Back to main page

A Very Merry Alphan Christmas

Authors: Gabbie
Categories: Christmas, Tony/Maya
Characters: Maya, Tony Verdeschi
Episodes: Set after Journey To Where
Show Year: Y2
Rating: PG
Date: 1998
Maya is puzzled when all the Alphans suddenly start preparing for a holiday called "Christmas". Tony offers to teach her more about it...
Average Rating: 5.0/5 (based on 16 reviews)

Chief Eagle Pilot Alan Carter entered the Command Center in an extremely jovial mood, humming as he walked. Not bad behavior for someone who had recently survived what had to be classified as the worst experience in his entire life. Nearly being burned at the stake would never qualify as a real winner in his book. Thank goodness Alpha had been able to decode the Commander's message and they were all transported safely back to the moon although they had lost any chance of returning to Earth. Then again, he thought, perhaps they really didn't want to go back. At any rate it didn't matter since the opportunity was gone, at least in their lifetime, and now was not the season to be unhappy, but rather joyful. He saw Sandra Benes sitting at her desk and was suddenly struck by an impulse.

He walked up to Sandra's desk and placed a hand on her shoulder. "Good morning." She looked up and gave him a charming smile back.

"Good morning too. You're in a good mood," she said.

Alan nodded. "Why of course, did you happen to look at your calendar?" He was eager to share the reason behind his good mood with someone this morning.

"Calendar?" she questioned.

"Yeah, it's the 4th of December, only 20 more shopping days left until Christmas." he said with an amused grin. "Ho, ho, ho."

Maya looked up from her desk. "Shopping days?" she asked, a look of thorough confusion on her face. "Ho, ho, ho?"

Sandra left out an amused chuckle. "Christmas Maya. It's an Earth holiday," she explained to the Psychon.

Maya's confused expression told the woman that the Psychon didn't comprehend the terminology. But then at this point Maya was still confused by many of the things that the Alphans did or said.

Tony looked up from his desk and grinned. "Yeah, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Christmas trees, Nativity scenes, eggnog, presents, Christmas carols, that sort of thing."

Maya still had a blank look on her face and Tony sighed. "Let me guess. Psychon didn't have anything like Christmas?"

"No." she responded back to him. "I don't believe so."

Just then the Commander entered the Command Center and everyone quietly returned to his or her duties. They weren't too sure of his mood with the recent failed return attempt to Earth and Dr. Russell still recuperating from her bout with pneumonia, so no one wanted to take a chance in irritating him by continuing their idle chatter.

At the end of the normal duty shift Tony caught up with Maya as she left. "I'll fill you in on what we were talking about earlier, that is if you promise to have dinner with me."

The Psychon pretended to think it over for a few seconds but from the look in her expressive blue eyes Tony had already guessed her answer. "I suppose that would be nice," was her response.

That made Tony smile. He made arrangements to meet Maya in about two hours then headed to the gym. He hadn't had a good workout for well over a week and desperately needed it. He met some of the pilots and security men who frequented the gym when he entered. Laughter and conversation mixed with the sounds of the weight equipment clanking and groans from some of the men. Somebody had music by Aerosmith cranked loud and it didn't take Verdeschi long to become absorbed with his workout and oblivious to things around him.

"Hey, Verdeschi!" came a loud boisterous yell across the room.

Tony glanced up to see Bill Fraser and some other pilots come in. He gave Bill a wave, then reached for a towel to wipe the sweat off of his face.

"Where's Carter?" Bill asked, expecting to find the Australian pilot there as well.

Tony shrugged. "Probably with Sahn, you know those two lately."

Bill nodded. "Yeah, well speaking of that sort of thing, what's up with you and Maya? You two seem to be spending a lot of time together too."

Tony gave Bill a look. "What of it?" he asked sounding like it was no big deal.

"Well the guys have been talking, that's all. Seem like you two are becoming inseparable." Fraser's voice was filled with teasing.

Verdeschi didn't comment at first as he fiddled with the adjustments on the apparatus. Without looking at Bill he told the Eagle pilot, who was now working vigorously on the neighboring machine, "We're coworkers Bill, nothing more."

"No romantic inclinations then?" Bill grunted in between reps.

"That's my personal business." Tony said quietly. "And Maya's." He wondered what had triggered that remark from Bill.

Fraser thought he detected just a wee little bit of hostility in Tony's voice. A bit overprotective of the Psychon, was he?

"Right Ton, whatever you say," Bill replied realizing he had hit a nerve.

Tony finished his workout without saying much of anything else. He headed to his quarters and showered. Indeed it was true that he had been spending a lot of time with Maya and as he had predicted there was beginning to be chatter about it. She had only been on Alpha several months and they were already including her in the mundane gossip. Obviously some people didn't have enough work to do. Not that he cared, as long as they didn't say anything unfitting or untrue about the girl.

If Verdeschi was truthfully honest with himself the simple fact was that he enjoyed her company. They usually had a good time together, and besides she had needed a friend or two when she arrived on Alpha. Of course he could argue that he was also indoctrinating her into Alphan society or that he was fulfilling his duties as Chief of Security. Hell, he didn't care what they thought because he wasn't even too sure what he thought, yet. The Psychon was beautiful, witty, intelligent, and available and so far she had chosen to spend her free time with him which confused Tony. He had originally figured that Maya would gravitate towards some type of brainy technological type but instead she was with him and in the process was driving him crazy. Of course Verdeschi surmised that it was a good kind of crazy.

He smiled to himself as he finished getting dressed. He had no idea where their relationship would lead, if anywhere. For the moment it was a hang on for the ride and see what happens situation. He ran a comb quickly through his thick dark hair and hurried to meet her for dinner. He didn't think he wanted to find out the consequences of being late for a date with a Psychon.

She was ready and waiting for him when he got there and they walked together to one of the eateries on the base. Tony remembered a time when each eatery had served different foods, different styles, and different tastes. Now they all served the same thing, fruits, vegetables, and things that were un-affectionately called Alphan surprise.

They found a nice quiet table near the back of the room, which suited Tony just fine. He and Maya usually spent their evening meals together quietly talking. He didn't remember ever having conversations with any other woman the way he did with her. Tonight she reminded him of his earlier promise to tell her about Christmas, so he did.

He started by explaining to her that it was an annual celebration, usually held on December 25th, from the Christian church, and that it also included customs such as using holly, mistletoe, Yule logs, wassail bowls, Christmas trees, lights, decorations, and special music. He then informed her that not all of his people celebrated it, it depended on your religious affiliation, or lack thereof. As always Maya was intrigued by the differences in culture between his people and as usual asked many questions. Amazingly he never tired of answering her, or admitting that he didn't know the answer, as sometimes was the case. While they were eating it suddenly occurred to him that he had photographs in his quarters. When they finished eating they would have to take a look at them.

They were headed out of the eatery as Bill and Annette entered. Annette smiled and said hi to them both and Bill just gave Tony one of those looks with a grin. Tony shook his head and then he and Maya left.

"What was that all about?" she inquired after they had gone down the corridor a ways.

"What?" Tony asked innocently.

"Bill and that funny look he gave you?" she inquired, instinctively knowing that it was as if the two men had exchanged some sort of conversation without mentioning a word.

"Nothing," Tony told her. He didn't want to tell her that Bill was trying to speculate on their relationship, even though there really wasn't anything to speculate on, yet.

Inside his quarters Maya spent time scrutinizing Tony's brewing apparatus while he rummaged through his personal effects. She was amazed, or perhaps bewildered was a better term, as to Verdeschi's hobby, especially considering the ill effects she had recently suffered from it.

He emerged from the closet with a large book and a grin. "Here it is."

He beckoned her to come and sit on the couch with him and then opened up the book. He flipped through pages until he found what he was looking for.

"Christmas, Verdeschi style," he said.

Maya politely looked at the photographs of people she didn't know, except for a much younger Tony, with a green decorated tree and a creche in an unfamiliar room. She gave Tony a confused glance and he explained that the photographs had been taken while he was still in high school. He covered the concept of Christmas trees, the Nativity scene, lights, decorations, and family gatherings to her. The evening passed by quickly and before they realized it, it was well past 11:00. Maya still had questions on this Christmas holiday but Tony promised her he would continue with the lessons, provided of course she would have dinner with again tomorrow. She agreed and left him to return to her quarters.

The following day Carter again came into the Command Center humming a song. Fraser started to laugh as he recognized it. "You are?" he inquired to the Australian pilot.

Carter smiled. "Yes I am and it's working. Don't you notice the snow outside?"

"When did you ever see snow, Aussie man?" asked Fraser who wondered why the Australian would be dreaming of a white Christmas. Personally Bill would take a Christmas on any habitable planet, with or without snow.

Maya had been listening to their exchange and was again confused. She understood the concept of snow, even though she had never experienced the genuine article herself. But what was a white Christmas, one with snow? Or perhaps it was another confusing concept from her new Alphan friends. Intrigued, she kept one ear tuned to the conversation while continuing to work.

Carter just kept on humming to himself, then finally he broke out into loud song. "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. Just like, oh what's the next verse?" He began laughing at himself as realized he knew the tune but not the exact wording.

"Oh boy." Tony groaned. "Everyone bring their earplugs today?"

"Earplugs for what?" asked John Koenig, who had just entered.

"Carter's singing Christmas carols," replied Bill.

"And I suppose you can sing better, Tony?" Alan taunted the Italian.

"Yeah, as a matter of fact I can. I just don't want to interrupt everyone while they're doing important work," he replied back.

Alan made a chuckling noise. He had never heard Verdeschi sing and wasn't sure he wanted to.

"Christmas carols?" Koenig asked, now becoming thoroughly interested in what his staff was talking about when he wasn't around.

"Yes sir. I checked my calendar and it's the 5th of December, I think. Only 19 shopping days left until Christmas." Carter informed the Commander as though it were official business and then sat down at his desk, giving Tony a very smug look.

Koenig considered this for a moment. "I haven't started my shopping yet. I must be behind." He said this as he walked over to hand Maya some papers. She accepted them from him and began flipping through them.

Tony gave an amused glance to the Commander. "I suppose you've seen Santa too." Now that he knew the Commander wasn't in a too serious frame of mind he decided to make the conversation more interesting. Besides this sector of space was too damn boring to the Italian and he felt that the Command Center needed some amusement for the day.

John shook his head. "No Tony but Alan does have a valid point. We could do some decorating I suppose. Something to boost morale a little."

"Ha, ha," said Carter to Tony, pleased with himself for initiating a great idea.

"Yeah, well you put up the tree. I'm not," Tony said with a laugh. "Too much hassle."

"Scrooge," Alan said.

Maya found herself watching the conversation flowing back and forth between the two men. The Commander interrupted them. "As of now, I'm appointing Alan and Tony in charge of the Alphan Christmas decorating committee. It's your duty to have this place ready for the holidays by next weekend."

Tony and Alan both looked at one another.

"Gee thanks." Tony mumbled as he swiveled around in his chair and pretended to bury his nose in papers. The Command Center filled with laughter and Carter had an obvious grin of pleasure; his eyes sparkled with merriment.

"Oh and by the way, the rest of you can include your wonderful talents in this project." Koenig said, glancing around the room at each of them. He was beginning to think that things could get quite interesting around the base.

At the end of the day the younger Alphans exited the Command Center together. Sandra was teasing Tony about switching from beer to eggnog and how, fortunately for them, there was a shortage of eggs on Alpha.

"What is eggnog?" Maya asked almost hesitantly.

"Another alcoholic beverage," Bill said with a bemused grin.

"Oh no." She quickly shook her head and looked skyward as she said, "Thank God for small miracles and no eggs then." This led Alan, Bill, and Sahn into fits of hysterical laughter. Maya had only been with them a short time but she was already beginning to show signs of becoming Alphanized as Carter had termed it.

"I'll have you know that if I could, I would. And it would be great eggnog. Fantastic, very fit for human and Psychon consumption." Verdeschi boasted as he stood still in the corridor glancing around at his friends.

"Like that stuff I drank a few weeks ago?" Maya asked for she couldn't pass by the opportunity to tease him, again.

"Hey, I apologized for that, repeatedly," Tony said. "You promised you forgave me."

"Oh sure Tony. She's going to forgive you for one of the most miserable insufferable 24 hours she's ever endured?" Carter asked as he poked Tony on the shoulder.

"I didn't tell her to drink it," Tony said innocently. "Well, not that much," he added quickly.

Maya laughed. "It's OK Tony. I did forgive you." Then she spoke in her most authoritative tone, "Just don't let it happen again."

The group parted at the intersection and went their separate ways; Tony and Maya headed to the library. Tony had promised her that he would continue explaining Christmas to her and they spent some time before dinner searching the library for books on Christmas. They took a few of the actual printed books out and then headed to the eatery to get something for dinner which they took back with them to Maya's quarters.

One large book contained many different children's Christmas stories and while they ate they flipped through it. Tony spent the evening introducing her to the Grinch who wanted to steal Christmas, to Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang who decorated the pathetic looking little Christmas tree, the Night Before Christmas, even Rudolph and Frosty. In addition they began looking through several informative books on Christmas.

"So Christmas is a commercialized children's holiday?" she ventured to ask him.

"Yes and no. I don't think anyone originally intended on it becoming as commercialized as what it became. But before, when we were on Earth, commercialized would have been a very good description. I know the stores in the States were putting up Christmas displays at Halloween."

"Halloween?" she asked with more confusion.

"Not tonight Maya, we'll cover that American holiday some other time." Verdeschi began to laugh and Maya was confused. "You know, you might really be able to get into that holiday," he said and then he began to laugh again.

"Well, whatever you say," she replied, more than a little bit confused by his humor.

"Just because there's a lot of children's literature, don't let that fool you. I've got some more literature I want you to read; I just have to mark the passages and sections for you. Christmas is for adults too. They just have to work a little harder at getting presents from Santa," Tony said with a grin. To his delight this time Maya smiled. She was grasping the concept better now than yesterday and she saw another open chance.

"Have you been a good little boy this year?" she asked him mischievously.

Tony laughed and nodded. "I think so. What about you, a good little girl?"

She smiled at him. "I'd like to think so."

"Well then just maybe Santa will leave you a present under the tree," he said teasingly to her. It was getting late so Tony excused himself and left. As he proceeded down the corridor he thought that with any luck Santa just might bring them all what they wanted for Christmas.

Friday afternoon had arrived and Tony and Alan decided that the Christmas decorating committee would meet over dinner that night. Later that evening, Bill, Annette, Tony, and Maya showed up at Alan's bringing dinner and beer. Sandra was already there. They placed the food and drinks on the floor and then seated themselves there as well, getting very comfortable.

"Well gang, I think here's where we're expected to be creative," Alan laughed.

"Yeah, you creative?" teased Tony.

"Come on Tony, you can't tell me that you'd turn down a good excuse to throw one hell of a party?" Bill said.

Tony shook his head. "Of course not."

Annette spoke up. "A party's nice, but don't forget the real meaning behind the holiday."

"She's right," Sandra said. "There's a purpose behind Christmas, we mustn't forget that."

"OK then, we'll have a Christmas Eve service," Tony said. "The party covers the fun part and the service covers the religious aspects."

"I like the sounds of that," Alan agreed. "What's more, how about we try to decorate around here? I know, a decorating contest?"

"I like it." Annette said with a squeal. "That's wonderful. It will help put everyone in the mood."

Sandra nodded. "I'm sure there's Christmas music and videos around."

Tony smiled. "Music, now I'm happy. We won't have to listen to his moaning."

"Hey, watch it brew man," Carter said.

They all laughed. Now that they had some really good ideas they just had to put them into action. Tony put his arm around Maya's shoulder.

"What do you think? Sound like fun?" he asked her.

She shrugged. "I don't think I'd be such a good judge on that Tony," she said in an almost quiet voice.

"Trust me Maya, we'll have a great time," he said.

She rolled her eyes at him. "Last time someone said that to me, and I won't mention any names, I ended up being sick for a whole weekend." And she looked at Tony with a wicked little glance.

"Oops," Tony murmured. "Seriously, it's all fun Maya. I admit it won't be exactly like the Christmases that we had as kids on Earth, but it will do."

"What were they like?" Maya asked.

Alan ventured his thoughts first after a moment. "Well mostly mine were hot. You see Australia was in the middle of summer during the holidays. We had barbecues outside for dinner some years. But one Christmas my Aunt invited my cousin and I to go with her to Colorado, on a business trip. I think we were about 15 or so. Anyhow there was snow and skiing and we had a fabulous time. The ski lodge where we stayed had a very large room downstairs with a fireplace and a huge tree. There was hot cocoa and cookies and girls, well umh. Enough said."

Sandra couldn't hide her giggles. "Was that your favorite Christmas?"

Alan nodded. "Probably. I know we weren't at home with the family, but my Aunt, she was a real lady and she liked to spoil us. I think that's the only time my cousin and I took a real vacation together." Carter frowned and an almost sad look flashed through his eyes.

"What's the matter Alan?" Annette asked.

"My cousin was killed in the war. He never got to take another vacation. What about you guys, what did you all do?" he said, quickly changing the subject.

Annette smiled. "My parents used to host a large dinner party on Christmas Eve. Naturally Papa invited all of his business companions and Maman invited all the relatives. Gosh, there must have been several hundred people there in the house. There was so much food you could feed an army. The meats and the champagnes and the desserts." Annette tried to hide a giggle. "My sister and I one year, we managed to sneak quite a bit of the punch and my cousins got some kind of alcohol. We mixed it up and all got horribly drunk. My parents were furious. We were all so sick we couldn't go to Midnight Mass and couldn't come downstairs on Christmas day."

"And they call me the alcoholic," Tony said.

Annette laughed. "We were just teenagers. But oh boy, what fun we had that year."

"I bet your parents were proud of you," Bill said.

"Well, what about you? What did you do?" his wife asked.

"We had a large Christmas dinner every year. All of the family was invited. My Mum made the best roast chicken and my Nan made the best desserts. Then afterwards we would go into the living room and open presents. We had a marvelous time all day." He smiled as he remembered. "What bout you Tony?"

"As many of the family would get together as possible. I remember one year we all went to my grandparents' house. What a time we had, good food, damned good party." Tony started to laugh. "And Guido got into such trouble. He kept sneaking sips of the grownup's drinks. And we all laughed at him, when he got sick before we went to church. I don't think I ever saw my Mama so mad. Papa just laughed behind her back with my grandfather. Then they got into an argument and Guido thought they were going to divorce. Of course what would a 10 year old know?"

They all laughed.

"What about you, Sahn?" Maya asked.

"Oh my family didn't celebrate Christmas, Maya. But I did get to see a lot of different customs while I was growing up. My father traveled a lot for work. I probably spent Christmas in a different place every year. I do remember one year we were in New York and my father took me to see the large Christmas tree that they put up in Rockerfeller plaza every year. It was beautiful."

The group continued discussing different memories but Maya ended up tuning them out. Not that she meant to be rude, but their recollections were bringing up not only old memories but buried feelings for her. She began to absentmindedly drink her beer in more than little sips which caught Tony's attention immediately. He reached over and took the glass from her hand, bringing her back to reality. He gave her a questioning look and she tried to give him a slight smile.

The discussion was quickly turned back to the task at hand and they decided that they would announce plans to decorate the base during the weekend. Each department would be encouraged to decorate with a different Christmas theme.

Tony volunteered himself and Maya to find the Christmas movies and music, Annette volunteered to organize the church service, Alan and Bill would set up the decorating, and Sahn with a little help from everyone would organize the Christmas party.

After a few more minutes they decided to call it a night. After Tony and Maya had left Sandra spoke up. "You know, it would be nice to do something special for Maya, since this is her first Christmas with us."

"Like what?" Carter asked.

"I've got it," Bill suddenly spoke up. "You all know of my newfound interest in photography, right? Everyone should have pictures of special memories and Maya doesn't have any. She's got nothing left from her world. Isn't there a way that we could retrieve our video logs and pull out some shots of her dad and Psychon?"

"Hey, that's a really good idea," Annette said. "And very thoughtful, surprising coming from you."

Bill grumped. "I know some wife of mine that's going to be sleeping on the couch if she doesn't tread lightly."

"You wouldn't," Annette said as she thumped him on the arm. "No that is a good idea. Maya would be so surprised."

"I think we can do it," Sahn said. "We'll just have to be sneaky in doing it. We can't let her know what we're doing. And Maya doesn't miss much, we'll have to send her to the science lab or something."

"How about the weapon section, when Tony's there?" Bill wisecracked.

"That's not nice," Sahn said.

The idea was agreed upon and then Bill and Annette left, leaving Alan and Sahn alone. Sandra gave Alan a hug that left him looking at her oddly.

"What was that for?"

"Because you are a genius. You came up with a very good idea, this Christmas theme. I'm proud of you."

"Why thank you." he teased. "Listen I've got an even better idea." He suggested with a look in his eyes.

"I just bet you do." Sandra replied as she stood on tiptoe to give him a kiss. "Enough speaking Carter and more action."

"Yes ma'am," he said.

Tony had walked Maya back to her quarters and because of her still quiet mood he asked to talk to her. She invited him in and they sat down on the couch. Tony very cautiously asked her if she was OK.

"Yes," she said. "Why?"

"Maya, you were bothered tonight by something. You were really quiet, want to talk?"

"No Tony. Really, it's nothing."

"Nothing? Come on Maya. What was it, were you remembering things from Psychon?" he asked gently.

"I can't lie to you, can I?"

"Nope," he said.

She gave him a frown. "Just old memories, nothing to worry about."

"You're sure?" he asked.

She nodded. "It's getting late. Perhaps we should both think about getting some sleep?"

This time he nodded to her then got up from the couch. He was still worried about her so he leaned down and kissed the top of her head. "Are you sure you'll be all right tonight?"

"Yes Tony, I'm sure. Now stop your worrying."

"You know where to find me if you need anything," he told her then left.

She continued sitting on the couch for a while, slipping into deep thought. Tonight had brought up many memories for her but Tony, as usual, did his best to cheer her up. It was one of the things that she was beginning to love about him. That thought made her smile and she got ready for bed. Since she had come to Alpha he had been by her side almost constantly and it was that comforting fact that allowed her to finally drift off to sleep.

By Saturday evening they had spread the word around Moonbase Alpha and decorating plans were put into motion. When they met with John and Helena on Sunday afternoon they had a lot to report. It was decided that the Christmas party would be held on the 23rd, giving the Alphans a chance to recuperate from what Commander Koenig felt would surely be an alcoholic party. Alan had even discovered that there were several artificial Christmas trees in storage; a woman in hydroponics volunteered hers for the large recreational room.

After sharing their ideas the younger Alphans began to head to dinner. Tony told Maya to go on ahead without him that he would catch up in a few minutes. He wanted to talk to Helena.

"What's on your mind?" the doctor asked him once they were alone.

"Well I was thinking. I'd like to give Maya something special for Christmas, just something little. I think that with everything she's been through in the last few months it would be nice if Santa paid her a little visit."

"That's a wonderful thought. Any ideas?" she asked.

"I was thinking, if you were up to it that is, a little sculpture."

Helena smiled. "I feel much better now Tony. What did you have in mind?"

"Well there is something that Maya really likes. Those pink roses that they're growing in hydroponics, she loves them."

Helena smiled as she wondered how Tony knew the kind of flowers that the Psychon girl preferred.

"How hard would it be for you to make one? Just one, you know like a long-stemmed rose, the stem and a rose bud perhaps?"

Helena gave it thought for a moment. "Not long. I've even got pink and green paints."

"Perfect," the Italian said. "You don't mind?"

Helena chuckled. "No. I'd been thinking of doing some sculpting anyhow for relaxation. I think it's rather sweet of you." She would have sworn that Tony was actually blushing. "Kind of romantic too."

"Helena. For pity's sake, it's just a Christmas present," Tony grumbled.

She watched him go and smiled after he left. Helena felt sure that it was more than just a little Christmas present.

The week passed quickly with everyone intent on decorating ideas for the base. On Friday afternoon the artificial tree was put up in the one large recreation room. Christmas music filled the room as did laughter and animated talk. It seemed like everyone was catching the holiday spirit. Stashed away and almost forgotten items like decorations and candles were pulled out of closets. Someone had painted a large picture of a fireplace and burning logs and hung it on the wall beside the tree. A small light in the ceiling had been fitted with a yellow lens cover and adjusted so that it pointed right down on it. With all the other lights off one could almost pretend that the fire was real. A few other Alphans had come up with Christmas stockings and on the one table someone else contributed a Hanukah candle. Old Christmas cards were volunteered and were hung around the room. They even made popcorn strings to hang up.

Helena and John had ventured in to check on the progress before going to dinner and both smiled at what they saw. The Alphans that were in the room decorating were having a wonderful time. They saw Tony and Maya helping Sandra wrap a popcorn string around the tree. Alan was helping to hang up what looked like mistletoe over the other entranceway and Bill was crawling around under the tree, placing something around it. People were coming and going, some just to see how it looked and others to volunteer decorations.

One of the lab technicians, Emma, came over to the Commander and offered them drinks from Tony's latest brew. Her face was lit up with a happy smile as she continued to go around the room.

"Looks good," Helena said.

"Sounds good. I've never heard so many happy people. Alan stumbled upon a great idea. It's a pity we didn't think of it last year," John told her as he wrapped his arm around her shoulder.

"I don't think any of us had time to contemplate much of anything last year," she said sadly as she shook her head. Silently she thought that at one point not one of them had ever imagined getting this far anyhow.

Tony came over. "Tonight's featured video is the Charlie Brown one, followed by It's a Wonderful Life."

Helena laughed at Tony. She detected the faint aroma of beer and assumed that catching the holiday spirit meant more than one thing around here. John just winked at her. He couldn't say anything as his second-in-command was off duty for the rest of the weekend.

John noticed that Maya had stepped back from things a little and was just watching quietly. He went over to her placing his hand on her shoulder. "What do you think?"

"The tree is very pretty. The little lights are nice." Although her tone sounded calm her eyes reflected a slightly different emotion.

John smiled. "I thought you looked a little lost for a moment," he said to her in a friendly tone.

"No Commander, just thinking," she said quietly. Koenig figured it was best not to say anything else to her and he went back over to Helena who quietly asked if Maya was OK. He thought she was probably feeling a little homesick at the moment and Russell agreed.

Helena soon saw Tony come back around to the Psychon, putting his arm around her waist as he pointed something out on the tree. Soon the young Psychon was smiling and laughing again, the quiet demeanor gone and Helena quit her worrying. Tony seemed to have a positive effect on Maya.

Alan came over to them and pointed out the mistletoe. "Need someone to try it out," he said hopefully.

John raised both hands and said, "Oh, not I. I think maybe you should find a younger couple to do the honors," he said with a smile as he wrapped his arms around Helena. She laughed. "Yes Alan, someone younger." There were many young people in the room and Helena thought it would be cute to bestow the honor on someone else.

Alan responded back with, "Chickens." He was soon hollering around the room for a couple to have the honor of being first to kiss underneath the mistletoe. When he got no willing volunteers he surveyed around the room and then turned to Verdeschi with a glint of naughtiness in his eyes. "You and Maya test it out," he said as he pointed to the entrance.

"No, you go ahead Alan," Tony said. "I think Sandra's over there already." Tony knew that all eyes were on him and Maya and he suddenly felt very self-conscious with the idea. He could feel a glance from Maya even though he wasn't looking directly at her.

Alan grumbled. "Well fine, last time I ask the head honchos around here to try anything out around here." And with that he marched over to Sandra and pulled her under the mistletoe. The pretty dark-haired girl laughed as she told Carter he would owe her one for this. Then Alan gave her one heck of a kiss, quickly followed by another.

While everyone was paying attention to Carter and Sandra, now both giggling loudly, Tony quietly suggested to Maya that they go get dinner before the videos were shown.

She remained silent while they ate and Tony wondered if she were upset with him. He was surprised at how often he found himself pondering how she felt or what she was thinking. He had never had a relationship with anyone where he ever had really thought much about the other person's feelings.

Later they attended the video showings, sitting fairly close to the back of the room and when they were over he walked her back to her quarters. She invited him inside and he followed her in. Sipping coffee they sat for a while discussing the videos. Just before he went out the door he spoke to her.

"Maya, about the mistletoe thing."

She looked at him without saying a word.

"Well, I just figured that maybe then wasn't a good time for that." he told her awkwardly. "You know, too many people and all."

She smiled. "I understand Tony." Her pretty blue eyes told him that she did and he breathed a sigh of relief.

"See you in the morning. Pleasant dreams," he told her before he left.

Saturday and Sunday were a similar routine; most off-duty personnel were using the opportunity to decorate so as not to interfere with normal scheduled duties. Moonbase Alpha was indeed beginning to look and sound a lot like Christmas.

The doors leading into Medical Center were decorated with a painted winter scene of snow, snowmen, and snowflakes. Bob and Ben were both sighted wearing Santa hats and singing "Jingle Bells." Helena had been playing Christmas music while working on stuff at her desk, since there were no patients in Medical.

Command Center boasted a picture of Santa, alias the Commander, surrounded by elves, whom coincidentally resembled the Command Center staff. This "creative artwork" was strategically placed on the empty wall just outside the door leading inside to Command Center. All the Main Mission/Command Center personnel were depicted wearing elf clothing, smiling and holding beer glasses in their hands.

Outside of one of the launching bays there was a featured picture of an Eagle with Santa piloting it and being followed by reindeer. There were packages pictured as floating in space around them.

It seemed as though each department was trying to outdo the others. Scattered throughout the corridors were paper snowflakes and other decorations. You could walk down the corridors and hear Christmas music coming from inside people's quarters or catch someone singing a carol to themselves. Everyone seemed to be in the holiday spirit, laughter filled the base and for the time being at least the universe was filled with peace and quiet.

Maya had arranged to meet Helena Monday afternoon for lunch.

"Well what do you think of our little holiday?" the older woman asked.

Maya smiled. "I like it. It's seems like a happy time."

Helena nodded. "The only thing missing is snow and shopping."



"If you wanted to give something little to a friend for Christmas, what would you suggest?"

Helena smiled. "You mean for Tony?"

Maya nodded; of course Helena would know that. "He's been so nice and I feel like I should give him something, you know for being so helpful."

Helena agreed. "Let me think on the idea. I'm sure we can come up with something." Maya's pretense of Tony being nothing more than a friend was amusing to the Doctor. Knowing Verdeschi as she did and now Maya, she felt that there was more to it. She felt confident that Tony and Maya were well suited to one another. So what if John called her a matchmaker, she knew a diagnosis of true love when she saw it. She was more than happy to lend a guiding hand to someone else's personal life, perhaps because she herself was so happy with John.

That night while Maya was with Tony she noticed that his photograph album had a rip in the back cover. Upon questioning he confessed that he had no idea how it had happened, couldn't remember. Maya began thinking that perhaps a new cover could be made for it. Hesitantly she asked Tony if she could borrow the album for a few days. She would ask Helena about it at lunch tomorrow.

Tony gave her a curious look.

"I'd like to look at it some more, if you wouldn't mind."

"No, not at all. Something you are looking for in particular?"

"No. I just wanted to study some of the pictures."

"Well OK, just promise not to laugh too hard at some of them."

She smiled and promised.

The next day she again met Helena for lunch and asked her about the idea. Helena thought it wonderful; she had done similar covers before so it wouldn't be a problem. They then met immediately after their duty shifts and Helena pulled out what she called a sewing box. Inside it were threads, needles, and materials. She did some quick measuring and found something suitable in a black material. She then had some remaining gold fabric with a black leaf pattern through it.

"We'll use this for trim." She told Maya. "Black's perfect, we don't want it to look too fancy or too pretty for Tony will complain." Both giggled at that thought.

It didn't take Helena long to get the project started and she showed Maya how to complete the stitching. Fortunately Tony didn't ask for the album back at dinner that evening as he and Maya had begun covering another part of her Christmas lessons. Tony had pulled out his Bible and showed her the relevant passages that he had marked for her. She sat quietly reading while he worked on some paperwork at his desk. He happened to glance over at her once and saw that she was deep in concentration. He smiled as he turned his attention back to his own work. He had to admit that he enjoyed their evenings together. In fact he had come to look forward to it and it was now an almost nightly occurrence.

After a while she put the book down and went over to him. She leaned over him, pressing her hands on his shoulders. "What are you doing?" she asked him softly.

"Just putting together some duty rosters for the security division. Are you finished reading?" he asked as he turned to look at her.


"And your opinion?"

"Wonderful," she told him. "Are there any videos that retell the story?" she asked.

Tony nodded. "Yes. Want to watch them?"

"Not tonight. It's getting late," she said.

He laughed. "I didn't mean tonight Maya." Tony got up from his desk. "Want me to walk you back to your quarters?"

"No, you don't have to. I'll see you in the morning for breakfast?" she offered.

He nodded. "It's a deal."

She smiled, then left.

John Koenig was looking at the items on Helena's desk as he waited for her to come out. She was obviously in the middle of a sculpting project and was working on something with black material. He hadn't noticed them last evening but then again his attention had been turned elsewhere and he smiled. She came out of the bathroom ready to go for breakfast.

"What are you working on?" he asked her.

"Oh, this is for Maya," she said indicating with her hand the sculpture, "and this is for Tony." She indicated the material. John still had a puzzled look on his face so she further explained how each one had come to her for advice on a Christmas present for the other. John laughed at this and shook his head. "Friendly coworkers indeed. Just how long do they intend on keeping up that charade?"

"Probably until they figure it out for themselves," she said with a chuckle. "Come on, I'm starved," she said grabbing his arm and they both went to breakfast.

For the next two days Maya met Helena for lunch in her quarters, leaving Tony wondering what they were up to. Bill and Alan teased him that he had lost his lunch date and Tony responded back that it was not a "date" in the first place. They simply both had lunch at the same time so why not do it together? Both Alan and Bill looked at one another and nodded with a knowing look, even Sandra had laughed. This earned her a glaring little look from Tony, which she returned right back to him.

By Thursday after duty Maya and Helena had finished the project. The new cover fit Tony's album nicely. The trim with the gold fabric made it look nice but Helena still wasn't satisfied. She held it up and looked at and then frowned, her face revealing that she was thinking of something. "I know," she said. She quickly looked at the remaining fabric and smiled. "Monogram," she said.

Maya gave her a puzzled look and Helena explained. "We'll cut out the letters for his name and place them here, on the front. Like monogrammed towels, personalized." She indicated where they should go and Maya nodded in agreement. "His own personalized photo album. We'll cut an A from this one, a D from this piece, and we'll get a V from this." The doctor smiled with pleasure as she indicated where she would place the letters.

"A and D?" Maya questioned.

Helena nodded. "Anthony Dean, unless of course you want to use Tony instead."

Maya pursed her lips together as she thought of this. "Which do you think?"

"Let's go formal: Anthony," Helena said.

Maya nodded. They quickly set to work and had that part finished in no time. Good thing too because Tony was buzzing Maya for dinner just as they finished. She told him to give her five more minutes and that she'd meet him.

"Now all we have to do is find some wrapping paper and it's all finished." Helena said.

Maya nodded. "Thank you so much Helena. Do you think he'll like it?"

"Of course. Anything that comes from you Tony's going to like."

The Psychon quipped, "It's just a little present."

On Friday everyone was chatting about the Christmas party. A committee had been chosen to judge the different departments' Christmas designs and to award ribbons for the best one. Everyone was busy putting the final touches on their artwork. Alan spent the whole day singing every Christmas carol that he knew, and even those that he didn't quite know. Today however no one picked on him and by lunch-time Tony and Bill had joined him in singing, leaving everyone in fits of laughter.

"This is scary and I might regret saying this, but you know guys, with a little practice, you could be good," John told them. This comment brought even more laughter from the group.

The day passed quickly but uneventfully and Koenig was praying heavily that it remained that way. Things had been quiet, maybe too quiet as far as deep space was concerned. At the end of his duty shift the area of space around them was still peaceful and an almost unified sigh of relief went round the room. Everyone else had obviously been thinking the same thing.

For Friday night they were doing a marathon of Christmas videos to run straight through until Saturday afternoon. Tony promised Maya that he would meet her shortly but that he had to take care of some business first. This left her puzzled but she agreed to wait in her quarters for him.

Tony went to Helena's to see how the little project was going. It was almost complete. Helena had fashioned a long stemmed rose and had painted it. She had it drying now. John had contributed a small glass case for it and Helena had some blue velvet-like material. Once dry the rose could be placed inside the container on the velvet. Tony was quite pleased with this and told Helena so.

"I owe you a million and one favors in return Helena," he said.

"You owe me nothing, silly. I'm glad to do it and besides it was easy to do. In fact I might work on another one with more buds on it later."

He left the Doctor and hurried to meet Maya. They quickly grabbed some food and went to watch the videos. By now Maya had studied all the materials that Tony had provided her with and she had a fairly good grasp of the whole concept of Christmas. They had gotten seats clear in the back of the room but it didn't matter. Alan, Sandra, Bill, and Annette were directly in front of them. Alan seemed to be having a marvelous time and when they showed the old black and white video clip of "Here Comes Suzy Snowflake" he applauded loudly and sang right along. The man loved his Christmas music. Sahn rolled her dark eyes and when it was done announced that he had hit his head or something during his last Eagle flight. Everyone was roaring with laughter and Carter didn't care.

Next was the Rudolph the Reindeer animated cartoon, enhanced by the joyful singing of Alan, Tony, and Bill, followed by some muscle man trying to find a Christmas toy the day before Christmas. Sahn had forewarned Maya that this muscle man was quite pleasing to the eye, which left Alan a bit miffed. Maya quickly agreed that this Arnold guy was impressive, to say the least. This led Tony and Alan to make smart quips the entire way through the video. Maya didn't think she had ever laughed so hard in her whole life.

By the time that video was over and the next one started Maya's eyes were tired and she had leaned against Tony, nearly falling asleep. He was tired too and quietly whispered that they should go. She nodded and they quietly got up and left.

The hallways were fairly quiet, most people either being on duty, asleep, or enjoying the videos. Maya protested that she was even too tired to walk the whole way back to her quarters, not that there was that much farther to go, and Tony just couldn't resist pulling her into his.

"And just why are you tired?" he asked her.

"Because I laughed so hard," she said. "My sides hurt, you and Alan are so silly."

Tony bravely suggested to her that she could have his bed but that he wanted his pillow for the couch. Tired but still capable of a teasing mood the Psychon grabbed hold of the pillow and said no to him. He went to pull it from her, she tugged just as hard and they both ended up falling down on the bed.

She broke out into a fit of laugher and so did he.

Shyly she suggested that they could share and Tony thought that over for a second or too. "It works for me," was his response. Too tired to care about removing his clothes for pajamas he simply turned the interior lights off and snuggled against her on the bed. This brought more giggles from Maya and even Tony laughed. "You're way too tired. Go to sleep," he ordered.

She fell asleep almost immediately, curled up next to him and Tony had to smile. He never would have guessed that the two of them would be sharing the same bed. He hadn't had a girl in his bed for so long that he couldn't even remember what it felt like. Surprisingly though it didn't feel strange to him. Instead it felt like it should always be this way, comfortable. He pulled the cover up over them and wrapped one arm around her. Tiredly his last thoughts before drifting off to sleep were that one could never argue against comfortable.

After the next video was over Alan, Sahn, Bill, and Annette left in hysterical fits of laughter. They were having so much fun, something that happened rarely on Alpha. They passed several pilots and their dates in the hallways, they too enjoying the festive atmosphere.

"Wonder why Tony and Maya left early?" Bill said teasingly.

"Bill," Annette said. "I know a husband that's going to spend the night on the couch."

Alan laughed. "If you have to wonder Bill, there's no hope for you."

"You boys are incorrigible, you know that?" Sahn teased.

"Yeah, you tell me that you girls didn't think the same thoughts."

"We might have thought them but we don't go around spouting them," Sandra said.

Annette and Bill said their goodnights and proceeded down the corridor to their quarters, leaving the Australian with Sandra. "And just where do you plan on spending the night?" Alan asked her.

"I don't know. I might have to weigh the offers and chose the best one."

Alan smiled. "I know where there's a good one." Sandra simply smiled. They ended up spending the night together, cuddled on his bed. He was still humming as he fell asleep and Sandra quietly giggled.

Tony awoke first finding it to be well after lunchtime. At first he thought he had been dreaming until he felt Maya move against him slightly. Sometime in the night she had rolled over and was now lying face to face with him. Very interesting, he had this gorgeous girl in bed with him and nothing had happened. He lay there for a while as his thoughts drifted in his mind and he found himself gently running his hand down her cheek. She slowly woke up, blinking her eyes in confusion at first until she realized where she was. Then she smiled as she whispered good morning.

"Morning yourself, sleepy-head. Except it isn't morning, it's afternoon."

"Afternoon? What time?"

He told her and she confessed that she never slept in this late. Tony got up from the bed and got coffee for them, bringing it back to the bed for her. She sat up and accepted the cup from him.

"Is this breakfast in bed?" she teased as he carefully sat back down on the bed beside her.

"Well I could offer you beer but I'd rather have your company for the party tonight."

She nodded in agreement to that. Tony said that if she wanted he'd go get them something from the eatery. She thought that a good idea and he left her alone. She glanced around the room as she sipped her drink. His brewing apparatus was bubbling away and she quickly suppressed a giggle. She had spent the night in his bed and in the same room with that contraption. What were things coming to? Additionally it seemed odd to her that she had slept soundly last night, something she hadn't done very often since coming to Alpha. In fact she had had no nightmares or disturbing visions at all but rather some very pleasant dreams. She was sure that she was blushing as Tony returned with their food and they shared breakfast.

She had remained quiet while eating and Tony asked her if anything was wrong.

"No, I'm just thinking about all of this holiday related stuff. Wouldn't it be hard on people who had no family or friends?"

"I suppose so, I never thought of it. To be honest I had always had tons of family, no matter where I was. I don't think I ever spent a Christmas without some member of the Verdeschi family being present, well except for one, the last one I spent on Earth."

"Just one?" she asked.

He nodded. "Yes. In between my duty rotations on Alpha I got an apartment in Washington DC with my cousin Lisa. She was a flight attendant with one of the major airlines and she wanted a place of her own. Neither of us could afford a really nice place on a single income so we split the rent. With our schedules we would hardly ever see each other and since we were both dating people from that area at the time, it was very convenient. Anyhow that Christmas I ended up spending at the beach in South Carolina. Only Christmas that I never spent with family."

"Can I take it from your tone that it wasn't a good holiday?" Maya asked inquisitively.

Tony laughed. "That would actually be an understatement. Young and foolish, as they say."

Maya just smiled. She hadn't intended on asking him anything of his past romantic adventures and it obviously wasn't anything that he was still grieving over.

"Are you finding it hard to deal with? I mean having no family around?" he suddenly asked her.

She shrugged. "It's not a holiday that we celebrated and I suppose that I shouldn't feel homesick, but I am, a little." She said this quietly and Tony smiled sympathetically at her.

"I can understand that Maya. We all went through the same roller coaster of emotions as you when the moon broke away. The only advantage we had that you don't is that there are more of us. It's all right to feel that way, really. Believe me, there isn't a person on Alpha who doesn't still feel that way sometimes."

She looked up at him and tried to smile. "I miss things Tony."

He moved closer to her and gave her a hug. "I know you do. I tell you what, you're learning about our culture, why don't you teach me some of yours?"

Her blue eyes brightened a bit. "Seriously?"

"Yes, I realize that it's hard on a person to have nothing to relate to as far as their background culture is concerned. I'd like to know more of what your world was like, if you want to share it with me." He said it honestly and Maya felt a little bit better, Tony seemed to do that to her.

She nodded in agreement. "Perhaps when we're done with the Christmas celebration I'll introduce you to my world," she offered.

"I'd like that very much."

It had been decided that the Christmas Party should be a formal event. The Alphans didn't often get the chance to dress up in their finest and now seemed like an appropriate time. Alan and Sandra were dressed and ready to go, waiting in his room for Bill and Annette. Alan had on a nice fitting pair of dark gray slacks with a pinstriped dress shirt and tie. He had even used some of his favorite cologne. Sandra looked just as nice in a stunning but skimpy black evening dress. It was strapless and had a rather high slit up the side. She had a skinny pair of high heels on and had fluffed up her hair and pulled out her best jewelry. Alan thought that she looked adorable.

Soon Bill and Annette arrived, Bill in nice pair of black slacks and a maroon shirt and tie. Annette had seen to it that he attempted to make his wild mane of hair behave, although Bill said it felt unnatural. Annette had on a very nice green tea-length dress and had pulled her hair up into a French chignon. They left to go to Maya's quarters where they were meeting the Psychon and the Security Chief.

Tony had arrived at Maya's quarters and smiled with delight when he saw her. She had on that lovely dress from Psychon, which he thought, looked extremely good on her. She had pulled her hair up into a loose curly ponytail but had left small tendrils from the sides hanging down. He just left his glance go up and down and smiled. She looked good and he told her so. She thanked him for the compliment and returned it back to him, dressed in a pair of dark gray slacks and a white dress shirt and black tie he looked quite handsome.

The buzzer sounded and Tony admitted the crew in while Maya slipped her shoes on. They walked slowly to the recreation room, encountering many people along the way. Everyone was in a good mood, laughter filled the air and Christmas greetings were exchanged. When they got close to the recreation room they found the corridor filled with people. They met Helena and John at the entranceway. The Commander had on black slacks and a gray shirt with dark black pinstripes on it and a black tie. His eyes were sparkling with a merriment that was rarely seen anymore. Helena looked stunning in her dark blue gown. John had given up even trying to get inside and they mingled with personnel in the corridor instead. Helena was holding a glass of something and when Maya asked she confessed she was indulging in some of Tony's concoction. What was even scarier was the fact that the doctor admitted to Maya that it wasn't too bad. The tables were filled with fruits and snacks and punches. A few of the fellows from hydrop onics had even managed to have a few pumpkins ripe and they had created what they termed mini pumpkin pie bites.

Bill had come back through and told them that they had to try the pumpkin snacks. Eventually Tony and Maya made their way into the room and Tony went to the snack tables while Maya conversed with some of the science department personnel.

After mingling for a while Tony invited Maya to dance with him. She accepted his invitation and he taking her hand, he pulled her out to the middle of the dance floor. It was a slow song and he drifted closer to her as they glided around. She smiled at him and whispered. "You know what rumors are going to go round tomorrow don't you?" Her tone was filled with that cute teasing quality that he adored.

"Do I look like I care?" he asked. "I'm with the most gorgeous girl here and she's all mine, all night." He said this with pride and made Maya giggle.

"What if I get tired of you before the night is over?" she asked.

"Not likely," he whispered in her ear.

Soon John and Helena had made their way to the dance floor and were dancing close as well. Helena enjoyed dancing with Koenig, although they rarely had the opportunity to do so. Song after song, dance after dance the couples went round.

After a few songs, Koenig asked for a dance from Maya so Tony paired up with Helena. Then Alan and Bill got into the act of trading partners as well and it seemed like the object became to dance one dance with everyone else in attendance.

The party was proving to be a huge success and towards the middle of the evening the winners of the decorating contest were announced. The Hydroponics division won with their entry of the depiction of the manger scene done on a huge paper mural hung on the glass windows outside the one room. The flight division came in second with their Eagle piloting Santa with reindeer, and the Command Center came in third.

"Well we can't win them all," John said with a smile.

"Next year Commander," Sandra said with positive enthusiasm as everyone applauded the winners.

More music began playing, this time switching things to some exhilarating techno-dance beats. It didn't take long for the younger Alphans, especially the women, to take to the floor and dance. Then after a few songs they played one called "All I want for Christmas is you" and Maya found herself being pulled into Tony's arms again. His dark eyes were sparkling and she found herself having a delightful time.

They sat the next dance out, preferring instead to sit at one of the tables with some of the security division personnel. David was filling everyone's glasses with beer from a pitcher and even Maya accepted a little bit. One of the fellows, Nick and his date Jo, were teasing Tony and Maya. Tonight though, neither Tony nor Maya took any offense at the ribbing. Tony let it slide by, at one point he even wrapped his arms around Maya and kissed her on the cheek. Clive Kander was going around and taking pictures and he managed to get one of Tony and Maya together.

While Tony and Maya were seated at the table, she looked around to see what else was happening. She noticed that Alan had Sahn in his arms and was grinning widely. Although Helena and John were sitting at the table he had an arm draped around the doctor's shoulder and was tapping the table with his hand in beat to the song. Bill and Annette were snuggled against one another on the dance floor. Ben Vincent came round wearing the Santa Claus hat and was ho, ho, ho-ing everyone.

They played I'll be Home for Christmas and Ed Spencer, Bob Mathias, and several of the nurses began singing aloud. Helena shook her head with amusement; it was hard to imagine her normally reserved staff being this silly. Ben came round to the table and said, "Come on Doc. you have to dance with all the doctors."

Helena giggled as she was pulled out to the dance floor. Maya and Tony were laughing in amusement, and then Annette and Sahn came over, begging Maya to come out on the dance floor. Her feet were beginning to hurt but she really wanted to dance. Sandra and Annette laughed. "Dump the shoes Maya," Annette told the Psychon in between drunken giggles.

She did so and soon joined her friends back on the dance floor. Dance after dance they kept going until it was well after midnight. Maya and Tony decided to leave the party and they said their good-byes as they made their way to the door. They went back to her quarters as Maya had had enough mingling for one evening and said that her feet were still hurting from her shoes anyhow. It gave them the perfect opportunity to be alone for a while.

She had snuggled up against him on the couch, the lights dimmed, and listening to soft music that he had put on. "Did you have fun?" he asked her.

She nodded. "My feet hurt, but I had fun. Did you?"

Tony laughed. "Anytime I get to dance with you is fun."

"I'm just glad things were quiet around here, for a change," she said seriously.

"Yeah, I wonder how we got so lucky. No alien attacks, no strange space anomalies."

"The power of Christmas prayers?" she asked.

"Could be. Maybe we've all been good little Alphans."

This made the Psychon giggle. The music had changed to a soft romantic melody and Tony found himself pulling her close to him. In the last several weeks things between them had progressed from quiet conversations to something more and Tony found himself wanting more of the more. Interestingly, Maya seemed to want the same thing because she responded to his movements by shyly touching his lips with her fingers. Then she kissed him, not just a gentle kiss, but one filled with passion. For a long time they kissed until Tony finally pulled away from her.

"It's late," he said to her.

"So?" she whispered back.

He smiled gently to her and took her hand in his. "Before we let ourselves get carried away I'm going to go. We've both had a fair amount to drink and it wouldn't be fair to you for me to act on my feelings. Not yet." He tried to explain to her without upsetting her.

She seemed disappointed at first but then shrugged. "I suppose you're right."

"Goodnight Maya." he told her.

"Night," she replied back.

He returned back to his quarters and got ready for bed. Oddly he found that he couldn't sleep and when he did it wasn't a peaceful slumber. Thoughts of Christmas and Maya floated through his dreams mixed in with visions of the future that he had once imagined for himself a very long time ago in a much different part of the universe.

The day was quiet as most of the Alphans were recuperating from the party or on duty. Maya had gone to visit Helena who surprised her with the finished photograph album cover that she had wrapped with a bright paper. She even produced a bright red bow for on top. Maya giggled as she wondered what Tony would think of it. What she didn't know was that Helena had the pink rose just inches away from where they were sitting, safely hidden in a box.

The girls spent most of the afternoon sitting and chatting, too drained from the partying the night before for much else. Helena told Maya about her Christmas experiences as a child and Maya was entranced with the stories of snow and homemade cookies, school plays and church services. It sounded like an idyllic childhood, right out of a piece of fiction. Helena described midnight church services filled with candles and beautiful Christmas carols.

"We once had a harp player, most beautiful church service I ever attended. She played magnificently and with the candles, it was almost magical. You almost believed that there could be peace between everyone," Helena stated.

Maya sipped her coffee as she listened. Helena had grown up in what she called the middle United States and they almost always had a white Christmas. She spoke of cold winter evenings where everyone sat in the living room with hot cocoa and popcorn and homemade cookies. Maya could tell that her friend was just as homesick for the things of her past as she was for hers. Their peoples were different yet they had so much in common, bound together by the common thread called life on Alpha.

Maya took Tony's present, hidden in a bag that Helena had, and returned to her quarters. She wanted to nap for awhile before a late dinner so that she would be wide-awake for the service tonight. Not to mention the fact that she had a slight headache. She met Tony in the corridor

"I was looking for you," he said with a pleased smile.

"And now you've found me. I was down at Helena's."

"Doing anything?" he asked, looking at the bag inquisitively.

"Not really, just going back to my quarters." Thank goodness he couldn't see what was in it she thought to herself.

She motioned for him to come with her and they entered together, she took the bag and placed it in her closet. He noticed that her dress was placed out on the bed. She explained that she had found another tear in it and that it needed to be mended. She sat down on the bed, holding the dress in her hands and running her hand down the material.

"Santa needs to bring you a new one," Tony said.

"Don't I wish?" she said. "You should have seen my wardrobe on Psychon Tony. I had so many clothes that it was ridiculous. Now I would give anything just to have half of them," she said wishfully. He sat down beside her on the bed.

He smiled. "I think I can appreciate that. I had an awful lot of things in my apartment in DC. When I think of it all, the clothes, the expensive audio system, the sports car, well it makes you wonder. But you know, none of it means anything if you don't have friends, your health, and someone special to share your happiness with."

She nodded. "I know that Tony." She tried to hide a yawn from him but didn't succeed.

"Tired?" he asked.

"A little. I got up early this morning to finish up some work for the science department."

"Typical. You never leave your work very far behind do you?"

"No, I guess not."

"You need a nap, I don't want you falling asleep in church," he teased. "I'll go so you can rest," he said.

"No, don't," she said in a quiet tone. "You can stay, if you don't mind." Her eyes held an inviting if not somewhat shy look. She held out her hand to him and he sat back down. She had no idea why she had suddenly said that, it had just popped out of her mouth.

"I'll stay if I can have a pillow all to myself this time," he teased.

Maya laughed at him. "Greedy, aren't we?" In the end she gave him a pillow and they curled up on the bed together. Any opportunity to be with Maya was one he would partake of, anytime, anywhere. He couldn't argue with her today anyhow. He was nursing his own headache from the night before and the idea of a nap was the best thing he'd heard all day.

The entire gang from Command Center had met to go to dinner and they pulled tables together in the eatery so that they could sit together. When they were finished they all walked to the chapel together. There was already a crowd of people there so they took seats in the back. After a while the room was filled with the sounds of piano music, one of the technicians from hydroponics was an accomplished pianist and she played several Christmas hymns for them.

Then Mark Reardon came in. He was the son of a Lutheran pastor and was now serving as the base chaplain even though he was a scientist. He began the service with a small prayer and a welcome to everyone in attendance. He followed with a reading of the Christmas story from the Bible and then some of the girls from the Medical Center and the Science Department sang a selection of songs from a Christmas cantata. Mark had prepared a small sermon in which he reminded the Alphans that Christmas was a time of joy and happiness. He reminded them that they should be thankful for what they had and, that through continued prayer and faith, they might come to realize their greatest wish yet. They closed the service by standing, lighting candles, and singing Silent Night.

Through it all Maya was reminded of the memories that Helena and Tony and the rest of them had shared with her. No they hadn't celebrated Christmas on Psychon but the basic concept of religious faith was one that she could easily identify with. She felt Tony's hand reach for hers in the warm candlelight and she to him. He was smiling and she smiled back at him. There was something very comforting in standing there with him, holding hands. Alan was on the other side of Tony and now both were singing along. Incredibly they both sounded good together, each voice complimenting the other. Maya suddenly realized that she liked the sound of Tony's singing voice.

Once the service was over everyone began to filter out and mingle in the corridor wishing each other a Merry Christmas. As they began to walk the corridors Alan broke out into song, again. This time he picked the 12 Days of Christmas and soon Tony, Bill, Sahn, and Annette had joined in. The Commander and Helena were walking slightly behind them and Helena's laughter could be heard.

The Commander had invited everyone in the group to join him in the recreation room and there they found that there were now presents stacked near the tree. Alan laughed and said that Santa must have found them after all. Fraser commended the old man in having such a good intergalactic map and they all laughed as they sat down on the floor around the tree. John was nosing around, peeking at the packages. He found the group that he was looking for and knelt down.

"My, my I do believe that Santa left a few things here for us," he said.

"He did?" asked Helena. She too had known that there were a few things under the tree. She joined John and sat down on the floor beside him.

"Here's one with Alan's name on," she said. She handed the small package to him. "Here's one for Sandra, one for Bill, one for Annette. Good heavens, there's even one for Tony."

John was laughing as he handed one to Helena. "This one has Maya's name on," he said. Helena passed the package over to her. Maya quietly accepted the gift from Helena. Instead of opening their gifts Bill told Maya to open hers first.

She was puzzled at this, and as she began to open her package Sandra spoke up. "The clarity isn't quite as good as what we would have wanted but we think you'll like it anyhow."

The girl removed the box lid to find two picture frames inside. The smaller one was a photograph of the planet Psychon and the other one was a photograph of her father. She looked at the photos quietly, not able to say anything.

Alan said, "Most of us have something to remind us of home but we realized that you didn't have anything. We thought you should have."

Maya had lowered her head and Tony instinctively knew that she was fighting back tears, without even seeing her face. He quickly wrapped his arm around her shoulders and wasn't surprised when she pressed her face against his chest. He gave the rest of the group an apologetic look. Helena smiled; she too seemed to be blinking back tears. After a time Maya finally pulled away from Tony and she whispered quiet thanks to them. It was quite evident from the look in her eyes that she was touched by the gesture from her friends.

The others had received a group photograph that had been taken just a few weeks before Maya's arrival on Alpha. Bill proudly announced that he had been the photographer and that he would arrange to have another one including Maya done soon. Then John went round and gave each of the girls a hug and wished them a Merry Christmas. Then he said to the fellows, "You guys, I expect to stay out of trouble and no hugs." They all laughed at this and after a while they exited the recreation room to head back to their quarters.

Tony had told Maya that he needed to go to his quarters for a moment, leaving her bewildered. She went inside hers and got out the present for Tony. When he came back she had it laying on the couch for him and he looked kind of curiously at her. She simply shrugged. He sheepishly pulled his one hand from behind his back, revealing a package for her. They both sat down on the couch and she politely waited until Tony had finished opening his and he smiled a big smile.

"Now I know why you wanted the album," he told Maya. "Thank you very much."

"You're welcome."

She then opened hers up and took out the little card that was on top. This she opened up and read. "A rose forever in bloom, just for you, to add its beauty to the room, just like you do. Merry Christmas." Maya then pulled the glass case out of the box. "Oh my, it's beautiful," she whispered as she looked at Tony.

"You like?"

She nodded. Then she began searching around for a place to put things. She ended up sitting on the bed, on her knees, and she placed the picture of Psychon on the shelf in the wall above her bed. She left some room and then placed the picture of her father on the right. The pink rose she placed on the shelf right above that. Tony looked for a moment then said, "You left an awful lot of room between the two pictures. It doesn't look right."

"It will. I know what I want to go there," she told him.

He sat down on the bed beside her and asked, "What?"

"Your picture," she said as she pointed, "It will be directly under the rose. Memories from my past and wonderful treasures from the present."

Tony leaned over to give her a kiss and they both toppled on the bed. Leaning over her he laughed as he pushed her hair away from her face. "Well then if that's the case you need a picture of the two of us, together. Perhaps we can get Bill the camera man to do that."

She nodded then reached up to wrap her arms around his neck. "Thank you Tony."

"For what?"

"For everything that you've done." She pulled him down to kiss him on the lips and Tony smiled.

"A guy could get used to this Maya." he teased.

"Good, because I know I already am." She kissed him again and when they had parted Tony started laughing.

"What's so funny?"

"I feel like we're under the watchful eye of your father," he told her, indicating up to the picture. "I guess I'd better behave myself."

Maya reached up and turned the photo face down on the shelf. "What they don't know won't hurt them," she said with a very mischievous giggle.

Hours later, even though it was very early in the morning Maya couldn't sleep and she begged Tony to walk with her down to the recreation room for another look at the tree. All the lights were off except for the strands on the tree, the one illuminating the fireplace, and a few of the candles. The Christmas music was still on, turned down low and it gave the room a warm and homey feel. They stood just in the doorway for a while as Maya quietly looked in.

"You know we still haven't tried out that mistletoe yet," he said hopefully.

"No, we haven't," she responded.

"Now might be a good time."

"Yes," she agreed.

Tony drew her close to him and slowly kissed her. She responded back to him by wrapping one arm up and around his neck, her fingers warm against his skin. The other hand she had pressed against his chest and he took her hand in his. For some time they embraced quietly sharing the passion between them. When they parted Maya's blue eyes were lit up and bright, just like the tree lights.

They made their way to one of the couches and sat down. Tony had placed one arm around her shoulders and she had leaned up against him. For a time neither spoke, they simply enjoyed the music and the tree lights.

"You know Maya, someday I'm going to have a huge house, with a fireplace. And for Christmas the tree will be real and the house will be filled with the scent of pine, good food, laughter, and," he stopped before he added the additional fantasy about little ones running through the house.

Maya looked into his dark eyes for a few moments and placed her hand on his cheek, then continued for him in a very soft and tender voice. "And there will be lots of snow to play in and we'll have many presents under the tree for the children." Tony looked at her with amazement as he realized she had completely and almost accurately had finished describing his vision of future fantasies, including Maya herself. She simply gave him a knowing smile and then a gentle kiss. "Merry Christmas Tony," she whispered softly.

"Merry Christmas Maya," he responded back as he pulled her into his arms to kiss her again.

And so the tiny base on the little moon would continue its fateful journey through deep space towards further encounters with the unknown. But for a time anyhow, the inhabitants were surrounded with the peace and joy that accompany the holiday season. A season that is still known for, even all these light-years from home, love, friendship and the spirit of giving.

And as Alan Carter would sing:

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Copyright (c) 1998. Reprinted with permission.
Space:1999 is (c) 1976 by Carlton International Media.
All stories are the property of their respective authors.

Database last modified in 2018.

If this page does not display correctly, switch to the Plain Text layout