THE SONTARAN EXPERIMENT
February – March 1975
“I’m a sort of travelling time expert … horologist actually. And chronometrist. Just love clocks…”
Doctor to Vural and Erak, episode 1
Picture © BBC
Teleporting themselves down to Earth’s surface from Space Station Nerva (see The Ark in Space synopsis), the Doctor’s party finds the planet cleansed of almost any traces of humanity, and yet they are not alone. A marooned crew of astronauts from one of Earth’s distant colonies is struggling to stay alive. One by one they are being hunted down and captured by a sinister machine – part vehicle, part multi-limbed robot – the servant of a dwarf-sized alien biped that stalks these rugged cliffs and gullies.
The Doctor learns his opponent is a foe familiar to one of his previous incarnations – a Sontaran warrior, this one named Styre (Kevin Lindsay). Styre has been given the task of assessing human kind’s strengths and weaknesses, so the Doctor knows he must act quickly to save the remaining astronauts’ lives, and avert a potential invasion.
The Doctor engages Styre in hand-to-hand combat, convincing his opponent that he represents Earth’s true warrior class. But the fight is a ruse, a distraction enabling Harry to steal aboard the Sontaran’s space ship and remove vital machinery that sustains Styre’s energy levels. Styre’s death through exhaustion convinces his military superiors to seek easier pickings on other worlds.