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yunxiang

Fit 1x03: Civic

Fit 1x03: Civic

In the glow of the pre-morning sky, I headed towards Celia's Taco Stand. It had been another restless night, which also meant that I had spent the latter part of the night in discomfort from hunger pains. Some breakfast would do me good.

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I walked up to the counter. Celia had just finished opening up her stand. As usual, I was to be her first customer of the day.

"Good Morning, Celia." I mumbled my usual greeting.

"I'm not Celia, Mr. Mayor. I'm her daughter, Celia the Second."

I looked up and took a closer look at the woman behind the counter. Indeed, she looked quite similar to Celia, but there were some differences - her cheeks were more gaunt, the shape of her eyes somewhat off.

"Ah. I didn't know she had a daughter. How are you doing? Is Celia sick?"

"You could say that... she died yesterday. A severe imbalance of the humors, the doctor said."

"...Oh my. I am so sorry for your loss."

I could not help but feel sorry for Celia the Second, although I was unsure of what death really meant here. I still had not thought of a way to discover whether I was wandering around a video game or an alternate reality. But should it really matter if the sims are virtual or not? Death still robs others of those it takes.

Some other things nagged at the back of my mind. Celia was not very old, barely pushing 40. And she had died of an imbalance of the humors? Humorism had been discredited hundreds of years ago! Perhaps biology works differently here. Or perhaps the sims had somehow yet to progress in matters of science to understand germ theory and proper sanitation.

Or perhaps I might have neglected some things while building this city...

Back at my office, I checked my hunches.

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Yes, it was indeed true. This village I had built had no medical services to speak of, to the point that the sims did not even register on the health data map!

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And they were dumb as a doorknob as well! I did not earn a Bachelor's Degree just to let my sims lead unhealthy, uneducated lives. This could not stand!

____________________________________________________________

Once again, the daily council meeting.

"...And so in conclusion, I state that the city must do more to diversify our commerce sector activity. Does New City truly need 10 different car dealerships? That is one for nearly every 200 citizens!"

"Thank you, Mr. Dunnerham," Neil said. "Now, is there any other business that needs to be brought before the council?"

I motioned for the floor. "Yes, I have a proposal I would like to share."

"Of course, Mayor Defacto. What will it be?" I had gotten somewhat used to having everyone look at me when I speak, but it still caused me some discomfort.

I cleared my throat and began to speak. "As it currently stands today, the citizens of our town live short, unfulfilling, and sickly lives, having no regular access to doctors, and no opportunity to advance from the economic position they were born into. It is my view that if this is to continue, this city will never rise to the greatness that it can achieve."

"It is with this in mind that I believe that this is the best time to open New City's very first schoolhouse and clinic. After some analysis of the city, I believe that the best place to place these buildings is at the northern end of the former site of Farhan's Local Strawberries. We can buy the lot and locate the buildings on the fields. The greenhouse can perhaps be converted into additional classrooms."

"I believe that this is an excellent plan, Mr. Mayor. If there are no more additions or changes to be made, we can put this plan up to vote."

The vote passed unanimously, as my suggestions always did.

____________________________________________________________

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By the next morning, the schoolhouse and clinic were open. In fact, I was not entirely sure that any construction had happened; it seemed they had simply appeared. But of course, this was what the game did. I began to write a note to myself to install the plugin allowing for civic construction, until I remembered that I did not have access to my plugins. This was becoming a bit of an annoying problem.

I also noted with satisfaction that some middle class homes had sprung up in response to the heightened desirability around these civic services. I spent a few minutes observing their construction, and then walked back to the village hall. As I walked in, the secretary sitting in the waiting area stood up.

"Ah, you're finally here Mr. Mayor. Your Finance Advisor wants to see you, and she seems quite agitated." The secretary had a slightly worried look on his face.

"Monique?" Oh dear. I don't remember her ever having anything good to say to me.

Sure enough, I found Monique in my office pacing around restlessly. When she saw me enter, she immediately began haranguing me.

"Mayor Defacto! What do you think you're doing spending all this money on services? Our budget just took a large hit, and if that keeps happening, we'll be bankrupt!"

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"Yes, I understand that this is quite a bit more expenses per month, but we are still making near a thousand simoleans a month. In addition, I have adjusted the funding of these services to accommodate the growth that the council has forecasted we will have. We won't need to increase civic funding for a while."

"It would work a lot better if we didn't have to fund the school buses or ambulances." Monique said in a huff.

"That would cut into their effectiveness though."

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"Plus," I added, "There was hardly a dent in our funds due to the construction and ongoing costs. We make enough money every month for it to be covered."

At this moment, the secretary came in accompanied by a woman with a bob cut. "Mr. Mayor, Bettina Dean has something urgent to report to you."

"Yes, what is it?" I did not quite recall meeting Bettina before, but she looked familiar.

"Mr. Mayor, there's been a strike. The hospital's been closed down." Ah, she was the Health and Educa...

"Wait, what?"

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Under the hot noontime sun, we observed the protest.

"You need to go talk to them, Defacto." Neil Fairbanks said flatly.

I eyed the protesters with caution. They looked quite energized and indignant. I really did not want to deal with this. "But, I'm not so good at negotiations or confrontations. I've never had to manage highly emotional and conflicting feelings before."

"You do quite well at the council meetings. Wouldn't you agree this is a similar situation? I'm sure their demands will be reasonable. Open a dialogue with them."

"All right, I'll give it a try..."

I approached the protestors with some trepidation. "Excuse me, what is this all about?"

A man in a doctor's coat turned to me. "Mr. Mayor! We demand that our funding levels be increased. There is too much demand for our services, our equipment is old and outdated, and most importantly, we are overworked!"

"But you've only been on the job for a day."

"That is more than enough to ascertain that these conditions are deplorable. There are far too many sickly people in this town who need care, and yet our current funding levels only allow for two fully qualified professionals: me and Doctor Jurcevic. We need more funding now!"

I checked with my tablet on their efficiency levels. It was then that I realized that I had forgotten to set the funding to meet demand, and there were twice as many patients as they could handle. "Fine, very well," I said, "I will double your funding."

The doctor's seemed befuddled at the sudden acquiescence, but look gave way to a gratification. "Really? OK then. Let's get back to work everyone!"

I could almost feel the heat from Monique's fumings. "Are you absolutely sure this is a good idea, Mr. Mayor? You said we didn't need to raise funding for a while! This will be yet more expenses on our budget."

"I'm quite sure. Providing these services will help to attract more wealthy sims and better jobs into this city, further increasing our tax base."

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"As you can see, the projected demand for higher paying jobs has already gone up, just from the placement of these civic buildings. To be sure, the demand is very slight, but I'm sure that as time passes, we will be able to build up a nice economic base from these beginnings."

"Besides," I added, "If we just let them continue striking, they'll probably move their activities over to city hall and cause disruptions there."

Seeing that my mind was completely made up, Monique gave up. "I hope you're right, Defacto. We'll be sunk otherwise."

Unfortunately, this day was not done yet. As we began to walk back to city hall, a cream-colored station wagon pulled up beside us. The driver rolled down the window to talk to us.

"Mr. Mayor? I'm from Foradect. The city council is having a meeting right now, and we need your input on some matters."

"Alright then. It's quite convenient that my advisors are here right now. Can you drive us there?"

"Of course."

I had missed my daily attempt at an afternoon nap. The car was not very comfortable, but all the same I began to feel the drowsiness that came whenever my sleep schedule was disturbed. In spite of the drowsiness, I still noticed that we'd passed the village hall. "Excuse me; I think you just missed the turn."

"We're going to the Foradect village hall."

Foradect has its own village hall? "What's wrong with the hall at White Tail?"

"White Tail's hall is too far from us. I'm sure you would agree that a council meeting should be held close to those who will be affected by the decisions it makes?"

He had a point. Still, I wished that we would get to the meeting quickly. Cars in this place seemed to move quite slowly. If I were sprinting, I could probably keep up with them.

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Foradect's village hall was located just off of the road connecting the town to White Tail. As we got out of the vehicle, I noted that it was very similar in shape to White Tail's city hall. It was however set closer to the street, without any cottages at the front. We went into the meeting room, which only contained several people. A somewhat stout man sitting in the petitioning booth stood up.

"Greetings Mr. Mayor. My name is Jeff Lukesworth."

"It's nice to meet you Jeff, what's the meeting about?" I hoped the meeting would end soon. I was beginning to feel rather tired.

"Mayor Defacto, I have asked for this meeting because I had just discovered that New City has just built a schoolhouse for its children, but the colony has apparently decided to build it mostly for the service of White Tail, with little consideration for Foradect. Upon hearing this distressing inequality in service, I came over from supervising the construction of my pool to ask the council to take up the issue and avoid the shortchanging of the future of our village."

I tried to come up with a suitable response, but in my drowsy state my mind latched onto the wrong thing. "You have a pool?"

Jeff smiled. "Yes. If you want to use it, I live just down the road from this hall. You can't miss it; it's the largest house on the block."

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I checked my tablet. It was indeed true. I'd already managed to attract high wealth sims into my city! Unfortunately, I also felt a bit intimidated. Would he pack up and skip town if this meeting went really poorly?

"It's rather late," I responded, "I think I'll pass for now. Please continue."

Jeff began again. "I chose to live in Foradect due to its quieter surroundings and great environs. However, it's come to my attention that White Tail has just gotten a new schoolhouse. But then this leaves Foradect a bit shafted, as the buses don't come all the way through this fine town of ours, and we don't have our own institution of education. Mr. Mayor, I am petitioning for Foradect to have its own schoolhouse to educate its children, so that they may keep up with their peers in the north."

"Don't take from this as an attempt to only increase my personal reputation, or to gain a benefit for myself only. I'm sure you realize that in fact my house is within the bussing limits of the current schoolhouse. I'm doing this for the people of Foradect. This institution will help to enhance the livelihood of our citizens and attract more talent here, which I'm sure is why the current schoolhouse was built."

"Your points are well made," I replied, trying to end the meeting quickly. "I guess I can build another schoo..." Monique cut me off.

"I'm very sorry Mr. Mayor, Mr. Lukesworth. The budget of this colony cannot sustain another school. Between the costs of transporting the children to school, the additional administrative costs, and so forth, we will be losing money as soon as this building is built."

"Well, that's a bit of a shame." Jeff replied. "But all the same, adding this school would help in the development of this colony."

At this point, Neil, who had been having a private conversation with Bettina, motioned for the floor. "Perhaps there can be an alternative solution?" Neil said. "Bettina, please explain your proposal."

"Well, libraries can also help in increasing the education of sims, not to the same extent as schools, but in the long run we will likely have the funds for them to complement each other. Thanks to lower staff and equipment requirements, they cost less than most educational buildings. There isn't a need for any sort of bussing, either." She gave a glance towards Monique, who after a moment gave a begrudging nod approving the idea.

Jeff gave the idea some thought. "...I suppose that will be acceptable, given the apparently dire financial straits of this colony. So, what shall it be Mr. Mayor?"

I was rather glad to see agreement come so quickly. "This proposal would work, I think. Let me see where we can put it..."

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Using the education data overlay, I looked around the map for a suitable place for the library, one where the radii between it and the school overlapped least. My eyes caught a windbreak lining a farm at the southern end of town. "How about here?"

"Hm, this does seem like a decent spot. Perhaps a bit too far from the center of town, but then it'll be quiet there, a perfect place for reading. I can accept this proposal."

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The council accepted the proposal, and the library was put up as the sun set. It indeed just popped up, or perhaps it was only my sleep deprived mind unable to fully comprehend my surroundings? At any rate, I could finally go home for a nap, maybe even sleep through the evening...

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Click for large image.

After a nap, I woke up to find that night had fallen. Tired, but unable to fall back to sleep, I went out for a walk around town, observing the lights coming from the tenements that had come up after the school and hospital was built. Lost in thought, I began to wonder what the lives of the sims in this town was like. Were they happy? Was I being a good mayor to them? It seems that here, people always think that I do a good job, but perhaps I wasn't meeting those that didn't, or couldn't remember them. I was never quite good with names or faces.

It had been a long day. I went back to my home, showered, and went to bed. I slept fairly soundly.

Next: Awakens

I think I might have typed waayyy too much for this update, and the next few have even more pictures! Going to have to let the pictures do more of the talking...

Replies:

hahei: Thanks for the compliment!

Schulmanator: They are indeed, but of course growth brings with it issues that need to be solved.

yunxiang

Fit 1x02: Founded

Fit 1x02: Founded

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It has been a fortnight since I found myself in the city I had created. I guess now is as good a time as ever to start keeping a diary. I've never kept a diary before; am I even doing this right? I guess it doesn't matter since no one else will probably ever read this.

Life as the mayor of this village is very routine, almost mechanical in nature. Every day at noon the city council meets, and we plan out new development based on the demands of the citizens. In the afternoon, we go and observe the new developments coming up, or else we open them up for use. However, I've also found that I can build stuff whenever I want, not just at the council meetings. Nobody seems to realize anything is off or different when build on my own; they seem to believe that the new construction was there all along.

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We've expanded the agriculture fields all the way to the ocean. It sort of reminds me of home, or rather, the places I'd go for day trips back home.

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I had thought to build a road connection out to whatever is neighboring this town, to give industry a way to sell more goods (and perhaps to do some exploring), but for some reason it wouldn't take. No window pops up asking to build a neighbor connection.

The edge of the map is a bit strange; on this tile it's always sunny, but right at the edge is lots of mist and fog. Even standing right next to the edge I can't see anything beyond the haze. I tried walking past the end of the road, but it seems that the fog is a solid wall. I can't walk through.

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So instead of roads, I built a seaport for the local industry, seeing as there was enough of a cash flow to support it. This seemed to greatly help in getting the new settlers moved in quicker, enough that we are in constant need of new homes. It also seemed to spawn some fishermen. I didn't know the seaport did that.

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I went out with the fishermen, once. We sailed around the peninsula that the village was located on. It seemed that there was no other settlements nearby, but we didn't go very far. By my estimates, we never left the tile the city was in. I wonder what would happen if the ship had gone out of the tile.

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The influx of settlers has really grown this village. After our population went over 1500, apartments have been popping up here and there. Just yesterday I opened up three new ones. They were rented out promptly.

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Last week I decided it would be a good idea to give these villages names, seeing as how they were somewhat separated and distinct from each other. I decided called the new settlement to the south of the original village "Foradect". It had grown quite a bit in the last few weeks, and now had the beginnings of its own commercial strip.

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I'd found some space in the woods to make a tiny settlement, to allow the farmers to live closer to work. I named it "Creeksford", after the creek that ran through it. Or rather, there should be a creek there, but it would be very difficult to terraform it in, and I don't have any ploppable water.

Now that I think about it, I might get bored after a while without any addons, but how am I supposed to get any in? All I have is this tablet which has no way of accessing the internet. Will new things just appear as I go on? Probably better not to think about it, I don't really want to deal with this at the moment.

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The original settlement I named "White Tail", for its white beaches and the hill on the peninsula. It had also expanded out slightly, but mostly it had grown denser.

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For now, things are quite simple, and I find my self able to spend time idling at this beach. However, this city will only grow in size and complexity. I can't imagine how I will deal with that. Sure, I could just build without input from the city council, but what if things don't work the same here as they did in the game? What if I screw up really badly? Knowing that many lives will be affected by the decisions I make makes me very uncertain of whether I can handle the pressure.

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I suppose there's nothing to do about that for now though.

Time to try and get some sleep. Interestingly, I am able to sleep a little more than I used to, but it does not seem to be any more restful.

Next: Civic

Replies:

Evillions: They do, don't they? I think Maxis made some really nice buildings for this game.

abracadabraz85: Thank you for your comment!

yunxiang

Fit 1x01: Acquaintance

Act 1: The City at the end of the World

Fit 1x01: Acquaintance

"Mr. Mayor? Finally we've found you!"

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I had been walking around for the last hour, partly in a daze, and partly in wonderment. Without any real sense of my surroundings, I now found myself in a residential neighborhood.

I turned around to see the person who had called me. He was a youngish looking man, probably around 40 years old, but already with streaks of gray. He also looked somewhat familiar.

"Mr. Mayor, we need to get back to City Hall right now, the planning meeting is about to begin!"

"Look, I don't really think I am up to this..."

"Mayor, our city is growing quickly, and we need someone with real leadership to ensure that it grows effectively. And you'll always have me to give you advice when you need it."

"Really, I..."

"We NEED you Mayor Defacto. Please, just come with me."

So, the mayor's name was mine as well. It seemed that I really was the mayor of this village.

Seeing that the man wouldn't give up, and somewhat curious to see what the meeting would be like, I decided to accompany him back to City Hall.

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"City Hall" was a red-bricked house behind several small cottages just off Main Street. The inside was as cramped as the outside looked. The man directed me to my office, a tiny room inside a tiny building.

"The meeting starts at 12. We'll need to go survey some land later, so dress appropriately. And don't forget your tablet."

I looked around my office. It was a fairly bare room, with only a bookshelf (full of many thick and thin volumes), a small wardrobe with a few sets of clothes, an overhanging ceiling fan light, and a desk whose only contents was a tablet (which sort of looked like an iPad).

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Upon closer inspection, I found that it WAS a iPad. In the same case that I had. And the same color that mine was too. (although considering the color options, that wouldn't be too much of a coincidence). The wallpaper however was different; I recognized it as being the city I had just built, the city I was in right now. Curious, I unlocked the tablet.

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None of my apps were there. Instead, all of the folders, I recognized, were named after the menu options in SimCity 4. Opening the folders up also revealed the same listings as in the game, except of course now in an iPad style grid. Scrolling the main screen to the left revealed much of the same apps as included in an iPad, excepting Safari, which I couldn't find.

I turned to walk to the wardrobe, and suddenly, the wallpaper turned with me! A quick check of my bearings and the compass on the wallpaper confirmed my suspicion. The wallpaper was tracking my location. How was it doing that? I've never seen any iPad with that functionality, and even an Android device's map Active Wallpaper wasn't this precise.

Seeing that it was almost time, I quickly changed into jeans and a new shirt, and walked to the meeting room next door. There weren't many people at the meeting; just the person who had found me earlier, a few people I had seen inside on the way to my office, and several others I didn't recognize. The only furnishing in the room was a large table that seemed to take up almost all the space in the room. The man from earlier noted my appearance, and got up to speak.

"Now that Mayor Defacto is here, we can begin the meeting. Now, as you all know, this meeting has been called to discuss expansion plans for our village. Many of our houses are getting crowded, and I am sure that some of our children would like to get out and start there own households."

There were murmurs of agreement. The man continued. "In addition, there are some new settlers who will be arriving soon, and we will need to accommodate them. You can see from the data then that we thus now have demand for new residences."

At this point, many in the room pulled out their own tablets and opened them up. I decided to open up mine too, but was still unsure as to what to do next. A person next to me noticed my confusion, and leaned towards me.

"These tablet things aren't always intuitive, are they? Just press the "Maps" button, and drag the fold at the bottom right. You can select the demand graph from there."

"...But the Maps app is only supposed to bring up a map of the world."

"That's what we'd think, right? But it doesn't work that way." She gave a short laugh, and went back to her tablet.

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Pressing Maps, I found that it no longer brought up the world. In fact, it seemed to do nothing except create a fold at the bottom right. Sure enough however, grabbing the fold did exactly what she had described.

"Now, Mayor, where should we build this new development?" All eyes suddenly turned to me. It was rather unnerving.

"Well..." I stumbled around for words, "Give me a moment..."

I had an idea for where to build more houses, but how was I to convey my idea to everyone else? Much less plan this all.

Or perhaps this would just be like SimCity?

I performed the gesture to move around a map. Instead of switching to a different main screen, the wallpaper moved around. I dragged my finger around until I was at the southern end of town. "How about here?" I asked.

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Everyone looked at their tablets. I could see from my view that they were now looking at the same place that I was. People began to nod their heads in approval. At this point there was another conversation taking place at the other end of the table.

"It says in the data that we have even more demand for agriculture. Shouldn't we be satisfying that as well?"

"We've already designated a good chunk of our land for agriculture. Any more and the fertilizers they use will seep into our water system."

"But still, wouldn't you say feeding our citizens is as important as housing them?"

"Well," I said, "maybe we could also set aside some land in the new development for farming." I selected the zones folder and began drawing out my plans. "How does this look?"

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Once again, faces to the tablet, and nods of approval. Planning a city can't be this easy, can it?

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Later in the afternoon, our group walked over to observe the new developments. I noticed a large herd of dromedaries in the woods just outside the development area. I turned to the man with gray hair.

"Say, you don't think this development might cause some disturbances to the natural wildlife, do you?"

"Well, all urban developments do, don't they? I guess it would be up to you to decide what would be a good balance. Or, you could ask your environmental advisor, but you know how she is."

"Uh, yeah, I guess. Oh, also this is a bit embarrassing, but I don't quite recall your name..."

"It's Neil, Defacto. Neil Fairbanks."

Oh dear.

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The development continued through the night. All the buildings houses would be completed by tomorrow morning, and the shops would be built soon after.

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I returned to rest at the Mayors House, which was one of the cottages in front of City Hall. It had been a very long and bizzare day for me. How was I now the mayor of a village that I had created in my game? Was there any escape from this?

And did I really want to escape? I now had more power than I'd ever have before in my life, and I was still unsure of what to do with it, or even how far it could go.

I slept as fitfully as I usually did.

Next: Founded

I apologize for the very long gap to this update. Unfortunately, midterm season came up and, well... *trys to think of a joke*

... Duck Season! Rabbit Season!

yunxiang

Fit 0x00: Landing

A Sim. A Mayor. A God.

Fit 0x00: Landing

...

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I found myself once again in that space between awakeness and sleep; The drowsy, buzzing feeling clouded my head and senses.

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It had been years since I had woken up truly refreshed, and last night's sleep was no different.

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By day, I was in a perpetual state of war, war against dreams, against dozing off. And yet at night when I wished for those things to come, they would not, or else they would play with my mind, appearing, disappearing, until the line between my bed and my dream was blurred beyond recognition.

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Sometimes I couldn't tell if I was dreaming or awake. Were the people I saw, the places I visited, just a figment of my imagination? Was reality simply a delusion, and the dreams I had was the true reality? Of course, then I would wake up in my bed, get up, and start the cycle all over again.

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In fact, today my bed felt unusually uncomfortable, as if I was not on a mattress but was instead rolling over a pile of grain...

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I awoke to find myself on the side of a road, next to a greenhouse, under an apple tree.

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This was definitely not where I fell asleep last night. And I was wearing clothes now, not pajamas. How did this happen?

I got up and walked around the greenhouse until I came to the door. It was locked, of course. I had hoped that there would be someone around to explain how long I had been under that tree.

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I looked up and down the street. With the sun just rising over the horizon, I sort of expected that there would be someone tending to the fields, but there seemed to be no-one around at all. Where was I?

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I walked down one way of the road I was on. After passing through a clump of trees, I saw an equestrian farm in the distance. Surely there would be someone there! But after walking up the path to the barn, I found it to be empty as well.

I headed back to the greenhouse. With the sun's glare less intense, I could see in the distance signs of a town. I decided I might as well head over there. Surely somebody must be in town!

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I passed by more fields. Somehow, I had the feeling that I had been here before... just a brief taste of déjà vu though. And I had those sort of feelings all the time. Perhaps it was the sea air; I could hear and smell the ocean that was just a few hundred meters away.

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Finally, I arrived at town. It was a small village, with just one street for commerce. There were lots of cars parked around, but they were all located inside used car dealerships. How many auto dealers did a small village need!?

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The only signs of activity was at one of the dining trucks. I walked up past the benches to the counter, behind which a middle aged woman stood.

"Good morning, sir. What can I get for you?" Her voice seemed a bit more tired than her looks would suggest.

"Uh, coffee, please. Whatever is the strongest brew you have." Although I guess my voice sounded pretty tired before. It wasn't often that I walked half a kilometer right after getting up from a bed of dirt.

"Only have one kind of strength here, hon."

As she handed the mug over to me, I asked "Excuse me, er, Celia," looking at her name tag, "do you know where I am?"

She gave me a very quizzical look. "You don't know where you are?"

"No... not too sure how I got here either."

She looked me over. "Did you spend last night out in the fields?"

"...Yeah, I guess. So, what's the name of this village?"

"It's New City, of course."

"That's a rather odd name for a village."

"Well, we could bring it up to our City Council to change the name to something more appropriate, if you wished." She gave me a knowing look.

"I... think it's fine. Oh... I don't have any money for the coffee. Sorry."

"That's fine, I'll just add it to your tab. Have a great day, Mr. Mayor!"

I waved goodbye, grateful for the generosity.

Then I stopped. Mayor?

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Was that really possible? Surely she was mistaken. There was no chance I was outgoing enough to win a campaign to any political office.

The sun had risen high in the sky by this time. I walked in a daze down the main street, lost in thought, passing through a residential neighborhood. I soon found myself on an empty beach. There seemed to be some small scows out on the water, too far to wade out though.

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Further down the road was an industrial district. Up on the hill I could see a row of windmills making their revolutions. There were people in the factories working (it seemed to be mostly canning and steelworks), but they were all too busy to notice me or answer my calls.

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Taking the other road back to town, I passed by the landfill. I briefly considered taking a look at what a small village like this threw away, but decided against it. After all, I would surely need a shower afterwards, and I hadn't noticed any inns.

And all through this walk, my feelings of déjà vu kept increasing. The buildings and settings around me seemed to have come from my memories, a memory that I could just barely touch but couldn't fully actualize.

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Right before reaching town again, there was a road that was marked as "Hill Entrance". I decided I might as well go up and get a feel for the land. The road ended in a small parking lot, completely filled. There was a man attending to the lot.

"Business good?" I asked.

"You could say so. Of course, the entry fee is really low, so it's not much of a living..." He had a fairly low voice, and seemed a bit perkier than Celia. "You want to go up?"

"Yeah, but I don't have any money on me..."

"Oh, it's no problem, you're always welcome to go, Mr. Mayor!" There it was again. I really needed to find a picture of the mayor.

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I didn't feel up to explaining that I wasn't the mayor, so I started walking up. I wasn't too sure what the fee was paying for... there was no path, and there seemed to be no barrier to anybody making the climb without passing through the entry lot. Luckily, the hill was quite gentle, so I had no problem getting to the top.

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The top of the hill was flat and bare. The sides quickly dropped down to the ocean. I turned towards the town.

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Oh, WELL.

This was my town! The town I had built in SimCity 4 last night! What was I doing here? How did I even get here? Was I in the game? A dream? Is this for real? It certainly FELT real, and I couldn't pinch myself awake either

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What am I going to do now?

Next: Acquaintance

Please excuse the stilted / purple prose. I don't do creative writing very often. :blush: