Humans have left earth... has Christmas?
|Word count: 3,532.
Moon Base: Earth-Date 20/12/2154
I stared at the display in front of me, thousands of flashing images shoot across the screen all blurring together. I stop the display on one particular image and instruct the computer to play it back to me in real time. The image shows a young girl barely 5 years old she is talking to her father and asking him about Christmas. The father smiles warmly at her unfolding his arms he asks her what she wants to know this time. The girl climbs into his lap making an exaggerated effort of it, and asks him who Santa is. The man laughs his whole face lights up as if he was really surprised by this question.
"Oh you have been accessing the earth databases again huh? Aren't you a little too smart for your own good?" He wraps his arms around her as he begins to explain. "Santa is an ancient legend about a man in a big red suit that would bring toys to all of the good children of earth on Christmas Eve."
The little girls’ eyes light up and she squeals with excitement "Will Santa will bring me presents on Christmas?" she is squirming to know the answer.
Her father laughs once again and reminds her saying, "We haven't been on earth in a long time honey, and he only brings presents to the children of earth."
She was the only child on this new planet of Tyrand after all, it had been hard to be alone. Her father did his best to spend as much time with her but he still had a job to do so she was left to herself with her nanny most of the time. There were two other children around her age that went on the colony ship, as well as a pregnant woman... but the other two children did not wake up from stasis, and the baby didn't make it to term... Maria had been an object of study as to why she was the only one to survive... it seems, sometimes, that it just wasn't fair to her.
The little girls eyes begin to dim and she starts to tear up, "But I have been good forever, and I've never had a new toy!" she starts to slowly pout and buries her face in her fathers’ chest.
The man starts to rock her back and forth comforting her, "I'm sorry Maria, but because of the limited supplies and energy on the colony we just can't afford to spend resources on things like that".
She nods her head, but keeps the sad face.
I resume the speed of images flashing by and call Randy into my office. Randy’s image phases into the Virtual office I have set up and he materializes a coffee in his hand.
He looks at me after a long sip, "What do you need? I have a lot to take care of! I can't keep coming to your beck and call."
I sigh tired from hours of surveillance, "What do we have slated for the little girl on Tyrand?
"Who?" he asks me, feigning ignorance.
"Maria Torres" I glare at him, starting to become irritated.
"Maria Torres... hmmm." He materializes a list in front of him and flips through it. "You're going to have to be more specific..."
My eyes narrow as I become impatient. "Maria Torres from the planet Tyrand! The only child on Tyrand!"
Randy smirks at me, "We have nothing planned for delivery to her, or any child on Tyrand...how could we have even known about her? Especially considering she is on another freaking planet!"
I close my eyes and rub my beard "She was one of the children sent aboard the colony ship. You should know about her!"
"One of them?" He sets his coffee down and looks at me.
I bend over resting my arms on my knees. "There was two other children around her age that went on the colony ship as well as a pregnant woman... but the other two children did not wake up from stasis and the baby didn't make it to term..."
He gets a serious look and picks up his coffee again, "Well, we did not plan for her, it's not going to be possible."
"I don't care, I want her on my list!" I say in a loud frustrated tone.
"Sir, do you realize how far away that planet is??" he says.
I glance up at him and stand up from my chair, "Yeah, almost 20 light-years so what?"
"That little girl could be dead by now, she should be at least in her 20's!" he says as he starts to walk away.
I frown at randy, "I sent along a communications array with the ship."
"I actually sent a subspace transponder, I wanted to keep an eye on the colonists" I said slowly as I started to pace.
"What is a subspace transponder?" he stared at me intently.
I sighed and started to explain. "I found someone who was working on what they called subspace, one of the benefits of seeing you when you're sleeping. They were basically just scratching the surface of what it was. I got ahold of their research and used my virtual reality computer to analyze it and run 1:1 scale tests using a virtual universe. The results were that this subspace is unaffected by time, basically if something goes into subspace at one place in the universe it can come out instantaneously at any other point in the universe with no observable time distortion on either side. I started sending particles and different types of energy into subspace at first then I escalated and tried to send matter"
"Could you please get to the point?" Randy loudly griped at me.
"Hey, this is actually some really cool stuff!" I said, becoming distracted by the science.
"I honestly don’t care that much... I just want to know how big a mistake you made." he materializes a chair to sit in.
"Well, the subspace transponder that I installed on the ship along with my probes, allows me to send any video feed, that I have hacked into on the colony planet, back here instantly."
"So you’re telling me that this video feed is...?" he looks at me with a piercing eye.
"Live." I touted happily.
"Have you figured out how to transport matter through subspace then?"
I rub my temples, "If you had paid attention to my explanation and let me finish then you would know that no, I cannot send anything physical through subspace."
"So, she will get your present in a little less than 20 years, congratulations she may have kids of her own by then..." he smiles arrogantly.
"No, I need to figure out how to get a gift to her..." I said.
"At our fastest we can only travel at the speed of light, that still doesn't get us there any time soon... and that’s if we don’t blow up again."
"Yeah, yeah I know.... " I looked off into the distance losing myself in thought.
Randy set the coffee down on my desk and dematerialized.
I sat down in a floating chair that appeared behind me and brought up the old North Pole station in the VR.
As I looked out over the frozen tundra I wondered what my father would have done in this situation... He had made it his personal mission to make sure that no child ever missed Christmas. He developed faster than light travel when I was a young boy several hundred years ago and moved the "north pole" to the moon when the people of earth started developing space travel technology. Now that they had started colonizing and moving to different solar systems and galaxies...how was I supposed to keep up? We usually can stay several steps ahead of their technology by using their own progress and utilizing it as a whole instead of competing with each other... If only they had learned to cooperate sooner, they might have been at this point 500 years ago... Now though... They are catching up and technology is expanding and growing at an exponential rate, they will probably only be a step or so behind me from now on... I looked down the tower at the calm white expanse below me... I think it might be time...
"Randy! I have a plan... but I don't think you're going to like it..." I shouted.
"Oh great what now...” Randy reappeared in the VR.
"I know how I am going to get a present to Maria."
"Oh please do tell... let me guess...MAGIC!"
I scowled at Randy, "Shut up, no! Listen... I am going to contact the scientist who is working on subspace right now and bring him up to speed with all of our research..."
Randy stiffens getting an angry look on his face. "You’re right, I don’t like it. That is not going to happen! Never in a million years. You cannot interfere with them... You have been given a lot of leeway with your annual gift delivery but I will not allow this kind of direct involvement."
"Who are 'They' anyway!? I'm so tired about hearing about 'Them' and what 'They' can do to me if I don’t obey.... I’m sending all of the information I gather back to them anyway... why do they care!?
"Your father had the same questions and he got the same answers"
I muttered to myself frustrated that I couldn't ever get through to Randy.... Randy was an artificial intelligence that "They" sent to monitor my families progress... "Progress on what!?" I thought to myself... "Why do you choose to look like that Randy? You look ridiculous." I yelled across at him.
"Well I chose it at first so as to be unintimidating and then when I got spotted a few times and they called me an elf I decided to keep it....now I keep it because I know it annoys you..." He laughed in the most artificial way.
"It doesn't annoy me I just think you look stupid..." My dad loved Randy, thought he was funny and liked his sarcasm... Me, I could do with less attitude...
I'm going to do it anyway... I just had to think of how I could pull it off....
- - - - - - - -
A man shuffled awake from his desk and scrambled to put on his glasses he blinked his eyes a few times trying to bring the computer screen into focus before becoming wide eyed....
"I am Mr. C. I am sorry to barge in like this, I know it's late but I have a favor to ask of you..."
The man put his hands to his face under his glasses rubbing his eyes
"I need to get some coffee," he said, "I am seeing things..." He stood up went to his kitchen poured himself a cup of coffee and came back. When he sat down he looked back at his screen almost disappointed that I wasn't a hallucination... He took a sip of his coffee and said sarcastically, “What can I do for you Mr. C? Do you need my nose to guide your sleigh?" He said this as he furiously typed on his keyboard trying to trace or block me.
I feigned a laugh and addressed his trace. "Mr. Hoffer, you won't be able to trace me...you'll find that the signal seems to originate in California but I am piggybacking off of a satellite who thinks I'm in California..."
"Oh really?" He says without stopping
I decide I'm going to get down to it and explain my call... "Listen Samuel I don't have time for this I need you to do me a favor, I have been observing you and your research for a while now, and I have actually taken quite an interest in it... I have begun to study subspace myself actually."
At this he stopped typing... "What do you know! Who told you!? How did you get my research???"
I tried to calm him down... "Let me explain Mr. Hoffer... your sarcastic remark was actually correct.... I am Santa clause or whatever name you'd like to give me..."
He stared blankly at the screen....
"You know? Sees you when you're sleeping, knows when you're awake?"
the man laughed heartily as if he had been pranked "So you knew I was sleeping and barged in any way!?"
"Yeah, that was kind of rude on my part, sorry..."
"Ok let's say I buy just for a minute that you're Santa because I'm still delirious from being woken up so abruptly... Why would 'Santa' be studying my research!?"
"I'm glad you asked! Actually it's Santa related. Well, not really, but kind of... I need to get a gift to a little girl who left on the colony ship several years ago... they landed earlier this year and now I need to get her Christmas..."
Mr. Hoffer looked at me incredulously... "Are you out of your mind?? Do you know how many problems there are with that story...?"
"Yes, I know it's hard to believe but it's the truth"
"OK how could you possibly know they have landed they're 20 light-years away and have no way of communicating a message to us that they have landed within a year..."
"Well that's where your research comes in...I have almost perfected it, but it is stable enough now that I can use it for what I need, but I can’t come right out and announce that I have done this, you need to..."
"What do you mean, how could my research have anything to do with the colony ship??"
"Well... I have found a way to send signals and energy through subspace, as long as I have a sender and receiver on both sides I can send messages through subspace... instantly."
The old man blinks his eyes and scratches his head, "Well I have always thought that it was possible and theorized this but I am decades away from testing this.... how could you have possibly done this?"
I send my files to his computer, "If you look closely at the file I just placed on your desktop, you will see what I modified and how I accomplished the task, as well as my failures with transporting matter... did not go well..."
The old man browses through the files for a few minutes his mouth slowly falls open..."H.. how did you do this? I...I can’t even begin to understand ... how?? "
"Listen, you will have these files for the rest of your life to study what I sent you, but for right now I need you to just get the gist so you can make an announcement..."
"An announcement?? 'Oh hey I just had the breakthrough of the century overnight...and Santa needs to use it' do you really expect that to go down well?"
"I have thought it out... I know how you can announce it and how you could have had the breakthrough overnight..."
"The real problem is trying to convince everyone that the reception array was conveniently accidentally already built into the colony ship..."
"Wait what? You expect everyone to believe that? "
"well yeah, I think that it will work for now... people will ask questions later when they understand the technology later but for now I think everyone will just be happy sending communications back and forth and most importantly....energy..."
"Why do you need to send energy? "
"it is a commodity on the colony, there isn't any fossil fuels so the limited energy they can collect from the sun has to be used very efficiently and 3d printing uses a lot of energy...so, if I can get them a lot of energy their quality of life will improve dramatically and most specifically I’ll be able to 3d print a toy for the little girl who survived the trip."
"You’re doing all of this to give one kid a Christmas present? "
"You unlocked the mystery of subspace and instantaneous transmission of energy for a freaking kid?"
"Wow you really are Santa aren't you? No one else in all of history would be so charitable with a discovery like this..."
"Well yeah, I am Santa...so I give presents..."
"Ok, ok fine ill figure out how to announce this... what are you going to do?"
"I am going to make the blueprint for the 3d printer so it can make exactly what Maria wants."
"Well, have fun with that... I have to write my Nobel Prize acceptance speech."
"Hello, do you copy are you receiving our transmission?" a woman's voice is heard scratchily through a radio transmission.
"Hello, yes we are receiving your transmission identify yourself"
"My name is Melissa Craven President of the United States of America, who am I speaking with?"
"This is George Tidwell of the earth colony ship Intrepid, are you in orbit of the planet? Our sensors haven't picked up any incoming ships or anything, where are you transmitting from?"
"I am transmitting from earth"
"Bullshit, is this some kind of joke? Where are you? If I find out what quarters you are transmitting from you will be dealt with swiftly"
"No this is not a joke a scientist here on earth named Samuel Hoffer has created what he calls subspace transmission, as luck would have it your ships communication array was equipped with a device he was able to interface with and we can now communicate with you live... do you have a monitor hooked up to this communication channel?"
"Um… yes hold on!" Tidwell shuffles around frantically, finally turning on the monitor and after some tweaking the video feed comes through "Wow! You’re actually on earth! Although I don't recognize you... "
"Yes I know. I was only a teenager when you left earth."
"Wow this is amazing... I will push this feed through to all of the monitors in the station if that's ok with you?"
"Yes that was my next order of business. I have an announcement for the colonists"
Tidwell connects the feed and informs the president.
"Hello Intrepid colony!"
People look up in terrified surprise
"My name is Melissa Craven, I am the current president of the USA and I have great news! This video is live, I am talking to you in real time."
The colonists looked at one another in disbelief.
"Thanks to research by Samuel Hoffer and some luck, we are not only able to communicate with you, but we can send charged particles with current through this subspace channel. This will provide your colony with supplementary power so as to improve the quality of life on your colony."
The colonists perk up and some even start to cheer. The smaller star of this solar system means that the days are shorter and the little energy they can collect from the sun cannot be wasted on frivolous things like hot water and reading lights.
The President goes on to say "The only thing that Mr. Hoffer has asked for, in exchange for using his research to communicate with the colony, is that a gift be 3d printed for every child living in the colony for Christmas. We have a genuine Saint Nicholas here in Mr. Hoffer and we were happy to oblige him. I have sent through 3d blueprints for these toys to be printed, thank you all for your sacrifice and willingness to participate in this mission. I as well as the whole world am thrilled that you were able to make this journey."
Maria looks at her father with a huge smile on her face, "See! I told you Santa was real! Now I get my Christmas present!"
Her father looks down at her with a tired smile, "You know, somehow, I just knew it would work out for you. You truly are the luckiest little girl alive, you know that?
She grins and skips down the hallway, "I'm not lucky dad! Santa wanted me to have a Christmas present!"
I sit back taking a long sip of my coffee. I smile to myself watching Maria happily dance around waiting for Christmas.
Randy phases into my virtual world. "Shouldn't you be getting ready?" He said.
I looked at his punchable elf face. Why he decides to have that appearance I will never know, but I will hate it till the day I die. I reclined in my chair and said "I don't have anywhere to be for a few hours and I already made the longest trip first."
"Well aren't you pleased with yourself," he said snidely looking sideways at me "you got away with it, they were kind enough to let it slide given your preoccupation with this holiday...but they won't let it happen again"
I didn't let him get to me. I didn't need to know who they were right now, and I didn't care. Maria was happy and soon every child on earth was going to receive a gift from me and the world will be peaceful for a few days.