A Nearly Norman Christmas. In Prose. Being An Alien Story Of Christmas.

I’ve been hyping this for a little while. Don’t believe the hype. It does not live up to the hype. It’s better. Dang it! I did it again. If there are things about Norman Normalson’s world that you don’t understand, click here to acquaint yourself with Norman and the happenings on Epatrus. If you don’t get the Earth Christmas references, that’s on you and/or your parents. With only a small amount of ado, here is A Nearly Norman Christmas. In Prose. Being An Alien Story Of Christmas. I got a little case of the Dickens in me as I was preparing to post.

A Nearly Norman Christmas

In Prose. Being An Alien Story Of Christmas.

It was Norman Normalson’s first year on Epatrus. Norman was miserable on Epatrus. He was homesick and missed his friends. He was one of the few people who didn’t have a mustache or a tail. He was the sole human in his school. The only friends he made was a group of outcasts who get mocked and continuously bullied. To make things worse, Norman Normalson was about to miss Christmas. The calendar on Earth was creeping close to the month of Odysseus, which used to be the second half of December. All Norman wanted for Christmas was to go back home, to Earth.

There is no Christmas on Epatrus. They’ve never heard of Christmas, Hanukkah/Hanukah/Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, or Saturnalia. They don’t even have Life Day. Don’t pretend like your traditions are the only ones that are important. That’s ignorant and arrogant.

On Earth, the Normalsons celebrated Christmas, mostly because Victoria liked the smell of tree in the house. Ned wanted to keep the tradition alive and help Norman adapt to his new home and new life. Ned started planning the best Christmas ever. Unfortunately, Ned had recently started at his firm and had a lot to prove. There was skepticism among his Epatrusian coworkers that a human was capable of the job. He didn’t even have a tail. How good of an accountant could he be?

Not only did Ned not get time off for Christmas, but it also happened to coincide with tax season on Epatrus. He had to work overtime every day. Uhoria wanted to help her new husband and make a good impression on her new stepson. She volunteered to be Holiday Cheermeister and Chairperson Of Festivities. She had no idea what either meant.

Uhoria spent weeks learning all the Hanukkah traditions she could.

Following some early research, Uhoria asked Ned, “What’s the difference between Hanukkah and Chanukah?”

“A C and a K,” Ned replied.

“What does that have to do with Christmas?” she asked.

“Nothing,” said Ned. “Hanukkah is a different holiday that takes place around the same time as Christmas.”

“Hanukkah seems far superior,” said Uhoria. “It’s eight crazy nights of presents and lights. Christmas is only one day, and it’s far too commercial.”

“Technically Christmas is only one day,” said Ned, “but it’s somehow extended to two months.”

“Oh, that is better than eight nights,” said Uhoria. “Don’t you get tired of it by the end of two months?”

Uhoria spent the next week learning all the Christmas traditions she could. She learned about Santa and Rudolph. She learned about the Grinch, Mr. Potter, Ebenezer Scrooge, and Scrooge McDuck. She studied Krampus and the New Year Goblin. She learned about stockings and presents and coal and mistletoe and Charlie Brown. She learned about candy canes and Christmas trees and Christmas songs.

She learned about Trick Or Treat and the rabbit who hides colorful eggs and fireworks and lighting menorahs and stuffing stuffing up a dead turkey’s butt. She may have expanded her research beyond Christmas.

She learned all the lyrics to “Santa’s Roasting On An Open Fire,” “Have Yourself A Very Little Christmas,” “Jingle Smells,” “Rudolph The Red-Headed Corgi,” “Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo,” and so on. She may have learned so much so fast that things got scrambled in her brain.

Holidays and traditions are weird. Once they become tradition, regardless of how bizarre they are, they become normal and are accepted as such. People don’t often step back and say, “Wait. We cut down a tree and cover it in toys and weird stuff Mom likes so an old bearded guy in a red suit who gets around on a sleigh powered by flying reindeer who watches and judges everything we do all year, even though he’s the one who invites children to sit on his lap in exchange for gifts, will break into our homes to trade us presents for cookies? Well, there are presents. There’s an odd stalker vibe and breaking and entering, but there are presents. We wait in line, so our children can sit on a stranger’s lap in the mall, but there are presents. Yeah, I’m fine with that.” Sorry. Holidays are weird. Don’t you ever look at your holidays and traditions and say, “That’s weird!”?

Uhoria did. She could not get a grasp on Christmas. Her need for acceptance by her new stepson drove her to keep trying. She watched every Christmas special that was available to stream on the intergalactic interweb. It should be no surprise that they all came from Earth. Though, none came from Africa. Do they know it’s Christmas?

Isn’t that a horrible song? It sounds post-apocalyptic as if Africa only exists in some dystopian future like it’s the setting for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Now, I want to watch those movies. I think I’ve seen one of them. I bet PolleeAnnuh have them.

Band Aid? Seriously? You’re going to form a supergroup and call it Band Aid? Charity is about helping people, not bad puns. Actually, it may have been the perfect name. Everyone who contributed to that is now old and soggy, just like discarded Band-Aids.

Charity and awareness are good things, but could you try not to be insulting about it? “Hey, your continent’s a desolate wasteland. Here, have some money we made with this song about how horrible your home is.”

That song bothered Uhoria. It made her concerned about life on Earth. It also hurt her feelings that Norman wanted to go back there.

Norman wanted to go home more than anything. He wanted to go back to Earth so much that he tried to write Santa a letter. He remembered that Epatrus not only doesn’t have paper but has no mail service. Norman had never been so grateful for the intergalactic interweb.

Norman logged in to his FloBloLoSo account and found a page for Santa Claus. He eagerly typed a message.

“Santa,

My name is Norman Normalson. I am 8-years-old. I have been good all year and will continue for the rest of the year. I only want one thing for Christmas. I want to go home. Please.

My dad went crazy after my mom died and moved us to Epatrus so he could marry an alien woman with a mustache. I hate it here. I am the only one in my school without a tail or a mustache, except for my friend Algernon. If you came to get me, I would be good for the rest of my life and never ask for another thing for Christmas. Thank you.

Your friend,

Norman Normalson

P.S. How old are you? My dad said you were old when he was a kid.

A few hours later, Norman got a response.

“Dear Nerman,

Thank you for your message. I’m glad to see that you’ve been good all year. I’ll have to check my records to confirm that. Every letter I receive starts with “Dear Santa, I’ve been good all year.” I used to take kids at their word, but that created quite the quagmire. Every time I’m wrong, it makes more work for the New Year Goblin. He gets cranky with me when he has to retrieve presents from bad boys and girls. You don’t want to know what he does when he’s cranky. Just don’t make him cranky. You won’t like him when he’s cranky.

Your request is original. I’ll give you that. Unfortunately, I can’t possibly take you away from your father. Some people consider my present delivery technique to be contrary to certain laws. I don’t know how it can be breaking and entering when the chimneys are unlocked. I can’t add kidnapping to the list.

I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll send you a gift for next year. It’s far too late to get something to Epatrus by Christmas this year. How about a nice football? Or a stick-on mustache or tail?

Merry Christmas,

Santa

P.S. It is very impolite to ask a gentleman how old he is.”

Norman started entertaining thoughts that perhaps the bigger kids were right and there was no Santa. At the very least, this wasn’t the FloBloLoSo page for the real Santa. Was Nerman a typo? Or did Santa think his name was Nerman? Norman felt even worse about his situation, and it showed in his demeanor.

Uhoria noticed the change in Norman’s countenance. He was more sad than usual, which was hard to do. If Christmas specials taught Uhoria anything, it’s that there was no problem that couldn’t be solved with presents. I think Uhoria was forming a very pessimistic view of Christmas.

This is the worst Christmas story ever. Remember A Christmas Story? That was good. Presents saved the day.

Come on, Uhoria. Stop being a Scroogy Grinch. Come on, Norman. Stop being a Grinchy Scrooge. Come on, kids, let’s help Uhoria and Norman find some holiday spirit. Let’s sing them a special Christmas song. Here’s a song I wrote called “A Special Christmas Song.” I made it extra horrible just for Christmas. It’s a Christmas special. There has to be at least one song, and it has to be terrible.

“It’s Christmas
It’s the happiest time of the year
Because it’s Christmas
It’s only one time every year
Because it’s Christmas
Even on leap years
There’s only one Christmas
Which is kind of a ripoff
We should get two Christmases every four years
Because Christmas
is the Christmassiest time of the year
We can sing A Special Christmas Song
We can all sing along
Because it’s Christmas
The most Christmassiest time of the year
And Santa and Rudolph and stuff
Especially presents
The best part is the presents
Every day should be Christmas
So we get presents.”

Then there’s the Rap verse:

“My name is Christmas, and I’m here to say
That I should be here every day
I bring you love. I bring you gifts
I check off your Christmas list
You want a good time you want some fun
Call your boy Christmas ‘cause I’m the one
In summer I’m lost, in winter I’m found
Christmastime should be all year ‘round”

Yeah, that song is dreadful. It’s even worse than “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” What do you expect? It’s a Christmas song. Name two good Christmas songs. I’ll spot you Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” and John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” All right, there are some goods ones, but there are a lot of awful ones.

Rejuvenated by the special Christmas song you just sang, Uhoria was more determined than ever to give Norman a very special Christmas special. She couldn’t do it alone. No one should be alone on Christmas. She needed help.

“Ned!”

“Yes, Dear.”

“Why is there a song that says there are 12 days of Christmas?” asked Uhoria. “First, it was one day. Then, it was two months. Now, it’s 12 days.”

“That goes back to its pre-Christmas origins when it was called Saturnalia,” said Ned. “Saturnalia was a 12-day celebration of the Winter Solstice. The traditions live on in the current celebration of Christmas.”

“Never mind,” said Uhoria. “I’m still having a problem separating Christmas and Hanukkah.”

Ned was trying to help, but he was only making things more confusing. Santa Claus! He made Christmas special for most of a whole planet full of kids. Uhoria decided she would ask Santa for help. She wanted to send a letter to Santa but had no idea what a letter was. Instead, she posted a long message to his FloBloLoSo page.

“Dearest Santa Claus,

I have been a very good girl all year… most of the year. I’ve seen all your movies and many of your television specials. I really liked that movie you were in where you replaced the Santa who fell off the roof. It was humorous. (That part of her message wasn’t true.) My favorite has to be the one where you worked at Macy’s and helped a little girl by giving her your cane for Christmas.

I am writing you today not for myself but for my stepson, Norman. This year will be his first Christmas away from Earth. He has moved with his father, my new husband, Nedrick, to live with me on Epatrus. I am trying to make a special Epatrusian Christmas just for him. I believe that will help him acclimate to his new home and, on a selfish note, help me to earn his love and respect.

We don’t have Christmas on Epatrus. As such, I am ignorant of the customs associated with the holiday. My ignorance is a great impediment to the implementation of the Christmas traditions in my home. I have been studying Earth’s endless supply of Christmas specials and ditties. However, I feel my knowledge is still woefully deficient. My husband works long hours and has been unable to assist me.

My plea to you, Father Christmas, Saint Nicolas, Mr. Claus, is that you will bring Christmas to Epatrus. It would be ever so helpful in my cause and mean ever so much to Norman. You could light up our world like you light up yours.

Thank you ever so much,

Uhoria Jhakurus-Normalson”

Uhoria liked Santa. His beard was almost as impressive as her mustache. She eagerly anticipated his reply.

While we wait with Uhoria, I’ll tell you about FloBloLoSo. FloBloLoSo is the most popular social media site on the intergalactic interweb. It was designed by a former employee of the Shliplestein Corporation and is ironically one of the few higher technologies not owned by Gargamel Von Shliplestein. FloBloLo, as you may know, is a computer genius-o. He’s also a pirate.

FloBloLo is the nickname of Flower Blossom McLotus. He was a self-taught computer programmer turned hacker. He created FloBloLoSo, Flower Blossom McLotus Social, which he named after himself, with his robot, RDRR. Captain Mauve Oyster, captain of the pirates, saw how it played off people’s incessant need for attention and to share every detail of their lives with others.

RDRR and the Space Ship Stuff Stealer’s computer watched and gathered all the information they could. The pirates knew when people were going on cruises, where the cruises were going, and when people wouldn’t be home. FloBloLoSo made it too easy for the pirates to pick ships and homes to rob. Yeah, space pirates, space pirates in a Christmas story. Take that A Christmas Story.

Somehow, no one made the connection between what they were posting on FloBloLoSo and their stuff being stolen. I think sometimes people get too caught up in their own lives and forget there’s a universe out there. FloBloLoSo continued to grow and get more popular. Within a few megamonths, it was the biggest thing on the I.I.

Megamonths are months spent in space. Sometimes, they seem like forever. An extended voyage through space, away from friends and family and loved ones, can make regular days, weeks, months, and years seem like weeks, months, years, and decades.

FloBloLoSo became so popular that FloBloLo made more money from it than he did pirating. It made him rethink his life. Was there still time to escape the criminal path down which his life had led and live a legal life? Could someone who had been a pirate so long acclimate to life as a regular person? Could he do some good with his life and make up for all the wrong he had done?

FloBloLo… Oh. There’s Uhoria’s response.

Uhoria received a message alert on her FloBloLoSo home page. With bated breath, she opened her inbox. The message was from Santa. Uhoria eagerly clicked the link that read, “Re: A Normalson Christmas.” The message popped up.

“Dear Uhoria,

I’m happy to hear you enjoy my movies. The revenue from those helps me pay the elves who make the toys I give the children of the world. Without them, it would be virtually impossible for me to spread the joy of Christmas to every little girl and boy. Some people think the elves are my slaves, but that’s just a nasty rumor.

You seem like a good person. Stepchildren often have a hard time accepting their stepparents. You have added difficulty as I’m sure Nerman is holding you responsible for his relocation from his homeworld to another world. Moving isn’t ever easy on children, but a move across the universe to a new world will make the adjustment much more difficult. Give it time. I’m sure Nerman will grow to love and respect you.

It is with the most profound regret that I must inform you I will not be able to assist you this year. I know your stepson, Nerman, is a good boy. I remember him from his years on Earth. What we have here is a simple logistical issue.

Every year, it gets harder for me to traverse the globe in a single night. There are always more children being born. Even if my sleigh were equipped for space travel, the journey takes megamonths. I couldn’t make it to Epatrus in time for Christmas. Much less make it there and back. I cannot forsake the entire planet of Earth for one little boy on Epatrus. That doesn’t even take into consideration the time it would take away from my movie and television work or my mall appearances.

I extend to you and your family my sincerest apologies. I wish you a very merry Christmas and the best of luck in providing Nerman with a special holiday season.

Ho, Ho, Ho,

Santa

P.S. You have a really nice mustache.”

“Nerman?” Uhoria said to herself. It occurred to her that she had never seen Norman’s name in print. Could his name be Nerman? Nerman? Norman? Norman? Nerman? No, his name was Norman. Probably. This holiday thing was stressful. Uhoria was so frazzled that she even doubted her stepson’s name. “Ned.”

“Yes, Dear,” said Ned, from the other room.

“How is Norman’s name spelled?” She slurred her pronunciation of Norman in an attempt to hide her uncertainty.

“N-O-R-M-A-N, why?” said Ned.

“There’s a Y on the end?” asked Uhoria. Now, she was even more confused.

“No, I was asking why you want to know how to spell Norman,” said Ned.

“Oh, for presents,” said Uhoria. Ned came around the corner and gave her a confused look. “For the tags for the presents.”

“Of course,” said Ned. “I am so happy you’ve immersed yourself in our tradition. Norman’s going to love this Christmas. It’s going to be the best Christmas ever.”

Uhoria felt as if Ned just dropped a ton of pressure on her. What made her think she could do this? A month ago she didn’t even know what a Christmas was. Now, Ned was counting on her to make the best Christmas ever. She didn’t realize that humans say and expect that every year. She should simply tell Ned she can’t do this and let Norman hate her for life. She didn’t want Norman to hate her. She screamed internally. It was silent but loud.

Yeah, being a stepparent is hard. I should know. I’ve watched sitcoms.

Uhoria went back to watching sitcoms. She desperately searched for some wisdom in the special Christmas episode of… everything. On The Simpsons, Homer lost all his family’s money gambling on dog races, but he brought home a dog. What’s a dog? On Community, Abed saved Christmas by turning all his friends into Claymation. How could she turn Norman into Claymation?

Uhoria spent the majority of the next two days watching Christmas specials. I won’t go into further details because it would require far too much research. I’ve already done a ridiculous amount of research and rewriting for a Christmas special that appears solely in print on a blog.

Uhoria gave up when she stumbled onto something called A Christmas Prince. I have not seen it. I will not. I have not seen a trailer for it. I will not. The mere fact that I know it exists offends me. How can I possibly be so against something I haven’t even seen? Isn’t that prejudice? It is not prejudice. The title tells me more than I ever want to know about it. A woman meets a prince and falls in love just in time for Christmas. No, that’s not a spoiler. There are no spoilers for this movie. It doesn’t need a synopsis. That’s all clearly spelled out in the title.

Precisely 34 seconds in, Uhoria had had enough. She was done with A Christmas Prince, and she was done with Christmas specials. She was exhausted. She went to bed and slept for hours.

It wasn’t a restful sleep. Uhoria’s dreams were haunted by large men in red suits and flying reindeer. In one dream, a fat, bearded man invited her to sit on his lap. He promised her presents in exchange. He had terrible breath and something living in his beard. It was a goblin that said he was the New Year Goblin. He warned, “You better not be faking being good. If you are, I will come and take back all your presents. Muah ha ha ha ha.”

In another, she was in a modeling show. She was yanked off stage by a giant candy cane. Everyone in the audience pointed at her and started chanting, “You don’t understand Christmas because you’re a weird alien creature from a planet far away from Earth that doesn’t even have Christmas, so Norman will never love you or even like you and either will Nerman.” Yeah, it’s a long and awkward chant, but they did it anyway. That’s why it’s a bad dream.

Uhoria jumped up with her hearts racing and her tail shaking. According to Ned’s Earth calendar, there were only 12 Earth days until Christmas. That was only 9 Epatrus days. Never do the math on these conversions. These stories are about words and feelings and people, not numbers. Besides, the math is Epatrusian math, which is vastly different from Earth math if you do it wrong.

This Christmas was going to kill her. Uhoria had to find someone to help. Santa failed her. Mr. Hankey was literally a piece of poop. She wasn’t that desperate. She needed a Christmas miracle. She knew what to do. She knew the only other person who could help her make Christmas Christmassy. Her research turned up one other possible Christmas figure who could help her.

Uhoria’s next plan was to appeal to Jack Skellington for help. She searched FloBloLoSo but couldn’t find a page for him. She couldn’t find any contact information for him anywhere on the entire intergalactic interweb.

“Seriously? Who doesn’t have a FloBloLoSo page?”

Thwarted again, Uhoria sat down, took a deep breath and screamed. With that out of her system, she tried to refocus. She was trying too hard. She had to slow down and come up with a plan. The first thing she had to do was decorate. Of course. Why didn’t she think of that earlier? With so much to do and so much new information crammed into her brain, she forgot the only way to go about solving such a problem is to take it one step at a time.

Epatrus didn’t have Christmas decorations, so she had to make them. She went to Shlip-Mart and bought all the supplies she could find that she thought she could use to make Christmas decorations. After she picked up Ned from work, she enlisted him to help her put it all together.

Over the next week, Uhoria worked her tail off. Not literally, but it was sore. Ned helped as soon as he got home until he fell asleep in a pile of decorations. They strung together lights. They made socks into Christmas stockings. They used Uhoria’s since all of Ned’s and Norman’s were stolen during their voyage to Epatrus. They got a computerized robotic sculpture thing that almost resembled a tree. It sang and danced and gave out candy. At first, Norman was apprehensive, but, once he learned not to get close enough for it to bite him, he almost liked it.

Epatrus doesn’t have pine, spruce, fir, or ugly plastic bottle brush trees. Yes, I’m mocking your gross pink, white, and so on wiry, stored-in-a-box-for-11-months-at-a-time artificial tree. Fake tree equals fake Christmas. Of course, that’s not nearly as bad as cutting down, torturing, and humiliating a tree every December. How would you like it if someone decorated you with lights, fragile glass balls, and plastic figures of SpongeBob SquareButt, Wreck-It Ralph, and Spider-Man? You know trees provide the oxygen you breathe, right? Your planet would be uninhabitable without plants. Maybe Santa’s not that nice of a guy if he demands you sacrifice a tree to him every year to get him to bring you presents. Yeah, that is an odd rant. Thank you for noticing. The holidays are odd times.

With a little help from her Ned, Uhoria had all the decorating done by Christmas. She decided to throw Norman a special Christmas party. She wanted to invite all of Norman’s special friends, but she wasn’t sure he had any. She asked his tutor, Schlitzie, to invite all of her friends, which worked out because Schlitzie’s friends were the closest things Norman had to friends on Epatrus.

Uhoria bought everyone presents and got a piñata. Norman loved Star Wars, so Uhoria had a specially made Yoda piñata. Because if you love something, it only makes sense to hit it with a stick until candy comes out. That’s called sarcasm. Don’t go hitting your sister with a stick until candy comes out and say it’s because you love her. Candy will not come out of your sister unless she’s a piñata. If your sister is a piñata, your family is bizarre.

Unfortunately, for Uhoria, her only experience with Star Wars was The Star Wars Holiday Special and the equally unfortunate Christmas In The Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album. Yeah, sorry humanity, those both happened. No take backs. I’ve actually heard the latter, which was also Uhoria’s only exposure to Jon Bon Jovi. Yeah, that also happened. No take backs, Mr. John Bongiovi. We know who you are. It’s on Wikipedia.

We all make mistakes. I hope no one ever reads the first draft of The L Squad: Phase 2. It was not pretty. The first draft of this was even worse. It was pretty much just a rambling collection of references to Christmas I found on the interweb. I’m Eereeenían. What do I know about Christmas?

On the evening of the party, Uhoria had the kitchen computer replicate cookies and cocoa for Norman and friends. They both tasted off. The cocoa and cookies, not Norman and the Normals. Nobody tasted Norman or any of his friends. The tree tried but failed. They weren’t terrible, but they weren’t quite right. The cocoa tasted like mocha, and the cookies tasted like fudge, only they didn’t taste like fudge. It was more like brownies. Having no point of reference for cookies or hot chocolate, the computer did the best it could. Norman appreciated the effort.

Next, Uhoria hung the piñata. She passed out blinding goggles and gave Norman a whacking pole. The others used their tails as nature intended.

“Piñatas are for birthdays,” said Norman.

“Yeah, isn’t Christmas a birthday thing?” asked Uhoria. “The snowman on the cartoon kept saying, ‘Happy birthday!’”

“Oh, that’s Frosty The Snowman,” said Norman. “He’s not quite right. He has snow for brains.”

His puzzlement at the appearance of a piñata at a Christmas party didn’t stop Norman from enjoying it. He felt like a Jedi Knight when he whacked Yoda. It helped that Yoda was made of leaves and didn’t fight back. Strong with the force that one was not. He was perplexed by the gwatuchorazz cheese-flavored candy treats.

Yes, leaves. They don’t have paper on Epatrus. Everything is digital.

“Cheese-flavored candy?” Norman asked.

“Gwatuchorazz cheese,” said Uhoria. “It’s good.”

Norman popped one in his mouth and said, “It tastes like butt.”

“That’s cheese,” said Uhoria.

“Isn’t learning about each other’s cultures fun?” Ned asked.

“It tastes like butt,” Norman reiterated.

Schlitzie put on a Santa hat. Due to the unfortunate shape of her head, the hat completely engulfed it. Everyone thought that was hilarious, with the sole exception of Schlitzie.

“I fail to see the humor,” said Schlitzie.

“You can’t see anything with that hat over your eyes,” said Algernon.

Next, they went caroling. Uhoria made a song list, which featured such delights as, “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” “Up On The Rooftop/Housetop,” “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Santa Baby.” The capper was Uhoria’s adaptation of the James Brown classic “Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto,” which she altered to “Santa Claus Go Straight To Epatrus.” It consisted solely of changing “the ghetto” to “Epatrus,” and the lines “Tell him Hank Ballard/James Brown told me so,” to “Tell him Uhoria told me so.” It wasn’t nearly as funky.

She sent each of them lyrics and ran a pair of rehearsals before leaving the house. The first few performances were shaky, but the group improved as they got into the groove. Uhoria streamed the event live on her FloBloLoSo page.

Caroling is weird on Earth. How did the custom of interrupting people in the middle of dinner to have them stand on their porch in the cold while strangers sing bizarre songs to them get started? Even more perplexing is how is it sustained?

Keeping in mind how odd it is on Earth, imagine how Epatrusians reacted to it. They had never even heard of Christmas. It was weird when a group of people came flushing at dinner time. The appearance of the group was more disconcerting. Two of them were strange-looking aliens. Another was a cyborg. One had an oddly-shaped pinhead. Strangest of all, one of them didn’t have a mustache. No one noticed Ylna.

The songs were even more perplexing. Was Santa Claws a beast or alien of some sort? Did Santa Claws tear off that one kid’s arms and legs and the other’s mustache? Some took the repeated theme of Santa Claws is coming as a warning or threat. Would it eat those who cried or shouted or pouted? Many wondered what a chimney was and how to keep this beast from coming down it. A few asked Uhoria to sign her modeling pictures. Most called the police.

When the police finally apprehended the choir, Uhoria explained what they were doing and why. When they arrived at the psychiatric hospital, she explained again. While she was sitting alone in her padded cell, Uhoria posted about a gigabyte of selfies to her FloBloLoSo page. It wasn’t until someone recognized Uhoria’s mustache and Uhoria as the famous mustache supermodel that they were allowed to go home. He asked Uhoria out three times before they left. He refused to believe she was married to Ned.

Everyone was pretty tired when they finally got home. Uhoria decided to make spirits bright by handing out presents. She excitedly rushed toward the tree. She was so excited that she almost got too close to the tree. She stopped before it could bite her.

Uhoria took a step back. She stopped and gave the tree a mean look. Then, she took six to eight more steps back. Let’s say seven. When she paused again, she noticed something looked wrong. There were no presents. Where were the presents? Christmas was about presents. With everything that had gone wrong that night, Uhoria was counting on presents to save the day. That’s how this works. In every Christmas special ever, everything goes wrong and presents save the day.

RDRR was constantly scanning FloBloLoSo for ‘employment opportunities.’ That meant it was looking for people the pirates of the Space Ship Stuff Stealer could rob. It just so happened, perhaps in what was a Christmas miracle, that the Space Ship Stuff Stealer was on Epatrus. FloBloLo was doing some work for Gargamel Von Shliplestein, his former boss, who had completely forgotten FloBloLo had worked for him before and the details of his termination.

RDRR’s scan found Uhoria’s live stream of their caroling. Further research showed Uhoria’s fancy house and all the presents she had purchased for the party. It alerted Captain Mauve Oyster. Captain Mauve Oyster rounded up first mate Stinky Leg Steve, Yllop Karatpeet, Guy Pach, Swollen Tommy, HoYoYo, Bottluh Rumm, Walker Plank, Shivermee Timbberz, Aiy Maytee, Pirate McPirate, Traysure Buhtypants, Badd Punn, and the rest of the pirates. Some of those names lead me to believe they were born to be pirates. Did Pirate McPirate’s parents think he was going to grow up to be a lawyer?

Captain Mauve Oyster and his posse of pirates arrived at the Normalson-Jhakurus household while the carolers were sitting in their cells. They stole as many presents as they could without getting bit by the tree. They stole stockings and cookies. The pirates plundered pounds of plums. They looted the lights. They took all Ned’s wigs and tap shoes and Uhoria’s mustache creams and beauty supplies. The point I’m trying to convey is that the pirates stole a lot of stuff.

“Oh no,” said Uhoria. “It must have been the New Year Goblin.”

“The what?” asked Norman.

“The New Year Goblin,” said Uhoria. “The goblin who comes on New Year to take away all the Christmas presents from little girls and boys who were only pretending to be nice so that Santa would bring them presents.”

“Oh, that,” said Norman. “That’s not a thing.”

“It’s not?” asked Uhoria.

Norman watched horrified as a creature, the likes of which he had never seen, burst in through the front door. It was carrying a bag and smelled of stink. The creature reached into its sack and pulled out a steaming handful of poop. It threw the poopball at Norman. The poopball hit him in the face and splattered all over him.

“Happy New Year, Poop Face!”

It wasn’t even New Year on Epatrus.

WHAT?

Ned called the police. When they got there, he explained that someone broke into his house and stole all his family’s Christmas décor and presents. He described the creature that threw poop at Norman. Ned was immediately arrested. He was taken to the police station and charged with making a prank call to emergency responders, which is a severe crime on Earth and Epatrus, and being dumb enough to give his real address.

It took Ned’s lawyer, Pirate MacPirate, seven hours to convince the police that Ned was not crazy but human and had no malicious intent. That gave The Shliplestein Automatic Body Scrubber And Clothes Washer 4,901 ⅜ ample time to clean the poop off Norman’s face and clothes. Uhoria had her Shliplestein Clean Machine Cleaning Bot clean the rest of the splatter from the living room.

See? An A makes all the difference between being a lawyer and a pirate. Stay in school. Study hard.

Who said, “A lawyer’s just a fancy pirate?” You’re right. Most lawyers have both legs and eyes, though. Think about that.

Uhoria made the most of the time she spent waiting for Ned and Norman. She was so determined to make up for the six hours they spent in the psychiatric hospital that she braved the tree. She knew the tree had been eating presents. Uhoria fought her way to the back of the tree and turned it off. She reached into its mouth with her tail and dug out all the presents she could reach.

Meanwhile, Norman’s friends played L Squad. That was Ylna’s favorite game. They each picked a member of the L Squad to be and tried to solve the mystery of who broke into Norman’s house and stole all their stuff. They unanimously decided not to go after the poop-flinging creature. They had no clues and made no progress, but they did have a lot of fun.

Ned got home just as Norman was getting out of his 12th shower. On his first shower of Christmas, Norman washed off loooooots of poooooooooop. On his second shower of Christmas, Norman washed off eeeeeeven more pooooooooop. On his third shower of Christmas…

Uhoria cheerfully passed out the presents. “Here’s one for Norman.”

“Did your stepmom just call you Nerman?” asked Cy.

“I’m not sure,” said Norman.

They all gathered around the tree, but not too closely, to open their presents. The packaging was pretty mangled and battered, but the gifts inside were only slightly abused. Most weren’t even broken.

Ylna got an L Squad game. Schlitzie got a digital encyclopedia. Cy got a Blobby Blobberson action figure. Tasha got a Catsby Connage dress-up doll. Uhoria didn’t know Tasha was a boy. Algernon got a stick-on mustache, which was offensive. They all got a few other toys and treats, but those were the big ones.

Norman got a dreidel, a menorah, and some chocolate gelt. Yes, Uhoria got Christmas confused with Hanukkah, again. He also got other gifts that weren’t Hanukkah-themed. It didn’t matter to Norman and his friends. They all lit the menorah and played dreidel. They used their gelt for prizes. The tree serenaded them with an endless stream of Christmas songs and both Hanukkah songs it pulled from the intergalactic interweb, while they celebrated.

Norman and Uhoria learned a valuable lesson that year. Christmas is totally not worth it. That wasn’t it. Ultimately, Christmas isn’t about trees, decorations, songs, sappy specials, menorahs, religious interpretations, ham, yule logs, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, mistletoe, lights, log fire videos, Santa Claus, spam, gender-neutral snowpersons who oddly resemble Menacusians from their carrot noses to their stick arms to their beady little eyes, cartwheels, flying reindeer, socks, underwear, ugly sweaters, getting mad at people for not celebrating exactly how you think they should, family, or even presents.

Christmas is a celebration. The only meaning Christmas or Life Day or life, for that matter, can have is happiness. The meanings of things like Christmas or Life Day or life or whatever you choose to celebrate can only have the meaning to which we each, as individuals, assign to them. Let their meanings be whatever makes you happy, whatever you choose to celebrate. No one, or Christmas special, can tell anyone else what or how to celebrate.

So, as Charles Dickens observed in his classic story A Christmas Carol, “Humbug!”

Indeed, Humbug, everyone.

L Squad Profile: George

Xjaojgoajofierjtiohauyhis;jafkadjiotuehtrio;jakojfksjuitheiht;sjkajnjniutn;afjksadnfjni;efniouenonioeojojavkjadningtiojek ljnadjfier naoitjesljntionotja mnt oatjajkljiojfajklfmkadsmfknk hails from Sagsreed. Most known beings in the universe don’t have the proper vocal chords or tongue and jaw dexterity to pronounce his name, so we’ll use his nickname here, which is George.

George is a Sagrian, or Sag for short. He is a multitude of iridescent colors. He has four arms but only two eyes and two legs. Sagrian’s have two extendable and retractable antennae atop their heads. Each of the antennae holds an eye. The antennae can spin all the way around. Of course, George can only do this for a short period before he gets dizzy and vomits. George’s antennae also act as ears. No, he doesn’t see sounds, that might be kind of cool, though. He hears through the antennae, quite well, in fact. He has a prehensile tail and small brownish lumps all the way down his back and tail. The lumps look like they may have once been spikes for his less civilized ancestors, but evolution decided they were no longer necessary. The physical feature of which George is most proud is his thick luxurious mustache. It’s black and full. It has the power to hypnotize the weak-willed. It is the most interesting mustache in the universe. Its name is Herman. Herman is sentient but only talks to George in private. Maybe George is just crazy.

George could fly his first hoverwagon, which is the equivalent of a bicycle on Earth, before he could walk. No being in the known universe, without wings, ever seemed more destined to fly. From the time he was born, any time he was on the ground he would look up, preferably at the sky and/or the stars. Even if he were inside, he would stare at the ceiling. His parents worried that there was something wrong with him. As a child, while other children his age were playing sports or computer games, the closest thing to a game that interested George was a flight simulator.

George got his fliers’ license as soon as he was of age. He was ticketed often. It wasn’t just the flying he liked, it was also the speed. As a young Sag, he got a job as a cruise ship pilot. He loved that he got to fly and be in space for weeks at a time. He didn’t love that he could only fly at 25 zurxocs per snarp. He wanted to go fast and, as anyone who is limited to 25 zurxocs per snarp can tell you, that’s not very fast. Seriously, flying a spaceship in space at 25 zurxocs per snarp is like driving a Porsche in the fast lane on an empty freeway and driving the speed limit, which doesn’t even involve zurxocs or snarps. He didn’t have his job very long before the complaints about him flying too fast started to pile up.

After he lost his third job as a cruise ship pilot, no cruise company on Sagsreed would hire him. He was born millennia too late to be a terrestrial pilot. The advent of teleportation made terrestrial aircraft, and therefore people to pilot them, obsolete. Sagsreed is a civilized planet with no need for a military so becoming a fighter pilot was not an option. He coveted the prestigious job of cargo ship pilot, which would allow him to zip around the universe making deliveries and pickups, but that job was way too important to hand to a Sag who couldn’t even handle a simple cruise ship pilot job. Things were looking grim for George.

Jobless and dejected, Herman convinced George that they had to leave Sagsreed. A friend, named… never mind, told George about the planet Nasga. She told him it was a vacation world and they were always looking for cruise ship pilots. Demand was so high it was almost impossible to get fired. George was hesitant to leave his home world and cruise ship pilot was far from his dream job, but at least he could fly. He moved to Nasga where he became a cruise ship pilot, again.

The more mature George tried to take his job seriously this time. He did his best to keep his speed at or slightly below 35 zurxocs per snarp. He was more mature, not completely mature. While piloting various cruises, he took advantage of his opportunity to get to know some of Nasga’s distinguished citizens as well as important off-worlders who were vacationing on Nasga. He made some good impressions and promising connections, but it was a stroke of luck that made all the difference in George’s life, including ultimately saving it.

George was piloting a two-week luxury cruise around the Iisneent Solar System, home to Nasga and fourteen other planets, only two of which could support carbon-based life forms. It was a typical mundane cruise. Following his last cruise, The Intergalactic Planetary Cruise Company received complaints of speeds exceeding 50 zurxocs per snarp, though George really only barely touched 40, so George had to be extra careful to keep it under 30. George was lost in the banality of his life. He was combing Herman and drifting in and out of fantasies. He was growing bored again with being a cruise ship pilot. He thirsted for the excitement of the cargo ship pilot’s life, bouncing from planet to planet at high speeds, dodging space pirates and delivering much needed life-saving supplies to space stations at the far reaches of the universe just in time, receiving the appreciation of beautiful lady astronauts. He was lost in one of these reveries, one in which he was saving a space station full of female scientists from space pirates, when the ship’s computer sounded an alarm warning George of a U.F.O., an unidentified floating object.

George wasn’t as excited as one might think. This type of thing happened all the time. It was usually just an asteroid that had broken free from an asteroid belt and was now floating aimlessly, and harmlessly, through space. George was actually a little miffed that his fantasy was disturbed by something so dull. George ran a full scan of it. Protocol requires that he not just assume it to be another asteroid. George’s pulse jumped a little when he read the results of the scan. It was a pod of unknown origin and there were faint signs of life.

George veered off course, perhaps a little too roughly for the passengers’ tastes. The ship roared and shook like a lion with Parkinson’s disease. When he was within range of the pod, George slammed on the brakes, which sent any passenger still standing crashing to the floor. If passengers complained about 40 zurxocs per snarp, The Intergalactic Planetary Cruise Company would be receiving a record number of grievances about this maneuver, but George couldn’t worry about that. There was a life at stake and he was the only one who could save it. He steadied the pod with the ship’s tractor beam, locked onto the life force and teleported it to the ship. Once aboard the ship, the alien being was taken to sickbay immediately. George made an announcement apologizing to the passengers and crew and explained his actions. The lost, weary, barely alive space traveler survived and George was a hero.

Upon his arrival back on Nasga, at the end of the two-week cruise, George was somewhat of a semi-pseudo celebrity. To his elation, job offers came pouring in. The Intergalactic Planetary Cruise Company even looked past the few dislocated joints and broken hips incurred by some of the, especially elderly, passengers and offered George a promotion and a big raise.

He received a job offer from the Luxury Shuttling Company. There he would be shuttling rich clients, dignitaries, officials, famous beings, and that type from planet to planet. It would be a great opportunity to meet people and jet around from the galaxy, but he would still be restrained by rules, speed limits, and the whims of clients. It was an improvement, but still too close to being a cruise ship pilot.

George even got some illicit offers from smugglers and pirates. Those were the most tempting because there would be no speed limits and flying at high speed would usually be an asset. As a matter of fact, there would be no rules. His job would literally be to break the rules. He was tempted by these offers the most, but, as wild as he can be, George is not a criminal.

He got an offer from the Planetary Intergalactic Shipping & Cargo Trade Company. That was his dream job. He would be speeding from galaxy to galaxy, planet to planet, evading smugglers and pirates, bringing necessities to far off worlds, but another offer made him pause and consider other possibilities.

George received an offer from the Garnak Revolt And Spawn Luxury Hotel Conglomerate. No, it wasn’t a chauffeur job. They didn’t want him to pilot a supply ship. No, they did not want him to be a maid or even, the politically correct, room service technician. You’re not being serious. They wanted him to pilot the pod that they sponsored in the FastPod races. That would be yelpsnig! George could fly and go extremely fast. He could push 25 zurxocs per dlorfk. You can’t even image 25 zurxocs per dlorfk. It would be swift and serious. It would be exciting and dangerous. Given the inherent dangers, the pay would be colossal compared to his cruise pilot days and he would no longer be a semi-pseudo-celebrity. He would be a sincere semi-celebrity.

George took his time to deliberate between the job of his dreams and the job of which he hadn’t even dreamt. Something in him, probably the lingering immaturity, saw the opportunity to be a professional pod racer as the yelpsnigest thing ever. His biggest reservation was that he didn’t want to be a sell-out. He didn’t want the Garnak Revolt And Spawn Luxury Hotel Conglomerate’s logo, or that of co-sponsors Crispy Sugar Leaf Cakes, Flowerish Aromatic Butt Soap, and McFat ‘N’ Nasty Burgers, on his pod.

Ultimately, Herman, being the logical one and least likely to be insane, convinced George to work out a deal where he could do both. He would make his cargo runs and, when he came back, he would get a couple weeks layoff to pursue his FastPod career. Everyone was happy, except the people at Crispy Sugar Leaf Cakes. It turned out no amount of advertising could convince people to eat leaves, even leaves disguised as cakes. The Yamfennians, who are vegan, even refused to eat them. The only edible leaves on Nasga came from the nigk tree and kind of resemble dirty sweat socks filled with expired cream cheese, but, for some inexplicable reason, they’re also crunchy. That’s merely a fun fact and has nothing to do with the tale of George, whose tail is not something I would recommend eating, either. Sagsree flesh is poisonous to Earthlings.

Aside from a small case of homesickness, George was happier than he’d ever been. His hero semi-pseudo-celebrity status faded fairly quickly. His FastPod semi-celebrity status never really caught on. He wasn’t a real athlete like Gobsnort players, Skuuttleebot players, SquiSqwi runners, or accountants. He did, however, manage to win a few races. The biggest thing holding him back from real live solid semi-celebrity status was the fact that he crashed more often than he actually finished races. His record got so bad that the Flowerish Aromatic Butt Soap Company pulled their endorsement and removed their logo from his pod, which actually made George even happier. George didn’t care. He was having a great time. He got to fly quickly and recklessly and, if he actually finished, he usually won.

George was even enjoying his real job, which is something that can only happen on a fantasy alien world. He was visiting planets he had never heard of before. He got to fly as fast as he wanted. One good thing about space is that there’s a lot of space in which to fly freely. This provided George with scarce opportunities to crash, which is good because crashing in space is semi-certain death. If George died in space on a cargo run, he wouldn’t be in this story and have half a chance to achieve some sort of fictional semi-pseudo-celebrity status.

One time, he was even pursued by space pirates. He was a little disappointed that he evaded them so easily, but at least he was pursued by space pirates. That was something cool he could tell Theodore, if he ever meets someone named Theodore. You know how Theodores are always bragging about the things they have and the things they’ve done and stealing your girlfriend. I bet Theodore was never pursued by space pirates and outmaneuvered them like a puppy with a bone dodging his litter-mates. Take that Theodore! The best part was that he was getting paid well to do something he loved. The bad part was that this lifestyle George was enjoying so much was destined to be short-lived.

George was out on a cargo run when it happened. He was on his way back from Mubatuhackfadah, carrying some of that cheap synthetic narktopuloid, which just smelled off. The real stuff is much better. As he rapidly approached Nasga, George had no idea of the chaos he would encounter. Oh, space pirate. Is that a space pirate? No. It’s an asteroid. A space pirate disguised as an asteroid? No. An evil space asteroid from space? No. Just a regular space asteroid from space? Oh. Oh well, pretty soon George wouldn’t have to imagine danger there was real danger awaiting him at home.

When George reached the spaceport, there was no one there to dock him. That was weird. In fact, it had never happened before. George didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t very well get out and do it himself. There was supposed to be someone in the control room to guide him in. Then, they take a hold of him with a tractor beam while the clamps lock onto the ship and pull him in to dock. This time he was just hovering there, confused. He tried to radio for help but got no response. He thought maybe the docking technician had gone to the little Nasgan’s room, but there would still be someone to cover. They had to know he was there. No one could miss a huge cargo ship entering the atmosphere and gliding down into the docking bay. Not even…

In the middle of his pondering, the clamps forcefully wrapped around his ship and jerked him into the dock. This was clearly not proper protocol and George was determined to complain to a supervisor. When he emerged from his ship, he was surrounded and whisked off to the uranium mines. He didn’t even get to talk to the supervisor. Now, he was really mad.

George left the beautiful paradise planet of Nasga. He returned to the conquered slave world of LambaBad. All the Nasgans were now Lambads. All the other people were now slaves. LambaBad was ruled by a XaXet conqueror named The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom. George literally returned to a different world.

It seemed like forever that George was working in the mines. His days as a cargo pilot and a near semi-celebrity FastPod racer seemed like they were eons ago. His days were now all spent in the dark, dank, smelly uranium mines. At night, he was marched to a cell where he was fed outdated stale Crispy Sugar Leaf Cakes. He would occasionally see someone who showed an aptitude for science pulled out never to return. He didn’t know if they were being used for their brains or just removed because The Tyrannical Tyrannosaurus Gregory LambaDambaBottom saw their intelligence as a threat. He saw some beings get sick and dragged away. He knew they wouldn’t be coming back. He knew they wouldn’t have any use for pilots. Pilots always posed the threat of escape. Things looked hopeless.

Just when things were looking hopeless, rumors started to spread. George didn’t always believe the rumors, but down in the mines, they had to cling to anything that could bring them the slightest spark of hope. It was being passed around that 3T.G.L.D.B. was building a fleet of spaceships. Maybe he was leaving. Maybe he would need a pilot. George would do almost anything to get out of these mines and fly again, even be a pilot for an evil conqueror and dictator. This rumor was followed by a rumor that pollution was compounding faster than Nasga could handle and the planet was dying. The only way off this planet was as a conqueror, a slave, or a pilot.

Another rumor George heard was about the Yortians, those sickly eyeball people he saw dragged up to the surface. Workers in the mines were saying that once they got to the surface they overpowered the guards and escaped. They were now in hiding and freeing slaves all over Nasga. They all wanted to believe it and dreamed of giant eyeballs rescuing them in the night. Yeah, it sounds absurd when you look at it that way, but if you were trapped working in uranium mines all day, you would dream of being saved by anything, even a giant eyeball.

Rumors swirled about a group of refugees who escaped and formed a resistance. They were said to be traveling through the wilderness freeing slaves and fighting back. They were growing in numbers and strength by the day. Any day now, rumor had it, they would drive 3T.G.L.D.B., and all his Nasgans turned Lambads, right off the planet.

George and Herman spent the nights they were sequestered in their tiny cell talking over the rumors. George wanted to believe there was a way out of this mess. Herman thought the rumors were too good to be true. Most things that seem too good to be true usually are.

George gave up on the rumors when he heard that the rebellion was started by the Yortians, the eyeball people. The rumors insisted this rebel force, lead by the eyeballs, was planning on stealing one of the ships that were built to be part of 3T.G.L.D.B.’s invasion fleet. They were sneaking all the people, weapons, and technology they could aboard this ship and they were going to escape. As much as he wanted to believe it, George knew holding onto all these fantasies would drive him crazy. Herman told him he was crazy. George told Herman mustaches weren’t supposed to talk. Herman said maybe George shouldn’t talk to him then. Herman conceded that he was just cranky because he was tired and dirty and hadn’t been combed in a long time. George wished he had a comb.

When little Susan found the house Santa got for her, she believed. I mean, when Hitch, the alien George saved from the floating pod, showed up at George’s cell with a device to override the security code in his hand, George believed. Herman did too, but he didn’t say anything because Hitch was there. Hitch told him about the plan to escape and said he wasn’t leaving without the Sag who saved his life. It would also help if George could pilot the ship as he piloted those race pods, well, the times he didn’t crash.

George was a happy Sag again. The next thing he knew, he was up in space in a brand new state-of-the-art, full-fledged mothership. The engines were like nothing he’d ever seen, much less flown. He was flying at speeds that made his 25 zurxocs per dlorfk look like 25 zurxocs per yarf. There was even a ship full of Lambads chasing them, trying to recapture them. George was zooming and dashing in and out of wormholes. He was evading shots from the pursuing ship’s blasters and dodging their torpedoes. He yelled out, as if the Lambads could hear him, “Zoom, zoom, snilg!” It was awesome! Then he crashed.

George was flying, maybe a little too fast, through the Kuiper Belt, a ring, composed of asteroids and icy bodies, that is encased in the Milky Way Galaxy, when he collided with something or a variety of things. The ship was strong enough to take the hits, but it slowed them down enough for the Lambads to catch up. George had been evading them for months and now a few celestial ice chunks allowed them to draw near.

George continued to evade blasts and torpedoes as he sped through the solar system, named the Solar System. When he was slowed by another asteroid belt, the Lambads fired on them taking out their booster engines. The Lambads had no desire to destroy the escaped slaves or the more valuable mothership. They belonged to 3T.G.L.D.B. They were his chattel and ship and he wanted them back. He would need slaves on the next planet he conquered. They grabbed the escapees with their tractor beam and started to tow them.

Captain Grek, the leader of the rebellion on LambaBad and captain of the ship, ordered the ship’s lasers and a torpedo fired directly into the Lambads’ tractor beam. As soon as it hit, George jerked their ship in an attempt to break free. In the ensuing chaos, both ships tumbled through space until they crash-landed on Earth. George is a good enough pilot that, even though he was crashing, he was able to aim his crash to the one planet in the Solar System that could support carbon-based life forms. It helped that that was the nearest planet and its gravitational pull sucked them down.

Everyone survived the crashes, except the ships. The crashes, preceded by the brief battle, assured the motherships would never fly again. Still, they were resilient ships that kept every passenger secure. Other than the damage to the ships, everyone and everything came out of the crashes in pretty good condition.

Following the crash, the refugees were secured by the native dominant species of the planet. They were savage beings called humans. They weren’t nearly as friendly as the first beings they encountered, and assumed to be the dominant species, deer. These humans kept them in quarantine for a long time before they were finally set free.

The Lambads, obscured by the attention the refugees received, escaped from human interference and disappeared into the mountains of Peru.

Upon their release, Captain Grek immediately started the Refugee Alien Defenders. He knew there were already Lambads on the planet and more could follow at any time. He was determined to be ready. Without a ship capable of intergalactic space travel, this planet was destined to be their new home. They were going to defend it.

While testing for placement in R.A.D., George was the best pilot. He was also the worst pilot. Just like in his pod racing days, sometimes he would outperform all the other pilots and sometimes he would crash. That inconsistency landed him, no pun intended, on the L Squad. George didn’t mind. The L Squad not only had the most personality, but it was led by his friend Hitch.

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