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"Caged Bird"

Title: "Caged Bird"
Fandom(s): Doctor Who
Characters: Third Doctor, Jo Grant
Pairing(s): None
Rating: G
Genre: Adventure
Word Count: 490

Summary: The Doctor thwarts another dictatorial regime?

Author's Note: Written for the "Blame" drabble challenge at who_contest. Yes, the wordplay in the title is intentional. Sorry.


The two guards snapped to stiff attention as General Bantoff burst through the door, their eyes straight ahead as they tried not to attract his rage.

“You!” he growled, stabbing a finger at the Doctor, who looked up in polite inquiry from the card game he’d been playing with Miss Grant. “You conniving alien dog! How dare you meddle in the affairs of my planet?”

The Doctor stacked his cards in a neat pile on the table before replying. “I haven’t the faintest idea what you are talking about,” he stated plainly.

“The vote!” the general thundered, brandishing his fist. “The planetary parliament voted to remove me! Just when I was about to consolidate complete power!” His face twisted into a scowl. “I don’t know how you managed it, but I know it was you.”

“How could I have done anything?” the Doctor asked, unperturbed. “You’ve had me locked in here for the last two days. It’s comfortable enough, but hardly conducive to preventing you from falsifying the vote results. Ask these young gentlemen if I’ve done anything other than the occasional game of cribbage.” The Doctor’s eyes flicked to one of the guards, who was listening to something on his earpiece. “You might have the time to do so before you retire.”

The guard stepped forward and grasped the general’s arm. “Please come with us, sir. I’ve orders to bring you back to headquarters.” He turned to the Doctor. “You’re free to go. And you, miss,” he added to Jo. With his partner, he pushed the blustering general out the door.

“That’s that, I suppose,” the Doctor sighed. He stood up, straightened velvet jacket, and offered a hand to his companion. “Come along, Jo. I suppose I should be content with this victory. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to take the blame for something I didn’t do.”

“You mean, take the blame for me,” quipped Jo as she took his hand and rose from her seat.

The Doctor stopped and turned to her with a sly smile. “Oh? What exactly did you do?”

“Those soldiers, they don’t watch too well when you’re a girl going to the loo,” she explained. “And you wouldn’t believe where they’ll let you wander if they think you’re an airhead. I just tell them, ‘Oh! All the corridors look alike!’ and they don’t even ask where I went.”

The Doctor’s eyes twinkled. “Go on.”

“You said the general was tampering with the votes as they came in from the different city-states. I found his computer, hidden away in a broom closet.” She grinned brightly. “I may not know how to operate one, but messing it up’s easy. I figured he wouldn’t have enough time to fix it.”

“And he can’t complain about it, because then he’d have to admit his crime. Very elegant, Jo. Couldn’t have done better myself.” With a bow, he gestured for her to precede him from the room.

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