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The Autons are a primitive android-like race of artificial beings found in the British sci-fi series Doctor Who and are one of the many creations of the Nestene Consciousness.

Autons are, simply put, human-sized dummies made of plastic, although they are not the only creations of the Nestene Consciousness they are one of the most recurring and recognized.

History

The Autons first appeared in Spearhead from Space, when, as Earth has reached the stage where plastic is commonplace, the Nestenes plot to invade Earth. The first invasion was coordinated by a Swarm Leader, an advenced Auton calling himself Channing. Channing took over Auto Plastics and used to mass produce standard Autons to act as shop window dummies. Channing used a contract with Madame Tussaud's to make plastic "waxworks" of key government and military leaders. These were in fact replicants,who would replace the orginals, while the real ones would take the place of the waxworks.

An Auton was sent out to retrieve the Nestene's energy meteors, and killed Ransome, a designer who had discovered the truth about the Autons. The attack was coordinated first thing in the morning. The Autons broke out of shops to attack key strategic positions whilst the facsimiles helped soften resistance. However, the Third Doctor and UNIT managed to fight their way into Auto Plastics, and disable the Nestene's, thwarting the invasion and deactivating the Autons.

The Auton menace would be revived, by subtler means in Terror of the Autons, where the Master allied with the Nestene Consciousness, and used one of it's remaining energy sphere's to create his own batch of Autons. Rather than invade, the Master instead used them as agents, such as a pair who posed as policemen, who the Master used the try and kill the Doctor and Jo Grant. The Master also he had a group pose as part of a promotional tour giving plastic flowers, which would be a weapon used to kill hundreds, allowing the Nestenes to invade. The Autons fought the UNIT forces, until the Doctor persuaded the Master to aid him in defeating the Nestenes, as they would betray him. After rejecting the Nestenes from Earth, the Autons dropped dead.

At the first appearance of the Ninth Doctor in Rose, they reappeared along with the Nestene Consciousness and tried to conquer Earth, but were deactivated when the Doctor's companion Rose Tyler destroyed the Nestene.

When the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Judoon, the Sontarans, and the Doctor's other enemies wanted to trap the Eleventh Doctor in the Pandorica to save the universe, more realistic Autons disguised as Romans (which included a version of Rory Williams) were created by the Nestene to perform a scenario that would lure the Doctor to the Pandorica. After the plan failed to prevent the end of the universe, the Autons were reduced to statues, and the Nestenes were erased, allowing Rory to be in control of himself. Rory would live for thousands for years, protecting the Pandorica, before the universe was rebooted, restoring the Nestenes and the Autons. 

An army of Autons were used in the anniversary comic, Prisoners of Time, by the Master and Adam Mitchell, to oppose the Doctor. In 7214, Autons were used by the Master to set a trap for the Sixth Doctor in Antarctopolis.

During the Eleventh Doctor's 900 Siege of Trenzalore, according to the short story Strangers in the Outland, Autons were sent to eliminate the Doctor before he could restore the Time Lords. The Doctor speculated that the Nestene housed itself inside one of the spaceships orbiting Trenzalore by sending Autons to hijack the ships. The Autons were parachuted into Trenzalore, with their weapons being removed to get past the technology barrier, to drag the Doctor away, but they were blown off course by the crosswinds. The Nestene instead opted to lead the Doctor into a trap in the Devil's Elbows Canyon in the Outland, but the Doctor blew up the Lifeboat with boronite, and the Lifeboat sunk to the bottom of Lake Lagda while the Autons were still on board. One Auton was able to escape, but when it grabbed the Doctor's wooden leg in a struggle to hold on to a slab of ice, the Doctor forcibly unbuckled the leg from his body, and the Auton fell to the bottom of the lake as well. 

Trivia

  • The Autons are the first villains to appear in the modern series.

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