Benjamin Sisko and crew are stranded in Dominion space on a captured Jem'Hadar ship with a disabled warp drive. Chief Miles O'Brien needs three days to restore main power, but they don't have that kind of time. Two Jem'Hadar ships approach Sisko's ship and attack. Their only option is to make a run for an uncharted dark-matter nebula. Before they can get inside it, Jadzia Dax is injured when a Jem'Hadar volley rocks the ship. Doctor Julian Bashir thinks the symbiont has been injured too. All ships functions disabled, they crash on an unknown class M planet. The ship crashes into a sea just off a coast but everyone escape with their lives.
A Vorta named Keevan and a group of Jem'Hadar had crashed onto the planet two days earlier. The Jem'Hadar First and Second are dead, Keevan is badly wounded, they are running out of ketracel-white, and they cannot establish communications with any Dominion forces off-planet.
Crawling onto shore with a what few items from the ship they could take with them, Sisko and the others have a much-needed laugh when O'Brien frets, absurdly, over his torn pant leg.
Back on Dominion-controlled Deep Space 9, now called Terok Nor, Major Kira Nerys wakes up for another day of duty working with the Dominion and their Cardassian allies. She boards the lift, already filled with Jem'Hadar and Cardassians. Arriving at her station in ops, she thanks Mavek, a Cardassian, for her raktajino.
In a cave on the planet Keevan discusses their dire situation with Third Remata'Klan. It will be ten days before they can even attempt to establish communications. Keevan distributes white to the Jem'Hadar soldiers. Meanwhile Sisko and the crew set up camp in another cave where Bashir can stabilize Dax's condition.
Nog and Garak go on a survey mission to find water and food, but are soon taken prisoner. Garak tells Keevan that his name is Kamar and that he was serving the Founders when he was captured by the USS Centaur. Keevan asks, if that is true, then why was Garak wearing a Starfleet combadge. Keevan asks if there's a doctor in Garak's unit. Garak says yes, which Keevan says just saved Garak and Nog's lives. Keevan sends Third Remata'Klan to assess the Federation group's strength, but not to engage.
On Terok Nor Jake Sisko is interviewing Odo and Kira about the Dominion's plans to send 400 Vorta "facilitators" to Bajor. Jake also informs them that Vedek Yassim is planning a demonstration on the Promenade the next day. Jake's pointed questions quickly get under Kira's skin and she ends the interview.
Back on the planet, Sisko and a few others are searching for Nog and Garak. Despite the order from Keevan not to engage, the Jem'Hadar open fire. Running out of ketracel-white, the Jem'Hadar are becoming anxious and none of them can shroud themselves any longer.
Kira tries to convince Vedek Yassim not to hold her protests. Yassim asks Kira what Kira's doing to fight the Dominion. Kira says that this is different from the Cardassian occupation- fighting isn't the answer here. Yassim accuses Kira of becoming an apologist for the Dominion, "a defender of evil".
Kira and Jake are shocked at Vedek Yassim's protest
While planning an assault on the Jem'Hadar position, Third Remata'Klan visits Sisko's cave to make a deal with Sisko: exchanging Sisko and Bashir for Nog and Garak. Sisko tries to sew suspicion and resentment in Remata'Klan for his Vorta handler. But Remata'Klan will not have it. He knows and accepts what he claims is the order of things. Sisko accepts the deal.
On Terok Nor, Vedek Yassim proceeds with her protest. She yells "Evil must be opposed!" and steps off from the upper level of the Promenade. She doesn't make it to the deck; the noose around her neck snaps taut. The next morning, Kira wakes up for another day of duty on the Dominion-occupied station, boards the lift, and thanks Mavek for her coffee. She looks around and wonders what she's doing.
Arriving at the Jem'Hadar cave, Bashir performs surgery and saves Keevan's life. Keevan offers Sisko another deal. With only one vial of white left, Keevan fears that his soldiers will soon go on an uncontrollable rampage, killing everyone. He is planning to send the Jem'Hadar on a suicide attack and wants Sisko and his crew to kill them. Keevan would then surrender to Starfleet.
Back on the station, Kira is disgusted with herself and vows to start fighting back. She and Odo will put together a resistance cell to fight the Dominion and their Cardassian allies.
In an arid canyon on the planet, before the Jem'Hadar assault, Sisko tells Remata'Klan that the Jem'Hadar were betrayed by the Vorta, and offers to end the hostilities. But Remata'Klan remains loyal to his orders. He and his squad give their lives to those who gave it to them, thus preserving the "order of things." After the massacre, Keevan offers himself as a prisoner of war. Sisko appears to consider shooting the arrogant and treacherous Keevan for a moment, then orders him taken into custody.