After having a meal with Dr. Bashir, Lt. Dax is walking back to her quarters. She is followed by a group of aliens, who attempt to kidnap her. Dr. Bashir comes across the group while they are attempting to drag Dax away, and he manages to alert Commander Sisko that he and Dax were attacked and that she was taken away. The group of aliens take Dax on board their ship, having sabotaged and disabled Deep Space Nine's tractor beam using knowledge gained from their Cardassian allies. They nearly get away, but the Deep Space Nine crew is able to reestablish the tractor beam and prevent the ship from leaving.
The ship is brought back to the station, where Ilon Tandro, son of a famous military figure from Klaesron IV, accuses Dax — the Dax symbiont, then known as Curzon Dax — of murdering his father, and wants to punish Jadzia Dax for the crime. His claim is based on the fact that during a civil war a coded message informed the opposing side of his father's location, and of the people who knew the location, Curzon was the only one without an alibi.
Tandro tries to use the Federation-Klaesron treaty, which allows for extradition to get Commander Sisko to release Dax to their custody. But Sisko and Major Kira assert that since the station actually belongs to the Bajoran people, the Bajorans have jurisdiction. Since there's no formal treaty between Bajor and Klaesron, the Bajoran people insist on holding an arbitration hearing. The hearing is held and Sisko raises the point that Jadzia and Curzon Dax are two different entities, sparking a lengthy debate. The arbiter suggests removing the Dax symbiont and leaving Jadzia behind, but Dr. Bashir points out that 93 hours after joining the host becomes biologically dependent on the symbiont, and to remove it would be fatal to the host after that point.
While Sisko and Ilon debate the merits of Ilon's claim that Trills are responsible for crimes committed by past hosts, Odo visits Ilon's mother, Enina. She tells him that Ilon has become obsessed with finding the one who betrayed his father, General Ardelon Tandro. Tandro's murder inspired his people to victory and he has since become a worldwide hero. However, Enina is adamant that Curzon did not betray her husband.
Back on the station, Dax's fate is uncertain. Sisko is able to establish that Jadzia and Curzon Dax are distinct entities, but Ilon argues that failure to punish Trill symbionts for acts committed in past life times would create a perfect crime. Curiously, Jadzia seems complacent about the entire affair. Sisko receives a message from Odo during a recess that he has discovered evidence of an affair between Curzon and Enina, giving him a motive for the murder.
Enina admits the affair to Odo and reveals that her husband was not the hero in life that he was in death. She tells him that Ardelon will always be remembered as a hero, but decides it is time for her place in history to change. As the hearing resumes, Enina and Odo enter and reveal the affair; at the time of the murder, Enina says, Curzon was in her bed. The arbiter tells Ilon he may want to re-examine his evidence and leaves. After the hearing is over, Enina talks privately with Dax of how no one would ever know that her husband had been the one who had sent the coded message in an attempt to betray his own people, and the rebels killed him for the favor.