With Sisko in command of the Defiant, the Federation fleet reaches the Dominion line of ships standing between it and Deep Space Nine. Sisko orders his troops to target only the Cardassian vessels, hoping to provoke them into breaking formation. On the space station, Damar — Gul Dukat's aide — is concerned that Kira, Jake, and Leeta might try to sabotage their plans again, so Dukat orders them held for questioning. The minefield that barricades the wormhole will be destroyed in hours, allowing thousands of waiting Dominion ships to invade the Alpha Quadrant and defeat the Federation.
Although Dukat catches on to Sisko's plan, he lets his enemy through with hopes of toying with him later. Knowing it's a trap, Sisko insists on staying his course. Meanwhile, Odo is upset when he learns that Kira has been arrested.
The battle rages on, and the Defiant is the only ship to get through the Dominion line, with the help of Worf's Klingon reinforcements. On the station, Quark and Ziyal break out Rom, Kira, Jake and Leeta from prison. As Odo joins forces with his former comrades, Rom and Kira hurry to cut off power to the weapons array which will detonate the minefield, but are too late. Grimly, Sisko exercises his only remaining option and takes the Defiant into the wormhole.
Inside the wormhole, the entire Dominion fleet — and certain destruction — awaits the single ship. Suddenly, the wormhole aliens communicate with Sisko — they do not want him to die. Sisko pleads with them to save the Bajorans, who created an entire religion around them. He is then abruptly returned to the Defiant, but the enormous Dominion fleet still approaches.
Sisko gives the order to fire, but the ships are hit with a series of energy jolts and mysteriously disappear. Dukat is shocked when the Defiant emerges from the wormhole — alone. As Sisko opens fire in the station, Damar learns 200 more Federation ships are headed their way. The Dominion troops are all ordered to retreat to Cardassia, and Dukat asks his daughter to accompany him, but Ziyal refuses. She reveals that she helped Kira and the others escape from the holding cell, but she tells Dukat that she loves him just before Damar kills her. Devastated, Dukat remains — a shell of his former self — while the others evacuate and Sisko and the crew joyfully return home, achieving a major victory in the ongoing war.