ROOK: After all that, I also got even more new outfits and a new haircut. I went over to the phone. There was only one person available for recruiting: Travis. I checked his message:
TRAVIS: No way, you can make me an official agent?! That's so cool! I'm in! Hey, so does this mean you're getting me that pizza?
Travis, by the way, has 3 Charisma and 2 Smarts.
ROOK: ...Ooookay. I recruited him and set him up on the top floor.
ROOK: Welcome to the team!
TRAVIS: What's up, guys? Let's do this!
ROOK: Then I talked to Jenny.
ROOK: Any clients with
JENNY: You want a dispatch mission? Just choose one and let's get this over with.
ROOK: Well, there was only one to choose: "Deploy!". Agent Walker had called it in:
WALKER: All right, Rook, . It's time to delegate! You won't have time to do everything — that's what your loyal agents are for! We've got a cat stuck in a tree. Send that new recruit of yours, Travis, to take care of it and I'll keep you updated on his progress.
ROOK: It was rated a difficulty of 1 star, would probably take about 10 minutes, and would use the skills of both Charisma and Smarts. If Travis was successful, I would gain new outfits and have more dispatch missions. I selected the mission and chose the Floor 3 squad which consisted of... Travis. He had a fair chance.
JENNY: That's it! You just sent Travis off on his first mission.
ROOK: I hope he'll be okay...
cats can be vicious, sometimes.
JENNY: Dispatch agents will always check in with a quick text message to let you know how the mission is going. Make sure you keep an eye out for any updates on your cell phone.
ROOK: Right. That's a good way for us to keep in touch.
JENNY: Yeah, it means you don't have to hand around HQ to get dispatch updates. You're free to search the city for new cases. ... Seriously, you can go now. I'll work real hard while you're gone.
On your blog, that is.
JENNY: No, as a matter of fact, I don't mean on my blog.
JENNY: On my Starcruiser X
That was my next guess.
ROOK: Anyway, just then, a woman came in. Green eyes, short red hair, red dress, red shoes. Gold bracelet, tattoo on upper arm.
She looks okay, I guess.
JENNY: Hey, you can't just barge in here without an appointment! Rook, do something!
EVELYN: Rook, is it? My name is Evelyn Gray. I understand you help people with mysteries.
I think her thumbnail picture is cuter, now that I get a look at it.
ROOK: I try to.
EVELYN: Well, I have a mystery. I think someone was in my apartment while I wasn't there.
ROOK: And why do you think that?
EVELYN: Because they completely wrecked the place before they left.
JENNY: Whoa. I'd say that's pretty compelling evidence!
EVELYN: Yes. The door was open when I got home, and when I went inside... it was awful!
ROOK: She started crying.
ROOK: Did they take anything? What did they want?
EVELYN: Well, I don't know what they wanted. That's why I'm hiring you.
ROOK: I went over to talk to Buddy and Jenny.
JENNY: I don't like her. Her shoes are way too casual for that outfit.
BUDDY: I think we should help. Do you think Derek has moved up to burglary now?
ROOK: No, this sounds way too big for the neighborhood bully.
ROOK: Why did I say that?! He intentionally induced a fire and stole someone's maps, for crying out loud!
ROOK: I wonder... Evelyn, did you see anybody strange around your apartment?
EVELYN: Well, there was a girl...I didn't get a good look. She was wearing a red and gray Morcu Corp jumpsuit...
ROOK: Morcu Corp?!
The girl outside! Evelyn, I'll take the case!
EVELYN: Thank you, Rook. When you are ready, I'll meet you outside of my apartment. I'm...still a little scared to go inside.
ROOK: Don't worry. Whoever did this, I'm sure they're long gone.
But in the meantime, you probably shouldn't disturb the crime scene until I get a good look at it. We'll be there soon.
ROOK: She left.
BUDDY: She seems nice.
ROOK: Yeah. I wonder who would want to scare her like that.
BUDDY: I dunno. A mummy?
JENNY: Rook, be careful. If this was one of my stories, I'd make this the part where you take a seemingly simple case from a mysterious stranger... but get drawn into something far more dangerous!
ROOK: You might be right, Jenny. I get the feeling we're about to step into something big...
(Okay, from now on, except when it's way more convenient to keep pressing on, my updates will be primarily based around the dispatch missions. I'll explain how they work at the end of this one. For now, just know that Agent Walker and Travis will be checking in every once in a while.)
ROOK: I headed out the door and to the train kiosk. I selected Main Street. As Buddy and I rode to our old neighborhood, I had some time to think.
ROOK: (thinking) Evelyn Gray is a very mysterious woman. She seemed genuinely frightened, but... was Jenny right about her? I can't shake the feeling that Evelyn knows more than she's letting on. I wonder what Buddy thought of our enigmatic guest?
BUDDY: I had a hamster named Evelyn once!
ROOK: I figured the best place to start was by talking to Evelyn. Along the way, I talked to the Sims I encountered. Luis...
ROOK: Hi Luis. Have you heard about the break-in at Evelyn's apartment?
LUIS: I did! I think it's going to be in tomorrow's paper! Speaking of papers, would you like to buy one?
ROOK: Maybe later, Luis. I'm still on the job.
LUIS: If I had a quarter for everyone who said that to me, I'd have enough for college already! Haha! Just kidding!
ROOK: Hi, Rhonda. Do you have any idea who ransacked Evelyn's apartment?
RHONDA: No! And I don't want to know! Stay away from creepy apartment-ransacking criminals — that's my motto!
ROOK: Okay, thanks Rhonda.
If you had talked to her during the secret admirer case, you would have heard her tell you a different motto about not messing with someone's secret admirer or something.
ROOK: Shirley... actually, I admit to entering her salon to talk to her.
ROOK: Hello, Shirley. Did you hear about Evelyn's apartment being ransacked?
SHIRLEY: Oh my gosh, yes, hon! It's so scary! What if he had broken into my salon and stolen my new olallieberry hair gel?
ROOK: That is terrifying to think about.
SHIRLEY: I know, right? Anyway, good luck with the case, Rook!
ROOK: Thanks, Shirley!
ROOK: I met up with Evelyn outside her apartment.
ROOK: Hello, Evelyn. I have a couple of questions.
EVELYN: Okay, Agent Rook.
ROOK: Any additional info you can give me about the perp you saw escaping?
EVELYN: Not really, just that she was wearing that red and gray Morcu Corp uniform.
ROOK: Have you had any problems with Morcu Corp in the past?
ROOK: So whatever interest they have in you...it's new. Do you have any idea if they took anything?
EVELYN: Yes! I took a quick inventory. It looks like they took some jewelry and some other random stuff.
ROOK: What 'random stuff' did they take?
EVELYN: Oh, they also took some of my dad's old stuff: a letter and one of his research journals.
ROOK: Aha! If this was a simple burlgary, they wouldn't have had use for those. I'm on it, Evelyn. That's a solid lead.
ROOK: Of course, I'd need to check her apartment, but before I could, I got a message:
WALKER: Travis has arrived and is looking up at the cat, trying to decide what to do. I've mentioned that gaining a cat's trust is harder than it looks.
ROOK: I entered. The place was a mess! Scattered papers, plants knocked over, tilted pictures... and why did the intruder have to treat all the books so poorly? There was no reason to throw them around!
I found a receipt for Shirley's on the desk, and a coupon for Gino's under the bed.
TRAVIS: OK, I'm going to try to communicate with the cat — gain its trust. I know! I'll use my phone to play some bird or squirrel noises. Which should I play? If I don't hear from you within a few minutes, I'll choose one randomly.
ROOK: I chose the bird noises and got back to the case. I also noticed... spilled ink. Hmmm... I took out my magnifying glass. Aha! As I thought! Footprints! They led across the bed and to the dresser. She left through the window. To follow the prints, I'll have to go outside. On the way out, I notice that the grandfather clock's hands aren't moving. Huh. I wonder if it was broken during the break-in... I went outside and talked to Evelyn.
ROOK: Is this your pizza coupon?
EVELYN: Nope. I'm allergic to tomatoes, so I never go to Gino's place.
ROOK: Ah. Must have come from one of the culprits, then. I love it when criminals drop things.
So is this your salon receipt?
EVELYN: Yeah, that's mine. I went to Shirley's yesterday to get my hair done.
ROOK: It looks nice. Thanks for the info.
ROOK: I decided to go ask Gino and, on the way, follow those footprints. They lead into town square, fading away as they did. I decided to take a dive in the local dumpster behind Gino's. Dr. Gray's letter! I didn't see any more footprints, but I knew where to go: Gino's. But as I approached the door, Travis texted me.
TRAVIS: Well, the cat didn't like that at all! It's giving me a really distrustful look now.
Don't worry about it. The squirrel noise would've produced the same result.
ROOK: I guess. Cats aren't that fond of digital recordings of animal noises, I suppose. I went inside.
ROOK: Serve anyone new recently?
GINO: Yes, actually! A young woman in a red and gray uniform. She had some of my filet mignon pizza, and I gave her a coupon!
ROOK: Oh really? Where did she sit?
GINO: At the table against the wall, near the door.
ROOK: I examined it, and found... a napkin with a note: "Meet in the forest." So, I went to the forest. Poppy, Derek, and Dogwood were there. Dogwood was digging holes.
ROOK: Hi, Dogwood!
ROOK: Yeah, I know. Things are getting pretty crazy with Morcu Corp...
DOGWOOD: Grrr... woof woof!
ROOK: Right, that's what worries me. But we'll just have to wait and see...take care, Dogwood. Derek, I need to speak with you.
DEREK: No way
! I don't wanna talk to you.
ROOK: Look, kid. This is serious. Start talking or things ore gonna get unpleasant.
DEREK: Wh...what? Are you threatening me?
ROOK: You think your Aunt Shirley will be happy about the damage you caused at Gino's?
DEREK: Whoa whoa...let's not do that, okay?
Aunt? That's interesting, and in part for a reason I'll bring up later.
ROOK: I'll... keep that in mind.
ROOK: Just tell me about the meeting.
DEREK: Okay, okay. It was the Morcu Corp goons. They robbed the apartment, and they gave some guy a book at the meeting. That's all.
ROOK: A book exchange. Who's this guy who took it?
DEREK: I don't know him! I promise!
ROOK: Fine. We're done here.
You could also have played on his ego and gotten him to mention Esma.
ROOK: ...I suppose, but I didn't feel like it. I wondered if that was all they wanted. Clearly the letter was of no interest to them, or they got all they wanted out of it. But what about the jewelry? Pawn it? Use it in some kind of laser? I went to talk to Poppy.
ROOK: Hey Poppy. Anything weird going on in the forest?
POPPY: Hmm...I don't think I've seen anything "weird."
ROOK: Okay, thanks Poppy.
ROOK: I hadn't thought so. I got back to—
POPPY: OH NO WAIT A SECOND
ROOK: Whoa! Okay...what is it?
POPPY: Derek did give me a bunch of shiny rocks to hold onto, but I just gave them to Dogwood 'cuz he likes shiny things.
ROOK: Fantastic. Thanks, Poppy.
ROOK: Figures I'd have to go digging. I decided to start at the far end and work my way toward the entrance. As I reached that end, however, I saw a chest... and got a text.
WALKER: Travis is looking for a good way to get up to the cat now. I told him he could just climb the tree, but he located a ladder rental service nearby.
ROOK: Okay. When I opened the chest, I collected a stove and a pizza oven.
Stove: 1 Nature, 1 Charismatic. Pizza Oven: 2 Charismatic.
ROOK: Whatever. I tucked them into hammerspace and set to finding spots that looked dug up. In the first spot, I dug up... a new recruit? His name was Leaf. ...Narrator?
I'll tell you his skill stats when you go back to the HQ. It's not important now.
ROOK: Okay then. A nearby spot yielded... the jewelry! It was time to report back to Evelyn. She hadn't left the front of her apartment.
ROOK: I figured out what Morcubus was after!
?! What was it?
ROOK: Evelyn, I've got good news and bad news.
EVELYN: I'll take the good news first.
ROOK: The good news is that I found the letter and the jewelry. Here you are...
ROOK: I returned them.
EVELYN: Oh! Wah-nee! And the bad news?
ROOK: They took your journal. Apparently there was an exchange between the Morcu Corp goons and an unknown male recipient in the forest.
EVELYN: My father's journal?! It had all of his research notes in it. Who would want to steal it?
ROOK: My guess? The mayor, Skip Rogers. I've already connected him to dealings with Morcubus.
You know, Rook, that's kind of iffy, telling your clients your guesses like that.
ROOK: Oh yeah? Why's that?
EVELYN: Well, let's go arrest him! Throw him in prison! Let him sit in a cell!
Because of that. What if you're wrong? You've tainted her perception of him.
ROOK: Well, am I wrong, Mr. Narrator?
That's for you to discover...
ROOK: Fine. Not so fast, Evelyn. I need concrete proof — and I intend to find it.
EVELYN: I'll be waiting outside city hall. I want to be there when this goes down.
ROOK: I went inside.
ROOK: Hello, Mayor Rogers. A moment of your time...
SKIP: Certainly. What can I do for you, citizen?
ROOK: I assume you're aware of the fact that Evelyn Gray's apartment was ransacked.
SKIP: Yes, a sorry business. To think that could happen in my precious city...
ROOK: I think you know more than you're letting on.
SKIP: What? Certainly not. What are you implying?
ROOK: I'm implying you met with the burglars in the forest this afternoon.
SKIP: What? You can't prove that. I'm the mayor!
ROOK: Position is no alibi.
ROOK: I wondered if he left anything behind. As I entered the forest, though...
WALKER: The ladder's up, but the cat keeps backing away from it. Should we have Travis go up the ladder or try to climb up the tree directly? Choose soon, or I'm making the choice for you, Rook.
ROOK: I advised him to climb the tree and got back to what I was doing. I started checking trash cans. I found an allergy inhaler in one of them.
ROOK: Roxie, can you analyze this inhaler? See if you can tell who it belongs to, or what allergy it's for.
(So this is the forensic analysis puzzle. It's a 6x6 grid that you place atoms into. It may or may not already have atoms in it. The ones that are already there cannot be moved; the ones you place can. The idea is to place all the atoms from the test tubes onto the grid so that none of them have dots inside, or the "no" symbol.
So how do you know where to put them? Well, each atom has dots in it. The number of dots in an atom tells you how many more atoms it should be bonded to. If you bond too many, the atom gets the "no" symbol inside.
A fair number of times, there's more than one solution, but not here. There's one fixed atom that needs to be bonded to 4 atoms. You just happen to have exactly that many atoms in your test tube that can't handle more than 1 bond each. So, they go top, bottom, left, and right. Done! There aren't any real surprises from this kind of puzzle, so I'll just skip from Rook's phoning in for analysis to Roxie's response from now on.)
ROXIE: The inhaler is for a very rare allergy to dandelions. Also, based on hair analysis, the last person to use it probably had a beard.
ROOK: Dandelions, huh? Good thing Poppy's nearby.
ROOK: Do you know where I can get some dandelions?
POPPY: Of course! You can find some in my flower stands. Help yourself!
ROOK: I left the forest and snagged one from her stands. Off to city hall to cause a reaction...
ROOK: Hey, Skip, I got you a flower!
ROOK: I blew it at his face. As predicted, it made him sneeze.
ROOK: Aha! You do have flower allergies!
SKIP: That proves nothing!
ROOK: The inhaler found at the site of the meeting matches your rare allergy. You were there, Skip.
SKIP: I lost that inhaler weeks ago! Besides, I was at Gino's during the break-in.
ROOK: I'll have to confirm your alibi. I'll be back, Skip.
ROOK: I needed to find out when the break-in occurred. The clock! It was broken during the break-in; it would have the time! I went back to Evelyn's. The clock told the tale: 7:02 PM. I headed to the pizzeria to ask Gino, but en route...
WALKER: OK, Travis made it up to the cat, but the branch is starting to look a little shaky. Ho looks confident, although he keeps checking his phone. We should have a resolution soon.
ROOK: I entered the pizzeria.
ROOK: Do you know exactly when Skip came in here yesterday?
GINO: ''I'm sorry, Rook...it was very busy in here yesterday! I don't remember when he came in.'
ROOK: Do you remember any details about Gino's visit?
GINO: Well, he ordered a large vanilla clam pizza. He couldn't finish it, so he took the leftovers back to his office!
ROOK: Leftovers? That's perfect, Gino! Thanks!
ROOK: Back at city hall, I looked around. I remembered having seen a pizza, and there it was on the filing cabinet, but... wait... could it really be that he kept that pizza unrefrigerated from yesterday? A pizza with clam on it? Ew, but convenient.
ROOK: Roxie, can you analyze this pizza slice? I want to know how old it is.
ROXIE: It looks like that slice was freshly baked yesterday at lunchtime.
ROOK: Even more ew, but at least it proves that Skip was lying. I went outside to tell Evelyn.
ROOK: I've got the proof that it was Skip at the meeting.
EVELYN: Nice work, Rook! Let's go stick it to the man!
ROOK: I entered again, this time with Evelyn and Buddy.
ROOK: Hello again, Skip.
SKIP: What? You again? I've already told you everything I know.
ROOK: Yes, you did. Of course it was all lies, so I thought we might try again.
SKIP: What?! You better have proof, making accusations like that!
BUDDY: According to your alibi you had dinner at Gino's yesterday, but we know that's not true.
ROOK: You were at Gino's yesterday, but it was for lunch! Our forensic scientists
— all one of them — tracked the development of mold colonies on your leftover pizza.
SKIP: What? You did...science... on my pizza?!
ROOK: Well, you weren't eating it, and I, who don't mind dumpster diving for clues, retch at the thought of eating a pizza that's been left out for a day, so I figured a little science couldn't hurt. Anyway, yes. It pegs the cooking time to 12:30 PM. Lunchtime.
BUDDY: Plus or minus two minutes.
EVELYN: And they know you found my father's journal because they found your inhaler at the drop-off site!
SKIP: Ah, I see... Look, I didn't ask how they were getting the book. I was just supposed to hold it for a while.
EVELYN: Really? Well you're done holding it now.
ROOK: Skip reluctantly handed over the book.
ROOK: Why did Morcubus steal the journal? What's he after?
SKIP: I can tell you, but I don't want this going public. Tell nobody about this incident!
BUDDY: No way! We don't make deals with villains!
ROOK: It's okay, Buddy. Morcubus is the one behind this. We have bigger fish to fry than Skip Rogers.
EVELYN: Even if he is corrupt and pathetic.
SKIP: Look, here's what I know...Yes, Morcubus wanted that journal. He needed as much information as possible on the whereabouts of a man who used to work with Evelyn's father.
EVELYN: What! Who is he? What does he know about my dad?!
SKIP: I don't know. I just know his initials are P.W. — and now Morcubus has tracked him down to the mountains.
BUDDY: The maps, pal!
ROOK: This P.W. could be in danger.
EVELYN: We've got to get to him before Morcubus!
ROOK: Evelyn, Buddy...let's go. It's time to fire up the jet!
And that little sequence unlocked some guy named Roger. Isn't that random? You never met the guy before, and yet, here he is. Also, new dispatch missions by Walker, Patrick, and Pinky.
ROOK: I headed back to HQ. On the way...
ROOK: Anything in the news, Luis?
LUIS: ''"Rumors of city corruption force Flower Requisition Board to shut doors! Mayor is quoted to say it was no bed of roses
ROOK: I also stopped in at the salon.
ROOK: Hey Shirley, how are you?
SHIRLEY: I think Skip is avoiding me. We went to a rodeo and had a wonderful time, but I haven't seen him since our date...
ROOK: Probably because he's been too busy helping thugs break into people's houses. because he's a criminal.
SHIRLEY: So, what, he can't even call me?
ROOK: I also ran into Poppy.
ROOK: Hi Poppy!
POPPY: Rook! I can't believe I was part of your investigation team! Am I an agent now?!
ROOK: Um, what?
POPPY: My flowers broke your case wide open! Anytime you need me, Rook, Just ask... call me Agent Flowers!
ROOK: Oh, OK Poppy. I mean Agent Poppy Flowers.
ROOK: I hoped she wouldn't get the wrong idea. But speaking of agents, Walker contacted me again.
WALKER: Mission accomplished! Travis successfully rescued the cat, and I guess he ordered a pizza for the fire crew while he was on the tree. Talk to Jenny for a debriefing... and a reward!
ROOK: I took the train back to HQ.
And got a cold weather parka.
ROOK: Yuki was still there. Her name only served to remind me how cold it would probably get.
ROOK: Um, can I help you?
YUKI: Yuki is OK. But Yuki would like you to know you have a very biteable face.
ROOK: Inside, I talked to Jenny.
ROOK: I need a mission debriefing. What was the result?
JENNY: Good job! It looks like your first dispatch mission was successful. I'm sure it only gets harder from here.
And that unlocked dispatch missions from Gino, Elmira, and Poppy. Also, it gave me evil-looking shades and classic sunglasses.
Okay, it's time for you
to choose dispatch missions!
Here's how they work: there are four squads, with each floor except the lobby being a squad. Each floor, and therefore each squad, can have up to three agents, but may have as few as one.
Each agents has 5 skill points, you might say. They're assigned to the 5 skills in different combinations. Some agents have all their points in one skill, while the rest have them more and more spread out. I haven't seen an agent with one point in each skill, but who knows. Each agent contributes the strengths of his skills to the squad. There will be another factor that will help, but not for a little while yet.
So what about the skills? Why do they matter? Because of the dispatch missions. Each mission is suited to two skills. The more skilled the agents in the squad are in these skills, the more likely the mission is to be a success.
Currently, the missions available are:
GINO: I need a new pizza for my menu, but my cheeses just aren't inspiring me. If only I could obtain some of the milk of the rare blackfooted goat. There's only one problem — they're only found at 10,000 feet!
The difficulty is rated 1 star. It's estimated that it will take 15 minutes. The interests that will be helpful are Athletic and Nature. The rewards are new outfits and a trophy.
PATRICK: I've done a bad thing, Rook. I was drilling underneath my building to solidify its foundation, and I drilled too deeply. I may have...released an underground fire beast. Send help!
The difficulty was rated 2 stars. It will take about 15 minutes, and should appeal to Paranormal and Nature interests. The reward will be new outfits.
ELMIRA: This library is such a mess! I could use some help cleaning the floors, fixing bookshelves, and quietly getting the books in order. Normally I'd do it all myself, but I'm not getting any younger and I need my beauty sleep.
1 star, 10 minutes. Smarts/Athletic. New outfits and a new recruit.
PINKY: I found a blue thing! But...I don't know what it is. Rook, send your best team immediately! I need to know what that blue thing is doing here!
2 stars, 15 minutes. Paranormal/Charismatic. New outfits and a new recruit.
WALKER: I've got my eye on this warehouse that I suspect is a front for the insidious Morcu Corp, but I just don't have enough manpower to keep it under constant surveillance. I'll need an extremely patient crew for this mission.
1 star, 15 minutes. Smarts/Athletic. A new dispatch mission.
POPPY: Hi Rook! It's me, Poppy! I'm really glad you're a special agent now, because I need some help bad!!! Somebody stole my float for the citywide Flower Parade! I need you to find out who did it, and where they put it!
2 stars, 10 minutes. Charismatic/Paranormal. New outfits.
And now, the new recruitable Sims. Remember that Travis is back.
LEAF: I'm Leaf. Yes, the Leaf, the Elven Highlord of rock. So you should hire me into your agency. I have no experience fighting crime, but think of the publicity we'd get!
3 Nature, 2 Charismatic.
ROGER: Hey, Rook, I need to intensify my routine. Not even Morcu Corp's "Flabdominator 3000" gets me a decent workout anymore. Can I be an agent?
Now then. What I'd like you to do is tell me what missions I should send them on first. I can send each of them on a separate mission, I can send two of them on one mission and one of them on the other, I can send all three on the same mission... I can even wait to send them on missions at all until I have more recruits, if you wish. My placement can be changed as I desire it, so don't feel like you're locking me into anything.
Also, there's a time limit. I'm going to finish the preliminaries for my Let's Read of Ichigo Mashimaro
, and do Episode 11. If nobody tells me otherwise, I'm going to wait until Rook returns from her next leg of the mission to send anybody.
So, as a reminder:
Next time: Are we there yeti?
- Dispatch missions:
- Legendary Cheese
- I Drilled Too Deep
- Assistant Librarian
- Blue Thing!
- Morcu Corp Stakeout
- The Sadness Parade
- Recruits and Recruitables
How — and when — do you tell a philosophy it's adopted? What do you do when it wants to meet its birth adherents?