Name: The Clade, known originally as ‘Peacemakers’ before they rebelled against their creators.
Time of Origin: Precise time and planet of origin unknown, but they appeared on Earth in 1882.
Doctors: Tenth Doctor
Companions: Martha Jones
A race of living weapons, the Clade have a history so ancient and mysterious that even the Time Lords are only aware of the basics of it, the destruction of their world having caused such damage to that part of the Time Vortex that even TARDISes cannot access their time of origin.
While the name and precise history of the Clades’ creators are unknown, it is believed, based on basic evidence assembled after their destruction, that the Clades’ creators were attacked by another race in the distant pass – candidates for these attackers range from the Racnoss to the Null -, forcing the victims into a crash military development program that resulted in the creation of the Clade, sentient weapons that could think for themselves to target their enemies, winning their creators’ war in a matter of months. Unfortunately, during the subsequent centuries of dormancy, the Clade, ‘bored’ by peace, apparently managed to alter their own program and reactivated themselves, destroying their creators and expanding outwards to fight in other wars on other worlds, working as mercenaries for the most interesting wars.
In their natural state, the Clade are essentially guns, but they are distinctive guns in that they are sentient in themselves. While it is apparently possible for a strong-willed person to control the Clade when it is picked up – and even weaker people can control damaged Clades -, the Clade essentially controls its holder rather than the other way around, drawing on their subjects’ bodies to provide them with the tactical information needed to wage a war. Although some sources suggest that the Clade weapons may be capable of independent locomotion, it is unlikely that they are particularly subtle in this form, with the result that they favour bonding to another rather than relying exclusively on themselves.
The Clade faced The Doctor when one of their Combat Modules crashed on Earth while en route to another conflict, with the command-level Clade within the Support Pod being discovered by Professor Alvin Godlove – a snake-oil salesman in the Wild West – and his slave Walking Crow, Godlove picking up the damaged Clade weapon when he went to examine the crash site. Although unaware of what he controlled, Godlove was able to configure the Clade weapon to use as a ‘cure-all’, selling people useless remedies and later visiting them to discreetly heal them with the Clade. While Godlove went from town to town, curing those suffering from smallpox and other diseases or injuries, two other Clades came to Earth, claiming the bodies of recently -executed gangsters Kutter and Tangleleg to help them search for their missing commander, eventually tracking him to the town of Redwater just as the Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones arrived there in response to Martha’s expressed fondness for old Westerns.
Learning about Godlove’s ‘cure-all’ – as well as the fact that those who had been cured experienced strange nightmares -, The Doctor examined a sample of the ‘potion’, quickly determining that it did nothing and that the residents had no trace of an advanced healing agent in their bodies. Eventually confronted by Kutter and Tangleleg, The Doctor quickly deduced what they were and what he was dealing with – the nightmares the healed suffered from were caused by residual memories being ‘transferred’ from the Clade weapon based on its ‘memory’ of past conflicts -, but was forced to help them by tracking down Godlove after they shot Martha. Tracking Godlove to a mine where he kept most of his ill-gotten gains, The Doctor learned that Godlove had already been consumed by the Clade he controlled, the Clade now speaking through Godlove even as it had adopted aspects of his personality due to the damage it had sustained when it crash-landed.
Although the Clade command weapon was able to force The Doctor to accept it in exchange for healing Martha, the Clade’s greedy personality – shaped by its long contact with Alvin Godlove in its damaged and semi-dormant state – failed to take into account the possibility that it might not be able to control him. Although he needed help from Martha – who inspired him to remember what he was fighting for when she defied his order to escape to come back and search for him, risking her own life to kiss him – to hold on to his self, The Doctor was nevertheless able to glimpse the full scale of the Clade programming and reconfigure the parts that the Clade had shut down. As a result, when Kutter and Tangleleg tried to catch their commander after The Doctor discarded the weapon into a nearby mine shaft, the weapons all exploded, generating both a psionic pulse to neutralise the memory transfer that had been causing the nightmares and a sonic wave modulated at the right frequency to damage the mine interior, burying the Clade and preventing those weapons from returning to their fellows or causing further war.