Commander Tucker is off-ship testing the new autopilot technology on one of Enterprise's shuttle pods. Without warning, his craft is suddenly approached and fired upon by an unknown ship. With the main systems damaged and central power lost, he is soon forced to crash-land on one of the planet's many moons. On the planet, Tucker survives the crash relatively unscathed, and tries to repair the communications systems. He soon realizes that he is not alone, however, and is ambushed by another alien, who has also crashed on the moon. After taking each other hostage, a truce of sorts occurs as they both realize that surviving is their main goal.
Meanwhile, having lost contact with the shuttle, Enterprise commences a search of the area. They are soon intercepted by a large ship belonging to Arkonians, who claim this region as their own. The Arkonians are territorial, aggressive, and have their own strained history with the Vulcans. While they demand that Enterprise immediately set course out of their system, their captain is reluctantly persuaded by Captain Archer to agree to a combined search of the sixty-two moons - it seems the aliens have lost one of their shuttle pods as well.
Finally, Tucker is able to use the surviving technology from both shuttles to get the transmitter working, managing to contact Enterprise. To complicate matters, the sun is slowly rising, and the temperature on the moon is becoming lethally hot. Moreover, since the moon's atmosphere interferes with the shuttle pods' power systems, Enterprise will have to beam the survivors up. But the alien, Zho'Kaan, is in too much physiological distress to survive the trip, and Tucker won't abandon his new friend. Archer then has the Arkonians launch a shuttle modified to function in the moon's atmosphere. Later, with the crew back on board, Sub-Commander T'Pol concedes that the rescue has allowed for friendlier and more productive relations with the Arkonians in one day than the Vulcans managed over a hundred years.