A few days pass uneventfully while Polaris continues her ritual of collecting and sending samples back home. She doesn't take a break until a particularly humid and rainy morning--she decides that collecting would be hazardous in such weather. The humidity renders her home's evaporative cooling useless, causing her to shed her clothes in favor of lounging in her unmentionables and reading gothic novels. It's important to continue my studies on humans, she rationalizes.
Her computer beeps loudly, indicating a video call from the Commander. "Fuuuuu---" she stops herself from swearing as she leaps up turns on the monitor. Caught playing hooky...
"Greetings Command--AHHH!" She screams as she leaps back, exposing herself to the full view of the camera. She wasn't expecting the face that appeared on her computer screen.
On the other end, Crux averts his eyes in embarrassment. "I apologize for the interruption, Agent Polaris," he says, "but you should have received a message informing you of this video conference." His somber tone is ominous.
Polaris's stomach drops. Her head spins with the million and one things she has done wrong in the past few days that could lead to repercussions. Well, I didn't check in when I was supposed to, and I kept those fireflies, my reports are unprofessional... Her silence prompts Crux to continue.
"I am Agent Crux. We have met before," he says dryly, as if trying to illicit a response.
"I remember you," she snaps. A wave of anger overcomes her for a moment, before subsiding and being replaced by remorse. There's a beat of silence before she hesitantly asks, "where's the Commander?"
"I have been charged with your case; you will be communicating with me regarding your assignment. I have been reading your reports, and you can address them to me from here on out. Commander Eridanus is being apprised of all situations, however." Polaris's concern must show on her face. "Do not fret, Polaris," Crux continues, "the Alcyonian Hegemony is rather pleased with your work."
"Well, I don't blame them, really," Polaris tries to hide her nervousness, "I'm incredible."
"In fact, you found some promising mineral deposits. Moonstone, palladium, sunstone...all of these are components of many of our technologies, I trust you know that...." Crux continues to drone on, giving specifics about each gem and rock she found.
Polaris can hardly keep her eyes open. She drops into her chair. So booooring...
"...all of this is very good news for the Hegemony. With a new supply of resources, we will be able to expand our influence. There is some good news for you, as well," Crux says. Polaris brightens up.
"For me, Cruxie?" she asks with a childish smile. She immediately regrets uttering such a stupid pet name.
"The Hegemony is so pleased that we wish to reward you with any items that may be useful for you. Is there anything you would like?" Crux continues, seemingly failing to notice her inappropriateness.
"Well," Polaris mumbles, "A new stove. I burned my old one. Oooh, and a television! And perhaps some more furniture, and some books. Oh, and also, I would like permission to interact with humans."
"I said items. I'll see what I can do about the stove," he says while rubbing his chin thoughtfully, "but I doubt I will be able to get anything else," he pauses momentarily, "Also, may I ask why you are not wearing your uniform?"
"I'm not wearing my uniform because one, I'm in disguise--DUH--and two, it's too hot to wear anything. Also, I need to do laundry. You guys only gave me like three outfits."
"Is that why I can smell you through the screen? Shall I make basic hygiene an objective of your assignment, too? " Polaris can perceive a slight smile on his lips
"What a childish joke!" she exclaims, half-appalled and half-amused, "I cannot believe you made such a stupid, childish joke! I'm mighty proud of you."
"I have no idea what you are talking about; jokes are an inefficient method of communication. And just a reminder: make sure to follow directions to the letter, Polaris. Crux out."
Crux ends the call and sits at his desk. Resting his head in his hands, he recounts his worries to himself. He is so consumed that he fails to notice the Commander entering the room.
"Are matters not going well?" Commander asks. Crux shoots up from the chair and salutes him.
"Everything is going perfectly, with the exception of Agent Polaris's typical puerile nature," Crux states.
"Her findings are promising, Agent Crux. There is no need to worry about that. But," he says slowly, "the Hegemony is concerned with her lackadaisical attitude. She hardly seems invested in her reports. We are afraid she will become a liability."
"Commander, if I may ask" Crux probes, "Polaris is an anthropologist, so why not allow her to study humans? She certainly seems to have a grasp on annoying human vernacular. We could also deploy a team of geologists to collect resources for further studies."
"Do not question her assignment or yours, Crux," the Commander hisses. Crux is surprised by the Commander's sudden anger. As quickly as he became irate, the Commander softens. "Now, I have been ordered to begin tracking all of Polaris' movements. Set it up immediately."
Crux wonders what Polaris has gotten herself into.
Only moments after the conversation ends, Polaris notices a flash in her kitchen. Poof, and there's a new stove. She silently thanks Crux.
I really should do laundry, Polaris thinks, and I would need to leave the house to do that. She keeps replaying her conversation with Crux in her head, trying to find tacit endorsements for interactions with the natives. She finally works up the courage that night, and leaves for the laundromat under cover of darkness.
As she leaves, she notices strange lights above her house. She moves to investigate, thinking it must be someone from Alcyone transporting to her home. But why?
Looking up to the sky, her jaw drops. What the... A blue-green light appears around her, and she feels herself being lifted up.
"Why is this happening to me?!" she screams, before blacking out.
White. It's so white. Her eyes feels weighed down, unwilling to open all the way. She tries to rub her face, but she can feel that her arms are tied to a chair. Rapidly blinking her eyes, the room comes into focus. A strange, white room with strange, out-of-place furnishings.
"Wahh!" Polaris yelps in surprise at the woman sitting in front of her, "who the hell are you??"
The strange being sips her tea and softly replies, "Eni. You can call me Eni."
"Okay, next obvious question: where the hell am I and why the hell did you bring me here?!"
"Those are two questions, Polly-Bee-the-data-entry-specialist-from-Bridgeport. I've been watching you, as well as all the excursions your people are making. You're on my ship. I reached out to you because I am quite interested in you. You're not like most Alcyonians."
Polaris sighs, "This is going to be a whole long conversation, isn't it? If so, can you please untie my hands? I promise I won't strangle you or anything."
Eni chuckles. "And that is why I'm interested in you. You speak your mind. And," she says cheerfully, "I feel that you are a good and trustworthy person. Fine, I'll release you." With a blink of an eye, the ropes around Polaris eerily disappear.
Polaris folds her hands on the table. She's surprised at her composure during such an odd situation. "So, a few more questions: how did you find me? You're not human and not Alcyonian, so what are you? Why do you want to reach out to me?" Polaris casually asks.
"I suppose you could call me the self-proclaimed guardian of the darling inhabitants of Simnation. In fact, that is what my species calls ourselves: The Guardians. I have been watching the happenings of Simnation for years, and I've noticed increased extra-terrestrial activity. Your people have sent several scouts, and so I began to wonder why," Eni pauses to take a sip of tea.
"And?" it was too long of a pause for impatient Polaris.
"And, I've noticed that you seem to be interested in many natural reserves that are found in abundance in places such as Lucky Palms. I began to observe your communications. I've been watching your dear Commander Eridanus in particular, and I've discovered a lot about him."
"Oooh, you haaave?" Polaris intertwines her fingers together, expecting saucy tales of seduction and intrigue, "do tell." She's in for disappointment.
"He's a very dangerous man, and I believe you are in peril, my dear Polly Bee. You are aware that he has been in charge of sending agents such as yourself on these missions for quite some time now?"
Polaris silently nods.
"And have you noticed any of these agents returning to Alcyone?"
This is true, as far as she knows--no one has returned from any of the Commander's missions. "So, they're undercover. That's not unusual," Polaris reasons, "besides, I received a very positive progress report today."
"Do you know what the end goal of your assignment is?" Eni abruptly changes the subject, obviously aware of the answer.
"Well," Polaris hesitates, unused to speaking honestly, "it's to colonize Simnation, harvest it for resources, and..." Eni's black, inky eyes prod Polaris to continue. "...and, to use the native population for labor."
"And what do you think of that?"
Polaris drops her head on the table. "It's horrible. These are sentient creatures, interesting creatures. They'll be worked to death. They're not deserving of this. No one is." Polaris has never said these words out loud. She often thinks them, but compliance is paramount to survival. "But what can I do?"
"You can change your fate, Polly," Eni says firmly, "and this is why I reached out to you. You need to break away from their influence. You're clever, and you're good. I understand that you do not earn an income, that the hegemony provides food and shelter?"
"Yeah," Polaris mumbles.
"Find an income in Lucky Palms. Make a living for yourself. Befriend humans and make connections to the community. The denizens of Simnation are more accepting than you think. You may be able to melt into the population."
Polaris raises her head. "I'm not sure this is right. You're asking me to abandon my whole life. What's in it for you?"
"Nothing," Eni says with a smile, "except maybe safety for my beloved friends in Simnation. I have no other ulterior motives. But you have a lot to think about, darling Polly." Eni rises and motions to Polaris.
Polaris is surprised when Eni hugs her. It's a motherly gesture, but the affection is alien to Polaris.
"They'll hunt me down," Polaris whispers.
"Then do what you think is right, Polly," Eni whispers back.
Eni teleports Polaris back to her front lawn. It seems as if only an hour or two has passed. Polaris feels immediate relief when she feels her feet on solid ground, but anxiety quickly overcomes her.
"What should I do??" She yells at the sky. No response.
Janelle Monae--Cold War
Author's Note: Whew, that was a plot-dump! Sorry for so much exposition, but I felt like I had to get a lot of stuff rolling before I continue. I promise that the next few chapters will contain some human-Polly interaction! Speaking of which, it's been very difficult to get many good interactions with other sims because they seem to run away from Polly. :C Every time she goes somewhere, other sims leave after one or two interactions. The abduction randomly happened while I was trying to take her to the laundromat, as if the game itself was trying to keep her from leaving the house. But I've always wondered what happens to my sims when they're abducted, so I took it as an opportunity to enrich the story.
In case you're wondering, I take my pictures of Crux and Commander Eridanus in a different save file, then use them in the story. When I was getting these last few pictures, they began talking, then arguing, and then THIS popped up:
WHHAAAAAAT?? So, there is apparently a lot of sexual tension between Crux and the Commander.