Author's Note: No, please. No one look at me with judgemental eyes. I know, starting a new story is the last thing I should do, but my brother started this idea and I am really loving it, so I wanted to take a crack at it and hope for the best. Don't hate me. Let me know what you think, otherwise! Enjoy!
Anakin rounds the corner, lightsaber poised, ready to strike out when he comes face to face with Mace Windu, his own purple lightsaber glowing in the somewhat dreary halls. There is a moment of hesitation before both of them recognize each other as friendlies and lower their respective sabers.
"You made good time," Anakin remarks as Ahsoka and Rex round the corner behind him.
"Master Windu," Ahsoka says, tipping her head. "It's a miracle that we ran into each other. This place is a maze."
"Perfect for Dooku to hide in," Anakin grumbles as the three Jedi form a small circle. Anakin crosses his arms over his chest after sheathing his saber but keeps it in his hand seeing as the danger isn't over. "Question is; why is he here? What is so important about this place?" Anakin looks around while Ahsoka's face scrunches up in distaste.
"This place is a mosh posh of different centuries all piled together to make this station," Ahsoka says, looking at Windu. "Master Anakin and I were talking about it. The further exterior of the space station is at least three hundred years younger than the center of the station. No offense to anyone, but this place is a piece of junk." She looks around again.
"Perhaps," Windu says, "but it's owned by the intergalactic banking clan. Whatever is here has to be important enough for Dooku to risk entering Republic territory personally to make sure that they get it."
"Honestly, I'm getting mixed signals," Anakin admits. "There hasn't been much more than B1 battle droids. At least, not that I've seen. I heard rumors that General Grevious was here. So unless there is something distracting him, where is he?"
"If Grievous is here, I think we know who could be enticing enough to distract him," Windu says easily, offering Anakin a sideways glance.
"Oh, right. Obi-Wan." Anakin huffs, shaking his head before his communicator beats. "That's right. Speak the devil's name and he shall appear." He answers the call. "Hello, Master. Were your ears burning?"
"Ah, so it was you talking about me," Obi-Wan says easily, despite the heavy fire in the background. "How are you guys holding up?"
"Better than you, it sounds like," Anakin admits. "Ahsoka and I met up with Master Windu. We are going to head to the center orb of the station to see if we can catch up with Dooku. There is something here he wants, which means I don't want him to have it."
"Agreed," Windu says. "I suppose this works to our advantage. Keep them busy for us, Obi-Wan. The lesser number of droids to deal with, the better." He moves to start leaving before tossing over his shoulder a quick, "And be warned, Grievous may be prowling about."
"Oh goodie," Obi-Wan says with mock enthusiasm. "Well, I have yet to see him, but I'll keep my wits about me. Good luck you three. May the Force be with you."
"And you as well," Windu says, turning his attention forward. "Let's go. Dooku won't wait forever for us."
They fight their way through the station with relative ease seeing as Obi-Wan and the 212th kept them busy, which was good for Anakin, Ahsoka, Mace, and their respective legions - what was deemed necessary - until they made it the largest part of the station. It's a wide-open room filled with giant black metal boxes. Upon Ahsoka's question of what they were, Windu explained that international banking clans used these boxes as a sort of safety deposit boxes for high-end clientele.
He said that they were made almost like storage units for the clients, but could also be used as collateral. Unfortunately, they have powerful biometric scanners that make it impossible for them to be broken into due to the nature of the metal's creation. The biometrics coupled with a highly durable metal that is harder to mold than even Mandalorian steel. And because of how resistant the metal is to molding, it doesn't see many - if any - other shapes other than giant rectangles.
And it's deep, nearing the middle of the room, that the Jedi located the Count after Ahsoka was almost shot in the lekku by one of the droids when it spotted her first. Then, Ahsoka and Anakin stood back, watching as Dooku and Windu battled with one another. Anakin looks on anxiously, looking like he would like to jump in and join the fray - whether it be to get the chance to kill Dooku or to help Windu - Ahsoka didn't know, but she was feeding off his anxiety. She hoped that they would be able to defeat Dooku. That today was the day that the Count's reign of terror came to an end and the war was that much closer to ending and peace could be restored.
The battle droids pointed their blasters at the clones who pointed theirs back, but it appeared as though they were having a standoff, waiting to see who would win this lightsaber battle between them. Both sides knew, though, should their side start to lose, this tentative peace was going to come to a very quick, very violent end. But all of them waited with bated breath.
Ahsoka's hands wrap around her sabers, blue eyes wide as the two older saber users spin around one another. A lethal dance between a red and a purple sabers swinging around. Ahsoka wants to help, she does, but she knows that she isn't skilled enough to go up against someone as skilled as Count Dooku. She knows that more than anything else, she would probably just get into Windu's way, so she hangs back, knowing that her master is probably thinking mostly the same.
Anakin has the skills to join this fight but Windu's vaapod style is better suited for a one-on-one fight. So he holds himself back, but he keeps his eyes on the fight, ready to jump in and assist the Grand Master should he need it.
Then they stopped. Both Count Dooku and Mace Windu. It was a sudden, jerking reaction where their bodies locked up so fast they tilted forward, then leaned back onto their feet. They stare at one another for a moment longer before looking around as darkness swells around them and something malicious approaches. Anakin feels the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. Ahsoka doesn't have hair to stand on end, but her extrasensory perception warns her that danger is near, making her horns tingle.
Down the opposite way, walking around the vault that Dooku managed to break open just before they got there, two lone figures make their way over to them dressed in black.
The first, and the more eye-catching of the two of them, was the man. He stood at well over six feet, probably as tall as Anakin is, if not taller, with wide shoulders, chest, and waist. He was in all black robes with a black scarf, heavy boots, gloves, and a black helmet. He has a cape attached to his shoulders with the hood pulled up over his helmet. His enormously large stature isn't the only eye-catching part of him. The Force rolls off of him in waves, making him seem even larger than his own physical body appears to be.
And he's the first to speak, his voice distorted by the mask, and perhaps a voice modulator too, it's hard to tell. He says, confidently, "So this is what we have been reduced to? The great and powerful Jedi and the frightening and horrible Sith? I am... unimpressed."
Then, the woman steps up next to him, only going to about his shoulder in height. Her posture is assured and strong like she doesn't mind the impressive height difference between herself and the man next to her. And she's human. She's wearing a long sleeve black dress - that Ahsoka realizes isn't really a dress when the woman steps, slits up both sides of the dress revealing tight black pants underneath with simple boots. She wears a floor-length black cape with a hood attached to it and pulled up over her hair. Her skin is pale and her eyes are light green.
And she looks young. In Ahsoka's opinion, she looks only a few short years older than herself. Her presence in the Force is wild and untamed, especially compared to the man next to her.
The woman looks between Windu and Dooku, pursing pretty, full lips before speaking, "Please give us the artifact."
Dooku turns toward them slowly, blazing yellow eyes locking onto her own. Her face relaxes slightly and the man is suddenly moving. He reaches onto his hip and pulls out his lightsaber. Then, he falls into a very aggressive stance, spreading his arms and his legs out wide, making him appear larger than life, gripping his saber tightly and activating it. A bright red blade springs forth from the hilt before the two nobs on the side spew out a red-colored exhaust, making them look like a crossguard.
Ahsoka jumps, gripping her lightsabers tightly between her fingers.
The man hesitates for only a split second before he's moving toward Windu, raising the saber up high over his head before gripping it with both hands in a powerful downward swing that makes Windu's knees nearly buckle against. His teeth grit in pain, as he forces himself not to break his form. He shoves the red saber away with his own before the two launches into a fierce fight, with precision, swinging away at one another in fast, furious strikes. The man is easily able to push Windu back, using his superior strength to his advantage.
From behind the woman, a flurry of movement comes into view as troops wearing white armor seek cover around them and open fire on both the Separatist's droids and the Republic's clone troopers. There is a moment of shock and confusion from the clones, not sure who to start fighting before it just came down to shoot everyone who is shooting you.
Dooku had hardly a moment of reprieve from the madness before the girl grabbed at her own lightsaber on her hip, hitting the release so that the two halves of the handle can magnetically lock in place and she can summon the double blades. She spins the blades around carefully, the blades looking like bright red fire. Her soft green eyes are locked on Dooku, sucking in a slow, deep breath, before she launches herself at him.
Her hesitation offering Dooku enough time to defend himself. She spins the saber around wild abandon. She was like her partner; wide-swinging arcs, but where he had a degree of control - his moves purposeful - hers are less precise. A lot of unnecessary movements like spinning around or twisting the saber behind herself. She's definitely the less experienced of the two of them - four including Windu and his opponent.
Anakin's eyes flicker back over to Windu and the masked man to see that the Grand Master was back peddling quickly. Once a few feet separate them, the man throws his hand out toward Mace, and his entire body freezes. For the smallest, most hard-pressed moments, the dark-skinned human was terrified. His entire body locked up and unable to move. Focusing his shatter point ability as fast as possible, he uses the force to punch through the energy pressing down on his as hard as possible and launch himself up into the air and out of the way of the deadly swing aimed at the top of his head.
The man tilts his head, as if not understanding how Windu broke through whatever ability he used on him before suddenly saying, softly, "Shatter point? I see..."
"Master Windu!" Anakin shouts, deflecting a shot directed at him by a battle droid back at it. "Are you alright?"
Windu rolls his shoulders slowly, grimacing as if in pain. "I'm fine. This is going to be easy."
"Well, let's see if we can turn the tides," Anakin says, sprinting across the open space between himself and the cloaked figure, dipping and dodging between shots. The darksider watches his approach, bringing up his saber to fight. They are similar in height, but the masked man definitely has more tightly packed muscles than Anakin.
While Anakin and Mace tag team the male darksider, Ahsoka's eyes turn back toward the woman and Count Dooku, her eyes widening as soon as her eyes land on them, the woman throws her hand out toward Dooku, roaring in angering as purple lightning races from her hand in a coned formation. Ahsoka watches as Dooku throws his hands out too, lightning shooting from his fingertips, but she doesn't see what happens immediately next. She has to turn herself away, the bright flash of both bolts of lightning meeting hurts her eyes. It's when she opens them to see Fives next to her, guarding her flank that she sees the arcing lightning flashing against his helmet's visor.
She watches its reflection as the purple lightning spreads out into a massive cone. The Dark Side swells in the Force and Ahsoka feels a deathly chill run down her spine as her sixth sense alerts her of the grave danger that she's in.
She stands up from behind the make-shift barricade the clones constructed during the fight between Windu and Dooku. She turns her eyes toward Anakin first, worried for him but he and Windu were in the middle of being tossed across the room by a powerful Force Push, soaring out of sight. She reaches out her senses to her Master to ensure he survives the fall, but turns her eyes toward Dooku and the woman, to see Dooku fleeing quickly out of sight as well. The woman growls before racing after, ordering the men to retreat.
The space where they stood is terrifying to look at. The metal is bright red and melting at the intense heat. There are scorch and burn marks across the floor, boxes, and even a few stray marks across the ceiling. Ahsoka couldn't believe what she was seeing. She couldn't believe that lightning could have been that hot. Not Force Lightning, at least. And somehow, both the girl and Dooku survived, and neither appeared to have been hurt by the attack either, which is honestly impressive.
The man turns toward the retreating woman and Ahsoka uses that moment to strike, jumping out from behind the barricade, she races toward him, ready to strike when he turns to her, holding his hand out toward her. The Force wraps around her body, freezing her in place. But it wasn't like her body was just paralyzed, her right leg was lifted up off the ground and she was practically on the toes of her right foot. But she doesn't tip over or fall. The Force presses down on her at every inch of her body.
And now Ahsoka understands what freaked Master Windu out earlier. But unlike him, she doesn't know how to break this. She can't move her physical body and with the way the Force is pressing onto her horns, she feels dizzy and disoriented.
The man stares at her for the briefest of moments, as if considering if he should just kill her or not before something draws his attention toward where his partner disappeared to. He turns and races off after her, leaving Ahsoka stuck in place.
With the strange white armored troops gone and the battle droids destroyed, the clones took the time to secure the area while Rex, Fives, and Kix tried to help Ahsoka out. But even by grabbing onto her arm or even nudging at her, she wouldn't move at all.
"This isn't good..." Kix mutters, eyeing her dangerous lightsabers warily.
"General Skywalker!" Fives calls. "We're going to need some help over here! Something is wrong with the commander!"
"Is she alright?"
The surrounding clones jump, looking around until they locate Obi-Wan, standing atop of one of the large storage containers. There is an open vent directly above him. He jumps down to the floor level. He walks over to the circle of clones and Ahsoka as the clones go back to securing the area seeing as Obi-Wan wasn't a danger to them.
"What's wrong with her?" Obi-Wan asks, then makes a face, stepping back from her and looking at the space around her, feeling how the Force was pressing in on her.
"I don't know," Kix admits, walking around Ahsoka slowly, inspecting her, trying to see what it was that was holding Ahsoka so steadily in place that even physically pushing on her wasn't enough to move her.
Obi-Wan watches as the Force holding onto her loosens up and he darts forward, grabbing Kix and yanking him out of the way as Ahsoka's body completes the motion and her sabers come down on now open space where Kix was just seconds before. Ahsoka quickly releases her lightsabers, dropping them to the floor as the blades slide back into the handles.
Ahsoka drops to her knees, wrapping her arms around herself as her whole body aches as the tension spread over every inch of her is finally released. Her whole boy hurts. She lets her head hang between her shoulders as she groans in pain. Rex pats her on the shoulder as Kix makes his way over to her after thanking Obi-Wan for saving his life.
"What happened here?" Obi-Wan asks as Anakin and Windu make their way back over to them.
"They are Dark Side adepts," Mace says. "There was two of them, and they weren't working with Dooku, that much was obvious."
"That guy was no joke," Anakin huffs, eyebrows pulling together. "He was able to hold himself against both Master Windu and me. Even if it was only briefly." He looks over at Ahsoka. "You okay, snips?"
"Yep," Ahsoka wheezes at the ground. "I just got hit with the same thing that Master Windu was... except, you know? I couldn't break out of it."
Anakin looks at Kix. "Is she is okay?"
"Yes," Ahsoka snaps.
"Looks like it, General," Kix says helping her stand up and offering her support as she shakes around her limbs to get them to loosen up. Rex scoops up her sabers and hands them to her. She straps them to her belt and looks over at the three older Jedi.
"Okay," Ahsoka says, looking between them. "What the heck just happened?"
Rex looks over at her. "I'm not sure. Although what I do know is those guys that showed up, their armor looks shockingly familiar."
"No kidding," Fives cuts in, walking over to one of the unknown assailants. He kneels down, looking at the helmet for a moment before working to remove it. "It's not exactly like our own, definitely higher-tech, but it's very similar. And... this guy isn't a brother. He's just... some guy."
"We need to find out everything we can about these new people and their connection to Dooku," Windu says. The clones nod, spreading out even further to look for more clues. Windu turns to Obi-Wan. "Any sign of Grievous?"
Obi-Wan shakes his head. "No. I never saw him. Once the tide of battle droids started to slow down, I left Cody and the rest of the 212th behind to clean up while I came to help out. I sensed something might have been wrong, although unfortunately, I didn't make it in time to help anyone."
"Made it in time to help me," Kix mumbles, barely loud enough for Ahsoka to hear from his mask. She gives him a little shrug and sheepish smile to which he pats her back a bit in forgiveness.
Obi-Wan spares him a glance, offering a small nod of acknowledgment, before looking back over at Windu. "I sensed something malicious, so I came to make sure that everything was okay." Obi-Wan sighs, rubbing at his forehead. "So, these Dark Side adepts, what do we know?"
"One male, one female," Ahsoka offers, "and the woman is human."
"The guy is huge, about my height but has more bulk," Anakin says. Obi-Wan's eyebrow quirks at that. "And despite how large he is, he's a lot faster than he looks like he should be."
"And he's skilled," Mace says, crossing his arms over his chest. "My guess, seeing as the girl looked, at most to be in her early twenties, that he's the older of the two of them."
"She was pretty wild," Ahsoka adds. "While fighting Dooku, I mean. A lot of spinning around and twirling her saber. The temple master-of-arms would call that a lot of wasted energy."
"And they had some unusual lightsabers," Anakin offers, looking between Obi-Wan and Windu.
"How so?" Obi-Wan asks, eyebrows pulling together.
"Well, starting with the man, his saber was shaped more like a sword with a crossguard, except the crossguard is made up almost entirely of condensed kyber crystal energy," Anakin says.
"Aren't they just exhaust ports?" Ahsoka asks. "I mean, what would the inside of your saber have to look like for that to happen?"
"Maybe," Anakin says thoughtfully, "or perhaps the crystal is damaged and that's the only way to prevent the crystal from just exploding inside the saber."
"The beam was definitely unstable," Windu points out, eyebrows pulling together. "Not to the point of serious damage, I suspect, but something is wrong with crystal, of that, I have no doubt. As for her saber, it's double-bladed."
"Double-bladed," Obi-Wan echoes, eyes wide. "That's rare. Double-bladed lightsabers are difficult to master. There are very few in the Order who even have training in using one, let alone those that are practitioners in the art. The closest we have are the temple guards, but they wield staves with short blades."
"But not her," Anakin says slowly. "The handle on her saber was huge. A little over two feet, I'd guess. It folded in the middle so that she would be able to walk with it strapped to her hip, but the blade was also regular sized."
"That would make her reach incredible," Obi-Wan says slowly. "Unless she was extraordinarily tall, that saber sounds like it would be taller than she was."
"She was average height for a human female," Windu says. "She just looked small standing next to that man."
"She had great control over her saber, though," Anakin says. "She would extend her reach by sliding the handle up and down so that her hand would land as far down on the handle as it could to make her reach as far as she could, making her wildly unpredictable. And not only that..."
They all take this time to address the space where the young woman and Dooku fought, the metal containers still bright red and melting from the heat of her lightning. They all turn to really take in the view.
"She was a beast in the Force," Ahsoka says. "I mean, Master has always been intense in the Force... but I think she's got him beat."
"Yeah," Anakin says, "at least in intensity. That Force Lightning was no joke."
They all turn to look back over at the scene before them, taking in the devastation. Rubbing weakly at her shoulder, Ahsoka asks, "Who were they? And what was so important in that box?"
"I don't know the answer to either of those questions," Windu says slowly, dark eyes scanning the area as if they would both just come jumping out from behind one of the boxes and scare them, "but I intend to find out."