"We are Kaleds. We are more than a match for weak, tattered, crippled relics of the war."
Now approaching his thirtieth year, Davros is trying to get out of the Kaled military and into the Scientific Corps, determined to use his mind to create new ways to let the Kaled race survive the never-ending war with the Thals. But first, he must undertake a mission into Thal territory. A mission that will introduce him to technology and hardware he could only dream of. And it just might teach him a few life lessons too.
Still a captive among his creations, the Daleks, Davros continues his recounting of his past.
Young Davros, now nearing thirty years of age, has joined the Military Elite as a Tech-Officer. With his friend and fellow officer Reston, he works on refining and testing new weapons developed by the Scientific Corps—a posting that Davros greatly desires for himself. He grows frustrated at their repeated failures with the new weapons, and believes he can do better for his people—and then he is summoned to the office of the highest leader of the Kaleds, the Supremo.
His meeting with the Supremo is tense, with Davros displaying his arrogance, until the Supremo makes an offer. Davros, he explains, will be sent on a mission to infiltrate the city of the Thals; and using his prodigious scientific skills, he will disable and destroy a new weapon under development. If he agrees, and succeeds, he will be promoted—perhaps even to the Scientific Corps. Although Davros tries to agree at once, the Supremo sends him home to think about it, swearing him to secrecy.
At home, he encounters his sister Yarvell, whose sympathies have increasingly come to lie with the peace activist factions. Their mother, Calcula, is out buying art, a lifestyle which both Davros and Yarvell agree she cannot afford any longer. It sparks an argument; their father left the family’s money in trust in Davros’s name, on condition that he marry; as he refuses to find a wife, it cannot be released. The argument turns to the war; Davros is scornful of their enemies, the Thals, but Yarvell tells him that recently-discovered ruins indicate they were once a single society with the Kaleds. As Davros repudiates Yarvell’s claims, Calcula arrives at home with a new work of art: a portrait of Davros. Her doting on him disgusts Yarvell, who only reluctantly stays for dinner.
Later, the three relax in the family’s pool; but soon the discussion turns into another argument about the war—Calcula supports it, as always, while Yarvell argues against it. Davros sides with Calcula. Yarvell again brings up the money, but Calcula defends Davros’s decision. As the argument peaks, Davros accidentally reveals his upcoming mission. As Yarvell storms out in anger, Calcula determines to use her own contacts to learn more of the mission. However, she then returns to the topic of wealth; Davros decries her words, and tells her the only way she will obtain the trust fund is when he dies.
Davros recommends that Reston join him on the mission; the request is approved, to Reston’s surprise. In the Covert Operations section, they are introduced to their team leader, Major Brint, who gives them the details. They are to infiltrate a recently-discovered and heavily-guarded weapons facility, steal what they can, and destroy the rest. Accompanying them will be six commandos; Davros will be second-in-command after Brint. A diversionary attack will take place at the same time, giving them some form of cover. The group departs.
Later, at midnight, the team reaches a minefield, and watch as the diversionary attack begins. Davros suspects they may be beyond the mines already, though they lost at least one commando en route. The mission is running behind and falling apart; suddenly it is beset by a Thal patrol, which manages to kill another commando. Escaping, Davros determines that Brint is not leading well, and takes command.
By the following nightfall, they reach the mountains. Davros begins to suspect that the unusually numerous Thal patrols have somehow been waiting for them—but only the Supremo should know they are here. Another patrol approaches; Davros seizes control from Brint again, and lures the Thals into a trap. They overwhelm the Thals and take their uniforms.
Brint catches Davros making notes about Brint’s conduct, for later use in requesting an inquiry, but he is unable to do anything about it for now. Meanwhile, Reston notes that they can see the stars and the two moons, which is impossible inside the cities due to the war’s pollution; he wants to build a home here after the war, but Davros scoffs at that dream. Viewing the Thal base, they learn that the Thals are constructing numerous long launch ramps. Brint intends to blow up the base, but Davros stops him; he and Reston will infiltrate it instead. If it is as he believes, he will be able to obtain the much-needed intelligence and still destroy the base. Brint allows it, but promises to destroy the base and them with it if the mission is compromised.
Davros and Reston have little trouble getting inside, and they find the base nearly deserted; its production line is automated. In fact, the entire base is one large, robotic factory, run by advanced computers—an accomplishment currently beyond the Kaleds, and admirable. Davros confirms that the factory is making sustained-flight rockets—hence the ramps. Moreover, the rockets have advanced, adaptable guidance systems allowing for great maneuverability; the intelligent systems mean that no pilot is needed. This system could win the war in a single stroke. Davros and Reston take notes and images.
In a nearby office, Reston learns that half the Thal economy has gone into this project—a crippling financial blow, should it be lost. They are caught by a Thal patrol, who promise that they will be tried and shot as spies—but, more strangely, their commander calls Davros by name. The Thals are eliminated by Brint, who has come to find them. Reluctantly, they set the charges to destroy the base, and evacuate, meeting up with their remaining team members. Shortly thereafter, the base explodes. Knowing the remaining Thal soldiers will be after them, Davros recommends that they flee through the wastelands to the north rather than back over the mountains. Brint objects, believing rumours of cannibalistic, mutated survivors in that area, but Davros insists.
In the fog of the wasteland, the group is separated; before they can regroup, another commando, Vander, is lost. They encounter a terrible, plantlike creature, which attacks them, forcing them to kill it. However, Davros is horrified—and fascinated—to see that the plant was, until recently, Vander! Davros collects some samples, including the spines which the plants use to infect their victims; however, this results in a final argument between Davros and the now-terrified Brint. Davros accuses Brint of betraying them and leading them to their deaths; Brint denies it, but turns over command to Davros, and walks into the fog.
Davros, Reston, and the final two commandos make their way through the wastes, until—with the thinning of the fog—they find they are surrounded by the carnivorous plant creatures. Some nearby ruins provide the only sanctuary; as they run to them, Davros remembers Yarvell’s words about ruins to the north. This must be the ruin of that decadent society, but it will do for shelter if they get there before dark; after all, the plants have no eyes, meaning that in the dark, the plants will have the advantage.
Inside the ruined city, the atmosphere feels wrong. Davros splits the team in two to search the place, sending Reston in charge of the second pair. The group is forced back together by a pack of armed scavengers; they open fire, but the attackers have the advantage of numbers. At last the scavengers are killed, but so are the two remaining commandos, and Davros’s gun is depleted. One survivor remains; Davros finds that it is his old tutor, Magrantine.
Magrantine is dying despite his hate for Davros, but first, Davros questions him about the plants, as he remembers something from a book that seems familiar. Magrantine calls them “Varga”, from an old Dal word for “Devourer”; they consumer flesh, and inject their seeds into their victims so as to spawn. The plants have evolved mobility due to the toxins in the air and water; now they hunt their victims. Davros is intrigued, and wants to develop them into weapons. Meanwhile Magrantine explains what happened to him; after his ordeal in the radiation chamber, Calcula had him dumped outside the city. He survived his mutations, and was picked up by the deserters and other refugees in the wastes—everyone the Kaleds and Thals have put out. He has survived on his desire for revenge against Davros. He cannot attack Davros now, as he lacks the strength; but he curses Davros, wishing a similar fate on him. He dies moments later. Reston has fallen asleep, but awakens; Davros assures him he hasn’t missed anything.
They watch the Varga plants feeding on the slain scavengers. One plant pleads with them for help; they realise it is Brint, now a victim. Davros denies his wish, and they depart while the rest of the plants are distracted.
Nearing the Kaled lines, Reston demands to rest, as he is exhausted. Davros spurs him on; but in his exhaustion and recklessness, he climbs the nearby ridge—while still wearing his stolen Thal uniform. The Kaled automated defences cut him down. He is alive, but cannot walk. Davros offers to carry him, but Reston knows it will slow them down and allow snipers to catch up; he demands to die with honour, as per military protocol. Davros remembers his father’s denied wish to do the same, and says he cannot understand wanting to die; he becomes angry, and tells Reston that people like him are holding the Kaleds back. He then shoots and kills Reston with Reston’s own pistol.
Later, Davros awakens in a hospital, with Calcula at hand. She explains that he was picked up, exhausted and dehydrated; but she is proud of him. He tells her that someone must have known about the mission and betrayed him; she realises that he suspects her. She forcefully objects, insisting that she would never rob Davros of the greatness he was born for; to Davros, that only leaves Yarvell. Calcula agrees, and insists she will take care of it.
Yarvell swims alone at home, listening to a radio broadcast of a message she herself recorded on behalf of the new Peace Confederation. Calcula enters, and tells her that Davros is dead. Yarvell is shocked, but quickly moves on to practical details of the funeral to be planned; Calcula explains that he was killed on the mission behind the Thal lines, as the Thals knew he was coming—knew his name, in fact, as well as his face. At last, Yarvell admits to having warned the Thals by way of the Peace Confederation; she admits that she had grown concerned about what Davros might do if he was placed in the Scientific Corps. However, she didn’t want Davros dead, just stopped. Calcula reveals that Davros is not dead, and declares that Yarvell is a danger to Davros, just like her father Nasgard and aunt Tashek—whose deaths, she admits, she arranged. She attacks Yarvell, and drowns her in the pool.
Calcula tells Davros that she found Yarvell drowning and tried to revive her, but was unsuccessful. After all, there was Davros to think about. Davros suggests spinning Yarvell’s death as a murder by a Thal infiltrator within the Peace Confederation. He promises to protect his mother; Calcula, meanwhile, intends to get Nasgard’s will overturned, releasing the money to support them both...after Yarvell’s cremation.
Later, Davros begins to experiment on Yarvell’s body; he intends to keep this a secret, as his mother expects a cremation. In what he considers poetic justice, he combines her DNA with that of a Thal and a Varga plant, intending to make weapons to win the war...by the power of science.
- Tech-Ops Davros - Terry Molloy
- The Daleks - Nicholas Briggs
- Radio Announcer - Gary Hopkins
- Yarvell - Lizzie Hopley
- Lady Calcula - Carolyn Jones
- Kaled Officer - Joseph Lidster
- Major Brint - James Parsons
- Thal Officer - Gary Russell
- Magrantine - Peter Sowerbutts
- The Supremo - John Stahl
- Tech-Ops Reston - Andrew Wisher
- The Supremo is the leader of the Kaled people.
- Davros is a member of the Military Elite.
- Davros is approaching his thirtieth birthday.
- Lady Calcula is a member of the Council of Twelve.
- Yarvell has become a peace activist. She regards Davros as "a dangerous psychopath."
- There is an ancient city north of the Kaled City that has evidence of Thals and Kaleds living together and even mating with each other in the distant past.
- In Colonel Nasgard's will, the family finances are held in trust under Davros' name and his wife and daughter are forbidden access to it until Davros is married. Due to her connections with senior members of the Kaled judiciary, Calcula is ultimately successful in her attempts to have the terms of the will overturned. Prior to this, she had attempted to set Davros up with the daughter of Councillor Matros, another member of the Council of Twelve who belonged to one of the most influential and wealthy Kaled families.
- Skaro's sky is still visible.
- Prior to entering the Wastelands, Reston had never seen the stars.
- Skaro has two moons: Falkus and Omega Mysterium.
- Davros encounters some Varga plants in the Wastelands and meets his old tutor Magrantine, whom he thought long dead.
- Seeing the Varga plants gives Davros ideas about genetic mutation and development.
- Calcula drowns her daughter Yarvell, Davros' elder half-sister, for leaking information about Davros to the Thals.
- Aside from the Kaleds and the Thals, two other sentient humanoid races, the Tharons and the Dals, evolved on Skaro. However, both were extinct by the time of the Thousand Year War as a result of a programme of genocide orchestrated by the Kaleds.
- Andrew Wisher (Reston) is the son of Michael Wisher, who played Davros in TV: Genesis of the Daleks.
- This audio drama was recorded on 1 August 2006.
- The story was reissued in 2007 as part of The Complete Davros Collection DVD boxset.
- Varga plants first appeared on screen in TV: Mission to the Unknown.
- The Supremo refers to the destruction of the Education Centre by the Thals and the supposed death of Magrantine fourteen years earlier. (AUDIO: Innocence)
- Shortly after his stepfather's death, Davros joined the Military Youth before joining the Military Corps in his final year of college. (AUDIO: Innocence)
- Davros and Reston discuss the fact that the Mutos engage in cannibalism. (AUDIO: Davros)
- The mutated Magrantine sarcastically refers to Davros as "my boy," as he had done when he was his tutor fourteen years earlier. (AUDIO: Innocence)
- Davros talks about creating a mollusc that could be genetically engineered into a weapon. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks)