When Riker is offered a captain's position on the Starship Aries, the U.S.S. Enterprise heads for Starbase Montgomery so he can be briefed on the assignment.

Arriving at the Starbase, Riker is visibly shaken when his father, Kyle Riker, whom his son hasn't seen in 15 years, is beamed aboard to brief him. Although it immediately becomes apparent that their relationship is strained, Riker summarily rejects Kyle's efforts to reconcile with his son.

Meanwhile, Worf is showing increased hostility toward the crew for no apparent reason. Wesley's  investigation into the cause of Worf's uncharacteristic behavior soon reveals that he is feeling culturally isolated because it is the tenth anniversary of his Age of Ascension, a ritual marking a new level of Klingon spiritual attainment.

To help Worf celebrate his anniversary, Data, Geordi  and Wesley surprise him by recreating a Klingon ritual chamber in the holodeck. They are, in turn, surprised to learn that the ritual is a test of a Klingon's ability to endure pain at the hands of his friends.

While Riker packs for his new assignment, Kyle's attempts at reconciliation are again rebuffed, prompting him to challenge his son to a anbo-jytsu match, the ultimate martial art. The match gives Kyle the opportunity he needs to finally resolve his conflicted relationship with his son.

As the crew sullenly prepares to leave the starbase without Riker, he surprises them by appearing on the Bridge, declaring his intent to stay on as First Officer.