Ral is performing his first-ever major operation, but things are not going well and he's in danger of losing his patient. Davros is overseeing his work and urges him to stay calm. It's Davros's eleventh operation, and he reminds the young doctor that the procedure is exactly the same as when he used to perform it, it's only the hands manipulating the instruments that are different. Davros knows from Ral's time in the laboratories and now in the hospital that he's more than capable, and with Ral's morale suitably boosted, he suggests they start again. At first it seems the operation isn't going to work, but eventually the patient starts reacting exactly as predicted and Davros is congratulated on another successful cerebral augmentation. He and Ral agree to meet later to discuss their work.
A Thal saboteur, wearing full combat gear and gas mask, crosses the wasteland and arrives at the perimeter outside the Kaled dome. He contacts his commanding officer, Colonel Murash, who relays a concern from Doctor Hurdal about the radiation levels in the area. The saboteur reports that the readings are all over the place, but he's confident he'll be all right, as he took his doses of anti-rad tablets earlier. He's marked a safe path through the minefield, and now he approaches the dome and attaches explosives to the atmospheric generation units in the hope that the heat from the explosion will ignite them. As soon as everything is ready, Murash gives him the activation key codes. The device is armed, but as the saboteur prepares to withdraw from the area, Murash apologises, tells him the Thal government appreciates the sacrifice he's about to make, and assures him his wife and child will be suitably recompensed. The saboteur is horrified -- but it's too late and an enormous explosion rocks the Kaled dome...
The Supremo arrives in Tech-Ops and officer Ludella tells him there's been a large explosion in the science dome. He wonders if it was caused by a weapons malfunction, but she says the damage has mainly affected the medical centre. She then receives a warning that Mutos have been spotted converging on the site. The Supremo orders her to arrange a rescue team and to make certain they're accompanied by a military squad. He adds that if they find any Thals in the area, he doesn't want them taken prisoner.
The scavengers make their way through the devastated medical centre, searching for any supplies they might find useful. One of the Mutos, Baran, orders the others to leave the defibrillator and concentrate on food, clothing and water. Suddenly they hear something under the rubble and make out Davros's weak voice calling for help. The scavengers dig through the debris and uncover Davros, who's horrified to discover he's been rescued by a Muto. Baran objects to the term and points out that Davros doesn't exactly fit the description of a genetically pure Kaled either. Davros laughs at the thought that Baran thinks he's a Muto and explains that he may be scarred, but he's not corrupted. At first he thinks Baran might be responsible for the explosion, but the Muto points out that the wall outside is still stained with the blood of the Thal saboteur who did this. Davros admires the audacious act of self-sacrifice, but suddenly they come under attack from a squad of Thal soldiers and the scavengers run back into the wasteland. Davros pleads with Baran for assistance, as he can't move by himself, but there isn't time to help and the Muto is forced to flee. Within seconds, the area is filled with soldiers, led by Colonel Murash. She turns to one of her team for confirmation that the man in front of her is Davros -- and Davros is shocked to discover that her team member is Ral. Murash orders that Davros be removed, but Ral reminds her he won't survive long outside his life-support chariot. The soldiers quickly lift Davros out of his chair and carry him to a nearby vehicle. Davros asks Ral why he betrayed him, and his former friend reveals that he's disgusted by Davros's morals. The Kaled rescue team appears in the distance, so Murash rallies her group together and they leave, taking their prisoner with them.
Ludella receives a message from the patrol and tells the Supremo there were no survivors. It looks as though the whole medical and scientific elite perished in the explosion, although not everyone has been accounted for yet. Davros's chariot was recovered, but there was no sign of a body, and the Supremo wonders whether he's free of Davros at last... Ludella adds that a small group of Thals were spotted withdrawing from the area, so it's possible Davros may have been kidnapped. If true, it means their greatest scientist is now in the hands of the enemy!
In the Thal city, a public announcement about their glorious victory is broadcast around the dome. Colonel Murash and scientist Ral visit their new prisoner in the cells. They tell Davros that they've spent years trying to get their hands on him and a lot of good soldiers and undercover agent have died or gone missing in the attempt. Davros is critical of Ral's betrayal and accuses him of having no stomach or conviction for doing what has to be done. Murash demands that Davros tell them everything he knows about the new Kaled secret weapons, regardless of what stage of development they're at. Davros hints that his contributions to Kaled technology are now solely of a biological nature -- not germ warfare, but things like cures for debilitating illnesses, cellular modification to allow them to walk in the poisonous wastes without the fear of genetic mutation, and new techniques to combat their increasing rate of infant deaths. Murash refuses to believe him, but Ral confirms that some of what he's said is true. She thinks Ral only knows about the end results, whereas she's more interested in the science behind them. Davros says that without his life-support chariot he'll die before he can tell them anything and Ral confirms that he's extremely vulnerable now he's been detached from it. Ral believes he's been able to tell the Thal medical staff enough for them to keep what's left of Davros' blood flowing through his system, but Davros thinks that before long they'll just be left with a well-irrigated corpse. He repeats his claim that he no longer works in the field of weaponry and anything he knows from his previous work is outdated. He tells her the war will one day end and his only ambition is to stay alive to help bring that day closer. Murash leaves to speak to her Field Marshal, but Davros asks Ral to stay a moment. He wants him to explain why he's betrayed their people.
The Muto Baran is now inside the Kaled dome, and when he contacts his control team, he reveals his true identity as an undercover Thal agent with the rank of Sergeant. He makes his way to a disused storage facility filled with crates containing food supplies that have gone off badly. Colonel Murash passes him new orders to discover anything he can about the latest Kaled weapons. She tells him Davros isn't talking yet, but they have a backup plan and he can find out all about it in tomorrow's news feed.
Ludella informs the Supremo that they've intercepted a faint signal coming from somewhere in this sector. They narrow it down to an area in the radioactive wastelands called the Plain of Swords. They realise the sender must be using a temporary relay, but by using boosters the Kaleds are eventually able to make out the image of Colonel Murash. As she tells them the Thals have Davros as a prisoner, the Supremo orders the pictures to be patched through to the Council Chamber. Murash tells them this recorded message will be repeated on a loop for the next eight hours. They will return Davros to the Kaleds only if they agree to three demands: they must immediately cease the development of all weapons; they must provide the Thals with all data pertaining to their weapons programmes; and they must release all Thal political prisoners currently in their custody. If they refuse to meet these demands, Davros's life will be forfeit. The Supremo receives an urgent call from High Councillor Terrant, but before speaking to him he orders Ludella to signal red alert status and get him the Security Commander.
Ral thinks it won't be long before the Supremo contacts Murash and agrees to her demands, but Davros is confident it'll never happen, as Kaleds don't negotiate with terrorists. He asks Ral how he survived the explosion at the medical centre and learns that he knew in advance when it was going to happen. Davros points out that he can consider himself lucky, as it's common Thal practice to betray their operatives. Ral tells Davros he wanted to see his work stopped, but Davros says that if he dies, any hope for the future of Skaro will die with him.
The Supremo is introduced to Lieutenant Nyder and briefs him to take a team through the wastelands, infiltrate the Thal city, eliminate any opposition and rescue Davros. Unfortunately their knowledge of the facility where he's being held prisoner is limited, but Nyder is confident his team are ready for anything. The Supremo suddenly recognises Nyder's name and recalls him leading an assassination mission only last month, but Nyder points out that he's not at liberty to discuss such matters, even with the Kaled leader.
A Kaled officer, Corporal Kaston, is patrolling the ruins of the medical centre and checks in with his commander, but he's got nothing of significance to report except that it's very dark and very cold. Moments later, he hears a noise and orders whoever it is to come out with their hands up. The spy Baran emerges from the shadows and claims to be one of the service technicians but says he's left his ID card in his tool kit. Suddenly, and without warning, Baran attacks Kaston and quickly kills him. He starts removing the man's uniform, noting that the soldier's lower rank means he's going to be demoted for a while...
At the Thal dome, there's an enormous explosion and the Kaled squad, led by Lt Nyder, bursts in and opens fire on the Thal soldiers in the area. They stop to pick up the enemies' weapons, then head straight for the cells, fighting off more soldiers at the first intersection. Nyder places charges on the entrance to the prison section and then they move through to the next area, but most of the cells are empty and there's no sign of Davros. The Supremo and Ludella follow the battle over the communications system and listen as the squad encounter even more opposition. Colonel Murash orders Nyder's team to withdraw, and when the Supremo recognises her voice, he tells Nyder he wants her taken alive, too -- but Nyder claims he didn't hear the order, and reports that all the Thals in the area have been killed. They force their way through the door Murash was guarding and find themselves confronting Ral, who's holding a weapon to Davros's head. Nyder demands he hand over the prisoner, and points out that Ral is outnumbered and outgunned, so there's only one way this situation can end. Ral claims there's another way -- and the sound of a single gunshot is heard. Nyder reports back to the Supremo and tells him they've achieved their objective. The Supremo's reaction sounds less than enthusiastic, but he gives instructions for a medical team to rendezvous with the strike team as soon as they reach the crater's edge.
Davros wakes up to the sound of his mother's voice offering him tea in the garden. He's clearly delirious, and when he tells her she's dead, she rebukes him for being morbid. She asks if he's running a fever and he tells her he was dreaming of being a prisoner in the Thal city. Yarvell joins them and mocks her brother, wondering if he's confusing his experience with the latest episode of Captain Croag and the Highland Rangers, where the hero got captured and had to fight his way out with just a length of rusty pipe. He tells her he was being tortured, but he does agree that he might be confused. He accepts the cup of tea from Calcula and she suggests they go inside while she gets Tashek to call for a doctor. He starts to hear music from the academy band and recognises the composition as one of his favourites.
Slowly, Davros comes to his senses and realises the voice belongs to the Supremo, not Calcula. He finds it interesting that the Supremo seems to make his subconscious conjure up memories of his mother, and innocently asks their leader if he knows why this is. Davros is starting to recover, but the technicians are still repairing his chariot, and until then he's going to have to remain in hospital. When he asks why he's being restrained, the Supremo claims that it's for his own safety as he's hard-wired into the life-support system and any sudden movement might sever the connections. He also admits that there's a concern about Davros's state of mind, since no one knows the extent of his experiences in the Thal city. Davros realises it's been a long time since he felt clean linen against his skin and a pillow beneath his head. The Council want him back to work as soon as he's ready, but first Davros asks if he can speak to Lt Nyder, the man responsible for his rescue. The Supremo had anticipated this request and Nyder is already waiting outside. He comes in and Davros orders the Supremo to leave them alone. Davros can detect something in Nyder's voice -- is it repulsion? Nyder denies this and says he's actually a great admirer and believes Davros's work to preserve the Kaled race is commendable. Davros thanks him and says he appreciates the fact that he went beyond the call of duty to rescue him. He asks Nyder what became of his betrayer, scientist Ral, and Nyder says he killed him with a single shot to the head. Davros thinks he could use someone with Nyder's skills on his team...
As Nyder leaves the hospital wing, he nearly bumps into the Thal spy Baran as he passes down the corridor. He orders the soldier to stop and asks where he's going, and Baran says he's heading for the mess as it's his meal time. Nyder doesn't recognise him and Baran says that's because he's only recently transferred from a nearby dome. Nyder reassigns him immediately to guard duty outside Davros's door and tells him no one outside the Council is allowed to disturb the patient. After Nyder goes, Baran realises how lucky he's been.
On behalf of the Council of Twelve, the Supremo tells Davros they're pleased he's made such a swift recovery and they welcome him into the House of Congress. Davros has come before them to make a request, and he presents a slide-show which illustrates his extensive database of information pertaining to the Kaled race that's been built up over the years. In analysing this data, Davros has concluded they're undergoing many and varied changes linked directly to the devastating effects of the war. The Supremo argues this is hardly news and their asylums are filled with both the mad and the mutated, but this brings Davros to his point -- childbirth has become the Kaleds' greatest gamble and the odds are no longer in their favour. Unfortunately they've already gone too far for any "miracle cure," and their gene pool is stagnant and in imminent danger of evaporating. Even if they survive the war, the results of his experiments in accelerated evolution have shown they're destined to become something altogether different from what they are today. The Supremo tries to make fun of his pessimistic claim, but when they realise Davros is serious, the Council are shocked. Perhaps they shouldn't scoff quite so readily at the idea of children being born with two heads...
Baran manages to break into Davros's private office and starts looking around for any secret plans he can lay his hands on. He finds a photograph of Davros's mother and notes that she has a lovely smile for a Kaled, so Davros must have got his looks from his father's side. He reads some notes about the molecular deterioration of Davros's test subjects, and with growing horror, discovers that Davros had been experimenting on his own mother!
Davros tells the Council that there's a chance he can save them, but it will depend on the co-operation of every Kaled. In order to monitor and stabilise their genetic make-up, he requires access to the Kaleds' offspring -- but he's not looking for volunteers as he needs federal control of ALL the children. The Supremo is concerned and asks for further clarification -- is Davros talking about mandatory examinations of babies on a monthly or weekly basis? Davros says that would not be sufficient. He asks them to imagine that a child suddenly develops an immunity to a deadly type of radiation and that immunity can be isolated, copied and used to create an inoculation. If that child was killed in a Thal gas attack before they discovered its immunity, the life-enhancing potential would be lost forever. He suggests that every Kaled child be housed in the scientific dome and declared the property of the state. The Supremo realises there will be public opposition, but Davros demands his request be made law by the government. He reminds the Council that they're at war and the people shouldn't be allowed to have a say in the matter. The Supremo considers his thoughts for a moment, then rejects the suggestion outright and even refuses to allow the Council to vote on it. He points out that a number of the wives of the Council members are pregnant themselves, and even though there are no guarantees their children will be born healthy or even alive, any decision about the future and welfare of those children will be down to the parents alone. He declares Davros's request to be unacceptable and suggests he instead continue his experiments with animals, but Davros argues that any results would be meaningless and the nearby cave system is already crawling with many such "failed" experiments. He asks them again to reconsider and the Supremo agrees to let the Council think it over.
Davros tells Nyder he's outraged by the incompetent, short-sighted buffoons on the Council. Once upon a time, he respected the Supremo as a strong military leader, but now he believes him to be a mewling kitten, concerned only with personal responsibility and public disenfranchisement. Nyder tells Davros that if he'd been on the Council he would have approved the request with no questions asked as he knows enough of Davros's reputation to trust him to do the right thing -- which is doing whatever is necessary to preserve the purity of the Kaled race. Davros thinks that one day Nyder may achieve such a level of authority. At the moment he's just a lieutenant in security services, but who knows what tomorrow may bring?
The Supremo checks with Tech-Op Ludella for the latest reports and she tells him that Corporal Kaston, who was on patrol near the damaged medical centre, has been found dead with his neck broken. Worryingly, the body was not wearing a uniform, which means someone else could be wearing it. The Supremo's mind is elsewhere and he doesn't seem to be aware of the possible consequences, but he recommends doubling the patrol in that area and asks to be put in touch with the officer's next-of-kin.
Davros offers Nyder a copy of a book which was banned years ago, as it contains arcane knowledge that could be used to influence the future, or so the authorities thought. Nyder believed all such books had been burned in the purge but Davros's copy has been in his family for several generations. He used to read it as a child and found the stories amusing, particularly the chapter on the 'ascent of man'. The writer believed that evolution was essential for people to rise above petty things like class and war. At the conclusion of the Book of Predictions, written in the extinct tongue of the Dals, it says "...and on that day, men will become as gods". In the original language, the final word is pronounced "dal-ek." Davros tells Nyder that the Kaled race is changing into something else, several steps closer to being gods than the Kaleds are, thanks in part to Davros's own experiments. Nyder tells Davros that he's received information implying there may be a male Thal spy among them in the dome. Davros is impressed by the individual's courage, but Nyder is certain that he'll be found and punished. He asks whether Davros would like access to him afterwards for his experiments, but the scientist says he'd like to meet with him first before he decides.
The next day, Davros sits again before the Council of Twelve and listens as the Supremo announces the results of their debate: although Davros's facts are beyond dispute, the request for unrestricted access to the Kaled children is unrealistic and altogether offensive. The infant death rate within the domes has increased dramatically over the past few decades and Davros himself has been called upon several times to save some of the more extreme cases, but it's always been the case that their future is uncertain -- one lucky strike from a Thal attack could spell doom for everyone -- and their forefathers never resorted to the extremes Davros is proposing. The Supremo acknowledges that Davros has done great good for the Kaleds and hopes his work will continue along those lines, but his request for access to the children has been unanimously and officially denied.
Davros is given the opportunity to speak before the Council and he immediately breaks custom by refusing to thank the Supremo. He says he's given himself selflessly to help the Kaled race for a very long time and his actions have been undertaken solely to guarantee their survival. He's surprised they even felt the need to debate his 'simple' request and he believes outdated concepts of morality have tainted their thought processes. He accuses them of allowing superstition to overshadow the undeniable scientific facts. He becomes furious at their ignorance, turning specifically to the Supremo and accusing him of being a foolish old woman. As a result of their decision, Davros has been forced to extreme action. He produces a button and explains that one press will detonate tiny bombs scattered throughout the Council members' bloodstreams via the anti-radiation tablets they've been taking. If he presses the button a localised radio signal will set off the charges within them, causing fatal aneurysms. The Supremo accuses him of extortion and calls for Nyder -- but when Nyder enters the room, he answers directly to Davros. The guards are ordered to leave and Davros once again accuses the Council of lacking perspective. He says they've grown effete at a time when strength is needed, and he relieves them all of their duties. Then he suddenly presses the button, exterminating them all instantly.
Nyder arrives at Tech Ops with terrible news for Ludella. He tells her all twelve Council members died when a fault in the heat exchanger flooded the Hall of Congress with unfiltered teroxin. He says Davros will be arriving shortly to issue an emergency public statement. As the highest ranking civilian in the dome, he will be taking command until an elected governing body can be restored. Until then, and by Davros's order, Nyder has been promoted to security commander.
Throughout the city, people going about their normal everyday lives are interrupted by a special announcement from Davros. He assures the Kaled people that their future is secure in his hands and until the new government takes over he will work closely with the security services to make sure that life in the city goes on and even improves. To that end, he announces a new mandatory child protection programme to be implemented immediately which requires all children under the age of five to be delivered to Paediatric Facility K-99, where they can receive the greatest possible care. The message ends with a bombastic piece of music which Davros says is an old Kaled victory march from his own personal collection. He tells Nyder that he was once acquainted with the composer's daughter, and it was usually played at sporting events and parades, but well before Nyder's time. It reminds Davros of family picnics when they used to watch the marching bands go off to war, although he recalls that his sister appreciated it more than he did. He then decides there's no point dwelling on the past. Davros is an old man now, but something inside him tells him his life is truly about to begin, that something great and important lies just on the horizon. He admits to being both excited and terrified. Life on Skaro is Purgatory and his aim is to turn it into Paradise.
Using the password 'CALCULA', Davros gains admittance into Paediatric Facility K-99, where he greets the creatures inside as though they were his own personal offspring. One child in particular is struggling to adapt to breathing water and he offers it encouragement, realising that the gills are still quite tender, and another is still recovering from recent surgery. He's so very proud of them all, and he opens up the satchel he's carrying and hands out food taken from the morgue which will help them grow big and strong.
Later, Davros and Nyder oversee the conversion of the old Council Chamber into his new laboratory. Suddenly Ludella bursts in and angrily demands the return of her son Kento. Soldiers kidnapped him this morning after punching her husband in the face, breaking his nose in three places. Davros asks if this is true and Nyder assures him that the man has now been treated for his injury. Ludella says that she objects to the new law, but Davros says her son is receiving the greatest care imaginable. He tells her that once the screening process is completed and Kento has been inoculated with medicines that will prolong and improve his life, he will eventually be returned, healthier and much happier. Ludella says she'd like to see him, and although Davros refuses at first, he relents in light of her years of loyal service to the poor, dead Supremo. As Ludella leaves with Nyder, she apologise for causing any trouble but hopes he can understand her concern. Nyder calls over Corporal Baran and asks him to escort the Tech Officer to the 'nursery', but Baran nervously explains that he doesn't know the way. Nyder snaps at him to use his initiative, then he takes Baran to one side and indicates that he's not to allow the woman to enter the facility. Nyder returns to Davros and tells him he's dealt with their 'problem', but they still don't have any firm leads on the elusive spy rumoured to be at large in the dome. Somehow Nyder has a strange feeling they're very close to apprehending him.
Baran and Ludella arrive at the Paediatric Facility, but when she demands to be allowed in, he apologises and knocks her unconscious. Baran attempts to enter the room, but the security computer doesn't recognise the authorisation of Corporal Kaston's name. He uses one of his gadgets, a vocalisation synthesiser, to run through a series of other voices, including those of the Supremo and Nyder, but only Davros's name is accepted. When it comes to the password, he guesses that with Davros's big ego it'll be either personal or oedipal, so he tries 'CALCULA' and the computer allows him entry to the nursery. Baran is delighted that all the years of studying Davros have not gone to waste. Inside the room, he's horrified to discover at least ten tiny victims of Davros's gruesome experiments. One of the creatures attacks him and the alarms go off instantly. Within seconds, Nyder arrives and Baran calls for him to shoot the creature. Nyder starts firing, but then Davros arrives and orders him to stop. It's too late and the monster is dead, and a furious Davros turns on Nyder and demands to know why he was shooting. When he learns that his baby attacked Nyder he realises there must have been some sort of behavioural regression. Nyder explains that he was trying to protect Corporal Kaston, and Davros recognizes Baran, identifies him as the spy they've been looking for, and orders him to be taken to the new laboratory. Baran is dragged out struggling, horrified to learn he's to be prepared for surgery! Nyder finds the unconscious Ludella outside and Davros asks for her to be brought inside the nursery as his children will be getting hungry again. He wonders whether she'll wake up in time to realise how much her son is pleased to see her...
Later, Davros oversees yet another operation, this time on Baran. He tells Nyder he's not too sure what will happen as he's only ever performed this particular operation on Kaled brains. If the neural augmentation is successful he'll transplant the irradiated Thal brain into his new travel machine prototype. Assuming there's no rejection of the synthetic components, by this time tomorrow they'll get their first look at destiny!
The next morning, Davros greets Nyder and says he hopes he slept well, but Nyder claims that he never does. Davros shows Nyder the first version of the life-support system he's designed for their future, modelled upon his own chair. It's still experimental and it's called the Mark I. He confirms that the control array has been successfully grafted onto the mutant, and if everything has gone to plan, they should have a notable response within moments of activation, although it might be nothing more than a simple reflex action. Nyder draws a weapon in case the Mark I is dangerous, but Davros orders him to put it away, assuring him that all aggressive tendencies have been suppressed. Davros connects the power conduit and begins stimulating the life-support matrix. Nyder follows his further instructions and then sees the optical stalk twitch, like a newborn baby wincing as it catches its first glimpse of daylight. The creature starts to look around as if getting its bearings. It homes in on Davros, the first humanoid it's ever seen, and when he introduces himself as its creator it slowly starts to speak... first it repeats Davros's name, and then it pronounces, "I am alive!" The future is here.