During a security briefing, Lieutenant Commander Michael Eddington informs the senior staff that twelve industrial replicators will be delivered to the station in three days before being delivered to Cardassia, as per the request of the beleaguered empire, whose industrial base has been destroyed by Klingon attacks. Eddington also reports that with Cardassia's preoccupation with the Klingons, the Maquis have been emboldened, and their activity in the demilitarized zone between Cardassia and the Federation has increased. Starfleet Intelligence believes the Maquis will try to stop the delivery, and possibly steal the replicators. After the briefing, Eddington and Odo also inform Captain Sisko that there may be a Maquis smuggler on the station, and that preliminary circumstantial evidence may point to Sisko's girlfriend, freighter captain Kasidy Yates.
Meanwhile, Garak begins to take a closer notice of Gul Dukat's daughter, Tora Ziyal, who is now living on the station under the supervision of Major Kira. He mulls over an invitation by her to a Cardassian sauna in one of Quark's holosuites, wondering if she intends to kill him in order to please her father, since it was Garak who had Dukat’s father tortured and killed years ago, when he was a member of the Obsidian Order, Cardassia’s internal security police.
Sisko sends Worf in the Defiant to confirm Eddington and Odo's suspicions about Kasidy Yates, and indeed, Worf witnesses Kasidy's ship, the Xhosa, transferring cargo to a Maquis raider in the Badlands.
Kira comes to Garak's tailor shop and threatens to kill him if he harms Ziyal. From this Garak actually deduces that it would be safe to meet with Ziyal, reasoning that Kira would not have threatened him if Ziyal had ill in mind for him. Quark points out to him, however, that Kira's threats may have been designed to lull into a state of complacency to facilitate any ulterior plans on Ziyal's part.
Sisko intends to stop Kasidy’s next delivery himself and capture her Maquis contact. When Kasidy's contact fails to appear, Odo becomes suspicious, wondering if Sisko was merely lured away from the station, which may be the Maquis’ target. When Sisko boards the Xhosa and confronts Kasidy, she insists that she was merely delivering medical supplies, and that she did not knowingly lure Sisko from the station, as it seems that she was duped by the Maquis just as Sisko was.
Back at the station, Eddington orders his security team to place the replicators aboard a Vulcan transport that is due to arrive at the station at any moment. After the security officers leave the wardroom, Kira arrives in the room. Eddington stuns her unconscious with a phaser, and steals the replicators, revealing himself to be a member of the Maquis.
Sisko returns to the station, but without arresting Kasidy or her crew, much to Odo's objections. Eddington later contacts Sisko, proclaiming his allegiance to the Maquis, excoriating the Federation for their politics in general and their treatment of the colonists that formed the Maquis in particular. He asks Sisko to leave the Maquis alone, telling him that they only consider Cardassia their enemy, and not the Federation. He also warns Sisko that there will be further conflicts if the Federation attempts to send more replicators or similar aid to Cardassia. Sisko vows to hunt Eddington down and arrest him, no matter what it takes.
Garak ultimately meets Ziyal in the holosuite, but although he is armed with a phaser to protect himself, Ziyal tells him that she has no illicit intentions toward him, explaining that as the half Bajoran, half Cardassian daughter of the former prefect of Bajor during the Occupation, she is an outcast on Bajor. She says she needs no companionship, since she spent five years in a prison camp all alone, but would like to learn more about Cardassia, from the only person on the station that can tell her anything about it. Thus their relationship begins.
Kasidy returns to Deep Space Nine, having let her crew off at a Maquis colony. She says she sensed that Sisko left her in the Badlands to see if she would willingly turn herself in. She says that she will not apologize for what she did, but felt she had a duty to aid the Maquis, just as Sisko has his duty, which he fulfills by ordering security to arrest her, after they share an emotional embrace.