While the others are off gallivanting around New Mexico, Trey the game show host discovers the rain room, an open field where it’s raining, on the verge of doing so or has just finished. He meets a lady in a green dress who makes some cryptic comments about being concerned “he wouldn’t be lonely,” concluding that Trey must not tell him she was here. He readily obliges — in that it probably slips his mind immediately.
“That’s a very nice dress. Would you like to take it off?
– Trey Bingham, game show host, to the Green Lady, enigma
On returning to the ship, Airfor disappears into its depths with dismantling the Tzun saucers on her mind — her player, Jon, was out sick this week. As Lionel the cardsharp takes in the impossible scale of the TARDIS’ central cloister, Victor attempts to pilot the ship forward to Lt. Gorman’s time. He overshoots a bit. It’s only through Gorman’s swift application of what he surmises to be the brake that the ship doesn’t go hurtling off into the cosmos to come, instead coming to a rest on the Needle, a massive cylindrical object a light year in length.
Victor goes into a dramatic funk, dismayed by his inability to pilot the ship with any accuracy, bemoaning his profession, abilities and lack of general intelligence. Lionel introduces Victor to his horse, Trip Jacks, then grazing in the rain room. Rather than soothing Victor with the creature’s natural elegance and grace, Trip Jacks inspires the Time Lord to improve it with horns, poison sacs and more. His furious planning is interrupted by Adam calling the others to investigate a planet hopper craft he sees landing in a nearby valley.
Exploring the Needle’s misshapen, Dali-esque landscape, the group discovers an archaeological expedition landing. Initially, the leader of the expedition, Professor Summerfield, takes a defensive stance, fearing the travelers are impinging on her survey zone. Then they offer to be porters, and she’s much more amenable to that. The travelers also learn about the oddities of the Needle: its impervious exterior, that it radiates heat and maintains an atmosphere for oxygen breathers. Victor attempts to probe the Needle with his sonic screwdriver; the surface reacts peculiarly, moving away from the screwdriver’s area of effect. On hearing a grinding noise rising and falling beneath the surface, Victor becomes convinced the Needle is alive.
“I hate when primitive races discover science. It ruins the effect.”
– Victor laments Professor Summerfield’s lack of reaction to a sonic screwdriver