refers to

Possessor


The Christmas Trilogy

by
A Kniggendorf


Part 1: 2086
Christmess!

Part 2: 2087
Possessor: Catmas Cookies

Part 3: 2088
Merry Little Christmas

Part 1: 2086 – Christmess!



     "What's this?" Niko held up a silvery star with sharp points that glinted in the soft honey-colored lights of their Christmas tree. A tiny ribbon was knotted around it.
     Doc looked up from arranging cookies on plates. "Goose brought them. For decoration."
     "But what were they originally?"
     He put the last plate on the windowsill and took the star from her, holding it with three fingers like a frisbee. It swirled across the room, cut through two of the green-and-red paper chains, snipped through the band with the socks, and ended up sticking vibrating in the wall just above the dark green holly garland.
     Niko sighed. "Seems Goose still doesn't quite understand Christmas." She quickly counted the stars in the box, then looked across the room. Her eyes rested finally on the Christmas tree. "Let's put them on the highest twigs where the children can't reach them."
     Doc showed a mocking smile. "You insisted that everybody add something for the party."
     "I don't deny it!" She pulled the ladder closer to the tree, a broad pine Walsh had given them for their office, and stretched, balancing on the highest rung, to put the stars in place.
     "Be careful. You aren't Goose."
     "I know."
     "Really looks good," Doc grinned, looking up at her backside. At her dark look, he hastily added, "If you don't know what they are."
     "We simply won't tell anybody." She opened a box of tinsel and began to scatter it on the lower branches, while Doc started to collect the colored paper and glitter foil that covered most of the table.
     "Oh, no!"
     Niko turned in alarm. "What's wrong?" Doc seemed totally horrified.
     "We're in trouble," he murmured. "Really big trouble. We'll never wriggle out of it before the others arrive."
     "Stay calm, Doc. We'll finish it just in time. Look, the tree's almost decorated and..."
     "That's the problem." He unwrapped the formless parcel he'd found under the heap of papers and foils. "Do you remember the thing Jessie brought us? This supposed-to-be-a-star like those you put on the tree top?"
     "Yeah, it's horrible. But she's very proud of it. And..." She turned abruptly to stare at the tree. "We forgot to put it on!"
     "She'll be very disappointed."
     "We have to get it up there before she arrives."
     "How?"
     Doc looked the tree up, down, and across. It was more than two and a half meters high and at least as wide. In fact, it was nearly round. A wonderful tree nevertheless. But how to get something onto the top when it was already covered with decorations? Maybe...
     "I've got an idea! Wait for me..." The hacker hurried out of the room.

     Niko was sitting on the table, her feet resting on one of the chairs, turning Jessie's star in her hands, when Gooseman arrived. She looked up. Her view whizzed back and forth between him and the tree. "Goose, you can help me!" She jumped to her feet. At his curious look: "I've got to get this onto the top."
     He turned to look at the broad pine. "Why didn't you put it up when the tree was still on its side?"
     "It slipped our minds," she sighed. "It's from Jessie. Can you reach up high enough?"
     "Let me try." He climbed the ladder, stretched for the pine's top. "Guess it's possible." He took the thing from her, leaned over...
     "Hey! This is the antigrav thingie QBall..." Doc rushed into the room and stumbled over one foot of the ladder.
     Shane lost his balance and fell head over heels into the tree. In a torrent of pine needles, glitter, popcorn chains, and garlands, he crashed to the floor. "Ouch!" Silently, tinsel rained down on him, on the tree above him, on Niko's and Doc's hair, and on Jessie's creation lying on top.
     "...wants us to test anyway." Doc finally finished his sentence. "Did I do this?"
     "What's going on here?!" They both jumped to attention, trying to hide the mess behind their backs from Zach and his family and...
     "We're decorating the tree, Commander," Niko managed to explain finally.
     "We just had a little..." Doc searched for the best description. "Accident, sir."
     "I see. But what happened in detail, Rangers?"
     Niko grabbed the thing from the heap behind her. "We tried to put this on the tree when the decorating was almost done."
     Jessie squeezed past her father, reaching for her creation. "On the tree?" She looked, puzzled, at Doc and Niko. "But it's a lantern. You put a light inside it and on the star points you see some Christmas scenes, like Santa's arrival and the stable at Bethlehem." She giggled. "It'd look awful on the tree."
     Niko and Doc stared at each other, looked at the mess behind them, and began to laugh...
     When the laughter finally faded, they heard a faint tapping of fingernails on the floor. Goose's growling voice demanded, "Can – dammit – can someone help me out of here before I do actual damage to this equipment?!"



Part 2: 2087 – Possessor: Catmas Cookies



     Niko heard the rummaging behind her, paused in decorating the tree, and turned in place on the ladder. "Shane, don't plow through the cookies like that." She had brought a huge bowl, almost a barrel, of handmade cookies: cinnamon stars, sweet vanilla biscuits shaped like tiny boots, half moons covered with sugar and candied orange pieces, or almonds, or chocolate... "Why are you excavating the bowl like that?"
     She draped the silver foil garland she was carrying on the upper branches of the pine and descended carefully so as not to step on Possessor. The tiny cat sat at the foot of the ladder, staring at the still swinging garland. His whiskers stood on end, and the tip of his tail twitched. The cat put a daring paw on the first step of the ladder. "Don't you dare!" she laughed, and picked him up.
     "I'm just looking for another cinnamon star." Shane kept digging. "Things taste great." He found one almost at the bottom, sniffed at it, and–
     Niko put the cat down on a chair and slapped his fingers. The cookie fell back into the bowl. "They're for decoration!" He reached for the bowl again and she countered: "You don't want our tree to look bad because you ate all the decorations beforehand, do you?"
     "But..."
     "Shane, please. Do it for me."
     "Okay." He raised his hands, defeated.
     A tiny grey-and-white furry snout appeared at the rim and sniffed at the bowl.
     "Hell!" Niko snatched the cookie bowl away. "Your pet has exactly the same manners as you!" She shook her head, looking from the cat to Goose and back, and began to smile. "You and Poss... you two really match each other."
     The ST narrowed his eyes. "You compare me with a cat?!" He looked offended – and then, amazed, he saw Possessor turn away with an equally offended expression and a just-as-clearly audible sniff of disgust as he jumped down and disappeared under the table.
     "See?" Niko snickered.
     Goose began to grin. "Forget it. – May I have another cookie if I find replacements for them as decoration?"
     "No throwing stars this year!" she warned him.
     "I can paint some hand grenades for you if you like," he teased her.
     "I'm sure there are enough cookies left if you and Poss stop eating now," Niko assured him hastily, then looked around. "Where's Poss? – Did you see where he went, Zach?"
     The captain was sitting at the main table, trying to wrap last-minute presents for his children, who would join them later in the day. Zach looked up and frowned. "No, I haven't seen him. But if I know that cat, you'd better find him soon before he can cause too much trouble." He returned to the brightly colored parcels that he wanted to decorate with golden ribbons. Again, the soft material slipped out of the knot he'd made. This is more difficult every year... He had to start again. Someone should invent 'instant ribbons' – put them on the boxes, add liquid, and it's done. He smiled silently at the weird idea and threw a glance over at his team. They're beginning to infect me.

     Doc lay on the old sofa at the back wall of their office, sound asleep. None of them was angry about that, and none of them dared to wake him, either: he had spent almost all night the night before programming GV and ALMA to sing "Jingle Bells" in canon, and all of them were afraid he might do the same to "Silent Night," too. "Better not to risk it," was the unanimous opinion.
     Niko was already searching under the desks. "He's not here, Shane..."
     "POSS! OUTTA THERE!"
     Niko came up just in time to see the ST leaping to catch the toppling tree as Possessor, wrapped in something silver, jumped, spitting, off the tree, crossed the whole room, and bumped against the door, which slid open immediately.
     "What's up?" Doc on the couch blinked sleepily.
     The cat was gone like a grey-and-silver streak of lightening.
     Goose failed to catch the tree and it fell across the sofa. "HEY!" Doc yelled, fully awake now. "Doesn't someone have to shout 'timber' when a tree falls?" The hacker struggled to free himself, but the large pine pinned him to the sofa.
     "Poss–" Goose turned to follow his cat.
     Niko grabbed his arm. "First we have to free Doc," she said determinedly.
     "Yes!" The voice out of the fallen Christmas tree sounded indignant. "You have to free Doc first. Since it was your cat that buried me!"
     "Don't worry about Poss," Niko assured Goose. "Everyone in the mountain knows your cat. Nothing will happen to him."
     "The cat has no problem, Goose," Doc specified. "I have problems..." The tree on the sofa shivered but didn't move.
     "Don't be so whiny, Doc." Shane heaved the devastated Christmas tree off an almost as devastated Doc Hartford. "The one that buried me last year was much bigger." Goose looked around for a place where he could lean the tree against the wall, found none, and dropped it with a shrug onto the carpet.
     "But you have to consider that I lack biodefenses to deal with it like you, my Goose man." Doc gathered himself up from the sofa.
     "Oh sure!" the ST snorted. "And just because I don't spend three days in MedoStat afterwards, I'm supposed to enjoy it, eh?"
     "Of course, my Goose–" Hartford began, grinning.

     Zachary cleared his throat loudly to interrupt the dispute in the offing. "At least this year nobody's here to witness this–" The captain decided against choosing a description for the situation.
     The door behind him slid aside and Cmdr. Walsh threw a curious look across the room.
     "Welcome to our Christmas Chaos," Niko said dryly and swept the room with a short gesture.
     "How did you know that we were partying, sir?" Doc asked, scrambling out of the remnants of the Christmas tree on the sofa. "We didn't announce it this time." Hartford managed to look almost innocent in spite of the dozens of pine needles and bits of tinsel in his hair and on his uniform.
     Walsh entered the room, pulling a long, silver foil garland after him. Something seemed to pull furiously at the other end. "Well," the commander drawled as he pulled the garland close. "I had a slight hint in that direction."
     Possessor slid, hissing, through the door, his extended claws scraping across the floor, his ears flattened, and his teeth sunk deeply into the garland.
     Niko stared at the cat still pulling furiously at the garland, shrugged, and offered the bowl to the commander. "Some cookies, sir?"
     "Do you have cinnamon stars?"
     Niko put her hand to her temple and groaned. "Oh no, another one!"
     Doc snickered helplessly. More tinsel rained down from him onto the carpet.
     "Goose ate them all, sir," Zachary explained.
     The ST had successfully freed the garland from his cat and was now stroking Possessor's throat. "There's at least one still left."
     Walsh searched and found it. "I really like your unit's Christmas parties, Fox. Things are always happening here."

go to
Possessor: Such A Cute Kitty!

Part 3: 2088 – Merry Little Christmas



     "Do you really believe it was a good idea to have Goose buy this year's Christmas tree, Niko?" Doc asked doubtfully, leaning back in his chair, his feet lying on top of his console. "Not that he plans to create messes, but ..." Hartford stopped, noticing his teammates' dark looks.
     "I have my doubts, too," Zachary said after a while. "Even if he didn't feel uneasy about holidays – especially Christmas – in general, there's still the chance for one of his weird solutions." He took another sip of his coffee, sweet with just a hint of cinnamon in it. Pure luxury, but it was Christmas, after all, and he had his own load of stresses and worries these days.
     "Oh, people, give him some credit, okay?" Niko took another one of her vanilla cookies. "It's his third Christmas party. And I told him he should remember the trees we've had in the last two years when he chooses one."
     "I'm horribly curious about his choice." Doc grinned. "That's for sure!"
     Zachary escaped the need to comment by taking another deep sip of coffee. At the sound of the door sliding open, all of them turned in expectation.
     Goose strolled in, carrying a huge paper bag. A really huge paper bag. Niko frowned. But Christmas trees aren't wrapped in paper bags, they are put in a net to be carried easily. Nothing else. "Where's the tree, Shane?" she asked.
     "Just wait." The ST put the bag down on the main table next to some presents, plates of cookies, and boxes of Christmas decorations.
     All of them got up and gathered around him.
     Gooseman cut open the paper bag and rolled it down, then shoved the boxes and presents aside so that the others could see the contents of the bag.
     Niko froze. "Shane. That's no Christmas tree. That's a pine bonsai!"
     "Yep." The ST flicked two fingers against the tiny dwarf tree and toppled it over. "So no one will get hurt when it falls down later."
     "That's great!" Doc began to snicker. "No, wait, it's the reverse."
     "Hey!" Goose snorted. "You're the one who told me that size doesn't matter!"

END

Big thanks to Elizabeth 'fatima' Bales for her help with English.


I know it is better p.c. to refer to all the rituals and festivities of the various religions and cultures in one season. Since I don't know all those traditions, I'd like to encourage all those fanfic writers out there, to use their genius and talent to write stories about the other events and festivities possible in this season.

Seasons Greetings to everyone
<please choose the one that applies to you.>

Ann


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