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The Machine, Part 3 - Dangerous Journeys
Published Jul 29, 2011


Written By

ShelleyB

Storyteller
18475Views4.7Rating

Page 1 / 56

(Disclaimer: The screenshots for Part Three were done before I knew how to fix them... Sorry...)

This part of the story has many pages, but the individual pages don't have much dialogue. You should be able to skim through them pretty quickly.

Thank you to all who have read the first two parts, and welcome to any newcomers!

(Disclaimer: The screenshots for Part Three were done before I knew how to fix them... Sorry...)

This part of the story has many pages, but the individual pages don't have much dialogue. You should be able to skim through them pretty quickly.

Thank you to all who have read the first two parts, and welcome to any newcomers!
As Grace Anne prepared to leave for her vacation in France, she decided to make sure the airline departures were on time.

A smile spread across her face as the mechanical voice droned out the latest flight information.
Ariel called out behind her to bring back special grapes for her new nectar machine as well as some palladium.

"I don't believe in bad omens, but after all the excitement last night, this trip certainly isn't getting off to a good start!"
~~~ Grace Anne reflected back to the trips she had taken with her parents as a little girl while loading into her daddy's old Porsche. ~~~ Arriving in France, she toured the quaint farmhouse her agent picked out for her. It felt so peaceful, and she could feel the apprehension beginning to drain out of her.

Some workers were supposed to come and repair the plumbing soon, but everything else looked sublime.
"Maybe I was wrong to be worried about this vacation. I'm feeling better already. It's time to celebrate! One woman party goin' on here!" "Why not make a whole tray of crazy mood drinks? I'm on vacation... the ship with my car on board hasn't arrived yet... I won't be driving anywhere.... What the hell? I'm gonna have some fun!" "Aah... Something fizzy is just what the doctor ordered!" "What's that noise? Hey you!! Get your butt down here!!" Grace Anne slurped as she dropped her glass.... "How stupid of me. The agent DID say the water pipes were pretty noisy.... right?... heh... heh..." "I'll get rid of those heeby-jeebies with a different kind of mood drink. Oh crap! I almost set my hair on fire! I'll need to practice more before making something new." After settling into her new vacation house (and taking a long nap), Grace Anne took a walk around her new farm before hiking to the shipyard. Her car was due to arrive, and she needed to pick up some supplies as she returned through the village.

Looking in her rearview mirror, she could swear that dude on the moped had followed her all the way from the freight docks...
"Yes! Ms. Browning! I'm Gerard Morel, the village food merchant. I 'ave been expecting you. You may buy your groceries 'ere. I also run the Cafe'.

You will need to see Jeannine Lambert on Rue du Chance for any special items."
"Hello Mademoiselle Lambert. I'm Grace Anne Browning. Gerard Morel sent me to you for the special grapes he doesn't carry."

Grace Anne's skin began to crawl as Monsieur Lambert stood behind her, staring.
"Of course I 'ave the grapes. But, Madame Browning, I do not trade in Simoleans. Do you 'ave gold coins instead?"

A little worried, Grace Anne turned out her pockets and counted her remaining coins. Just enough! She was pleased with herself for saving some from her last trip to Egypt.
[Grace Anne] "I also need to buy some palladium. It is very important, and I'm willing to pay well if you know anyone with some stashed away."

[Jeannine] "Alas, Grace Anne, I cannot 'elp you. Our village relics merchant knows about such things. The shop is on the market square."
"Is that the same little guy who followed me earlier today? He's obviously trying to hide his face. I wonder... " Gerard Morel looked up after Grace Anne passed by. He knew he would have to throw himself on the mercy of the court if Ms. Browning reported him for spying on her! But she's no ordinary tourist, either. "Hello! My name is Grace Anne Browning. I'm in France for vacation, but a friend asked me to pick up some palladium for her while I was here. Do you have any in stock?" Oh dear! The poor woman must be hard of hearing. "DO YOU HAVE ANY PALLADIUM?" "No, I don't need a cobra statue. PALLADIUM? DO YOU HAVE PALLADIUM?" ... muttering under her breath ...

"Darn that Liberal Arts College! They didn't teach ANYTHING useful. I don't know French!

I took 'Underwater Basket Weaving' as a Fine Arts credit with all my sorority sisters."
[Noelle] "Surprise!! I DO understand Simlish. I was 'pulling your leg' as you Simlanders say.

My name is Noelle St. James. But I 'ave never 'eard of weaving baskets underwater before."
"That's just an old school joke...

I'm SO glad you speak Simlish!! I've never had problems in my travels before, and was beginning to think this was a lost cause."
"Sorry for the little fun I was 'aving with you. I get so bored in this relics shop all alone, so I tease the customers. Who would come 'ere to buy relics anyway?

But, I am sad to tell you, there is no palladium in France."
"Palladium isn't even found here?! What's going on? My simborg never makes mistakes like this!" "I'll tell you all I can because I know you aren't the villain everyone else believes you to be." "A villain?! Why would anyone believe something like that?" "I must warn you, Grace Anne. You are already known 'ere and not everyone you meet will 'ave good intentions! Rumors 'ave been spreading." "Great! Just great! How am I supposed to know what someone else is thinking? I'm not psychic!" ... perhaps not psychic, but definitely melodramatic ...

"Listen, you need to be wary of what you say! Palladium is said to be very dangerous when in the wrong 'ands!"
"My advice is to keep this palladium thing under your 'at while you are 'ere.

It 'as been great getting to know you, Grace Anne. We must stay in touch. I will discover what is going on in this village, I promise you."
As Grace Anne hugged Noelle, she believed she had made a real friend here in Champs les Sims. Grace Anne's stomach began to rumble as she stepped back into the market square, so she ordered some shrimp cocktail at the Cafe'.

A sense of disquiet was settling over her again, and she feared it wasn't safe to trust anyone. Should she be eating food someone else prepared for her?
After all, Gerard Morel DID say he was expecting her.... And that could EASILY have been him hiding his face from her in the square... "Phew! It smells just like shrimp!! The ice chips came directly out of the machine... I even SAW him pour the cocktail sauce straight from a jar into my bowl... " "What a silly goose I'm being! It tastes fine. I'm just edgy after my conversation with Noelle." "It does seem creepy, though. I always have the feeling someone is watching me..." Paranoia getting the better of her, Grace Anne quickly spun around to catch a glimpse of whatever was behind her...

... only to get the last bite of shrimp stuck in her throat!
"... someone help me..." Grace Anne gasped as she sank to the floor. Gerard Morel rushed around to the front of the counter.

"Mon dieu! What can I do now? I do not know CPR! I must call for emergency services!"

He reached back for his cell phone, clipped behind his right pocket...
... but before Gerard could act, a thunderous voice filled the room, freezing him into place with fear...

"GRACE ANNE BROWNING, RISE UP AND COME WITH ME!!" boomed Death.
Grace Anne felt light as a feather as she floated toward the tombstone Death would collect her in.

The last thought in her head was of the Death Flower Ariel had grown and given her as a good luck charm.
Settling toward the urn placed at Death's feet, Grace Anne pushed the Death Flower into his brittle hand.

"I HAVEN'T BEEN GIVEN ONE OF THESE IN AGES!! NO ONE CARES ABOUT DEATH'S FEELINGS THESE DAYS. I RELEASE THEE, GRACE ANNE, BUT NOT WITHOUT A WARNING."
"YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN A SECOND CHANCE, GRACE ANNE. I FORESEE MANY CHOICES YOU MUST MAKE. CHOOSE YOUR STEPS WISELY. I WILL NOT BE APPEASED SO EASILY AGAIN!" Feeling as weak as water, Grace Anne left the Cafe' and called Ariel with a shaky voice.

"Ariel, I'm coming home right away. It's dangerous here. I'm being followed, and I'm so nervous I nearly choked myself on a shrimp tail!

We have a lot to discuss when I get home!"
"Grace Anne! I 'eard about the accident! What 'appened? No, don't waste time telling me, now. You look 'orrible and I need to get you back 'ome where Ariel can tend to you. Leave everything to me." Ariel answered her phone on the second ring.

"Yes, this is Ariel speaking. Noelle? I just got Grace Anne home from the airport and will make sure she gets seen by a doctor immediately. Thank you for looking out for her."

Ariel hung up the phone and looked into Grace Anne's cold eyes.
Grace Anne pushed Ariel aside, stumbled out of the house and down to the poolside.

"Ariel, just leave me alone. I need some space, and some time to think. Go back inside."
"But, Grace Anne! You have been through a terrible ordeal. You must tell me EVERY DETAIL of what happened." "An ordeal? You can't possibly imagine what I've been through. I have been BLIND. You knew all along you were sending me into a nest of vipers.

Why didn't you tell me you knew Noelle?

And why did you want me to go around asking about palladium when you had to know it wasn't there? Why?"
In her robotic, disaffected tone, Ariel responded:

"Grace Anne, I didn't mislead you. You know simbots of ANY version are incapable of harmful actions toward Sims. It goes against our programming. You know that."
"You are lying!! I know you're lying! I just can't deal with you at the moment. I'm going to the hospital for a checkup and ORDER you to report to Dr. Manson at the science facility for diagnostics while I'm gone. NOW MARCH!" I obey Grace Anne when she orders me to do something. I WILL contact Dr. Manson alright, but not for diagnostics. There is too much to be done and I can't afford any down-time.

You'll keep my secret, won't you?
MANY, MANY THANKS to all the wonderful cc creators out there. You make The Sims worth playing!

Also, a big THANKS to you readers. :)

This has been a long and difficult chapter, for several reasons. Part Four may be just as long in the making, but it's my plan for some new and colorful characters to begin falling into place soon.

As usual, ADVICE AND SUGGESTIONS ARE WELCOME!! :)

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9 Comment(s) so far


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#1HellsaintJul 30, 2011

Veeeeerrryyy nice chapter \:cool\: Wasn't expecting Grace to meet Death so soon! \:eek\: Hmmm... I dunno, I really can't trust Noelle from some reason, feels very fishy \:P Anyway, great chapter Shelley! Looking forward to the next \;\) 

#2spladoumJul 30, 2011

Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh deeeeeeeeear. Poor Grace! \:D \:P Ariel's appeal to the first rule of robotics is priceless ...

#3ArneroJul 30, 2011

phew she had a death flower \:D Goor read, still exciting. What in the world is happening around them, what is Ariel up to and Noelle...I agree there is something fishy about her, I do not trust overly nice and helpful people in stories :P. Big like on this (as my kids say). Thank you for a great chapter \:rah\:

#4spitzmagicJul 30, 2011

OOOh Shelley congrat on the feature you share with Orlove....That's the first thing I always try to get is that flower...when I can remember to anyway. LOL...Looking forward to the next chapter. oh and I loved it when Grace was making those drinks hahaha. \:rah\:

#5orlovVIPJul 31, 2011

\:mad\:  This thing ate my comments!!!!  Oh, well. . .\:rah\: \:wub\: I agree with Hellsaint , but will go a bit farther; Grace Anne should trust NO ONE! Not her sneaky simborg, not Noelle, certainly not Gerard Morel (doesn't know CPR? or just amybe didn't feel like using it) there's something not right about the Lamberts, so don't trust them, and sadly, there are times that Grace Anne shouldn't trust herself. . .she might just be a little too willing to like people without knowing them. . .but,especially when it comes to making fancy drinks (she did after all almost set her hair on fire!) Congrats, Shelley, great chapter, very exciting, very engaging. . .I look forward to the next, you threw in a curve here that I didn't expect, and am anxious to see where this is leading. (I did not, however understand your intro reference to the screens. . .what needed fixing?)

#6martoeleJul 31, 2011

A great chapter. It's getting more interesting with each new episode! Congratulations on the feature! \:rah\:

#7taxa08Aug 2, 2011

\:cool\:

#8RatRaceRobAug 2, 2011

Lol'd myself silly on some of that dialogue... really clever what you did with the matching up of the thought balloons ((Gerard Morel thinking about 'throwing himself on the mercy of the court' rofl! \:P ))  The whole chapter was fast-paced and lots of fun, and of course, still very mysterious -- great work \:cool\: \:rah\:

#9hollyevansAug 14, 2011

\:eek\: 

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