Voyager discovers evidence of replicator technology on a pre-warp planet, which is reported as very unusual. Chakotay and Paris beam down to the planet to investigate. They discover two Ferengi (who first appeared in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Price"), pretending to be prophets to the native people.
When the Ferengi are beamed aboard USS Voyager they refuse to go back to the Alpha Quadrant, and Janeway is forced to return them to the planet. Meanwhile a wormhole is detected and it is traced to the Alpha Quadrant, with the wormhole being the Barzan anomaly that the Ferengi had come through, years ago, and never returned through. This would be a shortcut home for Voyager, the only problem is that the Delta Quadrant side moves around erratically. Harry Kim and B'Elanna Torres work on a way to stabilize the wormhole while Neelix, disguised as a Ferengi, travels back to the planet. He pretends to be a representative (the "Grand Proxy") of the Ferengi ruler, the Grand Nagus, and demands the two return to the Alpha Quadrant.
Neelix' ruse is uncovered and the Ferengi attempt to kill him. Neelix barely survives the assault and the natives uncover the situation. They become confused and declare all the "Ferengi," including Neelix, are to reach home by being burned alive. Neelix and the others are beamed away at the last moment and the natives are convinced their prophecy has come true.
Back on Voyager, the Ferengi manage to steal back their shuttlecraft, which Voyager had confiscated. They end up being sucked into the wormhole, which destabilizes to the point that it is worthless to Voyager.