Karli Wheeler felt less Angry the moment her party appeared outside The Desert Leaders Building.
It didn’t take her long to realize that was probably because Rose Fletcher had dropped out of their group.
“Heh, sorry if I got a little testy back there,” she said to Jamie Rose. “Having that Child around, photobombing our every screenshot was, uh, kinda getting on my nerves?”
“I understand, but don’t push me,” Jamie cautioned. “Rosarooni may be gone, but being in this large group is still grinding at my nerves. Let’s keep going.”
Karli did not like to start just clicking away when she arrived at a new lot. Drawing from her Desert Leaders training, she liked to stand still a moment and see where the attractions drew her.
It did not take long for some object within to summon Karli and Jamie inside, and the rest of the party autonomously fell in behind them.
Karli and Jamie stopped briefly at the entryway while Karli felt a rush of nostalgia for the Desert Leaders campus center. Karli had been one of 16 Sims from around the Worlds who had attended the short-lived Desert Leaders Social Experiment that had been hosted on Jamie’s home hard drive.
“Oh my gawd, Jamie, it’s just like I remember it!”
“Not just like.”
“Oh, that’s right,” Karli said. “More Skinners aren’t going to pop out of the walls, are they?”
“Shut up,” Jamie said.
“Hee hee,” Karli said.
As the attraction drew her inside, Karli realized someone else was inside; a woman, dressed in white and disappearing around the corner ahead of her.
Karli followed her around the outer ring of the building and saw the woman head down a staircase.
“Huh! That’s new,” Karli said. “It has to be. There was no such thing as basements back when I was here.”
“Ooh!” Karli said as she reached the bottom of the stairs. “So this is why you said we needed Spa Day!”
“Part of why.”
Karli went straight to a locker and spun into a bathrobe.
“Well, now we know why you went to Desert Leaders,” Debbie Van High said before changing. “Personal growth and leadership training my eye! You came for the massages!”
“I swear; this wasn’t here last year!” Karli protested. “Masseuses didn’t even exist back then!”
“Yeah. Yeah. Whatever you say,” Debbie said.
“Quit yapping, you two!” Jessica Brown said. “I think it’s important that we field test the new Spa Day functionality, and right now you guys are blocking the door.”
Jessica wasted no time finding a masseuse. Annette Thayer looked on with concern.
“Does it seem safe, Jessica,” she asked. “Any glitches?”
“Not so far, but it’s really too early to tell,” Jessica said. “This calls for further research.”
Karli had a hard time settling in. She kept pacing the hall with a drink in her hand, too tired to decide what do to.
She was almost asleep before she finally settled into a masseuse chair.
It went a long way toward making up for the busy week she’d had.
“Can I … stay here … forever?” she wondered as what’s-his-name worked his magic.
She had the foot massage too, but knew she had to get moving before Fatigue overtook her.
“That was … well worth 80 Simoleons,” Karli said. “You don’t do out-call appointments by any chance?”
“No one’s ever asked,” what’s-his-name said.
“We should look into that,” Karli smiled.
Karli left the girls behind and trudged back to the surface on her way to the edge of the lot.
“Well, I’ll never be able to afford this place,” she thought as she passed through its familiar breezeways, “but I could still pretend use it as the headquarters for the Disappearing Townie Syndrome Foundation. Maybe add some tables and party objects and I can host meetings and parties here.”
Vivek Wilkes was bustling about the house when Karli got home.
“Ms. Whee … Karli! So glad you’re back! How was the tour?”
“Oh my gawd, Vivek, it was great, but I’m dying on my feet here.”
“Well, don’t die just yet; we need everyone to empty their pockets before we go to bed,” Vivek said.
“Overstuffed Personal Inventories can contribute to lag which may even contribute to contracting Disappearing Townie Syndrome, now that the Developers are fiddling with the algorithms that trigger culling,” Vivek said. “You should spread the word to all the households.”
Enkeli Starwing came downstairs, still dressed for last night’s House Party.
“Have you been playing Fallout 4 all day?” Karli asked.
“No, also I peed, washed my hands and finished off the last of yesterday’s scramble eggs and bacon,” Enkeli said.
“Which reminds me, I’ll clean out the fridge before we all turn in,” Vivek said. “Could you check the household inventory before our turn ends, Enkeli. Any excess inventory could contribute to lag.”
“I’m on it,” Enkeli said.
“I don’t have anything in my personal inventory,” Karli announced on her way to the stairwell. “I am going to bed.”
Besides the expensive stereo they won for hosting a gold-medal house party, there was not much in the household inventory to get rid of, just an ornamental stack of folded shirts and a tray of nonfunctional perfume bottles. Enkeli sold it all, then opened her Fallout 4 saved game.
Following up on a tip from her settlers, she secured the allegiance of a group of robots who ran a greenhouse and mutfruit orchard south-southeast of the drive-in. Though geographically further from her eventual goal of Diamond City, strategically it gave her a steady supply of mutfruit.
With the mutfruit and some of the vegetables grown at her other allied farms, and the extra clean water she was getting from the pumping station at the drive-in, she could now begin manufacturing her own adhesives, which would be invaluable in crafting better arms and armor for herself and her settlers.
She stayed up late, placing machine gun turrets to defend the greenhouse and fenced the grounds, building a barracks along the eastern perimeter where the slope was too steep to construct a fence.
“I’ll move settlers there someday, but that day is probably a long way off; it will probably be weeks before we come back around in the rotation,” Enkeli said to herself.
“Or maybe not. But if I can access my Steam account at the library, maybe I can play there.”
Meanwhile, Vivek soon learned that his was the only overstuffed Personal Inventory in his household.
He was carrying a little more than 200 Simoleons worth of frogs, bugs, flowers and herbs, most of them gathered during their trips to Granite Falls National Park nearly two months ago. He sold most of them while he and Damion Skinner sat up and watched television.
He then made a tour of the house to tidy up, grabbing Bryon Heck’s violin off the floor in the dining room and his own guitar off a stand in the back yard.
At the top of the turret he found a masterpiece Evan Fletcher had left on one of the easels. He placed it in the living room, selling one of the Buy Mode paintings to make room.
He found Bryon in the kitchen and transferred the violin into his Inventory.
“Well, old friend, the next time either of us out played, you will be a new man – Mr. Bryon Skinner.”
“I don’t know,” Bryon said. “I think I may keep my maiden name.”
“Either way, I am happy for you both,” Vivek said.
“I … I just hope you don’t expect Allison to serve as a buffer between the rest of the World and your wild mood swings.”
“Of course not, good doctor,” Bryon said. “That’s one of the reasons we both oppose your plan of moving out after the wedding.”
“Good night, Bryon,” Vivek said on his way upstairs.
“I’ll play a nocturne to help you sleep, old friend” Bryon said.
“I shan’t have trouble.”
“Is that what I do to you?” Bryon wondered as he felt around his personal inventory for the bow.
He touched the bow tentatively across the strings, drawing out a minor note.
“Is that what I do to her?”