The Dalek Prime Strategist, (COMIC: Defender of the Daleks) often referred to simply as the Dalek Strategist, (AUDIO: The Enemy of My Enemy) was a Time-Sensitive Dalek who served as advisor to the Emperor of the Restoration in the Restoration Empire. He claimed to be the oldest Dalek in existence. (COMIC: Defender of the Daleks)
When the Tenth Doctor first encountered the Prime Strategist, the Dalek operated a battered and rusted Dalek War Machine casing. This casing was predominantly silver, which grew rusty over time, with blue sensor globes and weapons platform squares. (COMIC: Defender of the Daleks)
The Dalek Prime Strategist saw his usage of the ruined casing as a way of announcing that he relied more on wits than on weapons, (PROSE: The Restoration Empire) and claimed to be wearing the relic with pride, repeatedly explaining to the Doctor that he viewed its wear and tear as his battle scars. However, the Doctor came to believe that this was a lie the Prime Strategist told himself to make it easier on him, when actually, being confined to his painfully damaged casing was a punishment ordered by the Dalek Emperor for the catastrophic failure of one of the Prime Strategist's old plans. Though the Tenth Doctor believed that the Strategist's casing was incapable of flight, (COMIC: Defender of the Daleks) it did possess a repulsor and was capable of limited hovering, (WC: The Sentinel of the Fifth Galaxy) and was capable of limited flight even with the Eighth Doctor clinging to it. (AUDIO: The Enemy of My Enemy)
The Dalek Prime Strategist once claimed to the Tenth Doctor that he was "older than the Emperor himself", to which the Doctor replayed with a skeptical quip; (COMIC: Defender of the Daleks) there were indeed accounts which portrayed the Golden Emperor as the first Dalek created, (COMIC: Genesis of Evil, et. al) but the Dalek Emperor who acted as the Prime Strategist's immediate superior was not the same individual as that original Golden Emperor, but a later pretender to the throne known as the Emperor of the Restoration. (PROSE: The Guide to the Dark Times) River Song merely recorded in The Dark Times Times that the Prime Strategist had "existed for a very long time", calling him "ancient". (PROSE: The Guide to the Dark Times)
The Tenth Doctor suspected that, at some point, one of the Prime Strategist's schemes failed and the Emperor, as punishment, confined the Strategist to his old, ruined casing, forbidding him from upgrading to a more modern and sturdier travel machine. (COMIC: Defender of the Daleks) However, another account suggested that the Strategist allowed the Doctor to believe this in order to gain his confidence. It was also unknown exactly how long the Strategist had been lying in wait, with it being possible it had been one of the first Daleks the First Doctor ever encountered during his first visit to Skaro. (PROSE: The Restoration Empire)
Invasion of Islos
The Prime Strategist advised the Emperor during the invasion of Islos. Once the Archivians appeared to surrender, he and the Executioner accompanied the Emperor into the Archive of Islos, only to find it emptied. The Chief Archivian revealed they had bargained with an Entity from outside of time and space for the safety of the Islosian population and the Archive. It showed them what the Strategist recognised as a portal through space and time and revealed it had offered their rescuer the Daleks in return. The Entity emerged from the portal (WC: The Archive of Islos) and began attacking the Daleks, forcing them to flee Islos. (WC: The Sentinel of the Fifth Galaxy)
Flight from the Entity
The Daleks withdrew to Skaro, pursued by the Entity. The Entity began attacking the planet, forcing the Emperor to order the evacuation of all forces when the Daleks' weapons proved ineffective. The Strategist advised that the evacuation was failing and the Daleks had to escape. With the Emperor silent after realising the home planet had been lost, the Strategist organised the Daleks' flight.
In search of reinforcements, the Strategist activated the Sentinel of the Fifth Galaxy, who guided him to a dormant army of ten thousand Daleks. He was alarmed by the Sentinel insistent referring to him as the Emperor, and stated that he believed the android programming was defective. When the Sentinel awoke the army, the Strategist ordered it to set the base to self-destruct.
However, after the army likewise proclaimed that the Strategist was their emperor, he quickly realised the Entity had arrived before him and compromised the Sentinel, and now the army. The Strategist accelerated the self-destruct and fled, pursued by the compromised reinforcements. As the Executioner's forces engaged the Entity's army, the Strategist advised the Emperor to withdraw again as they couldn't sustain these losses. He defended his failure, believing the self-destruct had claimed some of the army and a portion of the Entity with them, making it weaker. (WC: The Sentinel of the Fifth Galaxy)
The Strategist then prepared a new strategy to defeat the Entity; he reasoned that the Mechanoid Empire was also a threat to the Daleks, so the logical move would be to pit the two against each other. (WC: Day of Reckoning) By arriving at Mechanus in a single damaged ship with only a few Dalek drones as guards, (WC: Planet of the Mechanoids) the Prime Strategist understood it would look like the Dalek Empire had been nearly totally destroyed. (WC: Day of Reckoning) When he and the Emperor arrived, they claimed to want the aid of the Mechanoids. Whilst the Emperor spoke with the Mechanoid Queen, the Strategist demanded to speak with a scientist but was ordered to wait by Mechanoid guards. He grew impatient, resulting in the guards firing on him, but Mechanoid 2150 arrived and agreed to speak with him. She took him across the Mechanoid City, which he admitted was efficient, to inspect the status of the orbital defence grid. He insisted they be repaired after the Daleks had breached them, but they realised the power grid was beginning to be drained, resulting in the Mechanoids being left defenseless. (WC: Planet of the Mechanoids) He revealed to Mechanoid 2150 that the Daleks had led the Entity there to force the Mechonoids to work with them against it. When the Entity arrived and a part of it took over a Mechanoid, he and Mechanoid 2150 were able to identify the Entity's unique energies and devise a way to create a portal to force it back to its original dimension. After successfully banishing the part of the Entity within the Mechanoid, they reconfigured the orbital array to target the entire Entity, as the Emperor was distracting it, managing to banish it to its original realm. The Strategist reunited with the damaged Emperor and they were ordered to leave Mechanus by the Queen, who declared that the Mechanoids were coming for the Daleks. (WC: The Deadly Ally)
Reckoning with the Mechanoids
The next phase of the Strategist's plan came after he and the Emperor returned to Skaro, as the Mechanoids followed under the false idea that they were the only two Daleks alive. Thus, after an army of Dalek units which had been recalled to Skaro were ordered out of hiding, the Mechanoids were overwhelmed. Mechanoid 2150 and the Queen tracked him down and he revealed his deceptions. They attempted to convince the Strategist that he was not being given enough credit from the Emperor for his plan and that he should rule. He pretended to agree and they escorted him through the battlefield to another chamber. There, he and Mechanoid 2150 planned to use a beam projector to open a portal to the Entity's dimension to send the Emperor through. However, to the horror of 2150, the Strategist instead used the portal to remove the Mechanoid army from Skaro and then closed the portal. Meeting with the Emperor, he praised the Strategist's plan, though he warned him that "superior beings" would not be as easy to manipulate. Suddenly, the Entity possessed a ruined Mechanoid, telling the two that another threat was coming to attack then. (WC: Day of Reckoning)
War with the Hond
When the new threat emerged in the form of the Hond, the Restoration Empire found itself unable to stem their advance. At the advice of the Prime Strategist, the Emperor sought out the Tenth Doctor for aid. The Prime Strategist met the Doctor in the Dalek City, leading him into the Vault of Obscenities. As the two made uneasy conversation, the Prime Strategist saved the Doctor from a creature the Doctor did not glimpse clearly. Soon, they came across a Hond, who was unharmed when the Prime Strategist immediately opened fire on it. The Doctor had to trap it in an energy cage he made out of an energy weapon found in the Vault. Shortly after, the Doctor apparently deduced the truth about the Strategist's casing, which had become even more battered in his battle with the Hond, exposing part of the Dalek mutant's face.
Eventually, the Doctor succeeded in defeating the Hond by linking together all the defence systems in the Vault of Obscenities and using them as a transmitter to relieve the Hond's pain, causing them to evaporate, as they were embodiments of suffering itself. The Daleks immediately declared that, having served his purpose, the Doctor would be exterminated. The Doctor seemed disappointed in the Strategist for betraying him, but wasted no time in triggering all the weapons in the Vault at once, causing a string of explosions to engulf the Dalek City and allow him to slip away.
When reprimanded by the Emperor about the apparent backfiring of its plan to enlist the Doctor, the Strategist noted that, despite the collateral damage, the Doctor had succeeded in saving the Daleks from the Hond — and added that the Eighth Doctor could be of use to head off another related threat to Dalek supremacy. (COMIC: Defender of the Daleks)
In the Dalek Time Squad
The Dalek Prime Strategist was a member of the Dalek Time Squad sent by the Emperor to rectify the divergent timeline and "return the situation to Dalek advantage". He served under the Dalek Time Commander, although River Song suspected that, as he had served under many Dalek Commanders in his day, the Prime Strategist's loyalty and obedience to this particular Commander was questionable to say the least. (PROSE: The Guide to the Dark Times)
When the Dalek Time Squad captured the Eighth Doctor, (AUDIO: He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not) the Strategist saved him from being exterminated by the Executioner and brought him before the Time Commander to agree to an alliance. With the Doctor, the Dalek Time Squad travelled to Wrax to analyse its altered timeline. The Prime Strategist accompanied the Doctor to the Wraxians' gallery, rescuing him when he was caught in the Eye of Wrax. When the Wraxians sought to use the Devolver on the Daleks, the Strategist convinced the Time Commander to let the Doctor negotiate with the Wraxian President and later to agree to the Doctor's deal with the Wraxians, the Daleks withdrawing in exchange for the Devolver's dismantling. The Doctor had devised a theory that the temporal alterations originated in the Dark Times, which he only told the Daleks when they had left Wrax. As the Doctor hooked up his TARDIS to the engines of the Dalek ship, the Strategist reported his confidence that the Doctor had been successfully manipulated, before the group travelled to the Dark Times. (AUDIO: The Enemy of My Enemy)
The Strategist was on the bridge of the Dalek ship when they arrived at Mordeela, directing the Eighth Doctor to communicate with the Tenth Doctor. The Doctor realised from his remarks that the Daleks had been expecting to confront his tenth incarnation and hadn't told him the full truth. When the Tenth Doctor rejected his past selves' pleas and his fleet destroyed Mordeela, the Strategist ordered the Daleks to attack, instigating the Battle of Mordeela. The Tenth Doctor's fleet was reduced to one ship, which he escaped in after fulfilling his aim of sealing Mordeela's gateway.
After the Battle, the Strategist began to work with the Scientist to experiment on life forms unique to the Dark Times to create a more biologically efficient form of Dalek, referred to as the "Symbiont". Unknown to him, the Commander and Executioner had received new orders from the Emperor. (PROSE: All Flesh is Grass)
The Dalek Time Squad visited Velosia, who were under imminent threat from the Kotturuh. The Time Squad used this to their advantage and promised to rescue the best and brightest of their race, leaving the others to face the judgement of the Kotturuh. The Velosians agreed and the Daleks took off. Unbeknownst to them, the agreement was a ruse and the Velosians upon the ship were slaughtered, leaving the last of the race at the hands of the Kotturuh.
Shortly afterwards, the Time Squad and the Eighth Doctor stumbled across an abandoned ship hanging empty in space except databanks and a vast supply of Huon particles. The Daleks ignored the Doctor's advice to learn from the long, lost species and decided to harness the Huon particles as a potential source of energy, despite the Doctor's warnings. When their ship responded negatively to the particles, the Doctor explained the difficulty of converting Huon particles into energy. After ejecting the particles, the Doctor explained that the ship belonged to a race that had been wiped out by the Kotturuh. The Huon particles were a test to weed out "the greedy and the stupid". Those races who specifically wanted to learn of the long forgotten culture would instead have gone for the databanks. (COMIC: Tales of the Dark Times)
When the Daleks captured a Great Vampire, the Strategist oversaw the experiments on it. Its DNA was extracted and put in a Dalek mutant, creating the Symbiont - an undying Dalek. This caused a massive power drain which the Commander blamed him for, claiming he had endangered the Ultimate End. The Strategist countered that he could not endanger plans he was unaware of and took the Commander to see the Symbiont. He revealed he knew the Tenth Doctor was observing them, and ordered the Symbiont to kill him. After the Doctor escaped and subsequently returned to rescue Brian from the engines, the Strategist realised he would have learnt the course of the Dalek ship was set for Gallifrey and would now seek to defend it. To ensure their success in the coming battle, he decided that the Symbiont DNA would be given to Drones, creating an army of undying Daleks. The battle went in the Daleks' favour until Inyit, the last of the Kotturuh, judged the Symbiont hybrids, wiping them all out. This threw the Daleks into a panic, fearing the judgement could spread to pure Dalek DNA, so the Strategist's demands to press the attack on Gallifrey went ignored. The Eighth Doctor returned to the ship and offered to help the Daleks return to their time period. When the Strategist refused, he detonated an explosive Brian had left in the engines, forcing the ship out of the Dark Times and into the Time Vortex. (PROSE: All Flesh is Grass)
Escaping the Time Vortex
The Doctor was presumed dead in the explosion, but the Strategist suspected the subsequent chain of malfunctions was actually his sabotage. He and Commander were divided on how to respond to the crisis, with him working with the Scientist to stabilise the ship whilst the Commander gave the Executioner autonomy to purge the ship of aliens and having the Doctor's TARDIS brought to him without the Strategist's knowledge. The Doctor foiled the Strategist's plan by stopping the Scientist's work and the Executioner began to rampage through the ship, damaging it further and killing Daleks in its path with the Commander unable to stop it, which made the Strategist lose faith in the Commander's leadership.
When the Doctor detonated an explosive he had planted on the Scientist, the ship began to break apart, so the Strategist sought him out and attempted to bargain for safe transport in his TARDIS. The Doctor agreed, but exposed the deal to the Commander, prompting a firefight between the Strategist and Commander. The Strategist prevailed, but the Drones turned on him as a traitor whilst the Doctor escaped. (AUDIO: Mutually Assured Destruction)
As the saucer was destroyed, the Strategist observed Daleks being torn apart by the time winds, including the Executioner, and reflected on the events that had let him there. He blamed the Emperor's over ambition for the Time Squad's failure and believed that, if he had been aware of the Ultimate End, he would have warned the Emperor against it. Predicting that the Emperor would begin a war between the Daleks and Time Lords, he resolved to escape to aid the Emperor, or to replace him if he proved ineffective as the Strategist suspected he might, and used the Kotturuh crystals that he had stored in his casing to power an emergency temporal shift. (PROSE: Exit Strategy)
Befitting his title, the Dalek Prime Strategist favoured planning and manipulation as opposed to simple extermination. During the invasion of Islos, he advised the Emperor to cease a simple bombardment in favour of blackmailing the Archivians. (WC: The Archive of Islos) He was confident that his talents allowed him to dupe the Doctor. (COMIC: Defender of the Daleks; AUDIO: The Enemy of My Enemy) As a result of this preference, he thought very little of the Dalek Executioner, dismissing it as a "thoroughly stupid creature". (PROSE: Exit Strategy) Nonetheless, the Tenth Doctor observed that the Strategist would, like any Dalek, blindly open fire when feeling threatened, (COMIC: Defender of the Daleks) and, when the Eighth Doctor's pleas to his tenth incarnation prior to the Battle of Mordeela failed, the Strategist quickly gave the instruction to exterminate. (PROSE: All Flesh is Grass)
Though somewhat annoyed that he was subordinate to the younger Emperor, (COMIC: Defender of the Daleks) the Strategist was loyal nonetheless, refusing to usurp the Emperor when given the chance. (WC: The Sentinel of the Fifth Galaxy) Though after the failure of the Ultimate End, he gave serious consideration to replacing the Emperor for the coming war between the Daleks and Time Lords. (PROSE: Exit Strategy)
Unlike most Daleks, the Prime Strategist was not opposed to working with aliens, (WC: The Deadly Ally) or negotiating with them. (AUDIO: The Enemy of My Enemy) However, he only made these alliances for Dalek advancement and had his supposed allies destroyed when their usefulness was over. (WC: Day of Reckoning)
The Strategist saw his usage of a Dalek War Machine casing as a way of announcing that he did not need defences when he had wits. (PROSE: The Restoration Empire) The Tenth Doctor, however, believed that this was a lie that the Strategist told himself as a coping mechanism for being confined to the rusted travel machine. (COMIC: Defender of the Daleks)
Behind the scenes
- Speaking of his portrayal as the Dalek Strategist, Nicholas Briggs described him as "ancient and a little bit conniving".
- It is suggested in DWFC TLV 3 that the Strategist deceptively led the Tenth Doctor to believe his damaged casing was a punishment, when in fact the Strategist used the ruined casing as a way to show that it relied more on its wits rather than defences.
- In earlier accounts, the "oldest Dalek in existence", and indeed the first Dalek ever created, was the Dalek Prime, who was also the original Dalek Emperor. However, there is also no proof to deny the idea that the Prime and the Prime Strategist are not the same Dalek.