The Doctor, Lilith, Ian, Barbara, and Susan exited the TARDIS to find a room with people in uniform sitting in chairs, very still
“You were right, Barbara,” Ian said. “We have landed in something.”
“It's a spaceship,” the Doctor decided. “Close the door, Susan. Let us be careful. There's been some kind of catastrophe here.”
Susan used the key around her neck to lock the TARDIS. Ian went over to take the pulse of one man. “Dead.”
“This one's a girl,” Susan said, referring to the other body.
Barbara checked her pulse. “I'm afraid she's the same. What could have happened? I can't see a wound or anything.”
“I’m tempted to say ‘basilisk’, but I know no one’s going to get the reference,” Lilith said.
“Ooh, Harry Potter!” Susan exclaimed, happily. “I’ve only just finished reading Chamber of Secrets.”
“Could the cause of death be suffocation, Doctor?” Ian asked.
“I never make uninformed guesses, my friend,” the Doctor said, making Lilith scoff. “But certainly that's one answer. Oh, dear, dear, dear, what a tragedy you know. She's only a few years older than Susan.”
“Psychically,” Lilith amended.
“Grandfather, let's go back to the TARDIS,” suggested Susan.
“I don't know.” She shifted uncomfortably. “I've got a feeling about this.”
Lilith raised her hand. “I second that.”
“Yes, I can sense something, too,” Barbara said.
“Chesterton, have you noticed anything about this watch?” The Doctor showed him the girl’s watch, and then the man’s. “Neither of them are working. These are the non-winding type. A movement of the wrist recharges the spring inside for twenty four hours.”
“Yes, and they both stopped at about three o'clock,” Ian noted.
“Yes, then suppose we say that they've only just stopped. Now that would mean that the last movement of their wrists would be at least twenty four hours ago.”
Susan touched the man’s arm. “Grandfather, he's still warm.”
Lilith frowned. “But that would mean they died recently.”
The Doctor shook his head. “It doesn't make sense, does it? But the facts are all here. I think it would be wise if we returned to the ship and left these people. There's nothing we can do for them. “Come along, Susan.”
Lilith felt a pang of homesickness.
Come along, Pond.
Suddenly, the man groaned and slumped forward over his desk. Lilith had to stop herself from swearing in Gallifreyan. “Ah, crap. It’s the gas mask zombies again.”
“His heart had stopped beating, Doctor. He was dead!”
The man mumbled something unintelligible.
“What do you want?” Ian asked. “Yes?”
“Over there, behind you, on the left,” the man moaned.
Ian held up a metal box. “What, this?”
“Yes, that.” The man nodded Ian gave it to him, and Lilith could hear his heart beat get stronger. “Carol. Place this against Carol's chest.”
“I'm sorry, Carol's dead,” Barbara said.
“Please, do as I ask.”
Barbara placed the box on Carol’s chest and her heart started again.
Ian gaped at them. “You were both dead.”
“Grandfather, what was in that box?” Susan asked.
“Please tell me it’s not nanogenes,” muttered Lilith.
“It's a heart resuscitator,” the man explained. “When you found us, we were in a very long sleep, but we weren't dead. My name is Maitland. This is Carol Richmond, my co-astronaut.”
“Tell me, are you from the Earth?” the Doctor questioned.
“So are we,” Barbara said, excitedly. “How's it looking?”
Carol looked confused. “The Earth, do you mean?”
The female astronaut sighed. “Still too much air traffic.”
“They got it off the roads, did they?” Ian joked.
Maitland nodded. “You might say that, yes.”
“Barbara and I, we come from London. Tell me; is Big Ben still on time?”
“What century do you come from? The twenty first, perhaps?”
“No,” Barbra answered, “the twentieth.”
“What's Big Ben?” Carol asked.
Barbara and Ian looked at each other. “Well, it's a clock. Near Westminster Abbey.”
“Yes, you see, the whole lower half of England is called Central City now. There hasn't been a London for,” Maitland did the calculation in his head, “four hundred years. We come from the twenty eighth century.”
“Captain Maitland, these people must leave immediately,” Carol insisted.
“Yes,” he agreed, “you will have to.”
“But there are so many things we want to know,” Ian protested.
“There's only danger here for you. You must go.”
Lilith perked up. “Danger? What kind of danger?”
“It's better that you don't know what happened to us.”
“But we could help you.”
“No. No, Lilithanadir,” the Doctor said. “I learned not to meddle in other people's affairs years ago.”
“This from the man who dueled a Sycorax for ownership of Earth,” Lilith grumbled. Ian laughed.
“Now, now, now, don't be absurd. There's not an ounce of curiosity in me, my dear boy.” The Doctor turned to Maitland. “Tell me, why are you in danger?”
“Very well,” Maitland conceded, “I'll try to explain. Out there is a planet we call the Sense Sphere.”
I've been to this solar system before. Years ago. Ages. Close to the planet Sense Sphere.
And Ian and Barbara. I think someone else was there too.
Well, that explains it.
“The creatures on it, the Sensorites, have always prevented us from leaving this area of space.”
“You mean they have some kind of power over your craft,” the Doctor clarified.
“Exactly. But it's not that simple. They not only control our craft, they have some influence over us as well.”
Lilith frowned. “Like hypnosis?”
“No, I do not mean hypnosis.”
“Well, what then?”
Maitland struggled for words. “Somehow they have some control over our brains. They are hostile, these Sensorites, but in the strangest possible way. They won't let us leave this area of space yet they don't attempt to kill us.”
“What had happened when we found you?” Susan questioned.
“The same thing that's happened many times before,” Carol answered. “The Sensorites have put us into a deep sleep that gives the appearance of death, and yet they've never made any actual effort to destroy us.”
“Far from it,” Maitland agreed. “We both have very hazy recollections of them returning from time to time to our ship to actually feed us.”
Ian shook his head. “Doesn't add up at all.”
“This is why you must leave us at once,” Carol repeated.
“Yes. The Sensorites may try to prevent you from leaving,” added Maitland.
Barbara sniffed. “I can smell something burning.”
“So can I,” Susan said.
“Ian, there is something burning.”
“Yes, I think you're right.” Ian looked around. “Maitland, you wouldn't have anything shorting, would you?”
“No, that's not possible.”
Lilith froze. ‘Help me, Dear One. It burns,’ she heard.
Susan put her hand on Lilith’s arm. “Are you alright, Lilithanadir?”
“It’s the TARDIS,” she breathed.
The Doctor frowned at her. “What?”
“There’s something wrong with the TARDIS.”
“How could you possibly know what?”
“No time to explain!” Lilith rushed over to where the ship was parked. “Oh no.”
Susan appeared at her side. “Grandfather!”
“Good gracious!” he exclaimed. “They've taken the lock!”
“It's not so much the lock; it's the opening mechanism. The door's permanently locked!”
“Permanently?” Ian repeated. “But there must be some way of getting in? What can we do, Doctor? Break down the door?”
Lilith snorted. “I seem to recall someone saying that the assembled hoards of Genghis Kahn couldn’t get through that door. Maybe…” She snapped.
“What was that supposed to do?”
“In the future, the TARDIS will open her door when someone in our family snaps,” Lilith explained.
Susan frowned. “Well, that doesn’t seem sensible. Whose idea was it to open a TARDIS by clicking their fingers?”
Lilith furrowed her eyebrows. “You know, that’s a good question. I want to say Aunt River, but don’t quote me on that.”
“Then we've been most effectively shut out,” the Doctor concluded.
“The Sensorites?” guessed Barbara.
“What do they want with us?” Susan wondered.
“I don't know. And why have they kept those other two in captivity, hmm?”
The ship started to shake. “The Sensorites!” Carol cried. “Get back! Get away!”
“What is happening, my friend?” the Doctor asked Maitland. “Can't you control the ship?”
“I'm powerless. The Sensorites are stronger than I am.”
“Which is your parallel thrust?”
Maitland pointed. “There.”
“Right. Velocity, Chesterton, check velocity.”
Ian ran over to do as he was told. “It's not even on the unit marker, Doctor.”
“Don't try and control the spacecraft. It's suicide, I tell you,” insisted the astronaut.
“Oh, shut it, would you?” Lilith snapped.
“The velocity needle's hitting the red, Doctor,” Ian informed him.
Lilith studied to controls and adjusted the stabilizers. The ship stopped shaking. “Thank Rassilon,” she breathed.
“Oh, at last. At last,” the Doctor sighed. “The ship was rolling about on its axis.”
Susan looked out the window. “Grandfather, look! We're heading straight for it.”
“It's the Sense Sphere!”
“Where's your deflection rays?” the Doctor demanded. “Maitland! Deflection rays.”
Lilith could tell Susan was panicking. She took the young Gallifreyan’s hand and sent her a sense of calming.
Susan looked over at her, shocked, but smiled. ‘Thank you.’
Lilith smiled back. ‘Anytime.’
“Barbara, see that panel?” the Doctor was saying. “Check status. Three lights normal.”
“Yes. Three lights on,” Barbara confirmed.
“Boost engines. Forward thrust and lock!” The planet filled the view screen, and then the ship veered off to the left.
“Why couldn't I do it?” Maitland moaned.
Lilith blew a strand of hair out of her face. “Let’s not do that again, kay?”
Later, someone had found food and the humans and Gallifreyans were gathered around. “Well, my friend, are you feeling better?” the Doctor asked.
“Yes,” Maitland said. “My head's much clearer.”
“Yes, well, I rather fancy that's settled that little bit of solution. You know, I think these Sensorites have found a way to take control of your minds.”
“Do you think they were deliberately trying to kill us, Doctor?” Ian questioned.
“No, no,” he answered. “I don't. I think it was an exercise in fear and power.”
“Yes, but for some reason or other your minds aren't open to them,” Carol said.
“Yes,” the Doctor agreed, “and you found a way to resist them, whereas Maitland here, his power to resist was taken from him.”
Maitland put his head in his hands. “I was afraid.”
Ian comforted him. “You weren't afraid. They just made you hopeless.”
The Doctor nodded. “Yes, they're dangerous and cunning, these people. But that's not all. Things are very strange here. You know, they can control, they can frighten and yet they don't attempt to kill you. Furthermore, they feed you and keep you alive. All this is most extraordinary.”
“Yes. Talking about food, I shall be glad when we eat. How's it coming along?” Ian asked Barbara and Susan.
“All right. Be ready in a minute,” Barbara told him.
“Iron rations a la carte,” joked Susan.
“Well, from the size of our stocks, they've obviously been giving us their own food,” Carol commented.
“What about water, Carol?”
“Down there on the right.”
“Right, we'll find it.” Barbara took Susan’s hand and they went off to find the water.
“Tell me, have either of you ever met any of these creatures or seen them?” the Doctor asked.
“John has,” replied Carol.
“John’s the other member of your crew?” Lilith guessed.
Maitland confirmed, “Yes, our mineralogist.”
“Can we talk to him?”
“I'm afraid that's out of the question.”
“Oh?” the Doctor questioned. “Why not?”
Maitland hesitated. “I'd rather not talk about it.”
“John may be able to give us some valuable information,” Ian protested.
“I told you,” Carol said, firmly. “You can't see him.”
“You're both being rather secretive,” the Doctor noted.
Lilith looked around. “Where did Susan and Barbara go?”
Maitland rushed over to a door and tried to open it by waving his hand in front of a sensor. “We should have warned them!”
“What is it? What's wrong?” Ian demanded.
“The door's been locked on the other side. Quickly. They're in danger. We must get in from the other end.” Carol brought them to another door and opened it with the sensor. “This way. This is the other way through.”
Maitland tried to open the next door. “Oh, it's no use. The ray's been jammed on the other side. I'm sorry, Ian. There's nothing we can do.”
“But what is it? What's wrong? What's going on inside there?”
“It's no use, no use.”
Ian shoved Maitland aside and banged on the door. “Barbara! Susan!” he shouted. Carol pulled him back and he turned to glare at her. “Are there Sensorites in there?”
While the two astronauts argued, Lilith had her own internal debate to focus on. It would be easy just to use her blaster as a squarness gun and make a hole in the door, but she couldn’t risk the Doctor’s disapproval so early in his timeline, and revealing the fact that she had a weapon on her could cause just that.
“Maitland, you must get that door opened,” Ian insisted.
“I'll have to cut round the lock,” Maitland relented.
“Well, get on with it, then.” Lilith snapped.
“Carol, tell me. What is it that you're both afraid of?” asked Ian.
“John's in there with your friends,” Carol said. “He and I were going to get married when we got back to the Earth. The Sensorites attacked him far more than Captain Maitland and me. I had to sit there helplessly and watch him get worse and worse.”
“You mean they've taken over his mind.”
“Yes. He'll be frightened of strangers. He may become violent.”
Lilith groaned. “Oh, perfect; just what we need.”
Maitland came back and started cutting into the door with a primitive sonic tool.
“Where's the power come from?” Ian wondered.
“It’s a sonic device,” the astronaut explained. “We should be to the locks very soon.”
“You say you haven't seen John for months?”
“He was dangerous once the Sensorites got at his brain,” Carol defended.
“Can't you go faster?” the Doctor snapped. “Susan's in there.”
Lilith touched his hand. “We’ll get to her, Father. Don’t worry.” The Doctor glared at her and she pulled back. “You’re a bit difficult young.”
“I am far from young, child.”
“And I’m no child.”
“Now what is it?” the Doctor demanded. “Get on with the job, please.”
“Listen, don't you hear it? I thought there was something else.”
Lilith did hear a noise now that the whirring of the sonic tool had stopped. “You mean that high-pitched whine? What is it?
“Sensorites,” gasped Maitland.
“They must be near,” Carol panicked. “That noise is caused by the machines that carry them through space.”
“Carol, get back to your instruments,” Maitland instructed. “Doctor, would you take the controller seat?”
The Doctor nodded. “Anything but this awful waiting.”
“What about Barbara and Susan?” Ian questioned.
“There's no time now. Look for glowing lights on the move about the ship.”
Lilith let her hand drift to her blaster. “How do they attack?”
“They won't,” Maitland said. “Not in the normal way.”
“Then how are we supposed to defend ourselves?”
“You'll find out soon enough. Look out there.” On the view screen, two crafts appeared. “There they are! See them moving?”
“Yes, but they look miles away,” said Ian.
“It won't take them long to get here.”
“How long do you think it'll take them?”
The Doctor thought about it. “I don't know. They must have made the journey before. They were here before, remember? They took away the lock mechanism from my ship.”
“Probably took it back to the Sense Sphere,” Lilith mused.
“Yes, and now they're coming back, with what orders? To take over our minds? Hmm? Or to kill us?”
“Let’s hope it’s neither.”
“Would it be a good idea to move?” Ian asked.
Maitland shook his head. “Where to? We already know we can't leave this area of space. Anyway, we're not going to be destroyed. Had the Sensorites intended that, they would have done so long ago.”
“If that collision course was their idea of a joke, I'd hate to be one of their enemies.”
“You can say that again,” muttered Lilith.
“They wouldn't really try to crash us. They just keep on playing this game of nerves,” Carol said bitterly. “Interference now on all our scans.”
“Now remember, all of you, no violence unless the Sensorites start it first.” Maitland reminded them.
Ian protested. “Why no violence? Surely we've got the right to protect ourselves?
“My dear Chesterton,” the Doctor said. “It's our minds that they take over, so we must presume that the brain is all important. Now let our own intelligence be our own defense, and attack.”
The whining stopped. “I can sense them all around us now.” Carol’s voice was shaky. Maitland shushed her.
Lilith looked around the ship, her eyes landing on one of the windows. “Father,” she whispered. A bulbous-headed humanoid was gazing at them from the outside of the ship. “That can’t be good.”