The War Lords, having experimented on individuals of warlike races to determine their suitability as soldiers, decide to use humans for their army. They genetically alter the non-human survivors of their tests into killing machines.
The Time Lords, unable to help these survivors, return them to their own planets.
Ossu-male is an Ulk-Ra of the Aelcluk clan who has been altered by the War Lords. His tribe, believing him dead, mourns him prior to their setting out on the dangerous trek to their birthing grounds. The Time Lords return him to the planet, and he goes in search of his tribe. On the way, he kills Coloth, a young male from another tribe.
He eats Issu-mul berries, to become a thinker, and becomes Ossu-hir, on hir way to becoming Ossu-female. Hir finally overtakes hir tribe as they have entered the waters of the breeding grounds. The waters are poisonous to hir, as Ossu is not yet female, and hir dies.
The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe, on the run from the Time Lords, materialise on the planet. They retrieve Ossu-hir's body from the sea. As Ossu breathes hir last, the TARDIS' cloister bell rings and they leave the planet.
- Tribune Gothaparduskerialldrapolatkh
- Ossu-male / Ossu-hir
- Second Doctor
- Jamie McCrimmon
- Zoe Heriot
- The Doctor hopes to hide his TARDIS in a Naked Singularity, Grey Immensity, Phantom Star, or Dwindler.
- This story takes place during the television story The War Games.
- This story's prologue is written to invoke and reference the fictional sections of The Making of Doctor Who recording the Second Doctor's trial.
- This story implies Bernard Horsfall's character in The War Games is Goth. This is the only story to assert Goth's full name.
- Simon Bucher-Jones's later Short Trips story The Thousand Years of Christmas featured the Second Doctor within the same gap in the events of The War Games established in this story.
- The War Lord memo mentions that the War Chief has provided them SIDRATs. (TV: The War Games)
- The War Lords kidnap specimens from Galactic Sector 973, (TV: The War Games) which is a time-vector. (TV: The Wheel in Space, et al.)
- The War Lords identify humanity as the second intelligent species to evolve on Earth. (TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians, et al.)
- The High Council War Crimes Commission occurs in 309,906. (TV: The Deadly Assassin)
- Time Technicians materialize on the Ulk-Ra planet in a tree stump-shaped TARDIS. (PROSE: The Five Doctors, The Ancestor Cell, et al.)
- The Second Doctor, Jamie McCrimmon, and Zoe Heriot are running from the Time Lords after escaping the War Lord homeworld. (TV: The War Games, PROSE: The Thousand Years of Christmas)
- The Doctor gets his bearings from Galactic Zero Centre. (PROSE: Coldheart)
- The Doctor is later reminded of Ossu's predicament when Zoe and Jamie have their memories wiped. (TV: The War Games)