Monitoring events from their basement hideout, Kira, Damar and Garak are horrified when Weyoun announces that, as punishment for every act of sabotage committed by rebel forces, one Cardassian city will be leveled. Reacting to the decree, Kira decides they must attack Dominion headquarters. Entering Cardassian space aboard the Defiant, Sisko prepares his crew to engage the Dominion-Cardassian-Breen fleet in battle.
As the Federation forces strike, the Defiant is rocked by enemy fire. Back on Cardassia, Jem'Hadar soldiers burst into Damar's hideout. Suffering heavy losses in space, Sisko, Admiral Ross and Chancellor Martok strategically realign their attack. Meanwhile, word of Damar's capture reaches the Female Shapeshifter, who orders Weyoun to have Damar, Kira and Garak executed.
Before the order can be carried out, Cardassian soldiers revolt and rescue the rebel trio. Meanwhile, in the heat of battle, the Defiant crew is elated when Cardassian ships switch sides and attack the Dominion fleet. In retaliation, the Female Shapeshifter orders the complete extermination of the Cardassian race — and a Dominion retreat to Cardassia Prime. Emboldened by the Cardassian about-face, Sisko, Ross and Martok decide to press forward in an attempt to end the war once and for all. On Bajor, Winn chants from the Kosst Amojan, brings the Fire Caves to life, and attempts to release the Pah-wraiths. And back on Cardassia, Kira, Damar and Garak lead an invasion of Dominion headquarters. Damar is killed by Jem'Hadar guards, but inspired by his leadership, the rest of the resistance presses on.
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