Padme, Panaka and Obi-Wan jog through the concrete maintenance passages of the palace. They reach a side passage that is blocked by translucent energy shields at regular intervals, and Padme motions for them to stop.
Obi-Wan pokes at the first shield with his lightsaber, and it bounces off.
"Force shutters line the path," explains Padme. "We'll have to move quickly when they open to get through before they close again."
"Exceedingly rare technology!" exclaims Obi-Wan. "Your Highness, what do you have back there that requires ventilation with Force shutters?"
Before she can reply, the shutters swing open. The three run down the hallway and into a great chamber.
Obi-Wan nearly drops his saber at the sight that greets them. Sparkling tubes filled with brilliant white crystals reach from deep within the ground to several stories above them, through the heart of the palace to its peak. Circular spoking catwalks line their height. "Lucasite resonance crystals! Here! Your Highness, what..." He looks at her, and his eyes widen with comprehension. "Oh! I get it now!"
"We must hurry," says Padme. "The trap door to the throne room is at the top of the spire. We'll have to climb."
The wonder in Obi-Wan's face changes suddenly to apprehension. His precognitive reflexes respond and he spins to deflect Darth Maul's strike just as the Sith leaps out of the passageway.
"It's alive!" gasps Padme as she and the Captain duck for cover.
Obi-Wan deflects three more of the Sith's strikes, then sends Maul flying back through the passage with a powerful Force punch. Maul lands on his feet and charges with a roar, Force shutters closing behind him. The last shutter closes before he makes it through, and he's left to beat at it with his lightsaber.
"Run!" Obi-Wan shouts. "I'll stay here and hold it off!"
From behind the shutter, the Dark Lord chuckles and points to the retreating pair. Panaka stops, turns with a scowl and fires his blaster at Obi-Wan.
Obi-Wan deflects the shot. "You weak minded fool!"
"Thus speaks the great Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi!" mocks Panaka. "Here to save the weak fools of Naboo who can't take care of themselves!" He fires again, easily deflected. "You get off on this, don't you? Well, what if we don't need you, huh? What if we can do this ourselves? I can destroy that beast! Hell, I can destroy you!"
"Captain Panaka, he's playing off your worst self!" pleads Obi-Wan. "Control your emotions, focus your--" Panaka fires again. "Aw, nevermind!" Obi-Wan sheaths his saber, raises both of his palms forward flat at Maul, and the Sith's spell is broken.
Panaka shakes his head. "Master Kenobi, I didn't mean..."
"Of course you didn't! Now run!"
The Jedi keeps his hands up until his companions get away. The Sith paces back and forth behind the Force shutter, panting and looking daggers at Obi-Wan. Calmly and purposefully, without taking his eyes off Maul, Obi-Wan sits. The Sith's crimson saber taps the shutter tauntingly. Obi-Wan takes a deep breath, shuts his eyes, and begins to meditate.
At first, Anakin thinks they're winning.
The Gungan boomers knock down the droids as easily as a child's game, and the droid blasters cannot penetrate the Gungan personal shields. Droid limbs litter the ground as the Gungan warriors let forth their whooping battle cry.
But here and there, another Gungan falls. Maybe one for every one hundred droids destroyed, but the droids keep on coming, and nobody's making more Gungans.
Anakin's senses reverberate with the power of the Force, and he feels each and every one of the Gungan deaths like a needle in his head.
He looks to the ridge, where another wave of droids unloads from the transports.
Boss Nass clutches a sack of boomers, chucking them at an advancing line of droids. Anakin pushes the droids aside, leaving them in a tangled heap, and runs to him.
"I'm going to hit them where it hurts," Anakin tells the Gungan leader. "Nobody follow me, alright? Just keep on fighting!"
"We shall fight to the death," shouts Nass, raising a boomer in the air, "FOR THE CHOOSIN ONE!" The nearby warriors let out a blood-curdling shout.
Anakin whistles a quick series of blipping notes, and Artoo rockets to his side. Together, they charge into an ocean of droids.
"I will cut you down like I did your boyfriend, you pathetic Jedi! I'll drink your blood and spit on your corpse!"
As Obi-Wan meditates, Darth Maul shouts blasphemies at Obi-Wan, accusations of perversion and weakness, desecrations of his ideals and words that would drive most good men to fury.
Obi-Wan opens one eye. "Really? Is that all you've got?"
The shutters swing open, Obi-Wan jumps to his feet and the rematch begins.
Obi-Wan remembers a night long ago, when he was still a student at the Jedi Academy, eagerly sneaking out into the gardens to learn from the young rogue Master who refused to join the Council properly. Qui-Gon was going through his history buff stage back then, obsessing over the earliest days of the Republic, and he read out loud from a scroll that documented the ancient battles between Jedi and Sith while Obi-Wan laid listening and watching the stars. As he now fights, Obi-Wan can once again hear Qui-Gon's youthful voice reciting...
"There's a grace to be seen when the cool Jedi lightsabers clash with the fiery Sith, "As if they are not combatants but dancers-- not enemies but partners, walking through steps of such perfect elegance that surely they must have practiced together their entire lives "For each knows the future, each sees the move that the other will make such that with every flash of the saber and thrust of the Force, they meet at a place they have mutually chosen and touch only where both have decided to touch "And when one finally falters, whether Sith passion or Jedi wisdom casts its foe from this world, "The onlooker feels as though they have both failed, that the mistake is as mutual as the dance, "For the greatest tragedy is that the dance should end in a galaxy that rarely knows such beauty."
Obi-Wan had giggled to think of the Sith as beautiful, as horrific as their deformities were depicted in his studies. Now, as he leaps to avoid Maul's next blow, the words take on new meaning. His brow sweats with grim determination.
The two sides of Maul's lightsaber spin in such a flurry that Obi-Wan must duck and roll out of the way. Darth Maul cackles, "Don't make this so easy! Use your hatred of me!"
"I don't hate you," says Obi-Wan, going on the offense with several swings of his saber. "You have been mislead. For all I know, you could be redeemed with the right training. Maybe that's what Qui-Gon saw, and why he let you strike him down."
With a deft cut, Obi-Wan disables one half of Darth Maul's double-sided saber, and the odds suddenly feel a bit more even.
Darth Maul jumps up the catwalks, attempting to pursue the others, but Obi-Wan is able to intercept him and kick him back down a few levels. Obi-Wan leaps after him, landing a powerful strike with his saber that Maul is barely able to resist. For a moment they are locked unmoving, lightsabers crossed between them.
"The old man could not defeat me!" seethes Maul, pushing Obi-Wan away. "Neither could the boy that you all fear!"
"I'm not afraid of Anakin," Obi-Wan says with Qui-Gon's stillness, "I know he thinks I am, but I'm not. I just want what's best for him."
"YOU WILL FEAR ME!"
"Naw," Obi-Wan replies. "I pity you. All you have is your fear and your hatred, and that's no good against me."
Darth Maul begins bashing down repeatedly, and Obi-Wan must keep his saber steady in front of him to deflect the rage-fueled blows.
"Really, I've never been afraid of anything," Obi-Wan continues as their sabers meet again and again. "I don't know what it is. Maybe I'm broken, missing a gland or something like that. Maybe I'm lucky. Or maybe--OOMPFH!"
Darth Maul's foot meets Obi-Wan's chest with a grotesque crunch, and the Jedi is thrown back, landing face down on the catwalk. The lifeless hilt of his lightsaber rolls across the floor. Smirking, Maul nudges the saber with his toe, and it falls into the darkness below.
"...or maybe..." wheezes Obi-Wan, pushing himself up slowly, "...I just make a great Jedi!"
With a holler of pure Force, Obi-Wan Kenobi charges Darth Maul. Unarmed, defenseless, he sprints toward the Dark Lord of the Sith, who grips his red lightsaber and prepares for another easy kill. At the last instant, Obi-Wan leaps with a flip, his lightsaber zipping back from the depths and into his hand.
The air in front of Maul mists with blood, and the Sith's face freezes in shock. He falls backwards, over the edge. Obi-Wan grips his chest and watches with relief as the two severed halves of Darth Maul's body tumble into the black of Naboo's depths.