Tales from /lost+found 108: Genesis of the Cybs

I wonder what else was going on in July of 2002…

7×04 July 26, 2002
GENESIS OF THE CYBS (Serial 97)

Setting: Mondas, 44 BC
Regular Cast: Rowan Atkinson (The Doctor), Scarlett Johansson (Alice)
Guest Starring: Alexander Siddig (Hovard Regnos), Peter Cullen (voice of Cyber-Prototype 001)

Plot: To demonstrate the TARDIS’s ability to travel in time, the Doctor sets out to show her the rise of the Roman Empire. But he has neglected to recalibrate the navigation systems after their recent trip to the Outer Wastes. They think they’ve landed in the 1960s, but the Doctor is troubled because the co-ordinate matrix claims they have landed in the right year but on the wrong side of the sun. Stranger, the weather is wintry despite it being July. Alice sees a newspaper headline claiming that the Earth is drifting away from the sun due to a “calamity” when an experimental space drive in a rival country altered the planet’s gravity, and will be too cold to support life within a decade. The last piece falls into place when the Doctor sees the half-completed Monument Rock in the distance. He adjusts the TARDIS translator, and shows that Alice’s newspaper now identifies the planet as Mondas. Alice wants to stay and try to change Mondas’s fate, but the Doctor wants to leave immediately: even after all this time, he has no alternative for the Mondasians. But the authorities discover and impound the TARDIS, taking it to genius industrialist Hovard Regnos, who is leading efforts to save the planet. Before the calamity, Regnos had been the lead developer of Mondas’s space program. To avoid being forced to reveal the secrets of the TARDIS, the Doctor offers to help Regnos stabilize the planet’s orbit. He discovers that Regnos played a hand in the calamity: he secretly and illegally sold the gravity-drive technology to the rival country after his own government decided it was too dangerous. Moreover, Regnos is not really trying to reverse the calamity. His advanced instruments have detected Earth, and, assuming it to be uninhabited, he wants to relocate a group of Mondasians there instead. The massive device he is constructing, purportedly to reverse the calamity, is in fact secretly a mostly-complete colony ship large enough to carry thousands of Mondasians. But he still has not solved the engine imbalance that triggered the calamity, and worse, the Doctor calculates that no human body could survive the g-force of a gravity-drive powered space ship. Regnos had already determined that and developed an armored exoskeleton and cybernetic replacement organs. While the procedure is not fully reversible, the colonists will be able to produce normal offspring on their new planet. After a prototype destroys itself in horror at its condition, Regnos alters his design to include modifications to the brain. The Doctor manages to tip off Regnos’s government liaison, forcing him to accelerate his plans. He had hoped to hand-pick colonists to build a new civilization on Earth, but with time running out, he orders his prototype Cyber-men to the streets to round up anyone they can find for immediate conversion, and Alice is among those captured. Regnos has himself converted, and the alterations to his brain cause him to lose interest in the colony producing normal offspring. He realizes that as cyborgs, the Mondasians could simply remain on their planet, immune to the worsening conditions: he could “save” his entire race rather than a small colony. The Doctor rescues Alice while Regnos summons all the cybermen to the colony ship for new orders. To put a stop to his plans, the Doctor triggers the gravity-drive on the colony ship, narrowly escaping with Alice in the TARDIS. The ship and the prototype cybermen are destroyed in a recreation of the original calamity. This time, though, the Doctor has oriented the force of the gravitational effect to partially stabilize the planet’s orbit. It will not return to its original orbit, but it should slow the deterioration of conditions on Mondas for several hundred years, long enough for the Mondasians to find another solution. The Doctor and Alice take the TARDIS forward in time a century to check on the results, and are disappointed to see that while the planet has not gotten any colder, Monument Rock has been completed, and bears the familiar shape of a Cyb helmet.

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