In the beauty of a perfect starry sky, the shadow of a reindeer drawn sleigh moved slowly across the pale silver dish of the full moon, bells jingling as the chubby man at the helm made his way across the world on his quest to bring joy. With a chuckle, he urged his strange propulsion system onwards.

A roar of powerful engines split the calm as four F14D Super Tomcat fighters, resplendent in their black and red liveries rose from the tiny tropical island far below. The tight formation closed in around the sled, and the radio on its dashboard crackled into life.

"Unidentified...umm...sled? You are in violation of Osean air space. You are ordered to land immediately. We will escort you to Sand Island air base. If you resist, you will be fired on. Lower your...umm...landing gear, if you have any, if you understand."

The sled pulled sharply to starboard, suddenly gaining a huge burst of speed. The pilot of the lead fighter sighed and shook his head. He'd seen some strange things as a part of Razgriz Squadron, but a flying sled dragged by reindeer? This took the cake. Just for once it would be nice to see something in the skies that wasn't trying to kill him, but it wasn't going to happen tonight, it seemed.

The fighter formation broke apart as they gave chase, afterburners blazing against the deep azure of the midnight sky as they struggled to keep up. The fighter that had been on his left wing, flown by his trusty partner Kei Nagase, locked on to the fleeing anomaly and fired a missile, leaving a billowing streak of white smoke as the deadly weapon closed in on its target.

The sled broke hard right and dropped what the pilot assumed was some sort of hallucination caused by the stress of all his recent adventures. The missile hit the strangely wrapped package-like object and detonated in a brilliant crimson flare as Kei swore over the radio. Several more of the strange parcel-shaped decoys dropped from the sleigh, and Kei's fighter pulled up and fired its afterburners again to evade them.

The lead pilot closed in on the enemy and flicked a small red switch on his flight stick, switching to his machine guns. The reticule on his head-up display changed to a bright green circle that tracked his wildly bucking target, and he squeezed the trigger as the strange vessel pulled across his line of fire. His cockpit rumbled as the machine gun sent deadly armour piercing rounds lancing into the rear of the sleigh, tearing holes in the crimson painted panels as smoke burst into the starlight.

A hand rose from the front of the sled, holding what appeared to be a white flag. It seemed his opponent had chosen to surrender after all. The fighters reformed their formation around the damaged vessel and signalled towards the lights emanating from the island below.

As the fighters escorted their prisoner towards the base, they couldn't help but notice that the moon was suddenly veiled by dark clouds...