Odo is dispatched to escort Quark to a Federation Grand Jury hearing, an eight-day journey away. Halfway to their destination, Quark hears a strange buzzing noise. When he and Odo investigate, they find a bomb aboard the runabout.
They contain the explosion in a transporter beam, but the runabout is still severely damaged. Forced to crash-land on a frozen, desolate planet, Odo and Quark learn that they lost their communications system, their replicator, and most of their rations in the explosion. They are left with a horrifying choice - starve to death or freeze to death - when Quark has an idea. Taking the runabout's subspace transmitter, he suggests they haul the heavy piece of equipment up an enormous mountain, where the atmosphere may be thin enough to send a signal for help.
Sharing one set of cold-weather gear between them, they make their way toward the mountain, bickering all the way. Quark is ready to give up when Odo encourages him with an estimate of six hours before reaching the top of the mountain. But Odo is wrong. As they clear the trees, they come to the edge of a steep cliff overlooking a deep valley. The mountain is actually days away.
With no other choice, Quark and Odo make their way down into the valley toward the mountain. The pair argues throughout the journey, even as they finally begin to climb the mountain. Words soon escalate into a shoving match, and they wind up sliding down the mountainside. While Quark is unhurt, Odo's leg is broken.
Quark tries to drag Odo up the mountain, but is soon proves to be too much work for him. Odo insists that Quark leave him behind and continue alone to the top, but Quark, exhausted and hungry, is ready to give up. After Odo tries to take the transmitter himself, broken leg and all, Quark is shamed into resuming his attempt. But when night falls, Odo is still alone, assuming that Quark failed to reach his goal and died. As Odo prepares to do the same, he is suddenly transported off the mountain. He finds himself on the USS Defiant - where Bashir, Dax, and Worf inform him that Quark indeed made it to the top and was able to signal for help. The longtime adversaries return to Deep Space Nine with an uncomfortable new aspect to their relationship - the fact that Quark saved Odo's life.
Meanwhile, on Deep Space Nine, Nog returns to the station for his field study. He moves in with Jake Sisko, and the two conflict. Nog has become overly neat, has lost his sense of fun, and looks down upon Jake's more relaxed attitudes towards life, cleanliness, and exercise. They eventually reconcile, thanks to the efforts of their fathers, Benjamin Sisko and Rom.