Tardis

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Tardis
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Flight of the Cyberons was the first story in Cyberon. It was a short story written by James Hornby. An audiobook reading of it, performed by Nigel Peever, was later included as part of BBV's Cyberon: Enhanced Spoken Word of the Novelisation.

Plot[]

Chapter 1[]

Harcourt Ross, captain of the Oblivion Spark, awakes aboard his ship, currently patrolling near the border of human space in the Jathar Expanse. He is immediately informed by his first officer Sarah Carter that a strange ship has been sighted on their side of the border, before ducking back into the neutral zone before it could be observed in detail. Captain Ross decides to treat this as a hostile incursion and, despite his crews's objections, orders them to fly the Spark into the neutral zone after the ship.

Uponc loser observation, it becomes clear that the other ship is a small Cyberon spacecraft — and also that its flight path is curiously erratic, as though it is scanning the graveyard of derelict ships in the Expanse for something specific. It soon begins to home in on a large, mostly-intact human transport vessel in the middle of the Expanse. Also picking up a signal from this ship, the Spark crew watch as the Cyberons board the vessel. Despite Carter's strenuous objections, Ross insists on taking a shuttlecraft and boarding the transport vessel as well.

Chapter 2[]

Landing in a hangar bay inside the transport vessel, Captain Ross and the eight people he took with him (who include Cerbs and the ship's tactician Lieutenant Cho) walk out of the shuttle. As they explore the vessel, they are surprised to find it in pristine condition but with no sign of any crew, living or dead. The Captain surprises both the crew and himself with his confident assertiont hat the Cyberons are capable of converting the dead; with horror, Ross realises that he knew this confidential detail thanks to his latent Cyberon implants, which are not so inactive after all.

Tracking down the exact source of the signal they've been picking up, they find a room containing a large spherical device which emits a silvery glow. It contains a silvery liquid which somehow calls out to the lingering Cyberon presence inside Ross, and the horrified Captain recognises the machine as a Conversion Engine. However, it is much smaller than all other such devices previously recorded, which tended to be factory-sized. They realise that it is an experimental model which creates a field of energy to convert all organic beings in its vicinity into Cyberons: the weirdly conspicuous intact ship is in fact a trap, which may recovery teams have noticed before, only to be converted into Cyberons when they came onboard. Cho analyses it summarily and concludes that the only reason it hasn't converted them is that it's recently been switched off, seemingly to help with transporting it.

They realise too late that, distracted by the shining sphere, they failed to actually scout the darkened room it's kept in for danger. The Cyberons from the ship are in fact still here, and emerge from the shadows behind them silently. The party are easily captured, and Ross, to his horror, feels the Cyberon who has grabbed him injecting a higher dose of Cyberon drug in his neck.

Chapter 3[]

Though his body is trapped, Captain Ross's mind holds fast against the Cyberon drug's attempt to take him over. He finds himself in a mindscape based on his childhood home on Earth on Spaceport Seven Overcity, facing projections of the Cyberons and their Commander; he instinctively knows that if he lets them close in on him, his own strength of will shall fail, and he shall be fully converted. He wrestles with the Commander, but realises that the Cyberons are only trying to intimidate him into submission: within this imaginary place, they are only as strong as he thinks them to be. Gathering his willpower, he bests the Commander. The mindscape disappears in a flash of white and Ross is back in the waking world in control of his body.

Picking up his rifle, he destroys the Cyberon that was physically restraining him, then the other ones who are busy trying to convert his crewmates. As they gather themselves they notice that Edmunds has not awoken but is instead continuing to turn into a Cyberon; despite Stevenson's objections, a grim Ross kills the unconscious Edmunds before the transformation can be completed.

With the Conversion Engine and surviving Cyberons already gone, Ross and the other surviving members of the expedition fly their shuttle back to the Oblivion Spark, where Carter informs them that the Cyberon ship is already about to leave the Jathar Expanse, no doubt heading for a populated area to activate the advanced Conversion Engine. Captain Ross immediately orders the crew to fire at the Cyberon ship with everything they've got, but despite the magnitude of the resulting explosion he quickly spots a telltale flash of white showing the Cyberon ship made a jump forward mere instants before the explosion that should have destroyed it. Cho is able to determine that their hyperspace jump has brought them to the Laputa system.

Following them there, they approach the single, inhabited planet in the system, Gulliver's Rest, reacting with shock at the sight of the Merrapine Scar above the skies of the dust-coloured planet. They are further shocked when, after a frantic Ross tries to have the Oblivion Spark ram the damaged Cyberon ship physically before it makes contact with Gulliver's Rest, the Cyberons change course to fly directly into the Merrapine Scar. Ross, unwilling to believe the Cyberons have been destroyed, tries to get his crew to fly the Spark into the Scar after them, but this, they refuse to do, insisting that the Cyberons could not possibly have survived the energies of the Scar.

Chapter 4[]

After the jump through the Merrapine Scar, only one damaged Cyberon is left alive on the equally-damaged ship. It ascertains that it has found itself in the comparatively underdeveloped Sol system in the year 2000. After confirming that Earth is its best hope of settling and converting new troops and charting a course in its direction, the Cyberon heads to the cargo bay to check on the Conversion Engine, which it finds much damaged by its recent misadventures, the sphere finely cracked, allowing the silvery liquid within to begin to ooze out.

It calculates that, after the Engine breaks down completely, the nanites in the liquid will have a lifespan of approximately two weeks before failing as well, which would mean the extinction of the Cyberons in this time-zone. It decides to rip its weapon system out of its forearm to instead use the hollow space to house as much of the nanite solution as it can safely hold. It then moves to the safest place it can find inside the crashing ship, the chambers normally reserved for space probes underneath the hull.

On Earth, in the British isles it is evening. Albert Foster, a PKD scientist, is walking his dog Winston across the moorlands near his home. Dragged off the path when Winston bolts after a rabbit, he witnesses the crash of a "mysterious metal box" from the sky, followed by a thin plume of smoke. Mesmerised by the box, Foster almost touches it, only for its surface to ripple like liquid, forming into a whip to slap his hand away before opening to reveal the occupant of the casket: none other than the Cyberon. Its voice predictably level, the cyborg tells Foster that it "has use of [him]". The liquid metal — actually Cyberon fluid — worms his way into Foster, granting him knowledge of the Cyberon War's history; his scientist's mind fascinated by the knowledge now within his reach, Foster agrees to become a puppet of the Cyberon.

Granted unnatural strength by the Cyberon now pulsing through his veins, Foster heaves the Cyberon, still inside its casket, on his shoulders and heads back to the city, planning to find the Cyberon a hideout at PKD headquarters before the morning. Already, both he and the wounded Cyberon are dreaming of mass-producing the drug, thus allowing all of humanity to be augmented into Cyberons.

Characters[]

References[]

Notes[]

  • This story implies that the Cyberons are somehow related to the Cybermen, as it is mentioned that although the Cyberons do not possess time travel, some of their "distant cousins" do, and once attempted to use it to avert the destruction of "their homeworld". This is an allusion to the Mondasian Cybermen's attempt to avert the destruction of Mondas in Attack of the Cybermen. All of this is hard to reconcile with the implications about the Cyberons' origins in The Blue Scream of Death, but does mirror the Cyberons' real-life history: the species, prior to its introduction in the Doctor Who universe, was created by BBV Productions in independent audio dramas to salvage storylines which were planned to use the Cybermen until negotiations with rights-holders fell through.

Continuity[]

External links[]

to be added

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