Name: The Umbra
Time of Origin: Unspecified alien planet, but were trapped in Earth’s sun when it was still young; finally destroyed in the ‘Ninth Era’ of human history.
Appearances: “The Eye of Torment”
Doctors: Twelfth Doctor
Companions: Clara Oswald
An artificial life-form, the Umbra are another example of the tragedy of good intentions creating something horrific. Created as a means of taking guilt, the Umbra soon developed sentience and hunger, seeking to drain all life rather than just take their emotional pain. Their natural manifestation was pitch-black versions of those they had absorbed into themselves, the illusions having a perpetual twisted grin, apparently made of ‘psychic fabric’ that could mould itself accordingly. After they had devoured most of their creator’s people, the scientist lured them to a young sun to imprison them, using the sun as the power source for a trans-warp tunnel and his own grief over his role in the extinction of his race as a beacon to the Umbra, sacrificing himself to stop his creation.
They remained trapped in the Sun’s chromosphere for centuries until arrogant industrialist Rudy Zoom, of the Ninth Era of humanity, set out to be the first man to essentially ‘land’ on the sun – even assembling an all-female crew to ensure that there were no questions about that title – on the starship Pollyana. As the ship’s engines drew plasma from the sun, they unintentionally released the Umbra as it sneaked in via a plasma conduit, fortunately just as the Twelfth Doctor and Clara Oswald arrived on the ship (“The Eye of Torment”). The Umbra attempted to attack The Doctor, but despite them evoking memories of such tragedies as the loss of Rose Tyler (“Army of Ghosts/Doomsday”), the death of Adric (“Earthshock”) and his decision to spare the Daleks (“Genesis Of The Daleks”), The Doctor refused to give into his guilt, managing to escape the Umbra’s attack.
Despite this, the Umbra used the plasma release to spread into the Pollyana and manifest through their first two victims, with The Doctor’s attempt to seal off the plasma vent just preventing more external Umbra gaining access to the Pollyana as those already inside consumed and converted the crew. As thousands of Umbra began swarming outside the ship, Clara smashed the navigation controls to stop the Umbra finding Earth, the crew moving to auxiliary control to navigate with the back-ups while The Doctor travelled outside the ship to make himself a direct target. Inside the ship, Clara convinced Rudy to try and ‘talk’ to the Umbra himself, correctly guessing that Rudy was so narcissistic and self-confident that contact with him would destroy the Umbra as he literally had nothing negative for them to draw on.
As Rudy’s narcissistic views destroyed the Umbra inside the Polyanna, The Doctor used his grief to draw the Umbra to the ship’s exterior before instructing the crew to briefly boost the ship’s graviton inverter and create a secondary gravity envelope. This action inverted not only the gravity around the ship, but the heat as well, freezing the Umbra outside the ship to death.