When Garak's tailor shop explodes, Odo finds that it was destroyed by a bomb but set up to make it look accidental. He tracks down a possible suspect but before he can catch up with him, the suspect is killed when his ship blows up.
Odo studies the case further and discovers that the Romulans are behind it. They probably hired the dead suspect, and then killed him to help bury evidence. Odo digs up more information about the incident and finds that it is much more complicated than an assassination attempt on Garak. It seems the Romulans are planning to invade Cardassia and several members of the Obsidian Order, the Cardassian secret police, have been killed in mysterious mishaps recently.
Odo tries to get Garak to admit that he blew up his own shop in order to get Odo to begin an investigation. All of the Cardassians recently killed were close to Enabran Tain, Garak's mentor. Now that all of his associates are being targeted, Tain may be in danger. Odo and Garak set off to locate him.
En route they are captured by a Romulan warbird. When they are brought aboard they find that Tain is there. He tells them he ordered Garak's assassination, as well as those of the rest of his former associates. He is wiping his history clean in preparation for a power play. The Romulan Tal Shiar have formed an alliance with the Obsidian Order, and they are planning an attack on the Founders in the Gamma Quadrant. Once the Dominion is taken out, Tain plans to take control of the Obsidian Order. Since his attempt on Garak's life failed, he asks the tailor to join him. Odo is puzzled when Garak immediately agrees.
The story continues with the following episode, "The Die Is Cast."