Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Alfisti on Mon 10 May 2010 - 11:20

Professor Voodoo wrote:I was no fan of drill either. Even in a formation of 60 or so young recruits (all of whom are getting it wrong) the whole exercise made me feel like I was the only one screwing up.
Thougth to be brutally honest: being on the other end is a heap of sadistic fun

Robert Frazer wrote:By the by, if any other readers are unaware as to what exactly all us
former-military types are wittering on about, this is a pretty accurate
summary:
Yeah, looks about right... especially the pricision drill teams

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Tommygunner70 on Mon 10 May 2010 - 17:28

Monty python is awesome.

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Robert Frazer on Tue 11 May 2010 - 16:45

Just a quick note to mention an edit: I noticed that I missed out some of Mario's and Dona's dialogue in Chapter Four, so that's been reinserted. It's nothing major - After demonstrating assembling the Bizon, Dona asks "can I go back to my Calico now" - but it helps make Mario's subsequent remark actually make sense!

There's also been a few minor adjustments in Chapter Four and Six - "the sergeant" isn't said nearly so much in the forest scene now, and I clarified that Avise started calling the policeman trying to arrest him a "faggot" because he was trying to throw the other man off, not because he was propositioning him. sweat

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by MP5 on Tue 11 May 2010 - 22:09

Naturally, Brian, being former SAS, has disdain for such things, and henceforth proceeded to mock Avise with the above skit, using some of the other second gen girls (Allison, Kara, Laine, Erina, Annette, Adeline, Marisa, and Britney) for the cast.

Brian: Squuaaad! Camp it UP! [the girls begin to march]

Allison: Ooh, get her--!

Kara: --Whoops, I've got your number ducky, you couldn't afford me dear--

All:--two,three--

Laine:--I'll scratch your eyes out!--

Adeline:--Don't come the Brigadier bit with us, dear, we all know where you've been, you military fairy--

All:--Two, three, one, two, three, four, five, six--

Marisa:--Whoops! Don't look now girls, the man has just minced in with that jolly colour Sergeant--

All:--two, three. Oooh!

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Kiskaloo on Tue 11 May 2010 - 22:15

With Michele being a reserve Lieutenant Colonel and the son of a retired Major General, I expect Kara would be doing laps under the steely gaze of Avise... Wink

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Alfisti on Tue 11 May 2010 - 22:40

Kiskaloo wrote:With Michele being a reserve Lieutenant Colonel and the son of a retired Major General, I expect Kara would be doing laps under the steely gaze of Avise... Wink

Later, Monty finds the exhausted Kara collapsed under the shade of a tree after doing eightly laps of the compound...

Monty: See? Believe it or not, hiding out in the admin office does have some advantages. *drops a sheaf of papers on Kara's stomach These are yours by the way.

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Kiskaloo on Tue 11 May 2010 - 23:10

"Curse your black heart...Blacker!"

"Hmm...that's not nearly as biting as I had hoped..."

[Gets up and follows Monty towards the Admin building.]

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Professor Voodoo on Thu 13 May 2010 - 0:56

Chapter 2
Rico's eyes shone as she beheld it all...fresh facets of a jewel that scintillated in Rico's brimming, loving, life-filled eyes. Rico floated up the tall hall in a state of ecstasy, of communion.
First thing that stands out is the juxtaposition between how we as the audience would perceive a mundane, fluorescent lit truckstop, and how it appears to Rico. I frequently have to pop into places like this while I'm out on the road...I'll have to take care to steer clear of conspicuously unaccompanied 11 year olds filling their shopping baskets at 3am.

fortunately no-one had seemed to twig to the sight of an adolescent girl bouncing up a good seven feet from standing.
I'll definitely steer clear of that! Impressive though...leaping 7 feet, reading the titles, selecting the right one and plucking it from the shelf with no mishaps. Good illustration of cyborg abilities in a non-combat setting.

Very odd. Rico had a curious flick through the book, seeing lots of unusual words which made her feel funny.

Sudoku For You Vol. IV that Henrietta had asked for didn't create the same weird, loopy, quivery, shimmery feelings, despite being another book, one that was even bigger than the last one. Rico couldn't explain why, but she felt vaguely disappointed about that fact.
I got a laugh out of that passage. I suspect Jean has not invested much time in explaining the "facts of life" to his cyborg.

The strange tone in her voice only mutated further when she recognized Rico's actual sex.
Only Rico would be un-offended by something like this.

It had been arranged that the New Kid, Avise Mancini, was to be given all of the second-generation girls for a session –

Seven second-generation cyborgs – Petrushka, Iliria, Giliana, Vanessa, Alba, Kara and the younger Marisa the odd-one-out at the back – were arranged into four paired ranks.
I don't need to tell you, based on the number of fast replies the drill sequence is the highlight of this chapter.

The face below it was a knotted purple.

"'Eff! 'Aight! 'Eff! 'Aight! 'Eff! 'Aight! 'Efffffffff... STOP! Alba, are you a dancer? No? Petrushka is the dancer isn't she? Yes? Yes! Are you trying to upstage your comrade? No, she says. So, why are your feet skittering about like some Hollywood musical?
Now that's something I'd forgotten all about...the drill sergeant's insistent efforts to make you laugh...balanced against your own desperate fight not to, knowing of course that the moment you laugh you become the next target of his or her attention (yes, we had female drill sergeants, they were the worst).

The girls were visibly cringing, crumbling from the onslaught like bunkers cracking under sustained bombardment – except for one pouting figure at the back.

"Stop shouting at me" Marisa muttered.
Yep...trust Marisa to be the first one to shoot off her mouth. This battle seems like the old "irresistible force meets immovable object" paradox. Avise & Marisa are both full of bluster & pretense, I can easily see them butting heads. Round 1 to Mancini it seems. Watch out for cyborgs with laundry detergent...

Marisa, by her act of defiance, had won the ardent blood-loyalty of the rest of the second generation 'til the fall of Valhalla – granting them the sweet merciful respite of a few seconds' sagging while Avise's back was turned.
And she will brag about it later...guaranteed. You read Elio's response perfectly too. While he may not entirely approve of Avise's methods he would not undermine another adult in front of the cyborgs.

"Letting a bit of steam off there eh, Mancini?" Amadeo said suddenly, in a bluff tone that was a disdainful criticism. "Things getting you down lately, needed to beat it out?"

"Down?" Avise looked genuinely confused, before he chuckled lightly. "Amadeo, what on Earth would give you that idea? Things have been great this past week."
"Idea?" Amadeo was so astonished at, and uncomprehending of, Avise's current incongruously light manner that it came out almost as a shout. "You were screaming at those kids so much we were almost taking bets on you having an aneurysm!"
"Your head looked as though it was going to pop like a champagne cork!" Nihad exclaimed.
Good touch here; the support staff veterans vehemently objecting to the harsh treatment of "their" girls. Had it been the first generation cyborgs drilled so harshly I fear there would have been a revolt, not from the cyborgs but among the adults.

Reading both Avise and the crowd with a quick scan, Elio bit his lip and leaned forward to prevent a souring of the atmosphere. "So, those girls were pretty dismal, eh?" He said gregariously loudly,
And that's what Lorenzo brought him in to do. Use his experience, keep things balanced, and keep the peace as the organization grows larger.

even though Avise was an officer and Elio was Other Ranks, Elio's status as a grizzled veteran and as special forces was not a little awe-inspiring in the (relatively) younger man. "I was hoping that it'd impress you." Avise said, a little plaintively,
I wonder if Avise will feel the same when he learns the less than glorious reasons that Alboreto left the British Army for the Ministry of Intelligence.

"After my dad died an Army scholarship was the only way I could fund university," Avise explained, "and even that was a secondary option. For a while I actually through that I might have the Vocation. That was back when I was seventeen, not long before I wrapped up school. I was even reading the pamphlets about the priesthood at the back of church."
Elio arched his eyebrows in surprise –
Glad to see more of Avise's background and motivation surfacing. Actually, it seems to me that the military & the clergy are not as wildly disparate career choices as they may seem. They are both insular organizations with an authoritarian command structure. Both are overwhelmingly male-oriented as well.

From the literary perspective, Mancini's confession of what the decider actually turns out to be provides a terrific bookend to the section...capped off by a reminder that Mari still has a few laps to go.


"Alright everyone!" Rico squealed with glee, practically dancing on the table as she swung the bag up to hold it aloft. "Come and get it!"
While some might object to such an extroverted portrayal of Rico, I loved seeing her revel in being the center of attention. I wonder if this is a ceremony that is played out every time one of the girls makes a "run." The scene certainly has a very primal, tribal feel to it.

"Claes has her bag of chocolate raisins, six Vicks Inhalers and a tube of lip salve!"

Several girls eyed Claes strangely. Claes sniffed haughtily and turned her nose up in an arch expression, as though she was considering higher matters than whatever the scurrilous gossip of the plebs might insinuate. "It's an experiment" she sniffed, and offered no further comment.
Your guesses as to what each of the girls "order" seems spot-on, but I'll admit that Claes even has me confused with her selections. Has she learned how to make cyborg-meth!?

"There is no need for any distress, Henrietta," Amelia explained, "through the sharing of common possessions we merely harmonise our operational rhythm through sharing so as to obtain a state of sublimation and telepathic communion with extrasensory precognition while concentrating on mission priorities."

Henrietta blinked, visibly astonished. "Really?"

"No, Henrietta, that is not the case." Bella shook her head with slow, grave censure. "Amelia is being facetious, which is to say, she is utilising the rhetorical device of sarcasm to mock your gullibility and aggressively denigrate your intellect."
That passage had me laughing...the BSqG's apparently know they seem alien and robotic to the others, and have a bit of fun at their expense by playing up their own image.

"We have concluded that she is capable of rendering male characters in such a manner that, if they were to be materially real people, we would desire to engage in sexual intercourse with them." Diana said.

Sunk in? Triela's cheeks burnt with shame and embarrassment.

"That's no trouble!" Rico beamed happily, and waved both her arms emphatically even though the girls were barely twelve feet away. "Have a nice night!"

Nice night--! Triela almost choked in horror. God bless Rico's empty head!
Another winner there...who would suspect an undercurrent of randiness in the puzzle-assembling quartet?

Marisa: (lying in her bottom bunk) What is that noise up there?

She petered off when the room only responded to her with blank stares that might well have come from the bomb squad themselves.

Dona dropped her hands down in an exasperated sigh. "Rico, can I please have my Twix now?"
Sigh...the joke that doesn't go over as expected...we've all been there.

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by theprodigalson on Thu 13 May 2010 - 13:07

She petered off when the room only responded to her with blank stares that might well have come from the bomb squad themselves.

Dona dropped her hands down in an exasperated sigh. "Rico, can I please have my Twix now?"
Sigh...the joke that doesn't go over as expected...we've all been there.
I co-miserated right there big time. I felt especially bad for her because I know the awesomeness that is Cannon Fodder.

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Professor Voodoo on Fri 14 May 2010 - 10:21

Chapter 3

The following week was pretty much business as usual.
The consistent chapter beginnings are a clever touch.

Dona had a little accident....She lost three fingers, which left her a real pouting grump for the half-day or so it took to replace them.
Another amusing example of the unique attitude brought about by having replaceable parts.

"What's your regime? I've been in charge of exercise programmes for years now, I could probably help tune you up." Avise offered helpfully.
Avise is certainly trying hard to find his place in the Agency...with somewhat lackluster success.

I suspect that by reputation alone he would already know Triela...and treat her a bit differently than he does the other girls. Even if she is just a 14 year old cyborg she's still the star of the organization.

Mancini's awkwardness casts a new light on certain parts of Lamb & Tyger. No wonder he is so exuberantly joyful (even to the point of bursting into song) when he is assigned his cyborg...he's finally found his place in the club.

"Sorry for interrupting, Mr. Mancini, but are you free for a moment?" Ferro's voice cut in
And this marks the first time in canon or fan-fiction that Ferro has actually saved one of the girls from an uncomfortable situation!

"You've been awarded a new responsibility, Mr. Mancini – that of science teacher for the cyborgs' education segments.
Okay...I'll have to incorporate that into my universe as well. Sciences were hitherto unspoken for. Going back to my previous comment; it doesn't surprise me that he eagerly accepts a new duty...it gives him more of the toe-hold he is seeking.

She looked at the fifty-euro note in her hands. Monique had shown her a trick with a five pound-sterling note where if you folded it in a particular manner, you could make the picture of the Queen on the back smile and frown.
Apparently Monty has lots of time to discover useless tricks while sitting in the passenger seat of Jethro's Audi.

The girls weren't permitted to own money themselves – discretionary income would mean a measure of choice and independence
I'm glad someone is adhering more rigidly to canon in this respect...I admit I have not been so disciplined. I personally draw the line at the cyborgs having their own personal source of income. Any money they do have must be attained by begging their masters or doing extra work within the confines of the agency.

While going through the pockets of a Padanian who she had ventilated with a barrel of buckshot, Triela had chanced across a wallet which, remarkably, was stuffed with money – fully two thousand euros' worth of banknotes,
Aha...so that's where the cash is coming from.

Triela's rationalization of the "procurement" is one of my favorite parts of this chapter. The conflict between human nature & conditioning is at the very core of GSG...and placing that in the context of a minor dishonest indulgence just makes it cute.

brought to Triela's mind that time the safehouse she'd been storming had had the entrance mined. They'd picked up her right leg in a tree and her Winchester three blocks away.
Dr. Donato: Triela, you have to relax...we can reattach your leg and you'll be as good as new, I promise.

Triela: (frantic) To hell with my leg! Did anyone find my shotgun!?

...to see Hilshire walking in.
The "Oh Shit" moment of the chapter. With that one line the whole story changes!

Hilshire would be dazzled by long golden hair reflecting the light of the hallway and his eyes would be drawn right to her...
Even in a moment of terrifying duress she's still got a crush on the man. I also like how Triela places the incident in the context of metaphorical combat.

Base! Triela breathed a sigh of relief and release as she locked herself into a stall. The one place where no man could ever follow her.
Shifting from the metaphor of combat to that of a game of tag. Neat way of utilizing both the warrior and the kid aspects of her identity.

Triela pawed at herself cautiously. Just as well she was already in the toilet.
Lowbrow...but I got a laugh out of it!

Pietro Abruzzo was reluctant to leave the warm bubble of the car, and eventually his partner Mario Costi had to rap his knuckles on the windscreen to jerk him out.
While I'm confident that more than 2 men in the nation of Italy have the name Mario, I found it confusing at times that two men in the story shared the same name.

The security guard clattered noisily around the side of the television, before pulling out an ungainly tower of old VHS tapes

The old device grinded and whirred like a food disposal unit as one of the tapes was fed into it.
Jeeze, am I the only one left who still uses one of these?

"Watch this young girl, here." Fuccini pointed out to the image of an adolescent with a brown bob haircut, standing in the middle of the central corridor.

she seemed to spinning about the floor her head back and staring up at the ceiling, to the extent that she even stumbled into a few other customers.

the girl – with two plastic bags heavily laden with goods – swung them freely as though they only held empty air. Pietro suppressed a smirk as the thin plastic on one of the bags' handles snapped, spilling shopping all over the tarmac.
*sigh* One can only wonder what is going on inside Henrietta's head most of the time.

Just as the girl was leaving the service station with a bag of shopping under each arm, she abruptly changed course...she was actively avoiding someone.
Fun to see the perspective shift on what we've just read.

– the girls should be dead with congealed sugar clogging their colons.
A minor slip perhaps...doesn't Pietro still think there are boys (Rico) involved?

The exchange between the 2 police officers was a bit unusual for you...employing curt, fast paced dialogue to cover a lot of ground fast. Considering the two characters I'd say that was a good choice.

Together, they dropped down onto the tarmac and did the standard chassis-check for car bombs,
A very realistic touch that I had not considered in my own stories. You kept it very low-key as well.

Pietro's voice trailed off into a scowl as the car behind them insisted on tailgating, even though the detectives were already in the fast lane. Pietro pulled back into the middle lane to let the car zoom ahead. "We should arrest him for speeding." He grumbled.
"We're doing 140 KM ourselves." Mario pointed out.
This close to SWA Headquarters, it's probably Michele...

"Well, I can work out that much, but what else is there?" Mario inquired.

"Perhaps it is a 'security matter' after all." Pietro intoned darkly. "There's a large forest area just behind the station. A group of Padanians bivouacking out in there, and they've co-opted some local country kids to do supply runs for them.
The plot thickens! Apparently junk food leads to even more serious problems than obesity...

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Kiskaloo on Fri 14 May 2010 - 11:16

Michele: "Step aside, Jackson. You're holding up the parade."

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Robert Frazer on Fri 14 May 2010 - 14:29

Thanks for the comments, Voodoo.

Glad to see more of Avise's background and motivation surfacing. Actually, it seems to me that the military & the clergy are not as wildly disparate career choices as they may seem. They are both insular organizations with an authoritarian command structure. Both are overwhelmingly male-oriented as well.

Interestingly, there's a scene in a future story where Avise meets up with his old regimental padre, who takes one look at the cyborgs and tells Avise that he's a monster and on the express elevator to Hell. It's going to a fun scene to write... pity that there's three other in-progress stories to finish before I can get to it. bang head

Your guesses as to what each of the girls "order" seems spot-on, but I'll admit that Claes even has me confused with her selections. Has she learned how to make cyborg-meth!?

I was aiming for a 'weird' image - just what sort of wild concoction is Claes brewing with such bizarre ingredients - but I seem to have fumbled it, sorry.

Okay...I'll have to incorporate that into my universe as well. Sciences were hitherto unspoken for. Going back to my previous comment; it doesn't surprise me that he eagerly accepts a new duty...it gives him more of the toe-hold he is seeking.

That's true, but there's a further point in this particular situation as well - Avise can tell that Ferro is trying to get a rise out of him and he doesn't want to give her the satisfaction (hence the stress on a "bland" response). Not to say that there's any animosity between the two, just that Avise isn't going to let someone score a point on him.

While I'm confident that more than 2 men in the nation of Italy have the name Mario, I found it confusing at times that two men in the story shared the same name.

I have to admit to laziness here. I needed a character name, but the internet was slow that night and I couldn't be arsed to wait for the Italian Names website to load, so I just slapped down "Mario" and was done with it.

A minor slip perhaps...doesn't Pietro still think there are boys (Rico) involved?

Oops, well-spotted.

The plot thickens! Apparently junk food leads to even more serious problems than obesity...

The way some people moaned about Kraft Foods buying out Cadbury's recently, you'd have thought that an international assassin's ring had been contracted to settle the matter!

--------------------
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Incidentally, if anyone is not familiar with the band that Hilshire was listening to: Kraftwerk are a long-running German group and a member of the experimental 'Krautrock' movement. They were early pioneers of musical synthesisers and made their name with surrealist post-human hallucinations of a brave new world.



Of course, that could equally be an excuse for repetitive beats and wooden acting...

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by ElfenMagix on Fri 14 May 2010 - 22:28

Damn, I remember Kraftwerks... 1970's/80's disco era...

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 15 May 2010 - 11:22

I've got Autobahn in my iTunes library.

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Professor Voodoo on Tue 18 May 2010 - 0:45

Robert Frazer wrote:
Voodoo wrote:Your guesses as to what each of the girls "order" seems spot-on, but I'll admit that Claes even has me confused with her selections. Has she learned how to make cyborg-meth!?
I was aiming for a 'weird' image - just what sort of wild concoction is Claes brewing with such bizarre ingredients - but I seem to have fumbled it, sorry.
Not fumbled at all, that's the exact impression that I got. Claes has perhaps discovered something interesting in her readings.

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Professor Voodoo on Sat 22 May 2010 - 8:57

Chapter 4

Panic swept the Agency when the perimeter alarm actually did go off....and hearts of the younger girls thundered at such a rate that they all probably carved off a good year or so of their lives
A significant loss when your life is only 3-4 years to begin with!
The handler came back sporting a fresh scar in his side, and the cyborg came back looking thoughtful.
A nice time reference point...delivered with subltety.
Beatrice found some old chalk in the back of a drawer, and played hopscotch on the path.
Perhaps you intended that to be a light-hearted line, but there's something ethereal to it...even haunting. It has the same effect as the scene you've pointed out a few times wherein Henrietta sews a ripped blouse while Rico cleans her pistol.
Even if they were still part of the same organisation, it seemed that everywhere you went, people built walls.
I've often thought that one of the undercurrents of the GsG story is outcast people, any of whom have lived a good portion of their lives working in secrecy, making connections with each other...but I suppose it can feel exactly the opposite at times as well.
"Why noy just get the defence minister to lean on the justice minister, and have this police bust aborted?
Still trying to catch the football match, Nihad?
The hairs pricked up on the back of Henrietta's neck, every sense in her body screaming danger. With a thought she immediately started glanding combat drugs and turned around, slowly.
Interesting medical conjecture. It makes sense that the cyborgs would have their own special synthetic version of adrenaline.
Henrietta bolted. Pietro threw out a hand to grab onto her, but he only pawed empty air.
This is a scene I had fun playing out in my mind...Henrietta dodging the hapless police while still hanging onto the loot.
Henrietta did not try to dodge, but as she sprinted forward she swung the bags of shopping around, their heavy, pendulous weight cycling like morningstars. The policemen flinched from the hard-contact allusion but held firm – so Henrietta let go, casting each bag high into the air. One of the policemen blinked to avoid a collision with the projectiles, and the other instinctively reached out to catch a thrown object – scarce distractions, but enough to let Henrietta kick down into a slide between their legs, squeaking across the tile floor to flow up and catch each bag before they could crash and spill against the ground.
A stunt straight out of a Jackie Chan film! My only note; the quarterbacker is not the one who faces the charge in an American football (hand-egg) game. I think they're called the line-men (can anyone who knows American football better cast some light on this?).
Yanking off the ring so that the can might as well have been a grenade, Henrietta pulled her arm back and pitched the frothing, spurting, shaken-up drink straight at the policeman, flooding his face with fizzy pop.
This actually works (at least with cheap beer), but I never thought to yank the ring off. That hand grenade allusion adds an additional comic touch.
"I learned the elite skill of Operational Dressage that day a mortar bomb bashed through the roof of the shower block while I was in it." Avise replied breezily.
That could ruin your day. Question is; did he get to finish his shower?
Dona slid her rucksack off her shoulders and gently lowered it to the ground,
Good continuity mentioning the rucksack we're familiar with from The Long Weekend.
The breath that Dona had been gathering instead flopped back out in a grumpy sigh. "I never get to have any fun." She griped.
You don't see many of them in canon, but I really get a kick out of these little "unprofessional" moments from the cyborgs.
"Donatello!"....Why aren't you shooting? Why aren't you moving?"
Dona turned her head to her handler. "Except where specifically ordered by your handler, figures of official public authority are not to be harmed." She said in a dull monotone and with a flat expression.
This is probably a demonstration of Dona's literal, didactic nature, but I also get the feeling that she's stalling a bit to provide Henrietta some time.
"Chin up, guys!" Gregorio called out over the crack and sting of weapon reports. "This way, we might get back to compound in time for the second half!"
Got to keep things in perspective after all.
There'd be time for scrubbing the girl's tongue with soap and a wire brush later.
"Shit. Shit! Shit piss fuck dick Goddamned shitting cuntlips!"
Just minutes after chiding Dona for her language, Avise launches his own string of creative expletives. I love the hypocritical double-standard.
Mario sighed inwardly and tried to impress the simple man with martial grandeur. "Sir, you're standing at the edge of a literal battlefield. We have been engaged in actual conflict with terrorist elements in the surrounding woods and in such sophisticated and complicated—"
"Like that sort of stuff doesn't happen every day of the week nowadays!" The man snorted.
Another great example of the apathy borne of a protracted conflict.
"Shi boak bai doze." Pietro mumbled dejectedly.
Be it a sleepy Rico or a policeman with a broken nose I always get a laugh out of your phonetic garbled speech.
"Let us never speak of this again." Ferro said.
And they never did.
Limiting the last scene to only one line of dialogue really let the mood develop.

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 22 May 2010 - 11:10

Professor Voodoo wrote:My only note; the quarterbacker is not the one who faces the charge in an American football (hand-egg) game. I think they're called the line-men (can anyone who knows American football better cast some light on this?).

Well the Offensive Line is trying to get to the QB to sack him. It's the role of the Defensive Line to protect him.

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Robert Frazer on Sun 23 May 2010 - 9:05

Perhaps you intended that to be a light-hearted line, but there's something ethereal to it...even haunting. It has the same effect as the scene you've pointed out a few times wherein Henrietta sews a ripped blouse while Rico cleans her pistol.

I can see this aspect to it, definitely. Beatrice is a quiet character, and she ghosts about the Agency, finding her way into the hidden nooks and forgotten, lonely corners ("back of the drawer") precisely because her reserve makes her unremarkable and unnoticed. Hopskotch also tends to be a group game with other people cheering and egging you on, so just clacking along by yourself might be seen to be especially desolate.

Just minutes after chiding Dona for her language, Avise launches his own string of creative expletives. I love the hypocritical double-standard.

Well, like drinking, voting, smoking, and driving, swearing's a privilege of adulthood. Wink

Dona's a young child anyway, she's not expected to be stained by the grime of adult life and proclivities.

Another great example of the apathy borne of a protracted conflict.

Ob-la-dee, ob-la-dah, life goes on...

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Alfisti on Sun 23 May 2010 - 10:25

naaa-na-na-na life goes on!

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Professor Voodoo on Fri 11 Jun 2010 - 5:02

Chapter 5

(Chiara) had been chasing down a runner when she skidded off a side-street and smacked into a car. In the heavy traffic she bounced off the bumpers of four separate vehicles before spinning off into the far side of street. Leaning against a wall to catch her breath, she laughed manically about how fun it had been before vomiting and passing out.
Am I crazy for thinking that this does sound like fun?

she'd gone into the workshop with no less than eleven separate switchblades, kitchen knives, hiking multitools and bayonets stuck into her, and now the caterers wanted to use her as a chopping block at dinnertime.
Seems like the doc's would want to use her as a chopping block too, considering the amount of work she just caused them!

Then it was Marisa's turn.
Ohhhh shit.

A note on Marisa's participation; it's interesting to see how the different authors who have used her place her in the timeline. I have her coming online in the spring after the Venice battle...Kisk sets her much later, in his "Once Again" story after Kara has passed. You've placed her earlier than I...allowing Marisa to overlap with Beatrice's life-span. There is no right or wrong answer, it's just amusing to see different interpretations.

Question about this story though; in your "universe" the Series 2 girls live in a different dorm, separate from the First Generation. This is necessary of course, as a means of separating Triela & Agapita. Chapters 1 & 2 seem to suggest that it's the Series 1 dorm undertaking these midnight runs...how did Mari get involved?

"Alright, final equipment check."

Sveva nodded quietly and turned out the pockets of her tracksuit and held them out in turn for the cell commander to inspect. Extendable baton. Office keycard. Fake ID tag. Four computer memory sticks.

Cyanide pill.
Sveva's introduction is much more explanatory than we're used to from you...often you leave the reader to figure out what's going on by himself (first chapter of Occ. Haz. is a great example of this). It may lack the same artistic challenge, but this way does keep the pace up better.

Very significant that the enemy now knows where the SWA lives.

dropped the bolt cutters and concealed them from view behind the grasses knotted around the fence base. The lawn was negotiated by a leopard-crawl (and there had been nowhere to practise that other than the hallway in her house – up and down, up and down, scraping along the carpet until she had felt like a piece of string in a cotton mill)
Good allusion to the heavy, unkempt grass from the first chapter. Sveva forced to practice in her own hallway before infiltrating the Agency's well equipped compound juxtaposes the wildly disparate resources of the two sides well.

worn oak doors of her uncle's company had parted to admit her on a visit.
The uncle who brought her into the Padania perhaps?



She was at the heart of the secret.
She was in the Social Welfare Agency.

For a moment it was alarming, dizzying with a discomfiting sense of dislocation – the place seemed more like a hospital than a dread factory, the dark satanic mill which pumped out the black malignity which rotted the core of Italy.
This whole section, Sveva's solitary walk through the hall's of her enemy, is a real highlight. While the action is going on you mix in background, technology, and even a dash of politics...tossing in some of your trademark expressive prose. A very well written passage!

- she had vaulted over three desks, sending monitors and paper-tidies crashing to the floor, by the time that Alfonso had turned around. Alfonso turned to run, to reach for fire alarm, anything to bring others here –
The fight honestly surprised me...I was expecting any violent action to come in one big dose at the end. Well played.

The shrine to The Blessèd Caffeine again spurned the supplicant's entreaty. The god was angry, and red lights flared up before Avise like the writing before Belshazzar:

"USE CORRECT CHANGE ONLY"
What a reference! It fits well though.

The finest minds in Italy have hundreds of miles of neurone-patterned circuitry, carbon nanotubes and nutrient solution to create a whole herd of lovely limb-lopping Lolitas, and they can't operate some cheap contraption with exactly three working parts to get me some rancid instant mud.
Even when thinking to himself Avise's flowery, bombastic language remains.

"Life's a bitch, eh?"

Avise turned around at the sudden interruption. Sitting in the corner, almost drowned in darkness that was only scarcely stirred into gloom by the low light of the vending machines and the faint glow of the lamps outside, was Olga.

"Mancini," She began slowly, the tired clink of slowly-shifting gravel in the throat roughening her voice, "you go to Church, right?"

"Why?"

"Breasts." Avise said suddenly.
Avise's lighthearted (& funny...I feared you were going to slip into something ponderous) speech allows for a shift from Sveva's perspective to his. It has a much cleaner effect than just having the two meet in a hallway.

Why, then, had that woman been going the other way?

"This is Prospect Avise Mancini. My emergency code is D46. Intruder alert,

"Carabinieri! Stop or I fire!"
Now this is the action sequence I was expecting. There was a good, silent tension building scene preceding it and then all hell breaks loose. Looking back the comic scene with Olga sets it up too, lowering the audience's guard.

"What are you waiting for? She's right there!" Avise bawled at the guard as he ran up behind him. "Shoot her, for Christ's sake!"

One of the guards turned back to the agent, his face fretful and strained. "I'm sorry, sir, but I can't! The rules of engagement—"
I'm not sure how relevant Rules of Engagement are to an organization that's already violating just about every standard set forth by the civilized world (brainwashed child soldiers, torturing prisoners, coin-op coffee machines) but I see that it's necessary to set up the scene in the next chapter.

That void suddenly made Avise very conscious of his own situation. A major had just taken orders from a sergeant –
Obviously a cutting experience for someone who's self identity is so tied to his Regiment and officer status...

"You haven't reminded me to make it safe! Get a damned grip already, corporal!" He snapped irritably.
...and he takes it out on the hapless Corporal. They just can't catch a break.

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Robert Frazer on Sat 12 Jun 2010 - 16:51

Am I crazy for thinking that this does sound like fun?

Hey, count me in, it sounds like a hoot. In Judge Dredd there's a material called Boing, The Miracle Plastic - plop yourself into a sphere of the stuff and people can play literal human pinball with you. Mostly it's performed on stadium-sized tables, but there's something to be said for the 'freestyle' version:



Absolute riotous fun... at least, until Old Stoney Face collars you!


Well, while there are outliers in each group, generally speaking the first generation are young girls while the second generation are older teenagers. Age makes for a different outlook, and putting Marisa in with the core of the Gen-2 cyborgs would be like a sixth-grader with high-school sophomores - great for anthropologists looking for case studies in how alien species interact, but not so much for the test subjects themselves! People do better amongst their peers, so really "first generation dorm" and "second generation dorm" offically really translate to "young dorm" and "old dorm" in practise.

Very significant that the enemy now knows where the SWA lives.

I see the Social Welfare Agency as an "open secret" - everyone knows it, and everyone else knows that they know it, but the pretence is kept up for the sake of habit and form, and perhaps a little dash of that 'Moscow Rules' good sportsmanship - tip your hat to a fellow player and don't harass the opposition.

Padania, and other interested parties, know about the cyborg assassins - the difficulty for the Agency's opponents is the different matter of proving it to the public so as to make it a government-destroying scandal. It's what Leonardo was trying to achieve in the "Transcience and Reminiscence" episode of Il Teatrino, and what Sveva is infiltrating the Agency for in this story.

(While we're on the topic - Trivia Time! Britain never actually officially admitted the existence of MI6 until 1994!)

This whole section, Sveva's solitary walk through the hall's of her enemy, is a real highlight. While the action is going on you mix in background, technology, and even a dash of politics...tossing in some of your trademark expressive prose. A very well written passage!

Thanks for the compliment.

Tying into your comments on "Occupational Hazards", I like to dedicate a little time to the OpFor in each story: I see that treating Padania as a foil is fine when you're establishing characters, but eventually the point comes when you need to fill out the blank, as there has to be two sides to fight a war. I think Yu Aida became aware of this himself - compare the early anime where the "Republican Faction" is pretty much completely anonymous, to the far more plotty Il Teatrino. Adriano (back in "See Naples and Die") was pretty much a psycopath, Don Ambrogio has nothing in life other than 'The Business', Simon was just in it for the money, while Sveva here and the jihadis of "Pied-Rouge" are True Believers in their respective causes.

Avise's lighthearted (& funny...I feared you were going to slip into something ponderous) speech

Yeah, I wanted to avoid sermonising in this episode. Looking back, I really dislike the dialogue between Hilshire and Avise at the end of "Long Weekend" - it comes across as less a conversation and more of a tract.

I'm not sure how relevant Rules of Engagement are to an organization that's already violating just about every standard set forth by the civilized world (brainwashed child soldiers, torturing prisoners, coin-op coffee machines) but I see that it's necessary to set up the scene in the next chapter.

Hey, just because we're a murderous black-ops platoon doesn't mean we can't be civil.

Obviously a cutting experience for someone who's self identity is so tied to his Regiment and officer status...

True - in the absence of a wife and family Avise came married to his unit instead. Furthermore, Avise is really a bit of a jerk. Maybe not to the extent of Jean "Joyless Fart" Croce - Avise can be genuinely affectionate after all - but he does have a rather high opinion of himself, and that can roll over people's toes from time to time...!

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Professor Voodoo on Mon 14 Jun 2010 - 4:59

Final Chapter



"Whatever! I'm done! Clap me in irons! I'll sing like a birdie! Just keep me away from that... that thing!"
Departing from the usual chapter beginning signals the climax...and I like how you kept the actual surrender of the Padania agents "off camera." It puts the reader in the same position as the point of view character (Sgt. Sierra), wondering what the hell just happened?
"Miss. Marisa," Sierra coughed, "what's been happening here?"
"Ah, thank you for remembering my title, sergeant." Marisa said smugly,
The way you presented Marisa, full of self-important and somewhat ill-advised swagger, is terrific. I'm going to have to incorporate some of the character traits you ascribe to her into my own stories.

Despite the extraordinary situation Sierra suddenly feet very irritated with the precocious thing and was sorely tempted to put her over his knee and teach her some manners, irate handler or not.
Elio: (rolling his eyes) Go right ahead, Sergeant. I'm not sure how effective it'll be, but you'll get no complaint from me.
less the movement of her lips and more the peeling back of her face around her teeth.
Great imagery.
"Private Jocasta, sort out those, will you?"
"Wait!" Marisa cried suddenly, so loudly that it made everyone jump.
...and it all starts to go wrong.
"A six-pack of beer... no, not beer sorry, it's ginger ale."
Better check that 6-pack one more time...prosecco comes in cans now.


"They made me do it!" Marisa wailed.
Yep...that's my OC alright. When caught red handed...
1-Try to blame the enemy.
2-Try a stupid excuse.
3-Throw yourself on the mercy of the court, but implicate as many others as possible so the blame spreads thin.
"Henrietta kept the receipts, would you believe that girl?" Triela sighed
Excellent character touch. At least now Mari won't have to bear the full wrath of her sister cyborgs alone.
it's not as if he'll be bouncing out of bed at the crack of dawn, so how's he going to know if you skip it?"
"I suppose that it's because you people were off gallivanting outside the compound yourself. Guilt by association, et-cet-era."
You people? Triela shook her head. Claes really could assume a supercilious manner when it took her.
I think you're absolutely right about Claes having a bit of a conceited attitude as part of her character. There are a few hints of it in canon, but not many people have picked up on it with their fanfic's. Will we ever find out what witches brew she was concocting?
He caught a heading – "Operation Violet" – and a bolded name – "Aaron Cicero" – before Lorenzo shifted the position of his head,
Another good time-frame reference. The painful amount of time Lorenzo makes Avise wait demonstrates that he can be a dick as well.
The sequence of events during this interview was well planned, with Chief delivering Avise the "good news" first before dropping the proverbial hammer on him. It would have been too sappy had you done it the other way around.
– he had walked into an Interview Without Coffee. And now, he really needed one.
That's a good phrase there. Lorenzo's whole remonstrative monologue shows a great deal of reserved power. It would be very out of character for him to fly off the handle like the beleaguered Chief in a campy police action flick.
Now no amount of self-control could make Avise hide his dismay. "You don't mean that she's the head cleaner?"
Mancini's resolve finally cracks. Between Claes on trash & weed detail, Avise covering the bathrooms, and the other cyborgs seeing to their own punitive tasks the Special Operations Compound is a shoo-in for the Italia's Most Beautiful Base trophy this year.

Claes was now expected to be able to duck a Buick, although maybe the crew was being slightly too ambitious - after her last test they'd had to contract outside help from a team of orthodontists to set everything straight again.
The scene gears down with Lorenzo's return to mundane paperwork, signaling an end to major story developments and a return to relative normalcy. You've used the Buick line before (on the forums)...I wasn't even aware they were available in Europe. Have they become a UK metaphor for things huge, ungainly and fit only for tossing?

Love the line about Claes needing dental work too...teeth are probably the only component of a cyborg that has not been debated on the forum yet. I'd considered a scene wherein Henrietta develops a cavity, triggering an uproar amongst the disbelieving doctors and technicians. "How the hell can she have tooth decay? Her teeth aren't even real! What's next? Is Triela going to come in with a pimple!?"

Bersaglieri officers traditionally wore black gloves. Lorenzo wondered how they looked in marigold.
Some wicked humour there...but funny.
There was still the quiet distance between them – the wall that the eyes were only peering over.
Very good metaphor.
The recent revelations about cyborgs 'crossing the wire' had genuinely blindsided him – That had been a stinging slap of humiliation for the senior handler to be exposed in a position of such myopic ignorance.
I had to think about this section...at first I thought it was a bit of a stretch that Jean was still so narrow minded about the cyborgs he'd been working with for years now, but upon reconsideration, if anyone was going to get blindsided by this it would be him. Being entirely focused on operational goals and his own vendetta it's possible that he would miss what's right under his nose...

Jean tightened his jaw, suddenly imagining the silence as surly insolence, the occasional blinks as flutters of condescension and disdain.
...and as a result of his new insight immediately assumes the worst.

"You're certainly ugly enough to pass for Colonel Nicholson!"
That seems a bit harsh...has Ilaria been making enemies?

I know it was a grind for you, but I declare your first stab at a comedic story a great success...one of your best so far. Humour really doesn't need constant jokes or gags to work...illustrating the absurd is enough, as you've proven.
Despite the dearth of humor in GsG canon (I can only think of one or two occasions Yu has slipped in a joke) there is plenty of absurdity to work with...I hope we haven't seen the last of it from you!

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Robert Frazer on Wed 16 Jun 2010 - 22:20

Thanks for providing such in-depth commentary on the story all the way through to the end, Voodoo, your time, effort and diligence is greatly appreciated. Please don't feel obliged - I wouldn't ever want it to be a chore for you.

Final Chapter

DUN DUN DUN!

The way you presented Marisa, full of self-important and somewhat ill-advised swagger, is terrific.

I'm glad that I could draw her in an authentic way for you.

Will we ever find out what witches brew she was concocting?

The cyborgs are having a (genuine) study group in one of their rooms...

TRIELA: So you see, Henrietta, this formula can solve any quadratic equation--

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

The whole world turns upside down as the building is gutted by a tremendous explosion which expels everything out across half the length of the compound in a blizzard of rubble, spraying like gore from an exit wound. The cyborgs bounce off lumps of stone and concrete and roll to a stop, then pick themselves up, yank joints back into their sockets and panel-beat their crushed heads back into shape with loose support beams.

DONA: We're under attack! Stand to, stand to, prepare for mass storming of the perimeter, automatic fire authorised--

A pile of dust and gravel crumbles away to reveal Claes, standing rock-upright. Her clothes are torn and she is covered in soot, but she has a dreamy, vacant expression on her face. She opens her mouth and sighs out a cloying cloud of rainbow-coloured fog.

CLAES: ThAt'S sOmE GoOd ShIt RiIiIiIiIgGhHhHt ThErE... *thud*

Mancini's resolve finally cracks. Between Claes on trash & weed detail, Avise covering the bathrooms, and the other cyborgs seeing to their own punitive tasks the Special Operations Compound is a shoo-in for the Italia's Most Beautiful Base trophy this year.

I just thought of something that would have been a little unrealistic (and so wouldn't really have appeared in this story, as it was trying to be light-hearted while still in the same context as the core adventure), but would have been good humour nonetheless - Lorenzo has actually been aware of Triela's theft of the money, the sweets runs, and the Padanian reconnaisance for a long time... and in a carefully-constructed Machiavellian plot he's secretly manipulated all parties - cyborgs, handlers, police and terrorists alike - to conclude in this very scenario. Why? So he can be sure to have extra help available to spruce up the compound right before a big official inspection!

You've used the Buick line before (on the forums)...I wasn't even aware they were available in Europe. Have they become a UK metaphor for things huge, ungainly and fit only for tossing?

Buicks aren't sold here as far as I'm aware (although Chryslers are), and they're not really an idiom - I was really thinking "Claes's face is going to be deformed like Play-Do by meeting a car bumper. For added comic effect, it needs to be a big car. Think of big cars... aha! Buicks!" As for why they'd be in Italy... They mentioned "a technology exchange with the Americans" at one point in the manga. Maybe GM tried to get some extra cash by throwing a few Buicks into the bargain?

If I'm being honest, I was probably influenced by this scene in Atomic Robo...



...at first I thought it was a bit of a stretch that Jean was still so narrow minded about the cyborgs he'd been working with for years now, but upon reconsideration, if anyone was going to get blindsided by this it would be him. Being entirely focused on operational goals and his own vendetta it's possible that he would miss what's right under his nose...

I wonder if perhaps I was a little too predictable and missed nuance in Jean's personality here, but as I had hit upon what I thought was a few nice expressions, I decided to roll with it. It's still fitting in any case - even if you do spend time detailing alternate perspectives on his thougths and feelings, at the end of the day he does keep his mind pretty much exclusively on the job. There is still room for a bit of black ironic humour in his choice of film, though, something like his comeback - welcome to the madhouse, gels, and you'll never leave!


Last edited by Robert Frazer on Thu 17 Jun 2010 - 10:54; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Wham, Bang, Fizz, P.o.W. : A Short Story

Post by Alfisti on Thu 17 Jun 2010 - 7:57

Robert Frazer wrote:
If I'm being honest, I was probably influenced by this scene in Atomic Robo...



Excuse me... I need to go find some Atomic Robo to read...

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