Simon drives to the Welsh village of Llanfairtraws Sychnant to meet with his
friend, and stops at the Prince of Wales Tavern. Nobody is in the streets, and
the tavern seems deserted at first although there are signs it was recently
occupied. A young child, Mary Williams, comes out of the back and introduces
herself to Simon, and says that her father Dylan is out looking for a missing
shepherd while her mother is visiting her sister in Cardiff. The girl says that
something funny is going on but the adults won't say what.
Dylan comes in and demands to know why Simon is there, and Simon explains that Dr. Rhys Davis invited him there. The innkeeper recognizes the name and welcomes Simon, and says that Rhys is out looking for the shepherd, Owen. Simon offers to help, and Dylan sends Mary to bed with a stern warning to lock the door. As they drive to meet the search party, Dylan tells Simon that strange things have been happening around the village in the last few months, but he's no scientist and Rhys can explain it better.
The two men find the party at Devil's Gorge. Rhys greets Simon and apologizes for not meeting him at the tavern. As Simon points out that the men have shotguns, Owen stumbles out of the fog. Shocked, he stares in horror around him. Rhys' assistant, Shoni Morgan, calls the other searchers on the radio and Owen screams in terror when he hears the radio feedback. They restrain the shepherd and Rhys gives him a sedative so that they can take him to the surgery.
At the surgery, Rhys examines Owen while Simon discovers that the shepherd's coat has been ripped to shred. There are lash marks on Owen's chest, but the man is unable speak due to shock. He writes down the words "A big…" but then passes out from exhaustion. Rhys tells Simon that Western Research Laboratories bought Lord Russiter's old manor on Dragon's rock, but nobody knows research that they're doing. Nobody cared until six weeks ago when the strange incidents started happening. A tractor was turned completely over and a stable was torn apart. The attacker killed six horses, and since has torn apart cows and trees. Rhys asks Simon to find out what is responsible for the incidents.
Back at the Prince of Wales, Simon drinks and listens to the villages discussing what might be responsible. Shoni insists that there's a normal solution, but the villagers aren't so sure. They all agree that Western Research is responsible. A woman from the institute, Carmen Grant, enters the tavern and everyone stares at her. Carmen asks Dylan about Owen, and Dylan wonders how she knew the shepherd was missing. She says that she asked after the man, but Dylan refuses to answer her questions and the other villages glare at her. Simon offers to take her to her car, and tells Carmen that Owen is suffering from shock, and then takes her out to her car.
Outside, Carmen tells Simon that she's only a secretary at the institute, and her uncle Charles Sardon runs the place. He's doing research on hormones and entomology. As the ambulance attendants bring Owen out, Simon tells Carmen that the shepherd lost his power of speech.
Carmen drives to the manor past the guard, and goes to her uncle's lab. She tells Sardon what happened to Owen, and Sardon dismisses the villagers as superstitious louts. Carmen figures that her uncle is involved but he dismisses her concerns and refuses to let her question his associate, Dr. Armstrong. Sardon orders her out and once she's gone, Armstrong wonders what would happen if Owen had died. Sardon says that sometimes in the name of science, they must sacrifice a few lives.
The next day, Simon drives to the institute. When the guard says that he doesn't have an appointment, Simon orders him to make one. The guard calls the lab and Sardon tells him to send Simon up. Carmen insists that she didn't tell Simon anything important, and Sardon figures that they're best off assuaging Simon's suspicions rather than showing him away.
When Simon drives up to the manor, Sardon invites him in and shows him the lab. The scientist explains that he's combining chemistry, physics, and mathematics, while Armstrong is using sonics to research how lower life forms communicate with each other. Simon notices a door in the back and Sardon says that it's a culture room. The scientist readily agrees to let Simon in despite Armstrong's nervous glances, and Simon finds nothing unusual inside. He describes the incidents in the village, and Sardon feigns indifference. As he escorts Simon out, Sardon says that he has no explanation for what is responsible and no interest in providing one, and tells Carmen to escort Simon out. Once Simon and Carmen leave, Armstrong warns that Simon is dangerous. Sardon says that their visitor is a fool just like the villagers.
As she escorts Simon out, Carmen refuses to condemn her uncle for his behavior. Simon tells her that he's staying at the Prince of Wales in case she wants to reach him and drives off.
That night at the tavern, Simon, Shoni, and Rhys go over a map of the area, Simon maps all of the incidents and points out that they fan out from the institute, and he figures that Sardon is responsible despite the man's denials.
At the institute, Armstrong tells Sardon that they have to stop what they're doing. Carmen is listening at the door and hears her uncle saying that they've achieved the impossible and can't stop. They hear something at the door and go to investigate, and find a housecat that knocked a vase over. As Sardon picks up the cat, Armstrong begs him to sop his plan. However, Sardon refuses, saying that they've proven that they have complete control of their subject in a five mile radius. He tells Armstrong that he doesn't need to be frightened and they enter their secret lab via a hidden door in the culture room. Once they go down, Carmen enters the culture room but fails to find the secret door. Deep within the mountain, Armstrong activates his sonic transmitting equipment.
Carmen calls Simon at the tavern and tells him that she's changed her mind about her uncle. She asks Simon to meet her at Devil's Gorge, and Dylan gives Simon his shotgun to take with him.
Carmen drives to the gorge and hears an odd chirping noise in the fog. Something moves in on her and Carmen looks up to see a giant ant rearing up out of the fog. She ducks behind a stone pillar and the giant ant tries to reach her without success. Meanwhile, Simon arrives and spots Carmen's parked car.
At the hidden lab, Sardon tells Armstrong to activate the homing frequency.
The pillar starts to fall on Carmen who calls for help. He comes over and helps her out, and Carmen realizes that the ant has gone. She figures that it retreated into a nearby cave, and Simon spots giant footprints leading that way. They enter the cave and see more footprints, and Simon marks the walls with chalk as they enter the tunnels.
Sardon has Armstrong open the metal security door, letting their creation into a storage chamber once Armstrong gives the signal. Sardon is relieved that their test subject is back safely.
The tunnels slope uphill and Simon figures that they're approaching the manor.
Sardon tells Armstrong that the ant has laid her eggs, changing the course of history. Armstrong finally snaps, insisting that they need to destroy the eggs. Sardon calls him a fool and says that they couldn't stop the eggs from hatching even if they wanted to. Armstrong realizes that 10,000 cycles can kill the ant and reaches for the controls, and Sardon shoots him dead.
Simon hears the gunshot and he and Carmen continue on. They find the door and hear a humming sound behind it, but are unable to open it. Simon asks Carmen to get him into the manor, and they go back out. Carmen drives up to the car while Simon hides in the back, and the guard lets the car through. Meanwhile, Sardon leaves his lab and goes up to the main room, and finds Carmen there. He goes to his upstairs room and Simon emerges from hiding and enters the culture room. He spots dusty footprints coming out of the hidden door and finds the switch to open it. He goes down the tunnel to the second lab, unwittingly setting off a hidden eyebeam alarm.
In the main room, Sardon's remote activates, warning him that he has an intruder. He goes to the lab and confronts Simon, his gun drawn. The scientist insists that ants are the future rules of the world, and that he can use the proper frequencies to control the creature... or destroy it. Sardon insists that humans will eventually destroy themselves and he has rectified the situation so that the modified ants can take over. When Simon tries to get his shotgun lying nearby, Sardon snatches it away and explains that the ant's eggs will soon hatch.
Carmen comes down the stairs behind Sardon, and Simon convinces the scientist to explain how the sonic transmitter works. As Sardon points out the frequency dial, he boasts that the ant he's bred is the most intelligent and savage breed of ant. Carmen turns the frequency dial and Simon kicks the gun out of Sardon's hand. The two of them fight while the ant goes berserk and starts bringing down the walls. Sardon releases the ant and is surprised when Simon turns off the transmitter. Simon explains that they need the ant alive so that it can lead them to the eggs. Carmen goes to get some kerosene, and Sardon attacks Simon. Simon easily knocks him out and goes into the tunnels with Carmen and the kerosene. Once they're gone, Sardon wakes up, grabs a flashlight and a rifle, and goes after them.
As they move through the tunnels, Carmen catches her foot in some rocks and trips. Simon tries to pull her free. Meanwhile, Sardon finds the ant first and promises to help it. It advances on him, easily knocking the rifle out of his hands when he tries to defend himself.
As Simon frees Carmen, he hears Sardon's screams and they follow the noise. They find the scientist's corpses and the eggs in an adjacent chamber. Simon sets them on fire and the giant ant attacks them. Simon shoots it and the creature's writhing brings down the ceiling on top of it. He realizes that the ant must have entered through a different route, and carries Carmen to safety after she passes out from smoke inhalation.
Written by Gadfly on Jan 10, 2016