Sisko's plans for father-son bonding are ruined when Jake invites Nog to accompany them on a trip to the Gamma Quadrant. Quark insists on coming to escort his nephew, and the not-so-happy foursome wind up camping out on a primitive, uninhabited planet. Quark and Sisko argue, sending an embarrassed Nog off into the woods, with Jake chasing after him. Then, a terrified alien woman runs out of the forest, telling Sisko and Quark that she is running from a group of alien soldiers called the Jem'Hadar, who then suddenly appear and take the trio prisoner.
Returning to camp to find Sisko and Quark gone, Jake and Nog set out in search of them. Meanwhile, Sisko, Quark and the woman, Eris, are taken to a cave where they are imprisoned by a force field. Eris is unable to disable the field telekinetically because of a collar the Jem'Hadar have placed around her neck. She tells Sisko that the Jem'Hadar are soldiers of the Dominion, who rule the Gamma Quadrant, and is resigned to the fact that they are doomed. Sisko, however, is sure they can outsmart the four guards stationed to watch them, and decides to start by removing Eris' collar. While he works on it, Jake and Nog find the cave where Sisko and Quark are being held, but cannot get past the guards to save them.
Third Talak'talan, leader of the Jem'Hadar group, tells Sisko, Quark and Eris that the Dominion will no longer tolerate the presence of ships from the other side of the wormhole. Meanwhile, Jake and Nog return to the runabout and try to beam Sisko and Quark aboard. When this fails, Jake realizes he'll have to get help, but can't disengage the ship's autopilot to escape orbit. Later, Talak'talan materializes on DS9 and tells the crew that Sisko is being detained by the Dominion, then transports away before he can be caught.
After several hours, Sisko is finally able to remove part of Eris' collar, and enlists Quark to pick the lock. Meanwhile, Jake is finally able to disengage the autopilot. Back at the station, Captain Keogh of the starship Odyssey arrives and informs the crew of his plans to rescue Sisko. Kira, Dax, Bashir, Odo and O'Brien take off in two runabouts, following the Odyssey through the wormhole and eventually finding Jake and Nog. O'Brien beams aboard their ship and promises to take them back to rescue Sisko and Quark.
Quark manages to remove Eris' collar, then she disengages the force field, and the three escape. Meanwhile, the Odyssey and the runabouts are attacked, while O'Brien beams aboard Sisko, Quark and Eris. One of the Jem'Hadar ships then flies directly into the Odyssey and destroys it in a suicide run. Back at the station, Quark discovers Eris' collar is a fake, and they deduce that she is a spy for the Dominion. But, before they can arrest her, she disappears — leaving the crew with the realization that their dealings with this new enemy have only begun.