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Old 03-21-2017, 06:50 PM   #113
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Watching the interplay between Bell and Taylor, Dr. Anderson thinks that they’ve got to stop leaving those two alone. They seem to think they’re in a high school version of ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ and it doesn’t seem either of them remembers the ending to that play. O’Toole, having been away from the others for well over an hour, has assumed that these two were some kind of couple from the beginning, anyway. Of course, having them act out relationship drama while armed enemies are hunting them does not please O’Toole one bit. Especially as he’s been made to carry the stretcher with the scary lizard from the tunnels while Bell and Taylor are meant to be covering them.

As soon as Taylor looks away from Cherry Bell in disappointment and starts moving ahead alone, she shoulders her rifle and follows him, doing her best to cover his blind side. Dr. Anderson notices with some interest that she is doing so despite herself and seems angry with herself for not being able to maintain her defiant act. Evidently Ms. Bell has moved on from going along with Taylor’s authority as a sort of game while she manipulates him to actually feeling uncomfortable while trying to defy him.

Dr. Anderson is aware that Ms. Bell’s anti-authoritarian stance is to some degree a pose, of course. Her long illegal detainment may have served to make resentful of the US government and anyone who obviously represents it, like Agent O’Toole or Cam Townsend, but back before all this, Sherilyn Bell was a notably dutiful and respectful subordinate to Dr. Anderson in Project Jade Serenity.

Ms. Bell’s brittle self-image actually makes her very comfortable as a follower to someone she genuinely respects, though she would not easily admit that to others. She also seems to be prone to violently idolizing worldly, confident and forceful older men, which was probably what led her to take part in Raul Vargas’ escape and landed her in Manhanock Asylum. Ms. Bell has never shown any sign of viewing Chase Taylor in any light except that of bumbling teenaged friend, however. Certainly she has never taken him very seriously. Dr. Anderson wonders what could have happened between them in the comparatively short time they were away to change this.

Aware that Ms. Bell’s peculiar psychological weaknesses make her particularly vulnerable to any assertive figure who physically or emotionally abused her, Dr. Anderson is forced to consider that the most plausible explanation for the way they are acting is that an argument between them culminated in physical violence, to which Ms. Bell would sadly be likely to respond with outward defiance, but experience confused feelings of attraction and subordination. On the other hand, having psychologically evaluated Chase Taylor over a period of many months during Project Jade Serenity, Dr. Anderson is unable to imagine any situation where young Taylor would physically assault a woman to enforce his authority.

In any case, Dr. Anderson considers that it is probably a good thing for their survival prospects for Ms. Bell to genuinely acknowledge young Taylor as unambiguously in charge. As long as her defiance remains merely symbolic rebellion, that is. Dr. Anderson is pretty sure that military operations work best when everyone involved is clear on the chain of command. And Taylor certainly seems to be competent enough to qualify as commander.

During Dr. Anderson’s work with the military, he never took much interest in the specialised aspects of the work of the professionals he worked with there and he doesn’t really know how Taylor would compare to other Special Forces personnel who were at Project Jade Serenity, but it seems to be painfully obvious that civilian or reservist security guards are to Green Berets like lapdogs to wolves. If Taylor was more willing to kill the guards he could probably have resolved the situation on Jewell Island by now, ten to one odds or not. Though with O’Toole having rejoined them, Dr. Anderson supposes the odds are more like five to one, now.

Of course, assuming they survive all this, it seems that Ms. Bell resents Taylor for having somehow achieved an ascendancy over her. If she feels that his actions are a betrayal of their friendship, this might make her unable or unwilling to pursue genuine intimacy with him based on their former close friendship. And Dr. Anderson estimates that it will be important to her eventual recovery, if recovery is even possible, for her to be able to interact with someone she perceives as equal and is genuinely fond of for personal reasons. For Ms. Bell to think of Taylor as a replacement for Raul Vargas, dangerous criminal and former Green Beret, would be disastrous to her chances of developing a healthier emotional life and learning to relate to people in a normal way again.

Dr. Anderson is surprised at himself for considering this. Granted, he is supposed to be psychologically evaluating Ms. Bell, but as a potential agent for an intelligence operation, not as his patient. And the life-and-death danger that they face should, in any case, have overridden his assignment. To his astonishment, Dr. Anderson discovers that he actually cares about Ms. Bell’s future happiness, at least in a theoretical kind of way. In fact, he might even be willing to contribute to her chances of having a better life himself, even if doing so should be uncomfortable or risky.

Dr. Anderson immediately rules out her winsome looks as the cause, as he is constantly bombarded with similarly attractive supermodels and actresses in mass media without ever feeling any kind of desire to help them achieve a healthy and rewarding emotional life. No, the most plausible explanation is that Ms. Bell’s gifts from Project Jade Serenity must be affecting him somehow. Either pheromones or some kind of unconscious psychic emanations that make people like her and care for her. Even while he is aware of it, the effect still seems to work on him. How utterly fascinating!

When they get up to the ground level, Taylor scans the area in front of them, leading them to the main hallway of the central buildings. Taylor stops to point his rifle in the direction of the front central building, down the longer corridor that leads all the way to the lobby in front. Dr. Anderson notes that two guards are lying on the hallway behind him, both seriously injured. Taylor points Anderson and O’Toole at a section of wall between two doors on the corridor where they can put the stretcher with Mrs. York down. Then he motions to Dr. Anderson to take a look at the two guards with him.

Dr. Anderson can see that both guards have injuries that require treatment in a fully equipped emergency room. Both of them appear to be unconscious, one of them from head trauma and concussion, but the other from shock. While he’s examining them, Taylor has gathered up the two shotguns they had, removed their duty belts and the extra ammunition. As Taylor is checking the chamber of one Remington 870 shotgun, he notices that Cherry Bell is following him, covering his blind zone. Giving her a grateful smile, he tosses the other shotgun to her, pointing with his rifle in the direction of the front central building.

Taylor [low voice]: “Guards gonna come from there when they gonna come. Ya gots yer own non-lethal first an’ then less-than-lethal with that gun. Rifle only if’n they’s shooting at us for real an’ be sure and tell the news if’n they is. That there sector all yours, ya hear?”

While he talks, Taylor is examining the strange plastic shell loaded in the chamber of the unfired shotgun that Lamb had. It’s different from what he recognises as beanbags rounds in the six shot shell carrier he attaches to his web gear. Not having time to determine what it is, he decides that it is almost certainly some form of advanced baton round. Less lethal than rifle bullet, buckshot or slug, at any rate. Moving the M16A2 in its patrol sling to his back, Taylor grabs the shotgun to use as his primary. He turns to Anderson and O’Toole, pointing at the door where a female voice is still demanding loudly to be let out.

Taylor: “She oughta be alone in there, doc. Hostage, oughta be no threat. O’Toole, go with him in case I’s wrong. I’m fixin’ to take that there door. We’s gonna find them hostages ‘fore Warden Tyrrell gets back from them barracks an’ then we’s gonna jes’ sit pretty up on that there second floor here, soundin’ nice an’ empty, an’ wait fer rescue.”

Taylor heads for the first door to his right. It’s the one he heard silent breathing from, five people or more. It’s also the same room Dr. Anderson detected four sleepers in, but he has not shared that information with anyone. Taking up the keychain with six keys he took from a guard, Taylor starts trying out keys as silently as he can. At the door to the left, Dr. Anderson is also fiddling with a keychain, but unlike Taylor, he checks the shape of the keyhole and compares it to the keys he has. As a result, Dr. Anderson gets his door open first, after Taylor has failed with his first three keys.

A beautiful African-American woman in a nice pantsuit in the process of trying to kick the door down is very surprised to see it open.

Dr. Emma King: “Wha..! Who are you?”
Dr. Anderson: “I am Dr. Michael Anderson. We are here to rescue you.”
King [overjoyed]: “Wait, really? You’re Dr. Anderson? I lov… I mean, I’m a great fan of your work!”
Anderson [hesitates only a second]: “That is very gratifying. Would you mind moving aside so we can get Mrs. York somewhere safe before a firefight erupts?”

Dr. Anderson takes the arm of Dr. King and moves her away from the doorway, to her considerable astonishment, but apparent enjoyment. Then he turns around and helps O'Toole move the stretcher with Mrs. York into the room.
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Last edited by Icelander; 03-23-2017 at 07:56 PM.
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