A man in a gold Starfleet uniform tampers with the hatch of a Cardassian ship.
Dax and Kira are sparring in a sisterly way about their tastes in men when that same ship goes boom.
The investigation implicates Federation technology.
Sisko’s old friend Lt. Cmdr Hudson visits from the demilitarized zone, reporting tensions from Federation colonists who found themselves on the Cardassisan side of recently redrawn borders.
On the promenade, the Vulcan Sakonna meets discreetly with the saboteur we saw earlier, then seeks out Quark to do business — though he seems mostly interested in pleasure.
Intrigue mounts as the aforementioned saboteur is kidnapped, and Gul Dukat pops up in Sisko’s living room for an unofficial chat.
En route to a Federation colony in the Cardassisan demilitarized zone, Sisko and Dukat encounter a Federation merchant ship being menaced by armed Cardassian shuttles — which are then destroyed by a second civilian Federation ship.
Dukat professes to be just as shocked as Sisko.
In Quark’s B plot, so far the joke has been that Sakonna is clearly only interested in business while Quark thinks he can seduce her; however, he looks rattled when he realizes what she really wants — a steady supply of military-grade weapons.
On a former Federation colony, we find Sisko’s friend Hudson and Gul Evek arguing with each other over the hostile incident we just witnessed. Evek presents Sisko with a confession from the man who destroyed the Cardassian freighter — and also presents the man’s body, saying he committed suicide.
Hudson tells Sisko he’s heard the Cardassian Central Command is “arming their colonists to the teeth” and that he feels the colonists had no choice but defend themselves.
Even though Dukat has apparently accomplished his mission, instead of asking Evek to get him back to Cardassia, he rides with Sisko back to DS9, where he is soon kidnapped by Sakonna and some of the colonists we’ve just met.
Quark has arranged for the goods Sakonna wants to purchase (but we know from past episodes Quark draws the line at arms running so I suspect maybe he’s already working with Odo by now).
As Sisko prepares to bring the latest problem to Starfleet Command, Kira offers some unsolicited advice, chiefly that she feels the Federation is naive to trust the Cardassisan to honor the recent treaty. Sisko listens, but his only reply is to push the button to open the door for her to leave.
We can’t hear what he’s saying in his office, but he’s obviously unhappy with what he’s hearing. Around the conference table as the staff waits for Sisko, Odo smoulders, O’Brien pushes back, Odo adds more fuel, Dax tries to mediate, Basir is clueless, and Kira lights and releases a flaming vole. Despite their differences, our dysfunctional little family gets right to work implementing Sisko’s orders and tracking down Dukat’s kidnapers.
Following technobabble clues to an “M-class asteroid,” Sisko, Kira and Bashir are quickly ambushed by armed colonists, setting up a big reveal.
You didn’t think that it was for nothing that this episode introduced that old friend of Sisko’s?
To Be Continued…