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A Pretty Messed-Up Date

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Scene from: "Swappernetters"
Made with: "The Sims 4: Get Famous"

BACKSTORY

DARK CLOUDS

The year was 2030, and it was August. Many things liked to happen in August. It was August of 2026 when the Sodality of Gerosha was defeated; and when the Chrome Kite took over Arkansas.

An MPF generator system of towers dubbed "the Tug" kept most high-power Phexos and Marlquaanites from getting anywhere near Arkansas' borders. SCALLOP and the Sodality would not reconvene or launch invasion to reclaim the state without the blessing of Congress. And they wouldn't act until the Tug was disabled! The Tug was held together by an intricate system of digital codes, broken into 167 algorithms. At least 60 of these would need to be recovered before SCALLOP could decrypt the rest - and smuggle anyone into "Arkonia" with cards capable of disabling the towers.

In addition, the oppressive and fascistic / socialistic Chrome Kite served as a puppet organization to Society of the Icy Finger - a globalistic death cult whose insane leader, Warren "Rappaccini" Buntine wanted to conquer the multiverse so he could overthrow God himself! This meant sharing of resources for "President" Hasam Arbini to protect his ill-gotten kingdom with that went beyond traditional military and police:

1. The Approved. Marlquaanites loyal to the Icy Finger cause. The Tug was adjusted to ignore their frequencies of their bonds to the Marlquaan, allowing them - so long as they controlled themselves below a certain energy amplitude output - to use their powers without fear of finding themselves in suspended animation. This included such wretches as Marblefaun, Sicklesaw, Feathertop, and Lady Chillingworth - all taunting the fact that the Tug ensured that the Gray Champion and Extirpon were permanently exiled and could do nothing to them anymore!

2. The Microwave Mouth Corps. Female foot soldiers who can produce concentrated microwave energy beams by yelling in the target's direction. A direct hit from close range from their beams could boil you alive! Christina Wade, who murdered her brother Josh while aiming for Stephanie Barrin, was only a prototype of what these scary ladies became!

3. Stagtar Droids. Patent infringements on Lambrelli Labs' Pilltar technology. Taller. Less cute. More deadly. No pill bug backs. Based on the design developed by Scott Morrisson - the cannibal cult leader that first stole a Pilltar droid to make an evil knockoff.

4. The Mercury Troopers, or "Hg Units." These silvershirt militants in light armor exist somewhere between SS Blackshirts and SA Brownshirts, but the "Hogs" are no one to be messed with! Sadistic, brutal, corrupt, they come out against non-powered targets that have incurred the regime's wrath somehow - especially under circumstances where simply launching a missile at the target's home would prove impractical!

5. Screwworm Network Terrorists. The secret bad boys that come out when the regime doesn't mind getting especially reckless! These guys are used very sparingly, given their bad reputation. A decade ago, under the guidance of "Lady Screwworm" Audrey Golin herself, they EMP'd Des Moines (but she was somehow captured by Pilltar anyway, and remained incarcerated ever since.) They also nuked a neighborhood in Evansville, destroyed Louisville, destroyed Cincinnati, and gave the Hebbleskin Gang the means to detonate Yellowstone! These are the guys that, when Ciem fought them in 2015, she didn't care if she failed to pull her punches and they died! She almost enjoyed watching them explode on impact! And in spite all the casual manslaughter, she knew she'd never face charges for killing them either! They were just that hated!

Arkonia's Chrome Kite is led by the following seldom-do-wells: President Hasam Arbini, Secretary of Energy Hatori Imokara, Secretary of Commerce Richard Swean, BGen. Will Clamdor (a vampire), Secretary of Press and Agriculture Birch Thunders (a plant-man), and Secretary of Education Gina Swinton. While there are other secretaries and departments, these six are the true masterminds running the dastardly show.

While Arbini rules with a diamond fist, Clamdor is a loose cannon, Swean is an insufferable [insert choice word here], and Thunders' vanity and environmentalist hysteria are irritating to the imprisoned masses of frightened (and sometimes demoralized) Arkonians; none of the masterminds is more feared and loathed than Gina Swinton! Swean's crushing urban development plans megalomaniacally suffocated the city in rapid renovation turnaround times and aggressive futurization of nearly every architectural development within line-of-sight! However, at least there were some aesthetic benefits to Swean's designs. And the decaying city of Little Rock needed a facelift anyway.

Continuing a program for public education best described as "Common Core on bath salts," while using the others' resources to blast private education facilities to smithereens and outlaw them, Gina Swinton had managed to alienate a significant chunk of Arkansas' population. Some parents, wanting no trouble, continued to subject their kids to the horrors of her curriculum - results be damned!

SILVER LININGS

Those with ties to the underground Navyrope Society, however, devised a plan to both undermine the Chrome Kite's twisted revolution against the cosmos, and simultaneously help SCALLOP get the codes that they needed to destroy the Tug and bring the Sodality back together: the Swappernetters! After his professor and Frontline Boss passed away, Frontliner Tobias Reno elected to join a new camp being started: the one run by former Lambrelli Labs tech specialist Trista Clarion and a missionary named Renald Beauregard.

While protecting the children that sought alternative education on pain of death if caught, Tobias would also take it on himself to take away the Chrome Kite's Marlquaanite rubies - either to destroy them, or smuggle them out of the country and safely to SCALLOP in Texas! He also sought to recover as many of the codes as he could. However, he soon realized he needed more allies - special ones, willing to join the Clarion Camp. Jordan Sterlie, a pretty talented parkour expert and Frontliner, was tied down to Frontline Boss Bret Kamhold - who had also taken up foster care of Jordan given that his mother - Tiffany Sterlie - had to go deep into hiding! (Not just for her own sake, but also to care for the ailing Vince Finton - the original Navyrope.) Cassidy "Atroce" Verner preferred to work for Pete Hassler, and didn't trust Clarion. However, Tobias didn't totally trust Erica Johan nor Jill Hook. His suspicions would be confirmed later that they couldn't be trusted, when Erica would become the monster Bliksemhek and Jill would be revealed to be Lady Chillingworth.

Tobias also needed a cover for his visits to Hassler to see Francine Smith - who was secretly carrying his child. His big help finally came in late August of 2029 - when Arbini's thugs Ted Yusef and Horace Rantiba would kidnap Tabitha Pang and Sarah Ruben from juvie and try to abandon them for dead in Halal Affadidah's "zombie"-infested "Ameristan." The girls survived with the aid of rogue SCALLOP agent turned fugitive Shaniqua Tamery, then made their way back to Little Rock and joined Trista's camp. But first: the girls paid a secret visit to Tabby's mother, Hea Pang, retired sidekick of John "Gray Champion" Domeck himself! She redirected them to Marge "Mapacha" Ramirez's house, warning them that any contact witnessed by authorities would spell certain disaster for everyone.

Not longer afterward, Hea was arrested on unrelated grounds, and held as a political prisoner at McPherson's Women's Prison. Tabby and Sarah and their Marlquaanite ruby paid a visit to Marge, whom Tabby had always looked up to as an aunt. With Tobias also present, Marge divided her powers via the ruby on the three of them, thus birthing the "Twirlflame Trio" - faster, able to run on air, healing more quickly, and a few secondary abilities as well! Alas, the kids got away just in time. Marge was also taken as a political prisoner - with the regime furious that she'd give her powers away!

The Twirlflame Trio would soon become the most efficient Frontliners of them all, until all the regime had reason to fear this resistance of Marlquaan-enhanced urban ninjas that were (mostly) immune to the Tug, and learning new (mundane) skills every day that let them MacGyver their way out of practically anything!


LEADING UP TO THIS SCENE

It was now 2030, late summer. Tabitha had been out of juvie for almost a year. She'd deprived the Chrome Kite of a lot more than just the Pusher's Ruby in that time, and was now arguably Arkonia's most wanted! Not even for all her theft, assault on officers, humiliating of supervillains much stronger than herself, or any of that! No...she was Arkonia's most wanted - because she was the fugitive daughter of Hea Pang, sidekick of the time traveling Marlquaanite John Domeck, co-founder of the Order of the Oraphim - sworn enemies of the Icy Finger since the 1650s!

Tabby heads to Russleville to see Swean's construction model has started futurizing parts of that town as well. Carrying the Belly Crawler Summoner's Ruby on her necklace after successfully stealing it from the Chrome Kite, Tabby now has temporary ability to control all worms and snakes within a 2-mile radius. She joins up with her distant boyfriend, Jordan Sterlie, after returning from a trip to Oklahoma to retrieve a package of Remotach Pills donated to her and her allies by Donte "Emeraldon" McArthur - part of the Sodality. She and Donte have a run-in with the Screwworms, and are able to secure the ruby as a bonus. Having recently returned from a trip to the wild territories of Joplin, Missouri, Charlie "Chanticleer" Cleems was set to meet up with Jordan Sterlie in Russleville to discuss his Joplin mission regarding some orphans.

However, Chanticleer is a dance instructor and scrap collector / inventor, who managed to salvage Lonny "Drop-In" Factor's old jetpack from his 2015 battle with Ciem and Flintirah, and build his own from it. It just needs fuel. He's a Freelancer within Swappernetter Society, having no allegiance to any of the Frontliner Camp bosses. Lacking the free running skills of a lot of his peers, he also lacks stealth. He doesn't realize that the Hogs are on to him - as well as Sicklesaw!

IN THIS SCENE

Putting their camps aside and teaming up to relay and regroup with Chanticleer felt refreshing for the young couple. They hadn't done much together since Tabby was incarcerated for attempting to sell the Pusher's Ruby to a pawn shop so the Screwworms wouldn't kill her and pry it from her corpse - which she didn't know at the time was illegal under the Beliah Amendments to the Kirby Act, as she was not-quite 13 at the time! And it was the one detail Hea never bothered to inform her of! (Ignorance is no excuse, little lady!)

Could they get their romance back on track after three years of her being in the kiddie hoosegow? Meeting up with a friend to discuss business didn't seem like a good backdrop for a date; but they were eager for the chance to catch up all the same. They met when she was about 8, and were good friends ever since: her mother working for the Gray Champion, and his mother working for Navyrope. Tabby missed those old days, when the Sodality of Gerosha wasn't scattered to the wind and they could all be a big family.

However, Chanticleer was careless. And now...the Hogs had spotted him! Unable to run away, he tried pleading for his life. He didn't have the dodge skills to take out the one that was lethally armed without getting shot.

Just a few feet above, Tabby and Jordan observed what was happening on the platform below. Tabby knew what to do: give her flash drive and some Remotach to Jordan, then take out the Hogs herself! A few energy blasts from her Marlquaanite ability to temporarily short out muscular nerves would be just enough to make her attackers weak-kneed enough to subdue single-handedly. Jordan would get Chanticleer out of there, and Tabby would subdue the Hogs and catch up. Routine. Except...she wasn't anticipating Sicklesaw - who'd make things much more complicated!
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