In addition to coping with the memories of her "past lives," Ezri Dax must deal with the range of reactions her presence generates on Deep Space Nine. Kira awkwardly tries to make conversation; Sisko is happy to have his old friend back; Quark flirts with her; and Worf, pained by the memory of his dead wife Jadzia, which Ezri's presence provokes, makes it clear he wants nothing to do with her. Elsewhere, Garak inexplicably collapses and is rushed to Bashir's care.

Worf's obvious discomfort around Ezri is one of the reasons she tells Sisko she plans to leave the station and resume her duties as a starship's assistant counselor. Seizing the opportunity, Sisko implores her to counsel Garak, who is incapacitated by a series of claustrophobic attacks. Knowing Starfleet needs Garak's expertise at decoding Cardassian military transmissions, Ezri agrees to help.

While Ezri works to get to the root of Garak's problems, Worf becomes irritated with Bashir when he sees the doctor socializing with her. Sisko offers Ezri a position as Deep Space Nine's counselor. She'd like to accept, but thinks her continued presence would make Worf too uncomfortable.

Ezri's fears are realized when a jealous Worf warns Bashir and Quark to stay away from her. Meanwhile, Garak's emotional troubles come to a head when he insults Ezri's professional skills, and argues that she's too confused about her own identity to help anyone else. Ezri is devastated by Garak's tirade, which confirms all her worst fears about herself.

Shaken by her confrontation with Garak, Ezri resolves to resign from Starfleet. But on the eve of her departure, she helps Garak realize that his decoding work has made him feel like a traitor to the Cardassian people, and he subconsciously "escaped" the task by bringing on the debilitating attacks. Garak accepts that the Dominion must be stopped, and agrees to resume the decoding. After O'Brien helps Worf see that treating Ezri badly is a dishonor to Jadzia's memory, Worf urges Ezri not to leave the station on his account. She agrees to stay, and is rewarded with a promotion to Lieutenant.