Sixteen-year-old Stephen Franklin stages a prank while in a school science class, but the joke goes wrong, and a classmate suffers horrible facial injuries. When Stephen is then expelled from the comprehensive school, his father, journalist Oscar Franklin, inquires as to why, and how does a scientist named Ensor know of Stephen's genetic past? Stephen suffers from an abnormality of his hands, and he has an obscure genetic defect: an extra Y chromosome. Doomwatch become involved when it seems that there may be a genetic explanation for violent and unpredictable behaviour.
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