To OC or not to OC

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To OC or not to OC

Post by Vett on Sun 9 Sep 2012 - 11:31

(Mods: I'm not entirely sure if I'm posting this in the right place. Feel free to shift it to where it ought to be)

I'm (very, very slowly) working on a story featuring my OC fratello, and have reached the point where they're out doing their bread-and-butter work of following terrorists around all day. Doing surveillance using only one car is somewhat inadvisiable, so they need some sort of team. I'm working on the basis that six cars would give them the ability to track two targets if things got desperate, while ordinarily giving them a good number to box the target vehicle in with. This means I need five more fratello.

1/ Does anyone have ideas for plausible canon fratellos that I could use? While the gen. two fratellos are more intelligence orientated, Petruska and Allessandro seem to be specialised in undercover work rather than surveillance. Am I right in thinking that the other three are blank slates?

2/ Do we know if there's an upper limit on the number of gen. 2's produced? I've got ten in my notes, but I think that might be my worldbuilding rather than canon. If there isn't one, that solves that problem, and also makes integration into the collective Cyborg Central AU an option as I won't have used every avaliable character slot.

3/ The alternative is that I create a sub-group within the SWA, dodging the canon limit on gen. 2 girls. On the other hand, if the SWA is going to set up a specialised sub-unit, I don't see why they wouldn't recruit from Italian surveillance teams. This is somewhat problematic, as my OC is British precisely because I know nothing about the Italian equivilent of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment: having him train existing SWA assets to do the job lets me sidestep that issue. Making this slightly more plausible, incidentally, is the sole reason Lorenzo is a friend of the OC's mother.

Thoughts?

Vett.

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by Kiskaloo on Sun 9 Sep 2012 - 14:15

@Vett wrote:
1/ Does anyone have ideas for plausible canon fratellos that I could use? While the gen. two fratellos are more intelligence orientated, Petruska and Allessandro seem to be specialised in undercover work rather than surveillance. Am I right in thinking that the other three are blank slates?

I'd say Hilshire | Triela and Jean | Rico would be good.

@Vett wrote:
2/ Do we know if there's an upper limit on the number of gen. 2's produced? I've got ten in my notes, but I think that might be my worldbuilding rather than canon. If there isn't one, that solves that problem, and also makes integration into the collective Cyborg Central AU an option as I won't have used every avaliable character slot.

Per the manga, the original tranche was 10 girls. Of course, we have scores, if not hundreds, in fandom. Smile

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by Il Direttore on Sun 9 Sep 2012 - 23:32

A lot of the authors are okay with you borrowing their OCs, so it's worth a look around the OC Thread to see if anyone meets your needs and is compatible with your interpretation of the universe.

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by Alfisti on Mon 10 Sep 2012 - 5:15

I think Kisk's onto something with Jean|Rico and Hilshire|Triela... for that matter, if Sylvia's still alive in your timeline I think that fratello did a bit of similar work as well. Of course, as El's pointed out, there's plenty of fan-fratelli who could fill the role as well.

I'll admit my own tendency is to steer away from creating new characters where existing ones could fill the space: partly because I'm lazy, but also because it's less confusing for the reader compared to trying to introduce a number of new faces all at once.

On that note, a possible option B: surveillance with a single car wouldn't be ideal, and in a perfect world there would be more assets (six in your case), however the world is generally far from perfect. Budgetary contstraints, manning issues: anything could contribute to those six team members NOT being available. So the other way through the story would be to cut the number and make your characters' lives difficult. For that matter: does it have to be fratelli filling the other cars? Because there's plenty of non-fratelli staff members at the SWA: Giorgio, Amadeo and their crowd, Olga was a driver I believe (and former KGB, though that might just be fanon as well, I can't remember), so-on and so forth.

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by Vett on Mon 10 Sep 2012 - 8:51

@Alfisti wrote:I think Kisk's onto something with Jean|Rico and Hilshire|Triela... for that matter, if Sylvia's still alive in your timeline I think that fratello did a bit of similar work as well.

I'll probably go down this route, though Triella, with brown skin and long blonde hair is probably a little distinctive. I'd be more inclined to use Fleccia, Soni and... the other one. Which isn't to say the others won't be making appearences, but the gen 1's all look about nine/ten, which is a little young to be wandering around alone without anyone batting an eye. But Rico'd probably be a safe bet for staring at a house for hours on end from the middle of a bush - safer, anyway.

@Alfisti wrote:Does it have to be fratelli filling the other cars? Because there's plenty of non-fratelli staff members at the SWA: Giorgio, Amadeo and their crowd, Olga was a driver I believe (and former KGB, though that might just be fanon as well, I can't remember), so-on and so forth.

I'd thought about this as well, but if they have the ability to do this without the cyborgs, why use a several million euro piece of machinery in the first place? While "because they can" wouldn't surprise me, I'd like a more practical reason.

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by Il Direttore on Mon 10 Sep 2012 - 10:28

Subterfuge reasons. Yes, you could just spam Carabinieri, but that requires paper work and it's really obvious when an adult has military training and is about to break down your door. The Padania are known for having contacts in All Of the Places, so if you can look like a small child until you shoot the guy, you've got surprise on your side.

Covert adults, however, just look like homeless people, freeloaders, or tourists.

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by ElfenMagix on Mon 10 Sep 2012 - 15:03

What is done in Fanfiction, stays in fanfiction. Thus you can do what you think you need to use. If you must create your own team, or have your OCs work alone, either is fine. Then there is the canon material out there you can use to your heart's content. This is why I created my own team.

Borrowing OCs is tricky. Some authors allow it. Others dont. I'm in the middle with 1) you have to ask and get permission in writing from me and 2) I get to review the work you did with them and make changes if you twisted them into 'out of character land.'

Good luck on writing what you got. I hope to see it posted here or elsewhere.

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by Alfisti on Mon 10 Sep 2012 - 17:13

@Vett wrote:
@Alfisti wrote:I think Kisk's onto something with Jean|Rico and Hilshire|Triela... for that matter, if Sylvia's still alive in your timeline I think that fratello did a bit of similar work as well.

I'll probably go down this route, though Triella, with brown skin and long blonde hair is probably a little distinctive. I'd be more inclined to use Fleccia, Soni and... the other one. Which isn't to say the others won't be making appearences, but the gen 1's all look about nine/ten, which is a little young to be wandering around alone without anyone batting an eye. But Rico'd probably be a safe bet for staring at a house for hours on end from the middle of a bush - safer, anyway.

@Alfisti wrote:Does it have to be fratelli filling the other cars? Because there's plenty of non-fratelli staff members at the SWA: Giorgio, Amadeo and their crowd, Olga was a driver I believe (and former KGB, though that might just be fanon as well, I can't remember), so-on and so forth.

I'd thought about this as well, but if they have the ability to do this without the cyborgs, why use a several million euro piece of machinery in the first place? While "because they can" wouldn't surprise me, I'd like a more practical reason.
I dunno, I think Italy's probably multicultural enough by now that she shouldn't stick out like too much of a sore thumb.

I've got to ask: were you envisaging this as a permenent team, or a pool which could be drawn on when required? Because six fratelli seems to be a massive expenditure of resources. Which sort of leads onto the use non-cyborgs. As you pointed out, the tykes aren't cheap, and I imagine actually building them, while a large up-front cost, is the least expensive part. Factor in bespoke drugs, spare parts, food, accomodation, medical staff: think about what a cyborg costs to run day to day. You'd want a pretty substantial payoff to throw six of them at something. They also lack the experience of older operatives.

The fact is though, that the cyborgs DO have the advantages given to them by science. I write an espionage fratello and, while Monty's cybernetic prowess isn't called on that regularly in her line of work, the point is that it IS available if needed. Since J+M operate far from home, it's easier to have her on hand then try and scramble a seperate fratello. Again, if you wanted to cut back the number of fratelli maybe have one or two to run point and jump in if required, with regular people manning the other cars as backup?

Of course, if you wanted six fratelli for the sake of the story, then go right ahead as well Razz

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by Vett on Mon 10 Sep 2012 - 22:22

I was envisaging them as a permenant, highly specialised team (though with a range of secondary roles. They could do assaults/hard arrests/assassination, but the others would be better at it, and it would preserve their anonnimity). While it would be a large expenditure, I'd imagine they'd be used more frequently than the others; hard arrests, close-protection and assaults are all well and good, but all of those things need intelligence to do successfully. This lot would gather that intelligence. My viewpoint on the team is that they spend most of their time on a job, whether watching a suspect, tracking terrorists at meetings, steering police onto a weapons move or breaking into a house to plant bugs (something a cyborg would be particularly useful for). That intelligence is then fed to the heavies (i.e. Triella, Henrietta etc.) so they know who to shoot/capture/get a warning before Padania gate-crash.

The justification for having section 2 do it rather than the 185th Reconnaissance Target Acquisition Regiment is that (as El suggested) it means less people in the loop about the cyborg programme/co-ordination is easier; they use cyborgs because their eyesight is better than human norms and they're (designed for, but rarely do in practice) tracking someone like Dante or operating in die hard Padania areas in Milan: the risk should everything go wrong is too high unless they're augmented. As far as the experience goes, I'm working on the basis that they're slightly longer lived than the first generation, at the expense of raw power, and that the training is plumbed directly in when they're turned into a cyborg. They're not quite ready to go out the box, but it's a question of smoothing the rough edges off rather than actual teaching.

The issue with the numbers is that surveillance is person intensive. If, say, you were bugging a house, you'd need a few cars tailing the owner to make sure they stay away, a couple inside the house bugging it, and a couple outside to make sure those inside get in and out okay/in case of surprises (or so I imagine. I'm working on the basis of a couple of books I've read). For cars/tailing on foot, it's a question of how few you can get away with without being noticed. And while you could draft in more humans where needed to make up numbers if needing to run two operations, those sorts of skills are somewhat perishable and desirable - begging the question as to why they're not used all the time.

On the other hand, being undermanned and in the process of ramping up to a full complement would possibly be useful for the plot.

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by Kiskaloo on Mon 10 Sep 2012 - 23:27

Or perhaps a mix of cyborgs and non-cyborgs?

Special Operations Section One does seem to do more investigative and procedural work, so perhaps they could loan assets? It would also be a way to play up the inter-section rivalry between the two.

Or if you want to "keep it in the family", I see no reason why Section Two could not have more non-cyborg staff. Officer_Charon's OC is part of a SWAT-like team with Alfonso, Amadeo, Nihad and Giorgio.

So you could have one or two fratelli designed to be "the tip of the spear" and actually go into harm's way, with the non-cyborgs in a supporting role.

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by Il Direttore on Mon 10 Sep 2012 - 23:30

@Vett: On what basis are you assuming that you need at least eight people to bug the house of a single mark? Is this you making an assumption based on judgment, or do you have experience/evidence that suggests that such a number is required?

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by Alfisti on Tue 11 Sep 2012 - 3:24

Well I can't argue against the cyborgs' enhanced vision and hearing being a boon to intelligence work... it's certainly done J+M well plenty of times. As to the experience gap, and this I guess is part of the great conditioning debate, the way I tend to look at it is that they knowledge can be put in the girls' heads, but learning to use it effectively is a completely different matter: as too is learning all the little tricks of the trade that aren't likely to be in the manual. That said: half the reason for assigning each girl a handler is to help mittigte that.

As to the lifespan thing, cononiaclly I think the 2nd Gens are supposed to live roughly twice as long as the 1st gens, seven or so years (I'm sure Bianchi or someone mentions this somewhere when Petra's made and he's pitching the Gen 2 argument)... at said expense of strength and durability.

Back on the original subject though: if you're intending to run this as a permanent team, then I'd definately be inclined to steer away from using the canon Gen 1s: they're roles are already too well defined (barring Sylvia and Chiara of course). Going through the roles for the work team though: I'd still have to question if the advantage a cyborg would offer in some of them would be worth the outlay. Particularly if you've got multiple people giving some redundancy to the network the peripheral roles at least could be suitable for regular humans. That said: another approach may be to cut down the people in the team and use cyborgs instead. The beancounters in particular would want to see some sort of payoff for using cyborgs and, switching to cold accountancy mode for a moment, human lives are cheap compared to manufacturing a cyborg.

I can relate to the idea of cuttnig down the co-ordination issues by having the SWA work some of its own intelligence. That said: Italy has a large, if somewhat unweildy, intelligence community, and the SWA isn't an island. I'm sure it wouldn't be unusual in the itelligence world to aquire information and not know where it's going.

On the flip side: so many agencies = in fighting. So another reason to do some of their own intelligence work would simply be the prestige of "doing it on your own", beating the other guy to the punch, and hopefully snaffling extra funding in the process by being more useful. For that matter, everyone's doing the same thing in the same mindset, so having some intelligence capability would help circumvent that. Just don't go falling into the trap of the SWA as the be-all and end-all.

I hope thie isn't coming across to negative, it's not meant to be a "no", more a "things to think about".

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by Vett on Tue 11 Sep 2012 - 12:33

El Conservatore wrote:@Vett: On what basis are you assuming that you need at least eight people to bug the house of a single mark? Is this you making an assumption based on judgment, or do you have experience/evidence that suggests that such a number is required?

It could be done with less - one potentially, but I'm working on the basis of an operation described in a book about 14 Intelligence Company in Northern Ireland. It was something in the region of two people in cars to follow the homeowner and make sure they had enough of a warning to clear out if he came back unexpectedly, two more to do the break in, and two/three outside as it was in a relatively high traffic area.

Alfisti: It's not taken as negative at all. Nit-picking and poking holes is really helpful.

The other argument for cyborgs, I suppose, would be a case of the tech team making something because they can. Then, as they've got the asset, they might as well use it. An all-in-one mobile, high powered video recorder/directional microphone would both reduce the need for potentially cover-blowing conealed cameras, and they'd be a reusable asset (hence better quality). And, as you implied, dazzling the politicians with high-tech wizardry then saying it's imperative for fighting the terrorists for preserve the budget.

At this point, I think I'm going to cut my losses and do the "I want to write about cyborgs, so I will" thing. Three Fratelli, with the cyborgs specialised for it with improved optics and hearing, justified on the grounds that the techs could, so they did, and they might as well get some use out of them. They'd be used on the operations deemed as too high-risk for the all-human surveillance teams of other agencies to do.

Then I'll use the sane reasons not to do it as plot points. I've already criticised Jose's expense habits, so I might as well hang the lampshade properly. I've been looking for an over-arching plot too.

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by ElfenMagix on Tue 11 Sep 2012 - 12:58

Actually, cyborgs are used as termination squads for missions too dangerous for mere humans to undertake with out a massive operations. Like in the first episode/volume, Henrietta takes on a room full of goons on her own where as such an operation would have taken a squad of special ops. Nevermind one's cover being blown, it is just that - a termination/hunter squad for those deemed to dangerous to apprehend and maintain in jail. It is for those who are not willing to take on capture nicely and are willing to fight for their freedoms. It is for those who believe themselves to be above the law because of money, power, or political office and are often those who are cut down at the business end of the gun by their own colleagues. This is who the cyborgs are built for.

As a team of 1 cyborg and 1 handler, there is a lot of room to play around with. Problem is the tiresome investigation that is required to do the hunting and termination on. If following the lead of the SWA, they gather material from both section one and two as to who to target and intel of their whereabouts and associations. This is the minimum required to hunt somebody down, the team has to study the target and get comfortable with his pattern before striking. Only in rare occasions will a termination squad (cyborg and handler) will need to kill a target that will only be in the area for less than a day (I did this with a target being picked up at the airport and to be driven away in my first story... lets say mayhem ensued... ROTFL ).

Once the target and its patterns are found, then its time for the termination order to be executed. This is where you can have fun...

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by ElfenMagix on Tue 11 Sep 2012 - 13:03

I will add that just being sent out on termination missions is boring. You must have interplay and dialog among the characters to give them some personality. And with that persona, build a story that explains details and actions as it goes along.

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by Vett on Tue 11 Sep 2012 - 16:30

@ElfenMagix wrote: As a team of 1 cyborg and 1 handler, there is a lot of room to play around with. Problem is the tiresome investigation that is required to do the hunting and termination on. If following the lead of the SWA, they gather material from both section one and two as to who to target and intel of their whereabouts and associations. This is the minimum required to hunt somebody down, the team has to study the target and get comfortable with his pattern before striking. Only in rare occasions will a termination squad (cyborg and handler) will need to kill a target that will only be in the area for less than a day (I did this with a target being picked up at the airport and to be driven away in my first story... lets say mayhem ensued... ).

Once the target and its patterns are found, then its time for the termination order to be executed. This is where you can have fun...

It is... which is why I'm trying to avoid it. Part of the reason for making fratelli that focus on surveillance is to see if I can make it tense and exciting enough to read.

Not that that precludes fire-fights and assassinations, but I'm hoping I can make it exciting enough without them.

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by Il Direttore on Tue 11 Sep 2012 - 16:49

I have similar issues with Caterina and James, who are primarily surveillance types. I compensated by focusing on characterization and character interaction. *shrugs* Compare notes?

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by Alfisti on Tue 11 Sep 2012 - 17:11

@Vett wrote:At this point, I think I'm going to cut my losses and do the "I want to write about cyborgs, so I will" thing. Three Fratelli, with the cyborgs specialised for it with improved optics and hearing, justified on the grounds that the techs could, so they did, and they might as well get some use out of them. They'd be used on the operations deemed as too high-risk for the all-human surveillance teams of other agencies to do.

Then I'll use the sane reasons not to do it as plot points. I've already criticised Jose's expense habits, so I might as well hang the lampshade properly. I've been looking for an over-arching plot too.
Sounds like a plan. Frankly I think the "because we could... now what do we do with it?" argument is one of the better ones for the SWA's medical department doing things. Don't forget the other goal (the long term goal) of the Agency is to eventually commercialise the cybernetics, so if you could sting together a commercial pitch for the enhancements... or not as the case may be and tie it into the "reasons not" being thrown around as well: the team's expensive and under the microscope so it has to perform?

I like to think that surveillance work and itelligence gathering can be interesting... I hope it can at least, or I've written a very boring story so far Razz Get a time limit, add some pressure, let everyone's mate Murphy in on the show... an overarching plot (as you noted) would help too, that way you can let the reader build the scenario in their head. I think Elfen has a point as well: use the time to build characters and interractions. They're going to be sitting around a bit, may as well use the time (difficult to do sometimes on the clock admittedly, but...).

14 Intelligence Company, interesting role model... they're not going to be blowing up showband-vans are they?

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by Vett on Tue 11 Sep 2012 - 19:07

@Alfisti wrote:Frankly I think the "because we could... now what do we do with it?" argument is one of the better ones for the SWA's medical department doing things.

The non-emergency/non-psychiatric staff do seem to fit the mad scientist mould, don't they? And at least one of them has the obligatory evil goatee.

@Alfisti wrote:14 Intelligence Company, interesting role model... they're not going to be blowing up showband-vans are they?

No. Why would you when assassinating terrorists is official policy? As a role model for a military surveillance team, I think they'll do. Would I use some of the members off-the-book activities as role models... no. There's quite enough moral bankruptcy in the SWA to be getting on with already, though I wouldn't put it past the Croces if it was the only way they could get revenge.

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by ElfenMagix on Wed 12 Sep 2012 - 15:43

In V3 (or V4) Hillshire and Triela did a surveillance of Pino's house but I dont think it was perfect but rather the basics of what can be done on one. Problem I see was then panicking and charging in over the girl Franca thought was a gunslinger girl.

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by Three Dog on Thu 13 Sep 2012 - 4:44

Damn. One more month. Meh, I can wait.

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Re: To OC or not to OC

Post by ElfenMagix on Thu 13 Sep 2012 - 12:37

@Vett wrote:
@Alfisti wrote:14 Intelligence Company, interesting role model... they're not going to be blowing up showband-vans are they?

No. Why would you when assassinating terrorists is official policy? As a role model for a military surveillance team, I think they'll do. Would I use some of the members off-the-book activities as role models... no. There's quite enough moral bankruptcy in the SWA to be getting on with already, though I wouldn't put it past the Croces if it was the only way they could get revenge.
The biggest mistake is using the girls/handlers in a military situation, a mistake that even Yu Aida has made himself a couple of times. In all instances where the girls were used in this role, the mission failed. The Fratello Teams are only for infiltration and termination squad tactics. Nothing more.

Different nations/countries have different laws in how they handle situations like crime and punishment. Italy, in the Gunslinger Girl Universe, opted for the option of dealing with terrorist and political criminals who believe they are above the law with termination squad. Its an attitude of "kill them before they kill us." The problem here is knowing thy enemy: who he is, where he lives, where he operates, what are his resources, who is friends and associates are, where is he preparing his next attack, and when is he going to strike. This is great for issues domestic within Italy's borders. But it is not for those who are brought in from the outside where Italy has no reach of intel outside of InterPol and EuroPol.

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Re: To OC or not to OC

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