The Let's Play Archive

SimCity 3000

by The Deadly Hume

Part 42: Fit The Thirty-Eighth : The Sun Is A Mass Of Incandescent Gas It's A Giant Nuclear Furnace

Fit The Thirty-Eighth : The Sun Is A Mass Of Incandescent Gas It's A Giant Nuclear Furnace

You could say I was a bit jaded.

The city pretty much ran itself now. I was doing things like constructing giant Lego replicas of the city and getting through my pile of unread books by Borges and Pynchon.

So these were the days of our lives, like sands in an hourglass.

The city had grown as much as it could without massive engineering works to fill in the harbour or flattening Firetop Mountain to make more lebensraum.

So the population had stabilised around the 550,000-600,000 mark.

I had Gus keep an eye on the electricity and water systems just to make sure anything didn't go kaboom.

On that brief, he did mention Nuke Plant #1 needing replacement soon, but there was no urgency. Ha! Only Gus could be so nonchalant about the fearsome power of the atom.

Funny thing; the first water tower that the city had ever built, in the heart of the town, was still going.

OK, it wasn't going that well, but it was the oldest remaining landmark in town, having even survived two earthquakes and that unfortunate incident with the satellite.

I was a little surprised when Greville and Sophia walked into the office with exactly the same thought in mind.

Wal, daaaarling, you simply must encourage more of the new wave of industry into town.

Sophia this is the same crap you bother me with every year. Yes, yes, high tech industries are important, point taken, blah blah blah.

Hey, that was what I was going to say!

Yeah, Greville. I always felt a little woozy after one of his visits. Stench of his goddamn pot reeked throughout the city hall. Usually had good ideas, though, so there must been some part of his brain that hadn't been bent backwards.

I mean, seriously, Greville, what the fuck else do you expect me to do? All the ordinances are in place, the population is well educated. I get a little tired of people berating me for not doing enough in this situation.

Of course. But, you know, the point bears repeating.

What, do you think I'm a goldfish as well? You must've come here with Sophie to gang up on me! If I didn't know better, I'd suspect you two had some thing going on.

We came here separately. I didn't even know this... radical could come with such a sensible idea. He's obviously been going through my trash for my drafts of this petition!

Hey, recycling is really cool! Ah. Umm. Not saying that I stole your paper. I guess you could say great minds think alike.


Oh god. Don't even think about it. He's a stinking hippie; Sophie, he is, like, totally not your type, y'know?

As you would know? Anyway, I think he's kind of handsome, in that rugged, dishevelled way. And he's well read, from what I've heard.

Well, I'd more than happy to discuss The Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth over coffee, if you'd like?

Sounds delightful. Now?

Why not? My chapter meeting for the organic food distribution collective doesn't start until 7...

Ugh, get a room you two!

And so the two of them - the stinky intellectual and the sophisticated dimbulb - left in deep, albeit somewhat one-sided, discussion. The mind boggled.

Ahhh, Charmaine! Prunella! Whatever the fuck your name is today! At least you've got your head screwed on tight unlike my previous guests! So what brings you here today? What tidings of joy and adulation do you lay at my feet?

I see. ... Get out.

It was that kind of day. To confirm it, Granny was next.

What is it? Your coffee pot browning out again?

Oh no, my coffee is perfectly hot! I just had a wee suggestion that came up at our meeting.

Hmm. Well I suppose it's worth a try. I'll see it gets done.

Thank you ever so much.

It's a pleasure.

I wasn't really sure how effective CPR actually was, but once the program got underway I took it upon myself to go to one of their training sessions to observe...

... ri-i-ight ...

It wasn't going to kill the city to reduce commercial taxes, in fact, I mean, how much money did we really need? So for the next budget those were reduced to 4%, same as the residential rate.

One day, early in 2021, Beryl handed me my appointment list.

"Beryl, what's this?" I asked her.

"Sophia's idea." she noted drily. "She's waiting outside now. Oh, and Gus wants to see you as well, apparently there's some crazy new development that he thinks you'll be interested in. Something to do with solar power revolutionised."

"Solar power? We've got that already, and it's crap! But I'll see him anyway. He's usually good for a yarn about whichever unfortunate soul got to clean out one of the reactors and what interesting mutation they've developed. But I better deal with Sophia first, she's probably going to bang on about high tech jobs again. Let her in."

Beryl duly did just that. Sophia entered, carrying a folder on top of an archive box.

Take a seat, Sophia. What's all this?

Sophia dumped the box on my desk, and took off the lid, revealing a couple of reams of documents inside. Then she sat in the visitor's chair.


Oh, great. Lo! the people have spoken. About what, exactly.

We, the people of Funkytown, have grown weary of living under the spectre of nuclear terror for the past fifty years. It's time we banished it from our homes.

Oh god. Bloody Greville. He'd infected her mind. As well as her body, probably.

Shit. I can't do this! We've got seven nuclear plants providing most of the power! And for the most part it's clean power!

Maybe so, but they could explode and spread... stuff... around the town. You know, like what happened to Pittsburgh in 2016.

I would say that what happened to Pittsburgh improved the place, but I get your point.

So you acknowledge there's a risk. What are you going to do about it? You must have a plan!

Bloody hell, Sophia. OK, obviously there's a strong desire for this, and I'd love to be able to do this... but, well, the town needs power. We replaced one of our plants only last year. Without them Funkytown would be just a small collection of humpies, we'd all be whacking each other with femurs and hooting over who gets to eat the pigeon.

Well, as we decommission the plants we could replace them with solar collectors.

Solar collectors are pretty inefficient, space wise. We'd end up covering the whole northern bank with them just to keep the rest of the city going. Until something better comes along, I'm sorry, I cannot approve this ordinance.

Very well, then. But it'll be on your head if our children grow extra... heads.

Hey, two heads are better than one! How's Greville, by the way?

Better than you. Hmmf.

And with that she left in a hurry, interestingly leaving the box of petitions. Obviously left to give me something to think about.

I went out to Beryl's desk, where she made a gesture with her index finger as if it had touched something hot, and she went "sssss". Burn.

So you overhead. Gus? Come right in.

Gus settled into the chair that Sophia was sitting in moments before. He noticed the box.

What's this?

Uh, signatures for some petition that Sophia had brought in. Disregard it. What's your big idea?

Wait, what? This is your revolution in solar power technology?

Yeah, pretty doovy, eh?

And it's good enough to replace our nuclear fission plants?

Sure. A little more expensive but, well, we're rolling in cash, we could replace ALL our nuclear plants overnight with these microwave plants, and they'd take up only a little more room. Plus no risk of meltdowns so we can run these harder too.

Right. Thank you for telling me this now, but, well, no offence, if you'd told me this, say, fifteen minutes ago, I wouldn't be asking you to leave right now.

Uhhh, sure boss, whatever you say.

And, actually, come back tomorrow. We'll have some work to do. Now go. Pronto Tonto!

As Gus left the room, I poked my head out, gestured to Beryl that I would be taking no more appointments, then I locked the door, then I took a few deep breaths.

I didn't know whether to laugh, cry or scream. So I did all three at the same time.

I am the epitome of efficiency after all.


Gus, a couple of his flunkies and I drove out in a city fleet hovercar to where most of our power plants were located. A few gas plants, and of course those pariah nuclear plants.

Hand me that glossy brochure.

Sure thing.

"The Shrap Carousel Microwave Plant BZZT-3000 can prepare 30,000 roast chicken dinners simultanously with a minimum fuss! Get yours today!" Are you sure these guys are serious? This crowd sound like they've moved straight from making calculators into heavy engineering without even thinking about taking a lazy stopover in automotive production land. And who the fuck cooks a chook in a mike, anyway?

Yes, but they make solar calculators.

Great. Right, §30,000 a pop. How many of these do you reckon we'll need to keep the city going?

Let's see, we're running seven nuke plants as well as all those old gas monsters. I'd say eight.

OK, make it a nice round number. We'll put in an order for ten. I want to see these in and the nuclear plants out by the end of the year.

Look, Wal, you just can't take out a nuclear plant overnight, it takes years to decommission one...

Just do it. I pay you to worry about that shit so I don't have to worry about that shit.

Fine, fine, we'll send in the bulldozers.

The ground was cleared and Shrap delivered in time. I'd have to say they looked a little absurd all lined up like that, but with the threat of the humble yet monstrous atoms gone I could already feel the mood of the city lighten. No Pittsburgh Disaster for us!

I only hoped those satellites didn't miss their mark and set the whole city ablaze.

And so I would have that ordinance passed, as Sophia and her signatories wanted.

The cost was minimal, though I did wonder about the impact on the research lab and such. I went down to the Barely Safe labs soon after ticking off the ordinance and asked them what they thought. The answer Prof. Fitzgibbon gave me, as he was giving me a tour around the place, was a little disconcerting.

"Oh, shit, no worries Wal, fission is old hat, you should see what we're doing with superstring manipulation! Hey, check out this portal gun we just came up with..."

He led me into one of the countless clean rooms in the laboratories where some uncoordinated wunderkind straight out of college was using some kind of gun thing to kind of splat holes in the wall. I mean, big holes, with glowing edges, that you could fit a man through.

"Oh, look here Thompson, show the mayor that thing you were doing before. Yeah. If you place the holes just right... *ptchlll* *ptchll* you can kiss your own arse! How cool is that?"

I was treated to the spectacle of Thompson leaning into one of the holes in the wall, and his head and shoulders appeared out of the other hole in the floor... and then he actually licked his own arse and then started cackling like a witch.

Thompson reminded me a lot of Norris, the gawky kid in my childhood circle of friends who preferred to play nubile valkyries when roleplaying and always rolled to try to "seduce" NPCs. And always threw a tantrum when you pointed out that Shadowrun didn't have nubile valkyries and that we weren't going to play whatever broken system that had the nubile valkyries he preferred.

"Fitzgibbon, do you get any funding from the city?"

"No, we are funded by a combination of federal funding, philantrophic donations, and commercial research partnerships. Why? Are you wishing to make a contribution to our facility beyond your existing offer of a generous peppercorn rent?"

"Hmm, no. Obviously I'll have to find somewhere else to cut costs from the city budget. I think I've seen all I need to see. I'll be leaving now."

"Really? Please stay. We have cake!"

I left the building, wishing I could scrub from my mind the image of Thompson kicking himself in the head using the portal holes. Oh well, I guess when Toyota perfected the hovercar the junior members of the R&D team started off goofing around Suzuka trying to do burnouts before they realised you can't do burnouts in a hovercar, so I guess the portal gun would also come in useful one day.

But as far as the city was concerned, apart from a boost in aura, it meant that we wouldn't be able to commission any new nuclear plants - though we could've kept the old ones until they were "retired". I just had them all rid off immediately to get that out of my hair.

OK, perhaps rounding up to ten was overdoing it.

But at least it radically simplified our power sources down to three - a couple of wind turbines in out of the way places, the waste-to-energy plants which also dealt with the trash problem, and the new microwave plants.

Oh, and in a newsflash, Funkytown had reached 600,000. In the past few years I'd zoned a small number of fringe areas and increased densities in a few blocks such as Pompeii, but nothing too radical.

This I could not understand, after deciding to rid the city of the nukular terrah. I had to assume it was just Hannah going something's changed! and rushing to City Hall to tell me about it.

I mean, what was wrong? The aura was pretty good, frankly.

Seriously, Funkytown was still an attractive place to live. Had been for years. Of course someone always had to complain.

Greville. I could smell the dope long before he arrived.

Ahh, Greville.

Wal, my man. I love what you did about the nuclear plants. Awesome, decisive action. I'm proud to live in your city.


But! Yes. I don't mean to complain...

Oh. here it comes...

Oh, you want me to plant more trees.

Yes! You read my mind!

Oh, I'll plant more trees, then.

I'll help you!

Oh, good for you! How's Sophia, by the way?

*sigh* Well, some women, you know.

Oh, I see. Well, she does that.

Yeah, now she's going out with some - ugh, how can I say it without sounding bitter and reactionary - some technocrat. From the lab.

Oh really? Well, she seems to have a thing for nerds.

Yeah, I guess I was no match for him and his portal gun.

Oh no.

Bitch. She was all "oh you're an interesting and intelligent guy but you smell like a Cheech and Chong movie and ugh that beard" and steady got more and more disparaging. Then she started going on about what Thompson did with portals. You want to hear about it?

No, no, I don't think I need to know.

Fair enough.

We'll, she'll break it off as soon as he asks her to dress up as a valkyrie.

Huh. Like that'd be a stretch for her.

You know what? Let's go plant some trees.

A fine idea, my man. Rebirth and regrowth. Yesss...

I'd planted plenty of trees before.

It was no big deal.

And besides, this is what made the city great. Cuckolds planting trees.

And balding bowlers complaining about taxes.

And factory owners complaining about taxes.

And suppressing personal liberties to help busybody old women live a couple of weeks longer.

And right-on liberal advisors condoning such suppression.

Yep, the job of mayor was all about making the people happy.

While taking their money and spending it on stupid crap like trees.

But, all in all, they really had little to complain about.

Because Funkytown sometimes went out with the wrong men but took precautions and always got home safe.