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Rated: E · Serial · Steampunk · #2068250
Oh, what to do, what to do! But even with a deadline, someone can find a work-around.
Elias F. Gloriosky was on the verge of learning what a conniption was. It all started on Thanksgiving, when the annual tree was being selected for the quadrangle at Miskatonic University. They had picked out a beautiful tree that stood just over 50' tall. The decorations had been hand made by the students and faculty starting in July and finishing two weeks before Christmas Eve. The tree was beautiful, and the decorations were obviously created with heartfelt intent. As the campus swung into the holidays, provisions were made for the families of each student to come and celebrate the season there on the campus. Thousands were expected to attend, and most had already sent their RSVP's. The cafeteria had stepped into high gear creating a feast all would remember, and people were already starting to arrive when disaster struck.

An errant bolt of lightning generated in Dr. Gloriosky's laboratory in the college of Pandemonia blew out the double front doors and struck the majestic Christmas tree dead center just before sunset. With the tree due to be unveiled this very night, Gloriosky paced up and down the quadrangle, wringing his hands, trying to find a solution to the problem. He just knew he would end up tendering his resignation, if not actually running for his life once this horrifying event was revealed. The Dean had fainted dead away, and had already been taken to the hospital down in Boston. Gloriosky was at his wit's end. Finally, he stopped his pacing, and stood stock still, pondering the debacle that lay before him. Tears were welling up in his eyes as his dreams of a Merry Christmas for the entire Miskatonic family faded away.

Then, it was all gone. The quadrangle had been swept clear of the debris so cleanly that not so much as an ash remained. There, on the ground before him, was an envelope addressed to him. He opened it and pulled out the all white card. It said simply: "Go Ahead and Let Them Gather...We've Got This." At the bottom were the initials "S.K. / O.C." He recognized the handwriting, and allowed himself to feel a bit of hope.

As the crowds began to gather less than an hour later, everyone who arrived was directed to stand in a perimeter around the quadrangle, leaving the center open. Gloriosky began to fidget as the time that they would have unveiled the unfortunate victim of his lightning approached. The darkness broadened, and a hush fell over the crowd. A gasp rose from the crowd as a fresh green tree almost 70' tall appeared in the middle of the quadrangle, with a single bright star at its peak. The crowd gaped in awe as the spectacle before them grew.

It began when a brilliant white airship with green and black trim flashed into existence before their very eyes, spinning around the tree. Before anyone could react, the great ship vanished again, leaving behind it a long, glowing streamer of silver and gold braid that climbed up the tree in a carefully placed spiral. Just as suddenly as that ship disappeared, a second airship blinked into existence, scattering blue and gold ribbons and bows all over the tree before vanishing itself. On and on the cycle was repeated by gaily decorated airships blinking in from the Aether to decorate the great tree before flashing back to allow the next in line to do their part.

At the end of it all, more than a hundred great airships from all places and times had traveled through the Aether to decorate the great tree at Miskatonic for the Christmas of 1927, building the most beautiful tree anyone had ever seen. And at the end of it all, the Airship Pandora settled to earth at the edge of the quadrangle to deliver Spartacus Kane and Owen Coffin with 10 great kegs of fine apple cider from 1857 to share with the gathered multitude.

The feast was a success, and Dr. Gloriosky was able to maintain his tenure. The Dean, on the other hand, went quite mad and was hospitalized indefinitely at the asylum in Arkham.
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