Thursday, January 16, 2014

[Actual Play] DWAiTAS - The Exiles of Time 1.04: 'A Prison of Mirrors'

THE CAST
Aru (played by Clara Owen, absent): An amnesiac girl in her late teens with psychic powers and an inexplicable fear and distrust of men. Aru is stick figure thin and tall, with short spiky dark brown hair, ocean blue eyes and wears a black bodysuit with bright blue inlays, and has a laser gun holstered in her chunky belt.
Robyn Dalton (played by Heather W): A UNIT researcher for the top-secret Project Broadsword, Robyn is haunted by a shameful past, but her history gives her knowledge and expertise that make her a valuable asset to UNIT. She is dark eyed and has dark hair cut in a bob style with green or blue highlights depending on her mood. (Kinda like Claudia from Warehouse 13.)
Malik (played by Luke): A Silurian from a time when his species' reign on Earth, displaced in time by the Cardiff Rift, Malik has been living in a TMNT-style pad in the sewers of the Welsh capital, feeding on criminals and becoming the subject of urban legend, the 'Lizard Man of Cardiff'. He wears a hessian cloak and cowl to hide his features when he walks among the apes that have taken over his homeworld.
Pan (played by Maggie): A student of Archimedes, and the real inventor of Archimedes' screw and the fabled 'heat ray'. Possesses technological knowledge beyond his time, owing to his precognitive abilities. Pan is tall and has messy 'mad scientist' hair, dressed in a Grecian tunic and sandals.

Guest Starring
Anith - Mysterious woman who can fly the TARDIS (somewhat), regular since episode 1.01.
Captain Baker - UNIT field ops commander.
Sister of Mine - Returning character from Doctor Who: 'Human Nature/The Family of Blood'.

EPISODE 1.04: 'A Prison of Mirrors'
Reflections infected by the Shattering throw themselves against the shattered mirror in the staff toilet of the mirror version of Farringham Boarding School. In our dimension, the tarp covering the mirror in the staff toilet shudders as the impact is felt from the other side. Captain Baker stands behind a team of UNIT troops with rifles ready for anything that might come through. Two UNIT soldiers march along a corridor elsewhere. Between them are a pair of scientists, Malcolm Taylor and his intern, Ingrid Osgood. They're marched into the staff toilet, where Captain Baker turns and asks who this pair are. When Malcolm introduces himself as the scientific advisor from UNIT, Baker points a finger and asks: 'Then who the bloody hell are they?'
He's pointing at the frozen, translucent reflections of Robyn, Mal, Pan, Aru and Anith standing before the covered up mirror, through which they entered the mirror dimension.

Meanwhile, back in the mirror dimension, Robyn picks out a chemical from the supply cupboard in the science room and throws it at the advancing Shattered Reflection and Pan immediately follows up by throwing one of his balls of Greek fire at it, which causes the chemical to violently combust, setting the cracks along the Shatterling's body alight and causing it to writhe in agony. Soon afterwards, Mal busts down the door with a table from one of the other rooms, and enters alongside Anith who blasts the Shatterling with her staff, weakening it a little more, allowing Mal to finish it off with a swing of his sword.

They don't have a lot of time before more Shatterlings come after them, so Robyn grabs all the gear she needs to build a new Dimensional Pathfinder and the Exiles retreat and find another room to hide in. It's at this point that they notice Sister of Mine has run off in the midst of all the excitement. Robyn quickly cobbles together a new Pathfinder, and they use it to track down the point where the Shattering entered this dimension from, finding a spiderweb of dark cracks leading off into different parts of the school from one massive glowing crack (similar to, but not exactly like the one you're probably thinking of) in one of the hallways. Anith seems to know what it is, making an oblique statement about it being 'a scar from the War', and Robyn mentions she has encountered something like this before: it's a breach in the universe, and she knows how to close it.

The last time she saw this, the Doctor stepped in to resolve it. Anything that has crossed the Void between universes is saturated in a special background radiation unique to the Void. If they use the Pathfinder to widen the breach and reverse it, anything carrying that background radiation will be sucked through it into the abyss, and the breach will eventually seal itself. The only problem is, all of them crossed the Void when they fell through it and arrived on the Liminus. The only person who might be safe is Aru, but none of them knows anything about her past and they don't know for sure she's never crossed the Void. But one of them will have to remain in the mirror dimension with the Pathfinder after sending the others back through, in order to return to the breach and open it, so that the Shattering will be sucked back through it.

After discussing the problem, they decide not to take the chance with Aru. Instead, they try to track down Daughter of Mine to convince her to seal the breach for them. They head for the Headmaster's Office to find the controls for the school's PA system, and use it to make an offer to Sister of Mine: if she helps them seal the breach, they'll put in a good word for her with the Doctor when they find him, maybe convince him to set her free. They arrange a meeting point and race straight there. A crack rides along the hallways behind them, only stopping after Pan uses his Greek fire and some of the chemical found in the science lab to set fire to the floor. The crack is set alight and stops dead, leaving them to run onwards. Sister of Mine shows up at the rendezvous, and grudgingly agrees to their terms, taking the Pathfinder - which has been rigged so it can only be used to seal the breach after they've returned to their dimension - and opening a doorway for them through a mirror which is not currently being assailed by the Shatterlings.

As they're passing through the mirror, their discarded reflections in the staff room vanish. Upon passing through, the dormant crack in Mal's hand reacts with his reflection, causing Mal to 'shatter' briefly on his way out, but he reforms in one piece on the other side, collapsing from the pain. As they emerge, they are held at gunpoint by UNIT troops. Sister of Mine gives them a solemn  nod, before turning away and setting off to fulfil her end of the deal.

Sister of Mine races through the corridors, dodging Shatterlings and running from them as they chase her. Wearing the body of a little girl has its advantages. She reaches the breach and aims the Pathfinder at it, pushing herself back against the opposite wall. The breach opens wide, and Sister of Mine looks away from the bright light that pours forth. An eerie wind catches her hair, but otherwise she's untouched by it. All of the Shatterlings, however, are pulled from throughout the mirror school and sucked through the breach. The cracks in different parts of the mirror realm also recede through from where they've snaked throughout the school and vanish back through the breach.

The Exiles are brought into the staff toilet and about to get the third degree from Baker, when the mirror behind him suddenly repairs itself. Robyn tells him his men will probably report similar from throughout the school. He radios to check. His men do indeed report that the other affected mirrors are also repairing themselves. As the last of the Shattering and its creatures is pulled through, the breach closes itself and the light and wind die out. Sister of Mine slides down the wall and hugs her knees, alone once again in her prison of mirrors.

With the situation resolved, and the Exiles seemingly to thank for it, Baker decides to be lenient and tell them he'll let them go...this time. Before they leave, Robyn runs into Malcolm and - recognising him as one of her former co-workers - hugs him. While pleasantly flustered by Robyn hugging her, Malcolm is somewhat confused and asks: 'Have we met?"
Robyn is distressed by this, because she and Malcolm worked together for at least a year, and not all that long ago. How can he not remember her? Aru reads his mind, but there's no sign that his memory has been altered. The only explanation the Exiles can think of is that Robyn has somehow been erased from the timeline. She and the other Exiles leave, with Robyn quite unnerved by the possibility that her past has somehow been altered.

As they fly away in the TARDIS, Pan has a worrying vision of himself fighting Mal, possibly to the death. And as Mal is looking elsewhere, his own face is reflected in one of the shiny pillars of the TARDIS console room as it turns and laughs malevolently...

NEXT TIME...
The Exiles are on the run from something in what appears to be a castle, stopping in their tracks as their find the TARDIS where they parked it, surrounded by a holographic cordon line, and a woman in a suit and fedora is leaning with her back against it, arms folded as she locks eyes with the Exiles: 'We need to talk.'
A futuristic command centre, with a similar layout to the Torchwood hub...
A uniformed officer listens to a transmission over his headset: 'This-kzzt-Maelstrom Base--something--coming out--"
A man in a WW2 greatcoat turns and greets the Exiles, specifically Robyn: 'Hello! Captain Jack Harkness. And who are you?"
Malik looks out a window at what appears to be a storm of light, looks down, and mutters: 'I'm so sick of black holes already.'

Next Episode: 'Don't Look Down'

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