The Enterprise crew welcomes aboard a group of Tellarites, including Ambassador Gral, to transport them to the neutral planet of Babel, where Earth mediators will try to settle a long-standing trade dispute between the Tellarites and the Andorians. After receiving fragments of a distress call, Enterprise alters course to provide assistance, and arrives to find that an Andorian vessel has been destroyed by what seems to be a Tellarite ship. Though furious with the Tellarites for compromising the conference, Archer has no choice but to bring the Andorian survivors, including Commander Shran, aboard Enterprise.
After Shran and his crew are rescued, Gral vehemently denies any involvement in the attacks. Suddenly, Enterprise is attacked by what appears to be an Andorian ship, but the attacking vessel quickly moves off and Enterprise lays in a pursuit course.
The alien who seems to be piloting the Andorian ship through a synaptic interface alerts a Romulan scientist named Nijil and a Romulan officer named Valdore, that Enterprise is approaching.
The Enterprise crew locates the ship that attacked them, but the ship is motionless. Trip, Reed, and a few MACOs board the drifting ship to investigate, and are stunned to find it deserted. Panic ensues when the ship suddenly powers up and starts to fire upon Enterprise. Acting quickly, T'Pol is able to beam up the MACOs, but the transporter malfunctions before Trip and Reed can be rescued. As if a bad situation couldn't get any worse, damage to Reed's oxygen hose leaves Reed and Trip with a very limited supply of air to be shared between them.
T'Pol soon learns that the ship that attacked Enterprise was a Romulan vessel altered to look like an Andorian ship. Archer deduces that the Romulans want to start a war between the Andorians and Tellarites, thus halting a possible trade agreement between the two alien races.
While awaiting rescue on the mysterious ship, Reed tells Trip that T'Pol's marriage to Koss has been annulled. The moment is interrupted when the static ship starts rocking violently, knocking Trip and Reed off their feet. After struggling to make their way through the ship, Reed and Trip are mystified when they discover that the bridge is completely deserted as well.
Back aboard Enterprise, Shran and his paramour, Talas, seek revenge for the attack on their ship and execute a surprise ambush against Gral and the other Tellarites. After Talas is severely wounded in the scuffle, Archer stuns both sides when he announces he has evidence that will prove that the Tellarites did not attack Shran and his crew.