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22 October 2014

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As the grating dramatically changes in pitch, a stubby metallic fist punches through the skin of the sphere. The brittle shell of the synthetic womb is no match for the awesome strength of a Cyberman.

On the Wheel, Tanya continues to express her intuitive fears about the nearby space flotsam. 'If something happens, don't say I didn't warn you. That rocket's dangerous.'

Desperate to avert the X-ray laser's destruction of the Silver Carrier – and the TARDIS – Jamie arrives at the power room and soon spots an aerosol labelled 'QuickSet Plastic'.

Extricating a drawer from the laser's power source, Jamie quickly sprays the revealed components.

Jarvis and Bill rush in to catch the Scotsman red-handed. Bill's immediate application of a solvent to the machinery is too late. 'It's no good,' he mutters, 'he's wrecked it.'

Zoe and Gemma hear Jarvis announce an 'easy yellow' alert and order all men on security duty to issue themselves with sidearms. Two men are ordered to the power room to apprehend Jamie.

In the control cabin of the Silver Carrier the two egg-like spheres have spawned sinister new pilots for the vessel.

They use the scanner to home in on a spaceship. The picture soon dissolves to reveal an intricate device which demands progress updates in familiar synthesised tones.

The Cybermen report that phase one, the launching of the Cybermats, is complete. Phase two, their undetected infiltration of the rocket, is also complete. It is now time to institute phase three.

Zoe expresses her concern over the Hercules 208 star in the Messier 13 cluster. It is about to go nova, with radioactive consequences for Earth. Gemma is, however, otherwise preoccupied.

Bill continues to assess the damage. 'The whole unit will have to be stripped out,' he wearily concludes. Assuming the worst, a replacement may take a week to arrive - during which they will be defenceless against the results of the supernova's radiation flux.

Left alone, Bill prepares to institute repairs to the laser. He soon notices a small rodent-like device. 'You're a strange little creature aren't you? Some kind of space bug?' Anticipating company, he hides his bleeping friend in a cupboard.

'I was just beginning to enjoy this little rest,' announces the recovered Doctor, who is concerned at Jamie's reliance on him to get them out of their latest predicament.

The task is made all the more difficult by the Doctor's amnesia of recent events on the Silver Carrier. Jamie is unable to jog the Doctor's memory, which seems preoccupied with an inexplicable feeling of menace.

On the drifting rocket, the Cyberman reports the successful completion of the latest phase. Phase four is prepared...

Concern over the imminent supernova is now widespread. 'A star of this magnitude, when it goes supernova, deflects meteorites with a mass of two hundred tons each,' says Zoe. 'Aren't you ever wrong?' asks Leo. 'Rarely,' she replies.

Bill cheerily greets his metallic friend before he realises the damage the creature has caused. It quickly scurries off as Kemel arrives, relieved of his duties as communications officer.

Seeking a progress update on behalf of Jarvis Bennett, Bill informs him they are making good time and asks him to check the Bernalium stock.

As Bill gets back to work, two more metallic rodents, identical to the first, scurry out of the shadows.

Gemma Corwyn's examination of the Doctor is thorough enough to take into account his mental, as well as his physical, wellbeing.

'Concussion can bring about temporary lapses in memory,' she reassures him. Jamie and the Doctor continue to plead their innocence as malicious saboteurs.

Zoe arrives and is introduced to Doctor 'John Smith'.

She tells them the Silver Carrier must have been specially refuelled and piloted to have arrived so far off course in such a short time. 'The rocket was driven here somehow. I know it was.'

On board the Silver Carrier, the Cybermen are informed that a star has been ionised, and Perseid meteorites will strike at the Wheel. Phase four is now ready. An oscillating beam emanates from one of the Cybermen's fingers.

The beam seems to energise a Cybermat aboard the Wheel. The automaton duly seeks its target.

Bill describes to Gemma the 'space bug' he discovered corroding the Bernalium rods.

She is incredulous, so Bill offers to show her the device for himself.

Arriving in the storage area, Kemel is horrified to discover an alien intruder. A metallic rodent scurries out from the Bernalium store, its sabotage clearly successful.

The Cybermats attack

As another of the devices propels itself from a nearby shelf, Kemel withdraws from the tiny invaders.

Grabbing a nearby wrench he prepares to defend himself.

The makeshift weapon is soon forcefully projected from his hand by one of the scuttling devices.

Backing away, he sees his path is blocked by another of the emerging rodents.

Now frantically searching for a hiding place, he realises he is rapidly becoming surrounded.

As he is forced backwards he quickly grabs some plastic aerosol. He begins to spray the nearest marauder while the others continue their advance.

The aerosol is soon expelled from his hand. The hapless technician is left defenceless as the devices close in…

Bill and Gemma, on hearing a scream, hurry to the storage area. They are too late to save Kemel. As Gemma turns to leave, she notices a mound of solidified plastic melded to the floor.

Zoe asks one of the men to remove the floorplate containing the solidified plastic and shows it to the Doctor and Jamie. She then tells the Doctor that the stocks of Bernalium are practically written off.

The X-ray laser is reliant on Bernalium. 'We've got a few spares,' she tells them, 'but not nearly enough.'

Jamie suggests that the Wheel's saboteurs hail from the regressive pressure group Jarvis Bennett mentioned earlier.

'It's an interesting theory,' begins the Doctor, who doubts that it applies to recent events. He suggests using the X-ray machine to scan the plastic's contents. 'Why didn't I think of that?' asks Zoe.

'Sensible common sense works wonders.'

Jarvis puts Bill under restriction and threatens to send him back to Earth. He demands a report and confines him to quarters.

Jarvis then attempts to get the Wheel back to normal working conditions.

Bill, who deeply regrets Kemel's death, continues to insist that he saw a creature in the power room.

Tanya shoots Leo a nervous smile.

'All this extra work means we won't be spending too much spare time together,' Leo tells Tanya.

'I'll find someone else to keep me company,' she teases.

Gemma attempts to placate the furious Bennett by outlining the facts behind the recent mysterious circumstances.

'I'm telling you, that rocket is the basis of all our troubles,' she insists. Jarvis has already ordered two men over to the Silver Carrier to examine it.

'It's a Cybermat!' exclaims the Doctor on viewing the processed X-ray. 'That means the Cybermen must be here too,' adds Jamie.

'Yes. And there's only one place they can be...'

'...on that rocket,' the Doctor concludes.

The Silver Carrier hangs in space.

Two spacewalking crewmen from the Wheel cautiously approach the silent rocket. Entering the airlock they board the craft and switch on the artificial gravity.

They are, however, not alone.

The first crewman succumbs to the alien's hypnotic control almost immediately.

The other falls victim soon after. 'You will take us to the Wheel,' grates the first Cyberman. 'Obey,' orders the second. 'Inside the Wheel you will help us.'

>NEXT WEEK: The Cybermen's servants wreak havoc.

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