After losing to O’Brien at darts, Sisko visits Kira in her quarters (where she is praying before a memorial for Bareil) to report that the scheming Kai Winn, already the spiritual leader of Bajor, has been elevated to First Minister.
Soon the Kai herself pays a surprise visit. The former leader of Kira’s resistance cell is now part of a farming community that has refused to return agricultural equipment that the central government wants to redistribute.
In Dahkhur province, Kira gets reacquainted with Shakaar (played by Beverly’s ghost lover), who with two of their former compatriots are settling into the farming life. He says he’ll have to think about returning the macguffins.
After O’Brien crushes Dax at darts, we see Quark is manipulating O’Brien’s competitive streak so he can run a betting pool.
At Shakaar’s house, Lupaza and Furel share war stories. They were heroic and noble and cared for each other in battle, and now they are throwing themselves just as aggressively into their farms. They’re shocked to learn that Shakaar hasn’t told Winn “no.”
Privately Kira offers a reasonable defense of the central government’s position, but when Shakaar agrees to negotiate, the subtext suggests he’s doing it for Kira, not for Bajor.
Kira visits Winn in her office. (It’s a very good set, with big windows emphasizing the scope of Winn’s new position.) Winn is not that interested in negotiating with Shakaar, calling him prideful and arrogant.
Because this is TV, Winn does not wait until Kira has returned to DS9 before she makes her next move — sending a security team to arrest Shakaar. And again, because this is TV, Kira helps Shakaar escape.
At Quark’s, O’Brian is about to win another dart game, but dislocates his shoulder. He has to forfeit the match for surgery.
Winn hasn’t been able to locate Shakaar in two weeks, and reports his “defiance” is stoking unrest in other provinces. Sisko advises her to withdraw her troops, but she asks for a Federation force to replace them. Sisko declines, prompting her to monologue about justice and the will of the Prophets.
Shakaar wants to lead his group to safety into another province. Kira offers him tactical advice for doing so, but his team members are tired of running. Shakaar prepares an ambush, but the confrontation is not what we have been led to expect.
When Lenaris, the leader of the government forces, arrives in Winn’s office with Kira and Shakaar, the First Minister assumes he’s presenting captives, but in fact he’s reporting that the military is backing Shakaar for First Minister. Kira threatens to reveal Winn’s role in risking a civil war unless she withdraws from the upcoming election.
The comic B plot resolves with O’Brien’s new shoulder working just fine, but O’Brien himself is no longer “in the zone.” When Bashir scores a casual bullseye, Quark believes he’s found a new champion.
In the final infodump, Sisko learns from Kira that Winn has backed Shakaar, who is on track to win the election. Kira blows out Bareil’s memorial lamp.