The Liberator crew look for a suitable base - only to find the Federation has its eye on the same place. And the local inhabitants don't take this lying down...
This episode begins with Tarrant and Dayna teleporting down to the planet Obsidian, looking for new recruits. The planet is strange in that is has an Volcano in the centre of the planet, slowly simmering away for the last 20 years. The planet was also unscathed during the Galactic war; no space ship debris can be found on the surface. For some reason, the Federation surveyed the planet, then decided to stay away and Avon wants to know why. There is also a rumour that Blake has also visited the planet.
Tarrant and Dayna begin to search for the local settlements, skirting around the Volcano. However, the rulers of the planet have already detected the Liberator in orbit. The leader, Hower, decides to leave the search party alone for now, but his son, Bershar has other ideas and sets up an ambush for Dayna and Tarrant, who are soon rendered unconscious.
Hower disciplines Beshar when the two are brought before him. This is a planet of peace and violence is not acceptable. They soon wake up and find their guns and communicator bracelets missing. Dayna explains that she's the daughter of Hal Melanby, who was in the Federation science complex with Hower and begins to explain their reasons for coming to Obsidian. Meanwhile, Servalan is closing on the planet with her own forces. She orders Mori to take the Liberator and somehow she already knows Tarrant and Dayna are on the planet surface.
On the Liberator, Vila is getting worried. Avon reveals to Cally and Vila that a detector beam eminated from the planet on their arrival. On the planet, Tarrant and Dayna are making their pitch for new recruits, explaning about the power of the Liberator and the need for a base to launch the revolt against the Federation, but Hower is unmoved. He's not seen Blake on the planet, and wishes to remain strictly outside the Federation and the revolution's battles. Tarrant can't understand this, knowing the planet is ripe for invasion by the Federation.
Avon is had enough of waiting and teleports down to the surface and begins to use a tracking device to locate Tarrant and Dayna. But once down, the Liberator also loosed contact with Avon, which they believe to be some form of interference caused by the Volcano. Servalan has also landed on Obsidian, along with Mori and more Federation guards. She meets up with one of the natives, who gives her a message. She then orders them killed, but none of them attempt to run.
Tarrant and Basher discuss the Volcano and head off to view the control complex, leaving Dayna and Hower alone with the serving robot. Hower reveals that the reason the natives are so anti-violence is due to electro-shock therapy from birth. They treat everyone and coach non-violence with daily psychological propaganda blocking all aggressive tendencies. There is no war, no in-fighting and no crime, the planet is always at peace.
Avon comes across the dead natives, recognising the Federation's weapon marks. He spots Mori and his troops and quickly teleports back to the ship. In the control complex, Tarrant is questioning Basher, recognising he doesn't totally believe the planet is safe from attack. Basher then surprises Tarrant by asking if he knows a woman called Servalan. Basher gives Tarrant and Dayna their teleport bracelets back and escorts them to the surface, where they are quickly captured by Mori and his troops - who were tipped off by Basher.
Someone contacts the Liberator, but the voice is difficult to make out. Vila panics and operates the teleport and four Federation troopers appear and capture Vila and Cally. Avon is on the flight deck, when Zen suddenly warns him of eight approaching Federation pursuit ships closing at attack speed. Avon prepares the ship for combat as Vila argues with his captures, who know all about the attack. Cally attempts to warn Avon telepathically as Avon and the battle computers manage to destroy one of the pursuit ships. Avon is confused however, as the pursuit ships are in range but are not firing. The answer comes soon as Mori enteres the flight deck, gun aimed at Avon. The Liberator is soon under Mori's control.
Mori is admiring Orac when Avon issues a fire command to Zen. The Liberator's main blasters fire, then the ship accelerates and in the confusion Avon grabs a gun and kills two troopers. Avon is wounded as the pursuit ships, now beliving the take over has failed begin to attack the Liberator. Mori gets worried, grabs Orac and runs to the teleport section. He grabs Cally and orders Vila to teleport them down and despite Cally's objections, Vila complies.
The pursuit ships break off their attack as Vila rushes to help Avon. When Servalan contacts the ship, looking for Mori, Vila attempts to bluff her, telling her all the crew are onboard and are now targetting her ship. Servalan believes him and heads back to Space Command. When Avon comes round, Vila, a drink in hand, explains what happened. A mess, as Avon calls it.
On the planet, Basher is panicking, knowing his plans have failed, but that the battle fleet will return. Hower enters and is upset at Basher, knowing he overcame his conditioning and broke his vow of peace. For this, he shoots him dead. Hower reveals that all the natives are dying from radiation poisening, caused by a huge nuclear device buried deep in the planet's core. This is why the Federation stayed away, one press of a button and the planet is totally destroyed. Now that they are going to return, he will destroy the planet.
Tarrant and Dayna close on Cally's location and using her telepathic abilities to warn them of the location of the guards, they close in and free Cally and Orac. They teleport back to the Liberator and try to leave orbit, but the ship's energy banks are drained from the battle. As the Federation fleet attacks, the planet is destroyed, shaking the Liberator through its force walls and destroying the battle fleet.. When the Liberator's banks are charged enough, they make their escape.
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