Prisoner of the Daleks

Roots: Bowman’s crew is possibly inspired by Abslom Daak, Dalek Killer from various Doctor Who Magazine comic strips. Cuttin’ Edge grew up on Gauda Prime, setting of the final Blake’s 7 television episode, ‘Blake’. The Doctor refers to himself as “the Oncoming Storm”, a title first used in Ben Aaronovitch’s novelisation of Remembrance of the Daleks. Bowman parapharases the Alien tagline (“no one can hear you whinge”). In a nod to the Large Hadron Collider, the Daleks have a Large Chronon Collider.

Continuity: Cuttin’ Edge uses a molecular dissolution virus inside a bastic-headed bullet (Revelation of the Daleks) to dissolve a Dalek’s casing. According to the Doctor, Dalek armour learns and adapts, so the virus probably wouldn’t work a second time. The Doctor uses an emergency cryo-charge to freeze a Dalek, noting that they are susceptible to sudden temperature drops (Planet of the Daleks, The Ultimate Adventure). Dalek guns can vaporize a human instantly, but they deliberately set the power just low enough to take two or three seconds to burn away the central nervous system from the outside in to make extermination as painful as possible. Dalek guns are attached to the casing via four galvanised trintillium bolts. Some of the Daleks on Arkheon have been fitted with claw manipulators. Another has a surgical saw attached. The underside of a Dalek can’t be properly force-shielded because of the gravity repellers.

The Inquisitor General is a Dalek that answers directly to the Supreme Dalek and has black and gold casing. It is nicknamed Dalek X by the Human Empire and has adopted the designation for psychological effect. It commands the Exterminator, a giant flagship and the first of its kind; The Exterminator is destroyed here when the Doctor detonates the astronic fuel dump on Hurala. Dalek X survives in the ruins on Hurala, but without its casing or any means of communication [it swears vengeance on the Doctor, but probably just dies].

Arkheon is known as the “Planet of Ghosts”. It is located in the Crab Nebula, near the Pleiades and the Blue Star Worlds. Its nickname derives from the Arkheon Threshold, a small chronic schism (a tear in space and time) located inside it. The schism caused Quasi-Temporal Personality Echoes. The Daleks destroyed Arkheon using a planet-splitter, which leaves a single hemisphere intact with its core exposed. It has a borderline toxic but breathable atmosphere. The Daleks want the Arkheon Threshold in order to gain access to the Vortex, and plan to travel back in time to wipe out humanity in the past. They have established a prison colony in the remains of the planet and are using human slave labour to search for the Threshold. The Doctor uses the TARDIS to seal the Threshold permanently. The Arkheonite mutants that attack the Doctor’s group are luminous humanoids with sores and pustules.

Hurala orbits a distant star in the Kappa Galanga sector and was once used as a staging post on the edge of human space. It still has an astronic fuel dump. There are spiders on Hurala. Planets close to Hurala include Arkheon, Klechton (which the Doctor describes as “pretty dull”), Jalian 17 (“all right for a party”), Tenten 10 a.k.a. the Decimal Planet”, and Blenhorm Ogin, which the Doctor has never heard of. The Dalek designation for Hurala is Planetoid KX-Nine in the Lasron Solar System.

Koral is the last surviving inhabitant of Red Sky Lost, which was destroyed by the Daleks. She is an intelligent feline with claws that can cut through a Dalek’s casing. Her people used their claws to hunt koogah beasts, which have a thick, armoured hide and poisoned tusks.

The Doctor spends five days, fourteen hours and twenty-seven minutes trapped in the cell on Hurala. He claims he had to concentrate in order not to grow a beard during that time. Aside from the sonic screwdriver, TARDIS key, psychic paper and his glasses, his only possessions about his person here are a teaspoon, a pencil torch, a stethoscope, a pencil, a handful of coins, some string, and a couple of rubber bands. Bowman gives him a split lip. He dons a parka from the Wayfarer.

The TARDIS jumps a time track (see The Space Museum), allowing the Doctor to visit a time prior to the Time War, during the twenty-sixth century Dalek Wars (see Frontier in Space, Planet of the Daleks). The Doctor tells Dalek X that the TARDIS lock is a triple-curtain trimonic lock with twenty-seven tumblers in four separate dimensions, but he may be lying.

Branka is a Draconian drink. There are deserts on Mykron. Astronic fuel is extremely volatile.

Links: The Doctor muses that he has been on the wrong side of spiders before (Planet of the Spiders, The Janus Conjunction). Bowman fought in the Draconian Conflicts (Frontier in Space). The Doctor tells Bowman that he’s built Dalek jamming devices on a couple of occasions (Planet of the Daleks, Remembrance of the Daleks). He mentions the time rift in Cardiff (The Unquiet Dead, Boom Town, Torchwood). He also notes that he was on Skaro when the Daleks were created (Genesis of the Daleks).

Location: Lodestar Station 479 on Hurala; on board the Wayfarer; in orbit around Auros; Arkheon; and London [the twenty-sixth century].

Future History: A battle with the Daleks was fought at Tartarus [possibly the same region of space seen in Terror of the Vervoids].

Auros is one of the colony worlds that form the backbone of the Human Empire; the colonists destroy it using the Osterhagen Principle (The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End) rather than surrender it to the Daleks, leaving its surface a radioactive, molten mess.

Anyone in the Imperial military over the rank of Captain has an Earth Command transmitter implanted in them when they are commissioned, which monitors their location and health status.

By the twenty-sixth century, Westminster is protected by a force bubble.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor visited Scarborough a month earlier, where he dropped the sonic screwdriver on the beach and spent ages finding it again.

The Bottom Line: Something of an homage to Terry Nation, with Space Majors, Dalek X, and lots of technobabble. It’s entertaining enough, but trying to tell a traditional Dalek story using Welsh Revival Super-Daleks creates an oddly schizoid feel.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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