Odo and Major Kira are in pursuit of a Maquis vessel in the Badlands, which lands on a small moon. When they follow it down, Kira is caught by an expanding crystal mass that begins to surround her completely and threatens to crush her slowly to death. When Kira's life is put in jeopardy, Odo realizes the depth of his feelings for her. In Kiraâs reaction to this confession, Odo realizes that the person in front of him is a Founder. The female Founder (first seen in âThe Searchâ) wanted Odo to return to the Link by making Odo believe that Kira is dead. Odo finds the true Kira in a nearby cavern, and both return safely to Deep Space Nine.
A subplot involves Nog trying to persuade Sisko that he wants to join the academy and eventually Starfleet. After Sisko tests Nog by putting him in hard work, he asks Nog why he wishes to join Starfleet. Nog reluctantly explains he doesn't want to be like his father Rom, striving for profit without having "the lobes for it". Sisko is convinced and promises to send a letter of recommendation to Starfleet.