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The following contains possible spoilers for classic and modern episodes of Doctor Who.


Where does the Mondasian colony ship from TV: World Enough and Time play into what we know about the timeline of Mondas?

The following is what I have gathered, please let me know if any of it is incorrect or if there is more to be added. This is also specific to the Mondasian timeline. Cybermen originating from other independent sources (like Pete's World and Marinus) are not included.


It's 1986 on Earth when the "original" Mondasian Cybermen attempt to steal the life-force of Earth to replenish Mondas. Since Mondas had drifted to the edge of space, the Mondasians started "upgrading" themselves to survive. At this point the Mondasians have all been converted to Cybermen and have technology advanced enough to pilot Mondas ~200 light-years next to Earth (AUDIO: The Silver Turk). These Cybermen were thwarted by the First Doctor and Mondas was destroyed. (TV: The Tenth Planet)

After Mondas was destroyed, it seems some the surviving Cybermen split up, some sticking around Earth while others traveled to Telos and Lonsis (AUDIO: Human Resources). The Cybermen on Earth presumably hid in the London Sewers while they hatched a plan in the late 1900s ('87-'99) to paralyze the Earth with a hypnotic signal, boosted by their ship on the dark side of the Moon. Their ship is ultimately destroyed by a Russian rocket, thanks to the Second Doctor (TV: The Invasion).

In 1988 the Seventh Doctor prevents the Cyber-Leader's plans of converting Earth into "New Mondas" (TV: Silver Nemesis). Unknown what point in time/path these Mondasian Cybermen are from.

It's 2070 on Earth and the Cybermen are still weak. They plan an attack on Earth's Moonbase to rebuild their numbers (TV: The Moonbase). Around the same time (2079), they invade Earth's Space Station W3 to use it as "a becaon for their invasion fleet" and are both times thwarted by the Second Doctor (TV: The Wheel in Space). The Cybermen fell back to Planet 14, using it as a base (PROSE: Killing Ground).

After Mondas was destroyed, some surviving Cybermen traveled to Telos and killed most of the native Cyrons. The Cryons required sub-zero temperatures to survive and lived in underground refrigerated cities which the Cybermen took over to cryogenically freeze themselves. It's the 2400s (400-500 Earth-years after Mondas is destroyed), and there's an attempt to revive the Cybermen by an archaeological expedition from Earth. The Second Doctor destroys the Cyber-Controller and reseals their "tombs" (TV: The Tomb of the Cybermen).

It's somewhere around 2495-2530 and the Cybermen from Telos are awakening from their tombs. They have a new/rebuilt Cyber-Controller and have taken a timeship that landed on Telos. They travel back to 1985, one year before Mondas is destroyed, and attempt to prevent its destruction. They park another ship on the dark side of the Moon and plan to redirect Halley's Comet into Earth, destroying it before Mondas absorbs a critical amount of energy. This time it's the Sixth Doctor facing against the Cyber-Controller whom he thought he had destroyed in his Second incarnation, seemingly destroying him for good (TV: Attack of the Cybermen).


Where does the Mondasian colony ship come into play? As far as I know, Mondas wasn't only Earth's twin, but they also evolved around the same time, in the same solar system, and in the same orbit (TV: The Tenth Planet). When the Moon formed, it knocked Mondas out of orbit (AUDIO: Spare Parts).

Since the colony ship was built for Mondasians, it must be before Mondas converted itself into Cybermen, which they only did because they were floating in the vastness of space. It seems if they had a colony ship, they could board that and leave Mondas behind, no upgrades required. This leads me to believe it was before Mondas was thrown from orbit, but that back was when the Moon was formed and Humans nor Mondasians didn't have the technological capability to build such a ship.

This would place the creation of the Mondasian colony ship between of the formation of the Moon and 1986. This seems seems very unlikely considering Earth's progress at that time. Significant jumps in technology didn't occur until after the Mondasians were cyber-converted. When the cyber-conversions started, they had underground cities roughly equivalent to England in the 1950s (AUDIO: Spare Parts) which means Mondasians could not have built the colony ship before they were cyber-converted.

This leads me to ask, did any native Mondasians survive the cyber-conversions and the destruction of Mondas? We know there were two Cyber factions, the Mondans and the Faction, the latter colonizing Planet 14 and the former piloting Mondas to Earth (PROSE: Iceberg). Perhaps non-converted Mondasians were able to travel somewhere, creating the colony ship in their far future?

The colony ship came from Mondas, meaning it was built there and leaving to pick up colonists. It left with a skeleton crew, including Jorj who I believe he was the only non-Mondasian (TV: World Enough and Time).

(Rhetorical questions:) Was the ship built by the Cybermen to gather more people to upgrade in an attempt to replenish the energy of the planet (placing this before the events of TV: The Tenth Planet, only to have it never return? Did a few Cybermen come along to jump start the conversion factories? Where did the non-cyber crew come from, did they make a pit-stop knowing they needed a human population to convert? Did the Mondasians on board resort to what their ancestors did when Mondas was in the vastness of space and upgrade themselves, or did it evolve independently of Mondas (before/after)?

When was the colony ship constructed?

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This is a very well researched question! If you haven't already read David Banks's "Cybermen", I strongly urge you to seek out a copy; he's put the same kind of effort into analysing the chronology of the Cyber-stories you did.

(And that book really goes into detail about the cyberFaction and their split from the cyberMondasians!)

Now... I think the key to the question is the following paragraph:

Since the colony ship was built for Mondasians, it must be before Mondas converted itself into Cybermen, which they only did because they were floating in the vastness of space. It seems if they had a colony ship, they could board that and leave Mondas behind, no upgrades required.

As I understand it, the conversion of the Mondasians into Cybermen was a slow, gradual process which may have encompassed many generations.

For example, some of the Mondasians may have needed life support chest packs at one point, most of them could have needed them thirty years later, and it might have been another decade before the government just mandated them for everybody. I'm speculating, but that's how I imagine it going. You'll notice that the Cybermen on the colony ship were all partially converted at first, but the helmets/handles/chest packs/weapons were added to them in a later operation. I would imagine each Mondasian had several operations over a long time period, becoming a little less human each time.

The construction of something as large as a colony ship would have been an enormous engineering project over a similarly large timescale.

I would theorise that some or all of the people on Mondas disagreed on how to handle the crisis, and that the colony ship was constructed because a lot of the leaders didn't think Mondas could be returned to the Solar System in time. It could have held a lot of Mondasians, but perhaps not the whole planet's population - imagine a colony ship constructed by present-day humans with room for "only" 2,000,000,000 people!

At some point, Mondasians who've voted "we need to abandon the planet and try our luck with this colony ship as it looks for another sun or habitable world, we can keep alive on there for generations" evacuate onto the ship. By this point, some of them are in various stages of partial conversion, but there are still some people unaffected. They take with them enough of the current state of Cyber-technology for several future upgrades, build factories on the ship to make more, take research documents by Cybernisation R&D to study...

When the cyber-conversions started, they had underground cities roughly equivalent to England in the 1950s (AUDIO: Spare Parts) which means Mondasians could not have built the colony ship before they were cyber-converted.

I think this stems from other aspects of enginnering, technology and scientific R&D being neglected in favour of those necessary for the Cyber program. Or, possibly, later generations lost the technology as they weren't able to sustain large enough unconverted populations to maintain it.

Over time, both Mondasian populations eventually become Cybermen. Maybe the more quasi-rural parts of the colony ship just couldn't support a large enough population for long enough. Maybe the colony ship had been in space longer than expected, its ecosystem was running dry and resuming the Cybernisation program was the only way for most people to survive. They wouldn't have been developing their own tech for the most part - they're using what they took from Mondas - but there would be some divergence in technology since neither population had had the full conversion process developed when the ship left. And this would be exacerbated by the Master trying to hurry the process along.

We can see evidence of this in the shape of minor differences between these Cybermen. Cyber-Bill-Potts is:

  • A good couple of feet shorter than any of the Tenth-Planet Cybermen.
  • The remains of her pre-conversion human eyes are behind the eye sockets, not behind the mouth (you could see this in some scenes in Tenth Planet!)
  • Her built-in weapon is in the lamp on her head, not the one below her chest/stomach pack.
  • And maybe others I didn't notice!

To pick up another thread from your question - "did any native Mondasians survive the cyber-conversions and the destruction of Mondas?" Well, the farming population Bill and the Doctor encountered on the ship did. I don't think anyone who stayed on Mondas would have, but maybe other colony ships were launched which fared better.

And some strong minds do seem able to partially or fully resist the Cyber-conversion process even when their whole body has been converted.

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  • I'm guessing you haven't heard Spare Parts, which details how and why the cyber-conversions started and expanded. Also, you're forgetting the influence of "Razor" on the colony ship. – OrangeDog Jan 21 at 11:55
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    @OrangeDog Actually, I did take "Razor" into account, when I mentioned "the Master trying to hurry the (cybernisation) process along." – Astrid_Redfern Jan 21 at 19:32
  • @OrangeDog But it is true that I haven't heard "Spare Parts". Now, although the prose and the audio are of doubtful canonicity, I'd like to try to keep everything consistent. Using Wikipedia to check this one up, I note that there were partially cybernised police officers on Mondas prior to the conversion of full Cybermen, so the idea that some partially-converted Mondasians were on the colony ship from the start, and that they took R&D work on the Cyber-process with them, seems consistent to me. I think my answer still stands, but please elaborate if you disagree. – Astrid_Redfern Jan 21 at 19:36
  • Note: My headcanon has always involved the advance of cybernisation on Mondas being little-by-little, more and more parts being replaced as the harshness of life without a sun takes an increasing toll on their bodies. I headcanon the Cybermen's lost emotions as something that started with Mondasians going insane, due to body horror at what they'd become plus the effects of living in an environment that's killing them and their children. Well-meaning doctors administer drugs that suppress emotions, the doses increase... until the Cyber-parts are pumping these chemicals into their brains 24/7. – Astrid_Redfern Jan 21 at 19:45
  • So... I may be a bit quick to dismiss Spare Parts for not fitting that headcanon. Let me know what you think, fellow Whovians! – Astrid_Redfern Jan 21 at 19:45
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The Colony Ship was built to pick up colonists on a different planet and only had a mondasian crew of fifty, one being a non-human, Jorj the janitor, if it really was constructed and departed because of Mondas being knocked from it’s orbit the ship should be full of people. It wouldn’t make sense to construct a ship as big as the Colony Ship to pick up colonists on a different planet when the planet it was constructed on (Mondas) was itself on the verge of extinction and would need a ship that size for themselves, let alone building one for another race. So I think that it left before Mondas was knocked from its orbit. We know that Mondas was a very advanced civilisation when the humans on earth were in the hunter gathering stage (David Banks The Archive Tapes) I think that Mondas got involved in some sort of intergalactic trading, building colony ships for other planets and picking up the colonists, so the events of the S10 Finale play out, one in many Colony Ships constructed on the moon, leaves Mondas and on Day 43 (Blogs of Doom: Jorj) the ship got stuck by a black hole, and we know the rest.

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