"
    "Hi. I actually haven't gone to bed yet. We haven't. I'm too wired, it's crazy that you might find dads today! Anyhow, are you ready to move fast? I sort of messed up testing something and the camera and security system are actually down already. You shouldn't wait too long. Their owners might be coming to check out what went wrong."

    Cassandra and Mara got back to the yellow house as soon as they could, Cassandra frantically texting her mother.

    Cassandra rifled through the mailbox but didn't find anything useful.
    "The door's locked," reported Mara. "Oliver?"
    "One sec," Oliver said. "Almost got it."
    "Why is it so loud there?"
    "Oh, that's just Elsa. Ow! Actually it's pretty crowded here. We're at the university library. Okay, you're in. Go fast."

    Inside, the house was full of art objects, and money and computer parts randomly lying around as if someone had left them in the middle of some complicated cash-only transaction.


    "It doesn't quite seem like a place where people live," Cassandra said.


    "They do seem to like art, whoever they are," said Mara. "Doesn't this stuff all over the floor look a little suspicious to you?"

    "Maybe. It seems like there's a place over the couch here where something used to hang. That's a little suspicious."

    "Okay, now this definitely looks a little suspicious."

    It was locked, of course.
    "I can't help you on that one. Ye olde gigantic safe door is not a part of the internet of things."

    Fortunately a more experienced agent of international intrigue had just arrived.
    "Mom! I'm so glad you're here."

    "So, Oliver hacked into the security system and everything, but now there's another door he can't open, and we kind of have to go fast because--"

    "I'm on it. I brought my lock picks. And a small amount of explosives in case we need other options," Bella said.
    "I think let's go outside for a minute," said Mara.

    They went outside to find Gemma and Darling arriving.

    "How did you guys know? How did you get here?" Mara asked.
    "Magic," said Gemma. "Duh."
    "I threw up," offered Darling.

    "Hey, you guys? Do we care that there are several people sprinting across the bridge in the direction of this house?" Gemma asked.
    "Maybe they're joggers?" Darling suggested.
    "Oh, we definitely care," said Mara, quickly ducking back inside. "Distract them for as long as you can."

    There were three of them. A man in a hoodie and two red-haired women. "What are you doing here?" one of the women demanded.
    "I've got your back," said Darling.
    "On it," said Gemma. "I've been meaning to find an occasion to try out this spell."

    "It works great!" crowed Gemma.

    "Hey watch it," Darling panted, blocking a punch from the other woman. "You almost set my arm hairs on fire."

    Darling dodged the next punch, moved in fast, and gave the man in the hoodie the what-for.

    The man wobbled on his feet. Fluids of some sort bubbled up into the air.

    "I got the door," Bella called. "What's that noise? Are you okay?"

    "They're temporarily incapacitated," Mara puffed, jogging in.
    "Backup is on the way. Mara? You might want to come down here."

    And suddenly, after so much time, Mara was face to face with her dads.

    They looked older, worn down by their ordeal, but also they looked just the same

    "You're so grown up now," Dad Sovey gushed. "We thought of you all the time--
    "Where's Oliver?" asked Dad Benoy. "Is he okay?"
    "Of course he's okay, Dad, he's at college," Mara said. "He helped us break in here, online."
    "My little burglars!" laughed Dad Benoy.
    "About that," said Bella. "I'm glad we found you, and breaking up the crime ring that owns this place has been a priority for a long time. But I need to ask you some questions about your activities during the five or ten years before you were captured and brought here."

    "About our business, you mean?" Benoy asked as they headed up the stairs. He squinted, in light brighter than he'd seen in a long time.
    "Let me get right to the point," Bella said. "You are wanted in a string of thefts, including but not limited to several important paintings, sculptures, a rare historical necklace, and a quantity of garden tools and shoes."
    "Dad," gasped Mara. "You stole that stuff?"

    "It's research," Benoy protested. "We are Sixam's most valuable explorers."
    "But you took those things from Earth people? Did you pay for them, or even ask them if it was okay?"
    "Mara, you used to play in as many of the aliens' shoes as we would let you get into, don't you remember? You grew up with our collections. Don't act like it's new."

    "You're an adventurer, too, my daughter," said Sovey. "And an entrepreneur. And you never minded breaking a few rules to get what you want. Tell me I'm wrong."
    "I'm not a thief!"
    "Neither are we! We are uncovering and retrieving important artifacts! Which never bothered you before!"
    "But before, I didn't-- I didn't-- I didn't KNOW these people," Mara screamed.

    "Or love them," she added, looking at her friends, and especially at Cassandra.

    "I'm arresting both of you," said Bella. "And taking you into Tartosa custody for now. Just procedure. Mostly to keep an eye on you while legal is sorting out what needs to happen next. Unfortunately for you, there is no diplomatic immunity nor extradition treaty between Sixam and any Earth country at the moment."

    "You just freed us and now you're arresting us?" Sovey said. He looked about to weep.

    "I spent so long wanting you back, and now I don't want anything to do with you," Mara said quietly.

    Outside, backup had arrived. The man in the hoodie and the two women were bundled into one vehicle, Benoy and Sovey into another. They drove off into the hills. The very unobtrusive jeep remained.

    "What now?" Cassandra asked.
    Mara turned to their friends. "Do you guys want to come stay with us?"
    "We have to go to work tomorrow," said Gemma. "We'll get going now."
    "Oh no," said Darling. "Can't I take a bus or something instead of going the magic way?"
    "Suit yourself," said Gemma. "Except buses don't go across oceans. You should have paid more attention in geography class."
    Darling looked green, but she agreed.

    "Well, I'm not planning on leaving Tartosa until they've sorted out what's going to happen to dads," Mara said. "But it's not a bad place to be stuck."
    "We do have a nice house to stay in, and we haven't seen town yet," Cassandra said.
    "All right. Let's go," said Mara.

    They walked into town and admired the latest Mediterranean fashions.

    "Are you sure this is okay?" Cassandra asked. "I feel a little funny doing anything touristy while you're wondering about the fate of your dads. It's a lot to have hanging over your head."
    Mara looked at her. "What do you think I was wondering about the entire time we've known each other?"

    Cassandra suddenly understood. All the way through high school. The dances. The crushes. Every holiday. Every exam. Every Trendi sale. Mara had done it all while wondering at the same time what was going to happen to her parents. Having a frightening set of questions hanging over your head, while trying to go on with normal life, was nothing new to Mara.
    "Mara... I'm only just understanding now how much you've been through. You are amazing."
    "Why, thank you. I do my best."

    "You know, Mara, if you don't mind some superficial conversation at the moment, I've been thinking about maybe changing the way I dress. Maybe even a haircut. What do you think?"
    "I'm always pleased to be distracted by clothes. I don't know anything about hair, but I bet we can find someplace in this town where they can help."
    "Yeah, I think I'm ready to look a little more grown-up. I don't think dressing sexy will ever be my thing, or anything like that, but I think I'm ready to put the schoolgirl thing behind me. It's time to move forward."

    They had a fun playtime in some of the boutiques, where Mara was helpful. Then Mara visited a few more while Cassandra visited a stylist.
    "What do you think?" Cassandra asked when they met up.

    "Wow. You look terrific. You look... lighter."

    "I feel lighter." She ran her fingers through her new haircut. "It's kind of fluffy and it doesn't matter whether it falls exactly the right way. I like how that makes me feel."

    They took a selfie to commemorate the day.

    "So... now that you're feeling lighter, want to go back to the house and do some heavy stuff with me?"
    "Yes please."

    Later, they went to a local café for a drink.

    The bartender was not skilled enough for Mara.

    There was a 🤔🤔🤔🤔 band playing.
    "I love this music," Cassandra said. "They seem like they're having so much fun. It's so different from my music."
    Mara didn't say anything, just held Cassandra's hand.

    Afterward, Mara went for a swim in the beautiful bay. It really was a lovely spot to be stuck.

    Cassandra went back to the house, stood in the yard overlooking the sea, and tried out one of those 🤔🤔🤔🤔 airs on her violin. With no one but the birds to hear.

    The breeze stirred her newly short hair, the waves added an accompaniment. She'd never felt so relaxed playing before. A couple of hours went by.
    "Hey, how's it going? That sounds really good," said Mara, bringing a cup of tea.

    "Thanks. I've never had so much fun playing easy stuff before. Today was so stressful, and right now, this just feels like a perfect refuge. How are you doing?"
    "I'm okay. The swim helped me in the same way. I'll let you get back to it. I love you."

    Also that afternoon, we heard from Ash again.

    (If this story ever has a spinoff, it's probably going to be about Ash Harjo and Izzy Fabulous. That just tickles me so much.)

    The next morning, Mara and Cassandra hadn't gotten dressed yet when
    "Oh hi, Mrs. Goth."
    "Hello Mara. I have an update for you. Let's talk in here."
    "But we aren't--" Mara said.

    "I was just about to make coffee," Mara said.
    "Ack! Mom!" said Cassandra. "I'm married now. You have to call first."

    "That's a lovely haircut, sweetheart," Bella said. "Is that new underwear too?"

    "So, here's what legal is saying," Bella said. "Mr. and Mr. Zeezoob won't need to serve time. But they will need to pay a substantial fine, what's left of their business will be seized, and more importantly, they will probably be made an example of at the top. You should be prepared for some unwelcome publicity."

    "The top?" Mara asked.
    "It's probably going to figure into interplanetary negotiations about trade and immigration," Bella said.
    "That could be kind of cool!" Mara said.
    "Or really horrible," Cassandra said.

    "Anyway, I'll keep you updated. You can pick your dads up anytime you want. I should warn you, though, they'll be essentially penniless. You may find you're looking after them for a little while, instead of the other way around."
    "Thanks," Mara said. And wondered to herself: what if I can't handle being around them?

    Tales of San Myshuno
    See What Happened In Your Game Today. Index in link here

    Aliens Stole My Alien Parents
  • mightyspritemightysprite Posts: 3,398 Member
    edited November 23
    PS I didn't intend to offend anyone with my description of the band, though I see now how the term that got filtered out could be offensive.
    I can't think of how to rename it though, except maybe with a real-life regional or country name, and I don't want to do that either, nor invent one... so anyhow here is an example of the music they're listening to.


    Tales of San Myshuno
    See What Happened In Your Game Today. Index in link here

    Aliens Stole My Alien Parents
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