Let's Talk Merch

Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:59 am
rathany: Person of Interest (Default)
[personal profile] rathany in [community profile] cranky_old_fangirls
Does anyone else get really cranky walking past Groot socks and Harry Potter scarves and wish we'd had merch like that when older fandoms were big? Even LOTR fandom kinda got shafted on merch because the company was struggling with trying to figure out how to make geeky stuff for adults. The prop replicas were nice, but the T shirts and stuff were pretty much logos across our chests. HP and ASOIF and Star Wars gets all this amazing, in-universe gear.

What do you think? Are you jealous of how Hot Topic drips in Supernatural gear? Did you get lots of fanmade or cafe press gear? Or are you not into merch.

Me I am over here still trying to find someone to help me custom print fabric for reasons.

Metamorprose@Discord

Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:06 am
we_protect_each_other: king of knights & king of heroes (Default)
[personal profile] we_protect_each_other in [community profile] yuletide


If you would be interested in joining a Discord server for fanfiction writers, please consider joining Metamorprose. The rules and policies are simple and accessible on the server itself and are displayed in a static location at [community profile] metamorprose. A direct invite link can be found here: https://discord.gg/z3FHEYQ More information about Discord, what it is, and how to use the server are on the comm. Happy writing!
longlivehumour: (the thick of it)
[personal profile] longlivehumour in [community profile] gensplosion
FANDOM: The Thick of It
FIC LINK: Uncertain Sideways Streets
AUTHOR LINK: [archiveofourown.org profile] grenadine
RATING/WARNING(S): T | liberal use of the letter f; spoilers for Spinners and Losers and the beginning of Season 4
WIP?/WORD COUNT: Complete | 6,300
MAIN CHARACTERS: Nicola Murray, Malcolm Tucker, (Ollie Reeder, Glen Cullen, Julius Nicholson)

FIC SUMMARY: During the election, Nicola Murray hits a wall.

RECCER'S NOTES: Politics fic! Nicola gets a rare chance to shine here, because for all her many (many, many many) flaws, she was one of the few ideologically honest people in DoSAC. And her voice is brilliant, and the dialogue is brilliant, and the characterisation is brilliant, and of all the fics I want to write on my skin until they can be absorbed as a permanent part of my system, this one's damn well near the top of the list.

And when you're done with that, head to Close Your Eyes and Think of Agincourt, by the same author and set prior to Uncertain.

Rare Male Slash Exchange - Pinch Hits

Jun. 21st, 2017 09:38 am
[personal profile] rareslashex_mod in [community profile] yuletide
Rare Male Slash Exchange currently has three open pinch hits looking for a good home!

The deadline is Monday 31 July at 23:59 UTC.

The minimum for fanfic is 1000 words; the minimum for art is a finished piece created entirely by the artist (no icons, manips, etc.). All works must focus on the requested fandom and ship.

If you wish to claim a pinch hit, please comment on the pinch hit post on the RMSE community here, including your AO3 username and the username/number of the pinch hit you want!


Pinch Hit #5: 방탄소년단 | Bangtan Boys | BTS, Big Bang (Band), GOT7, Topp Dogg (Band)

Pinch Hit #6: The Vampire Diaries (TV), DC Cinematic Universe, Fast and the Furious Series, Vantage Point (2008), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV), Bourne (Movies)

Pinch Hit #12: Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Justice (TV), Homicide: Life on the Street, Crossover Fandom
longlivehumour: Grey heron (heron)
[personal profile] longlivehumour in [community profile] gensplosion
FANDOM: The X-Files
FIC LINK: Things Intangible
AUTHOR LINK: mimic117
RATING/WARNING(S): PG | very minor spoilers for season 6
WIP?/WORD COUNT: Complete | 4,900
MAIN CHARACTERS: Fox Mulder

FIC SUMMARY: The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius. ~ Oscar Wilde

RECCER'S NOTES: A profiler!Mulder story told from the point of view of one of the detectives assigned on the same case as he observes his colleagues' reactions to the famous Spooky Mulder. An enjoyable little one-shot with fine narrative voice and some memorable lines. (Detective Carr shows up in a sequel story, Mileage, featuring Scully as the Coolest Lecturer Ever.)
pendrecarc: (Thief)
[personal profile] pendrecarc in [community profile] yuletide
Nominations are open for the second round of the Hamiathes' Gift Exchange, a fanfiction and fanart exchange for Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief books. Check out the tag set and nominate here!

The schedule for 2017:
  • Character and relationship nominations: June 14th through the 24th at 10 PM EDT
  • Signups: June 27th through July 8th, closing at 10 PM EDT
  • Assignments sent out: July 10th at the latest
  • Fanworks due: August 19th at 10 PM EDT
  • Fanworks revealed: August 26th at 10 PM EDT
  • Artists/authors revealed: September 2nd at 10 PM EDT
Links of interest:

Exchange on AO3 | Exchange on LJ | Exchange on DW | Announcements at Tumblr
longlivehumour: 7. do you always want what you think you want? (sendak)
[personal profile] longlivehumour in [community profile] gensplosion
FANDOM: Fullmetal Alchemist (all universes)
FIC LINK: Stock Market Crash
AUTHOR LINK: [ff.net profile] VIKAN
RATING/WARNING(S): Complete | Discussions of genocide, some gore, swearing
WIP?/WORD COUNT: Complete | 30,500
MAIN CHARACTERS: Roy Mustang, Edward Elric

FIC SUMMARY: Stranded in the middle of the Eastern Desert, Roy Mustang must try to get himself and a concussed Edward across it safely before he completely loses his mind.

RECCER'S NOTES: OH GOD THIS FIC. Told from the perspective of an increasingly-unbalanced Roy Mustang, this is a superb story. Though the subject matter is grim, the dialogue is sprinkled with humour - Ed and Roy's acerbic relationship is a joy to read - and it never falls into the trap of navel-gazing that plagues so many fanfics. Mustang is a complex character who's done some truly horrible things, and this story has no qualms in showing that. If it has one flaw it's the proofreading, which left out a number of homophone mistakes, but the rest of the writing is fantastic: vivid and to the point. The story structure keeps the suspense right up till the end.
"Evil, evil thing, to make someone want revenge."

(Happy birfday to meee now here's some SUFFERING)

MCU / Thor: Road to Nowhere, by Lise

Jun. 19th, 2017 11:53 am
longlivehumour: Grey heron (heron)
[personal profile] longlivehumour in [community profile] gensplosion
FANDOM: MCU / Thor
FIC LINK: Road to Nowhere
AUTHOR LINK: [archiveofourown.org profile] Lise
RATING/WARNING(S): PG | spoilers for Thor: The Dark World
WIP?/WORD COUNT: Complete | 27,700
MAIN CHARACTERS: Loki, Thor, Frigga

FIC SUMMARY: When Loki turns up demanding Thor's help on a quest to retrieve the All-Mother from Valhalla, Thor isn't about to say no. But that doesn't mean he's forgotten anything, and what better time than a road trip through the backwaters of the universe for trying to talk things out?

RECCER'S NOTES: Loki and Thor are both very well written - Loki a genuinely twisty bitter bastard, albeit one who loves his mum, and Thor rather more intelligent than many people give him credit for, especially when it comes to his brother. The worlds they pass through are sometimes harmless, often horrifying, and always weird. Hopping across worlds like stepping stones on the way to Hel, and there is, as always in these stories, a catch...
longlivehumour: Tyger, tyger, burning bright (Default)
[personal profile] longlivehumour in [community profile] gensplosion
FANDOM: Pirates of the Caribbean
FIC LINK: The Queen's Pride
AUTHOR LINK:
[archiveofourown.org profile] copperbadge
RATING/WARNING(S): G
WIP?/WORD COUNT: Complete | 1,400
MAIN CHARACTERS: Elizabeth Swan, Will Turner, Jack Sparrow

FIC SUMMARY: Elizabeth and Will tried domesticity. They got bored.

RECCER'S NOTES: Because I can't be the only one sceptical that Elizabeth Swan would give up piracy that easily. A post-Curse of the Black Pearl AU - quick, funny, and will leave a warm feeling in your belly.
liadtbunny: (Bulman fishing)
[personal profile] liadtbunny in [community profile] yuletide
safmb

[community profile] unconventionalcourtship a panfandom fic fest where you write and post a 1000w+ fic based on a M&B/Harlequin plot is open for sign ups! Fics will be posted to the UC community, staggered through August and September 2017, from 18th August.

Broadchurch: Puzzles, by HalfASlug

Jun. 17th, 2017 04:35 pm
longlivehumour: 7. do you always want what you think you want? (sendak)
[personal profile] longlivehumour in [community profile] gensplosion
FANDOM: Broadchurch
FIC LINK: Puzzles
AUTHOR LINK: [ff.net profile] HalfASlug
RATING/WARNING(S): G | spoilers up to and including S02E05
WIP?/WORD COUNT: Complete | 1,000
MAIN CHARACTERS: Alec Hardy, Ellie Miller MILLARRRR, and Fred

FIC SUMMARY: There are many puzzles in Alec Hardy's life, but maybe there's still room for one more.

RECCER'S NOTES: A short scene in the lives of two sad ex-detectives that captures their friendship rather well and still makes you smile. Also: Hardy and Fred.

Atari!

Jun. 17th, 2017 08:46 am
kalloway: Camilla from Fire Emblem Fates looking pleased/smug (FE:F Camilla)
[personal profile] kalloway in [community profile] cranky_old_fangirls
Holy crap--
The Atari console appearing online is real; Atari is back in the hardware biz
!

Obviously, the ongoing Console Wars needed something absolutely bizarre to happen~
longlivehumour: Kryten looks down at (and also on) Rimmer. (red dwarf)
[personal profile] longlivehumour in [community profile] gensplosion
FANDOM: Red Dwarf
FIC LINK: Ode to Enlightenment
AUTHOR LINK: [archiveofourown.org profile] jazzfic
RATING/WARNING(S): G
WIP?/WORD COUNT: Complete | 2,000
MAIN CHARACTERS: Arnold Rimmer, Dave Lister

FIC SUMMARY: Rimmer's whole life, from what Lister had managed to glean from various drunken confessionals, was one missed opportunity after another.

RECCER'S NOTES: Pitch-perfect voices, down to Rimmer's horrific attempts at writing. A small scene in a storage locker.

And while I'm at it, here's another 'Enlightenment' fic. )
longlivehumour: Roses are red / antiplastic is blue / bananas are fantastic / and so are you (ninth doctor)
[personal profile] longlivehumour in [community profile] gensplosion
FANDOM: Doctor Who
FIC LINK: No Company for Old Men
AUTHOR LINK: Cryptile
RATING/WARNING(S): G
WIP?/WORD COUNT: Complete | 7,300
MAIN CHARACTERS: Ninth Doctor, the Brigadier

FIC SUMMARY: "Who are you and what did you do with the Brigadier?"

RECCER'S NOTES: What did the Doctor get up to in those ten seconds at the end of "Rose"? Turns out he buggered off to see the Brigadier, and more or less refused to go away. Reasons to read this: 1. It's Nine and the Brig; 2. it's by Cryptile. Dialogue sharp as knives. The Brigadier's voice is delightful, his reaction to the intruder memorable, and the brittle wrongness of this new Doctor as the Brig watches him about the place sticks in my throat and burns.

Consider this an author rec, too, because every fic on Cryptile's profile is fantastic, with that balanced DW blend of drama and comedy and absolutely impeccable characterisation. One of the very best.
longlivehumour: Kakashi and his beautiful bottom (what) (kakashi)
[personal profile] longlivehumour in [community profile] gensplosion
FANDOM: Team Fortress 2
FIC LINK: The Morbid, Macabre, and Myriad Adventures of Miss Edith Amelia Pauling (series)
AUTHOR LINK: [archiveofourown.org profile] PreludeInZ
RATING/WARNING(S): PG | canon-typical violence
WIP?/WORD COUNT: Complete (series of unconnected oneshots) | 10,500
MAIN CHARACTERS: Miss Pauling, the Mercs

FIC SUMMARY: These are short pieces that exist to give [Miss Pauling] some backstory, and to expand a bit on her relationship with the mercs in Vignettes from the War and the End of the World, particularly her relationship with Scout.

It is extremely fluffy. I am just really fond of Miss Pauling.

RECCER'S NOTES:
A charming little series about a woman who professionally disposes of people in shallow graves, possibly with the help of quicklime. Or flesh-eating beetles. Or a chainsaw. The narrative voice is really good here.
Two of the stories are tagged Scout/Miss Pauling, but only the second can really be considered non-gen and since all are entirely unrelated, you can skip it with no issues
longlivehumour: Kakashi and his beautiful bottom (what) (kakashi)
[personal profile] longlivehumour in [community profile] gensplosion
FANDOM: Mushishi
FIC LINK: The Lonely Traveler
AUTHOR LINK: [archiveofourown.org profile] cafecliche
RATING/WARNING(S): G
WIP?/WORD COUNT: Complete | 5,500
MAIN CHARACTERS: Ginko, Adashino

FIC SUMMARY: After becoming snowbound in Adashino's village, Ginko realizes it's no natural storm keeping him there.

RECCER'S NOTES: A lovely little casefic that captures the feel of the series wonderfully. Contains Ginko being 100% done with everyone, Adashino being Adashino, and an intriguing mushi.
telwoman: (Default)
[personal profile] telwoman in [community profile] schlosseberbach
**Reposted from Imzy ... awaiting images**


Vacation Orders

The Chief and his fellow senior personnel are fed up with Klaus. He works too hard. He’s too ‘thorough’ – which is probably code for, “He’s a fanatic, and he’s over-critical of everyone who isn’t as fanatical as himself.”

They come up with a proposal to solve the problem, no doubt with a view to making their own lives easier. They need to get Klaus married off. They decide that first of all they will send him on vacation, where he’ll meet women. Then they’ll send him to his school reunion, where his old schoolfellows will talk about their families. They’ll also set him up with a pretty tour guide. Somewhere in all this, surely Klaus will meet the woman of his dreams?

Klaus, of course, can’t take his vacation orders at face value. He suspects it’s a top secret mission, so top-secret even he can’t be told what it’s about! The KGB, observing that he is leaving Bonn, also conclude that he is on a mission and start following him.

He dutifully goes to the school reunion, although he’s not enthusiastic. We learn that he was a hardworking student, but inclined to get into fights with the other boys. As he got older, he developed a reputation for defending weaker kids from bullies.

We also learn about his role in a big confrontation between their school’s football team and a rival team from across the river.

He visits Sister Theresa, whom he remembers as the kind young teacher who introduced him to fried potatoes. She remembers Klaus fondly, but their conversation doesn’t go well as he doesn’t like to admit that he still smokes and he isn’t married.

A phonecall from the Chief sets Klaus’s alarm bells ringing, so he calls Agent A who admits there was a conspiracy to get Klaus married off. Next minute, there’s a knock at the door: it’s a woman sent by the KGB to seduce him. Still angry from the phone call, and assuming she was sent by the Chief, Klaus sends her packing.

So instead, assuming the problem might be that Klaus has different preferences, the KGB sends a man – an Eroica lookalike – to make contact with him. Klaus knocks him out.

Vacation Orders gives us a good insight into Klaus’s formative years. His mother died when he was very young so he had no maternal influence. His father, a man with a military background, had strong ideas about hard work, honour and duty. Klaus went to boarding school at a young age, and we can see the early manifestations of “Iron Klaus” in his stern application to his studies, his fearlessness in a fight, his strength and endurance, and his strong ideas about what is right.

The absence of women during his childhood and teenage years – with the exception of nuns – probably explains some of his discomfort around women as an adult.


Midnight Collector

Dorian gets a tip-off that Sir Rex Price has died and his art collection is to be offered for sale at England Art. The painting that interests him most is The Young Shepherd, by Giorgione.

We learn that Sir Rex Price was a friend of Dorian’s father, and as a child, Dorian spent a lot of time in his house. It was there that he first saw The Young Shepherd, and fell in love with it.

Dorian’s mother disapproved of Sir Rex, and did not like Dorian to be around him. Sir Rex was part of the gay scene Dorian’s father embraced after Dorian was born.

When his parents divorced, Dorian’s mother took his three sisters with her and left him with his father, who had to sell their family home and move to a smaller place in Cornwall. Dorian was very sad that he would not be able to see the painting he loved so much any more.

So, Sir Rex made a deal with him. He promised to give Dorian The Young Shepherd for his next birthday, if Dorian would have sex with him. Dorian went through with his part of the bargain, but the painting that he was sent was not the original but a forgery.

He resolved to steal the painting, but he hadn’t yet developed sufficient skill, and was nearly caught.

Back to the present day, where we see Dorian preparing to acquire The Young Shepherd at last – but a new rival emerges: the young handsome oil-rich Salim al Sabaah. Dorian takes an instant dislike to him because he only appreciates paintings for their monetary value, not their intrinsic artistic value. (Sound like someone else we’ve met before?)

Klaus himself now turns up, bringing The Man in Purple to the art dealers to sell it. Dorian sees this as the opportunity of a lifetime: he can acquire both of the paintings he wants most. Unfortunately, Salim al Sabaah is also interested in both.

Learning by devious means that England Art plan to use the rivalry between himself and Sabaah to drive the price up, Dorian decides to enlist Sabaah as an ally – to use him now, and then defeat him later. At first Salim refuses, but he’s persuaded when he hears a recording of England Art’s scheme. (Picture below: Salim al Sabaah turns up to his meeting with Dorian without his Arab robes. He looks very sexy in black leathers, riding his powerful motorcycle.)

Dorian and Sabaah go to the auction, having agreed on a plan to split the Price Collection between them. Meanwhile, Bonham and the rest of the Eroica gang arrive in a specially modified London double decker bus, and steal the Price Collection paintings.

At this point, Klaus realises he doesn’t dare to sell The Man in Purple after all. His father is going to visit, and if the painting’s gone, there’ll be hell to pay. (Unafraid of just about anything else, it seems Klaus is just a little intimidated by his father.) So he calls England Art and gets them to return The Man in Purple to him – just in time to prevent it from being stolen by Dorian.

The story ends with Dorian missing out on The Man in Purple, but he now has the Giorgione he’s wanted since he was a boy. He’s also acquired a new enemy in Salim al Sabaah.

Our glimpse into his childhood shows us that his upbringing was very different from Klaus’s. Where Klaus’s father valued discipline and duty, Dorian’s father was self-indulgent, and encouraged Dorian’s early efforts at stealing. Dorian had a mother and three sisters, but his relationship with them looked uncomfortable, and all of them disappeared from his life when his parents divorced.

There are similarities, too. Both had a largely male-dominated upbringing – although of quite different kinds. Both were educated at boarding schools, so they both experienced communal living outside the family. Even as children, they were both strong personalities determined to live by their own rules.

Re-readings #9 - The Alaskan Front

Jun. 12th, 2017 05:18 pm
telwoman: (Default)
[personal profile] telwoman in [community profile] schlosseberbach
**Reposted from Imzy ... awaiting images**


The Alaskan Front is one of the longest Eroica stories. Summarising it here is going to be a challenge!

We begin by finding that James has managed to collect all those lost banknotes that flew out of the case Klaus chucked out of the plane at the end of Veni Vedi Vici – except one. James being James, he is determined to collect the last one. So James and Dorian set out for Germany, in order for James to steal the last hundred marks from the Major himself.

This is the reason they are hiding at the Schloss when the Chief arrives to tell Klaus about his next mission: to go to Alaska, and recover cargo that was lost in a plane crash during World War II. The plane had been carrying a printing plate to produce counterfeit US currency, and a valuable art collection belonging to Field Marshal Hermann Göring. As the cargo had been sealed in a water-tight container, the printing plate could still be used to produce counterfeit currency if it fell into the wrong hands, and the art collection was very valuable.

Naturally, Dorian wants to get in ahead of the Major and recover the art collection, and James is overjoyed at the possibility of having a plate that will let him print his own money. Klaus and the Alphabets set out to Alaska. Because being sent to Alaska has always been seen as a big threat, they are miserable.

Dorian and his thieves, meanwhile, are travelling in the same direction. James, in an uncharacteristic fit of extravagance brought on by the prospect of being able to print his own money, has chartered a Concorde and they are travelling in luxury, with champagne laid on. Furthermore, as soon as they land, James sets about buying a cabin and some land on the shores of Tazlina Lake, where the cargo is thought to be submerged. The usually tight-fisted James feels he can spend some money since he is about to be as rich as he wants to be. This cabin plays an important role later on.

Unknown to both, a third group arrives in Alaska at about the same time: Mischa the Bear Cub and a group of fellow Soviet spies, out to thwart Iron Klaus.

The fourth group of players in the story is the FBI, who have been alerted that a notorious art thief has come to Alaska. They are also supposed to cooperate with the NATO party, but Klaus locks horns with the FBI men straight away. Our dear Klaus is very intolerant, critical and suspicious. I guess those are things that help make him a good spy but it doesn’t endear him to people he’s supposed to work with.

At this point of the story, Aoike-san is developing the humour with these four disparate groups acting independently of each other, each trying to get the upper hand and none of them (as yet) really aware of what the others are doing. In fact, Dorian and his thieves are the first to pinpoint Klaus and the Alphabets and to know what they are up to: at Tazlina Lake, the Major and his men are searching the waters for the sunken plane and the cargo it contained. Round one to Dorian.

Dorian is also first to spot, and recognise, Mischa the Bear Cub. Realising that he, too, is interested in the salvage operation, and wanting to keep him from interfering, Dorian and his men plot how to get the Russians out of the way. They do so by spiking the Russians’ food with laxatives, giving them all a severe case of upset innards, and the Russians are taken off to a medical centre for treatment. Readers spot what the Russians do not: the medical centre is staffed by Dorian’s men, and the aim is simply to keep them all out of the way.

[Aside: I love how the Russian spies are tucked up in their hospital beds with their fur hats and dark glasses on. A great example of Aoike-san's visual jokes.]

However, before they all end up in hospital, we do learn from the Russians that one of their compatriots has infiltrated the FBI, passing as an American. This man, going by the name of Ford, gives himself away inadvertently referring to something he overheard in a tapped phonecall and Klaus confronts him and learns about the Russians’ mission.

Klaus goes to a cabin on the shores of the lake, where he expects to find Mischa – but instead he finds that Dorian is occupying the cabin. Klaus is livid that the thief is interfering in his mission once again. If Dorian hadn’t detained the Russians in the fake Medical Centre, Klaus reasons, he would have found Mischa in the cabin and captured him.

The FBI are unaware that their ranks have been infiltrated and that there are other Russian plants around the area. Klaus basks in the small triumph of being the one to alert them, and then he sends them on a wild goose chase to a remote location to capture Eroica.

Klaus and the Alphabets re-commence the salvage operation at Tazlina Lake, covertly watched by Dorian and James, and Mischa (who has escaped from the Medical Centre) and one of his fellow Russians.
The precious cargo is raised, and loaded onto a jeep, with a helicopter as decoy.

A complicated chase scene follows, which ends with Klaus, the jeep, and the cargo being dropped back into a lake and Dorian on the shore watching anxiously for signs of life.

Klaus emerges from the icy waters. Needless to say, he is not very pleased with Dorian for dropping him into the lake and causing the precious cargo to be lost again.

The two of them take shelter in a nearby cabin. Klaus attends to a minor wound on his arm, and tries to dry out in front of the fire, while Dorian tries to get the Major back into a better mood, without much success.
In the meantime, Klaus’s Alphabets have struck up a collaboration with Dorian’s thieves, and James is causing trouble for the land agent back in town and for the FBI agents who arrest him on account of his suspicious behaviour, skulking around Tetlin Lake with a large amount of cash in his pockets.

Back at the cabin, as night falls, Klaus and Dorian find themselves under attack from a pack of wolves. They try to ward the wolves off with fire, but the only weapon to hand is Klaus’s hand-gun. Klaus manages to kill six of the wolves, but this depletes his small supply of ammunition.

Then, they hear other shots and the sound of people approaching, and the wolves flee – but their relief evaporates when they see who has arrived. It is Mischa the Bear Cub and his fellow Russians. Using threats and violence, Mischa and his men try to find out the whereabouts of the printing plate and the art collection, but neither Klaus nor Dorian will cooperate.

Dorian pretends not to care that the Russians are beating Klaus up; in fact, he tells them, he finds it to his taste to watch.

The beating comes to an end when another Russian arrives, announcing that the cargo has been found in the shallow waters at the edge of the lake. Mischa gets ready to leave, proposing to take Klaus with him.
Galvanised into action by the prospect of losing both the art collection AND the Major, Dorian grabs Klaus’s gun – which he believes to be empty – and threatens Mischa with it.

He puts up a convincing show, and while Mischa is trying to decide whether he is bluffing or not his men spot a US Air Force helicopter approaching, and the Russians make a hasty retreat. Klaus recovers, and demands to know why Dorian didn’t fire the gun instead of just talking about it, revealing that there was one shot left. Dorian is shocked to the core by this news.

The helicopter lands, revealing a mixed team comprising both Alphabets and thieves. They pick up Klaus and Dorian, and let them know that another mixed team of Alphabets and thieves is following Mischa and his men, who are heading west in a jeep.

KGB agents, NATO agents and thieves all arrive on the shore of the Bering Sea, where a Soviet submarine surfaces, ready to pick up Mischa and his men. Unfortunately, the Russians spot Klaus and Dorian, and they are taken on board too as prisoners.

On shore, the Americans organise a search for the submarine, and hand James over to Agent A. It seems he’s too troublesome to keep in custody and they are glad to be rid of him. When he hears that Dorian has been taken prisoner on a Soviet submarine, he finds a rubber raft and a megaphone, and sets out by himself to try to find the submarine himself. This backfires when the submarine spots him and he is taken on board as well.
Klaus is certain that if they were able to obtain a gun, they’d be able to escape their captors, so Dorian executes a daring and unexpected gambit. He asks Mischa to let him see the Göring Collection. At first Mischa is reluctant, but the Major’s protests that the collection is part of the cultural heritage of Germany convince him to let Dorian see it in order to annoy the Major.

He shows the paintings to Dorian, stating firmly that they now belong to the Soviet Union. Dorian slashes a painting to pieces with a shard of broken china. The Russian agents spring into action to restrain him, and in the melee that follows, both Klaus and Dorian manage to steal a gun. They are locked away again in their cabin, but they now have the means to defend themselves.

The submarine approaches Soviet territory, and Mischa and his three prisoners are transported by helicopter to a military base there. The printing plate and art collection have also been brought ashore and are loaded onto a jeep.

Klaus then signals it’s time to make a move, and a sequence of fast and furious action follows. Klaus knocks Mischa down, and they take the base commander hostage. Klaus seizes some more weaponry from the ammunition store on the base, then blows up the ammunition store and a number of planes. Dorian and James take the art collection and make off with it in a helicopter. Klaus steals a MiG fighter plane and takes off for Alaskan soil.

Needless to say, the Russians give chase, with a whole squadron of helicopters pursuing the escapees, but the US Airforce responds by sending planes to intercept the Russians, who call the pursuit off to avoid an international incident.

Back in Alaska, Dorian and James reunite with Bonham and Jones, who have produced a boat from somewhere. The art collection and printing plate are loaded on board, and Dorian and all his men set sail. As soon as he finds out what has happened, Klaus commandeers a naval training ship and gives chase. Dorian is delighted by this turn of events, rejoicing in the opportunity to celebrate his pirate ancestry in a battle at sea.
Klaus tries to ram Dorian’s boat, and in the collision that results, both vessels are severely damaged and both crews abandon ship. James, of course, makes for extra difficulties because he doesn’t want Klaus to get hold of the printing plate. Klaus destroys the printing plate with a single shot from his trusty handgun, just as a massive storm hits, washing all three of them into the sea.

Everyone is able to climb into the life rafts – Klaus, Dorian and James in one, and everybody else jammed into the others, no doubt pleased not to be near the three of them. The art collection has been saved, too.
And so, they float across the Pacific, to come ashore on a tropical island where the American FBI officers are on vacation with their families.

Re-readings #8 - Veni Vedi Vici

Jun. 12th, 2017 05:10 pm
telwoman: (Default)
[personal profile] telwoman in [community profile] schlosseberbach
**Reposted from Imzy ... awaiting images**


Veni Vedi Vici follows straight on from Hallelujah Express, and is written with the same fast-changing action formula.

Klaus, Dorian, and their respective followers get to Rome at the end of the long and eventful train journey, ready to conduct the mission for which Dorian has been hired: the job at the Vatican.

Klaus is impatient to make a start but Dorian isn't cooperating: he's been off shopping and sight-seeing, and now he's wasting time in the Roman baths at the hotel. Determined to get his contractor moving, Klaus storms in, creating one of FEWL's classic scenes. Alas for Klaus, he slips on the soap and ends up – fully clothed – in the bath with Dorian, protesting that he doesn’t want to be touched by a naked man.

Klaus and Dorian set off toward the Vatican, crossing Rome in Dorian’s attention-grabbing sports car. This gives both Klaus and James something else to complain about: Klaus is annoyed by Dorian’s chatter and the conspicuous nature of the car, and James whines that the way Dorian drives uses too much fuel.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that they do attract someone’s attention: they are pulled over by a member of the Italian police, Inspector Giuliani, known as Inspector Casket because he drives around in a hearse with an empty coffin in the back (to put prisoners into after he arrests them). Giuliani is loud-mouthed and arrogant, and he and Klaus clash straight away. They get away without mishap, but it’s inevitable that their paths are going to cross again.

Klaus and Dorian plan to enter the Vatican through the Catacombs. The journey is long, and at last Dorian estimates that the Borgia Apartments in the Vatican Palace should be overhead.

They begin digging – and they emerge into a brightly-lit bathroom occupied by a naked woman. Both Klaus and Dorian panic, and it’s hard to tell which shocks them most: the threat of discovery or the proximity of a naked woman. During the ensuing scuffle, the woman’s brother appears, demanding to know what they’re doing with his sister.

Dorian and Klaus make a run for the door and escape - but the woman and her family report the incident at the Police Station, where Inspector Giuliani compares the descriptions given with pictures they have on file, and identifies one of the intruders as the art thief Eroica. An identification sketch is made of the other intruder – a prettified version of Klaus – and from this, Giuliani recognises him as the man he had a confrontation with earlier that day. Giuliani vows to catch them both.

Dorian and his men try a different approach to find the way into the Palace. They enter the Vatican Library disguised as nuns, and locate a secret passage which travels beneath the Piazza and ends up inside the Vatican. From there, an elaborate plan is put into action. The Eroica gang paint a large pink kiss-mark on the paving stones, the Pope’s people announce that the damaged stones will have to be removed, and through trickery and threat Dorian is able to take over the job and get into the tunnel. Together, Klaus and Dorian make their way to their target.

Dorian successfully completes the theft he was commissioned to do, and is given his ten minutes’ grace, at the end of which he reappears with a large bundle wrapped up in what looks like a carpet or a tapestry. The streets are in uproar as they travel back to their hotel, but Klaus is not overly curious. He is keen to get the job finished and go home to Germany. But – when they are back at home base, Dorian reveals what he has taken from the Vatican. He has kidnapped the Pope.

Another elaborate plan unfolds to return the Pope, which involves distracting Inspector Giuliani long enough to place the Pope inside the casket in the back of his hearse.

The kidnapping of the Pope has caused a great deal of consternation to the Catholic Church, and all the intelligence agencies are invited to a meeting. Klaus has to go to represent NATO. Giuliani pushes his way in, trying to arrest Eroica for the kidnapping, and Klaus as his accomplice. Klaus, exasperated, demands to know why Dorian hangs around him – and for the first time, Dorian openly declares “It’s because I love you.” Klaus knocks him down with a vicious punch.

Giuliani arrests Dorian and drags him off into custody – but he doesn’t spend long in jail because one of his underworld connections, Mafia boss Don Gian-Maria Volovolonte, turns up and gets him set free.

At this point, a lot of people are unhappy with Dorian and Klaus. Giuliani and the KGB both want them, and the streets are full of protesters who aren’t happy with them either. The story comes to a climax with a shoot-out in the streets involving the KGB, the Mafia, and the Italian police.

So, Iron Klaus has achieved his mission once again, and Dorian and James get the hundred million marks they have been promised as payment. (That sounds like an astronomical amount of money to me!! Particularly since the story took place nearly 40 years ago!) Klaus wants to have the last laugh, though: he pushes Dorian and James out of the plane as they are travelling – thankfully both are wearing parachutes – and chucks the case holding the money out after them. It flies open, scattering the money.

Then, Klaus discovers that the thief has stolen his favourite oxhide belt from around his waist. Dorian sends the horrified Klaus a ‘victory’ sign.

New Characters

Inspector Giuliani aka Inspector Casket is introduced as an antagonist. His arrogance, his bizarre methods, and his vengeful bad temper make Klaus look like a reasonable man.

We also meet Don Gian-Maria Volovolonte for the first time. He’s a great admirer of Dorian, and once again we are reminded that Dorian is a very well connected criminal and must be a hard and dangerous man himself.

Fan fic recs

Three stories that incorporate characters from Veni Vedi Vici:

Klaus’s Christmas Carol by dkwilliams. Written for Yuletide 2014, featuring some of the familiar characters from Aoike’s stories as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Inspector Giuliani represents the Ghost of Christmas Future. (I don’t mind saying that when I first read it, I had tears in my eyes in one section. You’ll have to guess which when you read it yourself.)

The Beat That My Heart Skipped (Sounded Like This) by Liviapenn. Also written for Yuletide, in 2007. Dorian needs to prove to Klaus that he’s willing to lay his reputation, and his life, on the line for him. (Podfic version also available on AO3.)

An Olive Grove Facing the Sea by Terri Botta (Isilwath). In this story, Klaus delves into Dorian’s connections with the underworld and comes to understand that they are more alike than he might want to believe.

Re-readings #7 - Hallelujah Express

Jun. 12th, 2017 02:29 pm
telwoman: (Default)
[personal profile] telwoman in [community profile] schlosseberbach
**Reposted from Imzy ... and awaiting images**


It’s nearly Christmas. Klaus doesn’t care: weekends and holidays don’t do much for him. But the Alphabets are worried, because it looks as if they may have to work through Christmas again. And, sure enough, the Chief has a mission for Klaus and his men.

Meanwhile in England, Dorian is dealing with James who wants to spend a thrifty Christmas at home. Rescue is at hand: the mail brings Dorian a registered express letter containing two first class train tickets from Amsterdam to Paris, leaving in two days’ time. There’s no explanation, just the tickets. Dorian’s men are suspicious that it may be a trap, but Dorian would rather take a risk than spend a miserable Christmas at home. A second envelope is then delivered, containing enough money to cover the expense of getting to Amsterdam, quelling James’s protests.

Dorian, accompanied by James, boards the train in Amsterdam. (Why he takes James with him, I can’t fathom; surely it would be better to take someone else who can focus on something other than nagging him about money – but Dorian must have his reasons.)

It’s not long before Dorian is advised by an attendant that there is a table reserved for him in the dining car. It is here that the identity of their ‘benefactor’ is revealed, when the Major joins him to announce that NATO wants Eroica’s cooperation in a mission.

The Major shows him a blueprint, which Dorian – being a well-informed thief – recognises as the vault of the Vatican Palace. An engineer at the US Department of Defence stole some secret information concerning military satellites, and in an attempt to stop the project, passed the papers on to the Vatican. NATO wants Dorian to break in to the vault and get the documents back.

Dorian, planning to get the most out of the deal, insists that in addition to the generous payment he’s been offered, he must be allowed an extra 10 minutes in the vault, but refuses to say why. He also insists that NATO pays for his men to accompany him to Rome on the train.
Booking such a large number of seats on the train draws the attention of Soviet agent Mischa the Bear Cub, whom we meet for the first time.

As the train travels on its way, we see a number of messages being passed between Mischa and his fellow Soviet spies Polar Bear and Red Fox. When the train reaches Paris, Mischa gets on board for the next leg of the journey.

On the train, the Russians try to capture Klaus and he thwarts their attempts. Dorian steals the blueprint and jumps off the train (leaving James and the rest of his men on board). He plans to re-join the train, and on his way back – travelling by helicopter – he sees a minibus full of Russian agents, armed with rifles, waiting to open fire on Klaus as the train passes on a slow curve. Dorian foils their attempt, then climbs back onto the moving train in a daredevil manoeuvre involving a long rope ladder suspended from the helicopter. Once back on board, he returns the blueprint to Klaus, telling him he’s made a copy of it for his men to study.

The train journey continues, and the Russians continue in their efforts to eliminate Klaus and also Eroica, who has now come onto their radar as an ally of Iron Klaus and an enemy of the KGB. A violent confrontation ensues, which Dorian joins – making a spectacular entrance with an automatic weapon. We have already learned, in the previous story Insha’allah, that Dorian is hopeless with firearms, but his lack of control over his weapon acts in their favour, leading the Soviet agents to surrender.

Mischa is still confident of ultimate victory, revealing that there is a bomb attached to a bridge, timed to go off as the train goes under the bridge. Dorian’s wild shooting has damaged the train’s controls, so it can’t be stopped. Klaus and Dorian climb onto the roof of the speeding train, so that Klaus can shoot out the timer. Klaus, as we know, is a master marksman, but he has some distractions to deal with as Dorian holds him from behind to steady him, and Klaus worries about being touched below the belt. The timer is destroyed, the train passes through unharmed, and seconds later the bomb goes off, destroying both the bridge and the train’s power lines, allowing the train to coast to a halt.

Memorable scenes

Agent Z’s first appearance in FEWL was in the previous story, Insha’allah. His role as the innocent rookie is expanded on in Hallelujah Express. Dorian sees him for the first time and rather likes what he sees; he also learns that flirting with Z is an excellent way to taunt Klaus. Z seems oblivious, but Klaus gives him some advice anyway, telling him to ‘watch his trousers’ (sometimes translated as 'don't get caught with your pants down') when Dorian is around.

We learned in Insha’allah that Dorian is no good with firearms, but in Hallelujah Express we see that although he’s inept, he’s not scared of them. He makes a spectacular entrance with an automatic rifle during the confrontation between NATO and KGB personnel on the train. He also initiates Klaus’s feat of marksmanship in shooting out the timer. When he hands Klaus the rifle, saying they don’t have much time, it’s as if the two are thinking the same thing – like a pair of comrades in arms who have been working together for a long time.

Dorian comes across as a man of action in this story. He jumps from a moving train, then later jumps back on again. He takes an active part in confrontations. After Mischa the Bear Cub slaps Klaus and taunts him, Dorian retaliates by backhanding Mischa across the jaw.

Style of writing, artwork

Hallelujah Express is another fast-paced story, with the action changing page by page. The artwork is very effective in conveying fast and furious action, danger, and tension.

Fan Fiction recs

Gloria in Excelsis by Kadorienne. A retelling of Hallelujah Express, in which Klaus only finds out that Dorian is a thief after they are already lovers.

Like Rust by Waftimah. References the scene on the roof of the train as it sets up an examination of Klaus’s contradictory reactions to Dorian.

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