The once beautiful cities of Tanis lie in ruins as Separatist forces have savagely bombarded the planet.
Having escaped the remains of a forward command post, a pair of Republic troops find themselves behind enemy lines.
"Here come a couple more of them," trooper Racker says to his commanding officer amidst the pouring rain.
The two battle hardened troops then patiently wait for the droids to pass them.
"Alright," the officer says once the droids have passed by.
"Just here for a few days and we're already stuck in a rat hole," Racker shakes his head in frustration as his commanding officer removes his helmet.
"I know. But if we stick our heads out now with all these droids around, it would be suicide," Rykrof tells him.
"And trust me; this planet is the last place I want to be," he says as he worries for the safety of his closest friends; Freelo and Kala Mly Shundi.
Far across the galaxy, the Republic capital of Coruscant is a blaze of light and sparkling colors, seemingly untouched by the war itself.
Deep with the Pojer District, an unexpected visitor has arrived at the Republic Interrogation Sector...
Pulled from his cell, Traedon Cusiro is surprised to be face to face with Senator Tame Heem, a close friend of Rykrof Enloe.
"Hello, Traedon," Senator Tame Heem greets him.
"The last time we met was just prior to Rykrof's capture by Badoo Corba terrorists. How ironic it is that you are now the one behind bars."
"Whatever you came here for, you're wasting your time," the prisoner snaps at the Ithorian.
"And I never did anything to Rykrof," Traedon points out.
"In fact, I could have killed him on Naboo but I chose not too."
"Yes, I know what happened with your attempt to assassinate Senator Amidala," Tame says as Traedon briefly turns away from him.
"But it is now clear that Viceroy Nute Gunray was behind it," he continues as he attempts to gain the man's trust.
"It doesn't take a genius to connect dots that big," Traedon smirks.
"But there are more dots that need to be connected yet," Tame tells him. "Rykrof now asks for your help. The Separatists have captured Freelo."
"He's probably dead by now," Traedon laughs briefly.
"Unless..." he pauses as he thinks about the situation.
"Finding the Badoo Corba is your best bet of saving Freelo," Traedon tells him.
"Because knowing the Viceroy, he's afraid the Badoo Corba will strike against him if he doesn't offer some sort of compensation for the losses the Badoo Corba suffered on Naboo... and they'd love to get their hands on someone close to Rykrof."
"I see," Tame says as he recalls that the relationship between the two organizations had been shaky since the death of Trigg Fuuda; the former leader of the Badoo Corba.
"But what was the original compensation for the assignment on Naboo?" Tame asks.
"I can't help you with that. Whatever the Separatists were giving the Badoo Corba, it wasn't the monetary funds that bounty hunters usually get.
Probably material resources, something to help them strike the Republic," Traedon tells him.
"Thank you for this information," Tame says as he leaves the prison lobby with his escort.
"These details must be given to Rykrof at once."
"Say hello to my friends for me," Traedon grumbles sarcastically as he is escorted back to his cell.
Deep in the Outer Rim a lone shuttle breaks away from the Separatist Fleet.
Since the battle on Rhen Var, Freelo has found himself in and out of consciousness as an uncontrollable drowsiness has enveloped him.
Eventually his head begins to clear, and he wearily stumbles to his feet.
"What's happening?" he wonders aloud.
"...I must have been out for a while," Freelo mumbles as he finds the hatch behind him to be locked.
The Mon Calamari's attention is then directed toward the other side of the cargo hold...
...as he realizes an astromech droid occupies the room as well.
"Excuse me," he says to the droid.
The astromech beeps a rude adjective at him in response.
"What was that for?" Freelo asks.
"I was merely going to ask a simple..."
"Huh?" Freelo gasps as he hears a door open from behind him.
"You're awake," Neimoidian General Snodd growls.
"The injection administered to you should have only rendered you useless for a short time. You must have an unfit body to have been subdued for so long."
"Oh no!" Freelo exclaims as his abduction on Rhen Var emerges back into his memory.
"I'm a prisoner!"
"No, you are a bargaining chip," Snodd laughs.
"Only after you are delivered to a business partner will you be considered a prisoner."
"You can't do this to me," Freelo insists.
"I'm a scientist!"
"See to it that this idiot remains in the cargo bay," Snodd orders his guard.
"If he causes any problems, the Badoo Corba will have to settle for his corpse."
With Freelo helplessly realizing his fate, the shuttle continues its journey...
Meanwhile, on Cato Neimoidia, Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray meets with an aid inside a protected vault located deep within the landscape.
"This is getting out of hand," Nute Gunray says frantically to Kushra Mobines.
"We are losing the war. The Republic is even on the brink of striking our home world!"
In his haste to persuade his aid that the war is lost, the Viceroy is unaware that he is being watched.
"I'm disappointed in you, Viceroy," the political leader of the Separatists, Count Dooku says as he enters the chamber alongside the towering military leader of the droid army; General Grievous.
"Count Dooku!" Gunray replies with a slight tremble in his voice.
"I have received more bad news in the war effort. General Grievous must be removed from his command at once!"
"Insubordination will not be tolerated!" the cyborg growls.
"Indeed the Republic has taken advantage of their position," Dooku replies in an attempt to ease the tension.
"But for each hardship we have suffered, the Republic losses are equally substantial."
"And I can assure you, everything is proceeding exactly as planned," he tells him.
"But the losses of Commanders Durge and Ventress..." Gunray pleads nervously.
"...Are offset by even greater losses the Jedi have taken," the Sith Lord explains.
"Viceroy, let us discuss your relationship with the Badoo Corba," Dooku then says, changing the subject entirely.
"Relationship?" Gunray asks defensively.
"My dealings with them have been business matters only!"
"I know all about your dealings with them to eliminate Senator Amidala," Dooku tells him.
"It is time the relationship ends entirely."
"General Snodd has orders to rendezvous with the special shipment the Badoo Corba are demanding for their part in your agreement," General Grievous adds.
"Shipment?" Gunray asks. "What shipment?"
"General Snodd is delivering a prisoner they want instead because they didn't fulfill the requirements of the job!"
"Viceroy, these terrorists do not accept insulting payments lightly," Dooku tells him.
"We will see to it they are accommodated appropriately."
The following day, Jedi Masters Bassius and Redwind continue their search for fallen Jedi Kala Mly Shundi on Braatos VII, the only hospitable planet in a small system that has remained neutral during the Clone Wars.
"He's here," Bassius says to his friend as he opens his senses to the Force.
"Closer than I thought."
"I feel a great disturbance here," Redwind remarks.
"The Kala I am sensing is not the one I so fondly remember... only a shadowy reflection of him."
A pair of merchants then see the two Jedi approaching and prepare to deliver a tempting sales pitch.
"Chroo-bra-neep vee say?" the Quarren vendor asks greedily to the pair.
"No, we do not need any additional supplies," Bassius replies kindly.
"Booka lo miken so vee tuu bay," the Snivvian then interjects as he attempts to persuade the Jedi to purchase a fresh Braatoosian fruit squash.
"Fruit squash?" Redwind asks.
"Yes, I'm sure it is delicious," he says with a smile to the persistent dealer.
"Chaas boov pipo mo nopo," the Quarren then says with bewilderment.
"Ka joon tuu Jeeedi!"
"Ban so Jedi." Bassius tells him.
"He realizes we are Jedi... and says this planet is doomed," Bassius informs Redwind.
"Because if there are three Jedi on Braatos VII, the war can not be far behind."
"They must have seen Kala then," Redwind points out.
"Mano vee mo nito?" Bassius asks the Quarren.
"Greeeeark!!!" the Florn Lamprey companion to the vendors suddenly shrieks as it motions toward the western sky.
High above their position, the distinct outline of a Republic Assault Cruiser has come into view.
"Why would Coruscant send an assault ship to this sector?" Bassius asks Redwind.
"Amad Jeeedi bo faas sibbo leepa!" the Quarren shouts.
"Something feels terribly wrong," Redwind says.