Voyager is travelling through Devore space, where telepathy is illegal. The crew had encountered a small group of telepaths, and has offered them transport to a wormhole that will allow them to escape the sector. As Voyager continues, they are continually stopped by Devore ships, led by inspector Kashyk, demanding to inspect the ship for telepaths. Kashyk, who is fascinated by human culture, takes a very forward approach, taking control of the ship and playing Mahler's first symphony to relax the crew, appearing to be aware of the refugees. To hide the refugees, along with their telepathic Vulcans, the crew stores their patterns in a transport buffer during the period of inspection, but this is found to ultimately have cumulative deleterious effects on the refugees. It is decided the method should be avoided if at all possible.
Voyager is surprised when Kashyk arrives in a private ship, and claims to be interested in defecting and helping Voyager transport the refugees to safety. Captain Janeway is highly suspicious of Kashyk's actual motives, but allows him to help with the Brenari's approval. The Brenari point the crew towards Torat, a scientist that has studied the random appearance of the wormhole, and convince him to share the data. Janeway and Kashyk work together to try to identify a pattern in the wormhole's appearance, coming closer together as they make the discovery. The next appearance, deep in Devore space, passes by a large sensor array that Voyager is unable to avoid. With their presence in the sector known, Kashyk prepares to leave the ship, kissing Janeway goodbye and wishing her luck.
Soon, the Devore inspectors arrive, and Kashyk takes on his former forward demeanor. He sends his inspectors out of earshot, upon which Janeway reveals the use of the transporter buffer to hide the refugees. Kashyk relays this to inspectors, revealing himself as a counter-agent for the Devore. However, when the Devore re-materialize the transporter buffer, they only find mundane shipping containers filled with vegetables. The Devore become aware of two of Voyager 's shuttles en route to the wormhole, containing the telepath refugees, and are unable to catch up to them in time. Janeway reveals she never completely trusted Kashyk's motives, and created this deception. Kashyk and his inspectors, unwilling to have such a failure on their records, are forced to leave the ship alone and unreported, allowing the crew to continue their journey and reunite with their shuttles outside Devore space.