The battle between the Krios and Valt Minor Systems is set to end aboard the neutral ground of the U.S.S. Enterprise in a Ceremony of Reconciliation. The Kriosian Ambassador Briam arrives first with a gift for the Valtese leader Alrik, a fragile and irreplaceable item he asks to have declared off-limits. While on course to meet Alrik, the Enterprise is summoned to aid a Ferengi shuttle and beams aboard its two passengers. Picard and the crew learn their arrival was no coincidence when one of the Ferengi is caught trying to steal the gift. After being bumped by the Ferengi, the cocoon-like structure that houses the gift dissolves, revealing an exotic and beautiful woman.
The woman, Kamala, explains that she is an empathic metamorph, a rare creature born with the ability to sense what her mate desires and become what he wants her to be. From birth, she has been raised to be a gift to Alrik, whom she will imprint herself to as a token of peace. However, since her seal was broken prematurely, she is in a vulnerable state, sending out powerful sexual signals to every man she comes in contact with. Briam requests that she be confined to her room until Alrik arrives, but this horrifies Beverly Crusher, who tells Picard that he is helping to transport Kamala into a life of virtual prostitution. She convinces him to talk to the woman and release her from her quarters.
Picard has a difficult time resisting his attraction to Kamala, so he assigns Data, who will be immune to the woman's charms, to act as her escort. Data brings Kamala to the bar, where every man in sight is drawn to her. Kamala realizes she is creating havoc and volunteers to return to her quarters. Meanwhile, as Picard and Geordi help prepare for the upcoming ceremony, the Ferengis try to bribe Briam for Kamala. When he refuses to accept the bribe, he is knocked unconscious.
With Briam unable to perform his duty, Picard is asked to step in for him during the peace negotiations. Unfortunately, the captain knows little of the customs and rituals of the Kriosian people, and must turn to Kamala for help. As they work together, Picard finds it difficult to resist his attraction for her. Kamala confesses that she is also struggling, and finds it ironic to have met a man like Picard the day before she is to meet the man she must spend the rest of her life with.
Alrik arrives, and Picard is called upon to hand Kamala to her new mate in the Ceremony of Reconciliation. However, when he arrives in her room, she tells Picard that she is in love with him and has already imprinted herself to him. He asks her if she plans to go through with the ceremony anyway, and she tells him she must put her duty to her fellow man ahead of her own desires.