(AUTHOR'S NOTES: Okay, so Hiatus is off as it's christmas day and I know some people will get bored during the day and check the computers, here I am dishing you a dose of Christmas-y Spartans... So, okay, festive chaos. Anyway, the glassing of Reach happens before Christmas so this is a non-canon part of POR. However, see if you can guess what's going on...)
Reach Time: 00:01
Date: 25th December 2552 - Christmas Day
Location: UNSC Storm Control; Warrant Officer Orso's Quarters
I hadn't been asleep that long with all the noise from the lower decks, I'd stayed up thinking to myself instead. The racket would have made it impossible to sleep anyway but I thought to myself about the lights and the trees and the cheer that was going on around Storm Control. I couldn't help but feel warm about the fact such an ancient archaic holiday could actually bring everyone together; I mean, we sat to eat with ODST troopers and Cyph3r behaved. A rare occasion.
Once my train of thoughts had stopped though and I'd cleared my mind I tried to make my way to sleep, not long after finding my way though; Cyph3r on the dot of 1 minute past midnight stormed into my room and screamed at the top of his lungs: "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"
After the initial shock of the surreal image of Cyph3r in his boxer shorts screaming in my room, my eyes adjusted to the dark and I could see the others were all in the door way: Rodriguez stacked high with presents; Johnathon trying to act cool and pretend he wasn't excited; Cyph3r still dancing about half naked; and two others stood at the door way...
Xiang stared intently...
The two others Renuku and Turner stood back, estranged not sure as to what to say really but nonetheless looking merry Renuku rubbing his bald head and Turner beaming a stupid grin. "SANTA'S CAME TO TOWN BOYS AND GIRLS!" yelled Cyph3r a bottle of Jack in one hand and somehow six glasses in the other "Dish out the presents big boy and let's get the drink flowing!" I'd never seen Cyph3r so excited for anything as much as he was for this, he helped Rodders put out piles of presents although small but piles all the same neatly by alphabetical order even. So he was first, of course.
And Xiang soon let out a tear of joy as she watched the childish antics of her lover unfold...
"Ok, everyone, one at a time..." said Cyph3r explaining the rules " Renuku get over here!" he yelled pulling the dark skinned individual to the circle. "C'mon!" Renuku watched his commander and sat beside inbetween him and Rodriguez an intimidating place but he saw nothing of it and looked around, seeming unsure. "I don't know if I should do this y'know..." he murmured anxiously "But I don't-"
"Oh be quiet, hippy, they're presents open them.!"
Xiang laughed to herself watching it unfold as Renuku had present upon present shoved on him by all of us, laughing and joking.
We'd been sensitive, we'd got him things we knew he'd like, things that would remind him of his home; native art, music and even a strange instrument which none of us could figure how to play. He seemed overjoyed and I felt warm just watching, looking at one of the presents Cyph3r had gotten me. "Ok," I gulped opening the top of the lid with great excitement...
My face was black with soot as the parcel exploded but left a huge weight in my hands, Cyph3r was laughing repeating "I got you Bear!" over and over and I examined what i had in hand. A smile crept across my face; it was a picture of all of us, armour on but helmets off smiling and me squirming as Turner continously pinched my bum to make me ruin the photo. I giggled. And then Muse company arrived.
Even Xiang raised an eyebrow...
"Anybody know somebody who'd like to kiss a girl under the mistletoe?" Tanja purred seductively to a chorus of responses but I sat quiet. The rest of Muse Company followed all wearing the same skimpy Santa's little helper garbs; red, revealing, white trim and most of all probably one of the sexiest things I'd ever seen and as she swayed towards me holding the mistletoe over our heads. I felt my heart in my throat. Thumping away to pump blood to certain areas; one not being my brain as I couldn't even put a sentence together...
She kissed me and Xiang wolf whistled as I lingered for a second, both of us smiling at one and other "Good stuff poo-head." laughed Tanja as the rest of the girls came in "Pick a boy ladies they're on me!" Flocking in they each chose but Cyph3r, with all his will and might resisted temptation and got up. "We'll open more presents later guys, but now there's a very naughty girl upstairs waiting for a visit from Santa..."
We all got the sexual undertone and we all looked blankly at him; appauled and myself a little bit nauseous form what he just said. He shrugged and simply replied: "What, you're telling me you've never fantasised about doing a girl dressed as St. Nick...?"
"No..." was the reply, form everyone else but he shrugged again.
"Fuck you, I mean... Uh."
"Not great choice, ey, Cy?" Said Tanja, watching him walk out laughing to himself ; Xiang in hysterics on the floor. I laughed as well and Tanja sat on my lap caressed my face. I'd seen why Christmas was so special...
<simulation #555.6/1 terminated - christmas end>
<files: TARTARUS + MUSE Psych closed, christmas engine closed, TARTARUS images: 6636323O; 668329; 686213876; 53; 32321; 1 closed; sim.app closed >
<Goodnight General Xiang>
Location: Unknown VR Simulator.
She took her disk, in a tear stained hand, wiped away the sever flowing damp with her sleeve and lit herself a cigarette. She was sad and happy and angry and confused all at the same time. She found it hard to express all at the same time. All she could do was sigh as she looked back in the now empty room of black panels and snivel to herself alone in the dark and cold.
It wasn't the young feisty Xiang remembered on Reach; her hair was greying and wrinkles now dotted her once flawless complexion . A man wearing a white coat entered saluting quite quickly as he did and looking towards the disc in the general's hand sighed. "I'm sorry ma'am," he said knowing he'd interrupted her "But a new batch just came in and they need-"
"Don't worry Doc, I understand fully." she gasped, trying to appear strong in front of the scientist. He however being a smart man in people as well as science saw through the mask the ageing lady was trying to wear and put a comforting hand on the old veteran's shoulder "May I ask what you were looking at ma'am?"
"S...*sob*...S...Something..." she stuttered "I'll never get for Christmas..."
She walked out, past the new bunch of Spartan soldiers the Doctor had mentioned still wiping fresh tears from her pale, wrinkled cheeks "You ain't my boys and you will never replace them."