With the destruction of the clone masters Servalan seeks out another method of cloning; Auron. Infecting a pilot from Auron she then offers a cure, but only so she might land troops on Auron.
Servalan arranges to waylay a ship from Auron and infect its pilot, Pilot Four Zero, with a pathogen. There is tension onboard her ship between the ship's captain Deral and Ginka, who believes Deral was made captain ahead of him because of his connections. When the Auron ship reaches its destination, the pilot is dead and the pathogen infects most of the population: Since they are isolationists, they have no natural immunity to alien diseases.
The Liberator is en route to Earth where Avon plans to seek revenge on Shrinker, the torturer who killed Anna Grant. However, Cally then picks up a distress call from her clone sister Zelda, who works in the cloning facility on Auron, informing her of the outbreak. The Liberator crew vote to answer the call.
Servalan also heads to Auron and offers her assistance. Franton, the head of the cloning facility, wants to wait for the Liberator but is overruled by CA One, the planet's leader. Servalan informs Deral she plans to capture both the Auron cloning facilities and the Liberator. She cures Franton but makes no effort to save the next batch of Auron patients, merely taking their isolation suits so she and Deral can travel to the cloning plant. There, she persuades Franton and Zelda to implant the next batch of clone children with her own genetic material.
The Liberator also arrives and Avon, Tarrant, Cally and Dayna teleport down. Dayna returns to the ship with Patar, one of the Aurons, for medical analysis. CA One mentions the Federation ship just before Ginka and a squad of troopers take control of the centre. Meanwhile, Orac has cured Patar, who mentions the same to Vila and Dayna. Vila tries to contact Avon and the others but Servalan answers. Thinking Vila is alone, she sends Deral up, supposedly as an emissary, to take control of the Liberator but he is easily taken prisoner by Dayna and Patar. Servalan orders CA One and Two taken out and shot.
Learning the situation, Franton heads to the control centre and frees Avon, Tarrant and Cally. She leads them back to the cloning plant, knowing Servalan won't fire on it and risk killing her own children. Deral makes the same deduction and shares it with his captors; Dayna teleports down with spare bracelets. The group begin preparing the viable Auron brood units for transport.
Servalan orders Ginka to lead a ground assault on the facility. Ginka convinces her that Deral replaced her genetic material with his own so she'll order an artillery barrage instead. Avon, Tarrant, Cally, Dayna and Franton teleport to the Liberator but Zelda removes her bracelet to correct a fault on the unit containing Servalan's children. The artillery barrage destroys the facility; Cally senses the death of Zelda and Servalan that of her children. Realising Ginka lied to her, she kills him at the push of a button. Avon and Tarrant teleport an unwilling Deral to Servalan's ship to tell her that she failed to wipe out either the crew or the Aurons; Servalan promptly kills him as well.
Later, Avon informs Vila, Tarrant and Dayna that Franton and Patar will settle on Khan with enough gene stock for five thousand Aurons but Cally is staying with them.
- Avon - Paul Darrow
- Cally - Jan Chappell
- Vila - Michael Keating
- Tarrant - Steven Pacey
- Dayna - Josette Simon
- Zen/Orac - Peter Tuddenham
- Servalan - Jacqueline Pearce
- Zelda - Jan Chappell (Uncredited)
- Franton - Sarah Atkinson
- Deral - Rio Fanning
- Ginka - Ric Young
- C.A. One - Ronald Leigh-Hunt
- C.A. Two - Beth Harris
- Patar - Jack McKenzie
- Pilot Four Zero - Michael Troughton
- Production Assistant - Roselyn Parker
- Production Unit Manager - Sheelagh Rees
- Director's Assistant - Shuna Young
- Assistant Floor Manager - Jenny Osborn
- Film Cameraman - Peter Chapman
- Film Recordist - Ian Sansam
- Film Editor - Sheila S. Tomlinson
- Series Videotape Editors - Sam Upton (Uncredited), Malcolm Banthorpe (Uncredited)
- Visual Effects Designer - Steve Drewett, Jim Francis
- Video Effects - A.J. Mitchell
- Graphic Designer - Doug Burd
- Technical Manager - Peter Granger
- Senior Cameraman - Dave White
- Vision Mixer - Paul del Bravo
- Studio Lighting - Brian Clemett
- Studio Sound - Malcolm Johnson
- Special Sound - Elizabeth Parker
- Costume Designer - Dee Robson
- Make Up Artist - Sheelagh J. Wells
- Music By - Dudley Simpson
- Series Created By - Terry Nation
- Jan Chappell appears uncredited as Cally's twin sister Zelda.
- From this episode, Servalan would wear black outfits: She had worn white in all preceding appearances bar "Gambit" where she wore red and "Powerplay" where she wore purple. Jacqueline Pearce requested this to indicate Servalan mourning for her children, although the change in colour actually occurs first.
Leeds Polytechnic Civil Engineering Department. Thruscross Reservoir, near Greenhow Hill.
To be added.
- This episode seems to be at odds with the back story established for Cally in Time Squad, where the Aurons sent her to Saurian Major to assist the resistance there and her exile was self-imposed after failing to save them from being wiped out. Here, she went to Saurian Major in defiance of her people's isolation policy.
- Anna Grant was established in Countdown, The Shrinker storyline is continued in Rumours of Death.
- Servalan mentions that the Clonemasters from Weapon have been destroyed.
Avon: The trouble with the people of Auron is that they all suffer from a superiority complex.
Vila: You should get on well with them then.
Tarrant: You've outvoted, Avon. Three to two.
Vila: Four to one. I like to stay with the winners.
Avon: (Contacting Vila) Idiot! Where are you?
Vila: (After Dayna takes Deral prisoner) Disarming, isn't she?
Home video releases
- Original BBC video release (Volume 17) in 1992.
- Fabulous Films video reissue (Volume 17) on 3 May 1999.
- DVD release as part of the Series 3 box set on 20 June 2005.
Synopsis from the VHS release:
A course has been set for Earth - Avon has an old score to settle with the notorious Shrinker, famed Federation torturer. Then Cally receives a telepathic cry for help from her twin sibling Zelda. The whole of Auron has been infected by a deadly epidemic...