Archer finds himself in the witness stand of a Klingon tribunal where he's charged with both aiding rebels opposed to the Empire and of attacking a Klingon ship. Later, in his cell, under the pretext of needing to be checked for contagion, Archer is visited by Dr. Phlox, who gives the Captain an update that efforts at diplomacy to have him released are under way. Archer tells Phlox to ferry the message that no matter what the outcome, Sub-commander T'Pol will leave and keep the Enterprise crew safe.
In the chamber, the prosecutor, Orak, faces off against Archer's advocate, a veteran of the courts named Kolos. Orak calls as his first witness Second Weapons Officer (formerly Captain) Duras to testify— a process in which Archer is not allowed to interject or offer rebuttal at any time. Duras then tells an extensively biased tale of himself confronting a belligerent Archer, who aggressively fires on the Klingon ship first. Archer cannot hold his tongue, and is quickly silenced with pain sticks by the tribunal guards.
Back in the cells, Kolos is tasked with offering Archer a deal if he gives up the 27 surviving rebels. Rather than plea bargain, Archer insists that Kolos actually works harder to put up a valid defense, rather than appear as weak and submissive as the courts now expect. In response, Kolos relates how the judiciary used to be about the law and honor, but more recently the warrior mindset meant that victories were the accepted norm. With his bravery questioned, Kolos re-enters the court and advocates for Archer's right to testify based on an archaic judicial charter. Archer is allowed to relate his tale of helping the neglected refugees and merely damaging the Kingon warship, giving Kolos the chance to reference the numerous times Archer has helped the Empire in the past.
Archer however is still found guilty of interfering in Klingon affairs, but is spared execution and sentenced to life on the Klingon dilithium mining planet of Rura Penthe, where the average life expectancy of a prisoner is between 6 months and a year. Kolos protests, and is himself sentenced to a year at Rura Penthe. Meanwhile T’Pol stands by Archer's original instructions, and does not stage a rescue. Instead, she uses irregular back-door diplomatic channels and bribes to arrange to get the captain back. Archer wants Kolos to return with him, but Kolos decides that if one man can make a difference, he can best do that by following the law he has served for so long with honor.