Captain 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. In the chamber, the prosecutor, Orak, faces off against Archer's advocate, a veteran of the courts named Kolos. Later, in his cell, under the pretext of needing to be checked for contagion, Archer is visited by Doctor Phlox, who gives Archer an update that efforts to have him released are under way. Archer tells Phlox to relay a message, that no matter what the outcome, Sub-Commander T'Pol will leave orbit and keep the Enterprise's crew safe.
Orak calls as his first witness Second Weapons Officer (formerly Captain) Duras to testify—a process in which Archer is not allowed to interject. Duras then relates a biased tale of himself confronting a belligerent Archer, who insidiously 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. Rather than plea bargain, Archer insists that Kolos actually works harder to put up a valid defense. In response, Kolos relates how the judiciary used to be about the law and honor, but more recently the warrior mindset meant that victories became the accepted norm.
Kolos re-enters the court and advocates for Archer's right to testify based on an archaic judicial charter. Archer is permitted to relate his tale of helping the neglected refugees and merely damaging the Kingon warship, giving Kolos the chance to relate the numerous times Archer has helped the Empire in the past. Archer, however, is still found guilty and is sentenced to life on the Klingon dilithium mining planet of Rura Penthe. Kolos protests, and is himself sentenced to a year at Rura Penthe. Meanwhile T’Pol uses irregular back-door diplomatic channels and bribes to arrange to get the captain back. Kolos remains, deciding to obey the law he has served for so long with honor.