Crossroads of Destiny

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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

Post by Professor Voodoo on Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 23:51

Chapter 10: A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing
"The Palace Merano is a world-renowned health spa and detox center Petra. This is the kind of place where A-list celebrities and superstar athletes come to get clean and relax. You can't just make a dinner reservation here. And certainly not on less than twenty-four hours' notice."
Interesting setting, providing both difficulties & advantages for an operation like this. Are you basing this on a real place?
Petra shrugged dismissively, her voice light and flippant in her response. "Maybe Yurik is friends with someone high up in the staff,"
Petrushka is already referring to him by his first name? Seems awfully "familiar" for someone she's nervous about going out alone with.
Petra nodded her understanding, whispering quietly, "I'll keep my eyes open for anyone who looks like they know Balašev. Then, when we get back to the Agency, I can work with Priscilla to go through a list of personnel to try to put some names to the faces."
Good usage of the Series Two girls' talents. They were designed to be more free-thinking and helpful in investigative situations.
It was only her imagination; her boobs were not about to pop free.
Well, there's an issue you never had with the Series Ones.
While the hotel did cater to casual visitors such as tourists and vacationers, as Sandro had intimated to Petra, it also boasted a client-base that included top-tier athletes, music icons, A-list celebrities and high ranking political figures.
That's an interesting point of debate/conversation concerning Agency cyborgs. How "starstruck" would they get around celebrities? On one hand they have far less exposure to pop culture than your average adolescent...but as you indicated in the last chapter Petra has at least some affinity for soap operas.
Through the main doors the pair walked, into the grand entrance hall. Smooth and gleaming in the light of numerous wall sconces and hanging cut crystal chandeliers, four columns of gold-capped, cream-coloured marble held up the towering sixteen-foot ceiling.
You set an impressive scene but perhaps one of the reasons this chapter got so long is that there's a lot of detail about the rooms & grounds here which (at least so far) seems to have very little payoff to the story. Perhaps part 2 will prove me wrong.
Isn't that a little…well, disturbing?"
"It wasn't that long ago," Petra chuckled, ...
"Well, I still think it's rather odd."
Buddy, you have absolutely no idea how odd the situation really is. Great demonstration of Petrushka's chameleon ability to adopt a persona and pull it off convincingly. Yurik finds her relationship "odd" but apperantly sees nothing fishy about it.
Yurik's choice of meal was a beautifully bronzed lobster thermidor, the two halves arrayed so that the natural curve of the shells resembled the ancient Zen symbol of yin and yang. For Petra's main course, she had picked a wine-poached salmon topped by a dry wine and truffle sauce, with scalloped potatoes and a creamy garlic penne on the side.
The stakeout team, probably eating day old pizza & cold take-out Chinese are probably hating Petrushka right now.
As he talked, Petra found herself suffering from a rather uncomfortable sense of conflict. In defiance of her best efforts to remain focused solely on the mission, she couldn't shake free of the notion that Yurik was proving to be surprisingly…well, nice.
There's that moral ambiguity...I think it gives all cyborgs trouble. It certainly makes the story more layered & complex.
"Well he seemed awfully nice. Didn't seem to think very highly of you though."
Francois seemingly good natured attack straddled the boarder between humorous and genuinely nasty. Wonder if he's trying to tell Yurik's date something?
Lucretia had scaled up the side of the apartment building lugging a coil of copper wire and a metal pole in order to erect a signal antenna on the roof.
First time we've seen Lucy "in action" somewhere other than behind a computer screen, am I right?
Sandro eventually pulled into the parking lot of the historic Trauttmansdorff Castle.
Every setting is pretty high-profile in this chapter.
Either he was starting to get old, which Sandro flatly refused to believe, or he was letting himself become spoiled by having a super-human cyborg partner to do all of his running around and heavy lifting for him.
Elio: Best to get that in check now lad, or you'll pay for it by the time you're my age!
"He got a call a couple of hours after you left," Nihad answered quietly. The big man leaned casually on one elbow, twisting around to regard the other two. "And whoever it was, it must have been important because as soon as he hung up the phone, he gathered up his things and grabbed the first flight back to Rome."
Hmmm...Jacob calling in about Melanie's freak-out on the mountain, perhaps?
"You're letting her sleep in the middle of an active operation?" Sandro replied incredulously. His face was painted with a mixture of shocked disbelief and indignant outrage. That was his partner out there with a dangerous arms dealer, putting her safety on the line. She was counting on everyone doing their jobs to support her from the shadows, ready to jump in and help her if she needed it and here Enzo was, letting his cyborg take a nap?
This was one of my favorite elements of this chapter. Both men are acting in the best interests of their cyborgs and by doing so they're asking a colleague to compromise the best interests of his own girl. Very believable scene.
Oh yeah, and it turns out that Balašev is friends with the head chef."
Time to haul his ass in for questioning too...
Kara: Alright, you know what I want and I've got all night.

Francois: I have nothing to do with the Padania or any illegal arms sales! I swear!

Kara: (angry, bad cop persona) Don't play dumb with me! You're looking at forty years! They're gonna tear a cream-puff like you up in prison! Now do yourself a favor & give me the damn poached salmon recipe!

Ferro: (watching from the other side of one-way glass) Nina...aren't interrogations usually your job?

Nina: Are you kidding? There's no way I'm going in there with her!

Marisa: (just arriving) I brought those jumper cables and Elio's angle grinder like Kara wanted. Is she ready for them?
By the time Lucretia had been taken in and converted, some two years later, the technology, predominantly the Conditioning medication, had been noticeably improved upon. But still those feelings lingered.
Hmmm..."improved" is a subjective term when your brand new cyborg can now cop a smart-ass attitude anytime she likes. I'm really liking the dynamic between Enzo & Lucy...very random & unpredictable. It goes from playful to angry to endearing at the drop of a hat, just like a real adult/teen relationship.
"I think I can hear trickling water; like in a fountain. Wait a minute." Sandro held his breath, not daring to breath. "What the hell?"
What the hell indeed. Looking forward to the exciting continuation...

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Wed 8 Jun 2011 - 1:20

@Professor Voodoo wrote:
Oh yeah, and it turns out that Balašev is friends with the head chef."

Time to haul his ass in for questioning too...

Kara: Alright, you know what I want and I've got all night.

Francois: I have nothing to do with the Padania or any illegal arms sales! I swear!

Kara: (angry, bad cop persona) Don't play dumb with me! You're looking at forty years! They're gonna tear a cream-puff like you up in prison! Now do yourself a favor & give me the damn poached salmon recipe!

Ferro: (watching from the other side of one-way glass) Nina...aren't interrogations usually your job?

Nina: Are you kidding? There's no way I'm going in there with her!

Marisa: (just arriving) I brought those jumper cables and Elio's angle grinder like Kara wanted. Is she ready for them?

Brilliant.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Wed 8 Jun 2011 - 6:12

Interesting setting, providing both difficulties & advantages for an
operation like this. Are you basing this on a real place?
Yes, the Palace Merano is indeed a real place. If you're curious, you can find it's homepage here...http://www.palace.it/en/hotel-espace-henri-chenot.htm
Petrushka is already referring to him by his first name? Seems awfully
"familiar" for someone she's nervous about going out alone with.
Yeah, that's a good point Voodoo. I have noticed while proofreading that I tended to flip back and forth between using his first and last names a lot. With you bringing it up, it would be more appropriate for Petra to be using his last name here.
Well, there's an issue you never had with the Series Ones.
I dare say there's a few 1st Gens who wish they had this issue.

Triela:
Sh...shut up.
That's an interesting point of debate/conversation concerning Agency
cyborgs. How "starstruck" would they get around celebrities? On one hand
they have far less exposure to pop culture than your average
adolescent...but as you indicated in the last chapter Petra has at least
some affinity for soap operas.
Well, I'm pretty sure you're the one who had Petra and Triela meeting Bono while working protection at a U2 concert and the girls are regularly exposed to Italy's top-level political figures, be it guarding them or killing them as the case may be, so Petra at least has had the chance to get used to the idea. That being said, because of her unique training from Sandro, Petra would likely be the most socially adept and balanced of the girls for real-life situations, specifically so that she can better blend in and interact with the general populous. Just like with J&M, Sandro needs her to be a partner in their work, not just a walking gun-rack and bodyguard.
You set an impressive scene but perhaps one of the reasons this chapter got so long is that there's a lot of detail about the rooms & grounds here which (at least so far) seems to have very little payoff to the story. Perhaps part 2 will prove me wrong.
Honestly, I almost wish that were the case. I do like to be rather detailed in my descriptions of certain scenes, although I do try not to go overboard with them. Mostly, I think, it has to do with the fact that, with the hotel being an actual place, I want to make sure that my descriptions are accurate to the actual location. That isn't the case with the next chapter though, where the only locations are the ...*censored*... the nightclub and then Yurik's villa. All of which, I think at least, I manage to get through with only the minimal amount of descriptions.
The stakeout team, probably eating day old pizza & cold take-out Chinese are probably hating Petrushka right now.
Well, Michele and Kara are a part of that stakeout team, remember, so it's more likely to be day-old home made lasagna and cold left-over fettuccine alfredo, or something to that effect.
Francois seemingly good natured attack straddled the boarder between humorous and genuinely nasty.
Well, he IS French, after all. What do expect? Although, once word of him gets back tot he agency, it could work out badly for everyone...

Nina: Teach me Oh Wise One; I am yours to command!
Francois: Arise my worthy student. You have done well to learn my ways. The world shall kneel before the might of your viperous tongue.
Nina: Yes, my Master. *cue the Imperial March*

First time we've seen Lucy "in action" somewhere other than behind a computer screen, am I right?
Why yes, I do believe it is. I'm going to have to work on finding her more to do before she starts looking for other ways to keep herself entertained. I don't think the people of Rome would appreciate her reprogramming the power grid so that all of the lights in the city spell out naughty words when viewed from above...*sigh*... Again.

Lucy: Oh come on; that was funny! You know what you peoples' problem is? You have no sense of humour; none at all! You're all a bunch of bloody philistines is what you are! No appreciation for my unique brand of artistic genius!
Hmmm...Jacob calling in about Melanie's freak-out on the mountain, perhaps?
Actually, once I release ch11, I'm going to be going back and revising chapters 8 and 9. I'm just not satisfied with the way the timeline is fitting together so ch8 is going to get pulled, reworked and expanded and it will become ch11. So the phone call that Jean received here has to do with the special assignment he sent Elio on.

Once again and as always, thanks for the comments, Voodoo. I'm roughly half-way through proofreading ch11 so it should be ready to go up tomorrow evening.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Wed 8 Jun 2011 - 13:15

@ChaosKin640 wrote:I'm going to have to work on finding (Lucy) more to do before she starts looking for other ways to keep herself entertained. I don't think the people of Rome would appreciate her reprogramming the power grid so that all of the lights in the city spell out naughty words when viewed from above...*sigh*... Again.

Lucy: Oh come on; that was funny! You know what you peoples' problem is? You have no sense of humour; none at all! You're all a bunch of bloody philistines is what you are! No appreciation for my unique brand of artistic genius!
I dare say a stunt like that might have Enzo seriously considering Jean's disciplinary methods...especially for a second offense.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Wed 8 Jun 2011 - 13:41

Enzo: *growling* Don't temp me. It took me three months before I was finished apologizing to Chief Lorenzo and Minister Petris for that little stunt. I swear to God, I think I'm going to have to start paying for lessons from Alboreto on cyborg discipline. Actually, his Marisa seems decently enough behaved now, do you think he might be interested in a trade?
Lucy: What?! Are you crazy? Oh please, Enzo no, I beg of you! Signor Alboreto is...is old! I mean, really old! His idea of a computer is eight feet tall and still takes punch cards for crying out loud! Enzo, if you reconsider, I swear I'll never hack into another computer again... ... ...Okay, I'll never change anything inside the computers I hack into ever again. But please don't make Signor Alboreto my Handler!
Enzo: ...You know what? Never mind. I think I've just found my perfect system.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Wed 8 Jun 2011 - 16:53

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Nina: Yes, my Master. *cue the Imperial March*.
*sigh... now I'm going to have that stuck in my head all day.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Wed 8 Jun 2011 - 19:40

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Enzo: *growling* I swear to God, I think I'm going to have to start paying for lessons from Alboreto on cyborg discipline. Actually, his Marisa seems decently enough behaved now, do you think he might be interested in a trade?
If Marisa can be considered "well behaved" (and that's debatable) then it's because Elio has implimented those particular discipline techniques from day one.

Marisa: Stupid %^*#@ engineers! €150,000,000 for my construction and they couldn't armor my butt?!
Lucy: What?! Are you crazy? Oh please, Enzo no, I beg of you! Signor Alboreto is...is old! I mean, really old! His idea of a computer is eight feet tall and still takes punch cards for crying out loud!
Elio: I'm game for that. With Lucy's help I might finally be able to get my laptop to talk to my printer.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Wed 8 Jun 2011 - 22:31

*sigh... now I'm going to have that stuck in my head all day.
Really? Oh wow, my apologies there, Alfisti. I think I can help with that. Perhaps you're familiar with a little ditty I like to call...

The Narwhal Song
Spoiler:

Or, if that one isn't to your taste, you might prefer this one:

Spoiler:

I hope that helps. Razz

Elio: I'm game for that. With Lucy's help I might finally be able to get my laptop to talk to my printer.
Lucy: (after a brutally long five hour troubleshooting session in Elio's office) Enzo, I swear I've learned my lesson. Please don't make me EVER go through something that again. Signor Alboreto actually still has a Dot Matrix printer!
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Thu 9 Jun 2011 - 21:58

Okay; as promised, the next installment is now up on FF.net. For this chapter, I am handing out a bit of a warning. I know that most of you who read this are old enough to not be bothered, but as we do have a number of members who are minors, I just thought I should cover all of my bases. Some of the content towards the end of the chapter is a little sexually evocative. It's not overtly explicit in nature, but I am rather descriptive in what's going on. So, just a head's up in that regard. But anyways, not that the little legal service announcement is out of the way, onto chapter 11.

Chapter 11: A Sense of Betrayal
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Thu 9 Jun 2011 - 22:18

@ChaosKin640 wrote: Some of the content towards the end of the chapter is a little sexually evocative. It's not overtly explicit in nature, but I am rather descriptive in what's going on.
Any time I feel as if I'm going to far in that respect I go back and re-read the Biff & Britney chapter which involves a 9 year old getting it on with an 11 year old.

Crisis resolved.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ElfenMagix on Thu 9 Jun 2011 - 22:35

@Professor Voodoo wrote:
@ChaosKin640 wrote: Some of the content towards the end of the chapter is a little sexually evocative. It's not overtly explicit in nature, but I am rather descriptive in what's going on.
Any time I feel as if I'm going to far in that respect I go back and re-read the Biff & Britney chapter which involves a 9 year old getting it on with an 11 year old.

Crisis resolved.
I so agree!

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ElfenMagix on Thu 9 Jun 2011 - 23:13

Read it. Found nothing wrong with it as you might have stated.
It was rather an enjoyable read.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Thu 9 Jun 2011 - 23:29

Okay, I'm glad you both think so. As I mentioned, the warning was more of "just in case" kind of thing.

And yes, Voodoo, B&B was in the back of my mind while writing that whole segment of the chapter. But I find that Danjo's work in that respect tends to be a lot more subtle and downplays the specific details (well...except for the whole, Annie getting a load of cum in the face, thing), whereas I was deliberately going for a much more detailed approach to what Petra was experiencing. But either way, I'm glad you liked it.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Thu 9 Jun 2011 - 23:49

Ah, excellent... something to do on a boring (touch wood) friday afternoon. Reading now and more thoughts to come but for now:

Spoiler:


@ChaosKin640 wrote:

"Sleep in peace, when the day is done.

And this old world is a new world

And a bold world

For me."

A suitably Bond-opener-esque selection for music. Very Happy




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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Thu 9 Jun 2011 - 23:50

I considered having Kara undergo a spa treatment, but then I thought with artificial skin, muscles and nails, how would that work? You handled it well.

And once again, you really portray Petra fantastically.


Last edited by Kiskaloo on Fri 10 Jun 2011 - 1:39; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by MP5 on Fri 10 Jun 2011 - 0:22

Well done, Chaos! The last line was particularly humorous.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Fri 10 Jun 2011 - 1:11

A suitably Bond-opener-esque selection for music.
Hehe...funny you should mention that, as the whole reason I chose that song was because of the Noir AMV "Property of a Lady", which I highly recommend, by the way.
Well done, Chaos! The last line was particularly humorous.
Thanks, MP5. Yes, with everything Petra put up with, it seemed only fair to let things end on a comedic high-note for her.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Fri 10 Jun 2011 - 6:51

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
*sigh... now I'm going to have that stuck in my head all day.
Really? Oh wow, my apologies there, Alfisti. I think I can help with that. Perhaps you're familiar with a little ditty I like to call...

The Narwhal Song
...

The only thing preventing me from flying over there and murdering you for that is the fact that you're writing a story I wish to continue reading.


Last edited by Alfisti on Fri 10 Jun 2011 - 18:58; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Fri 10 Jun 2011 - 13:00

You can thank my sister for that one. Razz
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Sat 11 Jun 2011 - 13:08

Alright, so... as promised: extended thoughts on CH10.

@ChaosKin640 wrote: "Men like Yurik don't have friends; they have business associates.
...much like intelligence agencies.

It was only her imagination; her boobs were not about to pop free.
Well, there's always double sided tape.

Either there was something more to the exchange that she simply was not
picking up on, or Sandro was more shocked by the revelation than he was
letting on.
...or just a little concerned that their mark may be more cunning than anticipated?

To help facilitate this, the massive arched entranceway was inset with
an imposing gate of heavy black wrought-iron. The gates stood open at
the moment, with a pair of doormen in uniforms of deep maroon wool
greatcoats with gold buttons and trim around cuffs and collar, matching
gloves and black dress pants standing to one side to welcome newly
arriving guests, and to close and secure those gates come closing time.
You really do seem to gravitate to this grander more traditional style of architecture and interior design don't you Razz I had a look at the hotel website, but during the story I couldn't help but draw parrallels between your descriptions of the building and those you made at the start of the story of the New Brookendis facility.

Petra felt herself flashing back to her text message conversation with
Kara earlier in the day. The man might not be a prince or a wealthy
tycoon, but he was certainly still pleasing to look at nonetheless.
Well I guess if you're spending as much as this place costs you'd expect the eye-candy, male or female, to be professional and good to look at Razz

"Well, I still think it's rather odd."
Mate, if only you knew.

"You know the head chef?" Petra goggled, stunned and more than slightly
impressed. Sandro had been right in his suspicions: Yurik was indeed
well connected. If not quite in the way that he had feared.
No sense of smugness at having been right herself?

Modelling is, after all, a rather notoriously competitive and cut-throat business...
And fashion design isn't? I can tell you from limited but personal experience that unless you have some sort of headstart that is a very difficult world to enter into. On the upside I guess you at least have more control of your own destiny as a designer than you do as a model, but by the same token you are more exposed to changing trends.

"He got a call a couple of hours after you left," Nihad answered quietly.
Fratello missing in the mountains?

"Fair enough, I guess," he muttered as way of offering his own apology for having snapped.
As others have noted, this whole exchange between Sandro and Enzo is a great bit of handler interaction, each concerned about his own girl and nerves/stress or whatever doing the rest.

"You must be psychic or something. What the Hell made you think to
plant a wireless microphone in the beadwork of Petra's dress?"

Sandro's
sudden surge of anxiety and apprehension drained out of him, and he
grinned, feeling it being replaced with a small sense of smug
self-satisfaction. "It's called 'Professional Paranoia'. I don't like
taking chances with any operation I'm doing and I knew there was a
chance that we might not be able to slip a back-up fratello to keep an eye on Yurik and Petra."
Which I guess is somewhere that 'Sandro's version of Professional Paranoia differs from Jethro's... the last thing Jethro would want on Monty in this sort of operation would be a concealed microphone.
"'How to Handle Your Handler in Five Easy Steps'. Yeah, that certainly sounds like our Kara."
Kara: Ok girls, today is a practical lesson. To keep things simple you'll be practicing on Michele because he's a pushover. He's currently in the refectory..."
Logically, Sandro knew that the differences in the two girls'
behaviours were due in large part to the advancements made to the
Conditioning process.
I'm in agreement here that the development of cybernetics and the Conditioning process is a fluid process, the "Generation" designations only mark major changes of methodology. By the same token I wonder if it wouldn't be in the Agency's interest to quietly remind the cyborgs every so often that they are in fact: tools of the SWA.
foot tapping rhythmically on the van bare
"van's"?
"I think I can hear trickling water; like in a fountain. Wait a
minute." Sandro held his breath, not daring to breath. "What the hell?"
As previously stated: ass.
Great chapter mate. Thoughts on CH11 are in the pipeline...

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sat 11 Jun 2011 - 16:21

Well, there's always double sided tape.
Marisa: Or hey, you could always use crazy glue if you really need to make sure it stays up!
Petra: Uh...thanks Mari, but at some point this dress needs to actually come off; and I'd like that to happen without ripping out chunks of my boobs in the process.

Triela: Well at least you've got boobs to rip chunks out of. *grumble grumble*

...or just a little concerned that their mark may be more cunning than anticipated?
A little of both, would be my guess. The real victim here, of course, is Lucy. (Or at least she thinks so)

Lucy: Are you kidding me?! The Italian government spends a hundred-million Euros building me, the greatest hacker the digital world has ever laid eyes upon and those Padania bastards switch over to a cash-only enterprise? What's next: are they going to start paying each other in chickens?!
You really do seem to gravitate to this grander more traditional style of architecture and interior design don't you Razz
Yes, I'll admit that I am rather drawn to the more traditional architectural styles and designs. That whole "ultra-modern" minimalism and "industrial chic" kind of style just does absolutely nothing for me. I particularly love Gothic architecture, with its whole imposing grandeur. If you've ever watched the movie "The Haunting", then Hill House is exactly the kind of architectural design that would have me giggling like a little girl with glee.
Well I guess if you're spending as much as this place costs you'd expect
the eye-candy, male or female, to be professional and good to look at Razz
Oh, absolutely. There are aesthetic standards that need to be upheld, you know.

Kara, Petra & Britney: "We approve!"
No sense of smugness at having been right herself?
Hmm...you're right, there should some brief mention of her having been right about Yurik's connections. I'll make a note to go back and add something in. Thanks.
And fashion design isn't? I can tell you from limited but personal
experience that unless you have some sort of headstart that is a very
difficult world to enter into.
I'll save my thoughts on this until after you've reviewed ch11, as it makes mention of exactly this.
Fratello missing in the mountains?
Nope. I mentioned before, but I'm reworking chapters 7 & 8 to reflect certain adjustments I've made to the flow of the plot. For future reference, the entire Balasev mission now takes place before Jacob & Melanie leave for the mountains. The phone call Jean receives here is from Elio, reporting that he's finished the little "side-job" that Jean gave him and is on his way back to HQ.
Which I guess is somewhere that 'Sandro's version of Professional Paranoia differs from Jethro's... the last thing Jethro would want on Monty in this sort of operation would be a concealed microphone.
The difference in operational procedures likely stems from the difference in their theaters of operation. J&M bounce all over the world without any kind of backup aside from each other, so it makes sense that they would do everything in their power to minimize their exposure by wearing concealed surveillance equipment. S&P, on the other hand, are working within Italy, with agency support to back them up if things go pear-shaped. However, I would think that if Monty were ever in the same kind of position that Petra was in here, that Jethro would be just as nervous and anxious about her safety as Sandro is.
By the same token I wonder if it wouldn't be in the Agency's interest to
quietly remind the cyborgs every so often that they are in fact: tools
of the SWA.
I should think that being stripped naked and picked apart by the tech department every few weeks for repairs and general maintenance would serve as a rather poignant reminder. Not to mention the fact that the few girls who are treated as little more than government-funded weapons serve to remind them all that, regardless of how well their individual handlers might treat them, they are still prized song-birds living in a gilded cage.
"van's"?
Ughh...have I ever mention how much I hate these little errors that slip through the proofreading process? Found and changed.
As previously stated: ass.
Hehe...that one you can thank drug-addled delirium for. Razz

Cheers Alfisti, thanks for the comments and looking forward to your future thoughts.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Sat 11 Jun 2011 - 19:04

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Nope. I mentioned before, but I'm reworking chapters 7 & 8 to
reflect certain adjustments I've made to the flow of the plot. For
future reference, the entire Balasev mission now takes place before Jacob & Melanie leave for the mountains.
Argh, I remember you mentioning this in another set of replies to someone else now. Put it down to lack of sleep due to trying to watch as much of Le Mans as is telecast, and the F1... which means sleeping in hour or two long stints when Ten is showing NASCAR or something. sweat

The difference in operational procedures likely stems from the
difference in their theaters of operation. J&M bounce all over the
world without any kind of backup aside from each other, so it makes
sense that they would do everything in their power to minimize their
exposure by wearing concealed surveillance equipment. S&P, on the
other hand, are working within Italy, with agency support to back them
up if things go pear-shaped. However, I would think that if Monty were
ever in the same kind of position that Petra was in here, that Jethro
would be just as nervous and anxious about her safety as Sandro is.
Oh absolutely, on both counts... though to be fair, Jethro's probably a bit more used to Monty going off on her own. So while he'd never be entirely comfortable during those times, he'd probably be a bit less skittish. The earlier statement wasn't intended as a right or wrong statement, just a reflection on different operational styles.


Ok... onward. CH11...

Yurik's distinct lack of reaction and rather bored, disinterested
expression that the directions were more for her benefit than his.
I guess being a regular probably helps you get short-notice reservations as well.

Her sidearm was in her purse, now locked away, beyond reach.

For God's sake Petra, get a hold of yourself,
she mentally berated herself harshly. You're
a state-of-the-art, multi-million Euros combat cyborg. You are
perfectly capable of taking care of yourself without a gun.
I doubt any cyborg enjoys being seperated from her firearm or some sort of weapon. Though they are well capable of taking care of themselves against most regular humans, I imagine the carriage of some sort of weapon is an indicator of being fullly ready... if that makes sense.

"Oh, well, I am in fashion design school and it is pretty
competitive. I mean, just last week, another girl totally screwed up a
costume design assignment by making a mid-Victorian period dress when we
were clearly supposed to make an early-Elizabethan period dress.
It still looked okay, but the teacher was super mad. This was her third
mistake and so he kicked her out of the program right then and there,
can you believe that? Not that I really care; she was a total bitch
anyway and that just makes one less person fighting for the internship
spots."
How to mess up a fashion show? Two words: wardrobe malfunction.

Hats off to the model though, she was a trooper and just kept going.

So this was the fashion section you were talking about. Intern-positions are one, many I knew at uni were trying to launch their own lables with greater or lesser success. It was an eye opener going to the shows, you REALLY needed to be doing something different to get noticed, or doing a particularly good job or using particularly interesting materials. Internships seem to be as much luck of the draw as skill. The girl who used to live down the street is now, with no previous experience in the fashion scene or even a degree in that area is now working with Akira Isogawa so... *shrugs shoulders*

Besides which, Petra hated having to kill innocent bystanders. It was all just so unfair to Ferro and her people.
Loved this little passage, the reasoning as to why Petra doesn't like unnecessary killing...

Ferro: Well I'm glad at least one of you ungrateful little urchins is appreciative.

She was silently memorizing each motion and technique, already eagerly
awaiting her chance to try some of it out on Sandro. She just knew that
he would be delighted at the idea of receiving a nice, relaxing massage
from her.
Either that or she'll crack a rib.

All three were young, in their mid-twenties, Petra guessed, with lean
builds and dressed all in black. The singer, his thin, high cheek-boned
face clean-shaven and with short black hair gelled up into a myriad of
thorny spikes, was just finishing up the song's third verse as she and
Yurik walked into the bar.
Hehe...funny you should mention that, as the whole reason I chose that
song was because of the Noir AMV "Property of a Lady", which I highly
recommend, by the way
I have seen the AMV, and yes it is excellent, better than some of the more recent Bond openers.

I'll admit, I prefer the Nina Simone version of the song though over the Muse.

Pulling open the lid, she withdrew a tiny syringe the size of her pinkie
finger, along with a sterilized needle and a small glass phial.
Connecting needle and syringe, she jabbed it into the phial's lid and
extracted a measured amount of the clear fluid within. Then, setting her
purse aside and hiking up the hem of her skirt until it was bunched up
around her waist, Petra slammed the needle home into the crease of her
leg, where thigh met hip. Stabbing down on the plunger with her thumb,
the quarter-shot of pure Conditioning medication roared through her
veins.
I've got to admit I'd always pictured the emergency kit dose of the conditioning drug as coming in pre-measured doses... like a Diabetic's insulin pen. Just on the thought that any cyborg at the point of needing a dose of straight conditioning is likely to not to be in a condition to be able to extract and measure her own doses.

That said, I loved Petra's drunken musings...

"Everybody likes me! I'm an infinitely likeable person."
For some reason I read this in Audrey Hepburn's voice... In fact quite a few of Petra's drunk lines came out like that.

She needed to find his computer and secure it before sedating him or the
largest part of the mission would be a bust. Interrogating Yurik would
be useless without some concrete physical data to back up whatever
information he provided.
Obviously some parts of the SWA operate less on rumour than other parts do. Wink

Sandro's own style of brutally plain utilitarianism
You realise that, in the manga, there are some incredibly expensive bits of designer furniture in Sandro's apartment right?

The third man, however, hanging further back from the other two, she did recognize. It was the man from the trattoria; the one she had spotted lurking on the edge of the patio pretending to read the newspaper!
And the plot thickens...

"Leave her alone, Antonio. Look at her: she's just some pretty little
slut that Balašev picked up at the bar. Who she is isn't important. Now
take us to Balašev or I'm going to have to ruin that gorgeous dress your
wearing."
Surely "Antonio" would recognise her from the trattoria... Or is he just not letting on?

Petra felt the sharp bit of the bullet
"bite"?

Is that coffee?"
Seriously... it solves everything.

Every eye in the villa suddenly snapped towards the pair, the faces of
cleaning crew and Tactical team members alike fixed in stern disgust and
disapproval as Petra cried out cheerfully, "Now let's go home and have
sex!"
And suddenly all that quick thinking to cover her drunkness before is for naught.

Humorous way to end the chapter... but also with possibly far-reaching and dire consequences. I'll be interested to see if you take that drunken comment further.

Another excellent chapter mate.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Sun 12 Jun 2011 - 6:11

Chapter 11: Sense of Betrayal
There was also the possibility of the dye used to tan her skin and lend her the appearance of a full-blooded Italian woman would streak and run, revealing her deception
Maybe you've mentioned this already but has Petrushka dyed her hair or is she wearing a wig?
A part of Petra was disgusted with how the man was reacting, as if she had promised him the world and more with but those three simple elements. Another part of her, however, goggled in amazed wonder that something so small, something so seemingly insignificant, could elicit such a profound reaction.
At first the mission seemed like an easy one...get close to the mark, neutralize him, get his data. It's the dichotomy of Petra's feelings that really put the meat on the bones of this story and you've captured that expertly.
Petra wasn't really able to feel any significant amount of pain, but the shoes were uncomfortable and discomfort was a sensation she was capable of feeling in abundance.
This gave me a mental image of Rico trying on one of the older girls' high heel shoes and trying to walk in them.
Rico: (after falling half a dozen times) Why do we do this again? Nobody expects boys to walk in these silly things.
Petra: Ya know, you've got a really good point.
The young woman looked to be no more than twenty years old, her plumply-pretty face set in a beaming slime.
Beaming slime? Well, it is a spa...who knows what women set on their faces behind closed doors...
"Actually," Petra cut in, forcing out as much casual arrogance as possible, "I think I'd prefer to skip the facial. I just got one done a few days ago, so I shouldn't need another one so soon."
Clever move.
Aside from Sandro, who she loved, the only other people to see and touch her while naked were the agency's medical staff,
Awww, no Series Two shower-room "experimenting"?
"Well, it's just that your muscles are the stiffest and tensest that I have ever felt and that is a clear sign of extremely high stress loads building up within the body."
"Oh, well, I am in fashion design school and it is pretty competitive.
Petra: Well, I am a half-human combat cyborg and just last week I had to rappel off a roof and kill a Senator and his whole security staff and tonight the man I love who is also my supervisor prostituted me out to an arms dealer who I'm beginning to think is pretty nice except I still have to drug him and...oh phoo, I have to kill you now. Sorry...the massage was great by the way.
Besides which, Petra hated having to kill innocent bystanders. It was all just so unfair to Ferro and her people.
No thought for the murdered bystander, just concern for Ferro & Crew. Excellent cyborg moment!
The hour-and-a-half Petra spent having first her hands and then her feet fussed over and pampered was spent in easy, light-hearted conversation with Yurik.
It was 9pm when this chapter began...adding up all the time I think it'll be dawn before this "mission" is over!
Something about…dancing...the memories turned to mist and slid through her fingers.
I see where you're going with this, but I understood in the first sentence...it's a bit over-explained I fear. Also...after all that we don't actually see her do any dancing.
Her digestive tract had been augmented with extra absorptive layers designed to help her safely metabolize various toxic compounds in order to neutralize their effects upon her and alcohol was one of those compounds.
Interesting and probably realistic.
Drunk? How had that happened? Petra knew she had more self-control than that. She was a professional; she didn't go out and get drunk. Certainly not while on a mission. Was she on a mission? Yes, of course she was. That was why she was all dressed up in such a pretty dress. It was a pretty dress too, all shiny and smooth beneath her fingers. Sandro would be so amazed at how pretty she looked in it. Or had he already said so? She couldn't remember for some reason. Why couldn't she remember? What was going on? Oh yes, that's right, now she remembered: she was drunk. Wait, drunk? How had that happened?
This is terrific, as anyone who has spent a lot of time drunk will recognize.
Pulling open the lid, she withdrew a tiny syringe the size of her pinkie finger, along with a sterilized needle and a small glass phial...Stabbing down on the plunger with her thumb, the quarter-shot of pure Conditioning medication roared through her veins.
Cool idea, especially the effect it has on her. I dare say a pressurized injector pen might be a little easier to use under the circumstances though.
Shivering in the cold, Petra made a mad-dash for the cab,
Careful! You're in heels & Yurik still thinks you're drunk. Most drunk girls would have face-planted or at least stumbled here.
"I am inside Yurik's villa and am beginning my search for his primary computer. I repeat, beginning mission phase two; stand by for stage three and extraction."
I was glad to see the "action" finally begin. Being of humbler means than Yurik I don't think I could have taken much more description of rooms I'll never afford to be in.
It was obvious to her that Yurik kept his personal computer upstairs, likely in his own bedroom.
Realistically I'm not sure a man like Yurik would, but I can see why Petra would think so. More on that later...
Accepting the glass that Petra offered,
Once this mission is done Petrushka is not going to want to look at alcohol. Sure the conditioning boost cleared up her drunken stupor but all that booze is still going to have to leave the body. Wonder what a cyborg hangover is like?
"Ah, good point," Yurik chuckled. "In that case then, perhaps you would be interested in moving this to a more comfortable location; to the boudoir?"
Nicely done.
Walking into the master bedroom, Petra was instantly struck by the blatantly obvious, undeniable fact that this was every inch a man's bedroom.
This passage is particularly striking when you consider the added layer of Petra's "home life." Although it is easy to forget during the course of this story she is a 16 year old teenager living in a dorm. For her a bedroom is the only space on earth that is hers (even if she does have to share it with a room-mate). Yurik has many rooms in which to do business but for Petrushka her bedroom is home, office & entertaining space all in one. In short, the bedroom is the central point in her home.
This is what I was getting at earlier when Petra was guessing where the lap-top was. It would make perfect sense to her that the computer be in the heart of the house...I'm just not sure Yurik would consider it much more than a room to sleep and fuck in.
Petra's eyes widened; his chest and arms were so big! So much bigger than Sandro's. And the hair! Yurik's entire chest was a mass of black and grey curls, even his stomach bearing a thin carpet of manly fur.
Good observation; it would make sense that the "master of disguise" Rissi would keep his chest shaved.
in his hands he clutched not only a canister of whipped cream, but also a bottle of chocolate sauce and a jar of maraschino cherries.
(after the mission) Henrietta: Did you happen to pick that stuff up before you left?
Petra: Eh, no, sorry.
Henrietta: Darn!
"It's nothing personal; it's just my job. If it's any consolation to you, I wasn't lying when I told you I enjoyed myself tonight. I wasn't expecting to, I certainly wasn't planning to, but I really did. It's just too bad that you're a terrorist, because otherwise, I think I could have really liked you."
If that microphone is still on I can see this being a statement which really worries the cyborg engineers.
Still, it sums up Petra's conflicted feelings brilliantly...the fact that she feels the need to apologize says so much.
Seven shower heads!
Returning to the dorm is going to be such a let down.
Curling up into a tight ball, knees drawn up to her chest, she sat up against the bathroom vanity and wept.
This is as good a time to mention that the greatest strength of this chapter is how you manage to get across how difficult this mission, ostensibly an evening of decadent luxury, really is for Petrushka.
had been less than eight months since Sandro had finally broken down and agreed to take her to his bed and share with her the ultimate expression of physical love.
Interesting take on the Petra/Alessandro, sex or not? debate. They are having sex...just much later into their partnership.
Petra resigned herself to the fact that she would have to burn the pair once she got back to the agency compound.
There's a fireplace here, that might have been dramatic.
Chest heaving with exertion, adrenaline surging through her veins, Petra stood there for a time just panting and staring at nothing. Then, grabbing the hidden microphone, she screamed into it angrily, "This is Petra to all response teams: where the Hell are you people?"
The unexpected attack took me by surprise too...just when I'd assumed the story had climaxed.
"Oh, so now it's my fault the senile old bitch actually called the police and had us checked out? To Hell with the both of you!"
This I found confusing though. I love the innocuous detail of the old lady coming back to bite them but the attackers were cops? They never identified themselves as such. Crooked cops who Yurik had crossed in a deal perhaps?
"Jesus Petra, are you drunk?" he exclaimed,
Great attitude from her at the end. I'm emotionally wrecked, physically damaged and bone tired...to hell with the consequences, I'm getting wasted.
Just watch out for the tiles; some of them are mean and try to trip you when you walk. I think I got one of them but I just know that there are others."
Great "drunk girl" line.
I might accidentally kick you in the head. And with my strength, I could break your face."
Alessandro: I remember. You've already kicked me in the face once before!

Petra cried out cheerfully, "Now let's go home and have sex!"
Alessandro: Ewww...let's get that gaping chest wound patched up first.
Others have said it but that's a hilarious closer...indeed for the whole arc. Great stuff, and it has me wondering where you'll steer the story next.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sun 12 Jun 2011 - 8:32

Yeah, more comments! cheers
First off, Alfisti...

I guess being a regular probably helps you get short-notice reservations as well.
Oh, no doubt. Wink
I doubt any cyborg enjoys being seperated from her firearm or some sort
of weapon. Though they are well capable of taking care of themselves
against most regular humans, I imagine the carriage of some sort of
weapon is an indicator of being fullly ready... if that makes sense.
It makes perfect sense. Their names and their sidearms are the first two things each cyborg receives upon awakening. It stands to reason that they would connect having their weapon with them as strongly symbolic of being "complete".
Loved this little passage, the reasoning as to why Petra doesn't like unnecessary killing...
I'm actually rather pleased with myself in respect to this passage. At first I was planning on having her express some sense of pity and remorse over the necessity of killing innocents, but then I remembered that part of the whole dynamic of the cyborgs is their complete lack of empathy towards their victims. So after some re-thinking, I came up with this. It worked out rather well, I'd say.
Either that or she'll crack a rib.
I would hope that she'd be able to exercise a bit more restraint than that! Although that would make for a rather awkwardly amusing emergency trip to the agency hospital: Sandro with a cracked rib, trying to explain how it happened without letting on that they're sleeping together (although that might be a moot point after this chapter), with Petra busy puking all over the place from having injured her handler.
I'll admit, I prefer the Nina Simone version of the song though over the Muse.
Eh...I can respect her version of it for (technically) being the original, but I just find Muse's cover so drastically superior in every single way as to make it a no-contest in my mind. But to each his own.
I've got to admit I'd always pictured the emergency kit dose of the
conditioning drug as coming in pre-measured doses... like a Diabetic's
insulin pen. Just on the thought that any cyborg at the point of needing
a dose of straight conditioning is likely to not to be in a condition
to be able to extract and measure her own doses.
On further reflection, I admit that you bring up a very valid point. Petra's too drunk to even see straight at this point, so it is a little unrealistic for her to be measuring out precise quantities of medication on her own, on the spot. Combined with Voodoo's comments above on the same subject, it makes more sense to have the emergency kit consist of an auto-injector, supplied with a number of pre-measured cartridges that the girls can then just load up as they need them.
Obviously some parts of the SWA operate less on rumour than other parts do.
Well, the SWA might not be an organization that puts too much emphasis on those niggling details such as "evidence", "proof-of-guilt" and all that other silly legal bureaucratic nonsense, but having data in hand to flash around to other agencies does tend to speed things up at times. Plus, as I explain in the re-worked version of ch8, some of the data Yurik has is valuable in its own right and Jean wants it.
You realise that, in the manga, there are some incredibly expensive bits of designer furniture in Sandro's apartment right?
Uh...really? Oh...okay. I definitely missed that one then. What's the chapter reference on that? Because the only memory I have of Sandro's apartment is it being jam-packed full of...stuff.
Surely "Antonio" would recognise her from the trattoria... Or is he just not letting on?
His involvement gets explained in the next chapter, but suffice to say, his attention was more-or-less focused solely on Yurik.
"bite"?
... ...*sigh*... ...
That is all I have to say on this subject.
Humorous way to end the chapter... but also with possibly far-reaching
and dire consequences. I'll be interested to see if you take that
drunken comment further.
Well, at the very least it gives Jean the proof he's been looking for. In all honesty I never meant that line to be anything more than a humourous aside to end the chapter with, but I might be able to work something out to expand upon it in a later chapter. Gives me something to think about, at least.

And now on the Voodoo's comments...

Maybe you've mentioned this already but has Petrushka dyed her hair or is she wearing a wig?
Uh...I did make mention to the fact that she's wearing a wig. However, I see where you're going with this question: a wig has the potential of becoming dislodged, so I think it would be more plausible and tactically sound that her hair instead be dyed.
This gave me a mental image of Rico trying on one of the older girls' high heel shoes and trying to walk in them.
Rico: (after falling half a dozen times) Why do we do this again? Nobody expects boys to walk in these silly things.
Petra: Ya know, you've got a really good point.
Kara: Because they make our legs and ass look amazing, that's why.
Rico: Why would that be important?
Kara: Uh...you'll understand when you're older.
Rico: But I've been with the Agency for seven years; I'm technically older than you are, Kara.
Kara: Just...never mind Rico. Here's a penny.
Rico: Oooh...it's so shiny!
Beaming slime? Well, it is a spa...who knows what women set on their faces behind closed doors...
... ...*sigh*... ...
That is all I have to say on this subject.
Awww, no Series Two shower-room "experimenting"?
Uh...*ahem*...I think I'll leave that kind of exploratory exposition to Danjo.
To be perfectly honest though, if I ever were to...uh...venture into that kind of...territory...then Lucy would probably be the most likely of my characters to be up for that kind of experimentation. I don't know why, but for some reason she seems to be most likely candidate to swing that way.
It was 9pm when this chapter began...adding up all the time I think it'll be dawn before this "mission" is over!
Oh...shit, do I actually make mention of when all of this starts? Damn, in my head I had the dinner pegged at starting around 6:30 - 7:00, which would put their arrival at the spa around 8:30 - 9 o'clock.
I see where you're going with this, but I understood in the first sentence...it's a bit over-explained I fear.
Do you think it would work better if I just cut out that whole second paragraph? Have it end up like so...

Petra's teasing smile froze on her face at Yurik's words. It felt as if something deep and powerful was churning inside of her. Memories stirred from within the shadowy recesses of her mind. Something about...dancing; why did that sound familiar? Why did the notion of dancing seem so important to her?

As the stirred memories fell away, unclaimed and slipped back beneath the buried surface of her subconscious, Petra gave herself a vigorous mental shake and snapped back to awareness. Yurik was still watching her expectantly, awaiting her answer. Her beaming smile lit up the whole interior of the car and she replied in delighted surprise. "Why yes, actually, I love to dance."
Cool idea, especially the effect it has on her. I dare say a pressurized
injector pen might be a little easier to use under the circumstances
though.
Thoughts on this covered above.
Once this mission is done Petrushka is not going to want to look at
alcohol. Sure the conditioning boost cleared up her drunken stupor but
all that booze is still going to have to leave the body. Wonder what a
cyborg hangover is like?
Whatever it's like, I'm sure it involves agency staff confiscating all weaponry prior to the cyborg's awakening for obvious public health and safety reasons. Razz
I'm just not sure Yurik would consider it much more than a room to sleep and fuck in.
Well, my reasoning here is more a security issue on Yurik's end. All of his vital business data is on that laptop, so he would probably want to keep where he can watch over it directly.
There's a fireplace here, that might have been dramatic.
True, but the chapter was getting obscenely long by this point and adding in another scene that would have been relatively heavy in symbolism wasn't something I was overly interested in.
This I found confusing though. I love the innocuous detail of the old
lady coming back to bite them but the attackers were cops? They never
identified themselves as such. Crooked cops who Yurik had crossed in a
deal perhaps?
Oh...no; actually, Amadeo's comment is meant as an explanation for why they were all so late responding to Petra when, by all rights, they should have been practically waiting outside Yurik's door, ready to kick it in and storm the place as soon as she spoke up. It freed up the timeline to allow for the unexpected ambush and impromptu battle. The trios' presence is explained in the next chapter.
Great attitude from her at the end. I'm emotionally wrecked, physically damaged and bone tired...to hell with the consequences, I'm getting wasted.
Yup, that about sums up her frame of mind.
Alessandro: I remember. You've already kicked me in the face once before!
Petra: Hey, in my defense, I had just woken up and I thought you were some kind of pervert trying to rape me! I mean honestly Sandro, you could have been a bit more subtle about checking me out, rather than just standing there ogling my tits, you know?
Sandro: I couldn't help it, my dear. I was rendered paralyzed by the flawless perfection of your feminine beauty.
Petra: ...Nice try, Cassa Nova.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Sun 12 Jun 2011 - 9:02

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
I'll admit, I prefer the Nina Simone version of the song though over the Muse.
Eh...I can respect her version of it for (technically) being the original, but I just find Muse's cover so drastically superior in every single way as to make it a no-contest in my mind. But to each his own.
I think I probably prefer Nina's version simply because it's more of that 1960's era... the golden era of spy-fi. Don't get me wrong, I like the Muse version as well, but in the same way that I enjoyed the Daniel Craig version of Casino Royale: it's a good modernization. However in the same way that Casino Royale lacked the feel, look and atmosphere of 1960s James Bond, so does the Muse version of "Feeling Good"... for me at least. That's not to say that the old version is better for that, but I still prefer the 60s flavour. It's not mistake that Monty (and to a lesser extent, Jethro) are throwbacks to that particular era.

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
You realise that, in the manga, there are some incredibly expensive bits of designer furniture in Sandro's apartment right?
Uh...really? Oh...okay. I definitely missed that one then. What's the chapter reference on that? Because the only memory I have of Sandro's apartment is it being jam-packed full of...stuff.
Yeah, chapter 30, when he's coming back to his apartment with the book on ballet. The two I picked are the couch that he's using to stack books on is a Le Corbusier LC2 2-seater which will run you about US$6600 for a real one in the traditional leather. The floor standing lamp he's using to read by is a Tolmeo floor stander and is a bit more resonable at $670. Unfortunately I can't get a good look at his desk chair. The wine safe near his door can't be cheap either.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sun 12 Jun 2011 - 10:16

I think I probably prefer Nina's version simply because it's more of
that 1960's era... the golden era of spy-fi. Don't get me wrong, I like
the Muse version as well, but in the same way that I enjoyed the Daniel
Craig version of Casino Royale: it's a good modernization. However in the same way that Casino Royale lacked the feel, look and atmosphere of 1960s James Bond, so does the Muse version of "Feeling Good"... for me at least.
Fair enough.
Yeah, chapter 30, when he's
coming back to his apartment with the book on ballet. The two I picked
are the couch that he's using to stack books on is a Le Corbusier LC2
2-seater which will run you about US$6600
for a real one in the traditional leather. The floor standing lamp he's
using to read by is a Tolmeo floor stander and is a bit more resonable
at $670. Unfortunately I can't get a good look at his desk chair. The wine safe near his door can't be cheap either.
Ah yes, I see. However, do you think that those pieces are reflective of Sandro's own personal taste, or are they like most of everything else in his apartment and just leftovers from the various undercover jobs he's worked? I mean, if the design style of the sofa were something he was personally interested in, he would use it as something besides just more storage space to put his books and manuals on. The lamp might be expensive, but its design style is purely utilitarian, so that fits with what I mentioned. The wine rack can easily be explained as being from a job: one where he needed to be well versed in expensive wines. So he buys a cooler and suitable wines to familiarize himself with them while at home. And to me, his desk chair just looks like a normal office desk chair.

Either way, the argument can be made that, even if he does own expensive furniture, Sandro's personal taste leans more to the ultra-modern, with it's cold clean lines and lack of fancy embellishments that emphasize function over form.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Sun 12 Jun 2011 - 11:55

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Ah yes, I see. However, do you think that those pieces are reflective of Sandro's own personal taste, or are they like most of everything else in his apartment and just leftovers from the various undercover jobs he's worked? I mean, if the design style of the sofa were something he was personally interested in, he would use it as something besides just more storage space to put his books and manuals on. The lamp might be expensive, but its design style is purely utilitarian, so that fits with what I mentioned. The wine rack can easily be explained as being from a job: one where he needed to be well versed in expensive wines. So he buys a cooler and suitable wines to familiarize himself with them while at home. And to me, his desk chair just looks like a normal office desk chair.
Yeah, I can pay that... Sandro does seem to be something of a hoarder. That said, despite Le Corbusier's assertion that he was out to design the ultimate "machine for sitting", the LC2 is pretty much useless for anything but looking at... it's really uncomfortable, so storing books on it is probably the best use to put it to. Razz With that in mind it would seem strange to hold onto it, considering how much space it uses up and its value.... a set of shelves would be more useful.

But, maybe he has some sort of sentimental reason... lets not go there.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sun 12 Jun 2011 - 17:50

But, maybe he has some sort of sentimental reason... lets not go there.
No returning "used" merchandise, eh? I see where you're going with this. Razz
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Thu 30 Jun 2011 - 1:59

Okay, Chapter 12 is now live. One word of warning however: this chapter contains depictions of violent abuse against children. As in the last chapter, the warning probably isn't needed, but better safe than sorry. You have thusly been warned.

Chapter 12: Screams of the Innocent

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Thu 30 Jun 2011 - 2:29

Uncomfortably excellent. Smile

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Thu 30 Jun 2011 - 5:37

Intense and surprisingly merciless...I particularly enjoyed the cutaways where Nina leaves the interrogation to go about her everyday life.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by MP5 on Fri 1 Jul 2011 - 1:10

All I can say is... Wow.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Fri 1 Jul 2011 - 4:00

Another excellent bit of writing mate... perfectly timed also to fill the train ride from Brisbane Airport into town Very Happy

More thoughts to come at a later date, but I must say it was interesting to see Nina work... fits in neatly with the SWA's fairly amoral position, sometimes it runs a risk of being lost in the tea-parties, teddybears and general cyborg shinannigans.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ElfenMagix on Fri 1 Jul 2011 - 15:43

Great piece of work, ChaosKin640. Liked it a lot.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Sat 23 Jul 2011 - 9:31

Ok, as promised... more thoughts on ch12

@ChaosKin640 wrote:They were both skilled field agents, possessing their fair share of
experience in this kind of work. But neither of them had the level of
subtlety nor the finesse that Nina herself had; something that she
prided herself in.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I always like the reminders that the SWA/Public safety aren't bright-white and shiny good-guys. The allusion here that this is something that they do on a resonably regular basis makes a good opener and sets the mood of the whole chapter.

Nina knew from past experimentation
Sinister choice of words there... letting the reader know that she does this sort of thing without any greater goal in mind other than her own curiosity and finding ways to hurt people more effectively.

let he work?
he? her?

God how she hated being forced to deal with incompetents and rank
amateurs who would be better left to menial labour; like typing up
reports or killing people
Because killing people is just so... passé. It's a nice offhand jab at the other cyborgs though and again helps us see Nina's relationship to and opinions of them. Monty, though she may take umbrage to the report writing bit, could relate somewhat on the latter: simply off'ing everyone in the room is such a poorly thought out manner of going about things.

"Ah, the melting clock guy," Costante said
Jethro: yes, "the melting clock guy".

"Signor Rosito didn't take his wife's death too well. He quit his job,
sold his house and spent every Euro he had on private investigators,
tracking down the man responsible."
Ah, so all is revealed (though I'll be honest: part of me is still waiting for another shoe to drop)... some poor mook caught up in the middle and turning up at just the wrong time for Petra.

Seeing where she was headed, one of the men moved as if to bar her way
and she snarled at him venomously. The other man cast a quick glance
over her shoulder and Costante must have given some small sign of
assent, because he immediately turned to his partner and waved him back.
Again another interesting insight into Nina's relationship with the rest of the SWA... despite what she was saying before about how people's perception of her gives her power over them, she's still a cyborg and the guards are still looking to her handler for final confirmation.

"Are you sure you're ready for this?" Costante whispered softly, coming
up behind her and placing a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "You've
never done anything like this before."
As in acting the "good-guy"?

"And now you will send for your thugs to again try beating it out of me," Balašev rasped, sinking back down into his pillow.
And he's called her on it... nice.

"What are we doing down here?" he asked warily, unable to keep a nervous
quaver from entering into his voice, revealing his nervousness.
That's a whole lot of nervous all in one sentence.

"U…uncle Yurik? Help me, please; I'm scared! Ow!"
I'll admit at first I was trying to figure out which cyborg this was... strung up as a ruse. How incredibly naive of me.

Within the first few minutes, plans began to form as Balašev gave up
names, locations, contact details, trade routes, everything they needed
to track down his suppliers and customers.
Monty: Someone had better be sending me copies of all of those.

"Ferro, get me a secured phone line; I need to get in contact with Jacob."
Great hook for the next chapter... I'll be interested to see how that pans out given Jacob's umm, current predicament.

Overall, as I said before, another excellent chapter mate. Well written and a great insight to both the darker SWA and Barone fratello... however, and please don't take this the wrong way: I'd appreciated it if you'll excuse me if I don't have a lot of urge to go back and read it for a third time.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sun 24 Jul 2011 - 7:30

The allusion here that this is something that they do on a resonably
regular basis makes a good opener and sets the mood of the whole
chapter.
It's also in-line with what we've seen in canon. We know that the SWA is not above back-alley interrogations and we know that some handlers at least are not above using their cyborgs as the instruments of those interrogations.
Sinister choice of words there... letting the reader know that she does
this sort of thing without any greater goal in mind other than her own
curiosity and finding ways to hurt people more effectively.
You nailed the reasoning behind the choice right on the head there, Alfisti. That's precisely the reasoning I was going for.
he? her?
Fixed.
It's a nice offhand jab at the other cyborgs though and again helps us see Nina's relationship to and opinions of them.
Well, knowledge is a resource far more valuable and powerful that simple martial might and that is what Nina specializes in: the extraction of information. In her mind, that fact does set her above the other girls in importance.
Monty...may take umbrage to the report writing bit...
Nina: Oh, so she's basically a 150,000,000 Euro secretary then? How cute. Well for that price then, I sincerely hope Signor Blacker at least got the doctors to throw in the "After-Hours Pleasure" software package for no extra charge.
simply off'ing everyone in the room is such a poorly thought out manner of going about things.
"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."
- Isaac Asimov
Jethro: yes, "the melting clock guy".
Hehe; yeah, I can see how Jethro, as a quasi-reformed art thief, might take offense at such a low-brow descriptive reference. To set his mind somewhat at ease however, Costante is educated in classical arts. He did study music at one of Italy's major conservatories before joining Public Safety, after all.
despite what she was saying before about how people's perception of her
gives her power over them, she's still a cyborg and the guards are still
looking to her handler for final confirmation.
And GOD how galling that must be for her! Razz
Also of note, there is a generous amount of personal delusion at play in Nina's presumptions about how the majority of the agency staff regard her. I'm working off of the idea that, despite how long the cyborg program has been around by this point, a lot of people in Sections 1 & 2 are still somewhat unnerved and creeped out by the girls. Nina, in her self-serving arrogance, sees these reactions and builds it up into something that isn't entirely accurate.
As in acting the "good-guy"?
Yep, pretty much.
And he's called her on it... nice.
Well, the man's not a complete idiot.
That's a whole lot of nervous all in one sentence.
Darn it. I'm usually better at picking up on those kinds of repetitions. Fixed.
Monty: Someone had better be sending me copies of all of those.
Your copies are in the mail.
Nina: Oh, I'm not even going to bother; that one is just too easy.
don't take this the wrong way: I'd appreciated it if you'll excuse me if
I don't have a lot of urge to go back and read it for a third time.
None taken, Alfisti; you are excused. The whole point of the chapter, after all (aside from tying up loose ends so I can finally get back to Jacob & Melanie), was to leave readers feeling uncomfortable and slightly disturbed. But nevertheless, I am glad you enjoyed it.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Sun 24 Jul 2011 - 7:54

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
Monty...may take umbrage to the report writing bit...
Nina: Oh, so she's basically a 150,000,000 Euro secretary then? How cute. Well for that price then, I sincerely hope Signor Blacker at least got the doctors to throw in the "After-Hours Pleasure" software package for no extra charge.
Monty: *deadpan* Sadly no, they only came up with that one after your antics... you know, for cyborgs they couldn't find anything more productive to do with.

Also of note, there is a generous amount of personal delusion at play in Nina's presumptions about how the majority of the agency staff regard her. I'm working off of the idea that, despite how long the cyborg program has been around by this point, a lot of people in Sections 1 & 2 are still somewhat unnerved and creeped out by the girls. Nina, in her self-serving arrogance, sees these reactions and builds it up into something that isn't entirely accurate.
Somehow I get the feeling that killer tots and teenagers wandering around is probably something that very few get used to... except for the overly calloused and those that work with the cyborgs on a daily basis.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Fri 5 Aug 2011 - 20:38

Chapter 13: Memories of Blood is now live. At long, long, loooong last we see the continuing adventures of Melanie and Jacob as they journey through Stelvio National Park in pursuit of the elusive GIS commandos.

Find it here.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Fri 5 Aug 2011 - 21:29


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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Sat 6 Aug 2011 - 4:30

I'm starting to notice a correlation here: I go to Brisbane, you relase a chapter...

...I may have to start going to Brisbane more often (because that would be just such a chore and all).

Excellent work mate. As always I love seeing J+M get a mention, and cool to start seeing their former relationship with Jacob getting touched on.


More thoughts to come.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Mon 8 Aug 2011 - 13:42

Chapter 13: Memories of Blood
After the grim intensity of the last few chapters this one feels almost like a breather (at least the first part).

I got a real laugh out of the "bear" incident, half expecting a marmot or hare to hop out onto the trail.
"I'm actually out here with my dad," she began smoothly, her voice hitching ever-so-slightly at the idea of calling Jacob her father.
That Melanie chose that instead of "brother" or "partner" provides an interesting clue into how she sees the relationship evolving. Perhaps using the word helped trigger her flashback to Quinn's youth as well.

The second half (Jacob in Kandahar) provides a great deal of suspense & action (as well as an opportunity for you to write a battle scene, which you obviously enjoy doing). It seems to "cut out" at an odd point though...is this something you're planning on exploring in greater depth later?

Whatever course you take I look forward to the next installment.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Fri 26 Aug 2011 - 8:54

Ok, as previously promised... further thoughts:

Head pounding with the force of a thousand drums, Melanie groaned
weakly. Pain and nausea wracked her body with equal intensity as her
eyes slowly fluttered open, revealing a pale blue sky laced with wispy
clouds. She had been laid out on her back, with what felt like a rolled
up jacket placed under her head for cushioning. The branches of several
towering coniferous trees cut across her vision, their tight clusters of
deep green needles waving in the stiff, ever-present breeze...
Nice "coming around" sequence for the start of the chapter. You really do get the sense of each of Melanie's senses kicking in as she's slowly able to take stock of her situation.

"You did," Jacob grunted sourly. "And you're damned lucky I managed to grab you and haul your ass back to safety.
I note Jacob leaves her little breakdown afterwards which, if I remember correctly, was the thing which actually knocked her out... umm... out. An urge to protect his cyborg from that, or a need to mull over it before deciding what to do about it... or a little of both?

"Actually, I'm probably just as much to blame as you are. I should never
have allowed you to walk out onto that ridge in the first place."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is damn-near the first time Jacob has openly questioned his own actions infront of Melanie?

The indelible and unavoidable laws of Murphy
Monty: Really, really don't like that bloke.

Another half-kilometre on, Melanie pulled up short, ears straining, all
of her senses suddenly on the alert. There was a faint rustling coming
from further up the trail, the sounds of leaves crunching, twigs
snapping and branches clacking together as they swung back and forth
with a force that was contrary to the gentle breeze filtering through
the forest.
At first I thought this may have been the GIS commandos come back to find the fratello... either of their own accord or on orders from perhaps Jean, since at the end of last chapter he apparently had somewhere he wanted to send them.

...which makes me suddenly wonder about those hikers.

This was the first time Melanie had ever been away from the comfort and safety of the agency's closed compound environment.
I imagine the first time out is both exciting and scary to any cyborg, in varying ratios.

she must be getting close to her eighty-thousand kilometre tune-up by now."
Trust Allison to put it in automotive terms Razz

It wasn't until after she had finished talking that the full import of
what she had just said struck her. She froze, eyes widening slightly in
alarm. Telling a bunch of strangers randomly met that Jacob was her
father was one thing, but to tell him to his face that she had referred
to him as such was quite another! What if he took offense to her calling
him dad?
I'll admit my first thought was that she was scared Jacob had used a different story, blown their cover and Melanie was blaming it on herself. That her first concern is about Jacob's response to her calling him her "father" certainly speaks volumes of where he head is and where her concers lie.

Melanie helped Jacob erect the small, dome-shaped three-man tent
Yeah, they'd definately want a three-man at least... I'm firmly of the opinion that the people who work out how many people a tent can hold are calculating on midgets.

Tearing open the steaming pouch in his hands, Jacob emptied its contents
onto his plate. The strong spices of the tarragon chicken assailed his
nose and he quickly dug into the meal.
Bleh, extra washing up... eating out of the packet is where it's at Razz

But, just like his memories of Sophia, the three weeks he had spent in
that filthy hole wasn't a time he eagerly looked back on.
Monty: Trust me, it was no cakewalk from this side either sunshine.

Now, instead of a jealous cyborg, he had a panicky, suddenly over-protective one.
If Melanie ever does meet Monty I'll be interested to see what her reaction to her after this is... still lingering jealousy perhaps... grattiude? *shrugs*

"Never apologize for doing your job, Corporal," Jacob barked on instinct.
I'm not sure it would make Melanie feel any better to know that he's like that with everyone.

"So then what happened?" Melanie asked eagerly, her amber eyes shining
with a rapt awe that had her leaning forward slightly. Her plate was
clutched tightly in both hands, the remains of her dessert completely
forgotten.
Excellent battle sequence as usual mate... though I'm going to have to disagree with Voodoo here: I think it was quite a good place to wrap things up. The high-action part of its over, at least for Jacob... I think if you tried to run it longer, at least at this moment, it would risk starting to drag as the reader comes down off the adrenalin high.

So, after explaining to them how my decision to help the convoy ended up
saving the lives of a GIS team that was a part of the troop convoy,
they agreed to make a detour from their mission to pull me out.
Grudginly I'm sure on the part of at least half of the concerned party...

"Did they ever catch the mole?" Melanie asked anxiously. A strange
expression settled over her face, the look of a slow, smouldering anger
beginning to build up deep beneath the surface. The idea of a spy having
given information to terrorists, information that had very nearly
gotten Jacob killed, infuriated her.
An interesting parralell of course with the current potential situation inside the SWA... which again almost got Jacob killed Razz


Another excellent chapter mate. Looking forward to the next.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Fri 26 Aug 2011 - 10:33

That Melanie chose that instead of "brother" or "partner" provides an interesting clue into how she sees the relationship evolving.
It was more of a quick strategic decision on her part. Saying that she's out hiking with her father was the most realistically believable story in her opinion. Calling him her brother might have invited more questions about him, opening up more possibilities for her to mess something up. And simply calling Jacob her "partner" would likely have come off as rather odd.
It seems to "cut out" at an odd point though
As Alfisti mentioned, I ended the flashback there because it was the natural end for it. Jacob's battle was over and with the last look passing between him and the GIS commando, there was the mutually accepted truth that Jacob needed to be left behind for the good of everyone else. That parting of ways was an end not only to Jacob's fight on that day, but ultimately of his entire old life. I could have dragged it on for another few paragraphs, describing how exactly he ended up being taken hostage(he gets cracked in the head with the butt end of an AK47 and knocked out, by the way), but it wasn't really necessary.
I note Jacob leaves her little breakdown afterwards which, if I remember
correctly, was the thing which actually knocked her out... umm... out.
An urge to protect his cyborg from that, or a need to mull over it
before deciding what to do about it... or a little of both?
The former. If she doesn't remember having almost crushed his ribcage, then there's no point in his bringing it up and reminding her of it. Jacob may be a jaded, ill-tempered jackass, but he's not new to the cyborg handler game. He does still remember how to handle the more delicate aspect of the cyborg-handler relationship. It's just a matter of whether he cares enough to utilize that knowledge. In this case, reminding her serves no purpose, other than to potentially upset her again and delay them even further.
...which makes me suddenly wonder about those hikers.
... ...
Trust Allison to put it in automotive terms Razz
That and it seems to be the generally accepted metaphor used around here as well.
Yeah, they'd definately want a three-man at least... I'm firmly of the
opinion that the people who work out how many people a tent can hold are
calculating on midgets.
Well, I know for a fact that the sizing classifications don't take your backpacks and other gear into account, so that where most of the room is lost. When I was in Scouts, the general rule of thumb was that the tent should be for one person more than who will actually be sleeping in it. I.E. 3-man for 2 people, 4-man for 3, etc.
Bleh, extra washing up... eating out of the packet is where it's at Razz
True, but some of those ration packs only become edible when out of the pouch. Namely, the mac-and-cheese. That stuff is absolutely vile eaten straight from the packet, but on a plate, it actually becomes palatable.
If Melanie ever does meet Monty I'll be interested to see what her
reaction to her after this is... still lingering jealousy perhaps...
grattiude?
That would depend entirely on how much time I allow to pass before said meeting occurs. Most likely, by the time it happens, Melanie and Jacob's relationship will have stabilized and she would be clear-headed and secure enough in her partnership with Jacob to appreciate what Monty did for him and be grateful for it.
Grudginly I'm sure on the part of at least half of the concerned party...
I get the feeling that Monty does everything grudgingly. Unless it entails doing paperwork in a hotel room next to Jethro, or in the passenger seat of the Audi and again next to Jethro.

Thanks for the comments everyone, always appreciated. I won't make any estimates on when the next chapter will be finished as, to be perfectly honest, I've gotten a bit lazy and haven't been working on it as diligently as I should be.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Fri 26 Aug 2011 - 11:02

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
Trust Allison to put it in automotive terms Razz
That and it seems to be the generally accepted metaphor used around here as well.
Yeah, on that front: it probably bears remembering that you're in a forum full of rev-heads as well Wink

@ChaosKin640 wrote:
Bleh, extra washing up... eating out of the packet is where it's at Razz
True, but some of those ration packs only become edible when out of the pouch. Namely, the mac-and-cheese. That stuff is absolutely vile eaten straight from the packet, but on a plate, it actually becomes palatable.
Eh, your rations are obviously different to ours. The general rule of thumb with the ADF ration packs we used in cadets were A) Get the C-Rats... they were the best of what was available. Which meant if you were an NCO you went through the ration supplied before anyone else got there and took all the C-Rats out. and B) Rations taste best cold, fill you up more hot and are best not looked at (actually the C-Rat main meal, some sort of misc-meat stew, was bloody delicious cold).

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sat 15 Oct 2011 - 7:04

Okay, as promised, I finally have the next chapter finished, proof-read, beta-read and posted. Thus, you can find it here

P.S. Oh yes, and for the relevant passage (you'll know which one) I offer this statement:
Legal Disclaimer: The thoughts and opinions expressed by the characters contained herein do not reflect the thoughts and opinions of the author. Thank you.
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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 15 Oct 2011 - 12:47

@ChaosKin640 wrote:Oh yes, and for the relevant passage (you'll know which one) I offer this statement:
Legal Disclaimer: The thoughts and opinions expressed by the characters contained herein do not reflect the thoughts and opinions of the author. Thank you.

Frankly, I loved it. The handlers all come from diverse backgrounds so it makes perfect sense they would not all consider each other "beloved brothers in arms".

Robert Frazer originally considered having Avise somewhat antagonistic towards Michele because of his wealth and the idea that he joined the team because of his long friendship with the PM as opposed to earning it on merit as a field operative.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by ElfenMagix on Sat 15 Oct 2011 - 22:42

Well done.
Spoiler:
For the same reason, Fernando would like to see Michele and Kara live in a low income housing project with only $1000/mo to live on and no access to friends, family or opportunities to get more money and cheat though Kara working at the local Mikey Dee's, Booger King or that slut Wendys would be her only option to add to their ordeal. Until then he respect them for what they can do and not the money they have.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Sun 16 Oct 2011 - 1:23

Nice mate, always fun to watch someone get the rant on Very Happy

More thoughts to come.

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Professor Voodoo on Sun 16 Oct 2011 - 4:25

Chapter 14: A Plan Unfolds
Many were the nights he had spent silently stroking Sophia's hair as she trembled and wept, caught in the throes of the omnipresent nightmares that all of the cyborgs suffered.
The fact that Jacob is now seeing Melanie in relation to Sophia (even if he backtracks in the next paragraph) is a big jump for him.
well, they said that every girl should have at least one set of nice, fancy lingerie to help make them feel pretty."
Elio: I do hope you're limiting these conversations to the older girls. I absolutely do not need Marisa trying to convince me she needs €300 lingerie to help her "feel pretty".
But (Kara) had absolutely zero sense when it came to the value of money.
Handler swap scenarios run through my mind. I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd love to see Kara spend a whole week under the command of one of the "cheapskate" handlers. In exchange Melanie or perhaps tremec's Helen could spend a week with Pagani.
Michele is just as bad as she is. I remember one time when Marisa accidentally set his Lamborghini on fire, completely destroying it, and he just shrugged it off like it was no big deal and bought another one."
Marisa: Aww man...I thought that incident was limited to the forum. Now that it's part of somebody's story it's "Official"!
for Michele to act as if he had just knocked over a glass of water
Michele: To be fair...Doc Bianchi did hook me up with some very nice tranquilizers, which may have influenced my mood.
Jacob and Lupa, a fellow handler, had had a difference of opinion on the planning of a joint mission. While out on the firing range one day, they had gotten into a rather heated argument on the subject, close enough for their cyborgs to overhear. The next day, and for nearly a week afterwards, Sophia and Gattonero had been cold death towards one another.
This is a very believable observation. I dare say even Henrietta & Rico would go to war with each-other if they saw their respective fratelli fighting.
Melanie, having picked up the sounds several minutes earlier, had been hesitant to approach, worried that it might be another group of hikers and not wanting any more awkward encounters. But upon seeing Jacob's eagerness, she must have realized suddenly what the voices meant and who they must belong to, as she also quickened her step to keep pace.
That's a clever passage. Melanie's initial instinct was correct, but picking up on Jacob's body language causes her to alter her reaction. A potential bad habit forming?
She hadn't known quite what to expect from the small bundles Angelo had slipped into the fire at first, feeling both curious and apprehensive about the strange name.
Making her the first person in the history of the SWA to be eating a foiled wrapped "hobo stew" while wearing €300 underwear.
"Next time, we'll see about planning something closer to your agency headquarters," Raphael said thoughtfully.
When I read this line I thought he was suggesting an urban hunt through Rome...
"I got them during the Power Plant battle at New Turin."
Interesting twist on canon...I take it from their appearance earlier in the story that Henrietta & the other Gen 2's are also survivors in your timeline.
"I would have though every one of you girls would know all about New Turin."

Melanie squirmed slightly in embarrassment, feeling as if she had been caught not having finished an important homework assignment.
With all she's been through one can hardly blame Melanie for not reviewing all the old mission reports. I think that's probably something the girls are encouraged to do, but not as a formal requirement. That provides the author maximum flexibility when deciding how much his cyborg knows about the Agency's past.
"Protect me from what?" Jacob scoffed with a harsh, barking laugh. "From tripping over a root and falling on my ass?
In addition, Melanie isn't up to full-strength as a combat cyborg either...Jacob might actually be safer on his own.
"Speaking of which, if these little training exercises become a regular routine for us, we're going to need to come up with a nickname for you, too."
This whole scene is an interaction that I'd love to see more of. A cyborg rarely gets the chance to converse with a non-Agency adult without her handler present & the fact that this GIS commando is closer to her age than Jacob's just adds another layer of complexity to the conversation as Melanie wonders how formal or casual she should be with this man.
Looks like the pace is about to pick up as various plot-lines begin to converge. Looking forward to the next installment!

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Re: Crossroads of Destiny

Post by Alfisti on Sat 22 Oct 2011 - 1:13

So, as promised.... extended thoughts:

Well that's just fucking perfect, Jacob growled silently to himself, cursing his own self-destructive stupidity. Waking up with a hang-over is just what I need.
Ugh, camping hangover... so not a fan. That said, these first few paragraphs seem to indicate that Jacob is becoming more aware, or at least more willing to admit to, his problem.

tightly cocooned in her sleeping back.
Sleeping back?

"You know damned well what I mean; where did you get…get…those?" he
demanded, feeling suddenly awkward and flustered as he struggled against
the rising tide of heat suffusing his face. He flung out one hand as he
talked, waving haphazardly towards her, indicating the lace-trimmed red
and gold silk bra that Melanie had on.
Hot and flustered because of having to talk about undergarments... or because there's only one reason she could possibly have decided to wear lace whilst hiking in the mountains.

He should have been angry; he should have been upset.
I dunno... I've sometimes wondered if Michele's even capable of getting mad.

And for Michele to act as if he had just knocked over a glass of water
is not only an insult to the car itself, but a spit in the face of every
person who has grown up idolizing everything that those cars represent.
And it pisses me off.
I take it Jacob would quite like to own a supercar?

Breakfast was a simple affair of oatmeal, small square loaves of
ration-pack bread that, while still soft, tasted as though they had been
baked and packages at some point just prior to the outbreak of the
Vietnam War
Well that certainly sounds better than the cereal bars that came in ours... which were generally regarded as being included as spare armour plate.

This was, after all, her very first training exercise on
wilderness tracking. This was precisely the time when she should be
making mistakes, rather than when their lives might be on the line.
Monty: (most of whom's training could be classified as "on the job") Well, that's certianly nice for some then isn't it?

"No, you were not," Luciano stated flatly, earning reproving looks from
the other three men that he pointedly ignored. "Neither of you were
paying attention to where you were going; so I guess our little detour
ended up teaching you two valuable lessons. There's something to be said
for that."
One of the downsides (upsides?) of being the senior man: sometimes you have to make sure the lesson is remembered.

That said, I get the impression he's not just referring to Melanie here.

"I got them during the Power Plant battle at New Turin."
Nice to know where the story is fitting in with canon... or not as the case may be (lets see where Yu goes), rather than, you know: avoiding the subject

"That sounds awfully convenient Jacob," Luciano said slowly, his face
taking on a pensive, sceptical expression. "Stelvio is the largest park
in the country and you just happen to run across the very four people
we end up getting ordered to hunt down and arrest?""I couldn't
believe it when I realized who Jean was talking about either," Jacob
conceded with a slow, understanding nod. "But as far as I'm concerned,
it's about damned time our enemies found out what it feels like to get
fucked around by Murphy's Law."
Got a chuckle out of this... don't you just hate it when things start sounding too convenient in your own stories Razz
They had set a hard pace in an effort to cut down the lead that the
couriers had on them; a pace that she could tell Jacob was having
trouble maintaining.
I start to wonder if this training exercise might do Jacob as much good in terms of getting him back in the saddle (so to speak) as it will Melanie's training and experience.
You're doing a really good job of having Jacob and Melanie's relationship change incrementally. Enjoying it mate, looking forward to the next.

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