Future Tales, 2992
In a distant future ravaged by invasions and wars, where the true spirit of Christmas has been forgotten, a thousand-year-old heroine tells the battle-grizzled Barker the significance of Christmas.
December 25, 2992, O.E.R. (Old Earth Reckoning):
We are twenty-five hours out of Hades on the planet Pluto heading to Earth, and the gang is looking forward to the rest the trip will provide. Things got a bit hairy back there, but I think we covered our tracks well enough to throw the Darxeide goons off our scent.
After four years of war, and who knows how many innocent lives slaughtered by those other-dimensional shadow fiends and their goose-stepping minions, there are still fools from this dimension willing to turn on their fellow invaded. It turns my stomachs.
At least the Resistance is starting to see some positive results, and that group that’s calling itself the Legion of Freedom seems to be bolstering the spirit of defiance throughout the galaxy. I’m just thankful that the Darxeide lackeys think Melberac’s Galactic Circus is amusing, and harmless, enough to be allowed to travel between occupied worlds. If they knew our true purpose, not a one of us would escape the Fire Pits of Mercury.
Speaking of the Legion, our “cargo” gave me the oddest greeting this morning. She said, and I quote, “Merry Christmas.”
Since this entry, like all of the others, shall be erased once I am finished, perhaps I should explain our “cargo.” Perhaps I shouldn’t refer to her simply as our “cargo,” for she does have a name after all. Oddly enough, though, it doesn’t sound like a typical Earth name. She is the first human, the first being ever, that I have heard called by the name Fantomah.
Although she appears to be merely human, her beauty is comparable to that which is recognized as such by most other races in the galaxy. Her hair, identified as “blonde” on her homeworld of Earth, is long, falling well past her shoulders, and possesses the color of the most yellow of stars. Her figure is among one of the most perfect I have ever seen. The rumors surrounding her, however, are even more incredible than her beauty. She is rumored to be well over one thousand years old. Now, I have known other species that do, indeed, have extraordinarily long lifespans, so I can accept that rumor. Another rumor is that, while on Earth, she has abilities that rival the gods. Unfortunately, it appears that the longer, and farther, she is away from Earth, the more her powers diminish. That’s not to say that she isn’t powerful when she is off-planet — she is — but if she doesn’t return to her homeworld on occasion, she becomes physically weaker. That is why she is traveling with us now.
Fantomah’s greeting this morning was one that I have never heard before, so I asked her about it, what it meant.
“It is a traditional holiday greeting,” she told me, “that fell on this day and has origins older than even I am. Nearly three thousand years ago, God sent his only begotten son to Earth to give His life to save the world. Christmas is the day that was set aside to celebrate His birth.”
I was confused, and I said so. “Which god did this?” I asked.
Fantomah smiled at me. “He is God, and He is above all other gods.”
“So,” I said, “this God sacrificed His son to save those who worshipped him? Save them from what? A previous alien invasion? What?”
Again she smiled at me. I was both intrigued and annoyed.
“He sent his Son as a sacrifice, not only for those who worshipped him, but for those who did not. And it wasn’t an invasion he was saving them from; it was themselves.”
I wasn’t sure if she was just having a joke at my expense, or if she really believed me, but I could sense there was more to this story than what she was telling me. We talked for nearly an hour, and she did have more to tell. This Son of God was born, not in a palace, as would be fitting, but in a place of livestock. She spoke of wise men coming from afar, bringing gifts fit for a king to this child. She told me that it was in this spirit of giving that a tradition of giving gifts to each other was born.
It was at this moment that she looked at me as though she were suddenly embarrassed. “I have wished you a Merry Christmas,” she told me, “but I have no gift to give you and your people beyond my gratitude for taking me home.”
I assured her that no gifts were necessary, but that she had, indeed, given me a gift. I told her that a good story is always acceptable as a gift, and that one as incredible as the one she told would be told many times from this day forward.
Fantomah just smiled and started to return to her cabin. She stopped, looked at me again, and wished me a Merry Christmas for a second time.
Not knowing what else to do, I wished her a Merry Christmas as well. As she walked away, I thought about what she had said. Despite the whole aspect of sacrifice attached to her story, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was an undercurrent of hope in her story. And at a time such as this, when the Darxeide controls most of the galaxy, innocents are being slaughtered on a planetary scale, and many are struggling just to survive on war-ravaged worlds, perhaps a little hope, in any form, is a good thing.
Ah. I hear the captain calling for me, so I shall end my journal entry with a Merry Christmas of my own.