|Sword of Orion|
|Main enemy:||The Cybermen|
|Main setting:||The Garazone System, 2503|
|Publisher:||Big Finish Productions|
|Post production:||Nicholas Briggs|
|Cover by:||Clayton Hickman|
|Release date:||February 2001|
|Format:||4 Episodes on 2 CDs|
|Big Finish Doctor Who audio stories|
|Storm Warning||The Stones of Venice|
Sword of Orion was the seventeenth monthly Doctor Who audio story produced by Big Finish Productions. This was a double first, being the first Big Finish story to feature the Cybermen, and the first Eighth Doctor story to feature the Cybermen. This is also another of Big Finish's stories which was originally created as part of the Audio Visuals, a fan produced series which featured many people who went onto create and work for Big Finish and BBV Productions. Nicholas Briggs filled many roles in the production of this story — he provided the voice of the Cybermen, sound design, music, direction, and writing; his appearance as the voice of the Cybermen here predates TV: Rise of the Cybermen.
Publisher's summary Edit
The human race is locked in deadly combat with the "Android Hordes" in the Orion System. Light years from the front line, the Eighth Doctor and Charley arrive to sample the dubious delights of a galactic backwater, little suspecting that the consequences of the Orion War might reach them there. But High Command's lust for victory knows no bounds.
Trapped aboard a mysterious, derelict star destroyer, the Doctor and Charley find themselves facing summary execution. But this is only the beginning of their troubles. The real danger has yet to awaken.
Part 1 Edit
Charley is worried about Ramsey looking ill. She and the Doctor can't carry him to the control room and Ramsey is dying from being away too long from the time vortex. The Doctor decides that there is one way to restore Ramsey back to health, but doesn’t tell Charley, who is flustered to know.
2503. The Orion War continues to rage and a ship called the Silver Jackal receives contact from a patrol ship. Onboard the Silver Jackal, Digly convinces the patrol ship to leave so they can salvage an area in space. Digly wakes up Captain Thinnes and then picks up something on radar—an abandoned star destroyer. Captain Thinnes decides to go onboard the star destroyer to investigate and find “souvenirs”.
Captain Thinnes and Digly don their spacesuits and enter the star destroyer. They sense a foul stench onboard, but before they continue, something heads towards them. They open fire, but it is not harmed. They retreat, but they are killed by the figure.
The TARDIS lands in a bazaar on the Garazone Central. Charley tries to communicate with a merchant to get help for Ramsey, but Charley is slightly disturbed by the merchant’s suggestive compliments to her. She gives up and meets up with the Doctor, who also hasn’t found anything. The Doctor and Charley then check out another shop in the bazaar and decide to look around. The Doctor convinces the shopkeeper, Ike, that they are Customs and Excise officials so they can browse peacefully and the Doctor comes across a recorder. The Doctor and Charley then find a golden plated Cyber head in the shop and the Doctor recognizes it.
Outside, Ike contacts a man named Grash and Ike expresses concern about the disappearances of Thinnes and Digly as well as the Silver Jackal. Grash orders him to calm down, but Ike thinks that his shop is about to be “rumbled” by two individuals. Grash then tells Ike that Captain Obermann has been transferred to the Vanguard. And a new captain has been brought onboard and brought forward the disembarkation time. Grash urgently tells Ike to leave the shop and get to the docking bay immediately.
Back in the shop, Charley asks the Doctor the length of the Cyber-War. The Doctor answers that it was a very long time and informs her that the Cybermen remain in their tombs on Telos for the time being. The Doctor and Charley then notice that Ike has abandoned them. Charley thinks that he has gone to get his “smuggler friends” to beat them to a pulp, but the Doctor disagrees. Charley reminds the Doctor that he told Ike where the TARDIS was and confirms that the Doctor is indeed worried. The Doctor orders Charley to take a “grav-pad” and the nearby book of ancient remedies. Charley protests that this would be theft, but the Doctor remarks that it’s probably stolen anyway and they run from the shop.
A man named Vol contacts the Vanguard captain from the docking bay. The Captain asks for the status of the supplies. Vol answers that they are in place, but he has to check each of them. The Captain responds that this would take too long and they are to load them immediately, disobeying procedures.
The Doctor and Charley activate the grav-pads, which excite Charley and head to the warehouse, where the TARDIS is parked. They then spot the TARDIS being loaded onto the Vanguard as cargo. Charley sees that the cargo number is 38B. The Doctor then tells Charley that they have less than ten minutes to get onboard before it takes off. Ike arrives onboard and Captain Jensen orders Vol to blast them off. The Vanguard leaves the docking bay.
It is then revealed that the Doctor and Charley were successful in stowing away onboard thanks to the sonic screwdrivier. They then begin to search for the TARDIS in the cargo area for 38B. Charley feels a vibration on the wall and the Doctor confirms that this is from some sort of interstellar drive for ship that is moving really fast. The Doctor sees that the Vanguard is a scrap ship and wonders why they are in such a hurry. Charley sees that they are now in 38A, but then hear a noise that indicates that there may be something wrong with the engines.
On the bridge, a proximity alarm sounds and Vol then orders Ike to cut the power on the engines. The engines die just when Charley finds 38B, but the Doctor remarks that they better get off the ship because cutting off the engines in midflight of this ship is dangerous.
The Vanguard then picks up on radar that they have come across an abandoned star destroyer. Captain Jensen orders a maneuver, but the engines have been cut off. Jensen reluctantly orders to initiate the hyperdrive. Ike and Vol protest that they just cut the engine off and that restarted would be dangerous and would also take time to power up again. Jensen insists her orders.
The Doctor and Charley come across the TARDIS and enter. The Doctor runs to the console and patches the TARDIS’ scanner to visual transmission of the Vanguard, meaning that from the TARDIS, they’ll be able to see what the Vanguard sees. They then see that there is a cold-looking star destroyer in front of the Vanguard. Charley sees that the star destroyer is moving towards them, but the Doctor sees that rather the Vanguard is moving towards it. The Doctor rushes the controls and decides it’s time to go. The TARDIS then stops suddenly. The Doctor then sees that the TARDIS has been caught in the Vanguard’s warp field, preventing them from travelling away. Ramsey would feel better from the temporal time feedback that surged when the TARDIS failed to leave. The warp field’s energy has dissipated and the TARDIS has materialized. It feels cold and Charley senses a foul stench. The Doctor and Charley look outside the TARDIS and realized that they have landed onboard the star destroyer.
Grash and Captain Jensen argue about spacewalking, but Jensen offers to double their bonuses if they investigate. Grash then takes crew members Chev and Kelsey to investigate.
On the star destroyer, the Doctor and Charley hear the sounds of the Vanguard crew approaching from afar. The Doctor decides that it’s time to leave, but as they approach the TARDIS, they hear a howling sound. The crew members hear this as well and decide to split up. Crew member Kelsey then discovers the TARDIS. Kelsey calls out for the others to look at what he found just when an unseen figure appears and attacks him. The figure utters “destroy”.
Part 2 Edit
A scream is heard. Jansen calls for the recon group and Ike responds that Kelsey is in some sort of trouble and requests backup. Jansen requests that she and Vol join them.
The Doctor and Charley hear the scream as well and come across the TARDIS and a severely injured Kelsey. The Doctor checks for a pulse, but it’s very weak and finds from his space suit that he’s a crew member of the Vanguard. Charley checks the name tag which reads Mark Kelsey. As Charley and the Doctor wonder who Kelsey’s assailant is, they hear footsteps approaching. Chev and Grash reveal themselves and are horrified to discover Kelsey’s body. The Doctor urges that Kelsey needs immediate medical attention ASAP, but Jansen’s crew draw their weapons and hold the Doctor and Charley at gunpoint, thinking they were responsible for Kelsey’s attack. Grash contacts Jansen and reports to her that Kelsey’s body has been found as well as the “murderers”. The Doctor then checks for a pulse from Kelsey, but he has succumbed to his wounds. Jensen orders Grash and Chev to turn on their cameras for a visual confirmation and Jansen sees it for herself. Grash requests permission to kill the Doctor and Charley on her authority. Jansen, however, is convinced that there may be something else that killed Kelsey. Jensen orders them to bring the Doctor and Charley to the Vanguard and Charley is thankful that there’s a woman in charge.
As the Doctor and Charley are being brought on the Vanguard, Jansen orders Ike to examine Kelsey’s body. The Doctor and Charley introduce themselves to Jansen as travelers. Jansen asks why they were on the star destroyer and the Charley responds that they were “getting exercise” and looking around. Suddenly, Vol contacts Jansen and says that he has picked up a transmission, but can’t find where it’s coming from. Jansen orders Grash to scan them and finds the sonic screwdriver from the Doctor as well as a tracking device. The Doctor assures them that they are not transmitting anything. Jansen decides to confiscate them and Vol still picks up a transmission and the Doctor sees something moving in the shadows, but it vanished. Jansen asks what it was and Charley sees that it lead to the air locks and left behind scratch marks on the deck plates. Jansen then comes to the conclusion that the Doctor and Charley are not indeed responsible for Kelsey’s death. Grash then thinks that they could be androids, feeling from the Orion War, but Jansen tells him that the Orion War is light years away. Suddenly, the lights begin to flicker. Vol reports that there is some sort of power failure in their area and has activated several emergency batteries, but they’re not working.
Kelsey’s body is examined by Chev and Ike and they, too, notice the lights flickering. They try to contact Jansen, but they lose contact with her. The Doctor asks Jansen where the nearest power system maintenance is located on the ship and they go look for it. They then see that someone has burned a hole through the hatch as well as more scratches. The Doctor sees that whatever caused it has a highly focused weapon or an energy beam. Jansen hands the sonic screwdriver to the Doctor and he sees that the impact of the beam has damaged the cables and sees that the life support cables have been remained unharmed. Because of this, the Doctor realizes that something doesn’t want to kill them and whatever it is, it’s moving fast.
On the flight deck, Jansen asks Vol if there is any way to track down the intruder, but there doesn’t seem to be any. Chev berates Charley for killing Kelsey, but Charley remarks that if they weren’t so busy accusing her and the Doctor he’d still be alive. The Doctor calms everyone down and tells them that he can help them find out who did kill Kelsey. The Doctor then sees that everyone hasn’t changed her spacesuit since she got back and orders everyone to turn around. The Doctor notices that Grash’s backpack has a scratch mark on it, meaning that it snuck onboard the Vanguard while no one was looking. The Doctor then decides that the game plan is to reboot the power cables by shutting down the life support systems in deserted areas to draw out the intruder. Jansen, Grash and Charley stay on the flight deck while the Doctor, Vol and Chev try to shut down the life support systems. Charley assures Jansen and Grash that once they are done, they’ll be heading off, but the TARDIS is still on the star destroyer.
As the Doctor is doing his work, Vol and Chev ask the Doctor why he was on the star destroyer. The Doctor responds that he was “discovering, not murdering” and wants to head back there once this is over because that’s where he parked his “transport”. The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver and the security systems are back online. Vol tells the Doctor that he picked up a signal that is transmitting from the stern of the ship and it’s the same signal from earlier.
Meanwhile, the others see that the security systems are back online and there’s a signal in the star destroyer’s stern. The Doctor, Chev and Vol return to the others and Jansen asks the Doctor to join her on her salvage on the star destroyer. The others refuse and Grash accuses Jansen of endangering her whole crew and suddenly holds her at gunpoint and orders Ike and Vol to their stations and get them out of here. They reluctantly obey and set course for the Garazone system, but there is a malfunction—the engines are dead. The Doctor sees that the intruder as sabotaged the Vanguard’s engines. Jansen and the Doctor decide to go onboard the star destroyer, but Grash orders Charley to stay behind and won’t be waiting for them as soon as he gets the engines repaired.
The Doctor and Jansen enter the star destroyer and the Doctor asks Jansen why she cam here. Jansen says that this would be worth a lot in salvage. The Doctor hears a noise and tells Jansen to keep her gun in handy.
Meanwhile, Ike and Grash discuss about the Doctor and Charley and Ike recognizes them from his shop earlier. Chev asks why didn’t the Doctor and Charley say that recognize Ike and report to Jansen, but Ike doesn’t know. Grash deduces that they could blow this operation. Vol reports that the engines remain unresponsive. Grash orders Vol and Ike to go down to the engine room and repair the main drive. Charley says that whatever is down there could be hostile, which is why Grash will be sending Charley down there as bait.
The Doctor and Jansen continue their search, but then the Doctor runs into a Cyberman. The Cyberman lunges to attack them, but Jansen destroys it with her weapon and it alls to the floor. As the Doctor examines it, Jansen reveals that she knows about the Cybermen from majoring in galactic military history at a university and thought that they were extinct, much to the Doctor’s fascination. The Doctor opens the Cyberman’s faceplate open and sees a signal being transmitted. The signal that is being transmitted in the engine room onboard the Vanguard is a Cybermat. Suddenly, the Cyberman jerks violently, scaring Jansen. That was the Doctor tampering with the nervous system, meaning that something happened in the refrigeration process, and this was rogue. Jansen then realizes that there are other Cybermen onboard this ship, frozen in hibernation.
It is then revealed that the Cybermen are already awake…and have revived their Leader.
Part 3 Edit
The power is low due to the humans’ interference, but the Cybermat is still transmitting. One of the Cybermen orders two others to proceed to the Vanguard while the Cyber Leader will be restored.
Meanwhile, the Doctor and Jansen find a door to a large chamber, but it is locked. The Doctor sees that the controls have been disrupted by some sort of energy blast. Jansen suggests that it may have been an ion storm, which is common in the Garazone system. The Doctor then sees that this was why the hibernation unit malfunctioned as Jansen prepares to open the door. As they try to pry open the doors, an odor arises. The Doctor and Jansen realize that the odor is the smell of a thousand corpses onboard, which were in the middle of Cyber-conversion and the chamber was once active before the ion storm. The Doctor deduces that the Cybermen hibernated themselves hoping that they would be safe from the ion storms. Jansen detects that there is another chamber nearby.
In the engine room, Ike and Charley find the Cybermat. Grash orders Ike and Vol to wait until the Cybermat kills Charley and then kill it themselves. Vol disobeys and shoots the Cybermat, destroying it. Afterward, they see that the Cybermat has damaged the engines severely beyond repair. Grash then contacts Ike, who reports that the Cybermat has been destroyed. As Grash expresses his dismay, Chev says that someone is trying to open the airlock. Grash and Chev investigate the airlock, thinking that the Doctor and Jansen have returned. But it is revealed that they are actually two Cybermen. Grash opens fire on them, but they are unharmed. Chev runs away, but they stun Grash and prepare a controlling device for him.
The Doctor and Jansen then come across the chamber where the Cybermen are, but hide to avoid detection. There, they witness that the Cyber Leader has finally been restored. The Cyber Leader asks why his revival has been delayed. The Cybermen explain that there was a system failure from the humans. The Cyber Leader orders the humans on the Vanguard to be taken and converted. The Doctor and Jansen quietly sneak away and the Doctor informs her that they have got to find his ship, the TARDIS.
After the destruction of the Cybermat, Vol, Ike and Charley inspect it. The Cybermat then springs to life, but its weapon has been disabled. Vol decides to play with it, just when Chev appears, looking terrified. She informs them that Grash has been killed by whoever was in the airlock.
The Cybermen have restored the security systems and detect that two humans have been detected nearby. The Cyber Leader orders them to be captured immediately. Jansen and the Doctor hurry on their way to the TARDIS, just when they are cornered by the Cybermen. The Doctor and Jansen then hurry into the airlock to escape.
Charley and the others realize that the Cybermat was responsible for sabotaging the engines. Charley then sees something in the corridor as the others prepare their weapons. Grash then appears, much to Chev’s surprise. Grash calmly assures them that he has killed them, but there are more on the way, so they must fight back. Charley questions this, but Grash insists.
In the airlock, the Doctor tells Jansen that it’s a bit odd that the Cybermen on the star destroyer just gave up on chasing them. The Doctor and Jansen leave the airlock, but Cybermen confront them. Jansen fires and kills them just when Charley and the others meet up with them, just when Grash loses consciousness. Charley wonders what is going on and the Doctor explains that they are Cybermen, who were once humans like them, but have been converted into machines, removing emotions. Vol tells the Doctor that the Cybermat on the Vanguard has been disabled, but the Doctor tells them that since these two Cybermen have been killed, more will be coming. Jansen orders the airlock systems to be deactivated and Ike to take Grash back to his cabin. Jansen then orders the Doctor and Charley to return to the flight deck as she goes in alone.
Meanwhile, more Cybermen have been assembled. They managed to establish contact with the Cybermat, but it has been damaged. The Cyber Leader assures that it will be programmed with new instructions soon.
Vol asks the Doctor and Charley if they knew Ike because they met him back in his shop. The Doctor reminds him that now’s not the time as they are facing bigger concerns. Ike appears and the Doctor tells him that he’s not interested in his criminal activities. Charley then tells Ike that this is why they haven’t told Jansen. They then try to find Jansen on their security scan and they are fascinated to discover that she’s in the ship’s computer command module. Meanwhile, Jansen looks up information on the Doctor and discovers that he’s an alien who owns a “TARDIS”. Charley then tells the others that Jansen doesn’t seem to be like them. Chev agrees, seeing how Jansen’s always calm and never out of place. The Doctor agrees and also finds it odd how her weapon can take out Cybermen while they can’t. The Doctor asks Ike to get him into the computer’s databases just when an alarm alerts them. It is the Cybermen making their way through the airlock. The Doctor calls Ike to tell her that they need her to stop the Cybermen with her weapon as he leads the others away.
Jansen sees that the Doctor is from a different time period and has valuable information about the Cybermen. Ike then contacts Jansen and informs her that the Cybermen are breaking through the airlock and need her weapon. She confirms and heads back.
The Doctor orders Chev to open a shutter to see the Cybermen’s activities and sees that they are indeed trying to get in. Jansen arrives and they see that there are more Cybermen than they have ever encountered. Jansen arms her weapon as the others step back. The Doctor then finds another way of stopping them by discarding the outer door, trapping them in there since they only want the humans for conversion. The Doctor initiates this and they are trapped.
The Cyber Leader then initiates contact with the damaged Cybermat and the “human subject”. Jansen calls Vol and asks for an update about the trapped Cybermen, which are still unable to move. Chev has gone to check on Grash and Jansen tells the others that they should be safe. Charley then suspects something odd seeing how Grash just simply passed out earlier. And even before, Grash was attacked by the Cybermen and turned out too perfectly okay afterward. The Doctor then realizes that Grash has been under Cyber control.
The Cyber Leader establishes contact with Grash as Chev enters the room where Grash is, but he has gone. Suddenly, Jansen calls Chev and asks if he has taken his gun. Chev is skeptical, but the Doctor informs her that Grash is under Cyber control and he regained consciousness because the Cybermen have regained contact with him. Jansen orders Ike to alert Vol and Chev to step aside. Ike calls Vol and warns him that Grash is being controlled by the Cybermen and is heading towards him. Jansen decides to stop Grash herself, leaving the others behind. The Doctor then decides to look into the command access only computer file.
The Cybermen establish contact from the Cybermat and conclude that there is another way to the humans by creating another airlock by blocking off all reception areas. This will be carried out by Grash. The Cyber Leader initiates this and orders the Cybermat to assist Grash. Jansen calls Chev and Chev says that something might be following her.
The Doctor finds a Garazone Space Patrol file on the computer and finds information about a ship called the Silver Jackal. Ike confirms that it was a salvage ship that went missing along with its crew and its last known coordinates were located nearby where they are. On the file, it also says that the star destroyer was also found. Before they can look any further, they are locked out by the Tellurian military classification Orion D7 and the computer shuts itself down. Charley then remembers that she and the Doctor were mistaken as androids when they were first discovered. Ike tells them that according to Jansen, there were no androids outside Orion.
Chev approaches the airlock reception area and hears a noise. She calls out Grash’s name, but no response. Instead, she hears a high pitched sound and finds the Cybermat and screams.
Part 4 Edit
to be added
- The Doctor - Paul McGann
- Charley Pollard - India Fisher
- Thinnes - Mark Gatiss
- Digly - Barnaby Edwards
- Ike - Ian Marr
- Grash - Bruce Montague
- Vol - Hylton Collins
- Deeva Jansen - Michelle Livingstone
- Chev - Helen Goldwyn
- Kelsey - Toby Longworth
- The Cybermen - Nicholas Briggs, Alistair Lock
Real World Edit
- Charley mentions Aladdin's cave.
The Doctor Edit
- The Doctor finds a recorder in the smugglers shop and plays it to Charley; he has lost practice. (TV: The Power of the Daleks et al.)
- The Doctor tells Charley to grab a book and take it with them from the smugglers' shop without paying for it. Charley makes note of this but the Doctor claims that "it's probably stolen anyway".
- While on board the star destroyer the Doctor mentions feeling something waking up, unknowingly referencing his encounter with the Cybermen on Telos in his second incarnation. (TV: The Tomb of the Cybermen)
- A Cybermat is present on the Cybermen's ship.
- Deeva has in her possession a powerful gun which is able to destroy Cybermen.
- Sword of Orion is a remake of the Audio Visuals audio drama of the same name.
- An illustrated preview for this story by Lee Sullivan appeared in DWM 301.
- This story marks the first appearance of the Cybermen in an audio drama.
- This audio drama was recorded on 16 and 17 May 2000 at studios in Bristol.
- Nicholas Briggs' score to this story was released on the CD Music from the Eighth Doctor Audio Adventures, alongside the other three initial Eighth Doctor audios.
- The story formed part of an Eighth Doctor series on BBC Radio 7 in 2005, alongside the stories Shada, Storm Warning, The Stones of Venice, Invaders from Mars and The Chimes of Midnight,and has been repeated on multiple occassions since. This led to the commissioning of the original seriesThe Eighth Doctor Adventures, debuting on the digital station in December 2006. Due to a limited timeslot, scenes were edited out of these versions; excluding Shada andThe Chimes of Midnight, these were collated into The Eighth Doctor Collection in 2008 with an exclusive behind-the-scenes documentary and booklet. Minuet in Hell was excluded from broadcast due to its adult themes.
- Ramsay is feeling sick for being outside the Time Vortex for too long. (AUDIO: Storm Warning)
- The Cybermen refer to their encounter with the Doctor on Planet 14. (TV: The Invasion)
- A secret government organisation called Scorpius was formed in the aftermath of the Sword of Orion incident. (AUDIO: Scorpius)
- Official Sword of Orion page at bigfinish.com; note that it is out of print and is available as download only.
- Sword of Orion at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- DisContinuity for Sword of Orion at Tetrapyriarbus - The DisContinuity Guide
- Transcript of Sword of Orion at Chrissie's Transcripts Site