Worf and O'Brien are watching Dax play tongo against Quark and his Ferengi buddies. In spite of not knowing the game, Worf bets O'Brien that Dax will win and break Quark's winning streak. Dax plays a strong hand, but Quark bests her. Worf greets Dax and says he'd rather lose betting on her than win on someone else. The next day, the couple are assigned to contact a Starfleet Intelligence operative in the badlands. They take the Shenandoah and head out.
On the way to the rendezvous, Dax talks about her plans for their honeymoon, and Worf accepts. Dax notes that Worf has become unusually agreeable lately, and Worf admits that he's been making an effort, but this nonetheless leads them into an argument. When they reach the transmission spot, the operative, the Cardassian double agent Lasaran, contacts them and says he can give them the locations and identities of every Changeling spy in the Alpha Quadrant, but he needs to abandon his post now or he'll be killed. After insulting Worf a bit, he gives them a meeting spot to pick him up on the Dominion-occupied planet of Soukara.
Dax and Worf land on Soukara, a dense jungle, and hike out towards the location. While camping, they listen to the sounds of local fauna mating with amusement until they realize that something is approaching. They hide and spy a squad of Jem'Hadar sweeping the area. Dax fires, and the pair gun down the Dominion soldiers, but not before Dax is hit. She's bleeding badly and will need surgery back on the station to counter the weapon's anticoagulant. She resolves to soldier on with bandages and painkillers to complete the mission.
While this is going on, O'Brien becomes obsessed with learning tongo and breaking Quark's record, purely for the challenge of it. He recruits Bashir to play him and is soundly defeated, so he decides to coach Bashir to play Quark instead. The pair arrive with a small amount of latinum and talk their way into Quark's game. One by one, the other Ferengi get knocked out until it's just Quark and Bashir. Quark starts to needle Bashir about his failed romance with Dax and suggests that she was his only chance at true love. The distracted Bashir allows himself to go all-in against Quark's unbeatable hand, losing the game. Distraught, Bashir asks if Quark really meant what he said, but Quark refuses to "show all his cards" before leaving with his winnings.
Back on the plant, Dax's condition gradually deteriorates. She continually cracks grim jokes about the situation to keep her mood up and notes that Worf has lost his previous gregariousness. Worf says that he blames himself for her condition because he was too busy joking with Dax to hear the Jem'Hadar approach, but he will smile all she wants when the mission is over. In spite of her will to continue, she ultimately loses the power to stand. They're still have over 12 hours away from the meeting spot, so she urges Worf to carry on without her. The newlyweds reflect on how happy their two months of marriage has been, both knowing that Dax will likely die before Worf can complete the mission and get her back to the runabout.
Worf continues on alone until he reaches a clearing and hesitates. He throws his mek'leth into a tree in frustration and turns around. When he finds Dax again, she's unconscious. He picks her up and carries her back to the runabout. Back on the station, Sisko announces that Lasaran has died, and he reprimands Worf for failing the mission, potentially costing millions of lives. Worf will not be formally punished for security purposes, but he will likely never receive a command position. On a personal note, however, Sisko admits he would have done the same thing for Jennifer. Worf goes to meet Dax, who has just awoken from surgery. She apologizes for hurting his career, but Worf says he has no regrets, and the pair reaffirm their love.
- Asshole Victim: Lasaran, who repeatedly derided Worf for being a Klingon in his one brief scene, gets caught and killed off screen after Worf fails to make the rendezvous to extract him. He was probably characterized this way so that, the loss of his extremely valuable secret intelligence aside, few people would be saddened by his fate.
- Asteroid Thicket: A minor obstacle on the way.
- Battle Couple: Worf and Jadzia.
- Break Them by Talking: Quark does this against Bashir, making him realize that Jadzia is out of his reach, to distract him long enough to win.
- Brief Accent Imitation: O'Brien says "hew-mon" the way the Ferengi do a few times.
- Briefcase Full of Money: Subverted. O'Brien holds up a large briefcase when assuring Quark that he and Bashir are prepared for a high-stakes game, but when he opens the case, there are only six strips of latinum inside. O'Brien whispers to Bashir that they need to get a quick start.
- Challenge Seeker: O'Brien wants to learn tongo and beat Quark purely for the challenge.
- Continuity Nod:
- Bashir shows up to O'Brien's quarters ready for an evening in the secret agent program.
- Jem'Hadar weapons have an anti-coagulant, leaving the wounds they inflict to bleed. This was how Mauve Shirt Muñiz died in The Ship.
- Worf cites the Klingon marriage ceremony in "You Are Cordially Invited" when explaining his actions to Sisko.
- When Jadzia asks if Worf is in trouble with Starfleet after having rescued her, Worf points out that it's not the first time he's been in trouble with his superiors.
- When Dax describes her plans for their honeymoon, Worf guesses "Risa" with obvious disappointment. This is a nod to their previous holiday on Risa in "Let He Who Is Without Sin...."
- Fantastic Racism: Lasaran toward Klingons.
- Inappropriately Close Comrades: Worf and Jadzia (a married couple) are sent alone on a mission together in wartime, and he abandons it completely to save her life. Worf faces some serious career consequences in the aftermath, and Captain Sisko issues orders that the two of them are never to be sent alone on a mission ever again.
- It's All My Fault: Worf blames himself for lowering his guard and allowing Jadzia to be shot. She doesn't buy it.
- Karma Houdini: While Starfleet comes down hard on Worf for his abandoning the mission in order to save Dax, there's no indication that Kira, who was the person who actually made the call to send them on the mission together, faces any consequences for her part in the fiasco. Though this is justifiable, given that Kira's a part of the Bajoran Militia and thus Starfleet has no direct authority over her.
- Macho Masochism: Worf (of course) during the traipse through the jungle.Jadzia: So, how are you enjoying your honeymoon? Are you suffering enough?
Jadzia: Is there anything I can get for you?
Worf: More pain, less cold.
- Modesty Bedsheet: Dax, before going to bed.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Worf, who is usually about Honor Before Reason, realises The Power of Love is stronger.Worf: You were at my wedding. You heard the story of the first two Klingon hearts and how nothing could stand against them, and how they even destroyed the gods that created them. I have heard that story since I was a boy but I never understood it, I mean really understood it, until I was standing in the jungle with my heart pounding in my chest and I found that even I could not stand against my own heart. I had to go back and it did not matter what Starfleet thought or what the consequences were. She was my wife and I could not leave her.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: While Sisko is forced to reprimand Worf (on the record) for his actions, he privately admits to him that if Jennifer had been lying in that clearing, he would've done the same thing.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: This episode once again dwells on how Dax is carefree while Worf is stiff, but it finally reveals a bit more on how their marriage actually works day to day.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Worf abandons the mission to save Dax. Sisko reprimands Worf for letting The Mole die but admits he would have done the same thing if he and Jennifer (his late wife) had been in that same situation.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Normally, the B-plot runs the length of the episode. Quark and Bashir's tongo game is wrapped up just before Jadzia is shot, and the next two acts take place solely in the jungle, leaving the audience entirely in the drama there.
- Side Bet: While watching Dax and Quark play tongo, Worf and O'Brien bet a bottle of bloodwine and a bottle of Scotch whisky, respectively. Dax initially appears to win, and Worf begins to tell the Chief how he likes his bloodwine, but then Quark reveals he had the better hand.
- You Would Do the Same for MeJadzia: I don't know what to say.Worf: You could say, "Thank you for saving my life."Jadzia: Thank you for saving my life.Worf: And you could say, "I would do the same for you, Worf."Jadzia: Well, I'd have to think about that. My career is very important to me, you know.