Gemini Rising, Part 3

cyberinvasionplanner3Phillipa tried to hide behind the crate containing the Vortex machine but the intruders had spotted her. Weapons drawn they ordered her to come out with her hands up. She stayed where she was, hoping that they were bluffing.

From behind cover she could hear Ray’s protests as the new arrivals wrestled him to the floor and handcuffed him. At the Inspector’s request she activated him and he boldly stepped out from behind the crate.

The MiB were back, shining their torch lights at the Inspector with their weapons trained on him. The Inspector accused them of being alien robots which highlights the problem of players drawing upon their knowledge of the series rather than considering what their character would know.

He was of course referring to ‘Dreamland’, the computer animated series of shorts. How the Inspector would know about them when the 10th Doctor doesn’t encounter them until that story is a mystery. It is also unfortunate in that he is wrong and thus made him look like a crazy person in front of the FBI.

When the agents reacted in confusion to his accusation the Inspector turned tail and ran, back behind the crate. As he ran the agents fired upon him, their bullets passing through his body. It was clear to them that they were dealing with something inhuman.

One of the agents reported to Agent Smith that there were two situations that needed their attention. They’d lost contact with the holding facility containing the Vortex machines and the boy Jack was attacking his parents.

Seeing that the FBI weren’t the enemy Phillipa emerged, revealing that she and the holographic Inspector were there to help. Agent Smith challenged her to prove it by helping them deal with one of the situations.

Deciding that the arcade machines were most important Agent Smith and Parker drove Ray and Phillipa to the facility while the other two agents looked into the situation with Jack.

On the way Agent Smith explained how they’d become aware of the arcade machines and how they’d come to suspect it was a Soviet plot. The Inspector realised that this was during the height of the cold war and reassured the agent that this was an alien plot.

At the holding facility the card reader at the gate failed to raise the security barricade. Agent Parker went into the abandoned security booth to manually raise the barricade but as their black sedan passed under it the barricade slammed down on the vehicle, over and over again. In the booth the controls short circuited, shocking Agent Parker.

The group were forced to abandon the car as it was crushed under the onslaught of the barricade. Phillipa examined Agent Parker and found that aside from a mild burn on his finger tips he was okay.

The Inspector predicted that the building had been taken over and advised caution as they entered the building. In the holding area they found that the arcade machines were in a circle, their wires linked to each other.

In their centre was a mass of steel tentacles, several of them plunged into the walls, FBI agents and scientists impaled in the process. The Inspector was unable to identify what the writhing mass was and told the others to take cover while he approached it.

The tentacles reacted, trying to strike at him. The Inspector realised that the tentacles were giving off an electrical aura that could access the data code imprinted into his holographic form. There was a real danger that it could corrupt him or even take control.

Retreating they heard the tentacles making a chirping drone like noise which the Inspector realised was audio data being transmitted. It appeared the tentacles in the walls had managed to access the phone lines.

Agent Smith was prepared to try and organise a strike against the building or to cut the telephone lines but the Inspector insisted that they needed to act immediately. While the agents fled he directed Phillipa to head into the basement.

Pursued by one of the tentacles Phillipa found the gas supply. Realising that the tentacles were hunting by sound, tapping the ground to get a sense of its surroundings, she used her technical skills to cause a leak rather than risk the noise of smashing the pipes.

With gas filling the building Phillipa managed to avoid the metal tentacle and squeeze through a small basement window. She ran from the building, telling the agents and Ray to get back.

Behind her the building exploded in a fireball, apparently set off by the loose wiring in the holding area. The blast sent Phillipa flying but she had a soft landing, on top of Agent Smith.

With that dealt with they went to Jack’s house, after first obtaining a new vehicle, to find the area cordoned off. The agents had got his parents out of the house with only minor injuries and confined the boy to the living room, where he sat patiently next to the phone.

The parents explained that Jack had answered the phone shortly before going into the kitchen for a knife and attempting to stab them both. Phillipa and the Inspector questioned the boy, from a safe distance, but he refused to talk, explaining that he’d been told not to.

The phone rang and Jack answered. Even from where they stood the time travellers could hear the same musical cues from the Vortex machine playing out over the phone. The boy was being given new commands.

Using the data from the Vortex machine the Inspector was able to produce a audio command that permitted Jack to speak with them. He explained he’d been ordered to kill and now he was told to go to a set of co-ordinates.

After using another musical command to free Jack from his programming the heroes gave Agent Smith the co-ordinates, which led to a farm property outside of Portland. Agent Smith drove Ray and Phillipa to the property, while the other agents handled the clean up.

At the farm they saw the mass of wiring between the farm house and the barn. Although Agent Smith wanted to look in the house for the family Phillipa was cetain that whatever was behind this would be in the barn. Ray declined to follow them, offering to keep an eye on the car.

In the barn they found a canister suspended in a web of wires. I described it as having a clear section revealing a living brain within, a simplistic image of a cyber face on the front. In a buzzing voice it told the intruders to halt.

The Inspector correctly identified it as Cyber Planner and explained the origin of the Mondas race. In addition he stated that in a few years Mondas would be destroyed. The Cyber Planner explained that it had been part of plan to travel back in time to stop it.

“And you failed,” taunted the Inspector.

The Cyber Planner refuted this claim, saying it had survived and while it lived the plan could still succeed. It told Phillipa that she had advanced technology that it required and ordered her to give it to him.

Phillipa refused but found herself walking towards the Cyber Planner, removing the bracelet. To her horror she realised playing the Vortex machine had exposed her to the brainwashing program. She was powerless to resist and she blamed the Inspector for making her play it.

In the Inspector hologram started to flicker as the bracelet was removed and shouted at Agent Smith to shoot the Cyber Planner. When Agent Smith protested that Phillipa was blocking his shoot the Inspector told him to shot her.

A gunshot rang out and Phillipa crumpled to the floor. Agent Smith had shot her in the leg, the pain clearing the subliminal commands from her mind. Agent Smith dragged her away even as the partially cyberised family entered the barn, determined to protect the Cyber Planner.

Ray appeared, flinging his lit fire lighter into the hay that was still on the barn floor. The Cyber Planner wailed as the wiring around it melted, causing it to drop downwards. The family ignored the heroes, entering the inferno to save the Cyber Planner.

Outside the trio could only watch as the building collapsed into the flames. No one emerged.

Phillipa was rushed to hospital and her leg wound treated. She spent several weeks recovering, kept abreast of what was happening by Agent Smith, a friendship growing between the two.

A search of the farm land had turned up the wreckage of the cyber ship, although not enough of it was intact for the scientists to learn anything about the technology. The Inspector advised Agent Smith to contact UNIT so they could be aware of any subsequent attempts to save Mondas in 1986. The cybermen were fated to loose their world but it wouldn’t hurt to keep an eye on the situation.

Once Phillipa’s leg had healed Agent Smith advised her to move on. As much as he enjoyed her company his superiors were asking questions about her and her remarkable holographic friend. He could protect her for only so long.

Reluctantly she returned to the stone Forbidden TARDIS, remembrance flowers once more having grown up around it. She set off again, wondering where the time ship would take her next.

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