Crossroads of Destiny

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Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Thu 19 Aug 2010 - 18:06

Hello all; after several weeks of blood, sweat and tears I have finally finished the prologue to my on-going story featuring my OC's Jacob and Melanie. This project has quickly become a major focus for me, and as such I will be devoting as much time as I can keep moving forward with its progress. I hope to have the first chapter finished and posted by the end of the moth at the latest, but for now I offer up the story's introduction. I must warn everyone though: its long. Really long. The finished copy weighs in at fifty-five pages in MS Word, so you might want to book some time off from work before starting, lol.
Aside from that, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all those who have granted me permission to use their own characters in my work, and for all the helpful advice that has been offered along the way. So enjoy and, as always, as in the case with any artistic endeavour, any constructive criticism is welcome.

Prologue
Chapter 01
Chapter 02
Chapter 03
Chapter 04
Chapter 05
Chapter 06
Chapter 07
Chapter 08
Chapter 09
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15


Last edited by ChaosKin640 on Sat 29 Oct 2011 - 4:26; edited 14 times in total
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Jacen Starslayer on Thu 19 Aug 2010 - 20:22

Oh damn that was long. Long but good, I can't wait for the next chapter to come up.

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"I am the sword of justice
Forged by fate and tempered with time
I have struggled to stay true to his dreams and ideals
Never knowing defeat
Nor victory
Forever waiting for his return
This is my, Infinite Sword Dance"
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Thu 19 Aug 2010 - 21:31

Overall, an exceptional first story.


Certainly a unique background for a cyborg candidate. Smile

I'm guessing FF.net eliminated all the line breaks, including the one between the end of the scene with Quinayalyn and company and the start of the one with Jacob, but it might have worked better as a chapter break, starting a new chapter with Jacob and Sophia on the hillock. Same with starting a new chapter with Minaka's last moments and the arrival of Quinayalyn to take over Minaka's image.

Nice to see Sophia in a tactical outfit. The raid on the alpine house in Episode 12 of the first anime series really rubbed me the wrong way seeing the girls attack in street clothes and shoes and I've made sure that when there is no chance of "civilian detection" when operating out in "the boonies", the girls and handler's are in tactical dress.

Your descriptive prose is solid. Sets the scene in one's mind without being extraneous or flowery. You also have a firm grasp of the cyborg's abilities and worked them into the story in a logical way.

You also have a solid grasp of Victor and Triela's relationship and their chatter during the battle rang true as did Triela's sense of invulnerability (and her ego). Same with Henrietta and her Berserker mode. You are right up there with HamDemon on ff.net for knowing the canon characters.

Also, it's Claes, not Claus. You named her correctly at the start, but during the battle against the barricaded Padania… Smile

The entire combat arc was fantastic. Probably one, if not the, best I have read. The pure desperation of Triela's struggle

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by MP5 on Thu 19 Aug 2010 - 22:10

Damn, you have a gift for writing! 'Tire Tracks and Spent Casings' is drivel next to this!

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Thu 19 Aug 2010 - 23:55

55 pages and that's just the prologue! You must have been working on this for a while.

I've barely made a dent in it, but from what I've read so far I'm looking forward to the rest. It also looks like you're giving me a run for my money in the "Most OC's featured in a single episode" crown!

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Fri 20 Aug 2010 - 7:31

Lol, awesome, thanks guys. Grr...I never even noticed that mis-spelling of poor Claes' name. Yeah, FF.net mangled the whole structure of the story, but I'm feeling from other people's comments that it's a universal thing for them. I might switch in the future to just a direct download of the document files, the way Meverick has his Micheal/Jamie story posted.
but it might have worked better as a chapter break, starting a new chapter with Jacob and Sophia on the hillock.
I gave some serious thought about breaking each individual chunk of the prologue into its own seperate chapter, but that would have ruined the entire purpose of a prologue, and that is to introduce the characters and plot lines that are covered in the stoy itself. Plus, Jacob and Melanie are my central characters, and it just felt kind of wrong to have actual chapters posted and have her not even exist at that point.
Nice to see Sophia in a tactical outfit.
Well, it's a bit of a fusion, her outfit there. Yes she's wearing tactical boots and belt and she's in all black, but she's still wearing a blouse and skirt more in line with Henrietta's typical outfit. I was kind of going for an illustration of the serious business-minded focus of her training, mixed with her more light-hearted, girly-girl normal personality. FYI, for purely background purposes, I figure Sophia would have been fairly close friends with Kara and would probably have absorbed some of her fashion sense; hence Jacob's comment of her spending too much time hanging out with Kara, Razz
You must have been working on this for a while.
Actually Voodoo, it all came together remarkably quickly. The first part with Quinn and the Council I thought up and cranked out in two-three days of just hardcore power-writing, and the rest flowed pretty fast over the next one-two weeks. It really helped that Triela's whole battle section fell together extremely fast. The whole thing from the time she gets her chest blown open to the ending conversation between her and Hillshire just sort of coalesced in my mind in one huge chunk while at was at work one night. And as for having the most OC's featured, that was definately a conscious choice on my part. I just really want to aim towards as much interweaving between all of our individual OC's as much as possible, as I just find that that probably plays a part in how close-knit this whole community is, that sharing of creativity between us all. And it certainly helped that you all have excellently well-writen characters of your own to draw on. I wrote the whole bombing the generator aspect specifically with Agapita in mind and I pretty much knew from the start that I wanted Elio & Marisa to be the ones who first reach Jacob after Melanie was short.

All in all, thanks so much for the comments guys, and I hope to have the first "real" chapter up within the next two weeks.


Last edited by ChaosKin640 on Thu 26 Aug 2010 - 3:30; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Fri 20 Aug 2010 - 11:30

So... it looks like we have another exceptionally talented writer in our midst.

Great chapter mate, seriously. I started reading with the intent of breaking off after a bit to get some work for uni done... that was an hour and a quater ago, I've got no work done but finished the prologue.

A proper review will have to wait for a bit, but for now I'm going to agree with Kisk that your work with action scenes is amazing. I also really liked your portrayl of the canon characters, particularly Jean. Yes the man's a barstard, but he's a barstard for a reason and doesn't pull punches (no pun intended), even in regards to his own mistakes.

Looking forward to the next one... just not too soon or I'll be at risk of failing this semester.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sun 29 Aug 2010 - 6:57

Okay, I've nearly got the first chapter of 'Crossroads' finished and I hope to have it up for reading by the end of the day, tomorrow by the absolute latest. Unless of course Alfisti has any outstanding university projects he needs to get finished, in which case, out of respect for his academic standings, I will of course delay posting the chapter until he has a chance to get his work done. Razz
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Sun 29 Aug 2010 - 7:34

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Okay, I've nearly got the first chapter of 'Crossroads' finished and I hope to have it up for reading by the end of the day, tomorrow by the absolute latest. Unless of course Alfisti has any outstanding university projects he needs to get finished, in which case, out of respect for his academic standings, I will of course delay posting the chapter until he has a chance to get his work done. Razz
It's only group work... so knock yourself out

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sun 29 Aug 2010 - 7:42

Lol. Okay, thanks Alfisti. Don't worry, this chapter is nowhere near as long as the prologue is anyway, so it should give people as much trouble getting through it.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ElfenMagix on Sun 29 Aug 2010 - 10:50

Thats not a prologue. Thats a chapter or two rolled into one ongoing section.

A prologue should be short, sweet and explains simply what could transpire or how things got to a point. It should be no more than 5 paragraphs in length.


They have gathered together for the last time as the coffin was laid to rest in the coldness of the damp soil below. It rained the night before, but it did not matter to those in their expensive shoes made by Prada, Armani or Gucci that mud had seeped into the crevasses between the stitching.

It took one bad decision, a faulty piece of intel, and malfunctioning equipment to get to this point. The staff meetings before the funeral reeked of finger pointing and accusations of irresponsibility on various players of this game. But no one was looking the real problem - we were just out manned and out gunned. they were prepared for all out war while we were prepared to play tag, it was just that simple.

A celestial being of light and energy takes my hand, "Come dear, your time down there is over", she says as we walk through a knee high fog towards the unknown...

{All this happens in the middle or the end of a story- hinting on what the rest will be like}

[chapter 1]
[Intro/start to story...]

A bit more detail should be given, but what I put up is an example.

Not knocking your story, it is great from what I read but it needs a bit more organization.

The same applies to the ending , or Epilogue though in an epilogue can be longer to tie up loose ends. In 'SWA: Diclonius End Game' the epilogue could have started after "Fernando gets up, and leaves the room." That bottom 1/8th could be considered as an epilogue if put in a separate section. Finally, any story that starts with a Prologue, ends with an Epilogue. Stories can have an Epilogue by themselves but not a self standing Prologue without an Epilogue.


Last edited by ElfenMagix on Sun 29 Aug 2010 - 11:04; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Jacen Starslayer on Sun 29 Aug 2010 - 11:01

[Takes notes] Tell us more, Elfen.

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"I am the sword of justice
Forged by fate and tempered with time
I have struggled to stay true to his dreams and ideals
Never knowing defeat
Nor victory
Forever waiting for his return
This is my, Infinite Sword Dance"
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ElfenMagix on Sun 29 Aug 2010 - 11:03

@Jacen Starslayer wrote:[Takes notes] Tell us more, Elfen.
Reread, Jay. You caught me in mid edit.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Jacen Starslayer on Sun 29 Aug 2010 - 14:51

Sorry. [Scratches the back of his sheepishly]

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"I am the sword of justice
Forged by fate and tempered with time
I have struggled to stay true to his dreams and ideals
Never knowing defeat
Nor victory
Forever waiting for his return
This is my, Infinite Sword Dance"
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ElfenMagix on Sun 29 Aug 2010 - 16:13

No need to apologize.
You learn or you burn... that's all!

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Robert Frazer on Sun 29 Aug 2010 - 16:54

A prologue should be short, sweet and explains simply what could transpire or how things got to a point. It should be no more than 5 paragraphs in length.

Well, you could be like William Blake. He wrote "The Prelude" to his epic poem, and then realised that he'd said all he wanted to say in those prologue stanzas, and it ended up becoming the entire piece. Wink


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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ElfenMagix on Sun 29 Aug 2010 - 17:12

@Robert Frazer wrote:
A prologue should be short, sweet and explains simply what could transpire or how things got to a point. It should be no more than 5 paragraphs in length.

Well, you could be like William Blake. He wrote "The Prelude" to his epic poem, and then realised that he'd said all he wanted to say in those prologue stanzas, and it ended up becoming the entire piece. Wink
Yes but in this case, this wold end the story right then and there Evil

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sun 29 Aug 2010 - 21:06

Chapter 1 is now up on FF.net as promised. It is considerably shorter, only around 25 pages in length. To Elfin above, you've obviously never read any epic fantasy, which is my bread-and-better writing style. I've read books with prologues of 100+ pages. Just look up Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time' series. Insanely long prologues in some of those volumes.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Wed 8 Sep 2010 - 7:52

Great second (first?) chapter mate... breaking tradition on cyborg weapons selection I see, and I still really enjoy your characterizeation of Jean.

Proper thoughts on both chapters (now ) at a later date when I have a bit more spare time.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Jacen Starslayer on Wed 8 Sep 2010 - 16:11

I'm curious as to what comes next.

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"I am the sword of justice
Forged by fate and tempered with time
I have struggled to stay true to his dreams and ideals
Never knowing defeat
Nor victory
Forever waiting for his return
This is my, Infinite Sword Dance"
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Wed 8 Sep 2010 - 23:35

Thanks for the replies guys. I'm almost finished the note structure for chapter 2, so hopefully I can start writing within the next few days. I'd like to have it finished by the middle of the month, but I ended up dropping a scene in ch. 1 that I still want in the story, so I'm having to rearrange a lot of other stuff to fit it in, so most likely it won't be until closer to the end of the month.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Mon 20 Sep 2010 - 10:13

So, finally some more in-depth thoughts on the Prologue, sorry it's taken so damn long. Writing's not really my field of expertise, but I'll do what I can regards crit.

@ChaosKin640 wrote:The few doors set between the towering pillars that supported thecurving barrel ceiling more than thirty feet overhead were of plainmahogany. These parts of the Spire were devoted exclusively toadministrative offices, and were only ever seen by the upper-echelonstaff responsible for running the city. As such, there was little needto impress.
Well I guess it beats the knock-down dividers, numerous safety notices and apparently funny cartoons that seem to adorn most realms of the bureaucratic.

That is a joke, right? By the Abyss, these people are playingwith primitive carbon-fibre weaves and reinforced plastics.These…cybernetics are little more than binary-input robots. Common children's toys utilize technology that is centuries ahead of what he is claiming these people have developed.
Always nice to remember that, no matter how good you think you are, there's always someone better

Sheilded to cut off any hope of the demonic infection from spreadingeither to other worlds within the same universe, or to another universeentirely, the infected planet was then liquified from high orbit,reducing everything to a glassy lump of molten slag.
There's something about glassing a planet that has such a delicious finality about it. It's also a good way of getting across the gravity of any situation quicky I guess, or finding the lines that people or politics can't cross. The Honorverse version (the high-C kenetic strike) is specifically banned by the Erandi Edicts (or the Deneb Accords, I can never remember which covers what) and even the "villans" aren't willing to go that far. So when someone does seriously consider it that quickly and neatly points out that they're either desperate/serious... or batshit insane. I take it Alex is the former...


If I'm honest you actually lost me a little with the opening section, it's a lot of new faces and a new environment to get the hang of in a hurry. That said, I can see why it's there and why it's important... and to be honest I couldn't think of a better way of getting that information across quickly.


each man carrying AK47s gripped tightly in their hands
Nitpicky, but a slight stumble over pluralization here. I think it should be more along the lines of "each man carrying an AK47 gripped tightly in his hands."

but surveillance photos taken by a borrowed American satellite had shown there was an access port leading from inside
Monty: Define "borrowed".

She wore a thick black wool sleeveless sweater overtop a simple blackcotton shirt that she left untucked into the hem of her dark grey,knee-length skirt.
I know it's mentioned earlier in the thread: I always find it amusing how the girls somehow manage to add feminine touches. I guess it's part of the makeup of GSG that the girls are still girly, guns and butter as it were.

Also, to hijack a phrase of Voodoo's, I think this little descriptive passage sufferes a little from pronoun overload. There's a few "she"s and "her"s that possibly could have been cut out. That said, in doing so you may have run a risk of winning a prize for "longest run-on sentence".

Bracing himself, he flexed the muscles in his arms and legs to helprestore proper blood-flow. Working his shoulders slightly to loosen upany kinks, he tightened his grip on his Colt C8SFW, steeling himselffor what was about to happen.
Nice little section to quickly establish where Jacob's coming from. He's been through this sort of thing before and knows the drill as opposed to, say Hilshire who may still find this sort of assult a tad outside his, for want of a better descriptor, comfort zone.

Aware that there could still be guards stationed on the warehouse's roof, Jacob signalled Sophia to begin scaling the building.
Noddingher understanding, Sophia slung her Beretta around behind her andunwound the grappling line looped about her waist. Taking careful aim,she twirled the padded metal hooks in a slow overhand circle, steadilyincreasing the pace until they were just a blur to Jacob's eyes. Withpracticed ease, she released to hooks, letting the line spool out frombetween her fingers. The hook zipped up and over the edge of the roof,landing with a muted THUD. Giving the line a sharp tug to latch it inplace, she began her ascent.
Not waiting for her to reach the roof, Jacob crept carefully over to the warehouse's main door.
I liked this passage too for helping establish where Jacob and Sophia were regards the hander/cyborg relationship. To me this sounds like they're been working together for awhile, enough that Sophia doesn't need Jacob to spell out what he wants her to do. Possibly more importantly though, Jacob trusts her to do it.

The hatch wasn't locked or even secured in any fashion, which she was thankful for.
With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight... probably a warning sign. Good cyborg conditioning moment right after it too.

Hillshire frowned at her tone. "Watch your mouth. Everyone makes mistakes, Triela. Even you."
Trielarolled her eyes faintly, glad for the deep shadows so that Hillshirecouldn't see. "Are you chastising me or praising me here, because I'mgetting kind of confused."
"You know perfectly well that I'mcapable of doing both at the same time." The flat seriousness of hisvoice made Triela pause and turn back to look up at the taller man.Seeing the faint, slightly amused smile on his face brought a smile toTriela's own, despite her best efforts to resist.
I know it's been said before, but you really have managed to hit the canon characters bang on. From the interactions to Triela's high-stakes fighting style.

Triela could recognize the signs that Henrietta has slipped into anobsessed fixation; something the younger girl was rather prone to dowhen matters of her beloved handler's safety was at stake.
Did I ever mention that 'Etta's probably the cyborg that most freaks me out from time to time?

"I would hardly call what we just went through "easy" Triela," Hillshire pointed out. "You girls both did very well."

"No,I'm telling you, this doesn't feel right. This was the only point wehad even the slightest amount of trouble with. There were hardly anyguards on the ground floor, and there were only four men on the firstfloor. I'm telling you, this was too easy."
Reinforcing what I said earlier about Hillshire being a bit out of his depth: Triela's combat instincts are better than his.
Triela darted along the villa's east wall as soon as her feet hi the ground
"Hit" perhaps?

Stopping beside a set of patio doors leading into the villa's soleground-floor bedroom, Triela gave the ornate brass handler anexperimental twist, finding the door locked.
Handler? Handle?
Bracing herself, Triela allowed the man to barrel into her, hisshoulder slamming hard against her stomach, the reinforced carbon-fibreweave body armour under her skin absorbing virtually all of the impactforce.
Different physiology allows different tactics.
"Here Triela, I think you must have dropped this." Gingerly, she set Triela's discarded P7 in the older girl's lap.
Now, I'm not much of a guns bloke, but I was glad to see that Triela got her gear back at the end. One of the things that stands out to me at least in the GSG franchise is just how important these weapons are to the girls, in particular to Triela in terms of being a physical symbol of their relationship with their handler.
Needless to say I really enjoyed the whole sequence for Etta and Jose/Triela and Hilshire. You really do have an excellent grasp on action, not just being able to keep it exciting but getting a sort of ebb and flow happening so it doesn't wear the reader down by being full on all the time. Moreover you can really feel the high and low points of the fight.

Dimly Jacob mused that the very bait that had lured the agency intolaunching this raid would very soon be his and Sophia's biggestadvantage. The numerous stacks of crates would make it very difficultfor the Padanians to co-ordinate an effective assault, giving the pairof them plenty of places to dart and hide.
Good, quick reminder to get us back into the environment that J&S are operating in after the villa fight. Double bonus: you've already set up the arrangement in our minds earlier so don't need to interrupt the action by explaining it.
Glancing over, he saw Sophia firing madly, splitting her attentionbetween both entrances. He heard another man near to main door fall toher precision accuracy. She was forced to switch back to the roof hatchas more gunmen began to leap through.
"Dual screen challenge! Move your gun left or right to change views!" I gotta admit the early parts of this battle reminded me of playing far too much Time Crisis at the arcade in my younger days: bad guys streaming in from what can only assumedly be a spawn-point somewhere off screen.

Ejecting the spent clip, Jacob slapped home a fresh when and continued on.
I believe that's the first time someone's reloaded this chapter... That said, it does amp up the drama for this particular sequence. Suddenly they're chewing through ammo and this particular fratello's situation seems significantly more desperate.
"God damn it Alboreto, you son-of-a-bitch, where the fuck are you?" Jacob screamed into his radio.
"Busytrying to carve a path through all these Padania bastards you let inhere, you ungrateful ass," Elio growled angrily. There was a slightpause before Elio continued, his voice suddenly hesitant and subdued."Oh bollocks. Jacob, what happened?"
"It's Sophia. She…she's down." Jacob couldn't make himself say any more.
And then time sped up again... I think that, knowing a bit of the character, Elio's reaction more than anything slammed the situation here home for me...
"Hey, I remember that," the irrepressible little red-head piped up frombehind. "That was the first time I got shot, right Elio?"
Brilliantly tactless... I'd have been disappointed with anything else
Jean Croce gazed across the broken, smouldering landscape of what anhour ago had been a major Padania training camp. His anger slowlyseethed within him, boiling and churning in a firestorm of bottled ragethat screamed for release.
As an indicator of just how much you managed to draw me in with the story... it was only at this point, at the wind-down that I realised I still had music coming through my headphones.
"It seems he took a piece of shrapnel from one of Agapita's mortarrounds in the thigh. Alessandro is having a field-day with it. There'salready talk about everyone chipping in to buy Michele one of thosedoughnut-shaped pillows."
Well, someone has to give him shit for it...
"So I apologise if I ruined what was no doubt a masterfully craftedand carefully rehearsed speech of self-righteous indignation, butunless you have something original to add to what I already know, stopwasting my time.
"And let the damned surgeon take a look at your arm before it gets infected and they end up having to cut it off."
I've mentioned it before, but I reallly like the way your portray Jean. Yes the bloke's an arse, but he's a competent arse.
I will find you and I will kill you. With my bare hands if necessary, you will die.
*que rolling thunder


And there I'm going to have to call it a night. Will pick it up for the rest of the prologue and chapter 01 at a later date. Overall, really enjoying your writing so far. There's a few grammatical and spelling errors in there, but nothing disasterous (and I imagine proofing a long chapter like this would be a painful experience), and your skill at wordsmithing and protrayl of the characters, both canon and OC, more than makes up for it.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Tue 21 Sep 2010 - 8:29

Thanks once again Alfisti, always great to hear feedback. I've already adjusted the parts you pointed out about the AK's and the over-abundance of pronouns in that one sentence, so thanks for that. And don't worry about being lost in the first section; tbh, it was kind of my intent for readers to be slightly lost. That entire section, including all of the Council members are cross-over characters borrowed from my actual novel series project that I intent to have published one day. So just to clarify, the council exists on a world set in another universe entirely, roughly 90,000 years ahead of GSG's comparable timeline. Hence the somewhat more advanced technology.
In regards to the planet glassing, yes, Alex is definately of the former. He is a profoundly vocal advocate and staunch defender of the "lesser races" and goes well above-and-beyond the call of duty when it comes to helping them survive; often to the point of defying his colleagues' advice or even outright orders to the contrary. Which is why everyone is so shocked by his willingness to back the extreme of obliterating entire planets to stop Reaper from aquiring the advanced tech. It's a character flaw that is definately Alex's heaviest burden. He and Reaper have a loooong history of violent loathing towards one another that is beyond obsessive in nature.
Touching on the combat sequences, I find my biggest help is that I apprach it almost the way I imagine a Hollywood fight choreographer would. I know what I like seeing in a good action-scene and I try to replicate that same feeling of ebb and flow in my writing. And as for the reloading, I do my best to actually count the rounds as i write them in order to acurately depict when and how often the characters should be switching out clips so, glad that's been picked up on, Razz
Brilliantly tactless... I'd have been disappointed with anything else.
Yeah, I gotta admit, there was absolutely no other way to write that and still be true to the character, lol.
As far as the random spelling/grammer errors, as you said, trying to proofread a 55-page monster of a prologue is, well...a pain in the ass to say the least, but going through my hard-copy of it, honestly most of them are courtesy of FF.net's absolute mangling of the whole structure. I am most definately not a fan of their formatting.
But yeah, again, thanks Alfisti for taking the time to provide an in-depth critique/analysis, you're opinions and advice will always be appreciated. Definately looking forward to your next round of comments, and hopefully before long chapter 2 will be ready and up for perusal.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Tue 21 Sep 2010 - 9:21

Ok, so picking up where I left off... Minaka

@ChaosKin640 wrote: Minaka felt her eye slide closed, all sensation slowly draining outof her. The small, frantic voice in the back of her mind finallysettled and was quiet. A profound sense of comfort and contentmentswept over her, billowing her up on a cushion of air. She had finallyfound peace.

Quinn stared down sadly at the small emaciatedfigure laid out before her, a faint smile curling the girl's crackedlips in an expression of final, lasting happiness.
Removing herhand, she rose to her feet, the nanocells of her synthetic skinrippling as they returned her to her normal appearance.
Again it's these little character moments that to me stand out quite strongly, you're giving us quite a lot of Quinn all at once, which is good. I'll be interested to see how much of her personality eventually re-asserts itself after the cyborg conversion.
Pulling a disposable cell phone from the pocket of his thin jacket,Lucas punched in three simple digits before hitting the "call" button.
Mmm... burner phone. And so the mystery of the previously mentioned (somewhere on the forum) "anonymous caller" is solved.
Lucas nodded his understanding, his crestfallen expression showing thathe found little comfort in her words. He was a good man; even if he wasa spy.
Hmm, the soliders and the spooks never really do see eye to eye do they?
"Actually," Marco said with a sly grin. "Elio and I tossed a coin to see who would come down here to see you; I lost."
And a properly blokey response too...
Picking himself off the floor, Marco grabbed Jacob by the wrist andswung the man around expertly, twisting his arm up behind his backbefore slamming him face-first down on the bar.
Good moment for Marco. With all the business surrounding his issues with Angelica I think we often forget that Marco was damn competent of his own... It's also a good reminder that being a friend doesn't always mean being nice, it also means getting on peoples' case from time to time.
So Prologue: long, but worth it and I can see why you didn't split it up. I really doubt it would have worked without everything you had there, there was just too much ground needed to be covered quickly.
On to Chapter01
tiny buds of new life just beginning to sprout with heralding promises of winter's end.
and bring on the metaphore.
"I happen to like black coffee, Pagani. And the only way in Hell I'mever going to drink one of those strawberry chocolate, mocha lattes,frapachino crap-ass things of yours, is if I suddenly wake upone morning to discover that Bianchi and his crew have kidnapped meduring the night and turned me into a woman."
Monty: I find it insulting that you should insinuate a woman would touch that either. The only things that should be added to coffee are milk and sugar... maybe, otherwise if you really want cordial rather than coffee there's always Starbucks.
For the record I think many Italians may be insulted that you believe they'd drink coffee like that as well, I believe flavors and the like are an American invention. For the record Monty takes her cues from the French coffee culture, which means it can be drunk slowly in a cafe at any time of the day. Italian coffee culture (and in particular Roman coffee culture) to the best of my knowledge dictates that it's drunk quickly whilst standing up.
To discuss what you're going to be tasked with teaching her.With the moderate successes the agency has had with Marisa, Allison andAgapita in regards to custom-tailored conditioning therapies
The usual human condition... got the basics down, now lets see what happens when we tinker.

He withdrew a small, silver-plated hipflask, unscrewing the top and taking a quick swig.
Ever seen the original BBC version of "Life on Mars"? Getting this mental image of the bit where Gene pulls a hipflask out of every pocket... which not only serves to keep him "hydrated" but also acts as a primitive form of body-armor.
Melanie's jaw dropped open, her eyes bulging wide in shock. Her facebeginning to burn a bright red, she hesitatingly dropped her gaze tostare down the length of her trim, lithely-muscled body. True toJacob's observation, she stood before him in all her naked glory, skinpebbling in the chill spring air.
Jacob winced at the sudden, ear-piercing shriek that erupted from her throat
I sometimes seriously wonder if the medical team aren't purposely programming this initial response in for shits and giggles.

Her frustration grew as her hands and fingers failed to properly obey her commands, her movements oddly sluggish and slow.
This clumsiness was a fun thing to add in as well... another aspect of the cyborgs' acclimatization process that we often tend to forget in fanon.

"What was wrong with Nina? She seemed kind of upset. And for some reason, I don't think she likes me."
"Shedoesn't like anyone, Melanie. I wouldn't worry about it; that's justthe way she is. Just be careful about what you say when around her. Nowlet's go."
Nina's a bitch... I like her already. Looking forward to seeing more of this fratello.
Dozens of shelving units lined virtually every inch of available wallspace. Additional shelves anchored between pairs of thick concretepillars formed aisles across the centre of the room. The shelved wereall packed to the point of overflowing with a dizzying array offirearms, ranging from literally hundreds of different makes and modelsof handguns all the way up to assault rifles, heavy machine guns andseveral massive anti-material rifles.
"We need guns. Lots and lots of guns..."
It's been that long since I saw that movie I can't remember the exact line.
Right, good point. Well, I use a combat variant SIG Sauer P226,chambered for forty calibre Smith and Wesson rounds. The only pointsI'll insist on is that your sidearm be a combat or tactical variant ofwhatever model it's based on and that it be chambered for either theforty-cal or nine-mill Parabellum rounds.
I know I said I'm not really a massive gun bloke... more just a passing interest, but I did enjoy all the gun talk here as a window into Jacob's thinking and own personality... and he obviously really cares.

Melanie was slightly torn in her feelings. On the one hand, she wasslightly disappointed that she wouldn't get to keep the gun she'd beenusing and had grown somewhat attached to. On the other hand however,she felt a powerful thrill of joy surge through her at the prospect ofJacob giving her a brand new weapon, straight from the box. It would bewholly and completely hers, with her handler as the only other personto have ever touched it.
And so the cyborg/gun, for want of a better word, "relationship" is still there? A little slower to develop by this method perhaps but still there. I've got to admit I'm a bit of a traditionalist on this front in that I had (or will have I guess) Jethro give Monty her PPK straight up as much as a signifier to "seal the deal" as it were as a firearm.
"And from the look of your target sheets, you're going to need theextra lifespan on your gun just to get yourself up to and acceptableproficiency level."
Snap. Do newly-woken cyborgs understand dry humor?
Melanie nodded dumbly in mute reply; eyes wide, her whole bodytrembling like a leaf. Without a word she turned and set about sweepingup the casings, dumping them into the provided garbage can. Afterwards,taking the rag and cleaning solution Jacob handed her, she set aboutwiping down all the surfaces until the cloth came away clean.
Hammer them once and they'll never forget it again. I can't remember, but Jacob was an NCO at some point yes?
Sophia had taken several days before she had finally been able toremember to clean up her lane without his gently prompting reminder.
These contrasts in how he's handling Melanie compared to Sophia are nice reminders as to how his experiences have changed Jacob.
They were warriors. And something inside her, some buriedinstinct hidden in the darkest recesses of her soul whispered up to herthat, so was she.
And the first flashes of Quinn coming through.
Bianchi had told him before he'd gone in to see Melanie that because ofher sniper role, the engineers had decided to recycle the sameengineering process that allowed Elio Alboreto's cyborg, Marisa,function in her specialized role as a deep-sea assault operative;albeit with a few modifications and improvements.
This building on previous work makes for a nice continuity through the whole thing, helping tie the various characters and timelines together. Plus from the SWA perspective it makes budgetary and strategic sense to get cyborgs online quicker and cheaper.
It was fully dark before Jacob and Melanie stepped through the doorsinto the cafeteria, having stopped to deliver their bag of weapons backto the armoury and for Jacob to pick up a second packet of paperwork tofill out later.
Monty: Sometimes I think the SWA actually exists not to fight terrorism but to produce paperwork and keep bureaucrats employed.

"Unless you want to spend more time keeping your pants from fallingaround your knees than running, you're going to want to tighten thatdrawstring." He pointed at her waist, indicating the dangling cordsswaying with each movement.
You have no idea how much the slightly bi-polar relationship these two (particularly Jacob) seem to have is amusing me, and you're finding a good balance between the different interactions.
On that note, I'm also glad you wrapped the chapter up on a slightly sweet note, it's fitting.
Great stuff, hanging out for the next chapter.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Tue 21 Sep 2010 - 9:41

@ChaosKin640 wrote:And don't worry about being lost in the first section; tbh, it was kind of my intent for readers to be slightly lost. That entire section, including all of the Council members are cross-over characters borrowed from my actual novel series project that I intent to have published one day. So just to clarify, the council exists on a world set in another universe entirely, roughly 90,000 years ahead of GSG's comparable timeline. Hence the somewhat more advanced technology.
Haha, well then feel safe in that you achieved your intended purpose.

By the way, when you do get published I expect to see signed copies in the post. Seriously though, I enjoyed the sort of magi-tech style of the civilisation you'd created and would be keen to see more.

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Touching on the combat sequences, I find my biggest help is that I apprach it almost the way I imagine a Hollywood fight choreographer would. I know what I like seeing in a good action-scene and I try to replicate that same feeling of ebb and flow in my writing.
However, being able to take that vision and turn it into good prose is another skill entirely. You seem to have mastered that, many haven't (including this one).

@ChaosKin640 wrote:As far as the random spelling/grammer errors, as you said, trying to proofread a 55-page monster of a prologue is, well...a pain in the ass to say the least, but going through my hard-copy of it, honestly most of them are courtesy of FF.net's absolute mangling of the whole structure. I am most definately not a fan of their formatting.
Yeah... I well remember proofing my research essay last year for uni... 30k words was painful enough. Fortunately I've not had to deal with FF.net as a contributor yet, but I can see what you mean about them mangling formatting, seems to be an across-board thing.

@ChaosKin640 wrote:But yeah, again, thanks Alfisti for taking the time to provide an in-depth critique/analysis, you're opinions and advice will always be appreciated. Definately looking forward to your next round of comments, and hopefully before long chapter 2 will be ready and up for perusal.
Sadly not quite as much to say this time around, partly because I think Chapter01 is, to be frank, a little more polished than the Prologue was. The other factor is that I'm just tired right now and probably not picking up on as much... previous to this I tried to put my street address in the "name" field for pizza delivery which should give you some bearing on my current state of mind.

And always happy to do crit when I can find the time. Honestly I think it's just as (if not more) useful for those offering comment as it is for those receiving it. By criting others work (and particularly those writing well) it helps you understand what's working, what isn't and why, as well as forcing you to look critically at your own work in the same manner.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Jacen Starslayer on Tue 21 Sep 2010 - 12:48

"We need guns. Lots and lots of guns..."

That is a line from the first Matrix.

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"I am the sword of justice
Forged by fate and tempered with time
I have struggled to stay true to his dreams and ideals
Never knowing defeat
Nor victory
Forever waiting for his return
This is my, Infinite Sword Dance"
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Wed 22 Sep 2010 - 6:23

Glad everything so far is meeting with your approval. Having pointed out the Matrix reference, Jacen, I must admit that, while I certainly wasn't consciously trying or even thinking about the scene in question, looking back I can definately see the comparison, Razz. Who knows, maybe I was subconsciously chanelling the Wachowski brothers during that passage, heh.
But back to Alfisti; yeah, Quinn is most definately a character that is probably my favorite of all my original characters. her actions here are a direct result of her own childhood experiences. Like Minaka, she has herself known the pain of slavery and abuse, so she holds a lot of not only sympathy for Minaka's suffering, but also admiration and respect for her strength and courage in having freed herself. Her dislike of Lucas' profession isn't so much a trait of soldier/spook rivalry, but more a product of her upbringing. She's a born and raised warrior of an ancient warrior race that hold the idea of spying on your enemy as being dishonourable. Also why she dislikes the whole idea of her being used in a very similar role, and the whole "cloak-and-dagger" style the war has adopted.
Ah, the Jacob/Marco scene, lol. Yes, people do seem to forget and dismiss Marco. He was after all a cop before joining the SWA, he certainly does know what he's doing. I think it also probably helped that Jacob was completely hammered at the time too though.
The coffee debate. I'll admit I know nothing about coffee culture. I don't even drink coffee myself. This exchange between Jacob and Michele was inspired from a conversation between...I want to say Michele and Elio in one of Voodoo's stories, but I'm not 100% on that. Anyway, I remember Michele touting to some other handler about the benefits and supremacy of flavoured coffee, strawberry I believe it was at the time.
The hip flask. Expect to see it make numerous appearances throughout my story. Jacob is, after all, an alcoholic and prone to taking a quick nip whenever the shakes start to hit to help smooth himself over. Unfortunately, dealing with Melanie's...shall we say, inadequacies, looks only to exacerbate the problem.
The whole naked scene was a direct result of a conversation here in the forums on that very subject. Someone I believe asked a while ago, wondering about the girl's having to wake up in the nude. So I ran with that. So my sincere thanks to the forum community for that little piece of inspiration and expect to see more forum-inspired references in future chapters. As to Melanie's clumsiness, this is going to be a recurrent plot-device that I intend to use and is not just a result of the initial adjustment period all the cyborgs go through, but also a manisfestation of the conflict between the agency's cybernetics clashing with Quinn's own nano-cellular body.
Don't worry Alfisti, chapter 2 features a significant section with Nina, in all her bitchy glory. There will also be a lot more insight into the whole dynamic of her personality, showing some of the reasons behind why she is such a bitch.
In respect to the guns, I wanted to set Jacob apart from the canon style of how the girl's get their first weapons, because he's a soldier first and foremost. He's all about results. Simple, blunt, practical pragmatism. He doesn't give two squirts of piss about the romantic symbolism surround the customary handing-over ceremony, only about her having a weapon that works, will keep working, and will get the job done. And yes, Jacob was a master-corporal with the RCR's before transferring over to the JTF, so NCO reg-forces grunt all the way.
That difference in attitudes/relationship style only deepens as things progress. Jacob is, at the heart, a man who has been burned by life one too many times and is slowly starting to stop caring all together. I guarantee that by the time this is over, you will come to greatly dislike him for the choices he makes.
So on that note I conclude, and regrettably, chapter 2 will likely be later in coming than I hoped. Not becuse it's taking longer to write than I expected, but becuase I just got my copy of Starcraft 2 so I'm likely going to vanish for God only knows how long obsessing over that, Very Happy
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Wed 22 Sep 2010 - 8:04

@ChaosKin640 wrote:The coffee debate. I'll admit I know nothing about coffee culture. I don't even drink coffee myself. This exchange between Jacob and Michele was inspired from a conversation between...I want to say Michele and Elio in one of Voodoo's stories, but I'm not 100% on that. Anyway, I remember Michele touting to some other handler about the benefits and supremacy of flavoured coffee, strawberry I believe it was at the time.
Well, I do drink coffee... lots of coffee. Good coffee. Instant is banned from the house. I'll happily drive across town to source beans or check out a new cafe I've been told about and have a similar relationship with my regular barista (fortunately not a jelous barista as I've heard some stories of and a fantastic link into the local coffee-grapevine) as many women have with their hairdresser or men with a good tailor.

Yeah, coffee's serious business on Planet Alfisti.

Though not to quite the same extent (with the exception of Jesse, a non-GSG OC and barista by trade), this attitude sometimes tends to filter through to my OCs.

@ChaosKin640 wrote:The hip flask. Expect to see it make numerous appearances throughout my story. Jacob is, after all, an alcoholic and prone to taking a quick nip whenever the shakes start to hit to help smooth himself over. Unfortunately, dealing with Melanie's...shall we say, inadequacies, looks only to exacerbate the problem.
I like the hipflask and alcoholic tendency as a vice. It's also one that seems to integrate easily into stories in that taking the odd nip here and there takes very little time.

@ChaosKin640 wrote:The whole naked scene was a direct result of a conversation here in the forums on that very subject. Someone I believe asked a while ago, wondering about the girl's having to wake up in the nude. So I ran with that. So my sincere thanks to the forum community for that little piece of inspiration and expect to see more forum-inspired references in future chapters.
Yeah, the forum can be a goldmine of that sort of stuff.

@ChaosKin640 wrote:In respect to the guns, I wanted to set Jacob apart from the canon style of how the girl's get their first weapons, because he's a soldier first and foremost. He's all about results. Simple, blunt, practical pragmatism. He doesn't give two squirts of piss about the romantic symbolism surround the customary handing-over ceremony, only about her having a weapon that works, will keep working, and will get the job done.
And in that you succeeded. I guess my next thought then is if his different approach will have any effect on Melanie's conditioning further down the track. Though I guess if that little ceremony was overly vital to the whole process some doctor would have informed Jacob that he had to hand over a gun straight up rather than it just being traditional.

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Don't worry Alfisti, chapter 2 features asignificant section with Nina, in all her bitchy glory. There will alsobe a lot more insight into the whole dynamic of her personality,showing some of the reasons behind why she is such a bitch.
@ChaosKin640 wrote:That difference in attitudes/relationship style only deepens as things progress. Jacob is, at the heart, a man who has been burned by life one too many times and is slowly starting to stop caring all together. I guarantee that by the time this is over, you will come to greatly dislike him for the choices he makes.
and I look forward to both. As you've possibly guessed, I like characters that come in prick.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Wed 22 Sep 2010 - 20:30

Sorry it's taken me so long to get some thoughts in order, but here goes...
Prologue: The Evolving Battlefield
I had to read the intro section twice before I figured out what was going on. It's a creative, unexpected take , I'll grant you that. Upon reading it all, I would have set this section aside as the prologue and called the rest of it chapter one.
Quinn had never understood the necessity of such absurdly massive doors. After all, the council chamber was hallowed ground, forbidden for any but the council members themselves to enter; and there was hardly any need for them to impress each other.
Establishing Quinn as a pragmatic character. I wonder if that will carry over to Melanie.
The pair weren't truly armoured, they were armour. Steel War Golems, the identical pair were composed almost entirely of solid aulorium armour plating.
A striking image, even if they are not to play a part in the rest of your story. Are these things sentient, or just robotic fighting machines?
[quote]"From what Lucas reports here, this world is on the verge of developing advanced cybernetic technologies. My guess…"
"Doctor Bianchi must be kept under close observation. We must determine whether there is any chance he will accept any offer made on behalf of Reaper."
Raphesiel pulled up a different section of the field report, detailing the specifics of Dr. Bianchi's work on developing the advanced cybernetics
I'm curious as to why you chose Bianchi here. Of all the SWA doctors he seems the least involved in the process of creating a cyborg.
surveillance photos taken by a borrowed American satellite had shown there was an access port leading from inside,
Hmmm...borrowed, or hi-jacked? Seems like the SWA might have someone on staff who could hack into a system and nudge a foreign satellite in the right direction.
If not, an unmanned aerial spy vehicle could do the trick too.
The light, along with the four other lights mounted on the other towers, were all shut off, earning a grudging nod of respect from Jacob. It seemed that whoever Padania had in charge here had a half decent idea of what they were doing.
They seem to be handing an advantage to the night-vision of the cyborgs however.
Her long, lean legs were clad in heavy black leggings, with surprisingly stylish black tactical boots completing her ensemble.
Well, you wouldn't expect a girl to go into battle without the right outfit, would you? As has been mentioned on the forum before, having a cyborg dressed in "civilian" clothes is much more consistent with GsG canon than outfitting them in junior-sized combat fatigues or tactical gear.
He would have to remember to half a little talk with Pagani after the mission. Kara was starting to become a bad influence.
Kara: (offended, arms crossed with her nose up in the air) Hrrumph! You handler's just don't understand the tactical importance of a stylish outfit!
Jacob maintained an even, steady pace. Within the first few steps, Sophia had pulled ahead, her limber body flowing over the contours of the land as if she was on flat, level ground.
Great mental image here...
She could see Jacob at the far end, picking his way carefully between stacked rows of wooden crates. Some of the crates were piled three, even four tiers high, creating a confusing maze of potential hiding places.
...and this setting conveys a lot of tension.
Unbalanced, she tipped backwards, her head slamming into the crate behind her...
"You okay?"
Sophia's face flushed slightly in embarrassment, and she cursed her own stupidity for not paying closer attention.
I often wince at authors who write their characters as too perfect, and never allow them to make simple mistakes. A little slip up like this is realistic and contributes to a more complete character. Bonus points for working it as a plot device, allowing Sophia to detect the trap because of her mistake.
Jacob and Sophia tore open a dozen other crates, finding every one the same as the last.
Although I don't think they'd need to rip open quite that many crates to know something is very wrong.
"This is Osprey; we copy you Echo team, go ahead." The reserved, measured girlish voice answering the radio served to identify the operator. Where Jean was, to leave Claes manning the comm-line,
Good to see others utilizing Claes as a radio dispatcher. It allows her to be involved in the action without trampling all over her canonical aversion to direct violence.
Triela gritted her teeth in a fierce, almost feral snarl as she charged forward, her body pitched forward and low to the worn, scratched hardwood floor.
A very intense action scene for Triela. I find writing the action sequences one of the most difficult parts of fiction, so don't be too surprised if I pick up some cues from studying how you do it. Imitation is a form of flattery!
Triela rolled her eyes faintly, glad for the deep shadows so that Hillshire couldn't see. "Are you chastising me or praising me here, because I'm getting kind of confused."
"You know perfectly well that I'm capable of doing both at the same time."
The funniest line in the chapter...eh...prologue.
The light grey jacket and white cotton shirt of her private-school uniform that had become an almost iconic symbol within the agency bore numerous small nicks and tears, and were both heavily streaked with dirt, dust and splattered blood.
So...adding up canon & fanfic's how many of those grey uniforms has 'Etta gone through? Personally, I thought it was a cardigan sweater, not a jacket though.
Triela could recognize the signs that Henrietta has slipped into an obsessed fixation; something the younger girl was rather prone to do when matters of her beloved handler's safety was at stake.
Triela: Have I ever mentioned that I should get overtime pay for dealing with Henrietta's bi-polar mood swings?
She ran over to Guise, her P90 now held protectively to her chest, like a child's favourite toy.
"Guise, are you okay?"
After the intensely violent & gory lead in this is a classic "cute Henrietta" moment.
She never heard the sound of the shotgun blast. She saw the blindingly bright muzzle-flash, felt the slug slam into her, shredding the synthetic skin of her chest, shearing through the heavily reinforced body-armour plates of her upper torso. Pain exploded through her entire body, knocking all the air from her lungs. Her eyes bulged, her mouth agape as the unimaginable agony ripped along every single nerve ending. Never in her life could she ever remember feeling so much concentrated physical pain.
Very graphic! Telling it from Triela's point of view works well.
"Well, well; it seems this baby was worth the money after all. The higher ups are going to love hearing that you mechanical freaks aren't as indestructible as everyone seems to think you are.
This begs the question; the Padania certainly know there is something abnormal about the government "demons," but do are they aware that the girls are in fact mechanical?
Triela sobbed quietly to herself; her lips trembling, tears flowing freely down the sides of her face. This could not be happening to her! She was the best the agency had. She was the oldest and most senior cyborg operative, a veteran of over a hundred combat missions. She'd spent months being specially trained by Italy's elite GIS division of the Carabinieri military police force. She was the best of the best! And she been caught off guard and taken down by some smug, stuck-up prick of a self-righteous terrorist bastardo.
I liked this moment of pain & self-doubt for her. I can easily see her taking a final burst of inspiration from the threat against her cyborg-sisters as well.
It is a very long section though. It seems as if Triela's every single movement is covered, which might be a bit of overkill.
God dammit, you stupid piece of junk body, work! Work damn you! She screamed silently, raging against herself and her pathetic helplessness.
Something that everyone who has ever been injured can relate to.
Triela felt a wave of nausea sweep through as she realized that she had tried to shoot her handler. ..."Hillshire, I…I tried to…to k-kill you," she stammered, fighting valiantly through the pain and debilitating tremors wracking her.
The dramatic scene capped off by a conditioning moment. You're covering a lot of ground here.
Jacob swore under his breath when the flood-lights snapped on, brightening the interior of the warehouse with a harsh white glare.
The dark conditions of earlier reversed to the Padanian's advantage.
Jacob reached up to key his radio, sending a quick message to Sophia. "Sophia, give me some covering fire; I'm not going to last much longer where I'm at."
I wonder if a handler might be reluctant to tell his cyborg such a thing, lest she slip into a protective rage. I suppose it all depends on the individual girl, and the relationship they have.
Sophia moaned, tears welling up in her soft, hazel-coloured eyes. "Oh God, Jacob it hurts!" Not wanting to waste time with words, Jacob ran his fingers over her leg, testing the wound. She howled in agony the minute his fingers touched the wound itself, her whole body jerking hard enough to throw him off balance.
I think I like this slow crumbling of circumstances much more than having Sophia get hit suddenly & unexpectedly. The conditioning injector pen seems to be a standard issue item for a growing number of handlers.
They've got someone on the inside at H&K. Jesus Christ, that's all we need.
Given what's about to happen I wonder if finding the inside man at Heckler & Koch is going to become a personal vendetta for Jacob.
Jacob had just finished debriefing after a successful run against Serbian snipers which had bagged him and his partner four kills, when Corporal Fitzpatrick had informed Jacob that the captain was looking for him...He also hadn't been expecting the news that his seven year old son had passed away; drowned in their backyard pool.
Odd time for a cut-away...this might have been better placed during the drunk scene with Marco. That also would have kept the audience in suspense about what Jacob meant by "not again."
"God damn it Alboreto, you son-of-a-bitch, where the fuck are you?" Jacob screamed into his radio.
"Busy trying to carve a path through all these Padania bastards you let in here, you ungrateful ass," Elio growled angrily. There was a slight pause before Elio continued, his voice suddenly hesitant and subdued. "Oh bollocks. Jacob, what happened?"
Thanks for giving my Elio such a significant role. You've certainly nailed his personality.
Sophia's death scene is touching, and surprisingly brief considering the time you spent on other scenes. It works well that way, especially since it's brought up again a few times.
"Damn it Mari, not know!
There are a number of typos you may wish to go edit out...this is the second time I've noticed now switched with know.
Understanding a little about what the younger man was going through, having suffered the same loss with Marina, Marisa's predecessor, Elio shepherded everyone a short distance away
...and Alboreto did the exact same thing as Jacob when Marina died...crawled inside a whisky bottle.
Stripped down to just her white cotton panties and lightly wrapped in a thin wool blanket for warmth and modesty, Triela
Lucky she wasn't wearing the embarrassing teddy-bear print today.
Further on, near the open back of another medivac van, Jean could make out the high-pitched shrieking shouts of two of the girls yelling back and forth at each other.
Cat-fight...always worth a laugh.
Jean frowned slightly at the pair in mild disgust. He had yet to find any evidence of impropriety between the two, regardless of the dogged persistence of rumours claiming that Alessandro was bedding Petra. Unfortunately, with Ricci's espionage background, it was a despite possibility that the rumours were true and that, however much it galled Jean to admit, even if only to himself, Ricci was simply too good at covering his tracks to get caught.
I agree with the ambiguous take on an Alessandro/Petrushka sexual relationship. While I would not be surprised if Yu takes the story in this direction the evidence we've seen in canon up to this point is far from confirmation.
"Why would Padania be recruiting foreigners into their ranks? That's completely against their publically acknowledge ideology. Part of what they're fighting for is the expulsion of all foreigners from Italian soil."
A call-back to Robert Frazer's The Long Weekend?
"I see what you're getting at. Keep putting pressure on Padania's financial backers and before long they won't be able to afford their new mercenary soldiers."
"And their army will virtually melt away overnight," Jean finished
Your portrayal of Jean is great...cold, irritable, but clear headed and honest. I really don't dislike the character the way some do...he's one of the most complex & interesting in canon.
His tightly clenched fist snapped out with blinding speed, catching Jean square in the jaw, forcing the man to stagger back several paces. Blood began to ooze from a split lip, his jaw immediately beginning to swell.
Jeeze, how many times has Jean gotten punched in the jaw? Jacob, Elfen's Fernando, Sophia's brother...the guy should have become a prizefighter, he can certainly take a punch.
"You are absolutely right Jacob, this is entirely my fault," Jean said ...So I apologise if I ruined what was no doubt a masterfully crafted and carefully rehearsed speech of self-righteous indignation, but unless you have something original to add to what I already know, stop wasting my time."
Great speech from Croce.
Together, the pair slowly made their way back to the gathered vehicles, Jean's mind a silently churning storm of thoughts. He would find the traitor. To protect the agency, its ideals, and everything they fought for, he would find him. And for the costs they had suffered this night, he would reap a firestorm of vengeance down upon his head.
Looking forward to see how this pans out.
Minaka stumbled along the rain-slicked cobblestones
Your description of Minaka's condition manages to be luridly graphic yet sad at the same time.
just go to sleep, and when you wake up, we'll be back home."
"I love you, onee-chan."
"I love you too, nee-chan."
Quinn stared down sadly at the small emaciated figure laid out before her, a faint smile curling the girl's cracked lips in an expression of final, lasting happiness.
Is it Quinn providing a final happy hallucination as the original Minaka dies?
"Good. Make the call."
Pulling a disposable cell phone from the pocket of his thin jacket, Lucas punched in three simple digits before hitting the "call" button.
Well, that answers my question from the forum.
Chunks of ice tinkled against each other and the sides of the glass as he swirled them around slowly, watching the three-fingers' worth of cheap whiskey slosh around within.
Reluctantly he strode over, pulling down the half-empty bottle of scotch from the shelf
Overly nit-picky detail of the day: If it's scotch he's drinking it's spelled whisky without the "e." Irish, bourbon, sour mash, rye and blended Canadian are all still spelled whiskey.
"I'm not here to drag you back kicking and screaming, if that's what you're implying," Marco replied after a time,
"Actually," Marco said with a sly grin. "Elio and I tossed a coin to see who would come down here to see you; I lost."
Interesting choice of handler to bring Jacob back...although I suppose the two possibilities are logical since they've both lost a cyborg.
"Thank you for bringing this case to our attention doctor," Marco said, turning to extend his hand to the man, who shook it gratefully. "This girl's case is precisely the kind we look for at the Social Welfare Agency. Without any friends or family for her to turn to, she stands little chance of surviving. But with our help, she can have the opportunity to live and love again."
The standard canned speech I presume?
"Melanie. I want her new name to be Melanie."
Any special significance to that name?

Overall I really enjoyed your first chapter...eh, prologue. I have to admit its length was an issue, particularly when trying to write a review, but I know how hard it is to cut passages you've written. Perhaps shorter chapters released more frequently would be more merciful to your audience.

I am now eagerly launching into Chapter 01!

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ElfenMagix on Wed 22 Sep 2010 - 21:16

Damn, you guys give each other such long reviews, I'm jealous! Very Happy

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Wed 22 Sep 2010 - 21:23

@ElfenMagix wrote:Damn, you guys give each other such long reviews, I'm jealous! Very Happy
I'm working on yours Elfen...it's just that you've written two really long stories!

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ElfenMagix on Wed 22 Sep 2010 - 22:23

You can start with the 2 shorter ones...
Elsa's Christmas Story - a single chapter entry written before Solution's Resolution.
SWA: Diclonius End Game - 14 chapters written at the same time UN Resolution was started. Its... well you have to read and seen Elfen Lied. Evil

Sorry for the self plugins, ChaosKin640. Just a question though; why is it in the mature section? I have yet to read excess gore or any sex in this story.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Fri 24 Sep 2010 - 6:16

Thanks for the comments Voodoo. I know I've said this before, but as always I definately appreciate the feedback. To reply on some of the points you mentioned, I picture the golems as being sort of semi-sentient constructs: capapable of thinking and reasoning within a limited framework but otherwise simple automatons. I chose Bianchi simply becuase I assumed he was the overall head of the cybernetic reseach team and was somehow the grand mastermind behind it all. Probably wrong on that count but, oh well, I play the artistic lisence card, heh. As to the...ahem..."borrowed" sattelite, I figure they would have asked politely a couple of times just for appearances' sake before unleashing the hackers, Razz.
By all means Voodoo, borrow away. And to answer your later point about describing each step of Triela's struggle, that's a combination of how I style my action sequences as well as personal taste. As I mentioned in repsonse to Alifisti's comments, I try to plan out action the way I imagine fight choreographers do: each individual progressive step, knowing precisely ahead of time where each character is, where they move, how they move and when they move. I'll admit it can be time consuming, but given my own preference for detailed action sequences, its a proccess I'm willing to go through.
About whether Padania knows they're cyborgs or not, I could go into detail on that, but it's plot related so I won't. Suffice to say, in my fandom universe at least, yes, Padania is aware the girl's are cyborgs. At least those in charge do. Giacomo Dante certainly does at least.
Moving on though, Sophia is a 2nd Gen cyborg, so i figure that helps mitigate some of the berserker rage issues that are prevelant in Henrietta. Also, Jacob & Sophia have been together for around 2 years by this point, so I figure they are perfectly used to each other's style's and are able to trust in each other implicitly.
Odd time for a cut-away...this might have been better placed during the drunk scene with Marco.
Hmm...a good point. I was trying to go for a sort of "slowing down" for Jacob as he slips into his own memories, kind of in the way you see in war movies or games when the main character is injured, the screen goes all red, sounds fate, except for the exaggerated sound of their heartbeat. Which is then followed up by Jacob's snapping back to reality and his cursing at Elio and...*sigh*...God damned grammer errors. But you're certainly welcome on Elio's cameo role and thanks for letting me borrow him in the first place. Given Jean and Guise's talk a little later on, I want to try to keep Elio involved as more than just a "filler" character. Especially since I'm already writing a rather significant role for MP5's Allison & Brian in chapter 2.
My choice in mentioning the whole Alessandro/Petra thing was actually my personal response to the nigh-unending debate here in the formums about that very subject. Personally, I don't think their boinking, but if they are, I feel Ricci is just too smart and talented to ever get caught at it.
A call-back to Robert Frazer's The Long Weekend?
Not really. This is also actually plot-related for later on in the story. I used it to set up the reader's knowledge that Giacomo is pursuing a more Globalized ambition, which given his canon personality, fits rather well with what we know of him.
Is it Quinn providing a final happy hallucination as the original Minaka dies?
Yes, that's pretty much exactly what happens. Quinn's nano-cellular body lets her alter her physical appearance at will and she simply assumed the guise of Minaka's sister for precisely that purpose. For a kind of reference point on the technology behind Quinn's body, think Cell or Baby from DBZ/DBGT, or perhaps slightly more accurately, the human-form Replicators from the Stargate: SG-1/Stargate: Atlantis shows.
If it's scotch he's drinking it's spelled whisky without the "e."
Thank you for pointing that out. God, as an avowed Scotch man myself I should know that, grrr.
The standard canned speech I presume?
Yep, pretty much, Razz

You know, I honestly never gave it much though as to why Jacob chose the name Melanie. That is something of a plot-hole, isn't it? Hmm...might have to work on something for that. And no problems Elfin, I don't mind. I stuck it in the mature section just to be cautious, I suppose. Never used FF.net before so I don't know how picky they are. Also, I may or may not be including in a future chapter scenes that will most definately land the story as being horribly gory. I plan to feature a section set from Reaper's point of view and...well, given the fact that he's a twisted, psychotic demi-god demon with an unquenchably sadistic hunger and lust for young girls, his scenes could very well tip the scales in that regard. Quite quickly. But like I said, not knowing what kind of response such scenes would generate from those reading my story, I may opt to drop the section all-together.


Last edited by ChaosKin640 on Thu 21 Oct 2010 - 6:34; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ElfenMagix on Fri 24 Sep 2010 - 19:17

Yes Indeed

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Robert Frazer on Fri 24 Sep 2010 - 20:17

I was a little wary of Jacob in the Prologue - as close as the emotional bonds that are formed between fratello, he is supposed to be an experienced operative so I didn't think that he'd go to pieces that catastrophically. That said, I can tolerate it as part of suspension of disbelief for the new dynamic that emerges in chapter one - having a handler as an openly irascible jerk and a short-tempered minefield, with Melanie viewing him with something like fretful anxious terror, is certainly very interesting, courageous and demanding. I've tried to make Avise a bit of a bastard with skeletons in his closet, but at the end of the day he dotes on his cyborg and his cyborg adores him in an uncomplicated way. You're certainly tapping a rich stream of potential there.

The battle sequence in the prologue was a bit of a taller order to tackle. The description itself was fine, but... good grief, entire campaigns can be fought with fewer casualties than were inflicted in one night there. Italy has countryside, but it's not the American Midwest by any means - you don't really have thousands of miles of trackless wilderness in which you could quite happily hide entire armies and still not leave a bump in the rug. In Britain and Europe it's very much a case of every chart'd street rubbing up against each other with their marks of weakness and woe. A little over-the-top, then, but the execution was good so it keeps it moving well.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Fri 24 Sep 2010 - 23:59

@Robert Frazer wrote: as close as the emotional bonds that are formed between fratello, he is supposed to be an experienced operative so I didn't think that he'd go to pieces that catastrophically.
I'm guilty of sending my OC handler into an alcoholic tailspin after the loss of a cyborg as well...albeit a little differently. When Marina died Elio spent every business hour at the hospital working with the doctors to determine the reason...and every off-business hour drunk off his ass, living in his office. He did not interact with any of the other handlers, sort of haunting the staff building in an inebriated stupor. Rather than drift away from the agency he refuses to go home.

I did it for two reasons; first, to play on Elio's addictions...he was hooked on opiates at one point, alcoholism fits right in with that.

Second, he was wondering if he'd made a mistake. Elio's seen his share of tragedy and lost friends colleagues, so he thought he could suffer more losses easily enough but Marina's death makes him wonder if he's pushed his endurance just a little too far. I plan on using Episode 20 to explore this in greater depth.

So how does that relate to Jacob? He's watched two of his "kids" die now...and he's being pushed to take on a third that he knows will die too. We see this in your Chapter 01 in the way Jacob relates to Melanie...standoffish and distant, afraid to get attached. It's going to take longer for him to warm to his new charge than it takes for her to tie her shoes...

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 25 Sep 2010 - 0:02

Michele didn't go to pieces when Kara (and then Claes) passed, but he did not want to take Noël when the PM forced her on him.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sat 25 Sep 2010 - 5:07

Yay, more comments; always a pleasure to see.

He's watched two of his "kids" die now...and he's being pushed to take on a third
You pretty much nailed it on the head Voodoo. Also, watching fellow soldiers and comrades cut down on a battlefield is vastly diffent from dealing with the death of your own children. His son's death hit Jacob hard, to the point where he resigned from the military over it. And frankly, I don't care how skilled and experienced a soldier you are, if you had to watch a 14 year old girl who you have come to see and love as your own daughter take a bullet to the throat and have her bleed to death in your arms, it's going to mess you up. Period.
As far as the slightly implausible number of gunmen Padania had stashed away there...yeah I'll admit I could and probably will scale things down a bit. Remember though that Padania had tunnels they had constructed to hide people and supplies in, so that could help mitigate at least some of the implausibility.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sat 2 Oct 2010 - 6:37

Hurray, update time! And only two days late from what I originally wanted. Considering the obscene amount of time I've been spending playing SC2, I'm frankly amazed that I managed to crank this one out as fast as I have. In addition to adding the new chapter, I also did a major overhaul of the entire story structure. After many long hours of serious consideration, I finally decided to break up the prologue. Now, for anyone visiting my story, you will notice that the pologue is limited to the opening scene with Quinn and the other council members. Chapter 1 now begins with the agency raid on the Padania training camp. All of the links in the opening post have been updated to reflect this change.
I plan to slow things down a little for the next update, as I want to give myself some down time to rest my wearied brain. The last thing I want is for this project to become a chore, rather than the joyous pleasure it's been thus far. So expect chapter 4 to be finished and up by around Halloween.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Sat 2 Oct 2010 - 8:58

@ChaosKin640 wrote:So expect chapter 4 to be finished and up by around Halloween.
Erm... when's Halloween?

Another excellent chapter mate, fuller thoughts to come. That may be a few weeks though, in the end-run of semester. However your writing's something I'll definately drop everything in order to at least read.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 2 Oct 2010 - 10:20

@Alfisti wrote:Erm... when's Halloween?

October 31st.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Sat 2 Oct 2010 - 10:24

@Kiskaloo wrote:
@Alfisti wrote:Erm... when's Halloween?

October 31st.
Thanks... it's not something we really celbrate over here so I've no idea.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sat 2 Oct 2010 - 18:47

What?! No Halloween in Aussie-land? Sacrilege! What are the children supposed to do for their annual teeth-rotting sugar-overload candy fix? Razz
Oh well, just kidding Alifisti; but anyway, take your time, I'm in no rush. I'm willing to admit that uni work is slightly more important in one's list of priorities.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Robert Frazer on Sat 2 Oct 2010 - 19:23

Do they do Guy Fawkes Night (5th November) down in Oz at all? I've never been particularly enamoured with Hallowe'en myself, really, I've always preferred the bonfires.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Sat 2 Oct 2010 - 20:31

@ChaosKin640 wrote:What?! No Halloween in Aussie-land? Sacrilege! What are the children supposed to do for their annual teeth-rotting sugar-overload candy fix? Razz
That's what birthdays and, in Brisbane at least, Show Day are for. =P

@Robert Frazer wrote:Do they do Guy Fawkes Night (5th November) down in Oz at all? I'venever been particularly enamoured with Hallowe'en myself, really, I'vealways preferred the bonfires.
Sadly we don't really do that one either, which I'm slightly more cut about. Halloween never really did much for me either, but a solid excuse to light stuff on fire? That I'm well down for!

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Tue 26 Oct 2010 - 1:47

Chapter 02: Rebirth of a Warrior

Well-kept grass, left to grow slightly longer for the winter season, was just starting to show signs of renewed growth with a faint greening to be seen in the otherwise sere brown lawn. It wouldn't be long before Galeb Ramsey, the agency's silently diligent and perpetually pleasant groundskeeper would be out tending to the lawns, trees and flowerbeds with tender, loving precision.
Great way to set the scene as one of rebirth/resurrection...and it's great to see Ramsey show up in another's story, thanks.
"Please, for the love of all that is civilized in this world, tell me that there is something actually in that coffee."
At first I though Michele was suggesting that Jacob "Irish it up" a bit, which might not be such a good idea considering the alcoholic tail-spin he's just pulled himself out of!
"So I guess I shouldn't bother inviting you to martini night then?" Jacob's only answer to that was a dangerous glare.
Traditional dry martini's or the currently popular "anything goes" definition? With Michele I suspect the latter.
Rounding a corner, Jacob and Hillshire were forced to stop short as a small cluster of giggling girls pattered down the hall in the opposite direction, intent on the cafeteria and lunch beyond. Jacob cast a disapproving glare at the girls as they slipped by;
I like the little clues as to Jacob's mood...much better than just bluntly coming out and telling us how he feels.
The room beyond the door was an excellent reflection of the man who occupied it. Simply furnished with tall mahogany bookshelves that lined the back wall, a glass-fronted liquor cabinet nestled in one corner, Pieri Lorenzo's office presented an image of simple, understated elegance.
Lorenzo is a character that we see quite a bit of in canon yet know little about. That allows us fanfic writers a lot of latitude but also leads to some wildly varying interpretations of the man.
It was an aura of quiet dignity and unspoken resolve that Jacob often saw mirrored in Lorenzo's old friend and colleague Elio Alboreto, one of Jacob's fellow handlers.
Nice of Jacob to think of him that way. In my own mind's eye I contrasted Lorenzo against Elio. Lorenzo, leaner, sharp minded and subtle...a natural politician who must balance his power with likeability to inspire the loyalty of his section...while Elio is more of a blunt instrument, twisted & scarred by years of violence (and drug abuse). Both men certainly know their whiskey, art, cigars & classical literature as you imply, but Elio is the more burned out of the two.
"Melanie's ultimate goal will be to serve as the agency's dedicated "man-hunter", as it were. She will also be required to provide dedicated extreme-range sniper support."
Setting up a show-down between Melanie & Jacob versus the Section Two leak perhaps?
Triela is a martial-arts expert, after all and you don't see Victor throwing-down with her in the sparing ring, do you?"
"I suppose you have a point there, sir," Jacob admitted
I can imagine Triela being a tiny bit embarrassed in front of the other cyborgs when Hillshire's fighting prowess comes up in conversation. All the other handlers have years of military or intelligence operative experience, but Victor was a police investigator tasked with public relations.
His hand trembled slightly as he reached into the pocket of his khakis shorts. He withdrew a small, silver-plated hipflask, unscrewing the top and taking a quick swig.
Oh...perhaps there was something in that coffee! The contrast you make between Lorenzo's suit and Jacob being dressed so informally is noteable and says a lot about Mehrandish.
All around her the sinister whispers clung and clawed at her, trying to drag her back down into oblivion. She fought them off, thrashing and screaming.
She snapped awake with staggering force, her body jerking upright in bed.
An even more traumatic wake-up than Petrushka's!
The dress-code might be pretty relaxed around here, but they do tend to frown on you girls running around naked.
I do not doubt that it has actually happened at least once.
Padding over to the dresser, her feet slapping quietly against the floor tiles, Melanie pulled open the drawers, finding an almost dizzying array of clothes in dozens of different cuts and styles.
From her clothing to her weapons choices Jacob seems very eager to have his new cyborg make her own choices. An avoidance of the responsibility of picking things himself, or is he that eager to have her operating independently as fast as possible?
She knew the room was empty, but for some indiscernible reason, she couldn't shake the idea of being watched.
According to the wake-up procedure in Robert Frazer's stories...she is being watched.
With a slight, panicked yelp of alarm, she felt her foot slip out from under her, pitching her backwards to land with jarring force on her backside. She winced in pain as her tail-bone slammed against the hard tile. She sat there, stunned for several minutes, legs splayed out in front of her, cotton panties dangling uselessly in her hands.
I picture this scene set to slow, somewhat clumsy music. Definitely one of the funniest scenes I've read.
Wavy black hair spilling down her back almost to her waist, Nina was dressed in a simple white t-shirt trimmed in blue around the cuffs and collar tucked into a knee-length, mustard-yellow, tartan-patterned pleated skirt. A thin trim of white lace ran around the skirt's hem, matching the lace trim at the top of thigh-high dark blue stockings that showed above the tops of knee-high black leather boots that laced up the front. A pair of dark gold ribbons tied in perfect bows and set just above and behind her ears completed Nina's outfit.
Jeeze! Nina doesn't put much stock in subtlety, does she? I like how you've cast her as the cool girl who intimidates the just-activated Melanie.
She wrapped her hands around the slim glass carefully, raising it to her lips to take a small, experimental sip. Finding the sweet blend of tastes to her liking she quickly gulped the rest down, sighing happily as she lowered the glass back down.
A bit of Quinn, who has never had Earth food, showing through? I guess it's just more likely that tasting something for the first time with enhanced cyborg senses would be a real head-rush.
Melanie was taken aback by the bitter fierceness in Jacob's voice and she quailed slightly under his withering glare. "Oh…uh, ok. I'm sorry; I didn't mean to upset you Jacob. I understand."
For a freshly hatched cyborg Melanie's language & conversation skills seem to be rather advanced. One might expect shorter sentences and "Yes, Sir" "No, Sir" answers from a brand new cyborg.
Inside, the only other occupants were a pair of support staff members. One was a tall, broad-shouldered man in his mid-thirties, with short blonde hair that was swept back from his forehead and a thin chin beard.
Marco or Alessandro?
Melanie was slightly torn in her feelings. On the one hand, she was slightly disappointed that she wouldn't get to keep the gun she'd been using and had grown somewhat attached to. On the other hand however, she felt a powerful thrill of joy surge through her at the prospect of Jacob giving her a brand new weapon, straight from the box. It would be wholly and completely hers, with her handler as the only other person to have ever touched it.
In both canon & fanfiction the girls get heavily attached to their firearms...it must be one of the common elements of their conditioning.
"Hey! Where the Hell do you think you're going?" Jacob demanded angrily,
I know he's having a difficult time accepting a replacement for Sophia but Jacob is going to have completely traumatized his new girl before she see's her first combat.
She stammered out a response, feeling the sudden need to defend herself. "I…I wasn't…doing that. I was just…the way they're moving: it's amazing; so smooth and fast. Their balance and precision is perfect."
Seems like seeing something she's impressed by could provide a cyborg with the motivation to make it through those difficult first few days when nothing seems to work right...in Melanie's case it appears to be martial-arts.
With her conditioning tailored to turn her into a tracker and sniper, there was no reason for her to be so strongly instinctually drawn to the martial arts. Which meant it had to be some lingering remnant of her old personality bleeding through the mind-wipe.
Again, a bit of Minaka or Quinn shining through?
Those two were more than just soldiers, more than simple assassins. They were warriors. And something inside her, some buried instinct hidden in the darkest recesses of her soul whispered up to her that, so was she.
That would seem to suggest it's Quinn.
Melanie's design incorporated...the capacity to slip herself into a kind of "hibernation" mode that slowed her pulse and respiration to extremely low levels. This allowed her to remain almost perfectly still for several minutes at a time, vastly improving her natural accuracy. The downside was that it would take her almost a full minute to bring herself out of the trance-like state, leaving her momentarily vulnerable as she switched between the two modes.
A very creative strength/weakness balance which could be used as an interesting plot device.
Staring into her earnest, almost desperate eyes, Jacob felt himself wanting to give in, if only to make her happy.
Hmmm...is Mehrandish melting a bit here?
Shrugging his shoulders dismissively, Jacob relented and gave in. "Alright, fine. At least you picked one of the best rifles here." Melanie's face lit up at his words, a beaming grin splitting her face from ear to ear.
Rico tailed him faithfully, her Dragunov SVD marksman rifle slung over her shoulder, the end of the barrel topped by its slotted flash suppressor poking up above her blonde head.
In the military they taught us to carry our rifles barrel down, but I suppose that wouldn't work for the diminutive Rico and her long rifle. Cute touch.
"I'm going to assume that you're still interested in avenging Sophia's death?" Jean asked quietly once the two men were out of ear-shot of their cyborgs.
That could be difficult when your young trainee's have cybernetic ears! A hundred yards should do it. Appropriate that Jean, who has no compunctions about revenge himself, approaches him with this.
"Hillshire may be one of the best we have, but he can't be trusted. Not with this. As difficult as it is to accept, the simple fact is that his loyalties are and always have been exclusively to Triela, not the agency."
As much as it pained Jacob to admit, Jean was right. If not Triela's own conditioned allegiance to the SWA keeping her leashed to the Italian government, Hillshire would have taken her and vanished a long time ago.
Good observation, I dare say you're right.
"My thoughts exactly," Jean said with a sardonic grin of his own. "Now let's get back. And just so we're clear, your cyborg is not to know anything about this. They can barely be trusted to keep their emotions in check at the best of times. We can't afford to have her throwing suspicious looks at everyone she comes across."
"Not a problem."
I wonder if it might be harder for Jacob to keep a secret from Sophia, whom he had bonded strongly with.
"Never mind what I thought. I was just expecting something…worse."
"What could be worse than this?" she demanded, her shame flashing to irritated anger. "My stupid body isn't working right! How can I be of use to you killing terrorists if I can't even tie my own shoes?"
It's easy to forget how much we depend on muscle memory when dealing with everyday situations like balance, writing and trying a pair of shoes. Placing that in the cyborg's context makes this one of the best passages in the chapter.
Elio experienced a slightly different issue with Marisa's shoes...she got used to her body quickly enough but literally did not know how to tie shoelaces, having never owned shoes with laces in her previous life.
"You're a combat cyborg, I'm sure you'll hurt the tree more than it will hurt you. And yes, five laps of the compound. You said yourself you're having problems with your coordination; the best way to get used to using your body is to, well, use it. So get moving."
Besides, you should be able to see in the dark, Miss Tracker.
Flicking off her slippers with her toes, Melanie squirmed around until she was able to slide under the sheets, instantly flipping herself about to wrap the thick, down-filled comforter tightly about herself. She moaned in rapturous delight as the new warmth of the blankets slowly seeped into her and, curling into a tight foetal position, slipped instantly into blissful slumber.
A charming image to close the chapter with. I look forward to the next installment!

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Tue 26 Oct 2010 - 7:38

Hey, thanks for the comments Voodoo. You're definately welcome on my inclusion of Ramsey. I made the conscious decision right from the start of this whole project to have as much inter-weaving of different OC's as possible. Just my own humble efforts of tying all of our individual works together. And just to point out, Jacob is still very much an alcoholic. He is prone to take quick nips at his flask every now and then when he's feeling stressed, irritated, or just when the shakes start to hit.
Nice of Jacob to think of him that way. In my own mind's eye...Elio is more of a blunt instrument.
True, but I've always pictured Elio in my mind as, while definately grizzled and scarred by the events of his life, at least maintaining the appearance of that quiet dignity.
An avoidance of the responsibility of picking things himself, or is he that eager to have her operating independently as fast as possible?
Definately the former. I've mentioned it before, but Jacob is suffering from a rapidly dwindling capacity to care at all about much of anything.
A bit of Quinn, who has never had Earth food, showing through? I guess it's just more likely that tasting something for the first time with enhanced cyborg senses would be a real head-rush.
Um, mostly the later there in this case. Although, Quinn does have a bit of a sweet-tooth, so that could be contributing, heh.
Marco or Alessandro?
Uh, neither, I think. I'm pretty sure I had in mind the guy who drove Guise & Henrietta back to the agency at the end of the first ep. in the anime.
Hmmm...is Mehrandish melting a bit here?
I believe Alfisti is the one who made the comment about the almost bi-polar relationship between Jacob & Melanie, which is very accurate. Jacob is a man in conflict. His past experiences have left him horribly jaded and unwilling to open up and get close to her, but it is still in his natural core personality to want to bond and nurture, much in the way he did with Sophia, despite having suffered the death of his own son. It's a duality that I plan to have him struggle with a lot.
Placing that in the cyborg's context makes this one of the best passages in the chapter.
Thanks Voodoo, it was certainly my favorite section of the chapter to put together and write.
Besides, you should be able to see in the dark, Miss Tracker.
LOL, good point.

Anyway, again, thanks for the comments Voodoo. And I should have chapter 4 posted on schedule by the end of the month. Oh, and this is a bit belated, but thanks also to MP5 for the comment you left of FFnet; definately appreciated. it was a pleasure borrowing Allison & Brian for the chapter and I'm glad you're okay with it if I do so again. I'll admit that I have something of a soft-spot for Allison myself, perhaps because I so approve of her taste in cars, particularly the EVO you have her driving for the WRC mission. As a Lancer owner myself, I can definately relate to their appeal. And yes, Nina is most definately a bitch with a capital "C", if you get my meaning, Wink Just wait until chapter 6 when I have her indulge in her, um...shall we say..."extra-curricular" activities? with a captured Padania-employed weapon's smuggler. Just to give you a hint, it may or may not involve the use of a metal pail, a rat and a butane blow-torch.
I would be more than happy to include Allison & Brian again, but don't expect any of the boys to make appearances. I mean absolutely no offense to you or anyone else here in the forums with male cyborg OC's, but that's just not something I have any real desire to include in my story.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Tue 26 Oct 2010 - 9:23

@ChaosKin640 wrote:I made the conscious decision right from the start of this whole project to have as much inter-weaving of different OC's as possible. Just my own humble efforts of tying all of our individual works together.
To that end do you mind if I give Sophia a mention in the last scene of The Palermo Round-Up? It's just a mention at this point, but I'd like to begin incorporating Jacob & Melanie as I learn more about them from your stories.

I've always pictured Elio in my mind as, while definately grizzled and scarred by the events of his life, at least maintaining the appearance of that quiet dignity.
Marisa: Quiet?! You should have heard him yelling at me when I got caught sneaking off compound to the service plaza down the highway! (see Robert Frazer's Wham, Bang, Fizz, POW) The whole compound must have heard me getting chewed out!

Despite Mari's opinion, you're right of course, he does carry himself with dignity, which makes his rambunctious cyborg a great counter-point to him.
I'm pretty sure I had in mind the guy who drove Guise & Henrietta back to the agency at the end of the first ep. in the anime.
Ah...possibly Alfonso...is this him?

I mean absolutely no offense to you or anyone else here in the forums with male cyborg OC's, but that's just not something I have any real desire to include in my story.
You had Alpha in this chapter.

Reading more tonight...

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Wed 27 Oct 2010 - 5:37

...do you mind if I give Sophia a mention...
By all means Voodoo, go right ahead. Just so you know, timeline wise, I have the raid mission where she's killed set in November, with the mission where Beatrice & Silvia both died in January/February of that same year. In terms of Sophia's personality, I picture her as a more outgoing version of Henrietta, but without the emotional instabilities. She was a Gen 2, after all.
Ah...possibly Alfonso...is this him?
Yes! That's the guy, exactly. Thanks for finding him, Voodoo.
You had Alpha in this chapter.
Um...good point. Touche there, Voodoo, touche. sweat
In my defense, Alpha is rather unique in the fandom universe, as far as male cyborgs go. He'll be the only one I make mention of then. Mostly because of his role as the instructor of the elite CQB class that I intend for Melanie to eventually become a part of.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Wed 27 Oct 2010 - 10:30

Well, I said I'd review your latest chapter once uni had finished... well, uni's finished so...

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Her relaxed, casual clothing was in stark contrast to Melanie's ownoutfit of charcoal gray camo-patterned cargo pants, black Kevlartactical vest over a plain black shirt and combat boots.
Interesting that Jacob has her dressed in tactical gear, not what the cyborgs generally seem to wear into battle... an offshoot of how he lost Sophia? Or his he really that concerned about her clumsiness.

Choking back a wave of bitter self-recrimination, Melanie tore theempty clip from her gun and began fumbling around for a new one.
I like how you build up Melanie's frustration with the situation. It gives it more impact than having her start swearing on the first mishap. And each mistake builds on the last one. It adds to the theme you've run through this chapter that a lot (not all, but a lot) of the problems she's having are in her head rather than purely physical.

"Jeeze Melanie, you're heart rate is through the roof; you keep goingat that pace and you're going to have a panic attack or something.What's with the rush, anyway? You got somewhere else you have to be?"
Actually the perpetually upbeat Allison's probably the best partner Melanie could have on this particular run. I know plenty of other cyborgs who would not have been so forgiving at loosing the chance at getting a good time... canon and fan-created.

Actually, I really like how you kept it ambiguous as to whether this was an actual mission or a training run through the start of this chapter. It certainly puts an emphasis on how important these things are to Melanie.

However, and this is just my personal feeling, I think you may have dragged it out a bit too long. Eventually the ruse just starts feeling drawn out ceases adding to the effect of just how important this is to Melanie. For me it was after she shot the "little girl" that it felt about time to wrap it up and lay bare that it's a training scenario. Keep the action sequence going by all means of course though Very Happy

Jacob sighed, closing his eyes and tilting his head back to rest on oneof the wooden support posts holding up the tower's shallow-peaked roof."Frankly Brian, from what I've been seeing of Melanie's performance,there's not exactly anything worth defending. Like Jean said: might notbe fair, but it's the truth."
Monty: Nope, it's fair. The truth is always fair.

Just so long as it's being viewed completely dispassionately...

Again though you've proven that Allison and Brian were the perfect fratello to juxtapose Jacob and Melanie against.

Melanie, like every other cyborg, Allison included, is an investmentmade by Minister Petris on behalf of the government. Between theinitial conversion process and the continuing training regimes requiredto field our girls, it costs almost seven-million Euros to achievecombat-readiness for each cyborg.
It might just be a personal thing, but I always like when the economic and political realities of operating an organisation like the SWA are laid bare. I think it's an angle that doesn't get enough attention.

Also, repeatedly amused at the wildly varying estimates of how much a cyborg costs to build... I believe Robert pegged it at around 200 million Euro. Now trying to nail that one down could make for an intersting forum discussion.

"Gotcha. But I'm warning you right now Jean: there isn't a whole lotmore I can do that I'm not already doing. We're already logging inalmost three times the amount of range time as any other fratello."
And that'd be the sound of a man trying to put a square peg in a round hole by hitting it harder... and now so engrossed in the idea of hitting that square peg he can't even concieve the idea of going to find a square hole.

"Well then, you listen to Allison's advice Melanie. She has a damnedgood head on her shoulders and she knows what she's talking about mostof the time."
Little bit of dry humor is all that's needed to show the mood's lightened a bit.

"I don't know Melanie," Brian said, shaking his head contritely. "I'msorry, but I don't. But maybe you should consider the possibility thatyou're doing this to yourself."
I take it Brian's been mulling this over for a little... because that seemed like a fast change of tack.

Finally Jacob's anger boiled over and with a sharp, vehement curse, helashed out. "God damn it, Melanie! I know you're not an idiot; I'velooked over your regular school course-work and you do just finekeeping up with all of the other girls, so you're not some kind of aretard."
Nice approach for Jacob there... talk about a backhanded compliment. But it does speak volumes of his frustration again and, in someways it's worse than telling Mel she's useless, because now he can push guilt buttons as well.

"I recommend running," Jacob replied flippantly, stuffing his handsinto the pockets of his cargo pants. "Consider this your punishment forfailing your training exercise."
Snap...

"It's not that bad," Melanie said defensively, the burning flash in heramber eyes proof of her conditioning clamping down on her mind at theperceived attack on her handler. "He didn't really yell at me any morethan what I was expecting and I'm just tired from having had to sprintalmost the whole way, is all."
Heh, I was wondering when the conditioning was going to kick in here.

"Well, maybe Melanie can train herself to slip into some kind of, I don't know, quasi- sniper mode."
"Quasi-sniper mode?" Melanie exclaimed, one eyebrow arched, face scrunched up in an expression of extreme scepticism.
Another weirdness of cyborg life I guess... talking about how you use your conditioing the same way others would talk about, say, fixing a car or doing their hair. I'll be interested to see if there's any substance to what they're saying or if it's just the ramblings of teenagers hypothosising.
"Your handler Brian," Melanie replied smoothly, smiling in smugsatisfaction. "You just stood there looking all dirty and dishevelled."
Glad to see she's not all mope.
She was, however taking her time with the second cup, explaining whenMelanie asked about it that the first was merely a quick-shot to levelher out and refuel, whereas the second was more for actual enjoyment.
Girl speaks truth... the first only wakes you up enough to realise you've not got enough caffiene in your system.
"Shut up and bring me coffee," she hissed, her soft melodic voicecracking with the lingering effects of sleep still clinging to herthroat.
Wow, cranky Kara... now there's something you don't see often.
A sharply hissing, venomous snarl made Melanie aware of the other'spresence and she stopped short, head flashing towards the voice as shehurriedly backpedalled several steps. Less than two feet away, hergreen eyes glaring at Melanie with indignant loathing and contemptuousdisgust, Nina stood with feet planted shoulder-width apart, her tray offood held up high, out of the way.
I take it Nina's just generally spoiling for a fight... because somehow I think getting in each others way in day to day life probably isn't something the cyborgs need to worry about. What with the catlike reflexes and generally heightened senses. Yes Mel's out of it but it wouldn't have been difficult for Nina to dodge.
Melanie's head snapped back sharply as the edge of Nina's now emptytray smashed into the underside of her chin, sending her staggeringback several paces. She hadn't even seen Nina bolt up from the ground,snarling in fury.
Marisa: Give her a chair! Someone give her a chair!
"You fucking little cunt," she hissed, eyes blazing with green fire. "How dare you? You filthy, useless, defective piece of junk! I'll kill you, you God-damned broken reject!"
Still vicioius, but in an entirely different way now that she's lost the advantage... I take it Nina's someone used to having the upper hand.
"Don't thank me, Melanie," Triela snapped crossly. "I should never havehad to get involved in the first place. What is the matter with you,attacking her like that?"
A new role for Triela... but I guess with the influx of OCs it's hard to be "big sister" to that many girls. It's a good and logical direction for her actually, starting to fill the role of a competent and senior NCO. I imagine she'd still be the same girl around the Gen 1s, but a more detached and heavier hand is perhaps more fitting for dealing with the Gen 2s.
"Ah yes, well, the glories of hindsight, eh? Don't worry though Jacob, I definitely intent to have a little…talk with her."
Dare I ask... because, and especially with the following line, that could be taken a couple of different ways. As I'm sure, from what else you've said of this pair, it's supposed to be.
"She's mine to waste Barone. I'll see you around." The other man'sreply was delivered to Jacob's back as he strode off down the corridorwithout waiting for it.
Another good insight to the many different levels Jacob's working on. Despite his frustration with his charge he's still not quite willing to give up on her.
"Then I guess I'll just go find Nina and tell her she's won then," Jacob snapped, his tone dripping venom.
...and that'd be a square hole.
"Now that you seem to have made up your mind, get going. You've stillgot twenty-six laps to go." With only a fiercely determined nod as heranswer, Melanie staggered forward, pressing on with her gruellingpunishment.
This is one thing I do like about Jacob, he's following through. He's proved his point to Mel, but he said 45 laps and she's damn well going to do 45 laps.

Seriously man, another awesome chapter. I can't wait for the next one... for the first time ever I actually care when Halloween is.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

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