Several months into their war against the Dominion/Cardassian alliance, the Federation is fighting a losing battle. Having long ago abandoned Deep Space Nine, Sisko and his crew have been taking on the enemy from the U.S.S. Defiant. But they grow more and more demoralized as fleets of promised reinforcements are demolished. Reacting to the heavy losses, Federation Admiral Ross informs Sisko that he is no longer in command of the Defiant.

Ross soon reveals that the crew's new mission is to destroy the main Alpha Quadrant storage facility of ketracel-white, the drug to which the Jem'Hadar are genetically addicted. Without it, they will die. Ross reveals that he has a secret weapon to help them infiltrate Cardassian territory — a Jem'Hadar attack ship Sisko captured the year before.

The crew soon embarks in the alien vessel. Unfortunately, the headsets used for piloting are painful for humans, and Sisko struggles with intense headaches. Suggesting Cardassian physiology may be more compatible, Garak volunteers to wear the headset, further proving his loyalty to Sisko. Meanwhile, Nog delivers some bad news — a Federation ship, the Centaur, is firing on them.

Unable to identify themselves, Sisko suggests heading into Cardassian space in hopes that the Centaur will not follow. When the Federation captain doesn't give up, Sisko orders O'Brien to fire at his weapons array. The Centaur turns back toward Federation space, and the crew soon realizes why — three Jem'Hadar warships are approaching. Luckily, the enemy passes them without incident. Sisko discovers from where the ships came — the asteroid where the ketracel-white is stored. O'Brien sends down empty canisters to be "filled," with a bomb hidden inside one of them. Just as they prepare to leave, the facility raises its safety net, trapping the ship.

Sisko realizes that the explosion will disable net before it hits them, meaning they have a chance to outrun the blast. They prepare to leave when the explosion hits early! The crew is able to ride the "wave" to safety, and the facility is successfully destroyed. However, the ship has been left without warp drive — and more than 17 years from the nearest Federation Starbase.