Dax quickly relates their findings. Nerys, recognizing the value of the stable wormhole to Bajor's future, orders the staff to move the station close to the wormhole's mouth. Gul Dukat, having repaired his sensors, follows the station and discovers the wormhole himself. Dukat enters the wormhole, but when the station's staff tries to follow, they find the wormhole entrance refuses to open. Cardassian ships begin to arrive at the station, questioning the disappearance of Gul Dukat and dismissing the claims of a wormhole. After requesting help from Starfleet, Nerys attempts to delay the Cardassians' hostility by altering their sensor reading to appear that the station is heavily armed. The Cardassians eventually see through the illusion, and prepare to assault the station.
Sisko, in the meantime, finds that he has encountered entities in the wormhole who speak to him through images of his wife, friends, and crew members. The "wormhole entities" question Sisko's corporeal and linear existence, and explain that they become disrupted when such beings pass through the wormhole. They become further enraged when Gul Dukat's ship attempts to pass through, and forcibly close the wormhole and disable the ship. Sisko attempts to explain how his kind thrive on their linear existence, but the entities point out that he continues to return to the moment of Jennifer's death. Sisko comes to the realization that he has been grieving over the loss of his wife and explains this to the aliens.
The Cardassians begin their attack on Deep Space Nine, but just as the shields fail and Nerys is ready to surrender the station, the wormhole opens up again, with Sisko in the runabout towing Gul Dukat's ship out of it. On Gul Dukat's orders, the Cardassians stop their attack and depart. Sisko reveals that he was able to negotiate with the wormhole aliens to keep the wormhole open and allow ships to pass through. When the Enterprise arrives in response to Nerys' earlier call for help, Sisko informs Picard that the wormhole entities have helped him to get past his grieving of Jennifer's death and to move on, and that he plans to remain station commander indefinitely.