Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the crew of the Federation starship Enterprise. In this episode, Lt. Cdr. Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) is trapped on an inhospitable planet hazardous to human life with a Romulan. The two adversaries must work together if they wish to survive. Aboard the Enterprise, Lt. Worf (Michael Dorn) is faced with a conflict between his duty as a Starfleet officer and his Klingon prejudice against Romulans, and Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) must contend with a Romulan warbird intent on recovering their own personnel.
The Enterprise responds to a Romulan distress signal to the planet of Galordon Core near the Neutral Zone, and discover wreckage of a Romulan craft on the hostile planet's surface. Riker, Worf, and La Forge transport down, and find the planet's environment interferes with their equipment. They succeed in finding the craft and a Romulan survivor near death. Riker and Worf transport the Romulan back to the ship while La Forge continues to search the wreckage, but ends up falling into a shallow hole. By the time he has climbed out, the weather on the planet has made it impossible to communicate with the Enterprise.
Aboard the ship, Dr. Crusher tends to the Romulan, finding she needs to locate a matching donor of ribosomes to keep him alive. When La Forge does not report back and the weather making transporter or shuttlecraft use impossible, Wesley Crusher offers the idea of launching a probe into the planet's atmosphere that would send a neutrino signal on the same frequency as La Forge's VISOR that would lead him to a safe transport point. As they launch and monitor the probe, the Enterprise is met by another Romulan Warbird, helmed by Commander Tomalak who initially believes that the Enterprise caused the wreckage of the Romulan ship on the surface. Captain Picard warns his crew that they must handle the situation delicately to avoid setting off a war between the Federation and Romulan Empire.
On the surface, La Forge discovers the probe's signal, but while following its guidance, is captured by Bochra, another Romulan survivor of the crash. Though Bochra holds La Forge hostage, he reveals that he is losing feeling in his legs from the crash. La Forge offers to help him lead them to the beam out point through the VISOR, but soon its power cells falter leaving him blind. La Forge is able to convince Bochra to use his tri-corder as a power source for the VISOR, the combined technology able to direct them to the proper beam out point, while the two work together to overcome their physical disabilities to make it there.
On the ship, Worf is found as the only suitable donor for the dying Romulan, but he refuses. Picard forces Worf to put his duty to Starfleet over his honor as a Klingon but it is all for naught when the Romulan succumbs to his wounds and dies. Picard reports this to Tomalak, who is infuriated and prepares to fire his weapons at the Enterprise. As the Enterprise raises its shields, they discover La Forge has reached the beam out point with another lifeform. Picard warns Tomalak they are lowering their shields to beam up the survivors directly to the bridge. When they arrive, Bochra reports to Tomalak that the Enterprise did not cause the wreckage, and that La Forge had helped save his life. Tomalak accepts this and stands down his weapons. Bochra cautiously thanks La Forge for his help and is returned to the Romulans, and the Enterprise escorts Tomalak's ship back to the Neutral Zone without further incident.