The TARDIS materialises at the bottom of a large body of water on an unknown planet. The Doctor, amazed by the sea-life and interested in the world, devises a method of moving the TARDIS from its watery location. While he has never attempted moving the TARDIS from one point to another on the same planet, the trip goes well with the ship only moving a few thousand miles but staying put in time.
The TARDIS materialises on a flat stone causeway covered in pillars and oblong trenches. It is in one of these trenches that the Doctor first sees the Fishmen. As he wanders the causeway, somewhere in the distance a horn blows and the Fishmen begin climbing from their trenches. They pay no attention to the Doctor or the TARDIS, but, after another horn blows, a large, flying barge ship settles down near the causeway. As the ship lands, the Fishmen take to the water and swim toward it.
Up on the barge ship the Doctor is able to make out a different type of creature who are totally black. While they are too far away for the Doctor to see any real details, he knows he has seen them before.
As the Fishmen reach the barge ship it takes off and flies just above the surface of the water, leading the Fishmen away from the causeway.
The Doctor returns to the TARDIS to eat, rest and watch for the Fishmen's return. Near dusk, upon hearing the horn again, the Doctor exits the TARDIS to watch the barge ship return and the Fishmen climb out of the water and back into their trenches. As he turns his attention to the barge ship he finally recognises the black creatures as the Voord. Before he can return to the TARDIS, the Doctor is taken by the Voord back to their barge ship.
After a short interrogation by the Voord, the Doctor is chained to a mast and although he yells, they pay no attention to him. When the Doctor refuses the food offered and yells angrily, the Voord do react. The one who had interrogated him, and so far the only one who has spoken, asks him to quieten how loud he yelled, for fear of hurting the Voord.
As the Doctor studies the Voord it occurs to him that they are communicating with each other, and sensing the world around them, telepathically using the antenna on their head.
The barge ship lands on top of a large under-sea dome. The Doctor is lead down into the dome. The speaking Voord tells the Doctor of their flight from Marinus, their crash on Kandalinga, and their attempts to build solid land on this planet entirely covered in water.
The Fishmen, the Voord tells him, are their slaves in the creation of dry land and will all be destroyed once their usefulness to the Voord is complete. At that time the Voord will begin to plan their return to Marinus to take it back from the creatures they call Arbitans. The speaking Voord asks the Doctor for the location of his ship believing that it will have engines and equipment that will help them.
Another Voord brings in a case and the speaking Voord takes from it two travel dials, which can be used to travel between different points on a planet. The speaking Voord demands that the Doctor leads them to his ship using the dials. The Doctor realises that he may be able to escape with its help.
The Doctor asks if they will be travelling alone and the speaking Voord tells him that it is he who leads the Voord and keeps the Fishmen docile and that without him the rest would have little interest in returning to Marinus.
When the speaking Voord completes setting the dial to the proper coordinates the Doctor quickly presses the button, travelling to the causeway, but also alerting his captor to the fact that he has knowledge of how to use the dials.
On the causeway, the Fishmen are just returning from the water and preparing to reenter their trenches. As the speaking Voord approaches the Doctor, the Doctor grabs the Voord's antenna and snaps it off. Without his antenna, the speaking Voord is unable to sense what is going on around him and he is unable to control the Fishmen. They quickly rush in and destroy him.
The Doctor made his way back to the TARDIS and watches as the barge ship, still near the causeway, is overrun by the Fishmen and its crew overwhelmed.
- First Doctor
- The Speaking Voord
- It is stated that the Doctor had never previously tried to move the TARDIS from one point to another on the same planet, and that his trips have always been interplanetary. It is also stated that the TARDIS must dematerialise for travel and that it can not physically propel itself through space.
- The Voord call the humanoid natives of Marinus "Arbitans" after their leader.
- The Voord not only have two travel dials, but also two of the Keys of Marinus, which the Doctor speculates are sacred relics to the Voord.
- The Voord are sensitive to loud noises.
Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors Edit
- The Doctor is referred to throughout the story as Dr. Who.
- This story occurs, both from the Doctor's perspective and the Voord's perspective, after the events of TV: The Keys of Marinus. The Doctor speculates that millions of years have passed for the Voord.
- Kandalinga is mentioned in PROSE: Placebo Effect.
- A Fishman shops at the Frenko Bazaar. (COMIC: Bazaar Adventures)
- The Doctor had previously met noise-sensitive aliens in PROSE: The Monsters from Earth, and will meet them again in PROSE: The Cloud Exiles and COMIC: Mission for Duh.