Glasgow Nights (Doctor Who RPG)

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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