Part of my Christmas special. Everyday a gift, everyday something different. To open every present, go to my Christmas 2003 page.

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Operation: Ultimate Christmas Bash The Irresponsible Captain Tylor Virgo

"Yuriko-saaaa~n!" Tylor gave her his best puppy face that seemed more like a melting marshmallow than anything else. "It's Christmas! It's fun!"

"Captain, really." His intelligence officer put her hands on her hips. "Technically we /are/ still at war."

"That's exactly my point! If everyone keeps thinking about the war, they'll get upset! This is to take their minds off everything else, give them a chance to relax and not take everything so seriously!"

"They never /do/ take anything seriously."

He pouted at her before he turned to his first officer who was rather enjoying the interaction. "Ne, Yamamoto-kun? /You/ want a Christmas party, too. Right? Right?"

A tremor of shock came over the large man as he was suddenly dragged into the conversation. "Er, ha? Um..." He looked away, then cast a passing glance at Yuriko. She raised an eyebrow at his glance, daring him to make the wrong decision. Which would, really, be either answer. So he settled for fidgeting. "Er... that decision is up to you, Captain."

Yuriko rolled her eyes. Though she was glad Yamamoto didn't side with Tylor (he was getting amazingly lax since the crew redeployed), she was slightly miffed that she wasn't getting any support, either.

"Well then!" Tylor jumped up on his chair, foot on the armrest and pointing off in the distant horizon (the nearest bulkhead) as if he were making some grand declaration. "That's settled, as the captain...!" He trailed off. After a length of time, Kim and Katori turned to see what the uncontainable captain would do next. "I declare the next entire week setting up for the largest Christmas party EVER!" Fans flapped and a decree unrolled at his words, confetti fluttering around his seat. Kim cheered as the other two males grinned.

Yuriko held her head and wished for some Advil.

So, under Tylor's decree the entire crew of the Soyokaze gathered in the hangar deck. Shifting and talking among themselves in their traditional 'cluster fuck', they waited for whatever off the wall idea their captain had planned this time.

The moment before tensions between the hot-tempered crew began to spark painfully, Tylor finally made his way towards the platform, face a mask of deep thought and measured paces before he did a crisp left face, realized he was dangerously close to the edge, stepped back a pace, cleared his throat... and smiled.

"Yo!" He greeted his crew, smile threatening to take off his head. There was a murmured response but they settled down a bit, waiting to see what he had to say. "I don't suppose anyone knows why they're here right now?"

"I thought the point was to sit here until you told us." Anderson called out from the back. His Marines snickered.

"Ah, good point, Lieutenant!" Tylor replied, completely missing the 'idiot' undertones. "In which case, I'll tell you what you're here for!" Clapping his hands together he said, "We're going to have a massive Christmas party! So we're going to assign who does what!"

There was a profound pause. And then the hangar exploded in a cacophony of chatter.

"Will we have a tree?"

"What about presents!"

"Mistletoe!"

"Yuck!

"Who's doing the food?"

"And the decorations?"

"We need a Santa!"

"The Doc can be Santa!"

"Hahahahaha!"

"Okay, okay!" Tylor waved his arms about, trying to get everyone's attention. Which actually worked a lot better this time around than all the others. They must be really into this, he figured. "Okay, we'll start with the assignments. Lt. Kim has a roster and we'll assign each one with something. What's first?"

Clearing her throat, the communications officer called out clearly: "We'll be asking for volunteers first and those that haven't volunteered for anything will, more likely than not, be assigned to the clean up crew. So be sure to pick a good task first!" There was some grumbling but they waited patiently. "First, we need someone who can cook. Lots and lots of good food, so we need one head cook and then a lot of people to help out."

"I'll do it!" A slender hand wove from the mess of people. The crew cleared away and Harumi smiled brightly at her. "I know lots of recipes, both human and Ralgon." She put a manicured hand to her cheek. "But I'll need a lot of people to help me out.."

"We-We'll do it! Harumi-san!"

"You're all so kind." She smiled graciously at the Marines. They blushed and gave her doofy grins.

Kim raised an eyebrow but smiled slightly. "Okay, Harumi-san and the Marines are taking care of catering. Now, who wants to do the decorations?"

"We'll do it!" The Hanar twins said.

"Just you two?"

Emi shook her head. "The rest of the flight crew can help. But we know how it should look."

"Un!" Said her sister. "We used to throw parties all the time back when Daddy was still in the service."

"Hmmm!" Tylor smiled broadly. "I can't wait to see what the two of you come up with!" The two girls giggled.

"All right." Kim jotted that down on the roster. "Next up, we need someone to get and decorate the tree."

"Don't worry about, Lieutenant." Tylor said. "Yamamoto-kun and Katori-kun can take care of it."

The helmsman twitched slightly. "Isn't this supposed to be 'volunteering'?"

"Er, it /is/ the holiday, after all. Might as well."

"Technically I don't celebrate this holiday.."

"Come on, Katori!" Kim nudged him. "Don't be a wet rag." He gave her a slightly miffed expression but said nothing in response.

"Doc." Tylor said suddenly. "I trust you already know what you're expect to bring?"

It took him a moment to think and when he finally realized what the captain was insinuating he adjusted his sunglasses and nodded. "No problem. I'll get it all taken care of."

"Good!" Most of the crew snickered. "Now, who else needs to do something..?"

"Just me, you and Lt. Cmdr Yuriko." Said the brunette. "But we're going to be getting some small presents for everyone, so it's just you, sir."

"Oh?" Tylor leaned back, apparently thinking. Then, with a wide smile, said, "Don't worry about me. I already know what I'm going to do."

From his expression, she already knew it was going to be entertaining. "If you say so, sir."

"Good, now then! Everyone...Prepare for the party!"

"YEAH!"

Day of Preparations 1: Decorations

"No!"

"But Kojiro-sama-"

"No! NonononononononoNO!"

"But the hangar bay is the only place big enough to have the party!"

"No! You're not moving the Ranpu and that's final!"

The twins pouted at him and the pilot felt icy shivers going over his spine.

"Tylor-sama said that we could do anything for this party."

"We need you to move your ship, Kojiro-sama."

He shook his head. "Never!"

"What if Tylor-sama asked you?"

"Would you move it then?"

"Feh! Go and get him, then."

The girls blinked. "But Kojiro-sama! We have too much to do! Why don't you just ask him yourself?"

"Because I know you'll put your harridan hands on my ship once my back is turned!"

"We weren't going to, but now that you mention it.."

The only reason, the rest of the flight crew decided as they watched him nearly tear out his hair, Kojiro never laid a finger on those two was because they were girls..

"If he wasn't molested by lesbians at a young age," one of them said, "then I have no idea what his problem is.."

Day of Preparations 2: Menu

"..with a honey glaze, that's the best!"

"Okay, thank you Lieutenant." Harumi said.

"Oh, it's no problem at all." Kim responded, lounging thoughtfully in her chair. "You got everyone else's food choices?"

"Yes." She looked at her list in a slightly worried fashion. "But looking at all this food makes me wonder how I'm going to get it all done.."

"Don't worry about! You got all the Marines helping you, after all."

"Un, that's true."

Elsewhere...

"Why are we doing this?"

"Doing what?"

"You know. Cooking?"

"Yeah. We're supposed to be fighters. Big bad warriors. Devil dogs. Elite of the elite. And we're cooking."

"That's pretty anti-masculine right there, no matter what guy has a culinary TV show."

There was a polite knock on the door to the Marine's rec (or 'wreck', rather) room and Harumi stuck her head inside. "Excuse me. I was going to go grocery shopping and was wondering if anyone wanted to help me." She smiled prettily.

She didn't even have a chance to finish her sentence before all the Marines were dragging her to the transport ship.

Day of Preparations 3: Gifts

"All right, Lt. Kim. What have we got to work with?" Yuriko asked.

"Let's see. We have candy canes, poppers with confetti, streamers, those little chocolates with vodka, small greeting cards and a sprig of mistletoe for everyone."

"Mistletoe?"

"Just for fun." She said with a devilish smile.

"Okay. This shouldn't be too hard. You have nicer handwriting. Do you want to do the greeting cards while I put their stockings together?"

"Stockings?"

Yuriko felt a tremor of worry. "What's wrong?"

"Um.. The shop didn't have any left.."

Biting her lip, Yuriko decided to go McGyver on it. "All right. We need some tape, ribbon and lots and lots of wrapping paper." And no sleep for the next three nights..

Day of Preparations 4: Tree

"Have you plugged it in?"

"Yes."

"Are you sure?"

"It's not working?"

"The lights aren't on."

"Dammit! Four days! We've been trying to get this thrice dammed thing to work properly for FOUR DAYS!"

"Calm down, Lt. Cmdr Yamamoto. I'll make you some tea."

"It's just lights! How hard can it be!?"

Day of Preparations 5: Booze

"Are you sure you don't need me to pick up any liquor for you doctor?" Harumi asked. "This will be my last chance to go shopping."

"It's fine, Harumi-kun." He said, stroking his beard carefully. "I'm sure I have plenty to spare."

She took a moment to look at the various cabinets and closets and drawers and suitcases and the fridge and the freezer.. Wincing she thought, could he really have bought all that for himself. "Okay, if you say so, doctor."

Waving her off, he looked at his extensive collection of sake and thought.. And tried to figure out how many bottles they would need and how much he was willing to give up.. And came to a conclusion:

"Harumi-kun! Wait for me!"

Day of Preparations 6: Coming Together

'"Y-YOU! WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO TO MY /SHIP/!"

Emi and Yumi giggled, giving each other a high five. The enraged pilot stalked as close as he dared. "Don't you like it, Kojiro-sama?" Yumi asked, smiling cutely.

"You said you wouldn't move it and it wouldn't fit in with the rest of the decorations." Her sister added.

"I-You-This!" His mind fumbled for the best string of cursing and berating and general fury it could find. It didn't find any. "WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO TO MY SHIP!?"

The twins looked at each other. "Decorated it." They simply said.

"The Ranpu is NOT a friggin' Easter egg!"

"Of course it's not, Kojiro-sama!" Emi giggled.

"We painted it like a Christmas present!"

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!"

Meanwhile..

"Oops." Harumi scooped the bit of pudding up on a long, slender finger. "Better be careful now." She placed her pudding-dipped finger at the edge of her lip, delicately licking it up with her tongue. She smiled at the Marines that cluttered around the kitchen. "Thank you all again for helping me with the food."

They just gave her red-faced grins and struggled to please.

Elsewhere..

"Ah! Finally!" Yuriko stretched, flopping back in her seat. "I thought we'd /never/ finish them all!"

Kim similarly did her boneless impersonation over the table. "I'll say. For a while I thought half the crew would have to do without their stocking."

"Hm." She smiled tiredly. "Did we get them all?"

"Yeah, we got 'em. Er.. uh-oh."

"Uh-oh? Nothing good comes out of 'uh-oh'."

She sat up and gave Yuriko a wavering smile. "We forgot the captain's.."

And..

"Yes! The lights that are supposed to be blinking are blinking.. The lights that aren't supposed to blink aren't.. And the tinsels finally stayed on the tree!"

"All right, let's do a full field test."

"Right."

The two stood back and flicked the switch.

The tree shone beautifully.. And then a fuse blew and the room was plunged into darkness.

For a moment, there was silence.

"May your next life be as a bug so I can step on you in righteous vengeance!"

"Katori-kun.."

D-Day: Party Time!

Much to everyone's delight and the prevention of any sort of undue medical emergency, the party went off, more or less, without a hitch. The tree lit up just as it should without busting a fuse. Everyone had their own personalized bag of goodies, had some fun with the mistletoe, drunk what might've been considered half the doctor's stash of sake and had more fun with the mistletoe. It was around the time the Marines decided to play bobbing for ice cubes in the punch bowl (which managed to end up tasting like a pina colada) that Kojiro recalled that they all carried very long blades and decided it would be prudent to put his beloved ship in the shop. He made Emi and Yumi swear up and down that they'd clean it off the moment the party ended. Their response was to chase him around with mistletoe.

"Goddamn. What /is/ his problem?"

"He was attacked by breasts as a kid, I swear."

However, as the party dragged on and the crew got rowdier and rowdier, Yuriko noticed someone still hadn't shown up..

She stepped onto the bridge and found him sitting exactly where she knew he would be.

Walking up beside him she said, "Sir, what are you doing up here?"

Tylor craned his head back, looking up at her in his typical wide-eyed fashion. "Ah, Yuriko-san!" He smiled broadly. "I'd tell you to pull up a chair but they're all bolted to the floor. Do you want a seat?" He moved to get up but Yuriko shook her head.

"It's okay. I'm just wondering," she grasped her elbows, "what you're doing here instead of at the party."

"Hm? Oh, I'm just waiting for the right moment."

"Right moment?"

"Yup. It's Christmas Eve right now until.." he checked the clock, "another minute and a half."

"Oh? You have something planned?"

He grinned at her again. "This is my contribution to the Christmas party. I'm just doing it from up here because I don't like the cold."

Yuriko blinked. "Cold?"

The clock beeped. "Ah! It's time!" He turned the main screen on to one of the cameras inside the hangar bay and then- Yuriko had just realized he was holding a long, thick box with a button on it -pressed the button. And then, to Yuriko's amazement, it started to snow inside the hangar. Everyone looked up in surprise, which quickly turned into cheering and more partying.

"Ne, what do you think, Yuriko-san?"

She was mesmerized by the falling snow coming from the bulkhead. "It.. It's beautiful!"

"Isn't it? Took me all week to figure out how to do it. Didn't even get a chance to try it out first, so I was hoping it would." Yuriko couldn't help but giggle at that. "Yuriko-san." She looked down at him, surprised at how clear his eyes could truly be. He held up two glasses and a bottle of champagne and suddenly she was reminded of a time that seemed so long ago. "Drink with me."

And the party went on in the hangar, snow dusting everything in its purity.