First posted in Lightcudder’s World: Dec 2013.)
( I don’t normally do fluff. I hate fluff. So does Straker now.)
‘Go away Colonel. You can see I’m busy.’
Alec Freeman let the large box rest on the edge of the desk. ‘Just for tonight. I borrowed it from FX for the party at Janice’s and I’m going to Moonbase in a couple of hours. No time to take it home. I’ll shift it as soon as I get back tomorrow.’
Straker sighed. ‘Very well, but put it over there.’ He waved a hand and carried on working as Freeman hauled the heavy carton up again and carried it to the other corner of the room. It slid from his hands before he could lower it the last few inches and there was a soft thud and the sound of something cracking.
‘Heavy?’ Straker had not looked up.
‘You could say, but nothing breakable.’ Freeman pushed the package further into the corner, well out of the way of chairs and legs and inquisitive commanders. ‘I’ll leave it here. Thanks Ed.’
‘Uh huh.’ Another page turned, a note made in the margins, a hand stretching out for his calculator as Alec left, unnoticed.
Coffee and a slice of real Stollen an hour later- just one slice though it was tempting to have more – a quick tour of the control room and then he went back to submerse himself in the end of month report. A couple of days to go before it had to be on Henderson’s desk. But he was on the home stretch now, the end in sight and he put the pen down for a moment, enjoying the prospect of an early night and a couple of days off in the lull between Christmas and New Year. The box in the corner caught his eye again and he frowned. A diversion. Something out of place in his neat world. His curiosity itched to open it, but he resisted the temptation; work was calling as usual, though sometimes he wished it had a slightly more seductive voice.
His priority now was a brief walk to stretch his legs and relieve the boredom. He flicked the switch, the doors slid open – and then it happened: a crackle from somewhere in the room, the faintest scent of smoke, a flash …
It was blind instinct more than training that made him throw himself down behind his desk with its bomb-proof glass, curling up in an attempt to reduce his surface area. The explosion, a micro-second afterwards, was not severe enough to rupture eardrums or damage limbs but even so the percussive blast stunned him for several seconds. He lay still, his hearing deadened, the distant sounds of voices and alarms muted behind the thick buzzing in his head, and waited for the first indication of injuries; shards of metal or glass in his flesh, burns and broken bones.
Nothing. And he could move his toes and fingers, arms, legs. What the hell happened? He opened his eyes, expecting to see the floor covered with smouldering scraps of paper, the warped remains of chairs, shattered glass and ceiling tiles wrenched from their frames.
No. He could see nothing but a blur of white, terror flooding through him for a moment before the outline of the desk emerged and he saw his own hand in front of him. Not blind then. The room was white. A cloud of whiteness, filling the air, swirling round him. He was aware of something landing on his lips and eyelids, cheeks and throat. Tickling his skin with the lightest of touches. He reached on hand up to the edge of the desk gripping it with all his strength and hauling himself up to stand on shaking legs, trembling.
The room was sealed shut; the doors closed and the red light above warning him that nothing would open the exit now. Not until the decontamination team sealed it off and set up a perimeter barrier. He shivered. Whatever the white stuff was, some of it must have escaped into the corridor outside and …….
The Control room. The SHADO Control room. HIS Control Room. The bastards had resorted to Biochemical warfare; something designed to kill quietly, or quickly or whatever. Well, it was too late to hold his breath now. Whatever this stuff was, he was covered in it; had rolled in it, submerged himself in the poison. It was on his skin and his lips, in his hair and his clothes. Even on his tongue. He spat, wiping his mouth on his sleeve, but that was like shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted. It was just a case of waiting now. No one could get in here, and there was no way out, not even via the hidden lift shaft. That was disabled as well.
He stood there as the cloud settled around him, a slow drift of whiteness carpeting every surface in a thick layer of fine …fluff. There was no other word to describe it. Fluff. White and …… fluffy. There was no smell of chemicals or some alien substance. The scientific part of his mind found that aspect interesting. An inert compound. Definitely biological rather than chemical, which meant he was going to be isolated for a long time until the scientists worked out what virus or bacteria had infected him. And he still had Henderson’s report to finish.
There was a lot of it, a hell of a lot; an inundation several inches deep, the files and trays on his desk already hidden beneath it. Overkill really. He brushed his head free, wiped his face and wondered what to do next, seeing as he was still alive in here. Control would be busy right now. They would get through to him as soon as possible. He hoped. He could hear movement outside though, a good sign, no screams or panic, just a familiar voice shouting orders and he picked up a folder to scoop a clear space on his chair and make himself comfortable. Part of his mind wondered if he should open the intercom, but they would still be in the throes of the emergency. Even so he hesitated, his hand wavering. Was it presumptuous to want to speak to someone, give a last message? He drew back, just as the screen lit up, revealing Colonel Lake struggling into a Hazmat suit.
He swallowed. ‘Straker. What’s the situation Colonel?’ A calm reply and with just the right amount of dignified acceptance. He brushed a thick layer of white flakes from the viewer, his fingertips stroking across the screen.
‘Sir. Thank heavens. We thought you…’ She straightened. ‘We’re on emergency shutdown. All stations on Red Alert. The whole base is on lock-down, all areas are isolated and control room staff in the process of suiting up. Your doors closed before the explosion could affect us out here, but enough particles entered the purification systems to trigger a contamination alert. There’s no way we can get to you, not for several hours.’
‘Good work Colonel. What about the staff? Anyone hurt?’
‘No visible injuries, but medical are on their way to assess. We’ve switched off all systems, transferred everything to auxiliary. Colonel Foster is heading there right now from the studio. Control staff are confined to the room and are suiting up as I speak, and the decontamination team are on their way.’ She straightened up, holding the unwieldy helmet in her hands as if loathe to put it on. ‘How are you?’ A longer pause, her voice softer now and with a note of concern. ‘How bad is it?’
‘Fine. I’m fine.’ And he was. If this was a biochemical weapon he was doing just … fine. No problems breathing, no blisters on his skin, no burning sensation. Yet. But he didn’t have a decontamination suit in here. Coffee machine, drinks dispenser, conference table, even a hidden escape route that was of no use at all right now, but no Hazmat suit. He should get a closet installed with one, and a spacesuit – just in case the aliens tried putting a wormhole in here. Maybe a wet suit as well. You could never tell what they would do next. Anyway, he might as well sit and finish the report while he had the chance. Lake had it all in hand. ‘Get it analysed. That’s your first priority. Concentrate on getting the Control room and staff cleared and fully operational. Nothing else matters until that’s done. Understood?’
She stared back at him; that annoying glare he had experienced on several occasions. For a moment he wished it was Alec out there, but perhaps not. Alec, for all his bluntness and seemingly casual manner would find it hard, and he didn’t want to say goodbye to Alec. Not like this.
‘Understood Commander.’ She pulled the helmet over her head.
He leaned forward. ‘And Colonel? If this is an alien attack they’ll be looking to press home their advantage. Whatever happens,’ he stared at her, his eyes fixed. ‘Whatever, keep alert.’
He closed the link and sat back, a cloud of white enveloping him again and making him cough. He needed a drink: water, coffee, even milk. Anything to ease the tickle in his throat. Coffee was impossible though; his personal coffee machine, installed only a few days ago – this year’s Christmas present from Alec – had shut down, its filter clogged, the percolator dripping sodden clumps of coffee-flavoured fluff. It would have to be something from the dispenser.
He stood up, took a couple of paces and skidded, landing on his rear end with a hefty thump, a grunt of surprise and considerable embarrassment, his legs tangled beneath him in an ungainly heap. Trying to walk on the damned stuff was worse than ice-staking. He gritted his teeth and tried again. Several times. His buttocks were bruised and his clothes, even his sweater, covered in the stuff before he finally managed to make his way over to the dispenser and blow one of the glasses clean. No point in worrying about whether it was free of contamination; he’d swallowed enough of the alien substance right at the start and it was up his nose and in his ears and eyes and …. everywhere. He wriggled uncomfortably. No doubt Jackson would be busy for months analysing and separating it into component molecules and atoms and then theorising about the alien homeworld.
Whisky. He took a single mouthful of the spirit, aware of a burning in his throat as it cleared the fluff; at least he hoped it was the alcohol and not the start of a reaction. A more cautious sip this time. No. Just whisky. He poured another drink, a couple of inches this time, after all there was nothing he could do to help anyone. Then he made his perilous way back to the safety of his seat with another unseemly slither across the floor.
The intercom was covered again, more of the damned stuff floating down from the ceiling like millions of tiny feathers and he puffed at the screen, only for his face to be enveloped in a cloud as the thistledown swirled around him, tickling everywhere. He was busy blowing raspberries in a futile attempt to free his lips of the tiny particles when Colonel Lake appeared in the screen, her face distorted behind her visor.
‘Yes …’ Perhaps it was time to be less formal. ‘…Virginia?’
‘I thought I heard.…’
‘Oh. No, Colonel, everything’s fine. How are things out there?’ He cleared his throat. ‘Any news from Colonel Freeman?’
‘Landed at Moonbase. We haven’t given him the details but he’ll be on the first flight back as soon as the module’s ready. Everything’s under control here. Just…. hang on, Commander.’
Was that a tear in her eye? Surely not. He shook his head at the ludicrous thought, closing the link without answering and stared at his prison.
It was everywhere. Covering the floor, the seats, even the surface of his desk despite all his attempts. He tried to blow it away, brush it away, even waft it off the surface with a spare folder, but it simply floated up and then drifted down again to settle in a white layer of …… fluff. In the end he gave up and sipped his whisky in a silent and rather solitary wake. The downy substance had stopped falling now and the covering of white was more sparse. More sparse? Sparser? Less sparse? Whatever. It was enough that he could actually see the solid surface of his desk now instead of …. fluff.
He let his head rest in his hands for a long moment. His brain hurt. And his backside. And there was nothing he could do now apart from wait. He leaned back in his chair, put his feet on the edge of the desk and closed his eyes. The silence was peaceful and there was no point in worrying about what was going to happen. It was all out of his hands.
His intercom buzzed, startling him from his composure, his feet sliding off the desk, the chair tilting back perilously close to tipping over. An undignified scrabble to regain his point of equilibrium, his feet unable to gain purchase on the floor but he managed it in the end, sneezing as more of the vile stuff floated up to tickle his nose. He kept his mouth closed tight, taking shallow breaths through itching nostrils. Even sneezing caused a minor fuzz-storm. He risked pulling out a handkerchief and blowing his nose and then he sat down again, the soft cushion of loose flakes wafting out from under his bruised backside. He activated the intercom, not even daring a sigh of relief. Perhaps they had good news for him.
Ayshea came into view, her face behind the Hazmat visor an uncomfortably familiar green tint, the Control Room a confusion of anonymous figures in grotesque suits. He could see the Decon team at work on the mainframe computer banks, suctioning the delicate machinery to ensure that no particles of fluff had entered the systems. There was no other word for it. Fluff. Fuzz? Thistledown?
He needed a thesaurus. And a cushion. Ayshea leaned forward. ‘Colonel Freeman will be leaving Moonbase shortly, sir and Dr Jackson needs to talk to you.’ She moved away and the screen the lean face of the Chief Medical Officer filled the screen.
‘How are you feeling, Commander?’
‘Fluffy?’ He scowled. It was getting beyond a joke now – the interminable wait for something to happen, anything in fact. He knew his own body well enough to be aware that he was fit and well apart from a sore backside and the unbearable tickling that seemed to have got under his very skin. God. Perhaps the fluff was alive and crawling under his skin right now, eating him alive. He lifted his hand to examine it, spreading his fingers wide to peer at the thinner skin there. Nothing, and he laced his fingers tightly together before returning his attention to Jackson.
The doctor raised an eyebrow. ‘I have my team working on an analysis right now. But as you are no doubt aware, it will take considerable time. In the meantime, is there anything I can do for you?’
Scratch my back? But he kept the thought to himself. ‘Not at the moment. Strangely, I feel perfectly well.’ He didn’t add the ‘but’.
‘Any initial indications of a rash, or perhaps difficulty in breathing? Any untoward discomfort? Blurred vision?’
‘No. As I said, I feel normal. Apart from itching.’
‘Itching.’ There was a long pause. ‘I see. Whereabouts are you itching, Commander?’
Oh for heaven’s sake. He sighed. ‘Where do you think Doctor? This stuff gets everywhere. It’s like being covered in feathers. I itch. That’s all.’
Jackson turned to his assistant. ‘Make a note. The Commander appears to be suffering from a serious skin reaction as well as an unexpected emotional response. This may be symptomatic of an underlying alteration in brain activity, possibly a precursor to a more serious personality or psychotic disorder. ’
Straker stood up; a difficult task given the slippery condition of the floor and he leaned on the desk, glaring at Jackson. ‘I keep telling you, I feel fine. No headaches, no difficulty breathing and no rash.’ He paused, wondering if perhaps he should strip off and check, but no, it was hard enough keeping his footing even while he was standing. Trying to struggle out of his jumpsuit and sweater would be impossible. He rolled up one sleeve and inspected his arm. Nothing. He scratched the itch.
‘Pulse rate if you please.’ Jackson persisted.
‘Very well.’ Straker sat down again, fingers on his wrist. Another wait. ‘Seventy-two.’ There was a hint of triumph in his voice. ‘Normal.’
‘Unusually normal, given the circumstances, I am sure you will agree?’
‘Will there be anything else doctor? Or could you get on with analysing whatever this is so maybe I have a chance of getting out of here in one piece?’
‘Very well. But I will be monitoring your communications. Please inform me immediately of any change in your condition.’ He turned away and the screen went blank.
Peace at last.
It was strange, sitting here with an uncertain future ahead of him, waiting for something to happen. Whatever it was, it was going to be slow and perhaps the medical team would come up with an antidote in time. At least Paul and Alec were safe, and from the sounds of it the Control Room staff were unaffected.
If it needed the quantity of matter currently in his office to kill one person, a few particles should be relatively harmless. He hoped. He wanted another drink. And not because he was thirsty.
It took him a while to shuffle back to the dispenser, his feet skidding on the treacherous surface, arms windmilling for a frantic moment as he fought to stay upright. That was all he needed now, to end up rolling in the stuff again, or swallowing more than a few particles. It might be full Level 5 decontamination, and Level 4 was going to be bad enough – when they finally got round to extricating him from this mess.
Back at his desk he finished the last of the whisky, a mere splash in the bottom of the glass. He needed some mixers in here as well. Dry ginger, or sparkling water. He should leave a list for Alec: mixers, closet, maybe even a bed, and – he shifted position – a bathroom. Why had no-one thought about adding a private cloakroom? Nothing fancy. A shower, a sink and a … toilet. He focused his mind on more important matters and crossed his legs.
Time passed. He ignored the report on his desk, instead idling away the minutes by doodling, his mind wandering as much as his pen. A rough sketch for a possible base on the far side of the moon. A radical new design for Skydiver. And finally he picked up his ruler and started a detailed scale diagram of his office, compete with bathroom and closet and bed. It took a long time, but there was no rush. Jackson interrupted him at regular intervals, requesting more medical information, each disturbance an unwelcome distraction from his task, but he persevered, finishing the last line of the blueprint with a sense of satisfaction. A job well done, and he sat back, brushing more flakes from his trousers. A hopeless task. As soon as he moved the fragments fell from his shoulders or hair. Even the walls were draped in the white stuff, clinging to the rough concrete, just waiting for a draught to unsettle them.
The intercom buzzed. Ford this time. He sighed. Was this a conspiracy, to make sure everyone got a chance to talk to him before…. ‘Lieutenant?’
‘Commander, Decontamination estimate another hour still before they are finished here.’
‘Thank you Lt. Any idea how the cleanup is progressing?’
‘Underway sir. Colonel Lake suggests that you take it easy for now. Could be a couple more hours before they have your office isolated.’
No point in worrying about the decon team; creating a second, temporary room outside the doors to enclose the team with all their equipment would be a long process. But once that was airtight they would be able to get him out for decontamination. A shower, even if it was a cold shower, and clean clothes as well. He scratched the back of his neck. Clean, fresh un-itchy clothes – a wonderful thought. He would be without fluff, without sneezing, without white flakes on his eyelashes and in his mouth and down his neck and up his trousers. Without looking like some refugee from a blizzard. Or a victim of terminal dandruff. What on earth possessed him to wear his black suit today? As for taking it easy – what did Lake expect him to do in here? Sleep? Watch television? Weave a tapestry out of the bloody stuff?
He shifted position. Definitely a cloakroom. There was the empty whisky bottle if he got desperate. They couldn’t be that much longer. And if things got really bad? If they couldn’t get to him? No. It wouldn’t come to that. Would it? This was just… fluff. Nothing more serious. They would have him out of here in a couple of hours. He shrugged out of his jacket and gave it a brief shake, wanting to strip off his jumper and scratch the itch between his shoulder blades. It was impossible to reach just the right spot however much he wriggled. In the end he fumbled for a ruler and used that to scratch the dammed itch. Just….. there. Blissful.
It was quiet in the office now, the fluff muting the usual faint sounds from the complex and the air-conditioning off-line until the conduits had been checked and unsealed. It promised to be a long evening. His stomach growled. Shame this stuff wasn’t edible. A closet, a bathroom, a bed and….. a food dispenser. What day was it? If the First day of Christmas was the 26th, then today had to be…. ‘On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a four piece bathroom, three protective suits, two feather – no forget the feathers – two firm pillows and a fully stocked food dispenser.’ It didn’t scan or bear much resemblance to the original, but so what. It was something to pass the time. He drummed his fingers on the desk. How much longer? The worst part was the strain of waiting for the first symptoms to appear. Unless, of course it was a progressive accumulation virus and the effects would appear in one swift explosion of fatal symptoms. He winced. Unpleasant.
At least it would be quick. He looked at his watch. After nine already? And he’d intended having a hot bath and an early night. The thought of water made his bladder protest again and he twisted in his seat, frowning.
In the end he did what Lake suggested, taking a few minutes to get himself more comfortable, and then moving to the conference table with slow slides, his feet firmly on the ground, jacket slung over his shoulders. A slow sweep of his hands over the table cleared the worst of it, the flakes falling like a waterfall over the edge. Fluff-free for the first time in what seemed like hours. He rolled his jacket into a makeshift pillow, climbed up on the table, put his hands behind his head, and despite the itching, closed his eyes.
The rustle of plastic woke him and he sat up, startled as the doors eased open. The corridor outside was sheathed in the transparent material used for isolating hazardous areas, and the four-man team of specialists was making its way towards him, surrounded by a cloud of disturbed fluff. He swung his legs over the edge of the table and waited.
‘Commander.’ The voice was muffled but recognisable. Jackson. ‘If you would like to come with me?’
It took them over an hour to extricate him without opening the room and the personal isolation bubble which now enclosed him, to the outer corridor. He was hot and sweaty by the time they arrived at the High Security Isolation Unit in the basement area, fluff clinging in damp clots on his hair and skin. He sighed with relief as he stripped off in the outer zone and stood under the first of several showers. A heavy drenching of tepid, distilled water at first to wash the worst of the stuff away and then he stepped out, shivering under the watchful gaze of Jackson and his henchmen. Not even a hand towel to dry his face.
‘Turn around please.’
He turned slowly, not sure where to put his hands and aware of eyes raking his body.
He stepped into the inner unit, the barrier closing behind with a hiss. The air seemed thinner here, colder, but this shower smelled of antiseptic. At least it was warm and he rubbed his hair and skin until the water stopped and he was ordered out. They gave him a thin cotton cloth this time and he dabbed himself dry before standing there, waiting for the next order.
More showers, more tests: blood and urine, skin samples, reflexes. He endured them all, aware of his stomach growling, his mouth dry, his head aching more from tiredness than any reaction. In the end Jackson was forced to admit that, until the substance was identified, there was nothing more to be done.
Straker lay back on his bed, itch free and no longer hungry; the isolation unit contained a bathroom, a food and water dispenser and a bed. A comfortable bed. And even better there was not a single piece of fluff. Perhaps he should move his office down here. There was even space for a large closet in the corner as well. Perfect.
He was undergoing another blood test when Jackson was called away, returning some time later without his hazmat suit. ‘You can leave when you are ready Commander. It seems our concerns were unjustified. It appears the substance was merely one of the studio effects that was prematurely activated after being damaged, possibly when Colonel Freeman dropped it in your office.’
‘It .. what…?’ Straker sat up.
‘An artificial snow machine. A prototype. Colonel Freeman gave me the details when I was informing him about the incident. I suggest you discuss the matter with him when he arrives back. The analysts assured me that the contents are totally harmless, though they are designed primarily for outdoor use and can cause some minor skin irritation under prolonged exposure.’ Jackson folded his arms. ‘I have taken the liberty of providing fresh clothing for you. Your office has been cleared for use but I suggest you return there and ensure that everything is in order before you go home.’ He walked out.
The biochemical barrier on the corridor had disappeared by the time he got back to his office. The room was spotless and he sat behind the desk fiddling with pens and folders, uncertain whether to continue work or not, his eyes searching for any rebellious white specks. He would kill Alec for this.
But he would have to stand in line. Lake had staked first claim, and he had no intention of getting in her way. Not after hearing her shouting in the control room earlier. Even though he was Commander, sometimes it was more prudent to stay silent. Like now for example. He sipped his coffee, rifling through the report and wondering if he should complete it before going home.
The doors slid open and Ayshea entered, a brief look of confusion on her face. Not often the staff saw him out of uniform. Or in pale blue scrubs for that matter. ‘Can I get you anything Commander?’
‘Alec Freeman’s head?’
She had the decency to smile at him. ‘Sorry, sir. Colonel Foster put in a request for that first. As for Colonel Lake…?’ Ayshea shrugged. ‘Well, let’s say Colonel Freeman might be singing soprano after she gets hold of him.’
‘Ouch. That bad?’ Straker slid the report aside. Henderson could wait for once.
‘You know Colonel Lake, sir. Hates disruption of any kind. Especially when it involves her baby.’
‘Baby?’ Straker frowned. ‘I didn’t know…’ He thought for a moment. No. Really. She hadn’t. Had she? He really needed to keep more up-to-date with staff developments in future.
Ayshea raised an eyebrow. ‘The mainframe computer, sir?’
‘Oh.’ Tiredness, that was all. Or perhaps the analysts were mistaken and prolonged exposure to the fake snow was harmful to brain activity? Perhaps he should mention it to Jackson tomorrow; but then he would end up having more tests. A decent sleep would do the trick.
Ayshea stepped closer. ‘Colonel Lake has put all bases back to Yellow Alert. Maintenance are flushing the last of the fake snow away and Colonel Foster has handed control back to the main Centre. There’s nothing else to do now.’
‘Is that a hint Lieutenant? I should really wait until Colonel Freeman returns. I don’t want the team to have to deal with the results of Colonel Lake’s wrath. It could be messy and they’ve had enough to do tonight.’ He stifled a yawn.
‘Go home sir. Keith and I will look after Colonel Freeman. You look tired. And…’ She smiled again. ’I’m glad you’re okay. We all are.’
He was in the bath when the doorbell rang. Wallowing in hot deep water. No bubble bath, or anything resembling froth or fluff or white stuff. He heaved himself up, letting the water pour down his skin. It was bliss. The bell rang again and he grabbed a towel, one of his old ones, rough and scratchy and thin. And not fluffy.
It was Alec. Standing there with a sheepish grin and a three-quarters-full bottle of whisky in his hand.
‘Alec.’ Straker wrapped the towel tighter, tucking it in at his waist.
‘I brought a drink.’
‘So I see.’
‘Well, technically it’s yours. From the office. I dropped in to see if you were ….’
‘My office?’ Straker frowned. ‘That’s from my office?’
‘Picked it up from your desk. Thought you could maybe do with a drink. Wasn’t sure if you had any here. I certainly need one.’ Freeman paused. ‘Can I….?’ His voice trailed away.
‘Come in?’ He stepped back. ‘Sure. You can tell me about your trip to Moonbase and I’ll you about my evening.’ He sighed. ‘Better give me that bottle, before you decide to drink some of it.’
‘No good? Looks alright to me.’ Freeman lifted it up to inspect, only for it to be taken from his hand.
‘Don’t ask, just – don’t.’ Straker dropped the bottle in the wastebin. ‘I’ve got some proper stuff inside. Single malt. Eighteen years old. Been saving it for a special occasion.’
‘And this is a special occasion?’
‘Sure.’ Straker gave a wry grin and put a hand out as white flakes descended from the sky. ‘It’s snowing. The first of the season. And the real thing. Not fluffy.’ He grimaced.
‘Fluffy?’ Alec raised an eyebrow.
‘Let me get dressed and I’ll explain, and then I’ll show you my plans for a new office.’
Straker stepped outside for a brief moment, letting the thick snowflakes land soft and tingling and refreshing on his bare skin and then shaking his head with amusement, he led the way indoors.
I was asked to write ‘fluff’ for this story. This is the result – well, it’s the third result – the first two seemed to be unfluffy enough, but given time I might continue one of them and see if it works out. The real problem with doing Christmas UFO stories is that there is very little to go on, regarding the ‘protocols’ in SHADO. There were no specific UFO ‘Christmas’ episodes, and no references to any likely activities. Did they have the usual ‘office’ party, or simply work through the holidays as if nothing was different? (Oh no! More plot bunnies now!) I like to think that there was a ‘family’ feel to the organisation and that they would have shared some social time. After all it was a military unit and there were probably some ‘traditions’ put into place after a few years. I doubt really if the Control Room would have had Christmas decorations, but the staff restaurant (and there was one, even though we never saw it) would no doubt have been used for some informal gathering.
Anyway, this is my sixth Christmas-based story after Geostationary 1 and 2, Stopping by Woods, Something to Share, and One Wish for Christmas (which is yet to be posted). Enjoy!