Friday, September 19, 2014

The Beginning

                                             "Oh, ouch. I feel like I've been hit by a train."

                                          "What the heck happened to me? Where am I?"
                                           "On a speck of dust in the middle of Earth's Infinite ocean." Voices ring in my ear,  "A storm deposited you here. Congratulations. We are...."
                                          "I know who you guys are, the ones talking in my head. The Astro Sims. The Great Benevolent Overlords orbiting our ruined Earth in space. I assume you consider me the owner of this 'speck of dust'?"
                                          "That's correct. We seek a contract with you, Landowner. Provide us with the bounty of the sea, and anything you choose to produce. In turn, we will provide you with electricity, plumbing, filters for fresh water, technology, and anything we can trade. We will assign values to your product, and do our best to fulfill any request you have. You may also trade items you've acquired from us, but at a depreciated value. We will decide that value. We will decide all values for all trades. There is no room for negotiation."
                                       "I see. And... if I refuse your contract?"
                                         "Of course, that is your right. A brave, admirable decision to be sure. If you wish to survive on your speck alone, with nothing, we will respect that. However, should a storm, hurricane, or unpredictable tidal wave come crashing over your speck, respect our decision not to interfere."

                                         I try to stand, taking it slowly so I have some time to think. Its not as if I have to fake the pain, my body is a wreck. I don't remember seeing a cloud in the sky, let alone a huge storm. Like most Sims since the Great Impact I spent my life going from boat to boat, working for various Captains until I was finally of age and had the simoleans to buy my own. I would not have left that trading post if there was a hint of turbulent weather. I had an old savage vessel, creaky, full of leaks, in need of some repairs....I loved it....and now its gone. As I mourn the loss of a lifetimes' wages, I realize I'm stuck. Without water, shelter or any idea where I am, I wouldn't make to any trading post before dehydration killed me. If it were night time, I might have been able to at least judge where I was. But according to the sun it was noon, and that means hours of daylight left. I doubt the Astronauts will allow me to wait until nightfall for an answer. So.........

                                          "I accept your terms."
                                           I put the best face on it I can. I don't like it, but becoming a Supplier is better than the slow death that awaits me trying to survive without any help. I think hard, trying to remember privileges Landowners have. I can't think of any. I never believed I would become a Landowner, so I didn't seek out that type of information, or pay attention to any rumors. This is bad. I'll have to rely on what the Astros tell me, and of course they'll tell me everything that gives them the best advantage. I sigh. I don't see any way out of it. Any information is better than none.
                                          "So what options do I have now? What do I get over the average water-sim?"
                                          "Besides what we've already stated, we provide a free initial shelter. Whenever you wish to add to this shelter, just pay the requisite fee and we will add what you request to it. Your land can only hold a total of ten floors, five above and five below ground. Any more will cause your structure to collapse, please remember this. Since you are currently the only one on your land, you may one day wish for help. One time, and one time only we can teleport you one to three places: Shang Simla, China ($1300), Al Simhara, Egypt ($1600) or Champs Les Sims, France ($1900). You will be allowed three full days to do as you wish."

                                          "There are other islands out there. Why am I limited to these three?"
                                           "They are the only lands we have full control over. This is the only way to ensure the safety of both you and your future companion."
                                            "Three days is not enough time. No one will agree to move to uproot themselves and go away with a complete stranger so quickly."
                                            "There is a huge risk of inbreeding in those areas due to isolation. Someone will agree to go with you simply for the chance to have children without defects, or have a partner at all."
                                             Someone will choose me because the alternative is out their lives alone. What a lovely thought. I don't like counting on a persons desperation. Wow, how trapped do you have to be to go away with someone you don't know to an island so small you can walk around it in three minutes? I don't like this, I don't like it at all. I'll delay for as long as I can. I've always been a loner, I prefer isolation, so it should be a long time before I become that desperate for company. Maybe between now and then I'll have something figured out.
                                             "And if no one agrees after my time is up?"
                                             "If after three days of sincere trying no one agrees to become your companion, for a small fee we will send someone to you."

                                          I like that idea even less. The more information I get, the more I want to return to my former life.  "I'd like a fishing rod. Just subtract the value of whatever in the house to give me that instead.
                                          "Agreed. We're materializing your house now. Are you ready?"

                                          "I...don't see anything. Where is it?"
                                          "Behind you."

                                          This is what I get? This is not a house, its a box built from the wreckage of my ship! I understand everything else, but why a computer? I don't need a computer, I need a place to cook what I catch! I don't believe for a second that a fishing rod costs as much a stove, this is ridiculous. And of course, I can trade the computer at a reduced value for the things I actually need.
                                           "One last thing:" The Astros said, interrupting my inner tirade, "There will be two sims who will come periodically to drop off  our newspapers and your bills. Do not talk look at them, do not talk to them, do not acknowledge them in any way. We have our reasons for this, and to not follow this rule has severe consequences. This is also the last time we speak to you unless its to let us know who your heir will be. All transactions will be conducted through the phone we gave you. Instructions on its use are inside the phone itself. Goodbye Tasha Willams, and good luck to you. May the Stars bless you with overflowing abundance."

                                          May the Stars bless me my behind. This whole system is stacked against sims like me. With the Astros dictating and controlling everything, I'm going to have to reel in a lot of fish before I can have something decent.                             
                                         "*Sigh* Better get to work then." It's just what the Astros want, anyway."

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