Janeway gives Chakotay permission to borrow a shuttlecraft so he can perform a solitary ritual commemorating his father's death. His vessel inadvertently drifts into Kazon-Ogla space and Chakotay is targeted by Kar, a Kazon youth attempting to earn his warrior name by killing the Federation trespasser. Instead, Chakotay destroys Kar's ship, but beams the boy aboard before it explodes. When Chakotay tries to return Kar to his people, he's taken hostage.

The Kazon view Kar with contempt, and Kar blames Chakotay for his fate. Dying in battle would have been more honorable and far preferable to his dismal future. Now, Kar may never win his warrior name. The Kazon leader, Razik, ominously informs Chakotay that "the execution is tonight." But later Razik tells Chakotay that he will free him, but only if he agrees to kill Kar. Chakotay refuses, overpowers Razik and demands the return of his shuttlecraft. Facing certain death himself, Kar leaves with Chakotay. Damaged by Kazon fire, they're forced to beam down to a nearby moon, which Kar says serves as a training base for the Kazon-Ogla. Back on Voyager, the crew, which has been looking for its missing first officer, finds traces of Chakotay's shuttlecraft and continues their search.

Kar helps Chakotay negotiate safely around the surface of the moon, which is riddled with booby traps as part of the Ogla training. Taking shelter in a cave, Kar waits until Chakotay falls asleep and then raises his weapon. But he finds himself unable to murder him.

Arriving at the moon, the Away Team runs into Razik and his henchmen, who offer to lead them to Chakotay and Kar. Razik hopes to trap the crew, but he isn't successful. Chakotay comes up with a plan to help Kar win his name, but Kar comes up with an alternative. Chakotay is not his enemy, Razik is. He kills the Ogla leader, and then Razik's second in command — now the First Maje — pronounces Kar a warrior. Before the crew beams back to Voyager, Kar warns Chakotay that the next time they meet, he won't hesitate to kill him.