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Qui-Gon Jinn stood by, watching the proceedings as calmly as if he were in the Republican Senate Chamber, the vision of Anakin, grown, and Obi-Wan placing Padme's hand in his, running through his mind. He watched as the Council played back Mika's last acts. His eyes were transfixed to the images before him as he committed all to memory.

Occasionally he would cast his gaze at the throng watching the trial like a circus spectacle. When his eyes would meet one of them, they would blink or back away.

The anger was rising in Qui-Gon Jinn. The same anger that had given Obi-Wan the strength of the Force to overcome Darth Maul... the same anger that... years yet to come would give another young Jedi the strength to overcome not only the hulking form of a Sith called Vader; but the Galactic Emperor himself.

When the order to take Mika away came out, Jinn stepped forward, his robe open and billowing as a wing-like cloak as he moved soundlessly in his large boots.

"Whether I should be alive or not, Master, is the subject of debate. But I am alive. And as long as I live I will not allow my voice to go unheard." he said.

His voice was strong and powerful. There was a charisma in Qui-Gon Jinn. Some of the younger timelords in the audience, spurred by the old Surgeon's outburst, actually smiled that the Master Jedi had spoken up.

"You...." the council's leader began.

"...Will have my say. And if my words don't sway you, you may do as you wish... with me." Jinn finished for him.

Mika looked at him with desperation in her eyes, her worst fears coming true. But Qui-Gon gave her only a smile, and a glint of light in his deep blue eyes.

"You say a crime has been committed. That Mika has done wrong in saving my life." Jinn began. "Yet, as you can plainly see, history in my lifeline goes on as all should have gone. As it has gone, and will go on. You can't stop the great flood of events that are our ever moving universe. Even the mighty council of Gallifrey couldn't hope to change the course of an entire people... because people must change themselves... for good or ill."

"She broke the law, and she must be punished !" shouted the chancellor. "That is our ruling."

"Your ruling." Jinn repeated. "Yours... Chancellor... and yours alone. For I have heard only one voice speak... and you promptly removed the speaker from your presence like an insect sitting on your lunch plate." Qui-Gon folded his arms over his chest as if he expected something to be said, "I assure you you will not remove me so easily."

The crowd around them was abuzz with murmuring. The Chancellor banged his gavel a full three times, hard and loud and bellows of "order !" took to the air in the great hall.

Qui-Gon looked around calmly, as if everything was going according to plan.

When the crowd had calmed somewhat, the leader of the Timelords council pointed a long and haggard finger at Jinn. "You are wasting your words.... we have ruled. You will be returned to your own time... to your proper history. Justice...."

"Does not deal in absolutes...." Jinn interrupted. "I have twice now heard you say that 'we', your council has ruled, yet only you have spoken. And you speak of justice. Is your ruling then, Gallifreyan justice ?"

"Yes... it is the ruling of the council."

"It is the ruling of one bitter old man, who has not travelled the universe... forced upon a woman who does so... because she cannot return to her own home." 

The chancellor banged his gavel. "Silence !" he barked and raised the gavel to bang it again.

Jinn lifted two fingers and the stone flew from the man's hand, shattering, in mid air, into a thousand pieces; as if it had hit a pillar of granite. Yet it had struck only the same air the throng in the chamber were breathing. A small smile crossed Jinn's lips.

"Afraid to hear the truth ?" Qui-Gon asked in a mild voice, almost as if bantering with an old friend. "The old man spoke true justice and you had him removed. Let me ask a question, Master. Are all these people here under your rule ?"

Qui-Gon stared at the Time Lord, awaiting an answer. None came.

They must be. "For I hardly believe that that man there..." he pointed to a young looking man with a bristling moustache, "Or her... ... or him... all clear and pure of mind would sit back and allow you to commit murder without trying at least to stop you if you did not govern them."

"I will listen to no more of this.... yours is but a voice from the grave to me, Qui-Gon Jinn... take him away !" and the Chancellor sat.

Two guards approached their stasers ready, but Qui-Gon simply stepped forward, an open palm floating a bit at his side. The two guards both seemed to find, oddly enough, something to trip over on the floor, and were soon viewing it much closer than they had been.

"Yes..." Jinn continued, as if oblivious to what had befallen the guardsmen. "Murder. For if you take away her life.... her regenerations .... she will surely die. But if you send me back to my death. Then we both shall die. And she will live on... but only in body." Qui-Gon locked eyes with the Chancellor. "Your justice will not be served here this day. Despite your power, you must see the truth. The truth is always clear, plain, and simple. The old man saw it. To turn a blind eye to it, would be the folly of a fool. And a fool cannot govern but other fools who follow him. 'One must control himself, before he can control others'.... a wise quote. Wise words to follow Lord Chancellor. " and the Jedi stepped back, a quick glance to Mika. "If you send me back to my death, then history shall be avenged, but it will be an empty vengeance, as nothing that is now will change..... in my timeline. Yet if you punish Mika so... then things will change. Look in your own futures. What deeds has she left to do that you will have prevented from happening. What lives has she yet to save.. worlds to save... whole cultures to save... at your bidding; that will not be saved because you dealt out her own death."

Qui-Gon pointed an accusing finger at the central council seat. "Own yourself a coward, Oh Mighty Chancellor ! Afraid to bend your laws... and by your fear you doom every event that Mika has yet to touch to never take place. You will rewrite history that is yet to be written, and yet should be.... to satisfy your law ! I submit to this council that in enforcing your law... you are yourself breaking your law, not once, not twice... but tenfold... punish Mika... then have the courage to punish yourself !"

As the Jedi spoke his last words the lights dimmed in the room, all but one that focused on the head of the council, like a probing eye. A deep seeing eye showing him out for what Qui-Gon had called him. A coward... living by a rule book... instead of the true justice of the heart, and of the universe at large.

The chamber was awed to silence by the mighty Jedi's words.  All eyes looked upon their so-called leader with expectancy.  However, Borusa was still.  Not so was Runcible.  The old man rose to his unsteady feet and cried out in rebellion, always one to voice his own opinion.

"Well said, young fellow.  Now let's cease this nonsense and get back to our business.  Let them go and be on their way."

His words were soon echoed by another voice, this time a woman's from the crowd that began to rustle in the gallery.  "He's right. Let them go. They've done no harm."

Soon her words were taken up and the crowd began chanting.  Runcible grinned from ear to ear as he stood on his ancient and unsteady legs.

Mika rose to her feet, still shaking from the whole ordeal and ran to Qui-Gon's side.  He put his arm around her and held her close, as the voice of the people spoke out in the Council Chamber.

Borusa was on his feet, screaming for order, but no one listened.  In fact, the chanting grew louder.  In the back of the room, Cardinal Runcible was fairly leaping for glee at the ruckus he had caused.  He may have been over four thousand years old, but he still had a bit of the trouble maker in him.  Others rose to their feet, fists angrily in the air, demanding Mika and Qui-Gon's freedom.

Then, almost timidly, one of the Council members, a younger-looking woman wearing the same burgundy Prydonian robes as the Chancellor stood.  Expectantly, the crowd grew silent.

"Chancellor Borusa, inasmuch as the young timelord here has indeed broken the rules, I, however, do not see the need for such severe punishment. Life is not always black and white.  If it were, we would not be needed as Megaran justice machines would suffice.  We are here to judge whether the actions these people took were harmful.  Did she break the law, yes.  Did it make any difference?  Only to these two before us.  So I say let them go and do their work.  I believe I speak for my fellow Council members when I say that the good that she does far outweighs the mistakes she may make along the way."

"Is this true?" Borusa spoke quietly, looking to the other members.  "You all agree with Cardinal Nirada?"

The other nine cardinals who sat on the Council all nodded in agreement.  Even Runcible who had since managed to make his way slowly to the front of the chamber shouted his agreement as well.

Borusa knew when he was beaten.  The outsider had been right.  This was a Council of twelve, not one.  "Very well then.  It is the concurrence of this Council that the Timelord Mikanostinocolai shall be allowed to retain her regenerations, and that the outsider, Qui-Gon Jinn shall be allowed to remain with her."  He moved to bang his gavel then remembered that he didn't have it anymore.  "This Council is adjourned."

Mika finally allowed herself to smile, which she did, looking up into Qui-Gon's gentle eyes.  She gave him a huge bear hug, not believing that they had actually won.

Qui-Gon returned her embrace, and, in front of the whole gathered populace, kissed her lovingly on the lips. "I told you," he then said, "I wouldn't let anything happen to you." and he held her close again.

Just then Surgeon General Runcible came tottering up to the happy couple.  "Well done, young man," he said, clapping the tall Jedi on the back.  "Couldn't have made a better speech myself, even in my younger days."

Mika let go of Qui-Gon and hugged her old mentor fondly.  "You old fool.  Thank you so much.  I.. we owe you our lives."

"Aw, 'twas nothing.  Made my day just to see old Borusa squirm," he chuckled.

"Borusa... the Chancellor ?" remarked Jinn, "Yes. There's good in him, but it's buried beneath much greed, and perhaps even a bit of jealousy." Here the Jedi Knight, quite amused at being called "young man" gave a knowing look at the old Timelord.

"Perhaps you're right.  Personally, I could never stand the man.  Never saw eye to eye you know," Runcible pointed to his eye and looked up into Qui-Gon's, chuckling lightly at his little joke.

Qui-Gon nodded his agreement. "And we could never have made it without you, sir." he added, "My words just served the purpose of lighting the fire. But you fanned the flames, thank you." and he shook the old man's hand; surprised to find he still had a good grip.

"Anything to help little Mikalai here," he winked at his former student who blushed instantly at being called by her former nickname.  "Well, I must be off.  Inciting rebellions always tires me out."  He chuckled as they watched his feeble legs carry him towards the chamber exit.  After he had gone a few feet, Runcible turned to Qui-Gon.  "You take good care of her now, young man.  If you don't, you'll have to answer to old Runcible the Rebel."

Qui-Gon offered the old man a bow, and said with a smile, "I'll take the best of care of her, Master, you needn't worry."

"Master.. hmmph!" he murmured, chuckling his way down the aisle.

Mika fondly watched him go.  "He was always like a father to me," she commented more to herself. She looked up at the eloquent Jedi.  "Let's get out of here before they change their minds."

Qui-Gon placed an arm across Mika's shoulder, and together they started for the door, only to be stopped by a female voice behind them.

"Where will you go now ?" it was Nirada, the counsel woman who had spoken up in their defense.

Qui-Gon turned, and Mika turned with him. They were standing in front of the open door to the council chamber.

"Wherever time takes us !" Jinn responded.

"Time... and our hearts." added Mika, snuggling into the big Jedi.

"May the wisdom of Rassilon guide you." said Nirada, and she bowed, then turned silently away.

Qui-Gon kissed Mika again, and they disappeared into the Citadel, headed for home... the TARDIS.

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