By Melanie Goldmund
"My cloak is malfunctioning," Rebekah said, jiggling the controls on her belt. If her personal cloaking device wasn't working, she'd have to break off the patrol and go back to the ship for a new one. Thankfully, her long iridescent robe disappeared. "No, it's good now."
"Keep it that way," Adam ordered.
They approached the huge domes, the only sign of life on this arid planet, and began to stroll around the perimeter. They'd had to make an emergency landing, desperately searching for a source of talipe to repair their ship, and had found the only deposit uncomfortably close to this alien outpost. Now, everybody who wasn't involved with the repairs had been assigned to covertly observe the human-like beings while they waited for instructions from Fleet Headquarters on whether they should approach.
"It's quiet," Rebekah said. "Maybe they're observing the Sabbath Day, too."
"Oh, right, aliens do everything just like we do?" Adam scoffed.
"Look." Rebekah diverted his attention. A window ahead was hung with small lights of all different colours.
"A decoration?" Adam mused. "No, a child's toy."
Feeling bold, Rebekah stopped to stare. On the other side of the window, a child was playing with something on the sill, turning it around to face the outside, and picking up any fallen pieces. It was a kind of three-sided dwelling with a roof suggesting organic grasses, and a star arcing over it. Gently, the child slid animals back into place, and also humans in different kinds of clothing, arranging them around what appeared to be a baby bedded down in a small feeding trough. Rebekah felt a thrill run down her spine.
"Adam," she said slowly. "Adam, a depiction of the birth of the Saviour!"
"Do you have to bring religion into everything?" Adam peered closer. "Looks like some kind of Family Farm playset to me."
"The scriptures say the Saviour was born in a stable, and that looks like a stable," Rebekah countered. "Those four-legged things are definitely animals, and these men with them could be shepherds. And look at these figures on the right. There's something in their hands, and their costumes look much more opulent than what the others are wearing. Wise men from afar, bearing gifts! There's even a star on the roof!"
"Rebekah, these are aliens!" Adam protested. "They don't know anything about your precious Saviour!"
"The Saviour has created worlds without number," Rebekah countered. "Why wouldn't their inhabitants know about Him, if He created them, too?"
"Of all the people on board the ship, I get stuck with a Believer!" Adam growled. "Come on!"
There was a buzzing sound from Rebekah's belt, and her robe flashed into visibility. The child glanced up, and Rebekah caught a glimpse of wide open eyes and mouth. Instinctively, Rebekah jumped away, jabbing at the controls until her cloak faded again.
Inside the dome, the child ran into the next room. "Mom, mom, I saw an angel, looking at our Nativity set, right here on Mars!"
LDSP Comments: I liked this one. I liked the idea of Christmas being celebrated on other planets. Some of the dialog was a little flat (predictable). It needs to be a developed--but I only gave you a few words so it's a pretty good start. Publishable? With a little work.