Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

The Osirans
Sutekh (Pyramids of Mars)
Sutekh
(Pyramids of Mars)
 Name: The Osirans; The Doctor has battled Sutekh, Nephthys, and Sekhmet

 Format: Television show, Book and Audio

 Time of Origin: Phæster Osiris; a prominent power in the universe centuries in the past, the Osirans were virtually extinct by the twentieth century; The Doctor facing the remnants of the Osiran race on Earth in 1911 and 1992 on Earth, and on Peladon at an unspecified date in the future.

 Appearances: "Pyramids of Mars", "The Sands of Time", "The Bride of Peladon", "The Pyramid of Sutekh", "The Vaults of Osiris", "The Eye of Horus" and " The Tears of Isis"

 Doctors: Fourth Doctor, Fifth Doctor and Seventh Doctor

 Companions: Sarah Jane Smith, Nyssa, Tegan Jovanka, Peri Brown, Erimem and Bernice Summerfield

 History: An ancient race, the Osirans were one of the most powerful beings ever to evolve, possessing phenomenal psychic powers and an exceptionally long life span measuring thousands of years even without technological assistance. Some of their technology depended on magnetic monopoles, which only work outside the influence of a bipolar magnetic field, resulting in Mars being the only place in the Solar System where some of their equipment would work. They were even capable of time travel, although this was only in the form of time corridors which channelled the energy displaced during temporal transit in various ways; the least damaging and most regular method used was to divert that energy into the Osirans themselves, with the result that the time corridors would cause Osirans to age the time they had travelled without them actually experiencing that time consciously, although the Osiran life span meant that this was less of an issue than it would be for other races.

 Centuries in the past, the Osiran renegades Sutekh and Nephthys mounted a destructive campaign across the universe, having come to regard life itself as their enemy before they were defeated on Earth by Sutekh’s brother Horus, leading his army of 740 Osirans. However, Horus decided that, instead of killing them, he would imprison them with the means of their escape just out of reach, forever taunting them with their inability to be truly free. To this end, he imprisoned Sutekh in a tomb on Earth while leaving the prison’s power source - a gem known as the Eye of Horus - in the pyramids of Mars, the Eye keeping Sutekh immobilised in the tomb while also making it impossible for him to easily recruit a minion to destroy the Eye. Nephthys, on the other hand, was separated from her body and her mind subsequently divided into two parts, her intellect and reasoning being contained in a canopic jar while her instinct and intuition were trapped in an unsullied human mind, in the form of the daughter of Horus’s High Priest Rassul, Rassul being granted immortality so that he could forever guard Nephthys.

 The Doctor first encountered the Osirans in his fourth incarnation, when he and Sarah Jane Smith were drawn off-course while returning to UNIT in the 1970s, arriving instead in 1911 in the priory that would eventually be replaced by UNIT HQ in the future. Investigating the reason for their unwilling diversion, The Doctor discovered an Osiran lodestone present in the mansion, subsequently discovering that the priory owner, Professor Scarman, had recently picked up a transmission on his early radio telescope which The Doctor determined meant ‘Beware Sutekh’. Recognising Sutekh’s name from history, The Doctor realised that Sutekh’s tomb had been unearthed by Scarman’s brother Marcus’s recent expedition to Egypt, giving Sutekh a minion that he could use to escape after he killed Marcus and reanimated his body with his power. Although The Doctor was able to thwart ‘Marcus’s’ efforts to create a basic rocket that could be fired at the Eye’s location on Mars by destroying the rocket using explosives stored at the priory, he was forced to go directly to Sutekh to distract him from using his mental powers to contain the explosion. Despite the loss of the rocket, The Doctor’s presence in his tomb allowed Sutekh to temporarily take control of The Doctor’s mind, using the Time Lord to take his minions directly to Mars in the TARDIS so that they could destroy the Eye in person.

Although The Doctor was able to escape Sutekh’s control after faking his death with the aid of his respiratory bypass system - thus prompting Sutekh’s minions to leave him behind while they entered the temple where the Eye was located -, The Doctor and Sarah were unable to catch up with ‘Marcus’ in time to stop him from destroying the Eye and freeing Sutekh. At the last minute, The Doctor realised that he still had one chance to stop Sutekh; due to the two-minute time-lag of any radio transmissions between Earth and Mars - meaning that the Eye of Horus would technically still be holding Sutekh for two minutes after it was broken as the signals had been broadcast before it had been shattered and had yet to reach his prison -, he and Sarah had enough time left to them to return to the priory and reprogram Sutekh’s time corridor using the time control from the TARDIS, extending the time corridor Sutekh was using to depart his prison into the far future before he could use it to reach Earth. Although Sutekh pleaded with The Doctor to release him, offering to spare Earth and give it to The Doctor as a plaything, The Doctor coldly rejected his offer, saying that the time of the Osirans was long past, simply watching as Sutekh was forced to the end of the corridor, literally aging to death as it sent him so far into the future that he could never reach the end.

Book - The Sands of Time
The Sands of Time
(Justin Richards)
 Although Sutekh was dead, his legacy returned to torment the Fifth Doctor when The Doctor found himself pitted against Sutekh's old partner Nephthys when her followers sought to turn his companion Nyssa - abducted from the British Museum in 1896 and sent back in time via an Osiran lodestone sarcophagus - into Nephthys's host after the jar that had been used to contain her essence was cracked. Taking advantage of Rassul's resentment of Horus for taking away his daughter, Nephthys was able to win him to her service, Rassul selecting Nyssa as Nephthys's new 'prison' as she would be easier for Nephthys to escape. Placing Nyssa in a deep metabolic coma, allowing her to remain unconscious for over four thousand years without physically aging, she was subsequently left in a tomb until The Doctor was able to arrange for an expedition to Egypt to discover Nyssa's bound body and take it back to Britain for an unwrapping ceremony in 1896 which he and Tegan Jovanka would attend just after Nyssa's original abduction. Despite The Doctor's best efforts, his attempts to awaken Nyssa were only able to prompt her to wake up almost a century later due to the length of time required for her metabolism to get back up to speed (Although he left her in the care of the family who led the expedition until that time)... and he only realised afterwards that this was part of Nephthys's plan to restore herself. With Rassul having manipulated a geneticist to clone his daughter's original body and provide Nephthys's instinctive side with a new, fresh host in 1996, he hoped that the restoration of Nephthys's mind when Nyssa fully awakened would allow his daughter's mind to be restored as well, unconcerned about the damage Nephthys would do when she was restored.

 With the aid of Lady Ann Cranleigh - Nyssa's exact physical double ("Black Orchid") - The Doctor was able to stop Nepythys by replacing the still-sleeping Nyssa with the temporarily unconscious Lady Ann in 1996, subsequently claiming that Nyssa had been 'woken up' on some level due to his efforts in the past, the essence of Nepythys's consciousness that had been in her mind evaporating as she 'awoke' in 1926 while Nyssa herself continued to age while remaining in a coma. With Nephthys reduced to nothing more than an instinctive level - taking action in the moment without being able to look back on the past or forward to the future to consider the consequences of her actions -, she rapidly travelled back and forth through time via an Osiran time corridor in an attempt to reclaim her missing mind, going back to 1926 to gain her mind as it was released - discovering a Nyssa who still hosted her mind but wouldn’t awake for seventy years - before returning to 1996 - where a ‘Nyssa’ slept with no trace of Nephthys’s mind -, going back and forth in a continuous loop until she finally collapsed into dust, having aged beyond the lifespan of even an Osiran. With Nephthys destroyed and her followers having crumbled into dust with her, The Doctor was able to safely extract what remained of her from Nyssa and return it to a modified canopic jar, subsequently burying the jar once again to ensure that Nephthys would never return.

Audio - The Bride of Peladon
The Bride of Peladon
(Barnaby Edwards)
 Some time after this, the Fifth Doctor again found himself facing an Osiran enemy in the form of Sekhmet the Avenger, a living weapon created by the Osiran Ra to smite his enemies when they sought to slay him as he grew old and weary after so long on Earth. Having killed Ra’s enemies, Sekhmet found her taste for blood had grown, turning her against innocents in a killing frenzy until the other Osirans were able to trap her inside a trisilicate asteroid and launch her into space after tricking her into drinking a lake of alcohol that had been dyed red to resemble blood. After drifting through space for centuries, Sekhmet eventually landed on Peladon, a distant world with a medieval-like society that had become particularly dear to The Doctor ever since the Third Doctor played a vital role in its history on two separate occasions ("The Curse of Peladon" and "The Monster of Peladon"). Trapped underneath Peladon’s surface for centuries, the trisilicate being made of negatively charged atoms that sapped her strength, Sekhmet was eventually partly freed when Peladon’s miners unwittingly cracked open her prison, but the Osirans had also imprisoned her behind a blood-lock that could only be opened by the blood of four Royal females.

 To this end, Sekhmet was able to transmit a weak telepathic signal that would lure the required females to her, her first victim being the mother of Peladon’s current king Pelleas while the second was Alyxlyr, a princess of the Ice Warriors who had recently been appointed Peladon’s new ambassador, and the third was the Earth princess Pandora, sent to Peladon as part of an arranged marriage to Pelleas to grant Earth access to Peladon’s mineral riches. Although Sekhmet attempted to use the Fifth Doctor’s companion Erimem as one of the Royals to break the lock - Erimem having nearly been appointed pharaoh in ancient Egypt before political manipulations of the time drove her to depart with The Doctor and Peri -, Erimem was able to trick Sekhmet by poisoning her own blood with a distillation of mandrake root, disrupting Sekhmet’s escape and weakening her enough for Alyxlr’s brother Zixlyr to set off an explosive device in her tomb, killing himself while burying Sekhmet once again to avenge his sister’s murder, The Doctor subsequently cured Erimem with a transfusion of his own blood (Sekhmet’s attack having weakened him enough to activate the regenerative palates in his blood without actually triggering a true regeneration).

 Despite his apparent death, Sutekh was returned when he managed to project his conscious mind from the Osiran time corridor in a new body created via an Osiran flesh loom. Aided by his cult of worshippers, he attempted to ravage Earth in the twenty-first century, destroying his cult at the end, but the Seventh Doctor and Bernice Summerfield were able to defeat him by sending him forward to the twenty-ninth century at a time when Earth was ravaged by solar flares ("The Ark in Space"), with the result that Sutekh only destroyed a few small pockets of humanity rather than the entire human race. He attempted to travel back to complete his destruction, but The Doctor and Benny were able to divert him back into the original time corridor, trapping him in a loop where he would constantly repeat his destruction without ever actually achieving it ("The Tears of Isis").
 
Video - Pyramids of Mars
VHS Cover
Book- Pyramids of Mars
Original Target Cover
Book- Pyramids of Mars
Reprinted Target Cover
Video - Pyramids of Mars
DVD Cover
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Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at djfs@blueyonder.co.uk
 
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