When a ramshackle alien vessel is detected making its way through the wormhole, the ship's four passengers are transported to Deep Space Nine. The humanoid aliens, led by a female named Haneek, are unable to communicate with the crew since the universal translator has trouble with their language, but they instinctively trust Kira. Because of this, she leads the group to the Infirmary, reassures them as Bashir treats their wounds, and shows them to their quarters. There, the translator begins making sense of Haneek's words, and Kira discovers that Haneek's people, the Skrreeans, need help immediately. With Kira's encouragement, Haneek communicates that there are three million of them on the other side of the wormhole who must be brought through.
Haneek meets with the crew to discuss her problem, and is surprised to see men in positions of authority — all Skrreean leaders are women. She explains that, while she is just a farmer, she is the first of her people to find the legendary "Eye" (the wormhole) that supposedly leads to Kentanna, the mythical home of her race. Most of her leaders were killed by the T-Rogorans, who conquered their people and have since been conquered by the Dominion. Sisko promises to help the displaced Skrreeans find a homeland, and soon afterward, Kira informs Haneek that several Skrreean ships have been located. She suggests that, as the first through the wormhole, Haneek should greet them, and the visitor welcomes a large group of refugees who soon overrun the Promenade, enjoying their first taste of freedom.
While her son Tumak is taunted by Nog, Haneek is made leader of the search by her grateful people, but privately tells Kira she fears that she will not find Kentanna. However, her confidence soon strengthens, and she requests a map of the sector to help locate her homeland. Later, Nog attempts to apologize to Tumak, but he starts a fight that Quark breaks up, making disparaging remarks about the Skrreeans that obviously hurt Tumak. Luckily, Sisko has found a planet, Draylon II, that will make a good home for the aliens. He, Kira, and Dax break the good news to Haneek, but she has news of her own — she has found her Kentanna, and it is Bajor.
Sisko and Kira meet with Haneek and Bajoran officials Minister Rozahn and Vedek Sorad, and Rozahn tells Haneek that the Skrreeans' request for immigration has been turned down. She cites Bajor's own problems as a reason, but Haneek pleads with her, promising that her people only wish to settle in a deserted area and transform it into farmland — something that could help Bajor, which is in the midst of a famine. Still, Rozahn is afraid of being forced to "take care of" the refugees, and when Haneek asks Kira for support, she is shocked that Kira agrees with Rozahn. Later, Kira attempts to explain herself, but Haneek refuses to forgive her. Their tense meeting is interrupted by a summons from Sisko — Tumak has taken a ship and is headed for Bajor.
Sisko tells Haneek that Tumak's ship has a dangerous radiation leak, but Tumak will not respond to their hails. Haneek attempts to communicate with her son just as two Bajoran ships detect the Skrreean vessel. Kira begs them to let Tumak land, pointing out that he is only a boy, but the Bajorans refuse, saying they have strict orders to refuse access to all Skrreean ships. Sisko hails Bajoran General Hazar, who agrees to tow Tumak if he turns off his engines. But as Haneek again implores her son to do so, he fires on the Bajorans. They return fire before Hazar gives the order to refrain, and while their phasers miss the Skrreean vessel, the fire interacts with the radiation leak and the ship explodes. Later, as the Skrreeans begin to relocate to Draylon II, Kira meets with Haneek again. Hurt and angry, Haneek tells Kira that the Bajorans have made a mistake based on fear and suspicion. As she leaves the station behind, Kira is left wondering if perhaps she is right.