2nd Doctor
The Space Pirates
Serial YY

Peter Bryant

Script Editor
Derrick Sherwin

Ian Watson

Written by Robert Holmes
Directed by Michael Hart
  Incidental Music by Dudley Simpson

Patrick Troughton (Dr. Who), Frazer Hines (Jamie), Wendy Padbury (Zoe), Brian Peck (Dervish) [1,3-6], Dudley Foster (Caven) [1,3-6], Jack May (General Hermack), Donald Gee (Major Ian Warne), George Layton (Technician Penn), Nik Zaran (Lt. Sorba) [1,4-5], Anthony Donovan (Space Guard) [1], Gordon Gostelow (Milo Clancey) [2-6], Lisa Daniely (Madeleine Issigri) [2-6], Steve Peters (Pirate Guard) [4-6], Esmond Knight (Dom Issigri) [5-6].

NOTE: The story title, writer and episode number is in black on a white caption slide, the inverse to normal.
* The incidental music score includes vocals by Mary Thomas.

Far into the future and far out into the black depths of the galaxy, the TARDIS materialises. The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe discover the space pioneers of the future, the adventurers and guardians of planets. But lurking also in the emptiness of space is the evil - the evil of the Space Pirates.

These marauders and plunderers of the riches of planets lead the Doctor and his companions into a new, exciting and dangerous adventure...

Original Broadcast (UK)

Episode One8th March, 19695h15pm - 5h40pm
Episode Two15th March, 19695h15pm - 5h40pm
Episode Three22nd March, 19695h15pm - 5h40pm
Episode Four29th March, 19695h15pm - 5h40pm
Episode Five5th April, 19695h15pm - 5h40pm
Episode Six12th April, 19695h15pm - 5h40pm

  • Episodes 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are missing, but audio recordings exist. The soundtrack has been released as part of the BBC Radio Collection. [+/-]
    BBC radio Collection - The Space Pirates

    • This audio release includes the original soundtrack of the serial with linking narration by Frazer Hines.

    • Released: February 2003
    • 2-CD Set
    • ISBN: 0 563 53505 9
  • 90 seconds of film featuring model spacecraft shots and some live action "space walk" footage from the first episode also exists.
  • Novelised as Doctor Who - The Space Pirates by Terrance Dicks. [+/-]

    Paperback Edition

    • Paperback Edition - W.H. Allen.
      First Edition: March 1990.
      ISBN: 0 426 20346 1.
      Cover by Tony Clark.
      Price: £2.50.
  • The scripts of the missing episodes are available on the Scripts Project page.
  • Doctor Who Magazine Archive: Issue #242.
Episode One
(drn: 24'11")

In the vast darkness and silence of deep space, a sleek black spaceship docks with a space beacon. A group of men in dark armoured spacesuits emerge and begin swarming through the beacon, laying explosive charges both inside and out with practiced precision. They are space pirates, led by the villainous Caven, and they are intent upon destroying the beacon in a very precise manner.

Caven is assisted by a man called Dervish. He is much less the dark villain and more a sort of numbers man. He is an engineer whose job it is to see to the success of the technical end of the operation. Caven is concerned that the men are taking too long to lay the charges but Dervish assures him that all is well.

When they are done, they return to their ship and pull away from the beacon. Via radio beam, the charges are detonated and the beacon comes apart in discreet fragments. Success.

Some distance away, one of the flagships of Earth's space corps cruises the space lanes. V-41, a sort of aircraft carrier in space, is on a routine patrol of the area, to enforce law and order in the vast area controlled by Earth's government. They are fifty days and several billion miles from Earth in the fourth sector of the galaxy, far from home. The commanding officer of the V-ship is General Nikolai Hermack, a veteran of the space corps and a no-nonsense commander. He is assisted by Major Ian Warne, a young man who has moved quickly up the ranks. He looks even younger than he is, a constant source of problems for the ambitious and dedicated officer.

Warne arrives on the bridge, responding to Hermack's summons. The V-ship's instruments have monitored a distress call from one of Earth's deep space beacons which has abruptly cut out. Warne has tried to pin down what happened but has no answers. All of his suggestions seem unlikely, even mechanical failure. General Hermack, going on an old soldier's intuition more than anything, has an idea and he's convinced he's correct. He believes the beacon was attacked and destroyed by space pirates, their target being the precious argonite from which the beacons are constructed. It is the most precious mineral known to man. Warne agrees and awaits a plan of action.

Hermack addresses the entire crew of the ship, announcing that they are abandoning their present mission in order to seek out and capture the pirates responsible for attacking government property. There have been numerous reports of pirates in this sector, preying on defenceless cargo ships. He is certain that they have broadened their scope and are now targeting the beacons. He calls a meeting of all section commanders to discuss protocol at 2000 hours.

Warne is a bit sceptical of this plan to try and capture the pirates. There are still 17 beacons in this sector, all millions of miles apart. They really have no way to predict where the pirates will strike next and even with the speed of the V-ship, there is a lot of space to cover. Hermack agrees, but he has a plan. He is headed for the Pliny solar system where there are 4 beacons in fairly close proximity. He is certain the pirates will come calling sooner or later.

Meanwhile, at another beacon, the pirates are indeed back at work. The ever-nervous Dervish is worried about hitting two beacons so soon, but Caven is convinced this is the perfect time to be getting rich. The space corps has its hands full with several small wars in the galaxy; they've got little interest in piracy now. Caven urges Dervish to worry about laying the charges and leave the space corps to him, but Dervish is a former employee of Earth's government and knows that they don't take destruction of their property lightly.

As V-41 approaches the Pliny system, Hermack and Warne are vigilant. Scanners are set at maximum distance and Minnow fighters are fuelled up and ready for action should they be needed. Their scanners report that all four beacons in the Pliny system are functioning normally.

General Hermack reveals to Major Warne that they are going in to orbit around the planet Ta, the main planet in the system. That will be their base of operations. Warne has heard of the place, headquarters for the Issigri Mining Corporation, the most productive planet in the entire galaxy. It's head, Madeline Issigri, seems to be an acquaintance of Hermack's. He hopes to be able to make use of the planet for shore leave for the men as this may be a very long deployment.

Navigator Penn reports a radar contact at distant Beacon Alpha Seven. A space ship of some sort, but too far away for a positive identification. Going on his instinct, Hermack insists it is a pirate ship and orders the V-ship to change course. Warne reports that there are no ships scheduled to be in the area for the next 17 days, according to Central Flight Information. It could very well be the pirates, although Hermack knows that some commercial flights don't like to report their whereabouts either.

As they approach, they detect the unknown ship backing away from Beacon Alpha Seven. At the moment, all seems well with the beacon. It is functioning normally. Warne tries to rationalise a spaceship visit to the beacon, but it is all for naught. A moment later, they receive a brief distress signal as Beacon Alpha Seven explodes.

Hermack is livid. The beacon has broken up right under their noses. He thinks they can still catch the pirates, even though they are 3 hours away from the beacon. On long range scan, they can see the ship and the remains of the beacon, now in several pieces near its proper location. Hermack is certain they can catch the beggars napping.

However, the blips on the scanner start to move out of range very quickly. The pirate ship is leaving the area at a high rate of speed and somehow the pieces of the beacon are going along. There is no way the V-ship can catch up to them now and shortly contact is lost. Hermack is still angry, but he does have to admire the ingenuity of the pirates. Somehow they've managed to blow the beacon into several smaller pieces and then attach rocket units to the pieces so that they can be flown to some safe location for dismantling. Ingenious.

Hermack knows they are not dealing with a simple band of rogues. They'll never be able to catch up with them using their present tactics and he decides that they must man all the beacons in the area. Warne is a bit sceptical of this plan as the beacons are quite primitive, not meant for long-term living quarters, but Hermack persists. This is war and the comfort of the men must be secondary. He plans to drop small parties on each beacon for up to two months. It is the only way to get ahead of the pirates. He orders the V-ship to set course for the nearest beacon.

Some time later, a group of soldiers are dropped off on Beacon Alpha Four. The group is lead by Lieutenant Sorba, a loyal soldier. He seems to actually appreciate the posting despite the potential for boredom. He knows that it is his job to report to Major Warne if anyone tries to board the beacon, but he also knows that he and his men will likely have to fight the pirates before any help arrives from the V-ship. He seems to be looking forward to that, although it could well be a long six weeks' posting.

On the bridge of the V-ship, Hermack sets course for Beacon Alpha Nine, certain that Alpha Four is in the capable hands of Lieutenant Sorba. Warne reports that Sorba seems to be looking forward to a scrap with the pirates. He assures the general that anyone poking their nose aboard Alpha Four will find plenty of trouble waiting for them!

Unfortunately, the first visitor to Alpha Four is the TARDIS, which materialises in a computer bay. One of Sorba's hears the sound and hurries to report it. Sorba cannot figure out what it could possibly be, but he is glad of action so quickly. He and his men go to check it out.

The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe emerge from the TARDIS into the cramped computer bay. The Doctor is disappointed, seemingly having actually tried to arrive somewhere this time. Of course, they are not where he'd planned. However, the Doctor is interested in the computer equipment and sets about examining it. Jamie cannot see the fascination and thinks they should just get back into the TARDIS and go somewhere else.

The Doctor deduces from the computer system that this is an unmanned craft in a fixed orbit. He's pretty sure it's not a weather satellite but can't tell much more than this. He's sure it's quite safe to look around and so he leads the way into the corridor. A moment later, Sorba and his men appear in the corridor. As per their orders, they start to shoot on sight.

The Doctor and his friends race away from their pursuers, past the computer bay where the TARDIS is, just hoping to outrun them. Jamie is put out once again by the Doctor's inaccurate deductions. Not only is this place not uninhabited, but the natives are decidedly unfriendly! They race off.

Sorba and his men continue in their pursuit. There are only three fugitives and they should be easy to catch... and kill.

While this pursuit continues, the space pirates dock with Beacon Alpha Four and enter the craft. Caven is ready to effect another speedy destruction but the whole process is stopped when he hears blaster fire from somewhere down the corridor. Instead of retreating, however, Caven calls all of his men inside.

The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe turn into another corridor and close off the door between them. Hopefully that will hold off their pursuers for a while. None of them can understand why the soldiers were shooting at them, especially since they just arrived. At the far end of the new corridor, they can see another group of men and they dodge into a nearby cabin, closing the door behind them. Unfortunately, there is no other way out of this room and they dare not go out for fear of being caught from both directions. They are trapped.

Chasing the three fugitives, Sorba and his men are not prepared to face an entire group of armed pirates. The pirates gun down the soldiers easily in the corridor. Just before he collapses, Sorba manages to activate his radio distress beam.

The V-ship is only 30 minutes out from Beacon Alpha Three when they receive the distress call from Alpha Four. Hermack changes course and heads back to Alpha Four, full speed ahead.

Caven and Dervish check over the bodies of the soldiers. The four guards are dead, but Sorba appears to have survived. Dervish is quite worried, fearing that the space corps could descend upon them at any second. That fear is confirmed when Caven discovers the radio beam in Sorba's hand. Incredibly, Caven does not want to abandon the mission. In fact, he seems emboldened by the challenge of completing the destruction of the beacon right under the noses of the space corps. He orders Dervish to get busy setting the charges, then destroys the radio beam.

Major Warne notes the cessation of the radio signal and worries about the fate of Sorba and his men. They are still 2 hours and 20 minutes away from Alpha Four. Hermack chastises himself for not leaving a larger force on the beacons, but Warne reassures him that they didn't have the manpower to leave any more. Sorba knew what he could be facing.

Nonetheless, Hermack is determined to stop this gang of murdering thieves no matter how long it takes.

Sorba regains consciousness and faces Caven. He is horrified to learn that all of his men are dead, but while he is still alive, he still tries to delay the pirates. He wants to know how Caven got the "decoys" aboard, the three people who led him into the ambush. Sorba is speaking of the Doctor and his friends, but Caven doesn't know what he's talking about. He never saw anyone else, but he does remember the shooting that he heard before the soldiers knew the pirates were aboard. There must be someone else here. He eyes the room where they must be hidden.

Dervish reports that all the charges are laid. All that remains is fixing the rockets to the outside of the beacon. Caven orders Dervish to take Sorba with him if he can walk whilst he turns his attention to the door of the nearby cabin. He takes out his gun and begins firing around the edges of the door. He says he's "sealing a coffin".

Jamie, Zoe, and the Doctor can hear muffled voices outside but cannot make out what is being said. They are grateful that they haven't been found, but there is something going on. Zoe fears that someone is trying to burn through the cabin door. Indeed the metal is hot, but they do not succeed in burning through. Thank goodness for that.

There is a noise outside the cabin, out on the hull, and the Doctor peers out the porthole to see. Someone is moving around outside but they cannot really see what is going on.

Zoe and Jamie are ready to try and get back to the TARDIS, noting that all is quiet in the corridor outside. However, the door will not budge and its edges are now cooling. The Doctor suddenly realises what has happened. The door has been welded shut. They are completely sealed in!

On the bridge of the V-ship, Hermack and Warne can see the pirates' beta dart ship leaving Beacon Alpha Four. They are still 90 minutes away and fear that they will be too late again. If everything follows as before, the beacon should explode as soon as the pirates are clear of it.

True to form, the charges blow. The beacon explodes. Jamie, Zoe, and the Doctor are caught in the shock of the explosion...

Episode Two
(drn: 25'02")

Jamie, Zoe, and the Doctor collapse onto the bucking floor of Beacon Alpha Four as it explodes. Luckily, it falls into discreet, sealed pieces.

On board V-41, a furious General Hermack chastises Navigator Penn when he cannot get a bearing on the retreating pirate ship. The debris from the beacon is jamming the radar. Hermack calls Penn incompetent and useless as he stalks off to the far end of the bridge. Major Warne reassures the crewman and joins the general.

Of course Hermack knows he was too hard on Penn and he acknowledges this to Warne over coffee. On the radar screen, pirate ship and debris move out of scanner range just as it did with Beacon Alpha Seven. The pirate ship is just to small and fast for them to chase in the giant V-ship. All they can hope for is to try and get close enough to them to launch their minnow fighters, smaller and faster ships which may be able to keep up with the pirates' beta dart ship.

Warne, though, has another idea. He believes that the pirates have a base somewhere in the Pliny system. It makes sense as there is little else in this area of space so far from Earth. If they can locate that base, they may be able to stop the pirates without having to chase them down through space.

Hermack watches as the pieces of the beacon disappear from radar. The pirates have won again and he is grim. Warne wonders about Lieutenant Sorba and the men left on Alpha Four. Hermack doubts that anyone on that beacon is still alive.

Thankfully he is wrong. In one of the segments, the Doctor, Zoe, and Jamie are unconscious on the floor, still very much alive.

Penn locates another ship on radar, near the area where Beacon Alpha Four used to be. It is small but very slow moving, and it doesn't seem to be trying to evade the V-ship either. Warne thinks it unlikely to be the pirates, but Hermack is still concerned. According to flight data, there are no ships scheduled to be in this area for at least another 80 hours.

As they approach the ship, they get a clear picture of it on their monitors. It is definitely not the beta dart used by the pirates. This ship is much older, less streamlined and obviously quite banged up. It bears the insignia LIZ 79 painted roughly on the side. Warne is stunned. It is an old C-class freighter, long out of use.

The flight deck of the LIZ is just as outdated and banged-up as the outside. This ship has clearly seen much use in its time. Many of the controls are patched up and beat up and several look like they don't even work. There has been much jury-rigging of the controls as well by the ship's owner. Several food preparation devices are slotted into spaces that would normally hold navigational equipment. In them, the owner is making his breakfast.

The owner of LIZ 79 is one Milo Clancey, a grizzled old man who would like equally at home on a spaceship or at the bottom of an argonite mine. He looks like a space prospector, with wild grey hair and a bushy moustache. His breakfast is nearly ruined by a malfunctioning solar toaster and by a sudden power failure. He gives up the toast and fixes the power problem by pounding the control panel with his fist.

Just as Clancey starts to eat, the ship's radio comes to life with a call from V-41. General Hermack orders him to provide his identity registration. Having little respect for the space corps, Clancey tells him to go away!

Hermack continues to insist, despite Clancey's protestations. Warne finally comes up with the information himself and presents it to a bemused Hermack. He has heard of the infamous Milo Clancey, something of a legend in space circles. He has been in the mining business for over 40 years, a pioneer and a maverick. Hermack asks Clancey to identify his destination.

Clancey refuses to answer, more out of habit than disrespect. He just doesn't care really and sees no need to kowtow to the authority of the space corps. However, he does know when he's outclassed and he does not resist when Hermack announces he is preparing to board the LIZ. He only hopes the shiny V-ship doesn't scratch its paint in the process.

The Doctor awakes inside the beacon segment, his head aching. It seems as if he's surprised to still be in one piece after the explosion. He tries to wake his companions but they don't stir. Finding an oxygen cylinder in the segment, he brings it over to try and help wake them up.

Warne and Hermack prepare for the arrival of Milo Clancey, being brought up by guards. Hermack reminds the young officer of the type of man they're dealing with. He was among the first to go into deep space, pioneering the way of life that is now fully accepted. They lived outside the law because they were alone here. Now that Earth's authority stretches even this far out, most of them have been squeezed out due to conformance with the law. Hermack calls them "a wild breed", unused to law and order and more than willing to ignore it when it suits them. He is certain that Clancey is the last of his kind.

Clancey arrives, walking slowly and casually ahead of the guards. He is dressed informally, wearing only part of a space suit topped by a tartan shirt. He carries a blaster rifle very casually over his shoulder and marvels at the fancy "flying fun-palace" that is the imperious V-ship. Hermack introduces himself and Major Warne, then asks why Clancey does not have his feed-back unit activated, sending his whereabouts to Central Flight Information. He says that his old unit simply fell to bits many years ago and he never got a new one. He seems surprised to learn that it is an offence to fly without one. His ingenuousness is clearly a put-on.

Hermack then asks what Clancey is doing in this system and he says he is operating as head of the Milo Clancey Space Mining Company, an answer which really says nothing at all. The general is not amused. Suddenly Clancey's voice hardens, revealing that he is here for the same reason Hermack is: argonite pirates! Over the last two years, he has lost five floaters of argonite ore. They were hijacked and taken to this system. He says he has reported this to Earth's government numerous times and gotten no response. He has decided to take matters into his own hands.

Major Warne is unimpressed with this old prospector, certain he is just a rogue or a crackpot. However, the deductive reasoning which led Clancey to figure out that his floaters had to have been brought here is compelling. Warne believes him, although there is still some antagonism between the two. Hermack, however, has a little lighter hand.

Clancey learns of the destruction of Beacon Alpha Four and suddenly it all becomes clear why space corps is here harassing him. Earth's government never responded to his reports of hijackings, but as soon as one government beacon is lost, they send a V-ship to investigate. How typical. He is not amused.

Hermack tries to assure him that if the pirates are caught, he can put in a claim for compensation, but Clancey has little hope that space corps will ever catch up with them. He dismisses all their hardware, manpower, and determination and tells them all to just pack up and go home. They're outclassed. He has tangled with the pirates before and he's certain he's getting closer to their base. He'll take care of them himself.

Jamie and Zoe are now fully awake and they are assessing their situation, along with the Doctor. A quick look out the observation port shows that the machine they are on has been blown into 8 separate pieces, each one self-contained. There is nothing on the other side of the bulkhead but space. Jamie, quick to spot the obvious problem, realises that the TARDIS is on another of the sections.

The Doctor speculates that sabotage was the aim of the people who blew up this station. He believes that the people who shot at them were here to defend the machine and thought that he and his friends were here to blow it up. The real culprits showed up afterward. To Jamie, it sounds like they've landed in the middle of some sort of war in space.

Back to the problem at hand, the Doctor reports that all of the 8 sections are staying more or less in the same area, propelled together by rockets attached to their hulls. All of the sections are being directed to the same place. Hopefully that means they will be reunited with the TARDIS, but getting to it in the depths of space seems a very tall order.

The Doctor's attention is drawn by a strange noise from somewhere in the section. He shushes his companions to listen more carefully.

To Milo Clancey's amazement, General Hermack decides to let him go on his way. Not wanting to risk him changing his mind, Clancey hurries off the bridge of the V-ship. Major Warne clearly disapproves of this course of action but won't come out and say it until Hermack draws him out. But it turns out that Hermack suspects the old prospector just as much as Warne does. He is certain that Clancey is in league with the pirates and that the story about pirates attacking his floaters was just a cover story. And because of that suspicion, Hermack has let him go. Warne cannot see the logic in this plan.

The Doctor examines a control panel in one wall of the beacon section. He is engrossed in the circuitry there and has not said a word for some time. His companions are worried as they don't know what he's up to. Zoe is afraid he's just trying to look busy in order to keep their hopes up. She hasn't much hope, noting that they air is starting to get very thin. She tells a horrified Jamie that they have only a few hours oxygen left.

Hermack has decided to have Clancey followed using a small minnow fighter. Warne himself will pilot it. Shortly he is in flight, in pursuit of the LIZ-79. Hermack warns him to be careful and to relay regular reports to him. Meanwhile, Hermack is going in to land on the planet Ta.

The Doctor works quickly on the circuitry in the segment panel, seeming to have a plan in mind. Zoe asks for more oxygen but the Doctor holds it back for now. They must conserve it. Instead, he calls them both over to explain what he is doing. He tells them that the beacon was exploded along the same seams by which it was constructed. It was built in discreet sections and then assembled in space using electromagnetism. The explosion was just strong enough to break the magnetic attraction between each section but keep the sections discreet and intact.

His plan is simple: the circuitry he is working with is for the electromagnetic force that holds the segments together. If he can step up the power, he can attract the nearest section to them and then move from section to section until they reach the TARDIS. Jamie is heartened by this plan, unaware of the difficulties. Zoe is fully aware of the problems they face. She asks the Doctor if he can be certain that his plan will attract the next segment through opposite magnetic poles or repel the next section through like magnetic poles. He doesn't really have an answer but chooses to be optimistic.

Some time later, General Hermack is in the office of Madeleine Issigri, head of Issigri Mining Corporation. She is quite young for her position of power, but she has the demeanour of a cool competitor and it is clear how she's gotten where she is. Hermack receives a report from Major Warne, still in pursuit of LIZ-79. Nothing further to report.

Listening to the report, Madeleine calls up some information and learns that the LIZ is Milo Clancey's ship and she wants to know why he is being followed. Hermack sees no reason to hold back any information and so tells her that he believes Clancey is in league with the argonite pirates. Madeleine thinks this unlikely, despite the fact that rumour has it Clancey's argonite workings on the planet Lobos are tapped out. Hermack reminds her of the stories linking Clancey to the death of Madeleine's father Dom Issigri, but she prefers to forget that unpleasantness now. Nothing has ever been proven. However, Hermack persists, noting that Madeleine herself could be a target of the pirates due to Clancey's jealousy of her position and her company's power. She still prefers to think that such tactics were beneath her father's old partner.

Hermack lauds her support of the man, but he is convinced of his theory. He reminds her that Clancey's ship is in a steady dimensional orbit. Obviously he is expecting a rendezvous, and Hermack is sure it is with the pirate ship. Warne will soon provide proof of this.

After one final breath of precious oxygen, the Doctor is ready to return to work on the magnetic wiring. He has only one more connection to make amidst the mass of tangled wires. A moment later and he tells his companions to hang on; he's ready to activate.

To their horror, the beacon section seems to accelerate and they are all hard-pressed to keep their feet under them. The Doctor has got it wrong. He struggles with the wiring whilst the machinery hums wildly - he cannot turn off the magnetic force field. They are not being pulled toward the next section, but they are being shot further into space!

After some frenzied work with the mess of wires, the Doctor finally manages to disconnect the power. The machinery whine fades away and the occupants of the beacon section can stand up normally once again. Everyone is fine, but their situation is even more desperate than before. Even if the Doctor could reverse the magnetic field, they are now too far away from the next section to attract it. They are now helplessly hanging in space. The Doctor is very worried indeed.

Madeleine offers to help General Hermack in any way she can, but before he can respond, a message comes through from Major Warne. Clancey's ship is linking with one of the sections of Beacon Alpha Four. Just as Hermack thought he would.

Hermack responds, ordering Warne to move in and arrest Clancey. It will be easier once he's linked with the beacon as his ship can just run off. If Clancey shows any signs of resistance, Warne is authorised to use his missiles. Madeleine watches all of this and smiles thinly, as if amused by the games of military men.

The oxygen situation on the beacon section is now desperate. The Doctor shares out the last puff from the cylinder to Jamie and Zoe. They are all slumped on the floor. Suddenly there is the sound of scraping metal from the bulkhead and then the sound of a cutting torch. One by one, the bolts drop off a section of the hull.

Jamie gets up, excited that they've been rescued by someone, and goes to the newly-forming opening. The Doctor tries to call him back, knowing that perhaps their rescuer isn't someone they want to meet, but it is too late. A man in a spacesuit bursts through the hull, brandishing a blaster rifle. Seeing the weapon, Jamie leaps to the attack.

The newcomer fires and Jamie crumples to the floor. Zoe is horrified, denouncing the newcomer as a murderer...

Episode Three
(drn: 23'50")

The newcomer points his blaster rifle at the Doctor and Zoe, his voice hard as steel as he orders them to stay still unless they want a taste of what Jamie got. The voice is that of Milo Clancey.

Back on the planet Ta, General Hermack orders Navigator Penn to take the V-ship out of near orbit in order to assist Major Warne in his effort to capture Milo Clancey. Hermack will stay here in Madeleine Issigri's office, protected by a small group of minnow ships armed with short-range missiles. Penn is to make certain Warne has no problems bringing Clancey in.

Madeleine is somewhat amused by Hermack's heavy-handed tactics, thinking it a bit much for the sake of capturing one old man. Hermack is taking no chances and plans to see Clancey pay for the crime of piracy. Madeleine still says she cannot believe Clancey is a pirate. She tried to buy out his worked-out mining concession two years ago, offering much more than it was worth but he refused. She cannot explain why. Perhaps he is just foolish.

A message comes through to Hermack from Major Warne. There has been no response from Clancey's ship and requests orders. Hermack says that he should give Clancey just two more minutes to respond. After that, warning rockets. After that, he is authorised to use his Martian missiles.

Warne transmits another warning message to the LIZ-79, but no is on board to hear it. Clancey still has his hands full with the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe. It turns out that he thought the Doctor and his friends were the pirates, trapped on the segment. That's why he shot Jamie. Upon closer inspection, he begins to doubt that this unlikely group could possibly be the argonite pirates. Luckily, he only gave Jamie a quarter blast. Shortly the lad is starting to come to, slightly worse for wear. Zoe and the Doctor help him to his feet.

Clancey wants to know just who they are and how they came to be on this floating beacon segment. He tries forcing them at gunpoint, but he gets his answer despite his threats. They tell him about the TARDIS and how it landed inside the beacon. He finds this hard to believe, despite their insistence that they are telling the truth. Exasperated, Clancey begins counting to 10, after which time he wants the truth.

However, he barely reaches 10 before Major Warne fires a warning shot across the LIZ's bow. The beacon segment shakes violently, frightening them all. Clancey wastes no time in dashing through the airlock back to his ship. The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe follow just as quickly.

They reach the flight deck of Clancey's ship and all start asking questions at once. Clancey shushes them all to listen to the radio. Warne issues another ultimatum: surrender or the next missile will go through the LIZ's hull. Clancey has no intention of giving himself up to that "soft-face puppy from Space Corps" and activates the controls of the ship.

The LIZ rockets away from the beacon segment with surprising speed. The Doctor and his friends are thrown about the flight deck with shouts of alarm. Warne can see the ship moving away and orders him to stand down. He gives Clancey just 10 seconds to shut down his engines or he will open fire. The Doctor, a bit overwhelmed by all the activity, suggests perhaps Clancey should heed the warning from the radio. Clancey refuses, saying he's got a trick up his sleeve that's worth ten missiles. He works over the ancient controls as on the radio, Warne counts to 10.

Warne fires a Martian missile, certain that LIZ-79 will soon be destroyed. However, he watches as a cloud of fine particles releases itself from the ship as it speeds away. The missile enters the cloud and suddenly flies off course and out into space. He is stunned and cannot stop his own ship from flying into the cloud as well. Soon he too is out of control. Milo has escaped.

Aboard his ship, Clancey is very pleased with his escape. That'll show the green-horn major a thing or two. He explains that he expelled two tons of copper needles into space. The copper is attracted to the argonite in the missiles and it clouds their scanners and throws them off course. A neat little trick, if he says so himself.

Zoe can understand what he's done, but she's never heard of argonite. Clancey becomes suspicious as everyone knows what argonite is. The most versatile material ever found; practically indestructible, it is used in spaceships and nearly everything else. When it becomes clear that these three have never heard of the most expensive mineral in the galaxy, he starts to believe that they come from another time and place, as unlikely as it sounds. Clancey seems to accept this story and the three strangers at their face value.

Talk of the TARDIS brings the Doctor back to an important matter. He asks if it's possible for Clancey to take them back to the beacon segments so they can retrieve their ship. It is of course impossible. No one knows where the segments are now, except the pirates. They will be taking the pieces away for salvage. The Doctor is very worried by all of this.

Clancey is keen to get out of this area of space, certain that Warne will have radioed to General Hermack for help. More minnow ships will soon be on the way and he's all out of copper needles. Clancey reveals that General Hermack is trailing the pirates and thinks that he is one of them. Ridiculous, of course. He starts setting coordinates.

Zoe, ever curious, starts to ask a question, but Milo interrupts her to ask her to make some tea. She's not really put out by the request, but does learn that the teapot and the LIZ are made out of the same material - tillium. His ship is not made of argonite, which is why it wasn't affected by the copper needles... which was Zoe's question in the first place!

Jamie's concern is that fleet of minnows Clancey spoke of. What will he do if they come looking for him? Clancey is confident that they won't see the ships as he's planning to take them somewhere General Hermack will never think of looking.

Major Warne reports to Hermack on Ta, his transmission garbled by interference. He tells Hermack what happened and that his own instruments are now useless. He cannot even track where Clancey went. Hermack is livid and has little sympathy for Warne's plight. He ends the transmission angrily. Meanwhile, Madeleine has gone on about her business. She reacts to the anger on Hermack's face.

She watches as Hermack contacts Navigator Penn on the V-ship. He orders the rest of the minnow fleet deployed to track LIZ-79. He wants it found and destroyed. He vows not to give Clancey any more chances.

Elsewhere in space, Clancey's old ship flies at a speed that seems faster than it should be capable of. Jamie is not enjoying his space travel, feeling a bit sick. The others enjoy some tea. The Doctor is a bit concerned over a pressure gauge he's noticed. It seems a bit high. Clancey seems unconcerned, even though it is the thermo-nuclear power. The whole ship is wearing a bit thin, he says, but he is certain it will hold together. It is a tough old ship; one of a kind. This information does not cheer Jamie.

Milo reveals their destination: the planet Ta. He is sure that Space Corps will not think to look there as it is the headquarters of the Issigri Mining Corporation and its leader, Madeleine Issigri, is Clancey's sworn enemy. He plans to sneak in to the otherwise-uninhabited planet and lie low there until Hermack gives up searching. He says that he and his old partner Dom Issigri built a network of underground landing pads within the mineworkings. He only hopes he can find one after all this time. And even then the old equipment might not work.

The ship approaches the planet, preparing for landing.

Hermack bids farewell to Madeleine as he prepares to greet the V-ship upon landing. He plans to go and pick up Major Warne and his crippled ship, recall all his men from the beacons, and then head for the planet Lobos. This is Clancey's mining headquarters and Hermack is certain the beacon segments are headed there to be broken up. Madeleine seems only mildly interested in all of this.

As Hermack turns to go, he notices a model of a spaceship on a stand in the office. It is a beta dart, the same type of ship the argonite pirates use. Madeleine tells him - perhaps a bit too smoothly - that her company has bought two of them to use as freighters. They are the fastest possible ships. Hermack is worried that his men might mistake her ships for the pirates, but she assures him that the nose cones of her ships have been modified to make them distinctive. Hermack accepts this and Madeleine seems to breathe a sigh of relief.

Hermack learns from her that each beta dart costs upwards of a 100 million credits, a hefty sum. He wonders how Clancey was able to get the money to buy such a ship. Madeleine suggests that his piracy has paid very well, a notion Hermack accepts. However, Madeleine reiterates her belief that Hermack is wrong about Clancey. Quite a strange conviction from Clancey's "sworn enemy". Hermack however is barely listening to her. He himself is certain enough of Clancey's guilt, and he promises to make him pay for what he has done. With that, he is off to meet his ship.

Just as Hermack and his men leave Ta, Milo and his passengers arrive. With a great thump, the ship settles to the underground landing pad. The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe, unprepared for this, are thrown to the floor. Clancey does not take kindly to Jamie's grousing.

Clancey prepares to leave the ship and the others assume they will follow, but Clancey has other ideas. He is going to the generator room to investigate some possible damage to the radio equipment. He says that transmitter is "whistling like a hysterical canary". While he is gone, he doesn't want the Doctor and his friends wandering around the argonite tunnels. He says they are endless and featureless and lead nowhere. They will get lost and even he might not be able to find them. He disappears before the trio can argue.

Jamie is very suspicious of Clancey and his order to stay put. Nothing seems quite right with him, although the Doctor seems willing to accept him at face value. Jamie persists, noting that they are no closer to retrieving the TARDIS and staying here won't help. The Doctor cannot argue with that, saying that they don't even know where the beacon segment with the TARDIS on it might be headed. Zoe, however, thinks she knows.

The Doctor is stunned by this revelation, even from a genius of Zoe's calibre. He asks her to explain. She produces some printouts from Clancey's navigation equipment, noting the location of their segment when Clancey spotted them and when he docked with them. By working out their speed and direction, adding for the Doctor's misguided actions with the electromagnet, she determines that the beacon segments were heading for this very planet! She surmises that they will end up within 10 miles of where they are right now, except they're not here yet as they weren't traveling as fast as the LIZ.

The Doctor accepts Zoe's calculations and now is suspicious of Clancey. It is very possible this General Hermack is right and he is one of the pirates. Jamie thinks they had better get out of the ship before Clancey comes back, if only to have time to investigate on their own, and Zoe agrees. After a moment's thought, the Doctor agrees as well. He only hopes they can find the TARDIS in these maze of tunnels.

They start out of the ship, the Doctor warning them to keep quiet in case Clancey is nearby, a feat that Jamie has trouble doing.

Zoe is - as always - absolutely correct. Ta is the base of operations for the pirates. Caven, leader of the group, lurks in the tunnels not far from Clancey's landing site. He has summoned Dervish, his engineer, to him with a new plan. He orders Dervish to halt the breakdown of the final segment of Beacon Alpha Two, leaving the rest of the work to another of their gang. He's got a new job for Dervish. He wants him to fly out to meet the incoming segments of Beacon Alpha Four, refuel their rockets, and reroute the segments to the planet Lobos. He does not explain why.

Dervish, always nervous, is alarmed at this plan. He knows full well that Space Corps are out in force hunting for them and he'll be a sitting duck if he hangs about those beacon sections. He tries to reason with Caven, but there's no reasoning with an armed man. Caven draws his blaster and the fight goes right out of Dervish. Of course he'll do as he's ordered.

Suddenly an alarm sounds. Intruders in perimeter tunnel 9. Both men spring into action to intercept the intruders, both worrying that it could be Space Corps.

The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe traverse the endless, look-alike tunnels, certain they are moving deeper into the complex but increasingly worried that they are hopelessly lost. The Doctor is wondering if they should have listened to Clancey after all.

A moment later, the Doctor hears a noise, muffled but getting louder. A sort of mechanical buzzing sound, definitely not natural. The others hear it and locate its direction. They move toward it.

Meanwhile, Clancey returns to his ship to find it empty. He is quite cross that the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe did not listen to him. He leaves the ship to try and find them.

The Doctor and his friends follow the sound to a blank wall. The noise issues from behind it, along with some light through a crack in the wall. Zoe climbs up on to Jamie's back to try and get a better look inside. She sees three men cutting up bits of scrap metal. It seems clear that they've stumbled onto the pirates' headquarters. The Doctor now recognises the buzzing sound as an electrical furnace. That must be what they're using to melt down the argonite. Zoe did not see the TARDIS there, but Jamie worries that it might be in the very next section they're going to attack. They must do something.

However, before the Doctor can formulate a plan, they are found by Caven and Dervish. Caven wastes no time in firing his blaster at them, but he's not trying to kill them, just herd them down a tunnel. They do as ordered.

Zoe, in the lead, spots a turning ahead of them. Hoping for the element of surprise, she darts off down the passage, calling to her friends to follow. However, it is a horrible mistake. The floor of the passage drops off beneath them and soon all three are falling helplessly into the blackness...

Episode Four
(drn: 22'25")

The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe fall heavily to the ground at the base of a shaft cut into the rock. They are generally OK, although Jamie does not move at first. The Doctor's problem is a different one. His copious pockets hold a box of drawing pins, usually very useful, but not so comfortable to land on!

Above them, Caven and Dervish smirk with satisfaction. They're certain they'll have no more trouble from the intruders. Unseen, the two men are observed by a shadowy figure.

Jamie is now moving again, but he is in obvious pain. He must have landed wrong and twisted his leg. It's not broken and he thinks it will be better shortly. The Doctor gets up and has a look around the dark and gloomy cell. However, he is stopped dead when a horrible moan issues from the darkness in one corner. It could be an animal or a person. Conquering his fear, the Doctor goes to investigate.

It turns out to be a man, a lieutenant from Space Corps. The same one who was shooting at them on the beacon. Lieutenant Sorba. He is injured but it doesn't appear to be serious, although he seems to be in shock. Jamie and Zoe help the Doctor get some water from a container that has obviously been left for them. With it the Doctor cleans Sorba up and helps him to drink. He starts to come to.

Some time later, Dervish is in flight in his beta dart, heading to rendezvous with the sections of Beacon Alpha Four. However, he is very nervous. General Hermack's V-ship is less than three hours away on a convergent course. It will take at least two hours for Dervish and his men to complete the refuelling and get the segments on their way. He just knows they are going to be caught and he begs Caven to give up this plan and let him return to Ta.

Caven, of course, refuses, his voice cold. Dervish's nerve breaks and he decides his willing to risk Caven's wrath. He says he's turning back. But Caven has a trick up his sleeve. On the video link, he shows Dervish a small mechanical box, Dervish's own invention. It is a remote control detonator, linked to a charge right under the atomic drive of the beta dart. If Dervish doesn't do as ordered, Caven will activate it and blow him and his ship to kingdom come.

Dervish is horrified at his boss' callousness and finds it hard to believe that he would actually kill his own engineer. But Caven's tone shows that he is not bluffing. He notes coldly that whilst Dervish may have a chance of outrunning the V-ship if he works quickly, he cannot possibly get away from this remote control. Dervish gives in, utterly defeated. Caven is pleased and expects to hear nothing more from him until he reaches Lobos successfully.

On board V-41, Major Warne comes up to the bridge after having been rescued by Hermack. He is angry at being made to look like a fool by Clancey, showing Hermack the copper needles that did him in, and he is determined to not let it happen again. He starts to explain how he can get round the copper's attraction to argonite but Hermack stops him. There will be no further ship-to-ship combat. Hermack reveals that they are headed to Lobos to find and capture Clancey on the ground. He is certain they will find Clancey there, along with the segments of Beacon Alpha Four.

Caven has anticipated Hermack's move. This is why he wants the beacon sections moved to Lobos - to throw suspicion off himself and move Space Corps away from Ta. And it looks like it's going to work.

Sorba is improving quickly but he's having a difficult time figuring out who these strangers are. He remembers them as decoys used by the pirates to lead his men into a trap on the beacon and the Doctor's vague information doesn't help matters. However, he has treated Sorba's wounds and Jamie and Zoe insist they are friends. Sorba really has little choice but to trust them.

The Doctor turns his mind to escaping from the cell. Sorba insists that the shaft is the only way in or out but the Doctor knows better. Despite the chamber being carved out of solid rock, there is certain to be another door here somewhere. He points to the water bowl to prove his point. It is made of a fragile material and could not have survived being thrown down here like they were. His critics silence, the Doctor commences a thorough examination of the walls.

Dervish's men are hard at work refuelling the booster rockets attached to the beacon sections, but he decides to call in to Caven to report that one of the sections is missing. There are only 7. The other has completely disappeared. Caven cannot believe this fact, nor the theory that someone engineered the missing segment out of its flight path. However, he recalls Lieutenant Sorba saying something about strangers on the beacon before they blew it apart. Perhaps he wasn't hallucinating after all.

The Doctor continues his seemingly endless examination of the walls, driving his cellmates to distraction. He finally settles on one section of wall where the vertical cracks seem too regular to be natural. This must be it. All that remains is to find the control unit. A short while later, he locates the likely location of the control unit. It is an audio locking mechanism, a common type of lock here in the future, supplanting combination locks after they became too easy to crack with microcomputers. He rummages in his pockets for a set of tuning forks - he always carries them - to try and trip the lock. Jamie, not understanding any of this, wonders whether the Doctor must have landed on his head when he fell down the shaft.

On the V-ship, Navigator Penn reports a radar contact on their flight path to Lobos. He is certain it is the segments of Beacon Alpha Four, despite the fact that there are only 7 of them. Hermack is equally certain, and he believes they will be able to catch Clancey red handed with the segments.

At the edge of the radar screen, there is an eighth blip. It is not another segment but a ship - a beta dart. It is circling the group of beacon segments. Excited by the prospect of a swift capture, Hermack orders Warne to a minnow ship to prepare for launch. He orders main boost to hurry to intercept the pirates. He also orders all crews to emergency stations. The end of their mission is at hand.

The V-ship flashes through space at full speed, hoping to outrun the pirates. When the margin between them is down to 40 minutes, Penn reports a positive ID. The ship is a beta dart. Penn also notes that the pirates have seen them and are boosting away. They must act fast to keep them from escaping. Hermack orders Warne to launch. The major is ready to tangle with Clancey again and this time, all that will be left of him is debris!

Back on Ta, Caven sends a guard to release Lieutenant Sorba and bring him here for questioning. At that moment, he receives an urgent call from Dervish. There's a minnow fighter on his tail - 30 minute out and closing fast. He's scared, knowing the punishment that awaits him if he's caught. Caven stays calm, ordering Dervish to engage the "camouflage cone". If he is able to evade the minnow's radar for long enough, it just might work. Dervish is going to work very hard to do that.

And it looks like Dervish is successful. As Warne closes in on the beta dart, it doubles round and he loses radar contact. He calls back to the ship and asks for guidance from there. Penn obliges, giving him the heading. On his radar, the two blips are nearly on top of each other.

In space, however, the beta dart successfully manages to engage its camouflage cone. The nose cone of the ship now displays the insignia of the Issigri Mining Corporation!

Hermack orders the dogfight to be put on the visual scanner so that they can all watch the destruction of the pirate ship. However, as soon as the image is on the screen, Hermack orders Warne to break off the attack immediately. Hermack recognises the Issigri insignia and knows there will be hell to pay if they destroy one of Madeleine's ships. Luckily, Warne receives the call just in time. He breaks off the attack without firing. Hermack breathes a sigh of relief.

Warne is shocked to learn he almost destroyed a friendly ship and wonders where the pirates' ship escaped to in the short time he was out of contact. But there is no answer to that question. Hermack calls Warne back, facing the prospect of a long and protracted hunt for Clancey and his pirates.

In the cell, the Doctor works at tripping the audio lock. He has been hunting for a long time for the right note. All he has succeeded in doing is driving his cellmates crazy. He ignores their protests and continues. Suddenly, with a grating sound, the hidden door slides open. Everyone gets to their feet, ready to escape. Unfortunately, in the doorway appears a shadowy figure armed with a blaster. Everyone falls back, only to sigh with relief when it is revealed to be Milo Clancey.

Clancey is somewhat put out to have had to search all over the tunnels for them. He warned them to stay put. Jamie refuses to go with him, though, still thinking he might be part of the pirates. Zoe agrees, despite all that Clancey has done to help them - rescuing them from the beacon and saving them from Space Corps. The ingratitude makes him angry and he vows to leave them here to rot unless they come with him right now. They have very little choice and so the Doctor agrees to go with him. Clancey is introduced to Sorba and despite his commission in Space Corps, Clancey agrees to take him along as well.

The group starts to move out, only to hear footsteps approaching. They retreat back inside and hide behind the door. It is the guard come to fetch Sorba. Clancey fires his rifle at the guard and he falls, unconscious. Jamie sets about disarming the guard when another appears round the corner. Clancey fires again but this time misses, blaming his aging eyes. The guard will tell the pirates of their escape. They need to get moving quickly.

Suddenly an alarm goes off through the tunnels. Too late. They've already noted the escape. The group rushes off into the tunnels, Clancey in the lead.

Caven directs the search from his control room, but it's not going well. The group seems to be moving upward from level nine with remarkable ease, evading all the men searching for them. They must be using the old ventilators. Caven realises it must be someone who knows these caverns even better than he does - Milo Clancey. He knows he'll have to work hard to catch a wily old fox like him. As if to confirm this, one of Caven's men reports that the fugitives have just reached level 6. They're moving quickly.

Caven orders all his men to level 3 and tells them to seal it off. He'll be there directly.

Clancey is leading his group at a very fast pace. The Doctor asks for a rest, worried about the injured Sorba, as does Zoe. Clancey agrees, but they can only stop for a moment. He reveals that they are headed for the headquarters of Issigri Mining, despite the fact that Madeleine is supposedly his sworn enemy. He appears to have changed his mind about her. He says that he thought she was responsible for all this piracy business, trying deliberately to drive him out of business as she blames him for the death of her father, Dom. He simply disappeared years ago without a trace. Despite the lack of evidence, Madeleine blamed Clancey and had been trying to put an end to his business ever since.

Zoe is sceptical of this. With the pirates here on Ta, this Madeleine Issigri could still be behind it. But Clancey reveals that he saw the leader of the pirates at the top of the shaft down which the Doctor and his friends fell. He recognised the man that forced them down - Maurice Caven. He is the mastermind behind the pirates, a murderous criminal whose reputation far precedes him.

However, the group can learn nothing more as the sound of footsteps alarms them. They cut off their conversation and set off again through the tunnels. They don't get far before Sorba collapses against the wall. He is too weak to run any more. He tells the others to leave him behind so that they can escape, but they will not do so. The guards are closing in and Jamie grabs the confiscated weapon and charged back down the tunnel to engage them and keep them busy.

Clancey knows that even this will not buy them much time. There's no recharge unit for that gun. All eyes turn to the Doctor to find a way out of all this and the Doctor is very worried as there's not much to work with. His eyes scan the tunnel and alight on a junction box hanging from the wall. It's a power distribution centre, very old. The Doctor checks to see if it's still connected up and receives a nasty shock... and his answer.

Whilst he sets about trying to rig a force field with a length of electrical cable nearby, Jamie engages a group of guards. The gunfire echoes deafeningly through the tunnel. With Zoe's help, the Doctor connects the coil of wire from the junction box to a metal ring driven into the rock wall on the other side. Clancey can't understand what he's doing; he only hope it works.

Before long, Jamie's gun is out of power and he retreats back down the passage. Luckily the Doctor has completed his work and the force field is now ready. He throws the switch and a strong hum of electricity fills the passage. It's time to go. Zoe and Clancey help Sorba escape whilst the Doctor waits for Jamie. However, the lad is running down the passage so quickly that he nearly runs into the deadly force field. The Doctor only just manages to turn it off in time. Jamie crosses the barrier and the Doctor reactivates it. They hurry off to join their friends.

The pirates approach the wiring, unaware of what has been done. The first unfortunate man hits the barrier and is electrocuted on the spot, his body twisting crazily. The other men fall back.

A short time later, Clancey and the others reach Madeleine Issigri's office. She is stunned to see him after all these years. She is full of questions but Clancey cuts through all of them. He orders her to contact General Hermack and get that V-ship back here right away. The argonite pirates are here on Ta and they have to be stopped.

Madeleine is dismissive, despite the Doctor's insistence that Clancey's story is completely true.

Caven has joined his men in the tunnel and figures out quickly what has been done. He destroys the junction box with his blaster and the way is clear. The group moves forward.

Madeleine listens to the whole story and is still sceptical. She seems to know nothing of Caven and will not believe the pirates have been operating on this planet all along. She refuses to call Space Corps, saying that her guards can take care of any problem there might be. Clancey is livid at her stubbornness, just like her old man, and is determined to call Hermack himself.

As he moves to the communications console, Madeleine pulls out a blaster and points it at him. At that moment, Caven and his men burst in. Sorba, reacting as trained, snatches Madeleine's blaster and moves to attack the men. He is blasted down mercilessly by Caven.

Caven then turns to Clancey, chiding him for his naïveté. Caven and Madeleine are clearly partners in the piracy venture and Clancey has led his friends right into their hands. He points his blaster at Clancey's head...

Episode Five
(drn: 24'44")

Madeleine reacts in horror to Caven's callousness. She never agreed to murder and will not let him kill Clancey, pointing out that she's still in charge of this venture. However, Caven reminds her that he's the one doing all the dirty work - the space piracy, the capital larceny, and the homicide - whilst she just cashes in. He reminds her that she's just as guilty for his acts as she is.

However, Madeleine's insistence that there must be another way to deal with these prisoners does spark something in Caven. He decides to lock them up, a plan forming in his mind.

Zoe stops Jamie from trying to attack the guards, knowing it is suicide, and shortly the entire group is marched out of the office to be locked up beneath the dock complex. As they go, Madeleine tries to find out from Caven what he has planned for them. He won't specify, but he thinks they may help him get Space Corps off their backs permanently.

Near the planet Lobos, V-41 cruises the space lanes. General Hermack receives a report from Major Warne on the ground. He has tracked the segments of Beacon Alpha Four to Lobos, but they were simply in orbit there. No one was coming to pick them up. He landed at Milo Clancey's HQ but there was no sign of him there. The mining crew there say he's been gone for several weeks ago and they haven't heard from him since. Hermack is sceptical, thinking they might be covering, but Warne is convinced. There's no trace of recent blast offs and no landing pad big enough for a beta dart to land on. There's just no way that Lobos is the pirates' base.

Warne supposes that the beacon segments were set here deliberately to throw them off the track. Hermack is still not certain, but he recalls Warne, having Navigator Penn put out a beacon signal for his minnow ship to home in on. Hermack orders Penn to calculate the original course of the beacon segments when they were first picked up on long-range scan. He does so and projects a course for them. It points to the planet Ta as the segments' destination. Hermack is beginning to believe that Warne might be right...

The Doctor, Zoe, Jamie, and Clancey are marched along a corridor to a very heavy steel door. They are shoved inside a darkened room and the door slammed behind them. One of Caven's men stays on guard outside.

Inside, the room is in complete darkness. The Doctor produces a match and lights it. From its weak glow, they can see that this is no ordinary prison cell. It is an elaborately furnished room with books on shelves, old-fashioned furniture and artwork on the walls. It looks like an office. Clancey is amazed to recognise one of the portraits on the walls - it is his old friend and partner Dom Issigri himself. This room is Dom's own personal study!

The match goes out and the Doctor asks if Clancey can remember where the light switch might be. However, Dom was apparently a bit of a Romantic and made his study without the modern conveniences. There are no lights, more likely candles or a lamp provided light in here. Jamie is amazed. It's been a very long time since he saw any room lit by candles during his travels with the Doctor.

Zoe helps search for some of these candles, bringing out a box of wax sticks. She has apparently never seen candles before and isn't even sure how they might work. Jamie is amazed yet again. The Doctor produces some more matches and lights a number of candles, explaining the simple principle to Zoe as he does so. As they are lit, the cold dark room becomes more cheery... and more visible.

Clancey can't understand why they were locked in here. He believes it was Madeleine who had them imprisoned, but he heard rumour that she barred the study from use after her father's disappearance. She swore that no one would ever set foot in here again. Jamie thinks she must have kept her promise as the place is covered in dust, but the Doctor is not so sure. He has found a large old-fashioned clock in the room. It has an 8-day movement and is ticking away quite regularly. Someone has wound it recently.

As they speculate, Zoe tries to get their attention. She has found something else much more urgent. Huddled in the darkness is a dirty, dishevelled figure. It cowers away as the Doctor approaches. He reveals a haggard face, old and worn. But it is a familiar face nonetheless. They have all seen it just moments before - in the portrait on the wall. It is Dom Issigri, still alive after many years.

However, he is not the man he was. He cowers away from the light and the strangers and begins babbling, begging for them to leave him alone. All are stunned, none more so than Milo Clancey.

Back in Madeleine's office, Dervish calls in from his ship. He and his men are returning from Lobos. He reports that the nose cone camouflage worked and threw Space Corps right off the scent. Caven, pleased, directs him to land on pad 3.

Madeleine tries to puncture Caven's smug demeanour, noting that Hermack won't be fooled for long. He'll quickly discover there's nothing on Lobos and will have to come back here. She suggests putting their emergency plan into action - flooding the lower chambers and destroying all evidence of their smelting plant - and putting an end to their operation. However, Caven is unmoved. He has another plan, and if it works, they'll be able to restart their profitable operation in a very short time.

Unable to keep his brilliance hidden, Caven reveals the plan to her. His men discovered the LIZ, Clancey's ship, in an abandoned freighter dock. He plans to fit it with a remote-control guidance system and fly it into orbit with Clancey and his friend aboard. When Hermack arrives, he can capture the "pirate leader's" ship and the whole matter will be done. Madeleine scoffs at his plan, knowing that Clancey will just tell Hermack the truth, but Caven's eyes grow cold. He isn't planning to send Clancey up there alive.

Madeleine is horrified, demanding that there be no talk of murder. She's clearly gotten herself in too deep. It started out as a simple salvage operation - capturing space flotsam for smelting - but it's gone far beyond that into piracy. She went along before, taking a cut of the profits for her part, but she draws the line at murder. She refuses to let him do as he suggests.

Caven tells her bluntly that she has little choice. She may be head of the Issigri Mining Corporation and have a lot of clout to throw around, but in this operation he's in charge. He has twice as many men under his command as she does and his are all armed. She will not interfere.

Dervish arrives, exhausted from his mission, but Caven has another job for him to tackle immediately. He needs Dervish to organise a space accident, starting with a remote control guidance unit installed in LIZ-79. Caven doesn't entertain any questions and Dervish obeys. Just before he leaves to get started, Caven adds one more requirement. He wants the oxygen pump on the ship rigged as well, planning to have it go out just as the ship enters orbit. The threat is clear and Madeleine is horrified.

In the study, Jamie holds the struggling Dom whilst Milo tries to talk to him. Nothing seems to be getting through as the man is terrified out of his mind. He begs them not to hurt him, something that has clearly happened before. Clancey is grief-stricken at what's been done to his old friend. He can only imagine the horrors that he's lived through.

The Doctor orders Jamie to release Dom, hoping that he might feel more comfortable. The old man just collapses when released, whimpering. Clancey refuses to believe that Madeleine could have done this to her own father, but the only one who can tell them what happened is Dom himself. The Doctor suggests that Clancey talk to him. Maybe the familiar voice might calm him. He suggests talking about the old days, things that Dom might remember.

Clancey does so, awkwardly at first, not really knowing how to approach his old friend and partner. Then he begins talking about the LIZ, their old ship, and some of their adventures together. This seems to work, as does a mention of Madeleine. Dom pulls a tattered old photograph from his pocket, a sort of life-line he's been clinging to. It is a picture of Madeleine as a little girl. Clancey says she was six years old when it was taken, but Dom corrects him: only five. It seems that his grip on reality is returning, although he is still very frightened.

Buoyed by this small breakthrough, Clancey continues to coax memories from Dom. He only hopes he can help.

Madeleine has been able to get away from Caven for awhile, and she has made her way down into the tunnels, looking for the prisoners. She is surprised to find a guard on duty outside her father's old study, a room she had ordered kept permanently locked many years ago. She is horrified to learn that the prisoners are being held in there under Caven's orders. Old pain from the death of her father wells up in her and she screams at the guard, demanding the key. But the guard has his orders, and he's armed. He will not let her in. Madeleine storms off, vowing to make the guard - and Caven - pay for this.

The guard calls to a comrade nearby and tells him to report the incident to Caven. And he makes sure to mention her temper!

After some while of talking, Dom has calmed down considerably and to the joy of everyone in the room, he actually recognises his old partner Milo Clancey. They have a brief but joyous reunion and Clancey introduces his friends. They are all prisoners together, left here by Caven.

Dom reveals that it was Caven who kidnapped him all those years ago. They came by night, with guns, and left him down here to rot. He did so to drive a wedge between Clancey and Madeleine in order to take over the Issigri Mining Corporation. Jamie doesn't understand all this. Why go to the trouble of kidnapping Dom; why not kill him and get it over with? The Doctor thinks he knows. From what he's seen of Caven, he never does anything without a purpose. Somehow, Dom must still be of value to Caven.

The Doctor decides the time has come to think about escape, an idea which is greeted with pessimism from Dom. There's no way out of this room. He should know; he built it. But the Doctor is not discouraged. There's only one way out, but there's also only one way in...

Madeleine returns to her office, looking for Caven. Instead, she finds Dervish directing some of his men via communicator to finish the job Caven set for him. She is clearly angry Dervish is not a cruel man. He listens as she tries to find out why he is working for the evil Caven. Dervish reveals that he "made a mistake once" and Caven has been using that information to keep him under control ever since. Madeleine can sympathise with him. She didn't realise what she'd gotten herself into until she saw him shoot Sorba. It has all gotten out of control.

Thinking that she may have found an ally in Dervish, she suggests that they work together to stop Caven, but he won't even let her complete her thought. He knows Caven and what he's capable of. If they even think about plotting against him, Caven will find out and kill them both. His fear is palpable. She is desperate to save Clancey and the others from being killed and she begins to beg Dervish. He can see her anguish but he refuses to help, getting past her and racing out the door. She shouts after him that he is as guilty as Caven if he doesn't help, but it does no good.

However, Madeleine is now alone in the office. She goes immediately to the communicator and calls out for General Hermack.

The message comes through to V-41, faint but audible. Penn boosts it through the amplifier and adds video. Hermack responds at last, but is too late. Madeleine's face is contorted with fear, but she only gets out the words "you must get..." before the screen goes blank. Penn reports that the connection is still open. Something has happened at the other end.

Back on Ta, Caven holds Madeleine in an iron grip. He only just stopped her transmission in time. He heard about her attempt to contact the prisoners and now she has tried to warn Space Corps of what is happening. He can no longer trust her. Realising that their partnership is at an end, Madeleine is actually pleased. She hopes that she will be put with the other prisoners, but unfortunately Caven has other plans for her.

Madeleine scoffs at Caven, believing that he now has no further hold over her. There is no way she will help any longer. Caven cuts through her words, announcing that if she doesn't cooperate, he'll have her father flogged, and it just may kill him in the state he's in. She of course refuses to believe that her father is alive, thinking Caven must be desperate to resort to such a ploy. However, Caven produces a photo of him taken only a few weeks ago. He looks like a ghost of a man, but it is undeniably him. Caven has kept him alive all these years for just such a situation, a lever to use against Madeleine to make her cooperate.

Madeleine breaks down in tears as she at last realises the depths of Caven's evil. She begs to see her father, whom she has believed dead all these years. Knowing he now has total control over her, he says they must talk first about how she is going to help him.

Meanwhile, Penn has tried and failed to re-establish contact with Issigri Control. Hermack and Warne speculate on what might be happening, noting the fear they saw on Madeleine's face. Warne suggests that Clancey, whom he still suspects as being head of the pirates, diverted the beacon segments to Lobos to deliberately lead them away from Ta. Then he and his men could have stormed Issigri Mining and taken it over. It would have been an easy operation if they were actually based on Ta to begin with.

Hermack thinks it an unlikely scenario, but he knows that they must investigate immediately. The V-ship sets course for Ta.

The Doctor, still looking for a way out of the study, focuses on a metal grille above the door. Dom says that he worked for his first year on trying to pry it open. It is barely scratched. The Doctor says he wasn't really thinking of using brute strength, his eyes going to Jamie. Jamie is just glad it's not another audio lock, much to the Doctor's chagrin. However, he's got an idea to get the door open, but he makes certain that Clancey can get them back to the LIZ once they're out. Clancey says he knows the tunnels like the back of his hand. That settled, the Doctor begins organising some candles and a bag of marbles from his pocket!

On board the V-ship, Hermack receives another message from Madeleine Issigri, this time she is calm and composed. She apologises for the "technical fault" that caused the breakdown last time and says she was only calling to urge him to find the pirates quickly. She says that one of her freighters was attacked as it entered this system. The pilot was able to outrun them, but she fears for the rest of her shipments.

When Hermack tells her he is returning to Ta, she tries to warn him off saying there's nothing wrong. But Hermack insists. Madeleine promises to clear a landing pad for him and signs out.

Caven is happy enough with the job Madeleine has done, but he worries about her attempt to warn off the V-ship. It would have been disastrous for his plans if she had been successful; he is counting on that ship returning.

Dervish reports that he is finished installing the remote control device on the LIZ. All that remains is to test it.

In the study, the Doctor is nearly ready to enact his escape plan. He and his companions have rubbed a number of candles on the floor, coating it in slippery wax. To that, he has added most of the contents of his bag of marbles, save for a green one which is one of his favourites. Dom and Clancey have created a pile of combustible rubbish on a tray, which the Doctor now sets fire to. Soon a column of smoke is rising from the tray and the Doctor hoists it toward the grille above the door. Jamie and the others get into position.

Outside, the guard on the door smells smoke and then sees it coming from inside the study. He calls to a comrade as shouts for help begin behind the door. He grabs the keys and opens the door.

Two guards enter at a run and hit the wax and marbles at full tilt. Both men go down like ninepins, aided by Jamie, Zoe, and Clancey, who knock them both out. Then everyone piles out of the room, careful to avoid the slickened floor.

A few moments later, Caven hears of the escape from one of the unfortunate guards. He is livid and promises punishment. But first, the prisoners must be caught. He orders his men to search for them. By his side, Madeleine taunts Caven, knowing that his plans are useless if Clancey and the others aren't caught before Space Corps arrives. Caven's anger grows.

A message comes in saying the prisoners were spotted on level three. It appears that they are heading toward the old freighter dock. Suddenly Caven brightens, realising they are making for the LIZ. Caven orders the patrols called in and all pursuit to stop. They are to be allowed to reach the ship. Once there, he'll let them launch. When they're in orbit, he can cut the oxygen supply on the ship by remote control and Space Corps will find a bunch of dead pirates as he had originally planned.

Madeleine is horrified anew, realising that her father must be with Clancey and the others. He will be killed. Caven's response is cold as ice.

Clancey is first to reach the flight deck of his ship and he attacks the controls with vigour. The Doctor and Dom arrive just behind him. Somehow, they've gotten separated from Jamie and Zoe. They are nowhere to be seen and the Doctor is very worried. The Doctor sees Clancey preparing for takeoff and becomes even more worried. However, Clancey assures the Doctor he won't launch without his friends.

In the office, Caven learns that the V-ship is on an approach path to Ta. It has arrived sooner than he thought. He makes a sudden decision. They cannot wait for Clancey to launch, they must use the remote control device to launch the LIZ themselves. Madeleine cries out in anguish and Caven knocks her back. He orders Dervish to launch the ship. Now.

On board, the Doctor is now very concerned about Jamie and Zoe. He decides to go out and look for them. Clancey agrees to wait, but he'd better hurry. They don't have much time.

As soon as the Doctor is gone, the engines of the old ship suddenly fire up. Clancey can't figure out what is happening. The controls won't respond and there is nothing he can do. The rocket engines begin to gather power and take off is imminent. Clancey realises that the Doctor hasn't had time to get far enough away. If he's out there when the ship blasts off, he'll be burnt to a crisp!

Outside, the Doctor has heard the building roar. He has no time to wonder why Clancey is leaving without him as he is fully aware of the danger to him. He races away from the launch area, but he has not gone far enough. A blast of heat and exhaust rushes over him, knocking him to the ground.

As the LIZ blasts away, the Doctor's body is left in the tunnel, overcome by the fumes and the blast...

Episode Six
(drn: 23'26")

Jamie and Zoe wander the tunnels, having gotten separated from the Doctor and the others. They can only hope they are going in the right direction. They hear the rumbling of the LIZ taking off and are worried, fearing that it means they are trapped here. Why would the Doctor leave without them? They race toward the source of the sound.

On board the ship, Clancey wrestles with the controls whilst Dom looks distinctly frightened. Has he finally escaped his captor only to die at the hands of his former partner? But Clancey knows what is happening. Someone else is operating the LIZ by remote control. Caven.

Jamie and Zoe enter the tunnel leading to the old freighter dock. It is still fills with the remains of exhaust fumes from the blast off. Through the haze, they see the Doctor lying unconscious on the ground and race to him. Zoe checks his pulse and finds it weak but steady. He must have been caught in the exhaust blast. As the smoke starts to get to them, they pick up the Doctor and drag him away.

In Madeleine's office, Caven is very pleased that his plan has worked. The ship is almost in orbit now and the V-ship will be here any moment. He orders Dervish to cut the oxygen supply to the LIZ, killing everyone aboard. Madeleine tries to stop him, but Dervish does as ordered. Madeleine tries to reach the cut off switch but Caven grabs her and stops her, knocking her back once again.

Clancey investigates the control console of his ship and discovers an inspection plate whose screws have been loosened recently. That must be where the remote control unit is. He starts to remove the plate when Dom draws his attention to a much more pressing problem. It is getting very stuffy inside the ship. Sure enough, when Milo looks to the oxygen vent, he can see that it is no longer functioning, the faded indicator ribbons hanging from it limply. Their oxygen supply has been turned off.

Back on Ta, Caven watches their futile actions on a video monitor. Clancey goes back to work on the console, trying to find and disconnect the remote control unit so he can regain control of his ship. He watches, pleased, as Dom passes out from lack of oxygen. It will only be a matter of time before Clancey succumbs as well. Madeleine is beside herself with grief.

However, Caven becomes worried as he realises there are only two people on the ship. Where are the Doctor and his friends?

Jamie and Zoe move the Doctor into another tunnel where the air is fresh. They work to try and revive him. Shortly, he is coming to, coughing as his lungs fill with clear air. He says he is all right, but his voice is raspy, affected by the fumes. Zoe asks why Clancey took off without them and the Doctor says he doesn't think that was the case. He fears that somehow the LIZ was launched by remote control.

They all know that Caven is capable of such a plan, but they cannot understand why he would want to do it. The Doctor gets to his feet, determined to find the remote control unit on this end and to free Milo and Dom. They head off toward the Issigri Mining headquarters.

Caven watches the monitor as Clancey struggles against the unconsciousness that will soon engulf him. He seems to be enjoying the old man's suffering. His plan is working perfectly - Dom and Clancey will be long dead by the time Space Corps arrives - and he congratulates Dervish on his fine timing. Dervish, seeing the anguish in Madeleine's eyes, screws up his courage and questions Caven on the need for doing this. Why can't they just get away before Space Corps arrives? Caven mocks Dervish's cold feet, and his poor excuse for a backbone. This is the best way to put Space Corps off the trail. Clancey dead in a ship full of stolen argonite. Hermack will know he's gotten the leader of the pirates.

Dervish reminds Caven of the Doctor and his companions, likely loose in the tunnel complex. They can still be a threat if they contact Space Corps. This Caven agrees with and he decides to go and take care of them. He leaves Dervish on guard over Madeleine, ordering him to kill her if she gives him any trouble.

As soon as he is gone, Madeleine makes a move toward the remote control unit, but Dervish vows to kill her if she touches it. He is still loyal to Caven even after all of this. On the monitor, they see Clancey finally succumb and pass out from the lack of oxygen. She despairs that they don't stand a chance. They'll be dead before Space Corps arrives.

Out in space, the V-ship approaches Ta. On the edge of their radar screens, they can see a faint contact. It's a ship. Warne thinks it could be a beta dart, but it's too far away to tell. Hermack orders main boost. They'll be close enough in no time.

Madeleine renews her entreaties to Dervish, begging him to help them both get free of Caven. She moves toward him and he raises his blaster, ordering her to stay back. Behind him, Madeleine sees movement at the door. It is the Doctor. She keeps talking, making sure to keep Dervish's attention off the door as the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe enter quietly. She chides him for being gutless.

Dervish reacts to the vitriol and aims the blaster at her, ready to fire just to shut her up. Jamie leaps into action, attacking Dervish from behind. He succeeds in knocking the man out, but the blaster goes off in the struggle, the blast glancing the remote control unit.

Madeleine is very pleased to see her rescuers and she tells the Doctor what has happened to Clancey and her father. The Doctor investigates the charred remote control unit to find that the controls have been fused by the blast. They won't work. He starts to open up the casing to get to the wiring inside.

Unnoticed on the floor, Dervish has begun to regain consciousness.

Out in the tunnels, Caven receives a report from his men. No sign of the Doctor yet. Caven orders the search to continue, telling his men to shoot the fugitives on sight. He is going back to Issigri HQ.

The Doctor works quickly on the wiring, trying to get the oxygen pumps working again. At last he announces that he thinks he's succeeded. He then sets about trying to restore the radio link.

A moment later, his voice issues from the communications unit on board the LIZ. However, there is no movement from the unconscious bodies of Dom and Clancey.

With no video available, there's no way to tell if the communications unit is even working. The Doctor is reasonably certain it is, but cannot be sure. He's also uncertain that he can restore the video link, a much more complicated procedure. The Doctor's musing are interrupted by a frantic word from Jamie. So absorbed has he been in the Doctor's struggle with the equipment, he did not notice that Dervish has awakened and quietly slipped out of the office. He is gone.

Everyone fears that means Caven will be on top of them momentarily. Madeleine activates a control and closes the main doors, certain that will keep them safe for a while. She begs the Doctor to forget about Caven and to concentrate on contacting the LIZ. She is desperate to find out if her father is safe.

On board the ship, the indicator ribbons flutter as oxygen once again flows through the regulator. Clancey stirs and wakes, his head splitting. To make matters worse, Madeleine's voice screeches from the communications unit as she desperately calls to them. Clancey responds, mainly to get her to stop shouting, but in her joy her voice gets even louder. Clancey checks on Dom and finds that he is alive too, although still unconscious.

Suddenly there is a bigger problem. A new communication comes through - from General Hermack. He orders Clancey to cut his motors so that he can be boarded. Clancey, tired of taking orders and being bellowed at, tells Hermack to be quiet and listen to him. He's going to tell the general a story that will make his hair curl...

Caven runs into Dervish outside Issigri HQ and he tells his boss what happened. Caven is furious, knowing that the Doctor and the others will bring Space Corps down on top of them. He would love to kill Dervish for his mistake, but there isn't time. Instead, they both head for the office.

Hermack listens to Clancey's story and actually wants to believe it. When Dom Issigri's voice reaches his over the radio, insisting it's all true, Hermack does believe it. He contacts Issigri headquarters, informing Madeleine that they are planning to launch a full-scale assault on Ta in 55 minutes. She accepts this news gratefully.

The communication is interrupted by Clancey, asking for someone to help try and get him and Dom down from their orbit. The Doctor jumps in, saying he can help Clancey dismantle the remote control device if he can only find it on the ship. Clancey and a shell-shocked Dom set to work trying to locate it.

Meanwhile Caven has found the main doors to Issigri HQ closed and locked from the inside. There's no way in. Caven uses the internal video link to contact Madeleine in the office. She taunts him, saying that Space Corps will be upon them before he can get away. He's finished.

However, Caven still has another trick up his sleeve. In full view of the video unit, he orders Dervish to get 18 or 20 demolition charges and to connect them in series around the planet's atomic fuel stores. The weak-willed Dervish goes off to do as ordered, despite the destruction he knows it will cause. Just in case Madeleine doesn't appreciate the power of the explosion to come, he tells her it will be equivalent to 80 hydrogen bombs. He will be long away before the explosion is triggered by remote control. But Madeline, her friends, and the V-ship will all be in the flash zone. All will be killed.

He bids her goodbye, locking the main doors from outside so that she cannot escape.

Madeleine is ready to give up, knowing that Caven is not bluffing. There's nothing they can do. Space Corps cannot possibly get here in time to stop them and they themselves are locked in. The Doctor knows there is only one place that help can come from now - the LIZ. He must help Clancey regain control of his ship and return to Ta. Madeleine gets on to General Hermack whilst the Doctor contacts Clancey.

A short time later, Dervish, now in full radiation gear, completes the job of connecting up the explosives. He works carefully, not wanting to blow himself up, but Caven watches impatiently and urges him to hurry. Dervish exits the atomic fuel store to fetch the triggering device and faces his angry boss. However, this is one job that cannot be rushed. One false move and the whole thing will go up. Caven, chastened somewhat, reminds Dervish that they have only 30 more minutes before the V-ship arrives. Dervish returns to the atomic stores to connect up the remote trigger.

Madeleine completes her report to General Hermack and he knows what they must do. They have to intercept Caven's beta dart before he can transmit the explosion signal.

Under the Doctor's guidance, Clancey struggles with the wiring on the remote control device. The technical stuff is a bit beyond him, even though he knows the LIZ intimately. With Dom's help he at last discovers the implanted device and he yanks it out, perhaps a little too hard. The Doctor's voice says it must be dismantled, but Clancey is way ahead of him. It's already done... by brute strength! Clancey is now back in control of his ship.

Meanwhile, Dervish has completed the installation of the triggering device with not a moment to spare. He and Caven race to their beta dart, ready to blast away from Ta.

On board V-41, the scanners register the ship leaving the planet. It must be Caven. Hermack orders Warne to his minnow fighter to get after them. He orders Penn to lay in a pursuit course.

Shortly, Warne is in flight with the speedy minnow fighter. Both he and the giant V-ship pursue the fleeing beta dart.

Clancey pilots the rickety old LIZ back toward Ta. To him, it's like old times with Dom. To Dom, it reminds him of all the time he's lost. Clancey tries to calm him, saying they'll soon be on the ground and he'll be reunited with his daughter Madeleine. This seems to cheer him. Clancey turns his attention back to the controls, ready to try and approach orbit into Ta.

Out in space, Warne is nearly on top of the beta dart. 30 more seconds and he'll be in firing range. However, Caven breaks in on their radio frequency, telling Hermack that if the minnow fires, he'll trigger the explosives and they'll all go up together. Reluctantly, Hermack orders Warne to pull back. He then contacts Madeleine to tell them what has happened. Only 12 minutes until the beta dart is out of range of the blast and Caven will activate the explosives.

With more luck than skill, Clancey pilots the LIZ to a rough touchdown on Ta. Dom seems shell-shocked by all the excitement. Madeleine's voice calls out from the radio, full of worry. Clancey tries to reassure her that he's on his way to release them. Madeleine urges him to hurry.

Clancey is ready to go and hopes that Dom will come with him. However, the old man is clearly not up to this sort of adventuring and so Clancey decides to leave him there. He hurries out of the ship on his own.

Madeleine reports to Hermack that the Doctor thinks he can defuse the explosive if Clancey can release them from the office. Hermack tells her to hurry as they've only got about 8 more minutes. At 1200 hours, Warne is going to attack that beta dart one way or the other. Hermack wishes them luck.

A moment later, Clancey arrives, bursting through the door. He is out of breath and is expecting a hero's welcome. Instead, everyone races out of the office, ignoring him. Jamie manages to tell him they're going to defuse a bomb as he goes. Clancey gathers up his strength and hurries off after them. Perhaps he is getting too old for this sort of thing.

Out in space, Warne's trigger finger is getting itchy, but Hermack warns him off. They have to give Madeleine and the others as much time as they can. 7 more minutes is about all.

On Ta, the Doctor suits up in Dervish's radiation gear and goes into the atomic stores with only 6 minutes left. He begins to work on the detonator, moving much too slowly for his companions' liking. But Clancey knows that he must work carefully or risk blowing them all to bits. Every eye is on the clock. Only 3 minutes left.

The Doctor manages to extract the core from the triggering device. He must now sever the two wires connecting it to the explosives, but in the right order. All eyes are now on him.

On board the V-ship, with no idea at all what is happening on Ta, Hermack is in a quandary. If he does nothing to stop the beta dart, the pirate leader will get away clean and he and his ship will be destroyed. If he attacks, at least the pirates won't get away and Warne might just get them before the triggering signal can be sent. He must take the risk. With 150 seconds left, he orders Warne to attack.

Warne moves his minnow into position and fires two missiles at the beta dart.

Caven sees this on his scope and is horrified. He thought his plan was foolproof. Knowing he's about to die, he decides to take them all with them. He reaches for the triggering switch. Suddenly Dervish is upon him, wrestling to stop him reaching the button. They're still in the blast area and they'll be killed!

On Ta, the Doctor comes to a decision and snaps first one wire, then the other. Has he done it?

Caven defeats Dervish in the struggle and activates the trigger.

The clock in the atomic stores hits 1200 hours and everyone holds his breath. To their great relief, nothing happens. They can all breathe again.

Out in space, the beta dart is destroyed when Warne's missiles strike their target. Caven and his men are destroyed, ending the threat of the space pirates.

A short time later, in Madeleine's office, the entire group learns of the destruction of the beta dart. There is a brief cheer from them all. However, Madeleine is not in a celebratory mood. Hermack is on his way back here to pick her up. She must go back to home planet to stand trial for her part in the piracy scheme. Clancey tries to reassure her that all will be well and she brightens somewhat. Her father will also give evidence against Caven that will likely help her.

To cheer her, Clancey suggests she come with him to the LIZ for a long-delayed reunion with her father. She would like that very much, although it will be very strange to see him again after all this time. She takes a moment to thank the Doctor for his help before heading out.

Zoe reminds them all of something they'd forgotten about: the TARDIS. The Doctor assures her it is safe - inside one of the beacon sections orbiting around Lobos. Clancey has offered to give them a lift there in the LIZ to retrieve it. Jamie is horrified at the prospect of another trip in the rickety old spaceship and says he'd rather walk. Clancey, overhearing, is not pleased, and just might make him walk after all!

The Doctor, Clancey, and even Zoe laugh at the lad's shocked expression as they all head out to board their ride.

Source: Jeff Murray
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