The bald headed Jedi Master stared out of his viewport at the sickly green ball that was steadily becoming larger. The small shuttle carried only himself, the pilot, and the co-pilot, both veteran clone troopers.
"Trooper, what are the life form readings on this planet?"
"Massive life form readings, sir, but there doesn't appear to be any sort of civilization down there. It looks like this planet is uninhabited."
"Except for the dark side," Mace murmured to himself.
Yoda had sent him here, though he wouldn't tell him why. Usually, a secret mission for a member of the Jedi council meant only one thing: danger. And when that council member was the Master of the Order, and he himself didn't know what his mission was, it meant that there was something incredibly dire.
Mace reached out, using his powerful connection to the Force to feel the entire planet, to get a sense of what he may find. For the most part, it was neutral. Many creatures, most not even approaching sentient, just went about their lives, acting on instinct.
There was a place, though, that was cold. Colder than ice. As cold as space itself.
Mace opened his eyes.
"Trooper, take us slightly north of the equator of the planet. I'll give you more direction when we get closer."
"Yes sir," replied the trooper.
Moments later, they were streaking through the dense atmosphere.
"Sir, we can't see a thing, and our instruments aren't working either. It's as if something is jamming them."
"Give me the controls," Mace said grimly.
The trooper moved out of his seat, and Mace sat down, grasping the controls and sinking into the Force. Though his eyes were closed, he could see as though it were a clear day on Naboo.
They were much lower than what he realized, as he steered the shuttle to the left of a large tree. Slightly up, and to the right, took them away from a massive rock formation.
He eased the controls forward and they dove down through a canopy of trees, breaking small limbs, but completely avoid the larger one's that would surely disable their shuttle. Meanwhile, the cold was growing, not just in the Force, but physically. Mace's breath clouded the air, and he rested his hand on the hilt of his lightsaber.
"Trooper, we're about to break through this fog. I want you to take back the controls, and then have weapons ready. Something is about to go down, but I don't know what."
"I'd be shocked if nothing happened, sir," the trooper said as he made his way to the controls.
Just then, a brilliant flash lit up the viewport, and smoke began to pour from the consoles almost instantly. A powerful bolt of lightning had struck the shuttle, and now everything was chaos.
Mace planted himself in the Force, and pulled his lightsaber free from his belt. This was not good.
The Force flashed a warning to him, harsher than any alarm ever could, and he dropped to his knees, going to the fetal position and putting all his Force reserves into his Force barrier.
The shuttle exploded around him.
The Jedi Master plummeted to the ground, landing gracefully, but quickly shed his robes that were smoking. The bodies of the clone troopers had already landed, arms and legs and heads all mixed up. Mace clenched his jaw and rose to his feet.
Standing across from him, a man stood in a sleeveless tunic, black hair pulled back into a pony tail, with a long handled lightsaber in his right hand. He had an odd symbol in the middle of his forehead, and his eyes burned as yellow as the twin suns of Tatooine.
"Master Windu, I've been expecting you."
"Exar Kun. You died thousands of years ago."
"At least you know my name, and how fitting that it will be the last one on your tongue before you die."
Exar Kun ignited the double blades of his saber staff, the blue blades sizzling in the humidity of the swamp planet. Mace ignited his weapon as well, the violet blade burning brilliantly before him.
"Let's get this party started, then," the Jedi said, with steel in his voice.
With a roar of delight, Exar Kun hurled his double bladed lightsaber at Mace, in an attempt to catch the master off guard, while simultaneously blasting him with Force lightning. Mace jumped and spun his body horizontally in the air, the blade slicing through the air under him.
As he landed, he extended his blade directly out and caught Exar Kun's lightning on his blade.
A wicked smile crossed Kun's face as he amped up the electricity flowing from his finger tips. Mace lowered his eyebrows and held fast, the blade of his lightsaber containing the lightning, holding it at bay.
"I don't know why you're here, I don't know what you want, but you're a Sith, and that's good enough for me," Mace said grimly. Channeling the Force into his lightsaber, he pushed with all his might, and he sent the deadly electricity back at Kun in a straight beam, purple light mixed with blue and white. Unable to continue his stream, Kun snarled and dove out of the way.
The beam hit a tree that was several meters behind Kun, and it all but disintegrated with the power of the blast.
Tucking and rolling, Kun came back up on his feet and called his lightsaber back to him. It whipped through the air, coming directly behind Mace. The Jedi backflipped over the blade, landing in a crouch, and then quickly rose, charging at the ancient Sith, determined to end the fight quickly.
"Let's see how the new Jedi are with a blade," Kun said with a smirk, as he twirled his saberstaff over his head and behind his back, bringing it up in a guard as Mace's blade came down at his face.
The purple blade crashed against the right blade of the staff. Kun used the left blade to slice at Mace's neck, taking one step back to make sure that all of the blade was available to connect with the unprotected skin.
Mace quickly brought his blade back to catch the killing blow, and then again with the opposite blade. Kun repeated this several times, and even began to stagger the attacks. Right, left, right, left, right, right, left, right, left, left, right, right. However, Mace met every blow, every strike meant to separate his head from his shoulders.
No matter how Kun tried, he could not throw Mace off guard. He tried to switch it up by alternating his strikes at Mace's head and knee's, but Mace dodged and blocked every strike that came in.
How is this Jedi matching me in a lightsaber duel? I was greater than anyone, Jedi or Sith, by leaps and bounds, and here, this fool is matching me.
Unbeknownst to Kun, Mace had sunk deep into Vaapad. The greater the challenge, the more Mace loved the fight, and Kun was an incredibly worthy adversary. Mace did not know how the ancient Sith came to be here, but he was not disappointing in his skills.
Even among the Jedi his name was spoken with reverence in regard to his dueling abilities.
And so was Mace Windu's.
The angrier Kun became, the more the darkness built up within him. Mace fed off of this hatred, taking the dark energy and putting it into a type of superconducting loop of Force energy. Taking the bad, and refining it through Vaapad.
Mace could fight like this for hours. Days.
"Gah, enough of this!" Kun cried out. He crouched down and slammed his fist into the ground, sending out a powerful wave of dark side energy that caught Mace off guard and threw him off of his feet, sending him tumbling head over heels.
Kun slowly rose to his feet and began to shake his head. "I was hoping that I wouldn't have to use this, but it seems that I have underestimated you, Master Windu."
He stretched his left hand out, and called forth his powerful Sith amulet from it's hiding place, falling perfectly in place on his hand and shoulder.
"Allow me to show you the true power of the Force. The true power of the dark side."
Mace was back on his feet, but now Kun crouched down again, pressing his palm to the muck, and exerted all of his might into the amulet. Incredibly, the ground split open in a zig-zag fashion, all the way to Mace, causing him to jump over the large fissure that threatened to swallow him whole. Swamp water poured into the fractures as Mace took care to maintain his balance.
"That's not all, Jedi!"
Kun's clenched his left fist, and it began to glow. He began to drip sweat as he concentrated. A few wrinkles appeared around his eyes, the effects of so much dark power trapped in a mortal body.
From the openings, Mace heard a terrible sound, the cross between a gurgle and a screech.
"Sith alchemy is powerful, Master Windu. More powerful than anything you can imagine."
Windu warily eyed the opening, and his heart fluttered for a moment. A massive crab-like creature crawled from the crack, at least the size of a Jedi star-ship, maybe larger. Instead of claws, it had tentacles, but they were thin and covered in spikes. It's powerful jaws clicked together with enough force to crack boulders.
The creature charged at him, and Mace leaped over it, landing directly on top of it's tough shell. Like razor wire, the creature whipped it's tentacles over itself, trying to catch the elusive Jedi master that was dancing around on it's shell, carving deep furrows into the tough exterior as he defended himself and hacked off bits of tentacle.
Exar Kun created this creature with Sith Alchemy. This is an abomination. I cannot let this be revealed to the galaxy, lest others fall to the temptations of the dark side.
Kun jumped forward and landed on the top of the crab as well, and sliced at the Jedi master's midsection. Mace leaned back, and once Kun followed through with the strike, Mace stretched forward and kicked Kun in the face with his boot.
Blood spurted from Kun's nose as he fell onto the top of the crab-like creature.
Mace cried out as he slammed his lightsaber into the belly of Exar Kun, but it was to no avail. The blade extinguished just as soon as it made contact with his torso.
Cortosis armor, Mace thought as Kun's blast of Force energy hit him in the chest. He flew off the top of the creature and landed in a heap.
He had been hit by many telekinetic blasts before, but nothing like that. Blood poured from his mouth, and even attempting to breathe left him in anguish. He knew that every rib he had was broken, and most likely he had internal injuries.
This was not good.
Exar Kun casually walked up to Mace, with the large, crab-like monstrosity behind him, obeying like a loyal pet. "You are skilled with a lightsaber, Jedi, I'll give you that, but your powers are no match for mine."
"Cortosis armor, Sith amulet that enhances your powers, Sith alchemy that creates creatures to fight your battles for you...yeah, you're definitely more powerful than me."
Mace did not allow himself to feel the panic. If death came, it came, and he would die a Jedi's death, at peace, and One with the Force.
But this was not his time. He had one more trick up his sleeve. Cortosis armor was resistant to lightsabers, but not much else.
With a subtle gesture, Mace raised the hand of a clone trooper that was still clutching it's blaster rifle. The finger squeezed the trigger, and the bolt burned into the shoulder of Exar Kun, sending him stumbling forward, crying out in pain.
Mace called on the Force to ease his pain, and jumped to his feet as fast as a lightsaber igniting. A quick uppercut snapped Kun's head back. As he was striking with his right hand, he called his lightsaber back to his left hand and quickly swiped at Exar Kun, spinning around as he followed through with the cut.
The yellow of Exar Kun's eyes dimmed and clouded as his head fell from his body.
The crab-creature went insane and managed to twirl one tentacle around Kun's severed head and pull it into it's powerful jaws, crushing it like an overripe fruit, before it began to fall apart, no longer able to sustain itself without the source of the Sith alchemy.
Mace sat down, cross legged, and reached out to Yoda through the Force.
Mission complete. Send a shuttle. No survivors but myself.