Dalek Leader 625 glided through the ruins of a human city. He swung his eyestalk from left to right, surveying the carnage. Despite its origins, the city did not contain any humans.

Along the streets, shattered metallic globes lay in pieces, smoke rising from their casings. The Dalek spied each globe, determined its threat factor and carried on. Only twice did it fire at the globes to be sure they were dead. Total victory had been assured. The hostiles had not been worthy adversaries, although, as Dalek Leader 625 decided, proved valuable in readiness for what was to come.

As it trundled through the streets, it passed a sign. The sign read 'Welcome to Magella: City of Dreams'. Dalek Leader 625 didn't understand the concept, and carried on.

Finally, Dalek Leader 625 rounded a corner to find two further Daleks arriving from different directions. One of the two arrivals spoke first.

"Scan completed. No indication of surviving hostiles."

"Good" said Dalek Leader 625. "Proceed to the saucer. We leave in twenty rels."

"We obey" said the others, and all three levitated and headed off in the direction of the lake, which by now was strewn with debris from destroyed atmospheric flyers. Beyond the lake was a raised bit of land, and from here several Dalek saucers sat in wait.

All over the city, nearly two hundred Daleks flew back to the landing area. Dalek Leader 625 observed his army return to the ship. A Dalek broke off from the main bunch and joined him at the ramp to the largest saucer.

"Report" he said.

"Total success" replied the drone. "All resistance has been crushed. The Mechonoids were exterminated."

"Good. Proceed inside. We are to advance to Tralaxia to exterminate the local population."

"I obey" he said, and proceeded inside. Dalek Leader 625 watched them go, then turned and ascended the ramp as it began to raise.

As he entered the command deck, six Daleks took their positions around the room, putting their extenders into place. Dalek Leader 625 felt the saucer tilt slightly and lift off, and proceeded to take his place at the centre of the room.

"Activate temporal core" he said, locking himself to the platform.

Outside, the massive saucer lead the fleet into space. A blue vortex appeared in front of them, and the fleet entered the time corridor.

Inside the lead ship, Dalek Leader 625 received a transmission.

"Receiving your signal" it said.

"The Emperor has ordered you to return to Skaro immediately."

"We obey" said the Dalek Leader 625, and the screen when blank.

"Alter course to Skaro" it said to a Dalek nearby. "Adjust coordinates for Skaro, present time zone."

Outside, the fleet carried on as a new tube of blue light branched away from the main corridor, and the single saucer disappeared through it.

- I - I - I -

The Dalek ship left the time corridor and approached the red planet directly ahead. The saucer passed through the energy barrier surrounding Skaro and sent a signal to the waiting defence satellites, as to avoid being shot down. Behind the barrier, shielded from space and other prying eyes were millions of Dalek saucers. Warships, Warhammers and Nightingale Crushers sat in orbit, slowly being refuelled and stocked with Dalek foot soldiers.

The saucer broke through the atmosphere and landed in the space port. As Dalek Leader 625 disembarked he noted the sheer number of Daleks being loaded into the saucers, and then the sheer number of saucers gathering. The reports were true. The Time War was about to commence.

In the main citadel, Dalek Leader 625 passed Dalek after Dalek preparing for war. He entered an elevator and dropped over seventy levels into the bowels of the planet. He emerged to a singular massive dome-shaped cavern, and if anything was busier than above ground. Squads of Daleks flew overhead heading for their destinations. Instructions relaying information could be heard over loud speakers.

Dalek Leader 625 barely acknowledged and all but ignored all of these 'distractions', for at the centre of the room was what he sought.

The massive hovering shape of the Dalek Emperor.

"I am here" it said, looking up at the immense creature before it. The massive eyestalk turned towards it.

"It has been decided your time as leader of the Seventh Incursion Squad is over."

"I obey" it said, not sure what the promotion would be to. The Squad was already highly ranked in the Dalek echelon. Perhaps a promotion to a Supreme Dalek.

"You will be in charge of a new faction of Dalek. Observe."

The Emperor's eyestalk swung round as four additional Daleks arrived. Dalek Leader 625 moved to join them.

"Your part in the Time war has been altered" continued the Emperor. "You will report to engineering level twelve to upgrade and debriefing."

With that the Dalek Emperor swung his eyestalk away from the five waiting Daleks, and back to surveying the rest of the cavern's activities. The five turned and took an elevator out of the cavern.

- I - I - I -

Dalek Leader 625 came online after being offline for two hundred and ninety three rels. He scanned his internal systems and discovered a vast range of improvements. The most notable being an internal time travel mechanism. Analysis of the device indicated it would drain his motive power core significantly and would require a lengthy recharge cycle, yet it would be handy in a crisis. He also saw a marked improvement in his Dalekanium shell, more powerful weapons fire and increased shields. Further, after running a diagnostic on his biological self, he noted an increased chemical quotient within his own body. A different upgrade altogether he thought to himself; his very flesh had been altered too.

He detected a change in readings from his external shell sensors. They registered a higher than normal attraction to ambient temperature from the room. He calibrated them and as he turned to enter the external diagnostic chamber he spotted why the sensors had behaved as they did.

He was black.

Gone was his gold and bronze casing, replaced with a shiny gloss finish. Dalek Leader 625 was pleased with himself. After years of service, he was now amongst the elite of the Daleks. A Supreme-level commander.

He turned back to the rest of the room. The four Daleks that had accompanied him from the cavern were by now all emerging from their slumber. Three of them remained gold in colour.

The fourth was also black.

"Report" said Dalek Leader 625.

"Upgrades completed" said the Dalek on the left. "All systems online."

"System status registering minor fluctuations in power grid" said the one next to him. "Correcting."

The other Black Dalek rolled forward. "All Daleks report to grid zeta for debriefing", and left the room. The three gold Daleks followed, lastly by Dalek Leader 625.

- I - I - I -

In an empty dome-shaped room, the five Daleks entered and took up even spacing around a floating holographic globe in the centre of the room. The globe shimmered and was replaced by an image of the Emperor. The design allowed the Emperor to view everyone in the room at once, and each Dalek could see the Emperor face on.

"Speak" he said.

Dalek Leader 625 saw the other Black Dalek move forward.

"We are ready for assignment" the Black Dalek said.

"You are here because you have each shown great skills in various fields. The master race commends you on your efforts. However, in this, the final war against the Time Lords, we must be vigilant."

Dalek Leader 625 was shocked. Never before had it heard of the Emperor mention anything other than total victory. Why were the Daleks changing that now?

"To that end I have created you" said the Emperor. "You will become an advanced army. More powerful than any Dalek before or since. You will dream of new ways of exterminating."

Dalek Leader 625 noticed that word again. Dream. Such a word didn't exist in the Dalek language. He noticed the other Daleks in the room looking equally as perplexed. Dalek Leader 625 suddenly became aware of access to a new database.

The Emperor's personal database.

It referenced a terminology amongst many weaker species as a process of viewing mental images whilst in hibernation. While the concept was irrelevant, Dalek leader 625 delved further, all the while listening to the Emperor speak.

The Emperor continued. "You must think as the enemy thinks, breathe as they breathe. Analyse, experiment and exterminate in new ways."

Dalek Leader 625 accessed further meaning of the word, and learned the process of dreaming could apply to random thought patterns associated with logical thought. Adjusting the way parameters lie in conjunction with the borders of what is considered pure. Dalek Leader 625 pressed further.

"Emperor" said the Black Dalek. "Why are there two Black Daleks in this squad. Who has authority?"

"Decide amongst yourselves. That is part of the squad's existence. The Time War is your playground. You must adapt as you see fit. Do not fail, or you will be exterminated."

"We obey" chorused the Daleks, as the Emperor faded from view.

Dalek Leader 625 was by now engrossed in a multitude of cross-world and cross-time dreams. It was fascinating. Other species could comprehend such concepts whilst Daleks could not. Dalek leader 625 finally understood why they had to adapt. They needed to change. This was an extremely powerful weapon, although could see why it had been kept from the rest of Dalek civilisation. Such thoughts would be considered blasphemous.

"We must begin planning at once" began the Black Dalek. "We must strike at the heart of Gallifrey before the Time War commences. We can assassinate the High Council before they have a chance to fight!"


All eyestalks swung on Dalek Leader 625.

"We must prepare ourselves first. We do not yet... have names."

Dalek Leader 625 continued exploring further and further into the Emperor's database that he had been granted access to. Species allowed themselves individual identities separate from the greater population of their species, although some did overlap in various social and hierarchical circles. An individual identity was again another unknown subject. The Emperor and Davros were the exception, otherwise a Dalek would be identified only by rank.

The Black Dalek couldn't believe the last comment. "You are out of line. Names are irrelevant. We must attack before the Time Lords-"

"No" said Dalek Leader 625, who didn't really know where he was going himself. "We must adapt and evolve, and first that means within ourselves. We are the first of a new breed of Dalek. I order us to select names."

"That is not-" began the Black Dalek, but was interrupted.

"We have the ability to see beyond what is Dalek. We will crush the lesser races but first we must change. I am Dalek Sec."

The four other Daleks in the room fell silent. In all of Dalek history, no Dalek ever did anything without consultation with the Emperor.

"Station Alpha Commandant, you are now Dalek Thay. Force Leader Sixteen, you are now Dalek Jast. Attack Squad Leader Green, you are now Dalek Caan. Ninth Garrison Commissioner, you are Dalek Rabe."

"I do not agree with your ideas" said Dalek Rabe, turning to face Dalek Sec fully. "The Emperor will not approve of this."

"We are above the Emperor" said Dalek Sec, and given how Dalek Rabe was shaking in his casing, he wasn't happy.

Dalek Sec was happy with his names. His research had taken him into a place formerly considered taboo in Dalek society – their own history. He was now learning about the Kaleds, of the Thals and of the time before the nuclear wars. Their original ancestors, the Dals, used to worship deities that lived in orbit or in subterranean dwellings beneath the surface of Skaro. Of these, he chose five names which would suit their new army. Then he began deciding what to call their army...

"This is irrelevant!" screamed Dalek Rabe. "You do not have authority over this squad."

"We do not have a leader, only the Emperor. He has entrusted us with leading the Daleks to victory."

"Then we will ask him."

Dalek Rabe turned to a wall unit and pressed his extender against an outlet. After a few seconds, the globe was again replaced with a form of the Emperor.

"Who dares interrupt me?" he said.

"Dalek Leader 625 is instigating a rebellion. He is vowing to become more powerful that you."

The Emperor turned his eyestalk sideways to Dalek Sec, who moved forward.

"We are ready" said Dalek Sec.

The Emperor looked back to Dalek Rabe, then the image faded away.

"The Emperor did not listen" said Dalek Rabe, looking around the room. The other Daleks were silent, then all looked to Dalek Sec. Dalek Sec assumed the three were accessing the Emperor's database as he had, and were now up to speed.

"This squad is now active" said Dalek Caan, looking at the others.

"Victory is assured" said Dalek Thay.

"The Time Lords will fall" said Dalek Jast.

"We cannot change" said Dalek Rabe, pulling back, his eye stalk flicking between the four other Daleks in the room. "I do not obey" he said, moving backwards towards the exit. The four Daleks moved towards him in a row, now allied as a group and unified with one goal in mind; victory.

"You are not suitable to join the squad" said Dalek Sec, levelling his weapon at Dalek Rabe.

"This squad is irrelevant! YOU ARE ALL IRRELEVANT!"

"EXTERMINATE" said Dalek Sec. He fired at Dalek Rabe.

Dalek Rabe screamed as his casing was ripped open, searing the flesh from his body as his shell electronics exploding around him. The other three Daleks looked at their fallen comrade, and then to Dalek Sec.

"We will become greater than the Empire. The Emperor wants nothing less than total victory, so we shall hand it to him."

The room began to shake as the sound of plasma engines powering up could be heard.

"We must return to the surface" said Dalek Sec, already on his way out of the room.

"We obey" said the trio behind him, who slowly followed him out.

- I - I - I -

On the surface of Skaro, the four Daleks watched as the massive fleet lifted off and began generating their own time corridors. Three kilometres away, the massive form of the Emperor's flagship lifted off from a large crater, and disappeared after the fleet.

Dalek Sec looked away from the vanishing fleet back to the saucer space port. A single saucer had remained behind for them to use.

Dalek Sec turned to face his newly-formed squad.

"We will join our brethren soon enough. We must prepare. Time is eternal. The Time Lords fear the Daleks. They will tremble even further when they encounter... the Cult of Skaro."