According to Memory Alpha's original in Universe Timeline, the story sequence is:
The Search Part 1 : The Search Part 2 : The House of Quark.
In the Dominion introduction story arc, the story sequence is
The Search Part 1 : The Search Part 2.

Summary

Previously

Commander Sisko arrives at Deep Space 9 with the Defiant, the only Starfleet vessel built especially for combat and equipped with a Romulan cloaking device. His plan is to meet and to come to terms with the mysterious Founders of the Dominion in the Gamma Quadrant. Odo, who has been replaced by Commander Eddington as head of security, grudgingly joins the Defiant crew. They proceed into the Gamma Quadrant under cloak. Staring at a star chart of the sectors ahead, which show the way to a comm relay of the Vorta, a race belonging to the Dominion, Odo feels strangely attracted to a place called the Omarion Nebula. Dax and O'Brien have to be left behind on the communication relay on Callinon VII. Moreover, the Defiant, in spite of the cloaking, comes under attack by three Jem'Hadar vessels and is boarded. Odo manages to escape in a shuttle with an unconscious Kira and sets a course for the Omarion Nebula. Inside the nebula they land on a planet that turns out to be Odo's home.

Conclusion

He is told by a female shapeshifter that their kind has sought refuge on this world after their species had been persecuted by the "Solids" for a long time. Meanwhile, Sisko and Bashir, traveling in a shuttle, are rescued by O'Brien and Dax, who have met up with the Founders. When the four arrive on Deep Space 9, peace talks are already on the way, the Founders being represented by a man named Borath. But the Romulans have been excluded, and Jem'Hadar soldiers continue to terrorize the station. Sisko, Garak, Dax, Bashir and O'Brien decide to collapse the wormhole in a suicide mission to protect the Alpha Quadrant from the hordes. On the shapeshifters' homeworld, however, Odo discovers a secret: Sisko and the other Defiant crew members are held prisoners. The are all unconscious, and the whole story about their return to Deep Space 9 was an illusion, a test of the Federation's determination. Moreover, Borath is not a Founder but a Vorta. The shapeshifters, Odo's species, are the real Founders. Odo demands that his friends be released and joins them on their way back to Deep Space 9, repelled by the criminal conduct of his people.

Errors and Explanations

The Nitpickers Guide for Deep Space Nine Trekkers

Plot Oversights

  1. Just before attempting to collapse the wormhole, Sisko, Dax, Bashir, and Garak stand in the Security office and discuss their plans. Not exactly the best place, given the easy view from the promenade; but hey, it’s only happening in their minds. It was probably chosen due to it’s relative proximity to the runabout pads. CdnTim 1023 EST 5 Feb 2021 - what would a passerby see? Three senior officers talking with a prominent local figure.
  2. At one point two Jem'Haddar get the drop on Sisko and company as they head for the runabout. Garak pretends to have captured the Starlleet officers and then shoots the two Jem'Haddar. There’s plenty of time for the second Jem'Haddar to shoot Garak, but he waits patiently to take the phaser blast; but hey, it’s only happening in their minds. They weren't expecting Garak to fire on them.

Equipment Oddities

  1. At one point Kira attempts to send a message to Sisko. The computer tells her it is unable to do so because of external interference at all frequencies. Kira asks about the source of this interference, and the computer replies that the interference comes from “thermal radiation” generated by a subterranean power source. ln other words, the computer can’t send a message because it’s too hot!'? Seniram The heat could have interfered with or distorted the transmission signal.
  2. I believe Odo’s office got an upgrade between the second and the third seasons. Now there’s a boxful of phasers on the wall inside the little cubbyhole behind his desk. (This is very convenient because our beloved officers need weapons when they are standing in the Security office just before they make a break for the runabout.) What's interesting is that this sequence occurs in their minds. So either the box was added prior to this episode when we weren't looking, or Sisko liked it so much after seeing it in the fantasy that he had O‘Brien install it there. Maybe the situation with the Jem'Haddar prompted the installation of the phaser storage box.
  3. And what about the shuttle that Odo and Kira bring to the Founder homeworld?At the end of the program Odo and Kira beam up to the Defiant—-apparently leaving the shuttle on the surface. Did they remote-pilot it back to the ship? It may have been flown back by the others.

Nit Central

  1. ScottN on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 5:36 pm: IIRC, in Broken Link, the Dominion demands that the Jem'Hadar pilot Odo back because they don't want to reveal their location. Yet Kira *KNOWS* the location of their planet from this episode. Or am I misremembering something. Duke of Earl Grey on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 5:45 pm: ScottN, you seem to be forgetting that in The Die is Cast, Enabran Tain attacked the Founders' homeworld, the same one Kira (and Odo, and presumably Sisko and the rest) knew the location of. Of course, the Founders had abandoned it, and set a trap for Tain. They relocated to a new location that was kept secret in Broken Link.
  2. Thande on Friday, June 04, 2004 - 1:48 pm: Why does Sisko (or is it Odo?) call the Founders' virtual-reality thing more advanced than a holodeck when in Equinox (VOY), Ransom described a similar virtual-reality thing as 'a poor man's holodeck'? LUIGI NOVI on Friday, June 04, 2004 - 10:41 pm: Perhaps Ransom's device wasn't as sophisticated as the one Sisko experienced (even if the home audience saw the effects as identical).
  3. Joel Croteau (Jcroteau) on Sunday, March 02, 2008 - 6:27 am: Wouldn't the logical thing to have done here been to kill Sisko et al and replace them with changelings? Or at the very least keep them imprisoned and replace them with changelings? David (Guardian) on Sunday, March 02, 2008 - 12:06 pm: Could be that it was too early. In order for the changelings to pass as Sisko and co., they have to pin down every mannerism and character trait beforehand. Replacing them too early could be dangerous. Raskolnikov on Saturday, April 12, 2008 - 7:15 pm: Too easy to trace back to a definite incident. If Starfleet or others ever picks up later that any or all of the staff are acting weird, they can track back from the records of when the Defiant went for a peace meeting with the Founders. Granted, without Odo's breaking in on the door they wouldn't know the Founders are shapeshifters, but if there's anything really odd they could suspects they were mind-controlled, or replaced the same way O'Brien was in Whispers. Take Sisko or whomever into custody, study them for awhile, hold them long enough until they have to regenerate, and the scheme is blown. It makes more sense to pick an incident to abduct some figure when no one has any reason to think they were in the Gamma Quadrant or had any contact with the Dominion--like Martok's hunting trip, or Bashir's medical conference. Useful as it might be to have a backdoor control over the station, it probably was too soon and overt. They played it smart by infiltrating and replacing Bashir later, so he could avoid blood tests, and be in a position to sabotage the anti-wormhole array at the most critical possible time.


Deep Space Nine Season 3
The Search Part 1 I The Search Part 2 I The House of Quark I Equilibrium I Second Skin I The Abandoned I Civil Defense I Meridian I Defiant I Fascination I Past Tense Part 1 I Past Tense Part 2 I Life Support I Heart of Stone I Destiny I Prophet Motive I Visionary I Distant Voices I Through the Looking Glass I Improbable Cause I The Die is Cast I Explorers I Family Business I Shakaar I Facets I The Adversary
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