Doctor Cthulhu: The Animus / Lloigor

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Christopher Morley continues his look at the Doctor's many encounters with the Great Old Ones.


Following on from yesterday's handy introduction to the world of Doctor Cthulhu, we find ourselves on Vortis aka The Web Planet...



Ruled over by the despotic Animus - to use the name given to it by the native butterfly-like Menoptra population it menaces through possession of the ant-resembling Zarbi, enslaved to it by virtue of mental control. It shares this ability with Yog Sothoth/the Great Intelligence.... in Old One parlance the Animus' proper moniker should be Lloigor! For that is how its race is known within the Cthulhu Mythos, first appearing in the August Derleth short story The Lair Of The Star Spawn published in 1932.



The Web Planet is also something of a first for the Doctor in that it's the first time he & indeed we see what the Old Ones are capable of. It resembles the result of a union between a spider & an octopus, its fortress known as the Carsinome generated by its own fungus. It can also use webbing to trap those unfortunate enough to be in its vicinity- another trait it shares with the aforementioned Yog-Sothoth, which the Doctor will encounter following his first regeneration in The Abominable Snowmen & The Web Of Fear.

He'll have one of the Lloigor to contend with before he can even begin to turn his attention to that particular adventure though, & that's saying nothing of the Celestial Toymaker.
DOCTOR: Oh, what is holding us here? What force, hmm?
VICKI: That looks a bit grim. Where are we?
DOCTOR: Hmm? Oh.
IAN: Doctor, can’t there just be something wrong with the TARDIS?
DOCTOR: Wrong? My boy, we’ve been dragged off our course. The question is, is it some natural phenomena or is it intelligent, deliberate, or for a purpose, hmm?
BARBARA: Oh, you’ll find the answer, Doctor. You always do.
DOCTOR: What?
BARBARA: You’ll find the answer.
DOCTOR: Oh yes, my dear, yes, I’m confident that I can counteract it with more power. Yes. Now let me see.
And when the TARDIS is seemingly moved by mental force alone, we see another show of the power of the Animus channelled through the Zarbi. Barbara leaves the ship seemingly under the direction of this same mental power, with the gold bracelet she wears acting as a sort of control device! Luckily she's snapped out of her trance by the Menoptra, to whom she recounts everything she remembers of her arrival before being possessed.

BARBARA: After we’d landed, two of our party went to explore. The last thing I remember was being in the ship, the doors opening, and then, well, then you came.
HRHOONDA: Kill her.
VRESTIN: No.
HRHOONDA: A stranger must not be trusted.
HROSTAR: (a male) You chose here when you chose to land on Vortis?
BARBARA: I keep telling you, we didn’t choose. Our ship was forced here.
VRESTIN: The Zarbi will treat them as enemies. If we refuse to help them, they will not survive.
HRHOONDA: Her future is no concern of ours. Hrostar, she was under the force of the Zarbi. Why did you break it?
BARBARA: Look, all we want to do is get away from here. These Zarbi that you seem frightened of, maybe we could help you?
HROSTAR: Have you any weapons?
BARBARA: No, but we...
VRESTIN: Watch her.
HRHOONDA: If we let her go, she may tell the Zarbi where they can find us.
VRESTIN: No.
HRHOONDA: Even if she does not wish to betray us, they will extort it from her.
VRESTIN: There are few of us and many of the Zarbi. She offers help.
HRHOONDA: She is not to be trusted. I say kill her.
VRESTIN: Hrostar. The Menoptra do not act without...
HRHOONDA: Stop her! Stop her!
She later returns, once more under the control of the Animus/Zarbi thanks to the bracelet. And in case it wasn't clear enough that it was the arm adornment that was to blame-
BARBARA: How did I get back here?
HROSTAR: You were morphatised. Look!
BARBARA: I don’t understand.
HROSTAR: The Zarbi can control everyone, even us, the Menoptra, when they use that metal.
BARBARA: It's gold.
HROSTAR: Don’t touch!
BARBARA: I see. So it was the bracelet. What will they do to us?
HROSTAR: We are to be taken to the Crater of Needles.
BARBARA: And then?
HROSTAR: They will put us to work. Once there you might well wish that you had not been spared.
Meanwhile the Doctor gets a first audience with an Old One!

ANIMUS : Why do you come now?
DOCTOR: Who are you? We come in peace.
ANIMUS : Peace? Is that why you attack? Where is your main force?
DOCTOR: We are alone. We have strayed from our astral plane.
ANIMUS : When will your invasion fleet arrive? What is its weaponry?
DOCTOR: We are peaceful travellers from Earth.
ANIMUS: You lie. You are the Menoptra. Our detectors show you are massing in space to attack. Speak!
DOCTOR: I know nothing of these Menoptra.
ANIMUS : We shall show you the fate which awaits all your ships, all your people.
DOCTOR: Please listen to me. I have not finished my explanation…
They are able to interact by means of a hairdryer-like tube, the Zarbi simply shoving their prisoner under it with Ian & Vicki unable to hear who he's talking to.


We later learn its true goal - it wants mastery of the TARDIS!
"What I take from you will enable me to reach beyond this galaxy, into the solar system, to pluck from Earth its myriad techniques and take from man his mastery of space."
Until its destroyed by the Isop-tope, a specially-created Menoptra weapon. Though it will return to menace the First Doctor once more in the issue of the Prisoners Of Time comic dedicated to him, once again using possessed Zarbi.

And the Second Doctor will later return to Vortis with Jamie & Victoria for company in the Virgin Missing Adventures novel Twilight Of The Gods.....
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