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The Osirans, also called Osirians (PROSE: GodEngine, AUDIO: Coming to Dust et al.) or Osirons, (COMIC: Hacked) were a race of powerful and intelligent humanoids of god-like power, who were worshipped by many cultures across the universe, including on Earth in ancient Egypt. (TV: Pyramids of Mars)

Their civilisation was known as the Osirian Court. They were said to be almost as powerful as one of the Great Houses; so long as Sutekh defended the Court, the actual Great Houses even feared the Osirians, to the point that the Court was functionally a Great House unto itself, holding uneasy diplomatic relations with the other Houses instead of being part of the Homeworld's dominion. (AUDIO: The Ship of a Billion Years)

Ultimately, however, Sutekh went rogue, engaging on a futile quest to reduce all of the universe to dust, which ended up annihilating Phaester Osiris. At great cost, the other Osirians imprisoned Sutekh on Mars, where he would later be encountered by the Fourth Doctor for the first time, being, by then, one of the last survivors of his species, (TV: Pyramids of Mars) albeit not quite the last. (COMIC: Old Girl et al.)


Osirans had expanded brain-cases and a cerebrum like "a spiral staircase", which meant they particularly liked puzzles. They had a wide variety of advanced psychic powers, including mental and physical projection, mind control and telepathy. (TV: Pyramids of Mars, PROSE: The Sands of Time)

Osirians of high status modelled their appearances based on different animals, depending on fashion. For instance, Upuat wore the face of a wolf. (AUDIO: The Ship of a Billion Years) One Osiran, Sutekh, looked somewhat like the traditional depictions of Set. He had grey skin, a jackal or donkey-like head with large, square ears and bright green eyes. (TV: Pyramids of Mars) Another Osiran, Horus, had the face of a bull. (PROSE: Scarab of Death) Osirians with human heads, like Thoth, were considered to have the heads of apes. (AUDIO: The Ship of a Billion Years)

Osirans could live for thousands of years, even without sufficient food or water. (TV: Pyramids of Mars) They did need air to survive and could suffocate. (PROSE: The Sands of Time) Osiran curry was best served close to absolute zero. (PROSE: UNIT Christmas Parties: First Christmas)

Some ambassadors to the Osirian Court were of an entirely different species to the others. Justine il-Isis and Thoth were two such members. (AUDIO: The Ship of a Billion Years)


The Osirian Court spanned six hundred worlds that had been "civilised" by Osiris, notably including ancient Egypt. Although spread across the cosmos, Osirian culture was principally focused on two sites: the Throneworld, and the Ship of a Billion Years, the immense vessel which carried Ra, Nut, and their attendant pantheon through the heavens while binding together the noospheres of the Court's territories into a coherent whole. (AUDIO: The Ship of a Billion Years)

The Osirians did not have to concern themselves with death, children, or the future, and so customarily married brother to sister. (AUDIO: Words from Nine Divinities)

The Fifth Doctor described the Osirans as a "noble race of superbeings", but also said they had their "wayward members". He stated the Osirans fell into three categories — "the good, the bad and, forgive me, the ugly". (AUDIO: The Bride of Peladon)

Mortega said that Osirian culture had much in common with that of the Great Houses. (AUDIO: Body Politic) Megali Scoblow claimed that the Pakhars inspired many aspects of Osirian culture. (PROSE: Lilac Mars)

Folk memories of the Osirian Court inspired the gods of Egyptian mythology; (PROSE: A Hundred Words from a Civil War) many aspects of Egyptian culture, like sarcophagi, canopic jars, and mummies, reflected Osirian technology. Like the Osirians, the Egyptians placed great importance on the constellation Orion. (PROSE: The Sands of Time)


Two Osiran service robots. (TV: Pyramids of Mars)

Osiran technology was based on the mathematics of topology, positioning and shapes. They would be specially aligned to the stars in order to work. For example, the Osirans set up the Pyramids on Mars and Earth as power receivers, directing energy to the Great Sphinx, which would power all the Osiran technology on the planets. When moving away from the Pyramids, these buildings would need to be rebuilt or smaller collectors would have to be brought there. The Osirans also relied heavily on psi-projectors, which would allow them to travel in space using only the power of their mind. These too required precise mathematical skills, as well as powerful minds to control the ships. (PROSE: The Sands of Time) The basis of Osirian science stemmed from the fact that their homeworld lacked a magnetic field. This led to them developing their technology on the principles of monopolar magnetic fields. (PROSE: GodEngine)

Despite the unusual design, the Osirans had technology that rivalled the Time Lords; (TV: Pyramids of Mars) according to Mortega, the Ship of a Billion Years was more than powerful enough to take down the entire 59th Time Fleet. He believed that the Osirian Court would be helpful to the House Military on seventeen of the War in Heaven's 920 fronts. (AUDIO: Body Politic)

Lodestones were a type of time travel technology used by the Osirans, generally embedded into a sarcophagus. These lodestones created a time tunnel, allowing the Osirans to travel backwards and forwards in time. Unlike Time Lord technology, these lodestones produced a lot of time spillage, which would be absorbed by the traveller. If someone went backwards in time or forwards in time by a thousand years, the traveller would also age a thousand years. This was not an obstacle for the Osirans, due to their long lifespans. These lodestones would draw in vortex energy, which could pull in TARDISes. (TV: Pyramids of Mars, PROSE: The Sands of Time)

Another example of Osiran technology were the Osiran service robots. They were thin robots with a wire framework to give them a more humanoid shape and were powered by a cytronic particle accelerator in the shape of pyramids. They had immense strength and could be controlled by a special ring. These robots were covered in specially treated wrappings which gave them the appearances of mummies. (TV: Pyramids of Mars, PROSE: The Sands of Time)

Other Osiran technology included Osiran generator loops in the shape of canopic jars and Osiran war missiles (TV: Pyramids of Mars) and shabti. (PROSE: The Sands of Time)

The Osirans had an orbital Mobius strip near Arcturus. (PROSE: River of Time)

The Osirans were able to create energy production facilities such as Amenthes, which were large enough to serve as an artificial moon. (COMIC: Old Girl)

At least one Osiran, Anubis, was an excellent medic and cloner, and relished the challenge more than actually saving lives due to his extreme cynicism and ego (having lived for countless centuries, he had become bitterly tired of the Osirans' long lives); he successfully converted the broken fragments of Osiris' biodata cache into a viable lifeform, which was more impressive for the fact that a full resurrection had never been tried before and thus would make him the best Osirian scientist ever than for Osiris' revival was essential in stopping a massive civil war among the Osirans. (AUDIO: Words from Nine Divinities)


When Osiris founded the Osirian Court, he removed it from history, (AUDIO: Words from Nine Divinities) causing it to sometimes exist, like the Homeworld, in a special relationship to the timeline of the wider universe. Its past sometimes overlapped with the Great Houses' future, (AUDIO: Coming to Dust) and Earth's ancient myths sometimes recorded events which had yet to transpire for the Court. (AUDIO: The Ship of a Billion Years)

Some areas including the Delta were left "unchronoformed" and prone to multiple timelines. (AUDIO: Body Politic)

Early history[]

The Osirans were evidently an ancient species, having been a major power since at least 150 million BC. They were involved in the Millennium War, in which they were able to stop the creation of a wormhole in the Horsehead Nebula which would have caused massive damage. They were also involved in the final attack on the Mad Mind of Bophemeral. (PROSE: The Quantum Archangel)

In about 10,500 BC, the first Osiran pyramids appeared in Egypt, decorated with astral charts. These were thought to have inspired the Ancient Egyptians to examine the night sky. (PROSE: Introduction and links)

The Osirians were noted for having taken a special interest in the quadrant where the planets Earth and Mars were located, with the latter serving as a bridgehead for their activities in the area. During that time, they used the native Martians as labourers for their construction efforts. The Ice Warriors and others noted them as callous beings that cared little for the creatures that worshipped them. Despite this, around seven thousand years before the 22nd century, the Ice Warriors crafted a religion around them but retooled aspects of it from their race memory and legends to create a religion that practised peace and compassion. This led to the founding of the Order of Oras. (PROSE: GodEngine)

Around 6100 BC, Sekhmet, the lioness, was banished in a salt spacecraft which landed on the planet Peladon where she lay for ten thousand years. She was held in her tomb by four blood locks which could only be broken by the blood of four royal women, including one that was displaced in time. (AUDIO: The Bride of Peladon)

The rise of Horus[]

Osiris founded the Osirian Court and cut it off from history. (AUDIO: Words from Nine Divinities) He created the Ship of a Billion Years, which bound the Court together and transported Ra across the sky. Osiris colonised six hundred worlds, influencing their cultures and deeming them "civilised". (AUDIO: Coming to Dust) When they discovered the existence of the Court, the Great Houses of the Homeworld became frightened of their power to extinguish suns, given that the Homeworld drew the better part of its power from an engineered sun. Since the Osirians' power too was reliant on an engineered sun (Ra), the Houses decided to lock themselves and the Osirians in a state of mutually assured destruction by inventing a weapon that could threaten the Osirians' sun just as much as the Osirians' power threatened the Homeworld's sun. This weapon was a gigantic, sapient, murderous serpent with bones made of stone and who could devour a sun whole: Apep. (PROSE: Going Once, Going Twice)

After the Osirians cut themselves off from history, Sutekh considered the existence of the Throneworld a liability, so he destroyed it (AUDIO: Ozymandias) and, according to the Fourth Doctor, began "a trail of havoc across half the galaxy". (TV: Pyramids of Mars)

After defeating Faction Paradox by destroying the Eleven-Day Empire, the Great Houses attacked the Court. Sutekh invaded Earth with an army of Mal'akh, threatening the Houses with interference in Earth's history; however, Osiris made peace with the Houses, leaving Sutekh jealous. (AUDIO: Coming to Dust) When Osiris died, Sutekh buried his corpse beneath a cache of Faction Paradox reproductive technology. The ruined technology interacted with Osiris' biomass and caused it to be remade in fractured and partial forms. (AUDIO: The Ship of a Billion Years)

With Osiris now gone, Sutekh laid claim to the court, but his opponents tried to resurrect Osiris. Isis searched for the pieces of Osiris' body and, with the help of Anubis and Thoth, attempted to reconstitute him. However, since one vital piece of his biodata was missing, Cousin Eliza of the Faction offered herself as an alternative donor (AUDIO: Body Politic) and became the entity then known as Horus. (AUDIO: Words from Nine Divinities)

A tribunal was convened to decide whether Horus or Sutekh should inherit the throne. It was judged by Geb, father of Sutekh and Osiris. The tribunal ended when Horus accepted Sutekh's challenge of ritual combat to decide the matter. (AUDIO: Ozymandias) In a complex time-based plan formulated by Cousin Justine, Justine crippled Sutekh while Horus led 740 Osirian warriors to fight Lolita on the Homeworld; however, the official story spread by Justine and their allies was that the warriors had defeated Sutekh instead. Lolita (AUDIO: The Judgment of Sutekh) and the Fourth Doctor believed this story. Upon his sharing it to Sarah Jane Smith, she recognised the name from the 740 gods recorded in the tomb of Thutmose III; the Doctor said, "The wars of the gods entered into mythology. The whole of Egyptian culture is founded upon the Osiran pattern." (TV: Pyramids of Mars)

By another account, Horus was formed when Sutekh stranded Osiris in space and Osiris projected part of his mind into the pilot of Isis' search ship while he was suffocating. (PROSE: The Sands of Time)


While Sarah Jane Smith recalled from Egyptian mythology that Horus killed Set, or Sutekh, the Fourth Doctor explained that it was against the Osirans' code to kill Sutekh, and they instead imprisoned him. (TV: Pyramids of Mars) They had a pyramid on Mars relay a beam to paralyse him inside a burial chamber in the Saqqara region, stopping him from moving or projecting his mind. They also set the methods to free himself just out of his reach in order to make the punishment that much more tortuous. (TV: Pyramids of Mars, PROSE: The Sands of Time) By 1911, the Fourth Doctor said that Sutekh was "exactly where Horus left him seven thousand years ago," placing his imprisonment around 5000 BC. (TV: Pyramids of Mars)

Nephthys was also captured, but was thought more dangerous than Sutekh. Because of this, her mind was split up for safety. Her instincts were stored in a woman who was mummified alive, while her reasoning was stored in a canopic jar. Both of these were sealed up inside another pyramid.

In order to stop the criminals from escaping, the Osirans modified the civilisation of ancient Egypt. Between 8000 and 6000 BC, the Great Sphinx was built as a dispersal unit. They had the humans make the Pyramids, precisely made to be used to power the Osiran technology. The Pharaohs were changed, making them smarter and taller, so that they would follow the plan and build the proper pyramids. The Osirans also set up similar pyramids on Mars as receivers. They employed the alien Scaroth, the last of the Jagaroth race, to help design the pyramids and convinced him that it was needed to develop humanity.

Unfortunately, in 2000 BC, grave robbers broke into Nephthys' tomb and the canopic jar was broken, though her reasoning wasn't able to escape. It was decided that a new place was needed, so Nyssa was chosen as a host for Nephthys' mind, since she was of a pure mind and incapable of being bent to Nephthys' will. She was put into hibernation for the next 4,000 years. (PROSE: The Sands of Time)

The last of the Osirans[]

In 1903, after receiving a wealth of information from the future, Grigori Rasputin saw Egyptian gods. (AUDIO: The Wanderer)

In 1911, Sutekh was finally discovered by Marcus Scarman, and Sutekh was able to control him. He used Scarman and several service robots to construct a missile, with which he would destroy the pyramid on Mars, freeing him to destroy all life in the universe. Sarah Jane Smith set off gelignite at the missile the robots were constructing, which Sutekh struggled to hold back with his mental powers, and the Fourth Doctor broke Sutekh's concentration to successfully set off the explosion Sutekh was mentally holding back. Sutekh had another plan to break through his imprisonment by having Scarman and a robot destroy the Eye of Horus that transmitted the signal from Mars that paralysed Sutekh on Earth by using the Doctor's TARDIS to reach Mars. Although this plan succeeded, he was stopped by the Doctor, who survived the robot's attempt on his life and used the two minutes between the destruction of the Eye of Horus and its signal ceasing to extend the threshold of time corridor Sutekh was using into the far future, effectively ageing Sutekh to death. (TV: Pyramids of Mars)

In 1996, Nyssa was set to awaken from her hibernation, allowing Nepthys' instinct — now restored in a clone of her original body — to reclaim her reasoning. Luckily, she had been switched with her double, the Lady Ann Cranleigh, to make it seem as if the reasoning had dissipated in 1926, the Doctor claiming that Nyssa had "woken up" into a more conventional coma at that point. The instinct then attempted to go back in time to when the reasoning had left, but soon ended up caught in a loop, travelling between 1926 and 1996 while acting purely on instinct, with no reason to realise what was happening to her, until the time differential eventually killed her as her repeated 140-year-round trips aged her to death. (PROSE: The Sands of Time)

In the 41st century, Sekhmet was awoken by trisilicate mining works. She killed Queen Elspera of Peladon, Princess Pandora of Earth and Princess Alixlyr of Mars and drank all their blood to break her blood locks. However, her attempt to kill the final lock, the temporally-displaced Earth pharaoh, Erimem, was stopped when Erimem poisoned her blood. Sekhmet was held in place by Alixlyr's twin brother, Prince Zixlyr, and Zixlyr killed Sekhmet with a Xanthoid volataliser. (AUDIO: The Bride of Peladon)

At some point, the Osirans created a gateway to enable them to depart their native universe for a higher one of four dimensions rather than three. Anubis was left behind by his comrades, both to oversee the gate and as a precaution against Sutekh's escape. The Tenth Doctor would later encounter him after Dorothy Bell merged with the Osiran quantum harvester. (COMIC: Spiral Staircase, Sins of the Father)

Other refereneces[]

When the Skith Leader scanned the Tenth Doctor's mind, Sutekh was among the alien creatures shown to him. (COMIC: The First)

Behind the scenes[]

Though the word Osiran is used consistently throughout Pyramids of Mars and the overwhelming majority of stories in other media, the novelisation to Pyramids favours the spelling "Osirian", as does the novel GodEngine and the True History of Faction Paradox audio series.

External links[]