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Your DNI might show you all the options, but only you can decide what you are willing to sacrifice.
~ Taylor to The Player.
We're all being used! Can't you see that? Once we put this shit inside our heads, we handed over our souls to whoever held the keys. We're puppets... actors playing out our roles. This time around... I'm the bad guy.
~ Taylor to Hendricks in the simulation.

Commander John Taylor is the secondary antagonist of 2015 sci-fi epic first person shooter, Call of Duty: Black Ops III as well as a major character in the prequel comic of the same name.

As the Executive Officer of the Winslow Accord Black Ops team Phi, Taylor quickly became one of the WA's most experienced operators. After his former teammates leaked classified CIA intelligence and attempted to defect to the Common Defense Pact, he and Jacob Hendricks successfully eliminated the defectors. Sustaining serious injuries on the mission, Taylor received augmentations and continued serving the WA as a Cyber Soldier.

Hew was voiced by Christopher Meloni, who also portrayed Chris Keller in Oz.

History

Taylor began his military career by enrolling at West Point Military Academy in 2037, who becomes the fourth generation of his family to do so. He excels at all challenges and is soon promoted to Bridge Commander at the end of his First Cadet Year. He graduates magna cum laude in 2041 and is later recruited to the US Army 1st Special Forces Group. Taylor is assigned to the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Arabian Peninsula and serves dutifully with distinction.

He attains the rank of Captain and is granted the position of Detachment Commander to his Special Forces Operation Detachment-A team in 2048. He is seconded to the Winslow Accord Special Forces in 2049. Taylor is later transferred to the black ops team Phi in 2058, comprising himself, Dylan Stone, Javier Ramirez, Alice Conrad, Joseph Fierro, Hussein Patel, Eamon Xu, and Commanding Officer Jacob Hendricks.

In 2059, Taylor, along with Patel, Xu, Stone and Hendricks, was tasked with taking down a Saudi-Polish triple agent named Timur Abulayev. While going to acquire KN-44 assault rifles from a merchant, the squad (minus Hendricks) encountered various local gang members, led by a mysterious red-haired woman, nicknamed "The Wet Witch of Lubryanka". After taking down the thugs, they met up with Hendricks, who later briefed them on the mission. Taylor took on the role of intel gathering, by meeting up with a local woman, Dorrit, who told him about Abulayev's base as well as the Wet Witch, real name Mokrie Baba. Afterwards, the team attacked Abulayev's hideout, and took him out. However, Baba showed up and killed Patel. She was seemingly killed by Hendricks (who took a sniping position), however, she survived thanks to her bulletproof armor.

Some times later, the team headed to Helsinki, Finland, in search of Baba's asset, a target named Maxim Chernakov. However, their first day in Helsinki took a turn for the worse, as Chernakov's men chased them down, resulting in the death of their latest team member, Haruko Mandelbaum. Hendricks managed to capture one of Chernakov's men and forced him to lead them to Chernakov's hideout. However, upon arrival, his hideout was booby-trapped, and Taylor got injured in the process. They learned from Chernakov's former mistress, Katrina, that he had escaped with Baba to Sápmi. Hendricks then had Taylor contact Xu to bring in a sniper and a demolition expert to assist with the mission.

The next day, they met with Conrad and Fierro, and headed out to find Chernakov. Upon arriving at Chernakov's place, their VTOL was shot down, and the crew immediately split up, with Conrad taking on Chernakov herself, while Taylor and the rest of the squad opened fire on Baba. While she escaped, Chernakov was killed, with Conrad barely alive. However, before he died, he referred to Mokrie by the name Krasney Baba, the Red Witch.

Team Phi's hunt for Mokrie Baba leads them to Mogadishu, Somalia, where they find her arranging a meeting with the crime lord Ahmad Ghury Al-Ghazi. She initially offers him the head of his rival, Hassan Shabaab, but unbeknownst to Al-Ghazi and Team Phi, she secretly rigged the head to blow up, tricking Al-Ghazi into imprisoning her. Taylor, meanwhile, struggles with Hendricks in Budapest in order to capture and interrogate the local Moscow Center operator, Konrad.

They discover that Mokrie and Krasney are two separate people, and that Krasney sent Mokrie to Mogadishu to steal a data drive from Al-Ghazi. As Taylor and Hendricks contemplate on what to do with Konrad, Stone leads the rest of the team and storms Al-Ghazi's compound, and eventually kills the crime lord himself. However, Mokrie manages to escape captivity and retrieves the data drive from Al-Ghazi's safe, and evades the Winslow Accord soldiers.

The team tracks down Mokrie to Japan, where she meets up with Yakuza boss Oni Bozu to negotiate the purchase of illegal combat drone control chips. Stone leads Conrad and Fierro to infiltrate Bozu's chip factory by an underwater route through the factory's pylon, while Xu, Taylor, Hendricks and Ramirez assault the factory by helicopter. Bozu, however, activates the factory's defense system, shooting down one of the helicopters, seemingly killing the latter three. Unbeknownst to Bozu and Mokrie, the helicopter was filled with dummy dolls, while Taylor, Hendricks and Ramirez attack the two of them by surprise.

As Bozu takes refuge in his secret armory with Mokrie, Ramirez works on leaving several C4 charges behind. Later, Bozu steps out with a high-tech armor suit, but is killed along with all of his men, while Taylor and the rest of the team escape. As they check on the explosion for survivors, they find a half-burnt Mokrie, who somehow survived the explosion. Before Xu could react, Mokrie then shoots him in the head, and escapes in the smoke.

The team later travels to Alexanderplatz, Berlin, in order to assassinate Ivan Rudel, who has been suspected of manufacturing combat drones based on Oni Bozu's control chips. However, the mission goes sideways when Conrad fails to snipe Rudel, forcing the CEO to escape in an armored van. Taylor, Fierro, Stone and Ramirez attempt to capture Rudel, but is stopped momentarily by a R.A.P.S. drone. After barely escaping, Taylor and Ramirez join with Hendricks to chase down on Rudel, who unleashes a series of Talon as well as a GI Unit to slow them down, while Stone and Fierro encounter a prototype quad tank.

The GI Unit hops on Hendricks' car and grabs him and Taylor by the throat, but is destroyed by Ramirez, who uses a shaped charge to blow it up. Unfortunately, Ramirez himself could not escape the blast, and end up burned in the face. Rudel's driver, who turns out to be a bandaged Mokrie, steps out of the van and attempts to kill the trio, but is stopped by Conrad, who arrives in a motorcycle and puts a shot in Rudel's head, effectively finishing the mission. However, Mokrie escapes once more via the sewers. The team then comtemplates going to Moscow to deal with her once and for all.

Team Phi infiltrates Lubyanka, Moscow, where it is revealed that the Red Witch, a.k.a. Krasney Baba, has been running the operation within the Russian Security Services' headquarters, the Lubyanka Building, as the administrative officer, taking commands from an unknown party. Fierro and Stone manage to take down one of Krasney's squads in the sewers, while Taylor and Ramirez visit the Perinatal'nyy Medical Center to find and eliminate Mokrie, who is still receiving treatment for her burnt face after the incident in Japan. Mokrie then chases them down, with half of her face still untreated and un-bandaged. Conrad, meanwhile, manages to slip through security by going in unarmed, and retrieves her equipment from an airdrop missile later, after taking out a group of chemical agents in the building.

Taylor and Ramirez are picked up by Hendricks in an armored van, prompting Mokrie to pursuit. Another of Krasney's squad is sent down to the sewers, where they find that Fierro and Stone have set up several C4 charges under a sewer manhole cover, set to go off at the slightest vibration. The C4 is detonated as Mokrie passes by the manhole, killing her immediately. Conrad manages to pass through lines of security, and kills Krasney as well, effectively ending the threat of the Russians. Moscow is then immediately put on lockdown, as the KGB goes on a hunt for the Winslow Accords fugitives. The agents are found disguising as prisoners on a transport train, however they manage to gain the upper hand as they open fire on the pursuers. Against the unknown party's command, the new admin of the building, Elena, decides to wipe the system of the building clean, and does not pursue Team Phi.

Simulation

In 2070, the Player and Hendricks, who are now close friends, are recruited by CIA agent Rachel Kane to investigate the CIA Black Station in Singapore that lost communications. On route they encounter foot soldiers for the ruthless criminal organization the 54 Immortals, who have access to military grade weaponry. Needing to fight through the 54i forces to reach their objective, the operatives are temporarily pinned down by a heavily armoured man of war "Warlord" cyborg before they are rescued by Kane, who then joins Hendricks and the Player in reaching the safe house.

Upon arrival, the team discovers the CIA Black Station staff brutally murdered in the ritual "Denial of Reincarnation" and the data drives gone. While they initially believe that 54i enforcer Jae Xiong is responsible for the murders, Kane goes through the entry logs for the safe house and discovers that Taylor's team were the last ones there before arriving. Both Hendricks and the Player are initially unconvinced of Kane's theory about Taylor, having served with him for the past five years.

In order to learn the truth about what happened, the Player and Hendricks then lead an assault on the 54 Immortal's headquarters in the Bio Domes to recover the data drives by posing as arms dealers, making contact with 54i drug dealer Danny Li at a teahouse owned by the 54i. While Hendricks attempts to learn the whereabouts of Jae Xiong, Li states that nobody has seen him in years. After managing to convince Li to work with them, the pair are compromised by 54i leaders and siblings Goh Min and Goh Xiulan , who quickly deduce that the arms dealer are actually members of the Winslow Accord. Greatly out numbered, Hendricks orders Kane to active friendly Grunt reinforcements, killing both Goh Min and Li and forcing Goh Xiulan to flee. After fighting their way to the 54 headquarters, the Player and Hendricks catch Goh Xiulan attempting to decrypt the drives, with Hendricks knocking her out.

They then attempt to pull the information out of the drives, but are locked out due to a DNA security system that only allows the Goh siblings to access the console. With Goh Min dead, the Players severs Goh Xiulan's right hand in order to access the console, an act which clearly bothers Hendricks. After obtaining the information from the drives, the pair then escape with Hendricks claiming that what he saw was bullshit, confirming that Taylor and his team have indeed gone rogue.

To understand Taylor's sudden betrayal, the team then use the Intel they retrieved to investigate the site of Taylor's last op, an abandoned Coalescence Corporation facility in Singapore where 300,000 people were killed a long time ago. Within the facility, Hendricks and the Player are both attacked by seemingly inactive Grunts, displaying odd, human like behavior. They discover that the facility was actually a cover for a CIA black project named Project Corvus and later find the decayed corpse's of Jae Xiong and several other test subjects, learning that the CIA were performing DNI experiments on them against their will. They soon learn that Diaz himself is nearby and has hooked himself up to the facility's central CPU core, controlling the Grunts and uploading CIA safe house locations to multiple sources worldwide.

Needing to stop the Intel leaks, Kane orders Hendricks and the Player to stop him. While they manage to stop Diaz, the intel was unfortunately sent, revealing every CIA safe house location worldwide. Needing to understand Taylor's motives, Kane orders a reluctant Hendricks to interface with Diaz's DNI, killing the rogue soldier in the process. The team learns that Taylor's squad is currently hunting the two sole survivors of the Project: Dr. Yousef Salim, who is residing in Cairo, and Sebastion Krueger, who's current whereabouts are unknown. They soon become compromised by 54i forces, who were tipped off by the information Diaz sent them before dying. Goh Xiulan, now with a bionic hand, orders her lieutenant to trigger explosives throughout the facility, causing it to flood. While Hendricks and the Player manage to escape the facility, Kane orders them to leave Singapore to avoid being executed by the 54i after her position was compromised by the data leaks.

Taylor's team interrogates Salim about the location of the Frozen Forest, and then execute him right after Taylor orders Hall to ambush the Egyptian army using a Manticore Mech Suit, needing time to complete his interrogation and escape. While Hall proves to be a challenge against the Player and Hendricks, she is ultimately defeated. Needing to know more behind Taylor's motives, the Player decides to interface with Hall's DNI against her and Hendricks's objections. The Player is surprised to find that Hall's mind is heavily defended in an attempt to find out what she hiding.

After fighting through digital defenses of Halls mind and destroying what remains of her subconscious, the Player discovers the presence of an AI virus named Corvus, who had corrupted Taylor and his team during their mission in Singapore, having integrated itself into the DNI's of Taylor's team and slowly taking over their cybernetics, being able to control their actions against their will. After disconnecting with Hall's DNI, the Player tells Kane about the AI and the location of Taylor and Maretti, who have taken refuge on an aquifer controlled by the NRC.

With help from Khalil and the Egyptian army, the Player, Hendricks, and Kane launch an assault on the aquifer in an attempt to capture Taylor and Maretti. During the assault, the Player's cybernetic systems suddenly shut down until they are awakened by Kane, who reveals that Corvus can also infect anyone who interfaces with it, meaning that both Hendricks and the Player are infected as they had interfaced with Diaz and Hall. Continuing the attack, the team decides to lock down the facility in order to trap the rogue soldiers. While they manage to seal Maretti inside, Taylor makes it out and flees on a NRC harrier. During their pursuit of Maretti, the Player and Hendricks continue to experience complication in their cybernetics as Corvus is slowly taking control of them.

While the Player manages to fight off Corvus's influence, Hendricks begins to take his frustrations out on the Player, accusing them of losing perspective and even going so far as to threaten to kill Kane, believing that she is somehow behind this until he is struck down by the Player. Telling Hendricks that nobody will be able to help them once Corvus takes control, the Player reminds him of their friendship and that they will need each other more than ever if they are going to fight off Corvus. Managing to bring Hendricks back to his senses, the pair then find and confront Maretti, who attempts to kill them with a sniper rifle but is ultimately killed by the Player when the later kicks him out a window onto a pile of debris, impaling him.

The team then learns that Taylor had made a deal with the NRC in exchange for protection and is currently in Lotus Towers, an NRC stronghold in the city of Cairo. The team then make an attempt to capture Taylor, killing the NRC General Hakim as a way to start a city wide revolution that'll divert the NRC's attention. As they make their way towards Taylor, the Player and Hendricks continue to suffer malfunctions in their cybernetics, experiencing constant system failures and hallucinations as well as hearing Corvus's voice. While the Player is still able to fight of the AI's influence, Hendricks, who had been infected since Singapore, becomes more aggressive and violent towards his own allies, stating that they are fighting a losing battle and that they will make no difference whether they win or lose.

After managing to reach Taylor's location, Henricks and the Player attempt to reason with their old leader, who is in a catatonic state. Claiming that he will take them all home, Taylor takes control of the NRC grunts throughout the city, attacking everyone on site including the NRC soldiers. While chasing Taylor, Khalil contacts them and tells them that he is greatly outnumbered by the NRC before his communication cuts out, with Kane confirming that enemy forces captured Khalil. While the Player initially request that they save Khalil, Kane reminds them that Taylor is the priority but promises that they will do what they can once this is over.

After managing to catch up to Taylor, the pair is soon confronted by an army of grunts, with Hendricks staying behind to hold them off while the Player continues to pursue Taylor to the top of Lotus Towers. The Player then fights Taylor, who has commandeered an enemy Mothership. While the Player manages to take down the Mothership, their cybernetic arm is pinned by the ship's debris, partially shutting down other systems, which renders them defenseless. Taylor, who survived the crash unscathed, pulls out a combat knife with the intent of murdering the Player. After desperately trying to convince Taylor that he is not himself, the Player manages to get through to him briefly as Taylor regains his senses and tears out his own DNI through his neck, effectively cutting off Corvus's influence over him.

While the Player initially believes that it is over, Taylor reminds them that Corvus still resides in the DNI's of both the Player and Hendricks, making them loose ends. Although the wounded Taylor is no longer considered a threat, he is suddenly killed by Hendricks, who has finally succumbed to the virus and leaves the Player pinned, departing aboard another mothership to the Coalescence facility in Zurich, Switzerland in order to find Krueger.

Aftermath

Being the only surviving host of the virus, the Player attempts to commit suicide to prevent them from being controlled by Corvus, but ends up inside a simulated world created within their own DNI. There, the Player is reunited with the digital reincarnations of their teammates, with Hendricks informing the Player that they have reached the Frozen Forest, a place where they can digitally live on after death as their minds have become a part of Corvus's hive mind. Seeing that their former allies have all given into Corvus's influence, the Player continues on until they encounter Corvus with a digital version of Krueger, who also had a DNI, and demands to know why it was created.

Krueger argues that every bit of technology embraced by the public presented new ways for their enemies to compromise them, and the DNI was a way of monitoring the thoughts of everybody at once. Corvus was designed to catalogue them. After being told that it was nothing but a mistake, Corvus brutally murders Krueger and destroys what remained of his subconscious. The Player, shocked by what they witnessed, kneels down in despair until they encounter the digitally reincarnated Taylor, who claims that he was the only one to reject the AI's influence before dying which made what remained of his subconscious a virus in Corvus's system. Agreeing to help the Player fight Corvus, Taylor explains that the only way for the Player to defeat Corvus for good is to initiate a system purge in their DNI.

While the Player is still able to fight through Corvus's digital forces, their mental state becomes more and more fractured and they begin to chant Corvus's words, although Taylor's remains their voice of reason and tells them to keep pressing forward. After fighting their way through Corvus's illusory forces, the Player manages to regain control of their body and attempts to purge their DNI.

Corvus makes a last ditch effort to control the Player, but is held off by Taylor, who tells the Player to keep fighting. The Player then purges their DNI, causing both Corvus and Taylor to disappear. As the Player stumbles out of the building where the controlled robotics were overrun by the ZSF, a soldier asks the Player to identify themself. As their system slowly completes the purge, the Player says "Taylor" before the screen dramatically fades to black, leaving the Player's non-reality fate unknown.

Quotes

Hey… You still with us?
~ Taylor the Player.
Right now...? Right now you're in a medically induced coma being prepped for surgery. You've got a new bit of hardware inside your head. It's called a Direct Neural Interface, or DNI. I've got one, too - that's how I'm able to communicate with you. Your DNI is what connects your mind to your new body and the larger world around you. We're connected. All of this... is a simulation inside our minds.
~ Taylor to the Player in "New World".
Train go boom.
~ Taylor's famous quote.
Thank you.
~ Taylor to Dr. Salim, before executing him.
You don't understand... I'm taking us home.
~ Taylor to Hendricks.
I know. It must grow. It wants... everybody.
~ Taylor to the Player.
I must get it out.
~ Taylor ripping out his DNI.
Not safe. Still... here... you... Hendricks...
~ Taylor, before being executed by Hendricks in the simulation.
All this shit around you? It's an illusion. You're still in the Zürich HQ of Coalescence. Corvus is messing with your head trying to stop you from shutting it down before it can spread. Don't be fooled. You just stay with me. We'll get through this.
~ Taylor to the Player.
Fight it.
~ Taylor to the Player, while he is holding Corvus back.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Simulation Taylor can be considered one of the primary villains of the game however in reality Taylor he is the deuteragonist of the game.

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