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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 02-20-2017, 05:42 AM   #7
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Default Gentlemen, Welcome to Shelter Island

On the ferry ride, Dr. Anderson informed Townsend that 'Manhanock' means 'Shelter Island' in the Abenaki language. As part of the Manhanock Asylum for the Criminally Insane, it wasn't an original Native American toponym, however, but was chosen by the WASP designers of the modern and innovative mental institution, as sounding welcoming and peaceful.

Colonel Burr and Agent Banks conferred about something on the way, with any attempts by Taylor to join their conversation rebuffed. Trying to pretend being treated like a dangerous criminal didn't hurt him, Taylor went to chat with the operator of the ferry, who proved to be a retired Coast Guard bosun and former member of the Manhanock Asylum guard force. Taylor found out that New England was apparently unified in support of the Patriots for Sunday's game, that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were the greatest coach-quarterback duo in history and that Tom Brady was unquestionably the GOAT.

Also, that the private security guard force at Jewell Island was founded around 2003, when the island was taken over by the DHS, and originally consisted mostly of former members of the military detail that used to be stationed there. They exchanged uniforms and paymasters, went up in salary and didn't have to deal with half as much bureaucracy anymore. By now, most of the original guards are retired, but many of the current guard are their relatives or have some other connection, as Deputy Warden Tyrrell can hire whomever he likes and he prefers to go with men he knows and trusts.

The ferry is operated by several former guards, who bought a ferry and bid for the logistics contract on the island. They move staff around when they have off weeks or days and they bring supplies to the island. The ferry makes a morning run and an evening run every weekday, but over the weekend, there are no trips at all after the Friday evening run unless special arrangments are made.

Taylor asked Agent Banks if they'd be picked up tomorrow by a special ferry, but Banks had made no such arrangments and told Taylor they'd leave when they were done and not before. Taylor immediately began asking the ferry operator about TV reception on the island and was relieved when he was told that although cell phone reception was spotty, they got excellent TV reception and the guards had a nice recreational area where they'd watch the game.

At the docks on Jewell Island, we were welcomed by Deputy Warden Brad Tyrrell and two of his men driving jeeps to take us to the Manhanock facility at the other side of the island. There were also some orderlies present to move boxes of supplies, but no one seemed to be leaving the island. According to the Warden, everyone off duty over the weekend had already left that morning.

We were surprised not to meet with Chief Administrator Dr. Vernon Findlay (the Administrator Formerly Known as the Warden) or any of the medical staff, particularly Ms. Bell's primary psychiatric caregiver, Dr. Bruce Cotton, or his assistant Dr. Emma King.

Our jeeps passed through gates to reach the compound. We saw the observation towers clearly as we drove past and Taylor noticed the crew-mounted weapons in them. Some more guards courteously stopped us as we disembarked from the jeeps and asked for our weapons. No one could carry inside Manhanock Asylum but guards and only then if the Deputy Warden had designated a state of emergency.

Agents O'Toole and Banks handed the guards their H&K P2000SK pistols and the rest of us said we were unarmed. Taylor inexpertly twirled a pencil between his fingers while holding up a notebook, grinning: "All the weapons I need." No one seemed to find him amusing. We were scanned with a metal detector, but not frisked. The guards went through the gifts for Ms. Bell. They took the boxes that the Tic-Tacs came in and made Taylor put them in a plastic bag instead, but otherwise allowed him to take all that he bought through.

At this point, Agent Banks demanded to see the Chief Administrator and Warden Tyrrell took him to the main building for a conference. Agent Banks told O'Toole that he needed to discuss the matter of Special Agent Vicente Berrocal with them. In the meantime, Agent O'Toole was the senior law enforcement officer and thus formally in charge of their mission, regardless of Col. Burr's higher military rank and Cam Townsend vastly greater importance in political and bureaucratic terms.

A guard named Hewitt took the rest of us into the dining facilities of the guard barracks. Which was a bit strange, considering, but maybe the guards got better food than the inmates (likely) and the medical staff (less likely). Dinner was more clam chowder to start with and then meatloaf. As meatloaves go, it was all right, but Taylor was wiling to bet that the doctors were eating something better. As for the clam chowder, it was even more bland than other Yankee food and nothing like the clam chowder they had at Kitty Hawk or Ocracoke, where he'd once played tourist with Rhonda McBride while stationed at Fort Bragg.

Either the guards weren't any great shakes as conversationalists, they didn't like football or something was wrong with them. They were monosyllabic, tense and sweating. They were trying to be polite, however, and asked whether we'd prefer to be shown our quarters next. Agent O'Toole wanted to get on with his mission, however, and Taylor was eager to see Sherilyn Bell as well. Eager or terrified.

Guard Hewitt escorted us to the J Wing, where Sherilyn Bell was housed. According to him, she was alone in the wing, owing to problems caused when she had neighbours. He didn't elaborate on the problems. The inmates we saw going there seemed strange. One woman made caressing motions toward Dr. Anderson and addressed Taylor as 'Gringo Rojo', his nickname from the Teams, despite Taylor not remembering her.

In light of what Hewitt had said, we were a bit surprised to see that there was clearly another inmate housed on the first floor of J Wing, someone called Derek. Hewitt said he must have been moved there temporarily for some reason and didn't seem to react to him much. Derek seemed friendly, if a bit spacey.

We didn't notice any orderlies around J Wing, which was pretty weird. Hewitt said that the staff didn't like being around Ms. Bell if they could avoid it. Taylor asked how her routine care was handled and Hewitt said that apart from her primary psychiatric caregiver and Dr. King, there was a nurse who assisted Ms. Bell with cleaning herself and generally handled any necessary sanitary or health issues.

There was another guard on duty at the entrance into J Wing. He had a name tag that said 'Ball', a sheen of sweat on his face and a tang of sweaty odour clinging to him. He also smelled of ejaculate. Taylor immediately sniffed him more closely to see if he smelled of another person, but there was no sign that he'd been in close contact with anyone else for hours, perhaps days. Specifically, there was no smell Taylor could associate with Sherilyn Bell anywhere close to Guard Ball. That probably prevented immediate violence, but didn't prevent Taylor from conjuring all sorts of terrible scenarios in his mind.

According to Hewitt, Ms. Bell was housed on the third floor. The second floor was empty, not in use. While walking up to the third floor, all our characters noticed some electrical lines that were not integrated into the walls, as they were elsewhere. When we reached the door that led to the cell block where Ms. Bell was housed, this was revealed as part of surveillance equipment mounted there. When asked, Guard Hewitt claimed that this was part of new security protocols instituted in the case of Ms. Bell. He said that the video feed was visible to the Deputy Warden, but not to anyone else. Hewitt was by now nervous enough to tremble uncontrollably and was clearly lying.

Taylor asked Cam Townsend if their conversation with Ms. Bell could legally be recorded and whether the guard force were cleared for all subjects that might possibly be discussed with her. The answer was a resounding no and Taylor then asked Guard Hewitt to call the Warden on his handheld radio and ask him to turn off the camera. Sound too. Guard Hewitt fiddled with his radio and clearly pretended to call his boss. Taylor told Hewitt he had forgotten to turn on the radio and took it to try himself, but got nothing. No sound, no static, no nothing.

Agent O'Toole took up his Motorola and tried Agent Banks. Nothing. Tried the guard channel, again, nothing. Things started to get acutely uncomfortable. Taylor suggested that they go down again, use the intercom there to ask Agent Banks to come immediately to J Wing and bring the Deputy Warden. Downstairs, Guard Hewitt repeats this into the intercom and gets an acknowledgement. We wait for a while, but instead of the Deputy Warden and Agent Banks, two more guards arrive. They say the Warden and Agent Banks are in a meeting and refused to come, but sent them instead. They claim that the survaillance feed has been turned off, however.

Everyone troops back upstairs. Even though the camera and sound is supposedly not recording and the receiver is supposed to be off, Agent O'Toole decides to turn it off manually. Guard Hewitt takes up his keys and opens the doors to the area where Sherilyn Bell's cell is located. He is clumsy and takes a long time to do so, clearly so that people in there will be able to hear the door open.
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:40 AM   #8
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Default Bells for Her

The block where Sherilyn Bell is housed used to be four cells. Two of them have been combined into one, larger enclosed area, with old-fashioned bars in front of it instead of Plexiglass.

Her cell is wallpapered with charchoal and crayon drawings. All of one man, Raul Vargas. There's scenery in some of them and she appears in others, but he's a constant in all the pictures. The background and other people in the pictures look nice, pretty good work actually, but the drawings of Vargas are inspired. Some are photorealistic, others are idealised or dreamlike, but all of them are brilliant.

Inmate Sherilyn Bell is stretching, hanging upside down on her horizontal bars, somehow managing to support her entire weight by wrapping her legs around two them without seeming to strain. She doesn't look a day over nineteen, despite the passage of seventeen years, but there's not much trace of shyness, self-consciousness or the wary reserve that Ms. Bell used to have.

As Sherilyn Bell flips over to land gracefully on the cell floor, she's clearly putting on a show for the benefit of her visitors. Even knowing that and knowing that she's supposed to be criminally insane, however, even wearing incredibly unflattering hospital blues, her show is working all too well on our characters. Her body is romantic poetry in motion. Her face has the kind of angelic innocence which makes men old enough to know better think anything but innocent thoughts.

To Agent O'Toole, who has spent years tracking down rumours about Project Jade Serenity, and to Dr. Anderson, an expert for his own reasons, their own reactions under the circumstances strongly suggest that her beauty, grace and aura of innocent adolescent sexuality are more than merely natural. Of course, just the fact that she still looks a fresh-faced nineteen after seventeen years in a mental institution is pretty strong evidence that Project Jade Serenity has worked some major changes on Ms. Bell.

Bell: "Oooh, visitors! How thrilling! Hi, there, boys."

Everyone makes an effort to be professional. The guards tell us that we cannot come closer to the bars than three feet and under no circumstances are we to touch the patient. Taylor shuffles his feet and hangs back for a few seconds, but steps forward, taking off his 'Bama cap and standing awkwardly with it in his hand.

Taylor: "Hi, Sherilyn. It's good to see you."
Bell: "Chasie, darling! What a nice surprise! Who are these other men?"
Taylor: "They're from Homeland Security. I... uh, I brought you something."
Bell: "A present! For me?!"

Taylor looks at the guards, receives a nod and then moves to the bars. At a gesture from a guard, he starts placing magazines, crayons and candy on the ground inside her cell. He's well within the three feet limit, but the guard just glares at him, but doesn't do anything about it.

Taylor: "I'm so sorry I haven't visited before. They wouldn't let me see you. I.. tried, I swear, Lynnie."
[looks down, helplessly, at the stuff he's carrying, mumbles on]
"I... I didn't know what you'd like, it's been so long. I brought these, I guess I was hoping you still liked looking at well dressed people... I'm really sorry these are just crayons, it was just that I figured that the guards wouldn't allow proper drawing pencils."

Sherilyn pouts, transparently disappointed. She also glides seductively to the bars in order to inspect her gifts. All our PCs can tell that her disappointment is feigned, but Taylor still seems unhappy that she's frowning. He doesn't move away when Sherilyn reaches the bars and passes her the drawing book through the bars. Their hands touch and one of the guards shouts at Taylor to move away. Taylor does move back, but not without allowing the touch to linger and mouthing "I'm sorry".

Dr. Anderson greets Ms. Bell courteously and gives her the stuffed animal and candyfloss he brought. She exhibits disproportionate delight and tries to dazzle Dr. Anderson by giving him all her attention. She calls him 'Michael' in a breathless, husky tone and asks him to call her 'Cherry', please, when he tries to refer to her as Ms. Bell. Dr. Anderson continues to call her Ms. Bell.

In the meantime, Taylor asks the guards to please leave the room and stand outside. The guards react with indignation, but after Townsend backs Taylor up by citing security clearances and a whole host of legal reasons why private security guards, even if employed by a federal mental health institution, have no right to be present during an interview that might reveal information relevant to Homeland Security matters classified Top Secret - SCI. The guards don't like it, but they leave and close to the door behind them.

Taylor: "Do you know why we're here, Sherilyn?"
Bell [twirls around, collapses sighing into her bed]: "Oh... you're looking for My Man."
Taylor: "You're smart enough to know that the US Government could have found Vargas years ago if they really wanted him. He's living just yonder way in Mexico; they've got extradition. No one's brought him in because ain't anyone want him, I reckon."
[pauses, continues softly]
"We ain't looking for him to hurt him. Homeland Security is fixin' to offer him a deal. A fair trial, reduced charges, maybe even qualified immunity. He needs medical help now, Lynnie. He'll get all the help he needs if he agrees to work with Homeland Security. We can offer you the same things, if you help us get him to agree. Not harm him, help him. We can get you out of here. Fresh air, a better place, real doctors, maybe even a trial like you should have had or maybe we get them to drop all charges. You've already done more time than you should."
Bell: "Would I really be free?"
Taylor: "I don't know, Lynnie. As free as I am, meaning we'd have to live under observation, maybe for the rest of our lives. But it's better than this place. Better than being in a hole with the key thrown away. Has anybody said anything about you getting out of here lately? Who's your lawyer, Lynnie? When did you last see a sanity board?"

Ms. Bell ignores Taylor's last questions and scans the room, letting her gaze rest challengingly on each of his visitors for a short breath. She flirts with Cam Townsend, calling him 'gorgeous', asks who Colonel Burr is and if he's in charge. Taylor dismisses him by saying that he's from the Army, just there to observe. Then Sherilyn asks O'Toole who he is, says he looks like an athlete, all big and strong. She's clearly trying to get everyone in there to focus on her, moving around like a butterfly, flirting and trying to play on petty jealousies in such a contrived, stereotypical manner that it's obvious to everyone what she's doing.

Either she's pathologically narcissistic, desperate to be the center of attention, or she's trying to distract everyone from something. Or both. Taylor closes his eyes for a few seconds while Sherilyn Bell is talking with O'Toole. Then he starts moving toward the cell again. Then he turns his head toward one of the allegedly empty cells, calmly addressing his words in that direction, motioning with his head so that his companions can see which cell he means.

Taylor: "Y'all come out now. We know you're in there. We won't hurt you. We're from Homeland Security. Federal agents."
Taylor [turns toward Bell]: "Who else is here, Lynnie? Is he a friend?"
Bell [giggles]: "He seemed friendly..."

Col. Burr and Agent O'Toole start to move toward the 'empty' cell. Dr. Anderson simply stares at the closed cell door. Cam Townsend doesn't seem to know what to do, so he elects to move a bit closer to the wall and stand there while whispering in the general direction everyone else: "What's going on?" Taylor moves to the bars of Ms. Bell's cell and takes her hand in his. She grabs his other hand and they face each other through the bars.

Taylor: "No matter who that is, I won't let him hurt ya. I need you to talk to me, Lynnie. Tell me who is there. Is he a threat?"
Bell: "Oh, no. He's no threat."
Taylor: "Is he from Vargas?"
Bell: "He said he was." [giggles] "Warden Tyrrell didn't like that at all. He gets very possessive. He beat him so bad."
Taylor: "Lynnie, I don't know what's happening here. I sure do know I failed you. I left you here. I didn't know. I know that's no excuse. I... I didn't try hard enough to help. But I'm not gonna fail you again, Lynnie."
[staring deep into her eyes]
"We've got a contract with us. We can take you out of here, but only if you agree to help us. Help us and we'll be helping Vargas. Lord knows I never liked him, but I'll help him if that's what it takes to get you out of here. Just say you agree and ain't nobody kin stop us from taking you with us when we leave. An' I promise you this, Lynnie, if they gonna bury you again in a place like this, they'll have to bury me with you. I ain't leaving you again."
Bell: "Awww... Chasie. I didn't know you cared this much."
Taylor [voice breaking]: "Say you'll come with us. Right now. Before things start getting out of hand."
Bell: "Oh, all right. If it means that much to you. I'll help you, I'll come with you, I'll be a good girl."

As Taylor and Bell had their intimate tête-à-tête through the bars, Agent O'Toole opens the cell doors to the 'empty' cell.* In there was Agent Vicente Berrocal, wearing inmate clothing, sitting in his own faeces, very badly beaten and tortured. It was at that time that things started going wrong.

*Dr. Anderson had by this time secretly used his dreamweaving powers to make whoever was in there drowsy and O'Toole had secretly felt around in the cell with his telekinesis. O'Toole felt his way to grab the genitals of the man he sensed in there and tugged on them to distract him as he opened the door. OOC, we dubbed his character the Tele-Molestor.
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Old 02-20-2017, 04:21 PM   #9
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Default Into the Labyrinth

O'Toole finds some clothes next to the battered, faeces-covered body in the supposedly empty cell and confirms that he's carrying ID issued by the DHS in the name of Vicente Berrocal. Dr. Anderson looks the victim over and proclaims that he'll live, but he needs proper medical attention as soon as possible.*

Agent O'Toole calls everyone together for a conference. Reluctantly, Taylor lets go of Sherilyn's hands with a whispered "Ain't never gonna leave you" and steps away to join the others in a huddle in the center of the corridor. Ms. Bell walks a few steps to the side, opens her cell door and skips merrily over to the huddle, to the considerable astonishment of everyone involved.

Bell [chipper, bouncing up and down]: "What are we doin'?"
Col. Burr [sputtering]: "She... she's out!"
Taylor: "Bigger problems, Colonel. That's a federal agent, he's been kidnapped, beaten, tortured, an' it sure do look like everyone on the guard force is in on it. Including them ones outside our door."
O'Toole: "Wait a minute, we don't know anything about the guilt and innocence of all the guards."
Taylor: "I've got a purdy fair idea. Does anybody see any way for this to happen over a period of two days without all them guards knowing about it?"
[thoughtful looks, headshakes]
Taylor: "Anyway, I ain't talking about guilt or innocence, trials or punishment. Threat estimates. If the guards did this, the guards must expect us to find him and the guards are almost certainly coming here to do something about it. If I'm wrong, great, I'm tickled pink, but if I'm right, we've got a problem. I say we get one of them guards in here and ask him about this."
Col. Burr: "Wait a minute, you're a convict. What are you doing giving orders?"
Taylor: "Not an order, Colonel, jes' a suggestion. We do have to find out what we're facing and we sure don't have all night."
Townsend: "Taylor has a point."
O'Toole: "I'll go with you. Don't hurt anyone. These men are American citizens and they could be just doing their jobs."
Taylor: "Just a polite chat, Agent O'Toole."

O'Toole whispers to Taylor if he can find some way to get Sherilyn Bell into her cell again before bringing in a guard. Ms. Bell shoots him a haughty glare, skips back into her cell, closes the door and gives Taylor a glowing smile. O'Toole and Taylor move to the block doors where the guards are. On the way, Taylor takes off his clip-on tie and palms it carefully in his left hand. They knock at the door and the guards open.

Guard Ball remained behind downstairs and Guard Hewitt has gone somewhere, which leaves two guards outside the door. O'Toole barks at one of them to go fetch the Deputy Warden and Special Agent Banks. No matter how busy or in a meeting they claim to be; they have to come there now. Taylor tells the other in a commanding voice that he is needed inside, now. Placing his hand on the guard's right arm, Taylor guides him inside.

When the guard does not physically resist this, Taylor is utterly certain that this guard is planning to harm them. No correctional officer, which these guys are for all that they call this an asylum, is going to let someone trap his arm and prevent him from accessing his tool belt that way. He doesn't react because he already knows that the rest of the guards are coming for us and he's hoping to delay violence until his buddies show up.

Taylor marches the guard to the cell door where Vicente Berrocal was kept. Dr. Anderson and Townsend hadn't removed him from there yet and they closed the door while O'Toole and Taylor fetched the guard. Taylor orders the guard, Reyes, to open the door. Reyes demurs that it's locked; Taylor points out that the key is probably on that thick keychain on his belt. Reyes refuses firmly to open the door, so Taylor janks the unlocked door open, revealing Berrocal on the floor.

Taylor: "Did you and your buddies do this? Huh? Like to hurt people, Reyes?"

Reyes tries to push Taylor away from him with the right elbow and reach either the Mace or the baton on his tool belt. Taylor grasps the clip-on tie he's holding with both hands and wraps it around Reyes' right arm. One complicated motion later, Reyes is half inside the cell in an arm lock, with Taylor standing behind him (taking care not to extend the joint far enough to actually hurt).

Taylor: "Ain't gonna hurt you, Reyes. Just talk and this ends. Who ordered it and who knows?"

Apparently, Reyes wasn't a man of violence or maybe Taylor seemed really scary, because Reyes starts weeping and confessing. Agent Vicente Berrocal was there to take Inmate Bell away and Deputy Warden Tyrrell took exception to that. He ordered the guards to take Berrocal into custody and faked his signature in the visitor's log to show him having departed. Most of the damage was done by Warden Tyrrell himself, but Reyes doesn't deny that the entire guard force was fully aware that a federal agent had been kidnapped by their boss and kept in a cell.

Taylor locks Reyes in the other cell, the one that really was empty and tells him that he'll probably be picked up shortly. In the meantime, the other characters are discussing a way out. Taylor asks Sherilyn if there's another way out of J Wing that doesn't involve running into the guards if they come there.

Bell: "We could go down in the dark. Guards don't go there, no they don't, because they're oh-so-afraid. Of course, we could meet the Monster down there. That's where it lives."
Dr. Anderson: "She means the tunnels under the asylum complex. They link the entire compound."
Taylor: "Great. Sherilyn, couldya please show us the shortest way to reach the tunnels without meeting any guards."
Townsend: "Monster?"
Taylor: "Bigger problems. Less'n you're fixin' to stay here and explain things to the Warden."

Bell glides out of her cell, smiles brightly at Townsend and asks to see his papers. Without reading them, she grabs a pen from his pocket and signs with a flourish. Technically, mission accomplished. Survival would help, though.

To make it easier for Dr. Anderson and Townsend to move Berrocal, Taylor tosses them his jacket to wrap around the filth. Taylor also gives Reyes' tool belt, including Mace, to O'Toole and the baton to Col. Burr, after asking Burr whether he was ever an infantry officer. Burr claims to have been one and seems quite happy with the baton in his hand.

Before leaving, Taylor wraps his shirt around Sherilyn's hospital garb and puts his 'Bama cap on her head. The remains of Taylor's G-Man suit are now dress pants, laceless shoes and a white sleeveless undershirt revealing a 7th SFG(A) tattoo on the right arm and a black hellhound on the left bicep. Taylor whispers something to Bell for several seconds, seemingly asking her to agree to something. She clearly assents, but then adds: "Don't be such a fuddy-duddy. I can take care of myself."

Taylor: "Bullets don't care if you're clever or courageous, Lynnie."
Bell: "You used to be a lot more fun."
Taylor: "We used to be kids, Lynnie."

As everyone runs down the stairs to reach the basement level, Taylor can clearly hear running boots as guards pass the desk where Ball sat. O'Toole only just manages to get the door to the tunnels open before the guards come down the last stairs after them. As they enter the darkness, Taylor can hear the guards shouting.

Guard 1: "They went into the tunnels."
Guard 2: "No way am I going in there!"
Guard leader: "We don't have to. He'll take care of them."

*Dr. Anderson also secretly used his powers to ensure that the terrified and tormented Berrocal fell into a deep sleep.
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Old 02-20-2017, 04:26 PM   #10
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Default Re: Project Jade Serenity [Supers/Technothriller]

As someone who also writes up campaign sessions, and knows how much work that really is, I'd like to let you know how much I appreciate your efforts. I'm enjoying this, immensely.
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