Enterprise discovers a crashed Insectoid vessel on a barren planet. Captain Archer leads an away team to explore the wreckage and discovers an Insectoid hatchery with several dozen surviving eggs, but a failing bio-support system. Archer, now helmet-less, is suddenly sprayed in the face by one of the eggs, but Doctor Phlox concludes it was a defense mechanism and merely treats it with an analgesic. Dead Insectoids and one of their shuttles are then taken aboard for analysis, and computer logs reveal the survivors cut off their own life support in order to save the ship's hatchery.
Despite objections, Archer orders Commander Tucker to repair the hatchery's bio-support. Incompatibilities with Starfleet portable power generators cause an overload, prematurely hatching one of the eggs, but Phlox cannot save it. Increasingly obsessive, Archer soon orders the transfer of one-third of Enterprise 's antimatter supply to the Xindi ship so that full power can be restored. With the success of the mission in mind, Sub-Commander T'Pol refuses to carry out his order, so he relieves her of duty and confines her to quarters. Soon after, Lieutenant Reed, in control of the bridge, destroys an escaping Xindi ship. Archer relieves him as well, saying that the alien crew could have been used to save the eggs.
Archer then promotes Major Hayes to First Officer, and he orders Ensign Sato to prepare an Insectoid-language distress signal. Tucker and Phlox confront Archer, and covertly perform a medical scan, but it reveals nothing. With time running out, Tucker concludes that a mutiny is in order, and they free T'Pol and Reed to assist. After a tense standoff and shootout with the MACOs, the Enterprise crew capture the bridge. Meanwhile, Tucker beams down to the hatchery and stuns Archer. Back on Enterprise, a thorough medical scan by Phlox reveals that the egg had sprayed Archer with a "nurturing hormone", making him focused on preserving them. In the end, Archer is fully treated and he orders full warp-speed towards Azati Prime.