Mysterious visitors to the ISS really sparked everyone’s imagination this month, young and old. As it’s Christmas we have a winner and a runner-up; we’re also delighted to welcome contributions from budding young writers at Lancing College Prep.
‘Terror Alert in Airlock 3. Terror Alert in Airlock 3.’ The computerised security system was never happy unless it could say things very loudly and several times.
‘OK Give me visuals.’ Captain Scott always liked to sound like something out of Star Trek.
The visual display on the big screen showed the interior of airlock three. In the centre of the screen was a frankly suspicious character in a red dressing gown with a blatantly false snowy white beard. He was depositing some brightly-wrapped presents in the airlock. He then breached all the safety protocols by getting out of the airlock by the same mysterious means he had sneaked into it. It should have been impossible to override the automated system.
‘Captain, the regulations are perfectly clear. We cannot take a chance with the lives of all the crew. We must discharge all the contents of the airlock into space immediately.’ The computer would not be gainsaid. Captain Scott only hesitated a moment before giving his assent.
‘Chief,’ Officer Dee was smiling all over his chubby avuncular face, ‘have you seen Kowalewski? I just spotted him getting out of a Santa suit in airlock 2. It seems he left us a whole load of...’
Officer Dee and the Captain both looked at the screen to watch a dozen thoughtfully-chosen presents drifting off into space.
We Traverse Afar
‘Run the damn diagnostics again, Sergey.’
‘Certainly, Bruce, but the Russian half of this ship is not responsible for that noise.’
Not for the first time during this mission, Bruce feels the needs for a cigarette. ‘OK, Sergey. Let’s all pipe down and use our God-given ears instead.’
Aboard the International Space Station, there’s near silence. Then the knocking comes again.
‘Bruce, I have visual on the hatch.’ Sergey pauses. ‘Something’s outside.’
They stare at the screen.
‘Sergey, is that...a drone?’
‘Carrying a package, Bruce. And if I read that lettering correctly, it seems to be from our colleague, Major Tim.’
By the time they consult NASA, who advise detonating the box, they’ve brought it inside. At Sergey’s touch, one of the sides descends like a ramp. Within sit many smaller boxes. Bruce takes one.
‘Industrial rope lights. External use. Sergey, I think I understand.’
Later, NASA query why that afternoon’s space walk took longer than planned.
The next morning, Sergey kisses his wife’s photo as he sees the date, December 25. As the sun sets back on Earth, families stand outside trying to glimpse the ship. Bruce puts on his shades, flicks a switch and the ISS soars like a comet through the black sky with 1,000 brilliant red and green lights. Mums and Dads laugh and hug their children.
Two hundred miles up, they notice an incoming call.
‘Hi boys, Tim Peake here. Love the illuminations!’
‘Tim! The lights are great. Thanks!’
‘Sorry, Bruce? Nothing to do with me.’
With Tim and Bruce’s friendly argument continuing, Sergey heads to the storage bay. He could have sworn that Tim had signed off his message with a kiss. But instead of reading ‘NASA T x’, the lettering reads ‘SANTA x’.
Always Expect the Unexpected
Christmas Eve didn’t feel festive on the International Space Station. Dave had put a sprig of holly on the GTA5 cylinder, but Sebastian had a cold and every time he sneezed, it fell off. They had mince pies, but Sebastian only ate ones from Waitrose, and they kept floating away anyway. Dave was bewildered.
‘There’s no gravity here, you moron,’ Sebastian advised. Still confused, Dave pondered. ‘Well, strictly, I shouldn’t be here; I don’t have GCSE Maths,’ he said. Sebastian sighed. ‘It’s not like we’re going to need mince pies anyway,’ Dave said. ‘No chance of a visit from Mr Claus for us.’
Halfway through EastEnders, there was a clattering on the aluminium roof. ‘Get your spanner out,’ instructed Sebastian, but Dave had a better idea. ‘It’s Father Christmas!’ he exalted, removing globs of mincemeat from his chin. Sebastian was doubtful. The clattering increased and a tinkling of bells could be heard faintly. Dave shook expectantly. There was a knock - ‘Get the kettle on!’ ordered Sebastian. ‘Quick!’ But Dave was already opening the door.
Resplendent in a dirty string vest, pink tutu and gigantic, black Doctor Martens was… ‘Father Christmas?’ questioned Sebastian confusedly.
‘Tooth Fairy, mate,’ replied the unshaven role-model of children everywhere. ‘Sat-nav got knocked out by flying animals – must have been that Christmas bloke.’ He gestured to a bag of tiny packages – ‘There’s no chance of dropping off these coins now. I’ll have to wait until morning.’
‘I’d always imagined… a girl… a little smaller,’ mumbled Sebastian.
‘Equal rights and all that, mate,’ shrugged the unkempt fairy, helping himself to a mince pie and sitting down.
It wasn’t a traditional Christmas Eve, but sometimes the unexpected happens. In fact, as they settled down, astronauts and tooth fairy, there was a knock at the door…
Beatrice Turner (year 6)
It’s Christmas Eve on the international space station. There’s a knock on the door and someone walks in with some odd-looking packages. At first I thought they were a human, but then I took a closer look and saw it only had one glowing, florescent yellow eye! So I thought, what only has one eye? I gasped and said ‘An alien!’
Behind the alien there was someone wearing a white, hard and a bit weird looking suit. It was an astronaut. I went to the astronaut and asked, ‘Where do you come from?’ The astronaut replied and said, ‘I come from space,’ in a very low voice. ‘Wow do you actually come from space?’ I asked. ‘Yes I do.’ ‘What’s it like in space?’ ‘It’s very dark but so fun.’
‘Is it scary floating around?’ ‘No not really.’
I was amazed but at the same time I was looking out of the window and saw loads of things flying around in the sky, they were forming a line towards the space station. At first I just thought they were shooting stars, but as they got closer to the building they started to look like enormous, thick pencils. As they floated closer and closer I thought the enormous pencils were about to crash through the window.
Suddenly they started to look like spaceships! The aliens landed their vehicles outside the building and made a massive screeeeching noise on the ground. The aliens came out of there spaceships and slid into the building. Suddenly the alien with the odd-looking package dropped it on the ground and out jumped a minion. #MrsLloyd! The minion jumped out holding a bag of presents. All the aliens shouted Merry Christmas!
Amelie Kries-Margaroli (year 3)
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