by Chad Denton
On the next planet the TARDIS lands on, the Doctor is curious to find that this planet is hospitable to life yet completely silent. Setting out, they encounter a robot that senses its way by touch and sound, and which Vicki christens a “Chumbley.” They assume the Chumbley is harmless, but while exploring another Chumbley threatens them with a gun and forces them to follow it. Suddenly a group of human-looking women calling themselves Drahvins damage the Chumbley and claim that they were sent by their leader, Maaga, to rescue them – and bring them to her. Maaga tells them that they crashlanded on the planet along with the crew from another planet, who are from a “disgusting” species named the Rills, and that the planet, located in Galaxy 4, will explode in a matter of days. The Drahvins’ ship is badly damaged, enough that they need the Rills’ ship to have a chance of escaping, and Maaga adds that the Rills had caused their own ship to crash in the first place. Maaga explains that the Drahvins are a matriarchal civilization that grows a small number of men in labs for the sake of breeding and fighting. Even though the Doctor and the others figure out quickly that their society is militaristic, Maaga insists she and her crew were on a peaceful exploration mission.
Learning more from Maaga, the Doctor and Stephen suspect that the Rills are not actually aggressive, but may have actually offered Maaga their help. The Doctor and Steven head back to the TARDIS so the Doctor can use his equipment to determine if the Rills were lying about the eminent apocalypse. Maaga refuses to let them all leave, for the sake of “safety”, and Vicki volunteers to stay behind, where she watches as Maaga viciously berates her crew for failing against the Chumbleys. At the TARDIS the Doctor confirms the Rills’ diagnosis and are distracted when one of the Chumbleys apparently tries to blast its way into the TARDIS. After returning, the Doctor refuses to help the Drahvins unless they try to negotiate with the Rills and leave together. A furious Maaga holds Steven hostage and orders them to steal the Rills’ ship for them. Considering the circumstances, the Doctor reasons that the Rills must not be hostile. Vicki and the Doctor break into the Rill ship and Vicki is apparently captured. She is horrified by what little she sees of the appearance of the Rills, but calms down when the Rills communicate with her telepathically.