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Old 02-19-2017, 07:23 PM   #5
Icelander
 
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Story So Far - Once Upon a Beginning

The PCs met in Washington, DC, at the Department of Homeland Security headquarters, on Thursday the 2nd of February, 2017. Well, Taylor and Dr. Anderson had met already, some 17 years earlier, at Project Jade Serenity. Dr. Anderson had already been told before flying down to DC that his help was desired in connection with tracking down some of the test subjects of Project Jade Serenity and convincing them to agree to follow-up medical testing. Chase Taylor had agreed to help as soon as Director Vani Gujarat told him that their goal was to help his old brothers-in-arms and that if he could not convince them to turn themselves in, they would be in great danger.*

Taylor was accompanied from USDB Fort Leavenworth by two US Army CID men as his personal security detail, a CW3 DeMarcus Worley and an SSG Kevin Kowalski. Worley was a delight, a true professional through and through. Kowalski seemed a little more high-strung. Taylor speculated that maybe Kowalski was suffering from an over-abundance of machismo and/or had flunked out of RASP or SFQC.

As soon as Taylor was transfered away from the ordinary correctional specialists at USDB Fort Leavenworth, his minders visit a safe house with him, make him cut his hair, dye the resulting buzz-cut black and give him some sports clothing instead of his prison chic outfit. The goal is evidently to make it less likely that anyone will recognise him from old news photographs. They also give him a package with an off-the-rack G-Man suit, clip-on tie and slip-on shoes, along with temporary ID showing status as a DHS employee (not law enforcement ID).

Director Vani Gujarat spoke with our characters at DHS headquarters briefly once Dr. Anderson and Taylor had accepted contract employment with the DHS and the smooth-talking 'Cam' Townsend had gone over our contracts and astonishingly extensive NDAs. Gujarat told us that Dr. Byron Leonard and his colleagues would examine us next 'for liability issues'. "He's a good man... and thorough." She wasn't lying. We were poked and prodded for almost a whole day.

We were introduced to Special Agent Banks and the very junior Special Agent O'Toole, the third PC. An old friend of Taylor's form Project Jade Serenity, Zachary Holden, former Project chief of security, ex-CIA spook, trainer of death squads in El Salvador and Honduras and visiting lecturer in torture and assassination all around the world, button-holed both Dr. Anderson and Agent O'Toole as they were leaving and warned them against Taylor.

Holden told them how Taylor was a vicious murderer, charming pscyhopath and highly dangerous special operator who could kill them with a spoon or their shoelaces. We assume that he told Banks and the two CID men the same thing. It's not true, in case anyone was wondering. Chase Taylor is a real sweetheart and not even a little bit psychopathic. Taylor just has a bit of an attitude problem when it comes to petty bullies and entitled bigots, tribes of which Holden is a proud card-carrying member.

We were then told what our mission was. To go to the Manhanock Asylum for the Criminally Insane on Jewell Island and speak with Sherilyn Bell. Taylor was to do his best to convince her to be helpful and hear them out and Dr. Anderson was to give a second opinion as to her competence to provide any assistance at all. Director Gujarat seemed to believe that having been stabbed by Ms. Bell before, Dr. Anderson would be properly sceptical of her.** To avoid prejudicing his opinion, they didn't tell us what her primary physician estimated about her mental competence at this time.

For reasons that probably had to do with security and a low profile, our characters took an eight hour road trip the next morning, to reach South Portland, Maine, instead of flying in. Agent O'Toole went with Worley, Kowalski and Taylor in the big black SUV they had with a secure holding area for a detainee in the back.*** Dr. Anderson, Banks and Townsend got the other car, which was a less noticable, but comfortable luxury car like any prosperous senior executive might drive.

Taylor somehow convinced his minders to allow him to stop at a Walmart's as they were getting underway. There he bought cherry-flavoured Airheads and Tic-Tacs, new issues of Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and People magazines, adult crayons and some drawing books, failing to find some cinnamon Certs. He also purchased an Alabama Crimson Tide cap and considered buying a Carolina Panthers hat, but ended up deciding that the guards wouldn't allow her to have one. Dr. Anderson, upon hearing that Taylor was buying stuff to give to Sherilyn Bell, added a stuffed animal and some candyfloss.

Taylor justified his purchases to the two CID men by saying that on behalf of Uncle Sam, he'd been told to ask Ms. Bell to cooperate willingly and that compared to the cost of everything else, a few bucks for candy and crayons was cheap at the price if it made her even slightly more inclined to listen. Also, his momma always told him to bring gifts when coming to see a young lady. When they queried why he'd also bought himself a Crimson Tide college football cap, Taylor put it on with a grin and said: "Ya'll want her to recognise me, doncha?"

The drive up to Maine was more or less uneventful. Taylor spent it chatting about the upcoming Super Bowl to the cops in his car. Apparently, CW3 Worley, built like a mean-looking freight train, favoured the Atlanta Falcons, as he was from Atlanta, but he was not really into football. Too violent for him, he said gravely. Taylor was thrilled when he found out that Agent O'Toole had been at Boston College while Matty Ice had been the quarterback there. He asked him excitedly if O'Toole had known Ryan personally, if he'd ever spoken with him and suchlike. O'Toole told him that Matt Ryan once asked him politely to get out of the way when O'Toole was kind of blocking the way to the keg at a Boston College house party.

We reached South Portland ahead of schedule, maybe because everyone bought snacks at Walmart's and we didn't stop for lunch. So we had a late lunch at a dockside restaurant. Clam chowder and sandwiches. Agent Banks didn't eat with us; we figured that he was making calls or meeting some people about our arrival there.

At the ferry pier, we met Colonel Andrew Burr, who introduced himself as being 'of the US Army'. Taylor pegged him for DIA, MI or Counterintelligence or something, but he wouldn't tell us any more, other than he'd take over minding Taylor while on Jewell Island. Worley and Kowalski were off duty until we got back, which probably wouldn't be until Sunday, as we expected to need more than one day to make a final determination of whether Ms. Bell could be of any help, even if she did agree.

There was a minor incident at the ferry, as we had to sign into a visitor's log. Agent Banks was concerned that there was the name of a Special Agent Vicente Berrocal on the log. Taylor could clearly see that the signature when he signed in last night and the signature when he signed out that morning were two different people and apparently Banks either noticed this too or else didn't expect this agent to be visiting here. Taylor made a point to ask Banks in a low voice if he had his radio with him in case of emergencies, but received nothing except a stony glare in return. It's almost as if cops don't like felons telling them how to do their jobs.

Then the ferry took us to Jewell Island. It was about sunset by the time the island was visible to us up ahead. Two high observation towers over the forested island, the top of the gothic style asylum looming behind the towers.

*Taylor asked her during a face-to-face meeting and has Empathy with Hypersensory, extremely high Per and Detect Lie. He believes her without reservation, but is aware that while she would prefer a peaceful resolution, she would have no trouble ordering the execution of every former Project Jade Serenity test subject if there was no other practical alternative.
**It's possible that Director Gujarat privately believes that letting Sherilyn Bell out of a mental institution is ill-conceived, but is being pressured by some other faction to make a show of trying to utilise her as an intelligence asset.
***Taylor didn't have to stay in it, as they had received orders not to make it obvious that he was still a prisoner, but it was ready in case Sherilyn Bell was found to be willing and competent to accompany them back, in order to assist in contacting Raul Vargas.
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Last edited by Icelander; 02-28-2017 at 05:58 AM.
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