A conman named Martus Mazur, trying to take a wealthy widow for all she's worth, is stopped by Odo who arrests him for attempting to swindle a couple on Deep Space Nine. While Martus sits in the holding area, his cellmate shows him a device which gives the user great fortune or great ruin. The old man tells Martus that the device has caused him nothing but heartache. However, a moment later the man is finally able to win one game before promptly dying. Martus takes the purple sphere from the dead man and begins to play the game.
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.