Republic outpost, overrun! TheJedi have lost all contact with theclone security force stationed onthe bleak, snow-covered planet ofOrto Plutonia. Obi-Wan Kenobiand Anakin Skywalker, accompaniedby dignitaries from the nearby moonof Pantora are sent to investigate thedisappearance of the clone trooperson the desolate and forbiddinglandscape....
The frigid landscape of Orto Plutonia is marked by immense tors of ice, reaching up like fingers from the snow-covered ground. Five Republic gunships settle at the base of a tower that houses Glid Station, a Republic base. The base was established here at the request from the Chairman of Pantora, the moon that has jurisdiction over the icy world.
The gunship doors open, revealing Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker in cold weather gear. They are followed by a squad of clone troopers led by Captain Rex, as well as the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO. Another gunship carries the Pantoran dignitaries. Chairman Chi Cho is the older, more severe of the two, a hatchet-faced blue-skinned humanoid wearing an ornate purple uniform. He is flanked by Pantoran guards. Also present is Senator Riyo Chuchi, Pantora's Galactic Representative. She is younger, and more reserved.
The political situation is complicated. Orto Plutonia is uninhabited, and a protectorate of Pantora, the only inhabited moon in the system. Pantora is part of the Republic, with full Senate representation. At Pantora's request, a Republic outpost was erected on Orto Plutonia to serve as a vanguard from invasion. Having the politicians on this mission isn't entirely welcome by the Jedi, but the Jedi do serve the Senate, and as such, must heed young Senator Chuchi's word. The more aggressive Chairman Cho knows this, and throws his weight about with zeal, using Chuchi to get what he desires from the Republic. Obi-Wan, never much one for politicians, assigns Anakin to stay with the Senator while he and the clones secure Glid Station.
Inside the main entrance, beyond the heavy shield doors, is a disturbing sight: a row of clone helmets mounted atop pikes. The paranoid Chairman Cho immediately jumps to the conclusion that Separatists are responsible -- he fears that the Separatists may be building a forward base to attack Pantora. Their search of the dead, frozen outpost leads them to the control station, littered with dead, frozen clone bodies. Kenobi, however, remains skeptical. He notes that all of the computers -- a prime source of Republic intelligence -- remain untouched. But Cho's fears are confirmed when Captain Rex reports that his scouts have spotted a droid base on the other side of the ice ridge.
Soon, six Freeco bikes -- -- Republic speeder bikes with protective windscreens -- are zooming along the ice plains. Obi-Wan and Anakin lead this detachment to the droid base, which is really two large Trade Federation XT Beetle Transports with Separatist markings, bundled together by large cables. The bikes land and the Republic forces disembark, immediately spotting severed battle droids heads mounted on pikes outside the base.
Rex and Anakin place sensor beacons around the base while Obi-Wan and the remaining four clones inspect the chilled transport. Inside are more headless battle droids. Anakin finds some distressingly large footprints in the ice. Obi-Wan finds a control center, and powers up the main display bank. In a hologram, Kenobi sees the last moments of mechanical life of battle droid 685, before the droid was pounced upon a large, furry white blur. According to recorded logs, this droid was attacked while investigating the southern canyon. There appears to be intelligent life on this iceworld, and it becomes imperative for the Republic to investigate.
Back at Glid Station, Cho is ordering the clone troopers to bring the outpost's systems back online -- weapons, shields, defenses -- to protect against a possible Separatist attack. Chuchi asks the Chairman why he is so certain it is the Separatists behind the attack. He offers no concrete evidence, other than citing the carnage that surrounds them. Chuchi remains more rational -- the dead clones had no blast marks, and no droid remains littered the station. Cho refuses be questioned by someone so young and unseasoned.
Cho takes seriously his primary task, the protection of the Pantoran people. However, Chuchi wonders that if the Separatists are not behind the attack, then it is not part of the larger war, and perhaps there is a peaceful resolution to be found. To the hawkish Cho, such hypotheses are luxuries he does not have time to consider.
Anakin and Obi-Wan make their way to the southern canyon, stopping their bikes for some recon. They spot reflections up the canyon walls, suggesting that their progress is being monitored. They nonetheless continue, passing an ice bridge to a primitive Talz village.
They are met by spear-carrying Talz warriors riding atop cat-like narglatches. While there may be suspicion and hesitation, there is no outward hostility. Kenobi and Skywalker leave their bikes and walk peacefully toward the chieftain, Thi-Sen, taking care not to provoke the massive aliens. Thi-Sen and his scribe, Medcha Wanto, invite them into the main hut, and the chief attempts to make himself understood. The scribe draws a crude illustration of a battle droid, and Thi-Sen demonstrates visible consternation toward the symbol. Skywalker takes a slate and, with a stick of charcoal illustrates instead a Talz and a human being shaking hands -- a symbol of peace and cooperation.
Kenobi and Skywalker leave the Talz hut. Thi-Sen gives Kenobi an enormous bear hug -- clearly, their intentions for peace are welcome. The Jedi mount their bikes and return to Glid Station at nightfall. They are immediately met by Chairman Cho who demands an update. Kenobi shares the news that Orto Plutonia is inhabited to the disbelieving chairman. Cho argues that Pantoran scouts have never found anyone living on the planet, and decides that the Talz are trespassers. Kenobi counters that these Talz do not possess space travel, and have likely been on this world longer than the Pantorans. The angered chairman restates Pantora's claim to the world, but young Chuchi cites protocol -- if there are inhabitants here, then the Senate must decide jurisdiction.
Cho has no patience for this. He thinks the Talz are savages that pose a threat. Kenobi stresses that the Talz simply want to be left alone -- the droids harassed them, they retaliated, and the clones from Glid Station got caught in the middle. The Jedi have promised a peaceful meeting between the Talz and the Pantorans, but Cho demands an armed clone force to attend. He refuses to acknowledge that the Jedi have any authority in such matters, but Chuchi tries to calm him down.
If the Pantorans are to meet with the Talz at the pre-arranged time, they must leave now. The inclement weather prevents the use of gunships, so the delegation must take bikes. There aren't enough bikes for the whole clone platoon, but several clones nonetheless accompany the Jedi and the Pantorans as they arrive at the "neutral" meeting ground, the vacant Separatist base. Cho arrives ready to make war, ordering Rex and his troops to take position for ambush, but Kenobi countermands that; the Talz are already here, and have been watching the Pantoran approach for some time. It seems the furry aliens trust these outlanders as much as the Pantorans trust them.
The Jedi enter the Separatist base and meet with Thi-Sen, this time bringing with them C-3PO to translate. Through Threepio, Thi-Sen welcomes the Pantorans, but reiterates the Talz' desire to be left alone and asks them to leave the planet. Cho Chi takes his characteristically aggressive stance, despite Chuchi's attempt to represent Pantora. He orders Threepio to translate his provocative statement: the Pantorans will not be commanded. Not surprisingly, this does not go over well with the Talz. Tsi-Sen again demands the Pantorans leave. Cho counters that with a declaration of war. The Talz and the Pantorans disgustedly storm out of the negotiations while the Jedi and Senator Chuchi watch helplessly.
Cho takes command of the clones. Rex looks to Anakin for further orders. He tells Rex to stay with the Chairman and protect him at all costs. The Jedi look to Senator Chuchi for a possible peaceful alternative. The Senator has little recourse. Cho's move to wage war was calculated as an internal affair on Pantoran grounds -- an arena where she has no jurisdiction as a Galactic Senator. Kenobi suggests that the Senator could petition the Jedi Council for an intervention. Chuchi brightens at such news; the Pantoran Speaker of the Assembly could technically make such a request happen. The Jedi return to the Glid Station
Chairman Cho leads a force of Freeco and BARC speeders into battle, rushing to face the narglatch-riding Talz. Rex reminds the chairman that they are not his soldiers and are there strictly to protect him. The Talz begin attacking, rushing at the speeders. A battle erupts. Rex is forced to jump from his bike when a narglatch jumps on it and begins clawing at its canopy. The clones are surrounded. They circle their speeder, setting up a defensive formation.
The Talz press the attack. Rex prudently orders a retreat, but Cho refuses. The Chairman is hit in the back by a spear and collapses onto the icy ground. Rex stops the Talz from finishing him off, and he drapes Cho's wounded form onto a BARC bike and speeds away. Thi-Sen orders his warriors to pursue.
Back at Glid Station, aboard a parked gunship, Chuchi has made contact with the Pantoran Assembly. The home world has decided that Chairman Cho's actions are out ot order and have given Senator Chuchi the authority she needs to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the Talz. With the decision made, the gunships take to the air. The inexperienced Senator Chuchi looks to Master Kenobi to negotiate on her behalf, but Kenobi declines; this is a Pantoran matter.
With the collapse of an ice bridge, the clones have no where to run. They stop at the cliff's edge as the Talz make their charge. Rex is ready to fight to the last man. Just then, a gunship lands between the two sides. Thi-Sen orders his Talz to halt.
Senator Chuchi crouches before the dying Chairman. He still refuses to give up his fight. He orders her to avenge his death and destroy the Talz. But Senator Chuchi refuses. Alone, she marches forward. She picks up a Talz spear, and the Chairman's miter. She asks C-3PO to accompany her and approaches Thi-Sen. The Talz chief dismounts and walks toward her.
Chuchi buries the spear in the snow. She then rests the Chairman's miter atop it. She calls for an end to the bloodshed, choosing to live for her people rather than die for them. She asks Thi-Sen if he is willing to do the same. Thi-Sen echoes her sentiment, also burying his spear. Chuchi declares the Pantorans will leave Orto Plutonia under the stewardship of the Talz and recognize their sovereignty. Thi-Sen bows before the young Senator and he and his soldiers march away.
Obi-Wan compliments the Senator for the path she has chosen, but tasks her with one more duty: make the peace last.