Events do not bode well, both on and off the station: between Odo's stark security report and word of missing starships, the station's command staff is depressed, most notably Captain Sisko. Jake Sisko decides to buy a 1951 Willie Mays rookie baseball card at Quark's upcoming auction and to present it to his baseball-loving father in an attempt to cheer him up.
As a Federation citizen, however, Jake does not have the funds to buy the card; he enlists Cadet Nog's help (and gold-pressed latinum) to acquire the antique. However, the oddball Dr. Elias Giger wins the lot that includes the card. Giger agrees to give the card to Jake in exchange for a strange melange of equipment â material to help finish the cellular regeneration and entertainment chamber, which the doctor believes will grant him immortality. Jake and Nog obtain these materials by doing odd jobs for Chief O'Brien, Doctor Bashir, Major Kira and Lieutenant Commander Worf. In order to keep Jake's surprise gift a secret, however, neither of them reveals to the chatterbox staff the actual reason they need the supplies.
Against this backdrop, Kai Winn comes to the station to consult with the Emissary of the Prophets on an upcoming meeting with the Dominion's Vorta representative, Weyoun. The Dominion is offering a nonaggression pact with Bajor. Winn is torn between her desire to avoid aligning Bajor with the evil Dominion and her belief that the Federation would not devote its full resources to defending Bajor in the likely event of war with the Dominion. Sisko recommends that Winn stall for time before committing herself to a decision. The Dominion contingent, meanwhile, has guest quarters above Giger's, and Weyoun and his accompanying Jem'Hadar soldiers are wary of the odd noises emanating from below them.
Returning to Giger's quarters with the last of his requested equipment, Jake and Nog find the room empty with no sign of Giger. Jake concludes that Winn is one of the "soulless minions of orthodoxy" whom Giger fears are trying to sabotage his work. Jake confronts the Kai and accuses her of kidnapping the doctor. After a ribbing from Captain Sisko, Jake and Nog are beamed from a turbolift aboard a Dominion ship. Weyoun is somehow aware that the youths have been in frequent contact not only with the strange Dr. Giger living underneath their guest quarters, but also with Kai Winn and the entirety of the station's senior staff. Facing the suspicious Vorta - and several Jem'Hadar soldiers - Jake points to the auction lot materials and explains the entire scheme to obtain the card. Weyoun initially seems incredulous, at which point Jake concocts a "more plausible" story about him and Nog being time travel agents trying to explain Willie Mays' sudden appearance in the baseball hall of fame.
Weyoun buys into Jake's first story and gives him the card. During Sisko's concluding captains log - which foreshadows the imminent Dominion War - the camera cuts to various scenes of the crew benefiting from Jake and Nog's recent work: O'Brien leaving the holodeck after running the rapids, Bashir sitting near his stuffed bear, Kira delivering an effective speech, Worf enjoying Klingon opera, even Weyoun using Giger's immortality machine under his supervision, and, finally, Captain Sisko hugging his son upon receipt of the card.