Malcolm Reed hears the news as he is commanding the USS Cochrane, and is patroling the Romulan Neutral Zone. His First Officer, Lieutenant Hoshi Sato Kimura and his helmsman, Travis Mayweather, are talking about retiring. Hoshi laments that she is missing her children growing up. Travis says nothing but Hoshi confides to Malcolm that Travis's marriage is on the rocks because of his being away so much. He needs to retire in order to save his marriage.
Because Malcolm is a part of the open marriage of Doug Beckett and Lili O'Day, he feels compelled to come home and gather up the family. The ship detours and picks up Doug's second-eldest son, Thomas Digiorno-Madden, who is an ensign on Erika Hernandez's ship, the Columbia.
The return to the Lafa System is against regulations as the ship is supposed to be monitoring the situation with the Romulans. But Malcolm has already made several sacrifices to Starfleet, and cannot stay away.