When Bellwether Station receives a ship-in-distress signal, the crew of the station immediately spring to action. The vessel in question, a Ferengi shuttle is on a direct course for the station. Attempts to contact the shuttlepod initially are unsuccessful, however, as the shuttlepod approaches contact is established.
The crew are unexplainably ill and have no medical personnel traveling with them. A few of the crew are confined to their bunks. Lieutenant Commander Brott is forced to make the difficult decision to reject the Ferengi’s request to dock at the relay station, fearing that they may have some sort of virus or contagion aboard. Unfortunately, the only way to know for sure is to have a look at the patients in question.
Ordering a small hazard away team to beam over to the Ferengi shuttlepod, it becomes evident that the Ferengi aboard are sick, but nothing that Federation medical care cannot provide. The Ferengi are only suffering from a modern equivalent of dysentery. The problem escalates, however, when news of more cases within the Ferengi Alliance and their trade partners begin to spike. Something more is going on.
Operations Officer Astor and Chief Science Officer MacLeod search the Ferengi vessel for the source of the problem, and the results are problematic for the Ferengi Alliance and one of its biggest commercial industries. The findings cause Starfleet to send Lieutenant Commander Brott and some of his crew to the Clarus system, one of the Ferengi Alliance’s pivotal industrial systems.