At first she and the Doctor amuse themselves exploring the limitless confines of the TARDIS, looking through its countless rooms and contents. But after forty-three days of travelling the ship's corridors, planning her science-fiction book and listening to the Doctor's stories, Sarah becomes bored to the point of tears, and even the Doctor has grown tired and listless.
It seems that the journey will never end, until they notice that the clocks aboard the ship have all stopped; the Doctor then detects the remains of another TARDIS adrift in the Vortex. It has become trapped there because its original owner made a mistake in locking in his course. The Doctor now fears that the same thing has happened to his TARDIS, and that he and Sarah are trapped in the Vortex for eternity. Unable to change the TARDIS's set course, the two travellers have no option but to wait out the nine weeks until their intended point of dematerialisation.
After weeks of doing nothing, Sarah snaps and yells at the Doctor. He comforts her. The day of materialisation arrives, and they cross their fingers. With relief, they materialise, and the Doctor realises that the clocks in the TARDIS stopped as a mark of their ship's respect to a fallen comrade. Ironically, when the TARDIS finally materialises on a jungle planet, the Doctor and Sarah discover that they are light years off course, and nowhere near Geshtinanna at all.
- Sarah tells the Doctor that she intends to write a science fiction novel.
- The stories in Short Trips: Steel Skies are divided into four sections dealing with different types of confinement. This story deals with isolation, that is, "the loneliness and despair of being cut off from the world outside".