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Old 02-24-2017, 08:13 PM   #23
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Black Holes and Revealations

Taylor escorts Robert the Orderly and Cindy to the others, aiming to take them to the blast door and help them find a good place to hole up. When Bob and Cindy see Sherilyn Bell, however, they both react with startled fear. Bob raises an improvised weapon to defend himself and Cindy runs away in uncontrollable terror.

Bob the Orderly: "What's she doing here? She did this, man! She's been ----ing with their minds. This is all her fault. She's some kind of witch."
Taylor: "Ms. Bell is an inmate here, but we're taking her away with us. She's being transfered to the mainland. I dunno what you think she's done, but she's not going to harm you now."
Bob: "You've no idea what she's like, man. She turned them into animals. They were good men, decent men. She played with them for fun."
Sherilyn Bell [giggles]: "Oh, shush. I just poked a few sensitive spots, they're the ones who couldn't handle a little teasing and went all cray-cray. And they were mean to me, anyway. So there!"
Taylor: "Right now sure ain't the time to figure out whose fault anything is. Fact of the matter is that the guards are trying to kill us. Anything else is for later."
Col. Burr [agitated]: "Hold on there a minute, Taylor. Sir, can you tell me more about what Inmate Bell did to these guards?"
Bob: "Just get away from her. She's poison. I'm not staying anywhere near her. I'm going to find Cindy, hide again. I'll be in the men's room."

Taylor gives Sherilyn Bell a look of mute appeal, nodding his head toward a corridor on the other side of the cellars, leading to the ladies' room. Sherilyn sighs, but moves for the ladies' room. Taylor wishes Bob good luck, thanks him again for agreeing to hide the two survivors they found in the tunnels, and then reminds him to keep calling the Coast Guard. Stay close to an exit from the tunnels and the radio ought to reach.

Just as Taylor is moving back, he can hear someone walking around on the ground level above them. He motions for silence and stalks up the stairs. He scouts around on the ground floor for a while, narrowing down the source of the sound, and then hears a voice calling from a stairwell that leads upstairs to the upper floor of the next wing: "What's going on down there? What's going on? Are you down there, Bender? Why are the guards running around with guns? Was there an escape? A riot?"

Taylor [softly]: "I'm not Bender, but I'm a friend. We're from Homeland Security. We'd like to help, if we can."
Voice from stairwell: "Who are you? Roy is upstairs looking for some federal agents. Does he mean you?"

Taylor can hear multiple agitated people upstairs, probably two floors up rather than one, whispering and speaking in low tones amongst themselves. They are not moving around much. He also hears someone calling down the stairwell for 'Jimmie', asking who he's talking to down there.

Taylor: "Reckon he may. Would Roy be a guard, now? Why doncha ask him real polite like to come down here and talk about this?"
Orderly in stairwell: "Hey, Roy! There's a federal agent down here, wants to speak with you."

Taylor closes his eyes and mutters 'Dear Lord' to himself. He hears Roy, upstairs, shout a curse and then start speaking into his radio.

Roy: "I've got them! They're here, H Wing, stairwell! I'm in the low-sec rec room. Come quick, all units, all units! Damn it, answer me! They're right here. Acknowledge!"

Taylor grins. Jamming. The Good Lord giveth and the Good Lord taketh away. Then he runs to a side wall, jumps up and launches himself from the wall, kicking against a wooden support pillar and reaching up to grab the railing on the third floor. He swings himself over it in an athletic motion, landing in front of an astonished guard standing some seven yards away. He's fiddling with his radio, but immediately goes for the can of Mace in his belt. Taylor deduces that Roy hasn't yet visited the armoury and is still equipped with standard psych ward kit. Then he rushes in for a tackle, baton held in two hands.

Roy is quick on his feet and manages to avoid taking a baton to the neck. He can't avoid a shoulder check to the chest, though, and is driven back a couple of feet with a painful grunt. Evidently, though, Roy is used to a little rough and tumble, because he responds by spraying Mace at Taylor's face. Taylor redirects the can to the right with his baton, avoiding the spray by stepping in close. Then he traps the arm with his baton and transitions to a rear choke hold before Roy knows what is happening.

As Taylor lowers Roy to the ground, he notices that he's in a large common area with plexiglass cells opening out from it in both directions. H Wing is the lowest security wing and there are more than a dozen patients watching, as well as two orderlies. One of the patients grins at Taylor and strikes a kung fu fighting pose as he utters what is no doubt supposed to be an Asian exclamation.

Taylor: "Right, hoss. It's a little bit frightening. But don't worry. I'm here to help. I don't hurt people if can avoid it."

Surprisingly, the orderlies don't immediately panic and seem willing to hear Taylor out. It seems that they had been growing suspicious of the increasingly unhinged behaviour of the guards for a while. Taylor explains the situation again to the orderlies on the third floor and suggests that they might want to take cover with Robert down in the cellars until he can bring some help. Look for the men's room.

If the patients are not unmanagable, things might be safer for them down there, too. The guards seem to be panicking now that their crimes are coming to light and there's no telling what idea they might have for a coverup. Unfortunately, their best bet might be faking a riot and that means that all the patients could be at risk from guards desperate to save themselves from the consequences of their actions.

When Taylor comes down again, he's carrying yet another unconscious guard on his back. Taylor gives O'Toole a meaningful look as he gently places the guard down next to Dr. Anderson. A rough translation of the look might be: See? Notice how I'm not killing anyone when I don't have to? Taylor explains about the people on the third floor and asks if Dr. Anderson and Cam Townsend might be willing to guide those who want to hide in the cellars down there. There's a lot of agitated people up there, many of them have psychological problems and all of them would welcome some explanations.

Meanwhile, Sherilyn Bell is making a chemical mixture on instructions from Dr. Anderson. She's wearing the duty belt Taylor gave her at a rakish angle and looks rather incongruous in a white shirt too big for her, hospital blues under it and a red 'Bama cap. Taylor moves to her and asks if she minds him adjusting the belt. She grins teasingly and leans into him, but Taylor carefully avoids any sexual connotations as he fits the belt properly to her waist.

He's whispering into her ear as he does it and to O'Toole, watching surreptiously, the intimacy contrasts strangely with Taylor's stiff avoidance of any contact with sexual connotations. It's obvious to anyone with eyes that Taylor is strongly attracted to her and O'Toole has read the intelligence files on the long-ago friendship between the two, which by all accounts was chaste by Ms. Bell's will, not Taylor's.

Taylor was obviously asking Ms. Bell about the allegation that Robert the Orderly made. She turns around and interrupts him angrily and O'Toole feels safe that neither of them will notice him approaching a little closer, enough to her their low, but intense voices.

Bell: "I was so alone. So afraid. And you left me." [pointing accusingly]
Taylor: "I know, Lynnie. And I'm so sorry. There ain't nothing I can say to make that right..."
[voice breaks, silence for a while]
Taylor: "I'm not accusing you of anything, Lynnie. Far as I'm concerned, they had no right to lock you up here. You were illegally detained an' that's no better than kidnapped. Anything you did... anything done to you, anything that happened here, none of it was your fault. It ain't on you. You didn't choose it. You didn't deserve it. Whatever you did to defend yourself, to try to survive, no one has any right to condemn you."
[Taylor's eyes fill with tears and he hugs Ms. Bell tenderly]
Taylor: "It's not your fault. None of it is. I'm so sorry, Lynnie. Sorry for everything."

Dr. Anderson, witnessing the scene as he escorts a group of patients past, notices that Ms. Bell's distress, while no less evident than Taylor's, is either exaggerated or entirely faked. Of course, lack of affect could be a symptom of long-term abuse and seeking validation through psychological manipulation would be an entirely plausible coping mechanism for someone with Ms. Bell's history.

Emotional manipulation has ugly connotations to many people, but in truth, it was a rare human being who could avoid having relationships characterised to a greater or lesser degree by manipulative behaviour, though most prefered to use alternate terminology than the value judgment laden 'manipulation' in the case of themselves and their loved ones.
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Last edited by Icelander; 03-02-2017 at 10:44 AM.
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