The Trade Federation, invoking the vendetta rule of private war on the grounds of the oppression and disenfranchisement of the native Naboo….ians (the Ganga), attacks and invades. Their purpose is the acquisition of new genetic stock for their (clone-based) robot slaves. The human Naboo(ese?) population, which also has a high degree of Force sensitivity, is attractive to them, as are the Ganga themselves. Their ultimate purpose is the work of the Sith lords, who are searching for the Chosen One among the Force-sensitive races of every world, and considering breeding or cloning one themselves. An ambitious young Sith Lord may have started the process off already. But then again, if one Sith does something unethical secretly, it’s a cinch that everyone else has secretly done it, too, so perhaps not.
Naboo has no navy and few spacecraft; though their ground forces are strong—due to the perpetual war with the Ganga—and they are far outmatched against the Federation. The priest-rulers of that tiny, isolationist planet, in defiance of their child goddess-queen’s wishes, attempt to negotiate with the Federation leaders—and are captured and massacred. The invasion, though slowed by the ferocity of the savage Ganga, by default now the reluctant allies of their former human enemies, begins. The Federation Viceroys, hounded on one hand by their Sith overlords, and taking heavy casualties on the other, deeply regret their overreach, but are stuck.
The Queen details her ten handmaidens to flee the planet in ten ships and beg aid and arms from their allied powers, the petty planets of the Thousand Nations bloc. Of the ships, only Padme’s escapes the system: the Blue Guul transport. The ship has no choice but to fly into the teeth of danger—“free” space—pirate territory. And the pirates get them.
Slavery is regarded with a particular horror on Naboo; enslavement means complete loss of face and status; exile—inability to return with full caste status to their home world. The Naboon crew are prepared to suicide rather than face the risk, but are ordered not to by Padme. Their mission is paramount.
Anakin Vatto is himself a slave—valued for his mechanical abilities and priviledged beyond the ordinary lot—but still bound with an exposive collar, marked with radio-transmitting brands. He is pilot of the ship that captures Padme. He also protects her while she is on the ship, rather than letting the (nonhuman) ship owners simply toss her into the holding vats with the others….who would probably have eaten her. They go to Tattooine. Tattooine is a free port, and the Trade Federation ship after them cannot simply throw its weight around, though they try both threats and bribes.
At the latter, the pirate lords of the planet merely laugh, and display to the Traders their own wealth: ships, warriors, nubile dancers, star-gems, treasures and dainties of a thousand worlds—wealth greater, in their own understanding than the intangible “credits” and even less tangible “favors” which they are promised.
Equal parts stung and amused by the imposition, it so pleases these overlords not to sell Padme, but offer her as prize in the gladiatorial games—wherein slaves may also win their freedom.
With such a prize as Padme, many—even free men—wager themselves. Three emerge from the melee: the smouldering Anakin, the calm Obi-wan, and the Federation’s sponsored champion, a local brute hired for the occasion. Anakin faces the champion and defeats him, in a hard but largely fair fight. He then faces Obi-wan. With no other option, Obi-wan is reluctantly prepared to kill him. Anakin, burning with rage and lust, refuses to die.
All, however, is for naught—the games are merely a front for a massacre (not only of the gangs, but of many spectators when the starving feral beasts are turned loose from their stalls) by one faction: the Hutts.
The Jedi (“The Senate ordered the Council, and the Council orders it done”) have secretly thrown their weight behind them in return for Padme’s freedom. Anakin is forced at sword’s-point to relinquish her, and left behind. He walks into the deserts where he was born, not knowing whether the sun or his slave collar will kill him first…and then it begins, as it has only once in living memory (at the hour of his birth) to rain. (Because the orbital bombardment by comet in the opposite hemisphere has disrupted the air currents.)
To Padme, meanwhile, a choice is offered: The Sith want Naboo; they also want her—her genetic material. The mark of destiny is on her and her children. In return, they promise to dissolve the Trade Federation’s Charter, and they swear that no war will come to Naboo again. The Nabooiteans will be called to fight, but their home will remain untouched. There is no time to be lost: Naboo is about to fall. (Incidentally, there are many volunteers and aid shipments who come purely on their own account to help: the Lafayette Escadrille.)
Padme agrees without hesitation, and with only the slight caveat that she intends to wipe out her shame and die honorably in battle before they can get her “genetic material.”
Obi-wan, who believes (along with most of the others) that their mission is entirely legitimate (and that the censure of the Federation is politically dictated by the Thousand Nations and Chancellor Palpatine), disregards orders to accompany Padme and returns to Tattooine to search for Anakin–the mysterious born warrior whose untrained power was sufficient to almost defeat him.
Anakin, saved from dying of thirst, makes his way across the sands to rejoin the now-diminished slaver fleet, driven to hard times with the loss of their captain-general, and the growing Huttese monopoly on crime, demonstrated when the Hutts stage a raid on the unaffiliated encampment (which also homes one or two from Padme’s original crew, collared, shamed, and burning with hatred).
Obi-wan broadcasts as the “relief fleet”—is entirely welcome to the hard-pressed defenders.
The Ganga, finding that their fiercest efforts meet with little success, have retired from the field, and instead gone into hiding. With Obi-wan’s help, Padme convinces the Ganga warlords to try for one last, all-out push (which she and the goddess will personally lead), which will be coordinated with the pirate fleet’s attack on the Federation ships.
They are triumphant; victory is celebrated. In the battle, the Queen is indeed killed—executed—but the Federation finds no victory.
“Did you believe that you had triumphed? Did you believe that a god can die?” declares her handmaiden and new avatar—a battle-stained amazon—who ascends the throne in her place. The Trader command who do not escape off-world are slaughtered before that throne, under her eyes. When the shooting is over, Padme stalks forward. “And now, Viceroy. We will discuss a new treaty.”
Romantic resolution (such as is): Anakin is at his ship in the hangar, doing a last minute check before take-off; when Obi-wan wanders by, he claims that they’re over and done with, he’s going his own way as a free trader. Obi-wan agrees pleasantly; he knows that they’ll be meeting at the Jedi Temple soon.
Then Padme shows up to talk. She wants him to name his price: when he won her at the tournament, he won her soul/karma/social credit. She wants it back. What will it take?
Anakin gives it about two nanoseconds’ consideration. “Give me a kiss.”
And then our hero jets off into the binary sunset, music blazing, etc.