CHAPETER 1: GENERAL GRIEVOUS
Shaak Ti huddled in the train car with Stass Allie, four Red Guards, and Chancellor Palpatine. She could hear Mace Windu and Kit Fisto fighting General Grievous and his MagnaGuards on the roof of the train. She hoped her Jedi companions would win.
She had sworn to protect the Chancellor. If Mace and Kit lost she and Stass would have to take their places. She was not looking forward to it, not after what had happened the last time she'd fought him.
Her hands reached into her cloak and touched the handle of her lightsaber. It was there and ready. Her hands were trembling but not from fear and worry but... Fate.
She was remembering an accident on Hypori over two and a half years ago. A fight. Losing. Incapacitated. At her enemy's mercy. Yet she'd lived.
Fighting General Grievous and losing yet being allowed to live didn't bother her. The fact that he let her live bothered her. Why would he let her live yet kill her comrades?
A hand on her arm caused her to come back to reality. She looked to her left. Stass Allie stared at her. "Yes?" the Togruta woman asked.
"Don't worry," Stass assured her. "They'll stop him."
That's what I'm afraid of, the other woman thought but all she did was smile and nod her head. There was no way she wanted her friend to know what was really bothering her.
Suddenly the whole train rocked, almost knocking everyone off their feet. Stass and Shaak used the Force to keep everyone from falling over.
The Togruta woman's heart almost stopped when she felt the train falling backwards. "What happened?" she asked reeling.
"I don't know," Stass replied helping the Red Guards keep the Chancellor on his feet.
Shaak Ti grabbed onto a window pane. She gasped for breath. We're all going to die!
Suddenly the train began to pull ahead again but only till it leveled out. Shaak Ti sighed, relieved. She saw repulster lifts coming toward the train. "Let's get the Chancellor out of here," she said.
The other woman Jedi and the Red guards nodded. "Right."
They started for the door.
As the platform pulled away from the train two crafts landed on it. Clone troopers and four Jedi Knights jumped out of the crafts and joined the other party.
Mace called to the pilot of one of the ships and discussed chasing General Grievous. After a minute he turned to the two women. "We need to pursue Grievous," he told them all. "You take the Chancellor to a safe place."
Shaak Ti nodded. "We'll see the Chancellor the rest of the way to the bunker." She turned to the others. "Let's go."
They boarded the gunship. Shaak Ti was the last one on.
When the ship landed in the Sah'c neighborhood everyone got off. Deep within the underground waited the bunker. Palpatine and the Red Guards boarded a waiting speeder.
Shaak Ti said she and Stass would join the Jedi Knights escorting him soon after she and Stass contacted the Temple. "May the Force be with you," she said as she watched them go.
Just as she turned to join Stass the Force altered and a premonition filled the Togruta's mind. Dying. Death. Four Jedi Knights dying and Palpatine being taken away. She realized she couldn't let that happen. It would go against her orders.
"Stass," she said catching the other woman by the arm.
"Yes?" Stass Allie asked turning to her friend.
"I... I must go," the woman said in a rush.
"Go?" Stass said confused. "Go where?"
Shaak Ti turned to the tunnel. She noticed another speeder. This one was a bike. She picked it up and hopped on.
"Shaak!" Stass exclaimed. "What are you doing?"
"I'm sorry, Stass," Shaak Ti said looking over her shoulder. "But you'll have to contact the Temple yourself."
The Togruta woman turned the speeder on. "I'm sorry," she said again.
"SHAAK!" Stass Allie yelled after her friend as the other Jedi woman roared the speeder into the tunnel.
An explosion resounded behind Shaak Ti a minute later but she did not stop. She could feel Stass was still alive through the Force. She was worried a little but she had to do this. She had to protect Palpatine even if it meant facing him again...
General Grievous, who was totally unaware of Shaak Ti's plans, was making his way to the Chancellor's bunker, killing everyone that got in his way. When he reached the end of the tunnel he easily killed the troopers guarding the door then typed in the code he'd received. "Don't harm the Chancellor," he told the Magna Guards flanking him. "We're here to capture him not kill him."
What Grievous didn't admit was; he would have killed Palpatine himself had he not been given orders not to.
When the final door retracted he and his guards stepped inside and faced everyone in there, including four Jedi Knights. That was something he hadn't expected.
"Hand over the Chancellor peacefully and I might let you live," he told everyone.
"No!" one of the Knights, a Anithorian snarled igniting his blade. "We will not let you take the Chancellor!"
Grievous didn't have time for this. He ignited his own blades. "All right then," he conceded. "Let's do it your way!"
The four Jedi Knights attacked.
Shaak Ti made it to the bunker in record time but when she reached the door she discovered she was already too late. As soon as she'd stepped into the entrance she saw Grievous stab the remaining Jedi Knight, a Twi'lek through the heart.
I'm too late! she thought, despair washing over her. I'm too late!
As that last Jedi fell the fighting stopped. No one was there to protect Palpatine anymore. "Now Chancellor," Grievous said deactivating his ligthsabers. "You're coming with us."
Palpatine regarded him coolly. "You will be a true loss to the force you represent," he said. The human gestured around the room. "Four Jedi Knights, all my guards and soldiers. Why not wait until Shaak Ti and Stass Allie arrive?" she saw him cock his head toward the door and lock eyes with her. "I think I hear them coming. They are Master's after all."
Grievous seemed to hesitate a moment. "Shaak Ti..." she thought she heard him mutter.
He's summoning me? She knew she had to stop him. She saw one of the three Magna Guards reach out to grab the Chancellor. She couldn't let that happen.
Instantly she moved. "General Grievous!" she shouted.
The cyborg froze. Slowly he turned around. She saw his eyes fill with surprise when he saw her. "Shaak Ti!" he exclaimed then got a hold of himself. "So a Master has come to challenge me now."
Shaak activated her lightsaber. "I will not let you take the Chancellor," she growled getting into a fighters stance. "Now step away from him."
The General regarded her mildly. "Is that so?" he asked. Grievous walked toward her. "How do you plan on doing that, female?"
She wanted to attack but he wasn't holding any lightsabers now. They were in his pockets.
Suddenly. Clang. He dropped them on the floor.
Her eyes grew wide as she stared at him in horror. He's not armed!
"Go ahead," he said still walking toward her. "Attack me. I dare you." he saw her hesitate. "That's right. A Jedi would never attack an unarmed person."
Her hands began to tremble. Unarmed... unarmed... But he's evil. I should attack him anyway... but I can't! She suddenly realized she couldn't fight. She was unable to move. She was almost crying. Stars! Pick up one of those lightsabers!
Grievous grabbed the handle of her lightsaber. "I don't think you want to, do you?" he asked. He ripped it out of her hands. Now she was the one unarmed. "Do you?"
She stood there, unmoving. Palpatine couldn't see what was happening. All he saw was the cyborgs cape covered back.
Grievous poked her face once with a durasteel finger. "That's a good Jedi," he said smiling under his mask. "Now, since you're here, you might as well come with us but don't cause any trouble. You might not be able to hurt an unarmed person but I can!"
She didn't reply. The General put a hand behind her back and thrust her forward. Two Magna Guards caught her.
"Now Chancellor," the cyborg said looking back at Palpatine. "Shall we be going?"