Episode 7: The Farm

The Cast wake up around 1:00 PM on Day Three and continue their investigations. A palpable sense of paranoia has fallen over the concert, but rather than expressing itself violently, "Free Love" seems to have taken a whole new meaning as hippies endeavor to take out their frustrations in more "loving" ways.

Our heroes go looking for more information, and are unable to track down any more physics-spouting hippies, but there are rumors rampant of disappearances and that people who take the Brown Acid end up at "The Farm," though no one seems to know what or where this "Farm" is.

Davan and Susan decide to check out the speaker towers, and find that someone has been tampering with them, installing radio transmitters. Oddly, there is also evidence that someone has disabled the transmitters after they were installed. Davan finds a silver tie pin on the ground, and reasons that the Saurians are involved. Susan begins tinkering, setting up the transmitters to tie into the TARDIS computer once they start broadcasting.

As she works, Davan spots a couple security guards coming their way. As the guards call out, "Stop, you there!" Davan grabs Susan by the hand and they disappear into the crowd.

Meanwhile, James is talking to the Hell's Angels, trying to dig up info, when he, too, is approached by a security guard. The guard informs him that "Miss Joplin would like to speak with you." He leads James backstage where a very distraught and near-panicked Janis paces back and forth. She tells the guard to piss off, then says to James, "Where are your friends? We've got problems."

He explains what he knows and she asks him to collect the others, presenting him with All Access backstage passes. He notices she's no longer wearing her Vortex Manipulator, which makes him suspect a trap.

He collects the rest of the Cast and on the Artist's hunch that they're in no danger from her, they return. She informs them that last night she got back to her hotel with a circuit board given to her by her contact and a sample of the Brown Acid, which she intended to analyze. Just as she began her work, Men in Black entered her room using a sonic device and confiscated everything, telling her that she saw nothing, and if she told anyone she'd be the next rock star found dead in a hotel room.

Davan informs her that won't happen till next year, to which she caustically replies, "Gee, thanks. I've always wanted precognition of my own death."

He explains it's a heroin and alcohol combo that does it, and she says she's never done heroin in her life, showing him her smooth, trackless elbows to prove it. The Artist reasons that by next year she'll have moved on, and faked her own death to cover her tracks. She relaxes at this theory.

Janis then goes on to explain that she managed to pocket her Vortex Manipulator and a single microchip from the circuit board, both of which are buried not far away. She's not wearing the manipulator because she doesn't want to draw any more attention to herself. She knows she should cut and run, but she wants to know what's going on. Finally, she says, for some reason she hasn't been able to put together, whoever is behind this has kidnapped Jimi Hendrix.

"That does it," James says. "Now it's war."

The Artist asks her to lead them to the site where she buried the stuff, explaining he can use the microchip to get a fix on the location of the tech.

The Cast go and dig up Janis's stuff after the Artist presents her with a portable Perception Filter so she can move unnoticed through the throngs of people. Then it's back to the TARDIS. Davan and James break off, and go to the Hell's Angels, from whom they each buy a .38 special.

The Artist and Susan, working together, determine that the chip is designed to turn a normal radio transmitter into a long-range subspace broadcasting unit, meaning that a signal could be sent from Earth to anywhere in the galaxy. The two of them, using the TARDIS systems to boost the scans, use the microchip to break through the jamming and get a quick and exact fix on the source of the alien technology; it is, quite literally, a farm about two miles away, inside a barn. They opt to leave the TARDIS behind and walk the distance, meeting up with Davan and James on the way. Don and Emilie ask if they can sit this one out, to watch the concert, and the Artist is fine with that*.

Susan spots a couple of Saurian Men in Black tinkering with a speaker tower as they go, and Davan decides to try and get information by posing as an ally. At first the Saurians order him away, until he makes the mistake of mentioning "all the alien tech around here," at which point they arrest him. James goes on the attack, resulting in Davan getting shot by a Saurian Plasma Claw, and James narrowly avoiding a shot from a .45 caliber pistol. When he tries to punch one of the MiB's, James is astonished to find his fist deflected by some sort of invisible force field. Seven more people who looked at first like concert-goers and security, pull out CIA and FBI credentials and start dispersing the crowd.

During this mess, Susan notes that the Saurians were, in fact, dismantling the jury-rigged radio transmitters, not installing them.

James grabs Davan and ducks into the throng, where Janis grabs them and runs towards the Artist and Susan. The Artist, hoping to distract the Sarians, throws a stun bomb into their midst, which knocks them to the ground but doesn't seem to penetrate their force field technology, which the Artist reasons is based on an electromagnetic particle wave dispersement technology.

Once the group is reunited, Janis grumbles, "We should've done this from the start," puts everyone's hands on her wrist, and activates her manipulator, teleporting the group to the Farm. They turn to Davan, who looks worse for wear, and ask if he needs to stay behind. He responds, "No...I think I'm okay."

Janis mentions it's strange that the teleport didn't put them in the barn, where she intended it to go, and the Artist reasons again that whatever blocked their scan is probably blocking teleport.

They sneak across the farm towards the barn, and spot the glint of light off of metal as something moves across the doorway. They opt to sneak in through the back, and as they enter and take cover behind a stack of hay bails, they see what was guarding the door:

The Artist's heart sinks at the revelation, but in true Time Lord fashion, he orders the others to stay hidden, then steps out, hands up, and says, "I surrender."

The Cyberman turns and says, "You will be upgraded. You will come with me," then radios "Unit 2" to watch the door.

The Cast duck for cover as out of a stable not five feet away, another cyberman steps: Unit 2. The first cyberman leads the Artist into the stall, and they don't emerge. Finally, Davan says "To Hell with this," and dashes from cover into the stall. The others follow, one by one.

The Artist is led through a trap door and down the stairs into a massive underground room that is set up as a research facility. Along the right, twenty or so hippies tripping on Burnout type frantically at computers that are far too high tech for this time period. Beyond them is a cell of some kind, tucked behind chemical stores. At the rear of the room is a Cyber Conversion Matrix; to the Matrix's left sits a power generator. Along the left wall is some sort of storage locker setup, with what appears to be a large sealed chamber across the room directly to the left of the door. There are six more Cybermen posted around the room.

As the cyberman pushes the Artist towards the conversion matrix, the Artist notes that the entire middle section of the floor is designed as a huge lift; there are also pieces of equipment laying around, ready to be assembled. He says to the Cyberman, "Oh, by the way, did I mention I have no intention of being upgraded?" then hits the floor and rolls underneath the tables upon which the computer terminals are located. The Cyberman launches an electrical discharge, which misses the Artist but explodes a computer. The laborer who had been typing stops, and resumes reciting formulae aloud. The Artist listens for a moment, and putting the formulae together with everything else he's learned, determines that the Cybermen are building a Psychotronic Conversion and Broadcast Matrix which will use subspace radio signals to beam the technological additive in Burnout to any planet in the galaxy. Presumably, however, they'll need just the right frequencies of sounds in the proper combinations to make it work.

Which would be why they need Jimi Hendrix, a musical genius.

All of the Cybermen now turn to address the threat: The Artist. The Artist, rolling, crawling, skittering and dodging Cybermen, discovers Hendrix in the cell, with a strange apparatus fitted to his head. The Artist determines that the device has ramped up Hendrix's latent psychic potential (which all humans have) to overwhelming levels.

The Artist proceeds, as he dodges Cybermen, to fry computer terminals with his Sonic Screwdriver, and collect the wiring from the backs of the machines. He then proceeds to jury-rig the cables together to produce a low-level EMP, which causes the Cybermen to stop in their tracks and convulse.

The rest of the Cast, hidden at the bottom of the stairs, takes this chance to act. As three of the hippies stand stiffly and turn to walk towards the storage lockers, Davan charges one, intent on tackling her to the ground. He strikes her, and manages to stop her forward progress, but can't knock her down, as her strength seems enhanced. Then he and the Artist both notice that the hippies are changing. Their skin is turning into metal, and their movements and attitudes becoming more mechanical.

Realization hits the Artist and Susan: The Burnout is a new form of cyber conversion which uses the minerals in the human body to turn people into cybermen. And with that transmitter, they can "upgrade" entire planets en masse.

The other two unhindered converts make it to the lockers and withdraw particle beam rifles. Davan pulls out his .38 and shoots them, then grabs a beam weapon. James begins executing convulsing cybermen by shooting them point-blank in the eye. He manages to take out two before they recover.

Davan gets blasted by a Cyberman and barely manages to retain conscious. He ducks into a weapon locker for cover. At James's order, Janis heads for Jimi's cell; the Artist tosses her his Sonic Screwdriver and she frees Hendrix before being shot in the shoulder by a Cyberman and dropping to one knee, the screwdriver skittering across the floor. Susan dashes to the generator and puts it out of commission. The place goes dark. The Artist pulls out a globe filled with luminescent bacteria, a "Gallifreyan Glow Ball," which sheds some basic light on the situation.

One of the Cybermen steps onto the Lift platform and says, "This Project is a failure. Engage Teleport," and vanishes in a beam of blue light.

At this point, the sealed chamber rises up and opens to reveal a Cyberman wired into the matrix: the Cyber Controller, who says, "You have made a critical error in refusing upgrade. You must all be deleted."

The Cast hit the floor as the room fills with electrical discharges, which fry most of the remaining Burnouts. Davan turns the particle beam on the Controller and blasts it. The Artist sticks his Sonic Screwdriver into the chest of one of the Cybermen, deactivating its Emotional Inhibitor and allowing it to realize what it's become. Rather than committing suicide, it turns on its brethren, fellow abominations, and begins to destroy them, first.

Another blast from Davan's particle beam destroys the controller, sending the remaining cybermen into a state of confusion. The Cast take this opportunity to grab Jimi and run for the door. Upstairs, they find the guard Cyberman also confused, and the Artist de-activates its emotional inhibitor.

Downstairs, Davan helps the re-humanized cyberman (who now sounds female) destroy the remaining confused Cybermen. She then tells him, "This whole place is an abomination and has to be destroyed, along with me. You should go. Now."

He joins the Cast upstairs, where the re-humanized guard Cyberman is crying, "Where's Moonbeam?"

"Downstairs," Davan says, and they watch the Cyberman go down the hatch...then run.

Moments later, the barn goes up in a massive ball of green flame. They use Janis's Manipulator to teleport away before the Saurians show up. The strain of travel is too much for Davan, who's taken a great deal of punishment already, and he drops unconscious. Susan takes him to the Zero Room while the Cast hustle Jimi to the stage so he can prepare to perform his set. In gratitude for saving him, he presents them with four 1965 Fender Stratocasters, strung upside down, and autographs all of them.

James hands Jimi a Zippo and says, "You know what would be cool, Jimi? I don't think anyone has ever played a flaming guitar on stage before."

Jimi considers for a moment, then says, "You know, that's not a half bad idea." He takes the Zippo.

Janis thanks the Cast and says it's been a pleasure working with them. They watch Jimi perform, and head back to the TARDIS, where everyone decides it's Davan's turn to choose their destination.

He asks that they go to China, 1942, so he can fly a mission with the Flying Tigers in World War II.

*Don and Emilie's players couldn't make the session; this seemed a logical way of sitting them out.

Memorable Quotes

Susan: "Funny, I don't remember doing any drugs this morning..."

Director: "The last hippy you got exploded when you stressed him out. Any others you find might do the same."
Eric: "I'm not seeing a downside."

James: "Excuse me guys, I gotta go hang with Janis."

James: "But she didn't have her magic bracelet on."
The Artist: "It's not a magic bracelet. It's a science bracelet."
Susan: "But advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
The Artist: "Thank you, Mr. Clark."

Davan: "You won't die for another year."
Janis Joplin: "I've always wanted to be precognizant of my own death."
The Artist: "I keep telling him not to say things like that but he doesn't listen."

Janis Joplin: "I don't know why they wanted him, but Jimi's missing."
Davan: Jimi...Hendrix?
Janis: Yes. I don't know why, but they took him.
James: "Oh, that does it. Now it's war."

Susan: "I do think we are, as they say, f*&#ed."
The Artist: "Pretty much."

The Artist: "Would you like to keep the handcuffs as a souvenir, or should I give them to James as a testament to his stupidity?"

The Artist: *Loudly* "Oh woe to me that I do not have friends who could come to help me!"

Davan: "Arty, these guys have metal growing out of them!"
The Artist: "Don't call me Arty, and I know!"

Susan: "I think our work here is done."

Susan: "What stupid things humans do."

Susan: "Manipulate me."
Davan: "Oh this is going to suck."

Susan: "What pills would you like?"
Jimi Hendrix: "Acid, man."

James: "No one's ever played a burning guitar on stage before."
Jimi Hendrix: "That's a good idea, man."

The Artist: "Oh, the Pacific Theatre! That's fine. I just don't want to go anywhere that Germany was."

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