The idyllic lives of cyborgs

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by MP5 on Sat 20 Mar 2010 - 18:42

Ok, here's what I came up with for Allison and Jay, though this focuses on Allison more:

Spoiler:
A Candy Apple Red Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR-FQ-360 with British Racing Green stripes screamed into Mansfield corner of Cadwell Park racing circuit in Lincolnshire, England. Inside the cockpit, the tachometer jumped up to its revised 8000rpm rev limit, thanks to the Mine's VX-ROM Engine Control Unit that replaced the stock engine computer, as its pilot, Allison McDonnell, downshifted into third, then second gear, brilliant gouts of flame jumping out of the exhaust pipe. The Lancer clipped the apex of the corner gracefully, momentarily rumbling on the kerbing of the inside of the turn as it dove onto an outside line in the turn's exit. Allison got on the throttle, gaining instant response from the BorgWarner Variable-Geometry Turbocharger that replaced the stock turbocharger from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. She was able to get to fourth gear before downshifting again as she entered the hard chicane combining turns 9 and 10. Her left foot shoved the clutch in, while her right foot worked the gas and brake pedals in a heel-toe downshift, her heel blipping the throttle as she sank the 6-speed manual transmission into third, then second gear while the ball of her right foot held down the brakes. Proceeding onto the next straight, she screamed toward 'The Mountain,' taking that gentler chicane in third gear, riding through Hall Bends in fourth, before downshifting to second through Hairpin, and then shifting into third and steadying the throttle through Barn before pulling into pit lane on the main straight. Allison let the car idle, allowing the turbocharger to spin down while her older brother, 45-year-old Brian McDonnell, came to her now-open driver's side door.

"1 minute 20 seconds, Allie. You're certainly shaving off the time." commented Brian.

"Good to know." replied Allison. "Question is, how's the hydro infusion working?"

"Hard to tell. You've still got unburned fuel getting backfired on some downshifts, especially through Mansfield. So much for reducing carbon footprint in racing, eh?"

"Dammit!" swore Allison, tossing her Simpson racing helmet on the pavement. "I've been working on that tech for the past 4 years now! Where's the results?!"

Since the disbandment of the Social Welfare Agency some years ago after the signing of the 20XX “Republic Accord”, which brought an end to the insurgent hostilities in Italy, the decision was made to rehabilitate its Cyborg operators for transition back into civilian lives. Like Claes and Kara, Allison had been artificially aged into her mid-twenties, and expanding on an idea that she had conceptualized during her days in Section 2, had facilitated the startup of a Biofuel production facility where the Social Welfare Agency had previously been located. As foreign investment flowed into MDJ Biofuels (named for the initials of Allison, Kara and Claes' surnames), Allison eventually turned over control of the business to a friend named Colin Hunter, relinquishing ownership of a multi-billion Euro production facility, a corporate jet, and the owning share of stock for a €2 billion Euro buyout package. With these funds, Allison and Brian moved to England and started up McDonnell Performance Racing, an up-and-coming tuning house that catered to high-performance sports cars as well as ordinary street cars, using a tuning philosophy that married abundant horsepower with ultimate vehicle response. Recently, MPR had begun a (so far) 4-year effort to explore hybrid-fuel performance in the form of real-time Hydrogen injection from an on-board electrolysis system. Such technology, however, was largely regarded as false pseudoscience, but Allison wanted to believe. However, despite hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on the project, she was no closer to achieving the breakthrough she had been looking for. There was simply no energy-efficient manner in which Hydrogen/Gasoline hybrid technology could flourish. While she had also considered compressed-hydrogen injection, almost like Nitrous Oxide, that would create extra weight, negating the available performance of the car due to the heavy tanks needed to contain the compressed hydrogen.

“Let's call it a day, Allie.” said Brian. “We can try again some other time.”

“I'm about ready to give up on this, Brian.” replied Allison with a sigh. “At this rate, hydrogen power will almost solely be the domain of Fuel Cell cars. Trying to reduce carbon footprint in a sport that's used high-octane fossil fuel for years is a pipe dream that sucks money into one big hole.”

The two proceeded to load the Lancer onto a trailer that was hooked up to a Ford F-350 Crew Cab heavy duty pickup truck. Brian took the wheel as Allison belted herself into the front passenger's seat. As they pulled out of Cadwell Park and pulled onto the A153 for the 4-hour drive back to McDonnell Performance Racing in Swindon, Brian found time to talk to his younger adopted sister.

“Allison, don't give up on the project. It's not like you at all.” said the elder McDonnell.

“But I've been trying so hard for four years now. I was expecting to see some decent results, but what I'm getting isn't efficient enough. It's not substantial enough to make a difference.” said Allison, looking out the window. “I'm all for greener cars, but if it doesn't produce high-performing results, there's no point in trying to use them in the racing world.”


“Well, you can just revisit the idea at another time. Not every great breakthrough in technology came in one sitting.” finished Brian. Beside him, Allison nodded and then changed the subject.

“So then, just a few more months before McDonnell Performance Racing is back in the saddle. Sure am going to be glad to drive that Audi A4 round Brands Hatch.”

“We have to make sure she's ready first, get her up to spec. Got a name for it yet?” asked Brian, knowing his sister's penchant for personalizing her cars with nicknames.

“I'll call her Isabella.” said Allison. “It seems to have a ring to it.”

“That was fast.” said Brian. The two went silent again as Allison pondered what her old friends were up to.

“Aside from Jay, I hardly see anyone else from the old days anymore.” thought Allison aloud. “I think it's time we had a reunion,or at least plan one after catching up with some of them.”

“That's not a bad idea.” commented Brian. “You've got a couple more months before the BTCC season starts up again.”

“But what about practice?”

“Allison, with your skills, you've had more practice than is necessary. Why else do you have so much time to work on client's vehicles? Certainly not because you are neglecting your practice, that's for sure. Look, this frustration with the hydrogen hybrid fuel is going to get to you. Nip it in the bud, take some time off to visit the other girls. Hell, maybe even take Jay with you.”

“I'd have to talk to him about it, first.”

“Do it over dinner.” suggested Brian.

“But when we get back to Swindon, I'll barely have time to cook!”

“No problem.” said Brian. “I booked the two of you a table at Mt. Fuji over at Stanton House.”

“You what?!” shrieked Allison. “Brian, at least ask me first before you decide on your own!”

“I talked it over with Priscilla, and she agreed with the idea.”

“What about Jay? Did he agree?”

“Priscilla's making him go, too. You know, both you and Jay are working hard. Sometimes, you just need time to relax. The two of you are both having difficulty finding time to see each other, yourselves.”

“But what about the projects--”

“Let the other boffins take care of that, Allison. You hired them for a reason. Make them earn their pay.”

Allison sighed in defeat with a small reluctant smile. “Fine, you win.”

“Now that you've got a hot date tonight, try using a perfume scent other than 'Daytona 500' or 'D1 Grand Prix'. People will start to wonder why there is a hint of scorched rubber and petrol fumes in the air. Just this once, please try something more feminine?”

Allison smiled. “I'll think about it.”

----------

Around 7:00pm, Allison walked out of the McDonnell residence as Jay pulled up in his gloss black Mitsubishi Starion 2600 GSR-VR, which he had kept since his days at the Social Welfare Agency. It was a present from Allison, and one that he took meticulous care of. Jay greeted Allison as he rolled down the window.

“Hey, beautiful.”

“He~y, handsome!”

Allison entered the passenger's seat, and as she belted in, she shared a kiss with Jay as she placed her pocketbook purse in the parcel shelf that was the Starion's rear seats. After the brief kiss, Jay sniffed the air slightly.

“Is that... Lavender, by any chance?” asked the American as he pulled away from the curb.

“Yes it is... so you noticed, huh?” replied Allison.

“Kind of unexpected, since you normally wear petrol and burnt rubber for perfume.” chuckled Jay as Allison playfully swatted his head. “So then, Mt. Fuji?”

“Let's go!” cheered Allison.


After a fifteen-minute blast down the M4, the couple soon arrived at Stanton House Hotel, home to Mt. Fuji restaurant, where Jay left the Starion's keys to a valet as he hooked arms with Allison, the two of them sauntering inside Mt. Fuji. After removing their shoes, they were led to a table for two where they sat and ordered their meal. They chose the 'Sukiyaki and Shabu Shabu' course, with a 1990 vintage red wine to go with the food. As they started out with their appetizer of Soya beans, skewered chicken, and battered squid rings, they caught up on each other's lives.

“So Allie, how have things been lately?” asked Jay.

“They could be better. I was at Cadwell Park today testing the Hydro-hybrid Evo.”

“And?”

“No dice. Still getting backfire and a lot of carbon emissions. So I stopped for the time being; it's just really frustrating.”

“Keep at it, hon. I know you can make this work.” encouraged Jay, reaching his hand across the table and placing it atop Allison's.

“Thanks, dear.” replied Allison with a smile. “Now how's things going at Valentine Electric?”

“We got two of those new 3D TV sets. So far, everyone's still buying HDTV's instead.” replied Jay with a sip of his wine.

“I don't understand why 3D television is even around.” said Allison. “I can understand wanting clear, High-definition picture quality, but 3D? That's plain ridiculous.”

“Fools and their money are soon parted, but there's a slight delay with this case. Then again, charging almost £8,000 pounds will certainly dissuade people from buying the latest home entertainment gadget.”

“Too right!” laughed Allison. Soon enough, the main course was served, and they each began grilling a piece of beef on a griddle while the Sukiyaki began to simmer in a pan, the meat in the Sukiyaki already having been browned. Eventually, they were able to start eating, and the couple quickly turned to vacation plans. Both their elder adoptive siblings had told them that they'd been working hard as of late, and that it was high time they cut loose and took some time off, not only to spend more time with each other, but also consider seeing their friends.

“I was talking to Brian on the way back from Cadwell, and he suggested that we should visit the old gang.” said Allison.

“That's not a bad idea. I do want to see how they've been doing since we left the SWA.” replied Jay.

“We definitely have to book some flights to America. Last I checked, Triela's a homicide detective in New York, Rico is customizing firearms and participating in IPSC competitions out in Montana, and I think Laine's been traveling back and forth between London and Washington, DC for tennis stuff.”

“And a lot of the others are still in Italy.” added Jay. “Though Marisa is in Bermuda, last I heard, and I think Mont—Monique, is in London working for the MPS.”

“Poor Monique, you'd think she'd have gotten out of doing paperwork when she was done with Section II. Now then, how are we going to go about visiting them?” said Allison.

“How about farthest destinations first?” suggested Jay, picking up a piece of grilled sirloin. “That way, we won't have to worry as much about airfare later on.”

“Point taken. I guess we're driving from Italy back to the UK?”

“Sure, why not? I was thinking we'd take the Alfetta back from Italy. You left it with Michele, remember?”

“I dunno, as much as I love 'Sonia', I have mixed feelings about taking an Alfa Romeo through Europe alllllll the way back to Swindon. It's an older Alfa, so it's not necessarily as reliable as the newer ones.”


“Allie, hon, you did the work on it yourself. I'm sure it'll be fine. So then, a couple days with each of our friends sound good?”

“Yeah!” said Allison. “And then, maybe we can all plan a get-together in Rome.”

“That seems like a plan.”

“Hey, all this time, you haven't talked a lick about the other boys. We can't forget them, either!”

“Oh man, I totally forgot!” said Jay. “Let's see... If I remember correctly, Scott moved with Chelsea back to her hometown near Philadelphia. I think he does aerial observation in the area using his collection of R/C aircraft.”

“Do you remember if they got hitched or not?” asked Allison.

“I think they were fixing to.” said Jay. “He finally confessed to her after he got moved up in age. He's been hiding his feelings for I don't know how long now.”

“What about Ike?”

“Issac, I think he does drumwork for that alternative band, Ace Revolution. Word is they're getting ready to go on tour soon. As for Palo, Stefano, Marcello, and Kevin, I haven't heard a single word from them since we went our separate ways.”

“I think that's why we gotta try and get the whole gang back together again. For old times' sake, you know?”

“Agreed. Shall we pack our bags this weekend?”

“No time like the present.”

The two clinked their wineglasses as they continued their meal.

Perhaps based on this, Jacen, you'll have an idea of what to come up with.

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by Alfisti on Sat 20 Mar 2010 - 23:17

...yeah, I'd be a bit dubious about taking an Alfetta right across Europe as well, because no matter how well you maintain it things tend to fall off at the worst possible moment. That's why I generally take another car with me if I'm going long-distance

That said: as long as everything's hooked up it's a suprisingly comfortable way to travel.

Good start you're making.

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by Professor Voodoo on Sat 20 Mar 2010 - 23:40

@MP5 wrote:Ok, here's what I came up with for Allison and Jay
Now there's a twist we haven't seen before...two ex-SWA agents striking up a post-agency romance. Very well written, I enjoyed it.

As for Stefano, Paolo, & Marcello (Kevin already retired and went back to California in Danjo's tale) I think I have some guesses...

Stefano mellowed out and got married. He had a son, and together with Marcello & Kevin they are teaching him their sacred ways...


Paolo, unfortunately, hasn't changed a bit...

You may have seen him on deh internets...

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by MP5 on Sat 20 Mar 2010 - 23:49

Well actually, it's a continuation of a relationship they eventually strike up in the SWA. I just haven't gotten around to writing it yet, because as usual, I have ideas that come way too fast.

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by Jacen Starslayer on Sun 21 Mar 2010 - 0:12

Me too!

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by Marder on Fri 5 Nov 2010 - 23:05

Adeline ends up moving to America to learn how to build superbikes of 1000cc. The bikes she builds look something like these:

For a few examples.


http://www.scottscustomcycles.com/images/raginglady.jpg





By this point she is age 40 and her shop is upstart and business is quickly starting to roll due to her acclaim from American Chopper. At the age of 25, Adeline adopted a 10 year old daughter named Melinda Dietlinde while living in Germany working for BMW to get a handle on building and designing motorcycles. That same year, she struck up a relationship with a fellow employee resulted in her getting pregnant with two twins, Gianna and Daniel. Her lover abandoned her when he found that he'd have to raise a 10 year old and two children, so she went to America and studied further in the bike business. Among her various destinations of employment in the states was with the famous Teutel family and Orange County Choppers of American Chopper fame. There she learned design and theme techniques and went on later to gain national acclaim for her bike designs (Lets just say she takes the place of Cody on the original American Chopper). With her newfound wealth and fame, she moved out to San Francisco and set up her own shop building the kind of bikes she truly loved, super bikes.


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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by tremec6speed on Sat 20 Nov 2010 - 0:18

If the enemies were to be suddenly defeated, Slavatore would leave with out looking back and Helen and her friend Vinson would live together as brother and sister.


Last edited by tremec6speed on Sun 27 Feb 2011 - 14:20; edited 2 times in total

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by Alfisti on Tue 18 Jan 2011 - 2:12

Honestly, the more I think about it, I can't ever see J+M settling down to an "idyllic" normal civilian life... they'd definately fall into a "And the Adventure Continues" or "In Harm's Way" trope.

Seriously, though I don't think Jethro would even know where to start with a "normal, law-abiding, civillian" life.

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by Officer_Charon on Tue 18 Jan 2011 - 3:49

So... pretty much Indiana Jones, but more covert, and with Cyborg Swinging Action(tm)? *grins*

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by Alfisti on Fri 21 Jan 2011 - 0:10

@Officer_Charon wrote:So... pretty much Indiana Jones, but more covert, and with Cyborg Swinging Action(tm)? *grins*
Yeah, pretty much. Ancient ruins, romantic adventure, evil villans, secluded villas, island hideouts, volcano bases, exotic locations, heists, capers, battles.... and lots and lots of paperwork.

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by Officer_Charon on Fri 21 Jan 2011 - 19:04

@Alfisti wrote:...and lots and lots of paperwork.

Isn't there ALWAYS?

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by MP5 on Wed 2 Feb 2011 - 2:34

I envisioned Triela per TTSC canon finding an 'idyllic life' as an NYPD detective with a recommendation from Brian and Allison's cousin, Thomas McDonnell. Of course, she still had to walk a beat before she became a detective, and plenty of stories abound from her days in the standard uniform...

Triela, Hilshire, Thomas, Allison, Jay, Brian, and Nicolette are seated at the bar of Charlie and Andy's pub, 'The Shaggy Dog' nursing their drinks. Eventually, the subject of conversation turns to Triela and police work.

Allison: So how's life as a detective in the Big Apple, Tri?

Triela: Oh you know, paperwork, chasing leads, always trying to get scumbags off the streets... it's a different thing from when I was in the regular blues. For one thing, garbage calls are practically unheard of for detectives.

Jay: 'Garbage calls'?

Triela: Call-outs for stupid crap, like some guy complaining that he ended up getting the wrong tattoo, or people just generally making a whole lot of fuss about bullshit, like someone's tree blocking their view... I'm so glad that crap is over with; I had so many of those as a patrol officer.

Thomas: (he smirks, sensing opportunity to haze the younger officer) Oh, you should tell them the one story you told me!

Triela: (realizing the story in question, she buries her face in her hands) Tommy, no. Please, don't make me tell that story again, that one was so dumb, I might kill myself from the stupid.

Thomas: C'mon, tell them or I will.

Triela: *sigh* Fine, gather 'round, everyone.

Triela begins her tale as Charlie, Andy, Simone, and Erina sit down nearby to hear the story.

Triela: Ok, so my partner and I get this call to respond to a domestic situation and we hear it involves a kid, so of course we figure it's pretty serious. We pull up to this apartment to find a kid with a backpack on standing on the stoop backing away from his mom, and she's got a belt in her hands. So we talk them both down, take the belt from the lady, and ask what's going on, and immediately the kid says that his mom was belting him because he said he didn't want to go to school. As soon as he said that, my reaction was immediately like, 'Are you shitting me?! You call 911 because you don't want to go to school?!' I mean, I cannot describe in words the amount of sheer idiocy in this...

The people in the immediate vicinity are already chuckling at Triela's story, but the young detective is not done.

Triela: I couldn't think of anything else to do; this kid wasted taxpayer dollars because he didn't want to go to school, and of course I got on his case about it. What does he tell me? He said the belting from his mom is considered child abuse. Where'd he hear that? His friends from school, of course. That is the moment I realized that kids have the most amazing capacity to be complete dipshits. So I take the belt, hand it back to his mom, and tell her to make sure she gives her boy a proper licking for wasting our time and resources. I then tell the kid that if he does that bullshit again, I would beat him myself before throwing him in juvy. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a garbage call.

By this point, everyone is laughing in the bar. Thomas raises his beer glass and clinks it with Triela's as everyone else around them continues laughing.

Thomas: Triela, I've had some really long days as a rookie, but I never in my life ever had the kind of garbage calls that you did. way to put up with it all, kid.

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by Professor Voodoo on Wed 2 Feb 2011 - 7:31

@MP5 wrote:Triela begins her tale as Charlie, Andy, Simone, and Erina sit down nearby to hear the story.
I've read about a few cases just like that...primarily in Florida. Personally I don't think any cop in their right mind would play it like that (thereby exposing themselves to huge liability if things got genuinely ugly). Obnoxious kid + incompetent mom...better to just hand the situation off to Social Services, they get paid to deal with that shit.

Still, your story is from Triela's point of view and you nailed it...that's exactly what the former Princess of Section 2 would do.

Allison: He didn't want to go to school? Jeeze, can you imagine if you'd told Hillshire that?

Triela: Stop right there! (shudders) I don't even want to think about that!

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by tremec6speed on Thu 3 Feb 2011 - 2:56

Professor Voodoo wrote: '...I just banged out a short chapter for my own amusement.'
Ah....you just 'banged it out'?!? ... fo- for 'amusement'?

Guh?

Prof, if you can do that for fun, there has to be several best sellers just waiting to happen in that mind of yours!
Seriously that's, how do I put this, if your writing were scaled to a tachometer so that at 1,000 rpms you have good writing and 8,000 is great, then you sir just red-lined.........


head bang


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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by tremec6speed on Thu 3 Feb 2011 - 3:04

Wow MP5, that really exciting the way you take the reader through the detailed
description of the racing machines!
As a racing fan me self (not knowledgeable, but enjoy it anyways)
Puzzled cheers
That was one cool read! study head bang cheers
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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by Professor Voodoo on Thu 3 Feb 2011 - 6:53

@tremec6speed wrote:
@Professor Voodoo wrote:I just banged out a short chapter for my own amusement.
Prof, if you can do that for fun, there has to be several best sellers just waiting to happen in that mind of yours!
Thanks for the vote of confidence. Unfortunately such periods of productivity are counter-balanced by the times when I struggle to write any more than a few sentences...but you're right, someday I hope to create something worth publishing. Don't we all?

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by Kiskaloo on Sun 27 Feb 2011 - 2:56



Kara: "Victory is mine!"

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by MP5 on Sun 27 Feb 2011 - 3:13

Allison M. Valentine checks her Facebook page. On her news feed, she finds the following message from her old friend Kara Pagani:

@Kiskaloo wrote:

"Victory is mine!"

*CLICK*

"Allison M. Valentine likes this."

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by MP5 on Sun 27 Feb 2011 - 3:39

The first half of something I cobbled together in continuation of the Jay and Allison story I hatched:

Spoiler:

The Road Ahead

Jay looked around the table, seeing his and Allison's friends surrounding them enjoying themselves at the end of the evening's dinner. Girls and boys he and his beau had grown up with were now relatively successful men and women in the adult world. There was once a time when this scene would have been only a dream, but now, it was as real as the air he breathed, the food he ate, and the love between him and Allison. It was a peaceful reality that he never thought he would ever see, but in the years that had passed, he did live to see this day. More importantly, he had lived to see this day with Allison at his side, and the relationship had lasted for the past several years. They had been together through good times and bad, and fell back on each other's strength when they needed it the most. They had known love, had known intimacy, even before they left their previous lives of bloodshed in the name of counter-terrorism. They'd had their own fights, their own disagreements, some resulting in temporary separation, but they always remembered that they loved each other, and that kept them together.

The young Valentine had butterflies in his stomach now, as he steeled himself for what he was getting ready to do. His right hand checked his pocket to make sure the little felt-covered box was there, and then he cast a glance towards Brian. The elder McDonnell smirked briefly and then nodded, nudging Priscilla with his elbow as Jay tapped his fork on his wine glass, garnering the attention of the others at the table.

“Everyone,” began Jay, “I'd like to take a few moments to reflect on this group we have gathered here this evening. We've all been through so much together, good times and bad times alike. There were those who said that we wouldn't live to see this day, that we would surely have passed on before we could ever become adults. But look at where we are. Several years since we all first met, and we're all still here, and some of us have even enjoyed great success. Whether it's Kara, who's now an up-and-coming fashion model, Matthew, with his recording label, Erina, rocking shows everywhere as DJ 'E', or Rico, with her custom-made firearms line, we've found our callings with some degree of success, while some of us might still be searching for them, but are no less better off for it. However, we've all gone our separate ways, and that's something we all had to do eventually if we were going to live normal lives. Most of us did, anyway.”

Jay turned his gaze to Allison. “My girlfriend is the exception. Even through all of these years, she's stood by me, and she never lets me forget how much she loves me. Every time I see her, I can't help but think, 'Wow, I'm the luckiest guy in the world. She's not just any girl, she's my girl, and only she can change her mind on that, but she hasn't.' I can't help but feel blessed that she's chosen to stay with me all these years.”

Allison blushed brightly at the attention and praise Jay lavished on her before he continued, grasping her hand as he did so. “I gave it some thought recently, and I thought I'd like to see if I can push my luck a little tonight. I also realize that what I'm about to say is going to sound cheesy as hell, so, uh, here goes.”

Jay's self-deprecation emitted a soft chuckle from around the table as Allison simply smiled as the young man began to speak.

“Allison, you and I have shared the road called life together for the past several years. As we traveled that road, we've rolled together over smooth blacktop as well as some potholes, but through it all, you never left me behind. You taught me that freedom means being able to go wherever I want, whenever, and as quickly as I can dare go with my hands on the wheel and my right foot on the gas. Most of all, you've taught me how it feels to be loved by someone special. It's made me realize that I want to return that love many times over, even if it takes the rest of my life to do so.”

By now, Erina, seated between Henrietta and her boyfriend Charlie, had pulled out a camcorder and began recording the moment, while Henrietta readied her Canon EOS 5D Mark II while Charlie pulled out his iPhone 4. It was at this moment that Jay let go of Allison's hand as he got down on one knee and produced the small felt-lined box from his pocket. A look of complete surprise crossed Allison's face as she realized the enormity of what her boyfriend was doing.

“Allison... nothing would make me happier than being your co-driver for life...”

Jay opened the box to reveal a 14-karat white gold engagement ring with a 1-karat round diamond set in the top and center of the band. Allison covered her mouth with her hand, rendered speechless by the gesture.

“...will you marry me, Allison?” asked Jay with a hopeful smile.

As Allison began to tear up, overwhelmed with emotion, she nodded her assent before finding her voice again.

“Yes, Jay... of course I'll marry you!” sobbed Allison joyfully, tears cascading down her cheeks as Jay took her hand and placed the ring upon her ring finger. Cheers erupted and Henrietta's camera flash went off repeatedly as the two embraced and shared a prolonged kiss. The husband-and-wife-to-be looked into each other's eyes and embraced once again before Michele stood up next to Claes and raised his wineglass in salute.

“Everyone, I would like to propose a toast.” said Michele. The others raised their wineglasses as well, all standing and looking at Allison and Jay at the end of the table.

“Here's to the future Mr. and Mrs. Valentine. I wish you both the best of luck, all the happiness in the world, and a prosperous and fruitful future. Here's to your good health.”

“To good health!” chorused the remainder of the table guests as the group clinked their wineglasses together.

“Let's celebrate!” exclaimed Brian boisterously, gesturing to the hostess. “Padrona, più vino, per favore!”

“Subito, signor.” replied the hostess, moving off to fetch another bottle of red wine. In short order, she returned with a bottle of 2004 vintage Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino wine , which Brian uncorked and passed around the table, making sure to top off the wineglasses of his younger sister and future brother-in-law beforehand.

“So, when's the wedding?” asked Petra, scooting over next to Allison.

“Uh, well...”

“We haven't really thought that far out yet, Petra.” spoke Jay in Allison's place. “But don't worry, you'll be among the first to know.”

“Would you like me to take care of wedding photography?” asked Henrietta, gesturing with her Canon. “My gift to the both of you.”

“I wouldn't mind that at all, 'Etta.” said Allison before Kara went over to her.

“We need to start talking wedding dresses.” said the up-and-coming model. “I'll bug Sophia and see if she can't fit you into her schedule.”

“Is there any way I can talk you out of dolling me up for the big day, considering I'm not even sure when it will be?” asked Allison sheepishly.

“Nope.” replied Kara with a smile. “And you can forget about asking the other girls to bail you out.” she added, Claes sidling in next to her with a smirk of her own. A ways away from them, Fiona and Nathan set their son and daughter down from their laps and the two tore off towards Allison and Jay, giving the two quick tugs on their clothes to get the couples' attention.

“Uncle Jay, Auntie Allison, Uncle Jay, Auntie Allison!” chattered the two seven-year-olds.

“Yes? You have our attention, Alyx, Gordon.” replied the bride-to-be.

“Can I be the flower girl at your wedding?” asked Alyx, hopping up and down on the balls of her feet.

“Yeah, yeah! An' can I be the ring boy?” piped in Gordon.

“You mean the ringbearer?” Jay clarified.

“Yeah, that!”

The engaged couple looked at each other for a moment before turning back to the two children. “We'd be honored. Absolutely, you can!”

“Yay!” cheered the brother and sister, running back to their parents. Fiona and Nate pointedly nodded in appreciation toward Allison and Jay as Triela sat down next to Jay.

“So I guess this means we can avoid the usage of smoothbore firearms as an insurance policy?” said Triela to Jay.

“I think so. Personally, I'd rather not feel like I'm being forced to get married.” replied the groom-to-be.

“Aww, and here I was hoping to be your best man!” said Ike in mock complaint.

“Good.” piped in Ryo, clinging to his arm. “You'd be terrible at it. The last thing their wedding needs is a drummer making an ass of himself near the altar.”

“Hey!” groused Ike, genuinely offended this time. Meanwhile, Alessandro dropped by on Jay's side with his own proposition.

“Before you get hitched, it's customary to have one last hurrah with a good-old-fashioned stag party. Vegas sound all right to you?”

“I dunno about that...” replied Jay with apprehension.

“Come on, It'll be fun! We went there way back when, and you had fun, didn't you? You even won thirty-five grand at roulette!”

“That was with Allison, all right? Knowing you guys, I'd probably escape with just the clothes on my back!”

“What's one last visit?”

“...Fine.” relented Jay. “But I better not end up tied to a mattress on the hotel roof dehydrated after like two days, like in The Hangover.”

“Oh, you mean like when we went there for Sandro's stag party?” asked Hilshire with a grin, causing Giuseppe, Jean, and Brian to break into peals of snorting laughter.

“Oh, ha-ha, assholes.” deadpanned Sandro. “You laugh now, but Petra would've torn all four of you a new asshole if you didn't find me.”

“Well, it only took us two hours to find you, as opposed to what? 24 hours?” offered Brian in his defense.

“You just want to go to Rock n' Roll Ricky's again, don't you?” Hilshire pointed out.

“I believe that every man should have a chance to blow up old cars with a helicopter gunship before he settles down into married life.” replied the 'Belfast Bastard' matter-of-factly, drawing a smile from Alpha nearby while Liesel smiled and shook her head.

“Vegas it is, then.” agreed Jay.

After that night, the rest of the year was a whirlwind of events. Once a month, Kara and Allison met with Kara's designer Sophia, alternating between the headquarters of Atelier Pagani in Milan and the McDonnell Residence in Swindon. They usually convened during a weekend, figuring out a proper look for Allison's wedding day, even getting input from some of the other girls. In between, Jay and Allison sorted out the paperwork for their marriage and even got used to living together under one roof.

Two weeks before their wedding in Bermuda, Allison and Jay were abducted from their respective workplaces by their friends to be led on their separate Stag and Doe trips. Jay was whisked off by Sandro, Brian, Scott, Ike, and Kyo to Las Vegas, where they spent an entire week tearing around the city in six-figure sports cars and classics getting inebriated, gambling, racing their vehicles at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch, eating like kings, and then capping off the trip with Jay at the gunner's controls of a helicopter gunship known as 'The Fifth Horseman' at Rock n' Roll Ricky's Machine Gun Rentals as they expended untold amounts of ammunition and explosive ordnance destroying many scrapped and used vehicles. And of course, no stag party would be complete without Jay guiltily enjoying a private lapdance from a buxom blonde exotic dancer. The trip had gone well, and with no re-enactments of The Hangover's plot.

Things were decidedly more petrolhead-centric for Allison's doe party trip, as Kara, Claes, Triela, Petra, Priscilla, and Jennifer took the bride-to-be on a massive trip consisting of track-hopping Europe's many racing circuits. Beginning with a very special trip (with lots of pulled strings) to Dunsfold Aerodrome's Top Gear Test Track and a separate hop to Goodwood Circuit in the U.K., the ladies took an assorted mix of sports cars and supercars from the British Isles across the channel to continental Europe, racing through Croix En Ternois circuit in Northern France, Pau-Arnos Circuit in the south of France, and Ascari Resort in southern Spain before making a U-turn in their travel plan and heading back north to Germany, where the presenters of the former 'Top Gear Italy' webcast—Laine had joined them on this leg of the trip—took on the world-famous and world-dangerous Nürburgring circuit. The home stretch of their trip ended in Italy, spending three days hopping from Monza Circuit, to Imola Circuit, to Fiorano, and then to their old stomping grounds at ACI Vallelunga circuit, where they ended the trip. Like in the American road trip for their webcast as younger drivers, they had switched cars to get a feel for the different flavors, the only difference this time being that Triela had brought 'her' Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren from the start instead of the Range Rover she had driven in America several years ago. Priscilla and Jennifer often brought up the rear in a Vauxhall VXR8 Bathurst Edition 4-door saloon in their attempts to keep up with the former cyborgs. Most nights during the trip were spent clubbing, drinking merrily, and sharing stories from the old days, though on the final night, Allison was subjected to the enjoyable-yet-embarrassing spectacle of being treated to a lapdance by a pair of male strippers.

Finally, on a bright and sunny October day, the big day had arrived, and on a scenic, white-sanded beach lapped by clear waters, family and friends, many of them former relations of the Social Welfare Agency, gathered in waiting as the couple of the hour prepared to join together in holy matrimony.

“You nervous?” asked Priscilla of Jay in the waiting area just before the ceremony was about to begin.

“Yeah. I'm nervous.” replied Jay honestly. “But not too nervous. I'm not so nervous that I'll get cold feet, why should I be that nervous? Great, now I can't get the word nervous out of my head--”

Priscilla interrupted her 'little brother' with a couple of light slaps to the face.

“Thank you, sis.”

“No problem. You ready?”

“I think so.”

“I'll see you out there.”

Priscilla left Jay to his own devices, and the groom looked at himself in the mirror.

“Here you go, Jay.” he said to his reflection. “You've made it. Now go seal the deal.”

With renewed confidence, Jay strode out of the prep area and up the aisle to take his place at the altar, nodding politely to those in the congregation who were giving him encouragement. Arriving at the altar, he was greeted by Scott, who was his best man, chosen over Ike for obvious reasons (and because Alpha was more inclined to be part of the congregation rather than be up near the altar). However...

“So she finally let you wear one?” asked Jay in a low voice.

“Ever since we got hitched, yeah.” replied a kilt-clad Scott.

“Why no invitation for that, by the way? We would gladly have come to see it.”

“It was a civil ceremony, and besides, I wanted it low-key.”

“Suit yourself. Please tell me you haven't gone 'regimental', though.”

“But I like the breeze...”

“Scott!”

“Kidding, kidding. Besides, we're standing on top of sand. That'll be a right bastard to deal with--”

“Enough already.”

The two quickly quieted down as an acoustic guitar played by Becky sounded out Richard Wagner's 'Bridal Chorus', and many in the congregation looked down the aisle as Allison entered the archway escorted by her elder brother and preceded by Alyx Gilbert, who was gaily spreading flower petals down the aisle. Many looks of amazement came from the congregation, and Kara smiled to herself, and Claes added her own smirk. The past several months had paid off, resulting in a very elegant silk wedding dress custom-tailored to Allison's physique. The bright white color of the dress actually brought out Allison's fairer skin color, which was nonetheless radiant on this day. Allison's hair was also down in deference to her wedding veil, and she looked all the better for it once some curls had been applied to her brunette locks. Function had also been a factor, as Allison had voiced that she wanted to be able to dance energetically when it came to the reception, so a long, flowing skirt ending roughly around the middle of her calves and a slit down the left side was part of the dress. As the two walked up the aisle towards the altar, the shutter of Henrietta's Canon could be heard opening and closing rapidly as Alyx pointedly moved out of the way and went back to sit with her parents.

Just before the altar, Brian stopped and stepped aside, nodding meaningfully towards Allison before he took his seat in the front row next to Priscilla. Holding her bouquet with both hands, Allison stepped up next to Jay as the priest began the ceremony.

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the joining of Allison and Jay in marriage...”

The ceremony was lengthier than most popular media tended to portray the average wedding, particularly because this was a wedding being performed in the Catholic tradition. This included a Liturgy Of The Word, with passages selected by both Allison and Jay with help from Avise and Agapita, and read by their friends and family, including the former fratello. Finally though, after a short sermon by the priest, the entire congregation stood up as Allison and Jay exchanged their vows. Surprisingly, they had based their vows on a script to keep things simple (though when they renewed their vows the next year, they would write their own). Allison went first, out of deference by the priest and 'ladies first'.

“I, Allison, take you, Jay, to be my husband.” began Allison, her voice calm and gentle, “I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”

Jay then followed with his reply:

“I, Jay, take you, Allison, to be my wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”

The priest blessed the couple, joining their hands together before asking Allison to confirm her vow.

“Allison, do you take Jay as your lawful husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish until death do you part?"

“I do.” replied Allison. The priest turned to the groom.

“Jay, do you take Allison as your lawful wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish until death do you part?"

“I do.” said Jay confidently.

Then, the most important moment of the wedding; the priest asking if there were any objections to be voiced.

“If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together – let them speak now or forever hold their peace. “

A tense moment passed in complete and utter silence. The priest then continued to confirm Jay and Allison's vows.

“You have declared your consent before the Church. May the Lord in his goodness strengthen your consent and fill you both with his blessings. That God has joined, men must not divide. Amen. “

“Amen.” chorused the congregation.

“And now, the bride and groom will present one another with their rings.” said the priest, prompting young Gordon Gilbert to briskly walk up the aisle importantly with Allison and Jay's wedding band and ring on the pillow in his hands, to the slight amusement of the mostly-adult congregation. Stopping at the altar, Scott took Allison's wedding ring and handed it to the priest as Gordon hurried over to Petrushka, who took Jay's wedding band to present to the priest before Gordon hurried back to his parents. Back at the altar, the priest blessed both rings before first handing Allison's ring to Jay, who placed it on her right-hand ring finger, and Allison did the same to Jay.

“Perfect fit.” said Jay to Allison.

“So is yours.” replied the blushing bride.

After they had placed the rings on each other, the priest continued with a nuptial blessing.

“My dear friends, let us ask God for his continued blessing upon Jay and Allison.”

Those gathered in the congregation bowed their heads and prayed silently, then, the priest continued:

“Holy Father, creator of the universe,
maker of man and woman in your own likeness,
source of blessing for married life,
we humbly pray to you for this woman
who today is united with her husband in this sacrament of marriage.
May your fullest blessing come upon her and her husband
so that they may together rejoice in your gift of married love
(and enrich your Church with their children).
Lord, may they both praise you when they are happy
and turn to you in their sorrows.
May they be glad that you help them in their work
and know that you are with them in their need.
May they pray to you in the community of the Church,
and be your witnesses in the world.
May they reach old age in the company of their friends,
and come at last to the kingdom of heaven.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.”

“Amen.” replied the congregation, bringing their heads up.

“Go in peace with Christ.”

“Thanks be to God.”

The priest then turned to Jay. “You may kiss the bride.”

Jay and Allison both smiled as they enjoyed their first kiss together as husband and wife and cheers and applause erupted from the congregation and from the sides of the altar as Scott, Petrushka, the bridesmaids, and groomsmen congratulated the new couple. Becky began playing Felix Mendelsohn's 'Wedding March' as Allison and Jay walked down the aisle together, arm-in-arm past the applauding congregation onto the path towards the road bordering the beach at Church Bay. As they walked away from the wedding site, Henrietta kept ahead of them, snapping away with her EOS 5D. When they reached the road, the remainder of the congregation trailing behind them after the bridesmaids and groomsmen, a gloss black Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S awaited them, flanked by many sportbikes and a few motorcycle police officers. Adeline came up behind the couple and took her helmet from one of the tuxedoed men on the sportbikes.

“What are you two waiting for? Get in, we're escorting you guys to the reception!” said Adeline, putting her helmet on as she climbed atop her BMW K1200 R and started the engine. With a smile, Allison and Jay piled into the Maserati while Henrietta climbed into the front passenger's seat to take in-car pictures. However, the chauffeur was not who they expected to see.

“Oh my god, it's The Stig!!!” exclaimed Allison with great surprise. Indeed, the white-clad 'tamed racing driver' of Top Gear fame, adorned with a black bowtie for the occasion sat wordlessly in the driver's seat as he pressed the push-button ignition, bringing the 4.7L V8 up front to life, tuned exhaust roaring gutturally. Adeline led the convoy off, a police motorcycle following suit as Adeline's fellow motorcycle club members began riding off to clear the way for the Maserati. Considering the vehicle they were in, and the fact that it had to be flown over via Warhawk Military Aviation's transport wing (Rental cars were an impossibility in Bermuda, so anyone and everyone driving in this convoy had their vehicles strategically-airlifted thanks to Jennifer), The Stig wasted no time in opening up the throttle on the long, undulating surface of South Road. The normally half-hour drive was shortened to about twenty minutes thanks to the police escort, and they soon arrived at a small upscale cottage resort in Surf Bay, about 10 miles from the site of the wedding. More to the point, Marisa and Elio Alboreto lived and worked here, and they had spruced the place up for Allison and Jay's wedding reception.


A while later, once everyone had settled in and the wedding party had finished receiving the other guests, dinner began as the sun began its descent in the evening. As everyone ate, drank, and made merry, many congratulations were passed to the newlyweds, and a veritable tower of presents of various sizes occupied a table off in one corner of the reception area. An open bar was available courtesy of Elio, and many former handlers (as well as one Monty Blacker) wasted no time in acquainting themselves with the old spy's reputed mastery of mixology. Soon enough, however, before the dancing, Allison and Jay cut their wedding cake together and fed each other a slice, symbolizing their commitment to life together. Shortly after the wedding cake was partitioned out to all the guests, however, Erina took her place at the DJ booth and first introduced the newlywed couple for their dance.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Jay Valentine!”

As applause broke out before quieting down, Erina began playing a nice slow song to start with, and soon the newlyweds were waltzing to Jason Mraz's “I'm Yours” as Erina soon lowered the volume to allow the live band—composed of Annette, Scott, Becky, and Ike—to continue the song with a special reggae flair. However, the waltzing was but a warm-up for the main part of the first dance, as the band hung on a final note, cutting the song off early as Erina put on a lively Cuban number titled El Diablo Colorado by a group called 'Manolito Y Su Trabuco'. With big smiles, Allison and Jay tore up the dance floor with fast-paced Casino-style Salsa dancing as Allison's dress swished and swayed, occasionally showing a little bit of leg from the slit in her wedding dress skirt with each spin and pirouette the couples' salsa number put them through, drawing many whistles and cheers from the reception's guests, especially more so when they engaged in a bit of risque hip gyration. Finally, when the song ended, Jay and Allison stopped in a romantic pose, the new Mrs. Valentine leaning back into Jay's extended arm as the others applauded. As the other guests took to the dance floor, Allison and Jay retreated back to their seats, temporarily exhausted from their energy-consuming Salsa, where they were met by Jethro and Monty.

“And I thought the Guv and I had moves.” said Monty with a smirk. “Pray tell, where did you two learn to do that?”

“Would you believe a few free lessons and the rest was all self-taught?” replied Jay.

“You're taking the piss.” objected Jethro.

“Oh no, he's serious about that.” replied Allison. “That's how we used our free time together, when I wasn't working on cars or him on electronics.”

“How long have you two been doing this?” asked Monty, taking a sip of her Tanqueray 10 G&T.

“About a couple of years, even a little before Petris said it was time for us to put our sharp and pointy sticks away for good. Why, feeling envious?”

“Me? Envious?” said Monty, her eyebrow raised. “Please. Just because you two are married doesn't mean the Skipper and I can't cut a rug like you guys do.”

“Shall we?”asked Jethro, removing his blazer and offering his hand to his lovely companion.

“We shall.” replied Monty with a smirk, placing her drink on the table. Moving to the dance floor, Erina caught sight of them and faded in Gotan Project's Epoca, striking a bit of nostalgia from the new pair.

“Hm. This takes me back.” said Jethro.

“Well, at least that was one part about that Monaco job that was a bit pleasant.” replied Monty.

“Funny. I recall you saying you needed to wash your mouth out after that.” jibed Jethro.

“Touche.”

The two were soon engaged in a fluid, precise, and sensual Argentine Tango that was the envy of many a couple on the dance floor.

After the dancing, the remainder of the evening was a blur of congratulations both sober and inebriated, many warm wishes for the new couple, telling of jokes, songs (including covers of Paramore's The Only Exception by Becky and B.o.B.'s Airplanes by both Becky and Matthew), and of course, the tossing of the bouquet (Johanneke caught it, which would later lead to a marriage ceremony with Kyo taking place 10,000 feet above ground, where they were pronounced husband and wife before they pulled their chutes). Eventually, the partying died down and the guests all retired back to their lodgings for the remainder of their stay in Bermuda. Late that evening, Jay happily carried Allison into their new shared room (they purposely stayed in different rooms before the wedding) as husband and wife. Changing out of their formal garments, the two were soon in more casual wear as they opened up a bottle of champagne to share privately, away from the eyes of friends and family, clinking their glasses together in celebration of their new life.

A good while into the night, they had finished showering and were prepared to spend their first night together as a married couple. Allison had come out of the shower bearing only her bathrobe and a request to her husband as the two embraced, knowing what had to come next, and she was nervous for it, despite having gone through the physical act before more than once; perhaps it was now different because she was truly now one with her lover.

“Jay?” Allison asked, nuzzling into her husband's shoulder, planting kisses along his neck.

“Yes, my love?”

“Make me feel beautiful tonight.” she whispered into his ear.

“You're already beautiful, and you always will be.” replied Jay. With nothing left to say, the two kissed and turned off the light, letting their passion guide their hands and bodies until all that clothed them was the shadows of the night as they consummated their marriage, completely opening their hearts, bodies, and souls to one another. This night was different from the previous nights they shared a bed—this was going to be permanent. When they fell asleep in each other's arms while basking in the afterglow, their hands were entwined together, Allison's ring and Jay's wedding band side-by-side.

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I aim to misbehave.



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MP5

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by boomer_gonz on Sun 27 Feb 2011 - 10:48

@Kiskaloo wrote:

Kara: "Victory is mine!"

In response to this I must say...."Dawww!!"

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The Power of Claes Compels You!!!
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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by Professor Voodoo on Sun 27 Feb 2011 - 11:30

@MP5 wrote:The first half of something I cobbled together in continuation of the Jay and Allison story I hatched:
Very nice...and I think you've broken your own record for most SWA cyborgs (OC & Canon) in one story.

In fine Italian tradition I would imagine one of the wedding gifts is a card from "Uncle Pieri" with a nice envelope of cash to help the young couple get started.

You've gotten my creative juices flowing, MP5...I might toss out another one of these myself. Watch this space.

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I saw a werewolf drinking a Piña Colada at Trader Vic's. His hair was perfect.
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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by Professor Voodoo on Tue 1 Mar 2011 - 23:41

Okay, this is turning out longer than I expected so I'll release it in small parts as they are completed. The timeframe is 10 years after my previous entry...Henrietta & Marisa are both about 38.

Spoiler:


Once upon a time Henrietta considered airports scary, bewildering places. Thousands of strange people, all carrying cases which could easily hold weapons, innumerable threats to her Giuseppe. What she had feared most was becoming separated from her beloved handler in the huge crowd...she just knew that she would never find him again. So great was her terror of being lost in an airport that she physically clung to the tail of Giuse's sport coat any time they had to walk through a big international terminal.


That was so long ago it felt comical now. Today, Melbourne-Tullamarine Airport held excitement & promise for Henrietta. It was the final gateway on a journey of thousands of kilometers and more flying hours than the chestnut-haired woman cared to think about, but a journey that led to the best photojournalism opportunity she had ever been offered.


When it came time to collect her three large bags (this was her most important job ever...she did not want to be caught without a single camera body, lens or piece of support equipment lest that be the one bit of gear she needed to get a career making shot) Henrietta struggled and wished she still still possessed the cybernetically augmented strength of her youth. All the mechanical parts were still there, they had just been dialed back in potential to ensure a lighter load on the brain.


As she exited through glass doors 'Etta scanned the long line of taxis, buses & private cars for her ride. At least they'd let her keep her extraordinary eyes...a terrific advantage in her chosen profession. She did not expect to see anyone she knew right away, and indeed she did not. She was seen first.
"Henrietta! 'Etta over here!" shouted the only voice in the crowd that was speaking Italian. An auburn haired woman of about her age waved a big straw hat to get her attention, but that familiar voice would have been enough.
"Marisa!" exclaimed Henrietta as the two women embraced, "It's been so long! You haven't changed a bit!"
"Thanks for saying so" she chuckled in response but leaned in and whispered "would you believe, I plucked my first gray hair last month?"
"A week ago for me" confessed Henrietta in the same low whisper, and the two women, both fast approaching middle age, giggled like they were girls enjoying a tea party back at the Social Welfare Agency dorm.


Mari gave a big sigh and said "I'm parked in the short-term lot, let me help you with your bags." Henrietta blushed a little at how much equipment she'd brought but her old friend laughed. "I had to air-freight 1,500 kilos of gear in 64 boxes halfway across the world for this job."
"Are you still trying to one-up me?" Henrietta muttered, referencing their old rivalry.


Mari led Henrietta to a late model Ford Falcon Ute and helped load her bags into the pickup bed. "We'd better lay the cargo net over these...the roads are good here in Melbourne but they get pretty dodgy where we're going. Oh yeah...you'll need this too." She reached into the passenger seat and handed 'Etta a big straw hat like her own.
Never one to decline a gift Henrietta smiled and said "Thank you!"
"It may have been winter back in Rome but it's summer down here" Mari pointed out, "and the sun can be a bloody killer."
Trying it on and admiring herself in the door-mirror Henrietta commented "You're looking rather Australian yourself."
"Just practical" answered the red-head with a shrug of her shoulders. In addition to the straw sun hat her outfit consisted of hiking boots, a pair of rugged khaki bush shorts & a white broadcloth shirt. "You must be famished after 18 hours of nothing but airline food. Let's grab lunch here in the city before we get any further down the road."
Henrietta sounded a little disappointed "We're not going straight to the location?"
"The location is a boat tied up at Phillip Island" Marisa explained, "you'll have plenty of opportunity to enjoy bad food and a lumpy bed soon enough. You don't get seasick, do you?"
"I brought plenty of Dramamine" she chirped.
"Hope it helps" said Mari skeptically, "it never worked for Triela." The two shared a laugh at that. Triela, the undisputed greatest cyborg the SWA had ever produced, the Princess who mastered by sheer willpower any task that stood before her had never conquered her horrible problem with seasickness. She had even taken a singles cruise aboard a thousand foot luxury liner and spent the entire trip in her cabin throwing up. They both felt bad for their elder sister but neither could deny the absurd comedy of it all.


Once they had maneuvered out of the airport and onto the Tullamarine Freeway 'Etta let her true excitement show. "I can't believe you got me a job shooting for National Geographic! This is the biggest opportunity of my life...thank you so much!"
"Whoa, slow down," admonished Mari, "the article is actually for the kids magazine, National Geographic Explorer. You'll be shooting the companion piece to the TV documentary I'm filming about Great White Sharks."
'Etta gave a little snort of indignation and replied "Well I've still told all my friends back in Rome I'm on a photographic assignment for the National Geographic Society, and it's not a lie. Besides, I ought to know what kids like."
"Because you have two?"
"Partially," Henrietta replied "but mostly because I was a 10 year old for the better part of a decade." The two cyborgs laughed out loud at that.


Guessing her visitor might need one last good dose of Italian cuisine before spending weeks on a small boat Marisa brought Henrietta to a popular restaurant run by an old Neapolitan couple. Over their antipasto they caught up on what their old friends from Section Two were doing. What became clear was that everyone was getting older.


"Well," explained Henrietta, "did you hear Rico sold her business?"
"Never thought that would happen" remarked Marisa, genuinely surprised. "She's been building that outfit since we all left Section Two. Built it up from a simple gunsmith place to a full machine shop..."
Henrietta finished her sentence "...and finally an industrial metal fabrication company with a dozen individual shops. She sold it all and made a killing!" 'Etta paused and continued in a softer voice "A few of us got together that night to celebrate but then the weirdest thing happened; Rico called me the next morning and asked 'What do I do now?' At first I thought she was joking but no...she was totally serious. Rico had been focused on that business every single day for 20 years and when it was gone she didn't know what to do next. It was really upsetting her so I cleared my schedule and invited her over. We drank tea and talked all afternoon...I suggested she travel, do charity work, maybe find a hobby but it was actually Giuseppe who gave her the answer when he got home from work."
"And?" asked Marisa, sensing that her old friend was building to some surprising conclusion.
Henrietta's answer was surprising; "He told her to call Jean."
"You're shitting me" exclaimed Marisa, "they've barely spoken for over two decades!"
"What shocked me even more was that Jean actually agreed to have coffee with her. The two talked...it was good for both of them. It seems like it was something they'd each been waiting a long time for, but neither one of them knew how to pick up the phone and start. I think it's a good thing for both of them...Giuse says he's always known they would come to this point."


Mari nodded and asked "So how is Giuseppe?"
She did not hesitate. "Happy" Henrietta answered with a smile, "he really enjoys working at the Real Social Welfare Agency...that's what he calls it. You should come see it some time, I go there a lot to take pictures. Our old dorm is always full...the lawns & playgrounds are alive with kids who've never been able to run & jump before in their lives." Henrietta looked to be on the verge of happy tears when she talked about it. "You know, it was rough on us but we really did some good...being prototypes for the cybernetic program. I love the change in Giuseppe too. He's not burdened anymore...he goes to work with a smile knowing that every day he's actually going to help someone."


"I'm glad" sighed Mari, "what about the rest of the compound?"


Henrietta giggled like she had when she was young. "The kids absolutely love the old shoot-house. A few of the older ones understand what all those old pock marks in the walls mean but to most of them it's a labyrinth, a castle, a play house...anything they want it to be. The obstacle course is popular too, but they had to scale down most of it. These new patients don't get the same super-parts we got!" She took a sip of her iced tea and continued "I'm focusing a lot on the kids but they're only part of it. There's adults, senior citizens, accident victims...they're all being helped at the same hospital where we were build to be assassins. I absolutely love the old folks who haven't been able to walk in decades; they go straight outside as soon as they have their new implants and wander around the grounds all day...it's nearly impossible to get them to come back to their rooms at nightfall!"


They were both near tears by now. Sighing heavily, Marisa said "It was worth it after all." Her old friend wiped her eyes and nodded emphatically. Right about then the waiter arrived with their pasta.


To be continued...

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I saw a werewolf drinking a Piña Colada at Trader Vic's. His hair was perfect.
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Professor Voodoo

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by Kiskaloo on Tue 1 Mar 2011 - 23:47

@Professor Voodoo wrote:To be continued...

It darn well better be. Wink

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by crazyidiot78 on Tue 1 Mar 2011 - 23:56

Full of Win Not Worthy!
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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by MP5 on Wed 2 Mar 2011 - 0:23

Well Done, Voodoo! Hmm, Marisa and Henrietta at 38? goodness, at that point, Allison and Jay are in their forties and their kids are teenagers already. but as soon as I get it done, you'll see something with them involved.

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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by Professor Voodoo on Wed 2 Mar 2011 - 1:06

@MP5 wrote:Allison and Jay are in their forties and their kids are teenagers already. but as soon as I get it done, you'll see something with them involved.
Gunslinger Girl: The Next Generation?

I am trying to reconcile this story with what everyone else is writing...I plan to keep the entire story in the form of a conversation between Mari & 'Etta as thet work in the Bass Straight & Tasman Sea but the usual OC characters will be mentioned during their talks.

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I saw a werewolf drinking a Piña Colada at Trader Vic's. His hair was perfect.
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Re: The idyllic lives of cyborgs

Post by MP5 on Wed 2 Mar 2011 - 1:29

Eh, not quite. Shelby Valentine is learning to race like mom, and Colin Valentine is learning how to be an ace shot--especially since he receives a 'big boy gun' from 'Auntie Rico' for his ninth birthday so that he can eventually start shooting in Civilian Service Rifle matches: