Nightmare In Silver


After being blackmailed by the two brats Clara looks after, the Doctor delivers them to what he believes is the greatest amusement park in the galaxy. However, what the four travelers find when they exit the TARDIS appears to be a bit rundown. They are quickly approached by a scruffy gentleman in a top hat who is looking for his ride off planet. Before the conversation can go much further, the TARDIS crew members are surrounded by a platoon of soldiers and the gentleman slips away. Using his psychic paper, the Doctor convinces the platoon Captain that he is an official of the Empire. They leave the foursome on their own as they continue on their patrol.

As the troops leave, the gentleman returns and directs them to follow him to his ship and his collection, Webley's World of Wonders. To the Doctor's surprise, part of Webley's collection is a Cyberman sitting at a table. At first it appears active, but on further inspection, it is an empty shell. Somehow, though, it is still able to move and play chess. Webley offers them a silver penny if they can figure out how the Cyberman is able to move without any apparent circuitry. The challenge is not at all hard for the Doctor. He quickly discovers the little person hidden in a compartment under the table controlling the Cyberman's chess moves.

The little person's name is Porridge, and he offers to turn the anti-gravity back on so the kids can enjoy the Spacey Zoomey Ride. After a bit of floating about, Clara decides it is probably best to get the kids back home. The Doctor, however, has other ideas. Something has piqued his curiosity, and he wants to stay to investigate further. They all return to Webley's ship, and the tired kids lie down to take a nap. The Doctor warns them not to wander off as he and Clara leave them to rest.

Meanwhile, Webley's chess playing Cyberman has become distinctly more hostile. It grabs Webley and holds him as a swarm of bug-like cybernites swarm up his arm and begin the upgrade process on the helpless man.

As the Doctor looks around, Porridge fills Clara in on the Empires war against the Cybermen. The only way the Empire was able to stop the Cyberman advance, was by obliterating an entire galaxy with the cyber creatures in it.

Back at Webley's ship, Angie disobeys the Doctor's orders and leaves her brother alone in the ship as she wanders off and finds her way to the soldier's base. Poor Artie is left in a scary dark ship and at the mercy of a cyberman who garbs him.

Just as the Doctor and Clara have tracked Angie to the soldier's bas camp, a Cyberman bursts through the door. This Cyberman is a bit different than those in the past. It has been upgraded and now can move at blazingly fast speeds. It moves into the base, grabs Angie, and leaves before anyone can blink.

The Doctor takes a few seconds to question the Captain and discover that the platoon members are basically untrained and ill equipped. They were assigned to this abandoned planet as a punishment, they were never expected to face combat. As a solution, the Doctor puts Clara in charge of the crew and tells her to fortify their defenses, and very specifically do not let anyone blow up the planet. Clara quickly determines that their most defensible position would be at Natty Long Shoes Comical Castle at the center of the park.

On Angie's trail, the Doctor discovers a few Cybermites back at Webley's ship and is able to use their signal frequency to transmat himself to the cyber base. There he finds Angie, Artie and Webley already well into the cyber upgrade process. Thanks to a chatty Cyber-Webley, the Doctor learns that though the humans had thought they had been destroyed, but actually the the Cybermen had planned ahead and sent the Cyberiad to this backwater planet as a back up to maintain the Cyber race. Over the years, the Cyberiad had been slowly replenishing their ranks.

At first the Cyberiad coveted the children as perfect upgrade material, but after scanning the Doctor's brain, it decides the Doctor would be a magnificent acquisition. To that end, a swarm of Cybermites attack the Doctor and he is quickly overwhelmed. At first it appears that the Cyberiad has taken control of his body, but the Doctor is still inside and fighting to maintain control. The Doctor threatens to regenerate in order to burn the Cyber infection out of his body. This ploy causes the Cyberiad to pause in its advance through the Doctor's body. Essentially at a stalemate, the Doctor proposes a game of chess to determine control over his body.

Meanwhile back at the castle, Clara discovers how limited the platoon's supply of weapons is. One disintegrator with limited charges and a few cyber disruption gloves are all they have. That is, except for the explosive device that will implode the whole planet. Clara quickly appropriates the device's trigger. Porridge supports her determination not to use the device, and for some reason the Captain seems obedient to Porridge. It is becoming obvious that there is more to Porridge than Clara knows.

Despite Clara and Porridge's wishes, the Captain believes she can redeem herself by not letting the Cybermen off the planet and she attempts to voice activate the device. Unfortunately, before she can accomplish this, she is shot and killed by a Cyberman while standing  in front of a castle window.

Involved in his game of chess, the Doctor has decided to make a surprise move. Knowing the Cyberiad can still be affected by gold, the Doctor slaps a piece of gold foil to the cyber circuitry on his face in order to interfere with the Cyberiad's control of his body. With control of his body again, the Doctor gathers up the chess board, Webley, and the two kids and returns to Clara at the castle. He instructs her to quickly restrain him before the Cyberiad can adapt to the gold, and leave his hands free to continue playing chess.

As predicted, the Cyberiad is able to re-establish partial control of the Doctor and additionally is able to activate the remaining Cybermen on the planet and direct them to the castle.

The Cyberiad tries to trick Clara into giving him the explosive trigger device, but she realizes it isn't the real Doctor talking. She does, unfortunately, get close enough to him that he is able to grab the device from her hand and destroy it anyway. It now looks like there is no way left to activate the bomb as a last ditch ploy to stop the Cybermen.

As Clara goes off to confront the millions of Cybermen now at the castle's gates, the Doctor begins struggling for advantage with the Cyberiad. The Cyberiad offers to return the kids in exchange for the Doctor sacrificing his queen for his next chess move. Of course the Doctor takes the deal, and sure enough, the Cyberiad releases the two kids.

Meanwhile, Clara and the remainder of her platoon literally have there backs to the wall as the Cybermen adapt to whatever defense the doomed soldiers can muster. Just as it looks like all is lost and the Cybermen are reaching out to administer an upgrade, the Doctor makes his move.

With plenty of arrogance, the Doctor brags that he will now defeat the Cyberiad in three moves, after all the Time Lords invented chess. Frustrated by this new possibility, the Cyberiad harnesses the processing power of all three million Cybermen surrounding the castle, causing them all to freeze in mid stride. Clara and her Platoon are able to escape to safety. Too bad for the Cyberiad, the Doctor's three moves turn out to be picking up the cyber disruption glove off of Porridge who is unconscious at the Doctor's feet, putting the glove on, and slapping the device to the circuitry on his own face. The electrical charge forces the Cyberiad out of the Doctor's body for good.

Unfortunatley, the Cyberiad has just been returned to the minds of the three millionCybermen still attacking. The Doctor's only option appears to be to somehow activate the explosive device. A newly revived Angie suggests that he get Porridge to do it, he is obviously the Emperor. It Turns out that Porridge has been on the run fem his own Empire. He was disheartened by having to use the galaxy destroying device, and he no longer wanted to be Emperor. Faced with the prospect of three million Cybermen spreading across the universe, Porridge relents and voice activates the bomb. Seconds later his Imperial fleet transports he and his companions off the planet before it can explode. Thankfully, the Doctor is also able to transport his TARDIS away as well. The planet is destroyed along with the Cybermen, or so they all believe.

The Doctor says his goodbyes and returns Clara and the kids back home. The mystery of the impossible girl still perplexes him, however.