Name: The I Predator
Time of Origin: Essentially outside of reality as we know it, but manifested on Fleming’s Island off the coast of Ireland between August and December 1981.
Appearances: “Iterations of I”
Doctors: Fifth Doctor
Companions: Adric, Nyssa and Tegan Jovanka
Beep the Meep is a unique Doctor Who villain who only appears in the limited Marvel comics series based on the popular sci-fi Although the evidence is unclear regarding whether the I Predator was a sentient creature or just an animal in a very unique environment, it is certainly an unusual form of life, as it was essentially a sentient number that preyed on its own kind before it became aware of our world. Whether a ‘conscious’ choice on the part of the first member of the species to make contact with us, or some equivalent of the TARDIS’s ability to translate languages causing the creature to ‘sense’ what term would be most appropriate, the sentient numbers were represented in our world by their ‘footprints’ in the form of the number ‘I’ as this was the most impossible number, as I was the manifestation/representation of the imaginary number the square root of minus one, which existed even less than regular numbers (as observed by The Doctor, it was impossible to pick up a number on its own, and negative numbers had even less existence than that as you could never own negative anything).
The I as a race became aware of humanity when a cult which believed God was an impossibly long number set out to carry out their research on Fleming’s Island, a small island off the coast of Ireland. The island consisted of only one large house and a small graveyard, which had originally belonged to Branwell Damien Fleming, who had bought the island for his new wife Sinead in 1930, only for her to be found dead in the house’s library despite the fact that it was locked from the inside and all windows were intact and shut. With the cult having purchased the island because the mystery of the death made it cheap, they hired a group of mathematicians from universities to help them try and make contact with God. This research eventually met with success in the summer of 1981, after a computer program was left running overnight and somehow managed to trap at least one I in the data stream, registering as an anomaly in the numbers.
Unfortunately, once the I had made contact with our reality, this resulted in the first few cultists to make contact with the I dying of varying kinds of madness. The first person to make contact with the computer where the I had been trapped instantly died, the second shot himself, the third could only speak in tongues, and the fourth talked about being trapped. After this, the cult took extra precautions in the house, but the computers could no longer be turned off, with people constantly finding themselves tempted to look at the computers and make new contact with the I.
This discovery essentially ‘opened the door to chaos’, as the computers could no longer be turned off, luring people to watch it and become part of the system. Imogen was tapped to communicate with the system due to her mathematical background, even as people were torn apart by the air and converted into numbers. It was implied, although never expressly stated, that certain people were more susceptible to the I’s influence than others, such as Nyssa briefly being overwhelmed by the I due to her telepathic powers while Adric was better able to control his susceptibility to it due to his own mathematics experience, and Tegan was apparently unaffected even after she activated the I program and saw it start to run. On a more dangerous note, the I’s presence on the island attracted the I Predator to the area, resulting in it killing most of the remaining cultists, with a few survivors such as Imogen only escaping being killed by the I Predator because the other I converted the surviving humans into more of their own kind to protect them. Before the humans on the island were completely killed or converted, they destroyed the island’s boat and radio with the hope that isolating themselves would also isolate the I Predator from the rest of the mainland, as the I, while existing in higher dimensions, was so fundamentally alien that it had trouble perceiving anything on our level of existence.
However, Fleming’s Island came to the attention of humanity once again when Imogen’s boyfriend, Jerome Khan, came to Ireland looking for her after her disappearance, local constable Robert DeValley agreeing to help Jerome investigate Fleming’s Island. Accompanied by father-and-daughter poachers Donal and Aoife Dineen – who apparently agreed to accompany DeValley in exchange for leniency on other charges – DeValley and Jerome travelled to the island, only to be marooned when Aoife didn’t tie up their boat properly upon landing. At the same time, Adric’s experiments with piloting the TARDIS himself resulted in the ship materialising on Fleming’s Island, only to fall off a cliff onto the beach below after the crew had stepped outside. When the travellers made their way to the Fleming house to find help, Nyssa was briefly overwhelmed by the psychic presence of the I, Tegan taking her to the library to recuperate while The Doctor and Adric tried to find someone in the house. The two groups made contact when Aoife found The Doctor and Adric examining a months-old corpse in an outhouse while the men found Tegan and Nyssa in the house, The Doctor quickly clarifying that none of them were affiliated with the cult.
Once the existence of the cult and Imogen’s role in it had been explained, The Doctor mused that the concept of God as a number made sense when viewed metaphorically, given how numbers were a part of everything in nature. Discovering a series of tapes made by Imogen about her work with the cult, The Doctor was able to determine the existence of the sentient numbers, but that left them confused about the point of smashing the radio and boats, as sentient numbers were unlikely to be constrained by geography. While The Doctor and Tegan researched the cult’s activities, Adric tried to crack the I on a computer and witnessed the numbers changing, Donal being consumed by the I and Adric, Nyssa and Aoife briefly succumbing to the program before their companions got them away from the computer.
With the radio repaired, The Doctor sent Nyssa and Aoife to try and repair the radio mast while Adric was assigned to work out a program that would allow them to communicate with the I. As Adric worked on his program, The Doctor speculated on the dangers that the I could pose if it was harnessed by humanity, as its ability to influence numbers could allow people to manipulate other computer systems or even reality itself. Having determined that the I had difficulty perceiving anything on our reality as its presence in our reality was the equivalent of humans dipping toes into pools with hermit crabs, as the crabs would be incapable of comprehending that the toes were part of a larger number, The Doctor was able to determine that the I was contained by the computer system at the moment, the cult’s efforts to isolate the island reflecting how the I was contained by their actions. During their communication with the I, one of them identified itself as Imogen, helping the humans to realise what had happened to her.
Unfortunately, once The Doctor and his companions had identified what they were dealing with, DeValley turned on the rest, ordering Adric to download an I onto a floppy disk (Adric also downloading the Imogen I onto another disc for Jerome); DeValley had recently gotten into debt with unspecified criminal organisations, and hoped that he could use the I and Adric’s experience with figures to play the stock market and recover his losses. As he fled the house with Adric after shooting him in the leg, he left the others locked in the library with the intention of using them as blackmail against Adric, claiming that he would ‘remember’ the presence of the others only after he had recovered his losses. Back in the library, after Aoife was killed when she tried to shoot the I Predator, The Doctor finally realised that they were just dealing with the I Predator rather than the I as a species, allowing them to focus on deflecting a predator rather than the entire species. Reasoning that the sentient numbers could be confused by large data bursts, The Doctor configured the computers to explode after generating a mass of new data programs that would draw the attention of the I Predator away from them. Stuck in the helicopter that DeValley had called to take him to safety, Adric saw that his companions and Jerome had escaped the house, allowing him to jump out of the helicopter as his Alzarian physiology had healed his original injury and the helicopter wasn’t high enough for the fall to be fatal.
When the I Predator escaped the house, it was immediately drawn to the helicopter, devouring DeValley and his pilot. As The Doctor and his companions retreated to the TARDIS, Jerome realised that it was possible that he could be converted into another I himself. Seeing it as the only way that he could stay with Imogen, he stayed behind while the others fled to the TARDIS, The Doctor providing a further distraction for the I Predator by setting a primitive calculator into a feedback loop, creating a ‘noise’ of data that drew the I Predator away from the TARDIS. Once the ship had departed, the rest of the I were able to draw the Predator back to their plane of existence, as there was no longer anything to attract the I Predator’s attention on our level of reality as the destruction of the computers and the discs that had been holding the I released them.