I had in mind some kind of story where Ianto went undercover in an institution while Alun monitored him using those infamous contact lenses that were seen so prominently in Children of Earth. I mooted the idea of a prison, and might still do a story with one of the team behind bars some time, but while I was still planning this story I had an idea from the oddest of sources.
I was chatting with internet friends on an open text messenger when somebody posted messages asking if we wanted our third eye opened. We all said no, but the person persisted, explaining how wonderful it was to see beyond the mundane world and recommending a website that would help us. Hmmm. The website was a very dubious affair which asked for credit card details in every other paragraph and offered no refunds if nothing miraculous came from buying self-help books, crystals, attending seminars etc. Further googling turned up a string of complaints about the woman running the site. It was, without doubt, a scam suckering in vulnerable people with doubts about organised religion.
But it at least gave me an idea for the sort of institution Ianto would be infiltrating, and since I needed a story where the team were away from the Hub it worked out perfectly. The references to alternative philosophies in this story are all bogus. They are meant to be. Things like the Sixth Chakra are a part of Hinduism and Buddhism, and it well may be that there is something in the Third Eye idea. But the story was inspired by charlatans and describes charlatans, not genuine believers or practitioners.
I got another piece of inspiration from the fourth Indiana Jones story, Crystal Skull, in which alien skeletons of pure crystal were found under a mountain in South America. I wasn’t wholly impressed with that film, but I did like the aliens, and the ones Madam Allaby was mesmerised by were unashamedly based on them.