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Author: Robert Ford

1993: Twice, Two Nights before Christmas

The “Night Danger” signs for moose were getting on his nerves. The pictogram of a large herbivore plunging onto the road appeared too often. How was he supposed to identify a dark moose against a black background? The posted speed limit was ninety kilometres per hour, but he maintained a hundred. Joel estimated he’d be just as dead if a moose made a suicide run in front of his car. Three hours more to Thunder Bay. The strain of glaring into the darkness was causing him to imagine movement in-between the various road reflectors. “Great. By the time I...

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1992: Christmas Story

December 24th, 1998 Vancouver General Hospital Raymond Kroll was damned if he was going to die in bed. His wasted claw-hand swept the sheet off and he sat up, a significant effort. Raymond hadn’t stood on his own power nor been this lucid in weeks. His roommate, another AIDS patient, was asleep and took her breaths in sharp snorts. Painfully Ray stood and made his way to the window. He could see the moonlit snow-covered mountains to the north. But he really wanted to look east, toward Ontario, where he had been born. Since he had discovered he was...

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1991: Christmas Times

December 24, 2456: Tol watched the distant star explode. It was beautiful. He gazed listlessly out the starship’s observation deck. Tol was exhausted from a double shift — even the synthetic parts of his body hurt. The star, now a super-nova, was a deadly vista but only because the ship’s radiation screens had failed. Normally there was little danger during the repair period, as the ship’s hull provided modest protection. An exploding star released more than modest amounts of radiation. Tol was alone on the observation deck. He had come down for a tranquil view before sleeping. Everyone else...

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1990: Christmas Story

One Hour AD Two spaceships were locked in combat. The smugglers did not intend to surrender despite being at a disadvantage. When the police vessel moved in to enclose the smugglers’ ship in a force field, the criminals activated their own shields, setting them to overload. The result was a fusion of energy fields. The police could not lower their shields as the smugglers’ would attack. To leave the shields up would lead to the destruction of both ships. The police sent signals to the smugglers ordering them to reverse the overload. They refused. The police accused them of...

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1989: Salzburg

Dennis was obsessed. He went to the travel agent and, when they asked him what they could do, he blurted out: “I’ve got to get to Salzburg.” “When?” “Now.” He couldn’t believe his own words. The idea of Christmas away had been brewing for a while, but the insistence on Salzburg was coming from a part of his mind over which he obviously had no control. For an outrageous sum of money he purchased a first class ticket to Zurich, from where he would take a train to Salzburg. On his return to the office, Dennis pondered a difficulty....

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