After a suspicious meeting in space with a group of unseen aliens, The Doctor returns to Gallifrey bringing Leela and K9 with him. When they arrive at the Time Lord’s Capitol, The Doctor starts to behave very strangely and when the Chancellory Guard under their Commander, Andred, arrive at the Panopticon Chamber to interrogate him, The Doctor demands to be taken to Chancellor Borusa, who is now in charge of the Time Lords.
On meeting Borusa, The Doctor claims the vacant position of Lord President which is his by right as he was the only candidate for the post following the assassination of the former President (see "The Deadly Assassin"). Under the Time Lords law his request cannot be refused and so after being automatically elected The Doctor commandeers an office and gives orders for it to be decorated with panels beaten from lead. Leela cannot understand what has got into The Doctor as he is behaving irrationally and completely out of character.
The unseen aliens watch as The Doctor sets events in motion to have himself inaugurated as President. He is crowned with The Coronet of Rassilon giving him access to the Matrix and the aliens attempt to pry into this repository of Time Lord knowledge, an intrusion which The Doctor prevents by a massive force of will. The Doctor then arranges for the transduction barriers around Gallifrey to be destroyed by K9, and when this is done his alien ‘friends’ materialise in the Panopticon. They are Vardans, beings which intend to take over Gallifrey.
|Leela Helps The Doctor
As The Doctor maintains his mind shield against the invaders, the Vardans manipulate the obsequious and compliant Castellan Kelner who soon has Borusa placed under house arrest and starts a process of expelling trouble-making Time Lords from the safety of the Capitol.
So as to determine the Vardans’ planet of origin The Doctor links K9 to the Matrix. The Doctor plans to place a time loop around the planet but he must avoid arousing their suspicions until he is ready - hence his erratic behaviour. After persuading Borusa to meet him in his office, The Doctor explains he has had the lead walls installed to prevent the Vardans entering the room and reading his mind. He manages to persuade the stubborn Borusa that they need to work together so as to defeat the Vardan threat. The Doctor then arranges for Leela to be banished to the wastelands of outer Gallifrey as she is in danger of unintentionally jeopardising his plans. There she meets up with a group of Gallifreyan outsiders who organise an attack on the Capitol to fight off the invaders. Just as they enter the Panopticon, The Doctor springs his trap by finally persuading the Vardans to appear as humanoid warriors. This enables K9 to supply The Doctor with the correct co-ordinates of their home planet which he uses to beam the Vardans back to their home world where they become trapped in a time loop.
|Borusa and The Doctor
With the Vardan threat over, The Doctor announces to Leela, Andred, Castellan Kelner and the others assembled in the Panopticon that the future of Gallifrey is assured. Realising that they are not looking at him, he turns to see four Sontarans standing on the steps behind him. The foremost Sontaran raises its gun and aims it at him.
By destroying the transduction barriers Gallifrey has been invaded by troopers from the Sontaran Special Space Service led by Commander Stor, who, unknown to The Doctor, were using the Vardans as a bridgehead to enable them to conquer the Time Lords.
Commander Stor finds Castellan Kelner ever ready to pledge his support, even if the other Time Lords remain resistant. The Doctor and his party escape. The Doctor uses distractions to buy time while Leela, with the help of a few of the Time Lords and a group of the outsiders, manage to kill a number of Sontaran troopers. But the Sontarans, assisted by Castellan Kelner, have managed to gain access to The Doctor’s TARDIS and try to hunt down The Doctor and his friends, pursuing them through the labyrinthine corridors.
Realising that the Sontarans are after the Matrix, The Doctor uses knowledge extracted from it by K9 to enable the construction of a deadly disintegrator gun. He persuades Borusa into revealing to him the location of the Great Key of Rassilon, a missing item of the Presidential regalia that is needed to activate the De-Mat gun. Then on The Doctor’s instruction, a hypnotised Rodan and K9 construct this forbidden Time Lord weapon that, when used, will erases its victims from time itself.
He uses the De-Mat gun to kill the remaining Sontaran in the TARDIS and then confronts the Sontaran leader, Stor, in the Panopticon. Stor intends to destroy the Eye of Harmony with a bomb, but The Doctor activates the De-Mat gun as the charge detonates. The resulting blast is cancelled out and so obliterates Stor, destroys the De-Mat gun itself and wipes The Doctor’s mind of recent events, including the fact that he has become President.
With the Vardans and Sontarans defeated, and with Borusa beginning the process of rebuilding Gallifrey, The Doctor decides it is time to leave as he still has much to achieve in the Universe. However, as he is about to enter the TARDIS his companion Leela announces that she wishes to stay on Gallifrey because she has fallen in love with Commander Andred, one of the Chancellory guards. K9 also elects to remain with Leela so that he can look after her. As they both watch as the TARDIS dematerialises Leela wonders if The Doctor will be lonely.
She need not worry as inside the TARDIS, The Doctor pulls out a large box marked ‘K9 MII’. He then grins mischievously.