A Sword and a Scar

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A Sword and a Scar

Post by theprodigalson on Wed 1 Dec 2010 - 23:35

This is the first part of my continuing fanfiction featuring Nikias and Ana. I've come to find my writing is intolerably slow so I'm releasing in smaller parts to keep myself motivated. I hope you don't mind.

I also recognize that my writing style is pretty fledgling, which is why I wanted to post here before putting anything on ff.net. On that note, criticisms and comments are greatly appreciated.

Chapter 1: Resurrection

Spoiler:
A girl opened her eyes. She lay in a bed in a tiny, well lit room. No windows. A bedside table topped by a half-full glass of water. A small chair next to her bed. A long mirror on one wall. These were all that existed to fill the void. In the back of her mind she thought it was strange that she felt no fear, or even a trace of confusion. She had a sense that there was more to the world than this, but for the moment this sterile room was her entire universe.

Several minutes passed. An itch formed in the back of her mind: something was supposed to happen and it didn’t. The itch became a nervous feeling that gnawed at her gut. She sat up to take her mind off the feeling and found her whole body felt like a balloon when she moved. She sat in an upright position and flexed her hands for awhile, slowly getting used to the feeling of being too large. When she felt she had decent control over her hands, she took the glass of water and sipped it. The water was warm and not very refreshing. She wasn’t really thirsty though, just desperate for something to do. There was nothing in the room to mark the passage of time so she just held the glass of water in her lap and tapped on it with her fingers.

Before long, her nervous feeling became unease. Something was missing. The tapping became faster. One particularly anxious tap shattered the glass, sending water and jagged shards all over her sheets. An undignified “EEP” came out of her mouth unbidden, and her hands instinctively covered her mouth to prevent more outbursts.

She scrambled out of the bed to avoid water soaking through her simple medical gown. The girl found her legs in no better condition than her arms had been and nearly fell over as soon as her feet hit the floor. A few shaky passes around the room saw her coordination improve, but the balloon animal feeling lingered.

With nothing around to clean the mess up, she just sat on the corner of her bed and continued to wait. There was no way to know how long she waited there. An attempt to pick up the glass shards ended with her either crushing them smaller or getting them stuck in her skin. Time seemed to stretch forever. Something was very wrong. She stared at the door and chewed her lower lip while her unease grew to a near panic.

Is it me? She thought nervously, am I doing something wrong here? She didn’t know what to do, but the sense that she was missing something was beginning to become oppressive. Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she stood on shaky legs and waddled to the door. She put her hand on the slanted handle, gulped hard, and turned it. The latch clicked, signifying the completion of its duty, but to her horror her hand continued to twist. With a loud, metallic, grinding sound the handle snapped off sending springs and screws shooting and rolling in every direction. She stared at the sheared handle with a look of shock. The door slowly drifted open, permitting the echo of hurried footsteps down the hall. Without thinking, she slipped two fingers in the gaping hole that used to hold the door handle and pulled it closed. The girl stepped back as the footsteps slowed near her door. She looked around franticly for a place to hide the evidence. Unable to find anything good enough, she tossed the handle on the bed and threw the sheets over it.

The footsteps came to her door and stopped. She chewed her lower lip as a quick twist of the outside handle caused it to come off in the new arrival’s hand. There was an awkward silence as the door again drifted open to reveal a very surprised looking man in a Doctor’s coat. He stared at the handle in his hand a moment before noticing the girl standing in the room. The sound of a door opening came from down the hall and another pair of footsteps could be heard rushing up. “I’m so sorry Doctor!” Came a woman’s voice from the hall, “She was docile until just a moment ago.”

The girl’s stomach twisted in nervousness as the man leaned in to have a look about the room, agitation clear on his face, “Its fine. But tell me: where the hell is Nikias?”
Nikias. The name hit her like a cool breeze on a hot day. That was what had been missing. She had to find Nikias.

The aide continued, “I’m sorry sir, we can’t seem to reach him. I called Jean and told him a few moments ago, but he didn’t seem to understand the urgency. He just sounded…annoyed. He said he would look into it.”

The Doctor nodded, still looking very angry. He then turned to the girl and his demeanor changed. He smiled understandingly and cautiously crept into the room as he spoke, “Good morning. Can you tell me your name young lady?”

“Anastasia.” The name just appeared in her mind the instant she was asked. “Very good!” He praised her, “And do you know who I am?”

“Dr. Bianchi,” she said without a thought. Somehow, she knew it was true. He smiled again, “Good. Then you know I am a friend?” She nodded and he visibly relaxed. “Come here and have a seat with me,” he said, moving to sit on the foot of the bed.

“N, no…” was all she managed before he dropped onto the bed: right on top of the discarded door handle. His face twisted in discomfort as he leaned to the side to fish out the invasive metal. That was when he noticed the shattered glass and wet sheets. “Ahem. Perhaps we should just stand?”




Nikias awoke to the incessant ring of his work phone. He groaned and pulled a pillow over his head. The sound, amplified by the hangover he was experiencing, reverberated in his skull. Growling, he relented and grabbed the phone. “Cretino” showed on the screen. Jean Croce, he thought, what could he...

The new handler bolted upright, his eyes flying to the clock on his bedside table. “Ah…damnit!” He groaned as he threw off his blankets. A cool shower and a rushed shave served to wake his grudging body as he dragged through his morning routine. He threw on a pair of pants and his favorite shirt – a dark gray, long sleeved Nautica. A quick look at his appearance while he buttoned up the shirt brought a frown. He spiked his hair with a little gel and grabbed a pair of sunglasses to cover red, puffy eyes and dark circles. Vanity satisfied, he grabbed a backpack stuffed with things he had prepared for the special day.

Nikias paused by his bed and slide open the drawer on his bedside table. He reached in and took out a small glass case. In it rested a long, wide knife in a dark leather sheath. This was the first time Nikias had taken it out since his father had given it to him. It was meant to commemorate the completion of his term in the Hellenic Army, but the gift felt like a mocking joke. His father’s meddling had kept him from doing anything worthwhile. The entire term was spent in one training program, only to have him pulled to another before he was assigned. Frustrated and depressed, it seemed at the time that he would never have his own life. Like he was a square peg being successfully shoved in a round hole. His edges were slowly being shaved off as he slid further and further into the slot he would never escape from.

But today, all that changed. He gingerly brushed a layer of dust off the glass and lifted the tiny latch. Until now he had never even taken the knife out of the case, but as he pulled it from the sheath he could tell it was a thing of marvelous beauty. The morning sunlight slid along the polished steel of the eight inch blade as he turned it. Etched into the metal on one side was a four inch image of his winged namesake: Nike. He ran his thumb along the edge from the base all the way to the curved point to test it. Sharp. The thing looked more ornamental than practical, but it could serve its function well in both respects. Today he was finally beyond his father’s reach. Today was the day he was getting a real blade to carve out his destiny.

Nikias planted a quick kiss on the steel and dropped it back in it‘s leathery home. A coy smile owned his lips as he slid the sheath onto his belt until it rested on his right hip. Now, the joke was his.

Chapter 2: The Sword

Spoiler:
“Tap, tap, tap”. Nikias’ fingers kept perfect rhythm with his impatience on the door of his Volkswagen Scirocco. The grizzled old gate guard’s head tilted sideways as he looked at the credentials in his hands, Nikias’ face, then back to the credentials for what must have been the tenth time. Finally, he handed the book to Nikias and said in a dry tone “You know, Mr. Croce has been asking after you Mr.….uh, sir.”

Nikias glared, “Its Stavropoulos.” The guard leaned closer and turned one ear in his direction, “I’m sorry?”

“It’s pronounced Stavropoulos. Stav. Row. Pole. Us.” The hunched guard grinned toothily, “Yes sir.”

Nikias just stared at his back as he lumbered back to the guardhouse and raised the gate, trying to keep his agitation in check by telling himself it was his own fault for not coming to the compound enough during his cyborg’s construction. The old man must have been given the post to prevent anyone from even SUSPECTING there could be questionable government activity at the compound.

It was more of the same at the inner gate except with a much younger (and fitter) guard. He acted like he was King here and with his impertinent rule being protected by a strict security policy, Nikias could only tolerate it. His attempts to speed things along were just met with cool disregard anyway. With the practiced hand of someone who passed long hours at a post by seeing how close he could walk the line of human patience, the guard waved for the gate to be opened just before the handler’s frustration boiled over.

At last, Nikias pulled into a parking space in front of the medical building. He turned his phone to silent and tossed it in the glove box before getting out and making his way to the ward. Just before he reached the glass doors, they opened to admit a stunning red-head leaving the building.

The two passed without any acknowledgement of each other, and Nikias was still too hung over to work up any desire to play the game. If they were both working in the same compound there would be plenty of time later. Still, as an adult male, he found it impossible to pass up a perfectly innocent assessment. With nothing more than the slightest, most casual turn of his head, lightning quick eyes zipped across her form. Height. Weight. Skin tone. Proportion. Everything was measured, assessed, logged and judged. Confident in the ignorance of the female creature, he even let slip a whispered “Nice ass!”

“Thanks.” the girl stopped and smiled mirthlessly.

Had he been that loud? He frowned. This wasn’t the first time he had been caught sampling the buffet without paying, but it was a little unnerving to think he slipped up like that. While he mulled over his rusty technique, her fake smile switched to an understanding pout, “Nice knife. Try not to over compensate ok? It embarrasses all of us.”

She smiled with real enjoyment this time and continued on her way with a wave over her shoulder. Bitch.

“Good afternoon Mr. Stavropoulos. Could you possibly have some business with us today?” A very annoyed looking Dr. Bianchi greeted Nikias from the door.

Nikias ignored the snide greeting, “Sorry Doc. Had some car trouble this morning.”

“I believe my government paid good money to ensure you had a phone for just such an occasion?”

“Forgot it at home today of all days,” Nikias shrugged, “When it rains, I guess.”

The Doctor’s eyes narrowed, but he did not comment further. Instead, he turned down a hall and left without waiting for Nikias who nearly had to jog to keep up.

Bianchi spoke heatedly as they went, “I can not convey to you the importance of her awakening. The cyborgs are instilled with a need to meet their handler from the moment they open their eyes to facilitate the bond a fratello needs to function…”

Nikias listened with only a muted interest. He had sat through enough of his father’s “good business” lectures to know how to hear without listening. Instead, put on his best “ashamed” face and walked along staring at the floor, all the while fantasizing about the clandestine action and super spy work he would be doing soon. All on his own power.

Encouraged by Nikias’ silence, the berating continued as they wound through the maze of halls, “Frankly, I count us lucky she did not perceive your absence as some kind of danger to you and tear this place apart trying to find you! The unfortunate events of this morning could very well have damaged her psyche in some way: feelings of neglect, a confusion of purpose, loss of self-worth. The possibilities are almost innumerable. I trust you brought her sidearm like instructed? Nikias? Nikias!”

“Hm?”

The normally composed psychologist was at his limit, “PLEASE tell me you remembered her sidearm…”

Nikias smiled confidently and patted the backpack on his shoulder, “Doc, I have a whole pack full of things for this. I know I screwed up this morning, but trust me: I am very ready for this day.”

Bianchi looked like he had his doubts. “Here you are then.” He indicated an otherwise ordinary looking door with no handle.

“Seriously?” Nikias chuckled. “A fortune in expensive medical equipment, a staff of doctors and aides, and facilities for cyborg assassins, but someone forgot the doorknobs?”
Bianchi raised an eyebrow, turned on his heel, and left shaking his head.

What a hard-ass, mused Nikias, Must be one of those serious government types. He shrugged it off and opened the door.

She was exactly how he envisioned. It should not have surprised him. He gave all the specifications himself after all, but the thing before him matched his mental picture so perfectly it was hard to believe the doctors had not simply read his mind. The subject had been tall for her age before conversion and after the “enhancements” Nikias had made she stood a towering five and a half feet for a fourteen year old. Her size adjustments had not ended there however. At great expense to Nikias, Anastasia was able to enjoy both the advanced second generation technology and the superior quality parts of a first generation. The result was a rather heavily muscled cyborg, at least in comparison to the more “dainty” first generation girls she was modeled after, though in terms of normal humans she just looked like an awkwardly big girl.

Her dark red hair, seeming all the darker in contrast to her pale skin, fell in curls to her shoulders. Well, he thought as he recalled the encounter with the girl outside, at least if the hair has anything to do with spunk then I made the right choice.

She stood slowly as soon as he entered the room. Her hands were locked in front of her in a meek gesture and her eyes were downcast. Confidence was apparently something they were going to need to work on. He started with the basic recommended introductory questions, “State your name soldier.”

“Anastasia.”

“Anastasia sir. What are you?”

“I am a general combat cyborg in the employ of the Italian Social Welfare Agency…uh, sir.”

“And what is your purpose?”

“To protect and obey my handler, Nikias Stavropoulos, as well as other designated Social Welfare personnel. To take whatever means necessary to defend the secrets and integrity of the Social Welfare Agency. Sir.”

Nikias noted with satisfaction the order of her directives. He also noted the fact that the cyborgs were apparently programmed without a shred of loyalty to Italy so much as the SWA itself. I suppose that keeps them out of the hands of power hungry politicians, he wondered silently, but who guards the guards here? The higher echelons must have a lot of faith in the SWA’s leadership. He brushed it off with an internal “not really my problem” shrug and resolved to thank his father for Greek citizenship later. At least there he didn’t know what his government was doing.

He had expected the abruptness of the questioning to catch her off guard, but Anastasia was standing there patiently waiting for his next question while he was lost in thought. “Uh, right. Very good.”

The tiny compliment brought a proud smile to her face. To his surprise, Nikias found himself a little uncomfortable with the adoration and forgot what he was supposed to ask next. It was uncharacteristic of him to get caught flat-footed like this. Several awkward moments passed with him shifting his weight before it dawned on him that this might be a good time to give her the gun. “I have something for you.” He swung the backpack to the floor and knelt while he unzipped it. There, tucked neatly in the side of the pack right where he had left it was…an empty holster. Merda! I forgot the gun…

A glance out the corner of his eye at the long one-way glass window made his face flush. He could practically feel Bianchi’s disapproving gaze burning through him. Nikias swallowed hard and instead pulled out the clothes he had brought, acting as if that was what he intended to do all along. He tossed them to her and muttered “Here you are. Go ahead and put these on.”
Nikias could not believe his carelessness. He leaned his back against the doorframe and mentally kicked himself. After months of preparation for this moment and a few celebratory drinks with some friends the night before had him stumbling through the day like a teenager.

“Umm…”Anastasia was just standing there holding the bundle of clothes to her chest.

“What? Is something wrong?”

She stared at her feet for a second then met his gaze firmly “No sir.”

Was she embarrassed? That seemed like an odd thing for a cyborg to feel. Whatever it was, she seemed to be over it. Watching her change clothes, his mind drifted once more to the girl outside. “Try not to over compensate ok?” echoed in his thoughts as Anastasia struggled with the bindings in the back of the gown. He was suddenly acutely aware of the large knife digging into his lower back. The thing really was a bit gaudy now that he thought about it. Who really walked around with an eight inch knife on his hip in this day and age?
Nikias’ breath caught. A perfect solution to two problems dawned on him. He undid his belt buckle and began to pull it back through the belt loops.

“S, sir?” A slightly distressed voice came from across the room. He looked up into the confused eyes of his cyborg and self-awareness slowly stole through his consciousness. The gown still covered her front, but she had untied the back and was pulling one arm out of its sleeve. “D, did I misunderstand?”

“What?” Nikias looked down at his belt: halfway off. Is she saying…ahhhhhhh fuck. This is getting ridiculous. I need to sober up. “Just carry on. Tell me when you’re done.” He went to stand in the hall while she finished.


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


Anastasia watched Nikias go with a sinking heart. He seemed agitated. I shouldn’t have asked that. She finished taking off the gown and started to dress in the clothes he had given her. They were a simple selection of clothes a soldier might wear: vegetata camo pants with a black spaghetti strap tank top. She finished the attire with a pair of thick socks and black boots he had left by the foot of the bed. “I’m ready!” she called out.

Nikias came back in and looked her over. Still ashamed by her behavior earlier, she avoided his gaze. He frowned when she looked away, “Too meek. Clothes like that should be worn with confidence.” He lifted her head up with a finger under her chin and looked in her eyes as he spoke, “I want you to make eye contact when speaking to people.”

“Yes sir.” It was incredibly difficult for Anastasia, but she managed to lock eyes with him. The moment seemed to stretch for hours. Just as she felt sweat starting to bead on her skin, he took a step back. “Good,” he continued, “Now, I have something else for you. I don’t know what customs they had in Italy, but in ancient Greece when a warrior came of age he was given a sword. That’s a bit impractical to be carrying around these days, so I’m giving you this instead.”

He held out a long knife in a brown leather sheathe. She took the weapon gingerly; a little afraid it would break in her hands if she was not careful. Her heart pounded as sharp eyes devoured every dark swirl in the fine leather. Timid fingers gently traced the smooth edges and tested the weight. “Thank you,” she managed to whisper breathlessly.

“Don’t just stand there. Take it out.”

The steel crooned as she slid it from its sheath. “That is the image of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory,” said Nikias, indicating a carving in the blade. The detail was fantastic.

“Nike? That sounds like your name.” Anastasia noticed. He smiled at the obvious observation, “That’s right. In Greek mythology, Nike would ride her chariot in the skies over a battlefield bestowing glory and honor on the worthy warriors. My name means ’victory’ and I intend to do great things in my lifetime. And you, Anastasia, you are the first step on that path. You will be the best in all that you do, and others will take notice. Your success will be my success.”

She did not really understand, but her objective seemed simple enough: be a worthy warrior so Nikias could have recognition. She clutched her artifact to her chest and steeled her resolve. “Yes Sir,” she said determinedly.

Nikias smiled again and placed a hand on her shoulder, “Good. Let’s get going. I have a lot I want to do today and its already late.”


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


“I don’t know what customs they had in Italy, but in ancient Greece when a warrior came of age he was given a sword.” What a load that was. It may or may not have been true, but it was almost certain he had just made it up on the spot.

Bianchi leaned back in his chair as he watched the meeting through the one-way glass. So far he had not been impressed with Nikias’ behavior. He hardly seemed like handler material: he had shown up late, lied about it, was hung over, and obviously forgot the gun despite appearing insulted when the Doctor asked about it. It all reminded Bianchi a little too much of Lauro, who had also been a younger man chosen to handle for shady reasons without much thought of character. Like Lauro, Nikias clearly did not fully understand what a cyborg was. Bianchi guessed they would have similar endings too, if Nikias could not redefine his understanding before it was too late.

He had to admit though: the knife was a brilliant touch. It was doubtful Nikias even realized the significance that gift had on Anastasia. The blank look and monotone voice all cyborgs had when they first woke up vanished. The moment he handed her that knife she came alive. Her eyes were filled with fire now. Bianchi made a mental note to watch this fratello closely. It would be interesting to see what effect a gift with such symbolism had on Anastasia’s development.

The pair were leaving now. He opened the door as the fratello passed and called out “Nikias! A moment?” He stopped but was obviously annoyed. Bianchi pretended not to notice, “They offer housing on the compound if you find it difficult to make it here when needed. You are being entrusted with something very important to the Italian government Nikias. She is not your personal property. You may have covered the majority of costs on parts, but don’t forget: it is the SWA that pays the medical staff, it is the SWA that feeds and houses her, and it is the SWA that will pay for repairs as needed. And the SWA will expect results in return. You do not want to be fired for carelessness from a government agency that does not exist.”

Nikias’ eyes narrowed at the indirect threat. “Thanks Doc. I’ll be sure to keep that in mind.” Without another word he continued on his way.

Anastasia paused as she went by and said “Thank you for sitting with me Dr. Bianchi.”

He smiled warmly at the poor girl, “Of course dear.” Feelings of neglect, a confusion of purpose, loss of self-worth. She obviously felt none of these things. “It shouldn’t surprise me,” he muttered as he watched them go, “We made a fine drug, after all.”

Bianchi shook off the moment of melancholy and went back into the observation room. He took the disc out of the dvd recorder they used to monitor handler interactions and wrote ‘Anastasia - 1’ on the front. There was little doubt in his mind it and others like it would be reviewed in the near future. Whether that was for better or worse, only time would tell, but it certainly needed to be saved. Besides, he thought wryly, that bit with the belt is going to be a real hit at the staff Christmas party.

Chapter 3: New Friends...

Spoiler:
Anastasia stood in the doorway to room 113. Her home. It was little more than a square with a single window on the far end. Short indentations on both walls served as closets; a few changes of clothes similar to what she had on hung in each. A little shelf above the clothes provided some personal storage space. The only furnishings were a single twin-sized bed next to the wall on her right, a dresser in the corner to her left, and a simple round table with two chairs beneath the window.

She closed the door behind her. It took no more than three steps to cross the entire span of the room. She slide back the pair of bland, dark blue curtains to allow in the last few beams of light sent off by the setting sun. The dying light cast the room in a somber color that matched her mood. She ran her fingers across the table, feeling faintly soothed by the smooth sensation. A hint of lemon scented furniture cleaner tickled her nose, but it was just a mask. The air was stale; undisturbed. No living thing used this space.

Anastasia sat on the short bed and dropped her head into her hands. Her first day at the agency had been a disaster. First, Nikias had taken her by the indoor range where he laid out the weapons she would be using. He explained to her why he had chosen her primary weapon, the FERFRANS Special Operations Assault Rifle, as she dismantled and reassembled it. The 5.56mm rounds fit logistically with his own SR-16, and the new Rate Reduction System FERFRANS was known for gave the weapon the ability to burst fire simply by controlling the squeeze of the trigger without having to switch an actual mechanism. The vertical foregrip also prevented muzzle climb, making it easier to control in sustained fire. It all sounded very fine to her, but as long as it could put a ball of lead in an enemy at close range then she was satisfied. The SOAR seemed as capable of that as any other gun.

Nikias had her attempt a simple qualifier course to get a feel for the weapon. His boyish excitement at seeing her showcase her cyborg shooting skills vanished as soon as she took aim. He had to instruct her several times on how to hold it properly before she even pulled the trigger. When she finally did fire, her body flinched in surprise and her eyes closed with every burst. Even FERFRANS’ proud RRS was rendered as useless as putting child safety locks on a fire-engine. Her fat fingers would not permit any consistent fire control.

Nikias stopped her when she reached the reload point and pulled in the target. Barely more than half the rounds even hit the body, and almost none were localized. She could actually FEEL his disappointment. Obviously other cyborgs weren’t so pathetic. Her handler was silent while she cleaned the weapon and returned it to the armory. He gave her the Tanfoglio Force 99 that would serve as her sidearm as they left. He did not ask her to shoot it.

After that, they went to the obstacle course where he laid out her training regimen. It seemed simple enough. Her artificial muscles would not atrophy nor did she need exercise like a human would, so really the program was to teach her mind how to control her body. That was how Nikias explained it anyway.

Like he had at the range, Nikias asked her to take a trial run on the course. Basically, she tripped over every tire, fell off every rope, and got tangled in every net. Her shirt was so torn and dirtied by the end, that he actually had to give her his coat to cover up.

With that failure complete, they made their way to the sniper range. Here he showed her the Walther WA 2000 sniper rifle that she would use on occasion. Next, it was off to the CQB assault course where he explained he wanted her to excel. He did not ask her to do anything at either location.

So, here she was: sitting alone in a barren room with no idea what to do with her self. Nikias wouldn’t be back until tomorrow.

She took out her knife. Somehow, it felt heavier than when she first held it. Anastasia could almost hear scathing laughter from the graven image of Nike. “Worthy warriors, huh?” she asked aloud, “Betcha’ didn’t see me coming.”

The memory of her handler’s disappointed face bubbled back to the surface. Humiliation and pain were minor discomforts compared to that look. He had been so sure of her this morning. She made short work of that enthusiasm, that was for sure. It was painfully obvious by his expressions he didn’t expect her to have so many problems. Other cyborgs must not struggle so much on their first day. She wanted to sob into her hands in frustration, but no tears came.

Anastasia’s self-berating was cut short by the sound of voices coming down the hall. The sun had gone down while she was deep in thought and now her room was dark except for the hall lights streaming under her door. She stayed silent as the voices approached, not wanting to be found sitting alone in the darkness. The last thing she needed was for everyone to think she was crazy.

“I told him it was no big deal,” an older sounding girl was saying as they passed, “but you know how he is.”

“Its human nature to worry about things like that.” answered a second voice, even more mature sounding than the first.

The conversation continued as they passed her door and Anastasia realized she had been hoping they would stop. Just hearing other people talk was comforting. Now the prospect of returning to solitude was so dreadful she almost cried out. But she hesitated. There was no reason for them to want to see her. To run out there now would make her seem desperate. “I AM desperate.” she thought bitterly, but kept her seat as the voices began to fade.

She coughed. The pair immediately stopped to listen for sounds coming from what they must have thought was an abandoned room. Anastasia wanted to kick herself. Why had she done that? Now she could add “weak-willed” to her list of Flaws Discovered In a Single Day.

“Hey, when were we supposed to be getting that new addition we told about?” the first girl asked.

“I’m not sure. I was only told what you were.”

The first voice took on a joking tone, “Aren’t you supposed to be on top of things like this?”

“I don’t recall being assigned as ‘Dorm Watchdog’.” the second girl said defensively.

“I’m gonna to invite her along.”

“What makes you think she would even want to come? Obviously she wants to be alone or she wouldn’t be sitting in the dark.” Anastasia felt her cheeks turn red.

“Not everyone is like Elsa, Claes. It can’t hurt to ask. Besides, you KNOW she can hear us right now.”

The girl named Claes sniffed, “Fine. I’m going to run ahead and warn Henrietta though. She will have an aneurysm if we show up with a new person and she doesn’t have enough chairs.”

“Yeah,” the nameless girl laughed, “that’s probably a good idea!”

As the two parted, Anastasia shoved the knife under her pillow and laid down on the bed, pretending to be asleep. “Too meek,“ Nikias’ voice echoed from her memory, “I want you to make eye contact when speaking to people.“ Confidence. Nikias wanted confidence.

She rolled onto her back instead, bringing her left leg up and resting her right leg on the knee. Her fingers she interlocked behind her head just as a soft knock came at the door. “Come in!” she said as casually as she could.

The door opened slowly to admit a pretty, dark-skinned blond. She was a few inches shorter than Anastasia and wearing a nice white button up shirt with a dark gray vest and a pair of black slacks.

“Hey there!” the girl chirped pleasantly, her upbeat voice betrayed by an edge of tiredness in her eyes and expression, “I hope I didn’t wake you.”

“Nah.” muttered Anastasia, still trying to sound casual, “I was just relaxing. What’s up?”

“My roommate and I were just heading to another room to visit. I thought maybe you would like to come. You know, get to know someone around here.”

“Sure!” yelped Anastasia, a little too quickly, “I mean, I’ve got nothing better to do.”

“My name is Triela.” she said, extending her hand with a smile, “Welcome to the Social Welfare Agency.”

Anastasia took the outstretched hand happily. “Thanks, I’m Anastasia.”

Triela smiled even bigger. “You have a very pretty name, Anastasia. But we’re going to need to shorten that up a bit for conversation I think.” She crossed her arms and tapped one finger thoughtfully on her lips. “Let’s see…Anastasia is a foreign name… a certain German I know would probably call you Anna, But I don’t see any reason to let him think he can pick everyone’s name around here. I think the American’s would say ‘Ana’. How does that sound? Nice and easy, right?”

“Sounds great!” Ana wouldn’t have cared if her new friend called her TUNA.

“Ok, Ana it is. Now that’s done, why don’t I introduce you to the others? We have a little gathering going on in Henrietta and Rico’s room that is perfect for introductions. And there‘s tea!”

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


Nikias stood by his Volkswagen Scirocco and chewed on his tongue as he watched Anastasia go into the dorm building. Today had been a disaster. Something was wrong with his cyborg. Bianchi’s voice seemed to echo in his head, “The unfortunate events of this morning could very well have damaged her psyche in some way…” Could it be his fault?

Ridiculous. How could something like that affect coordination? The thing couldn’t even hold a spoon without griping it in a fist. He dropped a fortune on a defunct piece of crap and he seriously doubted the Italian government had a very generous return policy on its cybernetic assassins.

While he mulled, a Mercedes Benz pulled into the space next to him and a man and a girl emerged. The pair seemed familiar somehow. They appeared to be exact opposites. He had short dark hair and pale skin, she was dark skinned with long blonde hair. They both wore nice clothes, but where he was rigid and serious she was casual and at ease. Both looked exhausted.

The man helped her unload a few items from the trunk. When they were done, he turned to her and spoke solemnly, “You did well today. That was not an easy thing to do.”
She shrugged “It’s not really a big deal. Just part of my job.”

The two stood in an awkward silence for a moment. The man seemed on the verge of stepping closer, but instead cleared his throat and said, “Right. Well. Get some rest tonight. I will be by in the morning. I imagine Jean will want us back out there soon.”

“Yes sir…” she muttered. He watched her go in the same thoughtful way Nikias must have been watching Anastasia: like he had a problem that was too big to figure out.

Nikias finally remembered where he had seen them before. Before he became a handler, Nikias had a job as an intelligence analyst in Public Safety Section One. The fratello had taken on a job to pick up a mafia contact and failed. All he really knew about them was that they were supposed to be top notch. Everyone called the girl the “Princess” of Section Two. They were probably the type of people you would want on your side, and with Nikias’ new found handicap he was going to need all the help he could get. Time to grease the wheels.

The man seemed surprised when Nikias approached and extended his hand, like he hadn’t realized anyone else was there. “Good evening. I don’t believe we have had a chance to meet. I’m Nikias Stavropoulos. I'm a new Handler."

“Victor Hillshire,” he said, ignoring Nikias’ hand, “I know you.” His voice held an edge of hostility Nikias took note of.

“I see. You know of me, sir, but I’m afraid you don’t know me. Yet. I would like an opportunity to rectify this and get to know you,” Nikias used a polite tone despite his annoyance at being so impolitely greeted.

It worked. Hillshire’s shoulders sagged as he released the tension he had unconsciously built at Nikias’ approach. His face showed genuine regret as he finally accepted the outstretched hand, “I apologize Nikias. I am very tired right now and it is affecting me. I really should rest before trying to be social.”

“Nonsense,” said Nikias, dismissing Hillshire’s concerns with a wave of his hand, “Let me treat you to a drink. It won’t take long.” Hillshire hesitated. It was obvious he wanted to say no. Nikias changed tact and went for the ego, “Please. Truthfully, I need some advice.”

Another success. Hillshire relented with a nod. Older men could rarely pass up a chance to impart their “wisdom”. Father would be proud.

“Thank you Victor. This won’t take long.”


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


The walk to room number 105 from Ana’s own room 113 was a short one, which was a good thing since Triela seemed too tired to want to make much conversation. Voices could be heard coming from the open door as they approached. A girl with a quiet voice was speaking in a conversational tone “So Jose’ said we can go back again next weekend to try the strawberries.”

“Mmm-hm” came the disinterested reply Ana recognized as belonging to Claes, right as Triela rounded the corner with Ana in tow. Two girls sat at a table just like the one in Ana’s room, except it had been dragged into the center of the room to accommodate more people. On the lower bunk bed sat another girl Ana had at first glance taken for a boy. All eyes were on the new arrivals when they entered the room.

“Ladies.” Triela began, “It is my distinct pleasure to introduce you to our newest comrade in arms.” Triela bowed and gestured flamboyantly to Ana, “I give you…Anastasia! Ana for short.” She then straightened and pointed to each of the others in turn, “The little shy one there is Henrietta, the classy one is Claes, and the cheerful one on the bed is Rico.”

Henrietta stood and dropped into a practiced curtsy, “A pleasure to meet you, Ana.” The dainty, almond-haired girl had a bobbed haircut and wore a long, bright red dress over a white turtleneck. The picture of a little lady.

Claes closed a book she had been reading and smiled pleasantly, “Greetings, Anastasia.” She wore light gray leggings and a thick purple sweater that looked like it had to itch like crazy. Even more confusing was the pair of glasses adorning her face. It made her look very sophisticated and all, but seemed unnecessary for a girl with cybernetic eyes.

Rico just smiled happily and chirped a simple “Hello!” Her short blond hair was disheveled, like she had been sleeping until just a moment ago. She wore a pair of blue jeans and a simple red t-shirt with a thin white stripe across the chest.

“Hi!” Ana almost squeaked. Her attempts at acting in-control seemed to be breaking down, “It’s nice to meet you.”

Henrietta pulled out a chair and said “Have a seat.”

Ana took the offered chair and muttered thanks. Triela pulled up a chair of her own next to Ana and began to undo her shoe laces, “Sorry girls, but I have got to get these shoes off. My feet are killing me.”

“Better here than in our room.” muttered Claes, earning her a withering look from Triela.

“Triela just got back from a mission,” Henrietta explained.

“Sure did. The bastardo ran us the whole way across the countryside too. He was a young local boy and some sweet old lady was hiding him. She made some amazing chocolate chip cookies. You would have loved them Henrietta. I'd probably still be out there if Hillshire hadn’t noticed the extra toothbrush in the bathroom. He was elated that we made it back in time for evening range practice, of course.”

"Did you get her cookie recipe?" Henrietta asked cheerily.

"Sorry 'Etta. When we found the guy I had to off her too."

Henrietta looked dejected "That's too bad. I would have liked to make them for Jose."

Triela crossed her left leg over the right and began roughly massaging her foot. “It’s a good thing I got back when I did though,” she smiled mischievously at Ana, “or this crew may never have found you!”

Henrietta placed her palms on the table in indignity and leaned in, “That’s not true Triela! Jean told Rico about her earlier. She was willing to go invite her, but she fell asleep while we were getting ready and I didn’t want to wake her…”

Ana found herself smiling at Henrietta’s weak attempts to defend her bashfulness. “Don’t worry about it. I made it here so it’s fine. So, is this everyone? I thought there would be more cyborgs when I saw the building.”

Claes raised an eyebrow, “Unfortunately, this is all we could manage on such short notice. I hope we did not offend?”

Ana colored a bit at the hostility in her tone. “I…I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Oh, come on Claes, she is just making conversation,” said Triela, coming to her rescue. She shrugged and turned back to Ana, “Sorry. We know it’s not much of a welcome party, but it’s been a fairly busy month. Ever since we got Christiano, there has been a power shift in Padania. Jean has been running us ragged trying to keep the transition from going smoothly.” She held up her finger and said with a wink, “Let me check my PDA for the latest on where everyone is!”

Claes closed her eyes and crossed her legs “Chiara is in Milan, Beatrice is the active reserve cyborg this week, Silvia is on vacation, Rico is the inactive reserve, Angelica is going through another round of tests, you, of course, are active and will likely be redeployed in the next day or so...”

Triela’s shoulders slumped and she groaned, “Don’t remind me…”

Ana noticed Henrietta hadn’t been mentioned so she asked, “What about you Henrietta? What’s your status?”

The whole room cringed as one. The walls themselves seemed to stretch in an effort to withdraw. Triela had an expression of anticipated pain while Claes dropped her forehead onto her palm. Rico stopped smiling for the first time since Ana had met her and covered her ears.
Henrietta’s eyes misted over and her lower lip quivered as she spoke “Jose’ is…he…is…”

She paused to suck in a breath and Triela groaned “Here we go…”

“SICK,” Henrietta spat the word out like poison. Tears leaked from her eyes and her voice continued to rise in pitch as she spoke, until she was nearly squealing, “And it’s all my fault! I knew it was cold out but I asked to go on a picnic anyways and then it rained and it was cold and I slipped and dropped all the dishes and...and…”

“Breathe Henrietta,” Triela instructed, “Remember to breathe.”

“Now he has a flute,” Rico added.

“The flu, Rico,” corrected Claes, “He has the flu.”

“Oh,” she said with a thoughtful forefinger on her lower lip, “that never did make much sense to me.”

Ana watched the whole scene unfold with incredulity. She had expected her life to be more…well, she had had no idea what to expect, but not this. This was so…easy. Until this point her life had been filled with nervousness, disappointment, frustration and loneliness. It seemed like misery was all she could know, and this was only the first day!

But here were others who were just like her. They cried about silly things, and confused simple words. A chuckle slipped out as she watched. It just sort of bubbled up until she couldn’t contain it. Before she knew it, she was holding her sides and tears streamed down her face as waves of laughter burst out. A part of her wondered what was so funny, but a shared look between the other cyborg’s told her they understood. She wasn’t laughing because anything was funny. She was laughing in relief.

“Ahhh-haha. Ah-ha. Heh. Whew…heh-heh. I’m…heh…I’m sorry.” she said, wiping away tears. “It’s just…whew…” the laughter finally subsided, leaving her with a warm, satisfied feeling. “Thanks. That felt really good.” The others smiled understandingly. Even Henrietta managed a weak smile between sobs.

They all watched Ana as she regained her composure. Sweat brought on by the exertion began to bead on her brow. “It’s a bit hot in here isn’t it?”

Triela sniggered “Well, it would be with that thing on.” Triela held out her hands and Ana realized she still had on Nikias’ coat. She had forgotten to take it off. “Let me take that for you.”

“Sure.” As she took one arm out of the sleeve, she noticed a look of surprise pass over Triela’s face. The tension in the room was suddenly palpable. Time itself seemed to slow. Ana was abruptly aware of how much bigger she was than the others. Triela was the closest to her in age and size, but compared to Ana she looked like...well, a little girl. Next to cyborg's like Henrietta or Rico, Ana must look...freakish. Without the baggy coat to cover her up the difference was obvious.

Triela quickly regained control of her features, but she still seemed rigid as she waited for Ana to finish taking off her coat. Claes was intently studying something out the window and Henrietta was staring blatantly at Ana’s arm with her mouth slightly open. Every cell in her body begged her to put the coat back on. But that would bring even more attention to her awkwardness. Confidence. CONFIDENCE. She agonizingly pulled the other arm out and handed the coat to Triela who muttered thanks (of all things) and laid it on the foot of the bed. The room felt frozen as the silence stretched for what felt like hours. Ana kept hoping a mortar shell would drop through the ceiling, if only to stop the silence.

Unexpectedly, it was Rico who shattered the ice and saved the day, “I bet you’re really strong Ana!”

“Heh,” chuckled Triela, who recovered first, “Of course she’s strong Rico. She is a cyborg after all.”

“Yeah,” Rico giggled, “but I bet she’s even stronger then you, Triela.”

Triela smiled menacingly and said “Hmm. Maybe. But I’m still strong enough to give you…a NOOGIE!” She leapt upon the unsuspecting cyborg, dug her knuckles into Rico’s hair, and began to rub with a ferocity that could have killed a normal human. Rico just squealed and struggled half-heartedly.

Claes casually moved her chair aside to avoid Rico’s flailing limbs. “Henrietta, how about some tea?”


Last edited by theprodigalson on Thu 2 Jun 2011 - 1:03; edited 9 times in total
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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Kiskaloo on Wed 1 Dec 2010 - 23:44

I like it!

I'm guessing Anastasia has not yet had her "calibration" done, which is why she's breaking things?

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by ElfenMagix on Wed 1 Dec 2010 - 23:49

I would like to see where it goes.

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Officer_Charon on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 2:33

I like how it opened up - not the typical story, and it highlights flaws in both the "newborn" cyborg and her rookie handler. Interesting to see where it goes!

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Alfisti on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 12:29

Hmm, yeah... possibly not the best condition to meet your new charge in Razz

Anyway, I think you already know most of my thoughts on the chapter. Start's working better now I think, and the knife's a neat way of summing up Nikias' frustrations up to this point. Excellent, looking forward to more.

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Robert Frazer on Fri 3 Dec 2010 - 2:14

Definitely an atypical opening that immediately catches the reader's attention, theprodigalson. I like in particular how Anastasia's realisations just steal up on her unexpectedly, which is entirely appropriate - the 'taps' of the glass cracking as she clenches it stand out. I also liked the image of a "square peg being successfully shoved into a round hole", although you could probably have made the analogy go a little further, adding on a remark about Nikias cracking and crushing under the strain. Anyway, he seems to have a certain amount of swagger - I wonder how long that will last until he sees what a mess has been made of his first morning on the job, though? Whether he blames it on Anatasia, himself, or just gives an insouciant shrug will say a great deal about his character.

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Professor Voodoo on Fri 3 Dec 2010 - 6:34

Some vivid, striking imagery here, told from the point of view of both of your characters. If you claim your writing is "intolerably slow" it's because you choose your words with care. I was particularly amused by Anastasia's hapless attempts to cover up (literally) her damage to the door handle.

I wonder if after scrambling out of bed late Nikias would really permit himself those few minutes of contemplation over the knife. Either way, it says a lot about his motivation.

Looking forward to more.

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by theprodigalson on Sat 11 Dec 2010 - 14:05

It only just occured to me on my way to work this morning that I never properly responded to everyone's comments Embarassed. My only excuse is that I was so focused on writing the next bit, I kind of got caught up...

I'm guessing Anastasia has not yet had her "calibration" done, which is why she's breaking things?

Something like that Smile. It will become clear in future releases.

I also liked the image of a "square peg being successfully shoved into a round hole", although you could probably have made the analogy go a little further, adding on a remark about Nikias cracking and crushing under the strain.

I almost did just that. I can't even recall why I didn't now...probably just moved on and forgot to come back. Will be editing that soon.

I wonder if after scrambling out of bed late Nikias would really permit himself those few minutes of contemplation over the knife.

I suppose I saw it like he took just a moment to savor his victory and reflect before running out the door. It would take considerably longer to read his thoughts than it would take to think them. It all works so well in my head how could it not work on paper, right? sweat

But then again, the reader might not have the benefit of getting a proper sense of time from the way its written. Any reccommendations?


Thanks again for the reviews! And sorry it took so long to respond...

Ana:*shaking her head* Douchebag.

Yeeeeaaaaahhhhhhh...

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by theprodigalson on Sat 25 Dec 2010 - 4:44

Posted Part two in time for Christmas, as promised. Read and enjoy.

Comments (constructive and destructive) are, as always, very appreciated by this author.

Need sleep now. Time to Sleep

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by ElfenMagix on Sat 25 Dec 2010 - 5:32

Very well done and well written!
Love the interplay going on there.

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 25 Dec 2010 - 12:45

theprodigalson wrote:Posted Part two in time for Christmas, as promised. Read and enjoy.

I did both. Good

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Alfisti on Mon 27 Dec 2010 - 23:26

Ah, excellent... another chapter Very Happy

theprodigalson wrote:Nikias glared, “Its Stavropoulos.”
Good opening moment. It says something about Nikias' mood, or personality/sense of self importance, or both that he really seems to care about this bloke getting his name wrong rather than laughing it off. Surely he'd be used to people mispronouncing that by now. Good stuff as we piece his character together.

The two passed without any acknowledgement of each other. He was still too hung over to work up any desire to play the game.
New paragraph, I think it might be worth using Nikias' name here rather than "he" just to help ground the reader. It might flow smoother too if you ran those two sentences together. Just a thought.

“I can not convey to you the importance of her awakening. The cyborgs
are instilled with a need to meet their handler from the moment they
open their eyes to facilitate the bond a fratello needs to function…”
I now wonder if his not being there at the Ana's waking up is going to have some effect on how the fratello funcitons.

all the while fantasizing about the clandestine action and super spy work he would be doing soon.
Monty: Wow, are you about to get a reality check.

“Anastasia.”

“Anastasia sir. What are you?”
Bianchi: Dammit. The first cyborg we leave the "sir" out of the programming for and she gets the handler that actually wants it.

Nice to see you take this direction though. It certainly differs from what seems to be the more traditional OC awakening which appear to trend toward the "don't call me sir" style.

It was uncharacteristic of him to get caught flat-footed like this.
The hangover probably isn't helping.

“What?” Nikias looked down at his belt: halfway off. Is she saying…ahhhhhhh fuck. This is getting ridiculous. I need to sober up. “Just carry on. Tell me when you’re done.” He went to stand in the hall while she finished.
Yep... that works Very Happy

“Now, I have something else for you. I don’t know what customs they had
in Italy, but in ancient Greece when a warrior came of age he was given a
sword. That’s a bit impractical to be carrying around these days, so
I’m giving you this instead.”
Nice save.

My name means ’victory’ and I intend to do great things in my lifetime.
And you, Anastasia, you are the first step on that path. You will be the
best in all that you do, and others will take notice. Your success will
be my success.
Well, he's not exactly secretive about it now is he? Or has he just forgotten that this is all being recorded?

I wonder how the Agency looks upon that sort of blatant ambition? I guess so long as it's pointed in the right direction they shouldn't mind too much.

Like Lauro, Nikias clearly did not fully understand what a cyborg was.
Well that's umm... forboding.

He took the tape out of the small recorder they used to monitor handler
interactions and wrote ‘Anastasia - 1’ on the white label.
Well I guess when you're spending all your money on building cyborgs and fighting terrorists a bluray recorder is probably not high on the budget priorities list Razz


Great chapter mate.

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by theprodigalson on Fri 18 Feb 2011 - 20:37

Chapter 3 is finally up. And only 2 months after my last one! Embarassed


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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Professor Voodoo on Fri 18 Feb 2011 - 23:21

theprodigalson wrote:only 2 months after my last one!
You're not the only one who feels like they're dragging their feet.

Looks like I missed Chapter Two...
“Nice ass!”

“Thanks.” the girl stopped and smiled mirthlessly.

Had he been that loud?
Welcome to the world of cyborg hearing, Nikias!
“Forgot it at home today of all days,” Nikias shrugged, “When it rains, I guess.”

The Doctor’s eyes narrowed, but he did not comment further.
Equally unwise to play games with a trained psychiatrist. I'm liking Nikias' cocky aloofness though.
The normally composed psychologist was at his limit, “PLEASE tell me you remembered her sidearm…”
Elio forgot to pick up one for Marisa...he had to run to the armoury and pick up whatever they had available.
“Here you are then.” He indicated an otherwise ordinary looking door with no handle.
I got a laugh out of that.
At great expense to Nikias,
Did I miss something? I wasn't aware the SWA was selling these things.
her objective seemed simple enough: be a worthy warrior so Nikias could have recognition.
This sets up an interesting dynamic with regard to both of their motivation.
You may have covered the majority of costs on parts,
Is this a sort of joint venture with the Greek government?

Continuing...on to your new chapter...

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by theprodigalson on Sat 19 Feb 2011 - 2:11

Professor Voodoo wrote:
At great expense to Nikias,
Did I miss something? I wasn't aware the SWA was selling these things.

I covered it in his bio and the Prologue...which evidently never got posted. Huh...
Anyways, to summarize: Nikias' mother (who is Italian) used her family's political sway to get him a job as an analyst in Section One. Once he heard of the cyborgs, he tried to transfer into the handler program and was promptly declined. Enter mom again to save the day. She essentially gets him the job by promising a steady flow of legitimate "charity" donations from their company to the SWA's public face. A prospect I thought would be tantalizing to the SWA's already strained budget which (I would think) is mostly from the government and mostly shady. While this gets him the job, it also pisses off the majority of the current staff who, like you said, are angry that the higher ups are basically selling cyborgs.

I realize I might be stretching the believable to get him here, but I'm going to stand by my vision and let the story be my judge.

You may have covered the majority of costs on parts,
Is this a sort of joint venture with the Greek government?[/quote]

Mom got him into Section 2, but he still had to start unloading his inheritance to actually get Anastasia.

Thanks for the comments Voodoo!

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Professor Voodoo on Sat 19 Feb 2011 - 2:28

Okay, I'm sure you did explain that but it's been a while and there's lots of OC's to keep track of!
theprodigalson wrote:I realize I might be stretching the believable to get him here, but I'm going to stand by my vision and let the story be my judge.
It is believable...especially since you've set Nikias up as kind of a self-important jerk. I imagine the overlying theme of your story will be the shared personal growth of he & Ana.

Personally I think there are no ideas that are too far out as long as the story is good enough to stand up under the weight of an unorthodox idea.

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Alfisti on Sat 19 Feb 2011 - 2:58

theprodigalson wrote:Chapter 3 is finally up. And only 2 months after my last one!
You're still faster than I generally am so...

Anastasia stood in the doorway to room 113.
Unlucky first-floor-thirteen? Or just a reflection on how far along the build-line she is? I note you've lumped the 2nd gen girls in with the 1st Gen crowd, unusual as most seem to seperate them. Not bad, but just noting.

I take it by the rest of the paragraph though that she's yet to get a room mate?

Short indentations on both walls served as closets; a few changes of clothes similar to what she had on hung in each.
Nikias' choosing? Or Agency standard issue?

I've always wondered what the girls do for clothes during the first few weeks before they can be safely taken off-compound to shop. I guess it depends on the handler, but imagine that the SWA has a certain amount of standard issue it can give out as well.

It took no more than three steps to cross the entire span of the room.
I guess this is probably the first real hint we get to her unusual size, the SWA's cyborg accomodations are built on a different scale. If you'd not already noted that the bed was a twin I'd picture her sleeping with her feet hanging off the end.

The air was stale; undisturbed. No living thing used this space.
Snap, but an interesting commentary on her state of mind.

I can't remember, but have you actually published any of Ana's history?

His boyish excitement at seeing her showcase her cyborg shooting skills vanished as soon as she took aim.
I take it no-one's informed Nikias that cyborgs generally need a shakedown period... or did he get told but just not hear it? Going by his actions later it seems to be sinking in. On the flipside, going by his interactions with the medical mob, I wouldn't be suprised if some people hadn't told him through simple spite.

The last thing she needed was for everyone to think she was crazy.
Bianchi: Don't worry, we have a good shrink for that.

“Fine. I’m going to run ahead and warn Henrietta though. She will have
an aneurysm if we show up with a new person and she doesn’t have enough
chairs.”
Can't help but think that 'Etta would be the ultimate Bridezilla if she ever had the chance.

The thing couldn’t even hold a spoon without griping it in a fist. He
dropped a fortune on a defunct piece of crap and he seriously doubted
the Italian government had a very generous return policy on its
cybernetic assassins.
Good choice of wording for Nikias.

Jean: No we don't do returns, but the warranty covers pretty much everything you'll ever need.

The fratello had taken on a job to pick up a mafia contact and failed.
Good shoutout to canon.

“Good evening. I don’t believe we have had a chance to meet. I’m Nikias Stavropoulos. I'm a new Handler."
Enjoyed Nikia's change of tone now that he's found someone he wants on his side. I also take it from the slight stiltedness that he's not used to speaking like that. Razz

"Sorry 'Etta. When we found the guy I had to off her too."
For me, this is the best line in the whole chapter. For those unfamiliar with the franchise it helps cement the role of the Agency and the mindset of the cyborgs.

Ana found herself smiling at Henrietta’s weak attempts to defend her
bashfulness. “Don’t worry about it. I made it here so it’s fine. So, is
this everyone? I thought there would be more cyborgs when I saw the
building.”

Claes raised an eyebrow, “Unfortunately, this is all we could manage on such short notice. I hope we did not offend?”
Yep, that one worked. Wink

Ana was abruptly aware of how much bigger she was than the others.
This is the first time she's seen any of the other cyborgs isn't it? I know you were planning on playing on Ana's size as part of her character, but I was looking forward to seeing how you were going to utilize that. Nicely played.

Claes casually moved her chair aside to avoid Rico’s flailing limbs. “Henrietta, how about some tea?”
Good close to an excellent chapter.

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by theprodigalson on Sat 19 Feb 2011 - 20:02

Alfisti wrote:Anastasia stood in the doorway to room 113.
Unlucky first-floor-thirteen? Or just a reflection on how far along the build-line she is? I note you've lumped the 2nd gen girls in with the 1st Gen crowd, unusual as most seem to seperate them. Not bad, but just noting.
Random number selection. If the SWA has a rooming system then I didn't bother writing it. If there was anything I wanted the reader to think, it would be "Unlucky room number..."

I didn't see any reason to keep the groups separate. Ana is early enough in the Gen 2 line that I think the girls would still be feeling each other out. Or at the very least, Triela would on a whim.

I take it by the rest of the paragraph though that she's yet to get a room mate?
Yeah. I decided it suited my interests to isolate her. For now.

Short indentations on both walls served as closets; a few changes of clothes similar to what she had on hung in each.
Nikias' choosing? Or Agency standard issue?

I've always wondered what the girls do for clothes during the first few weeks before they can be safely taken off-compound to shop. I guess it depends on the handler, but imagine that the SWA has a certain amount of standard issue it can give out as well.[/quote]
I'd say the handler picks and if they didn't care then one of the support staff. In my case, Nikias is hands on enough that he stocked the closet.

I can't remember, but have you actually published any of Ana's history?
No. I intend to do a "bonus footage" bit here soon, much the same way Voodoo did Marisa's.

His boyish excitement at seeing her showcase her cyborg shooting skills vanished as soon as she took aim.
I take it no-one's informed Nikias that cyborgs generally need a shakedown period... or did he get told but just not hear it? Going by his actions later it seems to be sinking in. On the flipside, going by his interactions with the medical mob, I wouldn't be suprised if some people hadn't told him through simple spite.
I took a page from canon for this one. Raballo had to be told later that Claes would need some time to adjust. Couple this with Nikias' history in Section 1 (whom we know to be ignorant of the cyborgs humanity from the Elsa arc) and I saw him expecting an almost robotic super-soldier right off the line.

“Good evening. I don’t believe we have had a chance to meet. I’m Nikias Stavropoulos. I'm a new Handler."
Enjoyed Nikia's change of tone now that he's found someone he wants on his side. I also take it from the slight stiltedness that he's not used to speaking like that. Razz
The stiltedness would be writer error. Greasy conversation is something that has always been a part of his life. I want him to be good at it.

"Sorry 'Etta. When we found the guy I had to off her too."
For me, this is the best line in the whole chapter. For those unfamiliar with the franchise it helps cement the role of the Agency and the mindset of the cyborgs.
Honestly, I penned all the dialogue relating to "the difficult thing Triela did today" at the last minute and tossed it in, so I'm glad it came across well. Like you said, I wanted to show the lack of conscience cyborgs have. I expect Hillshire, as an ex-cop, isn't in the business of killing Grandma's so it would be tough on him.

Claes raised an eyebrow, “Unfortunately, this is all we could manage on such short notice. I hope we did not offend?”
Yep, that one worked. Wink
Thanks again to the Chatbox Advisory Committee Wink

Ana was abruptly aware of how much bigger she was than the others.
This is the first time she's seen any of the other cyborgs isn't it? I know you were planning on playing on Ana's size as part of her character, but I was looking forward to seeing how you were going to utilize that. Nicely played.
Thank you. I'm sure she saw others as she made her way around the compound, but was probably too distracted to think about appearances.

Claes casually moved her chair aside to avoid Rico’s flailing limbs. “Henrietta, how about some tea?”
Good close to an excellent chapter.
Cheers!
Thanks for the comments!

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Faye: "You really believe that?"
Jet: "I'm trying to. Real hard."
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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Officer_Charon on Sat 19 Feb 2011 - 21:16

I am SO digging the way this is going! Fantastic work with Anastasia, dealing with her insecurities as she feels her way through everything, and I think Nikias is going to be a great character, whichever way you end up taking him. He's either going to redeem himself, or Ana is going to redeem him - it's even odds either way, to me. *grins*

Looking forwards to more!

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Professor Voodoo on Sun 20 Feb 2011 - 1:52

Okay...Chapter 3:


The dying light cast the room in a somber color that matched her mood. She ran her fingers across the table, feeling faintly soothed by the smooth sensation. A hint of lemon scented furniture cleaner tickled her nose, but it was just a mask. The air was stale; undisturbed. No living thing used this space.
Good opener...it really conveys the feeling of loneliness & uncomfortable silence.
Nikias had her attempt a simple qualifier course to get a feel for the weapon. His boyish excitement at seeing her showcase her cyborg shooting skills vanished as soon as she took aim.
Should have read the manual, Nikias. Your new cyborg may require some calibration.
really the program was to teach her mind how to control her body. That was how Nikias explained it anyway.
Okay...maybe he did read the manual. In spite of his disappointment at her lack of perfection he's making the right choices to get her up to speed.
Other cyborgs must not struggle so much on their first day.
Oh how little ye know, Ana!
I’m going to run ahead and warn Henrietta though. She will have an aneurysm if we show up with a new person and she doesn’t have enough chairs.”
I'm not the first to mention it but this has got to be the best line in the chapter!
“Nah.” muttered Anastasia, still trying to sound casual, “I was just relaxing.
Freaking out while relaxing. Cyborgs can multi-task.
Nikias stood by his Volkswagen Scirocco
A curious choice for a handler whose Mother had the resources to buy his way into Section Two. That said it's actually a pretty good choice. What generation Scirocco did you have in mind?
They both wore nice clothes, but where he was ridged and serious she was casual and at ease.
Did you perhaps mean rigid?
Nikias finally remembered where he had seen them before. Before he became a handler, Nikias had a job as an intelligence analyst in Public Safety Section One. The fratello had taken on a job to pick up a mafia contact and failed.
A clever call-back to the Mario Bossi incident.
“Victor Hillshire,” he said, ignoring Nikias’ hand, “I know you.” His voice held an edge of hostility Nikias took note of.
So Nikias' reputation precedes him. It makes me wonder how the other handlers will treat his cyborg.
A girl with a quiet voice was speaking in a conversational tone “So Jose’ said we can go back again next weekend to try the strawberries.”
I'm assuming she's speaking on the telephone?
The nearest to Ana was a dainty, almond-haired girl with a bobbed haircut wearing a long, straight red dress over a white turtleneck. Across from her sat a girl with glasses in light gray leggings and a thick purple sweater that looked like it had to itch like crazy. On the lower bunk bed sat another girl Ana had at first glance taken for a boy. Her short blond hair was disheveled, like she had been sleeping until just a moment ago. She wore a pair of blue jeans and a simple red tee shirt with a thin white stripe across the chest.
A note; describing what each girl was wearing all in the same paragraph reads a little like a list. It might flow better if that information was spread out a little over the whole scene.
“Sorry girls, but I have got to get these shoes off. My feet are killing me.”

“Better here than in our room.” muttered Claes, earning her a withering look from Triela.
Cyborg sense of smell has its disadvantages...now we know why Beatrice never had a room mate.
He was a young local boy and some sweet old lady was hiding him. She made some amazing chocolate chip cookies.

"Did you get her cookie recipe?" Henrietta asked cheerily.

"Sorry 'Etta. When we found the guy I had to off her too."
Section Two gives no quarter...even to little old ladies. A terrifically chilling exchange that says so much about cyborgs and their conditioning. You handled it with subtlety too.
“Let me check my PDA for the latest on where everyone is!”

Claes closed her eyes and crossed her legs “Chiara is in Milan, Beatrice is the active reserve cyborg this week, Silvia is on vacation, Rico is the inactive reserve, Angelica is going through another round of tests, you, of course, are active and will likely be redeployed in the next day or so...”
I know she's technically mechanical but I'm surprised Claes didn't cop an attitude about being called "my PDA."
“And it’s all my fault! I knew it was cold out but I asked to go on a picnic anyways and then it rained and it was cold and I slipped and dropped all the dishes and...and…”
The classic Henrietta freak-out...it never gets old! Rico's flute/flu line is cute too.
Ana was abruptly aware of how much bigger she was than the others.
That's an interesting choice. It would make sense for the SWA to vary the physical attributes of their girls...and now the cyborg choir finally has a contralto (the deepest classical female singing voice).

I'm enjoying it a lot, prodigal...your characters are both unique and you've worked cyborg idiosyncrasies & capabilities into the story well. Hope we don't have to wait 2 more moths for the next installment!

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by ChaosKin640 on Sun 20 Feb 2011 - 5:46

Your new cyborg may require some calibration.
Jacob: And be damned thankful if that's all it takes to fix her, too.
Oh how little ye know, Ana!
Melanie: Oh, I swear to God, don't even get me started on horrible first days!
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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by theprodigalson on Mon 21 Feb 2011 - 17:43

Thanks Officer! Its a big boost to get feedback from some of my favorite authors around here.

Professor Voodoo wrote:Okay...Chapter 3:
Nikias stood by his Volkswagen Scirocco
A curious choice for a handler whose Mother had the resources to buy his way into Section Two. That said it's actually a pretty good choice. What generation Scirocco did you have in mind?
I'm afraid my car choice (like my weapon choices) are courtesy of Cyborg Central's vast knowledge base, and not my own. The recommendations were based off Nikias' practical personality. He is wealthy, but actually has some contempt for it rather than having earned it. All will be revealed in time.

They both wore nice clothes, but where he was ridged and serious she was casual and at ease.
Did you perhaps mean rigid?
No...he was..um...ridge-like.
...
...
edited...Embarassed

A girl with a quiet voice was speaking in a conversational tone “So Jose’ said we can go back again next weekend to try the strawberries.”
I'm assuming she's speaking on the telephone?
She was talking to Claes who was doing her best to pretend to be listening. Was it unclear? Or did you mean because he is sick?

The nearest to Ana was a dainty, almond-haired girl with a bobbed haircut wearing a long, straight red dress over a white turtleneck. Across from her sat a girl with glasses in light gray leggings and a thick purple sweater that looked like it had to itch like crazy. On the lower bunk bed sat another girl Ana had at first glance taken for a boy. Her short blond hair was disheveled, like she had been sleeping until just a moment ago. She wore a pair of blue jeans and a simple red tee shirt with a thin white stripe across the chest.
A note; describing what each girl was wearing all in the same paragraph reads a little like a list. It might flow better if that information was spread out a little over the whole scene.
Edited to this:
Spoiler:
Henrietta stood and dropped into a practiced curtsy, “A pleasure to meet you, Ana.” The dainty, almond-haired girl had a bobbed haircut and wore a long, bright red dress over a white turtleneck. The picture of a little lady.

Claes closed a book she had been reading and smiled pleasantly, “Greetings, Anastasia.” She wore light gray leggings and a thick purple sweater that looked like it had to itch like crazy. Even more confusing was the pair of glasses adorning her face. It made her look very sophisticated and all, but seemed unnecessary for a girl with cybernetic eyes.

Rico just smiled happily and chirped a simple “Hello!” Her short blond hair was disheveled, like she had been sleeping until just a moment ago. She wore a pair of blue jeans and a simple red t-shirt with a thin white stripe across the chest.


I'm enjoying it a lot, prodigal...your characters are both unique and you've worked cyborg idiosyncrasies & capabilities into the story well. Hope we don't have to wait 2 more moths for the next installment!
Thanks! Hopefully I will deliver. The next chapter is more or less planned out, its just a matter of getting on paper in a timely fashion...


ChaosKin640 wrote:Melanie: Oh, I swear to God, don't even get me started on horrible first days!
I'm pretty sure Melanie has the market cornered on that one...
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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by theprodigalson on Sat 23 Apr 2011 - 3:15

In writing my next segment, I realized this bit needed to be released before the end of the last chapter in order for the passage of time to be clearer. sweat

So I figured I'd release it now as a preamble to my next chapter. I'm going to have to do some reordering, but it will slip in somewhere before the closing scene of the girls tea party.

Spoiler:
Nikias set one of the two steaming cups of coffee he held in front of Hillshire. “Thank you. You did not have to do this. They offer free coffee in the lounge back at the compound.” The stoic German prepared the drink to his evidently bland tastes as Nikias took a seat across from him.

The younger man scowled as he sweetened his own cup, “I wouldn’t be making a very good first impression if I offered you tar, now would I?”
“I don’t think that’s very fair,” Hillshire said with a shrug, “I rather find it to my liking.”

Well this was a fantastic start. Hillshire was obviously in a bad mood. Nikias couldn’t afford to be too prickly. “Too each their own, I suppose.”

Hillshire took a sip of his drink and set it down, “You said there is something you needed advice on?”

Nikias was ready for the question. Asking for advice was just a ploy to get the man to talk to him, but he had plenty of time to think of what to say. “Right. As you know, today was Anastasia’s first day.”

“I was aware it would be soon, though, somehow, I did not know it was today.” said Hillshire in a slightly sarcastic tone. The man seemed determined to be an arse.

“Well, it was today.” said Nikias, his pleasant façade starting to wear thin.

“I’m afraid to say her results were…unimpressive.”

“Results? What did you have her do?”

Nikias bristled somewhat. Did he have to sound so surprised? “Nothing difficult. I took her to the range, where she embarrassed me, then the outdoor course, where she nearly damaged herself, then-“ Hillshire cut him off with a low chuckle. Nikias felt his cheeks turn red as he asked, “What’s so funny?”

Hillshire shook his head, “This is what you had to ask me? Nikias, they make a manual precisely for things like this.”

“I know that, and I read it too.” It was mostly true. He’d gotten several pages in, but it was about as gripping a read as an expense report. To top it off, Manchester United and Chelsea were just starting to heat up in a grudge match that ended up going to a shoot-out. Fantastic game. “It clearly laid out their physical capabilities and said the Cyborgs are pre-programmed with an intimate knowledge of modern weaponry.”

Intimate knowledge is not the same as experience.” Hillshire explained, “For example: I could tell you all there is to know about driving a car. You could memorize every word. But the moment you touch that wheel and press those pedals it will seem as though you know nothing. It is the same with the girls, perhaps even harder. It takes time, Nikias.”

“As for her physical capabilities,” Hillshire continued, ”break the leg of a professional athlete and even after the cast comes off it will be some time before they regain their former ability. The transformation the cyborgs go through is far more intense than a simple broken bone. Try giving her a hobby. Something that makes her use her hands to build her confidence. Start simple, but encourage fine muscle control. Many handlers give their girl an instrument of some kind.” Hillshire paused a moment to wince at some forgotten pain, “Though, I would avoid the violin. I don’t know if the compound could endure the learning curve again…”

He stood without so much as a glance at the unfinished cup of coffee before him. “I thank you for the drink, however I must cut our little meeting short. I need to get some rest if I am to function tomorrow. I hope you will take my advice to heart before judging Anastasia too harshly. This has proven to be an…enlightening encounter.” With that, he turned on his heel and left Nikias to consider his words alone.

The coffee grew cold as Nikias mulled over his thoughts. Hillshire made some solid points, though the proud Greek was too annoyed by his condescending tone to admit it openly. Still, it was enough for him to give Anastasia a few more days. What would he give her to “build her confidence”, though? An instrument didn‘t really suit him.

“Worse than a broken bone, huh?” Nikias mumbled to himself. He understood this point all too well. Once, as a teenager, he took a large fall while on a hike with some friends. He must have fallen ten meters straight down before landing on a not-so-soft rock. His legs hit at an angle and immediately kicked outwards - doing almost nothing to lessen the impact as he came down flat on his ass. The result was a badly cracked pelvis. It was far and away the most painful thing he had ever experienced.

Recovery was no better. For weeks he was laid out in his bed. Sitting was impossible, and he could only stand long enough to limp to the bathroom. It was months before he could function properly again. The boredom was the worst part. During this time, his favorite tutor had cheered him by bringing-

Nikias went rigid. A smile crept across his face as the memory became an idea, and then a plan. “I gotta build her confidence, right Victor?” he laughed, loud enough to draw funny looks from the few patrons in the coffee shop, “I doubt you’ve ever said anything more appropriate.”

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Faye: "You really believe that?"
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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Alfisti on Sat 23 Apr 2011 - 9:10

Heh, I was wondering how that little encounter was going to go down...

theprodigalson wrote:Intimate knowledge is not the same as experience.”
Amen.

“Though, I would avoid the violin. I don’t know if the compound could endure the learning curve again…”
Got a laugh out of that line. Etta, or someone else? Or a combination...

This has proven to be an…enlightening encounter.
I take it that this is one party with which Nikias has emphaticly not made a good first impression...

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 23 Apr 2011 - 9:44

Well Kara can hold her own, now, but I expect that for a time it sounded like one of the local alley cats was being gutted by her to make more string. sweat

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Alfisti on Sat 23 Apr 2011 - 10:08

Kiskaloo wrote:Well Kara can hold her own, now, but I expect that for a time it sounded like one of the local alley cats was being gutted by her to make more string.
Monty: Yet another good reason to stay away.

What can Monty play you ask?

She can play CDs Wink

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by theprodigalson on Sat 23 Apr 2011 - 12:36

It was said with 'Etta in mind, but I left it vague as a sort of catch-all. As someone who, after a little under a year at it, still sounds rough when learning a new song on the violin I can imagine how much worse it would be with a cyborg. I see Jean scheduling interrogations in the room next door during practice times.


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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by theprodigalson on Thu 2 Jun 2011 - 1:20

Here it is, two months later.

I hope my writing is improving - I know I have a long way to go but this is something I very much want to get better at. I think I can learn a lot just from the comments around here. That said, this is not a solicitation for commenting - no one has to comment on these stories and the fact that it always seems to happen in a critical but supportive fashion is greatly appreciated by this amateur writer.

All this may be a bit pretentious before I actually get any comments so I better get this rolling Razz

Help me improve!


Chapter 4: ...Newer Enemies.

Spoiler:
Ana pulled her boot laces tight and breathed a sigh of relief. She used the back of her forearm to clear the beads of sweat that dotted her brow. For nearly twenty minutes she had been dropping laces, fumbling loops, and tying her fingers into the knots. Those same fingers always felt so fat when she tried to do anything delicate.

It had been a stroke of luck the day before when Nikias decided to go to the hall before she had to tie them in front of him. She’d simply pulled the stings as tight as she dared, tucked the excess into her boots, and spent the rest of the day with her toes curled in a grip that could bend iron. The thought of him knowing she couldn’t tie her own shoes on top of all that had happened yesterday was unbearable. But, for today at least, she now had tightly tied boots. Ana stomped her feet a few times, enjoying the snug feeling made all the more wonderful by her titanic effort.

The small closet in her new home didn’t offer much by way of inspiration. Plain greens, blacks, and grays mostly, broken only by various camouflage combinations for shirts, and jeans or cargo pants. She selected a pair and swapped out the white undershirt she wore to bed for a long-sleeved black one and pulled a clean vegetata camo shirt over it. It was poor armor against the cool of a late Italian autumn, but it was a sight better than what she had the day before, and it appeared to be the warmest selection she had. A leather belt and her knife completed the outfit.

The clock said it was still early, and Nikias didn’t say when he would be by. The minutes dragged on as she sat on her bed, listening to silence. One hand idly fingered the hilt of her knife. It wasn’t long before it was out of it’s sheathe and turning in her hands. She ran the edge between her thumb and forefinger, treading the line between the smooth steel and the sharpness of the blade.

As she held the weapon, an almost compulsory urge to use it wormed its way into her mind until her fingers itched. She shook her head to resist the desire. It was a childish thing to want: standing in one’s room and swinging a weapon at nothing. Still…it wasn’t her fault there was nothing else to do. As long as no one saw her…

After taking a moment to close the curtains, Ana stood in the center of the room. She spread her feet apart and thrust the knife through the air several times. Color flooded her cheeks when she thought of how foolish she must look, but the curtains were drawn. No one could see her anyway. Besides, those few thrusts had her blood flowing .

Before she knew it Ana was slashing the air in a whirlwind of cuts, thrusts and back-slashes. She sliced tendons, punctured vital organs, and perforated arteries in an endless assault on invisible opponents. It occurred to her suddenly how embarrassing it would be to get caught acting like this. Which is why the knock at her door caused her to spin so violently.

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The knock sounding in a moment of doubt; the span of a single thought, loosened her grip just enough for a startled spin to send the blade soaring through the air in a beautiful throw Ana could never hope to accomplish again. With a solid *thunk* the knife planted itself deep in the center of the door.

If the person knocking on the door cried out in alarm, Ana never heard it. In a flash she was at the door with one thing on her mind: Nikias. If she just threw a knife at her handler…

The door flew open in a rush and Ana breathed a sigh of relief: it wasn’t Nikias. Instead, a pretty blond-haired woman stood with her back to the wall, one armed raised defensively and a look of shock on her face.

“I’m so sorry!” Ana blurted, “Are you ok? I was just…I was swinging it around and then it slipped, and…are you ok?”

The woman smiled weakly and waved it off with a shake of her head, “I’m fine. Really. Don’t worry about it.” She idly scratched her left forearm and looked at the floor reflectively
“Accidents tend to happen around here…”

With a shake of her head to break the reverie the woman calmly strode to the door and pulled out the knife. She rolled the blade across her fingers and presented it to Ana with an impressive flourish. “Looks like some things you never forget.” she said with a proud wink. “Do you know who I am?”

Ana felt her whole body relax. “Priscilla Meleori, Logistics Support. Eyes: Brown. Hair: Blonde. Height: 167 centimeters. Weight-“

“Ohhh-k,” Priscilla interjected, “that’s enough.” She furrowed her brow in consternation, “They told me I was going to be added to the initial conditioning, but I think this is a bit much…”

Ana felt woozy as she sheathed her knife. Calling up information she didn’t remember learning was going to take some getting used to.

“And what is your name?” Asked Priscilla cheerfully.

“Anastasia. But you can call me Ana. It’s very nice to meet you ma’am.”

Priscilla beamed, “It’s very nice to meet you too, Ana. Did you sleep well?”

“Yes ma’am. Triela and Claes invited me for tea at Henrietta and Rico’s room. I was pretty beat by the time I got back.”

“Well aren’t they sweet?” Priscilla peeked around Ana, into her room, “Do you like your place? One of the best views in the building if you ask me.”

Ana hadn’t really noticed. “Yes ma’am. It’s very nice.”

“Do you mind if I take a look at something Ana?”

Ana was surprised, but stepped out of the way to let Priscilla in. She went right to the closet and surveyed the contents. Almost immediately she was clicking her tongue and shaking her head. “I told them this would happen.” She parted the hangers and shuffled through the entirety of the closet, apparently without finding anything satisfactory. After more head-shaking and some incoherent mumbles, she made her way to the drawers and checked them as well, ending with a huff, “No imagination. Some handlers just aren‘t cut out to buy clothes for girls.” She rambled on about how simple men could be, but Ana barely heard her. Nikias picked these clothes for me?

The realization was cut short by a strong and familiar voice from behind, “A beautiful woman could always try to fix me.”

Ana started at her Handler’s voice. Nikias was leaning against the door frame with his arms crossed and a smug smile on his face. She’d been so engrossed with Priscilla, that she hadn’t noticed him arrive.

“Know anyone who might be interested?” he asked lustily.

Priscilla raised an eyebrow and answered with a simple yet stern “No.” She then turned to Ana and smiled in the same way she had been before Nikias‘ arrival, “It was very nice meeting you Ana. There’s a lot to do and I’m sure Nikias wants to get started training you. I look forward to working with you!” With that, she left the room, sparing a moment for another cold glance at Nikias and made her way down the hall. He made no move as she slipped past him. The same smile stayed on his face as he stared after her until she was out of earshot, “I hate to see her leave, but I love to watch her go.”

That a strange thing to say. The two things obviously to contradicted each other. She wanted to ask how he could feel both, but chose to stay quiet in case the question made her look dumb. Maybe she would ask Claes later. Claes seemed to know things, and she already thought Ana was dumb anyway.

Nikias turned back to Ana and tossed her a small box. “Here.”

She caught it and flipped it around to examine the face. A picture of an angular toy space shuttle with an equally ridged looking astronaut adorned the front of the box. LEGO read big white letters on a red background. “Sir? What is this?”

“That is what you will be doing every night before you go to bed until its done. You might not understand right now, but it's important that you take this seriously. That may be a toy but I want you to treat it like work. It’s a simple one so I don’t expect you to take too long."

"Thank you sir!" Ana practically shouted. It felt good to get something from her handler, even if she didn't know why.

Nikias beckoned her to follow him with a jerk of his head, “Come on. Lets get you something to eat.”



A half hour later, Ana found herself enjoying a hot plate of food across from her handler, who’s mood had improved considerably from the night before. His legs were crossed and kicked up on the long table they had all to themselves as he leaned back in his chair. He was acting more like he did when she first met him - confident and in control. He did look over his shoulder whenever the door opened, though, which seemed strange to Ana. She decided to make conversation to get a better idea of how he was feeling, “Aren’t you hungry sir? Do you want me to get you a plate?”

He waved her off, “No. I already ate. Go ahead and enjoy yourself.”

She returned to spearing her food with her fork (she didn’t bother trying to hold the damn thing right) and tried to think of another thing to say. Nothing came to mind. Nikias didn’t seem bothered by the silence, but Ana knew there was something she had to say. It was time to quit putting it off. “I…um…”

“Hm?” Nikias grunted curiously.

Ana clutched her fork tightly in a fist and mustered her courage, “I want to say I’m sorry.”

“For?” His face was straight and his eyes betrayed no emotion as he stared at her, but she could feel the disappointment burning through her skin.

“For screwing up so big yesterday.” She shook her head and hung it in shame, “The other cyborgs last night told me that it was ok, that they all had a tough time at first too, but that’s just an excuse. You wanted more from me and I didn’t have it and I’m sorry.” It all came out in a rush. Once she started, Ana found she couldn’t stop until her heart was poured out, “I’ll work hard though! I’ll do whatever it takes to prove that I’m worthy, just like you said!”

Nikias’ face was impassive for what seemed like hours. Finally, a smile began to curl at the edges of his lips. Before Ana knew it, he was smiling broadly and chuckling at her outburst. She didn’t know whether to be glad or offended by this reaction. “Good girl, very good.” he said at last.

“You…aren’t mad?” she asked cautiously.

“Not at all! I know all about the difficulties of using your cyborg parts for the first time. Thats why I got you the LEGO's - to help you along. There was nothing wrong with your performance. It was all just a test really.”

“A test?”

“Absolutely. Sure, I wanted to see how you did - you never know when you could have a natural on your hands, after all. More importantly though, I needed you too see how tough the road ahead was going to be. You have to understand how much work its going to take, not just to do well, but to excel.”

Ana could hardly believe what she was hearing. She had spent a whole day and night in self-deprecating agony for a test?

Almost as if he could hear her thoughts, Nikias continued, “I’m sorry I had to do it to you this way. It was unfair, I know. But I had to be sure of your answer; your will. And I must say: I couldn’t be prouder of how quickly you reached this point. Its only been a day and already you want to hold yourself to a higher standard!”

Ana positively beamed. It felt like the sun was shining on her face for the first time in her whole life. She returned to eating her food, trying to think of another thing to say when he spoke again instead, “Did I hear Priscilla call you ‘Ana’ earlier?”

“Yes sir!” she chirped, eager to tell him about last night’s events, “Some of the other cyborgs had me over for a welcoming party. Triela picked the name for me. Even though she said Anastasia was a very pretty name, and I think so too, it was a little long to be saying all the time. So, she shortened it to ‘Ana’ like the Americans would.”

As if by summons, Triela walked into the dining hall with a man Ana assumed to be her handler. She was actually aware this time as her Initial Recognition training kicked in. Victor Hillshire, Senior Handler. Height: 176 centimeters. Weight: 186 pounds. Eyes: green… She was getting used to the response now and could actually focus on going about her business while a monotone voice droned off information in the back of her mind.

Triela noticed her and gave a little smile with a wave that Ana returned much more boisterously. She was about to beckon her new friend over and introduce her to Nikias, when she caught a glimpse of his expression. His lounging position was the same, but the body language was completely different. A witheringly intense gaze was locked on Hillshire.

“Triela said that to you, did she?” he asked off-handedly, not really paying Ana much attention at all.

“Uh…yes sir, she did.” muttered Ana, sensing the tension in the question.

Hillshire looked to see who Triela was waving at and immediately frowned. He met Nikias’ gaze a few moments before leaning over and whispering something in Triela’s ear. She seemed confused by what he said, but nodded in understanding as he turned and left with his breakfast.

“Running away, are we?” Nikias growled while Ana picked at her food uncomfortably in an attempt to ignore the hostility. Triela, meanwhile, chose to honor Ana’s personal time with her handler and made her way over to where Henrietta sat with a pair of cyborgs Ana didn’t yet know. Ana was glad for it, at least until she could find out what was going on between their handlers.

“You know,” Nikias muttered heatedly as he watched Hillshire leave, “they call Triela the ’Princess’ of Section Two. She’s the best, or so they say.” Ana found herself completely taken in by his fiery gaze, her heart racing faster as his voice rose with each sentence, growing in strength like a whirlwind with each word. “But that was before we arrived. I want that title to belong to you. Well…maybe not ’Princess’…” he paused, breaking the spell for just a moment to make an important point to which Ana could only nod in total agreement, “But the title of ’Best’ will be yours for sure!”

“You finish up,“ he said abruptly as he stood, “I’m going to the bathroom then we’ll go get started.” Ana could only stare at her food as he left, trying to calm her pounding heart. She loved it when he talked like that. The conviction was exhilarating. Still, she knew what needed to be done next, and the prospect ruined her appetite.

Once Nikias entered the hallway where the restrooms were located, Ana slide her chair back and stood with a deep breath to steel her resolve. This was going to be hard. Every part of her body felt heavy for the short walk to where Triela sat on the corner of a short table. The elder cyborg was chatting happily with the other three when she saw Ana approaching.

“Good morning Ana!” Henrietta blurted before Triela could steal away the chance to introduce a new person, “We were just telling Silvia and Beatrice about meeting you last night. Guys, this is-”

“Triela.” Ana said sternly, cutting off Henrietta‘s enthusiastic greeting. The poor girl looked like she’d just been backhanded, but Ana couldn‘t afford to second guess herself now. “I hear you’re the best around here. The Princess of Section Two.”

“Huh? Who told you a thing like that?” she sounded annoyed but it was obvious she enjoyed the praise, “You’ve been talking to Amadeo, haven’t you?”

“Is it true?” Ana pressed.

Triela checked her ego and adopted a lecturing tone in defense of her younger counterparts, “Every cyborg is worth way more than their weight in Euros. We all have our own unique set of skills and-”

"Quit dancing around the subject.” Ana snapped, “Is it true or not?”

Triela was now obviously agitated, “I happen to have the highest success rate of any other cyborg, yes. But if I’m “the best” its just because I try hard to be that way. I also have the advantage of being around a lot longer than most of the other girls. It’s not fair to the effort and sacrifice of every cyborg in this compound to try and measure each individual’s success. What’s this about, Ana?”

Ana closed her eyes a moment before delivering her ultimatum. She had really been looking forward to being Triela’s friend. “That title will belong to me. I want to be the best. I have to be the best. Do you understand Triela? You’re my rival now.”

Triela’s face twisted into an infuriating mixture of confusion and amusement. After a long pause, her face split in a knowing smile. She looked at Ana askance, like they shared some secret and nodded her head, “Ahh ok. I get it now.” she said with a friendly wink, “We’re rivals from now on then, Ana. I expect nothing but your best!” Ana’s heart sank. She wasn’t getting it.
In one fluid motion Ana hooked her fingers under Triela’s tray and flung the cyborg’s breakfast into her lap. Lightning reflexes saved Triela from the worst of it, but a bit of omelet ran down her nice gray vest and a piece of bacon rebounded off her fine pants and landed on her polished shoe.

With the exception of those immediately around the altercation, the few other cyborgs in the room all froze to their seats in stunned silence. Beatrice still held her seat, an expression of muted interest on her face, but a horrified Henrietta and dumbfounded Silvia had leapt to their feet and now stood on their guard. Triela herself was obviously furious - her deep breaths made her whole body tremble in barely contained rage. Fortunately, there were no handlers present.

“Now do you get it?” Ana asked scornfully.

The older, wiser cyborg kept herself in check and chose to reply with simple “Yeah, I think I do.” but accompanied the confirmation with a look to tell this upstart she was out of her league. Bold as she was, Ana had to suppress the urge to swallow.

After waiting long enough to make it clear she wasn’t running away, she turned and made her way to the hall. Every eye in the room followed her and she had to fight to keep her pace slow and measured. Not until she was in the hall did she allow herself the luxury of breathing. Her heart was trying to beat its way out of her chest.

Her stomach was still reeling when Nikias came out of the restroom. “I didn’t mean for you to rush.” he said with a frown. “We have plenty of time.”

“I know,” Ana muttered sheepishly, “I’m just ready to get started.”

Nikias considered her a moment from the shadow of dark sunglasses before shrugging “Ok. Good enthusiasm, I guess. Let‘s go.”

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Professor Voodoo on Thu 2 Jun 2011 - 5:20

Chapter 4: ...Newer Enemies.
Saved; thoughts coming soon...

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by MP5 on Thu 2 Jun 2011 - 6:53

no turning back now for Ana...

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Alfisti on Thu 2 Jun 2011 - 8:06

I gotta admit, Ana's bit with the knife was giving me Apocalypse Now flashbacks Razz

Great stuff... added to my shamefully long list of things that need more indepth review.

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Professor Voodoo on Mon 6 Jun 2011 - 4:30

theprodigalson wrote: Chapter 4: ...Newer Enemies.
The thought of him knowing she couldn’t tie her own shoes on top of all that had happened yesterday was unbearable. But, for today at least, she now had tightly tied boots. Ana stomped her feet a few times, enjoying the snug feeling made all the more wonderful by her titanic effort.
With all the issues new cyborgs experience learning to tie their shoes I'm surprised the Agency doesn't catch on and invest in Velcro.

Side note; is there any example in canon of Henrietta wearing lace up shoes? All I've seen her in are boots & Mary-Janes employing buckles or slip-on loafers.
Before she knew it Ana was slashing the air in a whirlwind of cuts, thrusts and back-slashes. She sliced tendons, punctured vital organs, and perforated arteries in an endless assault on invisible opponents. It occurred to her suddenly how embarrassing it would be to get caught acting like this.
I'm sure she's not the only cyborg caught in the middle of doing something embarrassing.
Ana: I have a petition here, signed by every cyborg, requesting that we have locks placed on our doors.
Ferro: Is that so? (drops petition directly into the shredder)
The realization was cut short by a strong and familiar voice from behind, “A beautiful woman could always try to fix me.”

“Know anyone who might be interested?” he asked lustily.
Surprised Ana did not immediately decide Priscilla was a rival for her handler's attention...
A picture of an angular toy space shuttle with an equally ridged looking astronaut adorned the front of the box. LEGO read big white letters on a red background.
That's a clever idea to build dexterity & instruction following skills (Although everybody knows the first thing you do with LEGO's is throw out the instructions!)...but now she'll really need a lock on the door before the other girls see her "playing" with LEGO's every night.
She was getting used to the response now and could actually focus on going about her business while a monotone voice droned off information in the back of her mind.
At least she isn't blurting it out loud anymore.
“they call Triela the ’Princess’ of Section Two. She’s the best, or so they say.” ... I want that title to belong to you.
Whoa! Nikias is really messing with canon in his expectations...hasn't he read the manga?
“Huh? Who told you a thing like that?” she sounded annoyed but it was obvious she enjoyed the praise, “You’ve been talking to Amadeo, haven’t you?”
I thought Amadeo considered Britney the "best".
“I know,” Ana muttered sheepishly, “I’m just ready to get started.”
That's a great closer. Pushed into a rivalry she never wanted any part of Ana now knows she'd better get her shit together quick or Triela is going to bury her.
I'm interested in how such a rivalry would effect the social structure of the SWA dorm. Would the other girls automatically be loyal to their Senior Cyborg...making Ana a pariah...or would enough girls be resentful of Triela's status to rally to Ana...splitting the dorm into factions?
Intriguing possibilities both, Prodigal, I look forward to seeing how you play this one.


Last edited by Professor Voodoo on Mon 6 Jun 2011 - 4:53; edited 1 time in total

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by ChaosKin640 on Mon 6 Jun 2011 - 4:44

The thought of him knowing she couldn’t tie her own shoes on top of all
that had happened yesterday was unbearable. But, for today at least, she
now had tightly tied boots. Ana stomped her feet a few times, enjoying
the snug feeling made all the more wonderful by her titanic effort.
Melanie: Don't worry Ana, I know exactly how you feel. I could barely manage to put my own clothes on after first waking up.
With all the issues new cyborgs experience learning to tie their shoes
I'm surprised the Agency doesn't catch on and invest in Velcro.
Given the fact that the poor girls are probably too embarrassed to admit the fact to anyone, I'd hazard to guess that the Agency doesn't know there's even a problem.
I'm interested in how such a rivalry would effect the social structure
of the SWA dorm. Would the other girls automatically be loyal to their
Senior Cyborg...making Ana a pariah...or would enough girls be resentful
of Triela's status to rally to Ana...splitting the dorm into factions?
It would probably be a matter of age. The 1st Gen girls and early 2nd Gens like Petra would likely hold their loyalties to their venerable big-sister. The newer girls, maybe less familiar with Triela's exploits and accomplishments, might be more willing to, if not rally behind Ana, at least be more supportive of her efforts to excel.
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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by theprodigalson on Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 16:47

Professor Voodoo wrote:
The realization was cut short by a strong and familiar voice from behind, “A beautiful woman could always try to fix me.”

“Know anyone who might be interested?” he asked lustily.
Surprised Ana did not immediately decide Priscilla was a rival for her handler's attention...
I don't really want to play the jealous angle. I have a slightly different relationship in mind for this fratello.

Professor Voodoo wrote:
A picture of an angular toy space shuttle with an equally ridged looking astronaut adorned the front of the box. LEGO read big white letters on a red background.
That's a clever idea to build dexterity & instruction following skills (Although everybody knows the first thing you do with LEGO's is throw out the instructions!)...but now she'll really need a lock on the door before the other girls see her "playing" with LEGO's every night.

Ana:I'm serious! It's training! What's so funny?

Professor Voodoo wrote:
“Huh? Who told you a thing like that?” she sounded annoyed but it was obvious she enjoyed the praise, “You’ve been talking to Amadeo, haven’t you?”
I thought Amadeo considered Britney the "best".

Well, there's "The best" and then there's "THE BEST". Smile

Professor Voodoo wrote:
“I know,” Ana muttered sheepishly, “I’m just ready to get started.”
That's a great closer. Pushed into a rivalry she never wanted any part of Ana now knows she'd better get her shit together quick or Triela is going to bury her.
I'm interested in how such a rivalry would effect the social structure of the SWA dorm. Would the other girls automatically be loyal to their Senior Cyborg...making Ana a pariah...or would enough girls be resentful of Triela's status to rally to Ana...splitting the dorm into factions?
Intriguing possibilities both, Prodigal, I look forward to seeing how you play this one.

Thanks! I don't plan on doing anything too drastic though. I'm not really the type to push canon around.






ChaosKin640 wrote:
The thought of him knowing she couldn’t tie her own shoes on top of all that had happened yesterday was unbearable. But, for today at least, shenow had tightly tied boots. Ana stomped her feet a few times, enjoying the snug feeling made all the more wonderful by her titanic effort.
Melanie: Don't worry Ana, I know exactly how you feel. I could barely manage to put my own clothes on after first waking up.

I hope you didn't notice too many correlations with your own work Chaos. The difficulties with basic motor functions was something I wanted Ana to go through, and I read your stuff around the time Nikias and Ana were being conceived. I worried that I may have channeled you a bit .

Thanks alot for the comments!

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Alfisti on Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 17:11

theprodigalson wrote:
Professor Voodoo wrote:
A picture of an angular toy space shuttle with an equally ridged looking astronaut adorned the front of the box. LEGO read big white letters on a red background.
That's a clever idea to build dexterity & instruction following skills (Although everybody knows the first thing you do with LEGO's is throw out the instructions!)...but now she'll really need a lock on the door before the other girls see her "playing" with LEGO's every night.
Ana:I'm serious! It's training! What's so funny?
I've got friends who are almost 30 that still play with LEGO, so I love this idea. That said: first person to give their OC cyborg a 40k army to help build their dexterity and fine motor skills totally gets a cookie.

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Officer_Charon on Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 17:54

Alfisti wrote: I've got friends who are almost 30 that still play with LEGO, so I love this idea. That said: first person to give their OC cyborg a 40k army to help build their dexterity and fine motor skills totally gets a cookie.

.... Is it bad that I'd already been tossing this around in my head? Dammit, Alfisti! *grins*

Besides, all a 40k army will teach them, aside from some fine dexterity, is how to best drain the SWA's coffers.

Cyborg: Okay, so, I just finished my Ultrasmurfs Battle Company, my Iron Warriors army, a complete Battle Sisters preceptory AND a reinforced Death Korps of Krieg armored company with an attached Super-Heavy platoon... Time to start in on the alien races... Eldar first, I think....

Ferro: ;_;

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Your character
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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Professor Voodoo on Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 18:26

Alfisti wrote:I've got friends who are almost 30 that still play with LEGO, so I love this idea.

That said: first person to give their OC cyborg a 40k army to help build their dexterity and fine motor skills totally gets a cookie.
Monty's deep, dark secret? The unmarked box in the back of the Audi contains... (Voodoo slumps over on his keyboard with a curare dart in his neck)

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Alfisti on Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 18:28

Officer_Charon wrote:.... Is it bad that I'd already been tossing this around in my head? Dammit, Alfisti! *grins*

Besides, all a 40k army will teach them, aside from some fine dexterity, is how to best drain the SWA's coffers.
Strangely this doesn't really suprise me at all Razz

Don't forget any new battlecries they may pick up along the way as well...

...wait, does this mean we may be seeing an OC fratello out of you in the future as well?

Professor Voodoo wrote:
Alfisti wrote:That said: first person to give their OC cyborg a 40k army to help build their dexterity and fine motor skills totally gets a cookie.
Monty's deep, dark secret? The unmarked box in the back of the Audi contains... (Voodoo slumps over on his keyboard with a curare dart in his neck)
Umm... no. 'fraid not.

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by ChaosKin640 on Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 19:58

I hope you didn't notice too many correlations with your own work Chaos.
The difficulties with basic motor functions was something I wanted Ana
to go through, and I read your stuff around the time Nikias and Ana were
being conceived. I worried that I may have channeled you a bit .
Not a problem. The whole motor-control issue was never something I pictured as exclusive to Melanie. It just made sense that all of the girls would have some level of this issue to deal with when first waking up.
That said: first person to
give their OC cyborg a 40k army to help build their dexterity and fine
motor skills totally gets a cookie.
Not only that, but there's also the obvious advantage of using it to teach the girls better tactics and military strategy. Why do you think Lucy plays games like Starcraft 2? To that effect...

Ferro walks into one of the dormitory common rooms, finding several cyborgs crouched on the floor, which has been arrayed with several dozen tiny figurines arranged in battlefield formations.
Ferro: And what, may I ask, is goin on in here?
Marisa: We're taking the initiative and developing advanced tactics and strategies to use in battle in case the Earth is ever invaded by evil space trolls!
Ferro: ... ... ... I don't know why I even bother to ask these questions anymore.
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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Robert Frazer on Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 20:17

Suffice to say - and speaking from experience - you never want to give a Games Workshop hobbyist an expenses account. Crack is cheaper.

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Alfisti on Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 20:20

ChaosKin640 wrote:Not only that, but there's also the obvious advantage of using it to teach the girls better tactics and military strategy. Why do you think Lucy plays games like Starcraft 2?
Yeah... Enzo can keep telling himself that...

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Alfisti

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by ChaosKin640 on Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 21:13

Yeah... Enzo can keep telling himself that...
Lucy: Hey, shut up you! Do you have any idea the level of multitasking skills you need to be able to perform a 3-way army split in order to avoid a flanking ambush while simultaneously repelling a counter attack against your 5th expansion, maintaining proper unit production AND defending against drop-ship harassment at 2 separate locations? I'm getting so good that I could probably supervise and orchestrate five different battles at once. Give me a few squads of marines and a tank division and just watch them Padanians run!
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ChaosKin640

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Professor Voodoo on Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 21:41

ChaosKin640 wrote:
That said: first person to
give their OC cyborg a 40k army to help build their dexterity and fine
motor skills totally gets a cookie.
Ferro walks into one of the dormitory common rooms, finding several cyborgs crouched on the floor, which has been arrayed with several dozen tiny figurines arranged in battlefield formations.
Ferro: And what, may I ask, is goin on in here?
Marisa: We're taking the initiative and developing advanced tactics and strategies to use in battle in case the Earth is ever invaded by evil space trolls!
Ferro: ... ... ... I don't know why I even bother to ask these questions anymore.
It's a long stake-out...Jean is currently off watch getting some sleep, he gets up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom...in his bare feet.

*CRUNCH*

Jean: YeeeeeeOwwww!!! Godamnit! What the hell? Rico! Get your ass in here, NOW!

Rico: (sleepy, rubbing her eyes) What is it sir?

Jean: What is it? What the hell is all this mess!? (LEGO's cover the entire hallway)

Henrietta: We booby-trapped the floor, sir...in case the Padania attacked while we were sleeping!

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Robert Frazer on Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 21:47

Well, it's a fair cop. You've got to keep an eye on the budget, and Lego is cheaper than caltrops. More diverse applications, too.

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Alfisti on Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 21:52

Robert Frazer wrote:Well, it's a fair cop. You've got to keep an eye on the budget, and Lego is cheaper than caltrops.
I dunno mate, that stuff's not cheap... though I imagine standing on a Space Marine would be even more expensive, if no less painful.

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Alfisti

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Officer_Charon on Tue 7 Jun 2011 - 22:05

Alfisti wrote:
Robert Frazer wrote:Well, it's a fair cop. You've got to keep an eye on the budget, and Lego is cheaper than caltrops.
I dunno mate, that stuff's not cheap... though I imagine standing on a Space Marine would be even more expensive, if no less painful.

Depends if we're talking pewter, plastic, or the new resin "finecast" models...

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by ChaosKin640 on Wed 8 Jun 2011 - 4:33

Professor Voodoo wrote:
ChaosKin640 wrote:
That said: first person to
give their OC cyborg a 40k army to help build their dexterity and fine
motor skills totally gets a cookie.
Ferro walks into one of the dormitory common rooms, finding several cyborgs crouched on the floor, which has been arrayed with several dozen tiny figurines arranged in battlefield formations.
Ferro: And what, may I ask, is goin on in here?
Marisa: We're taking the initiative and developing advanced tactics and strategies to use in battle in case the Earth is ever invaded by evil space trolls!
Ferro: ... ... ... I don't know why I even bother to ask these questions anymore.
It's a long stake-out...Jean is currently off watch getting some sleep, he gets up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom...in his bare feet.

*CRUNCH*

Jean: YeeeeeeOwwww!!! Godamnit! What the hell? Rico! Get your ass in here, NOW!

Rico: (sleepy, rubbing her eyes) What is it sir?

Jean: What is it? What the hell is all this mess!? (LEGO's cover the entire hallway)

Henrietta: We booby-trapped the floor, sir...in case the Padania attacked while we were sleeping!

Hmm...so I'm guess that the "Home Alone" movies are another set on Ferro's insta-ban list then?
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ChaosKin640

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by theprodigalson on Wed 8 Jun 2011 - 11:08

Alfisti wrote:I've got friends who are almost 30 that still play with LEGO, so I love this idea. That said: first person to give their OC cyborg a 40k army to help build their dexterity and fine motor skills totally gets a cookie.

I would be lying if I said this idea wasn't born during one of my own painting sessions Very Happy .


ChaosKin640 wrote:Hmm...so I'm guess that the "Home Alone" movies are another set on Ferro's insta-ban list then?

Every movie after the first should be on the list anyways...

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Robert Frazer on Wed 8 Jun 2011 - 15:01

As a career officer, and one who probably had plenty of time to kill in stultifying empty actionless Purgatories like Cyprus, I can see Avise perhaps dabbling with the Grim Darkness of the Far Future and justifying it as a tactical planning exercise. One of the advantages of being a widower is that he hasn't got anyone to nag at him for all the money he's spending on toy soldiers...!

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Re: A Sword and a Scar

Post by Professor Voodoo on Wed 8 Jun 2011 - 16:00

Robert Frazer wrote:As a career officer, and one who probably had plenty of time to kill in stultifying empty actionless Purgatories like Cyprus, I can see Avise perhaps dabbling with the Grim Darkness of the Far Future and justifying it as a tactical planning exercise. One of the advantages of being a widower is that he hasn't got anyone to nag at him for all the money he's spending on toy soldiers...!
Re-creating historic battlefields seems like a hobby that would suit Avise's interests. I can not even calculate the amount of time & effort that must have gone into some of the dioramas on display at the West Point museum on the US Military Academy campus.

Knowing Avise however he might put his own personal spin on his creations...

Elio: Normally I would hesitate to challenge the veracity of your research, Mancini, but I do not recall the 10th Bersaglieri routing Commonwealth troops and driving them out of Egypt in 1941.

Avise: Artistic license, my friend...one of the benefits of this hobby is that I get to do it my way.

Agapita: Help me Mr. Alboreto! He made me help him paint every single feather on every single hat individually!

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