Harvest of the Sycorax
Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Nisha Nayar (Zanzibar), Jonathan Firth (Cadwallader), Rebecca Callard (Shadrak), Giles Watling (The Sycorax Chief), Alex Deacon (Eshak). Other parts played by members of the cast.
In the far future, humanity has a remedy for everything. Whatever the problem, Pharma Corps has the answer and a designer disease tailored to every human’s blood-type. Zanzibar Hashtag has no need to be sad, scared, stressed, or depressed ever again.
That is, until vicious aliens arrive on her space station intent on opening its Vault. What will it mean for the human race if the Sycorax take control of what’s inside?
And when the Seventh Doctor arrives on the scene, can he convince Zanzibar to care about her life long enough to help him?
Held as a hostage to the Sycorax in the Blood Bank, Zanzibar Hashtag is put through an extremely painful execution – in which her body is infected by a deadly poison which boils her blood. With only her personal computer interface, PAD, to talk to Zanzibar believes that she has no way of escaping her execution and wishes that her death would come sooner rather than later in order to relieve her of the excruciating pain. However, suddenly the TARDIS appears and the Doctor steps out, quickly assisting Zanzibar in finding the right antidote for the poison. The Doctor is confused as to why the poison had such a devastating effect on her (as it would usually be stopped by the body’s immunity system) and is horrified to discover that Zanzibar, along with many other humans from the same time period, have actually been spending fortunes on having a genetically engineered disease – which wastes away the immune system – injected into their bodies.
Believing that Zanzibar had been executed and that more deaths would soon follow, the other hostages are left terrified. Seeing that their only way to escape would be to follow their captor’s orders, Shadrak begs the Sycorax Chief to tell her his intentions for invading the Blood Bank. The Chief explains that he wants access to the Bank’s vault and insists that one of the captors must grant him access. Unfortunately, neither Shadrak or the other hostages have the key to the vault, a fact which enrages the impatient Chief.
Using Pad, The Doctor and Zanzibar are able to intercept an angry message from the Sycorax Chief threatening that more hostages will die if the vault remains sealed. Shadrak, growing tired, insists that the only person who had a key was Zanzibar and suggests that she could go and retrieve the key from her body. The Sycorax leader refuses and called for one of the captors, Eshak to be executed. Eshak’s blood is de-oxygenated and he dies almost instantly. The Chief reveals that Eshak’s death will not be the last if the vault remains locked.
The Doctor and Zanzibar argue over the revelation that she’d went through with a treatment that had destroyed her immune system and made her dependent on medical supplies. However, Zanzibar explains that she had no choice in the matter. She tells The Doctor that when Pharma Corps came into power they had insisted that every human goes through with a certain treatment – in order to get a blood sample – the few that refused would be denied any other medical treatment whatsoever in the future, leaving them vulnerable in cases of emergency. Zanzibar informs The Doctor that Pharma Corps own the Blood Bank and that there is a blood sample from nearly every human being in existence kept in the vault. Remembering the Sycorax’s love of blood voodoo, The Doctor concludes that if they were to get their hands on all that blood they’d be able to control the whole of the human race.
Harvest of the Sycorax was the third story in Classic Doctors, New Monsters: Volume One, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by James Goss and featured Sylvester McCoy asthe Seventh Doctor.
Blood control is able to control The Doctor’s body and behaviour, but he retains his free will.
The Doctor is able to shut down his mind when under attack to stop outside influences from taking advantage of his intelligence.
The Doctor describes himself as “a nice little man in a silly jumper”.
The Sycorax’s motto and battle cry is “Sycorax strong! Sycorax mighty! Sycorax rock!”.
As a form of worship, the Sycorax make a huge statue of their own image out of the skulls of those species whom they have murdered. The Sycorax priest intends to add Zanzibar’s to the collection once he has killed her.
The Sycorax are also weak to blood control. Zanzibar takes a blood sample from the dead Sycorax priest and she and The Doctor use it in the Sycorax’s blood controllers to trick the Sycorax into hibernation.
Zanzibar’s PAD describes the Sycorax as “the non-benevolent occupying visitors”.
The Doctor considers the Sycorax to be “snarling space gangsters who smell like herrings and that’s on a good day”.
Human beings seem to have continued to invest in smart technology. They have watches with built-in apps that analyse and report their health. Humans will now also date each other based on the results of dating apps, rather than use their natural instincts, which have been suppressed by the drugs that they take.
Translators are required to help the humans understand the Sycoraxic spoken by The Sycorax.
The Sycorax ship is a hollowed-out asteroid, which uses its molten core as fuel. The Doctor finds the design undesirable.
Humans are over-medicating themselves in order to dull their emotions and biological responses. (Only Human)
In response to negative emotions such as fear, grief and anger, humans take medication to remove and override them. There is also an option to remove memories of lost loved ones. (Gridlock)
The Sycorax are executing human beings by means of an electrocution rope. (The Christmas Invasion)
Upon The Doctor’s arrival into the room containing the Sycorax and the prisoners, the Sycorax and the humans begin to understand each other without the need of translation software. He calls it a “Time Lord gift”. This is the result of the TARDIS’ translation circuits, translating all languages, human or otherwise, for anyone in the vicinity. (The End of the World)
Sycoraxic is translated into English by the TARDIS for the hostages, while the hostages are translated to Sycoraxic for the Sycorax. (The Christmas Invasion)
During the fight between himself and Zanzibar, The Doctor’s only weapon is his umbrella. (Remembrance of the Daleks)
The Sycorax once again refer to humans as “cattle”. (The Christmas Invasion)
The Doctor refers to the Sycorax’s attempts at invading worlds via blood control as “voodoo”. (The Christmas Invasion)
The Doctor comments that he used to quite good at martial arts. During his third incarnation, he often made use of Venusian aikido to defend himself and others. (Inferno, Colony in Space, The Mutants, The Green Death, The Time Warrior) the Second Doctor learned the arts of Venusian aikido whilst on Venus with Jamie McCrimmon and Victoria Waterfield. (Voyage to Venus)
The Doctor says, “C’mon, Zanzibar, we’ve got work to do.” He previously gave a similar sentiment to Ace. (Survival)