Writer: Paul S. Kemp
Summary by Steve Wilson
Zeerid Korr, former Republic Commando, now a gun runner working for The Exchange in order to make money to treat his daughter’s (Arra’s) paralysis, goes to make a delivery on Ord Mantell, but discovers a different group of people there instead of his normal contact and realizes that this is a rival gang who has killed his contact and so kills them in order to escape and exact revenge for The Exchange.
On Coruscant, Darth Malgus (born Veradun), accompanied by his servant-lover, Eleena Daru (he rescued her from slavery on Geonosis) attacks the Jedi Temple once his partner, a woman known only as the Mandalorian, cuts off its electronic defense system.
Meanwhile, Jedi Knight Aryn Leneer is on Alderaan with fellow Knights Satele Shan, Syo Bakarn, Master Dar’Nala, and Senator ParanAm-Ris signing a peace treaty with the Sith. She gets a premonition in the Force about something happening on Coruscant.
The Jedi in the Temple, led by Aryn’s Master, Ven Zallow, confronts Malgus and Eleena. Before the fighting begins, a dropship filled with Sith and led by Darth Adraas crash into the Temple. During the fight, Darth Malgus kills Zallow and the Sith are victorious in taking Coruscant. Eleena, however, has been shot.
Aryn feels Zallow’s death in the Force and moves to attack the Sith who are at the peace negotiations on Alderaan, knowing that the negotiation was just a distraction for the attack. Master Dar’nala stops her, understanding that they must continue the negotiation or else the people of Coruscant will be killed.
Zeerid reports back to Orrin, his Exchange contact, telling him about the ambush on Ord Mantell. Orrin tells him he’ll have to pay for the lost cargo, but he can erase his debt to the Exchange by taking engspice (drugs) to the newly conquered Coruscant.
Zeerid hates the idea of hauling drugs, but accepts for the sake of his daughter and watches the news story about the attack. He is an old friend of Aryn, both having served together on Balmorra.
Darth Malgus is at odds with his superior, Darth Angral, who insists that Coruscant be spared and negotiations for peace continue as per the Emperor’s orders. Malgus wants to completely destroy Coruscant and the Republic.
Malgus also discovers Darth Adraas’ plans to usurp Malgus’ position in the chain of command. Angrall, rather than stopping Adraas, is content to let his two underlings battle it out however they choose to.
To add even more of an insult to Malgus, Darth Adraas has ordered that Eleena be denied Sith medical treatment and be treated in a Coruscant hospital instead. Malgus goes to the hospital and has Eleena transferred to his ship. They admit that they are in love with each other.
Zeerid arrives on Vulta to see his daughter, who lives with his dead wife’s sister. Zeerid’s wife died in a hovercar crash, and their daughter, Arra, was paralyzed. Zeerid is very careful not to let anyone in the Exchange, or anyone in the Exchange’s competitors, know that he has a daughter for fear of them using her against him. He becomes suspicious when he notices an older man following him and watching he and Arra.
When he takes Arra and Natala home, Aryn comes to meet him. Against Jedi orders and without permission, she wants Zeerid to fly her to Coruscant so she can find out who killed Master Zallow and get revenge on him. Vengeance is very much against Jedi teaching, but so is running engspice, so they agree to help each other and not pass judgment.
When they are about to leave Vulta, a group of Hutt operatives, led by Vrath Xizor, the man Zeerid saw following him, attack them and try to steal the engspice. Aryn and Zeerid escape and attempt to sneak through the Sith blockade surrounding Coruscant.
Vrath, however, has arrived ahead of them and tipped Darth Malgus off to their intentions, hoping to somehow get Malgus’ help in securing the engspice for himself.
Malgus destroys Zeerid’s ship, including the engspice, but Zeerid and Aryn escape to the planet’s surface. Malgus will not allow Vrath to leave the planet as it is still under a blockade.
Aryn and Z see the destroyed Jedi Temple, but then venture beneath it to find the back-up security video recordings. They find Master Zallow’s astromech droid, T-7, there, who delivers Zallow’s recovered lightsaber to Aryn. They then find the recording of the battle and Aryn sees that Darth Malgus is her target.
Later, Zeerid sees Aleena in the _ space station and reluctantly tells Aryn about it. He knows she is pursuing revenge and doesn’t want her to betray her Jedi training. When she sees Malgus, Aryn warns him that she is going to hurt him, but then flees. It takes Malgus a few moments to realize that she is going after Aleena in the space station.
As he’s on his way, he gets word that the peace negotiations on Alderaan has concluded an agreement that includes the Republic yielding some outer planets in exchange for the return of Coruscant. Malgus feels betrayed, thinking that the Empire should destroy Coruscant and the entire Republic.
Aryn finds Eleena, but after realizing she wasn’t the one who killed Zallow, nor she is a cold blooded killer like her master, she takes pity on her and spares her.
Aryn then feels Malgus approaching and she sends Zeerid away. He doesn’t want to leave, but she tells him he has to survive to take care of his daughter. He kisses her and then steals a ship, Vrath’s ship.
Zeerid and Vrath fight on the ship in space while Aryn and Malgus fight in the station. Malgus defeats Aryn, but then spares her life because she spared Eleena.
Zeerid defeats Vrath and refuses to spare him, knowing that he is likely to tell the Exchange or the Hutts about Arra. Zeerid kills Vrath and pushes him out the airlock.
When Aryn leaves, Malgus realizes how much of a weakness Eleena is to him, and kills her.
Later, Malgus goes to his rival’s home and kills Darth Adraas.
Zeerid takes Arra and becomes a farmer on Dantooine. He thinks Aryn was killed, but she eventually finds him at the farm.