During a planetary survey in the Gamma Quadrant, Sisko and the others find a crashed Jem'Hadar ship. Sisko decides they must return with this ship, which could provide vital information about Dominion technology. But a Jem'Hadar recovery team and their Vorta leader are unusually determined to prevent this, leading Sisko to wonder what further secrets the ship might hold.
- Broken Aesop: The episode insists that the casualties on both sides could've been avoided if they had all just trusted each other. However, Sisko invokes the runabout crew (who were destroyed the moment Kilana's Jem'Hadar arrived), and T'Lor and Muņiz (killed and mortally wounded, respectively, before any negotiations had begun).
- Could Have Avoided This Plot: At the heart of the episode. Neither side is willing to believe the other has anything but the worst intentions, and will not extend any measure of trust towards the other. This results in the deaths of the runabout crew, the Changeling, the Jem'Hadar crew, and probably Kilana after she returns the Founder's remains.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Muņiz is shot by a Jem'Hadar. The wound appears minor, but bleeding persists until he slowly bleeds to death. Even Worf remarks what horrible way to die it is.
- Don't Call Me Sir: Inverted—Kilana tries to get on a First Name Basis with Sisko, but he shuts her down.
- Due to the Dead: At the end of the episode, O'Brien is watching over Muņiz's body. Worf enters and likens the practice to ak'voh, an old Klingon custom of safeguarding the body of those entering Sto-vo-kor. He then sits beside O'Brien.
Worf: We will both keep the predators away.
O'Brien: I'm sure Quique would have liked that.
- Driven to Suicide: The Jem'Hadar kill themselves over allowing a Founder to die.
- Ms. Fanservice: The Vorta, Kilana, wears a rather cleavagey outfit.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Kilana initially says this is her first mission, but Sisko later realizes this was a lie to get him to underestimate her.
- OOC Is Serious Business: As O'Brien is treating him, Muņiz calls him "sir." When O'Brien doesn't react, Muņiz knows his condition really is bad.
- Poor Communication Kills: The Founder aboard the ship could've been saved if Kilana had been upfront with Sisko immediately.
- Red Shirt: Subverted. Several random crew members are killed (including Mauve Shirt Muņiz), but at the end of the episode Sisko reads off the list of the dead and reminisces about them. It shows that, even if their deaths only serve to excite the audience, for the surviving characters these people's lives and deaths matter.
- Remember the New Guy: The viewer is supposed to care that a bunch of red-shirts died for a change, so they make sure to kiss their asses from the theme song to the end credits.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: O'Brien and Muņiz good-naturedly insult each other.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Sisko, as tempers flare amongst the crew.
"I know it's hot. We're filthy, tired, and we've got ten isontons of explosives going off outside. But we will never get out of this if we don't pull it together and start to act like professionals!"
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Sisko appears quite offended when Kilana says he would've killed the Founder or taken it hostage.