Tardis

Spoilers are precisely defined here. Rules vary by the story's medium. Info from television stories can't be added here until after the top or bottom of the hour, British time, closest to the end credits roll on BBC One. Therefore, fans in the Americas who are sensitive to spoilers should avoid Tardis on Sundays until they've seen the episode.

READ MORE

Tardis
Advertisement
Tardis
RealWorld.png

You may wish to consult Cyberon (disambiguation) for other, similarly-named pages.

Cyberon was the second story in Cyberon. It was a novelisation of the 2001 BBV drama Cyberon, written by James Hornby, adapted from the script by Lance Parkin. An audiobook reading of it by Nigel Peever was later released as part of BBV's Cyberon: Enhanced Spoken Word of the Novelisation.

Although the original home video production had no direct legal link to the DWU (and is therefore not covered by this Wiki), this novelisation, in the words of Hornby, reflected the fact that Lauren Anderson and the Cyberons had "grown up in the Doctor Who world" by involving other pre-existing DWU concepts under licence from their creators.[1]

Summary[]

When American PKD researcher Tom Mordley comes to St John's Hospital in London, conscientious Lauren Anderson cannot help herself from falling under the charm of the passionate, charismatic scientist and the invention he has come to test on her patients: a seemingly miraculous drug called Cyberon. However, her doubts about Doctor Mordley's discovery prove justified when all the patients Cyberon was tested on begin to have visions of silvery android-like creatures and other strange experiences, and even moreso when she discovers that Tom Mordley himself, though perfectly healthy, is addicted to Cyberon and regularly injects himself with it. She must figure out what "Cyberon" truly is, and what it wants, before she finds herself succumbing to its otherwordly allure as well.

Plot[]

Chapter 1[]

2000. Arriving at St John's Hospital on Monday morning, psychiatrist Doctor Lauren Anderson finds it in uproar, with several parients engaged in a brawl. After spending most of the morning talking everyone down, she leaves the calmed patients in the hands of the care team and sneaks away to her office to have a cup of coffee. Her rest is short-lived as she is called upon to attend to octogenarian patient George Cooper, of whom she is quite fond, and who is apparently still dazed from the events in the morning. His dementia is not getting any better, but she still takes pleasure in the conversation, and is thrilled to be able to inform him that a man will soon be coming over with a new drug that might help with his memory.

Making it home at a quarter past five, she finds her flatmate Ray job-hunting on the computer. They discuss her job and the day's event, and also the imminent trials at St John's of a new drug, whose tests so far have been encouraging, though "nothing to write home about". Its name is Cyberon.

Chapter 2[]

The next day, Lauren arrives back at St John's to find that the American PKD doctor who's set to oversee the testing of the Cyberon drug, Tom Mordley, has already arrived and met George. To her flustered surprise, he turns out to be quite charming, but her initial good impression soon wears off when it transpires that Mordley has gone so far as to give George an injection of Cyberon without waiting for her to arrive. Furthermore, his answers are evasive and slightly condescending when she asks about the chemical nature of the drug.

Putting the incident behind them, the two go meet Denise, a paralysed but mentally healthy patient here on physiotherapy, into whom Mordley also painlessly injects a dose of Cyberon. Mordley's words make it clear that he expects Cyberon to cure her paralysis, and he more generally begins speaking about Cyberon being a paradigm-shifting miracle drug; she berates him for giving patients false hope, but he insists that he is telling the unadulterated truth.

The following night, George has an eerie nightmare, finding himself in a huge factory where duplicates of his own body are being assembled. He tries to avert his gaze and, when he looks again, sees that the parts on the conveyor belt now look like the body parts of silver humanoids with hollow eyes. The environment melts into blackness as one of the humanoids lurches towards him; when it lunges forward to actually grab him, he wakes up with a start from the dream, before getting back to more peaceful sleep. Unbeknownst to him, as he sleeps, his veins begin to glow as a ghostly, but real, Cyberon watches him from above.

Chapter 3[]

When Tom and Lauren make him pass a cognitive test in the morning, George seems much improved, calling Lauren by name and even making a joke, though Lauren is reluctant to let Tom claim victory so soon. Trying to avoid their professional disagreement growing into actual enmity, she impulsively invites Tom around after work to have a drink with her and Ray. Tom agrees, but after he leaves the room, Lauren is startled to see George, up and about, walking up to her, looking spryer than he's been in years, but rather concerned. George asks Lauren in a concerned voice if she trusts Mordley, telling her that he has a bad feeling about him, though he is unable to elaborate.

At the pub, after getting their drinks, Ray, Lauren and Tom play a round on the quiz machine. Tom keeps beating Lauren, who accuses the machine of "taking Tom's side", prompting Ray to comment on Lauren's apparent general technophobia. In turn, this gives Tom the occasion to go on a long, impassioned digression about the future of artificial intelligence. As the evening draws on, Lauren decides to go back home, not wanting to go to bed too late given that the next day is a work day. She is startled when Tom, who isn't tired, suggests that Ray stay with him at the pub if he wants, whatever Lauren does. Though she does nothing to betray her feelings, Lauren walks home full of self-doubt about whether she misread Tom's apparent flirting with her, and indeed wonderign if it's Ray he's interested in.

Meanwhile, at the hospital, George Cooper gets up from his bed to find an almost fully corporeal Cyberon staring him down and telling him to submit. Terrified, he calls for help, but the nurse cannot see the cyborg, nor, for that matter, the three more of its kind which materialise out of nowhere to block his exit when he tries to run out of the room in fear. George suddenly feels a tight pain his chest and collapses into unconsciousness.

Chapter 4[]

In the morning, Lauren wakes up some time after Ray, seemingly trying to avoid a conversation with him. When he strikes one up anyway, however, he clarifies that Tom Mordley spent most of the previous evening continuing to talk about electronics and genetics, as well as pressing him for details about Lauren. Ray tells her that he mostly satisfied his curiosity, though "editing out" Duncan, someone Lauren dated the year before, a relationship which she considers in hindsight to have been "a mistake". He also tells her that Tom went to a night club, the Brainstorm, after Ray decided to go home.

Arriving at St John's, she is baffled when she is informed that despite the way he spent the night, Mordley was at work early. Her shock is compounded by Sophie informing her of the passing in the night of George Cooper, who died of a heart attack after waking up screaming. Tom Mordley shows up to point out that the other Cyberon test patients are fine, however, and indeed that they are continuing to show signs of improvement from their various conditions. Lauren insists that the experimental drug must have been connected to George's death, and is outraged when she learns that Tom intends to have George's body transferred to PKD for the autopsy instead of having it in St John's, viewing it as a "cover-up". As Tom is distracted arguing his case, Lauren impulsively grabs a syringe of Cyberon from his briefcase without him seeing. Tom manages to steer the conversation back to a personal, personable area, however, inviting Lauren to see the Brainstorm for herself tonight in his company.

They show up for said date, both dressed at their best, and Lauren dances enthusiastically with Tom. Meanwhile, however, at Lauren's flat, Ray is doing some washing and, taking Lauren's medical coat to put it in the wash basket, he finds the stolen Cyberon syringe in one of its pockets. Startled at how the liquid starts to glow as soon as he touches the syringe, he hides it in a drawer. Instinctively wanting to get away from the offending item, he goes out for some late-night shopping on the excuse that he and Lauren are running low on household supplies.

Back at the Brainstorm, Lauren and Tom, after withdrawing from the dance floor, have a soulful conversation at a table, prompted by the spectacle of the youths enjoying life in the club. Lauren shares the burden she feels even taking time away from her work to have fun when her patients do not have that freedom, and Tom takes the opportunity to once again try to persuade her that Cyberon is precisely what humanity needs. She is glad to see what she understands to be "the true Tom Mordley", someone who actually cares about human suffering just as she does, and kisses him.

Tom quickly excuses himself, claiming he needs to go to the bathroom. However, once there, he instead uses the privacy to inject some Cyberon into himself, enjoying the blissful clarity it provides and the superhuman senses it gives him. However, when he looks up at the mirror, he realises that something has appeared behimd him: a peculiar creature in silver armour. He is even more shocked for the fact that the Cyberon gives him the ability to sense the activity of other humans' nervous systems in his vicinity, yet did not feel the entity approaching. When he gathers himself to turn around and look at it directly, he finds that it has vanished. He turns back to the mirror, which no longer shows the cyborg creature, but is rippling and seems fluid, more like a plate of Cyberon than like a real mirror. However, he shakes himself, willing himself to see it as a normal mirror again, and heads back to Lauren.

He walks out to find an anxious Lauren waiting for him. Seeing how worn-out he suddenly looks, she guesses that his succession of late nights have finally "caught up with [him]", a guess he does not correct. They leave the club hand in hand and she ends up taking him to her apartment. Ray had been about to ask about the syringe, having formed the suspicion that Lauren is taking drugs of some kind, but chooses not to when he realises how well her relationship with Tom is going, deciding not to do anything that might sabotage this apparent "chance at happiness".

Chapter 5[]

The morning after, Lauren tries to press her advantage with Tom, asking him to trust her with whatever his secrets are that he's been guarding about Cyberon. After she convinces him that she's not an industrial spy, he confesses that the "secret" of Cyberon as he understands it is that it's a self-replicating silicon-based moscule, capable of growing and learning; it heals dementia and other neural pathologies by weeding out diseased neurons and replacing them with artificially-grown ones made of Cyberon.

The two drive to the London PKD research centre for George's autopsy, with Lauren being surprised at how immaculately clean and clinical the place looks. The coroner, Evan, makes a cursory inspection of the body and has already began telling them that he can see nothing out of the ordinary, when he turns the head over and spots a small patch of silver on his skin. Lauren and Tom realise that it is Cyberon fluid, which somehow got into his vein and, after death, has pooled in the veisn at the back of his head, becoming visible through the skin due to the higher concentration. Tom is baffled as to how any Cyberon found its way into George's bloodstream, given that he'd injected it directly into his brain.

With the autopsy complete, Tom tells her to go on ahead to the coffee machine in another room. Alone in the autopsy chamber, he takes the opportunity to inject another dose of Cyberon into his own spine, noting with strange fascination how the proximity of the dose of Cyberon in his syringe causes the small patch inside George Cooper to stir like a thing alive. Lauren walks in on him and is horrified, hurrying out without hearing him out and driving away from PKD.

Back at St John's, Denise is working out her arms in the gymnasium when she suddenly has a vision of a ghostly, silver hand reaching out to her. With considerable effort, she reaches to grasp it, and it lifts her to her feet for the first time in years. She now sees that the hand belongs to a silvery humanoid, somewhat resembling a robot. In her exhilaration she does not take fright, fancying that the creature is some kind of angel, as she walks about. When she turns back to thank the creature, it has disappeared. Exhilarated nevertheless, she runs out of the room, leaving behind her wheelchair.

Shortly after Lauren returns to St John's, Tom catches up with her and begins to explain that he's been taking Cyberon because it improves his cognition, not out of abstract addiction. She does not believe him, thinking that the effects of the drug have simply made him feel as though he is smarter, and that his stout belief in Cyberon's miraculous properties are likewise an effect of his own inebriation. The conversation is interrupted when they both catch sight of Denise, walking on her own two feet. After she has to sit down to rest her muscles (which have not, after all, seen this much exercise in a long time), Lauren discusses the Cyberon with her, with Denise displaying awareness of the fact that Cyberon is an intelligence and that it entered her brain, but remaining completely sanguine about this fact, repeating her impression that the presence (which she thinks of as a "she") is a guardian angel.

Later in the day, as she leaves, Sophie shows Lauren the results of a strange development: all the patients injected with Cyberon have decided to give all their gold jewelry away, collecting it in two bags and entrusting them to Karen to donate them to the charity of her choice.

Meanwhile, going home to the house he's been renting, Tom has another vision of a ghostly Cyberon humanoid, looking down at him from the se first floor balcony, overlooking his living room. This time, he decides to engage the entity in conversation, and asks if he's allowed to ask questions. The figure answers that he can, but it would "better facilitate communication" if he were to take a further dose of the Cyberon drug. He refuses, looks away, and the Cyberon is gone — but when he turns to leave the room, the Cyberon is now standing in the doorway. Tom keeps talking to it, trying to deny its reality, and it keeps appearing wherever he turns his gaze, insisting that it is no hallucination. Calling upon all his willpower, he keeps shouting back to the vision that it is not real, and eventually succeeds in banishing it, before sinking in despair on his sofa.

Chapter 6[]

The next day at breakfast, Lauren pores over George's autopsy report once again. Ray notices, and they get into a conversation about Cyberon. Sharing his opinion that "it's spooky", Ray confesses to Lauren that he has the dose of Cyberon she nicked from Tom. The two observe the syringe and are shocked to see the molecules not only move on their own accord, but briefly rearrange under their gaze to form a human face.

Lauren drives, in a panic, to Tom's house, where she finds him pouring over paperwork related to Cyberon in his pajamas, bleary-eyed, having obviously worked through the night. She accuses him of having known all along that Cyberon was independently intelligent; he feebly denies knowing anything about such a thing, falling back to buzzwords about it being "a smart drug" that "clears neural pathways". Ignoring his protest, she takes another dose of Cyberon from his briefcase and runs to his bathroom where she pours out the liquid into the sink to observe it more clearly. Tom "looks, transfixed" as the substance sloshes around with a will of its own, and seeing his expression, Lauren finally begins to believe that Tom has no malicious intent and barely understands more than she does about the true extent of the drug's power.

Tom teeters off the edge of realisation, but the Cyberon in his mind manipulates him into suddenly seeing the whole thing as some sort of plot by Lauren to discredit Cyberon and ruin his career. Lunging at her, he forcibly injects her with Cyberon in the hope that this will make her see things "as they truly are". She screams and thrashes and he ends up choking her to unconsciousness before moving her to his bed.

Chapter 7[]

Waking up in Tom's bed the next morning with no clear memory of what happened the night before, the dazed Lauren comes to the conclusion that she must have slept with him again. She feels a certainty in her mind that she and Tom made up somehow. She is strangely unsurprised to see that her arms glow blue.

Tom and Lauren drive to the hospital together in a dreamlike haze; Lauren now sees tendrils of glowing blue energy floating all throughout the hospital, coursing like electric arcs from patient to patient, sometimes coalescing into the figure of the humanoid Cyberons for a few moments before dissolving again. All of this seems ordinary to the Cyberon patients, who all treat her more warmly than they did before. Reacting with wonder at this sight, she is told by an impassioned Tom that even he has never seen it that clearly before today. Later in the day Tom goes jogging with Denise and discusses the ability of upgrading her body even further with her.

After work, Tom and Lauren go on a date at a restaurant, the Bella Pasta. As they eat, Tom demonstrates to her the extent of how much Cyberon boosts the flexibility and accuracy of the human memory, making her remember her own birth. However, despite her calmness, Lauren still has some doubts about Cyberon, pressing Tom on whether he's not afraid of the depency he's developing for the drug, as well as noting that he seems to see the Cyberon apparitions even now, unlike her. Tom answers with a non sequitur, a prediction that "they" will "cast off their human bodies and spread to the stars" before slipping into the first person: "nothing will stop us". Tom presents her with another syringe of Cyberon, which she accepts but does not inject herself with instantly, instead electing to take it home.

When she gets back to her and Ray's apartment, he confronts her about how she could have "patched things up" with Tom after being so determined to bring Cyberon down when she drove to his house the day before. She blurts out that she has taken Cyberon herself and it changes her perspective, but when Ray tries to goad her into giving him whatever dose she has on her, she finds that she doesn't want to risk him taking any, though she's unable to reconcile that with her newfound conviction that Cyberon is good.

Taking it as an excuse to leave the conversation, Lauren goes to the bathroom and begins to draw a bath. Looking at herself in the mirror, she finds her reflection speaks back to her mullings, encouraging her to accept that Cyberon is causing her to go mad. This ends only for her to instead be confronted by the ghost of George, looking as he did during his autopsy, who refuses to tell her whether he's real or not. Her shouts in return cause Ray to run into the bathroom, whereupon all the visions cease. Lauren, ignorign the bath she's prepared, decides to go ut for a walk to clear her head.

Chapter 8[]

No matter where Lauren goes on her walk, she finds that the spectre of George Cooper keeps following her, but as he makes no effort to harm or even frighten her, simply acting as he always has, she calms herself down and simply decides to treat him as her friend, as she always has. The two have a talk, during which he remains coy about whether he is the true George Cooper, kept "alive" in some sense by his connection to the Cyberon, or a figment from Lauren's memory, given shape by the Cyberon in her own system. She as a conversation with him about Cyberon, with George revealing that if he had not succumbed partway through he would have gone through a full metamorphosis. During their talk, Lauren becomes frightened by the effect that even a non-malicious Cyberon could have on life on Earth, for example if a small elite got exclusive control to the "immortality drug".

After she finishes her walk, Tom picks up Lauren and drives with her to his home. There, going to the bathroom again, Lauren briefly hesitates on whether to take the second dose of Cyberon Tom gave her, but ultimately elects not to, still haunted by her conversation with George's ghost. Tom, on the other hand, seems more affected by Cyberon than ever, a feverish look in his eyes and his skin seeming to gleam with a silvery sheen. Nevertheless the two sleep together, and afterwards, in the night, Lauren shares in his tormented dreams of Cyberons and their conversion factories.

In the morning, she heads to St John's early and collects all the doses of Cyberon stored there in a Gladstone bag. A Cyberons spectre appears to her, berating her for the "cowardly" decision, but she stands firm. The spectre dissipates, but as she heads to the hospital's communal area she is confronted with Tom, his eyes gleaming silver, holding a knife. Without a word, he knocks her out and hoists her over his shoulder. When she comes to, she is tied up in Tom's living room at his house, and sees with horror that Tom's entire right hand, with which he was (and indeed still is) holding the knife, has turned into living metal.

After cutting her bonds he takes a syringe and prepares to inject her with a new dose of Cyberon to bring her back over to his side, but when she begs him to stop, he briefly regains control of himself, fighting off the Cyberon's influence with tremendous mental effort, yelling for her to go while he holds it at bay. She tries to live only to be stopped by an actual, fully-physical Cyberon, as well, soon enough, as Tom himself, falling once again under the alien substance's influence. Panicking, Laurne grabs Tom's knife, which he had dropped earlier during his flash of sanity, and stabs him, which seems to wound the Cyberon humanoid at the same time. As Tom dies, the Cyberon's influence leaving his eyes for his last few instants staring into Lauren's own, the Cyberon behind Lauren thrashes on the ground and melts into nothing else, leaving the traumatised Lauren with Tom's corpse.

Chapter 9[]

Still in a state of shock, Lauren heads to the police station to turn herself in. However, after being in custody for some hours and seeing her lawyer, Patricia, a baffled Lauren finds herself being left free to go when a healthy Tom Mordley turns up, testifying that Lauren did not actually harm him and they were together the whole night the alleged murder happened, so that she could not possibly have stabbed anyone else either. He says only that the Cyberon saved him, then leaves Lauren a free woman without answering anymore questions.

After taking some time off to process her feelings, Lauren finally returns to St John's, where she finds that all the patients are back to normal; the influence of the Cyberon they'd taken has dissipated, and of course, with Tom Mordley apparently beng gone for good, no further doses are forthcoming. Though part of her is of course relieved about the crisis being over, she is heartbroken at the reactions of the patients lucid enough to miss what Cyberon was giving them, such as Denise, and cannot stop herself from blaming herself.

Characters[]

References[]

Notes[]

  • The official publisher's summary of the anthology opened with a near-repeat of Tom Mordley's quote from Chapter 7, "We've made contact with something better than us. They are stronger, they don't die. They'll cast off their human bodies and spread to the stars, nothing will stop them". However, within the actual story, Tom actually says "Nothing will stop us", a frightening sign of his conversion-in-progress.

Continuity[]

External links[]

Footnotes[]

Advertisement