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Old 03-14-2017, 05:37 AM   #97
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default God Willing and the Creek Don't Rise

Cherry Bell feels anxious, ignored and terrified. She also feels like the dank, unpleasant tunnels are closing in on her, enclosing her in a foul miasma of disease and filth. While Cherry has always enjoyed a nice bubble bath, she’s never been a neat freak or obsessive about germs, but this is just too much. How can Chase and Mr. M touch that plague-encrusted cannibal lizard bitch? At least Dr. Anderson is wearing plastic gloves while inserting an IV needle into the disgusting vein of that sewer-dwelling reptilian monster. Stupid, horrid, insensitive Chase got her filthy lizard gunk all over himself, even stripping down to his ridiculous dirty wife-beater and carrying that cannibal hag like she’s his personal rescued Disney Princess, just to make sure he got scaly-plague everywhere.

Dr. Anderson notes that as he inserts the IV, the flesh nearest the needle first bruises badly, but then starts exhibiting similar symptoms of discolouration as the other patches. There was no plasma in the cellar (it is probably stored in the infirmary), which the patient must urgently need, but just saline and dextrose might be enough to prevent death from systemic collapse, especially as Mrs. York already seems to be quite a bit healthier than anyone who has recently had a collapsed lung and lost more than half the blood in her body should be.

Mrs. York is extremely emaciated, of course, which is troubling. Dr. Anderson estimates she might weight around 80 lbs., though she is around average height. That is well within life-threatening levels and the extreme dehydration does not help. As supermodels find a way to live with similar malnutrition, Dr. Anderson is hopeful for Mrs. York, especially if he can continue to feed her nutrition through an IV. Already, Dr. Anderson is discounting the idea that the gunshot wounds will kill her, as he can see that the older head trauma she is suffering from would have killed a normal person, but the skull has knit itself together. Not correctly, however, which means that she may require surgery.

Dr. Anderson: “I treated Mrs. Judith York in 1996-1998. This woman has an identical birthmark on her neck and the shape of the unwounded eye, the cheekbones, the nose and the jawline is too close a match for coincidence. I would almost say that this would have to be a clone of her, the resemblance is so perfect, but for one thing. Mrs. York broke her left elbow in 1995 and it healed perfectly, except for a slight bump. This woman exhibits the same bump.”
Taylor: “So, doc, you’s saying this is Mrs. York? Jes’, ya know, some sixty years younger an’ with a bad skin rash?”
Anderson: “It is evidently Mrs. York. She appears to be around seventy years younger than she should be, but almost as impressive, Mrs. York was diagnosed in 1992 with early onset dementia. By the time I knew her, she was well into the moderate-to-advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease. This woman, despite having suffered fairly recent massive head trauma and severe blood loss, exhibits considerably less cognitive impairment than Mrs. York when I last saw her. In fact, she may well present within normal ranges, despite her recent trauma, which would indicate that almost a decade of cortical atrophy and associated neurodegeneration has been reversed.”
Taylor: “Ain’t that great, doc?”
Anderson [sighs]: “I do not think you understand, Taylor. Damage from neurodegeneration is usually regarded as permanent. Scientifically, she could have grown new limbs or even a new head before anyone would accept that she could somehow repair atrophied areas of the brain, replace dead brain cells and connect them into a functioning neural network. It is, well, it is a miracle, far more wide ranging than merely a mutation or other condition that causes her skin and flesh to heal rapidly.”
[Taylor grins]
Taylor: “If’n I were to tell you His ways are mysterious, it wouldn’t make no nevermind to ya, would it? You’d still be on that there mystery like white on rice?”
Anderson: “I would, yes. We’ve been endowed with intelligence, no matter by whom, and that means mysteries are ours to solve.”
Taylor [smiling]: “Then God willin’ an’ the creek don’t rise, we’s gonna get out of here and ya kin take a good long while treating Mrs. York. I figure she’ll be needin’ a good doc, treat her mind an’ body both, for a mighty long spell, ‘bout as much as you’ll be wanting to learn them mysteries what’s in her brain.”
Anderson: “From your lips to the ear of whoever is inclined to prevent creeks from rising.”

Dr. Anderson and Taylor have finished strapping Mrs. York into the stretcher and preparing her for travel as best they can. She’ll have the IV needle in her as they travel, which makes the stretcher harder to carry, but given her condition, seems to be necessary. Taylor leaves the guard shirt and his undershirt around Mrs. York, but takes the tactical vest and stab-protective arm guards. They weren’t in direct contact with Mrs. York, but Cherry Bell still gives them a poisonous glance as Taylor prepares to put them on over his increasingly abused tank top.

Taylor rolls his eyes, but uses a bottle of isopropyl alcohol and plenty of wipes to clean the tactical vest and arm guards thoroughly before putting them on. He also washes himself with the solution, washing it off using moist towelettes.

Cherry Bell: “You’re dreaming if you think I’m ever touching you.”
Taylor: “Maintainin’ contact at all times while we’s gonna be navigatin’ them tunnels ain’t optional, Sherilyn. If’n you like, ya kin take rear sentry an’ hold on to Dr. Anderson. He done used gloves.”
Bell: “He’s still got dirty lizard all over him.”
Taylor: “Sherilyn, I ain’t gonna argue. We done talked ‘bout this. I ain’t as smart as you is, but I’m trained an’ when it come to that, you gonna listen. When I tell ya to do somethin’ in a tactical situation, I ain’t being an overprotective boyfrien’ or a pushy controllin’ one, neither.”
Bell: “Yeah, ‘cause you ain’t my boyfriend!”
Taylor: “I know I ain’t. But when I’ma tellin’ you to do somethin’ what might matter when folks is a-shootin’ at us, I’ma doin’ it ‘cause mindin’ real smart an’ not arskin’ fool questions be a matter o’ life an’ death. Ya done knowed this, even all them years back. What’s many cooks a-gonna do to Brunswick stew, Lynnie?”
Bell [sighing]: “Ruin it.”
Taylor: “Yeah. An’ if’n there’s even a chance o’ shootin’, there ain’t but one shot-caller. I ain’t gonna tell you what ya kin do when you gets your own life. Right now, though, we’s got to be smart, we’s got to be organised an’ we’s got to have unity o’ command. The Lord know I ain’t fit for command, but ya see anybody else what’s got the skills? If’n you gots a better idea, now’s the time, Lynnie.”
Bell: “Jeez, Chase. I got it. You’re in charge. I’ll even put on a glove and touch Mr. M’s sleeve. But can’t we at least leave the disease-ridden hag behind for somebody else to rescue?”

Taylor shushes her with an imperious gesture, proceeding to ignore her completely. While furious, Cherry Bell obeys and shuts up, readying her rifle. Taylor listens for half a minute before saying a word. His face is rigidly set in an emotionless mask and the only indication that he feels anything at all is the fact that he keeps clenching and unclenching his right fist. Once he’s satisfied that he has heard enough, Taylor motions Dr. Anderson and Bell close to speak in an extremely low voice.

Taylor: “We’s gots guards in them barracks. It’s ole’ Warden Tyrrell himself an’ five o’ his men. I figure they be in full tactical wear with all them fixings. He’s done sent two o’ his men down here, but they’s jes’ to check if’n we in the cellar. They’s gonna search the whole barracks room by room. An’ they ain’t comin’ down here, they’s got welding gear to close this here door for good. That mean they do got a blocking element in them tunnels an’ they is confident they’ll stop us.”
Dr. Anderson: “Then what can we do?”

Taylor is obviously torn. Warden Tyrrell can’t have stripped the towers of guards, not with the Coast Guard circling the island. He’ll also need to have left at least a skeleton crew behind in the main building, more probably enough guards to control any hostages and deal with unforeseen contingencies like unruly inmates or staff that isn’t part of this strange mutiny. Then there will be SRT sharpshooters in place surrounding the barracks, blocking egress from the windows. All of which means that the five men Taylor heard moving around inside with Warden Tyrrell is probably his entire assault force. And the blocking element can’t be much larger than four men.

Special Response Team. Grand sounding title for a bunch of reservists and part-time cops, really just security guards with slightly fancier gear and a minimal training budget instead of none. Five of them and the Warden. Get the blast door open before they started welding, toss in a grenade and Warden Tyrrell would be choking on his own blood before his ears stopped ringing. And maybe his death would end it. And maybe it wouldn’t. Just leave five other men dead because they followed a megalomaniac leader telling them lies.

Taylor: “We gonna stick to our plan. Trick the blockin’ team they’s got in these here tunnels, sneak past them and get to the jammer. See if’n we kin help the hostages. Guide the Coast Guard in an’ try for minimal bloodshed.”
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Last edited by Icelander; 05-05-2017 at 04:37 AM.
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