Doctor Who Monsters A-Z : Vashta Nerada

June 1, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782


The Vashta Nerada are carnivorous, microscopic beings who live in swarms that are thousands strong. They can exist in any shadow and while they are harmless enough individually, when there numbers are strong they can consume the flesh of a being right down to their bares bones within milliseconds. They are often referred to as the piranhas of the air and are the reason that most races have deep-down fear of the dark. The Vashta Nerada on Earth are very timid and usually feed on road kill and rarely ever go after human flesh. However, on some other planets they are much more deadly and don’t hesitate to go after any living being they can. When they stalk their prey they usually mimic their shadows before going in for the kill. They can even reanimate their victims (usually when they’re inside something like a spacesuit or diving gear) to help them hunt others but when doing this they can achieve little more than a slow zombie-like walk which is, nevertheless, quite effective.

They begin their lives as microscopic spores in trees and naturally lived in forests. When these spores hatch they can form a swarm within minutes, and these spores are so resilient that they can even still exist as paper or other products produced from a tree after it has been cut down. This is how they make it into the biggest library in the universe, hatching from within the books. When the Vashta Nerada awoke within the library and to save everyone the computer, CAL, uploaded everyone’s consciousness into itself and created a virtual reality for them to live in. But CAL was no ordinary computer, she was once a girl called Charlotte Abigail Lux who was part of the family who helped build the library. When she was found to have a terminal illness with no known cure, it was decided for her consciousness to be uploaded to the computer at the heart of the library so she could read every book that every existed as entertainment. She was also given Doctor Moon, an artificial moon which would watch over her and maintain the computer systems on the planet. But uploading and maintaining all those people put a great strain on her, so great that she forgot her true nature. Her father’s grandson, Strackman Lux, later came to discover what had happened in the library with a team of explorers. He later revealed to them that his true intention in making this trip was to check up on her, as she had been kept a secret to everyone outside the family as they did not want others of think of her as a kind of freak show.

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When the Doctor first met River Song she already knew a lot about him but he knew nothing about her. At first, she was a mystery to the Doctor and while he wanted answers she couldn’t give him any because they were from his own future. She is in fact the daughter of his two future companion, Amy and Rory, who was kidnapped by the Silence and trained as an assassin to kill the Doctor. However, she later turned against the Silence and married the Doctor instead. After that she met the Doctor from time to time and helped him to fight different menaces but as she grew to know him more, he grew to know her less (and vice-versa) until she finally met an earlier version of him who she had never met before. It was then in which she sacrificed her life for his as she would rather have died then than have all those times she would spend with the Doctor erased. But the Doctor managed to save her as a data ghost in the biggest library in the universe and he got one last chance to say goodbye to her ghost on Trenzalore before she finally faded away.

The Vashta Nerada’s only appearance so far was in Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead written by Steven Moffat and featuring the Tenth Doctor, Donna and River. During this the Doctor and Donna arrive in the biggest library in the universe, one which spans an entire planet and includes every book ever written, to find that everyone has mysteriously vanished. After being chased by shadows they meet a team of explorers led by a mysterious woman known as River Song. Mean Donna befriends one of the explorers who soon after ends up dead, with nothing left but a skeleton. The Doctor then deduces that it is the Vashta Nerada that they are up against and with no defence against the many shadow, their only hope is to run. With Donna missing and the shadows closing in, the Doctor must team up with River Song to try and make it to the computer mainframe and free everyone who was trapped in it one-hundred years ago. While Donna meets the love of her life within the virtual reality created by the computer, the Doctor is able to negotiate with the Vashta Nerada to allow the humans to leave unharmed once they return from the computer. With this done the Doctor is able to hook himself up to the computer and release all the minds within it, however this action will kill him and he will be unable to regenerate. As he makes the final preparation he is knocked unconscious by River Song who dies in his place, restoring everyone trapped within. While River Song’s body died, the Doctor was able to restore her mind and store it inside the computer, allowing her to live again with the minds of her fellow explorers who died as company. While it may be the end for River’s point of view, it is only the beginning from the Doctor’s.
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Moving on from the Vashta Nerada, next week we’ll be looking at the deadly Weeping Angels who have terrorised the Doctor on more than one occasion.