P. Aloysius Regnad Presents:

        - The CR&A Christmas Special for 1905 -


               Adele Amaryllis Calloway
               P. Aloysius Regnad
               Caroline Iolanthe Sprague

        SCENE I:  The radiocomm alcove in CR&A's roverhome.  "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen", being played by a brass quintet, is heard emanating from somewhere.  The music is not very loud, and a bit tinny sounding.  The primary receiver is visible.  The tuning dial shows just short of mid-scale.  A pair of small transformers, wired in series, are connected to the terminals below the output jack.  A twisted pair of wires leaves each transformer, and runs out and around the shelves.


        The wires continue under and past the Stubblephone, along the wall, until they reach a pedestal about four feet high, which resembles a stone column, on which there is a large horn speaker, painted to look like a poinsettia plant, that one pair of wires connects to.  The second set of wires continues past the rectangular viewport to a second column, and are connected to another speaker painted to look like a red amaryllis hipaestrum.


        The numeric chronometer above the viewport reads 2347, and the calendar display above the time shows DECEMBER 24 1905.


        A six foot tall Christmas tree stands in the corner, to the left of the forward (shuttered) viewport.  It is decorated with multicolored paper chains, blown glass ornaments in several shapes and colors, and half a gross of incandescent bulbs glowing various shades of red, green, and blue.  The tree is topped by a clear glass globe with several tubular projections at different angles extending from it.  It is filled with a gas mixture that is being ionized by internal electrodes within the projections that are connected to a specially designed high voltage power source.  The result is a ball of yellow light that not only varies slightly in size, but slowly migrates around within the globe.

      There are six festively wrapped gifts set below the tree.  They range in size from fairly small, to rather large.


        The music ends as Adele enters from the kitchen door, followed by Sabeetha and Caroline.  As "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" begins to emanate from the speakers, they pause to admire the tree.  At this point, Marie and Regnad also enter from the kitchen, and join them.

R.       Well, Caroline, I think everyone is enjoying our Christmas Star.

C.       It turned out quite well, if I do say so myself.  And we were very lucky that Mr. Duchane was willing to make that globe for us on such short notice.

R.       Lucky?  I think it was the fact that we shared the complete design details with him, and he wanted to see if it actually worked.  He IS in the gas tube lighting business, afterall.  I wouldn't be surprised if these things were all over Denver next Christmas.

C.       (Smiles)  I suppose there is that.

A.       Aw, hush up, you two!  Yer ruinin' the effect.

R.       (Puts hand on Adele's shoulder)  Now that would be impossible.  Nothing could spoil the effect of our best group effort yet.

M.       Yes, we all had a hand in this, didn't we?

R.       Absolutely!  Sabeetha found and set up the tree, Caroline and I added the lights, you and Adele made and put up the chains, the two of you and Sabeetha picked out and hung the ornaments, and today it was finished off with the star!

S.       Don't fforget your insstallassshion offf thhosse loudsspeakersss.

R.       (Enthusiastically)  Yes, they've worked out really well, haven't they?  When Caroline told me that KDC was going to have a special five hour amplitude modulated Christmas Eve broadcast, I just had to see if I could hook up something so we could all listen.  I think we should keep them, but we're going to need a way to secure them for travel.  It shouldn't be too hard.

A.       Yeah, well, I gotta si'down.  After all that food, I dunno when I'm gonna feel hungry again!

        Adele takes a seat at the large table.

R.       But it was good, wasn't it?

        Everyone else sits at the table, as well.  Glasses containing everyone's drink of choice are already present.

C.       It was absolutely delicious!  But Adele is right.  Did you and your parents really eat a meal like that every Christmas Eve?

R.       Yeah, but it wasn't until I was able to do some of the cooking, myself.  No one could possibly prepare fried and broiled shrimp and scallops, French fries, boiled lobster with melted butter, and linguine with clam sauce all by themselves.  Not to mention the fresh baked bread.  In other words: Thanks, Marie!

M.       You're very welcome!  And thank you all for assisting with the washing up.

S.       Affter all the work you two did, it wasss only fffair.

R.       At first I wasn't sure I could even get all the seafood, but it turned out all I had to do was place an order a few days ahead of time.

A.       When'r' y'gonna learn that between the railroads, Johnson Roads, an' airships, y'can get pretty much whatever y'want whenever y'want it?  So long as y'can pay fer it, that is.

R.       Yeah, it wasn't cheap, but what the heck?  It's only once a year.

A.       (Takes out a cheroot)

R.       Oh no, wait!

        Regnad jumps up and leaves the parlor.  He quickly returns, holding a wooden box.

R.       I got these for both of us.  They're straight from Cuba!

        He opens the box, revealing thirty, 8 inch long cigars.  He offers it to Adele and she picks one out of the box.

A.       Whoo-hoo!  Now ain't this special!  (Gives cigar a sniff, bites off end, spits it into ashtray, then lights the cigar with a match)  Hey, not bad!

R.       (Puts box on small table, picks up cigar, closes box, drills out cigar end with a specialized tool, lights the cigar, and puffs)  Oh yeah, these are good!  (Retakes his seat next to Adele)


M.       Is this a real family Christmas?

R.       Of course it is, Marie!

A.       You bet it is!

R.       (Sings along)  "Good tidings we bring, to you and the kids..."  Sorry, but that's how I hear it in my head.

C.       Ha ha!  I'm rather glad that Marie and I don't have to provide the music.  Not that we'd mind, of course.

M.       Not at all!  Still, I feel the same way.  It's nice to just sit back and listen.

R.       You said it.  In fact, I'd wager that this sort of broadcast will become common.

A.       Y'know darn well it will!  Y'told me so, yerself!

R.       (Grins)  Now who's ruining the effect?  Besides, that's just a prediction.

A.       Aww, shoot!  Seems reasonable enuf t' me.

        A man's voice is heard from the speakers, mixing in with the music.

VOICE.   And this concludes our special broadcast.  All of us at KDC hope you have enjoyed it.  We wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas.  From now on, we will be using amplitude modulation to transmit all of our news and weather bulletins, and this brings us to a special weather announcement:  Observers in the mountains have confirmed that a severe winter storm is heading our way.  If it continues as it is, Denver will experience blizzard conditions within two to three hours.  City officials have assured us that all snow removal measures are in effect, so streets and sidewalks will remain clear.  However, we urge all of our listeners to be mindful of their chimneys, smokestacks, exhaust ports, and vents, and do what you have to to keep them clear.  This appears to be a major storm that may leave us with as much as two feet of accumulation here in the city.  Once again, we thank all of you for listening.  Reception reports, comments on this program, and general correspondence should be sent to:  Radio Station KDC, post office box 1139, Denver, Colorado, United States of America.  Good night, and once again, Merry Christmas!

        MUSIC ENDS.

VOICE.   At the low chime, it will be midnight.

SOUND.   *Ding.  Ding.  Ding.  Ding.  DONG.*

        The chrono-calendar advances to December 25, zero hours.  Regnad goes to the radiocomm alcove.

VOICE.   This is radio broadcasting station KDC, in Denver, Colorado.  Good morning, and Happy Christmas. -

        Regnad disconnects the speakers.

R.       (Returning to the parlor)  I don't think that weather will bother us too much.  And now, since it's actually Christmas day, time to hand out the gifts!  I hope no one minds if I start.

C.       No, go right ahead!

A.       Sure!  I'll let y'know when I wanna join in.

        Marie and Sabeetha nod.

R.       Great!

        He goes to the tree, and picks up one of the smaller packages.  It is wrapped in green paper, and tied with a red ribbon.  He then presents it to Adele.

R.       This is for you.  I sure hope you like it.

A.       (Takes present and looks it over)  Did you wrap this yerself?

R.       (Steps back)  Actually, no.  I had to borrow Sabeetha's finger to tie the bow.  (Grins)

A.       Hah!  Now lessee...  (Pulls on end of ribbon)  Nope.  (Tries to slip ribbon off box)  Uh-uh.  Oh well.

        Adele breaks the ribbon and tears off the paper, revealing a light brown cardboard box.  She opens the flap on it and slides out a darkly stained, spring-hinged wooden box.

A.       My, my...  (Opens box and gasps)  What the?  (Looks more closely)  Whoa!  (Sets box on table, and lifts out contents)

        Adele is holding a necklace with two rows of stones.  The center, top stone is round, green, faceted, and 18mm in diameter.  It is flanked by two, slightly smaller, round, polished green stones.  The lower row has four, 10mm diameter, round polished stones.  They are a milky green, and lighter in color than those of the top row.  The settings and chains are so fine as to be nearly invisible.

A.       (Stares wordlessly at necklace)

R.       (Matter of factly, trying hard not to smile)  It's from Sylothia.  The central stone is an emerald.  The others are jade.  The settings and chains are jewelry grade orichalcum.  That's how they can be so thin, and still strong enough so you don't have to worry about anything breaking, or coming loose.

A.       (Examines ends of chain, looks at Regnad)  How do I wear it?

R.       Oh, you need this.  (Takes something from pocket)

        Regnad is holding a narrow, 2.5 inch long white rod.  One of the rod's tips is red; the other, blue.

A.       (Hops up and goes to mirror beside entry door)  Well, c'mon!  Help me out, here!

R.       OK, ok.  (Gets behind Adele)  Allow me.

        Regnad puts the chain around Adele's neck, and brings the ends together.  He then positions the red tip of the rod near the ends and...


        The two ends are now connected.  Regnad releases the necklace and steps back, while Adele centers the jewels at her throat.

R.       It's a magnetic clasp.  Lady Tekla called this (Holds up rod) a wand.  The red end causes the clasp to magnetize, and the blue end demagnetizes it.  It will also disconnect without demagnetizing if you pull hard enough, but that's just a safety feature.

        Adele steps back, and surveys her reflection.

C.       But how can the magnetic force be switched on and off like that?

R.       (Shrugs)  Since it clearly isn't electromagnetic, the obvious way would require a powerful magnetic field for one, and heating to the Curie point for the other, which would be totally impractical.  It may use a specialized variation on controlled molecular realignment to cause the material's magnetic moments to either line up, or randomize.  When I mentioned that out loud, Lady Tekla told me to stop theorizing, and Dietlinde said I should just think of it as another Sylothian marvel.  Heck, for all I know, it uses magnetic monopoles!

A.       (Turns away from mirror)  I don' care if it uses telegraph poles!  It's gorgeous!  Thank you so, so much!

        She gives Regnad a fierce hug, then returns to her chair.

C.       (Staring at Adele)  It's not just beautiful, it's amazing!  If I don't make an effort, I can't even see the chains, and it looks as though the gems are invisibly attached to your skin!

R.       That's precisely the effect I was hoping for when I discussed the idea with Lady Tekla and Luisa.  What I was not prepared for were so many gemstones of such size and quality.  For once, I managed to keep my mouth shut, and just accepted it graciously.

A.       (Reaching up, and gently touching the stones)  I'm glad y'did.  Shucks, I'm feelin' as decorated as that tree over there!

M.       I think it suits you perfectly.

A.       Aw, y'all just knock it off while I get used t' this.  G'won an' hand out another present, already!

        Regnad sets the wand in the necklace box.

R.       OK, time for a big one!

        He goes to the tree and selects a large package wrapped in crimson paper, with a large white bow attached.

R.       This one took a lot of rubber cement!  Marie tied the bow, and I just used more rubber cement to stick it on.

        He places the package in front of Caroline.

C.       For me?

A.       Yup! It's mostly from Paul, but we all know what's in it.

C.       (Examining package)  All the folds end up on the bottom.  I suppose I'll just have to tear the paper.

        She rips through the wrapping, exposing a cardboard carton, lifts off the lid, and peers inside.

C.       This looks like...

        She stands, reaches in and uses both hands to lift out a brown, leather bound case with brass edges and corners, which has a large, heavy-duty suitcase-style handle, and latches.

C.       It is!  (Looks at Regnad in astonishment)  YOU'RE the one who bought it???

R.       (Smiling widely)  I'm afraid so.  I could tell how badly you wanted it when we saw it at Brunelli's, so I went back there the next morning and got it.  I had no idea you were going to say the heck with the price, and go back for it, yourself.

C.       And you kept it for a Christmas gift all this time?  I don't know whether to hit you, or hug you!

A.       (Grinning)  I'd kinda take offense at the first, so why don't y'go with the second?

        Caroline goes to Regnad, and gives him a big hug.

C.       Thank you!

        She returns to the case.

C.       I am going to get so much use out of this!

S.       Will you pleassse open it?  Ssome of usss havffe nevffer sseen the contentsss.

C.       Oh yes, of course!

        Caroline opens the case.  The inside lid has pockets holding a number of tuning forks and some unusual looking hand tools of moderate size.  The case, itself, contains several stacked trays that she lifts out, and places on the table.

C.       (Excitedly)  Look, look!  This is everything necessary to repair and maintain pianos, reed organs, harpsichords, and clavichords, as well as keep them in tune!  There are also the tools and parts here to fix common problems with self-playing keyboards, small orchestrions, and even music boxes!  This is the most complete kit of its kind that fits into a single case, and, from what I've learned recently, there are currently less than 200 like it in the entire world!  I still can't believe Signor Brunelli didn't keep it for himself!

R.       Actually, he told me he was strongly considering it, but since he already has more than enough tools of his own in the back room, and it was going to go to you, he decided to sell it.  Perhaps he deserves a hug, as well.

C.       I see.  Then he certainly has one coming!  I can hardly wait to tune up our own clavichord!

A.       An' then yer gonna start in on every busted-up autopiano in town, right?

C.       Considering the number of dilapidated instruments in some of the places around here, as well as those we run across in our travels, I'll have to be careful, or I might have to quit CR&A to have time for them all!

ALL.     (Laughter)

        Sabeetha and Marie look over the items.

M.       It looks as though some of these tools should work on our continuo organ and celesta as well.

C.       You're right, of course.  Didn't I mention how useful this is going to be?  Well, I suppose I should put everything away for now.

        Caroline stows all the trays back in the case, and closes and latches the lid.

R.       All right, let's see...  I think Marie should be next.

A.       (Jumps up)  Alright, I'll get it!

        She scoops up one of the two smaller packages left.  It is cylindrical and wrapped in white paper with red stripes.  The paper is tied off at both ends with red ribbons.  Adele places the gift in front of Marie, as Regnad sits down.

A.       This is mine and Caroline's idea, but it's really from all-a us!  (Retakes her seat)

M.       (Examining package)  You know, this is the first Christmas gift I've ever received.

C.       (Shaking head)  I can hardly believe that, in over 50 years, my father never gave any of you a Christmas present.

A.       Well, yer gonna be gettin' sumthin' every year from now on!  C'mon an' open it!

M.       Alright.

        Her face takes on an intense look, and she shreds the wrappings, revealing a large diameter rolled paper mailing tube with caps at each end.  She removes one of the caps, and slides out a roll of soft, light brown leather.  There are two cords holding it closed, the ends of which are sewn to the roll.  Marie looks it over, then unties the cords and begins to unroll the item.  There is another strip of soft leather inside, running the length of the roll.  It is sewn horizontally across the length of its bottom, and vertically at intervals to create a series of pockets.  There is also a strip of elastic material that is sewn into segments to match those below it, to keep the pocket's contents in place.  The first items visible are jars of of needles, pins, and safety pins, two sizes of scissors with blades facing up, and a number of thin spools of various colored thread.

M.       But...  I already have a sewing kit.

C.       Not like this one!  It's also from Sylothia.  The pins, needles, and scissors are a Sylothian chromium-steel alloy that is highly resistant to rust.  The threads are also Sylothian material, and much stronger than anything we're familiar with.  But there's much more.  Keep going.

        Marie continues unrolling.  The next items revealed are four more sets of scissors, two with angled blades, a number of other scissor-like items, two sizes of what appear to be tweezers, another jar of needles, some of which are curved, five narrow, test tube-like bottles; three of which contain some kind of thread, and the other two hold what look like scalpels.  There are several other items not obviously recognizable.  All of the metal objects in this group have a now familiar golden color.

M       (Astonished)  These are all medical instruments and supplies!

C.       That's right!  It's become clear that your knowledge and experience goes well beyond simple first aid, so Adele and I thought you could make good use of a field surgery kit.  There's a selection of needles, scissors, sutures, forceps, hemostats, scalpels, and more!  All the metallic items are plated with medical grade orichalcum, which means they are totally impervious to corrosion in a normal atmosphere, and the sharpened items will hold their edges for decades of normal use.  What's more, they are also somehow self-sterilizing!

R.       Even I don't know how THAT works!  More Clarke's Law Magic!  (Laughs)

M.       But I'm not qualified to do actual surgery.

R.       Nonsense!  You've told us that you assisted in the creation of Cecilia.

M.       I was only there in an emergency standby capacity.  Miss Caroline's parents and Arthur did all the work.  All I actually did was observe.

A.       Which means you learned a helluva lot!

C.       It's become plain to me that your knowledge of anatomy is far more detailed than my own, and the way you set my arm has convinced me that you have an excellent feel for working with injured human bodies.

M.       Perhaps if I were to study some medical textbooks, I might feel more confident.

C.       An outstanding idea.  I know just where you can borrow some.  And perhaps...  Perhaps I might be able to convince an acquaintance of mine to let you try your hand at some actual surgeries.

A.       (Grinning)  OK, on accoun'a it's Christmas, I ain't gonna make no mad scientist cracks.

C.       (Sarcastically)  Thank you, Adele.  Besides, if you must know, the person in question is a veterinarian!

R.       OK, ok, now that that's settled, how do you like your present, Marie?

M.       It's magnificent!  And I'm honored by your faith in my ability to make use of it.

        Marie rolls it back up, and reties the cords.

A.       Awww shucks.  We always have faith in you, Marie!  Alright.  Sabeetha, it's your turn!

        Adele leaps up and grabs the last small package.  It is wrapped in bright yellow paper, and trimmed with a lighter yellow ribbon.  She places it in front of Sabeetha.

S.       Thisss issn't really necssesssary.

A.       A'course it is!  It's Christmas!

        Sabeetha eyes the package, then uses her nails to slice away the wrapping and expose a dark blue velvet covered spring hinged box.  She opens it, and appears uncertain of the contents.

R.       Adele and I came up with the idea for this.  It wasn't easy.  We began by trying to figure out what to get for the woman who doesn't seem to want, or need anything.  Then we hit on it.  It's another Sylothian product, and Dietlinde, Luisa, and Sofia all had a hand in it.  What do you think?

S.       (Scrutinizing the items)  Cutting toolsss and filesss?

A.       Yeah!  They're fer them nails a-yers!  Y'never say nuthin', but we know y'have a hard time with 'em!

R.       Yep!  The clippers have the same orichalcum plating as Marie's surgical items, and the files are coated with six different grits of industrial grade diamond chips!

S.       Thhhen....  Whhithh thhesse, I can trim, sshape, and sssharpen, or dull my nailsss indiffvidually asss I ssee ffit?

R.       That's the concept!

A.       So, d'ya like 'em?

S.       Oh yesssss!  Hhhow did you effver thhink offf thisss?

R.       Like I said, it wasn't easy!

A.       The thing is, it was the only idea we could come up with.  At least fer this year!  Hah!

S.       I wonder ifff you really undersstand how muchhh usse I will get out offf thessse itemsss?  I already havffe sseveral ideasss thhat I can hhardly wait to try.

        She rises from her chair, goes to Regnad, touches one side of his face very lightly, and brushes the other side of his face with her lips.  She then repeats her actions with Adele.  Both of them are astonished, and turn bright red.

S.       (Retakes her seat)  Pleasse, do not ssay anythhing.  Jusst know thhat I am grateffful.

A.       Yeahhhh.  OK. Guess who's turn it is now, Mister Husband?

R.       (With mock terror)  Uh oh!

A.       Aw, knock it off!

        She goes to the tree, and picks up the smaller of the two large boxes remaining, and plops it in front of Regnad.  It is wrapped in blue paper with white criscrossing stripes, and the corners are secured by red ribbon.  Adele returns to her chair.

R.       I've always liked diagonal ribbons at the corners like this.  Now let's see if I can...

        He manages to slip the ribbon off one of the corners.

R.       Yay!  That's another reason I like it!

        The ribbon is now loose, and he removes it entirely.  He then tears away the paper to find a cream colored cardboard box.  He removes the top and sees sheets of white tissue paper which he folds out.

R.       Hey!

        He lifts out a folded piece of clothing which unfolds as he holds it up, becoming a long overcoat, or duster.  It is a tan color, with the collar, lapels, and ends of the sleeves being a darker brown.  It has a belt at the waist, and no visible buttons.

R.       Wow!  This looks like my old resistingwear coat, just not gray!  And it's so light!

A.       (Excitedly)  Uh huh!  Try it on, and look inside!

R.       (Puts on coat, and flips it open and back)  Oh, cool!  It's lined so it buttons on the inside, and...  Wow!  All kinds of pockets, some with elastic like Marie's medical kit!

A.       Yep!  Now y'can carry all yer small tools, gizmos, special ammo, an' other whatnots without needin' a backpack!

R.       Oh, I hope it has...

        He belts the coat closed, shoves his hand in one of the outside pockets, and appears to rummage around for a moment.  His face lights up, and he withdraws his hand, holding a silver dollar in his fingers.

R.       OH YES!  Reach-through pocketses!!!

        He rushes to Adele, hauls her to her feet, and gives her a big kiss on her lips!

R.       (Releases his wife)  Thank you!!!

A.       Whew!  Wow, save some-a that fer later, OK?  Besides, this ain't all my doin'.  Caroline, I think you can explain it better.

        Regnad turns to face Caroline.

C.       Ah, yes, well, since you commented on the weight, I think you've already concluded that your coat is made entirely of Sylothian materials, primarily something similar to our cloaks.  We made arrangements to have a selection, well, smuggled in.  The overall design IS based on your old resistingwear coat, and the pockets are Adele's idea to try and make up for the loss of your storage matrix, whatever that is.  They're also based somewhat on how my shoulder bag is organized.  Marie, our expert seamstress, is the one who made it.  Since she already has all your measurements, that explains the excellent fit.  And Marie, I'm sorry you had to use ordinary tools, but I just had to keep your new sewing supplies a secret.  I hope you'll forgive me.

M.       Don't be silly.  Of course I do!

C.       (Relieved)  Good.  And Sabeetha also made some suggestions, so it's really a group effort.  I'm glad you like it.  In my experience, men seldom appreciate articles of clothing as gifts.

R.       I'm surprised.  You should know better than to make such gereralizations, especially where I'm concerned.  Besides, this is stupendously practical, and just to further show how much I like it, I'm leaving it on!  So there!

A.       Well, that don' s'prise ME none, but gosh, everyone's received a present, an' there's still one left under the tree.  The biggest one-a all, in fact.  Who could that be for?

R.       (In an exagerrated fashion)  Gee, Adele, don't you remember?

A.       (Snaps fingers)  Oh yeah, that's right!  Let's get it!

        Adele and Regnad go to the tree and lift up the final package.  It is nearly four feet long, two feet deep, and about a foot high.

A.       Clear some room, folks!

        Marie and Sabeetha push their own gifts well to the side, then Sabeetha lifts Caroline's tool case and places it on the floor.

C.       Huh?  What?

A.       This one's fer you, too!

        Adele and Regnad place the box in front of Caroline, then retake their seats.  It is so big that three sheet of paper have been used to wrap it.  Dark red on each end, and white in the center.  There are no ribbons or bows.

R.       Please, don't say anything.  Just open it.

C.       What in...  Ah, alright...

      She stands, and tears away the paper to reveal a wooden box with dovetail joints.  There is a metal plaque inset on the lid.

C.       So, it's...  No, I'll just do as you say.

        She lifts off the lid, looks inside, sets the lid behind the box, then lifts out the primary item of contents.

C.       (Closely examining the object in her hands)  It's a shotgun...  16 gauge...  Single barrel...  Repeating...  Lever action...  Side loading.  (Holds it to her shoulder, and sights down the barrel)  Interesting.  It has a flip up rear sight, as well as the conventional bead at the end of the barrel.  (Works the lever, which is curved, and fits the shape of the stock.)  VERY smooth action, at least unloaded...  (Squeezes trigger, hesitates)  A two stage trigger?  (Squeezes harder. *click*)  Yes!  Wow, this is quite a piece of workmanship, but...  Why?

A.       Look, not to be mean 'r nuthin', but yer a lousy pistol shot!  Paul an' me figgered this would help!

R.       (Sighs)  Thank you, my very blunt young lady!  Let me explain further.  Although the Model 1905 is a magnificent weapon, well, you really aren't that good with it.  So we put it to the Wheeler Brothers to come up with a shotgun for you.  We decided on a few features, including making it 16 gauge, and gave them your arm measurements, courtesy of Marie, and this is what they produced.  It's completely one of a kind and, if you'll look back in the box, includes complete cleaning supplies, and all sorts of rounds.  Conventional shot shells of different numbers, single ball shot, rifled slugs, and various specialty rounds.  That's why it has the rear sight and the two stage trigger; for greater accuracy with them.  Also, we thought a gunpowder shotgun would help round out our general weapons inventory.  Don't you like it?

C.       Oh yes, I do!  But isn't it rather...  large?

A.       Aw jeeze, we don' expec' ya t' carry it aroun' all-a time!  Just on dangerous assignments!

R.       Exactly.  A weapon like this could really help us out.  Even just for its intimidation factor!

C.       I suppose that is a point.  (Considers)  And besides, I could also use it for bird hunting.

R.       That's the spirit!  You could bring home some ducks for Marie and I to prepare!

C.       (Laughs)  Yes, I do know how much you enjoy duck!  I guess I'm just surprised that I'm the only one to receive more than one gift.

A.       Aw, if we didn't think y'deserved it, we wouldn'a got it fer ya!

M.       Really, Miss Caroline, there are times when I wish I could kill some wild game, myself.

R.       But Marie, with your Sylothian boomerang, you can!

M.       Oh sir, now YOU are ruining the effect!

R.       Ouch!  I guess I am!  Sorry!

C.       (Laughs again)  No, it's my fault.  I'm just so surprised!  This is truly a wonderful gift!  Thank you all!

        She replaces the shotgun in its case, and begins to go through the boxes of ammo.

A.       That whole top part lifts out, an' there's more stuff underneath.

        Caroline reaches her fingers into the cutouts on either side, and lifts away the top section.

C.       Ah!  So here are the cleaning supplies, and even more ammunition!

A.       Uh huh!

R.       (Can contain himself no longer, and jumps up)  Merry Christmas, everybody!

      He proceeds to give everyone a kiss on their cheek.  Marie manages not to flinch, but still turns bright red and looks at the floor.  The rest take it in stride.

A.       (Grinning)  OK, so whadda we do now?

C.       (Packing up her shotgun case)  -I- am going to go to sleep!  This has been wonderful, but I'm simply NOT used to staying up this late.

M.       (Goes to viewport and looks out)  Oh dear!

S.       Whhat isss it, Marie?

M.       Snow is falling at a prodigious rate!

A.       Well, they DID say we were gonna have a blizzard.  Seems t'be here a bit early, though.

R.       (Joins Marie)  Yeah, wow!  It's really coming down!

S.       Don't worry, I will get the sshhoffvel ffrom thhe sstablecar.

A.       Good idea!  An' double check on the feed an' water, an' the the heater setting, OK?

S.       Offf courssse.

R.       I still don't think we'll have any major problems, as long as we don't need the steam cannon or the calliope, that is.  I'd hate to try and retract the roof sections with two feet of snow on them.  Heh.

C.       Oh please!  I severely doubt we'll have to repel invading troops, or serenade the city on Christmas morning!

A.       Hah!  Yeah, I reckon Sabeetha an' Marie can keep things under control fer now.  So...  G'night, y'all.

      Adele takes Regnad's hand, and drags him out of the parlor.  Caroline shrugs, and heads for her room.  Marie prepares to get her hour of cataleptic rest, and Sabeetha opens the roverhome's door.  A big blast of snow blows inside as she exits.


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Comment by P. Aloysius Regnad on January 3, 2019 at 6:52pm

      Now that the Christmas season is over (by my estimation), allow me to say thank you to everyone who took the time to read this.

      I have a very large story in mind during which CR&A have their second Christmas together.  I think that's all I'll say until I get around to typing it up.

Comment by Clay Davis on December 16, 2018 at 8:15pm

A good story.

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