The Mutant Phase – Resurrection of the Daleks
The problem with time travel, ever since H.G. Wells came up with the concept in “The Time Machine,” is that no matter how hard one tries, eventually one finds oneself faced with what has now become know as a time paradox. And the problem with time paradoxes is that they, on the most part, never make sense. Let’s take “The Time Machine” itself for instance. As Mr. Well’s machine was static (traveling through time only and not space), surly as his time traveler moved back from the future into his own present, he would encounter his own self moving forward in time? For example, if I were to stand in one position in my apartment, and travel forward a number of years, and then, without changing that position, move backwards in time to my starting date, wouldn’t I encounter myself traveling forward in time (as The Beatles did in “Yellow Submarine”)? In the 2002 film version of “The Time Machine,” we are shown a scene of the end of the world devastated by Morlocks. Determined to prevent this, the time traveler decides to return to the world of the Eloi and help them create a better life. It is suggested that his efforts will create a better future. However if he succeeds, and events of the future are changed, then would he not “see” a different future when he finally arrives millions of years ahead? Sure it could be argued that he had already seen the future, but if he changes the past then surly he must alter the future. Now let’s say that the future he now travels to is the perfect paradise he had been looking for. Might he now choose to stay in that time? And if he does decide to stay in that time, never returning to the time of the Eloi, has he not just altered the past? Having never traveled back to help the Eloi, has he not in fact destroyed the future he helped to create? Time paradoxes like these inevitably exist in every time travel story ever written and Doctor Who is no stranger to them (surely if the Time Lords could send the Second Doctor on a mission in “The Two Doctors” they could have just as easily arrested him then, instead of waiting for him to reveal his position in the “War Games”).
The other problem with a time paradox is that once it has corrected itself, the events of that paradox cease to exist. And if they cease to exist, did they ever really take place at all? Which brings us to our first Big Finish Audio production, ‘The Mutant Phase,” written by Nicholas Briggs. The story concerns a paradox, created by the Dalek’s attempts to trap the TARDIS in a time corridor. The events in the story eventually work themselves out, and the course of history (or the web of time as the 8th Doctor would put it), is restored. It is interesting that Big Finish decided to release their fist Dalek Empire audio series in reverse order, chronicling a story of the Seventh Doctor’s encounter with the Daleks first, then the Sixth’s and finally the Fifth. While both the Sixth and Seventh Doctor’s encounters fit nicely within the history of the televised program, the Fifth Doctor’s encounter exists only within the confines of this time paradox, and technically, since the paradox works itself out, never really happened. At least from the Daleks point-of-view. -JRR
Deep Space: The Earth/Draconian Frontier – 43rd Century
With Davros securely in the hands of the Earth Empire, the Dalek and Movellan space fleets continued to via with each other for the best possible position, each totally impotent. As Dalek strategist tried desperately to break the impasse, Dalek attempts to trap the Doctor’s TARDIS within a time corridor fail (the TARDIS having bounced off it and landing on 22nd century Earth). The Supreme Council showed little concern at their loss in capturing the Doctor, and returned their attention to winning the Movellan War. Unnoticed however, something strange was beginning to happen to the Dalek race.
Within the boundaries of Dalek space, a lone outpost monitored communications between the Earth and Draconian Empires, radioing any and all information gained back to Dalek Central Control in space. Only a small force led by the Emperor remained on Skaro at this time. And yet all was not well with the Daleks units stationed at the outpost. A strange and unknown disease had broken out among the Daleks, and slowly, the Daleks began to change. At first the changes were hardly noticeable, slurred speech and movement. But then the Dal mutant slowly began to loose its ability to control the Dalek machine itself, until finally, all cerebral and physical control broke down, as the Daleks went insane. Dalek medics quickly tried to contain the disease, but they too became infected, and soon all word from the outpost was lost. Quickly this “sickness” began to spread, as more and more parts of the Empire fell to the disease.
Back in Dalek Central Command however, little concern was given to the loss of a few outposts, until word reached the Supreme Council that both the Dalek and Movellan fleets have been suddenly wiped out! The Emperor immediately ordered all of Dalek society on high alert, as plans were made to counter and destroy this new menace. But soon it became apparent that there was no defense, for the enemy which decimated the Dalek fleet, the enemy which destroyed the Movellans, the enemy which was currently ripping a path of destruction across the galaxy, were Daleks themselves. Only these Daleks no longer resembled any Dalek that had ever lived. Mutated way beyond their already mutated humanoid form, these Daleks were insect-like, followed a hive mentality, and were completely deadly to the touch. No matter how hard Dalek scientists tried, the sickness that caused this mutation continued to spread, and more and more Daleks succumbed to it. Soon all of the Dalek Empire, and Skaro itself was at risk. The Mutant Phase had begun.
…In the 43rd century, the Thal deep space exploration ship Dyoni, is examining the devastation wrought along the various space trade routes. Professor Ptolem is amazed at the extent of destruction, as world after world that the ship visits are totally destroyed. Suddenly, the ship’s long-range scanners pick up what is believed to be a massive planet-size life form heading their way. As it draws near Ptolem and Ganatus, the ship’s commander, realizes that the life form is in reality 100 billion individual creatures swarming together and moving at super light speed. Unable to avoid the swarm and caught in the swarm’s wake, the Dyoni is dragged across the galaxy arriving in orbit around Skaro. As Ptolem and Ganatus watch, the creatures completely disappear.
Having bounced off the Dalek time corridor the Doctor, now in his Fifth incarnation and Nyssa, his traveling companion, find themselves in a wasp infested wheat field in 22nd century America, where Nyssa is stung by a wasp. The Doctor is desperate to leave at once, knowing that the world of the 22nd century is ruled by the Daleks. But before he and Nyssa can return to the ship a RoboMan confronts them. The Doctor tries to talk his way out of capture, but the RoboMan, confused and totally loyal to his masters, quickly summons a Dalek. The Dalek, arriving on a Trans-Solar Disc, confronts the TimeLord. Taking advantage of the Dalek’s battle-damaged condition however, the time travelers escape into the TARDIS, only to dematerialize and be caught within the time corridor.
Several years have passed, and Professor Ptolem braves the frozen wastelands that have become 43rd century Earth. The Thal mission is to take soil samples, and help the few remaining humans living in underground survival chambers. Back on the Dyoni, Ganatus informs Ptolem that the Doctor has been traced to Earth in the 22nd century time zone. Monitoring the vortex, Ptolem and Ganatus watch as the TARDIS leaves the 22nd century time zone and is dragged by the time corridor towards their ship in the 43rd century. Anticipating the Doctor’s arrival, a Dalek time capsule materializes onboard the Dyoni, and Ptolem and Ganatus greet their allies.
The Doctor however, attempts to re-materialize the TARDIS in an attempt to alter the ship’s coordinates and materialize away from the waiting Daleks. Succeeding in his attempt, the TARDIS materializes within the humans’ survival chamber. Back onboard the Dyoni, the Daleks are alerted to the Doctor’s escape, but before they can act, one of their numbers begins to mutate. The remaining Daleks wish to destroy their infected comrade, but Professor Ptolem insists that the creature be taken for study.
Within the human’s bunker, the Doctor and Nyssa meet Albert, Delores, and Professor Karl Hendryk, who informs the Doctor of the Earth’s destruction at the hands of “The Swarm.” When inquiring as to how the creatures were defeated, Hendryk informs the Doctor that they just suddenly died off, but not before “sucking the life” out of the planet. Elsewhere in the bunker Nyssa discovers that Albert is working for the Daleks, who has informed the Daleks of the Doctors whereabouts.
On Skaro, the last vestige of Dalek control is under siege. Mutated Daleks continue to invade the confines of the Dalek city, and nothing the Supreme Conical tries seems to work, as the creatures are able to absorb all energies focused against them. Desperate to find an answer, the Dalek Supreme orders the immediate capture of the Doctor.
Editor’s Note: Although not directly mentioned, it is suggested that a considerable amount of time has passed between the time the ‘Dyoni’ was first dragged to Skaro and it’s arrival on Earth, as the Thals are working with the Daleks to find a cure. This is the first time the Thals are used in the series since their last appearance in “Planet of the Daleks,” back in 1974. The presence of their exploration ship suggests that their race had survived, alas not on Skaro.
Out on the surface, Ptolem, Ganatus and a Dalek task force enter the human’s bunker and capture the Doctor. Albert, Delores, and Hendryk are exterminated, and the Daleks threaten Nyssa unless the Doctor agrees to return to Skaro with them. Back on the Thal ship, the Dalek continues to mutate into the insect-like creature. Breaking from its containment chamber, it proceeds to attack the ship, and the Doctor is forced to take the Thals and Daleks into the TARDIS.
With the Daleks in control of his TARDIS, Ptolem informs the Doctor of the recent events in Dalek history, and how Earth was the only planet in which the creatures had died. The Daleks want the Doctor to discover why the creatures died on Earth, and if possible, to eliminate the Mutant Phase. Somehow the Doctor senses that these events are wrong, but agrees to help out in the hopes of discovering exactly what is going on. Arriving on Skaro the Doctor is taken to see the Emperor, but not before asking Ptolem to examine Nyssa’s sting wound. Learning of the exact nature of the mutation from the Emperor, the Doctor discovers that the genetic mutation first appeared in the Dalek DNA record during their invasion of Earth in 2164 A.D. The Emperor wants the Doctor to return to the Dalek invasion and prevent the infection from occurring.
Ptolem in the meantime has learned that the wasp that stung Nyssa has deposited eggs and genetic material inside the wound, suggesting to him how the mutation started in the first place. Suddenly Dalek defense barriers begin to fail, and the mutant creatures break into the capital. Agreeing to alter the past, the Doctor, Nyssa, Ptolem and Ganatus escape in the TARDIS as the Emperor orders the destruction of Skaro. Within the vortex, the time ship experiences time lag, but only the Doctor and Nyssa notice it. Nyssa soon discovers why the Swarm died on Earth, as their genetic material made them susceptible to a pesticide in the Earth’s soil, DK-50, which was used on Earth to destroy the large swams of wasps which had grown un-checked after the Dalek invasion.
Arriving on 22nd century Earth, the Doctor soon discovers that the Dalek that was first infected with the wasp DNA was the one that had confronted him and Nyssa in the wheat field. Realizing that a temporal paradox was created by the Dalek’s attempts to trap the TARDIS (the 5th Doctor’s TARDIS should never have been in 22nd century America), the Doctor believes that the paradox will work itself out. The Emperor has other plans however. Transferring his consciousness into Ganatus’ body before ordering Skaro’s destruction, the Doctor and Emperor are captured by 22nd century Daleks and taken to the Dalek base. There the Emperor, inside of Ganatus’ body, tries to convince the Daleks to use chemical DK-50 on the infected Dalek. The Doctor however, realizes that it is the exact act that caused the Mutant Phase in the first place. It seems that the 22nd century Daleks had originally detected the wasp DNA and were about to remove it, when the Emperor interfered and insisted that they use the chemical instead. The result was that the mutation was allowed to spread through the Dalek race (the DK-50 being useless). Ptolem however, has created a genetic retro virus. Although it would not work on the mutated Daleks of the 43rd century, now, in the 22nd century, it should wipe the entire Dalek race out.
The Doctor in the meantime is trying to convince the Emperor that his insistence on the Daleks using the DK-50 is what caused the mutant phase to begin, but to no avail. Ptolem attempts to use the retro virus, and the Daleks, not believing that this “human” is in reality their emperor, decide to exterminate everyone on the spot. Suddenly both the Doctor and Nyssa experience the time lag effect again, as the stress of the current series of events causes the time paradox to reset itself. Erasing the events of the mutant phase completely, and with history set right, the Doctor and Nyssa escape in the TARDIS.
Editor’s Note: There are several points in “The Mutant Phase” which are never clearly explained. Although one can accept that the destruction wrought by the creatures was the reason behind Professor Ptolem’s agreement to work with the Daleks, we are never told how Albert came to be a Dalek agent, or how the Emperor was able to set up his mental link with Ganatus. In addition it is never revealed as to how the Emperor was able to “transfer” his consciousness into Ganatus, or from whom he had learned the technology to do so. Chronologically “The Mutant Phase” sees the return of the Emperor, which contradicts with the series, as all episodes from “Destiny” on, the Daleks are referred to as being ruled by the Dalek Supreme. In addition, the Emperor, in an attempt to convince the Daleks of his identity, informs the Daleks of the 22nd century that it was he who devised the invasion of Earth. This of course would be impossible as 1) the Daleks had no emperor at the time of their Earth invasion, and 2), even if they did, that emperor was killed during the Dalek civil wars, as depicted in “Evil of the Daleks.” Big Finish did however, do a very excellent job in depicting the differences between the “Invasion Earth” and current, or “Resurrection” Daleks. The “invasion” Daleks voices being somewhat slower and lower in tone, and the sound of their gun sticks being taken from the 1964 era. Since the events in “The Mutant Phase” reset themselves at the end of the story (as the time paradox worked itself out), events from the Daleks point-of-view would return to a point just after Davros was taken prisoner and returned to Earth.
Deep Space: The Earth/Draconian Frontier – 43rd Century
With Davros securely in the hands of the Earth forces, the Dalek and Movellan space fleets continued to play cat-and-mouse with each other for the best possible position, each totally impotent. It looked like the war would continue unabated for years. As Dalek strategists tried desperately to break the impasse, Dalek attempts to trap the Doctor’s TARDIS within a time corridor fail, but this was only their first attempt, and there would be others. As the years past however, both sides began to gain insight into each other’s technological advancements, as raiding parties captured and destroy each other’s bases and scout ships. For the Movellan High Command, it was able to gain valuable access into Dalek technological advancements. Discovering the basis of Dalek biotechnology, the Movellans began re-engineering the Dalek’s own viruses, which the Daleks had used on so many races time and time again.
Despite the fact that their battle computers could still not out match those of the Daleks, the Movellans launched their attack utilizing their bio-weapons. The Dalek battle computers of course, countered each attack, and Movellan losses were high. But one attack group did succeed in releasing their virus and infecting the Dalek troops. The infection quickly ravaged the Dalek task force, and then began spreading out to the other Dalek forces. Panic griped the Dalek nation, and to protect themselves from the infestation, the Supreme Council quickly joined the Emperor on Skaro, where the rulers of the Dalek race locked themselves in the deepest bowls of their survival bunkers. One after another, Dalek outposts fell pray to the virus, and Movellan forces swept deep into the galaxy. In the three hundred years since the war first began however (and the 90 years since davros’ imprisonment), the Earth Federation had slowly given way to the Earth Empire. Determined and far more ruthless, the Empire was more than ready for any invasion of their territory. Completely out matched, the Movellan forces were completely wiped out.
Editor’s Note: In “Resurrection of the Daleks” Lytton informs Davros of the Daleks defeat in the Movellan War. Yet despite this fact, and despite the fact that the Movellans had made it perfectly clear in “Destiny of the Daleks,” that they intended to invade the galaxy, they are never heard from in the series again. Allowing one to assume that the Earth Empire or someone else, wiped their invasion fleet out.
On Skaro the Dalek Prime realizes that current Dalek technologies cannot hope to cope with the infection. The Daleks are once again faced with total annihilation and something has to be done. The first step was to order the dispersing of the entire Dalek task force to the extreme reaches of the galaxy, in the hope of limiting the spread of the infection. Then, utilizing mercenary troops assembled from several of the outer system planets, the Daleks began amassing samples of the Movellan virus to experiment on. Concerned however, with a possible outbreak of the virus on Skaro, the Emperor ordered the canisters containing the virus to be transported through a time corridor to 20th century Earth for safekeeping. Dalek engineers then had limited amounts of the virus transported to secure bases throughout the empire for which they could experiment on. Soon however it became apparent that there was no cure for the Movellan disease.
Faced with the total extermination of their race, and desperate to re-claim their power base, the Emperor resorted to one, final all out effort to re-establish Dalek supremacy in the Universe. First, the Daleks would free Davros, although a desperate move, and the Emperor knew it, Davros was the only surviving scientist from their past. He and he alone totally understood the nature of the Dalek genetic code. Pretending that they would serve him again, Davros would be tricked into finding a cure to the infection. When that was done, he would be exterminated. Second, as a way to re-establish their supply lines from Earth, key political figures of the 20th century would be duplicated using the same bio-mechanical technology used to create the robot of the First Doctor years ago. With the political centers of the Earth controlled, the Dalek invasion of 2164 would not fail, despite the intervention of the Doctor. And finally, the Daleks would use their time corridor technology to trap the TARDIS and duplicate the Doctor and his companions. Then, under Dalek control, the duplicated Doctor would return to Gallifrey and assassinate the High Council of the TimeLords. The Daleks would then seize the secret of time.
Amassing their humanoid tasks force, a Dalek battle cruiser headed out towards the space station where Davros had been kept prisoner, while Dalek scientists on Skaro located and isolated the Doctor’s TARDIS within the vortex…
…On 20th century Earth, a rag tag group of soldiers burst from a warehouse, desperately trying to escape, before being gunned down by a pair of British policemen. The police captain, a Commander Lytton, activates a control, and he and the bodies “beam” away. In the far future, the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough (his current traveling companions), are just leaving the planet Frontios, when the TARDIS is caught within the Dalek time corridor. The time corridor drags the travelers to the 20th century London docks, where the Doctor and his companions, meet Stien, the only surviving soldier who had escaped from the Dalek battleship in the future. Stein warns the Doctor of danger in the warehouse, but the Doctor insists on getting to the bottom of things. As the Doctor begins to explore the empty warehouse, Turlough mysteriously disappears.
Back in the future, under the command of the Black Dalek, Commander Lytton and his mercenaries have just taken over the space prison where Davros has been kept frozen for 90 years. Freeing Davros, Lytton informs him of the Dalek defeat, and the Dalek need for him to neutralize the virus created by the Movellans. Despite the Black Dalek’s insistence to head back to Skaro, Davros insist on working on the space station, and a lab is quickly set up in the ship’s Medical Bay.
Back on 20th century Earth, an Army Bomb Disposal Squad (under the command of Col. Archer), is sent to the warehouse believing that the canisters of Movellan viruses are unexploded bombs. They confront the Doctor and Stien. Meanwhile Turlough has been accidentally transported onboard the Dalek ship, escaping moments before a Dalek is sent back to the warehouse to capture the Doctor. On Earth, the Dalek materializes in front of a shocked Doctor and military men. The Dalek quickly begins to “exterminate” the soldiers, but with the Doctor’s help, the Army is able to destroy the Dalek. Tegan however, has been injured in the fight. Determined to get to the bottom of whatever the Daleks are up to, Archer tries to contact headquarters, but is unable to because of interference caused by the time corridor. Leaving the Doctor in charge he goes out into the street in the attempt to make the call, only to be confronted by Lytton’s “police.”
The Doctor however, has his own problems, as the Dalek mutant, not quite dead, attacks one of the soldiers. Searching the warehouse the creature is found and finally killed. Determined to rescue Turlough and get to the bottom of things, the Doctor decides to return to the TARDIS and board the Dalek ship. Stien agrees to go with him.
On the space station, guarded by Dalek and duplicate troopers, Davros continues his research. However, unbeknownst to the Supreme Council, Davros has made plans to insure his place at the head of the Dalek political system. When first revived back in the Bunker on Skaro, Davros gained access to the Dalek bio-weapons files. Making improvements on a drug the Daleks themselves were developing to control minds, Davros had the technology grafted into his life support system. By using the drug, Davros is able to gain control over some of the Dalek forces protecting him on the space station.
Editor’s Note: It is never explained in the episode how or why Davros suddenly has a syringe type device grafted into his chair that allows him to control both humanoid and Dalek minds. One assumes that he would not have been allowed to work on such a device while awaiting trail on Earth, or that he somehow devised the device while in status, so he must have developed it while still on Skaro waiting for the Dalek task force to pick him up.
Arriving on the Dalek ship, Stien reveals himself to be a Dalek duplicate, and the Doctor is taken prisoner. Lead to the duplication chamber the Daleks begin their plans to duplicate the Doctor. Meanwhile Turlough has been captured by Styles, Mercer, and the few remaining survivors of the space station’s crew. Desperate to stop the Daleks, Styles attempts to activate the station’s self-destruct device, but is unable to complete it’s programming, as Lytton and his troops show up. Searching for the entrance to the Dalek’s time corridor, Turlough and Mercer escape the slaughter.
Convincing Stien to embrace his humanity and resist the Dalek programming, the Doctor is released from the Dalek duplication machine. On 20th century Earth, Tegan, who is concerned over the way the soldiers have been acting (the soldiers having been killed off one by one and replaced by duplicates), tries to escape, only to be captured and sent through the time corridor to the Dalek ship. There she encounters Turlough and Mercer, and the three quickly meet up with the Doctor. Sending Turlough and Tegan back to Earth in the TARDIS, the Doctor, with Stein and Mercer in tow, confronts Davros. He is however, unable to kill him. He looses his chance at a second go when Stien and Mercer are attacked by some of Lytton’s men. Mercer is killed and Stien, who blames himself for Mercer’s death, is seriously wounded.
With a number of duplicate and Dalek troops now loyal to him, Davros intends to overthrow his benefactors and seize control of Skaro using the Movellan virus as an ultimate weapon. Ordering a unit of Daleks to return to 20th century Earth and secure the TARDIS, Davros releases the Movellan virus onboard the space station with the hopes that it will destroy all the Daleks not currently under his control. The Black Dalek however, had accounted for Davros’ deception, after all it figured; Davros was a Kaled, an inferior and un-trustworthy humanoid. Ordering Lytton and his men to follow and destroy Davros’ Daleks on Earth, an execution squad is sent to the station’s medical lab to kill Davros. Unfortunately the Movellan virus does it work, and the Daleks sent to kill Davros are destroyed.
Back on Earth, both Davros’ Daleks and those loyal to the Black Dalek wage a merciless war within the confines of the warehouse. Escaping the Dalek ship via the time corridor, the Doctor opens one of the Movellan virus cylinders from the ground, using the virus to kill off both sides of Daleks. As the Daleks begin to die Lytton escapes out into 20th century London.
On the space station, Davros quickly learns that while he, himself, is immune to the effects of the virus, his life support system is not, and it begins to break down. Impossible as it may seem to him, the mutated parts of his Kaled biology, more Dalek-like than Davros would ever admit, falls to the infection. Davros barely makes it to the station’s escape pod before Stien, who had been lamenting over his loyalties, activates the self-destruct system. The explosion destroys both the station and the Dalek ship. On Earth, tired of all the violence, Tegan decides to leave the TARDIS crew.
Davros was dead, or at least it seemed that way, but back on Skaro this was unimportant. Building on the research Davros had completed on the prison station, Dalek scientist began to work on an immunity to the Movellan virus. Despite the loss of a Dalek task force and Lytton and his men, Davros had served the Daleks once again. Expanding on Davros’ work in micro biotechnology, Dalek scientists quickly found the genetic flaw in their own DNA, which allowed the virus to attack them. Davros’ expertise in genetic engineering had served them by redesigning their basic DNA, and Dalek scientists quickly expanded on the results. The genetic re-structuring that would insure Dalek survival was soon found, and the Daleks soon developed the immunity they desperately needed. Davros was no longer important to them, and the Dalek Prime quickly ordered the dispersing of the genetic code to all Dalek forces in exile.
Text and Concept © 2002 Visagraph Films International/John Rocco Roberto.
Revised version © 2004, 2005 John Rocco Roberto
Doctor Who series and photographs © 1963, 2002 British Broadcasting Company.
Original photographs © 2004 Thomas Gangone.
Special thanks to Robert Moore for providing the video captures from “Resurrection of the Daleks.” “Resurrection of the Daleks” summary adapted from “The Programme Guide” by Jean-Marc Lofficier, Target Books, 1989. Dalek Swarm creature andGanatus/DalekEmperor for “The Mutant Phase” thanks to Andrew Panero.