Claws of Axos Retcon;Doctor Who;Jo Grant;Katy Manning;Third Doctor;Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart;Jon Pertwee;Jeri Massi
Claws of Axos
retcon additions by Jeri Massi
From a story by Terrance Dicks
A retcon is the deliberate retro-fitting of a story to make it fit the canon. The following story is from the televised canon of Doctor Who, with sections added to smooth it out and make it fit better.
NOTE: Anything that appears in indented boldface type is retcon material that I wrote as additional or changed material. The rest of the text is summary of the canonical version of the story.
Canonically, the story opens with the enormous hulk of the Axon organic spaceship drifting through space towards the earth. On earth, two you men at a radar tracking station pick up the signal of the enormous ship. Mistaking it for a comet, they are alarmed when it abruptly adjusts its course. They call it in as an Unidentified Flying Object, relying the information as an emergency, as it is ready to land on Earth.
At UNIT's London HQ, Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart was regretting his decision to seek out the Doctor so early in the morning. In the lab where the exiled time lord reigned as UNIT's scientific advisor, the Doctor was in full voice:
The girl does not do as she's told---" he began.
"Oh, and who's fault is that?" the Brigadier demanded.
"Mine indeed! You continually parade the fallacies of human authority before her, question my every decision, behave rudely to anybody in authority, and then complain when she---to a much lesser degree may I add---imitates your example."
As this observation was infallibly correct, the Doctor moved to his next point. "She is not a scientist, Brigadier. I need a scientist---"
"So you can get on with your own research on your TARDIS?" the Brigadier asked. "Let me remind you, Doctor: I have gladly found a place for you at UNIT, and we are all tremendously indebted to you for your assistance. But the United Nations has not allocated funding for you to find your way home, or where ever it is you want to go. I cannot requisition a scientist for your personal project."
The Doctor's temper blazed. "Don't be stupid, man! I cannot adequately fulfill my role here without a trained scientist to assist me."
"Oh no? Then you ought not to have driven Liz Shaw away."
On occasion in sparring with the Doctor, the Brigadier could give as good as he got. The Doctor nearly winced. In a much quieter voice he said, "I did not drive Liz Shaw away. Anyway, I did not intend to."
"Of course you didn't," the Brigadier said with false gentleness. "You naturally supposed that she would put up with your bluster as I do. Well, she didn't. And why should she?" He changed tactics. "Look, what has Miss Grant done to annoy you? I thought you were getting on rather well."
The Doctor waved away the question as though too bothered to answer it.
"It's not the disobedience," the Brigadier guessed. "She's a scatter brained little midge herself, but she keeps you well supplied and well organized. What is it?" He stopped as he saw the half finished report lying on the lab bench. "Ah!" He flipped through it and then glanced up at the Doctor, who said nothing. "She blames you for Barnham's death, doesn't she?"
The Doctor looked away. After a moment, the time lord said, "Not quite like that. I mean, she blames herself as well. It's all in the report there."
The Brigadier skimmed the open pages and said, "Beats herself up rather badly." He looked up from the open manuscript, and was suddenly brisk. "Well? It was a tragedy---"
Look, we couldn't explain it to him!" the Doctor snapped. "He was afraid of something that couldn't hurt him---the Keller Machine---and he wasn't afraid of someone who could: the Master. How do you explain evil to someone who is incapable of evil?"
The Brigadier closed the unfinished report and set it down. He was much calmer, even soothing. "I was about to add, Doctor, that Barnham's death was clearly unavoidable. He was part of a contingency maneuver that was forced onto all of us. We were all very much at risk, and we had to take enormous risks to preserve peace."
The Doctor looked away. "She is too young for this work. It nearly undid her. For her own good---"
"A first fatality!" the Brigadier snapped. "How should the poor girl react? I'm glad it bothers her. You claim that she's irresponsible, yet she's willing to take responsibility for this." He took a place closer to the Doctor." "Use it for her good, Doctor. You have an excellent opportunity to teach that child. You can help her understand that Barnham's death was not for nothing and that fatalities are unavoidable."
Suddenly resentful, the Doctor glared at him. "You're only preaching at me, Lethbridge Stewart, because you don't dare dismiss her."
The Brigadier stepped back, affronted. "That is not true!"
"Isn't it? She only got the berth because of that cabinet minister uncle of hers. You didn't dare resist him then, and you don't dare now."
For a moment, a hard look came into the Brigadier's dark eyes. And then suddenly he called the Doctor's bluff---if it were a bluff.
"Is that what you want?" he asked. "Shall I dismiss her? I can have her immediately reassigned so that you'll never see her again. You won't even have to say goodbye."
"You won't do it," the Doctor retorted.
"I'm asking you: the Brigadier said. "If that's what you truly want, I shall do it."
"I didn't say I wanted it done just that way. I only said you wouldn't dare."
"Oh, you're all bluster," the Brigadier began as he turned to leave the lab. He stopped at sight of Jo Grant, who stood frozen in the lab doorway.
The Doctor abruptly turned at the sudden silence and also stopped. But the time lord recovered first. "You're early Jo," he said in a subdued voice. And then suddenly he spoke in a business-like way. "Good! The briefing with the delegate from Whitehall is scheduled for 0800. You can finish this report by then." He scooped up the Stangmoor report and handed it to her. "I'll see you at the meeting." Without another glance at either Jo or the Brigadier, he turned and went into the TARDIS. The Brigadier cocked an eyebrow and would have spoken, but Jo Grant took the report and left to find a type writer.
Meanwhile, back at unit, the Brigadier's bad morning is being made much worse as he is harangued by the delegate from Whitehall, a loathsome, Napoleanic beaureacrat named Chinn. Chinn wants access to all of UNIT's secured information and wants UNIT to come under the umbrella of National (rather than strictly UN) security. Rifling the files, he seizes on the Doctor's personnel file and goes into full cry when he sees that the time lord has not gone through any of the normal security clearance processes and has no formal identification. Things go from worse to catastrophic when the Doctor himself enters and tries to be polite for about twenty seconds with Chinn before giving it up and getting into a shouting match with him.
While the meeting is falling apart without her, Jo gathers up her things and pulls herself together.
The curious, uneasy feeling a person has when she knows that others have been discussing her had not yet left her. And the puzzled indignation that she felt over the few comments she had heard had to be pushed away for the sake of the morning conference. The worst possible thing would be to make a public scene. Neither the Doctor nor the Brigadier would stand for it.
Jo's distress and humiliation are eased when she and Bill Filer run into each other (literally) and become friends on the spot. Filer is an American agent gathering information on the Master, seeking to link him to several criminal ventures in the US. He is also due to be introduced in the morning conference, and so he and Jo walk to the meeting together. Chatting pleasantly, they enter the conference room to discover bedlam. The Doctor and Chinn are shouting at each other while the Brigadier looks on, fuming with impatience. Filer's shock at their conduct embarrasses all of them, and it doesn't help when Jo speaks up:
In the awkward silence that followed, Jo said, with feigned meekness, "Weren't we were here to discuss the Master?"
Chinn has no idea of who the Master is and it begins to dawn on him that UNIT has been keeping him in the dark and doing their best to simply satisfy him and get rid of him. He demands information. Filer coolly dismisses him as a security risk to US interests, further infuriating the pompous Chinn.
Her deliberate question pointed up the bickering. The Doctor glared at her, knowing she was getting some of her own back, but Chinn pounced on the question.
It looks like the meeting is going to descend once again into shouting and grandstanding, but it is interrupted when Captain Yates bursts in with the news that a UFO has been sited on radar.
The meeting adjourns to a control room, where the radar signal is being observed. While Chinn scurries to contact the ministry, the Doctor charts the progress of the radar blip and predicts the UFO will and on England's south coast.
Chinn returns to report that the ministry has handed full control of the situation over to him. He immediately orders that armed nuclear warheads be launched at the incoming object. Over the Doctor's protests, Chinn fires on the unknown space object. To everybody's amazement, the blip vanishes and then reappears, avoiding the missiles. At the Doctor's and Brigadier's urging, Chinn orders the warheads to abort their mission, and they are blown up in the upper atmosphere. The UFO, meanwhile, has landed on the south coast.
The first human to encounter the space ship is a vagrant named "Pigbin Josh" in the TV series credits, and just "Josh" in Terrance Dicks' novelisation. He approaches the door of the space ship---which is all that can be seen above ground---and is instantly caught by an enormous tentacle or tongue that shoots out from the door. It drags him inside. Under wavering lights and the probing of a giant, single eye, Josh is evaluated as strong, healthy, and stupid. He is "absorbed" into Axos, and his charred and petrified remains are somewhat foolishly ejected into a nearby copse of trees.
Meanwhile, at UNIT, Chinn is suspicious that the alien ship has landed close to the Nuton Power Complex, which, according to the Brigadier, is the major supplier of power to England. Chinn also enacts a petty revenge on Bill Filer by declaring him a security risk and having him thrown out. But Filer has already seen where the UFO has landed and drives off in his butch American car to investigate. Typical of all Americans, Filer talks with a drawl and carries an enormous handgun on a shoulder holster. He clearly can take care of himself.
He easily slips through the security cordon being put up around the area where the ship came down, parks his car, and goes on foot to inspect the situation. Like Josh before him, Filer is snagged by the tongue-tentacle and dragged into the ship. Instead of being absorbed, he is held for processing.
While Filer is having these troubles, the UNIT team has moved to the Mobile HQ in order to get closer to the restricted site. While the Brigadier goes off to round up the top scientists from the Nuton Complex, the Doctor and Jo attend to the electronic survey and surveillance equipment in the mobile HQ and gather up readings from the technicians. Chinn is darting about, trying to understand what is going on and how to best take charge.
The Brigadier enters with Hardiman and Winser, scientists from the Nuton Power Complex. Both of the newcomers object to the presence of so much heavy artillery so close to the complex. They do not want the downed object from space attacked with the vulnerable Nuton plant less than half a mile away. The Doctor quickly joins in with them, in full agreement. He points out that if the thing could get past nuclear missiles as it did, then artillery fire might do nothing but antagonize it. Hardiman, who is an old school British scientist and carries around the title of "lord," has doubts about the Doctor, as does Winser, who is a brilliant young scientist. But the Doctor is almost ingratiating in his attitude towards them. He has recorded what sounds like a single heartbeat emanating from the downed object, and he has further concluded from the readings that most of the object has buried itself under ground, with only a small portion visible up top.
As they are discussing these findings, a call comes over the sound system. It is a call for help, and the voice announces itself as Axos, pleading for help, citing that its fuel and food systems are exhausted. On hearing this, Chinn wants to attack them while they are weak. But the Doctor and the Brigadier agree that they must go investigate. The group starts to file out, and Jo gets as far as the door before the Doctor, his voice gentle, orders her back. The order hurts her, but the Brigadier backs him up. She is left in the mobile HQ with Captain Yates and a few technicians, while the Doctor, the Brig, a nervous Chinn, and the two Nuton scientists go out and try to make contact with the aliens.
In the novelisation, Dicks tries to present the situation from Jo's point of view, with disastrous results. She comes across as a rebellious teen-ager, and continuity addicts will not be able to reconcile this version of Jo with the version that endured the rigors of Stangmoor prison in Mind of Evil. So I excised some lines from Dicks' novel.
Jo tries to talk her way out of the mobile HQ, but Yates is firm that she must stay. However, Sgt. Benton comes in to announce that the remains of a body have been found near the mound where the ship has buried itself, and the soldiers have found a big American car nearby as well. Jo nearly goes with Yates to investigate this aspect of things, but Benton and Yates tell her that this is no sight for a lady, and she willingly stays back. They leave, and after a minute or two, she goes out on her own to follow the original party to the mound.
She knew she was once again on the ropes regarding her career with UNIT. What had saved her last time---when the Doctor had insisted that she was too young and inexperienced to join UNIT---was her impromptu rescue of the Doctor from Rossini's circus. She had disobeyed orders to find him, but the rescue had earned her points. It had certainly quieted the Doctor's initial arguments against her status at UNIT.
Unaware of their small shadow, the group at the mound has inspected the area and the closed, iris-like doorway to the space ship. As Jo secretly approaches, they are in the middle of another fine argument about what to do next. Unexpectedly, the doorway opens. After a moment of looking at each other, they go inside, led by the Doctor. Before the door closes, Jo slips in after them.
It seemed to Jo that the only way she could impress her superiors was by doing something useful. And since they would not let her do anything useful, she would have to disobey orders to find something worthwhile to do. She opened the door to the mobile HQ and without a sound crept down the steps and silently closed the door behind her. Then she jogged off in the direction left by the tracks of the Brig's four-wheel drive vehicle. The mound was less than half a mile away, a slight rise between the mobile HQ and the horizon.
The group passes along a luminescent, orange tunnel whose walls seem fibrous in some places, shining with smooth streaks in others, and dotted with flashing or pulsing silvery lights throughout. Here and there, web-like tissue drapes the sides or top of the uneven tunnel. The entire scene is unlike the conventional idea of what a space ship would look like on the inside.
The group, now led by the Brigadier, passes one by one through a narrow opening into a much larger chamber. The Doctor, who has been examining the tunnel wall, comes last. As he passes through the aperture, he goes faint for a moment, not realizing that he is being scanned and probed by the powerful senses of Axos. He nearly collapses. The Brigadier catches him, but the Doctor dismisses the moment. For its part, Axos immediately divines that he is not human, and that he is a sophisticated, powerful being.
In the large chamber, the humans are greeted by four silvery and beautiful humanoid creatures: a male, a female, and two children. The sight of such a familiar grouping sets the minds of the investigators at rest. The male alien sends the others off back into the ship, and he addresses the group.
The Axon male explains that their ship is a living thing, grown from a single cell. But it is exhausted and nearly totally spent. They are asking for refuge on earth to allow the ship to recover. In return, the Axon male suggests, the Axons will present earth with a gift. He opens a small casket and presents them with Axonite, the "thinking molecule." This material, according to him, has the ability to analyze the components of other molecules and duplicate them. Axonite is rather like a computer in a molecule. Hook enough of them together in conjunction with a complex molecular chain, and the Axonite with analyze and duplicate the chain and then grow.
The Axon male demonstrates on a frog. It grows to the size of a dog in seconds. He then reverses the process and returns the creature to its normal size. The humans are elated by the offer; the Doctor, suspicious. He asks the obvious question: If Axonite can increase any matter, how could the Axon ship now be exhausted of both its nutrient and fuel? The Axon male tells him that Axonite must be activated in time to prevent the collapse of energy stores. Through their own carelessness, he adds, the nutrient and fuel stores of their ship were allowed to deplete beyond the point of replenishment.
The earth party immediately begin to argue again, and the Axon male retires to allow them to choose a course of action. But before anything can be determined, they hear Jo's scream from down the tunnel. Most of the men rush off to make a rescue, but Chinn sneaks off to get out of the ship and find a telephone.
While his human counterparts are experiencing the wonders of Axon hospitality, Bill Filer wakes up to find himself in a room constructed of the same luminescent orange that made up the tunnel. He is held firmly to the uneven floor by tentacle-like arms. Automatically he struggles, and the arms tighten. He looks up to see that another prison is standing nearby, held against the pulsing wall. The stranger introduces himself as the Master.
Filer calls for help, and his call has been heard by Jo Grant. But as she tries to locate him, a fibrous section of the wall detaches itself and seems to become a separate creature right before her eyes. Towering over her, it tries to intercept her. She gets out one scream before an electrical discharge from one of its string-like tentacles knocks her senseless. As the sound of a rescue from the others come closer, it reattaches into the wall.
The Doctor is the first to find Jo crumpled on the floor. He brings her around, noting with relief that she is not seriously injured. The Brigadier is amazed to find her there, clean contrary to the orders that she was given.
As soon as she can, Jo babbles about hearing Bill Filer's voice and about the monster that she saw. The Axon leader comes up, all polished apology, and explains that she is close to the heart of the ship, and the electrical discharges have caused her to hallucinate and to pass out.
The Doctor quickly agrees. He adds further condescension by patting Jo on the shoulder and practically taking her by the hand to bring her back to the others, like a truant child who has gotten into trouble.
His condescension was apparent. Her desperate grab to do something useful had failed. Head up and blinking back tears, Jo followed the Doctor back to the large chamber.
Unaware that an attempt to find him has been aborted, Filer continues to struggle within his bonds. The Master reasons with him and finally convinces him that Axos actually is a living creature, and the only way to escape it to temporarily shock it. The Master's own story is that Axos forced him to bring them to earth and that he is just as much a prisoner as Filer is. Filer finally realizes that for good or for ill, he and the Master are now allies while they are captives. He agrees to try the Master's plan.
As Filer relaxes, the arms holding him reflexively relax, and he is able to slip his handgun from its holster. Following the Master's directions, he aims for a nerve center at the junction of wall, ceiling, and tissue-fronded doorway. He fires several shots at it and finally hits it. The restraints spastically spring back, and he and the Master bolt from the room.
Once the others reconvene in the chamber, without Chinn, the group continues to discuss the problem of the Axonite. Jo realizes that the Doctor is once again ingratiating himself with Hardiman and Winser, the scientists from the Nuton complex. Fearing that the three of them are trying to come up with a separate deal for themselves and the cause of their own research, she reminds him of his duty to the Brigadier. The Doctor kindly but crushingly tells her that these matters are above her head. He then ignores her and goes on with his conversation with the scientists. She realizes from things that he says that the Doctor views Axonite as a means to restore his time traveling abilities.
Jo decides to try to warn the Brigadier that the Doctor is playing his own little game regarding the Axonite:
Off in a separate corner of the Axon ship's visitor's chamber, Jo had finally gotten the Brigadier's attention. Unfortunately, the Brigadier was more immediately concerned with Jo's actions than anything else.
Jo relates her suspicions to the Brigadier, but he remains unconvinced. His musings are interrupted by the re-entry of Chinn, who proudly takes hold of the Axonite casket, tucks it under his arm, and claims Axonite for the British people. Realizing that Chinn has worked a separate deal, the Brigadier draws his sidearm and takes the casket from Chinn at gunpoint. He counter-claims that the Axonite will be taken by the people of Earth. He leads the party out of the ship.
"That was direct defiance, Miss Grant," the Brigadier told her. "You deliberately disobeyed a direct order."
"If I had been a soldier would you have ordered me to stay behind like that?" she asked.
"If you were a soldier, Miss grant," he said through his teeth, "I would have you clapped in irons and tossed into the brig. Is that clear to you?"
The tone of his voice entirely subdued her.
"Yes sir," she said meekly.
"And you're not cleared of this matter yet," he insisted. "I've had enough of this behavior, Miss Grant. You are certainly on the books for a reprimand, and I don't know what else. Do you understand the severity of this matter?"
She looked down under his severe expression. "I understand, sir."
He was silent for a moment and then said, "Now, what did you want to tell me?"
She looked up and met his eye with a direct glance that startled him by its calmness and earnestness. "It's the Doctor," she said
The Axon leader ushers them out and then turns to the crisis at hand, subduing and restraining the two escaping captives. Luckily for Axos, Filer and the Master are deep within the ship and never get close enough to the investigation party to be rescued or to alert them.
In fact, the ship recovers quickly from having its nerve center pinged, and the Master and Filer are quickly restrained in one of the narrow tunnels by the tentacles on the wall. The Master becomes angry and shouts at the Axon leader, revealing that he had been actually been in collusion with Axos until they had decided it was in their best interests to make him a captive.
The Master is taken away to the cell, but Filer has a different fate. He is dragged off to the "replication center."
Though Chinn is silent during the drive back to the mobile HQ, the Brigadier enters to find the entire place in the hands of British Army regulars. His sidearm is taken from him, and Chinn has him placed under arrest. Chinn takes the Axonite and orders the British Army Captain (Harker) to arrest all the UN military people. Harker and his men obediently herd the UNIT officers and soldiers out of the mobile HQ. The Doctor insists that he and Jo are simply civilians going about their own affairs and that Harker's orders have nothing to do with them. Harker, not liking his job as it is, agrees and goes out with the others.
Jo, thoroughly suspicious of the Doctor by now, is wary of him, but he regains some of her trust when he asks her to tell him everything that she saw and heard while aboard the Axon ship. He admits to having believed her all the time, and she does see the good sense in playing along with people who have the power to take captives. She tells him about hearing Filer's voice and about seeing part of the wall of the tunnel become a separate creature.
Jo wants a rescue party to be created to go retrieve Filer from the ship. Her plea to the Doctor is interrupted when Chinn again enters and orders the two of them to be arrested. Jo pleads for Filer, and Chinn over rides her demands. The Doctor watches this and coolly switches sides, declaring himself a member of the science team that Chinn has appointed. Hardiman and Winser, who have both entered with Chinn, agree quickly. The Doctor goes out with them, leaving Jo behind in the custody of Captain Harker. She gently reproaches the Doctor for his duplicity, and his response is a smile and the statement that he must always be on the side of science.
At the Nuton Power Complex. Winser proudly shows the Doctor his own vast research set-up: a cylindrical particle accelerator chamber designed as a cyclotron for small amounts of materials, elaborate survey and control consoles along the walls, and a shielded operators booth with a leaded glass overlook that peers onto the lab floor and into the transparent walls of the particle accelerator.
Winser, the Doctor knows, has been a proponent of time travel theory. The Doctor mentions the papers that Winser has read. When the young scientist realizes that the Doctor has read his work, he is enormously flattered. The Doctor's next condescending remarks nearly anger him, but he realizes that the Doctor clearly has a grasp on the theories of time travel. When the time lord suggests that his own set up be shipped up to the Power Complex to be used for supplemental parts and testing, Winser agrees.
Meanwhile, in the Axon ship, Filer is taken to the replication center, where a body double of him is created and sent out to capture the Doctor and bring him back to the ship. Filer is taken back to his cell, but he attempts a second escape, this time by relaxing and slowly inching his way out of his restraints. He succeeds, and he inches down the tunnels, moving too slowly to be detected as a threat.
Axos is having problems of its own and has consulted the Master. Giving the Axonite to Chinn had seemed a good way to get around the suspicions of the Brigadier and the Doctor, but now it seems apparent that Chinn himself is ready to thoroughly test the Axonite before releasing it. And Axonite must be distributed within 72 hours of its release from the Axon creature to be effective.
The Master is ready to undertake the mission to have Axonite distributed worldwide within 72 hours, but he demands the return of his TARDIS. Axon, speaking as a single entity to the Master, declines this demand but allows him his laser pistol and sends him on his way.
Thus armed, the Master strides out from the Axon ship, overpowers the nearest UNIT sentry, and goes on his way. Filer, hiding close to the door, follows before the door closes completely, gets away, and runs for the nearby Nuton Power Complex.
Back at the research labs at the Nuton Power Complex, the Doctor and Winser are having a major disagreement. Winser wants to test the Axonite with a spectroscope, and the Doctor--knowing that the curious molecule houses its secrets at the electron level---wants to put it in the particle accelerator and give it a spin to break it down. This suggestion horrifies Winser. He agrees that when the TARDIS arrives the Doctor can test it in his own cyclotron if he wants, but Winser will not risk his own equipment. However, test after test from spectroscope and other equipment fails to produce any analysis. But Winser still refuses to test it in the particle accelerator, fearing damage to his beloved and expensive machine.
Luckily for the Doctor, Chinn calls a meeting, and Winser goes off to attend it while the Doctor stays behind. The Doctor decides that this is as good a time as any to use the particle accelerator and is about to begin testing when the body double of Filer walks in and tries to drag the Doctor by the arm all the way back to Axos. Using his Venusian Aikido, the Doctor throws the double over, but he quickly realizes that it is impossible to win a blow by blow fight with the creature, which is incredibly strong. It smashes the Doctor to the ground and attempts to pick him up and carry him off.
The real Filer enters in time to distract his own double, and the two of them fight. As the Doctor recovers, he opens the door to the particle accelerator. He and Filer manage to trip the invader up and ultimately throw it into the machine. The Doctor slams the reinforced door closed and throws the switch. Instead of being disintegrated, the Axon double reverts back to Axonite and then collapses into dust.
The British soldiers rush in, and the Doctor orders them to take him to the Brigadier.
Meanwhile, the Master infiltrates UNIT HQ in time to see the TARDIS being loaded up for shipment to the Nuton Power Complex. He orders the hapless RT operator to make a worldwide announcement about the discovery of Axonite. That mission completed, the Master then impersonates a visiting scientist and follows the TARDIS back up to the Power Complex.
Unaware that his enemy is again on his track, the Doctor is at last given admittance to the Brigadier's quarters at the Nuton Power Complex, where Jo has also been left until quarters for her can be found. Filer also gains admittance by flashing around his American passes and posing as an investigator into the conduct of the Brigadier.
The four of them quickly compare notes and conclude that the Axons are lying and are dangerous and that the Axonite must be kept under strict guard. Before they can even figure out a way to do all this, an irate Captain Harker returns and orders them all kept under armed guard. The Doctor is escorted back to the lab.
Not that the Doctor especially minds having the lab to himself. He immediately returns to his previous attempt and puts the Axonite into the particle accelerator. Running on a lower power, he begins to break it down. The results are fantastic. The Axonite seethes and boils and rapidly expands. In fact, it seems to take on a life of its own. It overflows the casket and seems to be trying to get out of the particle accelerator.
But if the results in the particle accelerator are fantastic, the effect upon the Axon ship is spectacular. In pain, disoriented, and terrified by the sudden triggering of the Axonite sample, the Axon brain sends out a squad of tentacled beasts to recover the Axonite at once and bring it back to the ship.
Back at the lab, the Doctor shuts down the power to the Axonite, with no apparent effect. It grows further and finds the weakest point in its enclosure---the door---and tries to bang its way out by seething back and then rolling into the door. Radiation warnings are going off everywhere, and Winser enters in a frenzy. Seeing the mess in his beloved particle accelerator, he foolishly runs to the control console and opens the doors. The Axonite engulfs him at once.
Using the frenzy of the alarms as an excuse to call the guard, the Brigadier and Filer punch out their captors and escape. The Brigadier makes for the nearest telephone he can find, and Filer and Jo race for the lab. They enter in time to see Winser get sucked into the Axonite. The Doctor manages to close the door to the particle accelerator before the Axonite can do any more damage, but before the time lord can do anything else, the seething mass smashes its way out.
Jo, the Doctor, and Filer seem to be next on its menu, and the three of them run toward an emergency exit door but are stopped by three of the tentacled Axos monsters. Filer attempts to shoulder charge one so that Jo can get away, but it shocks him and throws him across the room. The three Axons creatures surround the Doctor and Jo and shock them into senselessness.
The Brigadier quickly gets his authority back as Britain is reeling from international censure for trying to keep Axonite for itself. Followed by soldiers now under his command, the Brig storms into the lab to find the silver Axon leader in the room, and Filer sprawled on the floor. The Axonite is gone, and there is no sign of Winser, the Doctor, or Jo.
The Axon leader, feigning anger, declares that the scientists were performing dangerous experiments on the Axonite, and that the sample had to be taken back to the ship to be destroyed. He declares that Winser, the Doctor, and Jo were disintegrated in the energy blast that they created. He also warns that Filer has been wounded and should be taken to the Axon ship to be cared for.
The Brigadier declines this offer, sends the Axon back to his ship, and orders the release of his own soldiers. He also sets up a search for the missing people, declining to believe the Axon's claim. Chinn, meanwhile, scurries off to make the best of a bad situation and see what he can do to save face.
Now having learned from Filer's escape, the tentacles of the Axon ship tightly hold their captives. Jo wakes up on the floor of the cell once occupied by Filer, with the Doctor against the wall. He stays relaxed, but she panics, and as she panics the arms grow tighter. The Doctor calms her and urges her not to struggle.
She followed his advice and made herself relax within the restraints. They gradually became slack enough to allow her to breathe. She caught her breath and looked away. She scanned the walls of their cell and collected her thoughts. As the Doctor watched her, he saw that she was remembering what had passed. He waited for her to speak, but she did not, and as he watched her, his eyes were almost troubled. She was guarded with him now, not trusting him.
Before he can speak of make any amends with her, their Axon host enters and orders them out. The arms release them. Fear forces Jo to trust the Doctor, and this time he does not disappoint her as he leads her out after their captor.
"Are you all right?" he asked gently.
"Yes," she said faintly, not looking at him.
He afforded her a quick glance and gripped her hand reassuringly as she crowded against him in the orange, luminescent tunnel.
The two captives are brought into the inner chamber of Axos, where hangs the solitary eye on its stalk. At first polite and reasonable, the Doctor engages Axos in a sort of preliminary conversation, during which he learns that the Axonite is part of the feeding cycle of Axos. It must be distributed worldwide within 72 hours of its release so that it can germinate and grow into a global net of energy-consuming mass that will eventually suck all life from the earth and replenish Axos with it.
"This way," their captor said brusquely, and led them at a stride down the tunnel. There was obviously no escape from a ship that was one living creature, operated and guarded by units of itself rather than individuals.
"No harm done yet," the Doctor said gently, his hand gripping hers, as they walked after their leader. "It may still be all right in the end."
She said nothing. With their fate awaiting them, she was suddenly glad to stay close to him.
Relieved to realize that Chinn has seen to keeping Axonite in British hands, and not knowing that the power structure has changed in favor of the UN forces, the Doctor is willing to bait and parley with the mind of Axos. But when Axos demands that the Doctor provide it with the equations necessary to learn time travel, the Doctor refuses.
Meanwhile, at the Nuton Power Complex, two things are happening at once: Chinn is consolidating his new position as the distributor of the Axonite for immediate shipment around the world, and the Master is entering the research lab, where the TARDIS has just been set up and left.
He picks the lock and gets inside and is at once horrified at the tangle of wires and circuits everywhere. As he investigates the mess, he also realizes that the Doctor's TARDIS is an inferior model to his own machine. Not only has the Doctor been going about repairs in entirely the wrong way, the design of the machine is outdated and inefficient. Not knowing that the Doctor is now a prisoner of Axos, the Master sets out to clean up the mess and do his own repair job on the TARDIS. He has the laser pistol handy, ready to shoot the Doctor as soon as the unwitting timelord enters.
But the Doctor seems doomed to stay in Axos for quite a while. At his refusal to cooperate with Axos, he and Jo are seized by the tentacles and held fast against the wall. Axos speeds up Jo's metabolism, making her age before his eyes. As her death seems imminent, the Doctor gives in and promises to help. Axos restores her, and the Doctor confesses that part of his memory as been blocked during his exile. Axos can over ride these blocks if the Doctor will relax and cooperate with its telepathy. The Doctor agrees, knowing even with his partial memory that the mass of Axos is far too great to be moved easily through time.
As soon as Axos realizes that it will need vast amounts of energy to transport itself into time, it sends a message to the silver skinned representative it has sent to Chinn. While he and Chinn are arranging for distribution of the Axonite, which has already begun shipping, the Axon male is ordered to depersonalize and enter the Nuton Power Complex's reactor to set up a link with the ship. He abruptly leaves Chinn.
Filer, meanwhile, has finally come around in the local infirmary. He tells the Brigadier that the activated Axonite grew to hundreds of times its original size and swallowed Winser. He repeats the Doctor's warning that Axonite is dangerous because it absorbs energy and must be prevented from being distributed worldwide.
The Brig rushes out to stop Chinn and to start a search for the Doctor and Jo. Filer, not willing to be left aside, orders the nurse to get his clothes and prepares to strike out again on his own.
The Brigadier arrives back at the Complex in time to see the heavily tentacled Axon monster blast two guards aside with its tentacles and enter the reactor. The creature does not hesitate but passes through the many sets of doors and enters the heart of the reactor itself, where no human would dare to follow it.
The Brig races back to the reactor research lab and warns Hardiman of what he's seen. Hardiman quickly goes into the operator's booth and assumes operator control from there. The readings for the reactor are normal. Mike Yates, also present in the room, notices that the TARDIS, which is stationed near the particle accelerator, is occupied. The door is opening. He calls out tot he Brigadier, and both of them charge out of the room with guns drawn in time to capture the Master.
But just as this happy event occurs, Hardiman does see the readings for the reactor jump. There is a power build up in the reactor core, and he is not able to shut it down. The Master reports that Axos is obviously causing the power build up in order to steal the energy for themselves. Hardiman warns that Axos may accidentally cause a nuclear explosion. Helpless, the Brigadier must turn tot he Master for help, and promises him his freedom in return for assistance. The Master quickly connects the TARDIS to the reactor's turbines and drains off the power into the TARDIS. His plan, he tells the Brigadier, is to let the TARDIS absorb the slow build up of energy, and then he will reverse all the power back through Axos in a single blast. Hopefully, that blast will overload Axos and destroy it.
The Brigadier protests that the Doctor and Jo are probably captives in Axos. This pleases the Master, and he is happy to remind the Brigadier of his duty to the rest of the world. He cannot allow earth to be destroyed in order to save two lives.
Reluctantly, the Brigadier consents, and the Master throws the switch that will reverse the energy phase.
Axos is convulsed by this sudden, unexpected surge. The tentacles holding the Doctor and Jo spring back, and the two of them fight their way through the pulsating walls and constricting chambers and tunnels of the living ship. Axos is telepathic, and though the Doctor can resist the onslaught of confused and agonized telepathic signals, Jo cannot. She collapses and---as I retconned it---becomes a part of the agony of the creature, unable to separate herself from it. The Doctor forces her on: shouting at her, pushing her, pulling her. He breaks her free enough to make her do multiplication sums, forcing her to maintain a separate self as he leads her out. They find the door and get out.
But Axos, though it has lost its prisoners, is recovering from the energy surge and stabilising. The brain of Axos detects that the power is being channeled through the particle accelerator and orders that the surge be reversed again. This is done, and the cables to the particle accelerator overload and blow up, killing Hardiman as he tries to disconnect them, and sending everybody else under cover. In the confusion after this, the Master attempts to get into the TARDIS and lock himself in, but he is cut off by the Brigadier. Then he races for the door, but is stopped by the Doctor himself.
The Doctor quickly explains that with the Axonite now distributed worldwide, Axos will begin its feeding cycle within a matter of hours. It will suck the planet dry of all life. The Brigadier asks if the Doctor can do anything, and the Doctor evasively answers that he thinks he can, but he will need both his TARDIS and the Master's help. The Brig agrees.
The reunion should be a happy one, but a cloud has settled over both Jo Grant and Bill Filer. They watch as the Doctor commandeers the Master. The two time lords work busily, going in and out of the TARDIS and checking calculations against the Nuton lab's computers.
Inside the TARDIS, where nobody is permitted but the two of them, the Doctor admits to the Master that there is no way out from the doom of Axos. He wants to escape, and he needs the Master to help him. In exchange, the Master can get away with him. At first at the Master's refusal, the Doctor coolly calls for the Brigadier, and the Master quickly changes his mind and agrees to help.
The Doctor is no longer able to make the calculations in his head, and he goes out to run them through the lab's computers. As he returns to the TARDIS with them, the Master comes to the doorway of the TARDIS and announces that it is time they were on their way.
The lab comes to life as everybody realizes that the two time lords are making ready to escape. Filer pulls his gun, but the Doctor already has him covered with the laser pistol. Jo pleads with the Doctor not to leave them but to stay and help them. He is at his most condescending when he says, "Good bye Jo, I shall miss you." And leaves her to her death. He and the Master enter the TARDIS, and it disappears, even as Jo is pounding on the closed outer doors.
But there is little time for tears. The Axonite activates, and instantly the entire countryside is under attack. Fortunately the area around the mound has been evacuated, so no people are killed as the Axonite suddenly grows and encircles all organic life forms. The tentacled creatures spring up from the seething mass and set out on forays and attacks of their own.
The control center of the Brigadier's group is the first main target. The Brig orders the Complex evacuated, and the soldiers fall back to the lab, where the reinforced doors make only a temporary barricade to the electrically charged tentacles of the monsters.
As things are looking bad on Earth, the Doctor abruptly ends the journey in the TARDIS, much to the Master's amazement. They leave the TARDIS to find themselves in the heart of Axos, with the eye of Axos glaring down on them. The Doctor freely admits his plan. He knows that Axos is not defeatable, and furthermore, he wants to ally with Axos. He wants Axos to go to Gallifrey and destroy it for him, as revenge against the Council of the timelords for exiling him to Earth.
Even the Master is appalled at this, and he tries to back out. He asks to be set free now that his work is over. But the Doctor protests that both he and Axos will need the Master's help to subdue Gallifrey, and Axos agrees to keep the Master captive.
The Doctor tells Axos that for time travel, Axos will need to link its own drive system into the TARDIS drive system and use the energy newly drained off from earth to make one immediate lurch through time. Axos agrees and the Doctor quickly sets up the link. He enters in another set of coordinates that he had secretly prepared and activates them.
In the Nuton Complex lab, disaster is imminent. The Axonite in the reactor is feeding the power back through the remaining circuits into the particle accelerator in an attempt to destroy those inside. The creatures outside the reinforced doors are blasting their way in. Just as they sweep into the room in a wave and the embattled humans meet them in a desperate and futile attempt to drive them back, the Axons disappear. The room is suddenly empty except for the humans and the roar of the power build up.
Just as it is too late, the Master realizes what the Doctor is doing and tries to warn Axos. But Axos, so close to the victory that it wants, does not heed him. The Doctor initializes a jump through time.
The sudden jolt into time disorients it, and Axos in its entirety staggers as it is whipped from earth and into space and time. Feverishly, the Doctor disconnects the link of the drive system and tries to activate the TARDIS one last time.
Back in the lab, the Brigadier wastes no time but orders instant evacuation before the particle accelerator goes up for good. The band of soldiers and UNIT people flee the building and drive off to a safe distance, where they witness the explosion of the particle accelerator and the lab.
The TARDIS re-materializes among the remains of the place, atop a great heap of smoldering rubble.
Hours later, after everybody has been cleaned up and tended to, a meeting is held in a surviving conference room. The Doctor explains to the group that he has sent the Master and Axos into a time loop: a series of constantly repeating points in time. Axos shall never escape it. Filer asks about the Master. The Doctor is more vague about this. The Master might have gotten away if he got to his own TARDIS while Axos was still disoriented.
But on being questioned further, the Doctor admits that he came back to earth only against his will. The TARDIS brought him back, apparently under the Council of the Timelords' directive that it always be returned to earth. The Doctor makes a wry (and now famous) comment about being a sort of cosmic yo-yo, and then goes out to see to the handling of his TARDIS, which is being lowered off the rubble heap.
Jo goes to the window to watch, and after a moment, the Brigadier follows her. Here is my retcon of the last scene:
To her own great surprise, Jo felt tears in her eyes. She blinked them back. From the first day of this adventure, when she had heard the Doctor speak so dismissively of her, she had not yet confronted her own feelings of the Doctor's treatment of her. True to his own ethics, he had been willing to risk his own life to save her. Yet at the same time, he had not spared her from his own condescension when it had suited him to treat her so. Just when she had thought her actions at Stangmoor had proved herself, she had found him once again viewing her as no more than a nuisance and a convenient foil.
The Brigadier glanced down at her. "He'll be here all day overseeing the safe transport of that thing back to UNIT HQ." He smiled ruefully. "I would say that he's going to be unlivable!"
"I think you're right," she agreed.
"Well what about it?" he asked. "How about a lift back to HQ? I can commandeer you on the excuse of all the reports we're going to have to do."
She glanced up at him. "Do you plan to keep me around for that long sir?" she tried to sound firm, but her voice broke, and she looked down.
He sighed and thoughtfully slapped his gloves into the palm of one hand. "I wonder that you would want to return to your position, Miss Grant. Though strategically justifiable, the Doctor's attitude toward you through this situation has certainly been cavalier."
She got hold of herself. "I just want to know my future, Brigadier," she said, with more iron control than he would have given her credit for.
For a moment he was silent as he realized that there was a bravery to Jo Grant that he had earlier not realised. "You faced death in the research lab as steadily as did any of us, Miss Grant. Such actions deserve my respect and have earned my respect." He gentled his voice. "There will be a reprimand for your previous actions, but no other discipline will be taken."
She nodded. "Thank you."
"However," he added. "I would advise a break at this point. You must be somewhat weary from this emotional roller coaster."
She hesitated and then said soberly, "I am, sir."
"Come with me back to HQ," he told her. "Take a day or two off to sort things out for yourself."
She abruptly nodded in that way of hers that indicated she was deeply troubled. She walked out with him to his waiting jeep. On the heap of bricks and other rubble, the Doctor turned from the TARDIS.
"Miss Grant is coming with me, Doctor!" the Brigadier called. "Got some things she ought to look into. See you back at HQ!"
Jo went straight to the jeep, which was enclosed against the early March chill. She climbed in without a backwards glance.
Not waiting for the Doctor to reply, Lethbridge Stewart followed her and signaled to his driver before he climbed into the back.
The Doctor hurriedly climbed halfway down the rubble pile, but they pulled out. Had Jo looked back, she might have seen the lightning look of recollection and regret on the Doctor's face. The Brigadier saw it, smiled grimly, and said nothing either way to Jo.
The jeep smoothly skimmed around the perimeter of the vast pile of rubble and then found the drive down tot he main road. Lost in a moment's perplexed thought, the Doctor watched it go, his eyes sober.
Read Global Search and Replace, which is my own story that follows this one
Read the retcon of Colony in Space, which is next in the original, televised series.
Mr. Chinn shows up again in Mistaken Identity.
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