The Doctor and Romana
While in orbit around the planet Azure in the year 2116, the luxury space liner Empress and a private spaceship called Hecate, collide as the space liner emerges from hyperspace.
Very soon afterwards The TARDIS arrives close to an unstable area on the Empress and as The Doctor and Romana investigate they quickly discover that both spaceships have become fused together. Realising that the collision of the two spaceships has caused a dimensional crossover, which must be repaired, The Doctor and Romana offer their services to detach the two craft. To assist them K9 arrives from the TARDIS and is tasked with cutting through the locked spaceships.
The Doctor and Romana also meet the scientist Tryst, and his assistant Della, who have with them a Continuous Event Transmuter (CET) machine containing crystals. On these are recordings of many of the planets that Tyrst has visited, and they continue to develop within the machine.
The Doctor also discovers that someone on board the Empress is smuggling the dangerously addictive drug Vraxoin. Too complicate matters further the interface between the two spaceships allows some clawed monster from the mud-swamps of Eden to escape from the CET machine and to start running amok.
Their first victim is Empress’ co-pilot, Secker who heads off alone into the unstable area and while there is attacked by a clawed monster and is left for dead. The Doctor and Rigg, the captain of the Empress, find the wounded Secker and send him to the sickbay where he dies. It soon becomes apparent to The Doctor that Secker’s strange behaviour was in fact caused by him being a drug addict. He had become hooked on the organic substance Vraxoin, whose origins are unknown, but whose properties are lethal and dangerous.
|Meeting the two Captains
The Doctor then finds Secker’s drugs stash but someone stuns him and steals the evidence. Two Azurian Customs and Excise officers now board the Empress and start to suspect The Doctor of smuggling because of the traces of Vraxoin they discover in his pocket. This forces The Doctor, along with Romana, to go on the run from them. They soon find themselves in the CET machine room where they evade capture by leaping directly into the projection.
Inside the projection, The Doctor and Romana are menaced by jungle plants as they avoid the clawed monsters. They soon meet up with a fugitive called Stott, who is a Major in the Intelligence Section of the Space Corp and who has been hiding in the projection while he tries to establish the source of the Vraxoin, which he is convinced is from Eden. He also names the vicious creatures as Mandrels. The trio then exit the projection but discover that the Empress is under siege from the Mandrels, which have now started killing the passengers.
As The Doctor, Romana and K9 evade the creatures they try once more to separate the two spacecraft. In the process, The Doctor incinerates one of the Mandrels, which disintegrates into raw Vraxoin – so revealing that the Mandrels are the source of the drug.
With the help of his two companions The Doctor finally manages to separate the two spaceships. But as they finally part The Doctor becomes trapped in the interface and vanishes from the Empress and finds himself aboard the Hecate. There he soon finds evidence that the smugglers are Tryst and Dymond (the pilot of the Hecate) who are planning to beam the Vraxoin down to Azure, the planet below, by sending the sample of Eden from the CET machine. It is also discovered that the CET machine does not take recordings of planets, but has actually displaced whole planetary areas into its recording crystals.
Back on the Empress, The Doctor uses K9’s dog whistle to round up the Mandrels - having worked out they are pacified by ultrasonics. He leads them all back into the projection and then slips out, leaving the creatures trapped inside. Then after allowing Tryst and Dymond to transport the Eden projection to the Hecate he activates the CET and traps them within a new projection so that the Customs Officers can arrest them.
With the spaceships separated, and the drug smugglers caught, The Doctor, Romana and K9 slip back to the TARDIS with the Eden project so that they can return all the creatures, including the Mandrels, to their correct planets of origin in the hope that nobody else discovers the Mandrels’ secret.