Fun fact: My serial number for my Spartan 4 has my initials.
There was a period of silence as the helmeted soldier stared at Santa before coils of wrapping paper completely wrapped him up. "He won't harm you boss!" An elf shouted as he ran around with ribbon to tighten the wrapping paper. A hand broke through the paper, grabbed onto the wrapping around the figure's face and pulled, ripping the wrapping paper off his head before ripping it off the rest of his body.
"Not cool." The soldier said, "I'll say this once more. Where is a radio I can contact command with?"
Instead, the elves stood in front of Santa as Rudolph was still catching his breath from the fear of almost being skewered by the tow-hook of the Warthog was wearing off.
An elf charged and the figure moved at the last minute while sticking his leg out and tripping the elf. The elf rolled just before the soldier's fist slammed down where his head once was; cracking the concrete floor. This made the other elves mutter in fear and uncertainty at that sight. The soldier glanced around at the movement of the figures and shook his head from side to side. "Alright then, if you won't listen right now..."
In a flash of movement he had drawn a knife from underneath his left arm; run up to Rudolph and grabbed him by the neck, and placed the blade of the knife to Rudolph's neck. "Now. Stand down or else the deer here gets it." The soldier said, pressing the knife into Rudolph's neck hard enough to draw blood.
"RUDOLPH!" Zoey shouted and leaped down off the balcony and stood defiantly in front of the soldier.
"Get out of here! Leave me and get to safety!" Rudolph shouted as the elves dove into hiding places.
"Relax." Santa said, as he lifted his hands in a placating manner, "Just tell me why you're here. I know you're a soldier but why are you covered in armor?"
"My ship crash landed after a pulse disabled in en-route to a delivery. In fact, I was delivering this Warthog to a station to be replaced by a new version of it." The soldier said, "Have you been living under a rock? How don't you know of the Human-Covenant War....and why do you look like Santa Claus from the legends?"
"I am Santa." Santa replied, and the soldier pulled away the knife and re-sheathed it under his left arm.
"Sorry boy. Habit from battle." The soldier said, shrugging.
"Your habit is holding a knife to something's throat?" Rudolph asked, making the soldier tense in shock.
"Kid, you don't know the Human-Covenant War. We were outgunned, outnumbered, outmatched in technology....we were lucky to survive, let alone win." With that, the man knelt down and reached out, rubbing the spot between Rudolph's growing antlers, "The alien races making up the Covenant decided that humans were something to be wiped from existence. World after world fell to the Covenant....surfaces burned until they were but glass. Then, one of the alien races, the Sangheili were betrayed and allied with us. As if facing an alien armada wasn't bad enough, we uncovered a parasite...the Flood...half of Africa was burnt to prevent it's spread."
"So THAT'S what happened to Africa!" Santa exclaimed, "But what of the city in Arizona?"
"An ancient alien from a race known as the Forerunner, which the Covenant worshiped like gods, broke out from his imprisonment for his terrible crimes. One known as the Didact. Last year, he not only got lose but also grabbed a device known as the Composer and fired it at Earth, composing an entire city in Arizona. He turned innocent civilians into mindless machines created to serve him known as Prometheans." The soldier said as the elves were poking their heads out while listening to his story.
"Can I please get a phone or radio? The radio in my ship is fried and the one in the Warthog here was damaged to pick up short-range signals." He said.
"Do as the man says." Santa said, as the man pulled off his helmet and the frost-colored screen went dark. He had a round face with short, messy brown hair, brown eyes, stubble underneath his chin going up to his ears.
He was a human.
"A human in the North Pole." An elf whispered.
"We lost a lot of people in the war, we're trained to attack first and ask questions later." The man said, setting the helmet on the floor. "I am Spartan 95081-24908-AP of the UNSC Spartan 4 program."
"I'm Rudolph!" The red-nosed deer said as Zoey approached Rudolph's side.
"Careful Rudolph...he could have killed you." She said, stepping in front of Rudolph protectively while gazing at him with caring eyes.
"He apologized." Rudolph said, "And in his defense the elves kind of attacked him when he was asking for a radio to make a call."
An elf hesitantly carried over a phone and took it and pressed a few numbers. "Hello. Andrew here. Spartan 95081-24908-AP. Location longitude all, Latitude 90 degrees north. I have crash-landed after the Pelican was disabled, but I am fine." He listened to something before replying, "Yes. There is life. Defensive, but non combatant. The legends are true." He nodded and leaned from foot to foot, "It seems that he has no way of reaching other planets, he didn't even know about the War."
"Alright, Andrew out." He said, before ending the call and handing the phone back to the elf.
"The good news is that the damage was minimal at the station and they are still awaiting me. Okay news is that now they are curious about all of you. Bad news is that they don't know why you are stranded on this planet without being able to move between planets." He said as he sat down and placed his helmet back on his head, the frost-colored visor flaring to life.
"You mentioned you lost a lot of people in the war, how bad are we talking?" Zoey asked as she watched the soldier cautiously.
"Somewhere between 20 to 30 billion killed, which is somewhere between 80 to 85% of the total human population at the time with about 90 to 95% of the human colonized worlds being glassed." Andrew said and the Santa's mouth dropped open.
"80 to 85% of the total human population was killed?!" Santa exclaimed.
"Unfortunately" He replied, "I served near the end of the war, as an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper or ODST. I may not understand the language spoken by the trainees in this sector, but there was a promotional recruitment add sent across the colonies". With that he pulled out a device and looked at it, "Does anyone have a tablet or television unit of some kind?"
After being led to the older flat-screen television, he plugged the device in and fiddled with it until something played on the screen.
Santa was in shock at the sight of the battlefield and the strange creature. "What was that thing."
"We call it a Brute. One of the Covenant aliens." Andrew said, before staring at Rudolph with his visor-covered gaze. He then shook his head and turned and headed back to the Warthog before checking over the vehicle.
"Mr. Spartan?" Rudolph said, as he stepped towards him behind the soldier. Zoey cautiously moved behind Rudolph as he approached the armored figure.
"What is it kid?" He said, working on straightening the ammunition belt of the gun on the back of the Warthog.
"Next year I will be old enough to participate in the junior Reindeer Games. You obviously survived something that we could only dream of. I was wondering if you would train me." Rudolph said, lowering his head and avoiding eye contact.
"Oh?" Andrew asked, turning back to face him, "Why?"
"Everyone here, besides my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and Zoey laugh at me, mock me, tell me my dream of being a flyer will never come true. I want to prove them wrong." Rudolph said with a determined gleam in his eyes.
"One one condition. Humanity has figured out how to turn cloned brains into sentient artificial intelligence units. If things don't turn around here, if they get too bad here, you will leave home with me and we'll see about scientists taking your DNA and turning it human. Once you are human, join the Spartan 4 program. Leave this place behind." Andrew said and Zoey's eyes widened in shock.
She saw Rudolph wearing a white version of Andrew's armor with red details and red visor, walking away from her as she called out for him to come back. She ran after him to no avail, he just kept getting farther and farther away.
"NO!" Zoey shouted, making both of them stare at her which made her blush when she realized she shouted that out loud.
"It's a fair deal Zoey." Rudolph said, looking at her in confusion, "Why are you so against that?"
"I.....I'll lose you." She whispered.
"Isn't she Arrow's girlfriend?" An elf asked and Andrew clenched his fists.
"So you're being played kid. Don't trust her." He said, and Rudolph glanced away from her.
"I am Rudolph's friend." She said angrily.
"By the look in your eye, you're trying to be more than friends with him while having another boyfriend. We have words for girls who do that, but I won't repeat it here. Listen girl, you can't have both or else you will lose everything." Andrew said.
"And she is MY doe." A nasally voice said from the doorway, and he turned to see another deer-presumably Arrow-lowering his growing antlers at Rudolph, "Now let's go Zoey."
She looked uncertainly between Rudolph and Arrow. Rudolph sighed before walking to Andrew's side and gazing away from her.
"No." She said, and Arrow glared at her.
"What did you say?" He growled out.
"I said No. I am not a trophy to be shown off. I am a doe with my own feelings." Zoey said.
"You obviously don't make good choices, hanging out with this reject." Arrow said, sneering at Rudolph.
"You're no flyer Arrow! Flyers have courage, character, and true hearts! Like Rudolph!" She shouted.
"But he has a red nose." Arrow scoffed.
"You are so shallow!" Zoey yelled, "You talk about how great you are, how you're going to be the next flyer, but you are the exact opposite of what a flyer should be! I'm just something to show off to your friends! You mock my true best friend right in front of me!"
"And the fact you are even friends with Ruddy the Red-Nosed Reject?" Arrow said, raising an eyebrow at the fact.
"We're through Arrow....and it didn't end soon enough. Now I can date whomever I want!" She spat out, turning away from Arrow.
Arrow growled and charged at Zoey, but was caught by the antlers by Andrew.
"Whoa there brat. You don't attack a lady because you didn't get your way." He said, letting go of Arrow's antlers once the deer stopped charging.
Zoey had walked over to Rudolph and he looked at her with confusion.
"I thought you were leaving with your buckfriend?" He said.
"Now it's ex-buckfriend." Zoey said, "It seems I need a new one, and I want you to be my buckfriend."
"Me? But I have a red nose!" Rudolph exclaimed, adverting his gaze as his nose started glowing.
Zoey giggled slightly before leaning in and kissing him on the lips. His eyes widened as the glow intensified in brightness. After a few seconds, Zoey pulled away, "I've been wanting to do that for a while." She admitted.
"Gosh Zoey...if you want to be my doefriend than my answer is yes." Rudolph said shyly, looking away from her as she giggled in delight.
Two hours later; Blitzen, Mitzi, Cupid, Arrow, Comet, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Donner, Rudolph, Zoey, Mrs. Claus, and Santa Claus stood by the crashed Pelican drop-ship as Andrew looked over it and threw his DMR and "The Answer" SAW into the cockpit before stepping into the inside and hooking the Railgun back to the wall. The Warthog was parked besides it.
"Step inside. I'll have to raise the ramp to attach the Warthog, and some people in command would like to talk with Santa out of curiosity." As the group packed into the inside, Zoey and Rudolph made sure to stay on the other side of the ship than Arrow; Zoey leaning into Rudolph's side and occasionally kissing his cheek. Andrew climbed into the cockpit and pressed a button, which made the ramp raise and seal the inside shut. Now they only had a small window giving them some light and a view to the outside world. They heard the roar of an engine as Andrew brought the Warthog in front of the ramp and some hooks lowered from the tail and he attached them to the Warthog. Andrew climbed back in and pressed another button, which made the hooks raise up and bring the Warthog right underneath the tail.
"Takeoff in T minus Thirty seconds." Andrew spoke over a speaker to the inside as the engines revved up. There was a slight jarring motion as the vehicle lifted into the air and moved forwards. "Hold onto something. There will be a powerful kick as we break through atmosphere."
The ship gave a powerful lurch as it sped up and the back end pointed at the ground and the output of the engines increased, flames licking the body of the Pelican and Warthog. Dasher slipped and slid back-first into the raised ramp. He looked at everyone staring at him and gave a sheepish grin before walking back to the seats. Rudolph looked nervously at the weapons scattered on the wall of the vehicle and then looked at two posters on the wall separating the troop/cargo bay from the cockpit. One was of a shield-shaped object with a flaming skull in the middle of it and a banner on the bottom reading "ODST".
"That must be the symbol of the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers Andrew mentioned he served as." Zoey said after noticing what her buckfriend was staring at.
On the other poster had a white outline of a helmet with a large visor and an eagle with its wings raised standing on a globe with the letters "UNSC" on a shield on the eagles chest. Around the poster were the words "SPARTANS NEVER DIE" "FIGHT FOR EARTH AND HER COLONIES" "ENLIST IN THE SPARTAN 4 PROGRAM NOW" and "REPORT TO THE NEAREST UNSC OFFICE TODAY".
Rudolph gazed away from the posters to the window and there was a slight lurch before the flight became a lot smoother. "I don't believe it....we're in space!" He exclaimed, and the others turned their gazes to the window and there was the blue, green, brown, and white of the Earth below them and the utter blackness of space dotted with white stars. Strange long metal ships were patrolling around it with cylindrical stations dotted around it.
"As you can see, we prepared an Orbital Defense Grid in case of attack....not that it helped. Enemy ships still broke through a few times." Andrew's voice said over the speakers as the sky darkened and a gray metal floor became visible below them. A metal door rose up and blocked their view of space as people in green armor with round orange goggles carrying MA5D Assault Rifles. The hooks unlatched from the Warthog as it dropped to the floor and someone jumped into it and drove it elsewhere. A hissing noise sounded as the ramp lowered and the group from the North Pole gazed at the armored figures.
"Dude. It is Santa! The legends are true." One said, as another walked over to Comet.
"Dude, look at the marking that one has" He said, rubbing the mark on Comet's forehead.
Andrew jumped out and stored his weapons on his back and leg before joining the group. "Hey! What took you so long? And why was the old Warthog damaged?" A soldier asked.
"The pulse disabled the Pelican en-route and gravity pulled it down." Andrew said as the soldiers listened in, "The heat from atmospheric entry did most of the damage, having to drop it before crashing did the rest."
Satisfied with the explanation, the group of soldiers returned to their posts as Rudolph gazed upon the few most heavily armored figures. There was a group of men in black and gray armor with the letters "ODST" on a shoulder pad. Sitting on a crate was a figure in blue SHINOBI-Class Mjolnir Mark 7 armor with white details, who was inspecting a sniper rifle.
As they were led by Andrew deeper into the space station, Arrow gazed back at the Pelican and stared at a Railgun hanging on a weapon rack.
"So you are, Santa Claus. You had only become a legend since you never visited our other world colonies." A man in a gray uniform said.
"I can't leave atmosphere in my sleigh, and I don't know exactly which planets have colonies in them." Santa said, and the man sighed while leaning back.
"Sir, permission to speak?" Andrew said, stepping forward.
"Granted." The man said.
"What about the Strident-Class Heavy Frigate scheduled for dismantlement? We could modify it and give it to him in return for a few public appearances in UNSC events." Andrew said as the man leaned forward.
"The UNSC Blizzard." The uniformed man said as he pulled up a holographic image of the ship, "Scheduled to be decommissioned. You sure about this? Some UNSC personnel will have to train them and we'll need someone on that ship to prevent it from being hijacked."
"Well, since I brought up the idea, I apply to be the on-board defensive personnel." Andrew said.
"Granted. Now, how can we modify it?" The man asked.
"Well, we need a launch pad for the sleigh, and maybe reducing the number of turrets and putting in a toy factory." Mrs. Claus said, looking closely at the ship, "Possibly painting it red or putting red stripes on it." The man had a small smile on his face as he gazed at a picture of him and a woman with a young boy in the middle of the two as they smiled.
"Just...please visit my son once this is over. He is with my wife on the planet Ursa 4." The man said and Santa stroked his beard.
"I'm just sorry I couldn't get to so many children for such a long period of time." Santa said, "Your Spartan here told me how many were lost in the war."
"It was a tragedy, but our partnership with the Sangheili proved beneficial to both species. Our technological advancements have improved and we've been helping the Sangheili with agricultural and cultural aspects. We've been helping each other basically, which is a far cry from when they used to be part of the Covenant." The man said, "We've even helped them deal with the Covenant loyalists that formed from their planet. Who knows how things would have happened if it wasn't for the Arbiter."
Rudolph gazed out the window, still in awe of the view of space. Zoey walked up to him and stood next to him before she leaned into him.
"What is wrong, Rudolph?" Zoey asked.
"It's just so much to take in...I'm in space and you're my doefriend. The only way my life will be complete is if I become a flyer." Rudolph said as a ship flew by the window.
"Oh? And what about marrying me?" Zoey asked, lifting a leg up as she rubbed her cheek against his.
"It would be up to you...I'm just happy that you're dating me." Rudolph admitted.
Andrew noticed Rudolph just standing there and walked over to him. "Well kid, better get a room ready and probably get to sleep a couple hours before normal."
"Why's that?" Zoey asked.
"Did you forget? Tomorrow's the start of your training for those Reindeer Games he mentioned. We'll need some blood work to investigate his DNA for his part of the deal, and we only have a year if what he says is true. We need to prepare." Andrew mentioned as he clenched his fists.
"Than take my blood work as well and include me in the deal!" Zoey shouted.
"What? Zoey?" Rudolph said but was cut off as she kissed him once again.
"I am not going to lose you Rudolph! If you have to leave, than I leave with you!" She declared.
"Huh. You've picked a feisty girlfriend kid." Andrew said, as his visor-covered gaze reflected the faces of the two reindeer in front of him, "Very well then. Both of you...prepare to enter Hell tomorrow."