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General Martok receives orders from the Klingon High Council to search for a Klingon vessel, the B'Moth, missing near the Cardassian border. The mission will be Martok's first since he escaped from a Dominion prison. Assigned a Klingon ship, the Rotarran, to command, he gets permission to take along Worf as his First Officer, while Dax joins them as the ship's Science Officer. They board their vessel and begin the search, only to discover that their crew is hardly the group of proud Klingon warriors they expected. Instead, it is an embittered ensemble whose morale has been destroyed by a series of punishing losses at the hands of the Jem'Hadar.
Martok expresses his concern to Worf, who replies that the best way to restore morale is with a victory. Martok agrees, but wants to proceed cautiously. Meanwhile, Dax is disturbed by the self-loathing among the crew. She is clearly worried when Worf alerts them to a Jem'Hadar ship located dead ahead.
The enemy vessel, unaware of the cloaked Klingon ship, begins to move away. But Martok refuses to attack, ordering the crew to return to its original course. Dax later warns Worf that Martok's actions have contributed significantly to the morale problem aboard. Her feelings prove correct when members of the crew, unable to take our their frustrations on their enemies, turn against each other.
The crippled B'Moth is found just within Cardassian space, but Martok fears the Jem'Hadar left it behind as a trap. When Martok refuses to let the crew enter Cardassian territory to rescue the survivors, Worf realizes Martok is paralyzed by fear of the Jem'Hadar. Reluctantly, he decides to challenge Martok for control of the ship, even if, according to Klingon protocol, he must kill him.
Worf gives the order to rescue the B'Moth survivors, and challenges Martok. The two begin a life-and-death knife fight for control. The crew's spirits are heightened by their bloodlust. Worf sees that Martok's fear is gone and allows him to win the fight, sustaining a nasty wound just as a Jem'Hadar ship approaches. The revitalized crew, led by Martok, defeats the enemy vessel and rescues the B'Moth survivors, returning to Deep Space Nine as victors for the first time. Martok is forever grateful to Worf for reminding him of his duty as a Klingon warrior.