Dooku held for ransom! Afterescaping capture by Jedi KnightsAnakin Skywalker and Obi-WanKenobi, the villainous CountDooku fell into the clutches ofpirates led by the brigand HondoOhnaka. Eager to get custody ofDooku, the Republic agreed topay Hondo a hefty sum in exchangefor the Sith Lord. But Anakin andObi-Wan had not counted on thetreacherous cunning of Ohnaka andhis band....
Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi groggily awaken in a prison cell at the Weequay pirate compound on Florrum. They've been drugged and are now tethered together by a charged line. What's worse is that they are in turn shackled to Count Dooku. The pirates have tossed aside any notions of alliance and are greedily seeking to triple their pay for three hostages.
Meanwhile, Hondo Ohnaka and Turk Falso discuss their incoming ransom, eager to get a shipment of spice from the Republic. Turk still feels that the Separatists would have offered a bigger payout, but Hondo is certain the Separatists would have simply dispatched their droid army to wipe out the pirates. Ohnaka shrewdly follows his own plan, leaving Turk in charge of procuring the ransom from the Republic diplomatic envoy when they arrive.
Turk confers with an eye-patch-wearing lackey. Falso got his own plans: he orders the other pirate to intercept the Republic shuttle and bring it down with the spice shipment intact. Turk plans to tell Hondo that the ship and its valuable cargo was destroyed while steals the ransom.
On Coruscant, the holographic form of Senator Kharrus checks in with Chancellor Palpatine, Yoda and Mace Windu. He is about to arrive at Florrum with the junior diplomatic representative (and second-in-command), Jar Jar Binks. They have yet to make contact with the Jedi, but will endeavor to do so upon landing.
The Republic shuttle enters the atmosphere of Florrum, and Kharrus and Jar Jar are advised to take their seats. Jar Jar, though, has difficulty unhitching the restraints. This becomes problematic as a disc-shaped pirate ship drops in behind the shuttle and begins opening fire. The one-eyed pirate henchman is carrying out Turk's dirty work, and the shuttle jinks and bobs to avoid getting blasted. Inside the shuttle, Jar Jar is thrown to and fro, and even ends up in the cockpit. A missile impacts with the shuttle and it drops from the sky, slamming violently in to the desert flats.
Meanwhile, at the pirate compound, Dooku uses the Force to lift a discarded plate of food toward his cell door. He maneuvers a carelessly left behind knife into the key slot, tripping the door open. Dooku and the two Jedi are free.
The shuttle has crashed in the Doshar fields, a stretch of desert pockmarked by smoldering sulfuric geysers. Herds of burly skalders -- four-legged burly creatures with thick hides -- wander the flats. The clone troopers and Jar Jar emerge from the wrecked craft. The pilots and Senator Kharrus have died. This leaves Jar Jar in command.
Back at the pirate base, the one-eyed henchman reports his success to Turk. Though he has shot down the shuttle, he did not collect the spice. The cowardly henchman believed there to be Republic survivors, and he didn't want to risk a fight. Turk is furious. He gathers a gang of six bikers, and they speed off into the wastes on their heavy speeder bikes.
Dooku, Obi-Wan and Anakin skulk through the pirate compound, having to stay close out of necessity due to their shackles. Dooku recalls the path he was taken when he was captured, and subdues a guard. The crafty Kowakian Pilf Mukmuk spots them as they make their way towards the hangar. The Jedi open a door only to stumble upon seven slacking pirate guards. More pirates summoned by Pilf rush in from behind. The Jedi escapees are now surrounded.
Dooku and the Jedi are once again placed in a cell, as a frustrated Ohnaka tries to figure out what to do with the troublesome prisoners. He places a guard outside their cell at all times. Obi-Wan tries to use the Force to trick the guard's mind, even though there's not enough mind there to work with. Still, he convinces the guard to open the cell and then wander away.
At the crash-site, Jar Jar has buried Senator Kharrus under a cairn of rocks, while Clone Commander Stone oversees his troops in trying to repair the shuttle's homing beacon. The clones advise leaving the Doshar fields, as the geysers are spitting out corrosive acid. Jar Jar observes that the movement of the skalders coincides with the eruption of the geysers.
Just then, Turk Falso's raiding party arrives on their speeders. The pirates open fire, and the clones form a circle around Jar Jar. The pirates cut the clones off from the shuttle. With little cover, the clones are sitting ducks, but Jar Jar leads the way to a geyser crater where they find refuge. The pirates ignore the clones, thinking them as good as broiled, and instead concentrate on raiding the shuttle wreck for the spice. They attach energy couplers to the spice crates, and tow them away on their bikes.
The clones don't feel confident in Jar Jar's choice of shelted, but he points out that they'll be safe as long as the skalders are still grouped outside. When they run, it means the geyser is about to explode.
The clones and Jar Jar leave the crevice just before it erupts with acid. They return to the shuttle wreck to find the ransom stolen. Stone advises that the team wait for a Republic rescue party, but Jar Jar disagrees: Anakin and Obi-Wan are waiting for the spice. With the pirates on speeder bikes, it doesn't seem like the clones will be able to catch up, until Jar Jar suggests an alternative: riding the skalders.
The skalders offer a unique advantage -- as they are instinctively attuned to the geyser fields, they can run full bore without worrying about eruptions. The speeder pirates aren't so lucky. The skalders catch up with the thieves and the clones open fire. They blast the bike hauling the crates, knocking the ransom free. The clones reclaim their prize, but Turk Falso escapes.
The Jedi are once again free to sneak around the pirate compound, but an alarm sounds and they need to move quickly. They make it to the outside of the compound and must scale the perimeter wall. Anakin grabs a nearby pipe and pole-vaults through the air -- not an easy feat while connected to two other men. All three-Force users are vaulted onto the wall's edge, but only Anakin reaches the wall's rim. He's left dangling, with the weight of Obi-Wan and Dooku pulling him down. This makes them easy targets to the sniping pirates. As the Jedi try to twist and turn to avoid incoming fire, a blaster strike snaps the bond connecting Obi-Wan to Dooku, and Dooku almost falls but Kenobi catches him. It's no use. This escape is botched, and Hondo Ohnaka looms on the wall's edge, looking disappointed in his captives.
The clones load the spice containers onto the skalders and prepare to move out. They spot a set of power lines that point to direction of the pirate compound.
At the compound, Turk reports to Ohnaka, lying that the Republic dispatched an army instead of the ransom. Turk advises that Ohnaka counterattack with tanks. Ohnaka is disappointed. He believed the Republic to be more honorable than this. He approves Turk's plan to mount an armored counterassault.
A pirate attack group of three heavy repulsortanks closes in on Jar Jar and the clones. Commander Stone asks Jar Jar to step out of cover and negotiate with the pirates as a Senate Representative. Jar Jar doesn't like this idea, but does it to honor the memory of Senator Kharrus.
His hand forced, Ohnaka must now deal with the Jedi. They are still in shackles, but at least they are not bound together or to Count Dooku. Weequay guards march Obi-Wan and Anakin out of their cell and into the main hall where the Weequays are once again gathered as if for a party. But it's no party for the Jedi, as they are suspended from energy shackles. After betrayal from the Republic and repeated disorder caused by these Jedi prisoners, Ohnaka has no choice but to mete out punishment. He sends jolts of painful current through the energy shackles, zapping Obi-Wan and Anakin, much to the amusement of the assembled pirates.
Jar Jar stands before the approaching tanks, unarmed and alone. The tanks roll to a halt, and the Weequays are bemused. This is no army. Seeing an opportunity to capture yet another valuable hostage, the Weequays take Jar Jar aboard. Jar Jar clumsily trips up and bumps into a Weequay driver, sending the tank skidding askew and slamming into another vehicle and into the power lines. Taking advantage of this distraction, Commander Stone then leads the clone charge against the tanks.
The battered power lines overload and disrupt, cutting off power to the pirate compound. Kenobi and Anakin's electric torture ceases, and Count Dooku's cell door unlocks. The count strangles the Weequay cell guard with his shackles. In the main hall, Obi-Wan and Anakin call their lightsabers to them and cut their way free. Anakin holds his blade to Ohnaka's throat and uses him as a shield as the other Weequays draw their firearms.
Jar Jar has commandeered his tank and rides it haphazardly, firing off its prime cannon as it slides along the ground. The other pirates blast Jar Jar's tank, sending the Gungan flying, but the clones rush in and take the Weequays prisoner.
Meanwhile, Turk Falso and his eye-patch-wearing henchman make their way to a waiting starship. They intend to leave, since it's only a matter of time before Ohnaka discovers their treachery. Falso stops mid-stride, clutching at his throat as some invisible force strangles him. Suddenly impelled by this unseen influence, the struggling Falso also pulls out his blaster and kills his henchman. Dooku emerges from the shadows, holding Falso in a firm telekinetic grip. He casts aside the pirate's dead body and walks aboard the prepped pirate ship.
With Ohnaka as hostage, the Jedi back their way to the parked Twilight. Ohnaka tries to bargain for his life, but Anakin has it with these pirates. Just then, two pirate repulsortanks arrive, but rather than carrying Weequays, they are filled with clones and Jar Jar. The Republic envoy has finally arrived with the spice, but it's too late. The Jedi sense through the Force the sudden departure of Count Dooku as a pirate saucer lifts off from the compound and disappears into the sky. Their prisoner has escaped.
At Obi-Wan's request, the clones board the Twilight and fire up its engines. To Anakin and Ohnaka's surprise, Obi-Wan release the pirate leader. Ohnaka now has nothing the Republic wants, and the Jedi are no longer prisoners. Kenobi wants to end this and leave on even terms. Ohnaka is impressed; the Republic and the Jedi do indeed have a sense of honor. Kenobi departs with a word of warning. Count Dooku has no such scruples, and the pirates have made a powerful enemy in him.