Scene from: "Sodality: Vindication"
Made with: "The Sims 3: Into the Future"
With the Kirby Act and Beliah Amendments now being enforced aggressively, the Sodality's very existence was of questionable legality. Most in Waco paid little attention to the trial, but virtually everyone in Houston now knew that the centipede heroine Ciem, who saved them from Musaran, was secretly Candi McArthur - the daughter of Gerosha town founders Stan and Shalia Flippo. Many were immediately wondering just why on Earth a woman who so frequently and self-lessly did so much to make their world a safer place to attend faithful churches and raise children properly would suddenly be treated like such a dangerous criminal.
Candi herself had never faced this big an audience before while in the hot seat either. She knew that even if they couldn't find anything to convict her with criminally, her entire past was about to be exposed. Every shameful secret of hers that SCALLOP had on record was about to be made public. Hea Pang had warned her: when you get too close to Hester's locket, it tarnishes you one way or another.
Since she was the first one up, Candi decided to make the most of her situation to warn the public of what was at hand. She'd been through horrors few of even her peers could relate to. Her testimony was second only to that of Donte's in terms of importance for making the case against the Beliah Amendments - if not the Tom Kirby Act itself!
Cerubo: "Okay, Brownie! You're up!"
Agent Brian Mizgel (whispering in Candi's ear): "Ignore that. Just act as natural as is reasonable."
The prosecutor, Floyd Rubal, seemed intent on destroying her, but poised with an air of false restraint.
Rubal: "So....Candice McArthur, I take it? I looked at your file, and it seems you have a very interesting history."
Candi: "Which...part of that history did you have in mind?"
Rubal: "All of it. I see a woman who has survived horrible trauma, a handful of near-death experiences, lost loved ones, questioned her own morals, done some foolish things, been taken advantage of by others, abused, confused, kept bouncing back up, learned how to be responsible in short order, yet...you keep finding yourself in trouble anyway.
I have never seen anyone acquitted of so much, who then somehow manages to be in so much trouble anyway. If it weren't my job, I'd be hesitant to pursue any charges on you at all. So...what really happened, this time? You have done your share of destruction of property, understandably under the circumstances. In war, things happen. But reckless driving? Why now? And you were almost off parole? Why S'Pole yourself? Why the laundromat? Would you do better in therapy?"
Candi: "All fair questions. And when I give my warnings to the kids in the audience today, I'll address the meat of my prior history in more detail. They need to know what to avoid.
As for the way I was driving: If men in cyan, power-hungry megalomaniacs seeking occult and Marlquaan power to rule the universe with, launched a cyanide grenade at your living room window, then chased you and your child all through town when you managed to escape, how would you drive?"
Rubal: "Forensics do confirm that your house was under attack. But evidence is lacking that you were being chased."
Candi: "The Icy Finger cleans up well. Just not at the scene of my house. Because SCALLOP got there before they had a chance to clean up."
Rubal: "And why drive to the laundromat?"
Candi: "Brian and I became good friends during Gobargate. We agreed that if ever I were in over my head, the Sodality at large couldn't protect me, and I needed to disappear; that he would make arrangements. This Beliah Amendment garbage has sought to punish me simply for being born of Stan Flippo, and therefore, of Phaelite origin. Beliah hated SCALLOP, and me by extension, only because he knew neither would stand between him and being punished by Extirpon for raping Camille and selling her into slavery in Cambodia.
He had to shut us all up. That Meethexos are exempt from the groups targeted should have been telling that Beliah was in on Duke Arfaas and Clyde Spendelworth's sexual slavery ring. He was covering for the Hebbleskins and their creations and operations, to cover for himself. The Sodality threatened to blow that all wide open. He tried to make it impossible for us to expose him. But we managed anyway. And grew our numbers. He panicked, and called in the Phaletori and their Centhuen Armies. It became the Second Battle for Houston, after Musaran and Arfaas were defeated in the first. Extirpon dropped the Titanic on him. I helped defeat the Centhuen army, saving lives. Yet, the degenerates that loved Beliah for what he did to Camille blamed all of us in the Sodality for what Extirpon did to Beliah.
Now, the Icy Finger is seeking to take advantage. They know if the Beliah Amendments are altered or abolished, they can revive the parts of it they wish. The basic plan is the same: they want their monsters, and only their monsters, to be exempt. It's all about control. The Sodality acknowledges ultimate control belongs to God, but puts the rest back into the will of sane and virtuous Toklisanans. The Icy Finger believes only its elite should have control of anything, much as the Hebbleskins before them did."
Rubal: "All a very interesting insight. Why the laundromat though?"
Candi: "Because during Gobargate, Stephanie and I needed to disappear. Gobar's personal army was trying to kill us. We knew too much. The rest of my friends were embroiled in fighting Captain Aardwulf. I was pregnant then. The laundromat was right there. Brian showed up and came to our rescue. The next several weeks weren't great, but hiding in SCALLOP jail did keep me off of Gobar's radar for a time."
Rubal: "You broke a robber's arm."
Candi: "He was threatening me and Frank, who hadn't even been born yet. You don't get between a Centhuen Prototype and her unborn child like that, and walk away unscathed. He got what he deserved. My real mistake was using a Zeran teleporter in public, thus de-classifying their existence."
Rubal: "And your friend blew up a droid, killing ten soldiers."
Candi: "I never asked her to blow up Strawberry. I was actually hoping she'd knock their guns out of their hands, then fly up and catch me. She got scared, and made a brash call in an instant. It was us or them. You can ask her all about it when it's her turn."
Rubal: "So...the Waco Wonder Wash is the go-to place to turn yourself in now?"
Candi: "Or go into witness protection."
Rubal: "So...being Ciem isn't easy?"
Candi: "Putting the suit on isn't always an option. It's not henshin-powered, you know."
Rubal: "A protector. Now a protective mother. Saving so many lives, but ruining your own. So...what of your past arrests?"
Candi: "Simple. I didn't start the fire. It was already burning, while Danny and I were turning. We smelled smoke, and got out. They proved someone else did it, and I walked. Somehow, my sister never found out that Danny had talked me into...well...doing more than just studying homework with him, let's put it that way."
Some members of the audience and jury couldn't help but laugh.
Rubal: "Touching. Go on?"
Candi: "I never knew I was needed in Evansville. Met Sadie during those two weeks of oops-missed-appointment. I hope she's finally doing something with her life. I was told if I pled guilty, they wouldn't tell Erin that Donte and I were improvising on tying the knot. The high school football game...just wasn't interesting enough for us."
The audience laughed even harder, some even blushing.
Candi: "Yeah. That happened. Kids, I set a bad example. Don't do that! Anyway, Affadidah's regime kept trying to eat me, rape me, turn my head into a trophy, et. al. But Donte and I kept eluding them. I made it to the border to start over in Toklisana, and the border patrol guy there turned out to be Hebbleskin-affiliated. He wasn't fooled by the 'Levens' last name. I nearly died back there. He had cannibal porn on the brain or something. And a head-hunting fetish. Good thing Navyrope was in town, and doesn't tolerate that crap."
Rubal: "That's crazy."
Candi: "Yeah, so were the Hebbleskins. It got even more ridiculous. I got mistaken for La Scarrabachonda, which earned me two days in the slammer before they finally checked my pockets to verify my ID. I also found a joint in the grass. That earned me a few hours while Lonny Grivolt was lectured over his inability to prove I put it there. I didn't, by the way. Survey class. I also had nothing to do with the alleged theft of the Earwig armor, which was never even stolen. But...my half-brother Darius was a d-wad. So things happened anyway. He made sure half the campus saw me being hauled away, accused."
Rubal: "And then Gobargate, and now Icefingergate?"
Candi: "In a nutshell. And I know they want to keep me at SWCC in protection at least until these hearings are over. I'll probably get ankle jewelry for the next five years too, knowing them. But what matters is that my family is safe this way, and that I can get back to them as soon as possible."
Rubal: "Again...reckless driving doesn't fly down in Texas. But if there were ever a sad story I could feel sympathy for, it was yours. I can tell you want to do good. Just that pesky thing called life won't cooperate, will it?"
Candi: "I'd like to address the audience now, standing up. The kids especially."
Rubal: "Very well..."