With the Federation's help, Bajor plans to tap the core of one of its moons to provide much-needed electricity. An unfortunate side effect of the process is that it releases gases lethal to humanoids, so the inhabitants of the moon have been evacuated. However, several life forms are detected after the evacuation date, so Kira visits the moon to investigate.
She finds an elderly man and his two mute farmhands, who are intent on staying. The man, Mullibok, continuously avoids the topic of evacuation - he invites Kira to a farewell dinner before revealing it will take three hours to prepare - and despite his stubbornness, Kira grows fond of him. He tells her he plans to die on the moon and over dinner describes how he escaped to the moon during the Cardassian occupation of Bajor. During the course of their conversation, Mullibok tricks Kira into admitting that the Bajorans beat the Cardassians because they "hung on like fanatics," drawing a parallel between their struggle and his.
Upon returning to Deep Space Nine, Kira reports her findings to Sisko and Minister Toran, who is overseeing the project. She tells them of Mullibok and Minister Toran decides the man will have to be beamed off the planet. Comparing such behavior to that of the Cardassians, Kira realizes she has stepped out of line simultaneously revealed her feelings toward Mullabok. Toran orders her to remove Mullibok and sends her back to the moon with two security guards.
As the guards go to find the farmhands, Kira attempts to reason with Mullibok. She tells him she is doing what has to be done, to which he responds, "me too" and goes inside shutting the door behind him. He reemerges with some tools and goes about finishing a kiln he has been building as Kira talks. The guards emerge from a nearby cornfield dragging the farmhands. Mullibok becomes furious and jumps one of the guards. The other shoots him.
Bashir travels to the moon to treat Mullibok's wound as the farmhands are evacuated to Bajor. When he awakens, Mullibok tells Kira she is backwards for not evacuating him while he was unconscious and resumes his stubborn stance. Bashir wants to forcibly remove the farmer but Kira orders him to return to the station. There Sisko, knowing Toran will be furious, recommends that Bashir recommend that Kira remain on the moon a few more days for humanitarian reasons.
While all this is going on, Jake Sisko and Nog take surplus yammok sauce off Quark's hands. Yammok sauce, a favorite condiment of the Cardassians, has been selling slowly since the end of the Occupation. The two manage to make a series of trades, eventually ending up with a strip of land on Bajor. When they find out that the government is interested in buying the land for a building project the two sell the strip of land to Quark for five bars of gold-pressed latinum.
Back on the moon, Kira continues to bond with Mullibok and is surprised when she receives a comm signal from Sisko, informing her that he is about to beam down. Sisko arrives outside and Mullibok answers the door, saying neither he nor Kira want to speak with Sisko. Sisko speaks to Kira outside and tells her he does not want to break in a new liaison officer. The two of them talk as Kira continues work on Mullibok's kiln and she comes to realize that she spent years fighting for the underdog is now on the other side of the fence. As much as she wants to continue her job, she cannot bring herself to evacuate Mullibok. Before he leaves, Sisko tells Kira a runabout will be standing by in orbit and warns that, while Mullibok's fate has already been decided, hers has not.
After spending the night caring for Mullibok, Kira awakens to find him putting the final touches on his kiln. He fires it up, at which point Kira tells him he has finished his work and she must finish hers. As long as his cottage stands, Mullibok says, he will remain on the moon. Kira destroys the kiln with her phaser and sets the cottage ablaze. Mullibok claims Kira has chosen her uniform over him and tells her to shoot him. She refuses and he again declares that he will die if he leaves. "I won't let you," Kira says, and the two of them beam to the runabout.