The Circle, with Minister Jaro Esso leading their charge, makes a push for control of Bajor. Starfleet has ordered all Federation personnel to vacate Deep Space Nine, but Commander Sisko makes the choice to defend the station. All Federation personnel are evacuated save for all of the Starfleet officers onboard, who stand with Sisko. With the evidence that Cardassians are supplying The Circle with weapons, Major Kira and Lieutenant Dax find transportation down to Bajor to convince the Provisional Government of Jaro's misdeeds.
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.