A UNIT monitor picks up an object heading towards Earth. It is a spaceship, with some tendril looking creatures aboard. At UNIT HQ, a Mr. Chin wants to know who the Doctor is; he comes in and says goodmorning. A meeting has been called by the Brig, with Yates, Benton, Jo, the Doctor and CIA agent Bill Filer present. (Chin is ruffled when he discovers he hasn't the security clearance.) However, the alarm is raised about the UFO. It lands in the South East of England. Chin, from the MOD, gets the authority to launch a missile strike; the ship disappears though before the missiles hit. The missiles are destroed by abort procedure. The UFO is picked up again close to a power plant and Chin announces he has emergency powers. A curious tramp is caught by a tendril coming out of the UFO and dragged inside. The tramp is analysed and rejected - he is absorbed. Bill also goes to the ship and is captured. UNIT, the Doctor and Jo go to the ship. Chin, his boss Sir George (Donald Hewlett, "It Ain't Half Hot Mum") and a scientist Winser meet up with them there. There is a message from the ship: Axos is calling Earth, their spaceship is depleted of energy. Yates and Benton examine the body of the tramp, found nearby. It crumbles to dust. Inside the ship, the Doctor is subjected to analysis and the Axons register his alien nature. Jo sneaks into the ship too, where she hears Bill. who is held captive along with the Master. The Doctor, Brig, Chin and co. meet the Axons - a humanoid race with golden hair and a goldenlike body. The male Axon (Bernard Holly) explains that his ship is organic and absorbs energy but it is depleted and that his world has been destroyed by solar flares; he offers axonite as a gift to the humans in return for energy. The Doctor is immediately suspicious as to why the Axon ship couldn't have recharged itself. Jo comes across a tendriled creature.
The Doctor, Brig and male Axon rush to the area where Jo cried out. She explains what she saw. The Axon says she is close to the energy centre so must have hallucinated. Bill shoots a control ganglian so that the tentacles holding him and the Master relax; they are quickly recaptured by the Axons. UNIT are placed under arrest by the regular army, led by Capt. Harker (Tim Piggot-Smith). Chin takes the axonite, which he has secured the rights to for the British Govt. The Axons copy Bill. The Master has brought the Axons to Earth; they are after the minerals. The Doctor is allowed to study the axonite with Winser, whilst Jo is hld with UNIT. The copy of Bill is sent to get the Doctor, who the Axons know is also a Time Lord. Bill escapes from the ship; the Master is released in order to help worldwide distribution of axonite, but the Axons keep his TARDIS to ensure his cooperation. He hypnotises a UNIT driver. Bill goes to the energy station and fight the fake Bill, which falls into the light accelerator and is destroyed. The UNIT driver takes the TARDIS. Bill tells the Doctor and co. that the Master is there, that Axons are parasites and not humanoid. The Master hypnotises a UNIT radio operator and orders him to send a message to the UN. The Doctor puts axonite in the light accelerator. Winser tries to stop this but it turned to dust. The Doctor realises that axonite and the Axons are all one and the same entity. Jo and Bill, who have managed to escape, and the Doctor are faced by a few of the tendril creatures.
The creatures return to their humanoid form and take the Doctor and Jo. The Brig sends a message that Chin has made an illegal unilateral deal; but he finds out that message has already been sent. the Brig is given his powers and the UNIT men are released. The male Axon has though made a cover story to dupe Chin - they arrived at the plant because a dangerous experiment on the axonite was taking place. Inside the Axon ship, the Doctor is told that the Axons plan to suck Earth dry of all energy and every living cell, and that it must be activated within 72 hours. Chin begins to arrange worldwide distribution. The Master has the TARDIS brought to the light accelerator and enters the ship. The console is a mess and the Master is flabbergasted at the Doctor's attempted repairs. The Axons want the secret of time travel; they threaten to age Jo to death so the Doctor reluctantly agrees. The male Axon goes to nuclear reactor. Bill recovers and relates what has happened to the Brig. The Axon has changed into its creature form and enters the nuclear reactor to absorb energy required for time travel. The Master is not having much luck with repairing the TARDIS; he is captured by the Brig., Yates and Benton. But they are forced to let the Master go if he prevents the overload of the nuclear reactor. The Master's plan disorientates Axos and allows the Doctor and Jo to make a run for it. The Master goes to feedback the power which will destroy Axos and also kill the Doctor and Jo.
Jo and the Doctor get out of the ship. Axos stabilises the problem and locates the power source; they plan to destroy the light accelerator. Sir George solves the problem but is killed. The Doctor wants the Master as the two can defeat Axos; the Doctor tells the Master that if they fix the TARDIS they can both escape. They use the light accelerator trigger. The station is overrun by Axons and the TARDIS dematerialises, landing in Axos. The Doctor makes a deal with the Axons - the TARDIS will join with Axos and then destroy the High Council of the Time Lords. The Doctor creates a time loop, which will trap the Axons forever. He manages to escape. The station explodes and the TARDIS materialises in the debris.
This is the first story from duo Bob Baker and Dave Martin. It is relatively straight forward and therein lies alot of its qualities - no convoluted plans or such, just a galactic parasite that gains trust whilst hiding its true intentions. "V" comes to mind; it has that sort of plot line too.
There is some good dialogue, especially in the scenes with the bureaucratic twit Chin and his Minister. The design of the Axon ship and the Axons themselves (in the humanoid and tendril covered monster form) are excellent - although the colours and patterns suggest a bit of acid might have been used in the design process!
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