Stardate Unknown: A Bajoran vessel, under attack from a Cardassian warship, sends out a distress call to Deep Space Nine. The station's crew is able to beam the lone Bajoran aboard. Major Kira recognizes the man as an old friend named Tahna, who is a member of the Kohn-Ma, the Bajoran resistance. He requests political asylum, and Commander Sisko allows both the Bajoran and the Cardassians aboard the warship to stay on DS9 while he considers his decision on the Bajoran's request. Meanwhile, Doctor Julian Bashir becomes acquainted with the DS9 clothier Garak, the sole permanent Cardassian resident on the station, and Odo has his hands full with the Duras sisters.
When the Cardassian occupation of Bajor ended in 2369, the mining space station Terok Nor was left abandoned, its systems ripped out. By invitation of the Bajoran provisional government, Starfleet stepped in to oversee the rebuilding and day-to-day operations of the newly christened Deep Space Nine.
The years of Starfleet's nonintervention into Cardassian matters, however, had taken its toll on relations with the Bajorans. Consequently, Starfleet's position was a tenuous one; many Bajorans, suspicious and hostile as a result of decades of Cardassian oppression and brutality, did not greet the Federation's presence with open arms. The Federation's assistance is put to the test as DS9 becomes a center of travel and commerce that stretches into the Gamma Quadrant.