Agnes Landen, the officer in charge of the Earth Alliance's Fearless program, believes that she's found someone with the potential to become a hero. She must find a way to make him achieve that potential -- whether he wants to or not...
The passenger liner Amorist is transporting Susan Mendes, the Angel of Mercy, through territory currently held by the Earth Alliance. A human slave named Ollander is getting them past the EA beacons by providing a human voice for the verification codes, but the Daleks have nevertheless detected an EA cruiser at extreme sensor range... and have opted to do nothing about it. Aboard the Amorist, Captain Avers and the navigator Kenzie have run away from the Daleks but have remained on board, hoping to find out what the Daleks' mission is before they escape. They make contact with Ollander, and when she tells them that the Angel of Mercy is on board, they convince her to take them to Suz's VIP suite so they can hide from the Dalek patrols. Moments after they enter, a Dalek arrives, but Suz ushers Avers and Kenzie into hiding and tells the Dalek that she and Ollander are the only humans present. The Dalek appears to be suspicious, but leaves anyway, apparently taking Suz's word for it. Astonished by the power Suz has over the lower orders of Daleks, Ollander asks her if what Kalendorf says is really true, and Suz confirms it without going into specifics. Avers and Kenzie then emerge from hiding, but as they do so, Ollander glimpses something moving through the viewport. It's impossible, but it seemed to be a man in a spacesuit...
The Fearless have been drifting through space under radio silence for months, scattered the length of three star systems and closing in on the Amorist via their suits' nav-coms. Kade has begun to hallucinate that his late wife Lajitta is speaking to him, but when he reaches the rendezvous point, he pulls himself together long enough to realise that nobody else is here yet. He sends out a scrambled call to any Spacers in the vicinity, but despite its brevity, the Daleks detect the transmission. They are unable to decipher its contents, but trace its location to the ship's rear exhaust vents, and, assuming that the transmission is from an unmanned probe, they fire up the engines to burn it out. Kade barely makes it clear in time, and when the other Spacers find him, he's holding a delirious conversation with his late wife, who is apparently telling him how to repair his damaged suit's systems. He pulls himself together again, and learns that Fisk, Kennedy, and eight other Spacers are here -- meaning that only 11 out of 25 have survived the journey.
Avers and Kenzie are plotting to escape from the Amorist, but have yet to come up with a workable plan when they hear odd sounds coming from outside the cabin. The Spacers have activated their sensor dampeners, but the Daleks have picked up some stray signals nonetheless and send a Dalek out to investigate why the ship's rear visual scanners have suddenly stopped working. The Spacers have identified six Daleks and four humans on board, and Kade orders his men to burn through the hull and depressurise the ship; any humans on board are, like the Angel of Mercy, traitors who deserve to die for helping the Daleks. The Dalek scout then arrives on the scene, and although the Spacers manage to destroy it, they've lost the element of surprise -- and Fisk's atmospheric reserve tank is destroyed in the fighting, meaning that he won't be able to return even if they complete their mission. Nevertheless, the Spacers spread out and get to work burning through the ship's hull.
The humans aboard the ship see one of the Spacers through the viewport, and Avers realises that the ship is under attack by the near-legendary Fearless. While they're distracted, a Dalek arrives to take Susan Mendes to the bridge, and Avers and Kenzie panic and begin shooting at it. It fires back and exterminates Avers, but Suz steps in and orders it to let Kenzie and Ollander live. To their surprise, it obeys her and orders them to accompany it to the lift. The Spacers then breach the hull and this section of the ship begins to depressurise. Kennedy catches up to the humans and their Dalek guard, and to the humans' horror, he begins firing indiscriminately at them. They escape him by boarding the lift, but Kenzie and Ollander realise that the Spacers aren't here to rescue them; they're an assassination squad sent to kill Susan Mendes. The Daleks have identified their attackers as a squadron of Spacers led by Salus Kade, who is under orders from General Agnes Landen; in other words, everything is going according to plan, based on the Earth Alliance transmissions that the Daleks have intercepted.
The Spacers are converging on the bridge, and another Dalek is sent out to provide covering fire, prompting Kade to wonder why the Daleks are so determined to keep Susan Mendes alive. One of the Fearless shoots Kenzie before he can reach the cover of the bridge, and Ollander stays behind to help him, forcing Suz to abandon her. Kenzie dies, and Ollander is captured by Fisk while Suz and her Dalek escort retreat onto the bridge. Terrified and despairing, Ollander lashes out angrily at the surrounding Fearless, accusing them of being no better than the Daleks themselves and demanding to know why they intend to kill a woman who has brought hope to millions of desperate slaves. Kade reminds her that the "Angel of Mercy" is helping the Dalek war effort, and, realising that they have no idea what's really happening, Ollander reveals that Suz's friend Kalendorf, a telepathic Knight of Velyshaa, is using Suz's tour to spread a secret message of rebellion. When the time is right, every single slave in the Dalek Empire will rise up in a single simultaneous revolution and wipe out the Daleks forever, thanks to the Angel of Mercy.
Fisk and Kennedy are startled, but Kade reminds them that the Daleks are still slaughtering their fellow soldiers and winning the war because of Suz. Ollander thus changes tack and tries convincing him to take Suz back to EA territory as a prisoner of war, instead of just assassinating her, so that she can reveal all she's learned about the Dalek Empire. Kade doesn't seem convinced that he and the Angel of Mercy are really on the same side, and orders Fisk to blow the door to the bridge without committing himself to what he'll do when he gets in there. Suz survives the explosion, but the Dalek commander is mortally damaged and Kade destroys it completely once he's inside. Rather than killing Suz, he orders Kennedy to count their losses and scavenge a long-range atmospheric tank from one of the casualties so that Fisk can return home. He also orders Fisk to determine whether the Daleks have booby-trapped the ship or sent out a distress signal.
Before carrying out his orders, Fisk asks what they're going to do with Suz and Ollander. If Ollander's right, they can complete their mission successfully and without bloodshed. But Fisk goes too far when he tells Kade that nothing will bring Lajitta back, however many people he kills. The enraged Kade pulls a gun on Fisk, his best friend, but as they both glare at each other, each refusing to back down, Suz quietly reveals that the Dalek commander did, in fact, send a distress signal before it was destroyed. Reinforcements are no doubt on their way as they speak. Kade leaves Fisk and Kennedy to their work while he questions Suz and Ollander privately in the VIP suite. As Fisk works, Kennedy calls him out for questioning their commanding officer in public, but nevertheless provides him with a spare long-range atmospheric tank. Fisk accesses the Dalek systems patched into the Amorist, and learns more than he'd expected.
Kade orders Suz to justify what she's done, but while Ollander begs and pleads with him to spare the Angel of Mercy's life, Suz herself stays very calm and reasonable while pointing out that Kade would be better advised to take her back to EA territory for interrogation. Fisk then calls Kade back to the bridge, where he reports that the Daleks have accessed the Earth Alliance hyperlink network and have been listening in on classified transmissions for years. They even have recordings of Landen's top-secret meetings with space security, which means that it's possible they knew about this mission all along. Also, the ship's engines have been locked down, and Fisk has picked up a signal being broadcast from somewhere on board. He's been unable to pinpoint the source of the signal because it keeps moving. In other words, they're currently drifting, defenceless, and shouting out their location to any Daleks in range.
Kade has already figured out what's really going on, and when he questions Suz about her secret plans with Kalendorf, she falls silent as if she can't tell him the answer, even to save her own life. Fisk then locates the source of the signal, but Kade shoots Suz anyway before Fisk has the chance to tell him. Ollander is horrified, no less so when Kade points out that he's just shot a robot. The Daleks knew all along that General Landen wanted the Angel of Mercy, and they planted a robot duplicate aboard the Amorist with a light, easily defeated escort in order to trick the Spacers into taking a plant back to EA territory to provide the Alliance with misinformation. A Dalek assault ship has been hiding just beyond the reach of the Amorist's long-range sensors, and once the signal from the duplicate cuts out, they realise that their plan has been compromised and move in for the attack.
Kade orders his men to retreat, and tells Fisk to get Ollander to an escape pod. But before he can follow them, the sound of his own name catches his attention. Fisk had brought up samples of the intercepted EA transmissions to show Kade, and on one of the samples, Landen and Tanlee are discussing Landen's plans for the Fearless... and specifically, for Salus Kade. Kade listens in horror as it is revealed that Landen had been watching his homeworld for three years via remote drone before the recruitment force ever showed up. She sent them in deliberately, attracting the Daleks' attention to Talis Minor, just so she could get her hands on the maverick Salus Kade, whom she'd identified as exactly the kind of man she needed for the Fearless. And she knew that once he'd been enlisted, she would have to strike at his heart so that he'd be prepared to risk everything for the war effort. As the Daleks close in on the Amorist and open fire, Kade realises who's really responsible for the deaths of his wife and daughter...