Edward Grainger is in West Berlin, waiting for a man named Stempfer to cross over from East Berlin. When a man approaches, Edward and the men with him aren't sure it is Stempfer. The man is shot before he crosses the border, but Edward briefly crosses to drag him into West Berlin. The man calls himself the Doctor and says he thinks he killed Stempfer.
A medic takes care of the Doctor while Edward searches his pockets. He finds Stempfer's code book and gives it to Carstairs to decipher. He has the Doctor brought to a surgeon, who finds that the wound is minor. Edward encounters an old friend, now Sergeant Major Munro. The Doctor is put into a cell, where he is apparently having a conversation with a cockroach.
As Edward and Munro interrogate the Doctor, he answers them flippantly. They become angrier and angrier with him, and they tie him up to torture him. He tells them that he sent Stempfer back to get more information but he was killed by the Jalaphron, a race who feed on misery and incite anger. The "cockroach" is actually Ambassador Skgar of the Jalaphron. They are here on Earth to start a war. The Doctor tells Edward that he must stop the war. Edward, in a rage, steps on Skgar, killing him. Suddenly, both his and Munro's heads clear, having been released from the Jalaphron onslaught.
The Soviets are sending ships to Cuba to place missiles for an attack against America. NATO will respond, sending the world into war, which is what the Jalaphron want. The Doctor and Edward will kill the Jalaphrons in the area, and the Doctor's friend Romana will use the TARDIS to draw the rest of them away. The governments of the world will be released from Jalaphron control, and the situation will be defused.
The mission accomplished, Edward phones his wife and promises her a vacation.
- Fourth Doctor
- Edward Grainger
- Eleanor Grainger
- Ambassador Skgar
- Edward and Munro think the Doctor resembles George Tremayne.
- Edward removes several things from the Doctor's pockets, including the sonic screwdriver, a yo-yo and a bag of jelly babies.
- The Doctor says, "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition", when Edward mentions Torquemada.
- Romana has been looking for Jalaphron all over Moscow.
- The Doctor says the Soviet action is in response to the Kennedy Bay of Pigs fiasco.
- The stories in Short Trips: The Centenarian revolve around Edward Grainger, a man who has met the Doctor more than a dozen times over the course of his life.
- This story was reprinted in Short Trips: Re:Collections.