Darkness has fallen as Habris, Captain of the Guard,
seeks audience with his King and Queen. Standing fearfully before the sinister
monarchs Habris proclaims it is once more the time of selection. King Zargo
advises Habris to choose well - those selected should be young, strong
and full of life. Standing to one side Aukon, the Councillor, reminds Zargo
that it is spirit the Great One will prize most. He still seeks in vain
for the first of the Chosen Ones who will serve at the Time of Arising.
Gratefully Habris is allowed to take his leave.
Next morning, in a nearby village, Ivo headman of the
community, has summoned all the adolescent young for selection by Habris.
Grimly the Guard Captain advances down the line tapping on the shoulder
those he considers suitable. To the dismay of Marta, Ivo's wife, Habris
picks out Karl, her son who has not been included in the line-up. Ivo is
angry. Habris replies there is no choice in the matter. Despite their mutual
respect for one another Habris knows he could not keep back any secrets
from Aukon. Somehow the Lords can see into their minds. If Karl is lucky
he will be allowed to become a guard. If not then he will go to serve the
Lords directly. And no-one who has done that, points out Ivo, has ever
been heard from again...
Aboard the TARDIS the Doctor and Romana are puzzling their
latest quandry. Thanks to their passing through a Charged Vacuum Emboitment
recently they are now trapped in the greenish void of E-Space, a smaller
Universe quite separate from normal N-Space. Unable to navigate properly
they are consequently lost and Romana is doubtful they can find an inhabited
world in this desolation. To their surprise K-9 locates one although scanners
reveal there is only a single, localised concentration of civilisation.
Feeling he might be able to enlist the help of any indigenous scientists
there the Doctor decides to land.
The TARDIS comes to rest in a forest and, with the aid
of a telescope, the Doctor espies the medieval-type community they had
detected from space. Leaving K-9 behind to resolve the question of navigating
by negative co-ordinates, the two time travellers set off to explore.
K-9's computations are interrupted by the entrance of
an unexpected visitor. This is Adric, a boy they had met on the planet
Alzarius. Having hidden aboard as a stowaway Adric is now keen to make
his presence known and he leaves to follow the Doctor and Romana.
Entering in the village the two time travellers find their
way to the main community hall. Here they disturb a debate between Ivo
and Habris. The Doctor is unable to get any sense from the incredulous
Ivo who reacts almost with alarm to the Doctor's request to meet any scientists
and suggests the Doctor looks elsewhere for his answers. As the pair leave
Ivo opens a cupboard and takes out a rusting transceiver set. Contacting
a person named Kalmar he relates the news of the strangers and, in particular,
their wish to meet scientists.
In the throne room of the Tower Habris is being admonished
by his monarchs for not arresting the Doctor and Romana. They must be found
at once. Aukon, however, says there is an easier way than using the guards
- if they are on this planet his servants will find them. Concentrating,
Aukon's mind's eye focusses on the image of a flying bat.
Returning through the forest Romana and the Doctor are
surrounded by a group of cowelled men and led to a concealed cave where
they meet Kalmar. Kalmar is trying to get an old monitor screen working,
and he is more than pleased when the Doctor helps him repair part of it.
Romana identifies the equipment as a data bank of Earth origin, from the
cargo vessel Hydrax. Images flash up ot the three officers, Captain
Sharksy, Lauren MacMillan and Anthony O'Connor. Tarak, Kalmar's deputy,
points out the faces are familiar-they are the faces of the Three Who Rule.
The Doctor would like a meeting with them and, with Kalmar's permission,
they are allowed to leave.
With night falling Adric steals into the village Hall
and attempts to purloin some food. He is caught by Marta and Ivo, but they
take pity on the boy and offer him sanctuary. He cannot go out now; it
is' nearly dark and evil stalks the night on this world...
The Doctor and Romana are picking their way back through
the forest. Suddenly a bat swoops down and bites the Doctor. Another one
attacks Romana. Looking up the pair are horror-struck to see the sky blackening
with a whole swarm of bats. They try to run as more of the creatures swoop
down, until finally the whole swarm dives toward them.
At the last moment the bats change course and fly off.
But as Romana and the Doctor struggle to their feet they are met by Habris
and his men who have come to "escort" them to an audience at the Tower.
They are shown into the huge, circular throne room, the
Doctor remarking it strange there appear to be no windows in this edifice.
Almost from no-where Zargo and Camilla appear, bidding the two travellers
welcome. Zargo suggests some refreshments for his guests, which include wine and
meat. Zargo offers a toast to his guests. The Doctor clinks glasses with
Romana but does it too hard causing Romana’s glass to shatter to pieces in
her hand. The broken pieces end up on the floor. Romana licks her finger,
which has been cut by the glass. This tempts Camilla, who wants to look at
the cut. However, Romana pulls her hand away, saying it’s only a cut.
As discussions unfold it becomes increasingly apparent to
the Doctor the lack of advance on this planet is due entirely to the influence
of these rulers. Camilla agrees they have lost their technology over the
years, but adds there are compensations...
In the Village Adric is helping with the evening meal
when Habris enters. There is to be another selection now. Ivo moves to
protest but is told Lord Aukon himself is here. Aukon walks down the line
of youths, stopping when he comes to Adric. He recognises the first of
the Chosen Ones. Trance-like Adric follows Aukon from the hall.
Mention of the Hydrax disturbs Zargo and Camilla
and the Doctor is about to pursue this when Habris enters with news from
Aukon that the Time of Arising is at hand. Being left alone gives the Doctor
a chance to look around. He pulls aside a drape to reveal a circular hatchway
in a metal bulkhead. This Tower is, or was, the Hydrax! The Doctor
decides it is time to explore further.
News of the Doctor's capture has prompted some of the
outlaws to suggest a rescue attempt. He is their first real hope in a thousand
years. But Kalmar is reluctant without more knowledge on their side, and
the majority back him up. Disgusted, Tarak says he will go alone.
At the top of the Tower Romana is amazed to find herself
in the cramped flight deck of a small one-man space ship. The Doctor identifies
it as an Arrow Class scout ship, one of three aboard the Hydrax.
Despite their age there is still a little power in the batteries. Romana
hears a dull thumping noise coming from deep in the main ship, which the
Doctor suggests, grimly, is more evidence. They begin the long climb down.
Reaching the cargo bay Romana makes a hideous discovery.
Stacked up, row after row, is a gallery of corpses. All of them were adolescents
and all of them have been drained of blood through a series of tubes. Going
down a level the Doctor finds the blood is being stored in the vessel's
giant fuel tanks. The thumping sound they can hear is the heart of a creature
that feeds on human blood. Romana cannot believe that vampires exist but
the Doctor adds there are vampire legends on almost every civilised planet
in the cosmos. Dropping out of the Hydrax through an engine nacelle
they come upon a great cavern, the floor of which is visibly undulating
in time with the heartbeat. A voice from the shadows tells them this is
the Resting Place. Spinning round the Doctor and Romana are confronted
by Aukon. The vampire greets them. "I am Aukon. Welcome to my domain!"
Possessed with fanatical zeal Aukon suggests the Doctor
should join them. They seek people with powerful minds to help at the Time
of Arising. For only then will the Great One, who brought the Hydrax
into this Universe reveal the secret of how to get back. The Great One
speaks through Aukon and he, like Camilla and Zargo, feed and nourish the
creature in return. If the Doctor is wise he will join them, just like
his other companion. Perplexed at first by this remark, Romana and the
Doctor are gravely worried to learn that Adric is here, and, even worse,
in the power of these ghouls. Aukon uses all his psychic powers to make
the Doctor bend to his will. Romana picks up a piece of the cave wall in a stake like form. She throws
it at Aukon, who quickly turns around and destroys it. The Doctor comments
his powers will not work on Time Lords. This astonishes Aukon. The Doctor
and Romana try to escape but Zargo and Camilla block their paths. Camilla is
eager to feed on the two Time Lords. Suddenly, the councillor tells Zargo
and Camilla that the Great One is calling them. Camilla and Zargo stand
still while Aukon goes to the altar, kneels down and asks for the Great One
for his command. Aukon says to the Great One that tonight he’ll feed on
the blood of their ancient enemies. After the command is given, Aukon tells
the Doctor and Romana they will be used as sacrifices for the Time of
Nearly daybreak. Tarak has gained entry to the Tower,
"borrowing" the uniform of a guard along the way. Watching, out of sight
he sees Zargo and Camilla enter their locked Inner Sanctum, and also the
imprisoning of the Doctor and Romana in a nearby cell, similarly locked
To pass the time the Doctor recounts a story told to him
on Gallifrey concerning a race of Giant Vampires. They swarmed all over
the Universe, but the Time Lords hunted down the creatures in a war so
long and bloody that it sickened them ot violence forever. However, when
it came to counting bodies, the King Vampire was found to be missing. They
followed a trail of his blood right across the Universe, but it came to
a dead end: just vanished without trace.
Overpowering the guards Tarak rescues the Doctor and Romana,
but Romana refuses to leave until she has found Adric. The Doctor asks
Tarak to stay with her while he goes back to the TARDIS.
At the rebel headquarters Kalmar has discovered a new
facility on his monitor system - a method of converting it into a scanner
for viewing the territory surrounding their base. It picks up a figure
which turns out to be Ivo. Embittered Ivo relates he now knows his son
to be dead - he has come here to raise supporters for an attack on the
Tower tonight. Thanks to a drunken guard Ivo knows the Three will be busy
at some kind of ceremony, so it is now or never for him and his men. But
still Kalmar is undecided...
Neutralising another guard Tarak and Romana gain access
to the Inner Sanctum where they find Zargo and Camilla asleep. They also
find Adric under light hypnosis and Romana is able to bring him round.
But unfortunately, by now, the sun has set and the vampires are waking.
Tarak tries to defend Romana and Adric but he is hurled bodily against
the wall by Zargo, his neck broken by the impact. Camilla bends down to drink
Tarak’s blood. “You have killed him. The blood of the dead is stale and flat. I must feed on the living!”
she cries to Zargo. Even a thrown dagger makes no impression on the creatures as,
talons outstretched, they advance upon Romana and Adric.
“No!” comes a voice. It is Aukon. Zargo tells Aukon he is too late to
interfere. The councillor says that Adric is to be the Chosen One. Camilla
asks if they can have Romana. However, Aukon has a better idea. Romana is a
Time Lord and she can be used as an ideal sacrifice to the Great One
When the Great One emerges the villagers will perform
one last service as nourishment for the King Vampire. Then all four of
them will leave for the universe outside, sucking the blood of rich worlds
until they are but empty husks. Romana and Adric are led away as preparations
Inside the TARDIS the Doctor realises he needs help from
the rebels to stand a chance of rescuing his companions and defeating the
vampires. In a bid to win them over he makes an impressive entrance - materialising
the TARDIS in the middle of their base. Ivo and his men stand ready, but
still Kalmar is reluctant to help without further time needed to gain knowledge.
The Doctor tells them they only have a few hours before the creature wakes
and destroys them all. He uses Kalmar's monitor to show the rebels an image
of the King Vampire lying asleep beneath the Tower. That, coupled with
the sound of the creature's heart beating, sways the final doubters.
Fully awake, Adric has been catching up with news of events
from Romana. Reviewing the evidence he tells her he believes this is one
time the good guys won't win. Still, he says, he's all right, he's being
offered a partnership, so there's no sense both of them getting the chop.
Incredulous, Romana reminds him the Doctor has spent all his life coping
with threats like this, and he will try to save them. Ignoring this Adric
summons Aukon and tells him he will join the Three of his own free will.
He is released.
With quite a force behind him now, the Doctor's main worry
is how to kill the Great Vampire. Their cardio-vascular structure is such
that they can just seal off any minor wounds. What is needed is an arrow
of steel. Suddenly realisation dawns. He tells the rebels to organise a
commando force and loans them K-9 whose weaponry will be invaluable in
the attack. Whatever happens they are to hold the Tower until they get
a signal from K-9 to make their way round to the caves and try to rescue
Romana and Adric. He, meantime, will be occupied elsewhere...
The raid begins. With K-9 in the lead, disposing of those
guards armed with blasters, rebels overpower the remaining, more basically
Hypnotised Romana is led to the sacrificial altar. The
air above the cavern blackens as the bats gather in full swarm to take
bites from Romana's neck.
Up above the attack is going well. Ivo finds Habris. Habris says to Ivo he
tried to help Karl but he rebelled and refused to serve the Lords and was
killed by Zargo. Habris goes on to say that Zargo is in the caves and tells
Ivo he will take him to him. However, Ivo says he’ll find Zargo for himself
and strangles Habris in vengeance for his son’s murder. The Doctor disappears up to the Tower summit and, on his third
attempt, finds one of the scout craft with enough fuel and power
for one last, but vital, journey on auto-pilot. Frantically he programs
in the flight coordinates, and then leaves as the take-off sequence begins.
Hearing the engines start up K-9 advises the rebels to
evacuate immediately. Down in the caves the low vibration partially disrupts
the ceremony, giving Adric enough time to drag Romana from the Altar. The
Three are exultant to see the ground before them splitting, revealing a
claw-like hand of the Great Vampire. The Time of Arising is now. Huddled
in a small niche in the cave walls, Romana and Adric are joined by the
Doctor as they watch the grim finale.
Blasting free of the Tower the Arrow ship rises up until
its retros fire, turning it through 180 degrees. Now, like a javelin it
plummets back towards the ground and impales the King Vampire through the
heart like a giant stake. As the creature dies the Three, in a frenzy,
turn on the Doctor determined to take every drop of his blood. But their
time too is up. Robbed of the Vampire's power, Zargo, Camilla and Aukon
wither in seconds to dust.
Before they leave this land the Doctor makes sure Kalmar's
data bank is primed with enough information enabling the villagers to start
building a high-tech society. Now only his original problem is left outstanding
- how to get the TARDIS out of E-Space, especially now that he must get
the protesting Adric straight back home.
|Source: Archives from Doctor Who Winter Special
(1984), pp.33-37, revised and expanded by Tom Lingwood.