One of the reasons I chose The Leisure Hive was because of its open ends - both beginning and ending are left completely open. Perfect for VortExtra.

With the prologue, I briefly considered setting it during the Argolin / Foamasi war but couldn't really find a good enough story to run through it. However, The Doctor and Romana trying to get to Brighton with the randomiser was too good to pass up. I fixated on the Doctor's line, "This is the second time I've missed the opening of the Brighton Pavilion," and worked from there.
The Doctor stood up from the console and studied the time rotor with pride. His tinkering with the underneath of the console had worked – or so it seemed. The rotor was rising and falling normally and the whole room hummed peacefully. The Doctor smiled at Romana, who was standing on the opposite side of the room.

“Are we going alright?” she asked.

The Doctor checked a few dials and screens on the console. “Yes,” he replied with satisfaction. Romana wasn’t convinced. She knew the Doctor all too well to be fooled by a one-word response.

“You do realise what we’re doing is incredibly risky?” The Doctor gave a small nod, obviously not paying attention. Romana slammed her fist on the console. “It’s too dangerous!” The Doctor walked over to her and put his hand on her shoulder.

“Romana, don’t you think I realise that? Do you think I would even attempt something like this if there wasn’t a chance of it working?”

Romana fell silent. The Doctor took her silence as an agreement, albeit a begrudging one.

“Good. Now, I’m going to collect a few things. You’d better get changed. You’re in charge K9!” “Affirmative, master!” And with that, The Doctor and Romana left the room.

A few minutes later, The Doctor half stumbled back into the control room, arms full of things. He placed them down underneath the hatstand and checked the controls on the console. Romana entered, now wearing what resembled Edwardian beachwear.

“Much better,” smiled The Doctor. “Now then, Brighton Beach, here we come. How about the opening of the pavilion?”

Romana shrugged. “If we’re going to do this, why not go somewhere I’ll enjoy?”

The Doctor just stared at her. “Enjoy? Enjoy!! Enj..How do you know you won’t enjoy it? You’ve never been there.”

“Well, I’ve read about it. Sounds dreadful.”

The Doctor shook his head. “Never believe everything you read in books. You’ll love Brighton. It’s got a nice, rich atmosphere about it.” The Doctor adjusted the co-ordinates and relaxed. “Just think of it, Romana. This’ll be our first holiday in a while.” He picked up his pile of things just as the time rotor stopped moving.

“See! There we go K9, we’re here.” he said, smiling his widest toothy grin at the metal dog.

The Doctor opened the TARDIS door to find a crowd of people, all huddled together talking loudly. “I think this is the place,” said The Doctor.

K9 glided forward. “Master.”

“Not now, K9,” replied The Doctor. He looked at Romana. “Take him for a walk, will you?”

“Master, randomiser causing dimensional stabiliaser to malfunction. Departure imminent.” warned K9.

The TARDIS console exploded and a shower of sparks sprayed around the room. The Doctor dropped his pile of items under the coat stand and dashed back to the console and tried to stop it. He frantically ran around the console, seemingly operating controls at random. Suddenly, everything stopped. “Right. I don’t believe we’ll be in any trouble, now.” he said, wiping a bead of sweat from his brow with his handkerchief.

“Have we moved?” enquired Romana, arms folded with a concerned expression on her face.

“No,” replied The Doctor’s, giving Romana a cold stare. With that he once more retrieved his pile of items and started moving towards the door when the beach ball from the pile fell out of The Doctor’s arms, landing on the console. It pushed a lever, knocking against several buttons in the process. Immediately, the whole room gave a violent lurch. The three occupants were thrown to one side and The Doctor’s pile of things crashed to the floor. The Doctor and Romana stabilised themselves against the TARDIS wall and looked nervously at each other. As if reading each other’s thoughts, they both ran towards the doors.

The door of the mysterious police box opened and they both stepped out.

“Is this Brighton Beach?” asked Romana.

“Yes,” replied the Doctor. “But a few years too late.” he added.

Before them was a giant beach city of the 46th century. Gone were the crowds of people on the sand. Futuristic buildings and complexes dominated the surroundings, almost blocking out the sky. Romana rolled her eyes.

“A few years? More like a few millennia.” she explained sarcastically.

The Doctor gave her an indignant look. “Well, we’ll try again, shall we?” They re-entered the TARDIS.

“Nothing major, really,” explained The Doctor. “Just a slight overshoot. Easily rectified.” He set to work at once altering the controls.

“Be honest, what’s the likelihood of us actually getting to the opening of the Brighton Pavilion?” asked Romana, arms now folded again.

“It’s a perfectly simple operation!” called The Doctor from underneath the console. “Isn’t it K9?”

K9 glided forward. “Negative, master. Randomiser attachment to the guidance system will allow for a fully controlled flight.”

The Doctor got to his feet in a fit of range. “WHAT? Nonsense.” The Doctors co-ordinate meddling continued. After a few minutes, he straightened up, smiled and went to collect his fallen items. The time rotor stopped and Romana crossed her fingers. “Let’s have a look.” she said, now curling a smile.

The scene which greeted them this time was depressing. The seemingly abandoned beach was full of flapping tents in the strong wind. The sun was hidden and the sky was full of dark rainclouds. The Doctor looked around. “Well... I was close.”

Romana stifled a shriek of annoyance. “Just once, could you get us somewhere without any hassles or detours?”

The Doctor turned away from her, his dignity slightly hurt. “Why don’t you take K9 for that walk?” he suggested. “And I’ll get set up.

“I don’t fancy walking in this cold,” shivered Romana. “It’s freezing. Can’t we go somewhere warmer?”

"Warmer? Warmer!! War…, do you remember that time I took you to the ice beaches of Pangashang? It was colder than this - you didn't complain then?!" spluttered The Doctor.

"Yes, but that was quite different, and besides, the view was far more…well..less… bleak!" added Romana.

Before The Doctor could reply Romana called to K9 "Out you come, K9. Lets go and see if there's something better to look at" her meaning directed at The Doctor.

"Affirmitive, Mistress.” said K9 as he stumbled out of the TARDIS doors.

The Doctor watched them walk off. “Wait,” he yelled. Romana turned around as he tossed her the beach ball. “You may need it.” Romana rolled her eyes again. The Doctor began setting up his deckchair with great satisfaction.

The randomiser had been successfully bypassed, he and Romana were on holiday and Brighton was as chilly as ever - everything was back to normal.

He sat back in his chair, tipped his had down over his eyes and began drifting into the realms of sleep…

© Copyright Liam South, Ian Nicholson & Doctor Who Online, 2013.
Page Updated: 20/4/2013

Written by:
Liam South

Artwork by:
Ian Nicholson

Doctor Who is © Copyright to the BBC. No infringement intended.