Christmas on the Spotted Satellite

(A crisp October begins on the Spotted Satellite. The MiSTers, ready for breakfast, shuffle into the conference room. They yawn, rub their eyes, and almost faint when they open the door and find the conference room has been completely decorated for Christmas. Their gasps of delight turn to confusion when they observe M and Kalila asleep on the sofa.)

Gwen: Should we wake them?
Jarred: (Racing around the room.) Look at all the holly! It’s so… jolly! So much green and red and… MERRY!

(The rest of the MiSTers wince at his loud tone.)

Melanie: No worries, Gwen, I think Jarred just good care of it for us.

(M and Kalila stir and look around.)

Deangelo: Now M, I don’t want you to be alarmed, but there seems to be a lot of Christmas going on in here. We all know how you feel about the ‘C’ word so we can quietly escort you out of the room where joy and the spirit of giving can’t hurt you.
M: (Rubbing her face.) Who do you think decorated all last night, D?
Dominick: …Elves?
Tempest: Elves, really?
Dominick: WHAT? It makes as much sense as anything else does around here.
Kalinda: Wh-wait, I think our MiSTing overlord is implying she did this decorating.

(Kalila hops off the sofa and mews loudly.)

M: Yes, you did help, you good girl.
Kalila: Meow?
M: GOODEST girl!
Melanie: It’s too fucking early for this. Where’s the coffee?
M: (Pointing to the new upgraded buffet.) Over there, should be just finished brewing.

(The MiSTers shuffle over to the coffee bar and ingest some of the freshly brewed beverage. Jarred makes himself a hot chocolate and is delighted to find whip cream and sprinkles as well.)

M: (Standing up and folding up the blanket she had been using.) So how did everyone sleep?
Kalinda: Wait, wait, wait… I get it. It’s October and all the Christmas stuff is up. That means we don’t get an actual Christmas on Christmas we just get this fakey one right now.
Tempest: Are the garlands made of razor wire, M? Are they?
Jarred: There’s TWO Christmas trees! Look everyone. There’s one here! (Points to a tree by the fireplace where all the stocks are hung. With care.) And one over there! (Points to a second tree close to the main door.)
Gwen: I enjoy a winter wonderland as much as the next corporate lawyer, but M, what is going on here?
M: We’re having Christmas this year on the Spotted Satellite. Since you’ve never had a proper Christmas here, it’s going to be a long one. The decorations are up until December and on the 25th of December we’re going to open presents and watch Christmas movies and hope no one gifts Melanie that desert eagle she’s had at the top of her list all these years.
Dominick: (Mostly to himself.) I’m dangerous too, ya know.
Tempest: Wait, hang on. What, M? What are you talking about? You hate Christmas!

(M makes herself a cup of hot chocolate as Melanie downs her second cup of coffee.)

Melanie: Yeah, I distinctly remember lots of previous years of Christmas torture and working on the big day and horrible, horrible fanfictions. (She shivers.)
M: This is true. (She sips her hot chocolate reflectively.) But this year is going to be a little different. Christmas and I have had an… interesting past. But that’s all behind us now. You’re all going to get your first real Christmas on the Spotted Satellite.

(The MiSTers exchange looks of shock and suspicion.)

Kalinda: Okay, M, okay. You got us! Now where’s the MiST? What is this time?
Deangelo: Yu-Gi-Oh fanfic? One where Yami believes he can fulfill his dream of becoming a ballet dancer if only Pegasus would fund him?
Dominick: A Christina Aguilera and Backstreet Boys crossover, where they’re all in a nursing home trying to relive their glory days when someone breaks a hip, but not the person you’re expecting?
Gwen: Maybe it’s–
M: Okay, okay, I get the point. You’re all emotionally traumatized and I’ll just add that therapy bill to my monthly expenses.
Tempest: I feel like you’re not taking me and my sexy PJs seriously enough here.
Dominick: Is it okay if I start eating while we have this argument? (He gestures to the breakfast buffet piled high with goodies.)
M: Dig in. There’s plenty more.

(Kalinda cautiously takes a plate.)

Gwen: I think we’ve speculated enough, M. Time to come clean. What’s the catch?
M: (Sipping her hot chocolate.) There isn’t one. There will be no more MiSTs and a lot more Christmas from here on out. I might not be able to visit as much as I’d like to anymore, but you’ll all be here on the Satellite, safe and sound.

(Stunned, Dominick drops his now full plate of food. A small robot wearing a Santa hat emerges from a gingerbread-style house on the floor, cleans up the mess and heads back to the house.)

Jarred: Wait, when did we get cleaning robots?
Kalinda: Maybe they will get all of Tempest’s hair out of the shower drain on a monthly basis.
Tempest: I was saving that! For… things.
Gwen: Hang on, everyone stay focused! Blimey, it’s like herding cats in here. M, why are you doing this?

(M sits down at the conference room table as Kalila hops into her lap.)

M: Change is on the horizon, Gwen. You MiSTers have been with me through the best times, the worst times, and all the times in between. I wouldn’t change anything we went through for all the tea in China.
Jarred: That’s a lot of tea!
M: Consider this your retirement, of sorts.
Melanie: Oh god, M’s going to kill us!

(The MiSTers scream in terror, backing away from M.)

M: (Rolling her eyes.) I’m not killing anyone. Calm down. Side note, I better budget a bit more for therapy if the trama runs this deep.
Deangelo: (Cautiously setting his plate down on the table next to where M is sitting.) Were you visited by three Christmas spirits last night, M?
M: Sort of. Not like when you guys all dressed up and tried to scare me.
Kalinda: God, that was so much fun.
Tempest: (Sighing wistfully.) Yeah, that was the best.
Jarred: Wait, no more MiSTing? But that’s what we do! We’re MiSTers.

(Jarred sits down on M’s other side with his breakfast. M takes his hand.)

M: Now you can do whatever you want. Explore your creativity, learn new skills, set the world on fire. It’s all up to you.
Dominick: Wait… We didn’t get fired, did we?
M: Of course not.
Jarred: M, were we good MiSTers?
M: (Tearing up a little, shaking her head.) You were the best.

(The MiSTers exchange glances. Kalinda, Jarred, and Tempest start crying. Gwen squeezes Deangelo’s hand. Melanie and Dominick are eating and didn’t hear what anyone said. They shrug and keep eating.)

(A Christmas movie starts on the big screen in front of the couch. It’s 2000 version of The Grinch with Jim Carrey. The MiSTers eat and talk and laugh while they watch the movie. They don’t notice M slip out the side door about halfway through.)

Kalila: (Rushing to catch up with M.) Meow? Mew.
M: Nah, let them enjoy their breakfast. The chef for the Christmas cookie baking lesson doesn’t get here for another hour.
Kalila: Meeeeeeew!
M: Me too, old friend. Me too.