Here I sit, Luke Skywalker Jedi Master and Councilor,next tomy fellow Councilors facing the Supreme Chancellor, (pro-tem) across her desk with my Padawan at my back. Can you believe it? I sure didn't. I'd get used to it I knew - I'd gotten used to being an officer hadn't I? - but it would take time, more than I'd had so far.
I pulled my mind back to the moment. Mon Mothma had taken over the old Chancellor's offices in the Senate block. Her desk stood in front of a big panoramic window curtained in gauzethat cutthe light to a restful amber half-glow. The wholeroom was done in shades of beige, even the artwork.
"The destruction of the Imperial palace was serendipitous but startling." she was saying.
"And unintentional." Dai-Men smiled.
"It was my fault I'm afraid," I put in, "I accidently triggered a backup security program."
Kensai Moriah shook her head. "No, Luke, it was my doing. I started the chain reaction."
"Whoever was responsible it was for the best." Praetor Tre-Arlin said firmly from his place beside the Chancellor. "It saved us a lot of trouble and labor."
Mon Mothma nodded agreement. "Fortunately the fire didn't spread to neighboring structures.
"I decided it wouldn't." Kensai said serenely.
I grinned a little. Manipulating probabilities is one of the rarest and most subtle powers of the Force - way out of my league but relatively easy for a seer like Moriah. Mon Mothma looked baffled but the Praetor seemed to understand. He'd probably heard it all before.
The Chancellor recovered herself and continued: "The spectacular destruction of the Emperor's palace sent a clear message through the galaxy. His regime is ended."
"And Jedi are dangerous to cross." said Tre-Arlin.
Dai-Men sighed and looked troubled. "Fear is the last thing we want from the peoples of the Republic."
"I understand." said the Praetor. "But fear is what you are going to get unless you let yourselves be seen and known."
We knew what that meant. The three of us exchanged looks, communing silently through the Force. Finally Dai-Men turned back to Tre-Arlin. "We accept that." he said resignedly. "We will speak to the media, if you will make the necessary arrangements."
He bowed. "Gladly Master."
"One further matter." said Mon Mothma. "The Council of the Alliance and I agree that the Jedi should take a seat in the new Republic Senate."
I frowned. Surely we hadn't had one in the old days.
"It is the part of the Jedi to serve not to rule." Dai-Men reminded her.
"To serve and to counsel." Mon Mothma argued. "A Senate seat would allow the Jedi's voice to be heard directly by the People through their representatives."
"We don't want to get mixed up in politics." I said.
"I don't think we can avoid it if we are to serve the Republic." Moriah said, eyes suddenly clear and focused on the moment. "I foresee many possibilities. Not all bad."
"In the old days we served through the Chancellor." Dai-Men observed.
"Exactly." Mon Mothma said grimly. "Think, Master Jedi, had you had a voice in the Senate the Emperor would not have been able to manipulate you - and us - as he did."
"I am not so sure of that." Dai-Men said ruefully. "Your Excellency understands we must discuss your offer with the rest of the Council."
"It seems to me the Old Jedi were too closely entwined with the government. I would not repeat that mistake." said Eriol.
"Yet we if we are to function as guardians of peace and justice we must have the authority of the Republic behind us." Mylo pointed out.
We sat in our council circle with the busy skies of Coruscant dimming around us and lights beginning to sparkle on towers and skimmers. I looked at the coil of smoke still rising lazily from the ruins of the Imperial palace and let thought and emotion drain from my mind. It didn't help.
I shook my head impatiently. "My feelings are not clear. I see both advantage and danger in equal measure."
"As do I." Dai-Men said ruefully. He glanced aside: "Mother?"
There was a glint of humor in the blue eyes Moriah raised to meet her son's. "Always in motion is the future. We must not focus on our anxieties but on the need of the moment. Be aware of the Living Force."
Dai-Men's eyebrows arched. "That is supposed to be my line." A chuckle ran around our circle.
"It was your father's first." his mother returned serenely. "And always good advice."
"I don't know about you, Master." I said ruefully. "But as far as I'm concerned the Living Force isn't talking!"
'Then let us consider the needs of the moment." said Anuril Windu. "We are going to need the New Republic and they are going to need us. A senate seat will not only give us a voice but an ear." She looked at Eriol. "Much was kept from us in the old days. Too much."
"Jedi are meant to serve not govern." He answered firmly.
Master Pater frowned in thought. "Perhaps a limited membership...a voice but not a vote?" he offered
Raj nodded. "I like that."
Chani agreed. "It would let us put our two credits worth into the debates but leave the final decision to the People's representatives."
"Isn't influencing a decision the same as making it?" Jezra wanted to know.
"Excuse me," said Jayce, "but don't we have to live in this Galaxy too? What is so awful about the Jedi having a say in how it's run?"
"Submitting ourselves to the Supreme Chancellor didn't work out very well, you may recall." Fasha Rho said dryly.
"I would prefer to disassociate the Order entirely from the power structure." Dai-Men said, then raised a hand to stem protests from around the circle. "I realize that isn't practicable. I suggest we make a trial of the limited membership suggested by Master Pater. To end after the elections when both this Council and the Senate will reconsider the matter."
That sounded doable. I nodded along with the others.
"Very well. I will transmit our answer to the Chancellor pro-tem." my Master said. briskly.
After the Council had dispersed I wandered down the terrace, past the fountain, towatch the streams of traffic criss-cross the dusk sky like chains of sparkling jewels.
"Well, Luke, how do you like Coruscant?"
I turned to see my Master's leonine profile silhouetted against the pale afterglow in the east. "Well...it's a interesting place to visit but I don't want to live here."
He smiled faintly, folding his arms. "I understand. I was born on this world and lived here till my twenties but the 'Jinx' is more a home to me than Coruscant ever was."
"So, no new Temple?"
"Definitely not. This is no place for Jedi."
I nodded agreement. "It's too - " I searched for a word. "Too noisy here." I didn't mean sound-noise but the jumble of emotions and ambitions from billions of people permeating the Force.
Of course Master understood. "Yes. We shut it out by cloistering ourselves away in the Temple. A mistake we definitely do not want to repeat."
"No." The Jedi had paid dearly for their alienation from the rest of the Galaxy.
"Where would you like to live, Luke?"
I sighed. "I hoped to go back to Tatooine with Chani. It's home to us both, but I guess that won't be possible."
"Not right away perhaps." Dai-Men answered. "The Council at least will have to remain on or near Coruscant but Jedi didn't always live all together in a giant temple. In the Ancient days before the Sith wars we were scattered across the Galaxy as hermits or in small communities."
"Like Yoda and Ben." I said.
He smiled. "And others roamed between the stars like Fasha on her 'Aurora Venture' or me on my 'Jinx'.
"We'll need some kind of coordinating structure." I said, considering the practicalities.
Master nodded. "But not the extreme centralization of the old Temple."I agreed,that had definitely been a mistake. "It's too early to make any firm plans. We must see how many Jedi have survived first."
"And where they've been and what they've been doing." I said. We'd already heard from abouthalf a dozen. "Master, we're going to need a bigger place."
"I certainly hope so." he lifted his head to look at the slim crescent of the White Moon and a gibbous Green Moon, pale and translucent in the grey-blue sky. "There is much to be done."
"Isn't there always?" I asked dryly.
He laughed. "Very true. A Jedi's work is never done, Luke."
"If it ever was we'd no longer be Jedi." I answered.