Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

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Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Alfisti on Tue 21 May 2013 - 8:12

Otherwise known as "Hinderances, Constraints and where Being a Cyborg is a Liability".

Some of you who have read my writing may have worked out by now that I like useing Monty's cybernetic nature against her, and it occured to me whilst writing the last chapter of AtAC that some of the basic facts of cyborg existence (at least as I write them in my own take on the universe) make her quite uniquely ill-suited to the roll she fills: namely that of intelligence/espionage, operating remote of the SWA for extended periods.

To break it down a little (and keeping in mind this is viewed through my own take on how the mechanics of the universe work... your mileage may vary):

The cyborgs are, without wanting to sound inhumane about it, a high performance tool, and like any high performance bit of machinery they are best suited to operating in a stable environment. That's not to say all missions going to plan etc: invariably they don't but that's the circumstances they're designed for... however, after a mission has gone awry they can be brought back to the SWA and patched up. There they they also receive regular maintinence, checkups, can be monitored and, perhaps most pertinantly: a steady supply of the conditioning drug. Take those away and things can start to go awry (see Triela during her second Christmas in Naples). That supply and monitoring can be problematic to maintain in Italy... let alone halfway around the planet. You can add the "cyborgs can't store energy and so must eat regularly" bit of fanon to that argument as well if you feel like as well: another unknown when things to awry.

The other issue of course comes with needing to act human.

On the simply physical end of things a cyborg weighs more than a normal person, which there's always the possiblity of someone noticing and of course it's more difficult to break a bone or two.

The one which twigged the thought in the first place though was having to sit back and watch something happen which goes against the programming instilled by the medical boffins. Be that letting her handler get hurt to maintain cover, or simply watching him flirt... you get the picture: one's intentionally put there, the other seems to be a bit of a useful(?) side-effect, but they're both against the basic nature of the girls.

Now, I'll be the first to admit I tend to handwave those somewhat by citing Monty's iron clad self control (and tendency to argue with herself that she is, in fact, obeying the conditioning's remit, just in a slightly different manner... which helps her a little bit)... but at the end of the day she's still just a jealous and overprotective as the next cyborg (and perhaps even moreso), she just has a better handle on it than most. It is, however, making her life a lot more difficult than it would be did she not have those artificial drivers.

Basically I'm coming to the conclusion that "jetsetting secret agent" is a role pretty ill-suited to a cyborg (you'll note that J+M have yet to pass through an airport security checkpoint in their stories... because I'm still yet to figure out a solution to the metal-detector problem), and that the advantages of taking one along for the ride may well be outweighed by the in-role disadvantages presented by their makeup. I'm sure there are others as well; thoughts or name some?


Short version: The cyborgs engineered with a focus toward a particular role, and that hinders them in undertaking other roles; discuss and possibly name some others where regular humans are probably going to do a better job (keeping in mind the general nature of the organisation).

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Vett on Tue 21 May 2013 - 8:48

I tend to look at the cyborgs as people look at Italy as a whole: Good spies, but only in their own backyard.

As you say, where they've access to the logistics, they're golden. Where they don't, they quickly become a major headache if something goes wrong. I could see the cyborgs operating okay within Europe (no need for air-travel and conditioning pills can be flown to them if need be - they've their own Doctors to make fake prescriptions for the courier), but away from Europe the supply chain's too long and fragile.



On the topic of problems being human, aside from metal detector worries (also: are they metal? I thought they were carbon-fibre, which I don't believe sets off metal detectors), most of the others I would think only become a problem when things go wrong. Generally spekaing, no-one's going to pick them up, nor try and break bones. Some of the physical resiliance I suspect you could easily explain away as being "lucky" with how they fell. I suspect the situations Monty finds herself in are the severe outliers on the scientists charts.



On the topic of scientists, though, I'm not sure I'd arrange the protectiveness toward the handler if I were them. Loyalty to the agency, bravery, but not a desire to protect the handler at all costs. To protect the _mission_, yes, but not the handler. But I suspect this is mainly an espionage problem, and they're not desinged for that to begin with, only to kill terrorists. Espionage came later and isn't as easily black and white.



The major disadvantage is their age, really. If they're shock troops it doesn't matter as much, but if they have to interact with the general population, military or civilian, the presence of a teen or pre-teen raises more flags than it lowers (though they seem to be able to tweak the girls a little in that regard, like with Triella when they were guarding the prosecutor). If they're more espionage orientated, while it can be an asset, it also means they a) have less authority and b) raises flags when out at night. Again, though, the right clothes and make-up can help in that regard.



I suspect a cyborg admin clerk would be useful, however, especially for something like data entry or other speed related tasks.


Last edited by Vett on Tue 21 May 2013 - 9:08; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Because black text _still_ doesn't show up on a black background.)

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Awinnell on Tue 21 May 2013 - 12:52

secret agents don't carry guns, assassins do, secret agents want to avoid attracting attention and carrying any sort of weapon will definitely do that

in addition spies that get caught get traded or expelled from a country they rarely get killed, carrying a weapon would make it much easier for them to be ' shot resisting arrest ' rather than arrested and questioned, a CIA agent was recently arrested in Moscow, he will most likely be expelled rather than anything else.

Carry a gun and you get shot, get caught spying and you get locked up until the political situation changes enough to allow for your return,

so basically a Cyborg would make a poor spy but a decent assassin, as long as it's a quick hit and run mission as the logistics for their support in another country would be problematic,
in addition there's the whole illegality of using children in combat and of course trying to keep your Top Secret Cyborg program under wraps

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Thescarredman on Tue 21 May 2013 - 20:34

You guys have been thinking about this one for quite a while, I can tell. I'm particularly interested in the girls' legal standing, and whatever opportunities and liabilities the SWA legal staff have determined go with treating adolescents as chattels and having them commit capital crimes.

Here's another issue related to Alf's treatise about programmed behavior, but looking through the other end of the lens: what sort of mental and emotional strains must a grown man endure to accept a child as his 'hunting dog', and how does it change him? How to set aside his protective instincts and let her walk through the door first? It seems to me that a man of conscience in the company of a cyborg would spend a lot of time on second-guessing and introspection, to the detriment of team efficiency. The girls' unconditional love can't make the internal conflicts easier. I'm sure there are men who'd shrug all that off or even embrace it, but it doesn't seem the SWA profiled handler candidates for that attitude, does it?
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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Kiskaloo on Tue 21 May 2013 - 20:55

@Thescarredman wrote:I'm particularly interested in the girls' legal standing, and whatever opportunities and liabilities the SWA legal staff have determined go with treating adolescents as chattels and having them commit capital crimes.

It stands to reason that all of Special Operations actions are officially sanctioned by the Government.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Thescarredman on Tue 21 May 2013 - 23:35

"As always, Jim, if any of your IM force is caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions..."
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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Il Direttore on Wed 22 May 2013 - 0:27

It's always seemed to me that your major issue is that a cyborg is fatally specialized. Why make a weapon that can take masses of damage if you DON'T use it to tank the hell out of an enemy formation? An SWA cyborg literally cannot pull of proper espionage because a child is far too conspicuous in most situations where that would be useful and you weren't burglarizing or deep undercover. Even then, if you were going to make a pretend weapons purchase from a suspected dealer, you wouldn't bring your kid with you. Compare to their quite properly effective role in a direct assault upon known safehouses. The episode involving gelato in the Piazza di Spagna is particularly invocative of this ability. Two girls, with very little assistance from their handlers, cleared out about a dozen Padania in about the same number of minutes. A cyborg is a precision weapon of mass destruction, not a stiletto in the night.

Spoiler:
In all seriousness, it makes a hell of a lot more sense to air drop Triela, Henrietta, and Rico into a hot spot in Afghanistan, have them blast one or two platoons' worth of Taliban, and extract them while regular Italian Army units secure the premises. Damaged tissue and such is apparently quite easily replaceable, so it wouldn't be much more difficult than a full SpecOps team in terms of monetary cost and logistics, and the conditioning would ensure no PTSD and/or psychTrauma. Armor could be pretty minimalist, so as long as masses and masses of ammo was present, you could succeed pretty brilliantly.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by tremec6speed on Wed 22 May 2013 - 2:43

I dunno, it seems the cyborgs are perty flexible at times. Like when Henrietta acted like a regular frightened school child just to get close enough to the terrorists in order to put the kabosh on 'em.
Hilshire seemed to think Triela would make a fine agent and she was learning paperwork, lock picking, speaking und writing German, etc.
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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Alfisti on Wed 22 May 2013 - 5:25

@Vett wrote:I tend to look at the cyborgs as people look at Italy as a whole: Good spies, but only in their own backyard.
Oddly enough: my explanation for pulling Jethro in from England...


@Vett wrote:On the topic of problems being human, aside from metal detector worries (also: are they metal? I thought they were carbon-fibre, which I don't believe sets off metal detectors), most of the others I would think only become a problem when things go wrong. Generally spekaing, no-one's going to pick them up, nor try and break bones. Some of the physical resiliance I suspect you could easily explain away as being "lucky" with how they fell. I suspect the situations Monty finds herself in are the severe outliers on the scientists charts.

On the topic of scientists, though, I'm not sure I'd arrange the protectiveness toward the handler if I were them. Loyalty to the agency, bravery, but not a desire to protect the handler at all costs. To protect the _mission_, yes, but not the handler. But I suspect this is mainly an espionage problem, and they're not desinged for that to begin with, only to kill terrorists. Espionage came later and isn't as easily black and white.
I think the girls are meant to use a lot of CFRP in their makeup, but I imagine there would still be need for metal components: particularly for ware items like joints etc.

I was under the impression that the girls were conditioned to be protective of their handlers, and it was the handler's job to be protective of the mission... intentional or no though, it still seems to be an intrinsic part of the girls' psychology. As you pointed out: the cyborgs were designed originally, and the technology was presumably developed toward, a specific purpose: being that of shock troops able to hide in plain sight as part of their mission... espionage at a guess would have come later. So while that protectiveness is a liability for intelligence and espionage work, in that shocktroop and bodyguard role it could be quite fitting, keeping the cyborg alert for things like thrown coins and jumping mines. As ElC quite rightly points out later in the thread: raiding safe houses and using the unexpectedness of a small child as the antagonist they do very well at; though that second part will erode/is eroding over time.

As a side note: I tend to these days view Monty as having been something of a stopgap measure, rushed into service quickly, so the medicos did the best they could adapting what they already had and sent her on her way. At least in my own universe the SWA is likely to decide hers is something of a developmental dead end for the organisation. What she does is far enough from their regular remit that it's not worth the time, energy at budget invested to try and adapt the technology properly to her task... making her the first, and last, of her kind.



@Vett wrote:Reason for editing : Because black text _still_ doesn't show up on a black background
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@thescarredman wrote:I'm particularly interested in the girls' legal standing, and whatever opportunities and liabilities the SWA legal staff have determined go with treating adolescents as chattels and having them commit capital crimes.
I've always figured legally the girls had the same standing as a gun or a car: a piece of equipment without the legal privilages afforded a human being. I imagine someone sat down and did a risk/benefit analysis before the program was put into operation, and I get the impression that, in universe, the Italian government has a pretty strong grasp on the media. So long as they stay within its borders the risks are probably resonably manageable. As to sending them abroad though...

@Awinnell wrote:...in addition there's the whole illegality of using children in combat and of course trying to keep your Top Secret Cyborg program under wraps
@thescarredman wrote:"As always, Jim, if any of your IM force is caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions..."
...now doesn't this raise another interesting issue: because, unlike a human agent, the government couldn't abandon a killed or captured cyborg. They're too valuable politically and would have to be retrieved, lest an unfriendly country use their existence to get Italy blacklisted by the world forever (or at least as long as "forever" lasts in politics) or a "friendly" (I'm yet to be convinced that there's such a thing as a "friend" in international politics, merely people whose interests happen to align with yours at the time) country keep them as a bargaining chip to hold over your head... not to mention the possibility of the technology falling into the hands of a foreign power.

...and now you know whay Monty takes her job so incredibly seriously.


El Conservatore wrote:An SWA cyborg literally cannot pull of proper espionage because a child is far too conspicuous in most situations where that would be useful and you weren't burglarizing or deep undercover. Even then, if you were going to make a pretend weapons purchase from a suspected dealer, you wouldn't bring your kid with you.
Jethro: Well, you can bring her with you, but the cover stories may not be paletable to most.

Jokes aside: it is a good point, and one I've wrestled with a bit (and if I'm honest the solutions have often been less than stellar). Needless to say, any espionage role is going to be more suited to the Gen 2s (or at least, they'd be less poorly suited) than the Gen 1 girls, simply on appearances. As Vett pointed out: the girls can be tarted up to look older, and I'm still a great believer that how someone carries themselves is 90% of the battle... but disguises are difficult to do day in-day out, and for long durations it means additional kit, which if it's discovered may get questions asked.


ElConservatore wrote:Compare to their quite properly effective role in a direct assault upon known safehouses. The episode involving gelato in the Piazza di Spagna is particularly invocative of this ability. Two girls, with very little assistance from their handlers, cleared out about a dozen Padania in about the same number of minutes. A cyborg is a precision weapon of mass destruction, not a stiletto in the night.
Agreed... though where they seem to be most effective are those small, suprise assaults, like the safe houses, where they can walk up blending in with the street with plenty of intelligence data behind them. Once they're put into larger, more military attacks (Venice, New Trino) they don't seem to fare a whole lot better in general (throwing missiles out windows aside) than regular people... you would need some sort of backup force to hold ground behind them. Though the lack of PTSD is an interesting thought though, and a major plus.

@tremec6speed wrote:I dunno, it seems the cyborgs are perty flexible at times. Like when Henrietta acted like a regular frightened school child just to get close enough to the terrorists in order to put the kabosh on 'em.
Hilshire seemed to think Triela would make a fine agent and she was learning paperwork, lock picking, speaking und writing German, etc.
True, but those also are not things which directly conflict with their natures as a cyborg.


@thescarredman wrote:Here's another issue related to Alf's treatise about programmed behavior, but looking through the other end of the lens: what sort of mental and emotional strains must a grown man endure to accept a child as his 'hunting dog', and how does it change him? How to set aside his protective instincts and let her walk through the door first? It seems to me that a man of conscience in the company of a cyborg would spend a lot of time on second-guessing and introspection, to the detriment of team efficiency. The girls' unconditional love can't make the internal conflicts easier. I'm sure there are men who'd shrug all that off or even embrace it, but it doesn't seem the SWA profiled handler candidates for that attitude, does it?
Well, it would certainly make for a less interesting story of they screened their handlers better.

That said; I get the impression that the SWA is trying a few things out: what works better, a remote handler who can send their girl into battle without a second thought? Or one who can form a bond with her... the latter would presumably be the most conflicted. It's quite possible that the SWA's initial thinking was "we need to control the girls... the handlers will just have to man up and deal with whatever they get". Here's a plot bunny for someone better at emotions and relationships than me: the handler who can't hack it anymore.

As Jose pointed out (and I guess, in canon, he probably was closest to the "handler who couldn't hack it anymore" in the end... unlike cold Jean who got a story of revenge and redemption) in one of the chapters though, Henrietta's clinginess (and admittedly she is at one of the extremes) is wearing... and depending on personalities I imagine that a cyborg's unwavering faith can be quite crushing.

I know Jethro's mechanism of coping is to just not think about it... and in that respect the remote role is almost the better one as he has that luxury.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Il Direttore on Wed 22 May 2013 - 12:47

@Alfisti wrote:
@thescarredman wrote:Here's another issue related to Alf's treatise about programmed behavior, but looking through the other end of the lens: what sort of mental and emotional strains must a grown man endure to accept a child as his 'hunting dog', and how does it change him? How to set aside his protective instincts and let her walk through the door first? It seems to me that a man of conscience in the company of a cyborg would spend a lot of time on second-guessing and introspection, to the detriment of team efficiency. The girls' unconditional love can't make the internal conflicts easier. I'm sure there are men who'd shrug all that off or even embrace it, but it doesn't seem the SWA profiled handler candidates for that attitude, does it?


Well, it would certainly make for a less interesting story of they screened their handlers better.

That said; I get the impression that the SWA is trying a few things out: what works better, a remote handler who can send their girl into battle without a second thought? Or one who can form a bond with her... the latter would presumably be the most conflicted. It's quite possible that the SWA's initial thinking was "we need to control the girls... the handlers will just have to man up and deal with whatever they get". Here's a plot bunny for someone better at emotions and relationships than me: the handler who can't hack it anymore.

As Jose pointed out (and I guess, in canon, he probably was closest to the "handler who couldn't hack it anymore" in the end... unlike cold Jean who got a story of revenge and redemption) in one of the chapters though, Henrietta's clinginess (and admittedly she is at one of the extremes) is wearing... and depending on personalities I imagine that a cyborg's unwavering faith can be quite crushing.

I know Jethro's mechanism of coping is to just not think about it... and in that respect the remote role is almost the better one as he has that luxury.

Well, the thing is, the attitude of the cyborg to the situation would probably be important too, right? For example, Triela's attitude toward cyborgness is "I'm okay with this *shrug*", and this seems to help Hilshire cope, despite his clear and definite strong emotional investment in Triela as an individual. As said, the comparative clinginess and little-girl-ness of Henrietta is probably severely detrimental to Giuse's psyche.

Additionally, the remote handler, to an extreme, ends up looking terrifyingly close to Lauro de Sica, who met something of a messy end.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Kiskaloo on Wed 22 May 2013 - 13:12

@Alfisti wrote:
El Conservatore wrote:An SWA cyborg literally cannot pull of proper espionage because a child is far too conspicuous in most situations where that would be useful and you weren't burglarizing or deep undercover. Even then, if you were going to make a pretend weapons purchase from a suspected dealer, you wouldn't bring your kid with you.
Jethro: Well, you can bring her with you, but the cover stories may not be paletable to most.

Jokes aside: it is a good point, and one I've wrestled with a bit (and if I'm honest the solutions have often been less than stellar). Needless to say, any espionage role is going to be more suited to the Gen 2s (or at least, they'd be less poorly suited) than the Gen 1 girls, simply on appearances. As Vett pointed out: the girls can be tarted up to look older, and I'm still a great believer that how someone carries themselves is 90% of the battle... but disguises are difficult to do day in-day out, and for long durations it means additional kit, which if it's discovered may get questions asked.

At least within the canon, Alessandro and Petrushka seem to be a special case in terms of filling out an espionage role. As a fratello, they do appear to have been created to fill a special need (secure intelligence on Padania / FRF operations), but that was likely driven by the fact that Alessandro was already doing that for Public Safety. And having a cyborg with him would give the SWA the ability to secure or terminate a target under investigation immediately as well as allow Petrushka to extricate information from "hardened targets" (like we saw in the manga).

Gattonero, Soni and Fleccia don't appear to make any effort looking different than their 15-16 years of age and they do not seem to be employed in a role other than as combat operatives like the Section 1s.


@Alfisti wrote:
@thescarredman wrote:Here's another issue related to Alf's treatise about programmed behavior, but looking through the other end of the lens: what sort of mental and emotional strains must a grown man endure to accept a child as his 'hunting dog', and how does it change him? How to set aside his protective instincts and let her walk through the door first? It seems to me that a man of conscience in the company of a cyborg would spend a lot of time on second-guessing and introspection, to the detriment of team efficiency. The girls' unconditional love can't make the internal conflicts easier. I'm sure there are men who'd shrug all that off or even embrace it, but it doesn't seem the SWA profiled handler candidates for that attitude, does it?


Well, it would certainly make for a less interesting story of they screened their handlers better.

That said; I get the impression that the SWA is trying a few things out: what works better, a remote handler who can send their girl into battle without a second thought? Or one who can form a bond with her... the latter would presumably be the most conflicted. It's quite possible that the SWA's initial thinking was "we need to control the girls... the handlers will just have to man up and deal with whatever they get". Here's a plot bunny for someone better at emotions and relationships than me: the handler who can't hack it anymore.

As Jose pointed out (and I guess, in canon, he probably was closest to the "handler who couldn't hack it anymore" in the end... unlike cold Jean who got a story of revenge and redemption) in one of the chapters though, Henrietta's clinginess (and admittedly she is at one of the extremes) is wearing... and depending on personalities I imagine that a cyborg's unwavering faith can be quite crushing.

I know Jethro's mechanism of coping is to just not think about it... and in that respect the remote role is almost the better one as he has that luxury.

Per the canon, the original tranche of handlers for the First Generation cyborgs were all from military or law enforcement backgrounds and that this caused "issues". Hilshire and Triela are like two police detective partners. Jean, Raballo, Marco and Lauro treated their cyborgs like subordinate soldiers. Jose treated Henrietta like a surrogate little sister. Bernardo seems to have been the most well-adjusted one, but then Beatrice was as emotive as a brick wall so maybe being gregarious is how he coped.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Thescarredman on Wed 22 May 2013 - 21:31

@Alfisti wrote:Here's a plot bunny for someone better at emotions and relationships than me: the handler who can't hack it anymore.



El Conservatore wrote:the remote handler, to an extreme, ends up looking terrifyingly close to Lauro de Sica, who met something of a messy end.

Did both in 'Lauro De Sica'. That night in the park, Lauro finally decides he can't keep breaking Elsa's heart just to keep her at arm's length so as to maintain his grip on sanity. His solution? Reboot her, tabula rasa. He's thinking of scheduling a meeting with Jean, and toying with the idea of a new name for her, when he notices he doesn't hear her footsteps behind him.

Part of the reason the cyborgs are less well-suited to their roles than they might be is because there are differences of opinion on what their role is. The doctors simply want a test bed for their research, which is aimed at producing commercially successful cybernetic products to market. The SWA bigwigs want more capable, reliable and effective cyborg agents. The string-pullers and purse-holders want deniability.

Everybody wants the cyborg program to stay under the radar. Drs. Belgonzi and Belisario, in a conversation, reveal that their work was shut down for a year before the SWA took them in, and hint that this is their only chance to continue it ( Understandable - as far as doctors playing God is concerned, what they're doing makes stem cell research seem trivial). Section 2 doesn't want the girls to lose their camouflage. The politicians must lie awake at night thinking of the press finding out that the government is resurrecting fatally wounded and terminally ill girl-children using drugs and cybernetics, brainwashing them into robots, arming them, and sending them out to kill.

Alfisti, I hope we're not taking this thread away from the direction you intended. It just always seemed to me that the inherent dangers of creating cyborg assassins like our girls and having an outfit like the SWA under the government's roof were huge, which explains the prime minister's eagerness to take them down the instant they eliminated the Padania as a serious threat.
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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Alfisti on Thu 23 May 2013 - 6:20

@Thescarredman wrote:Alfisti, I hope we're not taking this thread away from the direction you intended. It just always seemed to me that the inherent dangers of creating cyborg assassins like our girls and having an outfit like the SWA under the government's roof were huge, which explains the prime minister's eagerness to take them down the instant they eliminated the Padania as a serious threat.
It is a little, but I don't think its detrimental to the thread. A lot of it is in some ways proving my original point about Monty in her role: because if some of these issues and frailties are dangerous inside Italy, they are ten-fold worse the moment you leave its borders and the government's sphere of inflence and ability to control things like media, law enforcement, etc. Not to mention no longer having help close at hand to bail you out: so any problem will be yours and yours alone... and the consequences of getting it wrong will be dire. If the pollies lie awake at night thinking about cyborgs in their country, I'm sure the thought of having the girls in foreign lands would give them heart attacks.


El Conservatore wrote:Well, the thing is, the attitude of the cyborg to the situation would probably be important too, right? For example, Triela's attitude toward cyborgness is "I'm okay with this *shrug*", and this seems to help Hilshire cope, despite his clear and definite strong emotional investment in Triela as an individual. As said, the comparative clinginess and little-girl-ness of Henrietta is probably severely detrimental to Giuse's psyche.
@Kiskaloo wrote:Per the canon, the original tranche of handlers for the First Generation cyborgs were all from military or law enforcement backgrounds and that this caused "issues". Hilshire and Triela are like two police detective partners. Jean, Raballo, Marco and Lauro treated their cyborgs like subordinate soldiers. Jose treated Henrietta like a surrogate little sister. Bernardo seems to have been the most well-adjusted one, but then Beatrice was as emotive as a brick wall so maybe being gregarious is how he coped.
I think the girls' personalities have a lot to do with how well the handler copes or how he responds. As I think I discussed with Taer a little back (and I think TSM might have been in the chat for this one as well), Jethro would probably be a more serious handler if he had a less serious cyborg... the extension of that of course being that a cyborg who requires more supervision is also going to be more wearing on her handler and give him a different approach to the whole gig compared to a cyborg who can be left more to her own devices. On that front the Gen01 girls as a whole (and I'd call Triela and Claes an exception to a rule here) are probably harder on their handlers' psyche than the Gen02s might be (which is a long way from saying the Gen02 handlers have it easy).

Of course, a remote handler which little emotional investment in his girl probably isn't going to care one way or another if she's girly and clingy or solitary: but the level of supervison required is probably less likely to be dampened by attitude. A sensible cyborg is almost always going to be less trouble than one trying to stick her finger in the power socket.


@Kiskaloo wrote:At least within the canon, Alessandro and Petrushka seem to be a special case in terms of filling out an espionage role. As a fratello, they do appear to have been created to fill a special need (secure intelligence on Padania / FRF operations), but that was likely driven by the fact that Alessandro was already doing that for Public Safety. And having a cyborg with him would give the SWA the ability to secure or terminate a target under investigation immediately as well as allow Petrushka to extricate information from "hardened targets" (like we saw in the manga).
True that, though Sando and Petra have the advantage operationally over J+M in that they also seem to be mostly domestically centred: so can keep the extra gear on hand needed to most efficiently operate in that role. As noted higher up this thread: distance complicates matters.

To be honest, I think cyborgs working an espionage role is more viable (but still prone to complications) in a counter-terrorism/counter-espionage domestic role, for precisely those reasons. Some of the major issues presented by operating internationally are resloved: logistics for starters, not to mention the authorities are on your side (at least somewhere up the chain of command they are), so if they catch you it probably isn't going to cause an international incident and, see Hilshire and Triela flying to Naples, government credentials can smooth over a lot of issues. There's still the issue of them looking young, but that's more easily dealt with... which cycles back around to the logistics question...

..and of course there's the chance to have a team to back them up; whether its to give an intelligence brief, monitor the situation and airwaves from a van parked three streets back, come charging in when signalled, or simply to clean up all the evidence afterward.


@thescarredman wrote:Did both in 'Lauro De Sica'. That night in the park, Lauro finally decides he can't keep breaking Elsa's heart just to keep her at arm's length so as to maintain his grip on sanity. His solution? Reboot her, tabula rasa. He's thinking of scheduling a meeting with Jean, and toying with the idea of a new name for her, when he notices he doesn't hear her footsteps behind him.

Part of the reason the cyborgs are less well-suited to their roles than they might be is because there are differences of opinion on what their role is. The doctors simply want a test bed for their research, which isaimed at producing commercially successful cybernetic products to market. The SWA bigwigs want more capable, reliable and effective cyborg agents. The string-pullers and purse-holders want deniability.
I do remember that now... should go back and re-read at some point because it was an excellent story.

Are the girls really that ill suited to their roles though? Don't get me wrong: I imagine requirements of all interested parties has caused any amount of butting of heads around the budget table... though I do get the impression the government is looking for a commercial return on its investment as well as capable soldiers (not to mention the international prestige Italy seems to be enjoying in-universe by staying on the bleeding edge of medical technology.

As was discussed higher up the page though: Monty's is an extreme circumstance (and a fan-created one at that... so not only outside the realm of what the SWA envisaged, but possibly also outside of what of Yu envisaged), and so how the cyborgs have been engineered is not conducive to the manner in which she makes her living. In their ordained role as shock-troopers and point men able to hide in plain sight though, they seem to do rather well. What might seem like a little change which needs making to adapt the technology/brainwashing to better suit Monty's position I can almost guarantee will be an epic pain in the posterior to actually implement (the number of times I've heared "we just want to..."): and probably not worth the time, money and man-hours expended on it for one oddball fratello. In all respects, as you so aptly pointed out, it seems to be the handlers who are less well adapted to deal with the girls' shock-trooper role.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Vett on Thu 23 May 2013 - 9:29

I don't really understand the logic of the assault on the SWA compound. For a start, they don't know all the terrorists are gone, and erradicating a top of the range weapons system that's just proven it's worth strikes me as being a dumb thing to do - if only because they should keep the designs up their sleeve in case they need it, and with no terrorists, they're free to experiment on the existing cyborgs to their heart's content.



Moreover, they're in Italy, and no-one in the SWA is going to expect the government to turn on them in that manner. They could have sent the girls for a standard medical, from which they don't wake up; they could organise a flight to somewhere for the staff and have it crash; they could even simply transfer the staff, as no-one's going to escape if this sordid affair comes to light - ensuring mouths are kept shut. Having a firefight just attracts attention, widens the number of people who know, and wastes resources.



@Alfisti wrote:I think the girls' personalities have a lot to do with how well the handler copes or how he responds. As I think I discussed with Taer a little back (and I think TSM might have been in the chat for this one as well), Jethro would probably be a more serious handler if he had a less serious cyborg... the extension of that of course being that a cyborg who requires more supervision is also going to be more wearing on her handler and give him a different approach to the whole gig compared to a cyborg who can be left more to her own devices. On that front the Gen01 girls as a whole (and I'd call Triela and Claes an exception to a rule here) are probably harder on their handlers' psyche than the Gen02s might be (which is a long way from saying the Gen02 handlers have it easy).

I'd argue that the handler is in large part to blame for his cyborg's personality (depending upon the exact details of conversion). One of the things that attracted me to Gunslinger Girl was the girl's relationship with, and subsequent molding by, their handler: Henrietta certainly appears to start as a pretty blank slate, then as Jose's showering her with gifts and affection encourages her to act like a little girl; as a result, she's cheerful, playful and sulks like a ten-year-old. As we're talking about Monty, she's in the exact opposite position (feel free to chime in Alfisti): she gets rewarded, at least initially, for being proficient, competant, mature and (this is key) _surpassing_ Jethro's expectations - whether Jethro realises he's doing it or not. Due to the nature of their job, neither of them ever really switch off; thus we have competant, mature Monty. On the other side of the nature vs nurture coin, we've got Rico, who doesn't care what she does, as long as she's still got her legs. And (going back to Monty because the canon cyborgs are as psychologically interesting as a brick) with Monty, you get the impression that she's driven and likes to be good at what she does, whatever it is; add that nature with Jethro's nurturing, you get the obsesively driven, work-aholic, hypercompetant Monty we all know.

In short, Jose's made his own problem, as do the other handlers (though nature helps).

Can anyone tell I'm fascinated with developmental psychology?


@Alfisti wrote:Are the girls really that ill suited to their roles though? Don't get me wrong: I imagine requirements of all interested parties has caused any amount of butting of heads around the budget table... though I do get the impression the government is looking for a commercial return on its investment as well as capable soldiers (not to mention the international prestige Italy seems to be enjoying in-universe by staying on the bleeding edge of medical technology.

Ill suited, no (though, as mentioned up-thread, with limited range). But I'm not sure they're always necessary for it, either. The cost, political and financial, must be astronomically high, to the point where they're better with conventional humans.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Kiskaloo on Thu 23 May 2013 - 10:56

@Vett wrote:I don't really understand the logic of the assault on the SWA compound. For a start, they don't know all the terrorists are gone, and erradicating a top of the range weapons system that's just proven it's worth strikes me as being a dumb thing to do - if only because they should keep the designs up their sleeve in case they need it, and with no terrorists, they're free to experiment on the existing cyborgs to their heart's content.

IMO, the assault was Councilor Aragon and her uncle in the Army taking matters into their own hands.

The PM appears to have wanted it closed quietly and once the situation was defused, that is what happened.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by ElfenMagix on Thu 23 May 2013 - 17:04

@Alfisti wrote:Otherwise known as "Hinderances, Constraints and where Being a Cyborg is a Liability".

Some of you who have read my writing may have worked out by now that I like useing Monty's cybernetic nature against her, and it occured to me whilst writing the last chapter of AtAC that some of the basic facts of cyborg existence (at least as I write them in my own take on the universe) make her quite uniquely ill-suited to the roll she fills: namely that of intelligence/espionage, operating remote of the SWA for extended periods.
You should see what I'm doing to Francesca... Then again...
Her last rewrite totally screwed her over by, like Angie, making her to forget everything that she knew. Also her mind connecting Fernando as her last handler Felix was another lynch pin that was removed, so she's just hanging on by threads mentally. Now in the next upcoming chapter, Francesca's beginning to remember things. Oh No!


@Alfisti wrote:To break it down a little (and keeping in mind this is viewed through my own take on how the mechanics of the universe work... your mileage may vary):

The cyborgs are, without wanting to sound inhumane about it, a high performance tool, and like any high performance bit of machinery they are best suited to operating in a stable environment. That's not to say all missions going to plan etc: invariably they don't but that's the circumstances they're designed for... however, after a mission has gone awry they can be brought back to the SWA and patched up. There they they also receive regular maintinence, checkups, can be monitored and, perhaps most pertinantly: a steady supply of the conditioning drug. Take those away and things can start to go awry (see Triela during her second Christmas in Naples). That supply and monitoring can be problematic to maintain in Italy... let alone halfway around the planet. You can add the "cyborgs can't store energy and so must eat regularly" bit of fanon to that argument as well if you feel like as well: another unknown when things to awry.

The other issue of course comes with needing to act human.

The most inhumane thing I done with my characters is the creation of ''mission mode'', where with a command from the handler or SWA Upper Management, a cyborg forgets about everyday life and becomes a Terminator T-100 until the mission is done. To the agency, yes, the cyborg is a high performance tool. To the handler? Why to (you) think Fernando is fighting for cyborg rights? Then again why is the Agency giving such rights to only his two cyborgs?

I've fallen behind on your works, Alfisti, but let me ask, how does a cyborg in your universe handle strong emotions like Love? Especially Love since the conditioning drug forces the girls to love their handlers. Fernando and Rachel are too far gone in their father/daughter relationship, but Fernando/Francesca... Francesca is getting jealous that Juanita had slept with him more often than her and Francesca's mission married to Fernando...

@Alfisti wrote:On the simply physical end of things a cyborg weighs more than a normal person, which there's always the possiblity of someone noticing and of course it's more difficult to break a bone or two.

The one which twigged the thought in the first place though was having to sit back and watch something happen which goes against the programming instilled by the medical boffins. Be that letting her handler get hurt to maintain cover, or simply watching him flirt... you get the picture: one's intentionally put there, the other seems to be a bit of a useful(?) side-effect, but they're both against the basic nature of the girls.
Ever seen the Six-Million Dollar Man with the FemBots series? The only way to find a FemBot was because of their extra heavy weight... they crush a carpet harder than a normal person and thats how they were found out.


@Alfisti wrote:
Now, I'll be the first to admit I tend to handwave those somewhat by citing Monty's iron clad self control (and tendency to argue with herself that she is, in fact, obeying the conditioning's remit, just in a slightly different manner... which helps her a little bit)... but at the end of the day she's still just a jealous and overprotective as the next cyborg (and perhaps even moreso), she just has a better handle on it than most. It is, however, making her life a lot more difficult than it would be did she not have those artificial drivers.

Basically I'm coming to the conclusion that "jetsetting secret agent" is a role pretty ill-suited to a cyborg (you'll note that J+M have yet to pass through an airport security checkpoint in their stories... because I'm still yet to figure out a solution to the metal-detector problem), and that the advantages of taking one along for the ride may well be outweighed by the in-role disadvantages presented by their makeup. I'm sure there are others as well; thoughts or name some?
'Jetsetting secret agent' I believe would be a great role for a fratello team. Just have to figure out the details, like you have. All of Italy's problems are not set within Italy's boarders. Terrorism lies everywhere, and J&M flying about the world to find the high end terrorists is a job they do well. My OCs are a combination of CIA/SWA Anti-Nuke Terrorist Team, and though they have not left Italy yet, it has been proven through my universe that if some idiot wants to nuke Rome, they can try. They have but the Fernando/Rachel/Francesca/Juanita team was there to stop them.

@Alfisti wrote:Short version: The cyborgs engineered with a focus toward a particular role, and that hinders them in undertaking other roles; discuss and possibly name some others where regular humans are probably going to do a better job (keeping in mind the general nature of the organisation).
That is the failure they had when dealing with Dante.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Il Direttore on Fri 24 May 2013 - 0:39

@Vett wrote:
@Alfisti wrote:I think the girls' personalities have a lot to do with how well the handler copes or how he responds. As I think I discussed with Taer a little back (and I think TSM might have been in the chat for this one as well), Jethro would probably be a more serious handler if he had a less serious cyborg... the extension of that of course being that a cyborg who requires more supervision is also going to be more wearing on her handler and give him a different approach to the whole gig compared to a cyborg who can be left more to her own devices. On that front the Gen01 girls as a whole (and I'd call Triela and Claes an exception to a rule here) are probably harder on their handlers' psyche than the Gen02s might be (which is a long way from saying the Gen02 handlers have it easy).

I'd argue that the handler is in large part to blame for his cyborg's personality (depending upon the exact details of conversion). One of the things that attracted me to Gunslinger Girl was the girl's relationship with, and subsequent molding by, their handler: Henrietta certainly appears to start as a pretty blank slate, then as Jose's showering her with gifts and affection encourages her to act like a little girl; as a result, she's cheerful, playful and sulks like a ten-year-old. As we're talking about Monty, she's in the exact opposite position (feel free to chime in Alfisti): she gets rewarded, at least initially, for being proficient, competant, mature and (this is key) _surpassing_ Jethro's expectations - whether Jethro realises he's doing it or not. Due to the nature of their job, neither of them ever really switch off; thus we have competant, mature Monty. On the other side of the nature vs nurture coin, we've got Rico, who doesn't care what she does, as long as she's still got her legs. And (going back to Monty because the canon cyborgs are as psychologically interesting as a brick) with Monty, you get the impression that she's driven and likes to be good at what she does, whatever it is; add that nature with Jethro's nurturing, you get the obsesively driven, work-aholic, hypercompetant Monty we all know.

In short, Jose's made his own problem, as do the other handlers (though nature helps).

Can anyone tell I'm fascinated with developmental psychology?

I dunno though. If Monty wasn't original fairly OCD before she was horribly maimed, then she'd have to be a complete blank slate after conversion. Yet that doesn't seem to be the case, because while Henrietta was pretty damn robotic, she was hardly a typical case. Rico, for example, just got tweaked to not really care as long as she had her legs, and Triela's past was probably traumatic enough for her brain to take care of most of the memory suppression. Angelica was also much more gradual, apparently, and seems very similar to herself pre-conversion.

Regardless of nature vs. nurture, the other question to consider is what influence the previous nurture has on the after-conditioning effects. I think we can all agree that it's impossible to conclude that pre-conditioning behaviors are completely out the window, so even if "nature" goes out the window, it's highly possible for pre-conditioning behaviors to influence a cyborg after-conditioning. Consequently, if Monty was fairly hypercompetent and somewhat OCD before her little accident, it could have a small to substantial effect on her current behaviour.

@Vett wrote:
@Alfisti wrote:Are the girls really that ill suited to their roles though? Don't get me wrong: I imagine requirements of all interested parties has caused any amount of butting of heads around the budget table... though I do get the impression the government is looking for a commercial return on its investment as well as capable soldiers (not to mention the international prestige Italy seems to be enjoying in-universe by staying on the bleeding edge of medical technology.

Ill suited, no (though, as mentioned up-thread, with limited range). But I'm not sure they're always necessary for it, either. The cost, political and financial, must be astronomically high, to the point where they're better with conventional humans.

Well I'd argue that the cyborgs aren't getting nearly as much performance as they could for the given roles. Given that they're really shock troopers, it seems like they should have bullet and/or knife resistance woven into their skin (nanotechnology!) and faster nerve response time built in. Additionally, they should be trained to have more CQB capability and tactical thinking skills. As you say, conventional humans would be just as good, but if you can make the supersoldier tiny and capable of blending into the crowd WHILE being greater in combat capability for the given mission, you should have a much superior system.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Kiskaloo on Fri 24 May 2013 - 0:51

El Conservatore wrote:Well I'd argue that the cyborgs aren't getting nearly as much performance as they could for the given roles. Given that they're really shock troopers, it seems like they should have bullet and/or knife resistance woven into their skin (nanotechnology!) and faster nerve response time built in. Additionally, they should be trained to have more CQB capability and tactical thinking skills.

I would expect the CFRP musculature is where the bullet and blade resistance is, since it is fibrous. Claes shrugged off a knife to the gut and Triela uses her arms to block small-arms fire.

Henrietta has excellent reflexes considering how quickly she almost gutted that waiter and she air-kicked that "Bouncing Betty" anti-personnel mine Franco left behind. Triela is also pretty good with grappling combat in the first anime series.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Il Direttore on Fri 24 May 2013 - 0:59

@Kiskaloo wrote:
El Conservatore wrote:Well I'd argue that the cyborgs aren't getting nearly as much performance as they could for the given roles. Given that they're really shock troopers, it seems like they should have bullet and/or knife resistance woven into their skin (nanotechnology!) and faster nerve response time built in. Additionally, they should be trained to have more CQB capability and tactical thinking skills.

I would expect the CFRP musculature is where the bullet and blade resistance is, since it is fibrous. Claes shrugged off a knife to the gut and Triela uses her arms to block small-arms fire.

Henrietta has excellent reflexes considering how quickly she almost gutted that waiter and she air-kicked that "Bouncing Betty" anti-personnel mine Franco left behind. Triela is also pretty good with grappling combat in the first anime series.

Yes, Henrietta is good, but there's a difference between running forward and punting a thing/shanking an untrained redshirt and reacting to multiple threats popping into your vision and being able to react by precisely planting SMG rounds into their skulls at something close to max RPM. Triela is good, but Triela appears to really be the only cyborg that can pull off a fairly intense CQB action. What I mean is that ALL of the Gen. 1s should have been configured and trained in such a manner.

While the resistance in the muscle is important, CFRP and such also need to work and do so for awhile. If you cut a CFRP muscle, it's not going to grow back, so you HAVE to replace it. Yes, this is canon, but it's inefficient isn't it? If you have the tech to make a CFRP Muscle, surely you have the tech to make a nanotech knife and bullet resistant fibrous weave that you can work into the artificial skin?

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Alfisti on Fri 24 May 2013 - 8:04

@Vett wrote:I don't really understand the logic of the assault on the SWA compound. For a start, they don't know all the terrorists are gone, and erradicating a top of the range weapons system that's just proven it's worth strikes me as being a dumb thing to do - if only because they should keep the designs up their sleeve in case they need it, and with no terrorists, they're free to experiment on the existing cyborgs to their heart's content.
Honestly? I think it was just a neat(ish) way to bookend the series and wrap it up quickly. If I were to guess I would say Yu was probably aiming to end on a nice, neat 100 chapters... and the "master turning on the servant" is a theme which seems to crop up in manga/anime a lot.... but that's a discussion for another thread.


El Conservatore wrote:
@Vett wrote:I'd argue that the handler is in large part to blame for his cyborg's personality (depending upon the exact details of conversion). One of the things that attracted me to Gunslinger Girl was the girl's relationship with, and subsequent molding by, their handler: Henrietta certainly appears to start as a pretty blank slate, then as Jose's showering her with gifts and affection encourages her to act like a little girl; as a result, she's cheerful, playful and sulks like a ten-year-old. As we're talking about Monty, she's in the exact opposite position (feel free to chime in Alfisti): she gets rewarded, at least initially, for being proficient, competant, mature and (this is key) _surpassing_ Jethro's expectations - whether Jethro realises he's doing it or not. Due to the nature of their job, neither of them ever really switch off; thus we have competant, mature Monty. On the other side of the nature vs nurture coin, we've got Rico, who doesn't care what she does, as long as she's still got her legs. And (going back to Monty because the canon cyborgs are as psychologically interesting as a brick) with Monty, you get the impression that she's driven and likes to be good at what she does, whatever it is; add that nature with Jethro's nurturing, you get the obsesively driven, work-aholic, hypercompetant Monty we all know.

In short, Jose's made his own problem, as do the other handlers (though nature helps).

Can anyone tell I'm fascinated with developmental psychology?
I dunno though. If Monty wasn't original fairly OCD before she was horribly maimed, then she'd have to be a complete blank slate after conversion. Yet that doesn't seem to be the case, because while Henrietta was pretty damn robotic, she was hardly a typical case. Rico, for example, just got tweaked to not really care as long as she had her legs, and Triela's past was probably traumatic enough for her brain to take care of most of the memory suppression. Angelica was also much more gradual, apparently, and seems very similar to herself pre-conversion.

Regardless of nature vs. nurture, the other question to consider is what influence the previous nurture has on the after-conditioning effects. I think we can all agree that it's impossible to conclude that pre-conditioning behaviors are completely out the window, so even if "nature" goes out the window, it's highly possible for pre-conditioning behaviors to influence a cyborg after-conditioning. Consequently, if Monty was fairly hypercompetent and somewhat OCD before her little accident, it could have a small to substantial effect on her current behaviour.
Did I post up Monty's basic development somewhere? Because Vett has pretty managed to hit it on the head... though I would venture to add that I think she probably also had a pre-disposition to being something of a natural loner as well.

Honestly I don't think you can really pin cyborg or handler as the sole originating point of a cyborg's psychological development, and I'm a firm believer that it results from a combination both of their previous personality/pre-dispositions and environment... what I think Vett is refering to as nature vs. nurture. Some core personality traits it tend to view as ingrained and, while each girl comes off the metaphorical "production line" looking like a blank slate, those ingrained traits will eventually start to show through, along with what molding results from her environment and handler interaction. Taking Monty as an example again: hers was a fast startup, so she never really interracted with the other cyborgs, and of course, once she left the compound to start her job she didn't really interract with people her own age. As such she's only ever known how to be an "adult" and behaves accordingly. Had she been billeted in the cyborg dorm prior to deployment things may have been different.

I'll admit, I feel a bit awkward constantly reffering back to Monty, but she's the OC cyborg I know best...

Reading what's written above, I think we're all saying essentially the same thing, just in slightly different ways.

As to the handler/cyborg relationship... like any relationship it's a two way street: one will respond to the other and vice versa. Though I would hazard to say that, depending on the personalities involved, traffic may flow faster in one direction than the other. A harder handler is obviously going to be less effected by his cyborg than one inclined to form a bond etc.


@ElfenMagix wrote:The most inhumane thing I done with my characters is the creation of ''mission mode'', where with a command from the handler or SWA Upper Management, a cyborg forgets about everyday life and becomes a Terminator T-100 until the mission is done. To the agency, yes, the cyborg is a high performance tool. To the handler? Why to (you) think Fernando is fighting for cyborg rights? Then again why is the Agency giving such rights to only his two cyborgs?

I've fallen behind on your works, Alfisti, but let me ask, how does a cyborg in your universe handle strong emotions like Love? Especially Love since the conditioning drug forces the girls to love their handlers. Fernando and Rachel are too far gone in their father/daughter relationship, but Fernando/Francesca... Francesca is getting jealous that Juanita had slept with him more often than her and Francesca's mission married to Fernando...
When I was reffering to difficulties with "acting human" it was more intentioned to maintaining cover as a human rather than the inhumanities visited on the girls as cyborgs/non-people (in the government's eyes).

Example, and I'll spoiler this one as it's drawn from one of my later chapters.
Spoiler:
Jethro + Monty get captured, and the baddies are setting about to beat information out of Jethro. Should she wish, Monty could easily throw off the two soldiers holding her and would stand a pretty fair chance of visiting sizable damage on everyone in the room. However, it is not something a regular human, and particularly a regular teenage girl, could resonably be expected to do (as a generalisation... stories of superhuman feats of strength not withstanding)... and in order to maintain her cover and "live to fight another day" as it were, she has to sit there and watch Jethro get beaten up... completely against the Agency's programming. In an espionage role, it's one of those cases where basic cyborg nature is a huge liability.

As to love... it's not something I've really touched on in a general form in my writing. I tend to take the view that the girls love their handlers, and respond to potential "threats" on that level with jealousy... the more mature ones (like Triela) able to take a step back and think out the realities of the situation; whether they like them or not. As to Monty: as noted above, she's just as jealous as any other cyborg, perhaps even moreso (considering she lacks the wider support network of the girls at the SWA, and only has him), but has a good handle on managing those feelings. As to the actual emotion of love itself: it gets bottled up, trodden on and stored away... vented slightly when the Blackers acting out their usual cover stories: essentially play-acting out the relationship they would have, but don't have, under the auspice of cover... I always fail at finding a good way to describe how their relationship works.


@ElfenMagix wrote:Ever seen the Six-Million Dollar Man with the FemBots series? The only way to find a FemBot was because of their extra heavy weight... they crush a carpet harder than a normal person and thats how they were found out.
Can't say I have.


@ElfenMagix wrote:'Jetsetting secret agent' I believe would be a great role for a fratello team. Just have to figure out the details, like you have. All of Italy's problems are not set within Italy's boarders. Terrorism lies everywhere, and J&M flying about the world to find the high end terrorists is a job they do well. My OCs are a combination of CIA/SWA Anti-Nuke Terrorist Team, and though they have not left Italy yet, it has been proven through my universe that if some idiot wants to nuke Rome, they can try. They have but the Fernando/Rachel/Francesca/Juanita team was there to stop them.
It certainly makes for fun writing; but as a generalisation there are fundamental parts of the cyborgs' makeup which make it quite impractical (need for conditioning, maintinece, long ranges, potential for political blackmail should they be captured, programmed mentalities not suited to espionage work, etc). In J+M's case some of these issues are solved... but that's just the thing: they're a special case, and I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that, at least within the bounds of my own writing, the only reason Jethro+Monty get away with it is because they happen to be Jethro+Monty.


El Conservatore wrote:
@Kiskaloo wrote:
El Conservatore wrote:Well I'd argue that the cyborgs aren't getting nearly as much performance as they could for the given roles. Given that they're really shock troopers, it seems like they should have bullet and/or knife resistance woven into their skin (nanotechnology!) and faster nerve response time built in. Additionally, they should be trained to have more CQB capability and tactical thinking skills.
I would expect the CFRP musculature is where the bullet and blade resistance is, since it is fibrous. Claes shrugged off a knife to the gut and Triela uses her arms to block small-arms fire.

Henrietta has excellent reflexes considering how quickly she almost gutted that waiter and she air-kicked that "Bouncing Betty" anti-personnel mine Franco left behind. Triela is also pretty good with grappling combat in the first anime series.
Yes, Henrietta is good, but there's a difference between running forward and punting a thing/shanking an untrained redshirt and reacting to multiple threats popping into your vision and being able to react by precisely planting SMG rounds into their skulls at something close to max RPM. Triela is good, but Triela appears to really be the only cyborg that can pull off a fairly intense CQB action.What I mean is that ALL of the Gen. 1s should have been configured and trained in such a manner.

While the resistance in the muscle is important, CFRP and such also need to work and do so for awhile. If you cut a CFRP muscle, it's not going to grow back, so you HAVE to replace it. Yes, this is canon, but it's inefficient isn't it? If you have the tech to make a CFRP Muscle, surely you have the tech to make a nanotech knife and bullet resistant fibrous weave that you can work into the artificial skin?
A caveat: I tend to be of the school which thinks that the girls' skin is actually regular, human, skin, layered over some organic substructure to allow it to survive: skin is complex stuff and difficult to replicate, so the easiest way to make it look and feel real is to use the real thing: which would also hopefully mean it retains some minor self-healing capbility to deal with the cuts and scratches of everyday life.

I'll be frank here though: I'm not a great holder to the idea of "x has this technology, therefore they must also have that technology"... because in order to get the second you have to damn-near spend the development budget for technology number one again. Yes they got the nano-tech... but that was to regrow skin, and still required the girls to float around in a bacta tank. To then make that "skin" bullet resistant someone has to sit down, figure out how to structure the compound, engineer it, test it, make sure it behaves, looks and can fulfill the same function as regular skin, then figure out how to deliver the additional materials for the re-engineered "skin" and how to get the nanites to actually build the stuff having been originally developed to fulfill a different purpose. Yes it's all possible, but it takes time, money and effort.

And breathe.

In terms of what technologies the SWA has/doesn't have, I tend to look at it this way: the SWA is on the bleeding edge of medicine and bio-engineering. I'm sure if they could make bullet resistant skin they would, but they were probably flat out getting to where they are now. Remember: the cyborgs are not a starting point, they're the result of years of toil and billions of Euros investment. To now all the hours (and then some) have been used, all the Euros have been spent, and it has brought them to what we as the reader see in the story. From here on though, well: that's in the hands of the fan-fiction authors isn't it?

Either way, I think the "how cyborgs are put together structurally" discussion is one for another thread.

As to the training/configuration thing: well isn't hindsight wonderful? I imagine that, when they were building the first Gens the SWA was shooting in the dark somewhat; they've never done this before, and they didn't know what would produce the best shocktroops. Hence presumably the variety of backgrounds and the seemingly relatively free rein the handlers were given in how they trained and formed relationships with their cyborgs. Some things worked, other things didn't, and so when it came time for Gen2 there was some sort of yard-stick as to what worked and what didn't... not to mention the technology refined so that some of that useful training could be directly input to the cyborg's memory. I'm not saying you're wrong, I think you're right, but I also don't believe that, at the time, the SWA was in a position to know that.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Vett on Fri 24 May 2013 - 9:07

@Alfisti wrote:I think it was just a neat(ish) way to bookend the series and wrap it up quickly. If I were to guess I would say Yu was probably aiming to end on a nice, neat 100 chapters...

That's my conclusion as well.

Altifisti wrote:Did I post up Monty's basic development somewhere? Because Vett has pretty managed to hit it on the head... though I would venture to add that I think she probably also had a pre-disposition to being something of a natural loner as well.

Aside from Jethro's Handler debrief post, I don't think I've seen anything outside the stories. In the interests of disclosure, my OC cyborg has a similar set of circumstances and resultant psychological make-up so I've got something of a headstart.


altifisti wrote:I'm a firm believer that it results from a combination both of their previous personality/pre-dispositions and environment... what I think Vett is refering to as nature vs. nurture.

I am, yes.


Altifisti wrote:As to Monty: as noted above, she's just as jealous as any other cyborg, perhaps even moreso (considering she lacks the wider support network of the girls at the SWA, and only has him), but has a good handle on managing those feelings. As to the actual emotion of love itself: it gets bottled up, trodden on and stored away... vented slightly when the Blackers acting out their usual cover stories: essentially play-acting out the relationship they would have, but don't have, under the auspice of cover... I always fail at finding a good way to describe how their relationship works.

As that's exactly how I've always seen it, I think the quarter of a million or whatever obscene number of words it is you've written probably does the job well enough.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Alfisti on Fri 24 May 2013 - 10:11

@Vett wrote:
Altifisti wrote:Did I post up Monty's basic development somewhere? Because Vett has pretty managed to hit it on the head... though I would venture to add that I think she probably also had a pre-disposition to being something of a natural loner as well.

Aside from Jethro's Handler debrief post, I don't think I've seen anything outside the stories. In the interests of disclosure, my OC cyborg has a similar set of circumstances and resultant psychological make-up so I've got something of a headstart.
Well if you managed to get that out of J+M's interractions in-story then I'm pretty happy Razz

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Il Direttore on Fri 24 May 2013 - 14:59

@Alfisti wrote:As to the training/configuration thing: well isn't hindsight wonderful? I
imagine that, when they were building the first Gens the SWA was
shooting in the dark somewhat; they've never done this before, and they
didn't know what would produce the best shocktroops. Hence presumably
the variety of backgrounds and the seemingly relatively free rein the
handlers were given in how they trained and formed relationships with
their cyborgs. Some things worked, other things didn't, and so when it
came time for Gen2 there was some sort of yard-stick as to what worked
and what didn't... not to mention the technology refined so that some of
that useful training could be directly input to the cyborg's memory.
I'm not saying you're wrong, I think you're right, but I also don't
believe that, at the time, the SWA was in a position to know that.

The thing is, we know what makes a good shock trooper. Grenadiers, from back in the 1600s and 1700s, were basically shock troops that would charge and shatter enemy infantry formations. This carried over into the Strumtruppen of WWI. While it's true that nowadays, any well trained infantry can pull off the same tactics, the point is that we've seen the historical precedent in the grenadiers of old, and we can most likely reapply that definition, since basic infantry tactics are still basically "punch it in the weak spot for maximum damage". The harder you can punch while using less ammunition and manpower, the better. It seems to me that if you're going to say to the SWA "Make me cyborgs", you should probably specialize in either hyper-strong/fast creepy child shock troopers or in hyper-stealthy creepy child assassins, not some odd mix of both.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Vett on Fri 24 May 2013 - 18:46

While I agree with you, El, I'm not sure that the SWA has built shock-troops and hyper-stealthy child assassins. The first generation, I'd argue, are shock troops: their use is, generally speaking, close-protection work or counter-terrorist assaults, making them rough analogues for special forces. But these are stronger, faster and more durable. As most of their work is all about speed-aggression-surprise, I'd argue they're a success, with their age giving them that surprise.

I don't think the SWA then thought about making themselves stealthy assassins (which, admittedly you're not saying, but bear with me), but then thought along two lines:

1/ We've proved the concept; now we need to develop the prosthetic procedure so it works on older subjects.

2/ We're so expensive no-one's going to fund us for much longer.

Every government buys it's weapons from the lowest bidder on a political rather than utilitarian basis, and the SWA's no different from any other contractor in that regard. The generation twos aren't stealthy, but cheaper and last longer. That's come with a compromise (see the F-35 or almost any other weapons development programme): they last longer, are cheaper to run, and are demonstrating that the technology can be used on more adult subjects (otherwise referred to as "Look! Results! See how much money and prestige we're going to earn you if you keep feeding us now. No, you can't scruitinise the test data, it's a national security issue. No, it's not because we're manipulating the available data."); Unfortunately, to do that they've had to reduce the raw power (and possibly armour - I can't remember) behind the cyborgs.

As you now have a heavily armoured group, and a less armoured group, it only makes sense to preserve your assets by avoiding heavy combat with the lighter armoured ones, having them take a supporting role (not that we really see the other generation twos. Petruska and Alessandro might be a one-off case and the others might be used just like the generation ones).

In short, the goal of any organisation, regardless of it's claims, is to continue to exist and, if possible, grow. Like most competitions between adults, it revolves around money. The political and financial capital required to continue to exist means the SWA needs to be able to show that they're providing "value for money". Being able to say that they've managed to extend the cyborg's lifespan, for less money, and demonstrate the potential for cybernetic implants for all soon (thereby providing further political and financial capital to their political masters), will keep the politicians happy and the organisation in existence.

The generation twos aren't designed to be spies, or stealthy or fill any role the type one's don't. They're designed to be "value for money": One-size-fits-none, long(er)-lasting, and cheap.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Il Direttore on Fri 24 May 2013 - 18:53

@Vett wrote:But these are stronger, faster and more durable. As most of their work is all about speed-aggression-surprise, I'd argue they're a success, with their age giving them that surprise.

And yet Pinocchio is able to stab a knife into Henrietta and KO Triela? The development of the Gen.2s is a logical next step, I agree, but the point I make is not that the Gen. 2s aren't useful, but rather that the Gen. 1s don't take full advantage of what they can do. They're stronger and faster, yes, but lack the training or the armor (choose one or both) to take advantage of this. You shouldn't be able to stab Henrietta because you shouldn't be able to break her skin. As the Gen 1.s are, there's no reason to use a cyborg in favor of a GIS unit, and you can't produce Gen. 1s fast enough to use sheer numbers of brainwashed troops (incidentally, that also lacks any semblance of political camouflage and operational security), which means that investing in cyborgs for combat purposes is silly and shouldn't have happened. While yes, you could argue that this may have been a case of "how convenient", the conditioning implies that this was being pursued as a serious military endeavor, because you don't just decide to brainwash little girls on a whim. Much better to invest in cyborgs as a medical endeavor and move on from there in the appropriate manner.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Kiskaloo on Fri 24 May 2013 - 21:26

Pinocchio was able to use the cyborg's own weapon - surprise - against them. The girls do not appear to have ever faced a real challenge. Their opponents are at best brawlers and the girls are better brawlers thanks to their cybernetic augmentation. Pinocchio was a fighter and the girls weren't expecting that so he was able to overwhelm them.

As to why the cyborgs exist, I expect that decision was driven by the PM, probably influenced by people like Peris and Lorenzo. A "private army" that didn't have to answer to a formal Chain of Command and was outside the plethora of intelligence and law enforcement / special forces groups already in Italy.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Alfisti on Sat 25 May 2013 - 0:59

El Conservatore wrote:The
thing is, we know what makes a good shock trooper. Grenadiers, from
back in the 1600s and 1700s, were basically shock troops that would
charge and shatter enemy infantry formations. This carried over into the
Strumtruppen of WWI. While it's true that nowadays, any well trained
infantry can pull off the same tactics, the point is that we've seen the
historical precedent in the grenadiers of old, and we can most likely
reapply that definition, since basic infantry tactics are still
basically "punch it in the weak spot for maximum damage". The harder you
can punch while using less ammunition and manpower, the better. It
seems to me that if you're going to say to the SWA "Make me cyborgs",
you should probably specialize in either hyper-strong/fast creepy child
shock troopers or in hyper-stealthy creepy child assassins, not some odd
mix of both.
You have said it yourself though: over-specialisation is dangerous... and I would say that's doubly so if you're not certain how what you're trying to specialise will respond to its intended role. I'd agree we know, or at least have some idea of, what makes a good shock trooper... what I think the SWA may have been more hazy on was how to get a 10 year old girl to pick up that role... or if she even would. For all they knew, something in the psychology might have gone "ping" when shoehorned into an agressive role... so hit the middle ground and see what the cyborgs respond best to, then take it from there. In canon there were, what? 10 Gen1 girls? That sounds like a bit of a case of "Ok, we know what we want, but we don't know how best to get there (and the beancounters are still behind us)... so make hay while the sun shines and try a few things and see what works best". As Vett pointed out: Organisations need to be able to show results and by doing that it also gives the SWA a chance to put the cyborgs into action quicker, rather than testing, trying and fettling under labratory conditions.

Once they'd figured out from the Gen01s what worked and what didn't, the best bits could be implemented into the Gen02s. As Vett aptly pointed out: the Gen02s give better value for money... and one of the best ways to save cash on a project is to know what you're doing from day dot and have experience (read: have some idea of what works and what doesn't)... which is why, when we do tenders, the client usually asks for both the company and the PM's experience on similar projects.


El Conservatore wrote:And yet Pinocchio is able to stab a knife into Henrietta and KO Triela? The development of the Gen.2s is a logical next step, I agree, but the point I make is not that the Gen. 2s aren't useful, but rather that the Gen. 1s don't take full advantage of what they can do. They're stronger and faster, yes, but lack the training or the armor (choose one or both) to take advantage of this. You shouldn't be able to stab Henrietta because you shouldn't be able to break her skin. As the Gen 1.s are, there's no reason to use a cyborg in favor of a GIS unit, and you can't produce Gen. 1s fast enough to use sheer numbers of brainwashed troops (incidentally, that also lacks any semblance of political camouflage and operational security), which means that investing in cyborgs for combat purposes is silly and shouldn't have happened. While yes, you could argue that this may have been a case of "how convenient", the conditioning implies that this was being pursued as a serious military endeavor, because you don't just decide to brainwash little girls on a whim. Much better to invest in cyborgs as a medical endeavor and move on from there in the appropriate manner.
...except that a GIS unit can't walk up to someone, smile sweetly, and then stab them in the eye with a swizzle stick once their guard is down. Or, to put it another way: a GIS unit can't walk through the front door of an apartment block on a busy street and have no-one bat an eyelid. Yes, the girls are shock troops, but they're shock troops able to hide in plain sight and use suprise to their advantage... and I'm sure when they were first introduced, being wailed on by an adorable 10 year old was very suprising to the Padania indeed. As the story has progressed that element of suprise has been gradually eroded.

Once you put the girls into a purely military assault: see Venice or New Trino I would definitely agree that they have little to offer over a human military unit in their current form. However, I still don't see that has having been their original remit. Like the more purely espionage role, I think taking part in large scale, purely military actions was something which came later. Look at most of the work which the SWA carries out in canon: it's often things like bursting into a safe house off a public street, or protecting their handler whilst he makes contact with someone: it's plain clothes work and they're a force-multiplier for that. The work is not wholly military in its nature, and what the cyborgs do often could not be achieved so cleanly with a whole special forces unit barging in... and to do that they need to be human enough to go un-noticed, even if it's only for short periods of time.

Short version: yes the cyborgs have taken part in more military actions, and their makeup is not as well geared toward that as it could be, in the same manner that they're not well geared toward a purely espionage role... however don't lose sight of what the bulk of their work tends to be: for which they are quite well adapted. In that they have a broad enough range to deal with 90% of what is thrown at them, which however does make them less suited to those roles at the extreme ends of the spectrum than they could be.

As to Pino (always want to add a "t" to the end of that for some reason)... I think he was probably something of a wakeup call to the SWA. Until that point the girls strength, speed and durability had been enough to get them through: and to that point, in all reality, what they had been fighting were terrorists with lots of verve but little training. Once they went up against someone highly skilled they paid for it. Should the SWA have seen that coming? Probably. Did they? Apparently not... however it wouldn't be the first time someone on a big project missed the bleeding obvious because they thought they had it covered with something else (and I can assure you it won't be the last either).

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Il Direttore on Sat 25 May 2013 - 1:18

@Alfisti wrote: Words happened here, and I would normally quote you properly, but your post is rather long.


But isn't it rather blindingly obvious that all's not right if a guy is asking about my boss the terrorist and has a kid just randomly trailing after him? While you make a lot of good points and I agree with all of them, I don't understand how the mere presence of one of the Gen.1s doesn't ring all the alarms in the history of forever unless you literally have nothing to hide. Yes, for you and me the law abiding citizen, if an insurance salesman has his daughter tagging along for "Bring Your Kid to Work" day, it's all rather cute and adorable until the kid pins me against the wall and starts asking about my relationship with my boss who happens to be a terrorist. But if I'm a terrorist and I KNOW that the police/spec ops are going to be out looking for me, it makes no sense for me to let the insurance salesman into my house with the kid because kids don't just randomly come with Dad to work. Hell, I wouldn't even answer the door, and would make sure I had some sort of system of knocks for my mates the other terrorists. Sure, it MIGHT be true, but better to be paranoid for my cause (which I'm willing to die for) than to be nice to people. It doesn't make very much sense to me for a cyborg to be tuned for a force-multiplier role because any terrorist that doesn't get caught by Alessandro and Petrushka on the way to his target due to amateurness is going to be paranoid enough to keep from exposing himself like that, forcing the Agency to try something other than walk in his/her front door.

Now, you do bring up a good point about overspecialization, but there's a difference between crippling overspecialization and specialization with some flexibility in role. An Aerospace Engineer can perform most any task a Mechanical Engineer can, after all. As such, yes it's a specialization to tune your cyborgs to be shock troops, but there's every reason in the world to make sure you don't super-tune them and make it impossible for them to be somewhat stealthy as well.

In any case, I think that this may be a product of my personality getting in the way. There's a possibility that I don't find kids cute enough not to suspect something if there's one trailing after a journalist asking about my boss if I'm a terrorist. Or in any other context where I'm a terrorist, to be honest. This may be just me being super paranoid all the time, which probably doesn't speak well to my mental state.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Alfisti on Sat 25 May 2013 - 1:40

El Conservatore wrote:But isn't it rather blindingly obvious that all's not right if a guy is asking about my boss the terrorist and has a kid just randomly trailing after him? While you make a lot of good points and I agree with all of them, I don't understand how the mere presence of one of the Gen.1s doesn't ring all the alarms in the history of forever unless you literally have nothing to hide. Yes, for you and me the law abiding citizen, if an insurance salesman has his daughter tagging along for "Bring Your Kid to Work" day, it's all rather cute and adorable until the kid pins me against the wall and starts asking about my relationship with my boss who happens to be a terrorist. But if I'm a terrorist and I KNOW that the police/spec ops are going to be out looking for me, it makes no sense for me to let the insurance salesman into my house with the kid because kids don't just randomly come with Dad to work. Hell, I wouldn't even answer the door, and would make sure I had some sort of system of knocks for my mates the other terrorists. Sure, it MIGHT be true, but better to be paranoid for my cause (which I'm willing to die for) than to be nice to people. It doesn't make very much sense to me for a cyborg to be tuned for a force-multiplier role because any terrorist that doesn't get caught by Alessandro and Petrushka on the way to his target due to amateurness is going to be paranoid enough to keep from exposing himself like that, forcing the Agency to try something other than walk in his/her front door.
When it comes to trailing around with a child in tow, I don't think it's actually the terrorists they're most intent on fooling (and remember, even they paused when 'Etta appeared before them in the middle of a firefight... even if it was just with the intent of taking her hostage): at the end of they day, if all goes well, they'll be dead anyway. At some point I agree: the presence of the little girl is going to get suspicious (see original "not suited to this role" arguments), but by the time its got to the stage of the handler banging on their door its too late for whoever is behind it anyway.

However, take it from the perspective of someone on the street, a regular citizen like you or me (as you noted): all they're seeing is a man and his daughter walk into a building, and for the majority of the populace no-one would batt an eyelid at that. A special forces team going in... or even a group of burly men in plain clothes is going to draw attention. I guess you could feasibly stagger plain-clothes GIS soldier's entrance: but that's getting much more complicated than letting one fratello walk in. For that matter, not having been addressed and given a suspect cover-story by the handler: would the terrorist even be worried by a man and a little girl walking into his building: not banging on the door of his apartment, but just walking into the building itself? It also means that the handlers and cyborgs and loiter around in a public place and not raise the concerns again of the regular citizenry in a manner that having police, soldiers or, again, a large group of burly men, might. From that perspective it's more about keeping the general public calm than it is about fooling the target right up to the end.


El Conservatore wrote:Now, you do bring up a good point about overspecialization, but there's a difference between crippling overspecialization and specialization with some flexibility in role. An Aerospace Engineer can perform most any task a Mechanical Engineer can, after all. As such, yes it's a specialization to tune your cyborgs to be shock troops, but there's every reason in the world to make sure you don't super-tune them and make it impossible for them to be somewhat stealthy as well.
Exactly... and with the first generation of girls I still think that the SWA was shooting for a middle ground, from whence they could decide which way it would be best to cant the equation.

El Conservatore wrote:In any case, I think that this may be a product of my personality getting in the way. There's a possibility that I don't find kids cute enough not to suspect something if there's one trailing after a journalist asking about my boss if I'm a terrorist. Or in any other context where I'm a terrorist, to be honest. This may be just me being super paranoid all the time, which probably doesn't speak well to my mental state.
Don't worry, I don't like kids either Razz. I agree: the whole thing starts to fall apart once the SWA starts to address the terrorist directly, but the "hiding in plain sight" is enough to let them loiter around the edges and close to striking distance, whilst keeping the rest of the public blissfully ignorant.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Il Direttore on Sat 25 May 2013 - 1:48

I'd forgotten about the bit involving the public. Society does tend to panic rather a lot, doesn't it? That always wrinkles the logic, so now that you mention it, it does make a fair bit of sense to use fratelli.

I guess the question at this point is: can we get enough fratelli to make a difference? Or is the turnover rate too slow to be an effective investment?

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Alfisti on Sat 25 May 2013 - 2:16

El Conservatore wrote:I'd forgotten about the bit involving the public. Society does tend to panic rather a lot, doesn't it? That always wrinkles the logic, so now that you mention it, it does make a fair bit of sense to use fratelli.

I guess the question at this point is: can we get enough fratelli to make a difference? Or is the turnover rate too slow to be an effective investment?
To fill their own nieche? I think so (keeping in mind that the SWA's position is not simply a counter terrorist one, but also developmental etc... and again its having to balance its budget between both roles... presumeably Lorenzo and Petris are bright enough to pitch the correct capabilities at the correct people), in canon at least, by the end, they seem to be having an impact. Remember also, the SWA is not the only show in town: they cover their middle ground, the GIS and military are there to do the military actions, AISI and AISE to pick up espionage, the Guardia di Finanza doing its thing and God only knows how many other random security agencies partaking in the fight (with the terrorists, mafia... and for funds as well). It all adds up... and they're sitting there making sure their (admittedly quite expensive) own little cog in the big machine keeps turning, preferably smoothly.


In canon there's what? 10 Gen01s and authorisation for 10 Gen02s? For my own writing I know I tend to work on it having an establishment of 30 fratelli (or at least authorisation for thirty builds: 10 Gen01 and two number 10-unit Gen02 runs), which to be honest is simply because it gives me space to include a few OC fratelli without the organisation becoming a shambling behemoth or being able to saturate the battlefield with cybernetic soldiers and ruin a good story Razz

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Il Direttore on Sat 25 May 2013 - 2:22

@Alfisti wrote:
El Conservatore wrote:I'd forgotten about the bit involving the public. Society does tend to panic rather a lot, doesn't it? That always wrinkles the logic, so now that you mention it, it does make a fair bit of sense to use fratelli.

I guess the question at this point is: can we get enough fratelli to make a difference? Or is the turnover rate too slow to be an effective investment?
To fill their own nieche? I think so (keeping in mind that the SWA's position is not simply a counter terrorist one, but also developmental etc... and again its having to balance its budget between both roles... presumeably Lorenzo and Petris are bright enough to pitch the correct capabilities at the correct people), in canon at least, by the end, they seem to be having an impact. Remember also, the SWA is not the only show in town: they cover their middle ground, the GIS and military are there to do the military actions, AISI and AISE to pick up espionage, the Guardia di Finanza doing its thing and God only knows how many other random security agencies partaking in the fight (with the terrorists, mafia... and for funds as well). It all adds up... and they're sitting there making sure their (admittedly quite expensive) own little cog in the big machine keeps turning, preferably smoothly.


In canon there's what? 10 Gen01s and authorisation for 10 Gen02s? For my own writing I know I tend to work on it having an establishment of 30 fratelli (or at least authorisation for thirty builds: 10 Gen01 and two number 10-unit Gen02 runs), which to be honest is simply because it gives me space to include a few OC fratelli without the organisation becoming a shambling behemoth or being able to saturate the battlefield with cybernetic soldiers and ruin a good story Razz

Although now that I think about it, it seems like gadgetry would inevitably start to become a problem. Does it seem like the CONCEPT of a fratello is something that can be applied to any role, albiet a fratello that might need to be tuned/selected highly specifically?

((I should note that I assumed we were talking about only the canon fratelli in this thread))

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Alfisti on Sat 25 May 2013 - 3:09

El Conservatore wrote:Although now that I think about it, it seems like gadgetry would inevitably start to become a problem. Does it seem like the CONCEPT of a fratello is something that can be applied to any role, albiet a fratello that might need to be tuned/selected highly specifically?

((I should note that I assumed we were talking about only the canon fratelli in this thread))
Well I opened the thread talking about Monty's role and why the basic cybernetic makeup makes her ill suited to that and how it gets in the way... in that she and other OCs have served as comparrison points, but in terms of the discussion I think we've tried to keep it mostly to the canon fratelli.

As to the initial question: to a greater or lesser extent, yes. So long as you have the time and money to put into each project, to select the people and make modifications etc then sure. There's still the issue (as has been raised previously) of course of the girls' age and how it could be an issue in some situations. Feasibly a girl could be built to look adult, but I've always sort of figured that it would take her longer in that case to get used to her cyborg body: not only are the controls now all different, but its a different shape to what she's used to as well.

I'll admit, I tend to hold the belief that people are more important than the equipment they are using so, withing resonable bounds of course, good people can make mediocre or poorly adapted equipment work, and possibly even make it work better than top of the line, highly specialised equipment in the hands of mediocre people. Again using J+M as an example: within the bounds of my own writing at least I figure they only really get away with what they do because they are who they are. So while Monty still has all the issues and constraints bestowed upon her by her cyborg nature, she and Jethro make it work. To take a non-GsG example: I recently attended an all Lotus track day... and we all got cleaned up (myself included) by a Lotus Eleven... which first competed at Le Mans... in 1958 and, despite being on skinny rubber with a tiny engine, was still lapping faster than brand new Exiges and track-tuned Elises.

So yeah: whether by technology (the one which can be manipulated and controled) or people (which can be picked carefully, but I still believe getting exceptional people into a role is as much blink luck as anything else. Screening will help, but sometimes people just click and sometimes they don't) I think the fratello concept can be adapted to various different nieches.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Vett on Sat 25 May 2013 - 13:18

There's one other potential bonus to using cyborgs, actually. I'd imagine that there are pro-Padania and anti-Padania members of every security agency, though some more than others. If it's anything like Northern Ireland or Iraq (even if the situation there isn't quite the same), there'll be militias on both sides being helped by members of the establishment.

Cyborgs, on the other hand, are totally loyal to the State and only the State. If I were a nervous PM or President, that thought would be worth paying for: especially five years later when the cyborgs are visibly indistinguishable from ordinary bodyguards.


Last edited by Vett on Sat 25 May 2013 - 13:19; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Because I've typed in black... yet [i]again[/i].)

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by tremec6speed on Sat 25 May 2013 - 16:57

If I can put another two cents into this cool discussion, Indeed thinking it over there may very well be instances where a super powered child agent may not be as effective as an adult one, which is perhaps why Gen 2 ladies were made, but I'm kind of glad that there are real limitations, or else they'd be so efficient, that the opposition might be destroyed or otherwise taken down so easily and that might not seem as interesting story wise. I dunno, i could be wrong, just thought I'd toss that in there.
Also, Kiskaloo wrote (earlier in the thread):
"Bernardo seems to have been the most well-adjusted one, but then Beatrice was as emotive as a brick wall so maybe being gregarious is how he coped."
Um, I'm not sure she had no emotions, she just didn't/couldn't express them very well. As Mr. Aida said she was: Tearless Grief.
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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Il Direttore on Sat 25 May 2013 - 17:58

@tremec6speed wrote:

Um, I'm not sure she had no emotions, she just didn't/couldn't express them very well. As Mr. Aida said she was: Tearless Grief.

Well what does THAT mean?

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Alfisti on Sat 25 May 2013 - 20:38

@Vett wrote:There's one other potential bonus to using cyborgs, actually. I'd imagine that there are pro-Padania and anti-Padania members of every security agency, though some more than others. If it's anything like Northern Ireland or Iraq (even if the situation there isn't quite the same), there'll be militias on both sides being helped by members of the establishment.

Cyborgs, on the other hand, are totally loyal to the State and only the State. If I were a nervous PM or President, that thought would be worth paying for: especially five years later when the cyborgs are visibly indistinguishable from ordinary bodyguards.
I would say there were different factions within organisations in the GsG universe: you just have to look at Jose's old army mates running weapons for the Padania for evidence of that.

I think there is still the chance for split loyalties with the cyborgs, but it would be via the handler rather than through the cyborg herself. Even then the initially programmed loyalties of the girl would serve an additional safeguard, though there's still the chance she could run off after a defecting handler (see, I believe, Pia from the GsG game... I've not actually played it so someone may need to correct me)... no system is perfect afterall, but you can put in as many safeguards as possible.

Of course, there's always the chance a handler could be passing information on or otherwise operating without involving his cyborg at all... though that is possibly a discussion for a new and different thread.

Ok, SPECULATION WARNING now, this is my understanding/take and is what I use within the realm of my own writing, so your mileage may vary: In terms of the cyborg's primary loyalty I tend to view it as being able to go one of two ways, either to the organisation/government or to her handler: that's not to say it has to be one OR the other, but one may hold greater sway. The way I figure it, each girl comes off the "production line" essentially the same: lacking a distinct personality (it will take time for her any old traits to start re-asserting themselves, and for her to be moulded by her environment) and with loyalties to the SWA (and, by that vehicle, Italy... at least that's what they're telling the higherups) and their handler - in that order. As the girl gains experience with her personality and relationship with her handler developing, I imagine those loyalties can shift so that her primary loyalty is to her handler first, SWA second. It certainly wouldn't be for all cases, and would be strongly dependent on how cyborg and handler relate to each other, what type of handler he is, how heavily conditioned the cyborg is, so on and so forth. The girls however are not going to turn on their own.

Short version: there is potential for factionalisation within the SWA, but it rests with its adult members... and having the cyborgs conditioned to be loyal to the SWA and government still creates an additional safeguard over other systems. But screen personnel carefully.


@tremec6speed wrote:...I'm kind of glad that there are real limitations, or else they'd be so
efficient, that the opposition might be destroyed or otherwise taken
down so easily and that might not seem as interesting story wise. I
dunno, i could be wrong, just thought I'd toss that in there.
Amen. I don't know about anyone else, but limitations and constraints to me are what make solving a problem (be it at work, writing, drawing or designing etc), or reading about a problem being solved, fun.

El Conservatore wrote:
@Tremec6speed wrote:Um, I'm not sure she had no emotions, she just didn't/couldn't express
them very well. As Mr. Aida said she was: Tearless Grief.
Well what does THAT mean?
I think Tremec's referring to (and jump in if I'm wrong here mate) the conditioning's supression of emotions... specifically a reference to something Triela said, from memory after Angie's death, that she wanted to cry but couldn't... though I also seem to remember that she went on to say that she knew what she should be feeling in that situation but wasn't (honestly, I would have to go back and read the passage)... presumably those emotions were blocked by the conditioning as detrimental to a cyborg's operational well being.

That said, the girls seem quite capable of feeling emotions of love, anger, fear, etc... I think what Tremec's saying is that Bice is so heavily under the conditioning's thumb that, while she can feel these emotions, she can't express them.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by tremec6speed on Mon 27 May 2013 - 2:05

@Alfisti wrote:
@Vett wrote:There's one other potential bonus to using cyborgs, actually. I'd imagine that there are pro-Padania and anti-Padania members of every security agency, though some more than others. If it's anything like Northern Ireland or Iraq (even if the situation there isn't quite the same), there'll be militias on both sides being helped by members of the establishment.

Cyborgs, on the other hand, are totally loyal to the State and only the State. If I were a nervous PM or President, that thought would be worth paying for: especially five years later when the cyborgs are visibly indistinguishable from ordinary bodyguards.
I would say there were different factions within organisations in the GsG universe: you just have to look at Jose's old army mates running weapons for the Padania for evidence of that.

I think there is still the chance for split loyalties with the cyborgs, but it would be via the handler rather than through the cyborg herself. Even then the initially programmed loyalties of the girl would serve an additional safeguard, though there's still the chance she could run off after a defecting handler (see, I believe, Pia from the GsG game... I've not actually played it so someone may need to correct me)... no system is perfect afterall, but you can put in as many safeguards as possible.

Of course, there's always the chance a handler could be passing information on or otherwise operating without involving his cyborg at all... though that is possibly a discussion for a new and different thread.

Ok, SPECULATION WARNING now, this is my understanding/take and is what I use within the realm of my own writing, so your mileage may vary: In terms of the cyborg's primary loyalty I tend to view it as being able to go one of two ways, either to the organisation/government or to her handler: that's not to say it has to be one OR the other, but one may hold greater sway. The way I figure it, each girl comes off the "production line" essentially the same: lacking a distinct personality (it will take time for her any old traits to start re-asserting themselves, and for her to be moulded by her environment) and with loyalties to the SWA (and, by that vehicle, Italy... at least that's what they're telling the higherups) and their handler - in that order. As the girl gains experience with her personality and relationship with her handler developing, I imagine those loyalties can shift so that her primary loyalty is to her handler first, SWA second. It certainly wouldn't be for all cases, and would be strongly dependent on how cyborg and handler relate to each other, what type of handler he is, how heavily conditioned the cyborg is, so on and so forth. The girls however are not going to turn on their own.

Short version: there is potential for factionalisation within the SWA, but it rests with its adult members... and having the cyborgs conditioned to be loyal to the SWA and government still creates an additional safeguard over other systems. But screen personnel carefully.


@tremec6speed wrote:...I'm kind of glad that there are real limitations, or else they'd be so
efficient, that the opposition might be destroyed or otherwise taken
down so easily and that might not seem as interesting story wise. I
dunno, i could be wrong, just thought I'd toss that in there.

Amen. I don't know about anyone else, but limitations and constraints to me are what make solving a problem (be it at work, writing, drawing or designing etc), or reading about a problem being solved, fun.

El Conservatore wrote:
@Tremec6speed wrote:Um, I'm not sure she had no emotions, she just didn't/couldn't express
them very well. As Mr. Aida said she was: Tearless Grief.
Well what does THAT mean?

I think Tremec's referring to (and jump in if I'm wrong here mate) the conditioning's supression of emotions... specifically a reference to something Triela said, from memory after Angie's death, that she wanted to cry but couldn't... though I also seem to remember that she went on to say that she knew what she should be feeling in that situation but wasn't (honestly, I would have to go back and read the passage)... presumably those emotions were blocked by the conditioning as detrimental to a cyborg's operational well being.

That said, the girls seem quite capable of feeling emotions of love, anger, fear, etc... I think what Tremec's saying is that Bice is so heavily under the conditioning's thumb that, while she can feel these emotions, she can't express them.
Pretty much it. Alfisti, nailed what I wanted to say. Her emotions, her grief, were not easy to see, but was none the less there. Outward appearances didn't describe what was going on inside.

As for wavering loyalties, I agree generally. It might be possible for a cyborg to turn against her handler/big brother. However the circumstances would have to be extreme, like a partner hell bent on blowing up the Agency and everyone in it, might make the cyborg perhaps betray her handler if not directly, then perhaps by leaving a clue or something so as to alert her friends. Another possibility is the handler being so vicious as to effectively defeat the Conditioning Drugs like when my OC handler Salvatore routinely beats the living snot out of his hapless cyborg Helen, she is evermore pushed to the brink. Instead of turning against the organization and killing her Sensei out of love and rejection like Elsa, the cyborg may rebel out of sheer inability to cope with her nightmarish world. Another possible scenario may be found in Triela who got pissed at her handler Hilshire because she took the initiative trying to prove to him that she could be like an adult by wounding the enemy captive that suddenly was about to strike only to be reprimanded for attempting to think on her own. I mean to be honest, I don't think the Blonde Wonder was anywhere near turning against either her beloved teacher or the organization, but we did see her one time letting a man she had been instructed to apprehend, let go out of her own reasoning, (the man in question wanted to see his daughter and that apparently hit a nerve with Triela)
something the German mentor decided to let slide.

The possibilities for a free thinking cyborg, whose emotions are restricted (warped in a sense?) deciding that she does not want to do everything expected of her could be the seeds of rebellion. Picture an enemy well versed in psychology, some how managing to make contact with the younger mechanical agent and influences her to the point where she experiences doubt in the battlefield and her performance reflects that. I've imagined a cyborg becoming friends with a fellow agent who is religious and his world view ends up influencing her in such a way that she might for example, wound instead of kill a target?

Sorry for the rant, it's just that this thread can give birth to many discussions! Smile
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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Il Direttore on Mon 27 May 2013 - 3:25

Huh.

That's actually an interesting idea. It's also really really easy to assume that your characters exist in a vacuum, but if you look at the geography of Italy, it's basically impossible to find an area that's not saturated with civilians. Hell, it took me two hours, and accidentally finding a complex highly similar to the SWA, to GoogleMap a plausible area near Rome. You need lots of open space where nobody can hear you scream in order to really pull off the training necessary.

But anyway, the point is, such close proximities mean that a cyborg is inevitably going to be influenced by outside sources. It's literally impossible NOT to let a cyborg become influenced by the random TV show that's on. Hell, the wrong TV show at the wrong time could end up fundamentally short circuiting a cyborg's processes and require a complete reconditioning!

Although this does explain a lot about using children, again. Seeing a bunch of adults show up in the general vicinity of your little suburb/village is rather strange and leads to paranoid investigations, but some guys with small children who claim they've just moved in with their nieces/sisters/daughters on one of the houses on the edge of town is a lot less distressing. Camouflage is a LOT easier if your operatives are small and cute, and the sheer packing of Italy makes this highly desirable.

Although in hind sight, we may have gone into this problem with the Italian Geography earlier....

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"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Alfisti on Mon 27 May 2013 - 4:37

@tremec6speed wrote:As for wavering loyalties, I agree generally. It might be possible for a cyborg to turn against her handler/big brother. However the circumstances would have to be extreme, like a partner hell bent on blowing up the Agency and everyone in it, might make the cyborg perhaps betray her handler if not directly, then perhaps by leaving a clue or something so as to alert her friends. Another possibility is the handler being so vicious as to effectively defeat the Conditioning Drugs like when my OC handler Salvatore routinely beats the living snot out of his hapless cyborg Helen, she is evermore pushed to the brink. Instead of turning against the organization and killing her Sensei out of love and rejection like Elsa, the cyborg may rebel out of sheer inability to cope with her nightmarish world. Another possible scenario may be found in Triela who got pissed at her handler Hilshire because she took the initiative trying to prove to him that she could be like an adult by wounding the enemy captive that suddenly was about to strike only to be reprimanded for attempting to think on her own. I mean to be honest, I don't think the Blonde Wonder was anywhere near turning against either her beloved teacher or the organization, but we did see her one time letting a man she had been instructed to apprehend, let go out of her own reasoning,
(the man in question wanted to see his daughter and that apparently hit a nerve with Triela)
something the German mentor decided to let slide.

The possibilities for a free thinking cyborg, whose emotions are restricted (warped in a sense?) deciding that she does not want to do everything expected of her could be the seeds of rebellion. Picture an enemy well versed in psychology, some how managing to make contact with the younger mechanical agent and influences her to the point where she experiences doubt in the battlefield and her performance reflects that. I've imagined a cyborg becoming friends with a fellow agent who is religious and his world view ends up influencing her in such a way that she might for example, wound instead of kill a target?
I guess I was thinking not so much of a girl turning willingly against her handler (a la Elsa); more along the lines that I imagine the SWA would have set the girls, at least their initial conditioning, such that, if it came right down to it, someone like Jean could effectively "pull rank" on their handler should loyalties wind up being split and order the cyborg directly. I agree, it would need to be an extreme circumstance: but were I running the SWA that's how I would set things up. As stated above, I think the cyborg's loyalties could sway depending on her relationship with her handler, but at least initially I could see the SWA putting priority on "Agency Orders" as an extra safeguard against a handler going rogue etc.

As to Triela, I agree: she was no where near turning on Hilshire... and I sort of see her as being one of the girls who, now that she's got some years under her belt and the cyborg/handler relationship has had time to develop, would follow her handler over the SWA.

Regards swaying the girls' views deliberately: it's certainly as El said an interesting concept... perhaps a deep-cover agent inside the SWA, quietly working on them? Or an existing staff member who has suffered a change of concience? On the religious idea: might be a good one to pitch to Robert if he's watching, seeing as his handler is devoutly Catholic.


El Conservatore wrote:That's actually an interesting idea. It's also really really easy to
assume that your characters exist in a vacuum, but if you look at the
geography of Italy, it's basically impossible to find an area that's not
saturated with civilians. Hell, it took me two hours, and accidentally
finding a complex highly similar to the SWA, to GoogleMap a plausible
area near Rome. You need lots of open space where nobody can hear you
scream in order to really pull off the training necessary.

But
anyway, the point is, such close proximities mean that a cyborg is
inevitably going to be influenced by outside sources. It's literally
impossible NOT to let a cyborg become influenced by the random TV show
that's on. Hell, the wrong TV show at the wrong time could end up
fundamentally short circuiting a cyborg's processes and require a
complete reconditioning!

Although this does explain a lot about
using children, again. Seeing a bunch of adults show up in the general
vicinity of your little suburb/village is rather strange and leads to
paranoid investigations, but some guys with small children who claim
they've just moved in with their nieces/sisters/daughters on one of the
houses on the edge of town is a lot less distressing. Camouflage is a
LOT easier if your operatives are small and cute, and the sheer packing
of Italy makes this highly desirable.

Although in hind sight, we may have gone into this problem with the Italian Geography earlier....
I think there's a thread going somewhere for finding the "SWA"...

That said, it's not just Italy with the population density issue: it's the bulk of Western Europe so...

In terms of TV and the like: note how in canon there do not appear to be any televisions in the cyborg dorm, computers or similar... I assume for precisely that reason. Of course, once they leave campus it's up to the handler's discretion as to what the girls see and what they don't (and some of them to appear to get magazines... I'm guessing vetted first), but whilst on the estate I could see them living in something of a dark zone. I know in my own writing the media available to the girls is very limited (newspapers, TV in common areas shared with staff) and tightly controlled: those bits which may prove detrimental being quietly censored.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Il Direttore on Mon 27 May 2013 - 10:07

Huergh, and here I was wanting to have a bonding moment between cyborgs via Doctor Who and a pajama party in somebody's room.

Oh well.

Although... it wouldn't be that difficult to cause mass chaos in the compound via media. If you dropped "The Age of Steel", from season 2 of New Who, into the dorms, working as Section 1 and being "the idiot newb" who was stupid, it would probably have serious adverse effects on the girl's psyches. After all, isn't the Cybermen getting converted and having their mind de-emotioned and forced onto a single mindset exTREMEly similar to the way the girls are converted and conditioned to obey unquestioningly?

Derailing the topic aside though, it does seem like it'd be very difficult to put a cyborg into a deep-infil role. Based on this discussion, we seem to have generally concluded that the cyborgs would react negatively to a large amount of third-party media, if only because they might develop their own opinions to the detriment to their duties. Consequently, unless a cyborg were to be tuned highly specifically, and only if conditioning can do so, which I doubt, it'd be nigh impossible to use Gen. 1, and possibly Gen. 2, cyborgs to do any long term undercover work. Note that even Monty is working more as a brief infiltrator rather than a long term undercover operative. She just happens to globetrot.

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"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Alfisti on Tue 28 May 2013 - 6:39

El Conservatore wrote:Huergh, and here I was wanting to have a bonding moment between cyborgs via Doctor Who and a pajama party in somebody's room.
Well, it hasn't stopped fanfiction authors in the past... it all depends on how far the individual's disbelief can be suspended. I'll admit that mine tends to require one of the larger varieties of crawler crane.

El Conservatore wrote:Although... it wouldn't be that difficult to cause mass chaos in the compound via media. If you dropped "The Age of Steel", from season 2 of New Who, into the dorms, working as Section 1 and being "the idiot newb" who was stupid, it would probably have serious adverse effects on the girl's psyches. After all, isn't the Cybermen getting converted and having their mind de-emotioned and forced onto a single mindset exTREMEly similar to the way the girls are converted and conditioned to obey unquestioningly?
I imagine the right bit of media could do some serious damage... though dependent on whose version of the universe it is they may need to supply a TV and DVD player as well.

El Conservatore wrote:Derailing the topic aside though, it does seem like it'd be very difficult to put a cyborg into a deep-infil role. Based on this discussion, we seem to have generally concluded that the cyborgs would react negatively to a large amount of third-party media, if only because they might develop their own opinions to the detriment to their duties. Consequently, unless a cyborg were to be tuned highly specifically, and only if conditioning can do so, which I doubt, it'd be nigh impossible to use Gen. 1, and possibly Gen. 2, cyborgs to do any long term undercover work. Note that even Monty is working more as a brief infiltrator rather than a long term undercover operative. She just happens to globetrot.
Absolutely, Monty's role is "long duration" only in that she returns to Rome maybe three or four times a year. Her actual time spent in any one place is quite short, maybe a month or two at the most... and franly a deep-infiltration/the more realistic type of spy work of worming one's way into an organisation over months or years is even less well suited to a cyborg than her's is. There's too much time for someone to notice unusual patterns of behaviour; such as needing pills everyday (and not ones that come across the counter... though I guess feasibly that could be set up... but arrive by courier), odd twitches and reactions or, being out of action every couple of months or so and disappearing off the face of the planet.

Honestly though, I think the major reason to not use a fratello for that sort of role is that it's just a waste of highly expensive resources to have a cyborg locked into that sort of thing. If you need someone to sit around on their arse, living a mostly regular day-to-day life and occasionally feeding the odd tidbit of information back, well: humans are perfectly capable of all of it. Not to mention that, in canon at least, most of the girls (especially the Gen01s... Triela possibly excepted) seem to get itchy trigger fingers after awhile.

As to third-party media, I would agree: as a general rule, not a good thing for cyborgs to have much access too. I don't know if you could tune the conditioning to deal with it, but I also am inclined to say "no": a mind is too flexible of a thing, and I personally don't think the conditioning is quite the exact science it is sometimes made out to be. As far as individual girls being able to handle outside media: I would say it all comes down personality (which the conditioning seems to be able to suppress, but I'm not a great fan of the idea it can create a specific one): some will read, watch or listen and not be swayed; others should never be allowed near it... and in that respect, at the end of the day, I think it's probably up to the handler as to what he thinks his cyborg should and should not see once she gets off campus.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Il Direttore on Tue 28 May 2013 - 12:52

See now, here's a problem though: you can't be a kid and not know about some of the more popular media. For example, cartoons are a very common form of entertainment, so not knowing about cartoons could accidentally blow your cover. Sure, you can just say "I like to read instead", but then you'd need to know about quite a few books, the proper ones of which can be interpreted in enough differing ways that it'd be highly problematic for the SWA.

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"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by ElfenMagix on Tue 28 May 2013 - 14:25

@Alfisti wrote:
@ElfenMagix wrote:The most inhumane thing I done with my characters is the creation of ''mission mode'', where with a command from the handler or SWA Upper Management, a cyborg forgets about everyday life and becomes a Terminator T-100 until the mission is done. To the agency, yes, the cyborg is a high performance tool. To the handler? Why to (you) think Fernando is fighting for cyborg rights? Then again why is the Agency giving such rights to only his two cyborgs?

I've fallen behind on your works, Alfisti, but let me ask, how does a cyborg in your universe handle strong emotions like Love? Especially Love since the conditioning drug forces the girls to love their handlers. Fernando and Rachel are too far gone in their father/daughter relationship, but Fernando/Francesca... Francesca is getting jealous that Juanita had slept with him more often than her and Francesca's mission married to Fernando...
When I was reffering to difficulties with "acting human" it was more intentioned to maintaining cover as a human rather than the inhumanities visited on the girls as cyborgs/non-people (in the government's eyes).

Example, and I'll spoiler this one as it's drawn from one of my later chapters.
Spoiler:
Jethro + Monty get captured, and the baddies are setting about to beat information out of Jethro. Should she wish, Monty could easily throw off the two soldiers holding her and would stand a pretty fair chance of visiting sizable damage on everyone in the room. However, it is not something a regular human, and particularly a regular teenage girl, could resonably be expected to do (as a generalisation... stories of superhuman feats of strength not withstanding)... and in order to maintain her cover and "live to fight another day" as it were, she has to sit there and watch Jethro get beaten up... completely against the Agency's programming. In an espionage role, it's one of those cases where basic cyborg nature is a huge liability.

As to love... it's not something I've really touched on in a general form in my writing. I tend to take the view that the girls love their handlers, and respond to potential "threats" on that level with jealousy... the more mature ones (like Triela) able to take a step back and think out the realities of the situation; whether they like them or not. As to Monty: as noted above, she's just as jealous as any other cyborg, perhaps even moreso (considering she lacks the wider support network of the girls at the SWA, and only has him), but has a good handle on managing those feelings. As to the actual emotion of love itself: it gets bottled up, trodden on and stored away... vented slightly when the Blackers acting out their usual cover stories: essentially play-acting out the relationship they would have, but don't have, under the auspice of cover... I always fail at finding a good way to describe how their relationship works.
This is why Fernando is such a proponent to 'Cyborg Rights' for as he tells his girls, "you are not a machine but a person with machine parts but a person nonetheless." And that is how he treats Rachel and Francesca - as people with independent thinking and free will. And as such as developed a relationship where their interaction is not flawed in human terms. The fault lies in that (damed!!!) conditioning medication and what it does to their minds and their way of thinking. Trying to break out of that program is difficult at best but it was done with Rachel and Francesca. For these reasons, the SWA will give 'Cyborg Rights' only to him and his girls; everyone else either has to shut up or put up a reason why they should have it.

In a story where such a situation you put into Spoiler, Jethro and Monty must have agreed a long time ago as to what is expected of each other during such times. Would Jethro want Monty to be the rescuer if it means that the mission would be over in a bad way? Or would Monty do what she thinks is right based on what he told her. In such a situation, it will be Monty's turn and interrogation of females does include rape. What would Monty do? Then again, at the first punch or slap to the face they find Monty unfazed by what had happened to her, what would they think? Now that is a sticky situation. I believe a crowbar to Monty's head would only just piss her off!

When Francesca was lost and managed to be 'captured' by the French, they used her amnesia against her and stole much of her cyborg technology that they could, replacing it with poorly constructed prosthetics as mentioned by the medical team that rebuilt her. For her it was not what she thought she could do something to protect herself because she could not think outside of her mind to know what was being done to her. It was a full abuse of her mental conditioning and using it to their advantage against her.

But there is no comparison between Monty and Francesca, despite being cyborgs, they are two very different individuals with different abilities and different cybernetic systems. And their handlers treat them differently as well.

@Alfisti wrote:
@ElfenMagix wrote:'Jetsetting secret agent' I believe would be a great role for a fratello team. Just have to figure out the details, like you have. All of Italy's problems are not set within Italy's boarders. Terrorism lies everywhere, and J&M flying about the world to find the high end terrorists is a job they do well. My OCs are a combination of CIA/SWA Anti-Nuke Terrorist Team, and though they have not left Italy yet, it has been proven through my universe that if some idiot wants to nuke Rome, they can try. They have but the Fernando/Rachel/Francesca/Juanita team was there to stop them.
It certainly makes for fun writing; but as a generalisation there are fundamental parts of the cyborgs' makeup which make it quite impractical (need for conditioning, maintinece, long ranges, potential for political blackmail should they be captured, programmed mentalities not suited to espionage work, etc). In J+M's case some of these issues are solved... but that's just the thing: they're a special case, and I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that, at least within the bounds of my own writing, the only reason Jethro+Monty get away with it is because they happen to be Jethro+Monty.
The same applies to Fernando/Rachel and Fernando/Francesca. Very Happy


@Alfisti wrote:
El Conservatore wrote:
@Kiskaloo wrote:
El Conservatore wrote:Well I'd argue that the cyborgs aren't getting nearly as much performance as they could for the given roles. Given that they're really shock troopers, it seems like they should have bullet and/or knife resistance woven into their skin (nanotechnology!) and faster nerve response time built in. Additionally, they should be trained to have more CQB capability and tactical thinking skills.
I would expect the CFRP musculature is where the bullet and blade resistance is, since it is fibrous. Claes shrugged off a knife to the gut and Triela uses her arms to block small-arms fire.

Henrietta has excellent reflexes considering how quickly she almost gutted that waiter and she air-kicked that "Bouncing Betty" anti-personnel mine Franco left behind. Triela is also pretty good with grappling combat in the first anime series.
Yes, Henrietta is good, but there's a difference between running forward and punting a thing/shanking an untrained redshirt and reacting to multiple threats popping into your vision and being able to react by precisely planting SMG rounds into their skulls at something close to max RPM. Triela is good, but Triela appears to really be the only cyborg that can pull off a fairly intense CQB action.What I mean is that ALL of the Gen. 1s should have been configured and trained in such a manner.

While the resistance in the muscle is important, CFRP and such also need to work and do so for awhile. If you cut a CFRP muscle, it's not going to grow back, so you HAVE to replace it. Yes, this is canon, but it's inefficient isn't it? If you have the tech to make a CFRP Muscle, surely you have the tech to make a nanotech knife and bullet resistant fibrous weave that you can work into the artificial skin?
A caveat: I tend to be of the school which thinks that the girls' skin is actually regular, human, skin, layered over some organic substructure to allow it to survive: skin is complex stuff and difficult to replicate, so the easiest way to make it look and feel real is to use the real thing: which would also hopefully mean it retains some minor self-healing capbility to deal with the cuts and scratches of everyday life.

I'll be frank here though: I'm not a great holder to the idea of "x has this technology, therefore they must also have that technology"... because in order to get the second you have to damn-near spend the development budget for technology number one again. Yes they got the nano-tech... but that was to regrow skin, and still required the girls to float around in a bacta tank. To then make that "skin" bullet resistant someone has to sit down, figure out how to structure the compound, engineer it, test it, make sure it behaves, looks and can fulfill the same function as regular skin, then figure out how to deliver the additional materials for the re-engineered "skin" and how to get the nanites to actually build the stuff having been originally developed to fulfill a different purpose. Yes it's all possible, but it takes time, money and effort.

And breathe.

In terms of what technologies the SWA has/doesn't have, I tend to look at it this way: the SWA is on the bleeding edge of medicine and bio-engineering. I'm sure if they could make bullet resistant skin they would, but they were probably flat out getting to where they are now. Remember: the cyborgs are not a starting point, they're the result of years of toil and billions of Euros investment. To now all the hours (and then some) have been used, all the Euros have been spent, and it has brought them to what we as the reader see in the story. From here on though, well: that's in the hands of the fan-fiction authors isn't it?

Either way, I think the "how cyborgs are put together structurally" discussion is one for another thread.

As to the training/configuration thing: well isn't hindsight wonderful? I imagine that, when they were building the first Gens the SWA was shooting in the dark somewhat; they've never done this before, and they didn't know what would produce the best shocktroops. Hence presumably the variety of backgrounds and the seemingly relatively free rein the handlers were given in how they trained and formed relationships with their cyborgs. Some things worked, other things didn't, and so when it came time for Gen2 there was some sort of yard-stick as to what worked and what didn't... not to mention the technology refined so that some of that useful training could be directly input to the cyborg's memory. I'm not saying you're wrong, I think you're right, but I also don't believe that, at the time, the SWA was in a position to know that.
The technology used in my universe is a combination of many throughout the years, but most exploited by a "Dr. Frankenstein" to put something together for Leprosy victims, again, after years of practice and experimenting.

Originally, Dr. Guiliani and Et. Al. did not have the technology, and experimented with many things, devising a prosthetic system for a 'cyborg' but it was flawed like everything else. When they had found Dr. Frankenstein and what he was doing, they basically stole his technology and used it for their own using him as a 'consultant'. In Boomer's Universe, its a very different story there, but again, the SWA stole technology in order to get what they want to make the cyborgs. From this the cyborgs are constructed individually as each part must fit the person exact or they will have to go through more training to get used to the differences. But there is a stock set of pieces which is used by all and then modified to fit the cyborg. It is not one size fits all kind of deal here, and a lot of custom tailoring to fit the cyborg's basic needs.

I do have to say that a nerve, like a wire on a conduit, will burn out if too much of a signal is sent through it in a single pulse by over voltage or by too much signal impulses over time by over switching. Anything above 14.1V will destroy a nerve cell and anything under 13.9V will not be carried over. It is a very fine line where a signal can go through a cell. Its a finely tuned chemical soup where if things are off by a tiny bit can go into a cascade failure with horrendous results. Only practice can hone neural pathways to get things to go faster and only 10% above normal. Ah, but what that 10% can do is amazing!

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Alfisti on Wed 29 May 2013 - 4:50

El Conservatore wrote:See now, here's a problem though: you can't be a kid and not know about some of the more popular media. For example, cartoons are a very common form of entertainment, so not knowing about cartoons could accidentally blow your cover. Sure, you can just say "I like to read instead", but then you'd need to know about quite a few books, the proper ones of which can be interpreted in enough differing ways that it'd be highly problematic for the SWA.
True, however I think it would only become an issue when applied to a cyborg in sort of espionage/intelligence or more socially interactive roles we've just spent a thread discussing are ill-suited to cyborgs anyway. If you look at what the girls seem to do mostly in canon, their interactions with the public at large are quite limited and their cover only needs to stand up to fairly mild scrutiny: enough for them to close to striking distance of a target without alerting the greater unwashed masses. For the short interractions they do seem to have, any lack of knowledge or unwillingness to answer could also be explained by bashfullness... perhaps that's why the Gen02s seem to have the odd music poster etc in their dorm room. I'm not saying it couldn't be an issue for the girls in canon roles, but that the likelyhood of it occuring for them is probably slim enough that it is not worth addressing over potentially more pressing issues (such as keeping the cyborgs on a leash and under control).

That said, while the canon girls don't seem to have access to media in the dorm, that wasn't to say they live devoid of any media: I just imagine whatever they watched would need to be vetted first and probably screened with supervision. Claes watches movies under Jean's eye, so a movie night may not be completely out of the question.


Elfen Magix wrote:In a story where such a situation you put into Spoiler, Jethro and Monty
must have agreed a long time ago as to what is expected of each other
during such times. Would Jethro want Monty to be the rescuer if it means
that the mission would be over in a bad way? Or would Monty do what she
thinks is right based on what he told her. In such a situation, it will
be Monty's turn and interrogation of females does include rape. What
would Monty do? Then again, at the first punch or slap to the face they
find Monty unfazed by what had happened to her, what would they think?
Now that is a sticky situation. I believe a crowbar to Monty's head
would only just piss her off!
I tend to picture it as something left to Monty's own judgement. She's been living this life for something going on two years by that stage, and not just occasionally but day-in day-out, so she's resonably able to spot when the balance tips from sitting and maintaining cover to needing to do something. At the end of the day, while Jethro doesn't want the mission to end badly, he would far prefer her to step in before he's permanently injured or dead... and it should be noted that sitting and watching is an uphill battle for Monty against her own conditioning.

Should the situations be reversed, again Jethro will let a certain amount slide... though part of me is inclined to think he would have less control over himself (though admittedly, with less dire consequences cover-wise than in Monty's case: he's not a superhuman death machine) than Monty would, and again there's a line to be drawn. If that interrogation were to head toward rape then, frankly, it's probably not Monty the interrogators should worry about flying off the handle. TSM wrote a short piece a little while back, and he's done a pretty damn good job pickingup what Jethro's reactions would be in such a situation... probably better than I could in all reality.


Elfen Magix wrote:From this the cyborgs are constructed individually as each part must fit
the person exact or they will have to go through more training to get
used to the differences. But there is a stock set of pieces which is
used by all and then modified to fit the cyborg. It is not one size fits
all kind of deal here, and a lot of custom tailoring to fit the
cyborg's basic needs.
Agreed. I tend to view it that dimensions and cosmetics are easy enough to do: make a leg longer here, an upper arm thicker there, change hair colour, eye colour, boost or reduce a breast size: not difficult (within limits of course, at some point all the tech needs to be crammed somewhere)... with a caveat that I do think erring too far from the original body type is going to make it more difficult for a girl to adapt to her new shell.

Beyond those mostly cosmetic changes, I tend to view there's a fairly standard intra-generational architecture (possibly a bit more variation with the Gen01 girls as the SWA felt its way through and tried a few things): how the limbs actually function and interface with the brain, materials used, joint designs, the basic conditioning process itself (which would need to have some play simply for different physiologies of donor-children). Changing that would be much more difficult and expensive. Of course they could probably bodge one or two things (Monty's power limitations for example) as well, but "doing it properly" would likely need more in the way of planning, debate and discussion as to what was the best way to spend the R&D time and money.

Just my take, your mileage may vary.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Il Direttore on Wed 29 May 2013 - 12:23

So, use awkward silence to palm stiletto, shank Padania when he looks away awkwardly and clears his throat?

Seems legit, though I would personally expect a cyborg to do more than just that.

In any case, while we've pretty much finalized that exposing cyborgs to media willy-nilly is dangerous, what if they could be exposed to media but were taught very specifically by their handler? You'd have to vett the handlers much more closely, of course, but developmental psychology and all that seems to imply that if the handler was to teach the cyborg that all humans have individual agency to make their own decisions, then that cyborg would likely interpret most works with that basic philosophical framework.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Alfisti on Thu 30 May 2013 - 6:25

El Conservatore wrote:So, use awkward silence to palm stiletto, shank Padania when he looks away awkwardly and clears his throat?

Seems legit, though I would personally expect a cyborg to do more than just that.
I think I was thinking more towards keeping the greater public fooled than some enemy or another. By the time a cyborg has closed to a point where they can have a conversation, then 90% of the time it's too late for the target anyway... again the ill-suited espionage etc. roles aside.

That said, and speaking more about the Gen01 girls here: sure you get regular children that age (call it 8-12 years as a ballpark) who will happily chat with adults etc, but by the same token you get just as many who are unwilling to say anything, so I don't think a clammed up cyborg would be too much of an eye-raiser, except to those who may have heard the rumours about killer tots and are on the lookout.

I'll admit, the longer this conversation goes on the more I'm coming to the conclusion that, while the cyborgs' "little girl" appearance suprised and kept the enemy off balance early on, its greatest use it to fool Joe Bloggs on the street or casual observers. It lets them move in public without raising eyebrows, keeping the masses from panic and lets them close on their targets. The Padania can't afford to jump at every man with a child in tow, and by the time a fratello has closed on its target enough for said target to start picking up warning signs, whoever is in their crosshairs will be in a much more difficult position to escape from.

Either way, as you said: different strokes... maybe it's just that I think the cyborgs have enough advantages and like to temper them more than others Razz


El Conservatore wrote:In any case, while we've pretty much finalized that exposing cyborgs to media willy-nilly is dangerous, what if they could be exposed to media but were taught very specifically by their handler? You'd have to vett the handlers much more closely, of course, but developmental psychology and all that seems to imply that if the handler was to teach the cyborg that all humans have individual agency to make their own decisions, then that cyborg would likely interpret most works with that basic philosophical framework.
So, if I'm reading this right what you're speculating on is a handler teaching his girl essentially that everyone has their own opinoins, but those don't need to be the same as hers and vice versa? So she would be more able to deal with mass media?

To use your own words: seems legit... so long as someone is willing to invest the time and effort (and if the handler thinks far enough ahead to implement said idea, which is fair enough), and the girl is receptive, then I don't see why not. Of course it might need to come with a caveat that everyone has thier own opinions and will take their own actions, but in some way, shape or form authority (see: handler, SWA and government, in no particular order) are to obeyed.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Il Direttore on Thu 30 May 2013 - 16:08

Well, I was really saying that as long as the handler ensures that their cyborg takes a highly specific worldview conducive to their cause, it should work out, right?

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Alfisti on Fri 31 May 2013 - 3:42

El Conservatore wrote:Well, I was really saying that as long as the handler ensures that their cyborg takes a highly specific worldview conducive to their cause, it should work out, right?
That makes somewhat more sense. Razz

"Should"... not the same as "will", but should. Of course you can't guard against all possibilities, but this take would probably work in fairly smoothly with the way the girls seem to be conditioned anyway should (there's that word again) a handler decide to go down this path.

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Re: Sorry, But You're Just Not Suited to This Position...

Post by Awinnell on Fri 31 May 2013 - 12:00

@Alfisti wrote:
El Conservatore wrote:Well, I was really saying that as long as the handler ensures that their cyborg takes a highly specific worldview conducive to their cause, it should work out, right?
That makes somewhat more sense. Razz

"Should"... not the same as "will", but should. Of course you can't guard against all possibilities, but this take would probably work in fairly smoothly with the way the girls seem to be conditioned anyway should (there's that word again) a handler decide to go down this path.
It would help if the SWA had some sort of Handler psych evaluation system in place, all of the canon handlers are either hell bent on revenge, being dragged along by a revenge seeking sibling, forced into the job by circumstances, out for personal gain , either monetary or medical, treat their cyborg as little more than a slightly more useful weapons system and have the emotional range of a rock !

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