Lwaxana Troi pays a visit to Odo's office with the surprising news that she is pregnant. She is thrilled to be having a baby boy, but her Tavnian husband insists she adhere to the custom of giving him their son to raise alone until the child is 16. Unwilling to give away the baby, Lwaxana decides to give birth to him on Deep Space Nine. Meanwhile, a mysterious alien woman named Onaya arrives on the station, telling Jake that she can help him with his writing.
Lwaxana finagles an invitation to Odo's quarters, and while Odo is initially uncomfortable — she once had a romantic interest in him — he starts to warm up to Lwaxana and even feels her belly as her baby kicks. Meanwhile, Jake opts out of a trip with his father and shows up at Onaya's quarters. She encourages him to write on paper, something he has never done before, and touches him as he works. Amazingly, Jake's thoughts flow more freely than ever before, and he is clearly excited by what is happening. What he fails to notice, however, is that Onaya is somehow drawing energy from him as he writes.
Lwaxana and Odo continue to bond until her husband Jeyal arrives on the station. Odo tells him that he plans to marry Lwaxana, which will cause her union with Jeyal to be automatically annulled and give Odo claim to her child. He tells Lwaxana of the plan — they will marry in a legal Tavnian ceremony, she will have the baby, and after a few months, they will get an annulment of their own. But Lwaxana informs Odo that in order for the marriage to be valid, he must convince Jeyal that he truly loves her. Meanwhile, back in Onaya's quarters, Jake continues to write, unaware that Onaya is literally sucking the life out of him.
The officers assemble for Odo and Lwaxana's wedding, where he surprises everyone by revealing true, heartfelt feelings for her. Even Jeyal is unable to deny his sincerity, so the two are married and Jeyal leaves the station. Jake, meanwhile, is still writing, drained and exhausted but determined. Onaya, who can't absorb any more of his energy at the moment, insists he rest. He reluctantly agrees, but passes out while heading for his quarters. Bashir tells Sisko, who has just returned, that something has been stimulating Jake's cerebral cortex to the point of near-synaptic collapse. But soon after they leave the unconscious Jake, Onaya appears and takes him away.
Using traces of Onaya's energy as a lead, Sisko sets off to find his son, while Jake, near collapse resumes his writing while Onaya absorbs energy. Suddenly, Sisko bursts in to their hiding place, phaser in hand. Onaya tells Sisko that she gave countless legendary creators their inspiration — and immortality — at the cost of their lives. Sisko tries to stop her from leaving, but she transforms into an energy being and disappears. Meanwhile, Lwaxana informs Odo that she is also leaving to have her baby on her homeworld. Odo is surprised and disappointed, but understands. Later, Sisko reads Jake's unfinished manuscript and is clearly impressed. Jake worries to his father that Onaya deserves the credit, but Sisko reminds him that the words and ideas were his own — she only used her power to draw them out. All Jake needs to do is find that power within himself.