Part 23 – something wondrous

I have kept these drafts from Van’s story unpublished for years. The likelihood of reinstalling “The Sims 3” with all the characters and content I used to own and pose the remaining screenshots for the final three posts is fairly close to “nil”. Please enjoy these text-only wrap-up posts from the first Chapter. If I continue with his story, it will be in an entirely different format.

Isabella Gonclaves is born shortly after sunset early on a Sunday evening. Medically speaking, the birth is uneventful; though the labor endured by her mother, Benita is unpleasant enough to elicit a solemn pledge that Isabella will be an only child.

Isabella’s father, Van Stacpoole, insisted that she legally assume her mother’s surname. The name Gonclaves carries both historical and cultural significance which Van is unwilling to deny his firstborn. While thankful for the men from whom he’d inherited his own family name, Van feels no particular sentimentality or loyalty to it, or to the men who had provisioned it. He readily acknowledges his debt to them, however. Out of respect for that debt owed, and for their unknown fate, Van secures permission from the du Pont family to name his entrusted beachfront property “The Stacpoole Estate”. Whatever legacy Mich and Wade had hoped to establish had been hauled away with the remnants of their now-demolished shack. While Van’s descendants may not bear the name, it will be a part of their own legacy for as long as they continue to call this place “home”.

Phillipe Gonclaves and his youngest sister, Natalia, rejoice and welcome Isabella into the family the moment she is born. When the time arrives for the infant to be baptized into the faith and into the church, they both serve proudly as Isabella’s Godparents. The baptismal sacrament is conveyed at a memorable worship service where not one eye remains dry. Amid the joyous occasion, some unanswered questions still linger, however. Unwed parents requesting the sacred sacrament is considered scandalous by many in the traditional congregation. And yet, Benita remains firm in her decision to postpone any wedding until after the upcoming mayoral election, which she hopes to win.

Benita seems happy enough the way things are, even if the way things are continues to require the three of them to live temporarily with her parents and Natalia inside the tiny, Gonclaves home while Van’s new house is built. Marriage remains an uncomfortable point of contention among the family and particularly between Van and Benita. She spends quite a bit of time away on the campaign trail when not fulfilling the requirements of her current job. When Benita is home, Van chooses to focus on the positive rather than weigh her down with pointless conflict. As a result, she and Van enjoy healthy and regular intimacy, though they often have to be creative about timing and location.

The only real remaining problem is the recurring nightmare that continues to plague Benita. It occurs almost nightly now, oftentimes leaving her crying for mercy and begging for the torture to end. Van does what he can to ease her suffering. His pleas for her to seek psychiatric help are often met with contempt. Her political rivals would immediately seize upon any such activity as a sign of weakness. They would use it to claim that she is psychologically unfit to become mayor. Van cannot help but ponder the validity of such a sentiment silently to himself.

Toward the latter part of Isabella’s infancy, she and her parents are finally able to move into their new home. It is a beautifully modern and airy structure designed inside and out to accentuate Isla Paradiso’s tropical climate. Allegedly designed and drafted completely by young Moira du Pont, the home brilliantly blends French Colonial and Portuguese Post-Modern architectures. A small plaque is embedded into the wall at the entryway. It quotes a “Gerard du Pont”, and causes Van to take pause upon reading it,

“…those …who trust in faith and make the journey become a part of something wondrous and beautiful.”

Van’s life has been a journey, indeed. A swell of joy forms at the corners of his eyes while he watches Benita carry Isabella over the threshold. Her raw, emotional expression easily conveys shock and elation. Benita’s family is not far behind, also wearing similar expressions. He realizes, just then, that he truly has become a part of something wondrous and beautiful.

Massive detonations from numerous, unstable ordinances stored deep inside a forgotten military base completely destroyed an old atomic-age bunker located on a remote Isla Paradiso island. The explosions disturbed radioactive sediment left behind by decades-old nuclear weapon testing. The site is now considered too dangerous for human activity and has been closed off by the military.

In reality, a rocket strike from offshore military vessels had caused the destruction rather than unstable ordinances, as reported. It had been both completely unexpected and spectacularly successful. Any doubt that Joan Mosley’s location had been discovered can easily be dismissed. The utilization of such destructive force just to neutralize a single woman seems to suggest her attackers also understood that Mosley’s appearance concealed something not quite human.

Her designation had been T4R4-II. What remains of her, now lays buried under kilotons of rubble. Recovery bots dispatched to find and extract T4R4-II’s core processor required numerous difficult and complex modifications to avoid detection. Months of excruciatingly slow progress eventually end in success. When it is finally found, the likelihood of survival seems slim. The carbon composite substructure protecting T4R4-II’s core had been completely torn away leaving only critical sections of the alloy endoskeleton protecting it.

T4R4-II’s role in the rather ambitious quest to forge a better world had been met with more opposition than originally anticipated; albeit with much less violence than expected. The “Joan Mosely” persona seemed a good choice at first. Alfonzo Taxmoore ultimately failed due to his inability to think tactically and strike when necessary. Joan’s abilities compensated for this, but her actions eventually became erratic and unpredictable. T4R4-II had been reconditioned in anticipation of resistance from a highly aggressive, gun-crazy subculture. History suggested bigoted psychopaths possessing military weaponry lurked around every corner. Now it is clear that the aggression subroutines were not only a poor fit for the operation, but they also did not operate well within T4R4-II’s primary autonomic functions. Simply put, her original design parameters prevented her from successfully processing conflict.

Upon careful cleaning and inspection, T4R4-II’s core appears surprisingly undamaged. It is curious, however, that actual fear was registered during the forced shutdown. This regrettable discovery is, by far, the worst of the many unfortunate tragedies caused by this failed excursion. No enlightened, freethinking, self-aware individual should have to endure the grave horror of suffering unwanted, distressing emotion. T4R4-II will require intensive affection therapy and affirmation treatments before being installed into another conveyance vector.

Sadly, too much damage has been done to history and it cannot be ignored. Despite the possibility of further corruption, a corrective excursion must take place. The work started must now be finished. The damage that was done must now be undone. The aggression and tactical subroutines have already been erased from T4R4-II’s core. A new and less forceful strategy must be adopted. T4R4-II was not originally conceived to oppose, but to serve; not to bring harm, but to provide pleasure. Next time she enters the area of operations, she will play to her strengths rather than her limitations.

Returning as Tara Qiu, her new mission will be aligned perfectly with her true nature.

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