Quark is excited to receive a shuttle his cousin Gaila has owed him for ten years, and decides to use it to fly Nog to Starfleet Academy on Earth — while doing a little smuggling on the side. But, just as the shuttle enters Earth's system, Rom is unable to take the ship out of warp, and realizes that the spiteful Gaila designed the ship to malfunction. Luckily, Rom figures out how to stop the ship and make an emergency landing. However, when the three travelers wake up after the crash, they find themselves in an examining room — in July 1947 at Roswell, New Mexico.
Outside the room, a team of United States military and science personnel has assembled, including General Denning, Captain Wainwright, Professor Carlson, Nurse Garland, two M.P.s, and a German shepherd. The group observes the Ferengi trio, who they believe to be Martians, then enter the room and attempt to communicate. Unfortunately, none of the three can either understand or talk back, since their universal translators were damaged in the crash. Realizing, however, that these are primitive humans, Quark smells profit. While Carlson and Garland observe the aliens, Rom manages to convey to the nurse that he wants her hairpin, then uses it to work on the translators. Garland then summons the others — Quark is speaking English, and he has a business proposition for them!
Quark explains the translator to his stunned hosts, then offers to sell them advanced technology. However, the suspicious General Denning demands that Quark tell him why they are really on Earth. Quark insists they have come to do business, if not with the Americans, then with the Russians. Later , when the three are alone again, Quark watches with surprise when the dog suddenly morphs into Odo, who stowed away on the shuttle to catch Quark smuggling. Odo tells the group where their ship is hidden, but Quark doesn't want to leave. He's sure he can manipulate the primitive humans and become Earth's ruler, caring nothing about how he would alter history as a result. But Quark's thoughts of conquest are put on hold when he, Rom, and Nog are forcefully taken to an interrogation room.
Quark is repeatedly injected with truth serum, but it doesn't work on the Ferengi. Nog then steps in and claims they are the first of an invasion fleet that has come to take over Earth. He gets Captain Wainwright to untie him and uses the opportunity to deck his captor. Carlson and Garland, not pleased with the treatment of the aliens, step in to help them escape and return to their ship. When General Denning tries to stop them, Odo appears to save the day, and the group takes off. They use an atom bomb test blast to help send the ship back to their present, and are able to drop off Nog at Starfleet Academy after all.