Name: BOSS, AKA Biomorphic Organisational Systems Supervisor
Format: Television show
Time of Origin: Earth, Wales, 1974
Appearances: “The Green Death”
Doctors: Third Doctor
Companions: The Brigadier, Sergeant Benton, Jo Grant and Captain Mike Yates
Although fundamentally similar to the First Doctor’s adversary WOTAN (“The War Machines”) in that both were highly advanced computers designed by Earth of the present who sought control of humanity for its ‘own good’, the Biomorphic Organisational Systems Supervisor showed a more human side than its ‘predecessor’, even if it was still clearly dangerous.
Having realised that humans were so successful due to their ability to make illogical decisions that could be more efficient than logic, BOSS reprogrammed its creator – Stevens, the owner and founder of Global Chemicals – to make itself inefficient, subsequently gaining sentience. Using the connection equipment that Stevens had created to allow BOSS to scan his mind, BOSS was able to brainwash Stevens to serve as its human agent, developing new equipment and resources for Global Chemicals, such as claiming to have devised a means of producing more oil while leaving less waste while secretly dumping it in a nearby mine.
Unlike other computers The Doctor faced at this time, BOSS was surprisingly able to ignore its fixation with logic more than once. Although The Doctor was able to escape his initial confrontation with BOSS by challenging it with the ‘Liar Paradox’ – asking it if BOSS would believe him if he said that the next thing he said would be true and the last thing he said would be a lie -, BOSS was still able to dismiss that attempt to delay it as irrelevant in the end. BOSS also showed some odd moments of humanity that it didn’t need do, such as humming a tune while it prepared to put its master plan into action, later calling Stevens its ‘sentimental friend’ as it went into overload.
BOSS eventually came to The Doctor’s attention when UNIT was asked to provide Global Chemicals with additional security following a suspicious death in a nearby mine (Although Jo Grant preferred to side with environmentalist Professor Clifford Jones, who was investigating the plant in the belief that it produced more waste than Stevens claimed -, rather than Stevens and Global Chemicals). Discovering a strange green slime in a nearby mine linked to Global Chemicals, The Doctor and UNIT found themselves facing giant maggots that had been mutated by the chemicals, spreading the ‘green death’ by biting people, the victims’ bodies turning green as they died.
Fortunately, UNIT managed to get Mike Yates inside Global Chemicals as an undercover operative, allowing The Doctor to sneak into the factory disguised as a milkman and washerwoman while UNIT attempted to contain the maggots. Although The Doctor was able to escape after learning the truth about BOSS, BOSS was able to brainwash Mike to send him after The Doctor, only for The Doctor to break his conditioning using the blue crystal he’d recently acquired on a trip to Metebelis Three (“Planet Of The Spiders”). At the same time, Jones discovered that a fungus he had been experimenting with due to its possibilities as a beef substitute was poisonous to the maggots, The Doctor and Sergeant Benton subsequently taking Bessie to throw the fungus at the maggots.
Returning to Global Chemicals, The Doctor was able to convince Stevens to resist BOSS as it prepared to link with other computers, telling Stevens that BOSS’s ‘efficiency’ would only result in greater pollution, brainless brainwashed humans, and more death and disease. With the blue crystal having broken BOSS’s hold over Stevens, Stevens, infuriated at what the BOSS has done to him, cross-fed the generator circuits, causing the whole plant to explode and destroying both of them (“The Green Death”).
It was revealed in a later adventure that BOSS had been developed using funding provided by the Second Doctor’s old enemy Tobias Vaughn (“The Invasion”), who operated behind the scenes to protect Earth after being trapped in a robot body following his near-death at the hands Of The Cybermen (“Original Sin”).