Haumea Colony

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.


A Very Haumean Christmas

Posted on Wed Dec 29th, 2021 @ 11:56am by Lieutenant Colonel Shaun Bradley & Cornelius Warner MS & Captain Luka Mahone

Mission: What Lies Ahead, Between, and Behind
Location: Haumea Command, Captain Mahone's Office
Timeline: Post-Frizzle
2675 words - 5.4 OF Standard Post Measure

"Sir, I'm sorry, you may have to repeat that. I think I lost your transmission signal. Clouds maybe?"

Luka stared incredulously at the holographic image of the Admiral. He had heard of traditions passed on through the fleet, but he did not expect one to come with a semi-religious denomination attached. But the ever-evolving 'Red One' tradition within Starfleet presented itself to the colony Captain for the first time in his career as he sat with a small gift box he had received moments prior, from some of the more apologetic parents of the earlier events. He could smell the fresh-made treats wafting from underneath the box's lid. It was that time of year, but he still did not expect that the rumor he had heard through the fleet rang true.

Off screen Yoshi eyed something, but smiled. "The Vesta has been tagged to escort Red One this year," he said again, looking over something that was unseen still to the Captain. "Which means the usual run, but Starfleet wants to extend it a little and we need a new end point. I've nominated Haumea Colony as the final destination of jolly Saint Nick and it was approved. So I will need your help with a little Christmas Magic," he continued, his eyes sparkling with joy. It had been nearly a decade since he'd last participated in the tradition, and was honoured that part of his new promotion was allowing him to take the help with it again.

Well, technically Ewan was the Command for this, it was just Yoshi's flagship now.

"It is a lot of fun," Minawara added, looking back to Luka. "Gets the kids the most excited."

"Oh." Luka did hear that right. His brow furrowed. Did the Colony celebrate that holiday? Surely they did, considering how many of the residents came from Earth or Earth-related colonies. Would a display of Christmas spark another outrage within the civilian community?

Maybe he really did need to calm down. "We'd be happy to help. I'm sure we could put on a display. I assume there's enough fighters for a whole team of reindeer." As the counting and plotting began in his head, Luka tilted his head to one side. "Sir, is there anything you had in mind? I'll be honest, I thought this whole thing was a weird rumor passed through Command."

With a wave of his hand Yoshi laughed a little as he remembered his first time hearing that the event was real. "The fighters would be ideal, Gamma - that is the ship we turned into the Sleigh permanently - is a little unstable. So really she'll be making a low pass over the colony proper, and having a fighter escort might be a good idea to keep it from wandering off course. The rest is to build some hype for the event, let rumours slip and all that. Let the people get excited."

Luka nodded along, absently note-taking in a PaDD. "I can send word along. I'm sure Bradley... actually, I don't know if he'd mind this or not." He waved a hand. Another excuse to pay a visit to his de facto Executive Officer was always welcome. "We can make it happen. Maybe I can convince him to make one light up red."

The thought of a little Christmas cheer sparked a bit of excitement in the young Captain. There was less putting out of fires and more positivity, a thing this colony seemed to be lacking as of late. "It should be easy enough to get the rumors started. I'll send word to the councilmembers, and see what else they can think of." After all, rumors spread like wildfire. Best to use that fact to his advantage.

But the thought faded shortly after, as he smiled at Yoshi. "We can have this done, not a problem at all Sir. Should I prepare for a ... Santa-landing?"

The Admiral scratched at his face as he thought about it. In theory there was nothing that stopped the Gamma from landing, it had functioning landing gear - even if an overzealous Engineer had replaced them with skis instead of the traditional fixed gear. They could make it happen, but there was always the chance the ship wouldn't take off again. It was a prototype after all. Mentally he made a note to do a once over on the sleigh before it departed for the Haumean atmosphere. "Perhaps, I'll make a note for the crew to see what we can do, you never know what we can make happen. I'm sure Bradley will enjoy the experience - though maybe we forget to encrypt the traffic comms the night," Yoshi added with a laugh. "I'm sure we can make it magical for the children regardless, and who knows, maybe a parent or two as well."

"Oh good. Maybe I can corral someone to help me set up a little thing for hot cocoa or something. I'm sure we could get some good traction for this." Luka sat back, notes taken and sent off to Davna, who was likely to be one hundred percent more excited than he was about this already. There was still that nagging 'what if' thought in the back of his mind, but the plan was already in motion. Who was he to stop it?

He wouldn't be able to with the Admiral involved, even if he wanted to. "It's forecast to snow soon, maybe it'll be the perfect weather for a little Santa visit. Should I prepare for an Admiral visit as well? Because Santa gets different fanfare than you do. He might get more cookies than paperwork..."

"Technically? No, the Vesta won't be on station, we'll be hiding behind a moon in case any children are looking up with telescopes. Don't worry, I'll swing by for a review in the near future, I promise," Yoshi said with a laugh. "As for setting up a viewing ceremony, I'd maybe recommend getting someone in the community to do it, keep as much of the Starfleet idea off it." The man leaned over, someone unseen said something that the holographic projectors scrubbed out. "Speaking of being on station, we are docking soon, are you planning to ever make a trip to Esquimalt station?"

"Oh I've got one woman in mind who's perfect for this." Luka could already imagine the sight of the councilwoman in question ushering children and handing out treats. If anyone was going to be able to pull it off, it would have been her.

Luka frowned. "Esquimalt? I... hadn't given it much thought, Sir. I'd have to pry myself away from this colony first." He'd also need a reason to leave the colony and visit a station that was probably farther than he'd like away. "It's hard to do when my roots are set, at least for the moment. But I guess we could make a run for something with the Atala. I know team who's eager for more than a tiny, solar system confining run of the tech."

"Well, there is always a berth if you need. I'll admit, I enjoy getting to stretch my legs a little more than the Vesta offers." He smiled, his head cocking as someone else said something to him. "Speaking of feeling confined, I have meeting here shortly, I'll have to let you go. We'll be there in a few weeks, I'll have Victoria send over the information. Captain," Yoshi said with a polite smile and not before he popped out of existence, leaving Luka alone in his office.

--Christmas Eve--

There was the hydraulic noise of a ship being uncoupled from her hard clamps. In the runabout bay of the Vesta, Santa's Sleigh disconnected from the hard locks as the hatch above began to open, the shimmering reality of the Quantum Slipstream wake dissipating as the Vesta returned to real-space just outside of telescopic range of the Xaeprea surface, slipping behind the planet's moon sneaky. Still, the beacon registered just fine to any kid eagerly watching to where the "sleigh" might arrive next. Reaction thrusters pushed the ship away from the deck of the runabout bay, and into the freedom of space as the ship began to drift. Her QSD was long cold - no point waiting bennamite on it - but her reactor pushed her to throttle, her crew quickly picking up speed as she came around the Moon. Commander Barsh Khoshnuhg, a Tellarite, pushed the throttle forward to quickly bring the ship up to speed.

This was the old NXQ-Gamma, still in her livery from the first night she'd been used as a transport in this way, upkept by a team from the Corps of Engineers - though this would probably be her last run in this position as her complicated systems were starting to become harder and harder to upkeep. Rumours abounded that Admiral Minawara had specifically requested to design a replacement, though no one knew if that was true, and the Commander hadn't been allowed out to go ask. In fact the bay had been guarded, and children shoo'd away from it as quickly as possible, with just enough of the ship visible that a kid that was quick might catch a look of the golden font spelling the craft's new name. Perhaps even Commander Mantell had snuck in.

The ship rocketed towards the planet, her engines whining in the vacuum of space, as several smaller ships approached to intercept, nine of them in fact, with the lead having a sparkling red light off the bow. The Haumea fighter escort had a sense of humour. "Red One this is Lieutenant Colonel Bradley of Haumea - we will be your escort tonight sir." It was formal, accurate, and read as though this were a serious escort mission and not a publicity stunt. The Valkyrie Mark Two's swung themselves around into a Vee formation, the red nosed fighter taking point. "By your command sir," and Commander Khoshnuhg laughed to his partner. He cleared his throat and in his best Santa impression responded.

"Thank you Colonel Bradley, I am honoured for your help tonight. I see your name right here on the Nice list too," the Tellarite said, the barely suppressed laughter of it all adding a jolly tone to his voice. "Take us down please."

As expected, the enlisted help of Seshi Macae had proven to be more than useful out on the tarmac. She had a number of favors to call in, though that proved easy once the business owners had heard Santa was involved. Despite her ribbing toward the Captain to come join them for the festivities, she found herself hostess of the event. But she didn't mind, letting the gathered children at the spread of cookies that were so happily donated to her. The accompanying hot cocoa was her own recipe, one that she knew was approved of by many children and young at heart.

The tarmac itself, for the first time, was civilian-decorated with multi-colored lights that lit up the area for 'Santa's' arrival. Children of all sorts had come to join in, either to catch a glimpse of the jolly man in red or to enjoy the festivities all the same. Magic was magic whether they believed in it or not.

She was naturally decadently dressed in reds and golds, with a matching cloak to keep her warm as she waited with the children and their accompanying parents. Some were singing carols, others still were playing little games they invented while on the colony.

"He's here! He's here!" one of the children shouted, nearly dropping his cocoa all down his jacket, "I can see him! I see Santa!"

Wind buffeted the wings of the fighters, only just staying ahead of the sleigh as they approached the ground where the crowd was gathered. As the formation grew larger in the sky, the fighters broke off their escort and rocketed upwards back into the clouds, their coloured flares firing off as they climbed and swirled around one another to form the vague outline of a Christmas tree. They peeled off to let the sleigh do it's magic bit. The sleigh itself descended further and further, it's landing gear extending - just in case - and the ship began to hover, getting lower and lower until it almost touched the deck. The cockpit slid open, and from the front seat in his red-and-white cloak to cover the flight suit, Commander Khoshnuhg stood on his seat and puffed his chest up. With some help from speakers and a mic in his suit, he called out to the gathered children.

The gathered crowd of kids could not contain their excitement, gathering around the designated area around the sleigh. They may have gotten closer if not for the candy cane spiraled barrier keeping them from potential harm. Their enthusiastic cries for Santa were enough to be heard over the shuttle's engines.

"Haumea Colony I see has been very good this year, all these good children gathered here today. I see even the parents have been keeping from the naughty list." He laughed his best jolly laugh, and held his belly like he was the chubby many himself. He steadied himself as the ship buffeted a little in its antigravity lifts, rocking slightly side to side. "I would stay, but I have more stops to go, but to Haumea Colony I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!" The man lowered himself into the seat as the cockpit shifted. As the craft began to lift into the sky, not far from the gathered group a red and green shimmer of a transporter beam came to life, a trick that the Admiral had worked in for the event to make the "magic" more real. Gifts appeared on the ground, each carefully wrapped, and named for the gathered children according to the letters they had written to "Santa". With one last "Ho ho ho!" from the Commander, the shuttle lifted a little higher into the air, with the distant rumble of the fighters approaching. Santa's Sleigh joined up with the smaller escorts as they approached and disappeared back into the night, only a trail of what looked to be sparkles dropping from the rear of the craft as they departed.

As the children gathered stared in awe at the departure of "Santa" and his sleigh, they and their collected guardians grew silent. The magic of the moment had not been lost on anyone in the crowd. In another beat, Seshi sidled up to the nearest child, a young Bolian girl who's eyes were wider than the moon that shone upon them.

"It looks like Santa left you something, dear," she urged softly. The girl blinked, not bothering to give Seshi any acknowledgement as she looked about, eyes settled on the wrapped box in front of her.

Then came the realized gasp as she knelt down to pick up the present, stopping only to politely read the tag, just in case. "SANTA GAVE ME A PRESENT!" The shout echoed through the night, with multiple more following behind it as the kids each came to realize that they all received something from their jolly visitor. Parents were of differing reactions, some prompting their children to wait for Christmas day, while others were not deterring their children from such excitement and gift opening.

Seshi took a step back, watching as the cheer spread among the gathered crowd. From a distance and behind one of the parked shuttlecrafts, she could make out the humanoid outline and the outline of the hulking dog accompanying it. Her smile warmed, and she subtly rose her mug of cocoa in their direction. After all the Colony had been through, this was a lovely note to end on, and would be talked about for years to come.




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