Reviews for Meanwhile in Italy
Thescarredman chapter 21 . 7/10/2014
A fine story, ending in typical Alfisti fashion: with more questions than answers, and the next story's beginning well embedded in the reader's mind. One suspects you have a new OC fratello waiting in the wings. If so, bring them on, and may they be as entertaining as C. Raych and Danilo.
Black Swan chapter 21 . 7/8/2014
I really enjoyed reading this :) It's just a shame that this ended (although all good things must end), and that not many upload stories to GSG fanfiction anymore. Lovely story though.
ElixDeca chapter 19 . 6/15/2014
I love reading these, because of the well written dialogue & the emotion incorperated into the feeling of the story.
Thescarredman chapter 19 . 6/15/2014
Nice development of the main characters this chapter: Danilo is beginning to reciprocate his coworkers' dislike, while Raych is gathering a support group of understanding and sympathetic 'sisters', though she knows it not.

Also, I think you had some fun writing from Genco's POV.
Chronic Guardian chapter 2 . 5/27/2014
I have returned! This time around, I'm feeling more presumptuous; if I quote a passage with something in [square brackets], it means I feel you missed a word, a verb tense, or (most commonly) a simple comma. *WARNING!* Some of this is pure gut instinct; check it against a grammar guru like TheScarredMan for best results. I'm more or less 87% sure you won't take this as degrading, but on the off chance that you do, know that it wasn't meant to be.
Let's get down to business!

The kick off is great: I'm caught between whether the pathetic fallacy (environment reflect character attitudes/current temperaments, not pitiable lies) pertains more to Danilo or Raych. More articulately to Danilo, certainly, but it also hits on Raych's unfortunate first experiences with her handler. At any rate, the sterile, man-made emptiness sets a nice tone for both Danilo's objective and unforgiving approach and a large helping of reader sympathy for Raych. Why DO the 2nd gens come naked? Henrietta was dressed when she first met Jose, so it's not like it just hasn't occurred to them to give them clothes. Handler's preference perhaps? *Shudder* Nevermind, I'd likely rather remain ignorant all the same.

Danilo himself continues down his murky path to development throughout the narrative. Here in the first scene, simple things like the reaffirmation of his resolve give tiny glimpses of chinks in his armor while still maintaining his utterly bullheaded exterior when he defensively snaps at the doctors on what he does or doesn't know yet. It's kind of like... it's not that he's not picking his battles, he's just haplessly picking the wrong ones to fight.

"That intention was[,] however[,] interrupted by a mumble from the bed."
Or
"That intention[, however, was] interrupted..."
"However", here used as an adverb roughly meaning "to the contrary", is more accurately signaled when fenced by commas. This is a purely grammatical nit based entirely on the interest of good form; the alternate meaning of "In whatever way(i.e: Deal with it however you will) is unlikely to occur to anyone of lesser interest on the matter, and those with enough interest to know the difference are likely smart enough to know what you meant anyway.

"Looking over[,] he was greeted by open eyes, a hand wiping at tears running down each soft cheek onto the stiff pillow case."
I love how you contrast Raych to her surroundings here. Overall, she's a great frame to throw at Danilo: she's timid, soft, out of place, /human/, whereas her handler is all stiff knuckles and brash one-upmanship trying to prove himself. Also, I like the asyndetism, it puts a slightly brusque spin on Danilo's narrative perspective.

"Freed of its burden[,]..."

"There was a momentary pause as the firearm within, identical to the one he carried under his arm, was studied."
YES! Personal gratification. Maybe it's just me, but personally I think a lot of handguns look very similar. Yes, there are a few noticeably unique designs out there, but there are also a lot of model clones and later models and such. All that to say: identifying them immediately at a passing glance seems unreasonable to me in most situations, so I like it that it takes Raych a moment to pin down exactly which model it is.
Also, it's funny that Danilo chose a Steyr, the brand of choice for the Marco/Angelica fratello. His mannerisms remind me somewhat of the more detached Marco we meet at the end of that fratello's lifecycle. Mayhaps we'll see a reversed process here?

"/So that['s] {was} it. Deal Sealed.[/]Apparently he was, by the unofficial but generally accepted measure of those staff and handlers he had talked to, officially in charge of a cyborg now."
Mayhaps you have a different usage for italics, but methinks in this case you meant to signal an internal narrative. Typically, such things are first-person, present tense. Thus, although the first part can be from Danilo, the second part seems better shifted back into the normal third person narrative. Also, the oxymoronical thoughtline is funny to read: According to unofficial standards he is officially inducted. But how do the unofficial sources decide official business? *Computer explodes* Dang paradoxes...
Were I to seriously interpret it though, I'd say that it shows Danilo lacks an analogous grasp on social schemata. Either they mean it or they don't, he doesn't like casual in-betweens. Thus, even though it isn't an on record opinion, it is validated as official to him via its general acceptance by authoritative forces.

Hmmm... I think... I think I'm just going to have to get used to your narrative style. You tend to jump attached narrators pretty frequently. It's not poorly done, per-se, but it is something I'm not entirely given to.

"The man's action was unusual on a number of levels, and the sentiment was echoed from the back of the the room by the whispering voice of Priscilla as the SWA'S lead intelligence analyst stated her own surprise to Ferro, the support team manager sat beside her at the small table."
While this wording is understood, and there's no real way to trim down on the details while still maintaining coherence, this is a bit of a mouthfull. So long as it doesn't intrude on your flow, I'd suggest something a bit more clipped like: "The man's action was unusual on a number of levels[;] and the sentiment was echoed from the back of the room [in surprised whispers from Priscilla, the SWA's lead intelligence analyst, to Ferro, the support team manager accompanying her at the small table."

"...but few, if any he could remember[,] had purposely highlighted..."

You know... it's kind of funny that C. Raych gets a bulkier loadout to fill the role of a Gen 1, many of whom were rather spindly themselves. Sure, they had the childish padding more fitting of a stocky figure, but none could truly be called so much as "pudgey". Still, for literary purposes, we're willing to accept the explanation. I'm sure you have your reasons.

"Lifting the black nylon duffle which had been placed behind[,] he set it atop the sheets."

"There [are] clothes in here..."

"Inside, four sets of eyes[,] two male..."

"The new handler scowled however..."
I don't think that however is necessary, namely in that I can't identify what it's contradicting. Danilo's reply already comes across as snippy, so his scowl is an affirming expression to his words rather than a counter.

"The girl[,] however[,] still looked unhappy."

"...moved onto the girl's other foot."
Call me crazy, but this could be one of the few instances in which "on to" is the correct choice as opposed to "onto". Again, you're not likely to actually confuse anyone, but were, say, a computer to read this statement it would interpret it as Priscilla placing herself on top of Raych's foot rather than proceeding with her work from one foot to the other.

"Leaving the upper to hooks of the high combat boot undone[,] she twisted the tough strands once over themselves{,} before wrapping them around Raych's calf..."
Maybe I'm just reading it wrong, but this comma placement more fits the thought distribution, if you ask me (Which you didn't...). Heh, combat boots. Danilo came prepared, sure, but she's gonna stick out like a sore thumb the minute the step on the streets.

"/Not imaginative but, well... 'low maintenance' was probably the key here./"
Because this is an internal narrative, traditional done in 1st person present tense, I'd advise switching to "is" rather than "was".

"...before putting it down and slipped the elastic circlet over her wrist."
To maintain verb tense, I'd suggest "slipping" over "slipped".

I like how everyone tip toes around the subject of Danilo. It's different having a main character everyone can't stand.

Danilo thanks Priscilla... subtle yet significant. Yeah, he's still a major jerk, but part of him at least understands professional courtesy. He's not bad for bad's sake; it's possible that he's just rough around the... well, okay, more than just the edges. You get the point.

Danilo's perspective on his car, like that on his gun, makes me edgy. Which sounds ridiculous, considering its just a car and a gun, but it implies that he could feel that way about Raych too.

".../he didn't remember seeing anything in the specs.../"
See above notes about internal narratives.

Of all the people to run into on the range... Sandro knows when to give a man space, but I can totally see it getting under Danilo's skin that he'll probably have him pegged before they next meet. Danilo likes to be one step ahead,

Alessandro's talented enough that he doesn't have to form a preference, because he usually is anyway.

The way Danilo has to literally reel in his expectations is both amusing and unnerving as we're not sure how he's going to react to Raych's ineptitude. Also, it allows for a slightly vulnerable understanding moment at the end where Danilo tests the gun himself.

"/At least now though he felt a little better./"
See above notes about internal narratives.

"/...by the time he was done he would have simmered down enough to at least look at his charge again./"
Ditto.

"Outside[,] the girl in question..."

"...beside her handler's car.{and} Danilo took a deep..."
Basically a suggestion to break up the sentence. Running on often is good for your health. Writing? Not so much.

In closing: I really like how Danilo's developing. On top of that, Raych is an oddly fitting match against his obtuse mannerisms. I'm looking forward to how she acclimates to Danilo and, as the 2nd gen is capable of doing, eventually teaching him a thing or two. She's a nice girl, thankfully, that much is evident. Elsewise I'd be worrying about Danilo the same route as Lauro, save about ten times faster.

Anyway, good stuff. I'll try to be back again with some meaningful jabber soon.
Regards,
-CG
Decka chapter 18 . 5/24/2014
Poor Raych. There is a shit-storm coming and when the it hits the fan, it isn't going to be pretty. This is like an alternate version of Elsa De Sica, except of being in love with her handler, she has unwavering dependencey on him (his fault mostly, of course). However this is a reasonably accurate description of what the SWA would be, if it continued.
firelordzuko chapter 18 . 5/24/2014
Best solution I'm hoping for at this point is Raych pulling an Elsa on Danilo.
Chronic Guardian chapter 1 . 5/8/2014
To begin: Whether or not my words are warranted or helpful, they are the words I have to give. I apologize in advance for any irrelevance as well as any misspellings (my MS Notepad is bereft of a spell checker, what you get here is my full and unfiltered ineloquence). Also, it is likely this will be truncated, the rest will be sent to you via PM.

Scene changes are denoted by {}.

Now to really begin: The opening lines are nice in that they portray a handler who isn't fully put together yet. It's a notion contrasted further down the line with plenty of evidence to show Danilo /is/ capable, but not in all areas. In a way, he reminds me of Raballo. What I like about it though is that it makes Danilo come across as a worthy hire, but not bullet-proof. The life of a SWA handler is a diverse mash-up of professionality olympics, nobody can be a gold medalist in all categories.

Also... I feel like I'm running into a lot of regionalized wording. Not to say you should change it, just that there are some lines I read twice and think "Huh, I've never heard it put that way before." If I list any of these as typos, I humbly ask your forgiveness for my ignorance.

In general thoughts, you tend to have very long sentences. Long sentences for long chapters effectively kicks this off of the "kiddy menu" and directly into the "Three-course Literary Meal" range meant for serious readers only. All that to say: perhaps I'm simply the wrong audience, but methinks some pieces here and there could stand a comma or two, or even a dedicated split. I won't pick out each instance as I come across them, but it's still something that caught my attention.

Back to relevance: I like how you set the tone for Danilo. The way you sum up his conversation with Priscilla reflects a straightforward, "decided" attitude that already knows what it wants. He doesn't want a road map to fashion, he wants a discreet route to find what he considers relevant. Although this tunnel vision will likely have its uses, I'm also looking forward to when it backfires.

It's kind of funny that the clerk would ask for a size for a loose fitting Poncho. Well... okay, maybe it's my unawareness of fashion displaying itself. Just, to me, ponchos are more of a one-size-fits-most thing. *Shrugs* Maybe I should try wearing ponchos sometime...
Unless it's not a poncho, in which case you leave us wondering what the heck it actually is that he's buying since a poncho is the only thusfar mentioned item.

Danilo's obsession with black is also an interesting touch. In most professional dress that I'm familiar with, contrasting the black suit and tie against a white shirt is usually a solidly accepted choice. The way you have it here, he's not just being professional, he's consciously pursuing this single-tone line of look. Which... given his focused nature, kind of really works in a subtle, but entirely present sort of way.

Finally for this scene, You have an asterisk after "Well-thumbed Wallpaper", which I assume is meant to explain the term, but the corrolating text is nowhere to be found. At the same time, having this brief snippet from the clerk's perspective is mildly diverting, but it breaks the flow of the Danilo narration. Think of it cinematically: if we were closing the scene off with a shot that pans down to the clerk shrugging, we already have all we need. If we hold the shot to show her start websurfing in boredom, we wonder what the significance is. Of course, prose is not cinema and vice-versa and I am not professionally versed in either, so maybe you should just go with your gut anyway.

{}

Danilo's preparedness strikes me, particularly with comments like "accoutrements of life, the type which were never thought of until they weren't there." It makes me wonder if he got specific instructions from somebody to look out for these aspects, or if he's done something like this before. ...Or perhaps he's just that sort of person. Again, this guy reminds me of Raballo.

May I just say that I love your descriptions? Phrases like "Where two tiers of dashboard stared blankly back at him from behind cheap plastic" give a level of working detail for scene setting without making it a chore to read. *Sigh* How I envy you.

{}

Question: Would it be Chief Lorenzo's "Steward" or "Stewardess"? I know the difference can give it an entirely different connotation, but my fascination with the Romantic lingual families leads towards gender denotation as a general rule.

Scenes like this serve to set the scope of the story to the reader. It's not just a tale of an isolated handler and his cyborg, you're giving the reader feedforward to tell them there's more going on behind the scenes. That, and it gives a chance to get an outside perspective on Danilo. Or... that's the way I read it anyway.

The cameo of the much-loved Jethro-Monty fratello is a nice early tie-in to the rest of the Cyborg Central expanded universe. I mean... yes, they're also your characters, but they're set in an extended universe that presents a wider range of possibilities for conflict. Like I said: feedforward.

{}

This section brings to mind a few wonderings in wording.

"It had taken awhile to track down a bunking plan..."

This probably doesn't count for much, but I'm unsure about your use of "awhile" in this scene. Of course, I'm unsure about "awhile" vs. "a while" in general. However, because "awhile" is an adverb and "a while" is a noun, I would suggest switching to the second. Try
swapping "awhile" for a relatively synonomous adverb just to confirm.

"With her somewhat curt guarantee it was..."

The "somewhat" feels out of place to me. How is one "somewhat curt"? I can understand somewhat disagreeable, or somewhat overwhelmed, but being somewhat curt sounds sort of like being somewhat decisive. *shrugs*, Maybe it's just me.

Hmm... the way Kara is introduced, using the second bed for her own purposes, speaks of a girl used to living alone and having full facility of her surroundings. Add that to the way Michele tends to pamper her and it makes me wonder how she'll take having a roommate.

I think it's funny that Danilo scowls at Kara having a surname when "C. Raych" is supposedly a two-parter as well. Maybe he doesn't count the "C"? Anyway, I like how humanly judgmental it shows him as. He has a way he likes it and he's not interested in seeing it any differently.

Not sure why "Well that at least he could approve of" is in italics. Italics generally denote internal monologue, and thus are generally phrased in a first person perspective. Using "he" in the sentence would thus be referring to the only other available he in this context: Michele. Unitalicized though, the he reverts back to our standard attached narrator: Danilo. In short... I think two sentence styles might've gotten a little mixed up here.

With Danilo cutting the tags off here, I get an awkward mental picture of him rather cromagnonly flicking off the unwanted markers unto the floor or something. I guess I could just as easily assume he pockets them for later disposal though... Plus, wouldn't leaving the tags on be more prudent in the case that these don't fit and he needs to return them? On the defensive side though, Danilo isn't putting aside any special time for the task this way; he's dealing with it in a very direct order of operations, which does fit with his character.

"Let know C. Raych,"

Now there's a wording I'm entirely unfamiliar with. I'll accept that it's effectively protected by the dialogue rule, but it feels a tad archaic to me.

Danilo's sizing up of the Michele-Kara fratello is fun to read, and certainly believable. I wonder what he'll think of other fratelli...

{} (I count the switch from Danilo to Mari and Henrietta as a scene change)

Your use of the word ablutions here seems to be a fancied up term for showers. If my dictionary yields true, it seems a bit reverent of a word to be using for such a purpose.

"and preventing a curious cyborg from investigating suspended trusses and air conditioning ducts and protecting it from damage." Could just be me, but that feels like one too many "and"s. There comes a time when compounding sentences just isn't worth it anymore. Also, is it "a curious cyborg" as in someone specific, or "any curious cyborgs" in general?

The deduction of Kara's room due to the door being left open feels instinctive and fitting of child logic. A more sophisticated observer might attempt to deduct possible rooming options from which ones weren't currently at maximum occupancy; with the more child-like first gens, you get to make intuitive short cuts like this one.

The description of Danilo's car noises feels a tad awkward in its construction. I would recommend a sentence break or leave it out altogether. Yes, it's a detail that happened, but is it a detail that's relevant to the current scene?

"Don't know, but her handler was wearing a lot of it... don't touch!"

Methinks a dash may serve better than ellipses in this case.

A note on Kara's homework load: is English a required class for the cyborgs? I know that German is, which makes sense considering the proximity, but the necessity of English seems somewhat questionable to me. Also... as an ending to the scene, it feels a little weak.

{}

"aided by the time he had spent memorising the compound layout... there was no way known he was going to get caught out blundering around like some rookie."

More personal opinion on grammar (You must hate me by now...)! The elipses feel like they should be replaced with a comma, and I'm not sure if that "known" really makes sense. Try the sentence without it perhaps. If it's a regional difference, forget I said anything. On the upside though, I like the slightly self-conscious note we get from this line. It makes me think Danilo has a need to prove himself, which is a nice sticky source of character motivation that can lead to cold-hearted evil just as easily as it can to altruistic good.

M
Thescarredman chapter 17 . 5/5/2014
'The prodigal son returns.' Droll.

It's more than a little amusing to see Danilo so helpless without his high-tech gadgets. It's also amusing that Raych would likely be scoring better if he would just loosen her leash.

Danilo and Raych as intelligence agents. The Free World is doomed.
Thescarredman chapter 16 . 4/14/2014
Danilo certainly has a workmanlike attitude about his tools, Raych included. He might expect her to screw up, but he never sets her up to fail, as evidenced by the final sentence of the chapter.

Have to admit I was smiling as I read Danilo and Raych's march through the handlers' offices and followed Danilo's squirming thoughts. Come to Jesus, boy! Maybe a good dose of fear for his job was what he needed to pull his head out of it. I'm fully engaged with this character, more than I am with Raych - more even, I must admit, than with Monty and Jethro. I've just finished this chapter, the sixteenth in a story that's 100k words long and just getting rolling, and already I can't wait for more.
Alfisti chapter 16 . 4/12/2014
BrunaGuest... Cheers mate. They are indeed my OCs. There's a bit of a (slightly out of date) spiel on them over at Cyborg Central. Unfortunately, writing up a wiki article (presuming we're talking about he same wiki) has been sitting on my "to do" list for about 18 months, but I've yet to get around to it. ;

Sorry to do this as a separate review, but ffnet doesn't seem to have any other options for replying to guests.
BrunaGuest chapter 16 . 4/12/2014
good story are C. Raych and Danilo your OCs? I havent seen them on the Wiki page
firelordzuko chapter 14 . 3/2/2014
I am looking forward to the day when Raych finally frags Danilo.
Guest chapter 13 . 2/12/2014
this was a great chapter
Thescarredman chapter 12 . 1/19/2014
Heheh. Danilo mistaking cyborgs for 'real' girls is becoming something of a trope around Cyborg Central.

Nice buildup in this chapter, few surprises. It's nice you're giving time to so many canon characters, as well as the senior CC writers' well-established OCs.

Again, you've made clear that Raych's development, both as a useful weapon of the SWA and as a person, is being held back by her handler's ego. There really should be a training course in place for handlers by the time the second gens are well-established, don't you think? But Section Two doesn't really understand its puppets either, despite all the engineering, experimentation, and testing. Doctors Belisario et al have no tools to quantify the human soul.
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