Quark receives a shuttle that his cousin Gaila has been promising him for years. He christens it Quark's Treasure and prepares to take it on a flight to Earth. His nephew Nog has been accepted to Starfleet Academy and is due to matriculate in San Francisco. Quark will deliver him there personally and make the trip profitable by smuggling a load of kemocite to Orion.
As the ship nears Earth, Rom finds that there is something wrong. He is unable to drop out of warp, but decides the kemocite in the hold can be used for this purpose - by detonating it in order to collapse the warp field. They do so, but the explosion causes the ship to crash-land, and the three Ferengi lose consciousness.
They awaken in a laboratory. A human male in the next room exhales cigarette smoke, and calmly summons a General Denning on a telephone. "Tell him one of the Martians is awake," he says. The calendar reads July, 1947.
As Rom and Nog awaken, they argue with Quark about what happened, and whether they died in the crash and this is the afterlife. In the next room, several humans have gathered to observe the behavior of the Martians. They activate the speaker and hear a bizarre, otherworldly language being spoken by the aliens. Quark is annoyed he cannot understand what the humans are saying, and surmises their universal translators are malfunctioning. Rom thinks it may be due to nuclear fission radiation in the atmosphere. When Nog agrees, pointing out that twentieth-century humans actually made weapons that utilized nuclear fission and detonated them on the planet's surface, Quark is horrified. He becomes progressively more disgusted when he notes that the humans all seem to have a habit of inhaling the smoke of a burning tobacco plant, a behavior he finds almost as vile as imbibing root beer. However, under the impression that these humans are more gullible, Quark decides to sell them future technology, cultivating to a vast Ferengi economic empire.
With a hairpin, Rom is able to reactivate the Ferengis' universal translators. General Denning arrives and interrogates the Martians. When he and the other humans leave, their German Shepherd Guard Dog remains in the room and morphs into Odo. The Constable tells Quark that he knew about the kemocite smuggling, and hitched a ride aboard the ship to gather proof. He tells them the ship is in Hangar 18 and can be repaired in a few hours.
The humans bring the Ferengi to an interrogation room and demand the Martians tell them everything they know. After Quark shrugs off his fifth shot of sodium pentothal, Rom bursts into tears and cries for Moogie, and Nog confabulates a story about the impending Ferengi invasion of Earth. Nurse Garland realizes that her commanding officers' plans for the Martians are not benign. She and the base physician, her fiance, help them escape. A spare tire morphs into Odo, and knocks out the armed guards. The group grabs a jeep and heads for the hangar.
When Rom hears that there will be a nuclear test in the desert, he comes up with an idea. They fly the ship directly into the blast and jettison the remaining kemocite, which reacts with the bomb to throw them ahead in time to where they started. Back on the base, General Denning thoughtfully chews his cigar and muses on the "crashed weather balloon" they found in nearby Roswell, New Mexico. After dropping off Nog at Starfleet Academy, Odo arrests Quark for kemocite smuggling.