Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

Audio - The Foe From the Future
The Foe From the Future
(Robert Banks Stewart adapted by John Dorney)
 Name: Jalnik; adopted the title of Lord Jalnik in 1977

 Format: Audio

 Time of Origin: Earth, in the late fortieth-early forty-first century; encountered The Doctor in 1977.

 Appearances: "The Foe From the Future"

 Doctors: Fourth Doctor

 Companions: Leela

 History: As with so many scientists The Doctor has fought in his lives, Jalnik was a tragic combination of genius and stupidity, being smart enough to have mastered a form of time travel while not being smart enough to realise the flaws in his methods until it was too late.

Originating from the late fortieth/early forty-first century, Jalnik was initially a scientist in temporal physics experimenting in mastering a form of time travel, based on his discovery of a rupture in the Time Vortex. However, in the course of his experiments, he uncovered the existence of the Phantophagen, a race who existed within the Time Vortex, resembling giant armoured grasshoppers that were capable of devouring anything. On his own, Jalnik might have been content with recording his discovery and leaving the Phantophagen where they were, but he was subsequently seduced by Councillor Kostal, a member of the leading council of humanity at this time who had aspirations for the post of Supreme Councillor after she narrowly lost the vote for the position to Geflo.

On Kostal's encouragement, Jalnik released the Phantophagen on Earth, apparently believing that he could control them or at least find a way of doing so later, but they proved to be far more dangerous than Jalnik had expected, devouring most of Earth. A few groups were able to escape Earth in spaceships before the Phantophagen devoured any possible source of rocket fuel, but their assault on Earth eventually reached a point where the only human life left on Earth was a domed city containing around two thousand people, shielded from the Phantophagen by a force field that was able to keep them out even if it couldn't actually kill them.

With no other way to protect the last survivors long-term, Jalnik proposed that the survivors instead travel back in time, using the rupture he had discovered originally to go back to Earth in 1977, certain that the effects of two thousand people returning to Earth's past would have minimal impact on history. However, when he travelled through the rupture to the past himself, the disruption to his DNA caused by the transition had an unfortunate side-effect; at some point prior to the trip, Jalnik had been contaminated by Phantophagen DNA - speculated to be the result of him suffering a scratch during his experiments - and the result mutated him into a human/Phantophagen hybrid. According to Jalnik's associate Butler, Jalnik was basically feral for weeks after he arrived in the past, and even after his condition stabilised, the entire right side of his body resembled a Phantophagen while the scientist retained a hunger for fresh meat that could occasionally drive him to eat people if he wasn't well-fed.

The Fourth Doctor
The Fourth Doctor
As Jalnik and Butler settled into an old house known as the Grange on the outskirts of the village of Staffham in Devon, creating the impression of a new lord, they used their technology to amplify the rupture to create a series of temporal ghosts who would drive people away from the Grange. Whether through a deliberate side-effect or an unfortunate accident, the manipulation of the rupture also tweaked history in the surrounding area, such as a visiting priest being retconned into becoming the village's local priest after his death and a pub that had been open just half an hour ago suddenly having now been closed for months. The rupture eventually attracted the attention of The Doctor when the TARDIS's flight was disrupted by the rupture, prompting the Fourth Doctor and Leela to track it to 1977, where they met a young woman called Charlotte Willis who had just witnessed the ghosts attacking her cousin. After witnessing visiting priest Father Harpin being killed by his exposure to the rupture as history was rewritten in their immediate vicinity, The Doctor, Leela and Charlotte tracked the source of the anomalies to the Grange, although Leela was briefly separated from the others when they were accused of Harpin's murder.

Back in the Grange, The Doctor and Charlotte discovered the rupture, but were then confronted by Jalnik, who revealed his true twisted appearance just as a group from the future came back in time to investigate the progress of events in the Grange. Jalnik was able to convince the visitors that The Doctor and Charlotte were time agents from the future who were investigating the visitors for unknown reasons. After The Doctor and Charlotte arrived in the future, Keslo killed another Councillor and tried to frame them for it, but The Doctor was able to overpower Keslo and escape into the city, where they witnessed the various training attempts to prepare the future residents for life in the twentieth century. Back in the twentieth century, Leela learned that The Doctor and Charlotte had been sent into the future and 'forced' Butler to send her after them, observing that Butler was too sadistic to try and kill her by setting the portal incorrectly as he would prefer to kill her with his bare hands. Once she arrived in the future, Leela was able to escape and join The Doctor and Charlotte, who escaped the city with Instructor Shibac, who had been 'training' Charlotte in driving a car that Charlotte had stolen to rescue the others.

When the car escaped out of the dome, the group witnessed the destruction caused by the Phantophagen, and were forced to retreat back to the dome to talk about their discoveries. After Shibac explained the recent history of the city and Jalnik's role in those events, The Doctor was immediately suspicious about the origin of the Phantophagen, as creatures powerful enough to devastate Earth like this were something he was sure he would have heard of before now, and yet the Phantophagen clearly couldn't have come from Earth but also demonstrated no sign that they were capable of space flight. With that in mind, based on Jalnik having been exposed to Phantophagen DNA when he was a temporal physicist rather than a biologist, The Doctor deduced his role in Kostal's planned coup, but that still left him with the challenge of how to save the residents of the city when everything he knew of time confirmed that they couldn't escape into the past despite Jalnik's plan.

Unfortunately, the situation became worse when Jalnik returned to the year 4000 to continue his own plans for the evacuation, as the mental breakdown caused by his condition escalated to the point that he became convinced that the other Phantophagen were talking to him. Believing that they wanted him to create a new world for his 'brethren', Jalnik infected Butler with a sample of Phantophagen DNA, and the subsequent discovery that Kostel had manipulated him while really planning to have him killed as a disgusting freak drove him to contaminate the dome's water supply with another sample. As a result, everyone who drank from the water in the next hour would be contaminated with Phantophagen DNA, with Jalnik's subsequent sabotage of the dome's shield leaving the city with no other choice but to retreat into the past.

Confronting Kostal, Jalnik mockingly revealed that he had not only eaten her lover, but subsequently scratched her face before the Phantophagen attacked the city, Jalnik informing the vain Kostal that her options were now to either get eaten by the Phantophagen in the present or escape to the past where she would be mutated into a freak like him. As the city's residents tried to evacuate, The Doctor attempted to repair the force field while Leela, Charlotte and Shibac tried to explain the situation to Geflo, but Jalnik confronted The Doctor and caused so much damage to the force field that The Doctor couldn't hope to repair it in the time available. After Jalnik admitted to his belief that he was talking to the Phantophagen, The Doctor immediately dismissed that idea, certain that the TARDIS translation circuits would have allowed him to understand the Phantophagen if they were capable of communication. Realising that there was no way to communicate with the maniac Jalnik had become, The Doctor drove him off with a sample of insecticide and reunited with his companions, but their attempt to escape was thwarted when Jalnik set the temporal portal to overload before he travelled through it himself, with the explosion sending Leela and three Phantophagen into the time vortex while leaving The Doctor, Charlotte, Shibac and Geflo trapped in the future with the remaining Phantophagen.

Although five hundred residents of the city had managed to escape into the past before the portal's destruction, around ninety of them had mutated into more hybrids, which the equally-mutated Butler encouraged to eat Keslo for her role in the Phantophagens' attacks before turning them on the still-human refugees. Fortunately, not only was Leela able to survive her fall into the vortex by using The Doctor's scarf to lasso herself to a Phantophagen, but back in the future, Geflo gave The Doctor a new idea about how they could escape when she directed him to Jalnik's prototype time machines in his old lab. While the prototypes hadn't worked at the time, they provided enough material for The Doctor to make a working machine that he used to send Shibac and Charlotte back to 1977, although a subsequent overload forced Geflo to stay behind so that she could operate the controls to send The Doctor back to 1977, Geflo reasoning that she would likely mutate if she travelled into the past as she had drunk a glass of water an hour ago.

Back in the past, the Phantophagen hybrids had devoured most of the human refugees, but then the three Phantophagen began to attack the hybrids, proving Jalnik's beliefs about his 'brothers' wrong. Leela was able to provoke Butler into a confrontation by using a pistol to shoot out his eyes even if the Phantophagen armour was too strong to be injured by weapons, while Jalnik confronted The Doctor as the Time Lord took control of the temporal manipulation equipment that Jalnik and Butler had used to control the 'ghosts' to age the Phantophagen to death. After The Doctor confirmed that Jalnik had now become so insane that he had no problem with the idea of the rest of the universe dying from the temporal paradox he had almost created, Jalnik was killed when The Doctor destroyed the temporal manipulator, while Leela lured Butler into an old church and crushed him under its old bell. With the destruction of the temporal manipulator also destroying the rupture, Jalnik's future was essentially erased, as the rupture that had aided the time travel in the first place now no longer existed for Jalnik to discover it. The only survivor of that future was Shibac, who would never be able to return to the future as it had ceased to exist in that form, but The Doctor reasoned that one man from an erased timeline could live reasonably comfortably in the past so long as he didn't make too significant an impression on history, Charlotte offering to help Shibac make a new life in the past as a driving instructor based on her own experience.
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Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at
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