When is the Doctor?
While some species are generally ‘bad’ and others are generally ‘good’, not every member of a given species thinks the same way. This can certainly be said about the inhabitants of Raxacoricofallapatorius, the twin planet of Clom. Raxacoricofallapatorius is one of the universe’s most beautiful planets. From the white marble temples, sat atop mountains of sapphire and chalk, down to the spectacular ice caves that border the endless burgundy oceans, via fields of poppito trees that sway in the cinnamon breeze. The Raxacoricofallapatorians are a civilised and proud race with large families and quite draconian laws. Their strict government educates the children in poetry, mathematics and democracy. It is no surprise that one of their families, the family Slitheen, didn’t get on well there.
Descendents of the Huspick Degenerate, cousins to the Blathereen and Rackateen, born on the Islands of Hisp, the Slitheen are a family of criminals, scouring the galaxy looking for opportunities to get rich. They don’t care how they do it, as long as the price is right. If a few innocent and primitive lives have to be lost, or the odd planet gets boiled away, it really doesn’t bother them as long as they get their cut. The family itself is rather large, including all the cousins, stepchildren and distant relatives. The family business resembles a small corporation. Plenty of people can be forgiven for thinking the Slitheen are a species themselves. They are certainly doing nothing for the good reputation of Raxacoricofallapatorius.
Originally, they infiltrated the government and controlled the distribution of the valuable spice Offich and their criminal ways became legendary until the Great Purge of Yon: 556. Most of the Slitheen, over 500 individuals, were arrested and found guilty. Those Slitheen off world at the time could never return home, for fear of instantly being found guilty and receiving the death sentence with no appeal. On Raxacoricofallapatorious, a death sentence starts by lowering the convicted into a cauldron of Acetic acid, boiled to just the right temperature to dissolve the skin – whilst it is said the condemned is still alive. They then slowly turn to a soup, as their organs fall into the acid around them. With such a cruel and disgusting form of execution, it is no surprise that not a single Slitheen has returned home.
A Slitheen (or Raxacoricofallapatorian) adult is both impressive and frightening. They stand over two metres tall, with long muscular arms ending in fierce talons. While they look fat and bulbous, they move remarkable quickly and with great precision. They love to hunt and practice as often as they can, so a lucky and inventive prey can sometimes escape but not often. Slitheen have a very good sense of smell and are remarkable trackers. When the Slitheen closes in, the fight doesn’t often last long. A female can form poison inside her body, which can be used as a weapon in the form of a dart, fired from her finger, or in the form of an exhalation of poisonous gas. They have a weakness that can be a big problem – their bodies, being composed of living calcium, react extremely badly to acetic acid. Enough vinegar can dissolve a Slitheen or even make it explode.
The Slitheen themselves have limited resources. Their early attempts at drug-running, arms dealing and chizzle-waxing were shut down by the authorities, including the Wrarth Warriors and the Judoon, leaving them increasingly desperate. But they still have access to a few interstellar ships and they understand genetic manipulation very well. While they have the technology to create energy weapons, they generally prefer to hunt their prey and use their natural weapons to kill. To hide among a planet’s dominant species they are able to skin their victims and wear it as a disguise (as long as the victim is ‘big boned’ enough for the skin to accommodate the Slitheen). Even with the largest species, the skin is a tight fit, so the Slitheen need to use gas exchangers to maintain the disguise. The excess gas can often lead to some embarrassing, or funny (depending how you look at it), social problems. Most Slitheen prefer not to wear such cramped disguises but it takes only a few moments to zip or unzip themselves into their ‘skin suit’. More recently, their compression field collars have been perfected, allowing them to assume the form of slimmer people, without the annoying gas exchange.
The Slitheen consider the Earth a backwater planet and have tried to destroy it on several occasions. Their plan was to reduce the planet to a radioactive slime, which they could sell to the depressed galactic economy as fuel. They began by infiltrating the government of the United Kingdom, in the same way they had on their own world. Once inside the government, they crashed a space ship into the river Thames, in London (hitting Big Ben en route!). With the planet in a panic over the crashed alien vessel, they received authorisation from the United Nations to launch nuclear weapons, exactly what they needed to finish their plan. Luckily, the Doctor and his friends were able to stop them.
However, the Slitheen are a large family with many sub-clans and they take any action against their family very personally. Even though they may not see any profit in destroying the human race, plenty of Slitheen cousins and siblings would love nothing better than to see the Earth destroyed in revenge for the family members they have lost.