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Old 05-17-2017, 06:55 AM   #157
Icelander
 
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
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Over the radio, the guard named Pat Whittaker claims that the sprinklers in C Wing are out, but someone with mechanical skills might be able to fix them. Whittaker is clearly trying to be helpful, but neither he nor the other guards with him have the first idea how to do it and they are asking if some of the janitorial staff can be sent to help them. As Special Agent Danny O’Toole has no idea where the janitorial staff is located and expects that their quarters are in some other building, he tells Whittaker that he, that guy Arden and Randall are just going to have to figure it out on their own.

Agent O’Toole: “Find a [fornicating] janitor, learn to fix it yourselves or [urinate] on the fire, I don’t give a damn! Just [fornicating] stop it from burning down the whole complex!”
Whittaker: “Hey, easy, man. Randall has already gone for more fire extinguishers, we’ve rigged up a hose and we’ve stopped it from spreading. We’ll have it out in no time. I just thought I’d ask if we could get the sprinklers on to do it faster.”
O’Toole: “Well, [excrement]. Maybe I’ve got other things to worry about besides a fire that isn’t even in an occupied part of the asylum. I’m putting you in charge of it, use your goddamn initiative. And don’t call me unless it’s a [fornicating] real emergency.”

Rubbing his forehead and wishing he could take more painkillers, O’Toole orders the orderly waiting in front of him, a wiry, alert African-American named Robert, to find his own team among those not doing anything else and return with all he can scavenge from the snack machines. As Bob the orderly leaves the Deputy Warden’s office, O’Toole realises that he didn’t ask his last name, which he’ll need for the reports he’ll no doubt have to file about all this, but finding out Bob’s full name can wait until he’s back.

Bob is just one of more than fifty people, orderlies, medical staff, kitchen staff, patients and guards, who seem to be O’Toole’s headache now. About ten of them are seriously hurt and another ten have minor injuries, pretty much everyone is either traumatised or hopelessly confused and all of them are tired, hungry, thirsty and otherwise not at their best. The staff kitchen cook, Gaspar, was a good, level-headed bloke and could probably have gotten his people to feed everyone easily enough, but as Doc Anderson had said he suspected that mind-affecting chemicals had been introduced into the food or water supply on the island, O’Toole had forbidden eating anything not in sealed packages until tests had been run.

Hence, Bob the orderly’s mission, to systematically empty all the vending machines of snacks, soft drinks and bottled water, in order to have at least some food and drink for the survivors. O’Toole was still looking for someone trustworthy who knew how to take samples from the food and water supply, so they could confirm or rule out Doc Anderson’s hypothesis about chemical contamination. According to Dr. Emma King, there were supposed to be two or three other nurses on duty over the weekend, as well as one or two doctors.

The schedule O’Toole had found on Warden Tyrrell’s computer appeared to confirm that, showing Dr. Roy Frasier and two nurses, Arthur Reilly and Lily McRae on duty during the day shift, with the night shift consisting of Dr. Bruce Cotton and the nurses Judy Cunningham and Justin Foreman. Nurse McRae was the creepily hypnotised one in Warden Tyrrell’s office, the one who’d drugged the patient tied down in a chair. She was still there, sitting on a chair next to the drugged patient, her expression nearly as empty as his slack-jawed, comatose face.

Judy Cunningham had been found sitting in a makeshift infirmary in the rear annex of the central building, over a bunch of guards beaten up by that crazy Green Beret, Taylor, and one who got caught in a flashbang explosion. Dr. King, Dr. McKinney and any spare orderlies they could find were supposed to figure out how to move the injured people to the actual infirmary building, so that they could be properly treated. The people who didn’t show any physical trauma, but were nevertheless out cold or otherwise useless, like Chief Administrator Dr. Vernon Findlay, were placed on couches somewhere they could be observed.

According to Dr. McKinney, the burnt guard was most likely going to die if they didn’t get him to surgery pretty damn quick. After Taylor’s rampage in the corridor of the central building, there was also another burnt guard and at least two beaten badly enough to require immediate hospitalisation. Deputy Warden Tyrrell was confirmed to be dead, which was a piece of luck. Crazy, scary [fornicator], not to mention someone who’d have been really hard to try for his crimes without revealing a lot of secrets that Onyx Rain wanted kept dark. With him and Dr. Cotton dead, maybe there was a chance at a decent cover-up, blaming everything on the dead. For a change, it would be true enough, just not the entire truth. But who’d say any different?

Most of the guards claimed not to remember the last few hours or even the last few days, but O’Toole isn’t sure he can believe that. In any event, they don’t seem too hostile and none of them have refused to accept the fact that Homeland Security, in the person of Agent O’Toole, has taken direct control of the facility. When ordered, they turned their guns in to the armoury and O’Toole had high hopes that soon all the guard force would be disarmed. Of course, the circling helicopters and flotilla of Coast Guard vessels surrounding Jewell Island may have something to do with their docility.

What O’Toole had no intention of allowing the guards to find out was that while the Coast Guard Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT) was in position to assault Jewell Island, they wouldn’t be landing for the next three hours. To the incandescent rage of the Coast Guard Incident Commander, Captain Michael Baroody, orders from Washington had come down to the effect that no one was stepping on the island without full NBC suits and HazMat gear.

A couple of Coast Guardsmen with EMT training had made the case that delaying assistance to the wounded was insupportable and were being allowed to land with what protective gear they had, but after that, no one would be allowed on Jewell Island except as part of a full quarantine effort. To that end, the Coast Guard were sending up the Atlantic Strike Team from Fort Dix, NJ, part of the National Strike Force, subject-matter experts in nuclear, biological and chemical response.

The Coast Guard would be only there to provide manpower and support, however. The new Incident Commander was from the Onyx Rain task force, their Chief of Operations, Curtis J. Ford, and a lot of Onyx Rain people were coming with him. From what O’Toole heard Townsend discussing over radio and phone, there were medical staff arriving from the DHS Office of Health Affairs and HSARPA, investigators from HSI and other agencies and specialists from various obscure offices.

Agent O’Toole was sure that Director Vani Gujarat was behind that sudden switch in policy. Cam Townsend had spoken to her several times since the shooting stopped and to her subordinates while she was closeted in meetings. Director Gujarat had an office at St. Elizabeths Campus, the Washington DC headquarters of both the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard. O’Toole felt sure that she’d met with senior Coast Guard Admirals over the matter and perhaps with Secretary Kelly himself or someone close to him.

Actually, she probably met with some senior bureaucrats with wide-ranging powers rather than the Secretary himself, as the Onyx Rain task force appeared to avoid coming to the notice of political appointees as much as possible, preferring instead to work with the apolitical experts, with decades of government service, who could be relied upon to retain their power and influence regardless of elections and party politics.

O’Toole was pretty sure that any Onyx Rain reports that made their way to the Homeland Security Council, the Secretary of Homeland Security or the President would be heavily edited. He wasn’t even sure that Director Gujarat regarded any politician or political appointee as qualified for the kind of security clearance that the task force was shrouded in. It seemed that she viewed their function as providing the public with something to be angry about while she and others like her got on with the actual business of providing Homeland Security.

O’Toole supposed that was arrogant, illegal and exactly the sort of thing paranoid right-wing militias worried about. On the other hand, as far as he could see, Director Gujarat was less likely to abuse her position for personal gain than any politician he could name. The problem was that if she saw someone as a threat to American security, there wasn’t a single thing she would blanch at doing to neutralise that threat, if she truly considered it necessary.

At the moment, she saw the former test subjects from Project Jade Serenity as potential security risks, but also potential sources of scientific data important to American interests. O’Toole really hoped that this debacle wouldn’t result in her threat estimate being reassessed, resulting in orders to terminate all subjects associated with Project Jade Serenity or its precursor programs. That... couldn’t be allowed to happen. Not when O’Toole was so close to finding Vargas, getting some answers.

O’Toole would be a part of the team that was sent to Mexico after this, wouldn’t he? They’d have to send him, right? It obviously wasn’t his fault how things went to [excrement] here and he’d done good work getting everything organised.

On that thought, he glances over to Townsend.

O’Toole: “Hey, I’m going to have to check on that fire. You take over here.”
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Last edited by Icelander; 05-17-2017 at 07:04 AM.
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