The Outlaw Planet
This text story was featured in “The Dalek Outer-Space Book” way back in the 1960s. It (re)introduces Sara Kingdom (who appeared in “The Dalek Master Plan” and was played by Jean Marsh) as well as other characters from the SSS (Space Security Service) set up to combat the Dalek threat. Several of the SSS characters, or close approximations of them, were reworked to appear in later Dalek spin-offs.
FOR thousands of years all the planets in the universe lived in harmonious peaceful co-existence. Occasionally they visited each other on exchange systems. Scientist for scientist. Teacher for teacher, Student for student. And, by arrangement, they provided each other with details of atmospheric conditions as warnings against future weather hazards, and universal air lanes were agreed to avoid rockets and spaceships crashing into each other.
All was well and peaceful until one planet— Skaro—decided to become all-powerful. She wanted to dominate the universe. To conquer all other planets. To rule as the Romans had during the bygone days of the Roman Empire. Whilst pretending to be friendly with the other planets, the exchange scientists, teachers and students Skaro sent them were all humanoid spies. Their job was to check on the defence weaknesses of the planets they were visiting. The humanoids were simply enslaved humans whose minds had been robotized to obey all the Daleks’ commands.
It took eight years for the Daleks to get ready their invasion force and finally the Golden Dalek gave the order for attack.
First, Skaro invaded some of the smaller uninhabited planets like Phergo, Dizmus and Lagum. These were needed as bases for launching future bigger invasions of the larger planets. The Golden Dalek’s plan was to launch the attacks simultaneously from Skaro Phergo, Dizmus and Lagum so that the unsuspecting victim planets would have the impossible task of defending four fronts at the same time. The Daleks saw themselves mastering the universe in this fashion.
But there was one vital thing the Daleks hadn’t foreseen—that the other planets would band together for mutual defence against Skaro, and work in harmony against Skaro— branded by all as “The Outlaw Planet”.
Leaders of the largest planets, “The Big Four” as they were known, met on Earth to discuss combined defence. Bakabi, leader of Mars, suggested an immediate attack on Skaro on the basis that the best form of defence is attack. He was shouted down. “The idea is just as barbarian as the Daleks themselves,” declared Voccio, leader of Venus, “and anyway there are many of my exchange teachers and students held captive on Skaro. To destroy Skaro would be to destroy them too.” Earth and Uranus offered similar arguments against attacking the outlaw planet.
The emergency meeting lasted sixteen hours, during which a long list of suggestions were proposed, discussed, and rejected for their unsuitability in dealing with the brilliantly equipped Daleks. Finally, it was decided to form the S.S.S. —Space Security Service— an organisation comprised of the foremost brains in the space warfare and defence field. It would be a costly organisation paid for by contributions from all the planets in accordance with their size and wealth.
S.S.S. could call on the services of all expert scientists and all planets would guarantee unquestioned co-operation in everything required to ensure defence against Skaro and its new satellite invasion bases.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the new Space Security Service was that it was to be top secret. Its headquarters would be in the centre of a mountain. Which mountain nobody outside S.S.S. was to know. Even presidents and prime ministers were not to be told its whereabouts. Contact would be through a liaison member of S.S.S. stationed on each planet who had sole direct communication with headquarters.
Colonel Marc Forest, veteran space pilot and brilliant warfare strategist, was chosen to head S.S.S. It was left to Colonel Forest to select the members of his team on whom so much depended. To help him, he was given Compuvac—a fabulous electronic brain. Compuvac, a super-colossal computer, when fed details of any problem could give more than just an accurate mathematical answer. It had the extra quality of instinct. And its instinct never failed.
The details of thousands of potential S.S.S. members were fed into Compuvac and a small initial force was selected and given rank according to character and experience. In addition to Colonel Marc, other officer leaders of S.S.S. were: Agent Kurt Soren in charge of S.S.S. Weaponry; Agent David Carson in charge of S.S.S. Space Transport; Agent Sara Kingdom in charge of field operations; and Agent “Seven”, a humanoid robot, in charge of internal and field security.
All S.S.S. agents were equipped with two special weapons. The Mk 6 variable effect hand weapon, and the electro knife. The first, with its range of 1½ miles, beams a troniun ray which can be varied in intensity. By setting the dial on the right of the gun, the agent can select the effect the ray will have on its target so that it can either immobilize, stun, or kill. The latter, the electro knife, has a blade made from diametal—the hardest substance in the universe. The knife handle contains a concealed Grauman power unit. When switched on, the blade saws back and forth at tremendous speed enabling it to cut through inch-thick hardened steel. When thrown, the power unit propels it with the speed of a bullet.
Two other specialist weapons are worn by all S.S.S. members as part of their apparel. They are an explosive belt buckle, and blast buttons. The belt buckle is made from neutrovon, an explosive metal. When the prong is snapped off the buckle automatically detonates—a useful device for escape or sabotage. The blast buttons are part of the uniform, and made from a rare metal called magniflare. They merely have to be dampened to burst into flame of great intensity.
Another devastating S.S.S. weapon is the homer dart, an automatic weapon designed specially for night fighting. When the dials are set, the homer dart will seek out any metal weapons, home in, and detonate.
But even S.S.S. members are captured by Daleks, and, in such emergencies, are able to resist disclosing valuable information by using the S.S.S. anti-torture capsule, This minute, almost invisible capsule is swallowed to deaden the nerve centres. It makes the S.S.S. member completely immune to pain for a period of twelve hours. However, all members are strictly warned not to take more than two of these capsules over a thirty-day period. They would cause instant death.
Since it is often essential for S.S.S. members to be in action for excessively long periods, they are issued with energetin tablets which permit the agent to be fully alert and active for a period of one hundred hours without sleep, food or drink. But they are only to be taken in extreme emergency.
Just six weeks after the formation of S.S.S, came its first call for action. Compuvac reported an instinctive feeling that the Golden Dalek was readying another large-scale invasion. Probably within a week. But, unfortunately Compuvac was unable to forecast either the time of the invasion, or which planet was to be the target.
Colonel Marc Forest called his senior officers to an emergency meeting.
“On the face of it,” he told them, “our task would seem impossible. We are far too small in number to even keep watch on all the likely planet victims, let alone protect them. If only we knew which planet it was!”
“Can’t our spies on Skaro help?” asked Agent David Carson.
“I’ve tried them,” replied the Colonel. “They didn’t even know as much as Compuvac. My guess is that it’s one of the big four they’re going for this time. Probably Earth, because of Earth’s rich mineral deposits.”
But Forest knew his guesses were nowhere near as accurate as the instinct of Compuvac and he dared not rely on them. Even if the Daleks had chosen Earth for invasion, as soon as their spies learned that S.S.S. were alerting a special anti-invasion force on Earth they would probably switch the attack to one of the other big four. The situation seemed hopeless for the newly-formed S.S.S. to cope with so early in their existence.
But Colonel Marc had an idea that he felt might thwart the Daleks in this particular invasion attempt. He summoned Agent Sara Kingdom to his office.
“Sara,” said Forest, “since we don’t know which planet the Daleks intend to invade, our only chance is to get them to change their minds and invade one we choose.”
If Sara hadn’t known of the Colonel’s remarkable reputation for strategic warfare she would have sworn he had lost control of his senses- But she knew he would explain further and waited as he laid a map on the desk before him. He pointed to a planet some twenty-two million miles from Earth.
“This planet here — Barzilla it’s called — will suit our purpose admirably.”
Sara still couldn’t see how the Daleks were to be persuaded to invade this almost barren planet in preference to any of the big four. The Colonel answered her unspoken questions:
“The reason I sent for you in particular, Sara,” he said, “was because you, as a woman, would be the least suspected by any Dalek spies that may be on Barzilla.”
“Do you think there are any on Barzilla?” queried Sara.
“I hope so,” answered the Colonel. “In fact, I’m counting on it.”
During the next hour, Sara had cause to smile as she heard him outline his plan for her. It was by no means certain of success, but offered a good chance.
As he waved her off at the rocket station he prayed for wisdom and guidance for her. On her rested the future fate of the civilised worlds.
She found the planet Barzilla even more barren than she had pictured it. Dry atmosphere, caused by periods of long drought, had stripped the place of any vegetation it might otherwise have grown. It had also killed off a large percentage of the population who had died from both starvation and dehydration. The surviving Barzillans lived on water drawn from deep wells. Some bored as far down as five thousand feet to find precious water. They rationed whatever they brought to the surface between themselves, their starving cattle, and their small patches of land in which they grew crude forms of vegetation on which to survive.
Without her container of concentrated vitamin and liquid tablets, Sara knew she would have had no chance.
She sought out the leader of Barzilla and presented her credentials. The leader, a six-foot-seven giant of a man named Harker Libra, recognised the S.S.S. membership card and offered Sara all possible assistance. Knowing of the veil of secrecy surrounding the activities of the S.S.S. he wisely decided not to pry into her reasons for suddenly arriving on the planet. Her presence there must be for the good of the free worlds and that was all he needed to know.
At Sara’s request he showed her areas of the planet. It was heartbreaking to see the diminishing traces of what had once been a planet rich in waters and vegetation. It had once been beautiful, until nuclear bombs of two thousand years ago had so changed weather conditions in the atmosphere, and made Barzilla now prone to long periods of drought. This was the planet Sara had to make attractive enough for the Daleks to want to invade before Earth, Mars, or Venus.
It took two days of speeding over the surface of Barzilla in a miniature super-speed hovercraft before Sara found what she needed. It was the mouth of a disused mine. She asked Harker Libra for details of it and learnt that it had originally been a diamond mine until the owners abandoned it and moved elsewhere. But, like so many prospectors, they perished wandering the wilderness in search of food and drink for their families.
Sara asked if she could have the mine. Harker Libra readily agreed. Her second request startled him. She asked for a platoon from his dwindling army to stand twenty-four-hour guard over the entrance to the mine. He desperately wanted to ask her reasons, but knew she wouldn’t be allowed to answer anyway. He complied with the request.
Part one of Colonel Forest’s plan had been completed. Now Sara had to mix with the people. It broke her heart as she saw them. Their eyes were forever searching the heavens for the miracle of rain.
But she hadn’t come to sympathise. On the contrary, she told them of the new riches of their leader who had just discovered an unbelievably large seam of pure gold. Gold, still the main galactic currency, could buy food and water from the other more fortunate planets that had an abundance. Sara deliberately stirred discontent amongst the Barzillans by starting the rumour knowing that they might take up arms to usurp Harker Libra. It was a risk she had to take to achieve the other effect she sought—she wanted it to reach the Golden Dalek on Skaro.
And, through a Dalek spy stationed on Barzilla, it did.
She sent word back to S.S.S. headquarters that she had completed stage two of the Colonel’s plan. It was now up to Colonel Forest and the Golden Dalek.
Whilst the Daleks were eager for conquest and domination, they were even more eager for easy power through riches, and the prospect of invading a completely defenceless planet like Barzilla, stealing its gold and using it to build an even bigger invasion force to tackle the big four planets, seemed to the Golden Dalek too good an opportunity to miss.
Compuvac gave definite instinctive information that this was the Golden Dalek’s new plan of operation.
As always, Compuvac was right. The Daleks raided Barzilla. But, instead of gold, they found a trap.
As their spaceships landed, they were attacked from the air by surprise forces organised from all the other planets by Colonel Forest.
The Dalek force was destroyed.
S.S.S. had completed its first successful space security task. And for their help the Barzillans were rewarded with supplies contributed by other planets to last them through the long drought they had been enduring. Sara Kingdom completed her report on the first S.S.S. battle against the outlaw planet. It was a report that all members of S.S.S. could view with pride.