Sycorax

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The Sycorax were a superstitious race of warriors and intergalactic plunderers (AUDIO: Harvest of the Sycorax; TV: The Christmas Invasion, etc.) native to the JX82 system. (WC: Monster File: Christmas, PROSE: The Visual Dictionary [+]Loading...["The Visual Dictionary (reference book)"]) The Seventh Doctor considered the Sycorax to be "snarling space gangsters who smell like herrings and that's on a good day", (AUDIO: Harvest of the Sycorax) while Jack Harkness regarded them as a "nasty bunch" of "galactic scavengers" who were "always shouting and showing off". (WC: Monster File: Christmas) In Sycoraxic, the species was known as Sycora. (PROSE: "No Place Like Home" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"name":"NPLH","page":"20","namedpart":"No Place Like Home","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"})

Biology[[edit]]

The Sycorax females. (COMIC: The Widow's Curse)

With a lifespan of four hundred years, (PROSE: The Visual Dictionary [+]Loading...{"page":"82","ed":"2010 reprint","1":"The Visual Dictionary (reference book)"}) the Sycorax had both an endo- and exoskeleton. The latter covered part of their head (giving them a skull-like appearance), leaving the rest of their skinless faces exposed to the elements. The exoskeleton could vary from a smooth, skull-like shape (TV: The Christmas Invasion [+]Loading...["The Christmas Invasion (TV story)"]) to a more jagged, horned shape. Some had long flowing hair. The Sycorax also mounted horse-like creatures with the same biological facts, suggesting that they were related. (COMIC: The Widow's Curse) They wore "fearsome bone helmets", to protect their vulnerable raw skin and muscle. (PROSE: The Visual Dictionary [+]Loading...{"page":"82","ed":"2010 reprint","1":"The Visual Dictionary (reference book)"}) They were typically 1.9 metres tall, or 6'2" feet tall. (PROSE: "Meet the Sycorax" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"name":"MtS","namedpart":"Meet the Sycorax","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"}, The Time Traveller's Almanac [+]Loading...{"name":"TTTA","chaptname":"Everything Changes","page":"78","chaptnum":"3","1":"The Time Traveller's Almanac (reference book)"})

Culture[[edit]]

Although eventually united, (PROSE: The Time Traveller's Almanac [+]Loading...{"chaptname":"Everything Changes","page":"78","chaptnum":"3","1":"The Time Traveller's Almanac (reference book)"}) the Sycorax were split into many warlike tribes, such as the Halvinor (PROSE: The Visual Dictionary [+]Loading...{"page":"82","ed":"2010 reprint","1":"The Visual Dictionary (reference book)"}) and Astrophia Tribes. (COMIC: Agent Provocateur [+]Loading...["Agent Provocateur (comic story)"]) The staffs owned by Sycorax were adorned with totems indicated tribal allegiance and the trophies and decorations indicated status. Destroying a staff was considered an insult as it implied that a given Sycorax wasn't worthy of the postion they claimed. (PROSE: "Weapons and Technology" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"name":"WaT","page":"22-23","namedpart":"Weapons and Technology","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"})

In their native language, the words for "argument" and "fight" were the same. (AUDIO: Harvest of the Sycorax) They sought riches, thus motivating their desire to scavenge and plunder planets, enslaving their populations. (PROSE: "History of the Sycorax" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"name":"HotS","page":"10-13","namedpart":"History of the Sycorax","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"}) The significance of their blood-red velvet robes, for example, was to indicate wealth. (PROSE: "Meet the Sycorax" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"name":"MtS","namedpart":"Meet the Sycorax","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"})

They lived in an armada of asteroids, which had all previously been part of a larger asteroid, (PROSE: "History of the Sycorax" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"name":"HotS","page":"10-13","namedpart":"History of the Sycorax","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"}, The Time Traveller's Almanac [+]Loading...{"name":"TTTA","chaptname":"Everything Changes","page":"78","chaptnum":"3","1":"The Time Traveller's Almanac (reference book)"}, WC: Monster File: Christmas [+]Loading...["Monster File: Christmas (webcast)"], etc.) The united Sycorax were known as the Sycorax Empire. (COMIC: Agent Provocateur [+]Loading...["Agent Provocateur (comic story)"])

Armed with broadswords and death whips, (PROSE: The Final Darkness [+]Loading...["The Final Darkness (short story)"], COMIC: Agent Provocateur [+]Loading...["Agent Provocateur (comic story)"], etc.) the species loved fighting, even if they preferred to subjugate a planet without resistance. Single combat, in particular, appealed to their warrior spirits, (PROSE: "Meet the Sycorax" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"name":"MtS","namedpart":"Meet the Sycorax","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"}) and they followed the sanctified rules of combat and the ancient rites of combat. (TV: The Christmas Invasion [+]Loading...["The Christmas Invasion (TV story)"]) However, the desire for victory was often prioritised over honour. (PROSE: "Meet the Sycorax" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"name":"MtS","namedpart":"Meet the Sycorax","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"}) Their motto and battle cry was "Sycorax strong! Sycorax mighty! Sycorax rock!". (TV: The Christmas Invasion [+]Loading...["The Christmas Invasion (TV story)"], PROSE: "No Place Like Home" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"name":"NPLH","page":"20","namedpart":"No Place Like Home","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"}, AUDIO: Harvest of the Sycorax, etc.) Their staffs could also be used as weapons. (PROSE: "Weapons and Technology" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"name":"WaT","page":"22-23","namedpart":"Weapons and Technology","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"})

At least one Sycorax Leader wore trophies of conquered species and a Judoon-skin belt, while his staff was adorned with a blood mane from his first kill and a claw from his pet Razorback. (PROSE: The Visual Dictionary [+]Loading...{"page":"82","ed":"2010 reprint","1":"The Visual Dictionary (reference book)"}) His skull helmet was chosen to inspire fear. (PROSE: "Meet the Sycorax" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"name":"MtS","namedpart":"Meet the Sycorax","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"})

Religion[[edit]]

Their "way of life" involved rituals and superstition, with blood and bones playing a role in their ceremonies, and their use of technology enabled their spells and curses to be truly effective; they particularly favoured the "rite of blood control", as it spread panic and fear in their victims. (PROSE: "Meet the Sycorax" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"name":"MtS","namedpart":"Meet the Sycorax","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"}) They used "their own school of magic spells and curses." (PROSE: The Visual Dictionary [+]Loading...{"page":"82","ed":"2010 reprint","1":"The Visual Dictionary (reference book)"}) Some Sycorax worshipped in churches. (COMIC: The Widow's Curse)

Before discovering the existence of aliens, the ununified Sycorax tribes worshipped Astrophia — the goddess of darkness and death — each tribe attempting to outdo one another in terms of reverence and offerings, and the shamans carried out rites of blood and sacrifice to implore Astrophia to bring favour to their tribes and misfortune to others in battle. Generations later, after having become a race of scavengers that plundered the galaxy, the shamans resurrected the lost rites of Astrophia upon the creation of the Sycorax Armada, now supplementing them with technology. (PROSE: "History of the Sycorax" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"name":"HotS","page":"10-13","namedpart":"History of the Sycorax","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"}) By the 21st century, the shamans practised the forbidden arts of Astrophia. (PROSE: The Final Darkness [+]Loading...{"page":"36","1":"The Final Darkness (short story)"})

On Fire Trap, (PROSE: The Visual Dictionary [+]Loading...{"page":"82","ed":"2010 reprint","1":"The Visual Dictionary (reference book)"}) the Hall of War Pacts, as it was known to a Sycorax scribe, (PROSE: The Final Darkness [+]Loading...{"page":"38","1":"The Final Darkness (short story)"}) was the Great Hall of the spaceship, which had an open roof to allow lunar and solar light inside for their ancient rituals. The hall was also used for tribal meetings. (PROSE: The Visual Dictionary [+]Loading...{"page":"82","ed":"2010 reprint","1":"The Visual Dictionary (reference book)"}) These cathedral-like group worship chambers were regulated by a Sycorax priest, and, inside, was a giant statue of the Sycorax form, called a "Wish of Bones", which was fashioned out of the skulls of the species that they had murdered and conquered. (AUDIO: Harvest of the Sycorax)

According to a time traveller, the Sycorax Bone Festival was an annual event occurring on 25 September. (PROSE: Time Traveller's Diary [+]Loading...["Time Traveller's Diary (novel)"])

Sycorax men wore the ribs of their wives as a marriage bond. (COMIC: The Widow's Curse)

Whilst they deemed Christmas to be a "great time" to enslave humanity upon learning of it, their invasion did not depend on the holiday and simply happened to line up with the day. (WC: Monster File: Christmas [+]Loading...["Monster File: Christmas (webcast)"])

Technology[[edit]]

The Sycorax could detect energy signatures, letting them identify advanced technology. (TV: The Christmas Invasion, PROSE: The Final Darkness) They also had devices which resembled sea mines called Foraxi Yox. They functioned as black box recorders for spacecraft, allowing later viewings of events. (COMIC: The Widow's Curse)

The Sycorax used death whips which could destroy all the flesh in a body, leaving only burnt bones. During the invasion of Earth, they also used blood control. They understood, but did not speak, Earth languages such as English as this would "dirty their tongues". (TV: The Christmas Invasion, PROSE: The Final Darkness)

Sycorax spaceships were, in fact, a hollowed-out meteor and contained rooms such as a main hall, a grand worship chamber and sleeping quarters. The ship itself used the molten core of the meteor as its fuel. (AUDIO: Harvest of the Sycorax) Each tribe had a spaceship, and with some using All Speed Inter-System Type K starship engine. (PROSE: The Visual Dictionary [+]Loading...{"page":"82","ed":"2010 reprint","1":"The Visual Dictionary (reference book)"}, The Coldest War: Marker 47 [+]Loading...{"marker":"47","1":"The Coldest War (novel)"})

History[[edit]]

Early history[[edit]]

The inhospitable rock world of the Sycorax lay many light years from Earth, in the wastelands of the galaxy. (PROSE: The Time Traveller's Almanac [+]Loading...{"chaptname":"Everything Changes","page":"78","chaptnum":"3","1":"The Time Traveller's Almanac (reference book)"}) Underneath its surface, the Sycorax were split into many small warring tribes, such as the Halvinor Tribe, who all fought each other for the few natural resources available, such as food and metal. They worshipped the goddess Astrophia, the shamans carrying out rites of blood and sacrifice to try to implore her to give them favour over the other tribes. After centuries of conflict, (PROSE: "History of the Sycorax" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"page":"10-13","namedpart":"History of the Sycorax","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"}) also many centuries before the 21st century, (PROSE: The Visual Dictionary [+]Loading...{"page":"82","ed":"2010 reprint","1":"The Visual Dictionary (reference book)"}) the Halvinor were the tribe to discover the spaceship that had crashed on the asteroid's surface, enslaving the survivors and forcing them to teach them how to use their technology, (PROSE: "History of the Sycorax" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"page":"10-13","namedpart":"History of the Sycorax","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"}) giving them the "secrets of interstellar craft". (PROSE: The Time Traveller's Almanac [+]Loading...{"chaptname":"Everything Changes","page":"78","chaptnum":"3","1":"The Time Traveller's Almanac (reference book)"}) The Halvinors' actions threatened to bring war between the tribes, as many resented and feared their discovery, but the Halvinor shaman persuaded them to unite and exploit the newly discovered universe. (PROSE: "History of the Sycorax" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"page":"10-13","namedpart":"History of the Sycorax","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"})

Now united, the tribes developed the technology to enable the asteroid to be pilot from world to world, plundering and enslaving the natives. However, after several generations, the mechanism responsible for controlling the travel systems failed, leaving the asteroid in the orbit of a planet in the edges of the solar system. Refusing to regress, the tribes split the asteroid into an armada of smaller asteroids, each fitted with enough technology to enable travel possible, (PROSE: "History of the Sycorax" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"page":"10-13","namedpart":"History of the Sycorax","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"}) with the Halvinors' ship being fitted with an All Speed Inter-System Type K engine. (PROSE: The Visual Dictionary [+]Loading...{"page":"82","ed":"2010 reprint","1":"The Visual Dictionary (reference book)"})

Each tribe's shamans begun technology-augmented lost rites of Astrophia, and they began conquering worlds again, calling upon the armada to take the planet by force if the usual tactics failed. The Halvinor's ship was named (PROSE: "History of the Sycorax" [+]Part of The Sycorax, Loading...{"page":"10-13","namedpart":"History of the Sycorax","1":"The Sycorax (reference book)"}) Fire Trap, (PROSE: The Time Traveller's Almanac [+]Loading...{"chaptname":"Everything Changes","page":"78","chaptnum":"3","1":"The Time Traveller's Almanac (reference book)"}) although, according to one account, this was rather the name of the Sycorax's home planet and that this asteroid was hit independently by the spaceship that brought them space travel. (PROSE: The Visual Dictionary [+]Loading...{"page":"94","ed":"2014 reprint","1":"The Visual Dictionary (reference book)"})

In 102, the Sycorax were among the races who joined the Pandorica Alliance. They came to Stonehenge and helped imprison the Eleventh Doctor in the Pandorica to "save" the universe. (TV: The Pandorica Opens) Historians observed that, whilst the Sycorax presence was conspicuous, they stood at the back and let the other species do all the talking. (PROSE: The Monster Vault)

Sycorax invasion of Earth[[edit]]

Main article: Sycorax invasion of Earth

Around Christmas 2006, Sycorax spaceship entered the solar system (TV: The Christmas Invasion) after they learned of Earth and its true value in precious stones, metals, minerals, and slaves. (PROSE: The Final Darkness) When the space probe Guinevere One crashed into them, they used the blood sample for blood control, threatening to kill every human with A+ blood unless they were given half the population as slaves. The Tenth Doctor, who had just regenerated, and his allies Mickey and Rose were inside his TARDIS. The Sycorax picked up a signal from the TARDIS's advanced technology and teleported them to their ship. The Doctor activated the blood control, knowing human survival instincts would break its hold. The Doctor challenged and defeated their leader in a sword duel, forcing the Sycorax to leave Earth and humanity alone.

However, as the Sycorax ship was leaving Earth, Harriet Jones ordered Torchwood to fire at it with a salvaged alien ray weapon, from a Jathaa sunglider, destroying it. (TV: The Christmas Invasion)

Aftermath[[edit]]

The wives of the Sycorax who invaded Earth came to the Sol system to find them, but found only the dust remains. Disguising their ship as an island and hypnotising all of humanity into believing it was discovered by Columbus, the wives spent years searching for the ship's black box, the Foraxi Yox, and killed many humans, reanimating and controlling them as zombies, or human abstracts, to find it. In 2009, after discovering from the Foraxi Yox recording that humanity had betrayed the Sycorax, this group of Sycorax had a 747 aeroplane boarded with phage abstracts Gilfane Craw had created take off, intending to spread a virus carried by the abstracts that would stop death but leave humans in agony for centuries.

Donna Noble and Norah stowed away on the plane, and flew it back to Shadow Cay before it could reach London and spread the virus throughout humanity. Meanwhile, the Tenth Doctor overloaded the ship's magma-sculptor by making it attempt to copy the whole of Earth, and set its controls to take off before it exploded. (COMIC: The Widow's Curse)

Other events[[edit]]

This section's awfully stubby.

Information from Ghost Stories

In 2010, a Sycorax was seen at the Zaggit Zagoo bar when the Tenth Doctor came to visit Jack Harkness one last time before his regeneration. (TV: The End of Time (part two) [+]Loading...{"part":"Two","1":"The End of Time (TV story)"}) A Sycorax was present in the Maldovarium when Colony Sarff visited the establishment while searching for the Twelfth Doctor on behalf of Davros. (TV: The Magician's Apprentice [+]Loading...["The Magician's Apprentice (TV story)"])

The Sycorax returned to Earth in the late 21st century with hostile intentions, but left just as quickly. (PROSE: Snowglobe 7)

During the 41st century, the Astrophia Tribe died out during the Valhalla wars. The Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones met a lone survivor, a hunter collecting the last members of extinct species. (COMIC: Agent Provocateur [+]Loading...["Agent Provocateur (comic story)"])

In the future of the Human Empire, the Sycorax entered a secret deal with Pharma Corps, a pharmaceutical company that had the blood of every human sealed away in its vaults. With Pharma Corps controlling the emotions of every human in the Empire, they were able to give the Sycorax access to the blood of ninety nine percent of the human race. Just as the Sycorax were finding the means to enter its vault, the Seventh Doctor and new accomplice Zanzibar Hashtag, were able to trick the Sycorax by using the blood of a dead Sycorax in a blood controller, thus placing the whole fleet into a state of hibernation. Whilst under control, all of the Sycorax fleet were teleported back onto their ship and sent away. (AUDIO: Harvest of the Sycorax)

The Sycorax were present during the Siege of Trenzalore. They either retreated or died in the fighting which took place after the Daleks broke through the Papal Mainframe's force field and plunged Trenzalore into war. (PROSE: A Brief History of Time Lords, TV: The Time of the Doctor)

The Tenth Doctor told Martha that the Sycorax survived the end of the universe, along with humans and another unidentified species. (COMIC: Agent Provocateur)

Alternate timeline[[edit]]

In an alternate timeline, the Sycorax tried to invade Mandorla. (AUDIO: Enemy Lines)

Legacy[[edit]]

In 1599, the Tenth Doctor, in the presence of William Shakespeare, noted how an animal skull reminded him of a Sycorax, inspiring the name of the mother of Caliban in Shakespeare's The Tempest. (TV: The Shakespeare Code)

Intercepting a message from Harriet Jones, the Third Doctor, accompanied by Jo Grant and Mike Yates, arrived on 25 December 2006, where they witnessed the blood controlled masses and the Sycorax spaceship, ultimately returning home after seeing its destruction. Having followed them, the Master intended to ally with the Sycorax so that he could enslave Earth himself, only to be caught up in Roboform tinsel, preventing him from making contact with them. (PROSE: The Christmas Inversion)

The Sycorax was one of the 11 creatures who appeared in the hologram projection shown by the Atraxi as they were scanning Earth's history to check if it was protected. (TV: The Eleventh Hour)

The Great Intelligence mentioned, among others, the death of "the leader of the Sycorax" at the hands of the Doctor to dispute Madame Vastra's claim that the Doctor was never "blood-soaked". (TV: The Name of the Doctor) Their destruction was also mentioned by a version of Kate Stewart during negotiations between UNIT and the Zygons in the Black Archive. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)

Sometime in 2010, Mr Smith stated that his sensors were fully occupied by a Sycorax ship. He further mentioned that the Sycorax were not coming to Earth that day and there was nothing to worry about. (WC: Attic Padz)

A Sycorax, which the Doctor named "Clyde", was imprisoned in space along with the Thirteenth Doctor. It shared a cell with an Ood; aptly named Bonnie. One morning, when the Doctor was making her daily rounds through the prison, they growled and roared at her as she walked past their cell. (TV: Revolution of the Daleks)

Behind the scenes[[edit]]

  • Introduced in The Christmas Invasion, the Sycorax were created by writer Russell T Davies, who was credited for their reprisal in The Magician's Apprentice. Although appearing in Revolution of the Daleks, Russell T Davies remains uncredited.
  • Russell T Davies's original concept for the Shadow Proclamation scene in The Stolen Earth included an appearance by several Sycorax, but his plans to feature a "rogues gallery" of alien races in the scene fell through; ultimately the Judoon were the only returning race featured.
  • William Shakespeare also created an unseen character called "Sycorax" in what is widely assumed to be his final solo play, The Tempest.

External links[[edit]]