- "Senator Berm Tarturi of Andara is fighting the political battle of his life," Mace [said] ... "Since the Andaran system is a powerful voting bloc, the Senate is worried about potential instability—as well as a full-scale civil war that could bring in other systems and spread throughout the Core Worlds. And something else has happened to complicate the situation even more. The Senator's son has disappeared."
- ―Jedi High Council member, Master Mace Windu.
The Mission to Andara took place in 25 BBY.
- "I'm trying to keep [my son's kidnapping] very quiet. It is a private matter. Yet others seek to exploit my sorrow. Oh, it's not that I expect special treatment, but those who would take advantage of a father's despair..."
"Yes, anyone who exploits private pain is despicable." [Sauro] gave Tarturi a withering look. "No matter who does it."
- ―Galactic Senators Berm Tarturi of Andara and Sano Sauro of Eeropha in a personal-political duel at a Senate function for dignitaries.
Infighting in the Galactic Senate between Senator Berm Tarturi, the Senator for Andara, and Sano Sauro, the Senator for Eeropha, over redistribution of trade routes had caused them to become bitter enemies. Andara was the biggest and most influential planet in the Andaran system. As such, it dominated and monopolized the best trade routes.
By 25 BBY, Rana Halion was the ruler of Ieria, second largest planet in the Andaran system, and the leader of the opposition against Andara. She demanded a new treaty to address the imbalance of trade routes, as well as official representation in the Senate.
To complicate matters, Gillam Tarturi, son of the Senator, had been been kidnapped. Gillam attended the elite Leadership School on Andara. Because the school's security system was highly advanced and sophisticated, Gillam's disappearance was a mystery. Senator Tarturi suspected that his son's kidnapping was motivated by a desire to injure him personally while distracting him from Senatorial business. And he believed Rana Halion was behind it.
The Jedi High Council, in 25 BBY, sent the Padawans of Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Siri Tachi—Anakin Skywalker (now 16 years old) and Ferus Olin—on a mission to the Leadership School on Andara to investigate the disappearance of Gillam Tarturi, son of Berm Tarturi, the Galactic Senator. They were also to keep alert for anything they might discover concerning a renegade squad of young mercenaries that used the school, it was believed, as their training ground, and that very possibly had some connection with the missing student.
Once the Padawans had arrived at the school (situated on the outskirts of Utare, Andara's capital city) and had been matriculated under fake transfer-student identities, Anakin and Ferus both agreed to spy on a boy named Reymet Autem, who seemed to know his way around the school's security system. Anakin was later approached by a girl named Marit Dice. She explained to Anakin the school's scholarship program, one that was administered solely for appearances, giving no thought to the actual welfare of the scholarship students themselves. The school administrators seemed to be concerned solely with catering to the needs of the children of the galaxy's rich and powerful who were under their care.
Meanwhile, Obi-Wan Kenobi had remained behind on Coruscant to investigate possible Senatorial ties to the kidnapping. After visiting with both Senator Tarturi and Svivreni Senatorial aide Tyro Caladian, he came to believe that Rana Halion possibly may have formed an alliance with Tarturi's enemy, Senator Sano Sauro, who even then was battling Tarturi in the Senate over trade-routes redistribution. This proved correct when Kenobi had the Jedi Temple's finest security expert, Alam Syk, run a trace on Tyro's comlink after tracking Sauro's movements down to one of three favorite secret-business haunts, where he was rendezvousing with Halion. When she showed up on time, but Sauro didn't, Kenobi suspected the trace. Later, when Obi-Wan confronted Sauro directly about his evasive surveillance of Caladian, he simply evaded the charges further and threatened to call security. Kenobi told him simply that his threats revealed his fear and that he'd be back; but when Obi-Wan discovered, with Temple archivist Jocasta Nu's help, that the mercenary student group was indeed connected to the kidnapping (via the squad's secret Andaran bank account, into which Halion was making deposits), he changed his investigative focus to the Leadership School squad alone. Kenobi was soon on a starship bound for Utare.At the Leadership School, Marit had invited Anakin to join her and her friends, Rolai Frac, Ze, Tulah, and Hurana, in a friendly swoop race competition. Anakin won the race, earning the respect of all of Marit's friends. They then explained to him that they were a united group, that, in order to survive in the galaxy, they accepted special missions from various planetary figures, because they certainly couldn't rely on the school for a good reference. Immediately upon that disclosure Anakin felt a surge of excitement, as it appeared that he'd finally discovered the secret squad that, according to Master Mace Windu, had been involved in various intra-planetary disputes, possibly even assassinations—and which also may have kidnapped Gillam. Marit invited Anakin to join their clandestine group, which met for their morning and evening meetings in a little-used storeroom near the students' quarters. As for the missions themselves, they were able to avoid security by carrying them out on their "free days" from school.
A few days after the swoop race, the squad received a mission proposal, or request, from Rana Halion, the ruler of Ieria. The group voted and agreed to accept the proposal. They were to travel to Andara and penetrate the planet's airspace. After Anakin told Ferus all of the details, Ferus refused, saying that it would be seen as an unprovoked attack on Andara, and he asked Anakin to join him in contacting Obi-Wan. Anakin was angered by Ferus' response, but, knowing his duty as a Jedi, reluctantly agreed.
After feigning sickness as an excuse to leave class, Anakin retired to his room, where it was planned that he would meet Ferus and contact Obi-Wan. But when Ferus didn't show up, Anakin began to worry. Ferus, he soon discovered, had disappeared, and no one had seen him. He'd simply vanished, it seemed, just like Gillam.
Later, in the library, as Anakin was silently debating on whether or not he should contact Obi-Wan, Marit approached him. She told him that they had moved up the mission and that they needed to leave immediately. Deciding that the best way to find Gillam and Ferus was to travel with the squad, Anakin accepted.
Siri, upon learning of Anakin's situation from Ferus (who'd called on an emergency comlink channel before his communication inexplicably cut off), met Obi-Wan just as he landed in Utare. She told him that Ferus, too, had now gone missing. Obi-Wan, when he'd learned that Anakin had gone off with the school's secret squad to take part in an airstrike on a non-hostile planet, immediately felt betrayed, as he realized that Anakin didn't fully trust him.
Now, disguising themselves as the King and Queen of Cortella inquiring about enrolling their own sons, the two Jedi Masters infiltrated the school and, with the guidance of Reymet Autem who led them to an old utility-systems area of the school, soon found Ferus, who had been kidnapped by Gillam and his mercenary squad. Ferus explained to them that the student group planned to start a war between Andara and the rest of the planets in the Andaran system and that Gillam was never really kidnapped to begin with: he'd staged everything himself to avenge himself of his father. After examining Gillam's datapad, the Jedi surmised that Gillam planned to frame his father not only for his supposed kidnapping, but also for his murder. He just needed a body to fill in for himself, and he had chosen Anakin to assume that role.
After learning of the true aims of the squad's "mission"—that it was not, in fact, non-hostile, but would instead involve live-target "organic damage"—Anakin immediately resolved to sabotage it by disabling the squad's laser cannon capacitors on Halion's Ierian starfighters, modified Delta-7 Aethersprites. Unfortunately, Anakin was caught by Marit in the attempt. She alerted the rest of the squad, and Anakin was soon surrounded. Gillam revealed himself to Anakin and explained the purpose of his kidnapping scheme. After a brief confrontation, Anakin disarmed the entire squad, including Gillam. But when Rana Halion, who'd stepped back into the hangar after an earlier introduction, found Anakin armed with his lightsaber and ready to fight, she summoned ten battle droids to deal decisively with him.
Anakin, however, in an astonishing display of the Force—one that Kenobi had seen in the great Jedi Masters but never in a Padawan—defeated the droids in the end. Finding his center of stillness in the Force, Anakin seemed to see time unspool before him like a ribbon, saw it freeze like ice on a river and perceived that he had "infinite time" to do everything required to put down both the droids and the resurgents. Siri and Ferus had arrived with Kenobi, just in time to witness the Force phenomenon that was Anakin Skywalker, and to capture Rana Halion. Anakin's profound connection to the Force, shown in his performance, was, quite simply for them also, staggering to witness.
- "You did not even look!" Obi-Wan shouted. "Your fellow Jedi was missing, and you did not even look! ... Anakin, you left your fellow Jedi imprisoned and went off on a mission with a group of beings who you had no reason to trust ... You were wrong on every point. Can't you see that? ... You had a responsibility! ... You betrayed me and the Order by your actions. And your inability to see that troubles me the worst of all."
"I am sorry, Master."
Obi-Wan shook his head. Grief rose in him. "Those are words you speak so easily, Padawan..."
"I don't know what you want from me..."
"I can only show you the path," Obi-Wan said. "You must choose to walk on it."
- ―Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and his 16-year-old Padawan Anakin Skywalker.
Ferus Olin escorted the secret squad back to their transport, as Siri led a protesting Rana Halion away. The young mercenaries would be questioned by the Senate on Coruscant, to sort out the lies, betrayals, and criminal activity that had occurred within their group.
Kenobi and Skywalker were left to speak alone. Despite Anakin's amazing performance and connection with the Force, Obi-Wan was torn to the core over Anakin's greater failure. He verbally expressed his great disappointment in his Padawan, that Anakin had abandoned any concern for, or any earnest attempt to search for his fellow Jedi learner, Ferus, and gone off instead with a mercenary squad he hardly knew to attack a non-hostile world and to start a war. Obi-Wan outwardly lamented the current state of Anakin's training to become a Jedi Knight. Kenobi felt that Skywalker had not only violated an essential part of the Jedi Code, but had also broken something between them as a Master-apprentice team. He felt utterly shaken and betrayed, and the Jedi Master was left with a feeling that he was not used to experiencing—fear.