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Published on January 16th, 2005 | by Christian Cawley

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Terrible Times – UNIT (Part 1)

Hello student, and welcome to the second part of your “Hidden History” module. This time, we’ll be looking at the part played by UNIT (The United Nations Intelligence Taskforce) in the late 20th century alien invasion epidemic. This short era, as touched upon last time, is a favourite of mine. It’s almost as if Earth was some sort of prize in a competition of Galactic Conquest! Cybermen, the Nestene Consciousness, even Daleks all set foot on Earth during this time. Yet they failed to get a foothold on our world, for at least 100 years in the case of the Daleks.

Each of you, reading this finds this incredible, I know. But 20th century man armed with primitive projectile weapons fended off demonic aliens from the past, shape-shifting Zygons and even our friend the Master! We’ll look at the proof.

During the 1970s, Lethbridge-Stewart was a colonel in the Scots Guard investigating the origin of a bizarre cobweb in the Old London Underground transport network. His report refers to the involvement of an aging scientist known as Travers and also robotic “Yeti”. My own research into this period suggests an attempt by the elusive “Great Intelligence” to gain a foothold on Earth. Records of this period also detail meetings held between Lethbridge-Stewart and representatives of the United Nations Security Council.

A year or so later, a company called International Electromatics was involved with the development of the recently invented microprocessor. It had also been subverted by the galactic gypsies we know as Cybermen. Lethbridge-Stewart, now a Brigadier and leader of the newly formed UNIT managed to not only repel the Cyberman invasion but also formulate a response to the Mondasian’s first strike – microchips in every piece of electrical equipment capable of disabling humans.

A year or so later, Lethbridge-Stewart, now a Brigadier and leader of the newly formed UNIT, was instrumental in the sealing of a vast underground complex. This was the home of a colony of Earth Reptiles, who we know as biped creatures from over 20 million years ago. The attack was in response to the Eocenes’ (erroneously referred to in Lethbridge-Stewart’s report as “Silurians”) attempts to both unleash a plague on mankind (thwarted by the brilliant Dr Elizabeth Shaw) and their attempt to disperse the Van Allen radiation belt. These “Evil Eocenes” or “Slithery Silurians” are as we know now valued members of our society, and no offence is intended to these Terrans.

A little before this episode, UNIT fended off a spearhead by implausible plastic purveyors the Nestene Consciousness.

Some months later, UNIT repelled a second attack by the Nestenes, aided as we’ve already seen by the Master. This was the Nestenes second assault in as many years – even their plastic manipulating couldn’t help them gain a foothold on oil-dependent Earth!

The Master himself was foiled on countless occasions as we saw last time, employing extraterrestrial assistance many times, including the Axons, a water-borne race of Earth Reptiles and an ancient power from Daemos, the last of his kind. How Lethbridge-Stewart was able to overcome such terrors is unknown. There is the suggestion of outside help, yet this is never explicitly stated – I certainly have found no suggestion of this. Some commentators have speculated that Lethbridge-Stewart himself was guilty of creating various smokescreens such as these in a quest for power that spanned 25 years; others believe he himself was extraterrestrial, or certainly possessed of amazing intelligence. After all, how else could he have succeeded in defending the Earth so often?

It may seem as though the majority of these cases were possibly flukes, that UNIT got lucky, old time “British” luck and a swift uppercut winning the day. But although these concepts perfectly describe to us 20th Century Britain, they are a world away from the period we are analysing – as much as 50 years out of date. Besides, how exactly do you “get lucky” against the Dastardly Daleks, the most evil force in the universe?

In the late 1970s, a force of 15 Daleks attacked Auderley House, the home of respected politician and entrepreneur Sir Reginald Styles. Styles at this time was hosting peace talks with the aim of averting a Third World War; according to Lethbridge-Stewart’s report, the Daleks intended to destroy the conference, thus guaranteeing such a conflict. How Lethbridge-Stewart comes to this conclusion is unknown…

Next time, we’ll investigate more of Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart and look at his legacy – a world free of alien occupation, armed to help itself against all but the most determined invaders…

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About the Author

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A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.




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