A Loose Cannon reconstruction, this serial is almost completely missing – only episode two of six survived the purges. I know nothing else of the serial, so here we go…

Episode 1:

 Beacon Alpha One is approached by a small, sleek ship, which docks with the beacon’s airlock. Inside, three men in spaces suits carrying black boxes enter through the airlock into the beacon and move off in seperate directions.

 (There’s some jaunty music playing in the score all the while. I rather like it.)

 Outside the ship and beacon, men in space suits exit the ship and begin attaching magnetic charges to weak spots, others attaching propulsion units on the beacon’s hull.

 One of the men, Caven, calls to Dervish (one of the three men who first entered via the airlock), saying they’ll detonate by radio beam. All the men, inside and out, return to the ship, which seperates from the beacon and moves to a safe distance before detonating the charges.

 After a title sequence, we see another ship with the designation V-41-LO on its underbelly, flying through space. We go inside to the bridge, where men and women mil about. Major Warne reports to General Hormack. It seems they’ve learned of the cessation of the beacon’s signal. The General suspects foul play, not mechanical failure. He says the beacons are constructed of argonite, as if it explains everything.

 The General gets on the PA to address the crew, telling them about a group of space pirates, whose main target is defenseless cargo ships. The pirates are after argonite, “the most valuable mineral known to man”. He goes on to announce, WITH NO PROOF ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, that he has decided that the pirates are to blame for the beacon’s failure (they haven’t even gotten TO the beacon yet to find out. Granted, he’s right, but this is completely illogical and stupid.) As a result of his lack of proof, he’s decided to “abandon the present mission” and try to find which beacon the pirates will go after next.

 We see Beacon Alpha Seven, identical to the first beacon we saw. Again, the sleek pirate ship docks and the events unfold exactly as they did before, complete with jaunty music. Inside the airlock, Caven and Dervish argue – Dervish seems to be uncomfortable about getting caught. Their work continues.

 The military ship has narrowed their patrol down to an area where four beacons are close (and I gather not far from where the previous becaon was, too.) The major tells a crewman to keep an eye on the scanner – I guess the plan is to try to rush towards wherever the next beacon goes out, in hopes of catching the pirates still there?

 The General tells the Major they’re going to orbit the planet Ta, home to the Issigri Mining Corporation (one of the most powerful/wealthy corporations in the galaxy), for several weeks while hoping to capture the pirates.

 The crewman gets a “contact” from Beacon Alpha Seven (okay, so I guess they’re tying into the beacons, which must register when ships dock with them, that makes a lot more sense.) The General orders the records to be checked to see if anyone is supposed to be there, but orders a course change immediately.

 Again, we see the dart disembark from the beacon. The military ship watches from afar (via scanner?) and note the beacon is still active. The major speculates that perhaps they stopped to pick up emergency supplies as some beacons store that on board. The crewman picks up a UHF signal (this seems kinda silly to me, but I’m not exactly all scientifical – anyone out there who is, let me know if UHF is a viable signal to be picked up over great distances in space? I know getting it on rabbit ears used to be a damn pain…) which they say is reserved for demolitions.

 Again, the beacon goes BLOOIE! The military ship goes into pursuit mode after the ship. They lose contact with the ship and are amazed that the fragments of the beacon move off on their own as well. The general says the only option is to man the beacons – place four or five soldiers on each beacon.

 We see the V-ship (the military ship) docking with a beacon; Warne accompanies some men onto the beacon (Alpha Four) and gives them rations and a signal box to contact the ship in case of pirates. The men are expected to stay on the beacon for six weeks. (Yikes – the place is able to support people, but wasn’t intended for people to live there any period of time. We gonna get a case of space madness?)

 The V-ship moves off, heading to deposit men at Beacon Alpha Nine next.

 Back on Alpha Four, the TARDIS appears in the computer bay. A young guard hears the sound and runs off to tell the commanding soldier, Sorba. The Doctor and his companions have exited the TARDIS and The Doctor is rather impressed with the computers there (strange, as he usually hates computers.)

 They begin to wander the corridors and Sorba and his men come around the corner and begin firing. The travelers run off and Sorba gives orders to shoot to kill. Unbeknownst to all, the pirate ship arrives at the beacon and docks. (Ok, there’d be some sign of that. The beacon would shake, there’d be noticeable noise, something.)

 Caven and Dervish discuss the procedure and settle on the same as last time. They hear the guards firing their guns. Caven gives the order to get the crew back in the ship on the double.

 The Doctor and his companions are on the run from the guards. (I wonder if I can see where this is going….)

 Sorba and his men are using their blasters to melt the door to where The Doctor, Zoe and Jamie are hiding. From behind, the pirates approach and begin firing at the guards. Sorba is hit in the shoulder, but manages to activate the signal before he goes down. (Why didn’t he do that first thing when realising there were intruders on board?)

 Back on the V-ship, they receive the emergency signal. The general orders the ship on course to Alpha Four immediately, giving orders to burn the engines at full speed as long as possible, “without vaporising the motors.”

 On the beacon, the pirates have seemingly killed the Space Corps guards. Dervish and Caven argue, wondering why the guards were there. They find the transmitter, and Caven tells Dervish that he’d better hurry – they’re still going to do the work they came to do.

 The V-ship rushes towards the beacon – but they’re two hours, twenty minutes away.

 One of the guards (Sorba?) is still alive and Caven is interrogating him. They argue about whose side “the others” (The Doctor and his companions) are on. Caven uses his laser to seal the door to where the travelers are hiding.

 The Doctor tries to open the door but it’s hot to the touch. They hear someone outside the hull banging around (presumably pirates attaching charges.) When they try the door again, The Doctor realises the lock has been melted.

 The dart disembarks from the beacon and moves to a safe distance, as seen before. The V-ship watches from afar, ninety minutes away. They watch as the beacon is blown apart, and we see the room The Doctor and companions are in shake and they’re thrown about, crying out… and the credits roll.

 Now, I think a better cliffhanger would have been on the blowing up of the beacon, with no sign of them – granted, we know they’re not going to die, but still, for a moment, everyone’s hearts would have skipped a beat.

 So far, interesting episode. Yay, pirates!


Episode 2:

 (the only surviving episode)

 The debris from the beacon is preventing the V-ship from getting a lock on the pirate ship. The general yells at the crewman calling him useless. Yeah, he’s a fucking charmer, that general.

 Hey, look, they have a coffee dispenser with styrofoam cups on the bridge! YES! In fact, now I’m craving (more) coffee, so I’m pausing playback to go make a pot…

 Okay, back with some Folgers Gourmet Caramel Drizzle (no, they’re not a sponsor of this blog, but they could be. I’m cheap.) Major Warne and General Hermack enjoy a cuppa on the bridge. The general beats the major to the discussion about how harsh he was with the men. The general doesn’t apologise (he’s a general, after all) and the talk turns to finding the pirate base.

 They pick up another ship on the scanner, an old C-class freighter (apparently an older model, as the major exclaims he didn’t know they were still flying – though wouldn’t ‘spacing’ be a better term?) Inside the freighter, we see a comical man dressed in western fashion settling down for his breakfast, though his toast is burnt, then the lights start flickering. To fix the latter, he hits the side of the cabin with a wrench. Before he can settle in to eat, he gets a radio call from the V-ship, and tells them to “go away”, but the general is adamant that they talk.

 After they run the ship’s ID, the general bursts out laughing – he knows of the pilot, Milo Clancey, a bit of a legend when the general was coming up the ranks. The general tells him that they’ll be boarding shortly.

 The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe start to recover from their experience. They’re safely inside one of the partitions of the beacon.

 Clancey is brought aboard the V-ship bridge. He plays the bumpkin, but I suspect he’s not as simple as he’s putting on. He tells them that he’s been sending in reports about the organised pirates that he’s tracked to this system.

 The Doctor has discovered that the beacon has been seperated into pieces and they’ve been seperated from the TARDIS, at least presently. The Doctor hears a strange noise and goes to investigate.

 The general, rather surprisingly, lets Clancey go. Major Warne doesn’t seem to approve, and thinks Clancey is in league with them – the general agrees, and even thinks Clancey is the head pirate, which is why he let him go.

 The Doctor fiddles (oh dear) in the electronics in the wall, while his companions watch and talk about him: Jamie: “What’s he up to, now?” Zoe: “I don’t know, why don’t you ask him?” Jamie: “Oh, what’s the use? He’s got his mysterious face on.”

 Major Warne gives orders for a minnow (short range pursuit cruiser, I gather) to be readied for launch, with contact warheads fitted to the “Martian missiles”. Why are the missiles Martian? Did they buy them from the Ice Warriors? Major Warne is on the minnow, which looks like it should be called a mosquito. He heads out to follow Clancey.

 The Doctor determines that the sections were originally held together by magnetic force and the explosions just broke the field that held them together, but didn’t do any structural damage. He has a theory that he can amplify the power of the magnetic field, it should draw the next one closer and they can try reforming the beacon, section by section. Zoe worries, however, that if the next closest section is magnetically similar, amplifying will just repel it or them instead.

 The V-ship heads to Planet Ta, while a very Star Trek-ish theme plays. We next see General Hermack in the office of Madeline Issigri, on the planet, receiving a report from Warne. Issigri realises that Warne is following Clancey, who used to be part of the company, but after her father died (and Clancey was rumoured to be responsible for that), they split off from him. General Hermack feels that Clancey is working with the pirates because Issigri has become so powerful and his mining company has fallen into obscurity.

 The Doctor throws the switch, but it throws them off into space, away from the other sections. Now they are floating hopelessly into space…

 Warne reports in unexpectedly to General Hermack – it seems Clancey has stopped near the sections of the beacon. Hermack gives orders to Warne to arrest him. Issigri seems rather pleased at the turn of events.

 The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe are getting weak as their oxygen fades, but suddenly the bolts in the hull are cut open and a panel falls off, as Clancey comes in. Jamie moves to attack, and Clancey shoots him with the cutting gun. Jamie collapses as Zoe cries out, “You murderer,”… and the credits roll.

 Now that’s a fine cliffhanger.

Episode 3:

 The General sends Penn to take the V-ship to go assist Major Warne. Madeline Issigri criticises Hermack’s treatment; I get the feeling she’s behind the pirates, not Clancey. Warne reports in that the’s getting no response from Clancey. Clancey’s ship is nestled against one of the sections of the beacon. Warne sends another warning, but nobody is in the cockpit to receive it.

 Clancey demands to know what’s going on. The Doctor tells Zoe that Jamie is only stunned. Clancey realises that they cannot be the pirates.

 “It’s very rude to point, especially with a gun.” – Zoe to Clancey.

 This scene is really cute, mostly for Clancey’s confusion, and The Doctor and companion’s banter. When they tell Clancey that their ship is in another section, but inside, Clancey’s response is “That’s not possible!”

 Jamie replies, “Anything is possible with the TARDIS, especially when he’s at the controls,” meaning The Doctor. Now, that’s clever and fun on its own (and once more, I feel the need to indicate that Jamie has rapidly become one of, if not my all time favourite companions for many reasons including the witty banter and barbs he’s thrown at The Doctor), but then The Doctor gets in a wonderful retort of his own: “Jamie, you’re feeling better…”

 Meanwhile, the minnow fires a warning shot. The section of the beacon shakes violently and Clancey runs out, followed by the rest. Clancy seperates from the beacon section and takes his ship out of there. Warne gives Clancey one last chance to surrender, but the old man traps the minnow and missile are trapped in some field that stops them both. I have no idea how it works, or anything, as the audio is in this bit is really, really scratchy and there’s background noise making it harder.

 Clancey explains that argonite is the most valuable, expensive metal and is used in most forms of space travel and machinery and stations… and apparently missiles. I think he ‘froze’ the rocket and the minnow by some magnet trick – he keeps saying something about copper needles, though I hope he’s not being literal. Anyhow.

 Clancey tells Zoe to make tea. Yes, really.

 Warne reports in to say that all his systems are out of action. Though how he’s able to report in, if that’s the case…? Hermack contacts the V-ship and orders all minnows launched and to have Clancey’s ship destroyed.

 The Liz (Clancey’s ship) is rattling along (literally, it’s a bumpy ride), much to the consternation of the passengers. Clancey is heading to planet Ta, thinking they’ll never think for them there. He tells them that Ta is home to the Issigri Mining Corporation, which he is at odds with.

 General Hermack makes plans to leave; Issigri asks his plans and he tells her in detail (go help Warne then go to planet Lobos, thinking the pirates are there, since that’s Clancey’s base of operations. I’m still saying she’s behind the pirates, just you wait and see.) On his way out of her office, he notices a model of a sleek spaceship (apparently he’s been there for hours and just now notices it?) It’s a dart, and she says the corporation just bought two. He tells her the pirates have one.

 “I’m sure you’re wrong about Milo Clancey.” – Madeline Issigri to the general. Of course she is, she’s a pirate, or working with them. The general leaves and when he does, she picks up the phone and makes a call.

 Clancey lands the Liz on Ta. Zoe works on some figures on pen and paper, while Jamie and The Doctor debate their predicament. Zoe announces she’s worked out where the TARDIS should be. It turns out that the course would have led the beacon sections close to Ta! They slip out of the ship into the underground landing area.

 In an underground base, Dervish is summoned to talk to Caven. He’s sending Dervish out to re-route the Alpha Four sections to planet Lobos. Dervish argues that it can’t be done, then argues that Caven is the master pilot, why doesn’t he do it. Caven pulls a gun on the engineer. Dervish gives in at that. Suddenly, an alarm sounds – there are intruders in the tunnels.

 The intruders are The Doctor and his companions, of course.

 Clancey returns to the Liz, to discover his passengers have left. “Why can’t people do what they’re told?” He leaves to find them.

 Wandering the tunnels, The Doctor and companions discover the pirates cutting apart a section of the beacon. Caven and some guards come into the tunnel and, spotting the intruders, begin to fire. Zoe slips through an entrance in the tunnel wall, but falls when she goes through. The Doctor and Jamie follow her in, also falling. We hear the three of them call out as they fall… and the credits roll.

Episode 4:

 The Doctor and his companions seem to have fallen down a shaft into a chamber in the caverns. They seem to be okay, but hear someone groaning. Checking it out, they recognise Sorba as the man from the beacon who was shooting at them.

 Dervish reports in to Caven that the Space Corps cruiser is awfully close to him. Caven shows Dervish a detonator, saying it will trigger a bomb in the dart, and he will trigger it if Dervish doesn’t follow through with the plan.

 Hermack boards the V-ship, and gives orders to head to Lobos. Major Warne is aboard and Hermack gives him a hard time for losing Clancey. Apparently, they really were copper needles in space that stopped the ship and missile from moving? I don’t get it.

 Sorba doesn’t trust The Doctor and his companions, but he reluctantly talks to them, telling them that there’s no way out. The Doctor says there must be.

 Dervish reports in that only seven of the eight sections are there. Caven recalls Sorba saying that there were strangers on the beacon and says he’ll question Sorba about them.

 The Doctor fiddles (AUGH!) about with the cave wall, listening with a stethoscope. He hears an audio lock and pulls out a tuning fork and begins to twang it.

 The V-ship scans the remaining pieces of the beacon, though they note only seven sections. As they watch, a ship appears on the scanner, circling the sections of the beacon. Warne goes out in a minnow, to chase the dart.

 The dart flies to where a coloured nose camouflage is floating, and slips the nose into the cover – Madeline Issigri had told Hermack earlier that the Issigri darts have coloured nose cones.

 Clancey opens up the door to the cell, but The Doctor and his associates thinks he’s with the pirates, since he brought them to the pirate base. He lectures them for not listening to him in the first place. Two guards arrive, and Clancey shoots one, but the other escapes.

 An alarm sounds and everyone rushes off.

 Getting a report that the escapees know the tunnels better than the pirates do, Caven realises that it must be Clancey – obviously this base was Clancey’s and the pirates have bogarted it.

 While running from the guards, Clancey fills in everyone on how he thought it was suspicious that Issigri was able to find more lodes of argonite on Ta, after her father and Clancey had tapped out the planet completely. He quickly deduced that the pirates were bringing the stolen argonite back to Ta. They start running again as they hear their pursuers coming close. They stop at a power converter box, while Jamie fires Clancey’s gun down the tunnel, trying to keep the guards at bay.

 The Doctor set a booby trap as they run off again, and a pirate is killed by it.

 Clancey, Sorba and our heroes end up in the offices of Madeline Issigri; they don’t realise that she’s running the show, obviously. They ask her to call Space Corps, but she tries to play it off that her guards can handle it. Milo gets irate and says he’ll call them himself, but she draws a gun on the old man.

 Caven and some pirates arrive just then, and he shoots Sorba who grabbed a weapon, killing him… and the credits roll.

Episode 5:

 Madeline and Caven butt heads over who is running the show. She doesn’t want him to murder them, though Caven seems adamant. Jamie is about to try something but Clancey and The Doctor stop him from trying something foolish.

 Caven has them taken away and locked up. He says he had a better idea than killing them, one that will help them get rid of the “nuisance” Space Corps ship.

 Warne reports in to the general, saying that there were no signs of the pirates on Lobos. He suggests to Hermack that the beacon sections being brought near there may have been a diversion. Hermack has Penn predict a destination from the original course, which he does, revealing that Ta was the original destination!

 The Doctor, his companions and Clancey are taken into a room and locked in there. Clancey is surprised to find a photo of Dom Issigri in there and says they’re in Dom’s private study.

 They find some candles and light them (having to show Zoe how candles work, of course.) Clancey wonders why Madeline had them lock them in here – when Dom disappeared, Madeline locked up the study, swearing that nobody would ever set foot inside.

 The Doctor notices that a grandfather clock is ticking, saying that someone must have been in here recently to keep it wound. Everyone wonders why someone would do that. Zoe sees a bare foot stick out from beneath a table and, moving the tablecloth, they find Dom Issigri, though he babbles incoherently.

 Caven and Madeline discuss what they must do – Hermack will be coming back to Ta before long. It’s just a matter of time before the general figures everything out. Caven wants to put the prisoners into Clancey’s ship and let them be found in orbit over Ta, hoping to pin the blame on Clancey.

 Madeline insists that there be no more killing, but Caven points out that while she might be the leader of an important corporation on Earth, here on Ta, he has all the power – he has twice as many men as she does. Caven tells Dervish to rig the Liz with a remote control and to sabotage the oxygen to fail after five minutes.

 Dom is terrified, still mostly incoherent. Clancey is horrified, trying to talk to his old friend. He tries to talk to Dom quietly, about past events, trying to get his friend to calm down, to remember, to recall their friendship.

 When Madeline finds out that Caven had the prisoners put in the study, she flips out, demanding the guard let her in, but he refuses. The guard tells another pirate to go inform Caven what happened.

 Dom starts to recognise Milo Clancey, starts to regain his coherence. He tells them he’s been in there for years. Caven was the one who captured Dom and made him prisoner.

 Madeline appeals to Dervish, trying to find an ally against Caven. When she saw Caven shoot Sorba, she realised how dangerous, how evil he was. Dervish is afraid of Caven, and of whatever hold Caven has over him – something about a mistake he made that Caven found out about.

 After Dervish rushes off, Madeline tries to contact General Hermack. The call is received on the V-ship and they put it on for the general. Just as the call starts and Madeline tries to tell him, the call is cut off on her end by Caven.

 Caven reveals to her that her father is still alive and shows her a recent photograph. She strikes him, angry and upset, breaking down into tears.

 General Hermack orders the V-ship back to Ta, worried about what Issigri wanted to say.

 Caven has Madeline call back to the V-ship to give him some bull story, but Hermack says he’s still coming there, there’s something he needs to look into. After the call is terminated, Caven tells her he’s counting on the ship coming there.

 The Doctor and his fellow prisoners light a fire to some rags. The guards come in and slip on wax and marbles placed to trip them up. Using household objects as weapons, the prisoners escape.

 Madeline gloats as Caven gets a report that they escaped. Caven gives orders for the prisoners not to be stopped as long as they are heading to the Liz. Caven has plans to cut their oxygen by remote control so Hermack will find “a ship full of dead pirates”.

 The Doctor, Clancey and Dom arrive at the Liz, but they’ve been seperated from Jamie and Zoe. Clancey prepares the ship for take-off. The Doctor leaves to find his companions.

 The V-ship is sighted in orbit and Caven gives the order for Dervish to launch the Liz via remote control. Clancey watches as his ship’s levers start throwing themselves and he realises that The Doctor will be fried in the engine blast!

 The Doctor begins to panic as the engines prepare to fire… and the credits roll.

 Man, I can’t imagine having to wait after a cliffhanger ending EVERY FREAKING WEEK. I hate the occasional two-parters in the new run because they hit you with the biggest cliffhangers.

Episode 6:

 Fumes surround The Doctor, as he backs away, but he collapses, limply.

 Jamie and Zoe hear the sound of the rocket engines and they rush in, afraid The Doctor is leaving without them. They find The Doctor collapsed and pick him up, carrying him away.

 The rocket has launched and Caven gives the orders for the oxygen to be cut, despite the pleas of Madeline.

 Dom and Milo realise their air flow has been cut.

 Dervish claims that they won’t find the micro-circuit, it’s too small and well-hidden. Caven realises that only Dom and Milo are aboard and freaks out, demanding to know where the other prisoners are.

 The Doctor wakes, recovering from the fumes. He tells them he doesn’t think Milo (Clancey) was responsible for launching it, but suspects it was remote control. The three of them determine that Caven must have a control device and they set off to find it and save their friends.

 The V-ship returns to Ta; they detect the rocket on their scanner, but aren’t sure what it is.

 Madeline appeals to Dervish, one more time. The Doctor and his companions arrive on the far side of the room. Dervish pulls his gun on Madeline as she nags him to help and Jamie grabs it. In the struggle, the gun fires and blasts the control unit before Jamie disarms Dervish, who runs off.

 The Doctor grabs the damaged unit and works on it, first the air conditioning, getting the air flowing on the ship. Then they get the radio working, and they try to contact them, but both Milo and Dom are unconscious on the ship. After a minute or so, the two men recover and speak to Madeline, putting her at ease.

 General Hermack contacts Clancey, who tells him to shut up, he’s got some news for him that will “curl your hair”. When Hermack hears Clancey’s story, he questions it until Dom Issigri comes on the channel himself.

 The Doctor talks Clancey through trying to find the control circuit.

 Caven contacts Madeline from outside the main door. She tells him he can’t cut through the main door in time before the Space Corps get there, but Caven sends Dervish off to lay charges at the atomic power plant to blow everything sky high.

 The Doctor is still talking Milo through finding the control circuit and how to circumvent it. This is the comic relief segment. Eventually, Milo gets control of the ship back.

 Dervish finishes connecting the explosive charges to the atomic power units and he and Caven rush to their ship.

 Warne pursues the pirates’ dart, but Caven tells Hermack to pull back or he’ll blow everything.

 Milo lands the Liz, and Madeline contacts him, telling him he needs to get to the office. He arrives there and frees them, and everyone rushes out to deal with the bomb.

 At the power room, The Doctor puts on Dervish’s protective suit. Madeline says he has about six minutes and he goes in, while the others watch from beyond the safety door. Everyone watches from outside, tensely, as The Doctor takes his time checking out the control box and wires, trying to determine where to begin.

 As the minutes pass, The Doctor opens up the device and gently removes components, unscrewing detonators. As Jamie and Zoe complain, Milo reminds them that if he does the wrong thing, it’ll blow.

 Hermack gives Warne the order to attack, even though there’s still almost two minutes left. Warne attacks and Caven triggers his detonation signal as promised. In the power room, the detonation light flashes on the control box, but The Doctor has successfully deactivated it.

 The dart is destoryed by Warne’s missiles.

 Madeline gives the good news about the destruction of the pirates, but makes plans to return to Earth for her trial.

 Much to Jamie’s consternation, they have to hitch a ride with Milo back to Lobos, as the TARDIS is still in one of the orbiting beacon sections. Everyone has a laugh at Jamie… and the final credits roll.

 A rather good serial, thankfully enjoyabe due to the hard work by the crew at LOOSE CANNON. I think this one would be a great one to be animated by the Beeb sometime soon. (Hint, hint.)

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