I, Davros
3. Corruption
Written by Lance Parkin
Directed by Gary Russell
Music, Sound Design and Post Production by Steve Foxon

Terry Molloy (Davros), Lucy Beresford (Renna), David Bickerstaff (Scientist Ral), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek Voices), Sean Carlsen (Councillor Valron), Daniel Hogarth (Section Leader Fenn), Carolyn Jones (Lady Calcula), Katarina Olsson (Scientist Shan), John Stahl (The Supremo).

"Logically, the war ends with one form of life in utter control of the world. All other life forms gone. That is the goal -- that is the only true victory!"

Now established within the Science Elite, Davros and his team are pushing the boundaries of Kaled experimentation further and further forward. Access to Thal DNA spearheads an entirely new field of research for Davros, and as he becomes more and more intrigued by genetic mutations, others around him begin to fear him, his drive and his obsessive need for power.

Meanwhile he must learn to cope with betrayal and political manoeuvrings that will leave him changed forever...

  • This is the third audio in the I, Davros series, following Purity.
  • Released: November 2006

  • ISBN: 1 84435 233 1

Davros realised that nothing could be allowed to get in his way -- not friends, not family. Loyalty, integrity and honesty were rare commodities in the Kaled city at that time. As the years passed, he worked his way up into the Scientific Corps and then into the Science Elite. From there he was able to make discoveries that would change the destiny of the planet forever and would eventually lead to the creation of the Daleks. He once said that he'd never understand how to play at politics, but all this changed. Without realising it, he discovered that by playing one side off against another, true power could be his.

(drn: 63'17")

A plane flies over the battlefield, and when it reaches the designated drop-zone, the bay doors open. A squad of Thal troopers bail out and immediately find themselves under fire from the enemy. Two of the soldiers are shot almost as soon as they leave the plane and a third is killed when his parachute fails to open properly. As the others slowly descend, they hear an explosion which tells them the plane itself has been destroyed. Only two of the squad make it to the landing spot safely, but at this stage they're doing better than the strategy computer had predicted. Without the plane they have no chance of getting back home, but they knew what they were letting themselves in for when they volunteered for this mission. They check their weapons and start making their way across the wasteland. Before long they encounter some Kaled soldiers, so one of them stays behind to hold them off while the other proceeds to the next stage.

At the request of Councillor Matross, Davros has been summoned before the Council of Twelve to answer questions about the amount of spending that's gone into the Scientific Elite. Before the inquiry can proceed, the air-raid sirens alert them to a Thal attack and Councillor Valron suggests they move down to the shelters. Lady Calcula mocks him for wanting to run away from the fight and points out that the radar shows the Thals are concentrating their attack elsewhere. In any case, Davros reminds them that since the atomic shelling began, there isn't a cave on the planet deep enough to be safe. The discussion soon starts becoming personal and Calcula hints that Matross only called the inquiry because Davros refused to take his daughter to the Council dinner last month. Valron says he actually agrees in principle with the Scientific Elite, but he insists the Council go through the proper motions. The Supremo orders them to stop squabbling and turns to Davros for his report. The scientist starts to discuss his analysis of the sequence of Kaled DNA, but the Supremo interrupts and reminds him that the Kaleds give their resources to the science division so they can come up with new weapons. Unless Davros's work can help with their war effort, his research should be postponed until the war is over. The Thals are on the retreat and have resorted to shelling them from a great distance, so the Supremo is confident they're in the final stages of the war. Suddenly the Thal assassin breaches the Senate Chamber and Davros rushes to protect the Supremo, ignoring Calcula's demands that he protect her first -- but to everyone's surprise, Davros is the Thal's intended target! The Thal orders him to his knees and explains that her people's strategy computers tell them he's the greatest threat to the Thal people. Even though he has a gun to his head, Davros remains calm and notices the Thal is still wearing her magnetic parachute. He calls out to Calcula, who tugs the cord that reactivates the chute -- and the magnetic properties of the planet are so powerful that the Thal is pulled down to the planet's core -- or would've been if there hadn't been a concrete floor in the way. The Thal is crushed beyond recognition, leaving just enough of her to assist Davros in his experiments...

Davros has waited a long time to analyse the DNA of a Thal female, but now he's ready to present the results to his colleagues Ral and Shan. Although it contains the double helix -- the chromosomes shared by every living creature on Skaro -- the genetic sequences are completely different. Thals and Kaleds may look alike, leading to the theory that the two races had a common ancestry, but Davros no longer believes that to be the case. Any divergence was likely to have happened around a hundred million years ago and Ral believes the Thals only resemble the Kaleds because they've adapted to fit the same ecological niche. However, the Thals' internal organs are configured entirely differently -- their lungs are longer and thinner than the Kaleds', for example -- and any similarity between the races is purely superficial. Davros also notes there are seven males for every female Thal, but it's difficult to make any comparisons with other forms of life as the war has made virtually every animal species on this planet extinct. In fact, the only other life on Skaro now is in the Lake of Mutations (the name commonly given to Drammakin Lake) and in the honeycomb of tunnels rumoured to be under the city, but these stories are most likely to have been made up anyway just to scare people. Shan suggests they try to capture some examples of living creatures and piece together what they can of the genetic record of the planet before it's too late. Davros now thinks that instead of life adapting to live on the planet, the war is causing the planet itself to adapt. Shan suggests it may be both -- people adapted to live on the planet as it once was, not as it's becoming, and the war has led to a mass extinction of animal and plant life that's unable to survive the changes. Davros thinks they should be more concerned with what Skaro and the Kaleds will become, not what they were, but Shan says that to understand the future they have to understand the past. Davros reminds them that Councillor Matross has decreed that any scientific research that isn't part of the war effort is treason, so he asks Ral to develop a quick test to identify Thal DNA, possibly with a view to developing a plague virus that only kills Thals. When Ral leaves, Davros asks if Shan would mind staying behind for a moment...

Section Leader Fenn of the Military Youth congratulates Lady Calcula on a marvellous speech, but she needs a more critical analysis than he can give her. Davros returns and shows her some rodent specimens he's collected, and takes great delight in his mother's disgust. He introduces her to Shan, a recent recruit to the Scientific Corps, and Calcula recognises her; Shan has been in the Military Youth since she was eight years old. Shan is impressed but Calcula points out that the ability to remember things is a useful weapon. After Shan leaves, Calcula asks Davros to look over the speech she's been preparing. She comments on what a sweet girl Shan seems to be, and when Davros adds that she has a good mind, she acknowledges this as the highest praise a girl could ever expect from him. Davros thinks her speech is a bit political, but she says this was deliberate as she's thinking about how to shape the future. She introduces Davros to Fenn, who tells Davros that the Military Youth is the future of the Kaled race and that they demand that all young Kaleds dedicate themselves to self-improvement and physical purity. Davros questions whether his mother is the right person to lead a youth movement, as she's already well over the average life expectancy for a female Kaled and is probably one of the oldest people on the planet. She tells him she can see the potential of the young, but Davros knows the Military Youth would also provide her with a useful power base. He makes his excuses to return to Shan. Alone, Fenn tells Calcula that every member of the Academy appreciates her interest in them. She inspires a great deal of personal loyalty, even if she doesn't get that from her son. He knows instantly from her angry reaction that he's spoken out of turn, but he redeems himself when she asks him to do a job for her and he agrees before he knows what it is. That's the kind of loyalty she appreciates...

Davros suspects Calcula is up to something and jokes to Shan that as his mother is technically her leader, he might start worrying she's a spy. Shan reminds him that being in the Military Youth is compulsory, or at least anyone that doesn't join gets beaten up, and things have got worse since Calcula took charge. A ten-year old was dragged from his classroom and killed a few weeks ago because he asked why rations were being cut if the war was going as well as everyone said. Davros and Shan understand that such questions challenge authority, but they also address reality and scientists must be free to question. He thinks the cult of blind obedience that his mother is encouraging isn't healthy. Shan says she's built up quite an army now, and they're not only loyal to her, they actually seem to worship her. What frustrates Davros is that Calcula talks about the future, but to a politician that could just mean next week. Shan says if they don't survive the present, there won't be a future, but Davros is confident something will survive. Their attention is suddenly drawn by the test results of the DNA analysis, and Shan thinks there must be a fault with the machine as the DNA is damaged and is practically changing before their eyes. Davros thinks it's evolving, or mutating, as if it's trying to find a way to survive, but Shan reminds him that evolution simply doesn't work like that. Species evolve, not individuals, and the changes accumulate over time. She says the process is random and can't be directed, but Davros is convinced they can shape their own destiny. Shan used to think that, but the Thals and the Kaleds have dedicated the last thousand years solely to the destruction of life; no other planet they've detected can support life, and Shan wonders whether life itself is an aberration. She tells him about her home in Darrien, which is just a lifeless desert now with glass where there used to be towns, but he points out that it's not lifeless at all -- the worms there have grown to incredible sizes, just as the lakes and oceans across the planet are filling with monsters. Life endures, not by becoming monstrous, but by doing whatever it must. He reminds her of a paper she wrote a year ago proposing a solution, which was what first drew her to his attention. She saw the way to survive, even where he hadn't, but she dismisses the idea as just a thought experiment. He tells her it's time to take that dream and make it into reality!

Fenn passes Calcula the personnel file she requested. She's grateful to him and appreciates people who obey, which is something her son seems to have difficulty doing these days. She asks him about Shan and he says he's known her for many years and doesn't like her. She's pretty, but clever. Calcula is concerned about her son's interest in Shan; Davros seems to like her and they're spending a lot of time alone, so who knows what's blossoming over the test tubes? He's older than her, but both of them are healthy and she's keen to make sure they're a suitable match. As Fenn leaves, he passes Davros on the way in. Calcula reads her son selected highlights from Shan's file -- her family are not particularly rich but they're well placed and used to own half of Darrien. Her father turned down a place on the Council of Twelve to remain on the battlefield, but he's respected and his choice of career means she won't have to worry about him for too long. He shows her the blueprints for a machine that bombards a subject with finely-tuned doses of radiation and at first she thinks it's a weapon, but is disappointed to find it's actually a variation of the machine he built to cure cancer, something she regards as a minor achievement. Davros asks why she's suddenly interested in Shan, and she says the Military Youth are always on the lookout for women who can give birth to good strong babies. Davros tells her he doesn't want Shan dragged into politics so she changes the subject and tells him, with some joy, that High Councillor Matross slipped and fell in front of a training tank. Davros recalls that Matross and Calcula didn't see eye to eye, and she admits that he was always critical of Davros's work. He shouldn't have got in the way...

Later, Shan asks if Davros is alright as he seems a little distracted. He nervously asks if he offended her earlier when he was talking about Darrien. He knows her family lost a lot and she must have known many people that died, but she tells him it happened five years before she was born and she's actually lived here in the city all her life. They turn their attention to the test results, which confirm there are definitely signs of mutation. It was exactly as he predicted -- by using his new machine, the mutations can be precisely controlled. He thinks they can engineer an organism that will survive whatever Skaro's biosphere changes into. Shan wonders what such a creature would look like, but Davros says it doesn't need to be aesthetically pleasing. It'll need to have a high intelligence, coupled with a strong survival instinct, but beyond that nature can take its course.

At dinner, Calcula also notices that Davros seems distracted and he tells her his work has reached a critical point. She notices he's reading a paper about obstetrics and is delighted to find out he's been thinking about babies. She thinks he's sulking about the problems he's been having with the Council of Twelve and tells him he should talk to them about it. She reminds him that his main obstacle was Councillor Matross, but he's no longer a problem, which proves if nothing else that a little political "activism" goes a long way. Davros is determined to avoid getting involved in politics, but she recommends he talk to the Council meetings or at least attend the opening night of the new blast weapon he invented. She suggests he bring Shan with him.

Lady Calcula takes Shan to the War Room and tells her that whenever there's a big push, the Council of Twelve come here to monitor its progress. Shan is here at Calcula's personal invitation because their forces are using one of Davros's new weapons and Shan's father is leading the troops in. She asks if she can speak to her father, but they're watching events on huge screens and Councillor Valron says it's not possible, but she can see him afterwards... if he survives. Everything is in position and the Supremo calls for silence as the attack group is within a mile of the target, a local fortified command facility. The weapon Davros has devised is a blast ray, as devastating as a lightning strike, that can reach a distance of three miles and puncture armour plating. It uses enough power to light the entire Kaled city for just over 73 years, but it can only fire one shot before burning out, so it hasn't been tested yet. The Supremo orders the attack to commence, and for a moment nothing happens as the dynamatic generator takes a moment to discharge, but suddenly there's a beam of light from the vehicle, so bright that the screen burns out for a moment, and they hear screaming. The target has been successfully breached and the results are remarkable -- even an atomic shell would have only cracked the facility. Survivors pour out of the breach in the wall, only to be mown down by the Kaled ground forces. The Council watch the massacre with excitement, almost as if it was a sporting event. Davros regrets the waste of life as prisoners would have been useful to the Scientific Corps. The Supremo is delighted and he envies Shan's father, understanding why he was keen to stay on the front line. Calcula complains there's nothing made for children any more and thinks an hour of this should be shown in schools every day. Valron is surprised that Calcula finds the bloodbath so entertaining, and when she points out that his mother would have been disappointed by his reaction, he stresses that she was a warrior, not a spectator. The Supremo is happy with the weapon and asks Davros to build more of them. He believes they're one step closer to winning the war and prepares to address the nation. He asks Davros to stay behind, and though Calcula offers to drive Shan home, Shan, disgusted by the carnage she's witnessed, says she'd rather walk.

As the Kaled nation celebrates their success, Shan is stopped by an ecstatic Fenn who grabs her and says he wants to mark their victory with a bit of fun. He won't take the hint that she wants to be left alone and she struggles to free herself. Councillor Valron appears and the young officer apologises for his behaviour and makes an excuse to leave. Valron regrets startling Shan but he thought it looked as though she needed rescuing. She tells him she doesn't want any company tonight, but she's clearly shaken and is still upset by her experience in the War Room. He reminds her he's a Councillor, not a soldier, so although he understands the war, it doesn't mean he has to like it. He offers to walk her home and she accepts.

Davros is starting to think the Council might be right after all. A few more successful pushes like today might actually win the war. He tells the Supremo they have to wipe out the Thals completely. Until now, all they've really done is aim at the odd military target or strategic position, but Davros doesn't consider the Thals to be mere opponents. Logically the war will end with one form of life in utter control of the whole world, with all other life forms gone. That has to be their goal, the only true victory. The Supremo isn't sure he'd like to live in such a world, but the thought fills Davros with hope that there's a purpose to life beyond the present. He still agrees that they should weed out the genetically damaged from the Kaled race, but he finds the idea of keeping them "pure" to be scientifically meaningless. The Supremo reveals that he has some grave news. It's common knowledge that there are Thal spies at work in the city, but they've now identified one such spy as Section Leader Fenn. He's been close to Davros's mother for months and they hope to take him into custody very soon. Davros wants to contact Calcula straight away to warn her, but saboteurs have bombed the etheric exchange and all communications are down. Davros leaves to contact his mother personally.

Lady Calcula returns home and finds Fenn waiting for her. She asks if he saw the Supremo's announcement to the nation and he says he was watching it from down in the main Square, where he also bumped into Shan. He tells her Davros is waiting to see her in his laboratory and he offers to accompany her. As they walk through the streets, she can't stop herself gloating about how entertaining it was to watch the massacre on the big screen. She was expecting it to be dry and clinical, but now she's seen it in all its glory she can't understand why the images are restricted. Fenn thinks there would be complaints, but she finds the idea nonsense and says people complain at the slightest provocation these days. She believes the footage is exactly what's needed to inspire people and provide good role models for children. Eventually they arrive outside Davros's laboratory and she asks him to turn away while she punches in the combination.

They enter the laboratory and Calcula is surprised to find Davros isn't there. Fenn immediately starts smashing the equipment and, to her horror, he claims that he's been sent by the Supremo to destroy Davros's work in return for promotion to the rank of General. She laughs at him as the job is little more than a death sentence, but he tells her he's also been instructed to hurt her and she'll end up as a broken old woman who used to be someone important. Calcula calls him a fool, and tells him the Supremo will have already denounced him as a Thal spy by now and he'll be hanged. She tells him his biggest mistake was trying to damage Davros's life's work -- she hasn't lived this long by being weak and she's prepared to do anything it takes to protect her son. She switches on the machine that Davros showed her earlier, and as Fenn cries out in pain she tells him he's already dead... and so is she. They've just been exposed to more radiation than if they'd spent a year in the trenches. Fenn starts to cry and says he doesn't want to die, but for the first time in her life there's nothing Calcula can do to prolong her survival. She starts to relax and then tells Fenn that when her son works out what's happened, she'll have killed the Supremo just as if she'd drowned him in radiation too. Her actions today have placed Davros on the throne and achieved everything she's ever wanted. Suddenly Fenn screams as his skin starts to mutate before his very eyes, and then Calcula's face starts to distort too...

Davros finds Shan at the laboratory, and she tells him what's happened. Fenn is already dead and she's done everything she can for Calcula. She tries to warn him about his mother's condition, but when he actually sees her, his first thought is that the mutation has worked as he expected. He had no idea he'd be able to prove his theory so quickly! As he starts examining the cellular reconstruction on his mother's body, Shan is shocked at his reaction. His mother is dying and she urges him to try to reverse the process, but he says that's like asking someone to un-fry an egg. Davros looks at his disfigured mother as she struggles for breath and thinks she's beautiful, liken a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. Calcula realises she doesn't have long left and tells her son that they killed her because they're frightened of him. She urges him to dedicate his mind to one task -- to take his rightful place and destroy all those who would destroy him... Davros tells her she's becoming what they will all become, but a little too early. They will survive, they will grow stronger and the whole of the Universe will tremble before those like her. She tells him how proud she is of him, and then dies. Shan tells him she's sorry, but he just wants to get on with examining his mother's remains. He orders her to leave and says he's not to be disturbed.

Shan visits Councillor Valron and tells him Calcula is dead. She also realised something important that obviously hasn't occurred to Davros yet -- although people are saying Fenn was a Thal spy, he mutated in exactly the same way that Calcula did, which proves that genetically he was definitely a Kaled. Valron points out that there are a few Kaleds who are sympathetic to Thals, but Shan has known Fenn for years and he only ever thought what he was told to think. Valron wonders if he could have fallen under a bad influence, but she knows he simply didn't have the wit to survive for long as a spy. He was obviously following someone else's orders -- presumably someone more senior than Calcula herself, possibly even another Councillor. She believes the logic of the murder is simple and if Davros hasn't worked it out yet it's either because he doesn't know all the facts or he's so blinded by what's happened that he can't approach the situation rationally. She wonders if Davros will be targeted next, but Valron thinks he's too valuable to the Council and if anything his mother's murder will only make him focus on the war effort even more out of the desire for revenge. Valron advises Shan to leave Davros to his grief, but she says whatever he's doing, it certainly isn't grieving.

A heavily pregnant woman named Renna, who's due to have a baby any day now, is surprised to find her regular doctor has been replaced by Davros. She confirms there have been no complications with the pregnancy but when Davros checks her medical notes and reveals that she's expecting a healthy boy, she's upset, as she didn't want to know. He also learns that the father of the child was killed last month. He tells her she's to have a new treatment that helps with certain "environmental concerns," and that her child will be born even healthier and stronger if she'll take just a single injection of a new chemical which has just come on the market. She tells him that when word gets out, he'll have women queuing up for the treatment. He's pleased to hear that as it will avoid the need for conscription...

Shan notices Valron's hand has been hovering around hers for the last ten minutes, so she grants him permission to hold it. She's also aware that he deliberately brushed against her earlier in order to test her reaction, although he tried to make it look like an accident. He admits the truth and says she's very beautiful. He's amazed that word of Calcula's death hasn't got out yet and Shan is sure the Supremo must already know, so the news is obviously being suppressed. Valron is worried that if it turns out that one of the Council of Twelve was indeed responsible, the Military Youth will be mobilised against them. Shan wants the war to end and she suggests they try to make peace with the Thals. Valron is shocked as it's illegal to even think such things. She says she's not suggesting they actually befriend the Thals, but acknowledge that they're intelligent beings. Valron thinks they can't be trusted and they'd take any ceasefire as a chance to regroup, but she suspects the Thals would say exactly the same things about the Kaleds. They can't carry on like this -- things are getting worse and there hasn't been a summer on Skaro for three years. Having the Council of Twelve and the Military Youth at each other's throats is an opportunity that might never come round again. Shan wants to tell Davros who killed his mother, but Valron advises her against it. She argues that Davros is a good man and is probably the only person on the planet who can truly shape the future. It's only fair that he knows the truth.

When Shan joins Davros in the hospital he's angry as he called for her three hours ago. She wonders why he's working in the maternity ward and he says he's taking an interest in the future generation. He notices that she's still disturbed by the attack on the Thals and demands that as a scientist she start acting without emotional interference, but she counters this by arguing that when Calcula died in front of him he didn't feel anything. One of the mothers in labour has been having complications and when she dies of shock during the birth, Davros tells Shan this is the fourth such death today. He rushes to put the baby into an incubator, but when Shan helps, the baby grabs her and tries to hurt her. She asks if the babies are going to be safe, but he says he hasn't determined their exact life-support requirements yet. He reveals that each of the 'specimens' born so far, plus his mother, are genetically identical -- it's a new species descended from the Kaleds! This is what they will become. He thinks it's beautiful as everything else on the planet is here by accident, but these babies have been designed. They're present at the genesis of a new species. Shan reveals that Calcula was killed on the orders of the Supremo, most likely working with the Council. Davros is momentarily shocked, then agrees that this is the logical conclusion. But it's of no matter as his mother will live on in the new species. Before she died, Calcula asked Davros to kill her murderers, but he believes their deaths are already inevitable. Only the creatures born here today will survive, because he's bred it into them. Shan wonders what he's taken away from them, but he says it's only things that will affect their ability to think rationally. She thinks that's horrible and says there has to be another way. Davros asks if that's her final word and he admits he's disappointed in her. He tells her she's a scientist and she should have used her training instead of allowing herself to be deflected by sentiment.

Shan tells Valron what Davros said to her in the hospital. They hear a commotion below Valron's apartment and watch as the Military Youth take to the streets -- clearly the news of Calcula's death has finally got out. It seems likely the military will be loyal to Davros now that his mother's dead, although Davros wouldn't know what to do with an army. The commotion on the street slowly starts to turn into a full-scale riot...

Davros arrives at the Supremo's office and is asked about the anti-radiation drugs he was supposed to be working on. Davros claims they're already being administered throughout the domes; if the Thals choose to use neutronic missiles, they should at least be safe from the fallout. The Supremo dismisses Davros, but instead of leaving he confronts the leader and tells him Calcula has been murdered. He adds that she had followers throughout the city in key positions... and they're not happy. The Supremo asks him if he can use his influence as Calcula's son to bring the crowds under control, but Davros points out that his mother died at the hands of a Kaled, not the Thals. The Supremo suggests that if someone did order a move against Calcula, they wouldn't have wanted to kill her, as it's triggered political instability and mutinies. Davros suggests that if he'd run the scenario through the strategy computer, it would have predicted that Calcula would be hurt most by an assault on her in her own home by one of her own followers, to show her that no one is safe and that even her most loyal follower is more loyal to a higher authority. The Supremo suggests that whoever ordered the attack was probably just trying to clip Calcula's wings to contain her, but as Davros points out, it backfired.

The two men confront each other and eventually the Supremo backs down and agrees to do anything Davros wants. He offers Davros a place on the Council of Twelve, but Davros turns it down as he has no ambitions in this area. Davros's demands are simple -- from now on, the science division is going to have complete autonomy from the Council; the Elite will have the power to requisition any and all resources they require, starting with new laboratories deep underground; and there will be no political interference with their research. Davros makes it clear this is not a request. He knows who killed his mother and he can prove it. If that person's identity is revealed, he will be dragged from his office and strung up... assuming he hasn't already been found dead by then. The Supremo asks for a guarantee that Davros won't betray him anyway, but Davros says the current riots are leaving them exposed to attack by the Thals, so it would be preferable to have continuity of leadership. He suggests they make a public announcement naming Councillor Valron as the assassin. The Supremo is shocked, but Davros reminds him that Valron has publicly advocated diplomacy with the Thals in the past, so therefore has a history of pacifism and fraternising with the enemy. He presents the Supremo with a file he's prepared documenting intercepted communications between Valron and the Thals, a photograph of Valron meeting a Thal General and also a list of his fellow spies. All faked, of course, but they can let the public decide his fate and that of his associates...

Davros tells Shan that he's concerned about Valron as he believes the Councillor has pro-Thal sympathies, but she says that's nonsense as he's always been one of the main advocates for the use of gas weapons against the Thals. Davros is shocked to discover Shan has discussed politics with Valron and told him of their work in the science division. Shan assures him this isn't the case, and that he's only read her paper on the future of Skaro's biosphere, but this makes Davros even more outraged. When he tells her she was being observed at the time, she points out that this conversation took place in her personal berth. He orders her to end her relationship with Valron, but in his defence she reminds Davros that the Councillor's entire family were wiped out by Thal shells. Davros notes that Valron himself survived and asks whether she finds that suspicious. Davros thinks the Thals want supremacy, but Shan thinks they only want survival. Even if the fighting ended tomorrow, it would take centuries before Skaro recovered. She says the Thals and the Kaleds need to stop fighting and destroying the planet; then they can retreat to their respective homelands and rebuild their cities. They won't even need to speak to each other, just concentrate on turning the battlefields back into farmland. Davros says there's another word for what she wants, and she confirms that: it's "peace". The door opens and the Supremo enters, saying he's heard enough. Davros claims Shan's great mind has become perverted and that any peace between the Kaleds and the Thals would only be temporary. The Supremo tells Shan she'll hang for what she's done and he thanks Davros for exposing another traitor in their midst. Shan is dragged away, insisting she doesn't want to die...

The Supremo makes a public announcement stating that the traitors who were convicted for the murder of Councillor Calcula and Military Officer Fenn have been hung and their bodies will receive no honours. The father of Shan, a thrice-decorated war hero, was killed in battle this morning before hearing of his daughter's disgrace. Davros switches off the radio and thinks about Shan. He never understood politics, but then she never understood survival. Suddenly an alarm sounds, and the scientist Ral contacts Davros in his laboratory and tells him he needs to get out of there straight away as a Thal warhead is approaching the area. Davros is confident he'll be fine as the laboratory is twelve storeys below ground -- but then there's an enormous explosion and everything goes black...

They say people who fall from great heights are dead before they hit the ground, and Davros always felt they should run experiments to find out whether it's true. He hears the voice of Shan urging him to find peace, but then the voice of Calcula interrupts and disagrees -- she's only been dead a month and hardly any of the things she's achieved in her life remain. She urges Davros to fight and not to allow himself to be annihilated. Davros isn't sure he has much of a choice. He can see his life flashing before his eyes, but he keeps returning to the image of his mother willing him to have the strength to continue. Shan was lucky, as she died before her heart was filled with poison; she never became a monster like his mother did... and like he will. Calcula's voice changes into something metallic and modulated as she tells him his flesh will be stripped away, but he never had any use for it anyway. His mind must survive so that something stronger can emerge...

When Davros was found in the ruins, the doctors said he couldn't possibly live for long -- they had to virtually scrape him out of the rubble -- so the Supremo is disturbed to learn that he could now outlive them all. Kaled medical technology can sustain him for as long as his natural life expectancy, so he could well become the first person for ten generations to die of old age! The question the doctors are asking is: do they have the right? When Davros wakes up in the hospital, despite being under heavy sedation, he discovers the Council are meeting with the Scientific Elite to decide his fate. However, everyone has agreed that they can't end his life, so if Davros is to die, it must be by his own hand. His colleague Ral presents him with a painless projectile poison injector which will activate if he presses the switch. He thanks Ral, who in return thanks him for everything he's done, then goes outside to wait for Davros to make his decision. The Supremo is relieved, thinking it's over. But it isn't...

A week later, Ral visits Davros, who tells him no one can begin to understand how and why he's chosen to use the gift of life and death. When he first emerged from the room, the members of the Scientific Elite all cringed and cowered, and he could feel their hatred towards him. He no longer regards them as his people and feels they are alien to him. Ral tells him he'll need time to recover and may need an extensive rehabilitation period, but Davros rejects the suggestion as there's no possibility of any improvement in his condition. He lives because of machines; he's connected to almost every kind of life-support system the Kaleds have ever devised. They regulate the chemicals in his body, and his communication with the outside world is now by camera and microphone. All he can do now is try to improve on the original designs. He tells Ral he's been given clarity and he sees the world as it truly is, not filtered through the limits of flesh. He knows he will live only as long as his life-support chariot continues to function, and for the first time in his life he knows what it's like to live without fear. And he knows now that for the sake of his people, he must never know any limits. It's time for him to fulfil his destiny...

Source: Lee Rogers

Continuity Notes:
  • The Davros saga concludes in the next installment, Guilt.
  • This story revisits events that were revealed in the Doctor Who audio Davros.
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