On the city-planet of Taris, Jedi Padawan Zayne Carrick attempts to catch Marn "Gryph" Hierogryph, a small-time con man. He fails and nearly falls to his death, but is rescued in time by a mysterious Jedi who identifies himself as Squint. As Squint leaves to join his Master on the way to the Mandalorian Wars front lines, Jedi Master Q'Anilia feels a disturbance in the Force, and Zayne's Master Lucien Draay decides to investigate it. Alerted by Q'Anilia's warning, the Masters conduct a final survival test of the Padawans on the rogue moon in the Taris system. The Padawans remain ignorant about the real purpose of the test: allowing the four Jedi Consulars among the Masters to open themselves to the Force. This subsequently presents the Masters a disturbing vision of a menacing red figure, apparently a Sith Lord, bringing doom to the Jedi Order and the Republic. Some time after returning from the test, the Masters announce an upcoming knighting ceremony. Here, it would be revealed which Padawans were selected to receive the Jedi Knight title. Shortly before it starts, Zayne finally catches Gryph and intends to bring him to justice, but, noticing he was late for the ceremony, instead rushes to the Jedi Tower. When he arrived, however, Zayne witnesses the other four Padawans lying on the floor dead, and the Masters standing right there with lightsabers drawn. Zayne immediately retreats, Gryph following closely, away from the five pursuing Masters. The two fugitives find a way to the Lower City. There, they discover that Zayne had been tagged as a criminal, framed for the murder of his fellow Padawans, with Gryph was listed as his "accessory." Though the Masters were still attempting to track the escapees, they were misled into the dangerous Undercity of Taris. Zayne and Gryph move into a refugee camp outside Machineville, where they approach a pair of Arkanians—the aging mechanic Camper and his protector Jarael. Unfortunately, soon after they are discovered by the Taris Civil Authority, led by Constable Sowrs. When ordered to surrender, however, the group heads into space on Camper's old starship, The Last Resort. Zayne contacts Master Vandar Tokare on Dantooine and tells him what happened, only to find that Vandar does not believe him, and instead believes the word of the elder Jedi members. Meanwhile, in seeking escape from Taris Civil Authority, Jarael drives the ship into the Taris system debris field; she decides to land on the rogue moon, the last place where the Masters and Padawans were together before the ceremony, in the hope to get some answers. On the moon, Zayne and Jarael find the remains of T1-LB, nicknamed "Elbee"—a bulk-loader droid that was with the Masters during their stay while the Padawans were away taking a survival test. Soon after they repair Elbee and watch his holorecords, which reveal the true reason behind the Padawan Massacre, the Last Resort is captured by Captain Valius Ying of the Oroko, who intends to bring Zayne back to Taris and receive the bounty for him. Valius brings Zayne back to the Jedi Tower, dragging him through a triumphant mob. There, Master Lucien reveals what happened before Zayne's late arrival to the murder scene. As Lucien prepares to execute his former Padawan on the spot, Zayne is suddenly saved by a figure in a red spacesuit, like the one the Masters saw in their vision—the figure turns out to be Jarael in disguise, allowing Zayne to escape once again. Three weeks later, as riots ensue all over Taris, the five Masters are recalled to Coruscant. As they are preparing to leave, a messenger from the Lower City delivers a holorecord from Zayne, who tells the Masters that he had a vision of one of them clearing his name, and intends to hunt them down and only spare the one who confesses.