The Doctor and Ace
It is towards the end of the Second World War and Russian commandos arrive, by dinghy, on a beach near a secret naval base off the coast of Northumberland. As they start to set up camp they discover one of their comrades lying injured on the rocky beach and Captain Sorin, their commander, tries to discover what happened to the sealed orders that the soldier was carrying. One of the other soldiers manages to find them but is chased and attacked by something unknown.
Nearby the TARDIS arrives just outside the secret naval base. The Doctor leads his travelling companion, Ace, to the office of the wheelchair-bound scientist Dr Judson. There The Doctor forges letters of authority for himself, completing this task just before Captain Bates arrives to investigate. The two travellers are then shown to their quarters for the night.
The next morning, The Doctor and Ace arrive at the local church looking for Dr Judson. The vicar, Reverend Wainwright, shows The Doctor to the crypt. Ace meanwhile befriends two young women, Jean and Phyllis, who are evacuees from London and who are currently staying with an elderly woman called Miss Hardaker. They arrange to meet later at Maidens’ Point. Ace then finds The Doctor in the crypt with Dr Judson who is trying to translate some Viking runes. The Doctor and Ace leave him to it. After a detour through the churchyard, where The Doctor realises that some of the graves have Viking names on them, the two travellers head out to Maidens’ Point. There The Doctor finds the sealed orders. He returns to the church, where Reverend Wainwright shows him some records made by his grandfather at the end of the last century. They contain translations of the inscriptions in the crypt. The Doctor and Reverend Wainwright take the translations to Dr Judson.
Back at the naval base, The Doctor and Ace find a group of Wrens translating German messages. One of the women, Kathleen Dudman, has a baby girl with her, and Ace falls in love with it. After finding Commander Millington’s office, which is an exact replica of a naval cipher room in Berlin (Commander Millington is trying to think like the enemy in order to stay one step ahead), The Doctor and Ace return to Maidens’ Point and find a dead soldier. They are captured by Captain Sorin and his men but, on hearing The Doctor’s story, Captain Sorin lets them go.
Meanwhile Dr Judson shows Commander Millington the translations given to him by The Doctor. But as he reads the words, things move under the sea and a set of new runes appears in the church crypt. Later, Commander Millington suggests that Dr Judson use the Ultima machine - a code breaker - to translate the runes. On returning to the crypt The Doctor and Ace discover the new inscriptions but are interrupted by Commander Millington who takes them through to a secret tunnel system where a natural poison, that seeps from the walls, is being collected so that it can be used to win the war.
|Captain Sorin and Ace
While Ace speaks with Reverend Wainwright, and discovers that the minister is suffering a crisis of faith, The Doctor goes with Commander Millington back to the naval base and discovers that the Ultima machine has been booby trapped with a flask of the poison. The plan is that the Russians will be allowed to steal it. The machine though has been programmed to detonate the flask when it receives a particular coded word which will be included in a message sent to Russia when the political climate is right. Commander Millington then demonstrates the effects of the poison in an isolation tank. Then, much to the puzzlement of Captain Bates, Commander Millington orders that all the radio transmitters on the base be disabled and that all chess sets are to be burnt. Dr Judson then sets the Ultima machine to translate the runes and the phrase ‘let the chains of Fenric shatter’ is printed out.
After being reprimanded, by Miss Hardacre, for going to Maidens’ Point, Jean and Phyllis ignore her and return there, venturing into the water for a bathe. But a mist appears and covers them, and when it lifts they have been transformed into vampires. They entice a soldier into the water, where he is grabbed by a group of monstrous Haemovores. Jean and Phyllis then return to Miss Hardacre and kill her before attempting to attack Reverend Wainwright at the church. They are forced to leave when The Doctor and Ace arrive, but threaten to return for Reverend Wainwright later. The Doctor discovers that Ace has given Dr Judson the clue that he needed to solve the mystery of the runes: they are a logic diagram for a computer program. The Doctor, Ace and Reverend Wainwright hurry to the naval base to stop Dr Judson but they are too late and Haemovores are summoned from the sea. Commander Millington realises that he has made the mistake of weakening the naval base to allow the Russians to steal the Ultima machine. While on the beach, Captain Sorin and his men retreat as the Haemovores advance. The Haemovores then try to break into the church, while The Doctor, Ace and Reverend Wainwright try to keep them out, The Doctor realises that faith will repel the attackers. He whispers the names of his past companions and this sets up a screaming noise that drives the creatures away. Captain Sorin also arrives, to rescue his men, relying on his faith in the Russian Revolution for protection. The Doctor, Ace, Reverend Wainwright and two Russian soldiers then escape through the tunnels, pursued by Jean, Phyllis and the Haemovores.
Ace contemplates making some more of her Nitro-9 explosives using an old flask that she had earlier discovered in the tunnels. The Doctor though realises that this is the oriental treasure to which the runes referred. The Doctor, Ace and Reverend Wainwright eventually emerge from the tunnels and Commander Millington orders the exit doors barred, despite protests from The Doctor and Ace that there are still two soldiers inside. Captain Sorin tries to make a truce with Commander Millington, but finds himself locked up instead. Ace then confronts The Doctor as she realised that he knows what is going on and demands that he explain. He tells her that Fenric, an evil intelligence from the dawn of time, is trapped inside the flask. They need help to defeat it, so Ace distracts a guard enabling The Doctor to release Captain Sorin. At the exit from the tunnels the Haemovores start to burn their way out. The creatures emerge and Reverend Wainwright is killed as his faith proves insufficient to hold them back.
The Doctor realises that Fenric needs a body to occupy and so along with Ace he hurries to the cipher room, where Dr Judson is knocked out by a discharge of power from the Ultima machine. The Doctor, Ace and Captain Sorin look on as Commander Millington recites the Viking legend. Behind them, Dr Judson, having been possessed by Fenric, rises to his feet, his eyes glowing green. Fenric/Judson states that he has been trapped in the shadow dimensions for seventeen centuries, and that now his preparations are complete. He vanishes and reappears in the tunnels, where he orders Jean and Phyllis to fetch the Ancient One. They go to Maidens’ Point and summon the creature from the sea.
The Doctor tells Ace that he needs a chess set to play his game with Fenric to its conclusion. They try to get one from Commander Millington’s office, but they discover he has mined it with explosives and they narrowly escape being killed. Ace then remembers that Kathleen also has a chess set. As The Doctor hurries to set up the chess game, the Wrens are trapped by the Haemovores and transformed into vampires, following which they attack the soldiers. Dr Judson’s nurse, Nurse Crane, is also killed and Commander Millington shoots down Captain Sorin’s second in command, Vershinin, but is then killed by Captain Bates. Ace sends Kathleen and the baby off in a car to stay with her Nan in Streatham. Ace then finds herself trapped by the pursuing Haemovores. She is saved when Fenric/Judson instructs the Ancient One to take the poison into the sea so destroying Jean, Phyllis and the other Haemovores, who crumble away to nothing. The Doctor then faces Fenric/Judson, challenging him to make the final move in the chess game that he has set up in the laboratory. He then convinces the Ancient One that to poison the seas would bring about the destruction of the world - and that the future, which the Ancient One comes from would no longer exist.
Ace finds Fenric/Judson hunched over the chess set who is unable to solve the problem of the final move. She then finds Captain Bates helping the wounded Vershinin and realises that this is the solution to the chess puzzle, she returns to the laboratory to find Captain Sorin and tells him that the solution is for the opposing pawns to join forces. Captain Sorin, however, has now been taken over by Fenric in place of Judson. The Doctor arrives just as a lightning bolt hits the chess set causing it to burst into flame. Fenric/Sorin reveals that all those involved are his pawns – including Ace, as Kathleen’s baby is her mother, whom she hates, and she has just created her own future. Fenric/Sorin orders the Ancient One to kill The Doctor and Ace. The creature is held back, however, by Ace’s total faith in The Doctor. Fenric/Sorin demands that The Doctor kneel before him, but The Doctor responds by telling him to kill Ace. He claims he knew all along that Ace was a pawn and accuses her of being an emotional cripple that he would never have allowed to travel with him if he hadn’t known the truth. Ace’s faith shatters, causing the psychic barrier to drop, but instead of attacking The Doctor, the Ancient One herds Fenric/Sorin into the isolation tank and releases the poison, killing them both. The Doctor then grabs Ace and they escape before the room explodes.
Back at Maidens’ Point, The Doctor tries to explain to a tearful Ace that he had to break her faith in him so that the Ancient One could act. Ace then takes a moment to contemplate why she hates her mother and, to absolve her irrational fear of the water, she dives into the sea, then swims ashore and rejoins The Doctor. They then walk away together back to the TARDIS.