A new Holiday
Holiday - WINNER - 2019 Science Fiction Short Story Contest
“How do we decorate?”
“Yes, how does this work, this Christmas? We have no traditions like this,” said Aido.
Jai looked out into the blue Neptune sky. “I heard that there is green and red.”
“Green we know, but what is this red you speak of?”
“I only know of rumors. Long ago there were stories of peoples that used these terms for what they called colors. Maybe there is history in the archives. You must investigate.” Jai sat back down in the cloud chair. “It is now your job, Aido, to find this information. Report to me once you find this out.” He dismissed Aido with a wave.
Aido bowed at the waist and left the round room that was carved from the Neptunian ammonium-based rock.
Jai raised out of his chair and wandered back to the ammonia window. Great waves of gas flew by, a storm, he thought. It was that time of year. The stormtime. He would have to take great caution when he left for his habitation cave. Christmas, what a curious idea. It would be interesting what Aido could find in the archives.
Human habitation from Earth to Neptune had taken place in the 23rd century. Several thousand people had taken the trip to the planet and had colonized a few areas. Quickly those colonies had become large cities. But as the centuries wore on, the humans had died out. It seemed that the Neptunian gravity and atmosphere were not the best for the human body. Babies died in childbirth and often some Earth humans actually ventured out without protection to die within seconds. The Earth humans did leave a vast library with archives of history and culture. The Neptunians often consulted these archives. The blue creatures were amused at pictures and strange markings of the humans from Earth.
A knock at the door made Jai turn around.
Muou came into the room. Her blue hair and yellow eyes were especially lovely to Jai. He welcomed her visits to his office.
“Welcome kind Muou. How may I help you?”
Muou bowed, her blue hair touched the stone floor. “Supreme kind Jai, I come in search of your assistance.”
“You may rise.” Jai sat back in his chair. He was curious as to Muou’s request.
“I ask that you grant me permission to travel to Titania. I wish to visit my Opa and Oma. They live there now,” She again bowed at the waist and waited for Jai’s answer.
Jai thought for a second. “Do your parents like living on the moon?”
Muou raised up quickly with a big smile on her blue face. “Oh yes, Supreme kind Jai. I mean, yes, they do.” She bowed again, her blue hair touched the stone floor. “They moved to the moon when Opa got too old to work the stone mines.”
Jai smiled and thought her more lovely than the flowers that bloomed in the wondertime. “Well, then, you may go. And on the next transport. I will make the arrangements for you.”
Muou raised her head and then bowed to leave, but first she said, “Thank you so much, Supreme kind Jai.”
“Before you go, kind Muou, have you heard of something the people from Earth called Christmas?”
“Christmas, Supreme kind Jai?” She stood with a puzzled look on her blue face. Her blue hair was long and hung to the floor, covering her blue body. “I do not remember hearing that kind of word.”
“Very well. I will arrange the transport for you to Titania. You may leave tomorrow.”
Muou bowed again, her blue hair touched the floor again. As she backed out of the round room, Jai watched her leave.
In forty galupi, Aido returned with his research. “I am sorry to take so many galupi, Supreme kind Jai. It took many gals of work in the archives. I would first work one gal, then another gal went by and then a whole galupi it seemed. But I was able to find this.” Aido showed Jai a book.
Adio bowed and brought the book to Jai and laid it on his carved stone desk. Jai sat upright in his cloud chair and turned the pages.
“Kind Aido, is this book about Christmas?”
Aido remained bowed before Jai. “I think it is, Supreme kind Jai. I see the color green. And I think that is the color red. However, we do not have a name for that color in our own language. I also found a translation of this book in the archives.”
“Do you have the translation with you, kind Aido?”
Aido’s blue hair touched the floor as he remained bowed. “I can get the book for you, Supreme kind Jai.”
“See that you do. Bring it to me. I wish to read more about this Christmas idea. It may be something I like.”
Aido backed out of the room and left Jai alone with the book from the archives. Jai could see the blue gas waves again from the window. He wondered if Muou was enjoying the time with her Opa and Oma on Titania. Soon the stormtime would be over and the wondertime would come. Then the lovely flowers would bloom for a galupi. Perhaps Muou would return by then and he would put one of the flowers behind the ear on her lovely head.
In a short time Aido returned to Jai. Accompanying him was a helper, Kensu. They brought the translation of the human book.
Jai heard the knock on the round door to his round room. “You may enter.”
“Supreme kind Jai, we have brought the translation for the human book.” Aido and Kensu stood in the doorway. They held the translation stone between them. They bowed before Jai, their blue hair touched the stone floor.
“Kind Aido and kind Kensu, come show me the translation stone. Let me read what it says about this Christmas of the human people.”
The two Neptunians approached Jai. They laid the translation stone on the stone desk then bowed and backed away.
Jai let his finger and eyes read every line of the carved images. When he finished, he looked at the two messengers. “Are there any humans still on Neptune?”
Aido and Kensu looked at each other. Their heads were still bowed. They spoke in a whisper to each other in an ancient language,
“Speak to me in the new language! Are there any humans left on Neptune?” Jai demanded.
“Supreme kind Jai, it has been told there are humans still living in the caves near Aeida. They are the descendants of the space explorers sent here many makeortr ago.” Kensu told this to Jai then bowed his head again, and backed away to bow near Aido.
Jai stood and walked to the two messengers. He laid a hand on each blue haired head.
“Thank you, kind Aido and kind Kensu, for bringing me this translation stone. Now bring me a human from the caves near Aeida to tell me more about Christmas. I wish to make Christmas a day we can celebrate on Neptune. We will use the colors green and red.”
“As you wish, Supreme kind Jai.” Aido and Kensu backed out of the round room and into the outer stone hall of the Supreme Jai’s building.
“Why did you tell the Supreme kind Jai that there are humans living near Aeida? That is a myth.” Aido looked at Kensu. He spoke in the ancient language they shared.
Kensu gathered his blue hair into a knot and threw it behind his back. “My Abu told me she saw them a galupi ago in the market. They are not hard to mistake, Aido. Abu would not lie to me. Her eye is sharp and she knows a human. They cannot live anywhere but the caves, and the market is at the entrance to those caves.”
“Very well, if you are sure. We will try to find a human that knows about this Christmas idea. Make plans to leave before the gal is over. Tell Abu but no one else about the plan.” Aido gathered up his blue hair into a knot like Kensu’s. Then they opened the round door and got into the round transport waiting outside.
Before the galupi was over, Aido and Kensu returned to visit Jai. This time they brought a few humans from the caves near Aeida. It had taken some time to convince anyone to come. They had to find a human that still believed in Christmas. It seemed that there were still a few people that believed in the idea of a baby being the Messiah, the three Wise Men, the shepherds, and the Virgin Birth. All this had to be explained to Aido and Kensu through an interpreter, who had to be found in the market at the entrance to the caves. This interpreter had to be paid, an expense neither Aido nor Kensu had expected. Then they had to stay an extra few days, another expense they had not expected.
Finally during the wondertime they arrived back at the round office of Jai. They knocked on the round door.
Aido and Kensu entered with their human guests. They all bowed in the presence of the Supreme Jai.
“Supreme kind Jai, we have returned with humans to explain the Christmas idea.”
Jai was standing near the ammonia window with Muou. She had a flower over her ear and her blue hair covered her blue body and fell to the stone floor.
“You may rise. Bring the humans closer to me.”
Aido and Kensu brought the humans to the stone desk. “This is Joseph Blake and Mary Johnson. These humans live in the caves. They believe in the Christmas idea. We have spent almost a galupi learning about this idea, and now they will share it with you, Supreme kind Jai,” said Aido. Aido and Kensu bowed and backed away from the desk, leaving the humans standing before Jai.
Joseph Blake and Mary Johnson were dressed in long robes, the chosen clothing of humans on Neptune. They understood nothing of what was said. Jai looked at them with kindness and walked around to the front of the round stone desk. He motioned to Muou and she too moved to the front of the desk.
“Muou, you will help me to understand these humans. You understand their language, you have told me. Please tell the humans what I desire to know about the Christmas idea. And now Aido and Kensu, you may leave. I thank you for your service. Your accounts have been credited for the expenses you had during the cave time. Be well.”
“Thank you, Supreme kind Jai.” Aido and Kensu remained bowed and backed out of the round room through the round door.
The blue Neptunians gathered their blue hair into knots and threw the knots over their backs. They went to the round door where the round transport was waiting.
“It is the wondertime, Aido,” said Kensu. “This time is short. I will now go find Abu and we will celebrate.”
“Be careful or you will have more little Kensus in your life.” Aido was smiling at his companion.
“I hope to be that lucky, my friend. May you find a being as kind as Abu,” Kensu said.
“Perhaps soon,” Aido said.
In another galupi, the Supreme kind Jai made a proclamation to all Neptunians. The time between the wondertime and the stormtime, that short gal that had no name, was from henceforth and forever in Neptune time, to be known as the Christmastime. This was a time of Red and Green, of presents, of new life. All were to celebrate.
Kensu read the proclamation and smiled. His blue face and yellow eyes were happy. Abu would give him another Kensu around the Christmastime. It was, after all, a time of new life. They were planning a big Red and Green celebration.