The episode begins with Bok (a former Ferengi DaiMon whose son was killed in a battle with the USS Stargazer, then commanded by Picard) announcing his intention to kill Picard's son in revenge.
Picard, who is not aware of having a son, eventually locates Jason Vigo, the son of a woman he once had an affair with. The results of a DNA-test confirm that he is indeed his son. Picard's attempts to bond with Jason prove difficult however, and he is dismayed to discover that Jason has been convicted of petty theft. Meanwhile, Bok beams to the Enterprise twice (using subspace transport technology) to repeat his threats, and Jason suffers attacks from a disease.
Finally, Bok beams Jason off the Enterprise and onto his own ship. Picard then beams to Bok's ship, also using the "subspace method", where he confronts Bok and two other Ferengi with the revelation that Jason is not actually his son, but that Bok has altered Jason's DNA in order to make Picard feel the pain of losing a son, too. Dr. Crusher uncovers this deception after determining that the disease Jason is suffering from is usually inherited, yet neither Picard nor Jason's mother had it. She relays this information to Picard off-screen. Realizing that there is no ransom money to be earned, the two other Ferengi then disarm Bok and release Jason.