Glasgow Nights (Doctor Who RPG)

Episode #10: Sisters
10th December, 2016

The next morning, everyone met up at Torchwood Two to compare notes. Elizabeth received a rude awakening when she realized that Nigel is a Zygon.

“What?!”


As the team deliberated their next action, the thought occurred to Elizabeth to go back to the roots of Torchwood, as an investigative agency. Surveillance of the city of Ayr seemed a better option than a frontal assault on Pham’s secret base, and perhaps the team could deplete Pham’s numbers with less risk because they were so focused on striking at the parish in Ayr.

Elizabeth, Charlie, Henry, and Alice settled on a potentially long-term surveillance, and they began by checking into an inn in Ayr, run by Tiffany Myles. As they entered the inn, Henry noticed another trio of operatives, trying to blend in but not quite succeeding, checking in ahead of them. He telegraphed his keen observation to the rest of the team, who quietly slipped to the lounge area to wait for the trio to finish. Once they checked in, Alice tailed them to find and place a camera outside their room so the team could track their movements.

Meanwhile, Charlie got a mysterious text message from her sister, Abigail: “999”. A brief exchange followed, in which she found that Abigail was in potential danger and was on her way to Glasgow by train. She would arrive at the main Glasgow train station at 1730.

Once the team checked into their rooms, Elizabeth wandered out on a “constitutional” to walk by Holy Trinity Church and place a camera across the street so the team could help guard them against further problems. As she returned, the team noticed one of the trio of operatives sneaking into the living space of the concierge, Tiffany Myles, possibly waiting for her as she was still working at the main desk.

Immediately, the team sprang into action, posting outside Tiffany’s door. When she inquired about the situation, Henry flashed his fake MI-5 credential, but otherwise was honest—someone was in her room, and the team needed to apprehend him. Tiffany was happy to cooperate with the team, and helped the team access her room. Fortunately, the team ushered her to the back of the group, as Henry opened the door and was immediately attacked by the intruder. But Charlie made quick work of the intruder with her stun gun, knocking him unconscious and taking him prisoner. When asked, Tiffany happily provided Henry with a key to the intruder’s room, remembering that he had accomplices and now wanting the entire trio out of her inn.

The team posted up to raid the operatives’ room; Henry would unlock the door and Charlie would kick it in. Charlie and Elizabeth stunned out one of the two remaining operatives, but the last one jumped out the window. Charlie quickly followed, while Alice went out the front door to intercept in case he got away. First Charlie and then Alice caught up with the last operative and stunned him out. They then called Tucker Avery, their more militant ally at Holy Trinity Church, to help contain the trio of unconscious bodies. Not wanting to take them to the church, Tucker took them to another safehouse he had set up, an unfurnished basement flat set up almost like a dungeon.

Henry awakened the first one, Taylor Flanders, with a bucket of cold water. When he didn’t respond to questioning, Henry read him psychically, but all he knew was that he needed more subjects, that Tiffany was the designated target, and that the trio’s leader reported to Susan Pham.

After checking on the second one, Justin Anderson, and finding him still unconscious, Henry and Charlie went about interrogating the oldest of the trio, Albert Dreyson. They found him somewhat more talkative but also more manipulative and more arrogant as he began to make demands of them. Eventually, Henry and Albert came down to business and Henry asked why they wanted Tiffany.

“Pham said she was going to feed her to the angel.” With this startling revelation, it seemed that Pham’s group was now beyond the intelligence-gathering phase and now was interested in simply disposing of the Ayr group.

Henry entered his mind, and found two phrases: Grey Vault and Black Archive. Apparently, these were UNIT assets to which the original Susan Pham had access, so this group had some access as well. Further, the Grey Vault seemed to be the secret base the team had surveilled recently.

After the interrogations, Charlie told the rest of the team that she needed to go back to Glasgow to take care of something. Finding herself on the business end of an interrogation, she finally confessed that she was going to pick up her sister, Abigail, who had found herself in some unspecified danger. Alice insisted on accompanying her to provide backup.

Charlie and Alice arrived on the platform just in time for Abigail’s train to arrive. In the chaos of many people embarking and disembarking the train, Charlie noticed two people who were approaching the train side-by-side in an attempt to force Abigail back on the train. Charlie tackled the male, knocking him onto the train, while Alice hit the female just enough to make a hole for Abigail to take up position behind Charlie. Whether they had done so accidentally, or were pretending to be random collisions, the couple boarded the train and the doors closed.

As Alice, Charlie, and Abigail got into their Land Rover, another Land Rover screeched to a halt behind them. The driver of one of the vans the second Land Rover blocked apparently was disgruntled and laid on his horn. It was then that Alice and Charlie recognized Melanie and Fiona in the second Land Rover, and Abigail recognized her third tail as the van’s driver. The driver realized the jig was up and dismounted to run, but the adrenaline of having her sister nearly kidnapped possessed Charlie, who ran him down and tackled him so hard that he hit a parking lot wheel stop and fell unconscious.

As Charlie cuffed and stuffed the driver, Fiona revealed to Alice that she had experienced a vision, in which Abigail was being stuffed into a van by the guy they had just captured. She had a feeling that she couldn’t just let that happen, so she cajoled Melanie into driving them to the train station to stop it.

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Episode #9: A Walk in the Snow
9th – 10th December, 2016

Neuromancer had just informed Trevor Rothberry of using CCTV footage to track a lorry that had left the hospital and was headed into Cairngorms National Park.

While Trevor stayed behind to monitor the situation and to work on his many technical projects, Alice Kingston, Henry Taylor, Charlie Williams, and Elizabeth Davies drove out on a field trip to Cairngorms to try to narrow down the destination of that lorry. As they got closer, driving became a bit more hazardous as it was snowing in the area.

While they stopped in the town of Killiecrankie, Charlie noticed another lorry driving past and turning off into the forest. The team immediately gave (casual) pursuit. The lorry drove a few more miles into the forest and turned into a ravine; Charlie drove past so as to avoid telegraphing anything to its driver. She continued on to a small picnic area a couple of miles further up the road.

The team opted to skirt the edge of the ravine instead of going up the makeshift road, so as not to be seen. But Henry and Alice both found a bad slope in the trail and slipped down into the road, Alice landing on top of Henry. “I hope that’s your gun,” Henry grunted out from below. As they found a better path to climb back up, Charlie and Elizabeth looked past them to see a large cave entrance. Tire tracks led into the cave, but those tracks were being covered by the falling snow, so they might not have seen the tracks at another time.

As the team pondered how to get more reconnaissance of what was looking like a secret base, Elizabeth activated the one drone the team had brought with them and began flying around to get a look from a different angle. Through the drone’s camera, Elizabeth saw the mountaintop was roughly level and a helipad perched atop it. There was a helicopter there—the same one with which Susan Pham and her UNIT team had arrived at Islay. A small cabin sat about twenty meters away from the helicopter. One guard sat at the window, gazing out.

Meanwhile, Henry reached out with his mind in an attempt to get an idea of how many minds were inside the cave. As he was not accustomed to reading multiple minds, or reading minds of people he couldn’t see, he strained himself to “hear” those minds. He dropped to one knee as he was nearly overwhelmed by the minds of his three teammates, but he eventually filtered them out as he reached out further. He felt a family of four in another direction, hiking. The son slipped in the snow, and his sister laughed as she threw more snow on him. Henry reached out further. Just inside the cave entrance, he sensed two men—no, Zygons—with less-recreational attitudes and carrying weapons. He reached out further, and what he found was indeed some sort of secret base. He counted another twenty Zygons roaming about three levels inside, plus two more atop the mountain. And then he estimated fifty humans in a subbasement complex, perhaps five levels underground, all unconscious. Having greatly exceeded the usual limits of his powers, he snapped back to his body with a force that might have knocked him out if the environment were more highly populated.

After discussing their findings briefly, the team decided that the four of them would be insufficient for an effective assault on the base, so they headed back to Torchwood Two. On the way back, they called Trevor, who confirmed that Pham and her team had raided Denise Grassi’s flat just before skipping town, and they had taken Grassi’s replica of the Evolution Artifact. Once back at HQ, the team split up; Elizabeth and Alice would drive to Carlisle, where Katherine Byron and the other Henry Taylor were on the campaign trail, while Charlie and Henry would drive to Ayr and speak with Marvin Patterson and his people.


As Charlie and Henry arrived at the church in Ayr that evening, they saw that the lights were on in the priest’s office. As they entered the church, they overheard part of a conversation happening in the office. The conversation involved three of their number who had been kidnapped recently.

“These natives have declared war on us!” Tucker Avery, the churchwarden, shouted.

“Please, Tucker, we need to approach this rationally.” Marvin Patterson, the priest, tried to calm him down.

Finally, Ariane Walters, the more enigmatic verger, chimed in. “This third faction has possibilities. You can come in now…” She seemed to be inviting Charlie and Henry to take part in the conversation.

They entered, and Henry greeted the assembled group.

The priest cocked his head, as if he were finally figuring something out. “I think I finally know who you are.”

“Henry Taylor.”

“No, sorry, perhaps I should say I’ve figured out what you are.”

“A man from your universe?”

“Torchwood. You’re far friendlier than your predecessors. Five years ago, they injected me with something. When it didn’t work, they did it again, five times in total. After they said the name, it still took me a bit to work it all out. Retcon. When I finally caught on and pretended to be unconscious, they dropped me back into the world.”

Henry cut to the chase and told the assembled group about the secret base he had just seen.

“What exactly do you propose, Mr. Taylor?”

Tucker stood up. “We now know where they are. We should strike at them!”

Marvin again tried to calm him. “We should not go off half-cocked. We don’t have the resources to mount an assault like that.”

At that point, Tucker stormed out. Henry concluded—or hoped—that he was just blowing off steam and wasn’t about to do anything stupid.

“Who was taken?” Henry finally asked.

“Here are pictures of our three missing comrades,” Marvin replied as he handed over a trio of pictures: Denise Grassi, Daniel Lawrence, and Nigel Thurston.


Meanwhile, in Carlisle, Katherine Byron had the podium in City Centre, while the other Henry Taylor stood nearby. Elizabeth parked about two blocks away, in the closest space she could find, and she and Alice approached. Because there was a crowd, plus Metro Police, plus the speech going on, Alice and Elizabeth agreed that it would be better to wait until the end of the speech to approach Henry.

Finally, the speech ended, and Katherine came down from the stage to greet people in the crowd. Elizabeth waved to get Henry’s attention and asked to meet. Henry agreed and gestured toward a Starbucks across the street, so Henry, Elizabeth, and Alice met for coffee in a secluded corner of the coffee house.

“Have you made any progress on the Durdin File?” Henry asked.

After talking about their investigations vaguely for a few moments, Elizabeth decided to try to read Henry psychically. She hoped a good question might steer relevant thoughts to the surface and make them easier to read. “What do you know about Zygons?”

In Henry’s mind, Elizabeth learned some things and confirmed others:

  1. He is human. This confirmed the idea that the explosions of Artron Energy between the two Henrys require alternate-universe versions of the same person.
  2. He is playing both sides against the middle in this Zygons War. He hopes to amass enough power to become the true power behind the Prime Minister.
  3. He has had people looking for the Evolution Artifact, so far unsuccessfully.
  4. He knows the Blue Star works somehow with the Evolution Artifact, and he knows Melanie Bryers stole the Blue Star from his flat in Glasgow.
  5. He had a knife with his shrine because he thought it was needed to shed blood for the ritual to activate the Evolution Artifact.
  6. The shrine in his flat is not a shrine but actually is a sort of conspiracy board, which he was using to try to figure out how to use the artifacts.
  7. He had a number of surveillance photos of Melanie because he wanted to track her and see who she gave the Blue Star.
  8. He first got access to the Durdin File through one of this world’s Zygons: Mr. Franklin.

With that realization, Elizabeth dropped her coffee. As Henry went off to get a replacement and a towel, Elizabeth and Alice beat a mysterious and hasty retreat.


The next morning, everyone met up at Torchwood Two to compare notes, and Elizabeth received yet another rude awakening when she realized that Nigel is a Zygon.

“What?!”

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Episode #8: Reflections and Deflections
7th – 9th December, 2016

“I don’t know. Why don’t you tell me about being a Zygon?” Trevor Rothberry accused Elizabeth Davies with all the dramatic flair he could muster. He then set up a plasma screen TV in the office and used it to display the MRI images he had received from Dr. Susan Pham. Charlie, Henry, and Alice seemed not to understand what was being displayed, leaving Elizabeth to defend herself against Trevor’s accusation. After nearly an hour of arguing and examining the images, Elizabeth convinced Trevor that perhaps there was something amiss in the data, as if it might have been altered for their benefit. Eventually, the team decided that all of them should be scanned, just to allay further suspicions among them.

Elizabeth called her old professor, Nigel Thurston IV, in the hope that he had some contacts in a nearby medical school. “I’m too claustrophobic to use one of those things myself,” Nigel responded, “but I do know someone here at Glasgow. Howard Cloverfield is a professor in the Department of Medicine. I’ll see what I can arrange.”

The team arrived early Thursday morning at the University, along with Melanie, Sally, and Fiona. There they met Dr. Cloverfield and his postgraduate research assistant, Zell Miller, who maintained the MRI. Zell pointed the group to a small changing room, where he insisted each subject leave his or her electronic or metallic devices while being scanned.

Trevor went into the scanner first, then Elizabeth, and then each told the other that they were not Zygons. After that, both Trevor and Elizabeth monitored the MRI results as each other teammate was scanned. They wanted in particular to see what Fiona’s brain looked like, out of curiosity regarding her psychic abilities. Fiona responded that she should go last, and they agreed, though they might have been a bit suspicious of her request. In turn, each of the team was scanned and cleared—none of them was a Zygon. It came to Fiona’s turn at last, but the machine shorted out when it tried to scan her, creating an electromagnetic pulse that plunged the building into darkness and fried all of the team’s electronic equipment. At that point, the team made a hasty exit rather than explain that Fiona’s psychic abilities had somehow interacted with the MRI system.

Once back at Torchwood Two, Elizabeth pushed through the paperwork to appoint Melanie as an administrative assistant. Melanie’s first task would be pushing the paperwork to get replacements for the team’s destroyed equipment.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team sat down to talk with Sally Sparrow once more. While Sally was anxious to leave, Charlie placed a hand on her shoulder and forced her to remain seated. Henry peered into her mind and discovered two things:

  1. She does not like Charlie.
  2. She still remembers the blood on Henry’s hands when they first met. This is why she had refused to shake his hand.

After talking a bit more, Sally gave them a phone number, and Elizabeth and Henry recommended she check out the church in Ayr.

Next, the team went about interrogating the guard they had taken prisoner from the Kelvingrove, the Zygon who had stung Elizabeth. “Daniel Lawrence. My friends call me Danny,” he said to Henry, “but you can call me Daniel. So…how did you cross over?”

Henry peered into Daniel’s mind, and found that a fissure had taken his entire village, crossing its inhabitants over to this world about a year ago. Before that, he had been a cop. Henry also got the first indication that the totalitarian government that had taken over his own world was, in fact, a sort of Zygon invasion. But because his world’s Zygons didn’t have to kidnap the subjects they were impersonating, they were better able to coexist with the humans of that world. A difference between the two worlds, Henry began to remember, was that on his world “twins” arose at a much greater rate starting in about the 1600s. So the mimicked people are still walking around on his world. Finally, some of the people of his village had found solace in a church in Ayr, under the leadership of Marvin Patterson.

After a brief conversation, Daniel agreed to be blindfolded so he couldn’t lead anyone back to Torchwood Two, and the team released him back into the wild (after Trevor took a tissue sample for further research).

It was then that Henry realized the team was sending Sally Sparrow into a Zygon nest in Ayr, and he frantically texted her to avoid that church.

Now the team was ready to confront Dr. Pham about her apparent ruse. Trevor sent her a message requesting a meeting, but there was no response. Growing more impatient, he then sent a drone to the hospital, where he found there was no activity in Amy Rothberry’s room. Finally, he broke out his old wedding ring and the picture of Amy that he still carried. “I’m going to see my wife.”

Arriving at the hospital, the team found Amy was gone, as were Denise Grassi and Susan Pham. Immediately Trevor demanded to speak with someone higher up the chain and he met with Dr. Susan Summers, the hospital’s Chief of Medicine. She revealed that UNIT had scooped up all three of them just within the last few hours, and over her strenuous objections. “I have filed an official complaint with the NHS about this incident. Unofficially, I’m pissed as hell that this shite has been going on in my hospital, on my watch.” As Trevor looked around her office, he noticed things were strewn on the floor and little remaining on her desk, as if Dr. Summers had cleared her desk in a fit of rage.

It was then that Neuromancer informed Trevor that it had used CCTV footage to track a lorry that had left the hospital at about the time in question and was headed into Cairngorms National Park.

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Episode #7: The Zygon(s) War
4th – 5th December, 2016

Having filled Dr. Grassi’s loft with surveillance devices, the team set Neuromancer to the task of monitoring the footage. Grassi had returned home from the Kelvingrove at around 0300, following the team’s failed break-in of the museum, and sat immediately to work for about an hour in her small art studio on the stone sculpture that, while still far from complete, bore a definite resemblance to the Evolution Artifact. One part of the sculpture was quite detailed—the socket for the Williams Necklace—and Grassi seemed content to leave that part alone. While sculpting, she seemed to have almost trance-like focus. But she did finally go to bed at around 0400.

Elizabeth Davies tossed and turned that night, almost grasping at the strands of the events her team was investigating. Finally, a solution came to her. The usual Torchwood strategy in the past was one of intimidation and mystery. So the team would use that to gain entry into the as-yet-unseen bowels of the Kelvingrove, where Elizabeth felt sure some villainy was afoot.

At 0700, Grassi’s alarm went off. Still tired from the night before, she hit snooze until 0715. After dressing and having a light breakfast of tea and scone, she was at the Kelvingrove before 0900.

That morning, Elizabeth set Trevor Rothberry to the task of forging some MI-5 credentials for the team, and she pitched her idea. The team would simply walk in as if they belonged there and would brook no interference, presenting their new MI-5 credentials if intercepted. They would count on Henry Taylor to do any talking, Charlie Williams would provide armed backup, and Alice Kingston would provide her extensive knowledge of strange events as the touchpoint to her internet forum. At last, a direct plan of action began to take shape, and the team rolled out.

The five agents of Torchwood Two, decked out in trenchcoats and black suits, walked into the front door of the Kelvingrove and straight toward one of the employee-only areas. When intercepted by a security guard, only Henry broke stride to give a gruff response, “Government business,” as he flashed his MI-5 credential. The guard was stunned by what was going on, and he only snapped out of it once Henry had joined the rest of the team on the other side of the employee-only door. Beyond the door was a hallway, with a small restroom on one side and a stairwell door on the other. The stairwell led down to the basement.

Trevor checked to find the restroom empty and then posted at its door in case someone followed, and then the rest of the team headed downstairs. As they rounded the corner, the door opened at the bottom of the stairs and Agnes Worley stepped into the doorway. “You shouldn’t be here,” she croaked ominously. When Elizabeth and Henry both stared into her mind, they found she was a Zygon. Knowing the jig was up, Agnes stepped backward, allowing the powered door to begin closing, and then hit an alarm.

Before the door could close, Charlie popped off a double-tap, blowing off part of Agnes’ head and killing her. But although the team thought Agnes was a Zygon, she did not revert to Zygon form. However, Elizabeth thought the brain matter might look different from a human brain.

Alice held the door open and poked her head through the doorway and into the middle of a hallway with two doors at each end. To her left, Alice saw movement as Dr. Grassi ducked into the closest doorway on the left. Alice and Charlie immediately ran toward that door, but by the time they got there, all they saw was an empty interrogation room. There was an open door in the back of the room, and a recently-discarded set of handcuffs laying on the floor behind the far chair. Henry dashed past Charlie and Alice and through that far door, to see Grassi chasing another woman.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth disabled the alarm, which wasn’t a fire alarm but had been confined to the basement. However, two security guards popped out of the far doorway to the right and threatened to attack the team. Elizabeth brandished her pistol and MI-5 credential, but she really was concentrating on reading one of the guards. Time seemed to slow around her with this deep psychic connection, in which she then discovered the guard was another Zygon but had not snatched a human corresponding to the face he wore. These Zygons were unusual.

The two guards finally pulled out tasers and shot at Elizabeth and Alice, but both missed their targets. Alice started to duck into the interrogation room, but she noticed the woman being chased by Grassi run past the door at the end of the hall, so she darted toward her. Henry continued in pursuit of Grassi, while Charlie and Elizabeth engaged the two guards in a short firefight. They warned Trevor that Grassi was running for a fire exit in back of the museum, so he ran toward it on the ground level.

Alice caught up with the other woman just as she hit the fire exit, sounding the fire alarm. Charlie downed her target, but the second guard jumped Elizabeth and stung her with something on the back of her neck. Finally, Charlie ran back to the melee and knocked out the second guard.

Alice grabbed the hand of the unidentified woman as the two of them ran from the building, but it seemed they wanted to flee in different directions. Finally, the other relented and allowed Alice to escort her to the team’s Land Rover. Alice introduced herself as they were getting in, and the other finally introduced herself as Sally Sparrow, MI-5.

Trevor arrived at the fire exit just in time to greet Dr. Grassi, who kept running. Trevor and Henry both opened fire on her, but whereas Trevor shot to disable rather than kill, Henry just shot and instead hit her in the neck. Grassi dropped and began to bleed out. Trevor set Henry to the task of slowing the bleeding, but he knew time was short, both before Grassi would bleed out and before first responders would arrive. He called Neuromancer, who had been monitoring the situation and responded, “Ambulance will arrive in thirty seconds.”

As Charlie came outside, Trevor realized Elizabeth was now searching the basement alone and decided he should join her. When he found her, she was in what appeared to be Grassi’s office, which had a number of trinkets Elizabeth found familiar. But Elizabeth picked up what appeared to be an identification case, much like the team’s own MI-5 credentials, and slipped it into her pocket. Trevor confiscated the laptop from the office and the team left.

Elizabeth gave the identification case to Henry before leaving with Trevor and Grassi in the ambulance. Charlie took over driving, while Henry, Alice, and Sally rode in the Land Rover. Henry looked at the object Elizabeth had given him, but it seemed more like a small book to him, as his psychic powers somehow interacted with the object. The book was titled The Sideways Book, written by Jackson Lake. Alice took the book and looked at it, but only found it to be a MI-5 credential with Sally’s name and picture, so she gave it to Sally. Henry introduced himself and held out his hand for Sally, but she refused to shake it, either because she feared he might somehow be involved with the Zygons or because he still had Grassi’s blood all over him.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Trevor arrived with the ambulance at the same hospital they had recently visited. Sure enough, Dr. Susan Pham was still monitoring the condition of Amy Rothberry. Trevor immediately began talking with Dr. Pham. He told her about the “investigation at the Kelvingrove” and advised her to dispatch a UNIT team post-haste. He also suggested that a MRI scan might reveal neurological differences that might help distinguish a Zygon from a Human. Dr. Pham told Trevor that Amy was still unconscious but in stable condition, which was probably connected with her exposure to Artron radiation. Trevor warned her that Grassi, who had just arrived at the hospital, might in fact be a Zygon. They agreed to test Trevor’s theories by performing the MRI scan on Grassi after her surgery for the gunshot wounds sustained at the Kelvingrove. The MRI confirmed a definitely non-human brain structure in Grassi, which further confirmed both of Trevor’s theories.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team arrived with Sally Sparrow at HQ. Henry and Charlie took the knocked-out guard to a holding cell and then cleaned up, while Alice took Sally across the street to get curry for the team. Finally, Sally, Alice, Henry, Charlie, Melanie, and Fiona sat down for a silent meal. Fiona was the first to speak, “So you met the Doctor? What was he like?” After a bit of bonding with Alice over their respective meetings with the Doctor, Fiona brought them all back to topic. “I’m sorry, Henry was about to say something.”

While Henry had perhaps been thinking to lock Sally up and keep the Sideways Book, he seemed to settle for her letting him thumb through it for a few minutes. Inside, he found what appeared to be a handwritten (or perhaps psychically transferred) record of the Doctor as Jackson Lake knew him. Jackson Lake had called himself the Doctor around Christmas of 1851, during an attempted invasion by the Cybermen, after having accidentally downloaded an infostamp database of the Doctor into his head. Henry found that while he was able to read the book he could not seem to transfer any of the information therein, either by reading aloud or by writing. Somehow, the spoken words became gibberish, and the written words became the flowing circular patterns of Gallifreyan.

At the hospital, Elizabeth collapsed as a result of the poison from the sting she had received during her fight. Upon finding out Elizabeth had been stung by a Zygon, Dr. Pham’s stepped out for a moment to retrieve something. Her UNIT connections (or her own experimentation) had apparently gained an antidote for the venom, which saved Elizabeth’s life. Then Dr. Pham suggested a MRI scan just in case something else had happened.

Once Elizabeth began to recover, she was released into Trevor’s care. On the way out, Trevor received a message from Dr. Pham: THOUGHT YOU MIGHT WANT TO CLEAR THIS UP IN-HOUSE. Attached was a copy of Elizabeth’s MRI scan…a Zygon. He kept this to himself in awkward silence during the drive back to HQ.

Elizabeth went for curry before rejoining the group, and Trevor went in to take Melanie out for a drink so the rest of the team could discuss serious business.

Sally began to disclose the information she had discovered. She had worked in a video shop in London until a few days ago, when an older black woman entered, shifted into “cone head and suckers mode” (as she put it), and attacked. Sally did what she could—she ran. In the days that followed, she had discovered that there seemed to be two factions of Zygons: the “cone head and suckers” type and a faction that stayed human-looking no matter what. She had the vague indication that one faction perhaps was from a parallel universe, which she thought sounded implausible but suddenly explained some things to the team. She had heard of the Cult of Durdin operating out of the church in Ayr, but she hadn’t yet paid a visit.

Trevor returned, and the conversation turned to speculation of the nature of Zygons and whether some might not know they were Zygons. Elizabeth asked how that might even be possible, and Trevor responded, “I don’t know. Why don’t you tell me?”

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Episode #6: The Thing in the Museum
1st – 3rd December, 2016

Having finished their work at Once in a Blue Moon, Elizabeth, Charlie, Henry, and Alice began thinking about how to handle the situation at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. First taking a bit of downtime, Henry and Fiona went out for dinner to get to know each other better. Fiona confided that she constantly felt disconnected from her surroundings, as if her mind were outside her body. This fact of life was apparently how she dealt with the psychic powers she had gained through a lifetime of exposure to Artron Energy from the fissure at her lighthouse.

Later, Elizabeth made a proposal to the group to try to prevent the other Henry from entering Torchwood Two as he had several weeks ago. In addition to biometric scans, Henry’s biometrics would require a signal from a subcutaneous RFID tag that she would implant in his arm. The rest of the group seemed overjoyed by the prospect of tagging Henry like a pet and whereas Henry wasn’t as enthusiastic about this “elective” surgery, he agreed it was for the best of the group.

Then Elizabeth asked Trevor to build her a Betamax player, as she had found a Betamax tape at Once in a Blue Moon. Happy to build another gadget, Trevor built the device while Elizabeth performed the implantation of Henry’s RFID tag. Then Trevor and Melanie left on a dinner date.

Once Trevor and Melanie had left, Elizabeth plugged in the Betamax tape. A face appeared in the television screen and asked if she were sitting comfortably. It shot out tendrils of energy, which wrapped around Elizabeth’s face in an attempt to pull her away. At the last moment, Elizabeth managed to hit the breaker on the power strip and turn off the device. Wondering how an intelligence came to be imprisoned in a Betamax tape, Henry tried to read it psychically and nearly got sucked away himself. Elizabeth tried to burn the tape but it wouldn’t burn, so she decided to throw the Betamax tape in a Faraday cage and wait for Trevor to return from his dinner date.

After seeing their faces almost get sucked away, Alice remembered a series of messages on the conspiracy site she and Trevor managed. In these messages was a couple of urban legends:

  1. There has been a Betamax tape out there since before Betamax was a thing. If you watch that pre-Betamax tape, you die within 24 hours. This legend was the original inspiration for the death video in The Ring but was created by Torchwood.
  2. There is a being stalking the Kelvingrove Museum at night, known only as the Thing in the Museum. It is reportedly a faceless humanoid female.

Elizabeth remembered a Torchwood file she had read about a television-based being that had appeared briefly during the televised coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. According to the file, the Doctor was involved in the incident and had worked with some Metro PD inspectors on a case involving Magpie Electronics in the Muswell Hill area of north London.

Once Trevor returned from dinner, the rest of the group told him about the incident with the Betamax tape. He immediately took it to the lab where he was constructing an MRI machine; the magnet was assembled, but the imaging scanner and tunnel were not yet completed. He threw the tape into the magnet and turned it on, hoping to erase the tape. A flash of light burst from the tape as it melted into a plastic soup, the MRI magnet melted, and the lab’s primary breaker tripped.

Satisfied that the Betamax tape had been disposed of, the group turned their attention back to the Kelvingrove.

The next day, Elizabeth and Alice visited with the intention of bugging the museum with miniature cameras. As they arrived at the Kelvingrove, they noticed an ambulance in front of the building and Dr. Denise Grassi escorting two paramedics out of the building as they wheeled a gurney. On the gurney was the unconscious form of Amy Rothberry. Trevor went silent in shock as he saw the surveillance footage, as he had buried his wife last year. Elizabeth and Alice continued their mission without a hitch, and Elizabeth bought a reproduction of one of the museum’s paintings to hang in her office.

As the team was about to leave, they saw another sight that gave Elizabeth pause: Charles Rogers, her boyfriend, walking into the museum with another man. She immediately reentered the museum and pretended to have a random run-in with her boyfriend, wanting to know what he was doing there. Charles explained that the other guy was Frederick Howell, a new accountant at his firm, freshly-hired from Oxford, and that he had the afternoon off to help orient Frederick to the sights of Glasgow. Despite the teasing from some of her colleagues in her earpiece, Elizabeth accepted that explanation and left the gentlemen to their sightseeing.

The next stop, Trevor insisted, was the hospital to which the paramedics had taken Amy Rothberry. They apparently weren’t quick enough, as the redoubtable Dr. Susan Pham had beaten them to Amy’s room and was posing as her physician while scanning her with an advanced instrument. Elizabeth and Trevor entered the room, while Henry failed to stay out of sight. “I thought he wasn’t supposed to be around anymore,” Dr. Pham said flatly while staring directly at him. Before he left, Henry read her mind and found that she knew the woman in the bed was Amy Rothberry and that there was some residual Artron Energy around her, leading Dr. Pham to believe Amy was from another universe…perhaps his own universe. Dr. Pham confirmed this when she said to Trevor, “This is not your wife, Dr. Rothberry.”

Once Henry left, Elizabeth and Trevor continued their conversation with Dr. Pham. Trevor asked why one universe in particular seemed to be preferred for the rifts they had seen so far. She confided in them that she believed there was an “initial event” that caused a scattering of rifts between this universe and that one, so the preponderance of the rifts would be between those two. That seemed to barely satisfy Trevor’s curiosity, and he gave her a number to a drop line in exchange for her promise to keep him in the loop. He had thought to instigate a “waiting game” with Dr. Pham, hoping for her to leave, but it soon became clear from her lab coat that she planned to continue her pretense of being Amy’s physician.

It was shortly after this that the topic of the Doctor came up, especially with regard to whether the blame for the Betamax tape lay with the Doctor or with Torchwood. Henry claimed there was no Doctor in his universe. When asked about what else was different in his universe, Henry revealed that he had been fleeing a totalitarian government in the UK when he fell through his particular rift but was vague about what his own previous job had been.

Next came the subject of increasing surveillance of the Kelvingrove. The team wanted to get some drones inside, but they were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to smuggle them in during opening hours, so they resolved to dress as local hooligans, smash a window, and simply drop the drones inside. The plan fell apart after they had spray painted “Free Scotland” on the museum wall, when they realized the windows were shatter-resistant (if not bulletproof) as the janitor, Agnes Worley, stared at them from the other side of the unbroken glass. The plan a failure, the team returned to their vehicle to watch the camera feeds they already had.

Within a few minutes, the police arrived. A few minutes after that, Dr. Denise Grassi arrived. Knowing the incident would hold her attention at the Kelvingrove for at least an hour, the team adjusted their plan and decided to break into Dr. Grassi’s home, a chic loft with huge windows facing King’s Theatre in downtown Glasgow.

They arrived to find the place was fancy enough to have a doorman. Henry approached nonchalantly, flashed a badge, and said only, “Police.” It seemed to startle the doorman, who opened the door for the team without a word. They went upstairs to Dr. Grassi’s loft, Charlie picked the lock, and Trevor disabled the alarm system. Upon entering the loft, the team found little to pique their interest, and certainly nothing so gauche as the Zygon biocontainment tank they had hoped to find. They did, however, find in the small art studio a sculpture being carved out of stone. The sculpture, while a rough work in progress, bore a definite resemblance to the Evolution Artifact. One part of the sculpture was quite detailed: the socket for the Williams Necklace.

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Episode #5: And Get the Priest As Well
25th – 27th November, 2016

Having found Chris Parsons dead outside Once in a Blue Moon, the team decided to retrace his steps. He had called his backup number, which had rung to the Holy Trinity Church, in Ayr, so Elizabeth, Charlie, Henry, and Alice piled into a Land Rover and drove to the church. They arrived to find a service in progress, and Henry’s alternate-Earth “eccentricity” came to the fore, as he applied water from the baptismal font as if it were perfume. He and Alice had a heated, though whispered, discussion about it as the four of them headed for the fourth-to-last pew (the last three pews had already been occupied).

Following the service, the team stuck around, waiting for the other parishioners to depart before approaching Rev. Marvin Patterson, the rector. As Charlie had already met him before, she made the introductions for the rest of the team and they all strolled to Marvin’s office. The Father closed the door, but left it barely ajar, and asked the group how he could help them. Henry asked him immediately about extraterrestrials, and told the priest a wild story about shapechanging aliens, then the Father responded to Charlie in apparent disbelief, “Is he really with you?”

Just then, there was a knock at the door, and Tucker Avery poked his head in to remind Marvin that there was a vestry meeting in about 25 minutes. Marvin thanked him and he left, but not before Henry took a glimpse inside Tucker’s mind. Within his mind, Tucker revealed that he had recognized Henry’s method of applying holy water—he was from Henry’s world!

The conversation continued, but Marvin didn’t seem to have any information (or didn’t want to part with any). Quite the opposite, he seemed to be watching the team’s responses carefully for any clues or hints they might drop. As the conversation drew to a close, Henry tried to read Marvin’s mind, but found him psychically trained enough to block the attempt. He did, however, read his response well enough to tell he was lying when he denied knowing any “displaced individuals”.

Meanwhile, back at Torchwood Two, Trevor Rothberry was once again examining the Tesseract. In this latest round of experimentation, he found that its setting depends on the orientation of the case with respect to a local magnetic field (in this case, the geomagnetic field), and that it somehow amplified and transformed the local magnetic field to channel Artron energy. He came to the conclusion that there were two ways to deactivate the device: use a psychic who is trained to use the device (but whereas the team had a powerful psychic in Fiona Seathanach, she did not seem to have the necessary training to use the device sufficiently well to turn it off), or put the device into a Faraday cage for a long enough period of time that its residual magnetic field would dissipate.

As the rest of the team were about to leave the church, they noticed the vestry assembling in the conference room and the verger, Ariane Walters, just about to close the door. Henry and Elizabeth decided to take this last opportunity to use their psychic powers, for which they had to see their target. They discovered the verger had also recognized Henry’s method of using baptismal water, leading them to the conclusion that she is also from Henry’s world, and that she is the eyes and ears of the church and intends to keep her eye on the group in the future. With that revelation, the group set back on the road to return home.

The following day, Henry and Elizabeth went to UNIT to talk to Dr. Susan Pham and to interrogate the other Henry. The other Henry revealed that the note he had delivered (the Durdin File) was given to him by his boss, Katherine Byron. Unsatisfied with the amount of information they were getting from him, Elizabeth dropped the bombshell that Melanie Bryers is pregnant.

This allowed Henry to slip into the other Henry’s mind and find out that whereas Melanie was not a target of the Cult of Durdin at first, she is definitely a target now. While the cult doesn’t want Melanie dead, they clearly have some reason for wanting her desperately.

At that moment, the other Henry leapt across the interrogation room table, getting just close enough to Henry to trigger an explosion of Artron energy. Apparently, he hoped it would cause enough mayhem that he could escape, but Dr. Pham and her UNIT troops were too well prepared, and they bound both Henrys.

It fell to Elizabeth to help defuse the situation enough to persuade Dr. Pham to release Henry. In doing so, Elizabeth confessed that the Henrys are from different dimensions, while barely avoiding discussion of which Henry was from which world. At that point, Dr. Pham’s phone rang, and she became visibly displeased as her phone conversation concluded. She turned to Elizabeth and said flatly, “I have to release them both. You’ll get your Henry, but the other Henry’s political connections got him free. Be sure I don’t see either of them again.”

Meanwhile, Charlie and Trevor once visited Once in a Blue Moon, only to find it closed down. They found some blood in the rubbish bin around back, just as Eugene Wesley came out of the bookstore next door with a couple of bags for the bin. He seemed friendly enough, and told them he’d seen Tonya Watson leave the day before. “She said she was going on holiday to London.” A search of CCTV footage confirmed the story that she had gone to London, but Tonya’s vehicle was found dumped in an alleyway there.

The group decided to take the opportunity to look into the shop, and set themselves to do a nighttime break-in of Once in a Blue Moon. They used Neuromancer (now connected to the internet) to hack the alarm system and Fiona as a psychic lookout, while Charlie picked the locks along with Trevor and Elizabeth. In the shop itself, Elizabeth found ITEM and Charlie found The Crystal, while Trevor took the computer and found the register had only coins and no bills. On the chance that Tonya might eventually return, Trevor bugged the shop.

Then the group descended to the basement, where they found a sealed off room locked with Zygon bioelectronic locks. They eventually unsealed the room, in which they found some shocking items:

  1. The real Tonya Watson, stored in a stasis tank, apparently for the Zygon’s use. Upon pulling her out, the group found that her last memory was of closing up the shop one night…five years ago.
  2. Eleven paintings, three on each wall, minus the space for the door. Each painting had a blank spot, as if a vaguely humanoid silhouette had been cut out of it. This reminded Elizabeth of a painting she had seen a few weeks ago at the Kelvingrove.

The team turned over the shop to UNIT, which cordoned off the entire block around the shop in a rather obvious display of force. Meanwhile, the team thought about their next move, probably to investigate the Kelvingrove and its curator, Dr. Denise Grassi.

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Episode #4: Zygons and Psychics, Oh My!
22nd – 24th November, 2016

Having finished their business on Islay, the team arrived back at Torchwood Two with Melanie Bryers and Fiona Seathanach in tow. Trevor Rothberry immediately took the Tesseract to his laboratory, while Alice Kingston took Melanie (still sleeping from the effects of Retcon) home. Meanwhile, Henry Taylor began to set Fiona up with an office space which she would use as a sleeping area at Torchwood Two. Charlie Williams sat down to write her reports about the incidents on Islay, while Elizabeth Davies (as the nominal leader of the team) started the paperwork to set Fiona up as an official part of the team and to requisition new vehicles to replace those lost.

Shortly after, Elizabeth examined the shrine from the other Henry’s flat, hoping to find more clues to help put together what was going on. While she didn’t find any more clues about the other Henry or his extracurricular activities, Elizabeth did find something that gave her pause: surveillance photos of Melanie Bryers. Henry had been watching her, even before they had slept together! Elizabeth hurriedly called Alice, hoping to inform her of this before she stumbled into a trap at Melanie’s flat.

Meanwhile, Alice was just getting into her car after leaving Melanie’s flat, and while talking with Elizabeth she realized she had just seen two trenchcoated men entering the building. Alice rushed into the building, while Elizabeth, Henry, and Charlie mobilized. Alice crept upstairs toward the hallway outside Melanie’s flat, when she heard a loud crash as one of the men pounded on Melanie’s door with a superhumanly-strong fist, knocking the door off its hinges and into the flat.

The only other sound Alice could hear for a second after was a scream from Melanie, right out of B-movie horror. While the two men were stunned, Alice was further away and had expected the scream, so she was able to capitalize on their distraction. She leapt at them, body-checking them both onto the floor outside the flat.

One of the men, the one who had unhinged the door, let out an inhuman hiss but was otherwise unharmed. A bit put off by this reaction, Alice pulled out her stungun and stabbed at the hissing fellow with it. It seemed to have little effect, except to anger him enough to change form – into a Zygon. His comrade, apparently human, panicked and fled from the building. Alice entered the flat and headed for the bathroom, pulling Melanie with her to what she hoped would be a more defensible position.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team arrived outside, just in time for Henry to intercept the second man, Chris Parsons. Attempting both persuasion and mind reading, all he could get through Parson’s panic were an image of the Zygon who was once his partner in crime and a single word: Durdin. Elizabeth and Charlie headed toward the flat to help.

The Zygon burst into the bathroom, apparently intent on doing away with Alice and Melanie. Alice had given up on the stungun and squirted a bottle of shampoo at it. Distracted, the Zygon stumbled back into the living room, just in time to receive a fatal double-tap from Charlie’s pistol.

Now in control of the scene, Elizabeth kept the hallway clear so the neighbors wouldn’t know about the Zygon. She then texted Susan Pham: “Dead Zygon for pickup.” Then the team returned, with Melanie, to Torchwood Two.

During all of this, Trevor was examining the Tesseract. Unsurprisingly, he found that it was a source of Artron Energy, but he didn’t expect to find that it had the same Artron signature as the spacetime fissure they had found at the Rinns of Islay Lighthouse. The emissions were potentially dangerous with continued exposure, and Trevor discovered that the artifact was a sort of case that itself contained a spacetime fissure.

Once the team returned, Trevor took the Tesseract to Fiona, hoping her powerful psychic abilities and intimate familiarity with the fissure at her lighthouse might yield some further insight. She stared at it for a while, then told them, “This is the mother of the lighthouse.” She then rotated it a bit, pointed to Henry, and continued, “That’s where he’s from.” Apparently, it was possible to “tune” the Tesseract to reach many different worlds, Henry’s universe being one of them. Henry then took the Tesseract and tuned in his own world again, and then a flash of light threw him backward and a “baby fissure” formed on the desk next to the Tesseract.

At that point, Trevor took the Tesseract back to the lab to secure it. He then set Neuromancer to the task of running a multitude of scenarios about the artifact. It came up with the following conclusions:

  • The Tesseract is a technological (though highly advanced) device that is currently turned on. It might be possible to turn it off if the correct settings can be found.
  • There is no known shielding against Artron radiation, only distance.
  • It might be bad to expose a fetus to Artron radiation. This might be relevant because it’s unknown how much Artron radiation Melanie’s fetus has absorbed thus far.

Later, Henry interrogated Chris Parsons, the second man whom the team had met at Melanie’s flat. It seemed to confuse Parsons, as he claimed, “ You gave me the order to take Melanie.” Henry concluded that his doppleganger was involved and successfully used Parsons’ confusion to his advantage, carrying on the charade of being Parsons’ boss, still under cover. Elizabeth came in later, pretending to be a police inspector and helping with the interrogation:

  • Why did you try to kidnap Melanie? “She is a threat to the cult if left in the open.”
  • Where were you to take her? “We were supposed to take Melanie to the Kelvingrove.”
  • What else were you tasked to do? “We were supposed to find her friend. She might know where we can find Johann.”
  • Who was the other guy? “His name was Colin Purcell, but I don’t know what he is now.”
  • What is he? “I don’t want to remember that.”
  • What will you do if I can get you released? “I have the backup line.” He then gave a phone number, which the team later found rings to the Holy Trinity Church, in Ayr.

Meanwhile, Alice and Trevor were talking with Melanie, while Trevor made tea. Alice played the proverbial wrecking ball, telling Melanie that “you have a bun in the oven.” Having just recovered from Retcon, she had no memory of her roadside tryst with Trevor. "I need to talk to Harry,” Melanie whispered nervously.

Following the interrogation, Trevor gave Parsons some sedative-laced tacos. Once Parsons was unconscious, the team released him back in the field, albeit with a subcutaneous tracker implanted. As he had indicated, Parsons immediately went to the backup plan and made the phone call. The team continued to surveil him as he walked into Once in a Blue Moon. They found him only minutes later, stabbed and thrown into a dumpster.

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Episode #3: What happens on Islay stays on Islay
17th – 20th November, 2016

Following their previous investigation, the team decided to gather on Islay to root out any plot behind the casting call, hoping to recover The Tesseract, and to see about disposing of the Cherub Figurine. Elizabeth Davies drove with the Cherub, which had been encased in a welded lead box, while Trevor Rothberry and Melanie Bryers drove in a second Land Rover.

Elizabeth barely managed to make the morning vehicle ferry, whereas Trevor and Melanie apparently were distracted and missed that ferry. Their distraction, it was revealed later, had led them to an erotic interlude in the back of their Land Rover.

Meanwhile, Henry Taylor, Charlie Williams, and Alice Kingston came down from their rooms at the Rockside Inn for breakfast, and Henry discovered he had a message waiting at the front desk. It was the business card for Vincent Cullen, on the back of which was handwritten, “Scenes to be filmed on the beach in Sanaigmore. Be there at 1500.”

Having met up with Elizabeth, they decided to drive up to Sanaigmore for lunch and an early recon of the beach. They arrived at the rocky shoals of Sanaigmore, but no one else had arrived at this early hour. There was a cave up the coast a bit, but the group opted to return to the Rinns of Islay Lighthouse for another visit to the Mad Woman of Islay, Fiona Seathanach. Meanwhile, Trevor and Melanie had finally arrived on Islay by passenger ferry, rented a Mini, and agreed to meet up with the rest of the team at the lighthouse.

The group arrived to see the wooden sign once again, “Do not blame the psychic for your life,” as well as a new addition, an old neon sign: TAROT. Henry got the distinct feeling that Fiona was messing with him. Elizabeth went to knock on the door, and Fiona invited the group inside. Just then, the teapot began to whistle.

After exchanging pleasantries, Trevor and Charlie went upstairs to look at the spacetime fissure that was serving as the lighthouse beacon. Trevor scanned the area and detected Artron Energy leaking through the fissure, with more energy pouring out through the sweeping beam as the beacon tracked around. Trevor warned Charlie, “I’m about to do something stupid,” and then he stepped up through the trapdoor and into the sweeping beam of light and Artron radiation. But nothing happened, despite Henry’s warnings that he had heard voices from the other side of the fissure.

The rest of the group were talking with Fiona. Melanie made a point of sitting as far away from Henry as she could, out of her fear following her encounter with the other Henry Taylor a few days ago. Elizabeth asked Fiona if she would like to see a strange artifact.

Just then, the back of Elizabeth’s vehicle exploded. Almost simultaneously, Fiona shot upright, rigid as a board, and then fell unconscious. Elizabeth immediately began to provide medical attention for Fiona, while the rest of the team ran outside. In the commotion, they lost track of Melanie, whom they found running down the beach, being chased by a human-sized apparition of the Cherub. For some reason, the apparition seemed to float toward Melanie only in starts and stops, almost as if someone were repeatedly pressing the Pause button on a playback.

While Trevor grabbed a fire extinguisher to put out the fire, Henry salvaged a medical bag from the front of the burning Land Rover. Charlie sprinted off to catch Melanie, with Alice somewhat behind.

After putting out the fire, Trevor decided he wanted to “psychically attack” the Cherub, but since he had no actual psychic abilities, he decided to focus all of his anger on it, hoping to starve it of fear. Meanwhile, Elizabeth noted that Fiona’s eyes had started glowing and she had gone into a seizure.

Charlie and Alice caught up to Melanie, just as the Cherub apparition froze and shattered. They tried to calm Melanie down, but she screamed like a horror movie scream queen, stunning the two of them briefly. Eventually, they were able to lead her back to the lighthouse, none the worse for wear.

Fiona awakened after the incident and grasped a cup of tea in both hands, as if she were freezing, and asked Elizabeth, “Who is Tonya?” As Elizabeth wrapped a blanket around her to help her warm up, she whispered, “Ask Tonya about the rest of her collection.”

Once the group had reconvened in the lighthouse, Trevor asked Fiona to teach him. At first she refused, saying she wasn’t a teacher, but she eventually relented and admitted that she could only show him the way she had learned, by staring into the fissure. Trevor, Henry, and Elizabeth followed Fiona up the stairs to the beacon, where they sat in front of the beacon, allowing the light to sweep across them as they meditated. Trevor handcuffed Henry to the railing as a safety precaution, in case he should be lured through the fissure.

“Look through and see,” Fiona instructed them as she stared into the spacetime fissure. As they stared, Henry began to hear the voice again beckoning him. And then they all heard a more sinister voice: “You don’t need your body.” Just then Henry’s handcuffs shattered, but fortunately his willpower kept him from stepping through.

Downstairs, a tremor shook the living room. Melanie freaked out, and Charlie persuaded her to take a sedative that Elizabeth had given her, and Melanie soon fell asleep. Another tremor shook the living room as the fissure exploded and then vanished, washing everyone except Charlie and Melanie with a burst of Artron radiation. Alice had been watching through the trap door from downstairs, but only seemed to catch a little of the radiation.
The explosion blinded those upstairs momentarily, but even after it subsided they found their vision was still blurry. They also felt strangely powerful, as if something had been unlocked inside of each of them.

After taking a few moments to recover, the team satisfied that the fissure was sealed, Henry asked Fiona to join them and put her powers to use helping keep Britain safe.

“Yes,” Fiona reluctantly agreed. “But first answer a couple of questions. Why was it necessary to wipe Melanie’s memory? Shouldn’t she know where her child comes from?” So thus the team discovered that the Elizabeth’s “sedative” was in fact Retcon, and that Melanie’s tryst with Trevor had resulted in a pregnancy.

After recovering from those bombshells, Fiona, Trevor, and Elizabeth decided to visit a local optometrist while the rest of the team drove back to Sanaigmore for the film shoot. Trevor and Elizabeth were able to get eyeglasses to correct their vision from the side effects of the fissure’s blast, but Fiona was already blind and already knew there was no correcting this.

Arriving at the beach in Sanaigmore, Henry and Charlie approached Vincent Cullen, while Alice stayed with the still-sleeping Melanie in their car. Vincent beamed as Henry approached, and instructed him to stand on a rock, making a “film frame” motion with his hands to play the part of director. “Beautiful!” Henry played along, even though he felt a sense of danger from Vincent.

Meanwhile, Charlie noticed some light coming from the cave she had seen down the coastline, and asked Henry and Vincent about it. She noticed that Henry was right between Vincent and the cave, and she concluded that Vincent had to know what was going on.

“Wait for the scene to unfold,” Vincent replied. “The stars are in that cave.” When Charlie protested again, Vincent called for the Propmaster. When the Propmaster arrived with a bo staff, he handed it to Charlie and told her to point it toward Henry.

“Perfect!” Vincent seemed satisfied with the framing at that point. “Ready. Action!”

Just then, Vincent and the Propmaster pulled out strange pistol weapons and fired energy beams at them. Charlie managed to pull Henry down behind the rocks when she saw Wilma at the entrance to the cave, thrusting out the Tesseract at them. Just in time, they saw the bo staff vanish before their eyes—that could have been them!

Henry tried to talk through the situation, but it appeared to be a trap from the start. Perhaps Wilma had intended to lure them to that site from the beginning, or perhaps she had some other motive and adjusted when the team arrived. Charlie’s military instincts kicked in, and she drew her pistol and shot Vincent in the face, felling him with a double-tap.

Finding that talk wasn’t going to help, Henry decided to try to put his newfound abilities to work. He found, in the Propmaster’s mind, confirmation that he, Vincent, and Wilma were all aliens. Furthermore, there was a small spaceship in the cave that he and Vincent had brought to try to extract Wilma and the Tesseract. Then the flow of information stopped as Charlie dropped the Propmaster with another double-tap from her pistol.

Charlie then broke cover to sprint toward the cave to try to capture Wilma and the Tesseract. She and Wilma exchanged shots, each injuring the other, before Wilma escaped in the spaceship, albeit without the Tesseract. Although Wilma escaped, Charlie was consoled by her capture of the Tesseract, which she collected by wrapping her jacket around it like a bag.

The team debated for a while what to do about the scene, but flashed their Torchwood credentials to maintain control of the scene when the police arrived. Eventually, the team decided that Henry would call Dr. Susan Pham, a UNIT operative, to report an “extraterrestrial incident”.

Alice quickly left the scene, so she wouldn’t have to answer any of Dr. Pham’s questions, and took Melanie, Fiona, and Trevor with her back down to Lagavulin to check into a hotel and return their rental car. She took one of the two alien pistols with her, leaving the other to be given to the UNIT team.

After only 30 minutes, Dr. Pham and her UNIT team arrived by helicopter. Charlie and Henry told her about the incident, and that Wilma had escaped in a small spaceship.

“I’ve heard that name before,” Dr. Pham replied. “I’ll have to call my other contact about that.” The group concluded that she was referring to Alice as her other contact, as Alice had told her about Wilma following an encounter in the Alps. “ When you call me,” Dr. Pham said to Henry with a flirtatious smile, “we can also talk about the autopsy reports for these two.”

With that, the team returned to their headquarters in Glasgow.

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Episode #2: A Touch o’ the Henrys
14th – 16th November, 2016

With their previous investigation in the bag, the team had decided to travel to Islay to investigate the reappearance of the Tesseract.

But then a second Henry Taylor entered the Torchwood Two HQ, accessing the biometric scanners, and collapsed to the floor. He had been badly beaten.

“Fuck,” the first Henry Taylor said flatly. As he reached to help the second Henry, an explosion of Artron Energy washed over them and threw them each across the room. Elizabeth Davies was caught in the explosion as well, as she had seen the event almost in slow-motion, but she weathered the storm pretty well. The energy tripped all the breakers of the HQ’s ground floor and shorted out all of their electronic devices. The energy spike tripped a sensor in the laboratory, drawing the attention of Trevor Rothberry, who recalled Charlie Williams and Alice Kingston to the office.

While Elizabeth went about checking on the two Henrys, she discovered a crumpled and bloodied sheet of paper had fallen from the hand of the second Henry: the Durdin File. While Charlie dragged each of the Henrys to a containment cell, and placed the Cherub Figurine outside the first Henry’s cell, the rest of the group discussed the contents of the Durdin File. How did the second Henry have access to the document? What did it mean? Was Mr. Franklin’s first name really Alastair? Had the Cult of Durdin really been searching for the Williams Necklace all this time?

Trevor went about examining the Williams Necklace, which the group surmised was the Blue Star, as mentioned in the Durdin File. A cursory examination concluded that the gem might fit into one of the eye sockets in the Evolution Artifact, but no one wanted to find out for sure at this time. More detailed examination indicated that the necklace emitted some of the same energies as, and might be a sort of control matrix for, the Evolution Artifact. There were also some markings around the setting in a strange (nonhuman) language, which Elizabeth found (in what little files from the old Torchwood Two she had smuggled out in its collapse) to be Zygon.

It was at this point that Trevor began a new project, to build and grow a neural net AI. He began to develop it in secret, and he named the growing program Neuromancer, in homage to the title character of the novel by William Gibson. He gave to it Asimov’s Laws of Robotics:
0. A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.
1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Trevor added an additional Law to the slate:

4. Neuromancer must work toward the general well-being of Trevor Rothberry, except where those directives would conflict with the prior Laws.

Charlie let the first Henry out of his cell, and on the way upstairs, he smashed the Cherub Figurine with his foot.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth interrogated the second Henry, who seemed cooperative as he provided the following information:

  • He had been attacked by a pair of undercover UNIT agents, either to recover the Durdin File or to prevent him from reactivating Torchwood Two (whose actual reactivation is not widely known).
  • He was sent by his boss, Katherine Byron, to deliver the Durdin File to the reactivated Torchwood Two. Byron knows of the reactivation because she has seen funding begin to flow again to the office.
  • Byron received the Durdin File in a package from UNIT agents. Henry did not know what else was in the package, but Byron told him the package was sent in an attempt to derail her bid for Prime Minister.
  • Henry had questions about the first Henry, but nothing to which the group gave him substantive answers: “Did that other guy have a bomb? (the explosion at their first meeting) How did he look like me?”

Satisfied with their earlier conversation, Elizabeth let Henry out. On the way out of the containment area, Henry asked about the oddity of leaving a figurine on the floor. The Cherub Figurine had somehow reassembled itself!

It was at that point that the first Henry had the strange feeling that the Cherub was feeding on his fear. He had somehow created his own monster. Henry attempted to pick it up, but suffered an intense wave of fear that drained his resolve slightly, confirming the conclusion of psychic phenomenon. Trevor detected that it exhibited something like life signs, but he decided to smash it and place it in a box confined enough that it would not fit if it were to reassemble itself, and he set Neuromancer to watching the box for signs of the Cherub’s reassembly.

After this, the group decided to split up: Charlie, Henry, and Alice would travel to Islay to investigate the casting call and potential appearance of the Tesseract, while Trevor and Elizabeth would meet with Melanie Bryers to follow up on that investigation and see if they could find the shrine she had mentioned.

Trevor and Elizabeth drove over to Witch’s Brew, where they found Melanie Bryers working. Trevor approached her at the counter, slipped her an extra twenty quid, and asked to meet with her. She readily agreed to go on break, and Elizabeth noticed the other barista rolled her eyes as if this happened too frequently for her taste.

While Melanie could not recall Harry’s address, from which she had taken the Williams Necklace, she was able to lead them to the building. Elizabeth noticed as they were driving by the building for the second time that the second Henry was just entering the building and there were two men in cheap suits observing him from a car parked across the street. Elizabeth dropped Melanie off so as to keep her out of what might follow, but not before Trevor and Melanie exchanged phone numbers. By the time Elizabeth parked her Land Rover, the two men were entering the building, so she and Trevor rushed in after them. When they arrived, they found the two men kicking in the door of the very flat they were seeking, and one of them had already entered. They attempted to sneak up on the two men, but Trevor was too noisy, so Elizabeth went for the intimidation route which caused the man in the hall to freeze long enough to defuse the situation. They found the man inside, in the process of arresting Henry. He identified himself as a UNIT agent, and after a short but tense discussion he agreed to allow Torchwood access to Henry for interrogation, but he would take Henry to UNIT.

Following this, Elizabeth and Trevor searched the now-vacant flat. They found, and seized, the shrine with daggers that Melanie had mentioned. Part of the shrine included a crude map with locations marked that corresponded to Ayr, in Scotland, and Lancaster, in northern England, which confirmed the inclusion of those two locations in the Durdin File.

Charles, Alice, and Henry arrived by ferry to Islay near the town of Lagavulin, and they rented a Mini at the dock so they could have more freedom of movement than the bus system would provide. They drove a few miles to Rockside and found the casting call at the Rockside Inn. They got in line to speak with Vincent Cullen, who was leading the casting interviews and passing out cards to collect casting information. He seemed impressed by Henry, not so much as an extra but as a potential star, but he seemed as impressed with Alice’s ability to blend into a crowd, which he called an essential talent for an extra.

Following the casting call, Henry experienced a strange vision, during which he saw a lighthouse and unintentionally intoned the phrase, “mad woman of Islay.” Checking around, he found a local legend of the Mad Woman of Islay, who resided in the Rinns of Islay lighthouse near Portnahaven, on the western tip of the northern section of Islay.

Once the three agents checked into rooms at the Rockside Inn, they resolved to drive out to the lighthouse. As they were getting out of their car, they noticed the beacon looked abnormal for a lighthouse beacon, and Alice recognized it as looking like the fissure through which she had seen Henry arrive in this world. The windows were all covered by blackout curtains, but the front door opened before they could knock and they met a pale woman in a flowing white dress. She introduced herself as Fiona, indicated she had been expecting company, and invited the group inside. Inside, the style of housekeeping might have been described as “a struggle ensued”, but it became clear as the conversation continued that Fiona was both blind (her eyes milky white as if suffering from an extreme case of glaucoma) and, she admitted, not entirely sane. She offered them tea, but they refused out of fear of being drugged.

She offered a Tarot reading for Henry, and Charlie slipped away to explore. Fiona, Henry, and Alice sat around a small table while Fiona laid out the Tarot cards, never looking at them but instead staring at (or possibly through) Henry throughout the reading:

z_-_Tarot_reading.jpg

“Your brother is in a cage,” Fiona told Henry, and the group concluded Fiona somehow knew of the arrest of the second Henry. This seemed to confirm their suspicion that the Mad Woman of Islay was indeed a genuine psychic. “It’s a fear you cannot overcome,” Fiona continued as if seeing a film unwind in Henry. At this utterance, Alice began to squirm in her seat. She had heard this sentence before; later she would reveal in confidence to the group that the Doctor had said this to her when she met him some time ago. As if to exacerbate Alice’s dismay, Fiona turned to her and added, “Your friend is only a lost cause insomuch as you let her be lost. However, she is in danger.”

Near the end of the “Tarot reading”, Fiona’s eyes glowed as she went further into trance. During her trance, she described a ritual in which nonhuman creatures were using a small statue of an ape-like creature ( The Evolution Artifact). In the course of the ritual, one of them would shed blood and then change into human form. The group concluded she was talking about Zygons, and she told them she had seen this before while gazing into the “crack” upstairs, which Charlie confirmed from her explorations was a spacetime fissure like the one Alice had seen before.

The group decided to explore the beacon, and found that the Fresnel lens had been tossed aside years—if not longer—ago. In its place was a spacetime fissure, flickering like a giant electrical arc in the night. It was still functioning as a lighthouse, though, spouting a beam of light that streamed across the sky as the phenomenon rotated. Alice quickly moved to evade the beam, but it flashed across Henry. As Henry stood transfixed, he heard the voice of his old girlfriend from the parallel universe, beckoning him to step through and come home. He might have done so, if not for Charlie and Alice snapping him out of his trance and coaxing him back downstairs.

Henry complained to Fiona about the ordeal, but she chided him to look at the sign at the door, a carved wooden sign reading “Don’t blame the psychic for your life.” As a peace offering, or sage advice, she gave him a parting gift, a copy of William Gibson’s novel, Neuromancer. “This will help with your problem.”

Meanwhile, the infant AI Neuromancer alerted Trevor that the Cherub Figurine had reassembled, shattering the too-small box that had been containing its dust. As Trevor went to build a lead box around it, he found his own paranoia made him vulnerable to the object’s psychic attack. He did manage to build the box, however, so it looked as though the Cherub were contained, albeit within the Torchwood Two HQ. He then fed Neuromancer a library of information, ordered it to execute a Monte Carlo style growth process, and then requested a set of hypothetical scenarios to provide possible solutions for the disposal of the Cherub. It output three possible solutions:

  1. Bring the object into range of a stronger psychic signature that would overwhelm it.
  2. Throw it through the spacetime fissure.
  3. Subject it to a large enough explosion of Artron radiation that might disrupt it.

Additionally, Elizabeth provided a fourth solution from her occult studies: If the Cherub were indeed a psychic vampire, perhaps it could be starved to death.

At this point, the group made a conference call to update each other on their findings. Finally, the decision was made to pick up Melanie, whom they thought was in danger, and then Elizabeth, Trevor, and Melanie would meet the rest of the group in Islay with the lead-boxed Cherub.

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Episode #1: Waking Up in the Wrong Body
12th – 14th November, 2016

The newly (re-)formed Torchwood Two team is just returning to their Glasgow HQ following their adventure in the Galapagos Islands. They have brought back the unconscious bodies of Ricardo Gambino and Johann, and the Evolution Artifact that Johann was attempting to use in a ritual when the team had arrived. Whereas the team seemed to have the situation under control, Henry Taylor noticed a low but steady hum issuing from the statue. Trevor Rothberry resolved to put the statue in a Faraday cage with help from Charlie Williams, and then Henry, Charlie, and Alice Kingston placed both prisoners into jail cells in the sub-basement.

Elizabeth Davies discovered a small notebook on Johann’s body, and Charlie found a stun gun as well. Elizabeth found the notebook to be written almost entirely in German, which she knew from her studies as a librarian, as well as sketches of hand gestures at various point throughout. Elizabeth and Trevor came to the conclusion that Johann had made it approximately three-quarters of the way through the ritual when the team interrupted.

During this time, Charlie received a voice mail from Tonya, the proprietor of Once in a Blue Moon, a curiosity shop in Glasgow. In the voice mail, Tonya described a telephone conversation she had with a lady about a necklace matching the description of the Williams Necklace.

Meanwhile, Henry began talking with Gambino, who had awakened first. Henry began by showing him his new face in a mirror, which freaked him out. After Gambino calmed down, he imparted the story of his kidnapping, apparently his last memory before waking up here. He was walking down the street in Dover, on the evening of 5th October, when a van pulled alongside him and a man in black shot him with a tranq dart.

Trevor went back to the lab to perform deeper examinations into the statue. First, he performed an X-ray scan, which revealed a darker region in the center that the X-rays wouldn’t penetrate. He drilled into it and took a sample of the stone, which he used to date the statue to about 500 years old. He also discovered some alien circuitry and a power source within, which frightened him. What if the power source were to explode?

During the examination, Samuel Grayson emailed both Alice and Trevor. In the message, he asked if they had seen what was going on in Islay. He included a copy of a casting call for the next Marvel movie and a picture of the Tesseract, apparently seen in Islay.

Upon examining the notebook further, Elizabeth discovered a number of margin notes that functioned as citations of where Johann had apparently cobbled together pieces of a ritual. One of those pieces referenced a painting she had seen at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, so she drove over. Dr. Denise Grassi, the new director of the Kelvingrove, was currently leading a tour, so Elizabeth opted to await its end so she could speak with Dr. Grassi about the painting, which had mysteriously been “removed for restoration”. Dr. Grassi refused to allow her access to the restoration area, as the general public was not allowed access, and informed her that the painting would be back on display in about three weeks.

After striking out with Dr. Grassi, Elizabeth wandered the museum a little more, partly searching within for a better story to sell to gain access to the restricted restoration area, and partly looking around for clues within other paintings. She did indeed find one, a painting from the late 1600s that perhaps once included a small picture of the Evolution Artifact, but now that outline had been cut out, apparently with a scalpel or other fine blade, as if the image had been professionally extracted from the painting. She conferred with Alice after returning to HQ, but while they found multiple photographic replicas of the painting online, they were all missing the same outline of the statue. Even more strangely, no one in the art community seems to have noticed. Following this, Trevor sent a message to Samuel Grayson, daring him to find anything about the statue.

Henry continued his psychological interrogation of the two captives, even going so far as to play an elaborate ruse involving simultaneous chess games with each of them. He discovered that Johann had never played before, but Gambino was nearly a grandmaster except he was allowing Henry to win. In the end, Henry concluded that Gambino and Johann had switched personalities (or mind-swapped) when the ritual was interrupted.

One of the other citations in Johann’s journal led Elizabeth back to a book in her own personal library, in which she found the reason for thinking Dr. Grassi looked so familiar. In the book was a picture of a ritual looking strikingly like the one Johann had attempted, being performed in 1754 by a woman looking strikingly like Dr. Grassi.

And thus the team concluded Dr. Grassi had to be questioned. Trevor persuaded the rest of the team to grab her off the street, and he rigged a mobile phone to create a small electromagnetic pulse that would disable her car’s computer and render the car inoperable. The team followed her until she got off the highway, headed home for the night, and then Trevor activated his device which disabled her car. Charlie approached the car and used the stun gun (which she had claimed from Johann) on her. She used a plastic (zip-tie) restraint to secure Dr. Grassi’s hands and then threw her unconscious body in the back of the team’s Land Rover.

During the trip back to HQ, Dr. Grassi awakened. At first her awakening went unnoticed, but after she heard the team talking about what they wanted to do to her she freaked out and broke out of her restraint. Fortunately, Charlie was quick on the draw with her stun gun and again electrocuted her into unconsciousness. The team secured her in a cell, going so far as to weld heavy-duty metal restraints to hold her in place.

During the subsequent team interrogation, Charlie threatened to stun her again, and Trevor threatened several times to chloroform her, but it was Elizabeth who asked the bulk of the questions. Dr. Grassi repeatedly denied being the woman in the 1754 ritual, but Henry saw through her ruse. Finally, Elizabeth made the statement that elicited the pivotal reaction, that the two men who had attempted a ritual were nearby and that the ritual had gone awry. Finally, Dr. Grassi relented, and admitted she had knowledge of the ritual, but the only way she knew to reverse the personality swap was to perform the ritual again, but this time switch the places of the performer and victim. Thus, they had to teach Johann (with Gambino’s mind) how to perform the ritual and sedate Gambino (with Johann’s mind) long enough to prepare to execute it. Before that, though, Elizabeth administered a dose of Retcon to Dr. Grassi and the team returned her to her inoperable car.

The team agreed they didn’t want to risk compromising their HQ by performing the ritual there, so they found an abandoned pottery factory and set it up to replicate the ritual. Elizabeth and Henry coached Johann (with Gambino’s mind) through the ritual with a surprising degree of success, returning each mind to its proper body. Now to dispose of Gambino and Johann.

Elizabeth called an acquaintance of hers, Natalie Taylor, a Deputy Director of Internal Security at MI-5. Natalie agreed to take Johann off her hands on a vague array of terrorism-related charges, if she would deliver him to the Metro Police in Glasgow.

The team dropped Gambino at a train station, blindfolded but memory of the incident intact, and gave him money to get home and an emergency phone number in case he should find himself in trouble.

Early in the evening, Charlie, Alice, and Henry visited Once in a Blue Moon to follow up on Tonya’s voice mail to Charlie. Tonya knew only that the woman was calling about appraising a necklace that sounded like the Williams Necklace and gave a phone number. Meanwhile, Henry freaked out at a small cherub figurine. Charlie and Alice downplayed it to Tonya, saying that he was from “down south” (London), but Charlie bought the figurine with which to torture Henry later on.

Also that evening, Elizabeth went home to her boyfriend, Charles Rogers. She found him working on a presentation for his work as an accountant but then smelled spicy chili on the stove. Charles quickly cleared his work and explained that he was experimenting with “American cooking” and a dish called “five-alarm chili”. As they each took a bite, Charles immediately went to the refrigerator to get some milk. The two of them had a nice evening in, talked about going to the symphony later that week, and Charles offered to purchase tickets for them.

The next day, Charlie called the phone number Tonya had given her. “Witch’s Brew,” a female answered. She explained that it was a coffee shop, and Charlie placed an order. Alice agreed to accompany her, but quickly hid when she saw her “lost cause friend”, Melanie Bryers, working inside. Charlie went in to pick up the coffee order and talk with Melanie. Melanie denied any knowledge of the call to Once in a Blue Moon, but oversold it and Charlie picked up on the lie. Melanie agreed to meet her for lunch, but she ducked out the back once Charlie had rejoined Alice in the car. Reacting quickly, Charlie and Alice put their professional skills to work, and they easily caught up with Melanie. Charlie was close to stunning Melanie, but Melanie reacted with surprise and joy at seeing her BFF, Alice. Charlie agreed to buy the necklace from Melanie for a hundred quid, which she reasoned would have been many times less than Tonya would have charged her.

Then Alice pressed for Melanie to tell them where she got the necklace. Melanie confessed to stealing the necklace from a guy named Harry, whose last name she didn’t bother to get during their sexual encounter. During sex, Melanie freaked out at seeing a shrine with daggers and other occult items. Anxious to leave, she faked her orgasm and made her escape. She grabbed the necklace on the way out as “something for my trouble” because “he wasn’t very good, anyway.”

With that investigation in the bag, the team decided to travel to Islay to investigate the reappearance of the Tesseract.

But they could not predict one last scene, in which a second Henry Taylor entered the Torchwood Two HQ, accessing the biometric scanners, and collapsed to the floor. He had been badly beaten.

“Fuck,” the first Henry Taylor said flatly.

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