There are two starting households as we begin, plus there's some backstory you may or may not want to read, presented here.
Portal Corporation (based in Paragon City, RI, USA) doesn't just open portals across dimensions, it opens portals across space. This has led to the practical colonization of other planets at last. Otherwise, the distances are too great for non-FTL craft to make colonization efficient. Of course, getting the portal at the other end set up in the first place can get tricky, but once up, it's good and reliable.
This planet's common name is Vagabond, because of its eccentric orbit. The result is two seasons: long winters and long summers. During the extremes of heat and cold, different parts of the planet are near-uninhabitable, but there are "life belts" in each hemisphere, where Earth lifeforms can survive and thrive.
The planet is valuable not so much for living space (though it helps) as for rare earths and helium, which are exported back to Earth. In the meantime, workers here are starting to marry and have families. Some of them even stay on the planet afterward, instead of heading home to Earth.
Earth governments and corporations subsidize colonists who aren't directly working for the mining concerns, in an effort to get people to move to other planets. The hope is to make Vagabond a fully self-supporting world, as well as eventually relieve some of the population pressure on Earth. The problem is that the jobs on Vagabond tend to be more skilled than unskilled, since machines do the actual mining, but the machines need trained people running them. The male to female ratio is also a bit skewed, since more men than women are willing to move to a new planet for a job, especially when contact back home takes a while. (Messages have to go through the portal to get back to Earth; the "internet" on Vagabond is restricted to just Vagabond, for reasons that should be obvious. Bills and letters on paper have made a comeback, the latter especially for sending back to Earth, since it's just as cheap as sending the flash drive with your email back.)
There are also portal settings to other planets, making Vagabond part of a network that allows for communication and movement between Earth and its colonies. This does mean that the colonies can interact directly without Earth involvement. However, as Portal Corporation owns and operates the portals, Earth isn't ignorant of what or who is moving and where.
Most people come to Vagabond because of their jobs, but some are actual colonists. Colonists need a lot of hope, strength, willpower, and self-management skills, since there isn't much infrastructure or support once you lave the mining complexes. Nonetheless, a few hardy souls are looking to make Vagabond a self-sufficient world.
Since everything the colonists can't make has to be imported from Earth, everyone looks to make extra money to afford luxuries like coffee or new books or electronics or shoes. Thus, side and personal businesses and moonlighting are both popular and expected.
Vagabond doesn't have Earth wolves or stray animals, so there are no "native" werewolves. Werewolves (and vampires) could both make it here from Earth, but it would take some doing, as not many people come to Vagabond, and Portal Corporation makes sure that crazy folks don't get to travel through their portals.
Local wildlife has learned to stay away from the colonists and mining facilities, and Earth bees and butterflies have been introduced, though greenhouses are needed to keep food growing through the long winters. Unwary wildlife is probably edible, but one never knows about parasites or weird alien diseases. No native animals have yet been tamed. Earth pets are discouraged (as a luxury item) but not explicitly banned for colonists.
Our story begins in the small valley on the other side of the hills from the Bitter River mine. The fledgling community - not even a town yet - is El Marrow. El Marrow has a city hall and power and water, but not much else. The Bitter River employees can live "on campus," but many of them would prefer their own entertainment, housing, and shops off company property. A perfect thing for colonists looking to make businesses to support themselves!
Featuring sims by iceraptoress, erykahfairy, trappingit, and furryjackal.
The first of the two "founders" (though of course they don't see themselves as such) is Amber Wilder by iceraptoress. Amber is a good country girl from Wisconsin, Land of Cheese, and she is a good and happy person. Amber figures the people of El Marrow could use some fresh, wholesome dairy products, so she's taken her savings and brought a few cows with her.
Amber buys one of the infamous Granola series of temporary housing that people will live in until the end of days. She has just enough money for a small barn for the animals to live in during the long Vagabond winters. She'll need lots of stored fodder for them, too.
The hut has enough room, just barely, to hold a family, assuming people are OK with a lack of privacy and don't intend to get much more stuff. Then again, these are temporary, so they aren't supposed to be roomy.
Still, there's enough room to at least get started, and cook hotdogs on the grill, and it's a roof over one's head.
Amber checks on the cows and waits for the welcome wagon.
But the welcome wagon never shows up, so she gets some lunch and makes her plans for the day.
Paperboy finds it such a glorious day!
Amber needs money to open the dairy mart, so it's on to the usual way to get funds: digging. She can submit rock samples and the like to the local mining company, and they'll refund her for anything interesting.
Amber isn't afraid of hard work, but she's got to get the dairy mart up and running before winter. By then she'll have a lot of cheese and yogurt stockpiled, and she'll need money just in general.
After a hard several hours of digging, Amber heads to City Hall, the only place for any socialization at this time, if you're not an employee of the mining company. (BACC note: City Hall doesn't count toward the community lot total. See the rules post for details.)
City Hall is where packages and mail are dropped off or picked up, where sims can meet, paperwork and bureaucracy takes place, and where weddings can happen.
First person Amber meets is David (erykahfairy). Seriously, there's nowhere else to go!
Sims flock to the vending machines.
Amber tries to chat up the snackers, but no luck. (Also, that's one of the dopiest snacking animations ever in any game)
Teenager charged with running City Hall (while the boss is in the back room goofing off) isn't thrilled either. But I'm enjoying the new default face replacements.
Finally, there's enough people for Amber to start looking for marriage material. Aaaaand...
D: Why do I make that face, you may ask? Because Rael is the other founder! D: She can't marry him!
Not that she isn't going to show they have similar interests first. D:
Ah, but who should show up next but that dashing rogue/pilot, Richard (furryjackal)!
Thank you, Amber. Stay away from Rael, okay?
Amber sits so that Richard can't get a good look at her cuteness and talks about how she just moved here and she's getting to know people.
Darn it, I forgot to put jewelry on her.
Good, good, stay away from Rael. Please.
Wait, when did I add a sim called Drew Baringmore?!
The next few days pass with a similar schedule: eat, sleep, dig for stuff, visit City Hall when the loneliness gets to be too much.
City Hall now has postcards! Yay! And I now have a hack that stops playable sims from spending their money at community lots!
Still, one can always browse, right?
I don't want you to be enemies, either, y'know...
Awesome new townie names!
...Darn it. :/
By Friday, it's time to get serious about finding a husband, because Amber's not getting enough money yet to start her business. So she invites the two top contenders over, greeting Yulian (trappingit) in a new Vagabond tradition: with a big smooch.
Yulian likes that, a lot. But Amber has to check with Richard first, since she knows Richard a little better.
Amber would prefer Richard. He's so exotic and dangerous and sexy. But Richard isn't ready to be tied down. When she asks if he'll move in, he says no dice, baby, that's just not his thing. :( (Also his relationship score with her takes a huge nosedive.)
Amber gets over it by inviting Yulian back and asking if he'd like to move in.
"But... this isn't because I'm almost-good-enough, is it?"
"No, of course not! You're cute and sexy too!"
I'm going to see this as "he's a clerk in an office". Not nearly as exciting as a pilot, but he'll do. And he probably has potential.
Most importantly, he's willing to move in.
Hey, this LTW might actually be achievable! But it does mean the dairy mart will have to be in his name. :/ I'd rather it's in Amber's name, so maybe she'll start it and transfer it to Yulian if he gets close to the 5 businesses.
Nothing happens after that, though, they're both tired, I guess.
As soon as I can, big guy.
Amber proposes out by the pond...
...and then it's a trip down to City Hall to get married. Love that outfit, Amber!
I need to put more lights in City Hall.
An advantage to City Hall weddings is that there are always strangers willing to be witnesses and clap happily for you!
Of course, you also end up with people wandering in by mistake while looking for the loo.
Yulian, you aren't getting cold feet, are you?
Darn it, we have witches.
Back home, Yulian asks the important question: when can we get that dairy mart built?
"When we have the money, I guess," Amber says.
So, after the consummation (no baby jingle, both moods are not that great), it's back to digging! But by Monday morning, they might have enough to build the dairy mart. We'll find out next time!
The Wilders contributed $801 (10% of cash) to the college fund.