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Plankton

Plankton
Posts: 1
Unread post Re: [EVENT] Xmas Story Contest by Molix » 3. January 2016 10:09
Title: X-Mas in S4
Author: Molix
Ally: GIN

As Xmas's approaching in server four
some strange things happen, not only war,
veterans, noobs, and farmers to be,
all group together under the tree.
Who said in the Nebula you can't be free?

Strange to the most, in the last days
citadels all behaved in same way:
no more artefacts, as far as it goes,
they let you only dig mistletoes.
Who doesn't blow kisses to friends and to foes?

Around the tree, singing with voice,
all the Commanders propose a choice
of space Xmas carols of eras to be,
harmony that you rarely can see.
Who said that it matters if you're off-key?

Millions of cargos in a fleet joint,
all meet together at rally point,
they're full of presents and loud is the roar
when they together in space will soar.
Who said that gathering is only for war?

Should Santa be late, children a lot
cry for the missed present time slot,
luckily this year all they can cheer
the pinkish faster Voids' reindeers.
Who said Voids' crystals are only here?

DeadlyViper and Jewar a hunting went,
found UOC's ships grouped in a tent,
usually angry and lurking like owls,
this time they shared wine and rice bowls.
Who said that Xmas is not in our souls?

All S4 sweet Commander females,
in front of the cohort are Tressarct and Jade,
free of their helmet, they show their grace
wearing a spacesuit enriched by red lace.
Who said there's no sweetness in outer space?

And if ZhangQian, who is a ghost,
one of the ones we fear the most,
is bringing his carriers that in a drift
war and disaster in our systems lift,
who said that spacewar can't be a Xmas gift?
Shrimp

Shrimp
Posts: 7
Device / OS:
Android
Unread post Re: [EVENT] Xmas Story Contest by Lynx » 3. January 2016 11:47
“A Different Solution.” (Precursor to Change of Perspective)

A Christmas Story by Aurinsaint of Erebus, Server 2a


Chapter 1


“The natural nature of people…be they Terran, Vossk, or Nivellan is to be selfish. It’s not a bad thing it simply is what it is. I guess it depends on what you are being selfish about? After all we need to be selfish to survive in this crazy universe that we live in. Yet, at the same time we need to have balance. So we give of ourselves to others as well. How much balance does one actually need?

That…Aurin…is something you have to find out for yourself.”

-From a private conversation with General Dissaray, leader of As One Academy with Aurinsaint of Erebus.


A level 9 red mk1 carrier is nothing to sneer at. Slower than most and not able to hold much in the way of ships commonly they are scrapped to make room for more sophisticated and better equipped vessels. However this one was still around. Call it sentimentality, call it whatever you want…the Kingfisher was still in good working order, and currently returning from another successful derelict ship mission.

“About all she is good for now…” I mumbled as I maneuvered my cheroot to the other side of my mouth. The smoke was getting in my eyes “Another mission done, more resources brought back, more survivors…not a bad few hours of work!” I saw the mission list and orders coming through on my comm unit’s vid screen. “Let’s see what else the commander has for me now…” My voice trailed off as I scrolled through the possible choices. Secretly I had been hoping for a low level out post mission or some such. A little action would be good for my crew.

Then came the alert, a mission had been selected just for me. The location was near or in, quadrant N7. The Dralery system.

“A bit out of my way, but not too bad I…” Then the mission stats came in! “A Level 8 pirate nest mission!?” I said faintly. I could do it, but would lose most of my ships. It’s not exactly a walk in the park to do these missions, even with a level 20 blue mk2 carrier. But if I didn’t take it I would….

Damn…I had to take the mission, I was the only carrier available! I tapped my screen to accept, I had two solar cycles to head on out to fulfill my mission. I wondered about someone who had more experience than me who could help me set up an appropriate balance of ships and freighters to make sure I was successful and with a minimum loss of life. The only person I could think of was General Dissaray. The leader and head instructor of As One Academy.

I put out my cheroot and typed in his ID code into my console and shortly had him answering. He showed up on the vid screen, short dark beard and longer than regulation hair. A small grin on his face and what looked to be an old book on his desktop with a finger holding his place in it.

“I hope I didn’t disturb you General?” I asked hopefully. He gave a one shoulder shrug and scooted his chair closer to the desk.

“Not as of yet, no…depends on why you’re calling me Saint. If I have to leave my office at all then yes, you are disturbing me.” His grin widened to a smile as he finished his sentence and I gave a quiet sigh of relief.

“You don’t have to leave Sir, just need a few words of advice if you don’t mind?” I noticed his cluttered office was a little cleaner, and for some reason he had strung lights around the ceiling that blinked off and then on again, others stayed the same uniform color.

He opened the book he was reading and placed a small piece of paper to hold his spot and then leaned back in his chair regarding me thoughtfully as he lit his pipe and gave a few puffs.

“Go ahead Saint, I got some time. By the way, thank you for that load of metal you dropped off last week. We were a little short and that shored us up quite nicely to fabricate replacement parts for the Silo we are building here.”

“Uh…you’re welcome General! Now, I got this mission here…” I outlined my situation with having the task of clearing out an entrentched pirate nest. Then laid out my thoughts on have a nice half and half mix of fighters and bombers with five freighters to carry out valuables. He listened quietly, a puff of smoke coming out of the corner of his mouth. When I was winding down he gave a nod of his head and spoke.

“I personally would go with a full load of fighters and leave the bombers at home, but I wonder…?” He leaned forward and carefully opened the book in front of him again.

“Do you know what Christmas is Aurin?” He asked suddenly. I paused and tried to remember all that I had heard. Terran history had been so long gone and fragmented and there were so many different variations of the theme…all that was left was really heresay!

“I think General, it was called Christmas by some, Hannakuh by others, and Solstice…I really don’t know for sure. I know it came at the end of a year’s time or close to it. Some sort of celebration I think.” I finished lamely.

He nodded his head, “You are on the right track. I enjoy studying forgotten Terran lore as you know. Important to know where we came from if we can, this gives us a better idea of where we should go as a species.” He traced a finger down a worn page of yellowed paper and grimaced a little.

“A tragedy that we lost so much of our past and we don’t even know why…” He said softly. Then shook himself out of his reverie.

“At one time Terrans, humanity, was fractured. We thought the color of our skin or hair was enough reason to ostracize one another for being…oh how shall I put this? Different?”

My mouth fell open at that!

“Different!? You want to talk different? Have you seen how different a Nivellan looks from a Terran? They don’t even have noses! I have been scared to death to be standing in front of one of them when they sneeze! And Vossk are chitinous, it’s like their bones are on the outside of…” I stopped as General Dissaray held up a hand, I thought to stop me from rambling, but he covered his mouth and I saw his shoulder’s shaking. He got control of himself, but his tone was a little bit lighter as he spoke again.

“Enough Aurin! I…I didn’t mean we think that now, I am talking of our past. How we defined the word “Different” is all.” He took a breath and looked to be about to laugh again from the way his lips twitched. “However, considering all of their differences, there always seemed to be a celebration at the end of each year…all the different factions had one. From my studies, it was a major time of peace. Rarely did anyone attack each other. Do you know why?”

I shrugged.

“I assume it was for some a religious observance, or just a family tradition?” I ventured.

“Possibly, the reoccurring theme that I have found Saint is this…” General said. He found a passage in his book re read it again I assume and then looked up to meet my eyes.

“It was a celebration of life! The fact that you had lived another cycle and were still alive. The environment hadn’t killed you, an accident hadn’t ended your existence. That a war had not broken out and people hadn’t killed you yet. It was a time to give gifts to people you loved and people you hated. Where enemies would sing together and share in the fact that we were all still gloriously alive!”

General sat back again and rubbed a hand over his face. I was quiet as well, thinking on what my mentor had told me. I had never heard of such a thing except for that time when he had an armistice with one of our enemies. I wondered if that holiday, Christmas, was like that. I wondered if our Nivellan and Vossk neighbours had the same sort of traditions. Slowly an idea began to take form in my mind. It coused the corners of my mouth to twitch, then I began to smile. As this crazy insane thought began to take hold and solidify into an actual plan I laughed out loud!

“What are you thinking Saint? Want to share with the rest of us?” General asked. It was my turn to lean forward as I outlined my plan to him and now he sat back in his chair and laughed.

“So, General? Can I come by and pick up some things? My credits are good, I think I got enough too…” He waved me off.

“No Aurin, consider this a Christmas gift, or whatever you want to call it. Anyone brave, or stupid enough to do what you’re doing…? I will make it a gift just to see what happens.”

We said our goodbyes after I gave him a basic list of what I needed. I then made another call and my Yeoman a good man named Frederick Daniels answered.

“Daniels? It’s your Captain speaking, wake the crew! I want us out of the atmosphere in two hours!”


Chapter 2


It wasn’t too long before we were getting supplied at the Academy. General Dissaray had personally supervised the loading and storage. We only had five mk2 bombers and five mk2 fighters on board. The rest was all mk2 freighters and we were stuffed to the ceiling!

“Are you sure about this Saint?” General asked. I shrugged.

“It’s either this or I lose the fight, a bunch of good men and women die. I figured it’s worth the risk.” I said to him. When we had finished he saluted me and shook my hand. Then he watched as we went on our way to the staging planet where the mission was to take place. Before we headed to the coordinates our scanners had provided, I met with the local leaders that resided on the jungle planet of Dralery 3. They were the ones who had asked us to scan near their area since pirates had been raiding them. They didn’t have too much in the way of income, but had very nice amounts of resources they were harvesting.

“It wouldn’t be so bad, if we had a fleet of our own you see…” The provincial governor told me. “…but we just don’t have any to stop them. By the time our troops get to where the dang blasted pirates land to stop ‘em!” He complained.

I shared my plan with him and watched his eyes bulge, he thought about it and shrugged. “If’n you can pull it off youngster, more power to ya’ and we’d all be grateful. I wouldn’t put any credits down on your chances though…”

With that cheery and positive send off, the crew of the Kingfisher and I headed off into the asteroid field on the edges of the Dralery system.

“According to the scanner’s intel, the pirate nest should be with ten minutes of this location if we were traveling at full burn.” Yeoman Daniels said as his eyes were glued to our sensors. I nodded casually, my eyes watchful on our communications specialist. I saw her head come up and she said, “Captain, we got a signal…someone’s talking to somebody out there!”

“Patch us in if you can Ensign Battey…” I told her as I swing around to my comm. unit and opened a channel. I cleared my throat and waited for her to patch me in. I got her hand wave saying everything was ready to go as Daniels said, “We got something on the edge of our scanners, not sure exactly what it is or how much of it is there…” I nodded and waved him to silence. I took a deep breath and then began to sing.

“Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light.
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Make the Yule-tide gay.
From now on our troubles will be miles away.
Here we are as in olden days. Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us, Gather near to us once more.
Through the years we all will be together. If the Fates allow.
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself, a merry little Christmas now!”

I hoped like hell that General had the words right…then again, whoever was out there probably didn’t know the lyrics of the song to correct me.

I looked up from the vid screen to see the entire bridge crew staring at me. I looked back at them as they looked at me with surprise and a little bit of shock.

“Not bad Captain…not bad at all!” I heard someone say softly behind me. I looked over my shoulder to see Ensign Battey flush a little in her cheeks and give me a quick wink and a smile before looking down at something on her console. I looked back at the bridge crew and barked out, “Songs done! Get to work, we got pirates out there watching!”

“Actually Captain, they are here…” Daniels said.

Sure enough the scanners showed two dozen mk2 bombers and another equal number of mk2 interceptors on all sides boxing us in.

“Figures…” I muttered. “…No matter how sneaky we are, those suckers always get the drop on us on these missions and always fire the first shot! What I wouldn’t give to just once…once be able to shoot first before they do!”

“Captain, I have a transmission coming in. I can’t tell where from though. It seems the asteroids are playing havoc with the signals. I can’t get a good lock on where it’s coming from.”

“Any idea at all?” I asked Ensign Battey. She gave me an exasperated look, glanced at her console and pointed off to her left.

“That way!” she retorted sarcastically. Daniels snickered and I shot him a look that sobered him up fast.

“Thank you Ensign…carry on.”

The transmission came through, and thank goodness for translation software!

“Mk1 carrier, by your IFF transponder…Kingfisher. State your business or be fired upon…”

I blinked. Then responded, “Do I have the pleasure of speaking with the individuals who commonly raid the nearby planet Dralery 3? If I do, then please scan my vessel…” I switched the comm. off and spoke to Daniels.

“Lower shields.”

His mouth fell open.

“But Captain…?”

“Lower shields please…we want them to scan us.”

He hesitated, but did as I ordered. A moment later and a puzzled voice came on.

“Kingfisher, we see your cargo…what is your destination?”

I allowed myself a small smile now that I had the speaker off balance.

“Why our destination is your base of operations…may we deliver our present to you?”

Now the speaker sounded even more flustered and a whole host of other sounds which I couldn’t have figured out if I had an hour to go through them!

“I…I…yes…I. Turn to heading 11.28 and 45 degrees. We will provide escort.”

True to his word, the ships around us took up formation, keeping a respectful distance away from us. We allowed them to help guide us through small course corrections as we made our way to what appeared to be one of the larger asteroids. More and more ships began appearing around us, and with the precision the pilots were showing it got me thinking. I began running the numbers and had Daniels start doing calculations. I gulped nervously as I realized, that there was no way this was a Level 8 pirate nest. This was a level 10 elite pilot mission at the least! You would only feel comfortable sending a mk3 carrier on a mission of this magnitude. Even then as the numbers came pouring in of the number of ships…

….I wouldn’t even feel comfortable with that!

Slowly we got closer to the asteroid, and I saw that it appeared to be almost like a honey comb, natural appearing holes in the rock, in which I saw ships of all types moving in and out. I guessed it must have been a mining facility at some point in time. Forgotten after it had been excavated.

Ensign Battey got my attention. “Something is screwing with the signals, I can’t get a clear line of communication! We can’t talk to them and they can’t talk to…” Her voice trailed off as her console began blinking in a regular pattern at intervals.

“Turn to port side and angle thirty degrees down for docking procedure…huh…” She cocked her head at the light. “Guess they found a way to communicate after all.”

I stood and stretched my shoulders. “Take us in Yeoman. I am going down to the cargo hold to get ready. Let our hosts know that I am coming in with everything I got!”


Final Chapter

Honestly I don’t know who was more surprised…me or the pirates. I fully expected to be met with drawn weapons, maybe some heavy artillery of some kind. I guess they must have done a more thorough job of scanning us than I thought.

I drove the first maglev loader down the ramp into the dock, the smells of food from all three of our different cultures wafting from the crates! Nivellan meat pies which I once had a slice on a dare and ended up in the lavatory for six hours. Vossk Krandit Cobbler made with a fruit that had a color I couldn’t pronounce. And of course Terran food which I am sure you are all familiar with.

Crate after crate of food stuffs and staple supplies you would need to outfit a colony came following after me. Large casks of wine and ale came trundling down as our crew helped unloading. We starting passing our supplies to surprised looking pirates and pilots of every age range and sex and species. There were getting to be loud shouts that sounded happy but with that many voices it sounded almost like a happy riot! Or rather, just a plain riot.

I kept hearing the words over and over that I instructed my crew to say as they passed out all the items…

“Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas to you! Have a happy Christmas, to you and friends and family!”

I stopped one of the cleaner looking of the bunch and with a smile asked if they had tables or anything to set the food on so we all could have some. The large Vossk thought about it and then moved off to bellow something to a group of his compatriots looking in shock at packages of clothing in their hands. They jumped at his command and scurried back with mismatched boxes and barrels and boards to set on them.

Soon thereafter food and drink was being set out and I caught some of my people beginning to get into the spirit of things. They were talking and laughing just like I see at any dock where people are coming into port or leaving. Then the resources began pouring out of our holds. Metal, gas, and crystal by the ton began to come out and I thought a couple of our hosts were going to fall over as they were asked where to put them!

“Captain…Saint? I assume you are?” A voice said behind me. I turned a little and a smaller Nivellan stood there watching me casually. He appeared ready to move quickly at a moments notice, but was also as relaxed as if in his living room at home.

“Yes, that’s me. Merry Christmas…?” I asked, extending the last word to give him room to supply his name. Which he did, thankfully before I ran out of breath.

“I am called Commander Klaxat. Leader of The Yaxik.” He looked past my shoulder and I saw his eyes following the movement of the maglev’s which were still carrying their cargo farther into the asteroid.

“I am not sure what you are doing, Captain…” Klaxat said softly, his eyes coming back to look into mine. “…But it seems you have infiltrated our base successfully.” He paused and looked me over. “The question remains, of what it is that you want. You do want something don’t you?”

I nodded, then wondered if he understood that Terran gesture, then gave a mental shrug to myself and was grateful I did that than a physical shrug since that might also send mixed signals!

“We all want something, but not right now. Right now it is Christmas…and so we will eat!” I told him. I pointed towards the makeshift tables where the food was being passed around almost as soon as it was laid out!

“Care to join me? I will take first bites if you’re worried about whether the food is good or not. Except for the Nivellan Meatpies! None of those! Doesn’t…um…sit well with me.”

He carefully scanned, I thought the tables, but then I noticed his expression and realized he was watching the people. I saw Ensign Battey in a serious discussion with a much large Vossk male and she was gesticulating so much with her cup she had spilled a blue wine of some kind on her wrist. Our chief engineer, Cubby, had pulled out parts of some kind between taking bites of food and was comparing them to what a female Nivellan had. I saw him take a piece of meat pie and winced a little. He might not be available for repairs in a few hours if he ate that whole slice!

“I heard you say Captain, that these are gifts?” I nodded at him as we walked to the tables and selected some food. Being higher in rank, crew parted to make a hole for us to eat undisturbed for the most part.

“These gifts, as you choose to call them, must have cost you. I imagine you would want some service or items in return?” I shook my head and smiled at him while taking a bite of cheese and salami. Klaxat looked perplexed. Then he began to look angry. I spoke before he could.

“If I expected anything in return, it would not be a gift…it would be barter. I expect nothing from you other than to take it and enjoy it. I had originally been sent here to drive you folks out of the area, because you had been raiding some of the local systems…”

I had to stop and chew for a bit since I took a bite of food, and then had to wash it down with a drink. I tried the Vosskian Ale which made my eyes bulge! I coughed and choked but got the bite down. Klaxat was still waiting for me to finish my thought.

“…Anyway, I got to thinking. This time of year is a time for celebration for Terrans. They survived another long cycle of life, a year we call it. It goes by a lot of names, this celebration, a lot of us call it “Christmas” and others call it other things. I thought it might be nice to share it with others.”

Klaxat pondered this, still watching me closely. He took a bite of the meat pie and I saw his eyes roll at the flavor. “I haven’t had Quinl’yah this good since shortly after I was hatched!” I shuddered watching him eat it.

“Well there’s plenty more there Commander, enjoy.” I told him.

He grew quiet and looked again at the mix of the two crews getting to know each other. “You wish for us to stop raiding, seizing cargo.” He said finally.

“Yes I do.” I replied.

“You trade us these “gifts” to stop us from doing what we do?”

“No Klaxat, as I said. These are gifts, you can choose to do what you want after this. You can go back to being a pirate if you want to, or do something else. After I leave, another carrier may come and stop you then. You may lose good crewmates, or you may win…who knows?”

“Then what is the purpose of these gifts?” He asked finally looking back at me. Inside I was jubilant because that was what I had wanted him to ask all along!

“To show you this!” I said, indicating our two crews. “To show you there doesn’t have to be all of this fighting between us. If we choose, we can have peace. That is the meaning of what we are doing after all. If we give and share what we have with others, together we can become more.”

He was silent as he absently nibbled on the Quinya…Quin…Quin ya’lla? Whatever that meat pie is called!

“What else is there for us to do? Several bands of mercenaries, defectors, and pirates…”

I grinned and reached into my uniform coat pocket for a small data chit which I handed to the Nivellan. “After we are done here Klaxat. When we are gone…take a look at this. It might help you with making a decision.”

Then I gave him a firm pat on the shoulder. “Let’s focus on the fact that we got good food, friends, and we are alive to enjoy now huh?” I shouted to get everyone’s attention and eventually word passed through the ranks and people shushed each other to silence.

“Friends! Old and new! Thank you very much for being a part of this celebration with us! I wish you all health and happiness! Merry Christmas!”

I couldn’t understand everything that was shouted back but I tipped back my mug and drained my drink. Big mistake, I had picked up that danged Vosskian ale again and I thought my throat might collapse or catch fire!


Epilogue

We were several hours away from home when I received a call, it was from General Dissaray.

“Got word through the grapevine that the pirate troubles near Dralery are no more. At the same time Dralery 3 has a brand new fleet of experienced pilots and ships, and are requesting carriers to start shipping more of their resources…”

He paused and looked over his personal vid screen, “…also says the provincial governor put in a personal note about your actions and recommends you should be, “Promoted, rewarded, or whatever…” yes, that was a direct quote.”

General smiled through the screen at me. “You do know…Terran’s who celebrate Christmas already did it several solar cycles ago?”

“Yep, they did.” I replied and then sat forward in my chair, “…But who says the principles of Christmas should only be followed for one day out of the year?”

The End.
Plankton

Plankton
Posts: 2
Unread post Re: [EVENT] Xmas Story Contest by APSVG13 » 3. January 2016 14:44
X-Story

Bleeding lava from a giant hole in its crust, the planet seemed to shudder soundlessly. In the faint red aura the gash was clearly visible. Above it chunks of debris reflected the sunlight from their gnarled surfaces like floating small lighthouses. Whipping up all the power it could muster the carrier was accelerating away from the cataclysm. No shield would withstand the impact of the giant shrapnel flower blooming through space as the last missile hit the exposed planet core. None of the Void present around or on Nesac3 could have escaped the hell that had been unleashed.
Faster than the flick of a Vossk tail a wormhole had opened the moment the fleet materialized in the Nesac system. It collapsed immediately. Destroyed by the same weaponry the Terran fleet had brought to bear upon the Vossk empire during the last war. Another conflict that had been long and devastating.

No one had ever seen a Void or succeeded to capture a decent image of their ships. Engaging them in space battle invariably resulted in total obliteration of the ship that lost. Apparently the Void only occupied empty planets and seemed to be minding their own business.
At the outbreak of the Terran-Vossk war, the Nivellians had abandoned the Vossk and had fled to the outskirts of the Nebula. They met the Void first. The Nivellians tried in vain to communicate with the strange new presence. Not one reply came back.
In an attempt to make close contact with a Void ship, a Nivellian carrier crashed in the Kimini system. The Void ship was reported to have turned into the carrier at full speed while opening fire. The head on collision destroyed the Void ship, crippling the Nivellian vessel beyond repair.
Upon examining the wreckage the Nivellian rescue team found no trace of the Void ship. Several months later they discovered traces of a crystalline substance buried deep inside the engine bay. The still functioning warp field generator had kept them from evaporating.

"Fleet commander, status report please?"
It was Pekka, the Terran general he had battled against in a not so distant past. They were allies now but the bitter taste of defeat still filled APS's mouth when he recognized the frequency spectrum of what the Terran called his voice.
"Vossk fleet at rendezvous. No casualties. One carrier with hull damage after jumping. The crew has been retrieved and self destruct sequence is about to end... now!"
A wave pattern disappeared from the screens.

After the disastrous encounter in the Kimini system, the Nivellians held their breath. What they had found, suggested that the Void had developed technologies vastly superior to those of any other species in the Nebula. The feared retaliation never came.
It didn't take the Terran and Vossk intel long to find out what had happened at Kimini.
Nivellian commanders have a tendency to drink and sing a lot. Vossk liquor and Terran whisky are illegal in Nivellian spaceports. Planet bars however, are a different matter.
At the peak of their arms race, Vossk and Terrans took incredible risks repeatedly violating Void territory to acquire information that would give them the advantage in what was quickly becoming a headlong jump towards mutual extinction.

"How is my favorite big lizard doing?"
APS sent a burst of what Terrans called "brightly colored brain waves” at his visor screen.
"Ouch! Looks like our villain raptor has a bad day! No cursing now! Be a good boy!"
APS suppressed a new series of "bright colors".
A "No major problems apart from your presence!" was what the Nivellian fleet commander got. She knew APS. They had fought the Terrans side by side after the Nivellians had reluctantly given up their neutrality.

Almost simultaneously Terrans and Nivellians had discovered that incorporating Void crystals into alloys resulted in a dramatical reduction of their mass whilst doubling their strength and resilience. The Terran scientists rose to their reputation for turning every new discovery into a deadly weapon. Actually, there were more than one.
The war reached a turning point. The Vossk were defenseless and had to retreat to their home systems. The Nivellians felt they could no longer stand and watch the slaughter of millions of Vossk. After the Vossk they would be the next.
The Nivellian fleet commander had met APS during the first alliance negotiations.
Her people had thoroughly explored the potential of the Void crystals but there was nothing left of the small amount they had been able to scavenge from Terran and Vossk wreckage. The Vossk would supply them in exchange for technology that could stop the Terran advance.
Fourteen Nivellian systems were annihilated by the Terran fleet on the first day of the negotiations. There was no prior warning.
CBfreedom barely escaped. The rest of her clan didm't.
She felt her gills widening, trying to suppress a tidal wave of grief. It had taken her ages to survive alone. Bereft of the tender ever present envelope of her sisters presences, her existence had become an unspeakable horror.

A pirate carrier found her ship minutes before her breathing fluids would have turned into a solid mass. The first Terran to enter the ship was killed instantly. She could emit any sound with an intensity that caused severe material and physical damage. A stun gun knocked her out cold.
The pirate captain had her transferred to a confinement tank. The viscosity inside allowed her to breathe and prevented her from "raising her voice" as he called it. He had met with Nivellians before but never with a warrior. Before long he was visiting her more and more often. Given her ability to hear and manipulate sounds, it wasn't long before they could actually talk to each other. Her sound still unnerved him at times. It came from every direction, its pressure suggesting imminent life threatening danger. Which was more than suggestion if the tank fluid had allowed it! The crew never went near when they talked. Her voice made them cringe in terror.
He taught her sign language to communicate with his crew. She learned he was unable to perceive sound like other Terrans did. He could "read" what his kind were "saying" but there wasn't much point in lip reading from a reflecting space suit visor during repair and maintenance sorties.
His deafness had saved his life on their first encounter. Even then the pain had been excruciating.
Deafteacher or DT in short was a man of many talents. He could see when a Vossk was lying. The translating machines were unable to reveal the subtle spectrum shifts that DT had learned to distinguish. He never mentioned it to anyone, especially not to the Vossk.
His heightened ability to feel sounds made it possible to understand his Nivellian guest. For the first time in his existence he could really hear someone talk to him with a profoundness and purity of meaning no human ear could ever hope to perceive. CBF had a Nivellian name but due to its complexity neither Terran nor Vossk could hear or pronounce it fully.
Only DT had ever heard her full name. After she revealed it to him, he had locked himself up for more than 24 hours, desperately trying to retain the symphony that had engulfed him in the glow of her sisters reminiscences whose names were one with hers. It almost killed him.
Her Terran name had been given by the crew after she had tried to pronounce the word “freedom”. The sound was terrible and mixed with hissing and crackling noises. Bursting into laughter the oldest communications officer said she sounded like a CB radio. CB or citizen band was a rather primitive type of radio communications on Earth. The material was clumsy and massive and the range was ridiculously small.

The Alliance fleet was gathering slowly now.
Communications fell silent as the commanding officers watched the Nesac system disintegrate. Its sun emitting a wavering light as one planetoid after the other spiraled into its photosphere. There were no cheers or victory cries to celebrate the destruction of the last Void system. APS turned around to the holograms of Pekka and CBfreedom.
He had seen too many scenes like this. It made his stomach turn. The grim expression on Pekka’s unshaven face suggested the same feeling.
“Well! That should be the end of it! At least according to our strategists!”
There was no need to underline the sarcasm in CBF’s expression.

Pekka remembered the first wormhole incident. The Vossk and Terran fleet had intensified their search for Void crystals. They called it “harvesting” although the word looting was more appropriate. The ensuing battles were accompanied by heavy losses on both sides. The strange thing was that the Void didn’t counterattack until… a Terran carrier tried to go through the wormhole. The commander probably thought he would find more crystals on the other side.
The wormhole collapsed instantly. All carriers in the system disappeared in the blink of an eye. Battleships and freighters found themselves alone in the middle of a swarm of Void ships. Without carriers there was no way to recover the mind states of the crew. By the time the rescue fleet rushed in, it was too late. It had been a massacre.
The next thing they knew, wormholes were opening and collapsing at random in the Nebula. Fleets had to double up in neighboring systems to ensure the evacuation of the fleet that got hit and and hoped two wormholes wouldn’t open at the same time.
Only stationary carriers with their warp engines turned off, escaped oblivion for a short time… They were sitting ducks.
The worst part had yet to come when even the home systems were no longer a safe haven. The resource drain was immense. No carrier, whether merchant or military was safe. Entire economies and political systems collapsed. A number of planetary systems fell prey to fanatical theocracies. They rejected interstellar travel, preaching that it had almost destroyed the Nebula ecosystem. What had happened was a punishment by their God. Weakened by internal struggle and the collapse of their economies Terrans, Vossk and Nivellians agreed to end the war and form an alliance to stop the Void.

Pekka had been assigned to this mission. He had heard about DT and his companion. DT had been one of his lieutenants. DT had never understood the reasons for the war with the Vossk and made no secret of his disapproval. When the attack orders came, he disappeared leaving a note to Pekka saying: “You know why!”.
Unlike the Terran authorities Pekka refused to consider him as a tractor.
He and the Nivellian would make the perfect intermediaries for talks with the Vossk.
Pekka had almost given up hope to find DT when his fast picket carrier detected a vessel escaping from a Void wormhole. The chances for that were almost non existent but when the vessel turned around heading straight for the system it just came from, he couldn’t believe his own eyes. Ordering his crew to pursue didn’t earn him their sympathy but he couldn’t care less. They shut down the warp engine just before popping out of hyperspace. The maneuver was dangerous. One second too early and they would be stuck in hyperspace, too late and the wormhole would eat them. They couldn’t restart the engines and the auxiliaries were gone.
Pekka had gambled and won. DT had seen him reenter and had come to the rescue. He was fuming when he met Pekka eye to eye.
“What the hell did you think you were doing? You could have gotten us all killed!”.
“I had to talk to you and your Nivellian leader.”
CBF was floating against the ceiling. Pekka sensed a deep rumble. DT nodded to her.
“What do you want?”
“We want her…”
“She’s called CBF!”
“We want CBF to help us negotiate with the Vossk.”
The rumble was growing inside him. Pekka’s head was aching. He sank to his knees, his head filling with the screaming agony of thousands.
“The Kaheda raid…” he muttered just before he fainted.
When he came by DT was leaning over him.
“She recognized your voice! You were in command when her system was destroyed. You’re lucky to be alive. Should I congratulate you for becoming the most hated sentient being in the Nebula?”
“I had no idea. They told us there were only military bases there.”
“Tell that to her!”
DT walked away from the bed.
“She agreed to negotiate. She’ll never forgive you though.”

APS, CBF and Pekka led the negotiations. DT remained at a safe distance. He was still wanted as a deserter.
The multi-alliance had started there and then. The shield that hid DT’s engine from the Void wormhole had been improved and upgraded. The Vossk and Terran labs developed the fusion missile that detected and collapsed a wormhole before it could fully expand. A smaller version was used against the Void planets. The Terrans nicknamed it “Little John”. Obviously (to them) it had something to do with a war on their first home planet.
The Alliance hit the Void planets and wormholes in one move. A wave of Alliance fleets popped out of hyperspace at the same moment. The offensive had been preceded by a painstakingly long preparation. Scanning the Nebula and predicting the possible new arrivals of wormholes and Void colonies had mostly been the work of Vossk scientists and their calculations had been spot on.

“APS, is something bothering you?”
Pekka had noticed the unusually silent stance APS had taken.
“I don’t know.”
He waved at the comm screen. It was filled with checklists that were being transmitted as every carrier was preparing to withdraw. One message fell out of the ordinary and APS had seen this before.
“I saw the same pattern just before the wormhole was shut down.”
CBF looked at Pekka.
“It’s the carrier pattern of DT’s ship. What is he doing here?”
Even Pekka could sense the worried undertone in CBF’s voice.
“What does it say APS?”
“Difficult! There is an anomaly in the gravity of this system. It isn’t anything like what you would find in the wake of a wormhole but it’s there, nevertheless. I saw the same in the Nesac system. I don’t like this.”
Suddenly all the screens went dark, obscured by a blinding light that was everywhere. It was more than just light. APS and CBF reacted in exactly the same way as Pekka. The carrier jolted.
“Wormhole! We’re being sucked into a wormhole!”
There was nothing they could do. No warp engine could pull them out.
The light dimmed and screens became visible again. Messages were coming in from everywhere.
APS immediately, noticed the tracks of two carriers that were accelerating towards the dark.
“CBF! DT! What are you doing?”
“Follow them!”
The Vossk carrier jumped forward trying to catch up with the other two. Pekka’s cruiser was alongside his now. There was blackness. Unlike hyperspace it was filled with sensations that touched every sense and perception. Vossk, Nivellian, Terrans all felt the same wind of continuously changing impressions.
No one panicked. Through all this they could make out the awestruck presences of all the others that were with them in the fleet.
The same word taking shape in their brains: “WHY?”

There was another presence somewhere in the background. Silent.
It grew as Pekka and APS approached DT and CBF. Pekka heard-felt the rumble of CBF’s “singing”. She was clearly happy.
DT’s voice reached Pekka.
“P, I don’t know what this is. It’s indescribable.”
APS had joined the other two now!
As APS came nearer, the contour of his ship seemed to blend with that of DT and CBF.
Pekka’s mind was racing to keep up with what was happening.
It was telling him, they had been fighting their own materialized fears. The Void were no beings in the sense a “Nebulan” would see it. They were him or her or multiple and what manifested itself in the Nebula was only a tendril, a tiny trail. They would no longer visit the Nebula. Their work was finished now.
“What work?”

Pekka stared at the screen in front of him. The three vessels in front of him were one softly glowing blur now. He knew DT, CBF and APS were safe. He didn’t understand how he knew. He just knew.
The silent presence that accompanied them was changing. It was observing him with the wondering and intent gaze of a newborn, then a toddler, then a child. The child of CBF and DT. They could never have offspring, not anatomically nor genetically but there was no doubt that this was their child and now APS was becoming part of it.
“Say something!” He whispered.
“Forgiven!”.
He sank to his knees, tears in his eyes. His chest glowing.

He understood now. It had taken a foe, a common enemy to stop the mutual killing in the Nebula but that would only last as long as the danger remained. There had to be something else. Something that would unite them forever.
DT and CBF had met each others minds and soul.
APS had always been around. Mostly silent but there.
And Pekka had witnessed the merging of their minds into one.
“Our work is done!”
Three by three the surrounding carriers were heading towards the flow.
A sudden fear took hold of him. He was going to be left out!

“Somebody will have to tell it wasn’t a battle we lost. That we didn’t disappear or die!”
The voice of DT and CBF and the flickering frequencies of APS, they were all around him now.
“They won’t believe you at first. They may think the strain has been too much for your mind and even lock you up for a while.”
“We will come for you and you will join us!”

A carrier was speeding towards the ATL cluster.
Behind him a new comet was glowing bright. Pekka’s home.
He was playing a long forgotten song.

"Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
Cause all I ever have
Redemption songs
Redemption songs
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our sins."[font=Helvetica]
[/font]
Last edited by APSVG13 on 3. January 2016 21:57, edited 2 times in total.
Plankton

Plankton
Posts: 1
Unread post Re: [EVENT] Xmas Story Contest by LornaChen » 3. January 2016 17:47
A Story About Christmas War
(1)
Is this the ending?Oliver watched the void’s ultimate weapon becoming dazzling white light and swallowing himself and all the voids with his vacant eyes.It might not be a bad idea to kill these damn intruders and save the terran’s lives.Yet,he came up to a small but stubborn figure—Caroline.What a pity!He would never see her again.
‘‘Go to the hell!You devil!’’All the sorrow was transformed into a roar.With a blare,Oliver and all the voids were buried in the light.
(2)
‘‘Oliver,’’Oliver’s assistant,Mac,rushed into Oliver’s office.’’Our spies said that after one year’s silence,voids will give us a sneak attack on Christmas Day.And this time it’ll be a decisive battle.’’
‘‘What?’’Oliver dropped his goblet on the ground.The blood red wine flew wantonly on the ground.’’Are you sure?’’
‘‘Yes.’’said Mac.’’It’ not a secret among the voids.What’s more,’sighed Mac frustratedlly.They’rveinvented a kind of ultimate weapon,a bomb which can kill all.However, it’s destructive weapon.Only a life entity can stop it,so they won’t use it easily’’.
‘‘Okay I got it,Good job,Mac.Go and have a rest.—By the way,tell our diplomat to ask Nivelian and Vossk for help.If we lose,they can’t have a comfortable life as well.’’said Oliver.
Mac nodded his head and left.They saw the earnst in each other’s eyes.
Looking out of the window,Oliver was lost in thought.These years,voids had become stronger and harder to be defeated.The people had suffered a dozen of wars.This year the voids were so quiet that he thought they wouldn’t start wars again.Christmas War…They had only one month to prepare for the war.Do they have any chance to win?
A lowish knock on the door interrupted Oliver’s thought.’’Come in’’said Oliver.
‘‘Oliver!’’A small figure threw herself on Oliver.’’I’ve met Mac.He told me about the war.Can you guys win this time?’’Oliver’s young wife,Caroline,looked at Oliver apprehensively.’’How beautiful is she!’’Everytime Oliver looked at Caroline,he would thought that he had merried an elf.Her sapphire eyes shone bright like diamonds.She had cherry lips and rosey cheeks which made him want to kiss her.Her beauty appears from all her gestures and expressions.She was being bullied the first time he met her.He saved her and helped her be stronger.They fell in love at that time.How could he make her worry about him?’’Of course,we can,Carol.We are stronger than them.’’lied Oliver.
‘’But you looks upset.’’She wrapped her arms around him.’’And you’ve never been late for dinner Unless something has happened,you’re never late.’’
‘‘Oh,I’m sorry.I’ve just worried about our soldiers,you know.They should have stayed with their families and had a happy Christmas.’’He lied to her again.
‘’There’s no need to say sorry between us.Don’t worry.They’ll be glad if they defeat the voids.That will be the best Christmas gift for them.’’said Caroline.
Oliver smiled,hugging Caroline gently.To win? If they win,the voids must use their ultimate weapon…He looked at Caroline.It would ba hard to farewell with her.
(3)
Wirh the war comng,Oliver became busier and busier.There were too many things to prepare for the war.
‘’Leader.’’The diplomat,Alan Steven,found the busy Oliver,’’The Vossk’s and Nivelian’s leaders didn’t agree to help us.The vossk leader said that they didn’t want wars and and the Nivelian leader said that they can’t even help themselves.’’
Alan can see the fire in Oliver’s eyes.For a long time,,Oliver didn’t say a word.Finally,Oliver began to speak with a gentle tone.’’They are not to blame.Nilevian love the peace and the Vossks were dying out when they fought with the voids.We should give them more help at that time.’
It’s not your fault,leader.You’re not the leader at that time..You ‘ve saved all of us from the tyrant.’’Alan looked at Oliver awestruckly.It was ten years ago when Oliver made the last Terran leader step down,saved all Terrans from the squeeze.
‘Thank you,’’Oliver clapped Alan upon the shoulder.’’Well done,Alan.Go and have some wine.’’
After Alan’s departure,Oliver called Mac.’’Maybe this time,we’ll all die.’’He stared at the heavy snow outside the window.There was too much snow that it had broken the thin branches.
‘’Don’t stop believing,Oliver!You always makes miracles.’’Comforted Mac.Although he knew they didn’t have much chance to win as well,he couldn’t say it.
‘’Mac,’’Oliver suddenly turned around,staring at Mac.’If I die this time—‘’
‘’No,you won’t.’’Astonishedly,,Mac interrupted him.
‘’Listen to me.If I die,please be the leader instead of me.I know you have the ability to get it.’’
‘’Oliver…’’After a long silence,Mac began to speak.’’If this is your final decision.I’ll make it.’’
‘’Thank you.I know you don’t like to be the leader.But you’re the only one that is qualified for he work.’’Oliver looked at Mac in sorry.
‘’It’s okay.You’re my best friend,I’m glad to help you.’’Mac smiled at Oliver.
‘’And,’’There was a hit of pain on his face.’’Please take good care of Carol.Let her find someone who loves her.’’
‘’Do you think she can embrace it?You’re the only one she believe and love.’’Mac shrugged his shoulder.’’However,I would try my best to help her,if..you passed by.But,Oliver,can you tell me why you think you may die?’’
‘’Void’s ultimate weapon.’’explained Oliver.’’Our scientists have invented a fast carrier by which we can stop the bomb.Only our generals and I have the ability to use it.However,all our enerals have children and I’m an orphan so..’’
Mac’s eyes became wet.
(4)
On the Christmas morning,Oliver looked at the Nebula through the window in his bedroom.Sometimes he had a strange feeling that he was a part of it.He could feel the planets breath,he can feel terrans' heartbeats.It's so warm.Maybe it's not a bad choice to die for it.
The only one he couldn't let go was Carol,that beautiful stubborn girl.When he thought that maybe he would never see her again,his heart was badly hurt.He closed her eyes.
''Merry Christmas,Oliver.''Caroline hugged him from behind,''I have a gift for you.''
''Merry Christmas,Carol.What's that?''Oliver tried to make himself ease.
''It's around your left wrist,Oliver.''smiled Caroline.
Oliver looked at his wrist.There was a silver bracelet shinning.''It's so beautiful.Thank you,Carol.''Oliver kissed Caroline softly.''And now guess what gift I've prepared for you.''
''Just tell me,Oliver.''Caroline laughed like a child.
''Look down.''smiled Oliver.Caroline looked down and found there was a kitten near her feet.
''A kitten,Oliver!A kitten!''Caroline rejoiced with wild excitement.She picked up the kitten.''I've wanted a cat for long!Thank you,Oliver.''
Oliver smiled at her.''I'll be busy after Christmas.So I think she can accompany you.Give her a name,Carol.''
''Oline.''said Caroline,without thinking.
He watched Caroline playing with Oline happily.
''Carol,I have to go now.''said Oliver.He had to try hard to control the spread of sorrow.''The war is coming.''
The joy on Caroline's face was frozen.
Oliver hugged Caroline for farewell“Goodbye Caroline.I love you.''
''It's hard to say goodbye to the one you love."Caroline burst out crying and hugged Oliver hard.“What you've said makes me feel that I'll never see you again."
''Don't cry babe.It's okay.''Oliver dabbed her back.He found his eyes become wet“I'll be back and have dinner with you."
''I'll be waiting for you.Don't be late."Caroline kissed Oliver hard.Though Oliver said that he would come back ,she had the feeling that maybe she would never see him again.
(5)
When you read the story above,it may have passed one month or a thousand years or more after I wrote it down.I'm Caroline,Oliver wife.You may ask me why I didn't write about the war.Everytime I tried to describe the war,my tears poured down.
Thousands of terrans died and blood flowed like streams.Though vossks and nivelians had said they wouldn't help us,they came at the critical moment.When we were about to defeat them,voids used their ultimate weapon.They tried to quarantine us and threw the bomb.It's Oliver who rushed out of the quarantine and threw himself to the voids.Then my Oliver disappeared with all the voids.
You may say that it's not right to say he disappeared,but I believe he's still alive in somewhere we can't meet.Mac had told me the bomb only burned life entities.If the bomber burned them all,the bracelet I gave Oliver would be found.But it disappeared with Oliver.
So if you read this story,and happen to know Oliver,please tell him words below.
Oliver,you have given the best Christmas gift to the terran.They live happily and peacefully under the reign of Mac.I love you and I will always wait for you.Our Oline is fine and I'll wait for you for our Christmas dinner every year,so please come back.
Love,
Caroline.
Plankton

Plankton
Posts: 1
Unread post Re: [EVENT] Xmas Story Contest by KBTAYX » 3. January 2016 21:13
Simon Maxwell, 16 years old. That´s me. My home-system is a part of the “Dark Space“, a mysterious and dangerous place. I was born here and I´ve never seen any other sector and I would be totally fine with that if nobody compared me with my father. You probably know him, don´t you? Keith T. Maxwell, a glorious fighter. Actually I´ve never met my own dad, he left my mother during the pregnancy in order to save the galaxy again. Sadly he gave his life in this mission, hence he couldn’t ever return. Now guess what, my mom died, too. Pirates, oh gosh you cannot even imagine how I hate them. I feel like I am forced to fight those pirates to get her revenge. I would have tried to get my dad´s revenge but actually I don´t know his killer´s name. Anyway, back to the topic, I was twelve years old when she died, and so I applied to the DSS, the “Dark Space Security“. DSS is not an organization of a specific race, but a place where every Nevelian, Terran or Vossk can fight the outlaws, pirates and savages of the “Dark Space“. Hopefully I will be able to find and destroy the pirates who took my mother´s life…

——— December the 6th 2003———
Red lights turning on, a noise wakes me up. 4:35am. “Several pirates are attacking a space station in a neighbor-system“. I guess it's Loporenth being attacked. The poor staff member, I don't know any other space station which is attacked so frequently.
General Leon gathers his wingmen, so I prepare my space ship and wait for new orders. We are the first response team, and so we start our space ships and fly to “Loporenth“.
Finally we arrive at the space station, but the pirates are gone. Our team receives a call from our station: “General Leon, the worst has come to the worst. We expect you to find the attackers, this may be your most important mission of all time.“
General Leon instructs to follow their route, the begin of my first adventure…

——— December the 9th 2003———
During the flight General Leon explains the importance of this mission. In fact, “Loporenth“ is the secret name for north pole, simple by changing the order of the letters. It took me some time, more than I would like to admit, but I end up understanding the pirates kidnapped Santa Claus…

——— December the 15th 2003———
In front of my space ship I can see a new space station, hmmm seems to be unknown. “General Leon, what is our current location?“. His answer threats me. “Festus“ is a planet in the “Pescal Inartu“ system, and we are going to dock on that station. I am already convinced we have to be in the sector my father succeeded in so many missions. General Leon talks to the commander of this station, who advice to visit “Thynome“, the head quarter of Deep Science.
We arrive in the evening, but still we are welcomed by a lot of member of the space station. “Dr. Paolini, there are some visitors fighting a few pirates who kidnapped Santa Claus. General Leon is not able to talk to you at the moment, but Mr. Maxwell will explain the whole situation.“ Suddenly I hear her voice, some kind of enthusiastic hearing my name…weird. In the moment she sees me her smile is gone. In our conversation she relate her adventures with my father, and I was totally helpless, I have to tell her he´s dead, but how? After a certain time we decide to go to sleep.

——— December the 16th 2003———
In the morning General Leon and Dr. Paolini planned the operation, we are now ready to start. Like most of our group I will attack the pirate station in “Loma“. Only a single member of our squad has to find Khador and build a Khador-Drive, otherwise we couldn't make it home before Christmas.
"Loma" is not far away from our current location, thus we only needed a few hours to get there...
Only a few minutes to go, General Leon tells us to prepare ourself, our ships and our weapons. We finally arrive, may the clash begin.
I hear the sound of blaster, laser and rail guns crashing my space ship, I'm paralyzed. We trained every battle situation in a simulation, but a real battle is different. One is always afraid of the death, and suddenly it happened. Robin a loyal member of our squad blows up with his ship, a loud noise. I couldn't get myself to continue fighting, all I want is finding my friend and save him. But General Leon forces us to fight this battle until the end, and that is exactly what Robin would want us to do. The whole battle turned, we use our anger to get Robin's revenge. After a certain time all pirates are destroyed and we dock at the station. The staff member fear us thus we are able to walk through the station easily. The head pirate admit their crime, but even though we made a progress Santa Claus was far away, because the Pirates sold him to a strange organization called "Void". I've heart of their stories but honestly I thought they are just a legend. Well, now we have to get the Khador-Drive as soon as possible, otherwise we are not able to enter the void universe. For now, it got late so we fly back to "Thynome" and go to sleep.

——— December the 17th 2003———
We await new orders from Geberal Leon, who is waiting for a report from Khador.
After hours of waiting a strange space ship in silver docks at our station. "Nemesis" is it's name. Khador enters...the atmosphere is rather sad, because we only have a single space ship, which means we can only enter the void universe with one member. So who is the chosen one? General Leon decides to send...me?!? I know I'm not the worst fighter but still, other squad member are way more experienced. Nevertheless I have no choice and so I prepare the new space ship and start the journey.
The Khador-Drive allows to arrive in the void universe immediately. The contact to "Thynome" is interrupted by a strange signal. Silence and darkness surrender me. Over there! A light spark, far away but I know what it is. A void ship. A little but dangerous void ship. A few kilometers later I destroy the void ship, a few more arrive, second wave of how many? 3 more waves follow, but finally I see the void ship with the captured Santa Claus. I am totally helpless, if I destroyed the void ship I would probably kill Santa Claus, otherwise if I didn't destroy the void ship, the void would blow me up. Out of a sudden my instinct decides to attack, the ship blows up. A wreck isn't even existing...Santa isn't alive anymore. But someone has to bring all the presents to the children, the magic of Christmas will never die! In the blink of an eye I decide, well no I am forced to become the new Santa Claus, a new era begins...




———Today———
So my dear readers, this is the story how I killed Santa Claus, lost a close friend and became Santa Claus. From that point on, every year at Christmas I fly from chimney of a space station to the next one and keep the magic of Christmas alive. With this said, I wish you all a merry Christmas.
Plankton

Plankton
Posts: 1
Unread post Re: [EVENT] Xmas Story Contest by Schtuben » 3. January 2016 21:43
Far out in the outer reaches of the galaxy, many lightyears from any civilized planet in a upgraded model of the classic nivelian kinzer sits 32 year old terran fighter pilot Al Ternor. The year is 4042 A.D and it's Christmas time, the ancient and beloved holiday brought to the galaxy by the terrans a millenia ago. (The only holiday regarded as greater is the release of the new smart-towels, a space travellers best friend.) Heading towards the planet of Chione where Al always ends up, celebrating Christmas with only himself and the innkeeper of the inn ‘the octopony’. Not beacuse he doesn't have any family or friends, quite the opposite actually, he does it just to come away from everything. Serving in the terran fleet is not always a very pleasant job. The planet, Chione, is the perfect place for this, located far away and therefore not anywhere near crowded. It's also an cold and icy planet, over its beautiful scenery of mountains, hills and frozen lakes there always lies a deep layer of snow which permanently colours the landscape in a icy white-blue, it's a perfect place for Christmas celebrations. The inn originally was an terran shipyard but as the climate on Chione got to cold it was abandoned by the fleet and is now the only inhabitable place for humanoids on the planet. Only a few thousand kilometers to go, back in the kinzer, the holiday spirit is high and Christmas songs are playing. “‘A thousand Christmases ago’ by ‘bham’?” Al exclaims for himself “Man, I love this song! Computer, turn up the volume” he starts singing along and is feeling really good just cruising the emptiness of space all by him self. The journey continued like this with other Christmas songs like ‘santa clause is coming to the space station’ and ‘Rudolph, the big red spaceship’. The hours rolled by and eventually sleep caught Al and he fell into a deep slumber, the autopilot would take over for him from now on.

The ‘night’, or whatever you want to call it in space, passed silently and dreams came and went in Als mind. All was peacefull untill suddenly, close to an asteroid field, the radar picked up readings of other ships approaching from it. Wakened from the alarming beeps of the radar Al tiredly mumbled something about the rudeness of pirates these days, assuming they were pirates. And to everything else but his surprise they turned out to be, just that, pirates. The first message came when the radar had identified at least two dozen ships all well equipped and ready for combat. “So we meet again Al” it started, it took a while for Al to realise who was talking to him but after the second sentence the accent gave it all away “‘Tis very nice to see ye, so far from home and all, I'm almost honored by yer visit”. So the wanted criminal Vestor Malloy had built a nest here, right by his path to Chione, just his luck. Vestor sitting in his signature ship the ‘katana’ a small and agile custom built version of the terran inflict. With its fully visible rail guns, a heavy turret below the engines and paintjob making it look like an armoured solider from ancient times when terrans where still living on a planet and called ‘humans’.There was no use in fleeing they were to many so he might as well answer the message. “So celebrating Christmas are you?” He said nonchalantly “but where's the feast? I'm starving!”. A faint laughing was heard from Vestor “Oh, Mr. Terner” he paused “you're the feast” he paused again “and we're starving”. In that moment all the pirates attacked. Quickly taking the wheel Al made a quick manoeuvre to dodge the incoming attacks, he flew in a 90 degree angle to his left and flew into the asteroid belt, no doubt the pirates had been hiding there but he could only hope there weren't more waiting for him. “the odds are against you Mr. Terner” Vestor said in another message. “Cumputer, mute all incoming messages” Al commanded, he had to concentrate, he was used to fighting in squads, having backup and other whom he could rely on, now he was on his own. At least he was well-equipped more so than the pirates for sure. Serving in the fleet gives some ‘prviliges ’ so to say, he had all the latest technology, ion-neutralizing scatter guns, a particle shield of the latest standards, and most importantly; his brain, he had a plan. He dived in behind a large asteroid and disappeared from the pirates’ radars for a moment. Following himin the highest spirit, the pirates thought he had no chance. They flew up close to the asteroid and prepared to all attack at the same time. Right then like wizardry, a bright flashing in white and green struck the pirates, it destroyed a quarter of the ships and another quarter of the ships were disabled for the rest of the battle. Sure this must have been a Christmas miracle,or was it just Als scatter guns blowing up the asteroid from inside? Whatever you might think Al was now left with only ten pirates and one of them, of course, being Vestor, and the face he did was priceless, a shame no one could see it. But he quickly gathered his senses and now enraged followed Al who’d fled deeper onto the asteroid belt, riding on the wake of the explosion. He knew they wouldn't fall for that trick again but he had more in store than just a fireworks, it was time to show of his skills, he turned toward the pirates and fired with all his fire power towards Vestor, the shots were dodged but still hit a pirate the blast destroyed another 2 ships. The pirates retaliated and fired from all sides with their rail guns and laser beams, Al was protected by his shield, but it wouldn't Las forever he continued his attacks and flew round the pirates in a shape of an 8. Three more ships were desrroyed and the pirates were scattered, two more fled the battle, typical pirate behaviour in rough situations. Only Vestor and his two lieutenants remained, the other pirates were no problem they had no real combat education and would have been no match three against one. But those who Al now faced were no mere pirates they were trimmed veterans like himself and wanted throughout the galaxy. If he got Vestor the bounty he could collect would be more than enough to buy an entire space station. Al was now again flying away from the pirates, he then remembered what he had just installed on the ship before departure for Chione “How could I forget my babies?” he exclaimed “now this is gonna be children's play!” he turned on the speakers in his cabin and once again played ‘a thousand Christmases ago’. Vestor and his lieutenants were close behind and fired rapidly, his shield was almost done for it. “damn, they're to close!” he shouted. His shield was down. The entire ship shuddered as the first shot hit it, he needed to act quickly. More shots hit the ships and an uneasing creaking was heard from the engine. This is when the next ‘miracle’ happened. Al opened the cargo door at the back of his ship and out flew a few Christmas presents “sorry aunt Anne! I'll get you something new” this tricked the pirates, they thought he was deploying mines and tried to dodge wich made them lose cosier able speed. Now Al had the chance, he dove quickly made a 180 degree turn below the pursuers and flew up behind then, now it was his time to fire. “It seems the tables have ‘Terned’, they don't call me terner for nothing” he said in a message to Vestor. Pleased whith his pun he now uncovered his new baby, the gravity bomb. They had been his christmas presents to himself, it just seemed like the perfect way to to totally wreck pirate ships. He fired it into the center of the three pirates and after a moment of suspense the very nothingness of space shook, the three ships were pulled together as if they'd become magnetic and crushed by the gravitational pull. Al was lucky enough to be outside of its range it was a close one, only a couple of meters closer and he'd to be a in that pile of waste that was all left of the three ships. When the gravitational pull from the bomb had worn off he picked up what was left of the ‘katana’ as a proof to his victory and he then, as if moments later, found himself sitting in the octopony, drinking vossk hot chocolate in front of a cozy hearth listening to Christmas songs. The big Christmas tree stod decorated and spread the sweet smell of pine in his lungs. He had only one problem in the entire world. Now what would he get aunt Anne?
Plankton

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Unread post Re: [EVENT] Xmas Story Contest by Dead Money » 4. January 2016 00:43
Little Red Ribbons

Sergeant Nicolas enlisted in the Troop Corp three years before he earned a promotion to Demolitions Specialist. What could be more entertaining for an ornery, jarhead squad of troops than burning conquered planets to smoldering embers?

But there's always a catch, always fine print to read: Sgt. Nicolas' first demo assignment would run through the old Terran Holidays, past Christmas and weeks beyond the New Year.

While commissioned officers were at ease at posh, private cocktail parties, sponsored by ambassadors from the Nivelian Republic and the Vossk Empire, Sgt. Nicolas worked alone in a cold cargo bay, loading explosive ordinance for deployment.


To Sgt. Nicolas, however, none of the holiday parties mattered, not since he buried his wife and child last year after a suicide bombing by radical Midorian terrorists, separatists who hijacked the noble plight of the Midorians for their own zealotry.

Surely, there were cooler heads among the Midorian Confederation. All didn't share the separatists' battle cry, co-opted from a long dead, ancient Terran nation: “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

Sgt. Nicolas' retort was always the same, always cold, detached and simple, the way a good troop is trained. If death is what separatists wanted, Sgt. Nicolas was happy to oblige.

“Kill 'em all!” he'd yell before, during and after drop ship briefings.

Marching his squad passed bomber pilots, grooming their birds of prey for zero hour, “Kill 'em all!” he'd shout and salute.

At chow time, “Kill 'em all!” he'd bellow in the mess hall as his brother troops barked in unison, stomped their boots in rhythm and bashed angry fists on dining tables.

***

Sgt. Nicolas' mission was routine clean-up duty. His orders were to jump gate into the Shroud Nebula and demo the battered husks of separatist worlds for recolonization contracts.

It was not uncommon for Midorian terrorists to garrison on remote systems, but recently, more began to hide in the Shroud Nebula, posing as peaceful farmers with fraudulent, alternate identities.

The largest alliance in the Shroud Nebula – Children of Night – had sent word of several separatist mining clusters in their midst. After a ruthless bombing campaign, all that remained was demolition, an assignment Sgt. Nicolas accepted with pleasure.

Commanding a three-man skeleton crew, Sgt. Nicolas worked alongside Private Rudolph and Corporal Donner, young troops on their first remote mission, their first away from their war brothers and families.

Children of Night relayed coordinates; Sgt. Nicolas and his men cleared the decimated remnants of rusted mining extractors and hacked spy drone farms.

“Sir?” Pvt. Rudolph asked Sgt. Nicolas, “you reckon we'll get the day off for Christmas?”

“Yes, sir,” Cpl. Donner agreed, “we friggin' been grindin' out here for over a week now. It's the grindin' that gets you, you know?”

Sgt. Nicolas' stern, stoic answer was: “Work is work, men. We have a job to do.”

“Sir, yes, sir,” they saluted. And that was the end of the discussion.

***

One by one, Sgt. Nicolas and his crew demolished world after world. Most were nothing more than empty, cratered battlefields – easy work, boring work.

Just lash incendiary nuclear charges to support structures with standard-issue, red demo straps. Set blast timer. Take off. Boom.
Job done, and on to the next. Simple, yet effective nonetheless.

“Sir?” Pvt. Rudolph asked on Christmas Eve as they approached an icy, frozen, remote planet, “don't you think it's really weird none of them other worlds has had a barracks?”

Sgt. Nicolas sighed. “Strange, private, but not our business,” he said without looking away from his console.

Cpl. Donner stamped out his cigarette and added, “Whatever. As long as I get paid. Kill 'em all.”

“But really, though, sir,” Pvt. Rudolph pressed, “somethin' just ain't right, just like my great grand daddy used to say when...”
“Just get ready for drop off, Private,” Cpl. Donner interrupted, “it'll be colder than Hades down there. We're landing on the north pole. 50
below zero this season.”

***

Building a headquarters in the coldest region wasn't uncommon for Nivelians, which most of the separatist were.

Once Sgt. Nicolas and his men entered, they saw this headquarters was different –

The aftermath of a brutal, hand-to-hand melee lay scattered about them: Garbage rotting in piles, spent plasma rifle shells and frozen blood splatter in hallways.

Sgt. Nicolas and his troops drew their side arms and walked slowly, carefully among the carnage.

“I thought Children was supposed to clear these worlds, sir,” Cpl. Donner said quietly. “This looks like a massacre.”
“Told y'all somethin' ain't right about this mission,” Pvt. Rudolph said under his breath. “Get a load of this here, Sarge.”

Scorched on the jammed door to the command center read a single word: “Boo.”
“Ghosts...” Cpl. Donner said with disgust and spat. “What are ghosts doing raiding a mining outpost? What in Hades is going on here?”
A rustle and clang beyond the door startled them.

The troops' training took over. “Get ready to clear the room once we breach, men,” Sgt. Nicolas ordered. “Kill 'em all!”
Taking point, Cpl. Donner kicked in the command center's jammed door, followed by Pvt. Rudolph whose hands were shaking more from fear than cold.

Huddled in a ball in the corner of the room, frightened by the soldiers charging in, lay a Nivelian youngling, bearing a Midorian emblem on her tattered sleep garments.

“Kill 'em all!” Cpl. Donner yelled and aimed his sidearm at the youngling.

***

“Wait!” Sgt. Nicolas yelled and shoved Cpl. Donner aside.

Both troops looked at their commanding officer in shock.

“She's got something in her hands,” Sgt. Nicolas pointed out, and indeed, the youngling had a handheld holo-transmitter in her grasp.

Pvt. Rudolph reached for the device, but the youngling screamed and recoiled.

“Just kill it!” Cpl. Donner demanded. “For all we know that's a bomb in her hands! Kill it!”

“Don't!” Pvt. Rudolph implored. “I got an idea.”

Pvt. Rudolph knelt and pulled a roll of red demo tape from his gear bag. He ripped it into long strips, tied the strips into a little red ribbon and strapped the ribbon around a snack bar he always kept in his bag.

“Here, you go,” he said. “Merry Christmas, little one.”

Reluctantly, the youngling snatched the snack bar and devoured it hungrily, dropping the holo-transmitter at her feet as she ate.

Sgt. Nicolas picked up the badly damaged device, which would only play audio, and listened to the message, hardly audible and washed in static:

“Children...betrayed them...arrived too late when...will return for survivors if...ghost fleet too many to...deceived...will return...we are Erebus.”

***

“What are your orders, sir?” Cpl. Donner asked. Pvt. Rudolph nodded.

The youngling looked up at Sgt. Nicolas, eyes cloudy as pearls, and smiled. She approached the troops without fear now. And gave Pvt. Rudolph's little red ribbon to Sgt. Nicolas.

“Mer-ry Kiss-mast.” The youngling said. “Sir.”

Sgt. Nicolas stared into those big, innocent eyes – eyes as innocent and beautiful as his little girl's eyes, eyes as fiery and brimming with life as his young wife's once were.

“We garrison here until whoever Erebus is returns,” Sgt. Nicolas said and carried the youngling in his arms back to their drop ship – the youngling as fragile and small as his own little girl, his long lost little girl.

All the Nivelian child could speak was, “Mer-ry Kiss-mast!” And while they waited for rescue, she played with little red ribbons Pvt. Rudolph made for her and tied throughout the ship on every door, on every console.

Everywhere, little red ribbons adorned Sgt. Nicolas' ship, for there can be no Christmas without the joy of our little ones, and their laughter and innocence – and solemn remembrance of those who we have lost.


-- Dead Money, server 2A
Algae

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Unread post Re: [EVENT] Xmas Story Contest by Sir Michael » 4. January 2016 00:57
Brandy and Another Shot of Christmas

A steaming glass of wolf-reisser brandy drifted into the translucent coins, distorting their accuracy briefly. Memories Nemesis decided, tasted like brandy. They can be sweet, but the sweetness could bite at the senses. He remembered this nivellian, sitting opposite him in holo-shimmering blue. He remembered what the stakes really were here. The sting of wolf-reisser's finest seemed dull in contrast to what his opponent might have prepared, since last Christmas.

A blip echoed lightly from his star-map. His nivellian opponent tossed another card across the table, still grinning noticably through the holo transmission. "You just never know when to give up, do you?" Incessant taunting of this poor sort normally might have cracked a response from Nemesis. Not tonight. Frivolity, like that blip, could wait for the finishing blow.

He nudged another handful of glimmering holo credits toward the nivellian fiend and sighed as he laid a card himself. Sipping patiently with eyes fixed to the wolf-reiser's vapors he awaited one of two: the uncertain taunt again or feigned apology marking arrogance. Either way this final round was decidedly over.

Blip. Blip.

His opponent's visage flickered, losing connection briefly--nearly enough to forfeit the match. "Hate to break your bank again. You may want to cut your losses here." The snorting fool shoved all his assets forward and pulled a familiar plate from beneath the table. "I throw in the deed to your old ship too," he laughed looking triumphantly at the remainder of his hand. "In the spirit of this season, Nemesis, I'll warn ya cut your losses here."

"Christmas?" laughed Nemesis. He slowly stood, stretched and slid assets to meet the pot. As the game began its calculations Nemesis leaned far into holo lights, locking a bewildered gaze of the nivellian. "Tonight, you're going to tell that spirit who sent you. And if you're really 'in the spirit,'" Nemesis savored the crumbling face of his foe, "you can ask him to forgive me."

"No, don't. The Children of Nite--"

"--no longer restrain my fleets, coward. My crews are hungry for a fight. You're the first bone I'll throw them."

"It's just a game," shouted the nivellian, "and you've blown all your fortunes again on another poor bluff! You'd dare to set your thugs against me to hide your foolishness?" The nivellian seemed to calm down, regaining that arrogant composure. "Afterall, what would I tell the UNF when they ask why I've scrapped a friend's fleet?"

Blip. Blip. Blip. Blip.

"You'll excuse me." Nemesis turned slightly toward the comm, flipping a lever. "Captains, our timing's right enough. Deliver at will." The room groaned lightly, typical of emerging from khador drive.

Transmission faltered, but quickly resumed and began flashing Nemesis' victory in green, prompting the players to contact Neblular Gambling authorities regarding the winnings. "But you were bluffing, weren't you?"

"Honestly never even looked at the cards."

"I," stammered the Nivellian, "suppose I'll send your winnings. Which system?"

"Take a look out your window? No spirit of the season led me twelve sectors from home. Sure, I won my ship back. If it survives my assault team's barrages I'll be happy to accept it back after I've had our gunners beaten. Captains, begin jamming."

The niveian faded, no doubt preparing a retreat. Too late at that though, Nemesis mused, downing the last of his wolf-reiser brandy. Christmas delivers early today.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Nemesis caught the small missile easily enough. Its cold yellow plating rattled and burned brightly in his gloved grip. "Incoming for the chief!" shouted the few crew alert enough to have noticed his enterance. His hands began to tingle numb, but he respectfully met the eyes of his crew.

Most were appropriately stationed to their consoles and sober enough to nod at his glance. They looked on as his hands untrembling continued to hold tight. He asked, "I trust the battle fairs well enough?" Rather than a tactical view, he saw sandy beaches, the doodled daydreaming of his holo-artist.

"Admiral, forget the battle! That bomb's tick'n!" The artist ducked and began to crawl for cover.

"Where are you headed?"

"Dead men tell no tale, Admiral. I'll dodge the blast radius and make a fortune painting your bravery!"

"To your station!" He shifted the object slightly in his burning hands. "The battle?"

"Aye, Ad'mral Cap'n *hic* Sir. We 'merged from Khad'r good 'n s'prising fer 'em." Lieutenant Bruce of the gunnery attempted to stand, but thought better of it. He nodded.

"And my stolen yatch?"

Bruce cackled, still recovering from having nodded. "Dust!"

"Well done." Nemesis felt first the relief of that yatch's evidence no more taunting him, but tendered the now rumbling cone. No, he could not hold it much longer. "Someone get that man another of these!" He thrust the frozen Augmenta Fizz first to the air and then bit.

"Three cheers fer Cap'n," shouted Bruce, "an' one cheer fer me!" The chem reactions of fizz thundered through Nemesis. Taking the last bite, he ducked under a cascade of frozen fizz cones. This was a fresh round of solid beverages, the usual routine following battle briefing.

"Three cheers for Captain," answered all the room, "and one cheer for me!"

"I says me, ye fools!" Bruce snapped, falling to the floor. "Me!"

"Incoming, Chief!"

"No, please." Nemesis laughed. "That one was enough for now. We've a fight to lead out there haven't we?"

Blurrt. Blurrt.

His smile faded. What nonsense was this? "They called for help through our jamming?" He glared at the holo-artist, still doodling 3D images of cocktails on a sandy beach. "Tactical view or the next you'll see of that sand will be ten feet under with cement boots!"

Doodled drinks spilled off the screen as a gruesome battle loomed into view. Bruce's crackshots were winning alright and Nemesis noticed no cause for concern, but the alarmed blared on. He paced beside the forward windows. The crew fell to half-silly murmurings, some of them cupping hands to their ears. All of them searching their own instruments for an incoming hostility.

"Mute that alarm already!" Nemesis looked out toward the battle instead of the tactical holos. His fleet was quickly extinguishing the remainder of that nevilian rival's fleet. The wine color of Max Heat o40 weapons he had stolen last month glowed dully through the smoke and short-lived fires. It all painted a beautiful scene of carnage over the flickering stars.

"What can we hear out there, Mr. Calb?"

"I don't know ya want to hear this, Admiral."

"To the intercom, in fact, Mr. Calb!"

Mr. Calb reached hurriedly and low beneath his console and after a great thump came a distant moaning, "Woo-woo-hahahahahaha! Wohahahahaha!"

Nemesis bit back whatever oaths had been bubbling up. "Cut that noise and brace yourselves." The voices grew quickly to a roaring sea of wailing laughter. He placed a palm to the window, waiting for Mr. Calb to finish silencing the menacesome sound. "I doubt any of you have seen a live pterosaur?" He understood the flickeringly shadowed cosmos and the wailing call of these beasts. But that did not spare him from dropping to his knees upon hearing the wretched scrapings across the windows.

The beasts pecked and scraped their billed-holey faces against the windows. "Window lickers!" The drunken crew cried, at least those who were not emptying their stomachs. The wailing of window lickers penetrated the flagship's hull, sending most of the crew into fits of fear.

"Not to worry, boys. These are merely the ptero-alts of 'the' Window Licker. They're his idea of joke." A set of three fused tongues splattered wildly over the window before him. Fighting his urge to join the weak stomachs Nemesis called over the seemingly plagued crew, "Prep the Khador Drive. We're leaving." It was doubtless, he thought, liberator scum had come for his yatch and the evidence aboard. His work was done here.

He stood and looked to the window again. Anger nearly consumed him. In their bloody slobberings the pests had carved 'Merry Christmas' into the glass. The novanium used to repair that would cost more than his losses thus far. "Inform all wings there's a quota of one hundred dead window lickers set upon every pilot. Those who can't slaughter fast enough will be," he paused, gazing at the dismal situation outside before finishing the penalty pronouncement, "liberated."

"But Captain," Bruce snapped, bursting free of his drunkenness. "You know what those madmen do to us here pirates! Look out yer window!" A pair, likely pilot and gunner swung helplessly in a tug-of-war between pterosaurs. "They're get'n liberated 'n assimilated fer parts, Cap'n!"

"No, in fact, make that five hundred. I equipped weapons effective enough. Five hundred dead window lickers recorded to each pilot prior to his docking. Rob?"

Rob looked gloomily about the room for an excuse but answered, "Khador prepped in three minutes, captain."

"Sufficient, we leave immediately upon that readiness. See to it." He strode towards the door.

Blurrt blurrt --"Merry Christmas to all but not this ex-Nite." Nemesis froze, glared toward the commsman, and looked to the tactical view. It melted away and out from a blur came a black robed figure. "I bid merry Christmas. Why so quiet? Where went the fizz and festivities?"

All crew began slapping and slamming their controls. "Enough," Nemesis ordered. "Congratulate Runa. He has successfully hacked our systems."

"Me? Nah. I just spent drones every ten seconds. Framerate is a little buggy, but that comes with apps of this sort. I don't mind." A gloved hand pointed toward the window. "These guys assimilated a new trick. They can chew wiring fixtures if I tell them it's licorice leftovers of halloween."

Nemesis began pacing toward and from the holo figure. "I'll have my men stand down and we'll leave you to take all the weckage if you'll pull these vermin off my carriers."

"Nah, I don't much care about the creepy things, neither does the boss. You'll have to fire on your own carriers to rid yourself of them, meanwhile I can explore the importance of what used to be a yatch. Boss' orders."

"No exceptions?"

"Already told you that you are the exception." Runa's shadowed face turned to every corner of the room. "Merry Christmas to all but not this ex-Nite." He faded and a flimsy faltering tactical view returned.

"Until every window licker is destroyed there will be no fizz. We begin repairs at the earliest." Nemesis left for the hall. "And I'll not set foot in this room until that disgusting display is removed from our window."

Blip. Nemesis froze once again. "What now!"

"Looks like a lone carrier, Admiral. An MKI empty."

Nemesis remained frozen in the hall. "Our frayed wiring still managed to detect it. See if we can't warn them. These things aren't easily seen."

The hall's far end doors hissed open. A new robed figure appeared and began walking towards Nemesis. "Do not fear me, friend."

All the energy Nemesis could gather only allowed him to smirk and shrug, "The last guy I saw dressed like you wished my crew a merry blasphemy and sugar coated us with window licking zombified pterosaurs, but I'll not fear him either. What have you brought me?"

"ZED regrets he would not come in person. Combat called. I found these critters and followed them here actually. I contacted ZED, he sent me to pursue quietly. I tried to warn you but they'd already cut your long range comm array."

"Now what! You somehow board my flagship, braving against this ocean of disaster to what, laugh and warn me that I'm under attack?" Anger ebbed over. "I see the vermin! I see Runa sifting through my wrecked belongings! I see that some wierdo boards without my grace! What do you want from here?"

He turned to his crew. They jumped back to pretending to work. He turned back to the robed figure to apologize but found an out-streched hand. "It's not about what I want, friend." In his hand was a familiar book.

Nemesis snatched the book away, tucking it inside his jacket. "How?"

"Let me to worry first about these window licking liberators." This robed figure stepped around Nemesis, entering the command deck. "Be true to your word. Get some rest and return when they're all dead."

Nemesis raised a fist, but saw the book still in it. He rolled his eyes and hardly remembered rolling into bed.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Spiced Magnetar juice boiled, filling his chamber with a pleasing enough aroma to lure Nemesis from bed. He sat up and decidedly grumbled "You'll add a shot of wolf-reiser or I'll have you flogged a dozen--"

"I'll add a shot of Christmas and you'll like it more than anything you've soured your taste with in decades."

Nemesis bolted for his firearm, instinctively putting a hole through the robed one's hood. He rubbed his eyes and looked at the smoking mess he had made. Unthinking, ungrateful cretin, he thought, what have I done. But he puzzled at the body still standing. No, not simply standing. The robed man continued to stir and add dribblings of this and that to the drink.

"I braved the liberators, but I'm not stupid." Another robed figure stepped in from the hall. This one held a cybernetic head, which promptly winked at Nemesis. The first removed its smoking hood and popped off what was left of its head. The second stepped over to install fresh head, which spun around to wink again before pulling its hood over again.

"What's to stop me from blasting both your heads off?"

"I might bill you for it." They both answered, "but do as you please. This is your ship afterall."

"I-" Nemesis stamerred, "I joke, of course. Please count your selfs? Count yourself and your droids welcomed." He gestured to the seats about the dining table. Recalling the drink he added, "You did read that book?"

Both droids cocked their heads expressively. "My droids were told to scan everything," they answered. "I needed them to be thorough, you'll understand. The contents of the book were a small casualty I'd say. It wasn't easy slipping through."

"How? How did you, no nevermind. You read it! You read the book." Nemesis palmed his face and rocked nervously.

"I read enough to know it was not to be read. I purged the memories of my droids; they've forgotten all but this: that your mother made this Christmas drink and you'd always wanted one. Burn my droids if you feel any better but they've come bearing the gift you'd always wanted. Suit yourself, I'm long gone."

"Wait, again, how?"

The droids laughed, "who would ever suspect an MK1 fully fitted with yellow artifacts? She moves in irregular bursts."

"And Runa?"

"I set your flagship to overclock its engines, probably fried over fifty lickers for each crew member burned in that. I set course to ram Runa. I almost feared he'd let us hit, but we only breezed through his Khador wake of dust."

Nemesis sat dumbfounded at the story. The first robed droid presented him a steaming cup of wolf-reisser brandy with the familiar hint of Christmas cheer. "Merry Christmas, Nemesis." The robed droids each smiled at him.

"Get out." He grunted. The droids nodded politely and he continued to sit staring into the vapors of a drink he had wanted since before he could remember. Memories burned more than fizz, more than miswired engines. He nearly wished the book had burned. He looked at it, sitting on his desk.

"Merry Christmas, Mom." He drank deep the sweetness. After a moment, he pressed his wrist's comm. "Lieutenant? Prepare for a briefing. No fizz until I'm there."
Community Manager

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Unread post Re: [EVENT] Xmas Story Contest by Ruediger » 5. January 2016 14:45
Thank you very much for all these great stories and poems. This is really awesome, there are so many entries that it will take us a few days to read all of them and pick the winner.
Community Manager

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Unread post Re: [EVENT] Xmas Story Contest by Ruediger » 21. January 2016 13:51
We are well into the New Year and some of you might have wondered what happened to the story contest. Well, you gave us a lot to read and it took some time, but we also had great fun reading your stories and enjoyed this task a lot.

However, the task to pick the winners was extremely difficult with so many great stories and poems. If your story wasn’t picked this does by no means mean that we didn’t like it and of course this is just our judgement, you might have picked completely different stories or poems. I hope you all had fun writing these entries to our Xmas competition, even if you are among the winners.

But now it is time to announce the winners. Here they are:

1st Place
Merry Christmas from Casper and Friends
by Narfi

An awesome and funny variation of the well-known Christmas poem “Twas the Night before Christmas”. We really loved the way it was presented, not only as mere text but with a lot of graphic creativity.

Narfi, can you please let us know who should get the prize and also let us know the name of the planet system you would like to have. In addition you will enter the Hall of Fame, and you will receive 100 Void Crystals as well as 100 artifacts of each color.

2nd Place
A Different Solution
by Aurinsaint

This exciting Galaxy on Fire Christmas story with a very interesting twist.
Aurinsaint has received 25 artifacts of each color and 25 Void Crystals.


3rd Place
A Voids Heart
by Zouhdor

Finally we know that even the Voids have a heart. What a relief.
Zouhdor has received 25 artifacts of each color and 25 Void Crystals.

Congratulations to all the winners and thanks a lot to all who participated!