When is the Doctor?
In the entire universe, no race has caused more death and destruction or incited more fear and terror than the Daleks. Those who see a Dalek for the first time often underestimate them. They look like little more than an armed pepper pot, some sort of silly robot that will have a problem getting up stairs. Nothing could be further from the truth – their advanced technology and will to conquer at all costs makes them one of the darkest forces the Doctor has ever faced.
Daleks are not robots but a crippled mutant encased in an armoured battle-suit. This battlesuit is armed with a weapon that can fire in a 360-degree arc and spells instant death for any life form it strikes. It is encased in both armour plating and a force-field, making it immune to almost every form of weaponry. The survival systems allow a Dalek to survive easily under water or in hard vacuum. Even the heat of falling through a planet’s atmosphere from space cannot destroy the suit or kill the mutant inside.
Energy thrusters in the casing allow the Dalek to fly in space or in atmosphere at low altitudes. Finally, advanced computers allow the mutant to hack into most computer networks, downloading huge amounts of data in moments. Everything about a Dalek is designed to kill and destroy; even their plunger-like manipulator arm can suffocate a man to death, crush their skulls or extract their brainwaves. However, the most terrifying thing about the Daleks is not their weapons and armour, but their attitude and beliefs. All Daleks believe they are superior to all other forms of life. They alone have the right to command and dominate. They believe in no greater force than themselves and insist that no form of morality applies to them. It is their mission not only to control the universe, but also to cleanse it of all non-Dalek life. Even with advanced technology, as the Time Lords learnt to their cost, it is hard to face such a determined and aggressive enemy. Daleks feel no fear, will kill in an instant and feel no remorse. They consider the universe only in terms of war and murder. Daleks have no art or culture, they exist only to fight and conquer.
Anything that cannot be used as a weapon or a defence is no use to them. As one of the most technologically advanced races in the universe, mere weapons and armour rarely manages to destroy the Dalek threat. One of their only weaknesses is their predictability, due to their reliance on logic. It is the Doctor’s cunning, ingenuity and abstract thinking that has led to their defeat each time. The Daleks are also extremely pragmatic, which has often given their enemies respite from their attacks. Free from emotion, the Daleks never get angry or upset over the results of battle. If resistance proves too strong they will not push forward out of pride or martial spirit, they will retreat and reconsider. However, if they believe they can overcome an obstacle they will sacrifice as many slaves, resources and even themselves to achieve their objective. Daleks are slaves to their own race, seeing the individual as unimportant compared to the glory of the Dalek race as a whole.
The Daleks originated on the planet Skaro, as a race called the Kaleds. The Kaleds were much like humans, as were their enemies the Thals. The war between the Thals and Kaleds lasted for centuries and would see no end unless one species was utterly destroyed. Neither side offered quarter and used any weapon they could find, no matter what the cost, to destroy the opposition. After centuries of war with nuclear weapons it became apparent that the radiation was creating genetic anomalies in both species. The Kaleds set their greatest scientist, Davros, to solve the problem of these mutations. His answer and the results of his research would one day become the Daleks. Davros began his experiments by accelerating the mutation, to discover what the Kaleds were becoming. The results were not pretty, a one eyed creature with tentacles for limbs, little more than a green brain. The creatures couldn’t even survive for very long. Such a creature could never fight the war for the Kaleds and further mutation meant the end of the Kaled race.
However, it became very clear to Davros that the mutations were too advanced to be reversed, especially as the surface of Skaro was heavily irradiated. So instead, he designed and built a ‘travel machine’ for the mutants. The machine was armed and armoured and built with an advanced life support system. In this form the Kaled race might survive. Unfortunately, Davros was not quite the patriot the Kaleds expected. Instead of just advancing the mutation to discover its results, he decided to make a few modifications of his own. He removed ‘useless emotions’ like love, compassion and mercy. His intention was to create a new army, loyal to him alone and utterly dedicated to his goals of conquest and supremacy. The Kaleds learned of Davros’ treachery too late. By the time they suspected he had his own agenda, too many ‘travel machines’ had been built and Davros quickly took control. The mutants turned on the Kaleds and destroyed them all, leaving only enough of them to create more mutants. A new race had been born, a race of mutants encased in weaponised body armour, and Davros named them his ‘Daleks’.
The Time Lords, seeing the terrible destruction the Dalek race would inflict upon the universe, enlisted the Doctor to put a stop to the threat before it could begin. The Fourth Doctor was sent to the very moment that Davros created the Daleks, to put an end to them. Of course, this is not the Doctor’s way. He could not bring himself to be the cause of the Dalek’s demise, but he did delay their progress. This is often considered the Time Lords’ first strike against the Daleks and the cause of the Time War. Davros expected his new race to follow him on a conquest of not only the Thals but the universe itself. Unfortunately, while the Daleks fully intended to purify the universe of all non-Daleks, they were not about to ‘follow’ anyone. They reasoned that Davros was a Kaled, not a Dalek, and refused to follow his orders, destroying their creator when he tried to undo his work and force their compliance. From there, they spread out into the universe to conquer and enslave anything that crossed their path. Davros, however, would not end his connection with the Daleks there. He lived on, in suspended animation, clinging to life until he was needed once more.
Even before the Time War, the Doctor had fought the Daleks so often that they knew him as ‘The Oncoming Storm’. The struggles between the Doctor and his enemies were many and varied; he fought them across Space and Time, through battles that would later come to be seen as small skirmishes in the Time War. The Doctor was present at all the crucial moments in the Dalek’s evolution, either through accident or design. The Doctor returned to Skaro, centuries after the Dalek’s creation, when they tried to revive their creator for assistance in a war they were losing. The Daleks hunted through the ruins of the old Kaled city, located Davros and revived him with the help of his own life support systems. Davros was later arrested by Earth authorities and held in cryogenic suspension aboard a prison ship for 90 years. Once more, The Daleks came to find him and free him, always seeking his help with their problems. To the Dalek race, Davros was not the leader he had wanted to be, he was merely a tool to help them through any difficulties or setbacks.
Eventually, Davros tired of his creations. They were not loyal to him and so he started again from scratch. He began forming a new Dalek race, completely loyal to him. The original Daleks fought back against this – they wouldn’t let Davros pollute their race with un-pure Daleks. A war emerged between the two Dalek factions, which styled themselves ‘Imperials’ and ‘Renegades’. Much like the Time War, this battle was fought out of the sight of many, though when the battle did land on a particular world the consequences were devastating. Eventually, the war between the Daleks reached Earth, as the two sides battled for ‘The Hand of Omega’. This powerful Stellar Manipulator was created by the Time Lords and used to turn suns super-nova, forming black holes which would provide the power source for their time travel. The hand was hidden on Earth by the Doctor in 1963, shortly after he fled his home world.
Caught in the war between Dalek factions, the Doctor tricked Davros into using the Hand, which led to the destruction of Skaro’s sun. Davros took this action personally, fuelling his grudge against the Doctor and the Time Lords. The fight between the Dalek factions began to wane as a larger battle loomed. As the Time War approached, the Dalek factions fought separately against the Time Lords and the other species. No one knows quite when the two factions joined together, but at some stage the Daleks united against their new enemies.
In the final battle of the Time War, it was the Doctor who found himself able to end the Daleks forever, but only at the cost of his own people. Seeing no other option he destroyed both the Daleks and Gallifrey, but still the Daleks survived. The Dalek Emperor managed to escape the destruction and rebuilt the Dalek race in secret using small amounts of corrupted human tissue. These new Daleks loathed their origin to the point of insanity, but worshipped the Emperor as a God – the last pure Dalek.
Again the Daleks were wiped out, as Rose Tyler erased them from existence, using the power of the Vortex. However, another group of Daleks, the ‘Cult of Skaro’ had hidden from the war in the void between dimensions. They protected a device they called the Genesis Ark, a Time Lord prison that contained millions of Daleks. Even though the Cult of Skaro succeeded in opening the Ark, the Doctor and Rose managed to send the Daleks back into the Void. Every time he has faced the Daleks, the Doctor has defeated them; but usually at terrible cost. Somehow they always survive, too full of hate to truly die. They have escaped through emergency time travel, fallen through time and space, crashed into the timelocked events of the Time War, freed their creator Davros (only to treat him like a pet-like prisoner) to be destroyed again by the Doctor, betrayed by one of their own.
No matter how many are destroyed, what losses they take, or how thoroughly they are defeated, they always find a way to rebuild and return. No other race has proved quite so resilient, not even the deadly Cybermen. When only one Dalek remained, it found a way to generate millions of new Daleks. Daleks organise themselves as an army, with their entire lives dedicated to war and conflict. The mutants require very little sleep and automatic systems in their casings can awaken them if danger threatens. This means the Dalek race is an army constantly on alert.
Their favoured tactics are simply to crush all resistance as soon as possible. After their ships have neutralised any military installations, the Daleks themselves swarm out to occupy ground positions and quell any resistance. They leave little in reserve as they don’t care how many Daleks might be destroyed. Having said that, few things can destroy even one Dalek, so they rarely suffer any casualties. This means Dalek assaults are often very short, with most resistance crushed in moments.
Daleks have no concept of ‘fighting fair’ and ignore any of the rules and morality most soldiers take for granted. To them, only the objectives matter. If the leaders of a civilization resist, the Daleks will begin executing civilians en masse, without ‘wasting’ any time threatening to do it. This denies their victims the time to think and plan a resistance strategy as their civilians, be they men, women or children, are being killed in large numbers. Often, civilians will be rounded up and detained by Dalek ground forces, although this is mainly to control civil disobedience. While Daleks often use slaves to collect planetary resources, the only thing the Daleks are interested in is what they can take from a planet to fuel their war machine.