At the beginning of Season Two, the regular cast have gone their separate ways. Cypher is back on Gallifrey, where the fifteen minutes of fame he earned by rescuing the hostages attracts the attention of the CIA. They decide that anyone with the nerve and resourcefulness to rescue three prisoners from a professional crime syndicate is wasted as a designated driver for a bunch of obstreperous old academics, and offer him a position as a covert operative. Cypher accepts without hesitation, if not without misgivings. Charlie Longwood and Harry Bishop have returned to Earth in 1923, where Charlie has recruited Harry into Torchwood. Galen, Joel and Gwyllgi, meanwhile, are continuing their travels in Galen's stolen TARDIS.
Gods of the Silver Screen. The Iconoclast, Gabriel White, confronts the Guild operative, Subtle Light Of The Breaking Dawn On The Horizon, in 1920s Hollywood
Image by Danilo Reyes. Please do not use without permission
Cypher recruits Galen, Joel, and a band of space pirates to help him defeat a Dalek scheme to undo their defeat at the hands of the Movellans
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On Brennender Himmel, a long-lost colony world where the sky glows like fire, a patchwork quilt of city-states populated by humans, Silurians, Ice Warriors and Ogrons use a mad melange of technology that runs the gamut from the Renaissance to the era of interstellar travel.
Galen and Joel come to the planet to witness the ten-yearly Festival of Sail, where the city-states race their tall-masted flying ships against each other. But this festival is different. The great trading port of Nexus is planning to use it to launch a decapitating strike against the leaders of the other cities and seize control of the planet.
Charlie Longwood and Harry Bishop find themselves in Los Angeles during the golden age of Hollywood, facing an insidious alien plot to manipulate the minds of the human race by taking control of the emerging movie industry. The Iytrochi Guildsman, Subtle Light Of The Breaking Dawn On The Horizon, (or "Solly", as his minions call him), is planning to introduce the human species to the power of subliminal advertising - and that's just for starters...
London, 1671. The charismatic rogue, Colonel Thomas Blood, is planning the greatest coup of his far-from-respectable career - nothing less than the theft of the Crown Jewels. But all is not as it seems. Blood is secretly acting as an agent for none other than the King himself - Charles II, short of money as always, has decided to on innovative methods of raising extra cash.
On the fringes of this royal intrigue and skulduggery, Andreas Roth is lurking. He knows that Blood will drop several jewels from the regalia during his escape - jewels that Roth intends to collect. Petty larceny slips from Roth's mind, however, when Thomas Blood disappears - kidnapped, if the signs of the struggle in his room are any indication. History doesn't record that Blood vanished directly before the theft, and Roth is quietly panicking at the thought that he might accidentally have altered the time line.
The kidnapper is Thomas Butler, an Irish aristocrat whose father, the Duke of Ormonde, Blood recently tried to assassinate. Butler's motives are entirely his own - he wants revenge - but he's being manipulated by a shadowy telepathic presence who calls herself his "Muse".
Then Cypher arrives in London, his attention drawn by curious "ripples" in the space/time vortex centered around this place and time. He and Andreas Roth form an uneasy alliance to rescue Blood and set history back on track. Although successful, their only clue about the true nature of their foe comes from some enigmatic references to the Muse in Butler's personal diary, which they steal.
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Galen, Joel and Gwyllgi arrive in Rio for another attempt at a holiday. They find themselves crossing swords with Andreas Roth and helping the gold-collar master thief, Narella Drakos, rob Brazil's Museu Histórico Nacional.
With the theft successfully completed, they spend a couple of months cruising the Mediterranean on Narella's yacht. Their holiday comes to an end when Narella shows them one of her collection of rare-and-unique items. "An original iPhone 6. Doesn't sound like much, I know, but this is the only one that survived the Apple Wyrm virus that hit L.A. In 2019. Nobody knows why. I've hired the best experts in the world to check it out, and they drew a blank".
As Narella switches the iPhone on, it connects with Gwyllgi on a subspace frequency that no Apple product of this era should even know about, and transmits a compressed data burst.
Back in their TARDIS, Galen, Joel and Gwyllgi examine the contents of the burst. It includes photos of all three of them, along with Cypher, Charlie Longwood and Harry Bishop, at a sci-fi convention, posing with several different species of armed aliens. It also contains two sets of space/time co-ordinates. One is obviously for the convention itself - Los Angeles, August 2019. The other is for Earth in the early 51st century
In the early 51st century, Galen, Joel and Gwyllgi team up with Cypher, who has been assigned to clean up the remains of Magnus Greel's Zygma project by the CIA. Although his primary labs in Brisbane and the Peking Ministry of Justice were destroyed just prior to the outbreak of World War Six, Dr Sy Ya Findecker had established a second backup facility in the jungles of south-east Asia. Getting in isn't easy; Findecker had left a platoon of his twisted creations, bioengineered fusions of humans and King Cobras with cybernetic enhancements, to guard the place. To complicate matters, a group of security agents from the Icelandic Alliance is also in the area, with orders to seize Findecker's research for further study.
Yorkshire, 1924. A spate of cattle mutilations in Yorkshire attracts Torchwood's attention when several witnesses come forward, claiming to have seen the cattle attacked by unearthly creatures which appeared and disappeared in clouds of glowing mist.
Charlie and Harry are preparing to leave for Yorkshire when Cypher shows up looking for their help. The three of them travel to Yorkshire. They trace the source of the manifestations to an archaeological excavation at a nearby neolithic long barrow. The chieftain buried there was entombed alive when he made contact with entities from a parallel dimensional plane and attempted to bring them across to Earth in exchange for power and immortality. His patrons placed him in an extended state of suspended animation, awakening him when the archaeological dig broke into his supposed tomb. Further aid from his patrons has allowed him to assimilate the language and culture of 1923 by telepathically plundering the mind of one of the professors leading the excavation - who died of a heart attack as a result. Now posing as a newly arrived student working on the dig, he is working to erode the barriers between dimensions using his masters' alien science, a strange mix of psionics and Block Transfer Computation.
Matters come to a head when Charlie realizes that the chieftain's masters are the same beings who were in contact with the foreign spy ring that she confronted just prior to joining Torchwood - and they, in turn, recognize her.
"If you wanted to hide a tree, where would you hide it? In a forest. Don't you remember Borusa's lecture on Reason?"
"That picture, little brother, is not of a tree. It is of an alien mercenary, holding a plasma cannon that could incinerate a dozen people at once, standing next to a Star Trek fan who is wearing an original series uniform. With a red shirt"
Los Angeles, 2019. The Great World Sci-Fi Convention, the largest and most diverse such event ever staged, is just getting under way. The hotels, cafes and sidewalks of the City of Angels are filled with all manner of strange and alien creatures. Even seasoned movie industry types are amazed by the skill and incredible detail that some of the fans have put into their prosthetics.
Unfortunately, some of the fans aren't fans, and some of the prosthetics aren't prosthetics. Representatives of criminal and corporate syndicates from a dozen different species have gathered here in an attempt to end two centuries of lethal (and bad-for-business) internecine warfare and hammer out an agreement defining their respective spheres of influence. Earth, a primitive backwater of no interest to their various governments, is a perfect place to hold the meeting, just as a sci-fi convention in L.A. Is a perfect place for them to conduct their business without attracting attention. (Or at least, without attracting the wrong sort of attention. The aliens have nicknamed the human species "selfies", because it seems to be their favorite word).
Then the alien delegates' hopes of keeping a low profile take a major hit - as does one of their guards, who is run down in the car park outside his hotel by Alex Söderberg, the drunk, stoned, speeding son of Silicon Valley billionaire Larry Söderberg. Söderberg Sr. orders the victim taken to a state-of-the-art medical facility as part of the cover-up of his son's indiscretion... only to find himself with a bone fide alien carrying a bone fide energy weapon.
As Cypher's group arrive at the convention, trying to find out what a group of heavily armed aliens are doing on Earth, the tycoon shows up with goons of his own in tow, looking to do his own deal with them, using his injured captive as leverage. A delicate situation is rendered even more precarious when the host of the conference turns out to be Subtle Light Of The Breaking Dawn On The Horizon, aka Solly, who is still smarting from his defeat by Charlie and Harry nearly a century before. As proof of their good faith, Cypher's party have to rescue the alien prisoner from the billionaire's compound.
Then UNIT appear on the scene and the alien delegates decide to cut their losses and leave before hostilities can escalate and perhaps draw the attention of the Shadow Proclamation. Cypher's party have to play cat-and-mouse between UNIT, Söderberg's lackeys, and the aliens to get them away without a major firefight breaking out.
With the aliens safely away, the team has one last task - to engineer the Apple Wyrm virus to wipe every iPhone in L.A. - except for the one that Narella Drakos will one day own.
The sting in the tail comes when Solly reveals that the convention was suggested as a conference venue by his long-term silent partner, a presence which he only communicates with telepathically but which he knows as "Muse". This comes as a surprise to Alex Söderberg, because "Muse" is also his nickname for his new girlfriend - a woman whose true name and appearance he can't remember. He does recall that she was the one who urged the booze and drugs on him before the accident, and that she was in the car with him when it happened. But she wasn't there when his father's clean-up crew showed up a short time later... First Colonel Blood, now this. Who, or what, is Muse, and what is she after?