At every entrance on every level of the Colosseum of Geonosis, a Jedi Knight attacks. Two hundred have answered Master Obi-Wan's call; many more now rush from all corners of the galaxy to join them. There has not been such a gathering of Force power since times of legend, and yet they fight together with swiftness and coordination undimmed by the ages.
The strongest members of the Council are all there, having set forth the moment Obi-Wan appeared before them. Master Mace Windu leaps from his perch, his lightsaber spinning so fast that it leaves only a violet blur that no blaster bolt can penetrate. Master Shaak Ti, whose powers of stealth begat an entirely new discipline at the Academy, reveals herself in the midst of the enemy troops, cutting down surprised super battle droids from behind. Master Plokoon fights without looking or hearing or any sign of mercy for an electronic enemy, and the blind Master Ki-Adi-Mundi rips battle droids to pieces with a thought.
Even Knights who are not on the Council have joined in the rescue effort. The young Master Kit Fisto, who stepped down from the Council for love but still steps up for its honor, dashes from one battle droid to the next, smiling eagerly at the excitement. The old Master Nikkos Tyris spins his green lightsaber with a forlorn weight to his movements, feeling dark premonitions about they choice they all now make.
They press inwards, toward the prisoners in the arena.
"You call this a diplomatic solution?" Anakin shouts to Padme as they take cover with Master Obi-Wan behind the dead acklay.
"No, I call it aggressive negotiations!"
Anakin is comforted by her confidence. Maybe they won't die after all.
Obi-Wan looks out above the acklay and ducks back down, a blaster bolt singing his hair. "Twenty thousand battle droids and only our fists to fight with. This is going to be easy!"
Anakin stands up and stretches out his hand, using the Force to yank three blasters from the grasp of his enemies and passing two of them down to his companions.
"You can't expect me to use this!" Obi-Wan protests as Anakin and Padme peek out from their cover to return fire.
"Kill all Jedi!" shouts a familiar voice. Padme falls back.
"It's Threepio!" she cries.
"He doesn't seem friendly," says Anakin. "I think he's been reprogrammed."
"We can't just shoot him!"
They jump back up and shoot the battle droids surrounding their golden friend, but Threepio continues advancing steadily. His eyes glow red and he points a blaster at them while repeating "Kill all Jedi!" He fires, and they dodge back down.
"We have to shoot him!"
Padme grabs Anakin's arm to restrain him. He could physically resist her, but he won't. Threepio walks past the acklay and points his blaster at them.
"Oh, Miss Padme," he says, his eyes briefly glinting gold, "I'm terribly sorry about all this."
"Ben, shoot him!" shouts Anakin. Obi-Wan looks angrily at the blaster in his hand.
Threepio short circuits. The storage hatch in his belly pops open, and two lightsabers fly out. The Jedi call their weapons to their hands by instinct.
Anakin jumps to his feet, green saber shining bright.
"Now we're in it!" says Obi-Wan, blue saber spinning in hand.
"Stay here until I call for you," Anakin thinks to Padme, "I'll cut us an exit."
Anakin and Obi-Wan leap into the fray.
With the prisoners rearmed, the Jedi Knights turn their attention toward Count Dooku, only to find that battle droids have encircled them and taken the high ground. The fight out will be more difficult than the fight in.
Most of the battle droids they face are of the traditional design, spindly stick figures meant to do no more than carry a blaster and be difficult to blast. For centuries they have been used by planets for elaborately formalized and ritualized combat, in a galaxy so much at peace with itself that the idea of war has become detached from the idea of sentient casualties. When the Trade Federation used battle droids directly against the people of Naboo, they lost the political war and saw most of their wealth taken by the courts of the Galactic Republic.
And when Anakin faced battle droids on Naboo, he didn't even have a lightsaber. With a single wave of his hand, he pushes dozens of them aside. Unfortunately, in doing so, he gives the super battle droids a clearer shot.
He has already seen that these new weapons, powered by red lucasite, cannot be moved by the Force. He quickly also learns that his lightsaber cannot deflect their blaster bolts; all it does is absorb them, depriving him of his means to turn the enemy's blast against it. This is going to complicate things.
Anakin uses his quick mind to adjust his tactics, but other Jedi Knights are not so quick to adapt. The Ithorian Master Roron Corobb takes a deep breath with his six lungs and lets forth a mighty Force roar that knocks the battle droids aside, but he falls beneath super battle droid blaster fire. Master Coleman Trebor nearly reaches Dooku's box, only to be shot down by a super battle droid he did not sense hiding in the shadows. Master Barriss Offee bears the injured away from the field, but when she reaches the lifeless body of her teacher, Master Luminara Unduli, she collapses to the ground in anguish.
Of the couple hundred Jedi Knights engaging in this mission, twelve have already lost their lives. Obi-Wan can sense it. His heart breaks.
Sparking droid bones pile up until the arena is carpeted in them, but the droids just keep coming. The Jedi Knights have no choice but to fight close, lightsabers spinning furiously as they shield themselves from incessant blaster fire and cut down each super battle droid individually.
As they stretch out their senses and get their bearings on this planet, the Jedi Knights realize the full extent of the factories they are fighting amongst. Every assembly line in the city is running at capacity, producing droids more quickly than they can be cut down.
"Do not fear!" shouts Mace Windu, but they have great reason to fear. The remaining Jedi Knights are trapped back-to-back in the center of the arena. It is all they can do to prevent blasts from entering their defensive circle. At their center, Padme clings to Anakin's side.
High above, from his observation box, Count Dooku raises a hand, and all droid fire ceases simultaneously.
"Master Windu!" he bellows. "You have fought gallantly, worthy of recognition in the archives of the Jedi Order. Now, it is finished. Surrender, and your lives will be spared."
They can all sense it then--their own lingering doubts and fears. The collective mind of the Jedi Council, a singular communion that has lasted ten thousand years, is far too powerful to not see its own weakness. There is temptation, especially among the green sabers, the young and the rebellious.
Yet this same bond that shows them the worst in themselves also saves them now. The patient wisdom of the best among them calls them from the darkness to the light, steadying their resolve. And there at their center, the outsider and student Anakin Skywalker shows no hesitance.
Mace Windu shouts in response, "We will not be hostages for you to barter with, Dooku!"
"Then I'm sorry, old friend..." Dooku sighs with sincere regret, raising his hand to give the order to resume fire.
He is stopped by a deafening crack of thunder, the sound of ships exiting hyperspace inside the atmosphere, pealing out into the steady drone of six large troop transport ships sweeping down into the arena. Giant mounted lasers cut swaths of clear ground and waves of fully armored Fett clones pour out the sides of the ships to fill the space, blasters firing as their boots crunch down on droid remains.
Stiff back and firm face betraying no lack of poise, Count Dooku turns and walks away.