Glasgow Nights (Doctor Who RPG)

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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