Starbase 24, Klingon/Federation border

December 2375

"We three kings of Orient are, one in a shuttle, one in a car…"

The two little girls ran down the corridor, singing at the tops of their voices. Close enough in age that they looked like twins, both were full to overflowing with mischief and excitement.

"What's a car, anyway?" Kally, the younger of the two, stopped singing long enough to enquire.

"It's like a shuttle on wheels," Kara told her sister, "and it goes on roads because it can't fly." She started to sing again. "One on his scooter…"

Not completely satisfied with the explanation, Kally nevertheless joined in again, singing the next phrase loudly and way off tune, "…. beeping his hooter, crashed into yonder star…"

"Kara! Kally!" Chrissie yelled, calling them back to her with exasperated amusement. "What have I told you about running in the corridors?"

"Sorry, Mama," they chorused, somehow managing to look like they actually meant it.

Chrissie bit her lip, desperately trying not to laugh. No doubt both girls thought they were being original and daring in their naughtiness, she thought wryly. They would probably be shocked to learn that she too had sung very similar lyrics as a little girl and so, probably, had her mother before her. She really did need them to behave, though. The construction teams had been working round the clock to repair the starbase and get it operational again after the Dominion attack that had claimed so many lives earlier that year and they had done an amazing job but there was still much to do and not all areas were completely safe and free of hazards.

Was it really less than a year, she wondered suddenly? So much had happened since then: The chaos and terror of the attack, the trip on the refugee ship to Qo'noS. Her husband's trial for treason and his subsequent acquittal, followed by the marriage of Kehlan and Captain Mackenzie and a month or two later, the formal surrender of the Dominion. Krang had kept his family safe on the Inigan family estate on Qo'noS during the end stages of the war and the initial rebuilding of the starbase, but a couple of weeks ago they had finally returned to the starbase.

Almost vibrating with pent up energy, both girls stayed obediently at their mother's side but could not resist singing again. "Jingle bells, batman smells…."

"Oh God! Chrissie shook her head in disbelief. Where on earth had they learned that one? Not from their father, that was for certain. Even after seven years of marriage to a Terran and the almost two years he'd spent on Earth previous to that, Krang was still bemused by the whole concept of Christmas. Not that he'd ever complained or objected when she'd insisted on decorating their quarters and telling the children stories of Santa Claus and he'd been quick to embrace the whole gift-giving thing.

She and the girls were on their way to the promenade to help decorate the enormous Christmas tree that had just arrived from Earth. That had been Captain Mackenzie's idea… although Chrissie did not think he would remain a captain for much longer. It was common gossip that now he was in command of the Starbase, half ruined as it was, a promotion to the admiralty was very much on the cards. She still did not know what her husband's role would be. He'd spent the last few months captaining a bird of prey and had only just returned to his old role of chief of security here. She did know that he was involved in talks between Starfleet Intelligence and the Klingon Imperial intelligence but so far, whatever they were planning was classified and what those talks meant for her and the children, she was yet to discover.

But yes, the tree. That had been Mackenzie's idea. The starbase was still understaffed but Endeavour's captain had decided that a proper Christmas celebration was necessary and once the various ships and ground crews had got involved, the whole thing had quickly escalated.

"Come on, Mama, we're going to be late!" her younger daughter said, jumping up and down impatiently." If we don't finish the tree, Zantai Klaus won't come."

Oh God, their beleaguered mother thought again, what had Krang been telling them now? Her mate was known for his ability to tell the most outrageous stories and ever since he'd read her copy of Terry Pratchett's 'The Hogfather', he'd insisted that Santa was a Klingon and his sleigh was pulled by giant targs.

"Don't be silly, Kally," the older girl said with annoying condescension. "Everyone knows targs can't fly and how are they supposed to breathe in space anyway?"

Chrissie grinned, knowing exactly how Krang would answer that. "They are magic targs," she explained patiently, "And besides, they have special helmets so they can breathe. Now come on, you did say you don't want to be late."

I guess I don't need to tell anyone I don't own Star Trek (I don't by the way) and I am not making any money out of these stories.