Tara’s Dexconn landed in front of the Crystal Cave on Ilum
. She and Mace exited the craft throwing on warm jackets.
“Look for any crystal that does not radiate any color. Those are the saber power crystals.” Mace instructed once they had reached, what the Jedi called, ‘the Main Hall’.
Tara nodded and went deeper into the cave. Mace looked around at the various green and blue crystals sticking out in formations around him. As he swept his field of vision across the ceiling, something caught his eye and he stared at it, trying to analyze what it was. A few minutes later, Tara returned with her hands full with crystals and saw Mace.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“Have you been here before?” Mace asked, not taking his eyes off the ceiling.
“Yes, I have.”
“Do you remember your first visit?”
“I remember it so well, I can tell you which of these formations are new or old.”
“Then you can tell me whether that was there before.” Mace said, pointing at a metallic object set in the rock just before the entrance to the cave.
Tara squinted and tried to figure it out.
“As far as I recall, it wasn’t there.”
“That’s what I thought.” Mace replied. “So now the question is: who put it there?”
A mechanical scraping noise came from behind, along with a voice.
Mace and Tara turned. In front of them stood one of Grievous’ MagnaGuards. Except for the fact that it had a jetpack attached to its back.
“Weren’t all of you scrapped when your Master died?” Mace asked coolly.
“I am not a MagnaGuard, Windu.” The droid replied. “I am none other than Grievous himself.”
Mace smiled and said,
“Really, don’t expect us to be fooled, droid. Master Kenobi blasted you with your own weapon.”
“While I give Kenobi credit for catching me off guard,” Grievous replied. “He did not succeed in destroying my brain, which was protected by a blaster-resistant alloy. They didn’t make me General for nothing, you know. When the Separatists found my body, they immediately transferred my brain into this specially created MagnaGuard. I have been living here ever since.”
By now, Tara was looking alarmed. It was only natural, since she had no lightsaber, but Mace was a little jittery himself.
“And I am looking to expand my collection of Lightsabers. Yours would be a great trophy,” Grievous continued.
Grievous’ chest plate opened up and two lightsaber hilts came out, held by pincer like appendages. He took them and ignited them one by one.
Mace, quick as a dagger, unclipped his lightsaber from his belt and thumbed the power tab and a bar of purple flame appeared in his hands.
“This lightsaber will never be in your grasp.” Mace said and settled into a battle stance.
Grievous hadn’t forgotten his moves. Lightsabers flaring, he charged at Mace. The Jedi Master bought his lightsaber up and about, and he was locked in a battle which he would classify as the fiercest of all the fights he had been in, which was saying something.
As her Master struggled with Grievous, Tara ran to the ship the get her blaster and emergency medpack. However, as she neared the entrance, the metal thing Mace and she had seen earlier came crashing down, forming a door before her. Tara skidded to a halt and turned, her mind working like a bee. She remembered a bomb trick that she had discovered as a child accidentally. Placing the crystals in her hands on the ground, she ran to the nearest crystal formation and pulled out a green and a blue one. All color crystals had different densities and molecules, making it vary in power, this was exactly why more Jedi preferred the blue crystal to the green one since the blue crystal had a slightly higher density than the green. This property was the very one that was needed to make Tara’s trick work.
She took out a thermal detonator and a piece of strong nylon-fabric cord and, sandwiching the detonator between the color crystals, tied them up tightly. She set the timer to 5 seconds and threw it into the fray. Next, she did the very same thing Mace had done to help her on Dantooine. Becoming one with the Force, she yanked Mace off the ground where he was standing and brought him next to her. 2 seconds to detonation, Tara released Mace and formed a protection barrier with the Force. The detonator exploded, in a very unique fashion.
Instead of spewing superheated plasma everywhere, the intense heat caused the crystals to melt and caused its molecules to fuse in a chemical reaction, then cool down very quickly in the freezing cold of Ilum. All this happened in under a second. The rapid heating, reactions and cooling caused the crystals to emit highly dangerous Gamma rays, tearing Grievous apart.
Tara released her hold on the Force.
“That was one of the freakiest and dangerous things I’ve ever seen.” Mace commented.
“Let’s get out of here.”
Tara nodded to the door and said,
“Need to lift that, we do.”
“This is no time to impersonate the Grand Master of the Jedi Order.” Mace snapped.
Tara grinned and, together, they heaved and pushed up the door with the Force. Tara remembered their next destination and groaned, from one extreme to another, but then, that’s what being a Jedi is all about.