The Rules of Inheritance

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Revision, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. [​IMG]


    The road wound along the countryside, nearing the house. It was no ordinary house, more a mansion that could be seen as soon as the cars rounded the corner. Huge and sprawling, it had four floors and sat on fifty two acres of land, mostly hillsides and forest. The yard was a splendid mix of fruit trees and flowerbeds that had been coaxed so that even the expensive and sought after rare varieties of roses and tulips and daffodils, each a championship strain, somehow managed to look wild and overgrown without losing a casual elegance. It was a garden jungle, complete with pet peacocks roaming the grounds and calling out in sharp mews. The occasional tiered pond trickled softly, koi and carp swimming about and shimmering in the sun where it peeked through the apple and pear and cherry and plum trees. There was a large parking circle, but even this was rather splendid, a lovely trellis covered in fancy honeysuckle and wild wysteria arched over the parking circle and attracted all manner of buzzing bees and flitting ruby throated hummingbirds. A long, flagstone path wound from the parking circle to the front door, which opened into a small foyer complete with coat and bag hooks. Two maids arrived to take the guests' things to their rooms; they were to stay the night. This had been their uncle's house, and it seemed he had spared no expense.

    The halls they found themselves in passed parlors and sun rooms and dining halls of all sorts. One room, door cracked open, seemed to be home to a rather elaborate pool table and several other bits of fun. There was even the latest holographic console for gaming and watching television. Another room was dark but for the lighting from what appeared to be walls made of fish tanks and tables and clocks, also full of live, tropical fish. The guests were lead through a door that opened onto what could be mistaken for the back yard, if back yards were totally enclosed by the rest of the house. This indoor arboretum was closed and carefully regulated so that something was always blooming. This time, it was the crab apple trees, flowering beautifully in pinks and whites with hints of purple. The ground was covered in blue phlox, and the guests and their parents were guided to take a seat in the center of this arboretum, where the sun shown down through the slightly green skylight.

    A woman in a smart looking suit came walking through the trees, oddly barefoot. Her strawberry blond hair was cut short and stylish, and her suit, instead of being somber and grey, was covered in a pattern of apple blossoms and golden delicious apples. Her jewelry was gold, as well, but simple. Small stud earrings, a golden chain with a heart of diamonds, and a golden bracelet. Her nails were perfectly manicured and pedicured. She held out a remote and clicked a button. Part of the ground rose up, revealing a holo viewer. It was left off for the moment.

    "Hello," said the woman, turning to face the guests. "My name is Susan George, and I am the executor of Filbert Ash's will. Your uncle was a dear man, with a wonderful sense of humor. He is missed and loved. Now, I know not all of you necessarily knew him well, but those who did should appreciate the eccentricities of his will. I do hope you will consider carrying out his final requests." She turned on the holo emitters and stepped back as Uncle Filbert, sitting on a beach chair somewhere in New Oahu, filled the holo viewer.

    "Hello, darling nieces and nephews. I wish I could have seen you all one more time before I passed. I've done you the favor of breaking the will up into chunks, so you only see the chunky bits that apply to you personally. If you wish to see the rest, talk to dear Susan and she will play them for you.

    "You are each wonderful people. I can't necessarily say the same for all your parents, who have managed to irk me on several occasions. There are probably rumors that I've left each of you a sizeable inheritance. Well, for once, the rumors are correct! Satoru, Jacques, James, Samara, and Rohdey, you have each inherited five million credits from my personal estate. Or rather, you will inherit this amount, provided you carry out my last request.

    "You are to go on an adventure. I was always quite fond of comics and always wished my childhood had been like Johnny Quest's or something wonderful. Well, you all are a bit older than the boy adventurer, but not too old to enjoy a series of wonderful adventures that will lead you to rely on one another and hopefully pull this family back together. You will be going to twenty worlds and completing twenty adventures. These will be fully funded adventures that will not take away from your inheritance. To further sweeten the pot, not only are you excused from all schoolwork, but you will be going without your harpies, er, I mean, parents. You will also be given a small amount of your inheritance at the completion of each adventure. Say, ten thousand credits. And when you complete all twenty adventures, you will get the remainder, and one hell of a party! Sound good?

    "Good. Here are the rules:

    "Number one. No help from outside sources. You will be traveling with Susan and a retinue of helpers. They can give you subtle guidance and fetch you the odd thing, but YOU must solve the adventures without them giving you any real help.

    "Number Two. You must work together. If one of you decides to quit, the game is over.

    "Number Three. You must complete the challenges in order. No skipping and coming back to any.

    "Number Four. Be on your best behavior. No causing an international or interplanetary incident.

    "Number Five. No cheating. Creative problem solving is welcome and encouraged, but trying to cheat or play outside of the rules will get you disqualified. Trying to break the game will get you disqualified.

    "And finally, Number Six. No parents. You will be given all the help and guidance you need without your folks there to help you out. You can still call or message them, but they cannot go with you. Any parent trying to sneak along or caught on the same worlds as their children will disqualify the whole lot. To make this a bit more fair, all parents are being given an all expenses paid holiday to Fairweather Three, the resort and spa planet.

    "So. That's really it. Talk it over and decide what to do. If you are all up for the challenge, notify Susan and she will give you the rest of the details and arrange your travel for you. Remember, I love you all. Take care, and Hail Eris!"

    The holo emitters powered down and the viewer sunk back into the grass, meshing perfectly as if it had never been there.
  2. Satoru had never met his uncle, except the vary occasional letter, and he had never seen the mansion he was now standing in. But he wasn't here for money, he was here for time away from his parents.

    So that brought him to a question...

    He raised his hand and kept it there until he had Susan's attention. Then he swallowed. He had what he wanted from his uncle and had had it for several years before the man's death. A rare comic, enclosed with a letter.

    "What if we don't want the money?" he asked.

    "What if we want to go on this trip but don't want the reward?"

    His voice was determined but nervous.
  3. Rohdey couldn't quite sit still. He sat in his chair for a little while without moving but soon he started bouncing his leg on the ball of his foot. The rules were important, he knew, but once he heard mention of Johnny Quest and the many worlds they were supposed to visit, he couldn't help but get excited and lose focus. The things he might see and the people and stuff! Man dude this was going to be so awesome. Not to mention he was going to be on this adventure with family. It was family he didn't know all that well, but still! They were family and he was determined to have fun with them.

    His attention was briefly averted when Satoru asked his question. Rohdey wondered what his reasoning was for not wanting money, he wasn't too keen on it himself, he was just happy to be here! That must have been what Satoru was thinking. He could just give the money away to poor people or whatever. That would be cool. This train of thought made Rohdey wonder what he would do with the money, it was a question that stumped him. Well Uncle Filbert wanted them to have this money and Rohdey was here to respect the old dudes wishes, which is why he hadn't thought about what he would do with it. Rohdey was living in the moment,
    so to his brain the money wasn't quite real so he didn't think about it. What WAS real to him was that he was on the start of an adventure with family and that's what had him excited. His knees continued bouncing up and down and a merry grin was stuck to his face. Adventure!
  4. James twisted his mouth to the side at the rule about parents; his had been soldiers, ambushed and slaughtered like animals two years before. He pushed his hair out of his his eyes and glanced at Satoru, who looked impatient. Rohdey bounced beside him, eager and acting like a small child on Christmas morning. James himself needed the money being offered, as he had been living alone, behind on rent and studying late into the night. He didn`t even have money for college. His fingers twitched as he longed to play his guitar, an escape for him from reality. At least he would get to see other worlds, which piqued his interest. He yawned, tired from the long trip here.
  5. Samara blew her fringe away from her eyes, and kept chewing her chewing gum. She was listening to her uncle's will, yes, but her attention was also set on Susan- God, who picks this woman's clothing?- , the arboretum, the fact that the house had walls that were fishtanks..., and her cousins. After all, it was the first time she met them. In person. Of course she had seen pictures and had them as contacts in more than one social network around. At least, they served their purpose as contacts.

    The more friends you have, the better. Righty?

    She blew a decent-sized bubble out of her chewing gum.
    The bubble bursted with a loud PAF!

    Samara laughed, and looked back at Satoru. Tucking her hair behind her ear, the blonde said, amused, ''Well darling! You can always give it to me afterwards, don't you? Huh?''. She winked, showing a playful smile.

    This was going to be awesome.
  6. At the end of the holo-vid Jacques' hand shot into the air. Anyone who had paid attention during the video would have seen him fidgiting with anticipation and burning questions. This was contrasted with his practiced stillness from years of huddles and church services, all of which forced him to 'listen now and talk later'.

    Just after Satoru and Samara's banter finished, he seized the initiative to speak his mind.

    "Uh... um... Susan?" he said in his gruff surfer-like voice, "Can we bring Uncle Filbert back? I have some questions!"

    Hand still in the air, bright featured and smiling, he waited patiently for an answer.
  7. If Susan George was surprised by the questions the teens asked, she did not show it. A small grin took shape on her face and she waved a hand as if to indicate they should all listen. She walked over to where the holo viewer had been and dropped down in the phlox, curling her legs beneath her.

    "If you do not wish to keep the money, you are welcome to donate it to a worthy cause or split it amongst whatever family members you wish to share with. That goes for all of you. You are still welcome to participate, but you can dictate the money be distributed elsewhere. It will be in each of your names, in a special fund that can only be accessed by those you indicate and by myself, for purposes of depositing." She smiled at Satoru. "I hope that answers your question. Though I would suggest keeping at least some to have fun with and buy souvenirs of your adventure."

    She then looked to Jacques. This time, her expression, though still smiling, was gentle. "Jacques, yes? I'm afraid Uncle Filbert won't be able to talk to you. He's gone away and won't be returning. But I can answer any questions you might have. Though those of you who are satisfied with what you know or wish to think of further questions can be escorted to your rooms. Just walk back to the door you came in through and tell one of the attendants to show you them and get you settled."
  8. Jacques did not look at all disappointed by the news. In his mind he had already decided that Uncle Filbert was with 'Space Jesus' and that he would give all his money to Space Jesus so that he would be happy. Others around him knew his thoughts as clear as if they had spoken them... mostly because Jacques had to speak aloud to himself as he thought simply to keep on track.

    "Well I say we should go!" Jacques said at last, jumping to his feet and pointing to the sky. "For the good things we want to do, for Space Jesus, for Uncle Filbert, and for his special friend Eric that he hailed in his holovid!"

    With a pose he had practiced countless times in the mirror, a pose that 'Coach' told him looked inspiring... and indeed it would to the right sort, he shouted, "Are We Ready Team?!"
  9. James bit back a laugh as Jacques yelled out, posing quite...oddly. He decided Jacques wasn't the most tuned guitar in the band- his 'strings' were a bit off. He himself didn't want to go right away; he would rather rest for a day or two and let it sink in that Uncle Fil was gone and that he would soon be embarking on an adventure.

    He stood and clasped Jacques on the back. "I'm ready," he replied, smiling softly.
  10. Samara laughed silently, seeing Jacque's reaction to the whole thing. She forgave him, though. He had a good physique and a nice voice.
    She blew up anothe bubble out of her chewing gum, which burst with another loud PAF!.

    'Ghur-eat!'' , she said, stretching as she stood up. Her short cheerleader's jacket left good part of her belly exposed as she did so.

    ''Okay guys. Let's get moving! I'm so-hungry already, I could eat like, like a whole doughnut on my own!'' she commented, to no-one in particular. She winked at Staoru, smiled at Rhodey and James, and before leaving the room she patted Jacques' shoulder, nodding in approval. Yes, that was muscle! I should totally introduce this guy to my friend Louise when I return!

    Once outside, she looked at the first lady that was standing out there.
    ''Well. I'd like to see my room, if you are so kind, please'', she demanded.

    The lady gave her an odd look, and forced a smile. Nodding, she gestured Smara to follow her, leading the cheerleader through the wonderful hall that had the walls made of fishtanks.
  11. Satoru nodded and thought over the answer. It was true he could put it in a trust he would have to decide on matters afterwards. In the meantime he was assessing his fellows. He wished he knew them better instead of having been stuck in New Tokyo his entire life. After all they were his cousins.

    Insure of what to do he stood and got ready to follow Samara to wherever the food was, he wasn't hungry but it would be a good time to listen to and get to know them. Samara was already reminding him of an ex girlfriend, a mixed bag so far as working with her went.

    "Actually I'd like to see more of the mansion, if I can." he ventured "I never knew my uncle well but.. I would like to know more about him." All the letters he'd received were in his bag. He was already planning on now going back to New Tokyo.
  12. Rohdey chuckled at Jacques' enthusiasm and pose. He thought the pose was pretty corny but didn't count that against his cousin, he just smiled at the quirk and was looking forward to find out more. He had heard that he was good at doing physical stuff, maybe he'd be up for some climbing or running around if they had the time, that would be fun. Rohdey was pulled from his thoughts by a PAF! followed with a laugh.The pair of sounds themselves didn't set off his memory, but the way they sounded. In his mind's eye Rohdey saw a female chewing gum and her weight supported on one leg more than the other, a cocky and mocking smirk on her face as she played with a strand of hair as a group of her friends stood by her and were laughing.

    The memory lasted only an instant but was enough to make Rohdey's heart beat a little faster and his gut to flop inside him. Slowly he leaned in his seat to get a better look at where the sound had come from. He was relieved to see it wasn't the girl he remembered. Still, the way she acted made his gut a little nervous. But he was soon distracted by the mention of food. Rohdey stood up and said in a matter of fact voice as she got up and left "Oh man I could eat whole half of a horse" a slight exaggeration. The next distraction was the mention of seeing more of the mansion, and this place was huge and magnificent. He approached Satoru and said with a smile on his face "Hey Cuz, mind if I tag along?"
  13. James was directed to his room by an elderly woman, kind and jabbering on about how she had worked for his uncle for over 30 years, and for his uncle's father as well. He smiled and nodded, which delighted her immensely. "Here's your room, dearie," she said and left him with the key, which he used to unlock the door and headed inside. His cases were already there, off to the side. Crossing the room, he picked up his guitar case and unzipped it, retrieving his guitar and strumming a few notes before it morphed into a very old song that his father had taught him. Anberlin, the band was called, and the song he played was long, speaking of Him and of Saint Jude. The lyrics floated through his head, lingering on one phrase in particular.

    Are we all just lost causes?
  14. At the mention of dinner, Jacques excitedly decided to join his cousin. Thanks to his slightly-less-than-one-track mind, he all forgot about making a fortune for the time being. All he knew was that he needed to be a team with his cousins, they needed to win one for Space Jesus, he was probably the captain but should let his teammates and his coach help guide things (no I in Team... or is there??), and that the team needed their food to play their hardest. He personally strutted alongside his teamcousins, thinking out loud... with his mouth... about how he would eat lots of vegetables to grow big and strong (an axiom he remember from his childhood days that had actually worked!) and how his favorite time of a meal was when he got to thank Space Jesus for the food and how he would lead his teamcousins in the BEST PRAYER EVER!
  15. The blonde followed the maid, her chewing echoing loud in the polished halls of the mansion. The place was definitely amazing- she was almost sure she had seen a fish tank with alien species, too- and lavishly decorated. She was pretty sure there should be a nice private gym somewhere, and she was going to check it out after dinner. But now, she needed to touch up her makeup, and probably change her clothes. And her hair, can't forget to brush her hair.

    Finally the woman stopped and opened a door.
    ''Well, this is your room. If you need anything, just ask. Dinner will be served in about an hour,'' she said, giving Samara a key, and leaving without waiting for her answer.

    Samara shrugged, and bursted another bubble as she watched her go.
    Then, she inspected her room.

    Nifty, she thought. It has its own private toilet and all. And the mattress is bouncey! Yay!


    Some thirty minutes later, after having brushed her hair, touched up her eyeliner, her deodorant, and having changed her t-shirt -she was now wearing a pink, close-fitting shirt- Samara rushed out, locking her room. She heard a guitar on the hallways, and, slowing down, she located the room it came from.

    She knocked the door and opened it, leaning on the doorknob. Her cousin James was in, playing the guitar. She smiled.

    ''Hey look at you, Jamie boy'', she said, and grinned. ''I love that song. I like playing the guitar, too. Wanna bring it downstairs? Dinner will be ready soonish... I'm so-hungry! Seeya there!'' she said, and left, closing the door behind.

    Finally, she found the dining room. The table was long, and it was all set up already- with a fancy cloth and a floral arrangement at its centre that probably costed as much as her parents' monthly income-. She chose, of course, the chair at the head of the table, but soon she stood up and started pacing around the room, looking at the paintings that hung from the walls, wating for either her cousins or the food to show up.
  16. James smiled at her and finished the song, leading himself down to where he remembered the dining hall to be, as Uncle Fil had invited him a few times over the years to stay a few months and earn some money while his parents were away. His guitar hung around his neck and shoulders, held still by his hands. He smiled at everyone present as he took a seat at the table, playing idly as he waited to be served his meal. He hoped that Susan hadn't made sure it was a decorated meal---she seemed the type to do that.
  17. Dinner in such a place should have been a fancy affair, but despite the fact that the settings were lovely and the flowers rare and exotic, surely prize winning if they hadn't been on a dining room table, the food was not all caviar and lobster, even though such delicacies were also present. The food that was set out as the cousins started to take their place at the table was, simply put, all of their favorites. Everything they could have asked for was set out, along with some new delicacies.

    The teens would be able to enjoy everything from macaroni to steak to artichoke hearts to pho, and that was just in the main course. Deserts were even more extravagant, old favorites adorned with tissue thin gold leaf and edible flowers, drinking chocolate with the rarest extracts, and again, all their favorites, done up in creative and special ways. Only once all the teens were assembled was the ultimate treat brought out.

    The golden leaf wrapped apple was opened on one place just enough to reveal a sweet chocolate shell hiding what appeared to be a rich fondant and fruit filled center. It smelled heavenly, conveying an almost supernaturally wonderful appeal. But there was just one small apple and five cousins. No adults were in sight, and even those who normally didn't like chocolate or who were full would find themselves wanting the apple.
  18. Satoru had spent that half hour before the meal watching the gardens. Then finding out which room was his and in reflection over why he was here. If he was honest he didn't know if he deserved to be. Part of him felt he was only here because he was related to his uncle and that wasn't really enough to deserve more money he had ever though he'd get... He didn't care about money... he just wanted to make his own life.

    But here he was walking into the dining room with the same pensive look on his face he had on the way over. He looked over the spread, on any other day he'd be slackjawed as the sheer variety and what was there.. it was preposterously decadent.. but tonight he sat down, reached over and grabbed a burger from one of the plates in the center and without waiting for anyone he bit a large chunk from it.

    He stopped as the flavor melted over his tongue. Yes it was a relatively plain burger: single patty, cheese, onion, pickles, mayo, lettuce and tomato but the flavor was amazing... whatever they had marinated the patty in... and the crispness... he hadn't realized how hungry he was.

    It was only after he had demolished around three burgers that he took note of anything else on the table. He took particular note of the apple arrangement. The centerpiece of the table, an extravagant display of workmanship and wealth.. but it seemed like a big waste to him, had his uncle really squandered what he had like this or was this for them, the cousins? He shook his head and turned his attention away from it despite it's tempting nature choosing instead to again look at his cohorts... they were the real goal of tonight, forging a team.
  19. This place really was huge and had a lot of rooms, more then Rohdey would even attempt to count. Everything was big too and there were handholds everywhere, if you had the eye to look for them, his neck was slightly sore from craning his neck and looking around so much. So he was rubbing his neck as he walked into the dining area behind Satoru with Jacques and took a moment to absorb everything in the room through his eyes. It's like he had some how walked into a fantasy, all the food and such abundance! Rohdey was beside himself with food lust. He sat down next to Jacques and started by putting one of everything onto his plate, or he tried to, there was so much everything that his plate got filled before he had gotten to all of it.

    He couldn't help but smile and started eating with ferocious efficiency, yet careful to make as little mess and get as little grease on him as possible. Rohdey believed in the words his parents once said to him: just because he had the appetite of a large animal, didn't mean he should be sloppy like one. Despite this mutual belief, Rohdey was not so neat in other areas of his life.

    While eating he noticed the golden apple that had been brought out that had been set on the table a little while before. The thing grabbed at his nose and held it in a merciless headlock with it's heavenly aroma. Curious about the apple and how it was made, but most of all how it would taste, Rohdey stood up. His chair scooted back as he leaned over the table, arm outstretched for the apple.
  20. And, finally, the food arrived, and so did her cousins. Samara had not ever seen such a fancy meal! Everything was so expensive-looking... and none of her haughty friends was there to see it with their own eyes! She started eating with delight, always leaving more than half of every dish- she had a figure to take care of. Most of her cousins, instead, paid little attention to things like that, but they were males, so, rules played differently for them.

    Finally she sighed, satiated. She was actually feeling guilty; she had eaten way more than what she needed. In total she probably hadn't eaten more than half a pound, but that is not the point.

    And then her eyes set on the beautiful, golden apple.
    Something so special... like her.


    ''HEY- ROHD! WHAT-WAIT! ''she snapped, quickly reaching with her hand and lightly slapping his.
    Only then she realized that was not looking too good, for her, at least.
    She glanced briefly at everybody, nervously. She wanted the apple for herself, but... but there were two problems. First, it was way too much calories. She did not want to get fat. Second, she was not going to stand others to think about her as some sort of mean girl. No. She was the best, everywhere, no matter what. She was the one everybody should be loving if they didn't already.

    Her voice softened, and she looked back at Rodhey.

    ''Wait, please. It's the only apple. We could share, don't you think?'' she asked, looking at everybody else.

    Her mouth watered, but she needed to push things on to a higher level.

    ''I.... I... I can g...'' It was hard. She cleared her throat, and let the phrase out in one go.
    ''I can give you my share...''

    They must love me. No matter what.