Matrix Data Node: The First Cyberman

Reading Time Approx: 4 minutes

Orbit 802, Phase 3

Archived Data of First Cyberman Appearance in Public

This image pulled from Mondas’ archived news coverage shows the first public appearance of the CBE Suit. Developed by Professor Lucius Koren and his team developed the Cybernetic Biological Enhancement Suit with a goal of improving the quality of life of people who had survived major injury including loss of limb and severe burns. The patient (name lost from records), who was dismissively referred to as the Cyberman, created an uproar when unveiled.

Crowds gathered to protest what they saw as man tampering with nature, warning of what might follow if this was allowed uncontrolled. The unnatural look of what they saw, something barely human to outward appearances only added to the hostility and fear.

It’s the eyes. I can’t look it in the eyes.

Unnamed Observer, Orbit 802, Phase 3

Professor Koren, a visionary, driven by personal loss and a desire to improve the human race through technology argued that upgrading human bodies with cybernetic enhancements was the way to achieve this goal. Advocating strongly in favor of his experiments in national media, Koren pointed out that the patient in question would be dead without the CBE Suit and that thousands of lives could be saved through the application of this technology and further upgrades.

Despite resistance from a vocal and substantial minority the program is rapidly expanded with hundreds of volunteers for the treatment. CBE Suit facilities are established on all continents of Mondas and Koren is hailed as a genius.

Lucius Koren’s death at the age of 57 during Orbit 803, Phase 7 is shrouded in mystery, as records from this time period are scarce. It is said that Koren renounced his support for cybernetic enhancements following a traumatic event in Orbit 802, Phase 19, First Update, and refused to wear a CBE Suit. The period leading up to Cyber Conversion during Orbit 804, Phase 9 is mostly undocumented, but full records are available afterwards.


AI Driven Story Prompts

I wrote a post the other day about using the AI Text to Image Tool Midjourney to drive creativity and the above piece is a small example of that in action. The featured image on this post is something that spat out when I was just playing around. Originally I was just looking for some imagery to use on some non- posts, but then a notion popped into my head and that notion was quite simply “the first Cyberman”.

The first Cyberman, in a tense confrontation with a group of human protesters, who are calling for its destruction. The background is a public square, with a large crowd gathered to witness the event. The focus is on the Cyberman's unwavering determination, as it stands its ground in the face of opposition. Dark, intense, photorealistic, hyperrealistic, extremely detailed, depth of field, beautiful lighting, cinematic --ar 16:9

This prompt relies on Midjourney already knowing what a Cyberman looks like, which given Doctor Who’s presence on the internet, it does, although of course they have looked very different over the years. I deliberately did not give it a detailed description because this is supposed to be the very first Cyberman ever. The resulting image was really just an idle fancy on my part but the slightly misshapen nature of the Cyberman plus the “archival footage” nature of the final image set my mind to pondering. How exactly did the Cybermen come about? Broadly we know that Cybermen evolved on Mondas (or at least that’s one of their origins because, surprise, Doctor Who is contradictory on this point), but we don’t really know the details of what happened and I wanted to come up with one possible explanation. But I needed more raw data to work with.

So, I turned to ChatGPT and asked it to come up with a name for me (Lucius Koren) and to invent a calendar for Mondas. Yes Orbits and Phases are made up but they aren’t purely random:

This calendar system was called the "Mondasian Cycle." The Mondasian Cycle was divided into 400 "Orbits," each lasting approximately 870 Earth days.

The Mondasians also had a unique way of counting the days within each Orbit. Instead of using a decimal system like Earth, they used a base-20 system, with each Orbit being divided into 20 "Phases." Each Phase lasted for approximately 43 Earth days.

In addition to the Mondasian Cycle, the Mondasians also marked important dates in their history, such as the "First Upgrade" and the "Day of Conversion," which were celebrated as significant events in the development of the Cybermen.

This calendar system would provide a unique and distinct cultural element for the Cybermen and their home planet, adding to the richness and depth of the "Doctor Who" universe.

Thanks ChatGPT! Now what I needed to do was weave this raw information into a scene. I chose the “Matrix Data Node” format because I wanted to leave a lot to the imagination here, giving just enough character and scene to, I hope, drive the readers imagination. What exactly happened that turned Koren against his own creations? Why are there no records of the period between First Update and Cyber Conversion, clearly the upheaval was bad. Even before then I wanted to tap in to human’s traditional fear and nervousness around major technological change (Hi again ChatGPT and Midjourney!) I didn’t want to actually give an origin so much as raise more questions about their origin, because the really interesting stuff is between the facts.

Did it work? You tell me.


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