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Elf on The shelf

Posted on Sun Jan 3rd, 2021 @ 7:39pm by Liha t'Ehhelih & Captain Rueben Gregnol

Mission: Railway
1920 words - 3.8 OF Standard Post Measure

Gregnol was impatient for things to back to normal, he missed his wife, miss the way even sitting in a chair felt normal but most of all he missed being in command of his ship and not having to defer to someone else hoping they picked up the prompt. He put down the fork and looked out the window. Anywhere else in the universe it would be gearing up for Christmas but not on Rosie they were gearing up to meet Fenris Rangers and go rescue some refugees. It was not exactly a Christmas dream normally let along when he was stuck in the body of Eden.

Liha did not normally hang out with the Captain, but Jake did spend a lot of time with Eden, and since they were in Jake and Eden's bodies, it seemed necessary to keep up appearances. But everything felt wrong. Though a good part of that was just how ...different... Eden's tastes were from her own. She'd done her best to avoid them since waking up here in Eden's body earlier, but eating in them now the differences were becoming unsettling. Eden's place was lot more cluttered than hers, leaving too many places for bugs and hidden cameras. It was a mindset she'd absorbed since early childhood - and one that had kept her alive back in the Empire. Burnie would say she wasn't in the Empire anymore, but that really was no reason to stop being cautious.

She began to glance around, casually scanning as she ate. Then her eye caught something - a strange tiny figure. A toy? one of Eden's add fripperies? Maybe. But it was weird the way it was placed, half peeking around a knickknack on a shelf, like it was intended to look like it was spying on them. In her own quarters, the immediate choice would be to take it down, tear it apart to search for any threats, and destroy it. However, these weren't her quarters. "What is that?" she asked, pointing with her fork.

Gregnol has appreciated that Liha even in Jake’s body was silent like normal. He wanted the company but not the noise and it seemed like she did too much to her credit. He jumped at the sudden noise interrupting his thoughts and looked at the ‘man’ to where he was pointing. He turned and felt his face breaking to the easy smile that seemed to come to Eden’s body. It was nothing like how strained it always felt for him in his own body. He stood moving over to where the figure was peeking out and slowly pulled it so Liha could see it better. “Liha this is an elf on the shelf,” He had not seen one since his childhood.

"A what on the what?" Liha asked, both eyebrows rising at a designation that made no sense to her. Still, she relaxed slightly. Gregnol obviously knew what the ...whatever it was.... was and did not see it as threat. Of course, while he was less clueless than most humans, he was still human, so she wasn't 100% reassured. After all, it was easy to assume Eden's baubles were harmless, but the woman had adopted a large unidentified species of spider as a pet, so...

Gregnol turned around and tossed the elf at the Romulan. “It started in the early 21st century as a Christmas-themed story, written in rhyme, that explains how Santa Claus knows who is naughty and nice. It says elves visit children from the first day of December to Christmas Eve, after which they return to the North Pole until the next holiday season.” He had no idea if she even knew what Santa Claus was but it was out there in the universe far enough so it was likely that it was known. “It is a child thing where parents have a laugh and keep the Christmas spirit alive.”

She caught the elf reflexively - and felt somewhat proud that she could that even with Jake's big clumsy hands. Christmas... Liha thought back to what she knew of it, which was not much. Something to do with presents, decorated trees, and people asking to have their teeth knocked in by grabbing you for a kiss because of some poisonous weed having from the ceiling. But there was also something about a giant dressed in red who watched everything you did... Turning the elf over, she felt along its weirdly elongated form for bugs, transmitters, or recording equipment, but found nothing. "If the monitoring equipment is embedded in this, whoever designed is very good."

“The Elf on the Shelf is a scout elf that gets their magic by being named and being loved by a child. You do know about magic right?” He teased a little. He was fully aware he did not know much about romulan culture. Maybe he used could use this time to fix that as they had to spend time together.

"Magic? Usually that's advanced technology cloaked in excuses to hide it from the less sophisticated." Liha pursed Jake's lips, considering if the story was meant to deceive young children into not questioning surveillance. "What sort of magic does this elf supposed have?"

Gregnol still smiled at the response from the woman. “The scout elf receives its special Christmas magic, which allows it to fly to and from the North Pole to snitch to Santa. A lot of people argued that somethings purpose such as using it to spy on kids should not as it bullies your child into thinking that good behavior equals gifts. The concept as just another nannycam in a nanny state obsessed with penal codes but then 2020 came and it became a bit thing and became part of traditions.” He was sure it was more a American and Europe thing, he was sure that it was never a thing before he moved to London with his fathers intelligence work.

"So it was a method of teaching children that they were being watched all time. A way of making them comfortable with it so they would learn not to arouse suspicion." Liha tipped her head, considering. "Does that mean Santa is the code name for the head your version of the Tal'Shiar?"

Gregnol looked at her one way then the other before bursting out laughing. He could not believe she had said that and then the realisation of who it was under the Jake exterior sucker punched him and made him laugh even more. “Da completely.” He finally said trying to gain some composure.

Liha crossed her arms. "I don't see what's funny about that." She frowned wondering if being in Eden's body was making Gregnol flighty too. "I will admit making it part of a children's story that's fun rather than terrifying is a potential useful approach. But then how do you start teaching children to identify and avoid surveillance as they mature?"

“Liha we do not teach our children to spy and avoid surveillance. It is just a bit of harmless fun.” Gregnol explained taking the figure back putting it sitting in the pot plant that Eden had on display. “We have no need for that other than to take our offspring for the holidays.”

"Uh-huh." She eyed the 'elf' skeptically. "I know that has always been the Federation party line, but if it's true, why develop an entire mythology based on secretive beings spying and reporting back to some shadowy figure with the power of reward and punishment?"

“Because we love our children. And we want winter time to hard. It used to be cold and deadly in those times but a lot of the mythology comes from religion. Earth has not been religious for a while but things like this little guy remain as traditions.” Reuben shrugged. He could not remember a lot of it, he had never been a religious man even when his mother hand been.

"We love our children too. That's why we teach them to be aware of surveillance and other dangers." She considered the elf. "You may regard it as merely tradition now, and I do not know what caused your decline, butI find it somewhat ...reassuring... that your species once understood the concept and did not regard it as 'paranoia'. There is hope you can learn to be sensible again."

Gregnol bit his lip hard to try and stop laughing but a snort escape as he settled down back down across from her to eat. “I am very sensible thank you very much Liha especially compared to some humans.” He said picking up the bottle of beer taking a sip. He was sticking to one as it was Eden’s body but it tasted so different than usual.

"Compared to other humans," she looked pointedly around Eden's quarters. "most definitely. Human is ...something of a low bar." Her lips twitched with amusement, which might or might not have come across on Jake's face. "But you are closer to Romulan than many humans, which I appreciate," she added after a beat, lifting a bottle of beer. It was something that had about as much kick as koolaid in her own body, but in Jake's it seemed safest. "If you ever have children and practice this elf custom, plant a real bug in it and I will teach your offspring how to identify and disarm it."

"That would be due to my father being intelligence and me being security. Makes a Russian man who is already quite stoic even more so." Gregnol assured. He had not thought much on his father in a long time to have him all that occupied his mind with the swap other that Jeassaho and wishing to hug her. "I will hold you to that but let us not tell J huh?"

"Keeping secrets even from your mate," Liha laughed, and lifted her beer in a gesture of toast. "You may learn to think like a Romulan yet."

Gregnol laughed back. Jeassaho would kill him if he taught their children in the future to be Romulan than human or Betazoid. “The only one who thinks that is a positive is you. Jea would airlock me if she thought I was doing that. J might not scare you but that woman. My woman is scary.”

"if you say so." Liha shrugged, but didn't object. Most men thought their wives were scary - it showed good sense. However it wasn't a reason for other women to be afraid of them. "Personally, I find toys meant to spy and report to creepy semi-immortal being much more disturbing."

“Do Romulans not have deities?” He finally wondered as he calmed down and the amusement of what she had said died down.

"Some do. Mostly they're indifferent to mere mortals - unless they have a use for you." Liha downed a swallow of beer. "but even believers find the ones that watch you creepy. And none of them use children's toys for that."

"Sounds like the god of our old times. I feel like you are judging me more than usual there Liha." He commented with a bit of a smirk. It sounded like the deities of her homeworld were similar to the ones of ancient Greece or Rome. Indifferent unless they wanted to breed or use mortals.

"Don't take it personally." She smiled, which on Jake's face might have looked more like Burnie's joking grin than she quite intended. "It's your whole species I'm judging more than usual."


 

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