The episode opens with Dr. Bashir caring for a badly injured General Martok. Martok then receives a message from the Klingon government stating that he has been assigned to retrieve a missing Klingon vessel lost several days ago. The Klingon High Council assigns the General a ship of his own, the Rotarran to accomplish the mission. He departs Deep Space Nine along with his newly appointed First Officer, Worf who has signed on to the mission at Martok's request. To Worf's surprise Jadzia Dax joins them as the ship's Science Officer. The Rotarran is Martok's first command since his escape from the Dominion prison camp, and he is dismayed to find that the crew are anything but happy; instead, it is an embittered ensemble whose morale has been destroyed by a series of punishing losses at the hands of the Jem'Hadar.
The morale situation aboard ship is only made worse by Martok's overcautious nature and unwillingness to go into battle and because of this he misses a chance for an easy victory. Dax, acting as a Klingon would, challenges Worf about the General's behavior which Worf will hear none of. In the mess hall, Dax is forced to stun a Klingon officer with her phaser when a pair of officers get into violent argument, almost causing the death of one of them. After this, Dax angrily confronts Worf about it and tells him that he needs to deal with the General by challenging him for command.
The B'Moth is found just across the Cardassian border, but Martok, fearing that the Jem'Hadar left it behind as a trap, refuses to enter Cardassian territory. Worf realizes Martok is paralyzed by fear. Reluctantly, he decides to challenge Martok for control of the ship. A knife fight ensues for control. Worf sees that Martok's fear is gone and allows him to win the fight, sustaining a nasty wound just as a Jem'Hadar ship approaches. The revitalized crew defeats the enemy, rescues the survivors, and returns to Deep Space Nine as victors for the first time. Martok is forever grateful to Worf for reminding him of his duty as a Klingon warrior, and offers him a place in the House of Martok.