Not Your Daddy's Holiday Special
- or -
How Nextwave Saved Ruined Did Something to Christmas
'Twas the Night before Christmas,
And all through the house Shockwave Rider,
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even a-
"'Happy Christmas'?" Tabby held up the card Elsa had been writing. "It's 'Merry Christmas'. Gawd, where are you from that you don't know that?"
"The same place I've been from every time you object to my accent, you Yank twit."
Monica put her hand to her temple, and wondered how even sending Christmas cards could lead to a fight with this group. On the Avengers, they wouldn't be arguing about what to call the damn holiday. Of course, half the time would be spent explaining to the alien/god/what-have-you team members what Christmas was, then failing to explain to Cap about how 'not knowing about Christmas' didn't make them Jewish. At least this year she wouldn't be trying to light a menorah for people who didn't give a damn.
Unless The Captain suddenly remembered he was Jewish. But then he could light his own damn candles.
"Silence, fleshy ones!" Tabby and Elsa's argument had gotten to Aaron as well. Wordlessly, Monica pointed to the jar she had attached to the Shockwave's dashboard, labeled 'Belittling Humans: $1'. She avoided looking to the one next to it, labeled 'Mentioning the Avengers: $5', which was just as full with rolled bills.
"So, what's next on the Marketing Plan's hit parade?" Monica asked Aaron, after he finished stuffing a bill into the jar. At least she couldn't hear the other three members of the team any more, though perhaps that should worry her.
"Tuttanaq, Alaska," Aaron said.
"How do you even spell that?"
"It's an Inuit word meaning caribou dung."
"That doesn't answer my question." Not that she really needed to know. "What's it say about Tootanack?"
"Tuttanaq." Aaron smirked at her, probably because he could pronounce the damn town's name right. "Global warming."
Monica stared at him. "Global warming. I thought this was terrorism, not a Captain Planet cartoon."
"I used to be Captain Planet." The Captain had come up from one of the rooms, a can of beer in his hand. To be festive, he had stuck a candy cane into the opening.
Monica made a face. "What happened?" she asked. This wasn't going to end well.
"Bunch of kids and a monkey beat me up and left me stranded in the Central American rainforest. Had to spend a month in isolation and a rabies shot, once I walked back to a town with an airport."
Aaron used the opportunity to grab the can of beer out of The Captain's hand, leaving the candy cane. He took a sip and nearly spit it out. "This tastes like mouthwash."
"Happy holidays to you, too, buddy."
"Let's just get to Toot Anorak," Monica said. "If we hurry, then maybe we can spend Christmas off."
"Tuttanaq. It means 'Reindeer dung'."
They noticed what 'global warming' meant on the flight in to Reindeer Dung.
"It looks like my grandma's house," Tabby popped her gum for emphasis. "I thought it would be, yaknow, factories and shit."
"Grandmas are Unusual Weapons of Mass Destruction now?" The Captain asked.
As far as the Shockwave Rider's headlights lit, stretched millions of brightly colored knitted... somethings or other. There were kittens and puppies and unidentified other mammals and birds, children with freakisly oversized heads and soul-drowning eyes, and cute aphorisms and possibly the entire text of the Bible, including all the books the Pope banned, all laid out in patterns of stitches, with the occasional sleeve or pom-pom. The occasional lump might be a snowdrift, or possibly a slow moving polar bear that was now covered in acres of yarn handicrafts.
"Kilometers of knitting implies a knitter," Elsa commented. "Many, many knitters."
"Or a knitting machine," Monica replied. "Or given our luck, some kind of monster that eats yarn and shits sweaters."
Elsa cocked her head to the side. "All of those hibernate."
"How did you... no, I don't want to know. Some kind of monster hunter thing."
"So, let's go find the knitter and kick him in the head until he stops?" The Captain said.
"And set the sweaters on fire," Tabby added.
"Right. Elsa and Aaron will take the Shockwave to the source. The rest of us... you heard the man."
The jetpacks didn't seem to mind the cold. Monica, of course, could cheat and make as much infrared energy as she wanted. The Captain's generic set of super powers seemed to cover immunity to the cold. Which left Tabby...
"I hope the next place we go is like... Florida or something, instead of Deershit, North Pole. Let's set some wool on fire to warm up."
"Make sure it's not acrylic," Monica told her. "That stuff gives off toxic fumes when burned."
"Yes, Mom," Tabby pointed her finger at a row of orange bright enough to stand out even against the dark sky. "Tick, tick, tick... boom."
The sky lit up with the explosion and a cloud of steam boiled to the heavens. "Oh, Merry Christmas to me!" Tabby cheered.
"Infrared laser!" Monica's hands glowed with the conversion of mass to photons.
The Captain flew on, while the two set fire to the yarn below, opening up dark gashes in the ice below.
A wall of steel flew out of the ice ahead of them. "Heads up!" Monica called as the knitting needles flew past them.
"Little late," The Captain answered. "My turn, now."
A crowd of Broccoli Men had gathered, holding knitting needles and crochet hooks. Over the typical suits favored by the Beyond Corperation's© Human Resources department, they wore brightly colored sweaters, hats, scarves, leg warmers, and fingerless gloves. The Captain aimed for the closest one's face, and kicked it until it stopped moving. He parried three needles and a bodkin from the Broccoli Man's neighbors.
"Microwave Burst!" Monica switched from burning the handiwork to sending a wave of steamy and sparky destruction at its makers. Unfortunately, this drew more from the line of knitters. She ducked a thrown needle -- barely, as it was caught in her hair. "Dammit. Should have took Mom's advice and packed a hat when it gets cold." Tabby yanked the needle out and threw it back, charged with explosive energy. Monica put a hand to where the needle had been, checking for damage. "I'll bet Elsa and Aaron don't have to deal with this crap."
"This is a crime against robotics, Elsa. Do we have the UN on speed-dial?" For once, Aaron's expression was something other than annoyance and sarcasm.
"Probably not," Elsa replied, looking at the cheerily lit building surrounded with what looked like the debris from a Rankin-Bass Christmas Special or twelve. Someone had added a couple of 'multicultural' looking things that mostly just resembled shoplifting the 'Small World' Disney exhibit. It might just have been the fact she didn't grow up with American holiday traditions, or it might have been the uncanny valley, but she wanted to shoot them all. "Up for a spot of mercy-killing?"
Aaron was already taking out sharp things from places Elsa would rather not think about. "Already on it."
They were about mid-way through dismembering the holiday robots to the tune of 'Jingle Bells' before the door opened. "Oh, now what?" Elsa said.
Out came a ten-foot-tall humanoid, wrapped in red fur. An obviously fake beard was attached to its steel face. "It looks like two more for the naughty list."
Elsa sighed. "You have to be shitting me."
"Maniacal Robot Santas are so unoriginal. Evil corporations must not have to worry about lawsuits." Aaron brought out his chainsaw. "Let's trim his tree, or some other bad holiday pun."
Elsa nodded, aiming her rifle, then jumped aside as a laser beam pierced the ice. She turned to face her attacker. "Just a moment, darling, it looks like I have some reindeer hunting to do."
"I hate Christmas."
No one at H.A.T.E. was particularly surprised by Dirk Anger hating Christmas. In fact, if he started handing out presents, everyone would have to check them for poison. Or explosives. Or poison explosives.
He was in the middle of his traditional holiday feast -- ten birdcages containing four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge wanting to go back to his pear tree.
"Sir…" A Red-shirted functionary, having drawn the short straw, came in. "About the Alaska project..."
Dirk opened the cage, grabbing the partridge in his hand. "I'm trying to enjoy my holiday dinner here!"
The functionary cringed, hoping he'd make it out of here with all necessary organs. "We spotted Nextwave on the perimeter cameras and-"
"Don't tell me about ☠☠☠☠ Nextwave!" Dirk pounded the table with his fist, sending the functionary running. The partridge took the loosening of his grip to make a break for it, leaving a holiday present of its own on his shoulder. "I hope they freeze to death."
"This is the best Christmas ever!" The Captain leaned back in his lounge chair, holding an alcoholic-smelling concoction in a coconut shell. "We're warm, I'm drunk, and I just kicked a lot of robot ass."
"And set a control center disguised as Santa's house up in flames." Aaron added his can of beer to the pyramid he was building in the sand.
True to her word, Monica had hunted down whatever the Beyond Corporation© was up to in Hawaii. Nominally they were supposed to be sniffing out a 'tsunami causing rat', but most of the town was closed until the following day. Leaving only the beach.
"Probably not the proudest moment in our history, but we got the job done," Monica said. "Back when I was in the Avengers-"
All four of her teammates pointed to the jar. "Come on, guys, I don't carry my wallet in my bathing suit," Monica protested. Finally she dug out her spare change from the robe she had thrown over her own chair and filled the jar. "You happy?"
"Very," Elsa answered.
Tabby had finished her sand castle, then took a step back and blew it up. "Merry Christmas and Gawd bless us every one."
"Oh, shut up."