Gunslinger Girl: The Next Generation [Story Thread]

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Gunslinger Girl: The Next Generation [Story Thread]

Post by Kiskaloo on Tue 20 Aug 2013 - 23:10

As opposed to the Discussion Thread in the Plot Bunny Hutch, which will be used for discussion of the characters, mechanics, timeline, world-building and other items, this thread will be for posting actual stories (directly and ff.net / ePub links, where applicable] and discussion of said stories.


Last edited by Kiskaloo on Tue 20 Aug 2013 - 23:14; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Gunslinger Girl: The Next Generation [Story Thread]

Post by Kiskaloo on Tue 20 Aug 2013 - 23:10

[Reserved for Story Links]

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What? I like donuts! - Betty Suarez
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Re: Gunslinger Girl: The Next Generation [Story Thread]

Post by Kiskaloo on Tue 20 Aug 2013 - 23:11

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“Once Again”

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VILLA GIACOMELLI
MONTE MARIO, ROME
JUNE



“This coming from a fellow who gallivants around the world with his ‘niece’,” Michele Pagani noted as he raised his Mai Tai, complete with pineapple wedge, cherry and paper umbrella, off the top of the bar.

“I’ll have you know, Pagani, that being a dirty old man is a proud and long-standing British tradition,” Jethro Blacker replied, placing his right arm around his ‘niece’ Monty, whose expression made no effort to hide her annoyance.

“Gentlemen! Gentlemen! We’re here to enjoy ourselves, not squabble!” their host, Ignazio Giacomelli, stated with a large smile. Blessed with great wealth at a relatively young age when the Italian industrial consortium Finmeccanica acquired his company a half-dozen years prior, Giacomelli did not present the traditional image of an industrialist; his build svelte and his curly hair still a natural black. 

“I’m going to visit the bathroom,” Monty announced, shrugging out of Jethro’s grasp and walking towards the main house – a two-story villa of some 600 square meters overlooking the Olympic Stadium, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the city center.

Dressed in a black one-shoulder dress with white and red trim at the top that ended just above the knees with matching over-the-elbow gloves, Monty drew the eye of many a man as she walked past the fire pit and infinity pool and followed the stone path that meandered across the expansive grass rear yard. Dark hosiery and black patent leather pumps with seven-centimeter heels finished the outfit, the only accessories being red earrings and a black leather clutch with a thin white and red stripe of leather to match the dress. 

She entered the open floor plan main living area and proceeded to the staircase, climbing to the top where it split off into two hallways. The one leading to the master suite dead-ended against closed wooden doors, a large man sitting on an ornate wooden couch.

As she considered what to do, Monty heard the slap of leather soles behind her and a leggy blonde appeared, dressed in a black leather racer-back dress from Alexander Wang and Giuseppe Zanotti gold metal-plated black leather sandals. She appeared to be on the cusp of both her twenties and serious inebriation. She smiled broadly and walked up to the man, who rose from the chair to block her way.

“Где туалет?” she asked in Russian and the guard shook his head. The blonde smiled wider and motioned at her waist, crossing her legs.

“The bathroom is on the other end,” he said in Italian, motioning with his right arm.

“Ah! Gratzie! Gratzie!” the blonde said. She turned, but her ankle gave way and she fell forward. The guard reached down to help her and the blonde’s arm flashed up and pressed against the guard’s neck. In seconds, the guard slumped forward, unconscious.

“You’re welcome,” the blonde stated.

“I was perfectly capable of handling him, Laine,” the younger girl noted, sourly.

“Get the information,” Laine ordered. “I’ll take care of Sleeping Beauty here.”

Sighing, Monty continued on and into the Master Suite. Though nobody was present, the room was well illuminated, forcing Monty to stay low so as to not be silhouetted against the large French windows. She passed between the bed and fireplace and into the small office area, thankful for the hardwood floors – she’d noticed that her weight caused her heels to sink deeply into the plush carpeting downstairs, leaving clear footsteps. The desk faced the windows so Monty could hide behind the large LCD of the iMac on the desk. From her clutch she removed a small plastic case about the size of a pack of gum. Inside was 256GB of NAND flash memory and a Thunderbolt interface.

“Hopefully the Boffin’s little toy works as advertised,” Monty said to the room as she plugged it into the TB port on the back of the iMac and booted the machine. Monty held down the Option key and selected the flash drive. The computer booted to a terminal screen and lines of Unix code started to scroll by as the software took control and started to clone the computer’s main drive.

After what seemed to Monty to be the nearside of Eternity, but in actuality was only a few minutes, the terminal window closed and the computer returned to the desktop.  She powered off the computer and removed the drive, placing it in her clutch. 

When Monty returned, Laine pressed another device to his neck and the guard groggily came to consciousness from where he’d lay sprawled out on the floor.

“Are you okay?” Laine asked in a heavy Italian accent.

“Uh…yeah…what happened?” the guard asked.

“You tripped and hit your head,” Monty stated. “You passed out for a moment.”

“Ah, thank you,” he said, disoriented from the drug cocktail. After telling the girls he was fine, Monty and Laine headed back downstairs and back to the bar under the loggia.

“How did it go?” Michele asked.

“Piece of cake,” Laine said, siding up next to him. 

“We should take our leave,” Monty noted, uneasy with staying now that their mission had been completed.

“Thanks, Jethro. I owe you one,” Michele said, nodding his concurrence with Monty’s suggestion.

“That’s one more you owe us,” Monty interjected.

“The girl has a point,” Jethro Blacker said, giving Monty’s shoulder a squeeze.

The four pushed back from the bar and started for the villa, stopping to give their regards to a number of defense industry executives as well as their host. While valets were dispatched to recover Michele’s Ferrari F12 berlinetta and the Blacker’s Audi allroad Quattro, the four said their goodbyes.

“Good to see you again, Jethro; Monty,” Michele said as he shook Jethro’s hand and gave Monty a chaste hug, allowing her to perform a brush pass to transfer the data stick into Michele’s jacket pocket.

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ITALIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE
PALAZZO BARACCHINI
QUIRINAL HILL
THE FOLLOWING DAY



The polished marble floor reflected the signature red-lacquered soles of Kara Deleroux’s Christian Louboutin knee boots as the plaster walls allowed the sound of those soles impacting the marble to announce her presence to the staffers scurrying about.

Michele Pagani, Minister of Defense of the Italian Republic, looked up as his cybernetic Executive Assistant entered his ornate private office. The attempted coup by the Minister of the Interior and Commanding Officer of the Carabinieri Mobile Division during the crisis at the new Trino nuclear power station had compelled Prime Minister Pisano to perform a bit of cleansing of the defense and intelligence agencies. As part of that house cleaning, Defense Minister Petris “retired” and, wanting someone he could implicitly trust in the position of overseeing the reorganization of the armed forces and intelligence agencies, Pisano named Michele to replace her.

“Good news, everyone!” Kara proclaimed. “The crypto-geeks have successfully cracked the encryption package Giacomelli was using on his Mac. You’ll love this – he trusted the encryption software to keep the data safe so it’s all in clear text.”

“That will certainly make Priscilla’s job easier,” Alessandro Ricci replied with a smile from the couch. When the clandestine side of the Social Welfare Agency had been dissolved after New Trino, the perky blonde analyst had returned to her former haunt at the Guardia di Finanza. As for the rest of the staff, they had either followed Priscilla’s example and returned to their former employers or, like Alessandro, had moved on to the new intelligence agency the Prime Minister had created to replace Special Operations.

While Giacomelli showed no overt indications of sympathy with either Padania or the Five Republics Faction, a portion of his wealth routinely went up the noses of himself and his friends and that money found it’s way to the 'Ndrangheta, who often laundered money for Padania and the FRF. It was hoped that they would discover names of 'Ndrangheta contacts who could then be leaned on to identify whom they were laundering money for.

“So will it be thumbs up or thumbs down for Mister Giacomelli?” he asked. Beside him, Petrushka cocked her head in confusion.

“In Ancient Rome, the citizens determined the fate of gladiators by either raising or dropping their thumbs. The former meant life and the latter death,” Alessandro noted.

“How barbaric,” his cyborg replied, settling back in the couch and crossing her arms and legs. 

While both cyborg girls were close in physical age, a casual observer would be hard-pressed to guess that due to their dress. Kara, wishing to present an older and mature look as Michele’s assistant, wore a black wool-crepe Gucci dress that clung to her body and her patent leather dress boots sported pointed toes and 100mm heels.

Petrushka, on the other hand, dressed like a teenager from a wealthy family, reflecting her usual cover as a first-year student at University. Her black leather mid-calf boots and white denim jacket were from Burberry and her black denim miniskirt and black cotton tank top bore the tags of Dolce & Gabbana.

Michele’s desk phone rang and Kara answered it.

“The car is ready for you,” she reported after hanging up. 

“That’s my cue,” Alessandro said, rising from the couch and helping Petrushka up. Kara gave her sister a hug before the fratelli exited the room. Michele finished up his work and followed Kara to the garage where a Bentley Mulsanne Executive Interior Edition stood ready to take Michele and Kara to the Palazzo Chigi, seat of the Prime Minister of Italy, for their weekly luncheon.

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ENTOECA PROVINCIA ROMANA
PALAZZO VALENTINI
VIA DEL FORO TRAIANO
SEPTEMBER



“You’re not going to make me dance to that sappy love song you and Ferro did last year, are you?” Monty Blacker asked as she looked out the large windows of the bar across from the Piazza Venezia and Trajan’s Column. The bar was a favorite lunchtime hangout for the bureaucrats in Rome’s provincial government as the food and wine were exceptional and the prices reasonable. Now in the setting sun of late afternoon, most of the patrons were tourists and locals.

"I'll have you know young lady that 'Touch Me When We're Dancing' is a classic,” Michele stated. “That being said, I thought perhaps something from the Chairman’s discography?"

“Can’t go wrong with Luck Be a Lady Tonight,” Jethro Blacker noted as he topped off both Michele’s and Monty’s glasses from the bottle of Frascati Superiore Riserva from the Casale Marinov. It was one of his favorite Frank Sinatra songs to serenade Monty with.

“It would give you an excuse to buy that evening gown you had your eye on in Paris,” he added. “I think it would look nice with those Stefano Canturi earrings.”

“Being in Rome for the charity ball...you planned this didn't you...” Monty accused her handler, who merely responded with a boyish grin.

While the secret side of the Social Welfare Agency would soon be no more, the public side continued on and the Prime Minister’s wife would hold her annual charity ball as scheduled this coming Saturday. The top donors, who included Michele, were given the honor of leading the first dance when the orchestra started to play. The previous year, Michele had attended with Ferro, however she would be unavailable this year so Michele had asked Monty when Jethro had noted they would be in town that weekend for Monty's maintenance and to perform an update briefing on what they had learned.

“I get to see you in that new evening gown you picked up in Paris,” Jethro added, trying to assuage his cyborg’s irritation. “I think it would look nice with your Stefano Canturi earrings.”  

“I suppose I’m going to have to talk to Kara,” Monty groused.  

“She really does look up to you, Monty,” Michele said.  “Good for her.”

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THE ROYAL SUITE
PARCO DEI PRINCIPI GRAND HOTEL
VIA G. FRESCOBALDI, ROME
SUNDAY EVENING



“Would it really kill her to be sociable at least once in awhile?” Kara asked as she relaxed on the terrace. She’d traded the evening gown and heels she’d worn at the SWA Charity Ball for jean shorts, a t-shirt and cotton slippers.

“Monty…is…Monty,” her handler sighed from just inside the bedroom, at a loss for words and still wearing most of his formal tuxedo. When he’d accepted the position of Minister of Defense, Michele did so with the intention of only holding the position until things were stabilized and therefore had decided not to find a residence in Rome. The Royal Suite provided a large, fully furnished apartment in a five-star hotel with 24-hour amenities and a view of the Dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica, which at the moment stood in sharp silhouette against a scarlet red dusk.

“Still, they couldn’t hang around for even half a day?” Kara asked, sipping a glass of Domaine Leflaives Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 1997.

“Jethro said they had to catch the morning ferry from Salerno to Tunisia in order to make their planned meet with the Stanaways. With the instability in Libya, it’s difficult for them to transit to and from Egypt,” Michele noted.

“And I’m sure she planned her time in Italy to the minute to be sure they couldn’t do anything else.”

“She’s a product of her environment, Kara,” Michele said. “They operate far from home with little to no support. That’s bound to make folks a bit anti-social. And don’t forget Jethro was a spy.”

“You were a spy. So was Mister Ricci,” Kara noted.

“Monty reminds me of some of the people I worked with behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. I know Jethro didn’t join the Special Intelligence Service until after the end of the Cold War, but I would not be surprised if he worked with older agents who did and they spoke to him of their tours.

“Back then, you really could only depend on yourself and if you made a mistake, there was very real risk of losing your life – and perhaps the lives of others. Those ‘Moscow Rules’ Monty likes to refer to? I lived by them when in that city. And she probably lives by them to protect not just herself, but also Jethro.”

Kara nodded, but her expression remained sour. Three months prior Claes, Rico, Petrushka, Gattonero, Fio and Soni had boarded a former British naval ammunition stores ship that had been converted to become a floating home where they would live out the remainder of their lives. As part of the deal to become Minister of Defense, Kara had been allowed to stay with Michele and the Blacker and Stanaway fratelli had also been excused due to the need to continue to untangle the knots the Blackers had discovered in their adventures through Turkey, Colombia and Russia. Now effectively alone, Monty’s perceived slight cut Kara that much deeper.

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VILLA PISANO
PORTO ERCOLE, MONTE ARGENTARIO
GROSSETO PROVINCE, TUSCANY
THAT WEEKEND



“I want to thank you for your service as Minister of Defense,” Renato Pisano noted with a smile as he took a sip of Altemasi Graal Brut Riserva 2002 Trento from the noted winery Cavit, granted the prestigious three glasses rating by the Italian wine guide Gambero Rosso. While the Prime Minister’s personal home was in the exclusive La Mandria district of Turin, he preferred using this residence hidden in the hillsides overlooking the seaside township below during the summer months.  

“I take it I should brush up my resume?” Michele assumed.  

“You’ve done the job I asked you to do a year and a half ago,” Renato assured. “I can now fully trust my military and intelligence services are not going to try and replace me before the 2016 elections. I’ll leave that job to Umberto,” he added with a humorless smile.

Michele correctly guessed that ‘Umberto’ was Umberto Natili, head of the main opposition to Renato’s ruling coalition.  

“I know the austerity measures demanded by the European Central Bank and other major credit markets have been onerous, but it has successfully kept us from the trauma Spain and Greece are going through,” Michele noted.  

“It’s also been rekindling claims by the North that they are being oppressively taxed to support a ‘lazy’ South. And with unemployment high across the country, they want to keep even more money ‘at home’ to protect what jobs they have,” Renato replied.  

“And now you regret shutting down Special Operations,” Michele suggested. Both men knew that while demonstrations remained small and sporadic for the moment, there were worries that there could be a return to the “Years of Blue” if the economic and employment situation became worse.  

“It was a necessary move at the time,” Renato affirmed. “The risks of the program being discovered were becoming too great. Such a revelation not only would have ended my government, it would have resulted in serious international repercussions against Italy.”  

“You’re going to run the same risk if you do it again under the government,” Michele noted.  

“Very true. Which is why this time we’re going to do it differently,” Renato stated with a grand smile as he leaned forward.

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TORRE SOLARIA
ISOLA QUARTIERE, PORTA NUOVA SESTIERE
MILAN
NOVEMBER



Claes shivered in the breeze that came in off the Alps as it blew across the bedroom terrace over 100 meters above the city of Milan and soon enough she would need to retreat into the heated comfort of the apartment. Recently completed on the outside, workers continued to fit out the interior of many of the units spread across the 37 floors of the tallest residential tower in Italy. The Puerto Nuova project was transforming the skyline of Milan in much the way the Centro Direzionale in Naples had done for that city. However, her perch on the 36th floor penthouse allowed her to look out across the city at the glistening Milan Cathedral, Sforza Castle nestled inside Parco Sempione and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping arcade.  

A week had passed since an AgustaWestland AW139 VIP helicopter had landed on the helicopter pad at the back of the ship she and the other girls had been living on since June of the previous year. From the door stepped Michele Pagani, who’d collected her, Fio, Soni and Gattonero and flown them to Genoa Cristoforo Colombo Airport where they had boarded Michele’s Piaggo P.180 Avanti executive transport and flown south to Naples. However, instead of landing at Naples International Airport they instead landed at Caserta Airport-Grazzanise to the north, home of the 9° Fighter Wing of the Italian Air Force. There, the three Second Generation girls had disembarked into a waiting Lancia Zeta MPV, but Claes had been instructed to remain on board. The P.180 then taxied to the runway and lifted off again, this time flying north to Milan’s Linate Airport. 

The cry of a Red Kite grabbed her attention and her thoughts shifted to a crisp autumnal morning and the cry of another Red Kite outside the window of the room she and Triela had shared in the old compound. Like quicksilver, another image of another Red Kite, sailing majestically over Lake Cingoli as she and Raballo fished for trout and perch.  

Claes idly wondered when she would join Triela and her other sisters in the Mausoleum, for she had been dreaming more and more of Captain Claudio Raballo the past few months and she knew the resurrection of previously buried memories was a sign the effects of conditioning medication were entering a terminal phase.  

She now knew the identity of the mysterious man who had haunted her dreams for as long as she could remember thanks to Michele, who’d told her first night in Milan. She wondered what kind of risks he was taking in doing so, but then perhaps his close friendship with the Prime Minister provided sufficient protection – or even sanction. While a pragmatic girl, she nonetheless could not completely banish the anger from her heart towards Jean Croce and the others who had concealed his identity from her after forcibly attempting to remove the memories of their time together as a fratello.  

Claes heard a door slide open and the sharp slap of leather soles and heels against the granite of the terrace. Kara appeared out of her peripheral vision and Claes tracked her as she walked to the tall glass and steel railing that lined the edge of the balcony. Michele’s cyborg wore a white scoop neck long-sleeve wool sweater, black pleated miniskirt and her ubiquitous Christian Louboutin knee boots, causing Claes to wonder if Kara had ever encountered a climate that made wearing knee-high boots impractical.  She bit back that thought, noting she would be slipping on the pair of Loeffler Randall knee-high boots Michele had purchased for her the other day, along with a striped dress and leather swing coat from Chloé. Tonight was the 77th awarding of the Bagutta Prize for literature, named after the host restaurant where the founders of the prize had regularly gathered to dine and discuss books. Claes had read the works of a number of recent winners so to be able to attend in person was a great honor.

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THE SAGITTARIUS GROUP
TORRE SAVERIO • FLOOR 35
CENTRO DIREZIONALE ISOLA C 1, NAPLES
DECEMBER



Michele Pagani, Chief Executive Officer of the Sagittarius Group, stepped forward to the podium and began to speak. Beside him stood the Prime Minister as well as the Ministers of Health and Labor and Social Policy.

“Over the past five years, Italy has spent significant resources on technology and talent to make this country the world leader in cybernetics and biomechatronics. And though the auspices of the Social Welfare Agency, that technology has been able to improve the lives of hundreds of children within Italy and throughout the European Union with advanced neurocognitive and neuromotor prostheses and artificial organs. 

“With the generous approval and support of Prime Minister Pisano Renato, I have founded the Sagittarius Group to help the SWA commercialize their innovations with the goal of eventually bringing them to children across the world as well as make them available to teenagers and adults…”

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What? I like donuts! - Betty Suarez
If I die before my time, go on Oprah and tell the world 'I liked kittens'. - Veronica Mars
Scissors of victory! - Yui Hirasawa
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Re: Gunslinger Girl: The Next Generation [Story Thread]

Post by Alfisti on Sun 8 Sep 2013 - 1:41

Ok, so, as promised in the discussion thread (before it became the discussion thread): more thoughts.

“This coming from a fellow who gallivants around the world with his ‘niece’,” Michele Pagani noted as he raised his Mai Tai, complete with pineapple wedge, cherry and paper umbrella, off the top of the bar.

“I’ll have you know, Pagani, that being a dirty old man is a proud and long-standing British tradition,” Jethro Blacker replied, placing his right arm around his ‘niece’ Monty, whose expression made no effort to hide her annoyance.
I remember this conversation Very Happy 

Actually, I think I've read through that particular passage before, and it's a good one to quickly introduce some of the stake holders, as well as contrast the difference in approaches between fratelli. Monty would not have been happy with Laine deciding she could give orders... Razz 


“It would give you an excuse to buy that evening gown you had your eye on in Paris,” he added. “I think it would look nice with those Stefano Canturi earrings.”

...

“I get to see you in that new evening gown you picked up in Paris,” Jethro added, trying to assuage his cyborg’s irritation. “I think it would look nice with your Stefano Canturi earrings.” 
May need to take a look over this one a bit before publishing fully... these are basically the same statement repeated. I think the last line may have been meant to be across two as well?


“Being in Rome for the charity ball...you planned this didn't you...” Monty accused her handler, who merely responded with a boyish grin.
Yes, yes he did... though sending her along with Michele may not have been in his original plan.

I wonder how explaining this one to Kara went down...


and still wearing most of his formal tuxedo.
Seriously. Half the fun of getting into a tuxedo is being allowed to sit around in it afterwards, with the top button undone, and the tie untied, sipping a drink of some description.


While a pragmatic girl, she nonetheless could not completely banish the anger from her heart towards Jean Croce and the others who had concealed his identity from her after forcibly attempting to remove the memories of their time together as a fratello.
Ominous...


The last three sections are all new I believe? Either way, it seems to hang together a lot better than what the first pass did, and I think bringing Claes' part back to Milan was a good decision as well. You're doing big leaps of time frame here, trying to throw in big changes of place was probably a bit too ambitious.

Good stuff mate, keep it up.

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Your lack of planning does not constitute my emergency.
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Re: Gunslinger Girl: The Next Generation [Story Thread]

Post by Kiskaloo on Mon 7 Oct 2013 - 21:47

Thanks to Alfisti, taerkitty and Il Direttore for helping me over the stumbling blocks.

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“Getting the Band Back Together”

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MONTI MARTINO
DISTRICT OF LOCARNO, CANTON OF TICINO
SWITZERLAND



A rare sunny October day could not dispel the cool temperatures and Kara was reminded of the last time she’d visited Switzerland in the autumn in a Lamborghini roadster with the roof off. Her outfit today reflected lessons learned from that previous trip, exchanging the t-shirt and denim miniskirt of then for a polo shirt with the Lamborghini bull embroidered over the left breast, jeans tucked into boots and a heavy leather jacket. The extra heater vents the Aventador LP700-4 offered over the Murciélago LP640 Roadster helped, as well.

After exiting European route E35 at Sant’Antonio, Kara crossed over the Ticino River and drove up a looping mountain road that dead-ended at a small farmstead nestled amongst trees and vineyards. The wide tires crunched on the mixed dirt and gravel road, Kara allowing the torque of the V12 at idle to pull the car forward, careful to avoid any ruts or bumps for even with the nose raised, ground clearance was minimal.

Once safely at the house, she killed the ignition and the rumble of the V12 was replaced with the chirp of birds and the wind moving through leaves. Kara swung open the scissor doors and swung herself out of the car.

The front door to the farmhouse opened and Kara’s jaw dropped.

When she’d known him, Alessandro Ricci dressed second only to her own handler in terms of style. Today, the man who stood before her wore a thick grey cotton tee and boot-cut denim jeans. But what really stood out to Kara was the vitality in his face and eyes. Petrushka’s slow decline had taken much from him, but he appeared to Kara to now be healthy and happy again.

“Good to see you, Michele…Kara…” he greeted. “Please come in. Rossana is preparing some espresso and we have fresh-baked biscotti.”

Almost four years had passed since the desperate escape of Rossana and her daughter Bianca. They’d settled in Lucarno because it reminded Rossana of her previous home in Siena and the population spoke Italian. When Petrushka passed away, she asked Alessandro to visit Rossana and Bianca and he did, ending up staying.

As she entered the farmhouse and examined the rustic, functional furnishings, Kara wondered how the flamboyant and stylish ex-spy she had known at the Agency could cope with such a provincial lifestyle. She had her answer once she stepped into the country kitchen and her eyes fell upon a stunningly attractive redheaded woman transferring the famous twice-basked biscuits from an oven tray to a plate, where she then drizzled a lemon-sugar glaze atop them.

“General Pagani. It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir,” Rossana greeted. “And you must be Kara. You’re as beautiful as Alessandro said.”

Like Alessandro, the female former Section 1 operative dressed for the environment in jeans and a long-sleeved plaid button shirt, a scarf tied over her hair. Before either could reply, they heard the front door bang open and the sound of leather-soled shoes slapping on the hardwood floor of the hallway.

“Mama! Uncle Ricci! There’s a weird car outside!”

A girl of around ten entered the kitchen, skidding to a stop when she saw the two newcomers.

“Bianca, this is Michele and Kara. They’re friends of Uncle Ricci’s.”

“Hello,” Bianca replied, giving a cute curtsey. Rossana poured her daughter a glass of milk and gave her a plate of biscotti before sending her off to her room.

“Let’s move to the living room,” Rossana suggested as she prepared four demitasses of espresso. Kara came forward to take the plate of biscotti while Rossana soon followed with the espressos.

“So what can two former spies do for the former Minister of Defense?” Rossana asked as she settled next to Alessandro on the couch while Michele and Kara sat side by side on the adjacent love seat.

Michele turned to Alessandro.

“How much have you briefed her in on?”

“Briefed me in on what?” Rossana interjected.

“She doesn’t know about the program,” Alessandro stated, to which Michele raised his eyebrows.

“I didn’t think she need to know,” Alessandro replied.

“I understand you met Petrushka once,” Michele noted to Rossana.

“Yes, when Reschiglian and Alessandro came to Sienna and evacuated Bianca and I to Switzerland,” Rossana replied.

“What did you make of her?”

“She was young…I’d guess 20? She was quite attractive, but then Alessandro always had an eye for red-heads,” she teased, earning her a grimace from the man beside her. “For a rookie, she did have a good head on her shoulders. She didn’t panic when those guys in the X5 tried to kill us.”

“She was a 16-year old secret agent for the Italian government trained as an assassin,” Michele informed her.

“16? Don’t be ridiculous,” Rossana laughed. “The Age of Majority in Italy is 18 and even then, no intelligence agency would take someone not even out of secondary school.”

“How old do you think Kara is?” Michele asked.

“It’s harder with Asians, but I’d say early 20’s,” Rossana stated.

“Chronologically, I am 20. Physically, I am 17,” Kara replied.

“I don’t understand,” Rossana stated. “What is this program you speak of?”

Kara looked to Michele, who nodded his head. Kara rose, went over to the fireplace, and removed a split log. With little effort, she snapped it in two with her bare hands.

“Kara is a cybernetic organism. Her brain is human, but her body is a combination of advanced neurocognitive and neuromotor prostheses made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic and titanium with synthetic muscular systems tied together with advanced biosensors and cosmesis,” Michele replied.

Rossana looked to Alessandro. “Petrushka?”

Alessandro nodded his head in the affirmative. “I was her handler. A mentor, of sorts, who looked after her and directed her in the field.”

“Some five years ago, the Prime Minister commissioned a secret project to turn terminally and critically-ill pre-teen girls into cyborg assassins and employ them against Padania,” Michele continued. “Ten girls formed the first generation. Kara and Petrushka are from the second generation, which were also ten girls, mostly teens. The program ended after the New Trino incident, however with Padania back in the news again, the Prime Minister has decided to restart the program and commission a third generation of girls.”

“I have no desire to become a handler again,” Alessandro noted.

“I understand. I see you more as instructors. You both have skills I believe would be very useful for the new fratelli.”

“Fratelli?” Rossana asked.

“It’s how the handler-cyborg team is referred to,” Kara replied.

“What type of skills?” Alessandro asked.

“The ones you taught Kara and Petrushka. How to tail someone; how to know when you yourself are being tailed; how to pick a distinguishing mark on a piece of clothing to allow you to continue to identify them if they change their coat or hat; how to change your own appearance quickly to throw off a suspected tail; how to mentally record all the items in a room in 30 seconds; how to identify collection of items with only a handful of seconds to observe them; things like that.”

“Nice to know I taught you well,” Rosanna noted to Alessandro, who responded with a wide and easy smile. She turned to Michele.

“Thank you, but no thank you. I left that world behind when I had Bianca and I have no interest in being dragged back into it.”

“If you’re concerned for your safety, Bianca’s father suffered a severe hit to his standings post-New Trino and her existence and your former relationship no longer represents a threat to him. But even if they did want to try something, you’ll be surrounded by a significant protective force,” Michele noted.

“I made many more enemies then him in my time,” Rossana stated. “Keeping my head down has kept me out of their sights and my daughter and I safe. I don’t doubt you can protect me, but Bianca had nightmares for days after the attack on the road to Florence. She doesn’t need to be visited with any more traumas. Now, since you have driven out all this way, let me at least make you dinner.”

“That would be wonderful,” Michele replied. “Kara, assist her please.”

“Of course,” Kara stated, rising and helping collect the saucers and cups before following Rossana into the kitchen.

“I’ll talk to her later,” Alessandro stated. “It’s a lot for her to take in.”

Michele nodded.

“So, tell me how things have been,” Alessandro requested.

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

UNIVERSITY OF ROME TOR VERGATA
INTERDEPARTMENTAL CENTRE FOR NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY
CASTELLI ROMANI, ROME




“Well that was easy,” Kara commented as they walked back to the Aventador.

“Working for the Agency, Generoso and Timoteo didn’t have to justify why their project should be funded over a dozen others and deal with peer reviews and faculty oversight. I’m sure the last year has been a real and unpleasant experience for them so I was confident they would jump at the chance to get back to working on black projects.”

“Where to next?” Kara asked as she slipped behind the wheel and fired the V12 into life.

“The Social Welfare Agency.”

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

HEADQUARTERS BUILDING
GRUPPO DI INTERVENTO SPECIALE
LIVORNO, ITALY




“General Officer present!” Major Sales barked and the officers and enlisted snapped to attention as Michele walked through the door, Kara in tow.

“At ease, gentlemen,” Michele said.

“Welcome to the GIS, General,” Major Sales said before turning back to the men. “Khalid; Caprese; Lombardi; Gallo; Darme. You’re with me!”

The three Italians, one Somali and one American jumped up and fell into line behind Michele and Kara, who themselves fell in behind Sales who proceeded to the main conference room.

“Gentlemen, I’m here to recruit you back into the Squaddra della Risposta Tattica,” Michele stated once everyone had settled.

Five pairs of eyes immediately went from Michele to Sales.

“I’ve already spoken with Major Sales and Colonel de Cesaris,” Michele said and after the major nodded, the eyes swung back to Michele.

“They’re aware of my request and will approve your transfers back to the SRT if you choose to accept my offer,” Michele added.

“The Agency is restarting?” Paulo Lombardi asked. He’d been the SRT’s driver.

“Indirectly,” Michele replied. “If you accept, you will be fully briefed into the new program at the appropriate time. For now, I can say that you can expect to be doing similar work to what you did for the Agency and yes, you will be working with augmented girls again.”

“What about sergente maggiore Bianchi and corporale maggiore capo Scarponi?” Nihad Samatar Khalid asked.

“Both have already accepted and after I leave here, I will be heading to see Amadeo Rossi and Fausto Martinello.”

“The commander is really okay with this?” Carlos Gallo asked Major Sales.

“He understands your prior experience working with the Agency makes you the most qualified to assist General Pagani with his new project. I can say that just as you were welcomed back the last time, you will be welcomed back again in the future should you choose.”

“Then I would be honored to join your new group, General Pagani,” Nihad said, rising to attention with the others quickly joined him.

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

TAVERNA TIFOSI
MONZA
NOVEMBER




Kara pulled the Ferrari f12berlinetta into the front parking area of the two-story tavern, choosing an open spot between a familiar Audi A4 allroad quattro and an unfamiliar Alfa Romeo Giulietta. They crossed the patio to the establishment’s front door. Michele knocked once to announce their presence and then pushed the door open and stepped inside.

The building was an older, sturdy brick structure with a tile roof, the main floor serving as the tavern and storehouse and the upper level being living quarters and additional storage. Empty tables and chairs were neatly arranged across the wooden floor, awaiting the regulars who would appear once the tavern opened that afternoon, well after the morning Mass had let out for neither the patrons nor the proprietor wished to run afoul of crotchety Father Luccio, who did not approve of gambling or drinking on a Sunday. Exceptions were made when a major motorsports event was being held at the nearby Autodromo Nazionale for even the good father understood the fervor of the tifosi.

While the tables were empty, the bar was not. At Michele’s request, the three other fratelli who had not boarded the boat in Genoa had assembled at the tavern to be briefed in on Michele’s new project. As Michele’s friendship with the Prime Minister had kept Kara off the ship, so had Elio Alboreto’s friendship with Pieri Lorenzo and Monica Petris had allowed him to take Marisa and move into the tavern owned by his late father.

At the far end of the bar sat a man of slender build with short brown hair and sideburns dressed in a bespoke slate gray Savile Row suit in the classic English Cut. The effect was somewhat ruined, Kara noted, by the red fez atop his head. Beside him stood a tall, skinny girl dressed in a silk sack dress with a large black and white check pattern. Around her neck was tied a red kerchief with white polka dots and knee-length go-go boots in white patent leather covered her lower legs. Her perfectly styled auburn hair barely moved under the breeze from the ceiling fan overhead.

When Michele had become the Minister of Defense, he’d stashed Jethro and Monty under the Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza Esterna and promptly left them alone to continue to follow the threads they’d previously discovered after the Monaco mission, reporting back to him as they felt prudent.

A bit farther down the bar sat a slightly taller and older girl with light blonde hair worn in a ponytail and dressed in a plum-colored tank top and denim jeans under a black leather trench coat. A silver crucifix hung from a delicate silver chain necklace and a pair of designer sunglasses was perched on her forehead.

“Well! Look who the cat dragged in!” she exclaimed with a large smile.

“Good to see you again, Laine. How’s Mexico?” Michele asked.

“Depressing,” Laine replied. “All that sun and I can’t get a tan with this skin. I expected better from American technology…”

“Let’s move the party to a table,” Laine’s handler Clayland Stanaway suggested in a distinct American accent as he emerged from the back room with a case of Peroni pale lager. Before joining the Agency, he’d served as a Special Agent with the Homeland Security Investigations Directorate of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security. At the Agency, the fratello had mostly handled weapons and drug smuggling cases and, like the Blackers, they’d been parked under AISE to continue that work, though they reported directly to Michele.

Behind Clayland walked a young girl dressed in an Irish wool sweater over a striped rugby shirt, short cotton pants and sneakers. She wore her red hair in twin pigtails, the ends brushing the tray of glass beer mugs in her hands. A moment later her handler, and the proprietor of the tavern, descended from the upper floor.

“Welcome,” Elio Alboreto greeted to the newly arrived guests. “Marisa, get some bowls and fill them with snacks,” he ordered and the redheaded cyborg dashed towards the pantry area.

Everyone else settled around the largest communal table and once drinks and snacks had been served, Michele took the floor.

“First off, the rumors are true. The Prime Minister has…reconsidered…his decision to close Special Operations. The Medical Branch has evidently made significant strides in reducing the cycle time of converting someone into a full cyborg and they also have improved the flexibility in conditioning and training. The expectation is that this new cyborg team would be able to operate as a combined arms unit more reflective of the GIS or the Col Moschin Regiment and be able to perform more varied missions then those we undertook in the past.”

“So you’re just going back to the compound? With Lorenzo and Jean running the show again?” Monty asked.

“Not exactly,” Michele answered, causing the auburn-haired cyborg to lift her right eyebrow.

“The reason Special Operations was closed down in the first place was the fear of the public learning about you girls,” Michele admitted. “Renato’s control of the media, while extensive, is not absolute and enough rumors were floating around that an intrepid investigative reporter could have exposed us.

“To address that, this new group will not be operating directly for the government,” Michele answered. “I’ve incorporated a new public-private partnership whose official purpose will be to advance the commercialization of cybernetic technology for the public. This will give us the cover necessary to liaison with the doctors at the Social Welfare Agency while insuring our independence of the government and giving them ‘plausible deniability’, though all of the operations will be authorized under a national security directive issued by the Prime Minister and counter-signed by the Ministers of Defense and Interior, where applicable.”

“That kinda hurts the ‘plausible’ part, doesn’t it?” Monty suggested.

“Essentially if the merde hits the ventilateur we take the public fall, but none of us does time for it. We’ll all just quietly be allowed to move on with new identities.”

“Tell me more about this new corporation,” Elio requested.

“We’re still working out the organizational structure, but instead of operating out of the same facility like the Agency did we will keep everything compartmentalized and segregated to improve operational security. The public facility will be in Rome, while the covert facility will be in Naples.”

As fellow intelligence offers, Jethro and Elio both nodded approvingly. Monty and Kara, as the cyborgs of intelligence officers, did the same. Marisa was too busy trying to fish an ice cube out of her soda using straws to comment.

“If we won’t be using the Agency’s buildings, will we be using the staff?” Elio asked.

“Doctors Giliani and Belisario are on the boat with the girls and will accompany them when they’re transferred to Naples. Duvalier and Marianna have also accepted employment and are preparing the Naples branch for the girl’s arrival. Doctors Bianchi, Donato and Belgonzi will be staying with the SWA, though they will have a liaison role with us to assist with conversions and upkeep.

“Unlike Special Operations, we will not have separate sections with overlapping responsibilities. We’re reconstituting the SRT and in addition to generating our own intelligence, we will also have access to that collected by the Defense and Interior Ministries with the caveat we will be responsible for doing our own analysis of said data.”

“Will we be answerable to them?” Jethro asked.

“No. As when I was Minister of Defense, you will answer directly to me and I will answer only to the Prime Minister,” Michele replied. “We will not see the interference of Defense, Interior or Public Safety that we did under the Agency.”

There was a knock on the tavern door and everyone’s heads snapped in that direction.

“Don’t worry,” Elio noted. “I ordered in pizza and pasta. We can continue the discussion over food and wine.”

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


Last edited by Kiskaloo on Tue 8 Oct 2013 - 9:19; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Gunslinger Girl: The Next Generation [Story Thread]

Post by Il Direttore on Mon 7 Oct 2013 - 23:05

So, if I remember correctly, I'm free to post this here. Many thanks to Kiskaloo for the opportunity to work collaboratively with him. 

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

"New Recruits"

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

ROME, ITALY
MINISTRY OF DEFENSE
DECEMBER, 2013

Being a consultant at Italy’s Ministry of Defense was probably one of the most pleasant jobs James Spettro had taken since he had retried from the CIA. In the aftermath of what was being called in the press as “The New Trino Incident”, James skillset and experience had brought him to the attention of an old associate, Michele Pagani, when the latter had been named the new Minister of Defense. That had been twenty months earlier, and though Pagani had retired (again) in August, James had decided to continue on for as long as the Ministry paid him money.
 
“Signore Spettro, good morning,” said Emilia, his administrative assistant. Despite being rather pretty, she was surprisingly unattached and had proven to be highly competent. It was, in hindsight, to be expected by a secretary with top-secret clearance who had once been in AISE. “The Minister has asked me to send you to his office as soon as arrive.” 
 
“Really? Do you know what’s going on?” asked James as he took off his overcoat and hung it on the coat rack. It was an average December day in the Eternal City – cool and overcast with a chance of showers.
 
“Not really, no,” answered Emilia with a shrug. “Shall I leave the reports you asked for on your desk?” 
 
“Yes, please,” said James, turning to leave from the door he had just entered from. “Thank God we don’t have any paperwork, eh?” 
 
“You don’t; I do,” said Emilia wryly. “In any case, I’ll be working on that. Oh, Michele Pagani called this morning and invited you to lunch at Al Ceppo.”
 
“Michele? I wonder why he’s calling. I expect it’s not to catch up.”
 
“Perhaps he has a new job offer for you,” Emilia joked before turning and leaving James to his reports.
 
{+||+}
 
The cab dropped James off in the Pincian Hill area of Rome, across the street from the Luiss University of Rome campus and near the Piaza del Popolo, the Villa Borghese, and its gardens. He walked into the Al Cappo restaurant and was warmly greeted by one of the two owners, both female, who directed him to a table set for two by a window where Michele Pagani was sipping a glass of red wine. As they approached, James noticed that the tables in the immediate area were empty even though the restaurant looked to be doing a decent business at the moment.
 
The benefits of being one of Italy’s more wealthy citizens, James supposed. 

 Michele set down his glass and rose to greet his old associate and former co-worker before settling back in his chair. The owner expertly filled James’ glass from the bottle on the table and then excused herself to go fuss over another table.
 
“Exceptional,” James commented after a sip.
 
“Caterina is one of the better sommeliers in the city,” Michele replied, nodding at the woman’s retreating back. “She has yet to steer me wrong. Thank you for coming.”
 
“And miss a free lunch at one of Rome’s best restaurants?” James smiled. The proprietors, Caterina and Cristina, hailed from the Marches region to the north and east of Rome and in their over four decades at the helm had turned Al Cappo into an outpost of tranquility sought after by the well-heeled, the business-minded, and those with a fine palate who appreciated the finest local meats, seafood and vegetables assembled together in a menu that was created each morning based on the bounty available.
 
“Still enjoying your work at the Ministry?” Michele asked.
 
“It’s a living,” James replied with a non-committal shrug. “A little dull, to be honest. Coffee’s good though.” 
 
“So you might be interested in a change of scenery?”
 
James raised an eyebrow. “Are you offering me another job?”
 
Michele smiled. Cristina arrived to take their lunch order and top off their wines glasses before heading towards the kitchen.
 
“I’m sure you remember your little trip through the servers of the Social Welfare Agency…” he noted.
 
“What trip?” asked James. “I only remember visiting Rome once after I had retired from the CIA while on vacation.”
 
Michele gave James a flat look. James shrugged. “Well, anyway, you learned about something you shouldn’t have and you were fortunate to so deftly cover your tracks so they couldn’t be sure you had,” Michele said.
 
“I like to think my strong sense of initiative was one of the reasons you hired me as a consultant when you became Minister of Defense,” James smiled in response.
 
“Actually, it was. Anyway, I left the Ministry to start work on a new corporation that whose public cover will be to commercialize the cyborg technology and eventually make it available to adults,” Michele noted.
 
“’Public cover’ implies there will be a covert side of this corporation?” James asked.
 
“Correct. When the Agency was dissolved in the wake of New Trino, the surviving cyborgs were loaded onto a ship that until three months ago was randomly sailing the Mediterranean. I’m sure you’ve kept abreast of how the Eurozone Crisis has affected Italy and re-stoked tensions between the North and South. While we’re not yet back to the ‘Years of Blue’, things could get hairy again if not dealt with quickly so the Prime Minister has…reviewed...his original decision to close the Agency.”
 
“You’re restarting production?”
 
Michele nodded. “The scientists and medical technicians that went with them have spent the past two years refining and expanding the various technologies. We can make them quicker and they’re going to be able to perform more varied functions.”
 
“And I fit in…how?” James asked. Michele answered by sliding a leather document folio over.
 
James picked up the folio and flipped it open. As he read the documents contained inside, his eyebrows rose steadily up his forehead. 
 
“This is... ambitious,” said James, after a moment’s reading. “You have a candidate lined up then?” 
 
“Yes and you’ll get the details should you accept my offer,” answered Michele. “Take the day to think about it.” 
 
“Not necessary, I’m in. When should I date my resignation to the Ministry?”
 
“Just like that?” Michele asked, surprised. “Do you realize what you’re jumping into?”
 
“Did you when you accepted Kara?” James retorted.
 
“Touché,” Michele replied. “But seriously, you do understand what’s going to be asked of you as a handler?”
 
“You know what I did in the CIA,” James replied. “This isn’t anything particularly new to me.” 
 
“James, I expect you to treat this as serious work,” admonished Michele, steepling his fingers disapprovingly. “This girl is not your toy to mess around with in false retirement.” 
 
“Give me some credit, Michele,” James replied with a small grin. “I’m not a completely heartless bastard.” 
 
“Just most of one,” Michele retorted. James shrugged and took a sip of wine before continuing. 
 
“Can I keep Emilia?” he asked. “She’s a pretty excellent secretary and might make a decent handler with a bit of work.” 
 
Michele raised an eyebrow. “Have her submit her resume and we’ll look it over.”
 
“Excellent,” James said as Caterina arrived with their meals. Both men kept silent, the one because he had nothing to say and the other out of no small exasperation at the other’s attitude. After Caterina left, James picked up his wine glass and considered it thoughtfully for a moment before looking at a bemused Michele. 

James shrugged, then raised in in a salute. “To keeping busy.”

{+||+}
NAPLES, ITALY
SAGITTARIUS GROUP - MEDICAL WING
DECEMBER, 2013

Several month passed, in which very little actually happened to James, specifically. After resigning, he spent the time locking down his sources and making sure his contacts were still in business. A new apartment was purchased in Naples, then furnished. Finally, when he thought he might go mad from the boredom, James was called and told to come into the office. 

“The victim’s name is ‘Emily Cross’," said one Dr. Solensi, introducing James to his future cyborg as he looked at the medical data attached at the foot of her bed. "She was found in ditch forty miles outside Berlin, blood pressure and heart rate at critical low. The investigation is ongoing, but examination determined too many rapes to count and, of course, attempted murder."

"She's thirteen," said James, flipping through the clipboard. "Identified from a missing person's report filed in Poland... human trafficking victim?"

“Criminal investigation literature suggests so,” said Dr. Solensi with a nod and a shrug. “Additional examination by professionals in the field is necessary to draw concrete conclusions.” 

"Well I’ve seen similar things before,” said James with a frown. “Kill the broken toys, dump them somewhere discreet, then buy new ones. What's the next step then?"

"The standard procedure is for new handler be present when cyborg awakes," said Dr. Solensi, "The conversion process will progress immediately if you are satisfied. Parents will be informed that child died due to exposure regardless of result and-” another pause for breath “-will need to give her a name too."

"A name? Why not just call her by her old name?"

"Cyborgs get their past memories blocked with the conditioning process. We need to use a new name to cement the memory block."

“Makes sense, I suppose,” said James with a shrug. “Seems kinda crude though. Do these things come with a manual?”

"Several different publications give a general overview of the cyborgs," said Dr. Solensi with a nod. “All units have hardwired skills, basic language protocols, social cues, etc. The literature will explain in detail, but otherwise conditioning and training are left fully to the discretion of the handlers."

“Alright, then you guys can get started on the conversion process,” said James as he made his way out of the hospital room. “Send the literature up to my office, as soon as possible, please.” 

Dr. Solensi only nodded, already beginning preparations for surgery. 

{+||+}
It, for it wasn't sure what it was really, swam through shadow, trying to piece out where It was and what was going on. It had a sense that perhaps it should be worried by this endless darkness and lack of self, but something else reassured it that this was normal and that everything would be alright. Swaying back and forth in space, it relaxed languidly into a warm embrace that gently whispered of duty, faithfulness, and devotion. With something resembling a metaphysical sigh, It felt the warmth slip away and be replaced by a refreshing chill the brought clarity and focus, sharpening It's consciousness into a coalesced and strengthened Being rather than a vague Idea.

It understood now that it was a she. A girl, specifically, and her name was Caterina. She had another sense that perhaps this wasn't the whole story, but this was tempered by the chilling focus, which told her to remember the Embrace's whispers. There was something a snap, like the click of a puzzle piece meeting its fellows, and a stream of thoughts entered her mind. Images of objects that she was told were guns, languages that she was told were English, German, and Italian, plans for attacking and defending locations of various kinds. Then another snap, and she felt like she was falling, thoughts swirling around like a nimbus before funneling into her Being before hitting something that burned and sank into her like a wave of bright, midsummer sunshine.

With a shuddering gasp, Caterina realized that she was a cyborg and could breathe, that she needed to breathe, and that she had a handler named James and needed to defend the government and people of Italy from terrorism. Aware, now, of the rising and falling of her chest, Caterina felt the tingle of the rest of her body coming online, sparkling in the darkness with sensation as her mind began to take over the body's functions. Curious, she delved further into the sensations she was receiving and found her various organs. First, her heart, which beat strongly like a drummer on the march. Then her lungs, which expanded and deflated with each breath. There were others, but a little voice told her that they were comparatively unimportant and Caterina lost interest. Experimentally, she turned her mind to her legs and arms, and found that with a little concentration she could make her fingers and toes twitch. For several moments, Caterina continually twitched her extremities back and forth, giggling to herself quietly at the novel sensation.

Then something new happened. Where before she had been wholly immersed in heat, Caterina rapidly became aware of a new tingle of cold on some part of her body. She found this distinctly unpleasant, and tried to figure out what she should do to make it go away. Hand and arms were supposed to be used to pick things up, weren't they? Pausing a moment to remember what it meant to pick something up, Caterina twitched her fingers again, then applied the feeling to her entire arm. She smiled to herself as she felt her arm stiffly lift itself off of whatever surface she was on, before falling back. Licking her metaphysical lips, Caterina tried again, and succeeded in moving her arm into the region of unpleasant cold. Bleh. With determination, Caterina flexed her other arm and flopped it into the region of cold. But now the parts on her that were cold were warm where her arms touched her body, and Caterina felt slightly better.

Time had no meaning to Caterina, and at some point she slid into the darkness from before, leaving her body and swirling about again within the ether. At some other point, she fell back into her body and set about familiarizing herself with it. Each time, she felt herself become better at controlling the many parts of her body, quickly becoming good at moving her arms and legs to get herself warm by pulling sheets of material over her. Soon, Caterina was fully in control of her body and could feel it and everything around it instinctively. At first, it was a wonderful feeling, being able to easily control something that was definitively hers. Yet as time passed, Caterina felt a growing sense of unease. It was an itchy feeling, scratching at the back of her mind with a constant feeling that something should be happening. With a start, Caterina realized that the feeling was boredom. Having finished one task, she now hungered for another but couldn't find one. Her mind needed stimulation, and the darkness that blanketed her senses didn't provide it.
So she decided to open her eyes.

The first thing that Caterina realized upon opening her eyes was that it was very, very bright.
"Nnneh," she moaned, immediately shutting her eyes again, the light prodding her painfully in the eyes. But she smiled too, as she realized that she could hear herself speak. Opening her eyes very slightly, Caterina opened her mouth again and tried again to talk. "Water, please." Her voice sounded dry and raspy, par. Someone placed a thin tube in her mouth. Feeling around the object in her mouth with her tongue, Caterina thought for a moment and remembered how to use a straw. She sucked slowly and gently, making sure not to drink too much, because drinking to quickly would make her sick. She wasn't sure where she'd learned that, but she knew it was important.

Swallowing, Caterina let go of the straw. "Thank you," she said, her voice sounding immensely better. She smiled again as she listened to herself talk. She had a voice that didn't sound scratchy or high or reedy, which would be unpleasant to listen to and make her purpose more difficult to fulfill. Instead, her voice was smooth and gently rounded off at the ends, so that the words she said fit gently into the ear and were neither too big nor too small.

"Is it too bright?" a voice asked. It was low and quiet and reminded her of safety and comfort. It was a voice that she immediately wanted to make proud.

"A little," Caterina replied, eyes still squinted mostly shut.

Footsteps moved away from her, and there was a click before the light dimmed in intervals. The footsteps returned towards her as Caterina cautiously opened her eyes fully.

The first thing she saw was a ceiling made of white tiles and long fluorescent lights, turned off now, recessed into metal fittings. Around the edges of the room were smaller recessed lights that cast a slightly yellow glow down the white walls. Blinking, she levered herself upright, sitting up on a bed covered in white sheets. Looking down, she saw herself for the first time. Her skin was pale and smooth, with the thinnest of lines where her arms met her torso and where her chest met her abdomen. That must be from the surgery that replaced her body with cyborg parts. She held her fingers up to her eyes, the light dim enough for her to see properly now, and marveled as she commanded them to move and saw the commands get carried out.

"How're you feeling?" asked the low voice, coming from her left.

Caterina turned to see a man. He wore a white shirt and black tie under a black suit with dark gray pinstripes. His jaw bore the strong line of someone who could get things done, and his eyes were a shimmering shade of blue that seemed particularly luminescent in the dim lighting. His graying hair was neatly combed and his face was cleanly shaved. He was, in her mind, the very picture of the consummate professional.

"What's your name?" asked the Professional Man.

"Caterina."

"Very good. What is your unit designation?"

"I am unit number 030100," replied Caterina automatically.

"And your serial registration number?"

"My serial registration number is IA0451RA7862."

"What is your purpose?"

"My purpose is to serve the Sagittarius Group to combat terrorism directed against the current Italian government."

"Do you know who I am?"

"You... you must be Lieutenant James Spettro, my handler," answered Caterina, mouth suddenly going dry. "I'm sorry sir, I don't know why I didn't realize earlier."

"Don't get caught up on it," said James with a calming gesture. "You've only just got up. How're you feeling? Are you limbs working?"

"Yes sir," said Caterina, lifting an arm effortlessly and smiling in satisfaction. "It's taken a while, but I think I've got it down."

"Do you think you can walk?" asked James. Caterina nodded. "Good. Here are some clothes." He handed her a bundle of clothing. "You know how clothing works, right?"

"Yes."

"Good. Put them on. We need to go speak to the doctor to make sure you're all working."

"Alright," said Caterina, taking the clothes and swinging out of bed, James watching closely as she did so.

The swinging movement came easily to Caterina, her feet immediately orienting downward correctly and bracing for impact. Landing lightly on the balls of her feet, Caterina instinctively let her knees compress slightly, absorbing more of the force and allowing her to return to an upright position quickly and smoothly. James showed no signs of emotion as he handed Caterina first her underthings, then a simple t-shirt and running shorts. Caterina moved efficiently, no movement wasted as she slid on the simple clothing. She lacked the jerkiness and slight, unconscious insecurities of children her age, instead moving with a confidence more typical of those six or seven years older than her. Her landing had been instinctual and her movements now didn't seem forced or unnatural. Indeed, it seemed that from the very moment she woke up, Caterina was fully suited to the task of simply moving through space.

"Very interesting," James said to himself when Caterina was done dressing. "Here," he said out loud as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a long hair ribbon, "this is for you. It's traditional for handlers to give their charges a gift when they meet for the first time. Use it to tie back your hair."

Caterina looked down at the ribbon, then at her own long, dark brown hair. It wasn't messy, precisely, but it was loose and tended to scatter over her shoulders. But if there was a wind or if she was moving quickly, it would get in her field of vision. With a small smile, she silently took up the ribbon and pulled the strands of hair back, before tying it together with a simple bow at the base of her head.

"Good. Let's get going."

James opened the door and let Caterina out first, and watched as she immediately scanned left and right before stepping to the side.

"Where are we going, sir?" asked Caterina.

"Left first," said James, shutting the door to the dimly lit hallway and letting Caterina take the lead. "I'll tell you when to turn."

Caterina nodded and moved forward, James moving to stand just behind her. The girl tensed as he moved forward, and relaxed when James lagged slightly.

"Why are you tensing when I get near you?" asked James.

Caterina seemed surprised at the question. "Isn't the officer supposed to be in the back?" she asked. "Subordinates are supposed to take point."

"Do you know what that means?" asked James with a skeptical eyebrow.

"Er, no," said Caterina with embarrassment. "But, I know that I'm supposed to be your subordinate, right? So, I should be in front. That way, if there's an ambush, you'll be safe."

James crossed his arms and considered. "I can't fault your logic," he said after a moment. "But do you really think we'll be attacked on the grounds of Sagittarius Group offices?"

"You should always prepare for the unexpected," said Caterina instantly. "I don't remember where I learned that, but I know that it's true."

"What do you do if what you've prepared isn't enough?" asked James, nodding at Caterina to keep walking. "Turn right here, by the way."

"Then you shouldn't just give up," replied Caterina confidently, following James' directions. "You should improvise and make the best out of your situation."

"Even if you know you're going to die?"

"Then you should make sure that the mission objectives are fulfilled before you run out of blood," said Caterina with a grim smile. "After all, if you're going to die, it's better if your team can escape relatively unharmed and the mission is complete."

"I agree," said James with a smile. "But where did you learn that? Do you remember?"

"No," said Caterina again, turning to face James and walking backwards as she did so. "But it makes sense to me. I think that if I died, I wouldn't want it to be for no purpose."

"You're thinking rather grim thoughts for a kid."

"I'm a cyborg," said Caterina easily, pivoting to face forwards with easy grace. "It's not like I'll live forever. About a decade at most, right?"

"How did you know you were-?"

"-A cyborg? Again, I'm not sure. Just another one of those things that I just knew."

"And your lifespan?"

"That was a guess. Was it correct?"

"Yes."

"Makes sense. The Group isn't just a medical research group, it's a special operations division for the government, right? I'll probably be shot at some point."

"Another grim thought. I guess I really shouldn't be surprised."

Caterina laughed. "I guess not. I'm really a grim child, aren't I?"

"That you are, Caterina."

{+||+}
NAPLES, ITALY
SAGITTARIUS GROUP - MAIN OFFICES
LATE JANUARY, 2014
It had been awhile since Emilia Conti had needed to have an interview. The desk job at the Ministry had been basically guaranteed, so her last interview had been for AISI. That had been, what, seven years ago or so? More. 
 
Dressed in standard business wear, Emilia had nevertheless chosen to wear a light blue blouse to pair with her pants suit. Her resume, what parts had been declassified, was tucked under one arm as she sat with a professional bearing in the waiting area to Michele Pagani's office. Neither too casual nor too uptight, Emilia made an effort to seem like she wasn't all that bothered by the fact that the job she was being interviewed for had a ridiculously sized paycheck. Her brown hair was cut semi-short and pulled back into a neat and stylish bundle that kept it out of the way but difficult to grab. 
 
Of course, she thought to herself, Signore Pagani would probably be able to tell that she was actually quite nervous.

The door opened and Emilia straightened. Rather than the former Minister of Defense, an attractive young woman with strong Asian features appeared dressed in a long-sleeve white blouse with a straight color and button cuffs tucked into a black pleated pencil skirt with belt, the silver buckle stamped with the logo of Prada. Despite the pleasant weather, she wore black leather knee-high boots with block heels and an almond toe, the bright red soles marking them as being Christian Louboutins. 
 
Emilia had seen her often enough at the Palazzo Baracchini to know she was Kara Deleroux, the Minister’s Executive Assistant. As James hoped to do with her, it appeared Michele had brought his own secretary with him to his new position.
 
“Welcome to the Sagittarius Group, Signora Conti,” Kara greeted with a wide smile and firm handshake.
 
“Thank you, Miss Deleroux,” Emilia replied.
 
“Please, call me Kara,” the younger woman replied, pronouncing her name as “CAR-ah” as opposed to the common “CARE-uh”. “If you’ll follow me, please.”
 
Emilia followed Kara through the paneled wood doors and into the large office of the Director of the Sagittarius Group. Located in the corner of the building, it offered expansive views of the port area and coastline, along with the corner of Mount Vesuvius. The Tyrrhenian Sea shined in the sunlight as ships and ferries cruised across it.
 
The predominant design aesthetic was modern Danish with dark cherry wood, black leather, glass and chrome. The two women walked across the thick carpet and approached the large wooden desk behind which was rising the figure of Michele Pagani.
 
“Good to see you again, Emilia,” he greeted.
 
“And you, Il Direttore,” Emilia replied.
 
“Please, have a seat. Can Kara get you anything?”

Emilia followed Kara through the paneled wood doors and into the large office of the Director of the Sagittarius Group. Located in the corner of the building, it offered expansive views of the port area and coastline, along with the corner of Mount Vesuvius. The Tyrrhenian Sea shined in the sunlight as ships and ferries cruised across it.
 
The predominant design aesthetic was modern Danish with dark cherry wood, black leather, glass and chrome. The two women walked across the thick carpet and approached the large wooden desk behind which was rising the figure of Michele Pagani.
 
“Good to see you again, Emilia,” he greeted.
 
“And you, Il Direttore,” Emilia replied.
 
“Please, have a seat. Can Kara get you anything?”

"Erm." 

This hadn't been what Emilia had expected. Some sort of formal test of her skills, sure. Or maybe a conversation with overtones of casualness with underlying tension and verbal sword fighting. Not to be offered coffee or tea. 

"I'll... have a cup of tea, if that's alright," said Emilia, letting herself be carried on the new conversational tack. "Black, please, with no sugar or cream." 

Kara nodded. "Anything else?" 

"No, thank you," said Emilia with a nod and a smile as she sat down in front of Michele's desk, the Director's hand waving her to one of the two leather, deeply cushioned chairs. 

"So, Emilia, how have you been?" asked Michele as he sat back down. "The transition has been smooth, I hope." 

"Yes, sir, it's been easy enough," said Emilia. "The severance package you arranged was more than generous." 

"Good, I'd hoped to make things a little easier for you," said Michele as Kara returned with Emilia's tea and a cup of espresso for Michele. "Now, about this job. I'm sure you have many questions, starting with why the pay check is so generous." 

"That has crossed my mind, yes," said Emilia, sitting at attention calmly while Kara placed the two beverages down with an impressive steadiness. "I suspect it has something to do with the nature of the work Sagittarius Group is conducting?" 

"That is part of it, yes," said Michele with a nod, picking up his espresso and taking a sip. "However, another part of it is because you will, by necessity, be dealing with children and teenagers quite often." 

"Ah, I remember that the SWA's first products were only for children age ten to fourteen," said Emilia with a nod, taking a careful sip of her tea and holding it in her mouth out of habit. The taste was typical of a high-range black tea, imported from India and brewed at just the right temperature. She could detect no poisons, hallucinogenics, tranquilizers, or chemicals in general. Then again, that usually just meant that she wasn't in immediate danger. Still, it was good tea, and this was an interview, not a deep-infil mission with the mafia. 

"Yes, and the later ones eventually reached age seventeen," said Michele. "Our goal is to fully commercialize these innovations for all age groups, but as you can imagine, jumping straight to geriatrics is difficult." 

"Of course." 

"So, as a consequence, Sagittarius Group will be using the same general paperwork trail as the SWA," explained Michele, laying a series of documents, stamped as void, for Emilia to examine. "Your duties will thus be inclusive of work for James and taking care of any patients 'on the loose', so to speak." 

"I understand," said Emilia, taking a look at the documents. They seemed unusual. "Will I need to take care of much of this paperwork?" 

"No, that's all for the patients and their legal guardians," said Michele, pointing out one of the sheets. "This one, for example, releases the patient's medical safety to Sagittarius Group, in order to ensure our scientists can do their jobs to the best of their ability." 

"Do the patients participate in this process?" asked Emilia casually, taking another sip of tea. 

"Some of the time, but if the patient cannot be identified or is incapacitated, it will often come down to the healthcare provider," answered Michele. 

"Ah." Emilia suppressed a shudder. Michele had essentially just told her that the Group was planning on taking "lost cause" patients and experimenting on them until the cybernetics worked. That was almost distasteful, but... "That seems like it might have issues with security, despite its efficacy." 

"What do you mean by security?" asked Michele mildly. "The Group isn't doing anything illegal." 

"If the press were to get wind of the details, I'm sure there'd be an uproar," said Emilia. "I take it that my duties would include a certain amount of public relations as well?" 

"They would, along with helping to prepare some of the patients for public viewing. Photo ops and all that." 

"Mmhm." 

"But tell me, why do you want to work for Sagittarius Group?" asked Michele. "I've given you a lot of information. Maybe you no longer wish to work for us?" 

"On the contrary, I feel very strongly about helping in this endeavor," said Emilia, pulling back from the documents smoothly and without any particular change in tone or posture. "Some of the ways you go about finding patients may be questionable, but I feel that the progress made will inevitably help society as a whole." 

"And what about your former intelligence work?" asked Michele with a questioning eyebrow. "Don't you find this sort of thing rather dull?" 

"AISI was exciting, but it is no longer necessary, I believe," said Emilia with a small sigh. "After the Years of Blue, it seems that the Padania have died down some and it's no longer the pressing issue it once was. I would leave behind a career in AISI for a career as a secretary if it means that the threats to this nation no longer come from maniacs with bombs." 

"On the contrary, my dear, we have every reason to be afraid of a resurgence in Padania support," said Michele with a grim thinning of his lips. "I'd have thought you'd be keeping up on the situation from your desk in the Ministry." 

"I have, sir, but only the declassified documents," said Emilia with a sip of tea. It conveniently hid her brief startlement. The Padania were getting antsy again? "I'm not cleared above Top Secret, and the data I saw indicated that there was a small amount of discontent due to the measures the Prime Minister is taking, but nothing near what it once was in the Years of Blue." 

"It's true that the situation hasn't reached the problem it was several years ago," conceded Michele. "But don't you think it's necessary to make sure? An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, after all." 

"I would agree, but such measures were not handled through Signore Spettro and myself," said Emilia with a small shrug. "I know nothing of that sort of thing, but I imagine someone, somewhere, is keeping an eye on the right people." 

Michele leaned forward in his seat. "What if I told you who some of those people were?" he asked. 

"What do you mean, sir?" 

"Names, place of work, that sort of thing. What would you do with this information?" 

"I'd go ask for a job, sir," said Emilia, perplexed but keeping the expression off her face. "I've always felt that the people who do things that harm this country should be punished to the maximum extent possible." 

"And you think you could do it, even after several years behind a desk?" 

"I know I could do it," said Emilia confidently. "After you do it long enough, these things don't just leave you. It varies for people, but the five years I worked in AISI were enough to engrain those skills into my mind." 

Michele looked Emilia right in the eyes. "Could you teach those skills?" 

Emilia struggled not to blink. "I... maybe. Yes. Yes I could, sir." 

"Good enough," said Michele. "You're hired." 

Emilia blinked. "That's it?" 

"Of course it is." 

"Aren't you supposed to call me back after interviewing the other candidates?" asked Emilia. "I'm sure there's more than one person qualified to be Signore Spettro's administrative assistant." 

"You're not going to be a secretary, Signora," answered Kara, extending a congratulatory handshake. "The position you just interviewed for is much more important." 

"And what's that?" asked Emilia, starting to grow seriously alarmed as she shook Kara's hand. 

"You're going to be our newest handler, Emilia," said Michele, finishing off his espresso. 

"Handler? You mean- wait- no, that can't be right..." 

"It is," said Michele with a small smile. "Writers do sometimes get the right idea, after all." 

"But they're children!" said Emilia, now openly in shock. "How do you- that doesn't make any sense!" 

"We can give you a more formal orientation in a bit," said Kara, taking the woman by the arm and guiding her towards the door. "In the meantime, I'll show you your new office. It's not really furnished yet, but I think you'll like the view." 

"But... this isn't what I applied for," said Emilia, rallying her senses and her wits and planting her feet firmly in the carpet. "Besides the fact that I'm completely unprepared, how am I supposed to lead a group of operatives?! A group of child operatives, no less?!" 

"You'll do fine, I think you've got the right stuff to pull this off," said Michele, standing with his hands in his pockets and a reassuring smile directed at Emilia. "Besides, don't forget that you're still qualified to act as an administrative assistant. If all else fails, I can reassign you to R&D as an assistant."

Emilia blinked, then took a deep breath. She probably wasn't qualified to pull this off. Working HUMINT, she could do, but she wasn't a babysitter or a teacher of any kind. She had always been a solo or small group operator, never a cell commander. This was something she had never even considered as a possible career path. But when faced with adversity... 

"...adapt and survive," she murmured, before squaring her shoulders. "Alright then. What do I need to do?"

"Stop worrying and come with me," said Kara with a bright grin. "Welcome to Sagittarius Group, Signora."

----------



(Why yes, I did just copy paste from my personal fiction for Caterina's awakening....)


Last edited by Il Direttore on Fri 7 Feb 2014 - 18:27; edited 1 time in total

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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."

- President John F. Kennedy
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Re: Gunslinger Girl: The Next Generation [Story Thread]

Post by Alfisti on Tue 8 Oct 2013 - 4:29

Nicely done both... more thoughts when I get more time, but one or two things that jumped out at me on the skim:

The first is a bit nit-picky, but the thought occurred whilst I was reading through:
@Kiskaloo wrote:“So we’re just going back to the compound? With Lorenzo and Jean running the show again?” Monty asked.
Couldn't help but think that a more "Monty" wording might be: "So you're just going back to the compound?"

Mentally, I'm not sure Monty would include herself in "people who are going back to the compound". Razz 



@Il Direttore wrote:"However, another part of it is because you will, by necessity, be dealing with children and teenagers quite often." 
Damn right you would want to be paid more.

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Re: Gunslinger Girl: The Next Generation [Story Thread]

Post by Officer_Charon on Tue 8 Oct 2013 - 12:58

*starts making mental list of SRT troopers he can't kill off* Man, and I was going to have all sorts of heroics and whatnot on the outskirts New Trino. *grins*

I dig the way this is working. I'm a little depressed no-one's said "We're getting the band back together again." *chuckles*

I can see all sorts of human elements that could be present when writing the former handlers, too. You don't form a partnership as tight as the successful fratelli without coming away from their loss with some form of mental baggage. A bit more than something as simple as losing a favored dog, as it were.

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Re: Gunslinger Girl: The Next Generation [Story Thread]

Post by Kiskaloo on Tue 8 Oct 2013 - 13:18

@Officer_Charon wrote:*starts making mental list of SRT troopers he can't kill off* Man, and I was going to have all sorts of heroics and whatnot on the outskirts New Trino. *grins*
Don't let me stop you from having them go out in a blaze of glory. *grin*

@Officer_Charon wrote:I dig the way this is working. I'm a little depressed no-one's said "We're getting the band back together again." *chuckles*
I originally had Jethro using that line, but thought it a bit cheesy. sweat

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Re: Gunslinger Girl: The Next Generation [Story Thread]

Post by Officer_Charon on Tue 8 Oct 2013 - 14:48

It DOES sound like a very Jethro thing to say, doesn't it? *grins*

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Re: Gunslinger Girl: The Next Generation [Story Thread]

Post by Alfisti on Mon 21 Oct 2013 - 6:46

Ok so, as promised, more thoughts:

Getting the Band Back Together
...the rumble of the V12 was replaced with the chirp of birds...
At least, those that Kara "nature lover" Delaroux has not scared off.


“I’ll talk to her later,” Alessandro stated. “It’s a lot for her to take in.”
I thought she was taking the whole "I had a cybernetic assassin" a little easily in her stride. I guess years of acting paid off.

Glad you're staging the re-integration out as well, the original draft did feel a little... rushed.


“Well that was easy,” Kara commented as they walked back to the Aventador.

“Working for the Agency, Generoso and Timoteo didn’t have to justify why their project should be funded over a dozen others and deal with peer reviews and faculty oversight. I’m sure the last year has been a real and unpleasant experience for them so I was confident they would jump at the chance to get back to working on black projects.”
Plus they still probably think working at the SWA was the best post-grad project ever.


“Gentlemen, I’m here to recruit you back into the Squaddra della Risposta Tattica,” Michele stated once everyone had settled.
Haha, I'm glad you've remembered the other SWA members as well, and not just dealt with the fratelli. The cyborgs may be the core of the Agency, but its the staff and support that make it a living, breathing organisation.

On a slightly different note, from an entirely self-interested author's perspective, I've got to admit Charon's SRT are insanely useful to have around.


The effect was somewhat ruined, Kara noted, by the red fez atop his head.
Monty: The whole Agency gets disbanded and yet somehow he still manages to hold onto that thing...


The Medical Branch has evidently made significant strides in reducing the cycle time of converting someone into a full cyborg and they also have improved the flexibility in conditioning and training.
I'll admit, I'm going to be quite interested to see how you handle the dynamic between the "old guard" built on old technology and "new improved, whizz-bang, high-tech" cyborgs.


“That kinda hurts the ‘plausible’ part, doesn’t it?” Monty suggested.
Monty tone nitpick: "kind of" (or even "sort of"), not "kinda"... imagine Emma Watson impersonating the current Daniel Craig's Bond's speech patterns and you've got a rough idea of where to round her speech off.


“We will not see the interference of Defense, Interior or Public Safety that we did under the Agency.”
Though I expect that won't stop them from trying.

Nicely done mate. If I may say so: as with the last "complete" segment posted here, this all runs a lot more smoothly than the initial drafts.


New Recruits
“Caterina is one of the better sommeliers in the city,” Michele replied, nodding at the woman’s retreating back. “She has yet to steer me wrong. Thank you for coming.”
When it doubt, trust the sommelier.

Also, does that mean that in this timeline Caterina was named in memory of a good bottle of plonk? Incoming! 


“You’re restarting production?”
Interesting choice of words, tells us a little about where he stands mentally regards the girls.


Michele nodded. “The scientists and medical technicians that went with them have spent the past two years refining and expanding the various technologies. We can make them quicker and they’re going to be able to perform more varied functions.”
You lads may want to quickly compare notes regards timeline. I may be remembering incorrectly, but I'm fairly certain Kisk's version says one year... unless this is happening significantly later than Kisk's component?


It had been awhile since Emilia Conti had needed to have an interview. The desk job at the Ministry had been basically guaranteed, so her last interview had been for SISDE. That had been, what, seven years ago or so?
When was the name switch exactly? I can't actually remember.


...pronouncing her name as “CAR-ah” as opposed to the common “CARE-uh”.
I understand why it's there, but I'll admit, I always find this distinction amusing as "CAR-ah" is the more common over here. "CARE-uh" is virtually unheard of.


"I understand," said Emilia, taking a look at the documents. They seemed unusual. "Will I need to take care of much of this paperwork?" 

"No, that's all for the patients and their legal guardians," said Michele
Don't let him fool you lady, there is always paperwork.


"Besides the fact that I'm completely unprepared, how am I supposed to lead a group of operatives?! A group of child operatives, no less?!" 
Hold on, you're going to need to back up for a moment for me: group of operatives? I thought she was being brought on as a handler... or is she envisaging being some sort of cyborg-kindergarden teacher? Razz 

Either way, I will be curious to see what you do for a cyborg for her.

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Re: Gunslinger Girl: The Next Generation [Story Thread]

Post by Il Direttore on Mon 21 Oct 2013 - 14:28

@Alfisti wrote:Also, does that mean that in this timeline Caterina was named in memory of a good bottle of plonk? Incoming! 

----

You lads may want to quickly compare notes regards timeline. I may be remembering incorrectly, but I'm fairly certain Kisk's version says one year... unless this is happening significantly later than Kisk's component?

----

When was the name switch exactly? I can't actually remember.

----

Hold on, you're going to need to back up for a moment for me: group of operatives? I thought she was being brought on as a handler... or is she envisaging being some sort of cyborg-kindergarden teacher? Razz 

Either way, I will be curious to see what you do for a cyborg for her.
- You know, I really wish I could say otherwise, but given James' rather blase response to all of this, I really wouldn't be surprised. 
- I think Kisk's timeline said that actual production didn't start up until something like a month after Michele retired? I may have misunderstood. Kisk, can you confirm? 
- Is the switch too abrupt or not abrupt enough? Should I make it a clear and definite story difference rather than merging it with James and Caterina? 
- Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure the Emilia has no real idea what she's getting into. She probably isn't expecting to do very much hands on training, more like coordination and logistics. It'll be a bit of a... shock, when she finally figures out her assignment.

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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."

- President John F. Kennedy
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Re: Gunslinger Girl: The Next Generation [Story Thread]

Post by Alfisti on Mon 21 Oct 2013 - 17:59

@Il Direttore wrote:- Is the switch too abrupt or not abrupt enough? Should I make it a clear and definite story difference rather than merging it with James and Caterina? 
Ah, sorry: I was talking about the SISIDE/AISE name switch and Italy's re-organisation of its intelligence agencies. Kisk (and you, earlier in your component) refer to AISE under the current namings. This part with Emilia is referring to SISIDE, under the old namings... I was trying to remember what year that switch occured in to work out if that was intentional on the timeline or if it was a typo.


@Il Direttore wrote:- Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure the Emilia has no real idea what she's getting into. She probably isn't expecting to do very much hands on training, more like coordination and logistics. It'll be a bit of a... shock, when she finally figures out her assignment.
Ah, so she's expecting to be more a Ferro than a handler...

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Re: Gunslinger Girl: The Next Generation [Story Thread]

Post by Kiskaloo on Mon 21 Oct 2013 - 18:02

SISDE and SISMI became AISI and AISE on 3 August 2007.

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What? I like donuts! - Betty Suarez
If I die before my time, go on Oprah and tell the world 'I liked kittens'. - Veronica Mars
Scissors of victory! - Yui Hirasawa
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Kiskaloo
A Cat of Many Talents

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Re: Gunslinger Girl: The Next Generation [Story Thread]

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