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22 October 2014

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The crew of the space station prepare to turn the X-ray laser on the Silver Carrier, being wary of an imminent collision with the space flotsam.

Jarvis Bennett orders Leo Ryan to prepare the X-ray projector.

Tanya Lernov is horrified at the drastic proceedings. 'The Controller's like a kid with a new toy,' she complains.

Leo admonishes the Russian woman's caution. 'Come on, Tanya. It's off course about 80 million miles – there can't possibly be anyone alive on the thing.'

He is, however, gravely mistaken. The Silver Carrier's passengers include Jamie and a concussed Doctor.

The cargo rocket's observation port reveals that it is drifting ever closer to the giant space station.

Jarvis Bennett argues furiously with Dr Gemma Corwyn. 'Say what you like, the Silver Carrier is a menace to the Wheel.'

'If you equate menace with automatic power drive, I don't,' she counters. Jarvis maintains that an emergency must have killed the crew.

'We can't risk that rocket turning in on us,' he snarls. 'Don't you see? It would blast right through us!'

Preparations for firing the X-ray laser are abruptly halted by an incident at the control panels. A burst of sound sends a communications officer reeling.

The stunned silence is punctuated only by bursts of static on the discarded headphones. It is almost as though someone was trying to communicate.

On the Silver Carrier, Jamie uses the illuminated time vector generator to make contact with the station.

His efforts, while incomprehensible to the crew of the Wheel, are nevertheless interpreted as a repetitive pattern by Leo.

As the static bursts continue, realisation dawns among Tanya, Leo and Jarvis that the crude signals emanate from the approaching rocket ship. Jarvis orders two men to cross over and investigate.

On board the rocket-ship, Jamie notices a figure outside the observation port. A space-suited astronaut gestures towards the front end of the ship and Jamie hurries to comply. As the men board the ship Jamie directs them towards the injured Doctor.

On the space station it is business as usual. Laleham now occupies the vacant seat of radio operator, warning passing travellers of a meteorite storm and plotting alternate courses for space traffic.

With the Doctor and Jamie safely installed in the Wheel's medical unit, Tanya and Leo speculate on the two strangers.

Tanya's curiosity grows on hearing a report of localised field effects around the outer skin of the Wheel. Her anxiety doesn't go unnoticed by Leo.

'What about those sudden drops in air pressure?' she asks. Leo puts the anomalies, no more than a few millimetres, down to a fault in the air supply units.

Leo tells her to institute a check if she is really concerned. 'I'll tell you what,' he grins, 'if you get scared, I'll let you hold my hand, OK?' Her affectionate smile masks her continuing concern.

The outside of the Wheel is once more under attack. A small egg-like bubble drifts through space, attaching itself to the outer rim of the space station.

Jamie takes deep breaths under the scrutiny of Dr Gemma Corwyn.

As he dresses, Gemma confirms that the Doctor is suffering from concussion.

As she fills out her report, the Scotsman provides his full name: James Robert McCrimmon. It is not as easy to provide the Doctor's full name...

... until the lid of Gemma's stethoscope box provides inspiration. 'Doctor... John Smith' he tells her, trying to brush off her bemused reaction.

He finds it even harder to explain his presence on the Silver Carrier. Gemma finally gives up, cheerfully directing Jamie to the parapsychology library. There, another crewmember will show him round the Wheel.

With Jamie packed on his way, Gemma patches through a visual link to the parapsychology library. An attractive young woman answers her call.

'Zoe – one of the people retrieved from the rogue spaceship is coming to your section,' Dr Corwyn explains. I'd like you to show him over the Wheel and observe him – discreetly of course.'

'It should be interesting,' replies the officious young woman. Zoe then interrupts their conversation to conclude the mental analysis of a half-solved problem.

Gemma patiently waits for the girl to clear her head before finalising the details of Jamie's surveillance.

Jamie, meanwhile, continues his journey around the Wheel, searching for the right door.

He walks into the circular room as Zoe is completing her delivery of information on nova star predominance.

Turning to greet him she immediately bursts into an uncontrollable giggle on seeing his attire. 'Your clothes,' she laughs, 'you're wearing female garments!'

When Jamie corrects her, she launches into a computer-like retrieval of information: 'Kilt? A barbaric form of garment as worn by a kiltie! Are you of Scandinavian origin? Danish?' His furious response is met only with mirth.

The power room is first stop on Zoe's guided tour. The area also houses a greenhouse for various interstellar flora. Jamie is introduced to Bill Duggan, who shows him the floating seeds which flourish in the power room's atmosphere.

Bill then takes them through to the next room, showing Jamie the capacitator bank for the X-ray lasers. 'We can blot out attackers up to ten thousand miles in any direction. Good eh?'

The anti-magnetic field generators prompt Jamie to mention the Doctor. Mention of another scientist arouses Zoe's curiosity. Jamie does his best to brush it off.

Elsewhere, Jarvis is becoming restless about the strangers and the unexplained phenomena. 'The routine's getting shoddy and I don't like it.'

Gemma is unaware of any unexplained phenomena.

But Jarvis is reluctant to enter into the subject. 'I'm used to emergencies. Trained for it. But... oh, I don't know... these things...'

Gemma delivers her report on Jamie, saying the boy is lying about how he came to be on the Silver Carrier, and lying about his companion's real name. Jarvis seizes upon the possibility that Jamie is a saboteur, intent on wrecking the space programme.

Gemma becomes alarmed by Jarvis's paranoia. He determinedly strides from her office.

Zoe, Bill and Jamie arrive at the operations and communications room.

Zoe explains that the Wheel is 'a half-way house for deep space ships, a space research station, stellar early warning station for all types of phenomena.' Jamie remains baffled.

Leo cheerfully informs everyone that they're in for a treat – Jarvis Bennett intends going ahead with the destruction of the Silver Carrier.

Jamie is shocked to learn how close he and the Doctor came to being killed in the drifting rocket. He finds it hard to disguise his concern at the rocket's imminent destruction. The TARDIS is, after all, still on board…

'It'll be great to see this at leisure,' smiles Leo, 'it should be quite an explosion.'

As the preparations continue, Jamie seems to go unnoticed.

He decides to slip away, heading for the power room.

His disappearance is soon commented on by Jarvis, who questions Bill about the Scotsman's possible whereabouts. When Bill mentions he showed Jamie the power room, Jarvis gives him instructions to follow him shortly.

Tanya quizzes Zoe over the cause of the agitation. The girl feigns cheerful naïvety.

'Leo,' the Russian woman asks, 'did I ever tell you about my nose? It's like a barometer. It never lets me down. I smell trouble!'

'I think it's got something to do with that rocket out there,' she replies. 'There's something sinister about it.'

Aboard the Silver Carrier, the sinister 'spawning' process continues. Inside the control cabin a harsh electronic grating accompanies the dimming of the lights and the culmination of a computer-controlled countdown.

In a dank corner, two of the egg-like spheres grow in size with an increasing electrical hum.

As the noise increases, one of the spheres begins to move, a vaguely humanoid shape becoming discernible within.

The noise reaches a crescendo, and a figure within becomes more sharply defined. A large foetal-like form is clearly developing.

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...

NEXT WEEK: The Cybermen awake.

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