Miles O'Brien (Colm Meaney) and Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig) clash when their runabout crashes on a planet that is home to several rogue Jem'Hadar. Their leader, Goran'Agar (Scott MacDonald), takes the two captive before asking Bashir to help cure his men of their addiction to ketracel-white, the drug that makes them loyal to the Founders of the Dominion. Goran'Agar was stranded on the planet four years prior and expected to die when he ran out of his supply of the drug, but he survived and has since never needed it; he concluded that there must be some substance on the planet that cured him of his addiction. Bashir is sceptical since the entire genetic structure of the Jem'Hadar had been reconfigured to be dependent on the drug, and the two officers initially cook up a plan to escape, but O'Brien's makeshift weapon is discovered. However, while the Jem'Hadar that still use the drug frequently suggest killing the men for their disobedience, Bashir notes that Goran'Agar shows unusual mercy, and his conversations seem to indicate independence of thought and character. He begins to understand Goran'Agar and decides he wants to aid him and his men, but O'Brien is convinced the Jem'Hadar will always be brutal killers regardless of whether they are dependent on the drug or not; they reach an impasse, and Bashir as the superior officer orders O'Brien to help him develop a cure by retrieving a piece of equipment from the runabout.
O'Brien goes to the runabout, but there he tricks and escapes his guard, and obtains a weapon. Meanwhile, Bashir talks with Goran'Agar to determine if anything else happened to him on the planet, and comes to the conclusion that there is nothing special about the planet that rid him of his addiction to the white; through some biological fluke, Goran'Agar was never addicted in the first place. O'Brien finds Bashir, and when he refuses to leave with him, sabotages his work. Goran'Agar appears and confronts them, but his merciful ways have lost him the loyalty of his men, and with no hope of a cure, he finds he has no reason to kill O'Brien and Bashir. He leads them to their runabout and asks O'Brien, a former soldier, to explain to Bashir why he cannot abandon his men, even if they would kill him if he stayed. On their way back to DS9, O'Brien tries to explain to Bashir that all his efforts were intended to save him, but the two still don't see quite eye to eye.
On DS9, Commander Worf (Michael Dorn) interferes with Odo's (René Auberjonois) investigation as he acclimates to living on the station and no longer being Chief of Security. He finds an illegal smuggler of crystals on the station and discovers that Quark has been dealing with him, and frustrated by Odo's inactivity despite his clear awareness of the situation, confronts the two himself. Odo, who had been spying on them, appears and explains to Worf that he wanted the deal to go ahead so that he could track the smuggler and break down the entire smuggling ring, but thanks to Worf's interference he will have to settle with the middle man. Sisko explains to Worf that, unlike life on the Enterprise where right and wrong were clear-cut, Deep Space Nine has many grey areas that will take some getting used to.