Professor Gagan Rasmussen sends a video warning the viewer that they must not watch what follows. He comes on camera and warns that the viewer can never unsee what they will see if they watch. Rasmussen explains that he's aboard the Le Verrier Space Station in orbit above Neptune. Something growls in the distance, and Rasmussen says that he's put the recorded events into some kind of order so that the viewer can understand. He apologizes for the bits that are missing and admits that he doesn't fully understand what is going on, but the video shows what happened.
The team from Titan assembles: commander Jagganth Daikl-Nagata, conscript Osamu Aimi-Chopra, 2nd class conscript Haruka Deep-Ando, and grunt 474. Deep-Ando emerges from the Morpheus pod, and Chopra complains that they're now stealing sleep from them. Nagata tells him to focus on the assignment and they wait as the shuttle approaches Le Verrier.
Rasmussen says not to get too attached to the rescue party, and explains that the footage is from their viewpoints and the station video. The team is there to rescue him, and Rasmussen warns that if the viewer is going to watch, they should pay attention because their lives may depend on it.
The rescue team boards the station and discovers that the emergency lighting is on. 474 hears people talking, and the soldiers find the Doctor and Clara. The doctor flashes his psychic paper, identifying the two of them as stress assessors. He asks what the rescue team is doing there, and Nagata explains that the station fell silent 24 hours ago and they've come to find out why. She informs them that they're under her command and orders them to come with the team.
The group proceeds through the station and the Doctor tells Clara that they're in the 38th century, after the Great Catastrophe. As they proceed, Clara complains that it feels like they're being watched. 474 says that Chopra has nothing to worry about. When Chopra pushes him away, 474 interprets it as a physical thread, and grabs and pins him. Nagata orders him to release Chopra, and the grunt does so. She reminds Chopra that the grunts are "grown" to react to any attack. The Doctor is aware of the concept, and Clara finds it disgusting.
The team continues on and several humanoid figures emerge from the shadows above. The group retreats and Deep-Ando gets separated from the others. They run into a lab and try to barricade the door, and one creature's arm is caught in the door when they finally slam it shot. The arm dissolves into dust and the creatures retreat.
Elsewhere on the station, Deep-Ando tries to contact Nagata on his radio but gets no response.
In the lab, Nagata tries to contact Deep-Ando on her radio but gets no response. The Doctor analyzes the dust and confirms that it appears to be normal dust. Clara finds several large devices and Chopra explains that they're Morpheus pods. He goes back to trying to contact Deep-Ando, and Clara opens one of the pods and enters it. It closes, and Nagata assures the Doctor that it's fine. The pod opens a few seconds later and Clara is fine. The Doctor demands to know what Morpheus is. Before Nagata can explain, 474 notices that one other pod is occupied. Clara knocks on the lid and says that they're not going to hurt the occupant. Rasmussen emerges from the pod.
Rasmussen explains that he wanted to get out of the pod, but the Doctor demanded explanations.
Rasmussen plays a hologram of the Morpheus speaker. She explains that Morpheus concentrates the entire nocturnal experience into a 5-month burst. Users can go for a month without sleep and work to turn more profit. Clara thinks that it's insane and Chopra agrees. Rasmussen explains that he invented Morpheus and the pod changes the fundamental chemistry of the brain. Chopra objects but Rasmussen points out that time is money and Nagata agrees with him. The Doctor isn't impressed and sarcastically congratulates Rasmussen on conquering Nature… and created an abomination.
Rasmussen admits that the Doctor thought there was some connection between Morpheus and the creatures that attacked them.
As the team leaves the lab to look for Deep-Ando, the Doctor says that the dust is sleep dust: the dried mucus crust in the corner of humans' eyes after they wake up. Morpheus has evolved the dust into a carnivorous life form. Rasmussen doesn't believe it, but the Doctor warns that the creatures--"Sandmen"--have digested the crew.
Deep-Ando tries to find an exit on the station schematics, and realizes that the Sandmen are everywhere.
Nagata wonders about the team, since they've all used the pods except for Chopra. The Doctor figures the pods on the station are more advanced, so the effects elsewhere are slower. Rasmussen demands that Nagata rescue him, and figures that he survived because he hid in the one place that the Sandmen couldn't find him. The Doctor insists that they have to stay and eliminate the pods and the Sandmen, or the human race will be extinguished.
Deep-Ando comes to a sealed door. The station computer won't let him in unless he does the song. Some of the station crew reprogrammed her after the last Christmas party, and the computer insists that Deep-Ando must know the song because everyone knows it. It hums the first few bars of the Morpheus song, and Deep-Ando has no choice but to start singing "Mr. Sandman." The doors open just in time as the Sandmen advance, but another Sandman is waiting for him.
Rasmussen warns that Deep-Ando was the first member of the rescue team to die. They heard the scream but had their own problems.
In the lab, the group realizes that the gravity shields are failing. The Doctor asks Nagata for the schematics so that he can bypass the main systems and restore the shields. The commander finally gives him her helmet with the schematics, and a Sandman breaks in. It consumes Rasmussen, just as the Doctor gets the shields back up. He, Clara, and Nagata retreat into the freezer, and are forced to close the door behind them, while Chopra and 474 flee into the corridor.
Nagata and Clara both want to go out and rescue the others, but the Doctor points out that it's certain death. He explains that ancients knew that sleep was essential to every sentient being, but humans considered it an inconvenience. Nakata wonder what they do, just as they hear something moving in the freezer. They find bags of dead meat stored inside.
Chopra and 474 continue through the hallways, and Chopra wonders what they're going to do. 474 says that they should get to the ship and go home, and puts a hand on Chopra's shoulder. Chopra irritably tells the grunt that they can't let the Sandmen spread, and all 474 understands is that the Sandmen are bad and have to be destroyed. They head for their ship, hoping the others meet them there. If they're dead, then Chopra admits that he'll have no choice but to destroy the station to contain the infection.
The Doctor uses his sonic sunglasses to hack into the rescue team's helmet cams so he can review the footage. As he reviews the video, Nakata says that they don't have helmet cams. Ignoring her, the Doctor wonders why the Sandman directly consumed Rasmussen rather than spread parasitically. He figures that there's something going on that they're not getting.
An occupied pod moves through the hallways on anti-gravs.
Clara wonders what they do next, and the Doctor finally realizes that Nakata said they don't have helmet cams. As he takes that in, the Sandmen start pounding on the freezer door. The Doctor says that they should let them in.
Rasmussen admits that the Doctor's idea was a clever strategy. He admits that he's not dead.
The Doctor, Clara, and Nagata hide after opening the door. The Sandmen search the freezer but then look around as the station shakes.
Chopra and 474 come to a section of the station damaged during the grav shield failure. The fire has cut them off from their ship, and the Sandmen are moving in behind them. Chopra admits that he can't save them, and 474 says that he can. He knocks Chopra unconscious and then carries him through the flames.
The Doctor motions to Clara and Nagata to move out silently, working out that the Sandmen can't see. They run out and slam the door shut behind them.
Chopra wakes up and finds a mortally wounded 474 lying nearby. The grunt says that he will die soon as the Sandmen approach the flames, and tells Chopra to go. Chopra takes his hand for a moment and 474 motions him away. The grunt then charges toward the approaching Sandmen, screaming in fury.
In the engine room, the Doctor projects the images from the sonic sunglasses and asks Nagata what's wrong with it. Neither she nor Clara know, and the Doctor points out that there are no cameras on the station. He explains that each organic speck of dust has been watching them, and the Sandmen are blind because someone has hijacked their visual receptors. The projected image switches to Clara's viewpoint, and the Doctor says that after she entered the pod, the Morpheus process begun. There's nothing from Chopra's point of view because he refuses to use Morpheus. The Doctor assures Clara that they'll sort things out and destroy Morpheus forever.
Clara agrees and wonders why they still have power, and the Doctor realizes that the grav shields were deliberately powered down by someone other than the Sandmen. He finds two detached cables and realizes that something was kept near the engines where it was hot.
The pod continues moving through the station. The station computer warns that dangerous materials are in transit.
Nagata wonders who is watching them, and the Doctor says that he has an idea who it is.
Chopra has no choice but to enter the ship alone. He finds an open Morpheus pod inside the next chamber. When Chopra goes in to investigate, the doors close on their own and the Sandmen attack him.
The Doctor takes Clara and Nagata to the rescue ship, saying that's where he'll be. Rasmussen's warning video is playing, and the Doctor calls Rasmussen out. He figures that Rasmussen prepared the warning and his alibi because there would be questions when he got to Triton. Rasmussen comes out and insists that there's no point in fighting the Sandmen because they're the future. The Sandmen are a new and better life form, and they've made Rasmussen understand that. Humans will be their food, and Rasmussen needed to find a way to get the Sandmen off the station so that they could spread and consume humanity for their sustenance. He says that he made the Sandmen understand that they needed a way out, so they spared him and they waited for a rescue team to come.
Rasmussen opens the door to the next room and reveals the pod. He says that inside of it is Morpheus' first client, Patient Zero: a man who hasn't slept in five years. The Morpheus process evolved, developing new ways to infect and flourish. The Doctor refuses to allow it, and Rasmussen warns that no one can stop it. Nagata prepares to shoot him dead, and Rasmussen opens the pod. A Sandman emerges and Rasmussen runs out and seals the door behind him.
Whispering, the Doctor plays the recording from the Morpheus pod to distract the Sandman, and yells to Clara and Nagata to run after he opens the doors. They get out and close the door behind them, find Rasmussen activating the ship's engines. Rasmussen insists that humanity is done, and Nagata shoots him down. The Sandman starts beating through the door, and the Doctor realizes that everything that has happened is for effect. He tells the others that they have to get to Morpheus by alternative transport and destroy all the Morpheus machines.
The trio heads for the TARDIS in the engine room, but Sandmen cut them off before they can reach it. The Doctor uses Nagata's helmet to self-destruct the grav shields. The station begins to fall and Neptune's gravity starts pulling the Sandmen apart. Clara opens the TARDIS doors and they get inside as the Doctor insists that none of it makes any sense. A few seconds later, the TARDIS dematerializes.
Rasmussen explains that the video message was his plan as well as his alibi. There are no spores or infection: the Morpheus process remains the same. It's an electronic signal that affects the sleep centers of the human brain. The signal is contained in the video, and Rasmussen prepares to transmit it to the whole solar system. He admits that he tried to make it a scary show for compulsive viewing, and points out that he did tell the viewer at the beginning not to watch. The Sandmen, contained within Rasmussen, pull out one of his eyes to reveal dust, and admit that there is only them now. Once everyone watches the video they will all be together: dust to dust. Laughing, it dissolves into dust.
Written by Gadfly on Nov 15, 2015