Kira meets Tekeny Ghemor, a known Cardassian dissident, hoping he will lead the opposition to the Cardassian/Dominion Alliance. Ghemor reveals he hasn't long to live but he may still be able to help Kira's cause with a Cardassian ritual in which the dying reveal secrets to their family to use against their enemies. Since Ghemor apparently has no living relatives, he asks Kira, who the Cardassians once kidnapped and surgically altered to look like his long-lost child, to be his "daughter" one last time. Sisko points out that this is an incredible opportunity to learn Cardassian secrets. Kira reluctantly agrees to the task.
Kira sets up at Ghemor's deathbed, where they begin. Ghemor struggles against agonizing pain to share his secrets, and Kira struggles with memories of her own father, Taban, and his death by the Cardassians years before. Meanwhile, Gul Dukat arrives via Jem'Hadar battleship, demanding Ghemor's return.
Dukat and his Dominion cohorts board the station and go to Ghemor, who refuses to leave with them, even when Dukat tempts him with a reunion with his real missing daughter, Iliana. Later, Dukat tells Kira that Ghemor is not the man she thinks he is — he participated in a notorious massacre at a Bajoran monastery, and proves it by handing her Ghemor's military file.
Returning to Ghemor, Kira angrily confronts him and, despite his apologies, leaves him to die alone. Odo reminds Kira that Ghemor was only 19 at the time of the massacre, then suggests Kira might really be upset about something else. Kira again recalls when her father was dying, and remembers leaving to fight with his attackers instead of staying by his side as he wished. Bashir interrupts her with news that Ghemor will be dead within the hour.
Kira refuses to go to Ghemor's side, then again thinks back to the past, and remembers returning from battle to learn that her father died calling her name. The memory is too much — Kira goes back to Ghemor's bedside and takes his hand, finally able to help him die in peace. As a final gesture, she takes Ghemor's body to Bajor and buries him next to her father.