A young Bajoran girl is lying in bed late one night recording an entry for the journal that she’s keeping for a class assignment. Her mother comes in to check on her, but she’s interrupted by the arrival of two Cardassian soldiers. We cut to her stripped naked and hung from the ceiling as the Cardassians demand information from the woman they call “Trika”.
It’s two years later in a holosuite above Quark’s on Deep Space 9. Commander Sisko is playing baseball with Jake when the programme suddenly crashes and is briefly replaced by something from Quark’s pornography collection before the whole thing shuts down. In Ops, Kira informs Sisko that the station’s primary power reactor has just exploded, tearing a sizable hole in the lower decks and leaving the entire city hanging off of limited reserve power. When that goes, Deep Space 9 will be rendered dead in space, leaving everyone aboard to suffocate or starve. Chief O’Brien points the finger at the slipshod cross-wiring and patching employed by the Cardassian engineers to the point he can’t even tell where everything is, or if it can be repaired. Commander Sisko begins investigating how to get some of the station’s non-functional reactor cores on-line to buy O’Brien time to repair the main one, which is an undertaking that could take months. Major Kira suggests it’d be better to instate a full-scale evacuation of the entire city.
Sisko knows O’Brien can do the job, but he also knows he’ll need help. So he calls up Deep Space 9‘s former chief engineer, one Dulath, who served in that position during the occupation when the station was still known as Terok Nor. This is a move that arouses the skepticism of the entire senior staff, most notably Kira and O’Brien, but, confiding in Jadzia Dax, Sisko exposits he’s seen classified documents that reveal Dulath wasn’t terribly popular with his former bosses: Dulath was concerned the reactor cores were leaking sodium at a rate and volume so dangerous the entire station’s population was in danger. Gul Dukat and his administration had hoped to sweep that under the rug, but mounting public pressure eventually forced their hands and the faulty reactors were shut down. But not before Dulath was mysteriously and swiftly reassigned.
Down in the engineering core, Miles and Dulath are beginning to forge a working relationship, albeit a frosty one, outfitted in special radiation suits that come courtesy of Dax. The Chief isn’t too happy about the working conditions for the Bajoran “laborers” (slaves) that worked in these shafts when Dulath was here, though the Cardassian engineer points out that he and his staff always saw to it that they were cared for and treated well when they came to his division. Miles enters a crawlspace to investigate some antimatter pods and makes an astonishing discovery: Someone has carved out an entire living space deep within the reactor array, complete with a portable generator. And inside, there’s a diary. Back in Ops, Commander Sisko gives the journal to Major Kira to translate, and sends Chief O’Brien and Dulath back down into the bowels to come up with an update on the status of the main reactor.…