The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe - Willow & Tara Forever

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 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 15
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 12:30 pm 
That was a great update :applause this is a very complex story, at times it can be hard to know who you can trust, that is aside from Aki and Claire.

Barry Schon seems to be doing the right thing and trying to help the sisters. He seems to think that Vivian will be better able to convince Claire to cooperate with his plans. I guess that depends on whether or not she took part in the torture and humiliation of Simone, if so then she'll prove to be more of a liabiltiy than a help.

There seems to be trobule brewing amongst the sisters, with the healer not wanting to help Simone due to past incidents. So much for our last best hope for peace.

I wonder if she would be able to go through with that though. I mean if they stayed together would she be able to watch Simone grow old, and eventually die, knowing she could help her. I guess it depends on how much she hates her.

The repartee between Claire and Simone was fun to read. The banter at the end made me think of similar strings of dialogue from Babylon 5. :lol The revelations about Simone's past were interesting, as was the fact she views herself as being a monster. I disagree with her statement that her perception of herself would be more accurate than other peoples. Though it just occurred to me that Claire seems to have forgiven Simone rather easily for trying to kill Aki. That is assuming that she did, since we only had Evelyn's word for it and she might have been lying or mistaken.

Anyway looking forward to :read more

"VOOM"?!? Mate, this bird wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through it! 'E's bleedin' demised! - The Parrot Sketch

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 15
PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:15 am 
Wow, finally caught up with this story, and I so need to see where Claire and Simone will end up in all this mess.

I like the way you weave the plot to involve so many characters.


It's the passion in a kiss that gives to it its sweetness; it is the affection in a kiss that sanctifies it.

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 15
PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 7:41 pm 
So...colour me a bloody fool for missing this. Aside from the "Hugh?" which I am assuming your spell checker keeps mistaking "Huh?" for, this is brilliant. I loved Aki from the start and am more than a bit peeved for even contemplating something with Simone after all that Aki has given up for her....but hey, what do I know. She has more than her share of growing up to do. Thus far, my favourite lines are:

The Spy shifted her eyes to her left. “I brought some company. Her name’s Vivian, but I call her shithead.”

The Spy glared at the ramrod posture of the soldier standing at-attention next to her. She looked to Claire and said, “This is what I have to deal with. She doesn’t cook, won’t clean, and I can’t get her to put out; it’s like being married. She follows me around and buts into my business.”

They were snort-worthy and I found myself giggling helplessly. Totally sad I know. I adore the story and although there are a few things that have me puzzled, this is a thoroughly engaging read. I really really want things to work out for Aki and Claire. Then again, I've always been a total slut for romantic, sappy endings. Good show, Quark! :applause

Time flies by when the Devil drives.
It's not the pace of life that concerns me, it's the sudden stop at the end.

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 15
PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2004 5:41 pm 

Thanks for the comments and analysis. Always entertaining and welcome. Simone is VERY charming. She can't help it. If she weren't she would be much less effective in her role/title. Claire may be losing her ability to see past the facade... Or is it just a facade... Hmmm. The Genius is learning a lot about her sister, and about herself in the process. She's never fled for her life with anyone before -- at least not for this long and with so many different modes of transportation-- and that forced closeness has fostered the growth of feelings that Claire may need to deal with soon. She needs to sort-out her mind, and I think that Simone is going to help her with that -- maybe inadvertently.

Barnabas Vamp,

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and let me know how much you're enjoying the story. I've put a lot of work into it, so I hope that you continue to enjoy.


Thanks for your comments. Spell check? Oh yeah... I should turn that on sometime... :) It warms my heart to know that despite the dark over/undercurrents in this, the snort-worthy lines have managed to surface from time to time. Claire's feelings are in flux-- like the rest of her thoughts and ideas-- but they're beginning to coalesce... Her evolution began before her frozen near-death -- one of her fellow scientists even got her listening to classical and romantic music-- and she's starting to realize that she can make real choices as to her company, surroundings, and future. Whatever choices she makes will be the right ones, though maybe not with the most apparently ideal outcome.

With that said, Simone adores Aki and has from their very first meeting. Simone also knows that Aki and Claire have both molded to each other, and she knows that her purpose -at this time- is to make sure that Claire doesn't screw that up... She's even said it a few times. She's going to have a more proactive role in that as later events progress.

Claire and Aki together? Of course. It's not sappy. They are the central relationship in this tangled jungle of many, many, many more (siblings, twins, friends, lovers, spouses, parents, commanders, soldiers, etc.) Some other relationships are going to begin, change, end, and even be reborn before this whole mess is through.


I don't know when the next update's going to be, but it'll have some great reunion scenes ;) At least I'll try to make them great. Maybe I'll be posting within the next two weeks...

Thanks as always for your comments, enthusiasm, and encouragement.


 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 15
PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 8:19 pm 
I'm not sure I can hang on much longer....and that's really pathetic of me. I've re-read the entire thing for the fourth time and I'm STILL a puddle of goo at the Claire/Aki intimate moments. *sigh* I need help...Justin, feel like being a good boy and intervening on my behalf?

One thing is still puzzling me...was the Spy lying when she said that her sisters were against sex period? Because the Judge's/Evelyn's comments about it being perfectly normal for Aki and Claire to have sex as part of their commitment to each other had me going "Huh??" Did I miss a key segue somewhere?

Time flies by when the Devil drives.
It's not the pace of life that concerns me, it's the sudden stop at the end.

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 15
PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2004 9:05 pm 

Simone wants the Genius on her side. She's had a rivalry with the others ever since their Mother left the picture, and wants the Genius as her ally. She believes that Claire will like the others less if their views are presented in an exaggerated light. She is not lying, merely emphasizing facets of the truth that are likely to sway Claire further from their side. Evelyn and the others do believe that they're above the need for primitive activities, but they've never experienced them, and could know no better. It's Cecilia's broadcast of Aki's feelings, those lustful and primitive thoughts that she has when she sees Claire in her sweat-soaked T-shrit, tousled hair pasted to her forehead and ears, smooth skin glistening over the hard muscles in her arms, the angular softness of her shoulders stretching the translucent fabric of her shirt with each heaving breath.... Where was I?

Oh yeah. When Cecilia let everyone else know and feel what Aki felt, Evelyn understood that their wholesale dismissal of sexuality as primitive and without purpose was a hasty and ill-informed ideal that they had adopted during the sexual frustration of their sequestered adolescence and young-adulthood. Claire, Evelyn, and Simone were made form the same basic genetic template. We know that Simone and Claire are attracted to women. Even money on Evelyn feeling the same way and lacking the experience or understanding in a parent-less, self-raised adolescence to have a balanced outlook on human sexuality. She was, after all, the leader of a ll the rest until the Genius was 'rescued' to assume her rightful place, and may have --from her own confusion and inner turmoil over her blossoming sexuality-- set forth a few rules that could have helped her to deal with her feelings and possible shame for having them. I like to think that Aki's desires and feelings were a sort of liberation for her. An affirmation that brought her comfort and self-acceptance. Evelyn felt the --as she put it-- beautiful complexity of Aki's natural expression and reached a greater understanding of herself through it.

This s**t's too complicated... I'll tone it down a bit --or explain it much better-- in the second draft.

The next chapter is going to be soon. Thanks -as always- for taking the time to read, comment, and question. I love it. It means that someone finds this jumbled little mire of tangled plots interesting ;)

Thanks again.


 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 15
PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2004 3:29 pm 
Honestly, I really didn't mean to make my question really complicated...I was just kind of curious as Evelyn's dialogue with Aki kept loitering in my mind for some reason. Thus, I felt the need to ask about it. I didn't mean to frustrate you.

It's Cecilia's broadcast of Aki's feelings, those lustful and primitive thoughts that she has when she sees Claire in her sweat-soaked T-shirt, tousled hair pasted to her forehead and ears, smooth skin glistening over the hard muscles in her arms, the angular softness of her shoulders stretching the translucent fabric of her shirt with each heaving breath.... Where was I?

Oh now that's just evil...oddly enough though, your descriptions made me think of that chick who plays Starbuck in the new "improved" Battlestar Galactica....and I've been turning around the concept of Michelle Ang (Akemi from X:WP ep "A Friend In Need") as Aki. She fits the description to me, for some reason. What do you think? Possibly or not so much?

I'll stop pestering you now and be a good little fiction slave. :bow

ETA: I was re-reading through and the Spy's logical argument with Claire after saving her from an almost certain chilly death made me stop and think. It was just too tempting to think of her as just a reactionary being, someone who just was surviving no matter how she did it. The logic of her argument to Claire about who learned compassion from whom (although it really is such a moot point when you think of it...Aki and Claire had a mutual effect on each other IMHO, circumstances notwithstanding) was a flash of intuition that seemed to help flesh out a conclusion that she had obviously spent a lot of time formulating. Ok enough from me. I'm babbling and it's probably boring people to tears. On with the show.

Time flies by when the Devil drives.
It's not the pace of life that concerns me, it's the sudden stop at the end.

Edited by: Kieli at: 9/16/04 6:28 pm

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 15
PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2004 6:20 pm 
It's a good question, and I'm glad that you asked. You've pointed out an area that I need to improve, and for that, I'm always thankful.

Causing me frustration? Nah.

Writing your first original novel that's 140,000 words and growing is a recipe for non-stop frustration ;)

Michelle Ang--- She would be a definite 'pick' if I were casting the movie version. A very close match.

Claire is a little tougher for me to cast. The improved Starbuck has her shoulders alright.

I'm going get a-typing (and maybe a-posting) so that we can all sit back and see where this is headed :)

Thanks again.

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 15
PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2004 6:32 pm 
Holy Mother of GOD! :thud

That was (and is) by FAR the best piece of science fiction my eyes have ever come across. I mean, wow. :bow All bow down and worship!

Never in my life have I ever been so compelled to read something once I got the first taste of it. I could not move away from my computer after I started reading (much to the annoyance of everyone around me) and I made it all the way through these latest updates. :clap

Not only does this novel get five stars, I say it should get a hundred. Please, tell me that you will publish this. It would send me into shock to learn that you weren't thinking about it. Your talent is obvious.

With some MINOR detailing and a FEW kinks to work out, this novel could be and would be a best-seller, no questions asked. I seriously admire you as an author an respect you for what you have accomplished.

On a less serious note - here's a dancing banana. :banana

Update soon because I am new to this story, but jonesing for it like I've been addicted for years.

Take care


Adia I'm empty since you left me...

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 15
PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2004 9:10 pm 
hey SQ

I am like the most horrid feedback person possibly cause well you write so well and I umm don't. But I love this fic and Ok if we can't get an update soon how about more pics?/ like Maybe a group shot or and Aki and Clair drawing???? Ok so now you know I like the drawings as much as the fic and thats saying a lot cause this fic is wonderful.

Arron :)

She walks in beauty, Like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that's best of dark and bright; Meet in her aspect, and her eyes. ~ by Byron ~

 Post subject: Re: Latency
PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 4:51 pm 
Sorry that I don't have a story update ready right now. It's the end of the quarter, I've been traveling non-stop for weeks, and I haven't been able to get any serious writing or editing :(


Here's the Chemist. She's not quite done, and she's very shy, so don't stare at her for too long. Heather is next to her in the finished picture, but she needs even more details added. They're an interesting combo together.

The Chemist

I hope that she'll help everyone wait a little longer for the next installment.


You got me all blushy and listless... Thank you so much for the praise and enthusiasm! It means the world to me, it really does. It's my greatest reward for all of the effort and toil that I put into this endeavor. I hope that the rest will keep you riveted as well. Thanks, Jessica!


Simone's like an onion-- She has lots of layers. I chose the title for this story as a reflection of its content. Lots of latent stuff. Kinda like real life-- boiled-down.


I'm seeing some free time coming up on my calendar. Free time means more story on the way. Thanks to everyone for your feedback, questions, and encouragement. It means so much to me and makes all of this effort worth-while.

Thanks again. Update soon, I hope.


 Post subject: Re: Latency
PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 10:15 am 
Simone's like an onion

What, you mean she smells bad and makes you cry?

Or that if you leave out in the sun she starts sprouting little white hairs?

I think you'd have been better off saying that Simone is like a cake as cake has layers and everyone likes cake, but not everyone like onions :D

A good story should provoke discussion, debate, argument...and the occasional bar fight. -JMS

 Post subject: Re: Latency
PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 11:21 am 
I'm sticking with the onion simile. It applies on a lot of levels (layers, even...)

Not everyone likes onions... Indeed. Not everyone likes the Spy-- nor should they. She's possibly the deadliest creature on the planet. You'll see some more of her darker tendencies in the next installment.

Onions have a reputation for being rather unsweet, but they're really loaded with sugar. Placed in the right conditions, they will unlock their latent sweetness, revealing it to the taster.

And, onions cause a lot of pain when they hit you. And their presence makes some people drool, and others weep. And if they're properly applied, can rescue almost any dish from blandness and disaster.

Cake... I dunno. A bunch of empty calories and fancy decoration that end-up on the consumer's hips. Sure, it looks pretty and tastes good, but it leaves you feeling empty when it's all over.

Maybe I should have said, "Simone's like the OSI model--- She has seven layers." Or, "Simone's like the glossy finish of a primo sportscar-- Countless, finely polished layers, topped in gleaming, flawless perfection..." She IS a mirror character... Maybe the shiny sportscar paint is the better choice.

Thanks for the idea-maker, Justin!

I'm working on the next installment right now. I hope to have it up really soon. (A slow day = more time to write and edit!)

 Post subject: Re: Latency
PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:14 pm 
Maybe I should have said, "Simone's like the OSI model--- She has seven layers."

As an IT professional, I got a kick out of this but...I have to agree...Simone's personality is much deeper than that. She may be evil as hell sometimes, but she's like Lindt dark chocolate....bitter in the first bite, sweet as you roll it around the tongue but you can only have so much before it starts to affect you (adversely or otherwise). Talk about imagery :shock

Time flies by when the Devil drives.
It's not the pace of life that concerns me, it's the sudden stop at the end.

 Post subject: Re: Latency
PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 6:01 pm 

I'm glad that the OSI reference may have gotten the insider chuckle that I intended ;)

The Lindt chocolate analogy is a great one! Very clever and insightful.


You've given me a fantastic idea... Effusive thanks to you!

Now all that I have to do is try to translate it into fantastic prose.

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 17a
PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2004 7:28 pm 
Here's the first part of chapter 17. I hope that it'll suffice until I get the chance to edit the rest of the chapter (hopefully soon.)

My apologies to everyone who's been following this story and waiting, very patiently, for updates. I've been doing a LOT of erasing and TONS of rewriting; searching-- usually in-vain-- for the best combination of emotion, action, suspense, setting, character, etc.

Plus, my professional life has kept me unusually occupied for the past week, so I had to sacrifice a lot of free time in order to make sure that everyone (except me and fans of this story, unfortunately) was happy. It wasn't for naught. Everyone's smiling now. Sorry fo the ramble... I just wanted you all to know that I do appreciate and respect the fact that you're all so willing to hang-on for updates, and when they're not delivered in a timely manner, there's always a good reason.

This scene is a little over 2,000 words, and subsequent updates will follow that format. I've chosen to limit the size because I feel that the 10,000+ updates can be a bit overwhelming due to the amount of action and interaction that I manage to pack into them.

I'll be quiet now. Let's see what the Genius and Spy have for dessert ;)



Claire slouched low in her chair, wallowing in half-drunken relaxation while continuing an exchange of fleeting glances and vague, pouting smiles with her sister. Their waiter had cleared the dishes and left the check more than twenty minutes prior. Simone had stuffed some paper money -- far too much by Claire's estimation -- into the padded vinyl booklet now resting at the edge of the table.

She was near the bottom of her third vodka and fifth cigarette when Simone spoke, rousing her from the reflective lull of their sustained mutual silence. “We should get moving.”

Claire nodded and reached forward to grind out the last few millimeters of her smoke. “I'll get us some wheels. Should be easy. This place is really starting to fill up.”

“It's getting closer to dinner time.” The Spy pushed her chair from the table and stood, reaching for the blackness of her trench coat. She thread her arms into the sleeves and started toward the exit. “I'll meet you outside.”

Claire sat for a moment longer, trying to persuade her aching frame into the chore of motion. She looked over, saw Simone slipping out the door, and riled her reluctant body into a standing position. She grabbed her still-damp coat and followed after.

Her cheeks and hands tensed at the punishing cold outside. Gusts of steady wind had pushed the day's dampness away from the region and turned the sylvan surroundings brisk with a dry, permeating chill. She drew up her shoulders and stuffed her hands into her coat's pockets. She plodded around from the restaurant's entrance to the sand and gravel of the parking area at the building's windowless side. She scanned the cars in the lot, trying to find the best candidate for theft. The situation looked much better than when they had arrived ninety minutes earlier. The lot now held more than twenty cars.

A sudden tap startled Claire. “What's it going to be, Genius?” Simone asked, sliding next to her. “You'd better get to work before there's a line at the door.”

Claire scanned the rows, searching for the simplest prey. “The gold Noyoba wagon... Next to that Omaha Aegis-- It'll be a snap.” Claire started toward the car, fishing the multi-tool from her hip pocket, looking around for anyone who might take notice of her actions. She held the gadget near her waist, stealing little downward glances as her chilled fingers struggled to unfold one of the smaller screwdriver blades. She tensed for a moment, her ears alerted to the muted crackle of a car pulling into the unpaved lot. She managed to snap the screwdriver attachment open and then fished through her pockets, searching for the tiny scrap of wire that she had used earlier to pick the airplane's door lock. As her fingers located the sharp little tine, another clatter startled her into turning about.

A sleek jet-black machine was swinging into the lot. Its wheels slid on the damp gravel, sending a low ripple of sharp gray stones ahead of its path as it stopped. The sight of the machine took Claire's breath away; a Lambda Venezio, its racy shape defined by the blue-orange glints of the clearing sky reflected from its fuselage. Its finish was a mirror of inky paint, accented by taut beads of rain shining like jewels in the fading rays of late-afternoon sun. Her stomach fluttered a little. She licked her wind-dried lips as her eyes traced the seductive contours of the pricey coupe. Her breaths sped and shortened as she sniffed. The sultry tang of hot metal wafted from the engine block and into her nostrils through the dense, cold air. The length of the front fenders-- graceful compound arcs outlined in gleaming black-- evoked the image of patent leather wrapped tight around the lean muscles of a sprinters legs. Claire felt a bump against her shoulder, almost stirring her from the trance induced by the wheeled work of art across the lot.

Simone leaned against Claire's side uttering a single languid whisper, “Goddess...”

The Lambda's doors swung open. A stocky man struggled to stand from the compact seating of the car's low, sporty cockpit. A forty-ish woman, bleached blonde and chemically tanned, popped up from the other side. The stout, balding man snapped his fingers, and the woman circled around the pointed nose of the Lambda, head down, palms floating next to her sides, negotiating the gravely arc in spike-heeled shoes. She hooked one of her arms through the driver's and they proceeded around the corner of the building, heading for the entrance to the tavern.

Simone retreated again to the corner of the restaurant, craning her neck toward the door. Claire forced her eyes from the allure of the car, fighting to regain her concentration and return to the task of getting the Noyoba open. She turned to the little gold wagon, again preparing her tools for the heist.

“What are you doing?” Simone called out.

Claire turned to face her sister, narrowing her eyes, hissing across the distance, “Quiet!”

Simone's shoulders sank a little. Her left hand extended, fingers fluttering, beckoning with obvious impatience. “Come here, sweetey.”

Claire huffed, stuffing the wire and multi-tool back into her pockets. She trudged over to where Simone stood, glaring. She stopped in front of her sister, hands on her hips. “What?”

The Spy wrapped an arm around Claire's shoulder, pulling her close, rotating her in a half-circle to face the sporty new arrival. Her lips were close to Claire's temple, sending a shiver through the Genius' body when they moved, saying, “You're about to do something bad... I like that.”

Claire murmured, “So w-why'd you stop me?”

Simone lowered her encircling arm. Claire felt fingers wriggling into a rear pocket of her soggy jeans. “If you're going to be bad, why not go all the way?” The Spy's fingers clutched Claire's rear for an instant as she added, “Let's be really bad.”

Claire smiled a little.

“That Italian number over there...”

Claire's smile broadened. “It does make more sense, doesn't it?”

“In for a penny, in for a pound... I'll keep my eyes open.”

Claire gave a nod and a wily grin. She scanned their surroundings and slinked across the gravel. She slid in between the Lambda's driver-side door and the old, dowdy pickup truck next to which it was parked. She fished her tools from her coat pockets, squatted, and started fiddling with the lock. After two tense minutes, she persuaded the driver's door open and tumbled inside.

Before Claire could close the door, Simone's head popped in. “Move over... I'm driving.”

Claire wormed her way across the car's cramped interior to settle low in the passenger's seat. Her excitement building, she drew a deep breath. The still-warm air inside the Lambda was thick with the luxurious scent of new leather and expensive ladies perfume.

Once seated, Simone closed the door and then reclined the driver's chair. Her eyes darted, left, right, to the mirrors, and back again. “All clear. She's all yours... Make her go, sweetey.”

Claire slid onto the floor, compacting into the space under the dash. She tried to squeeze underneath the steering column, to better access the ignition switch, but Simone's left leg blocked her progress. “I need more room.” Simone's boot and leg lifted from the crowded spot, allowing Claire to shimmy forward a little further. She twisted, maneuvering her shoulders to a comfortable pose. She gazed up at the bundled chaos of the vehicle's wiring harnesses, searching for the strands which led to the ignition switch. Warmth and weight folded over her side-turned hip as the Spy's thigh and calf draped over her. She swallowed at the unexpected sensation.

“You can do it, sweetey... Make her run,” came from above, followed by a gentle squeeze around her hip. She located the right harness, a rope of identical white wires, and began to unravel the cloth tape that bound them together. Her fingers stumbled and danced in the under-dash dusk, combing through the tight bundle, searching for the ones which would bypass the key-switch when shorted. She squirmed beneath the casual pressure of her sister's resting leg, angling her shoulders to allow her hands better access. A tiny snap issued from the tip of her screwdriver as she pressed it against two beads of solder on the rear of the switch. “Press the starter.”


“Are you pushing it?”

“Yeah,” came from above.

“Shit... There must be an interlock or something.” Claire offered, excited, “Oh! Oh... Step on the clutch.” Next to her head, Simone's left boot pushed the clutch pedal to the floor. “Now try it.”


“Fuck!” Claire's breathing sped. Her eyes scanned the looms of wire in a frenzy. Light was failing. She could hear the grind of more cars pulling into the gravel lot. She knew that the likelihood of being caught was increasing. “Piss.”

“You can do it... You're almost there...” Through layers of clothing, Claire felt the warmth and muscle of Simone's calf sliding against the small of her back; the pressure and speed of the gesture oozed with palpable encouragement and affection. She yanked the thickest of the identically-colored wires from its mount on the key-switch and began poking its core against the other terminals, desperate to complete the circuit needed to wake the Lambda from its rest.

She heard another car pull in. Her heart began racing in earnest-- the sound was loud enough for it to have been right next to them. She sped up her exploration, poking and tapping the stray wire, her efforts resulting in little pops and sparks on some, nothing on others. She fought to find the right combination, her hands now working together, cramping with tension as they guided the hot-wire to each of the countless potential terminals, their frenetic motion fueled by her mounting panic.

Simone's leg folded a little tighter around Claire's middle, squeezing another offer of encouragement. A clack sounded from the engine compartment, behind the firewall. “You're almost there, sweetey,” Simone's words were jagged, propelled by rapid breaths, matching the mounting intensity of her leg's embrace.

At once, it occurred to Claire that there may be another interlock switch preventing the starter from energizing. With her right hand still tapping away at the terminals, she snaked her left hand along Simone's thigh. Her fingers fanned in a blind, desperate search for the gearshift. Her wrist flailed as she groped, desperate, her other hand maintaining the frenetic, pinpoint search for the right connection.

Claire's exploring hand became engulfed in Simone's grip which guided her palm against the object that it sought. Strong fingers curled hers around the smooth wooden orb at the top of the spindly chrome lever. Their hands moved in concert, gyrating the selector, searching for Neutral as Simone's left boot mashed the clutch against the carpet. The fingers of Claire's right hand ached, still probing in the failing light for the right terminal. A loud snap of bright sparks issued from the back of the key-switch. “Hit the starter!” Claire gasped. “Hit it now!”

The engine cranked and growled to life, resonating a throaty rumble from next to Claire's head. Above the dash, Claire could hear Simone releasing a gleeful cheer, “Yes... Goddess, Yes!” followed by a mix of panting breaths and impish giggling. The Genius squirmed against the and warmth of the Spy's leg, pulling her body through the arch as she withdrew from her under-dash position. She wriggled up and unfolded, exhausted, collapsing into the cradling contours of the black leather passenger's seat. She settled back, chest heaving with excited breaths, looking over to her sister, holding her gaze for a moment, lips stretched into a broad grin.

“Buckle up,” Simone said between rapid gulps of air. She swung her right leg back into the driver's side of the car and pulled the shifter into Reverse. Panting through her parted lips, she checked the mirrors and smiled, eyes half-hooded in a dreamy gaze. “You're fucking amazing, Claire. Abso-fucking-lutely amazing.” The car glided back. Simone cranked the steering wheel hard-right and clacked the shifter into first gear.

Claire fished into her coat, pulling out a cigarette and matches. She fumbled, trying to light the smoke with her cramped, still-shaking hands. She coaxed it into lighting and pulled in a thick ribbon of bitter gray velvet as Simone pulled the Lambda onto the highway and rocketed through the first three gears in four seconds.

“You weren't so bad, yourself,” Claire raised her voice above the mellow moan of the engine and smiled.

TBC in CH17b -- coming soon!

Thanks again for your patience everyone.


Edited by: StrangeQuark at: 10/9/04 9:11 pm

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 17a
PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2004 9:45 pm 
As usual I bow to your creative genius and the like :bow

But...the sexual tension between Claire and her sister skeeved me to no end...maybe I'm a little too...I dunno *shrug* conservative. It made me shudder. I like Simone, she's all danger and smartassed comments. Given the danger of the situation and her attraction to her sister (which really does not sit well with me), I can see where the interaction is appropriate...however, I didn't enjoy it. As always, your work is so well done that I don't even feel qualified to dissect it. Looking forward to next updates :bounce

ETA: After rereading my initial comments, I felt I should clarify mostly because I think they sounded too harsh. I don't mean to say that I didn't enjoy the update; I did. But the Claire/Simone interaction maxed out my Squick Meter. That's me and not you, SQ. I've got issues. Methinks I need a fiction shrink. So don't stop what you're doing. It's awesome to evoke such a response.

Time flies by when the Devil drives.
It's not the pace of life that concerns me, it's the sudden stop at the end.

Edited by: Kieli at: 10/10/04 11:32 am

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 17a
PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 1:45 am 
Firstly, to go back to the previous comments, I'm not sure that your OSI analogy is a good one for the Spy since it has the connotation that she's been replaced by a newer, simpler model, in the same way that the OSI model was replaced by TCP/IP as the main networking standard.

That was a fun update. I see that Claire decided to pick a nice inconspicuous car to steal. I wonder how the others will react when Clair and Simone pull up in it.

I must admit that I feel a mixture of joy at the banter between Claire and Simone, and discomfort at the sexual tension between them. Though I think that we're supposed to. It seems that given the fact that all the sisters, aside from Claire, were raised in seclusion they'd have trouble forming normal relationships.

Anyway all the effort you put into honing the story is very much appreciated, and it does show.

Looking forward to :read more

A good story should provoke discussion, debate, argument...and the occasional bar fight. -JMS

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 17a
PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 5:20 pm 

As usual I bow to your creative genius and the like

You're making me blush... The only genius around here is Claire. I'm so proud of her and her 168 IQ... Thanks for saying so, though :)

Your comments aren't harsh at all. They're understandable. I've asked you to indulge your imagination in a topic that's too bizarre and disturbing for even the most open-minded individuals to lend serious consideration. The wretch-o-meter should deflect at least a little. I completely expect that. I anticipate that. It's one of the reasons why this scene took so much of my effort and attention. I have an ick-meter too, you know.

Why even go there then, you ask? Well, I like the idea of Simone and Claire having a close bond. I also despise the idea that they should be allowed to have one without some sort of complication, both for them and their audience. Of all the possible 'wrinkles' that I could have placed in their story, this seemed the most intense and interesting without being either predictable cliche or unbelievable fantasy, settling more into the middle-territory of indecent possibility.

With that said, I knew that Claire was getting away with too many things since she and Simone escaped. She cheated death, stole a plane, stowed-away on a truck, wore stolen clothes, ate dinner with stolen money... She's been getting away with all of it. Good-- temporarily-- for her, bad for story. She needs to pay for these crimes, and certainly will, but only after she hits rock-bottom.

This is THE love scene between Claire and Simone. It is realized through metaphor, symbolism, and blatant semantic trickery. The purpose of this excursion into Claire's darker possibilities is to lend 'location' to her morals relative to those of her mirror-character. We haven't seen the fallout from this yet -- It's in the next updates -- because she's not quite finished setting the stage for her descent. If I succeed at what I'm attempting here, then the off-the-scale gross-out readings which you've experienced may help to emphasize the strength of Claire's eventual turnaround.

As always, your work is so well done that I don't even feel qualified to dissect it.

You're plenty qualified to criticize, analyze, dissect, poke-fun-at, etc. anything that you've taken the time to read. I'm open to any and all criticism, questions, suggestions, hate-mail, words of praise, etc.


It's a fun little romp, isn't it? Thanks for your kind words and reactions to the scene. I can always test the penetration of my ideas by reading reactions such as those which you've shared.

I must admit that I feel a mixture of joy at the banter between Claire and Simone, and discomfort at the sexual tension between them. Though I think that we're supposed to.

:applause You are correct, sir! That was the intent, completely. It's disgusting, charming, happy, and sad all at the same time. That's one heck of a mood to sustain throughout an action scene. I don't know if I'd ever try anything like that again.


More to come soon. Aki's going to be smiling soon. Claire's going to be smiling with her. Simone's going to reveal a yet-unknown side of her character to us. Barry's going to lose a few things while those around him gain so much...

I'm giving it all away...


 Post subject: Latency -- Chapter 17b
PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2004 12:50 pm 
Here's the next piece.


CH17b -- "Rock Bottom"

Chapter 17b

The number of miles between the speeding Lambda Venezio and the southernmost boundary of Seattle diminished to single digits. Simone slouched, the fingers of her left hand atop the racy rubber-coated steering wheel, the palm of her right resting against the back of the passenger seat. Claire sat curled, knees to her chest, head sideways, resting against cushioned leather. She stared at the dusky scenery streaking by, her view distorted by quiet tears.

She squeezed her eyes shut, feeling the threat of another heaving sob gathering deep in her chest. A few miles back, curiosity led her to pop open the glovebox and snoop through its contents. It was stuffed with yellowed business cards, paper napkins, a broken pencil, a smudgy pair of designer sunglasses, and the vehicle's registration and insurance papers. It started when she read the owner's name and address from the plastic-sheathed documents-- A torrent, unstoppable and inescapable.

Regret. A hollow ache deep behind her breasts. Guilt. The pain spread, gaining mass, smothering. She clamped her eyes, fighting to pull productive breaths into her lungs. Shame. It soured her surroundings, twisted her insides, denied her oxygen. Truth-- irrefutable, inexcusable truth-- clotted her lungs and throat.

That name, a stranger, a real, living person was victim to a crime that she had committed. Her most recent crime. One of many. Her thoughts raced, replaying an awful, crawling smear of assault and theft in which she was a willing and active participant. The car, the airplane, food, clothes. Soon, deeper memories, fermented memories, broke from their dark cages and joined the parade.

She would still be up from the night before, crashing from a high. When the time was right, she would tiptoe into her parent's bedroom while they prepared for work. She had no need to hurry with her father in the shower, mother busy in the kitchen. She just needed to keep her ears open for the sound of approaching footsteps. Every time it was with fingers trembling, nerves on edge, body wracked with the insatiable craving for Tozalanine. She would nab a few small bills from her father's wallet, a few more from her mother's purse. They never said a word. She thought that they had been too busy to notice. On the last of those mornings, their wallets had vanished from their usual places-- probably locked in a drawer or stashed in the pockets of some forgotten coat in the back of their closet. She betrayed their trust, and they had known. She was rotten, and they had known all along. She was eighteen. They could have kicked her out, but they never had to.

That same morning she dumped her school books from her knapsack and stuffed clothes in their place. She spilled her nightstand drawer onto her unmade bed and picked out the few baubles that had any value to her, skipping the fat disk of faded and scratched gold; the antique heirloom handed down from her late grandfather. No one deserved it less than her. She slipped into her coat, grabbed her sack, and headed for the door. Her hands were trembling, both from Tozalanine withdrawal and sorrow after she tossed her key onto the matted rug on the living room floor and closed the door to 731A JFK Boulevard for the last time.

She now sat huddled; a filthy fugitive in a stolen sportscar, next to her closest kin-- a cold-blooded killer. It took every last shred of strength to stifle her stubborn tears. She was determined to deny herself relief and desperate to conceal her pain from the Spy's notice. There would be no escape from the punishment of her own shame, but she hoped to avoid the torture of discussion and the Spy's inevitable, invasive touches of consolation.

Words sounded above the drone of the motor and tires, "You okay over there, sweetey?"

Claire struggled to sound normal, replying, "Yeah."

A pause.

"Tired, huh?"

Claire cleared her throat. Tired-- It was an easy way out. She turned her head half-way toward the Spy. "Yeah."

"You've been kinda quiet."

Claire wanted to end the conversation. "Yeah. You too."

"I'm not tired... I've just been thinking."

Claire half-surrendered, sighing, "What about?"

"You and I... We should probably--" Simone closed her eyes for a second and then reopened them, maintaining her forward gaze.

Claire turned away, gazing back to lose herself in the steady pulse of sallow street-light and shadow dotting the brown blur of the road's edge. After a minute, the Spy's voice sounded again, "We're almost to the city limits... How do we get to this vineyard?"

Claire nodded, shifting in seat to face the windshield. She replied, bland, weak, "I don't know."

"Um... That's a problem, sweetey."

A thought pierced through the howl of Claire's misery. "Take the exit for Four thirty-five West."

"That'll do what for us?"

Claire sniffled before answering, "Sarah's house-- We can get the address there."

"Unless it's being staked-out..."

Claire sighed, "You'll know what to do, then."

"Are you--?" Simone started. She shook her head, still holding the road in her gaze. She finished softly, "...Never mind."

They continued, Claire droning small, vague directions at each turn. At their journey's end, she had the Spy pull the Lambda into the rear parking lot of a business just outside the neighborhood of the Berman's home.

The Spy eased the car into a poorly-lit parking space in a secluded corner of the near-empty lot. Claire hooked her fingers through the passenger door's latch. She pulled the sculpted chrome handle, releasing the door before the car had fully stopped rolling, eager to spring out and put some distance between herself and the rolling crime-scene that continued to gnaw at her conscience. A firm hand clamped around her shoulder, stopping her egress. "Easy, sweetey." Claire's mouth was quivering. She tightened her jaw and turned her head left. She could read concern in her sister's face. Claire swallowed, her eyes turned down. Simone asked, "What's eating you, sweetey?"

Claire shook her head and turned away to stare out the passenger window.

The inside of the Lambda Venezio stayed dark and quiet for almost a minute.

Simone's soft sigh pierced like a shout as it broke the dismal quiet, "Well, Genius, let's get moving." She released her seatbelt and swung the driver's door open.

In the side-view mirror Claire saw the Spy in miniature, circling around the rear of the machine, approaching the half-latched door against which her shoulder was leaning. In the edge of her vision, she saw Simone's hand snake down to the outside handle. The door opened. Claire winced, face stinging, as cold air brushed against the damp streaks that ran from her eyes to her chin and down her neck. Slowly, she turned her eyes up to the Spy.

"Come on." Simone glanced left, then right, scanning the surroundings. "We shouldn't linger... Not under all these lights."

Claire pulled herself from the car. She turned her head, averting her eyes from the shameless innuendo of the machine's outline. Her chin drooped. Her eyes blurred with the threat of more tears. Her lips and jaw quivered.

From behind, she felt Simone's hands close around her shoulders. The Spy's voice was sweet and soft, "Please, don't cry, sweetey."

She broke free of Simone's hold, loping away to hide in the shadow which concealed the front of the car. Her sister's slow boot-steps followed after a moment.

"Claire, honey," Simone's voice sounded from a meter away, still behind.

"I..." Claire swallowed and continued, voice trembling, "... I-I fucked up."

Silence elapsed for almost a minute.

Simone whispered, "It's not you. It's me-- I'm poison."

Claire felt the warmth of the Spy's fingers curling around her left hand. She sniffled. Her throat was tight, blocking her attempt to swallow back the consuming misery of her shame. "It's not you--"

"Yes, it is," Simone interrupted. The Spy's fingers hugged a little tighter around Claire's and then pulled, leading her closer to the gleaming fender of the Lambda. "I made you steal her, Genius."

They stood together in silence for a moment.

"It was my idea." Simone's finger glided against the car, smudging the deep black luster as it went. "She's so beautiful."

Claire looked down, and then clamped her eyes at once, hiding from the scrutiny of the distortion staring back from beneath layers of curved black gloss -- An ignoble creature skinned in sodden clothes, leering at her through the vacant eyes of a junkie; ugly, swollen, and red.

She drew a deep breath from the surrounding cold, keeping her eyes pinched, strengthening her guard against tear's escape and truth's invasion. She turned to the right and issued a jagged whisper, "Follow me."

TBC in CH17c

Edited by: StrangeQuark at: 10/13/04 4:12 am

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 17b
PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:56 pm 
Dammit all but you've made me a junkie for this story. I saw the post in my Inbox here at work and didn't I close the door and switch my phone to voicemail so I could read the update uninterrupted. They're too short. I gotta say it. Just to...dang...SHORT! :thud Yer killin' me. Just want you to know that my death will be on your hands. :happy

Time flies by when the Devil drives.
It's not the pace of life that concerns me, it's the sudden stop at the end.

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 17c
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 11:33 am 
Here's some more from Chapter 17. It's about 6,000 words. It's rough. It's being posted way-before it's ready. Enjoy!



Chapter 17c

Vivian's eyes darted, alternating between the amber and green symbols glowing from her Tac-com's display and the winding driveway to which the gadget's readings led. Her stomach churned-- sour, dull, insistent. The ill feeling radiated from deep in her belly to every part of her body. The clothing around her waist and under her arms was soaked with dank sweat. The chilly dampness shocked like ice against her skin whenever she moved. It began after lunch. For hours, she hoped the sickness would wane. Now it was worse. She used every tactic she could remember from months of training, to wrest her weakness and agony, struggling to keep them undetectable.

Barry's voice interrupted her concentration, “Put the 'com down, Viv... Just follow the driveway.”

Her mouth tightened. Another convulsion wrung her insides. She gave a little nod, acknowledging the foolishness of her awkward actions. “Sorry, sir. I just...” She started, too embarrassed by her own stupidity to continue.

In her peripheral vision, she saw a warm smile from the Director. “It's okay, soldier. I understand. You've had your eyes glued to that thing for over an hour. Those little blips start to feel like friends.”

She felt the corners of her mouth rising a little. Director Schon always said what she needed to hear. It was his greatest talent-- to persuade anyone into smiling.

She guided the truck up to the largest building of the complex, slowing and then stopping just next to a small door set apart from the high loading docks. Barry had already slid from the truck and was walking to the building. Vivian snatched her Tac-com from the dashboard and pushed her door open. She slid from the seat. Her boots hit the pavement with a thud. The sudden movement left her dizzy.

The screen of her Tac-com glowed with fine orange vectors, assembled to represent the outline of the great building. A sharp green symbol winked above the precise amber geometry, indicating the location of the blind sister's wheelchair, far away, in the rear of the largest building.

“They're in the back?” Barry was at the door, holding it open, gesturing her approach.

Vivian nodded. “Looks that way, sir.” She circled the front of the truck and held up her Tac-com, showing the readings to Schon.

He nodded toward the door. “Ladies first...”

She turned her eyes down and smiled. “Thank you, sir.”

Schon's hand caught her shoulder as she started through the doorway. She looked up. His forehead was wrinkled, head skewed to one side. “You... don't look so good, soldier. Lunch still bothering you?”

Vivian smiled again. She shrugged. “I'm fine.”

Barry removed his hand from her shoulder and peered into the building, nodding. “Okay, then. Let's go.”

They traversed the gaping warehouse, passing through the receiving area, weaving around towering stacks of pallets scattered between the rows of burly steel shelves that flanked the aisle. They reached a door at the other end and entered, finding a long, narrow, door-lined corridor which stretched to the rear of the building. They proceeded, Barry looking ahead, Vivian's eyes glued to the screen of her Tac-com. Suddenly, the device chirped a soft sequence of tones.

“I think they're in there, sir.” She pointed to the door just ahead of them. “In the rear of that room.”

Barry stepped over, pulled the handle, and swung the door open. “Josh?” he called through he doorway. No reply. Barry shrugged and said, “Ladies first...” He nodded toward the room, smiling. Vivian returned the little grin and stepped through the doorway.

It was dark inside. Above her head, a red blur plunged from the darkness. She ducked and spun in place. The red whisk arced as she revolved, passing inches from her face. She reeled back and swept her right arm up to halt the weapon. Her fingers locked around the handle the handle of the ax. She jerked it from her attacker's grip, cast the weapon aside, and whipped out her pistol. “Freeze!”

She stood, legs bent, arms extended, chest pounding, eyes narrowed, aiming the dull black heft of her forty-five at the outline of a frozen figure cloaked in shadow.

The lights came on. Barry's hand receded from the switch next to her attacker's shoulder. She kept Joshua Berman's forehead in her sights, heart still bumping her ribs, chest rising and falling with deep, rapid breaths.

Barry's voice entered her ears, calm and soothing, “It's okay, soldier... You can put your weapon away.”

Berman stood still, palms shaking, raised above his shoulders. His mouth quivered into a sheepish half-smile. “S-sorry. I-I didn't know who was... The uniform... I'm a little jumpy.”

Vivian lowered her pistol. She bent at the waist, resting her hands on her thighs. Her breaths slowed. Tiny beads of sweat bubbled through the pores of her upper lip. Her head was floating. Her eyes labored to focus. They became fixated; entranced by the irregular form of her own shadow as the floor swayed beneath.

She heard the two men talking to each other. Their words knotted into a muddy tangle. Her ears failed further. Their voices disappeared. Quiet. Then, a small sound, a sonorous little drone growing louder from the back of her mind. It was a single note, familiar, sweet in timbre, crooning irresistible comfort. Her shadow moved. Gravity seemed stronger, urging her to settle on the floor, pulling down on her eyelids.

Bottomless black. The pressure of the floor vanished. She floated, tethered by the presence of the only feature left-- that single, sustained note. It was smooth and round, bright along its edges from fleeting hints of consonant overtones. The sound was beautiful, feminine, like the lowest voice of an ebony flute, excited by constant and limitless breath. She could see it, petal-white, stretching to infinity, either end shrinking into the limitless black. The pitch stayed the same, but the line of its shape began to waver and twisted in soft, lazy curves. It drew closer from all sides, coiling around, caressing her skin with tingly warmth wherever it touched. She could feel its movement, sliding around the contours of her invisible surface-- a living, flat ribbon of glowing silk. She could smell it; wet, sweet, organic, soothing, familiar-- She gasped. Her eyelids crept open.

She looked to her right. Her pistol lay on the floor, just beyond the reach of her fingers. She looked down. Her arms hung down from her shoulders, limp. Her torso rested upright in perfect balance. She was seated, cross-legged on the floor. She looked to her left. In the foreground, a flaccid hand dangled level with her brow. A wheel-- bound in thin metal spokes-- filled the background.

“What did she tell you?” came from her right. A woman's voice. “What did she tell you!?!” the voice asked again. An angry woman, shouting.

Vivian blinked. The quilt of unconditional calm was slipping away, leaving her exposed to ache and sickness once again. Her eyes darted to the floor, searching for her gun. It lay beyond, between the toes of dark brown shoes. Penny loafers. She could feel the floor again. She leaned toward her gun, reaching. She snatched it, and spun against the smoothness of the floor, laboring to direct her torso toward the loafers and the person who stood in them. Her eyes climbed, following the person's height. They stopped at the woman's face. Its bitter scowl began to melt, sagging into a mask of fear.

It was one of the sisters. The one with the long hair-- Heather Osterholm, the medical specialist. Vivian's eyes darted down alarmed by movement.

The loafers retreated-- one slow step each. Vivian looked up again, sighting along the barrel of her gun. Heather's palms were raised. Her head shook. She said, “I-I'm sorry... Please, don't shoot.”

Vivian kept her aim on the woman's head as she rose to a standing position. Her legs quaked. Her boots skidded and settled. The floor swayed. Her voice was gravelly, as if riled from a deep sleep. “You're going to tell me what just happened.” She struggled, lifting the weight of her left hand to rest on the top of her forty-five. She gripped and cocked the slide, sending a sharp clack into the stillness. “Now!”

Heather stammered, palms still raised, backing further away. “I-I don't know. I asked you... because I... I don't know. I'm sorry.”

The walls and floor weaved, their motion slow and sickening. Vivian closed her eyes, guarding against the nauseating sight. She heard Heather's voice, “You should s-sit down. We both can-- Together.” Vivian nodded, eyes still shut. Her legs folded. Her left hip and shoulder hit the floor together, followed by a thud from the left side of her head.


Simone remained a few paces behind. She followed her sister through the tree-lined avenues of the neighborhood where the Ace and her husband lived. She glanced to each side, wary of threats, finding nothing but quiet, orderly rows of lavish homes to either side. Their windows were dark or soft yellow with lamplight, some tinged with the flickering white of television. The residents settled into their evenings, safe and secure behind their sturdy, locked doors.

Simone spoke softly, the first words that she had uttered since they had stashed the Lambda blocks away, “So this Sarah... She’s doing pretty well for herself?”

Silence elapsed for a few steps. Claire replied, “You could say that.”

Simone's jaw tightened. She held a silent wince at the tone of her sister's voice. The Genius' pain was obvious. Simone continued in silence, a meter behind her sister, scheming to lift Claire's mood. The Genius' melancholy was a danger to them both. After another fifty paces, she cleared her throat and asked, “How much further is it?”

Claire pointed ahead, indicating a cross street marked with an elegant metal sign hanging from a wrought-iron post. “About two thousand feet.”

Simone grinned to herself. She seized the opportunity, reaching out with a compliment, “Your precision is breathtaking, Genius.”

Claire's head shook. She continued to look forward. “That’s not precision-- It’s accuracy.” The words were tight, but a little more animated.

Simone recognized the opening and pushed into it. “Well, then what’s precision?”

The Genius' shoulders rose from the slow inflation of a deep breath before she answered, “Two thousand three hundred and nineteen feet would be precise... About two thousand is merely accurate.”

Simone broke into an uncontrollable smile. She had reached her dear Genius sister. “Aki finds that adorable, I'm sure.”

Claire shrugged. “I guess.”

Simone stepped a little faster, reaching Claire’s side as they proceeded. She glanced over, finding the remnants of a melting smile at the corners of the Genius' lips. “So, what's eating you, sweetey?”

Claire's hands swung at her sides, matching the rhythm of her legs. Her fingers fanned a little as she started, “I'm rotten. Always have been. I'm weak.” Her tone was brighter than Simone expected.

“You do what you need to... in order to survive. You're obeying the law of nature. It's--”

Claire interjected, “And society has a code of laws that supersede nature... For good reason-- To protect honest citizens from people like me... Us.”

Simone chuckled. “Listen... Sweetey,” she started. “You've been gulping pure adrenaline for almost a day straight... And you chased it with a liter of Russian depressant--”

Claire snapped. “That doesn't excuse what I did!” She turned to Simone, face taut with anger.

Simone maintained her smile, shaking her head. “No. It's not an excuse... But it explains why you feel so down. Your body and brain need rest.”

Claire's shoulders sank. Her expression softened and then sagged. She resumed her forward gaze and sighed, “You're right.”

“You see? I'll bet you're feeling better already, just knowing that.”

“I guess,” Claire replied, grinning ahead. “Considering I just stole some poor guy's car, ruined his evening, caused his insurance rates to go up... I'm doing just peachy.”

Simone snorted, “Come on... It's his fault for owning such a sexy little machine. He has to expect that it'll get stolen... You don't think that someone who could afford a car like that could afford a rate-hike for his coverage?”

“For all we know, he could barley pay for it. Maybe it was a dream of his, to own a Lambda. Maybe he's dying, and dumped every cent that he has on one last chance at happiness. We ruined it.”

“You're being a tad melodramatic--”

“What if that was my car? And someone stole it? Would you be all 'she can afford it' then?”

“No, I'd just get you a new one-- It is just a car, sweetey.”

“To you... and me... Maybe for someone else, it was a dream come true.”

“If that's their dream-- owning a racy theft magnet-- then they got what they deserved.”

Claire huffed, “What about the airplane? Did the person who owned that get what they deserved?”

“I-I don't know Claire.” Simone backed-off a little, cursing herself for going too far. This was delicate business, helping the Genius. “I'm sorry... Let's just drop it.”

“What about all the people you've killed? Did they deserve what they got? And their families-- Did they have it coming too?”

Simone remained quiet for a few moments. She stared down, watching her boots progress next to Claire's, trying to match her sister's steps, fighting the incursion of her emotions with each stride. Tears welled in the corners of her eyes. She drew a breath and they retreated. She uttered, “Checkmate.”

Claire stayed silent, giving only a nod to Simone's admission.

“Claire, I-” Simone stopped and then restarted, “Claire, You're a good person...”

Claire huffed.

“I'm making you do evil things. I should keep a distance from you... For your sake. I'm--” Simone could not find the words to finish.

Claire sniffled. She raised a hand to her eyes and pulled it aside, flinging a little stream of liquid to the road. “You aren't evil. We're all guilty of something...” Claire sighed, “My list just got a little longer today.”

They walked another several hundred feet, drawing closer the street of Josh and Sarah's home. Simone fought the distraction of welling emotion. She took a few deep breaths, focusing on her situation and surroundings more with each. She needed to stay sharp. They were both far from being safe. She said, “You really should try to perk up, you know.”

Claire huffed, “Why?”

“You're being selfish... That's why.”

Claire sneered. “Am I bringing you down? I'm so sorry. You're right, I should be all smiles and giggles when fleeing the murderous arm of a shadow government.”

“Cut the shit. Okay, sweetey?” Simone narrowed her eyes a little. “Am I the only one of us who's thinking about her? ...You're going to be with her soon. She's going to be so happy to see you, and you're going to ruin it. You'd rather sulk around-- punishing yourself for a bunch of crap that she won't know or care about once she's in your arms.”

Silence elapsed.

Claire chuckled. She smirked, saying, “You're right, of course.”

Simone jutted her chin a little, cupping her ear, grinning. “Hmm? What was that, sweetey?”

Claire grinned. “You're right. I need to cowgirl-up. I'm being selfish. It's not her fault that I'm a degenerate. I'm going to be happy to see her. She needs to know that. She's what's important-- I love her.”

Simone felt herself cringe at the Genius' last sentence. She closed her eyes, swallowed her emotions, and forced herself to ask, “You love her?”

Claire nodded. “Yeah. I do.”

Simone gulped again. “Did you ever tell her?”

“Not really. I've been kind of afraid to admit it.”

Simone reached to Claire, resting the tips of her fingers on her sister's shoulder. “Y-You should tell her, sweetey.”

Claire looked toward Simone, giving a small smile. “I will.”

Simone slid her fingers from Claire's shoulder and slipped them back into the pocket of her trench coat. She remained quiet, continuing next to Claire for another hundred feet before asking, “Have you learned anything? Since you found out that you're special? Since you found out you're the Genius?”

“Yeah, a few things.”

“Tell me.”

Claire paused before responding, “I’ve watched too much TV.”

Simone chuckled, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Ideals... The way that they’re sold to us... It’s wrong.”


“Humans see things. When they see something that other people have, then they want it too.”

“That's nature, sweetey.”

Claire shook her head. “What if people are bombarded with an unnatural number of unrealistic, unattainable ideals? The human brain still has that basic avarice... But it can't properly deal with the amount of perfection. We're left longing for things that can never exist... Think of all the advertisements that have the perfect couple, on the perfect beach, having the perfect life together, saying perfect things to each other... It's tripe. It's poison. The result-- Everyone's unhappy all the time, and no one seems to know why. Humans aren't equipped to deal with that much constant, unreachable, perfection, all at once.”

“We aren’t human, though.”

Claire shrugged. “Maybe not, but we’re still programmed to expect too much from life.”

Simone smiled. “I don’t expect anything unrealistic.”

The Genius tapped her chest. “I do... At least I think that I’m honest enough with myself to know it.”

“This is about her, isn’t it?” Simone raised an eyebrow. “She looks like your perfect match to me...”

Claire shook her head. “This is about us.”

Simone turned away. “We should shelve that idea, sweetey.”

Claire sighed, “Us as in the Endeavor.”

“Oh.” Simone resumed her forward gaze.

“And us as in you and me.”

Simone stopped, reaching across to snag the Genius’ shoulder, halting her as well. “Listen, sweetey... Your ideal is waiting for you at that vineyard.” She forced a sweet smile. “Don't fuck that up.”

Claire’s face sharpened. Her eyes narrowed. “I’m not going to fuck-up anything... And you’re going to lose that phony smile-- Now.”

Simone's eyes narrowed. She met the attitude by reflex, “Who the fuck do you think you are?”

“Your commander.”

Simone looked down, realizing the irrefutable truth. She replied, “Yes, you are.”

Claire’s voice softened. “And, I'm your sister...”

Simone nodded, still looking to the damp pavement between her boots.

“And you-- You're my best friend.”

Simone looked up. She the corners of her mouth stretched into an involuntary grin. “Thank you.”

Claire nodded, giving a tight, firm smile before turning back toward the direction of the Berman home. She stepped away, leaving Simone to catch up.

The Spy scurried, stepping up to Claire's side, rejoining the journey.

The Genius turned to her, asking, “So, where's your ideal?”

“Don't have one.” Simone shrugged. “Never will.”

“You don't think you'll ever find the right person?”

Simone gave a small grin toward the pavement. “Oh, I'll find her. Then she'll come to her senses and leave. They always do.”

Claire's head shook. “You've got it backwards... The right one'll be the one who stays.”

Simone reached, taking Claire's hand in hers. “I love you, Genius.”

The Claire's fingers squeezed tight for a moment and then relaxed. She nodded, blushing, looking away. She whispered, “Same here.”

Their arms swung together until they reached the base of the steep driveway of the Berman home.

Simone slipped her hand from Claire's and reconnoitered the property. After a few moments of scrutiny, she declared, “Looks safe... Let's go.”


Claire applied her ingenuity and tools to pick the simple lock of the garage door. Her sister muscled the door up far enough to allow both of them to slip underneath. Once inside, they made their way to the rear of the garage. Claire reached for the knob of the interior door which led into the home. It was unlocked, allowing her quick entrance into the Berman home. She led the way and stepped into the hall.

A high-pitched sound squealed from the other end of the long corridor. Claire spotted a glowing alarm system panel set into the wall and dashed for it. She tapped a few spots on the little square screen and the electronic shriek stopped.

The Spy's voice came over her shoulder, “Good thing you've been here before. We don't need the cops showing up.”

Claire turned to Simone giving a smirk. “I just punched in Sarah's birthday-- zero-four zero-three zero-three... It was a guess.”

Simone's eyes rolled. “Thank Goddess that you're smart-- and they're idiots... A birthday-- Real secure.”

Claire rolled her eyes. “No kidding.”

“I'll bet they haven't changed it since they moved in either.”

“I doubt it.” Claire pointed over her shoulder. “Josh's office is behind us.” Claire smiled as a notion entered her head. “I'll bet we already know his BigNet terminal's password.”

Simone snickered and turned to enter the room behind them. Claire followed.

“Let's find out the address.” Claire dropped into the leather swivel chair behind the glass-topped desk. She rolled the seat closer to the table and began leafing through invoices, searching for an address.

“Just call them, sweetey,” Simone said from the opposite side of the cluttered room.

Claire looked up from the pile of yellow and pink papers. “But, we'd give away where we--”

Simone interrupted, “They're on the lam-- They could have split already.”

“Wouldn't Cecilia let us know?”

“Assuming she has the strength... You remember how painful it is when she does that? It hurts her a hundred times worse.”

“I-I didn't know.”

Simone smiled. “That's why I'm telling you, sweetey. Use that terminal to call them.”

Claire nodded and set the stack of papers back onto the desk. She swiveled to face the machine and started typing. “Last time I was here, Mike showed me how to spoof BigNet address IDs,” she said, fingers busy at the machine's keyboard.

Simone looked up from a trinket in her hands. “Who's Mike?” She set the brass and glass item back onto the desk.

Claire continued to type, eyes remaining fixed on the pale glow of the display. “Aki's brother. He's a top-notch cracker.”

The Spy smirked. “I see...” She picked up the stapler next to Claire's right hand and unfolded it's base. “Did you know that there are five ways to kill someone with one of these?”

Claire glanced away from the screen, regarding Simone. “Not surprising... Coming from you.” She gave a little grin and resumed her work on the terminal.

Simone clicked the stapler a few times, sending tiny forked missiles across the room before closing it and returning it next to the keyboard. “I'm kidding, of course... Staplers are pretty harmless... Tape dispensers, though-- They're another story.”

Claire grinned and snorted in amusement. She finished typing and leaned back in the chair, folding her arms, looking to the screen as her call to Josh's M-lync established.


Josh filled with dread as he heard the chirp of an incoming call emanating from his waist. He reached down and unclipped his M-lync, turning it toward his face, forcing his eyes to examine the unit's display for the identity of the caller. His brow wrinkled at once.

“Who is it?” the Healer asked, looking up to Josh from the floor, Vivian's head resting in her lap. She looked down again and blotted the soldier's forehead with a damp white cloth.

Josh's brow furrowed. “It's... I don't know. There must be a glitch.”

Barry stepped closer. “Glitch? What does it say?”

“It's saying that I'm calling myself.”

The unit chirped some more.

“You'd better not answer it.” Heather looked up again from her unconscious patient. “It's probably a trap or something.”

Schon leaned closer to Josh's side, joining him in the examination of the display's strange contents. He shook his head, keeping his eyes on the display. “That's fucked up, man.”

The unit chirped again.

Josh asked, “What if it's Sarah? Or Claire? Maybe they're trying to warn us.”

The unit continued its shrill little chirps.

Barry sighed, “Just answer it. We can probably deal with the consequences.”

“Probably!?!” Heather's eyes widened. “Your storm trooper is out cold! We can't deal with anything!”

Barry looked to the Healer. His mouth spread into a warm smile. “Please, Ms. Osterholm... We're going to be fine. Just let me handle this.”

The phone chirped again.

The Healer blurted, “You're going to get us all killed, you stupid ape.”

Barry held his smile. He replied in a gentle, authoritative tone, “Ms. Osterholm, please calm down. Goddesses don't resort to primitive name calling... It's beneath them.”

Josh snorted, “It's not beneath that one.”

The Healer's face twisted with rage. “How dare you, you--”

“See what I mean?” Josh rolled his eyes.

Barry's smile faded. He pointed to the M-lync. “It's a moot point now. It stopped ringing.” He walked over to where the Healer sat cradling Vivian's head in her lap. He crouched and reached out to touch the soldier's face. “How is she?”

The Healer grimaced. “Her fever's dropping.” She looked down and blotted Vivian's face and neck.

“What's your diagnosis, doctor?”

Heather's lips curled in. She drew a breath and answered, “Food poisoning... If what you told me was true.”

Barry nodded. “Is she going to be okay?”


“Should I get her to a hospital?”

“If it means you'll leave and take her with you, then yes.”

Barry's eyes narrowed. “Ms. Osterholm, do you even know why you're free?”

Heather stayed still for a moment and then shook her head.

“My superiors wanted to sell you and your sisters. I didn't want that to happen. Neither did Lieutenant Teixeira. We came here to help you.”

Heather looked down again to the washed-out weakness resting in her lap. She patted the cloth along Vivian's hairline and sighed. She looked back to Barry and whispered, “Thank you.”

Barry started to stand, grinning to the Healer. “Don't thank us yet... We're all in deep, hot water. Someone's going to turn up the gas soon--”

Josh's M-lync started chirping again.

Barry turned to the sound, saying, “Just answer it, man.”

Josh nodded and opened the cover, answering the call. His face relaxed as he recognized the calling party's face. “Claire!”

“Hey, Josh,” Claire's voice buzzed from the unit's speaker. On the screen, her face settled into visible relief. “Where are you guys?”

Josh lowered his voice a little, replying, “At my vineyard. Sarah and Aki and the other one are heading for my house.”

In the display, Claire's face tilted a little. “You got split-up somewhere?”

Josh sighed, “I didn't want them to go.”

“I don't understand--” Claire's voice and the image of her face tightened with agitation.

“Aki though that you'd be at my house. Sarah's driving her and the other there right now. Where are you?”

Claire's lips stretched into a broad grin. “At your house.”

Josh returned the smile. “They should be there any minute. When you see them, tell Sarah that we'll be there soon.”

“Sure. So, what's the deal? How'd you get everyone free?”

Josh shook his head. “I didn't. It was Sarah... And Aki. They convinced a friend of mine to release them.”

Claire nodded. “Listen, we'd better drop. See you soon.”

“Okay.” Josh smiled. The screen of his communicator blanked.

Barry knelt next to the Healer. “I'll take the Lieutenant to the truck. You and Josh can help your sister.”

Josh moved over to Cecilia and unlocked the wheels of her chair. “Where're you parked?”

Barry groaned as he stood, lifting Vivian's limp body, shifting for balance. His words were short with exertion, “In the front.”


With the Genius taking a shower, Simone snooped through the cabinets of the kitchen, searching for coffee and filters. She loathed the idea of drinking the dirty brown water, but knew it would help to boost her sagging energy. She removed a promising plastic cylinder from one of the cupboards and popped its lid free. The aroma made her smile. She pulled a filter-pillow bulged with coffee from the tube and placed it into the brewer on the counter below. She sat by the machine, listening to the little rumble of its pressure tank charging, waiting for the first scalding jet to sprinkle into the carafe. She glanced at the green numerals glowing from the nearby face of the ultrasonic oven. The Ace and her party still had not shown. She decided to check on her sister, leaving the brewer to its task.

She headed from the kitchen into the hallway. The door to the bathroom was open. She continued on and stopped outside the closed door to Josh and Sarah's bedroom. She called out, “Claire? You in there?”

“Yeah... I'll be out in a second,” came from the other side.

“What're you doing?”

"Nothing... I-I'll be right out.”

Simone sighed. “Come on, sweetey, I put on some coffee.”

“Do you promise not to laugh?”


Claire's voice echoed through the wooden door, insistent, “Promise me that you won't laugh.”

Simone rolled her eyes. She sighed, “Fine. I promise.”

The door crept open. Simone watched Claire take a few wobbly steps onto the plush carpet that lined the hallway.

She took a few more careful steps, teetering in a pair of expensive-looking shoes; glossy black leather pumps with thin, high heels. A pair of smoky stockings stretched around the curves of her legs and disappeared beneath a dark hem at mid-thigh. The outline of her hips and chest pressed into the supple black fabric of an ill-fitting designer dress. The pale skin of bare her arms and shoulders led the Spy's gaze to the Genius' face. Her lips were caked in red and her hair was combed back, still damp from the shower.

Claire gave Simone a timid half-grin. “Please don't laugh.”

Simone shook her head, scanning Claire from bottom to top once again, drawing a deep breath. “Y-You look... Wow, I mean...”

Claire turned away, blushing, lowering her eyes.

Simone gulped. “Goddess, Claire.”

“I look stupid, I know.”

Simone shook her head, unable to verbalize a retort.

“I-I'm going to find something else...” Claire turned to re-enter the bedroom.

“No,” Simone said, reaching out, her fingers clamping the heat of Claire's bare shoulder. “Stay like that.”

“It's not me.” Claire shook her head.

The Spy smirked. “No, it's not...” She slid her hand from her sister's shoulder. “...But you want to look good for her, right?”

Claire nodded looking to the floor with her arms across her chest.

Simone forced her eyes closed, shielding herself from the alluring collection of fabric and shapes standing inches from her. She uttered, just above a whisper, “Mission accomplished,” and then walked away, toward the kitchen.


Aki followed Sarah through the front door. She set her bags down on and wriggled free from her sneakers and jacket. Natalia followed suit and they carried the fruits of their last-minute shopping from the foyer and into the living room. Aki dropped her bags. She froze at the arresting sight that awaited her. “Nushi?”

Claire stood in front of the fireplace, her hands clasped together, danging in front of her abdomen. She smiled, looking down, stepping closer, her ankles wobbling from the impractical height of fashionable shoes. Her square hips bobbed as she went, their angles hugged by a sleek black dress. Her lips were caked with a heavy smear of scarlet, her chin-length hair was free from its usual messy ponytail, now parted to one side and combed straight and neat.

She stopped a meter away. Her eyes rose from the unsteady shoes to meet Aki's astonished gaze.

“Y-You look so--” Aki started, inching closer. She forced her eyes from Claire's slinky, feminine outfit, bringing them to hold the Genius' pupils. “For me?”

Claire closed her eyes and nodded, smiling. “I look stupid--”

Aki snatched Claire's wrist and yanked her across the room toward the sofa. She pushed the Genius toward the couch with all of her strength, sending Claire backwards onto the cushions before pouncing on her prey.

She wedged her body in between Claire's thighs and groped her way up. She pressed her lips to the Genius' in a deep, hungry kiss. She tasted sweet vodka and tobacco. Her glossed lips glided against the wet, sticky rouge coating Claire's. Through her T-shirt, she could feel strong hands running the length of her back, forcing her closer, pressing her mouth tighter. Aki parted her lips reaching to lick the velvet red paste on Claire's, wriggling her tongue between them, begging entrance.

Claire's mouth opened. Aki pushed her tongue inside, sliding against Claire's before calming within the delectable captivity of soft lips and gentle suction. Aki moaned, setting aside the aggression of her lust, surrendering to the tender, nibbling vacuum that cherished and savored the tip of her tongue. Claire's hands slide down the small of Aki's back. The Genius' fingers slipped beneath the elastic of Aki's panties and groped further to cup her bottom.

Aki snaked her arms between the sofa and Claire's shoulder blades. She hooked her fingers around the hard muscle of the Genius' shoulders using the grip to pull herself closer. Claire continued to tickle and tease, suckling, squeezing, pulling and kneading.

Suddenly, Claire's mouth retreated. “We cant...” she panted, “Not here... They're in the kitchen.”

Aki's own breaths were rapid and deep as she responded, “I don't care.” She forced her lips against Claire's once again. Her fingertips curled into the Genius' shoulders, her short nails digging into the supple, toned musculature.

Aki slid her mouth lower, smearing Claire's chin and then sliding down to her neck. She nuzzled the sensitive skin and drew in a mouthful, sucking, noshing, biting, her insides tingling at the vibration of a deep moan from the Genius' throat. Powerful legs twined around hers, locking their bodies together. Claire's hands continued to fondle and claw from behind.

A sudden noise from the kitchen caused Aki to jerk upright, gasping, panting. “Guest bedroom,” she said between heavy breaths. She wriggled free of Claire's limbs and started a brisk walk to the hallway which led to a more private atmosphere.

She looked back to see Claire padding down the hall in twisted stockings and a crumpled, sweat-dampened designer dress.

Aki stopped at the doorway to the bedroom. She pointed. Between gasps she managed to say, “Bring those shoes, nushi.”

Claire stopped and broke in to a sudden grin. She scurried back to the sofa and then returned to the hallway with a ravenous look in her eyes and a thin black heel clutched in each hand.

TBC in CH17d

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 17c
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 12:48 pm 
That was a great update :applause

Claire getting dressed up for Aki was sweet, and it certainly seemed to have the desired affect :drool

I think Simone was right that if Claire had still been wallowing in her guilt when she met Aki, it would have hurt Aki who might have thought Claire wasn't happy to see her. Claire did seem to be over analysing the consequences of her actions a bit, though I guess that over analysing things is a part of her being The Genius.

I liked Barry's comment about how if the sisters are so much better than everyone else they shouldn't need to resort to petty name calling :) .

I went out to dinner on saturday. I mention this as I think if the sister's mother (I forget her name) had been with us as we were walking home and seen the things we did (in particular a woman coming out of a bar followed by a second who called her a stupid slag and then punched her in the face) then she might have given up on her idea that a world with just women would a perfect world of peace and love.

So it seems that next update we can look forward to the confrontation between Simone and Vivian. Given Vivians weakened state, I can see that so not going well for her. I guess it depends on how good Simone is at keeping a grudge.

Another thought is if I'm right that Barry didn't know about Simone being tortured then how will he react when he finds out and, more importantly, that his blue eyed girl might have been involved.


"There are some days that you just can't get rid of a bomb" - Batman: The Movie

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 17c
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 6:02 pm 
This is a loss for words :thud

Although this still sends my Squick Meter needle wobbling:

Claire shook her head. “This is about us.”

Simone turned away. “We should shelve that idea, sweetey.”

Claire sighed, “Us as in the Endeavor.”

“Oh.” Simone resumed her forward gaze.

“And us as in you and me.”

The fact that either of them remotely contemplated what I THINK this exchange implies is...well...*shudder* You get the point.

Time flies by when the Devil drives.
It's not the pace of life that concerns me, it's the sudden stop at the end.

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 17c
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 6:08 am 

Claire getting dressed up for Aki was sweet, and it certainly seemed to have the desired affect

Claire's not taking any chances-- by taking a chance. Says a lot about her character, no?

I went out to dinner on Saturday. I mention this as I think if the sister's mother (I forget her name) had been with us as we were walking home and seen the things we did (in particular a woman coming out of a bar followed by a second who called her a stupid slag and then punched her in the face) then she might have given up on her idea that a world with just women would a perfect world of peace and love.

An interesting story. What are the chances that those two guide public policy? I'd say slim. Sure, people fight. More and more in recent history. Could their behavior be a manifestation of rebellion against the phallocracy? Maybe a side-effect of action-movies, trash TV, and liquor? We'll never know for sure. Speculation is fun, though :) That's what the sisters' Mother was doing...

So it seems that next update we can look forward to the confrontation between Simone and Vivian. Given Vivians weakened state, I can see that so not going well for her. I guess it depends on how good Simone is at keeping a grudge.

Confrontation? Yes, definitely. There will be a demonstration of conflict. It will end in disaster. The sequel will be the interesting part.

With that said, what would Simone's goal be? What would Vivian's goal be? They may be in opposition or-- possibly-- concordance. We'll see soon. I've been working on that for months and keep changing it... I don't even know for sure ;)

Barry's a smooth-talker. Like Vivian noted in her narrative, he always knows the right thing to say. It didn't make Heather smile, but it did succeed in condescending to a goddess. Good for him!


The fact that either of them remotely contemplated what I THINK this exchange implies is...well...*shudder* You get the point.

This exchange has a lot of different levels in-play. More of them will become clearer-- I hope-- as the chapter concludes. The Squick-Meter may still deflect a shade, but I hope to shunt its readings closer to zero with more detailed cause/effect exploration. Hopefully, you'll see what I mean.

CH17d is currently being edited and sculpted. It'll be ready soon, I hope.

Thanks for reading.


 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 17c
PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 6:03 pm 
Methinks that SQ has dropped off the planet! :shock Please say it ain't so :pray

Time flies by when the Devil drives.
It's not the pace of life that concerns me, it's the sudden stop at the end.

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 17c
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 5:11 am 
I'm still here, Kieli. Thanks for your impatience and concern :) -- They're flattering. :blush

Sorry not to have an update ready at this moment, but I've been a little preoccupied with other stuff-- namely the kind of stuff that pays the mortgage. :buried I enjoy my work, but I also enjoy doing things for me and those who enjoy this story. Unfortunately, the latter group has been getting the short end of the stick lately. Sorry, kittens. :sigh

I'll have something ready soon. There's a lot of editing that needs to be done, and even more re-writing for the remainder of CH17, but I hope to give it some solid, uninterrupted time today. Lotsa neat stuff in the end of this chapter, so I need to be extra-careful with the delivery. Some of it should be funny, some of it should be touching, some of it disturbing, and some of it will be downright weird-- that is if I manage the delivery well-enough. If I fail, then it's just going to be a bunch of confusing, aimless nonsense, and that's much less than my readers and characters deserve.

Hope to update soon...


 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 17c
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 9:41 am 
Hi SQ. I haven't been in here to read this story since the first few chapters, but I'm diligently re-reading and trying to catch up to everyone else. So far, having experienced the power of your prose, I have to say that I'm honored that you'd ever crept into my little thread to give me some advice. You've got a great story going on here, and with that I'm shutting up and going back to finish reading.

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 17c
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 1:13 pm 
Impatient?! Me? :shock Surely you jest...I'm just merely stating that it's been quiet around here and.....well, I'm jonesing for my Aki/Claire fix....nuff said. :miff

Time flies by when the Devil drives.
It's not the pace of life that concerns me, it's the sudden stop at the end.

 Post subject: Re: Latency -- Chapter 17c
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2004 5:58 pm 
Doesn't it just suck the way real life takes away from the fun?

We'll wait. :kitty


It's the passion in a kiss that gives to it its sweetness; it is the affection in a kiss that sanctifies it.

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