Vett's Fic

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Vett's Fic

Post by Vett on Sun 16 Mar 2014 - 20:21

Almost two years ago, I joined and said I might, possibly, at some point, post fanfic. Here is fanfic.


Third Time Unlucky

Even spies got to be the other side of the hidden camera and take the glory occasionally. But if the third time was the charm, it wasn't a good luck charm.
Chapter One
Chapter Two


Last edited by Vett on Wed 11 Jun 2014 - 11:30; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Updated 11/6/14)

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Alfisti on Mon 17 Mar 2014 - 4:39

Great to see some writing from you. I'm a bit balls-to right now, so reading/review may have to wait for a little, but I look forward to it.

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Kiskaloo on Mon 17 Mar 2014 - 12:30

Solid work, sir. Yes Indeed

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Vett on Mon 17 Mar 2014 - 13:12

Thanks Kisk.

From my perspective, this chapter's one long unconnected characterisation dump without any foundation, so "Solid work" is an ironically reassuring response.

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Il Direttore on Mon 17 Mar 2014 - 14:09

Uhh...

holy shit.

I mean, I apologize for the completely unhelpful response, but holy shit. That reveal. 

Uh, so, um, things to work on: Your dialogue is a little scratchy, and we could use a bit more movement from your characters to get an idea of their personality. Other than that, nothing really sticks out to me as a flaw. 

And again: holy shit.

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

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Vett on Mon 17 Mar 2014 - 17:14

Thanks for the comments.

I don't think holy shit is an unhelpful response. It's a pretty clear indicator that the bait laid out for chapter two seems to be working in your case. Wink

What do you mean by scratchy? Stilted?

And when you say movement, do you mean physically or more shaping events and less reacting to? I'm not really sure what you're getting at.

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Il Direttore on Mon 17 Mar 2014 - 17:32

Ah, sorry, sorry, I guess the "helpful" part was slightly less so. 

Scratchy in the sense that it, eh... Do you know that feeling, when your audio on a track is clearly missing a few bits of audio in the dialogue? Like, it fades out and you're like "wait i didn't catch that", but you can still get most of the words and know what's going on. I'm reading back through right now, and it gives me that impression. It's not that I don't understand what's going on, but it feels like you wrote a much more meandering conversation, and then snipped out the not-terribly-relevant parts, and then edited it so that it made sense. Maybe this is a stylistic difference, but I prefer to see conversations that meander naturally through a set of topics. 

As to "movements", I refer to the previous. People do little things when they're talking. Sitting perfectly still is extremely rare. Important characterization can be expressed through basic things, such as in a glance, a slight twitch, a brief tremor of the voice, pulling at an earlobe, etc.. Example of what I mean after the spoiler. 

Spoiler:
Lorenzo steepled his hands. "Your cyborgs has very... practical interests, Edward." 

Edward smiled and shrugged. "I take Rebecca's performance and training very seriously, sir."

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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: Vett's Fic

Post by Thescarredman on Mon 17 Mar 2014 - 17:41

Just read this for the third time. The picture you paint of the Agency is chilling, all the more so for being so realistic. Becca is a terrifyingly efficient little killing machine; do you have profiles and/or backstories for her and her handler somewhere? I'd love to hear more about Edward being 'played by Rico before she got her prosthetics'.
I have to say that I was confused by Oliviero's suicide, and still am. I understand that the guy was a family man, and didn't like seeing what the Agency turned 'Becca into, but it still seems strange to me. After all, he knew what his cyborg was like at the time, right?
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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Vett on Mon 17 Mar 2014 - 19:32

I see what you mean. The conversations are quite lean, though some of that is stylistic, in that they don't really have the chance to make conversation other than laboured small-talk. It is all very aimed at driving the story on.

The "movements" thing is something I struggle with. I tend to have one extreme or the other, and I edit toward the brief side as otherwise I end up with pages of "Woops!" said Bob, scowling.//Fred exchanged a weary glance with Madge. "Most people don't pick up full buckets with one hand for a reason Bob."

Something to bear in mind for next time.


@Thescarredman wrote:Becca is a terrifyingly efficient little killing machine; do you have profiles and/or backstories for her and her handler somewhere? I'd love to hear more about Edward being 'played by Rico before she got her prosthetics'.
I have to say that I was confused by Oliviero's suicide, and still am. I understand that the guy was a family man, and didn't like seeing what the Agency turned 'Becca into, but it still seems strange to me. After all, he knew what his cyborg was like at the time, right?

Nice to know it felt realistic to you. Both Edward and Rebecca have posts in the respective Interview with... threads if you want a little more insight into them, or at least their public personas. There'll be more backstory forthcoming. 

Unfortunately, that's really the last scene you'll see of Edward and Lorenzo having a battle of wills, so that's the end Edward being played like a pre-cyborg Rico's violin (probably. There's a chance for one in the next chapter, but the pacing is all over the shop already).

My take on the suicide is that Oliviero talks a good game and, as a recruit to the surveillance branch, wasn't screened heavily regarding the *could you order your cyborg to massacre a family to maintain cover* elements to the job as that sort of thing isn't in the surveillance team's remit. He's perfectly happy killing terrorists and using cyborgs to do it - he's transferred from the police precisely so he can do/contribute to  more of it, so he got approved. He's fundamentally a good guy, and reacted with his gut when he saw the little girl on life-support: He was going to save that girl and make her life better.

Once he'd had the girl shipped off to the medical wing, he was put through the induction process, and has been attached to Edward while his girl gets put together. As Edward hints, this sort of job is a once in a blue moon thing, so Oliviero has spent most of his time sitting in cars or bugging houses. It's black-ops, but they're not bad: his cyborg is sitting in the car relaying over the radio, or walking down the street or doing a little light breaking and entering. And if they shoot someone, it'll be in self defence because that's not what they're about. And even if not, what one more dead terrorist?

But, as you'll see more in later chapters, the surveillance team is much more of an equal environment than the normal run of things and Edward, the one he's spent most of his time with, barely treats his cyborg like a subordinate, never mind as a cyborg. The upshot of that is that Oliviero is finding it more difficult to think of cyborgs as girls experiencing a better life than they would otherwise, instead seeing them as Rebecca, Eve etc. Somewhere along the way, the rescued girl has now become like a normal little girl he has to tutor - and has brought the same affection with it.

Seeing Rebecca brutalising a prisoner, particularly using that rhyme, has suddenly brought the other side of the work his cyborg is expected to do into sharp focus. That innocent little girl, like his grand-daughter, is going to be turned into a brutal, sadistic thug.

And, even if she's in agony after being blown up, with a broken shoulder - she's still expected to do her job. When he stares out the window watching her soften up the prisoner, he's staring because she's just hit the prisoner hard enough to damage the chair he's on using her broken arm. If she's causing more damage and harm to herself, so what? She's a machine that can just be replaced when it's too broken to be of further use. He's expected to take a little girl, do nothing when she's injured, then force her to make her injuries worse just to get information from a prisoner when they could have just as easily brought an interrogator with them.

He's taken an innocent little girl, and put her at risk of being shot, sadistically put her through agonising pain where there's no need for it, then ushered her further toward death by using even more conditioning than necessary if they'd just treated the injury to begin with. HE joined to give her a better life, not make it worse her. And this is so normal that Becca sees nothing wrong with it.

Edward is a cold SOB, but then so is Jean and Lorenzo, and those are the role-models Oliviero has. All his superiors (Tea doesn't count) brutalise their cyborgs to the point the cyborgs think it's normal, and he's expected to do the same. If he wanted to cause her pain he could have left her where she was - at least she was sedated there. What sort of person is he, to do it to a little girl? Practically a baby?

Um... yeah, in short it's not so much the killing and the brutality, but the way Edward doesn't give a damn that his cyborg's hurt, doesn't care that he's shortening his cyborg's already minimal lifespan, and doesn't care about anything other than getting the information out of the prisoner ASAP: and that's how Oliviero is expected to be with the girl he's a guardian angel for.

Oliviero's not quite got the right end of the stick: Becca's injury isn't quite as bad as he's building it up to be and deliberately causing significant damage to your own cyborg is like throwing a brick through your own windscreen - a shoulder's more akin to losing a headlight. He also doesn't see the directed concern that Edward displays - the preparation when Becca goes into the house so he can be pulling Rebecca from the fire ASAP, how she suddenly feels lighter now her eyes have opened up.

Olivero just sees the cold, brutal taskmaster forcing his robot to perform even when she's injured and not capable of it, and believes that that is the expected treatment of his rescued waif. He can't live with the thought of having done that to a small child.

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Thescarredman on Mon 17 Mar 2014 - 20:45

Dude. I wish you could have included that in the story somehow before the guy offed himself. It's a great explanation, and would have made everything so much clearer. I see now that you left clues, but I didn't really pick up on them.
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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Il Direttore on Mon 17 Mar 2014 - 21:43

@Thescarredman wrote:Dude. I wish you could have included that in the story somehow before the guy offed himself. It's a great explanation, and would have made everything so much clearer. I see now that you left clues, but I didn't really pick up on them.

I agree whole heartedly with TSM here. While I personally am inured to the "random things happen to move plot along" tendency of writing in general, having this sort of motivation would be extremely, extremely useful. It turns the tone into a massively grim thing that actually feels like it has weight rather than being arbitrary, and emphasizes the nearly evil things that the SWA forces its agents to do. These are important things that a lot writers don't emphasize, for plenty of good reasons, but would be extremely useful for you given the hook you've got at the end. 

Unfortunately, I do not have any idea how to pull this off. The way I would do it, I'd start with three or four chapters of build up, with dialogue and such between Edward and Oliviero and Becca to establish the ideas that Oliviero has in contrast with E+B. This... is probably not something you can work in without massively altering the plot, I'm assuming. Perhaps more pre-mission or en-route dialogue? Or expand the scene in the van? 

Additionally, on a second read through, I would also note that scene changes are rather eh, as you make it clear that there's a change, but its difficult to grasp where the new scene is situated. I'd say that this is a good time to use characters interacting with their surroundings, personally.

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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: Vett's Fic

Post by Vett on Tue 18 Mar 2014 - 9:31

As I was writing that explanation, it occurred to me that there's not much of that overtly stated and the clues do point a lot more toward Thescarredman's explanation than the one I intended.


At the time, I almost wrote the scene in the van from Oliviero's point of view. If I'd done that I think, given the nature of the conversation, there'd probably be enough thoughts floating around about his cyborg to get the age and why he picked her. It would also give much more emphasis to Rebecca's injury and how she's still using the arm. And, actually, just turning Edward to face the window when Rebecca slaps the prisoner would give a bit more necessary information.


But...


I needed a strong hook at the end of the chapter, as there isn't really a continuing storyline to encourage people back. And once I'm in Oliviero's head that big reveal about the nature of his cyborg is gone unless I start cheating the reader.

I originally did start with Rebecca and Edward in a car tailing someone, but it very quickly became a confusing blur of names, brevity codes and jargon (one of the reasons chapter two has taken ages to draft). I took the view that it needed introducing at a slightly slower pace and, for an opening scene, it didn't really work. Becca doing a hard arrest reduces the feeling of being dropped in the deep end tied to a tank, which is my normal sin in opening scenes.

The other consideration is that, while I'm deliberately introducing you to Edward's persona before the person, I needed to give you enough of an insight to see that he does care, just keeps it so well buried people wouldn't know unless they knew him really well. Oliviero's perspective in the van/explosion scene would be too black.

I'll probably go back and place make Oliviero's more emotional to get more emphasis on the arm issue. Originally he kept up the tough-guy image, but I clearly need to drop it more than I have so far. As you've both said, it's a lot more powerful if the reason why he blows his head off comes across properly.


Of course, the underlying reasoning behind all this is that this story didn't have a real plan until the start of chapter three. Oliviero is a new hire because I needed someone for Edward to characterise at; Oliviero then takes the concerned approach to the injury because it causes a little light conflict with Edward's ruthless efficiency; Oliviero then talks about his grand-daughter for a little more dissonance with what's happening in the next room; and then he kills himself to demonstrate just how relentlessly pragmatic Edward is. As we then had a loose cyborg, I thought it'd cause more trouble by giving Edward two rather than one. Given how grim the rest of the chapter is, I then made the cyborg three to maximise the reader's response. The backstory developed along the way to make sure each action was reasonable in context.

This chapter could be titled Edward Brooks 101 rather than  Piatti di Asporto (which I sincerely hope is Italian for Takeaway).

Regarding the scene changes, were there any that worked better than the others/were particularly bad?

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Il Direttore on Wed 19 Mar 2014 - 16:35

Sorry for long response time. 

As to the scene changes, I'd say what stands out to me as problematic was the shift to the van. I wasn't sure who was the handler and who was the third party, for one thing, so I needed more exposition on the individuals present. Your focus on the noises in their headsets doesn't create a very clear picture of the van they're in, and as a consequence it's difficult to get any sort of grounded feel for that scene. After they leave, it's much better. This issue continues for the interrogation scene, but is less relevant for the Lorenzo Scene. 

It seems to me that the issue stems from shying away from characters fidgeting. Once people start moving, you have a good feel for what needs and needs not to be there.

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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: Vett's Fic

Post by Alfisti on Tue 25 Mar 2014 - 0:33

Ok so, as promised, some thoughts:

'One Bismark, one Caprese, potato croquettes and a bottle of coke?'
I actually thought she was referring to code names for the first part of this... until reaching "croquettes", at which point it became a "wait, what?" moment.


This op was a complete waste of Mr Brooks' and her skills, though she supposed that any moron was capable of following basic instructions and, even if the occupants couldn't meet those lofty standards, the explosion when they compounded the mistake they'd already made in their half-constructed bomb would take out the houses either side, functioning IED or not.
Maybe I'm just thick, but I'm still trying to figure out what this sentence is implying. The general tone seems to be that she believes the targets thick enough that her particular skills are not required to deal with them, but the wording is such that she considers her higher level of finesse worthwhile to avoid catastrophe? For that matter, in the latter half she sounds quite sure the bomb will go off (and that they've made a mistake in its construction... how did she know that?), or is she implying that she intends to set it off in order to cover her tracks?

At the moment I think it treads a slightly confusing middle ground, and needs to be tipped either one way or the other. If Becca is theorising, then the bomb going off should sound like less of a certainty. If she is planning to cover her tracks by setting it off her self and making it look like the targets' own foul-up, the passage as a whole could stand to sing that intention more cohesively.


Or so she assumed: the window was effectively blocked by the leaning tower of pasta plates dumped in the sink.
Every time I see see that somewhere, I always wind up wondering: "who actually owns that much crockery?"


Becca took two strides forward and hit him in the face with the butt of her pistol while he stared at the live grenade.

The grenade hit the floor and skittered into the corner.
Could just be personal preference, but I find the use of "grenade" twice, so close together, to be off putting and breaks the flow of the writing. I don't know if it was for emphasis, or if you were trying to slow the moment down, but if so this might be a golden opportunity for some detailed description: "The olive and yellow sphere hit the floor, bouncing once to skitter away across chequered linoleum, adding a fresh scuff-mark to its already battered surface, before rolling to a halt in the corner."

Not a brilliant example, but you get the idea.

Otherwise, a pretty good action sequence: short, sharp and flowing. It lets us see Becca strut her stuff and lets us know she's improvising without labouring the point.


Edward smiled as Oliviero began his routine again: fiddling with his tie, then stirring his lukewarm latte and finally scratching his head before staring intently at the side of the van, as if the grey metal would suddenly turn into a screen to allow them to see inside the target house.
Nice, in one sentence you've quickly established for us where these two sit in relation to each other.


'The dogsbody sent to make the suggestion to me arrived at our meeting in a Ferrari...'
They sent Michele? 



They stopped before they entered the debris field and pulled out their pistols.
Again, between this and the sentence prior, it's a lot of "they" in a short space of time. Perhaps a re-jig just to smooth the reading out a little?


Two of them and Becca were in the kitchen.
Is that "two of them" as in the two SWA staff or "two of them" as in the two remaining targets? I know it can be figured out from later parts of the paragraph, but changing that "them" to "terrorists" or "targets" might aid the reader in more quickly understanding the situation.


Becca stirred as they reached the end of the drive, several tons lighter as she opened her blue eyes...
Good line.


Oliviero beamed. 'Yes. She's at the hospital now with Alé. The doctors have had a look at my grandson and –'
Hold on, how old is Oliviero? I had pictured him as young-ish up to here, thirties maybe, but I'm guessing now a bit older?

I haven't quite worked out if Edward started this conversation to distract his companion here, or if the juxtaposition of Becca's questioning and thoughts that he, Oliviero, also has children was to throw the man further. Either way, this time, that uncertainty is quite effective and keeps us asking questions and interested to learn more of Edward.


Edward left again, Becca meeting him outside the room. 'Mr Silvero's redecorated,' she said, leading him toward the other interrogation room.
And now I wonder when Becca knew Oliviero was going to off himself: before or after the fact. I realise cyborgs should not be able to harm SWA staff, but it makes me wonder how grey of an area letting them come to harm through inaction, is...

As an aside: this is I think the first time you've referred to Oliviero by his second name. It probably would have helped to get his full name out earlier to make the connection more instant, rather than leaving us to run through the back-catalogue of who we've been introduced to so far to decide who "Silvero" is.


'So Rebecca is non-personal? Communal property?'
Well, to be fair, it depends on who you asked. If it was one of the bureaucrats, they would probably say yes, and that she belongs to the government...


'The mechanics are now complaining about you twice a month.'
I presume she's not easy on the vehicles.


'Nothing,' said Edward, trying to meet Bianchi's evasive eyes. 'What has the Boss conveniently forgotten?'
When the medical staff are awkward about it, it's time to get worried.

I now wonder why Lorenzo decided to assign the new girl to Edward. I realise there's a time limit, but he could have given her to any handler... and I don't think Lorenzo's the type to make someone's life difficult (at least, not using a multi-million Euro asset) out of pure vindictiveness. Is there something in the handler/cyborg relationship he thinks will be useful?

Spoiler:
...and the line about "difference between being independent and being able to cope with the arrival of a new baby" makes me also wonder if you have some sort of "mother and father" or "elder sibling/younger sibling" eventual relationship planned out.

I'll be curious to see where you take this.


Overall, nicely done mate. I know some of what I've written is probably sounding a bit nit-picky, but that's generally a good sign: it means I can't find anything big that is wrong. Some of the sentence structure I found a bit awkward at times, and some of the information could maybe stand to be fed to the reader more smoothly (Olivieri's full name, for example), but those can also be personal gripes.

Good stuff.

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Vett on Tue 25 Mar 2014 - 18:38

@Alfisti wrote:
This op was a complete waste of Mr Brooks' and her skills, though she supposed that any moron was capable of following basic instructions and, even if the occupants couldn't meet those lofty standards, the explosion when they compounded the mistake they'd already made in their half-constructed bomb would take out the houses either side, functioning IED or not.
Maybe I'm just thick, but I'm still trying to figure out what this sentence is implying.

I was going for 'it's a total waste of our valuable time as they're complete amateurs and a barely credible threat. But someone needed to deal with them, or else they were going make a catastrophic mistake and achieve by accident what they'd never manage to do deliberately.' Regarding how Becca knows they've made a mistake, the SWA have got a hidden camera in the bathroom, installed when they put the bugs in. I had assumed that people would fill in an appropriate blank for themselves, but apparently not Wink

And you're right: looking at it in isolation, it is an impressively unwieldy sentence, isn't it?


@Alfisti wrote:
Or so she assumed: the window was effectively blocked by the leaning tower of pasta plates dumped in the sink.
Every time I see see that somewhere, I always wind up wondering: "who actually owns that much crockery?"

I'm wondering why I didn't use pizza rather than pasta. From memory, I swapped the two despite it spoiling the not-particularly-funny gag, but I've no idea what I thought was sufficiently important for it.


@Alfisti wrote:
'The dogsbody sent to make the suggestion to me arrived at our meeting in a Ferrari...'
They sent Michele? 

I don't know how you can assume such a thing just from the fact the man arrived in a Ferrari. After all, Michele could just have easily been in the Zonda, or the Lamborghini or the etc. etc. In all seriousness, I had thought that one of the Croce brothers drove something reasonably flash and Edward's being flippant rather than accurate.


@Alfisti wrote:
Oliviero beamed. 'Yes. She's at the hospital now with Alé. The doctors have had a look at my grandson and –'
Hold on, how old is Oliviero? I had pictured him as young-ish up to here, thirties maybe, but I'm guessing now a bit older?

I haven't quite worked out if Edward started this conversation to distract his companion here, or if the juxtaposition of Becca's questioning and thoughts that he, Oliviero, also has children was to throw the man further.

Oliviero is in his mid-to-late forties. He had his first child young, and she did the same. Edward's simply making small-talk here: he's got time to kill while Becca softens up the prisoner, so he's continuing the conversation they were having earlier.


@Alfisti wrote:
Edward left again, Becca meeting him outside the room. 'Mr Silvero's redecorated,' she said, leading him toward the other interrogation room.
And now I wonder when Becca knew Oliviero was going to off himself: before or after the fact. I realise cyborgs should not be able to harm SWA staff, but it makes me wonder how grey of an area letting them come to harm through inaction, is...

As an aside: this is I think the first time you've referred to Oliviero by his second name. It probably would have helped to get his full name out earlier to make the connection more instant, rather than leaving us to run through the back-catalogue of who we've been introduced to so far to decide who "Silvero" is.

After the fact. I'd argue that not allowing handlers to come to harm through inaction is the sort of thing that sounds good in theory, but would cause more harm in practice. That doesn't however, mean that I've not stored the thought away for later use.

It would indeed have been sensible to tell the readers who Silvero is.



@Alfisti wrote:I now wonder why Lorenzo decided to assign the new girl to Edward. I realise there's a time limit, but he could have given her to any handler... and I don't think Lorenzo's the type to make someone's life difficult (at least, not using a multi-million Euro asset) out of pure vindictiveness. Is there something in the handler/cyborg relationship he thinks will be useful?

As seems to be the case with several of your comments, the answer was there in earlier drafts, but got toned-down in revision because I couldn't quite get it to sit right. There's a couple of reasons for assigning her to Edward: such a young cyborg has pretty limited use as an assassin, purely because her short arms makes operating weaponry difficult, whereas size is irrelevant if she's just got to watch someone; The surveillance team is dramatically under-manned, so another pair of eyes is always useful; Edward has a very pragmatic attitude toward his cyborg - he cares enough to make sure she operates effectively, but not enough to get emotionally involved, whereas Jose is stupidly over-involved and Jean equally so, but in the other direction (Hillshire is also prone to bouts of irrationality, which is what led him to being at the SWA in the first place); and, most importantly, his cyborg is equally pragmatic and extremely independent (pragmatic is the key word, and the one that got cut) - she's used to working in a team with multiple handlers and cyborgs, and is used to having other cyborgs temporarily attached to her handler, so isn't going to declare war on the new cyborg for trying to steal Edward.


In short, it's not so much that Edward is the best handler for the job, but that his cyborg can function without any support from him whatsoever (so he has time to train a new cyborg), and that the two of them have a completely professional relationship with very clear boundaries - Becca isn't going to feel threatened and compromise the enlarged fratello's ability to function. Moreover, she'll take the view that the new cyborg is here, nothing will change that, so there's no point undermining herself by not getting on board with the new reality. Lorenzo is relying on the fact that Becca's internalisation of her handler's values (namely cold, hard pragmatism) will override the conditioning's possessive instinct.


Spoiler:
@Alfisti wrote:...and the line about "difference between being independent and being able to cope with the arrival of a new baby" makes me also wonder if you have some sort of "mother and father" or "elder sibling/younger sibling" eventual relationship planned out.

Yes, though the line was referring more to a young child's tendency to cling and act-out for attention. But I won't say no to being credited with more foreshadowing than I actually intended.


@Alfisti wrote:Overall, nicely done mate. I know some of what I've written is probably sounding a bit nit-picky, but that's generally a good sign: it means I can't find anything big that is wrong. Some of the sentence structure I found a bit awkward at times, and some of the information could maybe stand to be fed to the reader more smoothly (Olivieri's full name, for example), but those can also be personal gripes.

Frankly, it would be somewhat hypocritical of me to complain about someone being nit-picky Wink And the nit-picky stuff is usually the stuff you don't notice yourself, so there's no complaints from me on that score. And, as you say, the more minor the issues raised, the better the piece is. I'm going to re-post an edited version of the chapter soon-ish to try and firm up the reasoning behind the suicide  a bit more, so I'll add your stuff to the list of things to look at. Olivieri's surname name definitely needs dropping for a start.

Thanks for the crit.

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Alfisti on Wed 26 Mar 2014 - 4:29

@Vett wrote: Regarding how Becca knows they've made a mistake, the SWA have got a hidden camera in the bathroom, installed when they put the bugs in. I had assumed that people would fill in an appropriate blank for themselves, but apparently not 
I think the problem you're running into here is that it's too early in the peace to be asking readers to be making those sorts of inferences. At this stage we know nothing of Becca, Edward... or even the type of story you're writing/how you frame the SWA within your own fictive-universe. It's fine to ask the audience to infer information, but they need something to infer against, a yardstick by which to measure their expectations of the characters/organisation/general nature of the world. While you may have been thinking about this for two years, we've had less than two paragraphs.

When I was writing And the Adventure Continues, I spent a lot of the early chapters following Jethro+Monty through the (frankly, somewhat dull) intricacies of how they operate: meandering to throw/identify potential tails, sweeping hotel rooms for bugs, cracking codes on paper, distilling data on a computer and so on. Now admittedly, some of that was just inexperience, and it slowed the story somewhat, but it meant that later those details could be left out: the reader has already seen how J+M work, so apart from the occasional small reminder (or if it was needed for the story/to backdrop a scene) they don't need to see it again. They know that if J+M take a room, they'll sweep it for bugs, or if they drive into a new town they'll take a roundabout route etc... however they need to be made aware of those behaviours in the first place. I think the problem you're encountering is that those action and habits have yet to be made known, so the reader (or at least I) is left wondering what's going on.

I realise the information about bugs is available a bit later, but by then the reader has already been stalled. Even something just to give an inkling that she has some background intelligence to work with, something to frame her thoughts, might help. Say: "...though she supposed any moron was capable of following basic instructions. On the plus side, that lack of imagination made it easy to get good intel, and she liked working with good intel. A humourless smile crossed Becca's lips at that, even if..." and so on.

Short version: you need to give the reader more to work with before asking them to make assumptions.


@Vett wrote:I'd argue that not allowing handlers to come to harm through inaction is the sort of thing that sounds good in theory, but would cause more harm in practice.
Oh, from a logical and operational standpoint it's a terrible idea, and I would suspect that, if the research arm were even half awake, they would have taken it into account, or at least be developing a means by which to do so. Far be it for me to side with Danilo and reference Asimov's laws of robotics, but I believe they had something to say about allowing harm through inaction.

As potential story fodder however...


@Vett wrote: Lorenzo is relying on the fact that Becca's internalisation of her handler's values (namely cold, hard pragmatism) will override the conditioning's possessive instinct.
I shall be curious to see if he's right or not.

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Vett on Wed 11 Jun 2014 - 11:36

I was always going to post something when I hit the two year mark, but I wasn't sure which of the couple of things I've got either finished or mostly finished to final edit and post.

In the end, I decided that the symbolism was too convenient to ignore:

Chapter Two


Ironically enough, most of those two years have been taken up in writing this chapter, on and off. This is largely because it's been a pain to write and I'm trying new things which makes the problem worse. On that note, if you prefer one of the vehicle sections over another, I'd be interested to know why, as I wrote them in three different ways.



This does mean, however, that I've now got no more chapters in the bank.

See you for the next instalment in another two years.


Last edited by Vett on Wed 11 Jun 2014 - 14:23; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Side note: chapter one has also been tweaked per feedback from last time around if anyone's curious to see what Ia ctually did with that feedback.)

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by PolosElite23 on Wed 11 Jun 2014 - 12:59

Brilliant! Just Brilliant! Katherine is quite the character, a bit mature for a 4 year old, but still childish enough.

Mr. Brooks is just lucky Katherine is 4, not 3. Terrible threes... Very Happy 

Very good description and dialogue. Can't wait for mor-

Two Years?!?  gahhhh

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


In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
----
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

-Stanzas 2+4 of Invictus by William Earnest Henley
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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Vett on Wed 11 Jun 2014 - 16:12

Thanks Polo. Good to know you enjoyed it and the description was better this time around.

Katherine will get slightly more childish as she spends more time outside the SWA's walls and has more four year olds to model her behaviour on, but the role models she's got - the dominant personalities in her peer group - are all teens and she's been 'pre-loaded' by the SWA with the standard vocab modules. Fine for a teen, not so much for a four year old.

Frankly, all the 'child' cyborgs are that little bit more mature than they should be, and they're all good at, to steal a phrase from Darkwing Duck, 'getting dangerous' when they're actually deployed into contact. I'd suggest that it's at least partially by design: I wouldn't trust a nine year old to be sensible with a gun all the time.

Katherine's maturity was something I struggled to decide about, so I'm glad she seems to be at least somewhere in the right area.

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by PolosElite23 on Wed 11 Jun 2014 - 16:56

I babysit and teach Sunday school every now and then. You've got a very mature 4-5 year old in writing. One that has her serious switch on at all times, but a believable one. The end of the chapter was pretty close to exchanges I've had...minus evil 'Etta and Rico trying to baby them...

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


In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
----
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

-Stanzas 2+4 of Invictus by William Earnest Henley
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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Vett on Wed 11 Jun 2014 - 17:05

I've had much more experience in the 9 to 11 age range, so I was extrapolating on the four year old.

The evil 'Etta and Rico thing happened to my sister: She was slightly too slow in escaping from my cousin. It's exaggerated slightly for dramatic/comedic effect, but the gist is there.

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Alfisti on Sat 14 Jun 2014 - 23:20

Great chapter mate, it's certainly interesting watching Becca and Katherine develop, as characters and in relation to each other.

More thoughts to come and, to be honest, I'm probably going to need another read through the whole tailing sequence to understand it fully. Got the gist, but difficult to make comment right now.  sweat

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Alfisti on Thu 18 Sep 2014 - 6:08

So, here we go... finally. Some of it is probably going to be a bit nit-picky, but if that’s all I can find to comment on, it’s probably a good sign...

... I’m not even going to try to picking up grammar.

CHAPTER02
Spoiler:

”Vett” wrote: No it wasn't. 'Okay,' she said, watching him and just enjoying being close. 'What's she called?'

'Katherine.'

'What's she firing?'
I must say Becca is taking this all quite well. I get the impression she is sort of at the stage of not being happy, but working out if she actually has cause to not be happy, and is mature enough to know the difference... or, at least, does not wish to look immature by blowing up prematurely.


”Vett” wrote: Mr Brooks grinned. 'Don't worry about it: the Director wasn't as cross as the President required him to be. If you run and dress-up you can drive us to Rome.'
I always enjoy a little nod to the politics the SWA must have to play in order to maintain its existence, not to mention the politics its backers must play in order to maintain suitable face.


”Vett” wrote: Once her appearance was sorted all that was left was to retrieve her short from her gunsafe
“Short”... I presume by this is meant her pistol? I know the Sig is mentioned farther down the paragraph but, for those of not familiar with the terminology, it might be worth giving the gun’s name first, then referring to it in slang. Rather than vice versa.

Nitpicky I realise, but it prevents a stumbling point of “huh?”


”Vett” wrote:...thinking about the right hand turn ahead the engine was telling her to change up a gear anyway, so she just rested her foot on the brake to bring her speed down slightly as she drifted to the left to see further around the rapidly approaching bend and, her way clear, accelerated around, the car's left hand side threatening to take to the air.
Right hand turn... shouldn’t that be the right hand wheels getting light? Also, two “arounds” in the same sentence.


”Vett” wrote:The lack of care civvies took in their tools never ceased to amaze her.
I always find Becca’s use of “civvies” to describe the public as an interesting turn of phrase... and I get the feeling her use is not entirely complimentary. It speaks volumes about where she sees herself in the grand scheme of things, how she (and, tracing back from there, how her handler) operates/what we can expect from them, etc. Their stance feels more… militaristic… as it were, than perhaps some of the others may be. Some of the other terminology she uses comes across as tasting military, if that makes sense.

”Vett” wrote:She smoothly slotted in a few meters in front of the mini...
Wasn’t this a FIAT in the last paragraph?


”Vett” wrote:Someone's heading for the Ops desk now and Jean/Rico are scrambling for our location.'
Could be just me, but the “Jean/Rico” is a bit awkward. Either “Jean and Rico” or “the Jean/Rico fratello” perhaps?


”Vett” wrote: We're currently toward yellow six, intending right onto blue thirty.'
Ok, from a technical stand point, I liked the coding you used through the chapter. It’s a nice touch in terms of operational security and keeping anyone who has managed to key into their radio chatter in the dark... 

...problem is: it’s also working on your audience. As a reader, it is confusing as all hell. Unless I really concentrated, I found myself starting to blur through these descriptors, potentially missing any surrounding action. Second time through is easier, now that I’ve a rough idea what I’m looking for/am taking my time and reading to crit, but the first I was pretty much lost.

In terms of thoughts on how to tackle it though: it’s a bit of a catch22. On the one hand it is good for showing that these are indeed professionals, and they know what they’re doing. On another, by casting the dialogue in this manner, you’re giving up a huge chunk of your ability to keep the reader informed and involved as to how the action is playing out. At the end of the day, I guess it really depends on how you want to swing your story on the realism vs. accessibility scale.


”Vett” wrote:Fortunately Lorenzo saw sense and ordered someone in the public Rome SWA compound to go shopping for him before he covertly exfiltrated his own facility yet again.
Comma between “facility” and “yet again”? If only to put a beat before the punch line?


”Vett” wrote: and then only because there was no such thing as bobble, soldier 95 pattern.
Got a chuckle out of that one. As an aside, I’m glad you gave us a few chapters with the (somewhat) more naturalised Becca, it makes Katherine’s robotic-ness all the more apparent.


”Vett” wrote:'Good girl,' said Edward, suppressing the grimace as she beamed at him. It had better be possible to cut the strings on a four year old cyborg or else she was going to be useless.
First sign of her being an actual little girl we’ve seen I think. Interesting contrast Edward’s next thought, compared to his earlier musings about her needing to act younger.

I don’t know if I’m miss-reading it or not, but it sounds a little like some musings elsewhere on the forum, to the effect that the cyborgs act like little girls, but they’re little girls through the eyes of adults, not children as they tend to develop on their own.


 
”Vett” wrote:Things could only get better.
Now those are words just asking for trouble...


”Vett” wrote:'It's Priscilla,' said Edward as Becca squeezed past a tractor, completely at ease with going around a blind bend at a hundred-and-twenty - not that meant anything in Italy. 'She's going to go shopping just like she has every other time.'
If this is an exercise, isn’t that cheating?


”Vett” wrote:'That was boring!' said Katherine as Edward stuck his head out the window, gesturing for Priscilla to follow along behind. 'Henrietta and Rico said that cars were fun and they got to use full auto.'
Sounding more like a little girl now... but still sounding like a cyborg also. Razz


”Vett” wrote:...she'd only spent twelve hours with him over the last two weeks...
Not that she has been counting. Razz


”Vett” wrote:She was the sensible one, but even she had to be seventeen sometimes.
I’m finding Becca’s character interesting through all of this (and I mean through the chapter in general). She does indeed come across very sensible and mature but... how to put it... that maturity doesn’t feel quite like a natural fit on her; like she has been trained into it rather than it perhaps being entirely her natural state of play. She feels like she’s mentally pulling herself up, or holding what she would perhaps wish to do in check, and it’s not completely a result of her personality.

I don’t know if that was what you were going for, but it’s certainly not a criticism either. I’m actually quite enjoying watching it. She’s a nice balance of adult and adolescent.


”Vett” wrote:Becca's foot danced between a phantom brake and accelerator...
I can relate. I make a terrible passenger.


”Vett” wrote:This, frankly, was why they were going to win: lack of basic trade-craft from the opposition - not that she was complaining.
One of these days, I suspect Becca is going to get a very nasty shock.


”Vett” wrote:The houses on the hill above them looked down on them like disapproving bobbies as they zipped past.
I could have sworn you had an OC thread going somewhere, but damned if I could find it. Remind me a gain what Edward’s nationality is? I’m assuming British as Becca seems to have picked up “bobbies”?


”Vett” wrote: Charlie two reached the end of the road to turn right and head up the side of the rectangle of residential property, Becca hung back, turning to keep paralleling the street their quarry was on. 'Charlie two intending right onto Orange 1.'
It’s only just clicked now, but for the earlier part of the story you were spelling out each label “Orange One” etc. From a consistency point of view, it’s probably worth picking one or the other.

As an aside, “Charlie Two” is still a name, should the latter word not be capitalised as well? Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that one.


”Vett” wrote:'Charlie two now stationary,' said Mr Brooks, Becca immediately sliding the car around the turn they were passing, feeling the rear go as she forced it around.
Car-guy nitpick: she’s in a 156 yes? That’s front or, at best, four wheel drive. Forcing the rear around suggests rear-drive (at least, it does to me), perhaps “swung” would be a better word?


”Vett” wrote: ...not having any two-wheeled surveillance, especially in Rome, was a capability gap that needed closing anyway.
I like, and find it amusing, that she is already framing her arguments.


”Vett” wrote:Unless I have the misfortunate of being stopped by SISDE...
“misfortune”? I don’t know if Becca’s really in the headspace to recognise it (and, I guess, I’m not 100% on how you handle it in your take of the universe), but in a way she could probably take it as a complement that the Director thinks enough of her to consider it worth his while rebuking her himself... rather than just going through her handler/in her handler’s presence.

Either that, or he just doesn’t feel like dealing with both problems at once. Razz


”Vett” wrote:She was intellectually aware that ten year old girls played house and had baby dolls, but she'd never quite made the link to Henrietta and Rico.
To be honest, I’m not certain about the fit of this on Rico. ‘Etta, sure, that I can swallow but Rico... sure, she’s bright and chirpy, but I’ve never really pictured her as a “playing house” type. Unless, I guess, ‘Etta has dragged her into it.

Eh, just personal opinion anyway.


Overall a good read, I’m really enjoying watching Edward and Becca’s operations, and those of E-Group in general. One thing perhaps to watch out for is that there are a number of instance where you’ve used the same word, particularly verbs and adverbs, repeatedly through a sentence or paragraph. “Turned” and “around” come to mind from the car sequences. While it doesn’t detract from the story as a whole (and I realise what a frustrating, tedious process trying to remove these thing can be, particularly for things like car chases, which are basically small variances on the same actions repeated over and over), it can be distracting as the reader starts to lend the repeated word emphasis. It’s more a polish thing than anything.

Anyway, I hope some of what I had to say was at least slightly useful/interesting. Looking forward to the next one.

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Vett on Thu 18 Sep 2014 - 11:03

@Alfisti wrote:I must say Becca is taking this all quite well. I get the impression she is sort of at the stage of not being happy, but working out if she actually has cause to not be happy, and is mature enough to know the difference... or, at least, does not wish to look immature by blowing up prematurely.

That's exactly it, so I'm glad it comes across. She's distinctly unhappy, knows there's absolutely nothing she can do about it, and is aware enough to realise that complaining would make her seem immature - and the game plan is to be the mature, dependable and, therefore, most valued one.


@Alfisti wrote:“Short”... I presume by this is meant her pistol? I know the Sig is mentioned farther down the paragraph but, for those of not familiar with the terminology, it might be worth giving the gun’s name first, then referring to it in slang. Rather than vice versa.

It is the pistol yes. I seem to be making a habit of this particular faux pas.


@Alfisti wrote:

”Vett” wrote:...thinking about the right hand turn ahead the engine was telling her to change up a gear anyway, so she just rested her foot on the brake to bring her speed down slightly as she drifted to the left to see further around the rapidly approaching bend and, her way clear, accelerated around, the car's left hand side threatening to take to the air.
Right hand turn... shouldn’t that be the right hand wheels getting light? Also, two “arounds” in the same sentence.

Oops.


@Alfisti wrote:I always find Becca’s use of “civvies” to describe the public as an interesting turn of phrase... and I get the feeling her use is not entirely complimentary. It speaks volumes about where she sees herself in the grand scheme of things, how she (and, tracing back from there, how her handler) operates/what we can expect from them, etc. Their stance feels more… militaristic… as it were, than perhaps some of the others may be. Some of the other terminology she uses comes across as tasting military, if that makes sense.

"Civvies" isn't complementary, funnily enough. Some of it is general bleed-over from her handler's RA background, the remainder is more specific things Becca just can't wrap her head around, such as not taking care of your tools - and a hefty dose of dealing with incompetant drivers.

Some of the military taste may just be that they spend most of their screen-time on the radio talking jargon than other Fratelli, but I have gone out of my way to have Edward use the appropriate slang where possible and to carry that over to the unit. Generally Fratelli (canon and fanon) are lone wolves combining for a specific op, whereas I'm trying to create a specialised team with its own procedures.


@Alfisti wrote:
”Vett” wrote:She smoothly slotted in a few meters in front of the mini...
Wasn’t this a FIAT in the last paragraph?

Do you know how many times I've proofread this chapter? *bangs head* Good catch.


@Alfisti wrote:
”Vett” wrote:Someone's heading for the Ops desk now and Jean/Rico are scrambling for our location.'
Could be just me, but the “Jean/Rico” is a bit awkward. Either “Jean and Rico” or “the Jean/Rico fratello” perhaps?

It is, yes. Jean and Rico, probably. In the context it's in, the final option is even more of a mouthful.


@Alfisti wrote:
”Vett” wrote: We're currently toward yellow six, intending right onto blue thirty.'
Ok, from a technical stand point, I liked the coding you used through the chapter. It’s a nice touch in terms of operational security and keeping anyone who has managed to key into their radio chatter in the dark...

...problem is: it’s also working on your audience. As a reader, it is confusing as all hell. Unless I really concentrated, I found myself starting to blur through these descriptors, potentially missing any surrounding action. Second time through is easier, now that I’ve a rough idea what I’m looking for/am taking my time and reading to crit, but the first I was pretty much lost.

In terms of thoughts on how to tackle it though: it’s a bit of a catch22. On the one hand it is good for showing that these are indeed professionals, and they know what they’re doing. On another, by casting the dialogue in this manner, you’re giving up a huge chunk of your ability to keep the reader informed and involved as to how the action is playing out. At the end of the day, I guess it really depends on how you want to swing your story on the realism vs. accessibility scale.

The car scenes were a real pain to work with, particularly while trying to be consistent without actually creating spot code for all of Rome and its environs. Spot code is used to avoid cluttering up the radio with length descriptions of where a vehicle is going and, weirdly enough, I had the same issue when I didn't use it. To be honest, the entire thing is a blur of names of roads I suspect most readers won't have a clue about.

That being the case, is saying Charlie Two on red 6 intending yellow 6 actually any clearer in painting a picture than saying Charlie Two on Via Conchinnio, probably turning right right right into the un-named lane? Unless you're a local, I'm not really sure it is. I've tried to write it so that you don't have to understand where the code is refering to for it to make sense (and I've tried to make it relatively clear in the context before and after the report, but I'm not sure how well I've suceeded.

On the other hand, the jargon makes it that much harder. Would keeping spot code solely on the radio help? Becca would think in spot code, but it's an acceptable break from reality to have her name roads.


@Alfisti wrote:
”Vett” wrote:Fortunately Lorenzo saw sense and ordered someone in the public Rome SWA compound to go shopping for him before he covertly exfiltrated his own facility yet again.
Comma between “facility” and “yet again”? If only to put a beat before the punch line?

Gramatically, no, but a beat might be nice. Replace yet with a dash maybe?


Alfisti\" wrote:I’m glad you gave us a few chapters with the (somewhat) more naturalised Becca, it makes Katherine’s robotic-ness all the more apparent.

Only the one. I know I write long-ish chapters, but chapter one was only 5k.


@Alfisti wrote:I don’t know if I’m miss-reading it or not, but it sounds a little like some musings elsewhere on the forum, to the effect that the cyborgs act like little girls, but they’re little girls through the eyes of adults, not children as they tend to develop on their own.

In any enviroment, children act like their peers/role-models. For example, if you keep a child down two years at school, their social development etc. will stall because their peers are at that level. Put a child up two years, and their devlopment will be quicker as their peers are more advanced.

I wouildn't say the cyborogs are children through adults' eyes, but they are ones in an enviroment lacking most of the usual stimuli.

As far as Edward's concerned, he wants the most sensible four-year old girl on the planet and given that her peer is Becca, that's what he's going to end-up with... except that as she spends more time outside, she'll see more girls her age and pick-up traits from them. Which he'll aprove of as it's cover - provided she can press the 'let's-get-dangerous' switch when appropriate.


@Alfisti wrote:
”Vett” wrote:'It's Priscilla,' said Edward as Becca squeezed past a tractor, completely at ease with going around a blind bend at a hundred-and-twenty - not that meant anything in Italy. 'She's going to go shopping just like she has every other time.'
If this is an exercise, isn’t that cheating?

Not really. It's more a despairing comment about the quality of the target. Priscilla might not use it as an excuse to go shopping... but she has every otehr time. And, realistically, over time the unit willlearn quirks of their targets.


@Alfisti wrote:I’m finding Becca’s character interesting through all of this (and I mean through the chapter in general). She does indeed come across very sensible and mature but... how to put it... that maturity doesn’t feel quite like a natural fit on her; like she has been trained into it rather than it perhaps being entirely her natural state of play. She feels like she’s mentally pulling herself up, or holding what she would perhaps wish to do in check, and it’s not completely a result of her personality.

I don’t know if that was what you were going for, but it’s certainly not a criticism either. I’m actually quite enjoying watching it. She’s a nice balance of adult and adolescent.

This comment's made my day, actually. I'm not actively trying to demonstrate it, but this is exactly what's going on. Relaxed Becca isn't very different to professional Becca, but it's there (not that you've seen it yet).

As a side note, any idea how I'm doing this? I'd quite like to know so I can do it intentionally rather than trusting to being in the character's headspace effectively.


@Alfisti wrote:I could have sworn you had an OC thread going somewhere, but damned if I could find it. Remind me a gain what Edward’s nationality is? I’m assuming British as Becca seems to have picked up “bobbies”?

Only the respective interview with threads. Edward's British by birth and half-British, half-Italian by blood.


@Alfisti wrote: for the earlier part of the story you were spelling out each label “Orange One” etc. From a consistency point of view, it’s probably worth picking one or the other.

As an aside, “Charlie Two” is still a name, should the latter word not be capitalised as well? Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that one.

And that's what happens when it takes you ages to write a chapter. It should indeed be spelt out and capitalised.


@Alfisti wrote:Car-guy nitpick: she’s in a 156 yes? That’s front or, at best, four wheel drive. Forcing the rear around suggests rear-drive (at least, it does to me), perhaps “swung” would be a better word?

Can you tell I'm not a car-guy? Yes, it's a 156 and it does suggest wheels under power: swung would be better.


@Alfisti wrote:
”Vett” wrote: ...not having any two-wheeled surveillance, especially in Rome, was a capability gap that needed closing anyway.
I like, and find it amusing, that she is already framing her arguments.

Becca and her handler both believe that if you fail to plan you plan to fail, and that panic is for lesser mortals. Becca is channeling the latter into averting the former to keep herself calm. Being allowed to drive hinges on her presenting herself as a competent member of the team, and nerves won't help that.

Most of the conditioning's 'I love my hander' is tied up in being a good partner, along with most of Becca's self-image. This is the more controlled equivilent of Elsa and 'Etta in the belltower.


@Alfisti wrote:I don’t know if Becca’s really in the headspace to recognise it (and, I guess, I’m not 100% on how you handle it in your take of the universe), but in a way she could probably take it as a complement that the Director thinks enough of her to consider it worth his while rebuking her himself... rather than just going through her handler/in her handler’s presence.

Either that, or he just doesn’t feel like dealing with both problems at once.

It's more that Becca and her handler are a regular, if well-intentioned, headache and they've both been called onto the carpet to impress upon them the severity of the issue. They put toes across lines regularly, but this time they've literally driven over it at a hundred kilometers per hour. A cyborg with no handler, driving and potentially crashing, is a huge no-no, and this time it's not something Lorenzo can excuse because of the results it's brought. Unless Lorenzo makes his displeasure felt personally, her handler will wave it away to Becca as an irrelevance.

I'm walking a bit of a tight-rope from this scene onward, as I'm trying to establish Becca as very competent, recognised as such, a 'senior-cyborg'/CO's wife and highly independent... without stepping into Mary-Sue territory.

I was aiming for it to feel like Lorenzo has this incredibly useful asset, who makes sensible and correct calls. Unfortunately, the asset is looking at the small-picture of gathering intel, rather than the bigger picture of the entire agency being shut-down and unable to operate because a cyborg has been exposed. As such, he can see the advantages and valid reasons, but the political problems of an accident loom large in his mind. No-one's right or wrong, and hopefully it comes across as Becca being very outspoken and pushing acceptable cyborg behaviour - instead edging into actual flesh-and-blood adult.

Noses are put out of joint, people are needlessly riled - but she's allowed to get away with it because she's not technically being rude, she's being mature and sensible... and she's got a valid point.


@Alfisti wrote:
”Vett” wrote:She was intellectually aware that ten year old girls played house and had baby dolls, but she'd never quite made the link to Henrietta and Rico.
To be honest, I’m not certain about the fit of this on Rico. ‘Etta, sure, that I can swallow but Rico... sure, she’s bright and chirpy, but I’ve never really pictured her as a “playing house” type. Unless, I guess, ‘Etta has dragged her into it.

In my head, it's Henrietta being in instigator. Rico's just been dragged along in her wake.


I'll have to keep an eye out for repeated words. The car sections, as you said, I found very difficult in that regard. Once you've had turned, skidded (around) and swung (around), there's not much left.


Crit is (almost) always helpful, even if it's of the 'rite mor!!!!1!1!' variety, and it's interesting to see how people react to what I've written, particularly at which specific bits create comment. Glad you're enjoying it.

(Side note: There used to be a save draft button. Where is it now?)

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Alfisti on Fri 19 Sep 2014 - 4:51

@Vett wrote:Some of the military taste may just be that they spend most of their screen-time on the radio talking jargon than other Fratelli, but I have gone out of my way to have Edward use the appropriate slang where possible and to carry that over to the unit. Generally Fratelli (canon and fanon) are lone wolves combining for a specific op, whereas I'm trying to create a specialised team with its own procedures.
One of the advantages of living in a different time zone is that I often read the forum over breakfast, or on the train to work in the morning, so have some time to think about my responses. However, I still can't quite put my finger on exactly what give me the impression of Becca being "military". The frequent radio-talk might have a bit to do with it, but I was an impression I had of Becca long before she ever got on a radio. Perhaps it's something in the way she conducts herself, and she seems to have a very "us and them" attitude toward the "civilians" (which is not to cast aspersions on those from a military background either mind). One gets the impression she doesn't quite see them a fully thinking individuals.


@Vett wrote:The car scenes were a real pain to work with, particularly while trying to be consistent without actually creating spot code for all of Rome and its environs. Spot code is used to avoid cluttering up the radio with length descriptions of where a vehicle is going and, weirdly enough, I had the same issue when I didn't use it. To be honest, the entire thing is a blur of names of roads I suspect most readers won't have a clue about.

That being the case, is saying Charlie Two on red 6 intending yellow 6 actually any clearer in painting a picture than saying Charlie Two on Via Conchinnio, probably turning right right right into the un-named lane? Unless you're a local, I'm not really sure it is. I've tried to write it so that you don't have to understand where the code is refering to for it to make sense (and I've tried to make it relatively clear in the context before and after the report, but I'm not sure how well I've suceeded.

On the other hand, the jargon makes it that much harder. Would keeping spot code solely on the radio help? Becca would think in spot code, but it's an acceptable break from reality to have her name roads.
Honestly, I really don't have a good answer for you here, because you're right: throwing out random street names is just as confusing as spot-code. On that front, having Becca keep thinking in spot code is perfectly fine.

As I said: reading through the second time, I found the code easier going, as I was picking up the hints you left around it to start building up a map in my head of what was going on. That, I think, is half the problem. I don't know how true it rings for others but, reading something like a car chase, I'm immediately trying to build up a visualisation of what's going on, trying to get a lay of the land as it were... and I think it's actually made worse when describing Rome and it's surrounds, ans it's somewhere I've become reasonably familiar with the layout of from my own writing.

Writing AtAC, when I was doing a car chase, or simply moving J+M around a city, I found myself trying to use big, broad strokes to describe where they went, or to reference well known landmarks. In Istanbul it was the Bosporus, the Blue Mosque, the Bazaar or the Port, where J+M had been before. In Rome, the Colosseum, Spanish Stair, the Tiber, Vatican etc.

It can even be as simple as adding in a north, south, east or west. One of the passages you had mentioned heading "South toward Rome", and suddenly I had a reference point I knew. Perhaps even adding a direction "intending west on Red Six" might help? Even if the reader has no idea what "Red Six" is, they know what west is (at least, you'd hope they knew what west was).


@Vett wrote:This comment's made my day, actually. I'm not actively trying to demonstrate it, but this is exactly what's going on. Relaxed Becca isn't very different to professional Becca, but it's there (not that you've seen it yet).

As a side note, any idea how I'm doing this? I'd quite like to know so I can do it intentionally rather than trusting to being in the character's headspace effectively.
Your guess is as good as mine mate to be honest. Off the top of my head though, I think perhaps some of it is that you often spell out her decision making, her decision to be mature as it were. Maybe not in so many words, but there's the impression of wheels turning. On the flipside, we also get to see her immature thoughts, the jealous ones, the mischievous ones, and then the contrast between that and what actually comes out of her mouth. Either way, she never seems to quite relax into it, and it doesn't always feel like her first instinct to have that mature reaction.


@Vett wrote:I'm walking a bit of a tight-rope from this scene onward, as I'm trying to establish Becca as very competent, recognised as such, a 'senior-cyborg'/CO's wife and highly independent... without stepping into Mary-Sue territory.
That, is a familiar sounding tight-rope. I wish you the best of luck.  Razz


@Vett wrote:I'll have to keep an eye out for repeated words. The car sections, as you said, I found very difficult in that regard. Once you've had turned, skidded (around) and swung (around), there's not much left.
Well, you can also turn/skid/swing/scarper/swerve/slide/screech/swish(wet road)/roar through/past/into/around a corner/street/lane/alley/boulevard... that said, sometimes it's just a matter of re-structuring what you've written as well. I've been known to re-build entire paragraphs or sets of paragraphs to avoid repeating a word... though, admittedly, those were times I was feeling particularly overzealous.  sweat 

As to the "Save Draft" button... no idea. I've given up trying to write long reviews here and instead copy/paste into word.

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Vett on Sat 26 Sep 2015 - 3:29

It's been a year since I posted fic, so I'm overdue for even my own posting schedule.

Here's my second Fratello, Rocco and Anna.

This is intended as a series of short stories to get me writing while I'm bogged down with thrashing out Edward and Rebecca's chapters. Basically, I research those, whereas this is 'research-lite' and doesn't have car chases to make my life overly difficult.

So, here's Psychiatric Patience.

(N.B. The summary is dire. Any suggestions welcomed)

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Thescarredman on Sat 26 Sep 2015 - 13:51

Was starting to wonder if you'd given up writing entirely. study

Comments soon.
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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Thescarredman on Sat 26 Sep 2015 - 15:24

In a word: Excellent. I really can't decide whether I like Rocco or not, the manipulative bastardo, and Anna/Victoire fills me with a mixture of pity and revulsion - which makes them both very good characterizations and a tribute to your talent. It is pretty much the way I feel about most of the canon handlers and cyborgs.

The text, I'm afraid, seems full of missing words, which often happens in FFnet when sending a document from your own drive to the Manager. Do another proofread.

Plotwise, your story fits very well into the canon universe, a hyped-up version of Henrietta and Claes's stories. Let's hope it doesn't end the same way.

In summation, a work I much enjoyed reading, which moved me intellectually and emotionally, and I'll be looking forward to the next installment.

I'll be posting a copy of these comments as a review on FFnet, for the handful of non-CC readers of GsG fanfic out there...
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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Vett on Sat 26 Sep 2015 - 17:42

Thank you very much.

Regarding Rocco, just what is it about what he does that puts you on the fence about him? With the exception of the 'phone conversation' for his wife's benefit - and I suppose the deliberate inclusion of the difficult to buckle belt, what does he do that's 'bad' for want of a better word?

Is it just that he deliberately thinks out how best to persuade people?

When writing, I was aware that Rocco was probably going to have mixed reactions as a character because he is deliberately and transparently manipulative to get he outcome he wants, but I'm curious about just which incidents landed on which side of the ledger for you.

I've literally no idea how this is going to end, and, other than a vague desire to have them go scuba-diving and a short-story following them on Victoire's first trip off compound, I've no idea what's coming next.

Glad to know you enjoyed it and it carried you along. I don't normally write character-driven pieces, so this is something of a learning experience for me. I usually drive conflict through peril, but the conflict here is all about what's happening inside Victoire's head.


@Thescarredman wrote:I'll be posting a copy of these comments as a review on FFnet, for the handful of non-CC readers of GsG fanfic out there...


Tell me about it. I'd focus on Star Wars or Harry Potter fanfiction for more reviews, but GsG is a more natural fit for the types of scenes I want to practice and the quality (and ratio) of feedback I get for GSG is so much better as to be incomparable.


(I've checked out the editor and made some fixes, but I couldn't find that many places with missing words. Could you give me a few examples?)

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Thescarredman on Sat 26 Sep 2015 - 23:54

Plus: the effort he went to to hide the evidence of Anna's excesses from Ferro. The patience he shows in bringing her to a state the Agency will accept. His solid family life, as evidenced by the affection his children show him. 

Minus: the emotional disconnect between him and her, especially when he hears her being dragged out of her room to be wiped 'It's for the best. She'll be happier.' Uh huh. The way he uses her love as a lever, and the insincerity of his own shows of affection. The way he tells her she's the most important thing in the world to him - an utter lie. And the single home scene when he lies to his wife to score some brownie points with her.

I've run through the story a second time, but didn't find any more download bugs. Guess there weren't as many as I thought, and you caught them all.
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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Alfisti on Sun 4 Oct 2015 - 2:19

Fantastic work mate, as usual. More thoughts to come, but I do like the back story for this fratello: it's interesting, and gives Rocco the ability to be both detached boffin, and far to close, at the same time.

I also got a bit of a laugh at the "heel" command. I'd figured you were modelling a lot of her behaviours on dogs, in both versions of her. Her episodes in the room, her distraction, and the way Rocco is going about training her actually remind me a lot of how a pair of my mates are dealing with the serious separation anxiety their shelter-dog came with... or at least trying to deal with the separation anxiety. Unfortunately the dog is a surrogate child and, well, yeah... neither of them can hold off doting on it. Rocco seems to be doing a much better job.  Razz

Loved it, looking forward to more.

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Vett on Mon 5 Oct 2015 - 10:29

@TheScarredMan wrote:Minus: the emotional disconnect between him and her, especially when he hears her being dragged out of her room to be wiped 'It's for the best. She'll be happier.' Uh huh. The way he uses her love as a lever, and the insincerity of his own shows of affection.

I had sworn I'd replied to this. I certainly remember typing out a reply...

I was trying to play the scene where Anna gets taken away as one where he's trying to morally justify his actions to himself, him hiding away as displacement activity  because while he believes it's the best course of action, he's not comfortable with the distress it causes her. I clearly missed the mark there Wink


@Alfisti wrote: I'd figured you were modelling a lot of her behaviours on dogs, in both versions of her. Her episodes in the room, her distraction, and the way Rocco is going about training her actually remind me a lot of how a pair of my mates are dealing with the serious separation anxiety their shelter-dog came with

Not intentionally, but the "heel" line wasn't put in by accident Wink

I'm (loosely) modelling her behaviour on ADHD: she's impulsive, is capable of concentrating (though not necessarily on the right thing), but requires significant motivation to do so for a significant length of time. Otherwise it's a case of needing to look at all the things all the time.

She's very eager to please, however, which helps somewhat, even if she's not actually capable of being 'good'.

I'd like to write from her POV, but a) to let you in her head ruins the major driver for the story i.e. what's going on inside said head and b) I don't think I could manage the intense interest and whirling thoughts. I'm also not totally sure what her head-space would be like in a fight, other than red-mist.

All of b, actually, sounds like a very good reason to go ahead and write in her POV.

Edward gives her explicit, short instructions to try and help with the above, and keeps a very tight rein on her to limit the scope for getting sidetracked: he's basically trying to teach her to filter out/ignore the unimportant thoughts for later on - or, at least, make sure that her number one priority is doing what he says, when he says it.

Unfortunately, when you put all of that together...

Anyhow, glad you're enjoying it and that you find them interesting.

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Kiskaloo on Mon 5 Oct 2015 - 14:56

Really enjoyed that one. Yes Indeed

Always cool to see how different folks approach activation and training.

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Alfisti on Tue 6 Oct 2015 - 4:15

@Vett wrote:Edward gives her explicit, short instructions to try and help with the above, and keeps a very tight rein on her to limit the scope for getting sidetracked: he's basically trying to teach her to filter out/ignore the unimportant thoughts for later on - or, at least, make sure that her number one priority is doing what he says, when he says it.

Unfortunately, when you put all of that together...
"Edward", or "Rocco"?

I look forward to seeing how this develops.

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Vett on Tue 6 Oct 2015 - 10:18

@Kiskaloo wrote:
Really enjoyed that one.

Always cool to see how different folks approach activation and training.

Thanks Kisk.

One of my favourite scenes when reading about an OC handler is the meeting with their cyborg. It's a really good insight into how a handler operates.


@Alfisti

Oops. Yes, Rocco. While I've got vague plans to have the two fratelli meet, it's only ever as a cameo.

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Alfisti on Tue 29 Dec 2015 - 1:50

@Alfisti wrote:Fantastic work mate, as usual. More thoughts to come...
...it's only taken me three months, I think that's some kind of record.  sweat  Anyway, since I'm currently enjoying Christmas shutdown (both of a work and writing variety), here goes.

@Vett wrote:There was blood everywhere. The entire room was spatter-dashed from wall to wall, with the occasional patch that had taken a direct hit from arterial spray. Rocco carefully picked his way through the gore, trying to keep his shoes as pristine as possible. Anna was kneeling over one of the corpses, head down.

Again.
Good, strong opener. Were we not aware we were reading GsG fanfiction, it could just as easily open a super natural thriller or detective story. As it is, it immediately gets the reader wondering over just what is up with this particular fratello and, perhaps more pertinently: just what is wrong with this particular cyborg.


@Vett wrote:The bulb was dealt with by smashing it into the terrorist's skull.

Raising it above his head, he brought it down across the terrorist's throat. Blood flicked across the room like one of those fancy paintings as he did it again and again, obliterating the evidence. It wasn't perfect, but no-one would be autopsying this lot. He dropped his impromptu staff as the lift pinged.
Someone might just start though later if the SWA want to know if Anna/Victoire is making progress or not.

Says a lot though that stabbing a man with a lightbulb is somehow betterRazz


@Vett wrote:As Anna came out, he pulled the poncho over her head, covering the caked-on blood with clean blue plastic. As they made their way out the back exit, everyone they walked past gave them a look more suited to a hanging. He put an arm around Anna's shoulder. It wouldn't come to that. It wouldn't.
One has to wonder if it wouldn't be better to give her the poncho before going in.

On a more useful note: you're doing a good job of getting the basic character sketching done here for the reader as well, giving them an idea of who they're dealing with. Rocco comes across as under pressure, but protective... and it also hints that that protectiveness and emotional involvement are getting in the way of logical thought. Another handler in over his head, and not particularly suited to the stresses of the SWA, and that is not a bad thing (from a story perspective) either.


@Vett wrote:That was the sole good thing about her ongoing problems: the more you spent, the more you wanted to make sure the investment came good.
Just so long as no-one decides she's a sunk cost and writes her off...


@Vett wrote:That's how they measure their worth, ultimately: How many terrorists did I kill today?
Nicely foreshadowed with Anna's final words in the previous section.


@Vett wrote: 'We've accidentally created a bona-fide Hollywood-psychopath here, Chief,' said Rocco. 'Insurance would be my suggestion: There'll be no hesitation whatsoever if we have a repeat of the Pia... incident. Apart from that, it's got to be wet-work.'
An interesting line from Rocco, as it implies he also would happily go after a handler. Is that just desperation and wanting to present a viable option talking? Or does he genuinely not fit in with the handlers/is cold enough, to undertake that sort of mission. His behaviour in regards to Anna would suggest probably not the latter?

All the same, I wonder what the brass makes of that statement?


@Vett wrote:...giving her pistol back to her and demanding she do it again - but better this time - hadn't worked for her original handler, though he was supposedly doing alright with his type two.
Someone we know?


@Vett wrote:He slept in his office, not her monitoring room - when he'd slept, anyway.
As far as I know, doctors get pretty good at sleeping just about anywhere anyway.


@Vett wrote:He glanced at his watch: by his estimate, she'd been trying to dress for a little over five minutes now. Hopefully it was the little complication he'd included that was causing the problem. 'Are you almost finished?'

'Yes,' she called. It was the same response his son gave when what he really meant was: no, but you think I've taken too long and I need to get downstairs now. 'I'm coming.'

'Are you dressed?'

'I can't put the belt on.' Her voice was laced with frustration.

And let the mind games begin. 'Come out here and I'll sort it for you.'
While I like it and understand it in the context of the story, I must admit there is a part of me which cannot help but recoil at how purposefully and two-facedly manipulative this is: "I'm going to set you up to fail, and then make you thankful to me for fixing that failure". I suspect that reaction was in some ways intended, and I do, again, like the action in the context of the story. One can't help but wonder how Rocco feels about it though, quite in contrast to the seemingly overly emotionally involved and attached man we met at the start, all his affection here is coolly calculated to manipulate another person. I wonder if part of him feels any guilt over that? Or does he see it as what needs to be done, and the emotionally involved man has been put aside for the time in favour of the doctor and scientist... or has this all just become an experiment to him... or a little of all the above?


@Vett wrote:Hell, maybe he'd come in early and write them up in the morning: Victoire was up and functional, so he could go home and see his family for maybe as much as twenty minutes before the children were shooed off to sleep.
The presence of a family, of of the few (now) handlers to have one, again makes one wonder if he fully thought through the implications of essentially volunteering to be an insurance policy for the SWA, especially with the added hint that he and his cyborg are now French to boot...


@Vett wrote:He'd trotted out similar lines on occasion, usually when Bianchi had referred a handler to him so they could tag-team him regarding modifying his cyborg's behaviour.
Again, interesting use of language from Rocco here, patently he still views himself more as one of the medical staff than as one of the handlers.


@Vett wrote:'What's that?' said Victoire as they emerged from the concealing conifers and the under-and-over logs came into view.
Ah yes, the obstacle course, that thing that turns up near the beginning of a cyborg's life and never really goes away...

Victoire seems to be working up quite quickly. Not really having a baseline to compare against, is that a "take on the universe" thing? That she's just moving quickly at this stage, or a result of her, shall we say, having done this before, technically?


@Vett wrote:Apparently someone, probably Priscila, had dashed into the clothes store, grabbed the cute sailor dress, and not thought that the tiny buttons started barely above her hips.
Yeah, probably Priscila.  Razz


@Vett wrote:'Sit on the bed with your hairbrush, and while I'm drying your hair, you can tell me what you were writing for your cyborg magazine yesterday. How to choose appropriate arms, wasn't it?'
Wait... I thought she hadn't started on firearms yet? Or was this Rocco working as a precursor to ensuring she always goes for the gun?

In which case, Marisa may beg to differ.  Razz  Which, of course, raises another question: if she's writing a "cyborg magazine", is she aware of the existence of other cyborgs?


@Vett wrote:'She's had no interaction with anybody,' said Jean, looking at Bianchi for back-up. 'The only people who have interacted with her have been two of the armoury staff. That needs to change: introduce it slowly by all means, but she needs to be weaned off her isolation immediately. Limit her ability to converse with the other cyborgs if it'll help, but she needs to be a functional team-member or she's useless to us. That involves interaction and being able to take orders from all members of staff.'
Guess that, along with what was above it, answers that question. I take it then that that idea of keeping her has a completely isolated insurance policy, one that would feel no remorse at attacking one of her fellow cyborgs, has (at this stage at least) been canned, or at least toned back somewhat?


@Vett wrote:Rocco shoved his hands in the pockets of his greatcoat. 'I've been ordered not to. Jean will be here with Rico shortly, just in case. If Victoire tries to bite you, stop her immediately and do something else for a while. If she continues to try, shoot her: her favourite trick is to rip your throat out.'

Amadeo made a funny little laugh in the back of his throat. 'But she's fine now, right?'

'She has been with me.'
Is it just me or does it sound like Rocco's taking out a few of his own frustrations on Amadeo here? For that matter, I suspect Amadeo is wondering what he did wrong to get lined up for this.  Razz


@Vett wrote:Good was a strange euphemism for manipulative, but then he used the same underlying techniques on his children too, and raising children to be the very best they could be was what love was.
Answering one of my previous observations somewhat.


@Vett wrote:'No. This, Ferro,' he said, satisfaction oozing from every syllable, 'this is success.'
Good thing Rocco seems to be extremely competent at spinning things to convince others of his own views usually, insofar as I can tell, by remininding them of how bad things were before.  Razz

Great chapter as always mate though, to be honest, I'm starting to get a handle on what people felt like getting through the 20k word chapters of AtAC.  sweat That said, it raises plenty of questions as well, both in-story, and over the nature of the cyborgs themselves and universe as a whole. Looking forward to seeing more (presuming there is more coming).

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Vett on Wed 24 Feb 2016 - 12:33

Sorry for the very delayed response. Life's been a bit insane lately.

@Alfisti wrote:One has to wonder if it wouldn't be better to give her the poncho before going in.

Rocco lives in hope Wink


@Alfisti wrote:An interesting line from Rocco, as it implies he also would happily go after a handler. Is that just desperation and wanting to present a viable option talking? Or does he genuinely not fit in with the handlers/is cold enough, to undertake that sort of mission. His behaviour in regards to Anna would suggest probably not the latter?

Probably 75% the former, 25% the latter. He wouldn't like going after their own, but if you're a traitor, then you deserve what's coming to you, particularly if you're part of the SWA, as you knew the rules when you signed-up.


@Alfisti wrote:
@Vett wrote:...giving her pistol back to her and demanding she do it again - but better this time - hadn't worked for her original handler, though he was supposedly doing alright with his type two.
Someone we know?

It's a filler line, so no, though I can think of several it could apply to in the contexts of the AU. Depending upon where I draw the line, it may be another one of my OCs, but I'm not sure where I want to branch this series off at the moment.


@Alfisti wrote:The presence of a family, of of the few (now) handlers to have one, again makes one wonder if he fully thought through the implications of essentially volunteering to be an insurance policy for the SWA, especially with the added hint that he and his cyborg are now French to boot...

No, he hasn't thought it through in the slightest. As far as Rocco is concerned, work and home are separate and never the twain shall meet.


@Alfisti wrote:Victoire seems to be working up quite quickly. Not really having a baseline to compare against, is that a "take on the universe" thing? That she's just moving quickly at this stage, or a result of her, shall we say, having done this before, technically?

The latter. I'm pretty sure Rocco muses more or less the same thing at one point. I've tried to imply fairly heavily without outright stating that the memory wipe, while technically successful, hasn't taken fully and that she's got impulses and instincts bleeding over.


@Alfisti wrote:Wait... I thought she hadn't started on firearms yet? Or was this Rocco working as a precursor to ensuring she always goes for the gun?

In which case, Marisa may beg to differ.    Which, of course, raises another question: if she's writing a "cyborg magazine", is she aware of the existence of other cyborgs?

It's a precursor. Rocco is drumming it into her right from the start that she should always go for a weapon.

No awareness of other cyborgs at this point. Rocco's just using a magazine as a teaching method and a way to check her manual dexterity. It also amused me to drop a reference to your FQ magazine into a story featuring the cyborg least likely to be able to contribute anything to it - unless one of the others were to write a "what not to do on ops" type piece.


@Alfisti wrote:Guess that, along with what was above it, answers that question. I take it then that that idea of keeping her has a completely isolated insurance policy, one that would feel no remorse at attacking one of her fellow cyborgs, has (at this stage at least) been canned, or at least toned back somewhat?

Isolation was never the plan. Rocco isolated her to ensure that he was the only thing she had to model behaviour on. Once Rocco feels he has control over her and she'll respond to key stimuli more or less as he wishes, then interaction will be slowly introduced. Initially it's limiting interaction with staff to make sure she won't attack them and won't be affected by their views on how cyborgs should behave. Once Rocco's got that, then slowly introducing other cyborgs can begin.... provided they don't start her down the 'how many terrorists did I kill today route.


\"alfisti" wrote:Is it just me or does it sound like Rocco's taking out a few of his own frustrations on Amadeo here?

Just a little Wink The other reason is that he wants Amadeo on edge, because if he treats her like Henrietta or Claes and manages to set her off, she might kill him. If he's worried, he'll be less liable to give her the benefit of the doubt.


@Alfisti wrote:
@Vett wrote:Good was a strange euphemism for manipulative, but then he used the same underlying techniques on his children too, and raising children to be the very best they could be was what love was.
Answering one of my previous observations somewhat.

Rocco's a psychologist and a scientist, and looks at life that way. He's got no qualms about using basic psychology to get people to do what he wants. At home, it's taking his daughter's dolls away if she's throwing them at her brother. At work it's making his cyborg desire time with him so it can be withdrawn if she displays undesired behaviour. Similarly, he uses various cognitive-biases against his boss and co-workers to get them to agree with him.

At work it's all got a more sinister edge, but the principle's the same: if his daughter's got a problem, she knows she can turn to him for help; so his cyborg knows she must turn to him for help, he gives her a problem.

Unfortunately, the scientific remove he's previously had in place is somewhat insecure.


@alfisti wrote:Good thing Rocco seems to be extremely competent at spinning things to convince others of his own views usually, insofar as I can tell, by remininding them of how bad things were before.

Always useful to have someone else to blame. I should also point out, though, that the scene is cut there for a reason Wink


@Alfisti wrote:Great chapter as always mate though, to be honest, I'm starting to get a handle on what people felt like getting through the 20k word chapters of AtAC.   That said, it raises plenty of questions as well, both in-story, and over the nature of the cyborgs themselves and universe as a whole. Looking forward to seeing more (presuming there is more coming).

Thank you. This chapter was rather long. The issue I had with it was that I couldn't find anywhere to cut it: it's designed to be a self-contained story (with plenty of grist for sequels and character development, admittedly), but I couldn't really figure out a way to condense it and still keep enough character development in-place to have the final scene feel like a sensible result of gradual change rather than a leap to where I wanted it to be.

I've also never written a proper short story. They all turn into novellas no matter what I do.

There is a plan for further stories, though the issue I'm running into is that I'm trying to focus them all on the character development rather than being plot driven and, frankly, I'm struggling to come-up with something that is primarily about Rocco and Victoire rather than Rocco and Victoire doing .

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Re: Vett's Fic

Post by Alfisti on Wed 2 Mar 2016 - 6:19

@Vett wrote:Thank you. This chapter was rather long. The issue I had with it was that I couldn't find anywhere to cut it: it's designed to be a self-contained story (with plenty of grist for sequels and character development, admittedly), but I couldn't really figure out a way to condense it and still keep enough character development in-place to have the final scene feel like a sensible result of gradual change rather than a leap to where I wanted it to be.

I've also never written a proper short story. They all turn into novellas no matter what I do.

There is a plan for further stories, though the issue I'm running into is that I'm trying to focus them all on the character development rather than being plot driven and, frankly, I'm struggling to come-up with something that is primarily about Rocco and Victoire rather than Rocco and Victoire doing .
Well, there's still going to need to be some doing, the trick is probably shifting the focus of the story from the actual doing to the results and effects on the characters thereof.  Razz 

That said, the story for them so far has been pretty heavily focused on Rocco and Victoire and, perhaps more to the point, they have been kept relatively isolated. You might find taking the emphasis off the 'doing' part of things gets easier once you start introducing a larger recurring cast into the story for them to interact with.

One thing I learned when writing the Roman Sniper arc of AtAC, and which subsequently drove me to write Danilo & Raych's story, is that it is way easier to focus on character with more people around for your primaries to interact and build relationships with. Because Jethro+Monty were always out on their own (plus Katherine recently, I guess... and general style of story not withstanding), the story relied on their 'doing' things and the plot to drive it along. Plus their world was huge. The point of Meanwhile in Italy was to try and create a much more character driven story, hence why D&R were purposely restricted to Italy and generally to the SWA compound: it kept their world small, so minor (particularly personal and interpersonal) things could seem big, gave them plenty of time to over think, and meant there was always a large cast available to either interact with, or who could offer their own opinions and views on the pair and help create context and the atmosphere surrounding them, and so on.

Anyway, just a thought. I look forward to reading what you come up with.

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