The PlumbBob Quest: Part 5
Published Aug 6, 2010

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Hello again and welcome to Part 5 of the PlumbBob Quest. It's a longer part this time! Thanks for all your comments on previous parts. Enjoy!

Hello again and welcome to Part 5 of the PlumbBob Quest. It's a longer part this time! Thanks for all your comments on previous parts. Enjoy! We took a taxi to the address that Avalanche Quackenbush had given us, hoping desperately that Dr Jenkins still lived there. I rang the doorbell, glancing nervously at Jasper to confirm that this was really what we wanted to do. He nodded hesitantly. A man answered the door and peered curiously at us. "Are you Dr Brian Jenkins?" Jasper asked politely. "Who's asking?" he replied suspiciously. "I'm Jasper Jinks. This is my friend Becky Cannon," Jasper said. "We've been doing research and we want to ask you some questions about your work on the virtual reality theory." He blinked and his eyes widened in surprise.
"How did you hear about me?"
"Through a banned book. We used it to find Dr Quackenbush at the University, and he told us where you live," I explained. "Ah," Dr Jenkins said pensively. "Yes, I did do a couple of interviews before I was fired. I thought the university hushed it all up, but the information I gave must have been used in a book." "Please tell us what you know," I requested. "But I am not permitted to speak of it," Dr Jenkins replied simply. "I am not supposed to reveal any of my research to the public." "But you wanted the public to know, didn't you?" Jasper protested. "You wanted everyone to know your discovery - that we were being controlled. And you said you could free them." "But they didn't believe you, did they?" I whispered. "Fine. Come inside," Dr Jenkins said flatly. I looked to Jasper for approval. He shrugged and nodded. We entered Dr Jenkins's living room, looking around uneasily. "Sit down," Dr Jenkins said, and we did. "What did Avalanche tell you?" "He told us about your research and what happened to you all when you tried to reveal it to the public," Jasper said. "He told us what happened to you and Dr Hogg." "Ah. Dear Ima. Poor, dear Ima," Jenkins sighed wistfully. "So unfortunate what happened to her. And such an unfortunate name." "Dr Quackenbush said she... lost her mind," I murmured. "Is... that true?" Jenkins looked at me sharply. "Of course not. That's what everyone said but it's not true at all. That's what they told me, but I know...," he trailed off, his voice filled with regret. "I know she didn't go mad. She tried to get the message out to the world, and they locked her up for it." He glanced down with a mournful expression on his face. "What else did Avalanche say?" "He told us that you might have a way to become free of their control," Jasper replied promptly. He frowned sharply at us. "It's not that I don't want to help you, but... it isn't easy. It takes a great amount of control and luck. It took me years to develop." "So it exists?" Jasper said, smiling slightly at the Professor's confirmation. "It's dangerous," Dr Jenkins replied promptly. "I almost killed myself experimenting with the different 'cures' I created." "Please tell us," I murmured. "If nothing else, just tell us how you did it. We've come this far." "You must escape the PlumbBob," he replied simply. "The... PlumbBob?" Jasper and I repeated in unison. I'd never heard of it, let alone how to 'escape' it. "The PlumbBob is what keeps us under their control," Dr Jenkins told us. "But it is invisible to us." "So... how do we... escape it?" I asked, captivated. "The PlumbBob is the opposition - I suppose you could call it the suppressor - of a thing called Free Will, that is, the ability to make our own choices. You could call the PlumbBob the physical object encompassing philosophical ideas and religious concepts like fatalism, determinism, defeatism... do you understand?" Jasper was listening intently and nodding slightly, but Dr Jenkins' concepts were lost on me. Jasper must have studied them too, but I knew hardly anything about them. But I simply nodded, because I didn't want to sidetrack him. "The PlumbBob, being what they use to control us, makes our decisions not our own. Free Will is the opposite. We all are given Free Will, but we've lost the ability to use it to overpower our controllers. The PlumbBob has become powerful enough to almost suppress Free Will completely." "So that means those players - controllers, or whatever they are - use this PlumbBob to stop us from making our own decisions?" I asked. "Yes, but not always," he explained. "In my research, I found that sometimes it was possible to use Free Will, but only when the controller ALLOWS you to. Sometimes a controller may choose to allow you Free Will, but this hardly ever happens. For example, you say that you went to meet Dr Avalanche Quackenbush. "You may have been able to do this alone, but most would only be able to do this if the PlumbBob subconsciously told them to. Most nowadays rely upon the PlumbBob to make all of their choices without even realising it." "But is it possible to tell?" Jasper pressed. "I mean, if an action is yours or if it's been forced on you?" "No," Dr Jenkins replied bluntly. "Not without help." He paused before continuing: "Over time, I concocted a drink, a 'potion' if you will, that allows you to physically SEE your PlumbBob. However, this alone is not enough. The drinker, in order to become free, must escape it. They must make it disappear. When a drinker of the potion sees that their PlumbBob is gone, they can be assured that their thoughts and decisions are not being influenced by outside control. "But making your PlumbBob disappear is extremely difficult. You see, the drinker can only make their PlumbBob disappear with their own mind. Their Free Will. We all have it, but it is suppressed. If one can successfully use their mental strength to exert their Free Will without the permission of the controller, and overpower their orders, the PlumbBob's power becomes useless and so it will withdraw. "However, even then one is not completely free. They must exercise this mental power for the rest of their lives to keep from falling under the player's control again. Their life will be a constant battle between the PlumbBob and Free Will, between the player and them." "Can you make this drink?" Jasper asked solemnly. Dr Jenkins sighed. "And, I suppose, you want me to free you." He stood up and looked down at us gravely. "It is dangerous. It is painful. If you do not have the mental power to overcome the PlumbBob, or if your body rejects the medicine, you will most likely die." "I'm willing to try," Jasper replied, standing up. I jumped up. "Jas, I don't think you-" "You don't have to do it, Becky," Jasper cut me off. "Don't put yourself at risk if you don't want to. I'll do it alone." "But you heard what he said. You might die. Please... please don't do it." "I want to be free," he replied firmly. "Freedom, Becky. The knowledge that our choices are our own. The freedom to live, knowing that our lives really ARE ours and only ours. Don't you want that?" "Of course I do, but... think of everything you're risking. What about your parents, and everyone you know? What will they think if you never come back? What about me? How will I feel if I know I could have stopped you?" "So join me, Becky," he said simply. "Be free, too. At least we can know that we tried. We can't just turn away with everything we know." I stared at him for a long time. Finally I said,
"All right."
Dr Jenkins left the room. He told us that he had a mini-lab set up where he could make the potions. He said he'd continued to improve them all these years - that originally the potions had to be taken weekly, but now one was enough. Finally he returned, holding two bottles filled with liquid. He handed them to us. I looked to Jasper for support. He nodded uneasily. My heart pounded away. "To freedom," he said. His smile gave me a bit more courage. "To freedom," I agreed, and we both gulped down the liquid in one swallow. "That... was disgusting," Jasper said finally. "Do you feel any different?" I asked, and Jasper shook his head. We looked over at Dr Jenkins, who said hopefully, "It might be a few moments before it takes effect." I smiled weakly at Jasper, waiting for something to happen. Something did happen. Just as I began to hear a slight buzzing about my ears, and feel a throbbing in my head, Jasper's eyes rolled back in his head and he fell to the floor. "Jas!" I cried and leaped forward... ...just before I blacked out.

~ End of Part 5 ~

Thanks so much for all your feedback. Watch out for the LAST PART which will be out soon. Thanks for reading! :D

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#8IllandryaAug 7, 2010

Awesome! I LOVE this story ... the action moves along and just the right pace, neither too fast nor too slow, and keeps me pressing that "next" button even when I know there is no more to come. Can't wait for the next \:D even if it will be the last \:\(

#9kolapantsAug 9, 2010

OMG! Did he POISIN them???

#10FlatterAug 9, 2010

great fun to read, congrats!

#11RosaleenaAug 9, 2010

Wow! It's so.. unusual..? A great concept.. I'd actually want to see whether they become free.  Now that would be one weird story. Sims beyond our control!

#12tillybudAug 12, 2010

I can't believe that was 65 screens \:eek\: .. it certainly didn't seem like it and i was gutted when this chapter ended ..such a fabulous idea, brilliantly put together.. can't believe the next chapter is going to be the last, altho i seriously can't wait to see how you wrap this one up.. a brilliant cliffhanger that could go either way... eek!!

#13RatRaceRobAug 15, 2010

This story and the way you present it-- a screen for nearly every line of dialogue-- is flat out fantastic.  The unique-ness of the idea just flows, like Illandrya said up there, perfectly paced... I was stunned when I got to the end that I had actually gotten to the end!  Congratulations on your feature, and I am so looking forward to your next chapter... ((the last...?  Awww... I already know I'm gonna miss these meddling teens in the extreme \;\) )) \:wub\: \:rah\:

#14DarthAshokaAug 15, 2010


#15FikcijaAug 17, 2010

Last part so soon \:o It's getting only better. I love it. And you ended in such an interesting moment! I wonder what happens next.
P.S. Did you get the chance to watch "Thirteenth Floor"?

#16fredbrennySep 1, 2010

Superb read! (A similar thing about free will I did in my own sims3 story) So I totally can find myself in this concept. Very creative! Off to read the (alas) last chapter!

#17lekunzeMar 9, 2019


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