Commander Sisko and his son Jake get ready for a camping trip to a planet in the Gamma Quadrant. Jake wants his best friend Nog to come along, and Sisko barely agrees when it means he'll have to deal with Nog's uncle Quark coming as well. Still, they made plans, so Sisko ferries the group to the planet and they set up camp. Quark and Sisko argue, sending an embarrassed Nog off into the woods, with Jake chasing after him.
Sisko and Quark are startled when an alien woman comes running out of the forest, pursued by a troop of fierce soldiers. 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 placed around her neck. She tells Sisko that the soldiers are Jem'Hadar, bred and put into service by the Dominion, who rule this section of the Gamma Quadrant. Sisko 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. 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.
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. Major Kira, armed with two runabouts, leads O'Brien, Dax, Odo, and Dr. Bashir on a mission to rescue the prisoners, accompanied by Captain Keogh and the U.S.S. Odyssey, a Galaxy-class starship.
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 kamikaze 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 transports away â leaving the crew with the realization that their dealings with this powerful new enemy have only begun.