Short Trips: Dalek Empire

Short Trips: Dalek Empire is the nineteenth Short Trips anthology published by Big Finish Productions. The stories are all set in and around the events of the Dalek Empire series of audios. Some stories only feature characters from those audios.

The collection also includes the script to the audio Return of the Daleks by Nicholas Briggs, in which the Seventh Doctor meets characters from Dalek Empire and a final essay titled Why are Daleks Supreme? by Nicholas Briggs. This guide does not include either of these.

Kalendorf

Kalendorf
Author(s): Nicholas Briggs
Doctor(s): None
Companion(s): None
Season(s): Unknown
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Dialogue Triumphs: "Daleks. They have something of the apocalypse about them."

Continuity: The Vega system has more than one sun.

Kalendorf finds being amongst humans difficult. He meets Suz here for the first time. His mission to Vega VI marks the first contact between humans and Velyshaans for seven generations; following the war between the species, the Velyshaans were penalised by punitive peace treaties from every species in the galaxy that they had attacked, and were left on their home world to deal with cultural humiliation. The Earth Alliance granted, and enforced, the opportunity for them to remain in solitude on Velyshaa whilst they recovered, as a result of which they believe that they owe humanity a debt of gratitude. Praylaron (nicknamed Praylaron the Pragmatist by the Earth Alliance) is the new First Knight of Velyshaa; he has instigated diplomatic contact between the species because he has foreseen the threat of the Daleks. Under his instructions, the Velyshaans started sending coded messages to the Earth Alliance, suggesting an alliance between them. Praylaron was one of First Knight Sancroff's best-loved generals; he has been re-elected and genetically rebirthed. If a Knight disobeys an order from the court of the First Knight, his family will never enjoy privilege again. Knight Masters teach the importance of trusting one's gut instinct to cadets from their first day of training.

Siryo is a famous singer on Vega VI. He is killed during the Dalek invasion.

Location: Vega VI, 4162AD.

The Bottom Line: Whilst it's nice to know that Briggs can write decent prose as well as decent scripts, this opening story does rather give the impression of milking the success of the Dalek Empire series whilst adding little that is new, as we get to see the Dalek Invasion of Vega VI again, but from Kalendorf's point of view. Still, Briggs does try and flesh out the Velyshaans a bit, and it is nice to see Kalendorf again.

Natalie's Diary: Part One

Natalie's Diary: Part One
Author(s): Joseph Lidster
Doctor(s): Seventh Doctor
Companion(s): Ace, Hex
Season(s): Unknown
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Roots: The pub in Rainbow City is named Blue Peter. The film that Tam watches is probably Independence Day.

Continuity: Manikis is presumably an Earth colony.

Location: Rainbow City, Manikis, c. 4162AD; an unknown planet [presumably c. 6672AD, since the Daleks are active again and invade the planet at the end of Part Four].

Future History: The Daleks invade Manikis during their invasion of the galaxy.

The Bottom Line: Basicially The Dalek Invasion of Earth retold in a different location, in flashback, and divided into four segments for no obvious reason. Lidster's prose is as well-written as ever, but this feels like nothing more than filler.

Alby

Alby
Author(s): Sharon Gosling
Doctor(s): None
Companion(s): None
Season(s): Unknown
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Continuity: The unnamed system contains a single gas giant with several moons with varying degrees of atmosphere. The moon on which Alby and the Dalek land is covered in jungle, but has no animal life.

According to his psychiatric profile, Alby is good at compartmentalising, which is why he makes a good spy but is also a classic symptom of sociopathic tendencies. He was taught how to free-fall as part of his initiation, with state-of-the-art aquachutes and the best military training. The Earth Alliance's new range of anti-Dalek missiles can drain a Dalek's energy. Tanlee sends a rescue party to retrieve him from the moon.

Location: The moon of a gas giant in an unidentified system in the Gamma Sector, c

The Bottom Line: As with Kalendorf, this makes for an interesting insight into the character's mind, but adds little to the Dalek Empire series as a whole.

Private Investigations

Private Investigations
Author(s): Ian Farrington
Doctor(s): Seventh Doctor
Companion(s): Ace
Season(s): Unknown
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Roots: There is a reference to Google.

Continuity: The Landaluze Corporation is a commercial research institute based on Newlandis. By 6672, Malite is known as planetoid SK-12 and has been devoid of life since the Dalek invasion.

Malite is a relatively small planet orbiting its star at one and a half billion kilometres. It has several moons, including Kloeden and Haiduk. It was inhabited by humanoids [possibly humans] prior to the Dalek invasion. The Seventh Doctor tried to warn Malite about the approaching Dalek fleet prior to his arrival, and was believed, or at least humoured, for some time, before being arrested as a traitor due to the machinations of Premier Mercado, who was secretly working for the Daleks. Programmes on Malite included On the Beat, a news and current affairs programme, and The Same Answer, a satirical comedy show. King Alashethihen of the neighbouring Fooann system wrote of Malite's resistance to the Daleks in his memoirs, which remained unpublished until centuries after his death. There were several research scientists on Haiduk when the Daleks attacked Malite.

Location: Malite and Haiduk, c4162AD; Newlandis [presumably c. 6672 AD, given the interest in and knowledge of Daleks and the Great Catastrophe].

Future History: Academics first began to research the Great Catastrophe twenty years before the events on Newlandis described here.

The Bottom Line: Maddeningly vague; the idea of telling most of the story via a flashback from archaeologists of the future has been done better elsewhere, in Dalek Empire: Dalek War for example.

Natalie's Diary: Part Two

Natalie's Diary: Part Two
Author(s): Joseph Lidster
Doctor(s): None
Companion(s): Ace, Hex
Season(s): Unknown
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Roots: Ace shoots a Roboman.

Location: Rainbow City, Manikis, c. 4162 AD; an unknown planet [presumably c. 6672 AD, since the Daleks are active again and invade the planet at the end of Part Four].

Future History: Tanya Kinvari is a pop star on Manikis: the Daleks turn her into a Roboman.

The Bottom Line: More filler, although Lidster uses the fractured narrative to reasonably interesting effect.

Suz

Suz
Author(s): Sharon Gosling
Doctor(s): None
Companion(s): None
Season(s): Unknown
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Location: Vega VI, a Moon of Garazone, and Yaldos, c. 4162 AD.

The Bottom Line: Again, it adds little, but the insight into Suz's torment is well told.

The Best Joke I Ever Told

The Best Joke I Ever Told
Author(s): Simon Guerrier
Doctor(s): Sixth Doctor
Companion(s): Melanie Bush
Season(s): Season 23b
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Roots: One of the studio Daleks is called Borg (Star Trek: The Next Generation). The idea of having Daleks shooting white foam rather than fire is a nod to Dr. Who and the Daleks.

Goofs: The implication here is that everything that Zeet sees is arranged by the Doctor, who along with Mel saunters out of the Dalek base with remarkable ease and a good deal of smirking, and why we get undercover Daleks pretending to be actors pretending to be Daleks (i.e., they are in fact actors pretending to be Daleks, and the Doctor is teaching Zeet a lesson). This would explain why Guria is supposedly sterilised by the Daleks some one-hundred and fifty years before the events of Dalek Empire, and suddenly is no longer a water covered world (it isn't really Guria and it hasn't really been invaded by the Daleks). All of which is fine, except that according to Zeet, the Daleks really have wiped out the Guria system and the fact has been widely broadcast on the news networks [surely the Doctor hasn't been setting Zeet up to the extent of faking news bulletins?].

Dialogue Triumphs: "We're invited to join them for some light incarceration."

Continuity: According to the Doctor, Carvoni was a city on Guria, and had a day-time population of just over thirteen million. The Doctor carries safety pins.

The day before her eleventh birthday, a boy called Andy Ledger told Mel that she didn't have a sense of humour, a cutting barb that she still has nightmares about. Her only memories of a beloved grandfather are of laughing at his jokes.

There are at least two point eight billion people living in the Ipsis Moons. Georgia is an Earth colony.

Location: Theta 16 and Guria [see Goofs], 4001AD.

Future History: Songs of 4001AD include "Just Arrived on Sedna". Television programmes include Clinical Excellence, Who Wants to be the Next President of Earth?, and Very Live Football with Weapons. The Theta 16 television studios are destroyed [by the Daleks] before 4th September 4001AD.

The Bottom Line: Good idea, sloppy execution. Guerrier captures the Sixth Doctor perfectly, but linking in a story to the Dalek Empire series and contradicting it so blatantly suggests that the editor isn't paying attention (and he really ought to know better!).

Natalie's Diary: Part Three

Natalie's Diary: Part Three
Author(s): Joseph Lidster
Doctor(s): None
Companion(s): Hex
Season(s): Unknown
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Location: City, Manikis, c. 4162 AD; an unknown planet [presumably c. 6672 AD, since the Daleks are active again and invade the planet at the end of Part Four].

The Bottom Line: Still trundling along merrily, but this really would have worked better in a single part.

Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek
Author(s): Ian Farrington
Doctor(s): Third Doctor
Companion(s): Jo Grant
Season(s): Season 10
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Goofs: With the fleet of survivor ships facing their hour of greatest need, the Doctor and Jo leg it in the TARDIS.

Continuity: The Daleks have been making deals with people from various planets, offering refuge for survivors willing to work for their freedom on Credence. This is actually a ruse to bring any missing survivors to them, so that they can be exterminated.

The Doctor and Jo have been travelling for approximately two weeks [since they last left Earth?]. The Doctor upgrades the spacecraft's flight system, giving it 33 point three per cent capacity.

Cami is a town on the unnamed planet, which is presumably an Earth colony. The planet had a population just over two-hundred thousand.

Credence has a single main continent.

Location: An unnamed planet and Credence, c. 4162 AD

Future History: Following the defeat of the Daleks, a museum is built on Credence.

The Bottom Line: It's nice to see the Third Doctor get involved in the Dalek Empire story, but this is too slight to be really memorable. Plod, plod, how much longer until the end of the anthology?

The Eighth Wonder of the World

The Eighth Wonder of the World
Author(s): Simon Guerrier
Doctor(s): Sixth Doctor
Companion(s): Evelyn Smythe
Season(s): Season 23b
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Roots: Antipater of Sidon's list of the Seven Wonders of the World. There are quotations from Sappho, Homer's The Iliad, Herotodus' Histories Book II, Müller's Fragmenta Historicum Graecorum, Strabo's Geography, and Charles Newton's On the Study of Archaeology. There are references to Rudolf, Hercher, Philo of Byzantium, and Dad's Army

Continuity: The stranded Dalek survives for over two thousand years before it finally runs out of power. It exterminates nineteen thousand, six hundred and twenty people during its exile. History can only be changed by order of the Emperor Dalek. It shoots the Doctor, but its energy levels are so low that the blast doesn't kill or even seriously injure him. Its battle with the Doctor destroys the Colossus of Rhodes.

The Doctor and Evelyn meet Charles Newton and are present at the excavation of the Mausoleum of King Mausolus. The Doctor dons local dress in Bodrum and authentic Greek dress in Ancient Greece. He makes a battery for the torch bulb on Evelyn's keyring out of coins and vinegar.

Evelyn dresses in shorts and a baggy old t-shirt. She wrote part of her Masters degree on how the Mausoleum was reconstructed in the British Museum. She once visited Bodrum with her husband: he failed to teach her to scuba dive and then walked off in a sulk.

Location: Bodrum, Turkey, 1857; Halicarnassus, Alexandria, and Rhodes, Greece, September 223BC.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor is an old friend of Philo of Byzantium. The Doctor and Evelyn visit Bodrum/Halicarnassus at various points in history in their search for the Dalek.

The Bottom Line: Easily the high point of the anthology, this is tremendous fun and a vast improvement on Guerrier's earlier entry. It's clearly well researched, and Guerrier's enthusiasm for the subject matter shines through. Ironically, it is the story least connected to the Dalek Empire series (it, erm, has a Dalek from The Daleks' Master Plan in it) and as such stands up the best as a story in its own right.

Mutually Assured Survival

Mutually Assured Survival
Author(s): Justin Richards
Doctor(s): None
Companion(s): None
Season(s): Unknown
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Continuity: The Daleks have micro-robotisation techniques. They can cause neutron strikes to detonate stars. They are employing Ogrons again, and also Slythers [have they returned to Skaro?]. They keep the radiation levels in their spaceships at a level higher than humans can tolerate (see The Daleks).

Malfan is the largest city on Astronomar.

Location: Galactic Union HQ on Planet 9, Astonomar, and Station Seven in orbit above Manikis, c. 6674 to 6676 AD.

Future History: Following the events of Dalek Empire III Chapter Six The Future, the Daleks and the Galactic Union have been at war; following the initial revelations about the Daleks and the plague, Selestru's department and the military were able to hold back the Daleks' advance, however the Union is losing interest in the battle given its cost and low public profile and has cut funding. The Daleks have conquered seventeen border worlds in the year following their invasion of Bosarno Major; despite public propaganda, the Galactic Federation has failed to liberate a single world from the Daleks. They invade Astronomar here.

The Bottom Line: Rather good effort from Richards, which answers the question of whether Galanar's impassioned speech at the end of Dalek Empire III had any impact (unsurprisingly, the answer is no) and sees the Daleks consolidating their power again (and perhaps thus building them up for one last time prior to the Time War?). The nods to the past are fannish but satisfying.

Natalie's Diary: Part Four

Natalie's Diary: Part Four
Author(s): Joseph Lidster
Doctor(s): None
Companion(s): Hex
Season(s): Unknown
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Continuity: Lenthorpe is a village on Manikis, only a few miles from Rainbow City.

The Doctor uses a computer virus to wipe out the Daleks on Manikis.

Location: City, Manikis, c. 4162 AD; an unnamed planet [presumably c. 6672 AD, since the Daleks are active again and invade the planet at the end of Part Four].

Future History: The Daleks invade the unnamed planet at the end [is it one of the Border Worlds?]

The Bottom Line: A surprisingly satisfying conclusion, although this would still have worked better as a single complete story.

Museum Peace

Museum Peace
Author(s): James Swallow
Doctor(s): Eighth Doctor
Companion(s): None
Season(s): Unknown
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Dialogue Triumphs: "They don't look like much, do they? Silly big pepperpots. Clumsy and awkward things. It would be hard to be afraid of them if you didn't know what they could do."

Continuity: Since the events of Dalek Empire II: Dalek War Chapter Four Kalendorf has become a Lord Chancellor. The Knights of Velyshaa are longer-lived than humans. Species previously defeated by the Knights of Velyshaa include the Terrials, the Simbasa, and the Celebi Compact. Kalendorf is easily convinced that the Eighth Doctor is the same man that he met on Zaleria, because he recognises his eyes. He notes that his people are trying to develop time travel capabilities (The Sirens of Time).

The Doctor visits Kalendorf because he has been given the opportunity to destroy the Daleks once and for all, but the price is everything he knows, and he wants to discuss it with the old soldier first [presumably leading into the events of the Time War - see Dalek].

A Great Museum and War Memorial have been built on Vega VI; the museum contains several shattered Type Two Dalek Drones, one of which is still active until Kalendorf destroys it after it kills a small boy whilst trying to hit either him or the Doctor.

Location: Vega VI, some years after Dalek Empire: Dalek War.

Future History: Prince Tarvick of Frentos is overthrown in 2034 following the republican uprising. Following a royalist revolution in 2114, a group of soldiers travel to Earth in 1984 to rescue Tarvick and restore him to his throne; in 2134 there is another revolution that removes the royalists from power and soldiers from this time travel back to stop the previous group rescuing Tarvick. In 2194 there is an uprising against the second republic and more soldiers travel back to prevent the assassination of Tarvick. More soldiers travel back to find him from 2292, followed by more from 2391 after the fall of the glorious third republic. The Doctor eventually leaves Tarvick in a period of Frentos' history where nobody has heard of him.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has [recently?] visited a planet called Tsan.

The Bottom Line: "You must make the choice, Doctor, whatever it is, whatever it costs you." A disappointing anthology ends on a high with a remarkable story that sees the Eighth Doctor facing a terrible dilemma and old soldier Kalendorf still searching for peace with the war long over. Swallow contrasts the pair to great effect, uniting them with the tragedy of the boy's death. A triumph.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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