Friday, January 17, 2014

[Actual Play] DWAiTAS - The Exiles of Time 1.05: 'Don't Look Down'

THE CAST
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.)
Howard Phillips (played by Alex H): A fiercely loyal, by-the-book agent for the Temporal Security Agency.
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.
Sister Ian (played by Nikki): A former Sister of Plenitude who has joined the Temporal Security Agency as their chief medical officer in order to atone for her part in the Flesh/New Human experiments on New Earth.

Guest Starring
Anith - Mysterious woman who can fly the TARDIS. Regular since episode one.
Colonel Jenny Smith - Commander of the Temporal Security Agency.
Captain Jack Harkness - Rogue Time Agent.

EPISODE 1.05: 'Don't Look Down'
The episode starts with the Exiles chained to a wall in the dungeons of the Zerothan Empire. The Zerothans are essentially dragons, and the Exiles are locked up awaiting execution because Mal tickled a sleeping dragon while trying to steal a gold coin from it. Aru breaks them and another Zerothan prisoner out using her telekinesis, and a guard pushes in. Mal stuns him with his tongue attack and they flee down the hall. After getting their stuff back from a guard room, they find the TARDIS - but it's cordoned off with a series of rods projecting holographic 'crime scene-style tape'. A woman is standing there in a suit and fedora, arms folded, leaning back on the TARDIS. She introduces herself as Colonel Jenny Smith of the Temporal Security Agency. Her people are  looking for the Doctor too, and she asks the Exiles to assist them. The Exiles are suspicious, but she chaps the TARDIS' doors, and it opens for her. When Robyn asks how many hearts she has, she smiles and replies: 'Two.'

The Exiles step inside the cordon and Jenny speaks into a device on her wrist: "Six to beam up." She grins, saying she's always wanted to say that, as a beam of light picks up the group and the TARDIS, and they arrive on a teleporter style pad in the middle of a large futuristic command centre. Robyn turns around and points out that there should be seven of them.

Back in the corridor they were in before, Mal is still standing there eyes wide as a Zerothan pokes its head round a corner. It rears its head to shoot a jet of flame..

"Sorry, we missed one." Jenny says.

The beam of light picks Mal up just as the fire rips down the hall - he lands among them in a beam of light, looking a little bit shaken, singed and angered at Jenny because she almost got him killed. She tells him to settle down, he is still alive, after all. Upon arrival, all of them are given a quick medical scan by Sister Ian - a former Sister of Plenitude, working with the TSA as their chief medical officer - who detects a retrovirus at work in Aru's DNA, killing her slowly. In order to buy time to find a cure, Sister Ian has Aru placed in cryostasis, much to the Exiles' horror.

After they've had time to recover from this emotional blow, Jenny escorts the Exiles to a briefing room, where she'll be able to tell them what they know about the current situation. As she does, one of the agents manning a workstation as they pass by, Howard Phillips, is analysing a signal that he's picking up from one of their inter-temporal comms buoys: 'This-kzzt-Tartarus Base--something--coming out--"

She explains that there are fixed points in time; some are particular places, some are specific moments in history, and some are objects or people. Everything else is in flux and can be altered, but these fixed points must always stand. Changing them is, at best, impossible; at worst, it can damage the fabric of reality. The Doctor is one such Temporal Nexus Point, and he is not simply missing; beyond a certain point in his Eleventh incarnation he has been removed completely from the timeline. This has left gaps in the timestream, through which some unfortunate people have been displaced in time and space - like the Exiles were. That's not the worst of it though. The Doctor's removal from the timeline has created tears in the skin of the universe itself, and things have been entering our universe from outside it through these tears. These 'reality incursions' are growing more frequent, and many of the objects or beings that come through are dangerous or even hostile.

When the Exiles ask what they can do to help, Jenny explains that they need to repair the damage that's been done to the timestream, which means finding out what happened to the Doctor and, if possible, bringing him back. Right now, their best lead on the Doctor's fate is his TARDIS, which the Exiles have been travelling in. Before she can explain further, Phillips shows up. Jenny is annoyed at the interruption, but lets Phillips explain himself. Phillips tells her that they've received a transmission from Tartarus Base; it's a research station in their own future that's positioned on the event horizon of a black hole. Their distress signal claims that something is emerging from the black hole, and it's going to smash through the station on it way out.

Jenny is disturbed by this news - since nothing comes out of a black hole - and says they'll need to send a team out to rescue the station personnel and investigate this anomaly. When Phillips points out vortex manipulators are too inaccurate to risk the trip and they have no craft that can get anywhere near that close to a black hole safely, Jenny agrees; they don't have a ship that can make the trip...but the Exiles do. She asks them if they'll respond to the distress signal, and they agree. Jenny assigns Phillips as TSA liason, and calls Sister Ian to have her accompany them and offer medical aid.

The Exiles, Phillips and sister Ian fly out to Tartarus base. It's a rough and bumpy ride, but they make it to the station. Looking out a window into the pitch black sphere below them, surrounded by a maelstrom of light, Mal notes that he's getting rather sick of black holes. They head for the command centre to introduce themselves, but when they arrive the commanding officer tells them that they already have a time agent aboard. Enter Captain Jack Harkness, who greets the Exiles and co, flirting shamelessly with Robyn and several others as he does.

Together with the captain, Anith and Sister Ian head out to go round up the injured, while the others remain behind, with Robyn attempting to analyse the readings on whatever is coming out of the black hole. She intercepts a transmission coming from the object, which seems to be of immense size: 'Kzzt--Adar--kzzt--'Kraitha--kzzt--Anith--kzzt--surrender--kzzt--C'Toni--kzzt--will destroy--kzzt--if we must--kzzt--"
She cleans up the signal and it goes as follows: 'This is Prince Adar, prince regent of A'Kraitha, addressing Princess Anith. You must surrender the Staff of C'Toni to us. If you do not, we will destroy you if we must."

Around the same time, Pan starts getting a vision: Sister Ian is struck from behind by a blast of blue-white energy...as she falls forward, Captain Jack stands behind her, lowering the blaster pistol in his hand...Anith whirls around, raising her staff...Captain Jack draws his Webley...the two of them take aim at the same moment...

And then they all hear the gunshot echo down the station corridor. They race through the corridors to find Sister Ian out cold, Anith lying on the floor clutching the bleeding gunshot wound in her chest. Her staff is gone, Captain Harkness took it. Mal and Pan continue running down the corridor, chasing after Harkness, who is keying in coordinates on his vortex manipulator. Pan shoots Jack with his slingshot and misses. Mal shoots his venomous tongue out and hits Jack in the neck. Jack shrugs it off, rubbing his neck as he runs, yelling: 'At least buy me dinner first!'
A trickle of silvery blood runs from the wound on his neck; this can't be the real Jack Harkness...he's not human. Before they can attack him again, Jack teleports away in a burst of light, out of their reach. And the station starts to shudder violently around them...

TO BE CONTINUED...

NEXT TIME...
The huge two frontal prongs of a massive starship begin pushing out of the black hole, cleaving through the station as it emerges...
"It was the day my past caught up with me..." Anith says in voiceover.
The moment from Pan's vision: Mal is charging at Pan with his sword raised, Pan has his Greek fire ready to throw at Mal.
"A day of betrayal..." Mal says, also in voiceover.
"...and loss..." Pan adds.A man in futuristic knight-like armour turns in the middle of an ornately decorated starship's bridge, Anith's staff held in his hand...
"It was the end of peace..." Robyn says.
The TARDIS spins away from the massive dreadnought still not completely free of the black hole, which fires a brilliant beam of white light at the spinning blue box...
Fade to white as Howard says... "...and the beginning of war..."

The Season Finale: 'The Legacy of A'Kraitha'

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