Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve & Its Attendant Miracles

The state of TIAH

December 24th, 2006

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Alternate Historian's Note: Even though nobody works on Christmas Eve, Mr. Scrooge, Stephen Payne has thoughtfully provided us with material for today's posting. The bug that had been keeping us down has lifted, (it's a Christmas Miracle!), so we'll continue the second half of our NaNoWriMo novel today. We hope that you are enjoying the change in format – let us know how you feel about it in comments or by emailing us. This will be the format of TIAH throughout the holiday season, unless we receive a great outcry about it. Speaking of the Holiday Season, keep in mind those who need help year-round and keep yourselves safe and happy, as well. And, should you feel generous inclinations towards our guest historians, you can visit the sites of those who have separate ones from TIAH; generosity towards us here at the Academy is always appreciated, too, and you can find ways to help us out all over the site. Right now, we'd appreciate a lead on a good day job, but my lovely Co-Historian could also use some more memory on her PC, if anyone feels generously inclined. (It's PC133-style – yes, it's an old machine). Any good wishes you have towards us can be emailed here.

in 0, in Bayt La, (Bethlehem), the time traveler Mullah Elijah Rafsanjani bursts into the birth room of Jesus. His plan: to abduct the infant and return him to 2126, frustrating his ministry and achieving a breakthrough in the pre-Jihad era by eliminating the cohesion of European power. The mother is in labour. It won't be long now. -entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!-

in 1914, the "Christmas truce" begins in World War I as British and German soldiers climb out of the trenches for the last time to play football in no-man's land, swapping cigarettes and chocolate at half-time. The Germans win, of course. After it's over, the British leave; they can always find their way home from a party at Christmas. -entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!-

in 1946, Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader, CBE, DSO and Bar DFC and Bar FRAeS DL LegH CdeG RAF, is executed at Nuremberg on Christmas Eve. Speaking in exile from Toronto, former British Prime Minister Winston Spencer Churchill pays tribute to Bader. Reprising his “Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few” speech, Churchill pledges to fight a second Battle of Britain and reconquer the islands from the Nazi occupiers. He speaks at length of his experience as a journalist in the Boer War, drawing comparisons with the relief of Mafeking and Ladysmith in 1900. Britain, he says, has lost some wickets, but the innings are far from over. -entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!-

Jake and Steph pulled the sleeping bags from the jeep and wrestled them into comfortable handholds. “So, what do you know about Kevin, besides the whole lottery thing?”
Jake looked over at her with raised eyebrows. “You didn't just ask me about another man, did you?”
“Hey, baby, we're done,” Steph said, snapping her fingers. “You might as well help me move on.”
He laughed and shoved her shoulder gently. “He's not a bad guy, I guess. Probably a good church-goin' boy, you'd like that. And, if you got with him, I wouldn't have to worry about the kids' college. Yeah, go for him, Steph.” He turned her back around towards the Johnson's house. She wheeled back and slugged him on the arm.
“I haven't really had that many dates since we split up, you know. I guess since I chose you for a husband, my taste in men's not the best, so I should ask somebody else's advice.”
He shook his head in disbelief. “Maybe you could be having this talk with Janice, then, instead of insulting me.”
Steph snorted. “Please. That girl wants you so bad, she practically has an ad in the paper.”
“Really?” That put a little pep in Jake's step. “All right, then.”
“You so full of yourself,” she said, looking down the road. Twin beams of light were rushing toward them. “Jake, is somebody else supposed to be comin' here?”
“No,” Jake said, following her gaze.

They turned off all the lights and gathered by the windows. Janice put on her night-vision goggles and told the others what was happening across the street. “Three guys just piled out of the car. They don't look too nice.”
George plaintively asked, “Where's mom and dad?”
“I don't see them.” She scanned the yard for any sign of the pair, but saw nothing. The jeep, as far as she could see, was empty. She saw one of the strange men do something to the lock on the door of the Morris' house and open the door. “They just busted the lock on your house.” All three of them rushed inside, drawing guns as they did so. “They mean business, too. They're armed.” She looked across the yard one more time. “Where is Jake?”
Kevin stood and said, “I'll go after them.”
“Sit your butt down, GI Joe,” Janice told him. “It's three to one, and those guys are probably not computer jocks.”
“I can shoot,” Kevin said, his face growing hot.
“I don't doubt it,” she said, trying to see where the strangers were in the house. “But, I bet they can shoot, too, and they're probably in better practice.”
Kevin reluctantly sat back down. “How about I just sneak over there and see if I can find Steph and Sergeant Morris?”
Beams from flashlights flashed crazily all over the Morris' house. “They're not doing a real thorough search; looks like they're just running around the house to see if they can find anybody.” They all jumped as they heard a gunshot.
Joan squeaked out, “Oh my god, did they see mom and dad?”
Janice was desperately looking everywhere she could see in the house across the street. “Damn it,” she whispered. “OK, Bradley. Looks like we're stormin' the castle after all.” She pulled out her own pistol and stood up. “You let me lead, all right? They're using flashlights, so we may be able to spot them before they get the drop on us.”
“What if they shine the light in your goggles?”
“Then, I'm screwed, and you better be ready to back my butt up.”
“All this concern is touching,” Jake said from behind them, “but, y'all don't have to worry about us.”
Janice immediately ran over and hugged him, then let go quickly and looked at him and Steph. “What happened?”
“We saw them coming down the street,” Steph said, pulling herself away from her children's embrace. “So, we just went around back here.”
“You scared us,” Kevin said to her. There was a strange half-smile playing around his lips.
“Sorry,” Steph said to him, an odd softness in her voice.
Janice turned back to the window and asked, “What were they shooting at, then?”

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