Deep Space Nine saison 2 : les épisodes
Kira is intrigued when Quark presents her with an earring he claims was delivered from Cardassia IV. She immediately recognizes the earring as that of Li Nalas, who according to legend is the greatest Bajoran resistance fighter ever. Li has been missing and presumed dead, but the earring indicates that he is alive, and Kira believes it was smuggled out as a cry for help. She asks Sisko for a Runabout to rescue Li, telling him that Li is exactly the sort of leader the increasingly factionalized Bajoran people need. Sisko is skeptical about the dangerous mission, but promises to think about it, when Odo and O'Brien approach Sisko with another problem. Graffiti bearing the insignia of "The Circle," an extremist group that wants to rid Bajor of all non-Bajorans, has appeared around the station. Sisko is troubled by this reminder that tensions on Bajor are definitely growing.
With this in mind, and with encouragement from Dax, Sisko agrees to let Kira have the Runabout on one condition — O'Brien must accompany her on her mission into Cardassian territory. At first, Kira objects, worried that the presence of a Federation officer will only complicate things. However, Sisko is unwilling to bend, so Kira reluctantly agrees and the two head off.
After near-detection by the Cardassian forces, Kira and O'Brien land inside a prison camp where Bajorans break rocks in the sun. Kira flirts with an overseer in order to get inside the prison forcefield, then she and O'Brien make a surprise assault and get to the prisoners. Li is confused, unsure why these strangers have come for him. His friend Borum reveals that he smuggled the earring out in order to get Li rescued. The group prepares to leave as Cardassian guards come at them with phasers blazing. Li is hit, and the group makes the grim realization that they cannot escape with all of the other prisoners. Borum orders Kira to take Li back to Bajor and insists that he and three other prisoners will hold off the Cardassian troops. Reluctantly, Kira allows Borum and the others to sacrifice themselves in order to save Li.
Back on the station, Li is given medical attention while Kira inadvertently steps in on a message from Cardassian leader Gul Dukat. She is shocked to hear Dukat apologize for the existence of the prison camp, and is skeptical when he announces that all of the remaining prisoners will be released. Sisko also has trouble believing Dukat's words, but encourages Kira to be pleased with what has been achieved. The sudden arrival of Li has caused a tremendous commotion on the station, as Bajorans openly stare at him in awe. Li, however, seems strangely uncomfortable with the attention. He politely stands by while Minister Jaro from Bajor makes a speech publicly welcoming him home, and only relaxes when Sisko finally escorts him to his quarters. There, Sisko hints at the trouble on Bajor and asks Li for help in bringing stability to the planet. Meanwhile, at the counter of his closed bar, Quark is attacked by three masked, hulking figures who force him to the floor and burn his flesh with a sort of branding iron.
While Dr. Bashir aids Quark, Li is told that Quark's assailants are members of The Circle. Li is shocked that Bajorans have done such a thing, and Sisko explains that many Bajorans are turning to The Circle because they have grown impatient with their government. Kira adds that the Bajorans need a leader who will speak out against extremist groups, at which point all eyes turn to Li. He, however, wants no part of it. A short while afterward, the Bajoran hero Is caught trying to secretly leave the station for the faraway Gamma Quadrant.
Forced to explain himself, Li painfully reveals that the bravery he is so famous for is based entirely on rumors. He killed an unarmed, unclothed Cardassian, and when the Bajorans learned that this dead Cardassian was a great fighter, Li's encounter — and everything he did that followed — grew to reach mythic proportions. Because the stories that made him a legend are false, Li feels unworthy of leading the Bajorans. But Sisko disagrees. He explains that the Bajoran people need a legend, and that they look to Li as a symbol of what is best in themselves. Realizing that Sisko is right, Li agrees to assume whatever role is needed, which soon results in a surprising development. Minister Jaro announces that Li has been named Bajoran Liaison Officer to Deep Space Nine — the position currently held by Kira. Over Sisko's objections, Jaro states that Kira has been dropped from the station and has been called back to Bajor.
(One of the great episodes of season two!)
After Minister Jaro dismisses Major Kira and sends her back to Bajor, Sisko angrily confronts him about his actions. Jaro is surprised that Sisko is not happy to be rid of his troublesome officer, but assures him that Kira has been promoted. He also reminds Sisko that he couldn't have a better replacement than war hero Li Nalas, who will be safer from Bajor's escalating violence if he remains on Deep Space Nine. Sisko receives an eerie reminder of that violence when he returns to his quarters and finds his door has been vandalized with The Circle's insignia. Kira, meanwhile, is not happy about leaving, a fact she discusses with the rest of the crew as they stop by her quarters to see her off. Odo encourages her to fight for her job, but Kira is resigned to her fate. Then, Bajoran spiritual leader Vedek Bareil arrives unexpectedly. Although he starts out talking about the proliferation of weapons on Bajor, he ends up changing the subject and inviting Kira to spend some time at his monastery. She accepts, but before she leaves, Sisko promises to fight to have her reinstated.
In the monastery, Kira grows uncomfortable with both her feelings of uselessness and her growing attraction to Bareil. Bareil leads her to a chamber of the temple shrine, where he leaves her alone with one of the sacred orbs. Kira is suddenly enveloped by light and mysteriously transported to a room full of Bajoran legislators, plus Dax, Vedek Winn, Jaro, and Bareil. Kira is urged to listen to the legislators. Suddenly, she realizes that she is naked, just as Bareil appears from behind and kisses her. As they kiss, an explosion of sound interrupts the moment and she finds herself fully dressed, standing alone in the shrine chamber. Later, when Bareil asks Kira what she experienced, she lies about it, even when Bareil says that she has been in one of his visions.
Back on Deep Space Nine, Quark fills Odo in on an important piece of information — the Kressari have been supplying arms to The Circle. Without Kira to help him, Odo needs Quark's assistance to learn where the weapons are being delivered, and forces the Ferengi to act as his deputy. The officers delay the departure of a Kressarian freighter long enough for Odo to sneak aboard in liquid form and then disguise himself as a rat. At the same time, Sisko travels to Bajor to tell Kira about the arms shipments and warn her about the imminent coup. He again promises to help her return to the space station. However, soon after he leaves, she is drugged and kidnapped by three masked men.
On the Kressari ship, Odo learns that the Cardassians are really behind the arms shipments, secretly supplying the Kressarians with the weapons being taken to Bajor. Meanwhile, Kira awakens in an underground bunker, where Minister Jaro reveals that he is The Circle, and that he assigned Li to the station so the war hero wouldn't gain the devotion of the Bajorans. Jaro then passionately declares that, thanks to his work, Bajor will soon no longer be powerless in the face of others, and the Federation will be forced to leave. Back at the station, Quark tells Sisko where Kira has been taken, and Sisko, Li, and Bashir hurry to Bajor to rescue her. Surprising Kira's captors, they find her, cut and bleeding, and transport her back to their Runabout.
Soon after the group arrives at the station, Odo returns and informs Kira that the arms shipments to The Circle are coming from the Cardassians, who hope a resulting coup will get rid of the Federation so they can eventually retake Bajor. Back on Bajor, Jaro has no idea of this, and congratulates Vedek Winn on their pending success. Desperate, Sisko tries to put Li in touch with Bajor's Council of Ministers to tell them the truth, but all communications with the planet have been severed. Instead, he summons the aid of Admiral Chekote at Starfleet Command, and the two soon realize that Bajor is set to erupt in a full-scale revolution. With Bajoran assault ships scheduled to reach Deep Space Nine in only seven hours, the Admiral orders Sisko to conduct a complete evacuation of the station, but Sisko secretly plans to make one last stand against the approaching Bajoran forces.
With less than five hours remaining before Bajoran forces are due to arrive, Sisko continues to evacuate Deep Space Nine. He elects to remain aboard to delay the station takeover, and is pleased when his officers choose to stay with him. Kira maintains that the only real hope of stopping The Circle is to get evidence of the secret Cardassian involvement with Bajor's Chamber of Ministers. With communications jammed and all Runabouts involved in the evacuation, she and Dax arrange to get taken to the Lunar-V base, where ancient Bajoran raiders — the only transportation available — await them. Meanwhile, the Promenade is in total chaos with almost everyone, including Bajorans, making attempts to flee. Li is able to convince some of his people to stay, but there are still too many passengers and too few ships. This is because Quark, true to form, has seized the opportunity to make money by selling seats, and has accidentally "overbooked" and sold more seats than are actually available. Luckily, all civilians, including O'Brien's family and Sisko's son, are able to escape the coming siege.
Some time later, Bajoran raiders, led by Colonel Day and Over-General Krim, arrive at Deep Space Nine. Seeing no Federation members anywhere, they cautiously assume that the station has been abandoned, not realizing that a small team led by Sisko is hiding. Eventually, however, Krim decides that some people may still be aboard when it's noticed that the internal security system has been disabled. He reports this to Minister Jaro, who reminds Krim and Day that it is most important they take Li Nalas alive, to seal their victory.
Hidden in the conduits, Sisko and Bashir command two teams of would-be resisters, while Odo spies on the Bajorans. When Odo reports that a six-man team is preparing to search the cargo deck, Bashir and his group successfully intercept the soldiers and take them prisoner. Meanwhile, on one of Bajor's moons, Kira and Dax locate a dilapidated raider and manage to get it flying, but are soon intercepted by two highly superior Bajoran ships. Kira attempts to fly into Bajor's atmosphere to evade the attacking vessels, but they are hit and crash onto the planet's surface.
In an effort to stall the Bajorans, Day is lured into a holosuite, where he attempts to "capture" holographic images of the crew. The images fade from view and the door locks, giving Sisko, via voice communication, an opportunity to tell Day about the Cardassian plot, and that proof is on the way to Bajor. However, Day is unimpressed and neglects to tell Krim about the plot after he is released from the suite. Instead, they set about searching the conduits for the Starfleet team.
Amidst the Runabout wreckage, Kira, who is badly hurt, tries to convince Dax to leave her and deliver the evidence to the Chamber of Ministers herself. But Dax refuses to abandon Kira, and the two are soon discovered. Luckily, the Bajorans who found them have been sent by Bareil, who has Kira's wounds tended to at his monastery and helps disguise her and Dax as monks. Despite Kira's protests, he insists on accompanying the women to the Chamber of Ministers. Back at the station, Bashir creates a diversion, giving an armed O'Brien, Li, and Sisko access to Krim, who they eventually corner at gunpoint, forcing him to listen.
On Bajor, a session of the Chamber of Ministers is interrupted by the arrival of Kira, Dax, and Bareil. Jaro immediately recognizes Kira and orders guards to seize her, but she tells the Ministers about how the Cardassians are secretly behind the coup and provides evidence to prove it. Jaro is left in a state of shock, refusing to believe that he has played into the hands of the Cardassians. Vedek Winn quickly sides with Kira and the other Ministers against her one-time ally. The news soon reaches Deep Space Nine, where Krim, realizing that Bajor's provisional government still stands, recognizes that it is his duty to return the station to Sisko and the Federation, and does so. However, Day refuses to give up the fight, and pulls a phaser on Sisko. Li steps in to take the full force of the shot and dies, escaping the responsibility of leadership that he dreaded so much. The next day, the crew, especially Kira, mourns Li's loss, but their sadness is tempered by the arrival of the evacuees and the realization that life on Deep Space Nine will soon be back to normal.
A violent plasma storm leads to the evacuation of Deep Space Nine, leaving a skeleton crew behind to maintain the station. Odo is suspicious when he learns that Quark is hiding in an airlock, but can pin nothing on the Ferengi. The crew picks up a distress signal from a cargo ship that has been damaged and needs assistance. O'Brien and Odo meet the ship at a docking bay, where the "victims," a humanoid female named Mareel, Klingon mercenaries T'Kar and Yeto, and a nervous male Trill named Verad, pull weapons on the pair and force Odo to assume liquid form and get into a small box. The group then forces Bashir to put Odo in stasis, and finally winds up in Ops, taking everyone hostage. O'Brien deduces that Quark is connected to their plight, unaware that, at that very moment, Yeto is revealing to the Ferengi that, what Quark thought was commerce, was really a trick to get the group aboard. T'Kar reveals the reason for the takeover — the timid Verad is actually the leader and has come to steal Jadzia's symbiont.
Unable to look Dax in the eyes, Verad says he has spent his whole life trying to qualify for symbiosis, but has been deemed an unacceptable candidate. Tired of his mediocre life, he has decided to take Dax's symbiont and escape into the Gamma Quadrant. Dax urges him to reconsider, reminding him that most Trills are not chosen for symbiosis, and that improper joining can cause psychological damage to both symbiont and host. But Verad threatens to kill the rest of the crew if Dax refuses, and she agrees to go through with the procedure that will surely kill her. Mareel gives Verad a tender kiss goodbye, and Bashir reluctantly performs the operation, solemnly removing the symbiont. Back in Ops, Mareel tells Kira about her love and devotion to Verad when Sisko jumps in, warning her that Verad is sure to be greatly changed after the surgery, becoming a mixture of Verad, Dax and all of Dax's previous hosts. Mareel replies that she will always love him, just as a far more confident Verad walks in, but he is now Verad Dax.
While Bashir desperately tries to hold on to Jadzia's life, Sisko talks with Verad, tapping into the lifelong friendship he and the Dax symbiont have shared. Verad reminisces about old times until the memories begin to involve Jadzia, who, Sisko reminds him, is currently dying because of Verad. Sisko urges Verad to give the symbiont back to Jadzia, but Verad is unwilling to part with it, explaining that another joining so soon may destroy the symbiont. Sisko, willing to take that risk, walks out, saying that their friendship is over.
Unable to convince Verad Dax, Sisko turns his attention back to Mareel, urging her to talk with Verad and see for herself how much he has changed. She refuses, claiming to want to let him rest, but Sisko's words are getting to her. Meanwhile, Quark, trying to atone for what he's done, jumps T'Kar and is immediately injured. Verad Dax and Mareel make their plans to escape, and Verad tells her he will leave first and she is to meet him at a designated rendezvous point. Despite his assurances, Mareel is hesitant, realizing that Verad has, in fact, changed. Back in surgery, Bashir knocks Yeto unconscious with a hypospray and then he and Quark release Odo from stasis. Soon afterward, Verad attempts to contact Yeto and realizes that Odo must have been freed. He decides to leave immediately with T'Kar, taking Kira along as a hostage and leaving the dying Jadzia behind.
With Verad Dax gone, Sisko turns back to Mareel, who reveals that Verad has lied to her for the first time and that she fears he will not meet her as planned. Sisko takes advantage of her sadness, reminding her that the old Verad still cares about her, and that by saving Jadzia, Verad will be saved as well. Meanwhile, Verad arrives in the airlock to discover that his ship is not there. Odo suddenly appears, morphing out of a tool cart, and tells him that he released the docking clamps. Kira then attacks T'Kar and a struggle ensues, but Verad escapes to a Runabout airlock just as Sisko appears and pulls a phaser on him. Verad tells Sisko he doubts his old friend will fire and risk killing the Dax symbiont. But Sisko does fire, and Verad soon wakes up in surgery. Although Mareel professes her undying love for him, he is inconsolable over the loss of the symbiont. Dax, however, is back to normal, with the addition of all of Verad's memories and feelings.
Bashir is surprised when his "friend" Garak, a Cardassian tailor, is attacked and bitten by a Cardassian boy who is visiting the station with his Bajoran father. The boy, Rugal, is an orphan abandoned after the war who was adopted by a Bajoran family. No sooner does Bashir tell the crew about the incident than Cardassian leader Gul Dukat contacts Sisko asking him to investigate. He claims any information will help in his quest to bring the Cardassian war orphans back home. Sisko begins by speaking to Proka, the boy's Bajoran father, who tells him that, while he has been honest with Rugal about the Cardassians and their atrocities, he loves Rugal as if he were his own child. This is contradicted by an alien named Zolan who was with the pair when the incident occurred. He tells Bashir that Rugal has been mistreated by his adoptive family and forced to hate himself for his heritage. Proka vehemently denies this, but Sisko insists that the boy be taken into station custody.
Later, Bashir discusses the situation with Garak while tending to his wounded hand. Garak laughs when he learns that Gul Dukat is claiming to want to save Cardassian war orphans and implies that Dukat is lying, indicating that he was in charge of the very operation that left those orphans behind. Bashir promptly brings this information to Sisko, who happens to be in the midst of a conversation with Dukat about the possibility of returning Rugal to Cardassia. Bashir boldly interrupts and asks Dukat why he left the orphans on Bajor, and Dukat responds that the civilian leaders ordered it. Unsure who to believe, Sisko requests a meeting with Garak, who proceeds to deny ever saying anything about Dukat to Bashir. Bashir follows Garak out and confronts him about his lies, and he angrily tells Bashir that the information he shared was confidential. Meanwhile, Rugal moves in with O'Brien and Keiko, and soon reveals to O'Brien that he hates the Cardassians and hates being one. He says that while his parents also despise his people, they love him and have never mistreated him.
That night, Garak wakes Bashir up and says that they must go to Bajor immediately. Bashir approaches Sisko for approval to use a Runabout just as Gul Dukat sends a communication to Sisko stating that Rugal is the son of Kotan Pa'Dar, one of Cardassia's most prominent political figures. Pa'Dar is en route to retrieve the boy and take him home to Cardassia. Still confused, Sisko lets Bashir travel to Bajor with Garak to investigate. While visiting an orphanage, Garak accesses and downloads all of the region's computer files on orphan resettlement, but is initially unable to find any record of Rugal.
On route back to Deep Space Nine, Bashir grows suspicious of Garak and questions him about what is going on. Garak indicates that Pa'Dar and Dukat are political enemies, and that Dukat's interest in the boy is suspect. Pa'Dar soon arrives at the station and goes in search of his son, but first encounters O'Brien, who warns him of the boy's negative attitude toward his heritage. Pa'Dar replies that losing his son was a terrible tragedy and he is determined to bring him home, but when he meets Rugal, the boy angrily refuses to go. Proka insists on retaining custody, and Pa'Dar turns to Sisko to mediate the situation just as Gul Dukat makes his unexpected arrival at the station.
Dukat, Pa'Dar, Proka, Rugal, and Sisko meet to decide who should get custody of Rugal. Sisko is suspicious that Dukat has come so far for a simple custody hearing, especially since he and Pa'Dar have been political enemies. However, Garak learns more about Dukat's motives when he realizes that Rugal's name has probably been deliberately erased from the orphan resettlement files. He tracks down the Bajoran official who originally wrote the file and learns that Rugal was brought from Terok Nor, which was the space station's name under Gul Dukat's command. Apparently, Dukat deliberately left Rugal behind in hopes of someday using this to humiliate his adversary, Pa'Dar. When Sisko learns of this, he decides to let Pa'Dar take Rugal back to Cardassia despite the obviously distraught boy's unwillingness to go, realizing that the innocent father has a right to attempt to raise his child.
The crew welcomes Ensign Melora Pazlar, a cartographer on a mission to chart the Gamma Quadrant. Melora is an Elaysian, a species from a planet with very low gravity, and because of this, she must use a wheelchair and braces to get around in "normal" conditions. Bashir has prepared the station with special ramps to give her access, but she makes it very clear that she does not need or want special treatment and hates being regarded as a person with a "problem." Meanwhile, Quark welcomes his own visitor, Fallit Kot, an old acquaintance who announces that he has come to the station to seek revenge against the Ferengi by killing him. Later, despite the obvious strain gravity puts on her, Melora meets with Sisko and tries to convince him to let her pilot a Runabout around the Gamma Quadrant on her own. Sisko is understanding, but insists that Dax accompany her, leaving Melora stung. Bashir then visits her in her quarters, which he has equipped with a special device that reduces gravity and lets her "fly" around. He asks her to join him for dinner, and she agrees.
Back at the bar, Quark prepares a sumptuous feast for Kot, but is unsuccessful in convincing his enemy to spare him. At the same time, Bashir and Melora enjoy their own meal, and the two begin to feel a strong attraction. Later, while preparing for her mission, Melora trips and falls in a doorway and is unable to get up. Dax finds her there and summons Bashir, then helps her to the infirmary. This incident has obviously humiliated Melora, but Bashir is understanding and reminds her that in space, everyone needs help now and then. This helps Melora feel comfortable with her new friend, so she turns down the gravity in her room and shows him how he can "fly" around with her. The two are soon caught up in the moment and share a passionate kiss.
On route to the Gamma Quadrant, Melora shares her concern over her feelings for Bashir with Dax. Dax encourages her to enjoy the romance rather than worry about any potential problems. Back at the station, a worried Quark tells Odo about Kot's plan to kill him — but this seems to please Odo more than it concerns him. Still, he promises to do his job. Later, Melora returns and seeks out Bashir, who has a surprise. He has been doing research on a neuromuscular adaptation theory that could possibly help her walk without a wheelchair, or her servo controls.
In the Infirmary, Bashir tries the new technology out on Melora, and is thrilled when she is suddenly able to lift her leg and is soon walking with just a little help from Bashir. Back in her quarters, he advises her not to use the low-gravity field actuator because it will "confuse" her motor cortex. She readily agrees to refrain, but, once he leaves, can't help missing her ability to fly. Meanwhile, Odo summons Fallit Kot to the security office and tells him that, while he sympathizes with his dislike of Quark, he cannot allow Kot to kill him. Kot feigns innocence, claiming that he never threatened Quark's life, but Odo later warns Quark to carry a combadge at all times and to be prepared to contact him. Sure enough, Kot appears in Quark's quarters that night and attacks him. Quark strikes a bargain for his life, offering Kot 199 bars of gold-press latinum he will receive through a trade with an alien named Ashrock.
The next day, Melora reveals to Bashir that she is feeling some apprehension about the fact that the effects of his treatment will soon be permanent. Not wanting to delude her, Bashir reminds her that she must give up her ability to fly if she wants to be able to walk. Meanwhile, Quark and Kot conduct their trade with Ashrock, after which Kot blasts Ashrock with a phaser and takes Quark hostage. They flee into a Runabout, trapping Dax and Melora inside, and Kot orders Dax to pilot the ship away from the station. Sisko, Kira, and O'Brien latch onto the Runabout with the tractor beam, but Kot responds by firing a phaser at Melora and knocking her to the floor, leaving her helpless. Moving fast, Sisko, O'Brien, and Bashir transport to another Runabout and Kira releases the tractor beam, letting Kot take off into the wormhole with the others in hot pursuit. Soon, Kot realizes he is being followed and orders Dax to fire on Sisko's ship. Before she can, Melora crawls across the floor unnoticed and reaches a switch that disengages the ship's gravity. Back in her "normal" state, she disables Kot, saving the day. Later, back at the station, she tells Bashir that she has decided against continuing the treatments. While he is obviously disappointed, he understands her decision, and is happy to simply be able to continue to get to know this remarkable woman.
Rules of Acquisition
While engaging in a game of Tongo with Rom, Dax, and a young Ferengi waiter named Pel, Quark is hailed by his leader, Grand Nagus Zek, who has good news for him — Zek has chosen him to act as his chief negotiator in the Ferengi expansion into the Gamma Quadrant. Soon afterward, Zek meets with Sisko and Kira, hoping they will let him use the station for a business conference with the Dosi, a race from the Gamma Quadrant, and they reluctantly agree. Zek then goes to Quark's quarters and instructs him to purchase ten thousand vats of tulaberry wine from the Dosi, a move he feels will establish a strong Ferengi presence. Quark later brags about his profitable assignment to Rom, but Pel, who overhears them, warns him to be wary of Zek's motives, since Zek will be credited for success but Quark will almost certainly be blamed for any failure. Impressed, Quark asks Pel to serve as his assistant, leaving Rom stung. Pel then returns to his quarters, removing his false earlobes and revealing that he is actually a female.
The Dosi arrive on Deep Space Nine, and Quark nervously begins negotiations with Inglatu, the disagreeable leader, and Zyree, an equally difficult female. Things get off to a bad start when Inglatu says he will only sell Quark five thousand vats of wine, then demands to deal with Zek directly, but Pel steps in and firmly states that Quark is the sole contact in the negotiations. Still, Quark is shaken, and is even more upset when Zek informs him that he now wants one hundred thousand vats of wine, but Pel steps in and tells Zek this is a wonderful idea. She then steals a moment alone with Quark and convinces him that he is capable of negotiating this deal. Dax quietly observes the entire interaction and, the next day, questions Pel about her loyalty to Quark, then hears that Pel is not only in love with Quark, she is also a female, having disguised herself as a male to escape the domestic drudgery that is a Ferengi female's legally-mandated lot in life.
The next day, Quark relays to Zek that negotiations did not go well — the Dosi have left the station. Zek becomes enraged, but Pel tells him that they will travel to the Gamma Quadrant and make the deal with the Dosi in their territory. Soon, she is alone on a ship with Quark, and almost reveals her secret as the sexual tension mounts, leaving Quark vaguely troubled. Meanwhile, back on the station, a jealous Rom ransacks Pel's quarters and learns the truth about her gender.
In the Dosi homeworld, Quark boldly approaches Inglatu with the contract, but he still refuses. Quark decides to camp out on the planet to be close to Inglatu in case he changes his mind, putting Pel, who is sharing a tiny tent with him, in an awkward position. Unable to resist, she impulsively kisses Quark, but Zyree enters before he can react, and reveals that Inglatu doesn't have one hundred thousands vats of wine to sell. However, she tips off Quark to the Karemma, an important power in the Dominion, a mysterious group who holds sizable influence in the Gamma Quadrant. Realizing that this information, not the wine, is what Zek really wants, he and Pel return to the station. Quark refuses to talk with Pel about the kiss and goes straight to meet with Zek, who promises Quark a percentage of every Ferengi opportunity in the Gamma Quadrant in exchange for a meeting with a member of the Dominion. Suddenly, Rom interrupts and pulls Quark away, telling him the truth about Pel. Quark promptly faints.
In the Infirmary, Rom reminds Quark that since she wears clothes and tries to earn profit, Pel has violated Ferengi law and should be punished. Afraid to ruin his reputation with Zek, Quark promises to give Rom the bar in exchange for his silence. Quark then visits Pel in her quarters and tells her to leave the station. She tells Quark that she loves him, but despite his feelings for her, he tells her he would not be happy with a non-traditional Ferengi wife. Determined to make her point, Pel confronts Zek and reveals her true identity. Zek threatens to imprison both her and Quark, who is guilty of the Ferengi crime of taking business advice from a female, until Quark reminds Zek that he, too, is guilty. Zek agrees to keep quiet, costing Quark his potential Gamma Quadrant profits. Pel leaves the station to continue her adventures, and Quark is left with nothing but the sadness of his first lost love.
A beautiful Bajoran woman, Pallra, calls Quark to Bajor and persuades him to retrieve a strongbox her late husband kept hidden on Deep Space Nine. He agrees, unaware that a stranger named Trazko has observed their entire interaction, with Pallra's knowledge. Later that night, Quark and Rom sneak around the Promenade until they find the hidden panel that conceals the strongbox. Quark opens the box and sees that it only contains a list of Bajoran names. Suddenly, Trazko appears, and Quark realizes that Pallra probably sent him. Trazko takes the list from Quark and shoots him with a phaser, apparently killing him and leaving a panic-stricken Rom shouting for help.
While Bashir works frantically to save Quark, Odo questions Rom about the robbery and attack. Rom denies knowing what Trazko took from Quark, but when Odo accuses him of killing his brother, he tells him about the list. When Rom tells Odo the box was found on the site where the station's old chemist's shop used to be, Odo flashes back to a conversation he had with Gul Dukat five years earlier. The owner of the shop, Vaatrick, was murdered, and Dukat essentially forced Odo to investigate the killing. Odo questioned the dead man's widow, Pallra, about her husband's death, but while he was suspicious of her, she said her husband's alleged mistress probably killed him in a jealous rage. That mistress, she said, was Kira Nerys. Odo then comes out of the flashback and realizes that the attack on Quark could be related to this still-unsolved murder.
Odo tries to help Rom remember the names on the list. Rom can only remember one, which he thinks is Ches'so, and Odo then asks Kira if she knows the name. Kira says she does not, and Odo has another flashback to the time he interrogated Kira about Vaatrick. Kira denied the murder and the alleged affair, saying only that she and Vaatrick were friends. Later, Odo became even more suspicious when he spotted Dukat and Pallra kissing. This feeling remains after his flashback ends, sending Odo to Bajor to question Pallra about the list of names. She denies knowing anything about it, and says she does not recognize the name Ches'so. Odo then asks her how she found the money to pay her power bill, telling her that he knows her power had been cut off for non-payment. Pallra says a friend gave her the money but refuses to identify him.
While Quark continues to fight for his life, Kira tells Odo that she located Ches'so, whose real name is Ches'sarro, but that he drowned mysteriously the previous evening. Sure that Pallra is somehow involved, Odo orders a full examination of the man's death as well as an investigation into Pallra's bank records. Odo then has another flashback to when he first met Quark, remembering that Quark told Odo that Kira paid him to say she was at the bar the night Vaatrick was murdered. Sometime after the flashback ends, Odo shows Sisko the list of Bajoran names, which he compiled after looking through Pallra's communication records. Since every man on the list apparently transferred Bajoran currency into her account, Odo realizes that Pallra has been blackmailing them by threatening to expose their collaboration with the Cardassians.
Odo then flashes back to a conversation he had with Kira in which he confronted her about paying Quark to be her alibi. Kira once again insisted that she did not kill Vaatrick, but admitted that she was a member of the Bajoran underground and had sabotaged the ore processor the night he was killed. Since the crime was punishable by death, Odo mentioned nothing of it when Dukat entered the room, and simply told the Cardassian that Kira was not their murderer. Back in the present, Trazko enters the Infirmary with plans to finish Quark off, but Rom appears and the two begin fighting. The melee is loud enough to attract security, and Odo arrives to take Trazko to a holding cell. Later, Odo arrests Pallra for blackmail, despite the realization that Kira did kill Vaatrick that night five years ago — not because they had an affair, but because he was a Cardassian collaborator who caught her trying to steal the list. While he has no intention of prosecuting her and — says they can remain friends, both Odo and Kira realize the bond of trust between them may be changed forever.
On the fourth anniversary of his wife's death, Sisko takes a melancholy late-night stroll along the Promenade, where a lovely alien woman named Fenna engages him in conversation. Strangely, however, Fenna disappears almost as quickly as she appeared. The next day, Sisko and Dax meet with Professor Seyetik, an expert in bringing dead planets back to life, who has come to re-ignite the dead sun of solar system Epsilon 119. Sisko and Dax discuss the upcoming mission over dinner, but Dax notices that Sisko is strangely distracted. Once the meal is over, he wanders back to the spot where he met Fenna, and is delighted when she suddenly reappears. They make plans for a picnic the next day, but when he asks her to tell him about herself, she runs away without warning.
Sisko asks Odo to look for Fenna, and is then approached by Dax, who questions him about the woman she saw him with the previous evening. Since he knows almost nothing, there isn't much to tell. That night, he, Dax and the rest of the senior staff join Seyetik on the science vessel Prometheus for dinner, where the professor bores them all with endless accounts of his intellectual escapades. Finally, he introduces his wife, Nidell — and Sisko and Dax are shocked that the woman looks exactly like Fenna. Strangely, she doesn't seem to recognize Sisko at all.
After the meal, Sisko tells Dax that he is almost certain the shy Nidell is the same outgoing Fenna he met on the Promenade the day before. He casually mentions the meeting to Nidell, but she claims to have never seen Sisko before. However, she is visibly disturbed when he mentions the name Fenna. Back on Deep Space Nine, Sisko tells Odo to call off the search for Fenna since he found her on the Prometheus. Odo replies that this is impossible since no one but Seyetik has been off the vessel since it docked at the station. Frustrated, Sisko heads back to his quarters and finds Fenna waiting for him. When he tells her about Nidell, she obviously has no idea what he is talking about. Sisko continues to press Fenna, asking where she came from, and she tells him that she came to the station to find him. Fenna kisses him passionately, but after he returns the kiss, she disappears — right before his eyes.
While Dax prepares for her mission with Seyetik, Sisko announces that he is coming along, hoping this will help him unravel the Fenna mystery. Soon, the Prometheus is headed toward Epsilon 119, with Seyetik prattling on in his usual fashion. He finally tells the story of how he met Nidell when he brought her planet, New Halana, back to life. Hoping this is a clue, Sisko visits Nidell in her quarters, but she says she is too sick to see him. Sisko returns to his guest quarters, where Fenna is waiting for him. Immediately, Sisko summons Dax, who scans her with a tricorder and announces that Fenna is made of pure energy. Sisko then leads Fenna back to Seyetik's quarters where Nidell is on the floor, unconscious. A panicked Seyetik begs him to help, and much to Sisko's surprise, recognizes Fenna.
Seyetik explains that Nidell is a psychoprojective telepath and that Fenna is just one of many images she has created. Sisko asks Seyetik why this is killing her, and the professor explains that Halanans lose control of this ability while under stress. He sadly admits that he is probably the cause of that stress, but adds that since Halanans mate for life, Nidell can never leave him. When Fenna realizes she truly has no past to tell Sisko about, it becomes clear that Seyetik's story is true. Realizing that their love is only a dream, Fenna kisses Sisko goodbye and prepares to return to Nidell to save her life. At that moment, Dax summons Sisko to the Bridge — Seyetik has taken a shuttlepod and is heading toward the dead sun. Realizing the professor means to kill himself, Sisko tries to stop him, but Seyetik insists that he wants to set Nidell free. His ship explodes on impact, the sun is brought back to life, and Fenna slowly disappears. Back on Deep Space Nine, Nidell recovers, but because she cannot remember her "life" as Fenna, her feelings for him are gone. She leaves the station to return to New Halana, and Sisko is left to cope with the pain of another lost love.
When a ramshackle alien vessel is detected making its way through the wormhole, the ship's four passengers are transported to Deep Space Nine. The humanoid aliens, led by a female named Haneek, are unable to communicate with the crew since the universal translator has trouble with their language, but they instinctively trust Kira. Because of this, she leads the group to the Infirmary, reassures them as Bashir treats their wounds, and shows them to their quarters. There, the translator begins making sense of Haneek's words, and Kira discovers that Haneek's people, the Skrreeans, need help immediately. With Kira's encouragement, Haneek communicates that there are three million of them on the other side of the wormhole who must be brought through.
Haneek meets with the crew to discuss her problem, and is surprised to see men in positions of authority — all Skrreean leaders are women. She explains that, while she is just a farmer, she is the first of her people to find the legendary "Eye" (the wormhole) that supposedly leads to Kentanna, the mythical home of her race. Most of her leaders were killed by the T-Rogorans, who conquered their people and have since been conquered by the Dominion. Sisko promises to help the displaced Skrreeans find a homeland, and soon afterward, Kira informs Haneek that several Skrreean ships have been located. She suggests that, as the first through the wormhole, Haneek should greet them, and the visitor welcomes a large group of refugees who soon overrun the Promenade, enjoying their first taste of freedom.
While her son Tumak is taunted by Nog, Haneek is made leader of the search by her grateful people, but privately tells Kira she fears that she will not find Kentanna. However, her confidence soon strengthens, and she requests a map of the sector to help locate her homeland. Later, Nog attempts to apologize to Tumak, but he starts a fight that Quark breaks up, making disparaging remarks about the Skrreeans that obviously hurt Tumak. Luckily, Sisko has found a planet, Draylon II, that will make a good home for the aliens. He, Kira, and Dax break the good news to Haneek, but she has news of her own — she has found her Kentanna, and it is Bajor.
Sisko and Kira meet with Haneek and Bajoran officials Minister Rozahn and Vedek Sorad, and Rozahn tells Haneek that the Skrreeans' request for immigration has been turned down. She cites Bajor's own problems as a reason, but Haneek pleads with her, promising that her people only wish to settle in a deserted area and transform it into farmland — something that could help Bajor, which is in the midst of a famine. Still, Rozahn is afraid of being forced to "take care of" the refugees, and when Haneek asks Kira for support, she is shocked that Kira agrees with Rozahn. Later, Kira attempts to explain herself, but Haneek refuses to forgive her. Their tense meeting is interrupted by a summons from Sisko — Tumak has taken a ship and is headed for Bajor.
Sisko tells Haneek that Tumak's ship has a dangerous radiation leak, but Tumak will not respond to their hails. Haneek attempts to communicate with her son just as two Bajoran ships detect the Skrreean vessel. Kira begs them to let Tumak land, pointing out that he is only a boy, but the Bajorans refuse, saying they have strict orders to refuse access to all Skrreean ships. Sisko hails Bajoran General Hazar, who agrees to tow Tumak if he turns off his engines. But as Haneek again implores her son to do so, he fires on the Bajorans. They return fire before Hazar gives the order to refrain, and while their phasers miss the Skrreean vessel, the fire interacts with the radiation leak and the ship explodes. Later, as the Skrreeans begin to relocate to Draylon II, Kira meets with Haneek again. Hurt and angry, Haneek tells Kira that the Bajorans have made a mistake based on fear and suspicion. As she leaves the station behind, Kira is left wondering if perhaps she is right.
Over a drink at Quark's, a middle-aged alien widow, Alsia, tells an alien man, Martus, how she plans to invest her life savings in a large mining concession. Just as Martus offers to become her partner, Odo arrives and arrests him — for swindling a couple on the station. Martus is locked in a holding cell and meets a sickly alien named Cos, who laments that he lost everything he ever had because of a gambling device that always brought him bad luck. He activates the device and exclaims with surprise that he won — and then dies without warning.
Meanwhile, O'Brien worries to Keiko that he is getting old after Bashir literally destroys him in a racquetball game. Bashir also talks about the game with Dax, concerned that if he gives O'Brien the rematch he has demanded, O'Brien will have a heart attack. Later, Martus is released from his cell and heads straight for Quark's with the gambling device, with which he has been playing and winning consistently. Quark feigns disinterest in the device, but offers to buy it for a pittance. This is all Martus needs to realize it has value, and he heads for the Promenade with the machine. Within minutes, he has convinced a widow named Roana to let him turn her shop, which she is vacating, into Club Martus — Deep Space Nine's newest bar.
Furious at the prospect of competition, Quark begs Sisko to kick Martus off the station, but Sisko refuses. To add insult to injury, Martus takes on Rom as a minor partner. Later, Roana arrives at the club, and Martus toasts their joint success, feigning romantic interest in his new partner. He also shows her the gambling table, where several happy patrons are playing with replicas of the device he acquired from Cos. Quark's, on the other hand, is basically deserted, except for a very forlorn O'Brien, who has just lost another racquetball game to Bashir. His tale of woe gives Quark an irresistible business idea that will help him top Martus. Meanwhile, in Ops, Sisko notices that there have been several strange reports of bad luck on the station. Dax remarks that her luck has been especially good, just as several patrons of Martus's bar simultaneously hit the jackpot on the gambling device.
The next day, Quark summons O'Brien and Bashir to his bar, surprising them with the announcement that his tables are open for betting on a racquetball game they will play tomorrow. When he promises to donate half of the proceeds to charity, both men realize they cannot say no. In the meantime, the station's run of bad luck continues, and Sisko asks Dax to investigate. Martus's luck appears to change for the worst, when his bar is literally deserted before the big match. To make matters worse, Roana announces that she is shutting him down. Forlornly, he pushes the button on his gambling device, and comes up a loser for the first time. Still, he isn't ready to give up, and approaches Alsia with his profits, giving them to her to invest in the mining project.
During her investigation, Dax discovers that trillions of solar neutrinos aboard the station are not spinning in accordance with the laws of probability. She searches for a correlation as Bashir and O'Brien begin their match. O'Brien plays surprisingly well, and Bashir is unable to keep up. But O'Brien senses that something is wrong and stops the game. He throws the ball against the wall, and when it bounces back directly into his hand no matter how it's thrown, he summons Dax and Sisko. The two of them go to Club Martus, where they realize that the gambling devices are to blame. Unable to disconnect them, they destroy them with phasers over Martus's objections, and then Odo arrives to re-arrest Martus on the earlier swindling charge. Back in the holding cell, he encounters Alsia, who he learns was out to swindle him. But all is not lost. Quark arrives to bail him out, enjoying the fact that he once again has the upper hand.
Dr. Mora Pol, the Bajoran scientist who studied Odo after he was discovered, arrives on Deep Space Nine with the announcement that he may have a clue to Odo's origins. The scientist's presence makes Odo, who did not relish his life as a "living experiment," somewhat uncomfortable, but he cannot resist the prospect of possibly finding others like him. With this in mind, he asks Sisko for a Runabout to take to the Gamma Quadrant, where Mora has discovered some unique DNA patterns that resemble Odo's. Odo, Mora, Dax, and another scientist, Dr. Weld, head for the Gamma Quadrant and transport to the surface of the planet where the DNA was discovered. There, the group explores some stone ruins until Weld discovers a tiny lifeform that may be related to Odo. They prepare to transport back to the Runabout, but at that moment, the planet is rocked by tremors and clouds of a volcanic gas are released. Mora, Dax, and Weld are all incapacitated by the fumes, but Odo is seemingly unaffected and transports them all back to the ship.
Odo pilots the Runabout back to the station and the others are transported to the Infirmary. Later, O'Brien, filling in for the ailing Dax, attempts to classify the lifeform the group retrieved, and tells Odo that he is having a hard time because the organism keeps changing and reproducing. That night, Kira summons Sisko with some disturbing news — someone has ransacked and almost completely demolished the Science Lab.
The officers realize the lifeform is missing, and since there is no sign of a break-in, O'Brien theorizes that the lifeform itself caused the damage. Sisko orders a sweep of the station to search for it, while O'Brien searches the conduits. Communicating with Sisko and Odo, O'Brien learns that there was a power interruption and a temperature increase in the Science Lab at the time of the "disturbance. " Suddenly, the dead remains of the lifeform, which appears to have grown, fall on O'Brien. Bashir studies the inert material later that evening, and is attacked by a strange creature. He is able to fend off the creature, but it disappears into the night.
The officers assemble to investigate, then Mora accompanies Odo to the lab, where a recovered Dax discovers the lifeform from the planet is not the same creature that is wreaking havoc on the station. Mora looks at the data and realizes that instead, the violent creature's DNA matches Odo's. Without telling Dax, he tracks Odo down and breaks the news.
Odo declares that he was in his pail during the attacks and is upset by Mora's accusations that he may inadvertently be responsible. However, Odo realizes that the gas from the Gamma Quadrant planet may be to blame, sees through the doctor's concern, and firmly tells Mora that he will not leave with him and become his subject again. At that moment, Odo morphs into the creature. Sisko orders the power shut off and Mora lures the creature to the Promenade, where it is captured and morphs back into Odo. Odo is then taken to the Infirmary and cleansed of the gas, and Mora pays him a visit. The doctor apologizes for the pain he caused his former subject, and Odo, having forgiven Mora, finally begins to form a true bond with his mentor.
Bashir and O'Brien travel to a lab orbiting T'Lani III in an effort to eliminate the Harvesters — a deadly bio-mechanical weapon used in the centuries-long war between the Kellerun and T'Lani societies. Working with scientists from both races, they finally find a solution, and the Kellerun Ambassador, Sharat, orders the group to destroy the entire remaining supply. However, just as their mission is about to be accomplished, two armed Kellerun soldiers enter the lab and start firing. Bashir and O'Brien manage to kill their assailants, but fail to notice that during the fighting, a small amount of Harvester material spilled onto O'Brien. As more Kellerun soldiers arrive, the pair attempt to transport to their Runabout, but are unable. Instead, they beam to the surface of T'Lani III.
Ambassador Sharat and T'Lani Ambassador E'Tyshra inform Sisko that O'Brien and Bashir were killed when O'Brien accidentally activated a hidden security device that emitted a deadly pulse of radiation. They hail the pair as heroes and give Sisko a video recording of the tragedy. Sisko, Dax, Odo and Kira later view the recording, and, not realizing it has been altered, accept that their crewmates are dead. Back on T'Lani III, however, Bashir and O'Brien are alive, and have set up a base in a deserted military command center in hopes of finding a way to communicate with the space station. O'Brien begins to work to repair an old com-panel, but suddenly feels feverish. Bashir examines him, and reveals that O'Brien has been infected by the Harvesters.
Sisko is saddled with the difficult news of telling Keiko O'Brien of her husband's demise. After viewing the tape, Keiko points out a major inconsistency. The tape shows O'Brien drinking coffee in the late afternoon — something Keiko insists he never does. She believes this indicates the tape has been tampered with, and Sisko travels to T'Lani III with Dax to find out why. Meanwhile, with O'Brien's coaching, Bashir works to repair the companel. O'Brien continues to worsen, and is horrified to discover that he can no longer feel his legs.
Despite his condition, O'Brien is able to help Bashir get the companel up and running, and Bashir sends out a weak distress signal. Sadly, both realize that O'Brien will probably die if the signal is not answered soon — by the right people.
Meanwhile, Dax tells Sisko five minutes have been erased from the computer log on Bashir and O'Brien's Runabout, and that the time of the erasure proves that the pair could have been alive after they were supposedly killed. Soon afterward, E'Tyshra and two T'Lani soldiers arrive at Bashir and O'Brien's hiding place. The pair are thrilled to see them, until Sharat and his soldiers also arrive. Together, the Kellerun and T'Lani officials inform Bashir and O'Brien that they must be killed since they know too much about the Harvesters and could reproduce them.
Just as a soldier prepares to kill them, Bashir and O'Brien are beamed away to their Runabout, where Sisko and Dax are waiting. Bashir immediately injects O'Brien with a hypospray and the group flees the area. However, they soon realize that a T'Lani vessel is pursuing them. The enemy ship fires a warning shot and Sisko hails his assailants, who demand Sisko turn over Bashir and O'Brien. Sisko refuses and sends the Runabout directly toward the T'Lani vessel. Seeing no other choice, E'Tyshra and Sharat blow up the Runabout, only to realize that Sisko, Dax, O'Brien and Bashir transported to a second Runabout and have left the area. The group arrives safely home, and O'Brien is able to recover.
After returning from an assignment in the Paradas system, O'Brien notices that everyone on the station is treating him differently. His wife, Keiko, acts strangely distant towards him and meets secretly with Sisko, while Ensign DeCurtis has been ordered to realign the station's security net without O'Brien's knowledge. Things get stranger when Bashir insists on giving O'Brien a physical, and Sisko orders him to submit to the examination. O'Brien then meets with Sisko in his office, and Sisko questions him about his experiences with the Paradas, who are preparing to arrive on Deep Space Nine for peace talks. He is surprised when, instead of having him work to prepare the station for the Paradas arrival, Sisko orders him to repair the upper pylons, which O'Brien had fixed just before he left.
Later, Ensign DeCurtis refuses to allow O'Brien to check the quarters assigned to the Paradas, explaining that only Kira has the access codes. Sisko orders O'Brien back to the upper pylons. Suspicious, O'Brien pretends to leave, but secretly watches as DeCurtis enters the quarters without Kira's help. He then returns to his quarters for dinner, where he is overcome with the unsettling feeling that Keiko is not really his wife.
After Keiko goes to bed, O'Brien searches the computer for any anomaly aboard the station that could be causing the crew to turn against him, and learns that he has been denied access to all logs dated after his return from the Paradas system. He also discovers that his logs, even his personal ones, have been analyzed by other crewmembers. At this point, Odo returns from a trip to Bajor, and O'Brien is thrilled to finally have an ally. However, when Odo summons O'Brien to the Security Office to discuss what he has learned, O'Brien quickly realizes from Odo's distant tone that he, too, is now in on the conspiracy. O'Brien prepares to leave, but is stopped by Sisko, Kira and Bashir, who is wielding a hypospray. Thinking quickly, O'Brien steals Kira's phaser and escapes into an airlock.
O'Brien transports to a Runabout and finally makes his escape in a hail of phaser fire, despite Sisko's orders to remain behind. O'Brien then contacts Admiral Rollman to tell her about the conspiracy, but she, much to his dismay, is apparently also a part of it. Realizing he has nowhere else to turn, O'Brien decides to look for answers where his troubles began — in the Paradas System.
With a Runabout in hot pursuit, O'Brien heads for the Paradas system and manages to elude his would-be captors. When he learns that three passengers have beamed from the Runabout to the surface of Parada II, he follows, and finds Sisko and Kira meeting with Coutu, a rebel Paradas leader. The suspicious O'Brien attempts to shoot Coutu, but a guard shoots and fatally wounds him. As O'Brien lays dying, he is shocked to see another O'Brien appear in the room with Bashir. Coutu explains that this is the real O'Brien, who was captured and held hostage during his Paradas mission. The O'Brien who returned to the space station was actually a replicant who was programmed to assassinate someone at the peace talks. The false O'Brien dies, finally knowing the truth.
While surveying nearby star systems for M-Class planets, Sisko and O'Brien locate a planet that already supports a colony of humans. They transport to the surface, and learn that none of their equipment functions — a duonetic field seems to be preventing any E-M activity. They are discovered by two colonists, Joseph and Vinod, who explain they have been stranded on the planet ever since landing ten years ago. None of their technological systems have worked since. Sisko and O'Brien are taken to meet the rest of the group, including Alixus, who is Vinod's mother. Alixus calls their attention to how well the group has done without technology. She expresses pride for their community and confirms that, even if a rescue party arrives, she will never leave.
Back on the station, Kira and Dax notice that Sisko's Runabout, the Rio Grande, is not responding to their hails. Meanwhile, Sisko asks for any technological assistance that may help him restore contact with the ship, but Joseph explains that all such materials were thrown away when Alixus recommended they abandon their dependence on technology. Sisko and O'Brien are then asked to the bedside of a woman dying from the bite of a local insect. O'Brien suggests adapting their combadges to the energy of the duonetic field in order to make contact with the Rio Grande. To Sisko's shock, Alixus pulls him aside and tells him she will not allow any talk about technology.
Kira and Dax locate the Rio Grande — flying aimlessly through space — and set course for the ship in a Runabout. Meanwhile, Sisko and O'Brien join the others at work in the fields, where they discover one of the colonists has been imprisoned in a metal box for stealing a candle. They are shocked by this harsh method of "discipline," but Alixus defends her views. That night, one of the women, Cassandra, visits Sisko with the apparent intention of seducing him. Rebuffing her, he immediately confronts Alixus, who admits sending Cassandra to him. Suspicious, Sisko questions Alixus about how she conveniently managed to end up on a planet that so completely supports her philosophy of life without technology.
Sisko continues to work, but learns Alixus is rationing the water because the colonists failed to win him over. Suddenly, Alixus announces that the sick woman has died, and O'Brien was caught trying to make his equipment function. Because Sisko is O'Brien's commanding officer, she declares he must spend time in the metal box as punishment.
Later, a parched but defiant Sisko meets with Alixus, who promises to give him and the entire colony water if he will only adopt their ways. Sisko silently refuses, returning to his metal prison instead. A frustrated O'Brien searches the area, and finds a hidden box containing working technological equipment. He returns to the group with a now-functional phaser, releases Sisko, and reveals he has found the source of the artificially-created duonetic field. Realizing she's been caught, Alixus admits to creating the situation that has kept them there. Her people turn against her, now knowing the truth, but they ultimately elect to stay. Kira and Dax finally make contact with Sisko and O'Brien, and Alixus and Vinod transport to the Runabout with them, no longer welcome in the society they created.
In the Gamma Quadrant, Dax and Odo detect an unusual particle field on the surface of an unexplored planet. Transporting to the source, they find an alien village and some kind of reactor emitting the particle field. They are then taken prisoner by Colyus, Protector of an Yaderan colony which settled in a valley there. He explains that Dax and Odo's arrival coincides with the mysterious disappearances of 22 people. Odo and Dax are sympathetic to Colyus's plight and offer their help in solving the mystery. They meet Rurigan, an elderly man whose daughter is the most recent victim, and Odo questions Rurigan's young granddaughter, Taya, the last person to see her mother before she vanished.
The next day, Odo tries to establish a rapport with the shy Taya, and she opens up to him and talks about her life and her mother. Odo is surprised when she explains that the Yaderans never leave their valley, and reveals Rurigan thinks her mother will never return, but Odo vows to bring back the missing woman.
Odo learns from Rurigan that he is one of the founding members of the village, the oldest one remaining, and that he is dying. He also assures Odo that searching away from the valley for the missing people would be futile. Still, Odo is determined to investigate, and goes with Dax and Taya to the edge of the valley. As Dax and Odo pass some bushes, the Yaderan sensing device Dax is carrying disappears. Then Taya reaches past the bushes, but her arm disappears up to the elbow, then rematerializes as she pulls it back closer to her face.
After some investigation, Dax and Odo share their surprising findings with Colyus. The entire village, including all the people, is an elaborate holographic projection, created by the village reactor that generates the particle field. The reactor is breaking down, causing people to disappear. After the villagers see this for themselves, Colyus convinces them that — real or not — if they are to survive, Dax and Odo must be allowed to shut down the reactor and repair it before it experiences a complete failure. Dax proceeds, and the village vanishes, leaving Dax and Odo standing — with a very real Rurigan.
Rurigan explains that when the Dominion took over Yadera Prime and destroyed his life, he came to this planet and used a holo-generator to recreate the world he had lost. Realizing his illusion may be forever gone, Rurigan reluctantly asks to be taken back to his homeworld. But Dax and Odo have a different view of the situation. They show Rurigan that, if the Yaderans are real enough for him to develop feelings, they are real enough to deserve a chance at survival. Dax and Rurigan repair the reactor, and the entire society reappears, including his missing daughter and the rest of the people who vanished.
Arjin, a Trill initiate trying to qualify for joining with a symbiont, is nervous that he must study under Dax, having heard horror stories about the tough-as-nails Curzon and other hard-to-impress Dax hosts. However, when he meets Jadzia Dax in Quark's, it is he who is taken aback by her casual, lighthearted demeanor. Later, Dax and Arjin take a Runabout into the Gamma Quadrant, and she explains that he doesn't have to worry about impressing her. Suddenly, the Runabout gets snagged on a small mass of protoplasm in a subspace pocket — an unidentifiable mass.
The crippled Runabout returns to the station with the matter still attached. While O'Brien prepares a containment chamber for the mass in the Science Lab, Dax takes Arjin to dinner, where she expresses worry that he only seems concerned with meeting other people's expectations, and observes that Arjin has few aspirations or goals beyond being joined. She later reveals to Sisko her reluctance in confronting Arjin about her impressions because Curzon Dax, who trained Jadzia, was hard on her — to the point of giving her an unfavorable recommendation. Sisko insists that it is her job to be honest with Arjin in order to help him learn.
O'Brien discovers that Cardassian voles — small, rodent-like creatures that have infested the station — shorted out the containment field that held Dax's protoplasm, which is now glowing. While she and Arjin study it, Dax finally tells him her concerns, which causes Arjin to angrily leave the room, thinking the worst. Later, Dax reports that the matter is actually a rapidly-expanding proto-universe, which, as it grows, is displacing universe. Sisko reluctantly decides that their only option is to destroy it, until Dax finds indications of life within it.
Sisko is left with a tough dilemma — deciding how to protect the station without destroying the matter and possibly murdering an entire civilization. While he ponders his choices, Dax locates Arjin and explains how the shy Jadzia made it through the program despite Curzon — and finding a newfound inner strength in the process. As she urges Arjin to do the same, Sisko arrives with his decision — he has opted to try and take the matter back through the wormhole. Dax invites Arjin to pilot the Runabout with her, and he agrees.
O'Brien creates the strongest containment field he can for the matter, but it begins to collapse once the Runabout encounters vertiron nodes in the wormhole. Dax orders Arjin — an expert pilot — to navigate through the veritable minefield of nodes, despite his reluctance. The field then collapses, leaving no margin for error, but Arjin succeeds in getting through the wormhole, returning the developing universe to its subspace pocket, and finally winning Dax's respect.
Profit and Loss
Sisko and the Ops crew pull in a small, severely damaged Cardassian vessel containing three passengers — Professor Natima Lang and her students, Hogue and Rekelen. Natima explains that their ship was damaged when they were caught in a meteor swarm, and Sisko says the trio can stay until the vessel is repaired. Meanwhile, Odo tries to confirm a rumor that Quark has obtained a small cloaking device. Quark begins to deny the accusations, but loses his train of thought when he suddenly sees Natima, who happens to be the former love of his life. Quark goes after Natima, hoping to pick up where they left off years before, but Natima insists she wants nothing to do with him. Their interaction is observed by Garak, the lone Cardassian on the station. When Natima sees him, she hurries her students out of the bar, desperate to leave the station immediately. Meanwhile, O'Brien, who has been working on Natima's ship, tells Sisko that it was really damaged by a Cardassian attack. Natima admits this is true, and that her students will be killed if they don't get to safety.
Natima explains that her students are leaders of the Cardassian underground movement which is fighting the military establishment to build a non-violent future for their people. Their views have made them fugitives, so Sisko agrees to hurry the repair work on their vessel. Soon afterward, the station is approached by a Cardassian warship which prepares to attack the station. As it does, Garak appears in Ops and tells Sisko they need to talk.
Garak says that the students are terrorists and urges Sisko to turn them over to the Cardassian government, but he refuses. Meanwhile, Quark, still hoping to get to Natima, tells her students he will give them the cloaking device for their escape only if they convince her to remain behind with him. But when Quark later arrives at Natima's quarters with the device, she tells him she no longer loves him and will not stay, then takes a phaser and reluctantly shoots him.
Quark is more surprised than hurt, and Natima, unable to deny her feelings any longer, admits she still loves him, but feels she cannot abandon her cause. Quark, however, finally convinces her otherwise. Unfortunately, no sooner does Natima agree to remain there than Odo arrives to arrest her. Sisko explains that the Bajoran government has agreed to a prisoner swap with Cardassia, and he is forced to abide by their decision. Meanwhile, Gul Toran arrives on the station and meets with Garak, who informed the Cardassian government about Natima and her students. Toran tells Garak this alone is not enough to end his exile, and that if he hopes to return to Cardassia, he must kill the fugitives.
Quark convinces Odo to release the prisoners, but as the trio prepares to leave, Garak shows up, ready to kill them all. Then Gul Toran arrives, sensing Garak's hesitancy, and decides to kill the prisoners himself. But Garak will not allow it, kills Toran, and lets the students go. Natima tells Quark that she must leave with them, and Quark does not stop her, knowing he will wait faithfully for the day when they can finally be together again.
The relative calm of Deep Space Nine is shattered by the arrival of three aged Klingon warriors — drunken, overweight Kor; warlike Koloth; and their leader, Kang. The three came to find Curzon Dax, and are surprised that he is no longer alive. Kor has no problem adjusting to Dax in her new, female form, while Koloth scoffs at the idea that she was once his old friend Curzon. However, Kang has the most trouble accepting Jadzia, because he has come with a mission. The group's greatest adversary, a man known as the Albino, has been located, and the foursome can now fulfill the blood oath they made decades ago to kill him.
Dax is unsure of whether or not she can go through with the oath that Curzon made. Kang reminds her that as a Trill, she has no obligation to fulfill what her symbiont promised. Still, Dax knows that a Klingon blood oath can never be broken, and confused, she seeks Kira's advice, telling her the story of how this began. After the Klingons were victorious over the Albino, he murdered the firstborn sons of Kor, Koloth, and Kang. The three took a blood oath of revenge, and Curzon Dax, as the godfather to Kang's slain son, took one as well. Compelled to keep that oath, Dax visits Koloth in a holosuite and engages in battle with him, successfully holding her own and winning his support. However, Kang still refuses to let Dax participate.
Dax meets with Kang and uses Curzon's deep understanding of the Klingon race to force him into changing his mind. However, while Kang agrees to let her go, Sisko, who has learned of Dax's plan from Kira, does not, and reminds her of her duty to Starfleet. Dax tells him that she will still go, and is ready to face the consequences when she returns — if she returns.
The foursome travels to the Albino's world, and almost immediately, Dax and Kang clash over the best course of action — Kang wants to march up and fight the Albino in full view of everyone, while Dax believes a more clandestine course of action would be more appropriate. Meeting privately, Kang admits to Dax that the Albino actually invited him, giving the aged warriors a chance to die with honor. Dax suggests it would be better to win with honor, and proposes a plan to increase their advantage. Kang, newly impressed, agrees to go along.
The group puts their counterattack into effect, surprising the Albino in his command post. The Klingons perform admirably despite their age, defeating the guards before Koloth is killed and Kor wounded. Kang is mortally wounded and falls to the ground, but Dax is then able to disarm and corner the Albino. Faced with the opportunity to kill him, she hesitates, but Kang is able to summon the last of his strength and deliver the death blow himself before dying. After bidding farewell to Kor, Dax returns to the station, a different person after her experience.
The Maquis, Part I
The worst is feared when a Cardassian freighter, the Bok'Nor, explodes while departing the station. Dax determines it was no accident, since it appears an implosive device was placed aboard the ship. Worried how this will affect Federation colonies in the newly-established Demilitarized Zone, Lieutenant Commander Cal Hudson, an old friend of Sisko's who serves as Starfleet's attache to the colonies, is called in to help. He hints that the colonists, who, thanks to the treaty, are suddenly living in Cardassian territory, feel abandoned by the Federation.
Sisko returns to his quarters to find Gul Dukat waiting for him, insisting he is there to talk with Sisko privately, without the Cardassian government's knowledge. He says certain Federation members are responsible for the destruction of the Bok'Nor, and insists Sisko accompany him to the Volan Colonies in the Demilitarized Zone. Sisko, intrigued, agrees, and the two set off in a Runabout. When they reach the area, they encounter a Federation ship under attack by Cardassians — a clear violation of the treaty. Surprised, Dukat orders his own people to stand down and threatens to fire, but another Federation ship arrives and destroys both Cardassian vessels. A war appears to be breaking out.
The two leaders join a meeting at one of the colonies, where Cal Hudson, his Cardassian counterpart Gul Evek, and a few colonists are present. Evek insists the colonists are engaging in organized terrorist activities, and tells Sisko he can prove this because they have the confession of the man who destroyed the Bok'Nor. He then shows the recorded confession of William Samuels, a colonist who Evek says was apprehended on Deep Space Nine. When Sisko asks to talk to Samuels, Evek reveals his body — an apparent suicide — which infuriates the colonists.
Later, Sisko wonders if Cardassian fears about organized terrorism are true, and while Hudson says he is aware of no such campaign, he also admits he wouldn't blame the colonists. Sisko and Dukat then return to the station, and Dukat admits he knew Samuels had been apprehended, but denies knowledge of his suspicious death. Soon afterward, O'Brien approaches Sisko with bad news — the device that destroyed the Bok'Nor was a Federation device, apparently proving the colonists are responsible. Then, Gul Dukat is kidnapped from the station.
While the crew works to determine where the kidnappers have gone, they receive a transmission from the Demilitarized Zone, where a group called the Maquis is claiming to have abducted Dukat. Sisko, Kira, and Bashir follow the kidnappers to a stretch along the Cardassian border known as the Badlands, where they detect life on a large asteroid. They transport to the surface and are taken prisoner by a band of armed Federation colonists led by Cal Hudson.
The Maquis, Part II
Sisko, Kira, and Bashir are held in a Maquis camp, but Gul Dukat is not there. Cal Hudson then tells Sisko he is leaving Starfleet to work with the rebels, certain Cardassia is violating the Federation treaty by smuggling weapons into the Demilitarized Zone, and insisting he and the Maquis will do anything to stop them. Sisko offers to help his friend use more peaceful methods, but Hudson refuses, then stuns Sisko and his comrades in order to slip away. Back on Deep Space Nine, Sisko receives little help from Admiral Nechayev, who insists the treaty be upheld. Unwilling to give up on Hudson, Sisko does not report his friend's betrayal, then meets with Cardassian Legate Parn, who blames Dukat for the weapons smuggling. The encounter convinces Sisko that Cardassia is definitely smuggling weapons — but not through Dukat.
The crew finds Gul Dukat and the Maquis hidden on a small planet, and Sisko, Bashir, and Odo take a Runabout to bring him back. A tense standoff ensues, and when one of the Maquis opens fire, Sisko is able to gain control, rescue Dukat, and take prisoners. However, Sisko leaves one Maquis member behind, asking him to tell Hudson that Starfleet knows nothing about his betrayal and he still has time to change his mind.
Upon their return to the station, Sisko tells Dukat that the Cardassians have turned against him. Not surprised, Dukat joins forces with Sisko, offering to help stop the smuggling if Sisko will help him stop the Maquis. Later, Quark, who has been arrested for helping sell weapons to the Maquis, reveals a list of what the group has. Dukat believes the Xepolites are transporting the weapons for the Cardassians, so they soon locate a Xepolite ship and prepare to board it.
Locked in Odo's holding cell with Sakonna, the Maquis' Vulcan liaison, Quark convinces her to reveal the rebels' next step — a plan to attack a weapons depot hidden in a Cardassian civilian population center. Sisko tries to talk to the Maquis one last time, warning them that he will stop their plan. Hudson then arrives, and when Sisko tells him he will be able to stop the Cardassian weapons shipments, Hudson replies that he is determined to fight this war and win anyway, ultimately rejecting Sisko's offer to return to Starfleet.
Dukat learns that the targeted weapons depot is located in the Bryma Colony, then joins Sisko and the senior officers for one last stand against the imminent Maquis attack, taking three Runabouts to stop the group before it gets to the planet. When the Maquis ships finally appear, the initial skirmish results in damage on both sides, leaving only Sisko and Hudson in a final face-off. Sisko successfully stops his friend, then allows him to escape. Sisko returns to Deep Space Nine a hero, but wonders if he has really stopped a war, or merely delayed the inevitable.
While having his weekly lunch with Bashir, Garak is suddenly overcome by extreme pain. It subsides just as quickly, but when the worried Bashir attempts to help him, Garak angrily refuses to go to the Infirmary and cuts short their meal. Later, Bashir is suspicious when he overhears Garak asking Quark to order a piece of merchandise for him. Bashir returns to work in the Infirmary, and soon gets a call from Quark asking for help in the bar. He arrives to find Garak, extremely drunk and obviously in pain. Bashir tries again to convince Garak to submit to an examination, but the Cardassian refuses — until the pain causes him to collapse.
An examination reveals that Garak has a small implant in his brain, and Bashir believes Quark may know something he's not telling. He and Odo monitor Quark's transmissions that evening, and they hear him attempt to order a piece of Cardassian biotechnology. However, he is unable to obtain it since the piece is classified by the Obsidian Order — the eyes and ears of the Cardassian Empire. Odo and Bashir conclude that the implant must be some sort of punishment device. Bashir leaves to confront Garak, and discovers that he has left the Infirmary.
Bashir barges into Garak's room, where he is injecting a powerful pain killer. Garak reveals he received the implant from the head of the Obsidian Order, Enabran Tain, when he was once a member, and it was designed to make him immune to pain if ever caught and tortured. Unfortunately, he has been using it to cope with the pain of his exile on Deep Space Nine, and now that he is addicted to it, the device is malfunctioning from constant use. Garak refuses Bashir's help, saying he deserves the pain for past misdeeds, including ordering a ship carrying his best friend, Elim, destroyed. Garak then loses consciousness.
Bashir turns off the implant and Garak wakes up, enraged now that his supply of pain-killing endorphins has been cut off. He rants and raves about Elim, this time saying the two of them freed Bajoran prisoners, which resulted in Elim's execution and his own exile. Garak then dismisses Bashir's words of friendship before collapsing again, near death. Bashir debates over reactivating the implant to prolong his life, but Garak wakes up and says he never wants the device turned on again. Bashir decides the only option remaining is to locate Enabran Tain.
After making the trip into Cardassian territory, Bashir finds Tain and realizes that the man has been monitoring his and Garak's every move. Tain is quickly convinced to give Bashir the information he needs to save Garak's life. As he is leaving, Bashir asks Tain what really happened to Elim, and Tain laughs and tells him that Elim is Garak's first name. Back at the station, Garak quickly recovers and resumes his weekly lunches with Bashir. Confused, Bashir asks him which of his stories of exile is true. Garak replies that they all are — especially the lies.
After experiencing operational difficulties while traveling through the wormhole, Kira and Bashir find themselves in an alternate universe where the space station is populated by exact doubles of Garak and Odo, and is run by Kira's counterpart, Kira II. In this universe, they have no knowledge of the wormhole, and humans have no rights whatsoever. Because of this, Bashir is sentenced to manual labor, working under the sadistic, human-hating Odo II. Later, Kira II tells Kira about the last crossover, which occurred with Captain Kirk a century ago. That incident led to the formation of a powerful alliance between the Klingon and Cardassian empires in which Bajor is also a major player. Kira II tells Kira that she cannot allow Kira and Bashir to live, but Kira convinces her counterpart to spare them and let her try to find a way back.
Kira steals a moment with Bashir and tells him what she knows. Since a transporter accident caused the last crossover, he thinks they might be able to escape using another one, and tries to talk O'Brien's counterpart into helping him. Unfortunately, the beaten, put-upon Terran has little interest in risking the wrath of his superiors. Meanwhile, Kira almost succeeds in securing Quark II's help, but he is arrested by Garak, Kira II's aide, for helping Terrans escape the station.
Kira then meets Sisko's counterpart, who receives better treatment than the other Terrans because he runs missions for Kira II. Afterwards, Kira II reassures Kira that she has nothing to fear, and suggests they should become closer. Later, Garak II tells Kira that he intends to dispose of Kira II, and that he will let Kira and Bashir escape if she pretends to be Kira II, then resign and allow Garak II to take over. Garak II then reveals Bashir will be killed if she does not comply.
Kira hurries to Bashir and tells him they must find a way back to the Runabout and make their escape through the wormhole. She fills Sisko II in on Garak II's plan, hoping he will help out of loyalty to Kira II, but he is unmoved. That night, Garak II prepares to put his plan into effect at a lavish party thrown for Kira by Kira II. Meanwhile, Bashir is able to take advantage of an accident at the ore-processing plant where he labors, killing Odo II and escaping.
News of Bashir's escape soon reaches the party, while Bashir manages to locate O'Brien's counterpart, who decides to help this time. However, the two are caught and brought to the party to face Kira II. Despite Kira's pleas, Kira II sentences Bashir to death. When she turns to O'Brien II, he makes an impassioned speech, telling the assembled crowd what Bashir has revealed about a universe where Terrans have respect and dignity. His words move Sisko, who turns on Kira II and helps Kira and Bashir to escape. The two return to their universe, leaving Sisko and O'Brien's counterparts to fight for their rights in their own world.
Bajor is about to elect a new spiritual leader, and Kira's lover, Vedek Bareil, is the leading candidate, having been Kai Opaka's personal choice to succeed her. After spending time with Kira on the station, Bareil prepares to return to Bajor, but the two of them first come across Vedek Winn, who is running against Bareil for Kai. Kira can barely contain her anger toward Winn, as she still blames her for an attempt made on Bareil's life. After this confrontation, Kubus, an older Bajoran, attempts to come onto the station unnoticed, but is spotted by another Bajoran, who recognizes him as a known Cardassian collaborator. As a crowd gathers, Odo arrives and arrests Kubus, while an inconspicuous Winn watches the entire scene.
From his cell, Kubus tells Odo and Kira that he wants to return to Bajor, where he can live out his last years, but Kira insists he remain in exile. Later, however, she learns that Vedek Winn has met privately with Kubus and now plans to take him back to Bajor. Kira stops her ship from leaving, then finds out that Winn has been investigating the Kendra Valley Massacre, in which 43 Bajoran freedom fighters, including Kai Opaka's son, were killed by the Cardassians. A Bajoran monk, Prylar Bek, admitted to betraying the group's location before committing suicide. Winn then reveals to Kira that she has given Kubus sanctuary in exchange for information about the massacre — information that implicates Vedek Bareil as the collaborator who ordered Bek to reveal the location.
Winn offers Kira the chance to prove Bareil innocent before the accusations become public. Kira questions Kubus, who reveals Bek saw Bareil just after the massacre, then killed himself. Bareil later claims to Kira that he only counseled the troubled monk. Odo then makes a disturbing discovery. The communications records between Bek and the Vedek Assembly for the week leading up to the massacre have been sealed — an act which only a Vedek, like Bareil, could perform.
Kira and Odo find Quark and convince him to bypass the seal for them. When he does, he finds that all transmission records have been erased. O'Brien attempts to learn who did this by searching for fragments of the responsible party's retinal scan and cross-referencing the data with the Assembly archives. Kira's worst fears are realized when O'Brien's search identifies Vedek Bareil.
Kira goes to Bajor and confronts Bareil with what she has learned, and he admits that Bek was ordered to reveal the location of the Kendra Valley resistance fighters to prevent the Cardassians from wiping out every village in the area in search of them — a scenario in which more than a thousand Bajorans would have died instead of 43. Feeling betrayed, Kira is unable to forgive Bareil. Later, she reluctantly contacts Winn, who says that Bareil has withdrawn from the election. Certain that he is too honorable to cover up his own misdeeds, Kira investigates further. After Winn becomes the new Kai, Kira again finds Bareil and presents proof that he did not give Bek the order, then tells him that she has figured out the truth. All this time, Bareil was covering for the real collaborator — Kai Opaka, who sacrificed her son to save the Bajoran villagers. Bareil kept Opaka's secret, but at the cost of handing the spiritual leadership of Bajor to Winn.
While leaving for a vacation with Keiko, O'Brien encounters Boone, a former crewmate from the Rutledge. The two exchange pleasantries and O'Brien hurries off, eager to start his trip. In his haste, O'Brien fails to notice that Boone has recorded his voice. Later, as he and Keiko head toward their destination in a Runabout, they are stopped by a Cardassian vessel. To Keiko's horror, Gul Evek beams aboard and arrests O'Brien, taking him back to Cardassia Prime without telling him what he has supposedly done.
O'Brien is "interrogated" by his captors until he meets Makbar, who will represent the state in the case against him. However, she refuses to tell O'Brien what charges he faces. Later, on the space station, Sisko is contacted by Makbar, who tells him that, as with all Cardassian trials, O'Brien's serves only a ceremonial function — he has already been proven guilty and will be executed. Odo, who served the Cardassians during the occupation, volunteers to serve as O'Brien's Nestor, or advisor, then Odo and Keiko set off for Cardassia.
O'Brien meets Kovat, the lawyer assigned to him by Cardassia, but he is only interested in obtaining a confession, and O'Brien still has no idea what crime he has allegedly committed. Meanwhile, Sisko and his officers discover that several warheads have been smuggled off the station — possibly to a group of Federation colonists-turned-terrorists known as the Maquis. Kira shows them that O'Brien's voice is on the security log requesting access to the weapons locker. Later, Odo arrives on Cardassia to advise O'Brien, and immediately questions him about the warheads, but O'Brien denies any knowledge of the weapons.
Back on the space station, Dax and Bashir determine that the security log recording of O'Brien's voice has probably been fabricated. When Kira arrives and tells them that O'Brien was seen talking to Boone just before the weapons were stolen, Sisko orders him brought in for questioning. Boone admits to nothing, even though he is promised protection from the Cardassians. They seem to be at a dead end, until a Maquis member secretly approaches Bashir and tells him that Boone is not one of them. At O'Brien's trial, both Makbar and Kovat continue to convince him into confessing, but the defendant remains firm. Odo attempts to introduce the evidence that will clear him, but the court refuses. Meanwhile, at the station, Sisko orders Boone to submit to a medical examination. Soon afterward, just as the Cardassian court prepares to move forward on the guilty verdict, Sisko escorts Boone into the courtroom, and Makbar suddenly announces that she will release O'Brien into Sisko's custody. As they head home, Sisko explains that Bashir discovered that Boone was really a Cardassian surgically altered to look like him. When Makbar saw him, she knew Sisko had the evidence needed to publicly embarrass Cardassia, so she let O'Brien go. O'Brien and Keiko express their relief, and Sisko sends them off on their well-deserved vacation.
Sisko's plans for father-son bonding are ruined when Jake invites Nog to accompany them on a trip to the Gamma Quadrant. Quark insists on coming to escort his nephew, and the not-so-happy foursome wind up camping out on a primitive, uninhabited planet. Quark and Sisko argue, sending an embarrassed Nog off into the woods, with Jake chasing after him. Then, a terrified alien woman runs out of the forest, telling Sisko and Quark that she is running from a group of alien soldiers called the Jem'Hadar, who then suddenly appear and take the trio prisoner.
Returning to camp to find Sisko and Quark gone, Jake and Nog set out in search of them. Meanwhile, Sisko, Quark and the woman, Eris, are taken to a cave where they are imprisoned by a force field. Eris is unable to disable the field telekinetically because of a collar the Jem'Hadar have placed around her neck. She tells Sisko that the Jem'Hadar are soldiers of the Dominion, who rule the Gamma Quadrant, and is resigned to the fact that they are doomed. Sisko, however, is sure they can outsmart the four guards stationed to watch them, and decides to start by removing Eris' collar. While he works on it, Jake and Nog find the cave where Sisko and Quark are being held, but cannot get past the guards to save them.
Third Talak'talan, leader of the Jem'Hadar group, tells Sisko, Quark and Eris that the Dominion will no longer tolerate the presence of ships from the other side of the wormhole. Meanwhile, Jake and Nog return to the runabout and try to beam Sisko and Quark aboard. When this fails, Jake realizes he'll have to get help, but can't disengage the ship's autopilot to escape orbit. Later, Talak'talan materializes on DS9 and tells the crew that Sisko is being detained by the Dominion, then transports away before he can be caught.
After several hours, Sisko is finally able to remove part of Eris' collar, and enlists Quark to pick the lock. Meanwhile, Jake is finally able to disengage the autopilot. Back at the station, Captain Keogh of the starship Odyssey arrives and informs the crew of his plans to rescue Sisko. Kira, Dax, Bashir, Odo and O'Brien take off in two runabouts, following the Odyssey through the wormhole and eventually finding Jake and Nog. O'Brien beams aboard their ship and promises to take them back to rescue Sisko and Quark.
Quark manages to remove Eris' collar, then she disengages the force field, and the three escape. Meanwhile, the Odyssey and the runabouts are attacked, while O'Brien beams aboard Sisko, Quark and Eris. One of the Jem'Hadar ships then flies directly into the Odyssey and destroys it in a suicide run. Back at the station, Quark discovers Eris' collar is a fake, and they deduce that she is a spy for the Dominion. But, before they can arrest her, she disappears — leaving the crew with the realization that their dealings with this new enemy have only begun.