A Marvel-ous Christmas

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December 2021 Christmas Holidays Story Contest Entry

 

A Marvel-ous Christmas

 
I can’t believe how weird my world has gotten.

Like, take where I’m living right now. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

It's a nice place, but as we approach Christmas, it just seems wrong to be in a place with no snow.

I grew up in Alberta, and snow at Christmas is just how things go, and I miss it terribly.

But the big reason my life has gotten weird has to do with why I’m here.

I went and got super-powers, like an idiot.

It’s not like we don’t already have a ton of super people running around. I mean the Avengers alone must have like a hundred members, but dopy me, I had to go join the caped crowd.

Not that I wear a cape. I did see the movie “The Incredibles” after all.

My actual costume is entirely the fault of my friend Brianna. I wear what would be called camouflage, except it’s pink.

She also gave me my code-name: The Pink Soldier.

I’m lobbying to change it, promise.

But I have to admit it suits my powers. I had gotten . . . err . . . probed by an extra dimensional device, and when I got angry at it, it decided I must be a warrior, and decided to help me be the best warrior possible. I’m now strong, fast, and know a lot about all kinds of fighting. I also have an energy gun and an energy baton, both of which are powered by me rather than technology.

Besides being a sister from another mister and occasionally a pain in the butt, Brianna is also a trainee here, and her own costume is just a one-piece swimsuit. I’d be jealous, but when she’s doing the hero stuff she looks like the Thing’s long lost cousin, and goes by the code name “The Grey Granite”.

Luckily, unlike the Thing, who as far as I know can’t become human, Brianna can, even though it takes some concentration.

She’s a mutant, although us teammates are the only ones who know that.

The people who run this place have taken a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on the subject.

I don’t care, because she’s my friend and my teammate, and those matter more than any stupid predjudice.

Besides Brianna and I, there are two other girls in our training unit, which we jokingly call “Zeta Flight”, Olivia and Tellas.

Olivia, who uses the code-name Radiance, came to us after she had caused a city wide blackout trying to test one of her inventions. The invention she currently uses most is a home-made suit of power armor, and even though she’s a little shy when not inside her suit, we have managed to become friends.

Tellas, (I think that’s how you’re supposed to pronounce it), is our newest recruit, somehow arriving here by way of a dimensional portal. They stuck her with the code-name the Golden Princess, but she doesn’t seem to mind much. She’s a mage, channeling magic through the tiara she wears. She’s still learning English, but she seems like a good person, at least so far.

I can’t wait to show her a few Disney movies.

****
Okay so, up to today, all we did was study regular school stuff as well as Canadian law regarding superheroes, and train for the day we would be sent out on a real mission.

I had the feeling the people who run this place were in no hurry to send us out, maybe because we’re still teens, but that changed today, when an honest-to-goodness angel showed up at our door.

Yes, an angel.

White robe, halo, and wings.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. I mean Thor is real, and an Avenger. So why wouldn’t there be angels?

The head honchos rushed her inside, leaving our training group doing nothing but staring with our mouths open.

But not for long, as our trainer got us back to practicing our powers.

An hour later, the brass came back with the angel in tow, and had us line up in front of them.

The head honcho shouted, “Recruits! This is Morel, an agent of the Heavenly Host operating here on Earth. She needs a group of people with a particular characteristic to assist her in an important mission, and as it happens, all you recruits have it. So she will debrief you, then you will suit up and go where she tells you. Remember that despite her appearance, she is going to be in charge in the field. I expect all of you to follow her orders, and come back having done your duty with honor. That is all.”

Within moments he and all the other brass were marching back into headquarters, with even our instructor joining them, leaving us with the angel.

As soon as everyone else was out of sight, she changed.
Her halo dimmed, and her wings folded up and vanished.

Very quickly, she looked like a very normal teen girl.

She spoke softly, “Sorry, I’m ... new at this. I was an ordinary girl, but last week . . . well, I kinda died. And then got recruited for this job. The Morel stuff is my title, I guess you’d call it. But as I hope we’ll be friends, please call me Talia, because that was my name before I got drafted.”

“What is it you need us for?” Brianna asked.

“Well, it's a bit complicated. I don’t know if you know this, but Santa Clause is real.” Talia replied.

“I’ve heard that.” I said.

“Well, he’s in trouble, and needs help.” Talia stated.

“Okay, but why come to us?” Olivia asked.

“Because the area around Santa’s workshop has a distortion field, unless you’re a child, you can't get in.” Talia responded.

“We’re not children!” Tellas shouted.

“We’re all under eighteen, that’s what matters.” Talia replied calmly.

At that moment, our instructor came back, and we were sent to our barracks to pack supplies for the mission. The biggest new addition was a set of uniforms for each of us, and our instructor told us they were specially designed to keep us comfortable even in the extreme conditions at the North Pole. Once we were packed, our instructor showed us the mode of transport we were to take.

I never saw anything quite like them. They looked like eggs sitting on a stand, but when each of us touched one, the “egg” opened showing a seat.

Tellas and Olivia both blushed, and admitted they had collaborated to make these “eggs”, but they would do the job of getting to our destination quickly. Once there they would sort of fold up and Olivia would be able to store them in her armor until we would need them to get home.

We climbed into our “eggs”, and then we were off.

Off to the North Pole, to help Santa.

From what I’ve heard, not the weirdest first mission a team has had.

Honestly, there isn’t a whole lot I can say about our trip north. We flew up into the sky high enough that I could not tell just how fast we were travelling, but since we started descending about five minutes after we took off, I can only assume it was very, very fast.

Approaching the distortion field was weird, as I saw kind of a double image. For a moment, I saw ice, and water, and some animals doing what they do, and then when I blinked, I saw a village, and up on a hill, a massive factory with what looked like a gingerbread house on top.

We landed just outside the distortion field and quickly Olivia “folded” the eggs into her armor, and then we cautiously moved forward.

But as soon as we crossed into the field area, Tellas clutched her head, and said, “There is powerful, malevolent magic here. We must be wary.”

I nodded. I considered splitting us up, so I asked Olivia, “Can you get any readings on the inhabitants of this village?”

“My readings show that everyone has gathered around the factory, at least on three sides.” She told me.

“Three sides?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she said, “nobody on the far side at all.”

“Can we get to that side without having to go into the crowd?” I asked.

She glanced at her armor’s scanning equipment, and said, “Yeah, we can do it.”

I decided splitting up wasn’t the best idea, so I said, “Okay, you show us the way.”

We went in single file, Olivia in front, me behind her, followed by Talia, then Brianna, and Tellas taking up the rear.

It was surreal. The homes looked as cheery and comfortable as any in a Christmas postcard, but their abandonment by their inhabitants in favor of laying siege to Santa, plus the negative magic that was so strong that even us non-mages felt it, completely ruined the aesthetic.

I would have preferred to go a route that didn’t bring us even close to the crowd, but the road forced us closer.

And then it happened.

Apparently there was a straggler to the gathering, and he clearly saw us.

I tensed, waiting for him to raise the alarm, but he ignored us, and went to join the others.

I released the breath I had been holding, and then considered things.

Before we came here, I had not been able to shake the idea that Santa’s elves would be like Tolkien’s - tall, beautiful, and wise.

If the fellow we had encountered was a good example, none of those seemed to apply and I found myself comparing them to Hobbits instead.

He’d been short, under three feet tall, slightly overweight, and he had a ruddy face, the kind of face you’d expect to find on a person fond of food, drink, and laughter.

Not that he was laughing when we saw him.

Just seeing someone like that being dominated and turned into a puppet made my fists itch, and I got our group to continue towards our destination.

Despite the fact he had ignored us, I still wanted to keep encounters to a minimum, but I now felt we could sacrifice some stealth in favor of speed, so we hurried as best as we could.

As we got closer to the factory, the contrast between the silence from within and the crowd murmuring outside was actually a little frightening.

Then we got to a place that showed why the crowd was gathering on three sides.

There was a path up all the way to the house on top of the factory, but it was steep, probably too steep for the Elves at least as long as they were under control.

Since our alternative was to try and get through the crowd, we decided to make the climb.

Now, we could have flown, I can fly, and so can Olivia, Tellas, and of course Talia. And if we’d wanted to we could have found a way to take Brianna with us. But the tactical download the probe gave me warned of the risk of exposure, so we climbed instead.

It was not an easy climb, and I wondered who used this path normally, since it seemed so impractical, but eventually, we got to the top.

And that’s when I saw that while there was an entrance to the house up here, that entrance was guarded, even if the guard wasn’t dressed like any guard I’d seen.

She looked to be a teen, with cat-like ears and a tail, and she was wearing what I could only think of as a French Maid outfit. It had a tight top, a short skirt, what appeared to be fishnet stockings, and high heeled boots.

Despite her uniform, my tactical senses told me to not underestimate her, so we climbed up onto the roof of the factory, and readied ourselves for battle.

She leaped towards us at an incredible speed, and slashed with her claw-like nails, first at Brianna, and then at Olivia. Both staggered back, Olivia’s power suit ripped, and Brianna’s granite-like skin sliced open.

Tellas tried to hit her with a magic blast, but the cat-girl dodged, and landed a kick to Tellas’ stomach, causing her to lose her breath.

Then she turned her attention to me, leaping at my throat with her claws ready to tear into my flesh.

But somehow, the “soldier” program the probe gave me managed to kick in before she struck, and I gave her a full blast to the face with my stun pistol.

She fell to the ground, clearly unconscious.

I checked my team, and realized that Olivia, Tellas, and Brianna, were not as wounded as I had feared, but they would not be in any kind of shape to continue forward.

After some deliberation, we decided the three would stay behind, and Olivia brought out an emergency tent she kept shrunk in her power armor. Once the three were inside, she activated a force field, which would protect them while they recovered.

Meanwhile, it was up to Talia and I to keep going. It was far from ideal, but I figured that small help soon would be better than large help arriving too late.

We entered the door the strange cat-girl had been guarding, and very quickly we could hear someone talking nearby.

We crept towards the area that the sound was coming from, and then I froze as I saw what had happened to Santa and Mrs. Claus.

They were in a large room, with a window that looked out towards the village, and neither looked to be in good shape.

Mrs. Claus was chained to a pole on one side of the room, and Santa himself was sitting in a chair, looking pale and weak, and actually fading from sight. The chair was facing the being I realized had to be responsible for all this.

He was dressed from head to toe in red, with a pair of goat horns on his head, a forked tail that swayed like a cobra, and was holding a trident.

I knew who he was from the briefing we had gotten on major villains, none other than the Devil himself, Mephsto.

I feel certain he would have noticed us, but he was busy monologuing.

He said that Santa replenished his magic at the end of his Christmas eve ride, but if Santa couldn’t go in the first place, Santa would simply vanish, forever.

Not only that, all that magic, all the belief of all the children of the world would then need a new host, and he planned to be that host, using it to corrupt the children, and through the children, the whole world.

He was still going on about the horror he would bring when the cat-girl, who I clearly had underestimated, leaped at him calling him a liar.

I used the distraction to free Mrs Claus, and then just as the bad guy finally managed to knock the cat-girl down, Talia began to sing.

I’d heard the expression, “voice like an angel” before, but this was the real thing.

Then, Mrs. Claus joined in.

In a moment, she transformed from reminding me of my grandmother to a being of almost pure light.

And then, in case I wasn’t surprised enough already, Brianna, Olivia, and Tellas came into the room, looking much better than when I had left them and they joined the song.

And then I could feel the song asking me to join too.

And because my momma didn’t raise no dummies, I did just that.

We were holding our own against Mephisto, but we couldn’t beat him.

Until Santa himself joined in.

The chair he had been trapped in dissolved, and as he stood up, our foe screamed, and vanished.

Santa spread his arms wide, and said to all of us, “Well done. But now we have a ride to prepare for, and I will need all of you to help.”

He took us to an elevator that led down to the factory below, opened the doors, and let the now freed elves in.

Then we went to work.

Presents were finished, wrapped, and loaded onto the sleigh. Even moving at magical speed, it still took more than an hour to get everything in.

Santa whistled, and the reindeer arrived, and Santa told us they had smelled trouble even before Mephisto arrived, and flew to a hiding spot outside the village, and so escaped any harm.

They were quickly hooked up to the sleigh, and then Santa said, “We’re going to pressed for time. Will you girls help me?”

Brianna, Olivia, Tellas, Talia, and I shouted “Yes!” as one.

Santa looked at the cat-girl, and asked, “And what about you, Amethyst?”

She looked down at her feet, and replied, “I . . . I was so angry with you. That’s how Mephisto got me. All I wanted was something, anything, that would help my parents understand I couldn’t be a boy. That it was killing me, especially as puberty hit. He offered me the chance to break into your factory, and take what I needed, what you wouldn’t give me. I’m . . . so sorry.”

“Then make amends, and help me now.” Santa replied.

“I . . . yes. If you’ll have me, I’ll help.”

Santa smiled, and we all piled into the sleigh.

I’ve had good Christmases before, but helping Santa deliver presents was a joy like none other. I was almost sad when we were done.

When we returned to the North Pole, we shared in a feast with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves, and then Santa said he’d send us back to Vancouver instead of us relying on Olivia’s “eggs”.

After a whispered conversation with Amethyst, he told us to take her with us, and said that he’d clear it with our superiors so she could join our team.

Having spent the last while delivering presents with her, I had no objection, and neither did my teammates.

He winked at us, and just like that, we were back in the yard of our training center. Talia said she should check in with her superiors, and after getting a hug from each of us, she flew off, just before our instructor came into the yard to welcome us home.

It was early on Christmas morning, so he convinced the brass to let us go to bed with the promise of a debriefing on Boxing day.

We were woken up at about eleven o’clock by our instructor, asking us to put on the Christmas dresses we had bought just before this adventure began.

Amethyst looked sad, and said she didn’t have anything other than her costume, but our instructor said, “Your friend the angel left something for you, it might suffice.”

He then brought in a garment bag, and when Amethyst opened it up, there was a beautiful winter dress inside, along with all the accessories needed.

Amethyst squealed, and we all congratulated her, and then our instructor told us to come to the mess hall when we were ready, and there would be a Christmas brunch ready.

We dressed, and there was indeed food, and high quality food at that.

Once we were full, and things were cleaned up, we were invited into a rec room that had been decorated for Christmas, and there were presents there for each of us.

Some of them were from our families, some were surprisingly from the brass, but sadly, other than the dress, there seemed nothing for Amethyst.

We went to comfort her, but she said she’d already gotten more than she could have dreamed of.

“Perhaps, but I do have another present for you” said a voice behind us.

We turned, and realized it was Talia, in full angel mode.

She had a box in her hands, and gave it to Amethyst, who opened it, and gasped, saying, “It's from my folks!”

Talia said, “Yes. I got a chance to talk to them. They understand you’re a girl now, and always were.”

Amethyst started to cry, and pulled out a bracelet. It had a number of figures on it, including a kitty-girl.

We all hugged her, and Talia said, “Merry Christmas, everyone.”

End.

Will the girls of Zeta Flight be back? We’ll see!

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Comments

Wow Dorothy, that was

Wow Dorothy, that was different. I don't usually do fantasy stories, but I really enjoyed this one, a great mix of traditional and contemporary fantasies.

Gill x

thank you very much

I'm glad you enjoyed it.

DogSig.png

That's a fun story.

Rose's picture

I enjoyed that. Not my usual cup of tea, but for some reason I enjoyed it. Must have been the singing.

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Hugs!
Rosemary

Nice Dot

Amethyst's picture

It's a very nice 'save Christmas' story. That poor misguided catgirl, I wonder who could have inspired such a character. ;)
I'd like to see more of Zeta Flight... I can has more?

*big hugs*

Amethyst

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Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3