Tales of the Nineteen Galaxies #20 A Very Caine Christmas


Merry Christmas one and all!

So, the Mayan “Apocalypse” came and went!  And nothing happened except a few villages in the Westcountry got flooded, including my home village of Braunton:

Braunton FloodSo, I thought this Christmas deserves some sort of present to you followers!  A short story written exclusively for this very reason!

And what is it about?  As you can tell from the title of this post and the story itself, none other than Caine himself.  But after that, you’ll just have to read it, won’t you?

Merry Xmas!

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

A VERY CAINE CHRISTMAS

“SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!”

The two men sat at the controls held on for dear life.

They were sat on a bright red sled, with eight small booster engines arrayed out to the sides along two small wings.  A large sack sat in the rear cargo compartment, flapping and cracking in the whistling wind.

The two men, neither particularly small, were squashed into the front seat –a hard wooden bench that neither found comfortable on the best of days.  The controls weren’t working, the taller of the two struggling with the steering column, lights flashing in their faces.

The wind howled past their exposed heads.

They had been given goggles to protect their eyes, but nothing more.

Now they were essentially freefalling.

Towards the ground.

At close to a hundred miles an hour.

Despite the shorter, heavily muscled, man’s usual stoic lack of fear, he currently felt it.

“If we make it out of this, I’m gonna kill you, M’Der,” Adam Caine shouted over the wind.

M’Der Tr’n’s face went a darker shade of green, his lanky, lean features at odds with their current bright red surroundings.

“It’s not my fault they gave us a malfunctioning powered sled is it?” the tall Kra Nal complained.

“The hell it is,” Adam shouted back.

The sleigh was rushing through the air, the snow knifing wind chill against their cheeks.

“How was I supposed to know?”

Adam looked at the man he called his friend, and wondered just how the hell the Famous Historian had managed to convince him into doing yet another stupidly insane job.  This time, they had been tasked with “conducting nostalgic public entertainment operations” as the locals put it.  In simple terms, they wanted Adam –a genuine human from the 21st century- to dress up as the “legendary” folk hero Saint Claus, complete with red beard and white outfit.

Adam had refused point blank.

When they told him he didn’t have to wear the suit, M’Der had ‘convinced’ him it was a good idea, and that Evelyn would love it.

Now they were twenty thousand feet above the ground, snow driving in at them, and the eight engines arrayed like reindeer in front and to the sides of the nose of the sleigh were now malfunctioning.  They were primitive anti-grav engines too old for anything other than lifting small children.

But here they were, falling out of the sky.

The damned engines had taken them out of control above the clouds and then cut out.

The sleigh shook badly underneath them as they struggled with the controls.  Both of them were gripping the control stick, using their combined strength to do nothing more than wiggle an inactive stick.

“Why won’t this thing work?” M’Der screamed.

“Since when is anything we ever do that simple?” Adam returned.

Their hands were turning blue from the cold –it was supposed to be 30-plus during this time of year.

M’Der stamped on the throttle pedal.

One of the engines coughed.

And then exploded just as the powered sleigh broke from the clouds.  The flimsy craft shook, and the two men –off balanced by the sudden movement- tumbled forward and over the control console, grasping for a handhold.

Adam latched onto the lip of the console, and his alien friend grabbed the wing, narrowly missing one of the sputtering engines, and Adam’s booted foot.

The sleigh, with all the weight on the front, started nose-diving towards the ground that was starting to look like it was getting closer and closer.  The town they were supposed to be helping was no longer a blurred splodge, but looking more and more like an OS map.

Adam dreaded to think what height they were at.

The controls finally died, the lights fluttering off.

“Piece of shit!”

Adam slammed his free hand as hard as he could against the control console.  It sparked and sputtered, the lights flickering on and then off again.  He looked at it with incredulity.

And then slammed it again.

It sputtered again, and then died again.

He started muttering to himself, promising that if the thing started, he would kill the man currently hanging from his boot.

He thumped the controls again and again.

The thrusters coughed to life one at a time, unfortunately, they didn’t come on in any order, and the craft started spinning, and the centrifugal force making their fingers slip.  The craft started to level out, with Adam and M’Der hanging from the front.

“I’m going to kill you, M’Der.  It’s going to happen.”

M’Der wisely shut up.

*           *           *

When the locals rushed to meet the sleigh that had finally landed, they found the two occupants in a rather curious state.

The big human had his large hands wrapped around the green-skinned Kra Nal’s scrawny neck, trying to throttle the life out of him.

Evelyn, his daughter, sighed.

“Daddy, stop trying to strangle Uncle M’Der.”

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