Pining Away

From the Story Arc: New Years 2007

Previous Story in the Arc: Something's Cooking by Althea Nagy (Saturday, December 30, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Mandatory Draft Announced by Krasnaya Zarya (Saturday, December 30, 2006)

(posted Saturday, December 30, 2006)

“What are you doing here empty handed?”

Alex smirked in response at his wife as he wandered to the middle of the CCCP mess hall, which was being quickly and laboriously converted for the upcoming New Year’s celebrations. He stopped in the middle of the room, the blank area surrounded by a ring of chairs demarcating the spot for the New Year’s tree, and looked up at the ceiling.

“How tall is the ceiling, again?” He asked.

“How should I know?” She frowned, narrowing her eyes. “Tall enough, Sasha. Where’s the tree?”

“In Siberia.” He pulled out the PDA from the thick fur coat he was wearing and pointed the top of it at the ceiling. A small red dot appeared on the concrete and he frowned. “Hmm… 10 meters….”

In Siberia?!” She stomped across the room, clenching her fists. “Just what are you up to, Sasha?”

“Oh, don’t worry, I’ve found the most beautiful blue pine…” He grinned and held up his palm. “You should stand back, though.”

“What? Why?” She stopped at the circle of chairs, eyebrows raised.

“Well, it’s a sort of long story…” He replied while walking to the other side of the ring, leaving the center empty. “I wanted to get a tree just like home and, so I thought, what better place than home? I had Petro fly me to Siberia and we went looking around for trees.”

“Siberia.” She shook her head. “And you flew a tree halfway around the globe?”

“Nope.” He put his finger to the comm. piece at his ear. “Petro? Is the transponder secure? Good.”

“Trans… ponder?” Sofia peered at him from across the room. “You’re teleporting it?!”

“Yep!” He beamed happily. “I’ve got it routed through the emergency transporter networks of various cities and several of the satellites that the Rikti had modified to transfer their troops around the globe and, well... Just watch!”

He attached a long antenna to the PDA before tapping its touch screen several times. The air suddenly felt thick and heavy, their hair rising in the ionized field of an impending teleport. A bright blue and purple flash filled the room, fading away to reveal an immense pine tree.

“It worked!” He yelled at his wife, who was obscured from his view by the massive plant. “I actually teleported something across the planet! Do you know what this means?”

“Yes,” came the biting response, seething with an undercurrent of anger. “It means that there is now more snow inside this building than outside…”

Alex grimaced, his eyes traveling up the branches, all of them covered in majestic layers of white fluff and blue-green needles, to the very top, which was bent at a near right angle where it hit the ceiling and ran along it for nearly a meter. He scratched his head. “Huh. The tree only measured nine and a half meters from the base. There should be room.”

“Sasha?”

“Yes?”

“You were supposed to cut the tree first.”

He looked down at the floor, where a large sphere of frozen dirt sat in the middle of the circle, a maze of roots jutting out of it at all angles, the tree itself rising up out of the middle of it.

“Oh. Right.”