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|“||The only mercy I have to offer is death.||„|
|~ SkekTek to captured Gelfling soldiers moments before draining them.|
|“||SkekTek kept some real power of thought, but in truth he had become only a juggler of ideas, of memories from his previous life. Then he had studied the light of the Crystal and used it for the division; now he studied the wounded Crystal, and by that light he saw his ways to acts of darkness. Two great evils were charged against him. First, that he learned the art to make beams of light from the Dark Crystal, which he burned into Pod People's eyes to make them living ghosts, his perfect slaves. After the light had struck them no light lived in their eyes, but they obeyed; that was all.||„|
|~ The World of the Dark Crystal|
SkekTek is the Skeksi Scientist and one of the primary antagonists in the 1982 fantasy film The Dark Crystal and the 2019 Netflix prequel series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. He plays an important part in the story, since it is his job to drain captured Podlings and Gelflings of their life essence. This process turns the victims into slaves which perform the work at the Skeksis castle. His counterpart amongst the good hearted UrRu is UrTih the Alchemist.
Before the UrSkeks split, it was the Scientist who gave Aughra the most help in building her observatory. SkekTek later met his death when the animals in his laboratory retaliated with the help of Kira, pushing him into the shaft of the Dark Crystal, where he fell to his death. Sadly, this death also killed his UrRu counterpart as well.
He was performed and voiced by Steve Whitmire. In the 2019 Netflix prequel series, he is performed by Olly Taylor with Mark Hamill providing his voice, the latter who also played various versions of the Joker and Ozai from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
In pre-production notes for the film, SkekTek is "identified by his self-mutilated body, especially an artificial leg and bionic arm". His pale, pink-white neck is held in place by a brace with metal bits, and his body is fed through chrome and plastic tubes. SkekTek's right eye is fitted with a telescopic eyepiece, as his true eye is revealed to have been gouged out by the Peeper Beetle.
He was partially feared by the other Skeksis, as they understood nothing of his barbaric work. SkekZok the Ritual Master even considered SkekTek to be a self-mutilating crank due to his fascination with anatomy, already have gone far to amputate one of his own arms and legs, replacing them with mechanized constructs, and also replacing his jugular vein with a transparent tube in order to monitor and study his own circulation. Despite this, he is also very pragmatic and self-contained, rarely allowing his emotional desires and impulses to cloud his better judgement. His emotional maturity gives him an edge over other skeksis. However, he is physically the weakest of the Skeksis, causing him to bore the brunt of the other Skeksis' frustration and suffering the largest amount of harassment and ridicule from his own kind.
Unable to fight back, he attempts to climb their hierarchy through scientific breakthroughs, though his productivity and usefulness usually grants him short-lived validity. He largely remains the group's punching bag and this frustration motivates him to take our his anger on the various animals and weaker sapient beings, which he uses as slaves and guinea pigs. Unlike standard vivisectors and animal researchers, he doesn't simply harm animals in the name of science but truly relishes the pain of his victims and enjoys the power he holds over weaker creatures. This suggests he is insecure and feels inadequate.
The Dark Crystal
SkekTek was one of the cruelest of the SkekSès. He had amputated his own right arm and right leg and replaced them with mechanical ones (however his original right hand was reattached to his metal arm). His missing right eye was replaced with a glowing bionic one.
It was his job to extract life essence from captured Gelflings, and later Podlings in his laboratory, the Chamber of Life. When the Chamberlain captured Kira, the Scientist took her into the Chamber of Life where he prepared to drain her essence - as Gelfling essence was more potent than Podling.
At the urging of Aughra, held captive there, Kira use her ability to communicate with wildlife to summon the help of the hundreds of animals the Scientist kept caged in his lab. Swarmed and attacked by the animals, the Scientist stumbled backwards and fell through the opening in the chamber wall, and down the fiery shaft to his death. His demise resulted in the simultaneous death of his Mystic counterpart, the Alchemist. Had both lived to see the Great Conjunction, they would have combined to create the UrSkek TekTih.
The Dark Crystal
|“||This won't hurt. We just want to drain your living essence. Then you can be the same as the other Podlings here: a slave.||„|
|~ SkekTek to a captive Podling.|
|“||(sees the Podling in a semi-catatonic state) Yes! And now the beam will rid you of your fears, your thoughts. Your vital essence.||„|
|“||It always worked better when we used Gelflings.||„|
|“||But sire, you could drink her essence.||„|
|~ SkekTeh suggesting to SkekUng about draining Kira's essence.|
|~ SkekTek's last words before his death.|
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
|“|| SkekTek: Chamberlain!|
SkekTek: Explain this nefarious intrusion.
SkekSil: I, I came looking for you. Hm.
SkekTek: Is that correct?
SkekSil: Yes! The Emperor sent me to retrieve update on broken machine, yes? More essence yet?
SkekTek: Will be soon. Very soon.
SkekSil:This is good, yes. Emperor will be most pleased. I go now. Bye-bye.
|~ SkekTek and SkekSil when the latter recently trespasses the Scientist's lab.|
- It has been stated that the Scientist altered the slaves' vocal cords to fit them for the castle choir.
- Because of his and UrTih the Alchemist's simultaneous deaths, they both never made an appearance in the "Power of the Dark Crystal" sequel comics.
- His death is different in A.C.H. Smith's novelization and the comic book; in the former he falls through the door to the shaft lunging at Aughra in an attempt to kill her, and in the latter he falls into a random, flaming pit instead of the castle shaft.
- Steve Whitmire later used a voice similar to SkekTek's for Marlon Fraggle.