Isabella 'Bella' Sheridan

Registry of the Non-Evolved Database

File #29 Oct 2009 19:56

Name Isabella Sheridan Aliases Dolores Rusk
Dr. Joelle Van Dyne
Status Registered Non-Evolved
Gender Female Race/Eth. White
Birthdate September 4, 1980 Age 30
Height 5'4" Build Slim
Eyes Blue Hair Red
Residence Ferry Safehouse - Jamaica Bay
Employment Indefinite circumstantial retirement
Parents Isaac and Georgia Sheridan (living in Westchester County) Siblings None
Marital Status Involved with Deckard Children Not Calvin
First Seen Doctor Gwen Stacy Last Seen
Profile Isabella 'Bella' Sheridan is a deeply self-serving psychiatrist and experimental research director formerly of the Company and the Commonwealth Institute, now living by the grace of the Ferryman Network.
Isabella 'Bella' Sheridan
portrayed by

Bryce Dallas Howard

"She's a nice person at heart, someone you can really trust." - An assessment of Bella, as made by former client Magnes Varlane.

"I think maybe there's something wrong with you." - An assessment of Bella, as made by client Flint Deckard.

"She's evil." - An assessment of Bella, as made by former test subject Joseph Sumter.


Every normal person, in fact, is only normal on the average. His ego approximates to that of the psychotic in some part or other and to a greater or lesser extent. - Sigmund Freud

The soul is the prison of the body. - Michel Foucault

The Long Road to Recovery - Compiled Logs of Bella


Bella is good with people, on the face of things. Her whole life, even before she made it her career, has involved understanding people and their desires, the tangled knots of their personality. But this does not mean that Bella is good with personal relationships. Most human interaction, unless she is after something, getting something out of it, leaves her cold. Attachment, she suspects, is pathological - any action against one's self interest in favor of another's is irrational. But Bella is not free of pathology, and despite herself she has formed attachments and non-clinical opinions, some complex.

Current Theories

White Elephant Complex

Isabella's professional interest is in Evolved psychology, and her foundational theories revolve around the 'white elephant' complex, more formally called evolved manifestation tension syndrome.

Coined and elaborated on during the post-Bomb days, it came from Dr. Sheridan's initial observations of two polar responses to and individual's self discovery that they were Evolved. A segment of the population immediately embraced their powers, enjoying their new-found abilities, enjoying their sudden outstanding uniqueness. But just as often, if not more so, newly manifested Evolved tried to suppress or deny their powers, focusing on being 'normal'.

This 'special/normal' binary not only split the population, Dr. Sheridan found, but also individuals. The tension between the natural desire to be a secure member of the community and the undeniable fact of an essential difference with that community combines with social and cultural pressures to create a strain not unlike the realization of homosexuality. Unlike homosexuality, however, powers express themselves in such an unusual and dangerous range that occurences such as harming family members or loved ones, as well as other disturbing interpersonal events, heighten cases of evolved manifestation tension syndrome, leading to various symptoms including depression, self loathing, reckless endangerment and even homicidal behavior.

Criticisms of the theory have been raised: that it is as 'catch all' for a wide variety of unique disorders, that it is a meaningless differentiation of stress that, while its source is peculiar, need not be differentiated. Dr. Sheridan admits that her critics have a point, but insists that there is something distinct about the Evolved, and that to try and dismiss it would be scientifically irresponsible.

Psychological Manifestation Interaction

In a theory much contested by her late colleague, Dr. Mitchell, Dr. Sheridan maintains that psychological factors are of singular importance to the mechanism of Evolved manifestation. As the mind/body division is total bunk, and the source of Evolved power seems to invariably stem from the brain, Dr. Sheridan claims that the chemical conditions of the brain, and thus the psychological state of the subject at the time of manifestation, must have some effect a.) on the fact of manifestation itself and (potentially) b.) the nature of manifestation.

Evidence to support this theory consist of widespread reports of manifestation taking place at key emotional moments, as induced by situations of stress and danger, the fact that some powers produce personality changes/new urges in their possessors, that a psychotropic drug (Refrain) works only on the Evolved, and that when an Evolved subject is placed back in the emotional state the experienced while manifesting they may demonstrate a notable increase in the magnitude of their power's expression. While link between adrenal levels and Evolved power are well established, but Dr. Sheridan believes other chemical processes may be salient, and thus worth investigating.

The practical upshots of this are twofold. First, that since an Evolved's mutation has some effect on their brain, which effect asserts itself most prominently upon manifestation, they may have different psychological needs after manifestation than they did before. Second, that if manifestation is to be induced purposefully, the fine tuning of the ability manifested may rely on the specific psychological conditions at the time of manifestation, meaning said psychological conditions must be fostered to insure the desired power manifests.

Completed Projects

Refrain Project

Excerpt from a funding request submitted by Dr. Isabella Sheridan:

The scheduling of a substance as new as Refrain is a tremendously shortsighted act, though hardly unexpected. Just as cannabis was used as a pretense for imprisoning Mexican immigrants, and lysergic acid for imprisoning peaceful protestors, so Refrain has been scheduled long before it could be properly studied in order to provide the State another excuse for oppressing Evolved. 'No therapeutic value' is a conclusion made by the uninformed, irresponsibly; there are no grounds for assuming Refrain has no use, and even less grounds for making it illegal.

Luckily, our organization understands that illegality is not synonymous with worthlessness, and is no excuse for ignorance…

Bella considered Refrain an invaluable object of study. It is a psychotropic drug that only meaningfully effects the Evolved, seemingly all Evolved, despite differences in manifestation. As a psychological researcher with a specific interest in the Evolved, its interest to her is natural. Thanks to a persuasive statement of purpose and the generosity of her benefactors, Bella was given an extremely large check and free reign over a mostly-independent project designed to study the composition, effects and practical potential of Refrain.

With a large budget and no ethical oversights, Bella wasted no time in doing whatever is necessary to further her project's goals. Through deception and kidnapping, black market dealings and imprisonment, she made what she considered to be considerable progress in the direction of understanding Refrain both as a substance in and of itself, and as a potentially useful tool for gathering intelligence.

The project came to a rather abrupt end when compatriots of a test subject raided her facility with overwhelming force. Shortly before the raid, the usually very discreet Dr. Sheridan was ID'd, and while she managed to escape without harm to her person, her association with the project has already, and will likely in the future, have serious repercussions. Bella remains philosophical about this fact. She maintains that, despite its end, the project was a success, due to two important discoveries.

First, the devising of a cocktail of Refrain and dextroamphetamine that produces a state of lucid, deep recollection, during which the subject is conscious and able to received and respond to external stimuli. This cocktail has two uses so far, first as an ostensible treatment for PTSD and related disorders, second, as an interrogation enhancer. In both cases, relevant memories can be summoned up using guiding stimuli, then relayed either by the subject's report, or mental eavesdropping by a telepath or dream manipulator.

Second (and entirely by accident), the discovery that some as-of-yet undetermined mix of power suppressive neurotoxin and Refrain (as well as other potential factors such an aroused emotional state and dextroamphetamine) produces a brief but forceful augmentation of an Evolved's power.

Whatever the mechanism, this breakthrough proved sufficient to permit the synthesis of the crude augmentation drug employed by Dr. Sheridan in her later project (see below).

Project Icarus

"Icarus?" Bella says, a brow lifting, "Someone evidently has a sense of humor. I hope the previous project wasn't named 'Prometheus' or 'Pandora'."

The disastrous end of the Refrain project was a severe blow to Dr. Sheridan, and brought the censure of senior Company members. She purportedly escaped with her job, and thus with her memories and maybe even her life, because of her discovery of the basic chemical interaction behind the amplification drug. As she well knows, but is not known to any save herself and her assistant, Dema, is that this discovery was a total accident. She should, were it not for simple luck, have been ruined despite her best efforts. This was a deep personal blow to the extremely self-assured Bella, who has the self regard typical of a only child, born in privilege and with a distinguished career in an exciting field.

Combined with the still recent death of one of her only friends, Wendy Hunter, and her subsequent injury at the hands of former therapeutic client Flint Deckard, her temporary suspension from Company duties dipped Bella into an uncharacteristic lassitude, exacerbated by the supposed death of Raphael. Cannabis smoke and disenchantment hung heavy in Bella's apartment.

That is, until she was approached by one Dr. Suresh. It seems that certain individuals of influenced admired the lengths she was willing to go to in the name of her research. From this perspective, what Bella had before considered an stupid accident, attributable to nothing but sheer chance, was a mark of a certain experimental curiosity in the absence of typical ethical restraint. She was asked to assist in the direction of a new branch of Project Icarus. Bella was more than willing to take both the job and the new prop to her ego. She has thus begun working with Dr. Cong to redevelop the coveted Formula.

Recently, it has been revealed to her that the backers of Project Icarus are not only behind the spread of H5n10, but that the project itself is a continuation of research begun by Dr. Otto Brum, a Nazi scientist. This has shocked Bella deeply, though not perhaps as it might most people. Rather than be horrified by the legacy of atrocity this links her to - she considers herself blameless, not guilty even by association - she is instead disturbed to realize the dangerous risks and potentially fatal damage to her already tarnished reputation the project may bring. She is having doubts, not of her own abilities or culpability, but the consequences she may face. And when compared to self-preservation, little else matters to Dr. Sheridan.

Her single most significant achievement was the development of a tailored virus which restored the ability of Mortimer Jack, whose ability was 'stolen' by Arthur Petrelli. After purposeful infection and near-total immune suppression, Mortimer's SLC was cleared of the amino 'junk' - a byproduct of the ability 'theft' - that was blocking its expression thanks to a modified H5n10 strain. A full three days of close observation in a clean room, and Mortimer's ability returned to full expression. The trial has since led to a replicable treatment.

However, disturbed by the mental state of her colleagues, captured and coerced by violent radicals and generally left fearing for her life, Bella quite willingly sold out the Institute and has disavowed her relationship to the organization. While she was hoping to be quit of the Institute entirely, her treachery has apparently not been discovered (though she can't be entirely sure) and she has been called back to work. Lacking anything like the loyalty she felt towards the Company and regularly fearing for her life, Bella must labor to appear not to be the security risk she very much is.

Claw Your Way Through This Disguise

For the daring, I present for perusal the private journal of Dr. Isabella Sheridan.

Psychiatric Assessments

Dossier of Psychiatric Patients

Bella considers the Evolved emergence to be the most crucial development in current human history; she's hardly alone in this belief. From a psychological perspective, the realization that powered individuals exist in the world represents a massive shift in the perception of reality and possibility. What this means both for the Evolved themselves, and those who now know of their existence, is of great interest to Bella on general terms. Working for the Company, however, she directs this interest towards keeping both Evolved and non-Evolved employees loyal and functional.

Bella keeps records of her clients, records she shares with the Company higher-ups so that they know the psychological status of their employees. Discovery of these files would be disastrous for her working relationships. For your OOC consideration, they are labeled by subject in the tabs above.

I See Bella

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