Pest Control, Part 3

The Inspector's TARDISDonning their gas masks Phillipa and the Inspector rushed into the farm house after hearing a gun shot. They found farm Scaggs unconscious, shotgun in his hand. Through the shattered kitchen window they could see a gas masked figure in a cape darting out of view.

While the Inspector dragged Scaggs outside Phillipa ran after the gasser. She’d proved herself to be an excellent athlete on numerous occasions and this provided to be no exception.

With no where to hide on the flat farm land the Fumigator couldn’t escape Phillipa who successfully got higher than him on her co-ordination+athletics rolls. Closing the distance between them she tackled him to the ground. She was suitably perplexed when he popped like a balloon, leaving behind his plastic clothes, tank of gas and attached wand.

Swirling gas bellowed out of the remains, overcoming deputy Miller who had been chasing after the two. Phillipa resuscitated him and could only watch as the gas cloud drifted away, against the wind.

Back at the farm house Scaggs had recovered, coughing up a cockroach like insect, the Roach. The Inspector was puzzled why the farmer had an insect in his mouth but questioned the man about his chemicals and what he knew of the attacks.

Scaggs was in a bad mood, not only had he just been nearly poisoned but now trespassers were shouting accusations at him. He angrily denied knowledge of any alien gas or being involved with the figure who’d attacked him.

Phillipa explained to deputy Miller that they were dealing with aliens. The deputy then used Scagg’s house phone to call the sheriff. He found out that there had been another gas attack in town, this time the town banker. He’d been knocked out in his office early in the morning and been found when the rest of the staff arrived.

There was also a disturbance at the general store as Snyder had been putting luggage in his car, refusing to speak with his wife as she pleaded with him to tell her why he was leaving. Deciding that this was significant the Inspector asked the deputy to take them there straightaway, bundling Scaggs into the car as well.

Again crossing the bridge they arrived at the general store to see Snyder putting the last of his suitcases into the car, pushing his wife to the ground when she tried to stop him. The Inspector stood in his way, preventing him from getting into the car (thanks to a strength+fighting roll).

The Inspector correctly guessed that an alien presence was controlling Snyder, demanding the entity reveal itself. The Roach replied, speaking in a buzzing voice, explaining they’d been forced to flee their planet and inhabit human hosts. For the most part they let the host remain in control but now they were under threat they were forced to flee.

While this conversation was going on deputy Miller and Phillipa both saw a stream of cars heading towards the bridge. They were soon distracted when two Fumigators arrived, one on a roof top and one emerging from around the street corner.

Again the Inspector interrogated the aliens, learning that they were the Fumigators and that they’d been hired to eliminate the Roaches by the Grix, the species who’d taken over the insects home world.

The Inspector bluffed them, saying that Earth was protected by the Time Lords and the Shadow Proclamation. I do hope invoking the name of a higher power doesn’t become a habit. There are certainly enough alien incursions to suggest that there is no such thing as planetary protection and suspect the Time Lords care more about the protection of time rather than the status of any particular planet.

In this case the Fumigator said it didn’t matter, hissing like escaping gas from a balloon. When the Inspector pointed out that they may have got a few of the Roaches but that they couldn’t get them all the Fumigator again dismissed the statement, saying that it wouldn’t be a problem in a few seconds.

The mercenary turned back towards the bridge as the cars started to cross. The time travellers were confused about what he meant until the bridge exploded, the cars falling into the water.

They realised that the cars had continued other hosts of the Roach, attempting to escape but blundering into a trap. Snyder now held the only surviving member of the Roach race. The Inspector told him that he could use the TARDIS to take him to a safe world and they all began running towards where the time ship was parked.

As they ran more and more black clad Fumigators joined the chase, floating after them. Phillipa fell behind, trying to slow a group of Fumigators by wrestling with them. They reached for her gas mask with their gloved hands but she managed to pop one of them.

Eventually her mask was pulled off and she collapsed to the floor, overcome by the gasesous body of the popped Fumigator. She was rescued by Miller, using his pistol to shot the remaining Fumigators, pulling her to safety as she passed out.

The Inspector and Snyder reached the TARDIS with the Fumigators hot on their heals. The Time Lord managed to get the door open and slip inside but the mercenaries had grabbed Snyder, preparing their gas to kill the last of the Roach.

“Join with me. I have a respiratory bypass system.” The Inspector said.

“I touch his hand so the Roach can enter my body,’” the player said.

“That isn’t how they inhabit people,” I explained.

It was then he realised why Scaggs had coughed up a bug. Reluctantly he moved forwards to Snyder’s mouth as the Fumigators dragged the human back. The Roach leapt out of Snyder’s mouth and into the Inspector.

Just as the insect took over his body the Inspector activated his sonic screwdriver, popping the assembled Fumigators. Everything went black as he lost control of himself.

Upon returning to the street Phillipa found that the TARDIS was missing. All that remained was a very confused Snyder and the remains of the Fumigators. Phillipa waited as days turned into weeks.

She stayed at the bed and breakfast, helping around the place much to the delight of Miss Heartwell. Deputy Miller became her only friend as she began to suspect that the Inspector had left her for good.

Late one night in February 1934, she awoke to the sound of TARDIS. Rushing out into the night her delight turned to horror. The cheerful red exterior of the ship was pitch black, the same shade as the demon god Croatoan.

Ominously the doors swung open.

So we ended the game on another cliff hanger. What had happened to the Inspector? How much time had past and what did the change in colour indicate about his fate. If ‘House of Mirrors’ had taught me anything it was that when a player doesn’t know what has happened to their character things get very tense.

The players enjoyed the game, surprised to find that at least part of the story came from actual events. The Inspector’s player said he wished there was more science fiction in the game but I’m not sure how you can get more science fiction than alien bugs possessing people and being hunted by gaseous mercenaries.

Two reoccurring problems again popped up during the game. Firstly the TARDIS was used to supply useful objects and facilities. Requiring story points to draw useful items is helping although it did protect them completely from the Fumigators single means of attack, gas. There was also the fact it was going to act as a safe haven for the Roach.

Secondly there was the use of the Time Lords as a deterrent. This has only arisen once before, in ‘The Year without Summer’ when the Inspector considered contacting this people to stop the Ice Warriors. I feel that the player characters should stand on their own two feet for the most part, just as the Doctor does.

I wish there was a way to have a slower paced game, letting events unfold over days or weeks rather than in just hours. I supposed the new series of Who has led to the expectation of a fast pace.

I’m just glad that they decided to wait until the morning before visiting Scaggs. I felt that the scenes at the general store and the bed and breakfast added much needed character to the people and reinforced the time period. 

Now I just need to give a satisfying pay off to the fate of the Inspector.

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