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Old 02-19-2017, 11:02 AM   #1
Icelander
 
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Default Project Jade Serenity [Supers/Technothriller]

As Assistant GM for Worldbuilding, Consistency, Plausibility and GURPS-rules Mechanics, I've made several threads relating to a new Supers/Technothriller campaign that we conceived of as Suicide Squad: The RPG: The Non-Terrible Version.

One on the martial arts in the campaign, one on technothriller black ops equipment, if our mysterious handlers ever trust us enough to allow us to operate semi-independently (also useful for the people who might try to kill us if we disobey), one on jurisdictional and custody rules about military prisoners and one on the response of the Coast Guard to a distress call we made from the Manhanock Asylum for the Criminally Insane on Jewell Island.

Here is a GoogleDrive folder for casting pictures. Spotify Playlist for Season 1. More on Jade Serenity music.

Background Information
Campaign Background
Player Characters
Jewell Island and the Manhanock Asylum for the Criminally Insane

The Story So Far:
Once Upon a Beginning
Gentlemen, Welcome to Shelter Island
Bells for Her
Into the Labyrinth
The Abyss Also Looks Into You
Fear of the Dark
In the Lair of the Minotard
Schrödiger's Closet
Black Holes and Revealations
In the Name of the Queen?
Lived in Your Chess Game
You Look Good in My Shirt
Mr. Murphy, I Presume
What We've Got Here is a Failure to Communicate
Bye, Bye, Blackbird
The Sound of Silence
Don't They Know It's the End of the World?
You Think You're Gonna Live Your Life Alone - In Darkness - And Seclusion
Crash Into Me
The Spy Who Loved Himself
Sad Songs Say So Much
What's That in the Shadows?
Tell Me Not, Sweet, I am Unkind
When We Were Us
...And Miles to Go Before I Sleep
Rejoice with Me, for I Have Found My Sheep which Was Lost!
Having Put on the Breastplate of Righteousness
Bei Mir Bistu Shein
You'll Never Walk Alone
God Willing and the Creek Don't Rise
In the Hall of the Rodent King?
Lord Almighty, I Feel My Temperature Rising
A Candy-colored Clown They Call the Sandman
Black Snake Moan
Wicked Game
Everything is Awesome
Baby, I'm Your Biggest Fan
Danger, Danger, High Voltage!
It's All Fun and Games, Until Somebody Loses an Eye
If You Find Yourself Alone, Riding in the Green Fields with the Sun on Your Face...
I Am Wrath
Thus Shall My Anger Be Accomplished
Feelin' Just Fine All Numb
The Good Shepherd
Calling Dr. Anderson
For SCIENCE!
Action Heroes Never Have to do Triage
This is my Boom Egg?
Nobody Remembers Nuthin'
Way Down in the Hole
Through Early Morning Fog I See...
Bible Study
Top Men
Full of Sweet Dreams, and Health, and Quiet Breathing
Let Slip the Dogs of What?
Camp O'Toole
Knife Work that Needs Doing
An Evening with Dr. Anderson
Memory, All alone in the moonlight
Some New Age philosophy?
Monkey Business
Morning After
Changing of the Guard
Dubious Debrief
La Belle Dame Sans Merci
Safe as Houses
A Full and Frank Exchange of Views
Queen Moves, Sacrifices White Knight?
Dangerfield
Get APHIS
Better Judgment
Bury Me Not...
Shark Tank Interview
Science of Behaviour and Mind
In a Long Black Veil
Lessons in Love
Hypothetical Objective Metrics
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Old 02-19-2017, 11:06 AM   #2
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Default Campaign Background

Rationale

The GM wants to use tropes, situations and themes from comics and superhero movies and if I want to avoid critical failure of the suspension of disbelief, it's my job to come up with in-setting justifications for these.

I had to come up with a situation where any government would try to send dangerous people of questionable loyalty along with actual soldiers or law enforcement into situations which call for only motivated, disciplined operators working together. Why would Onyx Rain, an supersecret task force dedicated to dealing with the fallout from secret military experiments that led former test subjects to developing superpowers (more than a decade after the experiments ended), ever use superpowered operators if they were worried about them trying to escape or even joining the threats they were supposed to fight?

From that flowed the situation where the PCs would have personal connections to people that were wanted alive, could not be simply killed with Hellfire or Griffin missiles and might respond to an offer of partial amnesty from people they trusted. Also, having the people in power over the PCs represent a conspiracy within the government, not a completely above-board official government program, and one where there were multiple factions with different objectives. That's always good for a desperation ploy by one faction or another, utilisating whatever limited resources they have at hand, that from the outside looks quite insane.

Campaign Background

The PCs are former test subjects of Project Jade Serenity, a military program testing the effects of various nootropic and performance-enhancing drugs on highly motivated, extremely intelligent, healthy and well-conditioned young soldiers in a training environment. Project Jade Serenity was carried out in an outlying part of Camp Mackall, North Carolina between late 1998 and the first day of 2000, and involved training evolutions of ODA 746 (newer number ODA 7216), an operational detachment-alpha or basic operational team of operators, from Alpha Company / 2nd Battalion / 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) (7th SFG(A)), as well as a modified form of Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) for picked young applicants in excellent health.

At least one of the Special Forces operators had been a test subject before. CW2 Raul Vargas has some kind of history with the mastermind behind Project Jade Serenity, Dr. Edward Vanderbert, and had been involved in similar experiments long before Project Jade Serenity. Several other legacy subjects were occasionally rotated through Camp Mackall for observation and further trials. Mostly these legacy subjects would be former mental patients or military personnel convicted at court martial, indicating that in the past, Dr. Vanderbert had primarily experimented on people whose willing and informed consent was at best a dubious proposition.

Two of the Project Jade Serenity personnel were arrested and accused of crimes during 1999, but Dr. Vanderbert was somehow able to get their court martials delayed so as to allow Project medical staff to finish the last weeks of observations and trials. One of the accused was CW2 Raul Vargas, who was caught smuggling recreational drugs into the base. Another was SSG Santiago Garcia, a friend of his and a suspect in the drug case, who was eventually charged for possession of child pornography after a search of his quarters.

On New Year's Eve 1999 or New Year's Day of 2000, what we've been calling 'the Incident' took place. CW2 Vargas and SSG Garcia escaped from Project Jade Serenity, apparently with the help from one or more of the staff. Arrested after the Incident was Pvt. Sherilyn Bell, a nineteen-year-old mental health specialist who was among the Project staff and who had apparently fallen in love with CW2 Vargas and agreed to help him escape, but seems to have been injured in the escape and been left behind. Three people were killed, a SPC Luis Chavez who was one of the test subjects taking the modified SFQC, a Julio Sosa, a military prisoner, former ODA 746 member and legacy test subject and a CPL Wiliam S. Kirkland on base security detail. Several other people were seriously injured, with Dr. Anderson remaining in a coma for a year after the Incident, apparently as a result of a drug coctail composed of many drugs being evaluated at Project Jade Serenity was injected into his neck by PV2 Bell.

Project Jade Serenity was discontinued after this. The results were fairly promising, but inconclusive, especially as the integrity of the experiments was compromised by a lack of rigour in the testing protocol. Some of the control group may have had access to testing drugs and several of the staff were also indulging in those of the drugs they had identified as having a positive impact on memory and learning speed. More drugs than had been authorised were being tested, on a wider scale than intended, with two local FEMA employees apparently falsifying records to funnel additional medical equipment and money to the Project.

Investigations into Project Jade Serenity were held up, interfered with and negotiated away, with no one tried except the two FEMA employees, who took a plea bargain where they did little time. This no doubt protected senior officers involved in authorising the research and experimentation, but many otherwise upright people connived in the coverup to prevent the public image of the Army being damaged by what they saw as the criminal misconduct of very few individuals. Some careers ended and there was a massive reorganisation related to the scientific research facilities and organisations that were behind Project Jade Serenity, but it was all shrounded in such secrecy that it is impossible to say with certainty whether such experimentation was ever completely dropped. Pvt. Sherilyn Bell was found unfit for court martial by a sanity board, as she was apparently completely catatonic after the Incident.

The years passed. The alumni of Project Jade Serenity went on to have careers in the US Army Special Forces. Most of them served together in the 7th SFG(A) for many years, with ODA 7216 of A Co/2 Bn/7th SFG(A) having a high concentration of operators who had participated in Project Jade Serenity as test subjects. For several years, ODA 765 was a special response unit, composed nearly entirely of former Project operators, which functioned for the commander of 2nd Battalion much as the CIF company did for the commander of the 7th SFG(A) as a whole. The two men who participated in Project Jade Serenity looking to become Special Forces officers were eventually promoted past the initial post as Captain of an ODA. MAJ Sheffield F. Ford III retired as O-4 and the XO of 2nd Battalion of the 7th SFG(A), but Col. Alejandro Ortiz reached O-6 and a high staff position preparing him for command of a Special Forces Group.

In the years since the end of Project Jade Serenity, some of the people who particpated might have noticed that their physical health remained remarkably good. As the years passed, they didn't deteriorate at all. In fact, some of them steadily improved; physically, mentally and even in some unforeseen ways. Of course, some of them had mental problems, but the percentage might not have been noticably higher than in any other randomly chosen sample of high-achieving, assertive young males who self-select for a very dangerous profession.

By the year 2012, however, even if no one was specifically tracking the former test subjects any more or analysing their numbers, someone noticed something was off. Between then and the current time, February 2017, someone within the US government formed Onyx Rain, a very secret joint task force that mostly seems to use Department of Homeland Security resources, but has some personnel from the DoD as well. Their goal seems to be the investigation of the consequences of Project Jade Serenity and the containment of these consequences.

Very recently, Onyx Rain sent Col. Ortiz and a hand-picked detachment of his men into Mexico. They were meant to contact Vargas and Garcia, who had been living there, and offer them amnesty in return for them returning to the fold and agreeing to live under Onyx Rain observation. Col. Ortiz and his men never returned. According to Onyx Rain, they are all AWOL, not dead, but appparently deliberately out of contact.

Our characters have agreed to a short term contract to assist Onyx Rain in locating the former Project Jade Serenity test subjects and convincing them to cooperate. We were made quite aware that not agreeing would lead to them taking stronger measures to ensure that we remained under their control and observation. Our first adventure is to visit Jewell Island, where Sherilyn Bell has been housed in the Manhanock Asylum for the Criminally Insane since the Incident of 2000, and get her to help us find Raul Vargas and help convince him to turn himself in to Onyx Rain.

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Old 02-19-2017, 11:20 AM   #3
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Default Player Characters

PCs

Dr. Michael Anderson [picture unavailable] (b. [unknown], 1968; New Haven, CT)
Dr. Anderson is a brilliant psychiatrist who graduated from the Yale School of Medicine with an MD and a PhD in psychology. Instead of accepting any of the numerous offers he had for residency at a top-tier teaching hospital, however, he did his psychiatric residency at the Manhanock Asylum for the Criminally Insane, working on some DARPA-funded nootropic drug research (1994-1998). Once he finished his residency, Dr. Anderson accepted a military contract to continue similar research in North Carolina, as part of Project Jade Serenity (1999-2000).
After almost a year spent in a coma after Sherilyn Bell's assault on him during the Incident of 2000, Dr. Anderson has been a very different man. He still remains a licensed psychiatrist, but does not have a security clearance or work on military contracts. And he spends more time on his other 'careers', as a stage magician and a budding horror writer (unpublished).
Dr. Anderson has developed strange powers related to the subconscious, dreams and sleep. He keeps the full extent of his powers carefully hidden from his handlers at Onyx Rain and simply pretends to have some limited ESP capability when he is sleeping. Dr. Anderson is phenomenally healthy and active for his age, moving like an athlete of half his age. He also scores off the charts on any intelligence test ever written, having improved steadily since the Incident of 2000.
Author, stage magician, dreamweaver. One of the few men you'll meet who has written more books than he's read. Insists that Stephen King and Dean Koontz are hacks compared to him (will not even speak of Stephanie Meyer), but the world isn't ready for his creative genius.

Special Agent Daniel O'Toole (b. [unknown date], 1989; Boston, MA)
Danny O'Toole isn't actually a former test subject. He is actually one of the suit-clad, tactical-radio-sporting, sunglasses-wearing MIBs who Onyx Rain assigns to keep an eye out for us dangerous test subjects. What O'Toole has managed to keep from Onyx Rain, however, is that he has spent all of his adult life chasing down rumours of Project Jade Serenity and the experiments that preceded it. His position at Onyx Rain is the culmination of years of conspiracy theorising.
O'Toole spent two years as a communication technician in the US military and joined the CBP after getting his degree from UMass-Boston. He has spent his short law enforcement career so far mostly in the El Paso Intelligence Center.
Danny O'Toole is a powerful psychokinetic, a secret he knows that Onyx Rain must never find out if he is to have any freedom of action. He never knew his father, but research has led him to believe that his mother spent time with a Special Forces operator around the time of his birth, a Raul Vargas. And O'Toole is convinced that Vargas' involvement in the secret experiments are what led to O'Toole being born with his psionic gifts.
Danny grew up with his grandparents, poor-but-proud Irish Catholics from South Boston. Around them, he was a good Catholic boy who was respectful to nuns and priests, tried to avoid sounding 'ill-bred' and studied hard. Around his older half-brother and his friends, Danny was a little Southie thug, his dialect almost incomprehensible. The ability to live his life as two different people stands him in good stead in adulthood, where he plays the role of highly professional G-Man in a suit most of his days, but is only working for Onyx Rain as a means to an end, to find his father and get answers about his powers.
Danny is a die-hard Red Sox fan and he might actually have made it as a professional baseball player if his grandmother hadn't made him promise to finish college. He's not much above average height, but he's extremely strong, fit and quick, as well as gifted with a good eye and superlative swing.

Mackenzie Chase Taylor (b. May 5, 1979; Luverne, AL)
Chase Taylor was an outside linebacker on a very successful Luverne Tigers team in high school. He got a partial scholarship to the University of Alabama in 1997, with a promise of a full ride if he made the starting team, but after a few months and a few appearances on the field, he was told that there just wasn't space on the scholarship list for a high-school linebacker without the size to stand in the line of scrimmage.
Taylor joined the US Army, with a promise for Airborne School and RIP right out of AIT. Taylor was an excemplary Ranger, aided in no small part by his admiration for and devotion to his platoon commander, Lt. Alejandro Ortiz. When Lt. Ortiz applied for SFQC, Taylor found a way to try out for Special Forces as well. That way was Project Jade Serenity, which Taylor went through in his early twenties. While there, Taylor formed a very close friendship with Pvt. Sherilyn Bell, a mental health specialist at the base. Initially shy of making any advances in a romantic direction, Taylor eventually got the impression that Ms. Bell had negative experiences with men valuing her only for her looks and made a conscious decision not to pursue her sexually, at least until she gave a clear signal that she wished things otherwise, convincing himself that he was being considerate rather than cowardly.
Nevertheless, Taylor ended a long-distance relationship with SGT Ava Del Rio, his girlfriend at the time, and spent almost all of his off-duty time in Sherilyn's company for more than half a year. Only toward the end of his training cycle did Taylor admit to himself that not only had his romantic interest in Ms. Bell grown rather than waned over the course of the year, but that she did not share his interest and probably never would.
The week after Taylor's assignment at the Project headquarters ended and he moved out of his quarters there, he began a relationship with Rhonda McBride, a medical student he met while partying with fellow recruits who had also finished their training cycle.
The Incident of 2000 was a terrible shock for Taylor. He was aware that CW2 Raul Vargas had been pursuing Sherilyn Bell at Project Jade Serenity, in much more flagrant disregard of fraternization rules than anything Taylor might have wanted to have with her, but was confident that Ms. Bell could not be interested in CW2 Vargas (and would have been against reporting it anyway). When CW2 Vargas was arrested for possession of contraband drugs (and his friend for child pornography), Taylor might have expected Ms. Bell to cut all ties with Vargas, but didn't specifically ask her to do so or monitor whether or not she did.
After the Incident, Taylor made multiple attempts to see Ms. Bell, but was informed that she was unresponsive, catatonic and not able to see anyone. He made attempts to see her frequently in the years after that, but was always denied permission, as he was not a family member or had any other obvious connection to her that would allow him to visit. He received different explanations for not being allowed to see her over the years and can't help but wonder if he could have won through if he had been willing to contact his congressman, write to newspapers or make noise outisde normal military channels in some other way.
Taylor spent the years 2000-2011 in several different assignments in US Army Special Forces, most of them within Alpha Company/2nd Battalion/7th SFG(A). Things with Rhonda McBride didn't work out, but he eventually ended up meeting a girl with whom things did, one Dolores Claire Starr. Lola was sophisticated, elegant and the sister of the new Captain of Taylor's ODA. Taylor married Lola and they had twin girls, Betty Rose and Savannah Belle. Betty is his mother's name, Rose her mother's and Taylor never did tell his wife where he got the name 'Belle', just saying that he liked the sound.
On the 4th of July, 2011, Taylor assaulted a policeman during a Fourth of July parade, grabbed his pistol and shot a truck driver several intersections away five times, three in the chest and two in the face. Taylor then surrendered quietly. No one could explain his actions, the truck driver was merely sitting innocently behind his wheel waiting for the parade to pass him by, and people standing closer to him than Taylor could clearly see that he hadn't moved in any way before Taylor's action. Taylor's friends hired a private investigator to check out the possibility that the man might have had some factor in his own life which could lend credence to a claim that the truck driver had been planning to drive into the parade, but not a shred of evidence of that could be found. Taylor received a 30 year sentence which he was serving at the USDB at Fort Leavenworth at the start of play.
Taylor's powers are improved senses and sensory cognition. He's still at his physical peak at age 37 and is remarkably fit for someone who has spent the last five and a half years in a cell.
According to other operators in the 7th SFG(A), Taylor is the only graduate of the Defense Language Institute to pass all tests for Spanish fluency while still sounding like Gomer Pyle's retarded country cousin in either language. They nicknamed him 'El Gringo Rojo' for his redneck accent and fondness for Crimson Tide football.
Taylor's father was a parochial, bigoted, racist bully. In general, Taylor lives his life by a simple rule of thumb. In any situation, he'll consider what his father would do and then proceed to do the exact opposite.
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Old 02-19-2017, 11:21 AM   #4
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Default Jewell Island and the Manhanock Asylum for the Criminally Insane

On the real island of Jewell Island in Casco Bay, Maine, there exists, in our campaign, a fictional mental institution, the Manhanock Asylum for the Criminally Insane. Jewell Island is no more than 8 miles from Portland, ME.

The Manhanock Asylum is inspired by the real Danvers State Hospital and uses the same floorplan, but in our campaign, it is a federal institution, not a state or local one. At this time, Manhanock Asylum is still operational as a satellite facility from St. Elizabeths Hospital, mostly for patients that are very far removed from reality, but happen to have possessed a high security clearance before their trouble. It comes under joint Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Homeland Security administration.

Part of the fictional compound on our Jewell Island is a defunct Coast Guard forward base that is still officially classed as a mothballed facility under their administration, with a dock that receives regular visits from a Coast Guard cutter. This dates backs to the days when the site used to be a black facility for unethical DoD experiments on mental patients. The joint administration of the island has been moved to the DHS, as the the outcry within government circles when the experiments came to (limited) light in the year 2000 wasn't quite enough to expose it to the public, it sufficed to quietly strongarm the DoD into closing down the experiments and allowing the bureaucrats who had made some startling discoveries to remove the sites from DoD control.

The guard force on the island officially falls under the Federal Protective Service. Most of them are civilian security guards under contract, but the eight man SRT on the island all have federal law enforcement credentials of some kind, either as Coast Guard Reserve, Auxiliary or part-time federal law enforcement from FPS. The guard force is large enough for twenty of them or so to be on the island at any one time. Many of the guards have a week on, week off, kind of schedule, so there are probably some 30-40 guards working for the security contractor who officially handles security there. Several of the guards are USAR, Coast Guard Reserve or Maine Army National Guard, with some of them having served as part of the security detachment there when this was still a DoD facility.

NPCs from Onyx Rain with us on Jewell Island

With us on Jewell Island are three NPCs from Onyx Rain. Agent Banks is nominally in charge, but both Cam Townsend and Col. Burr are more important than him in terms of influence. There is reason to believe that the people in charge of Onyx Rain resent the necessity of keeping the DoD and/or the US Army involved in events, but are forced to do so because of factional machinations highest levels of the conspiracy. Col. Burr may therefore represent a different faction of Onyx Rain or even be an agent for another conspiracy, in addition to being read in on Onyx Rain.

Special Agent David Banks (b. February 5, 1972, Chicago, IL)
A tough, no-nonsense former CGIS officer (retired at O-4 / LCDR) who now works for the Department of Homeland Security. Agent O'Toole's direct superior.

Cameron Townsend (b. June 23, 1983; East Hampton, NY)
The personal aide of Director Vani Gujarat; the presumptive director of Onyx Rain or at least the most senior person we know of within the conspiracy. 'Cam' Townsend has a Political Science degree from Princeton, law degree from Columbia School of Law and an MPP/MiM from McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. He is charming, polished and self-assured. He's also a bit overwhelmed since things got violent.

Col. Andrew Burr (b. November 11, 1959; Terre Haute, IN)
A senior officer of US Army Counterintelligence. When asked, claimed to have been an infantry officer once. Not entirely happy that Taylor keeps acting decisively and unilaterally, considering that Taylor is a convict, but hasn't yet objected violently, considering the fact that he's had to tacitly admit that Taylor was right on each occasion.

NPCs at Manhanock Asylum for the Criminally Insane

Dr. Vernon Findlay
The Chief Administrator of Manhanock Asylum for the Criminally Insane. We haven't met him, but as we hear that he instituted changes when he came aboard after the year 2003 that included changing his title away from the venerable 'Warden', we refer to him as the 'Administrator Formerly Known as the Warden' (AFKatW).

Deputy Warden Brad Tyrrell.
The Warden's deputy and chief of security is a former Chief Warrant Officer of the US Coast Guard and a member of the guard detail when Jewell Island was still a DoD site. As things stand in the adventure, he seems to be a few beers short of a six-pack; referring to himself as the 'King', his men as 'Knights', Ms. Sherilyn Bell as the 'Queen' and to the federal law enforcement agents visiting Jewell Island as 'traitors'.

Dr. Bruce Cotton
Ms. Bell's primary physician. Recent information in our adventures suggests that he may be less than upstanding.

Dr. Emma King
Bright, young psychiatrist who works with Ms. Bell. About the only doctor at Manhanock Asylum about whom Ms. Bell speaks positively.

Sherilyn Bell
Born in North Carolina in 1980, Ms. Bell appears shockingly youthful at age 36, enough to convince the PCs who know anything about the potential effects of Project Jade Serenity that she is exhibiting classic symptons of having been affected by the various experimental drugs. Ms. Bell was a mental health specialist at Camp Mackall during Project Jade Serenity when she apparently helped CW2 Raul Vargas and SSG Santiago Garcia as they embarked on their violent escape. May have killed people in that incident herself and was certainly responsible for putting Dr. Michael Anderson in a coma by injecting him with a coctail of experimental drugs during an altercation.
Never tried for her part in the ecape, declared unfit for trial and immured at Manhanock Asylum for the Criminally Insane for seventeen years.

'Special Agent' Vicente Berrocal
Man we found beaten, tortured and catatonic in the cell next to Cherry Bell. Carries ID from the DHS, but they are fake. Cherry Bell claims he said he was sent by Raul Vargas to help her escape.
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Old 02-19-2017, 06:23 PM   #5
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Default Story So Far - Once Upon a Beginning

The PCs met in Washington, DC, at the Department of Homeland Security headquarters, on Thursday the 2nd of February, 2017. Well, Taylor and Dr. Anderson had met already, some 17 years earlier, at Project Jade Serenity. Dr. Anderson had already been told before flying down to DC that his help was desired in connection with tracking down some of the test subjects of Project Jade Serenity and convincing them to agree to follow-up medical testing. Chase Taylor had agreed to help as soon as Director Vani Gujarat told him that their goal was to help his old brothers-in-arms and that if he could not convince them to turn themselves in, they would be in great danger.*

Taylor was accompanied from USDB Fort Leavenworth by two US Army CID men as his personal security detail, a CW3 DeMarcus Worley and an SSG Kevin Kowalski. Worley was a delight, a true professional through and through. Kowalski seemed a little more high-strung. Taylor speculated that maybe Kowalski was suffering from an over-abundance of machismo and/or had flunked out of RASP or SFQC.

As soon as Taylor was transfered away from the ordinary correctional specialists at USDB Fort Leavenworth, his minders visit a safe house with him, make him cut his hair, dye the resulting buzz-cut black and give him some sports clothing instead of his prison chic outfit. The goal is evidently to make it less likely that anyone will recognise him from old news photographs. They also give him a package with an off-the-rack G-Man suit, clip-on tie and slip-on shoes, along with temporary ID showing status as a DHS employee (not law enforcement ID).

Director Vani Gujarat spoke with our characters at DHS headquarters briefly once Dr. Anderson and Taylor had accepted contract employment with the DHS and the smooth-talking 'Cam' Townsend had gone over our contracts and astonishingly extensive NDAs. Gujarat told us that Dr. Byron Leonard and his colleagues would examine us next 'for liability issues'. "He's a good man... and thorough." She wasn't lying. We were poked and prodded for almost a whole day.

We were introduced to Special Agent Banks and the very junior Special Agent O'Toole, the third PC. An old friend of Taylor's form Project Jade Serenity, Zachary Holden, former Project chief of security, ex-CIA spook, trainer of death squads in El Salvador and Honduras and visiting lecturer in torture and assassination all around the world, button-holed both Dr. Anderson and Agent O'Toole as they were leaving and warned them against Taylor.

Holden told them how Taylor was a vicious murderer, charming pscyhopath and highly dangerous special operator who could kill them with a spoon or their shoelaces. We assume that he told Banks and the two CID men the same thing. It's not true, in case anyone was wondering. Chase Taylor is a real sweetheart and not even a little bit psychopathic. Taylor just has a bit of an attitude problem when it comes to petty bullies and entitled bigots, tribes of which Holden is a proud card-carrying member.

We were then told what our mission was. To go to the Manhanock Asylum for the Criminally Insane on Jewell Island and speak with Sherilyn Bell. Taylor was to do his best to convince her to be helpful and hear them out and Dr. Anderson was to give a second opinion as to her competence to provide any assistance at all. Director Gujarat seemed to believe that having been stabbed by Ms. Bell before, Dr. Anderson would be properly sceptical of her.** To avoid prejudicing his opinion, they didn't tell us what her primary physician estimated about her mental competence at this time.

For reasons that probably had to do with security and a low profile, our characters took an eight hour road trip the next morning, to reach South Portland, Maine, instead of flying in. Agent O'Toole went with Worley, Kowalski and Taylor in the big black SUV they had with a secure holding area for a detainee in the back.*** Dr. Anderson, Banks and Townsend got the other car, which was a less noticable, but comfortable luxury car like any prosperous senior executive might drive.

Taylor somehow convinced his minders to allow him to stop at a Walmart's as they were getting underway. There he bought cherry-flavoured Airheads and Tic-Tacs, new issues of Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and People magazines, adult crayons and some drawing books, failing to find some cinnamon Certs. He also purchased an Alabama Crimson Tide cap and considered buying a Carolina Panthers hat, but ended up deciding that the guards wouldn't allow her to have one. Dr. Anderson, upon hearing that Taylor was buying stuff to give to Sherilyn Bell, added a stuffed animal and some candyfloss.

Taylor justified his purchases to the two CID men by saying that on behalf of Uncle Sam, he'd been told to ask Ms. Bell to cooperate willingly and that compared to the cost of everything else, a few bucks for candy and crayons was cheap at the price if it made her even slightly more inclined to listen. Also, his momma always told him to bring gifts when coming to see a young lady. When they queried why he'd also bought himself a Crimson Tide college football cap, Taylor put it on with a grin and said: "Ya'll want her to recognise me, doncha?"

The drive up to Maine was more or less uneventful. Taylor spent it chatting about the upcoming Super Bowl to the cops in his car. Apparently, CW3 Worley, built like a mean-looking freight train, favoured the Atlanta Falcons, as he was from Atlanta, but he was not really into football. Too violent for him, he said gravely. Taylor was thrilled when he found out that Agent O'Toole had been at Boston College while Matty Ice had been the quarterback there. He asked him excitedly if O'Toole had known Ryan personally, if he'd ever spoken with him and suchlike. O'Toole told him that Matt Ryan once asked him politely to get out of the way when O'Toole was kind of blocking the way to the keg at a Boston College house party.

We reached South Portland ahead of schedule, maybe because everyone bought snacks at Walmart's and we didn't stop for lunch. So we had a late lunch at a dockside restaurant. Clam chowder and sandwiches. Agent Banks didn't eat with us; we figured that he was making calls or meeting some people about our arrival there.

At the ferry pier, we met Colonel Andrew Burr, who introduced himself as being 'of the US Army'. Taylor pegged him for DIA, MI or Counterintelligence or something, but he wouldn't tell us any more, other than he'd take over minding Taylor while on Jewell Island. Worley and Kowalski were off duty until we got back, which probably wouldn't be until Sunday, as we expected to need more than one day to make a final determination of whether Ms. Bell could be of any help, even if she did agree.

There was a minor incident at the ferry, as we had to sign into a visitor's log. Agent Banks was concerned that there was the name of a Special Agent Vicente Berrocal on the log. Taylor could clearly see that the signature when he signed in last night and the signature when he signed out that morning were two different people and apparently Banks either noticed this too or else didn't expect this agent to be visiting here. Taylor made a point to ask Banks in a low voice if he had his radio with him in case of emergencies, but received nothing except a stony glare in return. It's almost as if cops don't like felons telling them how to do their jobs.

Then the ferry took us to Jewell Island. It was about sunset by the time the island was visible to us up ahead. Two high observation towers over the forested island, the top of the gothic style asylum looming behind the towers.

*Taylor asked her during a face-to-face meeting and has Empathy with Hypersensory, extremely high Per and Detect Lie. He believes her without reservation, but is aware that while she would prefer a peaceful resolution, she would have no trouble ordering the execution of every former Project Jade Serenity test subject if there was no other practical alternative.
**It's possible that Director Gujarat privately believes that letting Sherilyn Bell out of a mental institution is ill-conceived, but is being pressured by some other faction to make a show of trying to utilise her as an intelligence asset.
***Taylor didn't have to stay in it, as they had received orders not to make it obvious that he was still a prisoner, but it was ready in case Sherilyn Bell was found to be willing and competent to accompany them back, in order to assist in contacting Raul Vargas.
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Old 02-19-2017, 11:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: Project Jade Serenity [Supers/Technothriller]

And there was much rejoicing!
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Old 03-24-2017, 04:44 AM   #7
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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, 06:46 AM   #8
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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.

Quote:
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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