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Old 05-02-2017, 03:53 PM   #141
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Project Jade Serenity [Supers/Technothriller]

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
... and Dr Anderson isn't sure of that at all. You are doing a splendid job of these write-ups. What is O'Toole's player up to all this time? Does he just prefer to watch?
Well, he does have that daughter and is a notoriously tired man in the evenings, so he's only logging about half the hours per session that us other chickens are.

At this point in the specific session, he had gone home (a few houses away) to bed.

When he is present, there's no telling what he'll do, of course.
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Old 05-03-2017, 01:54 AM   #142
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Default Re: Project Jade Serenity [Supers/Technothriller]

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Well, he does have that daughter and is a notoriously tired man in the evenings, so he's only logging about half the hours per session that us other chickens are.
Ah, fair enough.
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Old 05-04-2017, 12:23 PM   #143
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Default Way Down in the Hole

Hundreds of tiny eyes glint in the darkness around Chase Taylor as he presents the M67 grenade. The pin is lying somewhere behind him as he walks slowly toward the swarm of rats, driving them backward. The acrid ammonia stench of the rats makes the tunnels feel crowded and rank. The rats haven’t dared to pass Taylor after he took the pin out of the grenade and explained to the rats what him letting go of the safety lever would mean for them, but he can hear them running through service vents and side tunnels, looking to surround him.

Taylor can also hear the high-pitched squeaking of the rats in eerie unison, forming words in broken English. They repeat variations of ‘Kill Man’ and ‘Pain Man’,which might be threats or might just be the names the rat swarm has given him. Taylor can’t really bring himself to care which. All he cares about is that he’s heard the blast door to the cellars slamming, long before the rats running around him could have reached it. Whatever happens, the people who were down the tunnels made it out. Like he told the Doc over the radio, he’s exactly where he’s supposed to be.

Dr. Anderson: “Taylor, are you down in the tunnels?”
Taylor: “Yeah.”
Anderson: “Are you alone down there?”
Taylor: “Naw, there sure is a powerful lot of rats down here with me.”
Anderson: “Damn it, Taylor! Are they hostile?”
Taylor: “They ain’t lookin’ real friendly, doc. Don’t you worry ‘bout it none, though. They’s real smart, these rats, an’ they surely do know what a frag grenade is. Happens I is holding one an’ them rats plumb cain’t figure a way to eat me without being blowed into chunks when I ain’t got the strength left to hold the safety lever.”
Anderson: “Jesus, Taylor! What have you gotten yourself into?”
Taylor: “Sorry, doc, there jes’ weren’t no other way to get them folks out safely.”
Anderson: “Did you even look for another way?”
Taylor: “Wasn’t much time for thinkin’, doc. I jes’ did the best I could an’ I ain’t got no complaints with how things done turned out.”
Anderson: “Stop it, Taylor! Do not dare to kill yourself out of misplaced guilt.”
Taylor: “Don’t you worry, doc. I know the Lord decides when we go an’ I ain’t fixin’ to interfere in His work no more. I’ll jes’ stay down here real cool until them Coasties bring enough ordnance to take care of our rat problem.”
Anderson: “And what happens to you when they do?”
Taylor: “I guess that’s for the Lord to decide, ain’t it?”
Anderson: “No, it is not. Listen to me, Taylor. You are in no shape to make decisions right now. I am coming to get you. I have the keys to the blast doors in the G Wing Cellars. I will be right down.”
Taylor: “No! Doc, I might be dumber than a box o' rocks, but I knows a threat when I see one. If’n them rats get out, what you gonna do? You really wanna see them rats reach dozens of weakened, innocent people? Besides, I ain’t anywhere close to that door anyway, so you’d be killing 'em all for nothin’.”
Anderson: “Well, where are you, then? If you say you are not actively trying to kill yourself, help me find a solution. I know these tunnels a lot better than you do. Maybe there is a way to get you up here safely.”
Taylor: “I’ma walkin’ east down the corridor where the men’s room was in the tunnels. I reckon I’m below the main buildings by now. But it ain't no good, doc. Any kind of way I can take up there is also gonna be wide enough to let them rats follow. I ain’t exactly lookin’ to die, doc, honest. Even somebody like me is gonna feel rotten leavin’ all them folks I love behind. But we gotta face facts here. We cain’t risk y’all up there jes’ for me.”
Anderson: “Mackenzie Chase Taylor, I have followed your lead without question when it comes to tactics, because that is your speciality. Will you allow in return that I know a thing or two about depression and guilt? You are not being objective right now. You are less than three hundred feet away from the next door, to the cellar of C Wing. That wing is empty and I got the key right here. Are you going to let your daughters grow up without a father because you decided not to walk three hundred feet?”
Taylor: “Ah, sweet Jesus, doc. Don’t you go an’ make it harder now. If’n I could see any way clear that weren’t gonna risk others, I’d surely love to get out o’ here. But… my Betty an’ my Savannah might could be better off without somebody like me in their lives. I ain’t gonna be any kind of father… if’n I'ma gonna come home with blood all over my hands.” [Taylor’s voice breaks]
Anderson: “Do they not deserve that choice? Are you sure they want their father dead because he has a hard time forgiving himself? Well, I am not going to let you die. In two minutes, I am opening that blast door.”
Taylor: “Doc! No! They kin hear ya! They understan’ English jes’ fine, doc.”
Anderson: “In that case, you had better be at that door, because it sounds like the rats will be. And I would prefer not to face them alone.”
Taylor: “Please, don’t! I’d really hate for somebody to get hurt on account of me. If’n you open that door, I might could kill every rat in a big circle, but that won’t stop the rest of them from getting’ out.”
Anderson: “I trust that you will find some way to get through. You are a resourceful man. Two minutes. Make sure you are there, because I will open the door no matter what.”
Taylor: “I won’t let you kill everybody up there! I’ll stop you, hold the door closed.”
Anderson: “You can do as you like, but if you want to stop me, you had best hurry to the door.”

Taylor shouts for Dr. Anderson through the radio, but receives no more answers. He looks around him at the glittering eyes in the darkness. While he was speaking, more rats have arrived behind him and he is completely surrounded. Those in front skitter away as he approaches with the grenade held in front of him, so that they are always the same distance away. Almost like they are trying to stay just out of explosive range. With a wry grimace that may be the closest he can muster to a smile, Taylor notes that the rats seem to believe that the safe distance from a grenade is about ten feet and wonders if their previous experience with explosives has been exclusively with flashbangs. While continuing his slow forward process, Taylor addresses the rats, pitching his voice so that they all hear him.

Taylor: “Right. I expect y’all heard that. In case it ain’t clear, I’ma gonna trigger this here bomb afore I let the Doc open up an’ let you through. I wonder if’n you even care ‘bout that. Do y’all value your lives individually or is it maybe some sort hive?”
Rat swarm: “Kill Man. Hurt. Pain.”
Taylor: “Yeah, that figures. Well, what is it you want, anyway?”
Rat swarm: “You Kill. Pain. Blood. Why Kill? Why Pain?”

Out of the swarm of rats in front of Taylor come several rats bearing a hunting knife between them. It’s covered in blood and Taylor recognises it as the knife he picked up in the barracks and threw at the rat scout when he was last in the tunnels.

Rat swarm: “You Kill. Blood. Pain.”
Taylor: “Yeah, I done that. I sure am real sorry 'bout that, but he were gonna attack us. Y’all figure I oughta make up for it, somehow? I reckon that ain’t unfair.”
Rat swarm: “You give man. Give man.”
Taylor: “Y’all want me, here I am. Sorry ‘bout the grenade, but I guess maybe you figure killing me is worth however many o’ y’all gonna get chunked.”
Rat swarm: “You give other man. You live.”
Taylor: “Y'all want me to give somebody else to you? That ain’t never gonna happen. Y'all wanna get payback, y'all kin get it from me.”
Rat swarm: “Blood for blood. Flesh for flesh.”
Taylor: “Sounds fair enough. Any time y’all feel like it, we sure kin dance. Or… what do y’all mean?”

The rats carrying the bloody knife walk closer to Taylor. He stops in front of them, looking curiously at them. Moving his hands slowly, Taylor switches the grenade from his right hand to his left.

Rat swarm: “Take knife. Blood for blood.”
Taylor: “Aw, shoot, y’all jes’ had to say so.”

Taylor bends down and takes the hunting knife in his right hand. He looks around. As far as he can tell, there are more rats than ever before all around him, maliciously glinting eyes and a rank odour closing in on him like a black cloud. From where he is now, Taylor can see that the blast door to the C Wing is only about fifty feet away and he really hopes that Dr. Anderson isn’t going to open the door if he doesn’t hear anybody on the other side. Placing the razor edge of the bloody knife against the ballistic fabric of the sleeve over his left arm, Taylor gives the ring of hungry eyes around him an insincere grin.

Taylor: “Y’all kin have as much of my blood you want.”

Cutting down, Taylor carves through tough para-aramid fibers and opens his arm. A single drop of blood lands on the floor.

Taylor: “Hope I don’t go an’ cut through something important or I'ma fixin' to lose my grip on this here grenade.”

Taylor cuts deep into his lower arm just below his elbow, ripping through muscle to hit bone. Blood spatters out, enough to drench the rats standing on the floor. Taylor lets out a grunt and staggers. He maintains his grip on the grenade, but his left arm sinks downwards and starts trembling.

Taylor: “Gosh darn it, that hurts! ...Well, I reckon it’s a matter of minutes now before I gone an' lost all strength in that there arm. Or if’n y’all want more blood, we kin jes' finish this right now.”
Rat swarm: “Good. Blood for blood.”

Several rats approach Taylor and the foremost of them raises itself up to its hind legs, motioning with its paws. When it speaks, all the surrounding rats speak in unison, a chorus of screeches.

Rat swarm: "Give. Knife."
Taylor: "That it? An' what happens now?"
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Last edited by Icelander; 05-16-2017 at 07:47 AM.
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Old 05-04-2017, 03:54 PM   #144
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Default Re: Project Jade Serenity [Supers/Technothriller]

I enjoy reading these, but as someone who grew up with a southern (Appalachian) accent, some of the things that Taylor says come across as a bit... jarring.

Not that I'm really criticizing. As far as southern accents go, yours is probably much better than my Icelandic one, but there are a few things that stand out as a bit odd.

Firstly, southerners seldom misuse "is" and "are." In fact, the Alabama accent leans really hard on the "aaahhrr" sound (it's almost an "or"), while other areas sort of drop it in an almost French fashion (Louisiana, in particular, pronounces "are" as "ahh.")

Secondly, I've never heard anybody say, "I's" ("eyes"), except as a contraction of "I was" -- past tense. If it's present-tense, quite a few will say, "I'ma," as in "I'ma walkin' down this hallway."

If using a future tense, they'll usually say, "I'm about ta..." as in, "I'm about ta walk down this hallway," or they'll say, "I'ma fixin' ta..." as in, "I'ma fixin' ta walk down this hallway."

In some of the most remote rural areas, they'll say, "I'ma walkin' down this here hallway," or "I'ma fixin' ta walk down this here hallway," and pronounce it as, "I'ma walkin' down this-hyer hallway," or "I'm a fixin' ta walk down this-hyer hallway."

Here's a good example of a native Alabama speaker:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJIB1MH6XCU

By contrast, this is the accent I grew up with:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03iwAY4KlIU
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Old 05-05-2017, 03:21 AM   #145
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Default Re: Project Jade Serenity [Supers/Technothriller]

Quote:
Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
I enjoy reading these, but as someone who grew up with a southern (Appalachian) accent, some of the things that Taylor says come across as a bit... jarring.
I suppose I ought to expect that.

Please point out things I should stop doing and, by all means, words and phrasings I can put in to evoke the correct feel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Not that I'm really criticizing. As far as southern accents go, yours is probably much better than my Icelandic one, but there are a few things that stand out as a bit odd.
Well, I wouldn't want to set the bar too low. An accent better than someone who doesn't speak a language at all is no feat. Even if I never visited the Deep South and the closest I've got to Alabama is a half day spent in northern Florida almost three decades ago, I at least speak English and ought to be able to figure out regional dialects.

Mind you, Chase Taylor doesn't just have a Southern accent, though. His speech is ungrammatical, excessively drawled and archaic to the point that other Alabama high-school students would mock him for sounding like a dumb hick redneck.

Cherry Bell ought to have a Southern (North Carolina) accent, but because she doesn't speak like a retarded love-child of Forrest Gump and Gomer Pyle, but makes an effort 'not to sound dumb' (i.e. modifies her native dialect into more generic American diction), it's rarely visible in her written dialogue, except occasionally in choice of words and sentence construction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Firstly, southerners seldom misuse "is" and "are." In fact, the Alabama accent leans really hard on the "aaahhrr" sound (it's almost an "or"), while other areas sort of drop it in an almost French fashion (Louisiana, in particular, pronounces "are" as "ahh.")
As noted, mostly going off movies and television, which is probably not the best source. That particular linguistic quirk was prominent in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, set in 1930s Mississippi, which led me to assume that it might be representative of truly archaic Deep South vernacular. A particular example would be reform candidate Homer Stokes saying: "Is you is or is you ain't my constituency?"

In real life, I've heard this particular grammatical quirk among black Americans in Maryland, which at least sounds plausibly linked with archaic Deep South usage. So I, perhaps foolishly, assumed that it was a valid dialectical quirk for someone poorly spoken to the point of Social Stigma: Uneducated*, Distinctive Speech (Alabama Drawl) and Epitome (Southern Redneck).**

*Taylor's way of speaking and his comparative ignorance of computers, smartphones and social media combine to yield a -1 Reaction modifier from typical modern Americans and -2 or worse from hipsters or anyone priding themselves on their modernity.
**From GURPS Power-Ups 6: Quirks.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Secondly, I've never heard anybody say, "I's" ("eyes"), except as a contraction of "I was" -- past tense. If it's present-tense, quite a few will say, "I'ma," as in "I'ma walkin' down this hallway."

If using a future tense, they'll usually say, "I'm about ta..." as in, "I'm about ta walk down this hallway," or they'll say, "I'ma fixin' ta..." as in, "I'ma fixin' ta walk down this hallway."
That's a good point. I think I even used I'ma for Taylor once or twice. I should probably go back and alter any I's into I'ma. Conveys the same poor grammar and sounds more authentic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
In some of the most remote rural areas, they'll say, "I'ma walkin' down this here hallway," or "I'ma fixin' ta walk down this here hallway," and pronounce it as, "I'ma walkin' down this-hyer hallway," or "I'm a fixin' ta walk down this-hyer hallway."
That sounds good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Here's a good example of a native Alabama speaker:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJIB1MH6XCU

By contrast, this is the accent I grew up with:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03iwAY4KlIU
Thanks. Do you know of any good sources for written dialogue that suits Alabama, in particular dialect that would lead typical Americans to consider the speaker uneducated and ignorant?

I read Forrest Gump*, but would welcome other suggestions.

Even if I were somehow to magically learn how to distinguish between one Southern accent and another, I'd still need to learn how to convey the difference in print. I strongly suspect that paying attention to grammar, word choice and word order yields better dividends than excessive phonetic reconstruction, but I lack the intuitive sense for these things in Southern speech.

Reading dialogue written by native speakers ought to be a help, at least.

*Incidentally, the book was much worse than the movie. And I never feel that movies are better.
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Old 05-10-2017, 11:05 PM   #146
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With an exhausted gesture, Taylor drops the blood-drenched knife to the floor. The closest rats bustle around it, picking it up and start to carry it away. Other, more distant rats seem to be disappearing into various nooks and crannies in the tunnel. Taylor can hear them still screeching in uncanny unison, but he doesn’t make out any English words.

From what he can tell, the rats sound pleased, but Taylor can’t figure whether they are anticipating something or feel they’ve accomplished something. As the rats stream away, hiding and crawling into smaller openings, their screeching coalesces into a single English word.

Rat swarm: “Live.”

As he scans the area, trying to figure the rats, Taylor can hear someone working on the lock and bars on the other side of the blast door. With a subvocalized curse, he starts running toward the cellar door. The door starts to open. As he runs, the grenade sways precariously in Taylor’s weakened left hand. Taylor dives for the door, but can’t reach it before it opens completely. Terrified, Taylor scans for rats around him, as he falls before the doorway.

Taylor: “Darn it, doc! Close it right now!”

Grabbing the door with his right hand, Taylor rolls inside, dragging it closed behind him. Falling to his knees, he lacks the strength to latch the blast doors, but Dr. Anderson comes up to do it for him. Overcome, Taylor sinks forward, the live grenade in his left hand touching the floor.

Taylor: “Awww, Jesus, doc. Why you gotta take a risk like that?”
Dr. Anderson: “Because you were acting like a damn fool!”
Taylor: “I’m sorry, doc. I’m so darn sorry! I ain’t mean to mess up so bad. I jes’ couldn’t find no other way. You weren’t supposed to risk yourself. Sorry…”
Anderson: “Oh, stop blaming yourself, boy. Here, have a soda, avoid dehydration, at least. Let me take that so I can look at you. What is that in your hand, anyway?”
Taylor: “Grenade. Be real careful, it’s live. You got any tape?”
Anderson: “I should be able to bandage you up with something better than tape.”
Taylor: “Naw, I mean to wrap around the safety lever. Left the pin in them tunnels. An’ thank you kindly, but I ain’t got time for bandaging.”

Dr. Anderson takes up some adhesive bandage and starts to wrap it around the part of the grenade that Taylor indicates. After wrapping it thoroughly, they place it on the floor with infinite care. In exchange for the grenade, Dr. Anderson hands Taylor the can of Coca Cola he had been carrying in his tactical gear since he removed it from Deputy Warden Tyrrell’s mini-fridge. Then he shines a flashlight at Taylor.

Dr. Anderson: “What on Earth happened to your arm?”
Taylor: “I done cut it up.”
Anderson: “I can see that, but why?”
Taylor: “Them rats done told me to.”
Anderson: “Naturally. Well, no matter how you got it, that is a terrible cut and you could bleed to death. Frankly, it is no wonder that you are starting to behave erratically. You are a mass of bruises, abrasions, cuts and burns and you have been pushing yourself way past any reasonable limit for more hours than I can count.”
Taylor: “I know I’ma real sight, doc, but we ain’t got time to waste on flesh wounds an’ aches an’ such.”
Anderson: “Flesh wounds! You must be aware that systemic shock can easily be fatal, not to mention your blood loss. No matter how much you try to conceal the pain of your injuries, you cannot just trick your body into continuing past certain limits!”
Taylor: “Aww, shucks, doc, I’ve played through worse in high school.”
Anderson: “These are not football scuffle injuries! I should hope you were taught better in the Special Forces. Hiding serious injuries gets soldiers killed.”
Taylor: “I ain’t hiding nothin’, doc. Jes’ saying we gotta deal with that later. There’s still guards in them towers an’ as long as it ain’t been confirmed that them heavy weapons cain't shoot at them, the Coast Guard is gonna have to suppress them afore they land here. An’ that’s gonna be done with boat cannon an’ helicopter fire. Killing anybody still up there.”
Anderson: “Do you really think you have not done enough?”
Taylor: “What’s that got to do with anything? There’s still people at risk, so I ain’t done yet.”

While they talk, Dr. Anderson slaps cloth over the burn on Taylor’s right arm and fastens some gauze with an adhesive tape over the cut on his left arm. Dr. Anderson is working extremely fast, seeking to prevent any worse injuries, at least, but he doesn’t have nearly enough time for proper first aid. After several sips of his Coke, Taylor stands up. He’s shaky on his feet, swaying like a drunken sailor, but he manages to stay upright.

Dr. Anderson: “They were told to surrender, first by that Dr. Cotton and then by Townsend. Probably they already did and are walking back toward the main buildings.”
Taylor: “We still gonna need to confirm it, doc. Besides, even if some guards come back, ain’t nobody we trust who know how many were in them towers, so we always gotta check up there.”
Anderson: “Be reasonable, man! Someone else can do it.”
Taylor: “If’n you kin name anybody willing an’ able right now, I’d sure enough be glad of some rest. But you an’ I both know there ain’t nobody else going out there soon enough to make no difference.”
Anderson: “Hell, I can do it, just as soon as I finish bandaging you.”
Taylor: “I reckon they gonna start shooting at some point in the next five minutes, so we ain’t waiting. An’ I’ma real sorry to say so, doc, but if’n somebody don’t wanna give up, I figure he gonna see you before you see him, an’ I don’t think you oughta get shot.”
Anderson: “What do you expect to do if someone refuses to give up? You can hardly walk! You really think you can overpower any more guards in your condition?”
Taylor: “Don’t you worry none, I ain’t gonna do nothin’ too active. I figure I jes’ try an’ talk them down an’ if’n that don’t work, well, I’ma gonna leave it to the Coast Guard.”
Anderson: “If you insist on doing such a damn fool thing, you should know that I am coming with you.”
Taylor: “That’s real Christian of you, doc. I always knew the Good Lord made some decent men among y’all Yankees too, if’n He even made some in Sodom. An’ thank you kindly for the Co-Cola.”

With Dr. Anderson supporting Taylor, they start walking up the stairs and out of C Wing. The shortest way to the observation towers lies across the yard in the direction of the barracks. On their way, they come across Hayden Avery, the guard Dr. Anderson interviewed in the barracks. Avery is limping, holding an M16/AR-15 type marksman’s rifle with a heavy free-floating barrel, Magpul PRS stock, ATN Thor-HD 384 2-8x smart thermal rifle scope, offset Docter red dot sight and Insight AN/PEQ-2 Target Pointer/Illuminator/Aiming Light.

Avery seems confused about what day it is and what has been happening. He doesn’t seem to remember having met either Dr. Anderson or Taylor before, but readily believes them when they show him credentials as Department of Homeland Security employees. He is glad to get some kind of explanation for the circling helicopters and agrees to go inside to talk to Agent O’Toole and Townsend.

Taylor: “An’ Avery? You’d best leave that weapon. There’s marksmen in them helicopters an’ the people shootin’ at federal agents were dressed as SRT guards.”
Avery: “Oh. Well. I don’t feel right just leaving it out here.”
Taylor: “Why doncha exchange weapons with the doc? You kin turn the M16 in to the armoury for him an’ as soon as we’re done, we go an’ do the same with the marksman’s rifle. Not that we aim to shoot anybody, but seein’ as we is gonna be lookin’ for stragglers, having that thermal sight might could be handy.”
Avery: “I don’t know what’s going on, but I suspect there’s plenty of trouble to pass around. Guess I might as well avoid as much of it as I can and not start arguing with the people in charge of the armed helicopters.”
Taylor: “Anybody asks me, y’all were as polite as you could be, soon as things started returning to normal. Speaking of which, could you call up them towers an’ confirm the orders they got earlier ‘bout standing down? Tell them to join you, turn in any weapons an’ then report to the main building.”
Avery: “Aye, aye, sir.”
Taylor: “Ain’t no sir. Worked for a living when I was in. Never got higher than Sergeant First Class an’ I ain’t in charge of nobody now. All the same, I’d take it right kindly if’n you made that call.”

As Avery gets on his radio, Taylor and Dr. Anderson continue to walk toward the observation towers. Anderson can feel Taylor growing heavier, as he leans more on his support and before long, he starts to stagger. Before Dr. Anderson can catch him, Taylor collapses to the ground. As Dr. Anderson bends over him and uses his flashlight to check him, he can see that not only is Taylor alarmingly pale, but that he’s bled through his quick bandage and his entire left side is soaked in blood. He must have lost at least a pint of blood, in addition to whatever he left in the tunnels.

Dr. Anderson: “Easy there, easy. You are going into shock, you obstinate, infuriating boy, because you have been bleeding without telling me. Lay back, control your breathing, Taylor. You know the symptoms, it should help you avoid panic. Focus on regular, calm breathing. I am going to apply a tourniquet to your arm. If it is not too much trouble, please endeavour not to die in the meantime. After all the trouble you have caused me, I suspect I should dislike it extremely if you do.”

Elevating Taylor’s feet and adjusting his position on the ground, Dr. Anderson begins to tourniquet his arm, while he talks soothingly to him.

Anderson: “Shush. Just breathe. For once, relax and let somebody else help you. Whatever is wrong, dying is not the answer. For one thing, it would be the easy way out. Do not tell me you plan to break the habit of a lifetime.”
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Old 05-14-2017, 12:57 PM   #147
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Default Bible Study

Working with swift assurance and sure-handed expertise, Dr. Anderson stops Taylor’s bleeding, cleans his wounds and applies bandages. Then he helps Taylor finish the can of Coca Cola and to eat a bar of Snickers. As he swallows the last bite of his candy bar, Taylor manages to speak.

Taylor: “I’ma real sorry, doc. I… I jes’ didn’t realise…”
Dr. Anderson: “Oh, stop it, boy. You cannot possibly mean to apologise for bleeding. As a doctor, I know a damn sight more about it than you. It is a natural process when you get hurt, one you have no control over. And you did not tell me about it because you were light-headed and consequently confused.”
Taylor: “I sure feel a lot better now, doc. Reckon I were jes’ hungry.”
Anderson: “Low blood sugar certainly did not help, but you need more than soda and a candy bar. You need an IV, a couple of units of blood and a week or two in bed.”
Taylor: “Aww, doc, I’ve done spent the last five years in a cell. I ain’t gonna spend more time lying around doing nothin’. An’ I figure you done fixed me up good enough, anyhow. You’re a real fine doc.”
Anderson: “No matter how you flatter me, you will still require bed rest. Hell, a couple of minutes ago, you looked like you were going into shock.”
Taylor [low voice]: “Shush! There’s folks comin’!”

Walking through the night are five men. Four of them are wearing blue guard shirts under ballistic vests and one is wearing camouflage clothing under a similar vest. All of them have individual caps, various weapons, ammunition and two of them are wearing several other pieces of tacticool flair. As they get closer, one of them addresses Anderson and Taylor.

Guard Cardillo: “Hey, there! Who are you and what is going on?”
Taylor: “Homeland Security. Y’all from them towers?”
Cardillo: “Yeah! We got called back, told to stand down, and they say the boats and helicopters circling here are Coast Guard!”
Taylor: “They ain’t foolin’ ya. Turn in all y’all’s weapons in the barracks an’ Agent O’Toole and Mr. Townsend up in the main buildings is gonna explain everything. Y’all five, is that ever’body that were up there?”
Cardillo: “Yeah, yeah.”

Taylor looks over the other four, who confirm Cardillo’s claim that only five men remained in the observation towers and they all obeyed the command to stand down. Dr. Anderson smiles and pats Taylor’s shoulder gently as the five men walk off for the barracks.

Anderson: “And that is that, my boy. Now all we have to do is wait here for rescue.”
Taylor: “I’ma real sorry, doc, but it ain’t change nothin’. If’n some holdout don’t wanna stand down an’ figures on takin’ some shots at a chopper or a boat, we cain’t jes’ take his buddy’s word that there ain’t nobody up there.”
Anderson: “If anyone is that determined to commit suicide by Coast Guard, why should we risk our lives for them?”
Taylor: “It ain’t like they chose to have their minds all torn to pieces an’ filled with nonsense that’s got them shootin’ at shadows. Please, doc? We kin jes’stroll up the stairs in one o’ them towers an’ then I kin see into the other. We call the Coasties now an’ tell them ‘bout these five an’ that we’s gonna check if’n that’s all.”
Anderson: “And if I say no, am I going to have to restrain you to prevent you from subduing me and going off on your own?”
Taylor: “Well, I ain’t gonna attack ya or nothin’, but if’n you don’t help, I figure I’ma gonna try to make it anyhow.”

Dr. Anderson sighs deeply. Then he hands Taylor a radio and while Taylor talks to the Coast Guard, Anderson does his best to ready Taylor for movement. He secures the bandages so that walking won’t jar them and after the radio call, helps Taylor get to his feet. Anderson then instructs Taylor how to move with minimal stress on his bandages and injuries, placing most of his weight on Anderson. Then they start walking, with Dr. Anderson lecturing all the way.

Anderson: “I will have you know that this is against my strict recommendations. I am only doing this because the walk will probably do less damage than trying to restrain you. If you were my patient, I would make you sign a liability waiver stating that you rejected all sensible medical advice and were determined to be stupid and reckless. Actually, no, I would quit whatever job forced me to deal with such stubborn, unreasonable patients.”
Taylor: “Thank you, doc. For saving me, for helping me an’ for caring ‘bout me at all.”
Anderson: “Damn it, Taylor! There is no need to rub it in.”

As they get closer to the higher observation tower, they stop for a while until Taylor is satisfied that there is no movement in it. Then they approach it and start climbing the stairs inside. Dr. Anderson is surprised at how steady Taylor is on his feet, but still forces him to stop twice and regain his breath going up the 80’ of stairs.

There is a bad moment as they are about to come up to the observation level and Taylor calls out to ask if anybody is up there, as Dr. Anderson wonders what would prevent a sufficiently crazy stubborn holdout from just killing them before settling back in to wait for the Coast Guard to get within range. No one comes down to murder them, however, and as they climb up, they can see that no one remains on the observation platform. Just a massive machine gun of some sort, a huge sniper rifle and a smaller machine gun.

Taylor scans the area and then goes for a contraption of some sort mounted on a pintle next to the machine gun. He explains that it’s a thermal spotting scope and points it at the other observation tower. After a while, he suggests that Dr. Anderson try it out, as Taylor can see well enough without it. While they watch for movement from the lower observation tower, Dr. Anderson glances over at Taylor.

Anderson: “Now that we have done all we can to prevent further bloodshed, perhaps you can oblige me by telling me why you were so eager for self-sacrifice in the tunnels? And why you cannot rest easy after all you have been through and let somebody else handle the heroics?”
Taylor: “I ain’t no hero, doc. An’ I never wanted to be, least o’ all now. It’s jes’, I cain’t help feelin’ that if’n I do my best to see that nobody else dies tonight, it’d go some way to… I dunno, makin’ up for what I done.”
Anderson: “Oh, Taylor. I suppose you refer to your shooting of Dr. Bruce Cotton? The man responsible for all the violence and death of tonight?”
Taylor: “An’ the man I done murdered, doc.”
Anderson: “You killed him, yes. But if a killing is justified, it is not murder. Most people would say that Dr. Cotton deserved to die. He had certainly done enough to make a pretty good case for it. That aside, he was some kind of unique hypnotist, possessed of a wonderful and terrible power of which he could not be disarmed. He really was a mind-controller who could twist people into insanity and murder with his abilities. When you killed him, he was speaking some post-hypnotic suggestion into the intercom and radio net.”
Taylor: “Naw, doc. He done stopped talkin’ when I shot him. It weren’t self-defence an’ it weren’t combat. It were a sin, doc. The kind o’ terrible sin there ain’t no comin’ back from. I... I had hate in my heart when I kilt him.”
Anderson: “Taylor, I was there when Ms. Bell talked about Dr. Cotton. I saw her terror of him, just as you did. I rather think hatred may be been a natural response on your part.”
Taylor: “It don’t make it right.”
Anderson: “Maybe not. But there are other ways of making up for it than suicide.”
Taylor: “I never meant to die, doc. I jes’, maybe didn’t feel like my life was worth as much as that of other folks. You know, given what I done.”
Anderson: “Is that what you were taught in church? That sinners are worth less? That forgiveness and redemption are impossible?”
Taylor: “…No, doc, ‘course not! You a churchgoing man?”
Anderson: “Not any more. I was raised Episcopalian, however.”
Taylor: “Is that the one like Catholics, without the Pope, more or less?”
Anderson: “My parents were high church, so rather more than less.”
Taylor: “The priest, he kin give y'all absolution, right? If'n you asks for it? Must be nice, bein' told you forgiven. It don't matter, though. Baptist, Catholic or Episcopalian. What I done, it… there ain’t no redemption.”
Anderson: “Is that not arrogance? Even blasphemy? Denying God’s grace? His forgiveness? You think you, Chase Taylor of Luverne, Alabama, can be the one human capable of committing a sin beyond God’s forgiveness?”
Taylor: “I... ah… …It’s no good, doc. I know I ain’t smart enough to talk Bible study with you. Heck, I never could talk it with my sisters, neither, an’ none of them gots half your schooling. You’ll twist my meanin’ all up an’ make me look even dumber than I am.”

Taylor shakes his head ruefully and his voice breaks when he starts talking again.

Taylor: “I jes’… I know what I know. There ain’t no redemption nor forgiveness without you gots sincere repentance. An’ so help me God, I jes’ cain’t regret killing that low-down copperhead snake. The onliest regret I got is that I done kilt him too quick. Now he’s beyond all pain an’ fear, but Sherilyn, she still tore up ‘cause o’ him an’… an’ I still got all that hate in my heart.”
Anderson: “I cannot speak for God, but if you can forgive yourself, it would be a good start. Find whatever justification works for you. And something to live for. Such as people who need you. I seem to recall you promising Ms. Bell to take care of her. I do not need to tell you how much she stands in need of friends for the foreseeable future.”
Taylor: “You’re right, doc. I cain’t be worrying ‘bout my sins when I oughta be doin’ right by her. Oh my Lord, how must she be feelin’? All them things that happened, losing parts o’ her memory an’ havin’ to kill somebody! Who didya leave her with?”
Anderson: “I? She was with you, Taylor. Where did you leave her?”
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Old 05-14-2017, 01:49 PM   #148
evileeyore
 
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Default Re: Bible Study

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Anderson: “Now that we have done all we can to prevent further bloodshed, perhaps you can oblige me by telling me why you were so eager to sacrifice myself in the tunnels? And why you cannot rest easy after all you have been through and let somebody else handle the heroics?”
I believe you mean 'yourself'.


Which seriously? First mistake I've found, so you're an amazing technical writer (and the story has remained griping too, but I reckon you've had some help there ;) ).


Quote:
Anderson: “I? She was with you, Taylor. Where did you leave her?”
DUN DUN DUUUUUN!
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Old 05-14-2017, 03:30 PM   #149
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Default Re: Bible Study

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
I believe you mean 'yourself'.
I did, but the character limit won't accept my correction if I'm adding characters, so I've re-worded slightly.

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
Which seriously? First mistake I've found, so you're an amazing technical writer
I'm sure there are other mistakes. When I see some on re-reading, I try to fix them. Though I ought to be able to write without major errors by now, considering that judges aren't all that fond of typos in legal briefs.

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
(and the story has remained griping too, but I reckon you've had some help there ;) ).
Really? Still?

I was pretty sure I'd ruined everything by taking pretty much every single heroic adventure trope out behind a shed and shooting it, ending the central conflict with Warden Tyrrell in a terribly anti-climatic way and then going on to execute the Big Bad before he even had time to launch into a villainous speech.

To all appearances, it's all over on Jewel Island now, bar the clean-up. Of course, the clean-up may include burying our characters in deep dungeons or shallow graves, but if so, there isn't really anything exciting we can do to prevent it. Just tell our stories to a lot of interrogators who'll arrive in hazmat suits and hope they that Onyx Rain doesn't decide that we are too dangerous and unpredictable to be any further use. And it all ended a few sessions ago, with the past three sessions having been aftermath, really.

And the way it ended was pretty anti-climatic. No dramatic confrontation with Warden Tyrrell, just short, sharp clash of several seconds. No back-and-forth, extended duel, interrupted by several long tense conversations, just a brutal curb-stomp. Not even a one-liner.

I actually considered apologising to the GM and other players for ruining a perfectly good dramatic set-up to a bitter duel between romantic rivals and deadly foes, the chivalric knight and his dark counterpart, still retaining some twisted semblance of honour.

But as we are using starkly realistic rules, for all that the characters have larger-than-life supersoldier capabilities, there just wasn't any logical way to do otherwise. As soon as Tyrrell made a tactical error caused by his fury, Taylor had to rely on speed and violence of action to take him down before he recovered. Which didn't allow any time for dialogue, sadly.

And instead of leaving Dr. Cotton alive as a recurring antagonist, protected from direct attack by his status as a vital Onyx Rain source, I went and executed him. To the shock and horror of the GM, but, as is evident in Dr. Anderson's opinion, to the pleased surprise of his player. At least I could get in a one-liner there, thanks to good ole' fire and brimstone preaching, but going into a guilty funk immediately after really undercuts the coolness of dispatching the villain.

Actually, come to think of it, I might as well have designed Chase Taylor to subvert pretty much every trope that makes action-adventure fun, light-hearted and cool. He is too horrified at his own actions when he is forced to take life to ever mow down mooks with a grin while quipping in one-liners; he's too straight-laced, Christian and wussy to ever be likely to get the girl, not to mention that 17 years later, he's still hung up on an unrequited crush; and instead of riding off into the sunset after the action stops, he fusses around doing all the boring clean-up while moping over his human imperfections.

He's like the anti-Bond.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
DUN DUN DUUUUUN!
I swear to ----ing God, Impulsive is the worst when you're trying to keep somebody safe!

Combined with an array of psychological issues that leads mental health specialists to diagnose her, variously, with Anti-Social, Borderline, Histrionic or Narcissistic Personality Disorder*, it's pretty much guaranteed to cause contant panic in anyone taking on the role of caretaker.

In GURPS terms, Cherry Bell's nastiest traits are Callous**, Sadism (Mental Only) and Selfish, but the most problematic for her keepers are probably Impulsive and Trickster. Low Self-Image is really sad, of course, but actually helpful in curtailing suicidal overconfidence in crazy schemes.

*For reasons of villainy and secrecy, we haven't gotten an diagnosis of her we trust, but a case might be made for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which in women is often misdiagnosed as Borderline Personality Disorder, combined with after-effects of the Jade Serenity chemicals.
**Hopefully, limited by now so that it doesn't apply to Chase Taylor and Dr. Michael Anderson. As Sherilyn Bell was not remotely Callous (or Sadistic or Selfish) before the Incident, we are hoping these are symptoms of drug interactions or psychological trauma, which might mean they are treatable with non-evil psychotherapy.
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Old 05-14-2017, 05:47 PM   #150
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Default Re: Bible Study

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Really? Still?

I was pretty sure I'd ruined everything by taking pretty much every single heroic adventure trope out behind a shed and shooting it, ending the central conflict with Warden Tyrrell in a terribly anti-climatic way and then going on to execute the Big Bad before he even had time to launch into a villainous speech.

(text omitted)

He's like the anti-Bond.

Yes, still very gripping. And it is that very anti-Bond trope that is part of what I like so much about the story. I won't argue that it was not anti-climatic but I will say that I see it as having a series of climaxes with each having it's own importance.

I want to see what happens to the team at each one. How they handle the success and/or failure at each hurdle. And clean up is one of those. It can be extremely fun to play through.

I once GMed a scenario where one of the PCs also took out the Big Bad almost immediately upon meeting him at a formal dinner. Technically the rest of the adventure was cleaning up that situation and all the events that the Big Bad had already put in motion but was no longer around to control. It was a lot of fun to play even though it was not what I had expected.

So, I look forward to seeing how the remaining events unfold.
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