Ed makes it to Outpost and goes directly to Karen's office, who tells him that thanks to her work, she would be able to pay off the second mortgage on the house the following month a full year ahead of schedule. He congratulates her and they are brought spaghetti by their adopted daughter Kelly, who mentions that she had not been able to look at the college catalogue Karen had given her. Karen mentions that one of the colleges had a great theater program, but Ed tells her that engineering, physics, computer science or any of those careers, which were "the future." However, Karen reminds him that they would not push her into studying something she did not want, and Ed agreed.
Some other day, Karen makes Kelly and Ed breakfast; Kelly is in her room, but leaves to have breakfast with her family, hiding an Annapolis brochure she was reading.
Later, Danny and Jimmy are hanging out with their friends, where Danny tells them all that after the first month, everything was easier. Kelly asks him if he had been able to ride on an aircraft carrier, and he says that he had, saying that the best part was seeing a Tomcat come in for a landing since it was a cold stop.
Karen talks to Kelly and talks about different places they could visit while looking for colleges. However, Kelly interrupts her and asks if they could go to Annapolis, the naval academy since she wanted to apply. Karen is surprised, but Kelly insists that she had thought about it for a long time now since she wanted to fly F-14 Tomcats, but Karen is not happy with her decision.
Kelly looks at a brochure about life in Annapolis, but goes to the air vent in her room and finds some toys. She gets a knock on her door from Karen, who she tells she is fine. Karen asks her daughter to tell her that joining the navy was what she really wanted and Kelly confirms that it was not a whim since she wanted to do something with her life, while making a difference and not writing essays. She also says that she wanted to make a difference like Ed. Karen says that she knows the feeling having lived with Ed, but also comments that Ed had payed a heavy toll and had not lived a normal life, but one filled with stress, danger and had missed time with her. When Karen was about to say that Ed had missed time with Shane, she stopped herself and said that he missed a lot. Kelly asked if Karen meant Shane, and she confirms this, saying that he had missed a lot of time with him. Kelly reveals the toy she had gotten out of the air vent; Karen mentioned that Popeye was his favorite, and Kelly tells her that she always knew that that was his room and sometimes felt like Shane was listening to her, which Karen could understand. Karen tells her that they had considered moving at first, but says that after she had come along, everything was good again, also agreeing to let Kelly go to Annapolis, which excited her daughter.
Ed got home and walked in, seeing Karen and Kelly happy. He is surprised to see actual dinner being made and asks if it is a special occasion. Karen says that it is since Kelly had finally decided where she wanted to go. Kelly tells him that she had decided on Annapolis, which surprises him, and he refuses, getting angry and telling Kelly to go to her room.
As he left the house, Karen told him to stop and discuss it. Ed says that he is the man of the house and did not need to explain himself to anyone, and when Kelly told him that she did not need his permission to apply, Ed said that he knew the superintendent of the academy, so with one phone call, she would be rejected. Kelly says that if he does that, she would go to the recruiting office and go to Annapolis as an enlisted sailor. Ed said that she could do that, but said that she should pack her bags an never come back. Karen tells him to take it back, and pushes him, while saying that she did not know what had gotten into him.
Kelly tells Karen to stop and starts crying, saying that whatever had happened, she did not want it to continue. Ed agrees, and so does Karen; he apologizes for having said what he said, also saying that he did not want her to leave. Kelly asks Ed what was going on, but Ed said that he did not know and had suddenly reacted and knew that he should be proud, but had gotten an overwhelming feeling that he was going to lose her as in her dying, like Shane. Ed starts crying and Karen says that she had the same feeling, but reminds him that Shane had died while biking down the street, mentioning that there was nowhere on Earth that was safe. Ed says that he was not there when Shane died and was not there for anyone, only being able to scream into the night. He mentions that he had promised himself never to let that happen again, always being there for Karen and Kelly to protect them. Karen asks Ed if he thinks that it was his fault, and he says that Shane had been angry at him and he was not on Earth, but Karen tells him that it had been an accident and says that thinking back to that day was just torturing themselves. The three hug each other and Kelly gives Ed the Popeye action figure. Karen tells him that she remembers when he wanted to join the navy, also mentioning that both of them ended up in the navy, with Shane wanting to be in the navy as well. Kelly starts singing a navy song, and both her parents join in.
Karen wakes up at night to a phone call. She and Kelly sit at the breakfast table, and she tells her daughter that she was devastated by the phone call and could not live like that. Although Kelly tries to comfort her mother Karen is not convinced. The phone rings and Kelly picks up, and is told that Ed was fine. Karen says that it was good for Kelly to know what it was like when situations like this happened.
Later, Ed arrives at the house, they both worry since he looks terrible, but he mentions that all that happened was that he had gotten wet. Ed apologizes, but Karen seems a little off, and says she would go to work even though it was 6 A.M. Ed turns to Kelly, who tells him that it had been a long night for both of them.
Danny is having dinner with Karen and Kelly. When Ed joins them, he salutes Ed, who tells him to stand down. As soon as Ed sat down, Danny left. Karen told Ed that she did not think he would be joining them, and Kelly brought Ed a plate, but also left. Ed tries to break the silence between him and Karen by saying he wanted to watch a movie, but she spoils it for him and leaves him to eat dinner alone.
The Baldwin family watches the news, which mentions that people are protesting the launch of the Sea Dragon, since it contained nuclear fuel. Karen says that it does not seem very safe, and asks what would happen if it exploded in the atmosphere, and Ed mentioned that was why the launch was in the middle of nowhere. The launch begins, and after it successfully lifted off, Ed reassured her that there was nothing to worry about, which did not convince her. Kelly asks Ed what he had written his essay about when he had gotten into Annapolis, but Ed said he did not remember, and told her to simply tell them who she was, which left her stumped. She asks Ed why they had adopted her, and Ed tells her that when they walked into the adoption center, they saw her help a kid with a puzzle, being kind and patient and tells her that they knew right away. Karen told her that it was love at first sight, and Ed agreed. However, Kelly asked why they did not have another baby. Karen tells her that she had some medical issues, and Ed had been living away from Karen for a while, since it was a difficult time after Shane died. They remember getting excited over adopting a Vietnamese baby, which makes Kelly think she only served as their band-aid, but Karen tells her that she was their heart transplant.
Kelly wrote her essay, but was having a hard time, so she grabbed a book and got the number of the Houston adoption center.
Ed asks Kelly what she wants for dinner as she picks up the mail from the floor. She goes to her room and opens a package sent from Vietnam which contains a record of birth. She discovers that she was born on July 14, 1966 as Thi Hanh Nguyen and that her biological mother, Thi Binh Pham, was declared dead in childbirth. She looks at a picture of her biological parents and starts to cry. After that she turns on her computer and sends an e-mail to the Department of Defense and asks for the location of her biological father, Van Le Nguyen, a former interpreter in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam's 18th Infantry Division.
Kelly reads the e-mail reply sent to her, which provides the address of Van Le Nguyen who immigrated to the United States in 1978 and is living in Arlington, Texas, near Dallas-Fort Worth.
Kelly drives to Little Saigon diner, walking in and being seated right away. She looks around at other Vietnamese families and is comforted by the hostess, who tells her if she likes Chinese food, she would probably like Vietnamese food. The hostess tells her that her father was the cook and gives her recommendations on what to eat, which Kelly likes.
She enjoys the food and asks the hostess to sit with her. The hostess tells Kelly that her father had cut all ties to his mother when he had left Vietnam and does not talk about his family much, while her mother was not there that day. The hostess tells her she is American and gives her the check, but Kelly gets up to look at photos they had close to the back. She finds one and sees her parents on it, turning around to see the chef who looks her in the eye and turns. She pays the hostess and leaves.
Kelly watches the news while Karen cooks. While Kelly talks about what she sees, Karen does not pay attention and tells her to get everything ready for when Ed got home. However Ed walks in and tells them that he could not stay since he had to leave, but wanted to say goodbye to them both. Karen does not pay much attention to Ed, though and simply cooks until she interrupts Kelly to tell her that Ed could not promise them that he would be okay since it was unrealistic, which Ed says is right. They hug, and Ed asks Karen if she could walk him to the car.
At Outpost, Karen pours herself a drink and is joined by Kelly, telling her that she had sold it. She tells her daughter that she sold it because it seemed right and tells her that she did not know what she would do now. Kelly tells her that she could not imagine her doing nothing and is told that maybe Karen would go to India or go back to college. Kelly asks her if she and Ed would be getting a divorce when a siren started sounding. An emergency broadcast started to sound and they both go downstairs.
Karen and Kelly watch the news. Kelly tells Karen that she went to see her birth father after looking him up. Karen is in shock and says that she did not know her daughter wanted to meet him, but Karen tells her it is okay and asks her what she was like. However, Kelly tells her that she did not even talk to him since they both had their lives and families.
Later, at Tracy and Gordo's graves, Ed cries and leaves a deck of cards on top of Gordo's. Molly, Ellen, Danielle, Jimmy, Danny, Karen and Kelly cry as well. Karen leaves Tracy flowers.
After the funeral, Ed and Karen hug and both go their separate ways after Kelly hugs him as well.