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Cyber-Hunt was the second instalment in the Novelisations in Time & Space series. It was written by Callum Phillpott, adapted from Nick Briggs' script (writing as "Martin Peterson")[1] for the 1998 audio story. It features Carson's Planet, which was also seen in Briggs' "Death to the Daleks!". Unlike the original version, this story contained the licensed usage of Aurichall from P.R.O.B.E..

Publisher's summary[]

A Cyber War rages throughout the galaxy. The Earth-aligned worlds are fighting for survival against the cold, emotionless might of the Cyber Bloc - an alliance of planets whose inhabitants have undergone cybernetic conversion in the name of racial superiority.

Award-winning journalist Olivia is reporting from the front-line, when all her assumptions about the Cyber War are shattered, not only by a terrifying encounter with the enemy, but by the arrival of a wise and mysterious traveller. The result is a deadly Cyber-Hunt, in which human and machine creature are tested to the limit and the balance of galactic power is at stake.

Plot[]

In 2777, the Tellurian Alliance have retaken Carson's Planet from the Cyberons once again. Though the warship Fearless was too late to get involved, it detects a lone Cyberon has survived the battle and to the disgust of embedded journalist Olivia, Captain Halloran declares a "Cyber-Hunt": a trophy hunt, portrayed as a morale booster for the men. Both Olivia and Halloran have been lovers in the recent past and their relationship is frosty; she stays excessively professional so he can't find a reason to send her off the ship.

The Cyberon itself is wounded and attempting (and failing) to disobey its protocols when it encounters a wandering pipe-player, who is being shadowed by a man in black robes. It reluctantly follows its protocols to try and kill the piper, and the Tellurian squad are shamed by Olivia into assisting him; the piper appears nameless and unclear how they're there. When battle commences, Halloran and Sergeant Paisley Grange's men are systematically killed off. Halloran refuses to accept the hunt is over and orders Olivia to take the wounded piper back to the ship. However, the Cyberon gets to it first and the ship is destroyed, forcing the Tellurians to seek shelter in nearby ruins until they can summon help. (The Cyberon also sends a signal to its own fleet and Olivia - who has a cybernetic implant to record footage - picks it up, assuming it to be a strange dream)

For the piper, time briefly freezes and he informs the man in black that he requires more time to make progress. When it's unfrozen, Halloran is irritated by the piper's apparent inability to remember much of his past and Olivia decides to name the wanderer "Fred", after her pet goldfish, for sake of something to use.

The group discovers the remains of a Cyberon lab and Fred is horrified to realise it was working on nanotechnology that would convert humans into Cyberons. Soon after, Olivia hears an SOS message from someone and guides them to the ruins, only to learn it's the wounded Cyberon asking for help. Halloran guns it down despite its pleas but the fight damages the lab, causing nanotechs to escape; Fred makes contact with the man in black and learns to warn Halloran to keep his wounds covered. This is too late and Halloran will begin to convert.

Unaware of Halloran's fate, Fred questions Olivia about the vision and voices she's getting through her implant. Learning from her that the Cyberon was being emotional, he starts to examine the dead warrior - which turns out to still be half-alive - only for the work to be interrupted by a converted Halloran and Grange is shot. Unknown to Fred, the man in black has stepped in to alter time so Grange's wound isn't fatal and his gun is loaded with gold bullets so he can save them from the Experimental Unit. The confused Grange says he "blacked out" instead of being dead.

The original Cyberon has now lost most of its fluid and is gaining memories and emotions again, remembering its name was Lewis, but the reinforcements it summoned have now arrived regardless. The Tellurians are captured for conversion but Lewis saves them by converting the ship's nanotechs to attack cybernetic rather than organic material, while Fred successfully programs a Cyberon escape pod.

In the aftermath, Olivia arranges for Fred to become an accredited journalist. Fred makes contact with the man in black to confirm the Cyberon's nanotechnology efforts have been set back: in return for this and being seperated from his past, his homeworld is restored and his disguised ship returned.


Characters[]

  • Fred
  • Olivia
  • Halloran
  • Paisley Grange
  • Holbrook
  • Stevens
  • Andrews
  • Sanders
  • MacKentire
  • Cyberon Commander
  • Man in black
  • Lewis

References[]

  • Partially converted humans are counted by the military as Cyberons and not human civilian deaths - this is despite cybernetic augments being common since the 24th century.
  • The human colony on Phobos possessed a distinct culture which was disrupted when Cyberons invaded and the Earth Alliance took in the survivors. Sanders was assigned a gender on Phobos which was interpreted by the Earth-centric perspective as a non-binary identity.
  • MacKentire grew up on a Solace Industries colony.

Notes[]

  • The novelisation goes further in these connections than the original audio. A man in black robes, from a group who claim non-interference, has made a deal with Fred to restore Fred's homeworld (which was destroyed in the Audio Visual Planet of Lies) by separating Fred from his past, which means Fred has to abandon his famous old name. Another version of "Fred" now exists to take up the abandoned name, explaining how the Audio Visuals Doctor can coexist with the main continuity of the Doctor Who universe.
  • The novelisation adds multiple scenes where time halts and Fred interacts with the man in black, and one where Sergeant Paisley Grange is saved by the man. The last such scene reveals Fred was sent on a mission to hold back Cyberon development.
  • As in the original audio, "Fred" mentions that he's "trying to change the habits of a lifetime and end up somewhere trouble-free." This is a reference to the end of Justyce, the final story of the Audio Visuals, in which the Doctor decides to go on vacation after saving Solaados and the Solaadons and thus ending the stressful Justyce saga. Both versions of Cyber-Hunt therefore indicate themselves to be immediately following the events of the Audio Visuals. While the new man in black plotline in the novelised Cyber-Hunt could be taken to imply unseen events between the end of the Audio Visuals and the start of Cyber-Hunt, the man in black could be interpreted as the mysterious being introduced in Truman's Excellent Adventure whom the Doctor makes an unclear deal with during the events of Cuddlesome in an unresolved plotline, further placing Cyber-Hunt as a direct continuation of the Audio Visuals.

Continuity[]

Footnotes[]

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