Here it is.... Starlight Shores.
A spot of civilization surrounded by one side by an ocean, and on the other by a wasteland of sandy mountains where trees will not grow.
Though the city is known best for its entertainment scene, Mercury Stellar Observatory dominates the skyline.
Our protagonists' new home is the green-painted house on the left.
It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a shed. Though obviously much smaller than what they're used to, it sounded perfect, and Carlos acted quickly to snatch it off the market.
The grass, the trees, the soil, the water... yes, everything smells different and exciting.
"ARGH what is that SMELL?" Ceth balks when the three arrive at their new home in person. "Is the water polluted or something? That is DISGUSTING."
"It's seaweed," Carlos informs her.
"Alright we're leaving, we're leaving RIGHT NOW, this place is too small anyway." Ceth imagined her stay in Starlight Shores to involve one of those shiny boxy houses that were 75% windows with gorgeous views. Unfortunately, they couldn't find anything like that to accommodate both their budget and planned number of residents.
Milo frowns. "Are you kidding? This place is great! The beach is right there, the gym on the beach is right there..."
"And look, the last residents left their trash laying around." Ceth points insistently at the lawn flamingo.
Carlos smiles. "Aw. It's kind of cute."
"I'm afraid to even go inside," Ceth moans.
"By the plumbob. This place. Looks like. A thrift shop."
"We're lucky the Woods left us any furniture at all. We paid the unfurnished price," Carlos reminds her.
The Woods family hit the lottery and moved to a much bigger place just as Ceth, Carlos and Milo moved to town. Brandon and Stardust Woods were very peculiar about who bought their house; they despised the constant influx of entertainers, fearing it would lead to more land being cleared for luxury mansions. Carlos didn't realize it until later on in the buying process, but the Woods only sold their home to him and his family because he came to work at the observatory. They approved of the area being known for science.
"We still gotta buy beds," Milo points out.
"You guys can go shopping while I report in at the observatory," Carlos suggests.
"Augh, look at this manky thing," Ceth mutters.
"Awww, it's cute," Milo echoes his brother's sentiment from earlier.
"Is this kitchen even big enough to move around in?"
"Let me guess," Milo yawns. "You hate the chairs too."
"Their paint is peeling."
"That's it!" Ceth takes one glance at the upstairs, then turns around and marches back downstairs. "This was a drug den. It looks like one and it smells like one."
"I told you that's just the seaweed. The smell will change with the seasons."
"There's a chicken on the roof." Ceth's last complaint is pretty weak.
"So... who gets the teeny tiny room at the end of the hall?" Milo asks worriedly.
"You do," the older two respond, in unison.
At the base of the observatory, Carlos feels very small. He has never seen a building as tall as this before. Knowing it houses some of the world's most powerful space-studying tech is impressive, too. He strolls inside, trying to appear casual and unintimidated as he prepares to meet his superiors.
Milo isn't due to go in to work at the Binder Clips Center – which is a sports stadium, not an office supplies factory – until Monday, so after he and Ceth blow what little funds they have left on new kitchen tiles, some beds, and enough wallpaper for just Ceth's space upstairs, Milo heads down to the beach to test out the free gym equipment.
So much open space. Even with the seaweed smell and the constant sound of gulls, Milo enjoys the view, and instantly prefers it to his family's private gym at home in Monte Vista.
Ceth wanders around town aimlessly, lost but hoping to be found.
She needs to figure out where all the action is, so she can get in on it.
While most of the town caters to the wealthy and to show biz, some corners hold whispers of evidence that yes, there is an amazing science skyscraper of awesome here in town also, and a lot of smaller research centers and scientists feeding off of its glory. Carlos is going to be quite happy here, Ceth guesses.
The Gnome Chomsky Arcade's giant gnome statue catches Ceth's attention, practically daring her to look inside the building it guards.
This is probably not a great place to try to sell herself, but it sure is lively!
Ceth changes her mind about the place when she spots the live entertainment stage upstairs. Yes, it's tiny and beneath her preferred level of class, but in everyone else's eyes she's at the bottom right now, and the only place to go is up.
Ceth locates the person who looks most important here and starts showing off for them.
Great, Courtney Foster thinks to herself, as she tries to place Ceth's strange accent, another nobody from nowhere here thinking they can be the next best paid singer or guitarist in the universe.
Courtney's opinion doesn't matter, of course. Ceth will eventually learn from Milo that she's in the sports career track.
Luckily, the person actually in charge here finds Ceth's accent enchanting and her song memorable. Ceth has her first gig in Starlight Shores.
Later in the day finds Ceth singing with some guy named Phil Trice at Mick's Master Karaoke. The proprietor there won't even come out of her office to give either of them the time of day, so they bond over their shared struggles.
When Carlos gets home from the observatory, he isn't concerned to find Milo and Ceth missing. He's just happy they followed his instructions and picked up the furniture.
The side of the house facing the ocean has a cleared area obviously meant for garden. Izalee sent some of her best enchanted produce seeds along with Carlos, so he makes use of them right away. Better ingredients make better food, and growing them at home means saving cash.
His gardening skill isn't as high as his aunt's, but he is still confident he can coax life out of this disagreeable soil.
Milo has been alone on the beach for many hours, but once afternoon hits, sims start showing up.
Milo has a great view of Yolanda Lemmon's butt from here.
He figures he'll be less of a creeper if he goes down and introduces himself.
Maybe talking to a pretty lady is what he needs to get Guadalupe's tantrum out of his mind.
"New in town, huh? Gosh, if I had a simoleon for every time I heard that. I was new here once too, of course. So what's your dream?"
"I don't know if I have any," Milo says, suddenly feeling a little uncomfortable. "The Gnomes have me contracted, but I'm just someone they're trialing."
"Really." Her smile turns more genuine. "They need some good new talent, and bad. Mithun Khan is amazing but he can't hold the team up by himself."
"He seems like a nice guy," Milo says, instantly regretting how young and clueless he sounds.
Yolanda casts an appreciative eye over him. "With a rockin' bod like that, at first I thought for sure you were competition."
"Competition? What do you mean?"
As it turns out, Yolanda is a well-respected, highly paid acrobat.
Milo mentions his mother, but of course this celebrity wouldn't know about Swan on Fire. Monte Vista's performers are there to amuse tourists and look cultural, not to be rich and famous.
Milo's heart breaks a little when he learns Yolanda's act was, until the very recent death of her husband, a duo. Now she performs solo, but without her love there, she's thinking about giving it all up and becoming one of those loner painter types. Such a sad story.
Milo makes a friend today, but does not attempt to flirt with the grieving widow.
As the skies grow dark, Carlos has a feeling Ceth and Milo will return soon, so he thoughtfully cooks up some spaghetti. Spaghetti is the most stereotypical of Monte Vista dishes, but Carlos knows it is Milo's favorite.
As predicted, Milo is very excited about the spaghetti.
"Sooo," Carlos begins, "anything interesting happen today? For anyone?"
"Yes. Ceth was terrible. I am never shopping with her again. She was picky over every little thing."
"You'd be living in squalor if not for me. He wanted to buy the cheapest crap there, Carlos."
"If we'd have bought the cheap bed, we'd have enough money for at least a TV," Milo whines.
"You'd be practically sleeping on springs! And then you wanted countertops of cool colors when the flooring we picked out is warm colors."
"I'm with Ceth on this," Carlos says.
"You would be," his brother mumbles.
"Oh, and I got a gig," Ceth adds. "Already living the dream."
Carlos blinks. "Wow. How much are they paying you?"
"Practically nothing but exposure," Ceth admits.
Etc.: Since I didn't have the Monte Vista house sold, my sims this chapter were limited to the cash the Goldbeards had on hand. They're broke now! Their house is the Woods house because I liked it so much, moved to a lot closer to the other starter houses and stripped of most of its furnishings so they could actually afford it. I moved the Woods family into a mansion.
The proprietor at the Gnome Chomsky Arcade is actually Stardust Woods, but their family bio says they hate the proprietors and performers and such, so I didn't name her in the story. Maybe that's Stardust's twin sister. ;)
Gnome Chomsky Arcade was built by Melissa. It looks amazing! I love it. There's a cafe attached to it as well. I haphazardly added the stage upstairs so I could have more excuses to use the lot.