At Sandhurst Military School, a new batch of soldiers are participating in a "Passing Out" ceremony. The Brigadier is in attendance, standing in front of two soldiers who are talking crassly. The Brigadier yanks them by the ear and tells them off. A vortex appears, catching the Brigadier. He has a vision of his past at his grandfather Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart's house.
The Brigadier appears in front of the Hawk leader and expresses his dissatisfaction, saying he wants to go home. A few minutes later, the Doctor arrives and is announced as the new Warkeeper's fool. While they're catching up, dragons attack, killing some of the Hawk troops. The Hawk leader flies the Doctor and the Brigadier over a battlefield, where they see trolls, ogres, orcs, centaurs and goblins fighting. After the Hawks defeat the dragons, the Doctor and Brigadier are taken to the Warkeeper's castle. The Warkeeper is ancient and feeble. This reminds the Brigadier of his grandfather's death. The Warkeeper tells them he summoned the Brigadier to the Slough of the Disunited Planets to succeed him. The Brigadier says that he is not interested. They meet Michael Yates, but not Captain Mike Yates from UNIT. An army of beasts attack the castle.
An all clear siren scares the trolls away as a weakened Warkeeper begins to wake up. The Brigadier, the Doctor and Michael Yates make a "tactical retreat" before the Hawks come around. They stumble into the remains of a battle ground where they find a dying goblin creature, who the Doctor comforts. Because of this, the Brigadier becomes aware the Doctor has recently been involved in a war. They are rescued by a young nursemaid named Tilly, who comments that the Brigadier is very handsome. This reminds him of a time with his wife by the pier of a beach. The arrive at the nurses field station, where two more nursemaids, Gilly and Milly, offer them a feast. Tilly begins to speak to a maid of the Warkeeper named Lilly. Lilly suggests that the deputy Michael Yates has the weakest and most suggestible mind, but then gets interrupted by the Hawk leader. Tilly takes Yates away, whilst the other nursemaids transform into harpies, who are alien carrion feeders. The Doctor comes to a conclusion that all matter on the planet is recycled, and as he makes this deduction, the hawks open fire on the harpies, who escape. However, because of there intervention, they left the Warkeeper unguarded so the other harpies can kill him. Using the warkeeper's crown, Yates becomes the new Warkeeper and takes the harpies, along with the Hawks, to his "war," in Upper Wardleswick.
A newsreader reports on the chaos in Upper Wardleswick. Meanwhile, Yates is addressing a crowd, saying he will declare war on France. The crowd seems rather uninterested as they cannot hear him. The harpies become impatient, picking out members of the crowd, wanting to eat. They tell Yates to order the Hawks to begin a slaughter, but Yates refuses. The harpies force him to, and he starts to say the words, but the crown gets shot off his head by a bullet. The Hawk leader orders the Hawks to locate the sniper. The Doctor picks up the crown and wears it, trying to take control of the Hawks. His attempt fails because the crown can only be controlled by a simple brain. The harpies go to attack him, but the Hawk leader returns with the sniper caught. The sniper turns out to be the Brigadier, and the harpies declare him as their new Warkeeper. The Brig declines, and is shot by a harpy. The Doctor says they will regret what they've done, but the harpies are unfazed. The Doctor reveals that it was a distraction, as an army of Brigadiers charge forward and begin to fight the Hawks. The Doctor tells the harpies how he used the Warkeeper's clone factories to create a clone army of Brigadiers, and transported them to Upper Wardleswick via the TARDIS. Yates has the crown placed back on his head, as a harpy says that the crown can dissipate clone flesh. Yates commands the clones to dissipate, and the Brigadier clones dissolve while saluting each other. The Hawks also disappear, and the Doctor deduces that they were also clones. As tanks roll up, the harpies escape. The Doctor walks off with the crown, with Yates asking where he's going. The Doctor tells Yates that he's going to the pub - where else would he have left the real Brig? The harpies enter the pub while the Brigadier is watching the cricket. He pulls out a gun, threatening them with it. They turn back into their human forms, telling him he's retired and doesn't have to do this anymore. He has a flashback to other soldiers saying he's not good enough. He puts the gun away, saying it's only for show, but that he still has some fight left in him. The Doctor enters and throws him the crown. He catches it and puts it on. The Brig tells the harpies to "go to blazes" and they disappear in a whirlwind. The Doctor is amazed that he guessed their species, saying they were "Harpies, from the Detritus Belt around the Infernal Moon of Bravo 11 Zebra" - or informally known as 'blazes'. The Brig realises that he's just making it up. Outside, a crowd cheers them on, as Yates is taken away by the police. The Doctor says his farewells to the Brig and leaves in the TARDIS.
- Tenth Doctor
- The Brigadier
- Alistair Conall Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart
- Hawk leader
- The Warkeeper
- Michael Yates
- Doris Lethbridge-Stewart
- When carried away by one of the Stone Hawks, the Doctor mentions Tolkien (although the name is misspelled "Tolkein").
- Lyrics from the song "War" are paraphrased to Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart's puzzlement.
- This is the first appearance of the Brigadier in the DWM comic strip since the series revival, predating the on-screen reference to him in The Poison Sky and his return to TV in Enemy of the Bane.
- This was the first DWM since the revival to feature the Doctor with a companion other than Rose Tyler.
- The Brigadier's appearance is closer to the way he looked in Battlefield than Enemy of the Bane.
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