Chapter 12

"Hold on a minute." The Doctor said, shooting an indignant glare at Commander Pruda, " Don't I even get a last request? Now that's just rude."

"I'm sorry that you find my manners so lacking, Doctor." Pruda said dryly. "You, on the other hand, shall not have to worry about breaches of etiquette any longer. Guards! Kill him. Now!"

"Wait!" The Doctor shouted hastily, drawing himself up to his most powerful stance, "By penal code two thousand and fifty-two dash-C sub-section alpha of The Shadow Proclamation, I demand a trial by cerebral pugilism."

"The Shadow Proclamation? Those old gas bags?" Pruda snorted derisively. "We are not bound by their out-moded laws and regulations. What do we care about them?"

"And yet here you are, skulking about the Earth. Kidnapping humans in secret." The Doctor said softly, yet with a sudden quiet menace in his tone.

Narrowing his eyes he added, "Like my friend, Donna. And who knows how many others? If you're so unafraid of those 'old gas bags' as you put it, why then are you hiding? Hmmó? What are you lot up to? I'm guessing it's something that might make things a little hot for you if anyone found out. Am I right? Oh, don't bother to answer. If course I am."

"You know nothing!" Pruda spat out angrily.

"I'd know more by five am on a Sunday morning, than you would learn the entire week." The Doctor shot back. "So let's cut to the chase, as the Americans down below would say. I've clearly stated my formal request for a trial. To ignore such a request would mean an automatic death sentence for the entire crew of this ship. Now if you really don't care about The Shadow Proclamation, then I'm in deep trouble. But if you do, well..."

The Doctor let the sentence hang in the air, like an executioner's noose, his meaning quite clear. He kept his gaze steady on Commander Pruda. But out of the corner of his eye, the Doctor noted that the guards had shifted their feet, looking at each other uncertainly.

All of the sudden, a buzz came from the commander's communications ear piece. Pruda put his hand to the com-pod in his ear.

"Yes? What is it?" He frowned at the information the science officer on the bridge was giving him.

"Nonsense! That doesn't necessarily mean...wait, did you do a full scan?" He shook his head at the answer. "Then there must be something wrong with your equipment. Check it again." Pruda scowled even more deeply at the response. "I don't care what you think! I'm ordering you to re-do the scan. And don't bother to contact me again until you have the correct information! Pruda out."

"Is there a problem?" The Doctor inquired politely, clasping his hands behind his back. None of the guards had seemed to notice that he'd put his hands down. "Anything I can do to help?"

"Guards! What are you doing just standing there?" However, Pruda did note the Doctor's more relaxed posture. "Restrain the prisoner. And why haven't you searched him for weapons? Must I do everything myself?"

"Tough getting good help these days, isn't it? No proper work ethic anymore, if you ask me." The Doctor said conversationally, grunting slightly in pain when one of the guards roughly gripped his arms.

One of the other guards searched his pockets. He pulled out the sonic screwdriver and stared at it quizzically.

"What manner of weapon is this?" He asked the Doctor.

"It's a screwdriver, not a weapon. Not unless you're being threatened by some nuts and bolts. Not as strange as it may seem. I was attacked by a sentient nail gun once. Apparently it was allergic to plywood."

Giving the Doctor a dirty look, the guard shoved the sonic back into his pocket. Much to to the Doctor's relief. He'd grown rather attached to this version of his trusty device. In the meantime, Commander Pruda had been eying the Doctor thoughtfully. Seeming to have come to a decision, he nodded his head.

"Very well, Doctor. Consider your death temporarily postponed. I will consult with the captain. He will decide whether or not your trial will go forward. Guards, take the prisoner to the security cell."

Quietly breathing a sigh of relief, the Doctor allowed himself to be marched away.

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