“Michael! You’re here early!” Detmer stopped in her tracks as the First Officer got off the turbo lift. In her hands was a huge box with tinsel spilling out from the edge.
“Don’t be surprised, I’m here early every day,” Michael said. She raised an eyebrow, tugging at the tinsel that Detmer was holding. “Decorating for Christmas already?” “For the most part, but we put up a menorah in the Mess Hall as well,” answered Saru, who was decking the rims of his station with holly. He worked meticulously, seeming pleased when his once-silver station now boasted the holiday palette.
“You seem to be enjoying this,” Michael teased. “Next thing you know, they’re going to put a Santa hat on you.”
“Less talk, more work!” Owoseskun said, handing her some wreaths. “We hope to finish before the captain arrives, so if you could help out, that would be great.” “Where do you want me to hang these?” Michael called after her as she bounded away to give out more decorations. “Anywhere is fine, Commander, we just want it Christmas-fied!” Michael gave it a fond toss, walking around the room before finally deciding on the back of the captain’s chair. Philippa was bound to enjoy that.
“Some music, anyone?” Januzzi asked from his station. “Ooh, do you have 21st century Christmas pop?” asked Detmer, her eyes gleaming. “I wouldn’t mind some jazz myself,” Saru chimed in. Januzzi ended up hitting shuffle on the entire holiday collection instead. Within seconds, the bridge was filled with the jolly sounds of ringing sleigh bells.
“I do love Christmas,” Ensign Connor said with a grin on his face. “It reminds me of home, and family, and all things merry and bright.” “I wasn’t introduced to Christmas until after I joined Starfleet,” Owoseskun admitted.”But I love the atmosphere you guys have around here. The culture certainly is amazing. The food, the decorations, the rituals, and ceremonies -- it makes you bond as a family. Even aboard a starship, thousands of light-years from home.” Her eyes got wistful as the others nodded in agreement.
“Amanda… my mother… she tried to get us all to celebrate Christmas back on Vulcan,” Michael recalled suddenly. “She had my brother and I, Sarek too, gathered around the table and served us turkey, eggnog, gingerbread men, Christmas crackers -- you know, the usual. We didn’t exactly bond as a family over that, but I guess you could see how she tried.” She let out a sigh.
“Eh, there’s always room for improvement,” Detmer shrugged. “Families aren’t always perfect -- trust me, I know.” She rolled her eyes. “Maybe you’ll get so good at celebrating Christmas here that you’ll get to host another party for them!”
“There’s still a lot of your rituals for me to learn,” Michael protested. “I didn’t even know you had to put out milk and cookies for Santa until last year. It’s… sort of embarrassing.” She blushed as she finished her sentence.
“First time for everything,” Owoseskun said. “Detmer, can you come here? I need your help with… a decoration.” The sly look she had on her face suggested that the two were up to no good, but Micahel was too tired to investigate. Probably some sort of jack-in-the-box prank that would happen if you accidentally touched a bauble.
“Sullivan to Bridge. I just saw the captain leave her quarters; she’s on her way!”
“Oh no! We’re nowhere near done here,” Januzzi groaned. “Michael, can you give me a hand with the tinsel?”
“There’s no time! Everyone, back to your stations and act natural!” Saru called, waving his arms in panic. Everyone scuttled back, shoving boxes under their stations, straightening whatever decorations they had displayed, just as the doors of the turbolift hissed open.
“Oh! What’s all this?”
“Merry Christmas, Captain Georgiou!” Everyone cheered. “We thought we’d boost morale a little by doing a bit of decoration,” Micahel explained, as Philippa clapped like an excited child. Her eyes lit up at the wreath by her seat. “You put this here for me? How thoughtful!” She touched it gently. “I love it.”
“Thing is, captain… we’re not quite done decorating here,” Detmer admitted. “We thought an hour would suffice, turns out the Bridge is a little larger than anticipated.” Philippa only had to take one look at the pleading eyes of the crew before her gaze softened. “Alright, you can decorate for a bit more. On the condition that I get to help out.” “Of course! Let’s get this party started!” Owoseskun cheered. “Januzzi, crank up the music!”
Michael stifled a smile as she watched the crew buzz around, jingling along with their noisy decorations. She began to approach Philippa, who had already rolled up her sleeves and was adorning the unsightly overhead metal bars with tinsel and stockings. “I found these customised stockings from last year and thought it would be nice if we could all chip in a bit for each member of the Bridge,” she explained to Michael as she neared. “I already know what I’m putting in yours,” she added with a triumphant flourish. “Philippa, you know I don’t really celebrate Christmas,” Michael muttered, her face reddening.
“Well, for me, Christmas is all about showing love to the people I care for. That means my crew,” she gestured to the busy officers with a maternal fondness, “and you, of course. You don’t have to believe in a certain deity or know all the ‘rituals’, per se, to enjoy Christmas. Just having you all with me is enough.” “I suppose I feel the same way,” Michael said, staring into her eyes. They seemed to sparkle with a newfound youth. That’s Philippa for you, Michael thought affectionately, always so excited by the little joys of life.
“Care to join me? I believe I have some more ornaments stashed in my ready room from last year.” Philippa secured the ends of the tinsel and offered her arm to Michael jokingly. “I’d be delighted to,” she replied, taking her arm. “Onwards, m’lady!” Philippa said with a pompous tone -- evidently, she was in a playful mood.
She almost bumped into the ready room doors when they didn’t open automatically, as they usually did. “Huh?” Detangling herself from Michael, Philippa tapped the door, only to have it stay shut. “Computer, open the doors to my ready room.”
“Look up, captain!” Detmer called jovially, attracting the attention of the rest of the crew. Michael glanced up as well, to find a bundle of mistletoe dangling proudly above her and Philippa’s heads. “Well! You got me,” Philippa exclaimed, crossing her arms in fake anger. “Michael, shall we?”
“Shall we… what?”
“Oh, the tradition of the mistletoe states that two people who are caught under it should kiss. Are you okay with that?” Philippa looked into her eyes, her gaze turning serious.
“Philippa, are you sure?” Michael whispered. “We’ve never done this in public before. I don’t want you to --”
“Will you feel --?”
“I’d be okay with it if you are,” Michael said finally, a smile on her face. “Show me this… tradition. Of Christmas.” She laughed nervously, gesturing into nothing. Philippa giggled. “Well, it goes like… this. ” She pressed her lips to Michael’s, who wrapped her arms around her waist. The whole Bridge erupted in cheers. Unseen to Michael, Detmer and Owoseskun shared a fist bump.
“Merry Christmas, Michael,” Philippa said, bumping her nose into Michael’s.
“I don’t get why we started decorating so early. Halloween was yesterday.”
“Shhh.” Philippa kissed Michael again. “I said , Merry Christmas, dear.”