“Jo, it’s absolutely imperative that we escape.”
Jo Grant looked at the Doctor with fond exasperation. “Oh, d’you think so? I wasn’t planning on hanging around the Master any longer than you were, Doctor. In fact, I’ve been putting a plan together that I think will work to get us out of here.”
“I’m sorry Jo, you’re right. If only I could remember the route between where we were brought into his headquarters and this miserable cell!” He sniffed in disdain. “It’s really a rather boringly classic dungeon. You’d think the Master might find better digs than castles with dungeons, but of course when one is a twisted genius with delusions of universal tyranny, one’s architectural sense is the least of one’s concerns—
— Wait. You’ve come up with a plan?”
That the Doctor sounded incredulous as he responded, turned Jo’s exasperation just the slightest bit sour, but not for long. She couldn’t stay irritated with him; he probably wasn’t even aware that he was doing it, bless. Besides, she was used to getting that reaction from men when she said or did more than agree with them, and she’d long since learned that the Doctor was a man, albeit an alien one.
“Yes, Doctor. I’ll need your help, though.”
“Of course. What do we need?”
What she had in mind might shock her occasionally pompous friend, she thought. But she was reasonably certain that once they were free, he’d agree it had been an excellent strategem. After all, he more than occasionally chose doing the unexpected to extricate them from dangerous situation, she thought.
This strategy was certainly unexpected. She killed an incipient giggle and schooled her face to dead earnest. “First, you have to signal the jailer and tell him we’ve agreed to the Master’s demands.”
“No!” The Doctor was right to sound shocked; giving in to the Master’s mandates would very probably cause interstellar war between the Royal Aphox Confederacy and the Clorfenic Republic of Planets.
She rolled her eyes. “Of course we’re not really going to give in, and the Master knows that. But he’ll be curious about what we’re really planning, and he’ll have us brought up to the throne room.”
“True,” he admitted. “He’s as curious as a cat.”
Jo nodded, satisfied. “Now remind me; you told me that if we could render the Master unconscious or completely shocked and confused, his mental control of the true Aphoxian king would immediately evaporate. And if I remember right, it would also cause his telekinetic control on the TARDIS’ doors to fail.”
“That’s true, but he’s not going to let me close enough to a convenient vase or rock to knock him out, and I doubt I could do anything to confuse him at this point. The Master’s mental shields are strong.” The Doctor sounded gloomy.
“You leave that to me.” Now she let the giggle bubble up.
The Doctor immediately looked suspicious. “I say, Jo, what have you got planned?”
“I’m not going to tell you. He doesn’t think much of me — still hasn’t learned his lesson, I suppose — so he won’t be peeking into my head, but we know he’s got his mental eye on you. I don’t want to give him any advance warning.”
“Jo, I need at least a hint!”
He really didn’t like being kept out of the loop, Jo thought. “You’ll know it when I do it, and that’s when you head for the TARDIS doors, quick as you please. I’ll follow.”
“That’s not a hint!” Now he sounded indignant.
She could see he was going to be difficult, so she said, “Alright, try to figure it out from this: Don’t you think the Master is a rather handsome man?”
Ah, there was the narrow-eyed look she’d figured she would see. Before he could enquire any further, Jo started shouting for the turnkey.
Hours later, in the safety of the TARDIS, headed back to Earth, England, and UNIT headquarters, the Doctor was sitting as far from her as he could in the control room, cradling a cup of tea that was probably cold by now. He hadn’t recovered from the shock.
Nor, Jo wagered, had the Master. She smiled, basking in the thought of four Gallifreyan eyes opened wide in shock, and one Gallifreyan jaw dropped almost to the floor.
Of course, the Master’s jaw hadn’t dropped, engaged as it had been in Jo’s enthusiastic, fully-engaged and open-mouthed kiss.
The kiss had had the requisite result. The Aphoxian king had shaken his head to clear it of the Master’s influence, and shouted for his loyal guards, while the TARDIS doors had easily opened to the Doctor. At that point Jo stopped clinging to their great enemy, but not before she’d further horrified him by giving him a second kiss on the tip of his very aquiline nose.
“We must do this again sometime,” she’d whispered in his ear, before sprinting after the Doctor.
It was a shame about him being an evil megalomaniac, she thought. Really, he was quite handsome….
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