“A what?” Miche asked. The noise puzzled him. He had grown up in a world where his brother’s wood turning lathe, powered by foot pedals, was the most advanced technology. He had never heard a car or a plane, or a helicopter. Space ships, apart from the one The Doctor used, were a part of the mythology of his race.

“There,” Susan called out as the sound overwhelmed them. She pointed to the light as it travelled across their clearing. When she squinted and shaded her eyes she could see a craft with a flat base and rotors either side and on the tail. “Not exactly a helicopter as I know them, but same principle.” She stared at it as it passed directly over them. “And it should NOT be here.”

There was shouting and panic below, from people who only had one concept of technology, the evil force that had plagued them for so many years.

“Let’s get down there,” Miche told her. Susan nodded and climbed down after him. The people of the village were making their way to the Hall of Devotions, the largest building in the village, and the strongest. Susan and Miche were the last to arrive.

“Nobody knows what to do,” Dominic told them as they entered. “Nobody even knows what it is.”

Miche looked as scared as any of them, but he grasped Susan’s hand tightly and stepped up in front of the altar. He called for silence. To his surprise, he got it.

“My brother was leader of the village with Dominique before he died. That makes me the next in line while she isn’t here. So… so listen to me. It’s not the Robos.”

“How do you know?” somebody asked.

“Because… because Suzette knows. She has travelled with The Doctor, and she knows.”

“But I’ve never….” she began to say. But she realised the people didn’t need to know that right now. They needed reassuring.

“No, they’re not. Daleks… Robos… Have a different sort of craft. They’re not Robos. I don’t know who they are. But they’re not Robos.”

“We saw which direction these craft went,” Miche said. “I suggest we go and find out just what they are. A hunting party. I will lead it. Suzette will come, too. As The Doctor’s friend, she will be able to communicate with the strangers.”

Susan looked at him. She wasn’t sure she was ready to lead a hunting party after alien invaders. But the people seemed to be reassured that she, as a friend of The Doctor, had some of his abilities and powers, and could be of help to them.

“Send runners to the other villages,” Miche answered. “Tell them to send their hunters in case we need reinforcements.”

Susan had to admit one thing. Miche had the makings of a leader in him. He inspired the people to listen to him. He inspired her to be with him.

“I’ll come too,” Dominic said. They both looked at him. He was only fifteen, they both remembered at once.

But he WAS a Forêtean. Fifteen was a man in all but name. He was strong and quick and clever. And apart from that, he was The Doctor’s son.

“Yes,” Miche agreed. Come on, we need strong shoes to walk on the forest floor when we reach the end of our walkways.”

A group of twenty of the strongest and fastest people of the village set off. They knew others would be coming from the other villages, but they were the advanced party.

“They’re this way,” Dominic said as they stopped to get their bearings after an hour of walking in the general direction that the helicopters had gone.

“How do you know?” Miche asked him.

“I can feel them,” he answered. “I can feel minds that aren’t of our world. They think differently to us.”

“You can….” Miche lowered his voice so that those nearest to them couldn’t hear. It looked as if the leaders of the party were simply discussing their next move.

“I get it from my father,” Dominic answered. “I can feel other people’s minds. I don’t read what they think. I have always tried not to do that, because it feels wrong to do it. But I know when they are there. Sometimes at night, I sit up high and I feel the minds of the people sleeping, knowing that they’re all happy and content. I know the minds of our own people. Even those of other villages. They’re the same as us. But these others feel different.”

Neither Miche nor Susan asked him how the strangers were different. They took his word for it.

“We’re going towards the mine,” somebody said after a while.

“Mine?” Miche looked around. “The Robo mine?”

Dominic, if anyone had asked him, would have been able to tell them that there was a distinct change in the mind patterns of the group. The mention of the Robo mine scared even those who were too young to remember the time when the Daleks used slaves kidnapped from the villages to mine ore. Nobody since had been near that place. It was, if not quite haunted, or cursed, certainly a place that the people of Forêt avoided.

But nobody baulked at the idea of going there. Nobody showed fear merely of fear, of ghosts of the past. What worried them was the new threat to their lives.

“They’re Human.” Susan breathed a sigh of relief as she saw the group of people around the mine entrance and the craft that had looked so much like a helicopter. She heard their voices. They spoke English with American accents. “They’re from Earth.”

“But why are they here?” Miche asked. “Suzette….”

“Mining,” Dominic said. His face was stiff as he concentrated on the conversations that the others only caught odd words from when the voices were raised. “They’ve located a source of a valuable ore and they plan to bring in… bring in…. What is a… a strip mine?”

“It’s where instead of digging tunnels they just dig up miles of land until the ore is exposed and can be taken out,” Susan explained. “It’s a way of mining that nobody likes because it spoils the countryside. On Earth. Oh…!” She looked around at the forest that was starting to creep back around the mine workings here. But a strip mine....

“Thirty miles wide….” Dominic supplied the scale of the proposed operation.

“There must be five of our villages in that area,” Miche protested.

“They must not know we are here,” Susan thought aloud. “They think this is an uninhabited planet.”

“Then we have to tell them,” Miche answered. “Suzette, Dominic, Jean-Claude, Heste, you all come with me. The rest of you, wait, quietly.”

They moved swiftly and quietly, something that came natural to them. They were used to walking on walkways and platforms and quick and quiet was the way everyone, unless they were taking romantic walks hand in hand on the upper platforms, moved. They were not noticed by the people at the mine until they were right on top of the group that looked like they were in charge, standing there in suits and hard hats with charts and clipboards in their hands.

“What the hell!” one of them swore as the Forêtean group approached them. “Who are you?”

“Call security,” a woman in a pale blue trouser suit said and a man beside her who had all the signs of being her secretary turned and spoke into a thin microphone attached to an ear piece.

“You should not be here,” Miche told them. “This is our planet. We live here.”

“What?” The woman looked at them and was clearly unimpressed by their homespun clothes. “Our information was that this was an empty planet, designated for mining operations. It certainly is NOT your planet.”

“It is,” Miche insisted. “I am leader of the nearest village. But there are many others. We are many thousands.”

“A few thousand peasants?” the woman laughed derisively. “Don’t be ridiculous. You can’t claim ownership.”

“Wait, Maret,” the man who had spoken first said. “If there IS, indeed, an indigenous population, even a small one, we may have to think about this. They would have a valid claim. We may have to negotiate terms. A percentage of profits.”

“What is a profit?” Jean-Claude, a joiner and finisher of wood, and a champion Bâton Haut player, asked.

“It’s when they make money from the mine they would pay you all some of it,” Susan explained.

“Money?” Dominic looked puzzled. “Oh, I think I understand. It is a way in which land and property and sometimes people are valued. It is why they want to mine here. To… to ‘make’ money.”

“Money is made out of the ore? Not Robos?”

“No,” Susan answered. “They SELL the ore for money.” Dominic vaguely understood because he was reading the minds of the strangers and seeing their way of life. But Susan realised the others had no concept of the monitory value of anything, They still had a barter system for everything they traded among themselves.

“Primitives!” the woman called Maret laughed. “Never mind percentages. Just give them a couple of boxes of cheap trinkets. Mirrors and beads and junk. They’ll be happy. We could even get a few of them fetching and carrying, doing the heavy work. They’ll probably work for next to nothing.”

“I like your thinking,” the man said as he looked at them.

“That’s why I’m here, Ferrell,” the woman answered.

“Wait a minute,” Susan protested. “These aren’t stupid native peasants. They can’t be used that way. And you can’t mine here. This IS their planet. OUR planet,” she amended.

“You look different,” Ferrell said, turning to her. He pulled some sort of scanner from his belt and aimed it at her, then at Miche. “Yes, you come from a planet with toxins and carcinogens in the atmosphere. These others…. So what are you doing here then?”

“None of your business,” Susan answered. “But Forêt is THEIR planet. You should go away. Now. You have no right to be here.”

“On the contrary,” Maret answered. “It is YOU and your peasant friends who have no right.” She nodded and Susan realised the security she had called for had ringed them as they were talking. Susan squealed as her arms were grabbed and pulled behind and handcuffs applied. They were all restrained the same way. They heard Ferrell say there were old cages inside the mine and they should be taken there.

“This is where the Robos used to keep the slave workers,” Miche said as they were locked into the cages and left alone. It was cold and damp and Susan couldn’t help a frightened whimper escaping as her eyes adjusted to the dim light. They were still handcuffed and there was no comfort they could offer to each other.

“I’m sorry you’re here,” Miche told her as he stretched his bound hand and touched her fingers. “This is no place for a woman.”

“On Earth women are considered equal to men,” Susan told him. “I got the impression it was the same on Forêt, too. Dominique is a village leader, after all.”

“Only because her brother and Jareth are both dead and she inherited the leadership. When Dominic is of age she will step down in favour of him. We honour our women, and protect them. As I would like to honour and protect you, Suzette.”

“Is that a proposal?” she asked with a soft laugh.

“It’s.…” Miche sighed. “It’s an indication that I love you, Suzette. And I would wish that you and I….”

“I’m not a fluffy girl who used to lie in bed dreaming of how prince charming would propose to me,” she told him. “But even my vaguest ideas about it never involved being handcuffed in a cage. This isn’t the time or the place, Miche. We are in big trouble here and….”

She gave a cry of surprise as her handcuffs suddenly sprang open. So did everyone’s. Dominic laughed triumphantly.

“Don’t tell me, you got THAT from your dad, too?” Susan said to him. “What is it? Telekinesis or something?”

“I don’t know what it is called,” he answered. “But I practiced by making the shuttle move on the loom without touching it. Mother didn’t like me to do it. It frightened her. And it tired me more than doing it the ordinary way.”

He DID look rather exhausted, Susan noticed that when she moved closer to him. But he was still busy. He put his hands on the bars and glared at the new padlock that had been attached.

“No,” he cried after a few minutes. “I’m too tired. “I can’t…”

“You shouldn’t have freed all our bonds,” Miche said. “You should have done yours and mine and then got the door open. The rest could have been freed the ordinary way, with an axe or a saw.”

“How did it happen anyway?” Jean-Claude asked. “What is it? Dominic….”

“Dominic is The Doctor’s son,” Miche answered with a sigh. “You KNOW that The Doctor is not an ordinary man. Dominic has some of his special abilities. But DON’T tell anyone else.”

“I’m telling nobody,” Jean-Claude replied. “It’s too strange. I always thought Dominic was one of us. I thought Jareth was his father until The Doctor came again and claimed him.”

“I have my strength again,” Dominic said. “Let me try.” He concentrated again and this time they all heard a ‘snick’ as the lock opened and a clang as it dropped to the ground. Miche pushed the door carefully. It opened.

“Quietly,” he whispered. “Suzette, take hold of Dominic. He is near-fainting.”

Susan did so. Dominic’s face was pale and perspiration hung on his skin. The others went in front, protecting them. They picked up pieces of metal that were left lying around in the mine to use as weapons to fight their way out.

“Not THAT,” Miche told Jean-Claude as he picked up a long piece of tooled and moulded metal that reminded Susan of a huge egg whisk. “It’s a Robo weapon. Put it away. None of us would use such a thing.”

Jean-Claude looked at the thing and then threw it with the strength of one who worked with large beams of wood and the skill of one who regularly used a spear and a bow and arrows to hunt food. It landed point down in the ground a good fifty yards into the mine. They all screamed at the bright light followed by an explosion that brought part of the roof down.

“Out of here,” Miche said. “Before it ALL comes down.”

Miche grabbed hold of Dominic and carried him as they ran. He was near fainting from exhaustion and slowing them down. Susan ran beside them. The others were ahead, ready to fight to protect them.

But there was already a fight going on. They saw people from their own village and some from their nearest neighbour. They were armed with Bâton haut sticks and tree branches and though the strangers had projectile weapons they were unprepared for attack and were overcome by the time they ran from the collapsing mine entrance.

“What have you done?” Maret screamed as she was taken in hand by one of the villagers. “Vandalism, sabotage… I’ll have you for that.”

“You’re OUR prisoners now,” Miche answered. “All of you. Jean-Claude, take some men and go and make sure there is nobody hiding in that craft.”

“Disable their radio, too,” Susan told him, then wondered how she could explain to him what a radio was.

“I can do that,” Dominic said. He half-raised himself from the ground where Miche had laid him to rest.

“No,” Susan told him. “You’ve nearly worn yourself out already. Stop it.”

But Dominic was already concentrating hard and there were yells and curses as something in the cockpit of the craft began to fizz and crackle and the windows were lit with blue electrical light. The door opened and several of the strangers jumped out of the craft as it gave a strange whine that suggested its engines were not going to work again without a lot of maintenance.

“Dominic!” Susan cried as the boy collapsed completely. Again it was Miche who carried him as the villagers herded the strangers into a group of prisoners and made them walk back towards the first village. “Sabotage” and “kidnapping” were words muttered by Maret and Ferrell and others of their group but the Forêteans just told them to keep walking.

Where were they going to PUT prisoners? That was the question Susan wondered as they walked. She was worried about much more than that, of course. She was concerned about Dominic, who was still unconscious, and about the fact that the craft they had disabled was obviously a shuttle from some bigger ship that would have more people and more weapons. But it was the logistics of this first battle that was in the forefront of her mind. The Forêteans didn’t have prisons. They had no use for them.

The question never arose, though. Miche and a small group of the Foreteans reached the Hall of Devotions, where most of the villagers still waited for news. He was carrying Dominic on his back, still unconscious and Maret and Ferrell were brought, still threatening all manner of legal penalties against their captors.

There was such a noise and confusion between the women who took Dominic in hand and brought him within the Hall to be attended to and those who gathered around the captives, that they almost didn’t hear the TARDIS materialising on the other side of the clearing outside of Dominique’s home. Susan turned and she was halfway across the bridge when The Doctor and Dominique both came running.

“What’s happened here?” he asked as he caught her in his arms. “Susan… my son, is he all right? I felt… I felt his pain even light years of time and space away from him. What has happened?”

Dominique had already run on and people were telling her to go into the Hall. The Doctor listened as Susan tried to explain what had happened.

“You took them prisoner?” The Doctor looked very, very serious when Susan told him that.

“After THEY took US prisoner,” she answered.

“Even so, that could be a problem.” But he said no more for now. He ran with her to the platform. He looked at Maret and Ferrell.

“Bring them to our quarters, give them food and drink. Tell the others down below to give their captives what they need. Nobody is anybody’s prisoner. But everyone WILL stay put until this can be sorted out.”

“Are you in charge of this rabble?” Ferrell demanded of The Doctor. He turned and looked at him and the word ‘TROUBLE’ flashed on and off in his mind like a neon sign.

“I will SORT this out,” he repeated. “When I have made sure my son is well. Until then go with these people, take the hospitality that is offered and STAY PUT.”

Ferrell and Maret both looked at him as if they were going to question his right to make them do anything, but something in his eyes made them change their mind. He knew it wouldn’t hold them for long, but despite the seriousness of the situation, one bigger than the Forêt people yet realised, his first priority was personal. Perhaps, he reflected, that was wrong. But it was the way it was going to be and if anyone didn’t like it, hard cheese on them.

“Doctor!” Dominique’s face when he entered the Hall was ashen. Miche and the Minister of Devotions stood above where he had been lain on the cool ground, one of the silk altar cloths that his mother wove folded as a pillow under his head. “Oh my love, please help him.”

“He is beyond help,” The Minister said. “I am sorry. But his heart is so slow and he does not even respond to sharp points in his flesh.”

“He is not beyond help,” The Doctor answered. He knelt and put his hands around Dominic’s face. He felt his mind. There was only minimum brain activity but there was no damage. The boy had put himself into a low level trance all by himself.

“You’re too young to try that on your own, my boy,” The Doctor told him mentally. “Let me help.” The trance had done what it should do. It had restored his mental and physical energy. But he didn’t know how to bring himself back from it. The Doctor gently guided him out of it and into a normal sleep where his heart beat in proper rhythm and his breathing was steady and his brain responded to normal stimuli.

“He’ll be all right now,” The Doctor assured his wife. “You stay with him while I deal with the goings on outside. Miche… you come, too. You started this.”

“Did we do wrong?” Miche asked. “What is happening?”

“You acted on instinct to protect yourselves. That wasn’t morally wrong. But legally….”

Miche didn’t look as if the word legal was in his vocabulary. Why would it be? But he understood that The Doctor was very serious about what had happened here.

“All right,” he said. “Susan and Miche, please explain what went on here.”

Between the two of them, they did.

“Ok,” he drawled slowly when they ran out of words. He turned to Maret and Ferrell. “And what’s YOUR story?”

“We’ll tell OUR story to a lawyer after these people have ALL been arrested for kidnapping.”

“You kidnapped us, first.”

“You were trespassing in the designated area.”

“You were trespassing on OUR planet.”

“It is NOT your planet,” Ferrell insisted. “This planet has been designated as uninhabited and the geological scans show it to be a rich source of polymetal ore. It is necessary for the construction of the space fleets for freight and passenger travel between Earth and its colonies and outposts.”

“The planet IS inhabited,” Jean-Claude replied angrily. “We have lived here four hundred years. Ever since our ancestors crash landed here…”

If Ferrell had been a more stupid man, The Doctor reflected later, that remark might have passed unnoticed. As it was, it proved the very key to the issue.

“These people had better get themselves a very good lawyer,” Ferrell sneered.

“They have one,” The Doctor replied. “ME. The law is clear. Where there is a dispute between industry and colonisation, the matter must go to independent arbitration. I suggest that you come with me now to my ship and we will contact the relevant authorities and arrange for an adjudicator. Until that time, nobody is ANYBODY’s prisoner. You may all return to your camp at the mine. I’ll be along later to have a look at your radio and get it repaired so that you can tell your people that you’re all safe and well. And then we will WAIT.” He turned to Dominique. “Send messages to ALL the villages a runner can reach. I need to speak to their leaders. A meeting to be held here tomorrow.”

Later, as the sun went down, he sat with his own extended family. Dominique was at his side on the swing seat where, he thought with a mellow smile, he did most of his courting of her. Susan and Miche were on an ordinary seat together and Dominic and Thérèse were sitting on the floor close together. If they could always be that way, content, peaceful, it would have been all right.

But even this simple pleasure was at risk.

And there was nothing he could do about it.

What he did do was make the most of the days they had before the Adjudicator arrived. It wasn’t all cuddling on the swing seat, of course. He had to talk to the leaders of the other villages. That wasn’t easy. Most of them accepted him as somebody they could trust. They knew he was the one who had helped destroy the Robos. His legend went before him as it so often did. Even though he was a stranger to Forêt, therefore, they trusted him as one of them. But what he had to tell them was hard. He could offer them little comfort. This enemy could destroy their community even more surely than the Robos did. He promised to do what he could to defend their way of life, but he could give them no assurance of success.

Fighting Daleks was easier in a lot of respects.

Maret and Ferrell and the other people from the GMC seemed to trust him in a hostile kind of way. They allowed him to fix their radio, although he refused to do anything about the engines of their craft and he made it perfectly clear that any OTHER craft entering the air space would be regarded as a hostile action that would go against them when the Adjudicators arrived.

He was quietly impressed by what Dominic had done to disable the craft -that and the removing of the handcuffs and locks. He had a raw telekinetic power that was better than HIS best. He recalled what Nine had told him on one of the quiet occasions when they had talked together. His great-grandchildren, and little Vicki, were all stronger telepaths than he was. He put it down to their mixed blood and theorised that the attempt to stop Time Lords from breeding with other species had actually stunted their telepathic powers. Dominic was the final proof of that theory. He was a hybrid, with red, Human blood. He would not be able to become a Time Lord. But he was brimming with raw telepathic abilities.

One of the things he began to do in the quiet days while they waited for the fate of Forêt to be decided, was to teach him to control his powers. When they sat in the evening together, that extended family, not all of whom were related by blood, but who had a bond almost as strong, watched in astonishment as The Doctor and Dominic sat cross-legged either side of the Sauter board on the floor and played the game without touching the pieces. At least, Dominic did. The Doctor managed it twice, once to demonstrate to the boy how to do it, and his final move that won the game. But Dominic’s pieces moved as if they had a life of their own. As the game progressed he was more and more confident of his ability not only to move them, but to control them.

“That’s the important thing,” he said. “Control. It’s all there within you. Like… like the raw silk in a great heap. And you have to spin it out and weave it into a useable piece of cloth.”

“Père” Dominic said, moving from the opposite side of the board and sitting next to him. “If we have to leave Forêt, can we be with you, at least? Mother and I?”

“It won’t come to that,” he promised, seeing the sad look in the eyes of the pretty Forêtean girl who would, if all went well, be his son’s wife in a very few years. That was how it was supposed to be. Dominic and Thérèse, taking each other’s hands in the Hall of Devotions and pledging to love each other for eternity. That was just one part of the future that hung in the balance at the moment.

“But if it did… being with you would be the next best thing to living here.”

Having Dominique and Dominic in the TARDIS, travelling with him. For a brief daydream The Doctor thought about it. Yes, it would be wonderful. How much he could teach his boy. He would learn to fly the TARDIS. He would be his apprentice, his heir in a real sense. Maybe one day, he really WOULD retire and Dominic could explore the universe in his place.

But the cost of that dream was too high.

They were nearly two weeks in that uncertain limbo. Both the Forêteans and the GMC people were growing impatient. There were scuffles and arguments between the young Forêteans and the miners. Nothing serious, but enough to make The Doctor’s life that little harder since he was the only one who was able to come between them and settle the arguments.

There were questions about whether they ought to start making preparations to leave. Some thought they should. Others were less sure. Wasn’t that tempting fate? Others still absolutely refused to contemplate the idea. Even if the Adjudicators, these STRANGERS, who knew nothing of their world, went against them, they said, they would not move. They would have to set the forest alight to get them to leave. And not even then. They would, the hard core said, DIE on the planet they were born on, die WITH the forest they loved.

And The Doctor could not give them one good reason why not. He wasn’t sure he wouldn’t sit tight with them in defiance of the order if that was the case.

Finally, the Adjudicators arrived. They came by a small shuttle craft that landed in the clearing by the Bâton Haut arena. The Doctor, with Dominique, Susan and Miche made up the Forêtean party that met them, while Maret and Ferrell and two others of their group represented the GMC.

“If they are from Earth, how can they be impartial?” Miche asked.

“They’re not from Earth,” Maret answered him. “They are two highly respected leaders of non-Earth originated alliances. The Vice-President of the Republic System of Adano-Ambrado and the President – the ACTUAL President - of the Government of New Gallifrey.”

“They are at least taking this matter seriously,” Ferrell said. “We will get a fair hearing.”

“That we will,” The Doctor said as he studiously avoided eye contact with the President of New Gallifrey and put his hand on Susan’s shoulder to warn her not to say anything. The President himself barely glanced their way, and he knew if he tried telepathic contact he would find a diplomatic brick wall. But he had a feeling Forêt’s chances of a fair and just hearing were better than he had hoped for.

The bâton haut arena had been set up for the hearing. A long table was placed for the Adjudicators and the court recorders. Before it, seats for those giving depositions. The stands, meanwhile, were filled with Forêtean people who wanted to hear their fate first hand.

The ‘court’ was called to order. The President of the New Gallifreyan Government stood and looked around at the two groups of appellants. The Vice-President of Adano-Ambrado sat quietly and watched carefully.

“We have read the depositions made by both parties about recent events. The Forêt people accuse the GMC of kidnapping and false imprisonment. The GMC make the same accusation against the people of Forêt.” He paused. “In the interests of a civil and amicable settlement of this dispute, these charges arising in the heat of the moment from misunderstood issues are dismissed on both sides. The sole case that we will deliberate here is the ownership of the planet known as Forêt.”

“It is known as 6YDF??9,” Ferrell retorted. “Forêt is a colloquial term used by these squatters.”

“We are not squatters,” Miche responded. “This is our home. Our people have sweated blood, they have DIED for this land. Our ancestors lie in the soil of Forêt.”

“6YDF??9,” Ferrell insisted.

“Enough!” The Adano-Ambradan slammed his hand down and settled the matter, for now. “Forêt is a lot easier to say than 6YDF??9. For the purpose of the inquiry it can be called Forêt for now.”

Ferrell began to protest but the Gallifreyan told him to sit down and shut up or he would be ruled in contempt.

“Sit down and shut up?” Ferrell retorted. “What kind of language is THAT for an Adjudicator to use?”

“Direct and simple instruction,” the Adano Ambradan answered. “Follow it or the bailiff will remove you.”

Ferrell sat, grumbling.

“The situation stands thus,” the Gallifreyan continued. “Forêt was designated a resource planet by the Earth colonies government, being thought to be uninhabited and a rich source of polymetal ore. However, it transpires that there IS a population of some 20,000 people, descendants of Earth colonists who crash landed here in the Earth year 2675 on the Starship Jules Verne which was reported lost with all hands in that said year.”

“The situation is clear,” Maret said when she was called to put the case for the GMC. “These are NOT indigenous people. If that were so, then of course we would have no other recourse but to concede the title to them. But they are colonists. MISTAKEN colonists at that. They were intended to travel to Beta Orion VII. They should be relocated there and the mining operations allowed to continue.”

There was outrage from the stands. Miche stood and protested loudly. So did Susan. The Gallifreyan looked at them both with a steady gaze.

“You are both young,” he said. “I will overlook this outburst. But it is unacceptable behaviour. If you cannot control your feelings you, also will be ruled in contempt. Now sit down and be quiet.”

Susan stared at him in shock. He acted as if he didn’t even know who she was.

Perhaps he didn’t, she thought. After all, they were time travellers. Perhaps this happened before they met at the Prime Minister’s tea party.

“Père,” Dominic said telepathically. “The Gallifreyan…. You know him, don’t you?”

“Yes,” The Doctor answered. “But I cannot acknowledge him. Maret and Ferrell would demand his dismissal as an adjudicator - and I think we need him.”

“The feelings of the Forêt settlers are duly noted,” The Adano Ambradan said, taking over from the Gallifreyan. “And it may be added that the methods of strip mining for maximum profit with minimum outlay do not find favour here. This is a planet of outstanding natural beauty. It has a great many indigenous plants, insects, birds and animals which should be protected. The Forêt settlers have always lived in harmony with their environment. Any exploitation of the natural resources of the planet must be carried out with environmental issues firmly in mind.”

“The plans were approved in London and Washington,” Ferrell protested. “Polymetal ore is highly sought after. The quickest and safest methods of mining it were preferred.”

“Nevertheless,” The Adano Ambradan continued. “We have a proposal to put to both sides. One that will amicably and peacefully settle the matter.”

Both adjudicators looked around before the Gallifreyan outlined the suggested terms.

“The Forêt people would be allowed to stay and their colony would come under the terms of the Earth Colonies, bound by its laws and regulations. Meanwhile, the GMC would be allowed to mine using environmentally friendly and non-destructive methods that would cause minimum disruption to the eco-system of the planet and to the lifestyle of the Forêteans.”

A compromise. The Forêt people could stay. But the miners could, too.

“The costs of such a programme would be prohibitive,” Ferrell protested. “Besides, we still have to build a space port and other infrastructure. Are we supposed to do that without cutting down any of the TREES?”

“With minimum disruption to the eco-system,” The Adano Ambradan echoed his colleague’s words. He turned from Ferrell to the Forêt delegation. “Is that acceptable to your party? You may stay here. Your way of life will be allowed to continue.”

The Doctor stood up. He looked about him. He felt the mood of the people around him. He looked at his wife and son beside him and knew what their thought was.

“NO.” he answered and his voice rang clear around the arena even without the electronic speakers that had been rigged up.

“I beg your pardon?” Everyone was astonished by his answer, but The Gallifreyan the most, it seemed to those who looked at his expression.

“No. We do not accept. We do not accept the terms offered. There is no compromise to be made with pirates who come to rape our world and dispossess us. We have no WISH to be governed by the Earth Colony laws. We have our own laws and they have served us for four centuries. We will not be taxed to pay for police forces we don’t need. We won’t have customs forced upon us that are contrary to our own. We will not share this planet. It is ours. We demand nothing short of recognition of our right of ownership of this planet, free and independent of any outside influences or governments. We demand the protection of the Shaddow Proclamation on our sovereign independence.”

There was a stunned silence as the last echo of his words died away.

“You bloody idiot!” The Gallifreyan looked directly at him and his eyes burned with anger as he brought down the mental wall with a vengeance. “That was a compromise that could have saved these people from being forcibly relocated. The GMC have a strong legal case. Yours is based purely on sentiment. And I can’t rule against the law and in favour of sentiment without somebody suspecting I’m not as impartial as I’m supposed to be.”

“Why are you even here if that worries you?”

“When I heard about this dispute and your involvement, I thought I could help. I AM a fully notarised Adjudicator. Anyway, what do you mean by WE and OUR planet.”

“My wife and child are born here. Just as yours were born on Earth. That makes me a citizen of Forêt by marriage as YOU claim Earth citizenship. Which, by the way, you don’t want the locals to know either, since you’re supposed to be impartial. Earth is not their favourite planet just now. And if they knew the Gallifreyan government actually rules a remnant smaller than two of their villages put together…”

“Blackmail is hardly the act of an honourable FORMER Gallifreyan,” he retorted. “This was already a mess. But you had to open up a catering size can of worms.”

“Père,” Dominic’s telepathic voice entered his head. “What is this all about?”

“Your father is a hothead who acts on emotional impulse,” the Gallifreyan answered him. “He always was.”

“Just do your job, Adjudicator,” The Doctor countered and put a mental block up against any reply. “We’re not going to back down, son. No compromise.”

And neither were the GMC. Ferrell stood as The Doctor sat down. He gave a sneering glance at the Forêt delegation and regarded the Adjudicators with almost the same disdain as he rejected the compromise and declared that he would settle for no less than the relocation of the squatters and his company’s absolute right to tear up as many hectares of land as necessary to extract the valuable ore. He emphasised again and again that the Forêt people were not indigenous to the planet and therefore had no legal or financial right to the land or what was beneath it.

“You would force these people to move from their homes and you won’t even compensate them for it?” Susan again lost her temper and raged at Ferrell. “You’re despicable. You’re just like the American government when they took the land from the natives and pushed them into reservations. You’re Oliver Cromwell pushing the Irish into the boglands of Connaught, you’re landlords clearing the Highlands of Scotland. You’re…. you’re Adolf Hitler making ghettoes for the Jews and stealing what is theirs. You’re… you’re….”

“Stop,” the Gallifreyan snapped at her. “I am sorry, but I already told you about these outbursts. You must leave the arena.”

Susan burst into tears and ran. Miche swore at the Gallifreyan Adjudicator spectacularly and left before he, too, could be ruled in contempt. Before he was out of earshot he heard the Adano-Ambradan call for order and calm before the facts of the case could continue to be heard.

He caught up with Susan down on the forest floor where she was running blindly. He stopped her and held her tightly until her tears were done.

“I thought HE would be decent about this, at least.” She sobbed. “I thought he was….”

“You know the Gallifreyan Adjudicator,” Miche guessed. “He’s a friend of The Doctor’s?”

“Some FRIEND. He’s helping THEM.”

“I’m not sure he is,” Miche told her. “I mean, he was hard about it. But I suppose he’s right, really. We did lose our tempers.”

“I don’t CARE,” she said. “It isn’t FAIR. These people… they’ll destroy this beautiful place so they can built spaceships. I mean… spaceships are beautiful, too. But… but this place is so much more important. It’s so beautiful and unspoilt. Your people live such wonderful lives. Much better than if your ancestors had really arrived at the planet you were supposed to go to. There you’d just be ordinary Earth people living the same life you used to live on Earth.”

“You come from there, Suzette. It can’t be SO bad.”

“No, Earth is a great planet. We’re lucky in a way. The Doctor says that we DO learn from our mistakes and mend some of the damage we did. And we’re not bad people. We have wars and things. But we’re not like the Daleks or some of the other races The Doctor has fought. HE likes Earth. And THAT’S about the best compliment we could get. But… but Forêt is beautiful. And if the Earth government of this time destroys it, then it is WRONG. And if HE helps them to do it, I’ll never forgive him. I thought they were the same - like brothers, but even more so. But The Doctor – MY Doctor - wouldn’t DO that.”

“I don’t understand half of what you said,” Miche admitted. “But The Doctor won’t let us lose without a fight. I believe that. And if he has to fight the Gallifreyan to do it.…”

“That’s what you don’t understand, Miche. If the two of them fought, then it would be more than Forêt at stake.” She looked at Miche. He didn’t understand. Of course he didn’t. She didn’t QUITE understand herself.

“What’s THAT!” Miche cried as a noise split the air. Above them one of the craft the GMC travelled in hovered. It had something suspended beneath it, something like great circular saws, spinning madly. The craft came low above the tops of the trees and they were sliced away by the machinery. Miche grabbed Susan and pulled her away as debris came crashing down. Sliced and pulped branches and trunk, falling, lower branches breaking under the strain.

“There’s a village that way,” Susan cried out as the horrible machines cut a swathe of destruction, reducing ancient trees to half their height. “They’ll KILL people.”

She began to run. Miche ran after her, calling her back.

“They’ll kill YOU,” he cried out as he stopped her from running into the falling debris of what had been the bâton haut practice court outside the neighbouring village. Above the noise of the machine and the destruction they heard the sound of screaming people trying to get out of the path of the death from the air.

“Look!” Miche cried out as two things suddenly appeared out of thin air, one above, one below the craft.

Two blue boxes with the words “Police Public Call Box” and a flashing blue light lit up on them. Susan didn’t know which one was which, but she knew ONE of the Doctors was doing something insanely brave. The TARDIS was chasing those spinning blades. It was trying to get in their path.

“It’s made of wood, too!” Miche cried. “He’ll be killed. The box will be turned to splinters.”

“The TARDIS isn’t REALLY made of wood,” she told him. “It’s just a disguise. But I don’t know…. Oh surely it isn’t THAT strong. Oh Doctor!”

She didn’t know which of them it was, but even though she was cross and angry at him, she didn’t want the other sliced to pieces by those blades either. She closed her eyes and hid her face in Miche’s shoulder and prepared for the destruction of the TARDIS.

But it wasn’t destroyed. As Miche watched and she hid from the sight, the blades crunched against the police box as if it was made of solid granite or some amazingly tough metal. They splintered and broke and span away as the whole contraption was ripped from the underside of the craft and crashed through the trees. Miche and Susan screamed together as the still spinning blades ploughed into the forest floor only yards away from them. They looked up from that to see the other TARDIS land on top of the craft and the one that had done the damage move into its path, forcing it to stop moving forwards. It was forced down instead, into a natural clearing. The two boxes settled either side and Susan was relieved to see HER Doctor emerge from the box that had forced the craft down. The one that had looked like it was going to be made into matchwood belonged to the other Doctor, the President of the Gallifreyan Government.

“I knew you were on our side,” she said as she ran and hugged him.

“I’m on the side of right and justice,” he told her as he hugged her back. “Sometimes that’s not easy to ensure. But this lot have just made it VERY easy. Excuse me, Susan, while your Doctor and I make a couple of citizen’s arrests.”

The pilot and co-pilot of the craft were too stunned by the way they had been taken down by what appeared to be a pair of antique police boxes to question whether their arrest was valid or not. They came quietly.

There were no serious injuries in the village, though there was extensive damage and a shockwave of indignation about the way they had been treated.

The next day the Adjudicators sat once more and an uneasy calm was established between Forêteans with an even more indignant axe to grind and a mutinous GMC deputation most of whom were under indictment for conspiracy to cause criminal damage to the forest and endanger lives. Susan and Miche sat with The Doctor as he waited to hear the final verdict.

As The Gallifreyan stood, none of them could be certain what he would have to say.

“The GMC’s legal case for possession of this planet as a mining resource is solid. There is no flaw in it. The Forêt settlers have no legal claim as the law stands, and relocation to Beta Orion VII or some other suitable planet is the only possible outcome if judgement is made in favour of the GMC.”

There was a murmur of dismay around the packed arena, the loudest from those villagers who had suffered terror from the sky yesterday. But the Gallifreyan was not done yet.

“HOWEVER, there is more than a legal issue at stake here. There is an environmental one, and a moral one. The GMC in their attempt to make a fait accompli by destroying a tract of forest without authorisation, failed on both those grounds. Their disregard for the unique natural beauty of this planet, for the lives of the inhabitants of the village they attacked, invalidates their legal case. The GMC company is banned from all operations not only on this planet, but in this space sector. Their licences to mine are revoked. They will remove themselves and all their equipment from this planet within the next standard day or face several financial penalties.”

He paused for breath.

“Under the terms of the Shaddow Proclamation the claim of the descendents of the original settlers on the planet of Forêt to independence and sovereignty will be given due consideration and should almost certainly be accepted. In the meantime, no attempt shall be made to relocate them from this planet which is their home.”

The Adano-Ambradan adjudicator stood next to his colleague. He called for silence. He got it.

“This case is closed,” he said. And that was the cue for cheers and jubilation from the crowds. It was the cue for security guards to escort the GMC deputation away. Susan ran to the two Adjudicators and hugged them both, most especially the Gallifreyan. The Doctor stood by, his hand on his son’s shoulder. Dominique was by his side, smiling joyfully now the threat to their livelihood was gone. Presently, the Gallifreyan came to him, extending a hand of friendship. The Doctor took it.

“Our work of Adjudication is done now,” The incarnation of The Doctor known as Nine said. “We are allowed to acknowledge each other. I am pleased to finally meet your family.”

“You know my father?” Dominic asked telepathically. “You are friends? It didn’t seem so yesterday.”

“We are more than friends. Your father will explain it to you. He will explain, too, why we both had to put our personal feelings aside – even if he did a bad job of it.”

“I am glad to meet one of my husband’s own kind,” Dominique said, her driving away all of the doubts.

“Suzette!” Miche took Susan aside as the conversation turned to whether the two adjudicators could stay to eat with them before they must go on their way. “I was proud of you. You fought for Forêt as if it was your own home.”

“I’ve come to love it.” she admitted.

“To love Forêt, or…,”

“I love you,” she admitted. “But… Miche… when The Doctor is ready to move on, I will be, too.”

“I must wait for you, as Dominique waits for The Doctor?”

“Will you wait?” she asked.

“Yes, Suzette, I will wait for you.”

“Then that’s all right, then,” she told him.