The Battle is Joined
The group of Jedi and Republican soldiers followed the Queen and her bodyguards as they began assaulting the droid armies who occupied Theed Palace. Padmé Amidala pulled two blasters into her hands and charged out into the fray yelling loudly as she cut through a group of droids zapping them to pieces. Her actions led to total pandemonium breaking out as more droids streamed through the corridors to neutralize the threat developing in the palace. No one doubted it now, the Battle of Alderaan had commenced in earnest.
"Obi-Wan…go with her!
"Yes Master…" Qui-Gon led another group to the side as they ran into several hundred battle droids with their shields raised. He spoke to his apprentice through the Force.
"Go with her to the throne room and find Bail Organa. I will take the remaining troops the other way...We will meet soon."
"We will face the Sith Lords together…stay close to us…"
"I will." Though their strike team was divided they went in parallel directions, the two Jedi commanders never losing sight of their counterparts on the opposite side of the buildings. Padmé and Obi-Wan hid behind part of a once ornate blue-colored dining hall.
"Look at what they've done to the place."
"Is there where you thinking about taking me to dinner?" She tried to hold back a giggle at his comment. Of all the times he could be thinking of romance, he had to pick this moment to open up to her.
"Well that's the thought." She was going to say something else when he silenced her with his finger.
"Don't talk…" His voiced echoed through her mind. "The next room is full of battle droids…what's in there, is it close to the throne room?" She whispered to him.
"It's my personal antechamber. It's where I conduct state business…it's only three rooms away from the throne room." He spoke without relying on the Force.
"Get ready to go in there gun's blazing, you got that?" She nodded her head. He turned to the troops behind him, "We move on my count…one…two…go now!"
They rushed in through the doors and began opening fire. A series of battle droids moved toward Padmé and Obi-Wan rushed to her side as she pulled out her blasters and started to fire. He leapt over her in a single bound clutching the hilt of his blue lightsaber as began hacking and decimating the droids. Blaster fire and the sound of crushing metal and burning walls echoed throughout the room. He heard the familiar hum of another lightsaber as Qui-Gon Jinn and his troops burst through the north entrance.
"Look out Obi-Wan!" He turned around too late to see a droid aiming for him, but Padmé jumped to block the shots and fired her blasters into the droid blowing it up in an instant as she fell to the ground hard. He extinguished his blade and helped her get up. She was a little wobbly but otherwise unharmed. Qui-Gon stepped forward and extinguished his blade.
"The North side of the palace is clear."
"South side too…" Qui-Gon turned to the Queen.
"Can you think of anywhere they might be holding your brother?"
"They would be foolish to do it in the throne room, but for some reason I feel like everything is emanating from that direction."
"Then to the throne room we must go." The two Jedi kept their hands on their lightsaber hilts as Padmé raised up her blasters ready for action once more. She ran to the massive doors and kicked them down followed closely by the Jedi Knights, her guards and the Republican troops they had brought with them.
As soon as they entered they saw a legion of powerfully built battle droids to one side, and one man dressed in a cloak on the other. In his hand was the long handle of a specially built lightsaber. It was Darth Maul.
"Welcome Master Jinn, we've been expecting you."
"We?" From the shadows came another hooded figure, this was one wearing a grotesquely purple-colored breathing mask. "Darth Sidious, I presume?" The figure nodded its head in acknowledgment and then started speaking. The voice that came through sounded horrifying.
"Ah the two Jedi Knights I've heard so much about. I must admit you've surprised me. I had no idea that you would go all the way to Korriban, find a ship that functioned and run that blockade. Now that you've brought in the rest of the Jedi and the Republican navy…I am even more impressed." Obi-Wan Kenobi didn't miss a beat in responding.
"Game's over Sidious, you and your apprentice have lost." The laughter of Darth Sidious pierced through the throne room.
"You are greatly mistaken Kenobi. I still have a droid army down here…the Federation can keep your fleet busy till I have finished my business here."
"Enough talk Sidious. Surrender and face the same fate as your master!"
"Bold words indeed Master Qui-Gon…" He brought out Bail Organa in chains. "But I think I have a bargaining chip." Queen Amidala didn't respond, she held her feelings in check. But Obi-Wan could sense her pain and fear. He took Senator Organa and gave him to the droid commander. "These droids will be leaving with the Senator…while you and your apprentice deal with us." Sidious ignited his single-bladed red lightsaber. Maul followed suit igniting his double-bladed one. Obi-Wan closed his eyes as he ignited his saber. Qui-Gon Jinn patiently ignited his blade and held up it defensively waiting for the first attack. Obi-Wan Kenobi reached out with the Force to the Queen.
"Padmé take the troops go after the droids…free your brother."
"What about you?" She said to him, her lips trembling.
"I will be all right…I promise you that."
"Your majesty, it's time for you to leave," Qui-Gon said as he ignited his blade. Padmé nodded her head. Before she left she embraced Obi-Wan and kissed his lips gently.
"Come back to me." With that she barked orders at the men and they charged after the droids. Maul smiled menacingly as grabbed the center of his lightsaber.
"How touching Kenobi. You're feelings for the Queen are strong… it's a pity you will not live to see her again." He growled as he charged forward with Sidious following close behind. Qui-Gon turned to him.
"We take them together!" The two Jedi nodded to each other as they rushed in. Qui-Gon clashing blades with Sidious and Obi-Wan taking Maul—they traveled in separate directions not realizing that they were heading to the same location that the droids had taken Bail Organa.
Obi-Wan charged at Darth Maul raising his saber high and striking hard. The blades hissed loudly as they clashed. Sweat poured down his face as he struck one side of Maul's blade then aimed down as Maul deflected his strike again. Maul backed away and beckoned Kenobi almost taunting him.
Qui-Gon lunged slamming his blade hard into the wall sending sparks flying as he dueled with Sidious, he caught sight of Obi-Wan being kicked in the chest hard by Maul. He can handle himself, I've taught him well. The veteran master remained focused on Darth Sidious staring straight at the Dark Lord's gruesome mask.
"You cannot defeat me Jedi scum!" Sidious leapt high off the ground back toward the southern corner of the throne room. Qui-Gon Jinn grunted as he matched his opponent by leaping toward him and striking his blade hard and kicking him hard in the face sending him flying backward.
Padmé could hear the clash of lightsabers in the distance. But she was more concerned with catching up to the droids that had whisked her brother away. She ran ahead and lunged at the tail-end of the group of battle droids. They spun around and began firing at her but she slammed one in the face with her leg shooting multiple times with her blasters. The Republican troops and her personal guards followed her firing widely.
"Be careful! They've got Bail!" The commanding officer acknowledged her request.
"Yes my Lady." The clashing lightsabers were coming closer. From above she saw a large window shatter as Maul and Kenobi leapt over the guards and droids and clashed in the air striking blow for blow at each other with neither one getting the advantage. Padmé concentrated on the battle going on in front of her. More droids poured into the room, her troops were definitely outnumbered now. She didn't care.
"Move forward! Take them down!" She grunted as she charged forward returning fire in kind to the droids in front of her.
Mace Windu and Dooku flew down in a small vessel taking heavy fire from the neighboring Federation ships as they rushed down to the surface. Dooku exclaimed as he saw Mace clutching the controls trying desperately to avoid enemy fire.
"Is this as fast as the ship can go? We might as well be facing a nest of gundarks out there Mace!"
"Hang on! I am going to try some evasive maneuvers!" Suddenly the small ship lurched to one side then another being trailed by at least twenty smaller enemy ships. Windu held the controls hard and pulled down sharply. "Here goes nothing." Dooku closed his eyes channeling the Force as the ship began to make a wild series of barrel rolls through the atmosphere of Alderaan.
They could see explosions in the distance coming from Theed Palace as they got closer. Windu pulled up and got behind three of the fighters firing successive waves of concussion missiles at the enemy smiling as they burst into fiery bursts of light.
"That's three down Mace!" More fire hit their hull.
"I don't think I can hold them off forever."
"My turn for evasive actions old friend…get ready for a rocky landing!" Dooku slammed his fist down hard on a button next to his heat and ejected into the sky. He grabbed his curved lightsaber handle and managed to land on one of the enemy ships. The wind hit his face and he held on for dear life trying to commandeer the enemy fighter. Stabilizing himself, Dooku managed to plunge his blade into the cockpit splitting the droid pilot's body cleanly in half. He haf barely strapped himself in before he began firing at groups of fighters who were in front of him. Mace's ship was on fire.
"Get out of there now! I'll meet you in the palace! Find the Queen and the Sith Lords!" Mace braced himself for impact as he ejected quickly. He rolled steadily down on the ground picking up a few minor scratches along the way. Windu saw Master Dooku blasting a few more ships out of the sky before finally crashing nearby.
"You all right?" Dooku jumped out of the burning cockpit quickly as the craft exploded.
"I told you not to wait for me!" He shook his head, Dooku was slightly dazed. "Come on, we have to go find them!" They ignited their lightsabers, Windu's was a deep purple, Dooku's was a pale green. They quickly made their way through the burning city toward the sound of blaster fire that came from the palace.
Padmé caught sight of her brother and fired two precise shots at the droids guarding him. She charged through another group with Republican troops close on her tail. She fired into the crowded field of droids in front of her. They could barely hear or see much of anything what with the cacophony of blasters, lightsabers, smoke and sparks dotting the landscape. She made it to where her brother was and kicked two of the smaller droids down firing a shot into one of the bigger ones. While they were distracted, she ran to her brother and pulled him back toward the Republican troops.
"Thanks! What took you so long? "
"You know me, I like making an entrance first" He smiled as she gave him a blaster and he began to join the fray. He fired at two interceptor droids flying toward him. He sent one of them crashing into a neighboring column. Padmé shouted to him.
"Bail! Come on! We've got to find the Jedi and help them!" He nodded his head and ran toward the sound of lightsabers.
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan stood side by side fighting parallel battles with the two Sith Lords. Both sides were evenly matched. Suddenly blaster fire poured over their shoulders as the droids and Republican forces fired at them and at each other. The hall became one gigantic mass of weapons and fighters.
Two large windows facing an exterior garden exploded sending brightly colored pieces of glass flying everywhere as Mace Windu and Dooku joined their Jedi companions.
"Looks like you guys could use some help!" Mace said. Kenobi smiled as Windu joined him in fighting Maul, while Dooku leapt to the side of his former padawan.
"It'll be like old times Qui-Gon. Take the left, I'll flank him!" Darth Sidious staggered back a bit, but then regained his composure.
"Master Dooku…this is a surprise."
"Lord Sidious, a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance." Dooku leapt forward and struck down hard as Qui-Gon moved to left. Sidious whirled back and forth. Even though he had only a single-bladed lightsaber he easily deflected Dooku's strike in time to parry Qui-Gon's attack. "Well trained you are for a Sith…"
"You have seen nothing yet Dooku!" Suddenly Darth Sidious extinguished his lightsaber blade. Qui-Gon and his former master looked at each other and held their sabers up in a defensive position. "Witness the full-power of the Dark Side you fools!" He leapt backward and raised his hands sending shockwaves of deep blue Force-lightening at the two Jedi. They didn't expect it and were smashed hard against a wall as Sidious let out a chilling laugh. Qui-Gon got to his feet first helping Dooku up.
"He's very strong."
"But we have some tricks too!" Dooku sent his lightsaber spinning toward Sidious who ducked and then flipped to one side as it came back for another pass. Qui-Gon stepped forward and Force-pushed Sidious back as Dooku lunged with the blade missing his target by inches. Darth Sidious reignited his blade as the two Jedi charged at him.
Padmé saw the fighting and ordered her men to continue firing at the droids. She moved closer to the dueling Jedi in front of them. Bail Organa grabbed his sister's arm.
"Where are you going? That's their fight not ours!"
"I've got a clear shot on Sidious trust me!" She pushed him aside raising her two blasters and yelling as she fired at Sidious.
Sidious was struck twice in the shoulder and chest by the incoming fire.
"Foolish girl! You do not know who you are dealing with!" He clenched his fists and Force-pushed Qui-Gon Jinn back, then he kicked Dooku hard in the face and raised his hands sending electricity at Padmé's body, she kept her blasters trained on him as long as possible dodging to the side to avoid the blue lightning that was heading her way.
Bail Organa fired repeatedly at Sidious sending him flying back out of the window off the cliff-ledge on which part of the palace perched. He ran to his sister. Some of the lightening had hit her. Dooku was slowly getting to his feet. He saw Qui-Gon running to help Obi-Wan who was busily fighting Maul. Windu was sent flying hard against a wall by a carefully aimed kicked. He was lying on the ground unconscious. There was concern in Dooku's eyes as he shouted to his former student,
"Qui-Gon don't do it! You're hurt!"
"I can't! This ends now!" He leapt up and struck down hard, his blade clashing hard against Maul's as Kenobi struck to the right side of the Dark Lord. Dooku finally came to his senses and joined the Republican troops and began hacking his way against countless droids to reach his Qui-Gon Jinn apprentice. Padmé stood up shaking her head.
"Are you all right?"
"Yes Bail I'm fine!" She saw Dooku at the front of Republican troops dealing with what seemed like hundreds of droids who were charging at them from virtually every conceivable angle. "We've got a job to finish!" They grabbed their blasters and made their way to Dooku's side firing and covering him from attacks as he stabbed and slashed his way toward the dueling Jedi. Suddenly, Dooku lost sight of Maul and his former apprentice. They had gone to another part of the throne room. He needed to get to them quickly.
The room seemed unfamiliar. Only moments ago, Qui-Gon and Kenobi had been battling Darth Maul fiercely. Now they entered an ill-lit corridor to the eastern side of the throne room from where they could still hear the sounds of massive blaster fire and of droids exploding.
"What happened to Sidious?"
"Padmé and Senator Organa dealt with him." Obi-Wan smiled. They heard a lightsaber ignite in the distance. Only a few paces away from them stood the ragged figure of Maul. Blood streamed down the top of his face.
"You may have dealt with my master, but you will not escape me Jedi!"
"We'll see about that!" The two men ran toward him each striking one blow after another against Maul as they fought the Dark Lord. There was an ominous noise echoing through the chamber. The Jedi stepped back as Maul stood motionless and smiled. "Watch out Obi-Wan!" A large piece of the marble above them came crashing down hard.
"What's the matter Master Jedi…Are you afraid of the Force?" Several more pieces of stone and metal, this time from the columns holding up the massive ceiling came crashing down at them with the precision of photon torpedoes. Qui-Gon leapt passed two stones being hurled at him and struck Maul's saber hard. Obi-Wan rushed to join him.
Count Dooku was slashing through the seemingly endless number of droids. Mace Windu had managed to get up and joined the fray rushing to the side of Dooku.
"My Lady!" He shouted to Padmé. "There are too many of them for us to handle! We can't hold them off forever."
"Let's draw them to the east wing!" She fired another shot at an incoming droid then turned to her men. "Retreat!" They all followed her running away toward the east wing.
The Jedi continued to pummel Maul. The Dark Lord was strong, but he could not sustain the continued pressure the two knights put on him. He tried Force-pushing them away, but to no avail they continued to match him strike-for-strike pushing up him closer to a large window.
Suddenly a crash came through the front of the corridor as droids and Republican troops streamed through fighting each other. Darth Maul saw Padmé Amidala leading the troops and barking orders to her men. He saw a potential opening. He ran toward the fighting parrying each of the strikes of the Jedi. Then he did something unexpected. Maul extinguished his blade and using the Force he summoned a blaster to his hand quickly firing two precise shots at the Queen.
Queen Amidala felt a burning feeling erupt from her side and her back as the blaster let loose on her. She screamed and crumpled to the ground writhing in agony. Bail ran toward her but neither he nor the other Jedi were close enough to stop the droids from finishing her off. Kenobi sensed her pain and he remembered his master's words to him from earlier. Protect the Queen at all costs! He ran toward the fray, his blue lightsaber raised, gritting his teeth as he leapt over Padmé's limp body and slashed at the droids that were making ready to assault her.
Maul laughed as he saw the scene play out and ignited his twin-blades facing Qui-Gon Jinn.
"Your apprentice is weak Master Jinn!" Qui-Gon raised his blade and struck hard at Darth Maul swinging the blade with such force that he knocked the younger man hard against a column.
"You are not a match for me!"
"Show me then!" They lunged at each other as the battle grew fierce around them. Each one striking the other. Maul flipped over Qui-Gon and lunged at the exposed Jedi's back. But Qui-Gon was too fast for him stretching his arms back and blocking the shot before swinging back hard against the Dark Lord's blade.
Kenobi continued slashing wildly as he protected Padmé. Bail Organa finally caught up to them and got on the other side of his sister's body firing at each wave of droids that came their way. Dooku and Windu ran toward Maul and Qui-Gon. No sooner had they arrived than they heard a sound that stopped them in their tracks.
Obi-Wan felt something twisting his stomach. He turned around and screamed loudly seeing the source of the tremor he had just felt. All he could do was shout at the top of his lungs, "NO!"