Original series Suitable for all readers



brought to you by Sage Harper (green text)

with a few additions by Marion Woods (red text)




He’d managed to put them off until now. 
Though they’d begged since Thanksgiving, Halloween even.
“It’s too early,” he’d insisted. “One celebration at a time.”
They’d called him Scrooge, but held to the deal.  
Then December first rolled around, and no way could it be fought for even an hour longer. 
Scarlet gave a defeated sigh, but not minding really.  
“Oh go on then,” he said.
The other captains beamed.
He watched as they led a procession across the room; half solemn, half childishly excitable. 
The music player kicked into life. 
And the officers’ lounge was filled with Jingle Bells.




“Press your finger here.” 
“You say the most romantic things.” 
“Adam, I need help. You’re the only person here.” 
“What’re you doing?” He obligingly applied pressure. 
“Mom sent it as a surprise for Colonel White.” Symphony taped the paper. “It’s for under the Christmas tree. Only the paper’s got ripped, so I’m re-wrapping it.” She looked doubtfully at him. “She knitted it herself. It’s a sweater, in a Spectrum logo design.” 
“Jeez, he’ll hate it!” 
She grinned. “Yeah; but I bet he’ll wear it. Greater love has no man than to make himself look silly just to please his sweetie-pie.”




He sat riveted to the radio, anticipation mounting.
Deerborne high. 
Ochre punched the air. 
“Yes! School’s cancelled!”
“Rick,” Melody explained gently, “you’re thirty five years old; you don’t go to school any more.”
“So?” Ochre’s expression was of utter bafflement. 
Then he sighed, pitying the poor girl, it probably never snowed in Georgia. 
It did in New York though. 
“Hey Pat, it’s a snow day.” 
Magenta grinned. “Awesome, we should celebrate. When we had snow days Mam made us cocoa with marshmallows.”
“Umm, I think there’s some hot chocolate and mallow fluff in the cupboard.” 
“Yeah, that’d do it.”


 “It’s a kind of parasite, you know – Mistletoe,” Blue said nonchalantly. 
“No, I didn’t, but thank you for sharing that, Adam.” Rhapsody glanced sympathetically at him and hung the mistletoe. 
“Why would anyone kiss beneath a parasite?” Symphony said huffily. It was the first thing she’d said to him all day. 
“In Scandinavia it’s a plant of peace; people used to kiss and make up beneath it after a quarrel. It represented the fertility of the woodland spirits, apparently.” 
Rhapsody saw the wistful glint in Symphony’s eyes and smiled. “I guess I’ll leave you two to make up – Scandinavian style…”


“Bijou, you know I’m not a priest.” 
“Yes, but you’re the only other Catholic here, please Patrick.” 
“Go on then, confess away.” 
Destiny took a deep breath. 
“I ate all the chocolates in my advent calendar.” 
Magenta laughed.
“It’s not funny,” Destiny insisted. “gluttony one of the seven deadly sins.” 
“So’s lust, but that didn’t bother you this morning.” 
“That’s different. It won’t make me fat for a start.” 
Magenta conceded defeat. 
“Alright then; do ten Hail Marys.”  
Destiny went through the ritual, tossed the now empty calendar into the bin,
And vowed to have more will power next year.



 “What the hell is that?” Ochre poked the garishly wrapped cardboard tube.
“You mean they don’t have these in America?” Rhapsody replied, incredulous. 
“Not in my neck of the woods.” 
“It’s a Christmas cracker” she replied simply. 
Then grasped one end of the cracker, and offered the other to Ochre. 
“Pull it.”
Tension through the paper, then a deft pop. 
“You got the bigger half so you get the prize,” Rhapsody explained. 
Grinning Ochre emptied the tube and surveyed the content. 
“Do they all have terrible jokes inside?” 
“Unfortunately, yes.” 
He crowned her with orange paper.
“Suits you, Di.”


“I always used a pillowcase hung at the end of the bed; too dangerous to hang it by the fire,” Scarlet pontificated. “You get much less in a stocking.”
“Do you?” Rhapsody asked. “I’d dispute that, Paul.”
“Stands to reason,” Scarlet argued. He looked at Blue. “What about you?”
“I’m a stocking man – every time,” Blue replied, his eyes sparkling. 
Symphony sniggered; their intimate double dinner-date was turning out to be great fun. 
“Pillowcases make much better sacks…”
Rhapsody rose from the dinner-table and provocatively displayed her shapely, stocking’d leg. 
“But stockings make for much better sex,” she said, smiling.



“I’m sure this contravenes all manner of health and safety regulations.” 
“Blue, you worry too much,” Magenta stated, hoisting the paper chain above his head. “For an ex-test pilot anyway.”
“Yes, but there’s a world of difference between a potentially hazardous job and just being stupidly reckless,” Blue glanced up. “And you are currently in the latter category.”
Magenta felt the swivel chair wobble beneath his feet, but his conviction held strong. 
“Oh come on Ads, you’re not going to let some pen pushers run our lives.”
The chair lurched.
“Umm yeah, maybe I should stand on a table.”


When Harmony Angel glanced at Captain Ochre’s dinner plate, she shuddered delicately. 
“Are you going to eat all that?” she asked.
Ochre looked surprised.  “Sure.  You should try it, Chan, its good food.” 
“What is it?”
“A traditional Christmas dinner: roast turkey, roast and mashed potatoes, chipolatas, Brussel sprouts, gravy…”
“And those?  Are they traditional?  I don’t see them on anyone else’s plate.”
 “Sure are – in the Fraser household.” Ochre winked.  
 “Don’t fight it, Harmony; we’ve tried to talk him out of it already,” Captain Magenta explained.
“But you just can’t have a proper dinner without baked beans,” Ochre protested.




“Have you been a good girl this year?”
“No, Santa.” The pretty Lieutenant fluttered her lashes. “I’ve been very naughty.”
“Umm, well, in that case …” 
Scarlet burst into Magenta’s office.
“Ochre, what on earth are you doing?” Scarlet demanded. 
“Just spreading a little Christmas cheer.” Ochre winked, adjusting his Santa hat.
“I’ll, umm, be getting back to work, sir.” The Lieutenant exited, blushing. 

“Scarlet busted it,” Ochre said sourly, in response to Magenta’s inevitable question.
“Did you tell him we were raising money for the Spectrum orphans’ fund?” 
“Never got chance.” 
“Well guess who’ll be getting coal this year.”


“Whose bloody brilliant idea was this?” Scarlet complained.
Ochre swooshed past him and executed a neat double-Salchow.
“I thought you said you could skate?” Blue said, grabbing in vain at Scarlet as he slithered onto the ice once more. 
“I can,” Scarlet moaned, “with rollers, on dry land...”
Ochre halted beside Blue and they heaved Scarlet back to his feet.  “What’s up with the Brit?”
“He wants to skate on dry land.”
“He can’t sail, he can’t skate… it’s a pretty poor show.”
“Yeah,” Blue agreed.  
Laughing, they both slid away, gathering speed. 
Left unsupported Scarlet wobbled and fell – again.



“Made in Taiwan,” Rhapsody read the box. “Do they even have Christmas there?”
Symphony simply shrugged, and flicked the switch.
The animatronic snowman burst into life; performing a little dance and ‘singing’ something akin to ‘Frosty the snowman’ in a synthetic voice. 
The general consensus was that it was adorable. 

Two days and countless renditions later, Blue was utterly sick of Frosty.
The motion sensor kicked in yet again, as did Blue’s murderous thoughts. 
With stealth he got to the table without anyone noticing.
Just in time to witness Melody take out the batteries.
“I won’t tell if you don’t.”



“Isn’t he just perfect?” Mary said.
“Yes,” her husband replied. “Looks just like you, smashing little lad.” 
The baby slept on in his mother’s arms, oblivious, content.
“He’ll go places,” the proud father declared. “Trust me Mary.” 
“Yes, I’m sure you’re right.” 

She’d been told to leave him alone, but Mary couldn’t resist a peak at her darling boy.
So handsome, oblivious, content. 
For a moment she wanted to wake him, to share the joyous day.
But he slept so peacefully.
Instead she bestowed a gentle kiss, whispered: 
“Happy birthday, Paul.”
Where on earth did those thirty four years ago?




“Do you know why we have Christmas trees?” 
“No,” Scarlet answered. “but I’m sure you’re about to tell us, Ads.”
“It dates back to pre-Christian traditions; evergreens were hung with all manner of shiny objects and candles to encourage the sun to return.”
“Yes, but we know the sun is going to come back,” Symphony replied cynically 
“Maybe.” Blue sensed his audience’s interest waning so delivered the ‘punch line’. “Oh, and in some cases they’d also hang dead sacrifices on the trees.  As a gift to the newborn sun.”
“Dead animals?” 
Scarlet looked horrified. 
“Think we’ll stick with baubles.”





“You just haven’t lived!” 
“I’d dispute that,” Grey said. “And fail to see how living must involve eating … what is that anyway?”
“Christmas pudding,” Magenta answered. “Made from dried fruits, nuts, alcohol, amongst other things.”
“How’d you get booze on the base?” 
“Smuggled inside the pudding mix,” Magenta grinned. “Mam made it for me.”
“What’s so great about this pudding anyway?” 
“You set fire to it.”  
“I set fire to everything I cook.” 
“Just watch.” 
Magenta poured over the shots of brandy, dimmed the lights and lit a match. 
Grey grinned at the pyrotechnics. 
“OK, I’ll try a bit.”


 “Dare I ask?” Fawn wondered aloud.
“Umm well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.” 
“It always does Rick.” 
“I don’t know which is worse,” Magenta sighed. “the fact you have these stupid ideas or that I go along with them.”
Ochre shrugged, still a little sheepish.  
“You two are lucky,” Fawn stated. “Nothing more than superficial cuts and bruises. So I’ll let you go, but stay off the dry ski slope.” 
“Umm it’s closed, for maintenance.” 
“Which is why we actually sledded down the stairs.” 
Fawn rolled his eyes, shooed them out, and expected their imminent return.



With a delft snap of the scissors, Harmony Angel cut another length of ribbon. 
She did not celebrate Christmas as her colleagues did, as it wasn’t part of her culture; but without anything said in so many words, she had become the ‘official gift wrapper’. A job she took on with the dedication she applied to everything else; carefully, serenely and satisfyingly covering the assortment of gifts with paper, trimming them with plush ribbons.
With all the presents wrapped she arranged them under the tree, and noticed a gift already there, for her. 
‘This will do,’ she thought, and attached a bow.



 “Hate to say I told you so.”
“Then don’t.”
Scarlet smirked at his friend’s predicament.
“You must admit, it is rather amusing, even you laughed when Pat threatened it; but seeing it really happen…” 
Blue’s expression wavered between indignation and self pity. 
“Just untie me, or...” 
“Or what? Stuffed in the supply cupboard, trussed up in tinsel really doesn’t put you in a position to make threats.”
“Paul, please, be a pal.” 
Disappointed he hadn’t been able to get a picture, Scarlet complied with the request.  
Blue gave a relieved smile and declared:
“I really am never singing carols again.”


“My best Christmas,” Destiny pondered, “probably when I was very small, five years old maybe.” 
“As we were going to mass I heard bells jingling,” she elaborated. “Then we got home afterwards and there were all the presents … for years I believed that sound was Santa’s reindeer.” 
“But it wasn’t,” Melody countered. “It couldn’t have been.”
Destiny shrugged.
“I don’t know what it was, but that does not matter. Just that it was a magical thing.” 
“Yeah, I guess Christmas is more fun if you’re a kid.” 
They glanced at Ochre, mauling the wrapped presents. 
“Or just act like one.”


It looked like something had exploded in the Amber room; flinging shrapnel of tinsel, food and balloons.
“The cleaning staff are going to kill us,” Symphony declared, bleary eyed with lack of sleep.
“If the Colonel doesn’t get there first,” Rhapsody noted.
“Good morning, girls.” 
“Ugh Paul, please, we’re in no fit state for anyone being so cheerful.” 
“Oh, well then I won’t tell you who I saw sneaking out of Grey’s quarters this morning … That reminds me, anyone know where Rick got to?” 
The Angels shook their heads.
“Well, it looks like the Christmas party was a roaring success.”


“Y’know, green plant with prickly leaves and red berries.” 
“I somehow doubt a shrub would want you to call them, to arrange a lunch date no less.”
Ochre sighed, held up his hands in defeat. 
“Alright fine; she’s an intern, from Quebec, we hooked up at the party.” 
He glared. 
“Wait, how do you know anything about this?” 
“I heard her talking to Juliette,” Scarlet smirked.  “I’m more fluent in French that she suspects.”
“And totally evil.” 
“Yes, but it gets results.” Scarlet sipped his coffee. “So are you going to call her?” 
“None of your business.”
“Yeah, of course.”


 “Never thought I’d see you here.” 
Grey almost left, embarrassed. 
“Um neither did I,” he admitted. “Took me a while to find it actually.” 
Magenta gestured to sit beside him; Grey complied. 
“Mam’s mad at me for not going to Mass.” Magenta said. “She can’t seem to grasp that we can’t just drop everything and go home whenever we like.” 
“My parents stopped even mentioning church ages ago… I don’t even think about it really.” Grey sighed.  “There’s just something about this time of year, y’know.”
They sat together in companionable silence.
“Peace be with you, Brad.” 
“You too Pat.”


Rhapsody sighed. "I wish it was Christmas every day."
"Yes, it's been fun." Captain Scarlet stopped walking.
She turned inquisitively.  "Something wrong, Paul?"
"No - I don't think so.  Dianne, you promised me an answer today - or have you forgotten?"
"No, I haven't.  You shall have your answer."
He smiled. "I bought you this.  If the answer is 'yes' it's an engagement ring. If 'no', it's just another Christmas bauble."
He handed her a small box.
she opened it.  The diamond glinted up at her.
"Some bauble," she gasped. "When, exactly, did you guess that the answer would be 'yes', Paul?"

 CHRISTMAS DAY - “Is it Christmas yet?” Blue glanced at the clock; 3:15 AM. “No Karen, not really,” he grumbled. Symphony grinned, almost bouncing as she lay in bed. “Oh Ads, don’t be a misery, it’s Christmas… the most wonderful exciting time of the year.” He gave a wry smile. “You’re worse than my nieces.” “Wouldn’t it be great if we did have kids? It would make this so much more fun.”  “Perhaps, but we won’t be, not for a long while anyway.”  “True, but in the meantime we could …  practise.” He kissed her. “Well that’d certainly make for a merry Christmas."



Credits go to  Mary J. Rudy for the creation Mary & Charles Metcalfe, and  to Chris Bishop, for the creation of Amanda Wainwright; also thanks to Chris for everything she’s done.





Other stories from Marion Woods




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