Messages from Gallifrey

Episode #1: Siege Mode

18 May 2260

The TARDIS lands on 18 May 2260, a couple of miles outside of Chesham (which lies 3-4 miles outside the M25 loop in London), in a wooded area with a trail leading about a half-mile down to Susan Foreman’s cottage. The cottage is overgrown, so Susan double-checks with her sonic screwdriver and confirms that she has landed “about ten years late.” She tells the story of her grandfather, with whom she arrived in 2164 (during The Dalek Invasion of Earth). “I fell in love, and grandfather decided I should have a normal life. He said he’d return someday, but that was a hundred years ago.”

As the rest of the group discusses what to do, Ian Fleming decides to go buy some cigarettes, for “surely one can get some Chesterfields around here.” Jodana Kelzor accesses the public wireless network and downloads a map and information about the area. Susan suggests Jodana lead the group into Chesham, where they can visit the local shop and meet her at the Sheep’s Head pub in a while.

The group enters Chesham (pop. 15,000, according to the sign) and quickly finds the only store in town that still sells tobacco products. Al Capone wanders over to the humidor to get some cigars, and Ian picks up some Chesterfields after exchanging a “Long live the Queen!” with the shopkeeper under the picture of Queen Sarah. They pay in antique (20th century) British pounds, which the shopkeeper quickly pockets for a collection, but then Cali Armstrong takes them to an ATM and uses her sonic wristwatch to withdraw some local spending money. The group then heads over to the Sheep’s Head, where Ian delights in introducing Sun Tzu to proper Fish & Chips and a pint of Guinness.

After a couple of hours, the group begins to wonder what’s keeping Susan. Jodana tries her home but there’s no answer, so he leaves the group to catch a Hackney cab back to the cottage. As he steps out of the cab, he hears the TARDIS taking off and frantically takes off running after it, but he is too late. The TARDIS is gone, and there is a lot of brush stamped down nearby, with more brush stamped down in a trail leading farther away from the landing site. He also finds a red crystal in the brush.

Jodana sends messages to Cali exclaiming “The TARDIS is gone11!!1”. Cali dismisses him as “having a moment of drama,” but she convinces the group to head back to the cottage and they catch another cab. Meanwhile, Jodana follows the trail until it ends at a small cave, about 25 meters deep, with a high-tech (higher tech than 51st century) concealed door in back.

The rest of the group arrives at the cottage and have a look around. They find an area in back with a square impression in the brush and soil and conclude that a TARDIS landed there. The back door of the cottage is open, so Sun and Cali step in. Everything inside is covered in dust except for a bundled red scarf on the coffee table. Sun picks up the scarf and unrolls it, revealing a cube with Gallifreyan symbolism on all faces and four slips of blue paper with brief messages in Gallifreyan:

  1. “Stasis cube”
  2. Epiphany 1562 (coordinates)
  3. “Bishop”
  4. “Dalek in TARDIS”

The rest of the group eventually catches up with Jodana, who had decided not to go any farther alone. After some discussion and catching-up, Jodana shows the red crystal to Cali, who concludes that the crystal is a Gallifreyan device meant to transform electromagnetic energy into dimensional energy to open the TARDIS from Siege Mode (the cube the group found in the cottage). She also concludes that there is some electromagnetic energy currently being emitted, and Jodana tells the group about the Mk II Daleks who invaded a hundred years ago. These early Daleks needed either static electricity from the floor or some power transmission, received by dishes on their backs, to function.

Cali accesses the controls for the concealed door, and the door opens to reveal an elevator that only goes down and appears to be of Dalek construction. The group takes the elevator down, and the doors open to reveal a long hallway with an open room at the end. In the hallway are a half-dozen alcoves on each side; in each alcove is a dormant Dalek.

The group creeps down the hallway toward the open chamber, which turns out to be a catwalk with an open chamber below. In the center is a massive antenna that is transmitting power. Below are two more alcoves, one at each end, and one Dalek, just beginning to power up: “SYSTEMS RESTORING!”

The group quickly formulates a plan. Al Capone and Ian Fleming will try to shoot the receiver dish off of the Dalek below. After Cali Armstrong successfully detaches the dish from one of the Daleks in the hallway, Sun Tzu chops off another, albeit a little too noisily as the dish clangs to the floor, so the topside plan is for Sun Tzu and Jodana Kelzor to start detaching dishes from the Daleks in the hallway.

Al and Ian take their shots, and the dish flies off. As the Dalek turns and fires at them (“EXTERMINATE!”), Ian fires again, this time hitting the antenna’s control panel. The Dalek’s shot hits the catwalk next to them disintegrating a large hole in it; apparently the Dalek’s targeting scanners aren’t back up to full yet. The Dalek, now desperate for energy, turns to the control panel. Al and Ian take another shot, aiming for the hole they’ve created by knocking the dish off the Dalek’s back. Al’s shot ricochets off the Dalek’s armour, but Ian’s shot strikes true, leading the Dalek to spark and begin leaking a dark fluid which the group concludes is the creature’s blood.

Cali climbs down and starts to examine the control panel. Al climbs down and sticks the barrel of his gun into the hole in the Dalek and fires another shot into it, leading to more fluid leakage.

Meanwhile, the last two Daleks topside whir to life just as Sun and Jodana chop off their receiver dishes. “EXTERMINATE!” Fortunately, they miss Sun and Jodana, and the shots expend the little energy they had received so they drop dormant again. Sun chops off one of the Exterminators, and Jodana chops off an eyestalk. They come up with the idea for Jodana to connect one of the receiver dishes by cable to the Exterminator to make what they believe will work only for a shot or two.

With the Daleks deactivated, Cali hooks up the Gallifreyan crystal to the transmitter antenna and aims it at their cube. The cube shudders, hovers, rotates, and transforms into their TARDIS, which Cali quickly opens with her key. Inside, there is a length of yarn or twine leading from the doorway to a lever under the control panel; Cali concludes that it was used to place the TARDIS into Siege Mode from outside the door. There is also a Dalek in the control room, just beginning to come to life, “SYSTEMS RESTORING!”

Sun Tzu leaps through the door and fires the jiggery-pokeried Exterminator, killing the Dalek, but then cannot get the receiver dish/backpack off his back quickly enough as it burns through his armour. Al, Ian, and Sun sweep what’s left of the Dalek out of the TARDIS. The group has reclaimed their TARDIS, but Susan is gone, presumably in a second TARDIS which had landed nearer the cottage.

The group concludes that the slips of paper are a request from Susan for them to find a Stasis Cube, and so they are off to 1562 to find the Bishop!

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