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  1. I thought I'd share a project I'd been working on for a while! This is a Ninjago-themed Advent Calendar I designed to put on Lego Cuusoo. I put a lot of work into designing a variety of small and interesting models based on the theme. I'll link to my pictures on Flickr, since I've already given them detailed descriptions there. Also, if you like what you see, I encourage you to support it on Cuusoo! Full Photoset on Flickr All Contents (pictured) Day 1 - Kai Day 2 - Anvil Day 3 - Toy Mech Day 4 - Weapon Rack Day 5 - Zane Day 6 - Snowball Catapult Day 7 - Toy Helicopter Day 8 - Snowman Day 9 - Cole Day 10 - Punching Bag Day 11 - Toy Driller Day 12 - Lamppost Day 13 - Jay Day 14 - Video Game Day 15 - Toy Jet Day 16 - Fireplace Day 17 - Lloyd Day 18 - Presents Day 19 - Toy Trike Day 20 - Christmas Tree Day 21 - Nya Day 22 - Tea and Cookies Day 23 - Sleigh Day 24 - Sensei Claus
  2. Every household has what they consider their own Christmas traditions. Some go out of town to visit relatives, some stay home, and some go on vacations somewhere warm. Then there is the other traditional Christmas stuff. You hang the stockings, decorate the tree and house, cook turkey or ham or roast, you put the present under the tree, fill the stockings, and maybe read ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’ or watch a Christmas movie. Every family does something different, which changes as they age or create their own family household traditions, and The Collins family was no different. There was mom, dad, Kaleigh (17), and Gabriel (14). Every year for Christmas, they had something special they did with their gifts to one another, and it all dealt with the bows. Kaleigh got purple bows on all her presents, Gabriel got silver bows, mother got blue bows, and father got green bows. They did this based on their favorite colors, which have changed over the years for the kids, but the parents’ colors remained the same. This year, just like the previous ones, they wrapped their gifts to each, and placed on the bows. They never used gift tags, just bows. When they woke up, they gathered around the tree and passed out each other’s gifts, giving the correct color to the correct person. They opened their gifts. Sometimes screams of joy would be heard, sometimes laughter, and sometimes just a simple ‘thank you (insert person here)’. After they were all done, the children began picking up wrappers, and when they had everything bagged up and there things were taken to their rooms, they returned to the living room. Their parents were still sitting on the love seat, but something was different. Mom had a big white ribbon with pink dots on it, ending in a big pink bow, around her midsection. There was also a pink gift tag, hanging off of the ribbon, and a pink bow about where her belly button would be and pink bows on the floor and in her hair. Kaleigh asked what was with the bows and ribbon and gift tag. Daddy took the gift tag off of mommy and handed it to Kaleigh. She quickly brought her hand to her smiling mouth and began sobbing. Gabriel asked why she was crying even though he knew why. She handed him the tag and it was as he suspected. The gift tag read: Do Not Open Until August 12, 2013. He brought the tag down to his side, and Kaleigh and Gabriel hurried over to their mother. They hugged her and she returned the warm embrace of her children. Congratulations and celebration filled the rest of their Christmas day and the excitement for next Christmas, in which they would add a new bow to their special family tradition. Any and all comments appreciated and accepted. Thank you!
  3. Souvenirs Here’s to the twilight / Here’s to the memoriesThese are my souvenirs / My mental pictures of everythingHere’s to the late nights / Here’s to the firelightThese are my souvenirs / My souvenirs ~::~ A whiff of sweetness from the pine tree in her living room filled her nose as she walked past the Christmas tree. She stopped for a moment, smelling the sweet, syrupy scent. The lights sparkled around her; lights from the tree; light reflecting off the ornaments; rays from the sun shining an incandescent illumination upon the room through the drawn shades; all part of the conglomeration of lights forming a radiant brilliancy throughout the room...........Music played from a stereo on the far side of the room; “Carol of the Bells.” The music and light filled her with warmth as she observed the room around her. Packages in various states of disarray, wrapping paper torn to pieces, children squealing, giggling with delight in the playroom upstairs as they made use of the goods they had received, their grandparents laughing heartily at seeing the young children at play...........And, for the briefest of moments, it brought a smile to her face. Until tears clouded her vision again; wet globules of water streaming down her unblemished cheeks. She had turned her head to the single, non-Christmas picture hanging on the wall. Her husband, in his USMC Dress Uniform, his expression stoic; so plain just as all military pictures were. Seeing his face only brought more tears, wishing he could be with her now...........But his absence wasn’t the worst part. It was not knowing if he’d ever come home alive; not knowing if he was alive now with the delayed notifications from the chaos of war. An organized chaos, but chaos all the same. She knew his body may never make it home – one wrong step and he may become millions of unidentifiable pieces. An empty coffin with only a flag...........That was what she feared, why she cried herself to sleep every night. Are you alive tonight? was her constant query. Part of her liked to think that she would know – that they were connected by some unseen force, binding them together, letting her know when he breathed and when he didn’t – but she knew that wasn’t possible. So instead she hoped, she prayed, she cried; begging God to give him just one more day. Until the next night when she repeated the same desperate plea...........She lifted her head from her hands, unconsciously having sat on the sofa as the memory of her husband controlled her thoughts. The pine still sharp in the air. The music still playing. The lights still dazzling. Her children still shrieking. Pull yourself together. It’s Christmas for God’s sake. She grabbed a tissue. Wiped her eyes and blew her nose. She sniffled and stood up...........Her children ran down the stairs, proudly displaying their recently acquired gifts. She smiled again as they tugged and pulled on her hands and clothes. She acquiesced, allowing them to drag her into the backyard, then chasing them, tickling them – all the while letting herself become more and more involved in the game, her sorrows melting away through the joyous squealing of her children. Children too young to understand the gravity of their father’s situation. ~::~ Mike Colson, USMC, sat on his cot in Afghanistan. Memories flooded his mind. Memories of his wife, his children, his life. He could see them smiling, playing on the sands of a beach the day before he shipped off. He held a picture in his hands – a small black-and-white portrait of him and his wife taken shortly after they started dating...........“Hey, Colson, c’mon,” one of his fellow soldiers called from the entranceway to the large tent. “We’re making ornaments by the fire outside. It’s Christmas Eve, you know.”..........Colson remained silent, just staring at the picture in his hands. His comrade started to leave when Colson finally spoke, his voice shaky, his eyes watering. “I can hardly even imagine her anymore; it’s been so long since I’ve seen her face.” He paused, choking back tears. “What kind of husband am I?”..........“Colson, don’t do this.”..........Colson looked up and into his friend’s eyes. “This is killing me, Fawley. What kind of man am I when I can’t even remember the color of my wife’s eyes? My children’s faces?”..........“You can’t keep beating yourself over this. We’re in war. It’s an awful mess, but it’s war. You can’t expect to remember all that with all this here. Come on, you’re the only one still in here. Come sit by the fire with us; the warmth may do you some good.”..........Colson nodded, wiped his eyes with his palms, and stood up, following Fawley outside the tent and to the campfire the rest of his squad had created...........Scraps of metal lay around them; shrapnel from explosions. They held pieces of the metal in their hand, forming crosses or other ornaments for the small tree they used as a Christmas Tree, using the fire, tongs and knives to bend the metal into shapes. Smiles adorned all their faces, and deep, hearty laughter could be heard from their lips. The laughter subsided as Colson approached. They welcomed him, motioning to sit, and one threw a piece of metal at him. Colson caught it and opened his hand, revealing a small, iron cross. He smiled inwardly at his comrades, a serene look on his face...........He pulled out the picture of his wife again, a slight smile on his face. “I love you,” he whispered, kissing the picture before putting it away and joining his fellow soldiers’ conversation. ~::~ “Colson,” a soldier called, tossing a package at Colson before making his way through the rest of the room, handing out various packages and letters from loved ones. It was December 28th and the first time anyone had been able to receive mail in a week...........Eager to see what his family had sent him, Colson quickly opened the package, finding a letter, various paper creations from his kids, and A Charlie Brown Christmas recordable storybook narrated by his six-year-old son; their Christmas presents to him. He read through all the letters before he leaned forward and opened the book...........His son’s voice filled the room as the little boy read the book. His eyes watered, tears fell down his cheeks. He closed his eyes, going back in time as more memories of his past life filled his mind; souvenirs of his life at home. When the call for his squad to move out came, he slowly put down the book, gently resting it among the other contents of the package. He picked up his gear, wiped his face and eyes, kissed the picture of his wife, and followed his comrades out the tent and into the cold...........Throughout the fighting that day, throughout all the explosions, all the gunfire, the screaming, one voice and one face stayed with him: his son’s voice and his wife’s face. The voice and face he took to the grave. ~::~ It was New Year’s Eve, and Mrs. Colson was busy cleaning up the house for the small family party they were having later that night. She was walking down the stairs when she saw the two Marines in Dress Blues approaching her house. Immediately she knew what had happened. She knew her husband had been killed...........“No…” she whispered to herself, tears filling her eyes. The Marines saluted through the large glass oval in the door. “Nonono.” She stumbled backward, falling on the foot of the stairs. The tears streamed down her cheeks. She covered her face with her hands as the two Marines stepped forward, opening the unlocked door...........“Ma’am,” one of them started slowly, before telling her what had happened. “He was a hero, ma’am; if it weren’t for him the rest of his squad would have been killed. He’s been nominated for a silver star.”..........When he finished recounting the details, the other said, “we found this clenched in his hand.” He handed her a small picture; the picture her husband had. She accepted it with trembling hands, holding the crumpled, worn image tightly when she received it. Her last souvenir. ~ :: ~ I close my eyes and go back in time / I can see you smiling, you’re so alive I close my eyes and go back in time / You were wide eyed, you were wide eyed These are my souvenirs / My souvenirs ~ :: ~ Song: "Souvenirs" by Switchfoot. I know it's a little late for a Christmas story, but the first half-ish of this I wrote Christmas day and then didn't write any more until two days ago. I've had part of this story lingering in the back of my head since Christmas of 2010 and was quite happy when I was able to fit it into this story. I originally started writing it because this is the first year my family has had a real tree for Christmas (having a fake tree every other year), and so when I woke up Christmas morning, smelling the pine, seeing the lights, et cetera I just wanted to write about it. Then listening to the song "Souvenirs" helped craft the rest of it, along with my great love and respect for the military. Hope you all enjoy; all comments/criticisms/etc. are very much appreciated.
  4. Christmas Time on Hope VISyrena gathered the children in the atrium facing the planet. Their space station, Hope VI, was orbiting on the sunny side, and the planet below was brightly lit up. As she sat down next to the children, she asked, “Who wants to hear the story of Santa again?”Many of the younger children chimed in excitedly. It was nearing the holiday of Christmas, and they always enjoyed hearing the story. Syrena smiled at their enthusiasm, and began her tale.“Now we know that once every Earth-year, on Christmas Eve, Santa comes to visit all good little boys and girls in the galaxy. He spends most of the year in his workshop on the planet Northern Polaris, making new toys with his little helpers. On Christmas Eve, he loads up all the toys onto his bright red rocket ship. He then visits all the space stations in the galaxy, and leaves a pile of presents in the loading bay for all the good boys and girls.”“But what if you’re not good?” one of the younger girls asked, giggling.“Santa doesn’t give bad children any gifts,” Syrena explained. “And he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so there’s no way to fool him into giving you presents you don’t deserve. So you’ve got to be good all year for him to bring you something.”Some of the children gasped at this, but others who remembered the tale from previous years giggled at the idea. Syrena continued, much to the enjoyment of the children. “You can always tell that Santa has been here because he’ll stop to eat some of the cookies we leave out for him. But he can’t stay long, because he has other presents to deliver.”Syrena’s story was interrupted by a loud, sarcastic, “Ha.” It came from a kid sitting in the back. His name was Greg, and he was one of the oldest children in the group, being roughly seven Earth-years old.“We all know there’s no such thing as Santa,” he said.This caused all the other children to gasp in horror at the very idea. Syrena gave Greg a hard look. “Now why would you say that, Greg?”“It just doesn’t make sense,” Greg continued. “Nobody could fly across the galaxy and deliver presents to every space station in just one night.”“But then who delivers the presents every year?” one little girl asked.“And who eats the cookies?” a younger boy asked.Greg was about to answer, but Syrena quickly interrupted him. “Of course it’s Santa,” she said. “Who else would it be?”“Then how can he do all this impossible stuff?” Greg questioned. “And how does he even know if we’re being good or bad? Nobody can keep track of that for everybody.”Syrena already had the answer for that. “It’s Christmas magic.”“There’s no such thing as magic,” Greg countered, but he sounded less sure of himself.“It’s a special kind of Christmas magic, and we all have it,” Syrena explained. “It’s all about the spirit of the holiday. We have to be nice to each other and show goodwill to all men and women. It’s the one time of year where we put aside our disagreements and come together as a community. We all contribute to this magic, and it’s what powers Santa.”This excited the other children, who started chatting enthusiastically about Christmas. Even Greg seemed slightly cheerier. Syrena knew that Greg wasn’t the most optimistic of kids; he was an orphan, and he was often a loner on the space station. Although he was much older than the rest of the children, Syrena thought it would be good for him to hang around with them.Deciding that story time was over, Syrena got to her feet. It was then that she noticed Bryce at the entryway, where he had been listening in on the whole discussion. She left the kids to play together and walked over to speak with Bryce.“That’s some story you told,” Bryce said.“Well, it keeps them happy,” Syrena answered.“Is it really a good idea to keep telling them this fable?” Bryce asked. “When they get older, they’ll learn that it’s all just a lie anyway. Greg is already catching on to that, it seems.”“It’s a tradition, and one I think we should keep,” Syrena said. “Not all of us want to spend the holidays moping around like you.”“I don’t mope,” Bryce countered. “Besides, if Nick doesn’t make it back soon, we won’t even be able to provide them with the pile of presents.”“I’m sure we’ll manage to keep the holiday spirit alive.”Bryce grinned slyly. “You do know that Christmas was originally about some religious thing back on Earth That Was.”“Yes, I know the history of Christmas,” Syrena shot back. “And while it has lost the original religious meanings to it, the basic premise has stayed the same. It’s about being kind to one another, even if just for one day.”“Well, back on the main planets, it’s just about commercialization,” Bryce pointed out. “I’m glad we managed to get away from that out here.”Both Syrena and Bryce were part of the community that lived upon the space station Hope VI. They were part of a settlement initiative promoted by the United Government of Earth, or the UGE, which was the largest of three space age human nations in the galaxy. Back in the beginning, humans had spread from Earth and began to settle upon other habitable worlds across the galaxy. However, as the populations grew, it became harder to find habitable planets. There were hundreds of planets within the habitable zones of many stars, but few of them had water and oxygen levels that could support human life. Thus the UGE started the process of terraforming these worlds to provide space for future settlements.Yet the process of terraforming was not simple. Various mechanical devices, placed across the planet, had to spend many years chemically developing water and a breathable atmosphere. The process could take up to a decade to complete, and humans had to be on hand to analyze the transformation and make tweaks as time went on. That was what the Hope VI was for. Many of the crew members were responsible for the terraforming process on the planet below them. But the UGE wanted to create vibrant communities that could easily settle upon the planets when they became habitable. Thus, Hope VI was also home to the worker’s families, as well as other members who could support the community.Syrena was in the latter group. She had studied many histories of the various human societies of the past, and was an expert in sociology. She had volunteered to work on Hope VI as a community organizer, and one of her tasks was to help take care of the children when their families were at work. It wasn’t the most glamorous of positions, but Syrena enjoyed it.Bryce was a technician. He specialized in working on equipment planet-side. If something was broke or needed to be manually tweaked, he would fly down and don a space suit and get to work. Bryce was quite a strong man, partially due to his work, and also due to the fact that he had formerly been in the military.Syrena decided to switch topics, and asked, “So has there been any word from Nick? He’s been gone for a long time, and it’s never taken him this long to get supplies before.”Nick was one of the expert pilots from Hope VI, and had trained alongside Bryce in the military. He was currently flying to one of the colonized planets to gather supplies that the space station couldn’t produce on its own. Since Hope VI was orbiting around a distant star, a voyage to the nearest UGE planet could take days. But even then, Nick had been gone for far too long.Bryce shrugged off the question. “He’s is probably having to deal with more bureaucratic nonsense in getting our supplies. Let’s just hope he remembers to get the toys, or else the kids here will be very upset come Christmas morning.”Their conversation was quickly interrupted by the appearance of Jess, the station’s main technician. Jess was a shorter than average woman, but what she lacked in height she made up for in energy and intelligence. She rushed up to both Syrena and Bryce and grabbed their arms. “Come quickly. Anya wants to speak with you.”“Anya?” Syrena repeated. Anya was the overseer on Hope VI, and was a well respected leader. She didn’t summon people unless there was some sort of emergency.“She thinks you two should see this,” Jess said, pulling them along. “Now come!”Syrena and Bryce followed Jess to the control room of Hope VI. There were usually a few people working the computers here at all times, but as they entered, Syrena spied technicians in every chair. As Jess settled down next to a computer, Syrena and Bryce walked up to Anya, who was an older woman.“About time you two got here,” Anya said. “We have a situation.”She pointed out the main window. In the distance, they could make out another spacecraft orbiting the planet at the same level as their space station. Syrena felt her blood chill. The spacecraft was not human, and there had been incidents where alien races had attacked human settlers.“We’ve done an analysis, and we’ve determined that they’re Erpetos,” Anya explained. “They showed up roughly an hour ago, and they’ve maintained their position since then.”Syrena and Bryce both reacted differently to the mention of Erpetos. “We’re lucky,” Syrena said. “Erpetos are peaceful.”Bryce growled and shook his head. “No way. There have been reports about Erpeto attacks all across this system. I’ve had to fight them before, and they’re tough stuff.”Syrena and Anya gave Bryce a look, and he quickly explained, “Okay, so it was during military training exercises, but they’re still hard to beat.”“But our two species are close enough that they train together,” Syrena pointed out. “That means we shouldn’t have to worry too much.”“Maybe, maybe not,” Anya said. “You are both right; there have been instances where the Erpetos have cooperated with humans and instances where they’ve provoked hostilities. The unexpected appearance of their ship does not invite warm feelings in me, so we might be dealing with Erpetos of the latter category.”“Wait, Boss, I’m getting something,” Jess said suddenly. “It’s a message from their ship. Here, take a listen.”Jess played the recording, and a garbled series of grunts sounded over the speakers. Bryce frowned. “That sounds like the native tongue of the Erpetos, but I don’t know what it means.”“It’s actually a regional dialect common in the eastern quadrant of their territories,” Syrena explained. As she got the weird looks this time, she explained, “I studied their language when I was in school, and I can somewhat speak it. I believe they were asking to meet with a representative, to come over to their ship.”“So they’re willing to open communications,” Anya mused. “Alright, Syrena, we’ll send you over, and you can see what they want.”“Wait, me?” Syrena asked, surprised. “But I am not trained to handle cross-species negotiations.”“Well, you understand them better than we do, so that’s a start,” Anya said. “Plus, you have all sorts of sociology training, so I think you’ll do fine.”“You can’t send her in alone,” Bryce protested. “What if their intentions are unfriendly?”“Then you go with her,” Anya said. “But keep your mouth shut. You have a tendency to bring out the hostility in people.”“Just because it says that in my file doesn’t mean that it’s true,” Bryce started.Anya interrupted him. “Now get to our shuttle and fly over. The sooner we get this settled, the better.”Bryce nodded. “Yes, ma’am.” He grabbed Syrena, and the two of them left for the space station’s hanger, which was located next to the loading bay. As they reached it, Bryce selected one of two small shuttles docked in the hanger. Syrena entered in after him. The interior of the shuttle was small; it was even smaller than Syrena’s sleeping quarters, and she began to feel claustrophobic.“Let’s get a move on,” Bryce said. He rolled the shuttle out into the airlock, and a minute later they were out in empty space. Bryce fired the pulse engines, and they headed towards the Erpeto ship.Bryce fidgeted as they approached the alien craft, and then grabbed something from the shuttle’s storage unit and clipped it to his belt. Syrena gasped as she saw what it was. “You’re bringing a laser gun!”“It’s not technically a laser gun,” Bryce explained. “It fires a plasma beam instead of an actual laser ray, which delivers an effective blast while only using a fraction of the energy…”“It’s a weapon!” Syrena said. “It’s surely going to provoke hostilities!”“It’s a precaution,” Bryce said. “I’m sure if they’re peaceful, they’ll understand. Besides, it’ll be clearly visible, so there will be no surprises. Anyway, I’ve worked with Erpetos before; they understand military deterrence, same as we do.”Syrena decided not to comment further, as they had reached the Erpeto ship. Bryce maneuvered the shuttle to a docking bay, where a connection tube extended out and latched on to the shuttle’s door. Hesitantly, Bryce opened the door, and they were greeted by three Erpetos.The Erpetos were reptilian in nature. Their human name was actually diverged from the Greek word for reptile. They had segmented bodies with six legs, and they could raise the front portion of their body up and use their fore legs as arms. They had very lizard-like heads, with a third eye in their foreheads and toothless mouths.However, the most interesting feature of the Erpetos was their green skin. This was not their natural color; instead, they had a bacteria growing on them. Their species had formed a unique symbiosis with the bacteria; it was photosynthetic, and provided them with energy, whereas they provided the bacteria with basic nutrients that were absorbed through their skin. As such, the Erpetos rarely had to eat, and instead relied on the bacteria’s photosynthesis for energy. For this reason, the bulk of their spacecraft was transparent, which allowed them to absorb sunlight even in the dead of space.The three Erpetos hissed a greeting, and Syrena replied in their language. They gave her instructions, and turned to leave. “They want us to follow them to the bridge,” Syrena explained to Bryce.“Sure they do,” Bryce murmured, but he followed Syrena all the same. He found it quite unnerving to walk through a transparent hallway; it was almost like he was out in space on his own. Additionally, it made it difficult to navigate through the maze of hallways, since it was sometimes hard to make out the doors from the walls.Eventually, they were led to the bridge, which was a half domed area at the top of the ship. Many Erpetos were working away at the computer consuls, but they stopped to glare at the two humans in their midst. Syrena and Bryce were led to a single Erpeto, and he was introduced as the ship’s captain. Syrena greeted him in his language, and attempted to ask him what he wanted. It was much to her surprise when he responded in English.“Your accent is very thick,” he said in a raspy voice. “Yet I am surprised to hear it from a human.”“I have studied many alien cultures, including the Erpetos,” Syrena responded. “I am glad that my language skills could be put to use.”“Good, so you speak English,” Bryce said. “Now we can understand each other.”Syrena nudged Bryce with her elbow, in an effort to silence him, and then asked, “We would like to know why you asked for this meeting.”“I wanted you to understand first,” the Erpeto said. “My name, translated into your tongue, would be Star Gazer. I was an astronomer on one of our settlements in the Orion system. In time, I have taken upon this leadership position to help me people after the incident.”“What incident?” Syrena asked.Star Gazer looked hard at Syrena, and she could’ve sworn she saw flames blazing in his three eyes. “Our settlement was a peaceful one, used for scientific advancements,” he explained. “But then we were visited by humans. They attacked without warning, and destroyed our settlement and our way of life. I lost many friends that day, killed mercilessly in the surprise attack.”Syrena’s eyes went wide. “But that was horrible of them.”Star Gazer nodded. “We were forced to flee, and yet the humans still followed us. But we were not to be toyed with; we led them into a trap and destroyed them all.”Bryce tensed up, and even Syrena had to fight back a sudden panic. “But what has this got to do with us?” she asked.“Ever since that faithful day, we have desired revenge,” Star Gazer said. “We destroyed the initial aggressors, but honor drives us to avenge the deaths of our comrades. More human blood must be spilt.”“But we were never part of any attack!” Syrena protested.“Yeah, we’re not the ones you want,” Bryce said. “You’re after the Human Elite Federation. They’re a separate nation of humans who believe they are superior to all. Our nation is technically at war with them, and we aren’t responsible for their horrific actions!”“Nonsense!” Star Gazer said, his voice rising. “All humans are the same. They’re violent prone; always trying to conquer rather than compromise. Even you are no different, as your tone provokes hostility.”“We’re not like the humans who attacked you,” Syrena said, trying to preserve the peace. She was becoming aware of how more of the Erpetos were surrounding them. “Not all humans are the same. Just like not all Erpetos are the same. Your kind knows about war too. But your kind has also allied with us before. Why can we not reach some sort of agreement?”“That would be to dishonor the lives were lost,” Star Gazer said. “But we could not kill you in ignorance. We wanted some of you to know why you had to die, so you could make peace with it. Now this we have done.” He backed up, and started speaking rapidly in his own language. Syrena went pale as the Erpetos around her raised their own plasma guns.“Duck!” Bryce yelled. He grabbed Syrena and brought her to the ground as plasma blasts scorched the air above them. Seconds later, he leapt to his feet, with his own gun in hand, and fired back. The Erpetos quickly dispersed; they were not military trained, and their natural instinct was to duck for cover. This gave Bryce the time he needed. He pulled Syrena up and then started running for the exit.Syrena sprinted after him, even as the Erpetos behind them began to get organized. Luckily, Erpetos weren’t quite as fast as humans, and Syrena and Bryce were able to gain on them.“Why did you have to fire at them?” Syrena asked as she ran. “You’re just justifying their perception of humans by doing that.”“Hey, they fired first,” Bryce said. “Besides, there’s a difference between provoking hostilities and defending oneself. Now, how do we get out of here?”Unfortunately, the style of the very ship started to turn against them. Bryce glanced around, trying to make sense of the transparent hallways. “I can see our shuttle down there, but how do we get to it?” he wondered.“I think we came from this way,” Syrena offered.“No good,” Bryce said. He pointed through a couple of transparent walls, where he could already see a patrol of Erpetos gathering. “Come on, let’s go this way instead.”The two of them rushed through the maze of nearly invisible hallways. Bryce kept them moving as a fast pace, and make quick turns whenever they sighted opposition up ahead. Finally, they had a clear shot to their shuttle, but a small group of Erpetos was currently blocking their way.“We’re going to have to fight them,” Bryce said, ignoring Syrena’s protests. “Just leave this to me; I know what I’m doing.”They turned around a corner, and the Erpetos now had a clear shot at them. However, Bryce was already taking aim, and fired first. The Erpetos dodged around his blast and returned fire. Luckily, their aim was off, and Bryce rushed forward. He charged the first Erpeto and leapt into a jump, and kicked it in the chest. The Erpeto fell over, and the other two charged forward to apprehend Bryce. Bryce ducked beneath their outstretched armed and swung his fists, punching a second Erpeto in the snout. However, as the first two fell back, the third Erpeto managed to get behind Bryce and pushed him to the floor. Bryce tried to get back up, but the Erpeto used its six legs to keep him pinned down.Syrena uttered a loud cry, and charged forward herself. She didn’t know exactly how to fight back, so she just tackled the Erpeto with all she had. She knocked it down, but the collision stunned her. As her vision cleared, she saw the Erpeto rise up, ready to attack her now. Only before it could, Bryce leapt up and jabbed it in the back. The Erpeto unexpectedly fell over, motionless.“Did you just…” Syrena stuttered.“Stunned him, yes,” Bryce replied. “The Erpetos I trained with taught me how they could be taken down. Don’t worry; they also learned the best ways to subdue humans, so it was a fair trade.” He pulled Syrena up and quickly dragged her back to the shuttle. As Bryce leapt in and started on the controls, Syrena looked out through the window. She could see other ships moving around the main Erpeto ship. They were Erpeto sails; small ships that had massive sails which caught solar radiation and used it for power and movement. It was much like the sail boat designs Syrena had seen on ocean worlds, only these sails utilized solar radiation instead of wind. Plus, the Erpeto sails were far more agile. And to her horror, she also realized that they were armed with plasma weapons too.“Brace yourself,” Bryce said, as he accelerated the shuttle. Despite the warning, Syrena was thrown to the back of the ship. Yet even as Bryce tried to make a break for the space station, the Erpeto sails intercepted him, and fired. Bryce was forced to alter his course.“We’ve not going to be able to get past them!” Syrena exclaimed.“Maybe not, but I have an idea,” Bryce said. He spun the shuttle around and headed directly towards the Erpeto sails.“What are you doing?” Syrena asked. “We don’t have weapons on this ship, and they do!”“Yes, but I happen to know about these Erpeto sails,” Bryce said. “They’re great for maneuvering in space and coming in for surprise attacks. But they can be sent spiraling with even the slightest disturbance.”“What kind of disturbance?”“Like a blast from a pulse engine.”The Erpeto sails fired at them, but Bryce dodged the plasma blasts. As they were about to collide with the sails, he turned sharply, swinging the shuttle’s engine around. The radiation from the pulse engine caught the two Erpeto sails, causing them to spin out of control. Before they could right themselves and continue the attack, Bryce turned back towards the Hope VI.Syrena, meanwhile, activated the communications equipment. After a few moments, she got Anya on speakers. “What are you two doing over there?” she demanded. “We’re seeing plasma blasts from over here.”“The Erpetos have proven to be… hostile,” Syrena reported.“What did Bryce do over there?”“Hey, they fired first,” Bryce put in.“They’re intending to destroy us because they had a bad encounter with humans before,” Syrena quickly explained. “We need to set up our defenses.” Hope VI, like all space stations, had an advanced force field. Hostile alien attacks were not uncommon, and the UGE did not sent the space station out on its own without providing it with a way to defend itself.However, there was a complication. “We need to be within range before they activate the force field, or else we’ll be trapped out here,” Bryce explained.“Hurry back,” Anya said. “We’ll turn it on once you’re safely inside.”Suddenly, there was a bright streak through the sky, and Syrena saw a plasma blast shoot past them and strike the space station. She heard cries and curses over the speaker, and then heard Anya as she said, “Those creatures just fired on us!”“And they’re going to fire again before we’re within range,” Bryce said. “If we keep moving at this speed.”“What do you mean…” Syrena started.“Hold on to something,” Bryce said. He turned the pulse engines to full power, and their speed increased exponentially. He shut down the engine seconds later, but they had already reached a high velocity. Even as Syrena was thrown back, she knew that Bryce had doomed them. At this speed, they wouldn’t be able to slow down in time, and they would surely crash into Hope VI.However, Bryce had a trick up his sleeve. At the last minute, he spun the shuttle around one hundred and eighty degrees. Then he increased the engines to full power again. This countered their forward velocity much faster than the breaking thrusters, and soon they were within range of their space station.But the Erpetos weren’t done with them yet. Bryce watched as another plasma blast was fired right for them from the main Erpeto ship. However, it suddenly dispersed, and the energy was radiated outwards. The force field had been activated, and it could block the plasma blasts.“Oh yeah!” Bryce said. “Now that’s what I call flying!”He glanced over at Syrena, who was crumpled on the floor. She had been tossed around during the whole ordeal, and could feel bruises all across her body. However, she was still alive, so she couldn’t complain too much.Bryce quickly brought the shuttle into the airlock, and then into the hanger. He and Syrena quickly exited, and could instantly tell something was wrong. The floor was covered in debris, and alarms were ringing. The two of them ducked into the hallway, and nearly ran into Jess, who was running through the station with a toolkit in hand.“Jess, what’s happening?” Bryce asked.“We took damage when we were hit,” Jess explained. “The air processing unit was down this hallway, and I’m going to try and fix whatever I can.”“We’ll help,” Bryce said. The three of them raced down the hallway, towards the air processing unit. However, as they arrived, they found the contraption in shambles. Jess instantly started assessing the damage, and Bryce and Syrena helped where they could.Syrena’s heart fell as she saw all the damage. This was all essential equipment, and without it the space station couldn’t remain operable. But if anybody could fix it, it would be Jess.A slight hissing reached her ears, and Syrena glanced around. “Do you hear that?”Bryce looked up, worried. “That sounds like air… escaping.” A fearful look crossed his face. “We need to get out of here!”Understanding dawned on Syrena, and she raced for the hallway. Bryce had to grab Jess away from the damaged equipment, and dragged her into the hallway. But he was only part way through when there was a loud snap. A crack in the station’s hull had burst, and now the air was being sucked out.The three of them struggled to resist the pull of the suction. Jess managed to grasp a control panel on the wall, and a blast door snapped down, cutting off the leak. However, the look on her face was not a good one.Jess activated her communicator and called to Anya. “We’ve got a leak over here. We need to start sealing off sections of the station.”“There are two other leaks we’re also aware of,” Anya replied. “We’re working on sealing them all off.”“Its worst than that,” Jess said. “The air processing unit is inoperable. We’re breathing stale air now, and we’ve only got a few hours before we run out.”There was silence on the line, as the fact sunk in. “I understand,” Anya said. “We’ll gather people into smaller areas, where we can filter in the last of the breathable air. In the meantime, can you fix the processor?”“No,” Jess replied. “There were some parts in there that were already deteriorating, and we don’t have replacements for them. Nick was supposed to bring them back, but he’s not here yet.”“Very well,” Anya said. “Return to the control room. We can review our options here.”Somberly, Syrena and Bryce followed Jess back to the control room. As they passed through the empty hallways, more blast doors were lowered, in an attempt to conserve the last of the air. The control room was even fuller than last time, as other civilians had been brought inside. Jess immediately went to her seat, and shooed out the other technician who currently resided in it. Then she started typing furiously on the computer, as she worked out a system for filtering the last of the air into the few rooms that were still occupied.Meanwhile, Syrena told Anya about their little adventure with the Erpetos. Anya shook her head solemnly as she heard this. “This is very bad.”“So what options do we have?” Bryce asked. “Can we fight back?”“None of our shuttles are equipped with weapons,” Anya pointed out. “Only Nick’s ship could have fought back, but he’s not here. I don’t even know if our force field can hold against their barrage of plasma blasts for long.”“Then can we evacuate?” Syrena asked.“We only have the two shuttles,” Anya said. “Even if we could pack everybody into them, we wouldn’t be able to carry enough supplies for us to reach the closest UGE outpost.”“So we just sit here until we suffocate or get blown to pieces?” Bryce asked.“Whichever comes first,” Anya said sadly. “I need to contact the other rooms where people have gathered. They deserve to know how and why we’re going to die. We’ll try to last as long as possible, but we can’t keep this up indefinitely.”As Anya activated the intercom and started delivering the bad news, Syrena looked around. All she saw was solemn faces. She spotted Greg standing on his own off to the side. She walked over to him and put a comforting hand on his shoulder.“You okay?” she asked the child kindly.“I don’t know,” Greg replied. “Are we going to make it?”Syrena wanted to give a positive answer, but couldn’t find one. Greg correctly interpreted her silence, and sighed. “It’s too bad this had to happen at Christmas time.”“Yes, it is too bad,” Syrena agreed.Suddenly, Jess yelped out. “I’m getting new readings! There’s a ship heading in our direction!”“More Erpetos?” Bryce asked.“I don’t know,” Jess said. “It’s coming from behind the planet, so I didn’t notice its approach until now. It’ll be coming up behind the Erpetos ship soon, and its traveling fast.”Syrena turned her gaze out into the window, where she could see the Erpetos ship still firing at them. But then a new ship appeared behind it. It was sleek and red, and it opened fire on the Erpetos.There was a rustle throughout the room as people moved to get a better look out the window.“Who’s ship is that?” Bryce asked. “Is it from the UGE?” Others were asking similar questions.Greg pushed his way forward towards the window and sighted the ship. “Don’t you realize who that is?” he asked excitedly.“Who?” Syrena asked.“It’s Santa!” Greg shouted, his voice carrying even over those of the adults in the room. “Santa’s coming to our rescue!”The red ship flew around the Erpeto ship, firing upon it. However, the Erpetos managed to activate their own force fields, and many of the blasts did no damage. The two small Erpeto sails moved in to intercept the ship. However, the ship caught sight of them and fired, burning holes in the sensitive sails. The Erpeto sails were not destroyed, but they were rendered helpless.The main Erpeto ship turned its plasma weapons on the red ship, but this forced them to drop their force fields. The red ship took advantage of this; it expertly ducked beneath the plasma shots and fired directly at the Erpeto’s engines.“Wait a second,” Bryce whispered. “That’s not Santa. That’s Nick!”“What?” Syrena asked.“I didn’t recognize it at first, because of the color, but that’s Nick’s ship,” Bryce said. “And I recognize his maneuvers. Nick’s taking down the Erpetos for us!”Greg, however, didn’t hear Bryce’s comments. “Yay, go Santa!” he exclaimed.Nick finally struck a weak point. There was a blast as one of the Erpeto engines exploded. The Erpeto ship’s orbit suddenly shifted, as their ship was now off center.“He crippled it,” Jess exclaimed, scanning the computer readings. “I’m reading high levels of gases escaping from their engines, so he must’ve ruptured the ship’s hull.”With the Erpetos now distracted by their disabled engines, it was easy for Nick to fly in and destroy the last of their weapons. Once the whole Erpeto ship was helpless, Nick shifted course and headed towards the Hope VI.Jess quickly opened communications, and Nick’s voice rang out over the speakers. “I can’t leave you guys alone for a minute, can I?” he said.“It’s good to see you, Nick,” Anya said, greatly relieved. “Thank you.”“You got the parts I told you to pick up, right?” Jess demanded.“Of course I did,” Nick said. “When have I ever let you down, Jess?”“Good,” Jess said. “Now get back here immediately. Our air processing unit is down, and I need the replacement parts you picked up to fix it.”“Sure thing,” Nick said. “I’m on my way in now.”Everybody breathed a sigh of relief. Not only were their enemies vanquished, but they would soon be able to recycle their air again.“I guess things are going to be okay after all,” Syrena said, placing a hand on Greg’s shoulder.Greg, however, was staring at the crippled Erpeto ship. “But what about the aliens?” he asked.“They’re going to suffer the fate they tried to inflict on us,” Bryce said darkly.“But why can’t we help them?” Greg protested.“I’m not sure if that would be a wise thing to do,” Anya said.“But it’s Christmas time,” Greg said. “We’re supposed to be nice and helpful to each other this time of year. Shouldn’t that include the aliens?”Syrena shared a glance with her companions. “He does have a point,” she said.“What could we do?” Bryce asked.Syrena smiled. “I think I might have a plan.”They quickly went down to the hanger, where Nick had just pulled in. Jess immediately started pulling out supplies to fix the air processor, and Bryce clasped hands with Nick. “You’re late,” he said. “You nearly missed all the action. What took you so long?”“I was forced to work some kinks out of the contract,” Nick said. “It turns out that the parts Jess wanted aren’t exactly covered under our plan, but I managed to talk them into providing them. Good thing I did so.”“Why is your ship red?” Syrena asked.“It’s from lots of red dust from the planet’s atmosphere,” Nick explained. “It really stained the ship’s skin. It can be washed off, but I was in a hurry to get back, so I didn’t bother.”“Well, don’t wash it off yet,” Syrena said. “Once we get everything unloaded, we need you to make one more trip.”A half hour later, Nick docked his ship with the Erpetos ship. As the doors opened, they faced a group of Erpetos, all with weapons raised. However, Bryce and Nick already had their guns leveled. Only Syrena, who stood between the two of them, was unarmed.One Erpeto stepped forward. It was Star Gazer. “Why do you come back to dishonor us?” he asked in English.“To offer you a deal,” Syrena said. “Your ship is too damaged for you to survive on it. You will not last for another day until you run out of air. We know; our technicians were able to gather enough readings to tell that you’re in peril.”“So you come to gloat?”“No, to offer sanctuary,” Syrena said. “Our space station is also damaged, but we have the means to fix it. We will offer you refuge with us until you can fix your own ship. All that we ask is that we put our hostilities aside.”Star Gazer was silent for a moment as he took in her words. Then his three eyes focused up on Syrena’s face. “Why would you humans offer to help us?”“Because not all humans are the same,” Syrena said. “We want peace, and we are willing to extend a helpful hand when needed.” Ignoring the various plasma guns pointed at her, Syrena held her hand out towards Star Gazer. He hesitated for a moment, and then extended his own hand as per her custom. The truce was arranged.The following days were hectic aboard the Hope VI. The Erpeto crew was relatively small, but it was still difficult to find enough space for all of them on the station. Jess and Nick quickly managed to fix up the air processing unit, and then they began to assist the Erpetos in repairing the damage to their ship. Meanwhile, the humans and Erpetos shared stories of their experiences. Over time, Syrena and Star Gazer became good friends. Syrena learned more about the Erpetos from listening to Star Gazer’s tales than she had from any human textbook.On Christmas Day, all the children rushed into the loading bay to find their presents waiting for them. Greg had told all the others about how Santa had saved them, and now the children all believed in him. The Erpetos stood beside the human adults as the children opened their presents, slightly confused by this tradition.“It is one of our more important holidays,” Syrena explained to Star Gazer.“You simply give away possessions?” Star Gazer asked.“No, they are gifts. And they allow us to show compassion to one another.”Greg walked over to Star Gazer, and held up a small toy puzzle. “Here, this is for you. It’s one of my older toys. You see, it’s a puzzle, and you try to solve the patterns here.”Star Gazer hesitated, but then accepted the gift. “Thank you,” he said.“Merry Christmas to you too,” Greg said happily, and then he returned to join the other children as they played with their own gifts.The End
  5. All the Matoran on Mata Nui liked Christmas a lot, But Makuta, who lived under Kini-Nui, did NOT. Makuta HATED Christmas, the whole Christmas season. Oh, Please don't ask why, no one quite knows the reason. It could be, perhaps, that his armor was too tight, It could be his helmet wasn't screwed on just right. But I think that the most likely reason of all, Was that his heart was two sizes too small. (Or technically nonexistent due to him being made of green gas; just go with it.) But, whatever reason, his (lack of) heart or his armor, He stood there on Christmas Eve HATING the Matoran. Staring up from his lair with a sour, shadowy frown, At the lights emanating from every town. For he knew every Matoran on Mata Nui was busy now, while he watched from beneath, Hanging up a nice, green, holiday wreath. "And they're hanging their stockings" He said with a sneer. "Tomorrow is Christmas! It's practically HERE!" Then he growled, with his metal fingers nervously rapping. Party time! Party time! Everybodysgettin'downbecauseit's PARTY TIME! Not that kind of rapping. "I must find some way to keep Christmas from coming!" --------------------------- "For tomorrow I know, all those Matoran, a few girls but mainly boys, Will wake bright and early and rush for their toys, and then, They'll make noise, all that NOISE, NOISE, NOISE, NOISE! If there's one thing I hate, it's all that noise, noise, noise, noise! And they'll somehow do it all with only a ball, And a single stick, oh it makes me sick!" "They'll smack that darn ball from Koro to Koro, They do every year, it'll be the same tomorrow. With all of their athletes and their small amount of gear, They'll play the same game they have for a thousand years! And then, all the Matoran, they'll sit down to a feast, And they'll feast, and they'll feast, And they'll feast, feast, feast, FEAST! They'll feast on fish jelly, and eat Muaka roast beast Muaka roast beast is a feast I can't stand in the least!" "And THEN, they'll do something I hate most of all, Every Matoran on Mata Nui, the tall and the small, Stand close together, with Christmas bells ringing, Hand in hand, those Matoran will start SINGING!" Abu doreas, abu doreas, welcome Christmas, come this way! Abu doreas, abu doreas, welcome Christmas, Christmas day! Welcome, welcome, abu abu, welcome, welcome, abu, abu, Christmas day is here at last, As long as we stand hand to hand! "And they'll SING, and they'll SING, and they'll sing, sing sing, SING!" And the more Makuta thought about this Matoran Christmas sing, the more Makuta thought, "I must stop this whole thing! For like a bajillion YEARS I've put up with it now! I must stop Christmas from coming! But how?" And then he got an idea. A terrible, awful idea. Makuta got a wonderful, horrible idea. "Shut up, it's a good idea!" "I know just what to do!" Makuta laughed in his throat. "I'll make a quick Nui Claus hat and a coat!" He chuckled and clucked, "What a great Makuta trick! With this coat and this hat, I'll look just like Saint Rick! --------------------------------------You're a mean one, Makuta! You really are a heel!You're as cuddly as a cactus,You're as charming as an Eel, Makuta! You're a bad Bula Berry,With a greasy black peel! You're a monster, Makuta! Your heart's an empty hole!Your brain is full of Fikou,You've got garlic in your soul, Makuta! I wouldn't touch you with a,39 1/2 foot pole!--------------------------------------- "Now all I need is a Kane-Ra!" Makuta looked around. But since Kane-Ra were scarce, there were none to be found. But did THAT stop Makuta? Ha! Makuta simply said, "If I can't find a Kane-Ra, I'll MAKE one instead!" So he took his Visorak, Cuddles, and he took some black thread, and he tied a big set of horns on top of his head. Then he grabbed some old bags and put them on a sled full of holes, and then he called for little ol' Cuddles. And then Makuta said "Giddyup!" And the sleigh started to move up while the Matoran were asleep in their towns. ---------------------------- All the windows were dark, No one knew he was there. All the Matoran were dreaming sweet dreams without care, When he came to the first little house on the Ta-Koro square. "This is stop number one!" The old Makuta Claus hissed. As he climbed up to the roof with two bags in his fist. Then he slid down the chimney, a rather tight pinch, But if Nui could do it, so could Makuta, in a cinch. He only got stuck once, for a minute or two, Then he stuck his head out of the fireplace flue Where the little Matoran stockings all hung in a row, "These stockings," Said Makuta, "Are the first things to go." Then he slithered and slunk with a smile most unpleasant, Around all the room and, He took every present. Some balls and some sticks, And lava rocks galore! All the masks, too, And, quite strangely, a door. And he stuffed them in bags, And then Makuta, quite nimbly, Shoved the bags, one by one, Right up the chimney. -------------------------------- You're a vile one, Makuta! You have termites in your smile!You have all the tender sweetness of a seasick Tarakava, Makuta! Given the choice between the two of you,I'd take the seasick Tarakava! You're a rotter, Makuta! You're the king, Of sinful sots! Your heart's a dead tomato with moldy purple spots, Makuta! You're a three-decker sauerkrautAnd toadstool sandwich,With arsenic sauce! ------------------------------------- Then he slunk to the icebox, He took the Matoran's feast. He took the fish pudding, He took the Muaka roast beast! He cleaned out the icebox as quick as a flash, Why, that Makuta even took the last can of Matoran Hash. Then stuffed all the food up the chimney with glee, "And NOW," Grinned Makuta, "I'll stuff up the tree!" As Makuta took the tree and started to shove, He heard a small sound, like the call of a robo mega death dove. (Strange, but stupid) He turned around fast and saw a small Matoran, Jaller Hue Hugh, who was no more than 1052. He stared at Makuta and asked, "Dude, wazzup fo' shizzle?" Okay, even I didn't understand that. "Why ju takin our tubular holiday large plant, dawg?" But you know, Makuta, he was so sly and so slick, (And thankfully Jaller was dumb as a brick) He thought up a sort of believable lie quite quick. "Well, you know ,erm, 'dawg'," Makuta said with a nervous grin, "That this tree's branches are three inches too thin. I'm taking it to my shop to fix it up quick, And then it'll be just the right size, real thick." "Pfft, whatevas, homie." Jaller said with a yawn. "Just make sure to get it back before dawn." "I sure will!" Makuta said way too quickly, Before teleporting away so fast it made him quite sickly. He grabbed the tree from the chimney, that sneaky old lier, And the last thing he took was the coal for the fire. He left nothing there but wire and string, And the only speck of food left in the house, Was a crumb too small for even a robo-midget-mouse. Then he did the same to all the other Matoran's houses, Leaving crumbs much too small for their robo-midget-mouses. ---------------------------- You nauseate me, Makuta! You're a crooked jerky jockey and,You drive a crooked Muaka, Makuta! Your soul is a appalling dump heap,Overflowing with the most disgracefulAssortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable,Mangled up in tangled up knots! You're a foul one, Makuta! You're a nasty, wasty, skunk!Your heart is full of unwashed socks,Your soul is full of gunk, Makuta! The three words that best describe you,Are as follows,And I ---------------------------- It was a quarter to dawn, all the Matoran still in bed, Every one of them asnooze, resting their heads, When Makuta left for Kini Nui, their stuff in his sled. Down to his lair, where he stored all his crumpets, He went down to the energized protodermis with the stuff to dump it. "Ho Ho to the Matoran," Makuta said, humming. "They're finding out now that no Christmas is coming! They'll be so dissapointed, I know just what they'll do! They'll cover their faces and cry 'Boo, hoo, hoo!" "Now that's a noise," Said Makuta, "I simply must hear!" He paused for a moment, and put his hand to his ear. He did hear a sound, from jungle to snow. It started out low, but then started to grow. ---------------------------------- Abu doreas, abu doreas, welcome Christmas, come this way! Abu doreas, abu doreas, welcome Christmas, Christmas day! Welcome, welcome, abu abu, welcome, welcome, abu, abu, Christmas day is here at last, As long as we stand hand to hand! ---------------------------------- But, but, this sound wasn't sad. In fact this sound...this sound sounded GLAD. All the Matoran on Mata Nui singing, the tall and the small, The Matoran were singing with no presents at all! He hadn't stopped Christmas from coming! Christmas had came! Somehow or other, it came all the same. Makuta stood puzzling, with his heart colder than snow. "How could it be so? It came without ribbons! ... It came without tags! ... It came without sticks or balls or bags!" He puzzled and puzzled, 'till his puzzler was sore. But then he thought of something he hadn't before. Maybe Christmas didn't come from a store, Maybe Christmas, just maybe, meant a little bit more. "Nah!" Makuta said, and then blew everything up. No, of course not, that wouldn't be up to snub. He thought about this new idea and his heart started to grow. The more he thought about it, the more he started to know, There's more to Christmas than just gifts as a reason. He started to understand why it was such a happy season. As he contemplated this, he lost track of the sled, And it started slipping down into the protodermis, which would leave Makuta quite dead But he noticed in time and hopped off of his ride, And tried to pull it up while Cuddles tried to hide. He pulled and he pulled, and actually managed to lift up that sleigh, Which they say grew his ego three times that day. He returned all the presnts and then went back to his cave. Thinking of the spirit he had been saving this day. "You know, next time, I'll leave hating Christmas to Scrooge." Makuta said with a sigh. "Let someone ELSE deal with these frustrations from up high. I'll take over the universe some other time, but not around Christmas, If I do, I'll look like a bad guy; that's too much of a risk." THE END.
  6. Meiko

    Merry Christmas!

    Just wishing everybody in the BZP community a Merry Christmas! And I guess I can post my loot. A picture, not counting what was in my stocking: Now the list: A new computer. Sweater (soft and floofy) Button-down shirt Socks (yay?) Agenda with a hoers on the cover Mega-Bloks Lamborghini Hobbit thingamajig Some Ninjago stuff Flash Drive (8GB) Steam Money (thanks Aanchir and Lyichir) Google Play money Wireless Mouse Chocolate and other candies A LEGO City set Money Other Misc Stuff And my dad got this set, and is continuously asking why this lady is smiling after her car is being put on a rollback. My dad also got some other LEGO City stuff, like the garage. And I'm guessing Aanchir and maybe Lyichir will post something about their Christmas, and if I'm right and one of them does post something, you all owe me a $5 bill.
  7. Download: http://www.mediafire...9pqn8b8ed7z1ljjHere's the topic for the regular version. Read it for all the info on this game.This version is my current development version with some graphics swapped, so it's probably sort of buggy. I know of at least one rather nasty bug involving occasional invisible walls when you're playing with fire, plasma, or shadow. Feel free to report any other bugs you find.Merry Christmas!Screenshot:
  8. Even though it's after Christmas, there still is love to go around... Seeing as Furno and Breez are shipped, I thought it great to combine Breez and Furno in time for Christmas (it's my neghbors' Furno, so some credit to him for that) due to the colors and the joy, cheer and love of the holiday season. http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=494595 Enjoy, comment, criticize, whatever! Happy Holidays, Zorg
  9. Meiko

    Mah New Computer

    Oh my goodness I love this thing. And yes it has Windows 8 but it's awesome. I can actually play games now! But since I've been at my grandma's house which has no wifi, I've been running a LAN network through the USB connection of my phone (4G speeds yay), but I have to wait to install my newly bought games like Max Payne 3 because that would cost me over $300 in data overages.
  10. TNTOS

    Christmas Loot

    I was off BZP and the Internet/computer in general all day yesterday. It's good to take a break from computers and computer-related things for a day or two every now and then. At least it's good for me, anyway. But I doubt any of you care about that, so instead I'll talk about what I'm sure everyone is dying to know: What I got for Christmas! Let's list them in the order I unwrapped them: -The Complete Sherlock Holmes. This is a two volume boxet containing all four novels and fifty-six short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. I don't intend to read all of the stories; just the ones I haven't read yet, which is actually a surprisingly small amount, considering I recognize most of the titles in the first volume -The Mark of Athena, by Rick Riordan. I actually read and finished this book yesterday. I'd say it's even better than the last two Heroes of Olympus books. Hopefully The House of Hades, coming out next year, will be even better. -Yu-Gi-Oh! Structure Deck: Realm of the Sea Emperor. I added a handful of the cards from this deck to my Water Deck. Moray of Greed in particular is a card I have been wanting to get for a while. Glad I got it. -And $75. This is good. Also, my oldest brother got Metroid: Other M as a present yesterday. Samus's inner narration is so bad it's hilarious, although the game itself looks fun enough. -TNTOS-
  11. My dad's old iPhone 4 32GB Chocolate Japanese snacks, including some CC Lemon (greatest drink ever) $750 Just $200 more to go before I can blow my entire life savings on a gaming PC
  12. Ketan: "I must stop Naming Day from coming... but how?" Oreius: "Why am I such a misfit? I am not just a nitwit. Just because my Stone glows... why don't I fit in?" Avya: "Bartan was dead, to begin with." Cael: "Remember, Joske: no man is a failure who has friends." Jin: "Seeing is believing. Am I right?" If anyone can name the sources of all five of these quotes, they get... virtual gingerbread? That, and my everlasting approval. A very merry Christmas to every BZP member out there, and a happy New Year!
  13. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmasssssssss Ehem. So for those who have already been celebrating, yay. For those who will be celebrating tomorrow, I know how you feel; I can't wait either. I have my eyes on one present I know I'm getting. My new computer. So this is the last night I'll be posting from this little guy. And thank goodness my phone is so amazing because I'm running a USB LAN connection from it's 4G signal, because there is usually no Wi-Fi here at my nana's house. It'll also be cool if I get some Ninjago 2013 or maybe even Chima, though the latter is less likely. Anyways, I'll update you guys on how my Christmas goes tomorrow. Merry Christmas guys!
  14. Greetings, and Merry Christmas! Welcome to the 2012 Christmas Advent Calendar, a continuation of the tradition set forth by Lavaside Rahi come last year and then again the year before. This year, I, Kahinuva, begin with the traditionally late start of the calendar as we again gather for the Comics' forum's most sacred of traditions, which coincidentally is also our only tradition.From December 1st until Christmas Eve, December 24th, a new comic or two will be posted right here, counting down to the holidays and spreading cheer and humor along the way! This is the place to hopefully see some of your favorite authors back in action or some place to sample the new talent around the forum. Just click on the days in the calendar below and enjoy! Also, as always, if you feel like joining in, feel free to PM me. Note: BZPower has a forum glitch sometimes in which clicking the entry will just open the calendar date image and not the actual comic. If this is happening to you, please just click on the names of the comic makers in the text links underneath the calendar. List of Comic Makers and their Series:Day 1 - Utah: Doomsday Day 2 - Biocryptid: Discombobulated Day 3 - Dr. Giggles: Noobicorn Inc. Day 4 - Gerlicky: SpoofQuest!
  15. Greetings, and Merry Christmas! Welcome to the 2011 Christmas Advent Calendar, a continuation of the tradition set forth by Lavaside Rahi come last year. This year, in the absence of LR, it is instead hosted by me, Kahinuva.Today, December 1st marks the start of the event in which some of the best comic talent on the forum will combine their collective skills to celebrate the holidays! Each day, from December 1st until Christmas Eve, a new comic will be posted right here, counting down to the holidays and spreading cheer and humor along the way. Just click on the days in the calendar below and enjoy!(I'm dreadfully sorry about the wait; creating a calendar took more time than I originally thought it would...) List of Comic Makers and their Series:Day 1 - Utah: Doomsday Day 2 - Atomic 009: 009 Makes Comics Day 3 - Piraka~Mistika: ~M's Comics V3.5! Day 4 - Chath: Looking At The Sky Day 5 - King Joe: The Center of Everywhere Day 6 - Shadonix: Bluh Bluh Huge Emporium Day 7 - Tapika: IIMT - Tapika's Comic Emporium Day 8 - Dr. Giggles: Noobicorn Inc. Day 9 - Pirok The Va-Matoran: Pirok The Va-Matoran's Comix Day 10 - LNU: Ask LNU and Pinkie Pie Day 11 - Makuta of Comedy: The Awesomepacalypse: Reign of Darkness Day 12 - Reznas: Reznas Comics Day 13 - Vataki: Timely Insanity Day 14 - Absorba: Sǝıɹǝs ǝɹnʇuǝʌpɐ (That Adventure Series) Day 15 - Eljay: Toa of Mangosteen: The Lazy Life of a Comic Maker Day 16 - WVUFan: Mall Patrol Day 17 - Justax-Kal: Why Not? Day 18 - Emkay: N/A Day 19 - Oneker: The Adventures of Oneker Day 20 - Darcsyde: Darcsyde's Comics: Revamped and Reloaded Day 21 - Deceimeter the Hitchhiker: Aggravations and Complications and Zero the Master: The Drawing Room Day 22 - Biocryptid: Biocryptid's BS01 ComicsDay 23 - Tavakai: TavKorp and Gerlicky: SpoofQuest!Day 24 - Venom:~V.3~ and Tenebrae Invictus: One Nation Under the Great SpiritDay 25 - Alena: N/A andMiraka: N/A andNuparurocks: N/A and Lavaside Rahi: N/A
  16. It may or may not be a well-known fact that I despise rather a lot of Christmas music. Songs about Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Commie-Faced Reindeer, and all the rest never really did much for me. Maybe it's because I've heard the same batch of songs performed by either dead people or dead careers for my entire life, but the whole thing seems tired, unartistic, and, oh my I finally get to use this word, hackneyed. This is not to say that I hate all Christmas music - not by a long shot. No, it's just that there are three ways to do good Christmas music. The first is an old, truly traditional piece, faithfully played by an orchestra, string quartet, whatever - tunes like the Carol of the Bells, Greensleeves, We Three Kings, all good choices. If you want to put an orchestra in, knock yourself out - better an orchestra than whatever pop "star" thinks we don't look at them often enough lately - but I'm quite happy with instrumental versions, because a good composer can convey any intended feeling through instruments. Way number two is to take a traditional Christmas song - and I mean real traditional, not baby-boomers-grew-up-with-it-so-that-makes-it-a-tradtion - and interpret it in your own way to make a piece of music that's still good and doesn't sound like exactly the same thing but with a different voice doing it. Look up Jethro Tull's version of Greensleeves if you need an example. The third, final, and perhaps best, is to just write something new. Now, to do this, you have to be a good composer already, so don't all of you tweeny-boppers and dead-beat crooners go running off to hack something into the corpse of your genre. It's got to be two things. The first is a good song. It has to be something someone could justify listening to any time of the year. The second is, and if you didn't predict this go jump in a lake, a Christmas song. It has to have some undeniable relation to whatever you think Christmas is. Two very different examples have been done by Jethro Tull (Christmas Song and Another Christmas Song), but if you want examples that have not a bloody thing to do with Ian Anderson, try John Lennon's shot at a Christmas song (Happy X-Mas War Is Over). There's my little rant for the night over and done with. Back to inexplicably pumpkin-flavored egg nog (seriously? pumpkin? who thought of that and are they still alive enough for me to hug them?) and avoiding "Christmas traditions" like Frosty the Red Snowman.
  17. Hello BZPers! How are you? I'm finally back. I'm glad to be back. Before anything, I'll show all the MOCs you guys didn't see: the Dowtime MOCs. Where to start?GolemOn a rock planet, there are stone creatures named Golems. Here is a warrior-class Golem. They're supposed to be one-eyed, with large shoulders. The bohrok eye on the weapon is a kind of "battery" to power the blade and allow the Golem firing energy from it. All Warrior Golems have a different eye and battery color.GalleryBionicle ShipAs title says. The back sail is sooo bad IMO. Gallery 'cause I'll never have the time to show every MOC's main photoCrocosaurA cross between a crocodile and a dinosaur.GalleryBig HeadIt's a funny thing. I used the Piraka Stronghold's giant Vezok mask. Gallery hereClockwork KopakaA birthday gift for KanjaRyu. Click on the picture for the gallery.Fangz Alternate ModelNothing special. LookCyberMothMade this some time before Christmas. Akamai RevampYes I know it still needs work... I should revamp it again. LookExo-Toa of FireThe Great Beings gave a consciousness and an elemental power to an Exo Toa armor. It is still completely mechanical. Made this after getting Raw-Jaw for my (14th) birthday.War Limulis This is inspired from the Horseshoe Crab. If ya dont know what this is, check wikipedia. This Rahi lived in the sea around Daxia for millenias. Gallery Oh and there's an EliteWarLimulis in this gallery. Thornspix Guardian Inspired from Waspix and Thornraxx. Back Small Silver Tank Made for a MOC-off with my friend Lord Oblivion. It used Rhotuka as wheels. Gallery Von Nebula Revamp Nothing to say here. Click on the picture for Gallery. Random Stuff Here you can see random Dowtime experiments, mixed with older and newer random stuff. Eldrone One of my last 2011 MOCs. Which means it's been recently built. I finally decided to combine parts from my two Hahli Inika. Name comes from Elda (Hahli's Kanohi) and Drone. The Gallery Random Gunmetal Flying Drone Picture is too big, check here Aquatic Rat/Rahi Believe it or no, but I made this with random parts I randomly took in The Pile. Gallery for side view and Revamp which looks like a dead rat according to Felix. Definitely not my best MOC. Christmas Creature Another random experiment. Gallery here Christmas King A special Christmas MOC! As suggested by Felix it will be my new self-MOC. Oh and before you say it needs more gold, I say it was supposed to have only a touch of gold. Gallery *** So I guess it's pretty much all for Dowtime MOCs. I've improved, but constructive criticisms still are welcomed. Enjoy, BZPers! Matt
  18. Well, it's been a while since the last COT short stories contest...nevertheless, we are back! After the amazing response 55555 and I received from Short Stories Contest #8, we decided that we wanted to start another contest -- why not COT, and since it's around the Christmas season, why not Christmas-themed? After all, there's been a Valentine's Day short story contest, and a Halloween-themed story contest, it's about time for a Christmas one. Not just any Christmas-themed story, though -- a Sci-Fi yuletide adventure, a snowy steampunk tale, or an eerie Christmas mystery, along with a plethora of other possibilities. Theme: Write a Christmas story while keeping it in one of the following genres: ApocalypseSteampunkSci FiMysteryFantasy CLARIFICATION:Your story may be religious or non-religious (still following BZP's rules, of course -- read the FAQ for more). However, the main theme of this contest is to write a story about the “Christmas spirit,” if you will – if it’s not religious, it should focus on the elements of the secular holiday (i.e., “holiday cheer,” presents, etc.). If religious themed, you may use Christmas or another religion’s equivalent (i.e., Hanukkah [Jewish], Saturnalia [ancient Rome], etc.). In other words, it's not so much "write a story about Christmas Day" as it is "write a story about the Christmas season" (though it can be about Christmas Day if you so desire). If you need any further clarification, please ask -- I don't mind asking any question you should have. ——— How to enter:The entry period lasts from Monday, December 05, 2011 (today) as soon as this topic is posted and will end on Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 11:59 PM PST.To enter, simply post a link to your entry in this topic using the following form:Member name: Theme:Entry name and link:Any entry PMed to me or not linked in this topic will be ignored – no exceptions. ——— Contest Rules: [*]All BZPower Rules and Guidelines apply.[*]Your story must be new and never before posted on BZP. You can certainly have been working on your entry before this, but it must be posted on BZP after the start of the contest for it to be eligible.[*]No plagiarizing! Your story must be your own work.[*]No cheating. Simple enough, yes? You don't get anywhere in life by cheating. Also, if you suspect someone of cheating, PM me. DO NOT post here. [*]Keep it PG-13 appropriate. So no gory descriptions, excessive violence, inappropriate content, et cetera.[*]Your story must be a short story. No epics here.[*]No flaming, bashing, or trolling! I shouldn't even have to say this at all, but if any of this occurs, you will be disqualified immediately.[*]RULE CHANGE: You cannot edit your entry 30 minutes after it is posted. This is to 1) ensure that all judges read the same version of your story; and 2) make things more fair, as not everyone will get the same amount of critique as others. So, once you post your story, you will have thirty minutes to edit it in order to make any formatting changes or to edit your story itself -- after that, your entry will be disqualified. PM me if you have to edit for story for some reason after 30 minutes before you do so. [*]There is no minimum or maximum word count for this contest. Just be reasonable, please. Do remember that the judges have to read every story.[*]If your story is not posted in this topic with the correct format, your entry will not be entered into the contest. The contest hosts reserve the right to change, edit, or make exceptions to any of the rules. A violation of the rules will be judged on a case-by-case basis by contest staff. ——— Voting:Winners will be dictated by judges. However, certain awards will be chosen partially through polls, namely Best Character, Best Ending, Best Quote and Best Imagery. These are not finalized, and are likely to change, but you get the idea. Most Judges will be picked by the contest staff, but volunteers are more than welcome. Potential Judges are not be prohibited from entering the contest. Judges' names will not be posted until after the contest so I won't have to hurt anyone for bribing judges. If you would like to be a judge, feel free to PM 55555. ——— Prizes:Prizes will be announced later, donations welcome. Also glory. ——— FAQ:Q: Does it have to be Christmas or can I use some other winter holiday? A: Your story can feature some other Christmas-time holiday such as Hanukkah or [for those who study Ancient Rome] Saturnalia or whatever. Just as long as the holiday takes place somewhere around Christmas, it's fine. Q: Can my story be religious-themed? A: Basically, you can have your plot loosely based off a religious theme or feature some small religious things, but they cannot be the center of the story, simply because of the sensitivity of religion. Make sure if you do have any sort of religious things in your story that you do not make it “preachy” and that you do not too heavily focus your story on it. If you think it might be too much, you can PM your story to me and I’ll look it over for you. I will also be reading all the entries to make sure that they are not too religious. It’s unfortunate that religion is such as sensitive topic, but as it is, BZPower must have this rule to avoid offending anyway. Thank you all for understanding. Q: Can we use multiple genres? A: Yes, though you would possibly have to choose one specific theme to officially group it under when entering. Q: Are fanfics allowed? A: Sure, but just keep in mind judges may be unfamiliar with your subject material (unless it's Bionicle). Other questions?If you have any questions about the contest not answered above, please post them in this topic. Chances are someone might have the same question, so if you post rather than PMing me, other members can read it the answer.First, however, look through this post to see if I've already addressed your question. But if you can't find an answer, or you think something is unclear, don't hesitate to post and ask about it! ——— Contest Staff:Contest Hosts:Velox 55555Contest Assistants: Zeddy Ziko Again, feel free to ask questions here if you have any. But most importantly, have fun and get writing! It is my great pleasure to host another writing contest, and I eagerly await all the awesome entries!
  19. CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 2011 The automatic doors of the department store slid open, and through them stepped a humanoid creature with a body made of glass. This figure was covered in angled patterns formed by black lines, with each portion of the pattern colored either red, orange, or yellow. On its face, among an overly complex design of crisscrossing lines and orange glass, were two yellow eyes that looked like curved rectangles, and on its chest was an emblem that resembled a sun.The figure, Stained Glass Inmacula—or just Inmacula—emitted the sound of a sigh as it took two more steps forward and stopped again in front of a man who was face down on the floor. This man wore a brown jumpsuit, yellow boots, a yellow helmet, and yellow gloves, but one glove was a ridiculously oversized fist.“Guts Style Pahrak,” Inmacula greeted. “Respond.”Pahrak groaned, so Inmacula held out its hand and used its power to heal Pahrak, shooting a beam of white light that hit the man in back. When he was healed, Pahrak leapt to his feet, clenched his oversized fist, and shouted, “I was SO close this time, Inmacula! SO CLOSE!! But, alas, I hesitated as I reached for a cart, and—““You were trampled, as you have been every year,” Inmacula said. “I cease to see logic in your continued participation in ‘Black Friday’.”Pahrak cast a longing look into the frenzied masses swirling about inside the store, saying, “Ah, Inmacula, my robotic friend, this is not something that can be explained by logic…Black Friday is a thrill!”“I have no intention of having this argument again,” Inmacula said. “I merely came to retrieve you.”“Ah…I suppose so,” Pahrak said, hanging his head solemnly, and then Inmacula used its teleportation powers to relocate them both to a small apartment.The apartment had bare, gray-brown walls and a wood-paneled floor, and in the room in which Inmacula and Pahrak now stood, there was a medium-sized television, numerous video game systems, a coffee table, and a sofa. On the sofa lay a man—asleep—who wore a gray jumpsuit and several plates of brown armor, including two armguards that each sprouted a line of spines resembling those found on a Panrahk’s back.Someone else then entered the room: a Bionicle with brown and yellow armor, a build similar to that of a Toa Metru, and the head of a Zadakh. The Vahki-headed Toa, Exo-Zadakh, said, “Hey, Pahrak, good to see you didn’t get deleted. Thanks for saving his bytes, Inmacula.”Inmacula gave no response as it walked out of the room, meanwhile Pahrak crouched next to the couch. “Panrahk has yet to regain consciousness?” he asked. “Poor soul…he’s been like this since Thanksgiving Dinner.”Panrahk snored, and Zadakh said, “You’re worried about him? He does this once a week. You got trampled and laid there for hours.”“I care deeply for my friends!” Pahrak said.Suddenly, Panrahk sat up and said, “Wha?! Oh, you’re back…hey, do we have leftovers?”“…You just got out of a food coma, and you’re hungry,” Zadakh said, putting a hand to his head. “Are you sure you’re not a Vorahk?”Panrahk thought for a second, and then he said, “You sound even more frustrated than usual…”“Dost thou not remember?” Pahrak chimed in. “This is Zadakh’s Black Friday tradition: entering cynical hibernation until the dawn of New Year’s Day.”Zadakh rolled his head (because having a Vahki head made it impossible to roll his eyes), and he strode towards the window and sighed. He prepared to speak, but then he heard music and turned to see Panrahk holding up an iPod.“…It seemed like the cue for a show-stopping musical number,” Panrahk said.Zadakh paused, then said, “If this was animated, then definitely, but it’s all text, so we can’t do musical numbers.”“Oh, right,” Panrahk said, putting the iPod away.“Anyway…” Zadakh said, turning back to the window. “In our culture, Black Friday is seen as the beginning of the Christmas—oh, I’m sorry, ‘holiday’ season…a month of greed where we throw money everywhere as if it can buy love and happiness, and you can’t even pick a specific holiday because it may offend someone. Let’s be politically correct, reject our own beliefs, and celebrate materialism.”There was a pause, but then Pahrak said, “Unfortunately, I’ve yet to locate the world’s smallest violin.”Zadakh sighed, and Panrahk said, “Look Zadakh, I feel the same way, but no matter how much we complain…or sing, if this was animated…it’s not going to change.”“…There has to be something,” Zadakh said. “I mean for crying out loud, Christmas is Jesus’s birthday! If there’s ANY holiday that should be celebrated properly, it’s this one!”Zadakh continued thinking, and then he turned around and said, “Alright, that’s it! Rather than sitting around and complaining, like I’ve done my entire life, this year I’m going to do something! Brainstorm!”“Hm…we could have Pahrak hijack the Internet to foil Cyber Monday,” Panrahk suggested.“Nah, we already tried that,” Zadakh said. “All we did was crash the BZPower server. Luckily, that happens so often that no one suspected anything…”“Oh, I know!” Pahrak said. “We pull off a combination Grinch/Inception heist, diving into a representational world of our culture to steal the flawed cultural perception of Christmas!”“Hm…that would take too long,” Zadakh said. “Besides, to do a Grinch heist you need to speak in rhyme, and you know how easily frustrated I am.”Inmacula entered the room and said, “According to my calculations, your pre-formulated scheme ‘Epic Plan 52’ could be easily modified for these circumstances.”“We can’t set it up in time,” Zadakh said, shaking his head. “For that to work, we all need to power up to Level 9999, we need to revive Godzilla and turn him into a cyborg, and at least one of us needs to be both a Super Saiyan and a paladin. We’re about 12% there after 3 years.”“Well, maybe you should just leave Christmas specials to the professionals,” Panrahk said.“Yeah? Any how many of those specials mention Jesus?” Zadakh asked. “Charlie Brown, and…oh, wait, I think that’s it.”“Ah, such a wonderful Christmas special that is…” Pahrak said. “They do so much with such a little tree!”“A little goes a long way,” Panrahk agreed.“…Wait…that’s it!” Zadakh said. “Panrahk, that’s the smartest thing you’ve ever said!”“It does not have abundant competition,” Inmacula said.“We’ll do a little, and let it go a long way!” Zadakh said. “The little things! We can volunteer at a homeless shelter, or…go caroling! Or, uh…uh…some other third thing!”“Your vagueness is truly inspiring,” Inmacula responded. “Feel free to attempt this scheme. I shall remain here.”“Come on, guys!” Zadakh said. “We’ve gotta start somewhere!”“Such as writing a poorly organized Christmas story that nobody will read?” Pahrak asked.“It’s the thought that counts,” Panrahk said.“Don’t you at least want to be able to say you tried?” Zadakh asked.Inmacula left the room, but Panrahk stood up and said, “I’ll do it! I want to open people’s eyes!”“Well…it is a worthwhile venture, whether we succeed or not,” Pahrak said. “I shall join you.”“Great!” Zadakh said. “Let’s put the Christ back in Christmas!”“…Is that going to be your catchphrase for the next month?” Panrahk asked.“Maybe,” Zadakh replied.So, for the next month, the three well-meaning morons did everything they could think of to help people and spread the word of Jesus Christ. However, it didn’t go so well…if this special were animated, we could show you a montage of failure, but I guess we’ll just name off a few highlights.Caroling went fairly well at first, despite the fact that none of them were excellent singers, but then someone decided to send dogs after them, forcing them to retire early. Nothing particularly bad happened at the homeless shelter they volunteered at, but it wasn’t the most sanitary locale on their quest, and Zadakh, being a germaphobe, had to be removed before he had a stroke. They tried shoveling snow off of driveways, but each time they finished, a snow plow came along and shoved the snow from the street onto the driveway they had just finished. In a last-ditch effort, they decided to make some signs to position around the neighborhood, but some atheists saw them, destroyed all the signs, and then tried to shoot our main characters. The atheists ended up in jail, but that was really the only positive thing that happened to Zadakh and his friends. By the time December 24th came around, they were exhausted, discouraged, and more cynical than ever, and they said very little as they slowly walked down the street towards home.“…Well, we tried,” Panrahk mumbled.“In the end, one cannot change another’s perception so easily,” Pahrak mourned.“…Hey, uh…you guys go on ahead,” Zadakh said, coming to a stop. “I’ll catch up.”Panrahk and Pahrak continued on, and Zadakh looked around: he was alone on a dark sidewalk, with only a stone bench and a street lamp, with no sound but his own breathing. Zadakh sat down on the bench and sighed, “Cue lonely solo number…”For a minute, he just sat there, but then he stood up and began to circle the bench, musing, “This was a disaster. But at least we tried, right? I know, you’re not supposed to do good things to get rewarded, you’re supposed to do them because they’re the right thing to do. Still…I don’t think we really accomplished anything…so was it worth it? Ugh…no one cares anymore. People just don’t care about Jesus anymore! Apparently there’s nothing that can be done about it! Why?! We’re supposed to be celebrating Jesus’s birthday, so why are we waiting for some fat guy whose name is an anagram of a REALLY bad name to bring us useless junk we don’t need?! Come on, people!! Is it really…rrgh…I guess there really isn’t Christ in Christmas anymore. It’s all Xmas now…how sad we are. We’d rather drown in materialistic greed than acknowledge the birth of our savior. We seriously need to get our priorities in order…oh, I shouldn’t be so condescending. We all have problems, and I know that I certainly don’t always do the right thing…but that still doesn’t mean there’s not a problem with what Christmas has become. And that’s not even including the whole politically correct, ‘Happy Holidays’ thing. I don’t care that other people celebrate other holidays—that’s their right—but I’m not going to reject my own beliefs by being purposefully ambiguous when I have a chance to let someone know that I’m a Christian. Of course…maybe a good Christian shouldn’t rant like this…oi, I have a headache…”Zadakh leaned against the bench and put a hand to his head, and then he closed his eyes and let out a loud sigh. After a few seconds, however, he heard someone ask, “Are you okay, mister?”He opened his eyes and turned around, seeing a young Ga-Matoran with a blue Kualsi who was looking at him with a mix of concern and curiosity. “…Um…yeah, I’m fine,” Zadakh finally said.“Who were you talking to?” the Matoran asked.“Myself, mostly,” Zadakh answered. “Just needed to get some confusion off my chest…not that it really helped…”“What are you confused about?” asked the Matoran.“Christmas,” Zadakh said. “Oh rather, the way people celebrate Christmas…what it means to them.”“Well…what does Christmas mean to you?” she asked.“Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ,” Zadakh said, “but it seems like not many people remember that anymore.”The Matoran seemed confused now, and she asked, “Who’s Jesus?”Two thoughts immediately came to Zadakh’s mind: “this proves my point,” and “what are her parents teaching her?” He didn’t voice those thoughts, however—instead, he told the girl about Jesus. He told of the manger, the star, the angels—the entire Nativity story, and also made sure to point out that Jesus is the Son of God. To further explain, he talked about the things Jesus did during his life: teaching, healing, saving, and, finally, Jesus’s death, resurrection, and ascension.“Of course, his resurrection if celebrated on Easter, so…I guess I got just a little off-topic,” Zadakh said at the end of his explanation. “But, basically, that’s it. It’s an abbreviated account, but it covers the essential points.”The Ga-Matoran was awestruck, and she whispered, “Wow…that’s incredible! How could people forget something like that?!”“I wish I had the answer to that,” Zadakh sighed. “My friends and I tried to remind everyone, but…they didn’t want to remember.”The young Matoran thought a moment, but then she smiled and said, “I’ll get my friends to help too! If more of us try to remind them, then they’ll remember sooner, right?”“…Uh…I guess that makes sense…” Zadakh said. “Still…it’s a tough job…”“Well we can’t just give up!” the Matoran said. “If something’s difficult, then it’s just that much more worth achieving!”Zadakh couldn’t think of anything to say, so the Matoran turned and said, “Well, I need to go. Merry Christmas!”She ran off, and Zadakh said, “Uh, Merry Christmas!”He remained standing there, completely silent for a time, but eventually he looked down and chuckled to himself. Turning his gaze skyward, he said, “…Thanks. I needed that.”As he turned to leave, it began to snow, and he added, “Okay, I get it! I won’t give up!”Panrahk sat on the cough eating a plate of turkey, and Pahrak walked in holding an envelope. “We got another Christmas card,” Pahrak said.“Really?” Panrahk responded. “Let’s see, we’ve already gotten cards from Tahu, Power, Millennia…is it from Stormer?”“Stormer doesn’t send Christmas cards,” Pahrak said. “This is from Khadaz Ikhav. You know, that human friend of Inmacula’s?”Panrahk nodded, and then Zadakh burst through the door and shouted, “We’re not giving up!”Panrahk and Pahrak were startled, and Panrahk said, “You almost made me drop my turkey…but anyway, aren’t you supposed to be the most cynical out of all of us?”“This is important—we can’t just give up because it’s difficult,” Zadakh said. “Tomorrow, we’re going to go back out there and keep doing God’s work!”“…Do you truly think we can accomplish anything?” Pahrak asked.“Yes,” Zadakh replied immediately. “We might not see the results, but if the right people hear us or see that we’re trying, it could inspire them, and then they could inspire more people, and so on and so on. Even if we only remind one person about Jesus, that will set everything in motion!”“…Good point,” Panrahk said.“Your enthusiasm is refreshing,” Pahrak said. He then caught a glimpse of the window and said, “Ah, it’s snowing.”The three of them walked over to the window and watched the snowfall, and Zadakh said, “Well…I think that about wraps up our Christmas Special. If anyone’s reading this, thank you, and I hope you have a Merry—““Wait!” Panrahk said. “We need a special ending thing! Some deep or cliché scene to leave a lasting impression!”“Hm…we could rip of Inmacula’s emblem and use it as a tree topper,” Pahrak suggested.Inmacula entered the room and said, “You should remember, first, that we do not have a tree, and second, that I am indestructible. Your plan is implausible.”“We could show a Christmas party,” Panrahk said. “It would be a great excuse to have a bunch of cameos!”“Gosh, this would be so much easier if we were animated!” Zadakh said. “Look, let’s just sit in front of the fire, smile, and let the figurative camera do the rest!”So the friends sat by the fire, filled with the true Christmas spirit, and in the night sky above them, the stars seemed to brighten and spell out two words… MERRY CHRISTMAS “Yeah, I guess that’s good,” Panrahk said.“Hey, that was supposed to be the ending!” Pahrak said.“Both of you, stop talking!” Zadakh said. “Inmacula, cut the power!”“Understood,” Inmacula said. “Commencing ‘Christmas Special Shutdown Procedure’…procedure complete.” THE END
  20. - JL -

    Ossim.

    For my Christmas + Birthday, I got: Halo: CEA Battlefield 3 Limited Edition CoD MW3 Epic.
  21. I recently went through our old computer's files and found a bunch of my old MOCs from before my online and, apparently, decent photography days. Given the time of year, I figured I'd share them with you all, one a day, up untill Christmas Eve. I started it on MOCpages a few days ago and forgot to post it here, so you lucky people get four days worth immediately! Keep checking this topic daily for a new MOC. Most of them are Bionicle, but their are one or two sytem builds.Day 1: HAM-VSit stands for Heavily Armed Multifunction Vehicle. I think it's pretty well armored, with three deployable weapons.Nyrah blaster deployedClaw deployedMace deployedAll deployedDay 2: Bob the BotA little yellow robot. I had dreams of making some sort of comic about him, I never did. The closest I ever got was building a basic wrestling ring for him. Dark pictures are dark.JetpackSideKnightly BobWrestling RingDay 3: Camera HolderSo... Yeah. It holds my sister's camera.BackSideDay 4: Green MonsterI was really proud of this when I made it. Anyone else think I should rebuild/revamp it whith some sand-green Ben 10 parts?
  22. Angel Chromosone XX 'Shamshel' Revoltech 01 'Getter-1' (New Getter incarnation) Figurine of Stella from Gundam Seed Destiny Ghost in the Shell Evangelion: Death and Rebirth SH Figuarts ShinkenRed Karakuridoji Ultimo Volume 4 Karakuridoji Ultimo Volume 5 Shin Megumi Tensei: Persona 2 INNOCENT SIN (Special Edition) Shin Megumi Tensei: Persona 3 Portable Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten (Collector's Edition) Fate/Extra (Limited Edition) End of Evangelion (hasn't arrived in the mail yet. It's late. :I) Puella Magi Madoka Magica volume 1 (Limited Edition) preorder Not pictured: Barnes and Noble gift card ($25 bucks) x2
  23. Over the past few weeks, I've been working on something in Blender that I think I'm finally ready to call done. You all know how those crazy Mayans love to mess with people. I mean really, is the world just gonna end four days before Christmas 2012? ...Is it? That was my basis behind this.
  24. Bandwagon entry is bandwagon Wish List: Any Hero Factory Set (because I haven't gotten barely any) iPad 2 (this is the big one here ) A hoodie from Redbubble Something awesome from Think Geek (I don't quite know what yet) Metroid: Other M Hayao Miyazaki movies to complete my collection: The Cat Returns Porco Rosso And that's it. -CM
  25. ~kh

    Nap Time

    Can someone please tell me why they have exceedingly hyper pre-school aged kids to have manditory naptime, but offer no such relief to sleep-deprived college students? Really, I hated naptime when I was a kid and never really spent much of it napping anyways. But man, would I pay money to have a hour block of time in which I can just doze off... Oh, and C3 has been put on hold because of the Advent Calendar. Just saying. By the way: anyone know how much time we regular members get Premium benefits?
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