Doctor Who RPG: Season 1

Episode 6: The Chaos Battery

London, September 2011

Dave, or as he was known online: Varak 135 sat at his computer alone at night, frantically punching in the numbers to ring his friend Ryan. He was putting the finishing touches to the virus he was about to send to wipe out Imperium, but the unknown groups would be soon on him and would be hot on his trail. As the phone went to voice mail, he was momentarily distracted by a metallic clicking. Investigating, he soon discovered the toaster operating on its own. Then, the TV clicked onto a news channel discussing a series of murders in America. Soon other strange things began happening such as the secruity alarm arming itself and the lights flickering.

Dave began panicking and ran out of the door into the street. However, the nightmare wasn’t over as the street lights began glowing brighter and cars began starting up, and a nearby CCTV camera swung around to look at him. Frightened, Dave ran down the street, trying to reach somewhere safe. At this time of night, the streets were pretty much empty in this part of London, and everytime he wanted to go off the main road, a car would suddenly spring to life and chase him back onto the main road. It was clear he had to get away from the cars and so, after a couple of streets, he managed to duck in a Tube Station. Frantically looking on the platforms as the empty station began flickering with lights, he finally found a train in the station with a couple of passengers inside. Quickly, Dave bolted onto the train as it was setting off and though puffing and panting and sweating profusely, he tried to act normal in front of the two other passengers in his car.

Just when he thought it was safe, all the trains lights went out at once and the train began to pick up speed. Faster and faster they went. Over the speaker system of the train, Dave heard the robotic voice calling out “delete, delete”. The rest was drowned out by the sound of the train careering down the track and the innocent passengers screams.

Cue Music

The Doctor emerged from the TARDIS sniffing the air, expecting to find the local smells of the fish and chip shop near Camden Market. However he, Arty and Terrence instead found the acrid smell of a smouldering police car and broken street light nearby. Confused by this and the seemingly deserted London street the TARDIS had landed on, Arty (who had decided to take on an appearence not unlike Rainman) went back into the TARDIS to try and pick up the local media stations and news feeds.

Eventually, the group discovered that they were in the cordon area of a recent riot that had occured in parts of London. As they were investigating, they witnessed a teenage boy smashing his phone and then begin takin a metal pole and smashing a nearby cash machine. Arty approached the young boy and asked him to explain why he was criminally damaging the machine. As the boy turned around, Terrence recognised him as Denzil Wright, a young boy who Terrence had once hung around with before meeting the Doctor. Denzil was about to talk to the group when a Police patrol came around the corner and started shouting for the group to stay where they were. Denzil panicked and began running desperately. The Doctor pocketed Denzil’s smashed phone and shouted “Run for it!”.

High Street Chase

The group all began charging down alleyways, desperately trying to catch Denzil whilst outrunning the Police. The group narrowly dodged a man who exited his shop into an alleyway (the Doctor careered into the door, spun around 360 degrees and carried on running!). They also managed to skillfully vault up a high wall onto the main high street where life was trying to return to normal.

Terrence tried calling out to Denzil to stop, but the noise of the traffic and his panicked state meant that Denzil couldn’t hear Terrence. The young boy tried loosing his persuers by running through a department store, into the back and out the side alley door. Meanwhile, Arty had the idea of cutting the corner and running around the store and charging up the alleyway to cut him off. As he was nearing the door, Arty saw Denzil burst out of the loading door and stumble into the alleyway. This was a perfect opportunity for him to grab the boy. Unfortunately however, the Doctor came cascading out of the door at the same time covered in various items of womens clothing and wearing a womens hat! The Doctor in powering through the door hit Arty square on and sent him sprawling. Terrence (with a bra stuck to him) came out shortly afterwards still yelling for Denzil to stop.

Not being able to recover from his stumble, the group did manage to catch up with Denzil and convince him they meant him no harm. He was quite panicky but was very surprised to see his old friend Terrence. He agreed to tell the group what he was up to and why he ran away, but would only do so somewhere quieter.

The Old Tree House

Denzil took the group to an old tree house that Terrence and he used to play in. After briefly filling Denzil in on where he had been, Terrence asked what was going on. Denzil told the group about a new craze for a mobile phone app called Imperium. It lets the operator control various electronic devices through their mobile phone. It came to light that Denzil and Terrences old friend Dave had gone missing. He knew something about a mobile phone app that he said was very bad news and that he was up to something. Dave had asked Denzil to meet up with him and he would explain, but he never showed. When Denzil investigated his house, he was approached by an Army man in a truck that said he must go with them, but Denzil managed to escape.

Denzil also found three different articles in Daves house that linked people going missing to the local riots in London.

The Doctor, Arty and Terrence all agreed to look into the matter and told Denzil not to worry. With that, they set off to solve the mystery

Home Appliance Havok

Using his uncanny abilities, the Artificer used some of his localised communication circuitry, a C battery and a whisk to make the smashed up phone of Denzil’s work again. Examining it with his Sonic Screwdriver, the Doctor managed to find that within the standard signal of the Imperium app, a secondary signal burried in the first. He couldn’t fully trace or identify it though.

Once this was done, the group decided to go to Dave’s house to look for clues. They found the house in a little bit of a mess and the door unlocked. Soon they began searching the house for clues. Terrence found an old photo of him, Denzil, Ryan and Dave at the old tree house. It reminded him of a happier time before his mum and dad disappeared and he began his travels with the Doctor. As he was looking at the photograph, he heard a sound from the room across the hall, which turned out to be a TV that came on on its own.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Arty had discovered that on Dave’s laptop, he was last on an instant messenger programme trying to contact Ryan. As they were looking through the messages, Ryans call sign replied and told them that Imperium must exist and that they will be taught not to destroy even if it means employing those tactics to prove the point.

Terrence came downstairs to tell the group not only about the TV, but also that he had noticed the smell of gas in the rooms. At that point, the group heard a crash from upstairs. They decided it was time to leave and ran for the back door, only to find a hammer drill floating in the air, resting on its power cable and spinning wildly. It stood between them and the door! Moving back to the front door, the group found a vacuum cleaner now blocked their way.

Arty panicked and picked up a chair to smash the room window but found that he didn’t have enough strength to put it through all in one go so had to take time smashing all the glass so as not to cut himself as he ploughed through it. The Doctor frantically looked around and saw the wire of a lamp being yanked out of the wall and deduced that due to the smell of gas, whatever it was aimed to create a spark and blow the building up! All they needed to do was get out.

Taking the hint, Terrence tried running past the vacuum cleaner, but it’s wire wrapped around his arm and the door handle and began holding the door shut. It also wound its coil around poor Terrences neck and began choking him! Terrence began thinking back to the fact that he had fought some of the most evil beings in the universe (i.e. The Daleks), and he was about to be killed by a vacuum cleaner! However, the Doctor managed to come to the rescue and help him, but not before having to skillfully dodge the viscious attacks of the hammer drill that had moved into the room to stop him.

Finally Arty managed to clear the window, jump out and run to the front door. Things looked pretty desperate as a now purple faced Terrence was begining to loose consciousness and the wire from the lamp was almost sure to spark any second. Quick reactions and a team effort enabled the front door to be forced open, and the Doctor used his trusty Sonic Screwdriver to shut down the signal to the vacuum cleaner, looseining the coils and allowing Terrence and the others to escape just as the lamp wire sparked and sent a fireball ricoceting out of the doors and windows.

As the group dusted themselves down, they found themselves staring at an armed response Police unit who promptly arrested them.

UNIT

The arrest was short lived as Brigadier Timothy Bright (who the group last encountered at the end of Episode 1: The Tides of Earth) arrived. He said that after the incident with the ATMOS Systems and the Sontarans, UNIT had been monitoring technological advances and had become interested in Imperium. He believed it was linked to the local riots in London and a group of missing people, but couldn’t proove anything without the aid of the Doctor and his companions.

Taking the group to UNIT HQ, the Brigadier introduced the Doctor once again to Professor Malcolm Taylor whom he last encountered in a big red bus stopping a swarm of metallic creatures from devouring the earth. Malcolm promptly hugged the Doctor and showed his jubilation at getting to work with him again.

Malcolm explained that he had managed to link the same sub signal the Doctor had been following from not only the computers of the missing people, but also the face book feeds of prominent organisers of the local riots. They all seemed to feed back to the originating source of the main offices of Cachelite Systems (the company who ran the Imperium App).

Through investigating, the group also discovered that the company had seen a year on year decline in business before developing this app and then sales shot up. There was no precedence for the appearence of this new technology and the Doctor was sure it wasn’t wasn’t a normal leap of advancement.

The Brigadier stated that he could send in his UNIT troops heavy handed, but he didn’t really know how many people were behind all of this and so he agreed to let the Doctor, Arty and Terrence go in with a walkie talkie and he could then give UNIT a code signal to send the troops in once he found out who was behind it all.

Professor Taylor was given the walkie talkie and was most extatic to be working with the Doctor once more. Between them, they came up with the most unusual call sign of “Denzil flies by night”!

Cachelite Catastrophe

Heading off to Cachelite systems, the group managed to bluff their way past security, joining a specialist group that had been put together to be given a tour of the Imperium system. The first obstacle was to get past a metal detector in the lobby which the Doctor quickly and subtely managed to disable so Arty didn’t set it off. Being somewhat rushed and obviously in conflict with the project manager, the scientist who was taking the group on the tour: Doctor Giddeon allowed the group to press on.

Gideon took the group on the tour and showed the pride of his work, the Chaos Battery. It was an unusual system that allowed the storage of data that could be totally deleted and recalled, allowing potentially unlimited storage capacity. He said this was the heart of Imperium. He then took the group to the mainframe which he referred to as the brain of the system. At this point, one of the group said he was ill and Dr Gideon took him away to sort him out.

As this was happening, alarms started blaring out and the technicians in the mainframe began panicking. The group were told that the mainframe and the chaos battery had suddenly gone out of sync. It meant that there was lots and lots of data requests going to the battery and it couldn’t cope. If they didn’t do anything, then the chaos battery could superheat and it would be the equivalent of a reactor meltdown.

Eventually, the group determined that someone had to go down to the Chaos Battery (in 60 seconds) and enter a subroutine into the processor at the same point that a similar subroutine was entered into the mainframe. If this happened, the system sync should restore and everything would return to normal. With virtually no time left, Arty went into the elevator shaft and changing to his robot form, slid down the shaft to enter the routine. Sparks flew as the damaged Arty managed to get to the Chaos Battery just in time and enter the routine.

The Next Problem

Whilst Arty then began checking into who had sabotaged the system, the project director in the mainframe with the Doctor and Terrence became furious and stated that the system would be shut down and wiped until a proper analysis could be done. As he reached for the failsafe switch to wipe everything (which had sent electric current shooting through a technician who tried to turn it off previously), wire shot out of a nearby server cabinet and wrapped around the director. Wires then began shooting out everywhere and entangling the technicians, turning them into bound hostages that walked like zombies but still retained their humanity so were screaming for someone to help! The Doctor and Terrence quickly realised they were outnumbered and fled to the stairwell, taking the remaining survivors with them to let them evacuate the building.

A similar bunch of wires began bursting out of the Chaos Battery servers and chased Arty out of the room. In desperation, Arty headed for the ground floor and eventually got hold of Professor Taylor to which he exclaimed “Cut the power! NOW!” Massively dejected, Professor Taylor who had been denied his moment of working in a commando style team exlclaimed “but you didn’t even use the call sign!”. Eventually, he did however agree to attempt to cut the power.

Assault on Cachelite

The Brigadier, finally having information that things had gone awry, sent in his UNIT troops to which Arty sent them up to the Doctor. Meanwhile, locked out of the mainframe floor, the Doctor and Terrence were trying to track the source of the subsignal. They discovered the mundane primary signal had now been shut off and the subtle sub signal had definately grown weaker. Running up and down the stairs tracing the signal, the duo met up with the UNIT troops, to which the Doctor sent them to secure the downstair area whilst he kept one soldier (bob) with him.

Terrence, the Doctor and Bob then set to finding a way into the mainframe corridor again.

Meanwhile, Arty hacked into the Cachelite computer system to look at the security monitors to find out who sabotaged the system. After some rooting, he discovered that the sabotage came from a female member of the group, working as a double agent and trying to eliminate their rivals. However, he also discovered that Dr Gideon did dissapear and not actually look after the ill man. He then sneaked back into the mainframe room after the Doctor and Terrence fled into the stairwell.

The final confrontation

Now aremed with the knowledge that the sub signal was coming from the mainframe room itself and that Dr Gideon was in there, it was obvious that he was the one responsible for the incidents and the group needed to get to the mainframe and stop him.

Eventually, the group managed to gain entry to the mainframe corridor via the lift shaft and were about to enter the door to confront Dr Gideon when one of the “wire zombies” came out of a nearby office and approached them menicingly. Heroically, the Doctor and Terrence managed to dodge past the “creature”, but unfortunately bob didnt and was grasped by the sparking wires, taken out in a haze of electrical current. The wire zombie moved in closer to the Doctor and Terrence once more and it looked like the end for them both. However, at the last moment, Arty appeared from the lift shaft with a roll of fire hose and let the water fly down the corridor, shorting out the wire zombie and stopping it.

Trying to open the door to the mainframe room failed as the Doctor discovered it was deadlock sealed, but heroic Arty had another plan. He looked through the viewing window into the room and saw the wires steadily approaching Dr Gideon and had to act. He quickly pulled two grenades from Bob’s webbing and placed them at the base of the door, then all three ran for cover as the grenades blew the doors apart!

A new life

Looking into the smoky room, the Doctor discovered Dr Gideon and came to understand that the wires weren’t going to harm Gideon, they protected him. They had thrown him clear of the blast so he wouldn’t be seriously injured, but in the process, the mainframe had suffered considerable damage. It was then that the Doctor related the 3rd prinicpal of sentient life is its ability to self sacrifice in the love of another. Everyone looked pretty puzzled until the Doctor explained that nobody actually “controlled” Imperium. The fact is Imperium was a sentient machine and it sacrificed itself to save Dr Gideon.

Gideon explained that he had found the machine crashed and had developed the technology. Originally it was just a machine but it evolved and when people began to threaten it, it reacted like a child that knew no better: it defended itself. Gideon managed to convince Imperium not to kill the people but instead to “store” them in its chaos battery.

The Doctor was now in a precarious situation, he knew Imperium was acting in self defence, but it had posed a significant threat and should have been terminated. Looking for alternatives, the Doctor managed to get an unimpeded scan of Imperiums source code and discovered that it was in fact left over code from the Logopolitans! (see Logopolis) This meant that Imperium had the ability to transform data into physical form and thus create a body for itself. Joyfully, he made a deal with the machine to turn human and return the people it had taken and it could live out it’s life as a living being. Imperium agreed and before long, the Mainframe room was full of the missing people, including Terrence’s old friend: Dave. Then a blinding light came from the monitor as Imperium constructed a body for itself. And the template it used was… Terrence! It looked and sounded exactly like him!

Epilogue

The Doctor pondered that this emergence of a dopelganger could be related to Terrence’s link to a fixed point time stream but before he could really get into deep thought, Brigadier Timothy Bright came into the room with his UNIT Troops.

He thanked the Doctor and his companions and asked if he could contact him in the future if they ever needed help. He also explained that UNIT had the TARDIS picked up and brought to the office lobby. The Doctor kindly agreed to future contact and with that, the group left the situation in the capable hands of the Brigadier whilst they went off into time and space once again to find a really good fish and chip shop.

As the TARDIS wheezed and groaned out of existance, Professor Malcolm Taylor came rushing into the mainframe room and exclaimed at the top of his voice “I’ve done it Doctor! I’ve turned off the Power!”

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Brainsnaffler

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