After years of waiting in the shadows, Darth Sidious is taking the first step in his master plan to bring the Republic to its knees. He meets secretly with his Neimoidian contacts in the Trade Federation to plan the blockade of the planet Naboo. But one member of the delegation is missing, and Sidious does not need his Force-honed instincts to suspect betrayal. He orders his apprentice, Darth Maul, to hunt the traitor down. On Coruscant, capital city of the Republic, the Neimoidian moves quickly to sell what he knows to the highest bidder. For Lorn Pavan, the deal is too good to pass up. He grabs it, unaware that he has now earned a place on Darth Maul's hit list, right behind the Neimoidian defector himself. Meanwhile, a young Jedi padawan by the name of Darsha Assant stands on the verge of ascension to Jedi knighthood. A single mission will be her test. But a greater test awaits her. The future of the Republic depends on Darsha and Lorn.