Crossroads of Destiny

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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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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Thu 24 Feb 2011 - 23:35

Ah, ok. In that case, don't let Nina find out about it. She's liable to show up in her leather corset and riding crop. Evil
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Thu 24 Feb 2011 - 23:46

@ChaosKin640 wrote:don't let Nina find out about it. She's liable to show up in her leather corset and riding crop.
Nina: (wearing the aforementioned corset...slapping the riding crop in her hand) Where the hell is Triela?

Claes: (never looks up from her book) She's hiding under the bed.

Triela: Traitor!

Claes: You think I'm actually gonna give that crazy bitch a reason to be mad at me? Plus, you borrowed my bathrobe without asking.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I saw a werewolf drinking a Piña Colada at Trader Vic's. His hair was perfect.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by MP5 on Fri 25 Feb 2011 - 0:57

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Ah, ok. In that case, don't let Nina find out about it. She's liable to show up in her leather corset and riding crop. Evil

Matthew: Daaaaamn! I knew dat bitch was cray-zee, but she also a freak?! Damn girl, what's next?

Nina: Pain in your testicular region.

Matthew: What?

POW!

Matthew: Owwwwwwww......

Alonso: See why your grammar needs to improve, Matthew?

Matthew: Yes...

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Fri 25 Feb 2011 - 1:22

Nina: Hmph...causing him mere physical pain is so gauche. Plus, the little bastard would undoubtedly just get off on it anyway. These useless girl-boys are such horney little perverts, after all. I prefer a more...poetic punishment. I snuck into his room and switched out his...personal lubricant with a specially blended cream that I mixed up just for the occassion. The primary active ingredient? A highly concentrated extract of urishiol oil of course. Evil
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by MP5 on Fri 25 Feb 2011 - 2:05

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Nina: Hmph...causing him mere physical pain is so gauche. Plus, the little bastard would undoubtedly just get off on it anyway. These useless girl-boys are such horney little perverts, after all. I prefer a more...poetic punishment. I snuck into his room and switched out his...personal lubricant with a specially blended cream that I mixed up just for the occassion. The primary active ingredient? A highly concentrated extract of urishiol oil of course. Evil

Man, I'd be inclined to say that Matthew wouldn't be so crass, but... well, he doesn't like Becky just because of her personality...

In his dorm, alone and door locked, Matthew eyes the bottle suspiciously.

Matthew: I just know that bitch Nina messed with my room while I was out... Knowin' that crazy-ass ho, I bet she did somethin' to my personal shit. Bet it ain't safe to mess with anything 'less I check it first. (his mind starts to wander) Now then... Becky... girl looked fiiiiiine today--uh oh.

Something below his belt stirs, and his eyes immediately lock onto the bottle, and his right hand moves on its own. He catches it, holding his wrist in a death grip.

Matthew:


Minutes Later....

Nina: study 3...2...1...

In the distance, a scream of pain is heard from across the compound.

Nina: Evil

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Fri 25 Feb 2011 - 4:23

Nina: *sigh* They are so predictable, it's almost not any fun at all. But then of course I remember that they bring it entirely upon themselves and that it would be wrong not to torture them.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Tue 12 Apr 2011 - 6:40

Yes!! Finally, after an abysmally long period, I have finally finished chapter 9 of Crossroads. In this installment, we are continuing on with the ramp-up to the operation to secure Balasev. Petra does some shopping, Lucy picks a fight and, oh yes, there will be some fan service. Petra-haters, you have been warned.

Chapter 09: Occupational Hazards
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Tue 12 Apr 2011 - 14:24

Bloody brilliant piece of work, sir.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by MP5 on Tue 12 Apr 2011 - 22:50

Holy Monkey-fighting Christ, that was excellent, Chaos!

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Wed 13 Apr 2011 - 3:23

Excellent installment mate... unfortunately a fuller review is going to be a little bit coming. In the meantime though:

@ChaosKin640 wrote:"Oh, trust me Petra; I've talked to Triela about what our resident
Bond-Girl gets up to between visits and I can assure you that for every
cocktail party Monty attends, there's a string of at least half a dozen
dirty, smelly holes in the armpit of the Middle East or south eastern
Asia somewhere behind her."
Truer words mate... truer words Razz

Yes, I found Monty's role here as a sort of spy-cyborg-quasi-yardstick highly enjoyable.

Thankyou for that.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Wed 13 Apr 2011 - 6:36

Saved!

Reading now...might be a while before I'm back with thoughts, I'm stuck aboard a boat with limited internet.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Fri 15 Apr 2011 - 1:38

Part 1...


Chapter 09: Occupational Hazards
Seated across the table, the smug, bombastic Albanian was still going on about his personal opinions on sports, including his love and appreciation for American football.
It's been a while since your last installment so this serves as a good reminder of the scene.
laughing at jokes made and waving her hands about to emphasize something about whatever was being said.
Very Italian of her.
"Forgive me for interrupting, Signor Balašev, but perhaps we could continue?"
Blinking in something of a dazed stupor, Yurik favoured Sandro with a sheepish, guilty grin. Realizing his mistake and how it could be perceived, the man slowly lifted his hands up in front of himself in a placating, apologetic gesture.
You've succeeded in capturing the awkwardness of the shift in conversation.
Careful to filter out the brief, broken snatches of conversations that floated all around her, lest they form an incomprehensible tangle of senseless cacophony, Petra kept her ears dutifully trained on the sounds of Sandro and Yurik's voices.
Canon chapter 7 has Henrietta filling the role of listener...in both cases (that chapter and your story) the girls abilities are sharp, but not super-human. They don't have a digital voice recorder installed in their heads...they're prone to getting distracted and misunderstanding the conversation. It's one of the subtle details of GsG that I really like and you've used it well here.
Resisting the urge to glance over at the other girl, Petra opened and read the message. "Are you ok?"
Embarrassed that her little slip-up had been noticed, Petra quickly typed out a response and fired it back. "Ya, just spaced out a bit."
Prior to this the pace was a bit slow but things pick up when the text-message conversation begins.
"Yurik. He just went on & on about that stupid sport," Petra typed, careful to keep from growing too distracted and missing something important happening around her.
"Oh that. Yeah, what a windbag."
Grinning wryly, thumbs darting across the tiny buttons of her cell phone's keyboard, Petra kept up the exchange. "I know. I swear to god, 30 more sec. and I'd of pulled my piece on him and blown his brains out."
One of the details in my stories is thatall of the girls' personal cell phones have Agency monitoring software. Kara & Petra are lucky you haven't followed that road!
One slim eyebrow arched, her lips curling into a faintly contemptuous sneer, Petra snapped out venomously, "Uh, do you mind? This is a private conversation."
Nice recovery.
You don't go to the Uffizi expecting to take home one of the paintings, do you?"
Well; Jethro & Monty might...
Across the table from him, Yurik was still going on about various types of wines and the merits of each. He was currently in the process of touting the strong qualities of a locally brewed and bottled vintage of pinot grigio. It took Sandro a moment before realizing that Yurik had stopped talking, having asked his opinion on the wine.
Sandro replied simply, turning back to face the other man. "That sounds fine, Signor Balašev. I'll trust to your superior knowledge of the local vintages."
An educated palate for wine seems to go against the sleezeball persona you've created for Yurik.
The first inklings of a plan began to take root within Sandro's mind. New possibilities; unanticipated openings, spread out before him. If Yurik was saying what Sandro thought the man was saying, than he was suddenly being presented an almost unprecedented opportunity. It was almost too good to be true. The only question was: did he dare take it?
Alessandro has to at least comprehend on some level what a shit-storm this is going to create.
Not worth ten thousand Euros? Oh, if only you knew, my friend.
One of the best lines in this installment!
"You want me to do what?" Petra shrieked,
Yup...shit storm incoming.
"Madre di Dio, is that what this little tantrum is about? Petra, I don't give a damn about what other people in the agency think about our relationship and neither should you."
The entire chapter is an interesting way of addressing all the forum conjecture about Alessandro & Petrushka's private relationship. While the debate is sure to rage on you've really presented your take on it in a creative manner.
"Yeah, and it took you almost vomiting all over the floor of my apartment to convince me to so much as think of wanting to kiss you," Sandro replied cheerfully
Only in the SWA could nearly vomiting be seen as an expression of love. It is a valid point though.
Sandro smiled, chuckling to himself.
Throwing the car into drive,
Can you get a Smart with an automatic transmission?
Petra found herself seated on a low, old sofa that was almost certainly near a decade past its prime,... Kara sat doing her best to ignore the dingy, squalid surroundings...Lucy sat with the rickety old coffee table, with its cracked, faded and peeling paint, drawn up close.
After the bright airy setting of the outdoor tattoria the setting shift is sharp and jarring...I like it.
Across the room, splayed out on her stomach with feet idly bobbing back and forth, Rico was flipping through a magazine that she had picked up somewhere.
Somehow I'm picturing a magazine that has absolutely nothing to do with anything a normal 11 year old girl would be interested in...the subject just doesn't matter to Rico.
"Two dresses, three shirts, three skirts, a nice cashmere cardigan, a cute lingerie set, a pair of heels, two pairs of flats, a purse, a couple of necklaces, a bracelet, three pairs of earrings, some perfume and a new watch."
I wonder if, after the mission, these new outfits will bring Petrushka any pleasure, or be an unpleasant reminder of a sordid job?
Lucy chuckled quietly to herself, her voice laced with a mocking humour. "Well it just seems to me that being promoted from gigolo to pimp is quite the step up in the world."
Oh shit...
"I don't care what is going on in here. We're trying to organize the arrest of an internationally wanted arms dealer, so sit down and shut up, or I will have all four of you sedated."
Classic Jean...absolutely curt & direct. He doesn't waste any time trying to solve the girls' dispute like Hillshire or Pagani might, nor is he unnecessarily cruel. Hejust steps in, and says solve this problem or I'll solve it for you.
Rico only stared at the door, a look of puzzled bewilderment on her soft round face. "Why would I be punished? I didn't say anything."
A critical difference between adults & kids. The adults would consider a sedative a reward.
"Well don't apologize to me Lucy; it wasn't my handler you insulted."..."And as for you Petra,"
Playing Kara as the negotiator/peacemaker...you're good at that and it's something the rest of us who use Kara sometimes forget to utilize. Diplomacy is her primary tasking after all.
"True," Kara agreed, nodding slowly. "But that doesn't change the fact that Monty would do even that if it meant getting the information she needs.
Alfisti's cyborg is something of a celebrity amongst her sisters I see.
Jethro would have to suffer through her complaining about it for weeks afterwards, but she would still do it."
Perhaps not outright complaining from Monique, but she could certainly make his life miserable in a million subtle ways.
"Well then the man certainly has an eye for fashion, I must say," Kara said cheerfully before moving on to the other articles of clothing.
Didn't Alessandro imply (in canon) that he had to cross-dress himself on occasion?
even Rico jumped into the discussion, eying the lace-trimmed satin lingerie set with a mix of awe and bewilderment. "I don't understand," she said hesitantly. "What's the point of having such fancy underwear? I mean, isn't the point of why they call it "underwear" because you wear it under your normal clothes? So it's not like anyone's going to see it."
More classic Rico. Something tells me that her room mate Henrietta would actually understand the effort.
I am so going to have a talk with Michele about giving me a raise in my allowance.
Michele: What is this...an application for hardship pay?
The virus Marcello sold him was benign, designed to integrate itself into a system and then lay dormant. When activated, it wipes the entire hard drive and then completely fries the entire computer.
Clever set up...my own handling of the stolen data (which Petris & Alboreto went to recover) in Separate Paths feels clumsy by comparison.

This is getting long so I'll break it off there...part two on its way!

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Fri 15 Apr 2011 - 2:16

@Professor Voodoo wrote:
Across the table from him, Yurik was still going on about various types of wines and the merits of each. He was currently in the process of touting the strong qualities of a locally brewed and bottled vintage of pinot grigio. It took Sandro a moment before realizing that Yurik had stopped talking, having asked his opinion on the wine.
Sandro replied simply, turning back to face the other man. "That sounds fine, Signor Balašev. I'll trust to your superior knowledge of the local vintages."

An educated palate for wine seems to go against the sleezeball persona you've created for Yurik.

Maybe not an "educated palate", but I could certainly see Yurik knowing the names of a few important or fancy vintages to show off to clients...or girlfriends.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Fri 15 Apr 2011 - 8:01

One of the details in my stories is thatall of the girls' personal cell phones have Agency monitoring software. Kara & Petra are lucky you haven't followed that road!
Hmm...an excellent point; their phones would be monitored for security purposes. I think in the context of the conversation though, both Michele and Sandro would understand that it's just friendly banter and not care overmuch.
Nice recovery.
Well, she is a professional, remember?
Well; Jethro & Monty might...
Haha...good point. Perhaps a mission to steal maffia-commissioned forgeries set to go up for auction?
An educated palate for wine seems to go against the sleezeball persona you've created for Yurik.
Actually, there is a method to my madness here. For one thing, Petra is doing most of the describing of Yurik's personality, and given her overall mindset, her opinions about him are slightly biased. Also, Yurik himself is a bit of a chameleon in terms of his outward persona. He can adapt, to a degree, how he acts in a certain situation. I expand a little more on this concept in the next chapter.
Alessandro has to at least comprehend on some level what a shit-storm this is going to create.
Sometimes you just have to take a calculated risk. What's the name of the chapter again? Razz
The entire chapter is an interesting way of addressing all the forum conjecture about Alessandro & Petrushka's private relationship. While the debate is sure to rage on you've really presented your take on it in a creative manner.
Yes, pretty much this entire chapter you can take as my official statment on my personal opinions regarding the Sandro/Petra relationship issue.
Can you get a Smart with an automatic transmission?
Uh...he's not driving his Smart. It's their rented mission car.
"Stepping up to the driver’s door of his rented charcoal gray Alfa Romeo 159, Sandro paused with his hand on the handle."
I suppose the next question is whether the Alfa Romeo 159 comes in automatic. If not, then it's a simple oversight on my part due to lack of proper research and I'll go back and correct the phrasing.
Lucy chuckled quietly to herself, her voice laced with a mocking humour. "Well it just seems to me that being promoted from gigolo to pimp is quite the step up in the world.
"Oh shit...
Nina: Damn it! I can't believe I never thought of that one!
Alfisti's cyborg is something of a celebrity amongst her sisters I see.
I imagine she would be. Whether they want to admit it or not, I think every ccyborg feels a little jealous over Monty's worldliness and independence. Not to mention the fact that 99% of Monty's time is spent just her and Jethro together. That's enough to have any of the girls turning green with envy.
Didn't Alessandro imply (in canon) that he had to cross-dress himself on occasion?
I believe so. It does sound familiar.
Something tells me that her room mate Henrietta would actually understand the effort.
Henrietta: *knocks timidly on Guise’s door* Um…Guise?
Guise: Come in Henrietta, the door’s open.
Henrietta slips into the room, wearing her bathrobe and slippers. She stands just inside the room, idly fidgeting with the robe’s belt.
Henrietta: Um…I know it’s your birthday tomorrow Guise, and I’ve been thinking really hard about what kind of present to get you.
Guise: Henrietta, you don’t have to get me a present. Having you safe and happy is all I could ever want.
Henrietta: *blushing with delight* I…I know that. But…I still wanted to get you something. Anyway, I talked to some of the other girls about what I should get you and they said that a lot of men like it when their girls dress up in fancy underwear.
Guise: *suddenly nervous* Henrietta, what are you talking about?
Henrietta: Happy Birthday Guise!
She throws off her robe, revealing a pink lace negligee and rose-red lace thong.
Guise:
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Fri 15 Apr 2011 - 8:18

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
Can you get a Smart with an automatic transmission?
Uh...he's not driving his Smart. It's their rented mission car.
"Stepping up to the driver’s door of his rented charcoal gray Alfa Romeo 159, Sandro paused with his hand on the handle."
I suppose the next question is whether the Alfa Romeo 159 comes in automatic. If not, then it's a simple oversight on my part due to lack of proper research and I'll go back and correct the phrasing.
Yeah, Alfa does do an automatic transmission. I don't know what it's like now, but the early Selespeed boxes were pretty ratshit to be honest.

As to the Smart... I was under the impression that they only came in automatic, or at least with an automated manual. I'm fairly certain the roadster did at least, one of the major gripes that almost all reviewers had with it was that it was a perfectly good light sportscar... utterly ruined by its slovenly gearbox.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Mon 18 Apr 2011 - 6:56

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
Alfisti's cyborg is something of a celebrity amongst her sisters I see.
I imagine she would be. Whether they want to admit it or not, I think every ccyborg feels a little jealous over Monty's worldliness and independence. Not to mention the fact that 99% of Monty's time is spent just her and Jethro together. That's enough to have any of the girls turning green with envy.
When I (I'd say "first created", but it took awhile for Monty's character to properly evolve... but it'll do) first created Monty I intended her to be the target of some level of jealousy, of the socially detrimental variety (grumpy, antisocial attitude not helping). Here you've sort of hit it on the head.

So, on with the show:

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Sandro spared a glance for the trio of young women seated several tables away, each one surrounded by shopping bags.
Fortunately, by virtue of them probably being the best part of the scenery there, he can probably get away with it without raising any suspcions.

and waving her hands about to emphasize something about whatever was being said.
As Voodoo said: lets play "spot the Italian" Razz We have an Italian bloke in the Lotus club, and I remember following him on a run... every time we hit a straight all you could see were these two hands waving above the rollbar as he talked to his passenger.

"I had no idea American football was so complicated."
Actually, I can kind or relate to this. When we were in England our host family was trying to teach me and Smash the rules (we were staying at RAF Lakenheath... a USAFE base and heaven for a little aero-nerd like I was at the time). I still have no idea what was going on.

and ordered a tray of crackers and various hard cheeses, mostly Edam and emmenthal, to be brought out,
Cheese platter, good for every occasion. Wink

It was more than slightly sickening to think that hundreds of normal,
average, middle-income families were inadvertently financing the buying
and selling of illegal firearms and ammunitions; weapons that were
likely to be used in turn to terrorize and harm other families just like
theirs.
Sickening... possibly, but you also can't help but admire the elegance of the arrangement as well.

Besides, don't we all pay taxes?

With her handler at her side, a glass of wine in hand, the mountains in
the distance forming a stunning backdrop, she couldn't ask for anything
more, or better. It was perfect.
Random cyborg: Why don't we ever get to go to places like that just to enjoy it rather than for work?

Cyborg 2: You don't like pleasing your handler with your work?

Random cyborg
: No, just wondering.

"OMG, can u believe this guy?"
Yeah, I could see Petra and Kara txting like that. I'm glad you translated the rest into English though... but it is a good little bit that adds to the characters.

Petra burst out giggling at the sudden image of prim-and-proper Monty,
with her perfectly styled hair and immaculately clean and crisp clothes,
crawling around in some dark, dirty tunnel in Afghanistan, or slogging
through the damp, fetid jungles of Cambodia.
Again, I loved the way you've handled the girls' views on Monty.

You don't go to the Uffizi expecting to take home one of the paintings, do you?"
Jethro: You know, I do love the Uffizi, there's this great Rembrandt I've always admired... right near the fire exit.

He paused at the end, seeing that Yurik's eyes weren't on him. There was
a hungry, almost predatory look in the man's dark orbs and his lips
were curled up into an appreciative smirk. He frowned as, following
Yurik's gaze, he found it locked squarely on Petra's retreating back.
The man's eyes moved in time with each seductive sway of her hips.
Sexy cyborg... best distraction ever. Wink

Avise would have phrased at as taking a "leap of faith" while trusting in God to be there to catch you.
Petra: God might forgive you, but he's not the one you need to worry about!

I actually really liked the path you took with this... it's part of the the dirtier end of the game and shows that Sandro's still willing to go there for the mission. How many other handlers would set their girls up for that? Well, know one but...

He was currently in the process of touting the strong qualities of a locally brewed and bottled vintage of pinot grigio...

Yurik was right: the sauvignon was good.
Umm, I'm not 100% certain, but I'm fairly sure that the Italians, like the French classify their wine by region. Classifying by grape is something that came out of Australia and America... it's why I have such a hard time in French and Italian restaurants. Razz

She not worth ten thousand Euros...
Monty: Only ten thousand? Petruska, I'd be insulted.

Sending Petra in to sweep the restaurant's interior had been a move of paranoid habit.
Hey, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean the world isn't out to get you. That said, I think a certain level of paranoia is something that can be attributed to those handlers coming out of the intelligence services. They may not be as good at combat or wreaking general havoc as the soliders, or as good at detectiving as Hillshire, but they're much better at operational security and the like.

Not only that, but I noticed that his heart and respiration rates were elevated and he was sweating pretty heavily.
Rookie agent, out on his first job perhaps? Or a very good agent, acting like a rookie in the hopes of being painted as a rookie and dismissed by another good agent who would be able to pick the attributes of even a very good spook so it was time for a double blind.

Stepping up to the driver's door of his rented charcoal gray Alfa Romeo 159, Sandro paused with his hand on the handler.
...so that's what the kids are calling it now is it?

"Yeah, and it took you almost vomiting all over the floor of my apartment to convince me to so much as think of wanting to kiss you," Sandro replied cheerfully
Well I guess everyone's got their kinks...

Seriously though, as Voodoo said: an elegant way of stating where you stand on the whole issue.

"Um, twenty-two hundred, I think," Petra offered hesitantly in
clarification. She then began to run through the extensive list of items
she had picked out over the course of their three hours of shopping.
"Two dresses, three shirts, three skirts, a nice cashmere cardigan, a
cute lingerie set, a pair of heels, two pairs of flats, a purse, a
couple of necklaces, a bracelet, three pairs of earrings, some perfume
and a new watch."
She got all that, for twenty-two hundred!?

"Well it just seems to me that being promoted from gigolo to pimp is quite the step up in the world."
Snap.... I see Lucy has nerd-level social skills as well...

"I don't care what is going on in here. We're trying to organize the
arrest of an internationally wanted arms dealer, so sit down and shut
up, or I will have all four of you sedated."
As Voodoo already noted: perfect Jean.

"True," Kara agreed, nodding slowly. "But that doesn't change the
fact that Monty would do even that if it meant getting the information
she needs.
"Oh I guarantee you that she wouldn't like doing it and
no doubt Jethro would have to suffer through her complaining about it
for weeks afterwards, but she would still do it."
Again, as Voodoo already pointed out: probably not outright complaining from Monty in reality... but also a perfectly resonable assumption for the other girls to make of her, or choice of words for Kara to help Petra along.
At the end of the day Monty's pretty logical and rational... so if that approach makes sense: so be it.
Now I know how Triela feels, being the first gens' Den Mother, she thought to herself. I am so going to have a talk with Michele about giving me a raise in my allowance.
Maybe they can start their own little support group... Ferro could join in too for having to herd cats, I mean handlers, for her sins.
We can safely assume that Yurik will be taking you out to dinner at some
high-end restaurant, so we plan to have Michele and Kara in place
inside as on-site back-up.
I'm sure they didn't even bother drawing straws for that one. Wink
"Obviously the virus doesn't kick in right away. There's probably a few
minutes' delay just in case something like a false alarm happens; time
enough for Balašev to get up and type in a deactivation code."
And if he's bright he'll have the computer plugged into a UPS or be using a laptop so any would-be burglar couldn't just cut the power to shut it down.
For a pair of spies and assassins, who lived most days in the middle of
those news reports, hearing about it all again from people who had only a
passing familiarity for what was really going on did not really appeal
to them.
Interesting take on it, opposite from my own I'll admit. For my view I consider the news to be a bit like wikipedia: a broad and not entirely reliable overview, but a useful way of picking up on events you may have missed and be worth investigating... or something to give you a way to pry open someone's confidence. I picture J+M reading the financial pages in particular daily.
I'm not sure I have the strength to survive another encounter like that.
Considering that she's a cyborg and all...
She gave a quick, graceful pirouette, rising up on her toes, arms held out to her sides like the wings of a swan.
Nice, subtle shoutout to her past.

Excellent chapter mate, looking forward to the next one.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Mon 18 Apr 2011 - 12:57

@Alfisti wrote:
"OMG, can u believe this guy?"

Yeah, I could see Petra and Kara txting like that. I'm glad you translated the rest into English though... but it is a good little bit that adds to the characters.

Smile

Actually, ChaosKin640 pinged me and asked if Kara spoke "text" and I figure she could, but Michele couldn't, so she now always spelled everything out for her handler's sake. Very Happy

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Tue 19 Apr 2011 - 6:22

Fortunately, by virtue of them probably being the best part of the scenery there, he can probably get away with it without raising any suspcions.
That's what we call teamwork! Good
Yeah, I could see Petra and Kara txting like that. I'm glad you translated the rest into English though... but it is a good little bit that adds to the characters.
As Kisk mentioned above, I did some back-and-forth debating on how to script this out. In the end, his advice on how Kara would handle it tipped the balance for me. The structure of the conversation ended up not lending itself to IM speach anyways.
Again, I loved the way you've handled the girls' views on Monty.
I'm glad you approve.
Umm, I'm not 100% certain, but I'm fairly sure that the Italians, like the French classify their wine by region. Classifying by grape is something that came out of Australia and America...
I have no idea. I just wiki'd regional grape varieties and sauvignon is the most common grown in that area of Italy. I figure, without trying to break out some detailed comparison of different brands, having Sandro comment on the quality of the grape was enough to get the point across.
Monty: Only ten thousand? Petruska, I'd be insulted.
I more-or-less ball-parked this figure. From what I remember from every episode of any cop drama or CSI-type show that involved high society escort services, a going nightly rate of around 4-5K USD stuck out in my mind.
Rookie agent, out on his first job perhaps? Or a very good agent, acting like a rookie in the hopes of being painted as a rookie and dismissed by another good agent who would be able to pick the attributes of even a very good spook so it was time for a double blind.
We shall see. Evil
...so that's what the kids are calling it now is it?
...
...
...
sh...shut up. Embarassed
She got all that, for twenty-two hundred!?
Uh...another number I pretty much pulled out of my ass. If it seems low I'll kick it up by another 1K.
Snap.... I see Lucy has nerd-level social skills as well...
Well, to be fair to Lucy, there's a certain amount of lack-of-caring on her part going on here. I stated in a previous chapter that Lucy isn't too crazy about Sandro and Petra to begin with. She thinks Petra can be kind of annoying and she flat-put thinks Sandro's a dirty pervert. What that says about her opinion of Amadeo, a [i]confirmed[i/] dirty pervert of the highest order, I leave to your imagination.
I'm sure they didn't even bother drawing straws for that one.
Yeeeeaaaaahhhh...about that. You know this one guy? I think his name is Murphey? He tends to show up and ruin parties a lot? Expect him to make an appearance.
Considering that she's a cyborg and all...
Makes you kind of wonder how the hell Amadeo keeps up with Britney, huh?
Nice, subtle shoutout to her past.
Indeed, that was the intent.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Tue 19 Apr 2011 - 7:27

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
Monty: Only ten thousand? Petruska, I'd be insulted.
I more-or-less ball-parked this figure. From what I remember from every episode of any cop drama or CSI-type show that involved high society escort services, a going nightly rate of around 4-5K USD stuck out in my mind.
If I'm honest, my figure's coming from watching White Collar so...

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
She got all that, for twenty-two hundred!?
Uh...another number I pretty much pulled out of my ass. If it seems low I'll kick it up by another 1K.
Well it depends on what she's buying and what role she's playing. If it was just one or two nice items for the night, and the rest just for her own wardrobe then 2200 might cover it. But well, I'm sure Kara could drop twice that on a dress without blinking... If they were buying designer don't expect to spend under 100 euro on a shirt, 300 and over for a pair of shoes. Jewlery... can't really say to be honest (you'll notice Monty doesn't wear it much) but a fashion watch (with a quartz movement) will run you a couple of hundred. Perfume's one of the cheaper items, expect to spend around 100 for a decent Eau de Parfume.

ADDED IN AN EDIT ---> One last thought: at the end of the day it's not about what you wear but how you wear it. It doesn't matter how much you drop on clothes, if the attitude's not there it's not going to do them any good. Suits are a good exemplar: you can always tell when someone's only put a suit on rather than actually wearing it, and it doesn't matter if it was tailored on Saville Row for five figures or bought off the rack for five hundred. It's nice to have the little details and nice materials, but at the end of the day I honestly think that 90% of how good an outfit looks comes down to the person in it.

I'm sure they didn't even bother drawing straws for that one.
Yeeeeaaaaahhhh...about that. You know this one guy? I think his name is Murphey? He tends to show up and ruin parties a lot? Expect him to make an appearance.
Yeah, I know him... we meet up quite often.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Tue 19 Apr 2011 - 8:23

If I'm honest, my figure's coming from watching White Collar so...
Wow...yeah, I just did a quick little bit of research and...in the words of MP5's Matthew: "Daaaaaamn!"
At least I got the ~$5K figure right. I just failed to realize that that's 5K an hour! A have since gone back and modified things slightly, taking this new information into account. Now, the fact that this is just a private...um, trade between individuals, and Petra isn't a professional call-girl, I still kept the numbers relatively low.
Well it depends on what she's buying and what role she's playing. If it was just one or two nice items for the night, and the rest just for her own wardrobe then 2200 might cover it. But well, I'm sure Kara could drop twice that on a dress without blinking...
Again, as above, after some further thinking on the subject, I bumbped up the figures involved. As I state within the chapter itself, the shopping spree is intended, first-and-foremost, as way of cheering Petra up after Sandro dropped that bombshell on her. And he did promise that she would have Kara turning green, after all. So it's high-end designer fashions all the way.

And excellent points about the WAY you wear the clothes being more important than WHAT clothes you're wearing. After all: A king is a king whether in rags or robes. Likewise, dress up a farmer in the finest clothes, and he'll still look and act like a farmer.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Tue 19 Apr 2011 - 13:34

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
@Alfisti wrote:
"Um, twenty-two hundred, I think," Petra offered hesitantly in
clarification. She then began to run through the extensive list of items
she had picked out over the course of their three hours of shopping.
"Two dresses, three shirts, three skirts, a nice cashmere cardigan, a
cute lingerie set, a pair of heels, two pairs of flats, a purse, a
couple of necklaces, a bracelet, three pairs of earrings, some perfume
and a new watch."

She got all that, for twenty-two hundred!?
Uh...another number I pretty much pulled out of my ass. If it seems low I'll kick it up by another 1K.

Michele: "Better yet, tell me where you shop. I dropped close to €10.000 for Kara and €5.000 for Claes when it came time to build-out their wardrobes."

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Tue 19 Apr 2011 - 14:20

@Kiskaloo wrote:
@ChaosKin640 wrote:
@Alfisti wrote:She got all that, for twenty-two hundred!?
Uh...another number I pretty much pulled out of my ass. If it seems low I'll kick it up by another 1K.
Michele: "Better yet, tell me where you shop. I dropped close to €10.000 for Kara and €5.000 for Claes when it came time to build-out their wardrobes."
Elio: (looking very smug right now) Try discount stores, 2 for 1 sales and "value pack" socks & underwear. What my girl costs the Agency in damage to public property we make up for in wardrobe savings.


Last edited by Professor Voodoo on Tue 19 Apr 2011 - 14:33; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Tue 19 Apr 2011 - 14:31

Somewhere on the compound, Kara shivers as she feels a chill run down her spine.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Tue 19 Apr 2011 - 16:41

@Professor Voodoo wrote:Elio: (looking very smug right now) Try discount stores, 2 for 1 sales and "value pack" socks & underwear. What my girl costs the Agency in damage to public property we make up for in wardrobe savings.
Michele: Hey, just because the "value pack" comes from Polo Ralph Lauren... Razz

There's a story there but seriously: expensive socks... don't knock it till you've tried it.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Officer_Charon on Tue 19 Apr 2011 - 16:52

John: Wal-mart. 6 pairs of socks for $6. I MIGHT splurge on the skivvies - pay $12 for 4 pairs... comfort's important.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Robert Frazer on Tue 19 Apr 2011 - 17:37

There's a story there but seriously: expensive socks... don't knock it till you've tried it.

I agree wholeheartedly. The feeling of slipping on fresh socks is one of those qualities which, along with birdsong, babbling chalkstream rivers and breathing in on a crisp winter morning, remind us of the fundamental goodness of Creation. Smile

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Officer_Charon on Tue 19 Apr 2011 - 18:08

ESPECIALLY after 9 miles of road march... On Cloud 9

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Tue 19 Apr 2011 - 18:26

@Officer_Charon wrote:ESPECIALLY after 9 miles of road march...
Oldest joke in the world, adapted for GsG audience...
The cyborgs have been on a week long woodland traing exercise, marching at least 25km a day through dense bush...eating only combat rations and what they can catch...sleeping rough every night without even tents. They haven't had a change of clothes the whole time.

At last former Carabinieri Lieutenant Jean Croce calls "Company Halt! Five minute break...gather around!" As the cyborgs drop their packs and pull out canteens he continues "I have good news...you're all getting a change of underwear!" The girls breathe a happy sigh of relief until Jean announces "Petra...you change with Kara, Rico...you change with Marisa, Agapita...you change with...

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Officer_Charon on Tue 19 Apr 2011 - 18:37

Kara: @_@ *passes out*

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Tue 19 Apr 2011 - 21:00

Two words: silk skivvies.
Seriously, in regards to long-distance marching, it's the best investment you could ever make. Wear them inside-out so that the seams are on the outside and there's virtually NO chafing whatsoever. It'll save your life. Or at the very least your sanity.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Sat 23 Apr 2011 - 14:57

Part 2...
Lucy was pretty impressed with young Signor Ragusa's skill.
Question about the programmer's name; Ragusa is a Sicilian name...is there a possible Padania/Cosa Nostra tie-in here?
"Petra, wait. I…I just wanted to, um…apologize. I know I don't always think before I say things and, well, this isn't exactly the first time it's gotten me into trouble. So I'm sorry, okay?"
It's a common theme in canon & fanfiction that cyborg grudges do not last long (Nina notwithstanding). It seems like a trait the designers programmed in from day one.
"That's very impressive Lucy," Sandro offered in praise. "That will certainly make Petra's job much easier; thank you.
I got a laugh out of Alessandro carefully thanking Lucretia...just in case Petrushka wasn't ready to.
Back inside their rented car,
Ah...rental. That answers my question about the auto transmission. (upon review I now see the line about the gray Alfa 159).
For thirty minutes, Petra got to enjoy the experience of watching one of her favorite television shows while snuggled up against her handler. She sighed contentedly, her head resting against Sandro's chest, one of his arms drapped loosely around her shoulders, holding her close.
Sandro knows exactly when his cyborg needs a little one-on-one time to chase away anxiety...both over the mission & her fight with Lucy.
"Care to join me?" he asked casually, a slow, creeping smile spreading across his face. Petra did not need to be asked twice.
"Well that was a fun way to kill an hour," Sandro quipped lightly from beside her.
A whole hour with a cyborg!? That's some formidable stamina from Alessandro!
she fished around in the pocket of Sandro's coat until she came up with his pack of cigarettes and a lighter. Popping one into her mouth and setting flame to tip, she drew in a deep, luxuriating breath of the sweet, tantalizing smoke.
Interesting take on Petrushka's smoking. Chapter 35 seems to suggest that it's something Alessandro impels her to do, and that she's still not quite comfortable with it.
She could remember a time when she hated the taste and just a single puff was enough to have her almost doubled over retching from disgust.
Ah...I see you've got that covered too.
devilish device's screaming summons.
A terrific bit of alliteration.
"Really? Does that mean I can buy myself a whip and leather outfit?" Sandro replied, teasing.
Nina: My bustier probably wouldn't fit you...but you can borrow the whip I guess.
"I have a few vacation days saved up, you know. What do you think about a weekend in Rome, just the two of us?"
Seems like an odd place for a "vacation" but Schaschanist sent his fratello on holiday right in their own back-yard and it worked out well for his story. To be honest I don't know where Sandro & Petra would go if they did leave for a vacation.

Hope they don't ask for the same week off as Lucretia & Enzo...nobody will be left at work.
Petra only laughed teasingly, sauntering past Sandro and out into the hallway. Behind her, Sandro shook his head, letting out a long, theatrical sigh. It was going to be a long night.
There's such a weird dichotomy going on here; Petra & Alessandro's playfully romantic preparations suggest it's them going out for the evening, yet the truth is he's sending her out with Yurik. The whole scene is brilliantly done and yes...the Petra/Sandro haters are going to be going crazy.

Fine job...looking forward to the next installment!

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sun 24 Apr 2011 - 6:14

Question about the programmer's name; Ragusa is a Sicilian name...is there a possible Padania/Cosa Nostra tie-in here?
Not really. It's just a name I grabbed off of the internet from a list of Italian surnames.
A whole hour with a cyborg!? That's some formidable stamina from Alessandro!
What he lackes in physical fortitude, he makes up for in experience, techniqie, and sheer grit and determination.
Nina: My bustier probably wouldn't fit you...but you can borrow the whip I guess.
Nina: Now then, which do you prefer? I have single-tail whips in 4-foot and 6-foot lengths, as well as a full 9-foot long bullwhip in cured kangaroo hide. I have three floggers, a mini flogger and two cat-o'-nine-tails.
If you're interested in playing a little "school master and deliquent student", I also have a fine selection of rattan canes. And then, of course, I also have several leather riding crops (my personal favorite) in traditional black, blue, red, green, and just for when I'm feeling a little silly, pink.
You also might want to borrow a couple of set of my industrial-strength padded cuffs and shackles. Trust me, when the leather starts to fly, they can get REALLY squirmy. I personally designed these things to hold up to cyborg-level strength. They could hold even Triela in place. (That reminds me, I still owe that little bitch for humiliating me in the cafeteria.)
Seems like an odd place for a "vacation" but Schaschanist sent his fratello on holiday right in their own back-yard and it worked out well for his story. To be honest I don't know where Sandro & Petra would go if they did leave for a vacation.
I chose Rome specifically, working on the asumption that it's close enought to HQ that, if an emergency should crop up and they're needed back, they're only a quick drive away.
Fine job...looking forward to the next installment!
Well I'm certainly glad you enjoyed it, Voodoo. My plan now is to not take as long with the next chapter as I did with this one. Razz
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Fri 29 Apr 2011 - 14:00

Nina wrote: Now then, which do you prefer? I have single-tail whips in 4-foot and 6-foot lengths, as well as a full 9-foot long bullwhip in cured kangaroo hide. I have three floggers, a mini flogger and two cat-o'-nine-tails.
If you're interested in playing a little "school master and deliquent student", I also have a fine selection of rattan canes. And then, of course, I also have several leather riding crops (my personal favorite) in traditional black, blue, red, green, and just for when I'm feeling a little silly, pink.
I think you've even got the normally fearless (reckless) Marisa cringing at all that.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Fri 29 Apr 2011 - 18:19

Especially considering the canes at least would probably stir up some rather uncomfortable subconscious memories for her. I don't imagine the nuns were too shy about breaking out the canes and hairbrushes.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Fri 29 Apr 2011 - 20:07

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Especially considering the canes at least would probably stir up some rather uncomfortable subconscious memories for her. I don't imagine the nuns were too shy about breaking out the canes and hairbrushes.
Absolutely right, I made specific reference to it in her origin story. Her handler isn't at all shy about giving her a whack either.

Back at the SWA compound: Nina in a nun costume...perfect.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Fri 29 Apr 2011 - 20:15

@Professor Voodoo wrote:Back at the SWA compound: Nina in a nun costume...perfect.
Kinky...

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Officer_Charon on Fri 29 Apr 2011 - 20:20

@Professor Voodoo wrote:Back at the SWA compound: Nina in a nun costume...perfect.


John: I'm feeling a little... conflicted here....

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Fri 29 Apr 2011 - 23:22

@Professor Voodoo wrote:Back at the SWA compound: Nina in a nun costume...perfect.
@Alfisti wrote: Kinky...
John: I'm feeling a little... conflicted here....
Marisa: You guys are a bunch of sick weirdos! It's bad enough my handler wallops my butt but now you're suggesting that psycho Nina do it too!? While dressed as a NUN! And you're the worst of the bunch Mr. Voodoo! You're my creator and you seem to delight in inflicting this on me!? What do you have to say for yourself?

Voodoo: Actually I was wondering which side of the scenario turns John on and what leaves him conflicted. The underaged sadistic torture-robot or the nun?

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ElfenMagix on Sat 30 Apr 2011 - 1:09

@Professor Voodoo wrote:Marisa: You guys are a bunch of sick weirdos! It's bad enough my handler wallops my butt but now you're suggesting that psycho Nina do it too!? While dressed as a NUN!
*Rachel hand Marisa the Buns of Steel Exercise DVD*


Rachel: Alright Rusty Butt, Time To Get That Ass In Shape!

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by MP5 on Sat 30 Apr 2011 - 16:57

Nina wrote:Now then, which do you prefer? I have single-tail whips in 4-foot and 6-foot lengths, as well as a full 9-foot long bullwhip in cured kangaroo hide. I have three floggers, a mini flogger and two cat-o'-nine-tails.
If you're interested in playing a little "school master and deliquent student", I also have a fine selection of rattan canes. And then, of course, I also have several leather riding crops (my personal favorite) in traditional black, blue, red, green, and just for when I'm feeling a little silly, pink.

Nicolette: Impressive collection you have there. You know, in my 'call girl' days, I had thought about doing the dominatrix thing, but it was just too much effort to maintain that much leather. so I just stuck to fuzzy handcuffs and a riding crop if a client wanted any bondage play.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sat 30 Apr 2011 - 18:04

Marisa: You guys are a bunch of sick weirdos! It's bad enough my handler wallops my butt but now you're suggesting that psycho Nina do it too!? While dressed as a NUN!
Nina strides into Marisa's room, dressed in a full nun's habit, with a pair of granny-glasses perched low on her nose and bouncing a rattan cane in her hands.
Nina: I have heard from Signor Alboreto that you have been a very naughty girl, Signorina Marisa. Naughty girls who sin against God must be punished. Now why don't we take a walk down to my office so we can discus your...penance, shall we?
Nicolette: Impressive collection you have there. You know, in my 'call girl' days, I had thought about doing the dominatrix thing, but it was just too much effort to maintain that much leather. so I just stuck to fuzzy handcuffs and a riding crop if a client wanted any bondage play.
Nina: Bah, fuzzy handcuffs are for horny teenagers who like to think they're being "adventurous". There's just no replacement for the feel of supple, well-oiled cow hide and cold hard steel. At the moment I'm trying to talk Costante into letting me have my own set of racks and I'm pretty sure I can intimidate those pansy-ass geeks down at Q-branch into building me my own iron maiden. Oh the things I could do with those.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Officer_Charon on Sat 30 Apr 2011 - 18:41

Okaaay... now _I'M_ conflicted.

John: *head asplodey*

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Sat 30 Apr 2011 - 19:13

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Nina: I have heard from Signor Alboreto that you have been a very naughty girl, Signorina Marisa. Naughty girls who sin against God must be punished. Now why don't we take a walk down to my office so we can discus your...penance, shall we?
Monty: *watches Nina walk past toward the cyborg dorm* I swear this place gets weirder every time I visit...

Domonatrix cyborg... there's gotta be a conditioning conflict in there somewhere. On the upside, if you're her handler, at least the safeword should work EVERY time.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sun 1 May 2011 - 5:19

Oh Nina would never dream of using her...um..."extra-curricular" skills on Costante. Her feelings for him are very similar to what Elsa's were for Lauro. But just imagine the sheer shock value of having some Padania thug strapped to a chair, expecting the be beaten and tortured by a stone-faced government goon, and instead in walks Nina in full dominatrix gear, a coiled bullwhip slung over one shoulder, a riding crop and flogger clipped to her belt, and twirling a bright red ballgag in one hand.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ElfenMagix on Mon 2 May 2011 - 1:48

No cattle prods, stun guns or tasers?

OK, how about a 20-penny nail; as per that scene in The Serpent and the Rainbow.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Mon 2 May 2011 - 5:15

Nina: Cattle-prods are nice for a good, sharp shock, but they're like a punch to the face: absolutely no grace or subtlety to them whatsoever. Any idiot can jab a man with a taser and make them scream. I prefer a car battery and a variable voltage regulator. I start out with a faint, tickling flow of electricity, just enough to make them aware that something is going on, and then oh-so-slowly dial up the voltage until I have them screaming and wetting themselves. I love finding that perfect sweet spot, right on the verge where the electric current goes from being merely a discomfort to being outright painful.

Unfortunately, I've never watched that movie, so I can't speak to whatever scene you're referring to, but I dare-say Nina probably hasn't watched it either.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sun 5 Jun 2011 - 19:13

Chapter 10 of 'Crossroads' is finished, proof-read and is now live. A little thing to note about this latest installment is that I had some small issue with its...well, length. My intent was only to write ~25pgs. but my muse had other ideas and it ended up clocking in at a hefty even 40. Don't worry though, I learned my lesson after that 55 page behemoth of a prologue and decided to cut chapter 10 in half. So tonight I am releasing part 1, you could say and then in a few days I'll also release chapter 11; a quick double-feature, if you will. Enjoy!

Chapter 10: A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Sun 5 Jun 2011 - 19:29

You're work was always strong, but it continues to get better with each new chapter.

You portray Petrushka very effectively.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Mon 6 Jun 2011 - 3:22

So... first Dr. Who decides to cliff-hanger me twice in a fortnight and now you're getting in on the act as well?

Asshat.

Seriously though, great chapter... I always prefer it when the badguy is sorta likeable and human. I look forward to seeing if he remains that way.

More thoughts to come.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Mon 6 Jun 2011 - 4:28

Hehe, I'm glad you liked where I decided to leave things off, Alfisti. Razz

Actually, coincidentally enough, I wrote that final section while suffering from the flu and strung out and half-delirious on meds. I got to that last line of Enzo's and then seriously considered making that the end of the chapter. But a little talk with my beta-reader made me decide that such a thing would be too cruel to you guys, so I kept going. Then, when the chapter ended up being 40 freaking pages long and I decided to chop it in half, I knew instantly where I would make the chapter break. Funny how things work out sometimes, huh?

Oh yes, and don't worry that you'll be left wondering for too long. As I said, ch.11 is already finished and I just plan to wait a few days to give people a chance to finish digesting ch10 before posting it. Expect the next installment around Wed-Thurs.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

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