The Nestene Consciousness was a being of pure psychic energy, somewhat cephalopod-like in appearance. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons, PROSE: Synthespians™) The Nestenes were able to manifest in many forms, and whose biology was similar to the molecular structure of Earth plastics. (PROSE: Autonomy) The Consciousness had the ability to possess plastic, shunting some of its consciousness into it and making it quasi-organic. While they were part of the group mind, Autons seemed to have some individuality, such as when Channing could directly control another Auton and was unaware when the Scobie Replica was destroyed. A Nestene creature served as the central brain/nervous system for Autons, but required the intelligence of all energy units to be created.
Over the course of its invasions it possessed the Autons (TV: Spearhead from Space et. all), inflatable chairs, dolls, telephone cords, plastic daffodils designed by the Master, (TV: Terror of the Autons) and rubbish bins (TV: Rose). The Nestene could transport sections of its mind through radio waves. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons) It could also create a body out of the plastic itself, allowing it to manipulate its surroundings, (TV: Spearhead from Space) though a Nestene's original body was large enough to dwarf a radio telescope. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons) After the stresses of a war, it manifested as a more liquid form, which had a humanoid face. (TV: Rose)
The Nestene Consciousness was a telepathic gestalt entity. It travelled through space in hollow spheres known as energy units. These units made planetfall in formation, appearing like normal meteorites to indigenous lifeforms. When they became active, the spheres would pulse with light and ring with electronic beeps. Once the consciousness within those spheres was recombined and placed in an environment tank, the Nestene Consciousness would take on a form that it believes to be perfectly adapted to the planet on which it has landed. (TV: Spearhead from Space)
On some worlds, its takeover strategy was as follows: The first spheres to arrive would attempt to place a local being under some form of mental control. It would then take over a plastics company and fashion plastic automatons known as Autons. These Autons might include replicas of key authority figures as well as simpler automatons. The Nestene would then use the Autons as an army to conquer the planet. (TV: Spearhead from Space) Autons were controlled on the astral plane, and sub-etheric beams could disrupt this telepathic control. (PROSE: Synthespians™) In some cases, the Nestene required a relay station or transmitter to control Autons. This only seems to be necessary to control large numbers at once. (TV: Rose)
While the Nestenes were a gestalt, they could separate parts of the Nestene Mind for invasions so as not to risk the entire Consciousness. With this, if an invasion failed the rest of the Consciousness would know about it. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion)
At the beginning of the universe, Shub-Niggurath came into this universe from the previous universe pregnant. She was able to deliver her child on Polymos, who infused into the entire planet. This Nestene Consciousness created Swarm Leaders, which it sent out to other planets. (PROSE: Synthespians™) The Nestenes' original appearance was that of a cephalapod, before transcending their bodies to become pure energy. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion)
The Consciousness, lead by the Nestene High Command, (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons) had been invading planets for billions of years. They used these planets for sources of plastic and protein. At first they sent several plastic meteors to a planet. These asteroids could telepathically control specially created plastics, but were more effective when combined. The Nestene Consciousness would next control people to create Auton forces to help with further waves of invasions. Some of the planets which the Nestene Consciousness took over includes Cramodar and Plovak 6. (PROSE: Synthespians™)
In 102, the Nestene were among the factions who joined the Alliance. They came to Stonehenge and helped imprison the Eleventh Doctor in the Pandorica in order to save the universe. As well as the obvious spaceships, they also created a legion of Autons disguised as Roman soldiers. These Autons, believing themselves to be genuine Roman soldiers, tricked the Doctor, who realised too late what they were, and imprisoned him in the Pandorica. (TV: The Pandorica Opens) When the plan failed, the Autons and the Nestene were turned to dust and removed from the universe along with the rest of creation, except for an Auton copy of Rory Williams, who rebelled against his nature and tried to help the Doctor. They were returned when the Doctor managed to "reset" the universe. (TV: The Big Bang)
The Nestene's first attempt to invade the Earth in the 20th century, using human-looking Autons to replace key government figures, was thwarted by UNIT with the help of the Third Doctor. The remains from this attempt were stored by UNIT. (TV: Spearhead from Space)
In their next attempt, the Master obtained one of the Nestene meteors and took over a plastics company. Using the company to create fake daffodils, disguised Autons would hand out these flowers for free. Eventually, once millions had been distributed, the Nestene would activate them by remote radio signals, causing them to suffocate and kill millions of people. The Master also created dolls, inflatable chairs and telephone cords to kill difficult individuals. The Third Doctor was able to figure out this plan. He convinced the Master that the Nestenes were too dangerous to be reliable allies, and they reversed the radio beam the invasion force was coming in on, sending it back into space. (TV: Terror of the Autons)
The Sixth Doctor helped UNIT to defeat another Nestene invasion. This did not appear to tax him overly, as he found time to take dance lessons during a lull in the crisis. (PROSE: Teach Yourself Ballroom Dancing)
In 1989, the Nestene Consciousness tried to take over Earth using the computer company SenéNet. The Sixth Doctor, Mel and the Brigadier prevented the Consciousness from taking over the Earth. (PROSE: Business Unusual) At the same time, it established a front operation called Galaxy Plastics Inc, and was still operational and undiscovered in August 1990. (COMIC: Business as Usual)
Circa the 1990s an Auton replica known as Alisha Hammerson set up the Hammerson Plastic PLC company. On New Year's Eve, 1999, she planned to replace several key figures in the plastic industry with Auton replicas, in order that the Earth could be dominated and absorbed. The Seventh Doctor and Mel, gate-crashing the party, broke the Nestene link which de-activated her. (COMIC: Plastic Millennium)
In the late 1990s, Doctor Sally Arnold whilst attempting to discover an energy unit's function reactivated it using UNIT's deep space satellite, it in turn communicated with the Nestene Consciousness and provided it power to activate several Autons from the Nestene's first invasion attempt. The energy unit was forced to adapt to the new environment allowing the energy unit to move around the facility and locate the remnant of the Nestene body from its first Earth invasion attempt. It eventually escaped the UNIT warehouse and attempted to invade Earth again, this was thwarted by UNIT's cybernetically enhanced agent Lockwood and his team. (HOMEVID: Auton, Auton 2: Sentinel, Auton 3: Awakening)
In 2005, the Nestenes infiltrated Earth once more, using warp shunt technology. The Nestenes had lost their food planets in a war, so their intention was to overthrow and destroy the human race, as Earth was ideal for their consumption needs, being filled with smoke, oil and various pollutants. Rose Tyler eventually defeated them by knocking a vial of anti-plastic solution that one of the Autons had confiscated from the Ninth Doctor into the vat of molten plastic which housed the main bulk of the Consciousness, causing it to explode. (TV: Rose)
In the 101st century, the Nestene Consciousness was attempting to completely leave Polymos after an invasion by the Time Lords. It chose the New Earth Republic and attempted to transport its entire body to Reef Station One with the help of Walter J. Matheson. It was stopped by the Sixth Doctor, who trapped it in the body of an advanced Auton. (PROSE: Synthespians™)
Behind the scenes edit
- When they were first introduced, they were referred to only as "the Nestenes" in Spearhead from Space. The actual name "Nestene Consciousness" seems to originate from the novelisation Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion.
- The Nestene Consciousness are one of the only two villains, along with the Master, that appeared in two post-regeneration stories.
- According to non-narrative material in the Doctor Who Annual 2006 which this wiki does not consider a valid source, the Time War caused the Nestene Consciousness to lose all of its protein planets, and it found itself mutating under temporal stress. This verifies a comment the Ninth Doctor makes in Rose, in which he states the Nestene lost all its protein planets during a "war".