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James Tagg[1] was instated as the Director of PRT East-North-East following the death of Director Thomas Calvert.

Personality[]

Tagg has a combative personality that he leads the PRT on a warpath against the criminal element in Brockton Bay. Taylor described him as having "a soldier’s mentality at a time when we need peace"[2], and someone who has a mentality of 'us versus them. Good guys versus the bad', being unsympathetic with villains regardless of their age and viewing them as mere thugs.[3] Even though Taylor believes he isn't the type to torture Dinah Alcott to gain information through her precognitive powers, he threatened to periodically subject Taylor's father to lengthy interrogation sessions in order to pressure her.[4] Tagg doesn't consider compromise to be part of the job of Directors of the PRT or those under their command, and views his duty of eliminating criminals from cities to be a war, and that the world is worse off with criminals winning.[5] Tagg hates the concept of the Bird Cage as a cruel affront to civil freedoms but accepts it as a neccessary evil, although he considers execution to be a more merciful and efficient alternative.[6] Tagg was able to maintain his composure and confident posture even with his wife threatened, his wife shares his views regarding criminals and her death wouldn't dissuade him.[7] He believes he was selected as the director of the city's PRT because he is a stubborn survivor who won't give up or get intimidated, and is willing to suffer as long as he gives his opponent a bloody nose in exchange.[8]

Appearance[]

Tagg has black hair with heavily lined eyes and thick eyebrows.[9] He wears a matching wedding band with his wife, and his voice is gruff due to being a long time smoker. He hides a revolver in his ankle, and likely wears a suit like his deputy director.

History[]

Background[]

Director Tagg had previously served in the Army and as a PRT Squad leader. Tagg was one of the people who helped respond to Lausanne and the Simurgh's first appearance, being in Lausanne for 2002 and 2003.[10] As Tagg notes, "We shot them, the people who heard too much of the Simurgh’s song, who weren’t just walking disaster areas, but who’d listened long enough that they lost something. [...] Two years of fighting before we got the word down from on high, that they couldn’t rehabilitate the ones they’d captured, the ones who’d listened too long. The poor assholes would play nice until they saw an opportunity, then they’d take it, do as much damage as they could. Two years fighting good people who’d been convinced they had to throw their lives away fighting an enemy that didn’t exist. So we closed the perimeter, bombed them out, herded them and gunned them down.”[11]

Post-Echidna[]

After finding out that Dragon and Defiant were inbound to Brockton Bay on business, Tagg contacted them and demanded that they confront Skitter. This led to the incident at Arcadia, where Dragon and Defiant were forced to confront Taylor in her civilian identity in the middle of Arcadia's cafeteria, publicly unmasking her.[12]

Following Alexandria's 'killing' of an Undersider during Skitter's detainment, Skitter forced bugs into her throat the moment she returned. Clockblocker, seeing this occur, pressed the alarm, and Tagg - in the interrogation room with Skitter - drew his gun in an attempt to kill her before her revenge was carried out. However, Skitter's bugs drew his gun off course, and he was immediately swarmed by bugs, which she noted as including "spiders, hornets, black widows, brown recluses and more."[13]

Stung by numerous bugs, Tagg still managed to attack Skitter, throwing Danny Hebert to the ground when he attempted to intervene and slamming Skitter's head into the table in an attempt to incapacitate or kill.

Following Skitter's awakening in her cell, having been tranquilized, her surviving bugs locate and identify Tagg's corpse in the PRT's morgue, her orders to sting him having kept going following her lack of consciousness.[14]

Chapter Appearances[]

Worm Chapter Appearances
Chrysalis
1. Chrysalis 20.1 Absent
2. Chrysalis 20.2 Absent
3. Chrysalis 20.3 Absent
4. Chrysalis 20.4 Absent
5. Chrysalis 20.5 Absent
x. Interlude 20.x Debut
y. Interlude 20.y Absent
Imago
1. Imago 21.1 Appears
2. Imago 21.2 Mentioned
3. Imago 21.3 Absent
4. Imago 21.4 Mentioned
5. Imago 21.5 Mentioned
6. Imago 21.6 Mentioned
7. Imago 21.7 Appears
x. Interlude 21.x Absent
y. Interlude 21.y Mentioned
Cell
1. Cell 22.1 Appears
2. Cell 22.2 Appears
3. Cell 22.3 Appears
4. Cell 22.4 Death
5. Cell 22.5 Mentioned
6. Cell 22.6 Mentioned
x. Interlude 22.x Absent
y. Interlude 22.y Absent
Drone
1. Drone 23.1 Absent
2. Drone 23.2 Absent
3. Drone 23.3 Mentioned
4. Drone 23.4 Mentioned
5. Drone 23.5 Absent
x. Interlude 23 Absent
Crushed
1. Crushed 24.1 Absent
2. Crushed 24.2 Absent
3. Crushed 24.3 Absent
4. Crushed 24.4 Absent
5. Crushed 24.5 Absent
x. Interlude 24.x Absent
y. Interlude 24.y Mentioned
Scarab
1. Scarab 25.1 Absent
2. Scarab 25.2 Absent
3. Scarab 25.3 Mentioned
4. Scarab 25.4 Absent
5. Scarab 25.5 Absent
6. Scarab 25.6 Absent
x. Interlude 25 Absent
Sting
1. Sting 26.1 Absent
2. Sting 26.2 Absent
3. Sting 26.3 Absent
x. Interlude 26.x Absent
4. Sting 26.4 Absent
5. Sting 26.5 Absent
6. Sting 26.6 Mentioned
a. Interlude 26a Absent
b. Interlude 26b Absent
y. Interlude 26 Absent
Cockroaches
1. Cockroaches 28.1 Absent
2. Cockroaches 28.2 Absent
3. Cockroaches 28.3 Absent
4. Cockroaches 28.4 Absent
5. Cockroaches 28.5 Absent
6. Cockroaches 28.6 Mentioned
x. Interlude 28 Absent
Speck
1. Speck 30.1 Mentioned
2. Speck 30.2 Mentioned
3. Speck 30.3 Absent
4. Speck 30.4 Absent
5. Speck 30.5 Absent
6. Speck 30.6 Absent
7. Speck 30.7 Absent

References[]

  1. Drone 23.4
  2. I watched as Tagg leaned back in his seat.  He gave me a smug look.  He thinks he got to me. “You’re dangerous,” I said.  “You’ve got a soldier’s mentality at a time when we need peace.  You’d let the world burn to… give me a bloody nose.  You said it yourself.  You’re unyielding, and we need compromise.” - Excerpt from Cell 22.2
  3. “Not one,” he replied, staring me in the eye.  “I look at you, and I don’t see a kid, I don’t see a misunderstood hero, a girl, a daughter or any of that.  You’re a thug, Taylor Hebert.”

    A thug.

    His mindset was all ‘us versus them’.  Good guys versus the bad. - Excerpt from Imago 21.1
  4. Imago 21.1
  5. I paused, then pulled off my mask.  I was sweating lightly, and my hair was damp around the hairline.  The world was tinted slightly blue in a contrast to the coloring of my lenses.  “It’s not that simple.”

    “Has to be.  The ones at the top handle the compromising.  They assess where the boundaries need to be broken down, which threats are grave enough.  My job is to get the criminals off the streets and out of the cities.”

    [...]

    “Game?  Little girl, this is a war.”  His voice took on a hard edge.

    I stopped to contemplate that.  Rachel was destroying the last containment van, and Tattletale was saying something to her about incoming heroes.  I was low on time.

    “If it is a war, my side’s winning,” I said.

    “And the world’s worse off for it.  You can’t win forever,” he said. -Excerpt from Imago 21.1
  6. “Which takes me back to my original point,” Tagg said. “The Birdcage. I hate it. Hate what it stands for, the affront to our freedoms. The farce of it. You know what that word means, little girl? Farce?”

    I almost took the bait and responded, bit my tongue instead.

    “Guess not. And Miss Militia said you were smart. When it comes to the monsters and the menaces who are more trouble than they’re worth, I wish with all my heart that we had another option. Look me in the eyes, now. I want you to see I mean what I say.”

    I met his eyes.

    “I’d rather do what we did in Lausanne than use the Birdcage. End result’s the same. You’re gone from this world. It’s more merciful, understand? If it was legal, if I got the okay from on high, I’d make you kneel in the center of this very room and end you with one well placed bullet. Better than you getting in a van and getting disappeared, dropped into a pit that some of the scariest, meanest capes around haven’t figured out how to escape, a literal hell on earth.”

    Disappeared.

    “But as much as I hate the Birdcage, I’ll gladly use it if it gets menaces like you off the streets and out of the way of civilized Americans who are trying to live their lives. And my bosses know that. They know I’m just as stubborn as the worst of them, because I’ve fought bastards like the sad souls in Lausanne, who didn’t even knowhow to yield, and I outlasted them.”

    I wasn’t sure I could have responded if I’d been willing to open my mouth.

    “I want you to think on that. As much as you see me as an asshole, maybe you look down on me because you think you’re smarter than I am, but you think about what it means that I’d sooner shoot a misguided sixteen year old girl than send her to that place… and I’d sooner send you there than let you go free to keep perverting the system.” - Excerpt from Cell 22.2
  7. I opened the last door.  Director Tagg.

    He held a gun, but he didn’t point it my way.  There was a woman behind him, using him as a shield.

    I’d had statements ready, angry remarks, any number of things I could have said to him, to punctuate what my swarm was doing to his assembled employees.  Statements, maybe, that could have surprised him, woken him up to what he’d done to me.

    Then I saw the steel in his eyes, the sheer confidence with which he stood in front of the woman… they had matching wedding bands.  His wife.  I knew in an instant that there wouldn’t be any satisfaction to be had that way.

    [...]

    “Okay,” I said.  “And you stand by your husband?  You buy this rhetoric?”

    She set her jaw.  “Yes.  Absolutely.”

    I didn’t waste an instant.  Every spare bug I had flowed into the room, leaving Director Tagg untouched, while the bugs flowed over the woman en masse.  She screamed.

    He reached for his gun on the desk, and I pulled my hand back.  The thread that I’d tied between the trigger guard and my finger yanked the weapon to me.  I stopped it from falling off the desk by putting my hand on top of the weapon.

    Tagg was already reaching for a revolver at his ankle.

    “Stop,” I said.

    He did.  Slowly, he straightened.

    “I’m illustrating a point,” I said.

    My bugs drifted away from Mrs. Tagg.  She was uninjured, without a welt or blemish.  She backed into the corner as the bugs loomed between her and her husband.

    “Not sure why.  Doesn’t change my mind in the slightest,” Tagg said.

    [...]

    “He’s right,” Tattletale commented.

    “About?”

    “You won’t change his mind with a gesture like that.  Sparing his wife.” - Excerpt from Imago 21.1
  8. “I have.  Bad publicity fades with time.  So do welts and scabs.  Five or ten years from now, provided the world makes it that long, nobody will remember anything except the fact that we fought back.  Good publicity will overwrite the bad, carefully chosen words and some favors called in with people in the media will help whitewash any of our mistakes.  We’re an institution.”

    “So you think you automatically win?  Or you’re guaranteed to win in the long run?”

    “No.  They didn’t pick me to head this city’s PRT division because I’m a winner, Ms. Taylor.  They picked me because I’m a scrapper.  I’m a survivor.  I’m the type that’s content to get the shit kicked out of me, so long as I give the other guy a bloody nose.  I’m a stubborn motherfucker, I won’t be intimidated, and I won’t give up.  The last few Directors in Brockton Bay met a bad end, but I’m here to stay.” - Excerpt from Imago 21.1
  9. Director Tagg was lightning up a cigarette, despite the prominent 'no smoking' signs nearby. As I passed, he gave me a hard stare, heavily lined eyes glaring beneath thick black eyebrows, his face otherwise expressionless. He pointed, and a PRT uniform joined our group. Excerpt from Cell 22.1
  10. “Maybe you don’t really get what the Birdcage is.  See, I hate it.  I was in Lausanne in two-thousand two through oh-three.  Fought a whole mess of ugly.  People that couldn’t be reasoned with, people who were hopeless, in the grand scheme of it.  Victims, as much as anyone else.” - Excerpt from Cell 22.2
  11. Excerpt from Cell 22.2
  12. Chrysalis 20.4
  13. Cell 22.4
  14. Cell 22.5

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