The Doctor and Bill arrive on one of Earth’s first colonised planets, Gliese 581d. They are greeted only by two different types of robots: swarm robots (Vardies) and slow but sentient emojibots. An emojibot give the Doctor and Bill discs that communicate their true emotions. The Doctor theorizes that the planet is awaiting the colonists but soon realizes that the skeletons of a set-up crew have been crushed to feed the plants. Determined to blow up the city, he finds the main ship within it and its engine room, but Bill runs into a child who has awoken from a pod. The colonists were cryogenically frozen, with a few “shepherds” woken early to work.
An actual science fiction story about colonisation and the problem with autonomous robotics. It features a fantastic white set depicting a future cityscape. This is actually the City of Arts and Science in Valencia, Spain.