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Viggo Mortensen

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Author's Notes for "Rematch"

Acknowledgements

Thanks to the cast and crew of G.I. Jane for inspiring this story, especially to Viggo Mortensen for creating such a complex and intriguing Master Chief, to Demi Moore for never letting Jordan O'Neil be a victim, and for Ridley Scott for allowing and encouraging Viggo to expand the Master Chief's role.

Thanks most of all to Kay Linne for sharing her G.I. Jane story, opening the door for me to try my hand at fiction, and for her generous coaching and editing throughout the process. Her friendship and unwavering support and engagement as we explored the complexities of the relationship between O'Neil and the Master Chief have been a source of energy and joy to me. The story would be but a shadow of its current self if it were not for her help.

Jack's little poem, at the beginning of Chapter 4 (Sunday), was a collaborative effort by Sienna, Kay, and myself. Thanks for the help, ladies!

Thanks to Sienna, Tiffani, Lynn, Barb, Steph and Mike for reading drafts, providing comments and telling me I wasn't crazy to want to do this. Thanks to former Petty Officer Steph for giving me tips on how the Navy operates, and to the readers of the first four chapters who asked me to keep going. You have made a difference.

Caveats and Disclaimers

Though most viewers and reviewers are under the impression that Jordan is undergoing SEAL training, in fact she is in a selection program for "Combined Reconnaissance Team," a figment of the filmmakers' imaginations. See the author's references for more details about this "CRT" and how it differs from the SEALs. Because the CRT doesn't exist, I've had to guess what this team does, how their command is structured, and what advanced training is required for their operators. (I freely admit that I initially overlooked this point, so previous drafts of the story referred to Jordan as having completed SEAL training and received a SEAL Trident insignia at the end of the film.)

I've never served in the Armed Forces. Most of what I know about the Navy, SEAL training and assignments, and fraternization policies, I have learned from movies and the Internet, neither of which are particularly reliable. Since starting this story, I've also read some books on SEALs and SEAL training, which point out many inaccuracies in the film. Where possible I've been accurate, but in general I have taken the movie as my primary "truth basis" and worked from there.

The author's references include many more of my primary sources. If you see errors and have the expertise to set me straight, please contact me through Brego.net, as I would like the story to have as realistic a foundation as possible given the fantastic nature of the movie.

The same disclaimers go for Urgayle's injury. I have no expertise in medicine nor specifically in the nature of gunshot wounds. I do have snorkeling experience; I think I'm safe on that one. My PADI friend Tiffani was kind enough to give me background information on the diving sequences and review them for realism. Please congratulate her if they are believable, and let me know if you think I messed it up.

About Writing the Story

Until May of this year, I had never written fiction outside a high school creative writing class over 30 years ago, and I fully believed it wasn't something I could do. Working on the story the past few months has been both exhilarating and exhausting.

It started May 19 as a 1-pager in which Jordan and Jack started smooching even before the chicken was done. (See it here.) It was quickly apparent that this was wildly inconsistent with who they were in the film, so I started building a story in which they could get to know each other outside the SEAL/CRT course context and decide where they wanted things to go. Their story stretched to two days, then I added the weekend segment, then a fifth day (Monday) became necessary to the story line.

I had no idea it would take so long to write this. I finished and posted the first two chapters ("Thursday" and "Friday") on June 19, one month after starting to work on it. Four weeks later, on July 17th, I posted the 3rd and 4th chapters ("Saturday" and "Sunday"). I thought that the Monday chapter would take 1-2 weeks to complete, but it turned out to be the most difficult to write, partly because the emotional tension needed to increase and partly because I needed to focus on my business for a while. It is now being published in mid-September, 2004. I split Monday into two chapters (morning and afternoon) because it was so long, not because of some logical division.

There is so much more material here! It would be easy to get sucked into writing about Monday evening (hubba hubba), Tuesday, Jordan's adventures with the CRT, letters they write to each other while she is on assignment. Jack could follow up on the smugglers' boat, be rotated back out into the field, or consider leaving the Navy. Jordan could thrive in the CRT or she could realize it's cold, hard work, long hours, and kinda lonesome out there without her sweetie. Who knows? I know that I need to get some other things done in my life right now, and have a few other stories begging to be written, so at present I have no plans to continue the adventures of Jack and Jordan. But feel free to express your opinions through Brego.net. If there is ever a new chapter, I promise to notify anyone who has contacted me about the story.

Thoughts on Violence and Victims in G.I. Jane

The remainder of the notes have not been updated since they were first posted June 19, 2004.

I recognize that many people, especially victims of abuse, will be troubled at the idea of putting Urgayle and O'Neil together in an intimate relationship, given their violent history. This was an issue for me as well. Physical violence has never been part of my life nor have I ever been comfortable with it. The first time I watched the SERE POW simulation scene I had a hard time seeing anything else but the fists and blood. I remember wincing every time O'Neil smarted off to Urgayle, and found myself telling her "no, shut up. You're just going to make it worse."

The way I came to terms with it, after much angst, was to finally recognize that Lieutenant O'Neil was not a victim, nor did she see herself as one. At any time during any part of the training, including the SERE session, she could have walked away. She did not for two reasons: first, she knew this would be her only chance to qualify for a combat position; and second, because once she started, she found herself thriving on the challenges presented to her. She was an exceptionally strong individual who had been caged in a job that did not stretch her limits. The SEAL/CRT training gave her something to sink her teeth into. She never asked for quarter; in fact, she demanded that she be presented with the worst that the trainers could dish out.

She and Urgayle were a classic combination: her irresistible force running head on into Urgayle's immovable object. By the end of the film, the two of them had learned to respect each other, and there was clearly an attraction forming. As I wrote my story about how this attraction might lead them to get together once training was over, I found that most pieces fell into place easily, but the SERE scenes kept haunting me. I could not allow O'Neil to be intimate with a man who had beaten her so. I wrote and rewrote dialogue in which I tried to push O'Neil and Urgayle into all manner of speeches they would never make. In various revisions, O'Neil suffered serious PTSD and ended up in tears in Urgayle's lap, called Urgayle out of line for the drubbing he gave her, and questioned whether he was homicidal. Urgayle was heard to apologize, rationalize, lecture, and tell her to "get over it," and once he simply refused to talk. The first kiss had to be postponed over and over as I found more issues they needed to resolve before I was willing to let them get close to each other.

For those who are interested in the process, the following are a few excerpts from the voluminous email exchanges between myself and Kay Linne. They give some idea of how I came to terms with my own issues and found voices for O'Neil and Urgayle that worked for them and for me. Thanks again to Kay for staying with me on this!

Donna to Kay 21-May:

Last night I watched parts of the movie again, particularly the SERE camp section but also some of the bits that gave clues into what was motivating O'Neil to be there. Previously I'd focused mostly on Urgayle. (how surprising)

I had forgotten how brutally the instructors treated the other trainees, especially Flea with that nasty knee injury. They slammed them all around. The difference with O'Neil comes when Urgayle parades her before the male POWs and threatens to rape her in front of them -- I'm guessing that at that point he'd already decided that his only hope was to break down the men. The other difference is that unlike the men, she fought back, verbally and then physically once she had an opening.

I saw a lot of moments in the movie that reinforced the notion that she and Urgayle are intrigued by each other, and near the end they clearly feel a mutual tenderness. How did that transition happen? One day they're beating each other to a pulp and the next day they're silently acknowledging some sort of bond? How can it be okay to be attracted to a man who is capable of such behavior? Or a woman for that matter? Yet we also see that they are highly moral people.

Finally I thought about what I would like to ask Urgayle and O'Neil. And what was it about this story that had hooked me so? And realized that Urgayle is a classic "bad boy" -- seems tough and mean on the outside but has this poetry-quoting highly moral heart of gold. I don't know the correct names for these archetypes but I recognize this one because it's the kind of guy that knocks my socks off.

Anyway I think that when I can find the time I'm going to rewrite the dialogue between O'Neil and Urgayle. She's done what was needed to succeed in this intense SEAL/CRT training world and then returned to Washington and her sweet political boyfriend to find that none of it seems as real or important as it did before. She's having trouble coming to terms with what she's learned about herself. She can't stop thinking about this crazed SEAL instructor and she wants to see him again. So she has mixed motives for talking with him -- she's attracted but she also sees him as a potential mentor of sorts, a possible guide through these conflicting mores.

Now how the hell am I going to figure out who these people are and what they would say to each other when they are so different from me? LOL but that will make it interesting.

Donna to Kay 21-May

As for Pyro's hesitation, was that because O'Neil was female? Was Urgayle actually any harder on her than he would have been on a male lieutenant who let his team get captured? Look how they tortured Flea with his injured knee. My best guess is that the point where Urgayle started behaving differently toward her was when he decided to use her to compromise the men... but when was that point? Was the beating in the hut calculated to give her a bloodied face, make her a sympathetic figure that the men would feel honor-bound to rescue?

Urgayle stares at O'Neil in the POW camp hutMy biggest questions: what is he feeling when he starts slamming her around in the hut? When he hauls her out in front of the men? When he threatens and then behaves as though he is going to rape her? ... Is he angry? Is he enjoying this at all? Is it distasteful but it's his job? Does he ever really lose control? Let his frustration take him beyond what he knows is right? I think the answers are important to any continuing relationship with O'Neil -- would she be physically safe with him.

I look at the still shot of him from when he first comes into the hut and stares down at her as he sends Pyro out, and it sends chills down my spine. (In the gallery as "POW interrogation.") What is going on behind those eyes? Is he measuring her for the first blow? Hesitating? Gathering his resolve? Or is it just part of the job and he's thinking how tired he is and that he'd rather be somewhere else?

Kay to Donna 26-May

Hope you slept well. Here is the gist of my pondering. Let me know if you can wade through it. In the end, I'm thinking he could have a relationship with O'Neil, but it would not be a permanent one. Approaching it as equals, each one knowing what the other is capable of. Something more than a quick fling, but I don't think either one of them would be seriously considering a life long commitment - their commitment is to the US Navy. On again, off again? She's on missions, he's involved in training. No "happily ever after with kids" here!! It could work. I think. Maybe. Am I being wishy-washy enough? LOL! Hey, in the end, I'm going to write -- whatever!! You'll probably be the first to know.

(Trying to keep what we think/know about Viggo Mortensen separate from the character of Urgayle.)

Urgayle: Badass with a heart of gold (as described by a couple reviews and by Viggo fans) Tough as nails - but after the punches, still a gentleman. (Viggo's words...)

He is not sadistic, taking perverse pleasure in inflicting pain on others. Neither hatred nor anger rules this man's actions, nor does a penchant for violence, just a calculating ability to know how far he can push people in order to weed out those unfit for this type of grueling, demanding work.

Urgayle has been directed by those in command to deal with a female recruit. He does not like it. He believes that women have no place in the special forces. But he accepts it, at least on the surface. He is sure she will wash out in the first week, if not the first day. She doesn't, and he becomes determined to make her see the error of her decision. She will rue the day. He believes that she is not serious about this career choice - that it is a move designed for celebrity status. I think that is one of his major problems - he doesn't know she is truly serious about completing the course.

Imagine his surprise when she actually doesn't wash out, or ring out - but he keeps it to himself.

SERE training - designed for the trainees to fail! They cannot succeed - it is a scenario of a POW camp and the recruits need to be aware of things that can happen.

In the POW scenario, Urgayle enters into the character who attempts to break the spirit of the captured soldiers, coming so close to 'reality' as to be almost impossible to separate the two. He sinks into character. He is capable of great violence. Controlled violence. This is the way you separate the men from the SEALS.

As far as the look on his face as he walks in on Pyro and O'Neil - I see it as steeling himself, setting his mind to what he knows he has to do, what he is sure he must do. (The actor getting into the character getting into character.) He does not like, does not rejoice, does not glory in what he feels he has to do, but going this far, pushing the envelope, may be the only way to make his point, make the men understand. Make O'Neil understand. He must give in to the violent, be completely and totally brutal. Yet stay in control. Let his alter-ego loose. He knows what the human being is capable of. Man's inhumanity toward man, knows what we are capable of doing to our fellow human beings!

He must break her will. He must not give her any special treatment. In fact, he may even swing a little overboard, treating her more roughly than he'd treat a man - it may not even be intentional. He does not lose control, but ultimately he is not in control, either. He also cannot afford to let anger or hatred control him - powerful emotions that can cloud judgment. He does not hate women, but he believes strongly that they have no role on a SEAL team. He is walking a very fine line.

No, he is not enjoying this. It is a necessary evil. But he has approached this whole situation with assumptions that are in error.

Urgayle's men just stand around, watching O'Neil kick the Master Chief around. They do not move to stop either combatant. They have learned not to interfere. Are they totally caught off guard when Jack threatens to rape O'Neil? They seem to stand around with their fingers up their noses, pardon the expression... Pyro: Did he tell you what was going down in there? Johns: He didn't tell me shit.

In the [original] script, Urgayle's men make moves toward him when he is beating O'Neil to a pulp. They don't like it. Pyro calls him on it at the end - you broke a dozen rules in there. I oughta report you. Urgayle replies - you would, if you didn't know I was right. Urgayle doesn't get physically beaten in the script - just mentally. The physical adds a bit - she's not going to stand there and take it. She's going to fight back. She's got the guts a SEAL needs.

Urgayle is being beaten on his own turf - his island. Perhaps no one has ever stood up to him like this before. But he's never had to go this far before, either. He is bound and determined to use O'Neil to break her crew - once he begins to pull her pants off, he cannot go back. He can't just say, Oh, I wasn't really going to do anything. He expected her to break, to give in! She didn't! She surprises him - maybe even blows him out of the water, so to speak, using her Navy training - self defense, kicking him right where it hurts. He's down for the count, especially since she busted his nose. Another mistake he made - a misjudgment! He didn't count on her previous Navy training, nor her making use of what she has learned!!

O'Neil's crew cheers, encourages her to keep kicking, stay on her feet.

Now, the only way Urgayle feels he can totally take O'Neil and her crew out is by leaving her hands tied, and hitting her hard - twice. She goes down, but doesn't stay down. And her crew backs her up, by pointedly turning their backs on the MC, finished with him, finished with his f*ckin' game...

Up until that point, is he thinking that she is just in it for the glory? Her celebrity career...

Her refusal to stay down causes a change in Urgayle's thinking! A little light bulb goes on! She is really serious about this. Especially since she goads him, taunts him, demands - even dares!! - he do the physically impossible. Suck my dick!

Don't start something you can't finish - He doesn't think she can. But he is wrong. Her behavior, her actions unite her crew. They band together, behind her.

He has to admire her determination, her spunk, her drive and sheer willpower - albeit grudgingly. She's a match for him! She stood up to him, kept coming back, gave him as good as she got, and succeeded in rallying her crew around her. He knows things will still happen, but he's got to give credit where credit is due. So he nods his approval and that's the end of SERE training. Things took a surprising turn - for everyone.

I don't believe he was prepared to go all the way, forcing himself physically/sexually on O'Neil. I think Pyro and the others would have stepped in. And certainly the crew - Wick and McCool, maybe even Slovnik and Cortez - would have put up some serious opposition to that sh*t. He was counting on breaking her and her crew. He didn't even seriously consider the alternatives. What a surprise for him! So he has to deal with it.

So now he sees O'Neil in a different light. The look on his face in the base PX is very interesting - he might be considering the possibility of learning more about this woman who successfully tipped his world on its ass, by kicking his around! He smiles as he turns away - those little unbidden fantasy thoughts flitting through his mind. >:-)

On the sub, he seems to treat all team members equally. Singles out O'Neil to go with him to find the Ranger team. Plays everything according to the book, until he gets to the point where the Libyan soldier gets too close - and then he fulfills his own prophecy - he becomes vulnerable to her presence under fire. He takes the guy out, giving away their presence and their position. Oops. Now he has to reconcile his actions.

Donna to Kay 26-May

Your analysis of Urgayle's character was great. Yes, I completely agree with the direction you've headed, and you've said it so well! The celebrity status bit was the one piece I was missing -- it hadn't occurred to me that he might still not be taking her seriously at that point. But it makes good sense. Anyway, will write again after I've read it a few more times.

Very timely it was, as I've been struggling to come up with the right motivations for O'Neil and Urgayle -- their conversation in my story just didn't ring true. I had concluded that an apology was wrong, and that she was coming across too wimpy. Your analysis is helping me solidify my thinking.

Donna to Kay 28-May

Thoughts while watching it the film again:

  • Urgayle never smiles, unless you count that tiny little twitch at the end of the PX scene. This is not just an instructor thing 'cuz the other two instructors do grin or joke a bit occasionally (then there is that nasty sadistic grin that Pyro gives Flea after breaking him in the SERE hut)
  • O'Neil almost never smiles: once or twice with Royce, pretty consistently with Lt. [Blondell], and a little grin with the guys at the bar after SERE training. Oh yes, and she cracks a smile when the lady in the restroom tells her to "leave the bastard" :)

What a couple of driven people! And O'Neil's combativeness makes me rethink my dialogue for her -- I'm probably going to take out most of the hesitation. Hell she took on the head of the Senate Armed Services Committee right there in the Senate building! No "er uh" there. Of course, affairs of the heart are more sensitive but still I can't see her stammering. More like hashing things out with herself until she knows what she wants, then going full steam ahead with whatever it is she might see as the necessary sensitivity to Urgayle's more private, possibly even shy nature.

Donna to Kay 28-May

Just a brief note... while I was getting ready for bed, I realized my biggest problem here is that I haven't figured out who O'Neil is and what she wants. I need to add a few paragraphs at the beginning of the story to set the stage for O'Neil just like I did with Urgayle...

I'm thinking:

  • big reality shift after this intense experience
    • life back home pales in comparison, seems less real than SEAL/CRT
    • she misses the challenges, adrenalin, high pitch -- it's addictive
  • Royce is still sweet but he's put off by the changes, not sure about committing
    • what seemed sweet/gentle before now seems weak, indecisive
    • she questions her feelings/perceptions WRT Royce, realizes she can no longer be in love with him
  • she is self-aware, and some part of her questions her attraction to danger, intensity
    • she's probably talked with a few shrinks, on Navy orders if nothing else
    • she has good book knowledge about PTSD and also the tendency of victims to be attracted to their abusers
    • but she doesn't see herself as having been a victim -- it was a battle of equals and she triumphed
    • the fact that she was smaller and had hands tied just meant she had to be smarter, quicker, tougher
  • so she acknowledges her attraction to Urgayle but...
    • despite the above notes she's not stupid enough to fall in with an abusive person
    • she respects him but is still a bit unsure of his psyche -- who is he behind the mask? But that's what's intriguing, isn't it?
    • she's never seen him smile -- this has to make her wonder if he would be much fun to be around -- that brooding and intense thing is sexy but would be hell to live with
    • she knows he respects her, thinks he could like her, that he might be attracted to her, but she isn't sure
  • finally... she's facing a big transition -- can we assume she's being deployed or is she going to be embroiled in politics and hang-ups a while longer, kept shuttling back and forth to senate hearings or stuck in an office while they figure out where to put her? What are the logistics of any relationship?

Lots more but I have to get back to work. Have already marked up my story since the revision you got, of course, but mostly trying to tighten the prose and to get rid of some of O'Neil's stammering.

Periodically I went back to the film to review a scene or examine a character. At one point, after watching the last blow Urgayle delivers to O'Neil in the SERE POW camp, I almost threw the whole story away. I wrote to Kay 7-June:

I just went back and watched that SERE "interrogation" intimidation whatever the hell it was sequence again. Originally I planned to watch just the bit where he cups her chin in his hand to make sure I remembered it correctly. But the DVD player controls on the Mac are weird and at first I couldn't remember how to fast forward so I was stuck watching the whole sequence. It was full screen on my 21" monitor, so at close-up range it made quite an impression.

Urgayle prepares to strike O'Neil one last timeI found myself wondering why the hell Jordan would want to let herself get close to this guy! :) Or more to the point, why we want her to get close to him.... It was brutal. Odd... as far as blows are concerned, she matches him five for five. But then you have to add in the armlock, throwing her down the walkway, dunking her in the tank and threatening to rape her. And the fact that she had her hands tied and he outweighs her almost 2 to 1....

But really it's that last blow that I can't get my head around. Up until then she's come back at him after every bit of mayhem he throws at her. "You're not getting anything out of me." "Am I supposed to be afraid?" "Fuck you." (when he asks if he should take it easy on women). "Sure, just like the men do." "Don't you look pretty."

Urgayle cups O'Neil's chin in his gloved handBut at the end he kicks her once, knocking her down. She slowly rises, doesn't say anything, is struggling, staggering, can barely get to her feet. He cups her chin in his hand to steady her because she's swaying so much that he can't get a clean blow. He could have pushed her over with the flat of his hand. But instead he hits her hard again, slamming her into the tree.

What the hell was that about? I replayed it 4-5 times. Each time I look at his face. I try to figure out why he would hit her (or anyone) who could barely even stand up. He doesn't look angry. He's been slammed a few times himself, is swaying a tiny bit, seems to be putting most of his energy into focusing for the blow. Like a cobra preparing to strike.

Sometimes the reason women tolerate abuse is that to them any kind of attention feels better than none at all. Now I don't put Jordan in with "typical" victims of abuse. (Remember her reaction to the woman in the bar bathroom.) But Viggo is really good at giving attention, focusing. His Urgayle does that with O'Neil -- for that sequence she is the object of his intense concentration. Almost mesmerizing. Same with that look in the BX, and the look he gives her after he leaves the book. Don't know where I'm going with this but it's bugging me. (Some guys never figure out that really looking at a woman that way, softly but surely, without arrogance, without sneering or sniggering or wolfishness, is one of the most erotic moves they can make!)

I want to finish this story and move on but these damned characters keep telling me I have to slow down, I'm moving them too fast. And I think it's so true -- with this shit in their recent past they have some real work to do IMHO if they are to understand what was motivating Urgayle and if O'Neil is to feel safe with him.

8-June, another message to Kay:

One other quick thought on characters... I want to stay consistent with the film but I also need to respect my own conscience... and as I said in that other message from Saturday a.m., after watching that cold-blooded punch I just couldn't let her kiss him without bringing it up as an issue.

It was much more about O'Neil's character than Urgayle's really. In the film she doesn't seem to be troubled by it at all, but I was. What it finally came down to is that I was willing to let Urgayle find an answer, any answer really, but I wasn't willing to let O'Neil fall in with him without questioning it.

Strangely, the rest of the beating and threatened rape don't bother me that much -- they're not pretty obviously but I see her playing into it, knowing that she can't let him back off or else she loses what matters most. The last punch is the only one where she's not egging him on, and in fact looks only half-conscious. To some extent Urgayle could say that she got him so "riled up" that he didn't stop when he otherwise might have... but I say given the power those trainers have, he requires better self control.

Your perspective is welcome... Is she a victim of abuse? Was that punch somehow different from the rest of the blows, or am I making something of nothing? ???

9-June, again to Kay:

I'm still struggling with resolving that last sucker punch. But I think I went too far with my last attempt. So here's what I scribbled down last night (just typed it in this afternoon).

It's based on the sequence of events:

  • she's pushing him continuously from the start
  • when he threatens to rape her, she takes him down, kicks him around -- that kick in the crotch did not seem to be a love tap, notice how he doubled up
  • he gets up, she taunts him again "my don't you look pretty"
  • his words: "don't start something you can't finish"
    --> a threat? or teacher pointing out facts of life in a POW situation?
  • he kicks her, she's down
  • she staggers back up, he measures carefully and takes her out ... so he thinks

Urgayle to O'Neil: "don't start something you can't finish"So here's an alternative scrap of dialogue for the couch Friday night:

"Jordan, I told you then and I'll say it again. Don't start something you can't finish.

"Taking me down was a gutsy move. It played well to your audience. The guys appreciated your courage. Fact is, so did I. But it was doomed to fail. Even if you'd managed to completely disable me, you were still tied, still surrounded by armed men. Attacking a guard is not a good strategy for getting out of prison in one piece. Not unless you have the means to carry it all the way and escape.

"I hit you hard because was trying to be realistic about the consequences. I'm afraid the lesson got lost in all the hoo-yah.

"Could I have made the point by just pushing you to the ground? I can't talk about that with you, Jordan. I can't discuss training decisions with a trainee. I will tell you we're always re-evaluating practices, and more than usual after the last session."

Kay's response 9-June:

I respect your feelings about Jordan being a victim, about being wary of possibly forming a relationship with a guy who could beat the crap out of her, about trauma and stress, and maybe they'd come into play right away, and maybe not. My gut reaction to Jordan O'Neil - she's one tough, smart cookie and she knew (or had a pretty good idea) what she was getting in to, and it was what she wanted to do, and if she had felt she was getting in over her head, she could have stayed down, she could have rung out - but she didn't.

Jordan to Slovnik after moving in with the guys: "Get over it, I am here to stay!!" If you don't like it, YOU leave.

Look at all the work she puts *herself* through!

SERE training: simulated POW. She read all the stuff the guys read. Just because you are a Male POW does not guarantee that you are immune to sexual threats. The guys could get sexually assaulted just as easily as she. She's not looking at it as sexual violation - that's how the guys are looking at it! That's why they are vulnerable. She's looking at it very asexual. Just like one of those last notes you sent me.

She knows she has to keep coming back, or risk everything she's won so far - however slow, however painful.

We all know that in a real POW situation, the other guards would jump all over anyone's ass who tried to fight back. They know this is a simulation, they realize things can only go so far.

Suddenly she takes advantage of an opening that Urgayle does NOT intentionally give her - he UNDERESTIMATES her. Which further pisses him off. She kicks him in the crotch and then busts his nose. She kicks him in the back of the legs, he goes down, and she kicks him when he's down. And then goes for his crotch AGAIN. If her hands were not tied, she'd be more than a match.

We know Urgayle's pissed that O'Neil's there. How DARE a woman invade his male space!! How DARE she actually stand up to the punishment that over half of her class succumbed to already??!! He's pissed that he has to deal with her. He wants to show the men why having a female in the mix could be deadly.

That final blow that seemed to take her out seems to me to be one of "I've gone this far, I have to do this to demonstrate Once and For All."

Wham. Then "I FINALLY got her down and she's gonna stay that way and the guys are going to see that this will NOT work." They're both weaving and staggering - it doesn't look like he was able to put all his strength into that blow after the punishment he'd taken. (BTW, I think he'd have been down for the count longer after that second blow to his family jewels, but that's just my opinion...)

She's a bull dog, she's a pit bull, she's a bull terrier... whatever, she is tenacious and JUST WON'T LET GO. Won't give in, or give up. Knows what she wants and, as Royce indicated in the beginning, she was going to do what she wanted regardless.

O'Neil to Urgayle: "suck my dick"Yes, she was down, yes, she was shaking, but she got up AGAIN - and addressed the Master Chief in a bold and solid, sure and steady tone. What I really would have liked to see is reaction on the part of Urgayle's team. Pyro felt Urgayle was going/went too far. Would have been interesting to have the camera on his reaction. And now, like it or not, Urgayle has to wake up and smell the coffee. She ain't gonna quit. He's got to admire that spunk, he's got to look at her in a new light. Talk about having to beat someone over the head with a 2 by 4... LOL!

So, digest this and I hope it won't make the struggle harder for you. Ultimately, you have to write from your heart - and if you reach a point where you just know that Jordan and Jack could never work, hey, well, that's another step in an evolution! :) I will always be grateful that you took this thing and ran with it - and got them to kiss, sometimes following different paths to get there!! LOL!

You are just a wonder, girl!!

Still 9-June... as happened often, I had been coming to the same conclusion:

So you're telling me that it's not very romantic for him to be lecturing her about POW tactics while they're snuggling on the couch? <snicker>

As usual you've nailed it. I've actually (SLOWLY PAINFULLY) been coming to the same conclusion. I've realized that Jordan showed no signs of being traumatized by the event -- look at her chuckling with Blondell at the BX and shooting the shit with the guys at the bar, shortly after the POW scene... she's cocky as hell.

I'm the one who's been traumatized -- along with a sizeable percentage of the viewers and reviewers. So what I need to figure out is whether I need to write something to address my audience (and clear my own conscience, so to speak), or whether I need to step out of the way and let the characters do their thing. <snort>

Another quote, from her phone call to Royce: "I'm going to go through with this. And the more everybody fucks with me the more I want to gut it out."

Thanks again, Kay! Back to the story... OOOPS I mean back to work... ;)

The next iteration was very close to the final version that is posted... complete with codpiece remark.

For me the turning point was when I realized that Jordan was not a victim because she chose not to be. And as a result I started seeing more clearly how I have let myself be a victim -- and that I didn't have to be a victim any more than she did. Almost overnight I was able to let go of some personal "victim mentality" garbage that I'd been hanging on to for several years. So the process of writing this story was also a process of working through inner conflicts. It's been quite a journey.

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