Tardis

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Parasite was the first release in the Torchwood Soho audio series. It starred Norton Folgate and Andy Davidson.

Publisher's summary[]

Enter the world of 1950s Torchwood!

Gangsters are vanishing from the streets of Soho, there's a deadly Nazi secret on the loose, and something's moving in the smog. Norton Folgate should be sorting this out, but the Torchwood agent is in disgrace. Who's going to save London this time?

1. The Man From Room 13

2. Meet Mr Lyme

3. The Mould

4. The Spread

5. The Dead Hand

6. The Liberty of Norton Folgate

Plot[]

The Man From Room 13 (1)[]

At Room 13, Norton Folgate answers a telephone call concerning another dead Nazi and hands it over to his boss, Lizbeth Hayhoe, who deals with it and lets them know that Norton is "good enough" to speak with them. The Nazi, who had belonged to Project Hermod, had been killed after Norton informed the monastery that he had been travelling to of his arrival in search of a crystal skull. Norton is bored of dealing with petty Nazis, having come close to taking over the Torchwood Institute but ending up stuck in Room 13, and Lizbeth tells him to sit still, behave and celebrate the dead Nazi with crumpets.

Gideon Lyme attempts to catch the attention of a waitress, who ignores him until Norton sits with him and asks for tea and scrambled eggs with no more nasal hair in Lyme's than in his. Norton leaves with Lyme, who says that he is a reporter on Fleet Street, and heads to work where he finds that there is a power cut and Lizbeth is using the fag-end of candles to see. She tells him that something suspicious and likely bound for gangland is being shipped to the UK through the Suez Canal, something that she suspects is extraterrestrial. Norton, however, is flippant and leaves for "dreamland".

Norton goes to Margate and asks Belle Epoch about the Stagnant Pond's activities, learning from her that the Stagnant Pond were aware of the packages and that they intend to steal them before they reach their rivals. Norton sneaks his watch into Belle's pocket and threatens to blow a whistle to attract the attention of plainclothes police officers, forcing her to disclose that the pickup will be happening at Margate Pier.

The two head to Margate Pier and find that the pickup is late. Eventually, the motorboat arrives but is driven by someone other than Konstantin; it is driven by a creature which crashes into the pier and, aflame, chases Norton and Belle, unperturbed when Norton shoots it in the head, heart and major organs. Norton pulls out a disintegrator gun and uses its last shot to kill the creature. He determines that the package has been intercepted and leaves with Belle.

Lizbeth arrives at Room 13 and finds that Norton has arrived early and prepared a bacon roll with which he hopes to keep her from telling him off. She reads him a memo from Reginald Rigsby bemoaning Norton's behaviour and then scolds him herself for getting his hands dirty, having gone beyond Room 13's remit and gaining little to nothing from the excursion. However, Norton theorises that others were interested in the package and that Konstantin had been working with the alien, the other men involved having been shot. He asks Lizbeth to get more resources from Rigsby in order to investigate, which she agrees to do.

Norton returns to the café where Lyme is waiting and tells him that he was recently overlooked for a promotion. When Belle comes in looking for Norton, who is flirting with Lyme, Lyme invites him to his home the following night as he rushes off to speak with Belle. The waitress kicks Belle and Norton out and Belle tells him that there has been no sign of Konstantin.

Norton tells Lizbeth what he has learnt and asks Miss Clarke for a report on Konstantin, whom they believe to be in possession of the package and likely to be a target of the Stagnant Pond. A whistle heralds a delivery which Norton hopes to be Konstantin's location coaxed from the Metatraxis by Miss Clarke, but it turns out to be the forms that they have to fill in and a message that she is going home and can action it tomorrow. Lizbeth tells him that he should be nicer to the clerks and that they have to find Konstantin before anyone else in London does.

Meet Mr Lyme (2)[]

Arriving in London, Lyme is told that his luggage has been lost and tells the foreman that he needs a clean shirt as he is starting a job as a journalist today. When the foreman proves unhelpful, Lyme tells him that he will be working for a crusading newspaper and that he will be back.

Lyme arrives at the newspaper and, despite receiving a job offer following his application letter enclosing clippings from the Tobago Times, is turned away due to the colour of his skin, being accused of deceiving them by not telling them that he was black. He then goes to the accommodation at Lancaster Gardens that he had arranged to stay at, but is turned away by Mrs Fortescue for the same reason and tells her that his luggage might arrive there in the future. In despair, he stands in the way of a car in the fog but is saved by somebody who quickly disappears, leaving behind their briefcase.

Lyme returns to the newspaper with the briefcase, the contents of which concern Torchwood and impress the editor. The editor shakes his hand and welcomes him to the team, telling him to find out what Torchwood is. Later, he receives a phone call from Mrs Fortescue, letting him know that she has changed her mind and that he is welcome to stay at Lancaster Gardens. His luggage shows up, containing a note inviting him to the Lavendish Tea Rooms.

At the tea room, Lyme asks a man if he is the man that he is meeting, but he tells him to go away. The waitress asks if Lyme is begging and demands that he sit down and wait for her to take his order, which he does. He asks the man if he knows about Torchwood and he tells him to stay there before leaving, after which Norton enters and sits with him.

Lyme is told by the editor, who repeatedly calls him "boy", that he is being funded by the George Ezra Fund, meaning that he is not costing the newspaper any money, but that he has to come up with something. He goes to lunch and meets with Norton, who he feeds ducks with in a park. Norton suggests that they sneak behind a bush to have sex, but Lyme declines and instead suggests that they do so in a neglected stockroom at Norton's library. Norton says that that would not be possible and that, knowing that Lyme likes romance, suggests that he visit Lyme's room one evening, but Lyme says that that too would be impossible. Norton tells him that he has somebody staying over and that he will be busy for the next few days.

Without access to Norton, Lyme tells his editor that he has lost his source and will have to find another. The editor tells him to find another "low-hanging fruit", which Lyme recognises as homophobia.

Days later, Lyme is with Norton at the Lavendish Tea Rooms when Belle enters and calls for Norton. He gives Norton his address quickly as Norton goes after Belle. He follows them and listens to them talk about Konstantin before reminding Norton to meet him tomorrow. After Norton leaves, Lyme talks to Belle, who invites him to visit the Stagnant Pond for a quart of gin and points out that taxis without passengers are being driven by shapes. She says that Norton will have to put right whatever is happening in London.

Lizbeth scolds Norton for burning crumpets on the fire and tells him that there is another package, but Norton cannot stop thinking about Konstantin's, a statement that makes Lizbeth scoff. She shows him a telefax of the package taken by an operative using a long-distance lens and the two begin looking through documents to determine who it was being sent to. After Norton finds something, Lizbeth calls Rigsby and visits him, but he believes that the package likely contains counterfeit cigarettes given that "the wrong sort" were beginning to move to England. He changes his mind once Lizbeth points out that the crate contains a hidden Project Hermod insignia.

Norton suggests that he drive to Dover to impound the boat at customs, but Lizbeth is sceptical of his driving ability and points out that, in any case, the boat is docking at Portsmouth. The two stay at Room 13 overnight and, in the middle of the night, Lizbeth says that they must find a way to make it seem that the package is not intercepted. Rigsby visits them, accompanied by Nancy, and hears from them how the package will be transported from Portsmouth by Royal Mail to 58 Landsmeer Terrace instead of 53 thanks to an operative changing the label. Impressed, Rigsby calls for Nancy to bring him tea.

Rigsby goes to his club for a nap whilst Norton and Lizbeth stay up, excited about what they believe will be their way out of Room 13 and back into Torchwood's good graces. Lizbeth then reveals that the package will be delivered to Room 13 first and it soon arrives. She opens it and finds a locked briefcase which she breaks into using a paper knife, finding a spongey egg inside. Norton becomes suspicious, believing that they might have been tricked by Project Hermod into bringing the egg into Torchwood. Lizbeth points out that it is more like a mushroom and it then emits something into the air, making her cough. A bell begins ringing and Andy Davidson appears out of nowhere, telling Norton to take his hand or he will die.

The Mould (3)[]

Norton and Andy reappear elsewhere and Norton immediately begins stripping off, telling Andy to do the same due to the spores which Lizbeth breathed in. Andy tells him that the event was flagged up by the Torchwood computer, leading him to borrow a vortex manipulator to travel back and save Norton, although he had to turn on the psychic settings in order to find him. Norton wonders where they are when the lights are switched on by Lyme, who demands to know what they are doing in his room.

Norton reminds Lyme that they do have a date, although Lyme, who is exasperated, points out that he has brought a stranger and that both of them are naked. As Andy starts to retch, Mrs Fortescue walks in and screams upon seeing them. She throws them out and Andy tries to explain what happened. Believing Lizbeth to be dead, Norton suggests that they go to his house. On the way, Norton tells Lyme about Torchwood and says that he believes that something is hunting in the smog, although Torchwood have not listened to him. They hear a growl and run, aware that the creature can smell the spores on them. They manage to escape after the creature finds someone else.

Norton, Andy and Lyme arrive at Norton's house on Russell Square, which he says is a temporary measure due to him missing out on his promotion when they point out the mould and how it smells like something has died. As the house lacks central heating, Norton starts the gas fire with a sixpence and talks to Lyme, telling him that Torchwood has been destroyed and that it is up to the three of them to save London. He also admits that he found the house, which used to be a gangland hideout, whilst investigating the packages and decided to move in and goes to find more wine.

Alone, Lyme asks about the future and is disappointed when Andy indicates that racism and poverty are still around in the 21st century. Andy tells him that he "sort of" works for Torchwood in the future and that the computer found that Norton's timeline is collapsing, possibly meaning that Norton will die. He returns with scotch and they get drunk, Andy later seeing something move under the bed.

Lyme unwraps something wrapped in tarpaulin and finds a creature with human eyes like the one that attacked Norton and Belle at Margate Pier. It attacks and they realise that it has woken up because of the spores but is made dormant by the gas from the fire. Lyme goes to get a sixpence from his coat for the fire and is knocked out, but Norton and Andy manage to grab the coin and insert it. Andy, however, falls unconscious.

Andy wakes up and finds that Norton has dragged him out of the house, that Lyme is unharmed and that the creature is dormant. Although Lyme wants to present the creature to the authorities, Norton blows the house up and they head to Little Compton Street in a taxi. Lyme mentions that Belle is wary of the taxis and points out that the driver is taking them north instead of to Soho Square. They find that the driver is one of the creatures and they leap from the car and go to Soho Square by foot, Norton telling Andy that Little Compton Street is an underground route to Torchwood accessible through a gardener's hut.

The trio are subject to an antibacterial purge of thallo rays and head into the bunker, expecting to find the Torchwood employees from head office hiding within. The door closes behind them and Lyme lights a match so that they can see, revealing that the room is full of creatures.

The Spread (4)[]

Norton has the opportunity to leave Andy and Lyme behind with the creatures but, after thinking about it, saves them and they escape through a door which they close behind them. Lyme likens the creatures to mushrooms, making Norton realise that the creatures are connected to the type of mushroom which seems to have killed Lizbeth. The creatures partially unlock their side of the seal with the keypad, resulting in the airlock believing that there is no seal and the system not opening the exit until the other is resealed. As the door opens, Norton turns the antibacterial purge up, forcing them back into the bunker.

Norton takes Andy and Lyme to the Stagnant Pond and gets them some gin before going to "answer a call of nature". Andy and Lyme notice that the clock says that it is quarter to eleven when it should be about two o'clock in the morning and that everybody in the pub is looking at them. Making a note to ask Norton, they realise that he will not be coming back.

Asking a policeman for assistance and telling him that he works for Torchwood, Norton realises that the policeman has turned into a mushroom creature and flees.

Belle sits with Lyme and Andy, who gives away that he is a policeman, and tells them that "something happened" to the pub which caused it to become stuck in time, trapping her and her patrons. Lyme tries to leave but finds only darkness outside.

Norton uses a police box and calls Inspector Gondry. The inspector arrives and says that Norton's story about Nazi killer fungi is "bollocks", but Norton tells him that Konstantin Gregor had become a mushroom creature and mentions how many people have gone missing in London recently. To prove that he is right, Norton shows Inspector Gondry that he has the infected policeman in the police box.

Belle says that the pub is wandering in time and will not be properly back in sync for 512 years, according to Torchwood. She and her patrons always have to return to the pub before the shift ends or risk time catching up with them, but Andy and Lyme are safe, having been left behind by Norton to keep them safe. They will, however, be stuck there for some time.

Inspector Gondry has had a word with the British Army and is having the streets swept clean, armed with flamethrowers which Norton tells him will prove useless. Norton tells him that he believes that the spores have been specially-cultivated to make humans their ideal hosts, that they are vulnerable to natural gas whilst they adjust to the atmosphere and that they have a hive mind. Norton uses a truncheon to knock Inspector Gondry out and hides him in a police box whilst the soldiers prove a distraction for the creatures.

In the pub, Lyme looks out of the window at the murky blackness, wishing that he had not been left on the sidelines and still processing that the biggest teddy gang in London are genuine Edwardians. He tells Andy that he knows that what he believed to be the beginning of his story was actually the middle, leading Andy to slip away to buy lemonade.

Norton puts on a dead soldier's asbestos overalls, apologising but saying that his plan means that the soldiers will have fun fighting, the creatures will enjoy thinking that they are winning and that the conflict will allow him to get by unnoticed. He says to himself that he is going "back to Plan A".

Lyme joins Belle in playing darts, a game that he is unfamiliar with, and asks about Norton and how much it is costing him to keep him and Andy at the pub, the price being money and influence. He says that Andy seems familiar to him, that he does not trust him and that he is not sure that his own life makes sense anymore. According to him, Andy has been lying to them all.

Norton returns to the bunker and tells his former colleagues that he is sorry. He goes along Little Compton Street to Torchwood and finds Lizbeth.

The Dead Hand (5)[]

Some time ago, in Berlin, Rigsby tells Lizbeth that he is feeling under the weather and cannot go with her to where Winston Churchill has sent them. As he and Lizbeth are equals, he tells her to go on her own. Later, she awakes at the end of her journey, the driver giving her a cigarette, and she enters Project Hermod. She meets Gerta, the director having committed suicide in his cell the previous night, and tells her that she is there to conclude the inventory and establish what assets the British Crown has claim to. Gerta notes that, whilst everybody is sickened by Project Hermod's work, everybody still wants the results.

Gerta tells Lizbeth that they have both live and dead specimens and Lizbeth proves to be the first to ask to see the live ones. She is shown tanks containing what she initially believes to be dogs, living and dead, infected by cordyceps fungi. Reading the report on the specimens, she lights up her cigarette to deal with the smell and asks what kind of dogs they are and whether they were brought in from the streets. Gerta insists that she would have to check her notes but Lizbeth angrily tells her that she knows what they are; they are children.

Rigsby tells Lizbeth that the Americans and Whitehall are very upset that she burnt down Project Hermod, but she accuses him of being a coward as he had entered Project Hermod and knew about the children. He counters that valuable information has been lost. Lizbeth is later demoted from Head of Research, her team reallocated across Torchwood, so that Rigsby can steal Rogers and Clyde and get credit for their breakthrough. Lizbeth says that she will continue her work with a toy science kit if necessary and is told by Rigsby that there are currently no calls on the room.

Lizbeth meets Norton Folgate whilst tethering the Skylon for the Festival of Britain, identifying him as one of Rigsby's "bright boys" who believed that he had better things to do than serving her with additional requirements. She orders him around.

Two years later, Lizbeth is caging the Wire's faceless victims in a warehouse and tells a man wondering what they are to do to ask the Vicar, Rigsby or Norton at Westminster Abbey. She does not feel that she matters to the organisation.

Lizbeth is in Room 13 when she is joined by Norton, who she assumes has taken over from the Vicar after his death and is there to close her down, something that she is ambivalent about. However, he tells her that he has been sent to join her. She laughs.

Early on in Norton's time there, Lizbeth smokes her pipe and offers him a crumpet before asking him to sort the post. He finds that the ancient wreckages of spaceships have been found in Sri Lanka, Borneo and Bavaria and is told by Lizbeth that the one in Borneo would be too expensive to dig up. He is bored of his work but Lizbeth tells him that they are also allowed to deal with surviving Nazis, aware of a plan to begin the Fourth Reich with the help of a comet and some of Adolf Hitler's hair. He decides that he will start tracking them down in order to get their money for Room 13.

Norton warns Lizbeth about the Project Hermod package that she has opened when the mushroom inside releases its spores and causes her to cough. The alarm sounds and Andy appears and teleports Norton away, Lizbeth begging them to come back for her. Torchwood staff are evacuated to the bunker, one woman helping Lizbeth up and taking her with them. Inside, the woman begins to cough as well.

With everybody dying around them, Lizbeth approaches Rigsby and sits next to him, saying that they have to remain there and die for the good of the Empire. She tells him that she was the one who opened the package, leading him to call her a stupid woman and blame her for killing him. He admits that he has never forgiven her for Project Hermod, which put him out of favour with the Americans and the Russians, and remains resolute that they will receive help. She tells him what the infection will do to them if help does not come. He hopes that he might be immune and asks her to wake him when help arrives.

Lizbeth leaves the bunker and meets Norton, who is wearing asbestos overalls, and asks him to start a fire. The fungus is growing through her eyeballs and she is losing her sight. She admits that it was her pride that resulted in this situation, having taken Norton's credit in the hopes of replacing Rigsby, and asks Norton to feed her dog. She begins breathing more easily and Norton tells her that he put cyanide in the fire to kill her faster. She talks about the euthanasia of her first horse and asks that Norton stay with her until she is dead. He agrees to and she says that she feels sorry for him because, with everyone dead, he is now Torchwood.

The Liberty of Norton Folgate (6)[]

Belle finds Andy staring out of the window upstairs in the Stagnant Pond and tells him that he has better things to worry about than Norton, namely Lyme. Lyme then appears and tells Andy that he has realised who Andy really is.

Norton demands that the watchman let him into the British Museum, but he refuses until Norton begins using a device to melt the lock of the iron gates and tells him that the creatures will get the watchman unless he opens the side gate.

Andy suggests that he and Lyme get crisps, but Lyme demands answers. He says that somebody pushed him out of the way of a taxi, got him his job back and gave him a briefcase, the last of which Andy denies doing. He then admits to being behind the George Ezra Fund, the tip-off about Norton and to leading him to Lavendish Tea Rooms, having been in the 1950s for weeks setting things up. When Lyme asks why, Andy says that Norton needs Lyme to save him.

In the museum, Norton accesses a Torchwood weapons cache behind the Elgin Marbles.

Andy and Lyme are trying to find a tunnel or some other way to escape from the pub. Andy explains that he asked the Torchwood computer how to save Norton and it said that he should save Lyme from being hit and killed by the taxi, after which he would expose Torchwood.

The watchman shouts that the creatures have entered the museum. Norton determines that the creatures are thriving on sulphur dioxide and that he could kill them with a catalyser, but admits to the watchman that the room he is in is not a weapons cache. The watchman is killed by the creatures and Norton seeks a way out, requiring a power source.

Belle finds Andy and Lyme in the cellar where they come across the Parnaeum which anchors the Stagnant Pond. She tells them that the paradox shield means that only those who do not exist can touch it, but Lyme is able to do so because he is supposed to be dead. She demands that he put it back but he hands it to Andy, whose vortex manipulator is recharged by it. Using it, the two of them are able to teleport away at the cost of the Stagnant Pond and those within.

Having arrived in London, Andy tells Lyme off for killing all of those people and says that he has spent too much time with Norton. The manipulator's psychic setting should have homed in on Norton, Andy says, after which Norton arrives with the creatures chasing him. He recognises the Parnaeum and, using the manipulator, sends the three of them to the building site of the Festival of Britain.

Norton heads into the building site and tells Andy and Lyme to meet him in Soho Square later on, saying that they will need asbestos suits in thirty minutes. As he leaves, Andy realises that he has stolen the manipulator.

The creatures, which are preparing to spore, growl as Big Ben tolls.

At the South Bank, Norton wonders where the Skylon used to be and encounters a creature which he realises is drawn by advanced technology. He searches for the Skylon, which was buried after the festival.

Andy and Lyme are chased by the creatures in the taxis.

Norton finds the Skylon and grabs onto it as it flies upwards, as does the creature following him. They are soon hundreds of feet above London, frightening Norton. He opens a panel and plugs in the universal catalyser with an alien power source.

Andy and Lyme acquire a flare and hazmat suits, which they put on, and hold hands as the creatures approach. Per Norton's instructions, they light the flare and the creatures are temporarily scared. They see the Skylon approach from the sky and crash, after which the creatures dissolve and the smog dissipates. They wonder if Norton is dead but he appears behind them and gives Lyme a hug.

Norton explains that the fungi could adapt to any environment and were compelled to advance upon advanced technology. Using the Skylon as a missile, he turned the sulphur dioxide into sulphuric acid, likely killing London's pigeons, before making it rain to wash the acid and smog away. He escaped death using the manipulator and blew up the bunker by leaving the gas taps on, destroying the creatures within. Norton tells Lyme that, as a reporter, it is up to him what story is told, whether that be about how Lizbeth's ambition almost wiped out the human race or how London was terrorised by Nazi mushrooms. He asks Lyme to help him rebuild Torchwood and to move in with him into the watchman's now-empty house. Lyme agrees.

Norton goes to Andy and returns the vortex manipulator. Andy confesses that he saved Lyme and put him onto Norton to expose Torchwood to save Norton, but Norton reveals that it was him who put the warning in the Torchwood computer telling Andy to save Lyme, ensuring that he would be there to supply the Parnaeum, and that he had given Lyme the briefcase in case he had to expose Torchwood instead. He had planned for Rigsby to open the package and not Lizbeth.

Norton wonders if one can have everything and goes to find out.

Cast[]

References[]

Arts and literature[]

Food and drink[]

Individuals[]

Locations[]

Project Hermod[]

Technology[]

Miscellaneous[]

  • Some say that the smog is caused by Battersea Power Station.
  • Lyme jokes that Norton has solved racism and the smog.
  • Lyme says that there would be rioting in the streets after one day without the BBC and electrical lighting.
  • Lyme is paid by the George Ezra Fund, which funds the employment of colonials.
  • Whilst ducks cannot break one's arm, a swan can.
  • Lizbeth says that Norton is meditating with all the dignity of a chorus boy with the clap.
  • Lizbeth sleeps through gunfire, a Russian tank division attacking the Bundestag and what looked like a lynching.
  • Rigsby says that he will read the Riot Act to whoever brought the fungal infection into Torchwood.

Notes[]

  • Parasite was recorded at WiseBuddah in Soho.
  • As has been the case for numerous audio spin-offs of Torchwood set in different eras, this set introduces a 1950s Torchwood theme. Previous themes have been the Victorian theme for adventures set in Victorian London and a 1970s disco theme for The Dollhouse.

Continuity[]

External links[]

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