The Daleks are a species of sapients from the Doctor Who universe.
Daleks are small, genetically engineered, octopus-like creatures known for piloting pepper-pot-shaped personal vehicles and screaming "exterminate" at practically any other living thing they encounter. Individual Daleks possess genius-level intellects and rampant xenophobia. A Dalek does not possess an "inside voice".
For the most part, Daleks dwell within their individual vehicles. These vehicles carry sufficient armor to easily resist twentieth century small arms, with later models also outfitted with shield systems. They also carry an energy weapon and a plunger-like appendage for manipulation. The plunger seems simple, but it is actually a versatile tool with surprising dexterity that can interface with computers and even organic minds, in addition to lifting objects.
Early-model Dalek vehicles ran on wheels or tracks concealed beneath the "skirt", but more recent models use a form of antigravity system to maneuver; they generally hover a few centimeters above the ground, but they can freely fly if doing so is advantageous.
While virtually impervious to small arms, older Dalek models could be destroyed by explosives or anti-armor weapons. The shielding on newer models makes them more resilient. Similarly, older Daleks were vulnerable to attack via chemical and biological weapons, but newer Daleks appear to be sealed units that can comfortably operate in the vacuum of space. The eyestalk tends to be the most vulnerable point on any Dalek, even the newest versions, as it extends far enough from the shell to be only weakly protected by the Dalek's shields; even small arms can potentially damage the eyestalk with concentrated fire.
- "We have five million Cybermen. How many are you?"
- "You would destroy the Cybermen with four Daleks?"
- "We would destroy the Cybermen with one Dalek! You are superior in only one respect."
- "What is that?"
- "You are better at dying."
- -- Dalek leader to Cybermen leader
Eventually the Daleks rose in power and scale to become one of the most powerful civilizations in the Doctor Who universe, able to pose a direct threat to even the Time Lords. The Time Lords ignored the rising power of the Daleks until it was too late, resulting in the Great Time War. This war ended with the use of weapons of mass destruction by both sides, resulting in the virtual extinction of both species.
The leader of the Dalek Empire was the "Dalek Emperor". A Dalek Emperor is apparently created to serve as ruler, as the design of its vehicle is typically distinctive. Outside of that, Dalek society is heirarchical, with inferior Daleks being naturally obedient to those of higher rank.
Dalek society is highly militaristic at every level, and a key aspect to most Dalek behavior is a perception of complete and utter superiority to all other forms of life. Genetically engineered to be xenophobes, the ultimate aim of the Daleks is to wipe out all other forms of life in existence, and they will stop at nothing to achieve this goal. Never the less, Daleks are capable of making temporary alliances with non-Daleks or using enslaved creatures in their plans, albeit with the intention of exterminating them when they are no longer useful. The Daleks have been known to take captive humans and retrofit them with cybernetic systems to make them into obedient cannon fodder known as Robomen, although these procedures were (possibly deliberately) unrefined and eventually resulted in the mental breakdown and death of the subject.
The Daleks are among the most advanced species in the Doctor Who Universe, able to pose a threat to the Time Lords and engage in a war which nearly completely wiped out both species. A fully operational "Dalek Empire" can teleport entire planets and manipulate space-time to create "time pockets" to hide their operations: even a Time Lord can't find such a time pocket without help from the inside. This capability makes their operations extremely secure against attack.
Individual Dalek soldiers are significant threats, being very durable and capable of a high degree of mobility. Their armor can withstand small arms, and "Time War"-era Daleks can generate defensive shields that will disintegrate incoming projectiles before they even strike. Their shields can also repel pulses from directed-energy weapons, depending on the power of the weapon: powerful sustained-beam weapons tend to succeed in penetrating their shields.
In addition to their individual armaments, they have fleets of heavily armed warships and technology that allows them to travel through time. Despite their technological capabilities, however, they are not as militarily powerful as might be expected. A "Dalek Empire" may only have a few hundred warships at its disposal, each carrying firepower that would not seriously threaten other major SF civilizations (such as the Federation or Galactic Empire).
Despite the relatively limited size and firepower of the Dalek military, the Daleks are a direct threat to any other civilization that they encounter because of the weapons of mass destruction available to them. Daleks aren't really interested in conquest: they seek to destroy all other forms of life. Consequently, they typically bypass the development of a large army and navy, investing the bulk of their resources into doomsday weapons as soon as possible. The most potent such weapon seen to date is the reality bomb, which could potentially wipe out everything else in existence.
Daleks of Note
The Cult of Skaro were a special group of four Daleks given a greater degree of individuality and freedom of thought than normal Daleks to come up with new methods and means to gain military superiority. These are notable for being the only known Daleks capable of questioning core Dalek ideological concepts, such as their complete supremacy over all other life forms. Said Daleks were also unusual for having names (Jast, Sec, They and Caan).