So as the choices for the last index were
tied at 50/50, I’m going to do what I normally do and do both options, one after the other,
beginning this week with the Doctor who monsters that do what they say on the tin, the Ice
Warriors! These tall, reptilian-humanoid aliens are
actually not that far flung in the intergalactic makeup of the whoniverse. Another name for
the species is in fact Martians. Yep, that’s right, they are native inhabitants of Mars,
our neighbours. However, a terrible calamity befell them and they are spread throughout
the galaxy while others cling to their desolate home world and await a time where they can
rebuild. Biologically, the Ice Warriors as we know
them are a reptilian species integrated into their suits which are both armoured and life
support systems. A quick fact for you, the sounds of hissing that they make are not natural
to the species and a result of laboured breathing assisted by their shell’s systems. This
is because they do breath an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere, but need a higher concentration
of nitrogen. They are cold blooded and can enter a deep hibernation state that allows
them to survive being encased in ice for thousands of years.
Their suits incorporate a lot of tech from sonic devices to hacking tools, though these
are likely supplied on the needs of the individual. They also often include communications and
transmitters that have an extensive range. In terms of real world inspirations, the style
was inspired by Viking helms to match their warrior mind-set.
It seems that they lived in a caste system with a militaristic aristocracy depicted as
an Empire. These castes were divided into layers that an individual could rise and fall
through. With increased merit, an Ice Warrior could ascend the caste and generally inherited
is family’s position to begin with. It seems that the castes decided an individual’s
occupation and contained the echelons of the Ice Warrior’s extensive military. Leaders
of such martial castes were called the Grand Marshal, such as the Tharsyssian Caste who
was overseen by Grand Marshall Skaldak of the Nix Tharsyss. Below the leadership ranks
were the War Lords and so on in descending rank.
Alongside this system, a family belonged to a clan and placed the interest of their clan
above their own advancement, though the competitive nature of these clans fluctuated with the
time period. (This is a theme common to researching a Doctor Who race as we often see them at
different points of their history, sometimes millennia apart).
It is likely that each clan had its own head, often referred to as Lord of some description
and treated as sovereignty. The colonies of a Martian were called nests or hives and often
housed families, clans and allies to a single sovereign. A leader of a clan could also hold
a high position in the caste and often did as their systems were partially a meritocracy.
It’s possible that these two structures never actually overlapped and are from completely
different time periods but they don’t seem to contradict so this explains the references
to both castes and clans. There exists a strong honour code that is
pervasive among many warrior races but the intricacies of it are often lost to humans,
to whom the standards of the Ice Warrior may appear harsh but this was a result of their
increasingly dire circumstances as Mars diminished. A uniting motto of the species was “Harm
one of us, you harm us all.” Retaliation against a threat was expected to be rapid
and absolute. Being seen outside of their armour was a grave dishonour for an Ice Warrior
likely comparable to desertion. This code of honour is one that evolved alongside their
warrior culture. They seemed to place great religious emphasis
on the moons of Mars, often citing them as a source of blessing with phrases such as,
“By the Moons” and Skaldak being involved in silencing a “Phobos Heresy” of some
description. There were accounts of an Abbot and Scholastor caste suggesting a faith and
deep philosophy of some kind that shapes their actions.
The history of the Ice Warriors can be categorised into three chapters. These are ones I’ve
divided them into for convenience and not an official version or anything but they have
their Martian times, of their society before the fall, their “Ice Age” where the race
endured the death of their planet and the age of the Federation many years after their
recovery of Mars. Our tale begins a long time ago in a planet
right next door, The species first came into existence as genetically engineered lifeforms.
Native to the planet Mars, they were originally a sort of shelled reptile that was altered
with increased intelligence and a humanoid form to act as a slave race for the Gandorans
natives of Mars. Eventually, in a familiar sci-fi tale, the Saurian Evolutionaries, as
they were known, overthrew their oppressors completely and wiped them out, taking the
planet for their own. Their culture flourished and grew into an interstellar empire that
began to explore other worlds, including their neighbouring planets. This was all occurring
millions of years ago when Mars still supported life, liquid water and an atmosphere, during
the Pliocene epoch of Earth. It was said that they built cities that spanned the crust of
Mars and for the most part were a peaceful people. They placed a great emphasis on design
and art with form over function. Among their own they operated on a trade system where
it was customary to exchange needed goods over that of any currency.
However, their age of growth would not last as Mars began to cool and its atmosphere thin.
The cause of this is still unknown, but some suspect the involvement of Time Travellers.
The species began to retreat underground, out of the radiation that was increasing through
the lessening atmosphere and built themselves bio-mechanical suits to bolster themselves
to survive the changing climate. Natural resources began to become scarcer as water evaporated
from the surface and what remained froze. Many courses of action began to be taken to
try to first reverse the disaster, then finally to just survive it. A result of this was the
culture becoming more militaristic and aggressive out of necessity. It’s this period of time
that truly produced the Ice Warriors as infighting and hive struggles became more common.
Some travelled to Deimos where from where they observed Earth, however came to the conclusion
that it was currently unfit for habitation. Others took refuge in a vessel that would
later become the moon Phobos while more still made further exoduses to distant stars to
survive and begin anew. Around 5000 years ago, circa 3000 BCE, many
had decided to retreat into suspended animation with entire hives following their aristocracy
into an icy slumber. Other Ice Warriors too had been sent in hibernation to other worlds
to wait for a time when either Mars was habitable again, or they had located a suitable replacement.
Some of these pods were even dispatched to Earth.
It seems that not all chose this fate however, as others still stubbornly chose combat the
continuing corruption of the planet through scientific efforts.
Around the year 800 AD, a parasitic lifeform had evolved in the waters of Mars, contaminating
much of the remaining water. The Martians sacrificed the contaminated water and froze
it as a glacier in the Gustev Crater. And this seems to have been one catastrophe too
many as the remaining living Ice Warriors soon disappeared, only those who had left
Mars were able to continue with their lives, maybe with the hope of one day reawakening
their brethren. An encounter with the Doctor in 1881 led to
the reawakening of the Empress, Queen Iraxxa and her legions however, Mars, still uninhabitable
after 5000 years made for a poor home. With resignation and no small amount of negotiation,
they were convinced to send out a distress call, which was answered by the residence
of Alpha Centauri. This began the gradual process of creating
a new age for the Ice Warriors as they began to establish diplomatic and trade ties with
this new species and eventually, by the year 3375, they had become a member of the Galactic
Federation, a local multispecies government that rose to power following the collapse
of the Great Earth Empire. It did include humanity as one of its species until it seceded
and established its own Second “Great and Bountiful” Human Empire. This was once again,
a prosperous time for the Ice Warriors who although more open to diplomacy, did not forget
their heritage of hardship and often acted as the Federation’s security when needed,
sometimes overzealously. The Ice Warriors are indeed a mixed bunch
depending on what time period you visit them in so it’s easy to see why the Doctor’s
reaction meeting them is often “optimistic caution”. They were arguably at their most
dangerous around the time of their calamity, where their warrior ethos was in full swing
fuelled by desperation to survive. When awakened from their slumber, it’s often the case
that you are waking up a desperate soldier to whom the war for survival never ended so
utmost caution is needed. Especially if they find out that their planet is still uninhabitable
or worse yet, as been colonised by invaders in their sleep. I also suspect their reverence
for the planet and its moons is what drove many to stay and try to wait out the death
of Mars, rather than simply desert it though certain clans were seen attempting to terraform
other planets for their suitability as they considered Mars too far gone.
They have proven to be not unreasonable however and are open to negotiation, compassion and
mercy, after all they’re not soulless robots, but a grieved and desperate people. Fortunately
they eventually find the salvation they are looking for, in a way, through cooperation
with other species and the formation of a commonwealth superpower of planets. A united
federation if you will. Thanks for listening to this brief summary
of the Ice Warriors who although named as such, really only suited that description
at one point in their expansive history. Until the next video, thanks again for watching,
I’ve been Ric. Goodby(ice)ssss….