- This article is about the saga itself. For the collection, see Novacom Saga (collection).
The Novacom saga was a major storyline of Adventures in Odyssey originally broadcast in 2000-2002. Spanning 4 albums, twenty-eight episodes (which were included in a compilation album), and several follow-up episodes and arcs, the Novacom saga is the second-longest running storyline in the history of AIO (right behind the Blackgaard Chronicles). The saga followed the storyline of a company called Novacom bent on achieving global mind control through the conversion of brain waves to radio waves.
Novacom was a branch of a company called Andromeda, which was headed by a man known simply as “The Chairman.” Novacom’s security office was first headed by a man named Arthur Dent, and then by Bennett Charles. According to Dent, Andromeda’s “master plan” was to “enslave the human race.” The ‘Novabox’ was a product of Novacom’s master plan, called “Operation Think Tank,” and it sent out radio waves comparable to brain waves, controlling what its users thought and did. Eventually, the technology worked without the boxes, and could be run from radio towers.
When the Chairman requested a study to be done on the conversion of brain waves to radio waves (with the ultimate intent of reversing the process), Armitage Shanks suggested that his future son-in-law, Eugene Meltsner, head up the project. Andromeda gave Eugene funding for his tuition at Campbell College if he commenced the study. Eugene did, with the intent of controlling computers and other devices just by thinking about it. A quadriplegic named Duncan Mathis offered to be the “guinea pig” of Eugene’s testing, and the development eventually got to the point where he could manipulate the computer cursor and type his name, all with simple thoughts.
All throughout the testing, Andromeda was monitoring Eugene’s progress and holding Operation Think Tank board meetings with Mr. Charles, Mr. Shanks, Dr. James McKinley, and Stanley Elbert. The Chairman told them to head to Campbell College and investigate the full extent of the research once Eugene had a breakthrough. Their intent was to see if the process could be performed in reverse: radio waves to brain waves. Mind control. Mr. Shanks, not being previously told this, and realizing the evil intent of Andromeda, flew into a fury, and protested the action as much as he could. The rest of the board voted him down, and, seeing that Mr. Shanks could be a potential problem later, Mr. Charles implanted a tumor in Mr. Shanks’ brain (by some unknown method).
Stephen DeWhite was working for Andromeda until he found out that they were illegally taking over radio stations all over the world. He told the FBI about his findings, and they asked him to go undercover to find out all he could. A few days later, he found a camera hidden in a book in his office, and his family was put in the Federal Witness Protection Program.
Andromeda sent Novacom to the small town of Odyssey to set up headquarters, and eventually, start testing. They bought up a lot of buildings around the town, and started broadcasting radio and television programs. They bought a plot of land on Tom Riley’s farm to erect a tower. They even built a Kid’s Center that competed with Whit's End. Arthur Dent became head of operations in Odyssey.
Robert ‘Mitch’ Mitchell and his girlfriend Justine Baker both got jobs working for Galaxy Communications in Boston. While there, Justine read the name ‘Operation Think Tank’ in a memo. She told Mitch, who became suspicious. The next day, she asked Mr. Charles about the memo, and “he got really weird about it.” When Justine was traveling home that night, she was followed by Andromeda hit-men, and was run off the road. She did not escape with her life. After telling the police but getting nowhere due to lack of evidence, Mitch decided to form his own investigation, and he moved to Odyssey to get closer to Eugene. He transferred from Galaxy Communications to Novacom Broadcasting, and joined the public relations department. Mitch was able to gain more information about Operation Think Tank and the radio wave study (RWS, Eugene’s research) than Justine did, and, in order to foil Novacom’s plans, he posed as a computer hacker named AREM. AREM eventually appeared to Alex Jefferson, Cal Jordan, Sarah Pratchett, John ‘Whit’ Whittaker, and Connie Kendall, leaking information about RWS.
Mitch also began investigating Duncan Mathis’ sister, Monica Stone, who was an agent for Andromeda. Monica posed as a telephone woman in order to plant a modem in Whit’s office. Mitch found out, and (through AREM) hacked into the modem, and then into the Campbell County College website. Alex and Cal discovered him, and AREM gave them a password to access information about RWS. After being caught, they told College Security about AREM. The college encountered AREM again, and AREM allowed himself to be traced back to Andromeda’s modem. They found the modem, but it self-destructed when they tried to touch it. AREM appeared to Alex and Cal again, showing that RWS was also on Novacom’s website.
Whit, owner of Whit’s End, was approached by a woman named Mary Hopkins, and she offered to create a business partnership between her bookstore (Mary's Story Shop) with a new Whit’s End in Connellsville. Little did Whit know that Mary’s Story Shop was owned by Andromeda, but he agreed. This was a ploy to get closer to Campbell College and Whit’s greatest invention, the Imagination Station. Without it, none of the future Novabox technology would work. Bennett Charles hired a homeless boy named Tony to place a dictionary containing a camera in Whit’s office. Whit discovered it, but by this time, he had become more and more busy, and grew spiritually weak. Instead of building a new Imagination Station in Connellsville by himself, he let a ‘friend’ of Mary’s named Barry Muntz build it for him. There was one crucial piece, however, that Whit did not put in the plans he gave Barry, a piece which was vital to the very usage of the Station. This was to prevent anyone from stealing the plans, which Barry did! After Barry delivered the plans to Mr. Charles, he went into hiding, and Andromeda immediately commenced making small black satellite boxes containing the Imagination Station’s circuitry (minus that piece).
Whit’s End Connellsville eventually opened, and hidden cameras and microphones were planted all over the shop. AREM set to work revealing the cameras. Afterwards, AREM appeared to Sarah Pratchett, and sent her a preliminary essay concerning Eugene’s present research. Sarah told Whit, who eventually sought out Eugene.
When Armitage Shanks fell ill, Eugene left with Katrina Shanks, his fiance, to go to Chicago to see him. They were married at Katrina’s father’s deathbed, and Mr. Shanks’ last words were, “I’m sorry I got you the job at the college.” Eugene, sensing danger, hurried back after Mr. Shanks had died. Meanwhile, at Campbell College, Eugene’s colleagues told Dean Douglas Rogers about their findings. The dean reported back to Andromeda, and some “so-called ‘scientists’” came from Chicago to check out the development. While there, the only thing they were interested in was if the process could be reversed. Eugene’s colleagues couldn’t figure out how, and the ‘scientists’ left. As soon as Eugene returned, he heard about what had just happened, and was gone again. He took the research away, sent a copy of it to Jason Whittaker (an NSA agent), and joined Around the World Missions, with Katrina, in order to disappear until they were safe.
Arthur Dent somehow switched loyalties in the course of events and was sent back to Chicago. Mr. Charles took his place. Dent sought out Jack and Joanne Allen, who were in Chicago for an antiques fair. He compiled a disc with information about Novacom’s plans and slipped it into Jack’s hands, just before Dent was caught by Mr. Charles. When he wouldn’t talk, Charles performed an “experiment,” as he called it, on Dent, making him look like he had “been through shock therapy” and giving him also a brain tumor. Under that coercion, Dent finally revealed that Jack (along with the disc) was heading to the airport to return to Odyssey. Mr. Charles then followed Jack to the airport. Joanne, seeing them there, suggested that the disc be mailed ahead to Odyssey. Eventually, Mr. Dent had a stroke, was found by Mr. Whittaker, and was taken to Hillingdale Haven in Odyssey.
Connie found a picture of Monica Stone in Mitch’s briefcase, and to prove his loyalty to Connie, Mitch posed as AREM and sent files to her. Just afterward, Agent Peter Bourland and the FBI broke into his apartment and ‘kidnapped’ him, eventually putting him into the Witness Protection Program. Bourland announced that Mitch had been killed. He also started an investigation into why Andromeda was so interested in Whit, and he bugged Whit’s End for Whit’s security.
Mr. Charles had Whit’s End bugged too, and broke into Whit’s office. When Jack returned, he and Whit went to the post office to pick up the package, but they were intercepted and held up by Monica, who had heard their itinerary over the bugs. However, Whit tricked her and gave her a ‘dummy’ package instead. Understanding how she knew where they were going, Whit, Jack, and Joanne removed the bugs in Whit’s End.
Eventually, Andromeda went ahead and opened a new branch, Veil Industries. They released the black boxes in Alaska and Odenton as tests. As stated earlier, they were built from the plans for the Imagination Station, minus one piece. As it turns out, Andromeda did not need that piece, but rather another that they already had. However, the boxes would not work as planned (emitting radio waves equivalent to brain waves) without Eugene’s research. As a result, their users became violent and irritable, believing themselves to be pure evil. Seeing as the test was not working, Andromeda recalled all of the boxes.
Andromeda planned on making the towers they had acquired able to emit the radio waves necessary for mind control without the use of boxes. They called this day the ‘Launch Date,’ and needed two components to make it work: Eugene’s research and the Imagination Station. So Mr. Charles stole the Station from Whit’s End and placed it in a utility shack in Connellsville. The Station was to be used as the uplink to all the other radio towers on the Launch Date.
Meanwhile, Monica tapped Eugene’s phone to find his whereabouts, and the research. When Eugene called the Universal Missions Board for Jason’s address, she posed as a girl named Paula Jarvis, who was already registered with the Board, and she traveled to Jason’s current location in Alaska. Once she gained his trust (and affections), she broke into the safe where he kept the disc, stole it, and emailed it to Mr. Charles. Since Jason had no evidence against her, she went free.
Since they had Eugene’s research, Novacom released the Novabox, and tested to see if they could control people’s minds. Their tests proved positive, and Novacom prepared for the Launch Date. Unfortunately, during Duncan Mathis’ testing, Andromeda had found that disabled users of the technology became even more disabled after using it. This led the people of Odyssey to despise the Novabox, and they started protests against it. When Monica saw this development, she turned away from Andromeda and schemed how to bring them down.
Whit, seeing the spiritual battles going on around him, asked Jack to hold a time of prayer to ask God for help in this hard time. Jack accepted, and was joined by Connie and Aubrey Shepard.
At this point, Novacom dismantled the cables in the tower on Tom Riley’s land, but left it standing. Arthur Dent, convinced in his insanity that Mr. Charles would ‘finish the job,’ escaped from Hillingdale and ran to the Timothy Center, where he built a bomb out of fertilizer and demolished Novacom’s tower. Tom Riley was blamed for it and a court case ensued, and Tom’s lawyer outlined the whole conspiracy, with testimonies from Stephen DeWhite, Monica Stone, and a returned Robert Mitchell. Mitch explained Armitage’s death, Whit’s End in Connellsville, and the ‘reversal process’ of the technology. With all of this evidence (along with Whit finding Mr. Dent and acquitting Tom), the FBI obtained a warrant to search Novacom’s headquarters in Odyssey, where they discovered the Launch Date’s actual date: today.
Hearing that Novacom’s tower was dismantled, but the Novaboxes still worked, Whit and Tom discovered that Novacom was hiding other towers in Connellsville, and the Novabox satellite dishes were pointed toward them. When they investigated, they found the utility shack nearby (though the Imagination Station was hidden), with a nineteen-minute countdown to the Launch Date.
Bennett Charles had escaped from Novacom headquarters and headed to Whit’s End, which was deserted, except for Connie. Charles sneaked in and captured and gagged her. He then called Whit and told him to drive away from the shack, giving him false directions to where he was hiding with Connie. Whit, to save Connie, left Tom alone. Tom talked to Jason over the phone in order to stop the countdown, and Tom discovered the Station behind a moving wall. However, Jason could not figure out how to turn it off.
Mitch had earlier gotten a call from Connie before she was captured by Charles, and he showed up at Whit’s End, but the doors were locked and he could not find Connie. After he saw a camera move outside the shop, he deduced that Charles was inside. He called Agent Bourland and had Nick Mulligan, an employee, use his key to get in and mess with a camera, luring Charles outside. Charles was caught and taken away.
Once Whit discovered Connie was safe, he called Jason and was patched through to Tom. Whit told Tom to type in “Applesauce,” which would cause a meltdown. Tom typed it in and pushed the red button with only a half a second to spare.
The Chairman watched the progress of the Launch Date from a remote location, and saw the Imagination Station disappear from his monitoring system. It was over, “For now.”
It's another edition of "Candid Conversations with Connie," that fabulous radio show in which Connie Kendall interviews interesting people about interesting things. Today it's Tom Riley, owner and operator of the Timothy Center. Connie starts asking questions about all the projects coming up at the Center, but Tom seems hesitant to talk about it. Connie pushes him and eventually finds out, however, that the Center is in a financial crisis...and she didn't even know about it! Whit and Bethany Shepard are listening to the broadcast and suddenly hear a voice cut into the program. It says "Novacom transmission test...testing...one...two...three." Whit wonders why the company is cutting into their programming. Just then, Tom and Connie come out of the booth. Connie wonders why she didn't know about the financial trouble, but Tom insists that he'll handle things. Connie isn't easily persuaded and eventually convinces him to have a big fund-raiser at the Center. Ben and Ellen Shepard help out by praying, while Bethany works on making a list of how she can help save money.
Meanwhile, Whit finds that Novacom is a new company around town which just recently got their broadcasting license. Whit meets with Arthur Dent, a representative of the company, and he assures them that the interference was simply a malfunction. He continues by telling Whit of all that Novacom wants to do in supporting the community of Odyssey. He also says that the company needs to build a radio tower nearby and suggests a plot of land on Tom's property, stating that the company is willing to pay Tom handsomely to build the tower. Connie and Tom, of course, think this is an answer to prayer. Whit isn't so sure, but after Tom meets with Mr. Dent, he agrees to allow them to build their tower. As the trucks begin to prepare the site for construction, the whole gang watches. Tom wonders if Whit still thinks he made the wrong decision. Whit says that he still isn't certain, but there's no point in second-guessing a decision that has already been made. They have to wait on God and see what this new adventure will hold.
Alex Jefferson and Cal Jordan are on a planetarium field trip to Campbell County Community College (CCCC). They see Eugene and say hi, but... he ignores them! They decide, or at least Cal decides for them, to go see what the problem is. When they get stopped by a security officer, they realize something is definitely going on. Meanwhile back at Whit's End, Connie is telling Whit that the phone lines were out that morning and that a lady came by to fix them. Connie says "It was weird - I didn't have to call them or anything."
At Alex's house, the boys decide to go on the CCCC website to see if they can find anything. They find something in Eugene's profile called RWS (Radio-Wave Study). But to get more info they need to have a password. Suddenly, they get an instant message from someone named AREM. He asks them if they want the password and Cal, to Alex's dismay, says yes. He says the password is "Red Herring". They type it in and the computer crashes. Later, Alex's mom walks in with his dad saying that the College accused her of hacking into the college computer. Eventually, they figure out that it was the boys who were responsible.
The boys are told that they need to come down to the police station. When a policeman asks them which one of them is AREM, they say that neither of them are. He believes them and tells them that AREM is a professional computer hacker who has broken into many systems. He also says that they should go back onto the college website so they can try to trace AREM. AREM is there once again and with a little trouble they figure out where AREM is hiding. He is hiding at...Whit's End!
The officer asks Whit about it and he says he hasn't even been in his office today. But then he remembers about the phone lines. They go up to Whit's office and find a modem that Whit didn't install in there. The officer tries to take it apart but it self-destructs. It looks like they are right back where they started.
Alex is overwhelmed. Novacom has donated computers to Odyssey Middle School. What's more, they want Odyssey kids to help them work on their website. When he and Cal go to tell Whit about the news, he's not exactly thrilled. In the middle of their conversation, someone walks in who's even more overwhelmed-Bernard Walton! He anxiously tells them that Novacom has bought BTV. He's so enthusiastic about it that he's even given up his window-cleaning job and sold his mop and bucket! Whit is flabbergasted, but Bernard assures him that Novacom will allow him to make BTV the same way he always has. Once at Novacom, Bernard finds himself as a fish out of water, trying to deal with the office environment. When he presents his ideas to the new "writing staff", he finds that they aren't very fond of them, calling them "too exclusive" to meet their broad audience. They suggest alternate shows like BTV: Pollution and BTV: Plant Care.
Meanwhile, Alex and Cal are busily engrossed in their Novacom job when AREM suddenly shows up again on their computer. AREM gives them another password, this time to a website section called "Special Projects" in which they find information about the Radio wave study, the same thing they found on the college site. Just as they are about to go further, the computer freezes up. Later in the day, the boys find Bernard packing up his office. They tell him they were fired and Bernard tells them he has quit Novacom. Just as Bernard is about to leave, he gets a message from AREM on his computer, but ignores it. Later, Bernard stops in at Whit's End and Whit gives him his squeegee back.
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The mystery lull continues at Whit's End, but what is causing it? The new Novacom Kids Center, that's what. Whit and Nick Mulligan decide to check out the kids center and find that there are a lot of fast-paced, fun adventures for the kids to explore. Whit walks to Tom Riley's farm and the two of them talk about how significant they still are to the kids of Odyssey. Tom encourages Whit to ask the kids for some suggestions on how to improve Whit's End, which Whit does. The ideas pour in and Whit closes the shop for a few weeks to make some changes. When the shop finally opens, the kids love most of the changes:
- You can order from the tables via computerized display.
- The Imagination Station speeds through adventures.
- Even the name is changed to "The W.E.".
In the midst of all the excitement a woman named Mary Hopkins comes in to check out the place. She doesn't like the changes and suggests Whit change things back to the way they were. She goes even further by saying that she wants Whit to franchise Whit's End. She tells him about how her organization will sponsor him in opening a Whit's End in Connellsville. Whit needs time to think it over, but this sounds like just the sort of inspiration he needs.
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A crowd of anxious reporters gathers at Whit's End to find out what Whit's reaction to the latest batch of Novacom programming is. It seems the company has duplicated the Imagination Station in a show that contains a lot of violence and bad language. Whit declines comment.
Later in the day, Connie meets Robert Mitchell, a community relations worker for Novacom who wants Whit to give reviews of Novacom's programming. "Mitch" says he's a Christian and wants the town to be a better place, just like Whit. Whit agrees.
Meanwhile, Bart and Rodney start acting nice to Connie and Whit - Rodney even pretends to have a crush on Connie - to convince them to help with a protest against Novacom. Whit declines Bart's offer, wondering why Bart is suddenly so angry with the company.
Mitch meets Connie later at Whit's End and just as the two are talking, Tom bursts in with a poster that says Whit is helping with a protest against Novacom. Connie insists that Whit had nothing to do with the poster. The protest later commences at Novacom, with Whit only showing up to show his disapproval to Bart. When Arthur Dent turns up to try to persuade the protesters to move, the group gets violent, breaking windows and throwing rocks. Whit is hit with a rock and Mitch takes him to the hospital.
Joanne Allen stops in at Whit's End and finds that Connie has received some flowers from a secret admirer. Connie assumes that they are from Mitch. The two of them discuss Connie's feelings for Mitch. Connie insists that she can't date Mitch because he's a Novacom worker. Whit shows up with Mitch; Connie and Mitch have a talk. Before Mitch can ask her if she can help him, Connie tells Mitch "she can't," mistakenly thinking he's going to ask her out. Mitch says he respects her decision and leaves, just as Bart and Rodney come in. They're hiding from the police. Rodney reveals that he sent Connie the flowers and Whit finds that Bart wanted to protest Novacom because they didn't like his show idea. Connie finds that Mitch was going to ask her to be a part of a Bible study and Whit says he has no problem with Mitch. Connie calls Mitch to leave a message apologizing and saying that she'll help with the Bible study. The next day, more flowers arrive...this time, from Mitch.
Tom and Whit are looking over the plans for one of the biggest endeavors of Whit's life in Odyssey - the creation of a new Whit's End in Connellsville. Tom notices that the plans are very similar to the current Whit's End and even finds out that Whit plans to build the new Whit's End in a similar area to the current one. Tom wonders if Whit might consider building the new Whit's End in Oswald Heights to minister to a different kind of people than the current Whit's End. Whit asks Mary Hopkins about the idea, but she says two simple words, "Absolutely not!" Thinking he's crazy, Mary asks the board about the possibility and they surprisingly approve it unanimously.
Pulling up to the demolition site weeks later, Whit finds that Oswald Heights residents aren't very happy about the new building. Despite some trouble, the demolition crew destroys the building. Just then, Tony (from "Best Laid Plans") runs up and tries to stop the destruction. Before Whit can stop him, he and his sister Brianna (who Whit discovered in the abandoned building) run away. Later, Whit goes to the Connellsville police to track down the pair and finds then under a bridge. Brianna is sick and Tony reveals that he had a guitar and notebook full of songs in the building. Whit offers to take Brianna to the doctor and Tony reluctantly agrees. After a quick stop at the doctor's office, Whit takes the two of them to his house where they have a warm meal. Whit finds out that the two of them are staying with an alcoholic cousin. Tom stops by to tell Whit about a neighborhood meeting about the new Whit's End; Tom thinks they may be voting to try to stop the construction. The next day Whit stops at the construction site and finds a mess. The builder refuses to build anymore until they can guarantee him his work won't be in vain. Mary is frustrated and says that they have to get out of Oswald Heights. The story continues in part II...
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Continued from part 1...
Later at his home, Whit gives Tony a new guitar to try to replace the one he lost. Tony tries to remember a few of his songs.
Whit decides he needs to reach the people of Oswald Heights personally. He goes to a neighborhood meeting and stands up to make a proposition-he will bus the people of the Heights back to his shop in Odyssey for free so they can see what it's like and see that he's not in it for money.
Back at Whit's End, the staff prepares for the inundation. The day arrives and buses pull up in front of Whit's End filled with people. Kids pour into Whit's End and at first, it seems like a madhouse. Whit sees Brianna and Tony, but they don't talk to him. Things calm down as the throng leaves but only then, Whit finds out that all is not well-someone broke into his office. Strangely, the only thing missing is an electronic pocket organizer. Soon after the police call Whit to the station; they've found his organizer - in the hands of Tony. Whit feels betrayed, but Tony tells him that he thinks Whit deserved it for destroying his songs. Mary Hopkins and Whit pull up to the construction site the next day to find a surprise - the building is still standing! The builder says that people from the Heights have even been watching them build! Whit later tracks down Tony and Brianna under the same bridge. They've run away from their foster home. Whit says that he has a friend who wants to take them in - the Mulligan family. Brianna is ecstatic, but Tony is uncertain. Whit says that the choice is up to him and Tony finally agrees to take a look. The three of them head to the Mulligans and all looks well. Just as Whit is leaving, Tony stops him. He says that he was paid by a bald guy with sunglasses to break into Whit's office and put a "dictionary" on Whit's bookshelf. Whit thanks Tony and hurries back to Whit's End. In his office, just as Tony describes, he finds a dictionary on the bookshelf. But this is no ordinary dictionary...it has a camera inside. Connie is distressed...why would anyone want to spy on Whit's End? Whit isn't sure, but he says they have to find out who it is...and what they want.
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It's just not going to work out... Whit can't figure out how to manage his schedule and fit in everything that he's supposed to do. Not only that, his workers can't find enough time for Whit's End, either. Connie's busy at the Timothy Center, Jack's busy at the Antique shop, Eugene's still busy at the college, and Nick is starting a band.
Whit decides to call Wooton, even though he doesn't have a lot of experience.
At the Connellsville Whit's End, Whit is working on the new Imagination Station and Mary Hopkins introduces a friend, Barry Muntz, who seems to be an expert in everything (and we do mean everything). Mary says he could help Whit with the Imagination Station, but Whit says he doesn't want anyone else looking at the Imagination Station plans.
Back at Whit's End, chaos reigns. Kids are getting hit with pretzel rods, birthday parties are noisy, trains are flying off tracks and seven-year-old baseball players are taking the place by storm. Whit gets a call from a desperate Nick who seems to have a bucket stuck on his head. Mary urges Whit to let someone help him.
Wooton shows up for work at Whit's End the next day and just after Nick leaves, Wooton and Liz hear screaming upstairs. Alex is trapped in the Imagination Station and Wooton doesn't know how to turn it off. They can't get through to Whit, so Wooton gets a rock from the Jacob display and smashes the glass. Alex is shaken, but not hurt. That night, Whit stops by Alex's house to see if he's all right. Alex's dad says that he's fine, but he's concerned about Whit's End. Things seem to be falling through the cracks without Whit there. After saying goodbye to Mr. Jefferson, Whit takes out his cell phone and gives Mary a call. He's ready to talk about letting Barry help with the Imagination Station.
The next day, Wooton is upset about what happened, but Nick and Whit tell him that it isn't his fault.
A few days later, Whit shows up at the Connellsville Whit's End. Mary says Barry is finished with the Station, but when Whit takes a look, some of the inner circuitry is missing. The plans are gone, too. Barry has stolen Whit's plans for the Station! At the police station, Mary apologizes to Whit and wonders how Barry could have betrayed her. The detective says that Barry was just an alias and that he was involved in stealing company secrets.
At Whit's End, Whit tells Nick something he didn't tell Mary. He left out a key component of the Station as a precaution. The Station won't work without it.
At an unknown airport, Barry hands the plans over to a mysterious figure. The other man tells Barry he must leave the country for a while. Barry is confused, but the man insists that he must not come back. Just as Barry is about to walk away, the man gives him a final warning: "And by the way, Mr. Muntz...these plans better work."
Sarah and Mandy are enjoying their camping trip. Four hundred miles from Odyssey. No school work. No studying. Just the trees, the sky, and the...strange boy watching them from the trees? Who is it? He looked awfully familiar when he ran away. In fact, he looked like...Jared DeWhite. Mandy is sure that it was Jared, but Sarah says it's impossible until he shows up again. Then there's no doubt. He runs off again, but this time they follow him.
After a merry chase, he leads them to a secret cave. Jared is excited to see them and wants to know all about what's happening in Odyssey, but hesitates to them anything about himself or why he's here. Jared follows the two girls around for the next day-showing them all his favorite places, watching them braid hair, and talk about their favorite teachers. When they finally ask him why he's hanging around, he tells them his secret...and it's a doozy. His family is in the Witness Protection Program because his dad discovered some sensitive information about a company named Andromeda. His dad even found a hidden camera in a book in his office. Now he's living in a house in the woods with a big fence around it.
The girls, however, don't believe a word of it. It's just like a story that Jared would make up. The girls are eating marshmallows when Jared shows up again. Sarah tells him he should just go away when suddenly a mysterious man shows up. He takes Jared away. When the girls head to the hidden cave in the morning, all of Jared's secret equipment is gone. It's the same story when they find his house-everything is stripped clean, as if no one was ever there. But it's not completely empty. Jared left an encoded secret message hidden under the floorboards. The girls decide to decode it when they get back to Odyssey.
Back at Whit's End, Sarah is telling Whit all about their adventure when Mandy comes in to say she decoded the message. It said, "Moved Again. Beware Andromeda." Sarah thinks it's silly, but Whit becomes very interested when Sarah says that Jared's dad found a hidden camera in a book in his office. As the girls discuss the validity of Jared's claims, Whit slips back to call a friend who can get information about Andromeda.
The banners are hung. The crowd is gathered. The ceremony has begun. The ribbon is cut and the new Whit's End in Connellsville is now officially open! Once inside, Whit, Connie, and Mary Hopkins all remark on how great the place looks. The revelry is cut short, however, when Tony asks to see Whit privately.
Meanwhile, Alex and Cal are using the computers when AREM suddenly pops up. Alex doesn't want to talk to him, but Cal pushes him out of the chair. AREM takes them to "Cam 17." The screen shows two people in front of a computer...it's Alex and Cal! There's a camera hidden in the bookcase!
Meanwhile, Tony tells Whit that the "bald guy" who gave him the hidden camera to put in Whit's office is standing across the room. Tony takes off and Whit asks if Mary or Connie recognize the man. They don't.
Just then, Alex and Cal rush up to tell Whit about the camera. Whit starts to look for it when Mary stops him. She takes him upstairs and tells him that she had the cameras installed for security purposes. Mary takes Whit to the master control room where Mr. Benson, the security consultant, shows him the whole setup. There are hidden cameras all around the shop. Mr. Benson says he got them from a place called Surveillance City. Whit thanks him for the information and tells him to turn all the cameras and monitors off.
Back downstairs, Sarah approaches Alex and Cal who are hiding in a booth. They tell her about AREM and then say that there was a hidden camera in a book. Sarah is startled since that's the same thing that Jared said. The three of them head off to Wonderworld to try to figure this out.
On the front porch of the Connellsville Whit's End, Connie is waiting for Mitch to pick her up. Whit asks Connie not to tell Mitch about the cameras. He says that cameras may be connected to a company called Andromeda...and Andromeda owns Novacom. Connie is surprised but assures Whit that she'll be 'Miss Nonchalant.' In Mitch's car, Connie waits about two seconds and then digs for information. She eventually finds that Andromeda does indeed own Novacom. Mitch shrugs off the questions and tells her he has a surprise for her tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Whit stops by Surveillance City and discovers something he feared...there is a connection between the hidden cameras and Novacom. In fact, Novacom bought a huge shipment of them. And Mitch was the one who picked them up. The story continues in part II...
Continued from Part 1...
Connie is in Mitch's car, blindfolded. Mitch takes her blindfold off and Connie sees they're at a beautiful view high above Trickle Lake. Mitch has prepared a special picnic for Connie. Unfortunately, the picnic is cut short by rain.
Connie comes back into Whit's End and heads up to Whit's office, where Whit and Tom are discussing all that's happening. What does the camera in Whit's office have to do with the cameras in Connellsville? Or the camera that Jared's dad had? Or the cameras Novacom bought? And how will this affect Connie's relationship with Mitch? Connie is nearly floating above the floor as she dreamily recounts her picnic.
Mitch stops by Arthur Dent's office at Novacom and is surprised to find a stranger (who says his name is Mr. Charles) there. Mr. Charles tells Mitch he has a bright future with the company and that he's done an excellent job keeping track of Mr. Whittaker. He also tells him that Mr. Dent has been "relocated" because he wasn't a team player. Mr. Charles comments about Mitch's relationship with Connie and Mitch tells him that's none of his business.
At the school Cal and Sarah are looking for AREM. They only have a few minutes before the computers shut down when AREM suddenly pops up. He refuses to say who he is, but shows them into the Andromeda Radio Waves study. (It looks familiar, almost like the Campbell College website from "Red Herring.") They race to print out the report before the computers shut down, but they only get one page...and it's all gobbledygook. They take the page back to Wonderworld. Alex takes a look and notices that there might be code embedded in the scrambled characters. They take time decoding it and the message is: "A Report on the Conversion of Brain Waves to Radio Waves by Eugene Meltsner." The kids wonder how it all connects and decide to take everything they've learned to Mr. Whittaker.
Meanwhile, at Mitch's apartment, Connie is waiting for Mitch to find his shoes so they can go bowling. She notices a misspelling on Mitch's screen saver and tries to fix it. When she tries to fix it though, the name AREM suddenly pops up on the computer. Connie is not sure if it is a message or not, but is nervous. She calls Whit from the bathroom at the bowling alley. She tells him about the computer, but Whit tries to calm her. From then on, she acts very suspicious and Mitch wonders what's going on. She won't tell him, only that she can't trust him.
Back in Whit's office, the kids tell Whit everything. Whit thanks them for the help, but asks them not to tell anyone else but their parents about what they found. He sends the kids downstairs for some free ice cream. Whit, alone in the office, sighs heavily. He ponders, "Eugene, what have you gotten yourself into?"
Nick Mulligan may be a lot of things, but he's not a great adviser for someone having relationship trouble...especially Connie. Connie is so uncertain about Mitch that Nick decides to give her some advice. Connie rebuffs Nick when Mitch enters and says that they need to talk. The two discuss their relationship. Connie isn't sure about it; she says she feels like she's dating the Pentagon with all the secrets. Mitch says to trust him and that everything will be answered in time. Mitch heads out, but forgets his briefcase. In the rush to try to get it to him, Connie and Nick drop his briefcase and a photo slips out. It's a photo of some girl...with a postmark from Chicago. Connie thinks she looks familiar, but Nick thinks the girl must be a former girlfriend. Connie decides that she's not losing Mitch to someone else. Nick suggests she try to figure out the hand in the lower part of the picture, but she has no luck despite going glove shopping. Nick then suggests that she subtly ask him about former girlfriends.
When Connie follows Nick's advice, Mitch says there was one girl back in Boston: Justine Baker. Connie figures that Justine must be the one in the picture. Mitch describes Justine's sweetness, her red hair, and her tennis skills...which gives Connie an idea. The next day Connie comes into Whit's End with a new hair color. Nick laughs it off and Whit wonders about the change. Later Connie tries playing tennis with Mitch, but nearly breaks his nose in the process. Back at Mitch's apartment, Connie finally admits to Mitch that she was doing all this because she wanted to be like Justine. Mitch says that's silly and that Connie should just be herself.
Then Mitch shows Connie a picture of Justine. Connie is shocked: it's not the same person that she saw in Mitch's briefcase. At Whit's End, Connie ponders it. Who could that picture be? She knows that she recognized her. Then it hits her! It's... it's... the red-haired woman who put the hidden modem in Whit's office! She anxiously tells Whit. That afternoon it's time for another "Candid Conversations with Connie." This time, the guest is Mitch. Mitch notices that Connie is being very stiff in her questions, and then she interrogates him about secrets and trust. Before he realizes it, Mitch bursts out saying, "I think I'm falling in love with you, Connie!" Connie cuts to a commercial.
Whit hangs up the phone just as Connie comes into Whit’s End. He still can’t get in touch with Eugene and he’s headed over to the college to find him. Connie is avoiding Mitch and decides to go with Whit. The two arrive at Eugene’s apartment and find it ransacked. Nothing seems to be missing except Eugene’s hard drive and his vests and luggage. They head to his college office.
There an assistant tells them that Eugene got an urgent call from Katrina about a week ago and left to go to Chicago Memorial Hospital. Dr. Douglas Rogers, the Dean of Computer Science asks Whit to speak to him in private. Connie calls Jack and Joanne (who are in Chicago) and asks them to go to the Shanks house. She also tries calling Janice Mitchell (who tells her that Katrina’s father Armitage Shanks had a stroke and brain tumor). Janice suggests that Connie call Brandon Teller, a close friend of the family. Connie tries, but when she gets through Brandon’s wife tells her that Brandon conducted the “funeral and the wedding.” Connie goes berserk.
The dean, meanwhile, tells Whit that he thinks Eugene stole the research and he has the videotape to prove it. Whit has a hard time believing it, but the tape doesn’t lie.
Connie and Whit exchange what they’ve learned and call Jack and Joanne. The two of them are just arriving at the Shanks’ and head to the house. Brandon answers the door there and invites them in. He tells them that Armitage died suddenly and that Eugene and Katrina decided to get married at his bedside. Brandon officiated the ceremony and everything went well until he pronounced them man and wife. Armitage said to Eugene, “I’m sorry...I’m sorry I got you the job at the college.” Jack and Joanne wonder what that meant, but Brandon has no idea.
Back in Odyssey, Whit and Connie get an urgent e-mail from Eugene. He tells Whit that he is safe, but that nothing is as it seems. He ends the e-mail with “Beware Andromeda.” Connie and Whit ponder this and Whit decides to have another talk with the dean.
Meanwhile in Chicago, Millie Shanks comes in to the room and tells Jack and Joanne that Eugene and Katrina aren’t safe. “It’s time I told someone the truth,” she says.
Millie Shanks has decided it’s time to tell the truth, and she begins by explaining to Jack and Joanne Allen that her husband was very secretive about his business. He was a board member for Andromeda and he provided a grant for Eugene’s position at the college. (This explains why the money mysteriously came through in “Malachi’s Message.”) Armitage never told Eugene about it because he did not think Eugene to be the sort of person to want to benefit from a future in-law's charity, but Millie thinks the research is frightening. She says Andromeda will do anything in their power to get it back, and while she has heard that it will be world-changing information, she believes that if Andromeda is involved, they should expect the worst.
Meanwhile, Whit confronts Dean Rogers and demands to know more. Under pressure, Dean Rogers tells Whit that he got a grant from Andromeda for the radio wave study, which was undertaken to attempt to convert radio waves to brain waves; the research would have incredible benefits for the handicapped and society at large. Eugene had a major break-through just before, according to the dean, he stole the research. While they’re talking, AREM pops up on Dean Rogers' computer. Whit talks to him and says he wants to meet; AREM reluctantly agrees and instructs Whit to come to the Skyline Motel that night at 6:00.
At the same time in Chicago, Arthur Dent comes to Jack and Joanne's hotel room and says he has information about Eugene and Katrina. He says he’ll show Jack some information if he’ll meet him at the Andromeda Building that night at 5:30 in the alleyway by the dumpster, and Jack reluctantly agrees.
Back at Whit’s End, Connie tries to avoid Mitch by ducking into a broom closet, but Mitch follows her. They talk about their relationship and Connie admits that she doesn't trust him. Mitch tries to save the relationship by telling Connie that he'll open up, but when Connie asks about the picture of the woman in Mitch’s briefcase, Mitch dodges answering her. He does, however, ask her to meet someone on Whit’s computer that night at 5:45. He tells her that if she wants to find out what happened Eugene, she will do what the person tells her to do. Connie is unsure, but Mitch insists that he’ll prove himself to her.
That evening in Chicago, Jack has a cab drop him off at his meeting place. He’s nervous and asks God for a little peace—assurance that he is not being foolish.
At the same time, Connie waits anxiously on the computer for her mysterious contact. Alex appears in the room and asks Connie what all the weirdness around Whit’s End is about. While they’re talking, AREM pops up on the computer. Connie begs Alex to stay, in spite of Alex's protests, and AREM tells her to intercept a file that will be coming from Campbell College to Andromeda. Alex tells her not to download it, that it is potentially dangerous, but AREM is persistent. Connie has a moment of tense indecision, deciding to trust Mitch, decides to download the file.
Meanwhile, Mitch sits at his computer and breathes a sigh of relief as the download begins. Suddenly he hears crashing outside, and a man breaks through the door and barks, “Freeze! Don’t move!”
Back at Whit’s End, Connie tries in vain to talk to AREM, but he doesn’t respond, and she asks Alex if she can look at the download alone.
In Chicago, Jack decides that he’s waited long enough—Dent is nearly a half-hour late, and Jack has been warned by a security guard. He heads to the cab, but Dent rushes up just as he opens the door. He starts to explain to Jack what he needs when a car screeches around the corner. Dent roughly thrusts a package into Jack’s hands and yells for him to “GO!” The cab drives off just as another car arrives. Mr. Charles, the mysterious man last seen in “Grand Opening,” pulls Dent into the car and tells the driver to follow Jack. Jack’s driver, however, puts the pedal to the metal and loses Charles’s car. Charles demands Dent tell him what the package was and where it was going. Dent isn’t talking, and Charles tells the driver that it’s time for another "experiment." "You’re going to help us Mr. Dent," Charles growls, "whether you want to or not."
Just then back in Odyssey, Whit pulls up to the Skyline Motel to find the place surrounded by police. Uneasy, he walks up and eventually meets FBI agent Peter Bourland, who tells him that he was investigating Robert Mitchell. According to Bourland, Mitch is a notorious computer hacker who has broken into dozens of systems in recent months. Mitch went by the name of AREM, which stood for his initials (R. M.), and he had even used the name back in Boston. Then he tells Whit even worse news: Robert Mitchell is dead.
Connie is reading the intriguing download that AREM sent her. She doesn’t really understand, but before she can continue, Whit comes in. Connie bursts into telling him about the memo and how it says Andromeda is looking for Eugene and how she thinks AREM is really a good guy. Then she trails off. Whit says slowly, “Connie...Mitch is dead.” Before Connie can react, several FBI men break into the room and take the two of them (and Whit’s computer) down to their office.
Meanwhile in Chicago, Jack arrives at the airport with the package and meets Joanne. They open the package and find a computer disk inside.
Back in Odyssey, Whit and Connie are talking to Agent Bourland. He’s trying to find out why AREM sent Whit confidential reports. Connie tries to answer, but reacts in shock to finding out that Mitch was AREM. Bourland insists that they are trying to find whoever did this. He shows them a photo of the “bald guy” and says his name is Mr. Charles. He’s head of security for Andromeda and he does their dirty work. The next photo is of the red-haired woman. Her name is Monica Stone and she’s an expert in high-tech espionage. After their talk, Bourland lets the two of them go with their computer and asks them to tell him if anything happens.
In the Chicago airport, Jack and Joanne see Arthur Dent and the two men who were chasing Jack. Joanne has an idea for the disc.
Meanwhile, Whit pulls up to Connie’s house. Connie is quiet. Whit asks her if there’s anything he can do. Connie says she just wants to go to bed. She gets out of the car, but then gets right back in. She starts crying and Whit tries to comfort her.
Back in Chicago, Jack and Joanne head to their gate to go home. Jack’s tired of all the intrigue.
Whit’s End is quiet the next morning. Whit is reading the paper when Connie comes in. They note that Mitch is being taken to Maine for a funeral. Whit then tells her that he’s talked to Jack and Joanne. They said Eugene and Katrina got married. Connie is disappointed that she wasn’t there, but is glad they’re together at last. The two of them head upstairs to see if Eugene has e-mailed, but Whit notices that the lock has been jimmied. They open the door and see that the office has been ransacked!
Later that morning, Jack and Joanne come into the shop. They can’t understand everything that’s going on. Whit thinks Dent’s package may have some answers. It’s at the post office now registered in Whit’s name. Suddenly, the voices go “tinny.” Mr. Charles and Monica Stone are listening to their conversation. Mr. Charles sends Monica to the post office to intercept the package.
Whit and Jack arrive at the post office and Whit recognizes Monica. He and Jack head inside, pick up the package from Wooton, and head to the back door. Wooton notices a black car out there, so Whit turns around. What are they going to do?
Meanwhile, Mr. Charles is talking to Monica on her cell phone. When she sees them he tells her she has to get that package. Monica revs her engine and runs her car into Whit’s. She gets out and demands the package. Whit hands it over and Monica hops back in her car and peels away. Whit wonders how she knew they were coming to the post office.
Connie is having a solo Candid Conversations With Connie. She explains that Mitch’s memorial service is tomorrow morning at 10:00. She then reads a poem she wrote about Mitch. Whit and Jack come back into Whit’s End and they’re acting a bit unusual. Jack and Joanne start talking about antiques.
Monica Stone comes back into Mr. Charles’s office. He’s listening to Jack and Joanne and asks for the package. He opens it and finds...a stamp collection. They realize that Whit must have made the switch at the post office. Suddenly something strange happens on the listening device. Whit says “thanks for listening” and disables the bug. He and Jack and Joanne do the same for all the bugs at Whit’s End. Monica asks if she should tell “The Chairman,” but instead heads off to find Eugene. She says she’ll know where to find him.
Back at Whit’s End, Wooton arrives to hand off the package that he and Whit switched at the post office. He also reveals that Eugene sent a package the night before last from the post office. Whit and Connie go up to the computer to see what’s on the disk. Unfortunately, the disk is encoded. Then Whit notices a plain text file. He opens it and sees that it’s the minutes from an Andromeda Board Meeting. It gives approval to Operation Think Tank and notes that Armitage Shanks and Bennett Charles are present. Just then he gets an e-mail from Eugene. The e-mail says that he and Katrina are safe and that Whit shouldn’t try to find them because he may lead “the Unwanted” to him. Connie can’t believe they have to sit here and do nothing. Whit says it’s all in God’s control.
Later Connie sits in McAlister Park when Wooton walks up. She tells him about how she never told Mitch that she loved him, not even as a friend. The same for Eugene…he’s one of her best friends and now he’s missing. Wooton decides to take Connie to the state fair. He lets her talk about her grief while eating funnel cake, playing laser tag, and going on a ride which spins "at such incredibly high speed that when the floor drops out from under you you stick to the wall by centrifugal force". When it’s over, Connie thanks Wooton for his help.
Meanwhile, Tom stops by for a visit at Whit’s End and finds that Whit has stepped up security. He wonders what’s going on. Whit says he’s trying to figure it out and finds a piece of paper in Arthur Dent’s package. It looks like a Chicago address. Just then Bourland comes in. He sees Tom and makes a comment about the Novacom tower being on Tom’s property. Then he asks Whit why he didn’t tell him about the post office. Whit says he wasn’t protected when Monica threatened them. He then reluctantly hands over the disk when Bourland asks. Bourland leaves and Whit tells Tom he’s headed to Chicago to check out the address from the package.
That evening in Chicago, Whit finds Dent lying on the couch in his apartment. He takes him to the hospital where the doctor says Dent suffered a stroke caused by a brain tumor. He’s also suffering from paranoia. When Dent sees Whit, he becomes very animated and tells Whit that he has to get him out of the hospital. He says the same people who killed Armitage Shanks will get to him.
The next morning at Whit’s End, Whit finds Connie about to head to the memorial service. Bourland comes in the shop and asks why Whit was in Chicago. He tells Whit he’s ready to start exchanging information. He tells Whit that what Andromeda is doing is being held back by two things — Eugene’s information and Mr. Whittaker himself.
The memorial service is just what was needed for those who knew Mitch. As it ends, Connie spots Mr. Charles and accuses him of murdering Mitch. Mr. Charles says Mitch was a friend and he’s going to try to find the killers. Connie eventually calms down. Tom says he’s waiting for a long talk and Whit says it's coming. Jack and Joanne say their goodbyes and Whit and Connie are alone at the church. They sit in the back pew and talk about how Mitch impacted lives. Connie again regrets never telling him how she felt. Whit says that we should trust God to fill in the blanks, but Connie says that we shouldn’t expect him to. “I love you, Whit,” she says. He responds, “Oh Connie... I love you, too.”
Aubrey can't believe it; Erica Colburn has moved to Odyssey! (Erica's a friend from Aubrey's old neighborhood.) Not only that, but Erica's dad Kevin Colburn is the new general manager of Novacom. Aubrey is wowed at Erica's house in Chadwick Hill and the way she has a seemingly endless money supply.
The two girls stop at Whit's End and Aubrey notices they are in desperate need of more help. Aubrey asks her parents if she can work there and they reluctantly agree. Not only that, but they allow her to go to public school with Erica.
Aubrey's first day at Whit's End is filled with burnt napkins and exploding milkshakes, but she's learning.
Meanwhile, Whit meets with Kevin Colburn who tells him the bottom line - he should just stop bugging everyone about Novacom. Also, that Novacom would like to offer Whit 10 commercial spots for his ice cream shop.
At school, Erica tries to persuade Aubrey that she needs to go to a party at Craig's house, but Aubrey is unsure. Then she gets Aubrey to skip classes to go shopping at Osborne's Department Store. Connie spots them, however, and confronts Aubrey about it. Aubrey begs Connie not to tell her parents and Connie reluctantly agrees. Erica sneaks into Whit's End to see her and congratulates Aubrey for finally learning to look out for herself.
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Aubrey's parents aren't sure what to make of her new attitude. Ben is pleased that she's so happy, but Ellen thinks she may be hiding something. She shows Ben a skull earring she found. They confront Aubrey, but she says the earrings are Erica's.
At Todd's party, Aubrey doesn't feel comfortable about the lack of adults and the wild antics. Just then, a policeman comes in the front door! Aubrey and Erica duck through the window.
At Whit's End, Todd drops off Aubrey's purse, raising Connie's suspicions. Connie confronts Aubrey, who lies about where she was. Connie sends Aubrey home to tell her parents and later shows up to tell her that she is fired from Whit's End. Aubrey is devastated, but things only go downhill when she talks to her parents. They know she's skipping classes and getting failing grades. They've already decided to pull her out of public school and cut her off from Erica. Aubrey is pouting in her room when Erica comes to the window. She gives Aubrey a cell phone and convinces her that it's time to run away. Just as Aubrey is about to head out, she notices lights in the chapel. She investigates and finds her dad praying. He says he just wants his daughter back.
Later that night, Aubrey and Erica are riding in Todd's new car when Erica demands Todd to pull over. She tells Aubrey that it's her turn to drive. When Aubrey drives through a red light, a policeman pulls them over. Erica lies to the policeman that Aubrey told them she had a license and wouldn't listen to them when they said to stop. Aubrey feels completely betrayed as she is taken to the police station. Ben and Ellen pick Aubrey up, but Ben says he doesn't want to talk. Aubrey wants to apologize, but doesn't know what to say.
Later that evening, Ben and Ellen are up late thinking when they find Aubrey gone again! Ben sees lights on in the chapel. He finds Aubrey there at the altar. Aubrey says she wants to have a talk with her dad.
Back in the kitchen, Aubrey says that she can now see Erica for what she was. She says she wishes she had a place to talk to God like she talks to her dad in the kitchen. Ben tells her that place is her heart. Aubrey says she'd like to invite Him in. Ben smiles. This is what he's been praying for.
What in the world is going on? First Alex Jefferson has a fit at Whit's End when Nick puts nuts on his sundae. His mom thinks it due to watching movies late at a friend's house in Odenton, but Alex says he's having weird dreams where he's a monster.
Meanwhile in Alaska, Jason Whittaker stops in to find that a church there is having violent problems. His friend Walter tells him that half the church is acting angry and hurtful. Jason can't understand what's going on, but suggests they start praying immediately. Soon after, Sam Hitchcock arrives to install a satellite system in the home where Jason is staying.
Back in Odyssey, Nick Mulligan takes out his rage on the dishwasher. Whit is mystified. He goes to the Mulligans and gets an apology from Nick. Mike Mulligan thinks that the "Odenten bug" is causing all the violence. Just as they're talking, Mr. Sneed, the Mulligan's neighbor, drives his truck through their barn. When a police officer shows up to question Mr. Sneed, they find his house practically destroyed. Sneed tells them he destroyed the house because he couldn't help it.
In Alaska, Jason has problems of his own. A husband and wife say they are splitting up. When Jason and Walter go to visit, Mickie gets angry and starts tearing up his house. Jason tackles him and takes him to the hospital. Once there, however, a police officer tells him that Sam Hitchcock threw a TV out his window and is asking for Jason. When they show up at the house, Sam is huddled in a closet. Sam says he infected the entire city with the boxes. Jason tells him to come to the doctors. Ominously, Sam cries, "You're treating the symptoms. The disease will destroy us all!" The story continues in part II...
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Continued from part 1... Tap-tap-tap! Cal comes in through Alex's window to see what's going on. Alex tells him all that's happening and Cal deduces that what's happening must be connected to the satellite boxes installed in Odenton. Later, Alex heads over to Whit's End to apologize to Whit and asks him about satellites. Whit doubts the connection, but takes it more seriously when Jason tells him that the same kind of boxes were installed in Alaska and that they are having the same kind of problems. After hanging up with Whit, Jason decides to test the theory by watching TV all night.
Tap-tap-tap! It's Cal at Alex's window again. Cal has a satellite box and decides to take it apart. He finds a sticker for Veil Industries, but he and Alex can't find anything about the company. Cal takes the box to Whit to see what he can figure out.
Back in Alaska, Walter finds Jason blurry-eyed in front of the television, acting angry. Walter is convinced Jason is coming down with the disease. Jason says he thinks the problem is the satellites, but Walter says the Beckers have problems but don't have a box. Jason says to head to the Beckers'. Once there, Jason finds that their neighbor has a satellite box. Jason calls Whit to compare notes. Whit tells Jason that he's taken a box apart and found a port that sends signals out. Jason wonders what kind of signal can go through walls. "Radio waves," Whit concludes.
Soon after, Whit is working on the box and tells Connie and Cal that the box contains almost identical circuitry to the Imagination Station. Except one piece (the same piece he left out in the plans he gave Barry Muntz, reference "Breaking Point") is now replaced with something else. Connie makes the connection between radio waves, Eugene's research, Novacom, and the Imagination Station. Whit decides to put the new piece in the Imagination Station and see what happens. Whit gets in and starts the Station. Suddenly, he cries out! Connie turns off the machine as Whit continues to yell. Whit stumbles out, saying it isn't safe. Later, Connie finds Whit in his office. He tells her that the Station turned him into one of the worst monsters in history. He thinks the box makes people become evil. He says he's going to start making phone calls, lock up the Imagination Station, and call Agent Bourland. He also says that this is a spiritual battle and they need to treat it that way. Soon after, Whit visits the satellite company. He wants to talk to Veil Industries, but the manager there tells him that the boxes have been recalled. Veil has disappeared.
Back in Alaska, Jason faces similar problems. He can't get through to anyone. Walter points out that at least the boxes are gone. He also tells Jason that he has an intern for him. That evening at dinner, Walter introduces Paula Jarvis; she and Jason hit things off well and Jason says he's looking forward to her time there.
Back in her room that night, "Paula" calls Mr. Charles. Paula is actually Monica Stone! She tells Mr. Charles that she's made contact with Jason and will soon find the package from Eugene. It's only a matter of time.
For Erica Colburn, it seems to be another typical day of waiting for her father, Kevin Colburn, to finish work at Novacom. However, when she accidentally pushes an intercom button, she overhears Mr. Charles demand that her father get the Imagination Station in one week. Erica decides it will be her mission to get information for her father.
Over at Whit's End, Aubrey Shepard has been hired back. Nick Mulligan is showing her around the shop again when he chokes on his tongue after seeing Erica come in. Erica wants to talk to Aubrey, however. She asks her forgiveness, but also asks about the Imagination Station. Aubrey says it's locked up, so Erica leaves. Aubrey cautions Nick about Erica, but Nick later agrees to show Erica the Imagination Station that night.
That evening, Erica finds that her dad doesn't want her help with the project. He tells her to stay out of it. Instead, Erica goes back to Whit's End where Nick shows her the Imagination Station and the secret tunnel entrance to the shop. Erica takes this information to Mr. Charles and makes a deal - she'll help him get the Imagination Station if her dad can keep his job. Charles agrees.
Soon after, Whit gets a call that some vandals threw a rock through a Whit's End Connellsville window. He leaves Aubrey to close the shop. In short order, Erica arrives and asks to talk to Aubrey in a quiet place. Before Aubrey knows it, the two of them end up locked in the library! When Whit returns, he frees the girls and Erica leaves abruptly. Whit looks around the shop only to find the Imagination Station has been stolen from the basement! As the police arrive and search the place, Whit tells Aubrey that he believes the two of them were duped as part of a plan.
As if in confirmation, Charles tells Kevin Colburn that they got the Imagination Station and they didn't need his help. Kevin returns home to tell his daughter that he was fired and they have to leave town immediately. Her plan failed.
Whit and FBI Agent Bourland survey the scene at Whit’s End. Bourland recalls telling Whit that there were two things blocking Novacom. He thinks the Imagination Station was one and now they’ve stolen it. The other was Eugene Meltsner’s research. Bourland hopes the research is in a safe place.
Meanwhile, in Alaska, Monica Stone is still interning with Jason, pretending to be someone named Paula Jarvis. It’s clear that Jason likes Monica, but Jason’s friend Walter is suspicious of her. She doesn’t seem to be telling the truth. Jason gets a disk from Eugene and asks Walter to put it in the safe at the radio station.
Back in Alaska, Monica asks Jason if he has anywhere he keeps valuables. She wants to put a special ring somewhere where it won’t get stolen. Jason says he’ll put in it in a safe place. Meanwhile, Walter calls Paula Jarvis’s residence, only to find that Monica is there! He realizes that Paula must be an impostor.
At Whit’s End, Whit gets a call from Fran at the Missions Board telling him that Eugene asked for Jason’s address. Whit realizes that Eugene sent the disk to Jason. He calls Jason telling him that he should guard the disk with his life and to be on the lookout for Mr. Charles and Monica Stone. Jason sheepishly admits he may have already seen Monica.
Monica, meanwhile, is tracking the disk down. The ring she gave Jason was actually a tracking device. Charles calls, demanding that she get the disk now. She tells him she bugged Eugene’s phone so Charles should bug off. Just as she’s cracking the safe, Walter shows up. Monica pulls a gun and tells Walter to open the safe. Minutes later, Jason comes in and finds the safe open and Walter tied up. Jason dashes to the airport. He finds Monica and demands the disk. She hands it over, but tells him it’s too late...she already e-mailed the information. Jason can’t believe she deceived him. Monica tells him that the technology will do wonderful, helpful things. She also tells him that they are alike...they both fight for what they believe in. Jason says she’s right, which is why he’s going to do everything to stop her.
Introducing the Novabox, a breakthrough product that Novacom claims will improve learning, help the handicapped, and be the best gaming console in history! Whit tells Jason that the box is the culmination of everything that’s happened. Jason says that he’ll search through Eugene’s disk to try to find any information he can.
Just then, Tom arrives to take Whit to Hillingdale Haven to see Agnes. Whit finds that the once mentally-unstable Agnes is much improved. She’s remembering things that happened years and years ago, painting, and playing the piano. Whit and Tom are both very happy.
While at Hillingdale, Whit visits Arthur Dent, who seems to be fine, but tells Whit that Andromeda will use the box for mind control to take over the world. He also warns Whit that Andromeda will do anything to stop him. Worried about Mr. Dent, Whit talks to Dr. Jennings, who tells him that both Mr. Dent and Agnes Riley were treated with the Novabox. Whit is alarmed and tries to convince Tom to stop Agnes’s treatment with the box. Tom says this is a dream come true. He won’t make Agnes stop.
It’s the Cryin’ Bryan Dern show! The topic: The Novabox. Whit lays out his concerns with the Novabox, but Dern berates him for his beliefs. He brings in Martha Carmen, community relations rep for Novacom. She insists that Whit is just criticizing Novacom yet again. Isn’t that song getting old? In fact, she wonders why Whit is "biting the hand that feeds him" as Andromeda owns Mary's Story Shop which owns Whit’s End in Connellsville. Whit is surprised, but Dern thinks this makes Whit out to be a hypocrite. He says Odyssey can’t trust Whit.
Whit arrives in Connellsville to talk to Mary Hopkins who tells him that Andromeda has owned Mary's Story Shop for years. Whit says that he won’t be owned by Andromeda. He’s going to either withdraw everything from the shop or buy it completely. Mary says she’ll have to ask the board about Whit. Whit says he’ll go to the board meeting with her.
Back at Whit’s End, Whit fills Jason in and the two of them fall on their knees in prayer. Whit goes back to Hillingdale where Tom tells him that he’s taking Agnes home. Just as they are talking, Dr. Jennings runs up to tell Whit that Arthur Dent is missing. Dr. Jennings thinks he’s escaped, while Whit wonders if he was kidnapped.
Meanwhile, Alex, Cal, and Mandy work on a homework assignment about buying trends. They find that many people around Odyssey have bought Greasly Chips, Fizzy Cola, and birdhouses. They also find that the people who bought these things don't really seem to need or want them. Then why are they buying them? Just as they are pondering this, Rodney shows up wearing a Novabox Helmet and tries to steal their birdhouse. Alex says this last clue they need. Everyone who bought the stuff had a Novabox. The Novabox is making people buy things they don't need. The three of them look at the box and find that even when it's unplugged it still runs. There's no way to turn it off!
Connie arrives in Maine and talks with Mitch's sister Rachel about the kind of person Mitch was. The two of them go to his grave site. Connie is upset that she never got to say goodbye. Rachel shows her another grave: Justine Baker. Connie remembers Mitch mentioning her (reference Secrets), but didn't know she died. Rachel tells Connie the whole story. Mitch and Justine both got jobs at Galaxy Enterprises and Justine found memos about "Operation Think Tank." They hinted at illegal activity and Justine asked some people about it. Justine calling Mitch's house, but got the answering machine. She said that someone was trying to run her off the road. Justine was found dead at the scene. Mitch decided to do his own investigation and moved to Odyssey because an Andromeda Board Member had suggested Campbell College as a test site. Mitch used AREM as a way to drop hints to anyone who might be helping to bring Andromeda down. Connie tells Rachel she wants to do something to help and Rachel smiles, remembering Mitch said Connie had spunk. That evening, Connie hears the AREM sound on Rachel's computer. She opens the door and sees the AREM name. What's going on?! Rachel tells her it's very dangerous to tell her, but she will anyway. Mitch is alive.
"Visiting his grave one day, e-mailing him the next," says Connie as she sits down to talk to Mitch on Instant Messenger. Mitch is happy to get in touch with her, but Agent Bourland is very angry that Mitch is contacting the outside world. Mitch insists that they need help, but Bourland won’t have it. He cuts off Mitch’s access to the outside world.
Back at Whit’s End, Alex, Cal, and Mandy arrive to tell Connie what they found about the Novabox and its relationship to the sale of birdhouses, chips, and soda. Connie has trouble getting through to Mitch with the information, but finally contacts him on a separate Instant Messenger name.
Meanwhile, Tom arrives back at home with Agnes. The two of them fondly remember old times and even take a walk up toward the tower site.
Meanwhile, Whit arrives home to tell Jason that he owns Whit's End in Connellsville again and finds that Jason has finally decoded some names from Eugene’s disk. Jason says he’s going to investigate one name - Duncan Mathis. Jason finds Duncan in a wheelchair at a rehabilitation center. Realizing he’s a Whittaker, Duncan tells Jason the whole story behind Eugene’s research. Duncan was the guinea pig for the Radio wave study. He used the technology to begin to operate machines with his mind. When Eugene left on a family emergency, scientists from Andromeda showed up asking how to reverse the process; Duncan believes they want to control minds. Not only that, Duncan has found that all the benefits reverse themselves. Suddenly, Duncan’s sister walks in...and it’s Monica Stone! Monica and Jason are shocked for a moment. Jason understands now that Duncan was the reason that Monica was working for Andromeda. She even tells him that Duncan’s condition is her fault. Jason pleads with Monica to stop helping Novacom. He says she should ask Mr. Charles about the Novabox’s real benefits.
That evening, Whit tries to tell Tom about how the benefits of the box will reverse themselves. Tom won’t listen. Soon after, however, Agnes has a relapse. Agnes begs Tom not to take her back to Hillingdale.
Monica barges into Mr. Charles office with a question. Does the Novabox really help people? When Charles dodges her questions, Monica threatens him with going public. Charles counters that anything she says will implicate herself as well. Monica storms out.
Mitch barges into Agent Bourland’s office with a break-through. Novacom is testing the Novabox to influence what people think and do. What’s more, he says he can prove it with the outcome of an upcoming election. Bourland is unsure, but is convinced when Mitch brings a newspaper the next day showing him the election reversed as he predicted. Bourland says that he’ll get subpoenas and search warrants, prompting Mitch to feel like they still aren’t doing enough. He hopes someone in Odyssey is doing something about it.
In fact, there are some in Odyssey who are trying to do something, Mandy, Alex, and Cal. The three of them debate what to do about the boxes. How can they save Odyssey? Cal suggests climbing the tower to turn it off. Alex and Mandy think he’s crazy, but Cal says he has to do it...tomorrow night.
The next morning, Tom finds a pot melting on the stove and Agnes with a burnt hand. Agnes doesn’t seem herself (she forgets Tom is her husband) and asks Tom to take her back home...to Hillingdale Haven. Whit, feeling like the worst is still coming, asks Jack to gather a group of people to pray. Whit then talks to Tom, who says he would pull down the tower with his bare hands if he could.
That night, Alex finds Cal and tries to convince him not to climb it. Cal ignores the warning and climbs anyway, leaving a walkie-talkie for Alex. At the top, Cal sees a guy running down the hill and then finds something very weird. Before he can tell Alex what it is, Tom Riley comes running up, yelling for Alex to get away. He says the tower is going to blow up! He grabs the walkie-talkie and tells Cal to hurry down. Cal reaches the ground, but hurts his ankle. Tom helps him along, but the tower blows up behind them, knocking them down. They both lose consciousness.
Soon after, Whit arrives and finds Tom at the tower site. Tom tells him Cal was still unconscious and went to the hospital. Tom can’t remember anything that happened at the tower. Whit asks who blew up the tower, but Tom can’t remember that either. Officer Stew Burke walks up and tells the two of them he has to arrest Tom...they have good reason to believe he blew up the tower. Whit brings defense attorney Michael Frasier to see Tom. Frasier tells Tom that he should plead guilty so they can get him off by reason of insanity. Whit protests, but Tom reluctantly agrees.
The trial begins a few days later. A group (including Connie, Jack and Joanne, and Aubrey) prays at Whit’s End while the prosecuting attorney Frank Pierce presents the evidence against Tom. At the end of the day, it looks hopeless for Tom as the prosecution finally rests their case.
Tom’s trial continues and the people at Whit’s End continue to pray. Whit, meanwhile, starts his own investigation. He doesn’t believe Tom could do such a thing and starts looking around the tower site, only to find Alex. The two of them start looking around for clues.
Michael Frasier uses Tom’s trial as a way to show all that Novacom and Andromeda have done over their many months in Odyssey. Stephen DeWhite explains that he discovered an elaborate money-laundering scheme by Andromeda to take over radio stations around the world, and as a result he and his family were placed in the Witness Protection Program. Monica Stone testifies that she tracked down Eugene Meltsner's research, stole it from Jason Whittaker, and sent it to Novacom for the development of the Novabox (Frasier notes that Duncan Mathis's testimony, though not shown, involved the damage that the Novabox technology could do). Mitch presents what he decoded from Andromeda board meetings on the disk from Arthur Dent, where it is revealed that the Andromeda board members talked about reversing the process of brain waves to radio waves, despite Armitage Shanks’s protests--for which, Mitch notes, he likely paid with his life. Mitch also reveals that Andromeda used the partnership with Mary's Story Shop to distract Whit with his new shop and to steal the plans to the Imagination Station--and eventually the machine itself. Finally, he discusses a meeting that reveals that Novacom knew that the reversal process of the technology would have the side effect of making patients worse than before and released it anyway. Mr. Frasier argues that Novacom's awareness that their box would be a potential health hazard combined with Tom's exposure to the tower would more than adequately explain Tom’s alleged actions against Novacom.
Back at the tower, Alex and Whit find a piece of cloth that leads them to the cabins at the Timothy Center. There, they find fertilizer on the steps of a cabin. After looking inside, they find Arthur Dent, who claims he saved the world! Whit races back to Odyssey and gets word to Mr. Frasier. Upon hearing the new evidence, the judge acquits Tom of the crime and dismisses the case.
Odyssey citizens don’t forget what happened, however. They are ready to burn the boxes and destroy Novacom. This doesn’t go unnoticed by Mr. Charles, who heads out the back door just before the FBI storms the place. Agent Bourland, Jason, and Mitch start looking through files and computers to find evidence of everything Novacom did. Jason finds information about the "Launch Date" in the files, and he and Bourland go to the jail to talk to Arthur Dent about what the Launch Date is. At the jail, Arthur Dent reveals that this was the day that Novacom would have gone global, launching their technology to towers around the world. Jason remembers seeing their work in South America and Alaska (ref: Shining Armor, The Black Veil). Dent insists there is no reason to worry, however, since the tower is out of commission.
Whit picks up Tom from the jail, and the two head over to the hospital to see Cal, who is finally awake. Cal tells them that the top of the tower was empty--there was only a bunch of loose wires. Whit is alarmed--Dent blew up the wrong tower! Tom and Whit head up to the tower site to figure out what’s going on. Whit explains that since all the satellite dishes in town were pointed to the tower on Tom's land, the true tower must be in that direction, and he then takes notice of Forrest Mountain in the distance--it's a site of dozens of radio towers, the perfect place for Novacom to establish a base. He and Tom race up there.
Jason and Bourland arrive back at Novacom headquarters to find Mitch gone and a schedule with the worst news of all. The Launch Date is today!
Whit reacts to the news about Launch Day and tells Jason that he and Tom are headed to Forrest Mountain. Jason and Agent Bourland can’t get through to Mitch and try to find the codes to stop the launch.
At Forrest Mountain, after admiring his handiwork, The Chairman takes off in his helicopter. He sees Whit’s car and tells his assistant to get Mr. Charles on the phone. Whit and Tom arrive at a shed near a large tower and break into it. There, they find a huge electrical contraption with a timer counting down from 19 minutes. There’s a phone inside, but Whit is nervous about using it. Whit finds he can’t get a signal on his cell phone from inside the building and steps outside to call Jason. Jason tells him they found steps for turning it off. He tells Whit to call him back from the phone inside. Seconds later the phone inside rings! Confused, Whit picks it up. It’s Mr. Charles. He’s kidnapped Connie and demands that Whit leave the mountain immediately! Whit agrees. Thankfully, however, Mr. Charles doesn’t know Tom is there. Whit tells Tom to call Jason. Tom protests, saying he knows nothing about computers. Whit tells him it’s the only way. He takes off, urging Tom not to tell anyone about Connie.
Tom is now taking directions from Jason. He types a password in the keyboard and another room opens. And inside is the Imagination Station!
Back at Whit’s End, Mitch runs into Nick Mulligan outside and wonders why he can’t get through to Connie. After seeing a camera move, he realizes that Mr. Charles must have kidnapped Connie. He and Nick meet in Mitch’s car. Nick reluctantly tells Mitch about the secret tunnel entrance to Whit’s End. Mitch tells him that he has a plan.
At Forrest Mountain, Tom and Jason are not having any luck at turning off the Imagination Station. In his car, Whit follows Mr. Charles orders, suspecting it’s all just a plan to stall him.
In Whit’s office, Charles sees Nick mopping the floor on a surveillance screen. When Nick blocks the camera, Charles heads down to stop him. Mitch sneaks into the office from the secret computer room. He unties Connie and tells Bourland to grab Charles. Connie calls Whit to tell him she’s okay. Whit asks Mitch for the direct line to Jason.
Jason, just in the midst of desperation at trying to figure out how to stop the Imagination Station, gets the call from Whit. He patches him in with Tom. Whit tells him there’s only one way to stop it and no one knows about it. He tells him to type in "Applesauce" (#73: “A Bite of Applesauce”). Jason realizes that Whit is going to destroy the Station.
Meanwhile, the Chairman waits eagerly for the upload to begin. Back at the tower, Tom pushes the red button and runs for his life. The Imagination Station cycles through dozens of past adventures before sputtering and dying. At the monitoring site, the Chairman realizes he’s been beaten. It’s over...for now.
Whit arrives at Forrest Mountain to find a very relieved Tom. Whit tells Tom he saved the world.
Back at Whit’s End, Bourland drags off a bumbling Charles. Connie thanks Mitch for rescuing her. The two of them plan a dinner of salami sandwiches and macaroni and cheese.
Soon after, it’s a time for good-byes. Tom stops at Hillingdale Haven to see Agnes. She doesn’t seem to recognize him. Monica Stone tells Jason that she’s going to prison. Jason says he’s proud of her for doing the right thing.
Alex stops in Whit’s End to find Whit busily building a new Imagination Station. He tells Whit he’s trying out for the swim team. It seems like things really are getting back to normal.
That night, Whit finds a message on his answering machine. It’s Eugene! Eugene says he’s glad everything’s settled, but he blames himself for the huge mess. He says he can’t come back to Odyssey right now, but hopes to get some questions answered soon. It’s all been quite an adventure.
- Connie and Mitch Arc – This subplot of the Novacom saga follows Connie's relationship with Robert Mitchell.
- #507: “The Benefit of the Doubt” – Novacom lays off most of its employees.
- #523 – #525: “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?” – Mr. Charles attempts to break out of prison.
- #564: “A Most Intriguing Question” - #566: “A Most Extraordinary Conclusion” – Eugene returns to Odyssey.
Other Related Episodes
- #471: “Fifteen Minutes” – Arthur Dent and the Novacom headquarters are both featured in this episode.
- #474: “Shining Armor, Part 1” and 2 – Jason sees interference in radio frequencies, which he later references as being potentially connected to Novacom.
- The Novacom saga episodes are in a collection called Novacom Saga.
- A ‘joke’ episode summary titled “Novacom Rules the Earth” was put on WhitsEnd.org while the Novacom saga was airing.