Crossroads of Destiny

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Mon 29 Nov 2010 - 7:16

That said, by your leave they'll still be doing some cameos.
By all means, it would be an honour. You never clarified, by the way, if that was my Sophia and Melanie you gave cameos to in ch.3 of Palermo Round-up.


Last edited by ChaosKin640 on Mon 29 Nov 2010 - 18:53; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by MP5 on Mon 29 Nov 2010 - 9:16

I think I've finally managed to convince the Q-Branch mechanics to let me tune up my Evo to Group 'B' specs."

Just curious... which Evo are you referring to? Her Delta, or the Lancer she's currently using in her mission?

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Mon 29 Nov 2010 - 12:24

@ChaosKin640 wrote: You never clarified, by the way, if that was my Sophia and Melanie you gave cameos to in ch.3 of Palmero Round-up.
Oh shit, that's a bit embarrassing...I'd forgotten to reply to my own thread. I'll get on that later tonight.

To answer your question, yes that is your Sophia the girls see amongst the stars, and your Melanie who was deployed with Triela, Rachel & the others.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Mon 29 Nov 2010 - 15:05

Ok, thanks Voodoo. And to MP5, its Allison's Lancer Evo that I'm referring to. I hope you don't mind, but I couldn't help but give the car its own cameo. The Lancer Evo is one of my favorite cars and even more so now that I'm in sight of actually owning one in another 4-5 years.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Wed 1 Dec 2010 - 12:32

@Professor Voodoo wrote:
@ChaosKin640 wrote: I may have mentioned this before, but a large part of what drew me to the forum was the ready willingness of everyone to lend each other their OC's.
Agreed...it is a large part of the fun of writing, and reading the work of others.
Seconded (thirded?). Though I couldn't say it's something that drew me to the forum (to be honest J+M originally were only created through an urge to be able to join in with the OC shinnanigans) the interplay is one of my favorite parts of the place and is probably one of the things that has kept me in the fandom so long.

I'll admit that, coming from the other direction, I sometimes worry what the oft OC-heavy fiction that comes out of this forum does in terms of its accessibility to outside readers. I know from dA that it can be confusing to some and a turnoff to others. Meh, maybe it'll force 'em to join just to see what's going on. Either way, I know I get a kick out of it. Razz

Aaaanyway... thoughts on Ch5.

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Her awkward, shambling gait was reminiscent of something straight out of a zombie apocalypse movie.
Bianchi: Damn, one of the failures must have escaped containment again...

Melanie could see the thick layer of clouds from the day before still blocking out the sky all across the horizon. While it wasn't raining at the moment, the slowly churning clouds promised that it would be days before anyone would see the sun again.
I love how your weather always seems to match Melanie's mood.

Her breath coming in deep, ragged gasps, Allison stood there for several seconds, before panting out, "Please Melanie, for the sake of my sanity, don't you dare drink that."
Just a thought, but there are a lot of "Melanie"s in this section... pretty much every time Allison opens her mouth infact. To me at least it's a little awkward. I mean, if Allison's telling her off then one use of her name to grab her attention would be enough... then it's rant on.

"But if you value your own life, then I strongly suggest you never, ever, say anything like that within Monty's hearing. That girl takes her coffee very seriously."
Monty: Too right, and I wouldn't be drinking it from that awful machine either.

And use real sugar, not that artificial sweetener crap. Tastes just like the real thing my ass
Monty: I don't agree with McDonnell on much but yeah, seriously, that artificial stuff is just God-awful. Raw sugar's best if you can get it.

Not in the mood to eat, Melanie strode across the tiled floor in Allison's wake.
"Strode"? I thought she'd be lucky to make a shamble right at this moment.

Bright-eyed and smiling, she was conversing eagerly with Ilaria, who only seemed to be half-listening.
The ability to half listen to someone and make appropriate noises at the right times is a horribly underrated one. I wind up doing this at work... a lot.

Turning about, they all saw Henrietta rushing up to their table. Her hair hung damp and dishevelled, as if she's only given it a few cursory swipes with a brush before hurrying out of the bathroom. Henrietta's crisp white shirt was left un-tucked and a slightly wild, panicky look filled her soft brown eyes.
This is actually a pretty amusing mental image. Voodoo's already said it, but 'Etta really must be wound up if she's not had time to get herself in order.

Triela: I need a photo of this.

"Melanie," Kara said eventually, breaking the awkward silence. "Nina's injuries aren't from her fight with you yesterday. They're from her handler, Costante."

And agency protocol says that, as long as we're able to do our jobs when we're called upon, our handler's can treat us any way they see fit."
Donato: Christ, we have to fix her up once then we have to fix her up immediately after again.

I actually wonder where the line gets drawn here, because, well... not to put too find of a point on it but Nina's injuries sound expensive. Surely there'd be a point where the brass would step in, if only because a handler's treatment of a girl was costing them too much money. Like, Rico's split lip was one thing; you can weld that shut with a bit of Zap! (or Flash, or whatever you CA glue of choice is... no seriously, it stings like buggery but works) but cracked ribs on a cyborg is going to mean fabricating a new set, putting her under (and hence shortening her useable lifespan as I believe they use the "conditioning" for damn near everything... avoiding drug reactions perhaps?), opening her up and replacing the broken units. Then weld her shut again, use up skin to seal the gap and have her out of action through a recovery period, effectively dropping more cash into the maw for little return on investment. Do that a couple of time and some beancounter's going to have a fit.

For a brief moment, she wondered if anyone would step in on her behalf.
I know you said further up the thread that Melanie was a bit wrapped up in self-pity to realise that people are trying to help her out, but by the same token has she even been in a position to know. Yes Brian gave her some options, but in terms of actual inverveneing with Jacob the handlers seem to have been keeping that mostly amongst themselves.

The slim, raven-haired girl snapped her attention back around, eyes widening faintly. "Oh yeah, that's right. I thought of way to get Jacob off of your back and get back into his good-graces at the same time."
I get the impression that Lucy's another good one for hair-brained (or in this case not-so-hairbrained) schemes?

"That actually doesn't sound like a bad idea," Melanie admitted at last. "It could work."

"What could work?"
Absolutely no point in trying to talk quietly around fellow cyborgs.
Melanie stepped forward to ease the massive door open, receiving a curt nod of thanks from Jacob.
Great moment. It's only a little thing, but it's all that's required to show the reader how much this particular relationship has changed.
only being able to sleep for forty-five minutes at a time was a poor replacement to an actual full night's rest. As a supplement, Melanie had been forced to take up regular infusions of caffeine. Even Allison was left horrified by the sheer volume of coffee Melanie was consuming.
Grind coffee. Fill plunger. Drink coffee... rinse, wash, repeat. The worst thing about those short naps is that they're just enough to bring you down off that happy, hilarious overtired state.
Everything fell quickly into place then, as the remaining faces resolved themselves into those of various support staff members and a few handlers and fellow cyborgs. She recognized Priscilla's worried face, framed by her wavy, shoulder-length dirty-blonde hair.
For all those people to turn up I assume she was out for a bit then...
"I don't know what happened," the man eventually said, sounding angry and confused. "She was perfectly fine one moment and the next, she was freaking out and screaming."
Find a silver lining though: at least his anger seems to be at his own confusion rather than with Melanie. Changing relationships indeed... or are you just going to gut-punch us again? Razz
Another excellent chapter mate, looking forward to the next as usual.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Wed 1 Dec 2010 - 23:00

Just a thought, but there are a lot of "Melanie"s in this section...
Looking over the chapter, I see that you're absolutely right. I did overuse her name a bit. I've editted my hard-copy and made the appropriate changes to FF.net so hopefully it reads a lot smoother now. Thanks for catching it.
Monty: Too right, and I wouldn't be drinking it from that awful machine either.
Just out of curiosity, but I'm interested in what Monty's thoughts are on those single-cup Keurig machines. Marvel of time-saving modern ingenuity? Or the Hell-spawned child of Satan himself?
Triela: I need a photo of this.
I'm thinking we could start some kind of candid moment photo-contest or something. So far we've got Lucy passed out and drooling on her textbook, Henrietta dishevelled in the morning and Aggie wolfing down a slice of pizza. I say instant first-prize, no questions asked, goes to whoever brings in a snapshot of Triela asleep and cuddling one of her teddy bears.
Surely there'd be a point where the brass would step in, if only because a handler's treatment of a girl was costing them too much money.
Oh absolutely. That's part of the reason why the girls are so shocked to see that Costante has fallen back into beating Nina. He was pulled aside by the other handlers and Lorenzo and told to find a different way of doing things
It's more a case of Costante having lost his temper and lashed out at her violently, rather than his choosing to revisit old methods. Costante's father was abusive to he and his mother while growing up, hence why it was his default position for disciplining Nina when they first started together.
I should also clarrify that, back when Costante was actively abusing Nina, he quickly became a master at knowing just how far to push things so that she could still operate in the field effectively without the need for constant repairs.
...has she even been in a position to know.
She hasn't yet been in the position to know what the other handlers may or may not be doing on her behalf, no. That comment of her being too wrapped-up in self-pity was more directed at the efforts of her friends and fellow cyborgs. Although, given the mount of influence Kara and Allison have with their respective handlers, for those two at least, it could pretty much be considered one and the same.
I get the impression that Lucy's another good one for hair-brained (or in this case not-so-hairbrained) schemes?
Lucy's been known to knock around a wild idea or two. Usually ones that involve her hyjacking city-wide infrastructure networks for one reason or another.
For all those people to turn up I assume she was out for a bit then...
The deathly shrieks of unbridled terror certainly helped draw attention, too.
Changing relationships indeed... or are you just going to gut-punch us again?
No, I think I'm done with the emotional gut-punches for the time being at least. Too many too often and this story is going to start sounding like a M. Night Shyamalan movie. In the immortal words of Robot Chicken, "What a twist!"
Thanks as always Alfisti. And just to clear up in your first comment. When I said that the inter-play between OC's drew me to the forum, I meant it drew me into becoming active in the forum.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Wed 1 Dec 2010 - 23:40

What I'd like to know is what a human handler could do to actually damage a cyborg outside of dropping a safe or piano on them....

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Wed 1 Dec 2010 - 23:52

Well, Costante is a rather big man, and pretty solidly built. He's no Biff Steele, by any means, but he's large enough to not be intimidated out-of-hand. Costante also isn't adverse to the use of tools to assist him in the inflicting of psysical discipline. And then finally, there's the fact that the emotional pain of having your handler beat you as punishment probably hurts more then the actual blows ever could.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ElfenMagix on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 0:20

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Well, Costante is a rather big man, and pretty solidly built. He's no Biff Steele, by any means, but he's large enough to not be intimidated out-of-hand. Costante also isn't adverse to the use of tools to assist him in the inflicting of psysical discipline. And then finally, there's the fact that the emotional pain of having your handler beat you as punishment probably hurts more then the actual blows ever could.
The cyborgs are 4 - 10 times stronger than a grown man of Biff's strength and stature. Add to that they super speed and their bones are made of carbon fiber. Dropping a piano on them would only make them complain about a headache. Think about it- it took an anti-aircraft gun to take out Beatrice, and she was carrying a cruise missile at the time! I really doubt that he could just smack her about so easily and get her bloody. He's not Jean and she's not Rico.

Smacking a cyborg would not hurt them, even if they got bloody. But conditioning will tell them in that act, they are being punished for doing something wrong and that is all. How the cyborg handles that conditioning is on them. Now if somebody else were to do that, they would be dead meat on the fire.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 1:24

All valid points Elfin and I'll see what I can do about adressing them. To be honest, the whole point of this scene was to showcase some of the darker moral implications surrounding the realities of the girls' existence. The idea that they are essentially the enslaved property of the agency and governement, no matter how fancy their cages may be. I wasn't really focussing on the lack of realism in having a normal human be able to beat the stuffing out of a cyborg.

I dropped the reference to Nina's cracked rib, leaving just the damage to her face. I also added an extra line, referencing that, while Nina might not be in any physical pain, the humiliation at having her handler beating her, and having everyone know that he's beating her, provides more than enough emotional injury. Remember, she has a massive superiority complex and the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 1:48

I'd conjecture that it has a lot to do with a cyborg's frame of mind.

During battle, when the synthetic adrenaline is flowing a girl could take multiple hits and shrug it off like a pillow fight. If the fight turns out to be a success the thrill of victory keeps those juices flowing.

If however, the mission turns sour, such as Henrietta's freak-out in Chapter 1, depression sets in, and I'd imagine the cyborg starts to feel the pain. After disappointing Giuse, 'Etta is obviously in discomfort.

This correlates to physical disciple/corporal punishment as well. If a handler is mad at his girl a smack is going to hurt...body & soul. Doubtless individual girls take it differently as well. Rico is cheerful just minutes after being hit by Jean because she's a cheerful person who takes it in stride and shrugs off the incident. On the other hand, I'm sure a sharp word from Giuseppe (much less a smack, perish the thought!) would be enough to have Henrietta brooding for days.

I see Constante's abuse hurting Nina a great deal because she's a prideful person, and she's just been knocked down a notch in plain view of the sisters she considers herself superior to.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Officer_Charon on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 2:36

To say nothing of adrenaline dump... if it occurs when the cyborg is already feeling low, due to a mission going pear-shaped, for example, then the depressed feelings are only going to be augmented by the crash. This "valley" might go low enough to have severe psychological repercussions, depending on the amount of synthadren being pumped into the cyborg....

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 3:59

@Officer_Charon wrote: This "valley" might go low enough to have severe psychological repercussions, depending on the amount of synthadren being pumped into the cyborg....
Interesting new ground for some author to blaze perhaps...

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 7:30

I'm inclined to agree with Voodoo that a cyborg's reaction to getting knocked around would have a lot to do with the frame of mind. By the same token though, while cyborgs are tough they're not indestructible and I'm sure there's got to be at least a few weakpoints in their construction... just as I'm sure the agency has at least a few bits of 2x4 lying around. Look hard enough and you can find a bit if 2x4 anywhere. While it may not shatter CFRP (which in it's self isn't exactly a wonder material either) soft synthetic tissue may well be another matter. Just a thought.

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Just out of curiosity, but I'm interested in what Monty's thoughts are on those single-cup Keurig machines. Marvel of time-saving modern ingenuity? Or the Hell-spawned child of Satan himself?
Oh, Hell-spawned child of Satan, definately. Those are those horrible, horrible cartridge things right? Monty's ruling on coffee from machines is that the machine had better have a trained barista running it; and by "trained" I don't mean "taught the Starbucks (blech) way", but "actually cares, knows their shit and preferably has an award or two behind them". For the record she herself is actually kinda average with an espresso machine, simply through not having logged many hours on them. French press and stovetop perk as what she knows how to use (ie what she and Jethro carry with them).

@ChaosKin640 wrote:That's part of the reason why the girls are so shocked to see that Costante has fallen back into beating Nina. He was pulled aside by the other handlers and Lorenzo and told to find a different way of doing things
I did wonder if that has really just been the handlers stepping in of their own accord, or if there'd been some subtle prodding from the higherups.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 8:19

I did wonder if that has really just been the handlers stepping in of their own accord, or if there'd been some subtle prodding from the higherups.
A little subtle prodding. No-one wants another Elsa on their hands, after all.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sat 11 Dec 2010 - 22:15

Chapter 6 of Crossroads is now up.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Sun 12 Dec 2010 - 1:36

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Chapter 6 of Crossroads is now up.
Aha..the story continues...saved; reading tonight.

You might consider giving us a link on the notification post...I had to go back to page one (of the thread) to find the url for your new chapter.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Sun 12 Dec 2010 - 1:49

Could only do a quick pass through for now, but I enjoyed it!

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sun 12 Dec 2010 - 6:00

You might consider giving us a link on the notification post...
Duly noted and accomplished, Voodoo.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 0:14

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
You might consider giving us a link on the notification post...
Duly noted and accomplished, Voodoo.
Actually I was referring to this thread (your December 11th post).

Done reading...another enjoyable chapter. Because I copy & paste these stories into an .rtf file (neccessary due to my slow ship-board connection) I inevitably see the last few sentences before I get to read the story. My first thoughts were...jeeze, ending on another break-down? He's getting a bit formulaic. Turns out I was wrong...you've delivered another tense & creative cliffhanger.

Working on more complete thoughts now...

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 6:30

My first thoughts were...jeeze, ending on another break-down?
Yeah, I had some reservations about ending the chapter there becasue of precisely that reason. But I was 28 pages in and with the notes I had left I could have gone another 5-10, which would have just made the chapter too long. And it does work as a perfect point to end the chapter.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 6:44

Another excellent chapter Chaos, man, Melanie just can't catch a break can she... though I guess Jacob may be looking at getting some of his own medicine, humping heavy loads around for miles Razz

Unfortunately it also left her feeling spaced-out and numb.
Guess it's not nearly as much fun as morphine is then...

It wasn't fair to them, who had to take time out of their own schedules to visit her, only to have her lie there almost catatonic.
It says a lot about Melanie that she somehow expects herself to be the "gracious host" even when bedridden. I guess though that no-one likes feeling that they're putting people out. At least not on purpose Wink

Widely spaced wrought-iron street-lamps flanked the flagstone walking paths. The broad pools of yellowed light they cast across the grounds pointed the way to anyone still out and about.
Well I guess it beats those little solar-powered stake-in pathway lights. Nice imagery in this paragraph too.

Simple, utilitarian suites were provided to every handler to use as a combination office and crash-pad, in the event they were either unable or unwilling to go home at the end of the day.
Jethro: Or those of us too cheap to rent our own. Right Mancini?

Enzo: Just be glad you get the option. I caught the flu once and was banished here till it went away.

Stepping into a sparsely-furnished sitting room, Melanie turned all about, head swivelling in the effort to take everything in. Two plain oak doors faced her from the opposite side of the room. One led to the bedroom, the other to a simple two-piece lavatory.
I can't remember, but Jacob's another one that lives on campus right? Certainly a more spacious accomodation than what I'd envisaged myself. Always figured they rooms were at best "studio style" or less kindly "bedrooms".

Most of the books she found were of a distinctly academic kind. Procedural manuals and training handbooks made up the bulk of what was on display. The scant few novels all seemed to be war stories and spy thrillers. There were several books written by a man named 'Tom Clancy' that, when Melanie pulled one out to glance at the cover, looked interesting.
I direct you to the Rands article The Book Stalker

Part of her was appalled at such flakey, moon-eyed behaviour. A week ago Melanie was ready to run crying to the doctors and beg them to imprint her to a new handler. But now, here she stood, as weak-kneed and light-headed as a silly little girl who had just been kissed by her first crush.
Welcome to the weirdness of cyborg existance luv.

The thought of a long hot shower beckoned to her, pulling at each step until she was practically running towards her goal.
She really does like that shower doesn't she?

The sounds of gunfire, explosions and the agonized screams of the dying filled the air. The girl herself was muttering under her breath, too low for Melanie to make out any words over the cacophonous roar of the game.
You know, for some reason I sort of figured Lucy would have headphones.

Melanie stared blankly at the back of her room mate's head. Her face was frozen in a wooden mask of silent confusion. "Uh…I have no idea what that means."
Quoted for truth.

You're acting like a three year-old
Monty: Some might say that's perfectly natural for the average cyborg.

there'll be even more of us there. Costante and Nina are on standby and chances are Jean will be on-site with Rico to personally oversee things from the front lines."
Bloke should feel happy that he's deemed so important. Wondering if this particular mission is going to go well or tits-up.

She jerked upright in bed with a muffled cry of alarm and blinked dazedly into the pale, pre-dawn gloom.
I've always wondered what the standard procedure is for waking a cyborg up is, at least for the first few times till their reactions are know. Part of me thinks that the best approach comes from the "stand behind the door and poke their foot with a broomhandle" school.

Melanie saw that Jacob already had a bowl of steaming-hot oatmeal, two thick slices of lightly-toasted bread smothered in butter and strawberry jam and a tall glass of juice waiting for her. He didn't look up as she sat down in the seat opposite him and began to dig into the meal.
Wait... no sports drink?

There were a few places where the humping was bad enough that it would take a miracle of skilful manoeuvring to keep from bottoming out.
There is something to be said for the combination of high-profile tyres, good suspension travel and ground clearance. There's a good reason (among many) Jethro chose a softroader over something more sporty to drive all across the planet in.

Glancing over at her sleep form and chuckling to himself in wry amusement, Jacob reached out and turned a dial in the center of the dash, sending a gentle flow of warm air blowing back into Melanie's face, ruffling her red-gold hair. She let out a soft mumble and shifted around in her seat, snuggling in tighter.
Between Jacob's treating Melanie tenderly here and his flat-out drive a little later on, you've managed to cram quite a bit of character development into one car journy for him. It's good in that it moves the reader's mental image of him on a bit to something more suitable for the adventure to come.

Melanie grinned slyly, her amber eyes gleaming mischievously. "I didn't know you were into racing, Jacob."
In fact it's good for moving both characters along in their relationship. I notice Melanie's learned to shut up now as well.

Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song' and The Who's 'Baba O'Riley'
Got a laugh out of those two... and immigrant and a girl living in what could be describes as a "Teenage Wasteland" Razz

All around them, the GIS commandos smiled and chuckled at Melanie's innocent, child-like amazement at the prospect of flying.
Still a teenage child huh?

Sometimes I get the impression that the GIS, or at least those under Major Sales, have to some greater or lesser extent adopted the cyborg girls.

"You two want to continue this little "lover's spat" on the ground? We're burning fuel here."
I don't know how high this particular part of the park is, but I'd say quite rapidly as well if they're at altitude.

Jacob could recognize the signs of tunnel-vision and he knew that Melanie was charging ahead blindly.
It's all too easy to do as well, even in more meaningless situations, like trying to find somewhere to eat. I actually first read this chapter in Melbourne (yes "everything on hold" also includes holidays) and it sprung to mind watching a mate marching down a row of restraunts paying absolutely no attention to what was on either side of him. The goal had gone from "get something to eat" to "get to the end of the block".

While not inebriated enough to be truly impaired, Jacob was just drunk enough for it to mellow out his mood and keep him from wanting to snap Melanie's head off.
Lucy: So Mel, all we really need to do to keep Jacob off your back is to spike his drink every morning. Simple huh?

"Canadian IMPs,"
Heh, guess they do alright heated up then? I remember the general rule of thumb with the Australian rat-packs was that they tasted better cold, but filled you up more hot.

"Actually it was hot, wet, filthy and boring. We spent more than two weeks trudging back-and-forth through the jungle looking for these guerrillas, eventually engaged them in a surprise-attack that lasted all of ten minutes and then spent the next four days trudging back through the jungle to our extraction zone."
Welcome to the harsh reality of most jobs that sound "exciting".

Fantastic ending to the chapter by the way. Looking forward to the next.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 7:53

I can't remember, but Jacob's another one that lives on campus right?
Yes he is.
As for spaciousness, I picture the suites being just big enough to hold what I've described. A couch and chair with a TV and a dining nook are about all there's space for in the ante-room. The bedrooms hold a bed, desk, some bookshelves and a dresser, with little maneuvering room between. And the "bathroom" is just a toilet and sink. So enough to make it feel more like personal space rather than a tiny hotel room, but not much more.
She really does like that shower doesn't she?
Who doesn't look forward to that nice hot shower at the end of a hard, stressful day? I'm not a water person by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, and at the risk of offending your Aussie sensibilities Alfisti, I outright hate water. But even I admit that the modern hot shower is one of the most glorious of all mankind's technological achievments.
You know, for some reason I sort of figured Lucy would have headphones.
She does, but she didn't think Mel would be back so soon and most everyone else is chilling in the common room, so if she's not bothering anyone, 7.1 surround-sound all the way.
Quoted for truth.
Lucy's ramble there is an Easter-egg I intentionally left vague and incomprehensible unless you know what I'm talking about. Bonus points for anyone who understands the reference.
...an immigrant and a girl living in what could be describes as a "Teenage Wasteland"
Hmm...while I admit that Jacob's being an immigrant was indeed why I chose Immigrant Song, the "teenage wasteland" comparison was not a part of my thinking. I just really like the song.
Heh, guess they do alright heated up then?
I lived off of these things while in Scouts. And while, yes, there are a few that should be avoided like the plague (I'm looking at you Sheppard's Pie), for the most part they're really not bad. I actually got a kick out of the site I used to look up current meal menus. As part of the nutrition requirements, it makes mention of a "bread product" being manditorily included. And if anyone here is at all familiar with military rations, then the term "bread-product" is the perfect description for those God-awful bread loaf....things that are a part of every pack.
Fantastic ending to the chapter by the way. Looking forward to the next.
Thanks Alifisti. I hope to have chapter 7 up by end of the month if I can.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 8:16

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
@Alfisti wrote:I can't remember, but Jacob's another one that lives on campus right?
Yes he is.
Damn, wish I'd remembered that before I had him making fun of Avise for doing it in my PF story.
And the "bathroom" is just a toilet and sink.
Hmm, that places the rooms a notch above the girls dorms, which have a public bathroom down the hall. Exercising privilege of rank a bit, eh handlers?
I outright hate water.
Chaos, we need to get you into the witness protection program before Marisa reads that. Previously you'd have been safe because she would never see the forum but you're the one who allowed Lucy to run an internet line into the dorm!
I lived off of these things while in Scouts.
I always found US MRE's useful when you and your drunk-ass buddies stumble home at 3am looking for food. I always grabbed an extra case or two whenever my base held an exercise.
ProTip: Never give the ham slice to your drunkest mate, unless you want your living room table covered in ham jelly.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 8:26

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
She really does like that shower doesn't she?
Who doesn't look forward to that nice hot shower at the end of a hard, stressful day? I'm not a water person by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, and at the risk of offending your Aussie sensibilities Alfisti, I outright hate water. But even I admit that the modern hot shower is one of the most glorious of all mankind's technological achievments.
I will admit the hot shower is indeed excellent. Water rationing sort of put paid to that for a bit, but I am starting to re-discover it. That said, cool showers are where it's at right now.

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
Heh, guess they do alright heated up then?
I lived off of these things while in Scouts. And while, yes, there are a few that should be avoided like the plague (I'm looking at you Sheppard's Pie), for the most part they're really not bad. I actually got a kick out of the site I used to look up current meal menus. As part of the nutrition requirements, it makes mention of a "bread product" being manditorily included. And if anyone here is at all familiar with military rations, then the term "bread-product" is the perfect description for those God-awful bread loaf....things that are a part of every pack.
Heh... C-Rats were the ones you wanted from the Australian packs. They had a sort of meat/vegtable stew (kinda like braised steak and veg) in them that was actually pretty awesome as long as you didn't look at it. Practical upshot was that, as soon as you made NCO the first thing you did was on any biv was rifle through the rations and grab all the C-Rats you needed for the weekend... then let the cadetlings fight over the rest. Of course, they still contained all the same stuff every other pack contained like their Canadian cousins: the out-of-date M&Ms, the tinned cheese that could block you up for a week...
...and "cereal block" that no-one ever figured out how to make edible and we eventually decided was actually intended to be used as extra body armour against rifle rounds.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 10:16

Chapter 06: The Hunt Begins
There were restrictions, of course, such as only two people being allowed in to see her at a time and that time being strictly limited, but it was better than nothing.
The entire first passage, dealing with the hospital, got me thinking about cyborg psychology as it deals with injury, illness & convalescence of a friend. There's an old cliché about soldiers & race drivers being extremely reluctant to visit friends in the hospital because it chipped away at their own feeling of invulnerability, but cyborgs do not seem to be afflicted by that. Is this a result of conditioning I wonder, or of their human personalities?
Unfortunately it also left her feeling spaced-out and numb.

Much to her embarrassment, at one point she realized that she had spent almost ten minutes staring intently at a dust mote as it drifted lazily through the air.
Lab Tech 1: What are you doing?

Tech 2: Oh man, I screwed up...one of these IV bags contains the conditioning drug cocktail...one contains pure extract of cannabis. I got them mixed up before slapping the labels on.

Tech 1: Well, just take a guess...50/50 chance.
Having teams of doctors and technicians swarming around you, not a single one of them concerned for her as a person, merely as a technological investment that was malfunctioning, was horribly dehumanizing and utterly humiliating.

If not for the medication flowing through her veins, numbing her thoughts and emotions, Melanie would have been left weeping in abject shame after each round of tests.
Another callback to her latent abuse memories I assume. Another cyborg without such buried trauma haunting her psyche might not feel the same way about hospital visits...although I suspect they all find them boring.
nothing could have made Melanie happier than that simple command. To her, it meant that he intended to put the entire incident behind them and move on with her normal training.
That sounds very in-line with eager to please cyborg psychology. Canon or OC I don't think there's a single genuine shirker or malingerer in the bunch.
She struggled and failed to conceal the broad, ecstatic grin from spreading across her face and her eyes gleamed with unveiled joy. "What…what kind of field training?" Melanie asked hesitantly. Her whole body trembled with the effort of retaining some semblance of composure.
Field Trip! Melanie's exuberance (albeit carefully restrained) is an interesting counter-point to Claes' melancholic thoughtfulness at Lake Maggiore on her first off-compound outing.
The privilege of being allowed inside her handler's dorm suite was a momentous event for Melanie and she would be sure to tell her friends about it as soon as she got back to the cyborg dorms.
I agree, being permitted access to the private quarters of one's handler, be they on or off compound must be a monumental thrill for a cyborg, and carry much prestige around the dorm. Consider that even as close as Henrietta & Giuseppe were (pre-reconditioning) he was never once seen taking her to his house in Rome. The vacation home in Taormina was as close as she ever got. In fact, amongst the canon girls only Petra has seen her master's living space.
There were several books written by a man named 'Tom Clancy' that, when Melanie pulled one out to glance at the cover, looked interesting.
Given how cyborgs imitate their handler's reading choices I can see this coming up again in the future.
Part of her was appalled at such flakey, moon-eyed behaviour. A week ago Melanie was ready to run crying to the doctors and beg them to imprint her to a new handler. But now, here she stood, as weak-kneed and light-headed as a silly little girl who had just been kissed by her first crush.
One of my favorite paragraphs in the chapter.
Melanie's heart leapt into her throat and her stomach gave a sickening lurch as Jacob stepped back into the sitting room with the army-green rucksack clutched tightly in one hand
He's succeed in conditioning a Pavlovian response from her. From now on any time Melanie starts slacking off or misbehaving all Jacob has to do is show her that bag.
"The plate goes in that thin sleeve inside the main pouch, up against the frame. The cup goes inside the bowl and…"
Private instruction...in her handler's room no less? Melanie is going to need a change of panties after this.
The sounds of gunfire, explosions and the agonized screams of the dying filled the air. The girl herself was muttering under her breath, too low for Melanie to make out any words over the cacophonous roar of the game.
The heavy cost of having a gamer-geek for a room mate. Perhaps Melanie could drop a few hints to Enzo; "You know, some headphones might be a nice reward the next time Lucretia does well on a mission..."
Melanie was relieved to find that the only occupants were a pair of girls she didn't recognize by name.
While it may sound callous, I can sympathize here. Sometimes you just don't want to run into your friends when you've got other plans.
Melanie padded softly and quickly through the hallways of the dormitory, the hem of her fluffy, cream-coloured bathrobe flapping wildly around her ankles.
That seems like an extravagant luxury for a cyborg who's handler has not given her anything non-work related.
God-damned bastard threw down a proxy-gate behind my third and zealot-rushed me.
Okay...I fail.
You can't hack this guy's computer just because he beat you. He's probably like some twelve year old kid just having fun and you're going to destroy his computer?"
Not to mention the Agency is going to have your ass on a hook when they find out she's potentially exposing Section Two!
"I guess I'll have to get the Q-Branch crew to make me a new one,"

"The desktop is only held on by a set of steel pegs and pops right off."
After awhile Q-Branch just supplies her with a stack of replacements.
"You just reminded me that I should go to bed early too."
It has been my experience that video-game fiends often forget that little detail.
Melanie abruptly twisted back around in bed as Lucretia stripped out of her jeans and long-sleeved black shirt.
I can understand Melanie having some lingering bashfulness about her own body, but others as well? Wow, they really messed her up.
knowing Michele and Kara's standards, the term 'dingy' is likely to simply mean that the bed-sheets aren't made of hand-woven silk and the in-house chef isn't Michelin Star qualified."
The entire operation breathes a sigh of relief whenever old man Alboreto doesn't make the hotel arrangements.
All that time cooped up in just a couple of rooms with nothing to do but work, eat and sleep is enough to make me want to blow my brains out.
Incidentally you've used a phrase I've applied to my own life aboard ship. It's when I get most of my writing done, so maybe we'll see Lucretia show up on FF.net soon!
He's almost as bad as Amadeo."
Britney: Hey! That's my...um...special friend you're talking about!
Glancing over, she could just make out the humped, huddled form of Lucretia across the room
When I visualize these scenes I keep forgetting the older girls don't use bunk beds...until you throw out a reminder.
The boots were her very first presents from her handler.
Hence my confusion about the fluffy cream-coloured bathrobe.
The boots virtually moulded themselves to every contour of her foot and were both snug and comfortable from thickly-padded heel to steel-capped toe.
Jacob: I remember when you actually had to break in new boots!

Melanie: You mean they didn't feel perfect right out of the box?

Jacob: Nope...gave you blisters the whole first week.

Melanie: Wow...the dark ages.
freshly-baked breads that filled the immediate area with a strong, tantalizing scent that set Melanie's mouth to watering.
I think this is the first time you've shown Melanie happy to be eating rather than drinking. For a while I'd thought that was a plot thread you were going to follow (Melanie perhaps causing herself issues by not eating regularly).
Melanie saw that Jacob already had a bowl of steaming-hot oatmeal, two thick slices of lightly-toasted bread smothered in butter and strawberry jam and a tall glass of juice waiting for her.
"A visit to my handler's room...new boots...and now he's made breakfast for me! Best day ever!"
Jacob noticed Melanie's struggle with no small amount of genuine amusement. He flicked his gaze back and forth, watching for a time as, every few minutes her head would slowly sink down to her chest before bobbing back up sharply.
The first glimmers of Melanie endearing herself to Jacob?
She would not fall asleep!

Less than ten minutes later, as Jacob pulled onto State Highway six-ninety heading North-West, Melanie was sound asleep
What is it about OC cyborgs falling asleep in moving cars? I think every fanfic writer who has put his cyborg in a car has had her fall asleep at one point or another (maybe not Allison). Yet we have seen no precedent for this in canon (wounded Rico & Triela are both asleep in their handler's cars after the attack on Christiano, but the cars are parked). I guess none of us can resist the endearing image of a cyborg napping contentedly while trusting her handler to get them to the destination safely.
Tightening his death-grip on the wheel
That seems a bit odd for Jacob. He seemed to me to be the type who relaxes and becomes more focused as the situation gets intense.
The needle hit and buried itself at the three-hundred and twenty kilometres per hour mark and Jacob held that speed for an agonizingly slow forty seconds.
Jeeze, how much power does this Oldsmobile have? It would likely take a thousand ponies to push that much drag to 200mph...and some clever aerodynamic trickery to keep it on the ground at that speed.
That was all the time it took to completely chew through the entire five kilometre straight stretch.
...and a whole tank of petrol!
I spend most of my down-time with Allison and Kara. I know what "cleaning the injectors" means."
"Then it sounds to me as if you have too much down-time," Jacob retorted
Another classic line. If you ever do stabilize their relationship into something happier I hope you don't do away with these sharp, witty remarks from Jacob.
By the time the harsh, rasping vocals of Brian Johnson were blasting out the main chorus of 'Thunderstruck', even Melanie found herself bobbing and tapping in time to the beat.
Even for a cyborg it is physically impossible not to.
With her enhanced sense of hearing, the whirring roar teetered on the brink of being completely overwhelming.
Indeed, even a normal human would be foolish not to have earplugs. Even the business style Sikorsky S76's and Bell 430's I sometimes fly on for offshore oilfield jobs are deafening without 'plugs.
Another observation many fanfic writers have made. Cyborgs seem thrilled by flying...perhaps because it is one power they do not posses themselves. In any case I agree with her. I'm closer to 40 than 15, but flying over the African jungle and the Nynaga river a few weeks ago I'm sure I had the same look on my face that she does here.
Staring across at Melanie now, Jacob's heart felt like a leaden weight in his chest. Her face was an almost perfectly mirrored reflection to Zach's, all those years ago now.

Feigning tiredness, Jacob gave a deep, fake yawn and rubbed the heels of both hands into his eyes. Both hands came away damp.
Very interesting layering of emotions form Jacob. It's obviously a memory that evokes pain for him, yet it's not entirely unhappy.

More to come...

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ElfenMagix on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 11:14

@Professor Voodoo wrote:
Chapter 06: The Hunt Begins
There were restrictions, of course, such as only two people being allowed in to see her at a time and that time being strictly limited, but it was better than nothing.
The entire first passage, dealing with the hospital, got me thinking about cyborg psychology as it deals with injury, illness & convalescence of a friend. There's an old cliché about soldiers & race drivers being extremely reluctant to visit friends in the hospital because it chipped away at their own feeling of invulnerability, but cyborgs do not seem to be afflicted by that. Is this a result of conditioning I wonder, or of their human personalities?

www.indymotorspeedway.com/500d-73.htm[/mention] wrote:Johncock's celebration wasn't much of a party. The traditional post-race banquet was canceled and he and many others on the team went instead to Methodist Hospital to check on the condition of Savage.

A month later, after Savage's kidneys had failed, he died of pneumonia.
Cant say... many of the old guys in Indy racing would go see their friends at the hospital, because they know that could be them in that bed and they would not want to be there alone. The '73 race was one plagued with 2 deaths (Art Pollock in practice and later Swede Savage months after his race accident), many accidents (David "Salt" Walther's Lap 1 fiery crash that took out 13 cars being the major one) and bad weather delaying or stopping the race on several occasions, it was mercifully ended in 133 laps instead of the usual 200.
With that said...

The human condition is something that is only defined by the individual. Where people believe that there is 1 version of the human condition is beyond me. Watching a family or friend in the hospital is something that many do not want to do, that in facing sickness and death would, like you said, chip away at their invulnerability. But it also depends on the connected feels one has for others. With the old Indy drivers, there is a comradely shared among them of competition and friendship. Indy Drivers have gotten out of their cars to rescue a friend. They have also shared cars when a driver/friend did not get a sponsorship. (Not saying that F1, Midget and other racers wont, I'm sure that they did and still do).

In writing the hospital scenes for both Rachel and Francesca in both stories, I wrote Fernando in such a way of indifference to them but in actuality it was out of anger because their reasons to be hospitalized because of the unnecessary actions that brought them there. As such, he dealt with the anger in the best way he could - taking out the reason that brought them there. Fernando can be a cold bastard at times, but he does care for his charges. At least it is better than being aloof in making excuses as I see with this character here, as the medical ward at the compound is open to staff and cyborgs when needed- 24/7. Cyborgs deal with it differently. They know their time is short. They visit to show support and oddly enough, to see how its done so they can do it right themselves. They are expecting a miracle, it does not always happen.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Wed 15 Dec 2010 - 12:47

One of my favorite paragraphs in the chapter.
Glad you liked it. This was another one of those passages that just sort of "congealed" within my mind while working and had to be used.
That seems like an extravagant luxury for a cyborg who's handler has not given her anything non-work related.
Actually, I'm working under the assumption that a bathrobe is one of those "starter-kit" items every new cyborg is issued upon waking up.
After awhile Q-Branch just supplies her with a stack of replacements.
Oh they are WAAAAAY ahead of you there, Voodoo.
Britney: Hey! That's my...um...special friend you're talking about!
Oh you just wait until ch.07 then Britney. I plan on having Amadeo make an appearance and...well...lets just say he runs afoul of an older woman. Evil
For a while I'd thought that was a plot thread you were going to follow
There is actually a relevant reason behind Melanie's lack of appetite/interest in eating, which I will get into more later on.
That seems a bit odd for Jacob. He seemed to me to be the type who relaxes and becomes more focused as the situation gets intense.
More a result of the adrenaline and excitement of the situation. Jacob used to drag-race back in high-school and it's been years sinse the last time he's really indulged himself.
Jeeze, how much power does this Oldsmobile have?
Ok, I freely admit: I'm no mechanical engineer, so I may be guilty of a little bit of exaggeration in terms of the speeds involved. But I will point out that Jacob's Cutlass underwent extensive rebuilding curtosy of Allison and the Q-Branch crew upon his importing it over. Now I have no idea what the biggest engine that can be squeezed into a '72 Cutlass chassis is, but whatever it is, it's in there. Plus, and this may have been missed, but Jacob is tanking almost a full bottle of NOS at the end there to reach those speeds.
Even for a cyborg it is physically impossible not to.
Damn straight. Incidentally, I actually went through my music library and threw together the CD Jacob is listening to during the drive. So if anyone is interested in the full track list, I have it.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Fri 14 Jan 2011 - 15:33

Great news: I have chapter 7 of 'Crossroads' finished, cheers

I'm currently in the process of proof-reading it, so once that's done and I've sent it off to my beta-reader for a once-over, I'll have it up on FF.net for everyone's enjoyment. Some of you may be pleased to know that it's going to be considerably shorter than my normal chapters and that's due to 2 different reasons:
First of all, what is now ch7 was different enough in setting and basic plot from what I had planned for the rest of the chapter that it ended up warrenting being split off into its own chapter.
Second, all of chapter 7 was written during the course of a rather significant personal crisis, the details of which I've mentioned in another thread so I won't go into here.
So yeah, expect it up anywhere between the next 2-3 hours.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Fri 14 Jan 2011 - 20:23

Okay, chapter 7 is now officially live.

Chapter 07: Battlefield's Dawn
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Fri 14 Jan 2011 - 21:01

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Okay, chapter 7 is now officially live.

Chapter 07: Battlefield's Dawn
cheers something to read when I get back from work tonight.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Sun 16 Jan 2011 - 1:29

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Okay, chapter 7 is now officially live.

Chapter 07: Battlefield's Dawn

That was really good.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Wed 19 Jan 2011 - 11:14

Ok, so... longer thoughts.

First up, and I guess I may as well get the negatives out of the way first: to me this chapter didn't feel quite as polished or "together" as your previous work. Something just didn't quite seem to be geling for me, or it didn't immerse me in the story as much as usual. The impression was that you were trying to set up for a number of
different things and I wonder if you were not trying to
find just a few too many starting points in a limited number of words. There was a lot in there that sounded like it would become important in later chapters, but couldn't be worked in another way. To be honest, right now and without that extra context, it feels like something of a big information dump: quite utilitarian.

Don't get me wrong, it's still a good chapter, but it didn't draw me in the way the others have up untill now.

Anyway, on with the show.

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Unconsciously he ran his hands down the length of the cream-coloured suit he wore, smoothing out wrinkles.
I'll admit to never having been a fan of Yu's suiting of his characters (or his characters' choice of suiting... whatever), but that's just personal preference. However, the state of Jean's suit here says a lot about his mental and physical condition.

The entire endeavour had been a colossal waste of time. Time that could have been better spent working.
Damn straight: sleep is for those who don't have something more productive to be doing.

"Worst-case scenario, Melanie gets us hopelessly lost, we never end up
finding the GIS crew and I end up pulling the plug on the whole mess."
The problem with planning for a "worst case scenario" is that Murphy can invariably think up a better one.

His response, when it finally came, rocked Jacob back on his heels and
sent him mentally reeling. "Consider this information motivation. The
faster you get Melanie cleared for combat, the better your chances of
fulfilling your personal vendetta."
First time someone's hit Jacob in the face with something he knew but wasn't admitting?

The two brothers stared at each other for a time, a battle of wills
playing out between them. And as often proved the case in such matters,
the younger brother once more proved the victor.
I like the touch you're putting in here of both Ferro and Guise keeping an eye on Jean... and that when it comes to squishy-human matters, Giuse wins out. It balances the relationship between the brothers somewhat.

"No," declared in that same cold, quiet tone. "I refuse to believe that
we were simply outsmarted by Padania and by Giacomo Dante. I will not accept the notion that Dante set a trap for us and that we blindly walked right into it."
Dangerous, dangerous words from Jean there, more concerning still that they're coming from the field commander. However it also seems in line with his personality.

I wonder how Lorenzo weighed up giving Jean that role. At the start of the SWA's war (for want of a better term), Jean's relentless drive is exactly what it needed to push the program forward and deliver hard blows to the Padania. In other words: get the maximum out of the cyborgs and prove the program's worth to the beancounters. One has to wonder now though if that relentless drive leaves him too focused to adapt to the evolving and advancing battlefield. Like an old general brought up in the days of horses and rifles now having to contend with tanks and machine guns, perhaps the new breed of enemy is starting to leave him behind (or, considering the base premise of your story: is it demonic influence? One of the Maras?). Assuming the former, it's a good thing people like Ferro and Giuse are there to do the broad thinking for him... the trick's transmitting that message.

"Marisa is asleep in bed Jean; right where I left her last night. At
least," he added, grumbling to himself now. "She had damned well better be in bed where I left her. This is Marisa we're talking about, after all."
Claes: *shivering* Who's doing tonight's contraband run?

Triela: Marisa, why?

Claes: I don't know, just felt a chill. As if a hundred cyborg voices were crying out in pain and suffering...

You do remember the bloody finger she gave Pieri as a trophy when we first arrived?
Nice touch having Elio use Lorenzo's first name. Out of curiosity was that down to tiredness, or through feeling comfortable in that Jean's high enough up the rank structure for him to refer to the Chief by his first name? Because I have to admit, Elio's never struck me as the sort to make a
deal out of the fact that he's a personal friend of Lorenzo. For that matter I tend to picture him as being quite careful to keep things professional in front of the lower-ranking handlers.

I could be wrong of coruse too.

You didn't see the look in Nina's eyes tonight. She clearly enjoyed what we were doing and her Conditioning had nothing to do with it. I swear: she was practically salivating over the thought of getting her knives wet.
And a little bit more on Nina I see. Considering what we know of her now, is this part of an urge to pass on some of her own pain? Or just how her personality works... or a combination of both?

"Yes, I believe Miss Blacker may have mentioned something to that effect once or twice."
Haha, always happy to see J+M get a mention Very Happy. Though I wonder if, considering Jean's general view of the girls if he'd use the "Miss Blacker", or just use her first name like for every other cyborg.

Section Two's primary mission planning room was styled after a corporate
conference hall, with a long narrow table running down the center of
the floor. Several computer workstations ringed the room's perimeter and
a high-quality overhead projector, not currently in use, was centered
over the table. Tall windows overlooking the thinly-forested swath of
grounds that separated the main building from the cyborg dormitories let
in a pale, greyish light.
Hmm, one wonders about the adviseability in giving room handling such highly sensitive activities an outward facing aspect. Personally I think I'd want the war-room underground, or at least facing into an easily monitored courtyard.

There was much gesticulating and arm-waving involved and most of the other staff members gave them ample space.
Well, this is Italy... that's probably just a normal conversation. Razz

Sweeping his gaze across the busy room, Jean immediately picked out Ferro, who was striding purposefully towards him.
Well, they do say that the best defence is a good offence... and Ferro does strike you as the sort who would seek to take and maintain the upper hand.

Knowing that some of the cyborgs could be rather particular about their
personal spaces, Ferro figured it would probably be better if someone
they were familiar with went.
Not to mention someone few cyborgs would dare go up against.

Good chapter mate, though as I said at the start: to me at least it felt disjointed. However, still good and enjoyable... Very Happy

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Thu 20 Jan 2011 - 0:45

Thanks for the comments Alfisti and I'm glad you were still able to enjoy it despite its problems. Regrettably, I have to agree with your criticisms about the chapter being somewhat...disjointed. I am fully aware that this chapter was not up to my normal standards and for that I appologise. There are a few reasons behind that, the first of them being that this was never supposed to be its own chapter. It just ended up working out that there was too much information to convey and still continue on with the rest of the chapter, but not enough to make it feel like a fully-fleshed chapter of its own. I might go back and do some tweaking around at a later date, because there was some important character development with Jean in regards to his growing obsession and the efforts of Guise and Ferro to try and micromanage/take care of him. The scene between Jean and Elio is also important for the bit of foreshadowing it does in relation to the next chapter.
The other reason, and again I won't go into the details, was the simple fact that both my head and my heart weren't exactly into writing this chapter. The shit was pretty much hitting the fan throughout the course of writing ch7, and by the end I more-or-less stopped caring and just wanted to get it down, fire it off and be done with it. Fortunately, however, I'm already well into ch8 and its already looking and feeling significantly better. But enough of this, and onto some responses.
First time someone's hit Jacob in the face with something he knew but wasn't admitting?
There is that, but also I think there's an element of Jacob's having not expected Jean to be so coldly calculating in that regard. Where he and Jean both have their individual vandettas, I think Jacob was expecting Jean to be slightly more sympathetic and flexible. Which he now realizes he won't.
when it comes to squishy-human matters, Giuse wins out. It balances the relationship between the brothers somewhat.
I just felt it made sense to play it this way. Everything I've seen in canon shows that Guise is pretty much indifferent and accepting of Jean's cold personality, even when it's directed at him. They are brothers after all, and Guise's grown up having to deal with Jean's attitude. The entire reason for the drastic differences between them, as depicted by Yu himself, is to provide that contrasting balance.
One has to wonder now though if that relentless drive leaves him too focused to adapt to the evolving and advancing battlefield.
There certainly is an element of tunnel-vision afflicting Jean and his opinions towards Dante and Padania at large. Jean strikes me as a very prideful man that, as long as he keeps his cool, is able to adapt relatively quickly. But set him off and draw out his anger, and he can blind himself to everything around him equally fast. Just look at how badly he bungled things up in the Venice mission. Just because Dante was involved, he threw away all common sense and charged forward into what was an obvious trap. As to the demonic influences thing, there definately are some strings being pulled from the shadows, but I'm still a little up in the air as to how deeply involved that is.
Out of curiosity was that down to tiredness, or through feeling comfortable in that Jean's high enough up the rank structure for him to refer to the Chief by his first name?
A combination of all three actually. Yes, Elio is tired and yes, he is comfortable with Jean's seniority. However, Elio is also more than a little irritated with Jean's attempts at telling him how to manage his own cyborg and just tired enough to be willing to pull the old "friends-with-the-boss" card and throw it subtly in Jean's face.
Considering what we know of her now, is this part of an urge to pass on some of her own pain? Or just how her personality works... or a combination of both?
This one I won't go into, as I have plans for future devolpment with her. You'll just have to wait and see I'm afraid. Evil
Hmm, one wonders about the adviseability in giving room handling such highly sensitive activities an outward facing aspect. Personally I think I'd want the war-room underground, or at least facing into an easily monitored courtyard.
Umm...they have thick curtains? sweat In my defense, the room does look into the interior of the compound, towards the cyborg section of the grounds. So if anyone has gotten in far enough to be looking through the windows, the SWA has bigger security concerns than someone being able to spy on mission planning sessions.
Not to mention someone few cyborgs would dare go up against.
When staring down fanatical terrorists, stone-cold mafia thugs and heavily-armed mercenaries, the girls don't bat so much as an eyelash. But the very sight of Ferro coming down the hall with the dreaded White Glove of Eternal Doom can send most into paralyzing convulsions of nervous fear.

Again, thanks for the comments and my apologies for the lower quality writing. I can promise you and everyone that chapter 8 will be back up to my usual standards.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Thu 20 Jan 2011 - 7:57

Mate, no apologies necessary, I was just offering crit, which means there was nothing personal in it... and I did still enjoy the chapter overall. The urge to just get something out of your hair is one I understand all too well. I know I dropped the odd mark at university for exactly that reason.

@ChaosKin640 wrote:In my defense, the room does look into the interior of the compound, towards the cyborg section of the grounds.
I guess I tend to look at these sorts of things from a super-paranoid perspective. That said, it's probably a bit hypocritical of me, seeing as I have my characters discuss operational points in front of 2-story tall open bi-fold doors. At some stage the practicalities have to be temperedin order to maintain dramatic effect. Wink

When staring down fanatical terrorists, stone-cold mafia thugs and
heavily-armed mercenaries, the girls don't bat so much as an eyelash.
But the very sight of Ferro coming down the hall with the dreaded White
Glove of Eternal Doom can send most into paralyzing convulsions of
nervous fear.
Possibly second only in fear to the dreaded cry from Avise Mancini of "ROOM INSPECTION!"

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Thu 27 Jan 2011 - 13:27

When I started reviewing Chapter 7 I realized I'd never finished the last installment. Let me wrap that one up first...
the commandos clipped quick-release rappelling clamps onto the lines and stepped out into open air. They dropped quickly out of sight and were soon on the ground. Unhooking themselves, the men rushed away from the drop-zone and into the surrounding woods, unslinging their Heckler and Koch MP5 sub-machine guns as they moved.
Point of view is a bit awkward in this passage. Everything up to this point is presented from Melanie's POV, but once the commandos leave the helicopter we see things she couldn't possibly see from her perspective.

The canteen itself wasn't open yet, but there was a vending machine that he used to buy a few breakfast bars.
These practical details really help to set the mood and remind the reader of time frame.

The feeling was faint; so faint as to be nothing more than the whispered echo of a memory. And like a wispy tendril of fog caught by the harsh, burning glare of afternoon sunlight, the memory vanished and was gone when she tried to reach out and grasp it.
Evocative imagery here...

"Hey! Pay attention!"
...and Jacob snaps both his cyborg and the reader back to reality. Well played.

For the briefest of moments, Melanie was rewarded with the supremely satisfying sight of Jacob caught off guard and emotionally flustered.
Given precedent I'm surprised she isn't afraid he'll make her pay for it later!

"Try not to worry about the drop; it's pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Besides," the man said, offering her a broad, teasing grin, one hand resting lightly on her shoulder. "With your cyborg body, even if you were to fall the whole way down, you'd probably still be fine."

"Gee thanks," Melanie grumbled sourly, stepping up to the edge of the floor. "That makes me feel so much better."
I get the impression that the GIS guys really get a kick out of working with the cyborgs...it would be interesting to see an author create a story presented from their perspective.

Melanie...felt a sense of exhilarated thrill. She found herself excitedly longing to get started.
Hmmm...her cyborg programming at work? Eagerness to get to work on something she feels she can succeed at? Lingering instinct from her life as Quinn? There are so many motivational factors at work here that Melanie's frame of mind is very easy to relate to.

Picking out two prominent landmarks, she took a compass bearing on each, and then transferred those bearings to the map. The only point on the map where the bearings lined up with both landmarks indicated their current location.
A skill learned in training, or Miss Priscilla's "combat math" class? Side note; was Priscilla in on the conspiracy to allow Melanie some sleep during class time?

Jacob checked her work against the military-grade GPS unit he had brought with him.
Expensive stuff...but then again this is the SWA; €5,000 differential GPS units probably don't even raise an eyebrow.

"Don't ever interrupt me when I'm talking," Jacob growled.

"Oh, r…right. I'm sorry Jacob." Melanie instantly lowered her gaze, her broad grin evaporating into a crestfallen pout. What was wrong with her? Every time she managed to do something that made Jacob pleased or proud of her, she had to then go do something stupid to screw it up and make him angry again. Why couldn't she just keep her damned mouth shut?
I see an important personality trait developing; whenever Melanie screws up she blames herself...she never grumbles inwardly Jacob is such a dick like other cyborgs (i.e. Triela) might.

Melanie's head swept from side-to-side in smooth, graceful motions, never resting in one spot for more than a few seconds at a time before moving on.
Getting side-tracked a bit here; I once watched a documentary about French Navy search & rescue teams looking for Vietnamese refugee boats in the South China Sea. The searchers found that when they swept their eyes back and forth they quickly became "focus locked" and missed targets that were just outside the plane on which they were sweeping. In order to avoid this they began scanning up & down...from the horizon to just under the chopper...and achieved greater success with this method.

I'm not sure cyborgs, with their mechanical eyes, would have such a problem but it was an interesting observation nonetheless.

Melanie let out an excited cry at finding a thin ribbon tied tightly to a branch. The first marker.
Gotta work on that whole stealth idea, Melanie.

"Wrong."

"The first thing we do now is re-plot our position on the map," Jacob explained calmly.
You got me on that one too.

"Does that mean I have to re-plot our position every time I find a new trail marker? Because that seems a little tedious. I mean, if this were a real mission and we were pursuing terrorists or Mafiosi, wouldn't that give them more time to get away?"
Well, once you've learned the manual way of doing it you could just use the GPS to take your position fixes.

The hike was taking its toll on the older man.
Elio: Just wait another 15 years.

Jacob: Oh what are you complaining about? At least when you have to bust ass keeping up with Marisa underwater you've got water cooling.

The burning mouthfuls worked instantly, helping to numb the pain that was burning in his legs with an equal fervour.
Good reminder that it's not just Melanie working through personal problems...and that those problems were not left behind at the compound.

he wanted to lecture her about the foolish stupidity of ignoring your surroundings,
Especially since, on a real-world mission, there might be people hunting you as well.

you let yourself get caught up in your own eagerness and started focussing solely on what was directly in front of you.
There's a stray S in that focusing.

Jacob called a break for lunch a couple of hours later, directing Melanie over into a spacious, gently-sloping field of low grasses and wildflowers.
You describe an idyllic setting for Jacob & Melanie's "picnic." I suspect any cyborg would be thrilled to be spending one-on-one time with her handler in such surroundings.

peace settled over her with the thought of being in the midst of such serene, picturesque surroundings.

"This is pretty good," Melanie exclaimed after her first spoonful of stew. "What are these?"

"Canadian IMPs," Jacob replied
Robert F.'s Agapita was also fond of the Army field rations Avise provided...it makes me wonder if the cyborgs are pre-programmed with a craving for preserved, high calorie combat cuisine.

I suppose being bored is better than being busy, right? I mean, seeing as how you were black-ops, being busy would probably mean you're being shot at. Right?"
Another interesting character trait of Melanie...unlike some other OC cyborgs she is under no delusions about the "adventure" of combat.

Peru was a hell of a lot better than Rwanda, Jacob thought darkly, feeling himself sink down into a pit of bitterness and disgust. No amount of alcohol would ever scour away those images carved into his mind.

"Why; what happened in Rwanda?" Melanie asked,
If you don't mind I might refer to Jacob's Rwanda experience in a future Marisa & Elio episode. I'll provide details if you'd like.

Jacob was in no mood to satisfy Melanie's curiosity and, fuelled by his own memories of the sickening experience,
There's an extra L in fueled...Jacob's response is very understandable though.

Rocks and pebbles slid down the slope in a loose shower. Melanie yelped in alarm as her lead foot shot out from under her and the cold hard ground leapt up to meet her. Throwing her hands up to protect her face and vulnerable eyes,
Clever use of the cyborg's natural tendency to protect their eyes...in this case nearly killing her!

Her arms snaked around his waist and locked together tightly. On her knees, Melanie buried her face into his stomach and burst out into terrified sobs. Jacob could literally see her entire body trembling, she shook so badly.
Well, that caught me by surprise!

With the amount of physical strength at her disposal, if he couldn't get her off of him soon, then there was the very real possibility of her crushing bone or inflicting permanent organ damage.

Gasping for breath as Melanie's tightening hug crushed his diaphragm, Jacob barely managed to choke out, "Melanie please; you're hurting me."
Are "Primary Commands" (a 292 page book filled with command orders that the cyborgs autonomically obey) available to the handlers in your "universe"?

The blazing, fiery pain followed her down into the black abyss as her mind shut down. All the strength in her body flowed out of her and she collapsed to the ground, unable to move. A single, spasmodic tremor rippled through her and everything went black.
Quite a cliffhanger (literally at the edge of a cliff too)...especially since the next chapter takes us away from the Jacob & Melanie story.

Thoughts on Chapter 7 soon...

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Fri 28 Jan 2011 - 3:39

Yay, more comments, Very Happy.
...once the commandos leave the helicopter we see things she couldn't possibly see from her perspective.
Oh, hmm...okay. I was working under the impression that, where Melanie is seated next to the doors, she could kind of just lean out and watch them descend and move off. If that's not the case then I'll go back and revise that passage.
There are so many motivational factors at work here that Melanie's frame of mind is very easy to relate to.
Primarily the last two. As Melanie's appointed role is tracking/sniping, it's understandably a bit of an ego boost for her to be training those skills. Also, there is indeed some lingering aspects of Quinn's personality resurfacing that plays a part. Quinn's native people are a jungle-dwelling tribal society, so she was raised both as a warrior and as a hunter.
A skill learned in training, or Miss Priscilla's "combat math" class? Side note; was Priscilla in on the conspiracy to allow Melanie some sleep during class time?
A little of both and again, as above, a bit of Quinn's knowledge and experience leaking through. In regards to Priscilla's complacency in the Great Nap-time Conspiracy, I'll defer that decision back to you, Voodoo. As you were the one to pioneer the whole, "Nazi Priscilla's Combat Math Class" idea in the first place.
You got me on that one too.
Actually I kind of just pulled that one out of my ass. I have no idea if I'm right here or not, Razz
Especially since, on a real-world mission, there might be people hunting you as well.
Precisely.
There's a stray S in that focusing.
Ah, bugger.
...it makes me wonder if the cyborgs are pre-programmed with a craving for preserved, high calorie combat cuisine.
Not a clue. I just wanted to pay homage to my old Scouting days. I pretty much grew up in Petawawa, which hosts one of Canada's 3 biggest military bases. So all of the leaders in my Scout troop where military. That meant, any time we went camping, at least 2/3 of them would be able to secure some ration packs for our meals.
If you don't mind I might refer to Jacob's Rwanda experience in a future Marisa & Elio episode. I'll provide details if you'd like.
Absolutely, be my guest. Interesting tidbit though: my decision to have had Jacob serve in Rwanda was made as a sort of tribute to my dad, who also served a tour of duty there. This was something like, 15 years ago now, but to this day, he has yet to really open up and talk about the things he saw over there.
There's an extra L in fueled...Jacob's response is very understandable though.
Actually, there isn't. That's just the Canadian spelling.
Are "Primary Commands" available to the handlers in your "universe"?
Yes, they are. If you recall, Jacob tried using them on Melanie when she had her little "break-down" in the armoury. The reasons why Jacob didn't resort to using them here were, primarily, he's slightly more than slightly drunk at this point, and also he figures she's emotionally rattled enough that she might not respond to them.
In the previous chapter, I pioneered the idea that, if placed under enough emotional stress, the cyborgs can kind of revert back to their former selves. So in Melanie's case, she started reverting back into Minaka. Since Minaka doesn't understand Italian, using the Primary Commands in Italian would be useless. Which is why, when Michele gave her the "All Stop" command in Japanese instead, she instantly complied.

Thanks for the comments Voodoo, always happy to see feedback. You'll be happy to know that I am hard at work on ch8. Which brings me to a question I've been pondering. Chapter 8 covers the mission to capture the arms dealer. The first section, which I have done, focuses on Lucy and Enzo, with the rest focused on Sandro and Petra. My question is: should I release the 11 pgs I have now as its own chapter, with ch9 shifting the attention to Petra, or keep going with her as all a part of the same chapter?
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Sun 30 Jan 2011 - 1:55

ChaosKin wrote:My question is: should I release the 11 pgs I have now as its own chapter, with ch9 shifting the attention to Petra, or keep going with her as all a part of the same chapter?
There's certainly nothing wrong with releasing a short chapter, though it does go against your usual habit. The short ones are easier to review.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sun 30 Jan 2011 - 21:08

Okay, so after some careful consideration and a discusion with my beta-reader, I've decided to relase chapter 8 as its own shorter, stand-alone chapter, the same way as I did with my previous installment. So without further ado, lets get on with it.

In tonight's chapter of 'Crossroads of Destiny': Lucretia dodges the CIA, Enzo plans a dinner-date and Amadeo makes a new lady friend.
Chapter 08
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Sun 30 Jan 2011 - 22:57

Really liked this one. Good description and Lucretia's cockiness and contriteness are a nice dichotomy.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Tue 1 Feb 2011 - 8:42

Another excellent chapter mate, defs back up to your usual standards. Very Happy

On the shorter chapter: I'm a bit on the fence about it. It was certainly a good read (and I'm always keen to get more regular updates), but part of me feels that your style better suits the longer chapters. Don't ask me why: it's just the feeling I get.

Great stuff all the same.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Wed 2 Feb 2011 - 5:55

Yeah, I know what you mean, Alifisti. I'm still sort of on the fence about the shorter chapters too. I definately enjoy writing longer chapters, as they just feel more filling to me. Once I finish writing chapter 9, I'll see how it stands on its own, as opposed to joining 8 & 9 together. The main issue I'm having is that there's a lot of shifting character focus going on in what was to be chapter 8, with the narritive bouncing first from Lucy/Enzo to Petra/Sandro, then to just Petra and then finally to Jean. Typically each character shift would mean a shift in chapter as well.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Wed 2 Feb 2011 - 7:29

Yeah, the shifting of focus does become an issue, the problem is that it's almost impossible to run a large operation (like this one, or the one I'm doing in Monaco) without shifting focus between the different groups. Maybe there's a way that you could smooth the transitions between characters and participating groups. For example, I know the "through the camera" type moment is possibly a big overused now, but for transitioning between surveylance type scenarioes it's still useful.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Sat 12 Feb 2011 - 10:06

Alright, further thoughts on Chapter08...

@ChaosKin640 wrote:"We've been sitting her for like, three hours; how long does it take to sell a guy a hundred-thousand Euros' worth of guns?"
I take it that either this particular part of the mission has been going for awhile before this, or that Lucy doesn't deal well with boredom, because three hours isn't that long. She does strike mas one of the more energetic cyborgs. Maybe it's time to send someone on a coffee run.

So what happens if Balašev decides he can't trust Sandro and pulls out of the deal?
...then that's what you have Nina for.

A full-body airbrushing treatment to darken her skin tone
I take it they found a really GOOD spray tan then... because normally it just makes people look orange rather than tanned. Though when I think about it, a bad spray tan may actually be in character at this jucture.

She would have gone on grumbling under her breath about the unfair
absurdities of the world, but at that moment the connection to the
satellite feed began to crackle and break-up.
Probably a good think for all involved. Lucy really does seem like a typical petulant teenager here, a littany of complaints made worse by the fact that she's not allowed to TELL anyone. Razz

If they are borrowing that sat though, I hope no-one can see what she's using it to look at.

She knew that she had pushed things too far the instant the words had left her mouth.
Foot, mouth. Mouth, foot.

She was being pushed to the very limits of her physical and mental capabilities and she loved it.
Funny how you feel the most alive when you're the closest to imminent death... or in this case a possible international incident and certain bawling out by your handler.

"Because that's what I'm telling you to do, that's why," Enzo said
sternly. "Don't make me pull rank on you Lucy; you know I hate to do
that, but I will."
Excellent moment for this fratello. Enzo may be a generally fatherly figure, but there is a line not to be crossed. I guess being a father has probably taught him a bit about child management before hand.

Going into a bit of speculation here, but I wonder if the SWA really would recruit a family man. Not so much because of the dangers of the job and possibly leaving a family without a husband and father. Canoniacly they seem to mostly recruit what seem to be natural loners, or those without human strings attached, ie. those who would be likely to substitute a cyborg for familiy. Could it be that the Agency is using that "fratello" bond to control the handlers as much as it is to control th cyborgs?

"Oh that. I was thinking about inviting you over to spend Easter with the rest of my family."
Crikey, don't let 'Etta know. She'll be jealous for, like... ever. She's lucky she's got a handler that "puppy eyes" work on though.

"Okay, now you're just being paranoid. You're honestly starting to sound like one of those nut-job conspiracy theorists.
Jethro: Better to be paranoid and safe than overconfident and dead. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

"Sewer lines? Don't you give me that load of nonsense. My eldest son,
Enrico, is on the town council and if there were a problem with the
sewer lines, I would have heard about it."
For some reason this line made me thing of Gytha Ogg. I would not be suprised if this old lady is the head of a small army and knows about everything that goes on in the town, generally even before the proper authorities do.

"If anyone doesn't believe us when we tell them that Amadeo got chewed
out and beaten-up by a seventy-year-old grandmother, we have the video
evidence to prove it to them."
Something tells me that the SWA's Christmas Party gag-reel is extensive and hilarious, not to mention excellent fodder for the next Kangaroo Court.

It was game-time, and she was ready.
Great cliffhanger ending. I dunno though, I still feel your writing style suits longer chapters.

Great one all the same.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sat 12 Feb 2011 - 19:11

I take it that either this particular part of the mission has been going for awhile before this, or that Lucy doesn't deal well with boredom, because three hours isn't that long
It has. Sandro and Petra have been undercover for a couple of week by this point. Several teams, Michele and Kara being one of them, have been providing broad-spectrum surveillance throughout, and its only now that they're starting to close in and gear up for the main operation. As for boredom, Lucy doesn't mind stakeouts and surveillance missions, but not when all she's really doing is babysitting someone else's mission.
...then that's what you have Nina for.
Hold onto that thought there, Alfisti. Evil
I take it they found a really GOOD spray tan then... because normally it just makes people look orange rather than tanned.
I think that, between their budget and their own boffins, the SWA can manage to find a high-quality product.
If they are borrowing that sat though, I hope no-one can see what she's using it to look at.
True, but information out of context is next to useless. Even if the CIA is watching what she's watching, they'd have no idea what they're looking at. Just two middle-aged men talking over brunch.
Going into a bit of speculation here, but I wonder if the SWA really would recruit a family man.
I'm not really sure about that one. Canonically, they were changing how they picked handlers, which is how Sandro got hired. So I suppose there is precedence for them trying something different. The obvious emotional issues the agency has with the girls would be a reason for them to hire people with actual experience raising and controling children. There's also the arguement to made that, worst-case scenario, the agency would have his family to use against him if he tried to pull another Raballo.

Again, and as always, thanks for the comments. As for the shorter chapters, I'm now thinking of joining chapters 7 & 8 together into a single chapter. That would give me the room to trim down chapter 7, cutting some of the parts that made it feel sloppy and disjointed, while still adding enough pages in total for it to feel like a full, normal chapter.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 12 Feb 2011 - 20:27

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
@Alfisti wrote:Going into a bit of speculation here, but I wonder if the SWA really would recruit a family man.
I'm not really sure about that one. Canonically, they were changing how they picked handlers, which is how Sandro got hired. So I suppose there is precedence for them trying something different. The obvious emotional issues the agency has with the girls would be a reason for them to hire people with actual experience raising and controling children.

That makes a lot of sense. The girls seem docile enough at the start, but they soon seem to be able to read their handlers like books and then play them like violins (Triela and Henrietta, for example).

So having someone with actual experience raising and controlling a child (preferably a girl) would to me be something of an asset and benefit.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Sun 13 Feb 2011 - 2:58

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
If they are borrowing that sat though, I hope no-one can see what she's using it to look at.
True, but information out of context is next to useless. Even if the CIA is watching what she's watching, they'd have no idea what they're looking at. Just two middle-aged men talking over brunch.
Them watching the exchange wouldn't what I was concerned about, more the fact that Kara, Priscilla and co are in the same feed. I mean, I know what my immediate response to someone hijacking my spy bird would be: get it pointed at the same patch of dirt and study the hell out of what I saw... and I'd be really paranoid whilst doing it.

That said, artistic license and not describing every single thing are part of keeping the story moving. If I made sure to show J+M addressing every little security concern I thought up that was related to their Monaco job the whole comic would run at least four times as long...


@ChaosKin640 wrote:
Going into a bit of speculation here, but I wonder if the SWA really would recruit a family man.
I'm not really sure about that one. Canonically, they were changing how they picked handlers, which is how Sandro got hired. So I suppose there is precedence for them trying something different. The obvious emotional issues the agency has with the girls would be a reason for them to hire people with actual experience raising and controling children. There's also the arguement to made that, worst-case scenario, the agency would have his family to use against him if he tried to pull another Raballo.
Hmm, good point on being able to hold his familiy over his head. I think that was more speculation on my part over how the Agency controls its adult staff. I mean, they're at least in part using Triela to control Hilshire, but what of the others or the canon handlers. Maybe I'm just overly paranoid, but if I was running the super-secret, moraly ambiguous, potentially political problem causing agency I wouldn't like to be relying on pure inbuilt loyalty from my staff. I'd want a backup plan and a backup plan for the backup plan... minimum.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sun 13 Feb 2011 - 5:56

That said, artistic license and not describing every single thing are part of keeping the story moving.
There is that. There's also the unspoken assumption that, Lucy being a cybernetically-enhanced super-hacker, she knows what she's doing and how to wipe away all traces of what she was doing while playing around in there.
I mean, they're at least in part using Triela to control Hilshire, but what of the others or the canon handlers.
Oh there's no part-ways about it; they are absolutely using Triela to control Hilshire. As long as she needs the agency to live, they've got his grapes in a vice grip.
As far as the rest of the canon handlers go, that's what the SWA has Jean for. The slightest internal threat to his ability to exact revenge would be met with instantaneous and bloody retribution. I mean, he was willing to call the hit on Raballo, who we've effectively established as being and old friend and respected colleague. Jean may not have liked doing it, but in the end Raballo was a threat to the agency and, more importantly in my mind, to Jean's vandetta.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Sun 13 Feb 2011 - 12:51

@Alfisti wrote:Maybe I'm just overly paranoid, but if I was running the super-secret, moraly ambiguous, potentially political problem causing agency I wouldn't like to be relying on pure inbuilt loyalty from my staff. I'd want a backup plan and a backup plan for the backup plan... minimum.

Which is why I really disliked the decision of the writers in the anime to make Lauro effectively a mercenary, just in it for the money. That strikes me as way too much a security risk, as Padania is loaded and he could be tempted to sell them the SWA's secrets or even hand them over Elsa (as Ernesto did with Pia in the video game universe).

Then again, maybe Jean saw it coming and hand Elsa reconditioned to kill him and then herself. Wink


@ChaosKin640 wrote:There's also the unspoken assumption that, Lucy being a cybernetically-enhanced super-hacker, she knows what she's doing and how to wipe away all traces of what she was doing while playing around in there.

NRO is going to know when one of their birds has been hacked and they'll call in the NSA Cyber Defense team, which I think can beat her. Wink

And for that level of surveillance, something like a Predator would probably be better since satellites only have a very limited loiter time as their orbit passes over the area.

But as Alfisti noted, we'll let it slide under Author's Prerogative. Smile

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sun 13 Feb 2011 - 20:15

NRO is going to know when one of their birds has been hacked and they'll call in the NSA Cyber Defense team, which I think can beat her.
Lucretia: Excuse me? I think I hear a challenge there, Mr. Kiskaloo. Would you care to put your money where your mouth is?

Razz But seriously, the decision about the satellite was meant as a way to display Lucy actually involved in her hacking role. From a strategic and logistical standpoint, having her hack a CIA spy satellite wasn't a part of the plan; it was something she worked up with Enzo on her own. And you're right: realistically, a predator drone flying around above would be the superior and chosen method of surveillance.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Fri 18 Feb 2011 - 0:39

Chapter 07: Battlefield's Dawn

The inky shroud of full-darkness still blanketed the grounds outside as Jean trudged through the narrow hallways of Section Two's main building.
With your reader expecting a return to Jacob & Melanie out in the wide-open mountains the change of setting is particularly attention grabbing.
Jean sent up a stream of silent curses, directed at Ferro. The nerve of the woman, ordering him to bed as if he were one of the agency's cyborgs! It would hardly have been his first night spent without sleep.
The fact that he capitulated speaks volumes about their working relationship. While it's tempting to cast Jean as a maniacally driven work-horse I'm not sure canon supports that 100%. In the first season anime, when Giuseppe is taking Henrietta out to a restaurant (ostensibly to acclimatize her to public places) Jean reviews his pass and comments "The pomadoro is excellent there." He does get away from the compound now and then. Still, the mood you've put him in fits the story nicely.
the sight of the army-green rucksack slung casually over one shoulder triggered the relevant memory. He nodded to himself, recalling that the man had plans to travel up to the Swiss border for some kind of training.
Ah...now we've got the time frame established.
Instead of answering Jacob's inquiry, Jean threw out another of his own. "You're aware of the operation currently under-way up in Lana?"
This brings up some interesting possibilities.
"Consider this information motivation. The faster you get Melanie cleared for combat, the better your chances of fulfilling your personal vendetta."
Considering circumstances this feels like it's foreshadowing the fratello being called into action even earlier than that.
"Why am I not surprised to find you down here?" Jean's brother Guise said with clear disapproval.
Along with Ferro, one of the only other Section 2 members capable of influencing Jean with disapproval.
Guise threw up his hands, growling in exasperation. With a note of pained weariness, he snapped crossly, "Madre di Dio, abbi pietà. Are you still obsessing over that?"
It is a very big deal, and Giuse does seem somewhat aloof about it, but that's his personality I suppose. Like Hillshire, Giuseppe has never found his motivation in the single minded pursuit of the Padania (the recent, non-translated chapters notwithstanding).
"And it was pure coincidence that both Triela and Sophia were taken down by weapons perfectly suited for countering cyborg armour? They were waiting for us Guise; with weapons hand-picked to kill our cyborgs."
Easy to forget Triela was nearly killed in that battle as well. I wonder if this conflict with his younger brother will lead Jean to lean on another a bit more heavily...perhaps Jacob?
No doubt having to spend most of his time chasing after Marisa had something to do with keeping (Elio) in shape.
Likely true...I got a laugh out of that line.
Crossing to the low liquor cabinet pushed up against one wall, Elio poured himself a glass of fine, single malt Scotch. Which he then proceeded to down in two long, deep gulps.
Small note; I know it's 0500 in the morning, but I dare say Elio would at least offer Jean a drink if he was having one himself.
"Marisa's about the only good thing left in my life. I'll not have her hands soiled by this kind of work. Not this."
You've nailed one of the critical pillars of Elio's personality fratello relationship. In all his nearly 6 decades he's never been emotionally close to anyone. He loved his mother, but they were never particularly intimate or affectionate. Having a cyborg who loves him emphatically is a new experience and it's changing him. To reference a later line...
if you honestly think that either one of us still has a soul to be damned
...you're right, Alboreto's history has made him barely human, but dealing with Marisa is slowly rebuilding his humanity.

Perhaps my favorite part of this exchange is how you never really come out and explain what Elio's been out doing for Jean...you let the readers piece it together for themselves.
The entire incident, as Jean had eventually found out, had been intended as a test, to see if Marisa could behave in a dignified, professional manner. Needless-to-say, she had failed miserably. Particularly when, after being informed that she would be allowed to keep neither ring nor finger as a souvenir, she had almost thrown a temper-tantrum.
Not exactly how I'd written my first chapter, but I like how you present the "finger incident." This is written from Jean's point of view and since he wasn't there he heard what went on second-hand. No story ever comes out perfectly so it stands to reason that Croce would have it just a little bit wrong.
"You didn't see the look in Nina's eyes tonight. She clearly enjoyed what we were doing
I'm pleasantly surprised at how Nina is developing...both in your story and as a popular forum character. At her first appearance I figured she was going to be a fairly flat character...a shoo in as the bad-girl, perhaps even the mole (along with Costante). She's becoming a lot deeper than I suspected.

(Jean) flagged down an analyst who looked only slightly less busy than all the others around him...Realizing that if he made the man soil himself that he would only waste more time tracking down and cornering someone else, Jean modulated his tone.
Easy to forget that the entire world is not operating at the same intensity level you are...especially early in the morning before the first coffee break.
It was too much. Ferro's insolence the night before, sending him to bed like some recalcitrant child, his brother's open doubt earlier in the morning and now this; they built upon one another, forcing Jean to the very limits of his patience and iron self-control.
So who is going to be the first fanfic writer to give Jean Croce a cardiac arrest? The way he's headed it might be you, Chaos!
To Jean's surprise, in addition to Ferro's own people, a bleary-eyed Enzo was also present.
For a chapter with almost zero cyborg participation we're getting a whole lot of updates on what each fratello is doing.
Several times during Ferro's rapid-fire speech, Jean tried to give voice to the vicious and scathing rebuke hovering on the tip of his tongue, but she simply rode over him and went on talking. Finally Jean was forced to settle for a furious glower and hope that the woman took the hint and stopped.
Another passage that I got a laugh out of!
"Now with all due respect sir, we are on a tight time-table and I would appreciate your opinions on what we have so far."
A brilliant disarm by Ferro. She's a real highlight of this chapter.
Knowing that some of the cyborgs could be rather particular about their personal spaces, Ferro figured it would probably be better if someone they were familiar with went.
Ferro seems to me like the kind of person who would recognize those feelings in the cyborg...but not care much.
Seeking out someone who did not appear to be particularly busy,
This is why, when you have nothing to do, you should always pick up a clip-board and pretend to be frustrated by something. That way you look busy and don't get tasked with stupid details.
"Moshi, moshi," Kara said, her voice cracking slightly with clear tiredness.
"Where is Michele?" Jean demanded crossly. This close to the beginning of what was to be a major operation, any delay was guaranteed to upset him.
"Oh, Mister Croce. Um…Michele's asleep. I have the night watch tonight. Is there anything I can do to help you?"
Given that Kiskaloo has ascribed to Kara a healthy fear of Jean Croce I can only imagine her dismay at having been caught answering the phone in such an informal manner. That's also the only cyborg line in the whole chapter.
Jean figured he had just enough time for a shower and to grab a small, quick breakfast. There was still more work to do before he left and he intended to get it done. So with a grim determination he set out. Another day was dawning; the sky outside lit in brilliant striations of pink and gold. Another battlefield was being prepared; another battle on the horizon.
Neatly wrapped up right where we started. I'm not really sure about the final line; referencing the title...it seems a bit awkward.

After the first few chapters chronicled the suffering of Melanie things are really starting to pick up speed. The plot exposition was very efficient, and I enjoyed seeing a whole chapter from Jean's point of view...it's not something many writers have tried.

On to Chapter 8...

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Fri 18 Feb 2011 - 3:39

@Professor Voodoo wrote:I'm pleasantly surprised at how Nina is developing...both in your story and as a popular forum character. At her first appearance I figured she was going to be a fairly flat character...a shoo in as the bad-girl, perhaps even the mole (along with Costante). She's becoming a lot deeper than I suspected.

Yeah, I may have plans for her in an upcoming chapter, myself...

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Fri 18 Feb 2011 - 5:12

While it's tempting to cast Jean as a maniacally driven work-horse I'm not sure canon supports that 100%.
That's a good point Voodoo. I think the temptation we as fanfic writers have to plug Jean as the stereotypical, obsessively driven workaholic stems from the fact that its so easy to fit him into that role.
Considering circumstances this feels like it's foreshadowing the fratello being called into action even earlier than that.
just whistlin'
Along with Ferro, one of the only other Section 2 members capable of influencing Jean with disapproval.
Family will always be able to push your buttons in ways no one else can.
It is a very big deal, and Giuse does seem somewhat aloof about it, but that's his personality I suppose.
It's more the case of Guise honestly seeing Jean as beating a dead horse on the matter. Immediately after the botched raid that saw Sophia killed and Triela nearly killed, Guise was just as fierce and fanatical about finding the perceived traitor in their midst. But after four months of finding absolutely no evidence, Guise's passion for the pursuit has simply cooled.
I wonder if this conflict with his younger brother will lead Jean to lean on another a bit more heavily...perhaps Jacob?
Hmm...an avenue I never considered. Interesting. I'll have to make a note of that; thanks Voodoo.
Likely true...I got a laugh out of that line.
Hehe...glad you liked it.
I know it's 0500 in the morning, but I dare say Elio would at least offer Jean a drink if he was having one himself.
Again, duly noted Voodoo. I'll remember to ammend that when I get around to the rewrite I intend to do on this chapter.
You've nailed one of the critical pillars of Elio's personality fratello relationship.
Thank you. I admit that Elio & Marisa are probably my favorite of the OC's here, (what can I say, I have a thing for redheads Razz ), so I'm glad you approve of the way I try to portray them.
Perhaps my favorite part of this exchange is how you never really come out and explain what Elio's been out doing for Jean...
And once again, thank you. That was indeed the point behind writing the exchange in that fashion. Rest assured though, that you will find out what Elio has been up to.
I'm pleasantly surprised at how Nina is developing...both in your story and as a popular forum character.
I'm glad you like her. I find myself becoming rather fond of her myself. She is definately an excellent outlet for certain creative impulses and a perfect tool for exploring some of the darker, more bloody concepts in the series. And with the plans I have for her, I intend to delve even deeper into her character and personality, as well as that of Costante.
So who is going to be the first fanfic writer to give Jean Croce a cardiac arrest? The way he's headed it might be you, Chaos!
Lol; in that case I'll remember to give Rico a portable defib machine as a part of her standard equipment setup from now on, just in case.
A brilliant disarm by Ferro. She's a real highlight of this chapter.
The lady certainly knows how to do her job. And after all of the years she's spent working side-by-side with Jean, she's learned how to manage him almost as well as her own people.
Ferro seems to me like the kind of person who would recognize those feelings in the cyborg...but not care much.
Unless, of course, those feelings have the potential to impact operational efficiency. If it means things run faster and smoother, she's not above a little hand-holding.
That's also the only cyborg line in the whole chapter.
Well, that will change once I do the rewrite and combine chapters 7 & 8, but for now, yes. While chapter 7 was never supposed to be its own chapter, I did kind of like that complete shift in focus away from the girls.
I'm not really sure about the final line; referencing the title...it seems a bit awkward.
Ugh...yeah. I admit, I'm sometimes guilty of trying to shoe-horn in some kind of subtle reference to the chapter title. I'm usually better than that, but as I've said, this wasn't exactly my best chapter. Fortunately, the last section of the chapter is on the chopping block for the rewrite, so it won't be a problem in the future.

Thanks again for the comments Voodoo, and I look forward to you're next batch.

@Kisk: I definately look forward to reading that. And just in case you were wondering, I view both Lucy and Nina's fratellos as my kind of freebee donor characters. As long as people follow the standard OC-borrowing rules, I don't mind others using them. Melanie and Jacob on the other hand, because they are my main characters, and because of Melanie's...unique background, I will insist upon more explicit permission being given before they are used by others. If its something as simple as a cameo mention, such as their names being dropped in describing who's in the area (i.e. the end of Voodoo's Palermo Roundup pt.3), then I don't mind at all.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Wed 23 Feb 2011 - 0:20

Chapter 08: Cat and Mouse
The droning hum of the various pieces of computer equipment surrounding her blended into a soothing song that threatened to pull her down into unconsciousness; the warm, cloying air given off by those computers only adding to the problem. Trapped within the cramped confines of the full-sized utility van she and Enzo currently occupied, Lucretia felt as if she were being slowly and inexorably smothered.
Have you been taking cues from Robert's prose lately? That's terrific imagery & metaphor!
A sudden stream of mental images awakened in Enzo's mind at Lucretia's comment...Given Alessandro's past and professional history, had Yurik been a woman, they probably would have been sleeping together by now.
At this point I thought you were going for yet more Alessandro-Petrushka innuendo here but you avoided temptation and stuck closer to confirmed canon.
Lucretia rolled her eyes in exasperated wonder, resolving herself to not get involved. Stupid men and their stupid sports.
This from the Video Game Queen of Section 2? Bet she'd be interested if it involved a game pad.
"You're absolutely right Lucy; the CIA are total jerks," Enzo replied sardonically, his voice oozing with sarcasm. "Why, it's almost as if we forgot to ask their permission before borrowing their eighty-million dollar spy satellite."
Clever line. It seems that Lucretia has the attitude that if she can hack into someplace she is automatically entitled to do so. I do not envy her handler.
You must be thinking of some other cybernetically-enhanced super-hacker Enzo; I can't be caught."

"And it's attitudes like that that get people caught in the first place," Enzo snapped angrily.
Stuck in such tight confines it's difficult to feel out the lines between joking around & genuinely causing offense. This whole chapter feels like a study in human nature.
Lucretia thought that, at any moment, her artificial heart was going to tear itself free and explode out her mouth. She could feel her body twitching from head to toe from the adrenaline flooding her bloodstream.
I've read articles in medical publications that cite newly emerging health risks popping up in the hacker/gamer/computer worker community, resulting from being at a constant level of high stress...but with zero exercise. I wonder how this would effect a half-mechanical cyborg, and what special steps the medical-technology department had to take in her construction.
Lucretia found herself... being pushed to the very limits of her physical and mental capabilities and she loved it.
An interesting attitude for a cyborg. All the rest are programmed to attack and to defend their handlers...Lucretia is the only one to experience a thrill from being hunted.
"Do you think you could remotely hack into the car's onboard computer?" Enzo asked Lucretia
That's a genuinely interesting question...could that be that possible in real life? More and more automobiles are coming out with an internet uplink, and some of them even have onboard diagnostics that communicate with the factory. Could you perhaps download a bad ignition map that would stop the engine from firing? Sounds like a Top Gear style challenge.
She gave him her best "puppy-eye" look, even managing to work herself up to the point of tears. "Enzo? I wuv you."
Alfonso: I do not get paid enough to constantly deal with this shit.
Lucretia yelped in alarm as Enzo lashed out, shoving her forcefully enough to send her sprawling onto the floor. She immediately burst out into helpless giggling laughter.
The ease with which Enzo naturally deals with his cyborg (playfully wrestling with her in the van when he knows she needs an emotional "pick-me-up") can only come from the fact that he's a real-world father. I don't think a single other handler, canon or OC has the innate instincts he displays.
I was thinking about inviting you over to spend Easter with the rest of my family."
This is going to be a difficult chapter to write but I'm extremely curious as to how it turns out. It's totally unbroken ground in GsG fanfiction.
(Lucretia) folded her arms across her chest and stared glumly at her laptop. "I've seen the software that AISI is using and she's right: it is just an obsolete version that the CIA pawned off on us.
I get the feeling that you could have gotten a lot more technical with this passage but held back to keep it understandable for the reader; thank you for the restraint.
As the trio watched, the old woman brought the butt end of her cane up and wrapped it heavily against the door a fourth time. They could both see and hear her shouting at them in clearly mounting aggravation and anger. "Do you hear me? I know someone is in there, so you come on out or I'm going to call the police."
This is one of all time my favorite passages from you Chaos. It's exactly the kind of absurd misadventure that would happen during a real-life operation like this and adds a surreal comedy to an otherwise grim & intense situation.
"Alfonso, get on the horn and call Jean, let him know what's going on over here.
A great example of what I had Kara conjecturing about in Palermo Round Up. If things start to unravel; call Jean! He'll fix it!
"Christ Almighty, why did Jean send Amadeo? The last thing we need is that pervert getting himself arrested for trying to feel-up this old lady."

"Don't be ridiculous Enzo; she has to be at least seventy years old. Amadeo may be a walking erection, but even he has his standards," Alfonso retorted dryly, snorting in derisive amusement.
Danjo's portrayal of Amadeo is bleeding over into the tales of others.
"Don't you raise your voice to me, you little punk," the woman snapped viciously,
Note; this might have been a good place to slip in some Italian slang.
"I took the liberty of streaming the camera feed to my laptop's video recording software. I have the whole thing saved to my hard drive."
Now up to 40,000 hits on the SWA Special Ops secure network.

These last few chapters have been an interesting departure from the story line you had going...I'm curious as to how all this is going to tie together.
Chaoskin wrote:Thanks again for the comments Voodoo, and I look forward to you're next batch.
Yeah, sorry...I was in about a 2-month slump, but words are flowing again & the 16th E&M episode is about 75% complete.

As always, looking forward to your next installment!

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Wed 23 Feb 2011 - 2:06

@Professor Voodoo wrote:
"Do you think you could remotely hack into the car's onboard computer?" Enzo asked Lucretia

That's a genuinely interesting question...could that be that possible in real life? More and more automobiles are coming out with an internet uplink, and some of them even have onboard diagnostics that communicate with the factory. Could you perhaps download a bad ignition map that would stop the engine from firing? Sounds like a Top Gear style challenge.

I would hazard a guess the systems are closed, with updates requiring a replacement control module.

@Professor Voodoo wrote:
I was thinking about inviting you over to spend Easter with the rest of my family."
This is going to be a difficult chapter to write but I'm extremely curious as to how it turns out. It's totally unbroken ground in GsG fanfiction.

Kara and Claes did spend Easter with Michele's family in Yoake [Chapter 07 - Meet the Parents].

Claes: "And I'm still full from the brunch they served!"

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Wed 23 Feb 2011 - 15:26

Have you been taking cues from Robert's prose lately? That's terrific imagery & metaphor!
Thanks Voodoo. While I am indeed constantly impressed by the poetic flare Robert displays in his prose, my primary literary influence in terms of style is from the late Robert Jordan. His Wheel of Time series is far and wide my absolute favorite set of books ever. I've read and re-read the first 11 books in the series at least 5 or 6 times to date.
At this point I thought you were going for yet more Alessandro-Petrushka innuendo here but you avoided temptation and stuck closer to confirmed canon.
And there is a reason for that too. I'm one of those who are of a mind that Sandro is not bedding Petra. They have shared one or more passionate kisses, but have not had sex. And I do some further exploring of that very subject in my next chapter.
Bet she'd be interested if it involved a game pad.
Oh, absolutely. When it comes to video games and e-sports, Lucretia is a massive hypocrite.
I wonder how this would effect a half-mechanical cyborg, and what special steps the medical-technology department had to take in her construction.
Well, Lucy is still trained to serve in the standard cyborg assault roles, just like the other girls, so her physical condition isn't an issue. Unfortuantely though, from a purely canon view-point, I imagine it would be handled the same way Beatrice's bomb-squad duties are handled: with obsenely excessive amounts of Conditioning. Fortunately, with the almighty power of the "Artistic License" card at my disposal, I can convieniently ignore that fact for the sake of plot and character.
Lucretia is the only one to experience a thrill from being hunted.
It's not so much the thrill of being hunted, but the thrill of actually being challenged. Like any highly skilled professional, she is driven by the desire to push the limits of what she is capable of. As a fully trained tech-diver, would Marisa be satisfied with only ever doing simple, easy dives that didn't require the full range of her skills?
That's a genuinely interesting question...could that be that possible in real life?
I don't have any experience dealing with automotive computer systems, so I can't say for sure, but if vehicle monitoring companies like OnStar can remotely shut off the engine in the event of theft, I'd have to say that, at the very least, it is theoretically possible for someone else to hyjack the signal.
I get the feeling that you could have gotten a lot more technical with this passage...
Umm...actually, no, I couldn't have. Embarassed
All I know about government encryption software is that, apparently, autistic kids are good at cracking them.
But you're welcome anyways. Razz
Note; this might have been a good place to slip in some Italian slang.
A valid point. After some quick researching, the closest I could find is the term piazzaiolo, which translates to: a vulgar, coarse fellow. I suppose that could work.
I'm curious as to how all this is going to tie together.
Oh don't worry, it does.
Yeah, sorry...I was in about a 2-month slump...
Hey, don't worry about it Voodoo. Prior to my starting this project, I had been in a four year slump. I had just lost all desire and motivation to write anything. Half of the reason I'm doing 'Crossroads' is as a means to get myself back into practice so I can swing back into my main novel project.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Thu 24 Feb 2011 - 1:34

@Kiskaloo wrote:Kara and Claes did spend Easter with Michele's family
D'Oh! That's right. I guess what I was implying was that the appearance of Enzo's young, nuclear family is unbroken ground.
@ChaosKin640 wrote: I'm one of those who are of a mind that Sandro is not bedding Petra. They have shared one or more passionate kisses, but have not had sex.
I'm in that camp as well. If Yu takes that route in the future it won't surprise me, but as of now I consider it miles from confirmed canon.
It's not so much the thrill of being hunted, but the thrill of actually being challenged. Like any highly skilled professional, she is driven by the desire to push the limits of what she is capable of. As a fully trained tech-diver, would Marisa be satisfied with only ever doing simple, easy dives that didn't require the full range of her skills?
I see your point but for Lucretia it seems to be a slightly different challenge...a you can't catch me! kind of attitude, where other cyborgs (like Marisa) would want to confront their enemy head on. For Lucretia it's a battle of wits and I can actually see her taking risks against a weaker online opponent to enhance the thrill of the battle. I suppose (re-enforcing your point) Marisa does that as well, utilizing her knife or fists against an opponent when a gun would be faster & safer.

I actually found a fetish/lemon story online a while back in which Triela tries that during a fight...Hillshire is not amused.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Thu 24 Feb 2011 - 12:34

I actually found a fetish/lemon story online a while back in which Triela tries that during a fight...Hillshire is not amused.
O.o Interesting. Well, I suppose adrenaline can be quite the potent aphrodisiac for some people. And given this was a lemon story, I imagine that, whatever Hilshire's initial feelings on her behavious, he wound up satisfied in the end.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Thu 24 Feb 2011 - 16:19

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
I actually found a fetish/lemon story online a while back in which Triela tries that during a fight...Hillshire is not amused.
O.o Interesting. Well, I suppose adrenaline can be quite the potent aphrodisiac for some people. And given this was a lemon story, I imagine that, whatever Hilshire's initial feelings on her behavious, he wound up satisfied in the end.
Actually it was a non-sexual spanking story. I don't have it on this computer, but it might be on a back-up hard drive somewhere.

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