The Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith receive a distress call from a small moon and go to investigate. At the same time a ship of horse-headed bipeds called Equinans also responds to the distress call. When both the TARDIS and the Equinan ship near the moon, an irresistible force drags them down. The TARDIS lands safely, but the Equinans must abandon ship with only Roppy, the ship's captain, staying on board.
Once on the moon, the Doctor and Sarah Jane investigate the source of the distress call only to find that numerous ships from a number of species have crashed in the same spot on the moon. They discover the newly crashed Equinan ship and force their way in and revive the unconscious Roppy. Soon after, the Equinan ship is boarded by Kryllians, a primitive species with weapons and technology far beyond their natural development. Outnumbered, the Doctor, Sarah Jane and Roppy hide as the Kryllians steal the ship's cargo.
Once the Kryllians have left, the Doctor, Sarah Jane and Roppy follow them, only to fall through a trap door. The Kryllians take them prisoner. The Kryllians have already captured the Equianan crew from their escape pods. The Doctor escapes and finds that the Kryllians are working for the Vogans, who intend to make the prisoners slaves.
Hypnotising one of the Kryllians, the Doctor frees the Equinans, who easily overtake the Vogans to escape in their ship. Before the Equinans can complete their escape, however, the leader of the Kryllians discovers the hypnotised soldier and turns on the force field. It begins to pull the captured Vogan ship back to the moon's surface. Luckily, the Doctor knocks out the Kryllian controlling the force field and smashes the equipment, letting the Equinans escape and signal their fleet. As the Doctor and Sarah Jane leave the moon, they see the Equinan fleet approaching the Kryllian moon to take care of the problem once and for all.
The Doctor concludes that it is time for Sarah Jane and him to return to Earth for some peace and quiet.
- Sarah-Jane always carries smelling salts with her.
- The Doctor and Sarah-Jane wear space-suits due to the thin atmosphere.
- The Doctor and Sarah Jane are initially unable to understand either Roppy or the Kryllians. They depend on Roppy's language monitor and an Esperanto-like language, Trillic, to communicate. Modern readers might think this violates continuity surrounding the Doctor's linguistic abilities, but it simply predates it. The Masque of Mandragora, the first televised tale to tackle the question of translation, premiered over a year after The Wreckers was published.
- As of June 2021, there are no known connections between the Vogans and the species of the same name from TV: Revenge of the Cybermen other than the sharing of the same name.
- The TARDIS has been overhauled following the encounter with Shazar and the Daleks. (COMIC: Return of the Daleks)
- The Doctor recognises the Vogans, having faced them in his previous incarnation. (COMIC: The Vogan Slaves)