Chapter 8.24 – Journey

Life, even for a sim, has its ups, downs, highs, and lows.
 
Anna Barimen has experienced events in her life that touch every range of emotion. She had even briefly glimpsed into the afterlife and witnessed the promise of eternal peace, that some sims would claim, it has to offer. But for the first time in her memory, Anna is able to enjoy the tranquility of simple happiness which she derives from being a loving mother and wife.
 
And while motherhood is no picnic, she has come to cherish both the merits and the trials that are built in to the role. Noah has been a demanding baby from his first few moments out of the womb. She and Luke spend most of their time and energy tending to his demands. To say he is “high maintenance” child would be putting it lightly.
 
As a sim who is on the outside looking in, Makayla’s perception is not colored by the unconditional love of parenthood. And while she does not speak her concerns, Makayla knows that Noah is not only a difficult child, but an evil one.
 
The experience with Adam is something entirely different. He appears to be a normal baby by nearly every measure. The exception, of course, are the whisps of silvery hair on his little head and the glowing, angelic wings that seem to shimmer in and out of existence at will. Anna calls him her little cherub. She knows he is not her own flesh and blood. But there is still a fierce maternal instinct she feels; and a sense that this responsibility was the one her father had warned her about.
 
Anna basks in the love she feels for her three boys; letting go of the past, and building upon her newly discovered faith. But the tranquility does not last long. Talk of her court-martial had quieted to where Makayla was hopeful the charges might be dismissed. But Makayla admittedly does not possess the same legal clout in military matters, as she does in the civil arena. Anna’s sons, Noah and Adam, barely emerge into their toddler years before the legal hammer falls.
 
It happens almost too quickly. Makayla had prepared herself by studying military procedures and code. She felt strongly that she could defend against any prosecution. But she soon learns that neither she nor Luke will be permitted to hear the testimony, as most of the evidence presented will involve highly classified, sensitive information. Anna must rely on  counsel provided by the military; someone who possesses the required clearance levels. There is a foreboding sense that this is simply window dressing, and the outcome is already decided.
 
In the days leading up to her trial, Anna becomes quiet and distant. She barely sleeps, oftentimes opting to just sit with her sons as they sleep in her arms. And, on the night before the trial takes place, she and Luke share in each other’s love in a manner they had not experienced since their first time together. Of course, neither of them imagine that it might very well be their last time together.
 
 —
 
 —
 
Anna’s “crimes” are tried with a general court-martial. The records are sealed due to the classified nature of the case. The entire proceeding takes only a few days, and the decision is unanimous. She is found guilty of trespassing, military espionage, and treason.
 
 
 
Luke’s lifetime ban from Fort Gnome is temporarily lifted so he can attend Anna’s sentencing. The treason charge, which could have carried a death sentence, is commuted to criminal sabotage by the general presiding as judge. The punishment is overly harsh for her actual role in this “crime”; fifty years in military confinement. Luke and Anna share an emotional embrace before she is taken by military police, in shackles, to serve out her time.
 
A deep, seething anger boils over from inside Luke. This is not how it was supposed to happen. He snaps as Anna disappears deep into the bowels of Fort Gnome. Anna did nothing wrong and they know it. This is Luke’s punishment for erasing the algorithm. Makayla barely manages to calm Luke, narrowly preventing him from doing something stupid. The smug smile worn by the general presiding over the case does not help her effort. But Luke does eventually calm himself, then glares at the group of officers congratulating each other.
 
Makayla comforts Luke and wipes the angry tears from his face. She states urgently that the trial was illegal. She joins her cousin in an angry glare toward the military brass, vowing that she will not rest until she makes this right.
 
He spits on the floor in disgust as he turns to leave. This just cannot be how it ends.
 
In the aftermath of Anna’s court-marital, Amber and Wendell retire to South Sim Beach to help care for an aging Ben and Lisa. They come to visit Sunset Valley often, at first. But those visits soon become less frequent.
 
Luke’s cousin, Makayla, had witnessed Adam’s birth. She is fully aware that he represents something truly unique. Believing there are no accidents in life, Makayla feels that she was meant know to Adam’s nature for a reason. Luke and Anna together had difficulty contending with Noha’s demeanor. Now, there is no telling how her cousin will manage alone.
 
Luke wears the shroud of a defeated man, and he suffers the pain of being separated from his wife. Makayla knows that Adam will also suffer as a result of Luke’s issues with Noah. And no matter how strong Luke thinks he is, no one sim can manage those things alone in addition to running the business of an estate.
 
She shares her concerns with Luke in an honest but empathic way, then offers to move into the estate with he and the boys. Not only can she help him with bringing up Adam and Noah, but she’d be a perfect fit for managing the legal side of his estate affairs. She knows immediately it is the right thing to do when he covers his face with this hand to conceal the emotional response. After regaining his composure, Luke simply nods and thanks her. He asks if she is sure this is what she wants to do.
 
Makayla smiles and shares her belief that she was shown Adam’s true nature for a reason. She has always felt like the estate was a second home, going as far back as her childhood; when she would come here to escape the craziness of her large family for awhile. Besides, she does not want her legal career to be measured in terms of courtroom wins and losses. Managing the Barimen fortune will catapult her career and keep her skills sharp, while still being available to help Luke with the boys.
 
Luke’s story ends with his makeshift family doing their best to bring peace to the maligned Barimen Estate.
 
For years, Luke has carried the ring his grandmother had given to him on the night she died; and along with it, a supernatural seed he had found inside Reid Kimura’s cave. He tells Makayla the haunting tale of how Grandma Faith had charged him with somehow getting the ring back to Kacey; another being like Adam. He understands now that this is Adam’s job to complete. He’s not entirely sure where the seed fits in, but he suspects that Adam will also figure this out on his own. He puts both artifacts, along with a note, safely away inside a lock-box in Adam’s room.
 
Luke still remembers everything he had learned about his ancestors, from when he was able to draw upon the entity’s …Adam’s …shared memories. Makayla often sits and listens to him talking about the past, writing down every incredible detail for the benefit of future generations. Perhaps one day she will raise a family of her own and share the story with them.
 
But for now, this is where she is supposed to be. Maybe she’s here to help raise Adam. Or maybe it’s to ensure that the estate survives past this generation.
 
Or perhaps, she is simply here to listen so that one day she can recount the remarkable legacy of the Barimen family, and retell the tale of their most incredible and unlikely journey.
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2 thoughts on “Chapter 8.24 – Journey

  1. Wow! That trial was unfair! 50 years in prison? That’s pretty much the rest of her life!

    So Noah has the evil trait? While Adam is the baby that the entity was passed on to? I have a feeling that Noah is not going to make Adam’s generation simple. But then again, none of these generations have really been simple.

    Makayla is the best cousin in the world! Luke is really blessed to have her, both with the lagal side of it, and taking care of both of the boys.

    Honestly I was wondering if you were going to finish this story last chapter, and though I’m anxious to know the ending, I’m happy that this is not over yet.

    Like

    • Makayla has the Good and Family Oriented traits, and I wanted to focus on her charitable nature. And since Luke is family, I thought it would fit perfectly into the story. And (of course) there is a story-driven reason for Anna’s incarceration. That will play out very early in the next chapter.
      Adam actually IS the entity in sim form. He is the same as Kacey.
      Oh, and you’re right-on about Noah…

      Like

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