When a stranger beams aboard the station and takes Kira hostage, she is shocked to see that he looks exactly like her dead love, Vedek Bareil. He reveals that he is Bareil — the mirror universe version — and is running from the evil Alliance of his universe. Even though he attacks her, Kira refuses to press charges after he is captured. Sisko is concerned that she is letting his resemblance to her late lover influence her actions, but agrees to allow Bareil to remain on the station.

When Kira informs him that her Bareil was a religious leader, Bareil laughs at the idea, telling Kira that his life as a thief is far from spiritual. But later, he joins Kira at services and attempts to learn more about the Bajoran faith in his "new" universe. Impressed, Kira invites him to join her for dinner with Worf and Dax. The evening is a huge success, and Bareil ends up spending the night with Kira.

The next morning, Bareil is exposed to the Bajoran Orb of Prophecy and Change, an experience which is both powerful and exhausting. Kira understands and sends him off for some rest. No sooner does he enter his quarters than the Intendant — the alternate universe double of Kira — appears and kisses him.

The Intendant presses Bareil about his feelings for Major Kira. He tells her that he thinks Kira is wonderful, but she reminds him that, as a thief, he is not worthy of her. She also reminds him of his purpose — to steal the orb and gain the power to unite the Bajoran people in a war against the Alliance. Later, Quark remarks to Kira that her friend has a tendency to spend hours at the Bajoran temple. While she reminds him that Bareil is in the midst of a religious experience, Quark points out that he could also be planning to rob the place.

That night, Bareil attempts to steal the orb, but finds Kira waiting for him. The Intendant arrives, announcing that they are wired for transport home. Kira warns Bareil against giving the Intendant the sacred object and reminds him of the power of his orb experience. Amazingly, her words reach him. He stuns the Intendant with a phaser blast and reveals to Kira that when he looked into the orb, he saw the two of them together with a family on Bajor. Unfortunately, he still feels unworthy of Kira. Leaving the orb behind, he departs the station with the Intendant, sure he can convince her to forgive him.