Odo is skeptical when he receives a message from Gul Russol, who used to be one of his most reliable informants. Russol was executed when Cardassia joined the Dominion, or so Odo thought. At the rendezvous point on a barren moon, Odo instead finds Weyoun, who announces that he wants to defect
Back on DS9, Miles O'Brien is in dire straits. Captain Sisko has ordered him to get the Defiant's gravity net up and running in three days even though the station already needs far too many repairs. And the needed graviton stabilizer won't be available for three weeks! Nog offers the Chief his help, but O'Brien thinks that Nog will only get him in deeper trouble.
Nog explains to Miles O'Brien how the world worksAfter Nog talks the Chief into giving him his authorization code, the Ferengi begins wheeling and dealing for the stabilizer in the Chief's name. Not long after, the captain's desk turns up missing. Nog explains that it's on loan to Al Lorenzo, Chief of Operations on Decos Prime, who wants a holophoto of himself sitting behind it. (He collects such photos.) Nog has set up a chain of deals: in exchange for the loan of the desk, Lorenzo will give O'Brien an induction modulator, which O'Brien can then trade to the USS Musashi for a phaser emitter. The phaser emitter will then go to the USS Sentinel which has the gravition stabilizer that O'Brien needs. As O'Brien panics, seeing disaster ahead, Nog tells the Chief to have faith in the Great Material Continuum, which Ferengi believe flows through the universe like a river, bringing people the things they need from those that have, and back again.
Meanwhile, on the barren moon, Weyoun's offer to trade valuable intelligence about the Dominion in exchange for asylum in the Federation seems too good an offer to pass up. Odo agrees to take Weyoun back to DS9 on the runabout Rio Grande, but before they get very far they receive a transmission from Cardassia. Odo is surprised to see that the transmission is from Damar- and Weyoun!
It turns out that the Weyoun with Odo is clone number six, who is apparently defective as he has a lack of faith in the Founders. The Weyoun clone 7, the one with Damar, orders clone 6 to activate his termination implant, a device all Vorta clones have inside their brains. When 6 refuses, Damar vows that the runabout will never return to DS9.
Soon a Jem'Hadar fighter appears and tries to shoot down and destroy the runabout. Weyoun 6 gives details to Odo about the weakness of the fighter which allows Odo to destroy it with a sustained twin-Phaser blast..
Cold pursuit: The Jem'Hadar chase the Rio Grande through an ice field as they continue their journey back to the station, Weyoun 6 tells Odo the story of how the Vorta came to be in the service of the Founders. The Vorta were nothing more than timid, ape-like forest dwellers when one day they saw a shapeshifter for the first time. It was fleeing a group of solids. A family of Vorta hid the changeling from its pursuers and the grateful changeling promised that one day they would transform the Vorta into a powerful people. After Odo expresses satisfaction that his people are capable of kindness, Weyoun makes a startling revelation: the Founders are dying. The entire Great Link is suffering from a strange disease (a morphogenic virus). Only Odo, it seems, is not infected.
More Jem'Hadar ships show up, so Odo takes the runabout into an ice field and hides it in a large chunk of ice and powers down. But within hours the Jem'Hadar flush them out.
Knowing that the situation is hopeless, and to save Odo's life so that at least one Founder survives, Weyoun 6 contacts Weyoun 7 and asks him to call off the attack. Weyoun 7 watches as Weyoun 6 activates his termination device. Satisfied, Weyoun 7 orders the Jem'Hadar ships to stop attacking. Meanwhile, Weyoun 6 asks Odo for his blessing before he dies. Although Odo despises the idea that the Vorta see the Founders as gods, he grants Weyoun 6 his wish.
Back on DS9, the Great Material Continuum comes through. Sisko's desk is back, looking spiffier than ever, the stablizer is on hand, and the captain is happy.