Three months have passed since Captain Sisko left DS9. On the Promenade, Colonel Kira and Odo worry that he won't be coming back as they observe members of the cult of the Pah-wraiths, identified by red armbands. The cult has become very influential since the Prophets became disconnected from Bajor by the locking of the wormhole entrance. On the Defiant, just back from convoy duty, Worf is frustrated over not being in battle and angrily leaves the bridge. Bashir admits to O'Brien that some combat might help him get over Jadzia's death.
On Earth, at Joseph Sisko's New Orleans restaurant/home, Jake watches his father play piano and tells his grandfather that he is worried because Sisko has been doing nothing and going nowhere. Joseph is concerned but suggests that they leave him alone. Suddenly, the baseball sitting on top of the piano (the one Sisko took from his desk on DS9), rolls off and lands on the floor. Benjamin has a vision of the desert planet Tyree, where he digs in the sand to uncover a woman's face.
Admiral Ross informs Kira that the Romulans will be setting up an office on DS9. She is concerned, but finds Senator Cretak, the Romulan official in charge, to be cordial. Later, Cretak continues to fascinate Kira with her congeniality, something not stereotypical of Romulans, and asks for permission to build a hospital for Romulan forces on Derna, an uninhabited Bajoran moon. Kira agrees to ask her government.
In his quarters Worf finds himself unable to sleep, his mind is full of thoughts of Jadzia. After looking at a photo from their wedding, he gets up and goes to the holosuite and activates the Vic Fontaine program asking the singer to perform All the Way. Vic attempts to refuse, but Worf orders him to sing. As Vic reluctantly sings the sad song, Worf's face is a mixture of fury and indescribable sadness. Halfway through, he slowly stands and then, with a roar of anger, begins to trash the lounge.
Sisko recreates the woman's face on a computer, and Jake recognizes it from a photo he found while cleaning a storage space. They show the photo to Joseph, who angrily refuses to say who she is. Later, Sisko asks again, shocking his old father by grabbing and shaking him. Joseph sadly reveals that the woman is Sisko's real mother Sarah, who married him after only three weeks of courtship, bore Sisko, then left soon after. Sisko wants to find her, but Joseph explains that he discovered that she had died.
O'Brien, armed with bloodwine, approaches a reluctant Worf in his quarters for some conversation. Later, he informs Bashir and Quark that Worf is upset that Jadzia will not enter Sto-vo-kor because she was murdered instead of dying in combat. In order to get her there, Worf must win a great battle in her name. They decide to ask General Martok for help. Martok stealthily enters a holosuite where Worf is practicing bat'leth form and attacks him. He asks Worf to be his first officer on a dangerous combat mission. At Quark's, O'Brien tells Quark and Bashir that Martok's lone ship will try to destroy a Dominion shipyard. Bashir declares he will accompany Worf to honor Jadzia's memory, and O'Brien decides to go for Bashir's protection. Quark thinks both of them are crazy.
Sisko is washing clams behind the restaurant when Joseph gives him a necklace that belonged to Sarah, which has ancient Bajoran writing on it. He is able to translate the necklace's writing as the words "Orb of the Emissary." There is no such orb mentioned in Bajoran religious texts, but he guesses that it exists, and is buried on Tyree and that it may not have gone dark along with all the others. Later, again in the dark alley behind the restaurant, Sisko is approached by a young Bajoran man wearing a red hood who praises him and mentions the orb. Sisko is polite and turns away before the man pulls a knife and stabs him, claiming he will never find it. Jake drops the attacker with a heavy sack. After being treated, Sisko explains that the man was member of the Pah-wraith cult and declares his intention to go to Tyree and find the orb.
Odo informs Kira that a Starfleet ship was turned away from the new Romulan hospital. Kira thinks it is because most of the wounded were Vulcans (historical enemies of the Romulans) before Odo shows her a scan indicating high trilithium levels. She barges in on Ross and Cretak with proof that the Romulans have armed the hospital with plasma torpedoes. Cretak claims it is for defense, but the Bajoran government will not allow the Romulans to have weapons on its moon.
The morning he is about to leave for Tyree, Sisko finds the restaurant closed and Joseph and Jake packed and ready to go. He agrees to let them accompany him when where is a knock at the door. A young female Trill Starfleet ensign enters and happily greets Sisko, who does not recognize her. She introduces herself as Dax.