‘Hey Penelope,” I said peaking into my daughter’s room. She was zipping up her bags for camp. “You all packed already?”
“Yes. I know I am not leaving until next week. But I was excited.”
“No, that’s good.” I gave her a quick hug. “Actually it’s perfect. How do you feel about going a little early? Like tomorrow?”
“Yeah, I have to be in Newcrest for two weeks on business. Since your camp is there, I figured we could go together. Plus your aunts want a vacation as well. I checked with the camp, they said it was okay.”
Penelope thought for a few moment, her eyes closed. I wondered what she was thinking about. Were we going too fast? Would she panic? I knew she was nervous about making friend there since she’d not made any here. But I’d already told Nebula and Nova they could take off. They were excited about a new spa that was opening. If she didn’t want to go…
“I think it will be fine,” Penelope said at last smiling. “I think there are some very special people I will meet there.”
“You’re the greatest,” I told her and gave her another big hug. Holding her tight. I would miss her. “Sleep well. We’ll leave tomorrow morning.”
There were not problems at the camp. And any trace of fear Penelope might have shown the night before was gone. She could hardly wait. She barely said goodbye before she was running off. I caught Cathy Tea’s nod as she watched Penelope racing toward here. I knew Cathy Tea would take care of my baby. Nebula had the right idea, Penelope needed some time away from Oasis Springs and our busy schedules. I tried not to cry.
I was to stay in the newly built Niwa Long Stay Hotel (everything in Newcrest was newly built) while I worked to help set up the local lab. It was the perfect place for work. The rooms were large and clean, each with their own kitchenette in case you felt like cooking instead of eating out every night. Although without Nebula to cook, I wasn’t too confident in my own abilities.
During the day I worked, calibrating machines and hauling equipment. For that last bit I took a little serum I’d invented to help with the hauling. The muscles wouldn’t last, but they sure made moving easier.
At night, I stayed at the hotel mostly. Relaxing and meeting my fellow travelers. There wasn’t much to Newcrest yet, but I wasn’t the only one staying there. First to arrive were two sisters: Raerei and Meadow. The sisters said they were there on a writing retreat. They spent their days working and planning a novel they were writing together. It was set in a fantasy world they’d been working on since high school.
Then one night, just before the weekend we got our last arrival. He said his name was Elder and he was a traveler. Elder was super friendly and before long he had us all chatting and enjoying the night air.
I’m not sure what Elder did during the daytime, but at night, he spent most of his time at the hotel on the computer.
Saturday was my day off and I was looking forward to resting for a day and not doing anything. I found Elder on the deck painting.
“So Elder,” I finally asked, “what brings you to Newcrest? Business or pleasure?”
“A bit of both actually,” he said with a smile and sat down next to me. “I’m looking for my son, and two of his friends, Emelia Johnson and Amina Wolff.” He handed me a flyer.
He watched me, clearly waiting for a reaction. To the names? The names didn’t ring a bell. I looked down at the flyer. Two adorable kids and a teenager smiled back at me. The faces didn’t look familiar.
“Your son is missing?” I asked somewhat alarmed. I imagined if Penelope were missing and could feel the panic starting.
“Well, not missing, we just aren’t sure where he is. And he doesn’t realize he’s been missed yet.”
Something was bothering me about his story. This Elder wasn’t your normal sim traveler. “Wait, that flyer.” I looked at it again. “Last seen at the Animal Hat Summer Camp?” I read panic starting to rise. “I just dropped my daughter, Penelope, off there a couple days ago.”
“Your daughter? Oh, the camp is quite safe. My son decided to go on a time traveling adventure and forgot that with aging off time travel doesn’t work. So I put myself on the gallery to see if anyone would download me so I could check out the different hard drives.”
I thought about that for a second. My mine boggled at the implications. He just put himself on the gallery…?
“Isn’t that a little extreme? There’s what, billions of hard drives out there, not to mention multiple save games. There’s like five or six on this computer alone. It’s a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack.”
“Not at all. I can feel that my son isn’t that far away, he’s got to be on one of CT’s friend’s computers. She wouldn’t pair up with a stranger and send our child off somewhere we couldn’t find him.”
“I guess that explains how you ended up here. Since we just opened the “door” so to speak by sending little Penelope off….You’re sure she’s safe?”
“Absolutely. I saw her just the other day. I’m just checking the forums and looking around to see if I can spot them. I’d like to tell them the time travel didn’t work so they know they’re being missed. Do…do you think they’re on another of the save games here?”
“I’m sure *someone* put you in all her games. And *she’s* got a few these days. Let’s see. ” I thought about the other games on this hard drive. “We’ll you’re probably not with Amelia, it would be pointless to add sims to that game. The Pigglewiggles are all evil right now, and it’s not like *she* can play anyone else in a legacy challenge. With Penelope gone, there’s little reason for your son to be in my game. The rest are like this world. Random saves for particular story-based projects, not proper games at all. I’m only here on business here to do some research for *her*. I don’t think you’ll have much luck around here.”
“Well, if I’m in those other games, I’ll ask around just to be sure, but I feel like you’re right. I do hope I’m on the right hard drive somewhere.”
“I’ll keep and eye out anyway, in case they start travelling. I’ve got a whole lab at my disposal. I’ll let you know if anything comes up.”
I watched him go. The next day he had checked out of the hotel and I felt a little sad he’d left. He was good company and a better cook than the rest of us.
This story is part of an ongoing collaboration between CathyTea and the Sims writing community. You can read all about Free Jon’s Time Travel adventures and Elder’s hunt for his son (in different saved games) on Cathy’s Tea’s blog.