Odo has arrived on his home world, greeted by his fellow shapeshifters. He at last learns of his origins - he, along with hundreds of other newly-formed shapeshifters, were dispelled into the far reaches of space and genetically programmed to return home with their knowledge later, Odo is the first to make it back. But his homecoming is not without its complications - his fellow shapeshifters consider him tainted by the many years he has spent in the comapny of 'solids', and he has much to learn about his heritage. In the meantime, Sisko and Bashir, having escaped the Defiant in a shuttle, are picked up by Dax and O'Brien, who return them to DS9. Negotiations are now apparently underway between the Dominion and the Federation, but some of the proposed treaty's stipulations have sinister undercurrents, the Romulans are being excluded from the talks, though the Cardassians, Ferengi and Klingons are being welcomed, and it is revealed to Sisko that the station - and Bajor - are being handed over to the Dominion. As the Jem'Hadar being walking over the station's inhabitants, Sisko and his crew - and unlikely ally Garak - take up arms to try to take DS9 back from its new owners. Meanwhile, on the planet of the shapeshifters and unknown to all, the Founders lie in wait, conducting a terrifying experiment.