The Enterprise responds to a distress call from Worf's foster brother, Nikolai Rozhenko, who is stationed as a cultural observer on Boraal II, a self-destructing planet.
Picard sends Worf to the surface disguised as a Boraalan. Nikolai and Worf beam back to the Enterprise, where Nikolai proposes a plan to save at least some of the Boraalans. Picard refuses because help would violate the Prime Directive. Boraal II is then destroyed and the ship experiences a power drain, which Worf investigates. Worf is shocked to find Nikolai hiding the Boraalan villagers in a replica of the cave where Worf first located them on the holodeck.
Worf and Picard are angry at Nikolai for disobeying orders but Picard still listens to Nikolai's plan to find a new M-planet to serve as home to the Boraalans. Nikolai believes he can fool the Boraalans into thinking that they are moving to a safer place on their own planet. Picard assigns Worf to watch his brother as he prepares the Boraalans for their "journey."
Worf announces to the Boraalans that it is time to begin their journey, but one of the men, Vorin, is upset. He accidently wanders into the ship's corridor. The technology that he has never seen before terrifies Vorin and Beverly is unable to erase Vorin's memory, so Troi and Picard try to explain what is really happening. Worf reports this to Nikolai, and tells him the staff will allow Vorin to return to the group if he chooses. Nikolai is upset that Vorin might reveal the truth and ruin everything, and the brothers argue. Worf finally storms off in disgust and finds out from Geordi that the Holodeck will not hold up that much longer.
The Enterprise enters orbit around Vacca VI and Picard tells Vorin that they have reached the planet. Vorin, feeling like he no longer has a place to go, commits suicide. Worf confronts Nikolai about mating with a Boraalan, but their argument is interrupted when the Holodeck begins to collapse. Nikolai is able to convince the group that another storm has come and Worf successfully transports the entire group to the surface of Vacca VI before everything is exposed. Realizing that his brother has actually enabled the Boraalans to start a new life, Worf finally begins to appreciate Nikolai's methods. He leaves Nikolai to lead this group of people with a newfound understanding of their differences.