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Doctor Who Continuety - The Rise And Fall of The Cybermen
There have been many attempts over the years by fan writers to write a complete chronology and history of Doctor Who’s insidious silver faction within the fictional Doctor Who multiverse. While the efforts of David Banks (Cyberman), Lance Parking (A History: An Unauthorised History of the Doctor Who Universe) and Tat Wood & Lawrence Miles (About Time 2: The Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who) are all to be commended, to date none of these chronologies have tried to reconcile what we know about the classic Mondas/Telos Cybermen with the new series Cybus faction.
What follows is my own somewhat detailed interpretation of cyber history where I’ll be exploring the possibility that the old and new series cyborg races might be one and the same … or at the very least connected in some way. I tried to stick to the facts as best I could but also used a little creative licence, writing it as if I was a historian from some unspecified time in the distant future. We’ll begin with the birth of the Cybermen not on Earth’s long lost twin planet, Mondas, as we’ve always assumed but on parallel Earth in the laboratories of the insane but brilliant scientist: John Lumic.
Born in the People’s Republic of Great Britain and confined to a wheelchair by an incurable digestive disease the genius and billionaire founder of Cybus Industries, John Lumic, made it his life’s work to raise the standard of living for all mankind through new advances in cybernetics and other emerging technologies. Unfortunately for the people of alternate Earth, however, it wasn’t long before Lumic’s utopian dream transformed into a nightmare.
For thousands of years religious and spiritual leaders had observed that the human race was seemingly trapped in a cycle of suffering caused by disease and death. And obsessed with finally breaking this cycle Lumic sought a truly revolutionary solution, not through Buddhism or spirituality but cold and calculating science. Lumic decided that the only way to end such human suffering once and for all was by becoming more than human, or, in the words of Cybus Industries, “human 2.0 … the ultimate upgrade.”
Inspired by alien hardware and biology Cybus Industries had obtained via its acquisition of International Electromatics in the 1980s, Lumic developed a means of removing the humanoid brain and housing it in an invulnerable “skin of metal.” Free of all emotions except arguably the most primitive of all – the will to survive no matter what – Lumic called this 21st century merger of man and machine, biology and science: Cybermen. Any sense of achievement – or perhaps even guilt – Lumic might have felt, however, was soon “deleted” when the silver giants took it upon themselves to “upgrade” Lumic from terminally ill genius to Cyber Controller.
If not for the interference of a mysterious figure known only as “the Doctor” these cyborg conquerors would have quickly converted both their homeworld and our Earth just as they converted their creator. Instead, though, they were imprisoned within “the void,” a nowhere place between realities … or so it was believed.
Using time-space travel technology the steel giants had captured from a rival race of cyborgs, the Daleks, the Cybermen escaped the void and began a desperate campaign to avoid extinction. One group was transported to Victorian London but it would have been logical to send other missions to other periods and planets of importance.
Although physically identical to Earthmen the human inhabitants of Mondas had built a scientifically advanced civilization way in advance of their cave dwelling counterparts on Earth. Despite this technological gap, though, it was the Mondasians who found themselves in a life and death struggle to survive as their planet drifted further and further away from the Sun.
Whatever caused the planet to begin its slow journey to “the edge of space” is one of the great mysteries of universe, however, what is known is that in a desperate bid to survive the calamity the Mondasians began to experiment with spare part surgery. The Mondasian humans began to slowly replace their limbs and vital organs with steel and plastic replicants until they could almost totally be replaced. They then began to program out the last vestige of their previous existence – emotions – and began the long voyage back to the inner solar system.
What exactly happened after that is unknown but when Mondas finally returned to its old orbit in December, 1986, the entire population had been converted into Cybermen. Without access to the Time Lord records on Gallifrey or the records on Skaro it is impossible to know, however, given the technology stolen from the Daleks it isn’t unreasonable to suggest that the Cybus faction might have played some kind of role in the creation of the Mondasian Cybermen, even if they do appear to be somewhat more primitive than the Cybus faction.
Whatever the truth, though, Mondas and its Cyber inhabitants were all destroyed after the planet attempted to drain too much of the Earth’s energy too quickly, the Cyber planet exploding in a mini supernova. That should have been the end of the Cybermen … but unknowingly to the people of Earth elsewhere in the universe the Mondasian faction had established a number of off-world colonies.
The first of these new Cyber colony worlds was Planet 14, in reality a small proto planet located at the extreme edges of the solar system. Aligning themselves with Tobias Vaughn – head of this Earth’s International Electromatics – this faction spearheaded an invasion attempt of Earth in 1979 but was fended off by the newly established Unit Nations Intelligence Taskforce.
With Mondas and the Planet 14 fleet destroyed, a few surviving Cybermen began to search for a new Cyber homeworld. One half stayed in the Solar System launching various attacks on Earth and its ever increasing space presence. These gorilla style raids included an attack on space station W3 in 2063 and the Weather Control Bureau’s Moonbase in 2070. Although in hindsight these 21st century Cyber incursions must have played a significant part in the creation of Earth’s first true space army: the Space Corps, at the time Earth’s leaders saw space as a major opportunity to solve the planet’s deepening energy and population problems and they didn’t want rumours of hostile alien cyborgs to feed the flames of the “Back to Earth” movement that had so dominated the political arena earlier in the century. Consequently these Cyber skirmishes remained a matter of Earth security well into the 25th century.
By the mid 22nd century mankind had fought off several other alien incursions, including a decade long Dalek occupation of Earth and her colony worlds. Lettered with extraterrestrial technology from 200 years worth of alien invasion attempts Earth becomes known as the "graveyard of empires.” And using this abandoned technology mankind began to construct its own vast space empire.
In the year 2486 - 500 years after the destruction of Mondas - an expedition sponsored by the Brotherhood of Logicians left Earth for Telos. Five centuries earlier the Cybermen who had left the solar system had established a permanent presence on the planet. Seemingly wiping out the native inhabitants - the Cryons - for their vast underground refrigerated cities, these Cybermen attempted to overcome their deepening energy crisis by going into cryogenic suspended animation. Solving a number of complex logic puzzles, exactly as the Telosian Cybermen had intended, the expedition from Earth awoke the hibernating steel giants. And although seemingly quickly defeated and entombed again, this branch of Cybermen would soon return to wage the Great Orion Cyber-Wars on an expanding Earth Empire.
By 2526, for the first time since the 20th century the Cybermen were once again establishing themselves as a major space power. The situation was so great that in that year Earth held a special peace conference with several colonial and alien governments in an effort to build an anti-Cyber alliance. The Cyber fleet conquered and converted world after world, building a vast Cyber Empire with Telos at its centre. Ultimately, however, mankind discovered the Cyber weakness to gold: the rare metal being non-corrodible, plating their breathing apparatus and suffocating them. With this knowledge Earth brought Voga, the Planet of Gold, into the alliance and with the development and mass production of the Glitter Gun quickly once again reduced the Cybermen to planetless nomads.
Despite this setback, the Cybermen once again attempted to use time travel to cheat extinction. One squadron was sent to put a stop to the 2526 peace treaty that united mankind and several alien powers against the Cyber menace. In a far more bold and dangerous move a second squadron was sent back to 1985 Earth in an attempt to stop the destruction of Mondas the following year. Both attempts failed but a few survivors from the 1980s mission survived. They were all eliminated, though, in a last ditch effort to alter the time line by attempting to secure an ancient Time Lord device known as Nemesis.
Finally in the late 29th century hoping to exploit the weakness of the declining Earth Empire the last surviving Cybermen in the Galaxy attempted to destroy Voga and launch a new Cyber War Earth would be unable to win without the resources of the Planet of Gold. The last Cyber warship was destroyed and with it the dark dreams of Cyberman creator John Lumic forever.