Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Chapter 49: To Relieve Pressure on the Brain

Jack makes it back to Drake's Hollow early on Snowflake Day morning, and is immediately challenged to a snowball fight by his son.

"Okay, boys, it's time to open the presents!" Delaney, giddy with excitement, comes out to call them inside

As the family gathers around the gift pile, Shadow notices some disturbance in Jack's aura. He can't quite put his finger on the source, but there is a darkness there, a wrongness.

Whatever it is will have to wait until after the holiday. Ryan is first to open his gifts.

Followed by Delaney, who is still as thrilled as a child with the unwrapping of presents.

But in the end, no new toy can compare with the gift of having her Jack home with them.

Later in the afternoon, Cassidy and Jesse arrive with their daughter Laurie for a holiday visit.

"Jesse would like to get you alone for a minute," Cass says, nodding her head toward where her husband is standing in the yard.

"Has Jack told you anything about what he's doing?" Jesse asks.

"Not much really. He said he's working for some global security company," Shadow answers, vague on the details. But he's getting a strong vibe from Jesse, he's worried about his brother, and that just adds to Shadow's own concerns about the wrongness he felt from Jack earlier.

"Bluewater," Jesse says, "Jack works for a company called Bluewater. 'Global security' is just a gloss for mercenary operations. They do the things a nation's real military can't be caught doing. Cass and I have been investigating them for years now. They cover their tracks really well, and it's hard to get any hard information, but everything we have been able to get points to some really dark dealings on their part."

"And now Jack works for them," Shadow frowns.

"I don't think he's in deep enough to be involved in anything yet. Thy still have him in training. But, I'm worried. And I was hoping you'd, you know, look out for him."

"I do, Jesse, as much as I can," Shadow says.

As worried as they are about Jack's new career, Jesse and Cassidy keep it to themselves during the family meal, instead talking about their daughters and how lucky they re to have had their girls so close in age.

Jillyan and Laurie look so much alike that Farrel doesn't know who he's potty training. Laurie is too young yet to be bothered by the fact that this old man keeps calling her 'Cass'.

The toddlers in the family are also too young to be aware that today is a holiday. New toys, old toys, it's all the same to them.

"Do you remember our first time?" Jack ask her.

"Of course I do," Delaney answers, reaching up to stroke his hair.

"I knew, that night, I wanted to be with you forever, Laney," Jack continues, "That's never changed."

Delaney sits up, wrapping her arms over his shoulders so she can touch her forehead to his. "I knew it then, too. I may not have thought about stuff like that as hard as you did, Jack, but I've always known in my heart that you were the one."

"But--" Jack starts, and Delaney hushes him.

"Don't bring up Ian," she pouts.

"I can't help it," Jack says, "I really try not to think about it. But I don't understand how you could go with him, if you really loved me. I don't want to doubt you, I really don't..."

Delaney drops her head down to his shoulder, moving deeper into his embrace. "I have to think real hard to even remember that night. I honestly don't know what I was thinking. But I know it had nothing to do with love. I take a lot of stupid risks, Jack, but I almost lost you, and that changed everything. I'll never put us on the line again. I couldn't face losing you again."

"Bluewater," Iola says, repeating the name of the company, "I had this weird feeling not too long ago, about blue water."

"Just a feeling?" Shadow asks, "Nothing more?"

Iola shakes her head, "Just this sense of dread, and the words blue and water. That was the day I saw the shower acting all possessed."

"The spirit realm is closest to us between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice," Shadow says, "Maybe that wasn't your normal precognition, but a spirit trying to warn you of something."

"Perhaps," Iola says. Her own precognitive abilities have been sketchy at best lately, "I hope Jack isn't in any real trouble. But, what about Fergus? Does this have anything to do with him?" Everything coms down to Fergus, their worries for their son since Shadow's Spooky Day visitation by the spirit of his long dead grandmother.

Shadow shakes his head sadly. "I have no idea, my love. He seems fine, normal. If it weren't for my vision, we wouldn't even be thinking of him as any different from Ryan or Weylin."

Shadow turns out the lights and lifts Iola onto their bed. "Tonight is the solstice," he reminds her with a whisper, "The days get longer, and the world is lighter. It's time to put our worries aside, and trust that everything will be all right." His words speak more confidence than he feels, and Iola knows it. Still, they can't spend every moment in fear for the future, and for this moment, they are able to forget their cares, and wrap themselves in their love like nothing else exists.

The next morning, Shadow and Iola take Fergus and Weylin to the park for a little fun in the fresh, cold air.

"I had a strange dream last night," Shadow says, "I dreamed I was performing a trepanation on Jack. When I cut the hole in his skull, a dark spirit emerged."

Iola mulls over this for a moment before responding, "You aren't considering...?"

"Actually doing it?" Shadow laughs, "No. Neolithic shamans would perform trepanation to relieve pressure on the brain, and it was effective in its way. But, I think this dream was more symbolic. I've been sensing something wrong with Jack, and I think this dream was telling me it's something from the outside that has gotten into him. Something that needs to be removed."

"Maybe he should see my father," Iola suggests, lifting a fussy Fergus from the spring rider, "Have him check for tumors."

"That's not a bad idea," Shadow admits, "But I think we're dealing with something more malign in its intent. Still, ruling out medical issues can't hurt."

Though their work is vastly different, father and son share space in the attic for alchemical experimentation and scientific research.

"What are you working on son?" Farrell asks over his shoulder.

"Something for spiritual cleansing. Detoxification of the spirit," Shadow answers.

As he has with Aouregan for all these years, Farrell keeps his disbelief to himself. He's seen his wife and children work magic, and has never understood how they do it or where it comes from, so he tucks it into the back of his mind and focuses on hard science. Quantum mechanics is magic enough for him.

In the evening, Delaney goes off to 'work', while Jack, on leave for a few days for the holiday, stays home. Shadow takes the opportunity to have a private talk with him.

"I was always jealous of your family, growing up. You guys always seemed so happy. I feel more at home here now than I ever did in our house when I was a kid."

"You're family," Shadow answers simply, "You belong here." And it's that tight sense of family and belonging that allows Shadow to broach the personal and sensitive subject of the darkness he senses in Jack. "I'd like to perform a cleansing ritual on you," Shadow finishes.

Jack agrees to be subjected to Shadow's spellcasting, though he doesn't himself feel this 'darkness' he was talking about. But, what can it hurt, Jack figures, and Shadow has been helpful before with the dream work thing.

"I, uh, don't feel any different?" Jack says when the ritual is apparently over.

"No, you wouldn't," Shadow says, "Whatever it is that's gotten into you wasn't affecting you on a conscious level. It's till, there, Jack. This was a simple purification spell, and not enough to completely purge this thing from you. I'll do some more research, and in the meantime, I think you should check in with Dr. Hawksquill, to make sure it isn't a medical issue."

"I feel fine, Shadow," Jack says, "And, anyway, the company runs physicals on me, like, every week. I swear, I've never had this much medical care in my life."

Shadow frowns, thinking about what Jesse told him about Jack's employers. "What kind of tests are they running? Do they tell you what they find?"

"Well, no," Jack admits, "But, that just probably means everything is fine, right? They'd tell me if something was wrong, I'm sure."

Shadow is not quite as sure about that as Jack is. "Please, Jack, let Dr. Hawksquill have a look at you. For me."

"All right, sure," Jack agrees, "I have to go back in to training tomorrow, but as soon as I get my next leave, I'll see the doc here." He pulls Shadow in for a strong bro hug, "I think you're worried over nothing, Shadow, but it's nice you do worry."


Ten Sims in the house is just chaos! Sorry I got no good pics of Weylin as a toddler.

Now some out takes:

"I'm going to post this on my blog."

"You post pictures of us on a blog?"

"All the time. Look."

"Shit, Laney, is that a picture of my ass?"

"I got 26 followers after I posted that one."


  1. Poor Jack. Being used all around! I suppose she can't help but gain followers by posting pictures of him though.

    With Shadow and Jesse and Iola and perhaps even her dad on the case, maybe they can stop MorcuCorp before it's too late. One can hope.

    1. I'm having too much fun with Laney's blog, I admit.

      MorcuCorp's plan isn't going as smoothly as they'd like at the moment. They may have to adjust their tactics.

  2. Hmmm. At least they seem to be making some headway figuring out BlueWater, though they still don't know just how deep this goes with Morcucorp. Watching all the toddlers play was lots of fun. I loved watching Farrell potty training the wrong toddler thinking it was Cassidy. lol. How is Farrell liking the research station?

    1. Yeah, MorcuCorp has kept their ties to Bluewater a secret, and Jesse and Cass haven't begun to put that piece of the puzzle together. I can hardly tell Shadow's boys apart, and then Cass brings her Laurie over and I can't tell her daughter from Laney's, lol.

      Farrell loves that thing. First thing when I installed UL, he popped a wish to learn Science. Once he go that, his wishes are all about Science. He's currently a level 3 Nerd.

  3. I liked seeing Farrell again. :) I hope they can all work together to save Jack from whatever MorcuCorp has planned for him (and Fergus).

    I'm all caught up now. Calls for a celebration! :)

    1. Congrats on catching up! I know it's a long read. I hope you enjoyed it. =D

      I really wish I had this science stuff for Farrell when he was younger. Hopefully Shadow will go to him with his concerns about Jack. Farrell has done a lot of digging into MorcuCorp back when he was trying to find out about his mother, and then when they had Aouregan captive. He could probably put Bluewater together with them. But so far Shadow has kept his visions between himself and Iola.

  4. hahaha his ass has 26 follower, too funny! I'm glad to see his family is realizing something is amiss and starting to circle the wagons, so to speak.

    1. Well, I'd follow Jack's ass blog.
      Everyone's got different pieces of the puzzle...we'll see if they can get them al together.

  5. I do hope that between them they can stop MorcuCorp, I don't want Jack to be hurt or used :(

    1. Jack has already been hurt and used so much, he really deserves a happy ending after all this.
      Thanks, Ali!

  6. I got to that picture of Farrell playing with the science gismo and wondered whose grandmother it was and why I couldn't remember her. He seriously looks like a chick from that angle.

    I can't help but think that by the time Jack gets his next leave, it'll be too late for the doctor to help him. :\

    1. Yeah, Jack is going back to Bluewater before he goes to see Iola's father. And they have him chipped, so they'll actually know theBrannons are omto something and want him to see the doctor. So, yeah.

  7. Woo! Took me a while but I've finally caught up with this story. Followed a link from the Sari Legacy lol. I'm loving your legacy, only generation 3 and it's already absolutely amazing. Jack is my favorite, I almost cried when I thought he was gonna die. So he better not die this time around either! He's much too hot.

    Farrell's old's so sad! He was absolutely adorable in his little outcast bubble, and the chapters where he went back in time were incredibly cool just because you made it look so medieval. And of course his love story was heartbreaking. <3 But it had a happy ending thank goodness.

    Anyways, your Sims are much smarter than I am. They have all this MorcuCorp stuff figured out and I'm struggling to keep up. But it's a good confusion if that makes any sense. I love not knowing what's gonna happen next!

    1. Thanks, SummerRaine!
      Jack needs a t-shirt that says 'Too Hot to Die'.

      I was really sad about Farrell getting old, too. Letting him go will be really hard on me. I loved writing story, from his awkward childhood through his time travel and his romance, and the ongoing issue with MorcuCorp that still plague his children and grandchildren.

      Thanks for reading!

  8. Awww, Jill and Laurie are adorable. <3

    I need Shadow to drill a hole in my brain.

  9. They are just like Cass & Laney were. I can't wait until they are kids. I might even give them the samechild hairstyles as their moms, because I miss child Laney and Cass so much. And I usually don't care much about the child stage, but I had a real blast with Gen 3 kids.

    Shadow will be happy to perform shamanistic healing procedures on you. =D

  10. So--I would totally have hated having the pressure in my brain relieved that way! Trepanation---it even sounds bad! lol

    I'm glad that Jack's family is catching on that something is not right, hopefully they can *fix* it before MorcuCorp does their thing. (I would definitely follow Laney's blog too! :P)

    The toddlers were all so cute!

    I adore Farrell, I bet he's happy as a clam playing with the new Science gadget/gizmo thing. =)

    1. Yeah, trepanning sounds totally scary to me, too.

      The family is catching on, but you know MorcuCorp, always one step ahead. Unless Geoffrey gets to distracted by his quest for True Love, lol.

      Once again, I have house full of toddls. But not too much longer. Fergus actually had his birthday, but I didn't put that in this chapter. And then Jilly and Weylin just have a couple more days.

      Farrell is happy researching science and analyzing samples all day long. And, now that he's unlocking Nerd levels, he's going around bragging about his Gamer Skillz and raving about comic books. I really need to build a comic book shop. =D
      I can't wait for him to unlock the Mind Meld. That will be so awesome. In the meantime though, he's going around taking tricorder readings.

  11. LMAO about Laney and the blog!!!!! OMG! I need a minute here...
    'is that my butt?' 'got 26 followers after that'
    Help! The tears! The ab pain!
    4 yr old looking at me like I'm nuts. she might be on to something.

    I THINK I'm okay now. maybe. *takes deep breath**wipes eyes*

    That pic of Shadow looking at Jack in the beginning was funny. Sims get the weirdest expressions with their eyes and junk.

    Speaking of Jack, well damn. He's not going to see Dr. Hawksquill until after he gets back. Shit. Ugh! I just have this awful feeling.

    Oh, funny how Farrell called the tot "Cass". :)
    I don't like that Farrell is old. :(

    1. I was using Laney to check out the new blogging on smartphone thing. When I had her start a blog, the default name that came up was Adventures Beneath the Sheets. So, fo fun, I have her blog whenever she and Jack get it on. She also posts lots of pictures of Jack on her blog.

      That scene with Shadow looking at Jack...he was giving him that weird look from the moment they all started gathering round for the gift pile. Lucky for me it actualy worked for my story, since I did want Shadow notice something 'off' about Jack.

      Jack isn't going to see the doctor until after he's checked back to Bluewater. So, there is potential for trouble there.

      Farrell being old make me really sad, too.

    2. I'm still laughing about it. :D

      Oh, it drives me NUTS when sims get that eye and keep it (that and the cross-eyed). At least it worked out for the story.

  12. This makes me happy. You've nit posted about the brannons in what feels like months! I'm typing on my phone, so forgive any random corrections it does for me. If something doesn't make sense, let me know and I'll try and translate. Here we go:

    Ok, first, well done shadow for knowing what face to pull! Love when they know the story ;)
    I'm glad everyone seems to have part of bluewater figured out. They're all clever so hopefully they'll put it all together before its too late! Also, bluewater, I just realised is the colour of the water in the toilet when you've just cleaned it... Intentional? Probably not. I probably just ruined it for you. Sorry.

    I literally went 'who the fuck is Ryan?' lol, oops :| sorry!
    I love how Laurie and jill are identical to Delaney and Cassidy! That could get very confusing later in life...

    I love shadows cardi! Lol, so camp but it suits him :P I assume its sleepwear?

    The alchemy/science scene? Yeah, I was like 'wtf? Farrells learning the KFC skill?!' lol! That's totally the cournel(I dunno how you spell it?! Wtf? I feel stupid. I just sat here for literally 5 mins like curnel, cournal, cournel? Phone has no clue either...)

    Jacks face when shadow casts the purification spell! Lollolololll!!!

    and, ofc, the blogging thing :P that last pic is perfect!! I'm guessing its big posed either? Wow.

    1. It was two weeks between Brannon updates. I'll try to stay on schedule.
      I was not actually thinking of toilet water when I came up with the name Bluewater. It's based on two things: one, a real life 'global security' company called Blackwater. They've changed their name to Xe recently because of a lot of controversy over stuff they've done overseas, like killing civilians. They go from one scary, ominous sounding name to another...Any way, that and in Sims 2, the town that came with OFB was called Bluewater Village. And that was the town Malcolm Landgraab lived in. So, it all ties up nicely.

      I know, it's so hard to keep track of Shadow and Iola's kids because Fergus gets all the attention. I didn't even get a decent pic of Weylin, the other forgotten child. That was also the first time you even see Ryan as a child, since I didn't do anything for his birthday.

      That is Shadow's winter sleepwear. I really love dressing him up, he's fun because he can wear things regular guys can't.

      LOL, at the KFC skill. There's an urban legend that KFC uses thse genetically engineered 'chickens' that are part slug or something...anyway, that's what I"m thinking now. It's colonel, actually. I have no idea why it's pronounced so off from what it's spelled.

      I love Jack's face during the spell too. I had to use that pic out of all the other ones I took.

      The new smartphone deal has an option to 'take a romantic photo' with someone, and that's what Delaney & Jack were doing there. It's really cute, but there's some glitch where the photo isn't showing up in the camera. So I can't hang it on the wall with the gajillion other pics of them. So, neither of those pics are posed.

    2. Yes, 'big posed' was NOT posed... Clever tablet... :|
      I have a similar glitch. If I use the photobooth/send teens to prom/get a greeting card after I've been playing for over an hour, the frame is blank. I assume that's more to do with me playing on an old laptop with less than minimum requirements, though...

      Ugh, yeah, I heard about the KFC chicken thing a few weeks ago. I then realised that if McDonalds can trace every burger to the cow it came from and the farm/abitoire/field etc then KFC wouldn't be allowed to make chickens just to save money.
      Plus, I like the occasional KFC. I now really fancy KFC, but am too scared to eat it. (Plus, it's 20 to midnight, not prime fried chicken eating time, really)

      I love Shadow being camp :D Makes him so endearing.

      What's worse than forgetting who Ryan was? Trying my hardest to remember who the fifth child is, and realising it's Jace, and he's had a bigger part than the other kids :| I'm just bad at remembering children, I guess. Ask me anything about any adult in any legacy/story and I can tell you about them, child, nope.

      Love the Bluewater tie-in! I didn't have OFB, so would never have worked that one out. And I didn't mean to pressure you to stay on schedule! I don't think most people even have a schedule, I know I don't. But I'm not much of a planner. I was merely thinking it felt like ages. But it feels like 2 months ago my charger broke, and it's been 5 days... I guess it's been a long week without my laptop! Even though I'd had constant internet, I'm an addict.

      I'm sorry, I seem to have replied upside down. My mind is all over the place today, forgive me.

  13. :D Love the outtakes! It was a great chapter. I hope they are able to figure out the darkness in Jack and thus, foil MorcuCorp again. For the time being, at least.

    1. Thanks!
      It would be nice to see MorcuCorp foiled. For the time being, lol. They always come back with more dastardly plans.

  14. Lol

    I would like to think his bad-boy ass would get more than 26 followers. ;}

  15. Hahahaha Delaney and her blog, that was a riot. ^_^

    I hope Shadow can get rid of that thing Jack is an unknown host to. Farell might be the better person to check into it though.

    1. Delaney's blog must be a fun read. =D

      And, yeah, Shadow is seeing a spiritual disturbance, but it's tech that Farrell could figure out.