Wyoming Catholic College’s much feared antagonist Karen Clark nearly ruined Christmas for all the students at WCC with a devious plan to parody and invert Christmas with a “Santa” and his sleigh that “stole” rather than “gave” as part of her plan to prove that WCC students were not what they seemed. But luckily, like the outrageous mission IIT was involved in last Christmas to save the Class of 2020, IIT has got the back of WCC’s students. Here’s the amazing story of not just IIT and its employees, but all of WCC’s students getting together to save Christmas, and then to join together in what really makes Christmas, Christmas, the free gift of hope from God in the person of Jesus Christ.

But the story started over a month ago:

Everything started with a typically raucous Friday night at Athanasius right before Thanksgiving. A busy weekend, make that a busy week, was coming up and everyone was panicking. Which meant, actually, that they were acting like they weren’t panicking. Pizza was in the air, in more ways than one, and so were Christopher Carter’s bowling pins. Nicholas King was back in town, singing some folk songs on their front porch, whilst a group of sophomores were riding around on their longboards in the parking lot. No freshmen were around, or at least to be seen, and neither were the seniors since almost none of them really live up at the dorms anyway. 

Inside the hearts and minds of those convivial Athansians were thoughts of… Well, there weren’t really any thoughts going through their minds. Most of them had been by the Pequod a few hours before so what was going on inside their hearts and minds was slightly less than fully rational. 

It was dark outside, obviously for the time of year, but it wasn’t that dark. For from up above on Cemetery Hill, the watcher didn’t need any of her advanced technology to recognize each of the individuals on the porch. A good three hundred feet away from them, she watched, a glimmering smile beginning to form. “It was time,” she thought, “to introduce a little anarchy into the mix.” It was time for them to hand over “the power of poetics.” Or it was time for them to die. She didn’t really care. It was none of her business to care. She was Karen Clark. She cared by not caring.

“Mobilize,” she spoke into her wrist-mounted radio transceiver. Nothing happened for a few moments, but Karen now that her squadron of warriors from the League of Guardians of Lan Vilma were on their way into position. Warriors, she liked that term. “How uncivilized the world was now,” she thought as she waited for each of the men to radio in that they were in position. The very fact that she had to be working in secret to accomplish tonight’s plan. The fact she couldn’t walk in anywhere and disrupt things without someone trying to stop her. That angered her so as to be all the more resolute in her plan to show the world, and WCC, what she really thought about them all. “I’m just ahead of the curve,” she liked to tell herself, and she believed it.

The plan for tonight was just a simple demonstration. Freshmen annoyed her. They were anarchists, but not of such high a class as her. She would make them to appear for what they were before the whole school, and show the school for what it was in their inability to stop her. The dorms were going to go, tonight. Not go as in the sense of “blow up”, but it would be close. She and her agents would simply “dig out” underneath all of them. Make a little noise, a little vibration, give things a little push, and they’d collapse into the ground.

It was a great plan, and the noise from Athanasius gave great cover, as no one would pay attention to the digging noise her employ would make. “Activate” she called out finally, happily. Settling down to watch she laughed to herself. She was enjoying her moment of revenge against that place that claimed to be civilized, to pursue the virtues, to pursue the liberal arts. “And they don’t even want my poems, my books while they claim to be all those things?” She laughed, and laughed again. “Athanasius.” She snickered again.

Unfortunately, however, she had laughed a little too loudly. A noise rose behind her, and it was not from one of her assistants.

“Hey there,” it called, “who are you?”

“A wrench, ugh” she muttered to herself. It was a dating, nay, an engaged couple, Ellen and Ezekial climbing back down the hill from a visit to the cemetery that abutted the dormitories. “Can’t talk sorry,” she muttered to herself, slipping away.

“Call it off,” she muttered unhappily as she sped off through the darkness to her vehicle waiting parked near the church. “Slip away, quickly,” she added. “Too much suspicion in the air, I can’t let people see me…yet, that is.”

As unfortunate as this setback had been, there’d be another chance. Another plan was already forming in her mind. “That would be it,” she suddenly thought. “I’ll ruin their Christmas. That’ll show them.”

Several Weeks Later

It was Christmas Eve. But WCC senior Marcus Gardner, sitting on the roof of his parents’ home, “as one does” was getting a little suspicious nd confused. As part of the IIT Intelligence Team, he had gotten wind that there would be some sort of attack by what IIT knew was WCC’s archenemy, Karen, but he had no idea what it would be, or how it would be pulled off. WCC’s Security Chief Andrew Matthews had guards posted all over WCC’s campus. “It can never be too safe,” was Andrew Matthews’ motto and he certanly lived by it.

But Marcus couldn’t help thinking that the expected attack by Karen Clark would hit somewhere where it would hit all the students, that being everywhere across the country (and in Canada/Ireland/Ragaan). “But where, and how?” he thought. 

Keeping up his musings as snow started to fall at 10pm, Marcus suddenly became aware of a strange, faint sound off in the distance. Looking around he saw a dark silhouette high in the air, and off in the distance, coming towards him. “Hmm,” he thought. “That thing looks like a sleigh! Weird.” Slipping out of view behind a bump in the roofline of the home, he saw the thing come closer. It was vaguely shaped like sleigh like, but as it approached, it could be seen that it was some sort of plane, or tank, he couldn’t tell exactly, but one obviously made to look a little like a sleigh.

Almost silent, it glided in toward his own roof and slowing to a stop, landed with a bump, not ten feet from where he stood and watched. A crack opened in the top of the object, enclosed, black, and streamline, but in its design almost causing him to laugh. A sleigh without horses? Flying around and landing on people’s homes? Landing on his home, in fact? But the crack opened wider and he realized it all at once. For the figure that emerged was Karen Clark, dressed in an almost parodic combination of a Santa Claus costume and as Darth Vader.

“So this was her revenge,” Marcus thought. “But what was her object exactly,” he thought as the figure, bumbling and half-tripping, lowered itself off the side of the roof with some sort of rope he couldn’t fully see from his position. “Where was she going? Should he stop her?”

Somehow he felt like making the first move might not necessarily turn out for the best. A moment later it became obvious what her goal was, as Karen reappeared, with several boxes clipped to her waist. An inverse Santa Claus. Flying around in a sleigh and stealing on Christmas. 

“Obviously, she needed to be stopped,” Marcus thought, “But how?” Karen Clark was probably going to be making the rounds of all the WCC students across the country, stopping at each stealing from each, and otherwise having her revenge. There was only a moment to prepare, but Marcus suddenly made his move. Crawling across the roof he leaped onto a support strut he had observed at the base of Karen’s “sleigh”. It took off, extremely smoothly. “Hopefully she doesn’t notice,” Marcus thought. Holding on as the sleigh accelerated, but only barely, he somehow managed to reach for his pocket radio transmitter. 

It’s cliche, but it was time to “call in the cavalry”. Seeing that the now rapidly moving sleigh was gaining altitude and heading in a generally westward direction he guessed that it was headed for the Midwest he, emphasis again on the somehow, sent out an urgent, brief message to the rest of the members of the IIT Intelligence staff.

Promising to prepare anything they had to respond with and to pass on the call for help, things began to move swiftly as several Google Hangouts group chats beeped, and beeped, and beeped again between students all over the country. Jack Swindell was able to get his National Guard unit mobilized to respond, including, somehow, the usage of several Air Force supersonic jet fighters within twenty minutes. Ceily Daly also had the same, although it took her twenty-two minutes to get permission to use supersonic planes.

Irkutsk Ice Truckers had all its trucks across the country on standby in case, somehow, they’d be needed while connections WCC has with the Lander police department got the entire Lander police force on standby to defend students who lived in Lander from a possible Karen Clark raid.

Anthony Jones, Jill Cook, and Erin Bernard used their political connections to get even more of the military on standby, and in action, and soon dozens of jet fighters, transports, and ground deployment units, including volunteer paratroopers Felicity Amorose and Briggs Fontenot  were on their way to the homing beacon provided by Marcus’ radio transmitter. For somehow, he was still hanging on, even as the sleigh plane now descended towards its obvious next target, Wisconsin, and in particular the home of WCC Junior Jacob Zepp. 

By this time, however, military forces of all kinds, and with them, students from across the country of all kinds, had closed in on the scene. And it was still before Midnight. Michel Rioux and Theo Benz, each with their full assortment of weaponry, met up in a C-17 Globemaster military transport plane. The plan had been hastily assembled by Everett Polinski from his Denver command center, who had put himself in charge of the whole response operation. The plane would match her speed and approach from above and behind, while Michel and Theo, each heavily armed, would jump with Felicity and Ceily onto Karen’s vehicle, somehow take her out without knocking Marcus off and hopefully land it while also ending whatever other contingency she had planned.

The timing was crucial, so Dr. Olsson had to be called up to calculate all the trajectories, velocities, motions, and the like, to figure out the exact moment to jump so that the four would meet up directly with her vehicle. Since there was also a crunch for time in calculating everything, Everett also had to enlist the help of Omnisicnes (William Albers) and Oliva DeLaveaga, and in ten minutes the exact numbers for the jump had been calculated to millimeter precision.

Meanwhile, David Tardiff got a ground team of moose prepared to fend off any potential threats from the ground, and each of the moose, linguistically trained in twenty minutes (they were smart moose), by Magister Hamilton, got all their relative moose all over the country all set to participate in whatever needed to be done.

Robert Belken showed up at Jacob’s home by 11:45 with his pickup truck, some “tools” if there was to be a fight and an American flag. Everyone knew that Karen Clark, although formerly a state representative in a past career, hated the flag, so it would at least work as a diversion. Ben Bridge also even had a kayak loaded up in a car on the way if for some reason water-support was needed.

But with all the people in motion all across the country, it was obvious that food would soon be needed, and so as Everett prepared to send in a catering order, Camille and her dad soon prepared a bunch of “interim” snacks which were soon sent on the way.

Ben Blanchard soon showed up with ginger beer, not really sure why he had brought it, but reflecting that whatever was going on was just about as exciting as a peak ascent, so “might as well.”

That was the interesting part about all this action. Few of the late arrivals to Wisconsin that evening actually even knew what was going on. They just knew there was excitement of some kind and that all the students were somehow ending up together for Christmas.

Since it was Jacob Zepp, however, the future Pope Zepp, and one who at present practically has “a priest in his back pocket” preparations were being made for a slightly delayed, but still mostly canonically proper Midnight Mass in his backyard.

“Make sure you complete your mission by Midnight, Theo,” Jacob radioed, as Theo, obviously was needed as one of the servers for the Mass. 

And while everyone else had been hustling around, it appeared that hope was to be the order of the evening, the type of hope that comes from success. The paratrooper jump worked as planned, four figures, without ever even having had to use their parachutes, landed on Karen’s sleigh, and the threatening, but unable to fight figure, was soon restrained, landed on the ground, and carried off by Lander’s Chief Halsmer.

It was finished, and it was Midnight. And it was Mass, for it was now Christmas. Not only had Karen Clark’s threat been ended, but so also was the rule of sin ended. Christ had become man, and in the Mass would soon be made present in the flesh again. Hope had entered the world, and all were together. Karen’s somewhat goofy sleigh plane in the hands of the US Air Force, who discovered it was a stolen prototype of a project they had been working on a decade before. Karen’s assistants turned themselves into the police, hopeless without their leader to aid and protect them from the law. And the residents of St. Athanasius and the freshmen whom Karen had a month earlier hoped to prove to be anarchists, to be drunkards, to be riotous and immature? They were all at Mass, together, composed, sober, mature, and rational, and planning to continue to be so in the future.

You see something did change when Christ first came, and something changes each time He again is made present.

Hope enters the world. God enters His world.

Merry Christmas!