The Doctor, badly injured, is rescued from the destroyed spacecraft Uluru. He wakes to find himself in the medical bay of the Monitor, the ship that accidentally fired on the Uluru. The ship's medical officer, Dr McIvor, tells the Doctor that there were four survivors.
Lieutenant Barnes arrives to take the Doctor to meet the captain. On the way she explains that the ship's central corridor has no gravity and informs the Doctor of procedures for when the ship is in battle.
The Doctor meets Captain David Carey. Carey explains that they fired on the Uluru by mistake during a battle with the Draconian ship Empire Covenant. Now, both the Monitor and the Covenant are "trapped" in an accretion disk, invisible to each other, and the moment one of them moves the other will be able to track it and destroy it.
The Doctor is assigned quarters. Captain Ken Adams of the Uluru and Barnes enter. Barnes has brought them something to eat, and explains that they have enough rations for six more months. Barnes agrees to set up a meeting for the Doctor with the captain.
After a memorial service for the Uluru dead, the Doctor approaches the captain, asking for a meeting. While the Doctor waits in the mess hall for the captain, he meets the first officer, Commander Tate. She awkwardly apologises, then leaves for bridge duty. When the captain arrives, the Doctor tries to convince him to leave the area, but the captain refuses. The Doctor asks him who gave the order to fire on the Uluru, and the captain refuses to answer.
Adams and Crewman Lemiesz are in their quarters when Ship's Master Avery DeSoto enters. He offers to take them on a tour of the ship. They pass through the gravity-free corridor and end up at the rear of the ship, where the only window is. As they admire the view, DeSoto calmly proposes mutiny. Some of the crew are unhappy with their current position, waiting in space for the Draconians to make some move, and DeSoto believes that Adams and the other Uluru survivors feel the same way. Lieutenant Barnes will also be part of the mutiny. They make plans to take the bridge, with DeSoto and Barnes carrying weapons.
Meanwhile, the Doctor tries the captain once again. He informs Carey that Shian-Kotek, admiral of the Covenant, is the nephew of the Draconian Emperor, and if he is killed, the Draconians will not rest until humanity is destroyed. Carey won't listen to reason, so the Doctor offers to tell Carey where the Covenant is. The Doctor has to confess that the Uluru was bringing aid to the Covenant. Carey, angry, orders two of his men to take the Doctor away.
The mutineers head for the Doctor's quarters to retrieve him. They find him being beaten by two guards. DeSoto and Adams dispatch the guards, and they re-enter the corridor where Barnes is waiting. The Doctor worriedly asks Adams the last position of the Covenant, and realises that he has provided Carey with its location. DeSoto and Barnes are now wary of trusting the Uluru crew, knowing they were helping the Draconians, but have to accept them for now if their mutiny is to succeed.
As they head aft, two men, Anders and Luiz, fire at them. DeSoto is hit. Commander Tate appears, and Barnes and DeSoto try to explain. Tate orders them all to stand down, then says they will work it out later as battle stations has been ordered. Everyone prepares for the crush of acceleration.
On the bridge, Carey orders weapons made ready for firing on the Covenant.
When the ship has stopped accelerating, the Doctor makes his way to Tate. He doesn't quite make it before the ship accelerates again, and falls to the deck at several g's. Injured, he uses Tate's communicator to contact Carey on the bridge. He finally gets through to Carey, who calls off his attack and communicates with the Covenant.
- Seventh Doctor
- Captain Ken Adams
- Captain David Carey
- Doctor McIvor
- Crewman Lemiesz
- Crewman Haines
- Lieutenant Barnes
- Avery DeSoto
- Commander Tate
- Shian-Kotek is a nephew of the Draconian Emperor, a prince and an admiral.
- Carey's ship is the Monitor, Adams' is the Uluru, and Kotek's is the Empire Covenant.
- The stories in Short Trips: Steel Skies are divided into four sections dealing with different types of confinement. This story deals with flight, that is, "travellers who left their homes for far-away destinations".
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