The Blackgaard Chronicles

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The Blackgaard Chronicles (also known as the Blackgaard saga) is a defining story arc in Adventures in Odyssey, chronicling the life and legacy of Dr. Regis Blackgaard. Spanning multiple episodes originally broadcast over an eleven year period (1988-1999), the Blackgaard Chronicles ties in numerous smaller plot arcs and involves nearly all major AIO characters. In September of 2011, all of these episodes were released in a special 10-disc collection called The Blackgaard Chronicles: The Battle Between Good and Evil Comes Home.

Plot

Dr. Regis Blackgaard’s final goal was to create the powerful Ruku virus. The virus is deadly, but dies if exposed to air. The first way Blackgaard conspired to create it was to buy the Fillmore Recreation Center, under which existed a series of underground tunnels. These tunnels contained a mineral that acted as a catalyst for the Ruku virus, making it versatile enough to work even after being exposed to the air. Since Blackgaard owned the Webster Development Firm, he commisioned Philip Glossman to buy it under that name. He was outbid by John Whittaker, though, so he constructed a funhouse, Blackgaard's Castle, a short distance away from the Recreation Center, which by then had become Whit's End. While there, he tried to access a computer program of Whit’s, called Applesauce. Applesauce was the program that created a chemical formula called TA-418, which creates a formula that shows how the mineral should be mixed with Ruku. Whit worked on Applesauce with the Department of Defense, and TA-418 with agent Tasha Forbes. Unfortunately, Applesauce had a failsafe that first performed an all-systems test, and then shut the system down if a password was not provided.

Blackgaard hacked into Applesauce before he built Blackgaard’s Castle, but he was only able to view the system console, not manipulate it. Interestingly, he hacked into it at the same time as when Connie Kendall tried to run it. After seeing that the program was functional, he built his funhouse.

Blackgaard hired Richard Maxwell to find out as much as he could about Applesauce, which Maxwell did through Lucy Cunningham. He purchased a modem that would allow control over Whittaker’s computer system (called Mabel), and the two broke into Applesauce. The venture was unsuccessful, so Blackgaard bought some time to get the password by using Whit’s computer to blow up the Imagination Station. Richard, angered at this action, rigged Blackgaard’s computer system to send power surges through Blackgaard’s Castle whenever the word “destruct” was entered. He told Blackgaard to enter that as the password for Applesauce, and he did, burning down the building. Blackgaard escaped through a tunnel in the basement, and retreated to Webster Development’s headquarters in Chicago.

While in Chicago, Blackgaard hired Greg Kelley and Officer Frank Phillips to steal a Department of Defense laptop, which presumably contained either the Applesauce program or the formula for TA-418. The laptop was accidentally switched with Whittaker’s during an altercation, and so Blackgaard kidnapped Connie and set the laptop as a ransom for her. After Whittaker and Richard Maxwell rescued Connie without yeilding the laptop, Blackgaard retreated and let Officer Phillips take the laptop from Whit by force. However, when Blackgaard and Phillips turned on the laptop, its memory was erased.

Dr. Blackgaard hired Bart Rathbone to start an electronics warehouse in Odyssey, identical to Blackgaard’s in Chicago. He also sent Philip Glossman to shut down Tom Riley’s farm. Mayor Bill Jenkins had been overseeing the plot in Odyssey, but quit once he saw what Blackgaard was trying to do to Tom. Unfortunately, the plot epically backfired when Tom became mayor, preventing the shutdown of his farm.

All the while, Blackgaard became a Department of Defense agent to build his credibility. He relocated to Switzerland, where he joined forces with the terrorist group Red Scorpion. There he was finally able to gain access to the Ruku virus, but not TA-418. After an unsuccessful try to get the formula from Tasha Forbes, he tried to pose as a “good guy” to confuse the Department of Defense. Part of this tactic involved saving Jason Whittaker from being stabbed with the virus, resulting in his being stabbed instead. The syringe he was stabbed with contained a form of Ruku that had been exposed to the air, so he was able to feign death succesfully enough to return to Chicago safely.

Back in Chicago, Blackgaard told Bart to make his son’s (Rodney Rathbone) gang, joined by a man named Jellyfish, vandalize Odyssey, creating a spirit of apprehension. Blackgaard then returned, and tried to gain the office of mayor, while Philip Glossman successfully closed down Whit’s End by claiming that the mineral in the basement was toxic. Blackgaard then entered Whit’s End and obtained the mineral, but he still needed TA-418. As a safeguard in case something went wrong, Blackgaard rigged the Imagination Station with his personality surfaces, and he planted explosives in the basement of Whit’s End. During his speeches as mayoral candidate, Blackgaard repeatedly fainted, and realized that the cause was that the Ruku virus he was stabbed with was finally taking its toll. Also at this time, his plots became unraveled and thwarted by Richard Maxwell, Jason Whittaker, Jack Allen, and Bernard Walton. Angered at his defeat, he confronted Jack in the tunnels under Whit’s End, where he set off the explosives and supposedly committed suicide.

Blackgaard’s personality surfaces in the Imagination Station became active some years later, and he tried to possess John Whittaker and return again. However, he was defeated, never to return.

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The following thirty episodes are included in a boxed album, The Blackgaard Chronicles: The Battle Between Good and Evil Comes Home. Twelve each were previously included in either The Blackgaard Chronicles I or The Blackgaard Chronicles II, two other albums released by Focus on the Family.

The Blackgaard Chronicles I
The Blackgaard Chronicles II

#73: “A Bite of Applesauce”

Whit has been busy working on a new project at Whit's End, and his secretive attitude is nearly driving Connie crazy - especially when Whit lets Eugene in on the secret. Whit shows Eugene a special computer room behind the bookshelf in his office. The room contains a huge computer named Mabel and an unusual program called "Applesauce." Whit shows Eugene how to use Mabel but gives him strict instructions: (1) to keep the room a secret and (2) absolutely, positively, under no conditions is he or anyone else allowed to even look at "Applesauce." Eugene promises.

Later that week, Whit is at a city council meeting when the electric train set starts acting funny. Eugene goes to take care of the problem. He starts off toward the office, telling Connie to wait where she is. But her curiosity and frustration at being left out get the best of her. She follows Eugene into the office...and the computer room. Eugene immediately orders her out, but Connie stubbornly refuses to go until Eugene shows her how Mabel works. So Eugene shows her, swearing Connie to secrecy. Unfortunately, she sees the "Applesauce" program on the main menu and wonders what it does. Eugene adamantly refuses to look at "Applesauce" and insists that they both leave. Connie agrees, and finally they go.

But the next morning when Connie is running the shop all alone, the train set acts funny again. Connie tries to get Mabel to fix it, but she "accidentally" loads "Applesauce." The program causes Whit's End to go crazy! Eugene arrives and tries to stop the computer, with limited success. Finally, Mabel uses "Applesauce" to shut down the shop completely, causing the place to become as quiet as a tomb. Connie and Eugene are mortified.

When they finally face Whit, he is anguished that his two most trusted employees - and his friends - would disregard his wishes and instructions. Eugene and Connie apologize profusely, and Whit forgives them, but the damage is done. They must face the consequences. Effective immediately, Connie and Eugene can no longer work at Whit's End. They're fired.


#76: “Eugene's Dilemma”

After being fired from Whit's End, Eugene has wasted no time in getting a new job at Campbell County Community College. He's working in the school's computer center, in charge of the high security programming. It guards financial reports, students' grades, and other personal information. His boss, Mr. Burglemeister, introduces Eugene to his only other employee, a child genius named Nicholas Adamsworth. Nicholas's parents died when he was little, and he is being tested in a new program the college has started with the state orphanage to see if kids with his intelligence can adjust to higher learning. If Nicholas fails to adjust, the program will be canceled. He'll end up back at the orphanage, "trying to keep from being picked on."

The work runs smoothly for a while, but trouble starts when Mr. Burglemeister asks Eugene to run a random check on the students' grades. Nicholas acts very nervous, and his attitude worsens when they're suddenly visited by Nicholas's counselor - Richard Maxwell. Richard was up for Eugene's job, though he's not cut out for any responsible position.

After Richard leaves, Eugene runs the random check and discovers a discrepancy - a grade has been changed. Nicholas tries to downplay it. Eugene investigates the matter and discovers that not one, but two grades have been changed. Nicholas confesses. He says he had to change them or else Richard Maxwell would have given the college a bad report about Nicholas. Just then, Richard shows up and confirms what Nicholas has said. Richard informs Eugene that if he doesn't keep quiet about all this, Richard will make Nicholas's life even more miserable.

Later, Eugene comes up with a scheme to correct things - he and Nicholas will simply change the grades back. Unfortunately, Eugene is caught doing this by Mr. Burglemeister, who brings him before the college's board of trustees - one of whom is Whit.

Eugene takes full responsibility for the incident, but Whit's investigation reveals that Eugene is actually innocent. Whit tries to get the truth out of Eugene, but he refuses to implicate anyone but himself. Things look bleak for Eugene, but at the last minute Nicholas bursts into the room and tells all. The trustees fire Richard Maxwell, place Nicholas on indefinite probation at the college, and transfer Eugene...back to Whit's End! Whit feels Eugene has learned his lesson and has discovered the importance of sacrifice.

But all is not completely well: Richard Maxwell vows to return. . . .


#77: “The Nemesis, Part 1”

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Odyssey City Council is in a heated session, and the item of the moment is whether the town should grant a business license to Dr. Regis Blackgaard. Blackgaard's biggest advocate is Philip Glossman - the man who opposed selling Whit's End to Whit - and the main holdout is Tom Riley. Tom's concern is that no one, including Dr. Blackgaard, really knows what kind of business Blackgaard's Castle will be. All that's certain is that it'll be a place for kids.

An argument ensues between Tom and Glossman. Whit finally intervenes, suggesting that they wait a week to vote on whether they should grant Blackgaard a business license. Everyone agrees. The meeting breaks up, and Blackgaard tells Glossman that they'll have to make sure Whit and Tom are out of the way when they take the vote.

Meanwhile, back at Whit's End, Eugene is concerned to see Lucy talking to Richard Maxwell. Then Connie wanders in and is shocked to find that Eugene is working at Whit's End again. Connie and Lucy talk. Connie learns that Lucy is still resentful that Connie sent her home from Camp What-A-Nut. Lucy leaves. Connie feels disappointed by her visit and decides to leave - with Richard. On the way out, she runs into Whit and Tom. Connie has another brief, strained, and quiet conversation, and then she excuses herself.

Tom asks Whit why he didn't rehire Connie like he did Eugene. Whit sadly replies that Connie has to ask for her job back. Whit says he could rehire Eugene because he knew firsthand that Eugene has learned his lesson. But Whit can't say that about Connie. He doesn't know if she understands yet why he fired her. When she's ready, he'll be there for her. Until then, he'll pray.

Outside, Richard Maxwell tells a confused Connie that there are other places in town to work. Richard invites her to come and meet his boss. Connie agrees, and Richard takes her across town, where she makes the acquaintance of Dr. Regis Blackgaard.


#78: “The Nemesis, Part 2”

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Dr. Blackgaard interviews Connie, smoothly suggesting that her firing was all Whit's fault. Regis cleverly maneuvers the conversation around to the Applesauce computer program. Connie barely keeps from telling the men what the program did. Then Blackgaard offers her a job, and she says she needs to think about it.

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After Connie leaves, Blackgaard asks Richard Maxwell how "the plans" are proceeding. Richard says getting Whit out of the way for the vote is no problem, but he's nervous about the plan for Tom Riley. Blackgaard unleashes his wrath on Maxwell, who crumbles under the pressure and promises not to let down Blackgaard.

Meanwhile, at the Riley farm, Tom and Whit discuss the upcoming vote and the situation with Connie, agreeing that much prayer is in order.

Back at Whit's End, Richard Maxwell is spinning Blackgaard's web of deceit - and his vehicle is Lucy. First, Richard charms Lucy into calling Connie's house to tell her that Whit wants to meet with her. Then Maxwell persuades Lucy to deliver a note to Whit saying that Connie wants to meet with him. This meeting is planned for the same time as the city council vote. Finally, as for Tom Riley, Richard takes care of him in a much more direct fashion-by setting his barn on fire. The ploys work - Whit and Tom miss the vote. Dr. Regis Blackgaard gets his license...and is here to stay.

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#83: “The Battle, Part 1”

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Dr. Regis Blackgaard has finally opened Blackgaard's Castle. Whit and Eugene stop by for a visit and discover the place is the antithesis of Whit's End: noisy, rowdy, and full of unwholesome games. Blackgaard tries to dismiss all this with a "kids-will-be-kids" nonchalance. Soon Whit and Eugene have had enough, and they leave.

What they don't know is that the place is just a cover for Blackgaard and Richard Maxwell, who are trying to steal Whit's "Applesauce" computer program. They have a computer and modem of their own and log into Whit's computer, Mabel, causing "Applesauce" to wreak havoc on Whit's End. But they soon run into the password problem. Blackgaard tells Richard he must use Lucy to get more information about "Applesauce" from Whit. But Lucy overhears them and rushes off to tell Whit.

Meanwhile, Blackgaard has Richard use Mabel to produce a power surge in the Imagination Station. Richard reluctantly causes it to blow up right as Lucy rushes into the Station! Lucy is taken to the hospital. Because of her injuries, Whit must conduct an investigation. To do that, he decides to close down Whit's End.

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#84: “The Battle, Part 2”

Richard Maxwell is furious with Dr. Blackgaard that Lucy was the one who got hurt. But Regis has too much incriminating information about Richard. Blackgaard persuades Richard to calm down and get back to work on finding out the password to "Applesauce."

Meanwhile, Whit who is discouraged by Lucy's injuries - and Eugene try to discover why the Imagination Station blew up. Whit informs Eugene that "Applesauce" isn't only a program for Whit's End. It is also a highly classified government program that contains a lot of top secret government information. Thanks to a "log" in Mabel's program, Eugene learns that it had been broken into - which caused the Imagination Station to malfunction. Whit and Eugene also discover that the culprit was Richard Maxwell or, more likely, Dr. Blackgaard.

Richard Maxwell goes to the hospital to apologize to Lucy and learns that she knows about Blackgaard's scheme to get "Applesauce." Lucy challenges Richard to do the right thing and go to the authorities. He feels terrible, but he says he can't. He leaves just as Whit arrives. Lucy tells Whit everything she knows.

Richard returns to Blackgaard's Castle and informs the doctor that he has gotten the password. Blackgaard is thrilled and rushes to go input it. But Richard is not the man we think he is: The password he tells Regis to type in isn't the password for Whit's computer. It's the password to destroy Blackgaard's computer. Everything at the Castle suddenly goes haywire. A fire breaks out. Blackgaard is insanely angry at Richard and pushes an arcade game on top of him, leaving him to die in the fire.

Whit arrives just in time to save Richard. The police arrest Richard but have little luck in finding Dr. Blackgaard. Whit erases the "Applesauce" program from Mabel's system, hoping that will put an end to the sad events that have plagued Odyssey since Dr. Blackgaard's arrival. Will things return to normal? Only time will tell.


#128: “One Bad Apple”

Something unthinkable is happening at Whit's End. Kids are getting sick from food served there. Whit can't imagine what the cause might be, until he and Connie figure out it was a batch of apples Whit bought from Tom Riley.

Tom is having illness problems of his own, though. He thought one of his horses was down with colic, but instead it turns out to be a mild form of insecticide poisoning. When Curt Stevens informs Tom that his creek is filled with dead fish, Tom decides to launch a full-scale investigation.

He and Curt do some exploring upstream. They come across an empty barrel from Edgebiter Chemical Company lying in the middle of the creek. Further up, they discover the industrial complex that houses the Edgebiter offices. They try to get some information but end up getting the runaround. So Whit joins the investigation.

That night, the three of them examine the industrial complex more closely and discover a warehouse with an illegal drainage system that dumps into the creek. But their discovery does them little good-right then, an Edgebiter security guard catches them and takes them inside the offices. There, they confront Jerry Edgebiter himself.

Mr. Edgebiter admits that the warehouse has been illegally draining an accidental chemical spill into the creek. But he also points out that Whit, Tom, Curt, and the rest of America are quick to accuse big businesses of polluting the environment, but they hardly live up to their own responsibilities to keep the world clean. None of them recycles or conserves. They simply use things and throw them away. It is a point well taken. Both sides agree to try in the future to take better care of this planet God has loaned to us.


#155: “Waylaid in the Windy City, Part 1”

Whit takes Connie on a trip to Chicago. She’s excited to visit the city. But when they get off the plane, a security guard demands to examine Whit’s laptop computer. Apparently, a computer that looks just like Whit’s was recently stolen. Whit proves the laptop is his, and he and Connie make their way out to the hotel van.

Inside the van, a strange young man is acting secretive. He demands to be let out on the way to the hotel. The driver stops, opening the back of the van to retrieve the young man’s luggage. The young man grabs his bags and leaves.

Later, at the hotel, Whit and Connie turn on the TV and are stunned to see that the same young man is wanted for the disappearance of the stolen computer! The computer belonged to a member of the Department of Defense, and it contained top secret files. Whit and Connie head straight to the police.

Meanwhile, the young man is being interrogated by Dr. Regis Blackgaard. The young man was stealing electronic equipment out of cars for Blackgaard when he picked up the laptop as well. But, to further complicate things, the laptop the young man gave to Blackgaard doesn’t have any Defense Department secrets on it. The young man grabbed the wrong computer, Whit’s, when he got out of the van. Blackgaard leaves to find Whit.

But Whit is being questioned by Agent Frank Phillips from the Defense Department. Phillips suspects Whit of stealing the computer. There is no proof, however, so Phillips lets Whit and Connie go. When they return to their hotel, they find that someone tried to break into Whit’s room! All of Whit's possessions are now in the hotel’s safe. Connie is escorted upstairs by a bellhop, while Whit checks things out and examines the computer. Sure enough, it belongs to the Department of Defense!

Whit immediately calls Agent Phillips, who warns Whit that he could be in great danger. Whit suddenly remembers Connie. But it's too late. The bellboy was really one of Blackgaard’s men. The evil doctor kidnapped her.


#156: “Waylaid in the Windy City, Part 2”

Dr. Blackgaard arranges a meeting place with Whit, under a clock tower, to swap Connie for the computer.

Whit coordinates with Agent Frank Phillips, who insists that his squad be there to capture the doctor. So, under the clock tower, Whit waits. The agents watch him closely through their surveillance equipment. Suddenly, Whit disappears! Whit has been grabbed by Richard Maxwell, Blackgaard’s former assistant. Richard insists that he's out to get revenge against Blackgaard. Richard claims he's there to help Whit, but Whit is unsure of what to believe. Since Richard also claims to know where Blackgaard is holding Connie, Whit decides to trust him and go along.

Our story comes to a climax in a warehouse owned by Blackgaard. But there are a few more twists left in the story. Richard pulls a gun out on Blackgarrd, forces him to his knees, and tells him to beg for his life. Whit intercedes, and there's at least one character who isn't who he pretends to be. Along the way, we learn important lessons about the folly of revenge, deception, and greed. And Blackgaard, who never seems to learn anything from his experiences, vows that he will have his own revenge against John Avery Whittaker.

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#159: “The Homecoming”

Richard Maxwell is back in town, and immediately everyone is on guard, especially Tom Riley and Lucy Cunningham-Schultz. Tom is instantly suspicious of Maxwell, while Lucy just wants to steer clear of him. Richard asks to talk with Whit. In their conversation, Richard reveals the real reason he’s back in town: He wants to apologize to the people he hurt. Whit is happy to hear it, but he clarifies the difference between merely apologizing and asking for forgiveness. The latter means that Richard needs their pardon for what he’s done.

Richard says he wants to ask forgiveness. He starts with Whit, who immediately grants Richard’s request. Richard moves on, asking Connie, Eugene, Lucy, and Tom for forgiveness. Connie forgives Richard almost instantly. Eugene grants him conditional forgiveness. That is, he will accept Richard’s apology with the understanding that they won’t become anything more than acquaintances.

When it comes to Lucy and Tom, however, Richard runs into large and painful brick walls. Lucy is still hurting from the way Richard used her during the Blackgaard/Applesauce fiasco. Tom refuses to trust Richard any further than Tom can throw him. Richard decides to leave town. But just before he boards the bus, Lucy rushes up and tells Richard that she’s done a lot of soul searching and realizes that she, too, must forgive him. Richard thanks her and leaves. Only Tom is left holding his grudge...which he and Whit later bring humbly and earnestly before the Lord.

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#160: “A Rathbone of Contention”

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A new business is going up on the old site of Blackgaard's Castle. It’s called “The Electric Palace,” and its proprietor is Bart Rathbone! Bart is on such an aggressive schedule to get the place up and running that he’s cutting major corners. First, he hires Rodney to take care of the promotion. Rodney hires Lucy to write fliers, but he never bothers to pay her. Then, Bart “borrows” Eugene to set up the computer. And when Bart's certified electrician can’t make it in time for the building inspector, he pulls Eugene off the computer installation to do the wiring for the building. Eugene protests — he doesn’t know enough about electricity to wire a whole building! But Bart insists, so Eugene ends up giving it a try.

When Whit finds out about Bart and Rodney’s shoddy business practices, he tries to stop them. But before he can, the building inspector comes. He okays everything in the structure but notices that the place is still operating off a generator. Bart says they were just about to switch over to city power. He orders Eugene to throw the switch. Everything seems fine for a moment. Then the place goes haywire, nearly blowing up! The Electric Palace doesn't get passed by the inspector — and Bart has plenty of time to dwell on the folly of taking shortcuts.

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#203: “Double Trouble”

Lucy Cunningham-Schultz goes to the local dinner theater to interview its new owner for The Odyssey Times. There, she gets one of the biggest shocks of her young life. The new owner is Blackgaard; Edwin Blackgaard. He is the identical twin of the infamous Dr. Regis Blackgaard, although no one really believes this at first. Everyone is suspicious of poor Edwin, thanks to his notorious brother.

Edwin goes out of his way to prove himself. He puts up posters, does a newspaper interview, attempts conversation, and finally puts on a free performance at the gazebo in McAlister Park. But it’s no good, no one shows up for the performance except Whit.

Later that night, Edwin comes to the back door of Whit's End to thank Whit for his support. Whit says that he believes Edwin is really Edwin, not Regis trying to pull a fast one. Edwin thanks Whit and asks for advice on how to win over the people of Odyssey. Whit doesn’t have an answer for him. He can only say that it will take time for people to get over their bad feelings for his brother. Whit promises to help Edwin in any way he can and proves it by breaking one of the cardinal rules of Whit’s End: He hangs up one of Edwin’s posters in the window. Perhaps Edwin will make it in Odyssey after all.

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#286: “Tom for Mayor, Part 1”

Tom Riley is surprised to find Philip Glossman knocking on his front door at six in the morning. Glossman, representing the state government and accompanied by agents Burt Ferder and Frank Ernest, has come to inspect Tom's farm for residual chemicals supposedly left behind by the Edgebiter Chemical Company spill from four years ago. Tom, who insists his farm is clean of any pollution, is helpless to stop their incursion on his land since they have a court order.

Tom's first course of action is to plead for help from Mayor Bill Jenkins, who suggests that Tom allow the agents to perform their inspection. Tom continues to protest until Bill finally agrees to make a call afterward. Once Tom has left the room, Bill calls an unknown person and demands to know what "he" is "trying to pull" with Tom Riley, claiming that this was never "part of the deal." Bill then agrees to an unspecified concession, refusing to be a part of the process any further.

As Tom and Bernard Walton discuss the problem later at Whit's End later that day with Jack Allen, Connie and Eugene — as Sam video tapes with a camcorder for fun — they are shocked to hear a breaking radio news announcement about Bill Jenkins's sudden decision to retire. Much to Tom's chagrin, all his friends jump at Bernard's suggestion that Tom to run for mayor to replace Jenkins, in large part to help remove Glossman from the farm. Tom utterly refuses, claiming that it "would take something worse than Glossman" to convince him to run.

That "worse" option quickly appears in the form of Bart Rathbone, who calls a press conference announcing his decision to run for mayor and cites the presence of Glossman on Tom's farm as a prime reason for fresh blood at city hall.

Bernard later visits Tom at the farm and asks him to reconsider running for mayor, especially now that Bart has entered the election. Tom is still reluctant, wishing that he could see a few "nudges" from God toward that direction — nudges which Bernard lists as the recent events of the past few days. Bernard then pulls out a petition filled with names of local citizens interested in Tom running for office and offers to be Tom's personal campaign manager. Stunned, Tom finally agrees — only after the two of them stop to pray about their next course of action.

The next few weeks are a whirlwind of political commercials and fundraising events for both candidates, with Tom wishing he could be “in three places at the same time.” Meanwhile, Jack visits Glossman and the agents on Tom’s farm while riding one of the horses and asks Glossman how things are progressing. Glossman is curt and dismissive to Jack but seems interested to hear Jack's suggestion that the events at the farm may be helping Tom's campaign prospect rather than hurting it. Excusing himself as Jack rides away, Glossman announces to his agents that it’s time for “the next step”: they’re “not here to make things easy for Riley.”

Later at Whit's End, Tom and the others listen to an outrageous (and typically brainless) interview of Bart on the Cryin’ Bryan Dern Show in which Bart lambastes Tom and suggests Tom should have been "promoted to Mayor" much earlier. Dern suggests that the two candidates debate each other, to which Bart agrees: "Why not!" When the interview is over, Tom listens to the urging of his friends and decides to call up and accept the challenge.

Admidst all the excitement, Glossman makes good on his promise to take his plan to the “next step," holding a press conference to announce publicly that Tom’s farm is now closed based on evidence of contamination.

To be continued…


#287: “Tom for Mayor, Part 2”

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The Environmental Detection guys aren't as they seemed. They want to collect evidence to try and implicate Tom in some sort of scandal. When they can't find real evidence, they make it up!

Along the way, it's revealed that Glossman is not acting on his own but is on orders from a mysterious person "higher up." Despite Glossman's best efforts, Tom clears his name and wins the election. But even as Tom celebrates his victory, Glossman vows that Odyssey hasn't seen the last of him or his mysterious boss.

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#290: “A Name, Not a Number, Part 1”

The place: A toy shop in Geneva, Switzerland, owned by Tasha Forbes, who works with the United States National Security Agency. The shop is a front for Agency activities, and Tasha has just learned that they’ve been discovered. She and her assistant, Molly, are destroying everything. Their cover is blown and they must escape to a secure location. One of Tasha’s regular customers walks in the door, a man she calls "Doctor". Tasha quickly helps him, then suggests that he leave immediately. But before he can, a harsh and cruel man named Mustafa walks in the door. Mustafa immediately knocks out the Doctor. Then Mustafa knocks Tasha out as well, and one of his men carries her away. Mustafa walks over to Doctor and asks if he is all right. He rises and, in a brief conversation, reveals that he is...Dr. Regis Blackgaard! While Mustafa is a member of a radical group called Red Scorpion, Dr. Blackgaard is carrying out an entirely separate scheme of his own.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, Jason Whittaker prepares for his move to Odyssey to run Whit’s End. But Donovan, his former “boss,” informs him that things have gone terribly wrong overseas, an agent has been kidnapped by Red Scorpion, who is prepared to use a virus called Rukuta on innocent victims to advance the group’s cause. Jason is unimpressed until he learns that the kidnapped agent is Tasha, his closest friend in the Agency. Jason springs into action.

Back in Switzerland, Jason follows a trail left by Tasha until he arranges to rescue her. But the plan backfires, and he’s taken prisoner where he meets up with Tasha and Dr. Blackgaard, who is also an agent and acts as if he’s trying to help them. Mustafa arrives and decides to make Jason a victim of the Rukuta virus. Mustafa is about to inject it into Jason’s arm when Dr. Blackgaard suddenly attacks Mustafa, preventing him. Mustafa manages to jab Blackgaard with the needle. Everyone is shocked as Jason pronounces Dr. Blackgaard dead. The story continues in part II...

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#291: “A Name, Not a Number, Part 2”

We learn that the Rukuta virus is indeed a virus but is fairly harmless until it is connected to a mysterious TA-418 formula, which makes it far more deadly. With Mustafa in custody and the threat of world domination over, Jason says good-bye to Tasha and heads for Odyssey.

Jason isn’t in Odyssey long, however, before he discovers a mysterious package from Switzerland, with Tasha’s handwriting on it, in a stack of unopened mail. He is then surprised when Tasha herself appears. The package contains the complete formula for TA-418. She’d mailed it off as a precaution, and now she’s come to retrieve it. Soon, they learn that Mustafa has escaped!

Before Jason can warn Tasha, she has been captured by Mustafa. The deal is simple: He’ll trade Tasha for the formula. They agree to meet at Whit’s End where Filby, one of Donovan’s agents, arrives to capture Mustafa. Jason realizes, however, that Filby is a double-agent. Jason creates enough of a diversion at Whit’s End to save himself and Tasha. Mustafa escapes by leaping through the window. But Mustafa is only free for so long. He is captured not by the police, but by Dr. Blackgaard, who had faked his death. Blackgaard, who knows all about the power of the TA-418 formula, murders Mustafa and leaves. This adventure is only part of Blackgaard’s bigger plan. Meanwhile, Jason says good-bye to Donovan and Tasha, his days as a secret agent are over.

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#293: “A Code of Honor”

While going through Whit’s workroom, Jack and Jason come across an old book filled with what seems to be a handwritten code. Jason is intrigued and decides to decipher it. It is a logbook for a group that called themselves “The Israelites.” But some entries don’t make sense. Many have names with words beside them like “paint” or “clean.” Now Jack, who has picked up the book, is intrigued. He asks Connie if she recognizes any of the names in the book. At first, she says no, but then she sees the name “Emma Douglas.”

Connie remembers that Emma used to work at Whit’s End before Connie came. Jack goes to Emma. After a lot of coaxing, Emma tells Jack what she knows. She says the Israelites were a “gang” formed by Whit to do anonymous good deeds around Odyssey. Emma remembers one boy in particular: Billy MacPherson.

Jack and Jason go looking for Billy the next day. They find him working in a gas station near Connellsville. Billy is happy to talk about his involvement with the Israelites and inadvertently reveals that he hasn’t been to church much lately. Jack encourages him to go, then hands over the Israelite Chronicles. Billy remembers that the code is "a starts with 5." Jack feels that with all the gangs these days who do evil deeds, maybe a gang who does good deeds is an idea that needs to come around again.

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#324: “Small Fires, Little Pools”

Jack Allen wakes up early one morning in the middle of a nightmare and is startled by a call from Officer Phelps, who suggests Jack visit Whit's End immediately. Once he arrives, Jack is shocked to find Whit's End vandalized. Tom Riley meets Jack at the scene and notices Jack is a bit more upset than he should be. Jack explains to Tom that the vandalism of Whit's End was in his dream that morning: in the dream, a place where Jack feels safe and secure was being destroyed. Small fires continued to pop up in the dream but were doused by little pools of water which sprang up in response. Tom suggests that Jack speak with Pastor Barclay about his dreams, to which Jack agrees. Officer Phelps informs the two of them that the cleanup crew will be late, since Finneman's Market was also hit last night.

While biking to Trickle Lake later that day, Sam Johnson and Lucy Cunningham-Shultz find Connie cleaning up at Whit's End and learn about the vandalism. Sam suggests that what Odyssey needs is a superhero. Connie relays this idea to Jack inside a few minutes later, and Jack suggests that instead of a superhero, what they need is "a lot of little pools of water." Jack then asks Connie to close the door while he makes a call to a person in Connelsville.

Tom makes a public statement to the press later that day at city hall and is challenged by Bryan Dern about Tom's connection to Whit's End, and why Tom acted strongly only after Whit's End was hit; Tom flatly ignores the question. Later on his radio show, Dern and special guest Bart Rathbone ridicule Tom and suggest that new leadership for the town is needed.

Meanwhile, after a failed fishing trip, Sam and Lucy discover that their bikes have been stolen. The two walk back to Whit's End and bemoan their bad fortune; oddly, there Sam receives a strange phone call suggesting that he visit the Wonderworld Treehouse. At the treehouse, a mysterious figure wearing a ski mask leads Sam to a cave where the bikes are being kept. Sam jumps the figure, pulls off the mask and finds that it is none other than his former friend and recent Bones of Rath member Butch! Sam pumps Butch for information, guessing the Bones must be behind all this, and urges Butch to leave the Bones and be his friend again. Butch is clearly tempted but simply bids Sam goodbye and walks away. Suddenly, Sam is grabbed from behind by an unseen figure!

To be continued...


#325: “Angels Unaware”

As Sam Johnson and Butch part, Sam is grabbed by Jack Allen and his friend Billy McPherson to ask for Sam’s help. Butch also runs into Rusty Gordon and Rodney Rathbone, who tell Butch that the Bones of Rath are planning to vandalize Odyssey Middle School that evening. Butch meets up with Sam later on, and they swap information...and concoct a plan.

Later, Lucy Cunningham-Schultz receives a mysterious phone call telling her to look in her driveway. Her stolen bike is sitting there. When she asks Sam about it, he acts suspiciously. That night, the Bones show up to vandalize Odyssey Middle School. Butch notices that there is a police car parked down the street, watching them. The Bones of Rath call off their vandalism.

But not all the happenings around town are bad. Brock Peterson, Channel 10 News reporter, interviews Alma Stump, whose fence was mysteriously mended. Mayor Tom Riley tells of an anonymous phone call the police received, warning them of planned vandalism at Odyssey Middle School. Ralph Foreman, a city worker, describes how bushes were mysteriously trimmed, making an intersection safe for the community. He describes it as a random act of goodness.

Connie Kendall hears the news report and begins to wonder if Jack Allen has anything to do with these mysterious occurrences. When confronted, Jack won’t admit to any involvement with the good deeds.

Bart Rathbone also hears the news report and yells at Rodney. Bart warns Rodney that people are beginning to think everything is all right in Odyssey. Someone from “higher up,” who signed loan papers for Bart, is putting pressure on him to make waves. Rodney promises he has something evil planned for that night.

Connie and Lucy compare notes, they are both suspicious about Sam and Jack’s strange behavior, so they decide to follow Sam that evening. The girls follow Sam into the woods, where they are caught by Sam and a strange man. The stranger orders Connie and Lucy to come with he and Sam. This story is continued in “Gathering Thunder.”


#326: “Gathering Thunder”

Lucy and Connie have been nabbed by a group called “the Israelites.” It’s a “good” gang that Whit used to run around town. Jack has brought the group back to take action against the Bones’s crime wave. Their leader is Billy MacPherson, a member of the original Israelites. Jack has also recruited Sam Johnson, which explains why he has been acting so strange lately. And Sam has made Butch their informant. This enables the Israelites to find out the Bones’s next rotten plan: vandalizing the war memorial in McAlister Park. That night, just as the Bones are about to commit their crime, the Israelites appear, causing the Bones to scatter. To make matters worse for the Bones, a local news reporter happens to see the whole thing and writes it up for morning edition of the Odyssey Times. The "higher up" man is furious. Rodney will have to be replaced.

Meanwhile, based on instructions from “higher up,” Bart makes an appearance on local television, attacking Tom Riley, suggesting that the recent wave of vandalism is all Tom's fault.

Because Rodney has proven inept, a new leader is sent to lead the Bones in their vandalism. His name is Jellyfish and he suspects that there is a traitor in their midst. Jellyfish gives the gang their next line of attack: Part of the Bones will meet at the movies and create a diversion while the rest of them will attack Whit’s End again. Butch tells Sam about the plan. Unfortunately for Butch, Jellyfish changes plans at the last moment and decides to attack the Harlequin Theatre instead. When Butch tries to warn Sam and the Israelites, Jellyfish catches him and the Bones beat him up - badly. When Jack learns about this, he is horrified. He never meant for things to get this out of hand. As a result, he disbands the Israelites. The Bones of Rath appear to have won.

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#327: “Moving Targets”

Jason, who has been out of town, and Eugene, who has been busy at the college, reunite at Whit’s End and catch up on all the mayhem that’s been happening around Odyssey. They talk about Katrina, and about Eugene's attempts to move on since she left. Jason talks to Eugene about the Underground Railroad tunnel under Whit’s End, which he believes would make a great display for the kids, and reveals that he has asked an inspector to come in and make sure it’s safe. Eugene points out Jason didn't talk to Jack about it, but Jason brushes this off.

Jack arrives at Whit's End and goes down to the tunnel with Jason and Eugene, but he tells Jason that he is bothered by the idea of the tunnel attraction. The timing isn’t right, especially with all the problems around town lately, and he is concerned by the fact that Jason didn't talk to him before contacting an inspector. He is also disturbed because of another strange dream in which the tunnel was a way to let evil into Whit’s End. But Jack’s reticence about the tunnel is frustrating to Jason, who feels that every time he has a new idea for Whit’s End, Jack has a problem with it. This leads to friction between the two of them.

The tunnel is causing more problems than those between Jack and Jason. The city inspector, due to both state legislation about the particular architecture and the historical significance of the tunnel, defers to state authorities for the ultimate decision on the tunnel issue. Professor Bovril shows up as a state consultant, but right behind him is none other than Philip Glossman.

Alone in the tunnel, Bovril and Glossman are pleased to find that the mysterious mineral they’ve been looking for is there, but they need to get Whit’s End cleared out so that they can have total access to the mineral, and this needs to be accomplished subtly and successfully. Bovril expresses his full confidence in Glossman, who replies ominously that he has an ace up his sleeve "that nobody knows about".

Meanwhile, further friction develops between Jason and Jack after Jason learns that Jack started up and then disbanded the Israelites. Jack defends his decision, stating firmly that the battle is too serious when kids start getting hurt and that it isn't his place to put children at that level of risk. But Jason disagrees, arguing that getting hurt is the nature of battle and that fighting fire with fire is worth the risk so that good can triumph over evil. Jack believes that something far more sinister is going on, and using the Israelites isn’t the way to fight it, and Jason's response is that if Jack won’t keep the Israelites going, then he will. Their disagreement becomes so heated that Jack feels he has no choice but to resign his job. Effective immediately, he will no longer work at Whit’s End.


#328: “Hard Losses”

Bart Rathbone’s misinformation campaign against Tom Riley is getting more intense. Dale Jacobs at the Odyssey Times has just learned that Tom’s campaign was helped financially by the Edgebiter Chemical Company. This makes it look like Tom was backing the very company he was supposed to be against. Bart and Cryin’ Bryan Dern make a big deal out of this, and question Tom’s honesty.

But in a surprising turn of events, former 'bad guy' Richard Maxwell shows up to tell Tom that something big is happening, and Richard wants to find out what it is. Tom has never really forgiven Richard for burning down his barn several years ago though, and refuses Richard’s help and would not listen to him.

Meanwhile, we discover that Jellyfish and Philip Glossman are working together. Jellyfish visits Glossman at his hotel room and tells him about Jack Allen’s resignation from Whit’s End and reports that Jason has taken over the Israelites. Glossman is delighted that their plan is working so nicely - everything is falling apart for the good guys. Jason’s reckless decisions make things work in Glossman’s and the Bones’s favor.

On his way out, Jellyfish bumps into Richard Maxwell in the elevator. They recognize each other from their jail days. Their meeting gives the impression that Jellyfish and Richard were enemies while in prison. It seems that Jellyfish often tried to get Richard into trouble, and that Richard would like nothing better than to put Jellyfish in his place.

That night, Bart frantically wakes Rodney up and tells him they need to hurry with the “recall Tom Riley” petitions because “he’s” coming. It’s time.

The next day, Richard gives Jack a visit at Whit’s house. Richard asks Jack to help persuade Tom to listen. Richard has important information about who is behind the whole mess in Odyssey. Richard believes that the mastermind of all that has been happening is none other than Dr. Regis Blackgaard. But even with Jack on his side, Tom stubbornly refuses to listen to Richard. Tom thinks that Richard is working with Blackgaard again.

Meanwhile, the city council is voting on the issue of Tom’s recall. The vote is close, but the council decides to allow the city to vote. The city will decide whether Tom should be recalled as the mayor of Odyssey. Tom sadly vows to fight to clear his name.


#329: “The Return”

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Things are getting even more strange in Odyssey. Jason approaches Jack about coming back to Whit’s End. Jack refuses. He is determined to spend his time exploring the spiritual nature of this battle, through prayer, instead of through violence, the way Jason has wanted to proceed.

Meanwhile, Edwin Blackgaard is terrified. He has just learned that his evil twin, Regis, is back in town. He decides to leave Odyssey immediately. As he and Shakespeare are packing, Regis arrives, and threatens his twin, telling Edwin he must help Regis with his plans or be made very miserable. Edwin begs to be able leave town, and Regis agrees. Edwin timidly skips town.

On Cryin’ Bryan Dern’s radio show, Dr. Blackgaard announces that he is running for mayor. He wants to prove he is innocent of the evil deeds attributed to him several years ago. Regis knows he can be the kind of mayor Odyssey needs. Jason is shocked to hear Blackgaard’s voice, he thought that Blackgaard had died in Switzerland (see #290: “A Name, Not a Number, Part 1” and #291: “A Name, Not a Number, Part 2”).

To make matters worse, the Bones of Rath are vandalizing the town again. Now they’re committing crimes while dressed up as the Israelites. Jason visits Dr. Blackgaard to talk to him about what is happening, but ends up playing into Blackgaard’s hands. He has recorded their conversation and plans to blackmail Jason later.

Finally, on Blackgaard’s orders, Philip Glossman leads the campaign to get the city council to agree to close down Whit’s End because of the mysterious mineral in the Underground Railroad tunnel. Glossman says the mineral is a public health hazard. The council agrees, and Glossman hangs up the sign announcing that Whit’s End is closed.

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#330: “The Time Has Come”

In the midst of the evil encompassing Odyssey, Eugene’s spiritual journey has been moving full steam ahead. He’s been stripped of everything he’s ever cared about: Whit is gone, Katrina has left Odyssey because of Eugene, and now Whit’s End has closed and is in the hands of Philip Glossman and Regis Blackgaard. Eugene wants to help in the battle, but Jack wisely points out that Eugene can’t. It’s a spiritual battle Eugene isn’t equipped to fight. Jack challenges Eugene. Jack says that if Eugene thinks over all his experiences in Odyssey, he’ll see that everything points to the inevitable: Sooner or later, Eugene must make a decision about Jesus Christ.

Fortunately, Eugene and the other employees of Whit’s End aren’t banned from the emporium. Thanks to Jason’s pleading and political connections, they have permission to come to the shop. So Eugene decides to use the Imagination Station’s data banks to “search” Odyssey’s history for any references about the mysterious mineral under Whit’s End.

To test his search program, Eugene decides to take Jack up on his challenge, to search through his own life in Odyssey. Eugene does, and he re-lives many scenes from his past that have pointed him toward Jesus Christ. Eugene comes out of the Imagination Station ready to say “yes” to the Lord’s call. And what begins as a tender moment of prayer between Jack and Eugene turns comical as Connie, Bernard, and Tom show up to share in Eugene’s decision. The only one missing is Whit. But even he is represented when, on the downstairs phone, he calls and leaves a message of encouragement on the answering machine. Finally, Eugene Meltsner becomes a new creation.

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#331: “Checkmate”

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Evil still abounds in Odyssey. Dr. Blackgaard is livid that Whit’s End hasn’t been completely evacuated. He blasts Philip Glossman for his incompetence. Meanwhile, Jason has restructured the Israelites in order to spy more aggressively on the Bones of Rath. He wants the Bones to know that the Israelites aren’t predictable, by having Billy and Sam go to the Bones’s hideout and clean it. Butch has informed the Israelites that the Bones will be bowling that night, so the Israelites should hit the hideout then. To keep tabs on the Bones, Lucy follows them to the bowling alley. Rodney sees Lucy and decides to take matters into his own hands. He is annoyed that Jellyfish has taken over the Bones so effectively. He lures Lucy to the Bones’s new hideout in a cave where he hopes to get information from her about the Israelites.

While this is going on, Eugene continues his work in the Imagination Station. He’s searching through Odyssey’s history for information about the Underground Railroad tunnel. In the Imagination Station, Eugene is just about to find out an important piece of the puzzle about the mineral from Reverend Andrew Jamison (see “The Underground Railroad”) when the power suddenly goes down. Eugene comes out of the Station and finds that Whit’s End is being attacked by the Bones of Rath.

Later, during the cleanup, Jason and Sam realize that Butch either got his information wrong, or he has double-crossed them. (They later discover that it is the latter, after Butch was beaten up by the Bones, he opted to spy on the Israelites. For his own protection, Jason gets Butch out of town.) Sam and Jason also realize that Lucy is missing. Jellyfish is furious that Rodney brought Lucy to the Bones’s new hideout, but Rodney persuades Jellyfish that he can get some useful information from her. Fortunately, Richard Maxwell intercedes and saves Lucy.

But that doesn’t help Whit’s End. Claiming that it’s for the public’s safety, Glossman throws everybody out, leaving Blackgaard to gloat that Whit’s End is finally, truly, his.

This plot section is too short and should be expanded. »


#332: “Another Chance”

Word has gotten out that the soil under Whit’s End is unsafe, and Jack is accused of hiding that information from the townspeople. Blackgaard takes advantage of the situation. He says he wants to protect the children of Odyssey from problems like this, but he collapses in the middle of his press conference.

Even worse, though, is that Bart Rathbone’s Electric Palace was vandalized, and Bart claims the Israelites did it.

Eugene is still trying to find out Whit’s End’s history through the Imagination Station. After the power outage, he tries to salvage what he can from the Station’s data banks. Now Eugene is willing to try anything. He accepts Richard Maxwell’s help in attempting to sort out the code. All they can replay from the conversation with Reverend Andrew is that the local Indians called the mineral “the Silent One.”

While this is happening, Richard has another brief confrontation with Tom. Unfortunately, Tom is still unwilling to forgive Richard, even though it’s obvious that Richard is just trying to help.

At the same time, Rodney is furious that Jellyfish is running the Bones of Rath without consulting him. Jellyfish is also keeping a record of all that’s happening on a laptop computer, just in case things go wrong. Jellyfish pulls the Bones together for a meeting. Rodney interrupts Jellyfish and unsuccessfully challenges his leadership. Betrayed, Rodney storms out of the meeting. Later, Rusty tells Rodney about Jellyfish’s laptop. Rodney, in return, tries to get revenge by making a deal with Richard Maxwell to get Jellyfish’s computer.

Richard and Rodney sneak into Whit’s End and overhear Dr. Blackgaard talking with Professor Bovril and Philip Glossman. There’s a close call as Blackgaard demands Jellyfish’s laptop so the professor can finish some calculations. Certain that Blackgaard will find Jellyfish’s files, Richard creates a diversion so Rodney can escape. Richard gets caught by Blackgaard. The professor and Jellyfish drive away, determined to dispose of Richard, but Richard throws himself out of the car! Jellyfish and the professor panic and quickly leave. But Richard is not left on the road for long. Jack drives by on his way back from Trickle Lake and finds Richard by the side of the road. He’s taken to a hospital, where he slips into a coma.


#333: “The Last Resort”

Jason, Tom, and Eugene go to the hospital to see Richard. Jack is there, too. Together, they all speculate on what happened. Tom is still wary of Richard. Jason solidly reprimands Tom for his suspicious attitude. Jason and Eugene leave the hospital and, on their way out, they run into Rodney in the elevator. Rodney says he’s come to see how Richard is doing. Jason and Eugene force Rodney to tell them what happened to Richard. Rodney blabs everything he knows about Jellyfish, the laptop computer, and all that has been happening in Odyssey.

Jason decides to get his hands on the contents of Jellyfish’s laptop. Jason plans to do it through a sophisticated piece of infrared equipment. The equipment makes it possible to download the laptop’s hard disk onto Eugene’s computer. Jason and Eugene enlist Bernard Walton’s help. Together, they sneak into Blackgaard’s headquarters at the Harlequin Theatre and set up the infrared device. Bernard successfully sets up the equipment next to a laptop on Blackgaard’s desk.

But when Eugene downloads the information, he realizes that what he’s seeing on his computer is nothing like the information they know Jellyfish has. He realizes he, Jason, and Bernard are downloading the wrong laptop. Eugene recognizes some of the information. It has something to do with the mineral in the Underground Railroad tunnel! Eugene reads this new information. Suddenly, Eugene understands that Glossman is working for Blackgaard, who is trying to get to the mineral.

Jason also realizes that the Indian word for “the Silent One”, “Ruka”, is very close to the “Ruku” in the Ruku virus he and Blackgaard were involved with in Switzerland (see "A Name, Not a Number, Part 1"). Jason tells Eugene to make copies of the information. But shortly after, Jason gets picked up by the police for questioning. Apparently, a cassette tape has gotten out that reveals Jason making threats against mayoral candidate Regis Blackgaard!

Back at the hospital, Tom finally learns about all that Richard has done for him. He goes to Richard’s bedside to ask his forgiveness. Richard grants it. Meanwhile, Jack goes to the police station to deal with Jason’s arrest. Jason has told the police everything he knows about the problems around town. He uses his former position with the Agency to help prove his case. While the police check into it, Jason also tells Jack about his work with the Agency. Then Jason adds that he realizes now that he’s been wrong. He shouldn’t have so blindly rushed in to fight the evil. He apologizes to Jack, and they pray together.

While this is going on, Blackgaard holds a press conference to make a statement about Jason’s “arrest”, once again collapsing in the middle of it. Blackgaard is rushed to the hospital. Things are really heating up around Odyssey!


#334: “The Final Conflict”

Jason reveals to Jack that the mysterious mineral is a component of a compound called TA-418, which was part of a deadly virus called Ruku. This Ruku was used by a terrorist group Dr. Blackgaard was connected with in Switzerland (see “A Name, Not a Number, Part 1” and "A Name, Not a Number, Part 2"). It’s clear now that everything that has happened in Odyssey, the vandalism, Tom’s recall as mayor, Blackgaard’s candidacy, the scandals, has been part of Blackgaard’s scheme to gain unlimited access to the mineral under Whit’s End.

Jason has the Israelites, Eugene, and Bernard surround Whit’s End to keep a close eye on the mineral. They wind up capturing Jellyfish and Rodney Rathbone as they break into, then try to escape from the discovery emporium.

Meanwhile, at the hospital, Dr. Blackgaard tells Philip Glossman that his illness was simply a scam to get out of running for mayor. (A doctor, however, contests this.) Regis now plans to slip out the back of the hospital. Then he’ll go to Whit’s End with Professor Bovril and Jellyfish to get the last of the mineral in the Underground Railroad tunnel under Whit's End. Blackgaard has ordered Glossman to set up a press conference at the hospital, which will put the plan in action.

But things soon backfire. Blackgaard announces his withdrawal from the mayoral race, but he doesn’t endorse Bart Rathbone as his successor. Bart retaliates by blaming Glossman for the things that have been happening around Odyssey. At the police station, Jellyfish tries to get himself off the hook. He confesses to everything, including Blackgaard’s plan to blow up the tunnel and destroy Whit's End. Jason and the police race to the scene.

At Whit's End, Blackgaard realizes that something has gone wrong. He sends Professor Bovril off with a van filled with the mineral. But Eugene and Bernard are lying in wait for the professor and catch him. Blackgaard goes down into the Underground Railroad tunnel to set off the explosives, and comes face-to-face with Jack.

They have a final confrontation in which Jack appeals to Blackgaard to come to Christ. Blackgaard threatens Jack with death, but Jack says he is willing to sacrifice his own life to lead Blackgaard to Jesus. Blackgaard reveals that it is already too late. He really does have the Ruku virus, Regis is dying anyway. He has nothing to lose, so he pushes the button. The bomb goes off, collapsing the tunnel. Miraculously, Jack is thrown clear of the explosion. He is all right, but Blackgaard is not.

Later, Jack reflects sadly on the whole affair. He had hoped to help Blackgaard change, but he was so corrupt, now there could only be one destination for him, an eternity without God.


#424: “Blackgaard's Revenge, Part 1”

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The "Star Spangled Banner" is playing in the background as Connie and Aubrey enter the Imagination Station. Pretty soon they see a character that looks like Abraham Lincoln, but when Aubrey recognizes that the "Gettysburg Address" is misquoted, she wonders who it is. It turns out that the character was actually Dr. Regis Blackgaard, who orders that some missiles be launched! After escaping from the station, they soon discover Blackgaard has infected the Imagination Station with some sort of computer virus. Connie, Whit, and Eugene tell Aubrey how dangerous Dr. Blackgaard is, but she is not convinced. Aubrey goes back to the Imagination Station under the guise of putting up a "not working" sign, and she meets Dr. Blackgaard, who invites her back into the Station. While skeptical at first, Aubrey eventually steps into the Station. Blackgaard takes advantage of her questions and begins feeding her mind with many doubts as to the integrity of Whit and the others at Whit's End as he deceptively twists the truth. Meanwhile, Whit orders Eugene to find and delete the virus, but it is more widespread than they thought and could cause considerable damage. To their horror they discover that Aubrey is in the Station and wants to stay there with Blackgaard. In the Station, Dr. Blackgaard entices Aubrey with the possibility that she can have a full, eternal life and can visit any place in history that she would like through the Vortex of Time. Will she believe him and be lost forever in his evil deception? The story continues in part II...

This plot section is too short and should be expanded. »


#425: “Blackgaard's Revenge, Part 2”

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Continued from part I...

Aubrey is caught in the Imagination Station with the evil Dr. Blackgaard, who is enticing her with the promise of a full, eternal life. She is interested in his offer to show her any place in history that she would like through the Vortex of Time, so he demonstrates by doing just that. But when Aubrey says she wants to go to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Blackgaard begins to show his true colors and causes much fear and distrust in Aubrey. Aubrey starts to get sleepy and Blackgaard becomes very angry.

When the first attempt at destroying the virus fails, Whit tells Eugene to make preparations for Plan B. As Blackgaard tries to force Aubrey to implant his personality circuits on her brain, Whit enters the station and offers his life instead. As they step into the Vortex, it appears that both Whit and Blackgaard are killed, but...Eugene's efforts are successful at the very last moment, and Aubrey finds herself freed from the power of Dr. Blackgaard. The anti-virus program Eugene used destroyed the hologram's matrix of Dr. Blackgaard's virus. Aubrey thinks Mr. Whittaker gave his life for her, but in reality Eugene used the Imagination Station technology against itself. Dr. Blackgaard never came up with a program for eternal life--only Jesus Christ can do that. Dr. Regis Blackgaard is really, finally, truly dead.

This plot section is too short and should be expanded. »


Closely Related Episodes

Notes

  • This saga was released in an album in 2011.
  • It also became a book series in 2016.

Resources