“Don’t go too far, Nova!” Solaris calls after his sister, “stay in eyesight!”
“Whaaaa---?! I can’t hear you!” Nova howls into the wind. It’s a total lie, but she ain’t gonna let no punk-ass brother get in the way of her fun. She stares ahead, her gaze fixed on a secluded beach on the horizon. Adventure awaits.
“Aww, she’ll be fine,” Elysia mutters. She delights in the warm weather as she reclines on an inflatable raft. The waves gently rock her, lulling her into a half-sleep. Sometimes she misses Lucky Palms, but she understands why her mom was hell-bent on moving after Crux--after that-thing-they-don’t-talk-about. “She’s just a little adventurous.”
“That’s what worries me,” he scowls. Solaris almost single-handedly raised the twins, which left him with a sort of paternal instinct. After that-thing-they-don’t-talk-about, his mom was inconsolable and practically catatonic. Luna and Elysia began to struggle with school, so taking care of the twins fell to Solaris. He feels a biological imperative that urges him to make sure his sister isn’t ripped asunder by sharks.
“You’re such a worry-wart. You need to relax for once, pull that stick out of your ass.”
Solaris sinks into the water and glares at Elysia. He briefly considers flipping her raft over and dumping her into the ocean. Maybe a current would carry her away.
“I’m going to go work on my tan,” Elysia suddenly announces as she slides off the raft and paddles back to the shore. Solaris’ plans have been thwarted.
While their siblings enjoy the water, Luna and Zenith play catch. Unlike his twin sister, Zenith is not a very strong swimmer, and he's not at all daring. He’s content just hang with big sis. Luna reminds him a lot of his mom, except Luna doesn’t seem sad when she looks at him.
Zenith asked why once: “why is mom always sad? Especially when I’m around?” Luna said it was because he looks like his dad. Zenith didn’t understand why that was such a bad thing. He asked what happened to his dad and was met with steely silence. So he doesn’t ask about him anymore.
“They’re organizing an ultimate Frisbee league,” Luna says casually.
“Just some people at school. We’d like, play competitively or something.”
“Sounds weird,” Zenith frowns. Why compete over something like Frisbee? Strange.
“I’m thinking of joining. Would you want to?”
“No—but you’d be really good at it.”
“It’s no fun if I don’t have a little brother to boss around.”
“Oh…well, I can stand by the sidelines and you can boss me around about getting water or whatever!”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Nova hates how the wind whips her hair around. It gets in the way, and she swears it weighs as much as her, but her mom won’t let her cut it. Maybe she’ll wait till nightfall one night and shave all her hair off while the house sleeps…
When she reaches the beach, Nova tosses her board aside and stretches a little. She’s always wanted to explore by herself, but Solaris, the perennial party-pooper, usually foils her plans. Whenever she’d beg to go on an adventure, he’d counter with, “But what about sharks? They’d gobble you up!” Well poo on you, she thinks as she jumps into the water.
Nova has a plan for dealing with shark attacks: first, she’d use sim-fu to punch the offending shark in the nose. Wah-cha! Then she’d swiftly swim around it and grab its tail and then pull it backwards. She read that it’s possible to drown a shark that way. Point is, she’s not concerned about stupid sharks. They’re just overgrown fish. She eats fish for dinner.
Besides, she’s meaner than a shark. Rawr.
“Hey,” Elysia glances at the water as she flips over, “Hey, I can’t see Nova.”
“She went around to that beach I’m always telling her not to go to,” Solaris rolls his eyes.
“So you’re not gonna…?”
“I’m building a sandcastle.”
“She’ll be fine,” Solaris tries to resign himself to the fact that Nova will do as she pleases. He has to let go sometime.
“I’m going to tell."
“No you won’t,” Solaris throws some sand at her. Hey, this is kind of fun!
Polaris inhales deeply as she strolls into the community garden. It’s her new favorite place in Sunset Valley because despite being in the center of town, it’s calm. She comes every day and harvests fruits and veggies to plant in her own garden. It’s relaxing work.
Life had been uneventful since moving. Polaris can’t tell if she’s falling into some boring routine, or if it’s the calm before a storm. Lyra and Lily also moved to Sunset Valley, and Luke tagged along so at least she has a posse. She could count on them--they are bound together in conspiracy.
Recently, Lyra had been calling Polaris and asking her if she knew anything about “Lily and that stupid human you fucked.” She swore that Lily was hiding something from her, and it had to be “that mohawked retard—what, is he hung like a horse or something? I swear, Polly, he’s fucking useless. I don’t understand why everyone’s so obsessed with him.”
Lyra is being dramatic. There’s no way Luke would become involved with someone as…strange as Lily. No offense to her friends, but Polaris figures after everything, Luke would go after someone a little more normative.
Their home had a name—“Mango Cottage.” The kids thought it was really nifty. They didn’t have to give out their address. They could just tell friends, “Oh yeah, we live at Mango Cottage. Have you heard of it? Yeah, that’s the place across the street from the beach. No big deal.”
“Where the heck is it,” Nova mutters as she digs through the costume chest. It was second-hand—Polaris had found it at a thrift shop—so a lot of the costumes are torn or stained. “Aha! Found it!”
“Why do I have to be the princess?” Zenith halfheartedly practices a princess wave.
“Because I wanna be the dinosaur,” Nova states as she slips off her dress and wiggles into the costume, “Don’t look you pervy princess!”
“I wasn’t looking…”
“Liar,” Nova glares. She can’t wait until Elysia and Luna move out. Then she can have their room, and she won’t have to share with her icky brother. If all three triplets move out, maybe she’ll take over the entire second floor.
“I think you should be the princess,” Zenith insists, “I mean, you’re the girl.”
“The mighty Novasaurus Rex does not recognize your narrow-minded gender roles! RAWR!”
“But I look stupid in a dress.”
“You always look stupid. Rawr.”
“SILENCE,” Nova roars. She grabs a nearby pillow and whacks her brother in the face with it, “Your insolence will not be tolerated, human!”
“Oww! We’re not human,” Zenith counters, “Mom says so!”
“Who is this ‘mom’? Novasaurus knows of no such being!”
“Nova, stop!” She smacks him in the face again. The otherwise peaceful Zenith has no choice—he locates a pillow and engages with the enemy.
After an intense battle, Nova prevails. As per the previously established Pillow Fight Clause in the Twin Treaty, she gets to choose the next activity. “Tag,” she orders, “You shall run, Princess Zenith, and I shall give chase. RAWR!”
Princess Zenith squeals and runs into the living room and through the dining room, knocking over any furniture that happens to be in his path.
“Do you believe there’s such a thing as justifiable homicide,” Luna wonders aloud.
“Not funny, Lulu,” Solaris says.
“I know…” She stares at her homework for a few moments before sighing loudly. “Ugh, when the hell am I ever going to need to use differential calculus?”
“When are you going to need to use it?”
“Yeah, like who the hell needs to know this?”
“I don’t think you’ll have to worry about it,” he smiles, “Anyhoo, I’m done. Holler if you need anything.”
“20 simoleons if you do my homework for me.”
“Nooooope, no can do, padawan.”
Luna huffs. This is bullshit. At least the twins have quieted down.
“HUMAN!” Luna jumps a little—she hadn’t noticed Nova sneak up next to her, “The one who calls herself ‘mother’ has reminded me that I have homework to do. I shall require your help as Novasauruses are not savvy when it comes to mathematics.”
“Nova, we’re not human” Luna reminds her. Surprisingly, that was the one thing her mother was okay with them discussing. Crux—nope. Elysia—nuh-uh. Polaris’s clown-car uterus—no way. But embracing their heritage became important to Polaris. They didn’t talk about it outside of the house, but no one in town seemed to even care about the weirdoes living in Mango Cottage. No one teased Luna or the twins. In fact, no one ever even brought up their….skin condition.
“Inconsequential. Now tell me, humanoid: what is 3675 times 16?”
“What am I, a calculator?”
“I can’t work it with my gloves on…”
“Ugh. SOLARIS! The brat needs your help,” Luna calls out. She has her own work to do.
“I’m going to ignore that,” Solaris decides as he pulls a book off the shelf. Crux—erm, that guy—left a bunch of novels at Lyra’s house. She had no need for them, so she gave them to Solaris.
“Meow,” Halloween says. Solaris had found Halloween right outside their back door a few days before they left Lucky Palms. Solaris was taken in by Halloween’s dichromatic eyes and aloof personality, while Halloween appreciated the free food.
“Go get washed up,” Polaris orders as she taste-tests dinner, “and change out of those costumes. I ain’t feeding any dinosaurs or gender-bending royalty. Though, if that’s what you decide you want, Zenith, I’ll support you.”
“Nova made me dress this way.”
“I’m a Novasaurus! Not a stupid dinosaur. And I know not of this Nova you speak.”
“This is species-ist,” Nova roars as she stomps away, “Rawr! I will not stand for this!”
Nova quickly changes and skips out to the dining room. She puts on her best nonchalant face. “Oh hey, mom! I thought I heard roaring. Was Novasaurus just here? Weird how I always miss her.”
“Hmm, yes. Weird indeed.”
Nova hops into her chair. Mac and cheese! Her favorite.
“So what did you do today?” Polaris wants desperately to get to know how youngest children better. She knows she’s been ignoring them.
“Well, I went windsurfing…”
“And I found a beach….”
“And I swam with a shark…”
Solaris chokes on his food.
“What? Solaris, you were supposed to be taking care of her.”
“Oh, he did, mommy, but I’m slippery, like the wily shark.”
“Nova, I told you not to leave my sight!” Solaris regains his breath.
“Well, what do you have to say for yourself?”
“…I didn’t listen.”
“It was fun?”
“Mom,” Solaris turns to Polaris and looks at her pleadingly, “aren’t you going to do anything?”
Polaris is quiet for a moment. “What is there to do? She’s fine. We can be thankful for that.”
“Mom, she can’t keep getting away with stuff like this! And why is it my job to be the disciplinarian? Last I checked, you were the adult.”
“I want a bedtime story,” Zenith interjects. Nova glares at him. Things were just getting interesting and Zenith had to go and ruin it.
“Go pick one out,” Solaris sighs, “I’ll be right there.”
Nova thinks bedtime stories are for babies. And Zenith is definitely a baby. He picked out a story about a stupid duck—ugh.
It’d be nice if someone read a bedtime story to her. But she’d never asked, but no one had ever offered, either.
Whatever. Zenith needs a bedtime story because he’s afraid of everything, and the stupid baby stories help him sleep. Nova isn’t afraid of anything. Except maybe monsters under the bed. Every night, she checks, but she hasn’t seen one thus far.
But there’s a first time for everything. Nova swears that smoke begins to billow out from under her bed as a monster hand reaches out and claws at her. She sprints out of the room, abandoning her brother. "Take him instead," she calls over her shoulder.
She’s doesn’t need a bed. She can sleep on the couch—that’s way tougher, anyway. Besides, sometimes the light from the lighthouse illuminates the room a little, so it’ll scare away any monsters. It’s a tactical decision, not a cowardly decision. At least that’s what she tells herself.
Anyway, gameplay notes:
1) Halloween is great. He just kind of hangs around and bothers Solaris. They're best friends. Here they are watching television:
2) Solaris really did do a lot to raise the twins. He taught them most of their skills. Luna helped, too. Polaris was a great mom with the triplets, but she seemed uninterested in the twins.
3) I had a whole goodbye scene planed with Luna and Quentin, as well as another scene with Lyra and Naomi. However, my game wouldn't behave and I got sick of trying to pose things. SO WHATEVER. Luna had her first kiss with Quentin, if anyone's interested. Maybe he’ll move to Sunset Valley at some point.
4) Before leaving Lucky Palms, the triplets went to a dance where Solaris was named king. He doesn't have any friends other than his sisters, his mom, and the cat, so I was very surprised.
5) I was heartbroken to learn that the lead female character in the movie Sharknado is named Nova. Not really a gameplay note, but I felt the need to mention it in case any of you have seen that horrible, horrible movie.