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Old 03-24-2017, 05:44 AM   #121
johndallman
 
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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
[Dr. Michael Anderson [picture unavailable] (b. [unknown], 1968; New Haven, CT)
How about this picture?
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:46 AM   #122
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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
He's determined to be awesome, isn't he? Shame he doesn't know how.
An inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane just pointed out how crazy O'Toole is. And she's right.

Granted, there is a bit of a double standard in play, in that Taylor has been walking Bell through what she's expected to do, using his expert Teaching and awesome Leadership to help her recollect defaults and Dabbler Perks at Guns, Soldier and Tactics, but just gave up on O'Toole as unreliable pretty quickly.

The thing is, though, even if Taylor had rolled a critical success at Leadership with a 16 MoS for O'Toole as he did with Bell, a bonus to Self-Control rolls and Soldier skill checks for following Taylor's plan wouldn't have helped O'Toole like it helped Bell. She actually rolled to resist her Mental Disadvantages and succeeded, because of the bonuses, but O'Toole's player was present and he never thought to roll anything, just barged ahead.

Eighteen years out of basic training, Bell's Soldier skill is actually lower than O'Toole's Professional Skill (Law Enforcement), which he could use to carry out a tactical plan for room-clearing. Even his Soldier skill is actually the same as hers, as he did basic training too, around 2009-2010. And his Dabbler-level Tactics (Police) is obviously better than her default Tactics.

I'll grant that her learned hyper-vigilance, gained from surviving a lot of years as as a powerless prisoner, means that she has better situational awareness than he does, which is pretty important in room clearing. But still, the main problem is that she is doing her best to follow a basic tactical plan and O'Toole appears to consider the very concept of a tactical plan anathema.

It's too [expletative]-ing bad that his mistakes never end up hurting him. Whoever passed him could have attacked him from surprise, but doesn't seem to have cared a whit for O'Toole. They are after other prey.

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
How about this picture?
I'm pretty sure Tom Selleck has Handsome, not just Attractive. He has a very strong female following, at least, which argues for a greater reaction bonus for those attracted to males.

Dr. Anderson should be pleasant looking, even handsome in his way, but in a way that appeals equally to both sexes. Look trustworthy and approachable, friendly and warm. Alternatively, sophisticated and urbane would work too, as long as it is something that makes sense as +1 reaction bonus for everyone, added to the bonus for his Charisma and Status.

I've suggested Gary Oldman (solid and trustworthy) or Benedict Samuel (urbane and polished). The player has specified long, curly hair and a moustache, fairly tall and a slender build.

Dr. Michael Anderson has Attractive Appearance, Charisma 1, Status 1 and a very obscure positive reputation for his early research and an equally obscure negative reputation for rumours about their end. He also has very high Diplomacy and basic competence with other social engineering skills, such as Savoir-Faire (High Society), something Chase Taylor will probably never master.

The player proposed Blake Anderson, but in my capacity as fellow player, I declared that I would never accept this grooming atrocity as a 49-year-old Status 1 professional with Attractive Appearance. If the player wanted to look like this*, he'd have to take Quirks that ensured that buttoned-down professionals found it hard to take him seriously, at the very least.

*Which, with the effects Project Jade Serenity can have on the subjects' health and apparent lack of aging, is entirely possible.
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:49 AM   #123
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Probably hoping to absorb any of Dr McDreamy's left-over vibes from he was there committing unethical research.

Granted she might not know he was engaged in unethical practices as she claims to have been locked in when she refused to side completely with the mutinous King Tyrrell.
Speaking as Chase Taylor, there is absolutely no way that such a fair flower of Southern womanhood as Emma King could be involved in anything shady, underhanded or unethical. Every line of her lovely face positively radiated innocence, even for the mere second he saw her. Especially as she is definitely his 'type', an educated, ambitious Southern woman with perfect skin, gorgeous coffee-and-cream complexion and lively dark eyes.

Taylor's high school sweetheart, Makayla Scott Hawkins, is a lawyer now. The girl he turned to when he gave up on pining over Sherilyn Bell during Project Jade Serenity, Rhonda McBride, is a doctor, like Emma King. It's true that Rhonda may be a shade more buxom than either Makayla or Emma King, but all three of them share some definite traits: upper middle class by profession and birth, self-confidence, intelligence and education.

While Taylor ended up marrying a blue-eyed blonde*, apart from that superficial detail of apperance, Dolores Claire Starr otherwise fits the type perfectly. Old, respected family, father a successful lawyer with political influence, mother a homemaker, but even more influential in society, one brother with a budding political career and the other brother a West Point graduate. Lola herself graduated Political Science summa cum laude from the University of Georgia before she married Chase (and once she divorced him, went back for her law degree).

Speaking personally, shorn of Taylor's pathological chivalry and his tendency to view only arrogant, chauvinistic white males as the natural villains of the world, I can see some major holes in Dr. King's implied story of complete ignorance and fresh-faced innocence. She's been there for some time, months at minimum, and it's pretty damn clear that things have been very far from okay at Manhanock Asylum for at least five years.

If she didn't know about what amounts to multiple counts of kidnappings, murder, torture and sexual assault over her entire stay on Jewell Island, even when the victims were supposed to be under her care, she might well be a world champion at naivety. Even assuming that Warden Tyrrell, from motives of twisted chauvinistic chivalry, tried to keep his wide range of misdeeds secret from her until today, how could she not be aware that several patients had disappeared? And orderlies? And other staff?

And she could by no means have escaped being aware of her immediate boss interviewing patients in extremely suspect secrecy, even taking them to a secret part of the supposedly abandoned wings, for all the time she has been there. And I find it hard to imagine not one of her patients mentioning to their regular therapist something that should serve to make her suspicious of Dr. Cotton.

At the very least, I think Dr. Emma King was very, very good at denial because she was so focused on her own research. And I consider it extremely plausible that her own research is of a nature that she might not have had much success with without liberal access to patients that she could subject to various experimental treatments. I'm not saying that she necessarily went all Mengele, but it wouldn't surprise me one bit if she has to do some fancy dancing around to avoid board censure or even losing her licence as a clinical psychologist.

If she were to survive, of course. And if any of what happened becomes public, which doesn't look too likely. Probably going to be cover stories across the board, any dead bearing the majority of the blame, and if some people remain inconveniently alive despite clearly needing to be dead for the cover story to work, I expect Onyx Rain is prepared to alter such inconvenient states at need.

*Whom a mean-spirited person might call not unlike Bell in apperance, though that same mean-spirited person would probably add that while Bell had been, at best, ambitious to leave her awful white trash past behind her, Lola exuded genuine class, could name her respectable ancestors several generations back before the Antebellum era and would be horrified at the idea that she had anything in common with trailer trash like Sherilyn Bell. If Sherilyn was a wild flower like witch's thimbles growing in rocky ground, almost choked with weeds, Lola is a delicate 'Debutante' Camellia, lovingly watered, pruned and tended in the protective shade of her family position.

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
The dialogue makes me think it's possible this is why Townsend was there in the first place, secure the research records.
Again, if Onyx Rain knew anything about what was going on at Manhanock Asylum for the Criminally Insane, it doesn't make much sense to send us there without warning and allow everyone to be disarmed by the guards. If they wanted to secure something they thought was located on Jewell Island, they had every right to turn up in helicopters, with plenty of armed federal agents, and just take it.

The Department of Homeland Security has joint administration over the facility. If they had information about illegal activity there, even just office supplies being diverted to personal use, let alone secret labs, they could have turned up with actual people from the Office of the Inspector General, which we are only pretending to be, and arrested anyone responsible for falsified paperwork. During the perfectly legal search which followed, with warrants and everything, an agent of Onyx Rain could simply have failed to log any files which had to do with secret experiments that they were interested in.

My read is that Cam Townsend probably didn't have a clue about what Dr. Cotton was doing when he arrived on Jewell Island. He certainly didn't know about Warden Tyrrell's delusions and mental breakdown. He may have known more about Ms. Bell than we were told, most likely from notes taken by prior Onyx Rain agents who have kept tabs on her. It's entirely possible that Dr. Cotton might have been one such agent, but if so, Dr. Cotton probably lied like a champion to his handlers while working toward some mysterious goal of his own.

We always have to keep in mind that our characters aren't really working for the government of the United States of America. They work for one particular task force, Onyx Rain, which may be operating illegally or is at least carrying out operations far exceeding its legal competency. It seems that Onyx Rain is not the only faction within the US government concerned with similar things as Project Jade Serenity and we are pretty sure that there are one or more factions within the Department of Defense and/or the US Army.

Onyx Rain itself has at least two factions, probably more, and we have no idea who the mysterious people behind it really are, though we do have theories. For one thing, the currently most powerful faction within Onyx Rain seems to be composed of former and current senior bureaucrats within the Department of Homeland Security and several allied agencies.

We think Cam Townsend represents the majority faction of Onyx Rain, while Colonel Burr is, to them at least, a necessary evil, a representative from the minority DoD faction within Onyx Rain and probably an emissary for some shadowy cabal within the military-industrial complex and/or the intelligence community.

Director Vani Gujarat, Townsend's immediate boss, seems to represent the DHS within Onyx Rain and wants to contain the consequences of Project Jade Serenity with minimal damage. To that end, she employs some medical researchers, but they seem to have a background in bioweapon defence and suchlike, which indicates that she wants to prevent futher harm. As long as 'contain' implies merely keeping former test subjects under observation, we can probably work with her, but we're scared stiff that she'll come to the conclusion that the test subjects are too dangerous and decide to have us all killed as part of the cleanup.

We are pretty sure that at least one faction, probably more, want to continue such experimentation, however. We're guessing that one such faction is within the DoD and it might even be that when the DARPA labs on Jewell Island were closed down, something else opened up in an even more secret location. And it's to those people that Dr. Cotton is really of the most interest.

Of course, Townsend has probably been talking to that mint-molasses-and-rum-in-a-crystal-glass voice for up to an hour. If it is Dr. Cotton, chances are that Townsend has heard enough to be very interested in what else he can learn from him, even if he had no idea about his work before he arrived on the island. Not to mention that Townsend is probably interested in an outcome which sees his own self not getting shot, so there is that.
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Old 03-24-2017, 10:30 AM   #124
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As O’Toole continues to operate without thought, consultation or tactical sense, Cherry Bell backs away from where he went and takes up position where the corridor that O‘Toole was in connects with the open area of the staff rec room. She seems to be assuming that O’Toole will draw hostile attention to them and is preparing to meet it. Considering the length of the corridor, Bell places her shotgun by the corner she stands at and readies her M16A2 assault rifle. Dr. Anderson stays by her side, with Dr. Emma King and the former hostages being about thirty feet away, most of them clustered around the small kitchenette, where King is doling out stale coffee, tap water and glasses of flat Pepsi.

O’Toole jumps when he hears three shotgun blasts from downstairs. As he does, he notices that the lights on the next room suddenly turn on. There is a connecting door between the two rooms, which is half ajar. O’Toole can’t hear or see anyone, but belatedly realises that someone has probably passed him and is between him and the others. This might not be much of a concern assuming that this hypothetical person exclusively means harm to the people in the kitchenette and rec room, but given the likelihood that the isolated O’Toole might become a victim of anyone stalking around the dark room he is in, he rushes into the corridor again.

Bell and Dr. Anderson remain confident that sounds of a shotgun mean Taylor is stunning guards rather than taking fire. None of the three have the auditory acuity or familiarity with firearms to distinguish the report of a LTL beanbag round from 00 buckshot, not 200 feet away and through two windows. Dr. Anderson can tell that the three blasts were not the exact same kind of sound and all occurred within less than a second, but this information does not tell him much, as he has no idea of the cycle rate of a pump-action shotgun or whether Taylor might have his weapon loaded with more than one type of shell.

Emma King starts walking toward Dr. Anderson and Bell, obviously with the intent of asking them what is going on. King whispers before she has entirely reached them.

Emma King: “Is there anything I can do?”
Dr. Anderson: “Perhaps…”
Bell [glancing back]: “Ssh! I’m trying to listen!

Something comes out of the shadows on Bell’s blind side. It’s black and grey, with tones of brown, blue and glints of white. It appears humanoid in shape, apart from the strange skin tone. Everyone notices the wide staring eyes filled with murderous madness, the uncanny ear-to-ear grin and a gleaming autopsy knife in the right hand as the humanoid leaps toward them. The figure grabs Bell’s chest and stabs her savagely in the lower back.

For the frozen fraction of second that Dr. Anderson sees the autopsy knife disappear under Bell’s tactical vest, he can recognise the attacker. It’s the patient he saw in J Wing when they first arrived on the island. Derek, his name was. A bald, pale fellow, drooled a bit when he saw him. Derek has taken off the patient issue shirt, but is still wearing the blue hospital pants. The unusual skin tone is the result of paint or some other material that Derek has poured all over himself, painting himself and rubbing various coloured substances all over. It’s fairly effective as camouflage and Dr. Anderson can see that he has applied what may be shoeshine to his face with an obvious intent to fall better into shadows.

Bell gasps in stunned surprise as she staggers forward a step, Dr. Anderson suddenly has a scalpel in hand, conjured from his sleeve like a stage magician and Dr. Emma King screams and faints. O’Toole, hearing the scream, runs back down the corridor to reach them. Instead of readying his M16A2, though, he draws the baton and Mace from his tool belt, letting the assault rifle hang on his patrol sling.

---

Way back in those halcyon days when Chase Taylor got to redshirt with the Crimson Tide, he had the honour and privilege to play with offensive tackle Chris Samuels, who went on to six Pro Bowls. At the time, Samuels was playing as a starter and already had a whole host of NFL scouts watching his every move. He outweighed puny freshman Taylor by about one cheerleader, and not one of the anorexic ones, either. Samuels was also a world-class athlete, fierce competitor and approximately as powerful as a freight train. For all his bulk, he could match Taylor step for step on the run, while he hit about two times as hard.

Taylor is sure that his estimate of Tyrrell being about the size of Chris Samuels is an exaggeration brought on by nerves. Taylor is all too afraid that his estimate of their relative speed is depressingly accurate, however, which means that Warden Tyrrell, wearing full tactical gear, is somehow running at the speed of a top NFL tackle. Trying to crush much smaller Taylor between a wall and a rifle held in a staff grip. And while Samuels could be a pretty intimidating guy and wasn’t averse to teaching uppity freshman outside linebackers who thought they could blitz through his offence some respect, he had never worn a face of such demonical murderous fury as disfigures the face of incoherently screaming Warden Tyrrell.

Taylor couldn’t prevent contact, so he moved into the Warden’s charge. Bending down and pushing at Tyrrell’s face, Taylor got him off balance and then interposed his leg in front of Tyrrell’s front foot in what would have been a blatantly illegal tackle against a blocker in a football game. Three feet away from the wall, moving at that speed, that massive and hyper-focused on hurting Taylor, there was simply no way that Tyrrell could retain his feet. An Olympic gymnast probably couldn’t.

Except that Tyrell somehow corrects for his lost footing and while he does end up crashing into the wall with an almighty crash, he does so in a controlled manner, retains his balance and even manages to almost catch Taylor’s left arm between him and the wall using his rifle as a staff. Only supreme effort, good interference with his right hand in Tyrrell’s face, a lower centre of balance and using the wall to bounce to the side allows Taylor to avoid being grappled. The two men are now side by side, Taylor facing outward into the corridor and Tyrrell facing the wall, with their right arms struggling for position. Tyrrell has already started pivoting on his right foot to bring his whole weight to bear on Taylor.

Hot fudge, he’s fast! An’ too darn strong! But fury has a price when it comes to fighting and Warden Tyrrell, for all his speed and strength, can’t turn 90 faster than Taylor can rake his right boot at the side of the knee bearing all Tyrrell’s weight while grabbing the Warden’s right arm for leverage. There’s a nasty pop as the knee joint snaps out of alignment. Taylor finishes his motion by spinning into position behind Tyrrell with his right arm in a picture-perfect standing arm lock, forcing Tyrrell down as his damaged knee can’t hold his weight.

Though the Warden is furious beyond any rational thought, he realises that his position is untenable and he must try to get out of the lock before he can resume breaking his puny foe into pieces. To that end, Tyrrell allows himself to be dragged slightly backwards, creating some space for his attempt to escape. In a MACP competition, Taylor would counter and then try to improve his position even further, force Tyrrell to tap out. But this isn’t competition and there is no tapping out.

Tyrrell drops his useless rifle, held by the barrel, and tries to drive his left elbow through Taylor’s midsection with a massive grunt. It’s the obvious counter, however, and Taylor simply bends forward and pushes Tyrrell out of position, robbing the blow of its force. Tyrrell simultaneously tries to push right and then break away to the left, trying to get out of the lock, but Taylor ignores the fake and follows along with a nimble sidestep, reading Tyrrell easily and keeping his superior position.

The huge man is powerful beyond belief, way too fast and even seems to be an experienced hand-to-hand fighter, but Taylor can see in a flash of insight that Tyrrell always defaults to the obvious high-percentage move for a streetfighter. It’s understandable for someone who learned to brawl mostly by arresting people for real, in that it generally works much better to perform a simple trick well than to do something complex imperfectly, but against someone reading his tactics and anticipating them, it’s a weakness. Another weakness is his anger, as a calmer man would have shot Taylor instead of charging him. There is a degree of hypocrisy in that judgment, as Taylor might be able to reach his pistol if he were to move backward, but he makes no attempt to do so.

Instead, Taylor tries to break Tyrrell’s arm with a brutal muscling of the locked arm. Taylor has the advantage of leverage, seventeen years of martial arts training and frankly, awesome strength for his lean weight of 165 lbs. He discovers that while Tyrrell may only outweigh him by half a cheerleader or so, he’s way stronger than anyone he’s ever fought before, with the possible exception of Terry Amiti. Instead of breaking, Tyrrell’s arm simply twists a bit, joint creaking, but he seems to be succeeding at brute forcing it out of the lock.

Taylor uses his left knee to slam Tyrrell’s head into the wall while they’re wrestling for position, but the first strike barely nudges the Warden’s thick skull. A second knee strike is more successful, mashing Tyrrell’s face into the wall and breaking his nose, to judge from the spout of blood that starts leaking down the off-white wall. With a grunt of effort, but no trace of emotion on his face, Taylor grabs Tyrrell’s head in both hands, yanks it back and drives it back into the wall with all his power, aiming the temple at the sharp corner.
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Old 03-24-2017, 11:38 AM   #125
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Especially as she is definitely his 'type', an educated, ambitious Southern woman with perfect skin, gorgeous coffee-and-cream complexion and lively dark eyes.
Wow, he's really "off-type" for a Good Ole Boy.


Quote:
Again, if Onyx Rain knew anything about what was going on at Manhanock Asylum for the Criminally Insane, it doesn't make much sense to send us there without warning and allow everyone to be disarmed by the guards.
You are way less suspicious than I am.

Also note: It's entirely possible for Onyx Rain* to not know what's going on (Warden Tyrrell going rogue) while still knowing what's going on (continued unethical research into Project Jade Serenity).

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If they wanted to secure something they thought was located on Jewell Island, they had every right to turn up in helicopters, with plenty of armed federal agents, and just take it.
You've mentioned the possibility of factionalism within Onyx Rain, so... don't discount it.


I mean Chase can discount it all day long and he seems the type to not even consider it, but as a Player and Research Assistant, I'd keep it in mind.


* Not even discounting that the various factions (Pro-Research/Anti-Research) might be keeping info from one another.
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Old 03-24-2017, 03:25 PM   #126
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Wow, he's really "off-type" for a Good Ole Boy.
Chase is self-consciously Broad-Minded. That is, ever since he was a little boy, Chase has taken pains to avoid the unthinking prejudices and parochialisms of Cory Earl Taylor, his small-time criminal, hard-drinking, meth-selling, bar-room brawling, lying, cheating bully of a father.

Because his father made racist remarks about them, Chase belligerently prefered black friends to white ones even as a middle schooler. By the time Chase was fourteen, Cory Earl finally took a hard bust and went away for a long time, but by that time, Chase already had more black friends than white ones. So it was kind of natural a few years on that his first girlfriend should be his best friend's younger sister, which was one Makayla Scott Hawkins, who just happened to have a lovely cafe au lait complexion.

Anybody who reminds Chase of the cheap floozies that Cory Earl used to hang around with is unlikely to appeal to him. For that matter, anybody who displays interest in Chase for qualities that he, consciously or subconsciously, is afraid that he shares with his father, is a huge turn-off.

Yes, that does mean that the women who are most subject to the positive reaction bonuses that Chase has* are pretty much off the table, whereas he's mostly interested in women with whom his Disadvantages and Quirks, like Social Stigma (Uneducated), Epitome (Southern Redneck) and Distinctive Speech (Alabama Drawl) are emphasised. Oh, and now Reputation and Social Stigma for his criminal record, too.

*Such as 4 levels of Stalker Talent that affects hunters and trackers, which would be the more tomboyish rural girls, and Classic Features (Good Ole' Boy), affecting all them loose women in them honky-tonks.

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You are way less suspicious than I am.
I suspect different things. For example, I don't believe that Dr. Cotton has been acting entirely alone. I just think that whoever have been helping him are not the same people as are behind Onyx Rain. Occam's Razor. The easiest explanation for why Cam Townsend almost got himself killed for no reason is that he had no idea about the danger.

If Townsend had been expecting anything of this kind, Taylor would almost certainly have noticed. Also, Townsend would probably have died before the events we are at in the story but for more-or-less random chance, i.e. Taylor managing to convince everybody to follow his lead and proving to be orders of magnitude more effective than anybody could reasonably expect for a former Green Beret who hasn't been training at all for almost six years.

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
Also note: It's entirely possible for Onyx Rain* to not know what's going on (Warden Tyrrell going rogue) while still knowing what's going on (continued unethical research into Project Jade Serenity).
It would be possible, but breathtaking incompetence for them. It's already pretty incompetent for the DHS to have allowed things to progress to this point at an out-of-the-way mental hospital where funding has been drying up and everyone has been playing a game of musical chairs not to be responsible for any decisions having to do with it.

If somebody official knew that anything actually important was happening on Jewell Island, the neglect and total lack of effective oversight goes from stupid, but within the margins of believable bureaucratic behaviour (which can be pretty stupid), to so monumentally stupid that it would only work in a bad comic book.

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You've mentioned the possibility of factionalism within Onyx Rain, so... don't discount it.
Sure, but Col. Burr and Agents Banks and O'Toole are far more likely to represent somebody other than Director Gujarat.

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I mean Chase can discount it all day long and he seems the type to not even consider it, but as a Player and Research Assistant, I'd keep it in mind.
True. Chase Taylor has been pretty busy while new information has come to light and has pretty much defaulted to assuming that everyone personally unknown to him who is involved with Onyx Rain might have cynical motives, but he's pretty sure that Director Vani Gujarat is in earnest when she says she is giving the former Project Jade Serenity test subjects the best chance of survival and any kind of life they can get from Onyx Rain.

Taylor is far from naive, but he's fairly confident in his abilities to know when somebody is trying to play him or deceive him. Given that he has Empathy with Hypersensory and Body Language -21, Detect Lie -20 and Psychology -14 (add +2 or +3 when Empathy applies), he does tend to be right about that.

Only world-class actors, spies and deceivers have any realistic chance at tricking him about their motives and personalities. And even then, if they don't know that he can listen to their heart rates, smell their emotions, detect microexpressions, etc., they'll probably not bother to expend the effort it would take to come up with a world-class deception on somebody so obviously a dumb redneck.

Before agreeing to help Onyx Rain find former Project Jade Serenity subjects, Chase Taylor spoke with Director Vani Gujarat in person and only after all his insticts and experience told him the same things about her, did he decide to believe her. So Taylor considers it a fact that Director Gujarat was telling him the truth about her motives as regards his old comrades in arms, that she would prefer that they worked with her willingly and that if they did so, they might continue to have lives of only moderately restricted freedoms and rights.

Taylor did also get the sense that if the risks grew too great, Gujarat would not hesitate in the slightest to order every single test subject killed in order to protect her country and its instutions, so if he was unwilling to help her to get them to cooperate, the odds of all the test subjects simply being killed would go up.

Taylor is not quite this certain about Cam Townsend being personally loyal to Gujarat, but all the evidence does point to it. He's a personal assistant, not anybody's representative but hers, chosen by her primarily for his loyalty and trustworthiness. Taylor didn't get the feeling that she gave her trust very easily. If she trusts Townsend, it would be a truly shocking surprise to discover that she is mistaken in that trust.

Basically, he's about the least likely person we've met to represent any mysterious faction apart from Director Gujarat herself. Who, at the moment, seems to be leading 'mainstream' Onyx Rain.

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* Not even discounting that the various factions (Pro-Research/Anti-Research) might be keeping info from one another.
We've been taking it as given that they are. On the other hand, as a convenient short-hand, it makes sense to use the term 'Onyx Rain' for the faction with which we have the most direct contact, meaning Director Vani Gujarat, Cam Townsend and whoever are behind them. Anyone with radically different goals, even if they may happen to have a position or some contact with the task force using the codename 'Onyx Rain', will have to be referred to by some other term, which we'll come up with in-character once we identify some.
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Old 04-02-2017, 10:19 AM   #127
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Warden Tyrrell seems to be hurt from the knee strikes, off-balance or surprised by Taylor’s instant transition to a brutal grab and smash. Taylor manages to lift Tyrrell backwards and up from his knees on the wind-up and puts all his power and their combined body weight behind smashing his foe forward into the wall.

Tyrrell’s head hits the corner with an ugly thunk as the right cheekbone disintegrates and Taylor can feel through his hands as Tyrrell’s skull splinters at the pterion, the junction of the frontal, parietal, temporal, and sphenoid bones. Droplets of blood spatter the off-white wall and Taylor’s expressionless face. There is no feeling of victory or vindication and Taylor wonders if he should perhaps smash Tyrrell’s head into the wall again and again until it feels like winning.

Hearing boots on the linoleum floor, Taylor comes back to himself and reacts immediately by turning with Tyrrell’s head still grappled. An African-American man wearing SRT tactical gear and wielding an M4 carbine with CQC optics and weapon light is less than ten feet away from Taylor, having come out the same open door as Warden Tyrrell. The man appears to be looking for a clear shot, but Taylor lifts Tyrrell by the broken head and raises him in front of him as cover and rushes at this new threat. Without any shot that wouldn’t hit the Warden, the man backs frantically into the open doorway.

With explosive power, Taylor heaves Tyrrell at the SRT guard before launching himself after him in a tackle. The guard manages to leap backward into the room he came from and avoid having Tyrrell’s head impact the muzzle of his carbine, but this forced him to move the weapon out of line. Taylor reaches him and tries to grab the gun, but a decisive weapon retention motion by the guard pulls the carbine out of Taylor’s blood-slicked hands. Only a desperate grab for the guard’s tactical vest allows Taylor to get inside trapping range before the guard can get off a burst.

As Tyrrell landed on the floor in the room, head first by the feet of the guard, he gave a surprisingly strong groan. As Taylor wrestles with the guard, he still retains enough awareness to rule out the sound being simply the expulsion of air from dead lungs. The SRT guard decides not to fire his carbine in the clinch, as the muzzle is pointed upward with Taylor’s slip inside his reach, and instead lets go of the weapon with his left hand and punches Taylor hard in the solar plexus while trying to step backward out of his grasp.

Taylor doesn’t seem to notice the blow, but pulls the guard off-balance enough to prevent him from escaping the clinch. While still struggling for position, Taylor glances downward at the prone Tyrrell and with lethal precision stamps his right foot down on the back of his head, hard. There is a crack of bone and bloody fragments of teeth shoot out as the mouth and jaw are crushed into the floor.

Taylor uses the same leg to follow up with a sharp knee strike to the groin of the guard he is wrestling with. The SRT member ‘oofs’ with pain and Taylor transitions his grasp to the rifle, turning it around in one deft move to point at the guard’s head while it is still attached to the patrol sling he’s wearing. The guard freezes and Taylor addresses him in a voice completely without affect.

Taylor: “I reckon you ain’t gonna believe me, but I don’t want you dead. I’s gonna step away an’ you gonna keep your hands up an’ then go to your knees, real slow.”

Taylor unhitches the patrol sling while keeping the rifle aimed at the guard’s head and steps back to allow the guard to kneel. Then Taylor removes the duty belt from him and grabs the grenade and flashbang from his vest, attaching them to his own gear. Finally, Taylor pushes the guard down and applies flex cuffs to his hands. All in all, securing the guard doesn’t take more than ten seconds. While he does it, Taylor can hear the conversation on the third floor continuing.

Townsend: “…about Deputy Warden Tyrrell?”
Southern voice: “Well, he’s not here at the moment, is he?”
Townsend: “Can you get him to surrender?”

Taylor looks over to the stairway in the corridor, where the corpulent guard who fell down the stairs is lying. Taylor can tell that this guard is pretending to be unconscious, but doesn’t feel like doing anything about it. He also notes idly that Tyrrell is somehow still breathing, but now that there is no immediate danger, the thought of killing him as he lies there defenceless seems obscene, no matter what he might know about Sherilyn Bell’s powers and how him talking to Onyx Rain might affect her.

Southern voice: “Well, I can try, but Brad Tyrrell is unfortunately quite stubborn about his delusions. I rather think he’ll perish fighting your tactical teams, don’t you?”

Taylor hears a female scream from the rear annex building, the second floor. He starts running for the windows to the balcony in the next room and as he does, he can hear a burst of assault rifle fire from the same location. While running, Taylor draws a rescue knife to cut his own patrol sling, so the M16A2 rifle he’s wearing falls to the ground and as he reaches the window, he throws the M4 carbine he’s holding at it to break it, so he’ll be as unencumbered as possible.

Townsend: “…you care…”

Taylor leaps out and puts his feet on the iron railing of the balcony, jumping as high as he can. While in the air, Taylor grabs the railing on the second floor balcony with both hands and swings upwards, managing to put his feet on the railings and push himself off again without losing all his velocity, turning his swing into a flying leap for the rear annex, feet first. Another three-round burst rings out from the building Taylor is jumping toward, about a second after the first one.

Even with the balcony standing out, the distance is more than ten feet and Taylor is aiming for a window that is up on the second floor. Even if he makes the distance, if he should hit the base of the window and it doesn’t break, Taylor is going to end up like a bird hitting plate glass, falling head first into the courtyard. And if the window breaks, Taylor is going to be surrounded by lethally sharp fragments of glass of varying sizes, some of which might be big and sharp enough to pierce vital organs or cut open arteries. There is a reason movie stuntmen break windows made from sugar or synthetic resin instead of real glass.

Townsend: “…at all, Dr. Cot…?”

The sounds of shattering glass distort Townsend’s speech at the end, but Taylor is pretty sure he was saying ‘Cotton’. Rolling among the sharp fragments, shielding his face as best he can with a left arm clad in sharp-protective tactical gear, Taylor ends his motion crouching and draws his M9 pistol.

[probable] Dr. Cotton: “No. And if you are honest, neither do you, really. You’re primarily interested in your own survival and future advantage, as you should be. Tyrrell, guards, hostages, tactical police; these people can live or die without affecting our lives in any way.”

Taylor is in a dark room that looks like a large office or a small library, with book cases covering every wall. More or less every part of Taylor’s body hurts, but he doesn’t feel any new wounds to speak of, just minor cuts and bruises. Of course, it’s very possible to get a deep cut with a sharp enough edge without feeling anything until the loss of blood starts to tell. From the corridor outside the room, Taylor can hear O’Toole talking, trying to be quiet.

O’Toole: “Did you guys hear that?”
Taylor: “It’s Chase Taylor, come to see if’n y'all need help. Is anybody hurt?”
Cherry Bell: “I’m fine, Chase! I can take care of myself, you know. I just shot a guy!”

Taylor moves into the corridor and forward to where the others are where the corridor enters the staff rec room. He can see Dr. Anderson kneeling over Emma King on the floor, but she doesn’t look injured, just shocked. O'Toole is holding Mace can and baton, with his rifle swinging on a patrol sling.

There is also a pale, bare-chested man with camouflage paint all over him lying on the floor. Cherry Bell, holding an M16A2 at the ready, has kicked a big and scary looking autopsy knife away from his right hand, but he’s got six scalpels hanging off an improvised belt around his patient issue trousers.

The bare-chested man in also very dead, with one bullet hole in the center of his chest, a good sized part of his cheek shot away and two bullet holes in the middle of his face, one between the eyes and one under the left one. Blood and other substances pooled thickly around his head and torso indicate that all the wounds left exit holes in the back as well, probably significantly bigger than the relatively small entry wounds.

Taylor runs to Sherilyn Bell when he sees that her tactical gear has a huge cut at the lower back. He sighs in relief when he can see that while the Point Blank ATF SWAT vest doesn’t reach down to the hips of a typical user, Sherilyn is short enough for the cut to have caught the lower edge of the vest. The para-aramid fibers are cut through from hip to hip and even her shirt underneath is tore open, but her smooth white skin is entirely unmarred.

Cherry Bell: “I said I’m fine. I’m not a baby, Chase!”
Taylor [looks at the dead body]: “I’m real sorry you had to do that, Lynnie, but I’ma sure glad y’all ain’t hurt.”

Taylor cocks his head as he hears something along the corridor that goes all the way to the front central building. Motioning for everyone to take cover, he peeks around the wall from the rec room down the length of the corridor while readying the flashbang he took from the SRT guard. He can see a man in full tactical gear coming into the corridor from a room to the side, holding a large precision rifle and scanning for threats.
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Last edited by Icelander; 05-05-2017 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 04-02-2017, 10:48 AM   #128
johndallman
 
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Default Re: Project Jade Serenity [Supers/Technothriller]

Has Taylor managed to stay on 1/3 hit points or more through all this?
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Old 04-02-2017, 11:26 AM   #129
Icelander
 
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Default Taylor's State of Health

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Has Taylor managed to stay on 1/3 hit points or more through all this?
Somehow, he has, yes. Taylor's full HP are 13 and he was at 7 HP when he emerged from the tunnels. Then he took 2 HPs from the beanbag hit, putting him at 5 current HP, but everything else has been 0 HP of injury. Cuts and bruises, but not enough to actually impair his functions any more. Largely, it must be said, from the DR 3-5 his ballistic and stab-protective tactical gear grants from injuries other than regular bullets.

If he hadn't had that, he'd have taken 6 HP from the beanbag hit rather than the 2 HP he did take (1 HP penetrating damage + 1 HP blunt trauma through the armour) and 4 HP of injury when Inspector Kevin Rankin (the African-American man wearing SRT gear) punched him in the solar plexus, either of which would have put him at 1 HP, which is, of course, well below 1/3 HP. He'd also have taken 4 HP of injury from crashing through the window, but DR 3 reduced the 3 HP of damage to 0 before the modifier for Cut was counted, so, again, Taylor could keep functioning thanks to wearing armour.

Taylor's at 10 FP now, out of 14 FP maximum, so after spending 1 FP on the jump between buildings he's at -1 to DX, IQ, ST and HT for Fatigue, according to the 'Last Gasp' rules from Pyramid #3/44. That's apart from the -1 DX his torso wounds give him and the -1 to all DX-based tasks involving his right arm from the burns there.

Taylor is lucky he has Will 15 to continue acting through the pain and fatigue. And high skill scores at most everything important, so a -2 to -3 penalty isn't crippling. Though, of course, even if he has 12- to succeed at some difficult task once, he's obviously been accomplishing everything he sets out to do pretty reliably. Including a series of 10- or so tasks, like unaimed headshots at 40-60 yards with beanbags that aren't mechanically accurate enough at that range to make the shot without some luck, the throw he made and the incredible Spiderman-stuff he pulled getting between the buildings.

In the hallway, against the SRT team and Warden Tyrrell, having 5 rerolls* available from having won the Quick Contest of Tactics didn't hurt any, as there isn't a chance anyone could have made all those rolls without the occasional re-roll being needed. Taylor even had to use his Luck (Aspected: Combat; Defensive) to avoid having buckshot hit him in the hand, neck and arm. OOC, I'd figured that trying to take out those guards without killing them carried with it about 50/50 odds of being shot, but considering that there was a decent chance that at least one of them had a shotgun and not a rifle, Taylor decided his tactical gear could probably deal with buckshot. If he hadn't had Luck, he'd have been very wrong.

As I'd made a point of mentioning the balconies as a potential back-up route between the buildings if Taylor had to when I was coming up with the basic outlines of Taylor's plan for taking the part of the buildings we figured the hostages would be occupying and preventing Tyrrell and his SRT guards from reaching them, Taylor could even use his last re-roll for the Acrobatics roll in Spidermanning his way over there.**

If the window hadn't broken right or if Taylor had been injured by glass fragments, he didn't have any Luck or re-rolls left for dealing with that, so all in all, it was pretty lucky that he was only hit by one effective fragment attack and that hit stab-protective armour and didn't do any injury through it.

*Upon reviewing my memory and counting Taylor's uses of the re-rolls in the session, I edited this. It was five and not eight rerolls. The error was because I remembered the Tactics roll having succeded by eight, but of course, this is a Quick Contest and Warden Tyrrell had a substantial bonus to his (penalised for taunting) Tactics roll for having a prepared plan and having trained his men many times in this exact situation.
**His Climbing and Jumping succeeded well enough without a reroll.
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Last edited by Icelander; 04-02-2017 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 04-02-2017, 12:01 PM   #130
johndallman
 
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Default Re: Taylor's State of Health

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
... having 8 rerolls available from having won the Quick Contest of Tactics didn't hurt any
Aha, I thought he seemed to have stepped up a notch there.
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