Hatred is a powerful emotion, not just anger
directed at a single person or event, but a raw hatred against everything. This is the
mindset of a Dalek and it has led them to kill nearly all other lifeforms they encounter.
The exact dates of the Dalek’s history and their governmental structure has changed a
lot due to the longevity of the species, the 50 plus years of Doctor Who itself and the
fact that time travel is a messy affair that can retcon events out of history. But I’ll
do my best to summarise them. On Skaro there were two factions, the Kaleds
and Thals. They were at war, and had been for a thousand years, so long that neither
faction could identify the cause of the war due to the rampant destruction that both sides
had bestowed upon their culture. The two sides wielded early firearms alongside laser weaponry
suggesting that their technology had entered a period of decline due to the constant war,
with scavenged technology from their past continuing their feud.
During this conflict, radiation weapons and other contaminates created mutations among
the sides who were shunned by the Kaleds. Termed “Mutoes” their rejection was perhaps
the origin of the Dalek’s inherited obsession with purity and in ironic stance considering
their later development. A Kaled scientist Davros created the Daleks
we know today by mutating the Kaleds into creatures bred for war and begun encasing
them in Mark III Travel machines, armoured mobile tanks forged from Dalekanium and Polycarbide
compounds. The term Dalek is an anagram of Kaled, though
its origins are a mystery though it is suggested that the name itself may be a paradox as Davros
was exposed to the term from the Fourth Doctor who then began to use the name, though it
bears similarities to an ancient Skaran, Skaran? That right? Skaro…Skaranian, …ronion race?
An ancient Skaran race, the Dals. The mutated forms were little more than a
brain, sensory organs and tentacles used for operating the frame, however the younger the
mutant, the more mobile outside of the shell they were. Despite looking frail, they are
capable of strangulation, leaping a fair distance and are biologically immortal thanks to the
regenerative and mutative qualities of their DNA. In an extreme example of this tenacity,
a Dalek mutant could survive dismemberment and remain dormant for around 1200 years before
returning to full health. With advanced age however, they could lose cellular structure
and effectively liquefy to a point where they were confined to a form of sewer system, below
their cities to remain forgotten. Cybernetics and technological additions were also made
to further bind them to their armour and they could metabolise various radiations (ultraviolet/atron
and so on) to repair and reenergize themselves. The exterior casing itself was derived from
the mobility and weapons technology devised by the Scientific Elite of the Kaleds and
serves as a battle armour, tactical computer, environmental suit and life support system.
It has many functions that varied from time period and specialisation, but some constants
remain. An eyestalk sits atop the armoured dome, allowing for a sight (also one of the
few weaknesses the Daleks have), and two lights that flash when in commination. Then there
are the Gunstick and manipulator, modular attachments that act as a Dalek’s arms and
weaponry. The Gunstick produces an infamous sound when discharged and could cause massive
internal disruption or complete atomization. The lower frame was designed for mobility
and was heavily armoured. The Dalek’s were connected via the Pathweb which was a Scientifically
created telepathic link and database which contained a vast library of information.
Due to the fact that their creation was attributed to one individual, their goals and mind-set
were shaped by his singular will and unfortunately for the universe; a millennia of warfare on
Skaro had rendered Davros’ views rather twisted. He installed a cortex vault in the
frames that would smartly analyse memories and emotions then distil those that would
keep the Kaled mutant in a state of hatred. He had great pride in his creations, and the
first he made did not permit any authority higher than their own. They also gave no quarter
in battle, sparing no victim for mercy’s sake, only tactical advantage. This also shows
a clear level of operational logical behaviour, not just raw hate.
They also developed the notion that their form and existence was the pinnacle of evolution
and this lead to an extremely xenophobic attitude of racial purity when combined with their
constant hatred. When in combat, they scream “exterminate!” as a battle cry of sorts
to amp themselves up and supply power to their Gunsticks which can only be fired when in
an agitated state. Speculation here, but I suspect this is a further failsafe to encourage
a Dalek to fire first and not worry about the consequences of killing, being enraged
when they do so. The Daleks are constantly trying to attain
a level of purity through genetic experimentation and cultural adaptation. This can then fundamentally
alter their goals as a species at times and has led to internal conflict. Some examples
include the Humanised Dalek created by the Second doctor and Davros when the Current
Dalek Emperor saw humanity’s destructive potential and forced the Doctor to create
a Human Factor to introduce into their genetics. It also brought across more passive traits
and a rebellious streak that lead to a civil war. Another was a Dalek known as Sec, who
tried to evolve the species to survive after the Time War, but was exterminated by his
former allies when he was “corrupted” by more benign emotions.
The introduction of compassion, friendship and such emotional traits is seen as abhorrent
to a Dalek as it fundamentally alters the premise for which Davros designed them, we
saw this in the episode “Dalek” where a lone unit was contaminated by Human DNA
once again and chose destruction over emotion. Their limited emotional range has led them
to develop an appreciation for death and destruction, terming it the closest thing they can come
to appreciating beauty. The Dalek’s governmental structure has changed
significantly over the eons with several radical shifts. A common return point through is the
position of the Emperor and thus the Dalek as an Empire. They first rebelled against
Davros, but then later came to almost deify him as their creator allowing him great influence
over the race so long as he continued to serve their interests. The same can be said of Dalek
Caan whose actions in rescuing Davros elevated him to a respected position, even as his sanity
was lost. At this time, a New Dalek Empire was being established but ultimately fell
to the Tenth Doctor and many of these governmental structures were instituted during attempts
to rebuild after the Last Great Time War. There was also the creation of the New Dalek
Paradigm to save the race from extinction where specialist Daleks would oversee certain
operations, but this later gave way to the Parliament of Daleks overseen by a Prime Minister.
So lets’ look at the most common layout of Dalek hierarchy.
At the top of the chain of command is the Dalek Emperor, and there have been several,
the “Golden Emperor”, the “Dalek City Emperor” who was cybernetically connected
to the Dalek City and the Emperor during the Time War who again was installed in his command
saucer. There was also the Progenitor Emperor of the New Dalek Paradigm who was then disposed
of in favour of the Parliament. Below the Emperor was the Supreme Dalek, also
known as the Black Dalek when this position was occupied by such a unit. This Dalek is
the second in command and is often tasked with being the Emperor’s voice in campaigns.
In instances where there was no Emperor, the Supreme Dalek became the total head of the
Dalek Empire. Surrounding these positions were the Imperial
Guard, elite Black cased Daleks. And reporting directly to the Supreme was the Time Controller,
whose specialty in Time Travel often led it to outrank the Supreme in matters within its
purview. The Daleks also operated a number of divisions:
The Eternity Circle was Temporal RnD and marked by blue and silver colourings.
The Cult of Skaro was an elite unit with greater imagination and therefore emotional range.
Volatix Cabal were another elite task group but more secretive.
There was the Dalek Scientific Division responsible for regular RnD marked by blue and brass.
But orange under the New Paradigm. The Strategists were Blue and part of the
New Dalek Paradigm. There was the Eternal Dalek whose goal seems
to be the preservation of the species and part of the NDP, marked in Yellow.
And there were the Astrodaleks, stationed to observe the space around Skaro.
As well as the Recon Specialists who were among the first dispatched from Skaro and
had a variety of extra abilities. Within these Divison were Ranks of Daleks.
The Dalek Prime is designation for a current operation commander and a term seemingly used
to address any rank, Supremes and even the occasionally emperor.
The Black Dalek oversaw an operation, but ranked below the supreme.
A Controller is a designation for a unit overseeing an army or force.
The Inquisitor General oversaw the inquisitors and was Known as Dalek X, it reports only
to the Supreme and records only ever mentioned one during the Time War.
A Command Dalek is designation given to an installation’s commander.
Likewise a Saucer Commander is the captain of a Dalek ship.
A Red Dalek is an officer with some authority over squads of others.
And there is a Blue Dalek with similar responsibilities. It’s interesting to note that most of these
Daleks were created to fulfil a role, rather than a lower Dalek ascending in rank. Below
these are the soldiers of the Empire and they serve a variety of functions.
Dalek Drones are your basic Daleks whose appearance varies with the time peroid.
Dalek Puppets are the semi-dalek nanocloud conversions of other species used as agents
and infiltrators. There were certain special weapons Daleks
Marsh Daleks who operated on stilts to traverse bog world environments
Spider Daleks are 8 legged Daleks with larger Strider Daleks variants.
A Marine Dalek that was torpedo shaped for water mobility.
An Assault Dalek had breaching equipment, hacking capabilities and was designed to siege
a compound. And there were the Skaro Degradations, which
were created during one of the many Dalek experiments during the Time War. These were
disrespected genetic failures of an experiment to retro-evolve the Dalek genome. Used as
mindless infantry fodder. The Daleks superiority complex led them to
enslave and genetically or technologically modified other dominated races as cannon fodder
or a labour force. Overall the Dalek initiative is simple and
the product of an insane mind. Everything that isn’t a Dalek is inferior and must
be purged. This state of mind leads them into a state of constant warfare and scheming against
most other species and they became the primary antagonists of the Last Great Time War, but
when engaging such a foe with absolutely no ethical boundaries, the Timelords found their
own culture forever tainted by the Dalek’s onslaught. The Daleks have no art, no culture,
no religion save a devotion to some indefinable purity and death meaning that their ultimate
goal of being the supreme life in the universe would lead to a complete stagnation.
It’s for this reason that the Timelords consider them the ultimate threat to the universe
and their resilience and refusal to be stamped out even beyond their apparent annihilation
solidifies them as a recurring foe, whether it be one or an army.
There’s a lot more to the Dalek’s than mentioned here and I’d like to examine the
Kaled people in more detail too, but that will have to wait for another Video. Until
then, the next index will be a viewer voted one, which you can do by liking the appropriate
comment below to vote and the choices this time are either the Orions from the Star Trek
universe or the similarly culturally inclined Zygerrians of Star Wars infamy. Thanks for
watching this video on the Daleks, there’s so much I didn’t have time to address as
well so no doubt we’ll revisit them at some point, but until next time, I’ve been Ric,
thanks for watching this Index and goodbye!