The U.S.S. Enterprise is docked at the space station Deep Space Nine, assisting in repairs to Bajoran technologies damaged during the Cardassian occupation. Worf, having a meal with Geordi at the station, is being observed discreetly by a mysterious alien. After Geordi leaves, Worf is approached by the alien, a Yridian named Jaglom Shrek, who claims that Worf's father, Mogh, did not die at Khitomer 25 years ago, as everyone thought. Shrek tells the disbelieving Worf that Mogh was taken to a remote prison camp by the Romulans after the massacre. For a price, Shrek says, he will reveal the location. Enraged, Worf still refuses to believe him, saying that a Klingon would rather die with honor than live as a prisoner.
Meanwhile, in Engineering, the space station's Dr. Julian Bashir, Data, and Geordi examine a battered cylinder recently found in the Gamma Quadrant. As they are working, Bashir expresses unending fascination with the operation of Data's android body. The final power connections are made to the dilithium chamber, and Geordi attempts to turn on the device. Suddenly, the cylinder releases a tendril of energy that jolts Data to the floor. He then gets up, finding himself in an eerie, surreal version of one of the Enterprise's corridors. Following a metallic banging sound, Data walks into another corridor to see a blacksmith at an anvil. The face is that of a young, fortyish version of Dr. Noonien Soong, Data's creator — his "father" of sorts.
Data seeks Picard's advice about his vision, explaining some of the interpretations he has derived from it, based on other cultures. Picard encourages Data to explore what the image represents to him personally. Data then returns to his quarters and paints a picture of what he saw in the vision.
Meanwhile, Worf arrives in the Carraya Sector. Landing on the planet where the alleged Romulan prison camp is located, he makes the long, arduous trek through the jungle to find his father. During his journey, he finds Ba'el, a beautiful Klingon woman, bathing in a nearby pond. She is shocked to discover him hiding in the bushes. Worf states he is here to rescue them, which confuses her, because she feels this is her home. Before he can respond, they hear someone approaching. Worf backs into the underbrush, asking Ba'el to tell no one about him. Then, a Romulan guard arrives and escorts her away from the pond.
After painting dozens of pictures in an unsuccessful attempt to flesh out his vision, Data decides to recreate the incident that caused his initial shutdown. Geordi and Dr. Bashir reluctantly do so, and this time Data again sees Dr. Soong in blacksmith's garb, forging a bird's wing, which turns into a live bird after being dunked into a bucket of water. This time, Dr. Soong talks to Data, saying that he is proud of the android, that Data is becoming more than a machine, and that a wonderful journey is beginning for him. After this even more unusual "dream," Data resolves to shut down his circuits for a brief period of time each day and attempts to "dream" some more.
Worf follows the Klingon woman and the guard to the Romulan compound, where he sees a group of Klingons, both young and old. He quietly pulls one aside, an elderly-looking Klingon called L'Kor. The Klingon tells Worf that his father, Mogh, is not a prisoner here, but did indeed die in battle at Khitomer. Angered by the sight of comrades in captivity, Worf offers to help free the 73 Klingons in the camp. L'Kor sadly says that Worf should never have come here. Suddenly, three other Klingons see Worf. As two of them grab him and pin him down, L'Kor reveals that no one is leaving the camp, not even Worf. An astonished Worf does not understand ...