"Romana, I wouldn't go out there if I were you, " the Doctor said, slouching over his white control console.

"Why not?" the young Time Lady asked, her hand already on the door lever.

"The atmosphere's acidic, the locals are cannibalistic, the water is toxic and it's raining." The Doctor tapped one of the gauges on the console to illustrate his point. She walked over, scowling, and looked down at the readouts.

"Doctor, if this planet was so unpleasant why did you bring us here?"

"You said you wanted to see the best sunsets in this galaxy."

"Well, yes, but I had assumed we'd be able to go outside to see them," she said, hands on elegantly clad hips as she gave him that superior glare.

"Never assume." He waved an admonishing finger in the air. "The universe is too big a place to assume you know what's going to happen. Think! Look at what we know."

"So what do we know?" she leaned over the console, curious what bit of unlikey wisdom he was going to impart now.

"One, we know this planet has the most beautiful sunsets in this galaxy. Two, we know the atmosphere is acidic. Three, we know the locals are cannibals. Four, we know it's raining."

"You already said all that."

"Five, we also know the planet is volcanic. Six, we know the locals have a pre-Columbian level of technology. Seven, we know we can land anywhere on the planet."


"Oh, Romana, what did they teach you at the Academy?" He set some coordinates and relanded the Tardis. With a smug look he tripped the doors open. "Follow me," he said jauntily as he crammed his hat on his curls.

They strode out of the Tardis onto a covered stone balcony. The view was magnificent. A lurid red, orange, and purple sunset spread out as far as the eye could see. They were up so high they could see the faint curve of the planet at the horizon.

Romana walked to the edge of the unrailed stone floor and looked down. They were at the apex of a huge step pyramid that was built half out of a mountainside. A massive alien city spread out below them, primitive structures carved out of the native stone receded downward to disappear into the jungle far below. It was drizzling slightly in the summer evening.

"It's beautiful." Romana said, gazing from the red-washed structures of the city, to the shadowy jungle, to the brilliantly streaming colors of the sky. She inhaled deeply. "Why can we breathe?"

"The temple is built into the side of a volcano. The ash in the air counteracts the acid, as well as enhancing the sunset. The elevation gives us a nice view, and as long as we stay under the roof, the rain can't get to us." He walked up beside her and cocked his hat back farther on his head, admiring the sky. He looked down at her. "There's an answer to everything, you only have to look."

"Yes. I think that might be a good idea," Romana said in a resigned, weary tone.


"Look." She nodded behind them.

He turned to follow her gaze. Between them and the Tardis stood a line of aggressive, spear wielding, feather-and-skull-bedecked alien priests. They looked angry. And hungry.

"And what have you learned from this, Romana?" the Doctor asked.

"That next time I'll just land somewhere isolated and use an atmospheric suit," she said.

"And miss interacting with the local culture?" he asked. He stepped forward with his hand outstretched. "Good day, gentlemen. I'm the Doctor, this is my friend, Romana. We were just admiring your lovely view..."

For more stories by this author click on "betawho" at the top of the page.

Please take a moment to leave a review. Thank you.