By Tarani Kapoor
As Project INFINITY explores the multiverse, team leader Tarani Kapoor writes about their travels into the unknown. We’ll bring you select excerpts from her journal as ATOM Labs provides them to us.
Our third jump brought us to a strange world. Even though we jumped from our world in October, by the local calendar, it was June 14. That quirk of the calendar, as not all dimensions sync with ours, was not the strange part. The strange part was that everyone was celebrating Christmas in the summer.
Again, New Romford of Dimension 3 looked similar to ours in architecture, inhabitants, and sky color. Since it was June 14, it was a warm late spring day, but Christmas decorations were hanging all over the streets and buildings. Even the people were wearing Santa hats, Christmas-themed ties and lapels, garish Christmas sweaters (though we couldn’t tell if they were ironic or not), and most puzzling, full winter clothing. Everyone was sweaty.
Given that half our crew wasn’t Christian, and that it was the middle of June, we were unnerved by this scene. (Except for Karen, who loved it.) As we walked down the street in our civilian clothing, everyone stared at us. We stuck out like sore thumbs. Every street corner had at least one man dressed as Santa Claus, ringing a bell for charity, and their eyes were glued to us. The twins could hear them talk into radios as we passed by, and they informed us to move into hiding immediately.
The Santas pounced. We ran down an alley, and Mike and Jennifer fought off the Santas while we made our escape. But the layout of this New Romford confused us, and we ran right into a dead end. The twins came to our aid, but we were outnumbered. There were too many Santas.
Out of nowhere, smoke bombs rained down on us. We thought they came from the Santas, but it was someone else. Several hands guided us to a secret passage down into the sewers, and we followed.
We had been saved by the Calendar Freedom Fighters, a ragtag group of people not dressed in Christmas gear. Their leader, Josh, introduced himself and then his group of about 30 people. Josh explained that on this world Christmas used to be a one-month holiday. After Thanksgiving, Christmas unofficially began. But then, the holiday began to creep earlier and earlier into the calendar, overtaking Halloween, then Labor Day, then Independence Day. Eventually, when it overtook St. Patrick’s Day, Congress, sensing the inevitable, made Christmas a year-long holiday, and for the past six years, the CFF has been fighting a literal War on Christmas.
What we experienced with the Santas was normal. Those who don’t celebrate Christmas—and as a winter holiday—are rounded up into reeducation camps, which explained the sweaters and winter clothing. Since Christmas has always been such a boon to the economy, now every 25th day of every month was a gift-giving day. Everyone could celebrate whatever other holidays they wanted during the year, but Christmas needed to be celebrated constantly.
Josh asked us where we came from, and we explained, hoping they knew of alternate dimensions. They did, and Josh asked us for our help in the fight against “the oppressors.” We respectfully declined as we gave an oath to not interfere with the fates of other worlds as best we could, and when they didn’t accept our answer, the twins beat them up, and we jumped onto the next world.
That one was filled with giant talking newts, who, thankfully, didn’t have any Santas.