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The rotating force fields had separated the two Jedi knights.  Obi Wan looked on almost helplessly as Qui-Gon took on the Sith single-handedly.  Out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of a figure standing on a ledge far above the duelling enemies, apparently keeping a close eye on the battle.  He looked closer.  It was that timelord, Mika.  He frowned as he wondered why the hell she didn't do something to help.  For a moment, their eyes met.. and he understood.  There was nothing she could do.  History could not be changed. 

Obi Wan turned his attention back to the battle at hand.  Suddenly, the Sith caught Qui-Gon seemingly off guard and bashed him in the face with the handle of his double laser sword.  Then, in one swift movement he plunged his weapon to the hilt in the Jedi Master's midsection dropping him instantly.  Obi Wan screamed in horror as this scene unfolded before him.  The instant the force screens rotated he was out and upon the Sith like a shot, lunging at him with everything he had; with all the fury and sadness he felt at the fate of his beloved Master Jinn. 

Even as he fought, the young Padawan glanced over at the fallen figure.  Out of the corner of his eye he saw that Mika had somehow descended from above and was now kneeling beside the Jedi.  Satisfied that at least he was being looked after, Obi Wan went after Darth Maul with redoubled fury.  But the Dark Sith was no match for him, parrying his every blow with graceful, almost dance-like movements.

The sabres of the two combatants clashed again and again, sending sparks into the air and tingeing it with a stifling heat. Kenobi's anger drove him at the Dark Lord, and he sliced air several times but inches from Maul's midsection.

In a sudden blow the young Jedi brought his weapon up, and it connected with the raised shaft of Maul's sabre, slicing the weapon cleanly in two. One of the two deadly red blades disappeared, and the Sith casually tossed aside the useless bit of steel and went into a one handed dance of bravado with his single blade.

Obi-Wan was hard pressed to match the Dark Lord. He turned and parried as the Seth's blows came faster and faster. Kenobi leaped, and somersaulted over Maul, and went for a rear attack, but the Sith was too quick, and whirled to catch the Jedi's downward blow and force him back a step. Then, almost mockingly, Maul lifted one hand, and Kenobi felt an impenetrable force push him back.

He tumbled as the power of the dark side sent him careening into a narrow mouthed shaft.

Maul made no sound. no cry of victory, not even a grunt of effort, as he stepped closer to the edge of the shaft. Kenobi looked up and saw his painted face glaring down at him, a tooth-baring sneer that might have been his idea of a grin across his lips.

Mockingly, the Dark Lord gently tapped the light sabre that lay at the lip of the shaft where Obi Wan had dropped it in his fall. The young Jedi watched helplessly, as he clung for dear life to a stem ventilator, and his weapon went spiralling down into the immeasurable depths below.

Then Maul began to pace, slapping at the lip of the shaft with his sabre every second or so, and letting off a quiet hiss from between his clenched teeth.

Kenobi's mind was racing. It was only a matter of time, seconds probably, before Maul would grow tired of watching him, and turn to Mika and his fallen master. He had to act, but first he had to think.

His thoughts fell on Jinn, or perhaps the mind of the older Jedi called him. And he saw in his own mind the image of a sabre. Qui-Gon's light sabre lying close to his right boot. Kenobi concentrated his mind, and all his thoughts on the weapon, and slowly it began to move.

Mika sat and watched, for a second a look of surprise crossed her face as the sabre rose, then flew with all the speed of a starfighter up, over Darth Maul's head and down into the shaft.

In the same instant, Kenobi pulled upwards on the stem vent cap he was holding, and guided his own weight with the power of the force. He hurtled himself into the air, and into a somersault up and over the waiting Darth Maul. Landing directly behind him, Qui-Gon's light sabre in his hand, Kenobi snapped it on and the green blade shot out.

Maul lifted his weapon as Obi-Wan poised himself to strike, and the Sith took a step back. But it was a step too far. As Kenobi watched, his blue eyes wide, he was cheated of his vengeance by the Seth's own footing.

The Dark lord slipped and went flying helplessly, silently, down the shaft he had trapped Kenobi in only a moment before, his sabre flying from his hand. The last Kenobi saw of him, he was growling and groping wildly for the walls of the shaft. Gone. Dead. Presumably somewhere at Naboo's core.

Obi-Wan deactivated his master's sabre, and rushed, after one last glance down the shaft, to his side.

Mika moved aside as the apprentice carefully cradled his master's head in his hands.  Obi-Wan shot her a questioning look, as if begging her to do something to save this man's life.  The timelord took a deep breath.  She closed her eyes as if fighting some inner conflict.  Finally, she came to a decision and sprang into action.  Mika carefully examined the wound then placed her hands around it, concentrating on her healing powers.  Kenobi watched in trepidation as she attempted to save his master. 

Qui-Gon opened his eyes and tried to speak.  Obi Wan looked upon him, concern riddling his face.

"Master... "he began.

"No, it's too late for me..."

" No..."

The fallen Jedi moaned in pain as Mika worked on his wound.  He looked up at the sad face of his Padawan apprentice. "Obi-Wan.... you must promise me.... you must train the boy."

"But master...."

"He is the chosen one... promise me... you'll train him." Qui-Gon brought a trembling hand to young Kenobi's forehead, touching his temple, doing the Jedi mind-trick on his own student.

"I'll train him... you have my word," Obi Wan finally agreed.

Qui-Gon managed a wan smile as Mika sat back, exhausted from her efforts. 

"Well, I've healed the wound and repaired most of the damage.  Luckily that type of weapon cauterizes as it enters the body, so there was no bleeding." 

Obi Wan gave a short sigh of relief as he gazed at the still face of his Master.  "He'll be all right then?" he asked her hopefully. 

Mika leaned forward and brushed some stray hairs from Qui-Gon's forehead.  Out of Kenobi's sight, she pressed a small object to the Master's neck, then quickly hid it within the folds of her sleeve.  "That's up to him now," she answered, leaning back and sighing.  "I've done all I can do."

"Mika, I ..." Qui-Gon started.  Suddenly, his eyes closed and his head slumped lifelessly to one side.  Kenobi panicked and checked for a heartbeat.  There was none.  Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn was dead.    "But I thought you said you healed him?" Obi Wan was beside himself.  "I..."

Mika shook her head calmly.  "I did.  It was almost as if he didn't want to live.  There is nothing more I can do."  She stood solemnly and placed a tiny hand on young Obi Wan's shoulder.  "I'm sorry.  I tried."


Later that night, very much later, a low moaning wheezing sound echoed solemnly through the grounds just outside Queen Amidala's palace.  There, in the small stone gazebo used for funeral pyres, a large stone pillar materialized seemingly out of mid air.  A small section opened inwards and out stepped Mika.  Her face looked sad and tired, not at all her usual cheery self.  Before her on a raised stone altar lay the body of Qui-Gon Jinn.  He had been prepared for cremation.  All that remained was the formal funeral rites to be performed early the next morning.  But the timelord had other plans.

Quietly and quickly, Mika slid a small plastic shield onto a corner of the byre he was lying upon.  She repeated this for the other three corners.  She then pulled out a small control box and began to activate it when she sensed a presence.  Quickly she secreted the device back in the folds of her robe and gazed upon the deathlike face of the fallen Jedi Master.  She brushed aside a few stray strands of long, brown hair from the closed eyes when a figure appeared beside her.  It was young Obi Wan.

She slowly drew her hand back and cast a sideways glance at the apprentice Jedi. 

"He was a great man," he said softly.

"Yes," she agreed.  "He will be sorely missed."

They stood together in silence, Mika wanting Kenobi to do what he had come to do and leave so she could get on with her work. 

But he wasn't to be put off so easily. 

"You cared about him didn't you?  That's why you tried to save him even though you knew he was to die?"

Mika wasn't prepared for that question.  "Um, why... um, yes.  I guess I did," she muttered.  "But, well, it's too late for that now, isn't it?  I really did all I could.  It was like... like he didn't want to be saved.  You know?"

"Yes....  I know."  Obi Wan sighed.   "You know what the really strange thing is though?" he asked, looking down at her, then back at his former Master.  "I see him lying here.  And I know he's gone.  But I can still feel him.. his mind is still here.  It's quiet and dark, but it's still here, still part of the Force."

Mika tensed up a little.  She could make everything seem like it was in death except his mind.  When that went, death was permanent.  "Ahh, who knows what awaits us when we pass on from this life?  The only ones who know have no way of telling us.  Smart though we may be, there are some things we shall never know."

The Jedi nodded.  "I suppose you are right.  Still, it is a strange sensation."

"Mmm," she agreed.  They stood beside their fallen comrade in silence.  Gently, Mika took his large hand in hers.  Obi Wan marvelled at how tiny hers seemed in comparison.  "He was so strong and powerful, yet so gentle," she mused wistfully, mostly to herself. 

She raised his now stilled hand to her cheek, feeling it's strength against her soft skin.  In spite of what she knew, a single tear escaped from the corner of her eye, falling upon his chest, melting into the fabric of his tunic leaving a tiny dark spot. 

Young Obi Wan saw this and moved closer to her.  Placing his hand upon her shoulder, he spoke softly.  "He will be missed... by us all."

Mika nodded and gently replaced Qui-Gon's hand by his side. 

"I'll see you at the funeral then?" Kenobi asked.

"No," she shook her head, "I won't be there."

"Why?" he asked, puzzled look on his face.

The timelord shrugged.  "My work here is finished.  Time for me to move on.  Other worlds to save, people to annoy... that sort of thing."

"Ahh."  They stood together in silence, Kenobi not wanting to leave just yet and Mika mentally urging him  on.  She did indeed have work to do.

"Right then," he said at long last with a sigh.  "I'll leave you to it then."  Young Obi Wan Kenobi turned to leave. 

"Obi Wan," Mika called out as he had reached the bottom of the short flight of steps.  "Take care of yourself.  It was good to meet you.  I'm... I'm proud to call you my friend."

Their eyes met one last time.  "I'm proud to know you as well, Mika."  Then he turned and trotted quickly off, back in the direction of the palace.

Mika heaved a huge sigh as she watched him go.  When he was far enough away and safely out of earshot, she pulled out the control and pressed the 'on' button.  The four corners of the litter lit up and began to hum, lifting the still form of Qui-Gon Jinn a few inches from the surface of the altar.  Smiling, she opened the door to her TARDIS and carefully guided the entire platform into its interior.  A few moments later she emerged, apparently with the same 'package', replacing it on the altar and switching off the control unit.  The litter dropped in place with a soft thud, sending a light cloud of dust billowing into the air.  Coughing, Mika waved her arms to dissipate the dust then began removing the hover pods from the corners of the byre.  With a final sigh and one last look, she turned and re-entered the TARDIS.  There was a huge, mysterious smile on her face as the doors swung to and the pillar disappeared with the same groaning, wheezing sound with which it had appeared. 

Back in the palace, Obi Wan froze.  The constant presence of Qui-Gon's mind that he had felt in the Force, though very dark and faint, had suddenly vanished. His features sank as he realized that his beloved teacher and friend was finally and completely gone. 

Only then did a tear escape the Jedi's soft blue eyes.

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