Bland Things

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Bland Things

Post by motorwaymurderer on Sat 5 Feb 2011 - 16:08

Bland Things

K-15, angst/tragedy/adventure/drama

After talking about "Bland Things" and having too much time, I've translated the first chapter. Before you read it, I'd like you to read this:
- "Bland Things" is a fanfiction made by motorwaymurderer. The original title is "Mitäänsanomattomat asiat".
- "Bland Things" was translated from Finnish into English and it means A LOT OF MISTAKES. Please, point them out and ask if you don't understand or say if something sounds funny. I'd also like to have a beta-reader so that the rest of readers wouldn't have to look at my mistakes. If you're willing to help me, please take contact.
- "Bland Things" is told in story arcs. First arc is named "Bland Eyes".
- If you want to know something, just ask. It's my pleasure to answer.


I Bland Eyes
1. Lidia

In reality, Paolo didn't want to take this job. As a matter of fact, he had wanted to take it but after seeing the cyborgs for the first time, he didn't want it anymore. Yes, he had always got along with children. If he had had time, he would have liked to start a family. Time just slipped away from his hands and that was the reason why he was here today.

The man had walked through the garden of SWA. Social Welfare Agency, he snorted in his mind. Nowadays they used too much shortened names and English. What was wrong with Italian? It was a fine language and everybody talked it. This had to be so-called globalization. The building in front of him was beautiful, just like a boarding school for little girls. Cyborgs weren't all little girls but it just made the impression even stronger. It felt almost pleasant. Paolo had enjoyed his little walk with Jean Croce, who was currently in charge of situation here. They hadn't talked much.

It was clearly settled beforehand. Paolo noticed it without problems. The first thing he learned about cyborgs was the lack of spontaneous thinking. A soldier was good if he obeyed and had brains. Spontaneous thinking, a feeling, made an excellent soldier. That was what the cyborgs didn't have. The first cyborg Paolo met was Alex. Despite of her name, Alex was a girl. It shouldn't have surprised him but it did anyway.

The girl stared at him with similar hollow eyes like all the cyborgs did. Jean talked little and the girl watched him after a while with her big empty eyes. So, Alex they said? Was this what his girl was supposed to be? A killing machine with bland eyes? No, not his cyborg. Those were the first thoughts Paolo had after meeting Alex.

His basic knowledge of Jean and Croce brother was so good that he had expected something else. Jean swore firmly in the fact that cyborgs should have boys' name. Blah, a little cute girl needed a fitting name. Like Aurora or Teresa. Paolo looked shortish and seemingly light girl in front of him. Despite of her boyish clothes, Alex looked like a girl. In Paolo's mind it was definitely positive thing.

”Nice to meet you Alex”, Paolo said and smiled. He stretched out his hand. Alex' eyes quickly rose up to watch what Jean said. Her eyes were asking for a permission, acceptance, an answer. This was the reason he didn't want this. He wanted. He had promised. What else could he do now? The girl was ready for him. He could treat her as a toy, a tool, an instrument.

And at the same time he knew, he wouldn't do that.

”Good afternoon, mister Gaolo”, the cyborg said after a while and smiled a smile that was almost convincing. Maybe he just wanted to suspect and make sure what was happening.

“I'm waiting for your cyborg to wake up”, Alex said. Paolo watched how her eyes moved from place to place without a break. After a certain while, her eyes returned to Jean. It would probably go like this. It was almost like an unsure child was staring father while trying to have his acceptance.

“So do I”, Paolo answered after a broad silence: “So do I, Alex. Aren't you a part of team that is specialized in silent missions? Assassinations and so on?” His words tasted bad.

“Yes, I am”, Alex smiled when she talked: “Rebecca and I are specialized in those. After Padania, it was wiser. We work a lot abroad.”

“Oh? Then it's good that my girl got ready now. She is able to see you before you'll leave again”, Paolo said. He heard how the girls words were learned. She answered without enthusiasm. Or maybe it was something else? Maybe time would change cyborgs so that they would act more like normal children. Maybe he'd got used to this. Maybe not.

(This was a good time to regret. Now the wisest thing to do was to regret. He didn't like changes, did he? Why would he have liked those nasty things? They always took more than gave. First, there was Marta, then name, brother and mother. What was he doing when he thought about taking care of a cyborg? He didn't get more than a job for ten years, maybe even less. And he'd get a child to whom he would love only to see her to die. What was this all?)

“Alex, you'd better go now”, Jean's voice fall from distance. Paolo noticed immediately that he had missed Alex' answer. Oh great, he was giving such a good impression about himself.

“She should wake up in few hours”, Jean said when Alex was running further.

“I apologize for being so absent”, Paolo said and groped his own hair: “I've met a cyborg only few times and those were while they were working. Now I'm watching this in a whole new way since there is Lidia.”

Silence.

“Rico was the third cyborg to be made”, Jean said. His voice was dragging the ground. Paolo knew. He read newspaper every morning. He knew how to count one plus one, but whatever Jean wanted. Those things were his.

“I didn't have experience. None of use had”, Jean took few steps forward. His face grew older when he talked. Every man had their wounds. Paolo would listen. He was good at getting people to talk. A leisure boy from county side always did.

“Sometimes I think I didn't treat Rico well. But she was happy”, the man continued when they got closer the white plastered research building. There would be his acid test. Paolo smiled uncertainly and waited for a moment. He was a man who was allowed to have his time to choose words.

“I think it was enough if she was happy”, he finally answered when Jean waved the key card in a scanner. The door opened without any sound. They walked into artificial lights and the serenity of hospitals. After the death of his mother,
Paolo had begin to avoid places like hospitals. Especially the smells and other weird things. In the country side everything was a bit more real. Jean didn't answer.

They walked through a corridor, fluorescent light, and silence. The doors were all made from metal and had a lock. Then there was special door. The door number 12.

“If you need help, just ask. We're right here”, Jean said.

“I think I don't need help with a sleepy girl”, Paolo laughed.

“I didn't mean only waking up”, Jean said, left and his steps echoed in the corridor. Paolo's gaze followed his back for a while before opening the door.

Fluorescent made his head ache.

oOo

A girl was sleeping curled in a bed. Paolo stared at her without making any sound. He hadn't chosen this girl by himself and knew almost nothing about the past of the cyborg. It meant nothing. They were siblings now. Although he found their relationship to remember more of an uncle and niece, but he was probably allowed to keep his own thoughts.

Fluorescent light gleamed on the girl's skin. It was just like every skin. Maybe it was gleaming because the skin was new. There wasn't any scar. Paolo looked girl's long, dark brown hair. Those should be cut or he should teach the girl to keep them away from her eyes. In a tactical place, those wouldn't be allowed to be in a way.

The door made noise when it was closed. He had been waiting for an hour, and then remembered that he needed some papers. He had already brought a gun. It would launch the program or something. The gun was Steyer AUG, not because he thought it was most suited gun for a little girl but because it was a good gun, and he had used it earlier. Of course one reason was that SWA had already used them earlier.

After a while, the girl woke up. She opened her eyes, closed them and opened again. Before that the girl had turned around in her bed and thrown blanket away. To his surprise, Paolo didn't feel anything special. At least, not right now. He was more interested in the technology. The way other cyborgs had behaved, made him somehow more careful.

Paolo was sitting nest to bed in a shaky chair. Sterile room made his head ache even more. The girl rose up and was now sitting in the bed. He had now time to look what his cyborg was like. Her face was neat and skin smooth. In her nose, there was a small convex. It had to be a joke. Paolo felt nothing. The girl had just fit in the program and that was it. Apparently, her former life had ended in a crash. It might have been on the news.

”Good morning”, he said politely. The girl turned her head so that she would know where she was. Paolo followed how her eyes went from the wall to empty bed next to hers and then to a vase on her right. Okay, they had made a monster who checked before anything else how to protect herself in a case of emergency.

”Good morning”, the girl answered and finally faced Paolo. Her eyes were light brown and reminded him of deers', and it wasn't a good sign. First of all, her gaze was something else. It was more like human's. It wasn't empty or bland. It was alive.

”Could you answer a couple of questions, please?” Paolo asked. The girl nodded, or at least, it was almost a nod.

”Who are you? Who am I? Where are we, and what is this?” He pointed to the bad, which he lifted to the bed. Paolo opened the bad quickly and revealed the gun.

”I am Lidia, PC-11-01”, Lidia said expressionless. Paolo followed her eyes instead of mouth.

”You are Paolo Gallo”, she continued and Paolo realized that SWA had chosen to use his formal name instead of Vespa. Well, it was a big problem. He had time to teach Lidia to call him Vespa.

”We're at the headquarters of SWA, and the gun is Steyer AUG A1”, Lidia said and reached out her hand to touch the gun. Paolo moved the gun so that the girl could take it. At the moment, his mind said that this could end up in a disaster. She could point the gun at him and bam. That would be it. Of course the gun wasn't loaded, but still...

”It's for you”, he said and followed how Lidia smiled for the first time. Her little fingers took the gun like she had been doing it always. Her fingers examined the gun and the smile didn't leave her face.

They sat there in the fluorescent light for a while. Nothing was said. Lidia stroke the gun. Paolo looked how her smile grew wider. She was like a child with a new toy, but was she really something else? Paolo didn't feel like he had done something terrible. This girl was made to kill. It meant nothing.

”Let's go”, Paolo said after a while. Lidia took a look up, put her gun back to the back and rose up. She was at least thirty centimeters shorter than he was, but it would be enough for their missions. He didn't mean to do adventures in the front line, and Lidia was made to kill. So she would kill, and he would watch her. Anyway, as a limping man he didn't belong there where fights were at the ugliest.

oOo

Lidia stared right in front of her. To tell the truth, she saw nothing but Paolo's back. She was just woken up cyborg of the third generation. The corridors of the research center meant nothing to her. It was like there was nothing else but Paolo, and it was almost amusing. But this place had to be beautiful with its flowers and trees, she was sure about it. When they walked, she noticed a vegetable garden. Someone before her time had to had done it or perhaps someone still took care of it.

They met no one when they walked through corridors. Paolo had a brown jacket and it didn't fit well. Lidia had to take care of Paolo and his clothing. Starting tomorrow, Paolo wouldn't have that jacket. They were fratello and it meant that she had to be able to protect Paolo everywhere in every possible condition. What she wasn't so sure about, was how much better clothing had to do with it, but she was sure it meant something.

Paolo stopped in front of a door. It was in the ground floor. Good. Although Paolo would hardly be here all the time. Even thinking about parting, ate Lidia. Paolo opened wooden door. Lidia's eyes stopped to Paolo's hand. There was a scar in the middle finger. Maybe somebody had it him, or he had fallen, or there had been an accident. Perhaps it was something else. It shouldn't make her angry. It had happened before her waking. She could've done nothing. Lidia clenched her fists.

”This room is yours. You are living alone here but but – how did that code go?” Paolo groped his hair and took nervous steps back and forth. Lidia put her bag on a chair.

”XC-12-01”, Paolo said then: ”Alias the next cyborg. You'll be living here then.”

”Okay”, Lidia answered.

She examined the room little. A bunk bed, a window with a view to research building and garden, a round table and a wardrobe. Nothing else. Now one of the three chairs around the table was reserved for her bad where was her gun.

”Lidia, hey?” Paolo bowed so that he could look Lidia better: ”Would it be okay if...” He closed the door by using his leg.

”Go on, please”, Lidia said.

”Would it be okay if you called me Vespa?”

”Vespa?”

”Vespa”, Paolo said: ”I do know that it's not the most usual name. I'll explain why some other time. That name has a history.”

”Yes, I can do it”, Lidia said: ”Vespa.”

Silence. Lidia's ears became blocked and her stomach swang. Luckily, nothing else happened.

”But”, Lidia said when she felt better. Paolo- Vespa's hand was on her shoulder. This was the first time he touched her.

”But what?”

”Would it be okay if you called me Lida?” Lidia said: ”It sounds better. Vespa and Lida.”

”Okay”, Vespa smiled: ”See you in the hall after thirty minutes, okay? Change your clother and go to canteen and get something to eat. It's left from the hall.

”Yes”, Lidia said and followed Vespa to the door. It was opened and then closed. Lidia stared at it for a while before her smile died. Her lips were now a line and her eyes became bland.

oOo

Lidia opened the wardrobe. There were a lot of empty shelves. She didn't have to choose as there was nothing but a skirt made of blue corduroy. She also found a simple white shirt. It was fine now and at the moment she didn't want to make choices. If there were clothes like these in her wardrobe, those clothes had to be chosen by Pao- Vespa and it was enough.

In the bottom shelf was a box and inside it a pair of brown leather shoes and white socks. She chose to sit down when trying her new shoes. There was nothing wrong but she knew had already known that. They took care of her. Strings almost twisted in her hands when she pulled them.

Snap.

Oh, another one was now broken. It was amusing but hadn't she always pulled strings this way.

After closing the door behind her, Lidia sneaked in the corridor. The shades of green felt familiar when she looked in the garden. New shoes creaked when she walked. That broken string was now in a knot. She didn't think pillars twice when she went past them. Shoes had taken too much time and she had no intention of being late.

The next corridor. Lidia sped up her steps. She felt like an outsider here though this place should've been familiar to her. Her eyes went nervously from corners to windows and from windows to doors. She let her eyes take rest when she read what was written in the doors.

Hall was large. But no matter how long Lidia looked, there was nobody. She stood silently on her place before found herself in the canteen. It was empty too and very big. Lidia tried once again to find someone to help her but found no one. There were only round tables and around them chairs. Then there were plants in big vases. Lidia didn't dare to move until a moment went.

Steps echoed in the hall. Lidia froze in the spot and then turned around. Brunette woman was walking towards her in black, formal clothes. She was smiling. Clothes were SWA's own so the woman had to be on her side. Vespa should have been here. Vespa needed to be here but there was still a quarter until he would walk across the hall and before that she was supposed to eat something.

”Hello”, the woman said happily and leaned down: ”Nice to meet you. I'm Pricilla.”

”Hello”, Lidia answered: ”I'm Lidia.

”I know, I know. We've been waiting for you”, she laughed: ”You probably came to get something to eat. There is always something in the kitchen. What are you doing to do today? Oh, and Paolo will come here soon.”

Lidia waited a while in silence and didn't look Pricilla straight in her eyes.

”He said that I need to eat something. After a quarter, we'll meet in the hall”, she finally answered.

”Good! Come on!” Pricilla continued her speech and walked quickly forwards. Lidia took big steps so that she wouldn't fall behind.

They walked through the canteen. Its windows showed Lidia yet another side of the dorms. She liked what she saw. The sun was shining and big clouds flew on the sky. She could see some people walking outside but didn't see other cyborgs. There weren't many of them. Pricilla opened the door to kitchen. In the door was a sign that said 'Staff only!'

”Come on”, Pricilla said and Lidia entered kitchen. That was the moment when she decided that if ever somebody happened to attack here, she would take Vespa here. It was full of possibilities. Girl's gaze looked curiously all foreign things around her. This was definitely a good place.

”What are you doing to do today? Do you need light lunch or something else?” Pricilla asked after a while when Lidia herself said nothing.

”I don't know”, little girl answered.

”Then I'll give you a couple of sandwiches and milk. Let's talk after that”, the woman said and dug few sandwiches from an enormous fridge. Lidia looked how two sandwiches doubled and then took them. They walked back to the canteen.

Lidia sat down after finding a good table where she could see the hall well. She didn't have much time although she had imagined there was more than enough of it.

”It's been a long time since we last had a new cyborg. We were almost ready to make another series of second generation cyborgs, but th-” Pricilla explained and Lidia listened while eating. Whatever Pricilla was talking about, she stopped in the middle of it.

”Then?” Lidia asked.

”Then we faced a problem and did the third generation”, Pricilla said. Lidia nodded. She understood.

”It's perfect because you're so cute I could eat you”, Pricilla kept talking when Lidia didn't even try to answer: ”You must be one of the youngest cyborgs here. Do you want to meet them?”

”If Vespa says so”, she answered.

”Vespa?” Pricilla asked.

”Paolo told me to call him Vespa”, Lidia answered. She was little displeased. Too much questions, and that woman was already asking Vespa's personal things. Those things were Vespa's and not anyone was allowed to know about them!

”You remind me of one already deceased cyborg”, the woman finally said.

Lidia didn't answer.

”Do you like the landscape?” Pricilla asked because she seemed to be embarrassed by silence between them: ”You'll have time to watch it before you'll go out with Paolo.”

”I like it”, Lidia answered. She smiled little smile. She knew she liked windy days and it was already winding. Pricilla followed girl's gaze.

They sat in the silence for a moment before Lidia had eaten everything. She wiped her mouth to a napkin and drank her milk. After it she wiped her mouth again.

”Thank you for the sandwiches!”

Pricilla did nothing when Lidia ran to the hall.

oOo

Nobody had exactly given him proper instructions how to work with a new cyborg. Paolo was confused. He had went against all the instructions already and even told Lidia to call him Vespa. Lidia was a fine girl with a fine name. But how should he work, when he literally owned a girl who was eager to make him happy? When Lidia got older, she was supposed to start working more without help.

Few patted him on the shoulder. Paolo hadn't decided what he would do next with Lidia. With Lida, he corrected himself. At least this girl had wanted her own name. Paolo limped down the stairs. He was ready to pay for a lift but no, there wasn't help for him.

Paolo sat down in the corridor which was mostly used by the staff. From here, he couldn't see when Lidia came to hall. Lida, he corrected himself again. He leaned his head to the wall behind him. It was white. Let the girl wait. He had to come up with something meaningful to do as Lidia was different from any child he had worked with. He knew that well. His intuition was still working, but it didn't give him an answer.

His clock ticked forward. Paolo was following how hands made their circles when Lidia appeared beside him.

”I thought that something had happened when you didn't come”, she said and glared at him.

”I thought I'd let you wait for a while to check how patient you are”, he quickly answered.

Lidia opened her mouth, closed it and stared at the floor.

”I-”, she mumbled something.

”I don't mind. I made a mistake when I didn't give you clear instructions to wait for me there”, Paolo answered and groped his hair again.

Lidia said nothing but lift her head up again. Now she looked Paolo right in the eyes. Her gaze wasn't alike to other children but it was definitely not empty. He saw much. A little persona behind. He saw someone he didn't know there.

”I'd like you not to speak so properly”, Vespa said: ”You make it look like I'm you boss and I'd be telling you to do this and that. I want us to work as a team. We do our work together and are open. Is it fine with you?”

Or was he doing too much? What if Lidia wouldn't answer and got stuck? It was more than enough that he had to take care of a child who wasn't like other children. At least, not yet. More than anything else, he would have liked to have basic knowledge about how to work with cyborgs. He would have liked to talk with several people how their first days had went. Everyone had to had gone through it in their own ways. He needed a panacea.

”If you want so”, Lidia answered and Paolo made a note for himself how this was going to be their most used phrase. If he just had known how common it would become, he would probably have denied Lidia's right to answer his questions with that.

__________________

After six hours of translating, fixing, translating again, listening to Queen and Pink Floyd, I hope the translation didn't kill you.
Thank you for reading.
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motorwaymurderer

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Re: Bland Things

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 5 Feb 2011 - 20:02

I enjoyed it. The translation was a bit rough, but I was still able to follow the story with little difficulty. I now wish I read Finnish so I could enjoy it in the original language. Smile

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Re: Bland Things

Post by motorwaymurderer on Sun 6 Feb 2011 - 11:01

@Kiskaloo: Thanks. It would be easier for me to publish everything in Finnish but it's not the most common language. English gives me problems as I'm excellent writer when I write in Finnish but English doesn't have words I want to use, and Finnish grammar works differently. The biggest differences are that we don't have prepositions or articles and word order. For example "Kukkulalla on talo" is in English "There is a house on the hill."

My awkward translation will be history. Officer_Charon will be my beta-reader and I can't express my gratitude. I'm sure this will improve quality significantly.
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