Beside one of York's great arcology-domes on a chilly night, a camera-drone panned around a large, coniferous tree decorated in symbols both arcane and familiar. Around the tree were men and women in white robes, holding hands in a circle, singing hymns and stepping around the tree in time. Their chants are accompanied by a choir out of sight, and the blazing glows of bonfires within stony pits. The camera moved to an elevated stage overseeing the festivities. It was host to a master of ceremonies - wearing a hooded navy robe robe emblazoned in stars and constellations, conducting a choir pit below with a glowing baton - golden trails in its wake. Sitting on the stage behind him were some of York's notable personalities, politicians, and boffins from the three Universities. Recognisable faces amid the guests of honour included pro wrestler Geoffrey Magnussen, soccer superstar Maxwell Pantera, governor Ulysses Vernon, Dame Geraldine Massey, head of Parliament Guard; and Professor James Ulrich and his Spectral Sighthound Billy, gnawing happily on a pork bone. Geoffrey waved at the passing camera with a smile, and Max flexed his muscles with a cheeky grin - happy to take part in the celebrations with his countrymen. A curtain behind the honoured guests cast a glimpse of the workings behind the scene, with a stage hand conversing with an alabaster-white imp carrying a clipboard, ticking things off for the festivities with a sinewy lock of green prehensile hair grasping a pen. Flashing a thumbs up, the stage hand moved away, and was out of sight as the camera kept looking around, casting its gaze over the gathered crowds - many of them holding candles and singing with the choir. The camera finally came to rest to a woman standing behind the crowd with the tree in the background, she was wearing a knitted beanie with rabbit's ears draped down the sides, and a pair of orange-tinted goggles resting atop her head. Snow was caked against her puffed jacket and thick mittens, grasping a microphone which was picking up the sound of the swirling winter winds. "Hello, I'm Bridget Kuniklo, coming to you live from York with coverage of the annual winter solstice celebrations." She introduced herself - a daytime reporter for Astro News Radio who was on the ground for the York state media. "The master of ceremonies is about to make his address to the citizens of York, so we take you live, now." The choir's song had finished, and the dancers around the tree came to a stop, bowing for the applauding audience while the master of ceremonies stowed his baton down a sleeve of his robe. Craning towards the microphone, he cleared his throat - causing a small crackle of feedback. The imp could've sworn they got the cabling right for this one, but the mic feedback subsided as suddenly as it had arrived. "Ladies, gentlemen, Weirds and wonderful, lend me your ears. Tonight we observe the shortest day in our solar calendar, and come together to share our bounties, in preparation for lengthening days, thawing snow, and the longest day yet to draw itself over York's fair horizon." He announced proudly. "Our city is old, its secrets many, and its auspices bountiful for those who can grasp their forms. Albion is eternally grateful for its insights..." Looking up at the sky, the MC observed the auroras rippling through it, caused by fluctuations in the planet's magnetosphere by its watchful protector, Orbital Object: Null. Each emission from this megastructure, a heart-beat of sorts, painted the sky in hundreds of colours from out of space. To any citizen of Albion, this event was a normal part of everyday life, and were it not for their ancestors wresting the space-railgun from the Tyrants, then there would be no Albion to speak of, nor a celebration to make. The master of ceremonies levelled his gaze back toward the audience. "...just as we are grateful for the protection afforded to us, granting us our livelihoods in peace. Now let us come together in a feast and wish that our incoming equinox is bountiful, and that our research and knowledge is fruitful. We share, we give, we and live and drink to our health. Cheers!" The audience simmered to applause, as did the guests of honour, who would take turns throughout the night to speak well of their country and what they wanted to see in the future. The camera eventually returned to Bridget, standing in front of long tables filled with men, women and Weirds indulging themselves. The reporter had a chicken drumstick in her hand instead of a microphone, and a steaming bite had been taken out of it. "This is Bridget Kuniklo-" she said, chewing on something, "-signing off and wishing you all a happy new year."