Rocket Raccoon #3 – A Rocket Christmas Special

Dec 23, 2016 by     Comments Off on Rocket Raccoon #3 – A Rocket Christmas Special    Posted under: Guardians of the Galaxy, Sci-Fi/Cosmic

Randy Lander presents
Marvel Rebooted – A Rocket Raccoon Christmas Special
Issue #3 – As Far North As You Can Get
by James Cooke

It’s so cold. I feel really sick.

My illness isn’t only down to the chilly temperature though. No. It’s also this boat. This lifeboat. It did me fine in the more tropical parts of the planet, but as I’ve sailed north, the choppiness of the water has increased as the temperature’s decreased. Those two things combined are doing my nervous system no good. I guess you’d describe my current state as being the worst kind of travel sickness meets the nastiest flu anyone’s ever suffered. Even my make-shift shelter’s doing me no good now.

I never saw that lady, that thing, that…what did she say her name was? Mermaid? Yeah, her! I never saw her again after that one strange encounter, when I saw her floating above the ocean surface. I’m kinda glad on account of her giving me the creeps, but can’t help but think she might have lied about heading north to find Star Lord. I’ve found nothing but a drop in climate so far. I also sometimes feel like I’m being watched. Either she’s followed me from below the surface or she spooked me so bad that I’ve become paranoid. Hell, being stuck on this thing for gods knows how long probably hasn’t exactly done wonders for my mental state. I hope I find land soon.

* * *

I am awoken by a bump to the head and a smack in the back. When I come fully to I realize that my whole body was thrown across the boat like a dart, my head colliding with the side, my back slamming to the floor. The boat’s crashed. Is it land?

I peer out. It is. Land. Thank the gods! It’s land! It’s…

I’m not so sure. I think it is. But it’s not like the solid material I encountered in the place they called Hawaii. It’s really cold and pure white. I lean out and rub a paw against it. Water trickles. It… it’s ice.

Glancing round, I ain’t got many other places to go and I can’t stand to spend another second on this boat. My options lacking, I climb out, grabbing what little supplies I have remaining to take with me. It’s not ideal, but my fur should keep me warm enough while I traverse this icy landscape.

Standing there on the solid water, I turn back to look at the boat one last time. The thought of returning to it is suddenly tempting. It’s become, after all, so familiar. One of my feet twitches, as if picking up on some subconscious command from the depths of my brain. But then, before I can make any sort of decision one way or another, the boat suddenly lunges forward and smashes against the edge of the frosty wall of ice. There’s no doubt it’s broken. It shattered on impact, blown to smithereens! Well, maybe not blown as in blown up, but the damage I witnessed brought the word smithereens to mind and I can’t help but use it. Smithereens. So satisfying.

I lean over the edge of the ice to see if I can pinpoint what caused the boat to suddenly crash with such force. Something must have pushed it. And I didn’t see any large waves. I scan the vicinity and can’t see anything untoward. I remain in position for about minute, watching for any signs of movement, but other than the rocking of the tide, I don’t see a thing. Giving up, I stand up, pick up my loot, turn and start walking.It’s still dark, but with the moon shining and the terrain sheer white, I can navigate my way.

* * *

It doesn’t get light here. Not properly anyway. The planet’s sun must not reach these parts. However, there are sometimes these green streaks and blue flickers that dance in the sky. These performances keep me going in spite of the cold, my growing lack of food, and the fact that I’ve come across nothing but ice and snow for days on end. They are one of the most awesome sights I’ve come across in the whole of the galaxy. There may be no sunlight this far north, but at least they’ve got this: these northern lights.

I shelter beneath lashings of snow. That may sound crazy, but it’s warmer than sleeping exposed to the elements; those chilly winds. When I wake, I walk. When I stop, I sleep. That is my pattern, my routine. I’ve started following those wacky awesome dancing lights whenever they appear. Not only because I figure I may as well migrate towards the only natural beauty I see, but also because it’s the only visual I get that looks different from snow and sky and ice and can therefore ensure that I don’t wander round in circles until I die of starvation, the cold or both.

* * *

The dancing lights never get old. They only appear once a day or so, and I look forward to their visit. Apart from that, I’ve grown to hate the look of snow, ice, and even the stars in the sky. My legs ache something wicked. I’m down to my last snack. I’m screwed.

I can’t go on much longer. The lights go out for another day or night or whatever this is. I can’t tell. I’m just gonna lie here for a bit.

* * *

What’s this? Something’s prodding me. In the leg! What is that? I curl up to try and avoid it. My eyes feel as if they’re frozen shut. I can’t see. I can’t protect myself. It picks me up, it — they. There’s more than one. They carry me. What is this? What’s this? What’s thi…

* * *

“So, what do we have here?”

The voice is booming, it echoes. It wakes me. I struggle to open my eyes while trying to figure out where I am. I rub my eyes, trying to dispel the remaining haze of unconsciousness. The snow, the cold, oh no! I can’t carry on, I- but wait, I’m not shivering. Not anymore. And then it comes back to me: as I was passing out, something, someone, no, somethings came and took me away.

The world is blurry as my eyelids part. It takes half a minute or so to come into focus and there’s a… it’s… it looks like a human male, but he’s about the same height as me. And he’s wearing the most ridiculous costume I’ve ever seen. And I often hang around with characters dressed in spandex! This little fella, he’s got a pair of green dungarees on over a shirt that’s decorated with red and white horizontal stripes. On his feet are maybe shoes, but possibly slippers – either way, whatever they are, they curl up at the toes. And the most ludicrous part of the whole costume? That’d be the stupid thing on his head that I don’t think could even be called a hat the way it sits on his head, pointing up. It’s basically a cone. A green cone. The small person is wearing a cone on his freaking head! I just wanna knock it off, I oughta-

“Cocoa?” the little guy asks, presenting me with a steaming mug that smells oh so sweet. Why was I getting so irate with this guy again?

“Uhh, thanks, pal.” I say, swiping the good stuff from the tiny man’s hands. It’s perfect drinking temperature; not too hot. After taking in a few gulps, I realize something. “Say, your voice, when you offered me the cocoa, it was pretty high pitched,” I say.

“Yes, I believe my voice is of high frequency,” the little guy confirms, both in what he says and in the voice he uses to say it.

“Then how come when I came to I heard a deep, thunderous voice that sounded as if it could cause an earthquake?”

The small bringer of cocoa opens his mouth: “That was-“

“That was ME,” the large voice that interrupts is coming from behind me. It makes me jump and my remaining cocoa spills down my legs, onto the big, comfortable armchair I woke up on and onto the floor.

I whirl around in a manner that would’ve caused more cocoa to splash outta my cup if there were any left in it. There behind me, I see an enormous silhouette of a figure standing besides an open fire. Oversized socks hang from the fireplace – what the hell is that about? The giant man has a beard, a mug in one hand and some sort of pie in the other. As he steps forward to reveal himself, his beard reveals itself as white; the same color as every other hair on his head and likely his whole body. He’s dressed in all red with white trimmings. What a freak!

“‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’ the behemoth exclaims.

“Uh, yeah… howdy,” I say in return.

“Now I know that you’re not of this planet. You can’t be. So what brings you here?” the giant red blob asks. ‘”Has someone been a naughty little critter? I can always tell, all I need to do is recheck the list.”

“Fella, what the hell are you talking about?” I fire back. “You’ve got somewhat of a keen eye; I’ll give you that much. I’m not from this pile of rock and water, but I’m here looking for an old friend who’s the key to saving the galaxy from Thanos and returning it to its former glory. Could you tell me where I could find my friend? Does your list contain that kinda information?”

“Did you say… Thanos?” The big guy’s voice trails off slightly towards the end of his question there. I also notice that he near enough whispered Thanos’s name. What happened to that booming large voice?

“Yeah, so what’s it to you?”

“Oh ho, ho,” he says with a chuckle. “Nothing- never heard of him. So, tell me about your friend.”

“Do you have the means to track him? Could you tell me where he is?”

The big man hesitates, a creepy grin spread across his big bearded face. “Sure,” he eventually says. After another brief and smiling pause: “What’s your friend’s name?”

It feels as if all of the air has been sucked outta the room. I don’t got a good feeling about this guy. I look around and see that the little fella who gave me the cocoa is looking incredibly nervous all of a sudden. I realize he’s looking for an excuse to interrupt my conversation with big beardy. We make eye contact for a split second and I glance at a plate of cookies resting on a nearby table. The tiny man smiles and makes for the sweet treats.

“Where are my manners?” he says. “I haven’t offered our guest a cookie to wash down his cocoa with. Would you like one, Sir?”

“Why thank you,” I say. “And I must say, what a nice place you guys have here, uh, what are your names?”

“I’m Alabaster, Sir. Alabaster Snowball,” replies the small chap, before confirming his species for me. “In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m an elf.”

“Makes sense,” I say, then turning to the big guy.

“Why, you don’t know who I am?” the large man has regained his equally large voice. Conversations of Star Lord seem to have been averted for now. I shake my head to say not a clue.

“What a sheltered existence you’ve had,” he says. “I’m Saint Nick, also known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas and whole heap of other names around the world.”

“Well, Nick, it’s uh, good to meet ya’,” I extend a paw, which is met by a flicker of grimace on old Saint Nick’s face. He smiles an insincere look if I ever saw one and takes my small hand between his thumb and forefinger, shaking it twice.

“And what is your name, small creature?”

I glance at Alabaster, who shrugs nervously. “Me?” I say. “I’m Rocket Raccoon.”

* * *

From there the conversation went around in circles. Alabaster eventually drew the courage to ask good ol’ Saint Nick if perhaps a feast should be prepared for their new guest. My stomach immediately rumbled its approval at the idea. And here we are, sitting around a large wooden table besides yet another open fireplace. The room is lit by candlelight and the amount of food littering the table is causing me to salivate uncontrollably. There’s roast potatoes, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, swede, sausages, ham, chicken, beef and a large turkey in the middle. And that’s just what I can see from this end of the table!

Santa is sitting at the opposite end of long table from me and Alabaster is our waiter, currently standing down the table to my left – I can see the tip of his stupid hat pointing up above the surface and wonder if the reason he wears it is to add enough height to not go unnoticed.

“Well, Rocket,” says Father Christmas, raising a glass of sherry, “enjoy your feast.”

I don’t reply. I’m so famished that I dig in and chow down.

As I finish the fifth and final course, which includes what I’m told is traditional Christmas pudding along with mince pies, cookies, cheesecake and eggnog, I notice Alabaster silently clearing the table with his head down. Something definitely ain’t right; the elf looks miserable. I watch as he carries a bowl that had until recently contained mint-chocolate pie and must weigh more than double his body weight to the service door leading towards the kitchen. When he reaches the door, he scuffs his curled shoes against it, unable to knock while holding the bowl. A few seconds pass and another elf pushes the door open from the other side to take the bowl on the rest of its journey, to the kitchen I assume.

There must be several elves and they have some sort of conveyor system going to on to clear the table. I’m looking closely to see if I can spot anything out of the ordinary, and then it glints at me, drawing my attention: a chain that connects the other elf from the ankle into the darkness. The little guy isn’t working a job he signed up for. He’s being held prisoner and I’d bet Alabaster ain’t here willingly either.

“So, what kinda operation you running here, Saint Nick?” I ask, dropping my spoon into a now empty bowl.

“We deal in magic here, my dear raccoon,” Santa declares, pushing himself back from the table and standing up. Alabaster noticeably flinches and Father Christmas starts wandering towards the fireplace. He picks up a snow globe.

“‘Rocket,” says Santa, examining the snow globe, inside which is a miniature version of the big, red man himself, “I came to this planet to instill hope and joy into the lives of its children. Once a year I fly around the world, which particularly impressed Earth’s inhabitants in the days before they had developed aircraft of their own, and I deliver presents to all of the children as they sleep. I climb down chimneys, as impossible as that may seem,” he shakes his belly at the notion, “and leave toys and treats in giant socks and under trees. The children believe in me – and so they should; I’m real, am I not? My deeds give hope and promote peace and goodwill among all. There is hope. And then: the children grow up. You know what happens when the kids get older?”

I shake my head.

“They stop believing; they claim that the parents put the presents under the tree and that I’m some imaginary figure. They don’t deserve me and this stupid race deserves everything they’re about to get,” he slams the snow globe down onto the table in front of me, the snow inside whirls into a frenzy and I see a look of panic on the face of the tiny Santa inside.

“What are they about to get?” I wonder aloud.

“Oh, you’ll love it, and so will the elves,” Saint Nick says, patting Alabaster on top of his hat. “This Christmastime will be the last and it’s going to go out with a bang! When the children, the ingrates of Earth wake on Christmas morning, there will be surprises waiting for them beneath their trees and inside their oversized socks, but it won’t be the kind of surprise they’re expecting.”

I look down from the disturbing grin now etched across Santa’s face and see that the tiny Santa replica is bashing his fists on the glass walls of the snow globe, trying to get out.

I’m not really sure what to say, but as always words come out of my mouth anyway: “That sounds, uh… not exactly festive and jolly, but more… um…”

“More what?” Santa is now leaning right over me, his upper lip raised to one side, twitching, snarling.

“Horrifying,” is the word that comes out of my mouth next.

“So, you’re not on board with my plans I take it? What a pity. What a shame!”

“No, I ain’t on board with what you’re preaching,” I reply. “To be frank, it sounds to me as if you’ve gone a bit mad living up here for so long. I think the cold’s gotten to your brain. Your heart too, for that matter.”

“Are you implying that I’m’-“

“Insane? Yes. Yes, I am. I’m implying exactly that.”

Santa bellows, “How dare you!” and slams his fists on the table. The tiny Santa inside the snow globe topples over having experienced what must have felt like an earthquake as the table shakes. “Seize him,” the big Santa yells, pointing a gloved finger in my direction.

Before I have a chance to react, I’m grabbed by a couple of elves, each one taking a shoulder. Where the hell did they come from? Seriously, I thought Alabaster was the only elf in the room, and I can see him now cowering in the corner by the fire.

“Lock him in the dungeons,” says Santa, “but keep him alive. I want to be able to tell him all about how our plans have gone come Christmas Day.”

The tiny Santa inside the snow globe looks to be screaming and shouting. But being as small as he is and encased in glass as he has been, the screams are silent. I can’t hear what he’s trying to say. If a tree falls in the woods and all that. No! I can’t let it go. The big Santa is obviously up to no good; he’s told me as much and is having me locked up. And look at the little Santa’s face: that’s the face of a man who’s begging for help.

These thoughts, and even this one, all pass through my head in the matter of about a quarter of a second. I’m about to be dragged away and locked up and then I won’t be able to do a damn thing about any of this. I didn’t even get to finish my eggnog, and there’s plenty of leftover turkey that I was planning to snack on later. Did the big Santa pretty much admit that he was going to murder all the Terran children? I gotta stop that too. But my arms – I can’t move them, I can’t reach out, I can’t break free; not when these newly materialized elves have got me by the shoulders like this.

Before my brain has even had the chance to process the thought, it sends a signal to my legs, which spring up into the air. And just before I can be pulled away from the table, my right leg sweeps around in a pretty badass roundhouse kicking motion, connecting with the snow globe sitting in its path. The snow globe slides off of the table and sails briefly through the air before the diagonal trajectory in which it finds itself results in a collision with the stone floor. Smash.

“No!” Santa screams. But it’s too late.

As soon as the snow globe breaks the entire room fills with a thick fog that quickly subsides as snow begins to fall all around us. As the mist clears and the snow settles, a giant figure begins to come into view, standing where the snow globe hit the floor.

“Krampus,” this huge being says, sounding pretty pissed off.

“No, please, let me… just,” babbles Santa, who I guess it turns out is actually a some kind of demon, an imposter. He then makes a break for it, dashing across the room, his belly shrinking as his true form reveals itself. Black and scaly. Withered.

“The staff! Someone stop him from getting the staff,” cries the big fella that until half a minute ago was a tiny dude stuck inside a miniature world.

I can see that Krampus Claus has his eyes fixed on a long stick propped up against the fireplace. And suddenly, I’m in a position to do something about it as I’m no longer being restrained by those two elves. I glance over my shoulder and see them both lying on the floor unconscious. I then look down and see Alabaster besides me with a sack full of… something, toys perhaps, in his hand, swinging. He’s panting like a dog, eyes fixed upon his fallen prey.

Krampus picks up the staff and turns around, but before he has a chance to do anything with it, it’s kicked out of his hand by me: the raccoon that just flew across the room and landed a picture-perfect dropkick. The staff bounces off the wall with a crack and flies across the room, much as I did moments earlier. It lands on the table, squashing the remaining turkey and spilling some cranberry sauce. The eggnog remains untouched, much to my relief. I could do with some of that when this is all over!

The room goes so silent it’s as if the air has been removed from it. I’m still breathing, so that’s a good sign. But all eyes are on one thing: the staff, which is now on the dining table, entrenched in the big, cooked bird, in the middle of the room. It’s going to be a race to get it; Santa vs Demon Santa vs yours truly. Of course, the real Father Christmas and I are on the same team, and that, I hope, is an advantage, being two on one and all. However, if Krampus does manage to get his mitts on it first, then it’s game over – no matter who has the numbers advantage. If Krampus gets to the staff first, I’ll likely be spending the rest of my life stuck on this planet, inside a snow globe with Santa. No offense to Saint Nick, but I’m a traveler. A space explorer. A universe adventurer. A guardian of the galaxy! I can’t bear the idea of being stuck in one place, and such a small space at that, for the rest of my existence. I might gain claustrophobia, I may go insane. Hell, Santa might even decide to make a meal of me in all that time… I gotta make sure we win this.

I’ve experienced the sensation of time seeming to slow down a few times in my life, each time during some kind of epic encounter or battle. Well, the race to the Christmas dinner table joins that list. All in the same moment, Santa, Krampus and I all glance up from the staff and make eye contact and that is when the world around us goes into slow motion; as we all make a break for it, all dashing towards the center of the room to be the first one to claim the staff. The demon and I are racing, neck and neck, from the fireplace. Santa was across the other side of the room and is running towards the table from the other side. We all seem to be in sync, and as such it comes as no surprise and causes no hesitation from any of the three of us as we all leap into the air simultaneously, making a dive for the staff. We may all collide in a three-way headbutt, but he who dares wins; that’s the saying, right?

Krampus must have the longest legs of the three of us – he definitely has longer legs than me – as his leap carries him the furthest, quickest. I look on as Santa falls short, crashing down on the table, squishing and smashing a bowl of sprouts as he lands, his arms outstretched, but the staff just out of his reach. I see Krampus land with a keen precision and plenty of grace. He hits the table in a crouch, one knee on the table-top and the other foot standing on one of the adjacent chairs. He reaches down and lifts the staff coolly, a sinister smile on his face. He’s looking right into Santa’s eyes.

“Looks like I win, you old has-been,” the mischievous demon says. “I hope you’ve enjoyed this little Christmas trip out of your tiny glass cage, but now, it’s time for you to go back. You’ve had enough excitement.” He lifts and points the staff at Santa.

You may be wondering why I’m only watching these events unfold when I was in the race to get to the staff first. Well, it’s because I soon fell behind Krampus, my little legs not able to keep me neck and neck with the tall and gangly lizard-like creature for too long. So, I’ve seen the events of the last few seconds unfold from my current location: in mid-air, mid-jump. Now, I land behind Krampus, but he doesn’t notice. He’s too busy waving the staff towards Santa Claus, trying to use its magic to lock his nemesis inside a snow globe once more. I’m on the table, surrounded by food and drink and look around for a suitable weapon. I soon find one and lift up the big bowl of mashed potatoes. I run awkwardly along the table carrying the bowl in both hands. It’s almost as big as I am. I jump and use what’s left of the turkey as a springboard to leap into the air once more. Santa spots me and his jaw drops, causing Krampus to glance around out of curiosity. As he turns I rise up past his face and reach my peak about a foot above the top of his head. Gravity then does its job and pulls me back down, and as I start to fall I overturn the bowl and aim it at Krampus’s head. Slam dunk!

I drop to the table and look up at the demon with a bowl on his head. The bowl is made of glass and all you can see beneath it is squished potatoes. Some of the mash is oozing out from a crevice between the side of the bowl and his chin, but the Christmas demon can’t see a thing. He’s stumbling, thrashing around and blasts of blue magic are firing from the end of the staff in all directions. Thinking quick, I dash around him and crouch on all fours behind his feet. It doesn’t take long for Krampus to take a wobbly step backwards and trip over me. He lands on the table with a thud and a smash of glass. “

Oooogghh,” he mutters. His face is nothing more than a mouth, a pair of eyes and mashed potato. It’s kinda hard to take him seriously as a villainous demon god after seeing him like this.

What happens next surprises me more than probably anything else I’ve seen yet. Alabaster climbs up onto the table after a brief struggle. He calmly walks up to Krampus’s head and gives it a swift kick, knocking him unconscious. The elf then strolls down towards the demon’s hand and pulls the staff free. He then walks back down the table and hands the staff to Santa.

“Here you go, boss,” Alabaster says.

“Thank you, Alabaster,” replies Santa. “You’ve not only helped to save Christmas, but the entire world”

Alabaster blushes and waves a salute before taking his leave.

“What do we do about him?” I ask, pointing at the fallen and potato covered demonic thing.

“Oh, I have an idea,” says Father Christmas.

* * *

Krampus awakes with snow on his face instead of potato. Not real snow, but the fake stuff they use in snow globes. “What on Earth?” he asks himself while the world around him comes into focus. There’s not much of that world around him; it’s just a few inches in diameter. “Oh no,” he says. He runs to the very edge of his tiny world and hits the glass head-on, displacing his nose in the process. Picking himself up, he looks past the glass to see a huge raccoon and a giant man in a big, red suit “Let me out!” he shouts, thumping the glass with closed fists.

“Now, now,” says Santa, “you won’t be locked up in there for too long. I promise you that. Instead I’m going to have this snow globe shipped to the South Pole, first class no less, where you’ll be set free from your tiny glass prison… and locked in a more appropriately sized cell.”

“Wait! No! You’ll regret this! I’ll–“

I can’t hear the rest of the demon’s threats as Santa places the snow globe inside a cardboard box, sealing it up with a roll of sticky tape.

“I’ll have one of the elves deliver this right away,” the big, jolly guy tells me, placing the package on a conveyor belt that carries it through a hole in the wall and out of the room.

“Thank you, Rocket. For all of your help,” says Santa, now dressed in a clean red suit with polished boots. “I think we’ve just about had enough time to get Christmas back on track and I’ll be setting off to start on my deliveries any minute now.”

“You’re welcome, Santa,” I say with a wink. “And your secret’s safe with me.”

“Ho! Ho!” Santa cries, clutching his belly. “Well, as a thank you, is there anything I can give you? Anything you want or need?”

“Uh, now that you mention it the reason I’m here on Earth is to find Star Lord, you know, Peter Quill. Would you be able to point me in his direction.”

“Oh, I’m sure I can do better than that. Follow me,” Santa says.

* * *

Santa Claus leads me into a hangar where what appears to be a large vessel of some kind sits beneath a large sheet of tarpaulin. Beside this is a herd of reindeer in a pen. Some are sleeping, some are eating carrot pieces.

“My list encompasses everyone on Earth,” Saint Nick declares. “I know whether anyone has been naughty or nice and where to find them, so as to deliver their presents, that is if they made the nice list.”

“‘So, what are you telling me exactly, Santa?” I ask.

“I’m telling you that I know exactly where to find Peter Quill. I read his whereabouts on my list”

“Are you sure?”

“I even checked it twice.”

“Santa, that’s excellent news. How do I find him?”

“I thought I might give you a ride,” Santa says as he pulls off the tarpaulin sheet to reveal a…

“What’s that?”

“This, my dear Rocket, is my sleigh. I use this to fly around the planet, making my deliveries to all of the children. As it’s Christmas Eve and I’m heading out anyway, I figured I’d drop you off at Star Lord’s location along the way.”

“What powers that thing?”

“Why the reindeer of course.” Santa gestures towards the antlered animals in the pen. None of them have wings. One of them momentarily stops eating carrots and lets out a fart.

“Um, no offense, but uh, I think I’ll make my own way to Peter. If you could let me know where he is and maybe, if I’ve been good enough to have my name appear on the right list, could you perhaps provide me with some alternative means of transport?”

“Are you sure? It’s not often I offer somebody a ride in Santa’s sleigh.”

“Thanks for the offer, but I’m sure.”

“Well then, in that case let me just have a quick look see here,” he climbs aboard the sleigh and crouches down inside it, disappearing from view. I look over at the reindeer and one of them passes wind again. I’m glad I’m not going to be downwind following them tonight!

“Here we go,” Santa shouts, standing up with a gift in his arms that’s almost as big as him and much larger than me.

The wrapping paper is themed with cartoon pictures of Thor, wielding his hammer. A red bow is holding everything together.

“Merry Christmas, Rocket Raccoon,” says Santa, jumping down and placing the present at my feet.

“Thank you.” I start by untying the bow and then rip the paper to shreds, uncovering… “A new ship?”

“It’s an exact replica of the Rack ‘n’ Ruin. Do you like it?”

“Like it? Santa, I love it! Thank you so much,” I say. I gotta admit, I’m feeling as warm and fuzzy on the inside as I do on the outside for once.

“Ho! Ho Ho! You’re very welcome,” Santa’s voice is booming. “And thank you for saving me, saving Christmas and saving the world.'”

“It was nothing,” I say, still admiring my new ship. “Now, uh, how’d I find Star Lord?”

“Well, you’ve got a long way to go, Rocket, but hopefully this new ship should get you there in good time. Star Lord, according to the list is in a place the humans often refer to as ‘Down Under’. He’s in a country called Australia.”

“I’ve come a long way already and I ain’t afraid to travel further. Thanks for the info and the new ship. I guess I’ll be heading off now. Which way is it?”

“Just head south,” Santa replies.

“And which way it that?” I ask.

“Rocket, you’re as far north as you can get. Every way is south from here,” he chuckles. I guess that Mermaid really did lie to me.
“I too must soon depart,” says Santa. “I’d best get the reindeer ready. Goodbye, Rocket.”

* * *

The controls of my new ship, the Rack ‘n’ Ruin Version 2, are exactly the same as in the old one. After taking a few minutes to reacquaint myself with the knobs, levers and buttons and all of their positions, I boot her up and lift off the ground. As I start flying out of the hangar, I look down and see Santa, waving me at me from his sleigh. He has scheduled himself for take-off as soon as I have departed and cleared the airspace. I also see Alabaster, waving extremely enthusiastically from near the reindeer pen. Ever since the real Santa was freed and demonic imposter defeated, Alabaster seems like a totally different elf – happy and himself.

I fly out into the northern night and into the green lights that shimmer into the sky. Australia, Star Lord, here I come!

 

to be continued next time in Marvel Rebooted: Rocket Racoon #4!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Marvel Rebooted

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