The Touchdown on Deneb 7

Goofs: The robot that provides a news commentary apparently refers to Enforce-Rob as Pol-Rob at one point.

Continuity: Deneb 7 was destroyed four hundred million years before the events described here. Six robots, including the five members of the Delegation of Five and Pennant Bearer arrived in orbit around their planet in their moon-shaped spaceship, and sent Pennant Bearer as a diplomat to Deneb 7 to negotiate for colonization rights. The planet was destroyed by a Z-bomb carried by Pennant Bearer as a "diplomatic innovation" to aid the robot in its talks if the planet was populated. Only a magnetic storm and a "moon" (actually the Delegation of Five's space craft) remain to mark the location of the planet.

The Delegation of five consists of three humanoid robots of varying size, one small squat bipedal robot, and one floating spherical robot with multiple tentacles. They include Accounts-Rob (one of the humanoid robots), which reads everything in triplicate; enforcement robot Enforce-Rob (another of the humanoids); Pol-Rob; and a robot that provides a news commentary on events as they unfold (the floating sphere). They have remained inactive in their base on the moon of Deneb 7 for four hundred million years whilst they wait for Pennant Bearer to return. They refer to the Proth Directive. Once they realize that Deneb 7 has been destroyed, they decide to return to inactivity in their ship for another four thousand million years until the dust cloud that was Deneb 7 coalesces into a new planet suitable for colonization.

There are space barnacles on the "moon", which vaguely resemble small tortoises with tentacles.

The Doctor disappears into the interior of the TARDIS for most of this story, whilst K9 disobeys his instructions and goes outside. The magnetic storm interferes with K9's function, briefly causing him to think and speak gibberish. He also borrows the Doctor's scarf, which causes the Delegation of Five to mistake him for Pennant Bearer. K9 briefly sings "The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music" whilst affected by the magnetic storm.

Location: The Delegation of Five's moon-like spaceship, in orbit around the remains of Deneb 7, date unknown [however, the robots appear to come from Earth (the Z-bomb, reading in triplicate), in which case this story must be set at some point after circa four hundred million years AD].

The Bottom Line: The Touchdown on Deneb 7 is the second of two back-up strips starring K9, and because it is set during his tenure in the TARDIS this story, like K9's Finest Hour, features the Fourth Doctor, who sleeps throughout most of it. This is also Paul Neary's only solo comic strip script, and it is wonderfully whimsical, poking fun at bureaucracy via the five bumbling robots. David Lloyd, a master of sinister comic strip characters, here instead tailors his approach to the light-hearted nature of the script and manages to make the robots rather endearing.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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