Alfisti's Ramblings

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Kiskaloo on Sun 12 Feb 2012 - 23:29

Brilliant as always, mate.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by MP5 on Mon 13 Feb 2012 - 0:00

Glad to see Monty and Jethro finally handle themselves in a firefight, plus bonus points for Jethro's Bond-style one-liner.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Mon 13 Feb 2012 - 5:45

@MP5 wrote:Glad to see Monty and Jethro finally handle themselves in a firefight, plus bonus points for Jethro's Bond-style one-liner.
Yeah, it only took, what... five issues of comic (plus a prologue) and five chapters of writing to actually shoot someone? Razz

Cheers mates.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Sat 7 Apr 2012 - 1:59



now on ff.net

In this installment:
Monty reads a map,
Jethro asks a favour,
and Ferro sends a message.


In other news, I'll be taking a short hiatus before starting the next chapter; partly because I want to take a step back, assess where I am so far and chart out the next little bit of story to keep it on track...

...but mostly because I'm moving back to Brisbane in two weeks and haven't done a whole lot to organise myself for that.


Anyway, enjoy (or don't, as the case may be).

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 7 Apr 2012 - 10:59

Stayed up past midnight to read it, so that gives you an idea of what I thought. Smile


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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Officer_Charon on Sat 7 Apr 2012 - 17:40

FanTAStic piece of work there, sirrah... answered a bunch of questions I had idly kicking around in the back of my head (the medication issue being one of them - well-played, sir *golfclap*), and keeping the tension nice and tight until the very end. Loved it!

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Sat 7 Apr 2012 - 21:01

Cheers mates.

@Officer_Charon wrote:FanTAStic piece of work there, sirrah... answered a bunch of questions I had idly kicking around in the back of my head (the medication issue being one of them - well-played, sir *golfclap*), and keeping the tension nice and tight until the very end. Loved it!
I'll admit the conditioning thing came in handy. I wanted J+M to be on a timeframe for this one, and Monty's limited supply of the drug makes for a much more immediate problem than needing to hit some date which is sort of over there.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Sun 22 Jul 2012 - 6:48

FF.net improves their interface... and it's still shocking.

And now they have that catchpa thing, which hates me.

Anyway...



...now available.

In this installment:
Old faces,
New names,
and Ferro takes a roadtrip.


I think it's safe to say this one took a little longer than I would have liked. Editing's a little rougher too, but I'm feeling guilty and kinda want it out of my hair as well. On the upside, the next chapter got written at the same time so only needs editing.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Kiskaloo on Sun 22 Jul 2012 - 17:30

Nice to see J+M in their "native environment". Smile

Seriously, through direct instruction or just osmosis, Monty is as polished an operative as Jethro and indeed, why would the Agency send anyone else on such a mission.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Mon 23 Jul 2012 - 6:47

@Kiskaloo wrote:Nice to see J+M in their "native environment". Smile

Seriously, through direct instruction or just osmosis, Monty is as polished an operative as Jethro and indeed, why would the Agency send anyone else on such a mission.
Cheers Kisk, and thanks for the loan of Michele's vehicles too.

Most of what Monty has learned has probably been from osmosis, as I'd venture to say Jethro is actually a pretty terrible teacher. Oh, he could do the basics, but honestly I think he'd be lost trying to purposely pass on knowledge or little tricks of the trade untill the actual time for them to be used was upon him. Luckily Monty's a fast learner.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Kiskaloo on Mon 23 Jul 2012 - 10:06

@Alfisti wrote:Luckily Monty's a fast learner.

Clearly she is.

Michele has the social and technical background to mix with Baldo de Moratti, however Kara lacks the...well, grace, frankly...of Monty and therefore is unable to do what Monty seems to do naturally. And when it comes to mixing, Michele is no Jethro.

So if they'd sent the Pagani's, they'd have made contact, but they would not have spent the weekend at Moonraker and been able to learn what the Blackers have to date.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by ElfenMagix on Mon 23 Jul 2012 - 11:42

Good

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Tue 24 Jul 2012 - 5:58

@Kiskaloo wrote:
@Alfisti wrote:Luckily Monty's a fast learner.

Clearly she is.

Michele has the social and technical background to mix with Baldo de Moratti, however Kara lacks the...well, grace, frankly...of Monty and therefore is unable to do what Monty seems to do naturally. And when it comes to mixing, Michele is no Jethro.

So if they'd sent the Pagani's, they'd have made contact, but they would not have spent the weekend at Moonraker and been able to learn what the Blackers have to date.
Note I didn't say the Blackers were the only fratello who could do the job, just probably the best qualified for it... for that matter the story from memory was being told from Monty's PoV at the time so they were definately the best qualified for it in that particular instance Razz

The Paganis could have taken on the job, or the Riccis, or a few other fan-fratelli for that matter... but the Blackers do tend to slip particularly easily and comfortably into the role presented. It probably doesn't hurt that Monty considers herself to be so far out of everyone's league they'd need a telescope to even realise she was there, and is perfectly willing to make them aware of that at appropriate moments.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Kiskaloo on Tue 24 Jul 2012 - 9:39

@Alfisti wrote:It probably doesn't hurt that Monty considers herself to be so far out of everyone's league they'd need a telescope to even realise she was there, and is perfectly willing to make them aware of that at appropriate moments.

People do tend to underestimate her. Smile

I get the feeling that a "Blacker Girl" was a "diversionary accessory" that Jethro added as needed for a job, so I can understand that those who know Jethro would be automatically inclined to think of Monty as just another piece of "arm candy" and show surprise when they realize just how sharp she actually. And for those who have not met Jethro, how Monty chooses to present herself to them sets the tone of how they see her - beautiful bauble or real asset.

I've noted that Kara looks up to Monty, but she probably doesn't know exactly why. They've only been on two missions together and during the Monaco Job, because they were shopping, Kara was more in her element than Monty. If Kara was allowed to spend more time with Monty, she'd probably view J+M like she sees Alessandro and Petrushka - two halves that fit seamlessly together to create a better whole.

Michele, both through reading Monty's reports and whatever additional information she may choose to make known during their occasional visits to the bar for negronis, has a slightly better view of J+M, but I expect they're still in general a mystery wrapped in an enigma to most of their peers and staff at Section 2.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Tue 24 Jul 2012 - 17:44

The "Blacker Girl" I tend to view as a sort of broad, mildly derogatory term ascribed to any woman whom accompanied Jethro on a job: be she intentionally taken along as a diversion, another agent, or simply picked up along the way Bond-style... Jethro hasn't always been as, uhh... monogamous... in his liasons as he has been since getting Monty.

As to the role Monty plays whilst being arm-candy, well it's certainly not the role of air-head, but she does tend to be restrained. I tend to picture it as young, but mature minded with a bit of an edge which suggests she has her own agenda to be followed, which also gives the suggestion she may be convinced to switch sides should a sufficently better opportunity present himself... at which point she will happily crush any hopes somene may be getting up and let them know exactly how far out of their league she is (or at least thinks she is), leaving them sitting by the pool in their bathrobe...

I'd say, of the SWA staff and fratelli, Michele probably has the best idea of the J+M fratello as a whole, followed closely perhaps by Ferro and maybe Elio. Speaking of which, I need to get a post together at some point in the near future to canvas some opinions from OC authors...

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Professor Voodoo on Thu 26 Jul 2012 - 15:02

This is only a few months late. I got way behind on everyone's stories during my time on land but now that I'm back out at sea I'm getting caught up...
CH04|Impressions
all that remained of it after an hour were discoloured water and a few sad, slowly melting ice cubes.
See, this is why I'd never make it as a spy.
...none of which was helping prevent the rising urge to walk over there and tell the meddling biddy to back off.
Even that is a hell of a lot more restraint than we'd see from most cyborgs.
"Your... girl... seems to be about Dina's age, but she's not like that."
The handler gave a wan smile, "My girl had to grow up too quickly."
So they're playing brother-sister this time? With Jethro's age it's a bit of a stretch but not impossible.
an in-house reproduction of Yves St Laurent's 1965 Mondrian day dress...the first had been shot full of holes in Mumbai...second destroyed on some mad-man's private island.
Great detail. I can see Monty keeping track of the passing of time by which outfit she owned...similar to how Triela marks time with bears (Chapter 50).
Dina's face brightened at that, "And you never have to go to school?"

"Only by correspondence, so no."

"Wow... lucky!"
Although I can see Victor Hillshire harassing her during a visit to the compound...

Hillshire: Monique...I understand you'll be spending a bit longer with us than usual while the lab finishes your new upgrade package. You know, you really should start attending classes like the rest of the girls. Maybe we can find some more permanent accommodations for you as well in the cyborg dormitory.

Monty: (wilting stare)

"Portes?"

He motioned at the board, "You may know it as backgammon."

"In my defence," put in Jethro, "I'm from England and therefore not genetically hardwired to push tiddlywinks around a board every day of my life."
Now that's an accurate detail. Turks can spend all day playing backgammon and I imagine that Greeks are no different.
Monty cocked an eyebrow, "Goya wasn't an Impressionist."
Depends on how close you stand to his paintings.
Having had to watch him flirt with Anagnos's gallery manager the previous day, it certainly wouldn't hurt to lavish a bit of attention on her either.
That's got to be a touchy operation. Monty is sharp...overdo it and she's likely to see through Jethro's intentions.
"...that's an old man's game, why would you want to play that.
Seems like that might actually make Monty want to learn portes.
when Constandina goes gossiping to her friends she can talk about 'her guest the artist and the awesome painting he left'
I was half expecting Monty to poke fun at Jethro's high opinion of his own "awesome" work here.
Continuing his slow circuit of the gallery's walls, Jethro eventually made his way to where Monty was studying a trio of Manet's still life works.
This line makes me curious as to how Monty views art. Does she sincerely appreciate it, or does she see its study as simply another facet of the job?
Crouched in the shadows, wearing what Jethro referred to as her "cat burglar" outfit,
Monty had use for that attire during my Bruges story as well...albeit under significantly different climate conditions.
she could easily have jumped the full distance in one go. But any cyborg could do that: it took skill and talent to do it quietly
Henrietta: Quietly? What is this quietly you speak of?

Monty: Lesson one; try not to kick the door down.

Henrietta: Okay...then can I spray the room with 5.7mm?
At the twenty minute mark the girl gave a frustrated growl, she didn't have any more time to waste,
Given Monty's workaholic nature, patience in a situation like this does not seem like her strong suit.
Unfortunately the Canon DSLR was too fragile and unwieldy to take on runs like this, so the fratello would instead be relying on her eyes and memory.
Given the current state of camera technology, it would be very easy to install a reasonably high resolution camera directly inside a cyborgs eye. I've dismissed doing that in my own stories though because it just makes the character feel too blatantly robotic.
"Theodorus Scaramanga Rallis, he was a Greek Orientalist painter around the turn of the 20th Century. If it is one of his works then that locket should be worth a small fortune, so take good care of it."
Now that's an obscure reference...how'd you come up with that one?
Ushering the two into the guard hut, the super started, "We take safety very seriously here and right across Anagnos Shipping, so you will need to do a short induction before being allowed into our work area."
I'm having a hard time picturing Monty wearing a plastic hard-hat stamped "VISITOR." Actually, that would be επισκέπτης since they're in Greek territory.
"That it may be, but unless you can produce a working at heights ticket right the fuck now then neither of you are going up there."
From the hard-hats, to the PFD reference to this, you've certainly got the maritime port lingo down pat.
Jethro nodded, "Brown jacket and Persols? Looks like he wishes he was Steve McQueen?"
Even the bad guys are stylized in J&M's world. That said, a clever, subtle way of conveying what this guy looks like in your minds eye, without going into too much tedious detail.
Jethro handed his cyborg an open-faced helmet, which she eyed with distaste.

"I still can't understand why someone would willingly subject themselves to this."
Marisa: Hey, 50% less wheels is at least 20% cooler.

There, is that enough to satisy Charon and head off his threat to write the worlds most dangerous crossover fic?
he thumbed the 250cc engine into life.
Thumbed? No kick starter? How un-retro of Jethro.
the unfortunate driver whom the scooter appeared in front of didn't even have time to hit the brakes before the little bike slid past his prow and accelerated again up the road. It didn't do his heart much better when the BMW loomed in his side window before swerving around the car's rear.
Sounds like normal everday traffic in any Mediterranean country to me.
As she tended to the food, Dina chatted aimlessly about school, her friends, the teacher she thought was eyeing her off...

...Monty groaned internally and set about trying to look like she cared.
And Monty thought she could leave her “fan club” back at the compound.
If one were looking for it, it would be just possible to make out the basic structure which had once been Paul Cézanne's "The Artist's Father Reading L'Événement".

Nice choice. Chapter 5 coming soon.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Fri 27 Jul 2012 - 12:38

@Professor Voodoo wrote:
"Your... girl... seems to be about Dina's age, but she's not like that."
The handler gave a wan smile, "My girl had to grow up too quickly."
So they're playing brother-sister this time? With Jethro's age it's a bit of a stretch but not impossible.
Yeah, brother and sister on this one... or part or step or something, I can't fully remember. Somehow though their usual cover didn't seem to fit with the more familial environment.

Although I can see Victor Hillshire harassing her during a visit to the compound...

Hillshire: Monique...I understand you'll be spending a bit longer with us than usual while the lab finishes your new upgrade package. You know, you really should start attending classes like the rest of the girls. Maybe we can find some more permanent accommodations for you as well in the cyborg dormitory.

Monty: (wilting stare)
Hmm, I'll keep that one in mind... J+M will be making a return to the compound in about two chapters time.

"Portes?"

He motioned at the board, "You may know it as backgammon."

"In my defence," put in Jethro, "I'm from England and therefore not genetically hardwired to push tiddlywinks around a board every day of my life."
Now that's an accurate detail. Turks can spend all day playing backgammon and I imagine that Greeks are no different.
No different at all, though I doubt either side would admit it. One of my mates from work was Greek Cypriot, and many a happy saturday afternoon was wiled away over strong coffee and a backgammon board.

Having had to watch him flirt with Anagnos's gallery manager the
previous day, it certainly wouldn't hurt to lavish a bit of attention on
her either.
That's got to be a touchy operation. Monty is sharp...overdo it and she's likely to see through Jethro's intentions.
The question that immediatly springs to my mind there though is; if she were aware she was being buttered up, as long as it was Jethro doing the buttering: would she care? Part of me can't help but think that somewhere, deep down, where she didn't have to admit to it existing, she would quite enjoy that her partner was going out of his way to appease her and make her happy...

...and frankly, Jethro's decision was in no small part made because he, after a couple of days running around close but separated, felt like spending some time with her.

when Constandina goes gossiping to her friends she can talk about 'her guest the artist and the awesome painting he left'
I was half expecting Monty to poke fun at Jethro's high opinion of his own "awesome" work here.
Frankly, "awesome" probably isn't a word Jethro uses in general, doesn't really seem to suit his style. In this particular case I think he was mildly impersonating the language of Dina; including her lack of artistic nouse and general enthusiasim for anything and everything he, Jethro, does. More to the point he's saying it in a derogatory enough manner to placate Monty.

Continuing his slow circuit of the gallery's walls, Jethro eventually made his way to where Monty was studying a trio of Manet's still life works.
This line makes me curious as to how Monty views art. Does she sincerely appreciate it, or does she see its study as simply another facet of the job?
Little bit of both I think. I'd say she's learned to appreciate art through Jethro, though, like a lot of things her understanding is more academic where Jethro works on instinct. If Jethro hadn't had an interest in art, I doubt Monty would have developed one, and I don't think heading out to art galleries is something she'd probably do of her own accord.

Unfortunately the Canon DSLR was too fragile and unwieldy to take on runs like this, so the fratello would instead be relying on her eyes and memory.
Given the current state of camera technology, it would be very easy to install a reasonably high resolution camera directly inside a cyborgs eye. I've dismissed doing that in my own stories though because it just makes the character feel too blatantly robotic.
I'll admit my reason for not going that route is that it's too easy and boring. The girls have enough advantages, so I tend to like to strip away as many as possible rather than adding them plus, as you noted: the girls are enhanced humans, not robotic swiss-army knives.

"Theodorus Scaramanga Rallis, he was a Greek Orientalist painter around the turn of the 20th Century. If it is one of his works then that locket should be worth a small fortune, so take good care of it."
Now that's an obscure reference...how'd you come up with that one?
Because I'm all obscure and hipster and stuff...

...actually I think I went out specifically to find a resonably obscure painter from about the right time period and geological location, or I may have come across him getting sidetracked from researching impressionists. Honestly I can't remember.

Ushering the two into the guard hut, the super started, "We take safety very seriously here and right across Anagnos Shipping, so you will need to do a short induction before being allowed into our work area."
I'm having a hard time picturing Monty wearing a plastic hard-hat stamped "VISITOR." Actually, that would be επισκέπτης since they're in Greek territory.
Weirdly enough, I don't; throw a suit on her and a fluro orange high-vis vest...

"That it may be, but unless you can produce a working at heights ticket right the fuck now then neither of you are going up there."
From the hard-hats, to the PFD reference to this, you've certainly got the maritime port lingo down pat.
Most of the jobs I've worked on up to about the last five months or so have been marine construction. Most of what you see here I've lifted from my experiences on those, I figured most of it would probably translate across to dock work and anything going on around water.

he thumbed the 250cc engine into life.
Thumbed? No kick starter? How un-retro of Jethro.
To be fair, it is a rental intended for use by dumb tourists.

If you haven't guessed by now: I don't have a whole lot of respect or time for "tourists".

As she tended to the food, Dina chatted aimlessly about school, her friends, the teacher she thought was eyeing her off...

...Monty groaned internally and set about trying to look like she cared.
And Monty thought she could leave her “fan club” back at the compound.
Still working out how to handle that one once she gets back on compound.


Thanks as always for the feedback mate. Feel good to be back on the water?

...and of course, since you're no-longer beached (and therefore, have nothing better to do with your time anymore), can we expect any writing out of you?

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Professor Voodoo on Fri 27 Jul 2012 - 23:35

@Alfisti wrote:Feel good to be back on the water?
I've been out of it for 7 months...it's surprising how natural it feels. It didn't take me any time to get my sea legs back.

The food still sucks though.
...and of course, since you're no-longer beached (and therefore, have nothing better to do with your time anymore), can we expect any writing out of you?
Yes. I want to get caught up on reviewing first (you, Kiskaloo, Charon & Robert F. all have new chapters out that I need to catch up on) but a new Marisa/Elio episode sits at about half done.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Professor Voodoo on Sat 28 Jul 2012 - 0:27

CH05|A Night at the Cinema
Monty shook her head, "You'll be alone and unarmed."

"Wouldn't be the first time."
Cyborgs forget so quickly that their handlers had lives before they came along.
propped up against the wall, was a brand new Apple iPad2. Technically her handler's, but now commandeered as a second monitor,
You'd think by now Jethro would have abandoned all pretense at “owning” anything of his own.
Realising the fridge door was still open, spilling cold air onto the carpet, she selected one of the ludicrously overpriced cans of Cola and popped the ring on it before settling back into her seat.
Elio cheap bastard trick #272: If you absolutely must have a beer or cola from the minibar, remember to pick up a replacement for it later while you're out on the town...thereby avoiding exorbitant hotel prices at check-out.
His cyborg paused for a moment, "If you don't think you'll find our money launderer tomorrow, I might work through a bit tonight."

"Oh no you won't, this is a small room and I want sleep; you're coming to bed as well."
I wonder if this is at least in some respect a subtle tack by Jethro to make sure Monty actually takes some sleep.
Monty maintained a stony expression as large hands, despite her small frame, gave her a longer and more thorough pat-down than her handler.
Which, I imagine, happens every time they're frisked. I wonder, would Monty consider it puerile to slip a rolled sock down the front of her trousers just to get a comic rise out of the one frisking her?
she let her vision wash into the infrared, hoping to pick out a lurking figure or two should they be present. Unfortunately the sun-warmed stonework played havoc with that plan and she subconsciously blotted it out of her visible spectrum again,
That's pretty much how I envision the girls' infrared vision capabilities as well...always there, but not noticeable unless they consciously look.
single too if the pile of dishes in the sink were anything to go by...
Damn...way to perpetuate a sterotype, Alfisti.
"Your Melinda said to expect a wire transfer. That requires a computer, which means I require Elissa."
Clever excuse to bring a bodyguard. I don't know how to run a computer, therefore I need this woman with a gun.
We'll be upstairs, join us when you're done if you feel like."
Oh I'm sure Monty really appreciated that.
the Brit couldn't help but wonder what the rest of the area's occupants thought about the burgeoning number of vehicles starting to clutter up their space. The truck drivers delivering to the surrounding shops certainly couldn't be overjoyed about it.
Yert another espionage covert operation compromised by lack of parking.
"You don't see your family at Christmas?"

"Sometimes," put in Monty. "I have a couple of sisters who live with other relatives, but frankly I think I got the better end of the bargain, holidays at home or no."
How many sisters exactly? I think it's over 30 at last count.
As the truck rolled almost to a halt at the intersection, the cyborg ducked underneath and swung herself up out of sight between two I-beams forming the trailer's backbone. ... tyres kicked up loose bits of gravel, battering the girl hanging from the undercarriage and she thanked whoever may be listening that the port gate was only a short distance away.
Slight departure from Monty's usual parkour action, but this whole section is great use of her special skill set.
Monty studied her final photo: the forklift was backing out of the forty foot metal box again. Just visible was the edge of a wooden pallet, but what it carried remained frustratingly hidden from view...
Perhaps “Q-branch” style modifications to her iPhone are in order...specifically a higher resolution camera and miniature telescopic lens.

It would also be amusing to see Monty endure a Bond-style introduction to gadgets with the OC boffins you've created.
Either they were stupid, which given current evidence didn't seem like the case, greedy, or there was some more pressing driver which prevented them from remaining dormant.
Or they've paid off the right people to look the other way.
each one falsely spreading that country's monetary power just that little bit thinner. The American fiscal situation however wasn't her immediate problem.
A thousand counterfeiting operations working 24 hours a day couldn't come close to creating as much imaginary money as the investment banks cooked up...legally.
he wasn't one to pass up a good thrash,
I'm getting the mental image of Jethro screaming through the Scandinavian woods at full speed in his Escort while Monty sits in the passenger seat, annoyed but trying not to show it, trying unsuccessfully to read something on his new iPad.
The container was full of raw-cut timber, whole tree trunks laying on their sides. If this was a Padania operation, then seemingly they were branching out. Illegally felled exotic timbers fetched a high price and certainly enjoyed a lower profile than other black-market goods, this was however the first she had seen or heard of the Separatists getting involved in the trade.
And the first time such a currency has made its appearance in fanfiction.
The problem was that, at this close range they were just as likely to shoot her partner as they were her.
More likely I'd say, as the Cypriots would automatically consider Jethro a greater threat than Monique.
Jethro had joined the spy game with a firm idea of how it should be played, which included that if one were captured then, as an Englishman, one should adhere to certain standards.
One of my favorite lines in the chapter.
Behind her handler, Monty fought down her conditioned urge to step in, doing so now would likely get them both killed.
And this is why they don't send Giuse-Henrietta out for covert investigation.
"They say would like to dispose of you now, but military too close and we behind schedule anyway. So you come for ride for boss deal with on other end."
Jeeze, haven't these guys ever seen a spy movie? Is the boss going to hang them over a shark tank then leave?
The first sign something was wrong was the vial's first taker sitting bent over with his head between his knees, breathing fast and clutching at his chest over his heart. Then the first spasm hit him and he fell to the floor, writhing in a pool of his own vomit as muscles heaved uncontrollably.
Now this is something I didn't see coming...and I don't think any other author has tackled. Humans taking a cyborg's conditioning pills. Nicely played.
"The best thing about these old aircraft is that things break, and that leaves some pretty sharp edges..."

Behind himself, the handler rotated his hands so as to bring where he had all but cut through his flexicuffs into view.
If Triela can break Mario Bossi's handcuffs by hand then even a Series Two like Monty should be able to overpower plastic zip-tie cuffs.
Mustering up her strength, the cyborg pulled hard on her cuffs until they parted,
Okay, thought so.
Not wasting time the cyborg ran up to the bullet-chewed corner of the mess and looked around. The man at the back of the Unimog was spreadeagled on the ground and, on closer inspection, very much dead.
The first protracted gun battle you've written for your fratello, am I right?
ex-Soviets were in no position to launch an ambush
That term is out-living its usefullness. It's been what...nearly a quarter century since the Soviet Union fell apart? Assuming these guys were even alive back then they'd have been pretty young.
She knew one Tatyana involved with the "lost boys", as she called them, the drifting men of the former Soviet Air Force. Based in South Africa, she organised them jobs when pickings were slim, brought them home when things went badly, got their medical bills paid when things went really badly, informed their families when the worst happened and generally played mum across thousands of square miles of the African, European and Asian continents. She also wasn't the sort of person to burn bridges with, not because she was dangerous, but because she wasn't; doing wrong by Tatyana could find you in the middle of nowhere and with no-one willing to help out.
Interesting character. Any chance she'll may an appearance in a future episode?
Monty levelled her rifle and loosed a short burst into the unconscious man,
J&M executing unconscious prisoners? Uncharacteristically brutal for your stuff...the whole climax to this chapter takes a violent turn.
superglue, along with string and duct tape, formed an essential part of the Illyushin engineer's toolkit.
Lacking superglue, I find duct tape works rather well on cuts and puncture wounds. Just put some gauze in between so the adhesive doesn't catch the torn skin.
"Search me. Guess we'll find out when we get to Colombia."
Uh-ho...they're going to lose their deposit on that rental car.

That certainly took an interesting and unexpected turn at the end. I'm going to catch up on Kisk & Charon's new stuff next, but my thoughts on Chapters 6 & 7 won't be too far behind.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 28 Jul 2012 - 0:29

@Professor Voodoo wrote:
@Alfisti wrote:Feel good to be back on the water?

I've been out of it for 7 months...it's surprising how natural it feels. It didn't take me any time to get my sea legs back.

The food still sucks though.
...and of course, since you're no-longer beached (and therefore, have nothing better to do with your time anymore), can we expect any writing out of you?

Yes. I want to get caught up on reviewing first (you, Kiskaloo, Charon & Robert F. all have new chapters out that I need to catch up on) but a new Marisa/Elio episode sits at about half done.

Michele and Kara: "We'll make you a great dinner when you publish."

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Sat 28 Jul 2012 - 8:48

@Professor Voodoo wrote:
propped up against the wall, was a brand new Apple iPad2. Technically her handler's, but now commandeered as a second monitor,
You'd think by now Jethro would have abandoned all pretense at “owning” anything of his own.
Jethro: No, but that would be giving in. I can at least pretend I own my own things.


His cyborg paused for a moment, "If you don't think you'll find our money launderer tomorrow, I might work through a bit tonight."

"Oh no you won't, this is a small room and I want sleep; you're coming to bed as well."
I wonder if this is at least in some respect a subtle tack by Jethro to make sure Monty actually takes some sleep.
Almost 100% so in fact.

Monty maintained a stony expression as large hands, despite her small frame, gave her a longer and more thorough pat-down than her handler.
Which, I imagine, happens every time they're frisked. I wonder, would Monty consider it puerile to slip a rolled sock down the front of her trousers just to get a comic rise out of the one frisking her?
Monty: *Flat look*

Translation: yes, she thinks it's puerile. Honestly, I think Monty's become pretty desensitised to being "patted down". I'm sure the first few times it made her uncomfortable, but by now she probably sees it as part of doing business and coming with the territory.

Monty studied her final photo: the forklift was backing out of the forty foot metal box again. Just visible was the edge of a wooden pallet, but what it carried remained frustratingly hidden from view...
Perhaps “Q-branch” style modifications to her iPhone are in order...specifically a higher resolution camera and miniature telescopic lens.
Maybe I didn't desribe the layout so well... I think the metal door of the container in the way was probably more of an issue than the distance.

"They say would like to dispose of you now, but military too close and we behind schedule anyway. So you come for ride for boss deal with on other end."
Jeeze, haven't these guys ever seen a spy movie? Is the boss going to hang them over a shark tank then leave?
I'll be honest: it felt pretty weak even when I was writing it. Unfortunately, I needed J+M on the plane and was fresh out of other ideas

Besides, I'm fairly certain "getting captured" is a bonafide and recognised spy method by which to find the big-bad quickly.

Not wasting time the cyborg ran up to the bullet-chewed corner of the mess and looked around. The man at the back of the Unimog was spreadeagled on the ground and, on closer inspection, very much dead.
The first protracted gun battle you've written for your fratello, am I right?
That would be correct: the first time Jethro or Monty has pulled a trigger in my own fiction.

ex-Soviets were in no position to launch an ambush
That term is out-living its usefullness. It's been what...nearly a quarter century since the Soviet Union fell apart? Assuming these guys were even alive back then they'd have been pretty young.
Well, you'll note I didn't exactly write them as young men either. I see them as part of that group which came back to the crumbling Union to find no pay, no accmodation, no food and no future. So when the government gave them what was essentially a free pass to "use equipment as needed to survive", they took their aeroplanes and left to keep doing the only thing they knew how to do. They're experienced and, frankly, still flying because they have nothing else to do and nowhere else to go.

She knew one Tatyana involved with the "lost boys", as she called them, the drifting men of the former Soviet Air Force. Based in South Africa, she organised them jobs when pickings were slim, brought them home when things went badly, got their medical bills paid when things went really badly, informed their families when the worst happened and generally played mum across thousands of square miles of the African, European and Asian continents. She also wasn't the sort of person to burn bridges with, not because she was dangerous, but because she wasn't; doing wrong by Tatyana could find you in the middle of nowhere and with no-one willing to help out.
Interesting character. Any chance she'll may an appearance in a future episode?
Possibly, I don't know yet.

"Tatyana" is, to the best of my knowledge, a real person... whether the daughter of a pilot who turned to this sort of charter work, a single name which has been used for a number of women or something else... but essentially filling the role described. I highly reccomend picking up an book called "Outlaws Inc", it was my original source material which sparked off further reading and also what started me on using the Illyushins in the first place.

Monty levelled her rifle and loosed a short burst into the unconscious man,
J&M executing unconscious prisoners? Uncharacteristically brutal for your stuff...the whole climax to this chapter takes a violent turn.
Executing unconscious prisoners and, possibly more to the point, covering their own tracks by setting up evidence of a fake firefight. Of course, it wouldn't stand up to in-depth scrutiny, but the people using the airfield aren't exactly going to run to the police.

From a character perspective, I also wanted a chance to show that, despite the style and romantacism, J+M are perfectly capable of being cold blooded and ruthless when required. They don't avoid killing people because they're squeamish... it's just generally too much effort cleaning up afterward and leads to too many potential complications; especially since they're operating outside of the Italian Government's jurisdiction and in countries they technically shouldn't be in.


Thanks again for the feedback.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Wed 15 Aug 2012 - 6:21



Chapter 08|Cosmic Girl is now up on ff.net


In this issue:
Car chases,
Rockets,
And J+M revisit South America.


Bit shorter than usual this time, as it's really the second part of the previous chapter, mostly just wrapping up the major story of that one.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Kiskaloo on Wed 15 Aug 2012 - 11:05

Enjoyable as always, mate.


Stood by the foot of Moonraker's front steps, Moratti gave a nonchalant flick of his hand...

Not sure if the start of that sentence is proper grammar. Perhaps "From where he stood" or "Standing"?



"I had the impression Air France were doing something about their Business Class..."

Reaching over in the darkened cabin, Jethro gave his girl's knee a squeeze. Though the airline's accommodations had come forward by leaps and bounds, this particular Airbus had not been one to benefit from the refit. Apparently the Guiana route was where aeroplanes went before being put out to pasture, as evidenced by the decidedly aged seats he and his partner now resided in.

Kara: "Affaires is tokay. I used to love the look of their La Première product, but they changed the leather and carpets to a Dove Gray and it just sucked out all the ambience."

Monty (in a bored voice): "What a tragedy."


Selecting an appropriately sized Torx ratchet she snapped a photo of how it had been positioned and returned to the equipment bay.

A detail I would never think of, but perfectly logical for Monty.


Talking softly to each other, the engineers set about the room's contents. Despite being a native French speaker, the hidden spy had absolutely no idea what was being said, their jargon creating its own subset of that dialect completely alien to those not of their profession.

Unlike just about every other country, France absolutely refused to adopt the "common" English name for technological things, instead demanding a French equivalent be created. Kara could probably recognize at least some of it, since her parents were with ESA, but I can understand why it's Greek to Monty. Smile



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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Thu 16 Aug 2012 - 5:49

Cheers for the feedback Kisk.

@Kiskaloo wrote:
Stood by the foot of Moonraker's front steps, Moratti gave a nonchalant flick of his hand...

Not sure if the start of that sentence is proper grammar. Perhaps "From where he stood" or "Standing"?
Honestly I'm not sure if it is either now



Kara: "Affaires is tokay. I used to love the look of their La Première product, but they changed the leather and carpets to a Dove Gray and it just sucked out all the ambience."

Monty (in a bored voice): "What a tragedy."
Heh, yeah... not a whinge Monty would normally level (considering some of the other modes of airborne transport she's perfectly content using), but I did a quick bit of reading and apprently the old Air France business class was particularly sub-par, and if she's forking for it there's a certain level of service expected. However, as Jethro pointed out: it beats travelling cattle class.


Cheers again mate.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Kiskaloo on Thu 16 Aug 2012 - 9:26

@Alfisti wrote:Cheers for the feedback Kisk.

Sorry I didn't have more to offer, but everything just seemed to work for me. Smile Astounding detail on the Guiana Space Centre. I've never been there, but now I feel like a regular visitor. Smile

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Fri 17 Aug 2012 - 4:51

@Kiskaloo wrote:Sorry I didn't have more to offer, but everything just seemed to work for me. Smile Astounding detail on the Guiana Space Centre. I've never been there, but now I feel like a regular visitor. Smile
Heh, cheers mate... lets just say a lot of time was spent on google maps and trawling the internet for info and pictures. Fortunately the Ariane 5 Users Manual does actually exist as well, and yes; is freely available for download. That proved invaluable.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Fri 19 Oct 2012 - 4:32



Chapter 09|A Roman Holiday - Part 01 now on ff.net


Wherein Monty pulls the trigger,
Kara doesn't,
And Jethro is put on the couch.



Part 02's already written, and just needs editing.

I'll be honest: this one is a bit of a consolidation chapter to give Jethro+Monty (and their author, if I'm honest sweat ) a chance to go through the information they've collected over the last few chapters, sort it out and get all their ducks in a row before heading back out into the big, wide world.

Special thanks to all those whom have let me use their characters for this one.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Kiskaloo on Fri 19 Oct 2012 - 10:25

Most enjoyable, as always, mate.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by tremec6speed on Fri 19 Oct 2012 - 16:46

'....all the ducks in a row'? awesome! Alfisti, I luv how you express yourself. Hmm, I might just be borrowing that from time to time!
head bang
You can be sure I'll be reading your cool story!
(soon as I get back from me second job, gonna be late) sweat


Last edited by tremec6speed on Sat 20 Oct 2012 - 6:32; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Sat 20 Oct 2012 - 1:11

Cheers Kisk, Tremec.

Yeah, that saying's one I've picked up off my father over the years... it seemed appropriate.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Sat 10 Nov 2012 - 4:13



Chapter 10|A Roman Holiday - Part 02 now on ff.net

Wherein a trip in canceled,
Puzzles are solved,
And the weather changes.



Again, special thanks to all those whom let me borrow their characters for this one... it's a bit longer than usual, but not quite long enough to split into two and I really didn't want to let this mini-arc run to three. Hopefully it makes some form of sense.

As a side-note: it narrowly avoided being called "Sniper on the Room"... however that a) seemed inappropriate and b) I wanted some continuity in the chapter naming between parts 01 & 02.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 10 Nov 2012 - 17:30

Solid work, as always, mate.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Thescarredman on Sat 10 Nov 2012 - 19:11

Monty, pushing Kara out of the driver's seat, then out of the front seat to sit beside Michele - "Adults sit in the front, Kara..." What cheek!

If it had been Elsa, Monty might have been in hospital a little longer than Thursday.
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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Sat 10 Nov 2012 - 20:26

@Kiskaloo wrote:Solid work, as always, mate.
Cheers mate. I hope I handled Michele and Kara ok...

@Thescarredman wrote:Monty, pushing Kara out of the driver's seat, then out of the front seat to sit beside Michele - "Adults sit in the front, Kara..." What cheek!


If it had been Elsa, Monty might have been in hospital a little longer than Thursday.
Had it been any handler but Michele, she probably wouldn't have gotten away with it.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 10 Nov 2012 - 21:18

@Alfisti wrote:
@Kiskaloo wrote:Solid work, as always, mate.

Cheers mate. I hope I handled Michele and Kara ok...

It was excellent. Kara's forum persona has subtly wormed her way into most everyone else's fiction, but you all handle it well. Smile

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Tue 13 Nov 2012 - 6:10

@Kiskaloo wrote:It was excellent. Kara's forum persona has subtly wormed her way into most everyone else's fiction, but you all handle it well. Smile
Cheers mate. Kara I think has something of a stigma (both in-universe and on-forum) of being both a bit of a ditz and a material girl.

Fortunately the more extreme Forum!Kara doesn't fit to well into the way I picture/write the GSG universe. If I tried to distil how I picture her/try to write her into words: on-the-job at least she's professional, but with a little girliness/Forum!Kara seeping through in her own thoughts, usually though without interfereing with her performance. More likely to distract her are concerns over her relationship with Michele/his relationship with others (women... be they staff, cyborg or other)... I also picture her as being sometimes a bit oblivious to how much she has that others don't... there's a lot missing in that but it's a rough set of cues I generally fall back on writing her "at work".

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Officer_Charon on Wed 14 Nov 2012 - 17:26

Superb as always, Alfisti... I enjoy how J+M are settling into their niche, despite the uncomfortable surroundings.

Uhm... I believe it's "secede from the South," not "succeed from the South."

I enjoyed your wee "hunt-the-hunter" moment, as well as how human you made the sniper. Perhaps some in the SWA will start considering where his viewpoint was coming from?

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by boomer_gonz on Wed 14 Nov 2012 - 20:05

@Alfisti wrote:
@Kiskaloo wrote:It was excellent. Kara's forum persona has subtly wormed her way into most everyone else's fiction, but you all handle it well. Smile
Cheers mate. Kara I think has something of a stigma (both in-universe and on-forum) of being both a bit of a ditz and a material girl.

I humbly admit as well that Kara's 'ditz' persona is something I love to play with. Especially considering that I've never seen her as a ditz at all. I;ve always seen it much like how Monty's cold stare works. Her cover persona is something that Kara simply does so well, that those around her aren't even aware whether she's in or out of it.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Thu 15 Nov 2012 - 6:43

@Officer_Charon wrote:Uhm... I believe it's "secede from the South," not "succeed from the South."
Bloody hell, how did I miss that... someone remind me to fix that up once I'm back in civilisation

@Officer_Charon wrote:I enjoyed your wee "hunt-the-hunter" moment, as well as how human you made the sniper. Perhaps some in the SWA will start considering where his viewpoint was coming from?
Cheers mate... I'll admit it was an open end I was leaving for myself should I feel like coming back and elaborating on it futher at some point. Razz

@boomer_gonz wrote:I humbly admit as well that Kara's 'ditz' persona is something I love to
play with. Especially considering that I've never seen her as a ditz at
all. I;ve always seen it much like how Monty's cold stare works. Her
cover persona is something that Kara simply does so well, that those
around her aren't even aware whether she's in or out of it.
I don't know if Monty's cold stare is a good example, there's not a helluva lot put on about her personality Razz

That said, I see where you're coming from. Though I think full-ditz is something Kara puts on or plays up (whether on purpose of subconciously) I do tend to picture her as... I dunno; sometimes a bit easily distracted or liable to get carried away with things/carried along by the moment? Though more as an off-the-clock thing rather than on-mission; and I do still see her views as a little coloured by being used to having money. Not bad things at all mind you; it's what makes her fun and interesting to write and work with.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by tremec6speed on Fri 16 Nov 2012 - 16:35

Late as usual to read the cool stories being created, I enjoyed reading it and as all good stories do, they nudge the reader to ask questions:
Is it only Padania, involved in this effort to collect and categorize the fratellos?
Has the science/engineering staff offered to alter the looks of the cyborgs, perhaps as a last ditch effort?

I know, I know I'll just have to be patient and wait for the next installment. Sad
Looking forward to part two.... study
Great work Alfisti! head bang
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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Robert Frazer on Fri 16 Nov 2012 - 23:09

I enjoyed the Colleseum battle as well - I've always been a fan of sniper duels, they combine both the high emotion of face-to-face combat with the strategic considerations of situation and position.

A particularly interesting one, while I have it to mind, is the fight between Hannay and Medina at the denouement of The Three Hostages - mainly because Hannay fires one shot, then realises that the spare ammunition he's brought is the wrong calibre and won't fit into his rifle! That... complicates matters.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Sat 17 Nov 2012 - 3:13

@Alfisti wrote:
@Officer_Charon wrote:Uhm... I believe it's "secede from the South," not "succeed from the South."
Bloody hell, how did I miss that... someone remind me to fix that up once I'm back in civilisation
Fixed.


@tremec6speed wrote:Is it only Padania, involved in this effort to collect and categorize the fratellos?
Has the science/engineering staff offered to alter the looks of the cyborgs, perhaps as a last ditch effort?

I know, I know I'll just have to be patient and wait for the next installment.
Looking forward to part two.... study
I'm afraid you may be waiting for a bit to see things from this storyline expanded upon, they'll likely slink into the background again after this whilst J+M get back to what they're supposed to be doing.

To answer your questions: the answer to the first is "that's for me to know, and you to find out Wink" (ie. once I figure that out myself). As to the second, I doubt the girls will be having their looks altered; partly because I like to try and leave canon as much alone as possible, so the girls need to stay themselves, and two because it's a little too much a "get out of gaol free" card for my liking... too easy and having another problem for the SWA to deal with is much more interesting. If I have to, I'll make up some reasons as to why it won't be happening in-universe (too difficult to do after the original process, too difficult and traumatic to get the girls used to being a "new" person again... something like that), but while I'll never say never it's highly unlikely.


@Robert Frazer wrote:I enjoyed the Colleseum battle as well - I've always been a fan of
sniper duels, they combine both the high emotion of face-to-face combat
with the strategic considerations of situation and position.

A particularly interesting one, while I have it to mind, is the fight between Hannay and Medina at the denouement of The Three Hostages
- mainly because Hannay fires one shot, then realises that the spare
ammunition he's brought is the wrong calibre and won't fit into his
rifle! That... complicates matters.
Cheers mate, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I'll admit: I'm not actually hugely interested in sniping, or the mechanics of it, but it does make for a good story. The sniper arc is something I'd been wanting to do for about six months before I actually got around to writing it (and bringing J+M to a point where it would fit into the story)... and of course it was fun trying to use the scariest monster of all: the one you can't see.

I'll have to add that movie to my "to watch" list (which is extensive).

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Kiskaloo on Wed 21 Nov 2012 - 22:14

@Alfisti wrote:
@Kiskaloo wrote:It was excellent. Kara's forum persona has subtly wormed her way into most everyone else's fiction, but you all handle it well. Smile

Cheers mate. Kara I think has something of a stigma (both in-universe and on-forum) of being both a bit of a ditz and a material girl.

Fortunately the more extreme Forum!Kara doesn't fit to well into the way I picture/write the GSG universe. If I tried to distil how I picture her/try to write her into words: on-the-job at least she's professional, but with a little girliness/Forum!Kara seeping through in her own thoughts, usually though without interfereing with her performance. More likely to distract her are concerns over her relationship with Michele/his relationship with others (women... be they staff, cyborg or other)... I also picture her as being sometimes a bit oblivious to how much she has that others don't... there's a lot missing in that but it's a rough set of cues I generally fall back on writing her "at work".

Aye, she does believe that there were far too many beautiful women in Michele's life before he joined the Agency. Smile

And I agree she has come to accept that money isn't something she need to worry about, though Michele didn't keep his fortune by spending it like water and I like to believe he's instilled that in Kara, as well. Smile

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Wed 28 Nov 2012 - 6:07

So, as a few here are probably aware; I've been trying to work up a sort of side story/tie in to J+M, centred around the Olivetti fratello whom were sort of introduced through Chapters 09 & 10 of And the Adventure Continues.

Well, after two weeks or so now of plugging away at it and generally failing to feel the love, I've decided to shelve the project. That's not to say it's being scrapped, but put on indefinate hold. There's a few reasons for that, but the most basic one is that I'm struggling to muster any real drive behind it; and the only real motivation right now is to get it done so I can return to writing Jethro+Monty... which obviously isn't a good way to go about things; and if I'm going to do this, I'd like to think it had been done at least semi-right... because I still like the fratello and the concept.

So, yeah: it's shelved.

Upsides are that I get to go back to writing my favorite fratello/married-couple-but-not, and that if I pick the side story up again I won't just be writing it to get it done and out of the way. Downsides are that it will be much more difficult to integrate it smoothly into the main story line at a later date... and of course I'm now a good fortnight behind in having anything to show. Practical upshot of that is, assuming we're not all suddenly wanting to make really sure of where our towels are come 21 December, I'm dubious of relasing anything before the New Year.

So, find below what was to be the Prologue of Meanwhile, In Italy [working title]. It's a bit rougher than normal right now, and If I ever return to the story, it will get cleaned up and posted to ff.net.

Spoiler:
Meanwhile In Italy|Prologue

“Is it for your daughter?”

Danilo Olivetti looked down at the black garment in his hands. Fuck, he hadn’t thought that far...

“Yes, yes it is,” he returned, with what he hoped was enough conviction to make it sound genuine.

The sales girl smiled. “Well, you have far better taste than most parents do. It is a bit dark though, only really meant as a base... the trend this season is looking to be to throw some colour into a girl’s winter wardrobe, maybe some reds or yellows... you could even go pastels if bright colours are not her thing.”

Danilo looked again at the opaque, loose fitting poncho, and decided to ignore the advice. After half an hour clicking around in an unsure and futile search of the internet, the handler-in-waiting had given up and gone to Priscilla: apparently the go-to girl for all things women’s fashion at his new job. Her words had pre-empted what he had just been told for the second time today, but after a brief argument over what he was actually in search of she had been able to tell him what he should be asking for and write out a list of stores to try. That had eventually lead him here, the last stop in a quiet part of old Rome, and so far the pretty intelligence analyst’s suggestions had been to a greater or lesser extent: right on the money.

“No, this will suit her just fine... I’ll take three.”

The shop assistant paused, apparently torn between querying what she perceived as a poor decision and the prospect of an easy sale behind her severe, squared-off fringe.

Eventually however the promise of a nice fat commission won out. “Of course, do you know what size she is?”

“Yes, same as this.”

Assuming of course the Medical Engineers had told him the correct dimensions.


Flicking through the racks until she found two more tops in the same sizing, the girl collected all three identical items and headed for the reclaimed wood counter and Apple laptop which served as the store’s till.

“Well keep the receipt anyway, if they don’t fit you can always bring them back. Cash or credit?”

“Credit.”

The store clerk ran up his purchase and, as he paused trying to remember the pin for the new Agency credit card, folded each garment neatly to slip them together into a stiff-sided, recycled brown paper bag, eventually placing the receipt atop the fabric. Taking a moment to hand back her customer’s card, she lifted the bag so that its sides would stay vertical and hold the contents in place before sliding it across the counter top, keeping it erect by the handles.

“I hope your daughter likes them.”

Nodding his thanks the man took his purchase and headed for the exit, the girl looking contemplatively after him as the door swung shut with a tinkle of the bell above it.

Probably shouldn’t be too surprised: shaved head, black suit, black shirt, black tie and black shoes with a black trench coat draped over one arm; not a lot of room for variety and colour there.

Shrugging, she reached for a well-thumbed Wallpaper*, dropping it open at a random page in the hopes of finding something to amuse her until the next customer showed up.



Outside, Danilo stopped to slip on a pair of dark tea-shades, breathing in crisp late autumn air, and looked up and down the narrow Rome alley in which he stood. The sun didn’t quite reach this deep in between the buildings, and the passage remained the realm of cheap electronics stores, back garages and others whom could not afford the overheads of a main-street window. Why anyone would come down here in search of fashion he couldn’t fathom, even Priscilla had referred to it as “out of the way and not really my thing... but they might stock what you’re looking for.”

Across the way though a small coffee bar had sprung up, guarded by a battered single speed bicycle leaning outside its open roller door, whilst from the shop next to it small, carefully painted miniatures glared aggressively out from their shelves. His eye rested on those for a second: the ‘manual’, he had been given suggested some sort of hobby to help tune fine motor skills… he dismissed the thought: not for the small fortune those things cost.

At least, by Rome standards, it had been reasonably easy to find a park here, even if that was right on an intersection. Walking quickly to a black, five-door Honda Civic, its Perspex snout inches from the back of the next car in the hope of fitting it all in before the corner, he hit the central locking and slung open a rear door, dumping his purchase amongst the other bags already there. Pausing, the new agent did a quick count: two sets of GP boots from the disposal in generic shopping bags; four equally plain carry-alls in that recycled-plastic weave stuff which was supposed to save the planet or something, full of leggings, underwear, socks, PT gear and other basics from a cheap outlet store; a black nylon duffel, still in its wrapping, and a few other packages containing the accoutrements of life, the type which were never thought of until they weren’t there.

None of it however was apparently going to make a girl presentable in public, but with this last stop having rectified that, it was time to turn for home... or at least what currently passed for home. There were one or two other items of clothing he would need before the fratello became operational, but those would be special order and he’d need a cyborg first, lest he have to get them replaced due to bad measurements.

So at least until tomorrow then.

Shrugging, Danilo threw his own folded trench atop the bags and swapped doors to drop into the car’s drivers’ seat where two tiers of dashboard stared blankly back at him from behind cheap plastic.

And speaking of things getting ready for replacement…

Twisting the key, the handler-to-be fired his car’s little four cylinder engine into life and turned for the autostrada south out of town.



“…the Blackers sent through another data packet as well. It’s still being decrypted but they appear to have moved on to Ankara.”

“…and only God knows where else in between.”

Quirking a polite smile at her commander’s comment, Chief Lorenzo’s steward stood up again from where she had been collecting empty espresso cups, taking the opportunity to also cast a surreptitious glance at the crystal whiskey decanter placed behind his desk. It was difficult to tell now with Alboreto occasionally helping himself to the supply, but her charge seemed to be going easier on the stuff.

Picking up the last small cup, Tea placed it on a silver service and withdrew silently as the Chief looked up at the woman across the woodwork from him. “Do we have anyone to start dealing with that?”

Seated in one of the leather armchairs opposite, Ferro Milani flicked to the next page of her notebook. “Not right at this minute… Priscilla says she has a new analyst whom might be able to be spared in a week or two; young, but also apparently quite talented. She’s assigned him some low-level inter-departmental decryption work for the time being until she can get a better feel for his capability. Once he’s finished on that, if she’s happy with his performance, his next task will be this latest data dump… and at least Blacker and Monique are switched on enough to pick out any really critical errors he might make and double check his work.”

“I can’t see Monique liking that idea.”

“Probably not, but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her… and I doubt either of them would be particularly happy with option B: which is palming it off to Public Safety to assess.”

Lorenzo nodded slowly. “Point taken. In that case I’m happy with Priscilla’s suggestion for the time being … however, before she puts him onto working operational data, I would like her to come and brief me on his progress. The Blackers may be the best able to do their own intelligence assessment, but they’re also the fratello we can least afford to make mistakes with.”

“Yes sir, I’ll pass it along.” Scribbling a note for herself, Ferro looked again at the book, “That’s about it for today, except that Olivetti’s cyborg is being activated tomorrow morning; though I think the medical staff will be here shortly to brief you on that and ask for the final green light themselves.”

The Chief looked at his computer’s clock. “In about twenty minutes, yes. Has he decided on a name for her yet?”

The support manager rustled more pages. “C.Raych, according to what I have here.”

“What does the ‘C’ stand for?”

“I don’t know, and Olivetti is not letting on either yet… though Bianchi said he was quite insistent about it.”



Honestly, would it kill them to number the rooms?

Walking along the row of identical looking doors, Danilo counted off how many he had passed since reaching the top of the stair. It had taken awhile to track down a bunking plan for the cyborg warehouse; and having finally found his way through the Agency’s electronic filing system he’d made sure to email the Ferro woman the document ensuring it was up to date. With her somewhat curt guarantee it was, the man felt confident enough to give the door at his destination a quick rap, shifting the two bundles of bags he carried a little before swinging it open.

If he was wrong, at least it would now be someone else’s fault.


Inside, an Asian-featured girl stood hurriedly from where she had been sat cleaning a DSG-1 sniper rifle, on the room’s obviously unoccupied second bed.

“Good evening Sir!”

Pausing, Danilo took in what lay before him. The room was a reasonable size allowing a comfortable gap between two separate beds, and furnished in mirror image: the two beds, two desks, two wardrobes, two desk lamps. There however the similarities ended. While the side of the room the cyborg had been working in contained agency standard Laminex, MDF and hardwood hand-me-downs, the other was much more plush and obviously selected by someone who could afford to spend a few extra Euro. While he was no expert, none of what was there looked cheap: the bed’s mattress appearing thicker and softer; the work desk topped by a small Apple laptop and the shelves beside it stuffed with books. At the bed’s other end deep, frosted glass front wardrobes stood, bending around in an L shape to the door, their tops scraping the ceiling to give their owner plenty of storage. Some of the creep was even starting to encroach across the room, a low media unit topped by another row of books and a few magazines between the two tall windows, a couple of beanbags scattered in front of it.

Looking back to the room’s sole occupant, a bit of information was thrown up in the back of the man’s head. “You must be Pagani’s cyborg.”

“Yes, I’m Kara Deleroux, Michele’s my handler.”

Internally, Danilo suppressed a scowl at the tacked-on second name. “I’m Danilo Olivetti, my cyborg will be rooming with you from tomorrow, I don’t know if you were informed or not. I just needed to drop her things; don’t let me keep you from what you were doing.”

“Oh it’s not urgent, Michele just says my rifle should be cleaned before he returns it to the armoury.”

Well, that at least he could approve of.

Turning his back on Kara, the man extracted a small knife from one pocket and started cutting the tags from what he had purchased, stashing each garment in an old wooden wardrobe which had assumedly been left by some past tenant.

“You know you really should wash those first.”

“Let C.Raych know, she can wash them if she wants.”

“I will!”

Turning to tear open another bag, Danilo eyed the room again. “Your handler bought all this for you?”

From where she had moved to one of the beanbags, Kara beamed. “Yes, he says I should be comfortable when staying here, though sometimes he lets me stay at his apartment in Milan too…”

Danilo was suddenly glad he hadn’t been drinking anything, just managing to turn his cough of surprise into a non-committal grunt; he was going to need to find this Pagani to get the handler’s side of the story. From what he had read or heard, any cyborg was as likely to talk up her relationship with her handler... at least he hoped that was the case.

“…and sometimes…” the girl’s voice trailed off as her current companion turned his back to her again, and out of sight and out of mind the cyborg went back to cleaning her rifle, eyes however remaining on what was unpacked for her new roommate.

She was just starting to fit the DSG’s components into its waterproof case as Danilo dumped one set of clothes and pair of black boots into the plain duffle bag he had bought.

“I’m sure I don’t need to tell you not to touch anything.”

With which he was gone, leaving Kara suddenly slightly apprehensive about what time with this man traipsing in and out may hold.

Out in the hall, Danilo glanced at his watch; if he was quick he should have just enough time to drop past his room and make it to the armoury before the front desk’s evening closing time. Picking up the pace, the new agent made his way back to the stairs and down, past two younger cyborgs whom stood aside politely to let him through, more the behaviour he had been expecting to see, back to ground level.

“Who was that? A new handler?”

Beside her red-headed companion, the neatly dressed brunette of the pair shook her head, setting her bob-cut swaying. “I don’t know Mari.”

“Well, he came from up on the Second Gen floor, come on, we’ll see if someone up there knows.”

Dashing up the stairs, her short haired friend following more sedately behind, ‘Mari’ made it quickly to the building’s second level, pausing to scan the hall. While there was still room for more girls on the first floor occupied by the Gen 1s someone, somewhere along the line, had decided to separate the second generation of cyborgs out. At the end of the day, it had probably been the right thing to do; if only to prevent crowding of the ablutions.

The rooms here were more modern in their fitout: gyprock and suspended ceilings lining more ancient architecture; and preventing a curious cyborg from investigating suspended trusses and air-conditioning ducts and protecting it from damage. Further up the hall, one of the doors had been left ajar, letting a thin strip of light break out across hard-wearing carpet. As the short haired girl arrived, her companion pointed at it.

“Lets try Kara’s room.”

Moving to knock on the door and poke her head around it, Mari found Kara standing in front of the room’s spare wardrobe, now open, contemplating its interior.

“Hi Kara.”

“Oh hi Marisa, Henrietta.”

“Watcha doing?”

The Asian featured Gen 2 motioned at the wardrobe, as from outside floated the sound of a four cylinder engine starting, before thrumming away accompanied by the sound of tyres crunching on gravel. “Apparently I’m getting a new roommate, her handler just came past to drop off her things.”

“Ha! I was right! Did you get a name?”

“Danilo Olivetti… I think his cyborg’s name was Raych.”

“You think?”

“Well he never said anything formally, her name just sort of came out in passing, but I assume that was it.”

Squeezing through the door, the two younger girls looked past their sister to also contemplate the wardrobe’s contents.

“That’s a lot of black,” intoned Marisa finally.

“Does Raych like black?”

“Don’t know, but her handler was wearing a lot of it… don’t touch!” With the last words, Kara reached out to push Henrietta’s hand downward, “Mr. Olivetti said not to touch.”

“So you’re just going to stand here and look at it?”

“Well… he didn’t say anything about not doing that.”

Boooooring… come on ‘Etta, lets go see if Allison’s around.”

As the two ducked again out of her room, Kara returned her attention to what lay before her. Marisa had been right: there was a lot of black; in fact it was all black, as if someone were determined to spend the remainder of their lives prepared to attend a funeral. Still, for having appeared so cold and disinterested in what she, Kara, had had to say, Danilo seemed to have gone to a lot of effort to make sure his own girl would have everything she needed on the first day.

Maybe she didn’t have quite so much to worry about after all.

Feeling a little guilty for having pried, she shut the wardrobe and looked over at her desk to where her homework from the day’s classes had been neatly stacked…

History, math, English… Yay.



Crunching to a halt in the armoury/shooting range car park, Danilo picked up a small, plastic tool case and nylon bag from the passenger seat and, locking the vehicle, made his way down into the building’s semi-sunken depths. Even with its low profile, the bunker-like structure had not been difficult to find; aided by the time he had spent memorising the compound layout… there was no way known he was going to get caught out blundering around like some rookie.

Opening the door, he was met with harsh, fluorescent lighting, accompanied by the faint whiff of cordite and gun oil. This was better; this he was far more at home with than high-streets and fashion stores.

From one of the doors leading off the front room came faint sounds of weapons fire, muffled behind heavy concrete and wood. Ignoring them for the time being however, Danilo made his way instead to the armoury counter.

“Danilo Olivetti, I had a message to say my order had arrived?”

The clerk behind the counter nodded but said nothing for a minute whilst he searched through his computer.

“Olivetti… ah yes, it has,” there was another quick pause, “I understand these are to become your fratello’s personal sidearms?”

“That’s correct.”

Rather than present a ready clipboard, that response produced another flurry of mouse clicks, leaving the handler-in-waiting to stand by, drumming his fingers pointedly on the bench top. On the far wall, a couple of coats had been hung; waiting to keep their owners warm in the cooling autumn evening outside, and he took the moment to add his own to the collection.

Eventually the buzz of a cheap inkjet printer cut its way through the space, bouncing off hard surfaces, drowning out the low noise of the TV set above the coat rack. Attaching the first page to a clipboard as it completed, the clerk slid it over to Danilo with a pen. “I’m going to need to get you to fill out one of these for each firearm, but you may as well get started while I retrieve the things from the back.”

“There’s only the two?”

“Yes, I’m afraid your carbines and shotgun are proving slightly more problematic.”

As he said it, the second form finished printing, and he took the moment to hand it over before slipping out the small office’s door.

Left to his own devices, the room’s only other occupant looked around, before heading to a long plastic bench bolted hard against the rear wall; no point in cluttering up the counter for others whom may wish to use it. Sitting down with a reasonable degree of comfort and leaning back against the cool concrete wall, he set about filling in the information which would secure his fratello their everyday firearms.

For an organisation which rode the very edge of the medical-science and bio-engineering envelope this all was… rather low-tech. The actual medical branch facility had seemed a bit more on the money for what he had been expecting but... pens, paper and an inkjet printer… used to replicate a poor quality scan someone had taken? Even some of the Guardia’s systems had been more up to date.

The first form had just been completed, and set aside to be copied from, when the door to the range opened, briefly releasing the crack and bang of weapons fire, along with two people; one tall and slightly gaunt, the other female with long, golden hair tied up into twin tails. The latter was wearing a classically cut three-piece suit, and eyed Danilo suspiciously as her companion lifted their coats down, saying something quietly as hers was handed over. The man however shook his head a little in reply, and stepped over to where the new-hire was seated, holding out a hand.

“You are new here? Victor Hillshire.”

“The detective,” he took the proffered hand, “Danilo Olivetti.”

The other man looked slightly taken aback, but quickly recovered. “Ah, our new handler…”

“You’ve heard of me?”

“…a few things here and there, this is Triela.”

Danilo glanced at the girl he’d heard referred to as ‘The Princess’… so this was one of the first generation girls he was supposed to be replacing. His attention however focused back on the handler and, realising nothing more was going to be said, the man continued in his German accented Italian.

“I haven’t seen you around much.”

“No, most of my time has been spent with the medical department trying to get my cyborg squared away before activation. They’re an intelligent enough group down there, but sometimes need to be given information two or three times before catching on to what you’re telling them, so it seemed easier to just keep an eye on there from up close.”

I’m sure Bianchi loved that.

Not rising to the bait however, Hilshire put on an expression of polite enquiry. “So when is your girl scheduled to be activated?”

“8am tomorrow… I was actually just down here to pick up our firearms.”

“Well in that case, we shall let you get on with it, have a good evening.”

“And you.”

Beside the German, his cyborg looked up at the new handler, “It was a pleasure to meet you.”

The pleasantry though somehow never seemed to reach her eyes.

Listening to their shoes tap away toward the exit, Danilo sat down to finish filling out his second form and, five minutes later, carried both up to the armoury window.

The clerk had returned by now. Scanning the neatly printed information, he lifted two identical plastic boxes up, placing them between himself and his customer. “It’s unusual to see a handler picking up a new weapon on arrival, most tend to bring what they’re comfortable with across from their last employer.”

Lifting one box down, Olivetti unclipped its lid to inspect the pleasingly formed plastic firearm inside. “No, we had Berettas in the Guardia, but there’s nothing wrong with trying something different: particularly when what you were working with before was essentially out-dated technology.”

“Don’t go saying that to the 1911 fans.”

“They’re welcome to them; I’ve never understood the attraction, let alone the attempts to keep their damn paperweights relevant.”

“Well, lucky for you they seem to be more an American obsession anyway… but the fact still stands that things like the Beretta and Hi Power are still serving people and organisations just fine the world over. If it ain’t broke…”

“That just means someone didn’t want to spend the time and money to find something better and do it properly.” Closing the lid, Danilo glanced across the countertop. “What is the standard firearm here anyway?”

“92FS.”

That brought a little tsk but no further comment. “I’ll be wanting four hundred rounds of 9mm as well.”

Shrugging, the clerk produced another form, this one pre-printed, sliding it across the countertop, before turning to step out of the office again. Filling it out quickly (the information really didn’t change wherever you went, it was just a matter of figuring out in what order the little spaces to put it in were arranged), the ex-Guardia man gave the second box’s contents a brief once over before the clerk returned, swapping what he carried for the form.

Content with what was written there, he looked over at the future handler. “Did you need ear and eye protection?”

That was met with a shake of the head as the nylon bag was lifted into vision. “No, I’ve got my own.”

“Well then, the range is yours.”

Donning an expensive set of electronic ear protectors and shooting glasses, Danilo left the nylon bag beneath where his coat hung. On inspection, his were a little scuffed around the edges, but an identical, shiny new set now resided in the bottom of his cyborg’s wardrobe, ready for her use. It had been tempting to take them for himself and leave her the hand me downs, but that thought had been quickly shaken free: everyone deserved to have at least one issue of nice, freshly minted kit.

Finding an empty lane near the door, he left one of the guns with a stack of targets on the bench back against the rear wall. Opening the case he had enjoyed less time to inspect, he pulled one of the magazines from dense, protective foam rubber. For a moment he held it up to the light before, content it was visually alright, starting to load 9mm FMJ rounds into its open top. Around him, the indoor range still had a few users on it, including another fratello, but that was ok: it was evening now and they would be likely to have started to empty out as well by the time he was ready to start loosing rounds.

One magazine full, he started on the next. Four hundred rounds should be enough to check his factory-fresh gun was working alright and zero the sights; not to mention that he would need to be back here tomorrow with C.Raych, and it would do no good to be unfamiliar with what he was trying to train her on.

Finishing the second mag, Danilo Olivetti picked up the pistol he had chosen for his fratello to give it its own visual inspection, and slipped the freshly loaded magazine into its grip. Running out a target he lifted the gun, staring through its odd, trapezoidal sights.

And to that end, there was no time like the present.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Thescarredman on Wed 28 Nov 2012 - 20:05

Alfisti. You're really that unhappy with this work? I think it's pretty darn good. You're portraying Danilo with considerable depth; I like the way he goes to such lengths to be (in his mind) a 'good' handler. It seems to me he may have trouble remembering that Raych is just a tool, and may slip into an overbearing father type role on occasion.
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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Wed 28 Nov 2012 - 21:58

@Thescarredman wrote:Alfisti. You're really that unhappy with this work? I think it's pretty darn good. You're portraying Danilo with considerable depth; I like the way he goes to such lengths to be (in his mind) a 'good' handler. It seems to me he may have trouble remembering that Raych is just a tool, and may slip into an overbearing father type role on occasion.
Not so much "unhappy", more that I'd prefer to be working on something else right now; namely J+M's main storyline. I do still hope to come back and write the Olivetti Fratello as well, but I feel that, if I attempt to do so right now I'll just be driving toward getting to a target as quickly as possible (in this case, moving them timeline-wise to the events of "A Roman Holiday"), rather than working up an interesting and engaging story. When I found myself dismissing ideas because they would add another chapter and take too long I figured it was time to pack it in, put the story on hold, and finish up what I was excited about doing first.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by tremec6speed on Thu 29 Nov 2012 - 0:15

May your muse for these fratello return soon! Very enjoyable read. Smile
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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by taerKitty on Thu 29 Nov 2012 - 2:09

A nice and smooth read. He's an interesting sort of man though, brusque and almost unpleasant, with glimmers of a good heart showing through.

As we discussed in chat, this is more 'realistic' in keeping with the cyborgs in the source material - nothing too flashy or overt.

He is of strong opinion. I'd love to read more about his background, his back story. It would be fascinating to see how he came to this 'stance' and this view on life.

I am disappointed we don't get to meet C., though. I hope you find time to write the next chapter at some time.

Also, please do post it on FF.net so I can give it a 'proper' review. Wink

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Thu 29 Nov 2012 - 8:38

Cheers Tremec... it's not so much that the muse is gone, just a different one is overriding her.

@taerkitty wrote:I am disappointed we don't get to meet C., though. I hope you find time to write the next chapter at some time.

Also, please do post it on FF.net so I can give it a 'proper' review. Wink
I might try writing the next chapter (C.'s awakening) between J+M chapters... we'll see. It may have to wait until I've finished their current arc as well.

Might look to throwing it up on ff.net over the weekend... though part of me really doesn't want to do so until I've a bit more of a solid chunk to put there... especially when it's going to be so long between drinks.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Odon on Thu 29 Nov 2012 - 8:53

@Alfisti wrote:Might look to throwing it up on ff.net over the weekend... though part of me really doesn't want to do so until I've a bit more of a solid chunk to put there... especially when it's going to be so long between drinks.

Well if you spaced out your drinking more, you might not throw up on ff.net in chunks after all.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Thu 27 Dec 2012 - 6:02



Chapter 11|White Knuckle Ride now on ff.net


Wherein Genco comes up with the goods,
old stamping grounds are revisited,
and Jethro samples some Italian metal.



Whew, done.

To be honest this chapter has not spent as much time in editing as I would like; but I'm off to Tokyo on Saturday and wanted it out before then. As I've some running around to do tomorrow, this was the last opportunity I was likely to get to give it a proper look over.


For those interested: next job once I return is to do the next chapter of the Olivetti fratello's story. We'll see how it goes.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Wed 9 Jan 2013 - 7:45

Ok, so: posting in response to comments by Taerkitty on ff.net RE:And The Adventure Continues - Chapter01... simply because it's easier to quote etc here.

Running's a good plan. I can do running.
I like running too... plus I've always pictured Jethro's "running away" gait to be one of those arms flailing type runs.

"In hindsight, she suspected that probably explained the number of tourists and lack of locals making use of its services."
That's my rule for good ethnic places: ones that look like one violation away from being closed by the board of health, and with lots of people of that ethnicity eating therein.
Pretty much: eat where the locals eat and do as they do when you get there and there's a resonable chance of coming out the other end unscathed and with a good feed. I've done a reasonable amount of travel, and the only two times I've seen anyone get food poisioning were both in tourist-focused establishments.


"dropping a none-too-subtle hint that if her handler hadn't, he possibly should be."
For a handlee, she seems to be doing more of the handling than JB.
I think by this stage of their tenure together, Jethro is pretty happy to leave the fratello's day-to-day running to Monty, leaving him free to scheme, plot, plan and generally think about the bigger picture. This particular instance is more a case of Monty liking to have some goal to work toward (possibly as a result of being more details oriented) whilst Jethro is a bit happier to roll with the punches and keeps his plans flexible accordingly.

As a side note: I tend to picture Jethro's style of cyborg management to be less direct and a bit more subtle than others (partly thanks to having a girl he can get away with that with); gently prodding, guiding and cajoling Monty along; not to mention giving her some ownership of what the fratello does... it's less stressful for all involved.


Oh, they really were going to Le Metropole? I thought the whole "talking to the book" was where Monty's pointing out key phrases in the text to form a critical sentence while blabbing tourist-speak. Something like, "Man in black hat is listening" or somesuch.
Yeah, they really were. While playing this sort of game is fun, there's a point at which the whole thing starts to get too drawn out and convoluted and needs to be moved along. I'll admit I've never been a great one for having contrived or set phrases with a specific meaning (well, bar a few particularly basic ones "I've been captured" wordings and the like), generally I figure if Jethro or Monty need to say something covertly they'll figure out a way of phrasing it such that the other can work it out knowing what they're up to.


Steed and Peel? Really? Why not something bland like Smith and Jones? There's always a chance they watched the show or movie.
Yeah really... Razz I'm calling artistic license on this one as I enjoy having a bit of fun with their cover names. Notably Monty has already been "Vesper" in Monaco whilst Jethro took his name from mashing "Sean" (Shaun, in this case) Connery's first name and Michael Caine's last name together... and "Archer" at the start of CH01 was lifted from Kate Archer in the "No One Lives Forever" series of video games (which I still need to play).


Hm. For those unfamiliar, what's antifoul? Yes, I can ask you in PM, but this is more a comment to elaborate on it a bit.
Antifoul is a protective treatment applied to to the underside of vessels to help prevent the buildup of marine growth below the waterline; generally either by poisioning it or giving it a surface which it can't hold onto. At intervals the vessel needs to be hauled out of the water and the antifoul renewed, and it's pretty pungent stuff.


Okay, first chapter done, and it was a bit of a slog. It reads more like a work of original fiction than fanfiction, what with the richness of detail, depth of research and general pacing. By original fiction, I mean published, paid for book.

Once my expectations adjusted, it's a smooth read, and more dead ends occur in this than in the canon. Again, in O-fic, that's fine. In the canon, they do a deft job of culling out all the missed steps, all the oversights
I think as I mentioned in chat: I tend to view fancomic/fiction as a bit of a training ground for eventually writing (hopefully) original fiction, so some of that intent probably seeps through a little... almost trying to build the world again as it were; especially as J+M's world intentionally differs somewhat from day-to-day life at the SWA.

As to the canon culling out missed steps and oversights: probably two arguments on that. The first is I think culling those out is in some ways a limitation of the manga/comic genre: there's just not enough space to show all the backtracking and turning about, and it takes to damn long to draw and uses up too much page realestate which could be better spent on other things. I know when I was drawing the Monaco arc there were plenty of things I skipped over simply due to time/pacing/space constraints, though I will admit the canon does do a particularly deft job of it... though part of that could be down to, as we've discussed before, GSG being very much a character-drama, so missing steps in the procedure of the operational side is perhaps not so critical.

The second would be that, the SWA portrayed in the canon I see as very much intended to be the pointy end of the stick, so by the time missions get through the intelligence crowd and Section 01 to the main characters, all that investigation has already been done. J+M were intended to operate outside that support structure (both narritively and in-universe), so much of that big chunk of work which happens "off screen" in canon is very much their job.


The Jethro character are a bit too strong for GsG fanfic. As a member of Her Majesty's Secret Service, that's fine - the level of suspension of disbelief is much higher in the "other JB" world. Also, he seems far more the fool than the foil, which is amusing, but not in keeping with the lethally-serious world of GsG.

Monty is ... well, I know she's a favourite, and I hate to kick kittens, but she seems too competent, too skilled, too savvy for her age. I'd love to read how she came to be this way but...

It's probably best if there were some hints dropped even this early on so readers won't be saying, "Oh, come /on/! How can a teen do this?"
One of the problems I've run into with writing J+M is that, by the time I got around to actually doing anything with them they were already fairly well established characters on the forum... so when it came time to write them I went directly to the pair as they were known (and, frankly, as I knew them); which was Monty being her competent, savvy, grumpy self and Jethro taking a more laid-back approach because he had a cyborg who was bright and mature enough that he could get away with it. I can't remember if I was doing so in early chapters, but I know in later ones I was making a concious effort to make Monty's decisions and comments more based on logic (ie. something more related to personality) whilst Jethro's are related more to experience and gut instinct.

Either way, I'm currently hanging with no "how we got here" story for them... it may have to become a seperate set of words.

A lot of the above issues I'm hoping to rectify with Danilo and C.Raych; writing a more "canon" context and, to be brutally honest: working with characters I'm not quite so emotionally attached to.


As a final note, RE: Grammar - Noted, and I'll be going back to fix. Particularly lose vs loose... which for some reason I can never remember which is which.


Thanks again for the comments and giving me something to mull over, always appreciated.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Sun 27 Jan 2013 - 3:03

So, I gave up and submitted Danilo & Raych's story to ff.net:


Meanwhile in Italy


I'll admit, I'm still not entire enarmoured with this one, but the first two chapters are there now. Either way, it's break time before jumping into J+M's next chapter.


Last edited by Alfisti on Sun 27 Jan 2013 - 8:14; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Now with 100% more cover)

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Kiskaloo on Sun 27 Jan 2013 - 11:58

@Alfisti wrote:So, I gave up and submitted Danilo & Raych's story to ff.net...

I'll admit, I'm still not entire enarmoured with this one, but the first two chapters are there now. Either way, it's break time before jumping into J+M's next chapter.

It is a different writing style from the one I am familiar with (J+M), but it does set the two main characters well.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Sun 27 Jan 2013 - 18:10

@Kiskaloo wrote:It is a different writing style from the one I am familiar with (J+M), but it does set the two main characters well.
Yeah, I've been purposely trying to write this one a bit differently, a bit more straight forward and to the point than J+M, so gone is a lot of the atmosphere-building/stylistic descriptive prose. Partly because these two are a bit more straight down the line than J+M, more focused in what they notice and, possibly more to the point, the descriptions either would give of things told from their perspective are far less eloquent than either of the Blackers (particularly Jethro).

Thanks Kisk, glad to hear its coming across a bit to the reader.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Sat 16 Mar 2013 - 22:41



Chapter 12|Cherry Lips now on ff.net

Wherein Jethro makes small talk,
Tea serves coffee...
...and Monty goes clubbing.



So, if my calcs are correct, there should be about one more chapter left in this, possibly an epilogue before starting on a new "book" for J+M. With that in mind (assuming anyone cares), the current plan is to, instead of breaking things up with another Danilo and Raych chapter, to move straight on to wrapping up And the Adventure Continues. Then I'll have a clear run at getting the other two up to speed before moving back to Jethro + Monty's next/continuing adventure.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 16 Mar 2013 - 22:44

Excellent, something to read while I wait for Melbourne to kick off.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Alfisti on Sat 18 May 2013 - 7:09



Chapter 13|The Spies Who Remained in the Cold and Epilogue now on ff.net

Wherein the adventure continues.

And that's it for And the Adventure Continues. Many thanks to anyone silly enough to stick with me this far, I hope it was worthwhile.



So, where to now? Well, first I intend to take a few weeks break from writing (or at least as long as I last before feeling the urge to tell a story), and quite a lot of me I will admit is looking forward to being able to arrive home from work and not have something pressing hanging over my head. I actually don't mind being perma-busy, but you can't do it forever... its also a chance to clear some of the backlog of smaller projects put on hold to make way for AtAC.

After that? Well, needless to say this is not the end for Jethro+Monty, but first things first: it's time to bring Danilo and Raych's story up to speed and possibly a little further. That will also give me a chance to see how I fare writing shorter chapters... and a chance to evaluate any changes I want to make format wise to how J+M get written: because frankly 20k word chapters are a pain in the posterior. It also gives time to start fleshing out plans for their next story, because the skeleton is already there.


Anyway, thanks again to all those who made it to the end, and especially to those who have commented, crited and let me borrow their characters. It's always appreciated.

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Re: Alfisti's Ramblings

Post by Kiskaloo on Sun 19 May 2013 - 20:40

Been a heck of a ride and best of all, the ending still leaves plenty of opportunities to continue the story later on. Good

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