As Captain Jonathan Archer and T'Pol reach the Syrrannite compound after crossing the treacherous Forge expanse, they are immediately treated like traitors. But as T'Pol's mom T'Les comes forward, the Syrrannite de facto leader T'Pau backs off a bit, especially after she realizes a dangerous exchange has taken place. Before he died, the Syrrannites revered leader Syrran mind-melded with Archer, giving the captain his "katra.? The Syrrannites regard the "katra? as the living spirit of Surak, a man who died 2,000 years ago and is considered the greatest Vulcan who ever lived. Archer, who has been feeling strangely since Syrran mind-melded with him, is having visions of Surak, and realizes that the notions of katra must be true. Further, while T'Pau tries to extract the katra from Archer through another type of mind-meld, Surak resists, staying firmly planted in Archer's consciousness. Surak has decided that Archer should have this katra; Vulcans cannot possibly understand the severity of dangers they currently face. In trying to protect Vulcans, Surak believes that Archer is his best recourse in saving his race.

Meanwhile, V'Las is determined to lead the Vulcan High Command on a mission to bombard the Syrrannite camp. Despite Soval's findings otherwise, V'Las has convinced his colleagues that the Syrrannites are responsible for the embassy bombing that claimed Vulcan and human lives.

With those machinations playing out, Soval has been denounced by V'Las and the Vulcan High Command for the mind-melding he previously conducted aboard Enterprise. Certain that the High Command is headed in the wrong direction by targeting the Syrrannites for the embassy bombing, Soval decides to align himself with the Enterprise crew. And he is intent on helping Trip retrieve Archer and T'Pol from the Syrrannite compound. With Soval's being aboard a secret, V'Las informs Trip that Enterprise must now leave their airspace. But Trip ignores the order, and instead continues his plan to send Mayweather and Reed on a shuttlepod to rescue Archer and T'Pol. Unbeknownst to Trip and the others, V'Las doesn't want Enterprise in Vulcan airspace because the crew will witness the devastation he will be unleashing on the Syrrannites.

As Mayweather and Reed depart for The Forge — with a finite window of time for the rescue — V'Las strikes the shuttlepod, forcing the duo to return to Enterprise. Back on Enterprise, Trip confronts an angry V'Las. Trip is insistent that he must save Archer and T'Pol, but an unmoved V'Las then attacks Enterprise, pummeling the ship. On Soval's advice, Trip realizes they need another course of action; with V'Las unrelenting, the crew will never be able to help Archer and T'Pol if they don't survive the Vulcans' force so they leave.

Then later, just as V'Las bombards the Syrrannite compound, Archer — with Surak's guidance — tells T'Pau that he can direct her to the "Kir'Shara,? a mysterious artifact that was extremely important to Surak. While no one is certain of the artifact's specific meaning, Syrran apparently brought the Syrrannites to this area to find it. T'Pol and T'Pau follow Archer into a cave, where he discovers the Kir'Shara. However, upon their return to the compound, T'Pol makes a grim discovery: her mother is dying from the torturous Vulcan attack. V'Las has made certain that his ambush would leave no survivors.

As T'Pol contends with the tragedy and she, T'Pau and Archer try to escape the continuing decimation, Soval relays a terrifying scenario to Trip. He finally reveals the secret he had been keeping: the High Command wanted to pin the embassy bombing on the Syrrannites because they are considered pacifists. Loyal to Surak's teachings and resistant to violence, the Syrrannites would have resisted the High Command's current plan to attack Andoria. Despite the fact that Vulcan and Andoria signed a peace treaty, Vulcan intelligence claims that the Andorians are developing a Xindi-type weapon. Armed with that precept, V'Las has persuaded the High Command to launch a pre-emptive strike, which Trip — and Soval — know will start an interstellar war that could impact Earth as well.

Now, more than ever, as V'Las' adversary and for the greater good, Trip sets a course for Andoria ?