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Arbitration (identified on the cover simply as Chapter Twenty-One) was the third story of the fifth series of Big Finish's Gallifrey audio series. It was written by David Llewellyn.

Publisher's summary[]

Romana's secret is in danger of being exposed by those she trusts, and the only hope of escape is through the Axis. But will Leela's forthright determination to see justice done, whatever the costs, mean their chance to get home will be lost forever...?

And if they are able to regain access the Axis, is the world they left behind any better than the society they have built here?

Time will tell.


Lord Zakar, whose responsibilities take him all over Gallifrey, informs Romana that the electorate, namely influential Regenerators and members of the Mining Guild, are unhappy with her recent actions and her capitulation to the Outsiders' demands. He remarks on how different she is to the woman he knew, who poisoned Cardinal Alloran, and asks that at the very least she could reconsider her ruling on the Vitarian Pass, a trade route between the Capitol the West Coast, which she gave to the Outsiders. Should she continue in her mission of equality and freedom, he will be unable to ensure the continued support of the Guild and other businessmen.

Headed to build a factory in Prydonia, Zakar is transported to the shuttle port by Bigloc and talks to himself about how he dislikes Romana and how there is nobody on the Inner Council worthy of replacing her. He says that he might run for the Inner Council and try for the position of Supreme Leader.

Romana is visited by Narvin and tells him about how Zakar wants all of her policies reversed. As he is practically a celebrity, Narvin suggests that she keep him on side by slowing down the rate at which she is changing this world. He also says that Kavil has strengthened the signal that the Science Ministry picked up and that they will soon be synchronised with the Axis, allowing them to leave in three days. Whilst happy about this news, Romana is insistent that she do as much good for this world as they can before they leave.

Zakar is called by Slyne and speaks with him about his visit to Romana, to whom he will continue his support unless something catastrophic happens. He has to end communications when it seems that his shuttle is about to crash.

Romana dictates to Councillor Braxiatel that the Inner Council will compensate former slaves who were used in scientific experiments and, when he leaves, tells Narvin how much she misses their version of Braxiatel. Narvin reports that Zakar's shuttle seems to have been shot down by Outsiders over Mancipia.

Zakar is taken to Leela, who charges him with murder and crimes against the Outsiders for which he will be put on trial. If found guilty, he will be executed.

Narvin tells Romana that the Outsiders took Bigloc to the Regenerator guards on the border and are trying him for the mass murder of 237 slaves aboard a transporter called the Amisad seven years ago. On their way to one of Zakar's munitions factories, the transport crashed in a sandstorm in the Camatian Desert and it is alleged that, rather than spending a fortune rescuing the slaves, Zakar sent a small craft which saved only the crew.

Narvin has assigned Slyne to determine the veracity of this charge, although it is possible that his predecessor had covered it up. The Inner Council have heard of what has happened to Zakar and will likely be suggesting that elite guards be sent to recover him, posing as former slaves. Narvin shows Romana a clip of Councillor Rahvon being interviewed by Commentator Matthias in which he says that he expects Romana to act swiftly and decisively. Romana is against invading Mancipia and asks Narvin to go there to reason with Leela as his relationship with her is less complicated than hers.

Jamalan tells Leela that Sura knows of Zakar's arrest and that she is delighted. He is called by Narvin, who tells him that he has come to Mancipia and wishes to meet with Leela. She sends Jamalan away and speaks with Narvin, who disapproves of Zakar's shuttle being shot down and that he is going to be tried by a community without a recognised judicial system and with no evidence. Leela counters by saying that a recording of Zakar's orders exists and is kept safe, but Narvin says that the law of the Outsiders is not sophisticated enough to recognise the difference between murder and negligence and that he should be tried in the Capitol. Leela does not believe that justice will be done there due to Zakar's wealth and influence and welcomes an attack from the Capitol, but permits Narvin to visit him.

Zakar says that the charges against him are all lies and that any recording of him is a fabrication. Narvin points out that the Outsiders are technologically incapable of creating such a thing, but Zakar suggests that they could have used time travel. Before Narvin leaves, Zakar tells him that he knows that Vansell succeeded in killing the President, having caught Romana out by lying about poisoning Cardinal Alloran. He also believes that Narvin is an impostor and threatens to support Rahvon, Braxiatel or Allora in becoming President should he not be freed soon.

Narvin orders Slyne to secretly assemble his men and prepare for an invasion of Mancipia to rescue Zakar by any means necessary, although no harm must come to Leela. Later, he tells Romana of his meetings with Leela and Zakar.

Zakar asks Jamalan about how the Outsiders plan to build an economy and other such matters. The Chancellery Guard attack and are wiped out, after which Leela goes to Zakar and concludes that Romana had sanctioned the attack to save him.

Romana confronts Narvin about the failed rescue mission and his insubordination. Kavil comes in unannounced and informs them that the link is stabilising and that there could be a portal in the Panopticon in thirty-six hours; once he has gone, Romana says that they need to convince Leela to come with them when the portal appears. In the meantime, she and Narvin have to face the Inner Council.

At the meeting, Slyne places the blame of the failed attack on rogue elements of the Chancellery Guard but Rahvon says that Romana ought to have sanctioned a larger attack to save her supposed friend. Rahvon suggests that the Science Ministry could be capable of planting evidence against Zakar and, as such, the charges brought against him are likely untrue. He votes for another attack on Mancipia if Zakar is not freed by sunset and, when Romana says that she will not sanction such a thing, he points out that the Inner Council can do so without her approval under the constitution. The motion is carried.

Slyne leads a force of between 2,000 and 3,000 guards to Mancipia and demands Zakar's release. Leela, however, has no intention of giving him up and reminds Zakar that there are other townships who can be called upon to fight. Zakar says that this would lead to civil war and that thousands should not die for the sake of 237 long-dead slaves. Leela disagrees.

Narvin tells Romana that he can find no record of the crash of the Amisad, but nor can he find a record of it being decommissioned. Two of the surviving crew reportedly died in accidents whilst the remaining eight won a lottery run by Zakar and have moved to sunnier parts of Gallifrey, leading Romana and Narvin to deem that Zakar is guilty. Romana decides that she has to speak with Leela to organise Zakar's release to avoid civil war despite his guilt.

Whilst Leela has faith, Jamalan does not believe that the other townships will help them. Narvin and Romana, who has come in disguise, visit to speak with Leela and tell her about the portal and how they should not leave this planet in civil war. Jamalan, whose parents and sister died on the Amisad, agrees that there will be slaughter and would rather his friends live than die for Zakar. Leela gives in, handing over Zakar and the recording on the condition that she accompany them to the Capitol to ensure that justice is done, leaving Jamalan in charge in her absence.

Zakar is welcomed back to the Capitol like a hero and Rahvon holds a reception for him in the Panopticon, likely earning him Zakar's future support. Rahvon gives a speech in which he congratulates Zakar, who in turn gives a speech in which he denounces Romana and criticises the Outsiders and invites a presidential election.

Kavil shows up at the Panopticon and, refused entry, sends Guard Commander Lukas to fetch Narvin.

Interrupting Zakar's speech is the Mancipians' recording, in which Zakar tells a disgusted Guard Commander Andred to leave the 237 slaves to die. Zakar shouts that it is a fabrication, but the Inner Council and Outer Chambers have turned against him; when Romana has Slyne arrest him, they ignore his claims that Romana is an impostor and he is taken away. Romana thanks Narvin and they speak with Kavil, who says that the portal is now arriving in the Panopticon. With Braxiatel's help, Narvin clears out the room.

Leela is upset that she will be leaving her friends at Mancipia without saying goodbye, but Romana says that this could be their only chance. Another message comes through and is deciphered by Kavil; it says "Axis Taskforce". The portal appears, through which Leela thinks that she can see K9. Kavil is shot and killed by what is emerging and Romana commands those still in the Panopticon to leave. It is a Dalek, who declares that the Daleks are the masters of all Gallifreys.


Uncredited cast[]




External links[]