An origin story for the Cybermen of Mondas, written by Marc Platt
. The story expands on the backstory of the Cybermen as detailed in "The Tenth Planet"
and "Attack of the Cybermen"
This story was an inspiration of sorts for the Doctor Who
episodes "Rise of the Cybermen
" / "The Age of Steel
" (on which Marc Platt got a story credit): one of the story's most powerful scenes (a partially-converted Cyberman doesn't understand what's been done to her) is drawn from this audio. The character of Yvonne Hartman, appearing in "Army Of Ghosts"
, is additionally a Composite Character
of this story's Yvonne Hartley and Doctorman Allan.
Earth's long lost twin planet, Mondas, drifts through interstellar space, while the nearly extinct human population live in the last populated underground city. Resources are nearly gone, health is poor for just about everyone, and organ replacement — both organic and manufactured — is commonplace. Events are already spiraling towards a final end for Mondasian civilization, but the approaching Cherrybowl Nebula may rip Mondas apart unless they can activate the untested planetary propulsion system.
The Fifth Doctor and Nyssa land on Mondas. By the time the Doctor realises where and when they are, Nyssa has already befriended a sweet young woman named Yvonne Hartley and her family. The Doctor tells her that they're nothing they can do to save this planet, but Nyssa is still traumatised by the events of "Earthshock"
, and she decides to stay with the family during their final days. She also brings Yvonne's pet Cybermat into the TARDIS, which promptly starts chewing on wires, causing a fire. The Doctor has to really take a moment to step outside and regain his composure.
Yvonne is drafted into the surface crew and taken away from her dad and brother. Since the surface's atmosphere is impossible to stay alive in, she's given a prototype suit and (due to a power failure) only partially converted. Since organ failure is everywhere, people have started upgrading their entire bodies just to stay alive... and then lobotomising the sick to help cope with their constant pain and grief. This, combined with the prototype suits for surface exploration, resulted in the very first Cybermen, who promptly saw themselves as superior beings and started trying to convert the rest of the population. The Doctor knows
he shouldn't meddle, since You Can't Fight Fate
, but his Adric-related Survivor Guilt
causes him to investigate anyway, leading him to an unscrupulous organ dealer.
Both are soon captured by Doctorman Allan, the inventor of the Cyber-suits. And when she realises that the Doctor has a body far more advanced than that of a human, she uses him as the blueprint for all
Cybermen, which can now be converted with a far greater efficiency and with better chances of survival thanks to Allen's understanding of his Time Lord brain structure. Allen realises that she's dooming her own planet, but she did what she had to do for her country, and now sees it as her duty to at least dull the emotional pain of it all with institutionalised lobotomies.
The Doctor gets really very shouty
and decides to Screw Destiny
, mixing bottles of Allen's booze into the nutrient feed of the techno-organic Mondas Central Commitee (the first Cyber-Planner) and hoping for a Rubber-Band History
result. It doesn't work for long, of course, and as soon as he and Nyssa eventually leave, Mondas society starts to collapse in on itself.
- Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl LA Ble: The original Cyber-Men speak like this.
- Adult Fear: Your daughter gets drafted into the army. By the time you see her again, she's been lobotomised.
- All Issues Are Political Issues: It's well known that Terry Nation modeled the Daleks after the Nazis, not so well-known that Kit Pedler modeled the Cybermen after the Soviets. Spare Parts takes this allegory and runs with it, with a completely state-run world where a shadowy "committee" delegates allocation of resources with ruthless efficiency.
- All That Glitters
- Beneath the Mondas
- Big Brother Is Watching You
- Blatant Lies: The Doctor trying to convince Nyssa that Mondas is Earth.
- Bold Explorer
- Catch Phrase: The phrase "We. Will. Survive." is used repeatedly by the Cybermen in general, particularly the Central Commitee and their Dragon, "Zheng". It manages to sum up the whole species' character and drive pretty effectively.
- Creepy Monotone: The committee.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul
- Darkness Equals Death: No one goes out after dark..
- Downer Ending: See Foregone Conclusion. It appears as though the Doctor has won the day. The Cyberplanner is dead, Zheng is dead, and Doctorman Allan is working on ways to reverse the process. The Doctor and Nyssa leave Mondas, wondering how things might have changed. Only Zheng isn't dead...
Zheng: "Doctorman Allan, we will begin again."
- Emotions vs. Stoicism
- Fascists' Bed Time
- The Fifties: Invoked.
- Foregone Conclusion: Invoked, as the Doctor spends much of the story wrestling with the conflict between established history (ie. Cybermen) and his own decent nature that's imploring him to help the Mondasians.
- Ghost Planet: Mondas is turning into one.
- Grandfather Clause: This being an origin story, some aspects of the concept are explored and played in different ways, for example the name is explained by the fact that Mondas often affixes 'man' to the end of a job title, e.g. doctorman, sisterman, electriman.
- Hive Mind: The committee.
- Incurable Cough of Death
- The Man Behind the Curtain: The committee.
- Mechanical Horse: With shades of Hellish Horse. Brrr.
- Medical Horror: Yvonne's fate is deeply upsetting.
- Mind Probe: The Doctor.
- Not Quite Dead: Commander Zheng.
- OOC Is Serious Business: The Doctor does not cope well with the story's plot, and gets a whole, whole lot more shouty than usual. He also decides to Screw Destiny. It doesn't take.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
"Sorry, Doctor. I just froze your assets."
- Prequel: To "The Tenth Planet" and every other Cyberman story in the original series.
- Retraux: The Cybermen sound a bit like their original singsong outing, as opposed to the lower robotic voices of later on.
- Robo Speak: The Cyber-Planner.
- Screw Destiny: The Doctor decides to go against what he knows should happen to give the people of Mondas a chance at survival.
- Shout Out: The alcohol is one to Brave New World.
- A Spot Of Tea
- Strapped to an Operating Table: The Doctor.
- The Swarm: Of Cybermats.
- Take Me To Your Cyber-Leader
- Tampering with Food and Drink: The Doctor pours copious amounts of wine into the feeding system of the Cyber-Planner.
- Title Drop
- Weaksauce Weakness: Averted when the Doctor tries to use gold dust. The Cyberman just sort of stares at him.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The Doctor finds the Cyber-Men no longer human. The Mondians don't agree and still view the Cyber-Man as such.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?
- Wrong Genre Savvy: See Weaksauce Weakness.
- You Can't Fight Fate
- You Mean X Mas: It's never actually named in story, but a form of holiday is around the corner, complete with festive tree and decorating with lanterns.