Petrushka

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Kiskaloo on Thu 29 Oct 2009 - 10:59

All I have to say is that Petrushka outlives Triela I am going to laugh for days. Muh-m-muhahahaha!

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Danjo3 on Thu 29 Oct 2009 - 11:17

@Kiskaloo wrote:All I have to say is that Petrushka outlives Triela I am going to laugh for days.
I donít think thereís any doubt she will.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Kiskaloo on Thu 29 Oct 2009 - 11:44

@Danjo3 wrote:
@Kiskaloo wrote:All I have to say is that Petrushka outlives Triela I am going to laugh for days.
I donít think thereís any doubt she will.

Well they do say living well is the best revenge, so I imagine just living is a good revenge. Very Happy

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Re: Petrushka

Post by boomer_gonz on Thu 29 Oct 2009 - 15:13

@Kiskaloo wrote:
@Danjo3 wrote:
@Kiskaloo wrote:All I have to say is that Petrushka outlives Triela I am going to laugh for days.
I donít think thereís any doubt she will.

Well they do say living well is the best revenge, so I imagine just living is a good revenge.

To rip off a line from one of the most underrated sequels of all time;

Triela to Petrushka: Just remember this twinkle toes. You'll never be me, you'll only be the one who replaced me.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by ElfenMagix on Thu 29 Oct 2009 - 23:40

@boomer_gonz wrote:
@Kiskaloo wrote:
@Danjo3 wrote:
@Kiskaloo wrote:All I have to say is that Petrushka outlives Triela I am going to laugh for days.
I donít think thereís any doubt she will.

Well they do say living well is the best revenge, so I imagine just living is a good revenge.

To rip off a line from one of the most underrated sequels of all time;

Triela to Petrushka: Just remember this twinkle toes. You'll never be me, you'll only be the one who replaced me.
Damn Skippy!

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Re: Petrushka

Post by maverick375 on Fri 30 Oct 2009 - 5:46

I'm not sure why you guys single out Petra for so much hate. I love all of the characters.

Except Beatrice. Fuck Beatrice, she's better off dead.



j/k.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by MikhailN on Fri 30 Oct 2009 - 7:16

@maverick375 wrote:I'm not sure why you guys single out Petra for so much hate. I love all of the characters.

Same here. I think they just hate redheads

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Danjo3 on Fri 30 Oct 2009 - 10:43

@maverick375 wrote:Except Beatrice. Fuck Beatrice, she's better off dead.
Oh lord! How did poor little Bicť get dragged into this?

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Re: Petrushka

Post by MikhailN on Fri 30 Oct 2009 - 11:09

@Danjo3 wrote:
@maverick375 wrote:Except Beatrice. Fuck Beatrice, she's better off dead.
Oh lord! How did poor little Bicť get dragged into this?

For Teh Lulz Razz

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Re: Petrushka

Post by LoC978 on Fri 30 Oct 2009 - 15:41

@MikhailN wrote:
@maverick375 wrote:I'm not sure why you guys single out Petra for so much hate. I love all of the characters.

Same here. I think they just hate redheads
... if Petra would be said to have any saving grace, it would be her looks (okay, okay, also, the cutesy ditzy thing... I'd have to be made of stone not to go "awwww...")
...too bad she's got that brassy fake dyed color to her hair. I'm all about the redheads, when they're born that way.
Razz

But Alessandro... now there's a character worthy of hatred.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Robert Frazer on Fri 30 Oct 2009 - 15:54

Loc, don't confuse hatred with envy.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by LoC978 on Fri 30 Oct 2009 - 15:59

don't worry, I've got plenty o' both. I don't really need to differentiate. :dance:

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Re: Petrushka

Post by SPARTAN 119 on Sat 31 Oct 2009 - 1:23

If we all hate Petra so much, perhaps we should a couple new Golden Cyborg category: Best anti-Petra fic and best anti-Petra art.

For greatness in the area of fanfic or art that revolves around the humiliation and/or death of Petra.

Also, A similar award for for fics and art involving the humiliation and or death of Sandro.

*Extra points in STDs are involved (hey, considering Sandro's previous line of work....).
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Re: Petrushka

Post by MikhailN on Sat 31 Oct 2009 - 1:40

@SPARTAN 119 wrote:If we all hate Petra so much, perhaps we should a couple new Golden Cyborg category: Best anti-Petra fic and best anti-Petra art.

For greatness in the area of fanfic or art that revolves around the humiliation and/or death of Petra.

Also, A similar award for for fics and art involving the humiliation and or death of Sandro.

*Extra points in STDs are involved (hey, considering Sandro's previous line of work....).

While we're at it, how about an anti-Rico one. Or how about an anti-Director one. Or how about...

Heck this isn't going to end

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Nachtsider on Sat 31 Oct 2009 - 1:47

In b4 guro

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Re: Petrushka

Post by MikhailN on Sat 31 Oct 2009 - 1:48

@Nachtsider wrote:In b4 guro

??? Puzzled ???

Bong hit ?

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Five_X on Sat 31 Oct 2009 - 2:50

@MikhailN wrote:how about an anti-Rico one.

Silly. Rico is too awesome to hate.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 31 Oct 2009 - 11:21

She's hella creepy, especially in -IL TEATRINO- form.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Alfisti on Sat 31 Oct 2009 - 11:26

@Kiskaloo wrote:She's hella creepy, especially in -IL TEATRINO- form.

Though, lets be honest here: everyone's a little creepy in Il Teatrino form... Razz
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Re: Petrushka

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 31 Oct 2009 - 11:31

@Alfisti wrote:
@Kiskaloo wrote:She's hella creepy, especially in -IL TEATRINO- form.

Though, lets be honest here: everyone's a little creepy in Il Teatrino form... Razz

Yes. Even my beloved Angelica makes me uncomfortable.

But Rico just takes it to the next level of creepiness.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by ElfenMagix on Sat 31 Oct 2009 - 14:34

@Kiskaloo wrote:
@Alfisti wrote:
@Kiskaloo wrote:She's hella creepy, especially in -IL TEATRINO- form.

Though, lets be honest here: everyone's a little creepy in Il Teatrino form... Razz

Yes. Even my beloved Angelica makes me uncomfortable.

But Rico just takes it to the next level of creepiness.
Yes, she eats flies!

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Five_X on Sat 31 Oct 2009 - 14:52

I actually found Il Teatrino to be incredibly awesome. Probably 9.756586888/10 of season one. I also didn't think Rico was that creepy. Especially compared to Henrietta. But hey, at least there is a second season. I'd much rather have Il Teatrino than nothing at all. But it kinda makes me worried for when volumes 6-8 are animeified. I don't know if I could sit through 13 episodes of pure, undistilled Petra.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by SPARTAN 119 on Sat 31 Oct 2009 - 23:28

@MikhailN wrote:
@SPARTAN 119 wrote:If we all hate Petra so much, perhaps we should a couple new Golden Cyborg category: Best anti-Petra fic and best anti-Petra art.

For greatness in the area of fanfic or art that revolves around the humiliation and/or death of Petra.

Also, A similar award for for fics and art involving the humiliation and or death of Sandro.

*Extra points in STDs are involved (hey, considering Sandro's previous line of work....).

While we're at it, how about an anti-Rico one. Or how about an anti-Director one. Or how about...

Heck this isn't going to end

You forgot anti-Jean. Anyway, in the event Elfen takes this seriously, we should probably make a general hater award.
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Re: Petrushka

Post by Danjo3 on Sun 1 Nov 2009 - 1:35

@Kiskaloo wrote:But Rico just takes it to the next level of creepiness.
I agree. When she gave that little smile and laugh before she beat the shit out of that guyÖ more then a little creepy.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Five_X on Sun 1 Nov 2009 - 1:49

Aw, I still luvs me some Rico. She's ah number one! She's just so incredibly adorable, and badass as well. And she has that creepy emotionlessness that pervades her happy appearance. It mixes together to make her totally awesome.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by MikhailN on Sun 1 Nov 2009 - 1:52

@Danjo3 wrote:
@Kiskaloo wrote:But Rico just takes it to the next level of creepiness.
I agree. When she gave that little smile and laugh before she beat the shit out of that guyÖ more then a little creepy.

Yea she reminds me of Gasai Yuno from Mirai Nikki

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Danjo3 on Sun 1 Nov 2009 - 1:59

Itís the contrasts in her personality that make her so awesome.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Isochroma on Tue 22 Dec 2009 - 17:20

Petrushka is my favorite character by far! Really intelligent, capable, and now involved in a budding relationship with Alessandro!

I'm going to be writing more on my impressions of the manga and animes soon. Last night I finished reading up to chapter 64. I was so hooked that I'd read chapter 1-63 in only two days Smile

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Totoum on Tue 22 Dec 2009 - 17:31

@Isochroma wrote:Petrushka is my favorite character by far! Really intelligent, capable, and now involved in a budding relationship with Alessandro!

I'm going to be writing more on my impressions of the manga and animes soon. Last night I finished reading up to chapter 64. I was so hooked that I'd read chapter 1-63 in only two days Smile

Don't forget to introduce yourself in the greetings section Wink

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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Re: Petrushka

Post by maverick375 on Tue 22 Dec 2009 - 19:32

Well, it's a change from the Petra-bashing that usually goes on. Welcome to the forum!!

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Isochroma on Tue 22 Dec 2009 - 21:59

First, why I write. I only write about the stories and the moments in those stories that burn my heart. Those times the tears flow like a river into an ocean of devotion! There's also an extra, hidden reason I write about certain characters or animes. The secret thing that really makes me flush red in the face... I won't mention it yet - maybe never. A secret so bold it can never be told?

Petrushka as a human being reaches a level of dynamicism far beyond the other girls. She has a very high intelligence and rapidly evolving awareness.

I want to see how these traits are revealing and will reveal the complexities and moral contradictions of her sponsor organization and its relations to the larger scene. Question Authority is my motto, and it seems she shares it. That is what I love, and so I am in love with Petrushka.

Beyond these niceties, Petrushka is a beautiful girl who will reach a new level of both understanding and corruption by the careful tutelage of her handler Alessandro.

It's possible for Petra to reach these new heights and depths because she is not only far more complex and mature than the other girls, but equally vital is her partner, who will draw out her potentials both as a worker for the organization, as a human being and as a person in intimate relation with him.

Petra is able - unlike the other girls - to fully and consciously understand the organization's reasons, and to act - including kill - fully consciously with conscious intent not preprogrammed but of her own free will. When I say she can reach new levels of both heights and depths, it is because she is able to act in a most conscious way, not as a simple tool to be used by others. Not only is she able to do so, but most importantly, she constantly questions Alessandro and others, and very quickly learns the situation she's in - the big picture. I'm even tempted to say she has the potential to be a liability to the organization by eventually opposing it. Prosecutor Guellfi confirms this: "For a member of the state police, you have strange things in your head.". Petra's a bit worried and replies: "You think I'm out of line?". Even as a member of the state police - never mind a lower-level functionary charged with guard duty - she is pretty close to being out of line, if not some distance over the line. Too many and too complex questions tend to shorten the lives of a dedicated killer-cyborg like her within the organization.

Alessandro isn't threatened by her amazing intelligence and constant questions, though he knows how to indicate that she shouldn't go too far with them. In volume 7 page 80, he discusses the Republicans and Italy's North-South politico-economic conflict with her in detail, carefully showing her with a map how things are. It's also apparent on that very page that she already knows much of this: "It's about the financial differences between the rich north and the poor south, right?".

Alessandro wants to develop every part of the being before him, and is fully willing and able to provide detailed, explicit teaching which encompasses the wider picture without withholding complex information. He trusts her intelligence and her ability to absorb the material.

The important question for Petra in the future will be who - if anyone - at the organization thinks she's out of line, and how they weigh her potentials against her liabilities.

Truthfully, if I was running the organization I'd spot such signs very quickly and have to make the inevitable decision: do I allow an individual like Petra to live and manage her carefully, hoping the value of such lively, independent intelligence outweighs the risk of betrayal, or do I just have a bullet put in her brain or shut her down on the next maintenance cycle?

There will come a time when Petra has to choose between Alessandro and the organization, or both Petra and her handler will have to choose between each other and the organization.

On the subject of passion - she already knows Alessandro's a woman-chaser, but what she really feels hasn't yet been revealed in detail. That's understandable considering her age. In contrast, we know exactly how Alessandro feels - and he shows it explicitly by kissing her. He wonders why she's the only one he can't lie to. He shows the classic signs of avoidance & repulsion (A&R) that so characterize a love-resister in denial.

Beyond these points, the man wants to live with and integrate his life with Petra. He sees her more as a person and less as a tool than many if not most of the other handlers in their respective relations. He's concerned about how long she will live, yet unlike a certain other handler doesn't obsess or lose himself in negativity over her short life expectancy.

Alessandro is the kind of man - especially at his age - that lives for the moment. His first instructions to Petra reflect his freestyling nature, and faith that to be intuitive and natural with style is the best way for her, as he's already decided for himself by the way he lives his life. Despite a bad relationship in the past, Alessandro is not - as many of the other handlers are - poisoned by an unrootable bitterness. That makes him a powerful force to create new life and growth in the story and especially in his relations with his special girl Petra.

This is because the man is a very talented socializer, and still has the shine of wild passionate youth. The fire from within. His social skill is light-years beyond the other handlers and likely tops in the organization, or at least the portions of it we get to see in the visible plot. He cares for the detail and isn't afraid to be intimate with Petra. From the beginning his concern is her style, and he picks every detail carefully. He does her makeup, he gives her exact advice like how much foundation to put on!

Some women might find that annoying, but as a man he is supremely accomplished at tutoring Petra or any young woman of her age in many aspects that will be important to her employment within the organization and indeed, attributes that would make any girl successful in society at large.

I have a distaste for the foolishness, lack of gentle touch and heart displayed by many of the other handlers. Alessandro is the kind of guy I'd love to have as a friend, as an advisor, or if I was a girl, as a lover... I have yet to see a truly devastating character flaw in this man, but it may yet turn up.

Is Petra as a machine hybrid physically able to have sex? It's certain that her human mind will feel the passion. Alessandro will go there: he is able and willing, has done so with others in the past, and she is old enough and maybe just mature enough. The creators are putting out the signal loud and clear, but will the gossamer penguin fly?

The higher-ups have so far been very loose by allowing handlers to customize and train their girls with wide latitude. Until Petra, the age difference between a handler and his girl, the hardness of the handlers, and the very young age of the girls in absolute years made such a relation impossible - therefore unthinkable to these planners.

They are about to get a shock. The first hint was when Alessandro asked the technician if he could get Petra a belly-ring and start her smoking. The doctor didn't seem to care and replied that it was all ok. It seems he didn't understand that these two items were just the beginning of a revolutionary program from a very revolutionary man. The obvious and logical evolution of Alessandro's own vision made real in the body and mind of Petra will be something that breaks the established story's boundaries.

My guess is that his relationship to Petra is at all levels integral to the story, and that becoming intimate to the ultimate level with her as they co-develop will bring an enormous emotional impact to the entire story. A level that could never develop without her, because the other girls are simply too immature and their handlers too closed-up or dysfunctional to make any further unfoldings in the direction of personal co-development and intimacy possible.

There are many questions that will be answered by the chapters ahead. The most important reason for the introduction of Petra and Alessandro to the story was to breathe new life into its possibilities. To make the story able to grow from a shrub into a tree that reaches new heights by its branches, and new depths by its roots.


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Re: Petrushka

Post by Kiskaloo on Tue 22 Dec 2009 - 23:21

My hero!

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Alfisti on Wed 23 Dec 2009 - 0:09

Wow... I had to read that twice sweat

Still: an excellent and in-depth look at the two characters and their place in the world of GSG. I wish I could offer some more indepth comment, but I'd need at least a few hours to sit down with it properly.

Oh, and welcome to the forum as well. As a matter of interest: will you be looking to write in a fan-fiction vein as well? Because if that's what one of your essays looks like I'm dying to see how a story goes.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Isochroma on Wed 23 Dec 2009 - 0:39

I've never written fiction before, but I love writing about the deeper aspects of stories. I'm lazy though and often focus on one set or situation and explore it in detail - in this case Alessandro and Petrushka.

Before this the last article I wrote was a comparison between an anime -Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom and Lťon: The Professional. It emphasized the difference in technique and, ultimately, the strengths and weaknesses of Western and anime filmmakers in how they deal with really tough subjects. The films Phantom and Leon both deal with a very tough subject indeed: the horror of a child becoming an assassin, and a very tough scene that was so disturbing that Phantom's creators had to cut it out.

It's a sample of the kind of analysis that inflames my passion. An identical theme runs through and enlivens both that review and this one: the loss of innocence in those young girls becoming trained assassins. My concern and interest is finding that most uncomfortable place which is just outside the line which demarcates tastefulness, social acceptability, and artistic license. The place so few artists dare tread.

In Gunslinger Girl I found a gem shining in the piles of coal - but only in Petrushka do I find the potential for ultimate accomplishment and also total corruption.

When I feel the pain of vicious cruelty, when I see a formerly beautiful being corrupted by force or especially voluntarily - there is a soft place inside that understands it all. It cries but only the keyboard can hear. I want total absolution and am aiming to find it. I am a terrorist of the heart, a watcher of souls who is looking for something that transcends every possibility and journeys into the incalculable infinity which exists around us.

If such a journey means absorbing the pain of the Gunslinger Girls and their masters, then it is all the more beautiful to travel. Their tragedies become mine, my very own broken heart. To absorb every detail and use it as fuel to make an engine of eternity within my own heart. Yeah, that's why.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Isochroma on Wed 23 Dec 2009 - 1:29

I forgot to include one other truly important attribute that is shown on several occasions by Petra. In volume 7 page 145, she asks the prosecutor Guellfi, "The conflict with the republicans will end someday, right?".

She's deeply concerned with the endless spiral of violence and retribution that exists in the political world - one that the organization she's part of is itself an integral part of. In pragmatic terms, that tells me right away that she's about to start questioning the role of the organization and her own role in participating in it - a massive difference from the other girls, who unquestioningly obey orders due to their conditioning or passion for their handlers.

Petra is also concerned at the personal level - she has the ability to feel in a moral sense. On page 79 of the same volume she mentions how "Mr. Jean is very forward...". Mr. Jean, according to Alessandro, "...was not easy on the capture of Luciano, I can tell you that". In the panel next to it we are treated to a picture of a badly beaten man tied down to a chair - Mr. Luciano.

So Petra is concerned about the viciousness of Jean and suffering of Luciano. On the next page (80), she says "I'd feel better if Jean didn't pummel them so much." She feels guilty, having helped capture Luciano, that he is now being beaten senseless by Jean the interrogator. So her interpersonal morality is already showing conflicts with the organization.

How she deals with and resolves the discrepancy between her moral feelings of justice and how the organization operates at both the large level - in the context of a political struggle - and at the personal level by its torture and killing of targets - will be a determining factor in the coming chapters.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by MadHatChemist on Wed 23 Dec 2009 - 1:37

I think that, in large part, because we've seen a good look at her pre-cyborg life, we've seen the potential of her and what happens to her, while giving her some more life, ultimately will eat what is left of her humanity.

Very sad fate for the cyborgs...and Petra makes that very clear -- moreso for the 1st gen since they were the "trial verson"

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Isochroma on Wed 23 Dec 2009 - 1:47

Contrary to your view, I see the unique potential of Petrushka to not only preserve her humanity, but to continue developing and learning. To become something the other girls could never hope for: a fully-realized cyborg-human hybrid, albeit one with a limited but longer lifespan.

She has so far exhibited all the mental ability - learning, moral standards, ability to question authority and more - to qualify as such a being. Furthermore, being a second-generation hybrid, Petra takes a lower dose of the amnesic drug and can therefore be expected to not only live longer, but to retain both memories and also brain health.

From the start of her life after the operation until the end of chapter 64, Petra does nothing but develop at an amazing pace, leaving the other girls behind in the dust. At every turn she demonstrates inherent and deep differences between herself and the other girls in her mechanical body's design, mental attitude and abilities.

These are all signs that the creators intend to make her life a shooting star of far greater brilliance than any other in the story. Perhaps also a greater tragedy.

If Petra ever loses her humanity, it will be voluntarily as she consciously decides with her high intelligence to do what she believes is right, not as the result of a conditioning drug. I don't call that losing your humanity - I call that finding your humanity.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Five_X on Wed 23 Dec 2009 - 2:37

Well, it depends on what you mean by "humanity". If you are referring to her being humane, then yes, you are right. But if you mean "humanity" as in her human nature, well, it hasn't been shown whether or not any of the girls arte truly "human" in that way.

Despite her relative mental freedom, she still has been at least partially brainwashed. Did that get rid of the fundamental instincts that all humans possess? That is likely for the other girls, but Petra is different. I believe that yes, while she is capable of being "just", she is also capable of total corruption, due to her understanding who she is and what her situation is. The other girls, technically, are almost completely innocent.

Innocence, having the undiluted quality of what society views as "good", is impossible in a being of complex intelligence and emotion such as a human. The first-gen girls are rather innocent. They are mentally forced to accept what they do, and do not truly understand their lives. They haven't been corrupted, it's just that killing is they way they were trained, and the only life they know. That is their base state. However, they do have some free will and emotion, and aren't completely innocent. They are capable of jealousy and hate. To use an example from another anime: Nyu in Elfen Lied is purely innocent. Unlike the SWA girls, she is completely incapable of feeling hate, envy, regret, greed, pride, and is completely uncorrupted and uncorruptable. She just wants other people to be happy. The thing is, she's not exactly very intelligent. She cannot speak, and appears to be incapable of complex thought. The reason why she is innocent and impossible to corrupt is because she does not have the intelligence or emotion to do so.

Getting back to GSG, well, Petra does have the intelligence and emotion to be corrupted. In fact, she already is corrupted, as I already stated that innocence is lost in complex beings. It's kind of related to the Second Law of Thermodynamics: All systems tend toward chaos. In this case, the complex human system tends toward the complex state of corruption. While Petra is in some ways "better" than the other girls, she is also worse. She, unlike them, is capable of understanding morality and emotions. She is able to experience hate, greed, pride, etc, things that can (and likely will) lead to her becoming "evil".

Laconic edition: Petra fails at being a Gunslinger Girl, but excels at being a human.

P.S.: To further understand what I'm trying to get across, read Lord of the Flies by William Golding. It's an eye-opener, for sure, and can help explain the concepts of human nature and innocence I touched upon.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Isochroma on Wed 23 Dec 2009 - 6:07

Agreed on all your points - your explanations are very logical and consistent. I read all of Lord of the Flies some years ago.

The operative definition of corruption - omitted from my previous posts but guiding their operations in this area - is primarily killing and all the other commonly illegal actions, and second, non-illegal but widely regarded as corrupt practices. I'm sticking to just a bare minimum definition so as not to get lost in hazy definitions or distinctions that can otherwise be argued over endlessly.

Agreed that the gen1 girls are indeed fairly innocent, though not entirely.

Kiskaloo: After readng the enjoyable revision history of the Wikipedia article "List of Gunslinger Girl characters" I noted that this nice guy by your name has been contributing to it! The article itself on Petrushka comes to some of the same conclusions as I myself arrived at.

At first I was just spooked at the user name and revision dates, but comparing the differences, immediately noted that your edits were simply additions and clarifications of character names, plus additions of some excellent information including the details behind persons, corporations and their relations, etc.

What was spooky was I never went to that particular Wikipedia article before. Coming to the same conclusions myself in my second post - sorry for the bulky size of that one - was an affirmation of the fundamental solidity of independent analytics.

Ending with some thoughts on Petrushka. The Wikipedia article doesn't give a sense of not only how much weaker than gen1 conditioning hers is, but crucially omits the fact that she has a very strong personality with high intelligence - just the particular human traits of mind that came with her brain, but ones radically opposed to any kind of conditioning. The radical part is her higher level of intelligence, which by its inherent nature overrides the correlation between functional enhancement and its translation to desired outcomes enforced by conditioning.

That radical part is one of the most difficult to explain, a quality that natural humans possess. It is the unknown factor, and also the unknowing factor. It is why she asks questions - and good ones too. There is in her actions a natural curiosity, and behind it a quickly developing sense of guilt at the least and natural morality in the best case. I highlight the term 'natural morality' because it's a concept I thought of to roughly define the natural sense of justice that develops in a person, irrespective of outside influences. This phenomenon is not common in real life situations, since concepts of justice are informally and formally transplanted into the new human as it grows up.

We are given the sight of Petrushka developing natural morality once again. Despite being - albeit mildly - brainwashed by the conditioning - and despite being in opposition to her adoptive organizations's tactics. The internal conflict between conditioning, outside pressure colinear with the conditionng, and her own self-developed morality could become a major factor in her development - or maldevelopment. With her level of intelligence and demonstrated ability, I see positive development in the cards. The laissez-faire attitude of Alesandro on many issues of centrality to her personal development leaves room to grow and maybe find a way out of the impossible contradiction between the heart within and the force from without.

I anticipate that Petra's life will be in the proverbial camera for some chapters more - perhaps volumes more. Now I've got to sleep, so it is time to tuck in the keyboad and say goodnight.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by ElfenMagix on Wed 23 Dec 2009 - 11:22

@Five_X wrote:Well, it depends on what you mean by "humanity". If you are referring to her being humane, then yes, you are right. But if you mean "humanity" as in her human nature, well, it hasn't been shown whether or not any of the girls arte truly "human" in that way.

Despite her relative mental freedom, she still has been at least partially brainwashed. Did that get rid of the fundamental instincts that all humans possess? That is likely for the other girls, but Petra is different. I believe that yes, while she is capable of being "just", she is also capable of total corruption, due to her understanding who she is and what her situation is. The other girls, technically, are almost completely innocent.

Innocence, having the undiluted quality of what society views as "good", is impossible in a being of complex intelligence and emotion such as a human. The first-gen girls are rather innocent. They are mentally forced to accept what they do, and do not truly understand their lives. They haven't been corrupted, it's just that killing is they way they were trained, and the only life they know. That is their base state. However, they do have some free will and emotion, and aren't completely innocent. They are capable of jealousy and hate. To use an example from another anime: Nyu in Elfen Lied is purely innocent. Unlike the SWA girls, she is completely incapable of feeling hate, envy, regret, greed, pride, and is completely uncorrupted and uncorruptable. She just wants other people to be happy. The thing is, she's not exactly very intelligent. She cannot speak, and appears to be incapable of complex thought. The reason why she is innocent and impossible to corrupt is because she does not have the intelligence or emotion to do so.

Getting back to GSG, well, Petra does have the intelligence and emotion to be corrupted. In fact, she already is corrupted, as I already stated that innocence is lost in complex beings. It's kind of related to the Second Law of Thermodynamics: All systems tend toward chaos. In this case, the complex human system tends toward the complex state of corruption. While Petra is in some ways "better" than the other girls, she is also worse. She, unlike them, is capable of understanding morality and emotions. She is able to experience hate, greed, pride, etc, things that can (and likely will) lead to her becoming "evil".

Laconic edition: Petra fails at being a Gunslinger Girl, but excels at being a human.

Let me swing this in a slightly different direction for just a second.
I'm probably the only author that uses the little known fratello pair: Ernesto/Pia. They are part of the GsG Game Series. In the Game (in 3 parts and on 3 different cds for the PS2 system), Ernesto takes his cyborg and runs away- creating the "Fratello on the Run" mission, which the others have to catch and bring back dead or alive. The premise is simple and the play is of a FPS. The rules of engagement is very difficult at best, especially when you run into Pia.

Character-wise, Pia is innocent in what happens, as being a First Gen cyborg (built at around the time Henrietta was and according to the game- was her best friend), she is totally loyal to her handler- Ernesto; if not in love with him as much as Henrietta is to Jose. She will do anything for him, including kill the other cyborgs upon his order. Though she is not abused by Ernesto, she is taken advantage of since she would follow his every command to the point of her self destruction (as per game 1, though she is brought back in game 2). Her sense of just is absolute. Her moral compass always points to where she has to go. Problem is Ernesto is manipulating them for her not to see that she is doing wrong.

In creating Petra, her conditioning was that so these mistakes of the past (Pia and Elsa) would not be repeated. But they still end up with a cyborg that once again falls in love with her handler. Yes- we have argued this point again and again, and I continue stand on my point where a person has no choice if they are drugged to take such actions; the conditioning drug being the culprit of Petra's actions. But consider what you will, Petra as stated is different from the others. I'm not placing this on her conditioning or programming, but the person she was before. The cyborgs still carry within them the personas of their past selves, and Petra was Elizabetta. Personally knowing many dancers, they live in a world where they do things many would not. Such discussions are posted above.

Petra is more loyal to 'Sandro than she is of the agency, as per my observations. In a couple of instances, Petra has tried to stand up to him for the agency (Treila's gun battle while protecting Roberta being one.), but is brought down a peg or two by his actions and his decisions. I am not saying that she is abused, but it seems to me that she is like an abused wife who tried to stand up to her abusive husband only to be slapped into her lower place in their relationship- but with Petra, this is more verbal than physical. As such Petra, for the time being, stays in her place. Petra maybe seem to independent, but she is not. Compared to Henrietta, who is allowed to go places with others (with Jose's permission of course), Petra has little freedoms. If she were truly independent, she would do as she please as she needed for 1)the agency, 2)the mission, and 3)the fratello relationship. What bothers me is that Petra has stated that she is a woman, which she is not at age 16. She maybe physically matured, but she is not mentally or emotionally matured to be 'grown up'. This adds another facet of her persona.

Many excellent points are made here by all, I have to say. Lets keep up the good work.

In adding, the agency wants to create a killing machine. In my stories I propose, "How much can you take away and replace with mechanisms and electronics before you can take away their humanity. Though they came very close with the First Gen cyborgs, they fail with Petruska and through her the Second Gens.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Danjo3 on Sat 26 Dec 2009 - 6:50

I think a lot of Petra lovers tend to think that she is not under the same influence of mind altering drugs that the other girls are. Sheís wonderful and independent. Wrong. SheĎs as doped up as everyone else.

That being said, Petra haters and Petra Lovers (otherwise known as Triela haters) will never change each others point of view, so arguing about it is a complete and total waist of time and energy.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 26 Dec 2009 - 10:59

In general, the Second Gens just seem to have more "emotional dynamic range" than the First Gens.

Triela is obviously the exception in the case of the Gen 1's. Perhaps that is why she is so popular. *shrug*

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Re: Petrushka

Post by ElfenMagix on Sat 26 Dec 2009 - 12:05

This would depend on their level of conditioning and their physical age. Young Pre-teen girls tend to be less emotional because of their hormonal stresses are a lot less than their teenaged peers; for one. Second, younger ones tend to still be in their learning stage of mind than the teenage Know-it-all stage of mind. Plus the conditioned loyalty is a major factor as the first gens are 100% loyal to their handlers while the 2nd gens are not. I would surmise its anywhere between 90% as seen with Petra to as low as 50% on any other.

Given Petra's circumstance, she is not going to follow Ferro's orders directly as she would 'Sandro's, unless Ferro gives her a conditioned override command followed by a password that would switch programming states on Petra. That is if this even would work at all! If it doesn't, like Ernesto in the past, 'Sandro would have Section 2 by the balls with Petra!

@Danjo3 wrote:I think a lot of Petra lovers tend to think that she is not under the same influence of mind altering drugs that the other girls are. Sheís wonderful and independent. Wrong. SheĎs as doped up as everyone else.
This is where I agree, and where I say that 'Sandro is taking advantage or Petra because of it.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Totoum on Sat 26 Dec 2009 - 12:28

@Danjo3 wrote:Petra Lovers (otherwise known as Triela haters)


Maybe I'm an exception (though I don't think so) but I don't think that loving Petra means that you hate Triela ,are there even Triela haters out there? Puzzled

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Re: Petrushka

Post by ElfenMagix on Sat 26 Dec 2009 - 12:52

I would not worry about it too much Totoum.
Everyone knows where they themselves stand on this subject. In the least it should be respected. It is with me.

For me a good discussion/argument is when both sides put up their opinions on the matter and back up those opinions with facts that are easily found and pointed too.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Danjo3 on Sat 26 Dec 2009 - 18:49

@Totoum wrote:...are there even Triela haters out there?
Itís been my experience that most people who like Petra donít care much for Triela. I think itís because they feel she hogs too much attention, both in the story and in the fandom. But the exact opposite also tends to be true. Those who like Triela arenít usually all that crazy about Petra. They see her as nothing more then a Triela wannabe. Of course this doesnít apply to everyone.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Isochroma on Sat 26 Dec 2009 - 19:11

Don't you want somebody to love?
Don't you need somebody to love?

- Jefferson Airplane: Somebody to Love

The first hint came when Alessandro was asked by the technician while Petra was still 'in production'. He asked Alessandro if he had any special preferences for Petra's body. The only thing Alessandro said in return was that Petra shouldn't have red hair.

That is the exact point where Aida indicated the story would go somewhere beyond its current limits. The question asked by the technician revealed that Alessandro had a previous relationship with a redhead, and that he'd broken up with her. He didn't want to see another redhead, so that was his only reply. I might not want to work with someone carrying that perpetual reminder of a failed relationship either.

Now's where it gets interesting. Due to either carelessness or conscious decision, the poor guy finds out post facto that the technician did indeed equip Petra with the very hair colour he didn't want.

Yet, we may speculate that Alessandro did want to see that red hair again. That he did want to have another chance to fulfill a failed relationship - this time embodied in his own Petra. The technician may have seen that, or may not have - we might very well never know. It's unreasonable that the technician would be that familiar with Alessandro's history, so we can assume pure mistake and be safe.

Aida didn't stop there though. He wanted us the readers to understand in explicit terms what is about to happen. I'm going to restate some important details I wrote about previously, inside this more narrowly focussed context.

Alessandro is a gifted and highly skilled socializer, and still has the energy and passion of youth. The fire from within. His social skill is light-years beyond the other handlers and likely tops in the organization, or at least the portions of it we get to see in the visible plot. He cares for the detail and isn't afraid to be intimate with Petra. From the beginning his concern is her style, and he picks every detail carefully. He does her makeup, he gives her exact advice like how much foundation to put on!

Alessandro is the kind of man - especially at his age - that lives for the moment. His first instructions to Petra reflect his freestyling nature, and faith that to be intuitive and natural with style is the best way for her, as he's already decided for himself by the way he lives his life. Despite a bad relationship in the past, Alessandro is not - as many of the other handlers are - poisoned by an unrootable bitterness. That makes him a powerful force to create new life and growth in the story and especially in his relations with his special girl Petra.

The higher-ups have so far been very loose by allowing handlers to customize and train their girls with wide latitude. Until Petra, the age difference between a handler and his girl, the hardness of the handlers, and the very young age of the girls in absolute years made such a relation impossible - therefore unthinkable to these planners.

They are about to get a shock. The first hint was when Alessandro asked the technician if he could get Petra a belly-ring and start her smoking. The doctor didn't seem to care and replied that it was all ok. It seems he didn't understand that these two items were just the beginning of a revolutionary program from a very revolutionary man. The obvious and logical evolution of Alessandro's own vision made real in the body and mind of Petra will be something that breaks the established story's boundaries.

Now for the new stuff; I'm going to move from the rapidly evolving relationship between Petra and Alessandro to the politics of a moral compass. Yes, it is highly relevant to their relationship - in fact, not just relevant but the central gyre upon which their relations will rotate into an amazing, horrific or otherwise intense configuration in coming chapters.

Volume 7, page eighty-nine. Petra and Alessandro are talking about the ramfications of the violence spiral that centers on the Croce case:

Alessandro: "Jean and Jose do this job to get revenge. One could look at it like that."
Petra: "And the terrorists will seek revenge on our side. Who's the bad guy in this situation?"

Petra's moral compass keeps returning to that question: who are the bad guys? She needs to justify her actions, she needs to be a decent human being. That is something the other girls never asked.

Petra: "Can an end be reached?"
Alessandro: "I woudn't know how. It doesn't make any sense to pose this question. You could blame either side. This violence spiral is a devil's circle."
Petra: "Sad, really sad..."

On the next page - 89 - Alessandro ends by making the point that "we do what we can to control the terrorist activities. And the result of that is, that the outside world can become a better place. At least that is what we must believe when we do our job."

In other words, they must work in the belief that their controllers at the Agency have a moral compass and are deciding their actions to benefit the world - despite the brutal acts the handlers, their girls and others in the Agency commit. The beatings, the killings. Harsh torture.

Sad indeed is the situation. Both Petra and Alessandro can see the endless circle of violence. It disturbs Petra enormously, and as she develops this may create a rift between her and the agency, or her and Alessandro, forcing them to decide what is more important: each other or the Agency.

On the next page - 90 - Petra reveals the heart of her nature:

Petra: "That may be correct... but I can't accept it so easily!"
Petra: "You may be a grown up, Mr. Sandro, but one can keep on feeling. I don't understand how you can just accept this. I could hate you for that!"

Petra just stepped over the line. She could hate him for the way Alessandro has swallowed the Agency line and is now complicit in all kinds of morally toxic acts. She could hate herself for that.

And she will end up hating herself, him and the Agency as the natural power of both her own nature and Alessandro's compels them, drives them forward into both a deeper relationship with each other, and a very very difficult position within the Agency. A deeper and more dangerous contradiction between not only her moral compass, but Alessandro's freestyling way and rebellious personality.

Alessandro now has a verbal and frank admission by his girl that she can conceive and might even be willing to betray him and the Agency because of her own moral compass.

As an astute observer of the social and a talented observer of human nature, Alessandro is in the most difficult of positions. Even without the explicit admission, he now knows for certain that Petra is a potentially dangerous liability, should she turn against him or the Agency. As a handler, it's his job to either keep her under control, submit her for more or stronger brainwashing, or have her terminated.

He doesn't admit it and he hasn't talked about it in an explicit way to his bosses. Why?

He still has time and might believe he can keep the situation under control and under wraps. As long as Petra does the work, it should be ok.

How long will she continue to do the work? Problem.

He does have some concern. Page ninety-one: "Does she have this character from before... or do we owe it to the conditioning?"

"I'd better talk to the responsible people."

Yet at the end of that page, he reveals his easygoing nature: "As a grown up one should take some things carefully, otherwise it would be impossible to go through life..."

He sees the situation as a pragmatic difficulty. Petra should think and act carefully, so that she can 'go through life' without it becoming 'impossible'. He isn't opposed to her moral compass per se., but merely the pragmatic aspect of such a moral compass in her situation with him and the agency. Such is a man's virtue: to see the pragmatic aspect in everything. If Petra can't internalize the Agency's role in the world, and her role in the agency, things will indeed become 'impossible' for her.

Yet under that nonchalance lurks something more. In the next scene on page 92, Petra is praying to the porcelain god. "I don't know why... but I can't accept that so easily" she thinks. Sometimes the most powerful and important realizations of life come while sitting on - or praying to - the porcelain god. Believe me, I know.

Moving back to the larger picture, from that scene until the end of chapter sixty-four, Alessandro has no serious discussion with any technician or other boss about the Petra situation. He will handle it himself. That means not only doing the intense work he has been doing so far - both the Agency's missions and his own training of Petra, but also the nearly-impossible job of being a moral arbiter betwen Petra and the Agency's actions, goals, and requirements. Ultimately he must craft moral justifications for Petra and indeed has been doing so. These justifications are true to his own beliefs, or are at least satisfactory to his ongoing employment and personal life.

Petra has discussions with the public prosecutor Guellfi. As I wrote in a previous post, these discussions center on the Croce case, and its illustration of the circular spiral of vengeance and violence that it spawns.

On page 138 vol.7, Petra and Alessandro are together again, this time talking about Guellfi. Referring to the public prosecutor, Petra has this to say: "But she is... a good person right?"

Alessandro: "Yeah, well... the world needs people like her."

It ought to be obvious by now that Petra's moral compass is pointing parallel to public prosecutor Guellfi's, and that she idolizes Guellfi. Alessandro says that the "world needs people like her". Again we see his pragmatism. He didn't say something like "She's a really good person trying to see justice through, despite the danger to her life". Instead, to him Guellfi is the kind of person 'the world needs' in a pragmatic sense.

Petra: "When I saw that yesterday, I thought that someone like her can really do something. I doubt you can do something like that, right Mr. Alessandro?"

Petra is making the essential distinction between the kind of person Guellfi is, and the kind of person she thinks Alessando is. Guellfi 'can really do something [about the problem]' while she doubts that Alessandro can 'do something like that'.

She doesn't really know for sure yet what kind of heart - what kind of soul - Alessandro has. So she's not only making a statement, she is asking him a question. Petra is trying to get Alessandro to make himself clear, and also hoping to get the kind of answer her heart wants. Because her heart wants him. It desperately wants him, but needs something else perhaps even more important: to be honest with her highest values. And these highest values are in a potentially deep conflict with his and the Agency's.

Next page - 139 - Alessandro gives a quick and jaded reply: "You are right. I'm one of those hardened adults."

The clarity and timeliness of his response is a trap. A light analysis would conclude the case that he is indeed a man without morals, a mere tool in the Agency's hands. Yet, I choose to differ. Alessandro is a rebel, as has been shown by the explicit detailing of how he was acquired by the Agency, and his actions with Petra from the beginning.

Alessandro is being cynical, yet he is not being honest: "I'm one of those hardened adults". He is not one of those 'hardened adults' - and this is where a good memory of the story so far helps to differentiate the two cases. He has a heart in hiding - as his care and concern for Petra reveal. If he didn't care, why would he be so opposed to the red hair that would remind a supposedly insensitive person such as himself of an old relationship that didn't work out?

Now we are at the core of the problem. How it resolves or is resolved will be a crucial path that the story takes.

Back to their interpersonal attraction. The animal lust of the first kiss, and the fact that Alessandro initiated it, speaks volumes. The fact that Aida has given her an age of sixteen and has brought the young man Alessandro into her life - a man with perhaps a bit of heartbreak in his past, but not hardened like the other handlers, also tells us something.

The fact that Petra is a second-generation cyborg-human [a hybrid device] which means she receives less conditioning, the fact that her personality is very independant and her mind highly inquisitive and intelligent - all these things have been chosen so very carefully.

Aida is no fool; indeed he is a master of a complex story filled with characters and meanings at all levels. He has a plan for Alessandro and Petra, one that will involve the highest of accomplishments and the most deliciously unexpected situations and evolutions that burst outside the limited confines of the story as it has been, into a wider world of previously unthinkable possibilities.

A doorway into the impossible made possible, a love made true, and horror and grief as deep as her moral belief. Hang on - it will be a ride to remember.

Alessandro and Petra will be seeing each other - or rather feeling each other. Not by words but under soft covers by the dark of night. And they won't be sleeping.


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Re: Petrushka

Post by ElfenMagix on Sat 26 Dec 2009 - 19:32

One thing you forgot to mention, like Henrietta and later Angelica, Petra is a Tabular Rasa Cyborg. Everything that she has ever known, even the reason of right and wrong, was accidentally erased in Petra. Thus she needs to question what is right and what is wrong to decide what it is she is doing is right for herself.

If she was questioning everything, like you proven here, she would have also questioned about going on a boat with Claes and two questionable Padania agents and she would have questioned giving Claes a gun and even pulling the trigger herself when the fight became inevitable. She does have that conditioned response to act when she needs to without question.

As a dancer, Petra personality when she was Elizabetta was not independent. In fact she was an appeaser and an alpha among alphas who were striving for tha same gold. She was in constant competition, always bringing her friends down to bring herself up. In V6 (mind you this is from memory) when a fellow dancer asks if she would become as good as her, Elizabetta says that she would one day but not while she was there. As for Love, Elizabetta bedded with who ever she could to get that position as the show's number one dancer, as shown when she was with the male star stating how much she wanted to be in starring in the lead female role.

This carries over into Petra. She want to be the best, to both 'Sandro and the agency. But at what cost she does not know. In trying to rebuild her morality, she is on conflict, with 'Sandro being her only course of correction. The other girls, regardless of age, do not have this problem. They follow by their fratelloes' example. In short, Petra wants to dance, but 'Sandro is no dancer.


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Re: Petrushka

Post by MikhailN on Sat 26 Dec 2009 - 19:35

@Isochroma wrote:The first hint came when Alessandro was asked by the technician while Petra was still 'in production'. He asked Alessandro if he had any special preferences for Petra's body. The only thing Alessandro said in return was that Petra shouldn't have red hair.

That is the exact point where Aida indicated the story would go somewhere beyond its current limits. The question asked by the technician revealed that Alessandro had a previous relationship with a redhead, and that he'd broken up with her. He didn't want to see another redhead, so that was his only reply. I might not want to work with someone carrying that perpetual reminder of a failed relationship either.

Now's where it gets interesting. Due to either carelessness or conscious decision, the poor guy finds out post facto that the technician did indeed equip Petra with the very hair colour he didn't want.

Yet, we may speculate that Alessandro did want to see that red hair again. That he did want to have another chance to fulfill a failed relationship - this time embodied in his own Petra. The technician may have seen that, or may not have - we might very well never know. It's unreasonable that the technician would be that familiar with Alessandro's history, so we can assume pure mistake and be safe.

Aida didn't stop there though. He wanted us the readers to understand in explicit terms what is about to happen. I'm going to restate some important details I wrote about previously, inside this more narrowly focussed context.

Alessandro is a gifted and highly skilled socializer, and still has the energy and passion of youth. The fire from within. His social skill is light-years beyond the other handlers and likely tops in the organization, or at least the portions of it we get to see in the visible plot. He cares for the detail and isn't afraid to be intimate with Petra. From the beginning his concern is her style, and he picks every detail carefully. He does her makeup, he gives her exact advice like how much foundation to put on!

Alessandro is the kind of man - especially at his age - that lives for the moment. His first instructions to Petra reflect his freestyling nature, and faith that to be intuitive and natural with style is the best way for her, as he's already decided for himself by the way he lives his life. Despite a bad relationship in the past, Alessandro is not - as many of the other handlers are - poisoned by an unrootable bitterness. That makes him a powerful force to create new life and growth in the story and especially in his relations with his special girl Petra.

The higher-ups have so far been very loose by allowing handlers to customize and train their girls with wide latitude. Until Petra, the age difference between a handler and his girl, the hardness of the handlers, and the very young age of the girls in absolute years made such a relation impossible - therefore unthinkable to these planners.

They are about to get a shock. The first hint was when Alessandro asked the technician if he could get Petra a belly-ring and start her smoking. The doctor didn't seem to care and replied that it was all ok. It seems he didn't understand that these two items were just the beginning of a revolutionary program from a very revolutionary man. The obvious and logical evolution of Alessandro's own vision made real in the body and mind of Petra will be something that breaks the established story's boundaries.

Now for the new stuff; I'm going to move from the rapidly evolving relationship between Petra and Alessandro to the politics of a moral compass. Yes, it is highly relevant to their relationship - in fact, not just relevant but the central gyre upon which their relations will rotate into an amazing, horrific or otherwise intense configuration in coming chapters.

Volume 7, page eighty-nine. Petra and Alessandro are talking about the ramfications of the violence spiral that centers on the Croce case:

Alessandro: "Jean and Jose do this job to get revenge. One could look at it like that."
Petra: "And the terrorists will seek revenge on out side. Who's the bad guy in this situation?"

Petra's moral compass keeps returning to that question: who are the bad guys? She needs to justify her actions, she needs to be a decent human being. That is something the other girls never asked.

Petra: "Can an end be reached?"
Alessandro: "I woudn't know how. It doesn't make any sense to pose this question. You could blame either side. This violence spiral is a devil's circle."
Petra "Sad, really sad..."

On the next page - 89 - Alessandro ends by making the point that "we do what we can to control the terrorist activities. And the result of that is, that the outside world can become a better place. At least that is what we must believe when we do our job."

In other words, they must work in the belief that their controllers at the Agency have a moral compass and are deciding their actions to benefit the world - despite the brutal acts the handlers, their girls and others in the Agency commit. The beatings, the killings. Harsh torture.

Sad indeed is the situation. Both Petra and Alessandro can see the endless circle of violence. It disturbs Petra enormously, and as she develops this may create a rift between her and the agency, or her and Alessandro, forcing them to decide what is more important: each other or the Agency.

On the next page - 90 - Petra reveals the heart of her nature:

Petra: "That may be correct... but I can't accept it so easily!"
Petra: "You may be a grown up, Mr. Sandro, but one can keep on feeling. I don't understand how you can just accept this. I could hate you for that!"

Petra just stepped over the line. She could hate him for the way Alessandro has swallowed the Agency line and is now complicit in all kinds of morally toxic acts. She could hate herself for that.

And she will end up hating herself, him and the Agency as the natural power of both her own nature and Alessandro's compels them, drives them forward into both a deeper relationship with each other, and a very very difficult position within the Agency. A deeper and more dangerous contradiction between not only her moral compass, but Alessandro's freestyling way and rebellious personality.

Alessandro now has a verbal and frank admission by his girl that she can conceive and might even be willing to betray him and the Agency because of her own moral compass.

As an astute observer of the social and a talented observer of human nature, Alessandro is in the most difficult of positions. Even without the explicit admission, he now knows for certain that Petra is a potentially dangerous liability, should she turn against him or the Agency. As a handler, it's his job to either keep her under control, submit her for more or stronger brainwashing, or have her terminated.

He doesn't admit it and he hasn't talked about it in an explicit way to his bosses. Why?

He still has time and might believe he can keep the situation under control and under wraps. As long as Petra does the work, it should be ok.

How long will she continue to do the work? Problem.

He does have some concern. Page ninety-one: "Does she have this character from before... or do we owe it to the conditioning?"

"I'd better talk to the responsible people."

Yet at the end of that page, he reveals his easygoing nature: "As a grown up one should take some things carefully, otherwise it would be impossible to go through life..."

He sees the situation as a pragmatic difficulty. Petra should think and act carefully, so that she can 'go through life' without it becoming 'impossible'. He isn't opposed to her moral compass per se., but merely the pragmatic aspect of such a moral compass in her situation with him and the agency. Such is a man's virtue: to see the pragmatic aspect in everything. If Petra can't internalize the Agency's role in the world, and her role in the agency, things will indeed become 'impossible' for her.

Yet under that nonchalance lurks something more. In the next scene on page 92, Petra is praying to the porcelain god. "I don't know why... but I can't accept that so easily" she thinks. Sometimes the most powerful and important realizations of life come while sitting on - or praying to - the porcelain god. Believe me, I know.

Moving back to the larger picture, from that scene until the end of chapter sixty-four, Alessandro has no serious discussion with any technician or other boss about the Petra situation. He will handle it himself. That means not only doing the intense work he has beenso far - both the Agency's missions and his own training of Petra, but also the nearly-impossible job of being a moral arbiter betwen Petra and the Agency's actions, goals, and requirements. Ultimately he must craft moral justifications for Petra and indeed has been doing so. These justifications are true to his own beliefs, or are at least satisfactory to his ongoing employment and personal life.

Petra has discussions with the public prosecutor Guellfi. As I wrote in a previous post, these discussions center on the Croce case, and its illustration of the circular spiral of vengeance and violence that it spawns.

On page 138 vol.7, Petra and Alessandro are together again, this time talking about Guellfi. Referring to the public prosecutor, Petra has this to say: "But she is... a good person right?"

Alessandro: "Yeah, well... the world needs people like her."

It ought to be obvious by now that Petra's moral compass is pointing parallel to public prosecutor Guellfi's, and that she idolizes Guellfi. Alessandro says that the 'world needs people like her". Again we see his pragmatism. He didn't say something like "She's a really good person trying to see justice through, despite the danger to her life". Instead, to him Guellfi is the kind of person 'the world needs' in a pragmatic sense.

Petra: "When I saw that yesterday, I thought that someone like her can really do something. I doubt you can do something like that, right Mr. Alessandro?"

Petra is making the essential distinction between the kind of person Guellfi is, and the kind of person she thinks Alessando is. Guellfi 'can really do something [about the problem]' while she doubts that Alessandro can 'do something like that'.

She doesn't really know for sure yet what kind of heart - what kind of soul - Alessandro has. So she's not only making a statement, she is asking him a question. Petra is trying to get Alessandro to make himself clear, and also hoping to get the kind of answer her heart wants. Because her heart wants him. It desperately wants him, but needs something else perhaps even more important: to be honest with her highest values. And these highest values are in a potentially deep conflict with his and the Agency's.

Next page - 139 - Alessandro gives a quick and jaded reply: "You are right. I'm one of those hardened adults."

The clarity and timeliness of his response is a trap. A light analysis would conclude the case that he is indeed a man without morals, a mere tool in the Agency's hands. Yet, I choose to differ. Alessandro is a rebel, as has been shown by the explicit showing of how he was acquired by the Agency, and his actions with Petra from the beginning.

Alessandro is being cynical "I'm one of those hardened adults". Yet he is not one of those 'hardened adults'. He has a heart in hiding - as his care and concern for Petra reveal. If he didn't care, why would he be so opposed to the red hair that would remind a supposedly insensitive person such as himself of an old relationship that didn't work out?

Now we are at the core of the problem. How it resolves or is resolved will be a crucial path that the story takes.

Back to their interpersonal attraction. The animal lust of the first kiss, and the fact that Alessandro initiated it, speaks volumes. The fact that Aida has given her an age of sixteen and has brought the young man Alessandro into her life - a man with perhaps a bit of heartbreak in his past, but not hardened like the other handlers, also tells us something.

The fact that Petra is a second-generation cyborg-human [a hybrid device] which means she receives less conditioning, the fact that her personality is very independant and her mind highly inquisitive and intelligent - all these things have been chosen so very carefully.

Aida is no fool; indeed he is a master of a complex story filled with characters and meanings at all levels. He has a plan for Alessandro and Petra, one that will involve the highest of accomplishments and the most deliciously unexpected situations and evolutions that burst outside the limited confines of the story as it has been, into a wider world of previously unthinkable possibilities.

A doorway into the impossible made possible, a love made true, and horror and grief as deep as her moral belief. Hang on - it will be a ride to remember.

Alessandro and Petra will be seeing each other - or rather feeling each other. Not by words but under soft covers by the dark of night. And they won't be sleeping.

I recognize academic writing when I see it. You've been sitting too long in literature classes, haven't you?

Anyway your argument can and should be summarized. Basically it's just about morality conflicts (it has been discussed, not just with Petra and Sandro, but throughout the story) and Sandro's portrayal as being a deviant character. Also, your last 5 paragraphs seem oddly out of place because your claims aren't justified by facts or quotes from the story.

Not that I'm completely against your argument. In fact, I agree with some of your points. Just that I'm a sucker for the laconic and flowery language may move some people but not me.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by ElfenMagix on Sat 26 Dec 2009 - 19:39

@MikhailN wrote:I recognize academic writing when I see it. You've been sitting too long in literature classes, haven't you?

Anyway your argument can and should be summarized. Basically it's just about morality conflicts (it has been discussed, not just with Petra and Sandro, but throughout the story) and Sandro's portrayal as being a deviant character. Also, your last 5 paragraphs seem oddly out of place because your claims aren't justified by facts or quotes from the story.

Not that I'm completely against your argument. In fact, I agree with some of your points. Just that I'm a sucker for the laconic and flowery language may move some people but not me.
I recognized it too. But I am not here to grade him, for I would have rewritten everything as a comparative argumentative analysis for him and would have done so in 1/2 the words he has had.

Like you stated, he does make excellent valid points in his argument. But to me, he does not prove his point.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by MikhailN on Sat 26 Dec 2009 - 19:43

@ElfenMagix wrote:[I recognized it too. But I am not here to grade him, for I would have rewritten everything as a comparative argumentative analysis for him and would have done so in 1/2 the words he has had.

Like you stated, he does make excellent valid points in his argument. But to me, he does not prove his point.

You're right. Stay in the university for too long and every piece of writing gets graded.

Oh, what was his point?

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Re: Petrushka

Post by ElfenMagix on Sat 26 Dec 2009 - 19:52

The problem with this is there is no Introduction of the argument, no thesis statement, no conclusion. All fails if it were to be graded. The points and proof thereof are excellent, but anyone can take such proofs and twist them to their argument's advantage.

So, there is no point because there is no into, no thesis, and no conclusion. This paper is graded as a fail despite excellent use of point usage. It is also a fail due to its length, because the average 'net reader would read it 1/2 way and just stop reading in frustration. I know I did the first time I read before going back and giving it a bit more attention that it deserves.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Isochroma on Sat 26 Dec 2009 - 22:24

Correct. My writing dosn't conform to an academic standard - in this case by choice. I dropped out at grade 11. Never took any literature or writing classes, but did read a lot. Spent all my time reading, actually.

My apologies for playing a bit loose by not providing references for everything. The ideas are a mix that is a bit thin in this undergirding, I must admit. I'll make more effort to document the statements. A lot are drawn from a few pages among many hundreds that I've got to flip through very quickly. That's what lawyer's assistants and public prosecutors are for.

Poor Guellfi also regrets not having access to all the evidence at her hotel room - and complains about it - but I have only the excuse of waiting while WinRAR unpacks dozens of RAR files containing the precious pages that make the story a life of its own.

The writing happens because I wake up in the morning feeling the absolute need to write out what I'm trying to understand - to put all the pieces together to show the big and the small pictures all together. Lest I forget and lose them, like some precious shards of coloured glass on an endless beach. The pressure to get it out usually means no breakfast. Some things are just more important than eating Smile

Things like the love, the pain, the contradictions, the intensity of Petra and Alessandro! And of course the entire story, with all its complexities and ramifications.

Now for some more delicious speculation disguised as pseudoacademic writing... just kidding.

If Alessandro and Petra do become intimate - and this is not just a small possibility but a major likelyhood - what will happen within the larger context?

Will the higher-ups see what's happened through their cameras, mounted in each room? Alessandro would not likely admit it without interrogation. If they do find out one way or the other, will these managers decide to allow the relationship or will they terminate it using the various methods people in their position can use?

Another possibility is that Alessandro is not only able, willing and wanting of this relationship - which he's already indicated implicitly and explicitly - but that he could use it as a means to keep Petra working without protest. That kind of strategy will be tough, and Petra herself is already demonstrating her willingness to pull away 'I might hate you' if they can't come to the kind of holistic moral-emotional-intellectual agreement that will be needed in such a case.

The other pole of that means of manipulation is Petra's use of Alessandro's own growing love to pull him away from the Agency. If conditions are right and his feelings are strong enough, the two may escape the Agency. There are only two kinds of endings in that case: they remain free, or are hunted down and killed or captured by the Agency as its betrayers.

At this point the cluster of possibilities hasn't resolved itself down to a particular path, but always remember: the total genesis of every future is in its past and present. It is in those places that we must look carefully for clues that not only help to understand the story at all levels, but give an idea where it is headed.

Volume 8 page 23. Petra just fell on Alessandro during a mission. She's on top of him in a rather awkward yet intimate position. In the first panel he's off-guard. In the second panel, Petra asks him "what is it?", staring closely into his face. Indeed the social genius is off-guard - a very revealing situation. In the third and last panel, he replies: "you crush me.", pushing her head back with his hand.

Alessandro does his best to cover up his uncomfortableness with her being that physically close to him at an unexpected time. His awkwardness betrays his true feelings in an obvious manner. And his truthfulness makes him admit the reality on the next page, "Really, you are captivating". Petra sits beside him with a Cheshire-cat grin on her face, looking into his eyes.

On page 29 of the same volume, Petra wants to know his tastes in food: "I know none of your tastes concerning food." Alessandro replies: "you don't need to know", but Petra thinks it will be useful to have the information. Her last statement on the page is very revealing: "It's important to know the tastes of a person you love."

The next page shows Alessandro momentarily speechless. Quickly he then crafts the defensive reply: "I'll tell you one thing. I don't like redheads". Angry and a bit teary-eyed, Petra replies: "Is... Is it because of me you say that?".

Alessandro provides more - yet truthful - misdirection: "No, it isn't. I don't like women with red hair in general." The magic of a highly adept individual is to cloak truth within truth so that the totality amounts to a lie, or in this case a coverup.

On the next page (32), Petra has this for a reply: "But I don't want to change my hair colour!". Jokingly, Alessandro says: "Why not? I think blonde would suit you well." Petra will have none of it though: "Me, it's this colour I like". Alessandro again skillfully diverts the subject.

Finally on page 36, Alessandro has arrived at his apartment with Petra in the car. He tells her to stay and wait for him there, but she wants to come in. And she does! Only two pages later that hot passion drives her out of the car and to his doorway. Her quick deductive logic on page 39 finds his door number by connecting his pseudonym. At the end of the page she stands before his very door.

For the entire next page, Petra stands nervously, sweating and finally leaning against the door, wondering if she should go in. She is torn between disobeying his orders and her demanding desire to see his home. After this we are shown many pages of Alessandro's past, and how he was recruited into the Agency.

Now comes the interesting part. Page 96 of the same volume 8. Petra is in her maintenance cycle at the Agency, being questioned by a technician. "What does your handler represent to you?" he asks.

Petra replies: "He's a person I cherish." The tech asks her a most crucial question, "Do you use these words to express your loyalty?". By this he means the conditioning and any other brainwashing.

Petra's answer?: "No... my love."

The technician is taken aback: "Huh? Don't you confound your fidelity to your handler with romantic love?"

Petra is not confused though: "No... not at all."

Finally, on page 101, the technicians are talking amongst themselves. They're reviewing on a computer monitor the video of the interrogation. They watch as Petra admits that her love isn't a confusion of 'fidelity to your handler' with 'romantic love'.

One of the techs says: "What a suprise! This cyborg actually is in love."
Another says: "That really is something. It reminds me of Else de Sica."
The third asks, "Won't we intervene, Belisario?".

Belisario admits that in Elsa's case, "her love was imposed upon her". Petra's case is very different, though: "I don't think Petrouchka will reproduce the same error".

Finally, Belisario wraps up the scene: "If she has fallen in love, we have nothing to do with it. The concept of the new generation is to avoid a too great subjugation. Anyway... I'd like to see how this will end."

Indeed, I will also like to see where it will end. The techs don't care about it - they see it as something Petra has developed naturally of her own accord. The techs are in the business of maintaining and otherwise servicing the cyborg as an entity they are responsible for. They see her development in this area as fundamentally outside their field proper - which it is.

The techs are not administrators however. They are charged with maintaining the girls to working specifications, repairing them and any other related tasks.

No administrator in charge of policy has yet heard of the case, and the techs don't seem intent on informing higher-ups of this interesting new development. When they do - if they do - the shit may hit the fan.

To wrap up this commentary, one final scene that illustrates some points about Alessandro's technique and how it is both disturbing and revealing - through Alessandro's uncomfortableness and other 'mistakes' at critical points. Alessandro is an excellent socialite that can 'put on a face' and play a part to perfection.

On page 110, he says: "Our adversary is a woman who charms me..." to another agent while Petra looks on. She draws her gun, apparently angered by the other agent's statement: "so a Don Juan can even help the sake of the strategic section."

On the next page we find Alessandro chiding Petra for drawing her gun, telling her not to do so when she's angry. Petra replies that the agent had spoken to him inappropriately, "because it's only for the job... that you play Don Juan".

Yet on the next page, Alessandro asks her why she's still offended. Petra replies: "T... That's... That's because of my woman's heart." She's taken off-guard and comes up with a half-truth excuse: the woman's heart.

Finally on page 159 Alessandro invites Petra to his apartment: "Will you come to my place?". Petra is so taken aback by his now friendlier approach that she can only say "Huh?". She's unbelievably happy on the next page when he indicates he's not joking.

Seeing his apartment is quite a suprise too - all the bookshelves full of volumes of literature, and the other accessories of his broad lives. The plural lives that he was taught how to live by his own predecessor.

Moving on to page 136, Petra finally gets to the root of things: "But you wish that someone understood you, right? In truth, you are sad... You content yourself to observe, without taking risks."

The man throws the book at her, literally. He shouts back about her immaturity, about her being a cyborg... and finally asks: "On what conviction do you..." It's a very legitimate question - on what conviction could a being already so biased by conditioning make such overtures? and one I would ask my conditioned partner in such a circumstance.

Her reply is direct and honest: "It's because I love you!". On the next page we find the reply "And that, that's because of the conditioning! What do you want me to do with your pity?"

Petra is ready and replies: "It's different!", but right back at her comes Alessandro: "In what way is it different? If it is not due to the brainwashing... Prove it!"

So Petra proves it, not with love but with anger! In the next two pages she throws the book back at him, rips off his shades, and calls him a piece of shit, telling him that he understands nothing. Finally by page 168 she's breaking down into tears, telling him how much it hurts, even though she feels nauseous due to her passions interacting with the brainwashing/drug. Alessandro is impressed with her directness as she sits on the floor trying to hold back the vomit. The scene ends with him holding her there on the floor.

The perfection of Petra's demonstration is that she rebels against Alessandro - against her conditioning. Throwing the book at him - literally - and swearing at him, calling him nasty names - those things must have been hard.

The difficulty of fighting the conditioning and expressing her feelings as rage itself was a totally instinctive masterpiece. That was the only way she could show how she felt, and it was also the best. Precisely because of the conditioning, it was the only way to demonstrate the truthfulness of her love - and that the source of it was her own independent will, not that of the brainwashing. To show him the hate and anger and sadness of that love, in a way that opposed the conditioning itself so much that she was at the edge of vomiting.

She fought against that very conditioning to show him the truth, and did it in the most perfect way. That is a courageous being, and that is why she and Alessandro will become something far beyond what the other girls could ever hope for.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by ElfenMagix on Sat 26 Dec 2009 - 23:44

There is a difference between girls in Petra's age and girls in the first Gen series. Thats what makes a teenager, a teenager. The younger girls are not fully developed and matured psychologically, emotionally, physically, educationally, and all the other facets that make a person what they are. The first Gens are still children. Petra is no longer a child. That makes a big difference alone.

Petra getting sick when she speaks against 'Sandro is conditioning kicking in. With this in mind, her psychology is now bent to his (and the agency's) will. Think about it, if you found out that every time you spoke up, you got violently ill, you would soon learn how to be quiet and accept things as they were after a while. The will will always be there to try and even want to go against 'Sandro, but the strength to carry through with it is not. This is conditioning to the Pavlov's extreme, and it will eventually become brainwashing. In fact it is already is brainwashing because the cyborg's brains were programmed before they went online.

Again, you prove your points with great examples of fact, but you again fail because you have not proven the point because you fail to see Perta as a cyborg and still think of her as a person whether in whole or in part. As a cyborg, her memory has been erased, her mind manipulated, her responses programmed. She may be freer to take actions, and she might be able to think for herself (like the others can, including the first gens), she fails in being able to go beyond her programming and this you fail to see.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Isochroma on Sun 27 Dec 2009 - 0:18

ElfenMagix: my 'postcount' won't let me reply to your PM, so I'll do it here in very brief form. I am on permanent disability and live in Canada, so I don't need to worry about jobs. The disorganization you refer to is my laziness, having lived in near total isolation for many years. If you'd caught me a year after grade 11, I would have been sharper with the structure.

But now I'm out to pasture, just enjoying life as a stream of thoughts, held loosely together by that shiny old machine of logic they implanted in my skull. I was happy to leave that brainwashing, and continue to this day to educate myself at the highest possible rate. Going back to that meatgrinder would make me vomit like Petra is almost having to do in Alessandro's apartment - what an embarrasment for a future love so deluded that he cannot see her truth! Yet that is how the circumstance made it.

Your concern was really touching, and of course your writing style well-spaced and thought out. I quit being a tool for the system a long time ago, though - so thanks for the advice, but I'll proceed on the dead-end path I've got.

We're all going to die, but I intend to do so with a smile plastered on my face - not the kind that comes with a job or good income, but something else - the kind of thing Petra is trying to reclaim - even if it means destroying the beginnings of her comfort and losing a newfound love.

On your response in the thread, I agree that Petra's age - 16 - means that she not only qualifies as a teenager but as the potential love of Alessandro. It wasn't coincidence that Aida picked that age for her.

In the remainder of your points, I disagree. Like the other girls, Petra's brain is still fully human. The brainwashing is a drug, and maybe some other processes, but it is not brain replacement. That fact has been stated explicitly in the manga. Only her body is mechanized. That is why all the girls must regularly take the conditioning drug, besides other maintenance tasks.

And about your point of her eventually succumbing to conditioning, that is exactly the opposite of the truth. From her introduction to the last page - chapter 64 - she has become ever more independent, ever more challenging, and ever more wilful in her opinions and her expression of them.

Petra - that amazing being - is in the process of waking up, and growing up. At a disturbing pace too - a rate that, if my calculations are roughly correct, will put her in direct opposition to the Agency and perhaps even Alessandro in the next two to three volumes, unless Alessandro makes some very hard decisions or other unexpected events arrive in the story.

It's something the techs didn't count on, though perhaps they will smile or maybe even cry or scream as the results roll in. I'm not kidding about the screaming part either. If Alessandro agreed or simply wasn't present to show opposition, and if the other girls' defence of their handlers and the Agency was not a factor, she has enough freewill to put a bullet in the heads of every living being at the Agency. Enough reason too - the Agency is the integral other half to the terrorists and others it is tasked to kill, torture and arrest. Without it, the circle of violence and revenge might be broken. Might. All power tips on the invisible point of the unknown. She's too early to make that judgement yet.

She hasn't yet developed the level of competence, and doesn't yet have a concrete reason to do such a thing - or even to run away - but at the foundation that unmistakeable spark insists on spreading. Just like in the real world, she is a terrorist - one of the heart and with a big brain to boot.

Just like Castro [real world] who was described by the US security state as a 'rot' that might 'spoil the barrel' of US-installed and maintained Central American client-state dictatorships (see Chomsky), so too the independence of Petra's mind might spoil at least her employment at the Agency. Thanks to their greater conditioning, younger age and less rebellious personalities, the other girls aren't in any obvious danger of contracting the contagion.

Petra is still immature - which is why she expresses such spirit in only brief bursts and also why it is centered for now on rebellion towards her handler Alessandro.

If you had read my last paragraphs carefully, you would have noted that she fights and indeed wins over her conditioning to do something none of the other girls could contemplate: to physically and verbally assault her handler in a coordinated attack of rage fuelled by her very own shining passion!

That is personal power reigning supreme and triumphing over the power of conditioning. The combination of her questioning intelligence and heart full of love can and did become a firestorm that blew away any possibility that - at least with the current level of conditioning applied - she will be a mere tool in the hands of either Alessandro or the Agency.

Rather than decay of free will in the face of conditioning, Petra shows a consistent, progressive increase in free will and corresponding rebellion against conditioning, culminating in the scene I ended the final paragraphs of my previous post with.

Yu Aida is making very sure that his readers understand that Petra is not like the other girls in many ways. This is not just a case of one single attribute or another, but a whole collection of them. Her handler is also exceptional. Reread my posts and you'll find a sampling of the factors which merit this claim. Aida wants his readers to realize the implications of such a profound change - one that violates a basic commonality in storytelling - at least outside Japan - often taken for granted when it exists and rebelled against when it is absent. This violation of commonality is the rebellious spirit that permeates many a paradoxical ending of animes and mangas. When I say ending, I don't mean it in the strictest sense. Often the disruption to the expected plot, characters (often by introduction of a new character), etc. occur in the middle to late-middle of the work, though sometimes at the end.

If more people in this world had the heart, passion and unswerving intent of Petra, we'd be living in a different place in so many ways I can't count them all now. Aida is also lecturing to Japan's ossified, aged and in so many ways herdlike culture of conformity. The freethinker, hardheaded and with total confidence pushes to walk her own path: impeded by the most horrifically detracting circumstances - past washed away, present confined to the premises and jobs of the Agency, a being whose very body is manufactured, maintained and ultimately belongs to that Agency - she is nonetheless breaking the mould. The last vestige of her genuine self - her mind as embodied in her brain - refuses to succumb to the drugging, and worse, is making headway to defeat it.

This is more than a manga: it is the embodiment of a cultural dream. Aida is among the priests, dispensing wafers of bitter unconventionality to the sweet-sickened populace.

Even the techs are mystified and so is Alessandro - he wonders if it could be some artifact of her previous personality. We may never know. It is not knowing that is the beauty. The unknown is the ultimate provider and the systematizers of the known are merely pawns of the predictable. For that reason I didn't return to the brainwashing, and for that reason I love Petra: she is able and willing to be more than a tool, yet is still held back by lack of maturity, lack of knowledge and the most dangerous yet potentially opportune trap of them all: her true love for Alessandro.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the context.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Isochroma on Sun 27 Dec 2009 - 5:01

For some reason tonight my head drilled down to the case of Alessandro. Having read to chapter 64, I'm left with various conclusions as to his nature and the actions he could take in coming chapters and volumes.

Before I get into my own thoughts on the matter, I'd like to pose the question to others here: first, what do you think this guy Alessandro is going to do with Petra next, and why? Second, if it was you personally in his position at the end of chapter 64, what would you do?

Ok, now onto what he's likely to do, and what I would do in his place - from my position.

Sandro has a very valuable and unique combination of both a serious, conformist attitude and an independent state of mind. He's a natural watcher, not a fighter. During earlier training, it was noted by his superiors that he was so behind his colleagues in this department that his prime value was information gathering and 'human intelligence'. Yes, that blasted term for a huge collection of spies, infiltrators, casual and professional men of often unnoted description who slip through corridors unknown into the dripping, infectious mass of the human beasts in search of their prey.

His methods of intelligence are simple yet diligent: the magic pen and mini-notebook suffice. The events of note include subtle details both written and memorized, such as minor differences in accents, dress, context, and more. This is really skilled stuff that a lot of police today don't even do, at least in the way he can work more intimately with the subject, and do it without their knowledge of his true identity or intent.

The kind of inside information he can get is really valuable in a qualitative way, at the least. Without a partner of some kind, his value would also be limited. Alessandro was chosen to enter the project and did so, knowing only the basics of his new mission. Yet right from the beginning and with pronounced maturity, he handled the most difficult situations with Petra. Though all didn't work out as planned or had negative blowbacks, his efforts have been excellent considering the situation he walked in to.

Now he has the role of big brother to Petra, but considering her age and his, all kinds of other things start coming out of the woodwork. This is where even Alessandro's excellent social skills and acting begin to break down. At this point in publication, he's finally lost his cool while in his apatment with Petra. He yelled at her certain words that really summed up the core situation within his personality. That's normal too: it is the natural thing that comes up between individuals in a couple, and even unrelated individuals.

What's unnatural is that the guy can act pretty good most of the time, and since they've got duty together - she has to pretend to be his girlfriend, wife, sister, etc - he gets to spend lots of time with her playing the part.

There's also the elements of irritation that Alessandro must be feeling. The largest part of that is the redhead reminder, another part must be the increasing tension of having to deal with an upstart, independent-minded lass who questions everything.

Dealing with upstart rebels is not fun, even if you yourself are an upstart rebel. I know that one personally too.

Funny incident report: I was scanning for a certain page and hit p.157 of vol.6. Allesandro tries to get Petra to call him a "pezzo di merda" ie. a piece of shit.

She gets part of the phrase out before running to the sink and spewing. That's the power of conditioning.

By the way things are looking, I would say that very soon Alessandro will have to decide how to teach Petra. Once he told her that in order to act perfectly, she would not only have to be the person she was portraying on the outside - ie. clothes, mannerisms, etc. - but would have to become the person on the inside too.

That comment was the deepest he's gotten with her. He's quick in some ways, but slower in others. He takes orders from a command system but produces results using his own very personal techniques and the skill he employs them with.

Much of the future beyond chapter 64 will depend on that command structure. The missions he and Petra have yet to embark upon will be handed down from above, and may by their own influence make or break his relationship with Petra. Yet even despite the profound determinism, Alessandro is able to stay afloat and indeed be a valuable asset to his employer while retaining a wide breadth of creative freedom in his approach. It is an ideal job for a certain type of person, and he fits quite comfortably into his niche within the Agency. He's daring enough to take radical approaches yet still able to answer to authority.

Rather than flesh out the exact possibilities, I'd like to conclude by taking his characteristics and using them to understand what he might do in the future. It seem one of the key determinants might be his loyalty to the Agency versus his connection with Petra. Unless Petra ceases to excesively oppose the Agency's motives she will be noticed.

So far, Alessandro has taken a pragmatic approach to helping her - and himself to the fullest. That approach finds its limit in various discussions they've had. His recommendations to her are pragmatic in nature, but she is looking for moral truth and also appears to have found her true love.

That means that when the fun of new adventures wears out, those issues will come to the fore. It already is in a sporadic way, and has appeared often enough and in serious context to guess that Aida is using it to express something fundamental about Petra that will not only last through time but will be of centrality to the ongoing story - to the extent that it remains unsolved.

So another key determinant will be if Alessandro engages Petra at the level she's trying to engage him at. His answers as they are, are truthful and he believes them. So it isn't a show on his part, and Petra doesn't get mad at him in those circumstances for that reason. It must be admitted that Alessandro's explanations in the area of the Agency's darker methods, means, and higher-level policy sound like a line of neatly constructed justifications ultimately couched in the notion that 'we're bad but we destroy those who are worse, so it's ok'.

So that's my way of trying to answer question one. It's totally incomplete but time's up. Now the answer for question two, which is what would I do as a person in Alessandro's position?

Assuming entrypoint into chapter 65, and having up to that chapter as well, I would do a few things. Not many, but just a few simple ideas. These are also things I hope he would do in the upcoming chapters.

Firstly, engagement on their difference of opinion on the means, methods and morality of the Agency and, by proxy for it, Alessandro himself. For me that would consist of taking the lass out to some place unobserved, such as a nice eatery or some other location with snackage or a meal. Maybe by the ocean! Maybe in the evening, at sunset just the two of them on a sandy shore wiped clean by the endless crying eye of the ocean known as the tides. Just as the crying of a person's eye washes away the pain, so does the crying of the ocean's eyes wash away the grains of sand.

There Alessandro would figure out in basic conversation things like, "What do you feel about the work you're doing?". Or something like "Is it worth it to you to do this work, taking into account the goods and evils?". It can all be phrased more subtly, but it's just a basic kind of thing that might be found on some of today's job interviews.

Since personal motivation is much more important for second-generation cyborgs, and since Petra is unusually motivated and also unusually thoughtful, asking these questions is feasible and she ought to be happy to reply honestly.

Subtle interrogation is Alessandro's job, so he ought to be able to do it and if I was him, I would do it. The idea is to figure out how to fit such a rapidly growing, often prickly piece into the Agency puzzle. Yet it is far more!

Since in this example I'm deciding the higher level actions that Alessandro should take - but using his base characteristics as the foil for them - it can only be a synthetic hope unless by chance it's realized in the actual manga. So it's my hopes and wishes.

After finding out what her concerns are and listening to them in detail, Alessandro ought to apply a decent strategy depending on his values. The strategy might be to simply warn Petra of the dangers of rebellion due to the Agency's total control over her life, and presumably, death.

The strategy might also including distracting her energy - and potentially fulfilling his own very well-repressed desire - by engaging her at the intimate level. I'm talking about the stuff after kissing. That brings with it a whole set of new problems though. A total can of worms that are going to crawl all around messing up the old plot and causing who knows what havoc.

Yet, there is a total inevitability to the chance. Petra and Alessandro are in this area two forces acting as one - only temporarily separated due to circumstance and timing. Their pattern of convergence necessitates radical changes in how each deals with the other, and most of them have to be initiated by the guy who holds the formal responsibility and position of authority - Alessandro.

Petra, as a tool-in-the-making and much more, will become Alessandro's ultimate victory or a disaster, but nothing in-between. The pattern of her forwardness in some ways perfectly compliments Alessandro's quiet reserve and other passive behaviours and techniques.

The final, most important deciding factor is likely Alessandro's ability to admit that he has - for only the second time in his life - fallen in love, and with a redhead again. From that realization he can move forward and plan appropriately how to employ and manage a future with Petra.

And we come to the second and last of my two hopes for Alessandro: he must sort out his feelings for himself, and then tell them truthfully to Petra, or otherwise manage a plan to get those things done when it is safe to do so.

Until that time he is just an employer with a complex, and Petra is just an employee with a hardbody.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by Danjo3 on Sun 27 Dec 2009 - 10:35

@ElfenMagix wrote:Think about it, if you found out that every time you spoke up, you got violently ill, you would soon learn how to be quiet and accept things as they were after a while.
At least Triela can tell Hillshire to go fuck himself, then stroll away with a smile on her face.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by ElfenMagix on Sun 27 Dec 2009 - 10:54

@Isochroma wrote:ElfenMagix: my 'postcount' won't let me reply to your PM, so I'll do it here in very brief form. I am on permanent disability and live in Canada, so I don't need to worry about jobs. The disorganization you refer to is my laziness, having lived in near total isolation for many years. If you'd caught me a year after grade 11, I would have been sharper with the structure...
Well, in spite of what you said about yourself, I'm glad that you have went beyond your boundries. But handicap is not an excuse to limit one's self. If I told you I was blind, in knowing how I function you would not believe me. But I am for the most part; as in my ultra sensitivity to light make it hard to cope on some bright sunny days than most. The retinal after images are not flushed out immediately when exposed to bright light and I end up in a white out condition, unlike the darkness most blind people complain about. But I do what I can with what I got; but enough of you and me.

I will go through your account and try to figure out why you cant answer PMs. As a member, you should have that right unless there is an anti spam thing running, and if so I'll exclude you from the list.

In the last two posts 'today' your points are much more clear. Again, points are well stated and examples cited well. But there is that component missing: She has an erased memory core, and everything she is going by she is trying to relearn. The drugs do not make it easier. And topping it off is that these cyborgs were built for their problem solving intelligence for site infiltration and target elimination. That means that they are hunter/killers by Terminator Standards. They are given orders and follow the orders directives to the best of the ability from which what the environments throw at them. Only a mind with a natural intelligence can do that, not an artificial one as of yet.

But there is that emotional component they still retain as being human. The conditioning drug takes are of much of it, as they do not fell remorse for killing their targets. Nor should they feel pity for them either, though some fanfict writers have done so with their OCs. But they stil need love, caring and understanding to make them continue to work. They need praises to make them feel good about what they do. To the extreme, it is the latter where the Lauro/Elsa team failed and self destructed in the end. Also to the extreme, is it the former why the Ernesto/Pia team succeeded to their own self destruction.

Personality is another facet one has to consider. It is the one thing that can not be erased by the conditioning programming process. That is why Claes is a bookworm, Henrietta is a spoiled brat at times, and Angie was always giving 110% or more. The personalities of the other cyborgs also applies for the same reasons. Petra as Elizabetta was a dancer of theatrical caliber. She was fast approaching Primadonna status if her bone cancer did not toppled her from her class' placement. She was an Alpha, who did not cared for those under her. She dealt with her classmates as to belittle them and telling them they were wrong and she was right. She did this with the others on the definition of Love to the younger girls and thus momentarily upset the balance Jose established with Henrietta with her confusion. Petra operates on a sexual level, the younger girls do not. Petra knows what it is that she has and is able to use it as bait where they others cant because of lack of knowledge and experience. Lastly, Petra herself does not know what Love actually is, though what she has she believes she is in it for intents and purposes of her relationship with 'Sandro. Petra is relying on emotional memories from when she was a dancer, another thing that the conditioning process can not erase, and is implying that her current feelings she has is based on that. It is not.

Petra, like the other girls, is drugged, conditioned, and programmed to portray some semblance of humanity while still running the killer cyborg routine. She is to function as normal as possible in the outside world until it is time to strike like the others. She can and does interact with the other cyborgs. She has been given false memories of training and equipment identification, along with names of people and places she has to know and function with- the one on top of the list is of her handler- 'Sandro. if she is in love with him it is because of these things that were done to her to make her fall in love with him. It was not a conscious choice she had made for herself, then again, when has love been a conscious decision by anyone in the first place? Rarely ever. Petra may seem to be independent, she is to the extent the leash around her neck allows her to be. Most of the time, 'Sandro is on the end of that leash. Some of the time, it is the agency. The problem is that she does not see it. She may think she is independent but she is not. Then again, many people to this day thinks that the world is flat and the sun goes about the Earth.

Petra has a lot going for her, but there is also a lot going against her. Since she knows little of what is right and what is wrong, she has to relearn every her morality once stood on. She has to use what she has to gain useful knowledge of the world around her and of the situation she is in. She may know but not understand that she is a cyborg for a reason. That reason she needs to figure out on her own while the pressures of everyday life gets to her. Thus far she is capable of handling that quite well.

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Re: Petrushka

Post by ElfenMagix on Sun 27 Dec 2009 - 10:57

@Danjo3 wrote:
@ElfenMagix wrote:Think about it, if you found out that every time you spoke up, you got violently ill, you would soon learn how to be quiet and accept things as they were after a while.
At least Triela can tell Hillshire to go fuck himself, then stroll away with a smile on her face.
That says that Triela's level of conditioning is much lower than Petra's. And from the looks of the other girls, the same thing applies to them. Thus one can speculate that Petra's level of conditioning is quite high, higher than those of the first gen who do require a minimum of higher dose than the second gen. So in this case, Petra is drugged up to the point where that other cyborg in V9 wants to smack that smile off her face. Then again, at that level of conditioning, I doubt Petra would even feel it.

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