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Tractators.jpg

The Tractators are the secondary antagonists of the Doctor Who story "Frontios". This remains their only appearance to date.

History

The Tractators were a race of giant insects, resembling woodlice, with power over gravity. They were directed by the Gravis, who functioned as a "queen bee". Without his influence, the Tractators were harmless burrowing creatures. At one point, they invaded Trion, leaving Turlough with an almost overpowering racial memory of them.

The Tractators eventually took refuge on the planet Frontios. They used their gravity powers to cause a human colony ship to crash, then hid underground as the humans set up their colony. After giving them a generation to establish themselves, they began drawing humans underground through the earth, using them to power the Gravis' excavator machines as part of his plan to create a network of tunnels that would allow him to pilot the whole planet. The Tractators also attracted asteroids to strike the colony in constant bombardments.

The Doctor encountered the Tractators when they attempted to capture him and colonist Norna. They captured the colony's leader, Plantagenet, aiming to turn him into a pilot for the excavating machine, replacing his father, Captain Revere, who had been killed by the process. They also attempted to capture colony rebel Cockerill but were stopped by the Doctor and Tegan.

After Plantagenet was rescued by the combined efforts of the Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and chief orderly Brazen (albeit at the cost of Brazen being pulled into the excavator machine), the Doctor pretended to surrender the planet to the Gravis, but this was a ruse to trick the Gravis into reforming the TARDIS, which had been destroyed by one of the bombardments. This resulted in the Gravis being trapped inside the TARDIS and cut off from the Tractators, who were thus rendered harmless.

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