T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a Pekoponian was stirring—but a platoon of multi-colored amphibious alien life forms was wreaking even more cheerful havoc than usual in celebration of the holiday season. One would think that the Hinata family, which was out doing a bit of very last-second shopping, would have learned that leaving the Platoon alone in the house was an extremely bad idea. Apparently that assumption could not be accurately made despite the fact that the family was on its third Christmas tree in as many weeks.
The first one had been "accidentally" dwarfed in an incident involving an experimental shrink ray prototype that Kululu had been tinkering with for several days. Of course, he hadn't exactly worked out all the kinks yet, so the glitchy piece of technology had not only reduced the fir's size but had also given it a mind of its own. The resulting chaos that ensued consisted of the rest of the Platoon and their human cohabitants chasing after the tiny tree as it bounced around the house shouting obscenities and complaints about being abused as a pathetic household decoration.
Fortunately (or perhaps not), the underdeveloped technology wore off rather quickly, causing the furious fir to lose its intelligence and regain its original volume—in the middle of Natsumi's bedroom. Needless to say, that hadn't ended well. After the tree had been hacked into pieces via Dororo's katana (a process which he hadn't seemed to mind too much despite the occasional grumble about destroying the environment) and hauled away, the Platoon had made themselves scarce in order to avoid the redhead's psychotic rage.
Still, for the first few nights after the incident, it became routine to hear a yelp or two from Natsumi's room during the night as she was repeatedly pricked by the lingering fir needles hiding in her bed. Those sounds of pain were usually followed by a little snicker from a certain yellow Keronian.
The Hinatas' second Christmas tree had suffered a quicker but equally-violent death, ignited by a massive fireball from one of Giroro's guns. Said fireball of death had originally been intended for Keroro's face instead of the decorated tree, but Giroro and the others (Keroro specifically) had to admit that the sight of the fantastically-flaming fir had been more interesting than the idea of watching the incompetent Platoon leader get roasted alive. Just a little.
Now the five sat in a disjointed circle next to the tree that had replaced the replacement tree, doing the only thing that seemed to keep them from causing some form of destruction or another: eating. There were plates of cookies scattered among the Keronians, accompanied by glasses of milk and assorted candies that coincided with the holiday in some form or another.
"I love Christmas," Keroro declared, tossing a cordial cherry into his mouth with a perfect accuracy that he never bothered to display on the battlefield, much to Giroro's dismay.
The red Keronian grunted and rolled his eyes. "And what exactly do you love about it?" he demanded, obsessively polishing an already-spotless gun. "Getting to be about as useful as couch stuffing while you sit on your tail and hum those awful Pekoponian holiday songs?" He growled lowly and polished the gun in his hands with even more vigor. "Those blasted Pekoponians—their guard is down when they're observing simple-minded traditions like this! Do you know what we could be doing right now?! The planet could be ours in a matter of days and you're—"
The Platoon leader effectively shut his comrade up by shoving a gingerbread man halfway down his throat.
"Observing," Keroro answered slyly as Giroro spluttered and coughed up cookiebits. "The best way to conquer Pekopon is to think like a Pekoponian—what better way is there to get into the minds of this planet's inhabitants than to observe their activities and traditions? Kerokerokero." There was a glint in the leader's eyes. "That's my plan! I'll use Christmas to conquer Pekopon!"
"Does that plan involve gaining fifteen pounds from eating tons of junk food?" Tamama questioned innocently, sipping milk from a small glass. "'Cause if it does, I think we're making progress."
Keroro promptly fell over as though his friend's words had punched him in the side of the head. He righted himself quickly. "C-come on, you guys," he stammered, trying to regain his composure by popping another chocolate-dipped fruit into his mouth. "Where's your Christmas spirit?"
"Christmas spirit?" Kululu intoned, tilting his head slightly and tugging the fluffy white rim of his Santa hat down further. "Don't be stupid. I only like this frivolous Pekoponian holiday because it gives gullible morons a reason to gather together." He laughed. "It's fun to screw with them. Ku ku ku."
Tamama made a sound midway between a whine and an annoyed huff. "You're doing it wrong," he told his comrade before stuffing a thickly-frosted sugar cookie into his mouth. His face was already decorated with splotches of frosting and multi-colored sprinkles. "Santa's s'posed to say 'ho ho ho," he finished, effectively spewing crumbs in all directions.
"I like Christmas." Dororo held a candy cane in his hand—it looked as though he'd been idly sucking on the straight end, but no one had seen him remove his mask. (The others had stopped trying to figure out how Dororo ate without revealing his face.) The blue Keronian was leaning comfortably against the base of the Christmas tree, almost looking like a plush toy among the brightly-wrapped gifts. He still wore the glittery blue bow that Tamama had playfully stuck to his head earlier in the evening. "It's a time when people gather together and share their happiness with one another…"
Four pairs of perplexed eyes stared Dororo down as though he'd just confessed to being gay for Kululu.
"Yeah, whatever," Keroro broke the silence and called everyone's attention back to himself. "Dororo's warm fuzzies are great and all, but everyone knows that what really makes Christmas great is the—"
"Massive amounts of sugar involved?" Tamama cut in, voice muffled by the sheer amount of food he'd stuffed into his mouth. The sight of the platoon's youngest member, cheeks full of cookie matter and other sugar-coated delicacies, was reminiscent of a chubby, oddly-colored hamster.
"No!" Keroro huffed, giving Private Second Class Tamama a somewhat-annoyed look. "The best part is—"
"The increase in suicide rates during the holiday season?" Kululu droned happily, giggling under his breath. Giroro scooted away from the yellow Keronian in response, slightly unnerved.
Keroro also put just a little more distance between himself and Sergeant Major Kululu. "N-no…?" He stumbled over the word, then cleared his throat, annoyance at the repeated interruptions snapping him out of his unsettled state. "The best part of Christmas is the presents!" he declared loudly, holding a candy cane in the air like a scepter. "What more could a frog possibly hope for than to be presented with mountains of toys?" His eyes glowed with a sort of psychotic fire. "Gundams!" he barked, and laughed. "Hoards of them beneath this oddly-placed Pekoponian tree! I'll build an army, I'll—"
"He's lost it…" Tamama fretted, swallowing the mutilated leg of a gingerbread man. "Not to mention he's blowing the idea of Christmas presents waaay out of proportion."
Giroro's expression was one of sheer irritation. "What kind of soldier are you?" he asked harshly, fighting hard with his inner self in an effort to control the rising urge to just go ahead and blow his leader's head off. "Your main focus is a bunch of toys? How the frog can sappy Pekoponian gifts possibly aid us in the conquering of this planet?!"
The green frog's eyes narrowed, a devious grin spreading across his face.
"Oh, come now, Giroro," he crooned. Advancing on the Corporal, he cupped his hand around Giroro's ear. "You can't honestly say you would object to Natsumi giving you a Christmas present," he whispered.
The red Keronian's face burned an even deeper shade of crimson than usual. In the next instant, Keroro was pressed against the wall, staring down the business end of one of his comrade's weapons of mass destruction.
"A-actually," he stammered quickly, eyes wide. "M-m-maybe you're more of an Easter kind of guy."