Curse of the Daleks
Curse of the Daleks
Written by David Whittaker and Terry Nation
Directed by Nicholas Briggs
Sound Design and Music by Nicholas Briggs

Michael Praed (Ladiver), Patric Kearns (Captain Redway), Beth Chalmers (Marion Clements), Nick Wilton (Rocket Smith), James George (Bob Slater), John Line (Professor Vanderlyn), Derek Carlyle (Harry Sline), Glynn Sweet (Dexion), Denise Hoey (Ijayna), Nicholas Briggs (Narrator / Daleks).

A special audio adaptation of the Doctor Who stage-play from the 1960s.

The space ship Starfinder is taking two dangerous criminals for trial on Earth. En route, they crash through a meteor storm and have to make an emergency landing on Skaro – the planet of the dreaded Daleks. But Captain Redway and his faithful crew don’t anticipate any trouble. After all, the Daleks were defeated fifty years ago and now they are completely inactive. But when a crate full of mysterious devices is discovered and the Daleks start to come back to life, it becomes clear that there is a traitor amongst the Starfinder’s crew… A traitor intent on reactivating the power of the Daleks!

  • Featuring the Sixth Doctor, this is an audio adaptation of the stage-play of the same name.
  • Released: December 2008
    ISBN: 978-1-84435-375-0
Act One
(drn: 52'28")

It’s been fifty years since the war with the Daleks ended. The Universe is feeling like a much safer place these days and people are starting to forget the lessons of history. On board the spaceship Starfinder are two dangerous criminals awaiting trial on Earth. Harry Sline is a small, wiry, devious man who’d been arrested for slave trading between Mars and Venus and is also suspected of murder. John Ladiver is a tall, strong and intelligent man who’d been arrested for committing crimes on every planet in the solar system.

For the journey, the prisoners have been manacled together in the cargo hold. Ladiver is frustrated because Sline had gone to a lot of trouble to steal a file, smuggle it aboard and then wait for an opportunity to use it without being spotted, only to find it’s no good. They know that if the ship lands on Earth, they’re both finished. Ladiver will spend the rest of his life in one of the Atlantic’s underwater prisons, but Sline is almost certain to be executed. Ladiver is convinced Sline plans to betray him and reveal his escape plans to the wardens in return for getting off the death penalty, but as the two of them are chained together, it’s clear that wherever one of them goes, so does the other.

Ladiver says there‘ll only be two scheduled stops for refuelling at satellite stations, so they’ll have to make their escape attempt during one of those. He considers the possibility of actually taking over the spaceship - there are only three crewmembers, the Captain, the co-pilot and the radio-picture operator, plus two passengers, but they’re all well armed and there are seven safety pressure doors between them and the cargo hold. On the plus side, Ladiver used to be a space flyer and holds an astronaut’s licence, and Sline is able to calculate star positions. Before they can think of a plan, they notice the Starfinder is entering a meteorite storm. Sline panics as the ship is buffeted, and when he starts to become hysterical, Ladiver is forced to knock him unconscious.

Bob Slater, the officer who’s responsible for all the ship’s communications, arrives in the cargo hold with food for the prisoners. He reassures the recovering Sline that the meteorites aren’t actually hitting the ship but are bouncing off their anti-magnetic shield. He says he’s read Ladiver’s dossier and knows that he nearly started a space war. He mocks him and says that although he’s said to have stashed away about 30 million, he’ll never get an opportunity to spend it. Ladiver offers to split some of the money in return for help in escaping, but Slater turns him down, even though he admits that he’s tempted.

Captain Redway arrives and reveals that the meteorite storm has deflected the ship’s course, so they’re heading instead for the nearest planet. Ladiver complains about the lack of hot drinks with their meals, but Redway tells him water won’t boil at the speed of light. Rocket Smith, the co-pilot and navigator, joins them and informs the Captain that the radio-pic has gone dead and he was forced to turn off the power when smoke started coming out of the receiver. The crew are alarmed as they know the equipment was working perfectly a short while ago. Redway warns them not to tell their passengers as he hasn’t even told them they’re making an unscheduled landing yet. Smith says he recently bumped into Professor Vanderlyn’s assistant in the passenger lounge and tried to be friendly to her, but he found her to be aloof and frosty. Redway warns Ladiver that when they land on the planet his crew will be watching him twice as hard. He believes Ladiver likes to throw his weight around, so he reminds the prisoner what he can expect to find when he’s handed over to Atlantic Prison. There will be no bars on the cells, just solid glass walls with fish staring in at him. As he turns to leave, Redway tells Slater the ship’s auto-robot should have taken them into Skaro’s orbit by now. At first the name means nothing to Sline, but when Ladiver prompts him, he suddenly remembers where he’s heard it before - it’s the home planet of the Daleks!

The Starfinder lands on Skaro, on the outskirts of the old Dalek city. The place seems dead and overgrown with creepers from the nearby jungle, so the crew sets up a base camp two miles away, at the base of an ancient metal ramp surrounded by archways. On the walk from the ship, Professor Vanderlyn had an uncanny feeling they were being watched, but Captain Redway assures him that’s impossible as the few remaining Thals are wanderers and are probably hundreds of miles away. Vanderlyn wonders what it was like when the Daleks were alive, but Redway corrects him and says that strictly speaking the Daleks aren’t actually dead. After the war, their power was switched off, but they’re still dormant inside their casings and waiting…

Marion Clements, Professor Vanderlyn’s research assistant, joins the group and is pleased to be outside in the cool air while the Starfinder radio-pic is being repaired. Unfortunately Redway has had to bring the prisoners out too as they’d roast alive if they remained inside the ship. Because of the heat, the engineer will have to work on the repairs in short bursts, so Redway is pleased when Marion suggests they disconnect the communications set and work on it outside. Reassured that they should be safe here, Vanderlyn admits that he’s pleased they had to land on Skaro as it’ll give him an excellent opportunity to make notes. Rocket Smith arrives carrying equipment from the ship, including some of Vanderlyn and Marion’s cases. Deciding to take a few moment’s rest, he hangs his jacket on the nearest convenient object - a piece of metal protruding from the creepers - unaware that it’s actually the sucker arm of a Dalek!

Marion checks to make sure the equipment is safe and offers some water to the elderly Professor. Smith tells Redway the radio-pic is badly damaged and although Slater thinks he can repair it, he doesn’t know how long it’ll take. Redway doesn’t want to stay on Skaro too long, but Smith thinks they should be alright as no one’s seen a Dalek for years. Just as he says this, he knocks his jacket off its hanger and is alarmed when to see the motionless Dalek buried beneath the tangle of vines. After they get over the shock, Vanderlyn wonders why Redway didn’t just keep going until they found a more inhabitable planet. Redway tells him there was a danger of fire because travelling at the speed of light would quickly turn a small fire into a blazing torch. Also, they couldn’t risk trying to land on a planet with heavy air traffic while they had no means of communication to guide them down.

Smith finds Marion examining a test tube containing what he describes as a mermaid in a bottle, but she tells him it’s part of her work studying diseases on other planets. She’s critical of Smith’s laid-back attitude, but he assures her he has nerves of steel and is tireless when it comes to flying the ship. She makes a barbed comment about his lowly position as a co-pilot, but he reminds her she’s just an assistant too. She tells him to go away and he accuses her of being rude.

Escorted by Bob Slater, the two prisoners arrive at the camp, still chained together. Slater finds Redway examining the central arch and wondering if they’ve made their camp right outside the front door of the Dalek city. Slater has removed the entire workings of the radio-pic and discovered the breakdown wasn’t caused by a technical fault, but by deliberate sabotage. He reminds Redway that they used the equipment recently to communicate with a freighter they passed near Venus, so sometime between then and the moment they encountered the meteor storm, someone dropped a handful of iron filings into the transistor circuit. Redway asks him to find out who was near the machine, but is reminded that they had to identify themselves to the Venus freighter which means that each of them stood in turn in front of the radio-pic for ten seconds. This would have been ample time for any one of them to sabotaged the equipment unnoticed. Redway is sure they already know who the culprit is - Ladiver used to be a space pilot and would know exactly how to cause the most damage.

Slater helps Smith drag a heavy trailer into the camp and they notice the Professor‘s crates are marked with instructions that they should be kept cool at all times. This explains why they were asked to bring the crates from the ship as the temperature inside there is hitting the 90s. Assuming they contain more of the pickled creatures Marion was examining earlier, the officers order the two chained prisoners to give them a hand moving them into the shade.

Marion helps Vanderlyn clear the foliage away from the dormant Dalek. In some ways the creature is amazing, but it’s also terrifying. Vanderlyn assures Marion the Daleks are powerless, but she’s shocked to discover they’re not actually dead as she originally suspected. Redway joins them and explains that it’s an established fact that although you can destroy a Dalek, you can’t kill it. Vanderlyn takes this to mean you can’t imprison or rehabilitate them and he likens them to locusts - if human beings had to declare war on them, they might be defeated, but they could never be trained, and because their intelligence is of a completely different order to ours, they could never become our allies or friends. They would not fear death as it could never be final for their race as a whole. The same is true for the Daleks - as you destroy one of them, another simply takes its place. Not through courage or bravery, but because the Daleks only understand success or destruction. What sets human beings apart from other species is our compassion, even for a creation of evil like the Daleks. Marion disagrees and says they don’t deserve any mercy. Listening to their conversation, Ladiver recounts a rhyme that was popular after the Dalek war fifty years ago…

Remember, remember, the Dalek December
With Paris in ruins and London in ember
In times of the future when fears are abating
Don’t try to forget them, the Daleks are waiting
Quietly planning and scheming and hating…

Vanderlyn rebukes Ladiver for trying to frighten his assistant, but Smith says never mind her, he’s the one who’s petrified. Redway becomes ever more suspicious of Ladiver and accuses him outright of forcing them to land on Skaro by wrecking their communications system, knowing they’d have to land here. The Captain becomes aggressive and grabs hold of the prisoner roughly, but Ladiver mocks him for attacking a man who can’t fight back. Redway warns him he’ll be watched every single second and if he so much as raises an eyebrow when he shouldn’t, he’ll be locked up inside the spaceship where he can roast. The Captain storms off angrily and Slater decides to follow him, asking Smith to keep an eye on things here.

Smith asks Vanderlyn and Marion if they want the crate with their names on opened up, but they both deny having anything to do with it and claim they’ve never seen it before. They decide to solve the mystery by looking inside, but Ladiver warns them not to. He says he has no idea what’s in it, but once it’s been opened the contents will be available to any one of them. Vanderlyn finds this an odd choice of words and Marion thinks he’s using reverse psychology to persuade them to open the crate. Ladiver insists that he didn’t sabotage the ship or bring the crate aboard, but Smith thinks he could easily have arranged for the crate to contain something that will help him escape. Ignoring the others’ concerns, Smith uses a crowbar to open it up and finds it full of small black metal boxes. They’re smooth and don’t seem to have any joins on them, although each has a tiny hole on the base through which they can see a tiny plug. No one has ever seen anything like them before, but Smith suspects they might be explosives, so he orders Ladiver and Sline to move away.

Redway and Slater return and learn about the black boxes. Redway immediately suspects Ladiver arranged for them to be delivered to the ship inside a crate bearing Vanderlyn’s name and with instructions for it to be kept in a cool place, knowing it would have to be brought outside. Ladiver insists he had nothing to do with any of this and points out how ridiculous the theory is. He says it would be impossible for him to pull strings from inside the prison on the satellite as he wouldn’t have known which ship would be used to transport him and Sline back to Earth or when it would leave. Nor could he have known that the Venus freighter would cross their path and that they’d each have to stand in front of the radio-pic. Vanderlyn is forced to agree that he has a very strong defence, but Redway reminds them Ladiver is known to have millions hidden away, so he could easily have bribed people to arrange everything in advance and then deliberately allow himself to be captured by the police. He adds that Ladiver is now trying to throw suspicion amongst the rest of the group to improve his chances of escaping. He taunts Ladiver and says he’s only succeeded in adding another ten years to his sentence when they get back to Earth.

Marion wonders why Ladiver would deliberately want to come to Skaro and Vanderlyn suggests that if Ladiver did plan to bring them here, then discovering what the black boxes are for should answer everything. Redway agrees, but he’s reluctant to use lasers to cut them open in case there are explosives inside. However, when they open the crate again, they discover one of the black boxes is missing. Suddenly Marion notices that the Dalek, which had been forgotten by everyone, is starting to move. She shouts a warning to the others, but before they can react, the Dalek slides up the central ramp and disappears inside the metallic city…and on its back, they can see the missing black box!

The group handles the shocking news in different ways - Marion is horrified and Sline begins to panic at the thought of the Daleks burning them to dust. No one can hear themselves think until eventually Redway orders everyone to shut up. He says their priority is to get the communications system working again so they can call Space Security for help. He then warns Ladiver that if any of them are harmed by what he’s done, he’ll personally see that he suffers for it. Ladiver mocks the Captain, then Redway steps forward and strikes the prisoner. Sline rebukes him for attacking a chained man, but Vanderlyn steps in and says they can’t blame him for reacting the way he did. They now know that the black boxes contain some form of power, enough to reanimate the Daleks. Smith is sceptical, but Vanderlyn thinks the small needle inside the boxes can flood power into the Daleks like a kind of blood transfusion. The Daleks are powered by static electricity and the box seems to be capable of producing enormous amounts of energy. He believes each one of them can probably keep a Dalek going for days, perhaps even weeks.

Slater wonders who stuck the box on the Dalek and Ladiver sarcastically admits it was him, since that’s what everyone already thinks anyway. Redway takes this as a confession, but Slater points out that Ladiver couldn’t possibly have done it while he was chained up. Redway refuses to listen and says Ladiver would have known he couldn’t land on Skaro without being stopped and detained by security thousands of miles away, but if he allowed himself to be arrested, he could then have arranged the emergency landing. He accuses Ladiver of seeking to control the Daleks and, one by one, the others start to agree with Redway’s argument. When Ladiver protests, Redway threatens to have him gagged and bound. He orders Smith to keep an eye on the prisoners and tells Slater to take the crate of black boxes back to the ship where they should be safer. He also orders Marion to stay with Smith for her own safety, but she doesn’t take kindly to being bossed around and reminds him she’s a paying passenger, not one of his crew. Redway refuses to back down and tells her he doesn’t have time to worry about injuring her feelings and if she won’t co-operate he’ll have her escorted back to the ship and locked in.

He asks Vanderlyn to accompany him while he goes in search of the reactivated Dalek. They collect some weapons and Redway is relieved to discover that Vanderlyn is regarded as an expert shot. As the city hasn’t been disturbed for fifty years, the trail left behind in the dust should make it easy for them to track the Dalek. At the end of the war, the Daleks’ power source was believed to have been destroyed, but Redway is worried they may have another secret source of power and the reactivated Dalek may be planning to bring all the others back to life. After they leave, Ladiver tells the others the Daleks are twice as clever and four times as cunning as people gives them credit for. Slater returns to the ship to offload some more crates, but as he leaves, a Dalek is watching the group silently from the other side of the city archway. Unnoticed, it glides down the main ramp and heads straight for a wall, which slides open to admit it entry.

Smith assures Marion she’ll be safe with him, but she tells him she’s tired of having him fuss around her. He warns her that if she continues talking back to him, he’ll have her chained up with the prisoners. He tells her that last time he was on Earth, girls were still gentle creatures and were happy to be the weaker sex. Marion points out that she’s one of the few female space travellers and she doesn’t expected to be treated any differently to a man. He orders her to break out the food rations and give everyone something to eat.

Later, Sline congratulates Ladiver on his cunning plan to get arrested and divert the ship to Skaro and suggests they could work well together. His own slave trade business had been running successfully for seven years before he was caught. His method was to sell plots of land on Mars where there weren’t many people, then offer free transport to the people from Venus, which was over-populated. It was only when the Venusians arrived on Mars that they discovered they had to work on the land for 40 years before it became theirs. Unfortunately a special agent from Unispace started digging around and one morning, just as he was taking on board a cargo of “passengers”, he was arrested by a patrol. To Ladiver’s surprise, Sline produces a brand new file which he stole from the toolkit while the others were waving goodbye to Slater. It should be perfect for sawing through their chains, so they manoeuvre themselves into a position where no one else can see them and get straight to work…

The food is prepared and Marion gives Smith an unwanted lecture on the difference between vitamins and calories. Smith says he’s looking forward to an eight-course dinner, but Marion offers him just one cream cheese sandwich. He tells her she looks much better when she smiles and asks why she doesn’t do it more often. He apologises for upsetting her, but she tells him not to bother if he doesn’t mean it. She says men are all the same - they either treat her like a silly little girl who ought to know better than do a man out of a job, or else they treat her like Dresden china. In return, Smith says she reminds him of the 20th century groups who thought women were as good as men. Back then, everyone was talking about equal opportunities, but these days it isn’t necessary as there are seven men to every girl on Earth. Marion says that doesn’t mean they can’t be just as intelligent or do the same jobs, but Smith wonders why any woman would want to chose a difficult job out in space. He says he could understand it if she was ugly, but she’s not. Marion tells him she had a brother who died when he was quite young. Her father, the famous research chemist Philip Clements, who made space travel possible through his food packaging and the invention of compressed water, desperately wanted a son to carry on his work. He wonders if Smith can imagine what it’s like for a woman to have to compete with men - if they have a good idea, it’s dismissed as lucky, and if they make the kind of simple mistakes that anyone might make, it gets blown up out of all proportion. Out in space, a girl has to be twice as intelligent, three times as quick and four times as strong as a man. She realises Smith hasn’t understood a word she’s said and she storms off angrily.

Sline manages to release himself and Ladiver from their chains, but before his friend can stop him, Sline jumps up and runs for his life. Smith shouts out a warning, then opens fire. Sline is hit and crashes to the ground. Smith explains that he used an anaesthetic bullet and the prisoner will be unconscious for hours. He orders Ladiver to help carry Sline back to the camp and chain him up again. Ladiver tells Smith a thought has just occurred to him - the radarscope back on the ship should have warned them about the meteorite storm long before it hit them, so why wasn‘t Redway informed?

Captain Redway and Professor Vanderlyn race back to the camp and demand to know what’s going on. Smith explains that Sline tried to escape and is congratulated on handling the situation well. Vanderlyn says they didn’t have any luck with their search, even when they split up to double their efforts. They followed the trail that the Dalek made in the dust, but it just came to an end in the middle of a corridor. It was as if the Dalek had been lifted off the ground, but that‘s impossible as the ceiling above was solid. Suddenly a loaded trailer charges towards them at high speed down the ramp. They all dive for cover and fortunately no one is hurt. Slater was supposed to be taking the trailer back to the ship, but there’s no sign of him and Redway can’t understand why he would have disobeyed his orders. Marion calls the others over and shows them the track of a Dalek in the dust nearby that wasn’t there before. It seems clear the Dalek pushed the trailer into the camp, but what could have happened to Slater?

They spot a group of Daleks approaching from the city and they all hide behind whatever crates or equipment they can find. Redway orders the others to remain quiet, then he steps out from cover and challenges the Daleks under international space security laws. Ladiver and the others notice the Captain has both the armour disintegrating guns attached to his belt and they can‘t understand why he doesn‘t try to use them. The Daleks order him to accompany them inside the city and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them. Marion is furious with Smith, but the officer points out that his anaesthetic gun would have no effect on the Daleks at all. Ladiver noticed that the Daleks all had the little black boxes on their backs, yet they have the entire crate of boxes here in the camp with them. They open the crate - and to their horror discover it contains the dead body of Bob Slater! The black boxes have gone, which means the Daleks must have them all. They’re up against the entire race of Daleks!

Act Two
(drn: 57'25")

Deep underground, in the centre of the city, the Black Dalek oversees the other Daleks as they carry a large black cable with a silver connector which will provide supplementary power for their instruments. One of the Daleks asks when their new ‘master’ will allow them to activate their new power source and is told they must first find out whether the Thals have made radio contact with the humans outside. Their equipment hasn’t been used for fifty years and they’re expecting faults and power leaks to develop, but when the connection is made the power is successfully switched on. They activate a scanner and listen as Professor Vanderlyn disassembles one of the remaining black boxes and shows the others how it works. Ladiver suggests firing a flare into the sky to attract any nearby Thals who might help them. He believes the Thals will have a radio set that will enable them to get through to Earth, but Smith is suspicious and thinks the flare might be a signal to the Daleks. Eventually the group agrees that radioing for help is too tempting an idea, so they agree to try. The Daleks switch off the scanner and plan to intercept the Thals after the humans have sent their signal. In the meantime, they detach the large cable in order to preserve their power. The door to the main Dalek control room opens and Captain Redway is brought in to face the Black Dalek. In a slow monotone voice, he tells them he will obey their orders…

After Sline recovers consciousness, he rebukes Ladiver for not helping in his escape attempt, but Ladiver criticises him for not planning properly what he was going to do once he’d got away and for not caring about what happens to anyone else. Marion overhears them and tells Ladiver it’s a bit late for him to develop a conscience for other people. It’s been an hour since Smith set off the flare and there’s no sign of the Thals. Ladiver points out that they did see lights reflecting off polished metal, but Marion thinks that could just as easily have been the Daleks responding to Ladiver’s pre-arranged signal. She complains that Smith is putting too much trust in Ladiver, but Smith tells her there’s nothing else they could have done as there are Daleks preventing them from returning to the Starfinder.

Smith joins Vanderlyn who’s discovered the black boxes can be separated into two halves. One half is a power unit that produces static electricity, but he‘s not been able to open the other half. He reminds Smith that the real power is contained within the Dalek shell itself and it only needs a small impulse to set it going. When he overhears a chance remark from Smith about the new design for fluid containers that unscrew clockwise, Vanderlyn realises the other half of the box opens the same way. He discovers a minute tape recorder inside which presumably contains the orders which are given to the Daleks. Unfortunately the message is on a frequency they can’t understand without access to the equipment back at their ship which could slow the tape down and re-record it. It’s their only hope of finding out who’s behind the plot to bring the Daleks back to life again.

Ladiver thinks it’s strange the Daleks haven’t attacked them yet, especially as they’re unarmed. Smith and Vanderlyn are now convinced Ladiver can’t possibly be behind the murder of Bob Slater. They’ve discovered Slater was killed by an injection of poison from a hypodermic, which means it must have been done by someone who knew him well and could take him by surprise. The body has now been placed inside the crate in the shade outside their camp. Smith believes the murderer must be Captain Redway himself as only he and the Professor had the opportunity to move the crate and Vanderlyn wouldn’t have the strength to do that. Ladiver agrees and points out that Redway was in a perfect position to fly the ship into the meteorite storm and sabotage the radio-pic - and he’s also taken away the only weapons they had that would have any effect on the Daleks.

They hear an explosion outside and watch as several of the Thals race across the exposed part of the jungle in front of the city, dodging a series of blasts from the Daleks who emerge from the archways. Eventually two of the Thals reach the safety of the human camp and one of them, a young woman, shows them how to close the archways. They manage to seal themselves in just as one of the Daleks draws near. The woman, Ijayna, greets Ladiver and is surprised to see that he’s being kept prisoner by the others. She explains that the man with her, her father Dexion, destroyed the overhead passage they used to get here so the Daleks can’t follow their route back to the other Thals. Dexion, the leader of the Thals, insists that Ladiver isn’t a criminal and demands that he be released. Ladiver is suddenly hit with the realisation that Redway must have been deliberately waiting for the Thals to come here in the hope of kidnapping Dexion on the way and threatening to kill him unless the Thals agreed to destroy their radio set.

Now that the Thals have revealed themselves, they can expect the Daleks to attack in force very soon. Ijayna is shocked to discover the group has no weapons and believes they came here poorly prepared, but her father explains that the humans haven’t lived in the shadow of the Daleks like they have. Dexion explains that Ladiver landed on Skaro three years ago as part of the regular five-yearly patrol from Earth. Ijayna told them at the time that she thought someone else had landed here secretly, but only Ladiver believed her. Ladiver now believes that person must have come to test out the black boxes. Vanderlyn asks him why he became a criminal and he reveals that when he went back to Earth, he was told it was too expensive to set up new patrols or start up an investigation. He wrote numerous reports and spoke to dozens of people, but no one would listen to him and eventually he was threatened with a charge of insanity. He says fifty years of peace had made people lazy and complacent, whereas he believes people should work twice as hard during peacetime to guard and maintain that peace.

So Ladiver left the Space Service and set up a false identity as a criminal so he could make journeys back to the Skaro system. Unfortunately he was arrested during one of these missions and was sent back to Earth for trial. He was confident he still had enough friends to help him escape and Dexion had also given him enough funds to bribe his way free. Even if he‘d gone to trial, it would’ve been easy to prove he hadn’t done any of the crimes he’d been accused of. The Thals realise the other humans don’t trust Ladiver and try to assure them he’s telling the truth. Dexion even reveals that his daughter Ijayna is engaged to Ladiver. Eventually the group is won round and Smith unlocks Ladiver’s chains and tells him he’s been reinstated in his position as Commander.

Their first objective is to stop Redway. They can see the surrounding area clearly and it’s obvious their only chance is for Ladiver to reach a ramp that leads up to an overhead stairway which leads off to several different corridors. He should be able to cut through the city, reach the desert on the other side and contact the other Thals who are waiting with a radio set in the dead forest. While the others are distracted, Sline takes the opportunity to grab one of the anaesthetic guns, which he then turns on them. He tells them he’d rather live on Skaro than die on Earth. He plans to contact the Daleks and reveal to them where the Thals are hiding their radio. He opens the door to the camp, only to find Redway waiting on the other side. Taking advantage of Sline’s shock, Ladiver leaps forward and disarms him.

Redway collapses into the room, his face covered with blood from a head wound. The group listen as the Daleks broadcast a message to them, saying they sent over the tortured Captain an example of what will happen to all of them if they don’t obey their instructions. Redway weakly tells them the Daleks want the Thals’ radio and the group realises he wasn’t the traitor after all. He’d tricked the Daleks into letting him go in the belief that he’d convince the humans to hand Dexion and Ijayna over to them as bargaining tools, but he begs them not to trust the Daleks. Redway apologises to Ladiver for not believing him earlier, but he also reveals that the Daleks are able to watch and listen to everything that’s going on here in the camp. The Captain says he knows the traitor’s identity - it’s the only person it could have been - but then he’s suddenly wracked with incredible pain. Vanderlyn offers to give him an injection of pain killer, but before Redway can tell them who the traitor is, he dies.

Ladiver now knows he misunderstood Redway and Smith confirms that he was a good man. Ladiver realises he can’t trust any of the others, so Smith suggests giving the two anaesthetic guns to Dexion and Ijayna so they can keep a watch on them all while Ladiver goes to find the Thals in the forest. After he’s gone, Vanderlyn tells the group that the Daleks will soon realise they’re not going to surrender and will be coming for them. It’s odd that they haven’t done so already, which means either they don’t have enough power to burn through the doors or they don’t wish to harm the traitor among them. Vanderlyn suggests their enemy plans to rule the Universe from Skaro - adding that in just six months or less the Daleks could mount a ferocious attack on Earth’s solar system - but he doesn’t think that person would want to live here alone with just the Daleks for company. So whoever the traitor is, he must be planning to create a family who would carry on his work when he dies of old age.

Sline notices the doorway is getting hot as the Daleks are trying to burn their way through the doors! Ijayna suggests they try to escape, but their options are limited. Just then, a concealed door slides open to reveal another Dalek who must have arrived without their knowledge hours earlier. Smith stands in front of Marion to protect her as the Dalek orders them all to stay where they are. Sline panics and tries to run away, but the Dalek opens fire and kills him instantly. The Dalek leads them towards another door which opens to reveal more Daleks, led by the Black Dalek himself. The Black Dalek explains that their master has given orders for the prisoners to observe the moment when their full power is switched on. The group is then herded towards the archway, but the Daleks realise one of them is missing. Smith mocks them and says the other member of the group escaped ages ago and will now be with the Thals, sending a radio message for help. He adds that spaceships will already be on their way, ready to burn the Dalek city to the ground.

The prisoners are escorted along endless corridors deep inside the Dalek city. Then the group is split up and the two females are ordered to stand apart from the others. As the others are led away, Marion and Ijayna wonder what’s going to happen to them. Marion starts to panic and tells the Thal woman that she’s always thought of the Daleks as creatures from her nightmares, but Ijayna convinces her not to show her fear. She reminds Marion that Ladiver is still free and says she should also take comfort from the fact that her man, Smith, is close by. Marion argues that she’s only just met Smith, but Ijayna says she has the rest of her life to get to know him and she‘s sure Marion will feel differently when she meets him again. Ijayna wonders whether Professor Vanderlyn is their enemy, but when Marion says they’ve been working side by side for two years, Ijayna points out that it has to be either Vanderlyn or Smith. The Daleks warn the two women that the male prisoners will be killed instantly if they don’t obey all their instructions, then they’re told they will all be reunited in the control chamber in one hour - when their master will reveal his identity and their full power will be connected. Then, the Daleks will begin their plans for the invasion of Earth…

In the control room, machinery that once pulsed with power and light is now just glimmering faintly. In the centre, the Daleks begin dragging thick power cables towards a large structure with six circular sockets. As requested by their mysterious ‘master’, the Daleks have gathered together the humans and Thals to witness the restoration of their power source. Smith, Vanderlyn and Dexion are unconscious on a bench, their hands tied behind them, while Marion and Ijayna are manacled to a nearby wall with magnetic clamps. The men start to recover and realise they must have been drugged by the water they were given. A message is sent to the Daleks’ master to let him know they‘re ready to reconnect their power. The prisoners are confused as Redway and Sline are both dead, which suggests the traitor must have been Ladiver all along. An archway opens up on the upper level overlooking the control room and a ramp descends down to ground level. To everyone’s surprise, Bob Slater emerges from the shadows and moves down to join them. He says he’d expected Smith at least would have worked out the truth. Slater has just come back from visiting the Thals and they willingly showed him where their radio was hidden. He’s now destroyed it, just as he did with the radio-pic back on the Starfinder, and he’s also convinced the Thals that it’s Ladiver who’s working with the Daleks, so he’ll get a very poor reception when he finds them.

Marion tells Slater how much she detests him, but he’s sure she’ll change her mind in time. He also turns his attention to Ijayna, but when she says she’d rather die than spend her life with him, he threatens to kill her father. Vanderlyn rebukes him for plunging whole worlds at war and putting the lives of millions at risk, but Slater laughs. He says people have told him he’s mad before, but he believes he simply has an ambition and the ability to make it come true. He accepts that his actions may lead to war, but at least it won’t last very long. He argues that the Daleks deserve to be the superior race, but without his influence, they’ll destroy everyone and everything. Only someone like himself can rule the Daleks and keep them under control. He agrees with Vanderlyn’s point that as King of the Universe, he’ll need a Queen to rule alongside him, and the reason he held the Daleks back was that he didn’t want to sacrifice either of the women. He’s convinced that both Marion and Ijayna will agree to be his Queens if it means saving the lives of the others, and then in time he thinks they’ll both start to see how attractive the idea of ruling every planet is.

Vanderlyn asks Slater how he achieved everything. Slater admits that he destroyed the ship’s communications system, and as ship’s armourer it was easy for him to put the guns out of action too. This was what Redway meant when he said the traitor was the only person on board who could have done that. After he handed out the black boxes to the Daleks, he injected himself with a drug that temporarily suspended his life signs, then when the others found his “dead body” in the crate, they placed him outside the archway just as he‘d planned. Slater thinks he’s been brilliantly clever, but when Vanderlyn confirms that he’s actually completely mad, he becomes angry again and orders the Daleks to switch on the power.

The Daleks mass around the central panel and begin to connect the power cables that will link them to a secret generator overlooked by the humans when the Daleks were defeated fifty years ago and which has been drawing energy from the sun ever since. A Dalek arrives pushing a trolley containing six large glass capsules, each the size of a small missile. Unnoticed by the Daleks, but spotted by the terrified prisoners sitting nearby, Ladiver is hiding underneath the trolley, clinging on for dear life. As the Daleks turn their attention to their new master, Ladiver drops down and dashes across the room, hiding behind a control panel. Slater tells the prisoners that each of the glass capsules contains the power of a sun, then he attaches one of the power cables to a capsule and inserts it into one of the circular sockets. He then does the same to each of the remaining capsules. The humans plead with him to stop what he’s doing, but he continues regardless. Ladiver sneaks over to the Professor and points to one large cable which appears to connect the main panel to the rest of the Dalek city. He manages to get to the cable unnoticed and pulls it from the socket, plunging the room into semi-darkness. The Daleks report a temporary power failure just as Ladiver re-connects the cable and everything returns to normal. The Black Dalek orders the instruments to be checked for faults before they continue.

Ladiver sneaks over to Ijayna and asks for permission to take the silver band which she keeps around her wrist as a token of their love. The Daleks confirm that everything is working perfectly and they begin work on the final connection. Vanderlyn warns Slater he’s about the commit the worst crime in history, but the officer refuses to listen. He explains that the capsules contain power that will radiate throughout the city and restore full strength to all the Daleks and their weapons. The process is completed and the entire chamber hums with static electricity. Slater watches transfixed, but is then distracted by the sound of the black boxes disconnecting from their sockets and dropping from the Daleks one by one to the floor. He tries to put back the box that fell from the Black Dalek, but it refuses to stay connected.

The Daleks reveal that their power is now repelling the boxes provided by Slater and with it, the instructions he’d implanted within them. He is no longer their master. In unison, the Daleks insist that no man will ever control them and they only allowed him to think he had mastery over them - but now he‘s served his purpose they have no further need for him. Slater backs away in terror and pleads with the prisoners to help him turn off the power, but they‘re still tied up and are unable to move. Slater tries to run, but the Daleks aim their weapons at him and open fire simultaneously, killing him in an instant.

Using this as a distraction, Ladiver releases the prisoners from their bonds, then he returns to the main power cable. Smith leads the prisoners out through the archway, but Ijayna refuses to leave Ladiver behind. He pulls free the cable and an alarm sounds, warning the Daleks of another power failure. Ladiver wraps the silver band from Ijayna’s wrist around the plug at the end of the cable and then passes it to her to make the final connection. As the Black Dalek hurtles towards them to stop her, Ladiver grabs hold of the trolley and shoves it in the creature’s path, momentarily knocking it off course. More Daleks advance and although he distracts them by hurling the heavy magnetic manacles in their direction, one of them careers into him and knocks him to the floor.

Just as the Daleks turn to exterminate him, Ijayna plugs the cable back into the socket and the power immediately starts draining away from them. Their movement becomes sluggish and erratic and then they all come to a halt, except for the Black Dalek who somehow manages to keep going. It pleads with Ladiver to restore their power, but he refuses and says the Daleks are finished. The Black Dalek gives him a message to pass on to the people of Earth - the Daleks will be waiting and one day they’ll rise again. In a final spasm, the Dalek lurches forward, but then it comes to a complete halt.

Suddenly Smith comes charging into the chamber, armed with a metal bar, ready to rescue his comrades. Without even noticing the battle is over, he lands a huge blow on the Dalek nearest to him. Then the truth dawns on him and he realises all the Daleks have stopped in their tracks. He tells Ladiver and Ijayna that Dexion is leading the others to safety, but the two lovers are completely engrossed in their own company and tell him to leave them alone. They’ve waited three years to be reunited and once Smith has left the chamber, they begin to kiss passionately…

Source: Lee Rogers
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