I know I’ve seen parts of this, but again, so long ago that it might as well not matter.

Episode 1:

Two lovers say their farewells to the accompanyment of dramatic music. The man says he must go, there are men dying so Atrios must live!!!!

In the TARDIS, The Doctor says he’s never been to Atrios. Romana asks about Zeos, Atrios’ twin planet, which he’s not heard of either. The Time Lords banter.

Back on Atrios, the lovers are shown on a screen – obviously a teleplay of some sort. However, the screen is playing in what appears to be a makeshift hospital with many wounded. As the lovers kiss on the screen, we hear bombing outside the hospital. One hits above and part of the roof collapses on a bed-ridden man.

Tapes spin on a giant computer bank as various districts and levels and areas report in the casualties. A woman in ornate garb stands behind two men, obviously military commanders – one sits, the other stands by him. Men and women mill about as the reports come in and the blasting can be heard in the distance.

(The woman in ornate garb is played by Lalla Ward, whom we’ll meet again in another role before too long. If you don’t know of whom I speak, just keep following my blog, you’ll see soon enough.)

The seated man, the Marshal, demands to know about the counter-attacks. The standing man, a Major, says they’re still trying to locate the target. This enranges the Marshal, who says the target is Zeos. The Major says the Zeons have a new defense that makes targeting very hard.

When the report of the hit on the hospital comes in, the woman in ornate garb (okay, she’s Princess Astra, though we haven’t learned that yet) says she must go there. A guard says she cannot leave without an escort and the Marshal won’t let her go. He says they’re under nuclear attack.

Astra says they must negotiate for peace. The Marshal replies, “You don’t beg for peace, you win it!” After confirming that the raid is over, the Mashal acquiesces and lets her go with a guard. Before she leaves, the Marshal makes a comment about imagining a Surgeon Merak will be at the hospital. Astra glares at him in response to this.

At the hospital, the Marshal comes on the screen, imploring the people to remain brave and strong. On her way, Astra scoffs at the Marshal’s posturing.

When Astra gets to the hospital, she confronts Surgeon Merak, demanding to know why there are people in beds on the floor, all very imperial and serious. He explains they are over full and then says her rad check is due for a replacement and asks her to accompany him.

Once in a private room, they drop all pretense of seriousness and talk about contacting the Zeons. He insists they must make contact, even if they are seen as traitors. Astra says her messages aren’t going through, but she doesn’t think the Marshal is on to them – she says it’s as if Zeos wasn’t even there.

A bomb falls nearby and the guard finds the princess. Merak adopts a formal attitude with her.

The Marshal and Major Shapp discuss trying to figure out what is blocking them from targeting Zeos.

The TARDIS materialises in “parking orbit over Atrios”, but when they open the scanner, there’s nothing there. They reconfirm the coordinates, which are right. They see a planet of some sort in the distance on the scanner. The Doctor says something has gone wrong, and Romana speculates that perhaps the Black Guardian is behind it. They agree to take the TARDIS in on manual.

Major Shapp picks up the TARDIS in space and the Marshal speculates that it is the device interfering with their targeting. He orders Shapp to destroy it. He monologues about destroying it and they can still win and that wll show “Princess Astra and her pacifist friends.”

When he says this, he grabs the side of his neck and makes an odd face, then storms off to look into mirror. He rubs behind his ear again, monologuing some more as Shapp walks up behind him. He leaves, saying he has to “attend to… a matter of state.”

The guard escorting Astra back receives a communication; the guard tells her that her trip to visit some children is being rerouted to K Block, where the children are being relocated. She questions that K Block was shut down years ago for radiation contamination, but the guard says apparently it’s been cleared.

Romana says there’s no sign of Zeos, but she does get large radiation signature from Atrios. She speculates that there’s a nuclear war going on. The Doctor argues with her.

Why do you always assume the worst?”

Because it usually happens.”

Arriving at K Block, Astra seems reluctant. The guard implores her to enter, though they both know something is up. He begs her to enter, saying, “I’m only obeying orders.” She agrees and enters and he closes the doors behind her.

The Marshal steps out and shoots the guard, then walks away.

Astra pulls her cloak about her and notices her rad check wristband is beeping. She tries to open the doors, but cannot.

The Marshal returns to the command center. The TARDIS is just within range, and he gives the order to destroy it. Shapp argues to capture it, but the Marshal says that is likely what the Zeons want.

A nuclear missile is fired at the TARDIS. The Doctor tells Romana to wait until the last second, so those who fired it think it was destroyed.

The Marshal celebrates it being destroyed, though Shapp thought he saw it disappear just before impact.

The TARDIS materialises in an underground passage. There’s a nearby bomb hit. K-9 says that from radiation signatures, it is obvious there is a nuclear war going on the surface.

They find the body of the guard – the one the Marshal shot. The tracer leads them to the K Block door.

The Marshal stares into the mirror, oblivious to all about him, even when Shapp approaches and speaks to him. When the Major taps him on the shoulder, it snaps him out of his fugue state. Shapp reports that there is an attempted break-in to K Block. He doesn’t understand why, wondering why anyone would want to break into a high radiation area.

The Marshal leaves, saying he’ll deal with it personally and no one else is to be involved. He leaves Shapp orders to pick up Merak, which confuses the Major all the more.

K-9 burns a hole into the door to K Block. Astra peers out through the hole as The Doctor peers in. She asks for help, but the Marshal takes the Time Lords prisoner.

Princess Astra collapses.

K-9 moves to follow his master and mistress, but a bomb blast knocks debris down, blocking his exit.

Back at the command center, the Marshal accuses the Time Lords of Zeon spies. Merak is brought in and he demands to know why he has been taken away from his patients. The Marshal says these are his accomplices and they are responsible for the disappearance of the princess.

The Time Lords prevaricate, but the Marshal keeps questioning what they are doing there. The Doctor finally admits they’re looking for a key. He determines they are spies, working with Merak, and says unless they divulge the whereabouts of the princess, they’ll be executed.

K-9 shows up and takes out the lights as the Time Lords escape.

Someone opens an interior door, a secret door in the hallway and drags Princess Astra in to a small chamber, some sort of transmat, apparently, as they disappear once within.

The Time Lords return to the TARDIS, only to find it is not there… and the credits roll.

Oh, this is fun already. Crazy madman in charge of a war, a planet that cannot be found, Lalla Ward… great stuff!

Episode 2:

Merak finds the Time Lords and they discover that he loves her. K-9 arrives and The Doctor (having tried to look through the hole in the order) orders him to open the door.

The Doctor asks Merak why the Marshal would want to get rid of Astra; Merak says that the Marshal knows they were trying to end the war peacefully.

The burst through the door, to find that Astra is not there, but they do find her circlet/crown that she wore. Leaving K-9 there, The Doctor sets off to find out what the Marshal is up to.

The Marshal is up to staring in the mirror again. Shapp says they’re tracking the spies and Merak and they’re coming their way. The Marshal gives the order to find their machine (K-9) and have it recycled.

K-9 follows a glowing light pattern into a trap door. We see him on a conveyor belt with other scrap metal, saying his systems are damaged.

The Marshal tells Shapp not to have the spies roughed up once they’re captured… not yet, at least. The Time Lords and Merak are taken prisoner by guards.

The Doctor tries to speak to the Marshal, but he’s too busy staring in the mirror. Shapp explains that he’s meditating; when things aren’t going well, this is how he makes most of his decisions. The Doctor says that’s the first sign of megalomania.

The Marshal greets The Doctor, happy to see him, saying his coming has been foretold, that he had forgotten this. He says The Doctor shall lead them to victory against the Zeons.

Shapp reports they have located the Zeon fleet. The Marshal gives the order to launch a counter attack and invites The Doctor to sit in his chair.

K-9 is on the conveyor belt; it’s obviously getting hot as he laments, “Temperature unacceptable, request further instructions, master. Master?”

Romana, Merak, Shapp and the Marshal stand behind The Doctor in his chair. The counter attack is launched. On the screen, we see both forces approaching each other. Atrios only has six ships in their war fleet and they are severely outnumbered.

War is an expensive business, Doctor, but worth it.” – The Marshal

As they watch, two Atrios ships are destroyed, only one Zeon ship. The Marshal refuses to let them retreat, until another ship is destroyed, and then he gives them permission to break off.

The Marshal appeals to The Doctor for help. The Doctor says peace is the weapon they need. The Doctor makes a deal – help him find the Princess and he’ll help them with the “Ultimate Deterrent”.

K-9 is beginning to smoke and smolder.

The Doctor proposes a forcefield, but says he’ll need K-9. Shapp reveals that K-9 is on the way to the furnace and The Doctor sets off to rescue him. As The Doctor goes in to rescue K-9, the Marshal begins to panic, saying The Doctor must not die. He grabs Shapp, as if it were his fault, but it seems that a plug on the Marshal’s neck (the area he’s been fiddling with all the while, but this is the first time we’ve seen something there) causes him pain, stopping him.

The Doctor returns, with K-9. That settled, The Doctor suggests a psychological forcefield, saying he needs to meet with a Zeon. The Marshal says there are no Zeon prisoners.

Romana draws The Doctor aside to tell him about the device in his neck, suggesting it is a control device. Merak, listening in, complains about questions without answers. The Doctor starts double-guessing, wondering if they’re walking into the Black Guardian’s trap.

When Merak demands to know where Astra is, The Doctor posits that she may be on Zeos. Romana brings up that Zeos can’t be located, but he assures her that it is there, just hidden.

The Doctor tells Romana and Merak to check out the Marshal’s mirror, to see if they can find a way to whatever is behind it.

As another wave of Zeon ships come in, the Marshal bemoans not having any reinforcements. He demands that The Doctor give him a force field right away. The Doctor says a physical forcefield would require too much energy and would burn out the planet. Again, he talks of a psychological one, but he needs a Zeon to examine.

The Doctor says he can go to Zeos, grab a Zeon and even bring back Astra if she’s there.

Suddenly, Astra comes over a broadcast, imploring her people to surrender, to hand over the Marshal. The Marshal pulls a plug, ending the broadcast (at least in the command center?) He asks if the forcefield will give them time and The Doctor says, “Yes, it will give you time to save your neck, hmm?”

The Marshal grabs his neck and runs to his mirror. He tells The Doctor he may go to Zeos.

Inside, behind the mirror, Romana and Merak see the Marshal. Inside with them is what appears to be a crystal skull on a pedestal. As The Doctor walks off, the Marshal turns to the mirror and addresses it (or perhaps the skull), saying, “The Time Lord suspects nothing, I’ve directed him to the transmat in K Block.” Romana is shocked to hear that he knows what race they are.

The Marshal appeals to the skull, “My Lord, once you have the secrets of time, give me my victory.”

Merak and Romana leave, to warn The Doctor.

The Doctor and K-9 make their way to K Block. The Doctor stops and wonders to K-9 why the Marshal is the only one who knows of a transmat beam to the enemy planet and why he would tell him. “I think one of us is being extremely stupid,” the Time Lord tells his robot. K-9 agrees, “Affirmative.”

In K Block, they find the transmat chamber. K-9 advises not entering the chamber. The Doctor says his farewell to the robot and enters; inside, The Doctor is grabbed by two figures (dressed the same as the one who rescued Astra) and the three of them disappear.

Romana bangs on the door, calling The Doctor’s name… and the credits roll.

Episode 3:

Merak is confused how going into a room will take The Doctor to Zeos. Romana gets a wonderfully snarky line, “I’ll explain it to you another time, when I’ve got about two weeks to spare.” She confirms his suspicions that the figures they saw grabbing The Doctor were Zeons.

The Marshal argues with the skull behind the mirror, saying he was promised victory. The skull says the war has served its purpose, as has the Marshal. It tells him now that it has the Time Lord, there will be no more attacks from Zeos.

The Marshal says he will lead an assault personally. Shapp reports that the Zeon fleet left suddenly, when they had Atrios at their mercy. The Marshal says they’ve exhausted their resources, and now is the time to counter strike.

K-9 confirms that the TARDIS is missing.

The Zeons place a control device on The Doctor’s throat, much like the Marshal’s. A robed figure, who seems to be directing things, says he is under his power now, but The Doctor easily removes the device. They place him in a chamber.

The figure introduces himself as The Shadow, saying he is The Doctor’s adversary. He knows of the Key To Time. When The Doctor denies knowledge of the location of the other segments, he is tortured.

The TARDIS is present in the room and The Doctor confirms that the segments are in there. He agrees to open it for them and they release him.

Merak and Romana notice that the bombing has stopped. K-9 opens the transmat chamber and Merak grabs the tracer from her, going in. The door shuts before Romana can stop him and he beams to Zeos.

The Shadow demands that The Doctor bring him the first five segments, but The Doctor bluffs and banters. The Shadow says he is patient; another 1000 years would be nothing. The Shadow and his men disappear from the room.

Merak arrives and starts looking for Astra, calling out for her.

We see a ship or space station in space. Then we see Astra, chained in what appears to be a cavern. She protests that she does not know, but The Shadow insists that she must know about the sixth segment, as the secret has been passed down through the royal lineage. She protests more. The Shadow does not believe her and threatens Merak, who they watch on a screen in the cavern.

When she shouts for Merak, The Shadow reveals she’s not on Zeos, she’s not even one million miles of Zeos.

On Atrios, the Marshal demands to know where Shapp is. A staff member says he’s investigator an intruder report in K Block. The Marshal demands that every ship be made ready for the attack on Zeos, but the staffer says there’s only one ship left, “Your esca… er, your command module, sir.” The Marshal orders it made ready.

Shapp enters K Block, as Romana and K-9 access the transmat chamber. Shapp, not having seen them disappear, slips into the chamber, his face registering surprise as he disappears.

On Zeos, Romana and K-9 search about. She instructs him to find The Doctor while she goes after Merak and the tracer. Shapp exits shortly thereafter, blaster in hand. He tries using his communication device, but it doesn’t work. He hides as he hears someone approach.

The Doctor enters and notices tracks in the dirty floor – Romana, Merak and K-9’s. Shapp takes him prisoner, asking him what’s going on. Shapp is shocked to realise he’s on Zeos, and refuses to believe it, saying it must be an old area of Atrios.

Merak finds Astra’s bracelet. Hearing someone, he hides and moves to attack, but Romana grabs his arm. She gets him to agree to stop interfering, saying they’re all looking for Astra. He shows her the bracelet, which Romana scans, seeing that it does register somewhat with the tracer.

Shapp and The Doctor wander about, musing that there’s nobody there. The Doctor asks Shapp if he’s ever seen a Zeon and Shapp says they used to trade with them before the war. He says they look pretty much the same as those from Atrios, although their fashion was different.

The Doctor asks if they were tall, gaunt and wore black robes, like those who took him prisoner, but Shapp says no Zeon he ever saw looked like that.

K-9 arrives, saying he’s been communicating with the Zeon Commandant. It seems that the Zeon Commandant is not an organic entity.

The Marshal rants and monologues about destroying the Zeon threat, blah blah blah, over the broadcast system. “Victory, my people! Victory! Or Death!” Yeah, he’s a complete nutter.

Romana and Merak have reunited with The Doctor, who postulates that the bracelet has been in contact with the sixth segment and that is why it is partially registering for the tracer.

There’s a bit of overacting/melodrama on Merak’s behalf, and Shapp tells him to be calm, exercise more selfcontrol. Then he rushes off, worriedly, after The Doctor. I guess that was funny.

The Marshal’s esca… er, attack vessel flies from Atrios. He and a pilot are manning the ship.

K-9 leads them into a room, telling everyone to remain silent. He spins around (not sure what the point of that was) as the Time Lords wonder what’s wrong with him. He chastises them to silence, then communicates with a series of beeps. A door opens and he enters, telling them to remain there.

Inside a room, K-9 circles around a pyramid like construct. He stops and extends his forehead link and he and the crystal atop of the pyramid make noises and flashes. He retracts his link and departs.

Returning to the Time Lords, he tells them that the Commandant will see them; The Doctor orders Merak and Shapp to remain as they enter. He then calls Shapp in, to show him the enemy. Shapp is confused, so The Doctor explains that there are no Zeons on Zeos.

Shapp moves to blast it, but a wall laser blasts his hand.

The Doctor asks K-9 to ask Mentalis (the computer) about Astra, but all information about her is “inaccessible”. K-9 confirms that the war is over, saying the next step is obliteration for everything. There’s a dramatic moment as everyone stares at each other.

The Marshal urges his pilot on, “Faster, faster!” They locate the target and prepare to attack… and the credits roll.

Interesting, a bit sedate for a cliffhanger, but the one we’ll have to go with until Friday.  

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