Glasgow Nights (Doctor Who RPG)

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.



RobertLoper RobertLoper

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