Monday, 22 January 2018

C is for... Cybermen (Telosian)

At some point prior to the destruction of Mondas in 1986, the Cybermen sent parties out into space to establish  colonies. These Cybermen were explorers and warriors, and so were redesigned for this purpose. They had to survive without recourse to a power supply on their home planet, and their bodies were sleeker and streamlined, with a more armoured appearance. They had a more compact chest unit and the head was now encased in a solid helmet, with the lamp-fitting now built in. Cybermen from different colony worlds evolved their design separately, leading to the diversity in looks encountered by the Doctor over the years. The planet which became the new home for the Cybermen after the fall of Mondas was Telos, and this is where their Controller based himself. Other colonies were established on Planet 14 and on Marinus.

In the year 2070, the Cybermen launched an attack on the Earth. They used a weather control base on the Moon as their bridgehead. This housed a gravity-influencing machine called the Gravitron, which moved air pressure zones around the Earth's surface to control the weather. The Cybermen landed a saucer-shaped spacecraft in a nearby crater and broke into the base, introducing a neurotropic virus into the sugar supply. Victims of the virus collapsed into a coma, with black lines visible on the skin following the nerves beneath. The affected men were then abducted from the sickbay and taken to the saucer to be mentally conditioned to obey Cyber control impulses. The Cybermen were unable to withstand the gravitational forces generated by the Gravitron, and needed these mental slaves to operate the device for them. The Doctor and his companions Ben, Polly and Jamie arrived on the Moon at this time. Despite the change in design, Polly recognised the Cyberman which came into the sickbay to kidnap one of the patients.

The Doctor was able to trace the virus but the Cybermen took over the base, using the enslaved personnel to wreak havoc on the planet with the Gravitron. The Doctor deduced their reason for employing the men. In the sickbay, Polly worked out that the Cybermen had plastic components in their chest units, and these would be susceptible to a solvent such as she used to remove her nail varnish. A cocktail of chemicals was poured into some fire extinguishers, and these were used to destroy the Cybermen in the base. The Cybermen then launched an all-out attack across the lunar surface, employing a huge laser cannon to breach the Moonbase dome. The Doctor used the Gravitron to deflect further attacks, and the machine was then brought to bear on the Cybermen and their spacecraft - sending them hurtling into space. In this instance, the Cybermen had not intended to invade the planet to live there. They merely wanted to mine it for its mineral wealth in order to survive.

Some 500 years later, the TARDIS materialised on the planet Telos, and the Doctor encountered an archaeological expedition from Earth which had come to excavate the tombs of the Cybermen, as the creatures had vanished from the galaxy. Financing the party was Eric Klieg and his partner Kaftan. Klieg was a member of the Brotherhood of Logicians, and he secretly wanted to revive the Cybermen in order to enter into a pact with them - forcing the Earth to submit to their philosophy. The Cybermen were not dead. They had committed themselves to frozen hibernation as their resources were spent. Their tombs were laid with traps which the party had to negotiate - the Cybermen wanting suitable persons to convert. The Doctor met their Controller, and encountered Cybermats, which were small metallic lifeforms which the Cybermen employed as weapons. These Cybermen had to recharge themselves with electrical power, using a large sarcophagus-shaped recharge unit. The Cybermen were forced back into their tombs, and the Doctor had the complex re-sealed. The Controller appeared to have been killed as the main doors were re-electrified, though one of the Cybermats was still active. These Cybermen were of a similar design to the ones which had attacked the Moonbase five centuries earlier, with only a different boot design and a different arrangement of cabling around their bodies.

At some point in the mid 21st Century, the Cybermen attempted another assault on the Earth, this time using a space station - the Wheel - as their bridgehead. A supply rocket named the Silver Carrier was captured by the Cybermen and its servo-robot was programmed to pilot it into close proximity to the Wheel, with a pair of Cybermen hidden on board. Cybermats were then sent across to the station to infiltrate it and destroy its supply of bernalium fuel rods. These were vital for the station's defences, as they powered its X-ray laser weapon. A shower of meteoroids were then deflected onto a collision course with the Wheel. The station crew were forced to send a couple of crew members across to the rocket to fetch its bernalium stocks. These men were placed under the mental control of the Cybermen, and were used to smuggle them onto the Wheel. The Cybermen planned to poison the station's air supply with ozone, killing the crew and then using the station to provide a homing signal for their invasion ship, but they had not reckoned on the presence of the Doctor. These Cybermen could be killed by firing quick-setting plastic into their chest units, or by means of a powerful electrical charge. Station medic Gemma Corwin sacrificed herself to alert the Doctor to the ozone poisoning plan, and he was able to have the air supply switched over to a source which the Cybermen could not access. With their scouts destroyed, the Cybermen attempted to space walk to the Wheel, but the crew were able to repel them into space, and the Doctor had the time-vector generator from the TARDIS linked to the X-ray laser to boost its power - destroying the approaching Cybership.
These Cybermen resembled the ones previously encountered by the Doctor and Jamie, but they had much more streamlined bodies, and the eyes and mouth pieces on their helmets now had a teardrop-like duct.

Some years before Mondas returned to the solar system, another group of Cybermen launched an invasion of the Earth after forming an alliance with the industrialist Tobias Vaughn. He allowed them to give him a cybernetic body, then permitted his factory compound in the English countryside to be used to stockpile a massive army of dormant Cybermen. These were then transferred to the sewer system beneath Vaughn's London HQ where they were reanimated to await the beginning of the invasion. The Cybermen established a base on the dark side of the Moon. Vaughn wanted to take control of the operation, and developed a machine called the Cerebretron Mentor which generated emotional impulses. It had been invented by Professor Watkins as a teaching machine, and Vaughn had the scientist abducted to work for him. The newly formed UNIT - United Nations Intelligence Taskforce - were investigating Vaughn and his company, International Electromatics. The Doctor became involved when he tried to visit his old friend Prof Edward Travers - only to find he had left the country and was renting his home to Watkins. Watkins' niece Isobel alerted the Doctor to his disappearance, and he and Jamie were reunited with Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart on leaving Vaughn's HQ building - having first met him as a Colonel with the army during the second Yeti invasion attempt.

These Cybermen, who knew of the Doctor from Plant 14, were of a similar design to the ones who had attempted to take over the Wheel, except that they now had a different helmet design, with earmuff like panels on the side. The invasion plan depended on special micro-monolithic circuits which Vaughn's company had placed in all their electronic devices. A signal would be beamed from a Cybership in space which would activate these circuits, which would in turn cause the world's population to fall into a comatose state, removing any resistance. The Doctor knew how to combat this effect after his experience of the creatures on the Wheel, and so was able to protect the Brigadier's men and his companions. The army were able to shoot down the invading Cyberships with missiles. The Cybermen decided instead to wipe out all life on the planet by dropping a massive bomb. Vaughn was forced to co-operate with the Doctor to destroy their homing beacon, and the bomb and the spaceship which delivered it were blown up.

One of the Planet 14 Cybermen could be seen as an exhibit in the Miniscope belonging to the Lurman showman Vorg, and it was this version which the Doctor showed to the Time Lords at his trial, to illustrate the evils in the universe which he had battled against.
A great war was fought between Earth forces and the Cybermen around the 27th Century. The Cybermen were defeated when the humans discovered that they were vulnerable to gold. This non-corrosive metal plated their breathing systems and suffocated them. A weapon known as the glitter-gun was developed, using gold obtained from the planet Voga, which had rich deposits of the metal. The last of the Cybermen attacked and blew up Voga before disappearing from the galaxy to regroup. Voga was not entirely destroyed however. The core of the planet survived, containing the deep shelters which harboured the Vogan peoples. Voga drifted into the solar system, becoming a satellite of Jupiter.

A small party of Cybermen led by a Cyber Leader were alerted to its survival, and decided to complete its destruction. They employed a human agent - an exographer named Kellman who was stationed on a navigation beacon in orbit around Voga - to spread a virus using a Cybermat. Three crewmen were to be left alive, as they would be used to carry powerful bombs to the heart of Voga. Kellman was a double agent, however, in the pay of the Vogan militia leader Vorus to lure the Cybermen onto the beacon - to be destroyed by a missile which Vorus had built. The Cybermen took over the beacon, and the Doctor was forced to travel down to the planet's interior with crewmen Stevenson and Lester to plant the bombs. The Cybermen could not do this themselves due to the heavy concentration of gold. This distorted the Cybermen's tracking systems, allowing the Doctor and Lester to double back and use the bombs to destroy their Cyberman guards. With the bomb ploy ruined, the Cyber Leader decided instead to load the beacon with more of the weapons and send it on a collision course with Voga. The Doctor was able to put the beacon back into its orbit, and the Vogan missile was redirected to destroy the departing Cybership.
These Cybermen had been of similar appearance to the Planet 14 troops, but with corrugated ridges to the helmet handlebars and to the knee and elbow joints, and with thicker hydraulic cabling to the limbs. The Cyber Leader was distinguished by black markings to the helmet, and they had a new type of Cybermat, with an elongated serpentine body.

When the Doctor next encountered the Cybermen it was a point just before the Cyberwar. In 2526, the Earth forces had organised a conference to forge an alliance against them, and the Cybermen decided to prevent this. A powerful bomb was placed close to the conference site, hidden deep in a cave system and guarded by a pair of android sentinels. These androids destroyed a paleontological expedition, attracting the attention of Earth security forces. The TARDIS materialised in the same cave system close to where the bomb was located. The Doctor helped the security forces deal with the androids, then he set about disarming the device. The Cybermen were based on a space freighter which was approaching the planet, its hold containing thousands of dormant Cybermen who would be reactivated and sent down to attack the planet once the bomb had been detonated. The Cyber Leader attempted to override the Doctor's tamperings, but failed, and the bomb was defused. Unaware of who was behind the bomb attack, the Doctor took the TARDIS to the freighter. The Cybermen knew he was coming, having recognised the TARDIS, and they were able to access information about their previous encounters with him.

Now that the bomb had been disabled, the Cyber Leader decided to crash the freighter into the planet instead. Its navigational systems were hijacked, and the Leader forced the Doctor to take him in the TARDIS to view the collision. The Doctor's young companion Adric was left aboard the spaceship and he attempted to override the Cyberman control systems. This caused the ship to travel back in time, stabilising some 65 million years in the past. The Doctor informed the Cyber Leader that instead of destroying the humans, he had helped give rise to them, as it was this event which would wipe out the dinosaurs. Adric died in the crash, and the Doctor used his gold-rimmed star badge to kill the Cyber Leader.
These Cybermen were of a new design, with a more compact chest unit. Traces of their organic origins could be seen behind a transparent jaw piece. Though never made explicit, these Cybermen could also travel through time, as they were able to view data about the Doctor's encounter with them on Voga, though this was many years in their future.

A number of these same Cybermen were encountered by the Doctor on his home planet of Gallifrey. Cybermen had always been banned from the war games staged by the Time Lords of the age of Rassilon, but President Borusa used a time scoop to bring them to the Death Zone. The Master allied himself with one group - leading them into a lethal trap in Rassilon's tomb. Another party pursued the Third Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith and stumbled into the path of a Raston Warrior Robot, which wiped them out. A third group attempted to destroy the TARDIS using a massive bomb.

The Cyber Controller on Telos later devised an audacious scheme to prevent the destruction of Mondas and change history, using a captured time ship. In 1985, the Cybermen set up a base in London's sewers as they had once before. Their initial plan was to divert the course of Halley's Comet to impact the planet, so that the Earth would be defenceless when Mondas arrived the following year. They captured the mercenary Lytton as well as the Doctor, who had come to Earth after tracking Lytton's mayday signals. This gave the Cybermen access to the TARDIS as well. The Controller planned to destroy Telos' surface using the mineral vastial, which became highly volatile at temperatures above freezing. The Doctor and companion Peri met the planet's indigenous life-form - the Cryons - who were fighting a guerrilla campaign against the Cybermen, sabotaging their tombs.
The Cryons had secretly employed Lytton to steal the time ship with the help of two of its crew, who had been turned into partly converted slave workers. The Doctor destroyed the Controller and a stockpile of vastial was rigged with his sonic lance to explode - blowing up Cyber Control as well as the time ship.

These Cybermen looked like the ones seen during the attack on Earth in 2526 and on Gallifrey, but when one of them had its face plate removed there was no sign of organic material within. The Doctor took off the plate in order to trigger an alarm, to lure other Cybermen into a trap.
The Cybermen then decided to seize control over the Nemesis statue - formed of a living metal which the Doctor had removed from Gallifrey. In 1638 the sorceress Lady Peinforte had moulded this into a statue of herself in the pose of Nemesis, goddess of retribution. The Doctor had sent it into an orbit around the Earth, but it was due to return after 350 years. The Cybermen arrived just after it had landed - first recruiting a pair of humans whom they placed under their mental control. Lady Peinforte travelled forward in time to meet the statue, and it was also sought by a group of mercenaries led by a Nazi war criminal named De Flores, who dreamt of establishing a Fourth Reich.

The Cybermen had a vast fleet in a hidden orbit above the Earth, intending to make the planet the new Mondas once they had obtained the statue. Most of the Cybermen were destroyed by gold - either the gold-tipped arrows of Lady Peinforte and her manservant Richard, or gold coins fired by the Doctor's companion Ace using a catapult. The Cyber Leader was given the statue by the Doctor. He ordered it to rendezvous with the fleet, but the Doctor had earlier programmed it to destroy the armada. Richard then despatched the Cyber Leader with the last of his mistress' arrows.
These Cybermen had a less complex body design but retained the same helmets as the ones recently encountered by the Doctor, although these were now chrome-plated.

When the Doctor and Rose visited the museum belonging to billionaire Henry Van Statten, built deep beneath the Utah desert, they found a Cyberman head among the exhibits. The information plaque claimed that it had been found in the sewers of London, but it was of a different design to the helmets of the Planet 14 Cybermen who had allied themselves with Tobias Vaughn, and did not match the ones who had set up their base in the sewers at the time of the plan to change history and save Mondas. It actually matched the ones belonging to the group which had launched the attack on the remnants of Voga, so how it came to be found in London prior to 2011 is a mystery.

At some point prior to the 52nd Century, the Cybermen encountered their cousins from the parallel universe where a whole new race of Cybermen had been created by John Lumic. The two groups merged, so that the Cybermen of this era looked just like the Cybus versions. The Doctor and Rory Williams infiltrated the 12th Cyber Legion in order to discover the whereabouts of Rory's kidnapped wife, Amy Pond. The Doctor blew up their fleet to force them to pass on what information they knew, as they were monitoring this region of space.

The Doctor later went to visit his old friend Craig Owens at his home in the Essex town of Colchester. Here he noted strange power losses, and there were reports of missing people centred around one of the big department stores. A silver rat had been seen in the shop, so the Doctor took on a job there to investigate. One of the lifts proved to contain a teleport leading to a damaged Cybership. The Doctor believed this to be in orbit above the town, but it turned out that it was actually buried deep beneath the store. The Cyberman occupants were badly damaged and crudely repaired, and were using a Cybermat to harness electrical energy for their systems. They were kidnapping people for conversion. They claimed that they could not convert the Doctor as, not being human, he was incompatible. They wanted to use Craig as their new Controller, but his love for his baby son overrode the conversion process and this strong emotion fed back to destroy the Cybermen and their ship.

When the Doctor and Clara took her young charges Artie and Angie to visit the theme-park planet Hedgewick's World, they found it dilapidated and abandoned. A war between the humans and the Cybermen had been fought near here, won only when the humans had blown up an entire solar system. Mr Webley's waxworks contained a number of empty Cyberman shells, one of which had been adapted to play chess, with the diminutive Porridge hidden within. Before the planet had closed for business, there had been a spate of disappearances. It transpired that the Cybermen survivors of the war had set up a repair and conversion factory on the planet, and a new breed of Cybermen had been created.

These new Cybermen were of an advanced design, with much sleeker armoured bodies. They could travel at great speed, and individual components such as the head or hands could be removed to act independently. They also had the ability to upgrade whenever they encountered a setback. The Cybermen planned to use Artie and Angie as their new Cyber Planner, but settled on the Doctor instead - as they could now convert Time Lords. These Cybermen were linked to a shared command and data network called the Cyberiad. A huge army was activated, and only the destruction of the entire planet could stop them. However, a Cybermite survived. These tiny insect-like creatures were an evolved form of Cybermat, and were capable of converting people from within. The Cybermen no longer had to transplant brains or graft on cybernetic limbs and organs.

At some point the Doctor obtained the head of one of these new Cybermen. He nicknamed it "Handles" and used it as a form of personal computer. He had it with him on the TARDIS when he went to investigate a mysterious signal emanating from an obscure planet, which was being heard throughout the cosmos. This attracted many alien races, including the Cybermen. Handles failed to identify their new Cyberships. The planet turned out to be Trenzalore, and the Doctor found himself trapped there for centuries - defending its people from the assembled aliens. Handles had translated the signal and identified it as coming from the Time Lords. Cut off from Clara, Handles became a friend to the Doctor as much as a tool. It eventually wore out and broke down.

The Church of the Papal Mainframe had stopped any advanced technology from being beamed down to the planet, so the Cybermen countered this by sending down a scout made of wood, armed with a flame thrower instead of an energy weapon. The Doctor tricked it into reversing its weapon to shoot and destroy itself. Later, once the technology embargo had been overcome, the Cybermen attempted to attack in force, but the Doctor had joined forces with the Silents to repel all invaders.

Clara got herself a job teaching at Coal Hill School, and fell in love with fellow teacher Danny Pink. When he was killed in a road accident. Clara forced the Doctor to help find a way to get him back. Linking herself to the ship's telepathic circuits brought the TARDIS to the 3W Foundation, which appeared to be a form of advanced funeral complex. Many hundreds of skeletal bodies could be seen seated in water-filled tanks. One of the employees demonstrated that this "dark water" made man-made materials invisible. In charge of the place was Missy - the female incarnation of the Master. She had a Matrix Data Slice, taken from Gallifrey, and explained that everyone who had died on the planet had their consciousness stored into it at the point of death. These would then be downloaded into Cyberman bodies. Within each of the water-filled tanks was a Cyberman, its armour hidden by the dark water.

It transpired that the 3W Foundation was concealed within St Paul's Cathedral in London. The Cybermen emerged onto the streets of the city but were confronted by UNIT troops under the command of Kate Lethbridge-Stewart. To show that her forces could defeat the Cybermen, she had a broken helmet retrieved from their failed invasion of 40 years before - the Planet 14 design. These Cybermen had a new feature, however - the power of flight. They took off and a number of them self -destructed over major world capital cities, spreading Cyber-conversion nanotechnology which caused the planet's dead to be reanimated as Cybermen, their consciousnesses having been downloaded from the Data Slice. Airborne Cybermen attacked and brought down the plane carrying the Doctor and Kate. Clara was saved by a Cyberman, who proved to be Danny. He was fighting against full conversion, and asked her to switch on his emotional inhibitor. This was because he was going to take command of the army. Missy had intended to give the Cybermen to the Doctor as a present - an army to use in his crusade against evil. Danny had the army destroy itself instead, wiping out the clouds full of conversion technology before more Cybermen could be created.

Only one Cyberman was left, and it had saved Kate from plunging to her death when the aircraft had been destroyed. The Doctor realised that this had been her father, the Brigadier. Other deceased friends of the Doctor would also have been converted - including Amy and Rory.
When the Mondasian crew of a colony ship transformed themselves into Cybermen, they evolved over time to adopt the same designs as the Telosian Cybermen, suggesting that, even in isolation, Cybermen follow a logical technological progression.

Appearances: The Moonbase (1967), Tomb of the Cybermen (1967), The Wheel In Space (1968), The Invasion (1968), Revenge of the Cybermen (1975), Earthshock (1982), The Five Doctors (1983), Attack of the Cybermen (1985), Silver Nemesis (1988), A Good Man Goes to War (2011), Closing Time (2011), Nightmare in Silver (2013), Dark Water / Death In Heaven (2014).
Cameo appearances: The War Games (1969), Carnival of Monsters (1973), Dalek (2005).

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