The Time Lord known as The Doctor helps a small village battle against one of his fiercest foes. In a small tavern in a small town sometime in the past, the Time Lord known only as the Doctor gets a drink and slowly but surely is recognized as a stranger. When he tells people that he is The Doctor, they confuse him for an actual doctor and send him to the local castle, home to Lord and Lady Ernhardt. Their son, Victor, is deathly ill, and the people hope that the Doctor can help cure him. Escorted by the town's only teacher, Olga (her class consists of six children), the Doctor visits the castle, only to be stopped from examining Victor by someone called the Watchman, a wizened old man employed by Lord Ernhardt as personal physician. Lord Ernhardt, frustrated by the fact that the Doctor cannot help Victor, slams his fist into the solid stone wall, creating a massive hole. Ernhardt shows the Doctor that his hand is metallic, a gift from the Watchman, and the Doctor recognizes it as the hand of a Cyberman. The Doctor and Olga leave Ernhardt and descend into the corridors beneath the castle, where they come upon the workshop of the Watchman. They hide under the table as two men enter, followed shortly by the Watchman, who speaks to someone they can't see. Discovered by the Watchman, the Doctor and Olga rush into the corridors, eventually coming out into the town's cemetery near an old, destroyed church. The Doctor and Olga find a mysterious device mounted to the top of the church, which the Doctor recognizes as a machine built by the Cybermen to gather energy. Chased away by a Cyberman guard, the pair returns to the town. Olga tells the Doctor a local legend about a bright, massive thing that fell from the sky decades before, destroying the church and landing in a field nearby. The Doctor surmises that the ship belonged to the Cybermen, and leaves Olga for a few minutes. When he returns, he has a bag of blue pills, which he calls protection against radiation sickness. Olga and the Doctor return to the catacombs beneath the church and discover the Cyberman's ship, damaged beyond repair, inside a massive cavern. Inside the ship, they find dozens of Cybermen in hibernation. The Doctor realizes that they need the power from the machine in the church to wake the Cybermen, but they need a power convertor – which the Doctor saw in the Watchman's workshop. After narrowly escaping a trio of Cyberwolves, the Doctor and Olga return to the workshop, where they Watchman angrily confronts them. Before they can settle anything, however, a Cyberman appears with the power convertor in his hand. Lord and Lady Ernhardt arrive to help, only to have Ernhardt's cybernetic hand turn against him. The hand lashes out, killing the Watchman, but Lady Ernhardt manages to snap and twist the hand completely off her husband's wrist. The Doctor realizes that the power convertor doesn't need to be attached to anything in order to transfer power, so he and Olga set out to destroy the hibernating Cybermen. The villagers, along with Ernhardt's guards, act as a diversion, but when the Doctor and Olga get to the ship they find that the Cybermen are already awakening. With a little bit of time to rest while the Cybermen orientate themselves, the Doctor lays out another plan to get to the Cybermen's ship, but that too fails. The villagers and guards retreat to the castle, while the Doctor, Olga, and Lady Ernhardt are chased to the original crash site, a place no person has step foot in because of the high radiation. The Doctor takes a blue pill and gives the last one to Olga, revealing the fact that Lady Ernhardt is not a real person – the real Lady Ernhardt died after childbirth and was recreated by the Watchman. Back at the castle, the Doctor, Olga, and Lady Ernhardt link up with the others. Ernhardt wants to move Victor to safety, but the Doctor has other plans. Victor, it turns out, is also mostly Cyberman, with nothing but his human head remaining – a fact the Watchman hid from everyone. The Doctor and Victor rush to the old church, where the Doctor ties Victor to a metal rod attached to the Cybermen's machine. Lady Ernhardt stops a Cyberman from attacking Victor, but plunges over the side of the church, where she breaks into pieces. As lightning strikes Victor, the massive energy pulse blasts all of the Cybermen, deactivating them forever. But there is a price – Victor dies. After the battle, the Doctor leaves, but not before leaving behind a gift for Lord Ernhardt: a newly rebuilt, reconstituted Lady Ernhardt.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked the story because it was relatively short yet still packed full of action and great characterization, exactly like an episode of the television show translated to the printed page.
Best scene in story:
I enjoyed the part where Lady Ernhardt is revealed to be a machine person built by the Watchman, though it is never very clear how exactly the Watchman managed to install her memories and personality into the machine. It was a nice twist, and gave the Doctor a physically powerful ally against the Cybermen.
Opinion about the main character:
I like the fact that even when the Doctor travels alone, he ends up with one or more companions, even if they are temporary allies. Here, he and Olga form an instant connection, even though Olga is secretly wary and somewhat afraid of the stranger in her town.