The North Pole

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What appeared to be a techno remix of Santa Baby blasted over the sound system, while "Polly" began to strip. It was Christmas Eve inside SCP-2713, which meant the bizarreness was going to be stepped up a notch. Three unarmed agents stood near the door, scanning the crowd for potential threats. Two doctors with Foundation insignia on their badges sat at the bar observing the chaos around them.

"Man. Look at that stellar body," Doctor Cimmerian grinned at Doctor Foster as he spoke. Foster, for his part, let out an audible groan. Cimmerian kept his smile and motioned to the bartender. The man walked over and put another shot glass down, joining the 7 other full glasses to Cimmerian's right.

"You know, the point of having to buy a shot every time you make a terrible pun was to keep you from doing it," Foster shook his head and looked over at the bartender who stood over the pair with a questioning look on his face, "Oh uh, sorry, we're paying customers but we can't drink on duty,"

The bartender nodded as though that explained everything and went back to wiping the bar.

"You think he's worried about running out of glasses?" Cimmerian said, cocking his head to the side.

"I don't know. This place has always confused the hell out of me. When it instituted a two drink minimum last year I stopped trying to figure it out," Foster played with the single glass in front of him.

"This is one of the projects in your portfolio, I don't think you can do that," Cimmerian said, his smile returning.

"It is in there, yeah," he said before looking back up, "But not by choice."

"Cause Malina knew your name."

Foster drew a sharp breath. "Yeah. What are you doing here anyway? Shouldn't the ethics liaison be at home with his family?"

"Don't have one," Cimmerian said with a shrug, "Plus they wanted someone with a decent clearance to keep an eye on you, just in case,"

"Oh? You feel comfortable telling me that?" Foster looked back down at his drink.

"I've looked at your file. If you were going to betray the Foundation you'd have done it a long time ago."

Both men let that hang above the conversation for a second, then another, and then one more before Foster broke the silence.

"You think she'll show up tonight?"

The omnipresent music ebbed for a moment, and the two Doctors looked at each other.

"She shows up every Christmas Eve."

"Polly" had finished her set, and, after collecting her discarded clothing, retreated behind the curtains. The PA system boomed, "Once again, put your hands together… for… BETH,"

The rest of the crowd rushed to the edge of the stage and looked up at the pole. The curtains moved, and the catcalls began from the crowd, but neither of the two doctors could see anything on stage at all. Every Christmas Eve, the biggest crowd would show up in 2713 all year, and every Christmas Eve the Foundation would observe an even stranger event. A performer named "Beth", that the Foundation could not see.

"You know they're just playing a joke on us about the Star of Bethlehem, right?" Foster said, before turning back to his glass, "We're not going to get any new information out of this place this year that we didn't get the first year it happened."

"Maybe," Cimmerian said, before grabbing one of his shot glasses and raising it into the air, "But I'll settle for the constellation prize."

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