Quark tells Odo he needs to lighten up and have some fun, perhaps in a holosuite. Odo dismisses imagination as a sign that one is not paying attention to one's real life. Quark offers to create a shapeshifter "playmate," at which point Odo declares, "You're disgusting!"
At seeing Jake Sisko walking toward a holosuite, Odo warns that Quark had better not have created any "playmates" for him. Jake's program, Quark explains, is one that includes famous baseball players from Earth. Quark has made it his business to learn about human customs and traditions because a wise man, he says, can smell profit in the wind. He tells Odo to try it. "I don't have a sense of smell," Odo says.
As Quark explains economics to Odo, on the other side of the bar Bashir and Dax are having lunch. Julian wants to become romantically involved but Jadzia politely refuses and points out that he has eyed several other women as well. She returns to Ops, where she finds there are elevated emissions in the nearby Denorius Belt. Dax and Sisko hypothesize that it is due to the high amount of traffic at Deep Space Nine.
Meanwhile, O'Brien reads his daughter Molly the bedtime story "Rumpelstiltskin," then tucks her in. However, Molly comes back out and claims Rumpelstiltskin is in her room. O'Brien returns with her and finds that Rumpelstiltskin truly has appeared in her room. A submissive version of Dax then tries to seduce Bashir in his quarters and Buck Bokai, a famous baseball player who broke Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak in the year 2026, appears to Jake.
The characters eventually disappear and random events, such as snow on the Promenade, occur all over the station, seemingly from people's imaginations. Quark finds himself surrounded by beautiful women who are unable to resist him and hopes whatever is going on lasts forever, until he realizes every one of his customers is winning at his Dabo tables. He desperately tries to "wish" them to lose, but as Odo points out, Quark is outnumbered. Later, Odo returns to his office and runs a security sweep only to discover that he has wished Quark to appear in a holding cell.
The wishing spree continues until the emissions detected earlier turn into a void near the station. It continues to grow exponentially until Sisko realizes it is part of the wish effect, and as more people believe it exists, its size increases. Once the station wishes the void away, Buck Bokai appears in Sisko's office, where he explains that he is part of an extended mission that followed a ship through the Wormhole. His people wanted to see what "imagination" is really about in an attempt to learn more about humanoids.